Monday, December 29, 2008

I love my iPod!!

My MIL got me an iPod Nano for Christmas... an ORANGE one at that. :) I spent a few hours ripping songs from Hubby's and my CDs over the past couple of days and now have 93 of my favorite songs at my beck and call -- with space for many hundred more!! Woo hoo!!

The 93 songs that are currently on my ORANGE iPod are quite an eclectic bunch... country, rap, R&B, rock, pop, blues, and metal. With a few exceptions, the song or two I took from each CD was/were the only song I REALLY liked from that CD. So cool that I can create one big "album" of my favorite songs... one that isn't available in ANY store!!

Some of the recent songs that have played on my ORANGE iPod:
All Summer Long, Kid Rock
You Give Love a Bad Name, Bon Jovi
Layla, Derek & The Dominos
Down with the Sickness, Disturbed
Faithfully, Journey
She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy, Kenny Chesney
Home, Doughtry
Just Lose It, Eminem
Every Rose Has its Thorn, Poison
I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye
Last Dollar (Fly Away), Tim McGraw (also the ringtone on my phone, FYI)

My current breakdown by genre is Blues (12), Country (54), Hip Hop/Rap (6), Metal (5), Pop (1), R&B (4), and Rock (11). OK... so it's still heavy on the country, and within that, it's very heavy on Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. But I still have some more CDs at the office to bring home and go through.

And Hubby got me a speaker thingy to hook up to the ORANGE iPod, so that'll be great for the office.

I'm off to browse iTunes... I have a gift card to spend!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all who are reading this little blog! I am sitting here watching Keeper Boy and J-Mav play with the Wii Santa brought them for Christmas. They were so surprised that Keeper Boy almost started crying. He said, "I was just hoping for a DS; this is AWESOME." I say Christmas through the eyes of children is amazing.

Our three-year-old nephew (JGS) is here, as are my sister-in-law (Jenrie) and mother-in-law (GmaG). JGS tore through his gifts and screeched in delight with almost every new treasure he ripped open. So fun.

Two and a half hours after we started, the chaos ended and it looked like Toys R Us had barfed in our living room.

We've talked to both of Hubby's uncles, my parents, and my brother. Jenrie also talked to her parents and sister. And the best call of all was when my brother-in-law (Hubby's little brother) called from Iraq. We all had a chance to talk to him for a little bit. The only way it would've been better, of course, is had he been here in the living room talking to us. I thank him and every other man and woman who is serving in our armed forces so that I (and all other Americans) have the freedom to celebrate whatever holiday I choose to celebrate.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

And then I could breathe...

Last night was at once the one of the most amazing and nerve-wracking experiences in my ten years of motherhood -- perhaps in my life. Keeper Boy had the amazing opportunity to skate on the ice at the Verizon Center and defend the same goal as many legends of hockey have defended. He participated in the finals of the Washington Times Youth Hockey Shootout, sponsored by the Capitals. I wish I could say that I remember every little detail and can repeat it to you here. But, alas, much of the evening is a blur to me. I'll relay what I remember...

We arrived at the Press Entrance at the prescribed time of 6:30pm. Keeper Boy's teammate arrived at the same time. We all signed in and the unfortunate guy assigned to security unzipped Keeper Boy's and his teammate's bags and checked to make sure there was nothing in there but stinky adolescent hockey gear. Check. A Capitals staffer escorted us down the stairs into the bowels of the arena.

A funny side note: As we were going down the stairs, I had this weird feeling like someone was behind me. I finally turned around and there was Slapshot (the Caps mascot) decked out in a Santa suit and hat stalking me down the stairs with his arms raised over his head like Frankenstein. The kids got a kick out of that.

We got to the bottom of the stairs and started turning corners and going down halls. It's a good thing we had an escort because I have no clue where we were going. A photographer took a picture of the kids with Slapshot and then they all took off running down the hall. Hubby asked where the kids were a second later. I said, "Don't worry, they're with Slapshot." Only we would be okay with a seven-foot eagle in a Santa outfit watching our kids as they're running around the underbelly of the Verizon Center.

Anyway, when we arrived at the locker room the kids had been assigned to (after passing the practice court for the Wizards and Mystics), Slapshot was there (with the kids... not to worry). Keeper Boy unpacked some of his gear, and the coordinator gave us the instructions for when and where to meet. Then they took us upstairs via a super-secret stairwell, we got our Alex Ovetchkin bobblehead giveaways, and proceeded to our awesome seats on Section 104.

Most of Keeper Boy's team came to support he and his teammate (C.). Coach was nice enough to cancel practice... and he and his fiance came, too. Keeper Boy also had his own personal fan club in attendance. In addition to Hubby, J-Mav and me; my parents were there; my BFF and her Hubby, kids, and mom (Nanya) were there; and the family of one of Keeper Boy's teammates from his team last year was there. Oh, and we had friends who are season ticket holders sitting two sections over with two of their friends, so the inaugural meeting of the Keeper Boy Fan Club was 18 strong.

Only five minutes into the first period, it was time for Keeper Boy and Hubby to go to the appointed meeting place and head down to get dressed. I tried to concentrate on the game, but I could've made a mean cocktail had I had a cocktail shaker sitting on my knee with as much as my leg was jittering up and down.

The first period ended and all the sudden Keeper Boy and C. (and the two kids from the opposing team) were up on the Jumbotron. They had taken headshots just like they do with the NHL players, and put up their names and numbers. And the regular announcer for the Caps was announcing the kids and the rules of the shutout. SO COOL.
Rules:
  • Three rounds.
  • If tied at the end of three rounds, there will be a fourth round.
  • If tied at the end of the fourth (OT) round, there will be a "sudden death" round. Because the other team won a coin toss and chose to shoot, the Sudden Death round would have the other kid shooting on Keeper Boy. If he stopped the puck, Keeper Boy's team won. If he didn't, the other team won. That's it. They had time considerations so it couldn't go on forever.

The other kids were shooting first. The kid skated down and Keeper Boy skated out to challenge. He had his glove up. The kid shot and Keeper Boy made the save. C. skated down and took a shot. No goal. End of first round: 0-0.

The other kid skated down again. The kid shot wide, and Keeper Boy just had to ensure it stayed wide. C. skated down and took his second shot. No goal. End of second round: 0-0.

Here comes the other kid again. Denied. C. skated down and shot the puck straight at the other keeper's chest. No goal. End of third round: 0-0. We're going to overtime.

Other kid skated down, and I don't really remember what happened, but the puck ended up in the net. Keeper Boy hung his hung just for a second, but then popped up and was ready to go again. C. skated down did a little deke and went to his backhand. SCORE!! End of OT: 1-1. We're going to sudden death. I thought I might throw up.

Remember, now it's all up to Keeper Boy. If he stops it, he and C. win. If he doesn't, they don't. The other kids skates down and takes his shot. Keeper Boy blocks the puck and turtles on it ensuring it doesn't trickle out and go in. RED WINS! RED WINS!! The crowd goes wild!!

Well, I don't know if the crowd went wild. I didn't notice much about what happened during the five minutes Keeper Boy was on the ice, other than what he was doing and what C. was doing. I didn't even realize that Hubby was on the visiting team's bench the whole time until we were home last night. I know the 50 or so people that were sitting right around us that were affiliated with Keeper Boy's team went wild, and our friends that have season tickets who were sitting in Section 106 went wild. That counts as a crowd. And they went wild. So there.

Keeper Boy and C. and their dads came back to the seats part way through the second period to appropriate applause and cheers and they were all grins. I think Keeper Boy (and Hubby) were still grining in their sleep last night. What an awesome experience.

On the way home from the game, Keeper Boy said that he really hadn't been nervous, but that he was aware of all the people (quite a few thousand more than he's used to at a typical travel hockey game), that he'd had fun, and that he'd totally do it again. He was interviewed by a camera man after he was done. Who knows what the Caps will do with that footage. But it was cool. There was a photographer there who is going to send us all of his photos. I can't wait to see them!

I was so happy and excited and proud for Keeper Boy. Outwardly he seemed very non-chalant about it. Calm as a cucumber. He went out there and he did his thing. And he ROCKED THE RED!! But Hubby said the enormity of it all seemed to have hit him a little bit afterward... that he looked like he was ready to cry when the cameraman was interviewing him. Like I said yesterday, for a kid who dreams of playing in the NHL, I can only imagine how exciting last night had to be for him. And I'm glad he had the opportunity to experience it. Who knows, maybe he WILL play in the NHL some day. But the odds are stacked against him. So if he doesn't, he will always have that night when he was 10 years old and he defended the net at the Verizon Center in front of thousands of people (and the Keeper Boy Fan Club)... and won!

As for me, my stomach STARTED to unknot after he made that sudden death save, but it's churning again just writing about everything! I kind of feel like I know might know what Michael Phelps' mom went through EIGHT times in Beijing last summer... I have no idea how she did it. Hats off to you, Mama Phelps -- I'd have had a bleeding ulcer after your son's second race!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tonight's the night!

I can't get that Rod Stewart song out of my head ever since I decided what to name my post this morning! Totally different meaning than my "tonight's the night," but whatever. Tonight is Keeper Boy's BIG NIGHT!!!!

Tonight, at first intermission of the Caps game, Keeper Boy and his teammate, the captain of his hockey team, will compete in the finals of the Washington Times Shootout Finals, Squirt division. The last time Keeper Boy was on the ice at the Verizon Center, it was called the MCI Center and he was standing in awe in front of his favorite Capital, Peter Bondra, as he signed his game-worn jersey over to him. He was, I think, four years old.

Tonight he will stand IN NET on the ice at Verizon Center... a net that has been defended before him by Olie Kolzig and Brent Johnson, as well as visitors by the likes of Martin Brodeur, Dominick Hasek, Roberto Luongo, and legions of others. Holy crap!

He will stand in net and face three one-on-one shots from his opponent. His teammate will take three shots on the opposing team's goalie on the other end of the ice. Whichever team has more shots at the end of the round wins. If it's tied, they each get another shot.

That's it. The whole thing will likely be over in about five minutes. But for this 10-year old goalie who dreams of one day playing in the NHL, it will likely be a memory that lasts a lifetime. Good luck, Keeper Boy... you'll be great!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend...

I spent a lot of time in my car this weekend. Not by design. The weekend started off with promise. Hubby and I got a babysitter and were heading downtown to the Caps game. A date! No kids! Only as this IS NoVA, we got stuck in massive traffic on 66 and missed about five minutes of the first period. Not a huge deal, but we would've rather been in our seats before the puck dropped. Anyway, we had a great time and the Caps won, which was even better.

Saturday was a day of chores around the house, and having our annual family photo taken. Both were accomplished with little fanfare. Late afternoon, J-Mav and I got in my car and headed down to BFF's house for her family's annual holiday party. Only it took us an hour to get there (should take 15 - 20 minutes). Yep, 66 again. Stupid traffic.

Hubby and Keeper Boy headed to the rink for Keeper Boy's hockey game. He was in net. I anxiously awaited updates on my phone while at the party, but none came. I had to wait until they arrived at the party later in the evening to find out that Keeper Boy had a good game and the team won 6-3. Yay! We watched the Caps game at the party and visited with friends we don't alway see very often. A good time was had by all.

This morning, Keeper Boy had a game in Maryland. J-Mav didn't want to go, so we didn't make him. He's been dragged to A LOT of hockey games in his young life, so when he really doesn't want to go, we usually don't make him. He slept in until 9am, so it's probably good that we didn't drag him out of bed at 7 to go. Keeper Boy was on door patrol for the 7-0 drubbing our boys game the team they played. Apparently it was quite the physical game, which is significant only because at the squirt level, there is still no contact allowed... that comes next year, at the pee wee level.

So good hockey weekend on both the kids level and the NHL level (at least for the Caps). Good weekend on other fronts, too. Lots of stuff done around the house and out and about (thus the spending a lot of time in my car comment). And the headache I've had off and on for the past week is off right now. So life is good.

I stil have an awful lot of stuff to wrap before Thursday when my parents arrive and I need to have the guest bedroom set up to be a bedroom and not a dumping ground for Christmas gifts! Good thing I don't have a busy week at work this week... I might have some late nights wrapping gifts!!

Up this week: hockey practice, the end of my deep water exercise class (not that I've gone the past few weeks), the shootout finals at Verizon Center for Keeper-Boy (during 1st intermission of the Caps game on Thursday night), and early Christmas with my parents. Oh and work and the rest of life, too...

And now, it's off to bed. Tomorrow's another day. Ten days until Christmas. Unvelievable!

Something NOT to buy at Costco...

I've been wrapping Christmas presents tonight. This year I vowed to use mostly wrapping paper (as opposed to gift bags as I've done for the past several years). I have several rolls to choose from thanks to a day-after-Christmas journey to Target last year. But I also have... the Costco roll.

About five years ago, I saw this really pretty wrapping paper at Costco. It was a nice shade of red with gold pine trees on it. Lovely. Festive. Perfect. Only it's not perfect. Because I've been using it for FIVE friggin' years and I'm nowhere NEAR the end of the roll. I swear I could've wrapped my house with this stuff and STILL had half a roll leftover. If I never see another roll of wrapping paper with trees on it, it'll be too soon.

So I'm using it. Again. But this is it. The last year. I'm giving it to someone else when I'm done wrapping. Someone else can wrap a zillion boxes with it and then get tired of using it year after year after year. And then maybe in five years I will have gotten over my bitterness and be ready to take it back and finish the roll. Because I'm sure there will still be some left. Seriously. It's THAT big.

And if you see me at Costco on the 26th oohing and aahing over the pretty wrapping paper, just slap me. That should bring me back to my senses.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cleveland Rocked!

We are back from a weekend in Cleveland. Keeper Boy's hockey team competed in the Rock n Roll Tournament and came home champions... complete with individual medals and a honkin' big team trophy! It was a great weekend full of hockey, family, and friends. What could be better?

We left right at rush hour on Thursday night. Once we got out of Virginia, it was smooth sailing... set the cruise on 70mph and got there without incident around 11:30pm -- in about 6.5 hours. J-Mav slept for five of those; Keeper Boy, none. It started snowing when we were about five miles from the hotel. And boy was it COLD when we got out of the car!!

Unfortunately, the kids were up by 7am on Friday morning. We lounged about and waited for Hubby's mom (GmaG), our sister-in-law (Jenrie), and our nephew (Spidey)to arrive from the other side of the state. They arrived around lunchtime, so we decided to head over toward the rink where the afternoon's game would be and find a Subway. It was an adventure, but we did find both the rink and a Subway.

We met the rest of the team at the rink and waited for the first game to start. My college roommate and her two kids (who live in a Cleveland suburb) came, too! Keeper Boy was in net for Game 1, and the team won 7-4 against the team they would ultimately meet in the championship game.

After the game, everyone headed back to the hotel. We took the kids to the indoor pool at the hotel, and then headed to Outback for some dinner. Yum!

Game 2 was Saturday morning with Keeper Boy on door patrol. The team played well and won that game, too. I don't remember the exact score. After the game, the entire team went to The Winking Lizard Tavern for lunch. Great food and great service. Good time! We got to see some of the Army-Navy football game while we were there. Unfortunately, Army didn't look so good, but they sure do have cool uniforms!!

After lunch and a little "hang-out" time, it was back to the rink for a late afternoon game. Keeper Boy was back in net. After a first period in which he faced no shots, it picked up a little bit. The good guys won again, and we went into the championship game as the number one seed and the only undefeated team. We had quite a fan club for this game. In addition to GmaG, Jenrie, and Spidey, my college roommate and her kids came back, Hubby's college roommate and his wife and daughter (who also live in a suburb of Cleveland) came, and a co-worker of Hubby's (who transferred to Cleveland last year) and her husband came, too! It was so awesome to see everyone!!

Most of those who came to watch Justin came to Red Robin with us after the game for dinner. Hubby and I introduced everyone to "crack in a cup" (see previous post) and everyone agreed that Red Robin's gingerbread milkshakes are incredible.

The championship game this morning was at 9am. Keeper Boy was on door patrol. His goaltending partner had a good game, and after being down 2-0 in the first period, our guys got mad and clawed back. It was an exciting game that was tied 3-3 with a minute left in the game. We scored to go up 4-3. Then we scored an empty netter to go up 5-3. The other team scored with less than a second left for a final score of 5-4. Gloves and sticks went flying. To say the kids were excited would be an understatement. It was fun to watch. :-)

We headed back to the hotel so Keeper Boy could take a quick shower and we could finish packing up and check out. We headed back to the Winking Lizard for a quick lunch (it was really good... we had to go back!) and then headed home. We made even better time coming home, getting here in just 5.5 hours!

Great weekend! Not only was the hockey great, but we saw so many friends and family that we just don't get to see enough. Just another good thing hockey has worked in our lives. So for this weekend I say, Cleveland Rocks!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm not ready!

Last night I found myself sitting in the school library with 25 or so other parents of 5th graders who were concerned enough about what their children will be learning in their Human and Growth Development class that they showed up for an information session. So what is Human and Growth Development, you may be asking? In layman's terms, that would be sex ed.

Yes, my sweet, innocent, immature Keeper Boy -- who still has a solid (yet starting to waiver just a little) belief in all things Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy -- will, in the next two weeks, have five, one-hour-long sessions on topics ranging from how his body will change during puberty, to male (and female) anatomy, to reproduction and the reproduction system, to STDs, to abstinence. Some pretty heavy stuff for a 10-year-old who thinks girls are "icky" unless they play hockey.

I am not against this at all. In fact, I think it's all well planned and executed. The sessions take the format of a 15- to 20-minute scripted "lecture" by the teacher, a 15-minute movie, and a 15- to 20-minute question session. I figure Keeper Boy can get the real facts in a classroom setting, followed up by discussion at home; or he can get "playground/lockeroom facts" (likely not the same "facts"). I'd prefer the former over the latter, and now is as good a time as any. :-)

So, they have these gender-separated classes, taught by same-gender teachers. Five of them: 12/11, 12/12, 12/16, 12/18, and 12/19. They occur on those days from 2-3pm. Anything strike you about any of that information? How about that the class is over right before school lets out and that the classes, as a whole, take place right before Winter Break. Hmmmm.

Yes, that is by design we were told. The kids are actually told not to discuss the information covered in that day's class among themselves or with anyone until they get home from school and can have a discussion or ask further questions of their parents. The idea behind this is to "shelter" the younger kids in the school from hearing things they don't need to be hearing yet, and to prevent the spread of mis-information among the kids. Good idea in theory. I'm sure, though, that the kids will discuss. :-)

The idea behind doing it before Winter Break is similar. The long break provides more opportunity for discussion between parents and kids, with the hope that the newness of the information will have worn off by the time the kids return to school (i.e., not a lot of discussion among themselves when they return).

Lastly, there is even a reason for doing this prior to Winter Break as opposed to, say, before Spring Break. It's cold outside and the kids are wearing more clothes. Yeah, I laughed, too. But it makes sense. The kids are going to be learing about body parts of the opposite gender and other somewhat intimate things that they maybe never knew existed. There's going to be curiosity and maybe some staring. So it does makes sense in a weird sort of way.

One other thing I think is cool. Each kid will get an index card when entering the classroom. If he has a question during class and doesn't feel comfortable asking in front of everyone, he can write it on the card. The teacher collects all of the cards toward the end of class, even those that don't have anything written on them. That way no one knows who asked a question and who didn't. It also gives the teacher a chance to "vet" the questions. If there is something asked that isn't appropriate to discuss, the teacher will make a statement such as, "if your question wasn't answered, please ask your mom or dad when you get home."

And, if any parents do not want their child to participate in any of all of the five sessions, there is the option to opt-out. Several people last night said they would opt their kids out of Lesson 3 because it includes a frank (scientific, not graphic) discussion about intercourse in the context of what happens one a man and a woman decide to have a baby. We will not be opting Keeper Boy out of any of the sessions.

Now, just because I am in favor of Keeper Boy taking the class does not mean I am comfortable with the potential discussions Hubby and I could be having with him over the coming weeks and months as the information settles in and he has questions. I will answer his questions honestly and to the best of my ability, but that doesn't mean I'll be comfortable doing so!

If you see me walking around with a "deer-in-the-headlights" look over the next several weeks, you'll know why. Wish us luck!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thankful

I wanted to write one of those "things I'm thankful" posts around Thanksgiving, but I'm just now getting around to it. Better late than never, huh?

Family
I am so thankful for my wonderful, loving family. I have the most amazing, wonderful, and loving husband. I have two beautiful, intelligent, funny, incredible kids who have an uncanny ability to drive me crazy at any given moment (and I wouldn't change that for the world). :-)

I have the best parents in the world. They are unconditionally supportive and loving. My mother-in-law, too, is amazing. I hear many of my friends complain endlessy about their "monsters-in-law." I truly adore mine. Some things that have happened in her life would completely beat some women down, but she is one of the strongest women I know! My parents and Hubby's mom are all fabulous grandparents to Keeper Boy and J-Mav.

I also have two amazing brothers (one biological, one by marriage) and two sisters (by marriage), an adorable nephew, an amazingly talented niece, three step-nephews, a step-niece, and a great-step-niece!

I am blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, and supportive family.

Friends
I have a small circle of great friends, especially my BFF. She and I have been friends for 15+ years and I don't see that ending anytime soon. At this point, she's the sister I never grew up with. I know that if I ever need anything, all I have to do is pick up the phone. She knows (at least I hope she does) that she can do the same.

Health
My doctor tells me I am very healthy. I have lost 35 pounds in the past two years, and I intend to lose the last 10 or so to get to my goal weight... soon! Hubby and the boys are healthy, too. J-Mav seems to have outgrown his asthma. We have been nebulizer-free for two years now! Woo!!

Employment
Hubby and I both have gainful, meaningful, and steady jobs that we (for the most part) enjoy. Hopefully I didn't just jinx either of our jobs by writing that. :-)

Hockey
I know that sounds weird, but hockey is responsible for a lot of good things in my life! Of course, it's responsible for a lot of early mornings and thousands of miles on our cars, too. But it's still a good thing. :-) Hubby and I "courted" at hockey games in college. I was a hockey freak before he met me. If he wanted to see me on weekends, he came to the rink to watch the games with me. Then he, too, became a hockey nut. :-)

Hockey, in part, brought me to Northern Virginia. When Hubby and I were getting ready to leave school, we sent resumes only to areas with a high-tech job market and a hockey team of some sort. That meant we sent resumes to some pretty far-flung places! But we landed here and adopted the Capitals. Hubby started playing hockey, and we have some great friends from the teams he has played for over the years -- many from the very first teams he played with more than 10 years ago!

And when Keeper Boy showed an early interest in playing hockey, we started down the path of no return (and debt). Over the past 5+ years, we have also made some great friends through Keeper Boy's affiliations with various teams, and we've had some great weekend trips to tournaments and, this year, road games as far away as North Carolina! So hockey is good.

Internet
I know, I'm getting a little ridiculous now. But I seriously don't know what I'd do without the Internet. I don't know how I made it through college when the Internet was really just gaining popularity and I was one of the first among my high school/college friends who had an email address! Kind of strange to think about that now. I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter to anyone other than John's grandmother, looked up a phone number in a phone book, or done research using anything other than Wikipedia, WebMD, or Ask.com. I mean, I used to have to go to THE MALL to go Christmas shopping! Now I can be done, if I so choose, with a few taps of my fingers. THAT in and of itself is something to be very grateful for.

In all seriousness, though. I am grateful for almost everything in my life. Yes, there's a few things I'd change if I had my choice. But I don't have to look too far to know that my life is good. No, my life is great. And I am so thankful. It truly is just another day in paradise!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crack in a cup!

Hubby and I were thrilled a few weeks ago when we received an email from Red Robin (as in, the restaurant chain) telling us that the seasonal Gingerbread Milkshake was back. But we hadn't been in to have one.

Tonight we were heading out to grab some dinner after we got home from PA and unpacked. We were deciding between Logan's, Olive Garden, and Red Robin and we were leaning toward Logan's. All of the sudden Hubby said, "ya know what? *I* want to go to Red Robin." I knew immediately what was going through his mind. :)

So, yeah, the Gingerbread Milkshake is probably not overly Weight Watcher's friendly. However, I DID get the kid's size. Hubby got the big ol' adult size. I didn't even wait for dessert. I got it WITH my meal. Hubby restrained himself and waited to order his for dessert. Of course, that meant I had to watch while he ate his and I had none. Because my crack was gone.

But I'm addicted. I'll go back for at least one more fix before they're gone again. A small one, of course. It's healthier. :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

What? No microwave?!

I decided not to go to the store this week since we're leaving Wednesday for Thanksgiving weekend at my parents' house. So, as we were digging around in the fridge tonight scrounging for dinner, we were talking about our days in between hounding Keeper Boy about accidentally recycling the packet he had to complete for homework.

I encouraged J-Mav to tell Hubby what he'd been learning about Thanksgiving in school. (He had informed me over the weekend, so I thought it would be nice for him to impart his knowledge on his dad, too.) So he's talking about this and that, and then I prompted him to tell Hubby about Squanto. I think they must've spent a lot of time talking about how Squanto helped the pilgrims survive their first winter because he came home with a little book he'd put together and colored that was just about Squanto. Anyway, this is kind of how it went:

Well, the pilgrims came all the way over here on these big wooden boats. They didn't even have any microwaves! And...

I'm not sure what else he said for a little while after that because I was laughing too hard. He hadn't told me about the awful lack of microwaves over the weekend!

Eventually he got to the part where Squanto helped the pilgrims plant food, which is how the whole microwave thing tied in in his mind, I guess. What did those pilgrims do without Chicken 'n Stars, Easy Mac, and microwave popcorn!?!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

OK, so I lied...

After the kids and I decorated the "main" Christmas tree today, I did turn it on. It's just too pretty to look at to leave it unlit. But I WILL NOT put the candles on until we get back from Thanksgiving. I'm sticking to that one! The house is so festive... I wish I could just leave it decorated all year.

J-Mav and I read some books from the Christmas basket before bed. My favorite is "Moosletoe"... he said he wants to make sure we read it to his cousin when he's here at Christmas. :-) We have this basket of holiday-themed books. I say that rather than Christmas because there's one in there about Hanakuh and one about Kwanza. When the kids were younger, I made sure there were 25 books in the basket, and I wrapped them all in Christmas wrapping paper. Then every night from December 1st until Christmas, they took turns picking out one book and unwrapping it, and either Hubby or I read it to them. Each year I picked up some more books after Christmas and got rid of a few so they weren't the same books each year. Last year is the first year I didn't wrap the books. I didn't wrap them this year, either. They have their favorites that they just pick out and read over and over. And Keeper Boy likes to read to J-Mav now. That's nice, too. But it's a nice holiday tradition, even if it's evolving as the years go by. I originally got the idea out of Family Fun magazine.

A couple of other items to update:
  • Keeper Boy's team won again today... a weekend sweep where, this time, they did the sweeping! They played the same team they played yesterday. Today the final score was 6 - 2, I believe. Keeper Boy was on door patrol. We were able to see most of the game that was being played before ours, and we knew several of the kids from Keeper Boy's team last year, so that was fun.
  • Hubby and BFF's Hubby made it home safe and sound from Ohio and reported that a great time was had by all.
  • Hubby jumped right back into the family fray and took Keeper Boy to a birthday party tonight... another laser tag party (for one of his hockey teammates).

That about wraps up this weekend. I'm trying to convince myself to get on the treadmill before my shows come on. Probably won't happen...

Close, but no cigar

Keeper Boy was 56 seconds away from a shutout today. But alas, the opposing team connected on what I think was its final shot of the game and got one past him. Our guys responded by taking the puck down to the opposite end of the ice and scoring one more goal. Final: 8-1. Another game tomorrow against the same team; this time on our ice. Keeper Boy will be the door keeper tomorrow. His goaltending partner will be in net.

Hung out with BFF and kids after the game. Good times. Heard from the Hubbys... One of them was happy: Ohio State beat Michigan 42-7 today. BFF's Hubby said he didn't have much fun after the 3rd quarter of the game. I hate to break it to him, but from what I saw, Michigan appeared to be done well before then. They will head back home tomorrow.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm sitting here by the glow of one the five Christmas trees I have in my house. I don't know what disturbs me more -- that I have five Christmas trees in my house, or that four of the five are completely decorated already!

This is early, even for me. But I realized at some point last week that this is the last weekend I'm going to be home until 12/13 and that weekend is pretty busy. So I had Hubby drag all the Christmas crap (as he calls it) out of the attic before he left yesterday morning so I could decorate this weekend. The house is all decorated now, except for the big Christmas tree. The kids and I will do that tomorrow.

J-Mav helped me put the garland on the stairway and hang the stockings by the chimney with care. He decorated the 3-foot tree in his bedroom; Keeper Boy decorated the 3-foot tree in his bedroom. And I decorated the 3-foot "hockey tree" downstairs and my 2-foot "elephant tree" in the dining room. Yes, we have one entire tree dedicated to hockey and another dedicated to elephants. Are you shocked? We put the candles in the windows, too. All that's left is the big tree in the living room. Oh, and stringing the lights on the bushes out in front of the house. I'll hope for a warm day to do that here soon. (Hey, a girl can hope.)

We won't turn on the big tree or the candles in the windows until we get home from Thanksgiving -- that's just ridiculous. But I love when the house is decorated for Christmas and I'll be counting the days until I can boost that electric bill!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I rock!

I'm not generally one to toot my own horn (unless I'm trying to be funny); however, this time I will do so in all my glory. I rock! Yes, I do.

At this very moment, Hubby and BFF's Hubby are on their way to Columbus, OH for the weekend -- the main reason being their attendance at the Ohio State/Michigan game tomorrow -- complements of BFF and I for each of our Hubby's birthdays. I told you I rock! And BFF does, too!

As a little background, Hubby grew up in Ohio and has always followed Buckeye football. BFF's Hubby grew up in Michigan and has always followed Wolverine football. Over the years -- both pre-kiddos and after -- we have often gotten together to watch the annual OSU/Michigan showdown. So, for them, going to the game together is like football Mecca, I think.

I need to give my always amazing mother-in-law credit for helping us get these tickets. She rocks, too! I had asked her last fall if she had any connections she might be able to exploit to help me get some tickets to the game for Hubby. She called out of the blue one day over the summer and said her BFF (who has been an OSU season ticket holder forever) was willing to sell me her tickets to the OSU/Michigan game. I think I screamed. Right in my office. In the middle of the day. Yes, I did.

So BFF and I gave the guys their gifts on my Hubby's birthday in July (there was no way we could all keep it quiet until her Hubby's birthday, which wasn't until earlier this month). They were both shocked, amazed, and speechless. Yes, speechless. Trust me, that doesn't happen very often.

In true guy fashion, they had no plan for when they were leaving or even who was driving until last night. But they got it together and they were supposed to have left at 10am this morning. I assume that happened.

This weekend I am a football widow instead of a hockey widow. A little change of pace, I guess. Same outcome. Still have to wrangle the kids on my own -- no good cop/bad cop routine; I am both until Sunday night; hopefully no need for bad cop. :-) Keeper Boy has two laser tag birthday parties and two hockey games this weekend. I'm trying to set up a play date for J-Mav. So it'll be a busy weekend. But we will have fun and survive. I will prevail -- because I rock!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Turkey Turkey

Today was the day parents across my kids' school district dread each year: the Thanksgiving luncheon. This year we had another first in our household -- TWO Thanksgiving luncheons! Happy, happy, joy, joy!!

When the invitations came out a few weeks ago, we were grateful to see that both boys' luncheons weren't at the same time (especially since they go to different elementary schools). They were, in fact, an hour apart. J-Mav's was at 12:30 and Keeper Boy's was at 1:30. As my job is a bit more flexible than Hubby's, the decision was made that we would both go to J-Mav's luncheon since it was his first, and I would fly solo for Keeper Boy's. We have both gone to Keeper Boy's every year since he started Kindergarten, and he's old enough now that he's just happy if one of us shows up. (I'm just happy that he still WANTS one of us to show up!)

Funny side note: When Keeper Boy asked if we were coming to the eat with him, he said, "Are you coming to the Thanksgiving Luncheon at my school this year?" The pronunciation on that was "lunch-ie-on" (like when you say you haven't seen someone in eons... that's how he pronounced the "eon" at the end of "luncheon." It was too funny!)

Hubby and I met at J-Mav's school and waited for him outside the cafeteria, along with A LOT of other Kindergarten parents. Pretty soon he paraded by with his class wearing a feather headband. I told him I liked his feather cap and he responded with, "It's a Native American headdress, Mama." Well, excuuuuuse me!

Hubby and I got our gourmet Thanksgiving luncheon (pressed turkey with gravy, a perfectly round scoop of stuffing, an equally round scoop of mashed potatoes, a spoonful of greenbeans that probably came out of a five-gallon can, and frozen pumpkin yogurt. Oh, and there was an optional vat of cranberry sauce by the cash register. Guess it's not a crowd favorite, so it's not automatically placed on the tray. J-Mav was waiting for us at the table when we finished going through the lunch line. He was assembling his oh-so-traditional Thanksgiving pizza (a Lunchable). We had a nice meal with J-Mav and one of his buddies and his family. I ate the turkey, stuffing, and frozen pumpkin yogurt. J-Mav ate my mashed potatoes. The trash can claimed my green beans. I hadn't bothered with the cranberry sauce. After lunch we took J-Mav to the book fair, got him a book, and delivered him back to his classroom. Hubby went back to work, and I departed for Thanksgiving luncheon #2.

Not as many parents show up once the kids are in the upper grades. I think I was one of four parents who showed up for kids in Keeper Boy's class. I went through the line and got another lunch... identical to the first... while Keeper Boy saved me a spot and started eating HIS Lunchable (ham, cheese, and crackers). I think I have the only kids on the planet who HATE buying lunch.

Anyway, this time I ate only the mashed potatoes and the frozen pumpkin yogurt. I know it sounds gross, but it's really good! After Keeper Boy finished his lunch, I also took him to his book fair and got him a book (sports related, of course). J-Mav's book: $3.99. Keeper Boy's book: $24.99. I guess it's true that bigger boys have bigger toys. :-)

I think the boys were both happy to have us attend their luncheons. It was fun to eat with them both. Two in one day might be a bit much though.

Anyone have a Tums?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"I keel you!"

Hubby and I watched the Jeff Dunham "A Very Special Christmas Special" last night on Comedy Central. If you don't know who Jeff-fuh-fuh Dun-ham (inside joke for those who have seen his act) is, he's a stand-up comedian and a [very talented] ventriloquist.

His five "puppets" are Walter, a curmudgeon in a sweater vest and a bowtie; Peanut, a wild and crazy purple thing with green spikey hair; Bubba J, a stereotypical redneck; Jose Jalepeno (on a stick), a... well, a pepper on a stick; and Achmed, the skeleton of a terrorist.

Each character has its own voice and accent. Jeff Dunham is really amazing that way. In my opinion, Achmed is the funniest of the five, followed closely by Jose and Peanut. Walter is okay. I could do without Bubba J.

Achmed's signature line is, "Silence! I kill you!" (with kill pronounced as keel). It's really more funny to see than to read about. In the Chrismtas special, Achmed also sings his own special version of Jingle Bells, called Jingle Bombs.

OK, so while we were watching and busting a gut laughing last night, I got online to see if Jeff and his posse are touring. Imagine my joy when I discovered he's going to be here (20 minutes from our house) on January 2nd!! I immediately clicked the get tickets link, only to find that there aren't two tickets available anywhere in the arena. Sigh.

For the next month I will be perusing Craigs List and eBay to see if I can get some tickets. I'd "keel" for them. Ha ha.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ssshhhh!

I played hooky from my water exercise class tonight. I left work with a massive headache, picked up the kids (who immediately started complaining after learning we were having pork chops for dinner), and realized when I got out of the car at home that it was sleeting. That seemed like a good cocktail of reasons to put on my PJs instead of my bathing suit after dinner.

My headache went away, the boys ate (mostly) without complaint, and it stopped sleeting; however, by the time all those planets aligned, it was almost 7:00 and I would've missed at least the first 15 minutes--if not more--of the class if I went.

So I didn't go.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend...

Another weekend is coming to an end as I sit here flipping back and forth between Desperate Housewives and the Redskins/Cowboys game. Hubby is at said game with BFF, who has her own season tickets for her beloved Skins. How cool is she? Since the Cowboys are down 7-0 right now, I'm sure Hubby isn't thrilled about the score, but I know they're still having a great time (if they aren't popsicles by now).

The weekend started out with a Family Fun Night at Keeper Boy's school... a showing of Kung Fu Panda in the incredibly uncomfortable and acoustically-challenged cafeteria. The kids had fun and the movie was cute (what I could hear of it). We'll have to rent it again so we can really hear it. :-)

Saturday was all about laundry, homework, and chores. Dinner at a time more suitable to a nursing home so we could get Keeper Boy to the rink an hour before his 6:30 game. Keeper Boy wasn't in net, but we cheered the boys on in a great game against the visiting Jr. Hurricanes. We lost by a goal. :-(

This morning it was back to the rink for a re-match with the 'Canes. Keeper Boy's turn in net. Didn't go any better. Keeper Boy did have a highlight reel-worthy glove save, though! Our kids' first time getting swept in a weekend. :-(

After some lunch, BFF came over with her kids, N and V. After visiting for awhile, BFF and Hubby left (all bundled up like toddlers in their first snowsuits) for the Skins game, while I stayed here with the four kids (12, 10, 6, and 5). I asked them if they wanted to go see Madagascar 2. Duh. It started in 30 minutes, so we jumped in the car, went to the theatre, got the tickets and the popcorn, and were in our seats before the previews even started. The kids were great, as was the movie, and I killed a few hours. Score!

When we got home, I dialed up some pizzas and we chowed down. I even got the kids to mostly clean up the toy storm before BFF's Hubby arrived (fresh from seeing Carmen with his parents and BFF's mom) to pick them up. It was a fun evening for all the kids and they were really good. Seriously. I'm so glad they all get along so well together. :-)

And now I'm sitting here flipping channels in my fat pants. What could be better?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Heard...

Last night, I took J-Mav with me to the rec center for my swimming class. We went an hour early so J-Mav could swim first. He had a blast. We ended up staying for only half of my class because J-Mav was tired and I could tell we were on the verge of a meltdown.

On the way home, we were chatting about various things and listening to the radio. The guy on the radio said something about Kenny Chesney because last night was the CMA awards show. And J-Mav busts out with this gem:

There's a boy in my class named Kenny Chesney. But without the Chesney. Just Kenny.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Olie comes home tonight!

Oh how I wish I was going to be at the Verizon Center tonight to witness Olie Kolzig's return. I suspect he will get a rousing welcome when he is introduced as Tampa Bay's starting goalie, or at least when he comes onto the ice for the pre-game skate -- at least I hope so. Any positive reaction given by Caps fan should be loud and long, and will definitely be well-deserved.

I understand that a coach has to ride the "hot hand" and that Cristobal Huet had the hot glove hand down the stretch last season. But it still seems like Olie got the short end of the stick somehow. Here's a man who gave nearly 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears to the only organization he'd ever played for -- as well as its surrounding community. And he was basically benched for the last month of the hockey season. He was a leader both on the ice and in the locker room. And he was loved in the community. In a town that is not known for its love of hockey, his was a face that people actually recognized.

From all reports, Olie left Washington a bitter man. I get that. Could he have handled everything better than what was reported in the papers. Maybe. But, again, 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears. When he thought he'd play his entire career for one team -- a rarity in these days of exorbinate salaries and behavior problems among professional athletes -- I can see how the way it ended would be hugely disappointing and cause a guy to take his puck and go home. Or in this case, to Florida.

So now, tonight, Olie the Goalie returns to Washington. I really don't know how his season in Tampa Bay has been going as I barely have time to pick up a newspaper most days. I hope that time and distance has wiped away some or all of the bitterness and that he has some time to catch up with some of his friends/former teammates. I do know from reading one article in the paper this morning that he is basically the backup in Tampa, that he sold his house here in one day and traded up for a waterfront home in Florida, and that he had dinner with his former Capitals backup netminder, Brent Johnson, and a bunch of other Capitals last night.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to see much of the game as I have class tonight. However, when I do make it home and sit down to watch whatever is left of the game, it is going to be odd to see #37 with a lightning bolt on his jersey instead of the familiar logo of the Washington Capitals. I think, for me, seeing will definitely be believing. Seeing him in another team's jersey will make it real in my mind (though I hold out hope that somehow, someway, he will retire a Washington Capital and his number will hang in the rafters at Verizon Center). I'm sure it will break my heart all over again. So I hope he plays well for his "homecoming."

But not TOO well... ;-P

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Tuesday Morning Update: Well, the Caps won last night 4-2 over the Tampa Bay Lightening. From all reports, it was a near-capacity crowd that showed the love to Olie. A tribute was played on the Jumbotron during a stoppage in play toward the beginning of the game, and apparently Olie received a standing ovation. That's awesome. He had a job to do, so he probably didn't react much, and I'm sure he was hoping his return to DC would end differently; however, I'm glad the fans were gracious. Sometime returning players get booed. Apparently the tribute video ended with a screen that just said "Olie Kolzig - #37 - Forever a Capital." Nice words. Actions would've spoken louder, but it is what it is. But hopefully when Olie decides he's done and it's time to hang up his skates, the organization will find a way to bring him home so he can retire a Washington Capital.

Weekend...

Another weekend has come and gone, and with it the end of J-Mav's soccer season. The Blue Dragon Snakes (don't ask) are officially done. Don't know what the team's record was, but I suspect if scores had been kept, we would've been winless. But that's not the point in a U6 soccer league. The point is to have fun and learn some of the fundamentals of soccer. Considering the [volunteer] coach showed up to one game all season, and was officially removed from her post before the second-to-last game, I don't think J-Mav got too far on learning the fundamentals. But at least he had fun. One outta two ain't bad!

After the game, the kids had their post-game snack and then gathered so the replacement coach could distribute the trophies and team pictures. Some of the parents also took a team photo... priceless since the post-game snack was Oreos. Can't wait to see those pictures!

So soccer is done, and we have one less thing to do on Saturdays now... at least until March, when J-Mav will start baseball.

Later on Saturday, we were off to the rink. Keeper Boy was on door patrol for Saturday's game. The kids skated and played well and won 8-0. Sunday the team played the team from Richmond... the only league team to have beaten them so far. Keeper Boy was in net. J-Mav and I weren't at the game as we were attending my Goddaughter's birthday party; however, John's cousin came down from Baltimore, so Keeper Boy still had a small cheering section. The team lost 2-1. Keeper Boy apparently played well, and he didn't seem to be down after the game, which is good.

We ended the weekend with a nice dinner at Caraba's. And now it's back to work and school for another week. Blah.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Someone stop me!

It started simply enough. After 9|11 I had an American flag and a yellow ribbon on the back of my car. That's it. Tasteful. Then I got rear-ended sitting in traffic one day on my way home from work. The entire tailgate door of my van had to be replaced, so once I got my van back weeks later, it was a clean slate. That didn't last long, but I'm not sure when it got out of control.

When Keeper Boy started at the elementary school with the GT center, I got a magnetic bumper sticker for the school. Then I got a sticker for the window that is a white outline of flipflops. It's small. After that I added a black magnetic hockey goalie. Two summers ago, I got one of those oval magnets for my favorite beach destination. It, too, is small. This past summer I added another flip flop sticker to the back window... this one is a little different because the flip flops are pink and have the name of my favorite beach destination on it. I also added an oval magnet with the Philadelphia Eagles logo on it. The back of my car was getting a little crowded, so I removed the magnetic bumper sticker for Keeper Boy's elementary school. It was a few years old by then and looking a little icky.

I started making fun of my own "chochki" car. But today probably put it over the top. I added another white outline sticker to the window. This one is the logo for Keeper Boy's hockey team, along with his name and number. I think I've officially gone over the edge.

Hello, my name is... and I'm a "car chochki" junkie...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Raffle

Keeper Boy's travel hockey organization is having a raffle as one of its fundraisers for the year. Tickets are $5 apiece and proceeds benefit the hockey club as a whole (encompassing nine travel teams of various ages). The raffle will be held on December 13, 2008. You need not be present to win.

There are three top prizes and (I think) a variety of "lesser items" to be raffled off.

  • 1st Prize: $1,500 cash
  • 2nd Prize: $500 cash
  • 3rd Prize: Autographed Alex Ovetchkin hockey stick

So that's that. If you are interested in entering the raffle, post a comment here or send me an email.

The best thing about today...

Know what the best thing about today -- the day after Election Day -- is? I'll give you three. I haven't seen one pop-up ad in my web browser that had to do with a political candidate. I haven't heard one political ad on the radio. I am almost certain I won't have 16 messages on my answering machine when I get home extolling the virtues of one candidate or the other. To me -- no matter if you lean red or lean blue -- that makes today a good day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Four years, seven books, and tens of thousands of pages later...

Today is a monumentous day! Keeper Boy finished the seventh and final Harry Potter novel. It has taken more than four years, but he has read the entire series. How awesome is that?

We started reading the first book when Keeper Boy was in first grade. I (or Hubby) would read a sentence, and Keeper Boy would read a sentence. We would alternate in that manner every night. It was VERY slow going at the beginning, and we had to stop and explain a lot of words (though with these books, our guesses were sometimes just as uninformed as Keeper Boy's).

Through the school years and over the summers, we progressed to alternating paragraphs, and then to pages. About halfway through the sixth book -- toward the end of third grade, I think -- he started reading on his own. This last book he read completely on his own.

It took him a year -- reading in increments as short as five minutes, or as long as 45 minutes... usually only a few times each week -- to finish the last book. Over the summer, an entire week would sometimes go by while the book gathered dust or he was distracted by reading some other book or he was off at some camp or another. But he never forgot about it and he always came back to it to see what Harry was up to.

Tonight he sat down after dinner and started reading. I left for my class and when I came back a little over an hour later, he was very excited to tell me that he'd finished the book after he did his math homework. So cool! I'm very proud of him, and I love that he loves to read. Like mother, like son. :-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heard...

I apologize now for the long lead-up, but it's a good story. :-)

Background: J-Mav went to the park with one of his best buds (and our nieghbor... the Red Power Ranger) today. When they came back, his friend stayed and played at our house for a while. A little while before I was going to walk Friend home, I gave the ten-minute warning. The boys and Keeper Boy decided they were going to go play in the front yard for the last few minutes.

When I went outside a few minutes later to walk Friend home, Friend was standing in the middle of the front yard sobbing; J-Mav was standing on the sidewalk on his scooter staring at him; and Keeper Boy was kind of doing his own thing and staying out of it. I asked what was wrong and Friend sobbed, "He's not sharing." J-Mav didn't say anything. At that point Keeper Boy told me that J-Mav hadn't been sharing and Friend had been waiting for his turn on the scooter, which J-Mav kept assuring him was coming. When J-Mav finally told Friend he could have a turn and Friend started to get on the Scooter, J-Mav pulled it away from him. Thus the tears.

So, J-Mav got sent into his room, and Friend got his turn on the scooter and then I walked him home. When I got back home a few minutes later, I started making dinner. When J-Mav's time was up in his room, he came out to the kitchen and said sorry to me. I told him that I think he needed to apologize to his friend, not me. So Hubby took him out to the dining room and dialed the phone. With some prompting to speak up, he very politely asked to speak to Friend. When Friend got on the phone, he said hi and then apologized for not sharing and told Friend he'd see him tomorrow. It was very sweet. J-Mav went downstairs to play, and Hubby was about ready to hyperventilate from trying so hard not to laugh. Obviously I missed something by being in the kitchen and not right next to J-Mav when he was on the phone. I asked Hubby what was up. He said when Friend got on the phone, he heard him say to J-Mav:

"Did you call to tell me you're sorry for not sharing?"

TOO funny!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween with the Three Amigos

Trick-or-treat 2008 has come and gone, though the pumpkin is still aglow on the front porch as I type. :-)

J-Mav has been anticipating this evening for a few weeks now. He was excited about his pirate costume and the fact that he was going trick-or-treating with his two best buddies. Collectively, they are known (at least by their parents) as "the three amigos."

One of the amigos and his family came for dinner prior to heading out trick-or-treating. I made chili for the adults and mummy dogs for the kids. The mummy dogs were a hit! After dinner, the kids got into their costumes while we were waiting for the third amigo and his parents and grandparents (who are visiting from Florida) to arrive. Once he got to our house, we took pictures and got ready to head out.

Keeper-Boy decided he wasn't going to trick-or-treat this year. He voluntarily gave up a chance to get tons of free candy to stay home and hand out candy! Shocking? Yes! So we left him with instructions to not let anyone into the house and not let on that he was in the house by himself. We knew from past experience that there wouldn't be a whole lot of "business," and that our neighbor across the street was home and observant. :-) With instructions given to Keeper Boy, our entourage headed out into the beautiful, clear, and somewhat mild evening.

We had our pirate, a red Power Ranger, and a shadow Ninja -- along with six parents and two grandparents. They were well-chaperoned. :-) Things started getting interesting exactly two houses into our journey. J-Mav didn't want to carry his candy bag. But we were prepared with a back-up "overflow" bag, so even though he wasn't overflowing, he dumped his bag every few houses and that kept him happy as far as the weight of the candy bag went.

About a block into the journey, the Power Ranger shed his gloves and the Ninja gave his mask to his Poppy for safe keeping. A few houses later, the Power Ranger also shed his mask. Around that time, the pirate ditched his eye patch. We continued on... the boys got more candy, the parents and grandparents checked some of the candy to make sure it was edible, and the Power Ranger shed another piece of his costume.

Around this time, the Pirate shed his headband and the Ninja ditched his chestplate and arm spike band things. We were starting to wonder if the kids were going to have anything on by the time we got back to our house! The pirate was also moving slower and slower, complaining about his legs and feet hurting. They were still having a good time, so we decided to quit while we were somewhat ahead. We had been out for a little over an hour at this point. So we finished the street we were on and headed back toward the house.

Everyone left when we got home as all the amigos have a soccer game tomorrow morning (the Ninja's team is playing the team that both the pirate and the Power Ranger play for). Once inside, Hubby and I went through the loot and threw some away. The pirate went to bed and was asleep almost immediately. Argh! And, with J-Mav's blessing, I took some into my office already (the stuff no one will eat).

With the boys both in bed, the candy sorted, and the dishes from dinner cleaned up, we were left to ponder our first experience with what seemed to become strip trick-or-treating... hopefully not an idea that will catch on anytime soon!

Happy Pumpkin Day!

I don't have one particular topic to discuss today, but Happy Halloween to everyone! I am (mostly) off today. I did work on a white paper for a few hours this morning, but I'm not in the office. :-)

Random Topic #1 - Hockey
Keeper Boy had a rare, weeknight hockey game last night. It was his turn to be the door keeper, and, as usual, he did a fine job. Hubby was on penalty box duty. I'm sure he felt right at home as he spent many a minute there in the first several years he played hockey! But back to the kids... Keeper Boy's team won 3-2. The team is now 4-1 in league play. Next game tomorrow afternoon. Keeper Boy will be in net.

Random Topic #2 - Grandparents
We had a quick, somewhat last-minute visit from my parents last night. They used our place as a layover on their way to my brother's new house a little further west of here. They spent some time with the boys, Dad went with me to see Keeper Boy's hockey game while Mom stayed home with J-Mav (and got beat in a spirited game of Trouble). They ate breakfast with us this morning and headed out when I took the boys to school. A nice, but short, visit. We'll see them again soon for Thanksgiving!

Random Topic #3 - Pumpkin Math
I volunteered this morning for the Kindergarten Pumpkin Celebration at J-Mav's school. For two hours, I ran a center for four or five Kindergarteners at a time where we did "pumpkin math." The three activities were estimating how many plastic links it would take to go around the pumpkin (24), estimating how many blocks would need to be stacked to be as tall as the pumpkin (11), and estimating how much our pumpkin weighed (10.5 lbs.). Once we established what "estimate" means, the kids had fun tackling the activities, though the estimations were fairly outrageous. Nonetheless, it was good time, and I saw some of J-Mav's friends as they rotated through the classroom I was stationed in.

Random Topic #4 - Blogs
My brother-in-law (BIL) and sister-in-law (SIL) both have blogs... mostly to keep each other up-to-date on their goings on while he's in Iraq for the year. If any of you is interested, his is http://www.cavalryguy78.blogspot.com/ and hers is http://jenrie.blogspot.com/

There's another blog that I read daily, called Fat Cyclist. I stumbled across it a little more than six months ago, after clicking a link from my cousin's blog. Though I've never met him, I am amazed by the man who writes this blog. He is an avid cyclist, a fabulous writer, and an absolutely amazing father and husband. His wife has terminal cancer, and the end seems to be near. I have never met, and will never meet, Elden or any of the people he talks about in his blog. But I feel like I know them. And my heart breaks for all of them as they deal with the decining health of an amazing woman, wife, and mom.

Random Topic #5 - Politics
Is it over yet?!?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pulling the dreaded all-nighter...

Here it is, almost 3am and I'm still up and surrounded by a pile of paper, red pens, and candy wrappers. No, I didn't go back to school. We have a proposal due at work tomorrow (well, later today at this point) and I received it for editing tonight at 10pm... normally when I'm thinking about heading to bed! I truly thought I was going to be up all night, but it went faster than I thought. So I'm about ready to head to bed. 7am will come mighty quickly this morning.

While I wouldn't recommend this method of working, and I wouldn't have chosen it if I had the option, I must say the house is very quiet at this time of the morning. I have heard the occasional flopping over from J-Mav's room (he has a squeaky bed), and a random ear-flap from K-dog downstairs. Other than that, just me clicking away on the keyboard, the fridge coming on when it needs to cool down, and the furnace coming on when it needs to heat up. Pretty conducive to jamming through a 70-page document in five hours instead of several more than that.

Oh, and I can vouch for the freshness and tastiness of the candy we will be giving out on Friday night to any little ghosts and goblins that come to the door... in fact, judging by the pile of wrappers I've amassed, I think I can now be considered a subject matter expert on swedish fish and sour patch gummies.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend...

This was a divide-and-conquer kind of a weekend. Early Saturday morning, Hubby and Keeper Boy headed south to Richmond for two hockey games. J-Mav and I slept in a little bit and then did chores and braved the rain for his soccer game.

The soccer game was... soggy. They played in increasingly harder rain for the first half of the game and then decided to call it at half-time. At that point, I'm not sure why they didn't just let them play. They were all wet, and the parents were all wet. They don't keep score at that level, anyway. But it was what it was. J-Mav said it was very fun to play in the rain. :)

Meanwhile, in Richmond, Keeper Boy was in net for the first game of the day. Though, by all reports, the entire team didn't play all that great, they hung on and won 4-3. The entire team descended on a local TGI Fridays for a between games meal, which took almost the entire time between games. With no notice of a party of 30+ in the middle of the afternoon, they didn't have enough staff to be speedy. But, they all got fed and made it back to the rink for the second game. Keeper Boy was "door keeper" for that game. Apparently the team played even worse the second game, and they were shut out 4-0. :-( Hubby and Keeper Boy got home late last night and Keeper Boy hit the sack as his team had another game this morning and he was in net.

This game was against another local travel team and the team played really well all around this morning. Final score: 7-0. Not to take anything away from Keeper Boy's shutout, but he faced only four shots for the entire game. Good for the statistics (and good because it means the team was preventing the opposition from having any quality scoring attempts), bad for his attention span. Apparently at one intermission he went to the bench and asked if anyone had a checkerboard. Funny, Keeper Boy, real funny.

Heard...

As Hubby and Keeper Boy were gone all day for two out-of-town hockey games and J-Mav had a soccer game this morning, it was just the little guy and me today. (Look for the weekend sports report tomorrow... still have another hockey game tomorrow morning, so I'll wait to post the update.)

Anyway, I took J-Mav out to dinner tonight (his choice) as his reward for getting all the required stickers on his behavior sticker chart at school for the week. He chose one of the local steak houses--likely because he thinks it's cool to throw peanut shells on the floor. :-) After we were done, we went to Target for a few things. I had a craving for swedish fish candy when we were leaving, so I said, "I think we need to get some swedish fish. You like them, don't you?" It took all I had not to bust out laughing when he replied, "Indeed I do, Mama."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday peeve

Riddle me this. Why do people feel the need to talk on their cell phones in a public bathroom? Or in any bathroom, really. The only person I have EVER talked to while using the facilites is Hubby and I'm pretty sure I have done that only once in the nearly 20 years we have been together. On the other hand, I regularly go into the restroom at work and hear people having entire conversations while, not just in the restroom, but while using the facilities!

What's up with that? Discuss.

-----------------------------

Feel free to leave your opinion by clicking the comment link below!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flu-Mist rocks!

Well, I don't know that for a fact as I have always just gotten the flu shot, but my kids assure me it's true. What I do know for fact is that my children are "shot-phobic." There is high drama when a shot is due for either of them. They come by this honestly, as Hubby would rather have his toe nails ripped off one by one than even look at a needle (let alone have it come anywhere close to piercing his skin--or anyone else's skin in his generally vacinity, actually)

I took Keeper Boy and J-Mav to their pediatrician's office this afternoon for "Flu-Mist evaluations" to see if they were eligible to receive it (instead of the shot). Basically the doctor asked me a series of questions about each child and listened to each of them breathe. I knew Keeper Boy would be fine because he's had Flu-Mist once before, a few years ago. Wasn't sure about J-Mav. This is the first year he's really been old enough, and he was diagnosed with asthma as an infant (though he seems to have outgrown it at this point).

Long story short, they both passed their evaluations with flying colors and were given the Flu-Mist squirt up the nose right then and there. No whining, no screaming, no dragging any children out from under the exam table or pinning any arms down so a needle could be jammed in. In fact, there was actually giggling because I'm told it tickles... GIGGLING!

Was it worth the fact that our insurance may not pick up the $50 tab for each kid? Definitely. Now if I could convince Hubby that he won't actually get the flu from Flu-Mist, maybe some year we will ALL be vaccinated! Yeah... I can dream.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Seen...

I was driving down a local heavily used road this morning on the way back to my office from a meeting, when one of those temporary light-up signs caught my eye. You know, the ones they put up to warn of construction closings or delays. It alternated between two messages:

NIGGT PAVING - 9PM to 5PM

and

EXPPCT - DELAYS

Perhaps VDOT needs an editor...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

100,000 miles!


This is a little anticlimactic since it happened on Saturday, but my car hit 100,000 miles when I was driving on I-81 from my brother's new house to the ice rink for Keeper Boy's game. Hopefully it has another 100,000 miles in it!

Nothing like taking a picture of your odometer...and having that picture bust you for speeding...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Redemption!

Back in September, Keeper Boy's team traveled up I-95 to New Jersey to play Team Comcast--a travel team that plays in the tier above Keeper Boy's team. The boys seemed a little nervous and starstruck and never got into their groove. They lost that game 9-1. Ouch. That's a long way to drive for that outcome!

Why were they starstruck, you ask? Well, they knew the head coach of that team is Keith Primeau (former Detroit Red Wing and Philadelphia Flyer) and that his kid plays on the team. When we arrived at the rink that day, they discovered that Danny Brierre's (current Philadelphia Flyer) two kids also play on the team. And, in fact, Danny Brierre was behind the bench that day as an assistant coach. To the kids, kids of NHL players = really good squirt players. End of discussion.

So today, Team Comcast came to our rink to play. Our kids looked like a whole different team! It was a GREAT game, which ended in a 3-3 tie. Keeper Boy had a really good day in net.

To top off the great game today, Keeper Boy was also able to get Coach Primeau to sign a rookie card we found in his vast hockey card collection. He had actually taken it all the way to New Jersey to get it signed last month, but the coach left the rink before Keeper Boy was even out of his pads. Today, he was ready. He came out of the locker room after his coach's post-game speech (still in his enormous leg pads) and just waited for Coach Primeau to come out. There's only one way out of the rink from the locker rooms, so he was able to catch him and ask him to sign the card. (I think he was prepared to tackle him had he not stopped...) Coach Primeau laughed when he saw it was his rookie card and made some comment about that picture being taken a long time ago. Keeper Boy was thrilled.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In other news today...

J-Mav scored a goal during his soccer game and was very proud! He was also excited that it was chilly enough for him to wear his Under Armour shirt for the very first time. It's the little things. :) On the way home from the rink tonight, he also counted to 100 with very little help. Cool!

And I spent most of the day at my brother's new house helping him paint. It's a really nice house and I was thinking it was going to be great for he and his family to be living in the same state... but as I discovered today, he's still an hour and a half away!! Not exactly right down the street, but hopefully we'll be able to get together more often. Of course, he's actually been living WITH us since April and I sometimes go two weeks without seeing him because of our schedules. If I can't seen him when he's living downstairs, I'm not sure what makes me think I'm going to see him when we have to drive an hour and a half!?! But we're sure going to try!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Love this picture!


I don't have anything new to say... I just wanted to share this picture. It's Keeper Boy as time expired in his team's game last Sunday. :-)

Thoughts on the last debate and the Phillies going to the World Series

So I was updating my Facebook status live during the debate with random thoughts. My cousin (RDM) was doing the same thing. I thought it might be fun to post them all here. I don't know what his official political persuasion is, though I think it's pretty obvious that he doesn't care for McCain. And I don't know if Obama would be a good president or not, but he's certainly less scary to me at this point than McCain. No offense to any of you who are McCain/Palin supporters. :) Some of this isn't as funny when you don't know what was being "debated" while the comment was made, but it's still amusing. Moreso RDM's than mine. Here we go...

RDM [9:12pm]: Wait... Joe vs. The Volcano?

ME [9:14pm]: Thinking that John McCain is a creepy old man.

RDM [9:15pm]: McCain looks so snarky.

ME [9:17pm]: Laughing b/c her cousin said McCain looks "snarky." Ha!

RDM [9:18pm]: Hey Hey Hey - some of my good friends started as Marketing Assistants!

ME [9:19pm]: Can McCain look and/or sound any more uncomfortable?

ME [9:21pm]: I never noticed before that they're both left-handed. Hmmm...

ME [9:23pm]: What was THAT face?

ME [9:28pm]: Vowing to use the word repudiate in at least one instance tomorrow.

ME [9:31pm]: Oh for God's sake... get over Joe the Plumber!

RDM [9:32pm]: WHO THE F... CARES???? Can we get back to the issues? The real issues?

RDM [9:35pm]: here's an idea... have a debate right now!!!!!

RDM [9:38pm]: I like acorns... especially in the fall.

RDM [9:39pm]: Choosed to? Choosed to?

RDM [9:44pm]: I want to see Ron Paul come in and show these two what's what.

ME [9:48pm]: Can't wait for election day to come and go so we don't have to see as much of these two.

ME [9:54pm]: Wondering when Columbia started helping the U.S. stop the flow of illegal drugs into this country?

ME [9:55pm]: By the way, the Phillies are winning in the 5th!

ME [10:00pm]: oh boy, Joe the plumber is back.

RDM [10:01pm]: I like kittys.

ME [10:08pm]: Exhausted from listening to all this crap.
(To which RDM commented: "Don't you think that our 94 year old grandfather could set McCain straight?")

RDM [10:11pm]: Is McCain wearing pink lipstick? I'm not judging... just observing. Maybe he needs a more autumn color?

RDM [10:14pm]: IT WAS DECIDED 35 YEARS AGO... MOVE ON... WE'RE IN A DEPRESSION!

ME [10:21pm]: Oh that silly teaching certification... who needs it?

RDM [10:25pm]: Yes! Reform 3rd Grade! I have been calling for that since 1982ish.

ME [10:27pm]: Confused as to why McCain keeps talking about how Sarah Palin knows about autism... her baby has Downs Syndrome. No?

RDM [10:32pm]: "Good Job, Good Job, Yea Yea" What, was McCain channeling his inner GW Bush?

RDM [10:43pm]: Ok... enough for tonight.

At this point, I had given up on debate analysis and flipped over to the Phillies game...

ME [10:46pm]: Amazed at the catch Victorino just made!

ME [10:50pm]: Gawking at Garciopara's nose. Wow.

ME [10:56pm]: Off to bed... will watch the end of the game there. 'Nite all.

I did watch the end of the game there, and I'm delighted to report that the Phillies will be playing in the World Series!!!! Very exciting. I do have to admit that I missed much of the 9th inning, as I was apparently studying the inside of my eyelids; however, I was awake for the last two outs and saw the celebration after the win.

The stuffed Phillie Phanatic I have had since I was about Keeper Boy's age (maybe longer) always sits on a shelf in my office. He went to college with me and has been on a shelf in every office/cubicle I've occupied since graduating. This morning I moved him to a place of honor on the corner of my desk where all can bask in his green, furry glow as they walk by.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My bad... one conflict resolved

I was going to pick Keeper Boy up from school to shuttle him to the rink for a Goalie Session when I heard on the radio that the Phillies play TONIGHT for the glory of going to the big show. I don't know why I was thinking Thursday. Anyway, the 8:22pm start time is just about perfect for when I get home from my "old lady water exercise class." AND, it eliminates one program from my Thursday night lineup. Woo hoo! It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Of course, I'm going to be tired tomorrow because if the Phillies are definitely going to win tonight, I'm going to have to stay up to see the celebration. And if the game is close, I'm going to have to stay up to see if they can pull it out. If they're definitely going to lose... well, we're not going there. That's not going to happen, right?

Go Phillies!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Left-hand larceny

So hubby and I were watching the Caps game on the VS network last night, and there was some idiot doing the color commentary. His name was Daryl Reaugh. We looked him up on the Internet Hockey Database(www.hockeydb.com) and discovered he was a goalie that didn't spend much time in the NHL, but had a pretty decent minor league career. Anyway, he wasn't an awful commentator... EXCEPT when he pulled out his thesaurus. Good grief, the guy seemed like he was trying to use big words and lots of adjectives whenever he wanted to say something. It made for a lot of WTF?! moments during the game. Here are a few of my "favorites:"

"This should be delicious."
[Said after a penalty shot was awarded to Alex Semin... which he didn't get to take, anyway... the refs said Michael Nylander had to take it... no matter, he scored. But delicious? It's a hockey game, not a gourmet meal!!]

"... rather than the rah rah sis boom bah."
[Speaking of the quiet leadership style of the Canucks' Sedin twins. I'm just trying to picture the Sedin twins with pom poms in front of their teammates in the locker room...]

"That was left-hand larceny."
[Said after the Canucks' Roberto Luongo made a particularly nice glove save... as opposed to right-hand robbery, I guess.]

I don't know, I just thought some of the things this guy said were goofy.

A few other items of note during the game, which was great, by they way. The Caps won 5-1 and dominated throughout. Netminder Brent Johnson earned his 100th win while facing only 10 (yes TEN) shots on goal--a new franchise record. Way to go, Caps!

Next up: Pittsburgh on Thursday. Thursday is going to be a marathon of channel surfing for me. Grey's Anatomy is on. ER is on. The Caps are on. And the Phillies will be trying to win he NLCS and advance to the World Series for the first time since 1993! The remote will get a workout.

And speaking of the Phillies... while watching the Phillies game last night after the Caps game was over, I learned in passing that the team's pitching coach is named Rich Dooby. Hee hee. Might explain something about the nights when the pitching is less than stellar. :-)

Seriously?!

There are signs posted in the stalls of the women's bathroom at my office. Sadly, they have been there for months. Even more sadly, this must've been an ongoing problem if management felt the need for signage.

Please keep bodily fluids inside the toilet. Thank you, Management

Yes. Really.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend...

We spent the weekend in North Carolina, where Keeper Boy's hockey team had two games against the Jr. Hurricanes. We split the series, making the 4+ hour drive home much more tolerable.

Saturday afternoon we came out skating hard. Keeper Boy was on the bench for that game as the coach alternates he and the other goalie by game and it wasn't his turn. He did a fabulous job of opening and closing the bench door for line changes, though! Anyway, the team came out skating hard, passing, and shooting on net. They looked great! At the end of the first period, they were down 1-0 against this Jr. Hurricanes team that is a tier above them in level of play. But it went downhill from there. Not sure if the kids were tired from sitting in their cars for all those hours earlier in the day, or what. But the final score was 8-0. It wasn't pretty.

Sunday morning was a different story. Looked like a different team. It was Keeper Boy's turn in net and he had a good game. The team, too, looked like a different set of kids out there. They skated hard for all three periods, shot on net at every opportunity, passed the puck... it was a great game all around. And they were rewarded for it. Keeper Boy's team won 6-1! I'm sure that made the long trip home a lot happier for everyone! I know it did for us. :)

Columbus is coming!

So J-Mav has been learning all about Christopher Columbus in school for the past few weeks. He has come home with projects each week, such as "Christopher Columbus' map" and a drawing and description of the "three boats." I've actually been pretty impressed with how much information he's been able to spout off when asked. But late last week, at the dinner table one night, we were talking about our days and I asked J-Mav to tell us about Columbus Day. What is it celebrating? He very enthusiastically responded with wide eyes, "It's the day Christopher Columbus comes!" Hmm... wonder if he brings presents?

Friday, October 10, 2008

There's a new scent in the air...

... fresh ice!! The NHL kicked off its regular season last night, and spirits couldn't be higher in our house! The NHL Center Ice package has been renewed, and we are geared up for another season of watching any and all hockey games going on at any given time.

Of course, our first love is the Washington Capitals, who open the season tonight in Atlanta against the Thrashers (which, by the way, is a stupid name for a hockey team). Let's go Caps! We'll be cheering from the comfort of our [thankfully] now-skunk-odor-free-sofa.

And Saturday night is the home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. How I'd love to be there to witness the return of netminder Cristobal Huet to the scene of his late-season heroics in backstopping the Caps to a post-season appearance. This is not so much because I jumped on the Huet bandwagon--I am a firm and committed Olie Kolzig supporter and fan (and I'm heartbroken that he's no longer a Capital)--but more to see how the crowd reacts to him.

But alas, we will be in Raleigh, NC this weekend with Keeper Boy's hockey team, which has two games against the Jr. Hurricanes. At least if we can't see the "big boys" play in person, we'll still be catching some great hockey!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ah, smells like...

ass?

I did some Internet research today to figure out how to get the friggin' skunk smell out of my house (mostly downstairs and that's the door I opened and inadvertantly allowed the cloud of funk to come in, apparently). I found a wide range of suggestions, from large quantities of Fabreeze, to odor neutralizing substances, to expensive machinery to clean your air. I decided to start cheap and low tech and go from there.

When I came home from work, I poured vinegar into two small bowls and coffee grinds into another small bowl. I took all three downstairs, placing a bowl of vinegar on the mantel and the other two bowls on the piano. J-Mav and I ate dinner and then we left the house for our evening's activities.

When I returned a few hours later, I was pleasantly surprised to not really be greeted with a wall of skunk upon walking in the front door. Progress! My brother confirmed that he, too, didn't smell anything when he walked in the front door. Yay!

But when Hubby and Keeper Boy came home from hockey practice and came upstairs, I proudly mentioned that I thought I was onto something with getting rid of the skunk smell. Hubby made a face and said something to the effect of, "yeah, but what's the new smell"? I told him my research indicated that vinegar and coffee were odor absorbing neutralizers. His response: "Smells like ass."

So which is worse?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The date is set!

December 18th.

Keeper Boy and his teammate will be competing in the finals of the Capitals Youth Hockey Shootout for the Squirt I division during intermission of the Caps vs. Blues game that evening. Gametime: 7pm.

They earned this awesome opportunity after competing in the preliminary rounds at the Kettler Iceplex (the Caps' training facility) in mid-September. In fact, Keeper Boy's travel team has TWO teams competing in the finals. The other goalie and another teammate made the finals in the Squirt II bracket and will be competing in their finals at a Caps game in April. Way to represent!

Coach has made practice optional on the 18th, and several of the guys' teammates and their families are going to attend to root the kids on. Keeper Boy will have his personal cheering section of friends and family on hand, as well. We are up to 15 as of now. WOOOOO!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Eau de Skunk...

It's not a scent I would highly recommend.

Approximately 90 minutes ago, I was sitting here minding my own business... sort of watching Dancing with the Stars, cutting out pumpkins for J-Mav's teacher (I do my volunteer time in the form of cutting, stapling, and pasting stuff at home rather than in the classroom), and thinking that I probably needed to stop cutting and get online and create the document shell for a new proposal bid we just got in at work. All of the sudden there was a commotion outside. I didn't think it was a canine uproar over Misty May-Traner being out of the competition on Dancing with the Stars due to a dancing-induced ruptured achilles tendon, so I jumped up and looked out the back door. K-dog was stumbling around and frothing all over the brand new patio and "rubbing" her eyes with her paw. I opened the door and instantly knew what had happened. I slammed the door shut again, but by then the damage had been done. The house REEKED of skunk. And poor K-dog... although she's been warned time and time again about staying away from the black and white striped cats... She and Hubby see them many mornings on their walks. But I digress.

I ran upstairs to tell Hubby what had happened. (He was watching TV in our bedroom as there is just too high of a sequins and fringe quotient on Dancing with the Stars for him to watch, even if there ARE former pro-football players and beach volleyball players with great abs on the show.) He came down to get the hose and calm K-dog while I ran to the Internet to find a de-skunking recipe. Found one that looked successful from the many comments and ran up to CVS to get supplies. Thank God for 24-hour stores!

Hubby bathed K-dog with the prescribed concoction, which the recipe warned is "highly combustible when stored in a covered container" (nice!), and she was surprisingly calm throughout. Meanwhile, I lit every scented candle we had and opened windows because at this point it smelled better outside than it did inside!

Everyone survived and the dog is now passed out on her pillow after her traumatic experience. She smells fine, but the house is freezing and has kind of a pine-vanilla-gingerbread-sugar cookie-with skunky undertones-smell to it. Wonder if there's a market for that?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Just divide it in four...

Back before we had four kids between us, Hubby and I, and my BFF and her hubby, got together two or three times a week for dinner... often with little more notice than either BFF or I walking into the other's office at the end of the day and saying, "wanna do dinner tonight?" Neither of us had baseball/hockey/soccer/fencing/gymnastics practice to shuttle kids to, so most often the response to that question was, "sure"... especially if the Caps were on TV that night. Whichever couple was the "guest" brought dessert. That was the standing arrangement. It didn't need to be discussed. It was just the way it was. Whatever said dessert was, we almost always just divided it into four. We were younger and had better metabolisms (or so we told ourselves) and splitting it up that way meant no leftovers. :-)

Over the past 12 years, the dinners have become less frequent and definitely less spontaneous. Coordinating our schedules now sometimes seems like it requires a master planner. But we make the time and we do pretty well considering how busy we all are. The dessert arrangement is still loosely in place, though we no longer just split it four ways. Sometimes the kids eat some, too. Sometimes there are just leftovers. But tonight we sent cookies downstairs for the kids, who were watching a movie after dinner. Hubby was cutting the chocolate pie for the adults and looked up with the question written on his face. I don't even remember who said it, but it was like going back 12 or so years in time... "what the heck, just divide it in four."

Doh!

So here's the problem with letting the cat out of the bag that you're writing a blog... the more people who read it, the more accountable you are!! :-)

When I wrote about Weddingpalooza Weekend, there was this nagging thought in the back of my head that I was incorrect in stating we hadn't been to a wedding since my brother's in 2004; however, I didn't think too long and hard about it. Well, how stupid and embarrassed do I feel? Not only have I BEEN to a wedding since then, but I was IN said wedding. Good grief...

My cousin (yes, it was another cousin's wedding) emailed me tonight and said she begged to differ that I hadn't been to another wedding since my brother's and reminded me that I was standing at the front of the church in a red bridesmaid's dress (with Keeper Boy up there as a Junior Groomsman and J-Mav serving as the Ring Bearer) at her wedding in July 2005. She wasn't mad... in fact, she was laughing at me. But I wanted to crawl under a table!

Thing is, I have no idea why this wedding slipped my mind. It was a great wedding. It was over July 4th weekend. Three of the four of us were IN the wedding. We adore my cousin's husband. I have no good excuse. I feel shame. Sorry D & G!!

Just wanted to set the record straight!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hockey!!!!

Tonight I am attending the Washington Capitals' pre-season game against the Flyers courtesy of my BFF (I believe that's the hip blog/text way to say best friend... if not, call me square and let me know what I just said.. ha ha). She sent me an email earlier this week that said something along of the lines of, "Want to go to the Caps game with me on Friday night?" My response: "Yep." Not many words needed... the answer to that question is pretty much a no-brainer!

So I'm decked out in Hubby's new-logo jersey (I haven't gotten one yet) and I'm ready to go. Soft pretzel, Diet Coke, and ice cream for dinner tonight, baby!!

C-A-P-S Caps, Caps, Caps!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

There's no place like home...

I found myself heading north again late Monday night in preparation for helping my parents move to their new home in the next county north (about 15 miles from their "old" home). They now no longer live in the home they built the year I was born and have lived in ever since. It's weird. I thought I'd be really sad or nostalgic or something. But that didn't really happen. I have been gone from the house, at this point, a year longer than I lived there growing up... and my bedroom was long ago redecorated into a guest room that in no way resembles the way it looked when it was "mine." But still. I came home from the hospital to that house. I probably lost my first tooth there. I learned how to play the piano and clarinet there. I learned (not without many tears of frustration) how to rollerskate (on four wheels, thank you very much) and ride my bike there. I had my high school graduation party there. I got ready for my wedding there...

The move actually took place Tuesday and went well. There is a lot of unpacking to do at the new house and some odds and ends to retrieve from the old house, but the bulk of it is complete. And most importantly, I completed my main task of getting their computer hooked up at the new place and getting their new email accounts created and working (and teaching them how to use the new provider's email interface). Check, check, and check. I have received several emails from my mom and dad since returning home, and since no one was at the house to help them, I guess I taught them well. :)

But back to the old house. I stopped there yesterday morning on my way home to pick up a bench. Dad was there waiting for the TV guy to come to take the flat panel off the wall and transport it up to the new house and install. I walked through the house for what will probably be the last time. I didn't have enough time to do what they do on Survivor and pause in each room and share a memory or say something nice about each room (ha ha), but it was strange to walk through the house with it being mostly empty. Everything echoed. I'm actually feeling more sad right now writing about it than I felt while I was actually walking through.

So now when we go home for a visit -- our first one will be Thanksgiving -- it will be to an unfamiliar area, in a house where we don't know where anything is and where much of the furnishings are new. We may feel more like visitors at first, but it's true that "home is where the heart is." My parents have hearts of gold and are some of the most generous, loving, family-oriented people around. So, as long as they're there, it'll be home.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weddingpalooza - Part II

So when I left you, gentle reader, Hubby and I were motoring south toward Annapolis for wedding number two of the weekend. We made good time, arriving at pseudo-grandma's house by mid-afternoon. J-Mav, while happy to see us, came upstairs under duress and gave us the quickest of hugs before descending back downstairs to play with one of his best friends and our potential future daughter-in-law, the Divine Miss V. Of course, they're both five, so I may be getting just a little bit ahead of myself.

We had more time between arrival and departure for the church than we did for the festivities on Friday, so we hung out and visited for awhile. Our good friends (J-Mav and Keeper Boy's Godparents) were going to this wedding, too. Pseudo-grandma was keeping her two grandkids, plus J-Mav, AND she was venturing out to Chuck E Cheese with them... better her than me!!

Eventually we changed and headed out for the church. The time of this wedding was tricky... it started at 5:30pm and Keeper Boy's hockey game started at 4:30. He wasn't in net, but of course, we still wanted to know how it was going! It wouldn't be done before we went into the church for the ceremony, but I vowed not to pull the Blackberry out while we were in the church. We received an update just before going into the church: game tied at 2.

The church was lovely and the couple had most of their guests brought to the church (and then to the reception) on big, comfy, chartered busses. Good idea! No worries about parking, getting lost, getting to the church late, or finding a cab back to the hotel for anyone who enjoyed him/herself a little too much. :) The ceremony was short, but lovely, and the newlyweds came back into the church after recessing down the aisle and personally "dismissed" the guests pew by pew. Nice touch. I refrained from pulling the Blackberry out of my purse until we got to the car, and was pleased to see the guys won 5-3 in what was deemed "an ugly game."

We went to the reception, which was held at one of Annapolis' yacht clubs. Even though it was raining, it was beautiful. Fabulous appetizers. Another open bar... this one with Diet Coke (instead of Diet Pepsi)... yay for me!! Dinner was a petite filet and a crab cake with some excellent mashed potatoes. Oh, and green beans, but you know I didn't eat those. :)

We caught up with several former co-workers from my first job out of college (where I worked with the groom), which was fun (the job AND the catching up on Saturday). The music selection at this reception ran more toward 80s hip hop and rap. Kind of strange, but not unenjoyable. :) And we discovered toward the end of the reception that there was a sports star in our midst... the groom is friends with Eddie Pope, former DC United player. Kind of cool. Seemed like a real nice guy.

The cake was strawberry shortcake (yum!). The bride and groom were nice to each other while doing the whole cake feeding thing. Again, we stayed to the end before heading out. It was a good time.

The kids (and pseudo-grandma) were sacked out when we arrived back at the house. We followed rather quickly. I was up Sunday morning just as Keeper Boy's game was starting. He was in net and the guys had to win or tie to make it to the championship game. Unfortunately, they were playing the hardest game of their tournament against a team that was nationally ranked last year. As the updates came in over the next hour, it was clear the team wasn't going to win and we were going to have an unhappy child upon his return from Pittsburgh. The ultimate score was 8-1 and the shot count was... well... not good. From what we heard, most of the game was played in our defensive zone. Not ideal for scoring goals, and quite a workout for the goalie. So, as the team headed south toward home, we packed up and headed west toward home.

But there would be no rest for the weary. After getting home and getting unpacked, we had to pick up Keeper Boy, pick up the dog, figure out what was happening for dinner, wash Hubby's hockey clothes because HE had a game last night, and get everything ready for school/work this morning. But ya what? It's all good. Just another day in paradise. :)