Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gotta love technology...

As I type, I am comfortably ensconsed in my heated passenger seat in the truck, as we drive west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We are just outside of Pittsburgh. And I have Internet access via some Verizon connection thing my boss gave me to use when I travel.

So far, I have completed my timesheet for today, done some work, caught up on my email, and checked my Facebook account... all while sitting with my feet up on the dashboard and traveling at a pretty good clip.

I am limited only by the length of the battery in my laptop, as the USB cord I bought to plug it into the USB port in the car fits, but apparently does not supply juice.

Still. How cool!

Thinking...

What's the point of having an appointment for 11:30 if they're not even going to take the truck into the bay until 12:50?

Yes, I waited until the last minute to get the oil changed before we drive across a couple of states and back. But sheesh, I have STUFF to do. Like pack!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Heard...

Cell phone rings just before 3pm...

Me: Hello?

Keeper Boy: Hi mom. I think I missed the bus.

Me: OK...

Keeper Boy: Well, it's either really late, or we missed it. We're thinking we missed it because it's usually one of the first buses to get here. What should I do?

Me: Start walking.

He made it home in about 45 minutes. When he called he was making some hot chocolate to thaw out. He had a hat and a warm coat, but I don't think he had any gloves...

What I'm Reading...

One Day
by David Nicholls

Kind of an odd story of two opposites and their friendship, but I'm enjoying it. It takes place on a single day each year for a period of time. Not sure how long because I'm only about a third of the way through the book, but a review on Amazon.com says two decades. Even more interesting because the single day happens to be July 15; my birthday.

The movie version of the book has already been shot and is scheduled for release in 2011. Anne Hathaway plays Emma. I can see that. Never heard of the guy playing Dexter...

Publisher's Weekly Review:
The episodic story takes place during a single day each year for two decades in the lives of Dex and Em. Dexter, the louche public school boy, and Emma, the brainy Yorkshire lass, meet the day they graduate from university in 1988 and run circles around one another for the next 20 years. Dex becomes a TV presenter whose life of sex, booze, and drugs spins out of control, while Em dully slogs her way through awful jobs before becoming the author of young adult books. They each take other lovers and spouses, but they cannot really live without each other.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Shock...

Shock doesn't begin to describe the feeling of finding out that one of Hubby's former co-workers (way back from the group home) was brutally murdered more than five years ago in Miami.

Obviously, we'd lost touch since this happened years ago and we had no clue. But when Hubby worked with him at the group home, we attended several parties and gatherings at the various homes he and his boyfriend owned in the time he was Hubby's co-worker. Other than a few Christmas cards in the first years after they re-located to Florida, we lost touch.

Ironically, my "archived" Christmas card list is what caused me to do a Facebook search on a couple people we no longer keep in touch with. I found a few, but when I searched this one particular guy, I came up with an In Memoriam page set up by his sister. From something posted on that Facebook page, I deduced that he had been killed. Curious, I googled his name and appended "murder" to the search. And I got the whole awful story.

I'm still in shock.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Open letter

Dear Fairfax County Public Schools -

I get it! Schools are closing two hours early. You have now called me with an automated message on my work phone. You have called me with an automated message on my cell phone. You have sent me an email message. You have posted to Facebook. You have posted to your web page. I would venture to guess I will find a message on my home voice mail when I get home, too. I am well aware that my children will be leaving school two hours earlier than normal. Thank you for your diligence in getting the inforamtion out. You can stop now.

Seen...

It's snowing... our first snow of the year (well, unless you count the dusting we got last week that was gone an hour later). The forecast is for 1-2 inches, but if it keeps up at the pace it's going now, I think it'll be more. Schools are dismissing two hours early.

I'm hoping this snow is contained to the east coast as my sister-in-law, niece, and nephew are en route to Ohio right now from Hawaii. It's bad enough that she's flying alone with the kids and it takes HOURS and HOURS and HOURS to get there, with a layover in Texas. If she gets delayed, it could get ugly!

Have I mentioned that I hate snow?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What I'm Reading...

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain
By Portia de Rossi

Halfway through. Wow. She had a seemingly great thing going on when she was on Ally McBeal, but she in no way saw it that way. Anorexia and Bulimia are horrible, horrible diseases. Not to make light, but I am glad that I hate vomiting and being hungry... I don't think I could ever be in danger of drifting toward either disease.

From the front flap: "I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier..."

Thinking...

Black leather pants at a funeral = not appropriate.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What I'm Reading...

Sharp Objects
By Gillian Flynn

Halfway through. Not riveting, but good enough to keep me reading while I'm on the treadmill. I'm pretty sure I've already figured out the "whodunit."

Book jacket summary: "Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille Preaker's first assignment at her second-rate daily paper takes her reluctantly back to her home-town to cover the murders of two preteen girls. As she works to uncover the truth, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims--a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming."
---------------------------------------------------------
Some of the other books I've read in the last six months:

Columbine
by Dave Cullen
[non-fiction] Fascinating; definitely recommend

Song Without Words
by Ann Packer
Didn't much like; don't quite get the hype

Seven Year Switch
by Claire Cook
Fluff, but an okay read; good for the beach

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
Excellent once you get past the first 40 pages... stick with it!

The Girl Who Played with Fire
by Stieg Larsson
2nd in the Millenium Trilogy; also excellent; page-turner from the get-go

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
by Stieg Larsson
Conclusion of the trilogy; another excellent page-turner

Heart of the Matter
by Emily Griffin
Complete fluff, but an okay read; good for the beach

House Rules
by Jodi Piccoult
Very good book about a teenager with Ausberger's and how his medical condition and his interest in crime scenes combine to create problems for he and his family

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn
by Stephenie Meyer
Read the entire series again this summer because Keeper Boy was reading them. Loved them just as much the second time around!

Weird...

Just got the boys each a new pair of sneakers this afternoon. Keeper Boy's are a half size SMALLER than the pair we bought over the summer, even though his feet are BIGGER. Why can't different brands standardize their sizing? He tried on a pair of Adidas running shoes in the store and was wearing an 8 (men's). The ones we ended up buying are Nike, youth 7 (the largest youth size Nike makes, which translates to a Mens 7 without the extra cost). The ones he has been wearing, which are getting snug, are Fila brand, size 7.5. Weird.

The new ones are white, so they make his feet look ginormous!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful...

Day 30
... that I still have one child wearing youth-sized shoes!

We got new dress shoes for Keeper Boy last night to wear with his tuxedo for his band concert tomorrow night... same shoes in a men's size cost significantly more than the counterpart in the kid's section. :-(

Monday, November 29, 2010

Heard...

A joke from J-Mav:

Why do cows wear bells?

Because their horns don't work!

Thankful...

Day 29
...that it's almost the end of November! While I am thankful for many things every day, it's hard for some reason to come up with something to post every day!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful...

Day 28
... for a good night's sleep in my own bed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful...

Day 27
... for our "hockey family."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful...

Day 26
... for Black Friday sales and a fun day of shopping with my mom!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful...

Day 25
... for lots and lots and lots of stuff... but today I am particularly thankful that I got to spend time with relatives I don't see often enough.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful...

Day 24
... that the kennel called (everyone who was scheduled to drop a pet off today) around Noon to "remind" me that they were closing at 2pm.

I guess I should have read that holiday packet that came in the mail a few weeks ago a little more closey. Doh!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful...

Day 23
... for my hubby - a true partner in every aspect of my life. No way I could do everything I do without him!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful...

Day 22
...for a stress-free day yesterday, even though it involved Keeper Boy sitting at the dining room table for HOURS working on homework. It had the potential for disaster!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful...

Day 21
... for lazy Sunday mornings. They don't happen often enough. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful...

Day 20
... for hockey... that it's a great activity for us to enjoy as a family, and that it even brings together my extended family sometimes. This weekend we are thankful to have my cousins D&G visiting for our three-game Saturday (J-Mav in the morning, Keeper Boy in the afternoon, Caps in the evening).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful...

Day 19
... for a job I really like!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful...

Day 18
... for the ability to go to school and have Thanksgiving lunch with J-Mav.

(But not so thankful for the runny stuffing, pressed turkey, mushy green beans, and glob-0-potatoes that is the mass-produced school Thanksgiving lunch.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful...

Day 17
... that my truck has tinted windows!

After dropping J-Mav off at school this morning, I had to make a quick trip to Target to get a pair of tights. I noticed when we were leaving the house that I had a very obvious hole in my tights. It's the only pair I have because (a) I rarely wear skirts in the winter and (b) I rarely wear nylons/tights, even in the winter.

So I took them off and threw them away. I went to Target and got a two-pack of black tights (and a fleece hoodie that jumped into my hand when I was walked by... on sale for just $10!!). But then I had to figure out how to get the tights on.

So I got in the back seat of my truck and put them on. It's been a long time since I had to do anything resembling getting dressed in a vehicle. It's not pretty. Thank goodness for tinted windows!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thankful...

Day 16
... for open adoption as an option and that fact that it has worked amazingly well in my family for the past 19 years. (OMG! My niece is NINETEEN!!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful...

Day 15
... that I'm NOT at the Eagles/Redskins game at FedEx Field this year. While I'm glad the Eagles are winning (at least at this moment, partly through the 3rd period), it appears to be pouring there. Not fun.

(By the way... not pouring here... not so far away from FedEx Field...)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Smarter than your average bear?

So I let K-Dog out in the backyard this afternoon after she went to the back door and flipped the handle with her snout (her signal that she wants to go out... or come back in if she does it while outside). I let her out. Then forgot about her while I was shifting laundry and making sure the boys had all of the hockey stuff they needed. But I didn't realize I had forgotten her until I was driving back home almost two hours later. OMG! In that time, I had dropped the boys off at the ice rink and then gone to Kohl's to return some things. It was when I was about two miles from home that I had the sudden realization that I'd never let the dog back in the house before I left with the kids for the rink. OMG!

A zillion thoughts ran through my head. It was warmish outside, so I wasn't worried about her being cold. What I WAS worried about is the hole in the gate (which she made over a year ago when, for reasons still unknown to us, she crashed through it).

I got home and went into the house through the garage. And there she was, standing in the hallway. "Huh," I thought. "Maybe I DID let her in before I left." As I walked down the hall toward her, I continued the conversation with myself in my head. "But I really don't re-"

By this time, I was at the end of the hall. The back door was open! And it was cool enough in the rec room, that it'd been open for awhile. I closed the door and went upstairs, where I discovered she'd been in the house long enough to take all the trash out of my bathroom trashcan, as well.

The back door does not open easily, and she would've had to push the handle down with her snout while simultaneously pushing the door open. So she's either very strong or very persistent. Or both. And definitely smarter than we tend to give her credit for!

I'm just glad she doesn't seem to have invited any other living creatures in from the back yard while the door was open!

Thankful...

Days 13 & 14
... for the people who read my blog regularly and call me on the fact that I am not keeping up with it. ;-P

... and for warm, sunny fall days that lull you into a false sense of comfort that snow and cold weather are in the distant future.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thankful...

Day 12
... that my hairdresser is back at work after five months off on medical leave (during which time I did not have my hair cut).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful...

Day 11
... for those who do what they do so we can do what we do. Thank you.

All give some. Some give all. So we remember some and honor all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And they're off...

Tomorrow my parents are off again... heading to my aunt and uncle's house. From there, Dad will travel north with my uncle and cousin for their annual hunting trip along the Canadian border. And Mom will have a week of sister time with my aunt. Who knows what sort of trouble they'll get into... one year they FILLED the back of my mom's CRV shopping!! That's my kind of trouble!

Thankful...

Day 10
...for beautiful sunsets.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thankful...

Day 9
... for patience. Not that I have a lot of it with certain people, but when I can push down the frustration and maintain my composure when I'm infuriated, it helps the situation a lot.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not so smart, afterall...

My truck has four computers and 13 motherboards to run all its "schtuff." I can start it from the warmth of my home with the press of a button. It beeps at me when I back up and get close to something. It shows me what's behind me. It automatically connects to my cell phone via Bluetooth when I get within about 25 feet of the car if the car is running (or when I turn the car on). It turns off the radio when a call comes in on my cell phone. It adjusts the volume of the radio depending on how fast I'm driving (and thus how much engine noise there is). It heats my butt/back. It allows the kids to plug in ear phones and listen to something completely different than we are listening too up front. It adjusts the driver's seat and sideview mirrors depending on whether I am driving or Hubby is. It tells me how many miles I can drive before I will run out of gas and how long until I need to have the oil changed. It sends me an email every month with diagnostics on various parts of the truck for God's sake.

But it didn't automatically turn the clock back an hour yesterday.

Thankful...

Day 8
For all the things I often take for granted... food, shelter, transportation, clothing...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thinking...

It's difficult to believe that it's been 25 years since the horrific accident that claimed the life of Flyers goalie Pelle Lindberg. I remember it so well. In fact, I think I still have my Flyers scrapbook in the attic. Inside that scrapbook are several articles about the accident and his subsequent death once his father arrived from Sweden and he was removed from life support.

There was a really good article in the Philadelphia Inquirer today. I like this quote from Dave Poulin, who was Lindberg's teammate at the time. "You are allowed to learn from someone else's mistakes, you don't have to make your own."

Here's a link to the article: Remembering Pelle Lindberg, 25 Years On

Thankful...

Day 7
Today I am thankful for the extra hour of sleep last night. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thankful...

Day 6
... that I have boys and not girls.

While I love my nieces and goddaughter and I especially love buying clothes for them, after attending my goddaughter's birthday party today, I'm convinced I would not be able to handle a gaggle of giggling girls without gouging my eyes out. BFF said, "but you're so great with V." My response was, "yes, but I can give her back to you!"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Frankenfoot!

Today is the one-year anniversary of Frankenfoot's birth. One year post-surgery and I guess I can say I'm fine. I have no restrictions and it doesn't hurt to walk/run/exercise. I have most of the feeling back in my toes and nerves. The scar flattened and faded nicely. I still have discomfort and aches. I presume I will always have that. I can't pinpoint any specific causes and it's never really true pain. Just annoying. Maybe when I'm in the pool/lake and I'm kicking while swimming. Or when I sit on my foot for too long. Or when I wear certain shoes for an extended period of time. I guess it's just something I'll have to live with.

BEFORE (11/10/09, four days post surgery)...



AFTER (11/05/10)...



Frankenfoot has sure come a long way!!

Thankful...

Day 5
Diet Coke. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful...

Day 4
Today I'm thankful that I don't work downtown. My commute to work, which normally takes 15 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night, took me 45 minutes this morning. In the DC area, it appears that one's IQ (and thus one's ability to find the accelarator) is directly proportional to the amount of precipitation falling from the sky. The more wet stuff of any ilk [usage of word for you, Dad], the lower the IQ tumbles... Had I had to drive into DC this morning, I fear I'd still be out there...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

FB status

Back from the GovCon Awards dinner. My company didn't win Contractor of the Year, but as they say... it was nice to be named a finalist (and the food was good)!

11/3/10, 10:35pm

Thankful...

Day 3
The bounty of Halloween candy collected by my children and sampled by me as I worked at home today due to a server crash at the office.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful...

Day 2
Sunny, crisp fall days (although, truth be told, I'm more thankful for sunny, hot summer days)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thankful...

30 days of November... 30 things I'm thankful for...

Day 1
My parents and mother-in-law, who are always willing to help and love interacting with the kids... even if it means they are sore the next day from using muscles that haven't been awakened in awhile. :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

FB status

Kirstin Mathers Mercer oh look! the only other car on the road at this time of the morning also has a hockey magnet on the back. go figure. on the way to Jack's 6am game.

10/23/10, 5:35am

Thursday, October 21, 2010

FB post

Kirstin Mathers Mercer OMG! Reporter looks like a midget next to Halladay and Werth... are they really that tall, or is this dude really short?! It's really funny!

10/20/10, 11:16pm

FB post

Kirstin Mathers Mercer K, I don't usually do these repost things, but this one I will. :) RDM, Andrew, Joe, CJ, Donielle, Nick, and Julie... love you guys!!
Cousins are there as childhood friends, and are there when we are older as forever friends...Repost if you ever had a cousin that made/makes you smile...:)

10/20/10, 10:11pm

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Update

Keeper Boy has been released from the orthopedic surgeon's surveillance. No more splint on his finger and no restrictions -- unless, of course, it starts hurting again for some reason.

He took another set of x-rays, and showed us exactly where the break was. It was weird, on one side of his finger, it's very smooth all the way up... kind of like a slide if I were to make a comparison. On the other side of his finger, it looked kind of like a step instead of a slide.

Anyway, he is happy to be rid of the splint. :)

Heard...

Last night, as he goes and pulls something out of his backpack and walks toward me with it behind his back...

J-Mav: "Mama, I have to show you this disgusting thing I got at school today."

And what was this offensive item?



The Redskins Read Activity Book. He may not like the Eagles, but at least he's not a Redskins fan! :-)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Almost as good...

Met friends at Cheesecake Factory tonight and had the seasonal pumpkin cheesecake. Ohmygod, SO good!!

Almost as good as Crack in a Cup (aka, gingerbread milkshakes from Red Robin), which should be in season really soon!!

The eating season is upon us... gah.

FB status

Kirstin Mathers Mercer Hmmm... seems the Giants are going to pose a bit more of a challenge than the Reds did. (At least the Caps won tonight, though it took them OT to do it.) Wonder what the Eagles will do tomorrow...

11:00pm Saturday

Also changed my profile picture today... to the Phillie Phanatic. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

FB status

Kirstin Mathers Mercer Very interesting read about thermography vs. mammography.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christiane-northrup/the-best-breast-test-the-_b_752503.html

Thursday, October 14, 2010

FB status...

Kirstin Mathers Mercer has been captivated by the mine rescues all day... last rescue worker is heading up now. What a story!

(posted last night)

A story by J-Mav...

J-Mav saved his money and bought a Nintendo DS last weekend. His favorite part of it seems to be that he can write and draw on it with the stylus. This morning he wrote a story...

Honted House 1

One day a wich came and bould [bought] a house - a honted one - and a honted car. Then on Halloween a boy and his dad came to her house and got scared away by the which. But they never went to that house again because they didn't want to be cursed by the which. The end.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I thought maybe I'd duplicate my Facebook status here periodically, if it's something that might be interesting since I know my mom and my aunt, in particular, aren't on Facebook. For those unfamiliar with Facebook, when you post a status, it always starts with your name.

Kirstin Mathers Mercer Justin had his first penalty during his game last night. I guess he's learned from his teammates because he had the appropriate response -- "what?!?" (with the arms out in an I'm innocent shrug). :-)

(10/11/10 7:30pm)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And they're off...

Actually, they left last Thursday...

Less than a week after getting home from Alaska (or just about a week, I guess), Mom and Dad left for England/Scotland/Wales. I believe it's a ten-day trip. Once they get back they will stay put for a little while. Well, at least stay fairly local... Dad has his hunting trip to Maine, and Mom has her trip to hang with my aunt (her sister).

No worrying about how much their luggage weighs or making sure they have the correct currency for those trips. :)

Seen...

Just watched the Phillies take the NLDS for the third time in three years. SWEEP! Now they wait for the Braves or the Giants... My Phanatic has been perched prominently on my desk at work since early last week (moved from his usual perch atop my bookshelf). He will continue to greet all who enter my office as the next series unfolds. :-)

Heard...

Today at lunch while just sitting there waiting for the waiter to bring the check back after running the card. Not sung, just spoken. Out of nowhere.

J-Mav: I fight authority, authority always wins.


Hubby busted up laughing and I thought to myself, yeah, you just remember that buddy. :-)
-----------------------------------------
And then while brushing his teeth tonight...

J-Mav: Look me in the eyeball.

Yeah... we have a wide range of musical taste in our house. John Mellencamp at lunch; Eminem at bedtime.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Heard...

About 20 minutes ago (i.e., 6am)...

J-Mav: Wow! It's pitch black outside!

Me: Welcome to playing hockey, bud.


We're off to the rink for J-Mav's first game!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The thing about heated seats is...

... they are awesome when you're in the car and you're nice and toasty. But then you have to get out into the cooler air. Not so toasty...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hockey, hockey, hockey

It's normal for us to be busy with hockey and spend half of our lives at one rink or another; however, this week takes it to another level completely! It's worse for Hubby since he does most of the running to hockey practice, but residually, I try to get home earlier to feed the troops. Check out this week's schedule!

Monday - J-Mav has hockey practice from 6 - 7:20pm, and Hubby and I have a parent meeting for about 15 minutes at the end of practice. At this meeting I think Hubby is going to presented as the new coach of J-Mav's team. :)

Tuesday - Keeper Boy has off-ice conditioning from 6:30 - 7:30pm and practice from 7:30 - 8:50pm. Hubby helps with the off-ice part of the practice.

Wednesday - Hubby has a hockey game. This is not normal... he usually plays on Sundays or Mondays; however, it's the end of their "summer" season and the hockey director is trying to shuffle ice times and squeeze everyone's games in.

Thursday - Keeper Boy has off-ice conditioning from 6:30 - 7:30pm and practice from 7:30 - 8:50pm.

Friday - Keeper Boy has a scrimmage at 6:20pm. This was just scheduled over the weekend. We were supposed to have friends over to watch the Caps' season opener. Had to cancel that. :-(

Saturday - J-Mav has his first game at 7:30am. Keeper Boy has a game at 7:40pm.

Sunday - Keeper Boy has a game at Noon in Maryland.

Repeat (except for the Wednesday game and the Friday practice.)

I'll say it again... it's a good thing we like hockey (and that we have a crockpot)!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Update

I took Keeper Boy to see everyone's favorite orthopedic surgeon (I think Keeper Boy's hockey club keeps Dr. G in business!). He said it is not a hairline fracture, but a full-on break. Doh!

He fitted him with a different splint; one that allows the other joints in the finger to move, while protecting the broken part, and said to come back in three weeks for a follow-up and another set of x-rays. It will likely take about six weeks to heal.

Best news for Keeper Boy is that Dr. G said he has no restrictions and he can play with the splint on.

Happy Keeper Boy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It was bound to happen... I'm surprised it took 8 years!

So Keeper Boy has his first hockey-related injury; first sports-related injury at all, actually. He has a hairline fracture in his left pinky finger. That's his catch glove hand.

He sustained the injury on Wednesday night, while simultaneously attempting to catch a football thrown by his coach and elude his teammate (the other goalie), who was trying to keep him from getting open for the catch. This was an actual drill and it was fun to watch. Not necessarily as useful for the goalies as for the skaters, but they were having fun, too. Anyway, Keeper Boy hurt his finger. I was actually taking a video of it on my Blackberry for Hubby (who was away on business) when it happened and you can see him shaking his hand a little. But it wasn't enough that I even noticed anything was wrong at the time.

He finished practice, and told me that night his finger hurt. The next morning he said it still hurt. It was a little swollen, but barely. I ran out at lunch and picked him up a finger splint, and he participated fully in practice that night. Friday morning, he said it wasn't feeling any better. So after school on Friday, I took him to the urgent care (after the high school's homecoming parade that he didn't want to miss because all the groups throw out candy to the spectators... so it obviously wasn't painful enough to be an emergency!).

The doctor there took an x-ray and said he thinks it's a hairline fracture right above the top joint of his pinky. But he's not 100% positive. He wants us to take him to see an orthopedic doctor. I asked what would be done if the fracture is confirmed. As I suspected, the answer was really nothing other than what we've already done. He recommended that he not play until after we've seen the ortho doc though. While this is annoying because we know there is nothing to be done for the finger other than a splint, we also don't want him to go back in net too soon and have something flukey happen and have him really break his finger!

So, he went to practice this morning, but participated only in the skating drills. And he, unfortunately, is missing a two-day goalie clinic this weekend because of the finger. He will go to practice again tomorrow morning, but it's a scrimmage, so I guess he'll just sit on the bench and help open and close the door. Not much else he can do.

And first thing Monday morning, I'll try to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, so he or she can confirm the fracture, tell us how long to keep the splint on, and tell us when he can play again. Because at this point, that's really all he or she can do. Oh, and probably charge us/our insurance an arm and a leg to give us that golden piece of information. Sigh.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Seriously?!

I ran out to CVS at lunch with a list. While grabbing the items on my list, I (of course) saw a few things on sale that jumped into my basket. When I got up to the Pharmacy counter to pay (because I needed headache medicine and the kind I swear by is only sold behind the Pharmacy counter even though it's non-prescription), I realized I wasn't going to get the sale prices because I don't have a CVS card. You know, every store has one now to track your purchases, and you have to have it in order to get the sale prices. I have never gotten one from CVS because, until recently I didn't shop there all that much. But I find myself going there more often because locations are convenient to both work and home. But I digress.

The lady at the Pharmacy was kind enough to scan one she had there so I got the sale prices and saved a whopping $1.50 I think. But I decided I should just get a stupid card. She told me to stop at the counter up front. So I went up front and waited my turn.

When it was my turn, I walked up and told the man I needed a CVS card. He walked away coughing - without covering his mouth, I might add. By the time he got what he needed and came back he sounded like he not only had a giant hairball, but he might have swallowed an entire cat! But that wasn't the worst of it. As he got back to the register, hacking and gagging all the while, he reached into his mouth, pulled out his gum, and (presumably) threw it into a trashcan by his feet. He then immediately grabbed my new CVS cards WITH THE SAME FINGERS HE JUST HAD IN HIS MOUTH and handed them to me.

You can bet I slathered my hands and those cards with hand sanitizer the minute I got back in my car!

Talk about gagging.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gracious...

Professional athletes often get a bad rap for being rude and unappreciative of their fans. Perhaps it's because almost all professional athletes I've met or observed in person wear skates to ply their crafts (and in general, hockey players don't seem to have the same level of drama that, say, football players and basketball players have, but I have to say the DC area has some pretty gracious athletes. I have observed this in action not once, but twice, in the past week alone.

Washington Capitals winger Mike Knuble has a son who plays travel hockey at the same rink Keeper Boy and J-Mav play at. Twice in the past week I've seen him there. I think the man has the patience of a saint... or he's hard of hearing. I'm not sure which. There was a gaggle of mini-mite-aged kids (5 and 6 year olds for those unfamiliar with hockey terminology) who kept yelling, "There's Mike Knuble!" Then they'd run past him as he was attempting to have a conversation with someone in the lobby and yell, "Hey Mike Knuble!" And then they'd find a reason to run past again and scream, "Peace Mike Knuble." It was kind of obnoxious, actually. He took it all in stride and apparently told another parent that it gets better after the newness of seeing an NHL player in the rink wears off. He signed autographs for anyone to asked... on shirts, sticks, hats, bags, and paper. Last week he was out on the ice helping coach his son's practice. Now how cool is that for those kids? I imagine his time at the rink will dwindle now that the NHL season is getting underway and he will be traveling more. But it's great to see him around the rink supporting youth hockey.

P.S. He's a BIG dude!

To a man, every other Capital or former Capital that I've had the opportunity to meet over the past 17 years of living in this area has been gracious with his time, as well. Another instance that sticks out is with Mike Green, one of the Caps' top D-men.

Last season, Keeper Boy's hockey team went down to Kettler (the Capitals' practice facility) to watch a pre-season Captials practice. After the practice, Mike Green came out and talked to the team, signed all their stuff, and then took them on a tour of the facility. He also took them into the locker room and introduced them around to the rest of the team. He spent over and hour with the boys and didn't seem rushed or annoyed by any of their questions, no matter how silly they were. It's something those hockey-crazed kids will likely not forget any time soon.

P.S. He's a big dude, too!

Two hockey seasons ago, there was a kid on Keeper Boy's team whose family is neighbors with Clinton Portis, Running Back for the Washington Redskins. While I didn't meet him, I saw him at the rink several times that season watching the kids practice. After one such practice, he went into the locker room and took a picture with the team. From what I saw, he was very accomodating and soft-spoken. And that was during his "uncooperative years" here. Apparently this year he's a new Clinton Portis. Anyway, Keeper Boy is no Redskins fan, but he thought it was pretty cool to meet Clinton Portis and get an autographed picture of him with his hockey team... and he didn't even make any rude comments claiming the Cowboys were going to give the Skins a smackdown!

P.S. He is NOT a big dude. At all.

This year, Keeper Boy has the son of professional figure skater Michael Weiss on his hockey team. Mike is also an accomplished hockey player. He helps with the team's off-ice conditioning, and also gets out on the ice and helps with practices. I assume he will continue to do so until it's time for him to go on tour late this year. He is a great guy and has a really good rapport with the kids. He doesn't seem to get mobbed at the rink like a professional hockey player does, but I am positive that if he did, he, too, would stand and sign autographs for as long as it took to get to everyone.

I just think it's cool. You hear about the Albert Haynesworth and Gilbert Arenas and Ben Roethlisberger types all the time... the ones who are in the news for all the wrong reasons. But the ones who are gracious day in and day out, the ones who stand in the parking lot after practice signing everything that is shoved in their faces by adoring kids, the ones who get involved in local youth sports through their own children or just because... those are the gems. And we seem to be lucky enough to have a treasure chest in our area.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heard...

As I'm standing in the bathroom putting on my makeup this morning...

J-Mav: What's that?

Me: Powder.

J-Mav: What's it for?

Me: It makes my skin look smoother.

J-Mav: Oh. Why do you put that stuff under your eyes?

Me: It makes my eys look bigger, I guess.

J-Mav: Mama?

Me: Yes?

J-Mav: You're pretty.

[Pause]

J-Mav: When you're done.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And they're off...

Mom and Dad are headed to a hotel by the airport tonight for an early morning flight bound for Alaska. Third time in five years, I think. Maybe third time in four years. This time they are doing a two-week re-positioning cruise leaving from Vancouver, going up to Ketchikan, Alaska and then back south to San Diego, CA. Once they get off the ship, they are hanging out for a few days and getting together with my mom's cousin and my dad's great uncle (who shares my dad's name), who both live in CA. Or maybe they're getting together with my dad's cousin and his family. I don't remember. Either way, they're taking a cool trip and seeing family they haven't seen in eons!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Things my kids learned at Grandma & Grandpa's last month...

The boys also learned some things while staying at Grandma & Grandpa's house earlier in August...

  • Minor league baseball games rock!
  • When Grandpa tells you to do something, you better do it, or you might not like the consequences.
  • It wouldn't be a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house if they didn't eat at least once at the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant.
  • Riding in an Amish buggy is cool.
  • Everyone should visit Roadside America.
  • Cow manure still stinks.
  • They still have lots of new stuff to do next year!

Heard...

Background: We were at lunch on Sunday with my parents, my aunt & uncle, and my cousins, who had all come to Hershey to see a hockey game Keeper Boy was playing in. We had just been discussing the moose my one cousin had gotten on a recent hunting trip to Maine and about how the meat is not called venison, but is instead called, simply, moose meat. Original. Anyway, after that, the discussion turned to my niece, and someone asked how she is doing at college and how she likes her roommate. My mom was explaining that her roommate has Asberger's Disease. J-Mav got this confused look on his face and said to Hubby,

"What are ass burgers?"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Things my kids learned at Grandma's last week...

  • The term "numb nuts" comes by its moniker honestly [discovered while swimming in Lake Michigan, and subsequently explained by Grandma]
  • Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon with his left foot first [according to J-Mav, just a small fact that we might like to know"].
  • Whomever spies the courthouse first while driving back into town "wins."
  • It's quite giggle-worthy, while painting rocks, to say that one looks like a penis [they boys got quite a kick out of this one].
  • Remaining quiet when you're sitting in a truck in the middle of a heard of buffalo is a very good thing.
  • Climbing giant dunes is fun.
  • Getting stung by a bee sucks.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

We had no Internet connection to speak of during our amazing week at Smith Mountain Lake, so I was unable to keep my followers (all three of you) up-to-date. But I'm going to try to remember some of the better points and chronicle our week for you now. Yippee!

Day 1: Saturday
We didn't leave until about 1pm as kid activities took precedence. Keeper Boy had a goalie clinic first thing in the morning and J-Mav had hockey class. Always hockey. Even in the middle of the summer. By the time they got home, I had the van packed to the gills and we were ready to go. Other than almost becomes victims of vehicular manslaughter on I-81 south (and overzealous lane changer in a Mercedes), our four hour trip was uneventful. We arrived at our rental home (called Lemon Zest) around dinner time. BFF and her kids had arrived a few hours earlier, unpacked, explored, swam in the lake, and showered. We made quick work of unloading our car, touring the house, making a pasta dinner, and then heading down to the lake ourselves. Our house was in a quiet cove and the best part was that we knew our neighbors! We found out a few months after we'd rented this house that our friends, the MJJJ family, had bought the house next door to Lemon Zest last summer! And they were there last week, too. Fun! They have an excellent rope swing and an opening in their sun deck to jump into the lake below (about a 15 - 20 foot drop to the water)!

Day 2: Sunday
We hung in/around the lake for most of the day. All except for BFF. She had to drive home to get her puppies since the woman she hired to dog/house sit never showed up. Nothing like driving four hours home and then four hours back down again THE DAY AFTER you'd arrived at your vacation desitination in the first place. Anyway, she was back by mid-afternoon. We had an assortment of rafts, floats, and fun noodles; a kayak; and a canoe. We spent the entire day in the lake and then headed over to the marina to check it out and to grab some dinner at Moosies. Good food!

Day 3: Monday
BFF and I lounged on the sun deck most of the morning, and we all spent time in the lake. By the afternoon I was working on a migraine, so I actually laid down for about four or five hours. I haven't a clue what happened during that time, other than the fact that BFF went over to the marina and rented a pontoon boat and tube for the next day, and Hubby grilled burgers and dogs for dinner, which were ready when I dragged myself out of bed having reduced my migraine to a dull headache with my wonder drug (Alleve-D) and a bag of frozen peas.

Day 4: Tuesday
Tuesday was actually the worst day we had, weatherwise; however, there were no refunds on the boat rental, so we threw on sweatshirts and off we went. We tubed all day -- most of it in the rain. And we had tons of fun despite the weather! We managed to rip our tube at the end of the day. Oops. We had some yummy ribs for dinner that night!

Day 5: Wednesday
Another lazy day in the lake. Another minor crisis for BFF. She managed to put her iPhone in a cup of water in her car the night before and didn't realize it for 20 minutes. So Wednesday morning she drove over to Roanoke (location of the nearest Apple store) to take care of that. She was back by lunchtime. The rest of us hung out in the lake and with the MJJJ family. In the afternoon, J-Mav and V went skiing in the cove with the MJJJ family's ski boat. They had so much fun that we decided we needed to rent a boat for a day. So that night we went in search of a marina that had a boat available for rent either Thursday or Friday. We found one for Friday and got some amazing pizza to take home for dinner.

Day 6: Thursday
Lake day! Are you sensing a pattern here? Actually BFF and I spent some more time on the sun deck. We spent some time tubing and skiing with the MJJJ family in the afternoon. And we had burgers and dogs for dinner again.

Day 7: Friday
SKIING!! What a fun day! We were out skiing ALL day. Everyone got up on skiis (except me). J-Mav LOVED it. BFF is a natural on skiis. Hubby did great, but had some pretty spectacular crashes, apparently. I didn't see any of them because I was driving when he was skiing. But Hubby said he got a little over confident and got outside the wake and then hit another boat's wake and it dumped him a$$ over tea kettle. We went back and fetched J (the dad of the MJJJ family) and took him out with us... he nevers gets to ski because he's always driving the boat for everyone else. He's a great skier, too. We were so proud of all the kids for even trying skiing, let alone doing it succesfully! And J-Mav didn't get sick on the boats all week! After everyone cleaned up, the MJJJ family came over for BBQ chicken. We wanted to thank them for answering all the questions we bombarded them with prior to the trip and for taking us out on their boat and letting us use their trainer skiis for the kids.

Day 8: Saturday
We didn't have to check out until Noon, but it was raining, so once we were up and packed, we took off. Hubby and J-Mav headed home with BFF's puppies. And BFF and I and the other three kids headed to Blacksburg. We wandered around Blacksburg, found a hotel, and ate at a cool little Italian place for dinner.

Day 9: Sunday
We killed time at a shopping mall and then dropped the kids off at camp at 2pm. We were on the road back home by 3 and pulled into my house just after 7pm. Not bad.

It was a great vacation, and we're already talking about next year. I can't wait!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

AAS&T Camp: Day 6

Well, J-Mav's first AAS&T experience is complete. He had a blast except for that little blip. He wants to do it again next year. We'll see if he's ready to go as an overnight camper next year. I overheard the director telling someone they may not bring the camp to GMU next year, in which case J-Mav will likely HAVE to go as an overnight camper because the camp will be too far away to do as a commuter. But that's a long time away. We will have to wait until January to see when and where the camps are. :)

He didn't see us when he marched by in the parade, but he was all grins when he spotted us in the auditorium while we were waiting for the closing program to start. He was in the slide show several times, even though, as a commuter, he was unable to participate in any of the evening events. I got a picture of him with his counselor, and then we went to the curriculum fair to pick up all of his stuff.

From Egyptology, we brought home an adobe brick, an Egyptian mask, a mummy, a pot, and some other thing that I don't know what it is. And from Zoom, Swoosh, Blast, we brought home several different airplanes.

Fun times. Successful camp experience. :)

Heard...

"It's not a hot flash, it's my own personal summer."

Ba ha ha! I need to remember that one for when it's my turn...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adventure Camp: Day 4

Keeper Boy spent the days in the wilds of West Virginia. OK, maybe not the wilds, but he did spend the day in a cave, crawling, climbing, and exploring. He said it was very cool, but that he didn't like seeing the beedy eyes of the bats that reside there.

Tomorrow is the last day of camp for him. It's outdoor survival skills. Don't know about learning to build a fire on a day when the temperature is supposed to be over 100 degrees without figuring in the heat index...

AAS&T Camp: Day 5

Another great day at camp for J-Mav! Yay!!

Hubby picked him up and they met Keeper Boy and me at Red Robin for dinner. J-Mav was SO excited about his day and about receiving his camp paddle. Everyone receives a paddle and the kids bring their paddles back year after year and earn different stamps on them. J-Mav earned two this first year: Generosity and Commitment. Keeper Boy was jealous... he hasn't gotten the Commitment one yet. Maybe this year...

Tomorrow is the last day of AAS&T camp for J-Mav. Mostly it's just the "parade" and the closing ceremonies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Adventure Camp: Day 3

Rock climbing! Keeper Boy had another great time today. They went rock climbing in Great Falls, and he successfully scaled a 50-foot rock face. He said it was a lot of fun. He made it all the way up only on his first attempt. Two subsequent climbs (on two different guide ropes) ended part of the way up for various reasons. He really liked the repelling down part, too. :)

Tomorrow: Caving in West Virginia!

AAS&T Camp: Day 4

Exhale.

J-Mav had a great day at camp! He participated in the skit (as one of the dwarfs, not as Mickey Mouse) and even admitted it was fun. He made some jar in Egyptology that the ancient Egyptians used to store organs when they died. Blech. And he made a balsa wood airplane in his other class. During sports time, he apparently hit a home run while playing whiffle ball and drove in two runs. He talked from the time Hubby picked him up until the minute he fell asleep. And he ate a second dinner at home last night again.

Tomorrow is the last full day of camp. Friday is just the morning. Here's hoping for another great day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventure Camp: Day 2

I was worried about today at Adventure Camp. The last time Keeper Boy attempted kayaking, it was at our friends' house in Annapolis in the Chesapeake Bay. He was terrified and he screamed and sobbed and demanded to get out of the kayak. It was not a pretty site. At all.

Flash forward two years to today, and Keeper Boy is supposed to spend all day on Bull Run in either a kayak or a canoe. You can see why I was worried about this particular day of camp.

But he was all grins when I picked him up. Said it was awesome. Loved the kayaking, and was laughing about how he fell out of the canoe and then tipped his two canoe-mates while trying to get back into the canoe.

He got to swim some rapids, though he cut his hand pretty good while doing so. Even that didn't damper his enthusiasm for the day. Phew.

Tomorrow: Rock climbing!

AAS&T Camp: Day 3

Houston, we have a problem.

When Hubby went to pick J-Mav up from camp tonight, he was met by the camp director. Uh oh. Apparently J-Mav has had some problems today and yesterday (which we didn't know about) with being physical. Arguing with fellow colony members and some pushing and shoving. And the upshot is that if he can't get it under control, he will be invited to leave camp. Sigh.

Once we got past the sobbing and crying and blaming everyone else, we think it boils down to three things:

1. He's tired. 8:30am to 7:30pm is a long day.

2. There's a skit that the colony is supposed to do tomorrow. J-Mav has the lead part. He told us he doesn't want to do it. He's embarrassed to get up on the stage.

3. He's very competetive.


I promised him I would stay and talk to his counselor tomorrow morning about switching parts in the skit so that he has a lesser part. He said he'd like to be one of the seven dwarfs because they just stand there. Currently he's Mickey Mouse.

And we talked about keep his hands to himself. Another kid apparently told J-Mav he didn't know how to play soccer and he took offense to that. Rather than walking away, he shoved the kid. Apparently something similar happened on Monday.

Other than that, he had a great day in his classes again. Tomorrow is a new (and hopefully better) day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adventure Camp: Day 1

Keeper Boy is doing Adventure Camp this week... how fun!! Today was the first day, and he had a great time. They went to a local place that does adventure camps, outdoor retreats and team building activities, and overnight camps. He did ropes courses, zip lines, and got to know his fellow campers and counselors.

Tomorrow: kayaking and canoeing!

AAS&T: Day 2

MUCH better today! I dropped J-Mav up at 8:30am and Hubby picked him up at 7:30pm. He talked about his day the entire way home and repeated everything for me once he got home. He loved his classes. He's taking Egyptology in the morning and Boom, Swish, Blast! in the afternoon. He made a brick in Egyptology and a rocket in Boom, Swish, Blast! Apparently they "launched" their rockets (made of paper) with straws. Pretty cool. He had lunch and dinner there (and another dinner at home... uh oh, I think he's growing again), and also played Frisbee Football. Great day. Thank goodness!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

AAS&T Camp: Day 1

J-Mav had his first day of All Arts, Sciences, & Technology Camp today. This is the camp Keeper Boy has been attending for the past three summers as a sleepaway camp. J-Mav is getting his feet wet this year as a commuter camper. He's two years younger than Keeper Boy was the first year he attended...

First day is really to meet your counselor, get to know the other kids in your colony, figure out where your classes will be during the week, and eat dinner. Drop-off was at 3:30 and pick-up at 7:30, so it was a short day.

We expected an excited kid when we went to pick J-Mav up. Instead, we had a mopey kid who said camp was boring and they didn't do anything. Uh oh.

We explained that it's more fun when the classes start (tomorrow)... I hope that's the case for him!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

That was fun!

On the eve of Hubby's birthday, we decided to go to The Melting Pot for his birthday dinner. Keeper Boy was most excited. He's been there twice in his young life and loves the whole fondu experience. J-Mav seemed fine with it when we told them that's where we were going. But then it was bedtime. All the wackiness happens with J-Mav at bedtime. He holds in all of his insecurities and fears and they all come out in a ball of sobs at bedtime.

So Hubby comes out from his turn at tucking J-Mav in on Sunday night and says, "[J-Mav] is totally stressing about going to The Melting Pot and cooking his own dinner."

Eh?

Turns out he must've thought he had to go into the kitchen and MAKE DINNER, like he sees us doing at home. But he didn't want to do that. He doesn't know how to use the stove. He's not allowed to touch sharp knives. On and on.

Hubby tried to explain to him about how he would put his food on a big fork and put it in a pot of broth and that's all he would need to do to cook it. I don't think he got it, but he agreed to go. Good thing, because he was going whether he wanted to or not. :)

Flash forward 24 hours and we arrive at the restaurant. J-Mav is now a little excited... although I think it's more because of the obnoxious, sparkly, "The BIG 40 balloon" he has toted along to the restaurant -- and the gift he has to give his Daddy -- than because of the restaurant at this point.

We ordered the full dinner, so we started with the cheese fondue. He liked that, and there was no cooking involved, so we were all good. He had some bread, apples, celery, and carrots. And he tried both of the cheeses we had on the table, though he preferred the cheddar over the Wisconsin Trio, which had blue cheese and green onions in it.

Next was the salad course. Neither of the kids even got a salad. Ours were good though. :)

And then it was time to cook. He still didn't quite get it when the waitress brought out the food. He said he didn't want anything because, well, raw meat and seafood isn't exactly appetizing to look at on a plate. I think he thought he was supposed to eat it like that. Eew. We gave him all the raw broccoli and mushrooms (instead of putting them in one of the pots of broth) from one of the orders and he started munching on those while we explained how to cook the food. He agreed to try a piece of chicken and Hubby showed him how to put it on the fork and put it in the pot. After he saw that one come out nice and cooked, he was fine. He tried everything... even the Ahi tuna, which he was a little leary about because it was red when it was raw. But he loved that. He ended up eating several pieces of it. And he tried shrimp! This is big because (a) he's tried it before and hasn't liked it, and (b) it was GREEN in its raw state because it was some kind of island lime shrimp. I think they died it a little. *I* didn't even try the shrimp... there was enough other yummy stuff and I just had a little trouble getting past the fact that it was green. Keeper Boy had no problem eating my portion of shrimp (and Gma G's portion of steak).

Anyway, J-Mav really liked everything and had a good time once he figured out what the cooking entailed.

He didn't eat too much during the chocolate course. I don't know if it's because he was full from the entree course, or if he's just not that huge of a fan of chocolate. I suspect it was a little of both. He gets the ambivalence over chocolate from his Dad. It's certainly not from me. :)

So, J-Mav's first experience at The Melting Pot was a good one. He had fun and wants to go back. We told him that's a restaurant you go to only once in a while. He wanted to know why. Because it's EXPENSIVE! He said, "what, like $20"? If only... if that was the case, he could go cook there all the time!

Monday, July 12, 2010

40 years ago today...

Forty years ago today, my amazing husband was born amid heart-breaking circumstances. His father had died eight months prior without knowing of the amazing little toe-headed son that would make him a Daddy. It's not hard to see why my Hubby is the man he is today if you look at his mother. She, herself, is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. As a 20-year-old widow, she could've decided that having and/or raising a child on her own was too hard. Instead, she gave him a wonderful childhood, deep-rooted values and morals, and a little brother along the way. She gave him the chance to cross my path on a marching band field in Bowling Green, OH 19 years later.

Forty years ago today, I did not know my husband.

Forty years ago today, I was not even a glimmer in my parents' eyes... but I would be in a few months. :-)

But 20 years ago. That's a different story.

Twenty years ago today, Hubby and I had been dating for about eight months. We have now been together for more than half of both of our lives. That's a strange thought, but not a strange feeling. If feels perfectly right.

I am blessed to have such an amazing husband. I know this. I also know I don't always show him how great I think he is. He adores his mom, and is very close to his younger brother. He is not the kind of person who thinks housework and raising kids is a woman's job. He doesn't hate his in-laws. He kills random bugs that appear in the house so the kids and I don't have to. He goes to the beach with me every once in a while, even though it's not his favorite place to vacation. He voluntarily sleeps in the guest room if either he or I is sick. He even puts the toilet seat down most of the time. :-) He became a hockey fan in college because I was... and now he plays... I'm married to a hot [beer league] hockey player! ;-P He is one of the best Daddys I know. Our boys adore him (even when they say they don't). He's sensitive, patient, and, well, just amazing.

I love him as much now, if not more, than the day I said "I do."

Here's to the next 40 years! Happy birthday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

And they're off...

Gma G is on her way here for her "baby's" 40th birthday. She'll be here through Tuesday morning, and there is much excitement in our household as it's been awhile since the boys have seen Grandma. :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Seven years ago...

Dear J-Mav (aka Stink) -

Seven years ago you made your grand entrance into this world. You weren't waiting for anyone or anything, least of all the pain medication that would've made me a little more comfortable while you were making your way out into the world. But it was all good -- an 8-pound, 13-ounce bundle of joy with dark eyes and lots of dark hair!

Not to be outdone, your big brother lost his first tooth on the very day you were born! Too big milestones on one summer day.

From the time you were very little you have been very expressive. To this day, you make the funniest faces. Your eyes can open wider than any I've ever seen. And your sense of humor is just coming into its own. Trying to keep up with your brother causes you to push things a little too far at times; however, most of the time you are very cute.

Your young life has not been without medical issues, but luckily they have all been relatively minor and completely treatable. You were diagnosed with acid reflux when you were just six weeks old, but the Zantac (I think that's what it was called) prescription turned you into a new baby, and you outgrew it before you were two. You were diagnosed with asthma early on and had to use a nebulizer for a few years. We were able to pretty much stop that a couple years ago. Now you just need your inhaler every once in awhile--mostly when you have a cold, or when your allergies are really acting up. The allergies just popped up last year. What a mess. March, April, and May are not happy months for you. We control it as much as we can with your allergy medication and wait for the pollen season to pass. Most days you are such a trooper.

And the stitches... only my little J-Mav could manage to fall in a pool and require stitches in your chin while on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean! Again... you were such a trooper! You were parading around the ship that night dressed as a pirate with all the rest of the kids from Adventure Ocean.

You made two best friends when you were still in daycare and have maintained that friendship until this day. The Three Amigos are alive and well, and I'm so glad you have such great friendships at such an early age.

You have two years of school under your belt and are doing great. On to 2nd grade next year to learn new and interesting things.

The travel bug seems to have hit you, too... you are mostly a homebody in that you'd rather stay home with us than go out to eat or something like that. But you love going on trips! In your young life you've been to Alaska, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, and New York, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada, and several Caribbean islands! Next summer: Hawaii! You are one lucky little guy!

And sports. Another natural athlete. You played soccer from the time you turned four, and have now also played two seasons of baseball. You just started hockey and are planning on playing on a Mites team in the fall. Unfortunately, I think that means you're going to have to give up soccer, but you are SO excited to be playing hockey (and you look adorable in all your gear).

It's been a wonderful seven years, and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store. Happy birthday little man. I love you to this much!!

Love,
Mama

Ten things about my trip to the Jersey shore...

1. I made it there. In the dark. Using the bass ackwards route that my dad taught me when I first learned to drive. This is no small feat considering I have made the drive only once a year for the past 20 years. I know how to get there, but there is no way I could tell anyone else how to get there the way I go. I couldn’t have even told Hubby where to turn, at times, until we were right on the turn. I just know. Thus, I drove the whole way up, and until we got over the Delaware Memorial Bridge and onto I-95 South on the way back.

2. When J-Mav gets even slightly comfortable, he has no fear. We knew this; however, he continues to reiterate this fact. In the lake at the campground, he would go right out over his head. If he got tired of swimming, he’d just bounce off the bottom and come up for air until he got back to where he could touch the bottom. Yes it made us nervous. Yes we started staying closer to him. No it didn’t change anything. When we went out for a boat ride with my aunt, he was scared. He and Keeper Boy both sat in the front of the boat and clung to the side rail with white knuckles. About 45 minutes in, JMav started walking around the boat and grilling my aunt on all the dials and buttons on the dash. Keeper Boy stayed glued to that rail. When she sped up for about 30 seconds of the two-hour ride, J-Mav whooped. Keeper Boy stayed glues to that rail. By the time we were headed back to my aunt’s house, he was hanging over the front of the boat trying to see the lights. Oy!

3. The weather is weird. My grandfather always insisted that it could rain on the “mainland” and not in Avalon (which is a barrier island). I don’t know if that’s true, but we went to Sea Isle City for dinner one night (Lobster Loft = FABULOUS seafood restaurant if you’re ever in the area) and the heavens opened up just as we pulled up in front of the restaurant at the valet stand. We made a run for it and squished our way to our seats in our soggy flip flops. By the time drinks and bread came to the table, the monsoon had passed and the sun was coming back out. We actually walked on the beach after dinner. The day before that, we went to the beach (the ocean beach, not the lake beach) and when we got to the head of the walkway to enter the beach, we couldn’t even see the lifeguard stand (which wasn’t that far away because the tide was in) because of the fog. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at the beach. The guards weren’t letting anyone in past about their waists because that’s about as far as they could see. It did burn off as the hours went on, but it was just weird.

4. K-Dog needs some Xanax. She is a very stressed dog. We are fairly certain that when we left the trailer she didn’t relax… at all… until we got back safely. Then she would lie down and zonk out hard because she was exhausted. Thank goodness we never left her for more than about three hours at a time!! If Hubby was sitting outside my parents’ trailer and the kids and I walked away, she flipped out and watched until we came back. She’s always flipped out when she sees us packing the car up. I don’t know if she thinks she’s going to get left, or what. At least giving her a Dramamine pill before we left to go up and come back seems to have kept her from getting carsick. Thank goodness for small favors.

5. S’mores (or S’mos, as J-Mav calls them) rock. ‘Nuff said.

6. I’ll never understand why people build huge houses. The size of a lot of the houses is ridiculous—especially since many of those people who build those huge houses do not live down there full time and don’t rent out their houses when they’re not there. Why on earth do you need a small hotel? My aunt’s house is a “normal” sized house… three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room upstairs; rec room, bathroom, laundry room downstairs. I would go as far as to say even that is bigger than necessary for someone who just goes to the shore a few times a year. However, my grandparents built that house in the 70s and they LIVED there for half of the year. So that’s a different story. I would love to own one of the smaller “original” houses, and it’d be just fine. If only I had a few million spare dollars floating around…

7. All mini-golf is not the same. We played mini-golf with the kids on one of the rooftop courses in Stone Harbor. It was remodeled since the last time we played there. Strangely, the holes had no turf. Instead, the surface was cement board or something similar. This meant the balls rolled really well. The course was fun, and there were a lot of unique holes. Everyone got at least one hole-in-one, and J-Mav got a hole in one on a hole that Hubby and I couldn’t even complete (anything above a 5 was scored as a 5). The hole had you shoot the ball up a ramp and (assuming you hit it at the correct velocity) into a fishing net. We all had a great time. Thank goodness for the breeze that morning because the sun would’ve been brutal otherwise.

8. I CAN go to the shore and not purchase a piece of clothing that says “Avalon.” It doesn’t happen too often, but I did not come home with any new Avalon clothing this year for myself or the kids. Nothing floated my boat.

9. The campground is ripe for people watching. I mean, it could be an Olympic sport there! Campgrounds always attract a wide range of people. But Sea Pines seemed ripe with those on the lower end of the scale while we were there. My favorite was the couple who thought it was adorable that their child (no older than J-Mav) was dropping the F-bomb in conversation every other sentence. The only “discipline" I heard was from the mom when she removed her tongue from her husband/boyfriend/baby daddy’s throat long enough to say, “Colin, stop cursing.” Not so effective when said while giggling.

10. I could move to the beach in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t necessarily need to be Avalon, but that’d be my first choice since I’ve been going there for all of my 39 years. If I had a few million extra dollars and Hubby actually liked the beach (oh, and I could find gainful employment), I’d be there. Alas, I don’t think any of that is going to happen anytime in the very near future, so I’ll have to be content to visit once a summer.

BONUS item: Sea gulls beaks are hard and tend to hurt when they bite your finger while trying to steal your last bite of sandwich when you're watching the kids play on the beach instead of paying attention to the thieves flying around you. Evil birds.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And then it was over

J-Mav was dismissed for the last time from his 1st grade classroom about ten minutes ago and is now in after-care until one of us picks him up this afternoon. Keeper Boy will be dismissed from his 6th grade classroom for the last time in about five minutes. He will be home by Noon and, I'm sure, at the pool with his friends by 12:15. I now have a 2nd grader and a 7th grader... and a summer that will fly by far too fast in which to prepare...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pomp & Circumstance

Keeper Boy is now a middle schooler. Well, technically, I guess he won't be a middle schooler until Thursday, which is the last day of school. But yesterday was his promotion ceremony.

The ceremony was very nice, but I'm kinda glad it's over. Why? Because I was the PTA Chairperson in charge of coordinating it. Someone just stop me before I volunteer for something else! No, really, it wasn't that bad. Just busy this past week. I volunteered back at the beginning of the year. The school has the ceremony down to a science, so "all" I needed to do was put together the program, get flowers for the teachers, and put together a slide show of baby pictures and now pictures of all the kids in the class (150). How hard could that be, right?

It wasn't HARD. I had the program pretty much done months ago. Just needed to wait to print them until the last minute because a student essay was chosen from each class to be read during the program and they weren't due until this past Monday. Getting the flowers wasn't hard either; I just couldn't do it until Thursday night. And do you know how much space ten bouquets from Costco take up in a minivan? Sheesh!

Honestly, the photo slide show wasn't hard, either. I put it together as I got the pictures from the families. The hard part was getting the pictures. I started collecting them in January and got the last one less than a month ago. But I had a baby photo for every single child in the class. I guess I probably spent a lot of time on it, but I did in spurts over the past several months. And it was fun. I did get tired of listening to the same five songs over and over again while I was working on the music transitions.

It was all worth it, though. The kids had such a great reaction to the photo show during the ceremony. They all really seemed to like it. And I got a thumbs up from Keeper Boy when the lights came back up. That was worth it right there. :)

So anyway, Keeper Boy is graduated from elementary school. He looked very snazzy when he walked across the stage to shake all of his teachers' hands and receive his promotion certificate. He is tall enough now that he wore one of Hubby's ties. He was very handsome.

Last night, there was a celebration at the school for three hours for the kids. All but four kids in the class showed up. It looked like the kids were having a great time. They were line dancing and making sundaes at the sundae bar and eating pizza, and taking pictures of each other and singing.

It was a mini glimpse into future, more official promotion ceremonies... 8th grade in two years and high school in six. I know that time is going to fly.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And they're off!

My parents are coming tonight for the weekend. They will attend Keeper Boy's 6th Grade Promotion Ceremony with us tomorrow, J-Mav's last baseball game of the season on Saturday, and J-Mav's birthday party on Saturday evening. And I'll get to see my dad on Father's Day for the first time in quite awhile. :)

Seriously?!?

I will never understand some peoples' need to follow a person somewhere just to get out of the car and scream at that person about some perceived wrong that was committed in traffic. Do I get pissed off at people in traffic? Yes. Do I honk my horn? Sometimes. Do I yell at them? Yes. But within the confines of my car, with the windows up. Would I ever spit on someone? Um, no.

So I was out doing some errands last night and saw that my gas gauge was below 1/4 tank, so I decided to fill up while I was out. My next three days will be quite hectic and needing to be somewhere only to discover an empty gas tank would not make me very happy. I noticed two cars pulling into the station while I was waiting to cross the street and enter the station parking lot, but I wasn't paying too much attention to those cars or what they were doing prior to pulling into the lot.

I pulled up to the only empty pump and got out of my car only to be greeted by the sounds of a woman screaming at a guy at the top of her lungs about him being in her lane while she was trying to yield. (Side note: I don't know what the problem was in the first place if she was yielding as she claimed, but there I go being logical again.)

These two people--a well-dressed, young man of maybe Hispanic or Arab descent driving a middle of the line Toyota of some variety, and an older (maybe my age) "comfortably" dressed woman of African American descent driving a late model car of undetermined origin--were pulled up on opposite sides of the same gas pump on the next island over from where I was. They were seriously screaming at each other and getting up in each other's faces. The man then proceeded to tell the woman she was ugly and from that point forward, referred to her as "Ugly Bitch." What that had to do with the issue at hand, I have no idea. She had also been referring to him as "Bitch," so perhaps he was just turning it back to her and adding some adjectives. No points for originality there.

Next thing I know, he spit at her. She claims he spit on her face. I don't know if that's true... he didn't appear to be close enough to make it that far, but then again, some people are accomplished spitters so who knows! Then she hacked up a loogie and spit on his car. Yes, I'm serious. They continued spitting in each other's general directions until they were apparently both out of saliva.

I continued filling the gas tank, while watching the action through the windows of the van. Had I not been afraid I'd get killed (or spit on), I would've recorded this ridiculousness on my Blackberry and posted the entire altercation here!

By the time my gas tank was full, they had stopped yelling and spitting and were filling their respective gas tanks relatively quietly. But just as I pulled away, the woman started yelling at another (as yet uninvolved) person, who was apparently staring at the scene (gee, I can't imagine why).

I got in my car and left, not willing to be part of any road rage demolition derby that might have occurred when these two idiots started jockeying for position to leave the gas station.

I'm still kind of shaking my head this morning. I, mean, seriously? Life is too short. Let. It. Go.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seen...

... on my TV just now during a story about a man with a shrimp business somewhere along the Gulf coast. He was talking to the camera, and this was the graphic label at the bottom of the screen:

[Guy's name]
Shirmper


Edit much?

Three Amigos

J-Mav has a special thing going. He's a friendly guy, and he has lots of friends. But he has two friends in particular that are his best buds. They are the Three Amigos, and they have been virtually inspeparable since they were in daycare together. In fact, one of them not being able to attend J-Mav's birthday party on the originally scheduled date was a deal-breaker. We had to change the day of of the party. Now two of the three Amigos are having their birthday parties on the same day (for the third year in a row, as it turns out). That's friendship.

One of the Three Amigos lives about 50 yards down the street and was born exactly four weeks after J-Mav. They have literally known each other their entire lives. The third Amigo lives about a mile away, still within the subdivision. His family moved here from VA Beach three summers ago. They formed a bond at daycare that other kids found difficult to penetrate. The cool thing is that the parents of the Three Amigos are all friends, too. We genuinely enjoy each other's company. In fact, once (and we need to do this again) we got a babysitter who was crazy enough to watch all of them at the same time (as well as Keeper Boy) and we six adults went to dinner at The Melting Pot. What a great evening we had!

Last year, when the pool opened, the Three Amigos and their moms started meeting at the pool after work/school every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm. We'd order pizza delivered right to the pool (there's a pool special!) and hang out. When the pool closed, we kept up our weekly ritual, alternating between our three houses and switching nights with the changing sports seasons to accomodate practice/game schedules. Now the pool is open again, and we've resumed meeting there each week.

The thing is, not only do the kids get along extremely well (a rarity, I think, for three six-year-olds to play so well together on a regular basis), but the Amigos' mamas are among my closest friends, and I look forward to my two hours each week with them. We laugh together, complain together, plot together, and even cry together.

Over the time the Three Amigos have been inseparable, one mama has lost a baby late-term and subsequently had a successful pregnancy resulting in a beautiful now-four-month-old baby boy. She is patient, beautiful, determined, and I am so happy that she finally was able to complete her family. The other mama was diagnosed with breast cancer just over a year ago, has undergone several surgeries and procedures, and come out on the other side a survivor. She, too, is beautiful, determined, and amazing. I have largely played the role of babysitter, meal provider, and taxi driver to help out where I could when I was needed. I am thankful that I haven't had a serious situation such as the ones they've been through in the time that we've known each other. But I can say without a doubt in my mind that if I ever do they'll be right there doing whatever I need them to do -- even if I didn't ask them to.

I'm thrilled J-Mav has cultivated two best friends at such a young age. I hope they remain tight throughout their school years. It's pretty cool that the Three Amigos' mamas have formed their own older version of the Three Amigos, too! :-)

And they're off...

Well, just one this time. My dad is off on his annual trek to Maine with his friend and his friend's brother to volunteer at some railroad that has steam trains. They left earlier this week, and I think they actually might be going home tomorrow or Friday. This is the third or fourth year they've done the trip. Cool road trip for a bunch of train enthusiasts. :)

Thinking...

We're minutes away from a long, hockey-less summer...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I guess it's been awhile...

OK, OK. I know. I have been slacking off on the blog... Here's some stuff that's been going on lately...

Baseball
Keeper Boy's baseball season actually ended today, one game shy of the championship game. They went out in spectacular style... a 13-1 loss. Ouch. While he hasn't complained (too much), it's been a frustrating baseball season for him and for us. He joined an already formed Majors team as a 12-year-old. That means he had only one season on the team before he aged out. Some kids have two or three years on a Majors team if they get drafted as 10- or 11-year-olds. Don't know if it was a matter of not wanting to make the investment in a player they'd have for only one year, whether it was a matter of baseball playing second fiddle to hockey for Keeper Boy, whether it was a matter of Keeper Boy being one of only a couple "new guys" on the team, or whether it was something else... but he played the minimum required time for Majors (2 innings; 1 at bat) in EVERY game this season but two. And in those he got three innings in one and four innings in one. Long story short, I think Keeper Boy's desire to play baseball has been severely curtailed through his experience this year, and it's a shame. I am very glad this season is over and I hope that some day he might want to try baseball again because he does have some talent.

J-Mav is having a great Single A season. He still has four games left. He's figured out the pitching machine and is getting hits in every game. In Single A the kids play all positions, so he's getting exposure to all of them. He is loving baseball (except when the pollen is really bad) and I hope that he can stick with his coach next year. He's great!

Speaking of allergies...
J-Mav was hit hard with allergies this year. Apparently the pollen is worse than it's been in 12 years. He was a MESS in April and through most of May. It seems to have gotten better now. I don't know if it's because the pollen counts are lower or if it's because the medicine regime is working. The doctor has him taking two 30mg Allegra pills in the morning and one at night, as well as antihistimine eye drops twice a day and prescription nose drops as needed. He also uses a Neti Pot sometimes. Poor guy. For a few weeks he didn't even want to go to baseball practice/games because his eyes hurt/itched so much. :-(

Other medical issues...
J-Mav has been dealing with a pesky case of ring worm for MONTHS. The actual rash/scaley stuff went away within a week of going on prescription cream. However, there are still a few red bumps so we continue to use the cream religiously twice a day, keeping it covered with a bandaid when he goes to school (as we were told to do by the doctor until it is completely gone). We have graduated from extremely large bandages at the beginnig, to regular sized bandaids, to the small bandaids he is using now. We are dredging the bottom of the bandaid barrel, using up all the random bandaids we have collected over the past 12 years. I think he's even worn a Sesame Street bandaid or two over the past couple of months. We'll always remember "the ring worm era" of J-Mav's life by the ever-present bandaid in all pictures taken of him from March until now. He has his 7-year well check in mid-July, so I guess we'll just keep using the cream until then and be sure to ask the doctor about it at that time. We were warned it could take a long time to completely clear up, but this is kinda bordering on ridiculous...

Hockey
J-Mav started hockey!! He's taking a learn-to-play hockey class and is all grins when he's on the ice. He'll be taking seven lessons (he's already had two) through the summer, and he will be playing on a Mites team in the fall. He looks so cute in his uniform. :)

Keeper Boy played the spring season with a great group of kids, competing in two tournaments: one in Richmond and one in Philly. The Philly tournament was over Memorial Day weekend. His team ended up winning its division and bringing home a big trophy. Woo hoo! There were three other teams in our division: a doormat team that scored, I think, one goal through the entire tournament; a thug team from New York; and a well-behaved, competitive team from New Jersey (the team we ended up facing in the finals). While playing the one team, our coach told our kids they had to pass at least three times before taking a shot, and Keeper Boy and our other goalie went almost entire periods without seeing the puck cross the blue line into their end. At any rate, the kids had fun (except for the one who broke his arm during the first game), and it was a good introduction to the world of checking for those who are new to Pee Wee level hockey. Keeper Boy will be playing with some of the kids from his spring team in the fall, so it was good to get to know their families over that weekend.

The hotel we stayed in in Philly is a whole 'nother story. It was a Quality Inn that is in the process of being renovated into a Wyndham Gardens Hotel. We checked in with little fanfare (once we figure out where to get into the hotel... construction had the front entrance inacessible); however, when we returned to our hotel that night after our first game, we were met with water streaming down our walls and out of the light fixture in the bathroom into the bathtub. That wasn't something we wanted to deal with all night, so we went downstairs to request another room. We discovered that the toilet in the room above us (one of Keeper Boy's teammate's familes) had overflowed while we were all at the hockey game. Great. Not just waterfalls within our room, but TOILET water falls. Ick. We got a new room, but it was a King bed instead of two doubles. Of course, this is the one time we didn't throw in a sleeping bag. Had to wait for a cot to be delivered. By the time we were all set up, it was after 10pm. Late night for J-Mav! Our room was fine after that, but we weren't impressed with the hotel for a variety of reasons. I won't even waste time talking about them, but I was moved to write a review on TripAdvisor.com. It's never good to piss off someone who likes to write letters. ;-P

Braces!
Keeper Boy FINALLY got his braces in April. He had relatively little trouble adjusting. I think he took Motrin for two days after he got them, and ate mainly soup, pasta, and mac & cheese for about a week. Since then, completely normal. And we've already seen a big change in his top teeth! Good thing because OMFG! Braces are WAY more expensive than when Hubby and I wore them many moons ago!

School
Eh. Not much new to report. Same old struggles. Keeper Boy did bring his Math grade up from a D (yes, he had a D for the second quarter) to a C and everything else back up to As and Bs. We're hoping for all As and Bs for the last quarter. We'll see. He has MUCH room for improvement in his study habits.

J-Mav is doing well in school. His reading has improved enormously since the beginning of the year, as has his writing. And he likes school most days. The attitude toward school is directly proportional to how tired he is. More tired=less enamored with school and with his teacher.

Weight Watchers
Yeah, not even going there. Let's just say I have A LOT of clothes in my closet that I can't wear right now. :-(

Hockey, Part II
The Capitals. Sigh. We had such high hopes that we'd be sitting here watching the Capitals in the Stanley Cup finals. But alas, instead I'm sitting here watching the Flyers (which I guess, for me, is the second best scenario) and Blackhawks. The Captials just couldn't get it done against the Habs. I guess the only thing that makes it slightly better is that the Habs also took out the Penguins.

We did hear late last week that the Caps will be playing in the Winter Classic (in Pittsburgh) on January 1, 2011. That's very cool. We entertained the idea -- for about a second -- of making a hotel reservation and trying to get tickets. But we quickly came to our senses and realized we'd be a lot more comfortable sitting in our own rec room. And we'd save A LOT of money. So that's the plan. Perhaps we'll try to go when DC hosts it, which apparently is also in the works for sometime in the next three to five years. Not quite sure how THAT's going to work since some years it's in the 60s over new years. This past year would've been perfect, though! Guess the NHL takes it chances...

Work
In other news, I quit my job at ManTech. My last day was May 24... almost exactly a month shy of a year there. Weird to leave a job so soon after I started, but it just wasn't the same job I took those 11 months ago. Re-orgs (yes, multiple) and executive management changes just weren't making me very happy to go to work every day.

I wasn't completely miserable, and I could've stuck it out, but I had an oppoturnity to take a position as Corporate Communication Manager at a small government contractor... Zimmerman Associates, Inc. I have been there a week and so far, so good. :) I will still be working in proposals, but I will also be working with website content and marketing material... much like I did when I first started at Datatrac all those years ago. :-) I am in the process of creating and implementing standards for proposals, style, editing, etc. Stuff I love! :)

Grandpa
When we were in the Philly area for the hockey tournament over Memorial Day weekend, we went to visit my grandfather. Well, first, J-Mav and I went with Mom and Dad to Grandpa's house. I wanted to visit it as I haven't been there in more than 20 years. I have such good memories of gathering there with my dad's side of the family every Thanksgiving, up until the year after my grandmother died. I remember the house being big, with a big yard. The thing is, it's not really so big! My dad pointed out that it seemed big because I was smaller. That's probably true. He said my next-oldest cousin had the same thought when he visited a few months ago.

I wandered through the house, which my parents and my aunts and uncles have been working on going through and boxing up since my grandfather moved into the assisted living facility. It was dark and seemingly stuck in the 50s or 60s. But it was much as I remembered it... except for the not being as big as I remembered it. J-Mav thought it was cool that my Dad had a bedroom in the attic and was very concerned that the floor was "tilty" in various parts of the house. He was fascinated with the sunroom for some reason. I finally saw the basement and wine cellar. In all my years, I had never been in that basement. I took some pictures of the outside when we left. It definitely needs some work, inside and out, but it's still my grandparents' home and the house my dad grew up in. J-Mav said it looked like a haunted house. That may be, but I think any ghosts that are there are the good kind. :-) That visit makes me want to go back and walk through my other grandparents' home again, just to see what the new owners have done with it. It was also a big, cool house.

On Sunday, Hubby, Keeper Boy, J-Mav, and I visited Grandpa between Keeper Boy's hockey games. We spent a little over an hour with him. He was eating lunch when we arrived. The man can put away some food! I went and said hello and told him we'd sit in the TV area and wait for him to finish because I didn't want him to not eat because we were there. I'm not sure he recognized me right off the bat. We took him down to his room after he was done, but not before a woman came over and told Hubby that he was very handsome and she loved him. :-) Did I mention my grandfather lives in the memory unit of his assisted living facility?

We took him down to his room, which is very nice. The whole place is nice, actually. It's in a residential area and it has a homey feel. Even the dining area looks and feels like a super-sized dining room in someone's home. Very nice. Anyway, we took him to his room and he was telling us how the restaurant has "gone down hill" and that they'd been going there for years and it just wasn't the same anymore. We played along. Then we started looking at some pictures that were displayed and at that point he definitely knew who I was, and he made the connection between the pictures of the boys and the boys standing in front of him. Keeper Boy and J-Mav did great with him. They didn't seem scared or put off by anything or the fact that he was in a wheelchair. We had warned them that great-grandpa might not recognize us, so they were prepared.

The TV had been on when we went in, I had my back to it most of the time. After a while, Keeper Boy made an interesting face and we realized it was on E! and the show that was on was Kendra... a reality show about a former Playboy bunny. We asked grandpa if he was watching it, and he said he never watches TV, so we turned it off. Didn't think the boys needed to be seeing it, though they might have disagreed. :-) Anyway, we looked at all of his pictures and talked about who was in them. And then we gave him a couple more that we'd brought. He seemed to like them -- he flipped through them multiple times, either to look at the again, or because he didn't remember seeing them a few seconds before... not sure which -- and made comments about how the boys are both so tall. Eventually we had to leave to get back to the rink, but it was great to see him and he looked good.

Summer
I think we're mostly organized for summer. We're renting a lake house with friends in late July. Keeper Boy is going to sleepaway camp in early August. J-Mav is doing the same camp in early July, but as a daycamper. He's not ready to go away for a week yet. He's a homebody. They're spending a week at Grandma and Grandpa's house in PA, and a week at Grandma's house in OH. Keeper Boy is doing tennis camp and is on the waiting list for an adventure camp. He's also doing a half-day, week-long camp as a sort of orientation to middle school at the end of August. J-Mav will be spending time with the same wonderful girl who watched the boys last summer, as well as a week with the college-aged daughter of family friends. They'll be busy all summer and I think it'll be a good one! The boys and I are also meeting my college roommate and her kids for a weekend at Knoebel's Grove. We're all looking forward to that!

I'm done...
OK... that's all I can think of for now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Heard...

Went to Wal-Mart to get some tomato stakes and a birthday card. J-Mav was with me, and not happy to be going to "another store" (we had gone to Modell's to return something and pick up a birthday gift).

"Wal-Mart's dumb. All you do is get couches and sofas and baby wipes."

Well, alrighty then.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Seen...

I received a text from Hubby last Sunday night while I was heading home from a weekend at my parents' house...

Our children challenge my will to live.

It had been a long weekend.

More poetry

In keeping with the poetry theme of yesterday, I thought I'd post these two poems Keeper Boy wrote for his poetry unit at school. I think they're both very good. :)

School is Great!
I don't last in Physical Ed.
In music I can't sing.
I can't pass art to save my life.
In computer lab I don't know a thing.
I'll go dumb in History.
In Math my mind starts swelling.
Don't know much Biology.
At least I'm good at speling!


If I Were In Charge of the World
This poem is loosely based on the original of the same name by Judith Voirst. Their assignment was to use it as a base and write a similar poem.

If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel parking meters,
Tuesday nights,
The Iraqi fight, and also Justin Bieber.

If I were in charge of the world
A mile wouldn't be so far,
Dinosaurs would be alive,
And I'd have a hockey rink in my backyard.

If I were in charge of the word
You wouldn't have sad.
Hunger would be gone.
You could never get mad.

If I were in charge of the world
War would hit the dirt.
No "Leave him along, you've got your own!"
No one could ever get hurt.

If I were in charge of the world
There'd be no such think as being sick,
Every food would be chocolate,
And you could transport yourself with a click.

It'd be me, tall and proud,
With the stars and stripes unfurled,
On the gold medal stand, in the Olympics,
If I were in charge of the world.