Friday, September 29, 2006

A Lollipop Is Worth the Sacrifice

So Bella is a picky-eater. If she doesn't like something, she will clamp her lips tightly shut. If by chance you can coerce her into taking a bite, she will gag and generally act like she is about to die. Sad but true. All of it.

So this afternoon, we went to the homecoming parade. There was much candy thrown to the kids. When we got home, I told them they could each eat one piece. Bella unwrapped her lollipop, took a couple licks and said, "This lollipop tastes a little bit yucky. But that's okay. I can still eat it."

Does anyone know of a company that makes vegetable-infused lollipops? Because then she could eat it, even if it tasted yucky!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Just a bit of Rainbow Magic

Today was Bella's birthday party. A Rainbow Fairy party. I of course had a lot of last-minute preps to do but it turned out pretty nicely, I think. A big thanks to S for helping out, keeping things running smoothly, and for being a great Goblin!

We played Fairy Freeze Tag and Musical Rainbow Pillows. We made fairies out of pipe-cleaners then "furnished" black pots for them to live in while they awaited their return to Fairyland. The girls (and Ryan!) colored in the giant map of Fairyland and Rainspell Island. How long do you think it will stay up on the living room wall?!

And in what is unfortunately becoming a tradition, there was a problem with the candles. For some reason I can't seem to have the right candles on hand for the cake. When Bella turned 1, I had to use a votive candle because the #1 candle I thought I had couldn't be found. Today when I pulled out the box of candles I saw the other day, there were only 3 candles inside. So I used those plus a #2 candle and told Bella she would have to add. Ay! When will I ever get it right?!?

Tomorrow is our family dinner. Bella requested spaghetti. Should I wrap her present or just give it to her in the bag?

Friday, September 22, 2006

A demonstration of cooperation

So S and C came over the other morning for a playdate. The two little ones were playing together very nicely all morning which apparently lured us into complacency. Eventually we realized it had been a little too quiet for a little too long... S went down to the basement to check on them and caught them working together in a great demonstration of cooperation between 2-year-olds to lift a paint can, trying to get it into the washing machine. They had already put in 3 bottles of shampoo, a roll of shop rags, and a random bike tool or two. Oops! Felisa goes into the laundry room all the time to "help" me but my kids don't ever play in there (at least, as far as I know!). C's laundry room at home is gated off. So there it was... the door to the laundry room standing wide open and the open washer just beckoning to be filled.

Isn't it nice to see the kids cooperating and playing together so nicely?!?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Losing Family Ties

Mom and I were recently discussing custody of family-history papers/pictures/etc and antiques. Since then I have been reflecting on how America (or at least the parts of America that I have lived in) seems to have drifted apart. Generations no longer live together in the same area for years and years. The closest living relatives live 900 miles away from where we live now. Most of the others are even farther. In the extended family in particular, they are like strangers. I see them so rarely. I know nothing of their daily lives. We have little to no shared history. No joint memories of growing up or of how Grandpa So-and-So always used to X. How Cousin JoeBob is just like Uncle Harry. And so on.

For myself, I have been blessed with a great network of local friends and "family". But when looking at it on a longer-term perspective of multiple generations, it's just not the same. I do want to keep the family history stuff but will my children be interested? The more years that pass, it seems the farther apart we all grow. It makes me sad, like we are missing out on something important. And who knows - maybe we'd all hate each other if we lived closer together. But from a thousand miles away, it seems like we're just missing out on good stuff.


"Today you should leave the past in the past in case it becomes you. Live your life in hope, instead of letting the past and tomorrow take control of your TODAY." ~Ivona Evans~

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Deep Thoughts

S and I went for a walk this morning. At 5:15. In the morning. Oh and did I mention that it was raining? Yes, we're crazy. I mean, dedicated! Anyway, the subject of SNL and Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy came up. Hence today's title. The deep thoughts to follow are newly developed though. My one brain cell has had a busy day!

Deep Thought #1 -
I mustn't project my own needs/feelings/issues onto others. We are who we are. We are all unique in our personalities, hang-ups, way that we deal with the world.

I love my mother. Yesterday's conversation could have gone better but I think we were both having a bad day at the same time. I will continue to pray for her and for myself and hopefully things will heal and settle and get better as time progresses.

Deep Thought#2 -
(this one isn't new - this is the one that got us started on Jack Handy this morning!)
Bella walks slowly. VERY slowly. As slow as molasses and perhaps even slower. Which drives. me. crazy! Walking to school or to anywhere with her is torture for me. Come ooooonnnnn I say for the millionth time in 2 minutes... But here's the deep part. Wait for it. I don't like to walk fast either. So I guess her slow walk is my slow walk but with 5-year-old sized legs which naturally makes it seem torturously slow to me.

Deep Thought #3 -
Team work rocks. Heard on the news that a study has been published which shows a group of average people working together can solve harder problems more quickly than a super-smarty working alone. See. There's the proof, people. We should all work together more often. What a wonderful world it would be... Teamwork within my division was one of the things I loved about the Navy. Cut-throat competition between officers for recognition and advancement made me sick to my stomach. I'm seriously considering going ahead and officially resigning my commission. But we'll save that big discussion for another day.

Deep Thought #4 -
How do we get to be the way we are? I mean, really. What makes us the people we are? Why is one person a very fast walker, almost in over-drive (as perceived by the slow walkers), and another person a slow walker? What makes one person feel guilt about something and others to not? What makes one person a fan of teamwork and another person super competitive? I could go on and on but you get my point.

Deep Thought #5 -
Should I give up my LP business? I would keep the SB Fairy but get rid of the classes/inventory portion that LP represents. I'm not a salesman. I have a limited number of hours in each day. Do I want to spend it making up newsletters and class schedules for nonexistent customers? Or would I rather just take a day or two each month to get out and get some work done on my own memory books? Spending time enjoying the company of friends while looking at pictures of my cute kids at an event which was organized with someone else's time and energy? I'm not making money. My time could be better spent focusing on ways to not spend money rather than making money. Which is a money-maker in and of itself, really. Though I think that if I were to have the opportunity to dedicate as much time each month to my LP biz that I would give to, say, USNR drilling, I could build it up into something. But there is resistance from the other half. Which makes it that much more challenging. All of this brings me to my next deep thought...

Deep Thought #6 -
What do I really want out of life? Fame and fortune? A happy, healthy family? Good times spent in the company of those I love and care about? We each get 24 hours each day. How will I spend mine?

Well, let's leave it at 6 for tonight. As you may recall, I was up very early this morning and tomorrow's exercise class starts at 0600. All these deep thoughts have worn me out and so I say Good night! Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Life Sucks and then you die...

How's that for a fine how-do-you-do?!? Yesterday and today have been cloudy, cool, and rainy and my mood has fluctuated between pretty happy and not-so-happy. Not a bad day overall but one of those not quite right days. The days when things are going fairly smoothly with occasional hiccups like stubbing my toe, spilling bleach water all over the kitchen floor, and having my foot peed on by a 2-year-old. Maybe things will get better when the sun comes out on Friday. If I live that long...

So my parents are getting a divorce. Okay. Not the best news in the world but I can deal with it. Some kids get caught in he-said, she-said quandries when their parents divorce. I am in the no-one-says-a-*$%&*-thing quandry. Why? Oh the reasons are many... My dad is apparently the guilty party so probably doesn't really want to talk about it. My mom doesn't want to "burden me" and she is working very hard to shelter me from the truth, whatever that may be. So meanwhile I get lots of half-sentence phone calls that leave me saying, "Huh?!?" I may be their kid but I am not A Kid. Just spill the beans already so I can figure out exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing and if there is anything I could do to help anyone.

But no. I'm just a kid. So I'll sit here 2000 miles away from the situation and wonder. Probably worry a little. And definitely say, "Huh?" at least a hundred more times.

Life sucks and then you die.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Looking Back

Today is the five-year anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. Ron is at the Pentagon today. He left this morning with a couple extra kisses and "I love you"s and strict instructions not to be killed by an airplane or in any other way today. Five years ago he was there. Standing right outside the Pentagon, waiting for a shuttle. Watching the plane coming so fast, straight at him. He doesn't ever talk about it much but it must have been very scary. I was scared for just a moment but managed to stay firmly in denial until he showed up on the doorstep a few hours after it all happened. Life for us would go on. We would live happily ever after.

I read Alas, Babylon! over the weekend. That in combination with the 9/11 anniversary makes me wish for happily ever after forever. He's not allowed to leave me. Not ever.

I have included below what I wrote on the one-year anniversary of 9/11.

Reflections on 9/11

Here it is exactly one year later... The coverage and reminders are all over the television and radio and so it is on my mind. I need to tell my story. It is still hard to wrap my mind around the enormity of it all. Over 3000 people killed. 3000. That’s a lot. Does anyone even know what 3000 people looks like? It’s 3x more students than were in my high school. It’s 2x more people than were on my first ship, USS Cape Cod. Last year, when it was happening, I was so calm. Perhaps unnaturally calm. I tell people that I was in denial. I sat with Ryan and my mother-in-law, Lourna, watching it all on TV. Here I am, 9 months pregnant, watching the fire at the Pentagon. There were conflicting reports about where the plane had hit but one report said that the plane had hit the newly constructed area. That’s where Ron’s office is. I was worried but remaining very calm. I allowed myself to briefly consider what I would do if he had been killed. Would I sell the house? I would have to find a job. Would I move back home to Colorado or maybe to New Mexico? But enough of that. He was fine. He had to be. I told Mac (that was Isabella’s nickname before she was born) that she wasn’t allowed to be born until Daddy came home. I couldn’t call Ron on the cell phone because I had it in case I was to go into labor. I had his pager number but that was it. So we waited. Lots of people called, wondering if I had heard anything. No, nothing. Again, still very calm about it all. Finally at about noon, Ron pulled up outside. Thank God!

Ron is safe. I don’t know anyone who was killed or injured in the attacks. Life really goes on as usual. Isabella was born 2 weeks later on the 24th and that definitely kept me busy. A few times at church I was able to reflect on the tragedy and all who had lost their lives. Still it is so huge- very difficult to wrap your mind around it. 3000 people. That’s a lot of people, who left a lot of families behind. I still can’t imagine and don’t think about it too much. My daily life hasn’t been affected too much. I don’t worry about traveling. I don’t think the terrorists will have to make any more attacks for awhile. All they’ll have to do is threaten an attack and everyone will get all uptight and worried. They’ve made themselves known and can just play on our fears.

There was a documentary aired on TV of film shot inside the World Trade Center on September 11. I watched that. Very surreal. Very scary and disconcerting to watch all that is going on. People were actually jumping out of the windows. One of the firefighters’ comments was, “How bad must it be up there if the better option is to jump?!” Watching the documentary really made this whole thing more real to me. You were right there in the thick of it, not just watching news coverage from afar.

We went to NYC twice this summer. While there we went to see the WTC site. I remember thinking in general how clean the city was. In my mind, I was still imagining it covered in dust and rubble like I had seen it on TV and in the documentary months ago. The WTC site itself was nothing but a hole in the ground. The thing about it now is not what is there (all the rubble that had been there before clean-up) but what wasn’t there (two huge skyscrapers and thousands of people who had been killed).

Now it has been a year. I am thinking a lot about the tragedy. The enormity of it all is still hard to grasp. I have been watching a lot of the stories about the different families affected and I just cry every time. Even now as I think about it, I get teary-eyed. I guess I’m just having a delayed reaction! After the first few hours before Ron got home, I was no longer directly affected by the attacks and just stayed focused on my everyday life – running the household, taking care of the kids. I don’t think about it too much. Just lately with all the coverage I have been thinking a lot about it. I have had enough sadness this week. Hopefully I will be able to move it to the back of my mind again soon.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Marshmallow Moon Balls

Another month, another full moon fiasco. Though this one hardly qualifies as a fiasco compared to last month's desert adventures. Though apparently I was wrong when I said that the kids would always remember our desert adventure. I asked them last night if they remembered what we did last month and they had NO IDEA! The month that we had breakfast at IHOP sticks in their memory no problem but not the super-fun drive/night hike in the desert. Oh well.

So I was walking Bailey Wednesday night when I noticed what appeared to be a very full moon. Uh-oh, I thought. Is today the full moon? Our calendar hasn't been in it's normal spot since the remodel (I have a very cool calendar hanger on order though) so maybe I had missed the moon phase somehow. When I got back, I looked at the calendar. Which very clearly stated new moon. Huh. Doesn't look like a new moon! Ron googled the moon schedule and the full moon would be officially full on Thursday. We debated for quite some time if we should go ahead and do something quick that night since the moon was already shining and looked full. Ron was too tired so we decided (against my better judgement since I was remembering last month when the moon was hidden on the actual full moon day even though it had shone brightly the night before) to wait until Thursday night for our activity. Moon rise, 7:36 pm. Okay....

I decided our activity could be popcorn balls eaten on the back porch while gazing at the moon. I remember my mom making popcorn balls in the kitchen sink once oh so many years ago. So I figured, no problem. I let the kids each add 10 marshmallows to the pot and then let them watch me try to make balls out of the VERY STICKY popcorn. So we had popcorn blobs but really they taste pretty much the same as popcorn balls, I think. Yummy Marshmallow Popcorn Blob treats, check. Moon? Um, hello? Where's the moon? At 8 pm it still wasn't up past the trees. So walked to the corner. Still no moon. Oh well. Back home and into the bathtub to wash off sticky marshmallow then off to bed. Happy Full Moon Day!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


"People talk about being successful or not being successful, but the concept of success is very ambiguous. There is no need to pursue other people's ideas of success.

-Ichiro (baseball player)

That's right folks... this was on C's Starbucks cup this morning and it really resonated with me. So... I stole it. I stole the cup from a 2-year old just so I could have the quote for my blog. I didn't steal his hot chocolate though... :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Felisa's First Day of School EVER

That's right folks... Felisa started school today. In the same class Bella was in 2 years ago. She sat right down at the playdough table and though she wasn't smiling or visibly excited in any way, she certainly wasn't sad to see me go. Will she pull a Bella and cry for me when I leave next week? Just when I'm certain she's perfectly fine with the whole idea?

I peeked in at the end and saw her singing the train song. Looked to me like she was enjoying it. Mrs. F said she thought Felisa was a little shy. Different than Ron's forecast - talks too much. Maybe she's like me - quiet and shy until we get comfortable then you can't shut us up! Time will tell...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Swimming, Swimming, All the Way to School...

So TS Ernesto has left the area. But some relative of his must be in town looking for him because it was POURING DOWN RAIN this morning. So instead of walking Ryan to the door or to his classroom, I dropped him off at the kiss-n-ride. Luckily he's not a newbie anymore so he knew where to go. I'll find out in 30 minutes if he made it... And if he survived his first day of first grade. Seems like he's been gone forever...

In other news:
*Felisa told me she wanted to go potty by herself (pull down her pants and climb up onto the toilet which I usually help her with). I was in the middle of being impressed by how well she was doing when... she fell in! Oops! A few tears and a dry shirt but she's fine now.
*Bella has perfected the ear-piercing sound of a puppy crying.
*I cleaned off my big table again - finally! - so we can have a nice family dinner together tonight on the first day of school.
*Ron and I ate some of my first-ever-canned spaghetti sauce the other day and neither of us fell victim to food poisoning. Woo hoo! I wouldn't let any of the kids have any because I was worried about whether or not it had really worked, despite all indications that all had gone well. Now I know.

Monday, September 04, 2006


"Life is like mission impossible. If you are still alive at the end of the day, that means you win. It doesn't matter if you blew up the helicopter, demolished the skyscraper, or blasted the bridge to bits; if you are still alive, you win."

-from a stranger in blogland

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Don't wake me up - I'm dreaming!

I read this post by Mir the other day and it illustrates perfectly what I am looking forward to, starting next week. Pure, uninterrupted time to do stuff. Any stuff really. Work stuff, scrapbook-for-me stuff, house projects (we'll start with the basic cleaning!), drinking coffee and reading blogs, etc. Whatever I want. And I'm envisioning great productivity because it takes a lot less time to finish things when you are not interrupted 50 million times. Just today I have spent at least 3 hours on 2 scrapbook pages. Could've done it in half the time without the interruptions. I know that reality will set in quickly and those 9 hours every week will evaporate in seconds and I will end up with little to show for it but it hasn't happened yet so I will continue to dream... And hold tight to those hours, for they are MINE!

Here's a quote from Mir's post...

And lo, it was quiet at home. It was peaceful at home! I worked for hours
without interruption. I ate chips directly from the bag and did not have to
share. My chair did not do a mysterious boogie across the room each time I got
up and left my desk for a minute. It was quite wonderful.
And the VERY MOST AMAZING PART is that with that time to sit down and focus—and not have to break up squabbling or ask why we’re playing in the sink or where are you going with THAT—by the time they got off the bus this afternoon, I was able to turn off the computer and not return to work (sans guilt) until after they went to bed. All summer I feel like I’ve been surgically attached to the computer, because it turns out that it takes a LOT LONGER to get anything done when you’re
interrupted every 15 seconds. Who knew?

Procrastination Doesn't Pay

Why is it that some lessons are so much harder to learn than others? Are we all programmed differently, leaving some more prone to procrastination than others? Or, a more exact question would be, "Why me?". Why do I put things off, over and over again? I find myself more often than not working frantically at the last minute to finish something. Even when I start early so that I won't be rushing at the end, I always am. Rushing. Frantically. Squeezing some things in and purposely dropping other things off the radar. I liken it to juggling. (Disclaimer - I can't actually juggle, not real objects, and as you will soon see, not imaginary objects either!) I have a set limit of commitments/projects/etc. that I can handle at any one given time. All my other commitments, or balls, remain in a stack next to me on the to-do list. Suddenly, a ball will jump from the list into my hands so I am forced to drop one of my currently active projects back to the inactive list. Squeaky wheel getting the grease and all.

I have no answer to this ageless dilemma. Just a resolve to continue the fight against the last-minute rush. Because then I won't be sloshing through the puddles from a tropical storm so I can take my child to the library to return the summer reading form on the very last day. Even though the form had been complete for over a month. Even though we had been to the library 3 times in the last 2 weeks, forgetting the form each and every time. And I won't be working in my office trying to finish a project even though a big ugly spider has just crawled across my desk. Even though I now have the creepy crawlies because I am sure more spiders are lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. But I can't leave because I have a deadline! My dear friend, S, has promised to print out my headline Procrastination Doesn't Pay and show it to me the next time I am rushing and cursing my procrastinatory nature. Eventually, the message will sink in, right?

Or am I forever doomed?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Road Trip - Express Version

Time for another road trip, but this one will be MUCH shorter than the last. Barely qualifies as a road trip, really...

Any guesses of where my first stop was???

Day 1 - Wednesday - August 30, 2006

1048 - Starbucks. Need coffee for the trip! Did you guess right?

1054 -
Bella: Are we in Richmond yet?
Me: No. We have 2 hours to drive.
Bella: Boy you sure can drive a lot.
Ryan and Bella commenced a listing of all the states we had gone through on our last trip, plus a few that we missed (I think Ryan mentioned Michigan).

1058 - I have managed to get lost on the way to Wendy's (forgot which side of the road it was on and couldn't get across 3 lanes of traffic!) so did a loop through the dentist office parking lot. Had a couple worried passengers! Who has to go to the dentist?!? they worried...

1108 - Stop at Wendy's. They got my order wrong - not enough french fries, no straw, and after I went back to get a straw, I discovered that they had given me the wrong drink. Grrr!!! Called Allie for directions since I can't find the ones I used last time.

1134 - Traffic jam at 123. There is clearly no good time to drive without traffic issues in this large metro area. Blech. Traffic.

1223 - Felisa is sleeping but Ryan and Bella are NOT taking a nap like I told them to!

1224 - Darn! I forgot my camera.

1246 - Ryan asks Bella if she will give him half of her cookie. Never mind that he already ate an entire cookie of his own half an hour ago. And Bella being the nice sister that she is, gives him half.

1:10 pm - Stop at Memories Galore to check for paper for my baby book project.

1:30 pm - Arrive at Allie's. Mileage, approx. 145

Felisa has gone downhill on our drive today. What started out as an occasional cough is quickly becoming a constant cough with quick breathing and a hot, sweaty head. Not good when at the home of your germ-concious friend. Do you think she'll let us stay?

I was able to get 3 more pages done for the baby book before Felisa totally disintegrated. Matthew went down for a nap then Felisa fell asleep so we cancelled our eating out plans and ate the yummy kielbasa and veggies dinner that Allie made. We decided to venture out to Barnes and Noble for coffee and dessert before the rain started. I only got one nasty look (How dare you bring that child out into public when she so clearly has the plague!?!). Never mind that I was carrying her the whole time which limited her ability to spread her plague. Drove back to Allie's in the rain and got the kids into bed.

Day 2 - Thursday - August 31, 2006

Breakfast - scrambled eggs and biscuits. Yummy! A shower to make me feel more alive after a long sleepless night with Coughing Girl Who Can't Breathe. The kids got more playtime then a clean-up session to restore order after the 2-Day Kid Tornado. Loaded up the car while the kids played the Star Wars Legos computer game. Ryan was sad to leave. Richard offered to drive ahead of us and show us the way to Schlotsky's.

1142 - Leave Allie's.
Bella: That was fun.
Me: What was fun?
Bella: John's house.

Enroute to Schlotsky's. First stop... Starbucks, of course! Then when we arrived at Schlotsky's, Felisa was already asleep so Richard picked up our food also while I waited in the car. He came back with the biggest sandwich I have ever seen - I think it weighed 5 pounds. Turns out they have a family size sandwich so when I asked for extra large, that's what I got. I wanted to bring some home for Ron but yikes! But now I don't have to cook dinner. And they had S's pizza so she gets a treat too.

12:34 pm - Gas, $2.50/gallon. Pretty big price difference - just 2 hours down the road and it is 50 cents less per gallon.

12:39 pm - McD's drive thru. The line is very long but I know Ryan and Bella won't touch the Schlotsky's sandwich with a 10-foot pole. Felisa wakes up as we drive away but falls right back to sleep, thankfully. She really needs a good, restful nap.

1:01 pm - on I-64 East.

1:59 pm - Pass an AAFES truck. I don't think I've ever seen one of those before.

2:04 pm - Traffic is getting heavy. There are 6 lanes across, 3 in each direction. Traffic is moving at a steady speed but all 6 lanes are full of cars as far as the eye can see. Big difference from driving in Kansas where it was 2 lanes across and I didn't see another car for as long as 5-10 minutes at a time. Big difference!

2:17 pm - Traffic slows at... 123. Same place we slowed down yesterday - kind of weird.

2:40 pm - Deliver Chicken Pesto Pizza to S. Apparently I misunderstood - she loves the Chicken Pesto Sandwich and has never had the pizza. Oh well. I still get an A for effort, right?! :)

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig. Kids go right to the tv after 24 hours without it. Oh, the torture!

I took Ryan and Bella to see Melissa's pre-season marching band show. It was cool and windy - should've brought jackets! Good show though. I love that Melissa does the flags, just like I did oh so many years ago. The sickies, Ron and Felisa stayed home.

8:45 pm - headed for bed. I can't believe it is only 8:45. Seems like almost midnight!