Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dear Mom, Jason, Sue, etc....

I'm so sorry that I haven't updated since our flight. I was under the impression that since I am currently sitting across the room from you (okay, down the freeway from Sue) and one of you actually travelled with me, you would know that we made it safely and had a wonderful Christmas. But since I'm getting told repeatedly that none of you know what we're up to, this update's for you!

So, we made it!

What? You want more? Okay, fine. The night before we travelled, we stayed with friends in D.C. It was wonderful to see them, but George wasn't real interested in sleeping, so we only managed to get about three hours before we had to get back up and head to the airport. The plane that was supposed to have power outlets? Didn't. BUT, George did amazingly well. We didn't know how long the DVD battery would last, so we didn't turn it on until we had less than two hours to go. For the first three, both kids played quietly, drew pictures, and read books with us. They were great, we were exhausted!

Other than a slight delay in San Francisco, both flights when very smoothly. We were very lucky in our destinations, as many other Western airports were cancelling all their flights due to snow.

To be honest, I don't remember much from the following couple of days. We were all very jet lagged and trying to finish our Christmas preparations. We recovered in time to enjoy two wonderful holiday gatherings with family. I am so very happy to be here with them!

Christmas itself was so fun! We did the present opening in stages to accomodate children's attention spans and the arrival of more family. Other than the yummy food, hilarious conversation and family jokes, and lounging in my new pajamas all day, my newest favorite Christmas memory is, of course, my children. They did so great, playing quietly with new toys while the adults chatted, showing such joy in those new toys, and being complete angels all day. And at the end of the day, when everyone had gone home, they sat quietly, enjoying their new art supplies.

Peace, quiet, happiness, and a glass of wine....what more do you need? I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, as well!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Getting ready to go!

Today I called our travel agent with a question and, as she's looking up our reservation, I hear, "Oh gosh, I'm glad you called." Um, WHAT???? No big deal, except that our already early morning flight has been made even earlier by about 20 minutes. Since we always go for overkill, we would have been plenty early anyway, but can you imagine the adrenaline overload if I had found that out while we were checking in?? Ya think maybe airlines should be required to TELL their paying passengers when they change the flight schedule?

But, on a better note, I found out that our 5 plus hour flight is on a B757. Why do we care? Because B757's that are traveling across the country have power outlets at every seat. Can I get a big YAHOOOOOOO!!!!!!? The portable DVD player will be plugged in the minute they allow it and the Wiggles will sing us across the country!! Normally, five hours of nonstop TV is a bit more than I allow. But with George being "that kid" that tends to scream a lot on airplanes, and the fact that music filled videos calm him, we'll be making an exception. I can't tell you how much stress drained out of my body when I found that out. Life is good.

It will be even better Thursday, when I wake up in Oregon. Yippee!!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Questionnaire

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Um, one of those has the word "chocolate" in it, right? That pretty much trumps all other choices. Though, Jason does make a yummy egg nog for us every Christmas Eve.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa leaves one present unwrapped for each child. Usually the big, hard-to-wrap ones!

3. Colored lights or white lights on tree/house? I love icicle lights on houses, but on the tree I can go either way.

4. Do you hang Mistletoe? No.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Normally, the day after Thanksgiving. This year, we're just looking forward to Gramma & Papa's decorations!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Excluding dessert? Do people eat anything other than dessert from Thanksgiving to Christmas? Seriously?

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Going out into the woods (okay, a Christmas tree farm, but I thought it was the forest) to pick out a tree. We always got cold and sappy and bickered about which tree to get, but I loved it!

8. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We've started opening one gift, new pajamas for everyone. That way our Xmas morning pictures are that much prettier!

9. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember not knowing the truth, though I'm sure I believed at some point.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Lots of family ornaments, handed down from parents and grandparents, and lights. No tinsel or garlands to clutter it up, I like to see the pine needles!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? LOVE IT!!!!

12. Can you ice skate? I haven't in years, but I used to manage getting around the rink without falling.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I remember getting a leather bomber jacket when I was about 13. I was sooooo cool.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Making it magical for my children.

15. What tops your tree? A glittery gold star with pearl-type thingies in the points. Sounds kind of strange when I try to describe it.

16. What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Leaving cookies for Santa. Or, as Emma has made this her duty, leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and a salad for the reindeer!

17. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Oh heck, both! I love, love, love choosing just the right gifts for each person and watching them open them. But I love seeing what other people choose for me, too!

18. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Thank you! A normal holiday food question! Fudge. Yum. And decorated sugar cookies. And 24 hour salad (see my Thanksgiving entry). And Mom's apple pie.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Any of the classics, O Holy Night, Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Joy to the World, etc.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Bleh.

21. What is your favorite Christmas special/movie? A Christmas Story. Have to watch it every year.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Do I feel lucky?

My blog pals are talking about luck today. And when I posted that prompt this morning I had all sorts of ideas and, well, energy. But you see, we spent most of the afternoon banished from our home (with the dog, during George's normal nap time, and we forgot hats and mittens so we couldn't go to the park), so Realtors could preview our house. And now, now I'm tired and have no idea as to what I was planning on regaling you with.

So I'll leave you with the most recent moment in my life when I truly felt lucky.

Day: Today

Time: 6:30 am

Setting: Living room, leaning over the couch trying to convince Emma that she wanted to eat breakfast.

Costume: Slippers, bath robe, no make-up, hair clipped out of my face

The words that came out of my dear daughter's mouth: "Mommy, you are so beautiful."

I am the luckiest woman in the world.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Let's just say that I woke up at 4 am this morning, realizing that I only have 2 1/2 weeks left in this house. Let's just say that I spent the next hour stressing about the satellite receiver and DSL modem and how my husband would have to remember to pack them up and send them to their respective companies and how the boxes for them are behind one of the shelving units in the garage and they need to be gathered up before the movers come (which, granted, won't be until at least late January, but still) and how I need to write these things down on our list so we wouldn't forget and they wouldn't keep me awake at night!!!

Okay, I needed to get that out. Since that early morning heart attack, I've pretty much been a zombie all day. Jason just laughed at me, because he had his stress attack about a week ago. It took me a while to catch up, I guess. Tomorrow, we're back to our chores: packing up closets, getting rid of clutter, cleaning, etc. Wednesday, our realtors will come to the house to sign papers and take a look around. Then, it will be back to packing so that we have what we need for the five months or so that we'll be living with relatives.

I'm exhausted. I'll try to be a bit more coherent tomorrow!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas 2005 Memories

I created this for my latest Art Journal Challenge at DSP, Creating a Holiday Journal. Check it out if you want to join in!
Blue Christmas by Elizabeth Weaver, Because I Love You page kit by Rene Bross, Paint It! Element Pack by Stacey Jewell Stahl, Floral Traditions Add On Pack by Rene Bross, Altered Journey by Beth Nixon, DSP Basics Set by Valeri Brumfield, Flossie kit by Fee Jardine, Simple Pleasures kit by Michelle Coleman, Journal from Stock Exchange, Fonts: Susie's Hand, Typewriter

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dare I say "Done"?

With my Christmas shopping, that is? No, not done, but done with everything that we need to mail. Yay!!! The fact that that only includes three families does not diminish my joy. I still have tons to do, but mostly this is going to be an Internet shopping year. Moving on December 20th means all our presents need to be at their destination when we get there. No way am I going to waste valuable suitcase space on presents, if I can help it. So, Gramma Sharon & Papa Ray and David & Family in California, and Adam & Family in Denmark, your gifts will be at the post office tomorrow. Everyone else, I'm working on it!

What if Christmas didn't require giving gifts? Would it still feel the same? In a word, no. But that's not necessarily bad, just different. I have to think that Christmas would still be a wonderful, peaceful holiday. Maybe more like Thanksgiving, all about family and friends celebrating together. I love having a reason to get gifts for people, but that does overwhelm the day. What I am really looking forward to this year is being with family and watching my kids enjoy themselves. 25 days 'til Christmas, people! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oy, I'm getting old

And creaky. I used to laugh at Jason and all his popping, cracking, creaking parts. But I really need to stop, because I'm starting to pop and crack and creak too. So, I asked my blog pals: How old would you say you are, if you didn't actually know your age?

Truthfully? I think I would guess pretty close to my actual age (which, for blog purposes, we will call "early 30's"). I've always had friends that were older than myself and I've always felt older than my actual age. But these days, I feel like I fit. Like it's right to be a stay at home mom with two kids entering school. Like it's okay to be exploring new hobbies and ideas. Like it's appropriate that we're getting prepared to sell our first home and buy a newer (hopefully bigger) one.

And the creaking? Yeah, I guess it's about time for that to be showing up, too. Although maybe, just maybe, if I would get up out of this chair more often and get a little exercise, there wouldn't be quite so much noise.

Now, the ages of the rest of my family? Let's see. If I didn't know better, I would guess George (3) to be about ohhhhh, three; Emma (5) to be at least ohhhhhh, fifteen; and Jason (slightly older early 30's) to be at most ohhhhhhh, twelve.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving Diary

6:00 am - The alarm rings. I roll over and go back to sleep.
6:15 am - I realize that I should get up RIGHT NOW if I want to enjoy a cup of coffee before the preparations begin.
6:50 am - We have begun! I'm chopping onions & celery and eying the naked turkey in my sink. Time to go diving for giblets.
7:20 am - Completely bite Jason's head off as I empty every kitchen drawer and cupboard, looking for the turkey lacers (to hold the stuffing in the turkey).
7: 39 am - Return from grocery store with new lacers to discover George at the breakfast table with his oatmeal and an obvious head cold. Excellent.
7:56 am - Stare at turkey quizzically, wondering why it doesn't look right.
7:57 am - Turn turkey right side up in roasting pan.
8:01 am - Close oven door and begin the first of many kitchen clean-ups.
11:10 am - Deviled eggs made (only one lost in the process) and potatoes peeled (only one lost in the process). Boys out driving to keep George distracted and Emma watching Sesame Street. Is it the calm before the storm?
12:45 pm - Turkey is out and looks wonderful. Four cups of drippings for gravy, and more still in the pan. Green bean casserole is in the oven. Everything is going way too smoothly. Still nervous.
4:00 pm - So. Stuffed. Can't. Breathe.
11:00 pm - We ate an excellent meal at 1:30. I finally had room for a small piece of pie at 10:30. Good day, good meal, wonderful friends and conversation. One of our favorite Thanksgivings ever. Time to go sleep off the mass amounts of food, good night all!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Unusual Holiday Traditions

Well, I have successfully completed my personal holiday tradition. I have cleaned out the refrigerator. Now that's not to say that I only clean it out once a year, mind you! But really, before I start all the Thanksgiving cooking, I have to make room for left overs!

It isn't the most fun tradition and it's not one I feel compelled to scrapbook, but it brings its own level of satisfaction. It almost makes me want to go purge some closets and scrub out some cupboards. Almost.

Tomorrow, I'll bake two pies (store bought, sorry) and hard-boil a dozen or so eggs, in preparation for deviled eggs. AND, make the family and friends fan favorite, 24-hour salad. Fruit, marshmallows, and sugar. Is there anything better than that?

Two of our good friends, Mike & Teresa, will join us this year. They have been following us around the country ever since Mike joined the Army shortly after Jason and I married, and we're so excited to resume our tradition of sharing the Thanksgiving meal. One of my favorite aspects of being a military family is sharing Thanksgiving with other couples or singles that are far from home. It brings a level of thankfulness and community to the table that can easily be forgotten in hectic gatherings and preparation.

Tomorrow, life gets busy, so I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you are able to spend it with people who make you feel at home, no matter where you are.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekly Catch Up

Let's see if I can capture some of the highlights of last week.
Emma and I traveled to Ocean City, MD, to meet my good friend, Beth, and her daughter, Kate. Beth is a designer for DSP, and we've been friends for about a year. We finally found time to actually meet each other before I head back west. So yes, I spent a weekend, in a hotel, with a stranger that I met over the Internet!!! Egads!

She's really very nice, not a scary psychopathic killer at all. I lucked out.

And yes, we stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. We now know everything there is to know!

Emma and Katie got along wonderfully, but by far the biggest highlight of the weekend was the Hot Dog car parked outside our window! We finally saw it drive away Monday morning. What do the people inside it do when they're not driving?

The weather was lousy, a huge storm showed up Sunday (we were there Saturday afternoon through Monday midday), so we spent many hours in the hotel. Luckily, we chose a hotel with an indoor pool, so the girls got lots of swimming time.

Yes, this is a picture of a bridge.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel, to be exact. And yes, I took this picture while driving across it. But you know, at twelve dollars each direction, I felt entitled to do so.

Long bridge+bad weather+large toll=cranky traveler!

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. I'm so glad I got the chance to meet one of my favorite virtual friends and to spend some special time with my daughter. Good deal!

We returned home Monday evening. Tuesday morning, Jason had his surgery. That has all gone well and he's healing much quicker than expected. Thursday was a big frightening, due to an allergic reaction he had to the pain medications. Luckily, he already had an appointment for that afternoon. There they realized that his foot wasn't swollen at all and he had virtually no pain, so there was no reason to continue with any pain medication anyway! He's now walking around quite easily on crutches and is BORED!

George started pre-school Wednesday morning. That day was VERY hard on me, I spent much of it crying. But, he did well, as expected. His teacher said he cried off and on for about an hour and a half, but recess distracted him and from then on he seemed to enjoy school. Thursday, I dropped him off at speech therapy and his teacher picked him up from there. This transition went much more smoothly and he had a great day!

All weekend he's been bringing me his backpack to put on. He seems to be excited to go back to school! We'll see how it goes tomorrow!

By the way, he has a new word: Dinosaur. He says it very clearly, "didosaur". What a change from this summer, when the only clear words were "juice" and "side" (for "outside/inside")!

Okay, I think I'm up to date. The weekend has been VERY boring, so absolutely nothing to report there. Tomorrow, we head to the store for the final bit of Thanksgiving shopping. I just pray we don't get trampled. Hope all of your weekends have been good ones!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

For my DSP Pals

For any of you that have attempted "real" scrapbooking or even hybid, you must read this blog entry by a friend of mine.

I am needed

How do I know? This little bugger tells me so:

(Being the kind, wonderful people that you are, I KNOW you won't mention the horrendous mess surrounding the alien detector on my desk.)

I will post weekend memories tomorrow, but first an update for family and friends on Jason's surgery. It went well and he is currently laying in bed surrounded by, propped up with, and drooling all over every unused pillow we had in the house. He is on some STRONG drugs and firmly admonished by the doctor to USE THEM!! He'll be on bed rest for the first couple of days, until the end of the week when he'll be able to use an air cast to keep his ankle from moving.

I realized that I never explained here what surgery he was having. It's called Plantar fascia release, and basically is his body's way of saying, "Enough jumping out of perfectly good airplanes already!"

So anyway, I'll spare you a picture of my loopy husband. Just know, when the little red dots on the alien detector multiply, I'm hearing, "huuuuuunnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyy!" (In the most pathetic, drug-addled voice EVER!)

(Anyone catch the signs reference? Jason is completely freaked out when the little red dots multiply!)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fabulous Friday

Hmmmmm, I've been getting teased a lot about my lack of posts. So let's see if I can get better at this!

What is fabulous about today? It's beautiful outside and Jason is off of work, so we're getting lots of pre-winter yard work done. And.....

....tomorrow I head to Ocean City, Maryland to meet up with my good friend Beth for the weekend!! She's bringing her daughter and I'm bringing Emma and we're having a girls only weekend at the coast! Life just doesn't get better than that!

So Glynis and Magdalene, you are not allowed to tease me about not blogging until Tuesday! I'll be too busy!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thirteen Things about TODAY

1. Today, Jason jumped his last official Army paratrooper jump. He was the only one in the sky when he jumped and it went perfectly (except that he landed across the street from the drop zone). I missed it by five minutes. :(

2. Today, I received the packet of paperwork that enrolls George in preschool and moved the final meeting up by several days. He'll start next Wednesday.

3. Today, Emma is wearing a purple shirt, brown peasant skirt, multi-colored striped tights, and sparkley red shoes. She looks fabulous!

4. Today, I'm having a good hair day. Hey, believe me, that's worth mentioning!

5. Today, I need to make some kind of casserole with some leftover cooked chicken. Any ideas?

6. Today, I challenged my blog pals to do the Thursday Thirteen. I didn't realize how challenging that was until I started to write my own!

7. Today, I WILL do the three loads of laundry that really need to be done!

8. Today, is a gorgeous day and I really want the kids to be outside, but it's been raining for the last couple of days and the ground is muddy and everything is soaked and I really don't feel like dealing with the mess. (Whew, English teachers must love my sentences!)

9. Today, having been home less than an hour, George has dumped out onto the playroom floor two toy boxes of blocks, his entire collection of Thomas trains, and assorted Fisher Price people. He's currently sitting up on the couch playing with a shoe.

10. Today, Emma made me walk her into the school building instead of using the drop off lane. But, after parking and crossing the parking lot with her and George, she saw a friend and ran off with a casual "Bye Mom!" Sigh. Glad to see I'm needed.

11. Today, after Jason left the house around 4:30am, Gracie (the dog) felt the need to join me on the bed. She's nice and warm, but she hogs the covers.

12. Today, I need to call my cousin and get a new picture of her beautiful baby, so I can finish a Christmas present for our grandma.

13. Today, I will make a new list of blog prompts, so I don't ever feel the need to use this one again! Who knew that 13 would be such a big number?!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Don't hate

I created and ordered our Christmas cards yesterday. They'll be here within the week. I could, conceivably, send them off before Thanksgiving. Ahhhhh, one less thing on my list!

For those of you that also like to make your own cards, Winkflash is offering a 40% off coupon right now. Good deal!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Magic Eraser Warning

For those of you that use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers or similar products, check out this blog for a scary story: Kerflop. Important information if you let your kids help you clean.

Mr. Clean, I'm ashamed of you!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Huh? Relax?

I came thiiiiis close today to the possibility of a house to myself. I met with the school officials about George and as of November 20th, he will be in the Special Education preschool, three-year-old class. Four days a week. From 8 AM to 1:50 PM.


Almost six hours a day. With no little guy to play with, cuddle with, struggle with, keep entertained, or talk to. Tears well up every time I think about it. I know it's the right thing, a GOOD thing for him. But I'll miss him. I was expecting them to say maybe a couple of hours, three times a week. Nope, full time!

So, I thought, I'll be able to get some stuff done around here! Pack, clean, relax, read, design, listen to MY music (not the ever-running soundtracks of various little people videos). Then I remembered. Jason has his surgery on November 14th. And will be on convalescent leave through the holidays.

Lose one kid, gain a bigger one, right?

I asked my blogging buddies what they would do or want if they were Queen for a day. My answer? Um, duh! I would do nothing because I would have SERVANTS!!!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More pictures

Okay, I know there are a ton in the post below, but I have two more cute ones for you!

Here is my little Captain Feathersword this morning!

He wore the hat all morning: eating breakfast, playing outside, taking Emma to school, going to the commissary (grocery store)! The little blue haired ladies that go early like I do got a kick out of him! Eventually, the chin strap drove him crazy and he took it off, but he carried it around a lot throughout the day.

Then, Emma came home with her school picture, and I had ordered a digital copy, so here it is:

She's entered the awkward smile stage, and the kindergarteners didn't get their pictures taken until 12:30 that day, so it's maybe not the best, but I still love it!

(And yes, there are plenty of copies for all family members!)

Can I just say here that I love living in the digital age? I sure don't get any complaints from far off family about not knowing what their grandchildren/niece & nephew/friends' kids look like!

Halloween Fun

It was just me and the kids this year, but somehow it all went smoothly! I was so surprised that George not only let me put the hat on me, he wore it all night, and is wearing it again this morning! I'll be putting up some "Day After" photos later!

Emma had a blast. We trick-or-treated for an hour, until she said she was ready to go home. She's so good at knowing when to stop. George mostly just rode in the stroller, but seemed to enjoy watching everyone. We all slept REALLY well last night and were dragging a bit this morning, but it was worth it! What a fun evening we had! I wish Jason could have come with us (he's on a recruiting mission this week), but the kids were great for me and it was fun just being out. There's something about walking around in the dark that's so different and exciting! Emma says that next year she wants to be Bat Girl (the runner up costume this year) and George can be a pirate again since he loves his hat so much! We'll see what happens!

Hope you all had a good time, too!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Creative day!

So, I spent way too much time on the computer this weekend. But it felt good to have the creative juices flowing again! These first two are going to be magnets for a magnet swap, and then the other two use kits that will be available at DSP in November.
Magnets removed due to Quirky friends sneaking a peek before I get these in the mail! I'll put them back up in a couple of days, when people start receiving them! (Bad Graybonnie!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Details, details!

See this lovely lady? She's my grandma. See her shirt? Yup, it says, "I make stuff up". There could not be words more true. She doesn't lie, nor deliberately mislead. She just, ahhhhh, adds details to stories. Or if you ask her a question and she doesn't actually know the answer, she'll give you her opinion. But she just might forget to tell you that it's her opinion instead of factual information. And the cutest part? She giggles like a school girl if you accuse her of adding to her stories.

I asked my blog pals to talk about inherited traits. My grandma's habit seems to be making it's way down the line. I've noticed my mom's stories are becoming a bit more detailed than they used to be. And me, well, I'm aware of the urge to elaborate. I'm hoping that's all it is at this point!

I bring this up in response to the many emails, comments, and messages I've received recently about George. First of all, thank you! We all appreciate your words of support and encouragement. Second of all, I don't know much more than what I wrote in the post on Oct. 3rd. It is so tempting to answer the many questions I've received with my thoughts and hopes, instead of the specifics of the doctor's words. George has gone through several more tests with the school district and we will have our evaluation meeting next week. It is my assumption that he will be put into a small special ed class for three year olds at that time. I say this based on the testing he did today and the fact that I was taken to view the class and meet the teacher. We won't actually know until next week, however.

So, in the interest of not adding details to this story-in-progress, I will stop here and add updates as they come in!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Vacation fun

Hi all! We're still here, I promise! We've had family visiting for the last week, so we've been very busy having fun! Having Gramma & Papa here for that long made it so Jason and I could go away for a whole weekend!! GASP!! We realized we have never done that! Not even before we were married with children. We've gone lots of places, but never done the whole tourist thing. So we headed up north for a marathon of Washington D.C. touring.

We walked the Capital Mall:

Spent hours in several Smithsonian museums:

And, oh yeah, met an astronaut (Buzz Aldrin):

I will try to write more later today and catch up with my DSP blog pals, but I have a house to clean and frankly, I'm exhausted from my vacation! No one told me that I ought to train for six months to ready myself for two days of sightseeing!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Yummy, yummy!

Guess what! I spent $2,239.00 today!! Wahoo!!!!!!!!

You know what makes that great? I spent it on airplane tickets!! I'm headed home, baby! Oh yeah, my family is coming too, we'll be spending the holidays with family and enrolling Emma in Kindergarten in Oregon for the spring term. Jason will have to return here for a couple of months, but then he'll join us and in May will start a new job somewhere in Oregon or Washington.

I was higher than a kite earlier, once I had the tickets in hand. Then I started feeling depressed. It's hard to wait, I want to be there NOW! We want to go to the ocean, drive through a coffee kiosk, wear jeans and flannel shirts everyday, and so much more. It will be hard on Jason, leaving us there to finish up his job here and put the house on the market. But I know the time will fly!

The best part of going home? Well, other than being surrounded by family, of course. The food!! Let's see, what am I going to (politely) ask Mom to make? Apple pies (her specialty), enchiladas, canned spaghetti with fresh cabbage (Yuk, you say? Sorry, it's a family tradition from her childhood. Just the thought of it makes my mouth water!), homemade chicken soup, and Jello with fruit inside. Most everything else, I make myself, but those are a few that I always ask of her.

Hungry? Here's a recipe for some mashed potatoes I made last week. YUM!!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes - serves 6

3 lb. red potatoes
1 whole head garlic
1 Tbs. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 C. milk, warmed
1 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 deg.
2. Place potatoes in large saucepan & cover w/ water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover & cook 25 minutes (or until tender). Drain & let cool. Remove & discard skins, if desired. Transfer to large bowl.
3. Cut 1/4" from top of garlic head to expose cloves. Place head, root end down, in a small baking dish. Add broth & drizzle w/ oil. Cover w/ foil & bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil & back 5 - 10 minutes, until cloves are very soft. Remove from oven. Using a wooden pick, remove cloves from their skins & add to the potatoes.
4. Add the milk, butter, salt & pepper. With an electric mixer on medium speed or w/ a potato masher, mash the mixture until smooth.

Serve immediately, or brown in oven for 5 minutes just before serving.

YUM!! Hungry now, must go forage for food!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Full Beauty

I just had to share this one. Something about this photo really struck me and I can't stop looking at it!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Quote to share

I asked my blog pals to share a favorite, or timely, quote today. This one seemed appropriate for me.

If my scrapbooking friends would like to use this, here's a link to the PNG file:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The A Word

I mentioned in a previous post that George was going to be having some medical testing this week. We went up to the University hospital yesterday to meet with a specialist. It was a long afternoon, but George did great. The nurses and doctor were great with him, and most of the visit was spent just talking about his behavior, so George was able to just relax and play.

Final result, George is on the Autism spectrum. Not Aspergers, like we had thought might be a possibility, the fact that he still really doesn't talk disqualifies him. Asperger's kids are late talkers, but not to the extent he is. He has normal or even above age appropriate motor skills, but his verbal skill and direction following abilities are about the level of a 12 -18 month old. That large gap is what determines Autism. The third area they need to study is his social skills, but that can't be quantified until he's in a school setting, so we need to get him into Head Start as soon as possible.

With help in his verbal and social areas, he should be able to progress with his age group in school, which was our biggest worry. He's considered very low level, high functioning Autistic. Assuming he gets the help he needs, the doctor feels his Autism will be unrecognizable by the time he's done with schooling.

None of this was really surprising to us, but it's all a lot to process. We're all completely drained. But I'm SO glad we pushed to see the specialist, now we know to get him some help beyond just the speech therapy. George is such a happy kid and I'm grateful to know that we have a path to follow and resources to help us.

We love you, buddy!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Seven Years Ago....

Geeks R Us

In every neighborhood we've lived in, we've been known as "that family that walks". We try to go for a walk every night after dinner to walk off that extra piece of bread we didn't need, enjoy the evening air, and keep the kids moving until bath time. Our neighbors watch for us and wave, asking us how far we walk (usually a mile) and where we've been if we miss a day (or a week) or two.

Usually, George rides in the stroller and Emma runs ahead of us, looking for leaves and rocks and acorns and bugs and....well, you get the idea. But for the last couple of nights, we've had George walk. He makes it most of the way, spending the last block or so up on Daddy's shoulders. Having him walk has greatly lengthened our walking time, but it's good for him and since those walks are when we have most of our family conversations, we enjoy it.

Last night we became not only "that family that walks", but also "that geeky family that walks". We spent much of the walk doing math. I kid you not. Emma was showing us the five weeds and five leaves she had gathered, and commenting on how fun that was because she's five years old. So Jason asked her, "What's five plus five plus five?" She continued walking quietly and I bet Jason a million dollars that she would get it right. Guess who's now a million dollars richer?

She thought that was so much fun, that we continued doing simple addition and subtraction the whole way home. So, if you're out in your yard some night and you hear the sound of scuffing feet and shrieks of, "92 plus 8 is 100!", you'll know that geeky family that walks is nearby.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I no longer walk Emma to her classroom. I pull into the drop off lane and she hops out of the van and walks into the building alone. Her wings are spreading wider each day.

George and I met with a team from the school district about running tests to see what, if anything, is going on with him besides a speech delay. (To Laura who asked a while ago, my son is three and has few recognizable words. He's been in speech therapy through the school district/Head Start program for about a year now.) The tests we talked about, combined with some medical testing scheduled for next week, are both liberating and completely frightening. But no matter what the results, I will have new information, resources, and techniques for helping my son. He breaks further out of his cocoon every day.

Jason will make what could be his last paratrooper jump in this coming month. His wings have tears and fractures. Time to fold them up and find a new journey.

I posted my final scrapbook page for the Digital Elite Team today. As wonderful as the last six months have been, from now on, I use the products I want to use and if the pages aren't perfect, it won't matter. I scrap for my family and me now. I feel liberated. My wings are open wide and I plan to enjoy the flight!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Power Color

Your Power Color Is Teal

At Your Highest:

You feel accomplished and optimistic about the future.

At Your Lowest:

You feel in a slump and lack creativity.

In Love:

You tend to be many people's ideal partner.

How You're Attractive:

You make people feel confident and accepted.

Your Eternal Question:

"What Impression Am I Giving?"

Saturday, September 23, 2006

...and by "later", I meant "tomorrow"

I know you were just dying for me to come back and spill my secrets. But Jason came home from work early and offered to watch kids so I could take a nap. Um, gee, let me think about that.....OKAY! Then, of course, I paid the price by being completely groggy the rest of the day. But an hour and a half nap in the middle of the day??? Tops my list of guilty pleasures! I have a list a mile long of things I should have been doing, and my kitchen was a disaster area, but MAN it felt good!

Another guilty pleasure would have to be bad TV. Like America's Next Top Model bad. I have no idea when it airs but occasionally I'll stumble upon it and I just...can...not...look away!!! Part of the appeal is the standard reality show stupidity. And then there's the bonus of learning anatomy, since you can easily count each bone in each girls' body. Oh, and I love how they have episodes where they make the girls act or interview someone, in order to show that models really do have brains and can talk and walk at the same time. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That was hard to type, I was laughing so hard!

So that's me, naps and bad TV.

I asked Jason what he considers his guilty pleasure. We agreed that it's Red Baron Pizza (frozen pizza in a box, for those of you lucky enough not to know). Bad pizza not a guilty pleasure you say? Well, it brings him pleasure and he doesn't inflict it on the rest of us (I usually make something else for everyone else), so no, that's not why we consider it a "guilty" pleasure. Let me share with you a story. Three years ago, after several long months, my wonderful husband was returning from Iraq. Knowing he'd been eating military food and sand for far too long, I offered to make him any homemade meal he wanted when he got home. Have you guessed the end of this little story? Yup, Red Baron Pizza and Budweiser. I can't say I was totally surprised, but a little offended that he chose it over my cooking. (And, yes, I AM a good cook!) The fact that I was seven months pregnant might have heightened my emotions. A little.

Friday, September 22, 2006


It's 9 o'clock in the morning.
I'm bored out of my skull.
So is George.
Ever get the feeling it's going to be a long day?


Today's prompt is "Guilty Pleasures".
What are yours?
I'll come back and embarrass myself later.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Nap Time?

George seems to be on a day on, day off schedule with his naps. Some days, he'll lie down willingly and sleep for as long as I'll let him. Other days, I go in to get him and find this:

Let me list the various items in his crib for you.

Acceptable Items:
pillow, two blankies, pacifier, comforter, one monkey, one frog, one hanging toy, one little boy sitting on the edge of his bed

Contraband Items:
Little Tykes workbench
burp rag (acceptable as I've been using it to wipe his runny nose)
package of diapers
Playskool Busy Poppin' Pals (behind him)
one dump truck
one fire truck
Alligator xylophone (under the dump truck)
hammer from workbench
two Wiggles slippers
cover from changing pad
toy phone (under monkey, behind fire truck)
one blue plate

Somehow I don't think he slept any. Guess who's going to bed early tonight?

Edit to add: Like I mentioned, he has a runny nose. He's not flashing a gang signal here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Playing Catch Up

Whew! We're already in our third week of school!! I can't believe it! Emma loves every minute of it. Here's a glimpse into her first day:
She comes home each day with papers full of happy faces and fun stories (mostly focused on recess and lunch, but that's generally the way it goes, right?). I'm so glad her first school experience is proving to be a good one!

George has resumed his speech therapy as well. Today was his second session this year and the first ever with other kids. He did great! Last year, being around other kids was just too much for him, but after our busy summer of swim lessons and play dates, he's very interested in kids around him. His therapist told me afterwords that he "spoke" more today than she's ever heard from him. The whole time, I was outside waiting for screams. Not from him, but from the other little boys. I was sure that someone would knock down a block tower or something and he would chuck a block at their head! Apparently there was lots of knocking down blocks, but no tantrums, just laughter! YAY!! I can't wait to see how being around other little boys on a regular basis helps him with both vocalization and socialization.

Jason goes in for surgery consultation tomorrow. Once we have that scheduled, we'll be able to plan our move. We're hoping that we'll be able to ship me and the kids off during the Christmas school break, to make it easier on Emma, and then Jason will follow at the beginning of March. But, if he can't get in to surgery soon, those plans will change. (The surgery is on his feet, so I thought it would be the right thing to do to stick around for a while after to help him out. I'm pretty nice like that!)

I'm up to my eyeballs with scrapbooking, but nothing new there! I agreed to judge a contest and critique all of the entered layouts. Well, we're up to 50 layouts, and I expect about 10 more before the contest closes tonight. The other judges and I are critiquing the layouts in 6 categories, so 360 insightful comments to make in the next week! ACK!

So, that's life in a nutshell these days! (Or maybe I should say "in a nut house"!) I'm trying to get back into a routine that doesn't involve too much video time for George and still allows plenty of computer time for me. The blog prompts continue, so if you need one, check out the link to the right! Fall is in the air and that's awfully hard to resist, so I'll probably have lots of new pictures to play with soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Me & My Brudder...AHHHHHHHH!!

We're pretty cute, huh?

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th

I've asked my blog pals today to use Alan Jackson's Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)? song to help them share their stories. Here's mine.

Dear Emma,
I was a fool not to write these reflections down five years ago, because I can no longer remember the details. But I want to share with you where we were on September 11, 2001, and how our lives changed.

You were six months and two days old. We had been living in Amity, OR for a little over a month. Daddy had left the Army at the end of July. He didn't want to, not in his heart, but it was either that, or he would have had to spend your first year away from us, in Korea. You were more important. We moved to Amity when he got a job at a prison near there. He hated it. He had to work the graveyard shift, the pay was much lower than we expected, and the job was boring. But we loved the tiny town we lived in, loved walking in the evenings with you, picking blackberries for dessert, loved becoming a family.

Daddy worked the night of the 10th. I can't remember now if he called me when the attacks happened or if I found out when I got up with you that morning and turned on the TV. But I do remember sitting on our couch crying, watching TV all morning, while you rolled around on the floor in front of me, smiling and playing. When Daddy got home from work, he told me he was heading back out to go to the local recruiters to see about getting back into the Army. I was not in the least surprised. From the moment I realized what was happening that morning, I knew he would have to go back in. That's just who he was, and is, and one of the many reasons I love him.

I know we talked to many family members that day, but I can't remember a word. I remember being really angry at Gramma. Seems strange to remember that. You see, Emma, she and Papa Jack were on a road trip in California. I couldn't reach them all day and it was driving me crazy. Then, when I did talk to them, their reactions to the events were so unemotional. I remember saying to her repeatedly that America had been attacked and we would be going to war, her son-in-law would be going to war. But she didn't get it. I didn't realize at the time, that when I talked to her, they hadn't yet seen any TV footage or really known any details, so it wasn't real for them yet. So, you and I waited for Daddy to come home and you generously shared your baby cereal (mush) with me for lunch.

Within days, we knew we'd be returning to military life and moving from our tiny house in the tiny town in the country. You and I went to live with Gramma & Papa until just before Christmas, when we could join Daddy at our new post, Fort Campbell, KY.

Daddy didn't end up leaving for Iraq for another year. We found out December 27, 2002 while we were back in Oregon visiting family. We returned to Ft. Campbell on New Year's Day and he was gone within a couple of weeks.

September 11th was a frightening day for everyone, everywhere. But it played it's part in shaping our family. I am so thankful that I had your happy, silly self with me that day, to remind me that the world wasn't falling apart.

Love you,

Monday, September 04, 2006

How I'm Feeling, In 100 Words

I am loving the grey weather. I wish it meant that autumn had started.
I’m enjoying being lazy one last day, before the school year begins! I am excited about Emma’s first day of school tomorrow, but maybe a little nervous, too.
I was saddened this morning to learn of Steve Irwin’s death. I always thought maybe we’d get to see him at his zoo someday.
I’m feeling distracted by all the lists in my head of projects to accomplish this fall, time to break out my planner!
I have a lot of sewing to do…. feeling sluggish about that!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Meaningful Challenge

Just what I need, another challenge on another site! But the artwork was so darn pretty, I had to play along. Enjoy!

Journaling: I used to walk this shore line for hours. Now, I bring my children. I miss the quiet, but I love the joy. They make my special place even more so!

Credits: Everything from Jen Wilson's Meaning kit Fonts: Pea Girly Girl Script, 1942 report

Monday, August 28, 2006 which I grovel for forgiveness...

I'm sorry. I've been such a bad blogger! The final push toward the school year is wearing us all out! No swim lessons last week or this, so bored kids. Jason worked two non-consecutive 24 hour shifts, so no Daddy for four days. He brought home a cold that has been working it's way through all of us (I think we're almost done with it). And mostly, I'm just tired and not feeling very creative!

What does this week bring? Kindergarten orientation, Jason meets with a surgeon about possible surgery on his feet/ankles (fun!), the zoo (if it doesn't storm all week the way it is right now), grocery shopping so we have food for the long weekend and stuff for Emma's LUNCH BOX (waaaaaahhhhhh), maybe a trip to the library, and all the usual chores. Oh, and gearing up my heart and Emma's nerves for next week. WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I have been adding new blog prompts daily, so follow the link to the right if you would like to participate!

Fashion be darned!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Applause please...

I mopped yesterday. Those that know me well, know that is indeed blog-worthy. I also cleaned the baseboards in my bathrooms. Excuse me while I throw up a dust bunny! And it was a startling day in the cleaning world. My mom was wrong.


I know, that's practically impossible and there's a high chance of me being proven wrong here directly or the planets colliding or something, I'm sure. But I grew up in a house where ammonia was used for all cleaning, especially mopping. When I went to the store yesterday, I couldn't find any ammonia. (Is that some new threat or drug ingredient I don't know about and they keep it locked away until you ask for it?) So I purchased a Mr. Clean general use cleaning solution. And it worked better than ammonia. Shhhhhh, don't tell Mom! Plus, there was the added benefit of not passing out from the fumes! Bonus!

So there's my wisdom for the day. Mr. Clean is my hero. Rubber gloves make all disgusting jobs doable. And cleaning is a good way to keep kids busy, especially when you empty out the eat-in kitchen so they can skate in their socks and enjoy the echo when they shout.


The weekend prompt from ArtCMom is to talk about our favorite childhood outfit. I can't think of a single one. Except possibly my Yodo gatchet. "Huh?" you say? Yodo gatchet is what I called my yellow rain jacket. There are many pictures of me wearing it and little else, other than a matching rain hat, standing in our yard with the water hose spraying up into the air.
I was playing fireman, duh!

Friday, August 18, 2006

To be published.....

Here are the three items (so far) that are due to be published in 2007:

Art Journal pages with accompanying instructions article:

And this is the layout accepted into a future Digital Scrapbooking ideas book:

Week of Lists: Day Five

Enough with the lists already! Last one, I promise!

I want to find more things to do with George during the school year.
I need to get away from this computer more often and out of the house!

I want Emma and George to be better about cleaning up their toys.
I need at least 50 kisses a day from each of them, and that uses up their cleaning time!

I want Jason to be home more.
I need him to go to work and make money so I can play with the kids and get lots of kisses!

I want to be a better housekeeper.
I need to get away from the computer more often and just do my chores! (Hmmmm, I'm sensing a disturbing trend...)

I want ice cream.
I need ice cream with chocolate sauce and bananas.

Off to the freezer! See you all later!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Week of Lists: Day Four

The last 10 things I did before bed last night?

1. Talked to mom on phone about book publication, did a little quiet screaming.
2. Did a last email/forums check.
3. Forced dog outside for potty break.
4. Locked all doors and turned off lights.
5. Laughed at fish trying to reach a fish flake that had stuck to tank above water line.
6. Let dog in and made her bed. (i.e. covered the couch with a blanket to reduce the mass of hair on said couch.)
7. Brushed teeth and other bathroom duties.
8. Read article in Popular Mechanics by Sen. John McCain refuting 9/11 conspiracy theories while involved in bathroom duties.
9. Changed into pjs.
10. Oh so gently nudged sleeping and snoring husband over a few inches so I could actually get into bed.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

WofL: Day Three and WOW, WHAT A WEEK!!!!

Today's prompt was to share our grocery lists. It's amazing what you can learn about a person when you see what they're shopping for!

Mine is fairly boring this week because I mostly needed to restock on boxed/canned items.

Red Baron Pizza for Jason
Life cereal for Emma
Instant oatmeal (Low Sugar Apples & Cinnamon flavor) for George
Ritz crackers for me
Lettuce, cucumber, carrots so we can have salad with the 30 thousand tomatoes coming out of our garden
French Vanilla Creamer for my coffee
Canned peaches

Nothing unusual, very little fresh because our freezer is stocked with meats and I don't cook as much during the summer anyway.

NOW, for my most excellent week info!

Two of my art journal pages are being published along with short How To articles written by yours truly!!!

AND, I just found out that one of my scrapbook pages is going to be in a BOOK!!!! YAHOO!!! I'm dancing on the ceiling here, I'm so excited!!

It's only Wednesday, I wonder what the rest of the week will bring? :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Week of Lists: Day Two

Attainable goals, huh? Okay, I'll play your little game! (Actually, it's my little game, I'm the one making up these crazy blog prompts so I guess I have no one else to blame.) Someone else commented that it's much harder to do attainable goals, and I have to agree!

1. I will mop the kitchen floor before the end of the week.
2. George will actually sleep during most nap times.
3. I will do our Christmas shopping before November. (We're probably starting our move in December, I need to have everything shipped before then!)
4. Emma will learn to get up and get moving on school mornings. (She is NOT a morning person!)
5. We will sell our house and make enough profit to afford to buy again in the expensive Pacific Northwest.
6. Jason will find an attainable goal.
7. Gracie will survive moving houses yet again without shedding all of her fur.
8. I will be better about updating this blog on a regular basis!
9. I will think of, and write, another class to teach.
10. We will explore the Washington D.C. area while we are still within driving distance!!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Week of Lists: Day One

I love that there is an amazing device that allows me to connect instantaneously with friends and family world-wide, keeping everyone up to date with our crazy life! (Even when I put it off updating until I have people complaining and threatening my life.)

I love it when we get out of the house and do something new, especially if it's outdoors. (Especially if there are no bugs there!)

I love watching my kids laugh and play and experience the world. (Even better when they're doing all those things together!)

I love when my husband lets me sleep in on a weekend morning and takes care of the kids for me. (I usually wake up close to normal time, but oh, it is so nice to grab a book and be lazy for an hour or so!)

I love that we will be living somewhere in the Pacific Northwest within the year!!! (I don't care where at this point, just get me to the right time zone!)

I love that I've found a creative outlet for my brain and a way to use the millions of photos I take every year. (Okay, maybe not millions, but thousands, definitely thousands!)

I love that I'm getting published again! (OOPS!! Did I let that slip??? Details to follow soon, I promise!)

I love to read. (Although I did read some pretty awful drivel this last week. One bound set of five novels by an author who felt the need to have her lead female in every story this....all the.....time.....because she emotion! Bleh!)

I love waking my kids up. (Well no. I love when they are sleeping, but when I have to wake them up I do love it. They are so soft and warm and cuddly!)

I love having a family that makes me laugh every single day. (This is Jason's specialty, it never fails. Love that!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Trippy, Dude!

Whoaaaaaaaa! You've got to love the ups and downs of medicine sometimes! Benadryl at night to remove the itch and help me sleep. Ibprofin and coffee in the mornings because the Benadryl wears off after a few hours and I'm up half the night trying not to scratch my skin off!

Actually, today is better. Yesterday was awful and I was on fire most of the night, but today only key areas itch significantly. Thank goodness! I may actually be able to wear normal clothes tomorrow instead of the very loose, very minimal clothing I've been sporting the last couple of days.

And guess what! Jason had to go "shoot trees" today (Emma's way of understanding weapon practice). And guess what he found on him when he got home! CHIGGERS!!!!!!!! Wheeeeee! It just keeps getting better and better around here! Luckily we're all stocked up on Benadryl and hydrocortisone.

So basically, don't come visit right now. Our household is cursed. And bugged.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chigger Fun in the Sun!

Quick Weekend Recap

I was going to write a long entry today, using a couple of blog prompts that I've missed over the last week. But, because I discovered THESE on my body today....I'm not. This will be quick. They are not disease-ridden, contagious, or (thankfully) on my body any longer. But I itch. Everywhere.

We had a full weekend and it went by oh-so-quickly!! Friday afternoon we had a 5 minute rainstorm that amazingly was enough to kill the humidity! It was still hot, and still is, but the humidity was down to 40% or so from the 95% we had been living in.

Saturday the kids were up early, but could, and did, play outdoors! YAY! Then we had our Food Bank deliveries to make and then raced home to eat lunch and send Emma and Jason off to DEONDRE's birthday party at the bowling alley. They didn't get home until dinner time, so we had a snack and raced off again to the Saturday Night Classic Car Cruise In. So much fun! Due to the break in the weather, that place was packed! Lots of cars we haven't seen previously, and lots of great photo ops!

Sunday we managed to sleep in a bit (tired from all that racing!), and then grabbed Gracie and went to our favorite park and hiking trails. (Have you guessed where I got those lovely chiggers?) Sunday afternoon, Emma and I headed off to Target, where we quickly spent $50 on school supplies. Yikes! But the best result of that is that Emma is now excited about Kindergarten again! Nothing like a little retail therapy to get a girl going! We BBQed Sunday evening and sent the kids to bed a tad early, so we could collapse on the couch. WHEW!!!

Today, Emma started her last session of swim lessons for the summer. I was happy to see that she was put with one of my favorite teachers, and by the end of the lesson she was doing things she hadn't done all summer!

Two weeks left of lessons, then two weeks off, then SCHOOL!!! Can I get a "YIPEE"? This mommy is ready for school to start!

Well, I'm off to slather myself in more hydrocortisone cream. Have a great evening!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


As a family, we live pretty well. We have a strict budget that we live within, but because we do live within it, we are able to do or buy extras when we need them. We get fast food occasionally, but not every week. We only go to movies about twice a year (when we have visiting grandparents here to babysit!). We don't have a babysitter except for emergencies, so we aren't tempted to go out more. We value doing over having.

But we do indulge when the time is right. I buy the foods we like and the brands we like (no scrimping on cheese, it's Kraft or Tillamook only). We got a new computer and Jason got me a new camera when it appeared that this new hobby of mine was here to stay. When Jason gets restless for something to do, we go to Lowe's and get supplies for a project to keep him occupied. The kids have the clothes they need, plus a few extra pairs of shoes.

Now, when is an indulgence merely greed taking over? That is my dilemma today. I received an email from Adobe offering PhotoShop Elements users a half price deal on PhotoShop Creative Suite 2. (Cue opera music, Aaaaaa - aaaaaaaa!!!!) But $300? A great deal on a normally $600 - 700 product, but still a lot of money. But I want it!!!! But we're moving this year and need to save money. But I want it!!!!

Sigh. Unfortunately, I'm the responsible budget-creator and keeper of this family. So, most likely, I won't get it. But I want it!!!!

My Worry-Wort

Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm Tryinggggggggggggg....bleh

Okay, so I haven't been blogging much lately. Even Jason is complaining. How can he keep up with his family's gossip, if I don't post it on the Internet for the world to see?

But, you see, it's hot. Really hot. And I am so drained. Not a witty bone in my body.

Tomorrow, I will receive my Club Digital (several scrapbooking kits) plus my DET list of kits to use for the month. And I won't know what to do with any of them. And my next session of DSU 198 starts tomorrow. Thank goodness that class is already written and I can wait until chat day to be inspiring. And I'll need a blog prompt for tomorrow morning. Got one?

Yeah, I'm thinking we need to move to Alaska. I'm melting here, and my brain is fried.

Thank you for stopping by to view my ramble. Send me a good thunderstorm to break the humidity and I might just have something interesting to say!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

What a meme!!!

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops? Um, no. My car has been searched by MPs though. No worries, it's common practice on Army posts to do random searches. They didn't find anything more incriminating than a dirty diaper and migraine medicine.

2. Do you close your eyes on a roller coaster? Heck no!!! But I do hold my breath on steep slopes, it keeps my stomach from zooming up through my mouth.

3. When's the last time you've been sledding? Sorry to say, never.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone? Welllll, I'll preface this by saying I love my husband very much and value our time together. That said, he just got home from 24 hour duty and I did sleep REALLY well last night, right smack in the middle of the bed!

5. Do you believe in ghosts? Yup. And our dog, Gracie, can see them. It's the only time she ever barks.

6. Do you consider yourself creative? I am wondrously creative!!!

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife? Yes. 'Nuff said.

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie? (silly, I know ... but very "now") Jennifer Aniston. But I'm not a big Brad Pitt fan, so he can have Angelina and let Jen get someone better.

9. Can you honestly say you know ANYTHING about politics? I know a lot about politics. But I don't enjoy politics, so I don't pay a lot of attention.

10. Do you know how to play poker? I did in college, not sure if I remember everything now. A pair of two's will beat just about everything, right? No?

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?! Hmmmm, I don't think so. 24 hours, definitely. 36, probably. 48, no.

12. What's your favorite commercial? I hate commercials. But the PetSmart (or is it PetCo?) commercial with the dachshund that has a toy longer than himself is hilarious.

13. Who was your first love? Mike Webb. (Ooooh, I wonder if that will get me some interesting Google search links? Hi Mike!)

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around you, do you run a red light? Nope. I'm horribly boring like that.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you? I don't think so. Jason and my best friend from college know just about everything there is to know. OH! Um, yeah, I just thought of something.

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees? Couldn't care less. Now ask me San Francisco Giants or Oakland A's, definitely the Giants!

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating? Not for years, but I loved it when I was a kid.

18. How often do you remember your dreams? The scary ones I usually remember, that's about it though.

19. What's the one thing on your mind? I'm hungry.

20. Do you always wear your seat belt? YES! Why wouldn't you?

21. What talent do you wish you had? I wish I could really dance.

22. Do you like Sushi? I've had some I liked, but I've had more that I didn't.

23. What do you wear to bed? Really sexy cotton boxers and an old t-shirt. I can't sleep if I'm not comfortable.

24. Do you truly hate anyone? Wow. That's a serious question. I really don't think I do. I dislike some people, dislike their actions, but hate is stronger than that.

25. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be? Sleep as in "rest quietly beside until morning"? No? Um, I don't think I'd turn away Joaquin Phoenix if he came knocking on my door. And Jason would leave me in a heartbeat for Kira Kneightly (pre-skeletal days).

26. Do you know anyone in jail? There are a few friends from our past that it wouldn't shock me to learn they're in jail.

27. What food do you find disgusting? Brussel Sprouts for me, artichokes for Jason, anything covered in sauce for the kids.

28. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back? Heck yeah!

29. Have you ever been punched in the face? By my kids as they flail, yes. By an adult, no.

30. Do you believe in angels and demons? It's hard to believe in one without the other, isn't it? And yet I find it easier to believe in angels. Let's leave it at, I believe in ghosts or some kind of spirit activity left behind after people are gone.

Whew!! That was crazy! Make sure you click on my DSP Blog Pals over there ---> to see what everyone else said!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Are we ever good enough?

Are you pleased with what you look like? If you could change any part of yourself what would it be?

Yikes. I can't believe I chose this as today's prompt. Let's see how honest we all can be, shall we?

I can be typical and say I would love to lose a few pounds, or a few more. But really, I'm okay with where I am in the grand scale of things. (Adam, that pun was for you!) I actually have no idea what I weigh, I just like to make sure my clothes fit right. And right now, they fit. I do want to join a gym when George goes to school in a couple of years. Not to lose weight, but to maintain some semblance to fitness. I want to be able to be as active as I want to be as the years go on, not have to debate an activity because it might be too exhausting. (Wow, any English teachers please ignore all the passive verbs in that last sentence, I don't feel like rewording it, but boy is it bad!)

I have freckles. Lots of 'em. But I've never minded them. Without them, my skin would be so white, I would blind people. And since I don't want to be responsible for that, I'll keep the freckles.

I do have an issue with the fact that my face is losing color. What is it? Age? Childbirth? What makes all the pretty pigment in lips and cheeks disappear? I've never been big on make-up, but I find myself in that aisle more and more these days.

And then there's my hair. I love it. I hate it. And it's turning white. What once was gradual, is speeding up at a frightening pace. I'll put off dying it as long as I can, but when I start looking like a skunk in photographs, let me know, will you? I chopped it off recently, here's the layout that paid homage to that grand tradition:

All in all, I'm happy with myself. I recognize myself, anyone else in the mirror would be frightening. So? How about you? What would you change?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up

We're supposed to tell our proposal stories today. Jason says that I agreed to marry him to get him to stop pestering me. Boy, that backfired!

The story of our courtship can be read in these two layouts:
Soul Mates, left
Soul Mates, right

We dated on and off for more than eight years before we married. The off times were not due to a lack of love, just wrong time, wrong place. We both had things we needed to do and we needed to grow up some before we were ready to be adults. But we both knew when it was time. Jason had come to visit me from Italy (where he was stationed at the time) and we had actually gone ring shopping.... for the future..... or so I thought.

I was in college and working full time and had to do both on the last day of his visit. He took me from place to place so he could use my car. We had planned on going out to dinner after I got done with work and then I would drive him to the airport for his red-eye flight.

I worked for Sony and they had a policy of not letting visitors past the lobby unescorted. We had arranged that I would meet him in the parking lot. But when I got done with work, I walked out to find Jason in his full set of dress blues in the lobby. Mind you, nobody that I worked with had ever met him, since he was stationed out of the country. So we got a LOT of sideways glances and grins from my coworkers. He said he wanted to take me out to a nice dinner and his blues were the only nice clothes he had with him. Okay, that sounds reasonable.

But neither of us were very hungry, so we decided to go for a walk first. We drove to a park that meanders along the McKenzie River and walked for a while. I led us to a bench just outside a beautiful rose garden. (It was late April, they were gorgeous, and am I psychic or what?) After a few minutes of mindless chit chat in which I kept tearing up because he was leaving that night, he got down on one knee. Yup, I lost it. About the only things I remember are taking his sunglasses off so I could see his eyes and some middle-aged women walking by on the path behind us, smiling broadly.

The worst part? Within an hour, we were on the road to the airport. The best part? I got to shock my friends at school and work the next day with a gorgeous diamond ring on my finger.

Happy birthday, Jason! I love you, even when you pester me!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Big Beds, Baby Breath, and Boy Am I Tired!!

So we finally decided that George was trying to tell us something with his weekly, well, almost daily, catapulting out of his crib. And even if he wasn't trying to tell us anything, I REALLY didn't feel like making another trip to the ER anytime soon. Partway through yesterday's nap (after his final leap to freedom that resulted in a scraped nose), I took hex wrench in hand and changed his crib into a toddler bed. He was intrigued at first, but not so much after I turned off the lights and left the room. But, after a lot of crying, he fell asleep for the last 15 minutes or so of nap time.

Last night, he went right to bed without a fuss and fell asleep quickly. Victory! Well almost. He woke up sometime after 2 am and I found him crying in a corner of his room. I think he just got disoriented, but it really freaked him out and he was NOT going back into that bed. After listening to him cry for a while, I took a blanket and pillow into his room and prepared for a long night. I rocked him for a long time, then I got him to lie down with me on the floor next to his bed. As long as I had my arm around him and he could bury his face in mine, he was happy.

When does that switch happen? The one that pollutes sweet, baby breath and turns it into nasty, night breath? Emma could raise the dead with her morning breath, but I was nose to pacifier for at least an hour last night, and loved smelling his still babyish smell. It amazes me that at some point, he will become a "real" kid and I won't want to be that close to him in the wee hours of the morning.

Anyway, sometime after 4 am, I put a relaxed but no-where-near-sleepy boy back into his bed. He spent another 1/2 hour or so laughing and playing and I escaped back to my room.
This morning, I found an exhausted little boy, sleeping soundly in his bed. Today, for nap, he seemed excited to go to bed and didn't fuss as I left. I had to go in there once after some overly enthusiastic jumping put him on the floor once again. But, my fingers are crossed that he will sleep and tonight will go easier.

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 14, 2006

I took a stand!

There are all sorts of quasi-political reasons for not shopping at Wal-Mart. They've had union trouble, they've been accused of various prejudices, they tend to find their way around zoning laws whenever they set their mind to building a new store, etc. I've seen small businesses shut down by the introduction of a Wal-Mart to a rural area. But that's not my fight. My reasons are much simpler.

Yeah, you can go to one store and buy fresh watermelon, new socks, Playstation games, engine degreaser, a swing set, and a dozen goldfish in one swoop. And often for several cents cheaper than the other stores. But you know what? I got really tired of spending any money at all for products that fall apart, malfunction, fade, die, and generally disappoint. Plus, the added bonus of going through check stands (slowly) only to be "greeted" by a surly clerk (after she was done chatting about her no-good boyfriend to the clerk at the next stand who was filing her nails) who obviously didn't want to be working there any more than I wanted to be shopping there. I was usually lucky to get a "hello", even luckier if I could understand the mumble coming out of her mouth. And God forbid that you ever have a question. Blanker looks you never did see.

So I stopped going. As of today, I have been Wal-mart sober for one year.

I'm not against big business. I will sing the praises of Target until you forcefully remove the vocal chords from my throat. I am against poor customer service, shoddy products, and the assumption that just because you have a big name, you have the right to be and do wherever and whatever you want.

I urge you all to join me in my fight! Not that it will possibly make a difference, I'm not that deluded. But, really, it is amazing how wonderful it feels not to struggle your way through that accident zone of a parking lot. To go to stores where you are smiled at and *gasp* offered help! To pay your money, knowing that you may actually be able to use that set of Ginzu knives for more than a week!

Come on!! I'll see you all at Target tomorrow morning!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Busy livin'

Sorry. I'm a lousy blogger right now. My mom is here on an unexpected visit, which means that I actually have an adult here to talk to during the day instead of just spending vast amounts of time on the computer! And it's funny, you think having two kids at home all day instead of one wouldn't be that big of a change. But it is. Especially when the extra kid gets bored easily and is smarter than I am!

But I'm keeping the blog prompts going, so visit my DSP friends for fun stuff ------->

And I'm still creating scrapbook pages, so visit my DSP gallery for pretty stuff ----->

And Jason keeps changing my radio stations, so visit Pandora for a sound thrill ----->

And here's a picture of a Mega Blocks tower, just for fun!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dessert Test

Dessert Test No cheating. If all of the desserts listed below were sitting in front of you, which would you choose? Pick your dessert, and then look to see what psychiatrists think about you!
Sorry you can only pick one.
Angel Food Cake
Lemon Meringue Pie
Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing
Strawberry Short Cake
Chocolate Icing on Chocolate Cake
Ice Cream
Carrot Cake
NO. You can't change your mind once you scroll down, so think carefully what your choice will be!
OK - Now that you've made your choice, this is what psychiatric research says about you:

ANGEL FOOD CAKE... Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day.. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

BROWNIES... You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up, you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

LEMON MERINGUE... Smooth, sexy, and articulate with your hands, you are an excellent after-dinner speaker and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time A bit of a diva at times, but you have many good friends.

VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING... Fun loving, sassy, humorous. Not very grounded in life; very indecisive and lack motivation Everyone enjoys being around you. You are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE... Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people and can be counted on in a pinch! You have many friends who love to be around you. You also tend to melt. You can be overly emotional at times. Your sense of loyalty and devotion are paramount.

CHOCOLATE ON CHOCOLATE... Sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

ICE CREAM... You like sports, whether it is baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

CARROT CAKE... You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends.

I chose Chocolate Icing on Chocolate Cake. The description is frighteningly accurate. I know some people think I'm stand-offish until they really meet me. I'm just shy, which comes across as cold. I absolutely will not settle for average; I don't believe in complaining, I believe in changing the situation. And I LOVE to laugh!

So, what are you?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Oh, you wanted fireworks??

Yeah, that wasn't happening. It was a beautiful day, all day. The kids played outside, we bar-b-qued, all the normal 4th of July fun stuff. Until 6 o'clock. Then the thunderstorms rolled in. Jason and Emma went off to post anyway after the first one. Every year they host a festival that is really fun for the kids. Emma talks about it all year. We decided they would go ahead so she could play in the bounce houses and the bubble machine and George and I would join them later, just in time for the fireworks.

So they get there. And walk through the rain to the stadium where it's held. When they get there, everthing had been shut down due to the metal stakes that hold down the bounce houses and the metal framing of the bubble machine. Emma's quivering lip scored her a frisbee and a ball. A very sad little girl came home last night. But all was not lost!

In between thunderstorms, all the neighbors who had purchased fireworks (it is amazing what is legal around here) gathered in the street and put on a show. Here were our little contributions. We had fun playing anyway!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Happy 4th of July everyone!! What a fun holiday!! No responsibilities, just good food, friends, fireworks, and fun! Some great friends of ours, that we haven't seen since we moved from our last post, came to visit us yesterday and we spent the day laughing, reminiscing, and talking about the future. What a GREAT day! But as this is a celebration of independence, I asked my blog pals to think about what that word means to them.

If you think about it, the origin of Independence Day is not about having no responsibilities, but the opposite. A bunch of really gutsy people breaking away from everything familiar in order to live as they believe. These days that doesn't sound so unusual, but stick me and a bunch of strangers in the middle of a remote wilderness and tell us to create a New World, and I think I might start looking around for the Survivor cameras and begging for a cell phone! As much as I like to think of myself as an independent person, I know I really am not.

Back when we were first dating, when I was still in high school, I remember telling Jason that I wouldn't marry him until I had completed college and lived independently for a while. I needed to know that I could survive on my own if I ever needed to. And I did. But you know what? Being independent is a lot more fun with someone else! I'm still very much my own person, as is he. But we like sharing our independence and helping each other to be "the best we can be"!

Now the main focus of our life together is to help our kids become happy, healthy, INDEPENDENT people. Crazy! We will spend the next 15 plus years teaching our kids that they can live without us! That is amazing to me. I know that some animals give birth and then walk away, with the baby instantly able to survive on its own. But we human animals are drastically different. I want my kids to be independent, but heck, I want them always to need their Mama!! Hopefully, their version of independence will end up the same as mine. Able to live their lives with confidence, knowledge, and opinions. Not ever afraid to be "the best they can be"!

Have a wonderful Independence Day, and remember to thank everyone that works together to give you your independence! For our part, we thank our parents and ancestors for creating strong, independent children, I thank Jason and we both thank our military friends and leaders for working for freedom, we thank our friends for enriching our lives, and we thank our kids for inspiring us to enjoy our lives and the freedoms we have!