Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Food Journal

Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, September 1st I am going to start writing down what I eat in a food journal. It is actually an extra composition notebook from the beginning of the school year supply buying frenzy, but I am going to call it a food journal.



I am going to start with just writing down what I eat. Maybe a rough estimate of the amount. No calorie counting. No carb counting. Just what I eat and when.

It's a start. An awareness. A way to be thoughtful and maybe a bit more responsible for what goes in my mouth. Because folks it has been a damn free for all lately. Must change the random, mindless, eating that has become my norm.

Join me if you feel so inclined.

Walking Safari

This morning on our hot, humid, early walk we witnessed a wildlife wonderland in the neighborhood. First we saw a baby deer run across the road just ahead of us. As always with deer, especially babies, momma was just across the street. She froze and we walked on by, assuring her that neither the humans or the two hairy dogs we were with would hurt her or Bambi. She stayed perfectly still, but as soon as we were by, we heard her hooves on the asphalt as she scampered after her baby.

We turned a corner not twenty feet ahead and heard the distinct "hoo hoo" of an owl. It sounded loud and close. A glance around and we spotted a big animal perched on the top of the community center. His big ears looked like a cat. Then another hollow "hoo hoo" and we knew for sure it was the owl. He was large and I could have stayed their all day to listen to his call. It would have been a thrill to see him fly off too!

To wrap up the safari we also ran into a opossum. Not nearly as spectacular, dainty or awe inspiring - but I didn't hold it against him. I am sure people say the same thing about me. I am sure he had a lovely personality.

I was certain that since all the animals were out and about this morning that it would be the perfect morning for the mountain lion to be on the prowl. Didn't see him. Relieved. Need to save that experience for when I am in a Jeep with a guide or in a nice zoo with a big fence.

Hope your day is filled with a touch of wonder at the world around you!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Say Hello to Our New Friend Rey

Please, let me introduce you to the newest phenomenon around our house. His name is Rey Mysterio and he is a wrestler.

That's right, you read that correctly. A wrestler. A 5'3" masked wrestler in the WWE. It troubles me not that I know Rey's stats. That I also know he is 36 years old and that his best known move is the 6-1-9.

You see, my little Chip has become fascinated (obsessed is probably a better description) with all things wrestling. Specifically, he is becoming a professional in XBox 360 Raw Smackdown, which is where he first met Rey.

Since that day, we have been inundated with facts about Rey, his opponents, wrestling rules, the drama, the count...it has been AWESOME!!!

I don't know if you ever watched wrestling as a kid, but I did. I knew it was fake, everyone else knew it was fake, but dang if you didn't get wrapped up in the matches and rooting for the underdog.

That is where Chip is now. He knows it is fake, but he loves it!! He tapes the show on Monday nights and plays it many times. He gets on the wrestling website. He wanted the wrestling shirt from Walmart.



The boys even built Rey his own wrestling ring with a shoebox, some cross stitch thread and duct tape. Rey is obviously the main attraction. He beat all kinds of Batman, Spiderman and Ironman guys the first day!


Chip invited all of his "Mens" to sit ringside and watch the action. To the left of the ring you can see the walkway he built where the wrestlers come out. They all have their own entrance songs and costumes. It is very theatrical.

He has a Rey Mysterio lunchbox. He loves explaining to me which wrestlers hate each other, which are on teams, what one did to the other, how they enter the arena, who their managers are. He is a virtual encyclopedia of wrestling information.

It wasn't so long ago that Harold was obsessed with robots. We had Robot Wars, Battlebots, all these awful terrible remote control robots with names like Sir Killalot, Sgt. Bash, Matilda, Shunt, Panic Attack - all great toys for a seven year old to play with. I thought he would never outgrow them. He talked about them incessantly. All their moves, their weapons, who they battled, he just knew all there was to know about those big, angry robots. We never missed a show. We screamed when robots lost, cheered when bad guys got smashed.

It passed though...he doesn't love robots any more. I bet he would be hard pressed to name five of them.

So, wrestling is going to be Chip's passion of the moment. It will pass. Soon he won't remember any of their names or what their moves are.

In the meantime, I am going to become friends with Rey too! He is always an underdog and I love cheering for an underdog! Chip can tell me everything their is to know about Rey and I will be a willing listener. He can call me when it is Rey's turn on TV. We can yell 6 - 1 - 9 at the television together when Rey swings his legs through the ropes and kicks someone in the face.

Sounds brutal right? A little too twisted and violent it seems? Nah, at our house it is bonding. It's what we do!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Febreeze Fiasco

Yesterday I was at Walmart picking up a few things and came across this cute little Febreeze air freshener. They are the kind you don't have to plug in or anything, they just sit on a flat surface. I thought it would be great for our laundry room, since that is where my most favorite cat in the world poops, pees and basically destroys any fresh air in the vicinity. I got a scent that was kind of mild like Sunshine After the Rain or something.

Don't you just love the names they come up with for stuff like that?

Anyway, I got the new little deal home and opened it right away so the Sunshine After the Rain smell could get busy in the laundry room. Unfortunately, I went a step too far in the opening process and opened the dang package too far and the scented oil was everywhere!

I had oil all over my hands, my shirt, the kitchen counter, my new book....ARGH! Sunshine After the Rain is a seriously potent smell when it all comes out at once and is on every single thing you touch. I washed my hands at least 20 times. I was gagging myself trying to hold the phone up to my face. The smell was so strong on my hands!

I squeezed a lemon on them. I scrubbed them fiercely with all varieties of soaps and lotions in this house. Finally, after a significant amount of time, the smell was faint enough that I was able to stand my own hands.

Please accept this as your Consumer Alert or Public Service Announcement of the Day: Read the label. Even if it looks like it should be opened, do not open it until you have reviewed the picture on the back of the package and read all of the directions. Seriously, it will save you time, energy, soap and a full blown assault on your nasal passages!

I will never enjoy actual sunshine after a rain probably ever again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day of School in Review

Let's start with Harold. He started High School and was all kinds of nervous as he walked out the door last Tuesday. Not only was he walking onto a big new campus, he also found out that they were holding auditions for a new play the first day of school. He thought he wanted to audition, then he didn't, then he did, then he didn't. He finally landed on DID and so after his first day, he was going to stay after school and try to find the theatre room to audition.

Gives me diarrhea just typing that paragraph.

I didn't hear from him until 6:25 p.m.!!!! Could not wait to get to school, pick him up and find out how his day was!

He gets in the car and I start in with my million questions. The first of which was, "So, how was your first day? Spill it. Tell me EVERYTHING!"

Here is a snippet of his summary. "My schedule changed. Now I have Biology on B day and I have Theatre on A Day. I got Mr. Hobby for Theatre and that class is going to be fun. It went by so fast. Lunch was cool - you can stand up at the end of a table and no one tells you that you have to sit down! The chicken line has its own register but for everything else you have to go to these two common registers and that line was really long. I got Mr. Chalk for English, he is kind of like a hippie but totally cool. Seniors don't want to kill freshman. In fact, they totally walk by like they don't even want freshman in their existence. I watch too much tv."

So basically I think he thought for sure he would end up in a trash can or locker courtesy of some lunatic senior. So glad that didn't happen.

Auditions went well, although it is Shakespeare and the characters have names like Hermia, Oberon, Hippolyta...and way too much herewith and cometh for Harold. We shall see about that. Overall the day was definitely considered a success!

Now let's move on to Chip who also had an awesome first day! He charged into school like he owned the place. And heaven knows that after nine years (including one in the womb) the kid has been up at that school more years than he has been breathing air!!

He had the same big smile on his face at the end of the day as he did at the beginning. Mr. Bradley is funny, there is a football field on the wall the he uses for rewarding classroom behavior, there are behavior tickets and prizes, he has a cool new agenda, his composition notebook is blue. Chip made a couple of new friends. He can reach a pole out at recess that he couldn't three months ago at the end of the second grade. All rainbows and sunshine!

It won't last. This first day of school glow. It will pass quickly into drudgery and that damn homework. Harold already has had a bit of homework. Already tons of paperwork to sort through, organize, sign this, return that, save this, file that....he needs a secretary. But ready or not, the school year is here.

Let's hope the good start is an indication that it is going to be a great year for Harold and Chip!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shocking...

Harold thought he missed the bus this morning - he was early to the bus stop, but there was not another soul in sight. He called and I said I would be happy to run him up to school. BIG MISTAKE!!!

You should see those kids at the high school. They are HUGE!!! I mean HUGE and scary looking. All dressed in their tight, skinny jeans with black everything. I wish what I witnessed was only a small percentage of the kids, but it wasn't. It was a lot of kids and the majority of them were dressed weird. They were everywhere. Black hoodies, REALLY? It is 102 degrees today. I saw one girl with a knit hat perched up on her head with like six inches hanging over to the side. I mean it isn't winter, so she doesn't need it for warmth. I can assume it is a fashion statement. What statement is that? Back in my day, there were a handful of artsy kids who dressed a bit different than the rest of us. This high school looked like the artsy crowd was running the show.

My little shiny faced cherub dressed in athletic shorts and a tshirt, opens the car door and hesitates for a moment. I can tell that he has no idea how he is ever going to find his buddies in this crowd. Deep breath, glances back at me, smiles...out of the car and I swear he looked like a lamb walking into a pack of wolves. Not sure how I even drove away. I felt like screaming "Get back in the car son! I'm going to homeschool you."

I know he is going to be fine. I know those kids are all the same underneath all the black knit caps. But, good Lord, I could have gone all year without seeing the crowd up at the high school.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wow Wednesday

I have had the most productive morning and it feels good! Got up at 4:45 a.m. to walk for an hour. It was a lovely morning, a little breezy and just the slightest bit cooler. All welcome changes. I was still a sweaty mess, but it was good.

Got the boys up for school, fed, dressed, packed and out the door.

House is tidy, beds made, laundry put away, dishwasher is running, washing machine is running, cookies baked, dinner planned. Water softener repair guy coming today between 11 - 1! Can't wait to drink salt-free coffee! I could go to bed right now and feel like I had an outstandingly productive day!

I obviously won't be going to bed at 10:00 a.m. because I still have to work at my paying job! Hope I can be just as productive in that arena!

More to come on the kids first days of school!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Furniture

I have been working on my little reading nook in the master bedroom and thought I would show it to you and see what you think.

It is growing on me, although I would love for the chairs to be just a shade lighter.



This picture was taken standing in the middle of my bed.


I love the picture frames. Kind of modern, which is not quite the vibe of my bedroom or house for that matter. But when I put pictures in them of my favorite traditional subject they worked for me. They certainly do the trick of breaking up the monotony of all that beige!



My boys.


Here it is with the lamp on. Seems even cozier to me with the lamp on. I have actually found a little time every day since they arrived to park my rear end for just a few minutes. Currently reading "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" - loving it so far.

I am still looking for a small table lamp, but I think I am going to go ahead and take the tags off the furniture. It is going to stay.

First Day of School 2010

Today is the day that life gets a little structure back to it! Routines are the best!

Chip wanted to wake up at 6:30 a.m. He needed to finish watching the Monday night wrestling show he missed last night. No trouble getting out of bed on the first day of school!

He snuggled up on the couch and watched some grown men in tights and speedos throw each other all over a 10 X 10 ring. Choreographing their body slams and punches and jumps like a well trained synchronized swimming team. That will get your engine running early in the morning. He ate some breakfast, spiked his hair and we were ready for 3rd grade.


Look at that smile.

Ready to take off.


Really excited about having a man for a teacher! I hope Mr. Bradley delivers!



Walked into school still grinning like a cat.

Sitting in the hallway waiting for the bell to ring. Still smiling!!!

Harold didn't have to get up until 7:30. Still looks like a little fella eating his Yucky Charms.

First year of high school - AAACCCKKKK!! He is a little nervous as am I.

A couple of trips to the bathroom and it is time to head to the bus stop.

Muster up a smile and head off to start the adventure that is High School! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!!!
Good luck my sweet boys! I hope you have the best day ever!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Walk Down Memory Lane

The first day of school is just around the corner! I went through some of our digital pictures and found some classic first day of school pictures. Come with me on a walk down memory lane.



Harold - 2nd Grade



Harold 3rd Grade with little Chip


Harold 4th Grade



Harold 5th Grade


Harold 6th Grade - Chip Kindergarten. Chip is happy in a big way.



Harold 7th grade - Chip 1st Grade

For some reason we missed the front door picture last year. Here is Chip on the first day of 2nd Grade.

Harold - 8th Grade
I will for sure get a picture of my freshman and 3rd grader this year. Right by the front door like it should be!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weird Week

This has been a weird week and I could not be happier to wake up to a Friday morning. Hello weekend.

My internet was down for about 48 hours this week. I got lots done around the house while I paced back and forth to my office to see if the little cable light on my modem was working. My house was tidy, laundry was done, set up a little homework area in the dining room, even filed a little bit, but like every other household in America there is always more to be done. In fact, I had a list of household chores that I could be working on like getting the water softener repaired, checking on new car insurance, sending out thank you notes, but guess what - I needed the internet. So dependent am I on the ability to get information quickly with a few key strokes. You can search for a company, check out their reviews, find phone numbers, schedule appointments all within just a few short minutes. The idea of looking through some yellow pages doesn't do it for me. Anyway, I became fast friends with my Time Warner technician, Donnie, who worked hard to get me back up and running. Ended up being a face plate outside that was causing the problems. Once they figured that out and replaced it, we were good as new. He will never read this I am sure - but Thank You Donnie.

School activities also cranked up this week. Harold had FISH camp and Chip had Back To School Night last night. I am working with Peggy this year as co-chairs for school supplies. Basically, parents can order a complete set of school supplies over the internet and just pick them up at Back To School Night - no shopping involved. It is all handled on-line. No paper forms. They deliver them right to the front door of the school. Seems easy enough, right? Well, it wasn't that easy. We had to unload a semi-truck with 490 packs of school supplies, 400 reams of copy paper and various and other items like baby wipes and kindergarten mats. It was hot, we had to roll hand trucks full of boxes across a big grassy sloped lot to get them to the gym. Fiasco of major proportions. Still have bruises on my arms and legs from that stupid morning. Then it was the sorting, unpacking and organizing of those same supplies to be ready to hand them out last night. That part went really well.

I love Back To School Night. You get to see all the families you don't see over the summer, the kids are all excited about who their teacher is, everything seems new and fresh. And don't even get me started on how much I like school supplies. Who doesn't love a fresh unopened box of crayons? It was good and school supply distribution went smoothly.

We met Chip's teacher. His name is Mr. Bradley. It's a man teacher. Chip is thrilled. Harold never had a male teacher in elementary school, so I am not sure what to expect. Here is something funny though...if you don't have kids you may not appreciate this, but if you do and have been through elementary school hopefully you will understand. You know how all the teachers have their rooms all cute and usually have a theme like monkeys, frogs, zebra print, camo, something that is their signature theme. "Welcome to the Frog Bog" "Let's Go Bananas" "Jump into Learning". On back to school night the desk are usually already marked with the kids names. Usually written in nice teacher writing, with a little frog, monkey or something taped onto the desk. Not Mr. Bradley. He literally took a sharpie marker and wrote the kids names directly on the desk. I cracked up. It is like Bachelor Pad elementary room. No decorations, no cute theme. There was a line of older kids lined up outside his door to say hello, so that is always a good sign. I have seen him go through the cafeteria at lunch time and grades of all ages are screaming "Mr. Bradley, Mr. Bradley, Mr. Bradley." He high fives them. I think the kids think he is totally cool - I just hope he can rock multiplication tables too! We shall see.

This is such a random post, but let's keep going...

I ordered two new chairs for my master bedroom. I was so excited to get them delivered yesterday. I want a cozy place to sit and read like they have in magazines. My vision is a lovely little retreat away from all the chaos. Then BAM - the fabric color is all wrong. Vision is all wrong....Boo Hiss! Does anything suck worse than looking forward to new furniture and then it not working? I love the color, it is a simple taupe - but it is almost exactly the same color as my bedroom walls. Makes it all look washed out. Hate them in my bedroom. I don't have any art work on the wall behind the chairs or tables or lamps so I am going to try to break up the monotony of the color with some pictures, throws, pillows, rugs etc. Otherwise I am going to have to repaint the walls. So SUCKY.

One last thing and you can get back to your life before you ever started reading this blog.

I finished Gone With the Wind and was able to mark #19 off of my 50 Things to do Before I am 50 List. Apple Pie and Reading. Definitely took the two easy ones first. I am trying to grow my fingernails so I can get a manicure, but it is hard. Do you have to have all ten nails in good shape or is 6/10 okay? Can they work miracles if you only have two nails of any length? This may be my hardest challenge of all.

That's all.

Thanks for letting me purge.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Responsibility

Today, my sweet Harold went to his High School Orientation. "FISH Camp" they call it around these parts.

***Let's have a moment of silence for my youth. I know it has already been long gone, but having a high school son just makes it seem like my youth is now gone FOR REAL!!! ***

As I shuttled him off to the high school I gave him a receipt for a missing Science Book that had been on his official record leaving 8th grade. It wasn't really missing, but we had to clear up that mess at the middle school during the early part of the summer. Nevertheless, the bookkeeper at the middle school told us to be sure and hold on to it, because it was the only thing standing between him and not getting issued books for high school. For weeks it has sat on our kitchen counter because I was so afraid of misplacing it and going through a huge ordeal to get his schedule and books for high school.

Today, I handed it to him on his way out the door and gave him the "this is an importance piece of paper" speech. He nodded his understanding of the importance of the paper and then shrugged me off and ran off to meet his buddies in the high school.

After the orientation there was time for a short break before the kids could pick up their books. He came home, told me about orientation and as we were headed out to lunch I said "Do you still have that receipt or did you turn it in already." He reaches into his shorts. Pulls them inside out like in a cartoon and with a fearful face says "Where is it? I had it! Where could it be?" He is turning in circles like a dog chasing its tail.

Fairly certain it is not right here in a one foot area around your body Harold. I cussed a little. I shook my head. I looked at him hard. Seriously, day one and already we are losing important papers.

He is baffled, embarrassed and ashamed of losing the receipt. It requires a trip back to the middle school to ask for another copy of the important paper we were told not to lose. As we are walking out of the middle school he says "Mom, really I would think you would know me well enough to know that I am not responsible." True, but you have to introduce responsibility at some point, right? I didn't just willy nilly give him the receipt. I delivered it with the "this is an important piece of paper" speech.

A short while later, he is in line for books at the high school he is prepared to show them the receipt that clears his name of any late or delinquent books. He tells the lady he might show up as having a missing science book and has this important piece of paper that absolves him of all late charges.

She waves her hand at him. "I don't need to see that." she says.

Really, well look at it anyway lady because it caused me some major grief today.

It was a chaotic and hectic bit of a day and we haven't even started school. Can't imagine what is in store for us next week!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Recap

We spent the weekend in Arlington for Hubby's birthday. The Red Sox were playing the Rangers for a three game series and it was his wish to see a couple of games.


We loaded up the car with presents and other items.

Harold packed his special, sacred dirt that he stole from Fenway Park. I think he is going to use it as a secret potion to jinx the home team.

We made the short drive to the Arlington and checked into our hotel. Our hotels was within walking distance of The Ballpark at Arlington and the Cowboys new stadium.

After a quick swim, Harold and his Dad headed over to Cowboy Stadium to see a preseason game between the Cowboys and the Raiders.
They got there early and enjoyed the first glimpse of football this season. Me and Chip were chillaxin at the hotel, watching the finale of So You Think You Can Dance, some story about a man with no face and reading more GWTW.

SPECIAL NOTE: I am on page 1170 of 1448! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! That Scarlett was a piece of work and don't even get me started on Rhett Butler. Such a scoundrel, but yummy!

The next day, Friday the 13th was Hubby's birthday. We started the day with a long walk around Cowboy Stadium and the Rangers Ballpark. It was so hot. Thankfully it was early, but you could tell it was going to be a scorcher.

After our walk and a nice long family swim, we opened presents and headed to lunch.

We found a Fox Sports Grill which is really a family favorite. The food is good, but the Skillet Chocolate Chip cookie is what keeps bringing us back. I swear we are a school of piranhas when the skillet hits the table. You better be ready, with spoon in hand to get your fair share of this yummy dessert. Don't even think about going to the restroom or taking a drink if you don't want to be left with an empty spoon and sad taste buds.

After our late lunch, we went back to the hotel so I could work for a couple of hours. At about 6:00 p.m. we headed over to the game. It was 105 degrees. Seriously.

The walk was short, but this is where the sweating began. I am not going to recount again how sweaty I was, but if you didn't catch it in my last post you can go there to read it.


This is a really nice ballpark and we had great seats.
There were smiles all around (lots of Red Sox fans in attendance) when the Red Sox had a seven run inning. There were back to back to back homeruns. Those Rangers didn't give up though and ended up winning the game in the 11th or 12th inning. Chip and I headed back to the hotel in the eighth inning and we heard angels singing when we finally made it back to air conditioning.

The next morning, Harold woke up in a terrible mood. I think it was either the heat or the Red Sox losing that set him off. Just kidding....he was in a fine mood. This is just a face he uses when he is looking for his PSP and thinks his brother might have it.

Look at this little cherub. Would he ever take something that didn't belong to him? I think not.

We spent the early part of Saturday morning on a wild road trip trying to visit AC, Thrasher, LT and Red Bull. Goodness sakes, we took the long, long way. Were were about 45 minutes late for lunch.

But they were still happy to see us!

They fed us a delicious lunch and then we headed over to Mike and Robin's house to swim and play a little water volleyball.

Everyone in!
The kids got along well again.

Red Bull was attached to Harold and it was all fun and games.

Until the volleyball started. It was serious. There was yelling and shouting. Alot of it was directed at me, because it became apparent that I was the weakest link. They were aiming for me. One of Chip's practice serves hit me right in the face. OWWW!!! It was a lot of fun, but I will be practicing my volleyball (and defense of fast approaching volleyballs) before we visit again.

We headed back to Arlington in the afternoon and Harold and his Dad were going to back to see the Red Sox and Rangers again. We got back to the hotel and our room key wouldn't work. We slid that damn thing in the card reader 653 times before giving up. It took God, a desk manager, two maintenance guys and a little handheld computer thing to get us back in our room. Just in time for the boys to grab their tickets and head to the game. Chip and I stayed at the hotel and enjoyed the evening with air conditioning and the maintenance guy changing out the card reader on our door.
The super special Fenway Park dirt did the trick on Saturday night and the Red Sox pulled out a win. Go Sox.

It was a great weekend with the exception of the broken door, voluminous amounts of sweating and getting hit in the face with a volleyball. Other than that, I could do this every weekend.