Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Legacy Project . . . .

Weeks ago, I posted an invitation to build a legacy with me.  Based on an awesome gift that was left for me in my dad's belongings, I'm undertaking this project.  Some of you said you wanted to come along.

Here's the beginning . . . .

Start here.  Create your blog.  Define your why.  It will take you half an hour to name your new blog anyway . . . .

Here's mine:   The Fabric of My Life

Pinterest Experiment: Tie Dye Cake


Tie Dye Cake . . . Pinterest experiment that was a raging success.  Loved it.  Super easy.

Well, I feel better now . . . .

Well, I feel better now and here is why.

You all know I'm a Jillian Michael's fan.  Always have been.  I like her method and I like just about everything about her.  EXCEPT for a few things . . . . (1) I don't find some of her words inspirational, so I just mute her and (2) I've been telling the TV for many, many years now . . . "Jillian, you don't understand.  When you are a MOTHER, you can't put yourself first.  It's not possible.  There are little people who have changed the very essence of who you are, and doing things WITH them or FOR them trumps everything else you have going on . . . and . . . in many, many, many cases, that means your daily dose of workout sanity.  It just does."

Let me clarify.  I'm not looking for an excuse.  For about, oh, I'd say a decade, I've been a pretty serious calorie counter.  I watch my weight.  I am really active.  Much, much more active than the average mom, I would bet.  Still, medical issues (some of you know about my never ending back pain saga, epidural injections, surgery, recovery, relapse) along with keeping all the plates at home spinning is not an excuse to order a cheeseburger, it's a fact of life.  It's the hand I've been dealt and I'm dealing with it.  Every day.  It will most likely prevent me from every having a Jillian Michaels physique . . . but I'm not making excuses and I'm not blaming.  I'm just SAYING that there are SOME people for which this sort of thinspiration really doesn't work.

I know I'm right.  Because I have mommy friends.  Lots of them.  I see what happens.  It happened to me.  Four times.  You see your ass get a little wider and your boobs head south to see what's going on in your tennie shoes.  It gets harder to bend over and harder still to get back up.  My arms lost their cut and my tummy is soft, but I can't blame the kids, and I can't blame the hand I was dealt . . . it just IS.  

It IS what it IS.

So . . . . .

In the June 4th  issue of People magazine,  (Yes, I'm behind.  And, yes, I do think People is partially the gospel truth.) there is a beautifully written piece on Jillian Michael, her partner, Heidi, and their two kids.  Both new kids, or at least new to the family.  Anyway, at the end of the article, and I quote . . .

"I have yet to figure out how to take care of myself right now,"  says Michaels, who would also like to apologize to ALL the parents she coached on Loser.  "Telling moms, 'You need to put yourself first?" she says, rolling her eyes.  "It's impossible to put yourself first when you are a mom."

As I read these words, I must have let out the most triumphant whoop.  My kids ran outside to see what was the matter.  MOTH thought I broke my toe again.  Nope.  Better.  I'm nodding my head in silent satisfaction.  Thanks, Jillian, for being enough of a woman and mother to admit when you have been wrong and misjudged . . . . we mommies appreciate that more than you know.

One Last Thing . . .

The last prank I pulled . . . . Geee.  This is a rough one since I am the world's biggest prankster.  I know I've done a few over the past few weeks, even, but the most memorable one was when Big turned 11.  I fashioned an authentic letter, burned the edges and mailed it to her, taking the words and language right out of the First Harry Potter book.  It was good.  It included a supply list and detailed instructions on her admission into Hogwarts.  I even let the bird chew the edges so it looked like The Owl Post was in working order.  It was possibly the best prank I have ever pulled.

Last person I kissed . . . . Mimi.  I just love smacking on her chubby little cheeks.  Right now, she has the cutest tuck-in habit . . . I plant a big smacker on her cheek and she rubs it off.  I exclaim, "hey, don't wipe my smoochies off!!"  And she giggles and says, "mama, I'm not wiping them off  . . I'm rubbing them in!!"  Love that little girl!!

Last vacation I took  . . . Well, if you could call it vacation . . . Disney World, Universal Studios & the she-bang associated with Orlando, Florida.

Last album I downloaded . . . . Maroon 5, Overexposed.  Love, love, love it.


I really like a cartoon artist who draws me looking like Salma Hayek.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm super sad.

Okay, I've written about how much I adore the Olympics.  I've said over and over and over how much of a sports junkie I am.  In past posts, I've probably written about Mary Lou Retton's 10.0 vault and how I watched it as a child.  I'm sure I've written about Nadia & Kerri Strug's one-footed vault landing.  Here is the most recent moment that is burned into my mind forever.

Listen, I LOVE Jordan Weiber.  Love her.  Probably more than I love most gymnasts right now.  More that Nastia.  Just as much as Shawn.  So last night, I was absolutely glued to the TV for Women's Qualifiers.  And when she didn't make it because of this STUPID rule that only two American gymnasts can make it, I cried with her.  I absolutely, positively let the tears pour down my cheeks.  How utterly ridiculous.  How crazy.  How sad.  How stupid.

I'm trying not to wallow.  I am happy for Gabby . . . even though she was wildly out of bounds on floor.  I'm super happy for Allie.  She totally deserves it.  But SO DOES Jordan . . . . boy oh boy, so does Jordan.  Probably way, way, way more than the other 22 girls that will be competing . . .

I'm so sad.

When all else fails, post a picture . . . .

This is the rodent I'm harboring in my back yard.  Wait, I learned at Disney's Animal Planet that it's good to create habitats for tiny creatures.  I already do that.  Dogs.  Check.  Bird. Check.  Outdoor birds.  Check.  Squirrels that we have affectionately named Tico (yes, we watch Dora) and Doorknob (I don't know why.)

Add this guy to the list of backyard buggers . . . .

Which one of you nature nuts can identify him?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Last Thing . . .

The last gift I purchased . . . . was a little blue bottle, from an antique store.  It was tiny and intricate with a delicious little cork.  It was a birthday gift for a friend that collects blue bottles.

The last thing I cooked . . . bacon wrapped asparagus as a side dish.

The last text message I sent . . . Salmon or Shrimp?

The last song I bought . . . 50 Ways to Say Goodbye . . Train

The last celebrity I saw . . . I don't think I've ever seen a celebrity.  Well, except for Rockies baseball players, and that's always from a distance.

The last time I forgot my wallet . . . I'm not sure, but it was recently.   Actually, I forgot my whole purse.

Last hangover . . . Uh, about 1995.

Last TV show I watched . . . America's Got Talent.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

24 more hours . . .

. . . until the Olympics start.   Is anyone else a complete Olympic junkie?  I don't know much trivia, but it's the ONE time in our house that the television set is on for what seems like ALL the time.  I stay up too late and get up too early to catch the highlights and see results.  I love the big sports.  Gymnastics, of course, is my favorite.  I could watch beach volleyball all day and night.  I also love to watch diving and track and field.  But, during Olympic times, I suddenly become interested in all of the other "odd" sports too.  Curling.  I have to see those results!

I think the Olympics (and Shark Week) should be national holidays.  I'm so excited.  I can hardly contain myself.

And, as a side note, those P&G commercials with the "thanks, mom" stuff bring a tear to my eye.  Aye aye aye . . . I'll probably be glued to the commercials, too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My name was Mallory

I witnessed a crime.
I think.
I'm not actually sure because the whole bizarre thing started with me being swept away by men in suits that drove a black Tahoe.  It was very "Criminal Minds."  Anyway, I was transported.  All by myself.  My husband and family had no idea what happened to me or where I went.  My husband must have thought that I left him.  The kids were lost and hurt and very, very angry.  More than I was in touch with their emotion, I was in touch with my own.  I was profoundly lonely and sick with worry.  My logical side knew that I was in some sort of protection.  But the other side of me was aching for the hurt I was causing.  I was dying inside, alone and lonely. 

Then, through some sort of miraculous non-verbal communication, Big launched an "I-will-find-my-mother-because-she-would-never-do-this-to-us" campaign.  She searched.  She figured out all of my passwords and scoured all of my writing and secret files.  She found me. 

I was in a small little town in Montana.  I was shopping in an antique mall, looking for blue mason jars.  I looked up and saw my daugther across the row . . .

It was amazing.   Amazing that she found me.  Amazing that she knew where to look.  Amazing.  That part was amazing.

The dream, however, was so, so, so scary.  The thought of leaving my kids with no mother and no explanation stayed with me as a sick feeling in my gut for the entire next day.

The other thing . . . My name was Mallory.  I love that name. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Feed The Ducks: Check

And this is how we spend the day . . . 

It takes about 15 minutes to get everyone's bike out of the garage. 
It takes another 15 minutes to make sure all the tires are okay. 
It takes 15 minutes to get them all loaded either IN the car or ON the bike rack. 
It takes at least 15 minutes to pack a light lunch and/or snack for everyone. 
It takes a good 10 minutes to do the "last call for bathroom breaks." 

But I do this process.  This routine. 
I make lunches. 
I load bikes. 
I drive down to this awesome little trail. 
And we ride. 
And we ride. 
And we ride some more. 

I pack all of the old yucky "duck bread" that I've been saving in the freezer. 
And we feed the geese. 
And ducks. 

And then we ride some more. 

Then we stop and spread a blanket beneath a big cottonwood.
And peanut butter has never tasted so good.
We lay on our backs and look for shapes in the clouds. 
We close our eyes and listen to the sounds. 
We collect sticks and build little houses. 

And then we ride some more. 

It's hot. 
And we get sweaty. 
And sometimes, usually, at least one kid gets kinda cranky. 

But it's fun. 
It's active. 
It's exercise. 
It's outdoors. 


It takes 30 minutes to get everything and everyone back into the car. 
And 30 minutes to get home. 
Because, yes, we ARE stopping at Sonic for Cherry Limeades.

They fall asleep with Cherry Limeades in their hands. 
They wake up just as we pull into the driveway. 
They are refreshed.

And they all want to know, 
"Mom, when can we do that again?"

Middle loves the babies.  In all stages.  This trip, there were itty bitty baby geese that wouldn't even stray from their parents.  Little yellow fluff balls.  So, so cute. 

Big has the patience of a saint.  She'll work with one goose for half an hour, leaving little trails of crumbs until it's up out of the water and following her all around. 

Against common sense and caution . . . 

Chocolate . . . .

You know I'm just as much about telling stories as I am about anything.  Some made up stories.  Some not.  This is a story about one of the most loved toys in our house.  This is Chocolate.

Well, this is Chocolate sleeping on Mimi's lap during the airplane ride to Florida. Beezer is there too.  The blanket.  I made a pair of those for Mimi when she was cookin' in utero.  They became her favorites.  She called the The B, which morphed to Bee, then Beezer, then Beezer Ebenezzer.  Back to Chocolate. Chocolate.  Incidentally, please don't take offense at the name.  It was lovingly bestowed by a very smitten nearly two year old.  When Middle was but a wee-one, she desperately wanted a black baby doll.  We searched high and low and when finally we found one, she exclaimed with glee that she had the perfect name.  She unwrapped it before we left the store and stroked her little bald head, cooing, "oh, Chokkie, I've been searching for you for so long." 

Chocolate was a good baby to Middle for years and years.  She was the toy that had become real.  A real-life Velveteen Rabbit, if you will.   Middle loved her so much.  This is the baby that she nursed when Little came along.  She'd lift her shirt up in the grocery stores and put that dollie's mouth up to her little naked chest.  She read stories and slept with her.  She rode her around in strollers and carried her in backpacks.  Chocolate has been on just about every trip, even if she stays in a bag or waits in the car, she comes along.  I've searched for Chocolate in the back yard with a flashlight way past bedtime.  There was a time that Middle thought that Chocolate was her good luck charm and she thought that she couldn't balance a bike to ride it by herself, that she really required Chocolate's help . . . .

When Mimi came along, she glommed onto Chocolate.  She has another little baby that she loves, too, but Chocoate, she says, is better behaved than "Emma" so Chocolate has traveling privledges and gets to take lots of field trips.   

This little $5.00 baby has been around our house for nearly a decade.  She's very well loved and is one of those super-special toys that we will surely tell stories about for many years to come.

Have a Magical Day . . .

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Laura Moriarty

Goodness.  Go get this book.  Do it now.  Open another tab.  Bring up another window.  Warm up your kindle or check it out in hardcopy, but whatever you do . . . READ THIS BOOK!

I loved this intricately spun life story of Cora.  I loved the writing style, I loved the complex and interwoven story and the family tree.  I found the idea of living in deception so intriguing and complex. I loved the happiness and the depth of the stories and the very fine, inspirational, ahead-of-her times woman that emerged as the pages turned.  I really appreciate a woman who can take a secret to her grave and honor those relationships that have come into her life throughout her lifetime.

I really, really liked this book.  I will very likely read it again.  And I NEVER do that!!


Big said, "why are you only reading books with Grey in the title?"

Oh my gosh.  Super, super, super good read.  I really got sucked into the character line and the very intricate story line.  I really enjoyed this book . . . .  Four and a half stars.  Easily. 


This came up as a recommended read for me based on past purchases through Amazon.  Generally, I trust Amazon with these things . . . but, uh . . . . this one, I don't get.   I'm thinking it must have likened the kinky, gratuitous sex of the 'Grey' Series with the oddball stuff between these covers.   At it's core, it's a book about addiction, recovery, relapse.  I don't really love books on this theme because of ALL the kinds of real life situation, addition is the farthest from what I can imagine for myself.  I would be a terrible addict.  Thank heavens, I suppose.  However, I did like the "find yourself" aspect of it and I very much admire the courage . . . .

City of Bones

I'm behind on my book list.

I pre-read this for Big and Middle.  It sounded okay from the back, but it's so easy for authors of young adult novels to slip in many, many adult themes.  I judged the possibility by the chiseled hardbody on the cover and chose to pre-read.

Yea, it was okay.  Okay enough for the kids to read.  A smidgen of moderate romance, lots of questions about parentage, but an overall pretty cool take on fantasy.  Not sure I'll read the rest of them. I hate that, by the way, only reading one book of a series, so I might pick it back up when/if I get bored.

Somewhere between 3-4 stars.

Friday, July 20, 2012


This week has been a complete whirlwind.

Monday was Pop's memorial.  I spent so much time planning and getting everything ready and was completely thrilled with how everything came out.  It was lovely.  On Tuesday, I ran about doing stuff all morning and made the almost 3 hour drive to my home town for a second service that my Aunt had organized for ALL of the family that had gone before.  Eight total loved ones.  There was a ton of family there, a potluck and a nice service.  The kids were fabulous, staying overnight was good, swimming was a nice break and aside from the dull drums of eating too many big meals and not moving the body enough, it was an overall success.  Following the services, we drove back home.

Though it was a short visit and unfortunate circumstances, my brother and I had some good time together.  His wife and I had a few decent conversations.  Their daughter and my kids enjoyed lots of cousin time.  My mom had a good taste of having both of her kids and all the grandkids bubbling around in close proximity.  It was good.  Really good.   There's never enough time with family.

Thursday, my brother and his family left at about 8 in the morning.  By that time, Middle was already off to practice.  And shortly after they walked out the door, I was suddenly overcome with the deepest, most profound and overwhelming sadness that I have felt since Pop died.  After all the planning and build up and preparing, suddenly, just like that . . . it was just me, three kids and a pile of laundry.  I was SO not prepared for that.  I was SO not prepared to feel the flood of hot tears and was not prepared to succumb to the wash of emotions and the emptiness that is echoing in my body.

Today and yesterday, I have felt positively numb (and it has nothing to do with the two hours of dental work this morning!)  I'm wandering about in a trance-like state doing a little picking up and a little messing up, fiddling with projects and making lists . . .

How amazing it is . . . when it's all over and all is said and done, how much of a void still remains and how much of a gaping hole is left open in your heart . . . .

Monday, July 16, 2012


The chapel was beautiful. 
The crowd was small. 
The service was intimate. 
The whole thing was lovely. 
The photo was perfect. 
The flowers were lovely. 
The photo book was a hit. 
The family was there. 
The children were angelic. 
I spoke. 
I was strong. 
And clear. 
And concise. 
The DVD played. 
TAPS and military honors brought me to shed many, many tears.
The reception was a success. 

Tonight, I'm feeling the sweet, sweet, swell of relief washing over me. 
Gone but not forgotten . . . 

Love you, Papa! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One Last Thing . . .

Last thing I cooked . . . . Marinated grilled flank steak with steamed broccoli and grilled potato wedges

Last time I was recognized . . . . this one doesn't apply to me . . . I'm skipping it.

Last vice I indulged in . . . a giant vat of movie theatre buttered popcorn and real diet Dr. Pepper when I took the kids to see Brave.  It was delicious but I felt like crap for the two days that followed.  Carbonated beverages don't like me much.

Last gift I gave . . . A big colorful bouncy ball for one a birthday party gift.  Bouncy balls are a hit, no matter how old you are.  I still love them and can play with them forever.

Last time I cried . . . this morning.  I'm not joking.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Here's me.  Sad face x 1000.  Unfocused.  Flighty.  Can't concentrate.

This has been a week from hell.  Straight from hell.

I'm not sure exactly what or why, but I know that it feels like little pieces spun off the dirt road of my life and landed in ditches this week.  Aside from feeling unsettled, agitated, irritated, anxious, I'm also feeling like a complete island.  People, and by people I mean, a couple of good girlfriends keep asking me what they can do for me . . . wanting to help, but I can't even find the way out of this papersack I'm living it to delegate a task.  

I'm exhausted.

I've been procrastinating.  Procrastinating is SO, SO, SO unlike me, but I am.  I just don't wanna.  I don't wanna.  I don't wanna.  I want to be rescued.  I want, I want, I want.   When (and if) I eventually come out of this papersack, I'm going to compose a list of all the things I have done in order to avoid doing what I need to be doing.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Family Pictures

This is one of the best things that came out of vacation time in Florida.  I'm not exactly friends with a camera, but I muddle through so that there is some photographic footprint of me in my best role:  motherhood.

Happy Anniversary, Work Makes Me Say UGH and I'm Overwhelmed

Like this:

Happy Anniversary to me.  Well, us.  That was actually yesterday.  Fourteen years.  That's a long time. I had intentions of posting pictures, but time has slipped away from me . .

.. . because . . .

. . . work makes me say UGH.  I'm fighting a giant mess of paperwork. What a mess.  I can't believe how tangled it is.  Good thing I like puzzles.  It's gonna take me some time to dig out.

. . and . .

I'm overwhelmed.  I can hardly focus.  I need a list.  And an assistant.  Is that even possible?

Holy crap.

Woo Hoo!! The Waldo Canyon Fire is officially 100% contained as of tonight!!  Yahoo!!! We love our firefighters!!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

One Last Thing . . . .

Coming from time to time to a blog near you . . . .

The last time I said, "I love you" . . . . was tonight, when I dropped Little off for a sleepover.

The last thing I cooked . . . . was barbecue chicken tenders on the grill . . . tonight.

The last time I forgot my wallet . . . was several weeks ago when I needed to stop at Walgreens after I dropped Middle off at gymnastics.  I forgot my wallet, but it turned out okay, because I also forgot to wear shoes, so I needed to go home anyway.

Last hangover I had . . . was at least a decade ago.  Maybe more.

Last TV show I watched . . . was Gator Boys on DVR.  Or Design Star.  Summer TV ins't my favorite season.

Sweet, sweet Mimi . . .

. . . the girl cracks me up. 

Perched on the potty in our master bathroom, comes a tiny voice that proudly proclaims, 

"I can spell TRASHCAN . . . H  . . . E . . . R . . . B . . . S. "

See  . . . 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

I say, "Let them play."

There's a disagreement in our house.  Daily, at least.  I think this is the kind of disagreement that comes when you are around kids A LOT.  Like I am.  Suddenly, things they want to do, experiment, play with really do seem like good ideas.  I don't let them dabble with power tools (without supervision) but I do let them PLAY.  My "yes" or "no" isn't generally driven by "will that make a mess."  I just assume that everything will make a mess.  I'm usually right.

Here's an example:

This is Mimi in our backyard.  She is playing, an okay version, by my account.

Yes, she is wasting water.  Well, kind of.  She watered the beans behind her in the pot.  Now, she's doing science.  She's adding water to chalk to investigate the solubility.  She's also learning elementary physics.  That's a hammer you see and she's pounding the tar out of chalk . . . some wet and some dry.  It's a big hammer and she might smash her finger.  In fact, I think she did.  She cried, I checked for real injury and then I said, "if you're gonna use a hammer, you have to be really careful not to smash your fingers."  She said okay and went back to smashing, now with more caution.   She's practicing hand-eye coordination and she's figuring out the world around her.  She's figuring out how things work by destroying them.

What's your take?  Or rather, what's your parenting style?  Does my above paragraph make sense to you, or are you gasping with your hand over your mouth and saying, "She's wasting water!  She's making a mess!  She's ruining her skirt!  She shouldn't have a hammer!  She's making a mess! She's making a mess!  She's making a mess!"

Parental disclaimer:  Obviously, I AM nearby, supervising this escapade.  I can see what she's doing perfectly well from behind the camera lens.

Vacation Report: Days 7 & 8

Day 7 was easy breezy.  Morning at the hotel pool, lots of lounging, quick showers & clean up for a family photo shoot that is offered with compliments from the staff.  With Christmas pictures on my mind, I forced the family into smiling pretty.  We spent a bit of time packing & cleaning before heading out to Downtown Disney for (1) Lego store shopping, (2) dinner and (3) Cirque du Soleil.  Downtown Disney was (1) over-rated and (2) hot.  However, Cirque du Soleil was amazing, incredible, fantastic, hilarious . . . . the best thing during the whole week.  We thoroughly enjoyed every second.  If I lived in  Orlando, I would get a job at Cirque du Soleil.  Even if I was an usher, I could peek through the curtains and steel glimpses of the show at least twice per night.  I never get enough of it.  I could watch Cirque over and over and over and over.

Day 8 was the travel day home.  Early up to catch an 8:30 flight back to Colorado.  The kids were marvelous air travelers, keeping themselves entertained or cat-napping.  The flight was on time and except for arriving on the ground with stomachs rumbling and feeling low-blood-sugary and grumpy, we pulled the whole week off without a hitch.  We stopped for lunch, claimed the car & headed for the safety of HOME . . . . . the best place to be after vacation.  It's so fun to go . .  . and so fun to come home.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Random Ramblings . . .

I feel like I have to randomly ramble at least on a monthly basis, or I lose my edge.  Nah, not really.  I'm   just living in a disorganized mind right now, so it's one of those times when I'm thinking in lists and tangential thoughts.  I feel like I have ADD.  Those moments where I walk into the kitchen, stand there scratching my butt, and say, "what was I looking for?" are coming with more and more frequency.  I feel a little, uh, alzheimer-y, to be honest.

Topics are, of course, all over the map.  I'll limit this hopeless rant to 10.  Ah, that which you are seeking is causing you to seek.

1.  I think I'd like a perm.  Can you still even get a perm.  I might be smoking something funky, or maybe just having flashbacks to happy days when I sported the long, flowing, gentle curls and a full head of locks.  I wasn't under such unpredictable hormonal control then.  Are you confused?  I tend to cut my hair when my hormones swing.  Whatever.  It's me.   See, here's me with lovely curly, long, layered, spiral locks.  And that awesome shirt that I bought at Maurice's.

Oops.  So, maybe my hair is so dark that you can't really see it.  Trust me.  It was big. Also, apparently I thought I could pull off that semi-sexy sultry smile.  Whatever.  I've matured.  There's nothing as sexy as a genuine gut busting grin.  Screw sultry.

2.  I've been lost, oh-so-very-lost, planning Pop's memorial.  It's next Monday, the 16th.  I HATE doing things last minute.  I like to leave a week of event "padding" between when I'm done with things and when something actually happens.  That way, there's plenty of time to, say, get a perm.  Or not.  Anyway, I'm very, very, very blessed to have two people working with me.  One:  Emily.  She's a funeral director.  She's awesome.  She's hilarious and practical and a positively perfect fit for my personality.  She says things like, "do you want to drop your dad off with me on Friday so you won't have to worry about bringing him?"  She says these things JUST like I would and they make me feel at ease and comfortable.  I love her.   This week she solved my major stress-causer:  WHERE to have a reception.  Listen, friends, I have a beautiful house.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my house.  But I really do NOT like people in it.  I don't entertain.  Aside from a Silpada party or Pampered Chef show (about every 24 months and because this is how I Christmas shop), I don't have company.  Sure, there are a few exceptions and people who are always welcome.  Homestead.  Katy.  Mel.  Yah, I guess that's it.  I don't love cleaning before guests or a party and I really don't love cleaning after them.  I am plenty busy enough cleaning just so I can walk through the dining room.  Sometimes I feel like I need a snow shovel and a ride-on vacuum just to maintain a baseline around here.  Anyhoo . . . I was really dreading the thought of having a reception following the memorial HERE, as in, inside the walls of my house.  Dear Sweet Emily solved that problem.  Love that gal, I do.  I used to think that kindergarten teachers and hospice nurses had the golden ticket.  That, those two folks could sort of present an Express Pass at the Pearly Gates and get direct admission.  Add funeral directors to that list.  There are three kinds of people to whom I am forever in debt:  kindergarten teachers, hospice nurses & funeral directors.  Also, Big.  Big has a computer-techno-gift that amazes me.  She hasn't really taken much for classes, so I can only think that it's just the way kids think in this day and age.  I've been making the transition from Windows to MAC and some things are just slower coming.  For example, I love, love, love iPhoto.  It's powerful and very user friendly.  But this is my first go-round with making DVD and/or slideshow with my MAC.  A solid hour past bedtime last night, I was sitting at the computer with tears streaming down my face, when Big walked in.  The long and short of it was like this:
She said, "Can I help?"
I said, "No", with frustration, "I just can't figure out how to burn this without losing all the format and music.  I think I'm gonna have to start over."
She said, "What if you go into that area, click over there, highlight that and then right click over there?"
Let me be honest, the selfish, headstrong adult in me almost banished her from the office.  But the woman crying thought it was just crazy enough to work.  And damn, Sally, it did.  The girl saved Christmas.   She's also been scanning pictures and making things like a champion.  Man, I love that girl.

3.  Since I'm on a memorial rant . . . . I did finish the photo album that I'm using for the sign in book.  I love it.  Wait, I think I might have done most of it, but Big was a huge help with that too.

4.  While I'm in iPhoto mode, didn't I post something about a goal to finish Middle's Level 5 Team book?  Yeah, Big did that too.  But, damnit, I clicked "submit order now" and I also paid for it, so in my mind, I had a hand in it and I'll take a wee-bit of the credit.  Go me.  Whoop whoop.

5.  The fire is nearly contained.  Thank the Gods.  Contained is not to be confused with put out.

6.  Speaking of Big, she got the dreaded summer cold.  Well, or allergies from all of the smoke in the air.  At any rate, it progressed pretty rapidly into a full blown sinus infection.  She's no stranger to the signs, and she's uber-responsible, so when she told me she needed to go to the doctor, I booked her an appointment.  Sinus infection. Check.  Ear infection. Check.  But the cool part.  And by cool, I mean "cool-gross-nasty-gnarly", was a cerumen impaction in her left ear.  Yea, we knew she had a propensity for giant hard clumps of earwax to occlude her ear, but not like this.  Apparently, Florida humidity mixed with just enough swimming and ear wax loosener drops made it just possible for the doctor to fish out all of the impaction.  Eeeew.  It was so cool-gross-nasty-gnarly.  It was HUGE and very, very colorful.

7.  Middle is officially competing as a Level 6-7 this season.  That means an extra long meet season that runs from September through April.  Long. Pause. While. We. All.  Think. About. What. That. Means.

8.  We were in the mall today and as we walked past Victoria's Secret, I noticed that Little blushed a tad.  It went like this:

Me, "What's up, buddy?"
Him, "I just don't get it."
Me, "What?"
Him, "Well, why there's only underwear and bra-ers on those fake girls."
Me, "Well, buddy, that store sells underwear and BRA-ERS, so it's hard for them to sell those items if they don't display it and try to make it look good."
Him, "I'm not a fan . . . "
Me, ". . but you will be, buddy.  Someday, you will be . . . "

9.  Summer television and air conditioning.  They go hand in hand because for one, we've never been much for summer television OR air conditioning.  Generally, MOTH works late & I have evenings with the munchkins.  We spend our evenings outside playing games that I make up, like Hide The Monkey with Flashlights.  I know it sounds dirty, but it's not.  It's just hide-n-seek with a stuffed animal (a monkey) so that everyone gets to be a seeker at the same time.  That generally morphs into the hot-cold-game, a bunch of clues, but only if you can solve a riddle.  You know, goofy mom games.  We do backyard fires and gorge on s'mores.  We play games with a random box of flashcards that I've been collecting for more than a decade.  So, not much for summer TV, except, of course for Rockies games. Too, we're not much for air conditioning.  I've always just suffered through, turning it on only when I REALLY needed it.  Well, shine that!  This summer, with the smoke in the air the last few weeks, crappy air quality and sweltering heat, I've turned the A/C on.  And, we're watching summer TV.  I LOVE the A/C.  Why was I so resistant?  I'm actually sleeping.  It's a friggin' miracle.  And we love Gator Boys.  I think Big has a little crush on Paul . . . or at least I know she covets his necklace.  I feel my adrenaline rise when I watch that show and often times, they cut to commercial and I have my hand in front of my face like I'm watching Friday the 13th, part 94.

10.  A ramble wouldn't be a ramble without a pitch on diet and exercise and nutrition.  I slipped.   Of course, we all knew that I would.  Summer PLUS no school PLUS four kids at home simply = no time for me to get to the gym.  I've been doing home things, but I also hurt my back (again) and have been conservative and safe.  My friend Cinnamon says stress oozes through my back and that's where the Devil works his magic on me.  I'm thinking she's right, 'cause when I'm feeling out of sorts, physical pain starts peeking into my life, too.  Anyway, Big and Middle have been doing 30 day shred with me. Mimi thinks it's like Wii and always wants to know, "which one am I?"  Middle, being the most fit one of all of us, gets to be Jillian Michaels.  This morning, she ate a muffin while she stood over me asking, "can't you take it any higher than that, Mom?"

Oh, one more?

11.  Mimi is on a boy-kick.  I hereby promise pictures.  She and Little are super-tight right now.  He has always wanted a little brother and she is doing her level best to step up to the plate.  Yes, he taught her to pee standing up.  About a month ago, she asked me for a haircut,  so (as she put it) she would " . . . look more like a REAL boy."  I cut her hair that night.  Since then, she's been on and off borrowing his clothes, wearing his hats, stealing his boxers.  She wrote me the nicest note asking for (1) a bow and arrow (2) muscle shirts of her OWN and (3) a shorter haircut.   Hmmmm.

And THAT's what I know about that.

* clean off my *&^% desk.  I can't think when it's in this condition.
* find something for me and each of the children to wear next week . . . to Pop's service and the one on Wednesday for the rest of his family
* finish the photo stuff I have in progress, which is WAY to elaborate to post here . . .
* scan, scan, scan
* invoice, post payments & communicate with offices.  Blink, blink, oh, I have a job??
* pictures . . . from vacation . . . load, import, edit, post
* weeds . . back yard . . . pull
* the table!! Post glorious pictures of my almost-finished pallet table.  Oh, I love it so!
* anniversary . . . . our anniversary is coming up . . . . .

Oh, that can't be all . . . but I'm must go see what all of the laughter is about . . . .


90% contained!! Yeah!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Vacation Report - Day Six

I'm so excited to write about day six . . . .
It was our absolute favorite day of all.   On Friday, we did Universal Studios Islands of Adventure.  All of my kiddos, except Mimi, of course, are HUGE Harry Potter fans, so part of our major goal was to visit the Harry Potter portion and really drink in the stuff in that area.  We were able to score discount tickets to Universal, so that put me in a jolly mood to start.  Add premier parking to that and you have the makings for an awesome day.  

At Universal, we managed to do all the major things.  On the advice of a veteran Universal mom, we beelined for The Wizarding World, but let me be honest, I was SO incredibly distracted by all of the cool stuff that we easily slipped into wander-mode.  Once in The Wizarding World, we did Flight of the Hippogriff first.  The big kids were all feeling super sensitive to Mimi. She really wanted to do a coaster, but is just too short.  However, she WAS tall enough for Flight of the H, so we did that first.  We waited in about a 20 minute line and she cracked us up with her excitement and over the top animations.  Every detail in The Wizarding World is amazing and spot on, in alignment with the book.  It's really amazing just to look about.  I was awestruck.    

Universal Studios was our favorite day.  We did nearly all the rides, in the areas where we were most interested, which included The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park,  Marvel Super Hero Island & Suess Landing.  We loved the coasters but found that Middle wasn't tall enough to ride a couple of them.  Incidentally, The Hulk Coaster was one of THE most intense rides I have ever been on.  I'm glad that coaster growls like Hulk and is loud as heck, so that Big couldn't hear me yelling, "shiiiiiitttttt".

Overall, I though Universal was a bit more edgy than Disney.  It was a more teen-scene kind of place, and amazingly, I thought it was more kid-friendly than Disney.  We sprung for two Express Passes and shared them for the day, since at least one responsible adult had to be on the ground at all times.  Those little gems were worth their weight in gold, considering we just had one day to take in all the rides.

The best part(s) of today were:
Big: The Hulk Coaster
Middle: Dragon Challenge Coaster
Little: All of Harry Potter and especially the Castle ride
Mimi:  The Flight of the Hippogriff Coaster

Today's money out was more substantial.  Big used her cash for a necklace.  Middle bought herself a bracelet.  I bought a HP piece of apparel for Big, Middle and Little.  We had slurpees, of course.  MOTH and Little spent money on Avengers shirts and jammies.  We also bought lunch and dinner.  Overall, we're still under budget for souvenir world and I'm feeling pretty good about money out.

Universal Studios.  Loved it.  Go there.  Best if all of your young riders are 54" tall.  There's still plenty to do if they aren't, but it would be nice if they all could ride.  Also, especially if you are time crunched, bite the bullet and buy Express passes. For sure.

Fire . . . almost contained

Today:  18,427 acres and 80% contained.  Can I get a whoop-whoop???

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

18,247 acres and 70% contained!

Good news . . . . Bad news . . More good news

Still at 18,000 + acres
But I got a text alert last night . . .
70% contained . . .
The news said estimated containment is for next week . . . .

Thank the Gods.

I'm really disappointed in . . .
1.  Burglars, looters and the variety of criminals that are sneaking into evacuated neighborhoods . . . .
2.  A jerk who impersonated a firefighter to get behind containment lines & steal stuff . . . .
3.  A variety of homeowners being interviewed who are pointing fingers and placing blame.  Really?  Our firefighters are real-life heros and they deserve nothing but thanks and respect.  I'd really like to see these people who are bitching TRY to do better than our local heros did for them on Tuesday.  One guy was complaining that his house was still standing, but damaged.  He said his steps were torn away from his house and all of their patio rugs were thrown into the woods.  And he said that some of their landscaping had been chopped to shreds.  Really?  Use your noggin, dude.  The steps are wooden . . . they were ripped from your home so they didn't ignite and catch the whole house on fire.  Your patio rugs are jute, and your landscaping is scrub oak!  All of that "destruction" was done to save YOUR home!

But I'm encouraged by this, written in soot . . .

Monday, July 02, 2012

Big Progress

17,650 acres
1,200 firefighters
55% contained
346 homes destroyed
2 dead
0 injuries
4,000 people still evacuated

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Update . . .

17,650 acres
1,200 firefighters
45% contained
10,000 still evacuated . . . hopefully that will go down tonight when more evacuations are lifted

I was watching the news today and some jackwad from one of the evacuated neighborhoods was bitching about his community being "forgotten".  As in, none HIS neighborhood doesn't fall into the classically drawn "lines" that were used to define evacuations.  For example, Mountain Shadows is the neighborhood, or area of town that really got hit the hardest.  HIS neighborhood is just outside Mountain Shadows, but they prefer to be referred to by their own community name.  Seriously?  In this time of crisis and devastation, there's nothing better to complain about that the name on the news?  And he's upset that he can't get back into his home yet.  Uh, mister . . . there's no running water, no gas, no electrical and everything reeks of smoke . . . . not to mention, there's still FIRE raging on the hill.  It's NOT safe.

The news was SO much better before they started doing exclusive interviews.  Just report the hard news, for cripe's sake.

Vacation Report - Day Five

After two days of "doing Disney", this day was much needed and oh-so-fun for the clan.  

We got up.  Barely.  Sort of a miracle in an of itself. 
We ate.  Scraps. 
We put on swimwear. 
We used the rest of a bottle of sunscreen. 
We went to the pool. 

We played in the deep end. 
We did the slides. 
We stood under the water-palm trees and let the coconuts rain down on us. 
We had a water battle at the kiddie park. 
We played on the pirate ship. 

Oh, we did an owner's refresher course. 

In the afternoon, in rained buckets and we stayed in and popped popcorn.  We all piled into the beds and watched a movie.  It was awesome.   Perfectly, perfectly awesome. 

In the evening, we ate, made a sunscreen run to the local CVS, went on a lizard hunt on hotel grounds and had an easy night.  It was vacation. 

Today's highlights:  swimming, lizards, and the rain.  Yes, the rain.  We all needed a break and the rain provided the perfect excuse to stay in and be couch slugs.
Today's lowlights:  none, as reported by the children.  I love a day when we gather for dinner and I say, "Okay, everybody tell me your Bee-Dub (which is B for Best and Dub, for W, which is worst)." They go around the table and tell me about the best part of their day and the worst.  When there is no "W", that's a grrr-eat day. 

Money today:  sunscreen (which morphed into some munchies & blister band-aids, too) + dinner

I have a note in the PassPorter on Day Five that says . . . excluding tickets to parks, this trip has been VERY affordable.  I actually only paid for two of the airline tickets, lodging was covered (if you can consider it that), through timeshare purchase & we have spent about $20 on souvenirs so far.  Go us.

25 Things That My Mother Taught Me

1.  My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside.. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.  "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.  "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC. "Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.  "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.  "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.  "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.  "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.  "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.  "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.  "If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.  "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.  "Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.  "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.  "Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.  "You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.  "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.  "Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.  "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.  "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.  "You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.  "Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.  "When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

And my favorite:

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.  "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you !"

Only you folks my age understand these profound statements!!!  But, there is one missing from this list.
~~My personal all-time favorite!!

My mother taught me about CHOICE.  "Do you want me to stop this car?"