Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're in Day 2 and it's tougher than I thought

Chachi left for 5th Grade Outdoor Education yesterday. All the 5th graders take buses up to the Santa Cruz Mountains and study eco-systems and all kinds of stuff for a week. They leave Monday morning and come home Friday afternoon. We took her and all her stuff to school yesterday morning and saw the buses drive away.

My girls both have been to church camp before and I did cry when they both left in August but I thought I was more prepared for this trip than I actually was. As the buses pulled away from the school, I could feel that little ache in my stomach move into full fledged sadness grip heart. Other moms were crying and it started me tearing up but then I just knew if I started, I would be in a complete "ugly cry" mode and that isn't a good look for anyone to see. That cry is reserved for behind closed doors only so I sucked it up and went on my way.

Today is Day 2 and I will admit that I am missing Chachi terribly. I am missing her good morning greetings, hearing her voice through out the house and just her presence all the way around. Did I mention that yesterday was my darling husband's birthday? To say she was sorely missed, is an understatement.

The old adage that you don't know what you have until it's gone is so true. I would never trade my kids for anything but when one is missing, it's amazing how much it touches ever aspect of your life and is so noticeable right away. I hope she is having a good time and learning a lot. And I can't wait for this week to steam on by so I can see her and put my arms around her and kiss her camp covered, dirty little face.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Burn baby, burn! It's a Disco Inferno!

This past weekend, the whole family went up to my sister's house for her 40th birthday. She had NO clue we were coming so it was fun to surprise her. My brother in law threw her a 70's themed party and can I tell you how fun it was! We had a blast getting dressed up to ring in her new decade. 

Here are some pictures from the party. Enjoy them with some Earth, Wind and Fire or KC and the Sunshine Band, will ya? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Knitting - cross that off my list of things to learn to do

In September, I was able to go to my friend Ashley's house in Austin. It was a weekend full of friends, fun, bingo (you haven't lived until you've played BINGO with these ladies and called BINGO with Kim) and it was filled with knitting. 

I have always wanted to learn how to knit and several of my far away friends know how to knit so hearing about their projects and things over the years had made the desire even stronger. My dear friend, Jerusha, smiled kindly upon my knitless fingers and taught me how to knit that weekend. I plopped my happy little self in one of Ashley's rattan loungers next to Vanessa and Jerusha and knitted away my Saturday. It was delightful. I had a nice little project square going on until I got home. In one fail swoop, little Boops pulled my needles out and started unraveling my pink square. Stimey! I had to rip out every single stitch I had done in Austin and was left to fend for myself at casting on again. 

With some assistance from Knitting Help, which is an amazing site if you need videos and how to's, I was able to get back on track. It was a slow and painful process. I hold my yarn totally wrong, I'm sure of it. I was knitting, purling, and dropping stitches like no body's business. It was a fine little piece of work. I was getting to the end of the ball of yarn and decided to try a little something. I would knit a stitch, purl a couple and so on. Yeah, not so hot on the esthetics side of things. It doubled my stitches and made my square turn into some oblong funkadelic shape that I can't properly describe.

Because I love her and we have this on going running joke about a sweater I knitted her once (not really) and how she washed her car with my hard work, Deanna was the recipient of this little treasure. She says she is using it as a Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Cozy. At least it's got purpose. I am grateful there are no pictures of it anywhere on the net or anyplace else for that matter. 

I am on my second square and I must say, it's going really well. Much better than my initial stab at knitting. Even my husband is impressed. He was impressed with the first tragedy of a project I did too so I guess that's not saying much but he's supportive none the less and I love that about him. 

Even if you don't want to learn to knit, let me encourage you to try something or learn a skill you have always wanted to know. It's amazing how much fulfillment one gains from something so small. Knitting was in the top 3 of things I wanted to learn how to do before I die and I can cross it off thanks to Jerusha and her patience in teaching me. So, much thanks and big props going out to Jelly today. Love you and thanks for teaching me to knit. You have a convert to the core!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I love November 1st

I am not a big fan of Halloween. My kids dress up and trick or treat, we go to the pumpkin patch and carve pumpkins mostly because I enjoy seeing my kids' creativity in the carve and who doesn't like a pumpkin guts fight in the backyard? But I don't decorate the house or really celebrate it in any other way. I am always excited to see my kids in their costumes and full regalia because they are usually hilarious but I am doubly excited that November 1st is the next day. 

For our family, November 1st kicks off THE Holiday Season, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We start listening to Christmas music because waiting until December just doesn't give us enough time to hear our favorite tunes or to Rock Around the Christmas Tree with Peggy Lee. Can I tell you that today is the PERFECT November 1st? It's pouring rain outside, toasty in the house, and we have Christmas carols piping through the house. 

Our Christmas tree will go up the night before Thanksgiving.  After the last piece of turkey has been eaten and the pumpkin pie is nothing but a few crumbs of crust left in the dish, we can turn the lights on Thanksgiving night and sit in the living room together and enjoy the warm glow and sense of family togetherness that few other moments can capture on an annual basis. 

November means all the spooks and goblins are behind us. What lies before us in the coming months is the cozy glow of fireplaces, warm breads and cookies coming from the oven, and the overwhelming feeling of friendship and love that the holidays bring. I was sad to see summer go. I love warm weather and flip flops. But I am elated to feel the warmth of the spirit of love and generosity that abounds this time of year. Yes, it is November 1st and I am giddy as a child awaiting Christmas morning, waiting to see what this season has in store for us. 

Friday, October 31, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kitten. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Barbara Streisand had it right when she sang that song. As a memory project in 5th grade, I had to learn all the words to that song and have loved it every since. Have you ever stopped to think of what are a few of your favorite things? I like to think that I am pretty in tune with myself and know what I like but I find new things to like everyday. But I thought maybe I'd share a few of MY favorite things. I may not present them quite as poetically as the song but hey, no one said I was a literary genius. 

I like the smell of my children when they wake up in the morning. I'm not talking about their breath that is so kickin' that I assume someone's teaching karate in their mouths, but the smell of their hair and nape of their neck. That smell that is uniquely theirs and kind of sleepy. 

I love grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup on cold days. The smell of yummy things baking in the oven that have cinnamon, nutmeg or spices all warm and delicious in them that has a fragrance that trickles through out the house while it's cooking. 

I love train wreck TV, especially on BBC America. BBC America Reveals is great for Wednesday night fodder. I also love another Brit, Chef Gordon Ramsey and his "Kitchen Nightmares" on Fox. Dancing with the Stars is also good for mindless TV watching. CSI but only the CSI on Thursday nights in Las Vegas, no Miami for me. I like any show that showcases out of the ordinary people or health situations on Discovery Health or TLC. TLC also has the Duggar family and their almost 18 children. Michelle Duggar has the patience of Job. I need a little more Michelle Duggar in MY life. 

I love toast with peanut butter and sugar. It's healthy, I know but it's delicious. My sister and I have been eating it since childhood and we both ate it for breakfast today. It's yummy. 

I love that I have family and friends that love and support me and my family. That they get the fact that I am crazy as a outhouse rat but love me anyway. Tomorrow is November 1st and November 1st is one of my MOST favorite days of the whole year. Why, you may ask. Well, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Take this cash and flush it

It's never fun to watch your money go down the toilet - literally. We live in a 60 year old house that has 60 year old pipes. These grandpa pipes sometimes get backed up. Every couple of years, we have to get the main drain snaked. Go ahead and say it because I know what you're thinking, good times... good times. I'm here to tell you it's not. 

We called the plumber and he can't come out until tomorrow morning. Good gollly Miss Molly! We can't flush the toilets, take showers or even brush our teeth with more than a trickle of water on. Unless this plumber dude shows up at O'dark thirty, this isn't going to end well for getting ready in the morning and the kids off to school. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Love 'em or hate 'em: Product Reviews

I am a BuzzAgent and get to review products from time to time then I tell people if I liked it or didn't like it. I was just a part of 2 campaigns. One was Smuckers Uncrustables and the other was for Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant. 

I have to say, I liked the thought of being able to toss a sandwich from the freezer into the lunch box and not mess a knife but they went over like a lead balloon with my kids. The peanut butter was "weird" and they don't prefer jam on sandwiches so that was a strike right off the bat. They are easy. They look cool. The concept is great. But for my kids, they prefer a sandwich made by hand and is fresh. I can't say I blame them. I tried one and I am a PB&J girl but I wouldn't eat another one. No thanks.

On to Sweet Tomatoes. It's a salad bar on steroids, basically. The kids love to eat there. It's totally family friendly and fairly reasonably priced if your kids eat. If they are pickers or don't eat enough to stick in your eye, then I would pass because the amount they'd eat wouldn't offset the cost. 

Now on to a favorite topic of mine... COFFEE! I wait every holiday season for the Coffee-Mate creamers to come out. Peppermint mocha is #1 in this house and I drink it by the gallon from the moment it hits stores until January when it's all bought up and you can't find it anymore. Neither Safeway or Lucky's has it yet. There are spots for it on the shelves, just no creamer. I was in Lucky's today, surprise surprise - I'm at the grocery store every day, and lo and behold, it was like a light from Heaven came down and shined on the creamer case in the dairy isle. It wasn't Coffee-Mate but International Delights. A new flavor. Chocolate Mint Truffle. I usually don't prefer Int'l Delight because they are sweeter than Coffee-Mate but I bought it because I was impatiently waiting for the peppermint mocha. Can I tell you how good this stuff is? I made decaf coffee tonight to try it and man oh man, this stuff ROCKS! If you see it, buy it and try it. You won't regret it!