Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

That's right, people. Bowl season is upon us. Day after day of football, all day long. Mama Chris is getting all tingly just thinking about it. Her husband, on the other hand, is already counting all the various ways he can think of to get away from the television and her mania. It's been three weeks! Three. Whole. Weeks. Since I watched a decent days' worth of college football. The pros have been subbing, but it's just not the same, although I must extend my thanks to the Ravens for doing so well in my time of need.

It started Monday (or was it Tuesday - I can't remember what I ate for lunch today so don't ask me specifics like that - unless it was about things that happened ten years ago. Then I'm good) with a, well, kind of boring game. It doesn't get much better really until New Year's weekend. And then once Notre Dame plays LSU, it's all over. I'm not going to discuss how that game might end up because I refuse to believe that ND doesn't have a chance and I'd hate to eat my words if I said they'll kick LSU's ass. So I'll just not say anything at all.

Yeah, I don't give a crap about OSU and Florida. Unless Florida wins. Then I'd be impressed.See, I'm always rooting for the underdog. Unless that underdog is playing Notre Dame.

The only thing that gets my dear old hubby through this glorious time is knowing that it's all over until next September. Seriously, how did I end up married to a total sports-hater? I'm not a big rah-rah type. I really just love football, especially the give-it-their-all way the college teams play. Okay, so I'm kind of rah-rah about Notre Dame. And Maryland. And whoever's playing Florida State. My father-in-law finally got someone to watch sports with when Tom married me. He's more into NFL and baseball, but we can hang, especially on January 1. Tom? Just not into it. Actually, kind of rabidly against fandom in general - you know the overbearing, all encompassing level that some people take it to? And really I agree with him. Football is entertainment, not a way of life. Not unless someone is paying you millions upon millions of dollars to participate in it.

I barely even have the heart to tell him that I'll be watching the Ravens in the playoffs. So, just until February (optimistically speaking). Oh, and then I'll probably get into March Madness yet again. But then once it's April, I'm off of sports until September. Mostly. I mean, if a baseball game's the only thing on, I'll probably watch it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I caved...

I've been swearing that I would not buy my mother-in-law clothing or anything for her house this year because she never wears or uses the stuff we buy her. Well, after weeks of searching and getting a little panicky that Christmas is FIVE FREAKING DAYS AWAY!!!! I just bought her some new sweaters and a new blanket for her sofa. I bought my brother-in-law some clothes too, but he asked me to, so that was pretty easy. I'm down to my parents. The people who have everything. I think I"m going to end up going with photos of the kids. Who doesn't love that, right?

And I know I said I was done with the kids, but I found something I've been looking for today and I had to get it. I think I'm now officially done with the kids. Until the next time I go out. No, really, they're done.

Monday, December 18, 2006

One week...

Yeah. That's all there is until Christmas. One week. Seven days. And all I can think is how I'm caught up in the commercial. I'm not super religious. Okay, I'm not really religious at all. I'm completely weirded out by my 3.5 year old coming home from her Catholic preschool telling me about baby Jesus. I mean, I expected this sort of thing when I signed her up there, so I'm not at all offended, just weirded out. I was raised Catholic and the preschool is very easy on the religion - basic Christian stuff, nothing over the top, so it's not a problem.

Where was I going with all that? Oh, what Christmas means to me. It's not the gift-giving or the religious aspects that signify Christmas to me. It's family. I've been thinking about my style - specifically photographically-speaking, but just in all my endeavors and it all comes down to the same thing. Family is the most important thing to me. One of my problems now is focusing on my own little family rather than my larger extended family. I just know that change is coming as we all get older, our kids get older and more of my cousins have their own kids. Christmas won't be the same and I'm trying to hang on for as long as I can.

I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping it all gets done so I can relax and enjoy it all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Breaking the streak...

2006 will go down as the first year since 2000 (including 2000) that I haven't been pregnant. I say that and think "that can't be right." But it is. For at least part of every year since Y2K, I've been pregnant at least part of the year. Except this one. And I'm partly sad, but mostly okay with it. Every day that goes by, my life gets a little easier. Baby S - not so much a baby anymore as a toddler - is becoming ever so independent. She is, in fact, helping herself to a cookie as I type. Be right back.

Mr. T is in school all day and while I miss him, it's so nice to grocery shop with just two kids again. Miss G is in preschool and for those five hours a week, I only have one child to worry about. And she's usually sleeping then. I can actually get things done without having to answer 356 questions about what I'm doing.

I said to a mother at school the other day that it's now or never. We either have the fourth child now or we stay at three. In the past, I've said that I think I will regret not having another years from now. Lately, I'm not so sure. I think if I'd gone into my pregnancy with Baby S thinking it was my last, I would be okay with it having been my last. I've been trying to enjoy her babyhood as if she were my last child. Maybe that's why I don't feel as called to have that fourth baby anymore.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

I think my mom card is in jeopardy...

Mr. T is known by all who love him to be a bit, well, how do I put this? A bit particular about certain things. Some might go so far as to call him anal-retentive. Not me, of course. He just likes things his way. I can respect that, actually. He's not a neat freak and his things don't interfere with life...very often. He just has things in his head the way he wants them and real life better match up or be prepared to be changed. And if it can't be changed, he has a total meltdown. We're working on that part.

So today while he was at school, Miss G and I finished decorating the Christmas tree. I moved some ornaments that the kids had put on the very ends of branches to sturdier sections. As soon as Mr. T got home from school and saw this, he nonchalantly set about moving all the ornaments I had moved (that he had placed) back to where he had them. Back to the bowing, bending, breaking branches. I showed him why they needed to be on stronger branches and moved them to ones myself. He went back and moved them to other sturdy branches. Ones he picked out.

This is where the mom card gets iffy. I told him he is not to touch the tree at all from this point on. No moving any ornaments at all. As I'm telling him this, though, I couldn't keep my stern face. I just started laughing at how typically Mr. T the whole thing was. And worse, as I was talking to him, he reached out to move another ornament to where he wanted it. And I laughed as I was reminding him what I'd just told him. Isn't that like the first thing they tell you not to do in Parenting 101? Oops. There goes my mom card.

I'm not really worried about this, though. I mean I'm constantly trying to help him relax about whatever bizarre things he decides to obsess over and yet not crush that part of his spirit, because really it is him. It's part of the essence of Mr. T. I see my job as his parent - at least part of it - as helping him fit himself into the world - knowing when to change and when not to, what to change and what not to, how to do things the "right" way and how to stay true to yourself.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ac-cen-tuate the positive...m

I can't quite eliminate the negative, but I need to focus on all the good fortune in my life to avoid getting worried and panicky about the bad stuff (which is always money concerns). Tom and I have a good relationship most of the time. Our kids are happy and healthy. Our families are basically sane (you know, as sane as anyone else). I sometimes get so overwhelmed by our financial problems, like enormous students loans and ever bill being behind right now, that I forget how very lucky we are.

In the spirit of the season, I'm vowing to keep that in my mind. And remember that twenty years from now the kids probably won't remember or ever have known that money was beyond tight. My dad was telling me about their early years and I didn't have a clue at the time. I'm hoping that this will just end up a story to tell T, G and S when they're facing tough times.

I'm doing it again, aren't I? Forgetting how great my husband and kids are, how we all stick together and all the good stuff. Ugh. Okay. No more.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The holiday blues? or Fake it till you feel it

I've been kind of down lately. Okay, really down. That's weird for me. Sure, I'm a moody bitch most of the time, but my moods go up just as quickly as they go down. I've been stressed over money, which isn't really anything unusual, but at the holidays, it hurts a lot worse. But things are looking up, so I'm starting to as well.

Interestingly, I've had my first non-family/friend request for photos. I don't even know what to do. My family is telling me I have to ask for a fee - even if it's just for gas, but I just don't feel good enough to do that. I did a shoot for my friend on Friday and I'm really proud of how good some of the photos are. I'm excited about the potential, but nervous about the really really soon reality of that. This is where I was planning to be in about a year, another year of low-stress shoots under my belt, another year of knowing the ins and outs of my camera (actually, that's the one part I am comfortable with), another year of developing my eye. My new sister-in-law has loads of potential word of mouth customers and in just my family, there are tons of kids and new babies being born all the time. I'm just not sure I'm ready. I told Tom that I feel like I'm at the top of a hill getting ready to run down it. It will be fun and exciting, but terrifying. And I hope to hell I don't fall.

So the holiday blues kind of stem from all that. I'm just not into it. Thanksgiving fell early this year, which seems to rob me of potential holiday spirit every time. It doesn't help that it's unseasonably warm and our house is still in disarray from all our unfinished projects. We made some progress organizing (and - shhh - getting rid of A LOT of toys). A little more work on it this week and I think we'll be ready to decorate later this week. I think I just need to fake the holiday spirit until I feel it so that I don't end up getting behind.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The view from our hotel room...

  Posted by Picasa

Friday to Monday in the Caribbean is not enough time.

And now we're back, fully in the swing of everyday life. I have much to blog about from this trip, the most relevant being my identity crisis. Everyone around me thought that I was missing my kids and therefore kind of down. But the real problem was not so much that I missed them (of course I did, but it wasn't that bad), but that I was blindsided by how completely I define myself by them. I am T, G and S's mother. Without the T G and S, I was...I didn't know. I...I... I don't think this is a good thing and I'm hoping it will bring about some changes in my life maybe, although I'm not sure what.

The photography part was the highlight of the trip for me. I was the wedding photographer and loved it. And I loved knowing how to get good shots and figuring out the light and working with it. I took over 500 pictures and I'm going to spend the rest of the week going through them and sorting into categories and editing as needed.

Tom figured out that I was tense thoughout the trip because I was nervous about the return flight. I don't mind being away from my babies, but I'm not a good flyer (although that part turned out pretty easy and I might even do it again). As soon as we landed back home, I was relaxed. I didn't relax very much on the trip, not like one would expect. I felt like I needed to be doing something. When I sat on the beach, I felt like I needed to be doing dishes or laundry or something. I had trouble sleeping - worried about getting home and the bills and crap that awaited me. And I feel very guilty because Tom and I didn't get any couple time - mainly because I was wrapped up inside my head and partly because we were there with a group, we needed to spend time with them (or, well, I suppose I wanted to. Tom would have liked to spend less time with them, I think). Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 29, 2006

%*^&%*% Girl Scouts!!!

So I read the ingredients list, hoping that I would find the secret ingredient (okay, I guess if it's a secret, it's probably not listed, then maybe) that makes me want to consume an ENTIRE FREAKING BOX. Oh, for the love of Thin Mints.

But the drugs I've been taking for my back have the bonus benefit of completely sapping me of an appetite. I've lost another four pounds. Woohoo! Punta Cana, here I come.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What has MamaChris been up to this week?

A whole lot of nothing. And I mean that quite literally. I've been incapable of doing more than crawling to the bathroom. I posted about the carpet cleaning lady and how I couldn't vacuum because I hurt my back, right? So on Tuesday morning, I didn't just hurt. I couldn't walk. I actually asked someone for help - a sure sign that MamaChris is in some major pain. My dad took Miss G to preschool and picked Mr. T up from kindergarten. My mom picked Miss G back up from preschool. Any Baby S lifting was done by someone other than me too. Finally, I caved and made a doctor's appointment. The nice P.A. gave me some muscle relaxers, 800mg ibuprofen and a painkiller. So I took the muscle relaxer Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I woke up and COULD NOT MOVE. I tried to crawl to the bathtub because I thought the hot water would make it hurt less. I couldn't even get in the tub. Somehow I managed to get in, but then I could get my clothes off. Yes, I took a hot bath with my clothes on. Hey, I was in PAIN. P.A.I.N. Tom was home from school so I took the muscle relaxer (which really doesn't feel like it does that much to me) while I stayed in bed all day. By the end of the day I could move again. Barely. Thursday I could move a little bit more, but still had people moving the kids where they needed to be. Friday I could actually walk without limping or screaming.

And today? I went to the Notre Dame-Navy game. !!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, yeah, I remember the back thing, but it's NOTRE DAME. Don't you get it? Notre. Dame. And I was there. Sure, I'll probably be unable to move tomorrow and my back hurts a lot right now, but our seats were in the 11th row. OMG! It was awesome. Funny, but my back didn't hurt until we were in the car on the way home.

My house is an absolute wreck since I have only barely been capable of walking this week. I feel most days like I do nothing, but turns out I do something. It's almost like a strike, but without the teach them a lesson part. It taught me a lesson. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

Monday, October 23, 2006

To the woman who tried to sell me carpet cleaning:

When I say "No, thank you," in a polite, but final tone, your "Are you sure you don't want that carpet cleaned?" with a sneer as you look into my house is not likely to change my mind. It is, however, likely to make me wish I'd taken your damned flyer so I could call your company and tell them what a bitch you are.

FYI - I did something to my back and can barely move. It's been 8 days now and that's mainly why my floor is still covered in toys. I brave great pain to vacuum every day (and that's probably why my back still hurts - that and the laundry I haul up and down two sets of stairs every day), but picking up toys every time my 15 month old empties the toy bin is not something I'm willing to brave pain for.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A case of the "I wants"...

Actually, two cases of the "I wants" - would probably be three cases if Baby S could say more than five words. We're starting to get catalogs and the commercials during kids shows have started getting more appealing or something, but we can't go an hour without hearing "I want that!" Mr. T brought me a catalog yesterday and literally pointed to everything on a two page spread and said "I want that and that and that and that and that..." Finally, I told him to look and want things all he wanted, and in a few weeks we'd go through it again and decide what he still wanted and maybe Santa could bring them. Fortunately, that sounded reasonable to him (although he asked if he could take the catalog when we go sit on Santa's lap), and he's curbed the "I wants." Miss G? Not so much. We can't walk through Target without the I want that and that and that and that litany. I've been relying on the "Why don't you tell Santa Claus that one?" for over a month now.

Want to hear how out of control it is? We just saw a commercial for a carseat that has some sort of carrying case. Mr. T and Miss G both: "I want that!" It's a carseat! You each have a carseat already. This has got to stop.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Spreading myself too thin...

creatively speaking, at least. I don't even know if it's possible, but I got in the mood to write yesterday and just didn't have the mojo. So I got to thinking - writing used to be what fed my soul, kept me going when nothing else around seemed right. I could escape into a world of fiction that I was creating (not that I ever finished anything, but still). Maybe I don't need that anymore, or at least not right now. I have so many creative hobbies (and for years I thought I was completely unartistic all because I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, let along a recognizable object). Maybe they're feeding that part of me. Fall is usually the time when I don't have enough spare time to do all the creative projects I want to do. This fall is no different, but now I'm adding a few knitted sweaters, landscape photos I can't wait to take (turn, leaves, turn), home decorating, and some Christmas presents with photos and scrapbooking things.

Tom asked me recently if I was embarassed by my hobbies, because I don't like to knit or scrapbook around anyone. I don't think that's it. Partly, I feel guilty because I'm spending money when I don't bring any money into the household, but that's something I deal with and DH always encourages me in them, regardless of money. I think it's more that I go into my head when I'm doing one of my creative things and I don't want to ignore anyone, which I do if someone's with me. Probably why I don't go to scrapbooking social events. I would either get nothing done or talk to no one, defeating the purpose either way.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Babies all around me...

Another of my cousins is expecting a baby. That makes two. These things tend to happen in threes, especially in our family. So we're all looking around at who might be the third. Apparently, I'm the odds-on favorite. But I don't think my heart has quite gotten that memo. I'm still completely torn, utterly undecided about whether we want to have a fourth baby. I know that DH does, but he also knows that I do the lion's share of the work with our kids, especially when they're babies. Therefore he has wisely told me that if I decide we're done, we're done. I struggle with this decision frequently. Emotionally I know that we can handle a fourth baby. I have no worries there. It's the financial stuff that gets me. Should one decide their family status based on money alone? Because that's my only reason for saying no right now. We need a bigger house (our little three bedroom townhome will probably not withstand a fourth kid), we need more wiggle room in our bills. I don't know where I'm going with this, just trying to work it out for myself.

Actually, I've already made the decision, if I'm truly honest with myself. Just sitting here thinking about seeing families with four kids in the future and thinking that I could have done that but decided not to makes me realize how much I will regret NOT having another baby. Now, that doesn't mean the trying to conceive will begin anytime soon, just that my heart is figuring it out. Actually, my heart is figuring out to tell my head to butt out.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I think I'll take a moment to celebrate my age...

Several things on this topic. One: Blog name change may be coming (probably not until July, which is the end of being 30, which is good since it might take me that long to come up with something). Two: That Tim McGraw song that line comes from has been my anthem for the past few months. Three: Why not celebrate it? I feel like a lot of times I'm just trucking along without taking time to appreciate where I am in my life. So I'm creating the opportunity.

In honor of being thirty, THIRTY THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY:
1. Tom laughing at my jokes
2. everything my kids do
3. fall
4. pumpkin bread
5. making grand plans that may or may not ever happen
6. Notre Dame football
7. taking a great picture
8. learning something completely new
9. a good cup of coffee - nothing fancy. I don't do Starbucks or anything.
10. losing weight without trying
11. songs I know by heart
12. Excedrin
13. baking
14. fitting into my jeans
15. painting a room a new color
16. a quick walk on the treadmill
17. planting a garden
18. sugar cookies
19. good hair days
20. curling up with a good trashy novel
21. new episodes of my favorite tv shows
22. being organized (unfortunately, this isn't often)
23. planning a room design and seeing it carried out
24. finding the perfect gift for someone
25. my favorite song on the radio
26. my kids playing together
27. baby names
28. the color red
29. kittens
30. Knowing who I am and liking me (most of the time)

Monday, October 2, 2006


The Blogger monster has eaten two posts. And one was a way cool week of tv wrap-up - the other was just a knitting brag (okay, not brag, more a post about how I love to start projects and I have a cool new project started). I'm not up for recreating right now.

What I wanted to write about today is, naturally, related to television. And two of my hobbies (at the very least). When my sister and I were at the football game a few weeks ago, she saw me craning my head to check some guy. She looks at him. He's older, bald and with his gray-haired wife. She said to me, "You're checking out that man's camera, aren't you?" Of course I was. I do that everywhere I go. If someone has an SLR I have to know - is it Nikon, Canon, or could they be one of the rare Pentax people like me? Is it digital? What kind of lens? See? All these questions I need to have answered.

So the television-related part...I do the same thing on TV. Every episode of CSI features photography as part of their job. This week's episode, Gil was using a D200. Nice camera, I thought. Then I wondered if it was product placement. I mean, all you saw was that number in the corner (I think) and it would take a photography buff to know that's a Nikon, so not very effective product placement if it was. Then on ER, Sally Field knits with circulars? And she knows what she's doing, it seems. She really appeared to be knitting. But her yarn? Kind of fugly. Hope it wasn't for that poor baby. I don't really like circulars, but I've noticed in several commercials (for arthritis remedies) recently that people were knitting on circulars. Funny the things I notice.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So I finally got around to Grey's...

and I don't know why this show is so compelling. I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm completely captivated by it, but I don't exactly know why. DH asked me why Desperate Housewives (which neither one of us watch) was so popular. I told him it was just a new generation's Dynasty - a total guilty pleasure, mindless escape type of thing. I think that's what Grey's has too. Not much suspense or mystery other than the emotional, just an hour spent in the lives of people in whom we can see a part of ourselves on some level. I have no problem at all with mindless television. Life's hard enough, television should be entertainment. I love a nice documentary and more often than not an educational type channel is on our tv, but when it's 10pm and my brain is fried? I want easy.

So about the show. Interesting with the flashbacks (from someone who watched the first two or three episodes and then picked it up again this past summer with the last few). I don't know how Derek got over Addison's affair enough to even try again. The most emotional moment of the entire episode was Cristina breaking down with Burke at the end. Wow. The whole Meredith has a choice thing doesn't really grab me. Seems like she's already decided, right? Time to flip a coin, my solution to everything. Either way, the coin will tell you the answer your heart knows. If you say A is heads and B is tails and it comes up heads and you're happy, you probably wanted A all along. But if it comes up heads and you say "best two out of three", you probably wanted B. (edited because I just saw a preview where Meredith says she's going to flip a coin - maybe I'm psychic...or maybe I'd already seen it when I wrote this.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday Night's TV...

Okay, so I didn't watch Earl last night. I was giving the kids a bath and just let the DVR catch it. We'll probably watch it tonight. And I'm planning to watch Grey's (yes, I recorded Grey's and watched CSI) this afternoon during naptime.

CSI: Okay, where do I start? Cirque storyline = BORING. Apparent suicide featuring Judge Amy Gray's brother (or was he the cousin?) = BORING. No mention of Gil and Sara getting it on, although the little flirty things were a little hint - appropriate given both of their personalities. They don't seem the PDA type. The starting new cases midshow was a little confusing, especially since you couldn't tell what was going on with whom. I know that was intentional and it also worked. I'm very curious about next week.

*SIDE QUESTION* What is with all these musicians selling themselves to television? John Mayer on CSI. Sugarland was on Las Vegas last week (really the season finale, but I missed it the first time). Is some group going to get hurt in Chicago and give an impromptu concert in the ER waiting room? I see it all the time lately. Is it just a way of reaching another audience? What started this phenomenon? I know they used to do it on Charmed all the time. And American Idol's appeal probably hasn't hurt any.

ER: I haven't totally digested everything from this episode yet. Hmmm...Sam and her ex. I started off thinking "Now, she didn't really need to do that, did she?" But then I thought some more and realized that yes she did. If Steve wasn't dead he would come back for her and/or Alex over and over. Okay, Abby and Luka. This is what I'm mainly still mulling over. I mean, good everyone's alive still. Lots of emotional baggage to deal with though. Jerry - poor Jerry. Barely survives being shot in the ER and then still has to deal with his mama. Neela - okay, I saw her with John Stamos in the previews, but I'm still rooting for Ray.

Friday night's TV: Who watches tv on a Friday night? Only people with no lives. Yeah, that'd be me. Tom is usually exhausted from getting up at the crack of dawn all week and just crashes on Friday nights, so it's just me and the tv. Either I'll watch Las Vegas or the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Haven't decided yet.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

One more thing about the football game...

Okay, a few more things. One: How cool to be at an actual college football game? It was so exciting, even if it was a sloppy game (fumble much, people?)

Two: Guess where MamaChris will be on October 28. Just guess. The absolute freaking highlight of my year. Maybe my life. Forget turning 30, going to the Caribbean or anything else 2006 has brought. This tops it all. MamaChris and her brother are going to ...... Notre Dame v. Navy. Oh, MY GOD!!! I'm so freaking excited I can't stand it.

Three: My sister and I were walking amongst the Midshipmen in all their adorable white uniforms and my sis says "Ooh, look at all the cute guys." Me: "Are you looking at anything other than their uniforms?" Sis: "No." Me: "Look at their faces. They're BABIES." Seriously, they looked so young. I've never felt so thirty. Take me back to the alum section (not that we are, just where my dad's season tickets are).

About being thirty...

Something I've noticed lately - I'm constantly checking out how old people are and comparing where I am in my life to theirs. And I'm talking completely unrealistic comparisons. My sister and I went to a Navy football game a few weeks ago and they had a graduate who was on the Discovery in July. She graduated in 1993. I said, "Uh, oh, I graduated in 94 - I only have one year to get into space." My sister just laughed at me. Then I realized that was college. Well, I graduated from college in 1998. So I have five years to get into space. Yes, that's much more realistic.

Why this comparison? I'm pretty happy with where my life is. I mean, I'm not changing the world, although I may be raising someone who will. I'm not really contributing at all on any grand scale. I'm raising three children as best I can. And I don't want to be doing anything else. But part of me sees that Rachael Ray is only eight years older than me and I can't help but think that I won't have a talk show in eight years - nor a dozen Food Network shows. I don't want a talk show - I'm really not good at small talk and I don't want to have to be in a good mood every day. How much would that suck?

Tom did this same thing two years ago when he turned thirty. I think it's just a way of rethinking how old you are. Like previously anyone who was remotely successful was eons older than me (even if they weren't) and now I'm looking at things differently. So I think my brain is just trying to figure out how old I am.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday Night TV...

Bones: These serial killer episodes creep me out. But the talk at the end with the emotional bonding was good. The developing friendship/will they won't they thing between the two of them is excellent chemistry, casting and just plain good tv. I know they'll draw out the tension between Booth and Bones for as long as possible, but well, I'd like to see someone get David Boreanaz.

Good Eats: Peachy Keen was the title of this episode. I'm very say to say that I just wasn't into it. I think I might be on Alton overload (although since I have a bit of a crush on him too, not really a bad thing). I still enjoyed it, found it very interesting, but some of the zing didn't seem to be there. Or the super duper Tylenol Severe Cold I'm on and pretty much had to sign away my firstborn to get is fogging my brain. Maybe I should watch it after my cold clears.

A preview of MamaChris's planned TV tonight: Oh, man, the DVR is going to be going full blast tonight, isn't it? We'll start with a helping of Earl, because it's just plain funny (seriously, the dearth of comedic entertainment on television today is just depressing - so we need Earl). Then CSI or Grey's Anatomy (another one of my summer conversions, like House). I will probably record Grey's because Tom isn't into medical dramas, but loves to be grossed out by CSI. I don't get it either. Then over to County General for some ER cliffhanger resolution.

Tuesday Night TV...

In honor of premiere week, I'm going to review my daily television watching. Last night, okay, I didn't really like anything that premiered last night. I watched House - which I started watching only this past summer and am now officially hooked on. It was an interesting episode - glad to see it didn't go the way I expected with Cameron getting sick from being in the guy's office (wasn't that how Foreman almost died last season?). I actually agreed with House last night - I don't disagree with euthanasia on principal - after all if it's humane to put our suffering animals out of their misery, why can't we do the same for people?, but until they figured out if this man was dying, it was just not good.

The other thing I watched last night was the Animal Planet memorial for Steve Irwin. I haven't been overly emotional about his death. I'm sad for his family, naturally, and regretful that anyone should die so young, especially someone as vibrant as Steve Irwin was. But last night? I couldn't hold it in. When his daughter spoke, full of her father's passion and poise at such a young age, I was just sobbing. What a wonderful legacy the man has left behind.

In store for Wednesday, Bones (got to have my David Boreanaz fix) and a new episode of Good Eats.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Monday night television...

And no, it doesn't involve football, for MamaChris's love of football doesn't extend to the pros. Don't ask me why because I don't really know - maybe it's the outrageous salaries or the willy-nilly trading of players to meet ridiculously high salary caps or the almost mechanic perfection they seem to play with. Or maybe it's something a little more frivolous like the colors of the uniforms or the blinding astroturf they play on. I don't know. I think it's mainly the eagerness with which college players seem to play - so much less jaded than their professional counterparts. Not to mention I love a quarterback who'll run the option and that just don't happen in the pros.

Anyway, so what was I watching? I tried out The Class. A guy gets his third grade class back together? How random is that? I don't think I could name a single member of my third grade class (we did move the next year, but still...) Just awkward all around. I'm going to have to pass on that. But I seem to not like CBS comedies in general. I did, however, watch How I Met Your Mother for the first time ever (which was maybe not the best idea, since I didn't see any of the background that this episode was based on). It's cute. I could like it. If I could remember to watch it. The evening's main attraction was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I came into this with pretty low expectations, honestly. I hated the West Wing, I'm excited for Tina Fey's comedic show about a similar show, I dislike Hollywood portraying Hollywood (I also dislike fictional books about writers, just a little quirk I have). I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The show drew me in with Judd Hirsch's character's monologue and never let go. A very quick hour. I think I'll tune in again next week. It's not like there's anything else on.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Deal or No Deal...

So in principal, I dislike this show. I hate "reality" tv. I hate shows where people are put under intense pressure. I hate the smack talk they all feel they have to do. And yet...I can't turn away from it. I can't even figure out why. I know at least one reason some people watch the show must be the case girls, but is that enough to watch for an entire hour - or two? Do we just like to see people get money? Is it the idea that it could happen to us too?

Part of me is watching it to figure out if it's rigged. Sometimes it seems like it must be - or at least each girl must know what her case is. But I did see one contestant turn down their offer and end up with $5. Make me stop watching this! Okay, there's nothing else on and I'm a tv addict. I just figured out why this show is so popular. There's crap else on tv when it's on. Same way people got hooked on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, American Idol, and Survivor. Not a bad tactic, actually.

Thinking of going Mac...

I can't believe I just typed that. What is this world coming to? Actually, I'm not that PC. I started my master's degree in graphic design and had no choice but to adjust to Macs in the school's computer lab. I'm pretty quick with computer programs - they just make sense to me. So switching isn't a concern in that regard. And I do lots of artsy computer-y stuff that traditionally goes with a Mac - namely, Photoshop. But I've always argued that the mindset that arts go with Mac is passé and now the PC versions of those programs are equally workable. And plus, you can get just about any program you want at any old store for a PC. Not so with a Mac, although I think this is changing too.

My main concern is that I know Windows inside and out. If my computer has a problem, I can fix it. It may take a day or two, but I get it fixed. Will I be able to do that with a Mac? Or can I believe the hype that I won't need to? I'm feeling the temptation of iLife and all the cool bundled photo software.

But why am I worrying about this anyway? My next computer is at least a year away, probably more like two, considering this one just celebrated its six-month birthday. I like to worry ahead like that. Then when the time to make the decision comes, I'll have the worrying done already and can make a seemingly snap decision.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Any given Saturday...

There are few things in this life that I'm truly passionate about. I'm pretty laid back, easy going. Not a whole lot angers me or gets me totally irrational. Cars cut me off, well, I don't get why they think their destination is more important than anyone else's, but I don't get all road rage on them. I'm mainly patient with my kids, even when MissG decides she needs to go potty just as I've gotten everyone buckled into the car. I just sigh and deal with it. No big deal.

But you know what gets me going? Football. Which is funny in itself. I'm kind of a girly girl. I like pink. I keep my toenails painted, even in the winter. I bake, I knit, I sew. I do the girl things minus the high-maintenance stuff. And I love football, especially Notre Dame football. I mean seriously. You want to get me going? Ask me about how underrated the Irish are (and yes, I know they got their asses kicked by Michigan, but 12th? Come on.). Ask me how many calls go against them just because they're Notre Dame. Want to know where I am any given Saturday? Check the TV schedule because my day will have been arranged around the Notre Dame game. I pin my hopes on them every year, not really for a national championship because until the BCS gets their heads out of their asses and fixes that abysmal system that no one understands or agrees with, I don't see it happening. No, I count on them for good football. Because it doesn't matter who they play - it's a good game. Although I must admit this past Saturday's game was mainly just good for Michigan fans (which I am SO not).

You know the really ironic thing about all that? My husband doesn't even like football. Yep, he's a football widower every fall and hates it just as much as the wives whose husbands are glued to the game.

Monday, September 11, 2006


 Five years later and still I cannot comprehend the scope of what happened in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. My family and I went to New York in December of 2001, the closest I ever came to understanding the magnitude of the events of that day. Pieces of the twin towers still stood, eerie reminders of our nation's devastation just three months earlier.

I didn't lose anyone close to me. My parents' neighbor and the father of my brother's friend was killed in one of the towers. But I still cry every year on this day. I still cry every time I hear Five for Fighting's "Superman (it's not easy)" - or is that the other way around? That song became embedded in my heart as the anthem for 9/11. I still cry every single day that I look up in the sky and see a beautiful clear blue sky - one of my strongest memories of 9/11. The sky was the purest shade of blue, not a cloud to be seen.

I just needed to remember today. I couldn't turn away from the coverage five years ago, but this morning I had to. I have a five year old who can understand death and destruction and I'd rather that he didn't just yet. He was four months old then and I didn't have to explain anything. I could take all the time I needed to wrap my brain around it. Five years later and I haven't quite gotten there yet.

I'm curious to learn how schools and history books will see this. It rather boggles my mind what significant history that really was. Honestly, I think it was the first truly important piece of history that I witnessed. I know lots of history has occurred in the past thirty years, but 9/11 is something unique. Like JFK's assasination to my parents's generation - "Where were you when...?" Prior to this, the best my generation could do was the Challenger (I still gasp every time I see footage of it).

Anyway...I remember. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Good knitting news and bad knitting news...

 The good news is I KNIT A SWEATER!!!!!! Granted, it's a baby sweater and it's rather flawed, but I finished it. And it looks like a sweater.

The bad news that my child has a gigantic head. I knit the sweater according to 2 year old instructions. It won't fit over the head of my 14 month old. And not because I did something majorly wrong. I did bind off somewhat more tightly than I should have, but I went back and redid and it still won't fit over her great big giant head. Nothing to worry about - I've never been able to wear hats because women's hats aren't made big enough for my own great big giant head. And Tom has a big head, as have our other two offspring. We're a big-headed family.

So I undid the crew neck of my sweater. What you see above is it undone. I might go back and crochet a finished edge. Or just make her a cardigan. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Well, he's off...

 And I held it together. Barely. Yesterday was the first day of kindergarten, but I went with him and it was only for two hours. Today? Today was the real deal. We dropped him off at the door with all the other kids. I peeked in to make sure he made it to his classroom (it's right there). I saw him walk in with a huge grin on his face. He didn't have the best day yesterday, but he was so excited to go today. I'm sitting here trying to keep my mind off of my worries about him (will he have another tantrum, will he remember to use a tissue, not his sleeve; will he be okay in the cafeteria; will he actually rest at rest time). I'm trying to enjoy this one on one time with G (Baby S is napping). I'm trying to keep my mind off of T, all by himself, gone all day long.

You know, mostly what I've been sad about is that our life is going to be different now. For five years, it's been pretty laid back. We color, paint, take walks, go to parks, visit family, whatever we want, whenever we want. Now we have times to be places - T is a walker, so I have to be there to pick him (we live close enough that we don't get a bus, but far enough that I would be very, VERY nervous to let my elementary school student walk alone). We have kids in school. We can't take three day weekends away at random or do things when kids are in school so we're some of the only people there. I don't anticipate this feeling of loss when G goes off to all-day kindergarten. For one thing, she's a little high maintenance and I'm not so good at the maintaining. But our life will already revolve around school. It won't be this huge change. I'll miss her, just like I will miss her when I send her off to preschool next week. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The beginning of the end...

We took T to the school's Open House last night. We met his teacher and found the cafeteria and all that fun stuff. I went to the school twenty years ago (for fifth grade only) so I was supposed to remember where everything was. Except they've just a few things (really only a few). But we found his classroom, walked around, met Mrs. B. It was good.

But there were loads of people milling around, all trying to find their new classrooms and teachers (all grades go to this open house). So Tom grabbed T and G's hands while I pushed Baby S. As we walked away from the crowd, toward the quiet gymnasium, T said to Tom, "Could you hold my hand a little tighter, Dad?" Tom and I couldn't hold back our tears. It's nice to know he's not quite ready to let go yet too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Photographic Crisis of Faith...

Well, of sorts. See those people? That picture? We found it in a box at Tom's grandparents' house. No one alive knows who those people are. I scanned the picure anyway, because, well, some part of me couldn't allow this to go into oblivion, as many of the other pictures in that box have begun to. The images are fading into nothingness. One hundred years ago, someone cared enough to take the time and money to have this picture made. There's a sense that they're related to my husband, since the photos were found in his family's home, but no clear indication of who they might be. There were dozens of photos just like this one. I didn't scan them all, but I wanted to.

This has forced me to think about my own photos - what will become of them one hundred or more years from now. Will anyone care that I took artsy pictures of my gardens or my kids? Will they wonder who the heck these people are and stash the pictures back in a box? And it's almost made me redouble my efforts to get my photos organized - scrapped or otherwise. Even if they're sitting in a box somewhere, in no particular order, they deserve to have labels on them - names, dates, places. Anything I can think of to let future generations know why this picture was taken. Will I one day have a great-granddaughter-in-law who will want to take care with them for her children, as I am doing now?

I don't know if I have a point. I'm just sort of thinking about all those photos in that box and how they relate to what I do. I'm still thinking it through.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My baby is leaving me...

Or Why I'm Sad about Kindergarten Starting...

I was in bed the other night with tears streaming down my face as I thought about my oldest child heading off to kindergarten in two weeks. I mourn the loss of our time together - not that we'll never see each other again, but it won't be the relaxed leisurely days we've had together for five years. It will be "What's for dinner? Did you do your homework? Get ready for bed."

DH wanted to know why I'm so sad as T was in a bad mood yesterday. And MissG wouldn't eat her dinner without a dramafest. He said "This? You'll really miss this?" He has a point. But I know in my heart that things will change. My baby is growing up. And I wouldn't have it any other way, but that doesn't mean I won't miss the boy he is today. I can't wait to find out where life takes him, who he'll meet, what he'll become. But a part of me will always miss my days with him, when it was me and my boy (and girls). I'm trying to remind myself how much that drives me crazy, how I can never think of enough fun things to do with him (them, now). And I think of how nice it will be for MissG to have me for a while, although I sense that she will be very lonely for a while, until BabyS can play with her the way T does now.

So I'm sending him off, sadness in my heart, but a smile on my face, for it's my job to help him grow, to give him the strength to face the world on his own.


 Talk about ambitious. I just learned to knit two weeks ago and I'm planning to give sweaters to all the children on my Christmas shopping list. Not to mention the afghan I've been crocheting for my MIL, who has been hinting (not really hinting so much, I suppose, as out and out asking) for one since I gave her my first afghan I ever made three years ago. I'll update on my progress later. Hopefully, there will be some. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

See what I mean about the old toys?

 Yesterday the metal (from Target, my home away from home) Thomas the Tank Engines made a reappearance. I guess I should be happy that they still play with everything, but seriously, we need to clean out some of these toys. We're feeling overrun. Add to that my serious lack of organization and you have toy chaos. Posted by Picasa

Vintage Jackpot...

 DH's grandmother died in April. His mother and her sister and brother are in the process of cleaning out her house (and she was a bit...a lot of a packrat, so it's a lengthy process). The woman never threw anything away. DH and I were looking at old family photos and he said nothing in that house has changed from the years before he was born even. So these things were hers that she bought back in the fifties and probably never used (the cake platter doesn't have a scratch or rust spot on it at all, the canisters are only a bit rusty, but their insides are pristine).

In the cleaning process, my notorious love of everything vintage and baking related got me these treasures. My MIL and her siblings were happy to see someone in the family use and enjoy them rather than see them sold to a stranger and I'm in love with my vintage jackpot. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

A new hobby?

 Or at any rate, a fun challenge for me. Knitting is something I've always felt like I should be able to do (I can crochet, after all. I taught myself how during Hurricane Isabel three years ago). I hit a road block when it came to purling, but unlike my previous attempts at knitting, hitting that road block didn't make me give up. I just tried a different book's explanation and it clicked. I think it's (and this applies to learning anything, really) mostly a matter of finding a way of saying how to do something that works with the way my brain processes information. This is one of the things that makes Tom a good teacher and me just not. I usually can't think of a way to say something other than the way it works in my brain. Tom can say something several different ways so that lots of different types of thinkers can grasp it. Good thing he starts teaching in ten days (he'd hate me for even thinking that - he dreads the start of school worse than most students, I think). Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

 Okay, it's more than a bit late. But I have an excuse. A good one. A really, really good one. Really, you ask? Really, really good? Yes. It is. What could possibly keep MamaChris from whining about turning thirty on the exact day of that occasion? Well, my beloved family decided to surprise me with a trip to the beach. ! And, to top that, which was pretty darned cool to start with, they "While You Were Out"ed us. Not the official WYWO crew and all, but they redid our half-bath that we've been planning to redo for months. So DH and I got a weekend away without the kids AND a new bathroom. Quite the thirtieth birthday. I spent it lounging on a beach, going to a movie that doesn't feature cartoon characters, even if it was a Disney flick (but Johnny Depp's Captain Jack removes all childlike aspects of that statement. Swoon.) swimming in our hotel bar, drinking at the hotel's outdoor bar while the waves crashed nearby. Ahhhhhh. I even got carded. The man was old enough that anyone under 45 looked young to him, but I thanked him anyway. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

Disaster struck...

well, it struck the Little People village, at any rate. My kids set up an elaborate town, had the characters interact, then had the town get destroyed by a tornado. What? There was recently a twister episode of some kids show or another (they all run together, don't they?), so I'm assuming that's where they got it from. But still, a little weird.

And, um, what else is going on? Um, nothing special. I guess maybe it's getting kind of close to my birthday. Like Sunday. But no big. Right? ... Right? Really, it's not a big deal at all. Seriously. I'm totally okay with turning thirty. I actually feel like it gives me a bit of legitmacy as a wife and mother for some reason. You know, like last year, I felt very young most of the time standing with the other preschool moms, partly due to age and partly just because that's how I am. So this year I'll be 30.

But I do have to confess that there's a pretty big part of me that's disappointed in where I am now. Not that I'd really change anything, because ultimately I'm happy, even if I'm not happy every single minute (who wants that anyhow?). But I thought I'd have a master's degree, have written several novels (I haven't even written several chapters of a novel), be financially in control (turns out I'm still an ostrich about money - I tend to stick my head in the sand when it starts to freak me out. And that ain't good. I'm trying to get it all figured out again). I guess I just see thirty year olds as being much more with it than I am. But that's ever my life. There's always someone who's more together than me. Mainly I'm okay with that. I'm capable of envying them and accepting me for who I am at the same time. But sometimes a major thing comes along and makes me question that easy acceptance I've come to. These things I admire about other people, could I maybe do them too?

A year ago, I set a list of 30 goals. And I have done maybe four of the thirty. I'm disappointed in myself. And yet proud of the stuff I have done in the past year. I've learned so much about photography - still have a ways to go, but this time last year, I just wanted to take cute baby pictures and hearing "f-stop" made my brain shut down. Now I can actually explain what that means to another person. I'm trying again (again!) to teach myself to knit. Three years ago (during Hurricane Isabel), I taught myself to crochet using a website's instructions. Now I'm an old pro. Knitting, I've tried several times with no success whatsoever. Those little sticks make me crazy. So I decided to give it another shot, maybe a different instruction book will explain it in a way that clicks for me. So far, so good. I've cast on 20 stitches. I'm at a roadblock with the next step, but I've never made it this far before.

I haven't lost the weight I wanted to and I like to blame that on my gallbladder issues as much as possible. It's easier than remembering the birthday cake I ate last Tuesday, Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Or the other snacks I like. I'm not working out the way I used to. I know I just need to start small again and I'll make it back to what I used to be able to do, but right now that's frustrating.

I tend to place significance on things that aren't and end up disappointed. I did every year on the first day of school. It would be a fresh start. I could remake myself, be a better student, be stylish. Have clean notebooks, at least. I was inevitably disappointed. I'm hoping that I'll outgrow that tendency one of these days. Hasn't happened yet, but one day...

I approach my thirties with hope, the way I like to approach every day. Each day is full of potential, waiting for me to figure out how to use it. Now if I can just get my lazy ass up and enjoy the rest of this one. The second to last day of my twenties.

Two more days. Less than forty-eight hours. Farewell, my twenties.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Suddenly we're playing with our oldest toys? Ugh.

My kids have TONS of toys. I mean, tons. I have a huge family who all like to get them toys for Christmas and birthdays. We just had my youngest's first birthday. More toys. Not that I'm not appreciative, but we have a small house and I'm organizationally challenged anyway.

Yesterday, I had some time to get things organized and I spent most of it in the kids rooms. I was mainly just sorting things back together (separating the Legos from the Lincoln Logs), but I was also getting things ready to put away, now that they're a little older.

So why are my kids playing with the Fisher-Price Little People all of a sudden? I didn't have it in a special spot to catch their attention. I think they read my mind. I was just getting ready to put those away until the baby is a few years older and now I've actually had to get MORE stuff out (you know, the farm, the zoo, the house). And a few days ago, they built an elaborate Thomas the Tank Engine village with all the trains they hadn't played with in months. I'm telling you they're doing it on purpose. Mom wants to put that away? Not yet.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Happy birthday to my amazing husband...

Today Tom is 32. For his birthday celebration, he's taking the kids out for the day so I can clean. Yes, I know I'm not cleaning at the moment, but I'd been at for two straight hours and I needed a glass of water. Maybe a little lunch. I'm planning to bake his favorite cake later and give him the way cool (okay, only cool in Tom's world) birthday gift I got him. Yes, I'm married to a large child. He loves Transformers. And now T loves Transformers. And even Miss G loves Transformers. It's only a matter of time before Baby S does too.

But, despite, I hesitate to call my own husband a dork (actually, that's not true, I do it all the time, but lovingly, you know), but despite its dorkiness, I love that he spends time sharing something he loves with our kids. He really talks to them, not just in parent-child ways, but in a way that respects them as people, as individuals. Honestly, I've learned a lot about communicating with them from Tom. I'm not the best communicator in the world (Tom hasn't even read this, but he's laughing at that understatement, trust me). I hate talking about feelings and crap. I bottle everything up inside until I eventually explode. Tom can articulate his feelings and spell them out even in extreme anger. Me, I get so mad I can't even string four letter words together.

Okay, Mama better get back to the cleaning before the gang comes home and messes it all up again.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby S...

My littlest baby is one year old today. Actually, in about six hours. This time last year, I was in labor, waiting for a hospital room to open up so they could induce me. Yes, labor started hours before my scheduled induction. Makes me feel like July 21 was really meant to be her birthday, unlike G, who I think would have been born in April if we hadn't induced. And wouldn't that have been a kickass mother's ring? May (emerald), April (diamond), and July (ruby). Yikes. Feel sorry for whoever would have been buying me that. Add a fourth in September and we've the quartet of pricy stones. Of course, G was born in March, so I'm stuck with aquamarine or some such oddball stone.

Isn't it utterly amazing what happens to a baby in one year? One year ago, S was a tiny (okay, huge) bundle that could barely move on her own. Now she's walking, practically talking (weird for me, given that my other two talked after their SECOND birthdays) and you can just see her brain working. She's still the sweetest baby - unless she's mad. Then you just better watch out. It takes a lot for her to get mad, but when she does. Whoa. Mainly, though, she's content to cruise around, check things out, see what she can eat. She likes to cuddle, read stories, rock babies and try to chew the heart off of Care Bears' behinds. She's the beloved baby sister of T and G, who are always trying to comfort her if she's upset (can you say spoiled? LOL).

Happy one year, Baby S.

Friday, July 14, 2006

My recent layouts

Finished yesterday, started a week ago. Not something I normally do (starting and finishing later). I cut the tops off when I took the pictures, but rest assured that the T is complete in the yellow one. ;-) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The latest stage in my life...

I reached a new milestone Tuesday night. Not a birthday, graduation, or other significant event in my life. No, Tuesday night, I became the Tooth Fairy. My oldest, my sweet boy, lost his first tooth. He's only five! I wasn't really ready for this just yet, but the dentist did warn me in May that he had three loose teeth. I guess it's two now.

The Tooth Fairy left a five dollar bill (my parents were shocked at the inflation that has taken place in the past 24 years, or probably 21 years, since my brother lost his first tooth) and a note, which T is brandishing about and referring to as his receipt. Actually, not a bad idea.

Photo: MamaChris, at age six, on the occasion of the loss of her first tooth. I don't think I was doing the Funky Chicken, but I can't be sure, based on the picture.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Get up and do something!

That's a message to me from me. I love the feeling of accomplishing something, even just something as mundance as loading the dishwasher. But the feeling of creating a scrapbook page that really pleases me is one of the best senses of accomplishment around. I was reading August Creating Keepsakes yesterday and I was, as I always am when it's magazine day, disappointed that I don't scrap more. I marathon scrap once or twice a month - ten pages in one night (from page kits I made earlier, so it's not that impressive). I love when I do complete a page, so why don't I get everything out more often? I think I just answered my own question. It's the get everything out part that drives me crazy. I have the perfect workstation, but, especially right now in the midst of all our home improvement projects, there's not much place for me to work. And I get the most done when Tom's not home, so maybe once school starts again.

I'm working on a slideshow project for Tom's school. It's something I've been thinking about trying out anyway (and I made the cutest practice first birthday DVD for baby S). It's totally fun and a real instant sense of accomplishment, right up my alley. Tom complimented how easily and well I was doing all the work for it. I shrugged it off, the way I do compliments. I just feel like being complimented on using a computer program the way it's supposed to be used is like being complimented on baking a box mix cake well. The directions are on the back. It's pretty hard to screw up.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

  Tom got me an ice cream maker for our anniversary. Some may argue that's not a sexy gift. I guess technically it's not, but I'm hard to shop for. And I love it. I've used it about half a dozen times. Mint oreo - good. Plain vanilla - good. Fruit punch sherbet - BAD. Thought it would be kid friendly. Ew. They wouldn't even taste it after I gagged trying it. But I pretended to like it so they tried it (they're so gullible, aren't they? Wonder how much longer that will last?). They didn't really like it either.

And the best thing I've made? Frozen margaritas. Slushy, limey goodness. Next on the list is frozen fuzzy navels. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 8, 2006

In a strange place...

I'm so happy with me right now, which, quite frankly, is a little weird for me. I'm really thrilled with the way I'm progressing with photography (and not losing interest, which is more the point with me). I haven't answered any of my major burning questions, but I'm relaxed about that. I'm in that place where it's okay to not know exactly how things are going to turn out five years from now (and just typing that makes me feel silly for worrying about something so far off anyhow. No sense worrying about it - just make good choices today, right?)

We're still working on the fourth child question. I'm taking care of my nephew tonight and well, the fourth kid in the mix kind of works. But then I was out alone with all three kids last night and just the thought of going into Chick-Fil-A (the greatest food on Earth) made me exhausted. We went through the drive-through and ate at Great-Grandmom's. So I still don't know.

We're spending a lot of time right now catching up on the house - finishing all the projects we've started, working on the ones we've planned and actually doing the projects we've bought all the material for but haven't ever gotten around to. I'm staining our unfinished dresser to match our bed. Tom just laid the laminate flooring in our entryway and is now working on the closet organization system he's planned. Next he's going to tackle the sandbox he's promised the kids for three years now. Oh, and we bought a new car. A Buick Rendezvous with third row seat (just in case the fourth child question has a "yes" answer). It's Tom's - so it's blue with a sunroof. Those were pretty much his only criteria.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Happy 230th, America!

 Me and the good ole U. S. of A. turning a milestone age. In July of 1976, our nation was turning 200 and my mother probably thought she'd be pregnant forever (I was late). Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 30, 2006

My new melmac platter....

 Love it. Love the chocolate chip cookies. We're heading to Tom's parents for a visit. I always bake chocolate chip cookies to take with us. This time, I'm afraid not so many are going to make it. That's what I get for baking two days in advance rather than the day of. Posted by Picasa

One month from today...

Yes, the official countdown to thirty has begun. In one month, I will no longer be in my twenties. I know it's not really that big a thing and I'm not like upset about turning thirty or anything. I'm, well, maybe a little disappointed in myself. I'm sad that I don't know myself any better than I do. I guess I thought that by age thirty, I know what the heck I wanted to do with my life, career-wise. I don't. I don't have a freaking feasible clue. I have about a dozen impossible dreams (photographer, pastry chef, interior designer, research librarian, professional margarita taster...), but since I'm not even in a position to start any of them yet, I can't even decide if the impossible could be possible. Tom and I have agreed that it's important for me (or him - he would actually love to stay home with the kids) to be home with our kids through high school. We're talking about 17 more years - IF we don't have a fourth kid. I'm sure I'll do something part time because I just don't think I can handle the kind of boredom. At any rate, I'm using the time to test out my ability to do some of the things on my list.

One month from today...My parents' oldest child will be thirty. How freaky must that be? I was in shock when T turned five in May. I mean, seriously. I'm the mother of a five year old? How is it possible that five years has gone so quickly? Did something happen to time? Did someone speed it up in those years? Are my parents thinking the same thing?

When I was pregnant with T (and before, really) I had this idea that becoming a mother would make me a different person, that somehow the process of giving birth would change me so irrevocably that the old me and the new me would be entirely different people. It was quite a revelation after his birth - well, a year or so later, to realize that I was not at all different. I was still me - crazy, moody, tempermental, wildly fun at times. I think I had difficulty adjusting to motherhood because of my insane expectation. I realized when I started typing this that I was doing the same thing to turning thirty. I'm stopping myself. It's just a day. A number. Nothing will be different. I will not suddenly have the insight I didn't have the previous day. Expecting anything different would be pretty stupid, especially having already learned this lesson.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


So is it turning thirty that has me reminiscing for my college days? Or maybe it's because that's the time when I felt most happy with myself. Not to say that I'm not happy now. Just that I have this idea (and it's probably touched up a bit the way memories are) that I was truly content to be me then. For at least one of those years. Really, I'm sure if I broke out the journals, I'd remember the angst - it's how I live after all. If I can't worry about something, I worry about that.

I'm breaking out the music, the movies, even ordering the DVDs of the tv shows that mark my college years. Counting Crows are coming in concert. I'm seriously thinking of getting tickets. I love their music. The poetry of the lyrics really gets me. I'm a singer-songwriter fan in general, and, while they don't strictly fit the bill, the basic feeling is there. My roommates and I listened to August and Everything After so many times our freshman and sophomore years.

I'm working on a mix CD of college music (don't worry, I download legally. I'm such a rule-follower). Which makes me think of my roommates. And how absolutely crap I am at keeping in touch with people. Of my close group of girls, eight or so of us, I keep in touch with one. How sad is that? I'm the same way with the group I was on the fringes of in high school, but there I feel no guilt. I never was really part of that group. My girls from college? I should do better. I wonder if they're feeling this turning 30 nostalgia.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Apparently, I'm a cliché...

I was watching that new summer show The Tuesday Night Book Club (at least I'm not likely to forget which night of the week it comes on, right?) and one of the women said something in a quick little clip about having spent her twenties taking care of her family so now that she was in her thirties she was trying to find herself. I guess that's what I'm doing (although I'm NOT thirty. I've a whole six weeks of 20-hood left). I don't know. I'm not really the kind of person who's ever felt like she lost herself, if that makes sense. I never felt the need to go off on a big trip away from everything when I was in college. Once when I was in high school, my mother read an article on Multiple Intelligences. She declared that I was in the Intrapersonal category (she did credit me with linguistic too). So apparently even then I knew myself, liked spending time with myself.

So why is that I'm struggling with this now? I think partly it's because I've put off some decisions that most people make in high school or college. You know, like what they want to be when they grow up. Some people just know, you know? Like since they were a child they wanted to be a teacher or doctor or lawyer or astronaut. And they might not become those things but somehow their goals were at least shaped by those childhood career aspirations. Me? I wanted to be a mom. Well, I've got that. Now what? Trust me, most days that's enough. I'm completely content and happy to be a hobbyist and not a career woman. Sometimes, though, I think that motherhood and staying home is just an excuse not to figure out what I want to do. And stick with just one thing.

Friday, June 9, 2006

I'm seriously addicted...

 And I blame it all on my gallbladder. After the surgery, I'm not supposed to have much fat (and I've tested the reasoning for this - I'm going to stick with the no-fat diet). Well, marshmallows are fat free. Just a tiny bit of butter and Rice Krispies, right? Right. Yum. I've been eating them like...I don't know. I just had to have something sweet and couldn't find anything else especially low in fat (Peppermint Patties are, but I'm not fond. Blasphemy say Tom and my mother).

Besides what's better that sweet crunchy vanilla-y goodness? Well, some chocolate wouldn't be bad (testing fat-free Fudgesicles tonight - I'll let you know if they're worth it). I tried making these on the stovetop (as opposed to the microwave) the other night. Why, oh why, would anyone make them any way but the microwave? Maybe if you don't have one, but they should NOT list the microwave directions as the alternate. They should be the main method and the stovetop should be the alternate. What a pain. And a totally different look. These are clear and glossy and the stovetop ones came out white and matte. Taste the same, so we're good. Posted by Picasa

*&%$#@ Thunderstorms!

My kids are terrified of, well, lots of things. Spiders (I don't fault them), bees (again, no problem with that), ants, dust (you know, if it moves and could be any of the aforementioned creatures), and thunder. Oh, and cropdusters and tractors that move (well, most tractors move, but they're not afraid of ones that are turned off, only ones that are moving at the moment they see them). You see, right now is my ideal time to put all three kids in bed for a few hours. T & G will only lay in bed and read for a while. They don't sleep anymore. Baby S still naps for a good two hours, usually closer to three. But I need that time. No one has to sleep. They just have to rest. That's what we call it. But right now it's storming and they're too scared to rest. And I really need it today. I'll see if I can talk them into it. Maybe some good Laurie music will do the trick. Probably not, but it's worth a try, at least until the storm ends.

Oh, should I maybe turn of the McPuter (it's not a Mac, that's just what G calls it. Tom says she has aural dyslexia - she reverses the sounds she hears "COM" = "MOC" Puter)?

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Oh, the very deep nature of what weighs on my mind...

Right now I'm practicing photography, really working at it it completely understand the ins and outs of it all - you know, the f stops, shutter speed, all that jazz. I'm getting it. Well, I think I am. But as I'm working on this, I'm also studying photographers who are already where I want to get. Yes, their photos are technically better in lots of ways (that I'm hoping and pretty sure will come with practice). But what really gets me is their innate (is it?) style. Their kids are wearing THE cutest clothes, their houses are neat and clean (at least the parts they photograph are). Mostly I'm hung up on the kids clothes thing right now though. My kids clothes are boring, photographically speaking. But so are mine. Just what my eye is drawn to in most things - clean simple lines. Solid colors, maybe the occasional pattern, but always matched with solids. Jeans and t-shirts (except for G, the princess who will only wear dresses).

And it bugs me that this plagues my mind at all. Why am I not worried about debt or the disaster of clutter that is our house? Or, you know, the state of the world and the future that my children and grandchildren face? Yeah, all those things are too much for me to worry about. Too big, too abstract. Even the clutter staring me in the face is just too much for me to think about without getting overwhelmed. So I'll just stick my head back in the sand and shop for cute kids' clothes online.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Taking care of me...

This is really one of the hardest parts of being a stay at home mom for me. Taking care of myself. Accepting that sometimes I need help. Asking for that help. Actually accepting that help when the time comes. I don't even like to hand the reins to my husband, the father of the very children I need help with. I have a follow-up appointment for my gallbladder surgery on Friday. I have to ask someone to watch the kids for an hour. It's killing me. And it's not like I don't have a wealth of takers - I have a huge family that is always offering to help. But they don't offer it when I need it (which is not their fault for not being psychic, it's mine for not knowing how or being able to ask for help or accept their offers when they come). And if it wasn't for the fact that I can't avoid this appointment, I'd probably just ignore it.

Last week, the two older kids had dentist appointments. I needed help because they both panic while with the dentist. I can only handle one panicking child at a time. So I needed (wanted, really) someone to take care of the remaining two while I was with the panicked one. None of my regulars (my grandparents, my brother and his girlfriend) were able to help. My mom's sister came because she works just down the road. But I feel horrible about this. I hate that I had to have someone else there. And I suppose I could have done it alone, but it would have been difficult. Very difficult.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but we're talking about whether or not we want to have a fourth child. This is one of the things that's making me lean to the no side. If I can't handle my kids that I have now, do I have any business having another? Not even going into the space issues, financial issues, world overpopulation, etc. This is really weighing on me. I know I don't need to decide today. We wouldn't even try to conceive until December at the earliest, so really no pressure to figure it all out now. But any time I doubt myself as a mother, I think there's no way we can bring a fourth child into this mix. And yet...I can't close off that possibility.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I had the strangest dream...

I sailed away to China on a little rowboat to find you and you said you had to get your laundry clean. What does that mean?

But seriously. I had a dream Monday night that I had my gallbladder removal surgery and when I went home, I had no scars or marks of any sort and I didn't feel better. I kept trying to tell people that they hadn't operated on me and were scamming everyone, but they all kept trying to convince me that it wasn't that bad and if you looked really hard you could see a mark. What does that mean? Well, my mom thinks it was my worry that having the surgery wouldn't make me feel any better. I think she's on to something there.

And then this morning I had a dream that I was waking up from surgery and fighting and struggling while they were finishing. And then the next time I woke up I was laying in a strange room with strangers all around me and I'd just had surgery. What does that mean? That second part there was true. I don't think the thrashing while under part was true (they'd tell me, right?).

So I'm short one gallbladder. I don't miss it. My stomach feels like I've been bashed repeated with a lead pipe, but other than that (other than that?) I'm pretty good. And pretty doped up on the Lortabs, I suppose too.

Monday, May 22, 2006

How things change...

When I was in school, the day the teachers started taking down classroom decorations and boxing up books and things was the greatest day of the year (well, up there, at any rate). I was (am) one of those weird kids who loved - LOVED - the first day of school. It was so full of anticipation, a clean slate. I just found it so exciting. However, that doesn't mean that I wasn't also one of those kids who counted down to the last day, even if it was with a measure of sadness.

Today, T's teachers were taking down the decorations. I immediately got a tear in my eye. I was so very sad to see this year of preschool end. Next fall kindergarten begins and it's a whole new world. Here kindergarten is all day, every day and mandatory. I know it's ridiculous and I never understood it before I had kids, but I can't stand the thought of losing him to school. In a very short time, he's going to be at school more hours than he's with me in a day. And that makes me sad. G will be in preschool two days a week. For some reason, I'm not so sad. I'm a little concerned about how she'll do, but not hurting at the idea of not being her main influence. Maybe it's because she'll only be gone five hours a week. Maybe it's because she's my second child. Maybe it's because she just seems to need more stimulation than she gets at home.

Makes me think about how differently each child is parented due to nothing more than their birth order. Makes me think about me and my sister and brother. I'm the oldest. I don't remember my mother being upset at my leaving for school. But I think that's part of the mark of good parenting - letting your child take that next step with your support no matter how you feel about it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A few of my crushes...

Since I'm such a tv addict, I think most of them are tv related. Surprise, surprise. Some are normal, some are...a little offbeat.

David Boreanaz (Angel, sigh. He's even cute and sexy on Bones, now that I've gotten into it)
George Eads (Nick Stokes of CSI - though not with the bad hair from parts of this past season. Ew)
Vincent D'Onofrio (like in L&O: Criminal Intent, not Men In Black or anything)
Adam Savage (you know, Mythbusters? Smart, funny, a little dorky, but that's what I like)
Alton Brown (Good Eats - so smart, so funny, that's what gets me)
Wayne Brady (someone whose musical knowledge is vaster than mine and he can sing in tune. And the funny. How could I forget the funny?)

A few philosophical questions...

Is it wasteful to pour extra shampoo to try to get rid of your old bottle when you have a brand spanking new one just waiting on the edge of the tub? Or to throw out the extra conditioner still in the bottle when you've finished with the matching shampoo and your next shampoo is a different kind? Is there any point to switching brands of shampoo every time? Why do I do it every time?

Is it neurotic to only eat M&M's in groups of four? (Wait, don't answer that. And don't point out the similarities to T's four obsession.) They all must match - like four red or blue (actually, that's not true. I won't eat the blue ones, I save them for DH). In a pinch, I can do two red and two yellow or a similar combination. And know that I'm not claiming they taste different. I'm perfectly aware that the candy coating tastes the same. Now, Skittles, there's a big difference. I group them into colors. Then I not the number in the smallest pile and eat the remainder of the others to make them equal. Then eat in order. Order may be varied in a turn (like it may go red, orange, purple, then orange, purple, red), but one of each must be consumed in a turn.

I have some weird food things. Like I have to leave a bite of something on my plate. I can't help myself. Although there are some foods that I love enough not to do that. But I always leave a bite of a burger (usually just bread that I won't eat without meat left on it).

Okay, I have to stop now. I'm freaking myself out. I try to blame my son's obsessive tendencies on DH, but now I'm wondering a little.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My grandma loves me...

My grandmother picked this up for me at a yard sale. It's vintage, it's dessert-related, it's baking-related. It's me. How awesome is this?

I don't know if I love the cake carrier part the best, the vintage - and how much do I love that box? - part the best, or the fact that my grandma knew I would love it the best. Wait. It's probably that one. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 15, 2006

Scrapbooking, from a different point of view...

I came into scrapbooking via my desperate love for paper. In my pre-scrapping days, I would just entertain myself for...well, minutes, but that's long for me, by cruising the notebook aisle at Target, maybe cave and buy a new journal or pen. I love to sew and crochet also, so I was always in Jo-Ann's or Michael's and couldn't help but peek at the scrapbooking aisles. I even bought paper, though in those days, it was just to decorate my poems and things. Finally, I had the revelation that between my love for photos, journaling and paper, I think this scrapbooking thing might not be as hard as it seems from the outside (something I tell anyone who admires my books and then goes on to say they could never do it).

So I just sort of found my own way. Read the magazines, checked out the galleries at Two Peas, found things I liked and that worked for me and things that didn't. I had my system. Sort photos into categories then file in my "need to scrap" photo album. With my new digital cameras, I've been taking so many pictures that I just can't scrap them all. I'm okay with that. I've been putting them photo albums and making page kits for the ones I really like and want to do something with.

I recently bought both editions of Cathy Zielske's Clean and Simple Scrapbooking. The first one I got in January, I think and the second as soon as it came out. And from those books came the idea to journal first. And in my true writing style, not just the same old story, year after year ("T loved the zoo. His favorite animal was the polar bear. etc." That's cool and all - it's how I do most of my event pages. But one of my goals in scrapbooking it to tell the stories my way without my needing to be there, so my writing voice is kind of necessary). I tried that Friday night, my first night scrapping in a few months. What a fun way to scrapbook. I felt so much less pressure to organize my photos on the page to get everything in. I had the important thing - the journaling - already taken care of. Everything else just flowed.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Grey's Anatomy. Why do I not watch this show?

Seriously. I loved it. Too bad tonight (and tomorrow night, apparently) is the season finale. I watched like the first three episodes and then got distracted, possibly by its timeslot rival Crossing Jordan (which I'm annoyed with for the constant Woody/Jordan will they/won't they? thing). So I know a tiny bit of the background (like the Derek/Meredith/Addison triangle thing - or is it a square now, with the vet dude? Is he really in the picture? Regulars want to help me out?). I was glued to the tv for the whole show. I think I'll even watch tomorrow night. Maybe next year too. If I remember that I liked it. I might not. My long-term memory's a little shaky and selective. I knew the names of T's preschool classmates after one class, but I can't remember if I paid the phone bill last month (I really need to check on that).

Friday, May 12, 2006

My favorite television shows...a list

Shows that are part of my weekly ritual. In other words, watch or DVR and watch the next available free moment.

  • Scrubs
  • e.r.
  • American Idol
  • Medium
  • CSI
  • My Name Is Earl
  • That 70s Show
  • Crossing Jordan

Shows that I will watch just about anytime I'm bored and find them on a flip-through:

  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Sell That House
  • Good Eats
  • MythBusters
  • Unwrapped
  • What Not To Wear
  • Bones
  • House
  • House Hunters

Shows I miss and wish were still on with new episodes:

  • Friends
  • Quantum Leap
  • Angel
  • Felicity
Yesterday, I let G have McDonald's for lunch. Just G because T was at a friend's house for a playdate and S doesn't eat people food yet (not that she's not a person, but you know, baby food and all). Oh, she loves fries though. Is no one immune to McDonald's fries? I don't even eat fast food (Chick-Fil-A the sole exception), but I can't resist a McDonald's french fry. T didn't have fast food of any sort until the day I broke my ankle. He was 20 months old.

So the only reason for this and for my typically not letting them have fast food unless we're travelling is that I myself DO NOT LIKE fast food. I don't not eat it for health reasons or anything so upstanding. I just don't like it. And I'm a very picky eater. I can't force myself to eat something I don't like. DH can do that. I don't get it. I don't ban anything (well, you know, the really bad stuff goes without saying) from my house or from my kids. Of course they're only five, three and ten months so this has not been field-tested, but I think banning things just gives those things an allure they wouldn't have if not banned. This is how I was raised for the most part, and I was never a rule-breaker. Watch my kids turn around and raise holy hell.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Rainy days and...Thursdays?

It's raining. And I'm oddly energetic. I've cleaned my dining area, my bedroom, the laudry area and the steps (big clutter area, so actually a bigger job than it sounds). What's up with that? I'm one of the laziest housekeepers I know. Most of it's because I have clutter that I just don't know what to do with. I keep moving things around from one area to another hoping I'll figure out where something belongs and it will mysteriously have a place.

This is kind of weird, but my photography is actually making me a better housekeeper. As I want to take more and more pictures and be able to either set up a backdrop or not, I want to keep my house cleaner. Sometimes I want to take pictures of DH and the kids playing and just look at the mess around them and don't even pick up my camera. And other times, I want to get out the backdrop system I have to set up a mini photo shoot with the kids and there's no room to open it up. And it's not that big.

I sit and watch Tom and the kids play and am always struck by how fleeting these moments are. I think about getting my camera out to create a permanent record of this moment and hope that by doing so I might be able to keep this feeling in me at the same time - this wonder and appreciation and just utter joy. I have days when that feeling is greater than my embarassment at my poor housekeeping skills.

Right now I'm trying the SHE system. It's not working so well. I think I got too generic with my cards, so I don't feel like I can move any ever. Maybe I need to make them more specific so I can feel accomplished. Get out of bed. (Check) Pee. (Check) Put on bra. (check) Put on shirt. (check) See how much I got done today? I mean that's four cards and I haven't even put on my pants. What a day!

I told DH about my intentions to start this. He laughed. Now, don't go getting all mad at his lack of support. He laughes because he knows. This will be one more thing I've tried to organize myself that will probably fail. Flylady? No good. I've tried bins, drawers, file folders. I'm just not organized by nature, so I have a hard time fighting that. My mom's the same way. In fact, so's my grandmom. It's genetic. Or learned. Whatever. Either way, I'm not escaping it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Parental accord...

Generally speaking, my DH and I are of like minds when it comes to parenting. We're old school, kids in line, parents aren't friends kind of parents. We're not worried about their psyches being damaged by having to obey rules or whatever. Basically, we're hardasses. And our kids are well-behaved (mostly), creative, polite intelligent young people. Wouldn't you love to have DH as YOUR teacher? Actually, he's pretty easy-going until you make him mad. His students seem to respect that.

Another basic tenet of our parenting is that we support each other. Mom says no, Dad says no too. Dad decides a punishment, Mom doesn't go back and change it at all - not to make it easier or harder. End of story. No questioning the other parent (in front of the kids at least).

I begin with all of this because we had an incident the other night where I had to mentally restrain myself from breaking this cardinal rule of our parenting. On Monday night, DH said no one is getting dessert. Not because of any misbehavior. Our children are not fat - in fact, they're quite scrawny. He just banned dessert because he doesn't like that they expect it and ask for it after lunch and dinner everyday. I'm at fault there. I like my dessert. And I started, accidently, the ritual of having dessert. I don't see a problem with it. If he wanted to get rid of a dessert time, I'm willing to forego lunch dessert (which is usually fruit or fruit snacks anyway). Or if there were some infraction related to dinner or the time period immediately preceding, going without dessert would be an appropriate punishment, IMO. DH declared no desserts out of the blue.

So in solidarity, the kids went without dessert. And no harm came to them. But you better believe that the second they were in bed, I was having dessert. Cupcakes, in fact (see yesterday's post). You know, maybe it's not such a bad thing to try to break that habit.