Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sooooo much to do!

We have a trip to take and we're leaving tonight.  That means that I have a house to prepare for the house sitter, cats that need to be settled in for a few days alone, housework that desperately needs to be done, errands that need to be run, a vehicle that needs to be gassed up, bags that need to be packed, children that need to be herded up and dressed for the drive, and online obligations that need to be fulfilled.

I've gotten none of them done and I'm watching time fly away like someone strapped a jet engine to its backside.

So what HAVE I accomplished so far? 

Umm... the kids ate breakfast.  The cats ate breakfast.

I got 853,350 which beats my high score this week in Bejewelled.

At least the important stuff is done, right?


Yeah, yeah.  Back to my corner.  I'm going.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am NOT weird!!

Okay.. maybe a little bit.  But my 4 year old singing in latin does NOT mean I need to be evaluated for mental health issues. 

We are a musical family.  I sing.  Sarah sings.  Heather is learning to sing.  Hunter howls, but shows promise that it'll be singing within a couple of years.  Steve ... puts up with us.

I spent most of my school years in competition choirs and my high school ALWAYS placed no matter what we were competing in.  After I graduated, I endured more than a decade of my mother and sister pestering me about auditioning for American Idol.  Trust me.  I'm not that good and no one with my confidence issues needs to have Simon Cowell shred what dignity is left after butchering some piece of musical history in front of a live audience that is waiting for you to make the "Look how horrible THIS one was!" reel.

Anyway, back to something relevant.... I was raised listening to what was then referred to as "Golden Oldies".  You know... the Moody Blues, The Association, Jay and the Americans, The Vogues, The Mamas and the Papas, etc...  Add to that the stuff I was taught to sing in school, my mother's love of  classical music, and my fondness of Disney movies and Andrew Lloyd Webber... well let's just say that the types of music that involve the lead singer screaming unintelligibly into the mic until his vocal cords shred while the drummer and guitarist compete to see who can make the amps and speakers explode first.... or the stuff that makes every car on the road throb and single-handedly keeps companies that produce migraine meds in business.... not my thing.

I like harmonies.  I like vocals you can understand.  I like being able to pick out who is singing which notes.  I like having a song end and not having to reach for an economy sized bottle of Tylenol.  Because of this, my children have a limited range of music they are exposed to.  Currently it's Disney soundtracks, The Mamas and the Papas (Heather's favorite songs include "Monday, Monday" while Sarah and Hunter prefer "California Dreamin'".), Casting Crowns, and Celtic Woman.

As a matter of fact, I'm listening to Celtic Woman now and it reminded me of something that happened last week while out grabbing a few groceries.  We were wandering through Sam's Club and Heather was trying to sing "Pie Jesu".  As is to be expected, she was mangling a few of the words and I was correcting her, then helping her find the pitch she was supposed to be on as opposed to whatever chord she'd found that was likely making glassware crack a couple of aisles over.  After several attempts at this, I had another lady ask me what language we were speaking to each other.  I explained that it was a latin song that my child wanted to learn and this woman looked at me like I was some kind of degenerate trying to ruin my daughter's future. 

Now anyone who knows me is keenly aware of how I react to having any complete stranger advise me on how to be a parent, particularly any complete stranger who gives the impression that parenthood is NOT a priority in their near future.  I'm quite certain that the hackles rising on the back of my neck were visible to people twenty feet away from us, however this young woman appeared oblivious to her danger.  To add to her precarious position, it turned out that we were standing in the movie and music section of the store.  How convenient.  *growl*  She glanced down for a moment, selected a CD, handed it to my child, and said "Here.  This is better."

It was a Justin Bieber album.

To my credit, I didn't maim her although I'm pretty sure she was thoroughly offended by my response.  I'd like to say I didn't raise my voice, but that'd be a lie.

I'm absolutely positive that my gales of laughter could be heard clearly across the entire mid atlantic region.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not one more sound out of anyone!

Steve and I wanted to watch a movie.  This is how things went...

*push play on DVD*
*movie starts*
*Heather demands to know what's going on upstairs*
*movie pauses*
*Heather is told a movie is starting but declines to come watch*
*movie starts*
*Hunter wakes up from his nap*
*movie pauses*
*Hunter bounds into the room and settles in to watch*
*movie starts*
*Heather realizes Hunter is awake and bolts upstairs to loudly insist that he go play with her in the playroom*
*movie pauses*
*argument ensues over what Hunter is going to do*
*Steve and I diplomatically end argument and Heather stalks into the playroom alone*
*movie starts*
*Heather begins to play house loudly and gets steadily louder as no one responds*
*movie pauses*
*Heather shushes and sulks*
*movie starts*
*Heather and Hunter both start to argue again from different rooms*
*movie pauses*
*Kids meekly settle into place and the movie starts*

*cue eruption of Vesuvius*

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fridays: Family, Fun, Friends, and other Fiascos.

I know I'm late with my blog, but it's been a busy day. 

As usual, Hunter rolled out of bed and woke up the sun again.  A few hours later I wrangled the kids into clothes suitable for public viewing and we trudged off to get my passport taken care of.  What should have been a 20 minute transaction involving three pages of paperwork, one snapshot, and a receipt somehow became 40 minutes of Heather and Hunter arguing over the photo stool and hamming it up while the woman handling passports played fashion photographer with them and assured me that she didn't really mind.

I'm not sure who was more unhappy; the embarrassed mother who really just wanted to finish up and go HOME before someone called a local circus or the absolutely miserable teen who had just been introduced to feminine cramps on steroids that was curled up in the fetal position in a corner trying not to go on a homicidal rampage.

Once we got out of there we still had to run by the store to grab a few necessities which ALWAYS involves hyperactivity, threats, whining, confinement to the back of a shopping cart, more whining, some growling, and eventual highway robbery at the cash register.

By this time it was far too late in the day for Hunter to get his nap so we didn't bother.  Everyone was looking forward to going out to watch the church's softball team play.  Finally it was time to go so we piled into my car and headed off to grab a couple of tacos on the way.  Ten minutes later, Hunter was out cold and not the least bit interested in trying to stay alert for a few hours.  Okay... we hung a u-ie and dropped him back at home with Daddy so he could zonk comfortably.  Of course Hunter woke up just enough to realize he was being robbed of an outing and the screaming heebie jeebies began while I escaped out the front door before Steve could change his mind and toss the boy back into my car.

Once at the park, the parents were pleasantly surprised to find that tonight's assigned field didn't have a large swath of loose dirt for our children to roll around in all evening.  The children were not even remotely thrilled about this and there were a few rounds of "I'm bored.  There's no dirt in this grass." before we coaxed them into playing tag and burning some energy.  A few innings later, Heather turned up in her matching tan outfit. 

Wait...  tan?  She was wearing a green shirt and jean shorts when we got here!  Where'd they find dirt??? 

Oh.  They dug up the grass and moved rocks around until they had a satisfactory dirt patch.  *sigh*  At least they wore themselves out playing and scampering around for the duration.

Now it's 10:30 at night.  Steve's relaxing with a new computer game that was just released earlier this week.  Sarah's at a friend's house for the night.  I'm planning to go see how many stitches I can get into this week's project before I pass out.

And Heather and Hunter are sneaking out of bed and creeping across the playroom to get toys because they insist they're not tired yet.

I'd scream, but someone would just panic and call the police. 

Hey... does anyone know if holding cells are quiet?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's home, it's home!!!

Thank you sooooooo much, Manny!  Your framing is gorgeous as always!!

This is In Loving Memory by Ellen Maurer-Stroh.  It was stitched up for my mother and is now hanging up in our bedroom until Steve can build the little shelf I'd like to have in order to display some of her collectibles and things I associate with her.  Since I still have small children who give whole new meaning to chaos and mayhem, the shelf and its contents will stay safely hidden in our bedroom until they reach an age that isn't associated quite so closely with indoor hurricanes and tornados.

Mom passed the day I finally brought the project to Georgia to show her.  I didn't realize that she could no longer see and I felt like a complete heel for not bringing it to her before just because I wasn't finished with it.  When she passed a couple of hours later, I gave real consideration to simply not finishing this.  Something kicked me in the back of the head later that evening, though.  Maybe one of Mom's heavenly bricks?

Whatever it was, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and got back to work.  All that motivation I'd been struggling to find up until that point seemed to flood back into me and I was finished within a couple of weeks.  I handed it over to Manny for framing and, once again, he turned my little craft into something worth hanging up and showing off.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

*Twitch* just.... *twitch*

My family believes in efficiency.  Otherwise known as shortcuts.  As most everyone who has ever relied on shortcuts knows, eventually shortcuts are anything but.  One of my high school math teachers, Mr. Hofius, said something that has always stuck with me: "Necessity was NOT the mother of invention.  Laziness was."

Think about it.  We all know that the best way to get a window sparkling clean and streak free is to use a little bit of cleaner, a soft cloth, and a lot of elbow grease in a frantic race against evaporation.  But how many of us have discovered that a garden hose with more pressure than is probably safe also works just as well.  At least until you go back in the house and spot all the crud that was in the hose before you painted your windows with it.

Dusting is supposed to be done daily with a feather duster or damp cloth and the dust is supposed to be removed completely, right?  But how many of us do the Dance of the Bumblebee thing like you see in the Swiffer commercials or, in my case, vacuum the stuff til it looks great.  As long as no one bumps anything out of place and reveals what color the shelf is SUPPOSED to be.

Steve likes to grill, but has grown tired of things sticking to the grating.  Yes, that means it's time to replace the grill, but we have other things higher on our financial priority list at the moment.  So he filled an extra squirt bottle with cooking oil and went to town last night whipping up some really REALLY good grilled chicken.  The spray bottle worked great!  Of course, the grating that was the problem in the first place is not only still filthy and needing to be scraped clean, but now it's greasy to boot.  *twitch*

My darling children are supposed to keep their room clean so Steve and I can walk in there in the middle of the night without feeling like we're tiptoeing across a minefield of plastic booby traps when we check on them before bed.  This generally translates into a pair of human snowplows shoving things against the walls and into overturned toyboxes in order to clear a safe path for us.  Step off the path and BOOOOM!!!   This of course means that the next day is spent undoing the previous evening's plowing and much playtime and enjoyment is lost.

We're learning, slowly but surely, that shortcuts just don't pay off the way they promise.  Oh so slowly.... but eventually!

So today I was amused to hear Heather and Hunter arguing over the paper towels because they wanted to clean the windows, the tv, and their little Leapster.  How cute!  I'll probably have to go back over what they've "cleaned" but how bad could it be, right?

Remember Steve's spray bottle of cooking oil?



Monday, June 20, 2011

I can rip up trees with my bare hands!

No really.  I can!

The tallest one came up to my waist and I landed in an undignified heap when it finally lost its grip on the soil, but I got it!  Just call me Hulkess!  wait.... on second thought, I'd probably rather you didn't.

The past couple of months have been, well let's just say it's been a little bit soggy here for awhile.  Pair that with clouds of seeds that looked like pretty little spring snow storms and EVERYONE'S suddenly got an infestation of little trees springing up .... everywhere.  I'm told they're maple trees.  I wouldn't know as the only plants I can recognize without help are venus flytraps.

It was bad enough to have to circle our back deck and yank trees out from around it and even under it, along with the trees we had to pull out of the mud surrounding our little 2 foot circular pond.  But you can just imagine the conniption fit that ensued when I discovered a little tree growing INSIDE one of my flox plants.  All I can say is that the littles were highly entertained by my behavior and I'm sure any neighbors who may have seen me in action are now completely convinced that I'm the village idiot... and probably a bit unstable.

That's okay.  Tomorrow Steve gets to go finish the job I started last week.

He gets to go yank out the rest of the blasted trees that are growing ... check that... THRIVING in our gutters.  Apparently we're supposed to be cleaning those out more than once every other year.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

At least I'm not the only one who is obviously confused.

I have an odd sort of relationship with weather. 

~I adore lightning storms.  I have an irrational fear that strong winds are going to drop a 70 year old oak tree on my kids' bedroom. 
~I like the music made by torrential rain.  I'm terrified of tornados and have the tendency to make my kids sleep in the downstairs hallway if a tornado is possible within three or four states.
~I am fanatical about 90° or hotter weather.  I seem to be convinced that my children will have heatstrokes within 10 minutes of stepping outside in direct sunlight.
~I love blizzards.  I despise temperatures any cooler than 80° and have been known to walk around the house wrapped in heavy wannabe mink blankets from September to April.

Needless to say, I'm kind of like an indoor pet in a severe storm.  You know... the ones who sit with their noses pressed against the window staring at the raindrops and lightning bolts then zip under the nearest couch or bed at any sound that might be associated with said weather only to zip right back to their starting position until the next boom.

Well since it's Sunday our day started at the usual time:  rough estimate of "the buttcrack of dawn".  I looked outside to see sunshine just peeking over the houses across the street, then went about my business dragging the rest of the clan out of their beds and wrestling small children into clothing suitable for church.  Once we were ready to head out Steve opened the door to a wall of water cheerfully offering to drown us on the way to our vehicle.  Where was our umbrella?  In my car.  Out in the driveway.  Getting rained on.

Steve came up with a wonderful solution.  He slipped into the garage and shoved a few things around then emerged triumphantly with a patio table umbrella.  Redneck much?  Okay, so we were able to get to his car all at once with only minimal soaking of the footwear.  I'm pretty sure I heard an aggravated voice somewhere up in the stormclouds muttering "Really??".

Church ended and we prepared to swim back through the parking lot to our car.  We were greeted with bright sunshine, birds singing, happy flowers, and every other indication that it was a lovely summer day out of one of those Disney family films.  It was my turn to mumble "Really??".

Well, it is now evening and we are all preparing to wind down.  I just happen to hear that wonderful rhythm of heavy rain pounding on our roof and windows, so I peer out the window to watch.  I am instantly blinded by dazzlingly bright sunshine. 

Huh?  Torrential downpour.  Beautiful, glaring sunshine.  At the same time.

And I thought I was confused.  Mother Nature apparently has issues.  

Oh look!  A rainbow!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rain, rain.... ENOUGH ALREADY!!

Today was our church choir BBQ.  I got up really early and bolted across the street to give my neighbor's dogs their morning walk.  Like they usually do, the dogs moped because their mommy was gone and eventually got around to doing their business and moping slowly across the yard some more.  Then suddenly, they both bolted for the front door of the house hauling me behind them.  Now I'm not a dog person and I can't even identify their breed, but they're both white, have short curly hair, and are slightly larger than a chihauhau.  And I got dragged along behind the two of them like a ragged old kite.  Why did they suddenly decide they needed to be inside their home?

Because about four seconds later the sky decided to drop enough water to fill the Grand Canyon right on my skull.

Okay, so the dogs are smarter than I am, but after they were happily inside (and still dry, I might add), I skedaddled across the street and into my own home to grumble about the weather and hope things got a bit more arid within a few hours, or at least during the drive to the hosts' home.  It didn't.  But that wasn't going to deter us.  There was GOING to be BBQing and revelry.  Even if we needed canoes and snorkelling gear to do it.

So Steve and the rest of the testosterone-ridden attendees stood outside in the rain grilling the food while the women-folk stayed inside and took bets on who'd come in first.  Steve lasted the longest, grilling for a couple of hours to get everything done.  He wasn't nearly as amused by my suggestion of wringing out his clothes to measure the rainfall as I was.

After much laughter and much more cramming of the collective gullets, it was finally time to round up the kids and try to start toward home.  I expect my kids to thank the hosts whenever we're invited into someone else's home so my two youngest scampered up to them and got alot of "awww, that's so sweet!"s from the adults around them.  Heather rattled off something no one understood the first time and when prompted to repeat herself piped up "Can we take some home?"  One glance at a still fully stocked food table and the response was "Of course you can!  There's plenty!"  Then Heather got a huge grin on her face and darted out of the kitchen.

*insert a room full of confused glances being exchanged*   Umm?  A little bit of panic set in as we all began to realize that she hadn't been asking for leftovers.....

A few minutes later, I found my darling daughter upstairs in the playroom.  She was helping herself to as many toys as she could carry.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

When's summer getting here???

I'm FREEZING!  Of course, I'm inside an air conditioned home where the person in charge of the temperature seems to really like the temperate climate of Antarctica.  *whine* 

I can't help it!  I need heat.  Apparently, lots of heat.  I tend to start shivering if the temperature drops below 80°.  Add direct sunshine and I'm in seventh heaven. I could happily sleep in a sauna.  Or maybe the oven.  That could work.  It's a well known fact to everyone in my family that if our home were to catch fire in the dead of winter, the firefighters would find me warming myself next to an open flame and flat refusing to step foot outside in the snow.

You know that Jeff Foxworthy skit about "snuggling with a Butterball turkey"?  Yeah... that's me.  It could be the middle of August on the equator and I would still be able to successfully draw screeches by sticking my hands on the nape of someone's neck.  As a matter of fact, Steve has taken advantage of this... gift.  We were at a 4th of July BBQ and I walked by where he was sitting.  He scared me half to death by suddenly grabbing me and hauling me toward him.  Of course I shrieked.  Of course everyone turned to stare.  And there was Steve flattening my hands against the back of his neck and "aaaaahhhhh"ing with contentment while I turned eight or nine shades of red.

Most couples argue about finances.  We argue over the A/C.  Steve's evening routine generally involves coming home from work, changing, turning the A/C back on, patrolling the entire house and opening all the vents, then patrolling again because I'm three steps behind him closing them all as fast as I can.

I tell him it's because I'm being thrifty and trying to keep our electric bill down during the summer.  In reality, I'm just tired of biting my tongue when my teeth chatter.

Yeah.  I'm that clumsy.

What?  This surprises you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

They're growing back.....

Those weeds.  They're coming back.  I knew they would, but I was kind of hoping it would take more than a couple of days.  *whimper*

Steve and I have been discussing what is to be done about it next spring.  Loosely translated: I've been planning out loud and he's been running finances through his mind and trying not to cry.  I've decided that I'm going to dig the entire area up, move all the dirt to some other part of our property, and fill in the gaping hole with a layer of ground cover, a ton of potting soil mixed with plant food, and a whole slew of pretty flowers that I don't stand a chance of keeping alive.  Since the area in question is approximately 6' x 10' and it's been recommended that I dig about a foot down to be sure there aren't any particularly devious weeds left behind, you can just imagine how many bags of soil we'll have to buy.  Then there's the need to buy enough flowers and plants to fill the vacated space, the various fertilizers and weed killers that will be purchased just in case, all the gardening tools, gardening books, gardening gloves....

How did I manage to get Steve to agree to this?  Easy peasy.  I just happened to let it slip that somewhere in that long list of necessities should be that fancy shmancy wheelbarrow attachment he's been wanting for his lawnmower.  After all, we've gotta get all the old dirt moved somehow right?

And I didn't forget about involving the kids in the project.  Sarah is excited about picking a bunch of flowers that she thinks are pretty.  Heather can't wait to water whatever gets planted while the rest of us frantically attempt to keep her from drowning everything in sight.  And Hunter gets to play in the old dirt and retrieve as many worms as he can find.

Granted, not a one of us knows the first thing about gardening or landscaping but how hard can it be to play in dirt? Besides, I have a backup plan if this fails and weeds creep back into my flowerbed. 

I've agreed that Steve can buy a flamethrower too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cats. *twitch*

What can I say? 

I'm usually quite the cat person.  My cats drive everyone around me crazy but they're my girls and they make me smile most of the time.  And if the two cats living inside the house aren't enough to keep us all on our toes, I've managed to accumulate a pack of furballs outside as well.  One female, three males, and one kitten who still teleports across the neighborhood when I step outside.  Oh, and the female's sister who shows up once a month or so if hunting squirrels doesn't pan out.  As usual, Steve puts up with me and my need to take care of the poor starving mooches and his smile only falters once in awhile.  (Normally about the same time his toes find some recycled catfood.)

Then there are times when I could quite happily donate my fuzzy little angels to a local petting zoo.  Case in point:  Meet Lea.  She is, without a doubt, MY cat.  She has the perfect attitude to match mine.  Something along the lines of  "Go ahead. Tease me. I will bite your nose off while you sleep."

Today she wanted my attention.  I was occupied with the wolf I've been stitching on for going on two years.  She didn't like this.  Now, I was one of those well-behaved kids who found it impossible to walk past a bed covered in sleeping cats without taking a running leap into the air and screeching "BONZAAIIIII!" just before landing in the middle of them.  Great fun!  Unless you were one of the cats, I suppose. 

Ever hear that old addage "What goes around comes around"? 

Yeah.  Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I heard a feline rendition of a Comanche warcry a nanosecond before 10 pounds of fuzzbucket landed right smack in the middle of my cross stitch.

~Cali, who had still been sleeping at the foot of the bed, went straight up and bounced off the ceiling. 
~My cross stitch was launched out of my hands and landed with the needle and thread dangling precariously above the floor vent which suddenly appeared to be ravenous and craving stitching supplies.
~My children stampeded (that is the perfect description of the racket those three made, lemme tell ya) down the hallway to see what all the ruckus was.
~I had an aneurysm.

Lea looked me straight in the eye with an expression that could only be described as "Betcha wish you'd just scritched my ears, huh?" and then casually hopped down off the bed and sauntered out of the room waving her tail like a victory banner.

Until I started singing "Cuz she's the waddler, yeah she's the waddler.  She leans aleft, aright, aleft, aright!" 

I don't think Lea appreciates Dion anywhere near as much as he deserves...

...and I should probably wear slippers tomorrow morning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who says crafts are pricey???

Bleah....  it's Saturday and instead of whiling away the hours with stitching and laziness, we decided to run errands.

The last of those errands was a quick stop at Hobby Lobby so I could run inside and grab some labels for my growing collection of beads and other small cross stitch embellishments.  As soon as I said the words "Hobby Lobby" Steve cringed and looked like he was going to grab his wallet and run for his financial life.  See, he thinks it's impossible for me to walk into a store that sells cross stitch supplies and not walk back out at least $100 lighter in the pocket.  This is, of course, prepostorous.  There have been many occasions where I've visited that store and picked up only the one skein of floss I need.

Turning around and going back in for the extras, or that new fabric, or that new chart, or those new colors... well that doesn't count cuz it wasn't the same trip.


Here we all go into Hobby Lobby.  I make a beeline for the beading section in the hopes of finding labels designed for the little bead containers sold in that aisle with Steve and the kids trudging along behind me sporting expressions ranging from "Wow!  That looks like I could break it into a gazillion pieces!" to "That's so cool.  I want one of those." to "I wonder if I should just declare bankruptcy now and save some steps..."

Once there, I am dismayed - but not surprised - to find they don't carry labelling of any kind for craft storage containers, but there ARE some really pretty strings of beads and treasures that I just want to look at for a minute while I plot out what I could turn them into given unlimited funds and time.  A constant monologue of "we can't afford this", "I don't really need this", "that can wait til another time", "I'm going to behave myself and set a good example of thriftiness and sacrifice for my children" scampers through my head while I run my fingers over beads and mumble to myself about how pretty they would look in that project I'm going to be starting for Sarah this fall.

If I get one or two bits at a time scattered over the weeks to come, it won't be so bad, right?  Of course not!!  We'll just add this strand to the cart.  Oh, and that one's on clearance!  Oh wait, these are ALL half price today!  Woohoo! 

Fifteen minutes later, I look down at the cart and about keel over.  How in the world did it end up half full!!  I know I didn't really pull that much stuff off the shelves!  Did I?  Maybe.  It's possible I suppose.  Okay... time to head for the register before Steve has a heart attack in the beading aisle.  We'll just skip my birthday this year and call it even.... 

Yeah, that's it.

As I'm fleeing toward the front of the store I hear Steve telling me to wait and my crafty little wings wilt a bit.  Now, if I really want all this stuff I can just dig in my heels and explain that to this man who seems to enjoy spoiling me rotten whether I deserve it or not.  But as I'm gearing up to justify to myself why I should deplete our play money in such a way Steve gives me a sheepish grin, adds an instruction book for beadwork and metalcraft to the cart, and continues toward the registers.  A nagging voice in the back of my head points out that inhaling and exhaling are kind of necessary in one's daily life, and I remember that I'm supposed to be going with him.

About $160 later, Steve has a new hobby.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday WIP pic again.

No border this week.  This time you get to look at a riveting glob of gray that is the beginning of a shot from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life".

I promise it will eventually look much better than that.  In about four weeks time.  For now, this gets set aside and I'll start working on project number three in my rotation: Call of the Wild.  A design I've been stitching away at on and off for a year and a half now. 

Yes, there's much more finished on the wolf than there is on either of these other two..... *mutters something unladylike about smart--- friends*

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I went shopping today!

For a dress.
And shoes.

As if that isn't already a catastrophe waiting to happen, I had all my kids in tow as well.  Now Sarah's old enough that the worst I have to deal with is a continual litany of "This is cute." "Can I get this?" "This isn't too expensive; only $78.99 after they discount it." *twitch*
While that grates on my nerves after awhile, I am starting to concede... grudgingly!... that the girl is considerably more aware of what is almost fashionable than I am.  I have always been someone who is quite happy to wear jeans, boots, a baggy t-shirt, and a pony tail.  The only thing about this that has changed is I've stopped wearing baggy t-shirts and now wear shirts that are actually my size.  Sleeves seem to go on vacation starting around Easter and occasionally make it back into my wardrobe around Halloween.  Awesome for avoiding farmer's tans.  Not so awesome for anyone who stumbles into view of me. Although I am proud to say that I have never qualified to have my photo taken for the People of Walmart website.

So... Sarah does provide me with a preview of the typical preteen reaction to anything I might pull off the rack.  For instance, if she looks at it and has to choke back a giggle then I put it back without saying a word.  If she looks at it and gets that thoughtful "I could wear that!" look then I put it back.  If she looks at it and gets the deer in headlights look then I've got a winner.  After all, if the teen hates it then the outfit HAS to be suitable for someone with a bit maturity.  Right?

Just nod and go about your business and no one gets hurt.

Yeah.  I hate shopping under the best of conditions.  But Heather and Hunter in a clothing store when I'm supposed to be concentrating on picking out clothing that isn't going to brand me a female Urkel can NEVER be described as the "best of conditions".  One of me.  Two of them. Hundreds of hiding places.  Thousands of things that sparkle, shine, shimmer, and otherwise scream "come touch ME!!!"

I grabbed three dresses, a shirt, and three kids and crammed the whole shooting match into a fitting room.  Lucky me.  This particular fitting room has accoustics that would rival the Peterborough Cathedral. 

First it was Sarah who wanted to try on the one dress she thought was cute.  As she's shimmying the fabric over her head, I casually asked what size she'd picked. 

Sarah: "Umm...I'm not sure.  Oh, it's a 14."
Me: "In girls, right?"
Sarah: "No, women's."
Me: ....

After it was determined that we could fit three of her into the dress, it was my turn to try on the articles I'd picked out.  What ensued was fifteen minutes of "You two better stop hitting each other." "Do NOT jump on that bench!" "Hunter get out of the dress." "Heather stop kissing your reflection." "No you can NOT open the door yet!" and my personal favorite "Everyone this side of the Atlantic is now well aware that it echoes in here.  Stop shouting 'Hello Echo!'"


I picked out a dress.  I paid for the dress.  I argued with the salesperson about whether or not I really had to take my kids with me when I left the store.  I drove the zoo home.  I waited for Steve to come home.  We dropped Sarah off at her church event and went back out so I could get shoes.

I perused sandals and found a simple pair that I liked.
I got in line and patiently waited to pay for them.

Steve chased Hunter down a random aisle.
Hunter giggled in glee.
Steve pulled Heather out of a stack of shoeboxes she'd been turning into a fort.
Heather whined and complained.
Steve threatened to "whoop Hunter's butt".
Hunter fussed.
Steve glared at Heather alot.
Heather glared back.

I never have to take the kids with me when I shop for myself again.
My work here is done.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sleep... what's that?

I know I'm supposed to be quirky and this blog is supposed to be a weak excuse for humor, but today's not been a day rife with stuff worthy of making fun of.  I think alot of the problem is that I'm just pretty tired.

I can't seem to sleep well anymore.  I'm having constant nightmares or just waking up again for no apparent reason.  When I'm not actively busy with something my mind wanders and I find myself reliving my mother's last day.  Now I'm not one of those people who sits and mopes or dwells on misery.  It takes entirely too much energy to avoid humor, entertainment, or life in general and I'm naturally lazy and content to laugh my way through the day.  So laying in bed at night trying to go to sleep and suddenly realizing my bedroom has just transformed itself into a hospice room isn't usually how I choose to end my day.  And it's making slumber one of those elusive carrots that dangles just out of reach while I try to decide if I really want to risk taking it.

I'm sorry.  Like I said... I'm tired.  And I babble when I'm tired.... or sore... or hungry... or distracted... or....
okay so I babble everytime I communicate.

Bed or bejeweled?   Bed or bejeweled? 

Hypercube anyone?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ow. Ooch. It hurts. Did I mention ow?

No pain, no gain.

What neanderthalic masochistic cretin thought that up?  And why am I so bloody determined to prove him right?!?

Okay, so I'm in a bit of pain that may or may not be my own fault and I may or may not be the most gracious about handling said discomfort.  In my defense, I've almost won the latest battle in this summer's war against weeds.  I decided that since I was going to spend an extended period of time inadvertantly doing crunches and working my obliques while sweating in the 90° weather that FINALLY got here, I might as well go ahead and work my quads too.  So each time I bent down to get a good grip on a weed attached to an economy sized root system, I alternated between squats and lunges.  How was I supposed to know the diabolical plants had seen me coming and wrapped themselves around the foundations of my house?!?!

Now I feel like I'm dragging battleship anchors around.  Lots of pain.  Lots and lots of pain. 

So what did I gain?  

An intense desire to ambush and devour an entire pantry of dark chocolate.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Family traits.....

One thing about families that no one seems to be able to escape is genetics.  There's always some trait that gets passed down whether you want it to or not.  Sometimes it's blue eyes, or red hair, or bad tempers, or unibrows.  My family seems to have this crafty, way too much creativity to be healthy thing going on.  ... well that, and a penchant for ill-timed sarcasm.

My cousin is an amazing artist. My sister sings. My dad is a walking encyclopedia. My aunt is an interior decorator. My mom could paint, draw, scrapbook, and essentially create beautiful stuff out of thin air.  Sarah was bound to get something from the family gene pool.  She got some gorgeous blue eyes, a love of cats and chocolate, a big mouth... (hey, I had to contribute something.)

Oh yeah.. and she also got the ability to do stuff like this:
and this...

Yeah... she produced both of these in about 30 minutes.  Her granddad bought her a set of watercolor crayons and she was playing around with those today.  Not terrible considering she was fending off Heather and Hunter the entire time.

Of course, she hates both of these because she's still learning how to use the crayons and make them look like watercolor paints after the drawing is done, but I thought they were cute so I'm showing them off.

Oh, and she drew this one for her Granny Karen.  She doesn't really like it either... go figure.  She's worried that people will notice things that she thinks are wrong.  Perfectionist.  Sheesh.

So yeah... creativity and artistry seem to run in the family.  Everyone got something they can brag about.

What did I get?  Umm... well, I can sorta sing.  I can sorta cross stitch.  I can sorta draw.  Oh, and I can make a person's eyes bleed with the fashion choices I make on a regular basis.

Then there's this amazing ability to babble incessantly when someone puts a keyboard in front of me....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gardening. ....yeah....

Pleasant Valley Sunday. 

That's kind of the image I was going for today when we got home from a really fun lunch after our second church service today.  The kids were upstairs playing in the air conditioning and Steve was dutifully mowing our lawn, then our neighbor's lawn, in the hot temperatures I love so much.  So I figured I could spend the same time in the shaded flower bed that has been my first excursion into the world of gardening.

Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I'm about as domestic as a bulldozer.  (And I have the tendency to leave a comparable swath of destruction in my path, too.)  But hey, how hard could it really be to dig some holes in dirt, drop a few store bought flowers into the holes, and soak them down with water every four or five days? 

....   Once the real gardeners laugh themselves out and catch their collective breath, we'll continue.

Believe it or not, the flowers are actually doing rather well.  Granted, I started easy and bought a half dozen petunias, three flox plants, and two vine looking things I can't actually identify but the fact that they're ALL still alive is pretty darned impressive!

Now for the fun part.  *grumble*  While I'd been warned about the dangers of weeds, I don't think it really sank in just how troublesome the little beasts are.  There is quite literally a battle line drawn in my flower bed/weed bed.  The left side is most definitely under the control of Mother Nature.  The right side is currently my domain and I'm determined it's going to stay that way. 

So, back to my personal rendition of the Monkees song.  I decided to do a bit of weeding to redefine the boundary between my flowers and the encroaching wilderness by my sidewalk.  In my "garden" there's one rule of thumb that is pretty safe to follow: if it's green, healthy, and thriving.... yank it out of the ground.

Two hours later and I believe I know EXACTLY how the creator of The Day of the Triffids came up with his story. 

Exhibit A: (image taken from another Blogspot blog "Black Hole")
This scene depicts a triffid closing in on its next meal.

Exhibit B:
This image depicts a dandelion expanding across the ground and daring someone to try to yank it up.

Coincidence?  Not a chance.  No way.  No how.   I firmly believe that the person who came up with the story of The Day of the Triffids did so shortly after spending the afternoon losing a war with weeds, or after spending the evening listening to the ranting and raving of someone who did.

...anyone got a flamethrower and rock garden I can invest in?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yes, I'm scatter-brained. You'll get used to it.

Spent the day stitching again.  I'm working on a chart depicting a scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" and despite it being all shades of black and grey, it's actually a pretty fun stitch.  While I didn't get a huge amount stitched, I made more progress than I'm used to. 

Sarah spends all her free time on the computer or drawing.  At her age, I'm used to that.  But it's downright wierd that the kids are able to entertain themselves in their playroom for hours at a time now. 

I'm so accustomed to having to get up every few minutes to get them this, that, or the other that it feels like I'm neglecting them now that they don't need me every five minutes.  There's nothing quite like having a 4 year old look up from her playing to say in exasperation "What now?" echoed by her 3 year old little brother.

Of course, the instant I announce that it is naptime for little Hunter, he suddenly becomes very needy again.  On a good note, since my stitching is downstairs and his room is upstairs, I get alot more exercise than I probably normally would. 

Now if I could just stop eating three times the chocolate I'm burning on those steps.

... speaking of which.... what'd I do with that pack of M&Ms?

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's Friday! That means WIP reports.

Welp, this marks the first time I've tried to include images into this blog thing and there's no telling what will happen.  This could be fun.  Or dangerous.  Whichever.

Awesome, right?  Eventually that's going to be Mirabilia's "Cinderella" and will look just amazing.  *cough*  In theory, anyway.  Lauren from Sassy's Fabbys custom dyed some 32 ct jobelan for me and I'm just thrilled with how it turned out. 

I'd like to offer up some lofty promises of finishing this later this month and being able to show it off in all its glory before Independence Day, but anyone who knows me would tear something internally from laughing so hard.  Let's just play it safe and aim for a little before Christmas... 2017.

I do keep a stitching journal of sorts on my website, along with some of the art my daughter churns out.  It's in pretty desperate need of updating on most of the pages, but once again it's been proven that me swearing to get caught up is akin to Donald Duck swearing to see a speech therapist.

Someday.  Honest.

*sidesteps a lightning bolt*

Ya gotta admit.  I'm getting better at dodging those!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh no! It's CHOCOLATE!!

Bet you'd never think you'd ever hear ME say that, right?  Yeah, me either.

Picture this: 

A very happy 3 year old charging down the hallway into my room.
A custom dyed piece of linen and alot of floss scattered across the bed.
A large amount of chocolate that never actually made it into the 3 yr old's mouth and instead liquified all over his face, hands, and fingers.
A small distance, rapidly getting smaller and smaller, between my current project and the cutest case of chocolate armageddon in recent history.

"Oh no!  It's CHOCOLATE!!"
Yep.  Those are the words I yelped as several things happened at once:

I grabbed my project and leapt up onto the bed and against the wall out of reach of my child.
The two cats who had been sleeping awoke, panicked, tried to run off the bed to safety and instead collided before running in opposite directions.
Two clouds of fur appeared that apparently were also too startled to remember gravity was supposed to make them fall out of the air.
Hunter squealed in earsplitting delight at the chaos he'd obviously caused and what must have been a look of abject terror on my face.

Once I was satisfied that the disaster had been averted and cautiously allowed Hunter within reach so I could clean him up, it was revealed that all he really wanted to do in the first place was to show me that he'd finished eating his chocolate and beg me for more.

Really.  More chocolate.  After that?!?!

I get dibs on the dark chocolate.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hey Mother Nature. Bite me.


Yeah.  It's that time again.  And before anyone gasps and has vapors about me daring to admit such a thing on a public forum let me just say that when you are caught standing in the kitchen with the freezer door hanging open, a carton of dark chocolate velvet ice cream clutched to your chest, a large spoon hanging out of your foaming mouth, and have an expression closely resembling Gollum just before he reclaims the Ring off Frodo's hand.....  well, let's just assume they've already figured it out.

Aside from the typical random bursts of homicidal rage usually directed at my own shadow for daring to get in my way, and the normal pounding headache that manages to resist all types of pain reliever, and the agonizing sensation of everything below my chest and above my knees feeling like it's slowly collapsing in on itself, and the manic craving for anything and everything dark chocolate....

... okay, so the chocolate thing is actually pretty normal for me ...

Aside from all that, the day wasn't too bad.  The kids spent the day torturing each other incessantly the way that only loving siblings can manage and that left me pretty much to my own devices.  I got a decent amount of stitching done on Mirabilia's Cinderella while the TV droned on in the background.  Since it's Wednesday we went to church tonight and I was scheduled in the nursery with the 2 yr olds.  I had been dreading the idea since I really didn't feel like doing anything other than repeatedly ramming my skull into a brick wall to take my mind off my monthly suffering, but once I got there and the kids starting filing into the room it wasn't so bad.

One of the little guys looked like he felt about the same way I did and once we connected on that "I hate the whole world and I'm gonna take you down with me" level he attached himself to my leg and we spent the evening quietly watching the other children play.  Just when I thought I'd made a life long friend, his older siblings showed up to claim him and he suddenly acted like I'd spent the last 90 minutes trying to rip limbs off of him.  My kind of kid.  And that little smirk he shot my way as they left the nursery about melted my heart.  I'm gonna have a ball watching him grow up.

Now we're home and the kids are all in bed and I'm having trouble deciding if I should drug myself into a sedated stupor until this nonsense goes away tomorrow or sack out with my stitching and get a few hours of something reasonably constructive done.  Although why I'm having this internal debate, I don't know.  What's actually going to happen is I'm going to sit at the computer and play Bejeweled until Steve wanders up here wondering what in the world I could possibly still be doing up here......

Nah, not tonight.  I'll just play one game and go to bed.

I promise.