Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year.  I have no doubt that 2009 will bring some cool things.  God has been pretty good about the uphill travels lately.

I just worked my last day at Big Ol' Financial Corporation.  Very odd to walk away from 22 years in the same place.  Working from home probably softened the blow for me.  I think having to walk into the office for one last day might have put me over the edge, emotionally.

I'm staying calm by asking God to lead me through this whole finding-a-job process.  Just take each day as it comes.  I'm asking for motivation as my natural inclination in life leans on the lazy side.  It is very tempting to "take some time off".  But it's like a drug to me.  If I spent a week or two getting up late and just farting around, it would be that much harder to start the work.

I'm sorry I've rather dropped out of the blogging world.  Certainly haven't kept up like I did back in 2007.  I think it was my free therapy in 2007.  And I still love all my ABC ladies.

Well, I'm having a new year's eve with two of the cutest boys in the world.  So I'd better get back to them.

Here's to what God will do in 2009.  I'm trusting for good.  No fear, people.  The talking heads on the news don't understand how God will get us all through if we just trust.  Easier said than done, I know.  But I'm giving it a shot.

Love you all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday-Eve to Lil' Bro

Tomorrow, Lil' Bro will turn five.  Tomorrow, Lil' Bro will also visit the doctor.  Tomorrow, Lil' Bro and Pokemon Boy are both hoping to go to a local inflatable place to bounce themselves silly.  I think that will depend on the whole doctor visit.

Lil' Bro has had a nasty little cough for a few weeks.  We live in an area famous for its live music and its allergies.  Before moving here, I had heard of the latter but chalked it up to a large community of hypochondriacs.  Apparently I was wrong.  There is a unusually high concentration of varying allergens in this area that you either acclimate to or suffer with.  Pokemon Boy has acclimated.  I'm hoping Lil' Bro is on his way to the same.

Either way, this go 'round, he is losing the congestion battle in the bronchial region.  And now that there is a fever and general blyecky feeling, off to the doctor we go.

I have no doubt he will eventually rally.  We may have to put off bouncing ourselves silly.  But there WILL be presents opened.  And there WILL be a Batman cake consumed.

And tomorrow, I will have a five year old.  A sweet, adorable, loving five year old.  One that adores his older brother so much that he was willing to order his entire cake in vanilla in stead of chocolate.  When I asked him if he was sure about that, he told the lady at the bakery, "Well, my brother doesn't like chocolate."  And chocolate was pronounced "chock-o-lit."  He will surrender his Burger King crown along with the title of King to his older brother to keep him happy.  If he suggests a game and big brother says no?  He rolls with it and asks, "Well, what do YOU want to play?" and then plays whatever big brother comes up with.

He can be silly with the best of us silly gened people.  He can be as shy as his great grandmother was.  He is rough and tumble but doesn't like to see anyone get hurt.  He is fascinated with how all things are put together or how they work.  This explains his obsession with Transformers as well as documentaries on how the brain works or how fetuses develop.  He will come out of his shy shell at interesting times to sing the entire song of Rudolf for my friend and me at church in the middle of our conversation.  We stopped to listen because we knew we were being treated to a rare treat.  He has a very soft spot for his grandpa (my dad).  He never lets you forget the 2nd person in a couple during conversation.  If you mention one, he'll pipe up to chime in the other name just to make sure they're not forgotten.  He loves kitties.  He's starting to like dogs.  The smaller the better.  Like his older brother, he adores babies.  He has not yet learned to think of girls as "gross" or "the enemy".  He's still small enough to carry.  He still lets me kiss him in public.  He frequently makes me pray to ask God to "stop the bombs, protect the babies, protect the children and protect the mommies and daddies" in war-torn countries.  He doesn't think Christmas decorations are all for his birthday.  And I was so proud when he insisted we needed to put up our tree, not so Santa could put presents under it but "for Jesus' birthday."

I remember being pregnant with him, worrying that I would never be able to love another baby like I loved Pokemon Boy.  Everyone with more than one kid assured me it would happen.  But I knew it was impossible.  Which is just one of the cool things about God.  With him?  All things are possible.  And the way he has given parents the ability to fall so madly in love with more than one kid.  I still find that amazing.

I am seriously the luckiest mom...that lives in my house.  There.  Now you other moms can't yell at me.

Thank you God for giving me such wonderful boys.  Thank you for Lil' Bro's birthday tomorrow.  Thank you thank you THANK you, God.

Lil' Bro ponders the tree.

Pokemon Boy near the tree.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Newest Favorite Treat

Chili pepper infused chocolate?  Are they kidding me?  YES PLEASE!

Yesterday, while perusing through my local gourmet chocolaterie (I call it "Walmart"), I came across this fun little nugget.  I love chocolate.  I love chili peppers - most of them anyway.  I've heard of this combination for a long time and have never run across it.

Today, I tried a bit.  I bit into my first square wondering what it would taste like.  I think I was expecting the chocolate to taste like my chili.  I'm thinking cumin won't taste as good with chocolate.

Anyway, to my delight, it doesn't taste like my chili.  It tastes like chocolate.  I thought, "So where's the chili flavor?"  I didn't so much taste the chili as feel it.  It had a nice spicy after taste.  Or...after-sensation.  My mouth was all spicy.  My stomach felt it - in a good way.  I love it!  It really is good.  I highly recommend it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Dating Rituals of Almost-Five Year Olds

So Lil' Bro says to me this week, "Mom guess what."  "What?" says I.  "I have a girlfriend at school," he says, all crinkly faced with glee and embarrassment.  "Oh really..." says me who is now channeling the mom from Adam Sandler's 'The Waterboy'.  "Well cool," I say nonchalantly, so as not to add any undue importance or excitement to what is and should be a very sweet and innocent thing.  Pokemon Boy isn't so cool about it.  He's eight.  Girls, he has found, give you kooties.

"Really?  You have a girlfriend at school?" he asks incredulously.  "Yup," beams Lil' Bro.  I exchange a look with Pokemon Boy that warns, Don't mess with him on this subject.  He gives me a nod of understanding and continues in an overly interested tone, "So what's her name?"  Lil' Bro says, "[PreSchoolGirl]."  "What color hair does she have," inquires Pokemon Boy.  He is a fan of long straight dark hair (that's my boy!).  "Blond, I think."  Men, I think jokingly to myself.  Can't even remember the color of their girlfriend's hair.

"So you don't mind being her boyfriend?" asks the kootie-phobic 3rd grader.  "No," says Lil' Bro.  "But also," he continues, "[OtherBoy] likes her, too."  "Oh," I say, preparing for a preschool version of heart break.  "And is that ok with you?"  "Yah.  We share her," he informs me.  "You share her?  Does [PreSchoolGirl] know this?"  "Yah."  "And she's ok with this?"  "Yah."  "Ok then."

I think preschoolers "date" way better than adults.  You declare your affection.  Label yourself as "boyfriend" or "girlfriend".  Share when necessary.  And that's it.  Nothing else.  Just play together and tell people you have a girlfriend.  If only we were that smart.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Ex Ain't All That Bad...Kinda

Well, we all heard that I'm getting laid off.  No?  Didn't hear that?  I can't recall.  Did I tell you guys?  Well I am.  At the end of Jan 2009, my "position will be eliminated."  I'm in very good company.  They toasted quite a few of us that are all connected with a certain office and any of us that work from home - long distance.  So 22 years of experience, adios.  It's business.  It's rather common business, if you watch the news.

Anyway, I was talking to the ex about it back when I got the word (mid Oct).  I told him, once Big Financial Company lays me off, they will take back the only working computer in the house.  And tell me how you find a job with no computer?  Go to the library every day?  Not exactly conducive to the 24/7 instant messaging world we live in these days.  The ex says, Let me see what I can do to help.  I really didn't think much of it.

A couple of weeks ago, he called and told me to go to the Apple website and pick whether I wanted a laptop or desktop.  I told him to pick what he thought was best for the boys.

Last week, FedEx came by with a big box and we have a brand spankin' new iMac!  With a built in webcam.  And all sorts of fun stuff.  So my ex ain't all that bad.  In some respects.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

McBeth - Shakespeare for the Fast Food Generation

Back in my glamorous days in The Scene in Boston, I worked with a killer funny rock theater troupe called ACME Theatr. And yes, it's missing the last E on purpose. See, we were funny if nothing else. ACME had started out with legitimate (and very good) actors. They had started trying to get the local brain-dead rockers into theater. So they would put on these really awesome plays and then get local rock bands to play afterwards. It was pretty genius.

After a while, the director/writer, Dan, realized he had lots of actor friends that were also in bands. So he started writing rock musicals. He began recruiting lots of us rock band people to "act" in his productions. The beauty of Dan was, he had a very great sense of humor. We'd be rehearsing and goofing around and he'd go, "Keep that! That's great! Keep that in there," and I'd be like, but it was a joke!

He took classics, kept the most key parts and then let us run wild with our tongue-in-cheek approach. My first role was as Jacob Marley in Xmass Carol. My Marley was a dead gangster. Complete with a total townie thug Boston accent. Our Tiny Tim was given to rantings of communist propaganda. One incarnation of this musical had the ghost of Christmas future dressed in a Star Trek uniform. We always threw in silly pop culture references.

We took on MacBeth - making it McBeth - fast food classics. We did Prometheus & Hercules. That one was complete with a fight scene put to Star Trek fight music. My 2 girlfriends and I were always the three fates, or witches or something like that. In McBeth, we were the 3 witches that were dressed in crushed velvet clubbing dresses. We had big hair out to forever. Our cauldron had dry ice for the fog effect but also held cans of Aquanet for us to pull out and spray on our hair.

Anyway, a friend sent me a quick clip of us McBeth witches singing on YouTube. It was for some public access show someone did. The credits are running over us. But you can see and hear us. You guys have told me you want to hear me singing. This is the best I can do for the moment. It's live. It's poorly recorded. I'm chomping gum like the big-haired goober I was supposed to be. I'm on the left of the screen. My friend Christine is in the middle. My friend Sooz is on the right.

Anyway, enjoy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

#952 In a Series of Why God Totally Rocks

I'm sure I've chased away some regular readers with all my 'God Rocks' stuff. But I can't help it. I honestly am blown away by how he constantly comes through for me. And in ways that seem small but are just so freaking cool.

I just sat down to do my online bills. Glamor, baby. All the way. I was totally stressing over it. I knew I wouldn't be able to stretch the checking account to cover it all. There is one credit card in particular that drove me to panic mode last month. This month, I definitely did NOT have enough to cover the minimum. My priorities are like house, food, electric/gas and then I worry about the 2 credit cards (which I hate and can't wait to pay off and then BURN). So I had gotten the essentials paid. I thought I'd go look to see this huge minimum due. The amount left in my checkbook register wouldn't cover it. So I started thinking how I'd have to call them tomorrow to explain how I can only send a paltry amount each month and yes, I realize I'm the one who racked it way up there and yes I know it was stupid.

So I log on to the website and see that the minimum is more than half of what they wanted last month! Yes, I understand that the lesser amount means they can bleed me longer. But that's not the point. The point is, I've been asking God to somehow help me dig out of this hole. Somehow help me pay my obligations and still be able to tithe. The old standard "Help me, God!" So the amount that was there? I could pay it! Early! I was sitting there going, "God you so totally rock. I love you SO much! Thank you thank you thank you!"

Don't you guys think that's cool? I mean, think about it! I think that is just amazing - how God cares about the stupid financial mess I got myself into. I told God that I was totally aware that I messed up and let the living-beyond-my-means thing get the better of me. And I told him I was sorry and wanted to fix it. But I can't. So I asked him to help me. And he keeps making it possible to keep my head above water.

I have friends - even family - that will chalk up all my "Wow God rocks!" moments on this blog to coincidence or things that aren't that big a deal. I get that. I used to be there, too. That's ok. I'm still gonna crow whenever God pulls my butt out of the fire. If he's giving me free fridge repair, a freezer full of meat, free pepperoni rolls or cutting my monthly minimum by almost 2/3. I will take it. Gladly. And I will tell everyone who will listen.

Because God really does rock. All you have to do is ask. And then you have to have the eyes to see it. Big or small. Because he'll come through. Oh yes. He will come through.

And my Pollyanna post is over.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Weekly Randomosity

The Layoff:
I'm doing much better about the layoff now. I went from calm acceptance to anxiety/panic to church. At church, I cried all over my friend PregnantKeyboardGirl. She prayed over me and told me she loves me. Then the AwesomeCoffeeBringer couple prayed over me, too. I also happen to know that pretty much all of my praying family and friends are blanketing heaven with prayers on my behalf. I'm sure God is up there going, "Yah, 'Take care of Lynette.' I'm ON it, people!" Thankfully God is way more patient than I would be. But it's a funny image in my head.

So I went from lot of hands-on prayer back to work. And this week, I have felt totally peaceful about things. I figure, I've asked God to guide me. I've asked him to show me which direction to go. I've asked him to get me an awesome job that will allow me family time and the money to support my little family. So all I can do now is just work and get through the layoff process. The rest will unfold when God wants it to.

So I'm chill. God's got me.

Our New Church Building!!!
Our church has been working on finding a permanent building for a while. When I joined in late 2005, we were slated to move into a new building that winter. Due to a legal battle between the landlord and the developer, that never happened. And we stood by anxiously awaiting the results for a long time.

Well, this past Tuesday, we started moving in the bulk of our stuff (to a totally different space!). Our children's ministry leader had already gotten a lot of toys moved in. But on Tuesday, a small group of us got 128 comfy chairs unloaded, vacuumed, washed down and set up! And pastor Kenny loaded them from the storage space into the trailer alone. (Look at the superhero muscles on that guy!)

It was the kind of hard work I love to do because it is actually DOING something. And doing something for God. Plus, I got to hang out with some really awesome church family while doing it.

Today was our last day in the elementary school. We gave one of the school workers a gift certificate and card because she has been there with us for so long and has been like a family member.

Next Sunday is our first service in the new building. WOOOO-HOOOOO!!!!

The first chair in...

Most of the chairs in...

Panoramic view of the sanctuary from the front...

Pokemon Boy:
Mr. Dude is having some issues with anger. Well, all out melt downs is more like it. He had two this past week. Both times, he couldn't do something he wanted to do. I think it's a few things: A) he's overtired, B) he's a little worried about this layoff thing, C) he's 8 and D) he's human and hates when he doesn't get what he wants. But the all out temper tantrum - we haven't seen that in years.

We had a nice long talk about it. I told him that he's old enough to start controlling when he's upset like that. I told him to recognize that feeling and work hard to keep the anger in check. And when he can't? That's when you ask God to step in. He said, "I never pray when I'm at school." I said, "Well, don't think of it as praying. Just keep the conversation going. No matter where you are. You can just talk to him any time. Tell him anything. Ask for help with anything, anywhere." He kind of raised his eyebrows in that "Hmm. Interesting," way. Today at church, we almost headed toward meltdown. But I just got down on his level and said, "Dude, put a LID on that attitude right NOW." Not mean. Just nipped it in the bud and made it VERY clear that it would NOT be tolerated.

I don't think any of it is related to his Tourette's. I think it's all the stuff I mentioned before. But he asked if he could see his play therapist. So I've made an appointment. You want to talk to someone who can help you? Heck yah I'll find the money somewhere!

Lil' Bro had a fever off and on this week. Friday, it was pretty high and he stayed home. But there was no way Optimus Prime was going to miss out on the trick-or-treating. So little Mr Fever Guy went trick-or-treating. He pooped out about 3/4 of the way through so we kept it short. Which fortunately was fine with his older brother. We had so much fun and they were just so freaking adorable. They have hardly eaten any of their candy. I've probably eaten more of it than they have.

Lil' Bro was Optimus Prime. Pokemon Boy was Ben 10.

God Rockin' More Free Food:
Today at church, one of my friends had a word for me that was incredibly encouraging. God told me that he loves me and he will take care of it all. I can't think of a better word to get right now.

Tonight, I took the boys to our favorite pizza joint. We had called our order in so it would be ready when we got there. As we sat down to eat, one of the workers walked over with a large pizza box and said, "My manager wanted me to ask if you guys would like some extra pepperoni rolls." There were 12 extra pepperoni rolls in the box! That's like a large pepperoni pizza - in rolled up form. They had accidentally made a double order for someone and we got the extras! We LUUUUUUUUUV their pepperoni rolls. So I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Emily Dickinson, I Ain't

Monday was my day of birth
I took the whole day off
My parents took me out that night
though mom still had a cough

Tuesday I was back to work
And mayhem ruled the day
I watched in shock as management
just hacked and hacked away

I spent the morning tracking names
of friends all being cut
At noon I got invited to
a call for you know what

My job has been eliminated
the date not set in stone
I got a decent severance
but still I had to groan

I kept it all professional
You would have been so proud
But Wednesday night the panic hit
I'm sure my sobs were loud

So once again I turned to God
I'm not sure how he deals:
My constant knocking on his door
My begging and my squeals

But that's the cool thing 'bout my God
He seems to like me still
So I will keep on trusting Him
and put my mode on 'Chill'

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Anniversary...

Today is my birthday. To put it in terms that align more with my mental age more than my chronological age, I celebrated it as follows:

The 23rd anniversary of my 20th birthday or
The 13th anniversary of my 30th birthday or
The 4th anniversary of my 39th birthday.

That last one is how my friend's father used to label his birthdays. It was always in relation to his 39th birthday.

For the last I-don't-know-how-many years, I have never worked on my birthday. It's always a planned vacation day for me. When my children were born, I incorporated this rule for their birthdays, too. They were both born near holidays so that usually helps to not use up too many of my vacation days. But mine is never on a holiday. So I take a day. It's silly but very refreshing.

Today, I would have loved to have slept in. But I woke up at 6:20am, got the kids ready, and drove them to their school and day care. I had every intention to return to bed when I got home. But I didn't really want to waste a whole day sleeping. Oddly.

So at 7:30am, I got a bowl of raisin bran, sat down on the couch, fired up the ol' DVR and watched the 3 episodes of one of my favorite shows I've missed for the last 3 weeks. Let me tell you, watching 3 weeks in a row, fast forwarding through commercials? That's just fun! Sure it's mindless drivel but it's FUN!

After watching that much TV in pretty much one position for that long, I started getting a you've-been-sitting-in-the-same-position-too-long headache. So I hopped in the car and went to Walmart and Target. This is something you moms will get. When you don't have the kids and don't have to work (when does THAT happen at the same time?!), just walking through a store at your own pace is amazing. I can stop and look at anything I want. For as LONG as I want. No one is going, "Mooooom (*big sigh*) how long do we have to look at these CANDLES?!" or "Why do we always have to look at GIRL clothes?" or "When can we go to the toy section?" Granted, I didn't buy anything for me. Well unless gum counts. But I was able to buy some Christmas presents and hide them away. But the whole concept of being able to stop and stare at whatever I wanted? Yah, I was soaking that up.

With money being tight, I haven't spoiled me in a long time. So I went to Starbucks. I didn't get too stupid because money doesn't magically untighten on your birthday. So in stead of the huge java chip frappacino I would have liked to get, I just got a ginormous iced coffee. Very cheap and very yummy.

After getting all wired on good coffee, I dropped in on my parents. My mom is recovering from an incredibly tenacious bronchial infection of some sort. The effort of all that coughing (which I almost spelled "coffing") has exhausted her. She's on the tail end but still having those coughing fits that hit you at the worst times. So I sat and talked with her and dad for a while. Which of course, probably made her cough more. I'm thoughtful like that.

I left my parents to head over to the elementary school for a teacher conference. I wasn't sure what to expect. This teacher doesn't seem to give a lot of direct feedback to the kids so I had no idea which direction this thing might go. Fortunately, it rocked. Nothing better than sitting there having a stranger confirm what you already think about your kid. Well, I suppose that last statement is only true if you LIKE what you already think about your kid. So Pokemon Boy got rave reviews. He's incredibly polite. He's been working very hard on responding the first time she says something. (I resisted the urge to say, "Really? Could you come to my house and get him to do it THERE?") He seems to have made it over that adjusting-to-third-grade hump that can be very hard. He thinks outside the box. He's creative. She likes having him in her class. I was like, Did I pay you to say all of this and it just slipped my mind?

Oh, and best of all - she hasn't seen any tics. She has had a student in the past with severe Tourette's. So she knows what it can be. I was so glad to hear that. Also, Pokemon Boy has commented on a few occasions that not a lot of kids play with him because they think he's kind of strange. He actually used the word "weird" once. I was worried about that and asked her. She said socially, he's completely normal. She sees him working with other kids and getting along with them. He's very good at encouraging his classmates and is very kind. I asked her about anything that might look like he's on the outside. Nothing. HUGE relief.

When I got home, I took Pokemon Boy to Walmart to pick out a birthday present for Lil' Bro. His birthday is right before Christmas so I thought we'd grab something now, while Lil' Bro was still in school. My closet is currently stocked well with Bakugan and Transformers. I live in a boy house for sure.

After picking up Lil' Bro, my parents picked us up and took us to one of my favorite TexMex restaurants. I had enchiladas (which I'm pretty sure man COULD live on alone...or at least I could) and crispy tacos. While I was in the bathroom with Lil' Bro, my mom talked to our waitress. So after the meal, here comes the wait staff with a giant sombrero. They sang some birthday song that included a comment about me getting old (Pokemon Boy made sure to point that out after the song), plopped the sombrero on my head and gave me a big bowl of fried ice cream and whipped cream. YUM!!!

The ice cream rocked. Putting a sombrero on my head that has graced who knows HOW many other heads with who knows WHAT other skin or hair ailments - yah, that was NOT my favorite part. But it does make for a silly picture. I'll scan that and post it another time. And you will all be amused at how even a giant sombrero looks tiny on my ginormous melon head.

OH! I forgot! After picking up Lil' Bro at day care, I got home to find a vase of flowers on my front porch. BigSis and her TallHubby had them delivered to me. How much do THEY rock? Last week, my church sent me my first birthday card. My aunt Millie sent my 2nd card. Pokemon Boy MADE my 3rd card.

So the anniversary of my birthday rocked.

Thank you God for giving me a fun, stress-free day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Haircut and God Rockin' the Meat from Heaven (via Omaha)

A Haircut for Lil' Bro:
Today was school pictures for Lil' Bro at the day care. So last night, I offered to trim his cute little mop top. He informed me he wanted a hair cut. One like Pokemon Boy. Are you SURE? I must have asked him about 952 times to be sure. He was sure. I finally gave in and gave him a crew cut. I have always let them choose their hair cuts (within reason). So I lopped off all that adorable moppage. *sniff*

As you can see, he's adorable no matter how much hair. But I do miss the mop.

God Rockin' the Meat from Heaven:
In one of the small groups Trish had right after mine, they were discussing miracles or signs from God. One person had been skeptical and had said something like a baked ham dropping from heaven might convince him. So I have often referred to miraculous happenings as a "baked ham from heaven."

In light of that little set up, my next praise report had me email Trish immediately.

Things here in Tourette's Mom Land are tight. This life is not a one-parent or one-income kind of thing. I have been finding ways to cut costs. Some more painful than others. I have spent weeks and/or days wrapped in anxiety, worrying over the potential loss of my house or entire life style. To the cost cutting end, I have been buying generic or cheap. Things that used to seem inedible to me in my snobby money-grows-on-trees days now seem like ambrosia. I have learned the hard way that, if you sneer at it, you can pretty much count on having to actually need it some day. It's just one version of the whole pride-before-a-fall story.

Blah blah blah = money is tight. Meat has become a luxury item or something I usually only get at my mom's house. I was starting to worry if I'll be getting enough protein in my boys' diets.

Last Sunday we prayed as a church for our selves. Individually. Pastor Kenny led us all in a prayer releasing all the worries over to God. Giving control of everything over to God. Releasing the fear. And in that prayer, I just asked for God to bless me. It was a very loose, all encompassing request. I didn't even know what I wanted. Just a blessing. Anything. Help me, God. Send me a blessing. Anything. It doesn't even have to be big. Just something.

On Monday, I ran into my next door neighbor - the gorgeous classy divorced woman I want to be some day. She informed me that she had a whole freezer full of Omaha meats that were going to go to waste and would I like them. (Insert me looking completely dumbfounded here) She just removed meat from her diet and she knew I liked to cook and thought maybe I could use the hot dogs, hamburger meat, steaks, chicken breasts, talapia and salmon that were taking up room in her fridge. Are you KIDDING ME?! All that was missing was an actual baked ham! Oh but there were pork chops. So I think that qualifies, right?

So not only does God provide some meat for me and my boys. But he provides top quality Omaha meats. And not just a little. But half a freezer full. And VARIETY!!!

I seriously laughed. I laughed as I drove home. When she dropped them off and I had to rearrange my freezer to fit all the boxes? I laughed. I emailed Trish about my Omaha meats from heaven. I called one of my head pastors to tell her because I was about to POP from sheer amazement and laughter.

Does God ROCK or what, people? Can I hear an 'amen'?!

Friday, October 10, 2008

First Sick of the Season

Well, I have to say, Pokemon Boy has been very healthy for quite a while. Even Lil' Bro has only been dealing with allergies. And me? I've actually been doing quite well, too. Haven't even had a migraine lately.

School started in August and I figured sending the boys off to their daily petri dishes we call school and day care would mean the start of non-stop sick. Nothing! Woo hoo!

Today, both boys were home. Pokemon Boy's school was out so I kept Lil' Bro home from day care. They entertain each other and I am able to work. It's a good deal.

Early in the afternoon, I started feeling that scratchy soreness in the back of your throat from sinus drip. I ignored it. Around the same time, Pokemon Boy told me his throat hurt when he swallowed. I got some decongestants in him and went back to work. I came down a couple of hours later to find Lil' Bro farting around by himself and Pokemon Boy laying on the couch - face flushed red, looking like he'd pulled an all-nighter.

Yup. Fever. Low but there. He has no school Monday either. So he's very upset that he'll spend a long weekend sick. So I said, well, you know we always run for the medicine as soon as we feel yucky. It rarely occurs to me to try something else first. So I went over and put my hands on him and just asked God for healing. To take away the sore throat, clear the nose and take the fever. Why is that always done after I've already poured all the other crap down his throat? I'm going to have to shift that.

Anyway, I've just wrapped up my work day. I'm going to go see how the boys are and convince them to go to bed early on a Friday night. Yah...good luck with that one!

Hope you're all well.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Does My Birthday Say About Me?

I have so many blogger pals that totally crack me up. I wish I had more time to read blogs because I certainly need the levity. But Ellesappelle got me thinking with this post. What does my birthday say about me?

On October 20th, I will turn 43. It's a rather non-exciting age. So I thought I'd take this moment to see what my birth date might say about me.

Celebrities Sharing My Day:

Bela Lugosi born on October 20, 1882 - dude, it's Dracula! How cool is that?
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton born on October 20, 1890 - "Jelly Roll". Need I say more?
Olive Thomas born on October 20, 1894 - A silent film star, she was a Ziegfeld girl and the original flapper. Sweet.
Jean-Pierre Melville born on October 20, 1917 - French film maker. Zut alors!
Mickey Mantle born on October 20, 1931 - an amazing ball player with a bit of a drinking problem and trouble marriage. Hmm...
Tom Petty born on October 20, 1950 - singer/song writer who recently played the half time show at the Super Bowl. The performance made me think, "You need to stop now. Stop while you're ahead."
Vicente Engonga born on October 20, 1965 - born on my actual day of birth. A Spanish football player (that would be soccer to the silly Americans).
Snoop Dogg born on October 20, 1971 - Awww yah. I'm down with the Dogg.

Performers and entertainers. Coincidence? Oh sure you could say most "celebrities" are performers and entertainers. But I beg to differ. I don't share birthdays with historians, quantum physicists, great architects, poets or painters. I share them mostly with spot-light hogs. Now tell me if you think it's coincidence!

Now let's see if any historical events say anything about me. We'll start with events happening AFTER I was born:

1967 - A purported bigfoot is filmed by Patterson and Gimlin.
1971 - The Nepal stock exchange collapses.
1973 - The Saturday Night Massacre: President Nixon fires Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.
1976 - The ferry George Prince is struck by a ship while crossing the Mississippi River between Destrehan and Luling, LA. Seventy-eight passengers and crew died; only 18 people aboard the ferry survived.
1977 - A plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashes in Mississippi, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines along with backup singer Cassie Gaines, the road manager, pilot, and co-pilot.
1982 - During the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem, 66 people are crushed to death in the Luzhniki disaster.
1991 - The Oakland Hills firestorm kills 25 and destroys 3,469 homes and apartments, causing more than $2 billion in damage.

Ok, I was going to try to twist around some events to make them look more dire than they really were but dang! I didn't even HAVE to. Allie, I'm getting worried.

Now let's look at my name and stats to see if anything can be made of those.

The letters in my name can be shifted around to make the following:
Eel Sent Testy - eel? Snake. Sent testy? The snake sent...discord? Hmmmm?
Steely Tenets - cold & unyielding beliefs.
Set Ye Nettles - plant stinging prickly plants.
Eyes Let Tents - the eyes your...uh...tent? The eyes let stuff into the tent of your mind! Yah, that's it! I don't know what it means but it's very profound and mysterious sounding.

My zip code plus my SSN plus my street number equals 55703767. When you add those 8 numbers together, you get 40. Which is the number of years the Israelites wandered in the desert, pretty much because they were a whiny lot even after national-scale miracles, a visual presence of God and generally being dumb humans like the rest of us.

So if you look at people with my birth date, we're all in desperate need of attention and approval.

If you look at events on my birthday after I entered the world, apparently, I have wrought much disaster in this world.

If you look at the anagrams of my name, they speak of discord and discomfort...and tents.

And the numbers add up to years of punishment. I may not be the antichrist like Allie. But apparently, I'm one of her minions.

I probably never would have looked into my own broken nature like this if it weren't for the ridiculous amounts of forwarded (and unresearched) emails I've been getting telling me how each of the political candidates is the spawn of the dark one. Thank goodness my mass emailing friends and family have awakened me to my own horror!

And one reason I'm writing in the OTHER Palin for president:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Blissful Lapse in Memory

Well, today would have been my twelfth wedding anniversary. I never would have even thought of it. Isn't that huge? Well, it is. I am so happy that I haven't been thinking about it for a month - dreading it. I'm so happy I didn't remember it today. I'm amazed that I didn't wake up in a funk because of it.

Today, I woke up and had an amazing day at church. God has been lifting my attitude a lot these last few weeks. It's amazing what shameless persistence can do when praying.

So if I didn't remember it, why am I posting about it, eh? I got an email from the ex. It started out "Seeing that today would have been our 12th anniversary..." I read that and had to check the date on the calendar. A few emails later, I got a reminder from that it was my anniversary. I have since killed that reminder. But I was so surprised to A) see an email from the ex and B) be reminded that today was my anniversary. Oh, and C) I don't particularly care. Last year, it was hard. Actually, I recall that last year, on my anniversary, the girl-thing flew into town for a visit with the then-future-ex. Hahahaha! Oh what insanity God has pulled me through! Holy guacamole.

So this year - the first anniversary on which I was actually NOT married - I am pleased as heck to have had to be reminded. And by the ex himself. And with a very sincere attempt at an apology. We have a long way to go. He has a lot of apologizing to do. And God has a lot of miracle to pull off by filling my heart with forgiveness. It's a work in progress. But I appreciated his efforts. His foot was in his mouth throughout the whole email. But it was an attempt. Attempts are something lots of women in my position never even get. So I will appreciate the fact that he made one.

But - as I told him in my reply - the imperfect human side of me will always have trouble with these little apology nuggets seemingly tossed over his shoulder as he continues with his pursuit of the thing that destroyed the the family unit we built. Like I said, God has a lot of work to do in me yet.

But look how much He's already done!

Oh, and I thought I'd leave you with a fun little picture from my wedding day. Because I had one of the most fun weddings ever. I refuse to lock every single memory away just because someone ruined the marriage. This is a shot of me with my friends Paul & Adrianne. It's a ridiculous shot of me and Adrianne has a goofy look. I like it because Paul is in it and has since passed from this life. So here's a fun memory from 12 years ago, today:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Touching Base With Y'All

I haven't blogged consistently for so long, I have no idea if anyone still checks this site. For the few who do, I thought I'd check in and say hello.

Being a single mom: I had always said single parents were my heroes. But I said it like you always say things like that. Without full understanding. Kind of like thinking what you might do if a loved one dies or some other tragedy befalls you. You think you can picture it but you can't.

In some ways, it's not quite as hard as I thought. I guess I had thought that whatever made me the single mom would have overwhelmed my world so completely, I wouldn't be able to focus as a mom. So I guess I thought that was where the struggle was. But in my case - you get over the cheating lug. Kind of. God gets me past it. And when the ugliness of it all gets all up in my face again, God's good about keeping me steady.

Right now - this new into it - it's the no-time-for-anything part that gets me. Sometimes I feel like such a failure as a single mom. Stupid, I know. But it's when I look around my formerly pristine house and see a clutter of toys, papers, unfathomable "stuff", that gets me. When I walk by something black, see the dust and can't recall the last time I pulled out the Swiffers. When I walk past that little piece of balloon streamer on the stairs - again - knowing I probably won't vacuum this week, either. When I toss my boys into a tub/shower and am not sure when I last did that. When I get a crap review at work because - bottom line - I can't work overtime. When the boys are bummed because yet another Saturday is spent running errands. When I strip the beds to wash the linens, wondering when I did that last. It's not how I was raised. It's not how I used to do things. It's not how I like things.

My days are filled from the moment I pop out of bed until the moment the boys go into theirs. And then? That's when I know I should get the laundry done, dust, clean my bathroom, pay bills, or whatever else is on my mental honey-do list. I rarely do that. Most nights, I put them to bed, I get ready for bed, I grab my reading glasses & bible and crawl into bed. I read until I start reading the same verses over and over. Then I put out the light, lay down and start asking God to help me. Help me be the mom they deserve. Help me to have forgiveness in my heart for the ex. Help me to keep my job. Help me to keep my house. Help money to appear out of nowhere to pay all the bills. Help me to be ok with just me and God. Help me to make it through if these rumors of layoffs are more than just rumors. Take away the fear, God. Take away my dependence on things, money, houses, this lifestyle. Help me to truly depend on God. Help me to teach my boys the truth about God - not the namby pamby fairy tail version most of us half-assedly believe. Help me to live it. Help me to really believe. Increase my faith. Talk to me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, God. In such a way that is so real that there is NO way I can have any doubt. Give me a boldness so I'm not chicken to say, guess what, yah, that's right, I believe in God and Jesus and the whole shebang. Help me to stop worrying about what other people think. Help me to have such faith that I don't water down my beliefs - even for family members.

At times, I think he must be so sick of hearing from me. I've been bugging him - pestering him - my whole life.

And then I go to church. I joke with one of the head pastors that I think pastor Kenny preaches every Sunday just to me! This past Sunday, he was talking about the part in Luke 11:9-10, where Jesus is telling his disciples the whole "ask and you shall receive" thing. So many translations lose a very important part of this. It's not "ask once and you get it". The original language there is more like "keep asking, keep knocking, keep seeking." Pastor Kenny used the words "with shameless persistence." Keep asking God - with no shame. Keep asking. This is a God - a dad - who wants to give us good things. It's our persistence that shows A) we trust him and B) we're serious.

It made me renew a few prayers I had kind of given up on. God, take away Pokemon Boy's Tourette's - totally. God, do whatever it takes to make the ex turn and consider you as a viable option. God, save my job. God, save my house. God, help me be that amazing single mom I know I can be through you. God take away the anxiety and depression. God remove these migraines. God, help me find a job working for you. God, use my singing.

I'm not totally over the fear. I'd like the giant band aid of the layoff news to get ripped off so I can just know once and for all. I'm trying to turn everything over to God. I think that will be a life-long effort. But I'm not going to stop asking. I will keep asking, keep knocking and keep seeking. I'm interested to see what God does.

Luke 11
9 "So I say to you: Keep asking and it will be given to you; keep seeking and you will find; keep knocking and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; whoever seeks finds; and to those that knock, the door will be opened."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Political Conversation With Pokemon Boy

PB: I like McCain.
me: Oh yah?
PB: I think he'd make a good president.
me: Huh. What do you like about him?
PB: Well...he thinks Obama doesn't.
me: Really? What kinds of things?
PB: [pause] Well...good things. I don't really remember but they said it on the news.

In all honesty, that's about as good a reason as any.

* Oh, and later in that conversation, he said "I think it's cool that, if he gets elected? The first woman vice president will get elected, too!" Pokemon Boy: supporting the chicks. Right on.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lamenting A Trailer (No Really)

I've mentioned my awesome rockin' church. But I haven't mentioned that it's a relatively new church. So we're in the process of looking for a permanent space. At the moment, we still meet in an elementary school. This is odd to some people. Not to me. The first church I remember was still meeting in an elementary school while our building was being built. After leaving that one, the next church I attended was in an elementary school. I've attended hugemungus churches that seat hundreds. I've attended tiny ones where everyone is crammed into the few rows of pews. I don't care as long as God is there and the people are preaching Jesus. Can I get an 'Amen'?!


What this means for us is, every Sunday, we have set up and break down. Someone drives to our storage space, picks up the trailer, brings it to the school and we all set up the tables, portable dividers, class supply bins, kids' toys, greeting supplies, etc. It's a well oiled machine.

This past Sunday, I was up on stage, rehearsing with the band. All of the school's chairs were out. We put out rows of chairs but we make a front and back row of square tables. So families can sit together or people can take notes. Everyone has their preference. So the chairs are grouped waiting for those tables. My food service bags are sitting back where the food tables will go. I'm singing. Life is good.

Then I notice our pastor is moving all the grouped chairs into rows. And I'm thinking, do we have no trailer today? Did we get a flat tire? Did someone sleep in? Ah...the blissful thinking of the glass-half-full girl.

Apparently, our trailer was stolen from the storage space. The gates are left open to facilitate that 24-hr access thing. This alone opens a host of questions for me but I can open my own self-storage facility with coded gate access another time. For now, someone got in there, cut the locks from our trailer and took it.

The good thing: The pastor says to us, "We're going to Plan B." There is no Plan B. We made it up on the fly. That's what I love about this church. We just all jumped to it. Sure we were sad and shocked that someone would take our trailer. Sure we made jokes about how appropriate it is that thieves stole a trailer that had a big bin of bibles in it. But we kicked it into gear and church started 30 minutes later - without much of a hitch. It proves that theory that a church isn't about a building or about things or stuff. It's God and the people. That's it, man. It all boils down to God and his people. Boom. Love that.

The sad thing: The police found our trailer today. It's pretty beaten up. All the "stuff" is missing. Yes, we're not all about things or stuff. But oh it kills me the love and work that was just thrown out. We had so many toys for the little ones. Our nursery was awesome. The 3s and 4s class was awesome. They had blocks and cars and twirly things and spinny things and bouncy things and roley things. It was a wonderful way to give parents a break so they could listen to the lesson in stead of shushing kids. Someone had hand made movable dividers so we could have separate classroom space for the different aged kids in the gym. Gone. All of the tables. All of the bibles. All of the class supplies - paper, scissors, glue, tape, crayons, markers, pens, pencils, stickers. There were little portable CD players to play the kids music on. At least 3 of those - if not more. Rugs & mats to sit on for play or story time.

What makes me sad is picturing all of those wonderful tools of ours - just heaped in a pile somewhere. Perfectly good supplies just dumped. I'm a sentimental idiot. I had trouble tossing a pair of boots once because they had been to California, Cape Code, Texas, New Mexico, Jamaica, England with me. They had served me so well. And I was going to just throw them away. It broke my heart. I'm a dork.

I think of that pile of stuff and I give each item a personality in my head. Because, like I said, I'm a dork. I hope the bins of class supplies aren't scared. I hope the tables don't think we don't love them. Then I make up scenarios like, some loving person who really needs that kind of stuff just stumbles across this pile. Like a God send! And they find a way to cart it all to wherever they are setting up their school of love. And our stuff is used and loved and cared for!!!

Did I mention I'm a dork?

Anyway, it's all replaceable. Fortunately, none of our musical equipment was on there. That would be replaceable, yes. But very very costly. We are a hardy lot. We will replace it all and probably more than we started with.

We have prayed for the thieves. Apparently, they used our trailer to try to heist a bunch of copper piping from some water treatment place. I'm hearing more of this copper stealing stuff on the news. So we can be added to that statistic. But we prayed that maybe - just maybe - one of those people opened one of the bins and saw the bibles. And maybe - just maybe - they took a bible home. And maybe - just maybe - they'll read it. I'd like to think that some day, I'll hear some testimony that starts, "Well, a bunch of us stole this trailer and it was full of BIBLES..."

I'm still praying that one or more of those thieves show up at our church. I have no doubt God could make them a great addition to our numbers!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

God Rockin' The Free Fridge Repair

Man, I love how God sweats the little things. When I see Him pull off stuff like He did today, I'm reminded that the big things like which dude will be our next president? He's got that, man. I refuse to get worked up into a lather about it.

So here's today's praise report. I just love this one.

When we last left our hero, she had a defunct fridge. Well the GE guy showed up this morning just as I was pulling in the driveway after dropping Pokemon Boy off for his first day of 3rd grade and tossing Lil'Bro back into preschool after 4 weeks off. [Isn't it amazing how I can totally go tangential in one run-on sentence?] SuperNice GE Dude got to work on my fridge (somehow getting past the millions of magnets) and I went up into my office (with a quick little prayer asking God to make sure the guy wasn't a mass murderer).

After a few minutes, the guy asks me if the fridge came with the house (it did) and when I moved in (Sept 2005). He said, "Oh good," and went back to work. A short time later, he said, "Ok you're all set. The fridge should be back to normal by this afternoon." He explained what he had done and which part he had replaced. But he was already heading out the door. I said, "So will you guys send me a bill or how does this work?" He replied, "No, you're all set. The part was covered under a 3 year warranty so you're set." "I don't even have to pay you for YOUR time?" "Nope, it's all covered. Have a nice day."

After closing the door, I turned around, threw my hands up in the air and yelled, "God you totally ROCK!" Because the GE people had told my mom it would be $79 just for the guy to walk in my front door. I don't have that at the moment. So it was going to be credit card. Blyeck. That's already straining after my 2 week vacation. But oh well. That's life and I was ready to suck it up.

But God totally rocked the free fridge repair!!! How COOL is that? I've been asking God to help me get my finances stable again. But I had bigger prayer fish to fry so wasn't really worrying about it. And BAM! He comes through like that. I LOVE that! LOVE it.

Seriously, with The Creator of All Things and my mom on my side? How can I go wrong?

Today's Side Note: Since my mom worked so hard to clear out my fridge & freezer, she suggested I take the opportunity to clean it out. Yah. Great fun. But since I'm 42 and supposedly grown up, I decided to take her advice. So today I cleaned my fridge. Something I have only done in the past when I'm either moving or I've had a huge food mishap in the fridge. I thought I'd show you what it looks like with only the bare essentials in there. Sorry for the darkness - my flash wouldn't go off. Note how "essentials" apparently include Corona Light, Diet Coke (w/ Splenda), eggs, a big thing of ice coffee, a cup of milk, a thermometer, and left over pizza. And my freezer has like 952 freezer packs. Ok, maybe more like 12. But still...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Raise Your Hand If My Mom & Dad Rock

All of your hands should be raised. So get 'em UP there, people!

Let me just tell you how much my parents rock.

While the boys and I were in New England for two weeks, mom & dad kept an eye on the house. They took in the mail and let my bug guy in to spray. When I got home, my house was picked up and vacuumed. That nutty mom.

After getting home, I did my finances and realized I didn't have enough money to pay for the boys to go to day care for the rest of August. I was trying to decide whether to ask for a loan from my parents or to just keep the boys home. The former means debt - yah, I'm all set there, thanks. The latter means the boys would spend a mind-numbing 2 weeks in front of the TV and distracting me from work. Yick. My mom must have sensed I probably spent much more than I intended in Boston. Because that same night she said that she and dad had been thinking. Maybe they could just take the boys for the rest of the month. Normally, I would poo-poo such an idea. But I needed the help. So I took them up on it.

So for the past two weeks, mom has come over to pick up the boys, fed them breakfast & lunch and entertained them all day. I'd pick them up and they'd have a fort built in the living room with chairs and sheets. Or they'd be watching TV (which means dad couldn't watch the news). Or they'd be getting computer time on my parents' computer. That's a lot for my mom to take on. And also, when I'm 80, I doubt it will be real easy for me to have my space invaded every day for 2 weeks. Dad was awesome about it but I think it was a stretch for him.

On top of all of this, my mom would call up on days where she could tell I was getting pounded at work. She'd say, "How about you guys all eat dinner here tonight?" I tell you, when you need the help and someone sincerely offers it? It's just the most amazing feeling. So, very frequently, I have had full on home-cooked meals. I mean, meat, veggies, a full salad, some kind of bread. That's like Thanksgiving every DAY to me, folks!

The topper came today. On Sunday, I noticed things in my fridge were rather cool. Not cold. Cool. I thought perhaps I had left the fridge door cracked open while I went to church. But I had a feeling it was more. This morning, after cranking the dial up to coldest all night, it was still rather cool. And the freezer was cold. Not frozen. ARGH.

Mom came to get the boys and I was already pounding away at work. I told her quickly about my lack of cold food. She offered to call GE for me. Honestly, if she hadn't called them, I don't know when I would have had time to. And I'd have a fridge/freezer full of tepid bad food.

Mom got the model & serial numbers, called GE, told them the issues and made an appointment for tomorrow morning. Then, she called to offer a cooler full of ice and freezer packs. While she drove over, I called my next-door neighbor. She's a wonderful person and a good friend. I was hoping to just get a smidge of fridge/freezer space for my most vital perishables. Well, she has a full fridge/freezer in her garage that she uses to hold bottled water for her walks & workouts! It was EMPTY. And since I care for her dogs while she's gone, I have the code to her garage. She said, bring over your food.

So who do you think brought all the food over? Guess. Yup. MOM. She got my laundry basket and little red wagon and brought it all over there, load by load. And she brought me the ice chest so I could keep some milk and juice here for the morning.

Who's got the best parents in the whole freaking world?! That's RIGHT! BOO yah!

Oh and on a side note? My neighbor and I have decided we've stumbled onto the perfect weight-loss plan. It's called, "Move Your Food Over to Your Neighbor's House". Because after only an hour of the food being over there, it kept me from having ice cream I didn't need and from putting heavy cream in my coffee. We were joking that we might just switch out all our food. I mean A) you'd want to look healthy so you wouldn't want to store Oreos and Lindt dark chocolate at your neighbor's house. You'd be all [ding dong], "Oh yah, I was just stopping by for, like, four carrots." B) Even if you did have no shame and kept all the junk food, you wouldn't want to bug them every 15 minutes when you get bored or frustrated at work. So you'd only get the necessities like twice a day. It would keep that evil snacking thing way down. Yah, we're pretty sure we're on to something here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Slip-N-Slide Saturday

Oh my goodness. When is the last time you just blew off a whole day setting up and playing with a Slip N Slide? Hmmm? Personally, I have never played with one. Yes, I've lived a sadly lacking life. Until this past weekend, that is.

When my Lil Sis Mom visited back in July, she gave Pokemon Boy a giant, three-lane Slip N Slide for his 8th birthday. We just set it up this past Saturday. It's a pain to set up and break down but man is it fun! It's not for anyone over 110 lbs (or 50 kg). Pokemon Boy made sure to point out to me that I was well over that limit. Ah the honesty of unjaded youth.

I couldn't launch myself down any of the lanes. But I found that the middle lane had water spouting on both sides. And the natural slope of my back yard formed some nice pools at one end of the thing. So I just plopped my self down, beached whale style, and laid there in the spray and shallow pools.

The boys made up stories about a giant wave monster (me) that they had to attack with various planes (the inflatable body boards that come with it) or artillery (the inflatable flags that come with it). I was very happy to periodically flail my feet about to splash them. I nearly fell asleep on it a couple of times. Those things are very relaxing.

Anyway, here are some shots from our afternoon of slipping, sliding, splashing and almost napping.

PokemonBoy doing some kind of ninja move on me

Lil'Bro and a FreezerPop defining summer

Dork in hat

Very cute wet boy in sunglasses

Seriously, it's pretty hard to say no to this face

Oh man, this was serious amounts of relaxing!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Silly Putty, Get Thee Behind Me!

Our house is now a No Silly Putty zone. Until today, it was allowed but only in the kitchen, on the tile or counters. The boys knew it wasn't allowed on the rug since it got left on the upstairs carpet over night a while ago. But young kids being the literal beings they are, it never occurred to them that this rule also meant 'keep the stuff off my microfiber ottoman and anything else that isn't a hard non-porous surface'. Silly how they can't read my mind.

So tonight, I finally tried the Getting Silly Putty Out of Microfiber Upholstery remedy that I found on the interweb (thank you Google and to whomever figured this remedy out and posted it all over the web). The remedy only talked about carpet. But I have to say, it is probably easier to execute on microfiber than carpet. I haven't tackled the upstairs carpet stain yet for that very reason.

A little rubbing alcohol on a damp washcloth takes the Silly Putty right out. It seems to have taken a bit of the microfiber dye, too (based on the tiny bit on the washcloth). But when it dries, I'll know for sure. It was bright yellow - the Silly Putty. The stuff on the upstairs carpet is that classic kind of weird lifeless pink stuff. Hopefully it won't stain.

So there's your home remedy tip for the day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wish You Were Here - Part...uh...The Last One (I Promise!)

I shouldn't be up blogging. I should be putting my kids to bed. But it's the last of summer vacation so I'll be a bad mommy so I can share more pix with you guys. Because I know you're just dying to see more.

There is one last leg of our time in Boston. I think I left you with our petting farm experience in New Hampster, yes? Oh wait. I checked. When last we left our heroic vacationing family, they had just returned to Boston. The invasion of KimmyJo's condo had begun!

My junior year college roommate is one of the very few people I'm still tight with from that college. Our friendship was a total accident that can still make us laugh to this day. But that's another post entirely.

KimmyJo is brave enough to let us all crash in her two-bedroom condo. In all honesty, it was her cat Iverson who was brave. He is very shy normally but seemed to really enjoy having two exuberant little boys to play with.

Wed Aug 6th
Having just returned to Boston the night before, we did another late morning sleep in. KimmyJo had to head to work early so she tiptoed around the two inflatable mattresses and me on the couch. She left early for her 13+ hr nurse day.

We lounged around with Iverson and watched some TV. I figured the New England Aquarium would be less packed later in the day. I am an idiot. We got there after lunch only to wait a good 40 minutes in line just to get tickets to get IN! I asked the boys to let me just buy tickets for us to all go with KimmyJo the next day. They weren't having it. It was a rather expensive hour-long visit. But in all honesty, that's just about all the aquarium two young boys can handle.

After hemorrhaging money for the tickets, souvenirs and parking, we drove out west of Boston to visit my ex's cousins and their cornucopia of cute kids. They all rock. And one cousin had her first daughter the day before I had Pokemon Boy. I call them "Birth Buddies". They - both being eight - think I'm a dork. It was an awesome cookout and hang session. Their family rocks. I'm glad I can still weasel my way in via the kids. Hee!

We headed back to KimmyJo's pretty late. She was still wrapping up at the hospital. And, I come to find out, it's her birthday! 13 hour work day or not, we were getting her a CAKE. We stopped off at the local Whole Foods and purchased a small work of art there.

KimmyJo came home to find that Pokemon Boy had made a scavenger hunt for her - searching for little sticky notes with the names of Ben 10 aliens on them. I thought she might be too tired for such an adventure but she loved it. She's a good auntie! Lil'Bro presented her with her penguin magnet from the Aquarium. I presented her with a glass of red wine. It's the best I could do. And let me tell you, that cake ROCKED. KimmyJo told us that she doesn't often celebrate her birthday. So this was the best birthday she had had in a few years. That made us all feel good.

We all stayed up late talking and hanging out. A full and wonderful day.

Thu Aug 7th
KimmyJo took the next few days off. It was so cool to have her with us. We had another sleep-in morning. Iverson was in heaven with this many people hanging out. He would claim my bed (a made up couch) every time I got up. He's so cute, I couldn't displace him.

After dawdling as long as we could, we headed out to meet our friend Sue at the Boston Children's Museum. This is such an awesome place. When we moved to Austin, we couldn't wait to get to their Children's Museum thinking it would rock maybe even more - because, you know, they do everything big down here. Apparently, they don't do children's museums least not in Austin. It was rather disappointing compared to the wonder we were used to in Boston. Come on Texas! Step it UP, people!

Let me tell you about the Ginormous Climby Thing! I have a bunch of pictures of it but they don't do justice to the absolute towering majesty of the thing. It's about three stories high, I think. It's hard to see in the pictures. But each platform is wavy and carpeted. The stuff that looks like cargo netting is that plastic coated cable stuff, all linked together.

Pokemon Boy went all the way to the top and back down, twice. And it takes a while with that many kids squirming through there.

Lil'Bro was just over powered by the bigger kids. He's not aggressive enough to shove his way through. So he made it about my height and then came back down.

But seriously, that Ginormous Climby Thing? I want one in my house. Which means I have to get a bigger house. Dang. I must work on this plan.

Here's a couple more shots from the Children's Museum:
Pokemon Boy in the Construction Zone.

Lil'Bro in the Construction Zone

Fri Aug 8th
Another decadent & luxurious late morning awakening. Oh how I miss those. KimmyJo had planned on driving us down to a place called Castle Island to give the boys a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. But alas, the torrential downpours that started about 10 minutes into our car ride derailed those plans. Fortunately for us, the heavens opened as we sat at a red light right next to the Boston Museum of Science. Alrighty then. Another museum it is!

That place is all sorts of crazy huge. Honestly, you could spend one day walking around each wing of the place. We only went to one wing, really. The Blue Wing - the one with the life-sized TRex. Don't worry. It wasn't alive.

We accidentally hit an exhibit of New England native animals in the Green Wing while looking for the food wing. So Trish, I got to see a moose! Granted, it was dead, stuffed and behind glass. But it was a moose none the less!!! My pictures of said moose were blurry. So here are cute shots of my kids hugging the black bear.

Pokemon Boy hugging the friendly dead ol' black bear. Awwwww. What a cute dead ol' bear!

Lil'Bro trying to hide his laughter because he was mad at having to stand by the dead ol' bear. But I got him to laugh.

Sat Aug 9th
Time to head home. A sad moment because we're leaving everyone. But all three of us were ready to get back home to Texas. That towering lush greenery every where gets real old. (I kid!)

Once again, the boys enjoyed JetBlue's kid drugs (TV). I was a bit TV'd out so I did my Sudoku for most of the trip. Left lots of little eraser shavings on and around my seat.

Oh but here's the coolest part of this day! When we were boarding the plane in Boston, Lil' Bro looked in the cockpit and asked, "Is that the driver?" Yup, I replied. That's the driver. "Wow," he remarked. "They have a lot of buttons!" This got a chuckle from the pilot and flight attendant standing there. The flight attendant saw we were in the 4th row and told me to hang back when we get to Austin and they'd have the boys go in to see the cockpit. Sweet!

The boys were awesome the whole flight. When we got to Austin, we hung out in our seats while the rest of the place filed out. Then we went forward. I thought they'd just let the boys stand in there and look around. Nope. The pilot put each boy into one of the pilot chairs! He let them push any button they wanted and wiggle the joy sticks! He even let them talk briefly over the intercom. They were in heaven. I was so psyched because I thought they didn't do that any more. So what an awesome capper to our whole vacation!

My BigSis and her TallHubby were waiting at baggage claim for us. I had left my car with them for the two weeks. My sister was sad to return it to me - she had been spoiled having her own car for two weeks. But they had it washed (inside and out!) for me. AND filled it with gas!!! I told them I'll have to go away more often!

Then I get home, and my mom had cleaned and vacuumed my house!!! If I could just figure out a way to go away every week. Do I have the best family or WHAT?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wish You Were Here - Part Deux

Now that I'm home, I can edit some pictures and regale you all with a very long winded account of more of our decadent two week vacation in New England. Ready? Actually, I have to go back and read where I left off. One moment...(insert Jeopardy music here)...

Ah yes:

Wed July 30th
No pictures for this day. Use your imaginations if you will. I dragged the boys to the car rental place and picked up our car. We got our things from the hotel, weeping a sad goodbye to the cushy luxury therein (sigh). We drove up to New Hampshire to my sister-in-law's house. I have to tell you, with all the rain they've been having along with the natural tendency for lush greenery, it was crazy towering green stuff. The tall green trees and soft grass were enough to make me start looking at all of the 'for sale' signs up there. Until - that is - I recall my sister-in-law calling me during our early Texas summer to complain about yet another 18 inch snow fall. Yick.

We got there safely and got to hang out with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Which is odd - it's my ex's sister. And we're best friends. So she's really my friend. But she's my kids' aunt. And she's technically not really my sister-in-law any more. Either way, we're still family to each other. It was awesome being with her and her family. They rock.

Thu July 31st - Fri Aug 1st
On Thursday, the boys, my kinda-sorta-sis-in-law and I drove to the NH/VT border to meet my former mother-in-law. She was treating us all to a night at this killer gorgeous lakeside resort. She got us a big huge room with a balcony over looking the lake, the docks, and the little beach. Man, this place rocks and we're already talking about next year.

This is a view of our room. Two queen beds and a fold out couch.

Check out this bathroom! It was bigger than some hotel rooms I've stayed in!

It was rainy and overcast but it's so gorgeous up there, who cares! They have the lake, an indoor pool (which we used when it rained), an outdoor pool (which we never found), tennis courts, bikes you can sign out, canoes, row boats & kayaks you can borrow. You can rent a pontoon boat tour of the lake (which we did), rent a speed boat for skiing, tubing and/or wake boarding (we all went tubing - even my boys!). They have pails & shovels for the kids to use on the beach. You can borrow life jackets for the wee ones. They have a full golf course and a daytime kids activity camp type thing in case the parents are golfing (or just lame parents who don't want to really vacation with their kids). It really is an amazing place.

This lake view is a panorama from 4 different shots I took from our balcony. It totally rocked.

On Friday afternoon, we said our goodbyes, packed up and headed back to New Hampster. But that short visit was one of the punctuation marks of our trip! Thanks Nana Linda!!!

Sat Aug 2nd
After our romp in Vermont, we were ready to do nothing. We spent the day running around barefooted in Auntie's backyard enjoying that soft soft New England grass. The boys fought over who got the hammock and whose turn had been too long. Five of my six nieces & nephews all showed up with their significant others for a cookout.

The men (and I use that term loosely) played horseshoes. My boys learned how to not run in front of someone hucking a large curved piece of metal. We relaxed in the myriad of outdoor lounge chairs.

Lil' Bro is a quick study when it comes to chilling.

One of my nieces has a 16 month old son with the same name as Pokemon Boy. So that was fun - calling for the Big or Little one. We made and ate way too much food and it was just an awesome time. I love that my boys got to see and be with so many family members.

Here's a shot of Pokemon Boy and Baby E. She one niece's first baby. Which is so weird because my niece was 4 when I met her and I still think of her as a little red headed 6 yr old!

Sun Aug 3rd
Good grief. I knew I should have kept a journal while I was up there. I honestly can't remember what we did this day. And I have no pictures from this day. Oh slowly returns. It was our first day with nothing to do. So we slept in. We got up late and took our sweet time getting started. More bare footed enjoyment of the afore mentioned soft grass was had. We drove...somewhere. Can't recall where. Man, I'm getting old in my old age.

We did stop at the cute little general store in the town center to visit a "kid" I've known since 1991. This kid is now like 23 and out of college and is about 37 feet tall. He's a really awesome guy. He was amused to meet my kids. And I was amused to think that he was about Pokemon Boy's age when I first met him. Phew. Things like that can make me feel old. Except for the fact that I refuse to mentally age beyond 23.

Sunday night, my nephew and his awesome girlfriend (keep her, dude!) came to hang with my boys. My sis & bro-in-law took me out to dinner. We had - get this - TexMex! In New Hampshire. And it was pretty good, too. I love enchiladas no matter where they were made.

Mon Aug 4th
We had another sleep in morning with a nice slow start. We finally had some clear weather (lots of rain while we were up there). So sis-in-law took the boys and me to a local petting farm. My boys love animals. As long as they're on TV or in a movie. When they see them up close and personal (and climbing all over you to get the bag of feed you have), they're not such huge fans. Lil' Bro spent the whole time in the chicken coop with his hands firmly planted in his pockets. He liked watching the eggs hatch (under glass). He wouldn't handle the young chicks that were there for handling. The roosters and chickens were ok because they were behind chicken wire.

The bunnies were petted by both boys. Bunnies are safe. They are too tired to jump on you. Or too traumatized by the other kids that just left, shrieking. And if they do jump on you? Come on. They're BUNNIES, for the love of Pete. So I was happy to see at least one animal willingly touched.

Pokemon Boy did actually pet one sheep through a fence. They are overly zealous in their greeting skills due to the afore mentioned bags of feed they give you when you enter the place. They hear or smell it and come running. And if a small child is between them and the bag of feed? Woe to the small child. Lil' Bro became a pinball between about 4 such hungry sheep. But he survived to tell the tale.

Here is Auntie/Sis-In-Law, Random Sheep, Pokemon Boy & Lil' Bro.

Tue Aug 5th
Everyone had to go back to work. So the boys and I slept in, did some laundry, packed up the car and headed back to Boston. I will save the last leg of our trip for another post because I have to get to bed.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wish You Were Here

Have I mentioned that I have the best travel companions in the world? The boys have proven to be amazing travelers. I was stressed about this trip because traveling alone with two kids, ages 8 and 4, rather sounds like a recipe for disaster. Not so. They have been amazing and we are having a GREAT time!

I'll give you some tidbits from the first part of our trip. I haven't downloaded the pictures from our recent foray into Vermont. So I'll just hit our first leg in Boston.

Sat July 26th
We flew from Texas to Boston. JetBlue rocks because of the free TV at every seat. I like to call it "Kid Drugs". The only peep out of kids are usually from little babies who can't clear their ears during take off and landing. My boys were awesome while waiting at the airport. They were awesome on the plane. They were awesome getting from the Boston airport to the hotel. They are enamored with taxis. They want to take one back to Texas. Riiiiight.

We stayed in a schwank hotel in Boston where dignitaries stay. We were in a small room but it was awesome and we loved it. It was central to everything we wanted to do.

Sun July 27th
The wonderful Trish and her Prince Charming came to our hotel to pick us up for church. The boys and I got to hang and see the Awesome Rowing Couple and their Amazing Three Year Old Girl (I have requested to arrange a marriage already).

After church, our good friend Art picked us up and took us back to our old 'hood to hang with him and his wife Alicia and their 2 1/2 week old twins! The twins are such good babies and are adorable. The boys loved holding them. We got to hang with them all day.

Pokemon Boy holding Baby M (the girl)

Lil' Bro holding Baby D (the boy)

Kristen, her husband A and her son R all came over a little later. R and Lil' Bro are the same age. They haven't seen each other since before they were two so it was an interesting reunion. Pokemon Boy and R got on famously, making silly faces for my camera. They all alternated between playing and holding the twins.

Kristen, R & Lil'Bro reading a book:

This was an awesome day because Trish, Alicia & Kristen have been the main pillars of my support from Boston. And I got to see all of them and their families. Total awesomeosity!

Mon July 28th
On Monday, I had to stop by my work office to drop off my laptop for fixing. I brought the kids and basically disrupted quite a few people's work day. It was lots of fun. Except one of my best friends and former bosses was out sick. Boo! But she hears about them all the time and actually instant messages with Pokemon Boy periodically. So it's not a huge heart break for her.

After the work stop, we got some lunch at a very fancy Boston eatery. Burger King. Oh yes. We travel all the way to Boston to hit Burger King. But limited budgets love that slop fest. And so do my kids because they are currently giving out Pokemon toys with the kids' meals.

We headed down the street to the Prudential building. One of the two tall towers in the Boston skyline. We went to the Skywalk observatory there and spent a couple of hours admiring the view and seeing the displays they have up there. It's much more amazing for adults but my kids were extremely patient and more interested than I had hoped. We had a really clear day for the view so I got to see my whole city.

After the Pru, we walked back toward the hotel (a long walk for a 4 yr old). It took us quite a while and we stopped in little stores here and there. Of course, we stopped in a Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream because, well, it's a Vermont company and I like to pretend the ice cream tastes fresher when you eat it in New England.

We also stopped by the Hancock Tower to take some cool pictures. That building is a fun buildling to photograph. Here are a few shots of us and that famous landmark.

Pokemon Boy & Hancock Tower

Lil'Bro & Hancock Tower

That pretty much took up our energy for the day. We met up with the boys' dad for dinner, which we all enjoyed. Then it was back to the hotel for TV and bed.

Tue July 29th
Tuesday morning, Pokemon Boy and I had an appointment with some people that run a Harvard study. We have been part of this study since I was pregnant with Pokemon Boy back in 1999. It was a 3 hr appointment full of testing and measuring for both of us. Pokemon Boy had some blood drawn, too. He was very brave. Lil' Bro stayed at the hotel with his dad.

After the appointment, Pokemon Boy and I met up with my ex, Lil' Bro and my college roomate, KimmyJo. We all had lunch together and hung out. KimmyJo hadn't seen my ex since it all began and told me she had imagined all of these things to say to him but they all just disappeared when she saw us all. My take is, I don't waste the energy any more. I have those same fantasies but I'm sure they are much more detailed and mean. But I just deal with him as the guy he is at the moment. Plus, KimmyJo is a real God-person so she knows about grace and forgiveness. It was nice to see it in action and they both had a genuinely nice visit.

The ex had to leave. We walked KimmyJo to Park Street station and parted ways. Then I took the boys to the Swan Boats in the Public Gardens. Man, I lived there for 20 years and only rode them once. They are so pretty and so fun. I like being a tourist in my old home town.

Self Portrait on Swan Boat

Pokemon Boy on Swan Boat

Lil'Bro on Swan Boat

All the walking wore us down. We went back to the hotel for computer time, TV and a quick power nap for mommy. The boys and I dined by ourselves at a nearby California Pizza Kitchen place. It was a good day.

More about New Hampshire & Vermont later.