Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Adieu 2009! (Woo-Hoo!)

All I can say is THANK GOD THERE'S ABOUT A DAY LEFT IN 2009! (Yes, I was shouting as I typed that.) Last year as "the ball dropped" to welcome in 2009, I just felt an absolute sense of dread. I knew it was going to be a tough year, just how tough though was not clear yet. Paul was due to leave within the first 2 weeks of January and we were prepared to be separated for 12+ months. This much I knew. I set out to make the best of a crappy situation for myself and the kids, we planned activities, moved into a new house, worked hard to do well in school and work, and adapted to our situation, as many military families have to. In the summer, we promised ourselves to go to the beach at least once per week (which we did), we travelled up and down the east coast to visit family and friends and enjoyed some R&R when Paul was able to come home on leave. He and Fam at a beach house in Emerald Isle for a week, truly a blast! (I hope we can make it an annual occurrence!)

We suffered great losses in 2009, with the tragic death of our cousin, Matilda, in the Colgan plane crash last February and again in August when our Uncle Joe lost his battle with cancer. They left great voids in our family that will never be filled.

Joyfully, we welcomed Paul home a bit early, in October, so we were at least able to celebrate the holidays together, a true blessing. His early return was a wonderful surprise to all of us and was just in the nick of time as Abbie started working on some algebra that required me to go online for assistance. Seriously, she's working on math in 8Th grade that I did in Algebra 2 as a Junior in high school. BTW, has anyone really had a use for the quadratic equation in "real life"? I'd like to see it applied to my household budget please.

Now that we are embarking on a new year, the last year of the first decade in the new millennium, I hope and wish everyone peace for 2010. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shopping 101...

Paul and I just got back from a "date"...of Christmas shopping, (sigh). First, we went to dinner, (I was hoping to loosen him up with a cocktail or 4), and then headed to the shopping Mecca of New Bern; Target. Poor Paul, after nearly 17 years of marriage and 20 years together, he didn't know what I was capable of accomplishing when Christmas shopping sans kids. He was a little shell shocked to say the least. I think he actually had a little bead of sweat form on his brow as the shopping cart filled up in under 45 minutes. (Look, I didn't create these 4 kids by myself...the sweat should have formed long ago, when "two pink lines" appeared on the magic wand x 4!)

In the car on our way home he was dead silent, until this song came on the radio. At first he didn't know what the heck was happening, thinking the radio station was having technical difficulties, but quickly realized it was intentional. He finally cracked a smile, and even giggled a bit, especially at the end when he recognized the last song by Toto?, so here's to some Christmas confusion.

Enjoy.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Elf on the Shelf...


While visiting with family over Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law, Christine, introduced my son to, The Elf on the Shelf. For those that do not know what I'm talking about, this is the story of an elf, one of "Santa's Helpers", that visits your home before Christmas. This elf sits on a shelf, or mantle, or kitchen counter, or ceiling fan. He's magic and cannot be touched by children, or his magic may go away and he won't be able to say if you've been good or bad. You see, he "watches" the kids and flies back to the North Pole nightly to give a report to The Big Guy ...all the good and bad. The Elf will be found in a new perch the next morning.

Now, since I didn't have time to shop at the bookstore in VA, I figured I would just wait until I got back home to buy it. I went to the 3 "bookstores" in New Bern, and no one had heard of this Elf on the Shelf. Finally, when I was lamenting to another parent about how I should try to explain this one to my son that won't stop talking about said Elf, another parent chimed in and told me that I could find the Elf at Branch's Furniture in downtown New Bern,(because when you think of a children's book and doll set, you think of an expensive furniture store where you DO NOT WANT TO BRING CHILDREN, or some adults for that matter!)

Once the Elf was discovered by Drew, we read the story that accompanied him. He had to name the Elf...he chose "George". He then became very concerned and wanted to know how long George would be staying with us, and more importantly, when was George going back to his own house.

I could just see him, 20 years from now, reclined on that tufted, dark brown, leather chaise lounge, "talking" to a Freudian psychiatrist and blaming all of his "issues" of always trying to please everyone on poor little George. Ahhhh, the true meaning of Christmas!

Shall We Catch Up...

Yes, it's been pretty busy...and for Pete's sake, it's December! Thanksgiving was a lot of fun and a lot of food...16 people, 9 of them children and I never forget, 4 of the 9 are mine. Thankfully, my in-laws' home is able to accommodate everyone, including our 2 dogs!

Now on to Christmas! Ugh...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let 'em in...

This song always reminded me of my parents house, someone was always on their way over and the best times were when they weren't expected.

As this is Thanksgiving week, a mob will decend upon my in-law's house. Similar to beach week, but with more clothes. We will be 16 people...9 of them children PLUS 2 dogs.

My saving grace...it's a big house and the blender will always be on "stand-by".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just a Thought...

*T'was the month before Christmas*
*When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying*
*Nor taking a stand.*
*See the PC Police had taken away,*
*The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*
*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*
* December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.*
*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
*Something was changing, something quite odd! *
*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
*In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*
*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
*You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*
*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*
*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*
*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*
*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'*
*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*
*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
*Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,
not Happy Holiday !*
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet during the
holidays a
MERRY CHRISTMAS
Christ is The Reason for the Christmas Season!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Arm Candy...

Happy Birthday!


Our oldest is 14 today. Again, bitter-sweet, she's a complete teenager now, and it's definitely obvious.

This also means that...I'M THE MOTHER OF A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL! AHHHHHH!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bitter Sweet...


Yesterday, my husband and I decided it was time for Charlotte to go to a "big girl" bed. So, the crib was dismantled, the single bed was assembled, bedding was purchased...complete with rhinestones and princess sheets, safety rails were installed and Mommy's heart aches...slightly.

Just for Today...

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Rain, day 2, Craven County Schools closed, but thankfully, not The Epiphany School. Seriously, it hasn't stopped raining since late Tuesday...and it's now Thursday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Oldest and The Youngest??

Balls...

Yesterday marked the 234Th Birthday for the USMC. This year Paul and I are attending two birthday ball celebrations, one took place last night at the Taberna Country Club, and the other will occur on Saturday at the "Shilton" (was the Sheraton, now it's the Hilton, no one can get it straight),in downtown New Bern.

Last night's event was particularly fun. There was the usual pomp and circumstance, beautifully dressed ladies and gentlemen, a table set for the Marines no longer with us, a lovely dinner, followed by a traditional USMC birthday cake.

For those that don't know or have not experienced a traditional cake ceremony, the cake is escorted to the front of the ballroom to a slow rendition of the Marine Corps Hymn...it's very moving. Then, a slice of cake is presented to the oldest Marine present followed by a piece to the youngest Marine present.

Let me first say that in the last 18 years of attending Birthday Balls, Paul has NEVER had the honor of being the youngest or the oldest Marine in attendance. He narrowly missed being the youngest when he was a 2Nd LT. We were recently married and attending a ball in Okinawa. He was "saved" by the arrival of a slightly younger officer that joined our squadron, MASS-2, a couple of weeks prior to the ball. It was not a job anyone wanted, the Marine had to watch over the the squadron insignia, (which was apt to be stolen to mess with him as soon as his guard was let down).

Paul is now at the point where he is narrowly missing being the oldest Marine present. Last night, my 39 year old, Lt. Col. husband, was in fact, the youngest Marine present. The oldest Marine was a "China Marine"...served in China prior to WWII.

To put it into perspective, this year at our MTACS ball on Saturday, the youngest Marine was born in 1990!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Weekend...

Soccer, goodbye to starter on truck,tow truck, auto shop, more soccer, ballet rehearsal, school talent show, sleepover, work til 9:00 am.

Church, pick up sleepover kid, ballet promo photos, laundry, nap anyone?, more ballet, house destroyed by children, cooking, homework, Giants please, cocktails, kids to bed, DONE!...til tomorrow!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Obsession...

I know, I've been kind of "slogging"...not blogging. It's been one of those weeks, and it's only Wednesday. Part of my issue is that I've become a bit obsessed with my new toy, a beautiful Nikon camera I received for my b-day a couple of weeks ago. I've spent MANY, MANY hours reading the manual, watching the video instructions and demos on Youtube, and learning about the software, Capture NX2, Nikon Transfer and View NX. I just discovered that my camera did NOT come with software capable of creating slide shows to share, via the web, with friends and family. I'm now on a vendetta to find some. Suggestions are welcome! The sooner I get this locked down, the sooner my kids will have clean underwear!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Boo!

Happy Halloween! Check out this website for some fun food for tonight! Mummy Hot Dogs, Watermelon Brains, etc. Maybe the kids will eat dinner if you make it spooky??

http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/hot-dog-mummies-715031/

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cabbage Night...

Long, long ago, in a land far, far away, October 30Th was known to all in the area as "Cabbage Night". Children of all ages, good ones and bad ones, big ones and little ones, received a pass, so to speak, to TP, chalk, egg, onion, flour, apply shaving cream and get all wild and crazy in the neighborhood.

We would wait until dark and let loose on our own houses and those we knew expected it and didn't care. Stores stopped selling eggs to minors in the days leading up to the main event. Pumpkins were brought inside for the evening, so they wouldn't be smashed in the street, (there were always trouble makers.)

The next morning, Halloween, one could see the damage...the entire town decked out in toilet paper, dried shaving cream sprayed on trees, cars and houses and anything that would stand still, contra ban eggs dripping down the aluminum siding of many houses and chalk outlines of the kids that did the deeds. This was the perfect backdrop for trick or treating, which by the way, began immediately after school or if it was a weekend, as soon as breakfast was over and continued until late in the evening.

I have to say it was a blast...and I NEVER saw a cabbage on Cabbage Night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Question...

What do you do when your two year old refuses to change out of her "new" Cinderella nightgown, and to show her discontent, screams like she's on the receiving end in the vaccination clinic...for all vaccines at once?

Answer: Let her wear the *&@#$%! Cinderella nightgown over her regular clothes, out on the town and if anyone dares to comment, hand her over to them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back to Normal?

I mean, are we? Life seems like it's going in that direction. Paul has been home for a little over a week now. He had to go to work everyday last week, then like all the other Marines that returned, he had a "96"...a 4 day weekend. How did we spend that time? Aren't you just a little curious???

We went to 2 soccer games on Saturday, ran a bunch of errands after that, I cooked...a huge dinner, we had our neighbors over for dessert. Oh, did I mention it was my birthday and I did receive a lovely gift, which I'll "post" about at a later date.

On Sunday, I worked the dayshift, came home to football on TV and kids trying to get ready for school the next day...when I finally sat down to enjoy my regular scoop of cookie dough and glass of wine, someone else also took a scoop of dough!!!! I believe I mentioned in a previous post that I don't like sharing this little indulgence.

Monday and Tuesday prooved to be 2 more days of running errands, taking 2 cars in for service and house cleaning with a touch of laundry.

I guess things are back to normal...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oooh-Rahhh!

Best of luck to all of our friends headed up to D.C. to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday! Remember...Motrin and bananas.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adjusting...

The adjustment period is never what you planned in your head...there are always expectations of how you want things to be and how things actually are. We have our separate routines and need to mesh them again. This is exacerbated by the fact that he's been at work everyday this week, and will need to go back tonight to see some of his Marines off to Afghanistan...ON POTTERY NIGHT!

Everything is actually great. We always adjust well after a deployment because we know there's going to be an adjustment, on both sides. I'm more than happy to hand over the checkbook and bill paying responsibilities, (gets me a little closer to my dream of being a "kept woman"), and he's more than happy to help with the kids and house, etc.

Now, if I could just get him to remember which way the hangers face in the closets, all would be perfect.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yep...Typical Julie...

Well, it's a good thing Paul is home. This morning I went to the gym as usual, today was a killer workout called, "The Filthy Fifty"...I won't go into it, but needless to say, I'm dead. When I arrived at the gym, I put my keys, sunglasses and cell phone in the usual place, on the window ledge. After I finished, I collected my things, minus the keys. Yes, I was a little delirious from the obvious, but NO KEYS. I checked all of the places I had been, the ladies room, the weight room and the front desk. I had the entire staff ripping apart the YMCA looking for my car keys. After 40 minutes, I finally had to make the dreaded call to Paul to rescue me.

We called Ford, had the truck towed and $250 later, 2 new sets of keys. (Paul lost his keys over a year ago and we never replaced it).

Monday, October 19, 2009

At Last...





Waiting to Exhale...photos

The photos below are from yesterday. I just want to say that we have the absolute best neighbors in the world! They made giant yellow bows to put on all of the mailboxes on the THREE streets that surround us; purchased patriotic balloons and also placed them on the mailboxes, created signs to be put up around the neighborhood, and here's the best part...we moved to this house when Paul was away, so they NEVER EVEN MET HIM!




Sunday, October 18, 2009

TODAY!!!!

He'll be home today...

and of course, my 2 little ones have colds. I'm poppin' vitamin C like tic-tacs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Preparation...

I'm taking a break from my marathon cleaning...I don't even know why I'm bothering to clean. Will he actually notice or care? Probably not. He just wants to be HOME.

It's times like this that I wonder why I let the cleaning lady go. Maybe I could have shown her exactly what I meant by, "I want the baseboards, blinds, and cabinets cleaned every time you come." Oh, and, "Oh, no...please stop mopping. You must first vacuum up the dirt, then mop." Yeesh. Oh and one more, this was good, "No, no, we only use that to clean the inside of the toilets." (It took me a day or so to figure that one out)...Why was there blue scrubbie marks on all of the toilet seats and tanks?

Seriously, I want someone to clean my house that has my philosophy of "clean". (Only a few know it and it's difficult to match.) Clean to me is DIRT-FREE and disinfected. Remember, I have four kids and they in turn, have a lot of stuff that gets left out quite often. I don't mind that so much, as long as it's "clean" underneath the stuff. There's nothing like walking into your house after a busy day, to be greeted with an overwhelming smell of Pine-Sol, Ajax, Pledge and Windex...ahhhh!

Less than 24 hours!!!(I hope).

For You Babe...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Hardest Part...

Since the embedding was disabled by the owners...stupid copyright laws!...you'll actually have to click the link to see.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLCJEYLIBQY

Caveman Days...

My microwave is not working!!!! The other morning I went to zap Charlotte's frozen mini-pancakes when the microwave started making strange noises and smelled like something was burning...YIKES! Under the risk of a nuclear meltdown, I opened it up to check for "un-microwavable trinkets", i.e., My Pretty Pony, that may have accidentally been thrown into it. All clear, "a go" for zapping! So I tried again and got the same results.

For the last couple of days I've actually had to MAKE pancakes, prepare actual veggies...in a pot, and turn on the oven to reheat stuff. It's like I'm back in the first part of the last century...practically the days of the caveman! I was supposed to have a couple of more days reprieve from actually cooking!

And to think, for the first 6 months of our marriage, I refused to get a microwave!

FOUR DAYS!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

For Abbie...My "Tinman" of Steel

This was going to be her solo lyrical piece...

A Day of Rest...

Yep...We're taking it very literally. We're home, relaxing, catching up around the house, napping, planning a wonderful dinner, etc. We lounged around ALL morning, we even skipped Mass...(since Sunday School was cancelled for the holiday weekend!)

Oh, no...I'm sure lightening will strike! But sometimes, you just need to not HAVE to be anywhere. (I'm sure I'll get an earful later).

I dare say, it makes me yearn for my younger Sundays of jammies all day, the Sunday Times...just to peruse the book review and the ads (liberal rag), a trough of strong coffee, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates and absolutely no guilt.

Grosser than Gross...

Question: What's grosser than gross?...

Answer: Thinking your newly groomed and beautified Shih Tzu puppy is chewing on a child's toy and upon closer examination you see that it's actually a dead tree frog missing a limb! AHHHHH!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mother Nature's Sense of Humor...

For weeks my oldest daughter has been rehearsing and practicing to dance as the Tin Man in her ballet company's production of The Wizard of Oz for Mumfest. An annual weekend long, glorified street fair in downtown New Bern. Today was the only scheduled performance. Make-up was applied, hair was in place, props were moved to the venue, a special dance floor was put down to dance upon. The music was cued and the Heavens...opened up. They delayed a little bit and when it seemed to have stopped raining, towels were brought out to dry the floor and a leaf blower helped. Miss Laura decided it was too dangerous to dance on Pointe, so ballet slippers were now the footwear of choice and the dancers would modify their dances. Once again the heavens opened up just as the first song began to play...and steadily became heavier with every passing note and step. After the second dancer nearly fell, it was decided that it was not suitable to perform and the show was cancelled.

...and of course this was one of those days when you look at the umbrella in the garage and say, "ah, I won't need it." ...and you also park 1/2 mile away from the dance venue, thinking the entire time, maybe I should have tried to park closer in case it rains...and you also think to yourself, as you're letting your 2 small children down a LARGE lemonade and noticing that the cup is now empty, I wonder if there are any bathrooms around? You betcha.

Yeah!

After a crazy week of a zillion different activities, today I woke up to an email from Paul. It said, "C U next Sunday"!

Woo-Hoo!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Silent Joys of Deployment...

My nightly routine...a GIANT spoonful of pre-made cookie dough and a modest glass of wine...to be enjoyed when most of the kids are in bed.

...and the best part is, I don't have to share.

Home in Less Than 2 Weeks!!! (How could that be?)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It has been 266 days...

8 months, 23 days...

266 days...

22,982,400 seconds

383,040 minutes

6384 hours

38 weeks

I'm tired.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Recipe...

Since it's October, I thought I'd post a recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law. My kids love it and it just screams Autumn! Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup applesauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
1 can (15 1/2 oz) plain pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 11x17 cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Mix all ingredients until well combined and spread onto cookie sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz butter, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoons milk

With electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until well combined, gradually add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla mix well. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix well...see if a second tablespoon is needed. Spread on pumpkin bars and cut into squares. Keep refrigerated.

Happy October!!!!

LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!
18 Days.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Day Is Ending Like it Began...

Sigh...is it tomorrow yet? I found out today that I was supposed to have some "re-orientation" (isn't that an oxymoron?), completed by TODAY for work at the local hospital. My manager said it would be fine for me to come in, it would just take a short time online. I was also informed that I needed a PPD...(TB test). No prob, right? WRONG! As I was on my way into the hospital, I called employee health to see if I could stop in for said PPD. I got some uptight, crabby, biiaaatch of a "nurse" on a power trip that refused to stick me! She couldn't give me any other reason except to say "We only do PPDs on Fridays". This is the kicker...I can only access my online "re-orientation" after, and only after, I have had my PPD. Did I mention that today is/was the deadline?! So, a quick call to my manager...who is now also a bit miffed at the employee health worker and an even quicker turn around to head back home to the chaos of Prime Factors, Disney Princesses, and Auschwitz, (my oldest daughter is studying the Holocaust).

I've just now finished cleaning up dinner, there's two more loads of laundry to fold and I still need a shower...sigh.

HEY!!!!

This morning after my usual run of dropping off the kids, etc., I returned to the house and noticed the yellow ribbon that has been wired to my mailbox, since January, is no longer there...

Isn't tampering with someones mailbox a federal offense? Am I allowed to set a booby trap for next time? C'mon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As the Wheel Turns...Pottery Class

I think I mentioned previously that I have been taking a pottery class. Tomorrow is the last one of the session...glazing. I really enjoyed it...I have even been contemplating how I could put a pottery wheel in my living room and multi-task it as an end table with a foot pedal Lazy Susan. Since that won't fly with the soon to be returning Marine, even with me in nothing but faded overalls and the Righteous Brothers piped through the house. (Unless I could figure out a way for it simultaneously spew out Yankee stats and a cold beer). I signed up for a second class starting mid-October.

Yes, it is another "beginners class" and no, I don't think of it as being "left back", even if it was the instructor's "suggestion". Hopefully I'll come out of the next class with more than a couple of lopsided bowls and a wonky milk pitcher.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Thing Every Woman Should Know How to Do...

How to make a Windsor Knot...I just finished Skype-ing Paul. It took 5 or 6 tries, and at one point I thought my husband was going to hang himself from the shoelace he was demonstrating with, but I now know how to tie a tie. I could always straighten one, make the dimple in the knot, and pick one out, but I never knew how to tie one...until 10minutes ago.

Why do I need to know this? Because my 11 year old needs to wear a tie for school tomorrow...and he has a beautiful, silk, Hickey Freeman hanging in his closet.

Typical...

Yesterday, painters were supposed to come to the house and remove some very dated wallpaper and start painting. When they didn't show up on time, I called to see if they were still planning on working. I spoke to one of the 2 brothers. He told me that he couldn't come, their dad died...but would tomorrow be OK or would it mess me up? I replied, "Oh, my gosh...I'm so sorry for your loss. What time could you be here?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maggot Prevention 101...

Grosser than Gross...

We lasted 9 months and a couple of weeks. My absolute WORST fear was realized...yesterday. I'm getting creeped out just thinking about it right now. MAGGOTS IN THE OUTSIDE TRASH CAN!

My son, Paul, is in charge of the trash. He brings it out nightly, brings it to the curb the night before pick up and returns the pails to their proper place after the trash has been collected. So, yesterday in a cleaning frenzy, I decided to clean out the garage. I created a couple of boxes of trash waiting to be put into the newly emptied cans once Paul came home from school, to finish his chore. I told him what needed to be done...and, like the good kid he is, he did it. About an hour later I went to throw one more thing out. I opened the lid and was greeted by MANY wiggly, white grains of rice. AHHHHH!

I reached for the bug spray and saturated the can, inside and out. No dice, they were now just wet, wiggly grains of rice. I then reached for the more powerful wasp killer spray...still alive and wiggling. What the heck...are they mutant or something?

I finally decided to get Paul, the virtual man of the house, and direct him as to what needed to be done. We both went outside armed with rubber gloves (that are now discarded), a gallon of bleach, a high power hose and my churning stomach. We...he, gingerly removed the boxes of trash and set them in the sun. We then turned on the hose, rinsed out the can, and poured in the ENTIRE gallon of bleach. When we dumped it out, in an inconspicuous area of the yard, about 15 giant earthworms surfaced and began to dance as well! This was like a scene out of the virtual horror movie in my head! (It was all I could do to not run down the street screaming with my arms flailing about).

Look, I'm a nurse, I have no trouble cleaning up the barf of strangers, watching an open hip replacement, assisting in a c-section, etc. But maggots...no way. That's where I draw the line. They no longer exist in my trash can, and they better never return!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My New Toy...

A few weeks ago I purchased the best thing in the world! A source of wonderment and bliss...I'm not sure where it's been all of my life, but I found it now baby...The Shark Steam Mop...the greatest mop EVER! (I know what you're thinking...what the heck is wrong with this girl...it's a mop.) IT DISINFECTS FLOORS...at least until someone steps on the spot you just mopped. Remember, 4 kids, 2 dogs, and a "no shoes in the house" rule that no one follows.

Now, if I could just get someone else to do the mopping.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm in Love...with a German!

For the last several weeks I've been researching and shopping for a "new" car for Paul. He'll be returning in a matter of WEEKS! We sold his old car last winter before he left for Iraq, and I don't like to share!

After much deliberation, we ruled out a German make. They're expensive to repair,buy American, blah, blah, blah. I had narrowed our choices down to a 2007 Jeep Compass and a 2006 Ford Fusion. I went today to drive them both. The Compass was first on our list, Paul has a "thing" for Jeep. It was a 5 speed manual transmission, 4x4 and the only nice thing about it was the power windows. It felt very cramped, the 4 cylinder engine was nothing to brag about and it had an odor...yuck. The Fusion was a bit nicer, an amazing difference in the engine...this was a V-6. There were more amenities, but it had 50,000 miles on it and frankly, it felt like my grandpa's car.

As I was about to leave the dealership, the salesman said he had another vehicle in our price range. A BMW 325i. Yes, it's a bit older, a 2002. But...it had only 34,000 miles, it's loaded, and it handled like nothing I've ever driven before. I was seduced immediately...those pesky Europeans...I tried to play hard to get! I negotiated, haggled, (I went home and did some more research), and got the price where I wanted it. I'm leaving to pick it up in a few minutes!

Seriously?

Is sentence diagramming really a necessary life skill...or do English teachers want kids to learn it so they could torture parents? I mean seriously, when was the last time you were going about your day and thought to yourself, "gee, if only I had diagrammed the sentences in last week's People magazine, I would have understood it better"...hmmmmm.

I expect answers from the many educators in my life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!



Oh...and FYI...Paul McCartney is OLDER!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today...

Crossfit "Michael"...check.

License plates renewed...check.

4 Bathrooms cleaned, all floors mopped...check.

Toys picked up...check.

Books read and little kids played with...check.

Bills payed...check.

Toys picked up...check.

Kids picked up...check.

Homework and studying supervised and corrected...check.

Toys picked up...check.

Dinner (Homemade roast chicken, asparagus, potatoes, and tossed salad)...check.

Soccer snack schedules created and printed...check.

Toys picked up...check.

Soccer practice...check.

Toys picked up...check.

Shower...finally.

Big glass of wine...happening right now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Cool Cuz...

This is my cousin, Ron Ferrante's band...he wrote the lyrics, plays lead guitar and sings the vocals...click the link, hear the song.

http://www.myspace.com/infraredaudioband

Ron lives in Charlotte, NC, and with his band, Infrared Audio, he will be performing throughout the Charlotte area in the upcoming months. Check him out if you happen to be in the Charlotte vicinity!

Last Oil Change...for a While!

Woo-Hoo! This morning I took our vehicle for an oil change and tire rotation...with Charlotte. You can already see where this is going. She and I for some quality mommy and me time. The others were at school. It is Monday, shouldn't be too crowded at the local tire and oil place near the house, most MEN take care of this stuff themselves or on a Saturday.

I called first, because I'm just not the "waitin' kind of gal", to see if they were very busy. I was told they were pretty quiet and it would be a good time for me to come on in. I wanted to get in and get out...an hour tops, right?

WRONG! When I arrived, there were 4 people in line in front of me...all wanting the same thing! I completely forgot for a moment that I live in the land of the retired. Older gentlemen think like women...I'll just go Monday morning and beat the crowds.

After an hour of playing, "Let's Try Our Hardest to Call China on Mom's Cell Phone", Charlotte and I decided to walk to the front...where our car was on a lift without tires...and I'm guessing no oil. I inquired how much more time it would take and was told by the invoice printer lady that she would find out. Thirty minutes later a greasy dude came out of the garage and said my tags were expired...IN JULY and my inspection sticker expired IN AUGUST. (I thought he was going to pull out the hand cuffs and book me and Charlotte downtown right then...(this is a little bit of PTSD from an "incident" that happened years earlier with the preschool carpool, a certain minivan, a husband gallivanting in Japan and an EXPIRED power of attorney...I didn't mention the fact the said preschoolers didn't understand the difference between "pulled over" and "arrested"). For a split second I thought I wouldn't be able to get my keys back from this guy until I could prove that I actually do have a current Power of Attorney that says I can do whatever I want to this car and that I can read despite this summer's vehicle transgressions...one more thing, I was afraid I was going to get yelled at for being 250 miles overdue on the oil change/tire deal work...(don't tell the desert dweller, he'll be upset.) Whew.

As it turned out, greasy guy changed the oil, rotated the tires and inspected the car. (He never said a thing about being late for it.) I still have to renew the tags...tomorrow. Hope the Dukes of Hazard don't catch up with me! All I can say is that the next oil change/tire rotation will be done by the man of the house...BTW, was he not home in July?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Week from Hell...

Seriously, the scream below would have felt great if were an actual scream. This past week has left me exhausted and drained. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for a pity party. I'm the one that caused most of the exhaustion. I chose to sign them up for activities. I believe they should be involved in something other than studying. So, they get to pick one activity a piece, except for Charlotte...too young.

Abbie is involved in ballet, she's been for many years and is now at the point where the commitment is very time consuming. She'll be performing as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz at Mumfest 2009, in New Bern next month. The rehearsal schedule is intense and we've been back and forth to the studio almost everyday this week.

Paul is playing soccer and practices are twice a week with a game on the weekend. It just so happened that Parents Night at school was on the same night as one of the practices and it left us going back and forth to school, to the soccer field and home several times in one day...not to mention that Parents Night took twice as long. There was a middle and lower school presentation and I had to make the rounds to all of the teachers for both kids. I admit, I missed a couple of the teachers in the enrichment areas (art, PE, music).

Drew will also start soccer practice this week...Lord help us. He has been walking around the house in his shin guards (that go up to his knees) and trying to sneak his cleats on in the house...House Rule #347..."All cleats (baseball, soccer, softball, golf, etc.) go NO further than the garage, even if they are brand new."

I also worked on Friday night and was on the road (watch out, sleep deprived driver) all day Saturday with soccer, dance rehearsal, and a birthday party that ended at 10 PM...ugh, teens!

So, the one thing I did neglect last week was me. I'm fighting a cold, (I think I'm winning), and I had to sacrifice the one thing that I recently started doing for myself...taking a beginning pottery class. (It was on the same night as soccer practice and that pesky Parents Night. I have to say, concentrating on nothing but a hunk of mud that spins on a wheel is amazing! I recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity. Hopefully I'll make it to class this week.

AHHHHH!

There, I feel better.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Denial Ain't a River in Egypt...

I'm NOT getting a cold, I'm NOT getting a cold, I'm Not getting a cold!

Never Forget.

As a kid of native Brooklyn-ites, I was raised in northern New Jersey, but considered myself more of a New Yorker than a Jersey Girl. We lived about 15 minutes outside of Manhattan and went to "The City" frequently. The Manhattan Skyline was never far from sight and I'll keep it in my heart always.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just a Hint...

Next week my two favorite gals are celebrating their birthdays! They are three years and 1 day apart. So...I'm hoping their very snazzy sugar daddies read my blog.

I'm also hinting to my own sugar daddy...my birthday is next month...and you've been away a long, long time.



Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm Exhausted...

I'm not quite sure why. Yes, it was a very busy and emotional weekend, but I've slept! I think I'm just done with this deployment. I keep joking with Paul saying that when he finally arrives home, I'm checking into a hotel...by myself. I think I just need a couple of days (and nights) of sleep, lounging around and more sleep.

OK...I'm off for another morning of "torture", I mean Crossfit.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm Speechless...

Joseph A. FERRANTE

FERRANTE Joseph A., 70, beloved husband of Barbara (Schmidt) died Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at home. After a long illness, Joseph laid down his cross for a crown. Born in Brooklyn, NY the son of Carmine James and Antoinette Marie (Regalmuto) he lived in Bergenfield before moving to West Milford 4 years ago. Mr. Ferrante, a retired manager for I.B.M. Tarrytown, NY, was an Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Hewitt. Also surviving are two sons, James John and Ronald Henry and wife Theodora Ferrante, a daughter Stefanie Ann and husband Matthew Valenzano, a sister Catherine and husband John Buonocore, two grandchildren Alexis Marie and Christian Joseph Valenzano, a sister-in-law Ann Marie Schmidt and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Funeral Liturgy 10:30 AM Monday at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Hewitt. Interment St. Mary's Cemetery, Saddle Brook. Visiting at the Richards Funeral Home, 1440 Union Valley Road, West Milford Saturday 7-9 PM and Sunday 2-4 and 7-9 PM.richardsfuneralhome.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Wow! I'm watching it on TV for the first time in YEARS! I had forgotten how young Sean Penn was, the clothes, the hair, the music...Billy Squire, Cheap Trick, the scalped Earth, Wind and Fire concert tickets! Although I was not yet in high school when this movie was released, it was still in the mainstream when I got there. Were we like this? Were we that crazy? Did stuff like this really go on? I don't remember anyone having pizza delivered in Mr. White's history class...hehehe.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Booger Horseshack

After a long day at the beach we arrived home to find one of our butterflies had hatched! It was enormous! I don't understand how such a big butterfly came out of such a small chrysalis! This morning we set him free.

Oh, Drew named it...Booger Horseshack. No, he hasn't been watching reruns of Welcome Back, Kotter...but here's to our winged friend...and Brooklyn!

What a Busy Weekend!

We've had such a busy weekend. We first started Friday night off with a block party which lasted until late in the evening. I just remember seeing the little kids running down the cull-d-sac with flashlights, chasing something.

Saturday we had friends visit for lunch on their way to their rented beach house in Emerald Isle. The kids had fun seeing each other and the grownups had a chance to chat and catch up. I later went to work and had some fun there too! After a sleepless night we headed to the beach to spend the day with said friends. I was a little apprehensive because the weather forecast predicted dangerous rip currents and very large waves, but I thought that the kids could at least skim board, right?

It was awesome! We were just about a 1/2 mile down the beach from where we stayed at the beginning of the summer. The waves were just fine, not too rough and the kids had a blast. There was a beautiful breeze which made sitting on the beach with Charlotte and Drew, while they dug in the sand, bearable. We played on the beach until 6:00! We then stayed for dinner and heavy hearted-ly headed home. The little kids were asleep by the time we reached the bridge of the ICW

It was so nice to end the summer where it all began...on EI with great company and a cold beer!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

The school year has officially started for us! We are back to some resemblance of a routine, sort of. I think I found a carpool, the kids are happy...it's only the first week and there's not been any homework, yet. Today, they are engaged in community service projects throughout the city of New Bern. One is working in a nursing home and the other is planting trees and shrubs.

Next week the party will be over and it will be time to "buckle down" (I always hated that expression).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Miss the Most...

...and this has nothing to do with Paul...I miss Patricia, my cleaning lady from Virginia!

Last Day of Summer V-A-C-A!

Wow! Where has the time gone? It seems like we were just winding down the school year last week, and now we are going back tomorrow! I am the mother of 2 middle- schoolers...YIKES! Am I supposed to feel older, more mature, more serious? FYI, I don't! I think I have a little PTSD from all of the running around that goes with the school year. Everything will start up again by the end of the month...dance, sports, clubs, etc, and now Drew will start "playing" soccer. I only have to last approximately 8 more weeks, right?!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last week my sister-in-law, author, former English teacher and all around wordsmith came across this Emily Dickinson poem and dedicated it to me on her blog. I think she may have been trying to get me to say that Paul will be home in the fall...PAUL WILL BE HOME IN THE FALL!! Woo-Hoo! Since I don't have an actual date, suffice it to say, I hope to get the best gift for my birthday in October.

"If You Were Coming in the Fall"

If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Morning at the Clinic

Today I had an appointment for a physical. No big deal, I figured that I'm a girl of a certain age and perhaps some baseline lab work should be done, etc...no biggie. Well, my assigned doctor is deployed. In lieu of an M.D., I saw the "team" P.A. (physicians assistant). Now, generally I never have a problem seeing a Nurse Practitioner, I feel that they are advance practice NURSES. They knew what they wanted to be and just furthered their training...they stayed on the nursing side of things and believe in healing and patient care.

The P.A. is a totally different animal, they do exactly what their job title states...assist physicians. They didn't want to go to med school or nursing school. They do not have to carry the big insurance policies and they are minimalists. Specifically, the Family Medicine P.A. Not really a specialty, the modern name of "general practice"...a little of this and a little of that. Let's be clear, "general practice" means NOT A SPECIALIST and not an interest or foothold in anything tangible like pediatrics or endocrinology.

Now, back to my appointment...I was immediately handed a questionnaire that I promptly filled out about my health history. I was escorted to a room by 2 young men, corpsmen, where I was weighed, vital signed and asked more personal questions regarding my health. (A little weird). Then, I was escorted to the exam room where I was told to have a seat and wait for the "doctor". Well, she couldn't have been much older than Abbie! She acted very young, hardly made eye contact and questioned me like I was an idiot. When I informed her that I was a nurse, she changed her tune a little and then told me about how she could never work in obstetrics because of her past experience during her training rotation. She even went as far to tell me that she made her obstetrician induce her labor early because of her fear of something bad happening, and admitted she was hysterical! (Very professional, yes?) Her doctor probably did it to be finished with her!

I had a skin tag removed under my arm. She told me it would be very painful, and then told me she had no tolerance for pain...huh? It was frozen off...again, no big deal. While I was waiting for the corpsmen to get the freezing agent, I overheard them talking in the hall...f bombs everywhere! When I said something about it, she shrugged and said, "that's corpsmen for you."...again, huh?

I did try to obtain a waiver to be seen by a private physican. I was told that I have to live 30 minutes or more away from the clinic. I live 29 minutes away, and no exceptions are allowed. Sigh.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Are We Ready?

This has been the last week of "freedom" for my kids. School starts Wednesday for Abbie and Paul, so they are trying to eek out every last moment of summer vacation.

Here's my take on it...Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Home! Home! Home!

Yeah! We made it back to New Bern after traveling up and down the eastern seaboard for the last 10 days...I'm exhausted. We made excellent time with the new I-795 and avoided the little local 2 lane 17 South! I was thrilled, only 6 hours with a stop for lunch, gas and a quick grocery stop. We ran into a typical "severe" NC thunderstorm as we approached Craven County and I nearly had to pull over, but opted to press on and my big Triton V-8 agreed!

The caterpillars are still alive and have all climbed to the top of the butterfly house...they are HUGE...nearly 3 inches a piece! I expect to find then all in chrysalises by the morning.

We are nearly unpacked, a chicken is in the oven and I am sipping a glass of Riesling.

Back to "normal" tomorrow, right???

Monday, August 10, 2009

Winding Down...

Our "vacation" up north is in the home stretch, literally. Our week in New Jersey was a blast, to include the zoo, a day excursion to The Garden State Plaza, a day "down the shore" at Seaside Heights. (We only visit the boardwalk, not the beach.)We visited my husbands family in Bronxville, NY for a wedding shower...and the week culminated with the celebration of my parents 40th wedding anniversary (a couple of weeks early). They renewed their vows in Church and celebrated with a family dinner.

We are now on our way back to NC via Haymarket, VA. We will be here for a couple of days and head home on Wednesday. I need a day to get organized and ready for work this weekend and the beginning of school the following week for my older kids...where did the time go?

On a side note...I seem to have a traffic magnet on my car. Everywhere I go...traffic appears, either construction, shore, accidents, etc...WTF?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Jersey...

Here we are in NJ, the Garden State. I grew up here, so I'm always a little touchy when people poo-poo it. Yes, the Turnpike is stinky and the only part of the state that resembles a garden is the farm behind my sister-in-laws house. I love the malls, I love the fact that I can have authentic food of any culture at my fingertips and most of all, I love the proximity to The City...that's New York City.

Today we went into The City to visit the Bronx Zoo. We took the lower level of the GWB (George Washington Bridge) and went through what seemed like a thousand overpasses and tunnels and bridges...my kids were amazed! I totally take for granted this common denominator that I grew up with. Charlotte loved seeing the skyline, and believe it or not...she enjoyed the Cross Bronx Expressway! Abbie asked why metal bars were on all of the apartment buildings and stores. My kids were definitely shown some cultures and ethnicity's that are not in New Bern, NC.

People were walking around with containers of fresh cut mango, empanada shops, the Italian section, Arthur Avenue, city buses, cabs, the pretzel vendors, "discount" handbag and movie vendors. The actual travelling to and from the zoo was more educational than the zoo! It was hot, crowded, stinky and not at all what I remembered from the last time I was there, maybe 10 years ago...I was a bit disappointed. All in all we still had a good time, I managed to walk off the extra desserts I have been eating while "on the road".

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spa Day...sort of.




Today I had the opportunity to get my hair cut at a salon that specializes in curly hair! Wow! I left the kids with my mother-in-law (love her), and headed to Tyson's Corner.

My stylist was named Enrique...curly hair specialist. After a good cut, some deep conditioning, a lesson on how to style and care for my new doo, and 6 months worth of hair product...I'm all set for the humidity of NC. For the first time in 2 years I left the salon looking somewhat normal and not like a 1980s Miss America contestant from the Bible Belt.

We're in VA!

Yeah! We made it to Virginia yesterday, late in the afternoon. I've decided that Sunday is the worst day to drive in the summertime. We were stopped in traffic at 3 different spots and lost an hour! When you have a 5 1/2 hour drive with 4 kids and the dog, adding an hour is like having a root canal without Novocaine!

Tomorrow morning we will be heading up to NJ...land-o-malls! One never appreciates tax free clothing until you have to pay tax on clothes...thank you NJ!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Recipe...

These are THE best brownies...and pretty simple.

Best Brownies Ever!

2 boxes Giradelli brownie mix
1 Hershey's Symphony Bar, broken up (can use milk chocolate or toffee chip and nuts)
ingredients for brownies on back of boxes.

Prepare first box of brownie mix as directed and pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle chunked Symphony bar on top
Prepare second box of brownie mix as directed and spread over Symphony bar.

Bake as directed, start checking for doneness at 35 minutes, be careful not to pierce toothpick in too deep, second layer will be melted. Edges should pull away from pan slightly.

Another Busy Weekend...Does It Ever Stop?

Although we are going to be busy, it's a good kind of busy for the most part. I have a million errands this morning, proven by the fact that I'm sitting here blogging. (I'm the worst procrastinator). There is the Crossfit workout of the day...a.k.a. the W.O.D. that I'm dreading, 120 pull-ups and 120 triceps dips, and this is supposed to be the substitution for the actual workout of 30 muscle-ups...ugh!

The best thing about today is I have to pick up Paul from a week of camp! I hope he had a great time, it was his first experience at a sleep-away camp.

I'm working tonight...always a joy! Then tomorrow we are packing and getting ready for a week on the road. First to Virginia, then on to New Jersey for a family visit. The kids are excited to see their grandparents and cousins, and I'm excited for some of my mother's cooking! YES! On the way back home we are hoping to visit some old friends and Bush Gardens in Williamsburg.

When we return, we'll have about 10 days before school starts and the regular "rat race" begins...again.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

YUCK or NO...

Today, my son went to his friends house to play and came home with SEVERAL caterpillars in a Tupperware with some parsley. He was helping his friend's mom in the garden and they discovered these caterpillars all over her parsley plants, so they looked them up and decided to see if they could be coaxed into becoming butterflies...and I inherited them!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

OK...I've Heard it All!


Today, as I dropped my oldest daughter at art camp for the morning, another mom doing the same commented "Oh, how wonderful, you also have a daughter from China."...referring to Charlotte...huh?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Milestone...

Today, after absolutely no sleep from working last night, I took my oldest son, Paul to his final swim meet of the season. This was the thrid day in a row of standing in the hot sun, yelling at a team that can't really hear anything 'cause they're underwater! It was the 11 and older group, jeez, some of these kids actually had hair under their arms! Anyway, Paul's relay team placed second twice and many came home with medals, including Paul! However, I am officially fried!

After we arrived home we had to get ready for Paul to leave for camp. It's the first time he's at a sleep away camp...for an entire week! When we got to camp, I helped him unpack a little, and helped him place the 2 electric clip-on fans around the top bunk, where he's going to be sleeping. We met his cabin mates and counselor, (they seemed nice), and then I started getting "the eye" that it was time for me to leave. I gave him a big, juicy kiss on the cheek, and a hug and turned around and left.

What am I going to do without my TWO Paul's???

Friday, July 24, 2009

MTACS-28...Here We Come!

Yikes, this makes me feel old! I used to pride myself as being the youngest wife, ah-hem, spouse, at all of the squadrons we have belonged to...in the past. I'm not sure when the tables turned, but I am now one of the oldest, if not THE oldest spouse in our squadron...and yes, this is a very young squadron.

Sometime during the middle of the night tonight, Paul will take over as the Commanding Officer of Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron-28 in Cherry Point. His hard work and dedication to The Corps has brought him here. I am extremely proud of his accomplishments, personal and professional. I'm only sorry that I can't be in Iraq to see the flag passed into his hands.

BTW...the USMC also has an acronym for my new job...C.O.W. (Commanding Officer's Wife). Moo!

Ooo-Rah, babe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

No...I've Not Been "Slogging".

It's been a busy week of work, swim practices, running around with the kids and playing catch up with everything! Now that the weekend is approaching, another lost cause for relaxation, and here's why. The final swim meet of the season is this weekend, and I have kids participating on both ends of the spectrum. This means I have to be there Friday evening for Paul, back Saturday morning for Drew and Saturday afternoon for Paul again. It's an all day event that runs from 7-4! Then I'm working Saturday night. Paul leaves for a week of camp on Sunday morning, so I'm trying to get him ready and organized for a week of "no mom" as well.

I'm exhausted...and to top it off, I had some email technical difficulties and was on the phone last night with some dude in India until 1:15 a.m. Does it ever stop?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Off to a Slow Start...

I am dragging this morning which is not a good sign of things to come. I didn't sleep well last night...not sure why, but I kept waking up and seemed aware most of the night that I was trying to lose consciousness in sleep.

I have to work tonight and tomorrow night, the first time since before Paul came home. I'm glad to go back to work, but dreading the consequences of minimal sleep over the next few days, and last night didn't help matters. All will be fine...it always is.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Another First...




This morning my Tigersharks, I mean boys, participated in a swim meet. Drew, a member of the Tiny Tigersharks swum in his very first event ever...the 6 and under 25 meter freestyle . So, with a little encouragement from his coach, friends, mom, brother and a promised ring pop at the end, he did it.

Paul, of course did well too! He swum in several different events, including a 50 meter fly...not an easy accomplishment!

I'm so proud of my sharks...just wish their dad could have seen it all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

Just found a $20.00 bill in the washing machine! Thanks Paul!

Overnight Guest(s)...

Since Paul's departure on Monday, a certain someone has moved into my bed...Drew. It was fine at first, "just for tonight", I told him. But after 4 nights I've kind of had it, and here's why. Last night he brought company to bed with US. A teddy bear, a book about bugs, a hard plastic happy meal dinosaur that he's grown far too attached to, and last but not least, a 4 foot rattlesnake (stuffed animal of course), complete with a rattling tail.

Yep, I bet you can guess my dreams were something out of a scary science-fiction movie that my husband would try to drag me to see...to include a large mutant teddy bear and T-Rex hunting me. Finally, at 3:00 a.m. I woke mid-nightmare, startled by a large snake attacking me. I was soothed knowing it was just the stuffed snake being thrown onto me by my co-sleeper.

Yes, I'm sleeping solo tonight baby! Just me, by myself, without kids.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Great Way to Celebrate...

No, I'm not being sarcastic...of course it would have been absolutely the best for Paul to be here on our anniversary, and to have made secret getaway plans for a romantic spa weekend, or a cruise, or a long weekend tasting wine in Napa, or a trip to the Virgin Islands. But, I'm actually content to spend it with my 4 favorite people, Abbie, Paul, Drew and Charlotte.

However, I'm hoping this post acts as a big, giant HINT for next year...

Sweet Sixteen!!!




It's hard to believe that today is our 16th anniversary! Yes, I was a child bride and he was barely out of college, and brand new to the USMC, but here we are, 16 years later with 4 kids, 2 dogs, and a love for each other like no other.

On a side note, I heard from Paul this morning and he is finally back in Iraq.

Happy anniversary Babe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back to "Normal"...

I have to say, I thought it would be more difficult to get back to "normal" after Paul left, but it's actually not too bad! I'm back to blogging, back to crossfit, back to being busy...as usual.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Here We Go Again...



Hopefully this is the last time I'll have to take this picture of Paul with the kids right before we walk out of the house to take him to the airport.

What I Hate Most about the USMC...

Goodbyes...I feel sick.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Back to Reality...sort of.

We are back from the beach and home again. We had a great, relaxing time in Emerald Isle, enjoyed too many "refreshments" and we are all a little waterlogged. Beautiful weather was enjoyed by all. Ghost crabbing, pelicans, dolphins, fishing, boogie boarding, body surfing, mini golf, water park, sandcastles, shell hunting and relaxing in the pool...need I say more?

One more week of catching up and we'll say, "adieu" once more...til January.

Friday, June 26, 2009

24 HOURS AND COUNTING!!!!

A Date and Time...Finally!

Finally, we have a date and time that Paul will be arriving in New Bern! We will see him tomorrow afternoon! Woo-Hoo!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Hits Keep Coming...Have Fun with Farrah!

Good Night Farrah...Rest in Peace.

Anticipation...

I think he's finally almost on his way. This whole process of "leave" is enough to drive the sane off of a cliff! This week has been full of waiting for flights to post, then we'll be waiting for a commercial flight to the states, etc. We still don't have an exact arrival time, it could be Friday night, it could be Saturday or maybe even Sunday! I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas...and they keep pushing the date back!

I'm sure when the time comes in a couple of weeks for him to return to the sandbox, there will be no waiting games!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Adios Amigos...

Farewell to our good friends, the Schuette-Sandways. The first friends we made moving in to New Bern. They are leaving today for Chesapeake, VA. We've had some great times together, especially our boys, and are looking forward to more fun when we visit Chesapeake! Where there are malls...with stores in them, and restaurants, and movie theatres that also take credit cards, as well as cash! AMAZING!

We will miss you!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!




FOUR REASONS WHY HE'S THE ABSOLUTE BEST DAD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD...

1. Abbie
2. Paul
3. Drew
4. Charlotte

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ultimate Beach Week Song and Video...Just to get you Ready!

Panic!

Well, here we are, just a few days out before Paul arrives for R&R and I feel completely overwhelmed with stuff I want to get done before he arrives! I know he won't care about any of it, but getting it done will make me feel better. To top it off I'm working this weekend, so we'll just consider the next 48 hours a wash. To make matters more difficult he doesn't have an actual time frame of exactly when he'll be home! It could be Wednesday, Thursday or Friday...I'll be ready by the former rather than the latter!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Potty Time...day 2.

Well, I actually don't know what to do. (For those that know me, this is very rare). Yes, Charlotte is just 2 yrs old...last week for Pete's sake! She freaks out to pee-pee in the potty! I'm happy to put the potty away and re-approach this in a few months, but...she's freaking out when she has to pee-pee in a diaper! Holding it and walking on tip-toes while crying "Pee-Pee, Pee-Pee"! It is not a bladder infection...so let's not even go there, but she's showing me all of the "typical" signs that she's ready. I've never attempted to train my other three kids this early, so this is new territory for me.

My wise friend, Cookie, told me, "all of your fingers of the same hand are different...as are your children"...so we'll see where this goes!

Any and all advice is welcome! PLEASE!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thank You USPS...thank you!

I would just like to say thanks to the post office for:

1. Loosing my laptop and web cam I sent to Paul on 2/10/09.
2. Misfiling the insurance claim...twice and making me wait yet another 45 days, because I have nothing better to do than wait!
3. Employing women from the "hood" in the Bronx to handle the inquiring
phone calls.

A great way to say "thank you" for your service and sacrifice.

Potty Time...

Sitting on the potty is fun...if only it could also be functional.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What I Miss the Most...

Another set of eyes at the beach!

More Milestones...

1. Today I was able to do 2 pull-ups without the aid of the elastic bands.
2. I bought a potty and princess panties for Charlotte...I really don't think
she's ready, but we'll give it a go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"On My Watch Tonight"...

My sister-in-law, Christine, better known to the world as, One Maid A' Milking, posted this video the other day. She has been counting the days that Paul is away while giving a glimpse of military life to those who may not know otherwise. She's been very supportive during this deployment and I've enjoyed reading her daily tribute to Paul and the military. I think this is day 137?

This tribute to the USMC is awesome...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Working Girl...

Well,I'm working tonight, so we all know where this weekend is going!

Sense of Humor...

I am learning to appreciate God's sense of humor. On our first official day of summer vacation, Charlotte barfed...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Cutie!


Happy Birthday to the youngest of our pack!

Milestones...


Yesterday I had the honor of attending my son's 5th grade graduation. It was great, very casual and informal, but still a milestone all the same. I was so proud of his accomplishments!

There were times I didn't think we'd arrive here...today. For years I have beat myself up for not doing the trendy thing and holding him back in kindergarten. His first grade experience was a nightmare and set the tone of how he viewed school for the next few years. It took 4 more years to break him of this viewpoint and to see that school is also a place of fun. He learned that you get out of school what you put into it. He has made the honor roll for the last 2 marking periods and has worked hard to achieve this.

So, to Paul I wish good luck at The Epiphany School, where I know you will sore to new heights physically, academically and spiritually.

I love you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bitter Sweet...

Today is the last day that I will have a child under the age of 2...onward and upward.

A Bit Much...

My youngest daughter is OBSESSED with the movie Annie. She absolutely loves the song "Little Girls" from the Miss Hannigan character. She especially loves when she clinks the gin and the glass 3 times! View for yourself...appropriate? Hey...it's whatever gets us through the day!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Three More Days of School!

Still a busy week, we have an elementary school graduation...Yes! We made it, 7th grade exams, a birthday for a certain babe turning 2, the final 2 baseball games of the season, swim practices, and I'm scheduled to work at the end of the week.

Bring it on!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Adios Amigo...

Fair winds and following seas to our good friend Dr. Patrick! He has left for the Sandbox to practice anesthesia...call us when you return, the whiskey sours and margaritas will be waiting!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Another Recipe...

Now that summer is about here, and the basil is growing like crazy, here's a recipe that uses a lot of it...PESTO! There's nothing better than a fresh ingredients recipe that you don't have to cook. Every summer, my grandmother would make giant batches and freeze it for the winter. Enjoy.

Pesto alla Genovese

2 cups fresh basil, coarsely chopped and tightly packed
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic
2 TBS pine nuts or walnuts
1-1 1/2 cups Classico olive oil (start with 1 cup and see if you need more)
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients except cheese in either blender or food processor. (If using blender, add olive oil first). (If using food processor, use feed tube to gradually add olive oil while processing other ingredients.) Sauce should be thin enough to run off of spatula. Transfer sauce to a large pasta bowl. Stir in cheese. Add 1 lb of cooked hot, drained pasta, toss well to coat and enjoy.

If you are planning on freezing it, do not add the cheese until you are ready to serve it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pandora's Box...

Last week when my parents came to visit, my dad told me of this new computer thing he discovered while "painting the house"...a personal radio station on the Internet.

Simply type in www.pandora.com, then type in a favorite musical artist or song and the "station" will play the song you chose and other songs from the "music genome project". I typed in "Van Morrison" and a song of his started to play and also songs from The Band, Counting Crows, CCR, etc. You can then save your "radio station" or create a new one.

I think I like this.

Easy to Please...

It's so wonderful that all I have to do to make my youngest son smile is cut his "sammich" into triangles. Apparently I am supermom!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Can I Collapse Yet???

Yes, only 21 days until Paul arrives home for 2 weeks of "R&R". I'm thrilled, but I needed him today. I'm spread a little thin, to say the least.

I headed to the gym at 8:00 for my daily dose of therapy, I mean workout...then a colleague of mine at the YMCA asked if I could teach her "circuit workout" class, so I did...for a second hour long workout. I then headed to the dentist, with 2 of the 4 in tow. (Thank God they have Lego's and books in the waiting room). We then headed home for lunch and I put Charlotte for a nap. Drew headed next door to play with his buddies. I thought for a split second, ooh finally some "me" time...I was wrong. I wound up taking the fastest shower on record, slapped on some moisturizer, before I realized that Drew had a birthday party to attend at 5:00! I still had to buy a gift!

So I woke up Charlotte and we headed to the store before we picked up Abbie and the carpool crew this afternoon. After we arrived home, Abbie and I proceeded to bake 6 dozen cookies for tomorrow's award ceremony at school and 2 dozen cupcakes for the Safety Patrol party for Paul. I left Abbie in charge of frosting and I promptly left to drop Drew at said party, returned to literally throw down dinner before going to Paul's swim practice, followed by picking up Drew at party, returned home again, so Drew and Paul could change into pj's and baseball uniform. Left Drew in Abbie's care so Paul and I could head out once again to the game. We just got home.

"Are we there yet?"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The New "Doo"




Today, my oldest daughter got a haircut and much to my dismay they STRAIGHTENED HER HAIR!!!! I was a little upset, to say the least. And the worst part is, every time she walks into a room that I'm in, I'm startled by her new "mature" look...UGH! Who is this girl???

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

First Dip of the Season...

Swimming Lessons...

Now that Drew is an official "Tiny Tiger Shark" at our lovely Taberna pool, he wears the uniform, talks the talk and walks the walk. He's just a bit unsure of letting go of Coach Annette.

Today he was very brave and touched the bottom of the pool, had a bubble blowing lesson and jumped in without the aid of floaties!

The lesson of the day for mom...stay out of sight, and let the coach handle any, "No, I don't want to"s. She's amazing, and will somehow get him to do whatever she needs him to do, without him even realizing he's doing it...the trait of a good woman!

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Little Easier...

I love the month of June! As each week passes, life gets a little easier. It's only June 1st and we no longer have ballet, or preschool. Only 2 more weeks of big kid school left, and I think baseball finishes at the same time. Beach week (and Daddy's return), will be here before we know it!

Fun Weekend...

We've had such a great weekend with my parents, (why I've not blogged in 3 days). They drove down from NJ with many goodies in hand. We enjoyed Abbie's ballet showcase, a presentation of The Wizard of Oz. She had her first solo, did an awesome job and looked absolutely beautiful. On Sunday we did a little pre-birthday party for Charlotte since we had some family visiting, took a trip to beautiful Beaufort, enjoyed the sun and surf, ice cream, fudge and a couple of Blue Moons.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh My...

Is it bad when your 4 year old starts singing lyrics from 3OH3! "Shut your lips and do the Helen Keller, talk with your hips..."

I think I need to revisit the Music Together CDs...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Think I Need to Go Shopping...

Swim Team...

Last night the boys had their first swim team practice. Paul did awesome, swimming lap after lap. Drew's level is pretty much just swimming lessons, but he's considered a "Tiny Tiger Shark". He's been running around the house in his jammer swim team uniform, showing his teeth and pretending to chomp at things.

Did I mention that I love summer?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back to the Routine...

After a long weekend of sleepovers, cookouts, play dates at the park, errands and housework we are back on the routine of school for just a couple of more weeks. Actually, Drew finishes preschool this week. How did this school year go by so fast?

I'm ready for summer, sleeping in, (even if it's only until 7:00), afternoons by the pool, visits to NJ and VA, and most of all, for Paul to come home for 2 weeks of R&R! We can expect him at the end of June! Woo-Hoo! We will be lying low by the beach for a week and quietly at home for a week...and I won't think about what happens next.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Survived...

Four boys, three action movies, two XBox games and one happy 11 year old.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Retraction!

In an earlier post, I had mentioned the YMCA was saying "thanks" (via Military Once Source)to the military by offering free memberships to dependents of those who serve their country. I WAS WRONG. They are only offering these special memberships to reservists??? WTF...

I'm not sure I understand why they are ONLY offering this to reservists. Active duty military families endure just as many, if not more hardships with multiple deployments, moving, etc. Yes we are usually close to military installations where we can access a gym or a pool, but the pool is not working at Cherry Point, and there is no in-house childcare at these facilities built primarily for marines...not their dependents.

I have to say, I'm extremely disappointed in Military One Source, first for this stint and also for making the $6,000.00 grant for continuing education difficult to obtain and navigate on their website.

What a great way for Military Once Source to say thanks.

Memorial Day Weekend...

As a kid growing up in the northeast, some of my fondest memories are of Memorial Day weekend. It marked the first barbecue of the summer. We usually went over to my grandmother's house, a duplex shared with my uncle, aunt and 3 cousins.

It was never a basic barbecue. Three women shopped and cooked for 3 days. Usual fare included sausage and peppers, potato salad, corn on the cob, pasta salad, baked beans, spareribs, chicken, steaks, some sort of seafood, sausage patties, and of course we couldn't have a get together without pasta and tomato sauce. We usually ate in the afternoon and then at night the hamburgers and hot dogs came out. Desserts were always plentiful and delicious, coolers were stocked with beer and soda and there was always the "drink Du jour"...Tom Collins, Fuzzy Navels, Pina Coladas, Sangria. If it rained, the men wheeled the barbecue into the garage and still grilled. The transistor radio was always on and tuned to the classic rock or pop channel. Except on 4th of July...patriotic music would be playing.

As time when on and we were able to drive, Memorial Day weekend became all about the first trip "down the shore". We always tried however, to go to the beach on Saturday or Sunday so we could be at the barbecue on Monday.

Eventually, we started bringing our boyfriends to the festivities. Soon I was married and living in Okinawa. One of the hardest transitions as a new bride was to NOT have my family around for holidays...even Memorial Day.

Now, after nearly 16 years of being married to a marine, Memorial Day has a deeper meaning. I still however, long for a grilled sausage patty, and my grandmother's ziti.

Thank you to all who serve.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Testing

Today was my oldest son's last day of state testing for the NC public schools. He started last week with science, and then this week had tests in reading, math with calculators and math without calculators. My question is #1, Why are they teaching children to use calculators? 2. How are they supposed to learn computation and long division of 3 or 4 numbers into 6 or 8 numbers and multiplying 5 numbers with 3 or 4 numbers? I'm not the greatest at math...to say the least, but teaching elementary school aged kids to do math with calculators is ridiculous!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Shout out to all of my Jersey Girls! Try to catch the series on Bravo.

I grew up in Bergen County however, NOT in the township of Franklin Lakes. I did check out The Brownstone for my wedding venue, nearly 16 years ago...(The NJ housewives are all somehow "connected" to this wedding mill).I opted for another location where several events were not happening simultaneously. The series promises to be funny and full of cattiness. But let's please remember, money and class are not the same.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is it Tuesday?

Well, "blarma" had a hand in last night. After I posted my last blog entry, we admitted 4 patients and delivered 3. I'm a bit disconnected now, sort of like I'm floating. I did manage to catch a nap with the kiddos, but we are awake now, sort of...ugh.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday...

To start off, I'm posting this from work during a q---t moment...we never want to actually mention the word for it will surely change our census. A typical Monday, carpool, the gym for Crossfit, errands, more carpool, more errands, big kids to the dentist, swim team meeting, choked down dinner and now I'm here for some peace and q.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Great Saturday...

Today was relaxed. We started out a little later than an ordinary weekday, which was nice and makes me long for the last day of school as much as the kids!

Started out at the gym, did some laundry, watched the rain for a while and then after it stopped and naps were over, we headed to Cherry Point for the air show. The weather was great! There was a beautiful breeze, 78 degree weather and free entertainment for the kiddos. They watched the Canadian Snow Birds perform, went up into the cockpits of a KC-130 Hercules, an Osprey, and saw Pedro in a "rescue" mission.

I did manage to hurt my ego a little when I fell down the stairs of the parking lot shuttle bus while carrying the double stroller and cracked a toenail, but that's par for the course I guess. All in all, a good time was had by all and I think I may have a couple of future pilots on my hands...HELP!

Why Are We Such Martyrs?

By "we" I mean women. I am one of the biggest offenders, especially when it comes to sleep, but if a friend came over and said, "I'll take care of your kids for a few hours so you can get some sleep since you worked all night.", I'd jump at the opportunity! And on nights that I don't work, I stay up late to get things done around the house. Due to the fact I am temporarily a "single parent", there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done within a normal time frame. Every morning when I drag myself out of bed, I tell myself, "tonight I'm going to bed early"...but it never works out. I need to learn to relax and let things slide a little.

The same goes for sickness. Why do we refuse to take pain medication when we are in pain...and we have it on hand? Why do we refuse advice and interventions to help? Why not call the highly paid doctor on call to see if he can get us in on a weekend? Is it a hassle?...Yes, but is being miserable worth it? Is it a sign of weakness if we take it? We are NOT steel, we are NOT invincible...and help comes to those who help themselves.

This, I am slowly learning.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Peaceful Weekend?

I'm hoping this weekend is uneventful, but now that I've said that it probably won't be. We've had something going on every weekend except for this one. Maybe, I'll take advantage of it and schedule my next installment of spa treatments? After moving, I'm long overdue for a deep tissue massage! Hmmmm.