Saturday, January 31, 2009


There's nothing more frustrating than shopping in New Bern for something specific. This entire day has been wasted on route 70 from Havelock to New Bern. I've been trying to find a specific birthday present for my youngest son and a semi-formal dress for my oldest daughter. No luck, in any store, I've been to Belks, The Peacock's Plum, the Exchange, Target, Penny's, Walmart, Kaboodles, Snap Dragon Toys...NOTHING!

Tomorrow's another day.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Day in the Life...

Really, what a day this has been...non-stop, only not to Hawaii. It started, well actually it feels like a continuation from yesterday! Belle, our 12 yr old Sheltie needed to use the facilities twice during the night, so that involved shoes, jacket and a trip outside at 2:30 and 4:30 this morning! She's completely deaf and is easily distracted so calling her back from the 10th fairway is useless. I think I probably freaked out a couple of raccoons and possibly an opossum.

Then when we were finally "awake", I thought it was my Friday to drive the carpool, we take turns. After I got everyone dressed and out the door, (OTD), I came upon my friend, Jackie, who was actually supposed to drive today, so I switched kids and drove around the block to home. I downed another cup of coffee, (#3), threw on some workout clothes and headed to the gym to get that part of my day out of the way and done. HA!

I ran into my good friend, Tanya, and decided to Crossfit with her, Jackie joined us too. My hands are now raw from the ridiculous number of assisted pull-ups I did. No one really needs skin to cover the hands anyway! After the 20 minute Crossfit workout, I stayed for the dancey aerobics, it was only 9:00, why not? (I had forgot that I was to return to the YMCA for a Spinning demo at 3:00!)

When I was finished at the gym, I ran a few errands and headed find that Belle still had a few "intestinal issues", to say the least. This now meant that I had to clean, disinfect and shampoo the carpet, yeah!

After the carpet incident, back to the YMCA I went for the stinkin' Spinning demo. Now, when I think demo, I think, sample or preview...NO! It was a full-blown Spinning class, of which I wound up teaching the last half. I guess he meant that I was to give a demo.

Well, finally I was able to shower, at 4:30, then raced to get Abbie from softball practice by 5:00, then it was time for a promised dinner of pizza for 2 well received report cards.

Now, the little ones are asleep and I'm in my PJs, hoping there's still an 800mg Motrin somewhere!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Recipe...

Some people say I'm a pretty good cook. Well, I'm an Italian-American...(don't let my married name, or red hair fool you), it's expected. I've been cooking ever since I was tall enough to reach the counter to bread a veal cutlet. (Shout out to Mama Cathi!) That being said, I thought I'd share an occasional favorite recipe every once in a while. We'll see how the response goes...

Roasted Chicken and Sausage
This is a great winter dish, one pan and there is something for everyone!

1 package of "pick of the chix" or a whole chicken cut-up
2 pounds of Italian sausage...sweet or hot your choice.
3 onions peeled and quartered
3-4 large baking potatoes, quartered**
3-4 Tablespoons regular olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Clean and rinse chicken and arrange in a large roasting pan. Add sausage, onions and potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for 60-80 minutes turning meat half way through and stirring onions and potatoes. Serve with good Italian dip in the pan juices!

**I have used whatever potatoes I have on hand, red, Yukon gold, Idaho, etc.

This feeds a crowd! Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What I Miss the Most...

His laugh, especially when directed at me.

Book Hangover...

I've been reading this book, finally, after years and years of its existence, The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm almost to the end!

Last night I went to bed around 10:30, and decided to read a little as usual. At 1:00 I finally had to tear myself away from the book and turn out the light with tears streaming down my face from the subject matter.

The kids were up at usual! Ughh!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two Weeks...

Tomorrow will be two weeks since Paul left. I have whined and complained, and I will most likely continue to do so over the next 50 or so weeks. However, I have to remind myself that I'm the lucky one. I'm home, surrounded by my own things. I didn't have to say goodbye to my children for a year. My children are with me constantly. I can pick up and go anywhere I want, whenever I want. I can cook what I like for meals and I can sleep in my own bed...I'm trying to keep things in perspective.

Valentine's Day...Just around the Corner!

Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, I thought I'd try to inspire my husband to do a little online shopping. Yes, he's in Iraq, yes, he's living in a "can" and yes, it's equipped with the internet. So, even though he's a long way from Nordstom's or Tiffany's, both stores offer online shopping. I'll report back on Feb. 15th!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday...

Mondays have become the hairiest of days! I am thankful only one day of the week is this way. It all starts at 6:00 a.m. with my oldest son, Paul, waking and eating breakfast followed by the other three kids. Paul is on the school bus at 7:00. The rest of us are fed and dressed and ready to go by 7:30.

Monday just happens to be my driving day for the carpool. We drive around the block and pick up 4 other kids and off to The Epiphany School we go. Once the 4 middle-schoolers are out of the car we peel off to preschool where 2 more are dropped off at 8:00...since they are young, this involves parking, taking everyone inside, with the occasional potty break before they enter the classroom.

Now, all I'm left with is Charlotte, so off to the YMCA we go! (I work out in order to gain back some sanity), then we are headed back to preschool to pick-up at 12:00.

Lunches and naps are then dished out. While the little ones are napping, I am typing while eating my Smart Ones microwavable meal. At 2:40 we are headed out again to pick-up the middle school kids and drop them off at their respectable homes. Homework is worked on briefly, then off to ballet for Abbie's 5:00 class, I will then return for a quickie "looser night" dinner with the other 3 kids, (more on looser night later). I then pick Abbie up at 7:00, drop her home to babysit, while I take Paul to basketball at 7:30, which by the way, I think is ridiculously late for a practice on a school night! When I finally return home at 8:45 the car and I let out a long sigh of relief that Monday is done.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


One of the many things I am now taking care of since Paul is deployed...the finances. To say I hate it would be an understatement! I always jokingly tell Paul that my life's ambition is to be a "kept woman". You know, give me a nice house, a generous shopping stipend every few days, shower me with lavish gifts and jewelery and I'd return the favor in ways he would appreciate; i.e. a nice roast beef dinner, clean laundry, keeping the fridge stocked with goodies, etc. (Keep your mind out of the gutter!)

I know, many of you reading this are cringing. Many of you won't let your husbands handle the checkbook, let alone see the visa bill. I am the complete opposite, I want nothing to do with balancing the checkbook and bill paying. Well, now in addition to the regular money stuff, he left during tax season. AAAAHHHH!

Luckily, taxes are easy to prepare with online software like Turbo Tax. Just fill in the blanks and follow the directions and prompts. Easy enough for the federal return, the state return is a bit trickier. We are legal residents of New York, Paul does not have to file a state return in North Carolina. I however, have to file in North Carolina since I've been working, (not the kept woman I'd like to be...yet.) I think I can claim half of our children, maybe one of the dogs, and I'm trying to figure out if some of the kids that hang out in our house can be added as deductions? Who knows...this is where I'm stuck until I can speak with the tax Iraq.

Now, for those willing to get the job done, there are a number of resources available to the military. There is a tax office on Cherry Point where taxes are prepared for FREE! Just bring in your W2s and such. Another great resource is through Military One Source. You can prepare your taxes and file for free through their website (check out the side bar), if you're registered...and you should be if your marine is deployed.

Wish me luck and hope the feds don't take notice!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scary Peanut Butter...Click HERE to view FDA recall.

Thanks Jeanne!!!

The Cheerleader...

This morning we attended another of Paul's basketball games...his team unfortunately got creamed, but they played well and put up a fight.

Now, on my lap was Charlotte, (19 months old for those that don't know her yet). As the cheering squad came out to cheer during the quarter breaks and at halftime, Charlotte was mystified! Clapping her hands, and yelling the occasional "Whew!" By the end of the game, "Pat-A-Cake" was her new cheer. "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, makers man, rooooll it, Whew!" Followed by clapping and giggles. I think I know what activity will be in her!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ladies Night!

What a pleasure it was to get together with some of the wives in MACG-28 and MTACS-28! Shout out to Roneih for the delicious lasagna and hospitality! A diet day destroyed, but well worth it!

Again, I emphasize how important it is to support each other...we are not in this deployment alone! It was fun to vent, share funny stories and get to know one another. I'm looking forward to next months dinner at Morgan's!

Do Something!!

So your spouse is deployed...big deal, do something! This is a great time to start the new year off right. I know, everyone is busy with kids, households to upkeep, etc., but it's just as important to take time for yourself. Everyone gets so wallowed down in the deployment it's possible to forget about you. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

1. Start a new fitness routine. Nothing says, "I've missed you" like seeing his jaw drop to the floor when he sees you for the first time.

2. Take up a new hobby, knitting anyone?

3. Organize those photos...this is not one of my fortes, but it still needs to be done.

4. Paint a room or refinish a piece of furniture, I may actually work on the dining room this time.

5. Take a many are available online!

6. Get together with peers. Adult conversation does wonders for the mind!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paul's Address:

Lt. Col. Paul Weaver
UNIT 78069
FPO AE 09509-8069

He could always use coffee, goodies, hand sanitizer, drawings from cute kiddies, etc. Packages take about a week to get there.

A Shout Out...

I would like to give a shout out to the cool lady at the James City post office. Last week prior to leaving, Paul mailed himself a couple of packages containing things he did not want to carry on the long schlep to Iraq. In his haste to get the job done, he forgot the tape and packing materials at the post big deal.

On Tuesday of this week, I mailed a package to Paul. While I was there, the same wonderful United States Postal Service worker, (she might be the only one there), asked if it was my husband that mailed the foot locker and other package last week to Iraq and gave me the left behind packing items.

I love this post office, there's never a line and the staff is friendly. The only caveat: this office closes for lunch from 1:00 to 2:30. It's located on Old Cherry Point Road, close to Brinson Elementary School in New Bern.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One Week Down...

It's been one week already and all is well. I've been trying to figure out a way to help countdown time until Paul's return. Someone suggested counting paydays...although a pretty good method, it lacked excitement. Someone else suggested "wake-ups", (how many more days do I have to wake-up until he returns). This just seemed tedious.

So, I've decided to countdown Paul's return by indulging in a monthly spa treatment. This month I'm scheduling a full-body massage, next month it might be a facial, or another full-body massage, etc.

By the way...23 paydays, 51 weeks, 358 wake-ups...but ONLY 12 spa treatments left!

A Great Distraction from the Obvious...

Slumber Party!

Nothing cheers up a kid like having a couple of friends spend the night. When word of yet another snow day was scheduled, my oldest son, Paul, immediately asked if his two buddies could spend the eldest daughter was less than thrilled.

It was fine! The kids had a blast, they watched movies, played video and board games, had snacks, and are now waiting for the cinnamon rolls to come out of the oven.

Here's the best one wanted my attention.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So Here's the Proof...

Really, snow in New Bern. The kids had a blast, a great way to mark this historic day!

Another Snow Day...

Another snow day has already been called for Craven County tomorrow, 1/21/09...does anyone own a plow???


Snow day...YES! Now if it would just stick to the ground...

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Bet There's A Snow Day Tomorrow!

It's 51 degrees here in lovely New Bern, NC. There's a winter storm warning for tomorrow. Craven County has issued a 2 hour delay for all public schools...for tomorrow, 1/20/09. Not a snowflake, drop of rain, ice or otherwise as of yet.

My 2 older kids are all set to wear their pajamas inside-out and have already flushed ice cubes down the toilet. All systems are "go" for a snow day tomorrow.

I hope the 2 guys in NC that throw salt from the back of their pick-up truck are in Craven County tomorrow! Does everyone have bread and milk? I hear The Pig is sold out!!!

MLK Jr. Day

Since the kids were home from school, I thought it would be a great day to head out to Greenville. Nothing says happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day like a sale at Kohls followed by lunch at Panera!

My new Laura Ashley Micro-Cotton towels are in the washing machine right now...Oh, and if any of the New Bern Alderman are reading this blog...can you give "it" up and allow some chain stores and restaurants to open in New Bern?!*#%@^!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

He's Landed...


Sunday has always been a family day for me with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. After Mass, as a kid, we would go to my grandmother's house for a traditional Italian Sunday dinner. This would include pasta with some type of tomato sauce first, followed by chicken or Cornish hens AND roast beef or veal or sausage and meatballs or my very favorite...spedinas, (skewers of oval shaped meatballs, bread,and mozzarella, breaded and fried). Dinner would also included salad, vegetable side dishes, Italian bread you can only find in the NYC area, wine, and of course, "No-Cal" soda. After, there would be fruit, and a little more wine. As the women cleaned up, the Mets or Jets or a TV musical were usually on and the coffees would be up to brew...brown and black (regular and espresso) and absolutely no decaf! Desserts included cakes, Italian pastries and cookies, usually purchased from neighborhood Italian bakeries after Mass. All of this started at about 1 pm and ended around 4 pm.

After another clean-up session, crossword puzzles were worked on, newspapers were read and the kids played. At 7 or 7:30 everything was brought out again with the addition of cold cuts; and after the second round of dessert and coffees, we packed up leftovers and returned home.

Times have changed, we are now busier than ever, and the Sunday dinner I was used to is the rare occasion when I get back to northern NJ.

I've tried to at least prepare something special for dinner on Sundays and keep the family part of it going...this is when Paul is missed the most. During the week, we're usually running all over with kid activities, school, work, etc. Sunday has remained the one day of peace and family.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Me v Sports

As many of you know, I'm not a big sports fanatic. I grew up in a family that really didn't pay much attention to sports like basketball,or kids have been playing since they were 4 I still can't understand "off-sides". Football and baseball were watched on Sundays at my grandmother's house, but I had no interest (except for the Mets during the late 80's when the team players were coming to the Paramus Park Mall for autographs and photo ops.)

Anyway, my point is, now that Paul is away I will be taking the kids to their games...NOT understanding the majority of the rules! Today for instance, my oldest son, Paul, had a basketball game. The team is great, the coaches are awesome, the refs...seem nice. There are just too many rules in basketball!

I was glad to see that some of the kids are still learning the rules too. (There's still hope for them!) Young Paul was fouled (I assume), and he had to make 2 foul shots. Although he didn't get them in, (close, the ball bounced off the rim), I was so proud to see him attempt it with a classic style...2 dribbles first, then set it up for the swish...maybe next time.


Today has just been a crazy day for us. We've been non-stop running around little New Bern all day long! Sporting events, birthday parties x 2 and a few last minute weekend errands. I'm ready to throw on some sweats and chill.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Little Bit About Us..."Lovers in Japan"

A few of you know that Paul and I were married July 16, 1993. Two weeks later we moved to Okinawa for three years. It was the best and one of the hardest times of our lives. I was 20 and Paul had just turned 23. We went to Japan as kids and returned still young, but solid in our relationship and with an added prize...Abigail.

The following video clip reminds me of that amazing time...

Here's to you Baby...

Pump It Up...

The other day prior to Paul departing, we took our youngest son, Drew, to a birthday party at the newest, greatest party place in New Bern...Pump It Up. Once we arrived, we signed a waiver, Drew got his hand stamped and we proceeded to a room where we all watched a movie that went over the "Rules of Play"...3-5 minutes tops.

The precious little darlings were then set free in the play area, which is full of inflatable bouncy things, a couple of industrial size moon bouncers, an inflatable slide and obstacle course and a rock wall for "kids" 6 and over. The best part about this place is adults get to bounce and play too!!! When all was said and done, the kids were red-faced, sweaty, disheveled,and most importantly...exhausted. (That goes for a few of the parents too!)

Pump It Up also offers "Pop-In Playtime", where the kids can just play. Check out their website:

OMG What a Morning!!

My day started at 5:10am when old gal, Belle the Dog, woke me up whimpering to go she was not downstairs, but upstairs, right outside Charlotte's room. Luckily, no one else woke up.

After Belle was back inside, I went back to bed and I finally started to doze off, just as the alarm clock went off!

Now, all kids and dogs are awake and downstairs, ready for breakfast and just as I was about to turn on the coffee pot, the power went out! Fruit Loops to the rescue.

We were out the door by 7:15 and just as I opened the garage...manually, the power came back on!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who Says There Are No Angels???

Click for the full story.

The current reports coming in say all survived!

Let's Be Truthful

So, over the past several weeks, to include the holidays, I have been preparing my husband's favorite meals, going out to dinner at great restaurants, indulging in scrumptious desserts, and partaking of a few too many whiskey sours prepared by mix-master, Paul. Oh, and I'm sure the nightly fried chicken at 2 a.m. and the pint-o-grits with butter at 6 a.m. from Craven Regional Medical Center didn't help either.

Here's the truth...7ish pounds have found their way onto my hips and elsewhere.

Today I'm back "on the wagon". I'll be using Weight Watchers as my guide and the local YMCA and the Taberna neighborhood walking paths for toning and fitness...who knows, I may even start to Crossfit! (Shout out to JG and her Crossfit Crew at MCAS).

Wish me luck!

I'm Amazed

I anticipated our first night without Paul to be sleepless and full of trips upstairs to the kids...(our house has the master bedroom on the ground floor and all of the other bedrooms upstairs). Instead, there seems to be a new peace in our house. The kids went to bed without a whimper and most importantly, they STAYED asleep!

Now, let's see if we can repeat it...364 more times.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OK...It's Done

After 11 months of knowing I had to say goodbye to my husband for an entire year, it's done. The last few days have been hell, watching and helping him pack, running errands to stores like "Extreme Outfitters", changing smoke alarm batteries and hard to reach light bulbs, have all but killed me...he's on his way to Iraq and God knows where else.

Finally, we can begin our countdown to his 365...CHECK.