Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Late post today--I was at the kids's school for the Halloween party.  I love love love the fact that they still do it because I know many districts don't celebrate, but I am so thrilled we go to a school that still has fun with holidays.  It's so much fun to see the kids in all their costumes.

We carved pumpkins the other night!  We're not that artistic, but we get the job done.  And what we lack in carving creativity, hubby makes up for in photographic talent:

Here's the kids' pumpkins!  I think they're awesome.

Tonight we're trick-or-treating in SIL2's neighborhood.  We're all looking forward to it.  So it's a busy day, much to do.  

Not much to write about today, but I didn't want to forget to post.  I will get back on the horse tomorrow morning, so tune in then!!!!


And until then, watch this:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thanks for a Good Time, You Gophers.

We got the mouse.  Actually I heard the trap snap right after I posted my blog yesterday.  And there it was, squeaking and panicking.  Very sad, actually, but I don't want the things in my house.  It died shortly after that and I had hubby get rid of it.  We have left out the traps, but no more mice and no more sounds.  Hopefully we're ahead of the game.

Quarterback MarQueis Gray had an amazing game
And speaking of game, holy cow what a game we watched yesterday!  I have written before about how difficult it is to be a Minnesota sports fan.  Well, in particular, it is difficult to be a Gopher football fan.  It is a dedication to something other than good football.  We have dedicated, loyal fans, a beautiful new stadium, but it still breaks your heart over and over.  My husband is a die hard.  He picks the Gophers every year to go to the Rose Bowl, and he picks them to win every single game.  It's become a joke, but he has stuck to it for 26 years.  And yesterday they pulled it off.  They were in no way supposed to win.  They played Iowa, here at home, and everyone--even their most loyal fans--knew they would lose.  We have a new coach that we are all very fond of.  We want to see the team have some success not only for the University, the players, and the state, but for Coach Kill.  Yesterday they played well.  They played like my hubby always believes they can play.  It was a nail-biter to the end, and we won 22-21, keeping Floyd of Rosedale here in our trophy case.

Gray was sweet to the kids at practice
I have not screamed and jumped around so much about a football game since the homecoming game against Wisconsin in 1993.  My kids were looking at hubby and I like we were nuts, but joining right in with us.  It was such a sweet thing, as I was giving myself a heart attack, to look around at my kids laughing and yelling and loving the moment.  I almost felt like I could cry, watching the TV as the camera panned around to the crowd, going from looks of heartbreak and worry to sheer joy, time after time.  I so know that feeling.  You feel like you don't just want your guys to win, you NEED them to.  I remember being at all the games, in my marching band uniform, wanting so badly for them to have a good game.  The feeling you have as a student when you're leaving your game after a win is like nothing else.  You feel exhilarated, proud.  Like you could celebrate for a week.  And when you lose--especially when you lose in the fashion the Gophers are capable of--you leave feeling like somebody stole your Halloween candy.  You just want to go home, are no longer in the mood for the drink specials at Stub and Herbs.  

Coach Kill with the Crowd
And yesterday to watch those kids jumping around in the stands, being urged on by the players, hugging each other, and rushing the field after the game to just share the joy with their team, was really something to see. The team celebrated with their coach and their fans for a long time after the game, knowing they had won an important one, finally, and it was for their fellow students, for their coach, for their fans and their state, and they were proud.  And so were we!

I'm still geeking out about it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not a Creature Was Stirring Except the Mouse in our House

Oh my God we have a mouse.  I can HEAR it.  I could hear it last night, and it was driving me nuts because I couldn't find it.  I can hear the little scratching sound coming from what sounds like my cabinet next to the refrigerator.  But it's not there!  I have taken a flashlight to the cabinet, under the fridge, in the crack between the fridge and the cabinet.  I have removed the drawer above the cabinet to see it.  I continue to hear the scratching, but I can't figure out where the damn thing is!  I put out traps last night, and there's nothing there this morning.  But I can still hear it off and on.  AUGH!  Nothing like a mouse to make you feel like your home is filthy and creepy.  And it makes me feel like there's hundreds of them filling my walls.

So I'm going insane.  I feel like it's in there, probably with it's significant other, making hundreds of babies in my walls.  There's this weird show on one of the cable channels that I got stuck watching once called "Infested."  One of them was about this mouse infestation in Australia.  I can't get it out of my head now.  If you're curious, check out a clip here.  Hideous!  So this may just get me to do the kitchen cabinet project I've been putting off.  For 13 years.  Maybe.

This isn't the first time we've had mice.  For living on a farm, the little invaders are surprisingly rare.  And in the past when we've found out there's a mouse, we just flood the place with traps.  We'll catch one or two, and then it's over.  But the traps stay out a couple weeks to make sure.  This seriously has only happened a few times over the 13 years we've lived here.  But it's so disgusting.  It makes me feel all twitchy and jittery, and like I don't want to be here.

SIL2 has a debilitating fear of mice.  She has good reason for it, though--she's lived in a couple places with mouse issues, and it traumatized her.  She has a rodent problem in general.  She's terrified of squirrels because one time she was living in this old house and there was a squirrel that had got into the house somehow, and it ended up running across her feet in her bed!  You might want to go back and read that sentence again.  Seriously, how crazy would that be?

Years ago, I think it was before we had kids, hubby and I were upstairs in bed and I felt like there was movement in our room.  In the dark I saw a shadow.  Freaky!  We turned on the light and discovered there was a bat.  In our bedroom!  Upstairs!  ohmygodohmygodohmygod.  He ended up somehow chasing it down the stairs with a broom and we got it out of the house, but you can imagine what a chaotic scene that was.  Me hiding under my covers most of the time, and him running around in his boxers swinging at a bat.  Sheesh.  I'm all for wildlife, I just want it to stay wild.  Not living in my house with me.  But that was the worst of it.  Now it's just the very occasional mouse, and hopefully the bats are done checking out our house.

But it does make you feel like you live in filth.  Even if the house is relatively clean.  Why do they pick my house?  Do mice and bats ever go in the perfect new houses in those colorful new gingerbread house developments?  I hope so.  As bitchy as that sounds, I do.  Man, I keep taking breaks from typing this to scratch the invisible creepies I feel all over me.  EW!

So that's it for inside the house.  Have I mentioned that we think we have a Wolverine living outside?  Believe me, it may seem nuts, but we think we do.  It's a long story for another day.  But right now I'm just hoping that it doesn't decide to come in and live with us, the mice, the bats, and hopefully our future dog.  What kind of place is this???  And the creepy millipedes and earwig things that we find!  Oh, and DO NOT get me started on the damn asian lady beetles.  Whoever introduced that particular pest should be locked up in prison.  I have a vacuum cleaner dedicated solely to ladybug removal.

So who wants to come over and hang out at our house now?  I'm surprised I have friends.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Yesterday I had lunch with my big brother.  We meet up fairly often at this little place that he calls his "favorite Malaysian place" (I guess I don't have enough Malaysian places that I frequent to have a favorite) where he's like Norm on Cheers.  Seriously, the staff shouts his name out when he comes it!  It's hilarious.  But it's always nice to have lunch with him, it turns into a 2-hour thing where we talk about everything from cars to parenting to funny movies.  Yesterday we talked about being inspired.  I know, deep, huh?  He's a graphic artist and animator, and he's self-employed.  So he has to stay inspired in order to earn a paycheck.  But he loves it.  I just trudge through my day to day life not thinking about it.

But yesterday I started thinking about it, and I think the reason I feel like I am not inspired might be because I'm sort of always inspired.  Cheesy, but I think it's true.  I get inspired by so many things that I don't even know what to do with it all.  After I started thinking about it, here's some things I noticed:

I'm inspired by music.  All the time.  I just purchased the new Michael Buble Christmas album.  It's the first Christmas music I've bought this year, and it's so good!  And just hearing the little bit of it that I listened to yesterday gave me goosebumps.  It makes me think of the Christmas season.  Of the smells, the foods, the cold, everything.

I'm inspired by the news, by sweet stories like a kid I saw a story on last night who has macular degeneration, but he doesn't let it slow him down.  He plays soccer, he keeps up with his schoolwork, he lives a healthy kid life, even though he's losing his vision.  I have been so lucky--stories like that point out how lucky I am, keep me in check when I feel like whining.

And last night before bedtime, J curled up in my lap.  He's my cuddler.  I sat there touching his soft little face, feeling his damp post-shower hair, squeezing his not-so-small anymore feet.  I am inspired by my kids, by watching them grow.  By seeing them walk that line between being my babies and being teenagers.  At 9 and 10, they are already good little people.  They are funny and kind, and they're going to be good men.  And the reason it inspires me is that I have no idea how it happened.

So it's the little things.  And I need to pay more attention to them in my day-to-day life.  Not just stop and smell the roses, but to notice the beauty in a boring, normal day.  Because there is so much!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slow Day

I got nothing today.  So watch this, people.  It's pretty funny.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Good morning!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brown Puppy

I'm starting to have doubts about the dog thing.  There are a couple concerns I have.  Not many, but they are kind of large.  First of all, both A and J have these special stuffed friends that mean everything to them. And I have this fear of a dog getting a hold of one of them and ripping it apart, and how absolutely devastating that would be.  I know--teach the kids to put them out of the dog's reach, train the dog, etc. etc. etc.  But these stuffed animals mean more than you think.  I know many of you have kids who have special things, stuffed animals, blankets, etc., so you have an idea of how serious it is.  But today I'll write a little bit about a member of our family to give you more perspective.

Brown Puppy before Andy
Meet Brown Puppy.  I purchased him when I was pregnant with A, and he was just one of a whole pile of stuffed animals he had waiting for him when he was born.  But he's the one that was special to A right away, and he never looked back.  I've mentioned before about how A is a unique child, how he learns differently and processes things in his own way.  Well, sometimes Brown Puppy is his voice.  He expresses a lot of emotion through him, and nobody knows A better than Brown Puppy.  The pictures show how connected he is to him.  He's a constant companion.  He travels with us.  A makes costumes for him at Halloween.  He talks through him sometimes (and not in a creepy "redrum" kind of way).

All of A's people catch themselves talking to Brown Puppy sometimes.  When A has him talk to you, you end up answering him.  And oddly, it doesn't seem strange.  Poor thing has had so many surgeries.  A used to chew on his face when he was a toddler.  He's got no stuffing left in his middle, he's just a sack.  And he doesn't really resemble a puppy anymore.  I stitched a "smile" on him a couple years ago for A.  I have sewed him up so much I'm almost afraid to anymore.  When he gets washed, I put him in a net bag and I'm nervous the whole time.  He's at a point now where I'll have to put him in a sock or something to keep him safe when he's washed.

So it would really be a life altering thing if a puppy got a hold of Brown Puppy and did damage.  So we're talking about maybe getting a dog that's past the teething stage, or getting a smaller dog so that Brown Puppy would seem bigger to the dog.  I don't know.  J has "Cold Pup."  He's VERY important to J, too, but he's much larger and sturdier than Brown Puppy.  So I don't know.  We have more thinking to do, but I'm still leaning pro-dog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All in a Day's Work

We were busy busy busy yesterday!  But it felt soooo good to get some things done, and some other projects underway.  The sister and her hubby were here for two days, helping us with some landscaping projects.  Our house, as I have mentioned before is a constant work in progress.  In the 13 years we have lived here, we have never been at a point where it is "done."  Or even resembles anything like "done."

We were blessed with a couple of beautiful days, which made it a pleasure to be outside.  The kids had so much fun with the dogs (yes, I still have dog fever) and having a friend over that they were maintenance free, and so the work was pretty enjoyable.  I might just start doing more of this kind of thing.  I might.  We had BIL3 (sister's hubby) take down several trees, including a GINORMOUS dead one, so we have a ton of wood to clean up, chop and split.  We split and moved a bunch of peonies.  We made a "berm."  I learned what a "berm" is.  A small hill to make things pretty.  Sister planted the rest of our shrubs around the house.  We tilled up all the ground around the house to do planting.  We made a walkway from the front steps of our porch to the driveway.  And my mom came over to hang out for a bit.  It was so great!

So now we just have to plant a couple lilac bushes, some of this pretty tasseled grass, a bunch of hostas, move a ton of limestone pavers, put in the mulch, go buy some more plants, plant them, chop wood, burn a bunch of brush and wood, mow, and get rid of the leaves.  All in a day's work!

And now the kids go back to school today, and I have just under 3 weeks until J's birthday party.  I'm going to start working on his invitations this week, and hopefully have them out in a few days.  He's having a "magic-card trick" party.  Pretty fun--lots of red, black and silver.  I'm also going to start making my Christmas list.  Woo hoo!  Halloween is on Monday.  I hate it when it's in the beginning of the week.  I don't think we have any plans for next weekend, but the kids will definitely trick-or-treat on Monday.  It's hard when we are a family of country mice--we actually have to immigrate to the suburbs to take the kids trick-or-treating.  We usually hit SIL3's neighborhood, since it's safe and her kids are super fun to make the rounds with.  Last year we hit gramma's apartment building and hubby's grandma's old neighborhood, just for the heck of it.  It was nice, really, but we don't know what the plan is yet this year.  I already promised the kids they could go to bed a little bit later than normal school nights that night.  Wouldn't it be nice if they started school a couple hours later on the day after Halloween?

I'm volunteering at the school on Halloween day, another opportunity to wear my cape and witch hat.  I like that day.  It's so much fun to see all the kids' costume ideas, and get to know them all.  I've been able to watch them all grow up for five years now!  It's like they're extended family.  One of A and J's friends who rides the bus with them is this tiny little thing named Carol.  She's so cute and funny.  She has long, straight blond hair, and she's super petite.  I asked her a while back what she was going to be for Halloween since I know her mom makes all her costumes and they're so creative and well done, and she said "Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter!"  I'm so excited to see that.  I am crazy about Harry Potter.  CRAZY.  So Halloween should be fun, and I am in the mood to watch scary movies still, I just haven't had the opportunity yet.  This week.  I promise myself.

I think I'm writing about Halloween to make sure I cover my butt here.  I do like Halloween.  Really.  But by this time every year, I'm chomping at the bit to start the Christmas season.  November 1st, people.  That's coming quickly.  That is the day I start listening to Christmas music.  And I think I am going to start as much decorating as I can get away with before J's party.  Maybe I'll get some lights in the trees outside.  Well, hubby probably won't let me turn them on until Thanksgiving, so we'll see.  This is going to be difficult.  I think I'll at least do some Christmas shopping and drink some Christmas coffee this week.

So lots to do.  It's all good, though.  It's so good for me to be busy, it's so satisfying to get some things done.  Maybe I'll be a gardener over the summer and help make our place as pretty as I know it can be.  I'd like to think I will.  I'd also like to think I'll stick to an exercise routine . . .

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dog Fever

Oh, man.  I have become a woman obsessed.  That's not that rare for me, I tend to obsess over things, but this one is a biggie.

I spent the entire day yesterday thinking about dogs, and how much I think we should have one.  Sister and her hubby were here all day with their amazingly awesome dogs, and they'll be here all day today too.  My kids are in LOVE with those dogs.  They are so excited to be around them, and they run around and play with them as if they're best buddies.  It's so cool!  It makes me feel like not only do we want a dog, we need one.  It's my duty as a parent.

But it's a big deal.  We have been pet-less, in the house at least, for 8 years.  And it's been pretty easy and nice.  No accidents on the floor.  No chewed up shoes (or favorite stuffed animals, GOD FORBID).  No allergy problems.  Hubby is allergic.  He seems to think that his allergies aren't that bad.  J is allergic to cats, but didn't seem to react over the last day or two to the dogs.  Sister has a golden lab and a black lab/shorthair mix.  So it's not like they're not shedders.  And the kids played with them all day, petting them, and getting their slobber all over from throwing the balls and frisbees.  So I think we might be able to handle it!!!  Right?!?!?  Hubby has mentioned that we could get a dog that would just be an outside, farm dog.  I know that works for some people out here, but it won't for me.  I can't have a dog that isn't allowed inside, as a part of the family.  Our last dog was a chihuahua.  Granted, she was small, but she not only slept in our bed, we carried her around in our shirts, with her head poking out under our chin.  I don't think we're "outside dog" people.  So I need to be ready for the work of an inside dog.  For sacrificing the occasional shoe or toy.  For cleaning up accidents and house training.  For the pet hair.

I've tried to talk myself out of it.  What would we do with the dog when we travel?  It's not like we're world travelers, but we're even thinking of going to California this spring.  What do we do with the dog then?  How do we keep the dog from running away?  Are the kids ready to help care for a big pet, and not just fish and hermit crabs?  But these arguments are losing.

So I went on line to some rescue sites yesterday.  That added to my obsession.  People, just take a look at Mauer:

Oh my goodness.  Look at him.  I am so in love with this guy.  Then there's Lilo:

People!  I know for SURE I cannot go look at a dog in person until we're completely ready to bring one home.  I can't see a dog and not keep it.  So I have my work cut out for me.  I need to have a serious talk with the hubby about this, and maybe if you all could give me a list of pros and cons, I'd appreciate it.  And not just pros--I know you all love your mutts, I get it, but what is the downside?  Probably not much of one, looking at these faces.

Oh--here's a couple pics of Cody and Sunny, the sister's babies:

Sunshine (Sunny) is this sweet blonde thing who looks like she's smiling.  And I think she really is.  All the time.

And Cody is this little gentleman who is the color of dark chocolate and is an excellent ball player.  He worships his mom and dad, and he's a super happy guy.

They are both so great with the kids, and they definitely contributed to the dog fever.

So there you go.  I'm definitely obsessed, and now I'm going to go look at more dog adoption sites.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chex Mix Hangover

So yesterday was a busy day.  I did put a post up, but took it down shortly after I posted it, because it got a little personal, and after thinking about it, I didn't think it was appropriate.  I can get as personal as I want about myself on here, but I have to be careful to not make anyone in my (extended) family uncomfortable by posting too much personal information on here about them.  So sorry about that.  I was REALLY grumpy when I wrote it yesterday morning.

Fresh start today.  Yesterday was A's birthday party, and we could not have asked for a prettier day.  There were lots of cousins running around, riding on the golf cart, playing in the freshly harvested corn fields, and playing hide-and-seek in the dark.  Awesome.  There was good food, I totally ate my weight in Chex Mix (oh and I'll probably have it for breakfast too), and lots of good company.  A had a great day.  He was sad when it was over, and he went upstairs and arranged all his presents the way he wanted them.  SIL3 got him a popcorn popper!  It's this cute little thing that looks like a vintage popper but it's an air popper.  And he's got it in his room.  Yikes!  I'm going to see what happens before I make him put it in the kitchen . . .  But it really was a lovely night.  The fire was warm, the beer was cold.  A felt like a rock star, and he was beaming when we sang him "happy birthday."

We did have some family drama yesterday, and a key person in our lives was not at the party.  I was so upset at first, but I'm trying to let it go.  It was his loss.  His choice to miss out, his choice to put us in the position of explaining to people (including the birthday boy) where he was.  But now that I look back on it, it's even more lovely how we can all be so close even during the drama, and how much we all enjoy each other as a family.  Nephew1 brought his girlfriend, and she is lovely and sweet.  There were 10 kids here, total.  And 16 adults.  I have a lot of cake left over.  That might be good with the Chex Mix for my breakfast.

Today my sister and her hubby are coming over to help us do a bunch of stuff around the house.  It should be kind of fun and productive.  Then later this afternoon we're going to go watch Nephew4 play football.  His team (6th grade) made it to the championship game, so it should be very exciting.  When sister was here yesterday, she had her dogs here with her.  They'll be back today to run around all day.  They are SO sweet and fun, and it really makes me want a dog.  We keep going back and forth about it, but I think we'll eventually get one.  Hubby and J have allergies, so we have to be careful about what breed we pick, but I think it's time.  We lost our little Buddy (our teacup Chihuahua) about 8 years ago, and haven't had a dog since.  But we have this perfect place for the dog to run around, and two boys who would love it like crazy.  So I might start doing some research and get closer to a decision.  Maybe a Christmas present?  It's something to think about.

Anyway, I need to go get my breakfast and get dressed.  I think I'll talk to the hubby about a dog today.

Friday, October 21, 2011

M&Ms and Dreams

I have a candy jar on my desk.  I like to have peanut M&Ms in it, because I think they look cheerful.  But after the jar gets emptied (who doesn't like peanut M&Ms?), I think it looks depressing.  There's something very sad about an empty candy jar.  M&Ms are so pretty.  Especially the seasonal ones.  Obviously I like the Christmas ones best.  And at Christmas I splurge and fill it with the almond ones.  Mmmmm.

Yesterday I did my shopping.  Well, most of it.  And while I was out I got the giant bag of M&Ms to fill my jar.  Much better.  Sort of like after I shower and I don't feel like I'm actually clean until I brush my teeth, I clean the house and I don't feel like it's done unless my candy jar is full and I have at least one candle burning.  While I was out I saw that the Christmas stuff is out, folks.  Sorry for all of you that don't like how early it is.  I quietly loved it.  My sweet J was with me, and I swear I didn't make any comments to him about it at all, but on the way home he asked if we could put Christmas music on the radio!!!  I was so proud.  But I didn't have my iPod with me.

My mom is coming over today.  I think it will be so nice to have her here, especially since it's not really for any reason.  She can just hang out and have coffee, maybe play some video games with the kids or help me bake my pumpkin bread.  These are things she hasn't been able to do freely for a very long time, so it will feel good.  It's funny how the new normal is something you tiptoe into, as if you're not sure it's okay or not.  But she's doing an amazing job.

So as I sit here today I feel sort of weird.  I had bizzar-o dreams last night.  I think I usually do.  When I remember my dreams, it's usually because they were like some twisted movie, and it takes me a while to recover from them.  I have to lay there and tell myself what day it is, where I am, and bring myself back into reality.  And it takes me a while to shake it and feel normal again.  Much of the time my dreams are of danger.  Either someone is trying to kill me or I'm in some sort of natural disaster.  They also involve my kids or the hubby being in danger.  And they're always like some Tim Burton movie, very surreal, colorful, and usually impossible.  Like falling off a cliff and then suddenly being on an old-fashioned bicycle in mid-air when it turns into just a useless fork or something.  As if a fork would be any less useful than a bicycle when you're falling through the air.  Last night I dreamt that I had a job--this is another recurring theme for me.  Either I'm at a work place or a school as a student, and I'm in big trouble, either about to get fired for something crazy or I am desperately trying to get to the school to turn in a project that I know I'm about to be expelled for if it's not handed in on time.  Anyway, last night.  I worked at this wacky place where all my old friends also worked.  When you got there or left you rode this scary contraption with these seats that stuck out of a cable, one above the other, and they lifted you to your floor.  You always try to be on the top seat because they fall often and seriously injure the people beneath you.  How stupid!  And I had to ride it twice because my coffee machine was broken on my floor and I had to use the one on the floor below me.  So this morning I woke up and I was convinced there was something wrong with my coffee machine (God forbid).  But it's fine.

I have dreams about losing my kids, the hubby divorcing me, all kinds of terrible things.  I don't usually have pleasant dreams.  I just wish if my dreams had to be so hallucinatory that I could just not remember them.  Hubby almost never remembers his dreams.  How nice that would be.  Maybe I should do some reading about what these dreams mean, but I'm not too sure I want to know.  But once in a long while I will have a dream that I finished a project (like painting a room or spring cleaning) and I wake up and am disappointed.  Dreams are so weird!!!

Ugh.  I have to get to work.  My kiddos are still asleep.  How lovely for them.  I need to clean the downstairs bathroom.  That should bring me back to reality!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nothing Important

Man, I was lazy last night.  I spent a lot of time doing nothing.  Watching You've Got Mail on TV.  I do love that movie, but I've seen it a million times.  I have it on DVD, so there's no reason to sit and watch the three-hour-long version of it on TV, along with all the commercials.  And I certainly have a lot to do, so there was really not much of an excuse for it.

The kids are off school today.  They are off until Tuesday, which is great for them.  But, we're having a big family party Saturday to celebrate A's birthday, and I have lots to do for it, and now they're going to be here.  Making messes, because that's what young boys do.  Oh well.  I had them clean their rooms yesterday, and I'm really going to try to let their jobs be good enough and not go in after them and "really" clean them.  Nobody will care, right, people?  Right?

I need to do some shopping today.  Hubby's truck wouldn't start last night when he was leaving work, so I had to go get him.  He was very irritated with the truck, and now that's another thing on our to-do list, but it is what it is, I guess.  But he took my car to work this morning, so now I can't do my shopping until he gets back.  Which means maybe I'll be able to leave the kids with him since the shopping I have to do involves the grocery store, Costco, and the liquor store.  All places the kids would rather not go.  But I have to go to the store to get the ingredients for my baking tomorrow!

I.  LOVE.  BAKING.  I don't do it nearly often enough, probably because I would then just eat everything I bake, but as soon as this season rolls around, I get back into it.  I'm not doing too much for Saturday, just a couple loaves of pumpkin bread (mmmmmmm)  and some Chex Mix.  Chex Mix is a required part of all my events.  Homemade Chex Mix.  Baked in the oven.  I make a huge batch with just the Chex cereals, Cheerios, pretzels and peanuts.  Yummy, and it makes the house smell so good when it's roasting.  So I'll make that Saturday morning.  But I'd like to bake the pumpkin bread tomorrow.

Oh my goodness I'm completely babbling on about nothing.  Sorry, I haven't finished my first cup of coffee yet.

And now I'm hungry.  Look at that beautiful Chex Mix.  It makes me happy.  A is so excited for his party.  They love their birthday parties.  And it's sweet, because it's not just about the gifts.  They love the fact that people come over just for them, and it's always a big cousin convention.  And I love the excuse to decorate.

I just got a phone call.  J gets to go over to a buddy's house Monday to play for a while.  I think I'll have A call up his buddy and see if he wants to come over while J is gone.  That gets me back to the whole country mouse/city mouse thing.  I wrote about that here.  In order to get my kids together with friends, it has to be a big event.  They'll never be able to just hop on their bikes and ride over to a buddy's house.  I think that's sort of sad.  Oh well.  So that's it for today.  I have to start scrubbing bathrooms.  No more procrastinating.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Let's see how ballsy I am.  It's 10:00 at night.  My kids are in bed, and I've had a couple glasses of wine.  It doesn't take much in my old age...  So I'm going to write my post tonight about some random stuff, and then tomorrow morning I'll read it and see if I have the courage to actually use it as my post.

I just finished catching up on the Office on Hulu.  I love the Office.  Mostly because it's super funny and I spent my professional career as a glorified secretary, but also because I have a huge crush on Jim Halpert (John Krasinski).  Today the hubby worked an evening shift, so it was just me and the boys.  They finished homework, had some dinner, played some Madden, goofed off for a while, and then it was time for bed.  I spent the evening on the phone with two of my sisters-in-law, then watching the Office on my computer, and now enjoying a lovely Shiraz while the kids drift off.  But watching the Office got me thinking about crushes and how they shape our lives.  Jim and Pam (on The Office) got together after having mutual office crushes on each other--one broke off an engagement to be with the other--and now they're married and are expecting their second child.  So it's safe to say their crushes changed their lives.  I think we're drawn to certain types of people, and that it only slightly evolves over our lives.

I have loved Johnny Depp since 21 Jump Street.  Seriously.  And now I love him in everything else he does.  I would pay the $8.00 to see a Pirates of the Caribbean movie even if it was just Captain Jack Sparrow standing there picking his cuticles for 2 1/2 hours.  And that's just a celebrity crush.  We all have those.  I still have those.  Hubby and I have our "lists".  You know, the celebrities we would excuse each other for if they wanted us for a night.  Because as we all know, I'm sure to have my shot with Alex O'Loughlin from Hawaii 5-0.

But we have our growing up crushes as well, and that's what I'm really talking about.  I had so many.  I remember the boys who made me so crazy I couldn't breathe right when they entered the room.  And it dates back to when I was very young.  (By the way--we should all thank GOD that I'm not raising girls.)  When I was in 2nd grade it was Mike Pendleton and Trent Castleberry.  I lived in Bozeman, Montana.  Mike had this cute white-blond hair.  I can actually remember what he looked like.  Trent Castleberry had dirty blond hair, and I remember when he broke his leg and let me sign his cast.  Be still my heart.  I wonder what ever happened to those two cuties.  But they are the earliest memories of my boy crazy.

In 3rd grade I lived in Denver.  There was a boy across the street named Chris Miller.  Funny how you remember first and last names so well from your childhood, the same way you remember if you had several people in your class with the same name.  I know my brother had several people in his grade with the same name, and we called them all by their first name and last initial, T--- A., T---B., and T---C.  It really worked, because there was an Anderson, a Brown, and a Castleberry.  Anyway.  Like I said, I've had a couple glasses of wine.  So Chris Miller.  He lived across the street from me.  He was also in the 3rd grade, but he was in a different class than me.  He used to chase me around my yard in an attempt to kiss me.  It would actually end up with him tackling me, and trying to kiss my cheek.  I would make a grand show of trying to get away from him, but in the end, I loved it, and I would totally let him kiss me, and sometimes turn my head so he could get me on the lips!  He was so cute.

Then I moved again, this time to Wyoming.  That is where I really got boy crazy.  I was entering the 4th grade, and had just read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.  So of course I was an expert on all things boy.  Plus, I have an older brother.  I knew boys.  But this one had me.  He lived up the street from me.  His name was Scott Cortez.  People, I can't even tell you how many times I wrote his name with hearts all over it, or how many times I played that game where you draw the spiral and boxes and it predicts where you will live and how many children you will have.  But for four long years I thought I loved him.  And here's the extent of our relationship:

One time (had to be 5th grade) I saw him walking down the street with his baseball bat, obviously on his way to baseball practice.  I ran outside and walked down the street as if I was on my way to the convenience store down the way.  As I passed, I actually got up the courage to say, "hi." AND HE SAID "HI" BACK!  I still remember that day.  Then in the 6th grade it was the end of the school year and there was the once-a-month roller skating event at Roller City sponsored by the PTA.  We were all wearing our Junior High jackets because we would be entering junior high the following fall.  I had spread the word to all my girls that I wanted to couple skate with him, and he asked me to skate with him on the couple skate!  Folks, not only did we couple skate in our matching junior high jackets, but he held my hand with interlocking fingers.

The song was "Being With You" by Smokey Robinson.  You just don't forget something like that.

That year my Best Friend (friend #1 on the list I kept written down on the inside of my desk drawer) had a birthday party.  She invited three people:  me, Scott Cortez, and the boy she had a crush on at the time.  The party was at her grandma's house.  All I remember was that we tried to play strip spin the bottle, and I chickened out when I was losing and about to be indecently exposed, and then everybody else chickened out right along with me.  That was the end of my romance with Scott Cortez.

I then went on to Junior High, where it was a series of unrequited loves.  In the 9th grade I crushed on a guy that ended up being a good friend of mine.  He moved to a town three hours north of me before we entered high school.  We would have been a couple had he stayed in town, I'm convinced of it.  He's a friend of mine on Facebook now--if you're reading this, SG, let me know if I'm right!  Then my first crush in high school was the summer right before 10th grade.  I was entering the high school marching band.  Had a huge crush on a saxophone player from another junior high.  He was super sexy.  I stayed home while my parents and sister went camping just so I could work a concessions shift with him at a drum corps show.  We did end up dating, and we went to Homecoming together our sophomore year.  He ended up seeming a bit awkward, and now I know he's gay.  Just my luck.  I do wonder how he's doing now, though, and I still say he was one of my sexiest "boyfriends".

Shortly after that I started dating a friend.  A sweet boy who I had known since the 5th grade, who is the reason why I picked up a pair of drumsticks for the first time.  He was sort of my first love.  My first REAL boyfriend.  We went out for 8 months.  A lifetime when you're 15-16 years old.  He was quiet.  Sweet.  Romantic.  Everything a first boyfriend should be.  And if you're reading this, you know who you are.  Thank you for being so sweet.  I still can't hear "Running to Stand Still" from U2 without thinking of you and your VW pickup truck.

When I was a senior in high school, I was very lucky.  I was new to the school, so they didn't know me, and I didn't know them.  That is very intoxicating.  There was a boy who was a junior who seemed interested.  He was cute, but he was a bit too aggressive for me.  He was naughty and sexy, and my mom actually liked him, but there was no mystery to him.  MH you are still dear to me and I still wonder, but Oh, there was this cute guy who was in the band with me.  He was a wrestler.  Stocky and strong.  And absolutely stunned at the attention I gave him, which made him even cuter.  He'd never had a girlfriend before, but I was determined to be the first.  I thought he was SO cute, and I chased him openly.  Luckily he wasn't gay, and luckily he thought I was at least interesting, and we ended up dating for most of our senior year.  I still think he's one of the sweetest people I know, so my judgment must have been pretty solid.  Especially for a 17-year old girl.

College.  The "highschool sweetheart" and I had parted ways, very amicably.  We went to different schools, knew we would be experiencing different lives, so we separated.  So I was a new freshman at a Big 10 school.  In the drumline in the marching band.  What a crazy world!  But the boy I zeroed in on was another freshman, trying out for the drumline just like me.  He was short and funny and adorable.  I hung on him like white on rice until he noticed I was there, and then we dated for a year and a half.  And then he dumped me for another girl.  Ah, heartbreak.  That was my first real heartbreak.  We got back together a while later and realized it just wasn't meant to be.  I'm grateful we had that time to realize that.  Too many people I know never get that realization, that closure, and we really did.  When we see each other now, it's still weird.  There's that weird static in the air, that tension.  It's a shame, sort of.  But I guess when you give that much of your heart to someone, they keep a piece.  A piece you will never get back.

In September of 1989 I met my match.  I wouldn't find out, of course, until 1993.  But I met him in 1989.  He was older than me.  In another relationship.  In a different social circle.  And definitely out of my league.

My girlfriends and I all thought he was hot.  And in 1992 I started dating a good friend of his.  It wasn't a very serious relationship--we got together at a wedding, you know how weddings can be when you're in your 20's.  We dated for several months, but it wasn't too serious.  He was in a rock band.  And the drummer/singer in his band was hot.  The guy me and my girls thought was hot.  When things fizzled with us, I didn't consider going after this guy--again, out of my league, and they were very close friends.  But he called me, Homecoming 1993.  Ex-boyfriend (current friend of hot guy) was out of town and hot guy wanted to know if I wanted to go on a motorcycle ride and then to the Homecoming bonfire with him since the buddy was out of town??? (Innocently assuming I'd have nothing better to do)?


And so that is the story of my crushes and my boy craziness.  It all ended well.  I somehow managed to land my Dream Man (and I still call him that in anniversary cards).  He is the guy (hot guy) who took me for a motorcycle ride, Homecoming 1993.  He is now the father of my children.

But all my crushes made me who I am.  They made me know how I wanted to be treated by a man.  How to treat a man.  Most importantly, that I should never settle.  That I am good enough.  That I am worthy.  And that these boys go through the same thing us girls go through.  Possibly worse.  Funny how when my hubby tells me stories of his early crushes he uses first and last names, just like I do.  And funny how his exes are all still important to him.  And how much I've come to love them, if not just the idea of them, as well.  They shaped him, trained him.  And they were lucky to have a piece of him.

So people, keep your exes in your hearts and minds.  Not just ex relationships, but ex crushes.  They are part of us.  They made us the full circle of who we are.  Real and fantasy, it's all good.  

Like, Totally Rad.

When I'm alone in my car, I like to listen to the radio nice and loud.  Once you have kids, being alone in a car becomes sort of a luxury, so I try to enjoy it every time I get the chance.  One of my favorite stations to listen to is on Sirius, it's 80's on 8.  Last night as I was driving I was singing along (loudly) to "Would I Lie to You", by the Eurythmics.  I forgot how awesome that song is.

I graduated from high school in 1989, so I truly am a child of the 80's.  I turned 9 in 1980, and I turned 18 in 1989.  Perfect.  I loved the 80's.  I still sort of live there in my head.  I may not wear frosty blue eye shadow and leggings any more, but that's still the music and movie genre I love best.

Yesterday I got to re-live a little bit of my 80's youth.  I hung out with my little cousin for a while, who I don't see nearly often enough, but hopefully we're going to start getting together more often.  I call her my little cousin because she's a touch younger than me, but also because she's very small and cute.  We've been close since childhood, and were especially close when I was in high school and college.  Now that our kids are a bit older, it's going to be easier for us to get together more often again.  So anyway, yesterday we were shopping, and it's amazing to me how things are so cyclical.  All the fashions of the 80's are coming back.  There's pleated jeans with tight ankles, the bold geometrical, fluorescent colors, leggings, crimped hair, and we even saw leg warmers.  Now the cousin and I hung out a lot during the 80's, so this was pretty fun for us.  I guess it'll be interesting to see if the grunge of the 90's comes back, or the constant bare bellies of a decade ago.

One thing that never gets old are the 80's movies.  Goonies is one of my all-time favorites, anyone who knows me knows that.  I love all the John Hughes movies.  Pretty in Pink.  ET.  The Color Purple.  It really was the best decade for movies.  I really think it's a lost art.  There is nobody making good, thoughtful, romantic comedies for young people anymore.  My kids love these movies.  Who wouldn't?

It's weird how color and technology make such a difference.  I remember when I was in high school, the 60's were twenty years earlier.  It all seemed SO old.  You'd watch a video of the Beatles, and it was black and white, and the recording quality was not nearly as good, so it really did seem older than it was.  To kids now, the 80's are just as old to them as the 60's were to me.  But everything stands up so much better, so it's surviving better.  The videos are in color.  The movies are in color, and pretty good quality.  The music is still awesome.  And it sounds good.  It sounds similar to a lot of the stuff on the top 40 list right now, in fact.

So today I'm staying home.  I have a lot to do around the house, and I think I'll be listening to my 80's playlist or watching some Say Anything while I'm doing my thing.  I don't have to re-live the nightmare that being a teenager sometimes was, but I can sure re-live the fun of it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Time for a To-Do List

Yesterday I was in the kitchen with my music on, and there was a sweet song on, "How Great Thou Art", by Carrie Underwood.  Hubby walked in and hollered at J, "OH NO GUESS WHAT YOUR MOM IS ALREADY LISTENING TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC!"  So I had to defend myself that no, this is not Christmas music yet, and back off, thankyouverymuch.  That did two things to me--it got me a little bit defensive, thinking of course I know it's a bit early to break out the Christmas tunes, but it also got me obsessing about Christmas Music.  I might have to break some out if I get some alone time today...  besides, what's the big deal?  This year I have to wait all the way until November 13 to decorate for Christmas, because we're having the birthday party for J on the 12th.  AUGH!  It's going to be hard to wait that long.  I wonder if I could get away with just decorating my office ...

Yikes--the halls of my brain are getting decked a little bit too early even for me.

So to change the subject, I think I'll start making a list.  I LOVE lists.  I should make a task list for all the crap that I'm hoping hubby and I can do over the fall/winter.  Like finally staining our window trim.  We got all new windows last year, and we still have the raw wood trim.  I think it's been pushed a ways down our priority list with everything we've been busy with over the summer and with my dad's stuff.  I'd like for us to get a mantel for our fireplace.  Since we built it, we just have basically a board sitting on the top of the brick surround that we use as a little shelf.  It's a bit inadequate.  I'd like to rearrange my kitchen cabinets.  I haven't changed the way they're (not) organized since we moved in here 13 years ago.  eeek.  Maybe I'll even paint them, since they're sort of nasty.  I want to get a new bed and fix up our bedroom.  It is the only room in our house that we have done NOTHING to since we moved in.  It's sadly in need of a face lift.  And paint the walls in the staircase and upstairs hallway.  Getting these things done will make me feel like I've had a successful winter.  Oh, and clean out and organize our front closets.  I forgot about what a nightmare they are.  See, getting this stuff written down will make it real for me, and maybe I'll make some progress.

We've actually done a lot to our house over the years, inside and out.  It's hard work when your house is a very old farmhouse and you have lots of buildings on your property in various states of repair, but we look like this a lot:

So really you'd think that staining some trim would be a small job when you look at the size of some of the projects we've undertaken.

Hubby is not a guy who does small jobs.  If you recall, I recently decided to organize the upstairs closet.  When he discovered me removing clothes from the closet, he decided it was an opportunity for a completely new ceiling and light in the closet, thus turning a 2-hour project into a weeklong undertaking.

It's all good. I just need to be prepared for it.  If I decide to start staining the trim, It may turn into remodeling the whole house.  

Look at what happens when we decide we should paint a room!  He's a big picture kind of guy, so starting and finishing a project in a day does not work for him.

I think maybe I'll make my list a little smaller, now that I think about it.  I better stick to re-organizing my kitchen cabinets.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Someday.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Fun Night

Lazy Sunday morning.  I've only had one cup of coffee so far.  I need to start some tasks today--I have to get the funeral thank you cards done and ready to mail, I have to clean, and I have to start getting ready for A's birthday party on Saturday.  I would also sort of like to take the kiddos to a movie, but we'll see . . .

So the costume party was last night and it was very fun!  Little Nephew5 had a great time, and he raked in some awesome presents, so all was good.  Hubby brought his new camera, so we have some good pictures.  But it looks like he stopped taking pictures about halfway in so we missed a lot of people.  But I guess that means that he was having too much fun at the party to remember the camera, so maybe that's a good thing.  My mom came, too, and it was fun to have her there.

SIL3's house looked SO great.  It's decorated beautifully anyway, but they always have it done up for the party, and they do an awesome job.  And the food was great--I'm still thinking about the cowboy caviar.  The main attraction was the costumes, of course, and I can't believe how creative people get.  There was a whole family of jockeys with the horses built into their costumes.  Hilarious.  There was a Star Wars family.  There was Caesar and Cleopatra.  Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.  The Grinch.  Popeye.  And lots of sparkly little girls with wings and tutus.  I loved it!  Here's some photos:
  J was a magician.

 A was a zombie doctor (awesome) and I was the weird blue witch with the blue hair.
Hubby was Zorro, 

And here's the birthday boy.  He's an Army Guy.
 Niece was a super cute little kitten, but her black teeth sort of freaked me out.  SIL2 and BIL2 were super cute as Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head...
 SIL3 and BIL3 were the Grinch and a Spider Witch.  BIL3 originally had creepy green teeth.
  Gramma (my mom) had her wax lips on.  She looked like a collagen job gone awry.

 SIL3's dad-in-law was Popeye.  He's a good sport.
So all in all it was a great night.  I should have known things were going way too smoothly, though.  Toward the end of the night J came running in from the back yard holding his head.  That's never something a parent likes to see.

They were playing kickball in the dark in the back yard (which is something, as we all remember, that is super super fun).  Apparently, he was running full speed and collided with a tree.  He ended up with a giant bump and scrape on his forehead, and we had to watch him for a concussion, and that ended the party for us.  Huge bummer for J.  It's so heartbreaking when kids are having so much fun in one second, and then in the next second it can turn to pain and fear from stuff like this.  He was very upset, and it was pretty sad.  I'm sure you parents know how when your kid is in pain--any kind of pain--you wish you could just absorb his pain for him, and feel it instead of letting him feel it.  I would have gladly taken the moment from him if I could have.  

He's fine now, but he's got a good lump on his forehead.  I have a feeling he's going to be nervous about going to school tomorrow, and all the questions he's going to get.  Geez--with A's broken arm and J's beat up face, should I start watching for a visitor from Child Protective Services?  Yikes.  My poor children.