Friday, May 30, 2008

I love that!

Good news! You're not going to have to put up with any of my whining today because I'm in a much better mood. I figured I'd better "turn that frown upside down" or else you'd go read someone else's blog and blow me off altogether. No need for that, 'cause I'm wearing a smile.

Nothing really extraordinary happened today to make me so happy, but I did experience some very nice moments that made for a great day. First of all, I had a good night's sleep, which will do wonders for one's disposition, wouldn't you agree? I love that!

I had lots of things on my "to do" list and I managed to complete them all, which is quite rare for me these days. I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment, and that's a good thing, right? I love that!

I had a talk with my son's teacher and his vice-principal today and both were very gracious and forgiving of yesterday's incident. I needed to talk with them and walked away feeling so much better about the situation. I love that!

My husband was able to come home early today and take one son to baseball practice while I stayed home with the other one to tend to homework. It was so nice being able to concentrate on only one kid instead of having to be two places at once. I love that!

While my son was doing his homework and I was busy in the kitchen, our landlady stopped by to pick up a piece of mail that belonged to the owners of the home we're renting and she surprised me with a huge bouquet of hot pink roses. I asked her what on earth the flowers were for, and she said it was because I was always so accommodating (I am?). I love that!

A couple of neighbor kids came inside to take a look at my older son's pet fish, and when they were heading upstairs, I heard one of them say that our house was nice and that it smelled good. I was baking chocolate chip cookies at the time. It gave me such a warm feeling, knowing that kids, who we think never really take notice of anything, actually complimented my son on our home. I love that!

My husband, being the cookie lover that he is, kept stealing cookies tonight when he knows I'm making them for a family reunion this weekend. He just flashed his big mischievous grin and said they were really good and we could run to the store to buy some if we didn't have enough for the reunion. Awwww... He loves my cookies! I love that!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I hate that!

Today was a busy day for me. I had loads of errands to run, but I was feeling good about getting out and about on such a beautiful day, knowing all the while that my cleaning lady was at the house working her magic... or so I thought. Beware... I'm about to whine. If you're not in the mood to hear it, you might want to visit someone else's blog right about now.

Little things happened today that were just like "mini pokes in the eye." For instance, I had my heart set on a large sweet tea from McDonald's, so I stopped to get one. I pulled away from the drive-thru and took a big swig of tea, and to my disappointment, it tasted "old." I had myself all psyched for that awesome sweet tea they normally serve, and then I experienced the big letdown. I hate that!

I took a huge stash of change to the local grocery store where they have a change counter. I had to unwrap the many coin rolls and dump the change in the machine. I managed to "re-open" a cut on my finger in the process. I hate that!

I went by the local Scout Store to search for a Boy Scout handbook cover that wasn't in stock the last time I was there. An employee had taken down my name and phone number to call me when the shipment of covers came in and I hadn't heard from anyone, so when I was in the area today, I stopped by. The covers were right there on the shelf. So much for customer service. I hate that!

I went to the mall today to purchase some clothing items as well as some summer footwear for one of my boys. There's never any time to take the kids for these things because of their busy school and social calendars, so I bit the bullet and shopped 'til I dropped for their benefit. When the boys got home from school today, they tried on all their new stuff and wouldn't you know that I'm going to have to return about half of my purchases. I hate that!

I took my youngest son to baseball practice today and they really needed some parental help, so I volunteered to play catcher. It was rather fun, to be honest, but I managed to get my WHITE tennis shoes dirty with red clay. I hate that!

I got home from my errands and found that my house cleaner (She only comes once a month) hadn't done a very good job. The last couple of times she's been here I've noticed that the quality of work hasn't been nearly as good as it was in the very beginning. What's the deal? I would say something if we were going to be here much longer, but we're moving soon, so I'm probably not going to go there, but just the same... I hate that!

The worst thing, by far, that happened today is something I really don't care to go into great detail about, but it involves one of my boys getting in trouble for something he did at school. It wasn't a malicious, horrible thing, but he still broke a school rule and could have gotten a much stiffer punishment if the principal had felt it was warranted. He's been a model student this year, so she was totally surprised and called me to discuss the matter. I was grateful for her concern, fairness and leniency. Now my husband and I have to follow through with an appropriate punishment at home as well. I HATE THAT!

Monday, May 26, 2008

America's Favorite Pasttime

We took our boys to the Washington Nationals baseball game on Saturday night. We'd been trying to find a good time to attend a game together, but our busy weekend schedules of kids' soccer and baseball have prevented it until now. It's Memorial Day weekend, and thankfully, the local kids' sports leagues don't schedule games during this holiday weekend.

We were able to jump on the Metro and ride to the game rather than driving and getting mixed up in crazy traffic. And our boys LOVE riding the Metro, and I have to admit, it's quite an experience for me as well. My husband rides it to work and back every day, so it's not a novelty for him, but the boys and I still act like a trio of tourists. I'm a people watcher and Lord knows there are plenty of people of every variety to watch while riding the Metro.

We had to switch trains during the course of our trip to the game, but that just made for more excitement, and it's so awesome that the Metro basically stops right at the brand-new Nationals stadium. It's such a beautiful stadium too. Wanna see? You KNOW I took my camera! Check it out...

Pretty impressive, huh?

The Nationals lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, which was a bummer, but there were some bright moments too. One of the Nationals' players hit a home run, and wouldn't you know that was the precise time my husband went to get snacks. Poor guy!

My husband thought the boys would enjoy keeping stats during the game, so he printed off some score sheets and brought pencils for the three of them. Notice I did not join in the fun. Um... not my thing. Besides, I was busy taking pictures, like this one...
There were some young just-out-of-college-types sitting behind us who talked incessantly throughout the game. One guy in particular bragged about his position in life and all the important people he knows and has worked with, and of course this guy MIGHT have been 25 years old. These folks also managed to let the F-bomb fly a few times, not to mention several other words we try to avoid saying when in the presence of children. Great! I realize it's a public place and you can't put a filter on everything, but it's a baseball game where there are lots of kids around. You'd think people could put a lid on the trash talk for a few hours. There's no telling what our kids heard and will eventually repeat. Luckily that was the only negative involved with our evening out.

The boys loved the Geico signs at the stadium, as they think the gecko is cool. Naturally we had to have a picture of the sign of this Nationals sponsor...
The boys also got a kick out of watching the "Presidents' Race" at the game. In case you aren't familiar, folks dress up in costumes that look like former U.S. presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and they race one another around the field. It's hysterical! Check them out...
We couldn't go to the game and not get a picture of the Nationals' mascot either. He's cool and he likes to dance and interact with the crowd.
Tickets to a Major League Baseball Game = $160
Metro Ride to the Game = $18.80
Food Consumed During the Game = $80+ (We lost count)
Souvenirs Bought at the Game = $37
A Night Out with the Boys = Priceless

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What child labor law?

Yesterday was yard-cuttin' day at our house. I don't mind cutting the grass, and neither does my husband, but we're trying to teach our children how to do these kinds of things so they grow up being slaves to us... uh... I mean self-sufficient and responsible adults. Hey, they need to help out and earn their keep a little bit around here! After all, our lives are totally centered around them and their many activities. And they "wanted to help," so we had them mow the grass, do a little weed-eatin' and grass blowin', all the while being monitored by my husband. They actually did a great job. Now don't go reporting us to the local authorities for breaking some child labor law. We're just molding these little people and teaching them the value of hard work. (Wink wink)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good Times at the Commissary

I'm not particularly thrilled with grocery shopping. I don't know why, but the whole process just annoys me. Perhaps the monotony of it all makes grocery shopping feel like a drudgery. How about you? Do you loathe the very idea of going to the grocery too?

I had no choice but to make the trek to the grocery yesterday as we were out of a lot of staples. I decided to go to the commissary on the local military post. Now, for you non-military types, allow me to explain that a commissary is simply a grocery store located on a military installation. Why they don't just call it a grocery store is a mystery to both you and me.

I don't often go to the commissary here because it's just not convenient for me. I know I can save some bucks by shopping there, but my time and energy is worth something, right? I usually go to the local Giant (occasionally I'll hit Safeway or Shoppers) because it's very close by and I'm all about convenience. So I normally only go to the commissary when I have "big" shopping to do.

Anyway... the commissary parking lot was crowded yesterday, but no more than usual. Let's face it... the commissary is ALWAYS a busy place! For the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, I didn't think it looked too crowded, therefore I decided to continue on and brave the crowd.

I made it halfway through my shopping when I heard an announcement over the store's intercom telling patrons that only cash and checks were being accepted because of some kind of problem with the debit/credit system. They have an ATM in the lobby, so folks could use that if necessary. The checkout line snaked up, down and around two aisles, but a commissary employee told me they would accept credit cards, but they had to do them manually and it might take a little longer. No worries. I had plenty of time.

I finally made it to the checkout lane, and in all honesty, the time went by quicker than I thought it would, and I had a nice conversation with some folks along the way. The employees were, I'm sure, doing the best they could do to correct the problem and meet the needs of shoppers at the same time. I wasn't going to be upset over something that was just a minor inconvenience.

So the checkout clerk scanned all my groceries and I handed her my credit card and she called another employee over to help her. The second lady told me they were no longer accepting credit cards. WHAT? I told her that another employee had assured me they'd accept my credit card and that I could have gone to the ATM if I'd known there would be a problem. So she asked if I would please go to the ATM instead. I headed toward the ATM only to be told it was out of service. It was probably out of cash!

I went back to my checkout lane and explained that the ATM was out of service and the lady ended up using the manual credit card method (AHA! So you CAN still accept credit cards!), although the lady told me she wasn't sure what she was doing since she'd never had to do it that way before. Lord only knows what our VISA charge might end up being.

Come to find out, the problem in the commissary had been going on all day, since early morning. I'm wondering why no one thought to post a sign outside forewarning shoppers of the situation inside. I don't carry a checkbook because I never use it when I'm out and about. I find I only use it for bills or writing checks to my kids' school or our church. It's one extra thing to carry, so I leave it at home. Had I known the situation, I could have made a choice to either get cash at the ATM first thing (while it was still in operation) or I could have gone elsewhere.

So I'm sure I probably saved a few bucks shopping at the commissary, but was it worth the money saved? Hmmm... I'm wishing I'd just gone to Giant like I usually do.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What? American Idol is over?

It's official... American Idol is over. The winner has been chosen and the show won't be back until January 2009 (Isn't it CRAZY that it's almost 2009?). What am I going to do now that I don't have AI to watch on Tuesday and Wednesday nights? Hmmm... maybe get organized for our upcoming move? Yeah, I'll get to that next week, but first I want to talk about AI.
So here's David Cook, American Idol 2008. I think he's a great singer - unique, versatile and I believe he was very deserving of last night's honors. He's older and more experienced than David Archuleta and has probably paid his dues a bit more. I'm glad he won.

And then there's David Archuleta, the teenage prodigy who is talented beyond belief! He seems like such a nice kid, doesn't he? He was always gracious and poised and I believe he deserved to win as well. Hopefully both he and David Cook will fair well in the music industry.

Now I guess I'm faced with pulling myself together and putting American Idol behind me for a few months. Do you think I'll be able to see the show in Europe? That's where we're moving, you know. Fill you in on the details as they come.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm ba-ack!

I can hardly believe it's been nearly a week since I've blogged! I was beginning to feel a touch of withdrawals coming on. I just had to type a line or two before things got ugly for me.

It's been a busy week or so. You know how the end of the school year is... field trips, special events, teacher appreciation, etc. And of course I was there for everything because I'm nosy and must be where the action is at all times. That was a joke. Actually, I was there for all those things because I'm weak and have trouble saying no to people begging for volunteers. It's something I constantly struggle with, and doubt I'll ever overcome.

But enough of my sanity issues... We've had some great times over the last few days though. I'll share some of them with you...

My oldest son was involved in the 5th grade Medieval Faire at his school. He dressed as a knight and had a great time. The kids were all so well-behaved and looked so cute dressed up in medieval attire. I was there for "crowd control" (a.k.a. "The Bouncer") and picture-taking purposes. Here's my handsome knight...
They had a big feast in the school cafeteria, which was decorated for the event. The kids enjoyed chicken legs, sliced turkey, corn on the cob, cheese, crackers, carrots and lots of fruit. Jumbo pita bread served as their plates. Check out some of the decorations and a plate of food...
My son and two of his friends were also trumpeters, announcing the arrival of the "royal" party. He thought that was pretty cool. My mom and brother flew in for the weekend to visit and watch baseball and soccer games as well as attend the kids' choir musical at our church. The musical was called "Simon Says," and was centered around Simon Peter, who was on trial for preaching and teaching that Jesus is the Messiah. Both of our boys had speaking parts and did such a great job.
Hope your weekend was full of special moments!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Heaven... simply heaven

I'm an avid reader of a blog with which you are probably quite familiar - "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman." I love Ree's wit and writing style as well as her beautiful photography. Her new site has so many great features, and lately I've been checking out her "Pioneer Woman Cooks" blog to see what yummy recipes she's posted.

A few weeks ago Ree posted a recipe for apple dumplings. I copied the recipe and printed it out, thinking it sounded tasty. I FINALLY got around to making this dish over the weekend. It was my present to myself for Mother's Day, and I was not disappointed. Oh my! It was SO DELICIOUS (easy too!) that I have to share it with those of you who may not have seen or tried this recipe. If you like apple pie or cobbler, you'll want to try this dish. Trust me. You'll want to thank me and then you'll want to thank Ree, and then you'll probably want to kill us both because you'll want to eat those apple dumplings until you're sick. They're THAT GOOD!


2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small can (half-can size) Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13-inch buttered baking dish. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges and down the middle of the baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream (I used Cool Whip because I didn't have ice cream on hand) and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the bottom of the dish over the top.

Heaven... simply heaven! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Parking Lot Peeves - NOT COOL, PEOPLE!

Get ready, 'cause right about now I'm up on my big ol' soapbox, ready to practically preach a sermon on proper parking lot etiquette. Maybe this is just a pet peeve of mine, and it's a personal problem I have to overcome, but honesty, I've just about had it with rude, thoughtless people around here!

I went to the movies recently, and when I got ready to leave, the car parked on the driver's side of my vehicle had pulled in so doggone close (and over the line into my parking space), I couldn't possibly open my door to get inside. Seriously, not one of the skinnest of Hollywood's anorexic crowd could have squeezed between my vehicle and the one next to it! I had no other option but to open the passenger door and climb across the console to get into the driver's seat. Let me just say that it took every ounce of restraint in me not to leave the driver next to me a sarcastic little note expressing my displeasure at having to stretch and contort my body in such an unnatural, uncomfortable, unnecessary manner just so I could get in my truck and drive away. NOT COOL, PEOPLE!

I came out of a store today and went to get in my truck and the car next to me had pulled in at an angle, nearly blocking me in and preventing me from being able to back out of my space. Why? Was that necessary? Again... NOT COOL, PEOPLE!

I really hate it when people, particularly those driving super-expensive cars, take up two parking spaces, and in the Wal-Mart parking lot no less. I suppose it's because they're afraid someone will damage their nice car. Don't they know parking like that makes people WANT to damage their nice car? And if you're going to continue to take up two parking spaces, do it WAY OUT in the parking lot, not close to the entrance. NOT COOL, PEOPLE!

I was pulling out of a parking area of a local gas station a few months ago and was watching very closely for other vehicles entering and exiting, not to mention the people on foot who were returning to their cars after having gone inside for whatever reason. There was a huge delivery truck parked at the front door of the station and I was passing it very slowly, when this guy just walked out from in front of the truck, and then in front of me, not at all paying attention to where he was going. I had to step on the brakes quickly and the guy just glared at me and yelled for me to watch where I was going. Excuse me? I WAS watching where I was going, because if I hadn't been, I would have flattened the guy. I rolled down my window and said I was sorry, that I didn't see him coming from in front of the other truck. He just threw up his hands and waved me off, and said, "Whatever!" Yeah, well you have a nice day now too! NOT COOL, PEOPLE!

Do you see where I'm going here? Why can't people be more courteous? I'm beginning to understand road rage, only this is more like parking lot rage. Do any of you experience these kinds of situations? What are your pet peeves?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day, the day we Americans set aside to honor mothers. I got curious about the history behind this holiday, therefore I googled it and found some interesting details. Mother's Day isn't celebrated everywhere around the world, and in some countries it's not even celebrated in May. Seems Mother's Day has come a long way, baby! Check it out...

According to Wikipedia (Yeah, I know, I've been reading a lot on Wikipedia lately)...

"The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on 10 May 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States."

This is a 2006 breakdown of the monies spent on Mother's Day. Click on the chart to enlarge...
What's the big deal? I don't personally have a problem with Mother's Day becoming more commercialized. Wine me, dine me, buy me gifts - I REALLY don't mind! My boys, husband included, made me breakfast in bed this morning, although I spoiled it by coming downstairs before they were ready. No matter, breakfast was made for me and I enjoyed it. I was presented a beautiful bouquet of mixed fresh-cut flowers, already arranged in the vase. They gave me special cards and my youngest son had made two different cards at school and they were precious! It won't be long before the handmade cards cease to be given and I'll miss that, so I'm going to really cherish these. Lastly, my sweet trio presented me with a spa package and I'm already excited about making the appointment. I do love a trip to the spa!

Normally we'd all be in church together on Mother's Day, however, my youngest has a case of strep throat, and hasn't been on his antibiotics for even 24 hours, therefore I opted to stay at home and send my husband and oldest son to church instead. What kind of mother would I be if I went to church and left my child at home with his dad on Mother's Day? I shudder to think!

Motherhood is a tough job, and certainly not for wimps. It's not always glamorous and there are days when you want to "quit" or "retire," but luckily those days are few and far between. The benefits far outweigh the complaints. I always knew I wanted to be somebody's wife and mother, and I've been blessed to be both. I certainly never could have imagined the amount of love I could feel for a child until I had children of my own. Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere! I hope your day is full of special moments!

Now... here's a little chocolate on me. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Boll weevils, fire ants and such...

My youngest son participated in a 2nd grade class musical last week. The musical was called "BUGZ," thus everyone dressed as some kind of bug, but I'm sure you could have figured that out all on your own.

My son had a speaking part, which thrilled him, and he was assigned the part of the boll weevil. I'd heard of boll weevils before and knew they were mostly a southern kind of critter as they're associated with cotton. Little did I know that boll weevils are positively evil little things. I was enlightened by what Wikipedia had to say...

"The boll weevil has caused an estimated $14 billion loss in yield to the U.S. Cotton industry since it arrived from Mexico in 1892. Programs to eliminate boll weevils have led to its total eradication in several cotton producing states."

Nice, huh?

The costume information that was sent home from school said my boll weevil was to dress in a white T-shirt with cotton balls on it and he was to carry a stick of cotton candy. So... I glued LOTS of cotton balls on a white T-shirt and we made a stick of cotton candy out of printer paper and batting. It was rather cute, if I do say so myself, and of course I do say so myself.

What I don't understand about the costume is the fact that boll weevils don't really look anything like what I just described. They don't LOOK like cotton; they just EAT the cotton. THIS is what they look like...
My son was slightly aggravated before, during and after the performance because several of his classmates kept pulling the cotton balls on his shirt, thus many of them were simply dangling and/or completely pulled off and lying on the stage floor before it was all said and done. He was not even one little bit happy to be losing his cotton balls. And check out the antennae on his head. There's a missing "ball" on the end of one side. There was a definite theme going on here, don't you think?
Now how could those music teachers look at this sweet face and determine he needed to play the part of a nasty little boll weevil? If all boll weevils looked like this one, no one would mind if they ate all the cotton they wanted. And somehow the antennae is right once again. Thank goodness for that!
Of course there is a bug that is meaner and much nastier than the boll weevil and here's what Wikipedia revealed to me about that...

"Entomologists at Texas A&M have pointed to the spread of FIRE ANTS as a factor in the weevil's population decline." Here's what those nasty little varmints look like...
Here's what another website had to say about the aftermath of the sting of a fire ant (also dubbed the "Ant from Hell")...

"The venom burns like a hot match and causes tiny blisters or white pustules that persist for days if left untreated or for weeks if scratched or infected and may leave permanent scars."

I can tell you I'm not at all surprised to find this out as I've lived in Alabama (twice) where those fire ants are plentiful and they are positively HATEFUL, FEROCIOUS, DESPICABLE creatures, and I have the scar from a fire ant sting to prove it!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Special moments, aggravating as they may be...

Last night our oldest son performed in his first band concert. He plays the trumpet, just like his dad, and he's doing a great job, although I don't think he practices enough, but that's another story...

It's funny (and yet sad) how I can eagerly anticipate these special events in my children's lives, moments captured in video and photos, to forever be remembered and cherished, only to have the little things annoy the living daylights out of me to the point that I want to stand up and scream. Allow me to share last night's annoyances with you...

We arrived at the school gymnasium a little early and our son took his place among the other band members to warm up for the concert. In the meantime, we found a couple of seats. Mind you, there were TWO (Yes, only TWO) rows of seats set up for families to sit in, and there were probably 150+ people in attendance, so people were having to grab seats from elsewhere until school officials finally clued in and had the custodians start rounding up more seats. Where did they think people were going to sit anyway? I still don't understand that.
As I mentioned before, the concert took place in the gym. The basketball goal right in front of the staged area wasn't moved, although it appears to be one of those that can be raised to "lie flat" just below the rafters. Was it broken or did no one think it necessary to move it? I don't know. It was really just a minor gripe, but an annoyance to me just the same.

The podium was set up along the side of the staged area and I guess someone thought it would be nice if red, white and blue star-shaped balloons were attached. I felt sorry for the families sitting on that side of the gym because they were faced with having to look around those balloons the entire time. Obviously not a great photo op for lots of people!

The microphones were crackling and no one seemed to have the ability to fix the problem. Frankly, in a room that small, I was thinking they could have just turned the microphones off altogether. It would have been much more pleasant.

Naturally you have people who think it's A-okay to stand in front of others to get just the right picture. There was one woman who I thought would never sit down. Every single time I went to get a picture of my son, and I was sitting so as not to block other people, she popped up in front of my camera. GRRRRR.... SIT DOWN!!!

There was a family sitting in front of us that played musical chairs nearly the entire evening. First they "saved" seats, which ticked off a few people, and then their kids couldn't sit still. One little boy had a quarter and he kept rolling and/or dropping it in his folding metal chair, so you can imagine the noise. Um... Can't you just take it away from him? The parents didn't seem remotely bothered by the constant fidgeting and noise-making, but I can assure you, I WAS QUITE BOTHERED. I was reminded of the scene in the comedy "Kindergarten Cop" where Arnold Schwarzeneggar threatens to break a kid in half like a pencil if he doesn't stop kicking the back of his airline seat. I could somewhat relate to that last night.

Then there was someone (an adult) behind us who kept making noises with their program... folding it, wadding it, crinkling it... you name it. It always happened at the precise moment when everyone was quiet and attempting to listen to the music. I just wanted to turn around and snatch the paper out of the person's hands and ask them what their problem was.

I'm telling you, the older I get, the less tolerant I seem to be. Oh, I don't ever confront anyone, but I THINK about confronting people all the time. I thought we were supposed to mellow with age. What's happening with me? Maybe I need some help with anger management or something. It wasn't just me though. Even my husband was a little annoyed. At one point, I leaned over and said to him, "This is positively blog-worthy!"
All the aggravation melted away when I saw how much my son had enjoyed the evening. He really enjoys playing his trumpet and I think it's cool he and his dad have yet one more thing in common.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Farewell Gift

I think I've mentioned the fact that our family is relocating this summer. I'll tell you more about that in another post. For now, I want to share with you the cool farewell gift we received from our Sunday School class. There are three couples in our class who are all moving this summer, one of whom is moving this month, thus the early farewell gift. All three couples received these nice Lands End personalized canvas tote bags. We each were given a different color with our family's last name embroidered on the front. Everyone in the class signed his or her name on the inside of each bag with a permanent marker and brought in all kinds of travel supplies (tissues, wipes, snacks, games, activities, etc.) to fill them up. What a great moving gift, huh? We were really touched by this generous, yet very practical gift.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Soccer Mania

The weekend was full of activity - yardwork, grocery shopping, laundry (ALWAYS), church, a memorial service, baseball and of course... SOCCER! My son's soccer team had two games, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. They don't usually play on Sundays, however, this was a makeup game due to a previously rained out game. We were beginning to think this game would never take place because it had been rained out twice, so this was a "makeup to the makeup" game.

Allow me to back up a moment to Saturday's game. It was so exciting! Our team was down 2-0 and things were looking rather bleak. We finally scored a goal, so at least it wasn't going to be a total shut-out. Then we scored again, and this time my son scored the goal, a first for him. He was so psyched, and I was thrilled to have been in attendance. I had been in a not so pleasant mood because we were so busy that day and I was having to do it alone again. When my son scored, I felt a total change come over me. I was so happy to have been able to see him play well and to witness first-hand his excitement and happiness. Although I wished my husband had been there to share the moment with me, I selfishly thought, "It's my turn!" It seems every single time one of our kids does exceptionally well in a sport (whatever it may be at the time), it happens to be the one game of the season I'm off taking care of the other kid and I don't get to see the big moment. Is that terribly petty of me? Yeah, probably so, but it just seems unfair that I haul these little people around all over the place day after day for practices and yet I don't get to see their moment of glory! Where's the fairness in that? I think I should occasionally have the opportunity to see them do something extraordinary. I got to see just that on Saturday. It was AWESOME, even if the team lost 4-3.

The team played again on Sunday and they WON their first game of the season, 3-0. I'm not sure who was more excited, the kids or the parents. Of course I think the coaches were pretty pumped too. Perhaps their hard work, patience and dedication are finally paying off a little. But the biggest thrill for me was seeing this big smile on my kiddo's face. Makes it all worthwhile!

Going to the movies... alone

Yep, I actually went to the movies all by myself on Friday, something I'd never done in my entire life. I guess I'd just never even considered going solo to a movie. I always thought people who did that were either lonely types or just pathetic losers with no friends. I don't think the former describes me, and I certainly hope I don't fall into the latter category.

I just had an unexpected window of opportunity after plans with a friend changed, and decided to take in a matinee showing of "Made of Honor," the new Patrick Dempsey flick. I recommend this light-hearted romantic comedy for two reasons: 1) Patrick Dempsey stars in it (HELLO!), and 2) it's actually quite entertaining.

I have to admit I almost freaked out after getting my popcorn and soda (both an integral and necessary part of the whole movie experience) and getting situated in the theater. First of all, there was no one else (That's right... NO ONE ELSE) in the entire theater when I arrived. I sat down, got comfy and then the previews started. The first preview was downright scary and it gave me such a creepy feeling. I kept looking around to make sure I was, in fact, alone. Finally four other people entered the theater and I was so glad not to be the lone movie watcher any longer.

Would I go to the movies by myself again? Hmmm... maybe... but I'd prefer to go with someone.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Friday Funny

It's 8:34pm and my husband is outside attempting to mow our lawn in the dark. He had some daylight left around 7:45 or so and thought perhaps he could at least get the front yard mowed before it got too dark to see. I know what you're thinking... Why wouldn't he just wait until tomorrow, right? Well, we have a very full day tomorrow with multiple events that last until the evening, so he thought he'd try to knock out some of the yardwork tonight. And it REALLY needs to be mowed because we've had a bit of rain lately and the grass has shot up seemingly overnight.

So I heard the mower going and then I heard my husband's infamous whistle, the one he uses when trying to get the kids' attention. We're all like trained dogs in that we come running whenever we hear his whistle. I went to the door and he asked me to help him with something.

We have a self-propelled mower, so we have to squeeze and hold the bar in place near the handle to operate it. Somehow, Lord only knows how, my husband pulled the cord out of the mower upon starting the motor. So if he lets go of the bar, there's no way to start the mower again, and of course he can't quit for the night because of the obvious. He's also using a bag catcher and when it got full, he needed me to hold the bar so the mower would continue to run. He asked me to see if I could find some heavy duty tape in the house to hold that bar in place, and naturally I couldn't find one roll of tape anywhere. I did find some heavy duty plastic ties and those are doing the trick. (I think I hear a Jeff Foxworthy "You Might Be a Redneck" joke being said somewhere right about now.)

As frustrating as this probably is for my husband, I'm enjoying laughing about the whole scenario. I'm not one bit surprised because this kind of thing is so classic for our family! Do these things happen to other people besides us?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Math + Me = Math (because I'm a ZERO!)

I've always been a good student, an A & B kinda gal for the most part. I took advanced math in middle school and algebra I & II in high school, and I did well, however, that's about the extent of my math intellect. I had very limited geometry and certainly no calculus or trigonometry (Did I even spell that correctly?). I'm not a math whiz, that's for sure, but Lord knows I wish I were!

My oldest son is in 5th grade and is taking an advanced math course, which is basically 6th grade math. Can I just say that 6th grade math is considerably different than I remember? Heaven help me, but I'm challenged almost daily by the math my kid brings home. He's doing all kinds of algebra and geometry and could probably outscore me on a test any day!

Last week my kiddo had a homework page that practically had me hitting the bottle. I finally gave in and decided to contact my out-of-town husband who just happens to be quite good in math. I tried to scan the homework page into my computer, but it wasn't working properly (We still need to fix it). I nearly panicked! Then I realized that there's definitely more than one way to skin a cat, and I got out my trusty digital camera and took pictures of the math problems, downloaded them onto my computer and emailed them to my husband. How's that for resourcefulness and desperation? My husband and I worked on our son's math problems via the telephone and internet (Thank God for technology!) at 10:00pm. If that's not parental love, I don't know what is!

Today my son has a math test. He and I studied together this morning before he left for school, as if I could really help him. Yeah, I know, it's scary. Hopefully he'll perform well in spite of my best efforts to confuse the both of us.