Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Move over, Bill Dance!

Our boys have a new favorite pasttime - FISHING! We had the opportunity to fish a few times during our recent vacation and they just had a blast.

I suppose my boys get their love of fishing honest. I always loved fishing as a kid. I spent nearly every day of summer vacation with a line in the pond behind our house. Of course that was back when we didn't have Wii, Game Boy, Playstation, Game Cube, etc. We had to make our own fun and entertain ourselves.

My dad always loved fishing too, and he gave our boys poles and tackle boxes for Christmas a couple of years ago. It really tickled him to be able to shop for a gift he knew something about.

The boys fished in Indiana at my brother's house. Uncle T lives in a great neighborhood with a pond/lake in the middle and all the residents are welcome to fish. Can you tell these boys were thrilled with their catches?

A few days later we tried fishing in a lake in Tennessee, but didn't have any luck. These fish evidently didn't like our bait. The fishing excursion was cut short due to lack of interest. The boys don't like it when the fish ain't bitin'.

Thankfully the boys had another successful fishing experience at my husband's sister's place in the western part of Virginia. She and her family live on a 17-acre plot of land in the country and they have a pond with a cool dock that floats out to the middle, as well as a canoe. We all caught fish that day! In fact, our oldest caught over 20 fish in one outing, which was some kind of record for this pond.

What's really awesome is that both boys can cast their own poles and rarely need help with freeing the fish once they've reeled one in. I told the boys they could be regulars on the Bill Dance TV show and they just gave me a blank stare. What? They don't know who Bill Dance is? I thought everybody knew who Bill Dance was. Isn't he a professional fisherman, a regular fishing guru, a living legend in his sports field? What? You don't know who Bill Dance is either? Well, google his name and see what you find. Go ahead, you know you want to be sure I'm not making this stuff up.
I'm glad the boys have discovered their love of fishing. It's nice to know they can enjoy the great outdoors and get away from the electronic craze every once in a while.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Anger Management, here I come!

I wanted to get a new driver's license before moving. The reason? Even though my old license didn't expire until 2009, it would "drop dead" before we return to the States, therefore when I eventually come back, I wouldn't have a valid license. I figured I'd get a new one now so as to prevent a future hassle. So in essence, I just went through the hassle now rather than later, and boy, what a hassle it was!

The DMV is now at the top of my least enjoyable places to visit. I had to go there three times before I had everything I needed to get a license. I still can't believe it! My husband had gotten his new license just a few days prior and hadn't experienced any problems, but he'd gotten it taken care of at the Pentagon.

I thought my military I.D. card would suffice for one of the required pieces of official identification. Well, it didn't, because I'm a dependent, not the military member. I had to go home and retrieve my birth certificate. Turns out I accidentally picked up the hospital birth certificate instead of the notarized state issued copy, so that wasn't good enough either. I decided not to try a third time in the same day because I was, God forgive me, starting to have evil thoughts about the DMV nazi behind the counter.

I returned the following day, all the necessary paperwork and forms of identification in hand, and I met the same DMV nazi at the counter. She didn't completely remember me from the day prior and asked me who I'd talked to the previous day. I reminded her that I didn't get past her desk the previous day, but I had every intention of doing so this time. She didn't even crack a smile. Geez, those people are tough characters!

I finally made it past the front desk and felt like I'd won the lottery. I had my boys with me, who, thankfully, had remembered to bring their Game Boys so as to keep from dying of sheer boredom. I, on the other hand, had failed to bring anything to do while waiting, however, I had a regular field day just people watching. Lord, have mercy, there were some real interesting folks in the DMV yesterday! There were scantily clad women with tattoos and mean-looking people who were obviously unhappy about having to be there. Some man seated in front of us broke out in song for no apparent reason. Let's just say it was entertaining.

I sat for several minutes and then heard an announcement that basically said they couldn't give licenses for out-of-state people. In other words, I wasn't going to be able to get my license after all. I just started laughing out loud, and people began to stare at me as if I'd lost it. Well, they didn't know how close to losing it I was at that moment in time. I walked over to the DMV nazi's desk and asked her what the scoop was, and she told me to continue waiting, and that if I had to come back, they'd give me a number so I wouldn't have to wait in line all over again.

I eventually heard my number called and I approached the counter, ready to hear that they couldn't help me and I'd have to come back. I figured anger management was in my future at that point. But you know what happened? I think they took pity on me, there for the third time in two days, my kids in tow, with a look of desperation and, I'm sure, sheer madness on my face. Yep, I think they knew I'd had about all the disappointment and frustration a person could take.

I now have my VA state driver's license and I'm one happy camper. Of course I still have to get a Spanish driver's license when we move to Spain next month. Now THAT ought be a blog-worthy experience. I can hardly wait!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Food Nicknames

Yesterday I blogged about how our pork chops looked like the heads of cats. Later I thought about how my youngest son also has "nicknames" for certain foods. For instance, here are a few of his food nicknames followed by their actual meanings...

stick cheese = string cheese

square cheese = cheese slices

circle sausage = sausage patties

cigar sausage = sausage links

chicken on the bone = fried chicken

skinny fries = shoestring fries

See what I mean? Kids just make up their own names for things when they can't recall the actual words. My younger brother had LOTS of funny words when he was growing up, but since he's an adult now and a father-to-be, I'll refrain from sharing his secrets because I'm feeling particularly generous today. Tomorrow might be another story. What are some of the funny words your family uses?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What's for dinner?

Last night while preparing dinner, my little guy comes over to inspect what we're having, and he stood at the stove with this puzzled look on his face. Finally he said, "Why does that meat look like a cat?"

My husband and I exchanged a sideways glance at one another and then took a good long look at the pork chops frying in the pan (Yes, sometimes we DO fry meat!).

Lo' and behold, those chops really do look like cats! Check it out...
See the resemblance? Cat... It's what's for dinner! (Of course I'm kidding, so please don't leave me a nasty gram.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How do I....?

Alright, how do I get rid of the litle tool graphics located to the right of my blog? Somebody has to know and I would certainly appreciate a little assistance here. Enlighten me!

Moving Day Memories

I know I've mentioned more than once the fact that my family is relocating very soon, and to another continent no less. This is a very big deal for us, let me tell you. We've never lived overseas, so I'm a little intimidated to say the least. I don't know the language either, so there's something else to intimidate me even further.

I suppose I could go ahead and tell you where we're headed. Now that my husband FINALLY has his orders, I think it's okay to say we're going to southern Spain. We'll be living near the ocean, on the Atlantic side.

All the planning for this move has brought to mind our last move, from Alabama to Virginia. We were in Alabama, and the packers were loading the last bit of our household goods on the truck, when they came to the sad realization that they weren't going to be able to fit everything INSIDE the truck, therefore they strapped stuff to the OUTSIDE of the truck. You know I had to get a picture of that!
Now you tell me... Do these pictures look like something you'd see on "Country Fried Videos" or what? This would definitely have made for some fine material for any blue collar comedy routine. If one of us had actually been sitting on the back of the truck, we could have no doubt been mistaken for the Beverly Hillbillies.

I can only imagine what the people on our street here in Virginia thought when this moving truck drove past their homes and pulled into our driveway. I know what they thought alright. They thought, "Where's Jethro, Ellie Mae, Jed and Granny?" I'd have thought the same thing.

I wonder what memorable moving moments we'll be reminiscing about in a year or so. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Savoring the nectar of the gods

Well, it's official... we have orders! Got 'em this week, so now we're in countdown mode around here... 27 days and counting until we blow this pop stand.

Now that I know we're REALLY leaving, I've started to panic at the thought that there might just not be a McDonald's right around the corner in our new location, thus I probably can't get a sweet tea fix anytime I need one. So... I've made it my mission to stop at the drive-thru as often as possible between now and 16 August.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's a conspiracy!

I've mentioned before that we don't own a dog for various reasons. My kids would really love to have one, but frankly, I'm not ready for the added responsibility because I know I'd be the one doing all the caregiving. And who gets a dog just one month before moving to another continent anyway? Not happening!

That being said, I have to say I'm feeling as if my extended family is totally conspiring against me. We went on vacation for two weeks, visiting with relatives part of the time and every single one of them owns at least one dog, if not more. Check this out...
This is Miss Ellie, my parents' beagle puppy. I can't even believe they have a dog! Miss Ellie digs up my mom's flower beds and she still jumps, scratches and gnaws on everything. I'm surprised she's still breathing!

My brother and sister-in-law have three miniature schnauzers. I don't have a picture of all three dogs together, but I did take this cute one of Jake... and another one of (I believe) Heidi...
My nephew had two miniature schnauzers as well, and I managed to get a picture of one of them, although I can't remember which one this is...
We also spent time with my husband's sister and her family, and you guessed it... they have three dogs, all labs. I didn't get all three dogs in a picture, but here's one of their canines...
So now my kids think EVERYONE has a dog except them. I just want to personally thank my entire family for helping me out on this dog issue and making my life so much easier.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Could it be sinking in?

Sometimes parents wonder if their kids will ever really exercise good manners or common courtesy without having to be prodded. I suppose it's a process and we just have to be patient and use "gentle" reminders, such as the glare, nudge, poke, pinch or the verbal "What do you say?" when trying to get kiddos to do the courteous thing.

I'm starting to see some improvement in that area where my boys are concerned, and it's got me wondering if all our hard parental work is paying off, or if the boys are simply "working" us. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and choose to believe it's because they've been paying attention and actually learning and applying basic good manners.

Both boys often rush to open doors for me, and will open them for others as well. I love that! I just think it's a considerate gesture, no matter who you're opening a door for.

The other thing I've noticed lately is that the boys are generally quick to respond with a respectful "Yes/No, ma'am/sir," which is something I think all adults appreciate, especially nowadays.

My little man is having a sleepover this Friday and he's invited two friends who just happen to be brothers. I told him he needed to be sure he wanted to invite two people because that would mean taking turns playing the Wii (We only have two controllers), and he said he would let his friends play first while he watched. Then we talked about what kind of food we'd have for dinner that night as well as breakfast the next day, and he said he'd let his friends choose.

Yep, my boys are displaying some good manners alright. Makes a mama proud! Those cattle prods work wonders, don't they? (Please know I AM kidding!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Boy Talk

Today I took the boys to the pool and on our way home, my little man, out of the blue, says, "I haven't thrown up in a long time."

What does one say to that? I asked him if it was something he was hoping to be able to do again anytime soon and he said, "No, I'm just saying..."

Then both boys started thinking of things that would possibly make them throw up. They figured making gagging, puking noises might bring on a bout of real, honest-to-goodness barfing. The other idea they came up with involved eating poo. Yeah, I'd say that would do it for me, how 'bout you?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tidbits from an American Vacation

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I've been MIA for a couple of weeks due to our vacation, but I'm back and ready to share a few travel tidbits with you. We had a blast visiting with family and friends and we saw some beautiful sights along the way, some of which I'll eventually share. I just had to tell you about a few highlights first.

We bought our first GPS ("Ooooh....Aaaah...") and tried it out on our trip. We believe "Betsy" is a keeper as she really helped us out a time or two when our directions were a bit iffy, but she had quite an attitude when her directions weren't followed to the letter. Whenever we deviated from her instructions, she'd say, "Recalculating" in this kind of huffy, aggravated voice. It was almost like she really wanted to say, "HELLO! You're going the WRONG way, idiot!"

We saw this awesome road sign that I so wish I'd been able to get a picture of, but the camera was in the back and we couldn't stop. We were on a state road, getting ready to turn onto a highway, and the sign listed several things that were prohibited, one of which was "animals on foot." Hmmm... Do you think animals are aware of this?

I did get a couple of pictures of the following sign at the putt-putt golf establishment near the place we stayed in Tennessee. In the first picture you'll see the rules listed, and in the second picture, I've zoomed in on a misspelled word. Ironically, the word "penalty" is used more than once on the sign, but it was only misspelled once. I can't help it, but I have a real aversion to misspelled words on signs that supposedly are going to be read by large volumes of people. Obviously no one caught this mistake...

We also drove past a cemetery in a rather rural area, and there was a casket sitting out in the middle, right next to what appeared to be the final resting place for whoever was inside, however, not a living soul was around. I don't know if the person in charge had gone for a smoke or out to lunch, but here was this casket, seemingly abandoned in the middle of the cemetery.

We drove past this interesting little gift shop in the middle of nowhere. In case you're unable to make out the sign, it says "Bike Monies... Crafts Gifts and Biker Stuff." The shop was closed or else we might have gone in, just because.
Yep, traveling is never a dull moment for our family, and I'm only sharing the mild stuff with you. There were a few interesting characters we saw along the way too. We're magnets for weirdos. I've always wondered what that says about us. Hmmm... Anyway, laundry awaits, and since that's my absolute FAVORITE part about returning from a trip, I'd better get to it.