Sunday, December 30, 2007

1. 3. 181.

1 -- Number of times Mickey's been bowling.
3 -- His age.
181 -- His score.
Friday we took Mickey bowling for the first time. Sure he had gutter guards, a ramp to help him roll the ball, and me in his ear screaming "push it haaard!" But I think he had an okay game for his first time out ("C" is for Mickey).

Thanks to the A's and the R's who brought their kids, too, and tolerated all my high-fiving with Mickey. I DID realize there were other kids there...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Tah-tree" and other new words

I want to remember what Alex says. Every word. Is that possible? Seemed I especially noticed his speech this Christmas; it's now vaguely understandable, at least to me. But really, if said aloud, a lot of his words make perfect sense.

So, I give you...the audible blog post. Read these phrases aloud and you will be speaking Alex-ease in no time flat (just tell your co-workers you're meditating).

"thseee peee tah-tree" (see pretty Christmas tree)

"mee-kit-miss! ha-heh-ho!" (Merry Christmas, ho-ho-ho!)

"thseee kit-miss lie-eeeets?!" (see Christmas ligh-eeeets?!)

"no-meeen" (snowman)

"thseee tooonnnnn-ulllllll?!" (refers to tunnel at Christmas display in Hometown)

"tah-waaainn" (train. over and over and over again.)

"thsee gow-mah?!" (see grandma?!)

You'll notice a lot of ?! after these. That's because he is usually demanding something. His voice is so tiny yet so laaarrrrrge! I hear it in my head even after he's gone to sleep. When Pete and I are out on a date night I find myself lapsing into Alex-ease ("can we go to a movie, pleeeeaaaase??!") All day I try to appease Alex in order to, how shall I say this nicely...shut him up. But he keeps on and on and on in his relentless way and pretty soon I give up and give in. Proud parenting moments they are...

I know, I a few years I'll look back and miss that sweet voice and even the shrill upswing at the end of his words. I'll wish again for those moments when it feels like only he and I know what he's talking about.* When he's thirteen and sitting in silence at the dinner table I'll remember a time when his voice filled the corners of our house 24/7.

People are constantly telling me to savor the moments when my kids are little. I'm all for that...I just wish they would savor them with me. Quietly.

* Except for the times when Mickey translates for me...not kidding.

The after-Christmas post

Good morning, bloggityville! For those of you back at work this week...I really hate that for ya (no, really I do!). For the rest of you trying to recover from all the festivities of Christmas...have a coffee and rest! And for those of us who went shopping yesterday since we didn't get enough of the shopping frenzy pre-25th, I hope you were able to avoid the VALENTINE'S merchandise already out on the shelves and make your way to some Christmas bargains...

Pete's off all week and boy do I, uh, we have a list of to-do's. We did break away to go see I am Legend last night...ooooooh, love me a Will Smith movie and this one did not disappoint.

This week Pete is off and I, uh, we have quite a list of to-do's around here and uploading a few pics out here is on it. Whether it actually gets scratched off the list is another story...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

End of year...end of computer.

Apparently it wasn't enough that we were without power for 11 days.

I came home and happily logged on to my computer and for an hour or so I was back in the groove. Then the next morning I was greeted with the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD as the technician wrote on the ticket).

To make a long story short, I had to re-install Windows XP, which means we lost all our data files. "Data files" is short for 10 or so Word documents (resumes included...yikes!) and about 1500 photos.

But let not your heart be troubled: I moved my pics to CDs but for November and December of this year. I'd heard one too many horror stories about losing precious photos, which, right now, are infinitely more important than my resume. By the time I need that thing I should be able to fabricate something pretty believeable.

The bad news? I lost all my email addresses. THAT, friends, is sad. If you would like to help me replenish my stock, please drop a note to

So all that being said...I'm taking a little break from bloggin' for a few days. Really I'm just taking the pressure off myself to post. So if you don't see anything new for a while, it's on purpose and not my usual slacking.

Merry Christmas, folks...hug your loved ones.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Where am I?

I think I recognize this place...what's that? My microwave? With a flashing 12:00? Yes! It is mine! And it's plugged in to my wall! In my house! The one with...brace yourselves, peoples...


As of 1:30 p.m. this afternoon our house is back in electric mode after nearly 12 days of nuttin'. And mom never moved so fast in her life, packing up what ended up being many, many bags of stuff we'd accumulated while we were on our 10-day vacation at her house. I think she probably flung it out the door at my sister (who graciously offered to bring it to Tulsa from Hometown) but she would never admit that...

I have a few pics to post of the frenzy of activity that we found around our house this morning, but right now I'm just enjoying being home and doing laundry. Yes, you read that right. I'm lovin' the laundry at home.

Wonder how long that'll last...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 11 without power

...and now back to the regularly scheduled whining about our power outage. Tonight I called for an update of the progress and I got "...we hope to have everyone up by Friday."




So now we're in the last 2,000 of 186,000 that were initially without power. I've never been in the last 2,000 of 186,000 anythings in my life. What an honor. My sis and I agree someone ought to be holding prizes for the last 100 or so poor souls to get turned back up...

Alex and Mickey are going to school tomorrow's Christmas program day. Mickey told me tonight his class is singing "Go Tell It On the Mountain." For just a few minutes maybe I can forget about our problems and enjoying watching my sons onstage staring into space while their teachers frantically try to get them to sing. It'll be a welcome moment of tranquility.

WFMW: Eternal Christmas Gift Bag

(Holy cow! It's a non-power-outage-related post!)

Start a gift-giving tradition with a loved one by buying a sturdy gift bag and using it for their gift year after year.

About ten years ago, I gave my mom a bottle of bubble bath in a tall gift bag about the size of a wine bottle (which she may have preferred!). The bag was nothing special, but it was a Hallmark: well-made, sturdy, and so cute.

So at the end of our festivities that Christmas, she happened to save it and handed it to me, almost as an afterthought, to save for the next Christmas (throw away a perfectly good gift bag? Horrors!).

Now you have to understand something: we have a crowd of nearly 50 people in mom's house every Christmas. A bazillion gifts spill out from under her tree and the "opening ceremony" is chaotic and loud and frenzied. I don't keep track of that gift bag, but somehow it has found its way back to me, emptied of its contents, every year. It still has the original to/from name tag, altered to add Pete's name, then Mickey's, then Alex's (no more room on the tag, thankyouverymuch).

Every year I try to get a little more creative with what goes in the bag. It's a fun challenge to find something to fit into it, but lucky for me Mom is so easy to please that a rolled up dish towel would bring a tear to her eye...

For more Christmas-y good stuff, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Power-less still

Yeah, well, that whole 6 p.m. deadline for getting our power back on last night came and went (and so did a little more of my sanity). Pete just arrived there this morning to check things out and the house is still dark and cold.

Today my nephew (lives next door to Mom's) told me we should just stay until Christmas.

I may take him up on it...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Update on outage and what I learned this week (late)

Now the estimate for turning up power is FOUR hours sooner than before...6 p.m. tomorrow instead of 10 p.m. That'll only be eight days of outage.

Tomorrow the boys are going to school, though, and I'll go to the house and stare at the walls or something. Maybe open the front door to let out the smell that's bound to have collected in the refrigerator.

As for what I learned this past was a bit of a lesson in contradiction as I thought about it. See if any of this makes any sense:

The boys need to learn flexibility.
The boys need their routines.

Letting their diets (and mine) slide in an out-of-the-norm situation is okay.
An out-of-the-norm situation isn't an excuse for eating junk.

I'm the mom. I shouldn't whine.
I'm the mom. I get to whine.

I'm so glad to be in Hometown.
I'm so glad I live in Big Town.

Why can't the electric company work any faster?
I'm sure the electric company is working as fast as it can. I think.

Christmas is only a week away and I haven't done any baking.
(No, that's not really something I learned, just something I don't like.)

Right now I'm so tired I don't even know how to end this post. Alex is playing with the cords on the blinds right by the crib so I think I better go...wait, okay, now he's safely away from the cords. I know this because I hear him jumping up and down.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Two hours is two hours

...but when you're talking about a seven-day outage, it's not exactly a warm fuzzy.

I called this evening for the umpteenth time to check the status of our outage, and instead of Tuesday at midnight, it's now Tuesday at 10 p.m. that we will be turned back up (we hope).

This afternoon when I talked to them it was this evening at 8 p.m...a glimmer of hope we'd be home tomorrow. The next time I called...after 8 p.m., we were informed that was an old deadline.


So Pete borrowed my bro's generator to take back with him since he has to go to work tomorrow. But apparently we do not have the necessary equipment to hook it up to the heater. Darn. But Pete, in his ever resourceful way, figured out how to get the TV and DVD player running with it. So off to get a movie (cable's out) and right about now I believe he's a semi-happy, albeit shivering, camper. Which, for Pete, beats being warm without movies...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ice storm illustrated

This morning I called our next-door neighbor to see if we had power. He's a nice man, but I don't know him very well.

Christine: "Hi, Bob. Do we have power?

Bob: "What do you think?"

Alllllllrighty then....

Here are some storm pics. Sorry if the spacing gets jacked up; Blogger's just that way. The captions come before the photos.

Our deck.

Our other next-door neighbor's yard.

Directly across the street from our house.

And just for fun...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A lesson in handling a crisis

Take two little boys. Remove them from their home. But stay there one very cold night when the home doesn't look or act like itself. Take them to three different homes to stay. Let them eat out, snack all the time, and be sure to forget their favorite books when you pack to leave. And tell them their very fun school is closed, too.

Then expect them to act as if nothing is different. Tell them they should have the same eating habits. Tell them they shouldn't be disagreeable, angry, or upset when you say "no." And always say no when they want to go outside when it's 36 degrees. And be sure to tell them they should have the same sleeping schedule down to the minute, no matter where they are.

And then feel terribly sorry for them and hug them until they say "mom, you're squishing me..."

And then remember that you're not acting the same, either. You're not eating the same, sleeping the same, and heaven knows you're not exercising the same.

And then pray for some patience: for the boys, for yourself. And be thankful you have computer access and a mother who welcomes all three of you with very warm, open arms into her very warm house.

And pray your husband gets back from traveling soon and safely.

And pray for some power.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Power Pout-age

First things first: yes, we're still without power at our house after a huge ice storm covered the northern half of Oklahoma (sic). We and 186,000 other Tulsans, as of 5:30 this afternoon, are still in the dark.

Just now I called to report the outage again (as instructed by PSO on TV) and the estimate for restoring power in my area is midnight on December 18.

As in SEVEN days from now.

Thank goodness for Hometown and a very welcoming mom.

The boys think they are on the neverending vacation. This all started on Sunday morning, and for three days (or was it 10?) we stayed at various friends' homes who had power and spent one night in our house with the fake/realistic gas logs blazing all night. Mickey was thrilled to get out his bean bag (sleeping bag) and off to sleep he went. Alex was thrilled to sleep with mom and dad once again. I was thrilled to wake up four times in the night with pain in my backside, since that meant I had not died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Pete, uh, was not thrilled about anything.

As for damage to our house, our wedding gift of a patio table and chairs is demolished. The chairs are bent at the "waist" from the impact of the very large limbs that fell. Sort of weird, though, the glass tabletop survived unscathed, more or less... Other than that, we could not see any damage. Except if that power pole has fallen behind our house since we left, then things could be ugly.

The whole thing has been very inconvenient, but through all of it the streets have not been iced over. The biggest problem has been navigating a clear route through the neighborhoods. Grocery stores are CRAZY. I was in a very large one Monday night trying (in vain) to find "D" batteries, and the lights just went out. All the way. Audible gasps everywhere, and then the generators kicked on. And I kicked it out the door.

I've got plenty of pictures on my camera but have to get them loaded on mom's computer somehow. I hope soon but no promises.

The good news? Hometown has a couple of very nice Christmas light displays that have my boys totally enthralled. We've already driven through one of them twice, and this is only our second night here. Pretty soon I'll just hand Mickey the keys and say "be home by eight..."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Now you're just being mean

I know this is because of all the exposure I gave her a couple of days ago.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Now I'm in the spirit...and I have B. Manilow to thank for it

I can't wait to get me some Barry Christmas music! Yep: Barry Manilow's new Christmas CD: In the Swing of Christmas.

And I have Shannon to thank for it.

So if you know me, keep a safe distance while this CD is playing unless you want to hear me singing at the top of my lungs. In my car, of course. With the windows rolled up. Poor Mickey and Alex... And Pete.

(If you really want to get in on the giveaway action, visit Shannon's blog devoted solely to free stuff. Five glorious days a week.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A clipping for the refrigerator. Or a husband's wallet.

My sweet sis RAW (no really, those are her initials) sent this to me from a newspaper (not that I needed to hear it!).

You Didn't Do What???

A man came home from work one day and found total mayhem. The three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud. Empty food boxes and wrappers were strewn across the yard.

When he went inside, the mess was even worse. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against the wall. In the front room, the TV was loudly blaring on a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, cereal had been spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over more piles of clothes and toys, to look for his wife. He was becoming worried that she may be ill or that something serious had happened.

He found her in the bedroom, still curled in the bed in her pajamas, reading a book. She looked up at him and smiled and asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"

She smiled and answered, "You know how every day when you come home from work, you ask me what in the heck I do all day?"

"Yes," he said, baffled.

"Well," she said, "today I didn't do any of it!"

(Author unknown)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Amy Who-house?? Don't care, just get her out of my gutter.

I do not know who Amy Winehouse is. I do not even care to Google her to find out or Wik her or give her any air time at all (like it matters) but PLEASE can she GET OFF my celebrity rag site! Seeing pictures like this makes me want to hurl. And I have yet to read even one word about her. Fact is I don't care why she is famous (which is debatable), who she's dating, where she was last seen and omigosh least of all that she is wearing only a bra and jeans out in public.

My Superficial site is full of mostly tawdry but benign news about Paris and her big lips, Jennifer Love Hewitt and her big hips, and Kathy Griffin and her big trips. Won't they please let this kind of quality gossip waste my time and forego the news about Ms. Winehouse, who is only interesting like a trainwreck (yeah, but Brit has kids and that makes her life/trainwreck interesting).

And if anyone comments to me any information about AW you will be in big trouble. I'm kind of proud of the fact that I don't know anything but how to spell her name.

(What?! So you think I'm being judgemental? Ahhhh, the beauty of having your own blog...)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sometimes Kodak moments need to be just moments

Last night Pete and I loaded up the boys and drove to a nearby Bible college where they do a Christmas display of lights every year. "Display," however, is putting it mildly. I'm not sure the actual numbers but the lights go on and on and on, with animations and music and blinking and twinkling on hundreds of trees, bushes, etc.

So, ignoring our own blinking lights on the dashboard of the Toyota, we ventured out in 39-degrees-and-windy weather to show the boys the incredible sight. We threw their jackets and mittens in the car but didn't really intend to put them to use.

Then we got there and lo and behold a parking space presented itself and we couldn't resist...we zipped and hooded up the boys and set off in the dark of the early evening.

The lights...they were truly beautiful. We walked up and down the sidewalks and the boys gazed and pointed and Mickey provided an endless string of questions and comments. The large body of water in the middle of the campus had me gripping Alex's hand unnaturally tightly, but there were ducks and a fountain so I held him in my arms so we could still get a look. For a minute.

Then next to the pond was a white gazebo with a swing (are you hearing Hallmark commercial music yet?) and then horror struck me:

I didn't bring my camera.

Me...the photomaniac in our family, the one who had 20 complete family photo albums in her possession, BEFORE husband and sons even came along. I found myself without my camera for what could have been a beautiful seasonal shot...maybe, (gasp!) even Christmas-card quality.

So the photo-op was lost, but just between you and was kind of nice. There was no pleading with the boys to stay still for a picture. I wasn't begging Pete to help me get "just one shot." I wasn't agonizing over lighting, backgrounds, smiles (or lack of), hoods over eyes or extraneous people in the viewfinder. All I was doing was enjoying watching the boys on the swing. And Pete took out his cellphone and snapped a couple of blurred shots for me (bless him). And I have those to remember the outing by, and the memories in my mind and in this blog post.

Maybe sometimes that should be enough.

(But just in case maybe I should also get a couple of disposable Kodaks to keep in my car...)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What I learned this week #2

1. According to the woman in front of me getting "coffee" at Border's today, you can specify the degree of hot you want your drink to be. No, I mean the DEGREE. As in, "...I'd like that at 130 degrees." She also specified the ratio of red/green sprinkles on top.

2. When your husband volunteers to take your two toddlers to a high school basketball game while you go scrapbook for eight hours, snicker and say "...that's a great idea for an activity, honey." And then marvel at the wonderful job he must have done since everyone made it home uninjured and fed. And he stayed for the whole game!

3. Two-year-olds and glass Christmas ornaments do not mix, even over carpet. Alex popped two of them together and shards went everywhere. As well as I vacuumed I'm still finding them. And he broke them last week.

4. A three-year-old can sometimes come up with better words than what they should actually be. "Puffit" for puppet. "Pushin" for cushion. "Organ" for ornament. Maybe not that last one but it is funny to hear "MOM, we NEED to PUT the ORGANS on the TREE!"

5. My Toyota user manual is just a tease. Three lights on my dashboard illuminated themselves tonight and the book's only advice is "see your Toyota dealer." No explanation whatsoever. Wouldn't it just be easier if the three lights just said "TAKE IT IN"?, I hope next week is just as fruitful.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Restaurant menu horrors

One look at this list on MSNBC and you'll want to ban eating out in your family forever. Be careful,'s a restaurant jungle out there.

(And if you're like me you'll breathe a sigh of relief that your fav. menu item did not make the list. So that makes it okay to eat. Right?)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Barney wields his power

As of this evening, Barney the Dinosaur has inadvertantly raised the Christmas decorations bar at my house. And the design of our house itself.

First, there was Mickey's request to "have Barney come out of the TV and help us decorate..."

Then, the "workers" need to "build us a house like that one..."

"That one" would be the IMAGINARY house in the "Barney's Christmas" video (thanks grandma) that my boys have been watching over and over since, um, August. But now it's actually relevant content, which is not at all lost on Mickey. I guess pretty soon he's going to start asking for smiling, singing children in his living room, too.

But I'd almost rather come up with that than bake gingerbread cookies. Blech.

What's next...a headstand?

Every night I go into Alex's room after he's fallen asleep and put him back together: zip up pajamas, reattach diaper, pillow off the face, etc.

Most of the time I don't move him from wherever he is positioned in the crib, figuring he fell asleep that way so he must be comfortable. But last night I had to draw the line...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WFMW: Storing decor to make room for Christmas

When you get your Christmas decorations out of their boxes, use those boxes to store your everyday decor to make room for Christmas items.

To make room for my Christmas decorations, I used to stuff my framed pictures and figurines (and believe me, that term is used loosely) into nooks and crannies in my kitchen cabinets. This year, I used my Christmas storage boxes to store these items in my garage until after the holidays. They won't be damaged by heat and it's not that long to have my precious boys' pictures put away...I think.

For more useful tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to life

Love the family, love the holiday, love the food.

Love getting back to normal.

Except for Mickey getting way sick yesterday morning, it was a fun-filled weekend for everyone. And last night I cliched myself into wrestling with tangled Christmas lights for about 45 minutes, but I prevailed and they now grace our new tree. The ornaments? Not so much just yet...although getting through today without pulling out all my ornaments with the boys so eager to help is going to be a lost battle.

Oh, and as far as winning the holiday battle against food (and by the way, why are all the cooks in my family Paula Deens and not Ellie Mae Clampetts?!), I would say I suffered quite a blow. But, I was back at the gym this morning with all the other guilty parties...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Anniversary

Thanksgiving. It’s a day on which we’re taught to give thanks. Sounds simple enough.

Today, however, is more than just Thanksgiving Day for me. It’s the one-year anniversary of the day Pete came home from the hospital after battling a pulmonary embolism for seven days.

Actually, he’d probably been fighting it a lot longer than that. Prior to riding in an ambulance to the hospital from a doctor’s appointment, he had been short of breath and had weird pains in his chest. No telltale signs of a heart attack, mind you. But not being able walk up the stairs or to his truck in the driveway without stopping to rest. The shortness of breath was consistent and worsening daily.

What’s that they say about hindsight…it’s almost tragic to think about here. To be brutally honest, we ignored all those very obvious signs. We thought somehow his symptoms would magically disappear. He’d been to the doctor before but for some reason his condition was not detected until that day a year and a week ago (through no fault of the doctors, we believe).

I’ll spare you all the details and ominous things the doctors and nurses told us during our Seven Days of Hell (save for this: when our priest visited us in the hospital, his first comment to me was “…when I hear about a parishioner with a pulmonary emboli, it’s usually after he’s died…” We chuckled nervously, but he didn’t know how much I was teetering between a smile and tears.)

But later on today, there will be only happiness tears during the blessing at Thanksgiving dinner (just a prediction). And I'll want to say thanks again: to God for bringing him home safely. To our families and friends who so quickly made me realize how lucky we are to have them. And even to my boys…for being so young and thinking they were getting so much attention from their grandmas and aunts just because they’re cute.

Today is all about being thankful and appreciating the life you have. Well, this mom and wife appreciates it all right...more than anyone will ever know. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hug your loved ones today.

(P.S. I'll be taking a blogging break during the holiday...I'll let you know next week if I gave Thanksgiving Dinner the same treatment as I did Halloween candy. But ooooohhhh, that Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting I just made...)

A family holiday needs a family movie: "The Pursuit of Happyness"

If you and your relatives find yourselves sitting around staring at each other sometime during this holiday, consider renting The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith. It's one of my favorites of the past year or so...and certainly will make you thankful for what you have. It is the story of Chris Gardner and how he fought to bring himself and his son back from homelessness. A beautiful and inspirational and not-cheesy story. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: The Results Show

Um. I won. The contest. Seems the number of times contestants visited the gym during the contest period was factored into the winning score. I'm a little embarrassed, having only lost seven pounds in eight weeks. But apparently my effort was enough to impress the fitness center judges.

So woo-hoo! I had comments to this question before, but now I'm serious: what would you do with 100 guilt-free smackers at the biggest mall in Oklahoma? (Assume it has any store you're thinking about.) Shoes? Purse? Jewelry? Cinnabons? How would YOU spend it?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Email should be ashamed.

I bet I'm not the only one among you who has established an additional, free email account for contests and web freebies.

I am?

Well anyway, I recently established another one. My other contest/junk email address actually had the word "junk" in it and I started to feel a twinge of meanness each time I used it. What?! Web sites do too have feelings!

Now all that's not the point of my post. So I got this new email address at, say 9:00 a.m. By 10:00, not kidding, I had my first email...from a "Nigerian." The one that promises you fortune if you'll just help them get their inheritance to the U.S. Or some such nonsense.

One hour, people, is all it took for one of these freakishly-strong machines to comb the Internet for my new, totally made up out of my little brain, email address.


Be careful out there...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The name's Friday. Black Friday.

If you are up to the challenge and up at 5 a.m. next Friday, head over here now to preview some already-released ads* for the mother of all shopping days. It's enough to make you want to drag your turkey-weary booty out of bed, forego the make-up (but not the shower...c'mon people), and venture out into the melee. No hitting or hair-pulling, please...

And be sure to come back with something for me 'cause I'll still be asleep.

* Thanks to my friend Pat who sent me the link. She and I did not research the legitimacy of all the ads so please don't come running to us if your TMX Elmo isn't $5.99 like the ad said.

WFMW: Spill-resistent fast-food milk

When your toddler gets a bottle of milk with a fast-food meal (since that makes the whole meal healthful, right?), punch a hole in the top of the foil liner and insert a straw.

Confession time. My two toddlers know the golden arches well. And Sonic. And Braum's. They don't, however, drink soda (yet). Most fast-food restaurants now offer milk of some kind that comes with a lid and a foil liner. Simply punch a hole in the liner with a plastic knife or your thumbnail and insert a straw. Works great for keeping spills to a minimum and it's faster than wrestling the liner off when time is short.

For more incredibly useful tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 8 of 8

(Where'd Week 7 Go?)

This morning was the final weigh-in for the Biggest Loser contest at my gym. So, can I get a drum roll? I lost a whopping seven pounds in eight weeks. Not much. In fact, I was ready to run out of the gym screaming. And then this news:

My body fat decreased from 39% to 25%.

In only eight weeks! I had no idea such a drastic change could happen that fast. The bottomline, though is that my overall Fitness Score increased from 54 to 72. Enough to win the contest? I doubt it (official results next week). Enlightening and encouraging? Yes, without a doubt.

Even if I only lost seven pounds, it's clear that this workout regime I've subjected myself to is actually doing some good to this body. So yes, I'm going to keep doing it, and yes, I'm going to keep watching what I eat, and YES, I'm going to lose the rest of these unwanted pounds.

But NO, I'm not going to keep posting my progress. Ya'll hold the applause, please...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fall and the holy (play)ground

That last picture may not seem like it belongs here but I wanted to post it anyway since I took it with the rest. No, it is not our backyard. Our house does not have a backyard...instead, a very lovely deck. But it's not a good play area for the boys to run and throw things at each other.

This gorgeous setting belongs to our church. The church that is within walking distance from our house. And that green stuff on the ground? Oh no, it is not simply grass, but mudless, water-resisent astroturf. The whole area is fenced in and most of it is shaded. And there are benches for the lazy grown-ups. And our priest has told me more than once we are more than welcome to come over any time.

In short, that last pic is heaven on earth for two toddlers.

This new playground was completed, let's see, about three months after Alex started walking. The timing on such a gift to us, I mean, the parish, was unbelieveable. Allowing even just two small boys (I've been watching Jon and Kate Plus 8) to play outside is like herding cats, and having a place so close to us where I could relax and let them play was and is priceless.

And on Thanksgiving Day last year, when we didn't travel to our families' because of Pete's hospital stay, it was our post-dinner destination. There are already so many memories for us there...and a few dings in that fence, I might add (but don't tell the priest).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What I learned this week

-- Christmas shopping when it's 73 degrees outside isn't very much fun. But having ten gifts knocked off your list before Thanksgiving is bliss.

-- If your son gets carsick while riding down a freeway and you have to let the "sick" soak in for 10 minutes while you break the sound barrier to get home, it's bad. Carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner, Febreze, and Car Jars help a lot. So does a husband who likes to clean and take car seats apart.

-- I was off a week on the Biggest Loser contest, so I found out the final weigh-in is next Tuesday. I hope I don't need to eat before then.

-- Cooking with red bell pepper did not kill me or my family. It was actually quite wonderful. Go here and see what I mean.

-- I had more blog posts in October than any month ever in the history of this blog. I'm not sure how that happened since there are still 24 hours in the day. My early New Year's resolution is to get some posts with substance out here. Or at least a useful tidbit once in a while.

-- Duh.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 6 of 8

Crunch time, people, in every sense of the word. I lost a whole pound this week, instead of just a half. Woo-hoo. But, considering the weekend of celebrating Radar's birthday like it was my own, I think losing a pound is not too shabby.

I wonder if the boys at the gym realize that Week 8 of the Biggest Loser contest, the final week, is Thanksgiving: only the biggest food-oriented holiday of the year. I think it's some sort of cruel joke.

Oh, well. As they say, and I hate it when "they" say it, I have to keep doing what I'm doing and not be so impatient. It is a slow process but if I keep going I know I'll see results.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A trip to ? on a rocketship

Tonight at bedtime Mickey asked me to tell him a story. So I start out like I usually do:

Once upon a time there were two little boys named...

Mickey and Alex.

Okay, Mickey and Alex. And Mickey and Alex were going on an adventure.

No, a trip.

Mickey and Alex were going on a trip. To the beach.

No, I don't like the beach.

Why don't you like the beach?

Because there's fish that swim in the beach water.

Yes, but they don't swim by the people. They like to swim by themselves.


So Mickey and Alex are going on a trip. Where do you think they would like to go?

Well, they can't go without a grown-up.

What grown-up will they take with them?

Mommy and Daddy.

Okay. So Mickey and Alex are going on a trip and they're taking their mommy and daddy with them. Where are they going?

On a rocketship.

What will they do on the rocketship?

They won't have any toys. But they'll have a play area for us.

What will mommy and daddy do on the rocketship?

Well, work.

Where will we sleep on the rocketship?

Well, we'll stay at the place where they make rocketships.

What will we eat while we're at the rocketship?

Well, we'll drive to get something and then come back to the rocketship.

How long will we stay at the place where they make rockets?

Four nights. Then we'll come home.

...and they say making up bedtime stories is hard.

The Fall Ya'll Giveaway is Over!

The winner of my giveway is Melissa Neece! Congratulations, Melissa. Don't spend it all in one...oh, sorry. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Personal: Happy Birthday, Radar!

Today is my little sister's 40th birthday. Except she will not start acting or looking 40 until she's at least 50. She's always been like that...on her 20th birthday she looked 10. I don't think that's really funny, but you get the idea.

Happy Birthday, girl, and have fun today not hearing "lordy, lordy..."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Take THAT, Halloween candy!

That's the treatment I gave Halloween candy this week. I ate none of it. Not so much as one M&M. No Whoppers, Skittles, Reese's, Twizzlers (who you think are diet-worthy because they are fat-free, but beware the chocolate friends they hang out with), Tootsie rolls, or Hershey's mini's. I figuratively crushed them all. That battle is won! The war, however, continues...

The boys, on the other hand, have been having a blast...candy every day is a major deal for them. And I must say it's been quite the motivating tool around here. Is that a bad thing?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All aboard for the guilt trip!

It's only hours away, the final Halloween party of 2007. Thank goodness. I have not handled the onslaught of candy in this house very well, so now it's time to pull out the big guns...the ones with guilt written all over them.

At the end of this week, as in Friday around the boys' naptime, I'm going to post whether or not I won the war on Halloween candy. By that time, I think I will have given the boys a healthy candy dose and found a loving home for the rest of it, outside my house.

So let's be clear: a win in this battle means not having even one piece. I know that one piece of candy does not a diet ruin, but that one piece tends to bring a lot of friends with it.

And I'm going to be honest about the results, too. I have too many real-life buddies reading this who I will have to face with my results.

(Okay, should I really post this? Do I really want to set myself up? Oh, well, publish or perish, they GO!)
It's big, ya'll. It's the Fall Ya'll Giveaway carnival, hosted by the carnival queen herself, Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

My giveaway is FREE SHIPPING at I recently ordered this beauty, which I love and upon seeing it Pete has proclaimed "uh, I'll stick to the Eddie Bauer diaper bag, thanks."

Anyway, with my order I received a free shipping code which I'm happy to make your prize if you leave me a comment and I randomly draw your name.

Kangaroodle has lots of baby and kids' items that are great for gift-giving and the prices range from very affordable to oh-my-gosh-I-don't-care-how-much-that-is-I-want-it-anyway.
The free shipping code is good until November 30.

Thanks for your entry and be sure to check out Fall Ya'll for more chances to win stuff.
P.S. You don't have to be a blogger to win!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 5 of 8

(Whose idea was it to post weekly updates on my weight loss?)

Don't worry, I will not leave you hanging. I'm going to see this eight weeks of brutality through to the end...for better or, more likely, worse.

And now for the Results Show you've all tuned in for, this Week 5 of 8 of my gym's Biggest Loser competition.

A half-pound loss.

And I took off my shorts at the scale to accomplish that.

This is all the proof I needed that me and Halloween candy cannot happily coexist in my household. Either Alex is getting a crash course in chewing up Starburst or some of it is going to Pete's office on Thursday.

Oh, and to update you on Chad the Trainer's off-the-cuff remark that sounded to me like nails on a chalkboard?

I did approach him about it and yes, he did back pedal but not at warp speed like I thought. His reasoning behind his "well I don't know about that" comment was that he wants me to get there and just see how that goal weight feels to my body (bliss, I'm thinking, but okay). He said sometimes people lose weight only to lose energy, too. So their bodies are telling them that maybe it's too low and they should gain a few pounds back.

He was very apologetic and encouraging and told me I'd been doing well to date and keep up the working hard, etc.

I feel better having spoken to him about it; after all, he needs to know that someone could take that to heart. And lose sleep and then blog about it...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ahhhh, cupcake season for the Home Team

Today I was frosting cupcakes for tonight's Fall Festival at church, when, wonder of wonders, I had to stop to clean up Alex in his high chair. While I was concentrating on him, my frosting bag and all its contents toppled out of the tall glass where I left it. So I grabbed it up with my fingers as best I could (and no, I didn't use it for the cupcakes!), thus ending up with a half-can of frosting all over one hand.

But Mickey to the rescue, without even cracking a smile:

"Well, Mom, can I lick your fingers?"

Friday, October 26, 2007

No naked pumpkin allowed in this house!

I recently got my Nov/Dec issue of my diet magazine, the one that has a weightloss program as its foundation. The one you've probably been on at least once in your life. But that's not the, uh, point.

There's an article in this issue about planning for the "big day." Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, and how to keep on program during a time when it's so tempting to overeat.

So there's tips for the day before the big day, the big day itself, and the day after. The part on the day after suggests you have some leftovers, in moderation, of course:

2 oz. roast turkey breast. Yum.
2 Tbsp. canned cranberry sauce. I'm not cran-crazy but okay.
1 c. steamed green beans with 1 Tbsp. toasted almonds. Getting better.

And then the bottom falls out of this little menu:

1 c. warm canned pumpkin.

Excuse me? You want me to eat pumpkin without cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg and evaporated milk, all snuggled up in a flaky pastry?

I didn't realize such a thing was possible. Are there people out there who rountinely eat un-doctored canned pumpkin? By the cupful?

Now maybe I'm missing out on something here, but this just doesn't seem right. There's a reason every Libby's can in the world has a recipe for pumpkin pie on the back of it. It is not meant to be consumed any other way!

I suppose not every tip in these mags is the best one they could come up with. But please...something tells me some college intern took a dare and snuck this one in.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Random thoughts on the fires in California

I told Pete the other day I was ready for a good weather story to follow during the day, a la Hurricane Anyone or an early-season snowstorm. Anything that gets Jim Cantore and crew beaten to death by wind and precipitation is good daytime TV.

The fires are not so much a weather story and definitely lack the needed precipitation factor, but the Weather Channel is a bit confounded by that so they air updates, too. But the winds! Oh, the winds make it weather related...woo-hoo for the WC!

So without the 'round-the-clock fire coverage from the Weather Channel, I get to feed my news appetite with CNN, MSNBC, and the others. See if you haven't been thinking the same things while watching "California Burning":

1. A no-brainer: the press couldn't wait to give these fires their own title. "California Burning" splashed on the screen, complete with animated flames, was the logical choice.

2. At the speed of light, FEMA rushed to spend thousands to accommodate the evacuees at Qualcomm Stadium and other locations. They would do anything to avoid the criticism that Katrina brought them. In fact, they have probably ended up overspending on resources in order to avoid it.

3. Wolf Blitzer is going to implode if he doesn't find out why the fires burn one house and leave its next-door neighbor untouched. Here's a newsflash, Wolf: tornados do the same thing. Move on to another subject (like how you expect us to keep up with your six TV screens).

4. Reporters are actually asking evacuees what their plans are as far as rebuilding if their house is destroyed. WHAT ELSE ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO DO?

5. When a reporter is broadcasting from an area and they say "...this whole town is evacuated; no one should be up here..." It doesn't really make them look very good to be, uh, standing there.

6. This morning my local radio news boasted that theirs was the only reporter in town who went to California to cover the fires. Hmmm, maybe that's because everyone else realizes that people in northeast Oklahoma don't really care about it that much. And there's 847 national news people out there who are already covering it. But good luck trying to report something to us that we haven't already heard.

Oh, persnickety attitude will not prevent me from continuing to watch the coverage. After all, I'm sure those Californians were glued to their TVs when we had our own fires a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Alex jumped in a fish pond today

I just thought I'd cut right to the chase. It's really a short story, although slightly horrifying. And funny. Horrifyingly funny.

I took Alex and Mickey to a pumpkin patch today where they had a fish pond. I don't think there were actually fish in it, but it was hard to tell because the water was so dark.

As the boys flitted about inspecting the pumpkins and flowers, I noticed the pond out of the corner of my eye and made a mental note to be especially watchful over the boys when we approached it. Minutes later I was sternly instructing Mickey to keep back from the edge, which he did. As I was making my mental notes and barking at Mickey, Alex stayed two or three steps ahead of me.

And then he bolted.

He ran toward the pond and didn't stop until he splashed (I believe all of South Our Town heard me screaming...). He went in up to his neck and then his cheek hit the water's surface just before I caught him up under his arm. I was quickly in up to my thigh. I was holding my camera in my right hand and raised it above my head to keep it from getting wet. (I'd like to think that if I thought Alex to be in grave danger I would have let go the camera.) So that meant I got to will all my strength to my weaker left arm and hoist him and his wet sweatsuit up out of the pond while trying not to lose my footing on who-knows-what at the bottom of the pond.

We managed to get back on shore without me getting completely submerged and the camera only a little splashed. Alex cried only a little, thank for me I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

In case you're wondering if anyone else was there, we were the only customers. The man working there just sort of stared at us and offered to help. But I think he was wondering who these crazy people were who had disturbed his peaceful fall morning.

So what of Alex's soaking wet clothes? I happened to have a large bag of the boys' out-grown pajamas in the car that I was saving for a friend. I dug through it and found a shirt and some pants and we were in business. And that plastic bag came in handy, too.

I feel so irresponsible for not making sure I had hold of Alex's hand. I totally overestimated his two-year-old mind...thinking he would just be a little curious, not a lot. And I totally UNDERestimated how fast his little legs could move.

Oh, and as for Mickey? He watched and dutifully helped where he could. And also had some simple but sage advice: "Mom, we should go to a pumpkin patch where they don't have ponds."

And something for Alex, on our walk to the car:

"Alex, 'member you can't go in the water without a grown-up!"

Yep, Mickey, I suppose that is indeed the best advice.

"No, no,'s time to go freak mom out, remember?"

...and suddenly our quaint fall outing...

...turned into "I can't believe it's 55 degrees and windy and my son is soaking wet but I'm still taking a picture."

Shiny floor? Or bilge water? Hard to tell...

A little tight, but dry.

No way I was leaving there without my friggin' decorations.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 4 of 8

Okay, it's half-time of the Biggest Loser contest at my gym. For the results of Weeks 3 and 4 cumulative weigh-in today, can I get a drum roll...

-4 pounds!

So that's two pounds for each week, one of which I wanted to forget as far as working out and sticking to the eating plan. Apparently I didn't do as poorly as I thought.

Also, the guantlet has been inadvertantly thrown. Or whatever that phrase is. I've been called out. I've been asked to belly up to the bar. And all without the other person knowing it.

See, I met with Chad the Trainer at the gym today to discuss my program and progress. I got on the scale and woo-hoo, I'd lost ten pounds in the six weeks since I joined the gym. "What do you want your ultimate goal to be?" he asks. "(this number)," I say, which is a healthy weight for my height according to, uh, everyone.

His reply? Are you ready for this?

"Well, I don't know about that..."

Are you kidding me??! What's your job again?

I didn't really say anything to him right then; I think I was a little dumbfounded. But I'm going to. And he's going to backpedal so fast his bike will break, and then he's going to assure me that (my number) is perfectly reasonable and attainable. I know he's going to react that way because deep down I don't think he meant "Christine you've got to be kidding; you'll never make that goal."

But he needs to know that comments like that can send someone like me into a bit of a tailspin. And someone like me could work up a carefully but sternly worded note to him in a matter of minutes (and address and stamp and seal it).

And someone like me can also put it in a drawer and not mail it.

Truth is, I don't know what exactly he meant by his comment, but I'm going to give him a chance to defend it, for sure.

Really, I wouldn't tell him this, but I think his comment has put me on the defensive. It makes me feel even more determined to get to my goal.

And I DO know about THAT.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On being an older mom

The other day as I pulled up to Mother's Day Out to pick up Mickey and Alex, I had my radio turned up full blast to Alan O'Day's "Undercover Angel." Now let me pause a minute here to say: if you do not know this song you are truly missing out on one of the finest one-hit-wonders of all time. For me, it's the best illustration of how I can remember every word and "ooo" and "ahhh" to a 30-year-old song, but I can't remember the name of someone I met yesterday.

Anyway, I'm watching some of the other moms going in as I'm singing at the top of my lungs (and trying not to move my lips so they don't know just how loud I'm projecting...I do have some pride). I figure most of them were babies while I was busy committing Alan's words to my memory forever. For a minute I, I'm freaking old. At 41 I'm the mom of two toddlers, and most of my "colleagues" are 10 to 15 years younger than me. And some of my long-time friends have kids who almost aren't kids anymore. They're thinking about homework and who their kids are hanging out with and ACTs and curfews and driving tests.

But you know, I'm okay with that. I really am. The important thing is not my age, but how I feel. And I feel great (Biggest Loser contest notwithstanding). Sure, my boys will probably get teased about their geriatric mom, but I will teach them to say "hey, at least she would fit right in in Hollywood..."

Okay, well, maybe they will need to learn a right cross, too.

Okay, gremlins, bring it on

Whew. I feel so much better this morning. Yesterday I mentally blocked out the laundry, dirty dishes, dinner preparation, and two or three other things I needed to do. I did this so I could concentrate on one thing: backing up my photos onto CDs.

I have heard at least three horror stories in the last month about people whose computers crashed and took precious photos with them. I couldn't stand that thought one day longer...

As a friend of mine once said: in the name of cute children everywhere, back up your stuff. Today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 3 of 8

I didn't want to post this week's results. And lucky for me, the gym is closed today so I could not weigh in. Oh, sure, I could step on my own scale and see the damage, but when every ounce counts it's important to stick with the same equipment every week.

Ahem. Where do I begin? I was sailing through last week just fine, then the curve balls began flying:

Curve ball #1: Impromptu midweek card game at our friends' home. We put the boys down to sleep and played until 1:30 a. m. Ordered pizza at 12:30.

Curve ball#2: Alex gets his first ear infection of the season. Not such a curve ball in itself, but the pain caused him to wake, for good, at 6 a.m. three mornings in a row. And wake up two or three times during the night (luckily, pat, pat, pat and he goes back to sleep). Hang on, I'm getting to the point: lack of sleep makes me too tired to care about watching what I eat or exercising.

Curve ball #3: Gym is closed today so I had to go to another place to workout. Without going into detail, it is not as conducive to a good treadmill session as my regular gym. I was on the treadmill for a lackadaisical 30 minutes instead of my usual 45.

Curve ball #4: I am a good cook. Well, not really a good cook but I have recently happened upon a couple of so-good-you-forget-any-kind-of-eating-plan recipes that I just had to make. (Check out I don't know why I make these dishes; I tell myself I can handle the pressure and then I just cave. So now it's back to my bland cooking again (sorry, Pete).

Okay, that's the ugly report. I know the curve balls aren't going to stop...I just have to get better at catching them.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Testing, 1-2-3. Can I have your attention please?

(...oh, the creativity in that title. Can you stand it?!)

Some friends and I got together last evening to work on our scrapbooks. And eat. And talk. And eat some more. And talk. I think I got two pages done. But that's beside the point.

The conversation turned to blogging do's and don'ts. None of these girls actually author a blog, but oh, my friend, do they read them (now I don't know why they don't blog; I think they would all be interesting reads). Anyway, we talked about the issue of blogging personal things about your friends and relationships and knowing your posts could be read by the subjects.

This, people, I do not friggin' understand. Can you say "light the fuse and stand back"? I don't understand why someone would post ANYTHING they would not say at a podium in a convention center filled with all the people they've ever known.

To me, that's what blogging is. It's putting your thoughts on the INTERNET people. You know: that thing that has taken over the world? That thing that is accessible by everyone? Even kids? And your friends? And your mother?

It's up to you, ultimately. If you want to be the kind of person who airs personal things, things that could potentially hurt someone's feelings or cause them embarrassment, then that's your business.

But as for me and my blog, we'll have respect. I consider the podium scenario before each time I click "publish post." And I see my mom sitting in the front row.

And then sometimes I hit "delete."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 2 of 8

Remember all that whining I did about losing only two pounds during the first week of the Biggest Loser contest?

I take it all back.

This week's loss is half a pound.

I keep telling myself at least it's not a gain. A loss is a loss is a loss. But when I think about how far I am from my ultimate goal, a half-pound is like contributing one penny to my Christmas Club account.

But okay, I'm going to keep going. Here's hoping for a post next week with a lot of !!! in it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

For Chilihead, who has the blog for all ages

Chili, just thought you'd like to know that your blog has a wider audience than you thought. (That name you hear at the end of this very skillfully shot video should go in one ear and out the other...)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The answer, my friend, is on this site

Need help deciding? Go here and answer some key questions and you'll wonder no more!

Thanks to sister JS for the link.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

When you assume something, you know what happens

This morning at the gym I attended an official Biggest Loser workout. They've got several times during the week where we're coached through different stations, including ab work, jumping rope, stability ball nonsense, squats with weights, and biking. And between interval circuits we get to do a couple of laps around the gym floor (which I have not done since I had a high school basketball coach on the sidelines talking through a whistle in his mouth: "beep, three more laps ladies...")

So I showed up like a good BL and prepared to sweat with the rest of the BLs, only there weren't any rest-of-the-BLs. I was the only one there. Great.

"Sarah" showed me to the room where our interval training was to take place. A room with mirrors on every wall. Every single wall. Did I mention Sarah's last name? It's Buffbody. Sarah Buffbody was wearing a very revealing but all-business workoutfit. As she demonstrated each interval I noticed how good she looked and how skillfully she performed each task with a smile and a steady voice.

So we set to work and she was very sweet and encouraging, but I could not keep from seeing my struggling reflection in the mirror at every turn. Ugh. So I tried to concentrate on myself instead of SB working quietly behind me and annihilating each station like a pro.

After the workout, she and I chatted a bit about the Biggest Loser contest, and I confessed to her that I had indeed lost a lot of weight at one time in my life.

"Really," she says, in that we-have-something-in-common voice. "I used to weigh 203 pounds."

So with one sentence, she put me in my place and she didn't even know it. She had worked extremely hard to get her body in that kind of shape, and was probably standing where I was standing at one time in her life. And not once had I considered the fact that her build was due to hard work and determination and persistence. I took it for granted that since she was so young, being in shape must surely be easy for her.

I know that good health is a journey and not a destination, and even when the contest is over in November, I will still have a long way to go before anyone dubs me Christine Buffbody. But for sure, the only way to get there is the route Sarah took. No other roads lead to where I'm going.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Who knew Evil came in a bag?

Life lesson #34256: Do not buy these if you are trying to win a Biggest Loser contest. Just don't.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pictures just because...

Just because running is his favorite sport (indoors or outdoors).

Just because he really was going in for a kiss. No really, he was.

Just because I married a thoughtful man.

Just because some football players are still little. And some coaches are still dads.

Just because we should all reach for the...wait, that's just corny.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

WFMW: Spaghetti help needed

Today's Work for Me Wednesday has a special twist: it's Backwards Day. We post questions, and the answers flood our comments...right?!

My biggest problem of late is this: my homemade spaghetti sauce does not adhere to the spaghetti.

I use a darn good recipe from Paula Deen so you would think it would perform perfectly, but it seems like it doesn't matter whether I use a recipe or not. The spaghetti sort of rejects the sauce and I end up with sauce and spaghetti in the same room but not talking.

Any ideas? FYI, I do not rinse the pasta because I've heard the starch on it helps sauces stick to it. But that seems to be a lie. Help!

For more backwardness, check out Rocks in My Dryer. And while you're at it, check out her Bloggy Giveaways like you should be doing daily.

P.S. Honestly, I know this is the most trivial problem I could possibly have in my life. And for that I thank God today.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 1 of 8

Minus two pounds.

That's the good news.

The bad news?

Minus TWO pounds.

I know, I know. The slower it comes off the better. But it is PAINSTAKING. I have been on program for about three weeks solid: getting up and working out before Pete and the boys get up, using my MDO time to work out, going to the gym on Saturdays, and even fitting in a neighborhood walk here and there. I've watched what I've eaten and stayed reasonable at most meals, even on special occasions.

All that for two pounds. Criminy.

And, okay, if I don't win the Biggest Loser contest at my gym, I suppose I will still be a winner with whatever weight loss happens.

But dammit I want that $100 gift card.

A comment on commenting on comments

Since I'm using the cheapest (as in free) blogging interface available, I have to play the hand I'm dealt as far as features go. One feature Blogger lacks is the ability for the blogger to reply to comments. Furthermore, it doesn't allow the commenter to include an email address, even one visible only to me.

So if I want to reply to or comment on your comment, I will leave a comment on that same post. know what I mean. If you say something and you think I might want to say something back, check the comments again later. There. Now if you can't understand that, give me a call; I'm in the book.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Finally, some good news for these boys

No, not mine. Brit's. Seems the courts have ruled in Sean Preston and Jayden's favor and they're going to live with Kevin Federline. I think Britney's probably relieved to give up the responsibility. Based on the rags I read, and of course they are all based on facts and checked and double-checked, right? Anyway, based on the press, SP and Jayden are in the way of her ruining her life. Surely K-Fed's home will be more stable than the one they are leaving.

So what do you think? Should the boys stay with their mom, who is unstable but probably loves them, with supervision? Or go live with their dad, who has a pretty checkered past but seems to not be a drug user?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Not your grandmother's quilts

Ya'll have to check out this site. I'm not a quilt-y kind of person, either making them or sleeping under them. But I stumbled upon this site today and I believe I could easily change my tune. If I could afford said tune-changing. These quilts are so beautiful, they look more like art than bedding.'s nice to dream anyway.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The boring post: every blog needs one

If someone called me today who I hadn't spoken to in a week and said "hey, what'cha doin?" I'd have to say NOTHING. This week has been totally uneventful, a good thing I suppose. We did take Alex to the doctor for his 2-year check-up. He couldn't be more normal. I asked the doctor if he could do something about that high-pitched, siren-like sound that Alex is so fond of lately but he just looked at me funny. The little guy is in the 97th percentile for height and 75th for weight (are you snoozing yet?)

Beyond that, we visited the McDonald's "R" Gym yesterday after MDO. Crowded and crazy as usual. We did have an "awww" moment when a little boy took Alex's ball from him. Mickey swooped in and told the other little boy "hey, he was playing with that." Then he took the ball from him and gave it back to Alex (all the while holding on to his own, of course). My hero!

Oh, and I'll leave you with this Overheard from Mickey: the other night he was half asleep when I went to check on him. He rolls over and says "...mamma I need a hig and a kuss..." Of course, honey.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Biggest Loser Update #1

I posted earlier about my entry in the Biggest Loser contest at my gym. Yesterday was our first weigh-in, only they did a test including blood pressure, heart rate, weight, height, a couple of measurements and the dreaded body fat percentage. With those things as factors, my "fitness score" is 54 on a scale of 1-100.

The winner of the contest will have the highest increase in fitness score over a period of eight weeks. Eight, grueling, no-donuts-after-Mother's Day Out weeks.

The good news? I have been sticking to my workout and eating plan for nearly two weeks. Almost 14 days. Part of me wants to get up from the table and say "okay, I paid my dues and it was hard. Where's my goal weight please?" But I know it's gonna take a lot longer than that. Drat.

Visit me next Tuesday for another update.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Time out

I've taken a bit of a time out for the past few days; honestly I just haven't felt much like writing anything. We had a death in our family a few days ago (out of privacy to those directly related I will hold the details). It's so hard to imagine anything else being important, so I chose to not post anything at all.

I will resume regular stuff tomorrow night. And tonight I'm praying their family will draw on God's strength as they cope with their loss.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The road to "loser"ville

So getting Alex out of bed as I was writing that post earlier eventually led to a trip to Super Wal-Mart for...the horror...both "Wal-Mart" items AND groceries. Let me just say, I only have two kids and one cart is barely enough when you need room for gallon jugs of milk, diapers, a roast, and a three-year-old who likes to stack groceries.

Okay, here goes. I'm committing myself to blogland about my latest endeavor to lose weight. I'm sure this time is different than all the other times and I'm going to stick to my plan. (A little de ja vu anyone?)

I posted a while back about joining a gym, which I've been using regularly for two weeks and I love it. I had been trying to get active by walking in my neighborhood a few times a week, but working out in a gym environment is more motivating. So far it's been great. I go on MDO days and before Pete and the boys wake up on the other three days. Theoretically.

So this gym is getting ready to start a "Biggest Loser" contest next week. I'm in it. I'm in it and I want to win it. It's only eight weeks long, not enough to lose all the weight I want to lose, and the prize is only $100. But I'm trying to tap my not-really-very-competitive side and use this as a starting point for my ultimate goal.

The first weigh-in is next week. I don't know if they weigh weekly or not. If they do, I'll post my loss (and it WILL be a loss). Now don't be silly: you're not going to see how much I weigh out here. Even Pete doesn't know that (and even if I posted out here he still wouldn't know). Anyway, progress is more important than numbers. So that I will post every week. I believe this contest even has challenges like the real Biggest Loser.

So here I go...the next "Biggest Loser." But if they make me wear spandex I'm out.

The post that wasn't...

I'm working on a post that I...

Wow, I swear, Alex just at this second woke up. Back later.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WFMW: the "locking" diaper

If your baby can't resist the urge to pull the tabs on his diaper (and allow it to fall to the floor and then run around the house laughing) simply turn the diaper around and put it on so the tabs are in the BACK.

For the past six months Alex has confounded us with taking his diaper off at very inopportune times, especially after we put him down at night. And so many times I'd like to let him roam the house in just a T-shirt and diaper, but inevitably I hear the rip and rip of the diaper tabs and then the chase is on. I hadn't yet resorted to duct tape...

Then the other day I was talking about my dilemma with a mom-friend and she said she used to turn their daughter's diapers around and it worked great for her. It has worked beautifully for us, too.

Diaper reversal Works for Me! For more tips that will change your life, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, September 17, 2007

In my quest to never pay for a birthday cake

I love birthday cakes. I love to look at them and I love to eat them. I love to have my cakes and eat them, too.

I DON'T, however, like to pay for a bakery to make them. So until my boys start asking for a sculpted volcano cake or a Lightning McQueen car made completely of chocolate, this frugal mom is making their cakes. I figure twice a year I can push my creativity to its very limits and still come up with something that won't draw snickers and tastes decent. Here's this year's attempt at Alex's cake for his Blue's Clues party:

The pawprint is blue sugar, sprinkled onto a template I drew on a piece of paper. The M&Ms around the side are his new tradition (see last year's cake). The cake is chocolate; I used the very simple recipe on the Hershey's Cocoa can. The frosting is another simple recipe I already had. The beauty of the whole thing? I had all the ingredients already in my kitchen except the sugar and M&Ms, which cost about $6 together. Compare that to the $26 that was quoted to me for an official Blue's Clues cake and I think I successfully beat the system.

(Unfortunately, the system still won in the birthday gifts department...)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

To Alex on his Second Birthday

Happy 2nd Birthday, Alex! Today we will celebrate with all your favorite people, except Joe from Blue's Clues. You will have to settle for watching him and Blue several times a day and listening to your mommy sing "Mail Time" over and over because she can't get it out of her head.

Hmm, what to say to you on your 2nd birthday. How about you go get potty-trained, okay? Talking in words instead of squeals or cries would be nice. And learn to buckle yourself into your carseat like your brother. You could get a lot better about sitting still at meals so you can get out of that highchair and sit at the table with the rest of us. And that crib of yours? Say your goodbyes... Oh, and the BITING. WHEN will you outgrow that?!

Wait, sorry, son. I'm doing it again. I'm wishing you to grow up even faster than you already are. With growing out of those things, you'll also start growing out of your baby face and into a little boy's. You'll grow out of a language of babbling that is truly like music to me and your dad. You'll grow out of that cute way you rattle off the names of your family in a way only we can understand. You'll also probably grow out of that long wispy blond hair and into a more grown up style. And you'll find a more boyish way to run across the yard instead of your "baby charge."

So I take it all back, hon. You grow up at your own pace. And keep reminding me by the look in your blue eyes how much I need to remember even the little things that don't seem as important as your birthday. Just keep doing what you're doing, sweet boy. Happy Birthday.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Middle Name Meme

(For a great definition of "meme" go here.)

Melanie tagged me today and what Melanie wants, Melanie gets.

You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

Players - You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don't have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

At the end of your post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.

D -- DREAMING about my next vacation on the beach. With or without kids. If kids are with us, we'd have a full-time nanny with us, too. Heck, we'd have THE nanny, as long as I'm dreaming.

I -- IDENTIFYING the areas of my health that need attention. It didn't take me a lot of time to do this. Maybe someday I'll blog that journey...

A -- ALLOWING myself to make mistakes from time to time. I usually judge myself too harshly. But maybe that's a little harsh.

N -- I try to NEVER lose sight of what's important. One of my best friends likes to say "...but in the big scope of life, does it really matter?" Helps me not shudder when Mickey is running around an indoor play area with no socks on.

E -- ENJOYING my boys. Especially the little moments, like Alex snuggling me when he wakes up. And Mickey squealing on an incredibly big swing at a friend's house today. I want to remember those moments forever.

Now I'm tagging one person for each letter of my middle name.

Brittany at Back for Round II

(hmmm, now here's where it gets interesting. I really don't have a lot of bloggin' friends. I'm a wallflower in blogland, and I suppose here is where it's most obvious. My "tagging one person for each letter" requirement is now shortened to "tagging one person." Thank you. Now go feel sorry for me... Brittany, when you're finished with the meme maybe you can tag EIGHT people to make up for me being the social outcast.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"I'd like to thank all the little people..."

Alex fell down in the kitchen tonight. He somehow stumbled and I have no idea what he hit, but it was enough to put quite a mark on his eyebrow...not a gash but a lot more than a scratch. A "scrash."

Alex is a strong almost-two-year-old. And when he's mad, the strength doubles. And when he's mad and hurt, the strength triples. Factor in I was by myself at the time and I have very inquisitive Mickey at my side, and I think I deserve the Mom of the Day award for getting a Band-Aid placed right over the wound. Complete with Neosporin. I raised up from him victorious, like a rodeo-er after hog-tying a steer in 12 seconds...

Here are the before-and-after's:

Not bad 'eh? He was very curious about it at first, then I showed it to him in the mirror and that was pretty much it. He didn't try to get it off at all.
So, I'm waiting for my award. (tap, tap, tap) What? Excuse me? There aren't any awards for being a mom? Wow.

Rembrandts in the making

As promised, pics of the boys' foray into fingerpainting. Somehow the deck where the art lesson took place remained clean!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Planning ahead: Happy Fourth of July!

I got my L.L. Bean catalog in the mail today.


It's only September 11 and the arrival of this catalog makes me feel inadequate since I haven't even thought about Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or Halloween (sorry Mel).

But I suppose I'll be drawn out of summer and into fall anyway, kicking and screaming the whole way. I did send the boys to Mother's Day Out this morning in pants and long-sleeved shirts. But I protested by wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

The good news? It is finally cool enough today for fingerpainting on the deck after MDO. Not fingerpainting the deck, but fingerpainting while sitting at a table on the deck. And...probably...fingerpainting the deck. Check tomorrow for pics...

Monday, September 10, 2007

A hard lesson I didn't have to learn

Saturday we visited some friends to watch football. It was raining hard when we arrived and we shuffled the kids inside to avoid getting wet, without even glancing at their backyard swimming pool (actually we were too busy trying to get a look at the playground-quality outdoor gym they'd just built).

These friends have twins: a boy and girl who are Mickey's age (almost 4). As soon as we hit the door the expected chaos ensued and the toys came out, with Alex trying to keep up as best he could. The four adults settled down to watch the game and yell at the TV.

Pretty soon, I said to Pete "where's Alex?"

"I don't know..."

I calmly got up and went to kitchen area near the back door where we'd entered the house, and panic rushed over me.

The door was unlocked.

Almost instantly I laid my eyes on Alex, who was wandering about in an adjacent room. He hadn't yet been attracted back to the door, the door he could have easily opened and stepped out, putting him about ten feet from the edge of the pool.

The possibilities didn't register with me at that moment. I noticed an open child-lock on the door and engaged it, and bolted the door, too.

The rest of the day was uneventful. The kids played and football continued.

Then the magnitude of what could have happened started building up, and I nearly got upset just sitting there watching football. I thought about all the times I'd heard about pool accidents with toddlers, and thought to myself what a negligent parent that child must have had. Surely they must have been white trash or drunk or abusive. And here Pete and I sat...none of those things, having made the same mistake with our own children that one of those parents might have made. Only we were lucky. We were proceeding along with our day as planned, instead of asking ourselves how we could have been so stupid.

(big sigh). I don't like to get dramatic for drama's sake. It's not my nature. But since I had kids I think about things a whole different way. I cherish every minute I have with these boys, in spite of my sometimes stressful days. If anything, this non-incident on Saturday proved to me that even though I try to do everything right for them, sometimes I fail. And that's a scary thing to think about...