Friday, June 29, 2007

A Vacation in Our Town: Days 4 and Last. Thankfully.

I'm combining Days 4 and 5 of our vacation this week into one post. Everything seems to be running together, i.e., going downhill just in time to end our week of "rest."

Let's see, today is Saturday. Let me backtrack a little as I know you're hoping I will.

Thursday we had planned indoor vacation activities since rain was forecast. We took Son 1 to gymnastics class and then headed to Incredible Pizza, though we had a different name for it by the time we left. My boys are only almost-2 and 3 yrs. They needed about 1/100th of the things this place had to offer. But, they got to run around while it rained outside and eat 5-7 bites of pizza so we got our money's worth.

When we finished our "incredible" time, we headed back with the boys in tow down one of the busiest streets in our city.

Raining? Yes.

Boys exhausted and ready to get home? Yes.

Traction on the tires of the car behind me? No.

I think I wouldn't have been so shaken had I seen the guy coming. As it was, I was advancing through the green light and looking straight ahead and then CRASH. My first thought was of the boys, but neither of them seemed fazed by it. The questions didn't even start for a good five minutes.

I'll save you most of the boring details, but here are a few to get you through the day:
  • My Toyota Highlander's bumper was damaged but it was still driveable. The other guy? Not so much. He was driving a 2000 Ford Focus which could be totaled. The important thing is no one was hurt.

  • We spent Day 5 of our vacation dealing with the other driver's insurance company, the rental car company, and the collision repair shop. I think we deserve a refund on Day 5.

  • We dropped off our Toyota to have it fixed and for our trouble we were awarded a luxurious Grand Caravan to drive in the interim. I'm pretty excited about that; husband is keeping a hat and dark glasses in the van at all times.

  • Wouldn't you know, it didn't rain yesterday so we could have been vacationing at the waterpark. We did pack up and go to the horse track in the evening. Rained. But a big canopy protected us and the boys loved watching the ponies run and I gawked about how the jockies could possibly have enough strength in their 100-pound bodies to wrangle those muscular animals.

Okay, finally I'm finished with the vacation saga. I'm kind of glad we will be getting back to normalcy on Monday. Just in time for the July Fourth holiday which we will TRAVEL for. In our mini-van. Get out the sunglasses, husband!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Vacation in Our Town: Day 3 of 5

(big sigh)
Our little city set a record today for rainfall on June 27: 2.59 inches. This sort of changed our plans for the zoo and the horse track. So we found ourselves loading up the boys and doing very un-vacation-like things such as going to the cleaners and dropping off the truck to have the oil changed.

In the middle of sloshing through town, Son 1 pipes up and says "I want to go get a donut." It's 11 a.m. And we said "...hmm...okay..." So the boys had donuts which promptly ruined their lunch but you know, they're on vacation, too. I think. Then we retreated to a McDonald's indoor playground with the rest of the city and returned home sufficiently worn out and ready for naps.

Tomorrow we have indoor plans, since the rain chances are something like 110%. At least then we won't be disappointed...

WFMW: Kids' socks in the car

I'm going to start keeping a pair of socks in the car for each of my boys for impromptu stops at indoor playgrounds.

Most indoor playgrounds require socks. I love this rule. But today I had to violate it because we stopped at McD's unexpectedly and the boys had sandals on. So off they went into the germ factory, shoeless and sockless. Ewwww! Yes, I know you seasoned moms out there are thinking I need to relax since boys' feet do come clean. But I have years to work on that. Just let me have my phobia, mmm-k?

So I'm going to start stashing an extra pair of socks in the car, even in the cooler months when they wear sneakers most of the time. Even if they're wearing socks, the socks take a beating and putting their shoes on over them is yucky.

I suppose this is a first: posting a Works for Me Wednesday tip that I haven't actually tried. But I know that extra socks in the car WILL Work for Me! (And so would playgrounds requiring gloves as well.)

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Vacation in Our Town: Day 2 of 5

Oh, my. If it doesn't stop raining I'm going to scream. In our city it has rained every day since May (sic). Last year we were so dry here that people who threw cigarettes out their windows were viewed with as much disgust as child predators. Now, even the ducks are looking for higher ground...
Today's vacation definitely included events that do not happen often. I can't remember the last time I shopped at the gigantic mall in our city WITHOUT MY KIDS.

Husband very graciously and happily and with a skip in his step...OK, maybe I slightly exaggerate...He volunteered to take the boys to his mom's an hour away and keep them there for the afternoon while I did "me" things.

So I went to Gigantic Mall and shopped. I bought the shoes and dress below for a wedding husband and I are attending in July.

Then I wandered by the mall's play area which was crawling with toddlers since, yes, it was pouring rain outside. And I resisted the urge to laugh and point at the moms who, I swear, gave me dirty looks as I whizzed by them without a diaper bag, stroller, or kid on a leash.

Then I went to my salon and got a pedicure in OPI's Thrill in Brazil red. 'Cause that's an important detail you needed to know. I suppose I could post a photo, but I think one picture of my feet on my blog will do us all for a lifetime.

All in all, a relaxing day for me which deserved many hugs to husband when he got home. But don't cry for him Argentina...Friday's his day.

Tomorrow our agenda includes the local zoo and the horse track. And probably rain. I think I need a back-up plan.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Vacation in Our Town: Day 1 of 5

Hubs and I had big plans for our summer vacation. "Had" is the important word here. We were going to visit a Caribbean beach with boys in tow. A really gorgeous all-inclusive family resort. We are the couple who, before kids, vowed to not let having children get in the way of our activities. We would simply make adjustments for time and of course pack more, but we still fill our every vacation whim like we'd always done.

(Insert sound of screeching vinyl record.)

Then we faced reality. Son 1 is almost three-and-a-half and Son 2 is 21 months. Together they are extremely busy, curious, active, boys who need more than 500 s.f. of hotel room and a long hallway in order to be boys. I think I'm seeing some nodding heads amongst you...

So instead of the trip to the Caribbean, we decided to be vacationers in our hometown.

Every day this week we have planned an activity we haven't done before or in a very long time. Our "hotel room" is our own house and we will be eating vacation food like grilled burgers and chicken fingers and french fries. And stop the presses: we are even going out to breakfast one day to a restaurant we've never visited before.

Today is the first installment of what is sure to become an epic tale of a Vacation in Our Town. So grab some popcorn and try to stay awake as you read...

Today we took the boys to our local water park. It's a pretty big operation, this park, or so the $19.95 admission price would have you believe. But the best part: it's only one mile from our house.

Despite being right up the street, we had to pack our car as if we were RVing cross country. Snacks, water, diapers, diapers, change of clothes, Little Swimmers, baby wipes. (Is it obvious? I was a little nervous since Son 2 did not accomplish his morning task before we left.)

Anyway, the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. We saw several friends with their little ones and tried to have adult conversations but most of the time we were cutting each other off mid-sentence to chase a kid or grab hold of a slippery arm to pull him out of the water.

Okay, so being the former technical writer I am, wouldn't a bulleted list fit nicely here for some highlights of the day? You may notice a pattern...
  • For a while after we got there, Son 2 was never out of the clutches of me or hubs. Upon departure, he was climbing the steps to the slides and I'd meet him as he splashed into the water with squeals of delight.

  • Son 1 owned the large blue dinosaur slide. Pushed other kids aside to get up the steps only once. Lots of squealing with delight on the way down.

  • Visited the big wave pool. Son 2 was not impressed and wanted us to hold him. Son 1 ventured out to the point where the waves broke and allowed them to knock him off his feet. Squeals of delight with every "knockdown."
After our lunch of chicken fingers and french fries, we loaded up our RV/stroller and headed the whole mile home, where the boys took a glorious 2.5 hour nap. Think they would have done that in a little hotel room?!

What a fun first day of vacation, and I didn't even have to unpack. Much.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hand sanitizer can be dangerous for little ones

I have been hearing snippets here and there about hand sanitizer and finally went to my favorite source for things like this: Turns out the warnings are valid. I've been guilty of squirting my 21-month-old's hands with the stuff and saying "rub it in" which he happily does, but I had no idea it was so dangerous if ingested.

Read all the details here. And be stingy with hand sanitizer on your kids' hands.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bon voyage everyone!

This week some of the families in my family are taking trips to the beach. One group is now on their way to here in the Florida Panhandle.

Saturday the other group heads a little further south to here.

Me? Looks like our family is headed here:

Move over boys...Maybe mom can still get a tan. Have fun everyone! And bring me some sand.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'll nap when I want, where I want, and with whom I want

Son 1 was vehemently opposed to napping today...but I guess if he's the one making the bed, he doesn't mind it so much.

(And just FYI, I'm using today's naptime to order a bedskirt for his bed. Ewww!)

WFMW: Firecrackers recipe

Really awesome, easy, cheap recipe for spicy snack crackers called "Firecrackers."

When I started this "mommy blog" I didn't want to start posting recipes, after all, when you've got and who really needs my tip for chicken breasts and barbecue sauce in the crockpot?

However, I've come across one of those rare finds that begs to be passed along (from a lady at our church). When I was in the work force, one of my bosses used to say that no project could be accomplished fast, cheap, and with good quality without at least one of those things being sacrificed. (Take a moment to ponder this wisdom; it really is true.)

But this recipe is a rarity that can be made with all three things in mind. It's fast to assemble, cheap to make, and quality? Oh, my...

Let me cut to the chase:


1 1/2 c. canola oil
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
1 T. Tony Chachere creole seasoning *
2 T. red pepper flakes **
1 lb. saltine crackers

Whisk together the oil and spices and let stand 30 minutes. Lay crackers on a cookie sheet with sides. Drizzle oil over crackers. Turn crackers every 15 min. two or three times to coat. Store crackers in an airtight container. The crackers are even better-tasting the next day!

* Go here to see what the package looks like. I found it at my local big grocery store for about $3.25. The directions say "...use it like salt." Yum!

** This makes it "grown up" spicy. Decreasing the red pepper flakes to 1 T. still makes it very flavorful but less intense.

Fast, cheap, good recipes Work For Me! For more great tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Shameless ad for Ebay item

Check this out if you're shopping for a lovely black formal gown...size 8. It's my first Ebay listing and I'm anxiously awaiting the bids to come in, but so far I just hear crickets (thanks Chili for that's my new fav.)

(Thanks to my sis for modeling "her" gown; someone should sign her!)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Be careful...she'll turn on ya.

I was all set. I was all set to spew out a kleenex-grabbing story about this:

The rocker belonged to Husband's grandmother and he'd gotten it before we were married. When we were setting up Son 1's room before he was born, we decided to have it refinished to what you see now, since it was in really poor condition. This was a tough decision, mind you, since the rocker I really wanted for Baby's Room was a plush $300 rocker from Babies R Us that glided you and your cherub to sleep on a giant cloud. But the sentimental value of Grandma's rocker was high and we wanted it to look nice so we had it refinished and dutifully placed it in the corner, inevitibly for decoration.

But to my pleasant surprise, this hard-surfaced rocker has become a wonderful addition to Son 1's bedroom and a regular stop for Son 2 and I on our way downstairs after naptime. I spend about ten minutes in it every afternoon with him snuggling with his blanket and me hoping the creaking of it wakes up Son 1 from his nap so everyone remains on the same sleep schedule (don't laugh, sleep schedules for these boys are penned on scrolled parchment and signed by Presidents). So anyway, I was all set in my little writer mind to illustrate these scenarios with enough flowery prose to have you reaching for each other for a group hug.

That is, until today.

It was post-nap for Son 2 and I settled into the chair for our daily snuggle, when Son 1 awakens in his sweet angel way (today, by asking me if he could pleeease now open his Happy Meal toy). Creak, creak, "yes, honey, in a minute..." Creak, creak, "I'm rocking your brother..." Creak, creak, "Come over here and give me a hug..." Creak, creak, "Okay, Mamma..."

So he comes over and stands next to me in Great Grandma's nearly-antique chair. Except he stood a little too close to me, and the very sturdy feet of the rocker rocked right over his toes.

Let's just say the creaking of the rocker and the angels playing violins were drowned out by Son 1's screaming.

(Sigh) It's all OK, though, I managed to calm him and his toes survived unscathed. And Great Grandma's rocker passed the test of rocking two boys at the same time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

29 years and a wagon ride

(Story published with permission.)

My sister and her husband just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary. I heard about the way they celebrated through the family grapevine and decided this was one of those poignant stories you may be expecting on my blog.

Rose and Rob have lived in a rural town of 2,000 since they were married. Rob's family has lived and farmed and ranched in the area for generations. It's a rich history and they cherish it deeply.

However, that's not to say that Rose and Rob live in a cocoon. He is a respected small-business owner in our state and she's an elementary school teacher. They've vacationed out of state and country, their first two children are college-educated (and #3 is well on her way), and shut-my- mouth they even drive cars.

So on the day of their 29th wedding anniversary, you might expect a traditional dinner at a fancy restaurant or some other event away from home. Well, according to Rose, they've been out plenty lately. The dinners out have been frequent, albeit anything but fancy. Life has been hectic with school ending and other events. So dressing up and driving to Major City for a restaurant meal sounded more laborious than special.

So, at Rob's prodding, they hooked up their team of mules ("Ruby" and "Pearl" and I did not make that up) and prepared take a wagon ride. The kids were otherwise occupied so it was just the two of them. Rose was admittedly reluctant with many irons in the fire at home but thought it would be a nice break and after all, it was their anniversary.

They hooked up "the girls" and off they went, pulling the covered wagon behind them, on a mild June 10, 29 years after they were married. And for three hours they meandered the country roads of their town, talking to each other and whomever they met along the way.

And then they celebrated their 29 years together by having a beer.

Beer? Yep, a beer. See, in Smalltown, Oklahoma, there's a bar. It's not really even in town. Really it's not even a bar. More like a tavern. Like when someone they don't know walks in, everyone shifts their toothpicks to the other side of their mouths and tips back the bill of their John Deere hat and says " ain't from around here, are ya..."

But they knew Rob and his bride. And when the covered wagon with the oldy-weds pulled up in the parking lot (which didn't specify it was for cars only), they were warmly greeted. And Rose and Rob convinced the bar-owner to fix their order to go.

So this is the part where you think, noooo! Surely this story must be about someone's elderly parents. No, I'm telling you, their anniversary was six days ago.

They got their beer and they climbed back in their wagon, and they headed back home, click-clacking down the sometimes-paved, sometimes-not roads. And they talked some more. And Rose told me she would more than likely remember that anniversary celebration more than any other.

Hmmm, I believe I will, too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm proud to say I scored a measly 40%!

Be prepared to think "now there's five minutes I'll never get back..." Yep, quiz time! Go to to determine your "Entertainment IQ." It's not exactly the SAT but revealing nonetheless.

Leave a comment and let me know how much time you waste keeping up with the entertainment world, oh, I mean, let me know your score.

WFMW: New, easy storage!

Use a shoe organizer in your coat closet for storage.

I bought a shoe organizer (Target, $12.99) to use for storing much more than shoes in my downstairs closet. When I need to get out the door, even a minute to get up and down the stairs can be hard to come by. So this handy tool makes it so easy to grab shoes, hats, Little Swimmers, even sunglasses and sunscreen. I keep a couple of pairs of flip-flops in there for myself, and I've even allowed hubs a little real estate for his stuff.

Check it out:

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The fruits of my labor

A few weeks ago I entered a caption contest on for the Nightline program. Lo and behold, I won the darn thing. So for all my sweating over just the right 20-words-or-less, I have finally been rewarded with this beauty:

You will notice it sits atop my jewelry box. Yes, I do consider it a treasure. Go ahead, leave me a comment about how jealous you are.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's a Carnival! And the story of my blog.

My buddy Chilihead is hosting a carnival! That's right, she's a nosy-rosy and wants to know everyone's story about how they started blogging. For me? It's a good way to get some linkage on a highly-traveled site! Woo-hoo!

So for the other nosy-rosies out there, knock yourself out:

How did you start blogging?

Chilihead was at my house one afternoon and she sheepishly mentioned she had a blog thing out here. Whaaattt! And didn't tell me about it!? I was so impressed with what she had done with her blog that it didn't take much of her prodding to get me started as well. I'm a writer at heart and blogging seemed a great outlet for me to be creative and have a little project going as well.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

(Wow, if I didn't know better I think I'm sitting across from some HR rep at Big Company.)

Achieve? I have to achieve something? I haven't really thought about it much. I hope someday I will have visitors to my blog who look forward to reading a little humor, a little poignant story now and then, and get to know me a little. I like the idea of my family and friends visiting and staying caught up on things. As mundane as they seem sometimes, this is my life.

As for future plans, maybe I can figure out a way to make this blog earn me a little cash.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

I didn't have a "focus" when I started so this really isn't relevant. I can say, though, I'm more comfortable writing now. My early posts were a little Niles-Cranish, now they're more Roz.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

Hmmm, I'm still learning. I wish I was a little more technical.

Do you make money with your blog?

See above. Sadly, no.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

My relatives are reading, I think. Most of them do not leave comments. If only they knew that comments are like manna from heaven. Or the "crack of life" as Chili says. Throw me a bone people!

Husband, on the other hand, is a big ol' skeptic about the whole thing. I don't think he reads it (do you hon?)

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

Write from the heart. And use humor. And brevity is beautiful. And you don't always have to play by the rules.

That's the whole story. Exciting huh. Well, you wanted to know!

For what are probably much more interesting blog histories, check out Chili's Carnival. And get me some cotton candy while you're there.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Words will never be enough

First, read my previous post about my last experience with a snake and get an idea of how little I ever want to see one again even in a picture. Even one as small as the one I wrestled...

Then, have a look at this picture and ask yourself how I was able to even look at it long enough to download.

Oh, my.

Thing is, this is not a picture I lifted from or some other urban legend web site. This creature was sighted at the home of a lady my sister works with, who lives out in the country.

The picture was taken only a week or so ago, which means this little black snake is probably still slithering about somewhere. I do not know, nor do I care to know, how "Gail" freed up her door from the clutches of this creature. Good luck to you, Gail, and move to the freaking city, OK?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

WFMW: Two from Mom of Five

Since I'm just getting started in the motherhood game (boys are 20 mo. and 3 years), I have not yet heard "mom, I'm bored." My boys still get a charge out of watching birds out the back window.

My sister, on the other hand, has five kids, the oldest now in college. She has homeschooled them all and I'm sure heard the dreaded phrase more than once. So I decided to ask her what to post for this week's WFMW:

(Edited for space, but pretty much verbatim. As if there's not enough space on the Internet for her entire answer...)

"First, when I read questions like that, I think what the person is really wanting to know is "What can I get my kid to do so that he will leave me alone?" 'Cause I can think of all kinds of things to do with my kids, but I didn't/don't always want to play along. Anyway, when one of my sweet cherubs would say they were bored, I'd tell them to stand in a corner until they thought of something to do. (And it could not be TV or computer.) It usually didn't take them too long to come up with something.

I did that because these kids I have should never, ever be bored! They have toys! They have books! They have a backyard! We gave them siblings! Enough to switch around even. Sheesh. The kid who comes to me and says he's bored better be prepared to pay the piper. Or clean something.

P.S. The disclaimer is that I know my kids and at what age I could expect this to work. I don't assume anything for anyone else. Also, the corners were always cobweb-free. Again, I don't assume anything for anyone else..."

So then I guess she started thinking about how a "kinder, gentler" idea might sound better to post for the masses, and she suggested getting the kids involved in the local library's Summer Reading Program.

Uh-huh, I bet there was a lot of worn corners in their house...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The beach in our front yard

Ahhhh, you're gonna get tired of reading this on my blog, but I LOVE SUMMER!

This evening we had a party in the front yard. We live in a nice-enough neighborhood, but until recently the boys were pretty much the lone kiddos on our street. But now they have a victim, uh, playmate, other than each other!

"Jason" is a little over two years old and lives two houses down. After dinner we invited him and his mom and dad to come over...the pool was coming out again!

So pretty soon here came Jason walking across yards with great purpose and clutching his beach towel. Cutest thing ever.

Then up filled the pool. And down splashed three boys (many, many times). And the water from the hose flew everywhere. And the moms and dads lifeguarded from lawn chairs a safe distance away. And I sat there and thought, what a perfect evening. Good friends, good kids, and a good deal of hope that we'd do this many times this summer...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Is my 3-year-old a brooding teenager already?

We've always pulled out all the "sleep aids" possible for Son 1: nightlight, lamp on, music CDs playing, books to look at after we leave, stories prior to leaving, etc. It's really a wonder he gets any sleep at all, now that I think about it. Nonetheless, we've always used some or all of these things to help the process.

Then two nights ago, he says in his tiny voice: "I don't need any books." Then, as I was leaving his room, "could you close the door? And turn off the lamp?"


"...and shut the door all the way."

Um, OK, I say. It pained me to leave him in a room with the only light coming from his little sailboat nightlight. With the door completely shut. What if he wimpered? Or breathed loudly? Or turned over? Or worse, called out for me and I couldn't hear him in my room a whole 10 feet away?

But I obliged, and hubs and I spent the next 30 minutes scratching our heads. Our son had grown up overnight. Or, in not so many words, told us he's learned to live without all the crutches for sleeping.

One of my sisters who is a veteran mom and I mean that in the nicest way, told me once that when one of my children is crying, the reason is not as important as helping him not cry. So stop analyzing, she would say, and start comforting.

So I suppose I should stop analyzing my son's sudden desire to be alone with his thoughts, and add this to my list of the mysteries of parenting. Which is growing by the minute.