Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Check out this blog . . .

OK, I know linking you to another blog might be annoying to some, but this may be the Funniest.Blog.Post.I.Have.Ever.Read.

And when I find a new blog I like, I feel compelled to share. Enjoy.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guess what I am again? Yup, Overwhelmed


I know I've said it before, and at the time I really felt I was overwhelmed.

But now, looking back, that was not to the degree of OVERWHELMED that I am feeling lately.

Work - SO much going on. The work keeps piling up.

Life - SO much is going on.

Our fall schedule is again, insane. While I'm thrilled to be taking a photography class, it is not an easy class and requires that I should take 200-300 pictures a week, on my own, and edit those down to 24-36 to present to the class each week.

And then we've got the kids' activities. We tried to curtail the activities this fall (no boy/girl scouts, no flag football, no Girls On The Run for diva) but it still seems crazy.

As an example, here's what I did yesterday after work. Hunter was staying in the city to attend an open house at #3's school last night, he wasn't feeling well, so he was sidelined here.

3:00 Leave work. Left an attorney high and dry on something that had to be done yesterday. Told her I'd pick it back up tonight as I was planning to log back in.

3:15 Pick up #3 from her day care and head toward the elementary school for the other 2

4:00 Arrive at Diva and Daredevil's after-school care. Hand them their pre-packed bags to change into dance/karate gear. Pick up an extra kid, Diva's friend A., whom I take to dance each Tuesday as her mom works more than an hour away.

4:15 Leave school, drive the gang towards the dance studio. Distribute snacks/drinks in the car

4:20 Drop off Diva and A. for two hours of dance classes

4:25 Head for karate studio, get there early for 5:00 class. Daredevil does homework in the meantime.

5:00 Karate class. Follow #3 all over karate studio while Daredevil gets his karate on.

5:45 Leave karate studio. Head to baseball fields

6:10 Daredevil changes out of karate gear and into baseball gear in car

6:15 Batting practice begins

6:20 Head towards dance studio to pick up Diva

6:30 Pick up Diva from dance studio and walk next door to Five Guys, order and pick up dinner for all

6:45 Head back to baseball fields. Eat dinner in car. Keep Daredevil's dinner warm.

7:15 Batting practice is supposed to end now. No signs of them being close to finishing.

7:45 Batting practice ends. All kids in car. Go to turn on car, battery does not turn over - click, click, click.

7:50 Call Hunter, thankfully the open house was over and he was only 10 minutes out and there are jumper cables in my car (thanks to my Mom, who bought me a car safety kit some years ago)

8:00 Hunter arrives at the baseball fields and jump starts my car. Says he feels so bad he needs to go to bed when we get home. Drive home.

8:15 Kids finish homework, have snack. I give #3 a bath - school pictures tomorrow.

8:45 Order Diva and Daredevil to the showers, it's also their school picture day tomorrow. Give #3 a quick snack, she wanted applesauce.

9:00 Sort through clothes to pick out school picture day clothes. Figure out the only collared shirt Daredevil will fit into is dirty. Collect some other stuff to make up a load and throw it in the washer. Go to put #3 to bed and realize she rubbed applesauce all over her freshly washed hair. Lay towels next to the bathroom sink and give her a quick shampoo, which she didn't really appreciate.

9:30 #3 in bed. Older 2 are still up. Of course, arguing with Diva on what to wear for school picture. I really don't have a leg to stand on in the argument over the shirt she wants to wear, since I bought it for her. So I told her if I don't like the picture, she's getting a re-take with what I wanted her to wear.

10:00 Older 2 now in bed. Put some wash into dryer, hung other wash on drying rack.

10:30 Was supposed to log into work tonight since I left at 3, so I now have two hours to make up, but I didn't. Fell into bed exhausted. The kitchen looked like a bomb hit it.

Now, this is not really a typical day because (a) Hunter is an assistant coach of the baseball team and is usually at baseball games/practices and (b) the battery on my car doesn't usually die.

But it's close.

We've started going back to church regularly. We had been, and it dropped off after #3 was born. We now attend in shifts (I go to the 7:30 mass, which works for me as I'm a morning person, and Hunter goes later - the older 2 go with me if they are up, and with him if not.)

Although I struggle with my faith and spirituality, I find myself praying, after I pray for the health of my family, for strength. For help. To get through the next week, until I'm there again to ask for more strength.

I love my job. I love my family. I need my job - we need the money. I need to be there for my kids. I'm finding as they get older, they are needing me more. And I think I need to be there more for them as they get older, which is contrary to what I used to think - that when they get older, they won't need me so much.

So what is the answer? I have no idea. It is keeping me awake at night.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looking At The Sky on Fridays


Sadly, summer is coming to an end.
I just wish it could stay summer all year long.
This was taken at one of our favorite places, Ocean City, New Jersey.

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Looking at the Sky on Friday


The view from my front yard: past a branch of my favorite tree. Happy Friday!

To check out more participants of Looking at the Sky on Friday or to join in the fun yourself, click the badge above, or click here

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm 40 . . How is that possible?

I turned 40 last week. By my request there was not much fanfare, no big party or anything. Good thing we didn't spend a lot on that kind of stuff, because as of this week we have a leaky 27 old kitchen faucet and the air conditioner in my car just died. Sigh.

As one of my Facebook friends said . . "40! How is it possible? Wasn't it like just a couple of weeks ago that we were standing in line for [our favorite college bar] with fake ID's?"


Turning 40 is not really a huge deal for me. I'm actually grateful to have made it this far.

But, marking my 40 years on this earth has got me thinking about a bunch of things, which have boiled down to the following questions:
  • What do I want to be when I grow up? (Yes, I still don't know)
  • What can I do to make my rather ordinary life extraordinary?
  • What would best help me to live another 40 years with just as much fun (if not more!) as I've had in the past 40?

As I mull over the answers to these questions (maybe once I figure out some coherent thoughts on that, I'll answer them in another post), I decided that rather than envy my daughter in all the things she's learning, like photography, I should join her and take strides to learn something new myself.

So, for my 40th birthday, I asked to take photography classes. I start one of two classes next Monday.

Yes, each Monday evening until December 13th, I will have two hours to myself to get over to our local community college for photography courses. The first course I registered for is Basic Photography, then I move right on to Advanced Photography after Basic ends. In the spring I hope to take more classes - there are Commercial Photography and Photoshop classes that look interesting.

These are non-credit courses that don't count towards anything, but that's OK. They are affordable, and the course description is right down my alley.

Now I did look into a photography certificate program at our local art and design college, but the classes were $500-$700 each, require a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and it would have taken a couple of years.

So I decided to start small. The classes I'm taking are $128 each, and I can use my point and shoot camera.

Yes, of course, I do want to buy a DSLR, but I'm not there yet (and neither is my bank account) I decided I should master the camera I have (which is fairly new) before I am ready to move on.

So why photography, you ask? I love to take pictures - I always have. I take a ton of them. And typically I do a whole lot of nothing with them. Whenever I go to a wedding, I take 100+ pictures to send to the bride. I figure I can get some shots that her photographer is too busy to get. Plus, it's fun!

Sometimes I get lucky and take a great one. I would like to take more great ones.

And someday, if I stick with it and show some promise, maybe I can make a little money doing it (and thus maybe answering question #1 above). . and if not, at a minimum, my skills should improve enough in order to create plenty of lasting memories for our family.

It feels great to do something for myself. Pre-kids, I used to take tennis lessons, cooking classes, all kinds of stuff. Haven't done anything like that in years, and I miss having some time to work on something for myself.

Hunter has many hobbies - hunting, fishing, poker night, etc. My hobbies consist of reading for 20 minutes before I go to bed and cleaning my house (which I suck at, my house is always a mess). And an occasional exercise class here and there (on my lunch break!).

It was surprisingly easy to coordinate - Hunter graciously agreed to be home from work every Monday by 6:30 so I can go to class.

Hopefully it will remain this easy. So far the kids have no activities on Monday nights, so we are clear!!!

I will continue thinking about the questions posed in this post and will follow up with my Next-40-Year plan soon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday to #3!

Our beloved #3 turns TWO YEARS OLD TODAY.

Just two short years ago, we welcomed her to our family. Here she is, not too long after her birth, with her very proud big brother and sister:

And here she is partying it up with Diva and Daredevil on her first birthday.

And here she is recently, posing with her two favorite playmates:

We have a small family party planned to celebrate #3's big day. I am tearing around town seeking"Finding Nemo" party stuff since that is her current obsession. Since that movie came out a long time ago, the Nemo stuff is pretty scarce.

Anyway, we can't believe it has been two years already. Like all my kids, #3 is growing up so fast.

Strong and determined, she can often be found bossing around her siblings, the dog, and her parents, telling them to "Sit down!" or "Read it!" (read her a book), or asking for some "foo" (food). And if you can't understand what she is asking for, she will be happy to take your hand, pull you up off the couch and lead you straight to whatever it is she wants you to get or do for her. She cracks us up!

Happy Happy Birthday #3. You make us smile every day and we love you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm "exonerated" . . But I didn't know I was accused of a crime

I was reading my local paper and came across an article with this title:

"More Exoneration for Working Mothers"

I kind of bristled, but thought I'd read the article before casting judgment. You can read it here.

It basically talks about a study where children were followed throughout stages of development. Such study concluded that children in day care fare no less well in the end than those with stay at home parents. Basically there are advantages/disadvantages to both, but for the most part it all evens out.

That's all fine and good - I didn't have an issue with the article.

And I agree with the study results - in my experience, I already know my kids are doing just fine - great, in fact. They are happy, healthy, well adjusted, well behaved (um, most of the time) and do very well in school. Same with the kids of my stay-at-home parent friends.

I am offended by this headline. I guess it's the word "exoneration". Like working mothers should feel like they have committed a crime and are looking for absolution? Ugh. Seems we are still in the dark ages.

The article was reprinted in my local paper. It originally appeared in the Washington Post.

When I went to the Washington Post to check it out, the article actually appeared under the following headline:

"Study: Working mothers not necessarily harmful to children's development "

Not a whole lot better, but a little. Still, the impression here is that generally working mothers are somehow harmful to their children, and we need studies to prove that wrong.

Am I being overly sensitive here, or does this seem to reek of bygone eras and judgments that shouldn't exist anymore?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Envious . . .

. . . of my daughter right now. Yes, darn it, I'm jealous. Diva is having a really fun summer.

She is going to camps that I wish I could go to as a 30 something adult (yes I can still say that for a few more weeks). She spent two weeks (with a break in between) at Girl Scout Camp on the Sassasfras River in Maryland.

Now, I don't envy the fact that she had to sleep in a platform tent and deal with bugs, spiders and 100 degree plus temperatures.

But these are the activities she did that I wish I could do:
  • Watersports on the river - sailing, kayaking, etc.
  • Archery
  • Learning to play the acoustic guitar (the theme of her 2nd week - "Girls with Guitars")
  • Hatchet throwing (how fun is that?)
  • Campfires at midnight, then sleeping in (the theme of her 1st week - "Midnight Magic")
  • Having breakfast, lunch, and dinner cooked for you
  • Bunking with school friends while making new ones
  • Taking hikes with cool painted walking sticks

So she brought a guitar with her that we picked up at Kmart. She learned to tune it and play some chords, and was a little disappointed she didn't learn to play at least one song, but I told her Rome wasn't built in a day.

Hunter bought her a how-to book and CD, and said if she can get through that she can take guitar lessons if she wants. I WANT TO DO THAT TOO!

This week she's at a local school of the arts taking a "Photography 101" session.

Armed with a digital camera, she's learning to take artistic pictures and edit them and do projects on Photoshop. I WANT TO DO THAT TOO!

On the first day (yesterday) she took 77 pictures. She has several projects she's working on, some collaborative with her peers and others individual. Her work will be exhibited in a camp gallery at the end of the week.

Next week, it's camp at her dance academy, the theme being "On Broadway". They will rehearse Broadway numbers and perform them for parents at the end of the week. I'm not much of a singer or dancer, but THAT SOUNDS FUN TOO!

How sad is it that I'm jealous of what a 10 year old gets to do? I think I need to get a life!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

Daredevil: Mom, where can I find a magnifying glass?

Me: I'm not sure, what do you need it for? Not to start a fire, right? (I was joking)

Daredevil: Of course not Mom, not a fire, just a little smoke.

Glad I asked! This exchange went on . . .

Me: Where were you planning to start this "smoke"?

Daredevil: Where would you like me to start it?

We then proceeded to discuss the "where there's smoke, there's fire" concept. . .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm Back

OK, so I took a little blogging sabbatical. From the looks of my last post, snow was on the ground. Now spring has sprung.

Life's been crazy. I know that's no excuse since my life is always crazy, but I've had a little bit of writers' block as well. Just don't really know what direction I want this blog to go in.

Right now I'm leaning toward a more personal angle - rather than talking about issues, current events, etc - since that's what I feel most comfortable writing about.

So anyhoo - lots has been going on. We're in the throes of spring sports - baseball, softball, and of course karate, 3 dance classes, after-school activites (Girls on the Run and Odyssey of the Mind).

Today's a big day in our house. It's Diva's 10th birthday! Hunter and I reminisced last night about how 10 years ago we were so clueless. We had no idea what becoming a parent would really be like, and we had no clue how to take care of a baby. We talked about how much she has taught us, and how she changed our lives. We are so proud of the young lady she's turning into.

We are having a family party tonight where she will get her big present from us: her own cell phone. We finally caved in. Does she need one? Absolutely not. But we've been hearing about how ALL her friends have one - at first we didn't believe her, but they actually do all have cell phones. Nice ones - nicer than the one I had. So we trekked to the Verizon store yesterday to upgrade ours, add one for her, and see what kind of deal we could swing.

As it turns out, a pretty good one. Hunter and I got these cool Samsung Rogue touch-screen phones, and we got Erin an LG Cosmos, which they guy said is very popular for her age group. (This came from the same guy who told us we wouldn't belive how many people come in to buy Blackberries for their 7 and 8 year olds!)

Anyway, she thinks she is not getting one and is pretty bummed about it. We also got her some clothes, and clipped the phone to a pair of shorts that are on the bottom of the box of clothes. She was scoping out the wrapped gifts this morning, and I know her eye was scanning for a small box, which there wasn't. Can't wait to see the look on her face when she opens it!

I really wanted to do a montage of pictures of all of her birthdays, but I just haven't had time. I'm hoping that will be my next post.

In the meantime, here's a recent picture of our 10 year old baby. This was taken just after her team won the state Odyssey of the Mind competition

(Yes, that's a chicken hat. It's a Delaware thing. We are Blue Hens, after all!)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Gosh, it's been a while since I posted. Life has been very crazy the past few weeks. Stomach flu for Daredevil, #3, and me, then an ear infection for #3, and just last week, our mid-Atlantic area, which never sees much snow, got over THREE FEET of snow last week over the course of two major storms.

Our entire area shut down. State of emergency. Widespread power outages (which, thankfully, did not effect us). Travel bans. School cancelled FOR THE WHOLE WEEK.

Here's the irony. At work, we have begged and begged for remote access to be able to work from home for greater flexibility. It took a few years, but we finally got laptops and remote access last fall.

So, during these snow days, while the company I work for was technically closed in my area, we were expected to work remotely.

Yup, work all day. And take care of kids at the same time.

I'm sure you are thinking: with a state of emergency, your husband must have been home too, so that wasn't so bad, right?

Wrong. We had 3+ feet of snow outside. He spent most of the week snow blowing the driveway, the neighbors' driveways, the sidewalks, around the mailbox, and a path for the dog since he is CEO of All Things Outside at our address. Since it kept snowing and drifting, he had to do this over and over again.

Now I'm not complaining in the least bit - I don't like snow, or even cold weather for that matter, so I'm grateful he actually enjoys bundling up and snow blowing the entire neighborhood in the 25-degree weather while I stay inside and make hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.

But alas, when the governor lifted the travel ban, he decided Must.Be.In.The.Office, so he went there Thursday and Friday, leaving me flying solo working and taking care of the kids.

While I did like spending the days in my pajamas with the kids, it was difficult and stressful to work and take care of an 18 month old's many needs at the same time.

Plus, my older 2 were bored. There was so much snow it was difficult to go sledding. And you can only make tunnels and have snowball fights for so long. They had a few play dates, otherwise they played the Wii and watched Nickelodeon or movies while I worked. I did venture out in my massive 4 wheel drive full size SUV to take them out to lunch twice, figuring if I was ignoring them for most of the day, at least I could take them somewhere cool on my lunch break.

We made it up to them on Sunday by taking them to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. What a cool place!

We were supposed to get another storm this Monday, calling for 4 to 8 inches. I was going to go stark raving mad if school was cancelled another day. But, the storm fizzled out, we got about an inch, and off to school and work it was for all of us yesterday. Thank goodness!

I took some great photos of our Snowmageddeon, I'll try to post them next!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week

Wow, it's been a while since I've done one of these. If I was more organized, I'd jot these down while they happen. But, I'm definitely not more organized, so here I sit, wracking my brain . . . I have many Not Me moments . . wish I could remember half of them. Here goes:

I did NOT, as I lay on the couch in delirious exhaustion after an all-nighter by the bowl with the stomach virus, after taking a call from #3's day care regarding a blow out so bad they had to give her a BATH, decide to keep here there for a few more hours so I could sleep.

I did NOT, after Daredevil requested Sloppy Joe's for dinner, go pick up two big cans of Manwich in a snowstorm and think I could just open them, pour them into the pot, heat them up and have instant dinner. Of course I knew that you had to add your own ground beef separately which of course I already had defrosting all afternoon in the fridge. As they say, a sandwich is a sandwich, but a MANWICH is a MEAL. haha.

I did NOT think, at 10am on a Sunday morning after Diva went to a 10 year old sleepover party: "It's time to pick her up already?" Of COURSE I missed my firstborn terribly and and couldn't wait until she arrived home with freshly painted blue fingernails, informing me she had won a slumber party beauty pageant, a key factor in her victory being the dance portion of the competition.

I did NOT have to pull over while driving this weekend after looking back and seeing #3 had undone the clip holding her car seat straps together and had fished her arms out of both straps, and was sitting there with a mischevious smile, very satisfied with her efforts. Why don't all car seats have the type of clips that snap?

I did NOT take back-only shots of Daredevil on his new snowboard this weekend in our front yard because I didn't want to leave the sidewalk to go down in the yard and get my feet wet in the snow, or worse, slip and fall down the hill.

Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good News!

Heartfelt thanks to anyone out there who prayed for my Dad.

I am happy to report he is feeling better, and his heart catheterization yesterday showed NO BLOCKAGES. (This is nothing short of a miracle, the cardiologists seemed pretty sure there'd be something there.)

Things have turned the corner fairly quickly. He was even released from the hospital today.

But he's not home free.

Lots of medications, follow up with his five doctors, and lifestyle changes await him.

He was told to follow the South Beach (low glycemic index) diet. No more smoking, of course. Get all kinds of tests done (some very frequently)

He was back to being his old self yesterday - lobbying to get released, using his charm on anyone who would listen.

So he dodged yet another bullet. But the bullets are getting closer and closer to him. Hopefully he'll follow the rules this time. But he likes to follow his own rules.

Many thanks to the readers who reached out to me with their kind words - it has meant more to me than you know.

Thank you!


Saturday, January 16, 2010


My Dad is sick.

Really sick.

He was admitted to the hospital on Monday for the same type of thing he's had before - pneumonia. He's a lifelong smoker, and has asthma and COPD on top of that. So, he doesn't just get a cold - it always turns into pneumonia, usually a couple of times a year.

We've been through it all before - he waits until he's almost past the point of return to seek medical attention. We plead with him to see a doctor. The doctor sends him right to the hospital, where they pump him full of antibiotics and breathing treatments, and in a week or so he's better, vowing to quit smoking, lose weight, etc. since everyone at the hospital has read him the riot act about it. But within weeks or sometimes days, he's smoking again, eating cheesesteaks and working too much.

This time, it started out the same way, but now it's more than just pneumonia and lung trouble. Now he's having periodic chest pain, atrial fibrillation, blood clots, ventricular tachycardia, possible blockages, and other stuff I can't spell or pronounce.

So it's not just his lungs this time - it's his heart.

He's on 17 medications. Hooked up to countless machines. Lots of tests - CAT scan, daily EKGs, etc. He hasn't been getting worse, but he's not getting better.

He gets a heart catheterization on Monday. That will determine the next steps - whether or not he has blockages (they seem to think he likely does), and what to do about them - possibly stents, angioplasty or even a bypass.

He is in good spirits, as usual, downplaying all this stuff, putting on a brave face and focusing on everyone else other than himself. Typical. But we are terrified.

If he makes it through all this, we are sure he will need to make major lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, smoking, scaling back on work, etc). This is not the type of thing that he has done well with in the past.

So, if you pray, kindly include my dad. We need all the prayers for him we can get.

I know he won't live forever, but I'm not ready to let him go yet.

I can't imagine a world without my Daddy.

Thank you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goodbye 2009....Welcome 2010

As I've said here before, New Year's Day is one of my favorite days. A fresh start, time to think about what I can do to make myself better - love it. I always make resolutions. And while most of the time I don't ever fully achieve them, they get me focused and moving in the right direction.

Looking back, while 2009 wasn't my favorite of years, it was a really good one. Hunter and I have good jobs we enjoy. The kids are healthy and happy, and we enjoyed #3's first year immensely. Our families are healthy. I'm grateful for all those things.

My friend Cat inspired me to reflect over what I DID accomplish in 2009, rather than obsess over what I DIDN'T.

Here's my top-ten list of Things I Accomplished in 2009:

1. I ran four 5-k races with Diva, improving our pace each time (even if it was only by seconds!).

2. I became a devotee of exercise classes, even summoning the nerve to try new ones I knew nothing about (like Body Combat!).

3. I became a regular at my gym at work, which very much helped my general stress level.

4. I got better at balancing my time between my kids, a challenge due to their differences in ages. (9, 7, and 1)

5. I got promoted to Vice President at work. This was a long time coming. Four years ago, they announced that paralegals at our company could be promoted to VP. But none in our location (which was acquired in a merger) had been, even though many of us have consistently met or exceeded the qualifications.

6. I read the entire Twilight series, plus about 20 other books, mostly non-fiction, thus learning, among other things, about Nichiren Buddhism, applying military strategy to every day life, ancient civilization, the Supreme Court, and the Gucci empire.

7. We finally took (older) kids to New York City for a day trip, like we've been talking about for a couple of years. Can't wait to go back.

8. We had a yard sale in the spring, as well as gave two pickup truck loads of clothes, toys, etc. to Goodwill and the Order of the Purple Heart. I also gave some of Daredevil's old clothes to my sister in law, accepting finally that I'm not going to be having any more babies.

9. Recently cleaned out and reorganized my kids' playroom, filling up 3 hefty bags with junk and boxing up scads of stuff for Goodwill and/or our next yard sale, also making it safe(r) for our 1 year old. This was quite an undertaking - wish I'd taken before and after pictures.

10. Kept up with my blogs, learning more and more about it all the time.

So, for 2010, here is my top 10 list of things I want to work on. They aren't all-or-nothings, and some are little steps that I hope help me achieve a larger goal over time (i.e., lose 30 pounds, have more money, have a beautiful sparkling organized house, etc.)...

In 2010, I resolve to . . .

1. Pack my lunch for work more (and thus controlling my portions and costs)
2. Use my crock pot more (and thus do more planning in advance)
3. Drink less soda, eat less meat, eat more fruits/vegetables
4. Keep up with my blogs and make them look better
5. Run longer races, like 5 milers or maybe even a 10k, and make my 5k pace better
6. Ruthlessly attack the the clutter disaster that is my basement
7. Plan vacations that are as relaxing as possible
8. Have more date nights with my husband (goal is one a month, right now it's one or two a year.)
9. Do a better job of keeping my house clean (hello, FlyLady!)
10.Be kinder to myself and others.

So that's it. I'm feeling good and full of optimism and hope for 2010. To see what inspired my new-found positivity, check out Cat's blog here.

May you have health, happiness and prosperity in 2010!