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    Monday, June 25, 2007

    Thinking Out Loud...

    I think I'll start doing this (rambling about several topics on one post), and maybe quite often. Writing things out makes them easier to see coming to pass. This will mostly be domestic rambling, so those of you with big, hot, jet-set lifestyles will find it boring and mundane...sorry about that.

    Isn't There a Reality Show for Clutter?

    If so, then I need to be on it. I have GOT to get my house in order. I'll let you in on a little secret if you promise not to hold it against me. If you come to visit, you'd most likely think my house looks pretty OK, and reasonably organized. And in thinking that, you would be falling for the mirage I've created. I have mastered keeping the living room, bathroom and most of the main areas of the main floor mostly in order, most of the time, or at least within range of being fixable in an hour's time...but at the horrible expense of the rest of the house. I know, I know - "everyone does that". Well, I am not everyone, and I don't like it. God forbid someone wants to see my office...oy...

    My laundry room should be marked off as a disaster area. My storage space in the basement is out of control. The closets are such a disorganized mess that it's a wonder we can find anything. My office...I have boxes of stuff that I "need to keep", and every time I go through the boxes, I affirm that, yes, it IS stuff I need to keep, but it never gets filed or sorted or put into any sort of usable order. And it's perpetual. The more I let it sit, the more "necessary stuff" there is...the boxes keep piling up and now it's a seemingly insurmountable task. PATHETIC. Who does this crap? Who lets it get this bad? Me, that's who. Nauseating! And our bedroom...always close to, if not, actually, ridiculously disorganized.

    Laundry - 24,395: Cathy - 0...(AKA: I Can't Keep Up...)

    Alright, can I just say that when I thought I "couldn't keep up on laundry" before we had kids, I was an idiot? Besides just the bare mechanics of actually DOING all the laundry that CONSTANTLY piles up, there's more to it than that. Grown-up clothes only have to be cycled in and out of rotation by season, change in waist line, and style if desired. Kids' clothes is a whole different arena, with the constant, nagging "Does this still fit?" question looming constantly and repeatedly with every load. Drives me nuts, and I am NOT good at keeping up on it. I think my laziness comes into play here, though, too...gee, ya THINK?

    So, SKC's "McDonald's" Comment Has Me Thinking...
    If I plan out my meals for the week, and know what I'm making for supper every night, there is about a 95% chance that I'll make it and we'll eat at home and save our money. But if not? Hmmm, could go either way, esp. if the kids are particularly challenging that day, or if we are gone in the afternoon for play dates, or if I'm feeling like a big lazy ass and don't know what to make. So Greg went through my list of recipes and picked out two weeks' worth of dinners and I planned it all out...and now I feel GOOD about supper for the next two weeks. If I can just get him to sit down and tell me what he wants, then I feel better about meal plans. I can tweak them and change them as I have a specific desire for something, but I really want his input, too. I wouldn't like never knowing, or having a say in, what I was eating for supper. So I was very grateful to Greg for sitting down and giving me a list to start from.

    I'm Gonna Whine, Brace Yourself...

    So, if anyone knows of anyone who has a really nice dishwasher they are just DYING to give away, please let me know, wouldja? I AM SICK TO DEATH OF WASHING DISHES. I really don't mind it some of the time, but weekends, when we are all here for three days, they pile up faster than I can wash them, and then I get SICK of washing them, and then...well, let's don't talk about that. Let's just say I have some work to do before I can start on dinner in three hours. Crappity smack.

    Anyway, in case you're asking...could we go buy a new dishwasher, and then renovate our ancient, as-of-yet-un-updated-kitchen to accommodate a built-in dishwasher? Sure, if we want to get out the credit cards! But we are not doing that anymore, so I'm stuck wishing and washing. Sucky, sucky deal. I'm watching craigslist and freecycle and hoping someone is just DYING to give up a pretty, nice new dishwasher for next-to-nothing. Ha ha. Gosh, this whole topic just makes me sound like a redneck, poor white trash housewife. ("Shucks, we ain't got nunna 'em fancy aww-toe-mat'd dish warshin' machines...") Sheesh - where's an embarrassed smiley face when you need one? Let's move on.

    The Toys That Took Over The World

    Seriously, it's just ri-god damned-diculous. I do not mean to sound ungrateful that my children are so loved, I really don't. But there can be NO MORE in-flux of toys into this house, or we'll have to move out to make room for the toys. For sure, that I know of, there are FIVE storage boxes of toys in the storage room. Toys that there just isn't room for. We rotate toys in and out of circulation to keep the kids interested. But "circulation includes: Samantha's ENTIRE toy box AND all of her shelves, all full. AND her Dora couch. AND her Alligator piano. And her trunk of dress-up clothes (which we all still love, Jenny, it's one of my faves!). AND the three-tiered purple and pink storage rack of books/puzzles/flashcards. AND the Weeble towns. All three of them. AND the playhouse. And the tent/clubhouse/tunnel from Uncle Brian which is now in storage b/c there is just not a 10x12 space anywhere to put it. And don't even get me started on the stuffed animals.

    And then there's Jackson's room with HIS full toy box. And his hop-n-pop, and his walker, and his fishy entertainment thingee, and his farm play mat, and his giant rocking elephant, and his shelves with books and other toys.

    Oh, but we haven't talked about my office yet. ANOTHER HUGE toy box. Full. The recent addition of a cabinet handed down from an aunt on Greg's side for Samantha, which is getting fuller by the minute, somehow is NOT diminishing the toy-load anywhere else, don't ask me. Balls, balls, and more balls, even though there is not one person who plays ANY sport living in this house. Samantha's vacuum cleaner. And her Doodle. And her giant Legos. And her Barbies, Polly Pockets, Cabbage Patch Kids, etc., etc., the list goes on, ad infinitum...

    I need to just start pitching. Garbage man comes every week, doesn't he? Yes, he does. I need to have presents for him beyond just plain ole' trash, don't I? Sadly, it won't be the first time I've done it. But it's the only time-effective way to manage the huge quantities of crap that comes into this house. I keep and store toys that the kids feel particularly attached to when they outgrow them, but the bulk of this crap is just that, crap. And it's time to start flushing.

    In Summary...

    WHOO! LOTS to do and it feels good to at least TALK about doing it. And since you're now rolling your eyes and saying "Gawd, Cathy, you whiny bitch - you could have done three loads of laundry in the time it took you to write this!" (and you're right, of course!), I guess I'd better get busy. It's sloppy joes tonight (Greg wrote them down twice, so I'd guess he REALLY wants them), and that laundry is not, as usual, doing itself. Samantha's movie is over, so she's ready for lunch, and Jackson will be waking up soon, and I have dishes to do, too. As usual. ;-)

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Oh My God...

    I sit here, having read someone's bulletin on myspace (and now having forwarded it on)... I'll share it here....

    Pray for baby Kaleb.

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    Here is Kaleb's myspace page:

    And his momma's:

    I hope the video comes up here - if not, it's on his page, as well.

    Uh, we're all grown ups here, so I'm about to just be blunt. People who shake babies should be hung the fuck up and SHOT IN THE HEAD. No, I take that back. They should be violently shaken until THEIR brains slosh around in their stupid, worthless skulls and cause THEM to have permanent brain damage. And then they should find a way to repair that brain damage, and then they should do it to them again and again and again. I hope they nail the bitch that did this.

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    I'll Miss Her Finger...

    ...when my Mom is gone. I know it's morbid and weird to talk about (or so Greg tells me, ha ha) when she's still so young and healthy, with her demise nowhere in sight... but I'm trying to learn from other people's life experiences and appreciate time spent with loved ones now, and relish each moment as a treasure, and know its value IN that moment. Everyone who's lost a parent says "Treasure your parents while you still have them." And I try to do just that.

    Mom was here this weekend. She comes and spends the weekend once every few months of so, and it's always a good time. She feels very at-home, and we very much enjoy having her. Samantha and Jackson love having her here, and we always have more laughs than sleep, more food than stress, and it's just always "good times".

    Saturday night, she and I made chinese food. Understand that Mom's chinese food is legendary, and revered as better than ANY restaurant by family and friends far and wide. Many-a-person has been converted from the "eww, I don't eat chinese" camp, to the "WOW, if it's as good as Karen's, I'll eat it any day!" camp by her beef and broccoli, her s-n-s chicken, her fried rice, and her eggrolls. Just trust me, the white lady can cook some chinese food, seriously.

    Mom and I work well together in the kitchen, and we had a fun time. Greg wrangled both the kids to bed (bless your heart, dear) and so Mom and I really had time to focus on the cooking experience, with M*A*S*H playing in the background, of course.

    As we stood reviewing the recipe at-hand, Mom did her trademark "finger sliding along the words" move, and suddenly a wave of emotion overcame me as I read over her shoulder. Those hands. I will miss her hands. And specifically, that finger.

    Since childhood I have been fascinated by Mom's hands. I remember sitting with her, feeling the hardness of her rounded fingernail tips, which were always so white no matter what. Looking back I know that she NEVER had a manicure but they always looked perfect. Touching the rings on her fingers and pulling them up and down her fingers ... I remember the softness of her skin and the shape of her knuckles (which now have slightly smaller knuckle-twins in my own hands).

    And now as I stood watching her, I was reminded that when she's really concentrating on something she's reading, she underlines the words with her fingertip as she reads them aloud, narrating what's to come, and shifts her weight slightly from one hip to the other. When she's done, a slight sweep of the page with her hand, and she's off to complete Step # Whatever. So simple, so seemingly insignificant, but she's been reading directions that way my whole life - the directions on the Easter egg dye kit...the directions on the new toy Santa brought...seed packages in the garden...Medication instructions in the middle of the night (the finger really had to work at 3 am)...

    Seems so silly to say that I'll miss how she reads recipes out loud. But it's true. And I'll never look at that recipe again without remembering that. I guess it's just representative of how engrained she is in my life, and how much she is a part of me. I'll never watch M*A*S*H without thinking of her, I'll never take for granted how hard nurses' aides work, I'll never eat beef and broccoli in a restaurant (too disappointing, trust me), I'll never play Patty Cake with without hearing her sing it to Samantha and Jackson in my head, and I'll never forget that the finger on that hand. That hand, the hand that fed me, clothed me, swatted my butt, tied my shoes, helped me put on my graduation cap... the hand that walked me down the aisle at my wedding, held the camera while my first-born child came into the world, and held my hand when we buried Gram, held the cords on my son's ICU monitors, and that read the recipe in my kitchen on June 16, 2007.

    So I am blogging about it, because I really can't even talk about it out loud without tears, and like I said, it's nowhere in sight. Even now, sitting here typing, I am choked up and overwhelmed. She's not sick, and her only arthritis in her thumbs is inconvenient but not debilitating. She watches her cholesterol, tries to walk regularly, eats her Cheerios, and works hard every day. Mom will most likely be with us for years to come, and while I do not usually dwell on what life with be like without her (mostly b/c it's too painful), this weekend had moments of sadness when I was struck by what a HUGE part of my life she is. I am so blessed by her. We all are. Surely heaven will be better and the world will be more empty when she goes. And I am afraid my heart will be forever broken when I touch those hands for the last time, folded to rest at last, when we say goodbye. God help me when that day comes.

    Friday, June 15, 2007

    As Someone Who Gives NOT ONE RIP About the CWS...

    ...can I just say what a PAIN IN THE ASS this next week is? OK, so specifically my pain in the ass has already occured, and has soured me for the whole event. Not that I gave a fat rip about it to begin with. Seriously. Biggest waste of money in the state. You know how many kids we could feed with the money that gets poured into this stupid event every year? How much we could contribute to cancer research or medication for the elderly. It's insane!

    Anyway, the whole damn thing specifically bothered me yesterday. Barbie and I took the kids to the zoo to participate in a class for 3-year olds, all about zoo babies. Well, we TRIED to take them. This was to be Samantha's first "class" of any kind, her first formal educational experience and she'd been talking about it all week. We arrived more than an hour early, and while the thought that it was the first day of activities for the CWS crossed our minds, there were no games scheduled, and we'd been assured that zoo parking is for "zoo patrons", so on we went. As we pulled off the interstate onto 13th St, we knew the chaos had ensued already. It took us SUCH a long time to even GET to the zoo parking lot, which was blocked off with big signs that said "ZOO LOT FULL". WTF??? Barbie asked if that meant even for zoo MEMBERS who had classes scheduled. Yep, he told her, but we could go try to park in the visitor parking around the to the stadium...

    Yeah, right, OK. We couldn't even get INTO the lane to get INTO the parking lot, and there were only about 15 spots left, and at LEAST that many cars in line waiting to get in. What a madhouse! I've been going to that zoo for twenty years, and have NEVER been unable to find a parking space, no matter the day. So I find it hard to believe that ALL those cars were for the zoo. We left and went to Barbie and Turk's house, with crying kids in tow. They were heartbroken, and the moms were NOT amused. We managed to placate them with lots of fun playing and a trip to DQ.

    If I had known the CWS had "Fanfest" going on the day before games even started, on the day of our class, I probably wouldn't have even scheduled her for that class. And for THEM to schedule a class on this day was insane. THEY live next door to CWS Central, you'd think they'd know when parking might be an issue.

    Two unsuccessful calls to the zoo and one email later, they STILL have not told us whether they will refund our money. But they'd better. RIGODDAMNEDICULOUS.

    Another reason to think college baseball (and pretty much every other sport) is a WASTE OF TIME. Just my opinion...

    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    I Did It!

    Can't quite still believe it myself, but I really did cut it off! Number 1 was the winner from the pics in my older post below - it's SO short! But I am actually enjoying it, I have NEVER had my hair CLOSE to this short!

    I haven't gotten any pics yet that I feel capture how cute I think it looks. It must look better live, because it looks kind of not-cool in pictures, I think, compared to how I think it looks for real. Or maybe the pics are more accurate and no one has the heart to tell me it's a dumpy middle-aged 'do.

    Anyway, without further ado, here are some comparison shots:


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    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    It had been 13 months since my last haircut. Ready? Set? HAIRCUT!

    So now, for your viewing pleasure . . . the new 'do!


    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Crazy, huh? Like I said, I think it looks cooler than the pics, but maybe I'm just kidding myself. Everyone has said they really like it, and for once, I can't say that no one even notices that I got my hair cut.

    Certainly not my son, he DEFINITELY noticed . . . he wouldn't let me hold him, touch him, talk to him, or be near him for the rest of the day after I got it cut! Broke my heart! MAJOR re-adjustment required for Jackson! You could tell by his facial expression, he just couldn't "get it" that this was still Mommy. He would look at me and get SOOO upset - he would just cry and cry and only wanted Daddy! Daddy enjoyed some time being Jackson's hands-down favorite, but in the end, the one with the boob came back into first place, ha ha. He's completely over it now and likes to touch my hair. . . now that I think about it, maybe he was just pissed that he didn't have my hair to yank and pull anymore! It was certainly one of his favorite pass-times.

    Greg is, as always, very supportive, and says it's cute, and refuses to say he doesn't like it, but I'm secretly pretty sure he does NOT prefer me with short hair. I've assured him it will grow back...someday. Samantha loves it and tells me repeatedly, "Mom, I love your new hair!" That's my girl, stroke Mommy's ego some more. She's always honest, right?

    Thursday, June 7, 2007

    Jackson In His Room

    This is proving to be less fun than I even imagined it would be. Co-sleeping part time, and in the pack-n-play next to the bed part time is all well and good, but the long-term sleep deprivation caused by him wanting the boob every couple of hours is getting to be too much. So I decided that rather than wait longer and have him get MORE attached, we're trying him in his room tonight to see if he does better just not being in the room with me.

    So far, he's been up twice and it's only midnight. And I'm hoping he's down now for a few hours, he had a big drink and should be good and tired, for pete's sake!

    We're not CIO kind of people, so I go in every time he cries, and pick him up if need be, and some may say that "makes it worse" - I understand your position. Feel free to let your kids scream till their eyes pop out and they vomit in their bed. No thanks for me, though. We've tried it with him. He got so upset he was sick; shaking and gagging and screaming bloody murder. Just don't have it in me to watch my kid be in THAT much distress just because he wants me. He's not old enough to have alterior motives or be devious in his want for me. He just knows he needs his Momma, he's not used to that bed yet, and until he feels OK to sleep all night in his own bed, I'll be hauling my butt up and down the stairs to go comfort him. It's one of the sacrifices of parenting IMO. Not crazy about it, wish he'd just go the hell to sleep and sleep (my first internal, non-spoken "why can't you be more like your sister" came from this topic, ha ha), but in time he will. Meanwhile, I am not looking forward to the next few nights.

    I need to read some more from my "No-Cry Sleep Solution" book - it worked well with Samantha and I'm trying to use it with Jackson. Haven't read enough yet tonight, though, obviously...he cried for a few minutes until he got tired because he wouldn't even lay on my lap when we started. So I did lay him down. Once he figured out it was lay in Mom's lap in the rocker or go in his bed, he was ready to quiet down.

    So that's my rambling on Jackson's non-sleep habits. Pray that he gets as tired as I am one of these days and decides that sleeping on his own isn't so bad. I know I am.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    Think We Eat Out Much?

    We've gotten a LOT better in the last year, but seriously...

    Samantha and I were having one of our educational moments today, as we try to do every day, and we were talking about the names of our daily meals.

    I asked her "Samantha, what do we eat in the morning? What is that meal called?"

    With some "brrrr" phonetic prompting, she came up with "Um...breakfast!".

    Then I asked "OK, what do we eat in the middle of the day, while Jackson is having his nap?"

    "Lunch!" she piped up, now getting the point of the exercise.

    "Ok, and at night, when Daddy comes home and eats with us, what do we eat then?"

    Without missing a beat she replied..."McDonalds!".

    Oy. We seriously don't eat McDonald's THAT often...usually...I would have been LESS surprised if she'd have said "Sonic"...Momma's been lovin' her some Extra Long Chilli Cheese Coney Dogs lately...

    We really do try not to eat out during the week, but apparently we're failing miserably at having our kids NOT think we eat OUT for supper every night. We ate at home tonight, I swear, I made Salisbury Steak!

    Monday, June 4, 2007

    A Hair Update...

    Some have seen this already elsewhere, but I have found a way to examine my options pre-haircut.

    Some I like, some I don't. Some are just comedy, and I couldn't resist. And some I would never have thick enough hair that it would look like that even if I had the cut.

    Sorry the pic quality is so bad, it's a digital snapshot of my screen, since they come up on Flash on the program and I have no idea how to save pics from Flash. Grrr.

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Please don't tell me you like this mullet cut, it's a total joke...
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Oh, btw, I did this at : TOTAL blast, I recommend it if you want to play around and see how a new look or color would look on you. Or anyone else, for that matter. There're some HILARIOUS 'dos on there. Just take a pic of yourself in a white shirt (or change the color of the one you're wearing like I did...) against a light background, and there are instructions on there on how to get it just right so it's the right size, etc. TOTAL fun.

    So, whaddya think? Should I chop it? Just cut it like always? Somewhere in the middle? So far, #1 seems to be the favorite, believe it or not. I'm kind of liking it too, but not sure if I'm brave enough to go thru with really chopping it...