Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Concert

Tonight was Myles's middle school band concert.  I could definitely hear the improvement that comes with a few years practice.  They sounded very good.  I'll post a video of Myles's middle school band performing and then a second video of the entire middle and high school band performing together along with the middle and high school choir.  It was a pretty impressive finale!  (And I learned that Myles is first saxophone and the other saxophones are second!)

It was another night of my camera curse.  It never fails that if one of the kids has some special event happening, I either forget the camera, remember the camera but forget the sd card, forget to charge the camera battery, or bring a camera case with no camera in it.  And, to complicate matters, if I manage to remember all the necessary parts of the camera, I will invariably be put in a position where my photography skills are so lacking that the pictures turn out horribly and I miss most of the performance, trying to figure out the settings on my camera.  Myles's basketball season was plagued with all of these camera disasters.  Tonight, I remembered the camera, remembered the sd card, but forgot to check that the battery was charged.  (Of course.)  Luckily, I was able to take videos on my phone. 

I don't know who put the camera curse on me, but it's time for me to put an end to it.  I'll be making an appointment with a witch doctor after the holidays.  (Or maybe I should just read the camera manual or take a class.  But, I prefer the witch doctor solution.) 

Monday, December 12, 2011


Tonight was Myles's last middle school basketball game (of the season, and ever).  It was a tough game, and they didn't win, but he was still great!
Here's a video of one of his nearly awesome moments.

And some pictures:

If he plays again next  year, it'll be high school basketball!  Yikes!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Concert

Tonight Savannah had her first band concert.  It was a quick couple of  Christmas songs that the 5th grade band played, and she was spectacular.

(By the way, those squeaks you hear are not coming from her.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It Snowed!

After enjoying a long stretch of mild weather, we were surprised with a big dump of snow.  The kids spent Thanksgiving playing outside and it was warm enough for them to go out without a jacket. 

We heard the forecast for up to 6 inches of snow and thought, "No way!  It's not going to snow that much."
And this is what we were dealing with on Saturday.

I guess we were wrong!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 4th ! (Continued)

Well, I had intended to make this a 3 part posting. I had anticipated having some fun additions to our weekend festivities after a second fireworks show on Sunday night. However, when I was trying to get my kids ready to go, they both looked at me and whined, "Do we HAVE to go?"
So, Sunday night was spent cleaning the house instead. (I think the fireworks show would have been more fun.)
Monday was fun. We had family over for our annual FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR. All in all, I think things went well.

After a very late night on the 4th, I had to get up this Tuesday morning to return to work.
I was VERY tired.
This is what the morning of the 5th of July looks like:

It's raining now, so we have a lot of soggy fireworks to pick up.

And Myles, who went to a party at a friend's house last night, fed most of the local mosquito population single-handedly. 56 bug bites is what he counted. 22 on one leg alone. (Unfortunately, the world record is 70-something. He looked it up.)
He looks like he's got the chicken pox. We'll be buying up a lot of Benedryl cream.

Happy 5th of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th! (Part One)

We have begun our Fourth of July celebrations. Saturday was spent watching Myles's last regular season baseball game. The heat mostly held off for us too. And our bleachers were located in the shade, which is my preference anyway. Of course, I still managed to get a little sunburned anyway.
We ended the day with a trip out to TD Ameritrade park to watch the College Home Run Derby. It was really fun. The sky was cloudy until we got inside the ballpark. That's when the sun came out and began baking us.

We had to walk nearly the entire circumference of the park to get to our seats and by the time we found them, we were SWEATY!! We sat in our sweat for about an hour waiting for the sun to go down.We survived it and things got a lot more comfortable once the sun went away. The kids got to enjoy $12 worth of Dip 'n Dots ice cream. That always sweetens the deal.
Here is Daniel Aldrich, the winner of the home run derby. After the home run derby was over we were treated to a fireworks show. The ballpark opened up the outfield for us to sit in to watch the fireworks. This was super exciting!!
I learned that I am not able to capture a picture of all 3 of us together while holding the camera out in front of us. But if I smoosh these 2 together, you can see all of all 3 of us.
After a short wait, the fireworks finally started. Our prime seating in the outfield placed us directly under all the hot cinders, ash, and chunks of firework shrapnel. We had all of these things raining down upon us for the entire 30 minute show. Myles was best equipped to deal with this. There was all kinds of paper pieces all over the ground after the show was over. We, of course, brought home a couple of handfuls as souvenirs. And after sweating profusely for the first hour of the home run derby and then finishing up the night being showered by ashes, I looked hot on the walk back to the car.
We are going to another fireworks show tonight. The 3 day weekend is off to a great start!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Halving your Great Dane

I guess the animals in my life have been monopolizing my blogging lately, but they seem to take up a lot of time in my life so I guess it's fitting. I have learned (the hard way) that when choosing a dog with short hair on the presumption that you have just saved yourself a lot of grooming expense for this dog's lifetime, that presumption was made in error. Case in point: Boris. I may not need a groomer to trim his locks, but I do need a vacuum with the sucking capabilities of a black hole.
He leaves piles of hair where ever he lays.
And piles.
And piles.
Numerous times I have had my vacuum completely clogged and require me to disassemble it to clear it all due to dog hair. It's unreal.
Today I documented the disaster I'm dealing with.
This is Boris during a brushing.

And this is only some of the hair he left behind. I'm pretty sure I just halved my great dane!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Adventures in Dogsitting -- The End

Well, our doggy guests have gone back home. I was a successful doggy sitter, having returned them to their rightful owners alive and healthy. It was a little disappointing that the most entertaining trick done by one of our house guests wasn't discovered until the day she was scheduled to leave. Here is Ellie singing the blues:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Adventures in Dogsitting -- Day Three & Four

I'm combining 2 days here. We've been very busy with baseball and it's been difficult to chronicle all the excitement.
Yesterday with the dogs was pretty uneventful. Our most exciting moment was during Myles's baseball game when we learned that there was a tornado very close to Arlington. Yikes! We were about 30 minutes away from home at the game, but we had our doggy house guests to worry about. Luckily, the storm died down quickly and everything was fine at home.

This morning I woke up to a horrible stench in the house and a banging sound. Hmmm. Boris had pooped all over the hallway and was attempting to knock down the baby gate to flee the area. So, the morning wasn't great. Then, tonight we had another baseball game to go to. When we arrived home, Boris had completely demolished the baby gate that blocks him in. I angrily took him and Fillmore outside.
Savannah was asking me if Ellie was supposed to have a bar of soap in her cage.
"Does Stacey put that in there to keep it smelling fresh?" she wondered.
"I doubt it. Does it look like your soap from the tub?"
We got Ellie and Sophie outside and Savannah pulled out the bar of soap.

Maybe she said some bad words when she was barking at the neighbors earlier? And had to punish herself?

So my tally is:
Number of dogs: 4
Number of poops in the house: 4
Number of pees in the house: 1
Number of barfs in the house: 1
Number of possible potty mouths: 1

Friday, June 17, 2011

Adventures in Doggysitting -- Day Two

Number of dogs in my house: 4
Number of poops in my house: 3

We are starting to get a good routine going and the dogs have all made themselves at home. Ellie might be part mountain goat since I keep finding her perched on places I didn't think she could jump up onto, or at least places my own dogs have never ventured.

I had to venture upstairs to tend to our rodent pets and when I returned to the main level, there was a surprise poop on the middle of the living room floor. It was small, so Boris was in the clear. However, he wasn't certain it didn't belong to him, so he hung his head in shame and headed to his bed. I pointed my finger at Fillmore and said, "Did you do this pooper?" He put his ears back and looked guilty. I pointed my finger at Ellie and said, "Did you do this pooper?" She also put her ears down and looked guilty. Then, I turned to Sophie and asked the same question. She wagged her tail at me. The most senior dog of the group is definitely the wisest. She knew I didn't see it happen, so it could have been anybody. "I admit nothing." She strutted out of the room leaving me to my poop picking up duties.


On another subject, I went to Walmart last night to grab some things for dinner. And I also grabbed myself a margarita mix. When I got up to check out, I pulled out my wallet knowing that I would be asked for my ID. I always am. Cursed with looking younger than my actual age. I am always told, "I would never have guessed you to be this old!" after a cashier looks at my drivers license. This used to be highly annoying, but I have reached the age where I relish it.
But, yesterday, when the Walmart cashier rang up my alcohol, the register prompts her with a question: Does customer appear over the age of 40? The cashier looks up at me and says, "Oh, you're DEFINITELY over the age of 40!"
"No, I'm not." I said to her.
"Well, I'd guess you to be. So, we'll go with it." She smiles at me.

I went home and drank my sorrows away. Sensing my depression, the dogs refrained from pooping in the house any more that night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adventures in Dogsitting -- Day One

We have a couple of house guests for about a week or so.

and Ellie
I was worried that my own 2 furry monsters would be less than gracious hosts, but everyone is getting along famously.
Our guests arrived yesterday afternoon and the dogs all came in the house like they were old friends. I was worried that the 2 house guests might get homesick at night and bark or whine all night long. Nope. They slept happily.

I'm still working out the logistics of getting 4 dogs out in the morning (or any other time of day) since we don't have a fence.

I have been taking the guests out first and coming back for my 2 mongrels. So far so good, until this morning. Apparently the 20 second wait was too much for Boris, who deposited his morning poop in the back porch.


After everyone came back in, I had to feed Ellie. (Ellie in the morning, Boris and Fillmore in the afternoon, and Sophie in the evening. We have a strict schedule to adhere to.) Ellie followed Boris's cue and left me a present in the kitchen, too. OOPS.

This afternoon, I got home from work and the kids had kept the dogs alive and well all day long. And no doggie presents were left for me anywhere in the house. Yay!

Ellie has made herself so at home, that when she needs a treat, she just helps herself. I thought if I put them up on the kitchen table, they'd be safe. But, someone thinks she can outsmart me.
Hmmm. Perhaps the staircase of garage sale stuff placed next to the table needs to be re-stacked.
Here is Boris after seeing Ellie on the table. His look is telling me that he told her not to go up there. (And, yes, that is Fillmore in the background being impolite. Many butts have been sniffed in the past 24 hours.)
Tonight, Myles had a baseball game and we thought we'd take Ellie along. She was very fun. She sat on an Arlington Eagles seat and cheered on the boys.

All that baseball watching sure does take a toll on a girl.

Dogsitting Day One = a success!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Strawberry Jammin'

I've been reading The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure and it has really gotten me in the Little House on the Prairie mood. The book chronicles the authors love of the Little House books and her experiences traveling to the different Laura Ingalls homesteads. She also shares her desire to churn butter. With an actual butter churn. I have to admit, I sort of want to do it too.
But instead, I made homemade jam for the first time in my life. And I think it was a success. A sort of expensive success, but a success none the less.
This whole adventure was inspired when my local grocery store had a humungous package of strawberries on sale. A one day only sale. So I bought some, asked my mom to borrow her canner, and went shopping for some cans. That's when I discovered the cost of cans. Holy cow! I was only making jam, but I was imagining myself canning tomatoes and whatever else I could grow in the garden this summer. But, yikes! The initial investment to get going would be a bit large.
So, I settled for a small 4 pack of squat little jars for my jam. I found the jars the day after I bought my strawberries. That afternoon after arriving home from work with my new jars in hand, I found a strawberry right in the middle of the strawberries completely covered in furry mold.
I plucked that one out and a few of it's neighbors and went in search of a jam recipe. I had forgotten to get the pectin. So, on day 3 of the strawberries life in my house, I was finally prepared to make some jam.
But, I learned that day, that it's best to store your strawberries in the refrigerator. My recipe told me I needed 5 cups of mashed fruit. I opened my strawberry package to discover that yesterday's mold had somehow taken over the entire pack of strawberries. I couldn't salvage even one little berry.
Figuring I was going to have to go out and purchase more strawberries, I called my mom to whine. She took pity on me and offered up one of her packages of strawberries.
Thanks mom!
Jam was back on.
So, here's the process:
Clutter up your stove with all your needed pots and tools.

Enjoy the aroma of the strawberries.Cut up the strawberries on your new cutting board made by your dad.
Here is the boiling of the mashed up fruit and sugar and pectin. Starting to look like jam.
And here is an example of the steam facial you will enjoy if you attempt this. The humidity I had created in the kitchen during this process gave my hair a crazy frizziness. Savannah and I headed out to the library after I was done and I had asked her if my hair was ok. "Sure," she told me, eager to get out the door before the library closed. Upon my return to our house, I caught my reflection in the glass front door. Medusa is the only way I can describe what was happening on my head.
And the jam:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Merriment, Madness, Mayhem, and Memorial Day

Lucky for me, I had a long holiday weekend. With all the stuff we had planned, I needed it. I was still dealing with my giant bug bite blister, which had caused me a week of not sleeping very well. Woe is me.

Anyway, Friday night we did some prep work. Savannah and I were going to the Taylor Swift concert the next night and she was working on a t-shirt to wear to the show. She and her cousins had been developing a plan to get themselves invited to the T-Party room. They found out that during Taylor's last tour she had some special room that some fans would get invited to where they would get to meet Taylor. This elaborate plan included homemade t-shirts, huge handmade posters, and dozens of glowing bracelets and necklaces. This strategy was a sure bet, they thought.On our way to Stacey's house we spotted these 2 beautiful creatures walking on the side of the road. I have never seen white peacocks before. Really cool. We took that as a sign of amazing things to come.So, we made it to the concert. My humongous blister had already begun seeping fluid before we even got there. I was a little worried about taking it out into such a crowded place, but there was no leaving it at home. I slapped the world's largest piece of gauze over it, and we soldiered on. The t-shirt line (or should I say mob) took us about 45 minutes to get through. And then we had to climb Mt. Everest to find our seats. (Third row from the top.) But, once we were settled, things went pretty smoothly. The concert was amazing. Taylor really did put on an amazing show. Very theatrical. And the 3 girls to my left, with their glowing arms and posters waving high, were very fun companions. And the 5 college boys sitting to my right included one seriously hard-core fan who belted out every single song (while his friend kept covertly video-ing him exactly what I would have done), were amusing as well.

Unfortunately, the night did not end with an invitation to the T-Party room. We weren't sure if she was still having the T-Party room, but if she did, she missed out on meeting some very devoted fans. To top off this story of disappointment, Savannah had convinced herself that there was no T-Party room on this tour and had gotten herself over the disappointment. Until yesterday when our local small town paper arrived. There was a small article in there about a local group of probably college aged guys that had been asked back to a special room to meet Taylor Swift after her concert. The outrage here was this:

1) They were boys
2) They had a handmade poster, but it was far inferior to Savannah's and her cousins.
3) They weren't wearing homemade fan t-shirts nor were they covered in glowing bracelets and necklaces.
4) They were pictured in our hometown paper instead of Savannah!

So that's a big bummer.

On to Monday, Memorial Day, when I woke up with a sore throat and a general crummy feeling. I was achy and sort of feeling flu-like. Not great. So, I took some medicine and got up. This was my only real day to catch up on things around the house and I wasn't about to spend it whining on the couch. (I'd spend it whining, just not while laying on the couch.) I was starting to get a little concerned because I was still dealing with my giant bug bite blister and had read online that it could get infected with Staph, which is very dangerous, and if I started getting chills and running a fever, I'd better see a doctor QUICK.
I got up and took a shower and my blister started to drip, and drip, and drip. Gross! So, I was dabbing at it with a tissue and started to get very nauseous feeling. (I'm not very tough, if you couldn't guess.) So, after a few minutes of deflating my blister I decided I'd better go lay down before I barfed. A few minutes spent laying on the couch and I figured I'd be just fine.
Don't barf.
Don't barf.
Don't barf.
The mantra kept running through my head.
Then, Boris the great dane, must have gotten nervous about my condition which resulted in a giant great dane poop in the hallway. What calms the stomach of a very nauseous person? It's not the overpowering aroma of dog poop, that's for sure.
The rest of my day involved several surprise run ins with snakes in the yard, while trying to plant some new summer plants I had purchased. One of which is supposed to ward off mosquitoes. And if it works, I'll likely be weaving clothing out of it. And for our Memorial Day dinner, I was determined to grill out some ribs.
Where was our grill? Buried in the shed. Behind the mower, under the hose reel and wedged into place behind a tossed rake and shovel. (and likely surrounded by snakes.) So, I made Myles help me get it out.
After we cleaned it, I made my aluminum foil pan and filled it with my soaked wood chips set up the charcoal, the instant light variety, and grabbed my lighter. Surprise, surprise. The lighter is out of fluid. Rather than drive all the way into the nearest city, we opted to go down to the gas station and purchase a cigarette lighter.
But, guess what?
Instant light charcoal doesn't instant light. Especially when there are 40 mph winds to contend with. So, with the help of my 2 kids holding up the grill lid to block my wind and the aid of the lighter fluid I was instructed not to use by the instant light charcoal bag, we managed to get a fire going. It only took about 500 tries. But, here is our glorious Memorial Day feast:

We love our baby back, baby back, baby back. We love our baby back, baby back, baby back.

P.S. Don't you love my Wonder Woman glass?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Waving My Freak Flag

Well, my summer is off to a slammin' start. I have gained a healthy chub over the winter. So, none, and I'm serious here, none of my shorts fit me. Not a single pair.
Oh, well. Who needs to be skinny for the summer anyway, right?
So, I've been trying to accumulate some summer shorts and pants to accommodate my new girth. Lesson learned here: It's much more fun to shop for clothes when you aren't going UP a size.
Swimsuits -- I'm not even going there. Unless Spanx is making some sort of magical surfer body suit kind of swimwear.

Last Thursday, I was attacked by a hungry flock of mosquitoes. I am apparently allergic to mosquitoes and the bites turned into giant enflamed blood red bruises, with one super special bite that turned into an enormous blister. The blister has grown so big that I'm considering naming it. And drawing a face on it.
My signature scent for the summer -- Deep Woods Off.

Today, Myles had a double header. The weather wasn't too bad. The wind was a little chilly and the clouds kept passing by so I didn't feel like I was being baked. Unfortunately, this kept me from realizing that the evil sun's rays were barbecuing my skin. But, since I have this hideous looking pustule on my leg, my left leg was kept low to avoid the "Holy Crap! What's wrong with you?" reactions it would bring. But, my right leg was proudly propped up on the bleacher seat in front of me.
So, I now have legs that look like this:
Sunburned knee and sunburned top o' the foot. That will be an awesome looking tan. And those two marks below the sunburn, those are 2 of the mosquito bite bruises.
And the blister:

I may be spending this summer indoors.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Put on a Happy Face

I woke up with the worst headache on Tuesday morning.
I was nauseous, my head was pounding, and I overslept. So, our morning was forced into hyper-speed. Hyper-speed mornings involve a lot of stress, yelling, rushing, and pressure. Not a great combination on a headache morning.
Savannah's 4th grade class is having a special "theme" for each day left in the school year. Some of them are dress up days, some are bring something days, others are just extra recess days or game days. Tuesday was Cast Day. So, they could come to school with a cast or crutches or something to make them look injured. I tried digging around in my box of childhood things looking for my sling from my broken arm. I couldn't find it. We went to walmart to see if slings are sold there. They are, but they cost $12. I wasn't willing to spend $12 for something that would probably be worn for around 5 minutes, even though Savannah thought it would be a reasonable investment. We ended up deciding to use a piece of fabric at home and make our own sling.
Then, Tuesday morning arrived and all the rushing and pressure. Suddenly in the light of the morning, our homemade sling seemed completely ridiculous to Savannah. There was no way she was going to wear it. I had to talk her down from tears and try to convince her that if cast day was a bust for her, we'd make another upcoming theme day the best. I'm not sure it made her feel any better, but we were late and it was the best I could do with a pounding head.
After dropping the kids at school, I made it to work. Part way down the hallway to my desk, I discovered that the shoes I had chosen to wear were making "shoe fart" noises with every single step I took.
If I walked very slowly and only stepped on the inside of my right foot and the outside of my left foot, I could avoid the fart. I looked like I had some sort of severe leg cramp, but the feet were quiet.
The head was still pounding, though. And I was reminded how much Excel spreadsheets don't help headaches.
I somehow survived the day, made it home with the kids, and immediately laid down on the couch to try to nap away this horrendous headache. I had to block out any light that was trying to get into my eyes, so I must have placed my arm over my eyes to block it out.
Unfortunately my extremely unsympathetic dogs cared only for their hungry stomachs and whined for the entire hour I tried to nap.
I got up dealt with the dogs, and took Myles to his baseball practice. Once his practice was over we ran over to Walmart for some groceries. I spent the rest of the evening doing some work and making a jello salad for a work food day on Wednesday.
Around midnight I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. That's when I glanced up into the mirror and saw the disaster that was my face. Apparently, during my very brief nap, my mascara had run all down the left side of my face. And my right eye was highlighted by a large black blob underneath it.
And that's how I'd been looking all night long!
Talking with baseball parents, shopping at walmart. Not pretty.
Did anyone clue me in to the disaster that was my face?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We are finally feeling like spring is really here. I've been noticing the daffodils in my neighbor's yard and we have tulips coming up! So, to get into the springtime spirit we made some birdseed feeders to hang around the yard. And they have an Easter theme to make them extra Spring-y. Here's the very quick and easy instructions: Mix together: 3/4 cup flour 1/2 cup water 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin 3 Tbsp corn syrup Then, to this mixture add: 4 cups of birdseed Mix this up thoroughly. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Then, spray the insides of some cute cookie cutters with non-stick spray and fill them up with the birdseed mixture. Be sure to pack it in really tight. I used a bamboo skewer to make the hole a little ways down from the top. Allow them to dry overnight. Add some twine for hanging. And viola! A lovely spring present for the little birdies. Of course, it rained all day today, so our birdies will be getting their presents tomorrow. I'm curious to see how many of our birdie presents are stolen by the crazy squirrels.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Granny Squares and Some Slaying

Ok, I haven't written a blog in a while. I have developed an addiction. To Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I got a free month of Netflix and all 7 seasons of Buffy are on there. I never watched the show when it was on TV. Not once. Now, I can't stop. And this is really how I like my TV series. All at once. None of this waiting all summer long for a new season, no surprise reruns when I'm wanting a new episode. It's fantastic. It's been a little over a week and I've made it into season 3. As a bonus, Savannah has learned some pretty vicious slayer moves that she has tested out on me. I guess she gets to be the slayer and I get to be either one of her sidekicks or a vampire needing a slaying. And speaking of vicious slayings, this is what we found on our front sidewalk this weekend. Bad kitty! Ok, I have completed my granny squares into what will soon be joined and made into a pillow after I weave in all the ends from all those colors. (My least favorite part.) I'm very happy with the results. And I tried making a hex pattern this weekend too. I'm not sure what I'm going to turn it into, but something awesome for sure. I also whipped up these fantastic flower magnets during my Saturday of non-stop Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Honestly, I haven't watched a regular TV show from this decade since last Thursday. And, because of that, we missed the Kids Choice Awards and I'm in some pretty hot water over that one. Luckily, Savannah's nearly as into the Buffy show as I am.) Anyway, our flower sprouts are growing and growing. So far I have no deaths to report. This might be a record for me. And I think I can see a pumpkin trying to poke up through the dirt. YAY! Ok, back to Buffy. Auf Wiedersehen!