Wednesday, March 31, 2010

what's missing here?

King and I have just had a long talk... he is upset that we are constantly having to nag our children anytime we need them to do a chore. We have quit paying them to do chores, because that wasn't working. When you do ask them to do anything even slightly more than their "baseline" chores, they do any combination of grunting, groaning, rolling their eyes, slumping their shoulders, or sighing. So much so that he is to the point of not wanting to ask them to do anything at all.

And now, he feels sorry for #2. "I think he is bored. He never wants to do anything except throw a ball into the air over and over again, or sit in front of a book, the TV, or the computer."

I, on the other hand, do not feel sorry for #2 (nor any of the rest of them), because I am not his social director. He has various activities throughout the year that we get him involved in that I think he, and the other children can be referred to as very fortunate (dare I say spoiled?).
To help prove my point, I added the following:
  • These kids are being raised with a strong, devout, faith-based belief system.
  • These children have two parents who are married and who love each other. They see these parents work out any disagreements in a respectful way. We do not smoke. We are not drunks.
  • These children have a nice home in which to live.
  • These children have clothes to wear.
  • These children know that they will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner not to mention snacks in between. They never have to hear their tummy gurgling or feel pain because of hunger. They even get to eat out a fair amount.
  • These children are privileged enough to be able to attend a private school in which they are not only allowed to pray, but the faculty prays with them. They do not have to go to school fearing for their lives. Their teachers are not glorified babysitters. They do not have to ride Satan's minivan: the school bus.
  • These children are involved in dance, music, sports, and social activities all outside of school.

There is not a "need" that is unmet. There are very few "wants" that they go without.

Then we discussed how he and I were at this age. Did we roll eyes, slump shoulders, sigh, etc. when we were asked to help? I specifically remember many times I would say to my sister, "Let's surprise mom and dad and clean the house." I remember vacuuming, dusting, changing sheets, and cleaning bathrooms. In fact, I remember that my dad's shower was a tiled walk-in shower. He was a smoker and when he would get out of the steamy shower, there would be nicotine "nipples" hanging from the ceiling in the shower. Gross, but true. (And if you ever lived with a smoker, you know what I am talking about.) I would have to get into the shower and scrub the walls, ceilings, marble built-in seat, and floor. Because I am mildly OCD (I don't check the lights a million times) I take pride in the job that I do and doing it correctly is its own reward. I mean, why do something if you aren't going to give it 100%? Of course, pleasing mom and dad was a perk.

King said his mother asked that they keep their room clean and they had a few rooms each that they were expected to vacuum. She never had to nag. Although he remembers grumbling about having to do chores a little. He agreed that pleasing parents and taking pride in the work was and still is part of his make-up.

So what is missing with our kids. Is it a generational thing? Do they have too much? Is "work ethic" genetically missing? Have King and I not done something right? Should they spend the summer in a third world country? Are we expecting too much possibly? Do we let our children continue to see that we love them all the time, or should we start withholding some of the affection and praise until they "have earned it?" Is "work ethic" something that comes with age/maturity?

I gotta tell ya, this is frustrating. I truly do not have any answers at this point. I would appreciate parents of older children to share their wisdom.

low country boil

Simple. Delicious.


not weed.

I remember my dad saying once that a flower is just a weed planted in the right place. Conversely, a weed is just a misplaced flower.

Also, did you ever notice how similar a dandelion is to a Gerbera daisy? I am sure they must be cousins.

the problem with giving the "laundry chore" to a ten-year old

Nothing sucks quite like folding a basket full of dirty laundry.

Except the fact that between doorbells, juice cups, and kid activities it took me two days to finish it. Every article I folded I kept cursing my washing machine (high efficiency front loader) and saying things like:
"Stupid washer, this shirt still smells dirty."
"Dang, I wonder if I forgot to put detergent in there?"
"Well, this one doesn't smell too bad."
"Yuck, these pants smell stale."
Finally, at the end of the basket, where there were a few socks floating around, I noticed that they still had stains. One sniff told me I had just wasted precious time folding a damn basket of dirty laundry.
I am still baffled by how it happened. The only thing I can think is that when I recently vacuumed the floor in the laundry room I put the few clothes from the floor (a light-colored load with King's dress shirts and the boys' khaki's) into a laundry basket and into the cabinet where empty laundry baskets are stored (as if there ever ARE empty laundry baskets!). #3 must have thought they were clean and put them into the living room for me to fold.
Sorta like Lucy Van Pelt when Snoopy gives her a big ol' lick on the face, I feel like I need to go disinfect from sniffing all those "unfresh" items.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

feasts for all the senses

My beautiful friend Amy will be so thrilled that I finally tried Pad Thai.
King and I decided in a rare, moment of fuddy-duddy spontaneity, that since there is a toddler friend's birthday party tomorrow night, we would alter our weekly Wednesday date night plans and go out tonight instead.
We had planned on going to a sushi place that can be described as fusion cuisine (deliberate combination of elements from two or more spatially or temporally distinct cuisines) but the restaurant was so jam-packed that we made alternate plans and "go tappas". It was a great turn of events. In addition to our first time eating Pad Thai, which King swore the waitress offered us Pat Dye (Auburn University's head football coach in 1985), we also tried a grilled pear salad with herbed goat cheese. (um... yummo!)
After dinner, King decided we should go to the next town and get ice cream. (Not a lot of arm-twisting had to happen.) As we crossed the river, he pointed out The. Most. Beautiful. Moon. EVAH! It hung low and its reflected light was still dim, but the reflection in the river was absolutely gorgeous. We bet that 1% of the half of the world's population that could see it, didn't see it. Too bad for them.

seeking advise from a god

So, King and I were watching the ONLY t.v. we ever watch:
(a.k.a. The Jack Bauer Show)
During a break from all the edge-of-your-seat drama, there was a commercial for the new Clash of the Titans movie. Amidst all the theatrical shots of suspenseful showdowns between Greek Gods, there is a scene in which Liam "hottie-Zeus" Neeson yells out, "Release the Kraken" (must be noted that there is a tongue roll on the "r" in Kraken) and then we see this lovely visage.


Me: "Yeah, yeah, yeah.... that's a scary-lookin' Kraken and all. But here's what I want to know... just how long has "hottie-Zeus" had this big Kraken thingie? Has he had it locked away ever since it was a wee little Kraken?"

(Awwww, Krakie-Krakie was so cute when he started losing teeth... little snagglepus! Although he nearly put the Tooth Fairy out of business with all those rows and rows of baby teeth. Oy vey, we nearly went broke! And don't even get me started on all the furniture he ruined when the teeth first started coming in! After the 5th couch we decided we would just wait until he was grown and out of the house before we replaced another one.)

Like, I have a teenage boy. Does Kraken eat as much as that?

And, I also have a "spirited" four year old. Pray, tell me, how the hell have you kept "Krrrraken" subdued all this time? Do you spank or use time-out?

Monday, March 29, 2010

not quite as bad as the rat's pizza place

Here I sit 11 a.m. at Monkey Joe's while #5 and her friend are playing in front of me. Not nearly as crazy as Chuck E Cheese pizza is, I figure they can get really tired, eat lunch, and then crash!
I will post pictures if I can figure out how to get them off my phone!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

variations on a theme

Sitting in Mass this morning, King and I were a little taken aback at the homily that Fr. Charlie gave.
His message? Pray for unity!

We found it funny that I had just blogged about the same thing the night before. Anyway, Fr. Charlie began his sermon by talking about the horrors that the Church is suffering as a result of flawed priests who abused children. Definitely horrific, potentially damnable sins.

But the greater sin, the greatest of all, he believes, is the state of division the church is in. It goes without saying that I agree with him.

There is no remorse in the division; each church boasts its individuality, taking up the Gauntlet of staying "current" and "relative". They do not want to be associated with the "old, archaic" traditions of the Catholic church.

Anyway, it was a great homily. Wish you could have been there.
Continue to pray for unity.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

pray for unity

To us Catholics, it almost goes unnoticed, nearly taken for granted. But many, many Protestants very much notice it and cringe when they say it. Some won't even say it at all.

What exactly am I yammering about now? The line in the Nicene Creed, a profession of our beliefs, which states "We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church".
  • one = unity
  • holy = holy
  • catholic = universal
  • apostolic = passed down from the apostles

  • What's all the fuss about?

    I think the reason Protestants cringe is that they have been taught that Catholics are evil. The anti-Christ. It could not be any further from the truth. All you have to do is to look at Church history. Somewhere along the lines, learning church history has been tossed aside as if it has no importance (remember Atlanta's Church in the Now?). Right. What is the outcome of ignoring church history? We remain splintered. The Body of Christ is fractured. We totally lose sight of unity.

    There are over thirty thousand Protestant denominations.

    Only One. Catholic. Church.

    press on

    inside joke

    After much experience, I have come to this conclusion:

    It takes a lot of Marvins to make the world go round.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    the truth: worth your investment

    Wanna know reason #429 is that I love being Catholic?

    The Catholic Church does not change her mind with the whims of society. The Bride of Christ stands firm on her beliefs. Just as an example:
    Just as true 40 years ago as it is today. And just as true as it will be in another 40 years.
    There is a "non-traditional, non-denominational, multi ethnic, independent" church just outside of Atlanta called "Church in the Now". I have always wondered, what do they think is wrong with tradition? Why would you not want to be part of denomination that doesn't agree with anyone else? I get the multi ethnic part, after all, I am Catholic (the very word itself means "universal"), but what glory is there in being independent, standing with no one on any issues? And, the ultimate question I have for them is "So, what happens when 'Now' is over and you arrive at 'Then'?"
    There is another non-denominational church I've seen that advertises "Healing Explosion" services. I wonder.... is it hard to clean up after one of those?

    makin' it happen

    After posting the entry about things associated with shame, I'll have you know that I worked out twice this week. Tuesday's workout was good (my first time back since Christmas) but today's was Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Fan. Freakin'. Tastic.

    Wanna know why?
    Because of the Christmas present my sistah gave to me. My mp3 player. I have some fairly awesome songs on there so far. Here is a list (I know it can hold more, but haven't gotten there yet):
    • 1,2,3,4 (Plain White T's)
    • Blessed be Your Name (Tree 63)
    • Bunny Hop (Ray Anthony)
    • Cinderella (Steven Curtis Chapman)
    • Cinema Paradisio (Josh Groban)
    • Clocks (Coldplay)
    • Come on Get Higher (Matt Nathanson)
    • Covered in the Fingerprints of God (Steven Curtis Chapman)
    • Empty Me (Jeremy Camp)
    • Far Away (Nickelback)
    • Good Night Sweetheart (The Spaniels)
    • (Irish dance music) Heavy Jig (Dean Crouch)
    • (Irish dance music) Hornpipe (Dean Crouch)
    • Hula Hoop Song (Georgia Gibbs)
    • (Irish dance music) Hurry the Jug (Mark Arrington)
    • I'm Yours (Jason Mraz)
    • Let's Twist Again (Big Bopper)
    • Love Story (Taylor Swift)
    • Moon River (Frank Sinatra)
    • More Beautiful You (Jonny Diaz)
    • My Hands are Holding You (Tenth Avenue North)
    • Never Alone (Barlow Girl)
    • Our Father (Matt Maher)
    • Promise of a Lifetime (Kutless)
    • (Irish dance music) Reel (Dean Crouch)
    • Refiner's Fire (Brian Doerksen)
    • Revelation Song (Phillips, Craig & Dean)
    • (Irish dance music) slip jig (Dean Crouch)
    • The Celtic Tiger (Ronan Hardiman)
    • Viva La Vida (Coldplay)
    • Run (Kutless)
    • Who Am I? (Casting Crowns)
    • You Belong With Me (Taylor Swift)

    I love how crazy it is to have so many different genres. Now I need to add in some Luciano Pavrotti... something like Panis Angelicus or Ave Maria.

    Fact is: working out with music allows you to focus on something other than the pain!

    coming together nicely

    Although we have not gotten to all the finishing touches on the dining room, we have done a few things which are slowly getting us there. We replaced the Craftsman table and chairs that, although huge, only comfortably seated 6. The new one seats 8 comfortably and takes up less space. We bought it online from Mallery Hall. Here is a picture of the table from their website.

    And here is a picture of the chairs we went with. The chairs from Mallery Hall, although gorgeous, drove the price way up. We bought these on eBay. The reason I am totally in love with them? Because I have a silhouette "theme" going on in there, you notice the shape of everything in the room. Therefore, the graceful lines of the table legs and the intricate detail of the chair backs show up nicely.

    For that same reasoning, I think I need to soften the shape of the plantation-shuttered windows. The room is striking with a feminine feel, so I don't want any hard edges. Here is the fabric I will use to make curtain panels.

    I cannot wait to get time to do what I hope will be the piece de resistance. It will be a rainy weekend project. Stay tuned!

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    things associated with shame

    • Not being in tune enough with what you have done or left undone to feel like you will be making a good confession....
    • Oh wait, gluttony and sloth both come to mind.
    • Which reminds me to mention that last night King and I tried Talenti "Double Dark Chocolate" gelato.
    • Remembering that 4 months has passed since I have been to the gym.
    • Putting on workout clothes, even socks and tennis shoes, but using the fact that I had One. Disaster. After. Another. this morning as an excuse not to go.
    • Body size - as in "if I get any bigger, I won't even fit through the Pearly Gates.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    brief thoughts on the passage of health care reform

    These 2700 pages give the government power to control SO much of our lives. It is the death of the American Dream. Why should any generation to come have any goals and aspirations? All we have to do now is to find a government teet to latch onto.

    Latch on, everybody! This'll be great!

    America is no longer home of the free, more like the home of the "free-range". Oh, sure, we may have more elbow room than those chickens who are raised in nasty, cramped conditions, but we are still cooped and headed for slaughter.

    Why does a health care reform bill contain stuff that has nothing to do with health care? Student loans, for example. Answer: It's all about Control. Power. Tyrrany. And, despite the squawk, smoke, and mirrors to the contrary, can it honestly be said that the government does not give money to Planned Parenthood? Therefore, the government DOES promote and fund abortions.
    An overwhelming majority of Americans were against this thing, but inside the beltway bubble, apparently our elected can't quite hear the sounds of our voices. Oh sure, we can vote the bastards out of office. Just for fun, let's say in 2012 the pendulum swings and conservatives hold more 2014, when these health care changes are supposed to take place, the American people will just begin to feel the pain from the tightening of the screws, and because they have collective amnesia, they will think it is the fault of the conservatives and, like brainless amoebas, they will react and elect more liberals who will give the final ax-blow to the necks of anyone who can make a difference.

    In a nutshell: Change - yes. Hope - no.

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    going long on aisle 15

    So, due to circumstances beyond my control, I have made a conscious decision to be less controlling, to lighten up and "enjoy the moment" a bit more. (It's still a struggle, but look people, I'm trying, ok?)
    That being said, this morning after Mass, we had to go to the grocery store. Number 4, the gumball hog, brought a mini football into Bi-Lo. As my oldest and I were thumbing through the coupons, deciding which ones we could use, King and 4 were throwing long passes to each other.
    Right in the front of the store!
    Believe me, I swallowed hard on this one. Thankfully the store was not crowded. Also, rather than nagging, I enlisted their help in searching out the best deals (store brand vs name brand with coupon).
    This kept them busy until the very end of our which time they were THROWING HAIL MARY PASSES IN THE DOG FOOD AISLE!!!!! King thought it was rawther funny and appropriate that on Sunday morning, they were making Our Lady a part of such a mundane activity such as grocery shopping.
    I had to agree that it was a religious experience for me too, as I was praying to God that no one would know that I was with them!

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    don't know if it is a charmed life, but its better than sitting in a pile of manure

    While attending my grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary party today, our family got to spend time with some of our Very. Favorite. People. On. Earth. I received a very kind compliment from my aunt. She follows my blog and is impressed at the life I am giving to my family. She went on to say that she liked the way I write and that my words paint a picture of a charmed life.
    Her sweet words truly melted my heart and I thanked her from the bottom of my heart. But in a quiet honesty told her, "Eh, I have just become really good at polishing turds."

    It's all in how you see things.

    objects in mirror are not only closer than they appear, words appear backward

    King discovered this morning that #4 (who had won a gumball machine recently by guessing how many gumballs were in it) had chewed nearly all of the gum within about a week. All. By. Himself. I wondered why he was so eager to get up to his bedroom and read after school.

    (And all this time, I thought when I looked in the mirror, the word etched across my forehead was TOIDI)
    So, we had the discussion (again) about how if you have to hide something, it should be a red flag to your conscience, a warning message from God - something to the effect of "Hey, buddy, cut it out. This is NOT good!" If you have to hide or sneak something, you should be alarmed.
    I love a little play on words like this:
    Little kids play Hide and Seek, which is a fun and innocuous pastime. Satan plays Hide and Sneak, which is a slippery slope and the tool with which he gets his hooks into you so that in the future, he can pull your strings when he has the whim to ruin your life.

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    the understudy

    Isn't it funny how your kids can seem so little for so long and then seemingly overnight, they sprout up and are suddenly a bit more mature? I remember the first time I noticed it, number 2 was just a wee baby. I put him in his crib for a nap and I swear he awoke 3 inches taller.
    My friend, who-must-remain-nameless-lest-she-fall-down-stairs, (but swears she was not talking about me the day I tripped over my blowy-flowy billowy britches) and I were noticing how number 5 is all of a sudden a big girl. She has come into her own, as they say. (Don't ask ME who "they" is... I thought you knew!?!?) She is a bit of a drama queen. It is rawther funny I must say. If you tell her something she doesn't want to hear, the shoulders droop in one big movement, she emits a low Marge Simpson-like growl, and will occasionally follow it up with a guttural grunt/sigh all rolled into one.
    Keep in mind she is three.
    The thing is, with four older siblings, she is doomed. I try to convince them that they are role models and that their younger siblings soak all this up like sponges, never missing a trick; they just don't get it. But, after what happened today, perhaps I need to look in the mirror and cast not the stones.......In a fit of frustration, she shook her little fists, threw them down to her sides and growled, "Dummmmit!"

    the feast day of a wonderful father and a mini art lesson

    There are a bunch of images of St. Joseph, whose feast day we celebrate today. This one, "St. Joseph and the Child Jesus", is my favorite. Painted by Giovanni Battista Caracciolo c 1622.

    As a side note, I find it interesting that the two figures above really resemble those in this painting, "St. Joseph, the Carpenter" c 1640 by Georges de La Tour

    St. Joseph, a faithful servant, husband, and foster father, is a wonderful example of love:

    "Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and endurance. In a word, there are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of all is love." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

    As I study the first painting, I am just blown away by the amazing love in that embrace.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    this morning's offering

    Every single solitary morning #4 gives me fodder for this blog. Half the time I forget what it was by the time I get a moment to sit down at the computer. But today, my brain cell served me well:

    "Mommy, I must be getting a cold, because I sound like someone else."

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    black and white and red all over

    Some lucky bastard could really have scored big time on America's Funniest Videos if they had've had a camera aimed in my direction this afternoon. I was wearing these great black, flowy pants like my friend Bia wears sometimes. They are so comfortable.

    Did I mention they were flowy? As in wide-legged.... billowy. The kind of pants with legs that are so billowy and blowy-flowy that when you step up on the sidewalk with your left foot, half of the wide-leg blowy part is still where you started out.

    (why am I not speaking in first person anymore?)
    And then when you try to take a step with your right foot, the shoe gets tangled in the flowy-blowy-wide-billowy part from your left leg and you fall. Down. Down. Down... onto the pavement... scraping knees, wrists, hands, and ..... face.

    Or at least that is what I do when I wear wide-legged, billowy, blowy-flowy black pants.
    Sad thing is: this is the second time it has happened.
    Wonder if they trip Bia up like that?

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    maybe just a little

    OK, I am sort of missing Facebook right now. Luckily whenever I think about Starbucks Venti Breve Cappuccino, I can "just taste it", so I sort of feel like I've had one. But, Facebook ..... sigh.

    Only 3 more weeks or so, eh?

    what's worse?

    Some of the older kids play a game called "Would You Rather". Some of the questions are awfully silly:
    • Would you rather lick a NY city street or eat an old, nasty tennis shoe?
    • Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with wet dogs or three fat men with bad breath?
    • Have to spend the next year repeating the 4th grade (at your current age) or spend a month in jail for a crime you didn't commit?

      Today I found that I was sort of caught in a game of it myself......

    • Would you rather be waterboarded or be twenty-questioned to death about stupid stuff by two toddlers and a tween?"

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    for a special boy

    Fighting cancer.
    He is one amazing child.
    The joy in his eyes shines through. No. Matter. What.
    Listen all the way through if you can.
    Press on young man! Press on!

    sneaky peeky

    I have bigger plans in store, but here is what we have so far.

    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! so exciting!!

    Can't wait to show off my newly painted dining room.... you are gonna be jealous. You are going to want one just like it. I'll give you a hint: it has silhouettes in it.

    In the meantime, here is a look at the dining room from when we first moved into the house. We shall call it "the before picture." I made the curtains out of ivory burlap. So. Cool.
    There are plantation shutters in there now. Much less dust.

    Pictures of the newly decorated room to follow. Sometime soon.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    nah, nah, nah, gonna have a good time

    King got the new issue of National Review today.

    When I saw the cover, I immediately thought of this theme song.
    Hey, hey, hey, it's faaaaat algore.

    winning bid

    Last November, our high school had a silent auction. In order to help support the cause, King and I bid on a few things. He bid on golf packages, I bid on hair dressers and house cleaning. Turns out I was the highest bidder on the maid-for-a-day auction item.
    Now, any normal person would be excited to have won such a treat. And. I mean. I am. Sort of.
    It has taken me this long (since November) to actually make the appointment for the one time cleaning. It is Tuesday. Odd thing is, I dread it.
    No, silly, I don't dread having a clean house. Not at all. I dread all the cleaning-before-the-cleaning which has to be done and all the complaining that goes along with that.

    King nor the children understand the fact that maids only clean. They do not pick the crapola off the floor or put dirty undies in the hamper for lazy punks who can't do it for themselves.... Nope. No Lego Patrol, no laundry folding service, no organizing the papers which clutter the dining room table.
    They change sheets, dust, clean bathrooms, and vacuum. C'est tout!

    "Well, if we have all the mess picked up before they get here, we may as well clean it ourselves," someone was overheard to say.

    uh. yeah.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    one fish two fish red fish yellow fish

    Let it be known that I am tired of taking care of the frogs.

    Another case of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
    Definitely NOT a self-sustaining ecosystem.
    They are still cute and I do like them... they are just a little more trouble than they're worth.

    So, what did I do? I went out and got fish. Neons. Two yellow, two hot pink.
    And a catfish to boot!
    Don't try to follow the logic. I've tried. It'll give you the hives.

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    a weekend above 37 degrees.... ahhh, warmth! we are now free to move about the cabin and other thoughts

    Saturday was filled with lots of small, fun, events: sports, shopping, Mass, burgers at Five Guys.

    Played tennis (we didn't keep score) with King yesterday. I was not in as much pain as last weekend and I wasn't as stiff. I actually enjoyed it. A long way from spending an hour on the elliptical machine or the treadmill, but it's a start.
    A friend, who must go unnamed lest she fall down stairs, and I were talking about skinny legged jeans for big girls.... don't clothing designers know we would look like this:

    spinning top

    or worse..... this!

    Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    look who's three

    In just a few short hours, my sweet fifth-born will be 3!

    If you ask her, "When's your birthday?" She will answer one of two ways: "Mawch fiff" or "Fiff. Mawch."

    Today she took cupcakes to her little Mother's Morning Out classroom. When I went to pick her up, all the kids smelled like icing. I guess they like it the most.

    Grand-ma-ma is coming in tomorrow for some major spoilage!

    (as if...)

    She wants a "kitty cat birffday cake".

    Mommy doesn't quite know what that means, so she is taking a stab in the dark that it might mean Hello Kitty, as the older sister gave her a slightly used Hello Kitty wallet recently and she is in Love. With. It. Especially the snap closure coin pocket.

    Sucker-mommy bought her a Hello Kitty purse - pictured above in the sweet little "I'm-ready-for-warmer-weather" ensemble - to go with said Hello Kitty wallet yesterday at Payless when we were supposed to be getting brother some new tennies.... which we did get by the way. After we picked out a pair of Easter shoes for the super-spoiled-rotten-but-adorable-as-they-come birthday girl.

    as said through chattering teeth


    Wednesday, March 3, 2010


    Shoebuy dot com is having a great sale... they always have free shipping (both ways) and right now their shoes are 20% off.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    now this could explain it

    a hungry kind of day

    kaolin clay

    Each month, despite the fact that I am rarely hungry at the time, I have near pica-like moments in which I feel like I could eat the paint right off the walls (especially if the walls were painted with Hershey's chocolate). Today is one of those days.

    A friend of mine and I were talking about how odd it is that pregnant women (most often black women) crave white chalk, also known as kaolin. Here is an article about it. I remember hearing about it the first year I taught, in a very rural middle school. I remember being incredulous at the thought, but figured there must be something contained within the dirt, minerals maybe, that are important to the woman's body.

    That being said, I never did eat dirt. Although I do remember the old wives tale "you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die".

    My cravings are more varied. Today it was pecans. And mostly it isn't about the craving really, it's more about just having something in my mouth.

    Oh sure, I could chew gum. But what kind of post would that make:

    Today I chewed gum. I don't know why.

    See, that is so boring.

    a tale of two insects

    We moved into this house in 2001 - fully restored it before we put one stick of furniture in.

    We used to walk by it on the way to the park, as we lived a block down the road. The "Craftsman 4 square" was built in 1911 as a single-family dwelling. But several years before we even paid one bit of attention to it, the woman who owned it (a widow battling cancer trying to maintain her independence for as long as possible) converted two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs into apartments, complete with their own entrances.

    Taking it back to a single-family home was a fun task, especially because the old lady, now deceased, kept the architectural elements, french doors, sleeping porch windows, and had them stored in the basement. She must have known one day that a young family such as ours would want to put everything back the way it used to be. I am thankful for her wisdom.

    During the process of renovating the house, we rewired all the electrical. Our electrician was creative enough to suggest rather than ripping holes in our stucco walls, he could pull all the baseboards off and run the wire behind them. While the baseboards were off, we could clean behind them and paint them.

    Amazing what we found behind them - stuff ranging from a small handful of coins (a silver dime dated 1910), a Catholic saint charm bracelet, jade-colored hairpins, a receipt for coal, and then in one corner in the back of the house we found coffee grounds.

    Odd. Why would someone pour coffee grounds back there? I got our contractor to come with me to look. "Uh. Those are not coffee grounds, honey." That is the evidence of roach infestation.
    (insert bad case of shivers here)
    Hey, wait a minute, this post was supposed to be about Asian Lady Beetles. Somehow I got off track.....
    Anyway, we moved in. That next winter we noticed a few of these cheap Asian ladybug knock offs.
    "Oh, I hear it is good luck to have a lady bug in your house," I optimistically told the kids.
    (we only had #'s 1, 2, and 3 at that point)
    They were fascinated with the one or two we found. We went to the nature store and bought a bug house and tried to keep them alive.
    Well, I may as well have gone to the bad part of town and gotten some ink artist to tattoo the words "stupid idiot" across my forehead. Now we have a ladybug infestation! They are everywhere. They smell nasty. If you accidentally step on one, not only do you get the willies from the crunch they make underfoot, but they leave an orange stain in addition to the beetle juice smell. My vacuum is ruined, as I have vacuumed up more than I even want to imagine.
    Any of you have any creepy bug stories? Or have any of you been victim to the ladybug invasion?

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    when a man...

    ...makes a salad

    (apologies to Percy Sledge, Michael Bolton, and all the other folks who ever sang that song)

    And so... even though we didn't need the candles, we may as well eat these gorgeous salads by candlelight. Who cares if it's the middle of the day?!?!

    dinner by candlelight: an unplanned blessing

    all the candles we have in our house
    Last night, after we got back from Mass, our whole family had Sunday dinner by candlelight. It was so nice - the soft, warm glow of the flames from the mish-mash collection of candles. What a nice surprise to have to use them to be able to see our dinner. You see, our chandelier fell from the ceiling. Yep. That's right. Fell!
    The 15-light behemoth of a fixture was dusty and had recently acquired a few too many spider webs. And, since we are out of the Halloween season, where they might be a little more appropriate, King decided he would vacuum it off while #1 and I fixed dinner. standing in one spot, he would vacuum one of the "candles" of the fixture and then spin it around to get the next one. Halfway through the process, it all came tumbling down onto the table below, smashing my flower vase filled with lovely spring flowers, a gift from my beloved because the roses he bought earlier had faded.
    The littlest ones, 4 and 5, were quite startled and it took #3 awhile to get them calmed down. Stepping into the role as a team player, she whisked them away to the living room and read them a funny story. The rest of us sopped up water, picked up shards of glass, wiped off the table, searched the house for candles, then a lighter, and finally brought dinner from the kitchen into the glowing dining room. Bathed in the beautiful glow of candlelight, we had dinner together and enjoyed the moment.

    And the best thing? We had been looking at replacement chandeliers earlier in the day! Which means that this project gets moved up to priority status. Score!!