Sunday, November 30, 2008

In law visit

We went to Richmond today to visit with Mike's sister and her family. We haven't seen them in about two and a half years, I think. Mike's mom died in August of 2005 and I think we saw them a few months after that and they may have come over here once more, I'm thinking spring of 2006 or so. Mike has never been close to any of his sisters, although we usually have fun with them when we are together.

The younger kids had fun with their two cousins, Cathy and Chas. Roni invited them for a sleepover during Christmas break, so that should be fun for them.

I made a point of putting my camera in my purse last night so I wouldn't forget it today. Well, I didn't forget it, but I did forget I had it and, therefore, have no pictures. I hope I remember to take some when we see them at Christmas time.

Happy Birthday Drew Michael

Happy 23rd Birthday, Drewie! Drew spent the weekend with his friends in Norfolk. I called him today and told him that he should spend every birthday with his mother, since I was there for the first one and that started a tradition, but he was having none of it.

My chubby-cheeked, 9 pound, 13 ounce baby boy now towers over me. He still has those big blueberry eyes, though!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

23 years ago tonight....

I went into labor during Wheel of Fortune. The kids really enjoyed hearing all about it at dinner tonight! (In case it isn't obvious, I was being sarcastic.) Hey, that kid was a month overdue, I'll talk about it for the rest of my life, if I want to!!!!

Here is a picture of Drew, 20 years ago, on his third birthday. He was the cutest little thing! He had the biggest, bluest eyes and the longest, dark brown eyelashes. He hated the long eyelashes, but I think every check out clerk we ever went to, commented on how beautiful they were. He was forever getting an eyelash in his eye and it was so hard to get them out.

Out with the old, in with the almost new

I have had it with my couches and decided it is time for a family room make over. We have had this sectional for 8 years now and it is in horrible condition. It is covered with rips from the cats scratching on it and the recliner part has been broken for a long time. The whole thing is falling apart and looks terrible. We cannot afford a new one, so I decided to get some slip covers (even though I hate slip covers!) for a couch and loveseat that I have, but haven't really been using. I waited for several months until I found the slip covers on a really good sale.

I was not prepared for all the opposition I would get on this decision. Almost every single kid was in an uproar because I was getting rid of the green couches. Here are some of the things I heard, "But that couch is my life!", "You can't get rid of it, I sleep there.", "But I love those couches.", "Why do we have to get rid of them, they're fine."

Here are the pictures, THIS is the couch they were crying and complaining about, you be the judge:

One of the cat scratched areas

A nice close up of the rips and stains

Here is the old blue couch in the process of getting it's new look. This one is stained, but still in good condition. The material just didn't stand up to our family!

Cute Pictures


Miss Banana

My sister, Tricia, brother in law, Tim, niece, Tatum and my mom

Niece Sydnee, Shauna, nephew Lucas

My oldest, Jack and youngest, Shauna

Lemon & Lime Cakes

Alex was having a pot luck lunch between performances today and they were going to celebrate his birthday. He wanted me to make a dessert, so I made a recipe that I've been wanting to try. It came out really delicious and was so easy! I made a lime and a lemon cake. YUMMY!

Here is the recipe:

Pastel Pound Cake

One white or yellow cake mix
3 ounce any flavor jello mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs

Mix all for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Pour into two sprayed loaf pans (9 x 5 x 3)and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.


1 cup powdered sugar
lemon juice

mix lemon juice in until it is a good consistency and drizzle over the cake.

The cats helped with Hannah's science project!

Hannah had to do a project for science. In the past, projects have been really stressful for her and me. This time, she was allowed to work with a partner. She did a great job, not waiting until the last minute and working hard on all the paperwork part of the project. They had to make an edible Bohr model of Zinc. Hannah decided that she wanted to make a pizza model. We made the pizza last night and it came out really good. She used cheese for the rings, turkey for the electrons, sausage for the protons and pepperoni for the neutrons, with a sauce-only nucleus. It actually came out much better than I thought it would, so we were happy with it.

I put the pizza on the counter to cool. When I went to cover it and put it in the refrigerator, I was horrified to discover that one of the cats (who shall remain nameless, mainly because I don't know who it was!) had eaten a bunch of the neutrons!!!! I didn't have any more sauce made and putting the pizza together had been a huge pain in the butt, so there was no way I was going to make another. So, this morning, I had to cook some more turkey and replace the eaten areas. It worked out fine, thankfully.

On a related subject, Luke is so smart. Hannah and I were frantically searching the internet (because she forgot which website she had found it on previously) for what the model was supposed to look like. I had no idea what it was called and Hannah told me to search for "a round thing with zinc stuff on it". Hmm, I didn't try it, but I'm pretty darn sure that doing a google search for that wouldn't have turned up an answer! Luckily, Luke came downstairs while we were searching and I asked him if he knew what it might be called or what I should search for. He matter of factly replies, "Oh, a Bohr model, B-o-h-r". I must have learned that at some point in my life, but I sure don't remember. I guess it just always surprised me a little when Luke comes up with things so easily. This is the same kid who spends every spare moment playing computer games and scours the internet for "useless facts" when he finished his classwork in computer class. I think he also has the script for every single Family Guy episode stored in his head. Of course, he is also addicted to the History and Discovery Channels, so I guess that might offset some of the other things. It will be very interesting to see his resume when he graduates from college!

Alex's Play

Mike, Jack and I finally got to go see Alex in "Father of the Bride" last night. It was sooo good! I didn't realize from just reading the script that it would be so funny. Alex did a great job, as did almost all of the other actors. There was only one who had obviously not acted before, but even he did an okay job.


Thanksgiving was very nice this year. We were disappointed that we couldn't afford to go to Chicago, since this was supposed to be our year to go, as we try to go every other Thanksgiving. The weather was beautiful, it's been in the 50's and 60's for the last week or so.

We went to my sister's house, but my mom and I did all the cooking, since my sister doesn't cook. She did make two pumpkin pies, though. A former neighbor of my mom's also came with her family. Things went well, with no major drama, which is really unusual for our family!!!! My mom wasn't even cranky, like she almost always is on holidays. The only rough patch was when my sister insisted on waiting to have dessert until my niece got home from work. The neighbor family was obviously ready to leave, as their 3 year old was getting antsy and the kids were all very anxious for dessert. Well, we ended up waiting about an hour and then my niece got home, ate her dinner plate in the corner of the kitchen and then headed to her room to talk on the phone and use the computer. I'm still trying to figure out why we had to inconvenience everyone else to wait for that! She barely said two words to anyone and disappeared. Oh well, I guess I should be very thankful that that was the only annoying thing that happened.

We brought the Wii, which kept the younger kids occupied and happy, but my older ones were pretty bored.

The kids were all disappointed that my mom didn't give them their usual Christmas ornament. She started a tradition when Jack and Drew were babies, of giving each of the kids an ornament with the year and their name on it. I guess she just decided that she didn't want to bother anymore or that the expense wasn't worth it. The kids didn't want to be rude so they acted like it didn't matter too much, but they all expressed their disappointment when we got home. Even Drew was disappointed!

Our dinner was delicious! Here is the menu, so I won't forget next year. I didn't forget the candied carrots that I usually make and Steven was upset about that.

Turkey (1 18 pound Butterball turkey and one turkey breast-there weren't enough leftovers for us to take any home, so that was disappointing)

Sweet potatoes with cinnamon and sugar

Broccoli Casserole (note for next year, made two 9 x 13 disposable pans, used 6-2 pound bags broccoli cuts (1 1/2 bags per layer), precooked in microwave, one large Velveeta slices per pan and did not use butter on the bottom layer of crackers)

Strawberry Jello with cream cheese layer and pretzel crust

Cranberry Jello ring

Make Ahead mashed potatoes

Cranberry sauce

French bread




Pumpkin pies

Frozen French Silk pie

Lemon Squares

Cream cheese brownies

Apple-Pecan Pie (no one ate any!)

Whipped Cream

I'm Back!

I have been receiving complaints about my lack of posting lately. I guess I've just been busy and haven't felt much like posting. I still don't, but I will force myself!

Things have been going pretty smoothly around here. Mike has been home for the week, which has been very helpful. He has been working on my huge backlog of dirty dishes. Somehow, I seem to make them much faster than he can wash them!

My birthday was last Tuesday, the 25th. It was a very nice, relaxing day. I had to take Luke for his flu shot, first thing in the morning. We went to the library after and hit the used book sale. Luke hates to read, so he wasn't thrilled with the pit stop, but it kept him out of school longer, so it wasn't too bad. He was very helpful in carrying my $14 worth of books to the check out! I LOVE our libraries because the paperbacks are only .50 and the hardcovers are only $1. I can almost always find a ton of good ones and many are 2007 or 2008 books, not a bunch of old, yellowed junk.

After the library, I dropped Luke at school and then went to WISC to help my friend, Mike, pick up the last of the roller skates for his school. It was really weird to be there again, with the rink gone. It also felt really weird to be walking out of there for probably the last time, on my birthday.

Mike and I went out to lunch, which is a big treat for us. We went to a great Italian place and the total was only $14 for the two of us. The food was delicious, too. Then we headed off the the in-town library branch, where I spent another $8 for books. I now have a stash that should last me for a little while at least! I told Mike that is all I wanted for my birthday, the books and the lunch, but he also surprised me with an electric throw. It is really cozy and all the kids are jealous! I might have to put an alarm on it because I'm pretty sure it will disappear soon.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two hours at the doctor

I took Alex and Shauna for their 6 month ADHD checks this morning. They also needed a bunch of shots. I made the appointment for 8:30, figuring I could get them in and out fairly quickly and they wouldn't miss much school. I hate going later in the day because the pediatrician's office gets backed up so much. No such luck today.

We got in pretty quickly and settled into the room. The doctor came in only a few minutes later and spent quite a bit of time with us, like she always does. She left and we had to wait a half hour before a nurse was freed up to give the shots. Shauna got a DTAP, Varicella (chicken pox vaccine) and a flu mist. Alex got Meningitis vaccine, varicella (I have no clue if I'm spelling that right, but it is something like that) and a flu shot. He couldn't have the mist because he gets frequent, severe nose bleeds. Everything went fine, Shauna was hardly even nervous, which is unusual for her. Alex kept her entertained and laughing most of the time. Then we started to leave the exam room and all hell broke loose!

I turned and took one step towards the door when I heard a huge crash behind me. I turned around and saw Alex crumpled on the floor, eyes rolled back in his head, arms and legs tensing and releasing. I thought he was having a seizure from one of the shots. The nurse was long gone, so I went out into the hall and yelled, "Help, my son is having a seizure or something." There was a dad standing in the hall, rocking a baby, who looked at me kind of funny, but who cares? I couldn't see any medical personnel in the hall, although there were several other parents with toddlers milling about.

The nurse must have heard me because she came running in and tried to wake Alex up. He was out for about 45 seconds and then started to come around slowly. He was terrified when he woke up because he had no idea what had happened. After the nurse got him to wake up, she put a coat under his head and ran to get the doctor out of another exam room. They determined that it wasn't a seizure, that he had just passed out. It took him forever to feel better, though, and they had to keep putting ice on him and having him try sitting up slowly, etc. Another nurse came in and sort of took over (I think the original nurse was new because the other nurse kept telling her what to do). His skin was a gross greenish/gray color and it took a really long time for the color to come back. We ended up being there for about another half hour, until Alex was well enough to walk out of the office. I'm so glad it happened in the office and not after we left.

He is feeling better now, but I decided to keep him home from school because he hit his head so hard on the office floor. He says the pain from the bump is getting better now, too. Now maybe he will believe me when I tell him he HAS to each breakfast.

He is feeling much better.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Here comes the pain again

I'm having a hard time focusing and getting anything accomplished this week. Ever since I sat for 8 hours to do Shauna's hair last weekend, my hamstring has been hurting a little more each day. Today it is really starting to feel like it was when I ended up bedridden. I am terrified of having to go through that again.

I really don't understand why the pain is coming back. The muscle seemed to be almost completely healed and the pain has been minimal or even nonexistent on some days. I have been doing the exercises and being very careful with my leg. I know I didn't do anything to hurt it, other than sitting to do Shauna's hair. I'm really discouraged and scared.

On top of that, my doctor got a promotion and will not be seeing patients anymore. He has a replacement and I trust that he chose him very wisely, but I would much prefer to see my own doctor about this, especially since he is the one I saw originally. I'm going to have to call and make an appointment tomorrow, even though I hate going to doctors.

I'm also worried because I know he is going to make me start going to physical therapy again and I just can't afford it. We are going to be paying off the bills for the PT I have gotten already for quite some time. I will have to go, though, as that was the only thing that helped last time. I guess I will have to call tomorrow for a PT appointment, too, and just hope that I can work the money part out.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Right now, Jack and Mike are debating which kind of cake is better, one in a 9" x 13" pan or a two layer round cake. Apparently the cake to frosting ratio is better on a 9" x 13" cake, according to Mike. According to Jack, on a round cake, you get the bonus of the layer of frosting in the middle.

They are lobbying to get me to make them a yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting, store bought frosting, not homemade. Men.....Ugh!

Wrigley and Paint

Only two of the cats actually like the dog. They are the twins, Paint aka Mr. Alheeji and Oreo, or the black and whites as we call them. This is Paint with Wrigley. The funny thing is that Wrigley is most attracted to Rebel, the cat who hates him the most!!! She is old (almost 10) and wants nothing to do with a stupid dog. Paint will meow and rub himself all over Wrigley and Wrigley will push him out of the way to go get hissed at by Rebel.

Shauna and her bestest buddies

There are three things that Shauna really loves, Wrigley, television, and sleeping. As you might have noticed, the Tivo remote control is at her elbow in picture number two!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Taco Meatloaf Recipe

Denise asked for this recipe. It will also be helpful for me to have it here, for when I lose the original! This can be made in the crock pot or oven.

Taco Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup taco sauce
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning Mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup crushed taco chips
1 cup shredded mexican or cheddar cheese

Mix together and cook in crock pot on low for 8-10 hours.

For oven, shape into a loaf and brush with additional taco sauce. I can't remember what temperature I cooked it at, I just looked up other meatloaf recipes to get an idea of oven temperature. I cooked it for an hour and a half, just to make sure the beef was well cooked, which made it really crispy around the edges. It was delicious, but if you don't like it crispy, cook for less time. I also made three at once, so the oven was more crowded and they needed more time than one batch would probably need.

I served these with additional taco sauce, shredded cheese and crushed Doritos. I would have served chopped tomatoes, if I had them and maybe some shredded lettuce, as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An umbrella is making me nervous

It was pouring rain today, as I went out to meet Shauna's teacher for parent/teacher conference day. Umbrellas are very hard to come by in our house. They are usually lost and/or broken before we have owned them a week.

When I was cleaning out the hockey equipment a few weeks ago, I came across an umbrella that has been in the hockey bin for at least a year. I had noticed it there before and never did anything about it, since I figured it was probably broken. So, as Luke was gathering up some goalie gear that he wanted for street hockey, I asked him to put the umbrella in my car because if I left it at the rink, they would throw it away anyway. Luke opened it and said it worked fine so I figured it would be nice to have an extra. The umbrella has been in my car ever since.

I sent Steven out to the van to get me the black umbrella today, a job which he wasn't too happy about. I don't blame him because it was really pouring, but I did give him an umbrella that was usable, but not in the greatest condition, so he didn't get wet. I really didn't want to take the half-broken umbrella to parent/teacher conference, even if it would keep me dry! So off I went to the conference, feeling really fancy with my new, in-perfect-condition umbrella, wondering the whole time just how long it would stay in that condition! As I got out of the car once I got back home, I noticed that it was a Coach umbrella. I'm not really big on name brands, but I knew that Coach sold really expensive purses and this did seem like a pretty nice umbrella.

I looked up Coach umbrellas on the internet. Lo and behold, my umbrella sells for $148. Are you kidding me????? Now I am a nervous wreck! I cannot own an expensive umbrella, it just isn't right. Alex says I should sell it because "You know you will break it anyway". Well, I'm not the one that breaks the umbrellas, but that is a good point, it will get broken. As soon as I discovered it was worth so much money, I rushed to the front porch to bring it in from where I had left it to dry. I can't have something worth that much just sitting on the porch, waiting to be blown into the street. I left the green, half-broken one out there!

Now I don't know what to do with this umbrella. Should I lock it in my closet? Should I sell it? Should I actually use it? What if I lose it? What if it disappears in the black hole that is somewhere in my house? What if it gets broken? What if the dog chews it up? What if a cat pees on it? See why I'm so nervous????? And to think that a couple of hours ago, I was thrilled just because I had a nice black umbrella to keep the rain off of me!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Did someone say Mom????

It is very quiet in the house, which is highly unusual! I thought I heard someone say a very faint "mom", several times. The kids have early dismissal today, so I thought maybe Hannah and Alex were home and one of them was calling me from outside. Nope, turns out it was only Wrigley snoring!!! He really is much more talented when he's asleep than when he's awake!

Shauna's Veteran's Day Program

The whole fifth grade had a musical performance in honor of the country's veterans and active military personnel. It was so nice. The kids all dressed in red, white and blue and all the songs were about America. Shauna looked so cute! I braided her hair in two french braids and she has on a red and white striped shirt and red pants. I love her in red and white, it looks so pretty with her skin color.

I have to say that those kids have the best voices of any fifth grade class I've ever heard! The also sang the theme song for each branch of the military, Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. The music teacher asked that the soldiers, or a family member of those who are on duty and couldn't be there, stand during the song for their branch of the military. Everyone clapped for the soldiers and it was really moving.

I know that the whole country has really been rallying around the military since the terrorist attacks, but it seems even more prevalent in our area, since this is a military hub. When I lived in Illinois, it was rare to even know anyone in the military, here we know tons of them. Steven's best friend, Mike, has been in Iraq for the past year and is coming home in a week.

I took a few pictures, but they came out pretty dark. I will ask CUP to put them on the computer for me and I'll see if any are good enough to post.

Happy Birthday Hannah Michelle Danielle Latoya!

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday because I had to take the van to Newport News to get the new tv and then Shauna had a Veteran's Day Program at school. Yesterday was also Hannah Michelle Danielle Latoya's 12th birthday!!! Happy Birthday, Hannah Banana!

Hannah was beyond thrilled with her presents. She is very into fashion, unlike her mother, whose friend has threatened numerous times to get her on "What Not to Wear"! Now that she is in middle school, fashion has become even more important to her. It is hard to dress your kids in what they consider fashionable clothing on an extremely tight budget. Especially when those kids (Hannah and Alex) are obsessed with wearing name brands whenever possible. Like their mother, however, they also love a good bargain and never pay full price for anything, YAY!

CUP (happy, Denise?!?!?) and I went to the PacSun outlet store. I was able to purchase a pair of skinny jeans (apparently a middle school must-have!), 4 shirts (2 are being put away for Christmas), and an appliqued hoody. The jeans were $25, marked down from $45, three of the shirts were $2.99, marked down from $15, one shirt was $3.99, marked down from $17 and the hoody was $25, marked down from $45. Those were the markdowns off the outlet store price, I can't even begin to imagine what they cost at the regular store. I still think that is way too much to spend on clothing, but Hannah was so incredibly happy, so it was worth it. She was surprised that I had such good taste and picked out everything that she loved. I was surprised, too!!! I did make a mistake on the original pair of jeans that I bought. I got the right size (size 00, a size I don't think I EVER wore!), but I got boot cut. We went back to the store after Shauna's performance to get the right ones. The skinny ones were $5 more, so I made her kick in the $5 because I had already gone over the birthday budget of $40 per kid.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lost an old friend

The kitchen jinx is now migrating to other rooms. My beloved television bit the dust today. It has been a good friend for about 10 years. (I'm sure Anonymous will leave a comment with the exact age!) It just stopped working right in the middle of Jon and Kate Plus 8. Lucky for me, Jack thought ahead and brought his extra tv home from Chicago. One of his friends wanted to buy it from him, but he knew that mine would be giving out soon and I would need it. Thank goodness he is so smart!

I wonder how long the old tv will sit in the family room before someone carries it out to the curb on garbage day? I'm thinking of getting into a competition with my friend Nick, to see which goes first, my tv or his blue painter's tape!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My son, the star

Performances for Father of the Bride started this week. Alex was excited because on opening night he got a lot of laughs. When he went out into the lobby after the play, he was surrounded by people who wanted to shake his hand and tell him what a good job he did. It is always nice to get good feedback.

Today there was a review of the show in our local paper. The review was good and discussed all or most of the actors by name, mostly mentioning what part they played. Only two of the actors were singled out and complimented. One of them was Alex! Since he is the youngest person with a lead role, he was thrilled. Here is what was said, not the whole article, but the good parts, lol!:

"There are some great supporting performances in this ensemble, most notably Kathleen W. as Miss Bellamy. She nailed the role as Mr. Banks secretary, and really took off with a funny characterization.

Same for youngster, Alex S. as Tommy Banks. The playwright gave the character some great lines and a peppery attitude and the B. Middle School student played it well."

None of us have seen the play yet, but I can't wait to get to a performance. Since it is a community theater, it is pretty expensive and they only give each actor two free tickets, hardly enough for all of us!

On a funny note, I asked where the article was because Drew wanted to read it and Jack said it was on the fridge. Then he started talking about how at least it was an appropriate thing to put on the fridge, not like when Steven was in the newspaper's police blotter (twice!) and he cut them out and hung them on the fridge!!! Parents and siblings of substance abusers really need to have a great sense of humor to survive!


Hannah had a short meltdown today, but I am seeing such huge improvement since her meds have been increased. This was her first one in a LONG time. She got angry over something I said and Steven reiterated. It would have been fine if Steven hadn't stuck his two cents in, when he shouldn't have. Anyway, she started to cry and ran upstairs. Then there was a huge crash.

Drew has his dresser at the top of the stairs and he has a box on top of it, where he keeps a bunch of his crap, including a ton of cologne bottles (cologne seems to be one of his obsessions). She had picked the box up and thrown it down the stairs. There was stuff all over the hall up there and on almost all of the stairs and even a few on the foyer. Somehow, only two large cologne bottles broke, but it was a huge, smelly mess. He also had a bunch of hockey cards and paperwork in the box, plus a ton of miscellaneous stuff, like un-blown balloons and shaving supplies.

It was fun to clean up. Alex helped a ton, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Hannah came out of her room and offered to help, but I said no because the glass was really sharp and I had already had to pull a piece out of my finger with a tweezers and I was being super careful.

Here is where I see the improvement. Number one, Hannah never apologizes when she has a tantrum. Oh, she will say sorry when I tell her to, but it is said in a snotty way and you can tell she isn't really sorry. Also, she offered to help with the clean-up, sincerely and nicely. That was only about 5 minutes after she threw the box and she was already calm. That is a big improvement. When she came downstairs later (after falling asleep in her room for about an hour), she apologized and told me that she really did feel bad about doing that and that she regretted it right after she did it. Another huge step for her. Normally, she would blame it on someone else and refuse any responsibility.

Hannah also hasn't been having any after school tantrums, now that she is taking her second does of abilify in school. It is working by the time she gets home and life is so much easier.

Speaking of Hannah, she went to a dance at her school last night. Alex had a play performance so he wasn't there to keep an eye on her. I wasn't worried, though, with her new attitude, I figured she would be fine. She always dances in a big group, but she came home all excited last night because a boy asked her to dance a slow dance. She doesn't "like" him (although she used to have a huge crush on his twin brother in fourth grade) and he doesn't "like" her, they just danced as friends. (Apparently that is very important for us to know!!!)

Capitals Game

Apparently, Mike is going to a Caps game tomorrow night. I'm not sure how I figured that out, he has only told us at least 10 times tonight!!!! Yes, we are all very jealous and he is sooo taking advantage of that fact.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bra shopping is the worst ever!

UGH! I hate shopping for bras. I am down to one and it doesn't even fit well. Today my mom dragged me out to look for more. I must have tried on 50 bras (NOT an exaggeration!) at 3 different stores. Not one fit right. I am so discouraged. I knew that would happen, that is why she had to drag me. Who the heck designs these things? Now what do I do???? I'm thinking of buying the most comfortable one and taking it to a surgeon and telling him to make my boobs fit the bra!

On the bright side, we found lots of good clearance items and I got 4 nice shirts for less than $35, including tax. Actually I got them for free since my mom insisted on paying for them! The original price on them was $175. They are a little fancier than I usual get at Walmart, but not super dressy, either. Hannah and Alex will be happy that I now have something presentable to wear to school events!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Luke just told me that whenever one of his teachers forgets something, he tells her she is senile. Well, at least I'm not alone, he tells me the same thing on a daily basis!!!

Van Television

I drive a 9 passenger conversion van which, by the way, is the most awesome vehicle ever! Anyway, it has a 27" built-in TV. The TV broke about three months after we got the van. I procrastinated about getting it fixed, then it took forever for the conversion company to send a new TV to VA. I started calling them back in June (about 9 months after the TV actually broke!) and they kept telling me they would send the TV, but never did. I emailed them yesterday to find out what was going on and it turns out they sent the TV and it was received on October 7th. Ugh, that makes me mad because no one called me to let me know. We went up to DC on the 11th of October and it would have been great to have had the TV for that trip. It would have saved the aggravation of using the portable DVD players that are getting old and only working haphazardly.

I now have an appointment to get the new TV installed next Tuesday. I hope this one lasts longer than the first one!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Busy Day

Today has been a busy day. Mike left for Florida and the kids all had the day off school. We went to vote and then went to Walmart. Mike had asked me to crochet an afghan for a lady he works with, as her daughter is expecting. I love to crochet, but haven't done much in the last few years. I think the last thing I made was ponchos for each of the girls and I think that was two or maybe even three years ago. Now that he got the idea in my head, I have been itching to start a project. There aren't a lot of yarn stores in our area, so I can't just run out and get started. I found a baby afghan I want to make, but I'm going to have to order the instructions and probably the yarn on the internet.

I went to Walmart today and they didn't have any instruction booklets, so I just bought some yarn to make scarves for Hannah and Shauna. I am almost done with both scarves! I also made homemade pizza tonight, so I didn't get much of anything else done.

Steven voted for the first time today and then ran around to all the stores that were offering freebies for voters. He got a milkshake coupon from one Chick-Fil-A and a chicken sandwich and a milkshake from another Chick-Fil-A. Drew headed out to visit a friend in Norfolk right after voting.

I was a little worried about long lines at the polls, but none of us even had to wait in any lines. In some parts of Virginia, people had to wait for up to 7 hours! I don't ever remember caring so much about the outcome of an election. I have been on pins and needles all day, but it is looking like the candidate our family is hoping for, is going to win, so that is a good thing. Hopefully it will be a good thing for our country, too.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Husband

Now I have to admit that most of my posts about my husband have been somewhat negative. Well, he was acting somewhat negative, but has decided that he would like to change that. He has been working on it for several weeks now and really making a lot of progress. This weekend, he cooked a whole dinner himself! It was delicious, too. He did all the laundry. I am very lucky in that department, he usually does most of the laundry on weekends. Since our washer is broken, this involved trips to the laundromat. He also surprised me with a small bottle of Peppermint Schnapps to put in hot chocolate and chocolate soy milk. YUM! I had some in soy milk last night and it was so good. Then he gave me a back rub today. He made two fires this weekend for the kids. He even went to the store to get some Pepto Bismol for the dog's upset tummy. Things are really looking up. Thanks, Mikey!!

My family ate too much

I have just been asked by more than one person to blog about how they ate too much because dinner was so delicious. I like to hear that, well not the eating too much part, the delicious part. Since most comments about my dinners involve smoke alarms and fire extinquishers, delicious is nice! I made taco meatloaf, rice and applesauce. I had lost my taco meatloaf recipe and recently found it. I've always made it in the crock pot (but not for at least 12-15 years). I made it in the oven today and it was even better than I remembered. Yum!


Don't panic, this post is NOT gross. I have had my mattress for almost 8 years now. Mike and I haven't done a great job of turning it like we were supposed to. I now have a large indentation or "hole" where my butt/hips rest when I sleep. Not leaving the bed for several months has made it worse. Well, I walked into my room today and there was the fat orange and white cat (Booty-Boy), curled up into a tight ball. I realized, as I looked at him, that my cat fits perfectly in my butt hole!

The camera has returned!

Hannah and her friend

Mike's Halloween costume!

Jack was a scientist

Hannah's Devil Face

My babies, Shauna and Hannah

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Pictures on Hold

It seems that a certain middle school son went to a party last night and took his brother's camera and left it there. He can't get in touch with the girl who had the party, so I am worried that the camera might have been stolen. He does not have the money to replace the camera and no money prospects in sight. My Halloween pictures are on that camera. Ugh. He claims he thought he asked me and I said yes. Hmmm, no way. I would never, ever have given him permission to take any camera, let alone his brother's camera to a party. Never.

If you see pictures any Halloween pictures posted, you will know we got the camera back. If you read another angry post from me, you will know that we did not get the camera back!

My attempts at organization

I've really been working on getting the house more organized so it will be easier for me to find things. That way, I won't buy stuff I already have and it will make menu making and meal planning much easier and quicker. I am finding that I am spending a huge amount of time on those things and I have to find an easier way.

So far, I have started organizing binders for my most-used recipes, grocery receipts, grocery lists, and price lists. I am making price lists of all the things that we buy on a regular basis, so I will know when a sale is a good one and when a coupon on the name brand will save us money over the generic. Today, it took me much less time to get my weekly grocery list together than it normally does. I also had prices for almost everything, so it was easy to see how much money we needed. This is still a work in progress, but I'm going to keep chipping away. My next goal is to make a coupon organizing system that works for me. So far, I haven't had much luck with using envelopes or a coupon organizer. I'm going to see if I can come up with something using a binder and page protectors, since Mike had a bunch left over from classes at work.

I have also decided to take all the cans out of the can cabinet and relocate them to the pantry. The problem with the can cabinet is that it is a lower cabinet. I have a hard time getting down there to see what is in it (especially with my hamstring problems) and cans are always falling to the back and sitting there for years. Alex, Hannah and Shauna got all the cans out for me and I checked all the expiration dates. While most were still current, I found some from as far back as 2004! I also found out that we have plenty of tuna to fall back on, for busy days. I might even try a tuna casserole, which we have never had before.

The pantry is also still a work in progress, but it is looking much better. My old system was just put everything in there, where ever it fit. As you can imagine, that didn't work well. Stuff kept getting behind other stuff and I would buy it over and over. Plus everything would fall off the shelves and end up getting stepped on and crushed. I still have a long way to go, but I am happy with the progress made so far.


Ooops, I just found this post in my drafts. I think I was waiting for the Halloween pictures before posting it, but here it is, better late than never!

Halloween was pretty uneventful this year. The weather was gorgeous. Sunny and warm during the day, in the upper 60's. It got a slightly chilly when the sun went down, but a light jacket was plenty.

No costume meltdowns this year, luckily. Hannah usually changes her mind about her costume at least 20 times, including after we have already bought one. She did very well this year, as we bought costumes early, so I expected the worst. The worst thing that happened was that the straps broke off of Shauna's costume and I couldn't find a needle, so I had to staple them back on. Hey, it worked!

The girls didn't want us to go trick-or-treating with them, even though Mike was home this year. So, Mike, Jack and I sat on the front porch and I gave out the candy. At first, we had hardly any kids in the neighborhood, which was weird because last year was wall-to-wall kids all night. I think because it was a Friday, a lot of people were having parties. Traffic picked up after about a half hour and then it was pretty steady until 8:00. Shauna went off with her friends, Sydney, Shannon and Kayla. Hannah went out with her friend Larkinya and her two brothers and one of their friends. Alex went with his friends, Samantha and Brittany and they hooked up with a huge bunch of other kids along the way.


Alex, Hannah and Shauna are outside, on the back deck, giving the dog a bath. There is a huge commotion, tons of screaming and arguing. First of all, Alex found an open can of soup in the can cabinet. Apparently he had opened it at some point, decided not to make it, covered it with tin foil and put it back in the cabinet. It was moldy (I KNEW something smelled bad over there, but I couldn't figure out what it was), of course, so he took it out and put it on the back deck. I knew nothing about all of this at the time. He planned to go inside, get shoes on and take it out to the garbage can. He forgot to do this and left it outside. Wrigley found it and ate it and then threw up. He now smells like moldy soup (or poop, according to Hannah).

So, now they are giving him a bath. Wrigley HATES getting a bath, so he is freaking out, along with the kids. So far, he has escaped the deck at least once and gotten back into the house, soaking wet, twice. I cannot count how many times the kids have yelled at each other in the last 20 minutes, but I think they may have set a new record.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Anniversary-28 years

Mike and I met 28 years ago today, or yesterday, depending on which way you look at it! We actually met a few minutes after midnight on Halloween night. We had our first official date on November 1st, starting at 10:00 pm. I had no idea what he looked like because he had white and black make-up covering his entire face the night before. It's a good thing there weren't a whole lot of guys coming to my door at 10:00 pm or I might have gone out with the wrong one!

Here is the whole story. I had a friend named Jill, Mike had a friend named Pete. Pete and Jill were dating. They wanted to fix Mike and me up. About two or three weeks before Halloween, they set up a date for the four of us to go out. Mike and Pete had an argument about the driving arrangements. Mike wanted to take his own car and Pete wanted us to drive with them in his car. Mike thought it would be harder for him to talk to me if Pete and Jill were in the car. Pete was afraid I would be afraid to go with Mike alone since I didn't know him and I might be worried that he would be a rapist or something. Since Pete and Mike were mad at each other, we decided not to go at all. Jill and I ended up going bowling together and we found out later that Pete and Mike went out together, too! Since I wasn't too keen on being fixed up in the first place, I told Jill that I didn' t want her to set another date up.

Fast forward to Halloween. Jill and Pete had invited me to go to a party with them. I didn't really want to go. I didn't like parties and I didn't like being the third wheel on a date. They insisted and since Jill was a ton of fun, I decided to let them talk me into it. Jill and I dressed up. I can't remember what she was, but I was a fairy godmother. I wore one of my mom's old long white dresses and made a magic wand. I remember that the dress was very low-cut and since my boobs were a lot bigger than my mom's, it was kind of risqué for 1980. By today's standards, it would probably be considered a turtleneck!! When Pete and Jill picked me up for the party, they told me that they had decided not to go and we were just going to go to the store that Jill and I worked at and then drive around. We went to a few notably haunted places in our area, Resurrection Cemetery, Bachelor's Grove Cemetery and some woods along Archer Road, where you are supposed to be able to see ghostly lights. We, saw nothing even remotely paranormal!

So, around 11:45 pm or so, Pete starts to head back into Chicago. I start to get suspicious, as I remember that Mike works second shift at Illinois Bell and gets off work about this time. Sure enough, they tell me that they are going over to pick Mike up. I argue, but am pretty much trapped in the backseat of Pete's Z-28! We pulled up in front of Mike's house and he hops in. He had his face all white, with a black star around the eye (sort of like one of the Kiss guys, but he wasn't dress up as anyone from Kiss). He had on a white t-shirt under a blazer and the t-shirt had a bunch of song lyrics written on it. I remember that we talked a little and I remember that I felt really self-conscious about my low neck line. I don't remember how long we were out, but I remember that when Pete pulled into my driveway, I said "nice to meet you" to Mike and he asked Pete to let him out (it was a two-door car). Mike walked me to the door and asked me if I would like to go out the next night. I said yes and he gave me a quick kiss on the lips. Now he disputes that fact, to this day. He doesn't remember kissing me, but I remember it because I was hoping Pete and Jill didn't see because I knew that Jill would tease me and I was wondering if any of his white make-up had rubbed off on my face!

The next night, I worked until 9:00 pm and then drove home like a maniac to get ready for the date. My mom and step-dad were out of town and my sister was staying at my dad's house, so I didn't have to worry about anyone bugging me, which was great! I was ready by 9:30 and then sat, very nervously, on the stairs, waiting for Mike to arrive. I found out later that he arrived around 9:30, but pulled over at the end of my block and waited so he wouldn't be too early! He finally came to the door and looked good, so we left! I know we met Pete and Jill at the bowling alley and had a good time, but I don't remember many details about that. After that, we spent every weekend together and some weeknights, after Mike got off work. The rest is history.....