Saturday, January 31, 2009

Where did the day go?

Today went by really, really fast! Mike took Jack and Luke up to DC to see a Capitals game. They had a great time. Hannah and Alex were supposed to go, but Alex decided not to and, of course, Hannah won't go anywhere without Alex because "it's boring without Alex".

Before he left this morning, Mike suggested that I take the kids remaining at home (Drew and Steven were both working) to Golden Corral as a special treat since they didn't get to go to the game. I did that and we had a great time. The food was delicious, they have really good steak there. The guy who was grilling the steak was hilarious. He was teasing everyone and just acting really silly, which normally annoys me, but I thought he was funny. He told Hannah she could join the cooking class that he runs for women every Sunday. It is only $1000 and she would only have to leave a $500 deposit today. The look on her face was priceless because she didn't know if he was kidding or not! He was also trying to convince the lady in front of us, who was from North Carolina, that NC only got Golden Corrals a few months ago. She thought he was serious at first, too, and was arguing with him, until she realized he was kidding and started laughing.

During the meal, Hannah left to go to the bathroom (typical!). When she came back, she was terrified (also typical, not for her to get terrified in the bathroom, but for her to all of a sudden become terrified about something). She said that some lady in a yellow shirt came out of the stall when Hannah was washing her hands and said, "Move, Faggot" to her, so she ran out of the bathroom. Upon further questioning, the woman came out of the stall and muttered something that sounded like it might be that. We all tried to calm her down, although she was nervous the rest of the meal and kept watching for the woman in yellow. Eventually she pointed her out to me and I have to admit she did look pretty scary! (I can no longer hear or use the word scary without thinking of Denise's son, E, who says everything is "scawy", with such a cute face.) She had the appearance of some of the mentally ill homeless woman I used to see when I worked in downtown Chicago. Anyway, we had some fun with it at the table, joking around that she was going to come over and start hitting us with her purse and things like that. I thought that I could "take her", though, since my huge purse is most likely heavier and bigger than hers! Then Alex entertained us for a while with his silly attempts to sneak the little packets of honey butter home in his clothing! Shauna was worried that they had cameras in there and they would think he was really going to steal it and they would come and arrest him.

So all in all, it was a fun day, even though it went by so quickly. The Caps won, so that was a plus for all of those who went to the game. Oh, and Luke caught a puck that came into the stands, through a hole in the glass for a cameraman, and he caught a t-shirt! Too bad he isn't 18 and can't buy a lottery ticket tonight.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


CUP just came in and said that Luke's car is steaming or smoking, he can't tell which. Great, it would be just poor Luke's luck to have his car bite the dust before he even gets his license!

A cute picture

This picture was taken at a Fourth of July celebration near my Dad's house. Jack is pretending to choke Steven. That is Steven's longtime best friend, Joe, on the right.
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Jack's job--please send prayers

Well, lack there of might be a better title in this case! Today I found a few jobs at a religious television station that would be perfect for Jack and are actually in his field, which is impossible to find right now. He graduated 8 months ago and still has no job. We are desperate at this point because we cannot afford to keep paying his bills and his school loans are coming due.

I want him to apply for those jobs and he wants to, but there is one problem. Jack is not in any way, shape, or form religious. In fact, as someone on the autism spectrum, he finds it hard to believe in anything that isn't concrete. This company has a chapel and requires employees to attend daily. Jack will do it, although he won't like it. Who knows, maybe he will even become a believer! We are just worried that if he gets to the interview process, they are going to ask him a lot of religious stuff. Even though I'm sure he will yell at me for blogging about this, he really needs prayers right now! Prayers that he gets a job, even if it isn't this one, very, very soon. I would love to see him doing something that he loves to do, but right now anything would work.

For my hubby

Mike wanted me to blog so his picture won't be at the top of my blog. I liked it up there, but I will blog anyway.

The Sears repair man is coming tomorrow to fix my washer. Yay! I'm trying to get Luke to change the kitty litters in there so he won't pass out as he enters the room. So far, the closest I've gotten to that happening, is when Luke came downstairs and deposited himself, his two favorite cats and his ipod on the couch, where he remains at this moment. He claims the cats are "too cute" to move. Funny, since he was standing up, without cats on him, when I told him to start emptying the litter pans!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mikey, the day we met

I blogged here about the first time we met, but I couldn't find the picture, at the time, so here it is.

Mike on 10/30/80. He would meet me about 9 hours after this photo was taken.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ryan called

My former foster son (still my son in my heart) called a few minutes ago. I was so happy to talk to him. He is now 20 and is one of the most wonderful kids ever!

He called me and left a couple of messages while I was at Denise and Nick's right after Christmas and I hadn't gotten a chance to call him back yet. With Drew's injury and my trip, I just haven't been able to pick a time and call. I thought about it every day, just never actually did it. In fact, I woke up today and thought about calling him but then instead spent my time making grocery and Walgreens lists, organizing my computer desk, organizing my coupons, driving kids around, and cleaning up a bit. I was just starting to make some banana bread when the phone rang and it was Ryan.

I thanked him for being patient with me and not giving up when it took me so long to call him back and he said, "I would never give up on you, I love you!" Isn't that the sweetest thing ever? I told Alex about it and he said, "Wow, he's your only kid that's nice to you."

I got to talk with Ryan's mom, Leona, also. She and her husband are such good people. As much as I wish he could still be with me, I am so glad that he is with them. They are the perfect parents for him and his older sister, Myrtle. Myrtle almost came to live with us many times, but due to the idiocy of the foster care system at the time, that never happened.

I'm off to make the banana bread so Mike and Jack don't yell at me about wasting more bananas, but I wanted to blog about this while it was fresh in my mind. I will post a baby picture of Ryan as soon as I find the albums he is in. For some reason (it couldn't be that I'm so unorganized), all my photo albums aren't together.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I just realized that Mike and I are alone in the house, yes, I said alone! This never happens. CUP, Drew and Ashley are in DC, Steven is at work, Luke is at Stephen B's house, Alex is at drama, Hannah went to the movies with friends and Shauna is staying overnight at her friend, Sydney's house.

This is so weird. Mike is watching tv and the volume is on a normal number, not 64, like it usually is because everyone is talking and he can't hear it. I don't hear any footsteps, stomping around upstairs. No one is arguing. No one is asking when dinner will be ready. No one is asking for the hundredth time, what is for dinner. No doors are slamming. No music is blasting. The dog is sleeping peacefully by the fireplace because there is no one here to make him all wild.

Crap, so much for the quiet. The phone just rang, it was Shauna from Sydney's house, asking when dinner will be ready. No, I'm not kidding! She was thinking about eating here because she loves homemade macaroni and cheese. Two seconds after the phone rang, the timer went off to remind me to check the macaroni water to see if it is boiling. Ugh! Well, it was nice while it lasted!

A few more pictures

Drew feeding Shauna, 1/16/98, ages 12 and 3 months

Hannah Banana, 7/10/97, age 7 1/2 months

Alex and his bestest buddy, Lukey, 10/10/96, ages almost 2 and 4 1/2

Lukey, 9/28/96, age 4 1/2 (I wonder if either of those drum sticks is the one we found in the old couch?)
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Misc. Pictures

Alex kissing Baby Shauna, 4/17/98, ages 3 and 6 months

Mikey feeding his new daughter, Shauna (Sylvia at that time), for the first time. This was the first day of her pre-placement visit on 12/19/97.

Steven and Luke in one of their earliest hockey pictures, 3/26/98. Just turned 8 and 6.

Hannah Michelle Danielle Latoya, 1/11/98, age 13 months.

A family trip, but I can't remember where we went! Springfield, IL, maybe? Left to right, Steven, Drew, Luke, Alex, Mom, Hannah, Shauna and Jack. 7/15/98
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Quote of yesterday-For Jack

"My ass is hot!"--Jack (he was sitting at my computer desk, on my heating pad)

"That's what she said."--Me

Quote of the day

"Where were you this morning? I had to be the mom. I had to give Shauna $2 for lunch, I had to reset the circuit breaker for Jack, and I had to iron Drew's shirt."--Steven

Steven, 2/22/92, 23 months old

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More afghan trouble

Ugh! First I bought a pattern that didn't work, then I bought a new pattern and started work on that. Well, I thought that Mike had told me that the baby was a boy. Well, he called yesterday to tell me that the baby was a girl. Since I already thought it was a boy, I bought boy colored yarn. Now I have to start from square one! I just ordered some new pattern books since they don't have many to choose from in the stores around here. I will get new yarn once those arrive and I choose one. On the bright side, I also ordered one book that has sweater/hat/bootie sets, so if I have time before this baby is born, she might get an afghan and a sweater set. I guess one of my grandchildren will be getting the boy afghan.

Another half day

Today is another half day so kids will start rolling in in about two hours. I just got back from driving Drew to work, picking Luke up from school (he didn't have a 4th block exam, so he got out at 9:20 today) and picking Steven up from jail. I about to go make some pizza crust dough for tonight's dinner, but I thought I get a quick blog in first. I haven't had much blogging time, but more importantly, I haven't had much blog reading time, which is even worse. I feel so out of the loop when I haven't been reading my favorite blogs regularly.

I finally got to go through some of the huge stack of mail that piled up while I was gone. I got a lovely thank you note from Janine, thanking me for bringing CUP to Philly. It was really sweet of her to send it, but she didn't need to thank me. After all, I did get rid of him for a few days!!! Just kidding, don't get mad at me CUP.

I'm going to try to scan a few more pictures today. I went through some last night and they are all so cute, it is hard to decide which ones to post. Believe me, you don't want me to post them all!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not much to blog about

I had a lot of running around today, including a meeting at school and a bunch of drop-offs and pick-ups. CUP and Ashley went grocery shopping for me, so that was really helpful. The kids had an early release day today, another one tomorrow and Friday, and they are off next Monday and Tuesday. Alex still has school play practice on most of those days, which is a pain because we will have to drop-off and pick-up since there is no bus.

I got a couple of great buys at Walgreens today with some rain checks that I had gotten a few weeks ago. I was out of dishwasher tablets and I was able to get a 50 day supply for only .94! I also got two packages of aluminum foil for only .34 cents each. Oh, wait, I just realized there is a rebate on the dishwasher tablets, so I will actually be making .71! That's even better. Altogether, I saved $8.05.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CUP is at the Inauguration!

CUP and his friend, Ashley, got tickets to the swearing in ceremony! Wow, someday he will be telling my great-grandchildren about how he was in the audience when the first African American President was sworn in.

Here is some information from his twitter:

Still a long walk from orange security to the west lawn. Lots of people here. taking 2-4 tries to send each of these messages #inaug09
Past security checkpoint with no problems. Making our way to the southwest standing area.
The cold isn't bad at all. Everyone still in high spirits in line. #inaug09
Finally in the orange ticket line. It's VERY long. #inaug09
Off the train, but at a standstill in the station. Oh well, we're close! #inaug09
I'm surprised at how friendly everyone is. It's really quite something. Still on the Metro... #inaug09
At&t being weird for Ashley. sprint is awesome as always. #inaug09
"sick passenger" delaying trains on inbound metro orange line. I hope nobody pukes on me. :-(
Sprint data network still working great. Twitpic... Not so much.
I'm still in disbelief that this is really happening. AND WE HAVE TICKETS TO THE SEATED AREA!!!! :-D :-D #inaug09
Ashley just had the best "thats what she said."
Already on train, line moved very quickly considering. #inaug09
@advil oh you tricky bastard
Ridiculously long line for Vienna metro stop. Moving somewhat quickly at least. Hard to text with gloves.
Stuck in traffic, but definitely worth it.
@dannythedemon 103.5 fm reporting loooong waits on metro. I'm en route to Vienna stop myself.
En route to DC. :-D - So very excited. We got tickets to the swearing in ceremony!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In downtown DC, picking up our inauguration tickets. :-) :-) #inaug09

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jackie's First Haircut 12/14/84

BEFORE: Jackie's First Haircut. Pictured with cats Twinkle and Allstar and Mommy. 12/14/1984

AFTER: Jackie's First Haircut, the results. I remember being so upset because he looked so much older!

I'm having fun with this! Michelle's 8th grade graduation

My graduation from Prairie Junior High School in Alsip, Illinois. June 10, 1975. Mom, Tricia, Me, Dad

Me dressed for my 8th grade graduation dance on June 6, 1975

Michelle and Dad
Gramma, Me and Grampa

Aunt Melodee, Me, Gramma

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Family Picture 2004

This picture was taken at Aunt Mel's house in July 2004
Back Row: Drew (18), Mike , Michelle, Jack (20)
Front Row: Steven (14), Alex (10), Hannah (8), Luke (12), Shauna (7)
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Wedding Pictures

Mike and Michelle, September 4, 1982

Our Wedding Party

Were we really that young and skinny?????

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I got a new scanner!

I am so excited that I finally got a scanner for my computer. Now I will be boring everyone with old photos!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A post for Nick

Nick, you will be proud that Mike and I carried on your vacation tradition and hit not one, but two Walmarts here in Las Vegas!!! Wish you were here, you would have enjoyed it.

I only do glass

As Mike and I were walking out of the hotel yesterday, heading off to dinner, there were three young guys walking in. Two of the guys were on each side of the third, supporting their drunk friend, who was throwing up as he walked. Nice. There was a hotel worker there, washing the glass doors. Mike asked her if she had to clean that up. She got a huge smile on her face and said, "Nope, I only do glass!" Lucky girl, she should try the slot machines after work.

Speaking of slot machines, Mike and I gambled last night. Don't tell Shauna! We went next door to the Luxor hotel and had a drink there and tried some of the one cent slot machines. Then we went back to Mandalay Bay and tried some there, too. It was fun and we spent a total of $29, which included the tips for the drinks. At one point, I was up by about $5! Woo-hoo!

Quote of the other day

Mike and I were on the elevator, with two mafia guys. Okay, I couldn't swear in a court of law that they were in the mafia, but if they were in a movie, playing mafia guys, they wouldn't have to act. Anyway, they were talking about some woman.

Mafia Guy One: "What did you think of her?"

Mafia Guy Two: "What did you think of her?"

MGO: "Well, I think she's cute, but she has a lot of miles on her."

MGT: "Yes, she sure does."

Somehow this loses a lot in the translation, but Mike and I could not get off the elevator fast enough because we both had to burst out laughing. The thing is, both of those guys had a lot of miles on themselves and no room to talk.

We also heard pretty much the same conversation from some young guys today, so I guess it is a common theme in Las Vegas.

Quote of the day

"Pull your dress down, you look like a slut."--A girl of about twenty, who was wearing a skin tight, short, short, short red dress with her boobs about to fall out, said this to a girl of about twenty, who was wearing a skin tight, short, short, short black dress with her boobs about to fall out!!!!

Baby afghan

Well, I'm very upset to report that the original afghan that I wanted to make did not work out. I am so frustrated! I don't know if there is something wrong with me or the instructions, but I spent 9 hours working on that thing and while I finally got rows one and two to work, row three just would not come out right. I can't believe that there is something I'm not capable of crocheting. I'm so mad. I think I'm going to contact the company and see if they have updated the instructions or something because I still really want to make that afghan someday. I can usually figure them out, even if the instructions are misleading or wrong, but not this one. It is way too complicated.

I started another one, just a simple shell pattern. It's really pretty and I was able to use the same yarn, but it isn't anything exciting and I really like to make gift afghans a little fancier. Oh well, it was just not to be, I guess.

Denise, I the reason you didn't know I crocheted is because I took a break from it from the time Hannah was born until now. A couple of years ago, I crocheted each of the girls a poncho and I've done a scarf or three, but that's it. I used to crochet all the time. As a matter of fact, by the time I met Mike when I was 18, I already had 4 baby afghans made and several sweater/booty/hat sets for my future babies. I can knit, also, but I'm not as good at that because I haven't practiced as much. As a matter of fact, I crocheted Hannah's blankie, not that it is in any way recognizable as an afghan anymore! Now it looks more like something the dog spit up! I'm not joking about that, either, the dog threw something up last week and I thought it was Hannah's blankie! It was only a rope dog toy, but that goes to show how bad her blankie looks!

Ooops, I just looked up from my blogging and realized Mike's plane has left the terminal and I didn't even see it go! Sorry, Mikey, I would have waved, had I noticed. By the way, thanks for calling! :)

Catch up blogging

Since I haven't had much time to blog, I've been keeping a small notebook and jotting down things that I wanted to remember. Some of these might be repeats, as I'm too lazy to read through my previous entries to refresh my memory as to what I've already said.

I actually enjoyed the trip from Williamsburg to Las Vegas. I'm surprised because as I said before, I really don't like being out of my comfort zone and that would certainly include being out in public, by myself. I actually did fine with it, though, so now I'm feeling a lot more comfortable about going home. Mike and I came to the airport together, even though his flight leaves two hours before mine. In fact, he boarded a few minutes ago, but his plane is still sitting at the gate. He has to fly to Denver for an hour layover and then to Chicago. I go straight from Las Vegas to Chicago, but we will be arriving in Chicago within two minutes of each other, if all the flights are on time. From Chicago, we will be on the same flight to Richmond, so that will be nice. Mike was kind enough to let me keep his computer so that I don't have to sit and twiddle my thumbs for the next two hours. Las Vegas has free wifi, so it's all good. This gives me a good chance to ramble on and on!

When I left Williamsburg on Tuesday, it was warm. When I arrived in Chicago, it was clear, but there was snow on the ground and the high was 9 degrees. Thank goodness I didn't have to leave the airport. I had my windbreaker with me, which I was glad to have when I had to wait on that thingee that connects to the plane (can't think of the name right now), while I waited for the carry on suitcase that I had checked at the door of the plane. There was even ice all around the edges of the thingee. I'm sure I will think of the name as soon as I click on publish because it is on the tip of my tongue.

As I walked 100 miles or so, though O'Hare Airport, with a 1000 pound suitcase, I stopped to rest on a glass enclosed bridge. I then called home to say "Illinois car" over and over, as I could see them driving by. In our family, we have a game of "calling" Illinois cars. Since we live in a tourist destination town, we see quite a few of them. CUP was a little annoyed with me for doing it, he doesn't think we should be allowed to call cars in the State of Illinois. Hannah thought it was hilarious.

The temperatures in Las Vegas were in the upper 60's all week and it was sunny every day. It was awesome! The normal temperature here for this week is about 57, so I guess we lucked out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

For Denise

First of all, haven't had time to read blogs, but I'm hoping and praying JJ is doing well after his surgery. Second of all, Mike and I are heading out to dinner. I thought you would like to know that I am bringing my windbreaker with, just in case it gets chilly!!! Not that I want to rub it in or anything, I would never do that! What was that white stuff in the bird watching pictures?

More Las Vegas pictures

More pictures

More Las Vegas Pictures

More views from our room, these came out a bit better than the first batch

This is a little pond/waterfall on the walkway that goes around all the pools

The same walkway, near one of the hotel convention centers

Las Vegas pictures

Our hotel

South Lagoon Pool, the only one open in the winter


Some of these palm trees were huge!

The path around the outside of the pool


Funny conversation with Shauna today:

Shauna: "It sounds like Las Vegas is fun."

Me: "Well, it's really more for adults than kids. I'm not sure how much fun kids would have."

Shauna: "Yeah because they have gambling."

Me: "Yes, but Dad and I don't gamble, so we are really just relaxing."

Shauna: "Oh, I know you and Dad don't gamble. Not after Dad gambled that time and lost
six dollars!"

Another Shauna conversation:

Shauna (after calling yesterday to tell me she took her temperature and it was 98.4): "My temperature is 97.5. Don't worry, I'll take it again tomorrow and call you and tell you what it is."

Quote of the Day

Mike: "Well, don't wear a bra."

Me: "I don't want to trip."

68 Degrees

That was the temperature here today, as I sat by the pool and read a book. Pure Heaven!

I'm too tired to blog and don't have internet most of the time so I'm keeping notes on what I want to blog about when I get a chance. We're having a great time and it sounds like CUP is playing the Mommy at home pretty well. I talked to him earlier today and he was actually making grilled cheese sandwiches! His motto is that he won't make anything that can't be microwaved, so that was quite a surprise.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The trip here

The trip here was good, but LONG. I was so exhausted and in pain last night that I didn't even have the energy to blog. I had to have Mike go back and edit for me because I published two posts (one accidentally) where I typed in Last Vegas and I didn't even notice it! Good thing Mike was with it. I had to do a TON of walking in the airports, carrying a heavy carry on suitcase, with no wheels, plus my heavy purse. Normally that wouldn't be much of a problem, but since the torn hamstring has still been hurting every day, I haven't walked much lately, so it was very hard on my poor muscles, although good for them in the long run, I'm sure. By the time I got here, both my hamstrings were killing me, as well as a bunch of other muscles.

Since I was tired, in pain, and really hungry, I was pretty cranky. I was really overwhelmed by everything, also, just being away from the kids, traveling all day, seeing Las Vegas for the first time, etc. I felt like crying, even though I was really happy and excited to be here. I felt sorry for Mike because he was looking forward to me arriving and then I think he probably wanted to send me back once I got here! Although, I have to give him credit for being patient and not getting cranky back at me. I felt a little better after we had some delicious burgers for dinner, but not much. I didn't get to bed until 2:30 am (my time) and then I woke up every few minutes all night. I'm only up now because I wanted to blog before Mike and his computer go off to work.

I started working on a baby afghan that I'm crocheting for one of Mike's co-workers on the flight from Chicago to LV. What a disaster! I've been crocheting since I was 9 and I can pretty much follow any pattern because I've done a lot of it and I'm really good at it. I picked an afghan that seemed to be what I would consider a middle of the road pattern, not too easy, not too hard. Wrong! I had so much trouble with this pattern, ugh. I was on the plane for about 4 hours and I still only have one row done and I'm pretty sure I have to re-do that one because something is wrong. This pattern is really poorly written and hard to follow, but I'm insisting on getting it right. I must have torn out the first and second rows at least 10 times each and I still can't get it to work. I'm going to spend some more time on it today and I hope I can get it to work. If not, I'm just going to have to switch to something different, I guess.

I will try to post again later tonight, if I have time. Mainly because if I don't blog about what happens right away, I'll forget!

My view this morning

This was so much better in person. The sunrise was a beautiful green color as it came over the mountains.

The front of our hotel

Another view of the sunrise

These didn't come out great, since I had the reflection from the window, but you get the idea!