Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hockey teeth...

Uncle Lee & Uncle Phil gave the kids two cute little table top games - ping pong & air hockey. The girls played forever last night - mostly because I was tired of watching the Wii games and missed my news...

Anyhow, somehow Alyx got hit in the mouth with the hockey puck. Blood, tears, ice were all involved. And five minutes later, the top front tooth is out. She looked like an actual hockey player.

Five hours later, the other top front tooth was out. I guess it was knocked loose too - and Alyx wanted it out.

Yes, they were baby teeth - and yes, she will be ecstatic when the tooth fairy comes.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Back to work...

I think most of the Christmas craziness is over... Decorations will be up until New Years however...

Santa brought a Wii this year. And wow - my family is competitive. There was trash talking - duels - wicked team play - very sore shoulders - but everyone stayed in the same room almost the entire weekend. This never happens. Usually, the older kids scatter to their rooms. It was so nice. And I guess if it takes some competition to keep the family together - then so be it!!

Nothing out of the ordinary this year. Everyone was on their best behavior. Dull - but peacefull.

And yes, once again, my chocolate fudge flopped. One day, I will do it. 25 years I have tried - and failed - miserably. But I will try and try again...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stake out

Chris and I sometimes do the craziest things...

Our hairdresser for the family is getting a divorce. A very nasty, ugly divorce. Huge custody battle. She was devastated for awhile but now she is angry.

Our poor little Holly is being made out to be a terrible mom - which she is not. Her hubby works at the 'Farm' and makes plenty of money and Holly works part time as a hairdresser and part time at another little job so we can work around the husband's schedule and still make money. They have a little girl about a year old and a son that is in kindergarten now I think.

Anyhow, interracial marriage. So, I gave her some advice and tried to prepare her for all of the horrible things that were going to be thrown at her - based on my lovely experience.

Chris is a good man and will do just about anything that I ask him to. So, we went on a stakeout last night. Holly and her kids went to her mom's for the holiday. We are trying to find something incriminating on this guy to try and help her. Chris and I made a little picnic with blankies and parked outside of the house (since he refuses to leave the house and lives upstairs in a spare bedroom) and watched it. We were on a public street and moved our van frequently. We did have some activity but it turned out to just be his mom. We ran by this morning - only his car there now. We will try again for awhile tonite.

I like stakeouts. I ate the entire time. We had nice conversation. It was a fun night. I had to keep reminding myself that we were there for something very serious. Too bad we didn't get any goods on him...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Part II

And I should have mentioned - wow, can't believe I didn't remember - but Chris got a one year extension on his contract!!! We were only expecting a three month - so woohoo!!!

AJ was so funny. He is calling it our Christmas miracle and started quoting from A Christmas Carol...

Go Kiel!

Half day today at work - I get to pick Kiel up from school FINALLY! The school actually closed last week but the team stayed in the dorms since they are still playing games...

Kiel had a great game last night....

Can't wait for one of my Kiel hugs...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ahhhh....the holidays...

Well, the tree is up - thanks to Meesie and the girls (and my exemplary management skills).

I am trying a new medication that is just exhausting me. At some point, I developed this need to severely hurt idiots - mainly those at work but also drivers that can't follow the rules of the road, shoppers that can't seem to count to 20 - you get the idea. I am not sure if it is the lovely menopause symptoms or the age or the fact that I am just beat down, but my cheery outlook on life (ha) has gone the wayside of fits of rage. So, rather than end up in one of our finer incarceration facilities, we are trying a new medication. So far, I am tired and my tongue feels huge. I swear I can feel every little bump on it - it's the strangest thing. I told a couple of my good friends to judge my progress as I am not sure I will notice a change.

Chris still does not have a contract for the following year. He was told he was getting a 3 month extension - but we haven't seen a thing. Just a little bit of stress going on in his - and my - life right now. We have been here before - we made it through. It was ugly - but we did it. We can do it again.

I tried to explain to the older three that Christmas might be a bit lean this year. Of course, I had to text Kiel this info. Kiel can be the sweetest kid. He told me that as long as the girls have a good Christmas - that will make him the happiest - he mostly just wants to come home. I think they understand. They remember when we were basically homeless or had to shower at the Y when money was so tight that I was afraid I couldn't pay water bill! They have been there before - and they will get through it again.

I guess that's what we will need to focus on the most - being together. There aren't going to be many of those opportunities left as my babies get older and go their own way. Sigh...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


If I had a zillion dollars, I would open my own florist/nursery business. I absolutely love to play in dirt - and love the smell of fresh flowers.

My lovely husband once again came thru for me and sent me a festive Poinsettia for my desk. I have a favorite florist in town - they take the simple and add bling - with fun results. You might be able to see the cute pot - and the red filler - and the little silver glitter.

Then my Godson, Dylan (aka mom Angie) sent me the most beautiful arrangement with huge lilies and pink roses. The smell is wonderful. I tried to take good pics - but it is my camera phone. Same florist - not sure if you can see inside the vase - but they stuck a giant leaf and a some sort of tiger stripe leaf to hide the stems. Very clever...

I about cried over that delivery. Poor Angie's grandmother passed away on my birthday. So with all of that going on - she still remembered my silly birthday. Angie is a great friend.... Her grandmother was just a hoot. Tiny German woman (heavy accent) that spoke her mind about everything and so was full of love for her family. She was at every family function - and helped Angie out all of the time without any complaining. Angie is really going to miss her... That visitation is tonite...
And I also rec'd wonderful candles and lotions - just a great birthday event this year!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hanukkah birthday tradition continues..

I can't quite remember when this started - quite possibly before Chris and I married - my birthday fell during Hanukkah.

So - poor, poor Christopher thought it would be fun to give me 7 days of birthday presents.

Yea - that was one giant can of tradition that I think he has regretted ever since!!

For the 6 days before my birthday, I traditionally receive a little gift - with a special gift on my birthday.

Yes, I am indeed a spoiled, spoiled girl.

And - I am worth it!!

: )

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Tree?

My horrible, horrible office in Rock City, IL is done!!! I will never have to talk to that crazy agent again - or at least I hope not! I put in enough OT this week to take off my Friday. So, I think I will do that!

Usually, we put our Christmas decorations up the day of my birthday - or the weekend - sometime around that. We have been doing that ever since I can remember. I am guessing that Mom & Dad started that so I would feel like my birthday was it's own day - and not just lumped into Christmas. So maybe I will just spend a leisurely day decorating.

Slight problem. I hate our Christmas tree. I have had this same artificial tree since 1994. It is at least that old since Mom helped me pick it out at the after Christmas sales. It has lost needles and everything else - it's almost a Charlie Brown tree.

I am hoping that I can talk Chris into a real tree this year.

I remember when I was little - our family would get all bundled up and squish in the volare station wagon (or was it the blue bomb then?) and drive out to Short's farm. They had a nice Christmas tree farm somewhere out by Wapella. We would cut the tree down (after a good hour of traipsing thru the snow up to our knees and freezing) - strap it to the roof - and drive home. Then it would sit in a bucket of water on the front porch for a couple of days (Dad acted like it was something scientific). At some point, Dad would cut off the end - bring it in - and it would begin to loose needles until Christmas. The ones left on the tree would stab you as you walked past - almost jumping off the tree like javelins. Post Christmas - the kids would spend a good hour picking the needles out of carpet so they wouldn't ruin mom's vacuum. It was tradition - it smelled good - and I miss that.

I tried to recreate that for the three older kids. Now, Mel was NO dad like my dad. He couldn't do a thing - so it was all me. I don't think Mel even went with us when we picked out the tree. I am sure he had some wonderful excuse. Anyhow - EVERY single time I picked out a tree - the stupid trunk was crooked. It would fall over every year - spewing water all over the carpet. So - every year - we would have rope tying it to my curtain rods or whatever else else I could find to prop it up. But, it was the thought that counted? Don't ask the kids that - I don't think they appreciated the effort at all...

At some point, I decided enough was enough. I also believe that Grandmother finally scolded and warned me enough about fires and Christmas trees that I caved. And I talked Mom into shopping with me.

So that's the history of the tree. And for some ridiculous reason, I think I am ready to try again with the real tree. The two little girls certainly need to experience Mom's expertise of tree picking...

Poor Chris...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nice weekend...

Thanksgiving is tiring... Lots of cooking - and therefore, cleaning...

Similar to my aunt Janet, we dragged out all of the china and silver and crystal - it is tradition to whoop it up on the holidays. I was brave this year and even set the kids table with the finest... I think the girls were excited. One thing I noticed - my table linens are lacking. I did not have a nice Thanksgiving-fall-worthy tablecloth. I did have a smaller cloth that my grandmother L'Hote made - and just threw it on top of a white so it would fit better. Dinner was fantastic. Turkey was perfect. We brined and stuffed with onions, carrots, apple and celery (that was the new push in trends this year). Oodles of sides. A little too much bourbon in the sweet potatoes and Derby Pie - if that's possible? I loved it - the kids claimed to be drunk.

The table linen revelation prompted my need to Black Friday shop. So - 5:30 am - mom, AJ, Mellisa & Nequan headed out. Best Buy first. Wow - long line - but super organized and took no time at all to get thru that. Next - the mall. Found a parking spot right by the door. The parking gods were smiling on me :) Lines were not bad - people were not bad - UNTIL we went to Victoria's Secret. What the hell? Meesie and I waited over an hour and a half for a dang bra? Ridiculous! They had NO organization. AND who the hell fills out a credit application at 7am??? And why did we get stuck in the line behind this woman!?! And I love Meesie - we are the scene queens. We had the whole line complaining about our check out clerk by the time we were done - it was great. Why a manager did not pull this super high maintanance woman aside and finish her questions about underwire or how to get the discount after $100 or if someone could throw away her coffee cups (the list goes on and on) - argghhh - very aggravating. Target - no problems - super fast and organized. It was actually a very pleasant morning - and I went home and took a nap.

The rest of the weekend was eating and watching movies... Uneventful and peaceful...

UNTIL my stupid brother thought he should attack me in Mafia Wars. Payback is ugly little brother...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What a good hubby...

So - picked up Nequan yesterday. He is so much fun!

We went to Meesie's bball game. They lost - she didn't play much but she looked good! Then we discovered that NC (Kiel's nickname for Nequan - he's from North Carolina) had not ever had Steak n Shake!?! Well, that floored me so Meesie, NC and mom had lovely greasy burgers, chili and giant calorie-laden shakes. His only complaint - fries are too skinny. (I agree - I like some potato on my fries too). We car-seat-danced to Beyonce all the way home - completely embarrassing Mellisa - which made us dance even more!

My dear sweet husband had been to the grocery - put them all away - and cleaned the kitchen while we were gallivanting around town!

And to top it off - he got up early before we had to go to work and put my turkey in the brine!

How lucky can a girl get?!?!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prepping for Thanksgiving...

Taking some PTO from work today...

Lincoln's dorms close today around noon. Sadly enough, I am not picking up Kiel. He will be leaving today for a tournament that lasts until Sunday in Iowa. Not sure how I feel about that. Part of me is every excited that he is out and doing fun things and independent. The other part of me is completely selfish and wishes he was home with me eating his favorite pretzel salad...

I am, however, picking up NeQuan (Kiel's roommate) today. Poor guy. His family is all the way in North Carolina and he can't get home and back for classes - not to mention that it costs a small fortune. So, he is my surrogate Kiel for the Thanksgiving break. I have no idea what he usually eats for the big meal - so hopefully, he won't hate everything!!!

Chris' dad and his girlfriend are coming. And of course, Uncle Lou. So - pretty full house and it should be fun.

Turkey brining and pie making start tonite!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here we go again!

Mellisa gave her verbal commitment to attend Lincoln College in the fall and play Volleyball. That is one excited coach!

And the door is open for her to play basketball as well - not a scholarship offer but Volleyball took most of that responsibility already!

I think this HUGE weight has been lifted from her shoulders. Decision is made - whew...

Now the fun paperwork part starts.

Go Lynx!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Money - or lack thereof

Rarely do I get upset about money. I don't have it - I can't spend it - so why worry about it? But lately Chris has been upset about it. Now, this bothers me.

Chris is one of those guys that is not sexist but yet, still has some of those lingering old-school ways. He feels he is the Provider and is not doing a very good job at it.

First husband provided beyond providing. But you know what, Mel couldn't do anything else other than make money.

There is a whole lot to be said of the value of love, compassion and companionship. That 'providing' is worth more than any amount of money....

Hubby Chris is a PRO at keeping me happy and that's all I need!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Volleyball news

So, Meesie and mom went to Volleyball tryouts at Lincoln (yes, where Kiel is) on Sunday. She was awesome and super excited. Coach was thrilled to have her and was offering big bucks for her tuition. Coach was NOT so thrilled when we mentioned that Meesie would like to play both VB & basketball.

He expressed his concerns but did not rescind his scholarship offer - so that's good news and gave us a month to decide.

The basketball coach is excited from I have been told. I think her tallest player this year is only 5'11" (Meesie was measured at 6'5" with shoes). They are attending one of Meesie's Intercity games this week to watch her play. We are really hoping that they might pick up the rest of the tuition expense!

So - barring some magical event - Meesie will probably attend Lincoln next year - playing both VB & Bball.

I also attended my very LAST parent meeting at Illini Elite last night!!! Well, unless Riley plays one day. These meetings are soooo negative and soooo long (only 2 hours last night). Don't chew gum, don't bring in outside food, don't yell at the refs, don't coach your daughter, blah blah blah. At no point does the director mention - thanks for coming - hope you have fun - hope we have a great season. I am very glad that's over!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday finally

Time flies when life is crazy busy!

Sometimes I wonder how life would have been if I hadn't had my two little ones. AJ is super independent and I never see him. Kiel is off at school. Meesie is either at school or a practice or doing something with her boyfriend. I guess I would be sitting on the couch, watching tv, drinking a nice glass of wine - and BORED to tears!!!

Last night - I was the official taxi service. Alyx had gymnastics from 4 to 5 and Riley had basketball practice from 5 to 6. Luckily, both locations were all the way across town but not too far from each other. While Riley was at bball, Alyx and I ran to an open house for a publishing company.

Our town is very fortunate to have this little publishing company that takes pictures at just about every sporting event for all of the schools in our area. They produce a very nice magazine as well. I appreciate their efforts - they don't focus on the 'big stars' but whoever looks best in the shot! They won a bid to make West's and Community's seasonal sports programs this year - and the quality is just amazing. They also have a fantastic website with individual pics that families can order. Anyhow - if anyone wants to look for pictures of Kiel & Mellisa - http://www.younameitsports.com/.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I am not sure if it was my aunt Janet or coach Jack - but I think it is finally time to return to my blogging...

I took a mental health day off from work today. I needed it. I have felt like I have been drowning at work this past week. Maybe it is time to air the dirty laundry - shout it out loud - move on - gain perspective - and remember the important people in my life.

Two horrible events occurred at the same time this past week. You know, when it rains, it pours?

I had an office install go badly - very badly. I had a provider absolutely bold face lie to me. Now, this wasn't just a sales rep (who I actually like) but some muckety muck that I had escalated & escalated again a problem to. And without boring details - it's like a house of cards. If the base collapses, then the whole deck comes tumbling down. And, as the builder of this 'house', it is my head on the chopping block. And trust me, I had my head in a guillotine on this one. I had so many people yelling at me that I just felt crushed.

I deal with a workplace bully every single day. Some days - not too bad - other days - absolutely horrible. And she picks different co-workers to bully. I don't know how many times we have literally said aloud - wow, must be your turn this week! How incredibly sad is that? How can someone behave this way? And, as most companies react, it is swept under the rug repeatedly. So - I (like others) carry on and gain strength knowing that those around me do care about me.

So - how to gain perspective at work?

I have a very good friend that lets me vent every morning. And yes, I am probably a better talker than I am a listener but she lets me be the way I am and I do love her for that.

I also had a flash of true friendship this week that just shocked me from someone completely unexpected. I had basically cried for three days over this horrible install. Now, mind you, I am not a huge cryer - I am a stomp off and throw a temper tantrum kind of girl. This person left work to run an 'errand'. She came back with my favorite Starbuck's Chai Tea and a bag of M&M's. Wow. I cried - not the reaction I think she was going for - but wow. What a totally unexpected act of kindness - and I couldn't have needed it more!

Again - how to gain perspective at work? Hang in there. You have friends that will surround you to provide a barrier from the bad things and supply you with unconditional love and will support you regardless of how screwed up things get.

And - it's only a job.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Busy Thursday...

While I was watching Meesie's volleyball team lose horribly in their Regional game (we are not even going to talk about that) - Chris had the girls do a dress rehearsal in their costumes.

I will put most of the pics on Facebook - but I will include a couple here...

Riley is the gargoyle & Alyx is the black widow spider...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween costumes

My dad always made the craziest costumes for us when we were kids. I remember one year, he took a large box and turned me into a clock. It was uncomfortable but really cool. Dad really had an artistic flair.

So the tradition continues. I try very hard to make as much of the kid's costumes every year. Now, I am getting more beat down as time goes on and usually cheat and build the costume around sweats.

This year, Alyx is a black widow spider (with black sweats). I found some wonderful furry black fabric in the miscut bin and made 6 wonderful legs. I even padded a wonderful red silk patch on her back. Riley is a gargoyle (with dark gray sweats). I have been working on her mask for 2 days now. It is made out of foam rubber mainly.

The girls have their costume parade at school on Friday so I have a few more days to panic. I am entirely too picky. I think I made 3 different sets of gargoyle wings last night...

Anyhow - pictures to follow soon...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reflection and thoughts

My swimming coach from a zillion years ago found me on Facebook. This short little blast from the past stopped me dead in my tracks. So many thoughts went running thru my head.

Just a few...
I remember Jack in his little Mark Spitz Speedo swimsuit (yes, everyone wore those back then) napping on the diving board at 6am while we were doing lap, after lap, after lap. The damn 3-step dive that I never could get no matter how much Jack or Mrs. Davidson worked with me (still HATE diving). I remember swimming in green, mossy-looking water when some filter didn't work right. Knox-blox and chocolate chip pancakes and Spoons. Practicing turns on the tile. I remember a fog creeping in the outside door on cold mornings and blanketing the pool (that was always so cool). Warmups with a zillion patches. I remember having some of the best friends in the world that knew me better than anyone as we spent every morning and every weekend together. Lifeguarding and the key room. I fell in love with the first 'love-of-my-life'.

Looking back, I remember this coach sitting with me in his office, trying so hard to motivate me - to help me develop the self confidence that for whatever reason, I seemed to lack. We would have talk after talk and I just don't think I ever understood what he was doing. I think I have improved - I get it now. I know I struggled while married to Mel. He was so dominating and over-powering and I tended to just melt into the woodwork. And then this overwhelming sense of self enveloped me and I changed. Divorced, went back to school, got a job, ran a household. Not to be crude, but it was like I 'grew a pair'. Poor Chris has the new and improved (?) Lisa. I have to have my hands in every pot - and not only in the pot, but in charge of the pot! Anyhow, I think Coach would be happy to know that it took 35 years - but I finally found my groove.

It is so funny the things that seem to be so 'genetic'. I love my children more than the world but let's face it - motivated - they are not - except for Riley. The older three have the athletic abilities and the size to match but just don't have that drive. Now, Kiel is starting to get it - and realizing the possibilities. Mellisa is struggling and I honestly don't know how to help her. AJ is just so mellow that he just likes everything calm and status quo. Alyx is my social butterfly still but absolutely brilliant. Riley, on the other hand, is the biggest over-achiever, go-getter girl! She has to be the best - she has to do it all - she has to practice over and over. It just amazes me. And this isn't just sports - this is in academics - this is in student involvement, etc. I know that not everything about her is cancer-related - but how is she sooo different from the other kids? It's like something kicked in during her surgery that just ramped up that 'I can do it - I will do it - and I will be the best at it' part of her brain. Either she is going to have the world's biggest ulcer or she is going to rule the world!

Anyway - it was so nice to hear from Coach Jack. It sounds like his body is going thru horrid, horrid times, but his heart and faith are still just as big as ever.

You still motivate others Coach - thanks...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Exciting game last night to say the least!!! West finally managed to play like we all knew they could play and defeated crosstown rival - Normal Community.

Mellisa played well - not spectacular but good. Had a few key blocks and a couple of kills...

It was great! My throat hurts from cheering! We had so many fans there last night - more than the home team. Fans really do make a huge difference to any game...


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mellisa's Senior Pictures

So - another rite of passage - the senior pics....

We did her indoor pics about two weeks ago. Mellisa threw the photographer. She isn't the right size for her normal staged cute little girl pics. I think the photographer found her challenging. I think they will be nice - but nothing spectacular.

Her outdoor were scheduled last week but cancelled due to rain. We kept trying to reschedule but it has rained for almost two weeks!

Finally, today. The weather was perfect! Slight chill - slight breeze - fall colors galore. It was too fun!

Lots of pics in tall grasses - and fall weeds - and trees. She looked gorgeous. And - we did some edgy ones too. Meesie climbed into a concrete viaduct under the highway - very cool. Cannot wait to see how those turn out!!!

Here is the website of the photographer...


Monday, October 19, 2009


Just bragging...


Hopefully, I can take some wonderful pics to share...


One of my favorite things to do is watch the Sunday news programs. I miss them quite a bit but I manage to catch enough to be dangerous.

Currently, NBC & Maria Shriver are covering women in the workplace. I caught a 10 minute clip of Gloria Steinhem's appearance on Meet the Press back in the 70's. Think what you want about her - but without her and women like her pushing the envelope, I would hate to think what my life would be like! We've come a long way, baby? Wow, I am not so sure. Yes, we have made huge strides in both the workplace and our community attitudes - but I think we have such a long way to go.

Way back in the day, I was very active in a local business women's group and participated in quite a bit of public speaking competitions. Usually the speeches were about the glass ceiling, stereotypes - topics like that. I believe that things are better - and maybe that glass isn't quite as thick as it used to be! Those women in the club served as wonderful role models and a great support group for me. Somehow, I managed to convince myself that I could conquer whatever I put my mind to. As a single mom, I graduated from college, worked full time, ran a household and still managed to raise children. And I know that there are zillions of women out there that do the same thing every day and I applaud them.

I hope that things continue to improve in our country for my three daughters. More than that, I hope my sons have been raised to believe that women are their equals.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Interracial Marriage

OK - thought I could keep quiet on this - but no...

In case you haven't heard, there was recently a white woman/black male that went to the Justice of the Peace to marry - I believe in Louisiana but I won't swear to that - down south somewhere... He refused to marry them - claiming he was not racist but in fact concerned about any offspring.

Now, I think I can add some insight to this debate having lived it.

Before I married, I really did think long and hard - do I have the right and/or strength to do this 'horrible deed' to my children? My parents sat me down - and asked me the same question out of genuine concern and love. I made the right decision then - and I would make the same decision today.

Yes, there are people that are awful - and glare - and make comments - and call my children nigger at church and elsewhere. But you know what - they are great kids and are strong kids. It isn't easy - and yes, there are times where we have had to make changes - such as changing churches and moving. But I really do believe that if you love your children and show respect for people no matter how idiotic they may be, the strength of family and friends can get you through just about anything.

As this was my decision - and Mel's - and the legal system supported us - how can anyone else take that away from me? How dare he make that decision for them!

My aunt Janet marries people every week. Her stories are both inspiring and scary. I worry about some of the offspring that those unions might create. But you know what - that is NOT my decision. And, like my aunt Janet, you hope for the best and hope that the love that the couple shares can carry them thru any storm.

So to the man who thought he could play with that couple's lives, I feel badly for you. You missed out on contributing to the origination of something wonderful and truly special.

And to my beautiful babies, I love you bunches and wouldn't trade you for the world...

Monday, October 12, 2009


Time really flies - haven't posted in quite awhile!!

So, Homecoming was horrible. The weather was ridiculous; cheerleaders are so selfish; students are just plain rude. Anyhow - it's over, over, over. I am done!!! No more Homecoming floats, decorations or senior W's and hands covered in black paint - unless I am still breathing and have SUCKER written on my forehead when the girls get in high school!

Mellisa has a boyfriend - although she refuses to call him that. He is over every night and they sit on the couch together. It must be somewhat serious as Mellisa makes the poor kid watch chick flicks every night and he still returns night after night. I have to admit - it has bothered me. None of my kids has ever had a significant person around me before. The handholding, kissing, etc. throws me off. I feel like I have to announce myself before I enter the room! Now, I know I was practically a wild hussy at their age but still, I don't like it. I can't imagine the hell I put my parents through...

Lee & Phil left this morning. Nice visit - short but nice. I miss Lee - he makes me giggle.

And for those that are keeping track - the dining room is my jungle once again. The banana trees came in before the frost on Sunday morning...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Well, the chaotic schedule is in full swing!

Chris, Mellisa and I spent a few lovely hours on Sunday hanging Christmas net lighting down at the football field. It hangs over this large span of girders between 2 brick buildings - and is the entryway to the field. The lights are about 15 nets across by 20 nets long. Anyhow, that took forever. Last night, I rec'd an email from the athletic director. Yea, the baseball coach was moving some batting stuff and accidentally tore them all down. Now, these things were obvious - hung very high - and we used super dooper strong zip ties (as in we had to use wire cutters to cut them). So - at what rate of speed was he driving to destroy my lights????????????? And - after the first few go - we kept driving??? They are completely ruined. They offered to buy more to replace but my week is booked with the rest of the decorating. I think they should have to hang them too! And honestly, where am I going to get that many nets this time of year? They are only just starting to put Christmas stuff out.

Tonight - the painting of the wood W's. Most have the finished coat on already but I have yet to add the name of the senior and the sport. We are blinging those up with silver Christmas balls. They were to hang under the lights - but I may have to come up with a plan B.

And - I have to finish up my award rosettes for the float contest. They are so cute. I found wonderful blue, red and white satin - and they are huge and bright. I will have to take pics. Last year, the person in charge of the contest spray painted a paper plate - it was horrible. At least these are totally ribbon like!! And displayable at the school - I would have just round-filed the ones from last year...

We have to move my giant W out of the school to my driveway where the hayrack has been sitting for the week. We just use a large furniture dolly and push it down the street. It is always entertaining for the neighborhood.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Pillows

I thought it would be nice to finish Mellisa's volleyball season with a bang.

Intercity varsity volleyball tourney is this Saturday and West is hosting. It is tradition to have each team bring their own food for the day and decorate a couple of tables in their colors. Last year, I had balloons and lots of silver and black and confetti - basically, a whole lot of bling. Yes, it is a committee of one - and our colors are silver and black. This year - I had to go further.

I have a theme - I am creating a "Wildcat Den". I am bringing in our large camping food tent and lining the floor with mats that the cheerleaders use. I bought the cutest little eye masks for each of the girls and I am making a pillow for each of them. I have a zillion black or west logo blankets that I am dragging in for our Den.

Now - the pillows. I found an awesome website with super cheap pillow forms - so I ordered 12 of those and they were delivered super fast. The pillows are 12x12 - so perfect size for a little nap pillow. I went with a friend of mine to the fabric store and spent about an hour looking for the perfect fabrics. Diana has this lovely machine that does embroidery - so we are putting an ipod or cell phone pocket on each pillow. The pocket has a large "West" in black - and then their name is in silver in the corner.

I had to buy ribbon for a Homecoming project I am doing the next day (that's another blog) - and found an entirely different fabric that I just loved - so I will just have to come up with another project for the first fabric (maybe a large bolster for AJ's bed).

Anyway - the back of the pillows are a soft black. The front is white with black polka dots - with the pocket.

So - I am sewing like crazy. Then a couple of the girls at work thought - oh, you should make one for the coach. Tonite - off to find a pillow form. Diana already embroidered the same "West" logo - but added all of the girls' names on the pocket.

And more sewing...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

AJ Update

For anyone that is following the AJ saga...

YES!!! He got the job!!! AJ started this past week - and gave his two weeks notice at Micheleo's. This does mean he is working two jobs for two weeks and it's about to kill him - but he is hanging in there...

Oh - he is driving senior citizens and disabled around to doctor's appointments and events, etc. So he has to handle wheel chairs and the bus lift and those types of things. He also drives one Sunday a month (rotation) and takes folks to church or work or wherever they need to be.

It is thru the YWCA - so there's one reason to support the United Way!!! I will have to take a pic of him with his bus...

I believe he is PERFECT for the job - he has a heart of gold and is so patient. AND - he drives the same speed as his passengers!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fellow, Life Management Institute - slow but progressing...


First LOMA test is completed (Principles of Insurance: Life, Health, and Annuities). I not only Passed but I got a 95!!!! I know more about annuities & endowments & insurance than I ever wanted to know. You know - some of this would have been much more interesting if I could at least afford to own some of it!!!

I drove my family nutso with my studying but we did it! I am passing on taking a test in 4th quarter - so next test will be in March - Insurance Company Operations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


AJ's best friend is getting married today. 4pm. I am sure there is some significance to the date - but have no idea what that might be.

So - today is a bit crazy. 4pm is early. I will pull the girls out of school early - run them home - change into their dresses (that alone is a new post) - and run over to the wedding. Chris is taking clothes to work - and then meeting us there.

This is not a small affair. Wedding and reception are in one of the nicest hotels in town - sit down meal even. Then Josh & Alyssa are off on a 14-day transatlantic cruise.

Josh and AJ stopped by last night after the rehearsal. AJ and Josh have been friends forever it seems. I am so happy for him - and Alyssa seems so sweet. I was already crying. Josh is just the sweetest kid - and is like another one of my own. He just looked so nervous. AJ is just about petrified over the toast. I volunteered to do a toast after I had had a couple of toasts - but I was vetoed.

I wish them nothing but love....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

God love Lou...

Well, we were in prime entertaining mode this weekend!

I had a couple of friends over on Saturday - Stacey and Russ. I don't think that they have spent much time with Lou. Stacey knew Lou when we lived in Clinton. Anyway, Lou was pretty good - just a few outbursts and bizarre internal conversations.

But Sunday? wow... Lou has developed some new personalities. There is some mentally challenged person that he talks with - and some Terminator android thing. Of course, I had to ask. I guess he is trying to cast out the different demons. And he has developed a new routine while he is eating. He tells himself to chew his food. He told me that this guy has a hard time chewing. The one good thing - 'this guy' eats like a horse! Lou actually looked like he had put on some weight. Oh - and he has a shaved head now too...

These are new developments for Lou. He has always talked to himself but never carried on different voice inflections and conversations.

I guess I will need to do some research and talk to his case worker...

Friday, September 11, 2009

What a day...

OK - maybe not as monumental as Aunt Janet's but geesh...

Next paragraph - not for the weak of tummy...
Alyx had to be picked up from school due to a stomach ache. She was fine until we had to take AJ to work. We aren't in the van 2 minutes before she decides she is going to be sick. Now, I was not prepared for this. I grabbed a to-go cup that was left from my morning soda and handed that back to her. Keep in mind, Alyx is my girly-girl. Everyone in this family is serious when it comes to vomiting. Not Alyx. She held this little cup - and everything went into it. She asked for a napkin - and she was done? What was that? How can anyone be delicate while vomiting????

Long day in Lincoln. Mellisa's volleyball team played there so I thought it would be fun to go down early and spend some time with Kiel. Kiel, Nequan and mom spent quality time shopping in Walmart for Guitar Hero. This was exactly how I pictured our time?!?!

Mellisa's team won - and Messie played great! Halfway thru the game - text from Chris. Kiel lost his phone - thinks it is in the car.

After the game (now 8:30), Messie and I find the phone (she opted out of the bus). But - Kiel is at practice. So we sit and wait. The Loyola coach was there to watch Kiel so I talked to him for a bit. He wants tape of Mellisa. We joked that it would be funny if both Turpin kids ended up at Loyola. Kiel would rather die first. Finally, Kiel comes out about 9:15ish during a break.

Mellisa gets a text - the team forgot the 'lucky' poster at the gym. Fantastic. Back to the gym. Managed to get in - custodians had just started cleaning. Messie is the team hero for the night...

Finally, stopped by McD's - and drove home. I think it was about 10:30. Yea - waaaaay past my bedtime...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The roomie

Kiel's roommate from Lincoln came home with him for the weekend since the school closed the dorms for the Labor Day weekend.

Poor Nequan - we are white. Can't get around that - pretty obvious - even the mixed kids are white! Second, this is Illinois. It's flat and full of corn. Can't help that either - we don't have the charm of trees and hills that he is used to in North Carolina.

He was a trooper though. He played video games with the girls, put up with Mellisa and even helped clean our nasty garage! He's a good guy.

I think he starved. Poor thing. I made pulled pork BBQ for Monday. He opened up the crock pot and asked - what is this??? He doesn't do pulled pork. I told him that he was in Illinois and he had better learn to eat strange meat. He ate another danish. I think he lived on danishes...

I also learned that Kiel has the social skills of a chunk of dirt. How can that be? I love to entertain - I look forward to events so I can plan and manipulate people!!! Kiel just sits around? Mellisa and I practically threw him out the door on Sunday night so he would take Nequan somewhere! They went bowling for two hours and were back home.

I really did like him - not sure if he will ever come back though.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Here we go again...

First night of concessions was last night. Every year on the first night, I forget my tennies. My feet are killing me - and my back. Four hours on a concrete floor is hard on my body! Not to mention four hours of being happy and chipper with my volunteers and customers!

Mellisa's team kicked butt. Hopefully - the link works! There are a couple pics of Messie if you click on the gallery. http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/article_038dc7a2-9841-11de-8bc3-001cc4c03286.html

They play Bloomington tonite. This is one of the intercity teams - which are always good battles. It is always very strange since Mellisa plays travel volleyball with these girls - and then they go to different high schools and become 'enemies'. It should be a great game!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mama's boy

Who would have thought that my '7-footer' would be such a mama's boy!?! He spent the past weekend at home with us. He made it two weeks at college! And he's coming home for Labor Day weekend since the dorms are closed.

It just makes me giggle. This is the same kid that so desperately wanted to attend a school in Tennessee. He wouldn't have made it...

And I loved having him home again...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another senior..

We have to order Mellisa's cap and gown and announcements this week. Wow, didn't we just do this???

Last night was the Senior kickoff. It was all of the counselors and a panel of college admission counselors. I think all this event did was scare Mellisa.

Mellisa does not have a plan. All of her friends have a plan. Most of them have either been accepted or know exactly where they are going to college. Most even think they know what they want to do.

Mellisa doesn't know if she is even going to play basketball this year. So who knows if a scholarship is possible or not. She has no idea where she wants to go - nothing really even excites her right now. And we won't even talk about a field of study.

I still think she should try meteorology. Her favorite movie has always been Twister and she has wanted to be a tornado chaser ever since. And the other night, we sat and watched the Weather Channel. How many kids her age watch weather patterns and enjoy it?

So - we are no closer to making any decisions than we were five years ago. Oh well - lots can change in a few months...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Could be worse...

Chris had a meeting, along with a zillion other contractors, concerning the new S. F. request. I guess times are tight at the 'Farm' and they have requested that all contractors reduce their overall bill rates by 20%. Well, this means that Chris is now taking a 9% pay cut - with no benefits, no bonuses and no raises.


The alternative - quit.

Bright side - at least we still have a job. And our benefits are thru my employer...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kiel is all moved in...

My children think they are poor. Well, compared to the more affluent town that we live in - we are sitting at a nice middle class. I think Kiel is going to have an eye opening experience at college. His roommate had a radio. Kiel moved in his TV, his new laptop and new printer, his game systems, fan, lights, rug, matching bed stuff, etc. Yea, he is going to learn a lesson about being without...

I thought I would be all boo-hoo on Sunday - but I left feeling more apprehensive than anything else. The roommate was sound asleep when we got there (it was 10am) and did not offer to help or even acknowledge our presence and left. We moved everything in - got all situated - then a few ball players showed up. One of them, Chris, was nice as pie - firm handshake - introduced the rest of the guys (including the roommate) and was just very polite. Never did get a conversation from the roomie.

We take Kiel to lunch and some shopping - come back - and roommate is there with 3 hoochey mamas already.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a week

Registration is this week. This is our Booster's club big recruiting week. Our high school has 2 sessions of registration every day. I work all of the evening shifts. I run straight from work to the high school and get home about 8:30 every night.

I am beat.

Last night, I got home, ate a piece of birthday cake and crawled into bed. Riley came in - "Mom, I didn't even get to see you today..."

It's only one week - and it's my last year....

thank goodness...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Small world

In my job, I am on the phone - a lot. I talk to agents all over the country. I have a few that I am very fond of - and quite a few, not so much. Anyway - I bonded over one of the agents from Elizabeth, IL.

I helped him open his new office which turns out to be across the street from a little wedding chapel that Chris and I were married in. His office was a horrible install - anything that could go wrong - did. Not really anything that had to do with me - but his electrician was basically an idiot - which affected me. Anyhow, we must have talked every day for about a month. He was always trying to talk me into visiting Elizabeth again and bringing my hubby and we would all double date... And of course, I share everything with Chris - so he knew all about Bob.

Saturday was rough. It was 110 degrees and that was the day that Boosters was cleaning the football field and surrounding grounds. I was dirty, sweaty and downright nasty. Chris comes walking over with some guy - and yells, Lisa, I think you know this guy. Never seen him before in my life. The guy gives me a big hug - turns out, it is my old buddy Bob! What a small world!

Bob was at the baseball field with his step son for a baseball recruiting showcase event. Bob likes to talk. He saw Chris painting paw prints on the sidewalk - and just thought he would chit chat. One thing led to another - and they both figured out that they had a connection...

That made my day almost worth all of that horrible hard labor!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Clarification on the last posting...

So - I guess I completely foggy when explaining the accent problem during the Shakespeare play.

The Director took some liberties with the play - and set this one in the Louisiana bayou possibly? One of the characters sounded like he just got off a shrimp boat. Anyway, I have noticed that when actors attempt a Southern accent they can either do it very well or just butcher it. Most of the actors that night did very well - they were very accurate with the drawl and inflection. Now, this one particular actor - who had a minor part - started out southern-ish, then became a little french quarter, then a bit German sounding? At the end, I could have sworn she had a Hispanic flair.

Regardless, the play was awesome and we loved it!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Mellisa, Chris and I attended a wonderful play last night - A Midsummer Night's Dream. Our community is lucky enough to have a beautiful outdoor stage (http://www.ewingmanor.ilstu.edu/theatre/), a community with plenty of money to donate to support Shakespeare's works, and wonderful actors that spend countless hours to work. The production was just fantastic. The weather was perfect - the actors were flawless (except for one minor character that had trouble with her southern accent). It was funny and entertaining and a great twist on the play - and Mellisa loved it. I am not sure why - but she loves Shakespeare and has asked to go to a play for awhile.

Monday, August 3, 2009


We made to church Sunday with Grandpa. His discussion on his photography work was actually quite a learning experience. I have been to several of his gallery showings and of course, have seen the pictures hanging at his house and ours. But - I have never heard the 'behind the scenes' stories about the photos. For example, one of my favorites is this giant rock in the center of a crater - black and white of course. The detail is amazing in the rock. Anyhow, I had never heard about the rattler that was right behind him and how he refused to leave before he had the perfect shot!

Mark and his new wife were there. I thought I understood Mark - but now I realize, I never will. And part of me, sad to say, is not sure I want to. He exhausts me. Such a pitiful situation...

The best part of the day was the girlfriends. Grandpa (82) is all about eHarmony. He has met several women. His first main girlfriend also went to his church. They dated for maybe a year or so - and she ended it. I liked her - she seemed very nice. So - he searched again. This girlfriend is feisty - I like that. She came to church with us also. Girlfriend #1 (80) was in charge of the refreshments for the service. Girlfriend #2 (78) sat with us. Grandpa held her hand thru most of the service - it was very sweet. Girlfriend #1 kept glancing over - and I am sure that's one of the reasons why Grandpa did it! After the service, Girlfriend #2 whispers to me, I am going to go tell Girlfriend #1 how much I loved her brownies. So now, both of Grandpa's women are in the kitchen. Wow - this was an interesting church service! After a few minutes, Girlfriend #2 comes back with the recipe and giggling. I really like her... I told her that it is funny that no matter how old we get, women are all the same!!

Friday, July 31, 2009


As Riley has told me several times tonite, I am addicted. I personally blame Aunt Janet and my friend Erika for this.

I spent hours playing on there tonite. I chatted for a while with some old childhood friend of Chris' - Cameron. Keep in mind, I don't know him - Chris did! He seems like someone I would love to know though! May just have to meet him (and fam) one weekend for pizza!

Just when I think I am caught up on friends - someone else comes along. For example - an old friend Tom - who is now Thom. Seems like not only have we both aged (he has aged very well if you look at his pics) but changed political parties and views! How fun... I would love to find more people - it is such fun looking at their kids...

And there is just not enough time to tag photos! I haven't even dragged out all of the scrapbooks to scan photos yet!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Visited old Dr. Quimby today. I know he is old enough to retire - but he keeps hanging in there!

His family used to own Quimby's Pharmacy in downtown Clinton on the Square. I stopped there just about every day after jr high with my best friend, Debbie Bostwick. We spent our lunch money on a bag of sour cream potato chips, a fountain cola and 2 pieces of bubble gum. I loved going there - the pharmacy was all the way in the back on the left. On the right was a long marble counter with those padded swivel chairs. There was the same old lady with the hair net - can't remember her name - with the soda stuff and the grill, etc. It burned down sometime when I was in high school. I miss that place...

So - Dr. Quimby (dermatologist) said I am good to go for another year. No super suspicious moles this time (YEA!!!). I have a strange red spot on my left cheekbone. He wanted to send me to a laser guy to get the blood vessels reduced. I asked if I had to - everyone thinks i just have on blush! So - unless it gets worse, we are just letting that go too....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Well, shit...

My PaPaw and Grandmother never swear - but when they do - it's always a "Well, shit Jack" - or "Well, shit Anna". It's kind of funny...

Yesterday, I had a "Well, shit Chris" event...

Chris received an email from his dad. Something about George talking at church about photography, then a break for refreshments, then another q&a session. Then out to lunch. Mark & Sybelle would also be attending.

Now, we didn't know that Mark was going to be in town - haven't seen him in years. Chris missed the email that Mark was married now. The Nichols family men have very strange (and strained) relationships.

Anyhow, I got up on Sunday bright and early. I even ironed. We drove the hour to church. No one is there. OK - maybe we are early. I mentioned that there was a sign at the entrance that mentioned a potluck at so-and-so's house at 11. Hmmmm... That would be in the middle of the talk. So I started asking questions - like, Chris - what DAY did he mention? Chris said Sunday. OK - WHICH Sunday? Chris calls AJ at home - finds the email. It's for the 2nd. I should have read the email...

We drove back home.

Well, shit Chris.

Friday, July 24, 2009

White Sox

Let me get this out in the open - I do not care for baseball. It's hot, not enough action and I don't like beer. The only thing I enjoy about the game is people watching. I am sorry if I have offended anyone - but I am just being honest.

Chris enjoys it - but not a huge fan or anything. His sports passion is football - he is a giant Vikings fan...

Chris and friends went to the White Sox game yesterday afternoon - lots of pictures. I guess it was a no hitter - and it was a huge deal since it has been years since the White Sox have accomplished that. So Chris got to see a little part of history - and was thrilled.

I am happy for him - and very happy that I didn't have to go with him!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Chris is taking a day today and attending a White Sox game in Chicago with his friend, Pink. He's in a band - that's what they call him. And he's a programmer - 'nuf said. For the longest time, I didn't know what his real name was! I think they have been friends since the 80's when Chris went off to college.

I am kind of jealous of Chris. He doesn't have a lot of friends - but the ones he has are great ones. I don't know when it happened - but I just don't have a lot of great friends. I have a ton of good friends but not anyone that I would imagine wanting to "jump up and do my eulogy" type of friend. I guess I moved too much - or maybe I am just too busy to spend the time to really have a great friend. I also depend on Chris for everything. So maybe I do just have one great friend - the hubby.

I guess that's not such a bad thing after all...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Work tidbit

I had a meeting with our Comcast national account team last week - and mentioned it to Chris this morning. The strangest things pop into my head when I am tired. Anyway, the Comcast folks stated that by spring of 2010 - they should have all of their business and residential accounts flying at a 50M/10M speed. wow...

I remember when we had that lovely dial-up service with the modem - with that lovely squeal. I am sure my kids don't remember that at all...


Another wonderful night of non-sleeping. I am not sure if this is a menopausal thing or what - but it is getting old. I think that a body does require more than 4 hours sleep at night. I gave up today and played on the internet. I am all caught up on the news. Read some interesting info about Cronkite. Wow - what a remarkable man.

Busy weekend. Chris and I took the girls on Sunday for mini golf and a picnic. Riley enjoyed it much more than Alyx. Alyx was done after the 10th hole or so...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Those family trips...

My Auntie Ann sent me an email the other day that just made me giggle. I guess that Aunt Janet was reminiscing about a trip that my family took to visit California during their recent visit.

Back in the day, my family camped - a lot. We had a nice, large pull camper. At some point, Mom and Dad thought it would be a great idea to buy one of those driving campers. Now, we did not have a ton of money so this was a huge splurge. And being as we didn't have a ton of money, it was probably the smallest version of a 'drive' camper that one could buy. I honestly think they bought it for this HUGE trip they had planned to visit my aunt Janet and uncle Marty in California.

Please keep in mind - I was in high school when we took this journey of hell.

These are my memories of the trip - which looking back - are hysterical. I am sure that Lee and Lou have different memories but I am writing this blog! Actually, I hate to think what Lou
'remembers' but that's another story...

I remember driving down the highway and the truckers referring to some 'moon' on the CB radio (yes, I am THAT old). Turns out, Lee was in the top bunk that overhung (?) the drive portion of the camper sound asleep. At some point, his little PJ bottoms had been pulled down (no, I DID NOT do this) and his little fanny was broadcasted to everyone - hence, the moon. I remember going to Lake Tahoe and the damn lake was freezing and there was snow at the campground - and we had shorts. That was also the location that the brand new camper decided to break down. We spent some lovely quality time listening to Dad cuss like a drunken sailor while we waited for parts. I remember the septic's lid (or whatever it's called) falling off and Dad spraying the highway for miles while it emptied. Some nice boys in a convertible pulled up while we were going down the road and told Dad that he was leaking fluids. Dad just smiled and waved. Keep in mind, we haven't even reached California yet.

Finally, we are there. Exhausted - and probably smelling not so great. The shower in the camper was on top of the toilet. You just made sure that you closed the lid. I refused to use it for showering purposes.

I don't know who - but someone thought it would be fun to take our camper down that tiny little highway that goes right along the coast. Yes, the camper was small - but next to a freakin cliff - it was HUGE. Aunt Janet took our lovely wildflowers off of the table (Mom tried to make it look homey) and laid on the floor like a dead soul. Funniest dang thing I have ever seen. If you looked out the window to the right - all you saw was ocean. No road - no pavement - nothing at all but down.

I also remember going to the Painted Desert and sleeping thru it. I remember being completely disappointed at the petrified forest - just a bunch of rocks in sand - no forest - who knew? I also remember camping somewhere and it being like 115 degrees. Who planned that stop???

Anyway - thanks for the giggles Aunt Janet (via Aunt Ann). That was fun.

Oh - and Lee - I am sure you have your own comments to make now!


Riley loves sports. She has more heart, dedication and drive than any kid I have seen at that age.

She is nearing the end of softball season. Actually, volleyball starts Thursday and her last softball game is Saturday - so a bit of an overlap.

Anyway, she loves to play catcher. And she is serious about her position. She is one of the few on the team that can throw from the plate to the pitcher. Last night, she was her normal aggressive self. A runner was coming into home and Riley had no intention of letting her on that plate. Big collision - Riley ends up flat on her back. She stayed there for a little bit. Coaches swarming her, etc. I stayed in my seat. She left the game and a tiny bit of tears are flowing (Riley doesn't cry). The opposing coach tells his girls - let's not run down other players. One of the dads says nonchalantly, well, she was just trying to get to the plate.

If it was anyone else, I would have thought - wow, way to take the hit for the team. But Riley has that single kidney - and I worry. I jump up and go check on her. She is having some breathing issues and holding her stomach. The coach thought she just got the wind knocked out of her. I whispered in her ear to suck it up and get a great hit (she was lead off batter). She smiled and was fine again.

I walk back to my chair. One of the moms asked if she was ok - and I said she was fine - that I just worry too much since she has the one kidney. I think I will always worry and I guess I need to get over it.

Chris just smiles at me. Riley likes sports and this is just going to be part of it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Miss Alyx

Alyx is a night owl. She stays up late - very late. I am about at my wit's end with her. She has teen sleeping habits already.

Riley is the opposite. Early to bed and a very early riser. Definitely my child when it comes to sleeping habits.

Riley and Alyx each have their own room, but in the summer they like to have 'sleepovers' in each other's room. Last night - the girls are in Riley's room - along with Tanner (he thinks he is one of the girls). TV goes off at 8pm. I say good night - they are now laying in a dark room. 11:40pm - I hear noise. The girls are still up and giggling! This is VERY rare for Riley - and a nightly occurrence for Alyx. I get up - I yell - and there is scrambling under the covers - including the dog.

Of course, Chris slept thru the whole dang thing. He misses everything.

In the morning, I like to kiss the girls goodbye. Now, they are sound asleep at 5:30am but nevertheless - I feel better. I can't find Alyx. She was in the bed with Riley at midnight. I searched the basement - sometimes she wanders into AJ's room. Chris searches upstairs. We can't find her. I re-search upstairs - Chris is a man after all and they can't find anything. Alyx is buried behind Mellisa in her little twin bed. Good grief.

I keep reminding Chris that I would have about been done with this whole parenting thing if we wouldn't have met!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

It all started with the waffles.

I make an effort at breakfast every Sunday. It's tradition. My dad would always stay home from church while the rest of us went. He said that he attended enough church as a Catholic boy that he didn't need to go anymore. All I know is that I came home there would be a small feast waiting for us - plus the Sunday paper.

We were out of eggs. I didn't know that - there tends to be too many cooks in my house and only one (Chris) doing the shopping. My waffles were already started so there was no turning back - Chris ran to the store.

What to do while I waited? I finally started a Facebook page. Now, I have no idea what I am doing but at least I am trying. Isn't that what everyone does while they wait for eggs?

Chris, Mellisa and I went to the Sugar Creek Arts Festival. It is an annual event held in uptown Normal - and for some reason, we always miss it. I was expecting something different. Yes, there were beautiful things there but I was expecting more artisans actually demonstrating their craft - this was more of a marketing event. There were 2 booths that caught my eye. My Uncle Marty blows glass - so of course, I now have an interest. This is very similar to when he was into stained glass - now I love looking at those pieces. Anyhow - this booth had the same type of hearts that Uncle Marty makes - but they didn't seem as clear to me - and they had a little curlicue on the end that made them look a bit strange. He did have quite a few bowls and vases that were very pretty. Nothing nearly as elaborate as Uncle Marty but I guess he had to think about what would sell as something like this event. He also had pendants that were gorgeous. I was very, very tempted on those... The other booth that I found interesting was clay sculpture. This artisan molded faces. Not a whole face - just a portion of a face. My favorite was just a nose, mouth and chin. Kind of fun. Mellisa always gravitates toward photos of gritty city scapes - like a giant DINER sign or something like that. I like that she has her own opinions - I don't think I even thought about those things when I was her age. Chris was hot - and I think was just humoring me all afternoon but at least he went!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Chris works on the side for a garage in Pontiac. The owners (Patsy and Tim Fogarty) are some of the nicest people I know. Patsy has had some major health problems but she is always happy, always positive. She is one of those Feng Shui people - trained and everything - and has her own business now to provide advice to businesses and homeowners. If I had a zillion dollars, I would hire her. Instead, I bought a book. She is just a sweetheart.

Chris barters with them. He provides computer services (including cabling, ordering, updates, etc.) for them - they maintain our vehicles. Now, our cars are both approaching 10 years so that says a lot to me.

They are good people - good bosses too. They have a huge shindig around Christmas every year and treat all of their employees and significants to a wonderful swanky-do meal in a very nice Peoria restaurant. Chris and I were invited last year - quite impressive! I would have to say that most of these garage guys have no idea what fork to use - but what a wonderful gesture.

Anyway - Chris is working there again tonight - update to their 'parts' software. AJ and Kiel are off working again. The girls are home alone. We are eating delivery pizza, drinking soda (mine has an extra punch of Bacardi) and watching movies. It's a good night...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Busy at work

Wow - that about sums it up.

Monday, at&t thought it would be fun to mess with the authentication on our modems. Down offices... Yesterday, Mediacom is down - only 6 or 7 down with them - which is typical for them. But Verizon about drove me over the edge. 16 states were down - which meant about 35 offices for me. Agents get a little honked off when they can't work.

I started my day today with a lovely Vivanno smoothie from Starbucks - no, no coffee stuff - yuck. So - it has to be a better day.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I just read that the bank that was in Clinton forever (since 1867) - John Warner Bank - was 'taken over' by the FDIC. Mom worked there for quite awhile for Mr. Warner himself. I guess the family sold the bank in '03 and it went downhill quickly.

Little Brothers & the weekend update

Happy Birthday to Lee today! I have no idea where he is - but I am sure he is somewhere warm, lovely, full of history and having a wonderful fun drink!

We had Lou visit this weekend. He is on a new medication - he was very sedate and not very talkative or entertaining for that matter. We always have him sleep in Riley's room so he can have some privacy but for some reason, he slept on the couch in the basement every night. I am not quite sure why - maybe it was dark and quiet and cool? Oh well, he seemed ok with it. We let him pick a bunch of stuff out for his birthday (his was the 25th). He grabbed socks, t-shirts, a belt and some tennies along with his coffee and cigs. Grandmother sent him some money in a card so he kept that for later. Aunt Ann sent him a card - he must have read that thing 20 times. He made sure he took both cards back to his room.

The rain on Saturday certainly dampened the big family picnic plans. We decided just to drive over to our normal spot and sit in chairs and watch from afar rather than sit in the mud at the park grounds. Lou didn't want to go - not sure what that was about either.

I cleared out a nice big path in the weeds using an old piece of siding. We sat in our chairs a good 30 minutes waiting on the fireworks (they were running very late due to the weather). We started hearing this strange hissing sound - sort of gas leak sound - not a snake-like intermittent sound. We were in a subdivision area that had not completely been developed yet so a gas leak wouldn't be that outlandish of a possibility. Anyway - I grabbed the girls and we moved far away behind the van. AJ and Chris thought it deserved further investigation and had their cell phones down near the ground trying to see something. AJ folded up his chair and started poking and the hissing stopped. Hmmm.... Now, our neighbors were with us - and Larry thought he needed a closer look too. Hissing started again. Larry mildly says, ouch - I think I just got stung. Yea, we found a bee's nest or something. Larry is allergic. Great. Larry and his wife go running off to get whatever drug you take when you are allergic - leaving their daughter with us. The girls watched the fireworks from inside the van. I love our family outings!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I am beat

I usually don't complain about my job. 95% of the time, I love my job. I am extremely happy and lucky to even have a job considering everything going on in the country.


I was so exhausted last night, I broke down and cried. Ten hour days are not my friend. Our little team has been instructed by upper, upper, upper management to upgrade every field office's speed asap. There are about 1500 offices. The exasperating part of this is that the software program that is hogging all of the bandwidth is STILL GOING TO HOG the speed no matter what we do. This is a case of the agents in the field complaining to the right director and we all have to jump - regardless. There is an accelerator program that is being deployed in August. This effort WILL help with the slow speeds. We have been told we can't wait. So, I am losing my mind trying to get my offices done - while still doing my normal job.

I had a field visit with the Director of Facilities yesterday - so I was on my best behavior for 5 hours while slugging around a construction site with various contractors. And of course, I had on heels and swanky do clothes since i was hanging with a muckity-muck. Luckily, this guy is one of the nicest men I have met so it was a pleasant experience.

I came back to HELL. I have been battling Charter to get an office in by 7/1 (it's open date) and of course, there were all sorts of technical problems on their end - which I cannot fix. But trying to explain that to a manager who has agents that can't move is next to impossible. I understand - they need to move - they need to work - and from their viewpoint, its just a little cable - what could go wrong???? The manager fired off a lovely email about not only my disaster - but the lease, the phones, the sign, etc. I guess I was just the straw that broke the camels back. This email went to every upper management person that this guy had ever heard of. Fantastic.

Then I go home - late. We had dinner plans with Chris' dad and his new girlfriend. I walk in the house - it is a mess. I have just worked 10 hours - and i come home to a mess. I have never met this woman and first impressions are important to me. 5 children were home all damn day - you would think someone could do something? I lost it. It's amazing how much my crying can speed up some cleaning. AJ made me a drink - I sat on the couch - boohooing - drinking thru my little straw. House looked wonderful in under 20 minutes. Dried my eyes - put on a happy face and went to dinner. It was wonderful - she is fantastic. Grandpa has found another good one. We bonded over gardening...

Today - better but not much. I am very glad I have a three day weekend...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


She's back...

We dogsit - a lot. Sooki is my favorite. She is massive - I can't remember what type of dog but she is huge. And she is blonde and furry. She looks like a XXXL version of our chow, Butterball. And she is just the sweetest thing in the world. One bad thing - she tends to think of herself as a lapdog - which is like having AJ sitting on me! Very nice and loving - but not something I would want to experience on a regular basis!

My favorite Sooki story happened about a year ago. She likes to sleep in our room on the floor. One night - the bed is shaking. I am scolding her for wagging her tail. Then I notice - she is no where near the bed! It was one of those little earthquakes tremors. Now, in California - they happen all of the time - NEVER happen in Illinois! Poor Sooki - she had no idea what was wrong with me!

I will have to take a pic and add...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend Update

Since Friday evening was a bit cooler, we decided to actually go on an official camping trip. Just a one-nighter - but, it counts.

So we packed up everything in the van, and Chris and the girls all headed out. Kiel and AJ both had to work - not that they would have gone anyway! I always manage to pick the campsite that is the absolute furthest from the vehicle but always an awesome campsite. We haul it all in and start setting up. We aren't there an hour when 5 Jr. high aged kids come traipsing thru the site. Mellisa asks - "Can we help you?" No response - they just keep walking to the lake. Now, our site is about 10 yards from the lake. Mellisa's tent is literally 4 feet from the edge of the lake. We weren't real sure what in the world they were doing but let it go. 15 minutes later - 20 kids or so go thru our site. I said loudly - "Seriously???" No response. This time they walked closer to where Chris was fishing with the girls - and they giggled and left. Bizarre. Another 20 minutes go by - a mom comes over. "Do you have a problem with my kids?" What??? I am sitting at my table getting dinner ready and I am being harassed by a mom now? She accused me of saying mean things to her kids and if I had a problem with her kids then I needed to tell the 16 adults at the campsite - not say anything to them. Now, I have no idea what the little liars said - and I do not handle confrontation well. I just sat there and said that she might just want to keep her kids at her campsite. She stormed off with the 20 kids or so in tow and told them that there are some people that think they are better than others and I was just uppity. Whatever... I am cooking hot dogs over a campfire and peeing in the woods - where is the 'uppity' part in that???

Time passes - it gets cooler - the wind picks up - and we notice lightning in the distance. We did decide to put the fly's on our tents just in case we get a bit of rain. I tried 2 times to make my campfire apple pie - the first one burned since I was trying to add stakes to the tent while cooking. The second one - I dropped on the ground. It was a sign that I didn't need an apple pie. I don't think much of the thunder & lightning - until Chris gets on his cell and finds out that there are severe thunderstorm warnings in our area. Fantastic. I still wasn't too worried until a park ranger came by and told us to head to the bath house if it got much worse. Now, we have hiked quite a ways to get to this site. It is now pouring rain - the van is far. And by the time we could get to the bath house - which is on the other side of the lake, we would have been toast anyway. So - we stuck it out. It was very windy. Thunder is very loud in a tent! But - the girls were fine. Mellisa was fine. Our tent leaked. At some point, Chris and I decided we were already wet - might as well sit by the lake and watch the storm. It was absolutely beautiful.

So - interesting camping experience for the first one of the season. Every time we go, we bring home the strangest memories. But, I guess that's what it's all about.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sad day...

So both Michael and Farrah in one day...

I, of course, had the requisite Farrah do and was very proud that mine was even the same color - except when the pool turned it green! Every teen boy I knew had the poster hanging - I think they bought them all at Spencer's when that was the place to shop at the mall. I remember watching The Burning Bed, crying and being shocked at the same time that she was the same actress that played the flighty blonde in Charlie's Angels!

I loved Michael Jackson - not the freaky part of his personal life - just the artist part. My roommate in college - Donna Voges - LOVED him. She had posters all over her room and knew all of his dance moves by heart. We used to practice before going out to parties... I even remember learning the entire dance sequence from Thriller. That was a fun time...

On a happier note - Alyx loved her birthday - loves of fun gifts. And we are taking Aunt Janet's wonderful advice and camping in the tent in the living room and having a fire in the fireplace. She will love it!!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Miss Alyx

The Princess turns 7 today. Wow - even my baby is getting old now... Alyx is a unique little girl. She is petite and prissy - likes clothes, jewelry, purses, dolls and is neat as a pin. Exact opposite of Riley - or anyone else in the family!

Usually, we take a little weekend trip for her birthday. Summer birthdays make it so difficult to have a party with friends - and we figure we spend less on a trip than we would on a party anyhow! We were kind of wiped from the Reunion this year so we postponed the trip this year. She wants to go to Indy - stay in a train car at Union Station and visit the Zoo and the Children's Museum (Indy's is VERY nice). So we will do this in July. We thought we would take her camping this weekend so she would still have something special to do. It is too stinkin hot. So now we are at a loss. Maybe dad can think of something today...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The heat...

It's hot.
Very hot.

The air in the house is fixed - just in time. Just needed coolant... The air is not working in either vehicle but we drive with the windows down and I don't care about the hair anymore so it's fine...

Riley's softball game last night ended after 2 innings. It was too hot for the girls.

Alyx's cheer camp is indoors.

AJ's work is not air conditioned but he is off until Thursday so maybe it will be cooler by then.

Chris got half the jungle mowed yesterday - maybe the rest tonight.

We picked the dogs up from doggie daycare yesterday. They are happy to be home - but don't want to go outside. We did get Butterball shaved a bit so maybe he will be a bit cooler with his thick fur coat.

It's the kind of weather that I just want to lay around and not do a dang thing...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lots to share

Big travel weekend for the fam...

First of all - we managed to get the two rental cars wheeled and dealed into one 15 passenger van - same price even. So we traveled in style to KY in a church van.

Second - our air in our house is out. It is hell. Repairman comes today. It was nice to get away in an air conditioned van to an air conditioned hotel room!

Next - Mellisa, Riley, Chris and myself traveled to Cumberland Falls. I love it there. The trees, the sound of the water - it is lovely. KY has had a lot of water. Riley said it looked like a chocolate fountain. I really would love to rent one of their little cottages one year and stay awhile. I remember doing that when I was younger. I remember hiking and being crowded and hot. And if you walked off the back porch - you would fall off a cliff!

Reunion was wonderful. Great turn out - only people missing that I tend to hang out with were Robert Bruce, Cindy and Josh. I really missed them. They have to be one of the sweetest families I know - proud to call them cousins. I guess the economy in Michigan is just killing their business. It must be horrible for Robert Bruce - I just feel so badly for them. No drama this year which was a nice change. Just a nice weekend.

Onto the big news - AJ won the cup! Cindy, last year's winner, wrote the nicest note but didn't reveal who the winner was until the very end - Aunt Sally read the note. I had no idea who the winner was - she mentioned that it was going to someone that was very quiet. I should have known it was AJ right then since 95% of the Hollins are loud!!! His little face just turned to absolute shock - then his little tears started. Which of course, prompted my tears. He gave the sweetest, most genuine little acceptance speech. He is the most kind kid with the biggest heart... So thank you Cindy - AJ is just on Cloud 9 and is so very proud and humbled...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Severe storms in the area...

I asked the hubby at 4 when our alarm went off if the sun roof was closed in our van since I could hear this little rumbling sound in the distance. He thought it was closed. I looked out the window but couldn't tell if it was closed or not so I asked him to go check as he got out of the shower since I was getting into the shower. He came back up a few minutes later and said it was fine. I mentioned how quick that was and he said he looked out the window and it was fine.

yea - it was open

I didn't know a van could hold so much water - I swear I saw fish pour out when I opened the door....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lame Mom

Reunion approaches...

The theme this year is "Birthdays" - not sure what that means but I like to get into the spirit of the event. I know - I am a little over the top sometimes but I do enjoy myself!

I thought it would be so cute if our family all wore shirts in the color of their birthstone - you know - to match the theme. You would have thought I had asked the world...

Mellisa hates yellow (Nov./Topaz) - I didn't know that - but she is wearing it anyway and I don't care. Kiel's birth stone is an Opal (Oct.) - well, how do you get that color on a shirt? He is wearing white. Alyx's is the Pearl (June) - so she is wearing white. Chris and I are wearing different shades of blue (Sept./Sapphire & Dec./Turquoise). Riley is in a shade of blue (March/Aquamarine). AJ - who is the good child - is going on a desperate search today for a pale green shirt (August/Peridot). He is such a pleaser - and kudos to him for at least trying!

So - it was a good idea but we are probably going to look as goofy as hell. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strawberry patch

Chris and I completed a little project last night. Well, it started on Sunday and I finished it last night.

We have several raised garden beds. One is dedicated for strawberries. We used to have a horrible problem with rabbits. Tanner (our dog) figured out how to catch and eat them and we also put a chicken wire cover over the top - so the rabbit problem diminished considerably. We now have birds.

At one time, we didn't have birds. Our subdivision was built in the middle of an old soybean field. No trees, no grass, just dirt. All landscaping has been done by the builder or in our case, me. Since we have lived here almost 10 years now, plants and trees are getting much larger and can actually support wildlife now. I remember one morning waking to the sound of birds chirping and thinking how lovely and how much I missed that sound. Now, I want the birds to go away - especially the thrush - at least that is what Chris thinks it is. This bird family has a soft brown color with super long beaks. They are able to sit on the chicken wire and poke into my lovely garden bed of strawberries and suck out the middles. Very frustrating.

I had this wonderful idea to build a large structure out of 2x4's. Until - I started carrying the 2x4's out to the back yard and realized how heavy the dang thing would be!!! So, I went online and found a fantastic idea for a screen. The Internet is wonderful. Chris bought all of my supplies (he is the super shopper of the family - I HATE shopping unless it is on-line). Anyway - he bought 10 3-foot stakes of the covered rebar, mosquito netting and 3 30-foot lengths of clear plastic tubing. We put the stakes on each side of the bed - slid the tubing over the stakes - and laid the netting over it and pinned the sides down with huge binder clips. It looks like a little tent now. Perfect! I am very proud!!!

The best part - the birds sit on top of the tubes - about 2 feet from the tallest strawberry plant and make these angry clicking sounds!!!

This is the page I found...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lincoln College

Kiel and I took a day on Friday to attend orientation at Lincoln. It is a lovely, old, small campus - perfect for a transition to college. It was an all day ordeal - lots of breakout sessions about every topic imaginable - plus tours - and lunch. I didn't see Kiel all day but about the same format was planned for him as well.

Couple of things that I learned - Lincoln will take anyone. There are mandatory programs that kids with a 15 or less on their ACT had to enroll in. I was shocked. I didn't think that kids that got less than a 15 would go to college. Heck, Mel couldn't read and he managed to get a 17! Must be the athletes is all I can figure.

Kiel and I both had an eye-opening culture experience. Some people just don't know how to act. I don't care if you are dirt poor and were raised in a Chicago ghetto or filthy rich and live in a Chicago high rise - you DON'T talk while a speaker is talking. And for the love - you DO NOT talk on your damn cell phone while you are in the middle of learning about financial aid!! I could not believe it. There were 2 large black women in the back of one session - just chit chatting away while I am trying to learn about the housing arrangements (and everyone else). Another black woman in the front turns around and shushes them - which causes the ladies in the back to be combative and verbal. It was not a good session.

I am glad I don't live in Chicago.

Anyway, Kiel is registered for his classes and seems absolutely thrilled. I had ordered XL Twin Sheets and then the housing person mentioned that Kiel will probably be assigned an XXL bed. I didn't even know they made those - I imagine those sheets are going to be ridiculous expensive. I think we will use the XL sheets and those strap things and hope they hang on!!! We still have a huge list of things to buy - which is fun. Kiel isn't nearly as excited as I am though...

BTW - Kiel thought I should mention that is a 'black, mainly innercity Chicago' school. Not sure why - but in the middle of Central Illinois - in the middle of a small cornfield town, sits this college. I think this will be a great experience for him. Bloomington Normal may be culturally diverse - but certainly not economically diverse. I think he may actually realize that he has a lot of advantages that a lot of kids don't...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Car rentals

Chris and I made the decision to rent a van to go to the Reunion. I love my old ghetto van but I don't think I trust it enough to drive all the way to London - plus, the air stopped working a year ago. And if you read Aunt Janet's blog lately, you would know that Kentucky is beautiful but muggy and humid so air is a requirement.

So - priced a ton of places. Enterprise had the best deals and unlimited mileage. The funny thing - we can rent 2 cars cheaper than one van. This is including the gas consumption and everything. We went to the office rather than online since we assumed the office could make us a deal. No such luck.

We will be journeying in 2 midsize vehicles to KY next weekend. Mellisa has already assigned the seating arrangements - girl car and a boy car. Great - my car will be sleeping the whole way...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The bedroom

Well - I hate my bedroom. It is too big. I know - most people complain that their bedroom is too small - but trust me - too much of a good thing is horrible too.

Currently, we have our queen bed, 3 dressers, 2 bookcases, 2 desks, my sewing table, 2 stacked cabinets and Chris' gigantic fish tank. It is the only room that has not been papered or painted. I did watch a show on HGTV a few years back and we decided to do as they suggested and 'create' a wall down one side to give the appearance of two rooms. Yea, that doesn't work. And without fail, when someone is coming over - everything gets thrown into our bedroom. Shoes, coats, laundry baskets - whatever is laying around.

We decided to move the fish tank into the hall. This is not a small undertaking. The stupid thing is the same length as our headboard. Originally, we put the tank in our room since I love the sound of water - it's comforting. Unfortunately, if you don't keep the tank full, it sounds more like Niagara Falls in the springtime! So, it wasn't just a small decision - it was more like an ultimatum. It was me or the tank.

The bookcases that the girls used that were in the hall are now in their rooms (one each). The tank will go in the hall. I did the prep work. Chris is spending the entire day moving the tank. Catching the fish took him about an hour. Little fish are quick. Now he is saving as much water as he can so the fish don't have major shock.

Hopefully, we can work on rearranging this week. I am not a typical female - once furniture is in place - I leave it there. Chris and Kiel love to rearrange. So I may just stay out of the way and let them have at it...

Regardless - I will be much happier!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Prepping for my LOMA 280

I rec'd my testing date for my first insurance exam. I am already nervous but it is on September 17th. I have my book and my workbook so I need to get busy reading!

I haven't had to study in about 10 years - so this will be interesting. If I fail, I have to pay for half the test so that should be some incentive alone!

If I pass - 3 more tests and I have my 'Associate' (ALMI) - 9 more tests and I get a lovely trip to Florida - and satisfaction - and my 'Fellow' (FLMI)...

My first test is on "The Principles of Insurance: Life, Health, and Annuities". Great fun...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

End of the school year...

The girls have their last day of school today. It's that goofy one hour attendance day. I don't understand this tradition at all. The school sent home the report cards last week. Riley is taking her yearbook and a swanky do pen for autographs. The buses must cost a small fortune to run for what? An hour? I don't understand...

I have the little girls signed up for a couple of camps and activities.
Alyx is doing her gymnastics classes as usual. She hates the floor - so she is going to be awhile before she gets moved up to the next level. We are debating the purchase of a trampoline for her birthday. The floor mat was a huge success at Christmas. We should probably get a nice beam for her at some point - the 2x4 is a little ghetto - but works! She is also going to Cheer camp this summer. Alyx doesn't like to get 'sweaty' (her word) so she tends to steer clear of team sports...
Riley is playing softball - and it is growing on her. She loves basketball (and is going to that camp - she is really very good) but I told her that she should try lots of different sports and see which ones she really enjoys. I am not a fan of non-climate-controlled sports but we will cope...

We are saving our pennies to send both girls to Girl Scout camp. They offer one that is 5 days and 2 nights. It lets the girls get used to the camp by going days only for a bit - then they spend the night in the cabins for 2 nights. Alyx is pumped - Riley is not. Not sure if that will pan out or not...

Busy summer as usual!

Monday, June 1, 2009

2 down - 3 to go

Graduation is over. The party was a success. As usual, I had way too much food.

I handled Kiel's graduation just fine - no tears. I think it was the six valedictorians and the fear that each one of them was going to talk! One of Kiel's classmates was killed in a car accident and his mom accepted his diploma for him - that was my one weepy moment.

Anyhow - it's over - on to the next chapter!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On the bike again...

I think of Willie Nelson with that title...

I am riding the bike again - well, it's been about a month now. I get up at 4:30 and roll over and hop on for 19 minutes of a good sweaty pace and 1 minute of 'a mugger chasing me' speed.

Now, I sleep naked so this is not a pretty picture. Chris made a HUGE mistake the other morning and turned on the light. Big no. It's one thing to have flab jiggle and bounce in the dark - totally different with a light on!!! So far, I am only developing the L'Hote calves and toning the lower thigh and haven't lost a dang pound. Oh well - I am trying...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The News

I am a loyal Brian Williams fan. Every day at 5:30 - we watch Brian.

As much as I love to watch the news, I am not very thrilled with the news lately.

One of my friends here at work asked me what I thought about North Korea. I tend to be a person in my department that is up to date and always manages to have an opinion about current events. Anywho - I am not sure what I think right now so I honestly couldn't answer her. What in the world are they doing - how are we going to handle it - is this going to evolve into another giant mess? I am not a fan of war (who is?) and frankly, I am getting rather scared about the situation. I just wish countries could mind their own business - take care of their own - and just coexist with everyone else. One planet - one goal. It's an easy concept - just play well with others...

Don't get me started about the California thing. How hypocritical. And sad. I feel so disappointed in the state. I always thought that California was a forward thinking role model for the rest of the country. Who would have thought that Iowa would get it right? My heart goes out to all of those men and women that are hurting right now...

And the Supreme Court pick? I don't care if many think she only got the job because she is a woman and is Hispanic. So what? As long as she does a good job and can keep an open mind and heart and follows the general 'flow' of the constitution - then she could be a green goblin for all I care...