Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Pathetic Weekend On Tap

It's only Saturday afternoon and I'm already bummed about our weekend of uneventfulness.
Craig has to work today, his usual day off. There was some sort of issue at work and the only way to rectify said issue is for Craig to work the next few Saturdays.
This is all fine and dandy and not exactly out of the ordinary. Like they say when you sign up for this gig, "you've just sold your life to Uncle Sam, you sucker." Or something like that.

Always a supportive military spouse, I've learned go with the flow. However, I've become quite accustomed to attending an early morning Body Attack class, which I affectionately refer to as my "Saturday morning beating" each week. With Craig away at work, my gym plans are thrown out the window this morning.

Hrmph. The sacrifices I have to make!

Some women send their husbands off on 12-18 month deployments. My friend had a baby three weeks after her husband deployed.
And I have to give up my Saturday morning exercise class for a few weeks.

Oh the horror!

Don't you feel sorry for me?

I realize I could drag Caroline with me and shove her in the kid's room for an hour, but, well, the class starts at 8 and I'm not sure I could endure the excessive whining that would ensue if I made her come along. Whining drives me insane, and whining before 8am might cause me to do things I'd later regret.
If this Saturday morning work thing goes on for too long, I may have to bite the bullet, put in a set of ear plugs, bring Caroline with me and bribe her with McDonald's after.
Speaking of McDonalds, as I so often do. There is one across the parking lot from my gym. The smell of coffee and hash browns permeates the air in the mornings and suddenly makes the yogurt, cottage cheese, banana concoction I eat for breakfast every day seem most unsatisfying.
The smell brings me back to my youth and all the time I spent making pancakes and hocking Big Macs in the drive thru. It also reminds me of the huge nasty burn the hash brown fryer basket gave me on my thumb and how when I first started working there we had a Jurassic Park promotion going on and I found myself saying "Jurassic Puck" instead of "Jurassic Park cup" when asking if the customers would like to super size their value meals and get the collectible plastic cup.
Seriously, that was over sixteen years ago and I still remember that. And yet, I can't remember Craig's cell phone number.

That was a spectacular tangential paragraph of nonsense.

Caroline and I are hanging in the heazy. After demanding lunch at 10:40am, and quickly scarfing it down, Caroline has found herself outside with some of the neighborhood kids. Correction, the kids are now in the house, no doubt plotting something messy.
And here I sit, with nothing but a pile of laundry waiting for me to scale, whining to the world wide web. Telling my sad tale. A tale of sacrifice and true patriotism.
Giving up what I love most so my husband can go to work, doing whatever it is he does all day.

We're nothing if not inspiring.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Odds and Ends

Today, while showering at the gym, I decided that I should tell all three of you how much I love Dove cream oil body wash.
It's awesome.
And no, Dove is not paying me to say that. If they were, I'm sure they'd hope I'd say something more elaborative than "it's awesome."
But really, it is.

And I just think you should know that.

It's really quite humid today. Since I had to leave the gym early to get to Caroline's school for lunch/Thursday folder stuffing, I didn't get a chance to fully cool down before getting in the shower. Boy was that ever a mistake. I purposely took a cooler than normal shower to facilitate the cooling down process, but that didn't help.
There is nothing worse than sweating after you get out of the shower.
Make up doesn't stay put and my hair takes forever to dry. More blow drying creates more heat and more sweating. It's a nasty cycle.
Because of this humid air tragedy, I'm having a horrible hair day.

This afternoon, when Caroline and I returned home from the school, I went to close the windows to turn on the air conditioner. It's not hot, degree wise, but did I mention it's humid today? So, as I'm standing in the kitchen, closing the windows, Caroline yells "No, I like the windows open. We'll save electricity and that's good for the environment."

Now, I'm all for saving money. Conservation is important. Especially the conservation of dollars. Wouldn't you rather buy new clothes than spend it on the electric bill? Um, I would.

With that being said, I tend to get annoyed when our children are brainwashed taught all this global warming junk.
Yes, we should conserve electricity. We should conserve because mom needs a new pair of flip flops. Not because we're evil humans defiling the earth God created for us to live in.
Blah blah, carbon footprint, blah blah.

Stepping off my soapbox now.

So Caroline found a few more kids to play with. They're cute kids, the girl is in first grade, and her brother will be in kindergarten next year. I met their mom yesterday and since we met, the kids were then allowed to come in the house.
Yesterday I thought they were the cutest things.
Today, they still are cute, but I think I've found my new snack monsters.

In Georgia we had a brother sister duo who were quite fond of barging in and asking for snacks. Oddly enough, the sister in both duos have the same name.

So the sister found me upstairs this evening, holding a screw she found outside.
She held out the screw and said "here I found this and I'm hungry."
I offered goldfish. But she was in the mood for something with sugar. I told her that her mom wouldn't be pleased if I loaded her up with sugary snacks before dinner. She said her mom wouldn't mind, but I'm not THAT dumb.
After some deliberation, she took a quick snack and went to color. A few minutes later, she asked for something else; I told her no. Even doormats have limits. Besides, it was nearing dinner time for Caroline and I.

This girl is cute. And she knows it.

I was talking to a woman, named Debbie, at the gym the other day. We were commenting on this other woman who was named "Military Spouse of the Year." She works full time, has three kids and volunteers for a zillion different things. You know the type of wonder woman that makes all other moms feel like total lumps.
I told Debbie that I've figured out that for the time being,my calling in life is to provide art supplies and snacks for the neighborhood kids.

This has been my life for the past four years.

And I certainly don't expect to be winning any awards for it.

OK, enough babbling, I've got to unload the dishwasher and say hi to Craig.
He came home early tonight and I barely even grunted a hello as he walked by.

How rude!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Words You Never Want To Hear

"Don't worry Mom, it's washable."

We have this particular little girl in our neighborhood who will inevitably become one of those "mean girls." At the age of seven, she's already well on her way.
She's manipulative and sneaky. She threatens to tattle on the other kids, is very possessive and creates a lot of turmoil.

She's sweet to adults, but I'm on to her.

Yesterday the girl, Leah, rang the doorbell to tell me, in her best Eddie Haskell imitation, that Caroline was being a very good girl. Slightly puzzled, I said, "uh, ok." What are you supposed to say to that? Well, I took one look at Caroline's puffy eyed, slightly tortured face and knew something was up. I asked what was wrong and she said that Leah she was being mean to her and kept threatening to tell on her. For what, I'm not sure. There usually isn't anything to tell, but Leah sure thinks so. I'm not fond of tattletales, so I told Leah that unless she had a real beef with the way Caroline was behaving, stop ringing the doorbell.

So today Caroline came running in the house with red paint in her hair, saying "don't worry, it's washable" Obviously curious as to why my kid had globs of red paint in her hair, I asked "what's up?" She said she asked Leah to do it because one of the other girls had it done too. This is all very harmless, but I felt inclined to ask Caroline why she'd let someone put paint in her hair.
She didn't have an answer, which is fine. Sometimes we do things we can't explain.
Like I said, it's harmless, but I can't help but think that getting involved with whatever Leah suggests is hardly a smart idea.

It's really very difficult to figure out how to help Caroline deal with Leah. On the one hand I want her to be kind to everyone, but I also don't want her to be tortured by the mean girl antics of an obnoxious seven year old.
I've told Caroline that dealing with difficult people is an unfortunate part of life; something completely unavoidable. She has to learn to be kind, but hold her ground when she's being manipulated.

As it so happens, I just walked upstairs where all the kids are playing and overheard Caroline say to Leah, "you can't have a turn because you didn't ask nicely, that's bad manners."


Here I am defending my perfect, innocent child against the evilness of neighborhood girlie bullies and she's upstairs acting like the moral authority.
I told Caroline that until she has impeccable manners of her own, she's not allowed to judge the politeness of others.

So, I quit.

I'm going to eat my dinner, trying to ignore the sticker box that threw up all over the living room floor.

I'll worry about raising a kind, compassionate, fun loving girl later.

Most likely when I wash her hair this evening and the water turns pink.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

100th Post

For those that have endured the 99 posts of mindless drivel that I've defiled the internet with, here's one more to mark my 100th post.
Ahem...100 things about ME. Because, as you know, it is all about me.
My mama taught me well.

  1. I could eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day of my life.
  2. I am the oldest of two girls; my sister, Laura, is six and a half years younger than me.
  3. I was born in Caribou, Maine in November 1976.
  4. I've lived in eight states: Maine, California, Florida, Missouri, Hawaii, Arizona, Maryland, Georgia and Virginia.
  5. I worked at McDonald's for most of my high school years and have never eaten a Big Mac.
  6. I HATE HATE HATE having my feet touched, which is too bad because I desperately need a pedicure.
  7. In the past 8 years, I've only worn a dress one time.
  8. I wear reading glasses; I cannot look at a computer screen without them.
  9. I think avocados taste like dirt.
  10. I'll eat just about any vegetable, except for radishes.
  11. I got married two months before I turned 20, Craig was 25; I was much too young to get married.
  12. We got married in my mother-in-law's living room. Not exactly ideal and looking back I would have done things differently, but even so, I never wanted the white dress, big reception, church wedding experience. I don't like being the center of attention.
  13. I am not adventurous. At all. I will never jump out of an airplane, traverse a canyon or repel from a building.
  14. I love that Craig is in the Army. You can't beat the job security and benefits.
  15. The thought of him retiring gives me hives. And indigestion.
  16. I am addicted to talk radio.
  17. I never watch television during the day.
  18. I like lemon in my water.
  19. I'd eat like a rabbit all day every day if I could have a huge slice of cake or a big brownie (no nuts!) every night.
  20. I love going to the gym. Exercise makes me truly happy.
  21. I eat my breakfast and lunch standing up at the kitchen counter while I listen to the radio. I do the same for dinner, unless Craig is home and we all sit at the table together.
  22. I didn't know what biscuits and gravy were until I moved to Florida. I wish I never learned. Shudder!
  23. I hate clutter. I cannot think straight if the house is messy.
  24. I will NEVER go camping. NEVER!
  25. My car is always dirty on the outside, but neat and tidy on the inside.
  26. I empty the dishwasher every night. I cannot go to sleep unless it has been done.
  27. I have an unhealthy love for diet soda. It's how I get through the day.
  28. I adore fresh fruit, especially oranges, bananas, berries and melon.
  29. I worry all the time. Sometimes I feel like I'm carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. However, I do not worry about global warming. If it really were that big of a deal, Al Gore would get rid of his private jet and huge, energy sucking house.
  30. I am a Christian, saved by the grace of God, but I haven't been to church in a long time.
  31. Sometimes I think church is dumb.
  32. I do not think God is dumb.
  33. I have a very eclectic mix of music on my ipod: Linkin Park, Chevelle, Pink, Chris Tomlin, Nine Inch Nails, Flo Rida, Christina Aguilera, Casting Crowns, Toby Mac, Fergie, etc.
  34. I think "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin is one of the most beautiful songs ever.
  35. I cannot dance.
  36. I can, however, recognize and move to the beat of the music. My biggest aerobics class pet peeve is when the participants, and even the instructor, cannot stay on beat. It's distracting.
  37. I do not like talking on the phone.
  38. After I had Caroline, my feet grew. For a short chick (barely 5'4) I have big feet (size 9).
  39. Growing up, I wanted a lot of kids.
  40. After I got married I wanted none.
  41. We now have one, with no intention of having more.
  42. I often feel guilty for opting to have an only.
  43. Caroline's delivery was the only time I've ever been in the hospital. We were in and out in under 24 hours.
  44. I had back labor and unashamedly took the epidural when offered.
  45. Breastfeeding was the best weight loss tool EVER.
  46. I love "baby shower" cake. White or yellow cake from the bakery.
  47. I despise whipped cream frosting. Butter cream all the way, baby.
  48. I used to drink coffee in the mornings, but lost my taste for it. I drink hot tea now.
  49. I'm like Joey Tribbiani, I love sandwiches.
  50. After a PB&J, my favorite sandwich is a grilled cheese with tomatoes on sourdough.
  51. Chocolate makes me happy; chocolate covered cherries do not.
  52. Growing up we put up our Christmas tree after my mom's birthday (Dec 10th) now I put it up the day after Thanksgiving.
  53. I took Accutane twice. The second time is the charm because I haven't broken out since I stopped taking it in March.
  54. I shower, wash my hair, put on clean clothes and apply makeup every day. Even when I'm sick.
  55. I hate unmade beds.
  56. I don't watch any scripted television shows anymore. I watch a few reality shows, but mostly the news.
  57. I love to bake.
  58. I taught myself to cook with the help of Sara Moulton and her "Cooking Live" show on the Food Network.
  59. I cook most things from scratch, with a few exceptions. Caroline would revolt if I didn't buy Easy Mac.
  60. I'd love to go to pastry school someday and become a bread baker.
  61. I kill all plants.
  62. I love to read mysteries.
  63. I'm a no nonsense type of person. I have little patience for drama. Thankfully Caroline is the same way. She has a friend who brings the drama and it takes all that is within me not to shake her.
  64. I never honk my horn when I'm driving. I hate when people honk at me for not moving 0.0003 seconds after the light turns green.
  65. I 'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.
  66. I am an introvert. I need to be alone to recharge.
  67. I call Caroline "kid."
  68. I do not use mushy pet names, much to Craig's displeasure. I pretty much only call him Craig, unless he's been particularly bad and then I'll break out the "Roger Craig."
  69. I'd like to travel to Europe one day; I have no desire to visit Asia.
  70. Hydrangeas and gerbera daisies are my favorite flowers.
  71. I think it's strange when grown women have fan girl crushes on celebrities.
  72. Acts of service is my love language.
  73. I do not like to fly, especially over water. For some reason the idea of crashing and burning on land is far more appealing to me than landing in the deep dark water.
  74. I love rainy days.
  75. I'm competitive, but you wouldn't know it. It's very internal.
  76. Running has become a recent hobby of mine; if only my body would hold up to the demands I'm putting on it.
  77. Once I ate all the cookie dough chunks out of a carton of ice cream and threw away the vanilla ice cream part. In one sitting. Not one of my proudest moments.
  78. I have a strange affection for the commercials Tim Allen does for Michigan. I find his narration very comforting.
  79. I'm a very patient person. I rarely complain if the line is too long or the service too slow.
  80. I almost never use my cell phone; I also do not text.
  81. I've been to 27 states. It'll be 28 after our trip to Hershey, PA in August. *edited to add* We drove through Delaware, as well, so make that 29.
  82. I hope that Craig gets stationed in Hawaii next. If not, we'd both like to go to San Antonio, TX.
  83. I do not like to write, which makes me wonder why I started a blog. Well, it's not that I don't like just doesn't come easy.
  84. I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people. I think about others often, I just never do anything about it.
  85. I wore braces for two years and nine months.
  86. I left my retainer on the airplane we flew in when we moved from CA to FL.
  87. I saw Keri Russell, who was on the Mickey Mouse Club, after we landed at the Orlando Airport. She was in the bathroom and she was wearing her MMC jacket.
  88. I do not like overhead lighting.
  89. I floss every day.
  90. I do not like to cuddle. I need lots of personal space. (on a side note, I don't really like the word "cuddle")
  91. I am not overly emotional. I usually only cry if I'm mad or deeply hurt.
  92. I tan very easily, even though I liberally apply sunscreen.
  93. I am a homebody.
  94. I sway back and forth when I blow dry my hair. I guess I don't like to stand still.
  95. I am terrified of snakes.
  96. I do not wear jewelry, not even my wedding ring. Craig doesn't wear one either; he lost it in Kuwait and we never replaced it.
  97. I'm not a romantic or a dreamer. I have very realistic expectations.
  98. Before Caroline came along, Craig and I went to the movies atleast once a week. I've been to the theater four times since she was born.
  99. I do not drink alcohol and don't have any desire to start. Although, after a particularly stressful day, I've been known to say "I really should start drinking....."
  100. I have a major vomit phobia. I have not thrown up since August 4, 1991. Thankfully Caroline and Craig aren't prone to vomitting either.

And there you have it.

100 things about me that you probably could have lived your whole lives without knowing.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Last night, as I sat at the computer with the news on in the background, Caroline came bounding down the stairs. The news was reporting on President Obama's Memorial Day remarks at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
A heavy, emotional speech.
And out of Caroline's mouth flies a sarcastic "yeah, yeah Obama."

Equally horrified and amused, I said with as much indignation as I could muster,"Caroline!"

And she said, "well, he's ALWAYS talking about something."

I have a very bad habit of talking to the television and radio; perhaps I should start keeping my opinions to myself.
Evidently Caroline IS listening.

It was reported that after the speech the President and his motorcade came to Ft. Belvoir for a round of golf. The golf course is probably two miles from our house and right down the street from Craig's office building.
The motorcade caused some traffic issues and detoured Craig's usual route to work.

Too bad we didn't know sooner. It would have been neat to try and spot the Presidential limousine.
And if the rain hadn't postponed the lemonade stand, perhaps he would have been interested in buying a cup.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Way With Words

I read a lot of blogs.

I'm a curious kind of person and like a peek into other people's lives. Some of the blogs I read are personal blogs. Some are about food. Some make me mad. And others leave me awestruck by the beauty of the words I've just read.

Some people just have a way with words. Peggy Noonan does. She could write how-to install sheet rock instructions and I'd read with pleasure. I guess it's like when Randy Jackson says, "Dawg, you could sing the phone book and I'd love it." On a side note, I hate when Randy says "you can sing your face off." Creepy.

It's a gift.

A gift that I don't have.

I don't consider myself much of a writer. And I don't really care.
I blog because I want to keep a scrapbook of sorts not because I want people to be moved by my words.
My ponderings aren't eloquent. In fact, nothing about me is eloquent. Sometimes I feel like a bull in a china shop. Clumsy and messy.

I read a blog called Ministry So Fabulous. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this treasure, but I sure am glad I did. The woman who writes the blog has that way with words. She's emotive and real. She's raw with her words and I just drink it all up.

She blogged about Memorial Day today and her post just brought tears to my eyes. Yes, cold black hearted Alison was moved.

You should check it out, you'll be glad you did.

It's Raining!

I love rain.
I know my parents in Florida are tired of rain, but I'm quite happy to hear the raindrops outside.
And why? You might be led to ask.
Well, I'll tell you why.

For a few months Caroline and her friends have been planning to have a big lemonade stand. On Memorial Day.
No other day.
Memorial Day.
Not the many warm sunny days that will no doubt occur in the months to come.
No, they wanted to do it on Memorial Day. In front of the pool.

Conducting a lemonade stand in front of the pool requires planning. And an adult to schlep all the lemonade stand paraphernalia down to the pool and to supervise the sale of the lemonade.
Guess what adult was designated for this duty?
Uh huh. That's right. Me.
Even though my kid comprises only one fourth of the lemonade stand staff. But who's counting?

You see, the mom of two of the four girls is on the HOA board. She asked permission for the kids to conduct their lemonade stand in front of the community pool and the board agreed. Evidently it's a conflict of interest or something for her to be there while the girls operate their stand. I can easily understand that; HOA stuff can get a little contentious.
So, that pretty much leaves me as the available chaperone.

I'm fine with that, it's my lot in life. I've accepted that.
However, I warned them that the water is still very cold and there might not be a lot of traffic on Memorial Day. Rain was forcasted. Again, they didn't care. Their attention was firmly affixed on Memorial Day and they were not, under any circumstances, straying from their original plan.

They decorated signs, planned the schedule, delegated duties, secured supplies.

Far be it from me to squash the dreams of these budding capitalists. I just wish they would have chosen another day.
And honestly, I'm never comfortable with the idea of selling things. I don't like asking people for money. I realize lemonade stands are the ultimate in entrepreneurialism for kids and most people find it adorable. I, however, just really hate being involved with selling stuff.

And so it's raining. Warm, muggy summer time rain.
The lemonade stand has been postponed. As well as many Memorial Day backyard get together here in Northern Virginia, I presume.

I told the girls we'd do it on a nice hot, sunny day. We'll make cookies and sell those too.
Cookies make everything better.

I feel a twinge of guilt for being happy that I don't have to chaperone this event today. I find their enthusiasm endearing, but am thankful that we're doing it on another day.

Yay for the rain!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Polka Dots?

How do we feel about the dots?
I like them; they're a little more subdued than the colors in the previous background. Since I already wrote about the difficulty I have making decisions, I'll spare you the painstaking details of the polka dot background selection process.

I'm getting close to my 100th post.

Actually, since I deleted the first two months of posts, thanks to my failure to fully understand the finality of the delete key, I've already reached my 100th post. However, I don't want to be like Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa with asterisks by their names in the MLB record books, so I'm not including the posts that have drifted off into oblivion in my stat count.

In great blogger tradition, I will compose a list of 100 things about ME (yay me!) for the impending 100th post. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seats in anticipation. As if I haven't shared more than enough about me as it is.

Caroline and I survived our trip to Target without noteworthy incident.
We were successful in the search for sunscreen, a bathing suit and cover up (damn summer!) and a yo-yo, that was not on the list. But sadly, we left without any properly fitting shorts.
Why is there such a huge difference between medium and large? The Target Circo brand clothing fits her *just right* in the 7/8 size. The shorts are slowly creeping up into the too short territory on her legs and the shirts touch just below the waist band.
It's safe to say that there isn't much room left for growth.
On many occasions, I've forbidden Caroline to keep growing, but she doesn't listen.
Instead of searching an alternative medicine textbook for a way to stunt her growth, we tried the next size up. She was swimming in them!

What to do?

The Cherokee brand fits her well and include the much appreciated adjustable waist band. However, all of the shorts they have in stock, while super cute, have a three inch inseam.
For long legged Caroline, this is a huge no-no.

Since whittling off a segment of Caroline's legs is not an option, I gave up.
I left feeling a wee bit frustrated and slightly peeved at clothing companies who insist on making inappropriate clothing for little girls.
Believe me, I'm not one of those modesty nazis. I appreciate tank tops, V-necks and shorts. Modesty is important, but I'm much more concerned with not looking tacky.

It seems that you only find great clothes that fit perfectly and are at a decent price when you're not actively looking.

Why is that?

Just like those stupid pillows I should have bought months ago. There they sit in front of you in their over stuffed glory, taunting you and your fiscal responsibility. They're there when you can't come up with a single good reason to purchase them; and gone when you finally decide that you can't live another day without them.

It's a cruel world.

Curse you, you retail puppet masters.

Craig took Caroline to the pool for her highly anticipated first dip of the summer. As expected, the water was cold. But Caroline was proud of her perseverance. As she said, "she just dealt with it." Gee, I wonder where she hears that term?
They didn't stay long since Craig has to work today but given the water temperature, I'm not sure that it took much cajoling to get Caroline out of the water.
Even though I do have a cute new bathing suit, I stayed home to vacuum. To some, that may sound sad and pathetic, but I like to vacuum. Besides, the new towels I bought yesterday have WAY TOO MUCH LINT on them. I washed and rewashed them, shook them and shook some more and there was turquoise lint all over the house.
That's what you get for buying $3.85 beach towels.
One of them lost so much lint that there is a bald spot on one of stripes.
You get what you pay for, right?

In usual Smith anti-celebretory fashion, we have nothing planned for Memorial Day. Craig is working and we don't have a grill, so bbqing is out.
That's ok, we don't have any friends to invite over anyway.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Brutal Honesty

I'm not a big fan of brutal honesty; nor do I appreciate criticism. Constructive or not.
I'm an ostrich; I'd rather bury my head in the sand than come face to face with other people's perceptions of me.
I'm hard enough on myself without needing a reminder from the public at large.

I realize that I'm a big girl and should act accordingly, however I'm really quite certain that I couldn't gracefully handle the brutal honesty of others. Probably because whatever they had to say would, most likely, reaffirm what I already feel about myself.

The truth hurts, so just zip your lips, you brutally honest people. Slap on a half hearted smile, remove your eyeballs from the rolled back in your head position and through gritted teeth say "sure, I LOVE your whiny nasally voice." Or whatever.

Unless, of course, you only have heaps of glowing praise to shower upon me.
Fake smile or not, that I'll take. With as much modesty and humility as I can muster.

Actually, I don't take praise well either. It does go down a lot smoother than criticism, but I still feel awkward.

And, in case you haven't already gleaned this information, I have terrible self esteem.

You might be a bit surprised to learn of my inner weenie, considering how opinionated I can be. I'll boldly opine about things, policies and people I will never meet face-to-face. THAT is the beauty of blogging. I wouldn't dream of saying anything mean spirited to someone I was having a real conversation with. I think hateful things all the time. I just wouldn't dream of hurting someone's feelings in the name of honesty. I suck at confrontation. I cave to whatever is asked of me and then I give in some more.

"Sure, I'll watch your kids. Take as long as you'd like and PLEASE do not pay me."

It bothers me to no end when people think it is perfectly acceptable to express their opinions in a rude manner simply because "they're just being honest." I don't really know anyone like that in my personal circle, but I know of the type and find it quite unpleasant. Reality show casts always contain at least one brutally honest person to stir up controversy. And that person is usually the most despised.

Honesty doesn't have to be tacky.

I'd like to think that I'm a tactful person. A people pleaser. A yes woman.

If I don't have a perfectly good reason not to do something requested of me, I'll do it, even if I reeeeaaaally don't want to.

Of course Craig would whole heartedly refute these claims. It's my opinion that he should feel honored and privileged to know that I'm comfortable enough with him to be myself. I'll let you know if he buys that....he hasn't yet, but I'm holding out hope. Perhaps he'll ingest that load of bunk a little easier if I serve it up with a heaping pile of chicken pot pie.

I admire those who politely and non-wishy washily say "no thanks, I don't want to go to the opera right now" or "no thanks, I don't like to eat fish." You know I'd be the one eating raw tuna and listening to a fat chick with horns on her head belting out the most hideous operatic sounds.

It's a good thing I don't have any friends who are fashion nightmares. I don't think I'd ever be able to gently make them aware of their tragic, put-her-on-the-"don't"-list-with-a-black-mark-covering-her-face-page-of-Glamour-magazine.

This really is a rambling topic and I'm slightly concerned that I'm advocating lying.

I don't *think* I am, but well....I don't know.

Perhaps I'm advocating minding your own beeswax? Living by the golden rule.

While I can be a "nosy neighbor" and enjoy a good gossip session, I don't ever feel compelled to tell people how I think they should live their lives. I don't care how many children a couple chooses to have. None or twelve. I don't care and it's not my business anyway. I would never tell someone to stop driving a gas guzzling SUV and likewise, I'd never tell someone their clown car looks utterly ridiculous.

The whole reason I started this post is because Caroline is honest. If she doesn't want to play with a particular person or participate in a particular game, she'll say no. I'm glad she's not a pushover, but I'm also faced with the challenge of encouraging tactfulness.

How do you teach tact?

She's not necessarily mean; she's blunt. And offers no explanation. There isn't a "no thanks, I'd rather _______ right now" or "I'd like to have a snack and then I'll come out to play."

She says "no."

No. And that's it.

Usually I'll give her a little hairy eyeball action and she'll buck up and say "no thank you" but that is it. Short and sweet. Ever the peacemaker, I find myself chiming in and offering a little extra explanation, as to not offend the asker of the question. I probably should stay out of these conversations, but I'm compelled to make things better by a force far bigger and stronger than me. The make nice-nice force.

Caroline is so different then me. If she has a little tiff with a friend, it does not bother her. She just moves on and plays with someone else. I find myself more eaten up about it than her. That doesn't bode well for the teenage years, does it? I suffered through my own tumultuous teens and now I have to do it again? I may be biased, but Caroline already seems to have a lot more going for her than I ever did, so maybe she'll be one of the few girls who claim to have loved the high school years.

I'm having a hard time coming up with a way to wrap this up. I think it's fair to say that we're all egregiously sinful and I certainly don't think I'm better than anyone because I'm not an in your face, tell it like it is person.

I just hope that with time Caroline will learn to be more tactful. I don't want her to be a pushover, because that certainly hasn't gotten me very far in life. I do, however, want her to consider the feelings of others. I guess it's like any other life lesson kids learn. When they're two and you ask them to share, they cry as if they think they'll never get their toy back. As they age, they lighten up and start to understand sharing. Even at age seven, we still have conversations about sharing and being a gracious host, but overall I think we're heading in the right direction.

Perhaps the tact lesson just happens a little later in life.

With any luck she'll learn tact, tooth brushing without splattering the mirror and the importance of having a clean face all at the same time.

There's No Stopping It

Despite my best attempts to will it away, summer is almost here.
I guess I'm not a big fan of summer. I'm sure I enjoyed it as a kid, but now I just see it as three months of endless sweating. Three months of insanely hot cars, sweltering in the parking lot under the blazing sun. Three months of frequent leg shaving. Three months of remembering to apply and reapply sunblock. Three months of hot and sweaty neighborhood children in need of a drink and a popsicle.

The pool opened today.
We didn't go, but Craig is taking Caroline tomorrow before he goes to work. I'm in no hurry to go, as I'm sure I'll spend a great deal of time there once school is out. Besides, as I get older and more susceptible to wrinkles, I'd rather avoid long term exposure to the sun. A warm glow is great, but leathery alligator skin is not.

I sure do miss the carefree days. The days when consequence meant nothing. The days when I knew nothing about UVA/UVB broad spectrum rays.
Ignorance is most definitely bliss.

Instead of checking out the pool today, Craig took Caroline to the movies and I went shopping. I figure if I can't stop summer from coming, the least I can do is buy some new summer things. If you can't beat em, you might as well look good when you join em. It's far better to sweat in new coffee brown bermuda shorts than in your old faded shorts you've been wearing for four years. A new bag and towels brighten up any trip to the pool.
Feeling rather ambitious, I even went back for more bathing suit torture enhanced cellulite inspection via three way mirror. I was much more successful today and did not leave the store feeling nearly as dejected as I did last week. In fact, after I left Kohl's, I went to pick up some lunch. That is a huge indicator for how well bathing suit shopping went. Last week I left the store vowing to never eat again.

Tomorrow I'm taking Caroline to Target for a few things for her. She has grown SO much this past year. All her pants are highwaters and her shorts from last year are approaching Daisy Duke territory.
Please pray for me. Caroline is not a very cooperative shopper and hates trying on clothes.
She's already moaning and groaning about the impending trip.

It's a good thing I don't go on this type of shopping spree very often; it's kind of scary how quickly the bill adds up.

Oh well, atleast we'll look nice and summery while sitting in the poor house.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I suck at making decisions.
Variety may be the spice of life, but it only stresses me out.
What to wear? What to make for dinner? How to cut my hair?

Craig wonders why it takes me two hours to grocery shop; it's all the decisions I have to make. Even with a list in hand and nearly thirteen years of grocery shopping experience to guide me, I still stand in the aisle, blankly staring at what is presented before me. Don't get me wrong, I like options. I'd complain if I didn't have any. I don't like being forced to buy one brand over another because that's all that the store carries. But on the other hand, the cornucopia of food products displayed in such pretty little rows on the shelves only distracts me from my task at hand, further complicating things.
It's a love hate thing.

Price, value, taste, nutritional merit, smooth or chunky, paper or plastic.
Too. Many. Decisions.
And for the record, the smooth or chunky decision is easy, so I'm not sure why I added it. It's smooth all the way, or prepare to face the wrath of Craig.

As I type this, I'm in the throes of vacation package decisions. Since we won't be moving mid July, we're going to spend a few days at Colonial Williamsburg instead. There are all kinds of great package deals out there. And along with the greatness comes the decisions.
Which package? Which hotel? How many days?
We have it all figured out, but I'm plagued with the "what ifs." An incurable chronic disease I've suffered through my entire life.

What if someone gets sick? What if it rains? What if the hotel looks nothing like the picture?What if my car blows up?

What if we spend all this money and all Caroline wants to do is play in the hotel pool?

That may sound like a far fetched "what if," but trust me, it's not. DisneyWorld wasn't nearly as exciting to Caroline as the pool at our hotel and the free bus ride to Downtown Disney for Happy Meals. She asked to go back to Disney and I just chuckled. We have a pool in our subdivision and McDonalds down the street.
That trip to Disney is one I think we'd all like to forget. Especially Craig, who spent half of it in the hotel, dealing with a stomach virus.

It was awesome.

We're not a traveling type of family. Excluding all the moving we do, of course.
Vacations never end up being relaxing or rejuvinating; they are often plagued with snippy arguments and lots of whining. I think it's Caroline's fault. Sure, blame the kid. No really, before she came around, we did enjoy our travels and each other's company. Maybe it's three people in one small room with the smallest and energetic of the three insistent upon jumping from bed to bed, using the key card over and over, racing through the halls and filling and refilling the ice bucket.

Vacations always sound like a good idea. I'm hopeful that the two we have planned this summer will be refreshing and filled with fun memories. Not me yelling at Craig in the Burger King parking lot. It was not one of my finer vacation moments, I confess. But please keep in mind that Caroline was two and a half, hungry and tired. Three things that do not help promote family harmony.

We're all older now.
Some a bit more mellow, others one a bit more neurotic.

Who knows?
We could actually have a really nice time.

If only I could finalize the decisions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Play Dates

In her nearly seven and a half years on this planet Caroline has never had an official play date. You know, the type you read about in parenting magazines and see on television. Happy little kids with shiny clean faces in their monogrammed frocks, being dropped off in their BMW suv by their perfectly dressed and coiffed mothers. Playing quietly and cooperatively with their equally well dressed friends in their room that resembles page 37 of the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.

No mud. No screeching. No whining.

Since we're new to the play date scene, I can only imagine that the above scenario is what truly happens. That's how it plays out in my mind anyway.
We're a little less formal with play around here.
A group of kids+a big mess+l0ts of snacks. That's how it goes down around here.
Play dates for the uncivilized.

Lots of mud. Lots of screeching. Lots of whining.

I've never in my life used the words "play date." While there is nothing wrong with play dates, it just seems like such a funny term. And perhaps I'm a little miffed that my kid has a busier and fuller social schedule than me.

Anyway, Caroline was invited to Ella's house for a play date this afternoon. Caroline, always ready to play, is super excited, of course. What sends this afternoon get together over the top is that she gets to ride the bus home with Ella. This is just awesome in her book, since she's only been on the bus for a field trip or two. It's great that the big yellow bus provides such a magical experience for the youngsters. When she's fifteen, she may think otherwise.

I have the whole afternoon free.
Craig is off today so we went to lunch and attempted to buy him some new summer clothes, but that didn't go so well. So we came home.

And I proceeded to clean out the pantry.

Despite all the exciting stuff happening on the home front, Craig went to the movies.
And boy is he missing out; who doesn't enjoy a good pantry cleaning?

I have three hours to kill before I have to pick Caroline up and nothing to do.

I suppose I should just take the opportunity to enjoy the silence; school is coming to an end and I can already predict that this summer will be long and loud.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Perfection Is Overrated

It's entirely impossible to be charming, beautiful AND brilliant all of the time. That is, unless your definition of charming is whiny, petty and self absorbed. If that is the case, I'm the most charming person ever. EVER.

And beautiful, eh...not so much. I'd post a picture of the horror that is my hair, but trust me, you don't want to know. I'm in desperate (DESPERATE!) need of a hair cut, but I simply HATE having it done. I don't trust people with scissors. I fear the words "oops" being uttered and I get annoyed when they casually ask me what kind of shampoo I use and then try to sell me the expensive stuff on their shelves.

A few cuts ago, the stylist tried to get me to color and highlight my hair. Truth be told, I've never colored my hair. I'm loathe to begin now because of the expense and upkeep required. Once any gray shows up, I might reconsider, but for now I'm au naturale. Anyway, the chick told me I should let her color my hair so it would look more "professional." Professional? I'm not sure if she thought my hair wasn't up to par with my professional career or she was telling me that whoever colored my hair previously did one heck of a hack job. Obviously my current "career" does not require that my hair maintain a level of professionalism. Cleaning toothpaste spattered mirrors and handing out ice pops to wild neighborhood children are tasks easily completed with a ponytail. If she meant the latter option, then she was just talking nonsense, since, you know...I've never colored my hair before. OR that was her way of hinting that my natural, untreated hair color really does look like I had a botched dye job. In which case, I'd be absolutely mortified and headed to Target for a box of Ms. Clairol....or whatever all you hip, highlighted people use these days.
I think she was just trying to get me to spend more money since she also talked me into a $15 deep conditioning treatment.

That woman was very persuasive. I am easily persuaded.

To recap, I'm NOT charming or beautiful and I'm certainly and most definitely NOT brilliant.
As if you were ever lead to believe that I was.

And no, I didn't "wash" a pan in the microwave again. Or pour water on the modem. Or kill any goldfish. Or get the vacuum cord tangled up in the running motor. Or set the crock pot cord on fire....we don't have a gas stove so that couldn't possibly happen. Again.
You know, it's really a miracle that I haven't set our house on fire or killed any humans.

Today I did not do any of the aforementioned "brilliant" things to inspire this post, but I did, run for an hour before kickboxing class. It seemed like a good idea at the time as I've been feeling a bit "puffy" lately. Since I can't just put the fork down, like a normal person, I figured running the puffiness out would be an acceptable alternative. In retrospect, this was a totally dumb idea.

I feel like I've been hit by a truck.

I'm so very tired.

And every time I get up out of a chair or climb the stairs I groan.
Loudly. Obnoxiously. Like an old person. Not like the spritely young thing I am. Ha!

It's definitely not the dumbest thing I've ever done, but right now I sure feel like it is.

That's ok, I'll get over it. I have to because I'm sure I'll do something even more idiotic tomorrow.

Ever the optimist.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Remember the Flowbee?

Picture courtesy of

Sure you do.

The Flowbee is a hair cutting device you attach to your vacuum cleaner.
It was all the rage back in the day.
In fact, I remember a kid from school referring to having a hair cut as "getting flowbed."

Relax, I have not nor will I ever own or use a Flowbee.

Although....barber shop hair cuts aren't cheap and Craig gets a hair cut twice a month. This could save some serious cash.

Nah, I don't trust myself enough to administer the home haircut. Besides, would you trust someone to cut your hair who might or might not have said this today: "it's clean, I washed it in the microwave."

Where did my brain go?

So the Flowbee might not be the right product for our family, but yesterday I discovered a new use for the vacuum.

Nail trimmer.
Yep, I said it.

If you're not being careful and let your bare toe slip under the bottom of the vacuum, your nail will be trimmed. Thankfully my toe wasn't mangled, just nicely manicured (pedicured?). One time I got the cord stuck underneath the vacuum and it got majorly gnarled up, but my toe escaped without incurring any major damage.

Seriously folks, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Long Time No Blog

Well, if you consider two days a long time.
Two days without a shower is indeed a long time. So are two days without sleep, internet or television. But I could live two days without seeing a snake. Or being sick. Or mopping.

I'm in sort of a foul mood today. Months ago I found some pillows that I thought would look nice on our couch. Being ever fiscally conservative, I didn't buy them. I've thought about those pillows a lot. Imagining how lovely, bright and cheerful they'd look on our couch. So I decided to bite the bullet and just buy them.
And they're nowhere to be found.
Out of stock.
And not available online.

I've been obsessed with throw pillows the past few days. And I can't find anything that I love enough to bring home. Our living room is dark. Apple green walls, brown leather furniture and one window do not add much to the brightness of the room. I haven't a choice, however. Our landlords chose the apple green and we're not replacing our leather furniture because I can't find the right throw pillows.

I really want the ones I fell in love with months ago.
Why didn't I just buy them?

Lesson learned.

I looked everywhere today. Nothing popped out. Nothing sang to me.

Totally dejected, I refocused my attention on finding a tankini bathing suit top. Because nothing says "morale booster" like bathing suit shopping.
Here's the thing, I have a large frame. My shoulders and rib cage are broad. I'm sturdy, which is how every woman likes to be described. However, I lack the one thing that all bathing suit manufacturers assume large framed people have: the ability to fill out the front.
All I need is a plain tankini top in pink or turquoise to match a tankini skirt I have. The top that coordinates with the skirt is too big in all the wrong places.

It was a nightmare.
18 people were waiting to enter the 6 stalled dressing room at Kohls.
This one poor guy was waiting on his wife who had a very hard time making up her mind. Seriously, she must have been in there for 45 minutes. In between fetching clothes for her and offering fashion advice she solicited from him, he sat on the floor of the women's department texting and looking slightly annoyed.

I tried on two tops and neither of them fit well.

So I gave up and came home.
Empty handed and dejected.

I drank a diet coke, vacuumed and cleaned the carpet on the stairs.

We had hopes to attend the air show at Andrews AFB today. The weather was quite iffy this morning so we opted not to go. Guess what? It's not raining at all. We could be watching the Army Golden Knights jump out of airplanes right now.
Instead, I'm sitting at home in my not so bright and cheery throw pillow-less living room, wallowing in self pity.

Oh well.

I'm good at self pity.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Myth Debunkery

In case you've been misled by tales of my impeccable domestic eminence, here is visual proof to debunk the myth that I'm perfect.

Even the strong stumble.
And yes, even I, your humble neurotic housewife, find it nearly impossible to be perfect all of the time.
Just ask Craig.
And Caroline.
And the button I "sewed" on my shorts.

I'm thinking a heavy, VERY HEAVY, dusting of powdered sugar is in order.
Powdered sugar is a lot like gravy. It covers a multitude of cooking sins.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I have this pair of Old Navy jeans.
I like them. They're comfortable, they're not too long and they fit.
Well, they fit...until I start moving.

There's nothing wrong with a little stretch. Stretch is helpful. It's comfortable and forgiving.
But must stretch stretch so much that I have to adjust my jeans every time I move? The way I'm always hiking them up, you'd think I lost some weight or have some sort of twitching disorder.
Nope. It's the stretch doing it's job.
Far and above it's call of duty.

Every time I wear these jeans I wish I hadn't. I'm annoyed all day, but I keep coming back to them.
I don't know why?
I also don't know why I don't wear a belt?
Seriously, why don't I wear a belt?

I hate jeans. It's harder to find a good pair of jeans than a flattering bathing suit (now that the tennis skirt style bottom has become widely available).
I'm short. My legs are short, but I can't wear petite pants because they're too short in the waist.
It's hard to find "short" jeans that I can get over these birthin' hips, don't gap in the waist or make my legs look like sausages about to pop from their casing.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I'm cheap?

Finding pants that aren't so long that they cover my feet completely, don't look like old lady pants and fit my budget is nearly impossible.

I suppose I should be thankful that summer is around the corner and my jeans are headed to their highly anticipated vacation spot in a Rubbermaid tub.
However, the idea of wearing shorts creates an entirely different set of issues. Issues that I assured myself would be dealt with this fall and winter. Guess what? They weren't dealt with. They're back, baby. And more problematic than ever.


I like the idea of bermuda shorts because they hide the multitude of sins that have manifested themselves in my thighs.
However, when you're short, bermuda shorts aren't shorts.
They're capris.

I quit.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Subliminal Messaging Must Be Working

Caroline is a pretty easy going kid. She's not high maintenance, would prefer a ball to a fancy gadget and doesn't argue over wardrobe choices.
We had a few rough patches when she was two and three but overall, she's a really good kid. Sure she has a knack for getting her way, but it's *usually* in an unobnoxious way.
I consider myself wise to the ways of the sneaky kid, but it surprises me how effective she is in getting what she wants.
She's smooth. And persistent.
She'd make a good used car saleswoman.
Thankfully she's not calculating or drama queenish. She is, however, exhausting. Which, from time to time, leaves me feeling beaten down.

After school today I prepared a snack for Caroline. She came into the kitchen to retrieve it and said "thanks mom."
Happy to hear some appreciation, and because I have impeccable manners, said "you're welcome."

And then she told me that from this day forward she is always going to be polite to me.

Evidently the "How Not to Beat Your Mama Down Until She's in the Fetal Position, Crying and Longing To Reclaim Her Childless Years" subliminal messaging tapes I've been playing while she sleeps are working.

Only time will tell if this new pledge sticks.

If not, I purchased Phase II of the messaging tapes: Child, Your Mama Doesn't Want To "Come Here" If You Want To Show Her Something, You Go To Her.

In case you're wondering, Phase III offers tips on how to put your shoes IN the shoe basket and how to brush your teeth without spitting all over the mirror.

I think I'll play this one regardless of Caroline's new found attention to politeness.

Tips on being tidy are always applicable and worth repeating.

Most Excellent News

Our landlords said they would be happy to extend our lease.

You have NO IDEA how relieved I am.

Since we only signed a 12 month lease, I fretted ALL YEAR that we might face another move this summer. Originally we thought we'd try to move onto Ft. Belvoir, but Caroline has made lots of friends and we just love her school, there's no way we'd uproot her again. Besides, the school on Ft. Belvoir starts at 9:30am. That's way too late; it would greatly interfere with my gym schedule.
Thanks to wonderful landlords and a crappy housing market, I'm so happy that we're staying put in our lovely green walled townhouse.

I've been holding onto boxes from last July, just in case, but I've been bit by a major declutter bug and would love to clear out them out of the garage. I guess it's safe to do so now.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
You see, in this family I'm a one woman moving team. Research, organizing, stressing, preparing for the packers, cleaning, stressing, unpacking, stressing, reorganizing, picture hanging, stressing, box removal.
Thankfully the Army provides the help for the packing and heavy lifting, but I take care of the rest.

The search for this house and the subsequent move in was particularly stressful. Mentally and physically. On the bright side, my quad muscles have never been so tight and sculpted, thanks to the two sets of stairs I ran up and down a zillion times.

So, here's to a relaxing summer.

No rental property lists. No utility transferring. No first and last months rent.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Crushed Dreams

During today's grocery shopping trip test of patience, the gates of heaven opened, the hallelujah chorus began it's angelic refrain and hope felt as if it were making a comeback. No, not because Caroline behaved so well. Let's face it, she hates coming with me as much as I hate taking her. However, Sunday morning is Craig's best opportunity to go on a long run, something he really enjoys and looks forward to, so she didn't exactly have a choice. Come with me or eat canned beans for dinner.

The cause for the restoration of hope in my life was this:

Dark chocolate peanut butter.
On sale.
Plus a coupon.

With great hope, I imagined that this would become my new bff. Well, just my bff, because I don't have an old bff to replace. Unless you count the treadmill. Or the washing machine. Between the two, I spend quite a chunk of time with each throughout the week. They're fine and all, but they do make lousy lunch partners.

Sadly, as delicious as my potential bff appears, I was slightly disappointed.
I was hoping for bliss, but I got an a'ight instead.
The hallelujah chorus did not reappear.

Don't get me wrong, I won't be throwing it away, but I also won't be caught red handed with an open jar and a big spoon anytime soon.
Honestly, that's a good thing.
But still, all my Mother's Day hopes were crushed. Sniff, sniff.

We never go all out for holidays and special days, so my expectations are low.
However, if you would have told me eight years ago, when I first learned I was pregnant, that I'd be spending this Mother's Day, scrubbing bathtubs, entertaining a gaggle of other people's children and telling the tale of my pb woes, I wouldn't have believed it.

I'll just consider my less than exciting day a random act of service to others. I'm providing the other moms in my neighborhood with a lovely, quiet Mother's Day afternoon. While they're enjoying peace, quiet and perhaps a much longed for nap, I've got six kids over here, creating advertisement for a future lemonade stand, nurturing little sponge animals, collecting caterpillars and feeding crushed ice to the trees.

Ahem, A Poem For Mom

Since I'm a sorry excuse for a daughter and didn't get my mom a Mother's Day Present, I thought I'd reprise the poem I wrote for her when I was a young and aspiring poet.

Moms are specal
Moms are nice
Moms take care fo you
And I like moms

To celebrate the day here, I'm taking Caroline grocery shopping. It's not my first choice in Mother's Day celebratory activities, but our refrigerator is looking bare and I'm almost out of ice cream.
If we both make it out of the commissary with our heads still attached to our bodies and sanity still intact, I might consider treating us to some lunch. It's been two weeks since Caroline's last McNugget and since we're such classy folks (who needs some fancy brunch!), I just might indulge her. Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" like the smell of fried food and a useless plastic toy that sits unused in your purse for a few weeks until you finally throw it away in sheer annoyance.
I hate Happy Meal toys.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The O'Reilly Factory

Just a few minutes ago Craig came into the kitchen, chuckling, and said that Caroline asked him something about watching the "O'Reilly Factory."
It's such a welcome treat when kids say something cute, especially when just a few minutes earlier you were restraining yourself from throttling that same child for whining about snack options.

In other unrelated and randomly selected news, I'm happy that one of Virginia's representatives is pushing for a ban on erectile dysfunction adds between the hours of 6 am and 10pm. I'm generally a free speech kind of girl, but I'm not really ready to answer the "mom, what's e.d.?" question. Caroline pretty much only watches Disney or Nick (and the occasional episode of The O'Reilly Factory!), but she has quite the knack for hearing things you'd rather she didn't. She has perfected the art of NOT hearing things like "put your shoes IN the shoe basket" and "it's time for bed" but she is quick to hear everything you wish she'd never repeat.

Like the time she was five and asked "what's sexy back?"
Bye bye Justin Timberlake.
Sniff, I still miss you JT.

These days we only listen to the Christian station in the car, or talk radio. But I've found myself muting conservative talk radio on occasion.
Kids are only innocent for a short time and I'd like to prolong it as long as humanly possible.

And besides, those commercials are kind of dumb. I don't know one single person who sits in a claw footed bathtub next to his/her spouse in their own claw footed bath tub in a meadow.
Or in the ocean.

Who comes up with these ideas?

So, I Forgot the Camera

I had every intention of bringing the camera to Caroline's class play.
No, really.
I did.
Since we missed our usual Wednesday lunch date, due to Caroline's dentist appointment, I told her I'd come today. I figured I sit with her at lunch, run home, eat my own lunch, grab the camera and get back to the school for the play.
It seems that while my intentions are good, I'm easily, so very easily side tracked.
I had a hair emergency today.
I left my Body Combat class early to insure a prompt arrival at the school. However, without the opportunity to have my body fully cool down, I jumped in the shower only to find that after the shower, I was still sweating.
I hate that. Don't you just hate that?

Drying your hair while sweating is also less than enjoyable.
And kind of difficult. Counter productive.
So between fanning myself, blotting my face only to remove the make up I just slapped on, forgetting to apply conditioner and some Texas-style heavy handed hair spray application, I had a mess on my hands. Er, head.
I was trying out the flippy do, which was successful a few days ago.
Today. Not even close.
Caroline's lunch starts around 10:55am. At 10:57, and still at the gym, I whipped out my trusty flat iron.
It helped. But not as much as I would have liked.
I did my best, got in the car, disobeyed a few traffic laws and made it to the school, fashionably (sort of) late.

Lunch was enjoyable. And loud.
I'm sure the conversation was stimulating, as it always is, but I was hungry and unable to concentrate on anything but eating.
But not cafeteria food. It wasn't tater tot day. For tater tots, I *might* consider revoking my "no cafeteria food" personal ban.

Instead of going home for lunch, I suggested to Craig that we go to Subway.
So we did.
And then we swung by the library.
And then it was time to go to the school.

Without the camera.

Oh well.

Just picture Caroline in a white shirt and black pants sitting in a director's chair.
And lots of kids wearing mouse ears (not like the Mickey Mouse hats with your name stitched in yellow cursive).

The play, just like yesterday, was great.

I'm so thankful that Caroline has a teacher who sets such high expectations for her students.
They were proud of their hard work and put on quite a show.

And now it's Friday afternoon.
I haven't a single fun or interesting thing planned for the weekend.

Unless you consider grocery shopping with a seven year old fun.

I don't.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

He's Your Son Too!

I just got back from watching Caroline's class perform "The Tale of Despereaux" play. Despereaux's mom sure seemed put out by birthing a large eared, disappointing runt of a mouse. Poor Despereaux.
Despite the mother's mean spirit, it was nice to know that even mice moms and dads have arguments about mouse rearing.
The play was so adorable.
A few weeks ago I helped them read their lines and at that time I honestly wasn't so sure how the play would go down. They practiced daily and it showed in their performance. Caroline is one of the narrators. She and Ben, the other narrator, get to sit in director's chairs, which makes them feel pretty special.
Today's performance was for their fellow first graders. Tomorrow they'll do it for the parents. Hopefully most of the parents will come. A lot of them work, so I know it's hard to get away in the middle of the day, but I know it would mean the world to the kids. Yesterday they performed for the Kindergarteners, but Caroline missed it due to her dentist appointment.

The root canal has been postponed. The endodontist, who, quite sympathetically, has his own brood of accident prone children, opted for the "wait and see" approach. We go back in two weeks for another set of xrays and tooth vitality tests. Her roots are vital, sensitive to cold, as they should be and he's somewhat hopeful that things will resolve on their own.
We shall see.

Caroline was not thrilled about returning to school, but I insisted. I took her back after lunch, so she got to participate in recess, math (her favorite), snack and art.
Such a tough life that kid has.

In other random news, I'm happy that the punk coiffed girl, Allison, got booted from American Idol last night. I don't watch religiously, but I try to keep somewhat current. I may have been the only one, but I enjoyed Kris' Beatles song on Tuesday. I happen to like that song and think that Kris is totally adorable. I'm glad he made it another week. Not that it really matters; the judges have set up an Adam/Danny finale from the get go.

I emailed our landlords last night. The pool is set to open at the end of the month and they need to sign our pool pass request form. Caroline has grand pool attendance plans, but that water is going to be COLD. All this rain and cooler temperatures are doing nothing to help warm up the pool water. Knowing her, she'll beg incessantly, I'll warn her of the frigid temperatures, she'll claim to not care, stick one foot in the water and say "it's cold." Well, no duh. I already warned you.
She's one of those kids that won't heed your warnings until she tries things for herself.
"Caroline, watch where you're walking" means nothing to her until she falls into the water fountain/wishing pond in the mall.
Yep, that happened.
She wasn't paying attention and walked right into the water. Craig carried her dripping wet through the mall and the whole time she cried, not because she was wet, but because I wouldn't let her eat the wet gumballs she had in her pocket. They were in the yucky mall pond/pool/fountain thing. There was no way I'd let her eat those. This moment will forever be etched in my brain. My only wish is that I had a camera with me to document this and stash it away in the "embarrass Caroline as a teenager" pile.

Along with the pool request I also casually asked them weather or not they'd let us sign another lease in July when our current one is up.
I've been fretting about this for ten months. The possibility of moving again has been in the back of my mind ever since we signed the lease.
I hope they'll let us. Thanks to the Army, they're guaranteed a rent check, and we're good tenants, even though I accidentally burned the counter top. It was a save your hand or save the counter moment. My hand won.

Besides, the housing market isn't exactly booming right now. Especially in pricey Northern Virginia. Putting this house back on the market would be risky.
I hope they don't want to sell; I don't want to move again.

There are four townhouses for rent in our area of the subdivision; we have options.
I just hope we don't have to utilize them.

And so this concludes this random account of some not very exciting tidbits from my life.
Blogging is a funny thing. Suddenly I feel compelled to air my dirty laundry, journal about the mundane and record the ups and downs of life. It seems so natural, even though in real life I would never go up to a stranger and tell them half the stuff I write on this blog.
It's a nice outlet.
Some days I feel particularly witty. Other days I'm whiny.
More often than not, I'm both.

I just wish that I had something more profound to say. But the truth is, I'm not all that profound. I'm shallow. Sure I can bust out the common sense when I need to, but I have not been blessed with the gift of saying the right thing at the right time.
I wander. I babble.

My words aren't encouraging or hopeful.
I'm a great listener. But listening doesn't translate well in blog land.
I guess I shouldn't try to compare myself to blog writers who are blessed with God given writing talent.
I'm not a writer and I'm certainly not a thinker. I compose blog posts as if they're a conversation. Meandering, long winded conversations.

And now I've lost my train of thought.

Besides, it's time to start another load of laundry.

Perhaps I should rename this blog "The Laundry Chronicles."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm Over My Sugar Coma

Yesterday I claimed to be done with sweets. Today, I confess, that I spoke too hastily.
I can't help it; I'm a flip-flopper, a la John Kerry. I was for dessert before I was against it.

Um, whatever.

Please pardon my dopey right wing extremist humor. Because, as you know, according to Janet Napolitano, I'm some sort of extremist, militia member because I happen to be pro-life.
Alrighty. End rant.

And on to more important things: Dessert.

I bought this tasty ice cream, which I have no intention of sharing, a few days ago.
I finally cracked open the carton this evening and wow, that is some good tasting ice cream.

Chocolate and marshmallow ice cream with graham cracker swirl (huh?), marshmallows and chocolatey chips.
And you know that when the chips are "chocolatey" you're eating some all natural stuff. And you know I'm all about the natural food.
No really, I am. Remember my ugly breakfast?
Wait, does diet pepsi count? Pop tarts? Baked cheetos?
So maybe only 75% 65% 50% of my diet is praise worthy. But look, I'm a boring housewife with nothing but a computer and talk radio to keep me entertained. I need something to look forward to. And if it's any consolation, I buy the pop tarts with fiber in them; that should count for something, right?

I confess that I'm not a huge marshmallow fan, but they work in this ice cream.
I take that back, I do like some marshmallows, especially the ones in Lucky Charms (which I never buy and never ate as a I'm not even sure why I like them? Maybe I only like them in my head?) but I hate Peeps and those totally disgusting circus peanuts with a fiery passion.
I don't think I've ever met a single person who claims to like them. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen anyone buy them, either. Which begs the question, why does Brachs still make them? Or maybe they did stop producing them, but the shelf life of the circus peanuts is so long that they are still sellable.

Anyway, the ice cream is worth the three bucks. Still slightly hung over from my taste testing, baked good binge yesterday, I was careful to eat only the suggested half cup serving. Which reminds me of a time a few years ago when I set out to see if there really were 16 servings in a half gallon of ice cream. Of course, now the half gallons are 1.75 quarts and have only 12 (or 14?) servings. Sneaky ice cream manufacturers. They thought we wouldn't notice, but believe me, when it comes to ice cream, I notice. Oh, I notice.
And the same thing goes for tuna cans. They used to be 6oz, now they're 5oz.
Somehow talk of ice cream and tuna in the same paragraph makes me feel a little queasy.
Moving along... I set out on my quest for ice cream carton serving size accuracy. You know, for science. Or math?
Only, I made my way through about three servings when I had to throw the ice cream away.
She threw ice cream away!?!
Yep. I did.
Not because I wanted to, but because I was nursing baby Caroline at the time and she developed a very odd rash. Puzzled by the yucky rash and uncertain of it's cause, I started with my diet, eliminating anything that might be an allergen.
Since I tended to eat the same types of foods and nothing had bothered her in the past, I concluded that the only culprit could be the pecans in my caramel pecan ice cream.
Bye bye ice cream.
Bye bye rash.

Thankfully that was some sort of fluke because Caroline isn't allergic to anything now (well, except for penicillin...."it's just a bug bite...stop scratching and you'll stop itching....oh wait, your entire back is red, blotchy and bumpy....maybe it's NOT a bug bite").

Tomorrow is root canal day. As much as I wish this weren't happening, we're all eager to just get it over with.
Caroline is thrilled to be missing school, since, you know, first grade is so demanding and all.
Under the circumstances, she'd probably rather be at school, but at least she's focusing on the positive stuff.
We'll leave the worry to mom.

Other than the Novocaine, it doesn't seem as if the dentist will be drugging her up. She's tough and will be just fine, but I sure could use a Valium.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sugar Coma

The one draw back to baking is that, for quality control purposes, I have to sample everything.
I want to put out a good product, after all.
I eat the corners, the cookies that fall apart and lick way too many beaters.
Three different recipes were made today and man am I feeling like a pig in sugar shock.

Around Christmas time I make something called Oreo truffles. The first year I made them, Craig's co workers devoured them and asked for more. I ended up making several batches that year and one evening as Caroline and I were dipping the truffles, covered in chocolate up to our elbows, I announced that I was officially tired of chocolate.
In all honesty, I was back to my old chocolate loving self the next day, but today I'm feeling a little turned off by my tasty treats.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week and Caroline's teacher seems to really enjoy sweets, so I baked up a batch of double chocolate chunk cookies to bring into school tomorrow.

In other Teacher Appreciation Week news, I met with another mom early this morning and we decorated Mrs. Evans' door with a big thank you sign and a basket of apples, each bearing the name of one of the kids in the class. Not the least bit artistically inclined, I muddled my way through and drew a big basket on a piece of construction paper, colored it and then taped some apple shaped cut outs I found at the Dollar Tree to look as if they were coming out of the basket.
I must give mad props to our saviour: double sided sticky tape.

Craig's co-workers are having a Cinco de Mayo pot luck tomorrow. I'm contributing the very festive and appropriate lemon bars. Nothing screams Mexico like lemon bars.
They were actually the request of one of Craig's fellow warrant officers and I'm always happy to oblige.
Because when I'm not busy throwing things, threatening bodily harm and insuring the police that everything is copacetic here at Casa de Smith, I really am a people pleaser.
A perfectly lovely, calm and rational people pleaser.

In other random news, it has been raining for days. I happen to like rainy days and am happy to see so much green after such a bleak winter. However, the rain wreaks havoc on my perfectly (ha!) styled hair and causes all sorts of outside playtime conflicts for the kids.
We've had an indoor tent set up for days. Indoor tent=mess=unhappy Alison
Caroline, ever the outdoor enthusiast, manages to sneak in some outside play when the rain calms to a sprinkle.

With all this springtime rain, I'm happy to report that I did not kill all of our outside landscaping. I was really quite fearful that I killed all of our landlord's plants; thankfully everything is growing and is as green and lush as ever. Yay!
You have no idea what a relief this is.

It's a good thing that my lack of ability to care for plants is not directly related to my ability to care for humans. Fish are an entirely different story (sniff, sniff....we still miss you Flip and Flop), but I'm alright at keeping the humans alive.

Speaking of the care of humans, I must go encourage Caroline to wipe off the huge smudge of chocolate she's sporting on her chin. She helped me eat some of the broken cookie parts.

It looks like she has a soul patch!

Ugh, I just remembered my sugar coma. I think I'll go eat some broccoli.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Words Every Mom Wants To Hear

"Hey mom, wanna watch me ride my scooter and roller skates at the same time?"

Uh, no thanks.

You'd think falling flat on her face and fracturing /chipping her front teeth would discourage her from trying such blatently dangerous things.
Clearly she's fearless. Or she hasn't learned to process the notion that there are consequences (bloody, painful consequences) to her actions.
Part of me is thankful she's adventurous, but more of me wishes she'd put a little more thought into her actions. Cause and effect mean very little to her at this point in her life.

Oh how I wish that wasn't true.

As it turns out, Caroline wasn't intending to ride her scooter while in roller skates, as I initially thought. The very idea conjures up all sorts of horrific images; images that would bring us to the emergency room, breaking my long standing "no blood in the car" rule.
Instead, she just skated while wheeling the scooter around.
Harmless fun.

Except we thought sliding on a pillow was harmless.
And that, as you very well know, proved otherwise.

Right now I can rest knowing that Caroline is safely tucked into bed, no doubt planning her next daredevil move.

I think she delights in making me cringe.

I guess that means she's doing this kid thing right.

Now I Wonder What the Neighbors Really Think of Us

A little while ago, as I came up stairs with a load of laundry on my hip, I saw two members of Fairfax County's finest standing at my doorstep.

Puzzled, I assumed something had happened to a neighbor and they were asking follow up questions. Otherwise, why in the world would they be at OUR front door on a rainy Sunday morning? Afterall, we're boring, law abiding, concerned citizens.
Apparently some anonymous neighbors of ours called the police, reporting that they heard loud noises and breaking glass from our house. (!)
Now that was news to me.

For our neighbors to have heard anything, this would have to have been one heck of a crazy loud fight. Not just a glass slipping from our hand. My short term memory might be, um short, but I think I'd remember something like that happening.

I gave the police my very best "what the heck" look and assured them that no such noises had occured from our townhouse. Clearly the snitches neighbors had the wrong house.

It's been a pleasant morning. I didn't beat or threaten to beat anyone and I didn't throw any remotes (which I did a looooooong time ago, and although all is forgiven, it is still brought up in conversation occasionally). Craig went for a run in the rain, Caroline has been peacefully playing Webkinz with her friend and I've been doing laundry.
No yelling. No glass breaking. No tantrums or screaming fits.

I really hope they heard wrong and gave the wrong house number.

I refrained from saying anything smart alecky while the police were at our doorstep, but after they left, I said to Craig, "so you finally called the cops on me."
All these years he's been claiming husband abuse; evidently the last straw broke and he ratted me out.

In all honesty, I teeter on the fiery side, but have become much more even keeled in the past few years. I haven't thrown anything in a very long time. I did stomp on some cookies a few years back, and my favorite cookie container came to an untimely crushing demise in the more recent past. That's ok, I have two! Surprisingly the fights causing me to stomp were not about cookies, I just happened to be doing cookie related business when they occured.

I cannot believe I just admitted this.

I have no shame.

And now I've got to get moving; Caroline has a birthday party to attend. The birthday girl was going to have a bounce house at the party, but it's raining. She's probably devastated. Now her parents will be equally, if not more, devastated since they'll have to entertain a gaggle of seven year old girls inside their house.
Been there. Done that. So not ever doing it again.

Oh, it's also my parent's 34th anniversary today.
Happy Anniversary, mom and dad!
Here's hoping the cops don't come to your door today!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Spilling water on your modem is not a good idea.
It was bound to happen; although we figured Craig would be the spiller. He is extra thirsty and has been dubbed the King of Multiple Cups, and spills them upstairs often. But that's only on the carpet. Wet carpet isn't fun for the feet, but does not cause damage of the technologic kind.

This spillage was all my doing. I had to one up Craig.
And when I one up, I go big.

He dampens the carpet. I break things.

We have one of those bundle packages through our cable company: cable, internet, phone.

When you spill water on your modem, not only are you prevented from connecting to the internet, but you can't use your phone either.
So, when you call the cable company (by looking up the number in the phone book...who uses those anymore?!) on your cell phone, it's quite likely that your phone will flip out and cut off your conversation. And then you have to call back and be placed on hold with THE MOST ANNOYING ON HOLD MUSIC EVER. EVER!
It wasn't even muzak. It was like tribal music. Obnoxiously loud tribal music. So very annoying.

In retrospect, if I weren't already annoyed with myself for breaking our modem, preventing me from my one true love: the internet, I may have found the music less grating than I did.

Um, the more I think about, I'm still not so sure. It was really annoying music.

So for 23 very long hours, we were sans the internet.
It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're not glued to a computer monitor.

I spent some time with a good book last night.
The kitchen is sparkling.
I'm caught up on laundry.

Caroline and I even had the chance to get out earlier and buy a birthday present for a party she's invited to tomorrow.
We decided on getting the birthday girl a Webkinz. Caroline has two that she has been playing with a lot lately, so I let her pick out a new one, as well. She chose a horse for Ella and a snake for herself. MY child chose a snake! She has visions of dangling it in my face to see how loud I scream. The thing is fuzzy and kind of cute, I don't imagine I'll cause too much of a fuss.

We hit the Webkinz jackpot today at the Hallmark store. If you spent $15 (the price of a Webkinz) you could buy a second smaller one for $1! We bought two and got two for $1 a piece. Awesome!

It's nice to be reconnected again.
It's easy to forget how reliant I've become on the internet, that is until it is callously yanked away from me.

And it's sort of a sad that 23 hours seems like an eternity to be without the computer.
Pathetic, I know. I never thought I was one of those high maintenance, instant gratification seekers. I guess I was wrong.

Oh well.

Reunited and it feels so good....