Jul 23, 2007

Harry Potter--What Else?!

Little did I know the adventure I was in for when my cousin Nick so aptly told me back in March when I visited his family for Charley girl’s birthday that if I did not get to reading the Harry Potter series and soon that I would not know what was going on in the world come July. Between him, my 30 other cousins who have all read them and my step-son who was beginning to read them, I decided to give them a shot. And Nick couldn’t have been more correct. Whatever would I be doing right now if I had not begun this adventure?! I would be soooooo utterly missing out.

My book arrived on Saturday in the mail. Never have I ever been so excited to check my mail since back in the day when I would get at least two or three letters a week from my BFF cousin, Karen. Anyway…..I put the key in the mailbox slightly nervous that maybe, just perhaps, for some reason it wouldn’t have shown up. If that were the case, I was going to just hop in my car anyway and run to Target where I had seen at least a thousand copies of it and pick it up anyway. Who couldn’t use two copies of the last H.P. book? But there it was….in all its glory….in a box marked, “Warning Muggles: Do not deliver or open until July 21″. How cute is that?!

Anyhoo…..I have desparately been trying to pace myself. It’s been hard. I’m a little over halfway through and I am really trying to force myself to not read it all as quickly as I did the others. After all….this is it. But at the same time, I don’t want to read it too slowly and run the risk of hearing something I don’t want to hear before I finish it. Oh, what a conundrum.

If any of you have finished it, I beg of you, do not comment and inadvertently tell me something I don’t want to know!! I will notify you when I have finished and then we can discuss to our hearts content.

I have a couple of theories at this point, but I will not divulge because I will feel really stupid if I am wrong. REALLY STUPID.

I love Harry Potter. I only wished I had realized this years ago…..never too late, though….unless you hear the end before you start…..so I urge those of you who have not experienced the pure joy of Harry Potter yet to experience it soon…..you’ll be sorry if you don’t!
Off my H.P. soapbox now……how am I ever supposed to concentrate on work right now when I have this book sitting right here on my desk?! Good grief!

Oh, and one more thing…..Anakin made me a Harry Potter bookmark. How cute is that??
hp bookmark

Jul 19, 2007


Well, I’m feeling a little lonely, a little sad, a little isolated, a little abandoned…..

Mike is a couple hundred miles away at work….

My Dad is on a camping trip for the week…..

My Mom (accompanied by my aunt, grandma and grandpa all who live within a couple of miles of me) is on her trip full of reunions to Minnesota (among those “reunions”, she is going to meet Diane….who I introduced her to…. what is up with that?!)

Even Anakin isn’t around this week….he’s with his Mom.

So, it’s myself, Care Bear and Feisty rattling around all alone in our house. The blondies haven’t even been around. I feel like I live in a ghost town. The only one in the entire world who isn’t on some kind of adventure this week. My only consolation is that, because of all of these vacationers, I get to stay home with my girls half the day because Grandma isn’t around to take care of them. After doing that all week, I’m never going to feel like going back to my full day schedule next week.


Oh, well.

Jul 16, 2007

Normal? What is NORMAL?!

nor·mal /ˈnɔrməl/
conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.
serving to establish a standard.

That word definitely does not describe my life. In fact, I am willing to bet if you look up its antonym, “abnormal”, you would find my picture next to the definition.

The last time I can remember my life feeling somewhat “normal” was about six or seven months ago. At that time, hubs still had the 8-9 hour a day job. I was working my 2.5 days a week, had 2.5 days a week off. I had my desk at work that I had sat at for a good 6-7 years. Life was comfortable. It’s amazing to me how quickly things can change and when they do change how much you can long for what was once considered “hum-drum”.

The first of many, many changes that began the spiral into my abnormal life was when I switched my hours at work from 2.5 days a week to 5 half-days a week. Funny how I think back now at how dramatic a change that seemed to me. If only I knew then what I know now.
Hubs lost his job in April. Or was it March. I can’t even remember now.

We tried to live for awhile on my part-time salary and his unemployment checks but as time went on and the hunt for jobs was proving less than fruitful, the opportunity came along for me to take a full-time position in my office. It seemed at that time that there was no other choice. So I took the plunge and went full time after being priveledged enough to work part-time for almost 5 years. At first it didn’t bother me a whole lot. Hubs was still home in the mornings to be with the kids and my mom could still take them in the afternoon so that he could continue his job search. While life at that point had definitely changed significantly, I still wasn’t quite feeling the effects of having an “abnormal” life.

Then it happened. Like a bolt of lightning. All of a sudden, hubs was offered a job working for a road re-paving company. The company is based out of Kansas and they travel all over the mid-west doing road construction. The up-side? Potential to make very good money. The down-side? Hubs has to travel. A lot. Conveniently, the first job he had was located right in our town. The first two weeks of the job, he just had to drive down the road a couple of miles and he was there.

He was offered the job on a Thursday morning, and his first day was the following Monday. All of a sudden I was faced with the very daunting task of trying to get someone to watch my kids in the morning for the remainder of the summer. I won’t go into all of the details of that because I did so in the post right before this one. What I have found for now is OK, but like I said more expensive than I would prefer and further south than I wanted to have to take them. But you do what you have to do.

Hubs finished up his job here in town last week. The next assignment was to start this past weekend in a mountain ski resort town about 2.5 hours south west of where we live. He and his co-workers are each given a per-diem each week in addition to their salary for accomodations and food when they are away from their homes. Nice perk, however if you know anything about ski resort towns, the amount of per-diem they are given per week would cover maybe 1.5 nights in a hotel up there. Most of them camp out in RVs. Hubs doesn’t have an RV. We don’t even know where our tent is. Luckily, one of his nice co-workers offered to lend him his 8 man tent and an air mattress to stay in while they are working up there. Length of this job? Three to four weeks. Hubs is camping for a month in the mountains. I can’t deny that there is a little part of me that is very jealous about this. The plan is for him to come back home on Friday nights when he gets down working and go back on Sunday afternoons.

He was to leave this past Saturday for ski resort town. His truck was having some issues (again) so he went to go get a new battery for it that morning, which he thought was going to fix the problem. It didn’t. I ended up driving him up there on Saturday afternoon and coming back all on the same day. My poor Mom had to watch the kids that day because, I’m sorry, three kids in my tiny car for six hours?! Hardly. And FIL, of course, was busy.

So, he’s up there. FIL figured out what was wrong in the truck, fixed it for us, and my plan is to go up there Friday night, camp out with him that night and bring him back on Saturday to do laundry, sleep in a real bed, see his kids, then he’ll drive back in his truck (that will hopefully make it) on Sunday afternoon. While he’s gone, I’m basically a single mom. To my girls. Anakin? I don’t know where he is. He left Saturday afternoon with his mom for his regular visit and I haven’t seen him since. His mom moved. I don’t know where she lives; her cell phone isn’t connected anymore and I have no way of contacting her to find out what is going on with Anakin. My guess is, she thinks if Anakin’s dad is not around, then he doesn’t need to be staying with his step-mom. But it would sure be nice to know where he is. Common courtesy, you know. (A foreign concept to her).

Feisty is doing better. (For information on what’s been going on with Feisty, my mom has chronicled her week on her blog. I have had neither the time or energy to do so myself, so thanks to Mom for sending out the word about Feisty and thanks for all of the prayers that have gone out for her.) She seems to be her old “feisty” self again, however her ordeal is not over yet. Her doctor wants her to go to Children’s Hospital in Denver for two tests: a VCUG and a Renal Ultra Sound. This is to determine what could possibly be causing her UTIs and to rule out VESICOURETERAL REFLUX. I talked to the nurse that works with her doctor for quite awhile today and don’t feel quite as panicked as I did when I first heard the words “Children’s Hospital” and “tests”. I just want my baby to be better. They told me that if she has the slightest fever again to bring her in right away. I’ve obsessively been touching her head and face every 20 minutes all weekend. Last night I could have sworn she had one and was trying to picture myself dragging her, Care Bear and myself to the emergency room in the middle of the night since hubs is not around to help. What a nightmare that would be.

Continue to pray for Feisty. She’s not totally in the clear yet. I just have to say that am I ever glad I was a “miracle maker” that donated $15 every month for two years to our Children’s Hospital. Those children’s stories always break my heart and I always told myself that if I were one of those people that had to use Children’s hospital, I would hope someone would want to help me out. Who knew. Never, ever take your child’s health for granted. I never will again.
Normal. Definitely not my life. I do have to say that it is never boring. Sometimes I wish it were.
High/wierd points of the week?

1. An old neighborhood “friend” of mine whom I haven’t seen in probably 20 years showed up at my mom’s door on Sunday afternoon while we were eating lunch. She was “in the neighborhood” and when my mom opened the door this girl (Amy) said, “You still live here!!” My mom didn’t recognize her. I immediately knew who it was. My friend/enemy of 6 years during elementary school days. I credit her for a large portion of my problems that eventually led me to Remuda Ranch. And I had just been thinking about her a few days before. I just chatted with her and heard a little bit about her life. I decided not to dredge up stuff from 20 years back….why make her feel like crap when she made the effort to come look me up after all that time?! I don’t think she has any clue what she did to me in those days. WIERD.

2. I just have two words: HARRY POTTER. Five days. Via Amazon. Can’t Wait. I’m softening up my Harry Potter chair as we speak. I hope the Blondies are around this weekend cuz I’ll need to be left alone, I say!

Jul 10, 2007

The good news? Hubby got a job.

The bad news? I’m still full time and am now dealing with the hassle and expense of daycare for the kidlings. The job came rather quickly and unexpectedly after several months of nothing so all of a sudden I was in a mad rush to locate someone….anyone (within reason of course) who would watch my kids without breaking the bank. Forget a formal daycare setting. Every single daycare I looked into within a 30 mile radius was going to cost me almost my entire check to put them in….and that’s part time (because my mom can still watch them in the afternoons). I checked with father-in-law who is a school teacher. I thought to myself, “Self….here is a great solution. FIL can watch them until noon in the mornings since it’s summer and he should be off, then mom can pick them up on her way home. What could be better than having grandma and grandpa watching them on the same day?!” I should have known better. This is a man who so immerses himself in his students and his work during the school year that we’re lucky if we can find one single weekend out of the entire year that he can watch them or help us out. Nope. FIL teaches a summer band in the mornings. So I said to him, “Hypothetically speaking, what if my mom were able to switch her schedule to afternoons and she could watch them in the mornings, you in the afternoons?”

“Uh, well, I’m probably going to be doing some house painting in the afternoons
for some extra money so I can’t commit to anything regularly. I can look
at my schedule and help you out when
I can.”
Well, gee, thanks, but I think I need to have something more set in stone for my kids than “maybe I can help you now and then.”

I checked with a friend (Jennifer) from church who has watched them before; we exchange play dates with her kids and they have a great time together. Last week she was preparing for a wedding this past Saturday. Next week she’s going on vacation. She can possibly help some this week (that we are currently in). I check with Sandy. Who better to have watch my kids than Feisty’s best friend?! Even better, she has a son just one year younger than Anakin and they get along great. Sandy had just committed to working her other job that week and after that would be leaving on vacation.

“But what about Ginger?” she says.

“Ahhh….Ginger,” I say to myself. “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Ginger is a stay-at-home mom who has one little girl Care Bear’s age. She’s rather new to our church and gotten very involved. I call Ginger. Ginger, thankfully, can watch them last Monday and Tuesday. A little relief. That gives me a few more days to figure out what to do with the rest of the week and beyond.

First day to Ginger’s goes fine. Granted, getting the kids up at the crack of dawn was no picnic, but they were pretty good and I assured Care Bear that, “Yes, you can sleep on the way to Ginger’s house.” Feisty even did great, which I was utterly shocked at. The following day was more what I expected. Fits at what clothes to wear, who was going to sit where in the car, and screams of, “I wanna stay home with you, Mama!!”. I knew it was too good to be true.
Then came the 4th of July. A day off, but not without the stress of figuring out where they were going to go the next two days. Then it occurred to me that my cousin was in town with her two boys, Care Bear’s age and 18 months. Perfect. They can play together for awhile and it’ll be someone they can feel comfortable with and who I am comfortable leaving them with. Cousins says, “Sure I can do that!” But there was a mis-communication. I thought we had arranged for Thursday and Friday; she thought Thursday only. Crap. Back to square one. I ended up having to take the morning off on Friday.

Over the weekend I continued to stress, lose sleep, stress, have bad dreams, stress, eat midnight snacks and have some slight indigestion over what was going to become of my children over the next several weeks until school starts.

Sunday, I hit Jennifer up again. This was the week that I thought Jennifer said she would be able to help me out.

“Well, the girls have swimming lessons this week. I can probably help
Thursday and Friday because I can take them to Bible Study on Thursday and then
the weekly park playdate on Friday. I can possibly help on Tuesday and
Wednesday, but definitely not tomorrow.”

It’s about at this point in time that I’m ready to say “Screw the full time job. This is causing too much stress and will cost too much money.” I end up calling my last resort. Not last resort because I don’t think it’s something suitable for the kids, just last resort because it’s so far south of where I need to be heading, probably more $$ than I want to pay, and a completely unfamiliar environment for the kids. For Care Bear and Anakin that’s not as big an issue. But for Feisty, who has never been cared for by anyone other than Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Sandy (and FIL once a year), this is a major, huge adjustment. But at this point I had no choice. It is more than I want to pay, and it’s too far away, and Feisty was breaking my heart when I dropped them off, but I don’t know what else to do. There is a teenager in our church who is going to college in the fall who may be an option (less expensive and can come to my home) for the rest of the summer, but she is currently on vacation. So, we’ll see.

In the meantime, I continue to have restless nights, annoying dreams and I fear I am getting an ulcer. I just wish things were the way they were before. And I thought life was complicated then. The grass isn’t always greener……

So, this post wasn’t so random after all. But I do have one random thing to mention. Wanna know what my new, extremely weird obsession is? Picking weeds. Ever since I weeded my garden a few weeks ago, everywhere I go I see weeds and they drive me nuts. I pick weeds at work, at church, in the park….no weed is safe when within my line of vision. But it’s driving me nuts. Plus, I’m allergic to them. I should find a less “sneezy” obsession. I might as well just start picking fleas from cats hair. Not really.
My dad took my kids on a hike this weekend. Check out the pics and then dare tell me I don’t have the cutest kids in the world!!

anthony in the lake
best sisters
grandpa and the kids
hayley leaning on tree
hayley with the video camera
olivia big smile
olivia beautiful (Small)
And one more thing: Here’s a picture Care Bear drew quite awhile ago of herself that I’ve had hanging on my bulletin board forever. I have a scanner sitting right beside me now at my desk so chances of you seeing a lot more of Care Bear’s artwork in the future are pretty good.
hayley drawing of herself (Medium)
That’s it for me for now……anyone have any good, strong, indigestion medicine?!

Jul 5, 2007

Best 4th of July EVAH!

This was a really nice 4th of July this year. The past couple of years we have met my in-laws at the local park and spent the entire day there which I decided just was not.going.to.happen. this year. Too long and too tiring and too hot. So, this year, we didn’t really have a plan. Which I liked.

The morning we just hung out at home. I cleaned some, the kids watched some of the “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” marathon on Cartoon Network (the only Cartoon Network show I allow in my house), they swam in their pool, made mud puddles in the grass and just had fun playing together. At around noon or so, we figured maybe we should get some sort of plan in order. We decided to go north to College Town this year instead of muddling through the crowds at our local park. It was a good decision in my opinion. The park here had a live band playing, several food booths, face painting booths, the ever-present political booths that show up at any city-wide event, booths selling stuff (of course), jumping castles, one of those humongous blow up slides (I’m not sure how else to describe it), a petting zoo, etc…..We got hot dogs, sno-cones, lots of water and pop and the kids had a great time.

After that we went home, relaxed a little, got some pizza then pushed the girls in the double stroller and walked to the park for the fireworks. Mike’s dad plays in the local band and they always do a concert right before the fireworks start so we watched that. For the first time in I don’t know how long, it started to rain right before the fireworks were to start. I couldn’t believe the amount of people who started packing up and leaving over a little rain. It wasn’t a downpour, or even a heavy rain. There was no hail. But whatever. Made it less crowded for us.

We were a little concerned about how Miss Feisty was going to handle the fireworks this year. Everytime anyone has shot off their own fireworks in the neighborhood this past week she has been freaking out. I was just envisioning myself having to leave the festivities and take her home, but I need not worry after all. She loved them. She loved the concert and pretended like she was conducting the band. She clapped and boogied along to all the music. She tried to catch the fireworks when they were in the sky. It was a great time. For your viewing pleasure…..

4th of july 1 (Small)
Settling in on the blankets.
4th of july cool girl (Small)
She’s channeling someone here….not sure who though.
4th of july high in the sky 2 (Small)
Trying to reach the fireworks.
4th of july high in the sky hp (Small)
And the big girl had to get in on the action, too, of course…
4th of july mommy and baby (Small)
Feisty was very generous with her hugs from behind last night.
4th of july smiling girl (Small)
Pay no attention to the un-lady like pose here and just look at the cute smile and shades……
4th of july watching fireworks 2 (Small)
Cozied up watching the show…
4th of july watching fireworks (Small)
Me and my big girl…

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any fun shots from earlier in the day. The girls fell asleep in their stroller on the way home. Mike, Anakin and I shot a few fireworks out in the street but decided to do the majority of them tonight so that the girls can enjoy them, too.

As I was sitting out on my front step while Mike put Anakin to bed, I heard a rustling noise. I assumed it was neighborhood cats. Imagine my utter panic when two huge skunks rounded the corner and were within mere feet of me and waddling my direction. I very carefully and quietly stood up opened the door and flew in my house. Wanna hear more about the skunks? Go visit my Mom today.

Hope your holiday was as enjoyable and relaxing as mine.