Jun 15, 2013

It's been a while...

I'm stunned at how much time has passed since I last wrote an entry for this blog!  A lot has changed for us.
Handsome has retired from the military and we moved to North Carolina. 
Big Red and Lil' Bit are growing like weeds and they amaze me more and more each day with the ways they are maturing into wonderful young men. 
I'm finding myself more involved in things politically and seeking out information about issues I would have dismissed completely in the past. 
Anyhow, my plan is to start writing again, hopefully on a regular basis. 

Sep 17, 2011

Rock & Roll, WInd & Rain


    Before we felt anything we could hear it.  The rumble was heavy and low.  At first, it sounded like a semi or garbage truck was not following the speed limit in the neighborhood.  When I didn't see any trucks around, I started looking up for a low flying cargo plane.  Then, I felt the ground move.  One of the women I was talking with was sitting on the porch and had tipped her chair back against the wall, balancing on only 2 legs.  As the shaking started, she spastically lurched forward, thinking she was loosing her balance and about to fall over.  The other folks I was standing with, stumbled a bit, like when you're drunk and have trouble remaining in a stationary upright position.  I bent my knees, in sort of a surfer pose to keep my balance and we all looked at each other with really perplexed expressions.
  It only lasted 10-15 seconds, but it was long enough. 

Fault line in my front yard
   It took us a few moments to let the experience sink in and one of the ladies asked,  "What just happened?"  I told the group, "I think we just had an earthquake."  We exchanged a few whoas and questioned whether Virginia really got earthquakes and then went to check on the kids in the back yard.  All of the kids were happily playing with Legos on the back porch and completely oblivious to the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that had just rocked our world. 

  I wandered back over to my own house and did what every other person would have done, raced to my computer and posted on facebook that there was an earthquake!  My goal was to be the "first on the scene" with my reporting and I was successful.  It only took a few minutes and others in my news feed were posting their experiences as well.  

  I also turned on the news.  Sure enough, news reports were starting to hit the air of an earthquake felt in Washington DC and New York City.  It took a little bit before they started mentioning that the rest of Virginia had felt it along with Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and all the way up to Canada.  The epicenter was located between Richmond & Charlottesville and reports of damage started coming in. 

  I tried making some calls, but my home phone and cell were both out of service for about 20 minutes.  I walked back over to the neighbors house to see if they had made contact with their oldest son.  They had just dropped him off at college in Charlottesville 2 days before.  They hadn't seen the TV and I told them they should turn it on.  Right away, Mom ducked back into the bedroom to try and reach him.  I gathered up the kids and we watched some of the news, staying alert for aftershocks.  There were a few, but we didn't feel any of them.


  What an exciting year this has been!  Five days after the earthquake, we welcomed Hurricane Irene.  The hurricane for us, was somewhat of a non-event.  It was an intense and windy rainstorm and not much else.  Not to say that we don't take hurricanes seriously, but we don't live in a flood zone and we were mostly prepared to ride it out.  We have a battery operated weather radio.  I filled gallon baggies with ice and packed the deep freeze.  We had plenty of food as I had just done my big grocery run. 
  We were short on only 1 item: Chocolate Milk.  It seems that everyone under the sun starts hoarding it when they hear of a potential natural disaster!  2 grocery stores were completely wiped out of all dairy products AND chocolate syrup.  I was dreading the thought of being trapped in the house with Lil Bit and no chocolate milk!  I made a trip back to the store for something totally not storm related and magically, it had been restocked.

   Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! 

Big Red demonstrating how strong the winds were
  Handsome and I spent a good portion of the storm standing on the front porch watching the rain.  During the calm in the center of the storm, we drove around the neighborhood to look for damage.  Only a couple of trees down along the fence line and a few roofing tiles blown from their original homes.  We ventured over to a friends house to check for damage.  They evacuated because they were concerned the very large trees in the backyard may not hold up against powerful winds.  Everything was still standing and in good condition.  We went on to Walmart and picked up some soda, chips & beer to ride out the rest of the storm and headed back home.  (Yep, Walmart was still open & busy during a hurricane.)

  When it got dark out, we could see the transformer explosions in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Luckily, we did not loose power.  The lights flickered a few times and the tv jumped but I never had to reset our clocks.  Our little subdivision was it's own little island of light, as almost every home in the surrounding area was dark.  The next morning, we stayed at the house, played and watched tv.  Handsome did work stuff, checking in on his people and making arrangements to get folks back to work. 

Our only storm damage, the tree in the front yard
  Irene was a dud for us personally, but I realize she hit many others very hard.  I hope those affected have the support they need to recover and move forward.  My thoughts are with those who were not so lucky.


Sep 10, 2011

Space, Trains & Fried Chicken

   This summer we sent the kiddos to my parents house for 2 whole weeks!

  Usually, we would fly down to Texas but ticket prices are a bit too high this year.  Instead, we agreed to road trip to the halfway point and exchange the prisoners children.  One of Handsome's childhood friends was in North Carolina for a family reunion so we stopped in Greensboro and spent a day visiting at the Zoo.  Handsome had to go to New Mexico for work while he drove back to VA, the boys and I made the trip from Greensboro, NC to Hunstville, AL on our own.  We took our time and stopped at kid friendly places along the way.  I was super impressed with how well they did in the car.  Whoever invented the portable DVD player is MY HERO!

  So we meet Nonny, PopPop and my sister, Ringy, in Huntsville.  We get about 4 minutes of sleep and PopPop, Ringy, the boys and I get up early to go to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.  It was a total trip down memory lane for the grown ups in the group.  The three of us went to Space Camp a few times as part of a science club called Young Astronauts.  My sister and I as members, my Dad as an advisor and chaperon.  The boys enjoyed checking out the Space Shuttles, Rockets and displays.  I think their favorite part of the day was watching people in the Neutral Buoyancy Tank play catch underwater.   

Lil Bit, Big Red & a Rocket
Lil Bit as an Astronaut
Big Red using Astronaut Gloves
Ringy & Mommisaurus Rex

  The next morning, I headed back to NC and the rest of the crew went on to Texas.  The boys were thoroughly spoiled and didn't seem to miss home at all.  (Big Red tried to talk me into letting him stay permanently and since his return has been trying to convince me to send him back.) 

  I leisurely drove to my Great Aunt's house in NC and got a full night's rest!  I did some Urban Exploring and I suspect she thinks I'm a little strange for wanting to venture into the places that I do.  She's a great sport though and watches out for me while I do my thing.  (the photos of that adventure will be a post unto itself)

  When I finally made it home, the quiet was blissful.  That feeling wore off the next day and I wandered around my own house feeling lost without my family to yell at tend to.  I had grand plans of catching up on laundry, working on my business plan, and doing all of the things it's not feasible to do when you have to arrange childcare.  No such luck.

  I was so excited when Handsome came home to have another human to talk to!  My plans for the following week were postponed because "The Office" asked if I could come in again.  It worked out pretty well since I didn't have to worry about finding a sitter.   A highlight of that weekend was managing to make a little bit of dough by having a yardsale the Saturday before heading back down to collect the munchkins.  I sold all the toys they would have "suddenly rediscovered" if  they had been around.  bwuhahahaha! (that's my evil Mommy Laugh)

  For the reverse exchange we met in Chattanooga, TN.  I was not impressed.  The place was sort of a dump and there was no real difference between the nice side of town and the scary side.  It was Big Red's birthday so we rode the Incline and planned to visit an amusement park.  The weather wasn't cooperating so we had a tasty fast food lunch, followed by some cake and then went back to the hotel to open presents and relax.

View from the Incline

Rockin' the Birthday Glasses
Makin' his Wish!
Officially 6 Years Old!
   Cake and fast food didn't hold us over for long so I used the hotel's business center to surf the web for some dinner.  I was hoping for something cool that Big Red would enjoy for his birthday.  I found a riverboat dinner cruise, $40 a person = no go.  A family friendly comedy dinner theater, no shows on Sunday,  The Chattanooga Choo Choo - sounded awesome, but also closed.  It seems that everything is closed in Chattanooga on Sundays!  I changed up my game plan and started looking for "Mom & Pop" type places.  After reading a few reviews, decided to check out a little place named Bea's.

  By far the best part of Chattanooga is Bea's Restaurant!  It's a little family owned diner with a unique spin on the traditional buffet.  Large round tables hold 8 people and in the center is a giant lazy susan.  Once you're seated, the waitress brings the food to your table and places it on the lazy susan.  As fast as one dish is getting low, they bring more!  We loved the concept and the food was AMAZING!

The best Mom & Pop Diner EVER!

Fried Chicken to die for!
Stewed potatoes and salad

Lil Bit ate till he dropped

  The peach cobbler was magnificent and we all left stuffed beyond reason.  We spoke with the owner for a few minutes as we paid at the register.  The restaurant has been in his family for 60 years.  The recipes are his Great Grandmother's and he's had the good sense to not mess with them.  The idea of the lazy susan buffet started as a way to serve local factory workers on their lunch break good, filling food in a short amount of time.  In it's own way, Bea's was the original fast food joint!  Loved it, and anytime we pass nearby, we will be stopping in.

  Stay tuned! I plan on writing about my urban exploring adventure, the earthquake, Hurricane Irene and the beginning of the school year!

Aug 2, 2011

Artificial Road Rash

  For some unknown reason, all hell tends to break loose at my house when I take a shower.  Today the victim was Big Red.  I finished up my run on the treadmill in the garage and the boys were playing with one of the neighbor kids.  I told them they could keep playing while I cleaned up but they could NOT leave the house.  All of them nodded understanding and I went to wash off. 

  When I got out of the shower and dressed, I went to check on the boys.  All 3 were upstairs, Lil' Bit had put himself to bed and was napping.  The other two were in the bathroom and something just didn't seem right.  I made eye contact with Big Red and right away I noticed the blood on his face.  Upon interrogation, it was revealed that he & his friend had been racing monster trucks on the treadmill and he had tried to retrieve one that flew off the "track."  Somehow he ended up with "treadmill rash" down his back, right arm, both elbows, across his nose, along the right side of his face and a small spot on his ankle.  He couldn't describe what happened other than to say that he had been upside down.  He kept his composure while explaining his injuries and I have to admit, I was impressed with how tough he was.

  We went downstairs and I put ointment on him and band aids on a few of the rough spots. 

  It was not even 15 minutes later and he was outside on his bike. 

Jul 26, 2011

The Grease Cutting Power of Dawn

  I try to make a regular habit of showering and I thought today would be a good day to knock the funk off.  It was refreshing and I was cautiously optimistic as I dried off, hoping that I may have a productive day.  Not so much.  Lil' Bit had other plans for me.  When I stepped out of the bathroom, I found him sitting square in the middle of my bed COVERED IN EUCERIN CREAM!! 

  Now, Eucerin Cream is not like regular lotion.  It's heavy and greasy and a major Pain in the Ass to rub in, wipe off or clean up in any fashion.  I am surprised my youngest offspring has any skin remaining on his body.  I plunked him in the tub immediately and proceeded to scrub him with grease fighting dish soap and a washcloth.
  Most of the afternoon passed without incident, but once Handsome got home and my attention was diverted, the Bit struck again!  He snagged a can of hairspray and snuck upstairs with it.  I haven't found any pools of stickiness yet, but the entire 2nd story of our house smells like John Freida Extra Hold hairspray.

That's not the end of it though.

  This evening, Lil' Bit wanted some peanut butter.  No problem, he's usually pretty good with it, so I gave him a spoonful.  He got some on his hands so I told him to go to the bathroom and wash up.  He be-bopped to the bathroom and I heard the water running for about a minute.  I didn't think much about it after that because the water was no longer running.  My mistake.  A few moments later, here comes the Bit completely COVERED IN ANTIBACTERIAL HANDSOAP!!

He got another bath.

Jul 11, 2011

Workin' Girl

  I think I have adjusted to the Stay-at-Home-Mom thing pretty well. This blog was started back when I was still trying to figure out how to fit into the routine of NOT going to work every morning.  I like being home now.  I have friends that I can call and meet with for playdates, coffee or $1 movies.  The boys and I are on a decent routine of playtime, housekeeping, dinner fixin' and adventures around town.  It's taken some adjusting to make everything work on one income, but I think it's been worth it. 

Just when everything is going great I go and GET A JOB!

  Before you freak out, it was only temporary.  "The Office" I used to work in called and asked if I would fill in for the receptionist while she was out on maternity leave.  I jumped at the chance to go back.  I love those folks and being there again felt comfortable, like my favorite t-shirt & jeans.  Being in "The Office" again, around the familiar hustle & bustle of the working world, made me crave that life again.

  I spent a few nights seriously contemplating if I should start looking for a job and I realized a few things.  I realized that the only time I miss working, is while I'm working.  I don't want just ANY job.  I want THE job.  One that is worth it to my whole family to put Lil' Bit & Big Red into the care of others.  A job that would be fulfilling enough that I would enjoy waking up each morning and going in.  Coworkers that are the kind of folks I want to spend 40+ hours of my life with each & every week.  I don't think there are many jobs out there that meet my demands criteria. 

  "The Office" does. 

  I spent a few more nights debating, thinking and bouncing scenarios off of Handsome before I decided I would formally express my interest in employment with "The Office."  I'm going to dust off the resume, take a couple of classes to fulfill the educational requirements and make sure my ducks are in a row, just in case.  I don't know when a position may open up, but I know that I want to at least be considered when it does.

  In the mean time, I'm enjoying each day with my boys and perfecting my photography skills. 

Jun 26, 2011

Mommisaurus Movie Review: CARS 2

Mommisaurus Movie Review: B+

   We all enjoyed the movie very much but it was NOT a true continuation of Cars 1.  The nostalgic, wistful feeling of the first movie is not present in this one and I have to say I think it was smart not to try and bring it back.  I don't think it really could have been done with equal success so I was relieved to see this episode go in an entirely different direction.  The best friend sappiness between McQueen and Mater is the only part that I thought was grossly overdone.  There is no memorable soundtrack, which I think is disappointing because of how AWESOME it was in the last movie.  The action was good and there was enough witty humor to make it enjoyable for adults.  We will be purchasing the DVD when it comes out and I am sure it will be watched over and over and over again much like Finding Nemo, Bolt and Megamind.

  About halfway through the film, Lil' Bit was fed up with sitting still.  He stood up and was peering between 2 seats of the next row completely fixated on the screen.  It was only a few moments before he started screeching and kicking his feet while hitting the back of the seats.  He had managed to smash his head through the opening and couldn't pull it back out.  I had to pick him up, sliding his head free over the top of the chairs and then console him as he cried holding his ears.  It was pitiful and thankfully short lived.  He was quickly focused again on the movie and forgot all about his ears and the trauma of being trapped in between the seats.

  Sometimes, I think we are more entertaining than the movies we go to see.