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.


Jun 12, 2011

The Finish Line

  It amazes me sometimes how crossing a finishing line is motivation in and of itself to step up to the next starting line.

  In my case, I literally crossed a finish line.  I committed to completing 4 5k races in 2011 and I did my first one in Tulsa, OK on April 9th.  This run holds a very special place for me because it was at the Mpix Meetup, a photography conference that I have been trying to attend for 3 years!  The folks that participated alongside me were friends and mentors, people whose photography has inspired me and whose words have encouraged my development as an artist.  I enjoyed EVERYTHING about that conference and will do whatever it takes to make it every year from now on.  If I had to pick one favorite moment though, it would have to be crossing the finish line Saturday morning.

   The weekend after I returned, the tornado hit and the chaos that followed threw a major wrench in my training plan.  I re-started the Couch to 5k program with a neighbor in our new neighborhood but 3 days into it, Lil' Bit and I got hit with a severe allergy attack that is just now subsiding.  The few mornings I did go, I felt I could do more but it was so easy to say the "plan" says this and if you're going to follow it, it's best not to skip ahead.  The neighbor I was running with is just beginning and I also didn't want to discourage her efforts. 

  This morning I woke up feeling like I had actually slept and the temperature hadn't yet reached 200 degrees so I went for a run.  I thought about my route and decided to go the whole way around, even if I had to walk some of it.  I headed down the street and made my first turn.  That was the only point that I had to hype myself up to keep running, once past that point my breathing settled into a good rhythm and the burn in my legs turned to warmth.  I found the groove in my music and for the first time EVER I understand why people enjoy running.  Usually, I spend the entire time talking myself into continuing.  Today, my thoughts were about the run in Tulsa and that I had finished it.   If I can do that, I can run 1.6 miles around the neighborhood.  Easy-Peasy.  I kept running until I reached my front porch.  Sweaty and tired I did my own little happy dance, singing to myself, "I did it, I did it!" 

The search is on for my next starting line. 

Jun 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

  Today I was feeling the itch to do some photography but it was WAY to HOT to drag Lil' Bit around town.  Not to mention, I don't like sweating unless I'm doing it on purpose and just walking to the bus stop this morning was making me bead up.  I mulled around aimlessly for a while trying to come up with something inspiring I could do inside the house and between loads of laundry.  Nothing was coming to mind so I logged onto facebook and saw that one of my photography buddies was online.  She suggested that I do a "day in the life" sort of thing and added that I could even blog about it. 
So here it is, my day in images. 

Thanks Rosemary!


  I'm thinking this may become a regular thing that I do.  It was easy, fun and out of the normal routine even though it's all about my normal routine.  Thanks for stopping by and I promise I'll actually write again sometime soon!

May 25, 2011

The Cheese-Burglar

We are all getting settled nicely into our new home and neighborhood.  There are tons of kids all around us and the boys are making friends quickly.  We recently met the folks across the alley whose house backs up to ours.  They have 3 kids very close in age to Big Red & Lil' Bit. 

The adults were standing around making small talk and the kiddos were running around wildly having fun.  At one point, all 5 kids disappear into the neighbor's house and moments later only 4 of them emerge.  I realized it was the Bit that remained inside and kept one eye on the back door expecting him to come out at any moment.  About the time I was going to send in a search team, he came sauntering out, eating a slice of cheese.  Lil' Bit had taken it upon himself to go rooting around their fridge and help himself to a snack. 

I apologized profusely and assured the neighbors that I do in fact feed my children everyday - multiple times a day. 

May 16, 2011

Gone With the Wind

  At approximately 7:05pm on April 16th, 2011 our home was hit by an F3 tornado.  Thankfully, we were all at a wedding reception in Williamsburg.  A few folks at the reception received news alerts on their phones and rumor starting spreading about a tornado hitting a school in Gloucester.  We didn't stress too much about it at the time and a short while later Handsome rounded up the boys to take them home.  When he got to his truck and checked his phone, he had DOZENS of missed calls.  He spoke with the landlord and found out the roads were closed and the house had suffered damage during the storm.  He headed to the base to get a room in billeting for the night.  I went to walmart to grab a change of clothes for each of us and necessary items like toothbrushes and diapers.  I called my friend Deb and asked if she would go scope out the house and let me know how bad it was.  She described the neighborhood as a war zone and I could tell by the tone of her voice that things were not good at the house. 
  It was the following afternoon before we could get out there and look around.  The Sheriff's set up a blockade and were only letting residents into the neighborhood.  We had to park a few blocks away and walk because the emergency crews were clearing power lines and cutting up downed trees.  Deb's war zone description was accurate and our house was one of the worst hit.  Five different trees had fallen into various parts of the house.  We had to wait on the chainsaw crew to cut and haul the trees out before we could go into the house.  When we could get inside and survey the damage, it was pretty overwhelming. 

    The next few days are a blur in my memory: sorting what could be saved, hauling things to the dump that couldn't.  We had such wonderful support from so many people, it was truly amazing.  Friends, co-workers, acquaintances and even total strangers came out to help.  Words cannot describe how thankful we are for the kindness everyone showed to us.  My fellow military wives did everything from watch the boys, to wash clothes and organize meals.  Handsome's command worked with the housing folks to get us into a home right away and Air Force Aid came through with an interest free loan to pay the deposit on the new place.  An entire crew from Handsome's office came out to the house and helped us clean, pack and load everything into a U-haul.  They worked so fast, it was like a second tornado had come through.   
  Big Red had to move to a new school.  I took him for one last day at his old one and his classmates had a party for him.  I had to stand out in the hallway to gain my composure when I saw how much they had done.  Not just for him but his brother as well.  There were boxes full of toys and clothes.
  It still makes me tear up when I think about the lengths that people have gone to for us.  We're not used to be on the receiving end of such generosity and it's very humbling.  We have always tried to be good people, and pay it forward so to speak and this experience has definitely reaffirmed that for us.          

Apr 5, 2011

Always wear clean underwear

  We were getting ready to leave the house the other morning and I told Big Red to put on a new pair of underwear before he got dressed.  He asked me why and I responded with the motherly standard, "because I told you to."  He turned around and went into his room.  A few minutes later he emerged fully dressed.

Something didn't look quite right.

  I asked what was wrong with his pants and he responded, "Nothing, I put on new underwear like you said."  I looked down the back of his pants, and sure enough, he had on new skivvies, OVER THE OLD ONES.  I made him strip down, take off both layers and replace them with a fresh pair of clean drawers. 

Apr 3, 2011

Final Wishes

This post is not my usual chipper writing but I feel it's a topic worth discussing.   No worries, I'm not suicidal or homicidal so feel free to proceed without fear.  Things may get a little emotional though, so if you're a crier, grab some tissues now. 

  I am a huge believer in being prepared for death.  Let's face it, it's inevitable.  It's going to happen sooner or later, to everyone.  We can be taken at any moment and I for one, think it's imperative to let your loved ones know your final wishes.  Grief is a painful, overwhelming and confusing process for those left behind and the least you can do is lift the burden of making them guess at what you "would have wanted."  It's easier to push those uncomfortable thoughts away and put off the difficult conversations for another time, but it's important to do, NOW.  Because you just never know what tomorrow may bring.   

  I guess a little of it comes from being in the military.  Deployments have a way of making you very aware of your own mortality or that of your loved one if they are the one leaving.  The military requires that everyone have a Will and a Family Care Plan for those with children.  The process forces you to discuss on some level what you want should the "what ifs" happen.  That's a start, but really, put some thought into it, write it down, and tell someone.


If you up and die unexpectedly, what do you want?
Do you want to be cremated and your ashes spread someplace special?
Do you want to be buried and if so, where?
Do you want a memorial service, an obituary, to be buried face down so the world can kiss your ass?
Whatever it is - all you have to do is communicate it.  If the people handling your affairs don't do what you want, you have every right to haunt them.

The other thing to keep in mind is the unfortunate circumstance in which you sorta die.  By that, I mean something happens and you are not able to make choices for yourself anymore.  Do you wish to have heroic measures taken to preserve your life?  Do you want a breathing tube, feeding tube, pain management or to be unplugged?

Are you thinking yet?  Do you have an idea of what you want?

I know what I want. 
Here they are, my Final Wishes, for the world to read.

  I do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means if there is not a reasonable chance that I will return to my old self.  I am more concerned with my mental abilities than my physical ones.  As long as I am still "me" I want to be around and a part of my children's lives.  If I end up in a permanent vegetative state or something similar, I wish to be disconnected once my family has reached a point that they are comfortable saying goodbye.  If it takes them some time to get to that point, it's ok.  If I'm not me anymore, it's about them and I don't want them carrying any guilt.

  I want to be an organ donor.  If there is any part of me that is still useful and someone else could benefit from it, take it!

  I prefer not to be embalmed.  I think the practice is strange and unnecessary.  I believe that the body is just a shell for the soul but something about draining all the fluids and replacing them with chemicals doesn't seem right to me.

  If people need to see it to believe it, I'm cool with a viewing of some sort.  I think I'll make a good looking corpse.  FYI: it is possible to preserve a body long enough for a viewing with a good industrial refrigerator and some make up.  

   I would like my remains to be cremated and the ashes used to create diamonds.  Handsome gets one, each of my kiddos get their own, as well as my parents if they are still living.  If my sister wants one, she can have one too.  I am not a one woman diamond mine so everybody else will have to settle for a picture or something.

  It takes several weeks for the diamonds to be made so I would like some sort of memorial service when they are ready.  This should be a party with music, food, the works!  No one is allowed to wear black and if there are tears, I hope they are tears of joy.  I want friends and family to tell funny and embarrassing stories and have the best time possible.

  I would like some sort of military honors.  I take a lot of pride in my service so if there is a way to incorporate that in somewhere, that would be awesome.  Doesn't have to be at the memorial per say just wherever it seems to fit best.  (Taps is beautiful but so emotional and that could put a damper on the party spirit.) 

  My family should spread any ashes that remain in a location that makes them happy.  I prefer some where that either reminds them of good times with me or that gives them a sense of peace.  If that place is different for each of them, it's ok with me to divide up the ashes.  We move around a lot, I don't claim any place in particular as "home" and I don't want to sit up on the mantle forever.

  So that's it I think.  Hopefully, I have covered everything and should the inevitable happen sooner than expected, my loved ones don't have to worry about trying to imagine what I would want.  I really encourage all you folks out there to do the same.  Take the time to think about it, talk about and write it down. 

Like I said above, talking about death will not kill you. 

  It's important to to note also that a will doesn't really apply to wishes like these.  The arrangements are at the discretion of those making them and ultimately by whoever is paying for them.  If you haven't thought about life-insurance plans or setting aside some moolah for the final hoorah it's a good thing to look into.  If you do have a will, it's a common mistake to lock it in a safe deposit box.  Unless someone else is authorized to open that box, with their own key, they won't be allowed access to it without going to court first.  By that time, your assets could already be entangled in the probate system and whatever you had written in the will may no longer be possible to accomplish.  The best thing to do is register a copy of your will with the courthouse, keep a copy someplace safe (but accessible) in your home and provide an additional copy to the person that will act as executor. 

and don't forget to leave me large sums of money or jewels in appreciation for my advice here.  :)


Apr 2, 2011

Din Din's Ready! Come and Get It!

Several of my mommy friends and I have been talking a lot about grocery bills and meal planning lately.  The prices at the grocery store keep going up and our budgets keep getting tighter.  I tried clipping coupons once and saved a decent amount but there is no way it's something that I'm dedicated enough to do on a regular basis.  I pretty much stick to the same list of stuff each time I shop and those don't seem to be the items that I find coupons for.  I refuse to get stuff just because I get a good deal on it.  It's not a good deal if you throw it away, now is it?

The MommisaurusRex Meal Plan:
The plan is 6 weeks long and stays on the front of the fridge.  I move that little magnet each day to indicate what we're having.  I typically make one big shopping trip a month (on payday).  Of course, I pop over to the store for things that we use up faster than every 6 weeks like: milk, yogurt, fruit, salad mix and I grab the occasional sweet treats.

How you can be cool like me!
My own personal OCD-type issues demand that we not eat the same meat 2 nights in a row so I started with the staple of our diet, CHICKEN.  I used my handy-dandy label maker and put Chicken on the menu every 4 days.
Next up, the weekends.  Knowing how my family loves pizza I printed 3 labels that said Pizza and stuck them on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday, every other week.  I love to NOT COOK on occasion, so I printed 3 labels that said Take Out (This could also mean Take Momma Out) and I placed those labels on Friday or Saturday the remaining 3 weekends that we're not having pizza.  I put in a couple of Sunday Soup labels and went on to the rest of the calendar. 
I printed 3 labels each of Pork, Turkey, Beef, Seafood, Pasta and Fajitas.  For the more work intensive meal, Meatloaf, I only made 2 labels.  I filled in days with all these labels spreading them out so we don't have the same meal 2 weeks in a row.  There were 2 spots open so I plugged in BBQ and Kabobs.

Did Someone Say Shopping?
I don't focus on the entire meal, just the main dish.  I take inventory of what remains in the freezer and then make my list of what I need to complete the plan.  If I have 3 Pork days that I need to shop for I buy 3 different things, like pork chops, a pork loin and then a small sliced ham.  With the Chicken, I have a huge assortment of marinades that I alternate through for a variety of flavors.  I also try to mix up how I prepare main dishes, baking, grilling, broiling or even in the good ole' Crock pot. 

With every meal, we either have steamed veggies, whole grain rice, or salad and I keep a variety stocked and on hand.  I usually decide what to have based on what seems to go well with the main dish.  I make up my mind about the time I start cooking.  Occasionally I'll make beans, rolls, deviled eggs or fruit salad as an extra.  I end up making mac-n-cheese about once a week for the kiddos since neither of them eat much salad (or leaves as Big Red calls it). 

I have a magnetic shopping list on the fridge that I use to keep a running list of other things I need to pick up.  I always shop from that list and have been saving on average about $200 a month on groceries since I got organized.  We're wasting a lot less food and it's much easier to eat healthy when I'm not scrambling for something to throw together 10 minutes before dinner time.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hopefully this is helpful and please feel free to share your tips & tricks.

Mar 30, 2011

Big Red... Ladies Man

  Big Red has always been a HUGE flirt.  When he was little my family would refer to him as the little politician.  At about 2 years old he would circle the waiting areas in the airport shaking hands with people and introducing himself.  No shyness whatsoever.  He would smile and wink at teenage girls and pretend to be bashful when they squealed and giggled at his cuteness. 

  One time, at the doctors office, he moved a chair across the room to the check in window and slid open the glass partition.  He then rested one elbow on the counter top and asked the nurses, "What doin' Ladies?"  They cracked up and listened attentively as he showed them his collection of matchbox cars.

  He repeated the "What doin' Ladies" routine at a beach party Pop-Pop took him to.  This time, he plopped down between 2 college age girls sunbathing.  Again, he was a hit and I'm sure it fed his pint-sized ego in ways yet to be realized.

   There have been a few girls Big Red has admitted to liking and he has even referred to a couple as his  "girlfriends."  I hear from other kindergarten Moms that their daughters talk A LOT about him after school. 

Oh dear, what am I going to do when he reaches 14?

  Most recently Big Red has set his sights on an older woman.  This young lady is very pretty, adorably sweet and even has a job!  As a matter of fact, she's one of Handsome's troops.  We met her & another young lady from Handsome's office for lunch on Saturday.  We could tell within 5 minutes that Big Red was sweet on her.  About the time we started to get ready to leave, Handsome asked Big Red if he wanted her phone number and the reply was very cooool, "Yeah."  We laughed a bit and the conversation turned another direction.

  The next day, Big Red and I were heading to the store and in conversation he said something about calling the girl from yesterday.  I asked him what he would say and he told me, "I'll tell her she can take me to Chick-Fil-A and come to my house to jump on the trampoline."

Ah, young love....  

  That young lady is now referred to as Sugar Mama around our house.

Mar 15, 2011

The Crisco Kid

While I was making the appointment for Big Red's cartoon toe followup, I went ahead and scheduled one for Lil' Bit right after it.  I just KNEW something would come up in between the time I made the appointment (Thursday afternoon) and when we would actually be seen (Monday morning).  

The reason I had given when I made the appointment was a rash Lil' Bit has been fighting for a couple of weeks.  The redness is pretty much all cleared  but he's itchy and scratching at it.  The Doc looked him over and told me the best thing to do is to keep him thoroughly moisturized.  She then told me to slather him up with Crisco when he gets out of the bath.

Yup, that's right CRISCO All-Vegetable Shortening.   Like for baking cookies and stuff!

So last night after Lil' Bit got out of the tub I spread out his towel on my bed and began rubbing him down with Crisco.  At first, he was ok with it.  I put lotion on him most nights so he's pretty accustomed to being slathered with goo.  However, Crisco doesn't soak in quite like baby lotion does and it's slippery.  By the time I got it rubbed in enough on his belly that I was comfortable rolling him over so I could get his backside he was done with it.  I had to hold him by one ankle and scoop out gobs of shortening with my free hand, then smear it on him.  He managed to slip away a few times but he didn't get far before I had him pinned back down.  After a good 30 minute battle I was exhausted and he was completely greased.

He ran naked around the house for about 15 minutes before I mustered up the the strength to try and get him to bed.  When I came into the living room he was standing next to the coffee table watching Monsters vs Aliens with Big Red.  Judging by the lovely grease smear down my leather couch he was apparently too slick to sit. 

He hasn't been scratching much today so I figure another few days of the grease pig treatment and he should be good as new.

Anyone know how to get Crisco out of sheets?