Friday, May 29, 2009

Yet another Washington DC post

I have decided that this year shall forever be known as the year of Washington DC in our family, with New York City a close second.  It is the end of May, and we have already made 4 trips to Washington and tomorrow will mark my second to New York City.  Which is sort of ironic, since I had never been to NYC prior to April of this year. 

Anyway, last Friday I trekked to DC with PB and her class.  Luckily, I was assigned her two best friends, and we had a very good time while we were there.  We were dropped off at the Museum of Art on the Mall, and were given free reign to go wherever we wanted in the area.  I had asked the girls to prioritize what they each really wanted to see earlier in the week, and that determined our course.  First, we headed to the Washington Monument, as two girls wanted to see that up close, and one of them wanted to see the White House.  Lucky for us, we were able to see the White House, Capital Building and Licoln Memorial from the base, and that satisfied those requirements.  The Washington Monument up close is a site to really can't see the top standing at the bottom and looking straight up.  Did you know that there is a line approximately 150 feet up where work was stopped for quite a few years?  The marble they used when they began again was a slightly different shade.  On the South (I think) side of the monument is a gorgeous old tree.  It's several pieces coming out the ground, gnarly and perfect for climbing.  The girls enjoyed a little time on these tree before moving on to the American History Museum.

(I'll insert pictures here later these evening)

We were able to actually get into the First Ladies exhibit this time, and checked out the pictures from the inaugaration this year and the invention and play room. I also forced the girls to stop and look inside Julia Childs kitchen.  They've rebuilt her set there, and it was very interesting to see.

From there we headed next store to see the Natural History Museum.  We headed straight for the gem section, specifically the Hope Diamond.  With 3 girls, are you surprised?  We looked at a few other gems, then realized that it was too crowded in there to really enjoy the other displays, so headed off to find the gift store.  On the way, we came across the butterfly habitat.  For a fee, you can go in and walk among the butterflies. We didn't have the time and money that day to do so, but PB and I plan to return and go in.

After hitting the gift shop and the Hall of Mammals, it was time to head back to the bus.  All in all, it was a nice field trip.  Allowing each group to go where they wanted really made the trip nice, as we weren't constantly waiting for others to catch up.  It also allowed the kids to see those things that interested them most.  It seems like a fitting final trip for these 5th graders, about to head off to Junior High.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

reading the cues

My children seem to be suffering from a recurrence of "it's almost the end of the school year and I must lose my mind"itis. I'm hoping they survive this flare up with my sense of humor intact.

It's amazing how different two children raised in the exact same household can be. My daughter can be a sensitive soul. She can work herself into a tizzy with very little outside stimulus. Figuring out how to cajole her out of these funks is tricky. It starts with trying to figure out what is causing her funk, and that is usually difficult to do. She's good at smokescreening you, avoiding the real issue.

She has small little moments of sadness several nights a week since her father left for deployment. After a couple of weeks of her working herself into a stomach ache and sobbing, I had to be tough. I now allow her 5 minutes of crying time. Then she has to suck it up and go to sleep. This was instituted after many other strategies were offered and failed. Diary time, talking, writing to daddy, dancing like a mad woman, visualization, nothing seemed to help her. And this solutions doesn't always work, but it has definitely helped. But this past week or so, I've noticed a diffferent type of sadness, and slowly it's been coming out (well, I've been piecing conversations together.) She is in 5th grade, and will be moving to the Junior High next year. This is a big change, but the change is minimized for her since the Junior High is attached to the elementary school. Same lunch room, same band room, same entrance. But slowly, she's learning that some of her friends won't be joining her in those rooms. One is switching to her home school, instead of school choicing. Another is moving to Texas. These are girls that she has literally known since Kindergarten or First grade, they've slept over at each other's houses dozens of times, shared birthday parties and simple growing up things. Going to a military school, she's used to people coming and going, and there are other kids in her class moving on as well. But it's a lot of changes all at once.

Luckily, I've been able to get her talking a little about the situation, and simply acting a fool with her from time to time seems to help the cloud pass over and sleep come. It's not always that easy, but for now I'll accept it.

Monster has also been having some minor melt down moments, although his occur just after pick up each evening. He's graduating from Kindergarten, and moving on to First grade. We go from half day of school, to eating lunch, having "specials", and homework. Luckily, he is super easy to cajole out of these funks most of the time. A good 5 minute session of tickling, kissing, wrestling and such generally gets him back into a good mood and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

As a mom, I'm happy that I'm able to find the keys to helping my children learn to cope with their feelings. I really feel that this year has brought us closer, and although I wouldn't have chosen it, I'm glad I can see the benefits from it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

John & Kate Plus 8, now divided?

I've started and erased a post about this situation several times over the last couple of weeks.  There is so much here that hits so strongly. 

My husband and I have had our rough patches.  We've hurt each other, sometimes very deeply.  That's not a news flash.  We often do hurt the ones we love and need the most, because we are sure they will always be there for us.  But how long should you go on when that hurt is continuous?  That seems to be the real question for this couple.

I struggle with the comments regarding this family and their situation.  She is mean and walks all over him.  He doesn't stand up for himself.  He's made some iffy decisions, and so has she.  Sitting back, looking in, we can be quick to judge.  It makes us feel better about ourselves to see other people's problems.  Of course we would never choose money over our marital happiness, we would never leave our children to travel all over the world, we would know what our husbands are thinking and doing.  But none of us should truly say that unless we've been there.  No one knows what decisions they might make in a given situation until they've been in that situation.  I would probably never do a reality show, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't subject my children to one either.  But, given the right situation, I might have to agree to do the show.  They had 8 children and very little income.  Doing the show for a few seasons probably didn't seem like such a big deal at the time.  But somehow it became a runaway train. And the microscope of fame has magnified the small problems they had in their relationship.

I once thought that my husband and I were so lucky.  We were so in love, we knew each other.  We were the ones that would be married forever with no real problems.  And then we hit some serious snags.  The pain I felt was so deep and so strong, it truly felt physical.  I didn't know who to talk to, since my best friend was the one that was causing all the pain.  But ultimately, we realized that our relationship was the most important thing to both of us.  We worked on it, struggled and fought for it, and now, almost 12 years later, we are still happily married.  It wasn't easy, and there are times that it still isn't easy.  But the good things in life are worth the work it takes to keep them.

For me, one of the things I learned was to never take anything for granted.  It isn't okay to assume that what I want for our family falls into line with what he wants.  If we both agree that a decision is good for our family, great.  But if not, then we have to find a way to work it out so both of us can be happy.  I don't think that is occuring in Jon and Kate's marriage, and that leads quickly to things going wrong.

Did Jon cheat? I don't know.  Really, at this time, it seems only Jon and the other woman know that for sure.  No matter how unhappy he is with his current relationship, cheating is not the answer.  It sounds trite, but if you aren't happy with yourself and the choices you've made, you won't be happy with someone else.

Ultimately, they both need counselling.  And we all need to remember that these are real people, with real feelings.  They are hurting right now, and hurting with the whole world watching sucks.  Tonight, watching them hurt on television, all I felt was sad.  Sad for a family going through a really tough time, not knowing how to end the runaway train.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moving forward, keeping in touch with our lives.

After yesterday's post, I'm feeling like a survivor.  It's late Thursday night, and we managed to get to everything we were supposed to with everything we needed.  Tomorrow I board a bus with PB to head over to DC again for her field trip.  I'm really looking forward to the day spent with her and her two best friends.  Then home to start the LONG WEEKEND.  Yay.

I started taking the kids to pick strawberries a few years ago, and two years ago I made a batch of jam.  Last year we had to make 4 batches of jam and freeze some berries.  This has grown crazily.  My mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and the kids all want to come over and help.  The problem is we're making so much, it's expensive, and we struggle to get through them all!  But I'll do it still, because this has become a family tradition.  My kids will talk about this when they are older, telling their kids about it, perhaps doing it with them. 

I love traditions, and I'm glad we have some that aren't tied to holidays.  We celebrate our house-iversary with the same meal we had as our first real family dinner.  We tlak about our house and why we are happy to live here.  I feel that these are the memories that will serve them as they grow older.

So now I'm off to do a litle shredding, then head to bed.  Tommorrow is a busy day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


How is it Wednesday already?  Never has a week felt so long but gone by so quickly.  We're in the crazy time of year, when everything is ending, all at the same time.  This is also the beginning of our busy time  at work.  So I am stressed normally, but this year, it's amped up even more.  I have two trips I'm trying to plan, one for this summer and one for fall, plus a bus trip to New York next weekend..  My children have hit the "we're going to be really annoying all the time cause it's almost the end of the school year" phase and are driving me crazy.  By the end of this month, we will have celebrated three birthdays in our family, as well as Mother's Day, plus a friend or two has had birthdays.  I feel like curling up in a ball and crying.

My list of things I want to do has grown so long this month, it doesn't even fit on one page anymore (seriously, I started writing things down so I can keep track and get them OUT OF MY HEAD!).  At the same time, my energy level is hitting an all time low.  I am exhausted almost all the time y'all.  I really need a personal assistant.  However, the pay would have to be very low at this point, as we are about tapped out budget wise. 

I've been looking forward to a weekend free of much to do with others, and just us staying home and me working on some of the things I want to get done, but I'm starting to see that slipping away.  Slowly, little pieces are being taken, and I know that I'll feel frustrated by Monday night with how little I've gotten done.

Don't get me wrong, I'm blessed, and I know it.  Really.  I'm just having a not so good week.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Business Card Giveaway!

If you've never visited Schmutzie, you're missing out. Someday I'll get around to updating my blogroll (or getting rid of it and add her (you know, since she's every where else on my But until tomorrow night, she's hosting a giveaway.

From her blog:

UPrinting, a company with over 25 years of experience in business card printing, asked me if I would like to offer up 1000 free business cards to my readers, and I kind of had to say yes, because I have a thing for business cards. They are such great little means of introduction, and they have the potential to be really freaking cool.

So if you could use a few business cards, or even just have a stationery fetish like myself, head over and participate!

Random thoughts

I always have so many ideas running around my head for posts, and no time any more for actually writing them. Bummer.

1. I've been shredding regularly for almost 2 weeks now. I managed 4 days last week, and 2 times this week so far. Of course, this means I have to shred tomorrow and Saturday (unless I choose to start my week on It is kicking my butt. Seriously. Tonight I did notice that I was able to amp up a few moves for a few seconds, which I guess is an improvement. I just feel like I will be on level 1 forever. I hate that. I'm impatient. But I'm working hard to keep my eye on the ultimate goal, which is looking and feeling better.

2. The kids and I are going on a bus trip to New York City. We're being dropped off at Macy's 34th Street entrance. I'm trying to figure out the best way to see some tourist attractions (the Statue of Liberty seems to be high on everyone's list (my MIL and mom are going as well)) from their. I'd ask for suggestions, but since I don't have very many readers, I'm not expecting much response. Hey, maybe I should facebook it!

3. I'm seriously contemplating switching blogging platforms. And the name of my blog. I chose this name at random before I actually understood what a blog was. And it's not catchy, and I've never been fond of it as a blog's okay as my identity though.

4. I've been working on some things that I want to create to put in my Etsy shop. I'm still working through all the things I need to get it up and going. Maybe I need to start a blog that covers that business as well. Hmmm, food for thought.

5. My son was listening to a rcorded book tonight. He was so excited about the whole thing, and he says to me at one point..."mama, don't you just love technology." My heart melted to a puddle on the floor. My son will be a techno geek like his mama. Of course, he'll be a hot rock star techno geek, but still.

6. It is seriously beautiful here this evening. The temp is comfortable, there's just a little breeze, and the rain showers are short and easy. I'm sitting on my front porch geeking out. I really have to do this more often!

That's it for now! Night!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

feeling strong, but sore

Wow, it's been a long day.  And tonight we had a chair yoga session at our FRG meeting.  It's amazing how much of a work out you can get sitting in a chair!  Of course, eating the delicious desserts afterwards didn't really let any of those benefits of the exercise come through.  But they were veryyyyy yummy.  So I came home and shredded.  I'm tired and sore, but day 2 is done. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Road Trip to Washington, Part II (Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn)

Our second trip to Washington, DC brought us to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. We were invited to meet Vice President and Dr. Biden before attending the Egg Roll on the White House Lawn.  For those who don't know, this is the Eisenhower Executive Office Building...
A big behomoth of a building that sits right next to the White House...see?
We had a chance to meet with the Vice President and his family.
I really like Dr. Biden.  She seems like a genuinely nice woman. And I admire that prior to her husband becoming Vice-President, she maintained her own professional life. 
The rest of our visit wasn't so pleasant, and didn't go exactly as planned.  But eventually, after standing in various lines for almost 2 more hours, we finally made it into the Egg Roll...
Unfortunately, in trying to create access for many, the whole thing was ruined for all.  There were too many people, and the lines were so long to do any of the activities.  There were at least 75 people in line just for the egg roll activity.  After spending so long just waiting to get in, and a morning that had to start at 7 am, we were all done.  So we took some pictures, got our posters, and headed out to the egg station.  The wooden souvenir eggs are cute.
Photo taken from the White House official Site.
Then we went to the US History Museum.  Another post of that part of the trip soon.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Shredding (Take 2)

I just finished day one (again) of the 30 day shred.  OMG. 

I started back in March, and I made it several days, and then I got sick, and my hubby came home.  And then was a little better and then I was sick again.  I have had a head cold for the entire month of April.  But after my birthday yesterday, I had told myself that I would start again.  And I wanted so bad to go to bed, but I did the shred.  I may be on Level 1 for the next 30 days, but at least I'm doing it. 

I'm still being realistic and knowing that I may not get it in every single is just too busy some days.  But I will do it at least 4 nights a week.  If I don't pass out first.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Feeling Wicked

While my husband was home on leave, he took me to New York for the first time.  And I was reminded why I don't live in a big city.  But the main goal of the day was to see the musical "Wicked" on Broadway.

OMG. Amazing doesn't even begin to describe the experience.  I read a part of the book prior to going to the musical, and the musical takes a lot of "dramatic license", but both versions definitely ring true.  The two leads that performed in this musical that day were phenomenal, and our seats were amazing.  We were in the 6th row near the middle of the stage.  I felt like a little kid, sitting there watching the story unfold.  I didn't notice the people sitting near me, I wasn't wondering if someone had texted me, I was engrossed in the show the entire time.

If you have a chance to see this musical, go.  It's well worth whatever the cost.