Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Do you ever wonder how kids learn things or when they will do them? Of course I know the answer, they learn by watching and by practice, but I still wonder about it. I've been wondering when people learn to clip their own nails. I know. This is a weird thing to think about, but I have and now you have too!

This month, Frank started to clip his nails on his own. He's five and a half. Pretty much since the boys were old enough to walk I've had them go get the nail-clippers and bring them to me, so, it was interesting to me that Frank just went and got them himself. He didn't ask to do it or mention that he was going to, I just came upon him doing it.

The second time he did it, I remembered to snap a picture! This time, he even added toe-nails to the process.

He's quite pleased with himself, as we all are, when we try something new and succeed at it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Incredible Day

I tricked myself today... I washed laundry a day early, AND Jack and I wore our matching Incredibles Shirts. As a result, we had "An Incredible Day!"

I was casual about getting out of the apartment. I had Frank make our sandwiches. I took my stool and we took it easy. Also, we met someone brand new in town and she may be interested in sub-letting our apartment. I checked with the management, and it there is a way to legally do it! Even if this lady decides not to, we can find someone by advertising "seeking tenant to resume contract" and transfer the last two to three months to them... which will save me my Economic Stimulus Check! YEAH!!!

Additionally, I went and talked with one of the people I mentioned in yesterday's email. Face-to-face, heart-to-heart talks, while EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for me to get started, always seem to work better than the alternatives (not communicating or writing back and forth.)

I feel refreshed and relieved, even though that other hurtful situation still exists, it feels great to have small victories!

Jack came in and told me, for the first time ever, about his dream last night. He dreamed of a Dinoco Helicopter (from Disney/Pixar's CARS) with ice cream on it's nose. After telling me about it, he went and found his large helicopter, and then kept trying to get me out of bed to find the ice cream that was on it. I was struggling to explain that it was just something in his imagination; in his head. Now that I think of it, I guess I could have got up and put a dab of yogurt or something on it, but, it was early and I really just didn't want to get up yet.

Tonight Frank came with me to the Knitting Circle at the local Craft Shop. I've been going most Tuesday evenings for a few months now. He took his Knifty Knitter Loom with him and worked on his scarf. After about an hour, he was "ready to go home", but when I told him I wasn't ready, he practised writing, wandered around the store, compared yarns (and their prices), and helped put away folding chairs. We lasted one hour, forty minutes of a two hour meeting. He wants to go back next week.

So, like I said, after yesterday's shell-shock day, today was An Incredible Day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Disappointment Shock

Since this afternoon, I have just been going through the motions of life in a state of shock. Someone has rejected me; in the process they lied and gave / took away some things that meant a lot to me.

You’d think that having known a person for nearly three decades, I’d know about their habits… I just keep on believing in the best, thinking love and patience will win out. It hasn’t, and today, I was hurt badly and, worst of all, I feel that the injury was completely intentional. It makes me want to cry… no, actually, I have cried.

I persist in thinking the best of people. In believing in them and what they say.

People say I have “High Expectations”. I do. Of myself and of others. They say it like it’s a bad thing. I think it’s good to have high expectations. They say if you shoot for the stars, you might fall short and hit the moon… or something like that.

This week I have learned that the word of a certain person is worth less than the filth that surrounds her place of business. And. It’s going to cost me… my entire Economic Stimulus Payment, because I believed in her word.

I just struggle with this. I’ve been trying so hard to think the best of people, I guess I haven’t been getting in “The Feeling Place” of what it would feel like to have them be honest and good.

This is bigger (to me) than it sounds when I write it. That’s because while I want to write to express myself, I also don’t want to dwell on the details or drag someone else down.

I guess I just need the therapy of expressing my feelings, and I hope that it helps me to let go and continue my journey down the stream of life.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

House Binder

While I was comparison shopping to set the sale price of my Arizona home, I was in a home that had a 3-ring binder with all the pertinent house info. Receipts, swatches, instructions, etc. I thought "that's a great idea!" So, yesterday I got myself a 540-sheet, 3-ring binder for the new house. I also got some tabbed dividers that have pockets in them and my big-ol'-box of sheet protectors.

Now. I have to decide how to organize my Handy-Dandy-Household-Binder!

(Yes, these are the kinds of things I think about - a lot!)

I think these topics are set:
  1. Financing
  2. Taxes
  3. Insurance
  4. Utilities
  5. Receipts
Now. How to sort the rest of it? By Area or by Item? I made potential lists for each method of sorting, and came up with seven sections each:

  1. Kitchen / Dining Room
  2. Living Room
  3. Bathrooms
  4. Bedrooms
  5. Utility Rooms
  6. Garage
  7. Yard
  1. Appliances
  2. Entertainment System
  3. Yard
  4. Floors
  5. Walls
  6. Electricity
  7. Plumbing
So. What do you think? How would you organize your Home Filing System?

How DO you organize your Home Data?
  • In a binder?
  • In an expanding folder?
  • In file folders?
  • At each appliance/item/area?
  • In the trash?
Inquiring minds (like mine) want to know!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Agh! Appliance Overload

Instead of putting "Billy-Joe-Bob's" Super Cheap appliances in the new houses... the developer allows you to pick out your own appliances, from your own vendor, then adds the total to the price of the house. So. You finance your appliances and you get just what you want. If we had the cash on hand, we could pay cash for them. But. We don't.

So. Yesterday our offer was accepted and now I have to pick out ALL the major appliances for our house, by Monday! Agh!

I've spent ALL day looking at them (in stores and or online). I just sent my hubby a spreadsheet with two to five choices per appliance. Here are my favorites of each (not that we'll buy them, but, I like them):
What's that?

"Where's the dishwasher?"

Clever of you to notice it's absence. We haven't used one for a six months. We didn't use one for over a year in Arizona. The house is plumbed for it, but, we are having the hole "finished" and it will be our trash/recycling spot. Then, when we sell, we'll just offer an allowance for a dishwasher of the buyers choosing.

We've noticed that when we hand wash, our dishes get cleaned faster and better. We've also observed that our kitchen stays cleaner. Something about waiting to load or unload and dishes always in limbo with a dishwasher. Anyway, it's just one more piece of technology we happily live without.

Freezer. I've never had a stand-alone freezer. We're planning to get one though. I'm always wishing for one. We do a lot of cooking ahead and buying on sale. Plus, Grandad has a summer-time garden that is bountiful and Tom's planning to start hunting. So. Freezer will be good.

Usually, I research a single purchase for, like a week! I read reviews, look at it, talk to people, get Consumer Reports, then FINALLY make a decision. This has put me into overdrive! Choose six major appliances in two days! Agh! Serious overload!

So. Basically, I'm totally wiped out now and feel like just about anything will do.

Update on New Phrase - Scoop like a Bowl of Soup

"I will Scoop you like a Bowl of Soup!" has become a regular phrase here at our home. The boys and Tom regurally say it to one another. It always makes us laugh! :D

Friday, April 25, 2008

Musings - Nails, Knitting, and New Houses

My nails look great! Better than they ever have before! This is such an accomplishment because I was a nail bitter for almost thirty years. They are not overly long, but are all uniform. I noticed it a few days ago and put some clear and then light-sparkly peach polish on them. I've noticed in the past that just one clear coat per day will help preserve the strength of nails. Now they feel HARD too! I actually tried to take some pictures, but hands are tricky to photograph. So, just know that I'm delighted by how pretty they look.

Yesterday I started working on my first pair of socks. Actually, I just have been working on the sample swatch. It's been really busy here and I've been anxious to actually start knitting on all the needles in the round. I think I'm going to do that when I get done typing. :D

Last year a group of friends wanted to knit... several of us wanted to and others knew how, so, we had a few sessions. I started out with aluminum needles and Fancy Fur yarn. My scarf actually turned out like a bonnet. I tried again, same setup of needles and yarn. I got a skaddy-wampus scarf and stopped. (Frank actually complains about the holes in his scarf. Phooey on him!

Moving to Wyoming I realized that even if I didn't like it, I needed to figure out how to knit for utilitarian purposes... wool hats, wool scarves, wool socks, wool mittens. All necessities in this cold place and times four of each would be VERY expensive to procure (not that the wool is cheap, but I can do it myself for a little less cash out.)

I went to the local specialty craft shop (they sell quilting AND knitting supplies, as well a small assortment of several other crafts.) They recommended a sport-weight tweed yarn and bamboo needles. In November I started another scarf using the Multidirectional Scarf Pattern. I finished it six months later (just two weeks ago!) It had three stitches (increase, knit, and decrease) plus casting on. After a couple of months, I think in January or February, I started going to a weekly knitting circle with a paid "helper". I've learned a lot just watching. I've finished my first scarf, plus a third of a wool one for Tom. I'm about to start my first pair of socks with the lovely sets of needles I ordered from SusanCraft6798 of SusanCraftDesign on ebay. I'm making a cowl, for Jack... I guess I suddenly have several patterns "OTN" (on the needles). I've learned a lot from and am planning to use Silver's Sock Class to help with the socks. I've found that being able to click or look at video or pictures over and over is really helping me along with knitting. Oh yeah, and my friends tried to teach me to hold the yarn with my right hand and I do better with the left... I figured that out with

Oh yeah. And the Buyer accepted our offer for the Duplex I mentioned a few days ago. So, we are on our way to Wyoming Home Ownership. I know I should be eccstatic, but, I'm actually going to look at two FSBO houses tomorrow. I told Tom that just like my Home-Ec Teacher in HS said... if you are getting married next week and someone asks you out, go out on a date... you're not married until you're married, but then it's a done deal.

I AM looking forward to the inside of the house, just not the outside and the location (by the freeway). I do like the neighborhood and the street itself. So, I'm basically thinking of it as an investment. In a few years we intended to move closer to our family (to the NE) and so, we'll just enjoy the inside and deal with the other things.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Toddler Travel Tips

I was talking with my cousin today. She's thinking of taking a 1,000 mile journey, just her, two toddlers, and their dog. I mentioned that I have learned several things that make the traveling "not difficult" and "almost easy". She told me that I should share with the Blogging World. So, here I am. Off the cuff, raw and uncensored...
  1. Plan ahead, especially for packing.
  2. Plan what you'll need at your destination, load it first.
  3. Plan what you'll need on the trip and load it last.
  4. Pack one suitcase / bag per day on the road, put everyone's clothes (including PJ's in the first nights bag) in it.
  5. Put extra "bottoms" in the daily bags for the recently potty-trained and or diapered children. This way the diaper bag isn't bulging, but you've got what you need.
  6. Include a pillowcase in each suitcase. Put the dirty clothes in the pillowcase.
  7. Fold dirty clothes as they go into the pillowcase. If someone has an unexpected "need" for cleaner clothes, you can often pull something out of the laundry bag, if it's folded, then it's not all wrinkled.
  8. Wear comfortable layers (ie: overalls are not generally comfy for little ones... especially with all their seat belts.)
  9. Make sure the children's car seats are properly installed.
  10. Make sure all seat belts are used properly... which means that little one's are strapped down fairly tightly, but securely. It's no good to have them in a car seat with loose shoulder straps and in an accident they go shooting out the top like a bullet!
  11. Give frequent stretching breaks. At least every 90 minutes to two hours. Think of how stiff you get, and you can wiggle and move in your seatbelt... those five-point-harnesses are TIGHT and most car seats have very little by way of padding.
  12. Stretching breaks should not involve more "good behavior" or sitting. They should involve (at least walking) and preferably climbing and or running.
  13. I like to take breaks at: rest areas, parks, school playgrounds (even in the tiniest towns you can find school grounds), and in unfriendly weather we stop at Wal-Mart. I also like to stop at dirt piles, hills, and "brown signs" (usually historical types of markers).
  14. Wal-Mart breaks are beneficial because you can buy healthy, economical snacks, after taking a "lap" around the store... with everyone (who can) walking. Non-walkers should be carried (as opposed to put in a cart or car-seat carrier. The point is to stretch and cuddle. You don't usually need a cart for shopping either, because you are taking a break, not doing you shopping. Although, often something is "forgotten" or needed on the road, and these breaks allow you to pick up whatever that item is without "wasting time" in a big store... because you are using the fact that it's a big store to stretch.
  15. Go to your library and check out books on CD/tape. I recently discovered the Artemis Fowl series this way. When traveling with kids, just go to the Child's or Young Adult sections for stories everyone can enjoy (or learn from). My library let's me check out an unlimited number of audio materials for three weeks... and I can renew over the phone, so, even on a long road trip, I can get plenty of materials. I've found this tip really helps ME... especially if I'm feeling groggy. Having a story line to pay attention to is very helpful.
  16. Headphones for electronic learning tools (Leapster) and or games. If more than one item is going, I go nutso. I picked up each of my boys a folding set of headphones for about $6.50.
  17. Pack a variety of toys. This is an area I've struggled with. I want to bring a lot, but found they tend to play with the same 3-5 things. So, remember to PACK LIGHTLY.
  18. I do keep a box of special "Travel Toys" that they only see on trips (View Masters. :D)
  19. Put toys in their own bags to help contain pieces. (I pick up small zipper bags at thrift stores to hold each toy seperatly.)
  20. Put a bucket / basket / tub in between seats for toy containment.
  21. Bring extra batteries.
  22. Plastic lids from medium/large storage tubs make great multi-purpose lap desks. If they have trouble balancing (many car seats have edges that hold the lid), put a pillow or blanket on the lap. These are good for: helping to hold pieces, drawing, writing, automobile toys, snacks.
  23. Lots of expensive snack cups out there... I just keep a stack of the "freebie" plastic cups we get when we eat out. They are about 4" tall and 3" wide. Sized well for little hands AND they fit between the legs. Whenever I give out a snack, I put the pieces in these cups and hand them back. They also fit in cupholders.
  24. Back to toys... I usually have a few "new" things with me. It avoids buying things at gas stations, and allows me to have something on hand when I really need it (when someone's screaming their head off with an hour left to drive).
  25. I seldom make advance reservations for hotels, but, I do have a few favorite places I'm discovering, so, I keep their numbers handy.
  26. Often, you know about when you're going to stop while driving (like we can drive another hour, or two, or whatever). When I get to the point of knowing how much longer / farther we can / will drive for the day, I'll call my hubby at home. He gets online and on the phone and makes me a reservation. I like this over just driving an unfamiliar route and "hoping" I find a decent, good-priced place.
  27. Plan ahead - look up shops / things that you're interested in (for me it's quilting) and put together a sheet with their addresses and phone numbers (maybe even store hours). Then, if you want to take a break, you can stop at some place you like for your stretching.
  28. Be willing to do the unexpected... Jack woke from a nap on a recent trip. He'd slept from 11 to 1. We had been snacking on sandwiches I packed, so we weren't hungry, but we needed a stretch. He saw a coal power plant puffing water condensation into new clouds in the distance. He said "what is that?" followed by "I want to see inside it." I stopped and ask, figuring we'd at least stretch out. We wound up on an hour long private tour! It doesn't hurt to ask, and being willing to listen, even to a three year old's ideas, can turn out to be fun (and educational) for everyone!
  29. Pack sandwiches and fruit to munch on while you're driving. So much easier, more economical, and healthy than stopping for burgers constantly! Also allows you to save / spend your break time doing fun things and stretching.
  30. Portable Potty Seat - Potty training while driving in the middle of nowhere. They sell fancy travel seats, but I came up with something using what I had. I put two matching (similar) height suitcases on the ground. Took the potty seat we have (that fits over a toilet), and wrapped a plastic bag around the handles, front and back. Then, I hung the handles over the suitcases. Instant portable seat with disposal unit (allow urine to drain out before tying a knot around other things and storing in the trunk). Dispose of at first trash can!
  31. Potty convenience - I have a big "beach bag" that is our "bathroom bag". It has the previously mentioned potty seat, a step stool (folding or just a little 6" high one), our hand soap, sanitizer, diaper wipes, Clorox wipes. I think you can figure out how handy this bag is. It's got a big opening to make it easy to fit the seat and stool in. It's easier to wash hands and use drinking fountains, as well as potties.
  32. Snack Master - I make the five year old the "Snack Master". He has the snack box (I use a Sterilite box with snap on lid, either shoe box size or file box size, depending on the length of the trip) within reach. Whenever anyone wants something, he gets it. Makes it safer for me, and he loves to do it!
  33. I seldom buy snacks for a trip anymore, I just pack up all those 1/2 used snacks and things from your kitchen / pantry.
  34. Maps. From Google / Mapquest (of your planned route) and of each state. You can usually pick them up at the Visitor Info by the border of each state. Once you have them, file them for the next trip (in case you can't stop easily or they're closed or you want to figure something out BEFORE you get there.)
Okay. So. Do you think I should just write a book on traveling with kids or what?!!??!

One more bonus idea:
  1. Take whatever your kids are interested in, and turn it into a theme for the trip. I recently did this with The Solar System. Our van turned into a "spaceship". I brought along the plastic placemat we have, and figured out how many miles between each planet (Pluto was in Lander and The Sun was in Mesa). I also calculated how large each planet in our model would be. Then, while we drove, we would stop wherever our "planet" was and find something the same size. It was really neat to find a cattle gate or a semi-truck or a pile of dirt the size of our planet. It also helped them to understand the vast distance between them. You could do this for timelines, historical periods... my mind wanders around all the ideas for this. The neatest thing was that we never knew where our next object would be, and often it was the middle of nowhere, but, it gave us something to stop for that was just for fun and for us, not because we were needing gas, or food, or to see a tourist attraction. Also, it afforded me a lot of teaching moments.
Muse through these ideas. Let me know of a few of your own. Perhaps I'll share more (if I can think of them... oh wait, they're are more coming...
  1. Pack a "swimming bag" for everyone in the vehicle. That way, even in the middle of winter, when you stop at a hotel with a heated indoor pool, you won't have to freeze your tushie off opening EVERY person's suitcase and digging the items out (not that I have any experience with this or anything!)
  2. Remember your old goofy, silly, kids songs and sing them to your kids.
And that's it. Really. I'm done. (For now.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wyoming Life - On the Hunt

We left our beloved Sholar Station last May. In June the boys and I arrived in Wyoming. We spent the summer living with family. September we moved into an apartment in Rock Springs. November our house sale in Mesa, Arizona was finalized. Now, six months later, I think we're FINALLY about to make the jump to home ownership in Wyoming. I've been looking at houses, very casually since last May. About every six weeks, I do some Internet searches, and drive around town, looking. Then about every three or four months, I call up the Realtor and get a list of current listings... usually it's just two sheets with all the houses listed, one per line, very utilitarian. Then, I sit down with a map and mark the houses, then I drive around and check them (and the neighborhoods) out. If I see any I like, I call the Realtor up and she'll take me into one to three houses. It's been a long, frustrating journey for me.

It's been odd getting use to all the differences. House styles, floor plans, room sizes, neighborhood designs, hills, slopes, snow drifts, yucky winter "blah" weather, multi-level living... these have all played into my lack of comfort with the houses and areas I've been exploring.

I've ALWAYS lived in a ranch style home... come to think of it, I've only known a few people who had actual stairs in their homes. I think that had a lot to do with it.

Then, there was also the fact that when we first decided to move to Wyoming, Arizona Real Estate was going through the roof, and Wyoming was stagnant. In the year of our move, the Federal Government released several hundred (?) new oil well permits. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Market took a dive. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a comparable cost of living, without the nest-egg we'd be counting on to fund our new home.

So. I had choices to make. They revolved around: size of dwelling/rooms, size of property, age of property, and quality of neighborhood. Basically, I was getting less of everything, or, at best, I could choose one thing to be good and the rest were bad. Add to that that nothing "felt like home" (probably because of all the differences) and it's been a discouraging hunt, to say the least.
Recently, I've made friends with some ladies... two raised in and raising their families in Rock Springs, and one recent transplant. The other newbie has been house hunting too, in a comparable price range. I think meeting and talking with her each week has really spurred me along to looking too.

Then, about a month ago, I found a new neighborhood and, specifically, a house I really liked. I liked it enough to get the financing approved (even though it was out of my price range). So, armed with a loan pre-approval, and a friend who was talking houses, I've started searching again.
Last week I went though over 100 listings. Saturday we drove by 23 of them. Then, yesterday the Realtor took us inside 9. Of those, I thought 2 would work for us, but again, one was quite a bit more than we feel comfortable spending.

The one left? Yeah. It's the one Tom's been pestering me to buy for a few weeks now.

Here's Tom (and the Realtor's Feet) in the Living Room
of the unit he likes... look at how he's "presenting it" to us! LOL. :D
Behind Tom is the Dining Area and Kitchen.
The kitchen hall goes to the stairs, a pantry, the water heater closet, a back door, and a 1/2 bath.

And after seeing it right alongside all the other way-too-small-and-too-expensive it suddenly looks refreshingly, GREAT! Oh... except for this one minor thing... it backs up to the freeway. And oh. This other thing... we waited long enough that the floorplan we like, there are just three of them, and the one we like is already sold... so's it's neighbor. So, if we get the floorplan we like, we get a back yard half the size of the first one... these are Duplexes under construction... did I mention that? Anyway, even with the smaller back yard, I prefer it to the other floorplan option.

I do kick myself (just a bit) for not moving faster to have come to this realization (that these Duplexes that Tom's been talking about for months... we could have had the floorplan and yard of our choosing up to about three weeks ago).

So. Now our hope is that the person buying our first or second choice will
walk from the deal and open it up for us to snatch... if that's possible while we make an offer on our third choice (so we at least get the floorplan we want!) I've got an email prepped to send to the Realtor in the morning to make a formal offer tomorrow. I just need to review a few of the points with Tom.

We're FINALLY moving along...

PS: Frank says he'd rather have the bigger yard, but, we just don't like the other floor plan as well, so, in this he'll have to make do with a yard of his own.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's Earth Day, What Are You Doing to Help?

I have been trying to think of something brainy or witty or just plain appropriate to write about for Earth Day. What I thought might be best was just to share with you my current little crusade.

Recently I've made the switch from "Paper or Plastic?" to "Fabric." Last year, I bought a few bags from, but my efforts really became a part of my daily life when I bought a pair of old curtains for a quarter last December. In January, I sewed my curtains into fourteen Reusable Shopping Bags (using the pattern from My Many Colored Crayon's Tutorial). I also bought a sheet for a dollar to accent some of the bags and made about six more. So, for $1.25, I got TWENTY shopping bags! Quite the bargain, especially considering the local grocery store has been paying me a nickle per bag every time I shop there.

In any case, ever since I started using my nifty home-made bags, I've been thinking about plastic. I've realized it's EVERYWHERE in our society. That's not necessarily the best thing. I've read and heard about how bad it is for landfills, wildlife, etc. Some things I recently became aware of include the fact that many plastics last OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS! Aghck! Do we really want to be finding someones old, broken plastic in 100 years? The other thing is that firemen now need protective gear, as much to protect from the smoke as they do from all the melting plastic (and subsequent fumes) in homes and buildings.

I don't know. It's just something I've really become aware of, the fact that plastic is EVERYWHERE... tables, bags, wrappings on packages, beverage bottles, vehicles, etc, etc, etc. Maybe I'm more aware of it because here in Hicks-Ville, we don't have as many recycling options, where, in the Phoenix Valley, we took out recycling one day and garbage another... curbside collection made it easy to think all that EXTRA packaging was okay.

So, not really for Earth Day, but for our Earth Everyday, I'm making conscious choices to choose non-plastic alternatives when I'm shopping. A little bit at a time, in my own corner, I'm trying to make a difference.

What have you been doing lately that helps the Earth?

PS: Here are a few other websites that offer patterns (sewn, knitted, and crocheted) for making your own Reusable Shopping Bags.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Did It!

For a year now, I’ve been focusing on Allowing more Joy in my life.

Yesterday I read this post about a lady changing a flat tire for the first time.

Today, I allowed my five-year-old son, the Manager I’ve been chatting with since January, as well as the smile I felt on my own face, to talk me into doing something I was just plain scared to do.

I thought “if Frank can do it, I can do it!” and “I’m not afraid of doing it, but of the potential for pain later.” I even thought “I use to do something quite like this; and I’ve been studying, so, I CAN DO THIS!”

Eventually, I decided to try it…

I spent 20 minutes on the ice during which time, I went back and forth on the short side… changed skates to a wider size, then went around the rink once. The result was a sore left shoulder (from holding onto the edge of the wall) and… GLEE! I was so happy with myself!

The cutest thing about this, was that Frank reminded me of what I was thinking "Mom. You can go slow. Remember how when I first started I went slow?" And then, just like the Manager of the Ice Rink said he would, Frank said "I'll hold your hand Mom." Which he did. :D

1-2-3 Punch!

“Jack is a Toughie!” That’s what my husband often says. When Frank gets hurt, he almost always cries. When Jack gets hurt, he gets up and brushes himself off… that, or he comes up fighting!

Lately I’m noticing more of this trend. Three and Five my boys are. And as will so often happen, the older child torments, goads, and provokes the younger. What I have been noticing recently is that Jack saves it up and then lets Frank have it! Just this week, “Out-of-the-Blue”, Jack has gut punched Frank, thrown a hairbrush at (and hit) Frank from behind, and punched Frank (in the head) with a closed fist. All of these incidents have been within hours of somesort of torment from his older brother… long enough that Frank has forgotten, but neither I nor Jack have.

I don’t feel inclined to reprimand too strongly for the paybacks. Actually. Honestly. I think it’s a little funny and feel a victory cheer for the little guy standing up for himself. This isn’t to say I don’t punish the offenses… I punish both sides (at the time of incident). But, I also refuse to coddle the “victim”, reminding him that he, well, basically he “had it comin’ to him.”

But this is really all “background”. It is important for you to know that these things are currently happening, but, since most of you grew up in families of your own, with other siblings, I suspect you already know about these types of things.

I’m writing you because, today when I realized Jack just wanted to hit… what’s that? “How did I know?” you ask. Well… could it be because after I stopped Jack from hitting his brother, he started hitting the stove… and laughing! Yeah. That’s it. He just wanted to HIT.

Anyway, I set him to hitting furniture… specifically soft furniture. I suggested the bed, couch, or recliner. Jack climbed up in his Daddy’s recliner, so he was on his knees facing the back, and started whaling on the chair. Both fists, one after another. He enjoyed the hitting, but, the delightful side-effect was that he created a “ride” for himself as the chair rocked back-and-forth.

I was telling my Grandad this story tonight, and I didn’t quite get to the recliner bit when Grandad chimed in that my Grandma had bought my Uncle a punching bag when he was just a little older and wanted to hit. He had a big, plastic clown punching bag. Actually, I think I’ve found the BOZO Bag.

Grandad suggested that I get Jack a punching bag of his own… that he would not only have the fun of hitting, but the exercise of dodging and dancing around (boxing fashion) with it. I did a quick search and found two Superman models (36” and 48”) as well as Boxing Style (complete with gloves) that adjusts in height.

My question is, if I were to buy Jack a punching bag, what should I go for? Cheapest (about $10 shipped, or fancier for around $30?) What about size? Jack is 37” and Frank is 47” (or they were a few months ago).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Artemis is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!!!

I know I recently told you about Artemis Fowl, but, MAN! Tom and I have REALLY been enjoying this series! We JUST finished listening to Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony (book 5) and, at the end, we both had these goofy grins on our faces.

These have just been really fun to listen to. On that note, the narrator, Nathaniel Parker has an AMAZING talent for Voice Acting! Each character (and species) have their own distinct sound / voice... it's just incredible to listen to him.

Really. If you haven't read / listened to Artemis Fowl yet, you REALLY need to do so. I want to talk with you about the stories, but I can't do that until you delve into them. Go to the library. Tell them you must have Artemis!

Suzy :D

PS: Have I made it clear to you yet that 1) I really enjoy Artemis Fowl, and 2) I want you to partake as well? ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Recipe - RecipeZaar Resource

Frequently, others ask me to share my recipes with them. This has now moved into the blog-o-sphere. I already have a couple of my most-requested recipes posted online at RecipeZaar. I'm always intending to post more of my favorites out there. Since I've been receiving online requests, I'm now starting to add more to my que on online offerings. (Is this post making any sense? I'm a *little* tired!)

Take a peek at these two that my hubby and I created:
  • Flavorful Chicken Enchilada Soup - Not to sound concieted or anything, but I created this recipe ALL ON MY OWN. The first batch was PERFECT! People always ask for the recipe and then make it on their own. Honestly, whenever we make a batch, I'm always tickled at MY CREATION and how DELICIOUS it is! :D
  • Chicken and Rice Soup - My hubby came up with this soup. It's simple and tasty. We usually have all the ingredients on hand. Whenever anyone in the house starts to feel sick, we make a big pot of this and all start eating it... did you know that scientist have now PROVEN that Chicken Soup helps you feel better faster! Really, it's true! I read about it. Oh yeah, I also like to swap up the grains... you know, barley, rice, pasta. It freezes well, but PRE-pasta, if you please!
And these are a few of my personal favorites from other RecipeZaar contributors:
RecipeZaar is the only recipe site I tend to go to, and I do go there, usually when I'm feeling bored with my kitchen repertoire and wanting a little inspiration. I really enjoy the search features there, like I can tell it a few ingredients or tools I want to use and get a list of recipes. There are also all sorts of themed "cookbooks" you can "thumb" through.

So. For now, entertain yourselves surfing around RecipeZaar. I'll be posting more recipes there soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Some Sort of a Record...

This is the first time I've typed on a computer today! I did sit down to log on once before, but my laptop was turned off and I didn't have time to wait for it to boot-up, so, I just skipped it!

I do have a growing list of things to do on the PC, but I also have been enjoying my productivity with it closed and or turned off more.

This morning I went to the gym (on my off day) and walked. I'd been walking around the Ice Rink while Frank skated, but classes ended last month, and I haven't been fiting it in. So, yesterday I thought I'd go in the morning, since I've got that routine down anyway three days a week, for my walking too. It worked well.

I've been feeling more invigorated and alive since I started working out about a month ago. Tom and I have also noticed that I'm MUCH more calm and patient... with others and myself! These are all good things... actually, I can't think of anything bad that's come from working out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Washday Wednesday Update

For those of you who may be interested in how this Washday Wednesday went (as compared with the past few), here's an update...

The simple version is that it went very well!

The long version - I was much more relaxed and patient with myself.
  • I went about my morning knowing I'd get around to laundry... and working in that direction, but not panicking and getting upset at how late it was getting.
  • I packed a lunch for us, and left around 11:00.
  • We put the laundry in.
  • Then had our lunch in the van (when a friend called to check on how laundry day was going... THANKS for thinking of, remember, and calling me!)
  • Transferred to the dryers.
  • We walked next door where I let the boys choose a Krispy Kreme donut (which they shared).
  • Then, while they played on their scooters in the dirt lot next door,
  • I did a Clean Car Boogie on the van.
  • We went back inside where I used my new folding stool (Wal-Mart, $14). The stool was a little low for the counter heights, but my feet still feel good and I didn't wear myself out.
  • Afterwards, we went and took care of three errands without incident.
My daily calendar had this illustration:

I thought it's quote "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. -Abraham Lincoln" was particularly appropriate for my Washday. It also makes me smile because one of my favorite quotes about attitude is from Disney's Pollyanna, where Haley Mills goes cross-eyed trying to read her father's locket... which says "If you look for the bad in people you'll surely find it. -Abraham Lincoln" Did you know that he never really said that? The writer of the movie script made up the quote and the reference! Of course I only learned that piece of trivia as an adult, and it sounds like something he'd say. :D

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sunny Side Up

We've been up here for what, almost a year now?

Most of that time, Tom has spent "in the field" (ie: driving around A LOT and working on fixing things). Today, he held both hands out, palms down, and we observed that his right hand is quite a bit darker (tanner) than his left.

I think it's from driving with his right hand on the top of the steering wheel and his left on his thigh. I also think it's kinda funny that he's got his own version of a Farmer's Tan going on. :D

Monday, April 14, 2008


Frank got himself in a bunge this morning and found himself on his bunk. After he calmed down, he declared "I’m not coming out until you let me play chess or play a video game!" I explained that we were blessing our home (with FLYLady’s Weekly Home Blessing Hour) and we were taking out the trash, dusting, vacuuming, and making beds. Then, I left him on the bed.

A few minutes went by and he hollered out “one more thing… I will come out if you let me watch a video.” “Nope!”

A few more minutes and he said he would come out if he could “wash the doors”. Now we’re talking! Doing a chore to get out of time-out? That’s what I’m talking about! The longer I left him there, the more he came around. It actually only took about ten minutes total. Back to our Home Blessing Hour

Sunday, April 13, 2008

By the Numbers – A Birthday Shout Out

Is there some terminology for people that are totally, weirdly obsessed with numbers? My birthday adds up to ten, three different ways. I’ve figured out weird little number things for each of my boys’ birthdays. We were married on 02-02-2002… I wanted to do it at 02:02 am (we eloped, so, not a lot of people to coordinate), but the marriage official refused to get out of bed in the middle of the night. Basically, I find and make interesting number patterns… constantly.

I also tend to remember dates. Birthdays, anniversaries, surgery dates, death dates. You name it, if it’s a number, it seems to stick around.

I'm thinking about numbers because today is my former-step-daughter’s 14th birthday. Is there a “term” for your Ex-Step-Child? Can I just call her my friend? I miss her. I haven’t been able to talk with her in 7 years. I always find myself thinking of her extra the week of her birthday. So, even though I can’t speak with her or write her in person, I thought I’d give this little e-tribute to Serina Mae.

I’m thinking of you.
I love you still.
Happy Birthday Sera-Bear!

No Pictures?

Did you ever notice how you don’t seem to have pictures of:

1. Yourself… kinda hard to take them when you’re in charge of the camera, and others don’t seem inclined to jump up and take them of you.

2. Real “Work” being done.

3. The things in Life that wind up being the Best Stories!

Today, for example, we spent 2½ hours in our storage shed. Lord Vader’s presence has been requested at our local Big Brothers Big Sisters… we had to find the costume though, and it (of course) was at the VERY back of the 10’x15’x8’ storage shed… which was packed to the gills! Tom (luckily) knew what side it was on, so, we ONLY took out HALF of the boxes and then restacked them. Not one picture of that.

Want another example of the Lack of Pictures of The Good Stuff? How about while we were visiting a 91 year old friend this week, and Jack came out with a bare butt holding his pants, underwear, and a cloth bag complaining that they were wet. As I went down the hall, I saw a 1’x2’ puddle in the hall carpet – my pace to the bathroom quickened. I found ONE FULL INCH of WATER on the bathroom floor, and the toilet still running! No pictures of that either.

Wonder what happened? Well, Jack either uses NO toilet paper, or WAY too much. He also hates to wash his hands, put away his step stool, or basically do anything but actually USE the toilet (I am grateful that he knows how to use it though). Apparently he liked the feel of her Charmin paper. Our hostess had put it out the day before. When we went in, there was only cardboard left. So. Yep. A WHOLE ROLL of paper down the toilet… literally, and one inch of standing water… don’t know how many gallons I mopped up with a towel in my bare feet with my pants rolled up… did I mention it was ICE COLD? No pictures of that either.

Anyway, I just wanted to observe that some of the best stories in life are just that… stories. Sometimes there are simply no pictures to go with them.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wyoming Life - Washday Wednesday

On my hubby's suggestion, I am going to post regularly again. He reminds me that my posts are therapeutic for me, even if they don't have regular comments / visitors. And, HE's RIGHT!!! So, I'll start posting daily again, except tomorrow I'm headed out of town for a few days, so, I'll start posting again... Saturday.

In the meantime, a quick observation of self. Today was awful! Last week I had a terrible day too... upon reflection, I realized it was ALSO Wednesday. Since moving to Rock Springs, Wednesday has become Washday... as in LAUNDRY. Sort, pack, haul downstairs, load in van, go to Laundromat, spend three hours on my feet, lug it all home, and MAYBE get it put away that same day. Like six to eight loads usually. I HATE IT!

What I've just realized is that I grumble so much over it and become so tired by it, that I'm now getting grumpy BEFORE I go through the motions and get tired. I've been having hideous times with my boys and today I realized that it's all my fault.


I need something new. I need something different. I need a new and different approach to this laundry business.

My apartment is small and cramped as it is, but I have seen neighbors with portable rental washing machines. There are paid washers downstairs, but they are smaller than the laundromat and don't accommodate things like blankets or coats. I think they would wash everything else.

Let's brainstorm some possible alternatives to the Do-it-all-in-one-morning Method, shall we?
  1. Wash at a different time of the day. (Wednesday mornings are pretty slow at the laundromat).
  2. Load the vehicle with the laundry the day before; it would have to be TuesDAY though, because I go to a Knitting Circle on Tuesday evenings.
  3. Split the washing into two different days, double the laundromat time, but cut the folding time.
  4. Buy a folding stool to take with me for folding... they got rid of their stools because someone was standing on one and fell recently. My feet miss having a place to rest while folding.
  5. Wash at the apartment, probably every other day. More costly, and have to be home for several hours, running up and down a flight of stairs to the laundry room.
  6. Pay to have the laundry done! (Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! That one IS funny!)
  7. Rent a portable washing machine, buy a wooden drying rack. Wash EVERYday, with the machine moving to the kitchen sink (much like the original dishwashers).
  8. Bribe the kids to behave better on Laundry day, but I really think this is MY problem, not theirs. If I could / would chill out about it, we could, maybe even HAVE FUN doing the laundry Marathon Fashion.
  9. Dress up, like fancy, so that it doesn't feel like so much drudgery work.
  10. Be glad I have washing machines, and I'm not washing in a stream / from a pump... wait a minute, that's not a solution for me now is it!? I guess I'm out of ideas.
Anyone out there have any suggestions / encouragement for me changing my mindset about this All-at-Once-Pay-Per-Load Laundry bit?

I look forward to hearing your ideas / encouragement / suggestions!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What do you do...

Throughout the year, I take care of the finances, but at the end of the year, my hubby does the taxes. I give him the folder with all the documents I've gathered and he files them. Somehow, for us, it balances out. Tom prints out a hard copy for our file and keeps an electronic copy on the computer.

Last year, in April we decided to move. For whatever reason, Tom still had the Taxes file folder on his computer desk... instead of back in my filing cabinet. We've just realized this in the past week as we prepare to file our taxes. I've gone to my filing cabinet (in storage) and found my taxes from 1991-2002. 2003-2006 are in the manilla folder which Tom had on the desk. Apparently, that file folder got packed with the desk contents instead of returned to the folder... which means, it could be ANYWHERE within a 10'x15'x8' storage unit which is COMPLETELY packed! :P

Never fear! We have an electronic copy... right? No. Tom installed an update of Windows a few months ago which wound up CRASHING our hard drive and formating a good number of files... including our electronic tax records. :P

Foiled again.

So. What do you do? Tom even tried looking back (online) at our banking records, since we received our refunds electronically, but, they only keep the past six months online.

One other thing... it's been delightful that Tom always does our taxes in February... but, if you'll recall, Tom spent most of February on prescription pain-killers... so, doing taxes was out of the question.

Anyway, if you have any ideas about how I can recover the records of my previous rebate, so I can pay taxes on a refund that I've already been taxed on, please, let me know!