Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crock Pot Lovin'

My crock pot is the most amazing thing in my kitchen! Well, unless I'm standing in there! I love love love being able to throw some random stuff in there and coming home to the aroma of dinner ready to serve. Yesterday, I tried out a new recipe (with some of my own additions, of course, because you know I can never leave well enough alone). Middle kiddo "loooooved" it. Oldest kiddo only likes very plain slabs of meat on his plate, so he was like whatever. Hubby ate a good serving. Baby didn't have any because, well, she doesn't know how to chew yet. Anyhoo, here's the recipe. Try it out!

1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks
2 cups ketchup
1 liter Coke
1 tsp minced garlic (or the equivalent of whatever form of garlic you prefer)
salt and pepper

Place the chicken in the crock pot. Salt and pepper the chicken to your preferred taste. Add the garlic. Then pour the ketchup and Coke on top. Put the lid on and cook for 8+ hours on low.

I served it with green beans and rice. (I had planned to serve mashed potatoes but hubby had to go help someone with their car and the kiddos won't eat mashed potatoes when he gone, so I took the path of least resistence and served what I knew they'd eat.)

**I still have another chicken in the crock pot recipe to share that I mentioned last week, but I'm still working on fine tuning it. I will pass it along when I get it just right. Be patient!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OMG Ya'll!!

Please excuse my Britney Spears-esqe title, but I'm super excited! One of my favorite bloggers over at Two Toddlers and Me gave me my very first bloggy award!! She has bestowed me with the Love Ya! Award.

Isn't it pretty?!

I'm so excited and am now in search of a super awesome dress in which to accept the award. In the mean time, I'll share with you the 411 on the award and pass it along to some of my other favorite bloggers.

First, let me share with you the notes that came along with the fabulous award:

  • This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming.
  • These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.
  • They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.
  • Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.
  • Please give more attention to these writers.
  • Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this text into the body of their award.
Second, I would like to pass the Love Ya! Award on to the following fabulous bloggers:

  1. My dear friend, April over at A Labor of Love: She and her hubby are beginning the adoption process. I love her and wish her the very very best on their journey.
  2. Odelia, my beautiful (in body and soul) friend, at American Housewife Daily: She blogs about her daily devotionals and always leaves me with something to think about. I love her!
  3. Kel at A Hesitant Housewife: She is a witty domestic engineer that never fails to amuse me.
  4. Jen, who very likely might be my doppelganger, at Random Blitherings of a (Not So) Domestic Goddess: I've known her since our days in Hawaii and she is hilarious. She's got a fab family to brag about.
  5. The lovely high-heel-lovin' Mom over at Mom in High Heels: I stumbled onto her blog one day and have been charmed ever since. She is a fellow military wife blogging her way through Germany, home schooling and, of course, Random Thoughts Tuesday. She is funny and has amazing shoes!
Well, I couldn't come up with six to pass it along to, but these gals are all fabulous! Go check them out while I pick the best dress for the occasion.

And, again, a big THANK YOU for this honor!

This One Time At Band Camp

OMG, it's Tuesday! That means that is time to get down and random with it! If you haven't visited here before or have no clue what RTT is all about head on over to visit The UnMom.

**I actually never went to band camp. I just wanted to use that as a title. I was in band though.

**We are moving! In April, we'll be headed back to Texas. Woo hoo!

**The moving thing is seriously effing with my education though.

**Good Start/Gerber/whoever the heck they are sent me a new store of coupons today. In the packet, there was a flyer for new Gerber Yogurt blends baby foods. Awesome! I thought. They didn't send any flippin' coupons for said product. Got me all excited, then let me down. Don't they know that mama is cheap and isn't going to buy the new (probably more pricey) food without a coupon.

**I convinced myself this morning that animal crackers and diet coke were a decent breakfast. However, halfway through class, my stomach disagreed.

**I need to write a Marxist critism of Death in Venice for my lit theory class tomorrow. Exciting (not).

**You know the two Edies that Lorelei and Rory talk about on Gilmore Girls? Yeah, I saw the end of the 2009 movie based on them on HBO yesterday. Now I'm intrigued and trying to find time to watch it on-demand. Maybe I could give up a few hours of sleep...hmm, maybe I'm not that intrigued...

Yep, so that's all of my random babblings for today. Enjoy your Tuesday and come visit again (soon)!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dear Me..With Love, Your Future Self

So it hit me the other day, that ten years ago, I was making my way through my senior year in high school. Ten years? I know, I don't look old enough. Right?! But yes, ten years! I began to think about how I saw life then, what my goals were and what my 17 year old self thought my future would look like. Well, let me tell ya, where I'm at now compared to where I thought I would be are two totally different places. In all these thoughts, I wondered what I would tell myself if I could write a little note to that girl. You know, kinda like the Brad Paisley song. This is what I came up with:

Dear 17 year old version of me,

I know this is going to sound weird, but this is you ten years from now. I understand that you have a very busy life full of school, work and socializing. However, I wanted to pass along a few tidbits of information that you might be interested in. First, stop worrying about the future so much. Yes, you are about to step out into the world as an adult, but you still have a few months. Enjoy them! Second, don't worry so much about boys. Someday soon you will meet a wonderful man. You'll know him the minute you lay eyes on him. He's going to take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Finally, I know you have big plans. Many of those plans will transform over the years until you finally land on what you truly want to do in life. When you discover it, you'll be pleasantly surprised. I promise. Keep that ambition and drive that allows you to make such big plans. The strength and courage that comes along with that ambition is going to get you through some things that I cannot even begin to tell you about. Most importantly, keep an open heart and an open mind. Love with every ounce of your being. Tell those whom you love how you feel every chance you get. Forgive easily. Now, please, get on with your day.

With love,
Your Future Self

P.S. Go hug Granny and Papa!

P.P.S. When you have children, please don't name them anything goofy like Apple or Pilot Inspektor or Fifi Trixibelle.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Books, Books and More Books

Lately, I have been reading a lot of books. Mostly for school, but some for pleasure as well. I decided that I'll share my opinions on these books with you (because it's my blog and I do what I want).

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

  • OMG, could a book move any slower?! This one is not the most action packed novel I've read lately, but overall it's not a bad story. Dickens gives an interesting critique of the society produced as a result of industrialization in England. Many of the themes throughout are still applicable in today's society. You just have to get over the slow moving pace of the novel.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • This book was AMAZING! It is about one woman's year long journey through Italy, India and Indonesia in search of all those things we are all searching for. You know the ever elusive pleasure, balance and general sense of peace. Her story is told in a series of really humorous tales and will have you rooting for her throughout.

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

  • Weird does not even begin to describe this one. The main character who is a 50 year old man goes on vacay and develops a crush on a 13 year old boy. Yep, I told you. Weird. I really don't know what else to say about this one.

The First 3 Books in the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

  • These books are HILARIOUS! Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter out to find bail jumpers and always ends up solving some sort of mystery along the way. They are fairly easy reads that you could probably finish in a day or two. Go read them. Now! Seriously, these books are too funny to miss out on.

The Winning Spirit by Joe Montana

  • My mommy sent me this one on CD to listen to on my way to and from school. It was pretty good. Of course, I believe that Joe Montana is the best quarterback of my lifetime. This book is a great look into how he got to be such a fabulous quarterback as well as great advice on how to accomplish things in your own life.

Well, that's it for now. I am still trying to finish The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (school really cuts into my free time) and I'll be starting Underdogs soon for my history course. I'm sure there will be several other books thrown in there as well. As always, I'll keep you up to date on what I'm reading and what I think of it.

A Crock Pot Kind of Day

Today is overcast, a bit chilly and a perfect day for cooking in my fantabulous crock pot! I love love love my crock pot! A few minutes ago the hubby mentioned that it is a stew kind of day, so I'll be making a family favorite called Meatball & Veggie Stew. If you are curious about the recipe, check it out in this post from a while back. I'm also clipping a bunch of coupons from the Sunday paper. All in all, I am enjoying a lovely Sunday afternoon and hope you are as well!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Microwaves & Panic Buttons

I was just reading some wall posts on the Fort Knox Facebook page. It was pretty amusing actually. As I was reading through them, I came across one providing a crime prevention tip. The tip was to place your car keys on your night stand, then if you hear a noise during the night you could push the panic button and have an instant alarm. Do you see the assumption in there?! This little tip assumed that we all have panic buttons on our key chains. Well, I don't even have cruise control, let alone a panic button.

It reminded me of a story the hubby was telling me the other day. I bought him a little Thai noodle meal to eat for lunch one day. I knew the suggested directions were to microwave it but I figured he could substitute boiling water and achieve the same effect. Well, apparently, I was wrong (shhh...). He went back to work after lunch and was telling his co-workers about this and they were really confused. They seriously thought he was pulling their legs when he told them that we don't have a microwave. (It broke a few months back and we just don't feel the need to buy another one.)

In our world, so dependent upon technology, we are so amazed when we hear that a person makes do without something like a microwave or a panic button. Personally, I have no idea how people live without hair straighteners and laptops.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Something to Think About

Recently, my mom sent my an audiobook by Joe Montana called The Winning Spirit. He made an interesting observation in the introduction. It is something that I agree with completely. Montana pointed out that quite frequently the most recent generations of kids are being rewarded for simply showing up.

For example, every kid on every sports team gets a "participation" trophy. While I don't disagree that kids should be commended for following through on their committment to a team, I do not necessarily believe that they should all get trophies. I remember when I was growing up, we all wanted to win a trophy. Trophies were reserved for the members of the best team. This desire for a trophy ignited a fire within us to do our best, not just to show up. This is just one example of rewarding kids for simply showing up.

I think that kids should be urged to put forth their best effort. If they win, that is wonderful and they should be given some token to celebrate that. If they don't win, they still take away many lessons. I'm not sure what we are teaching our kids by rewarding them for simply showing up, but I'm fairly certain that it can't be good. Seeing our kids disappointed that they didn't get a trophy is far easier than it will be to see them as adults suffer when they lose jobs and other opportunities because they felt it good enough to show up and didn't bother to bring their best efforts along with them.

Joys of Army Life

It has been quite a hectic week. (But then, what week around here isn't hectic...) The hubby found out that he is coming up on orders to move again soon. Happy happy, right?! Yes and no.

Yes, because hubby is not entirely thrilled with his job at our current location. He's not a desk kind of guy and he's been sitting at a desk since we got here. He would really rather be out doing the job he was trained to do. Also, happy because we will be returning to our last duty station. While many people don't like the place, we actually enjoyed the area and are looking forward to returning. Plus in this crazy life of ours, we don't often get to go somewhere that we already know. It's comforting to know that I already know where Wal-Mart, Target and the malls are located...I've got my priorities, you know!

No, because the move is coming at a pretty crappy time in terms of my educational pursuits. I currently go to college in hopes of someday graduating. Well, there was finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I was all set to graduate next May. Now we'll be packing it up and heading back to Texas in April. At the end of this semester I will be 9 hours away from my degree. Of course, all the courses I need are upper-level degree specific stuff. What's a girl to do?! I met with my advisor today and we may have worked out some options. Yay! But I still have many hurdles before the road smooths out. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

All in all, this move is one that we are looking forward to. There are many things to work out, but such is the story with all of our moves. I love Army life.

By the way, if any of you know anything about alternative routes to teaching certification in Texas, I'd love to hear about it. My goal is to finish my degree and find a teaching position that will allow me to pursue this option.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Random Tuesday, YAY!

As you all know, Tuesday is my favorite bloggy day of the week because it is

Yes, the day of the week when I get to be totally random and there is nothing you can do about it but sit back and enjoy the madness! So here we go on this week's journey down Random Lane...

**Road work follows me wherever I go. Seriously! We went to MN this summer and there was road work on every single road we traveled. There is always road work on whatever post we happen to live on. Now there is road work on the interstate on my way to school.

**Those little plastic thingies on the end of shoelaces are called aglets...Learned that from Phineas and Ferb because I'm awesome like that.

**William Blake claimed that his dead brother visited him and gave him the method he used to engrave his prints. Yeah, he talked to dead people.

**Tonight I'm taking my items to check-in for the big consignment sale this weekend. I'm super excited. Mama needs some cash!

**My kindergartner has more homework than my 2nd grader.

**In celebration of fall, my crock pot is cooking away! Yes, oh yes, my beloved crock pot! It's a new recipe and if it works out, I'll share it later. Super simple (and cheap!), so I hope it works out!

**I love getting mail. Like letters and cards, the occasional box my mommy sends me, stuff like that...not bills.

**I wish I had a super power. Not like I wish I could fly or see through things, those would just be silly. I wish I could wave my hand and my house would be clean. Do you know how awesome that would be?! I look funny when I wiggle my nose, so the waving of the hand thing would be totally necessary for the sake of appearances.

**I'm pretty sure that last sentence sounded a little vain...

**My dogs are barking because other dogs in the 'hood are barking. It is really starting to annoy me.

There it is, my randomness for the day. Hope you enjoyed it! I'm off to shut the dogs up...Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why Men Shouldn't Be Left Alone

On Saturday, I took my baby girl to have her pictures made. I like this particular portrait studio that happens to be about an hour from here and is in a mall. In the name of my sanity, I decided it was best to leave the hubby and the boys home. Hubby thought this was great. They would have a guy afternoon, I was told. Sounded great to me...silly me...I thought they'd be sitting around burping, watching football and arguing over the remote.

Yeah, that is so not what happened.

On my drive to the picture place, I get a phone call that they are going to look around at some shops. So, there I am waiting to see the baby's pictures and I check my text messages only to find this lovely message:

I am about to buy a gun maybe two both less than 500 total

Yeah, I immediately reply with an "Oh really?" And wait for an answer. No answer ever comes. I check out the baby's pictures and pick the ones I wish to buy. They print my pictures and I venture into the rest of the mall. Then my phone rings. It's the hubby. He lets me know that he only bought one gun. Well, that's nice. At this point, he realizes that he might be in trouble and says that he has his cards all ready to turn in when I get home (love the implication that I'm some sort of warden, lol). I do some random shopping, then head home to see this new gun. (I'm not really sure what I expected.)

Anyhoo, I get home, unload the baby and ask about the hubby's purchase. He pulls out my old pistol case, unlocks it and presents me with a new .380 pistol. Apparently, it is mine. I already have a .22, but I guess that I needed another gun. Who knew? I certainly didn't.

So, I left my hubby alone and ended up with a new gun. Isn't he just the sweetest?!

What to Expect

So, I don't have time right now, but later today (or within in the next few days, because there may be more than one blog idea in all this gibberish) here is what you just might read about on this here blog:

  • I really didn't need a new gun, but thanks anyways babe...Or, why men shouldn't be left alone
  • We need a nursing staff and a janitor around here...Or, how I spent my weekend...Or, the joy of sick children
  • A fab report of all the books I've been reading/listening to lately...Or Stephanie Plum is the most hilarious female character I've read lately
  • What are we teaching our kids...Or a generation that is rewarded simply for showing up
  • For real, moving again? Would love to know where...
  • And whatever else happens to pop into my pretty little head
Have a great morning and come back soon :)

Also, I am attempting to edit my layout, you know spice things up around here, so bare with me if things look a little funky. Hopefully, it will be beautiful before long!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Great Debate

The voices in my head are having a great debate. I have a ton of assorted stuff that I need to get rid of. Baby clothes and assorted items, some of hubby's tshirts, some random stuff the boys no longer want, you know, typical random stuff. Some of this stuff doesn't hold a lot of resale value and it would probably be best to just take it on down to the Goodwill Store. However, the baby clothes always sell well on eBay. I've got some other baby items, like a travel swing and a bouncy chair, that are on the large side and I'm too lazy to ship. So here's the great debate: Have a yard sale or eBay the stuff? The yard sale gods haven't been working in my favor as of late. I could wait until the post-wide yard sale, but I'm really not sure when it will be and no one else seems to know. But then, not everything I've got will go over well on eBay. I don't have enough stuff to do both, so it's gotta be one or the other. Decisions, decisions. I hate when the voices have debates!

I picked up the post paper tonight and happened to see an ad for a local consignment sale happening next week. I checked it out and it is similar the Rhea Lana sales, if you are familiar with those. Anyhoo, registration is still open and I'm going to participate in it. Funny how things work out, huh? The sale is called Kentucky Kids Consignment Sales. If you know anyone in the area, make sure to pass along the info. These sales are AMAZING!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Diet Coke and Cold Medicine

I'm not sure if I've come down with a cold or if I'm suffering from allergies. Either way, it sucks. I feel like I'm living on diet coke and cold medicine this week. Which, by the way, totally explains why I forgot that yesterday was Random Thoughts Tuesday (my favorite day of the week). I'm totally bummed because I missed it so I'm celebrating it a day late through my caffeinated cold-medicine haze. Enjoy and feel free to wonder what the heck actually goes on inside my head...

**I am currently in the middle of reading 3 novels. Two (Hard Times and Death in Venice) are for school purposes and one (The House of Mirth) is for fun.

**My middle kiddo is learning to read. I always love when they learn to read but hate it too. All you moms know what I mean...once the kiddos learn to read it gets much harder to pretend like those signs say something completely non-fun sounding.

**I still haven't gotten around to dying my hair. I've had the box of dye for 2 weeks now.

**I should be writing 3 paragraphs on Blake's "Proverbs of Hell" rather than writing this, but I knew you all would be totally bummed if I didn't write and I'm not one for disappointing people.

**Sometimes certain people that I know very well will leave me a voice message and I can just tell from the sound of their voice that they are in a pissy mood so I don't return the that bad?

**Yesterday I got a message on Facebook from someone I haven't talked to in 2 years. It was a lovely surprise and I'm hoping that we will be able to rebuild our friendship.

**Cold medicine makes me a little loopy.

**This is my 100th post since I started up this fancy little blog! Woo hoo!!

I suppose I should try to write those paragraphs for school now. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Art of Parenting

It strikes me that I spend so much time writing about my kiddos and parenting in my little blog here. I didn't actually plan this, but, hey, it's my blog and I'll do what I want. (Yes, I stomped my foot as I said that.) The truth is that I spend 90% of my time thinking about my kiddos and parenting so it makes sense that it comes out in my blog.

(FYI: The other 10% of my time is spent contemplating very deep questions such as "chocolate or vanilla?", "chocolate syrup or caramel?", and "Do I want a croissant with my coffee this morning?".)

I have often joked with my mom that the people at the hospital forgot to give me the manual that goes with my kids. Seriously, dishwashers come with users manual. Why don't kids? They are far more complicated than dishwashers. Here is the conclusion to which I have come: Raising kids is an art, not a science. Therefore, there is no manual. But if there were a manual, it would need to include chapters such as:
  • Don't Give Sick Kids Milk (Unless You Like Cleaning up Curdled Milk at Midnight)
  • How To Crawl Under a Rock When They Embarrass You (And it will happen)
  • Multi-Tasking (Or the Fine Art of Making Dinner, Playing the Dot Game and Showering At the Same Time)
  • Understanding Gibberish
  • Tantrums 101 (Or What to do When Your Kid has Thrown Himself on the Floor of Whatever Store You Happen to be in Because You Said the Two Letter Word)
  • Forget 4 Letter Words, The 2 Letter One is Worse
  • Sibling Rivalry (Or He Breathed on Me)
  • Traveling With Children (Why No One Does It)
This is by no means a complete list of chapters, but it would be a good start. I love parenthood!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random Letters

Dear Frat Boy in History Class,

I pay good money to take this class. I would appreciate it if you left your frat boy antics back at the frat house or just skip class all together. You are disruptive to the learning process. I'm not the only one who feels this way. Grow up!

Trying to learn here,
Frustrated Student Behind You

Dear my chosen institution of higher learning,

A smoking ban? Really?! That's what you feel the need to focus on right now?! There were two armed robberies on campus this weekend. Possibly you should look into securing the campus? Our basketball coach can't keep it in his pants and is entrenched in an extortion scandal. Maybe you should concentrate on reining him in some before you lose sponsors? I'm just saying that smoking isn't really an issue that concerns me at this moment.

A Concerned Student

Dear Democrats,

Disagreeing with our president on an issue does not make me a racist. It simply means that I *gasp* disagree with him on that particular issue. Actually, my hubby puts his life on the line to give me that freedom.

Fed up with current state of things,
A Concerned Citizen

Dear Oldest Kiddo,

Please stop having night terrors. They serve no logical purpose and you are a logical kiddo. Plus, I'm tired.


Dear Awesome Blog Reader,

I'm glad you stopped by my little corner of the blog world. Feel free to stop in again soon.

Excited that you are here,

Dear 10 pounds,

I know you found a lovely home on my hips and ass while I was pregnant recently. However, I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I am no longer pregnant. Therefore I would like you to vacate the premises immediately. I have a closet full of clothes that I'd like to wear and you are standing in my way. Kindly leave. Now. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Tired of dieting,
The skinny girl inside

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Beautiful Baby

Yesterday afternoon, I took the kiddos to the park for a while. The boys had a big time running around and playing. I got bored while I was sitting there so I started playing with the different setting on my camera and took some pictures of my beautiful baby girl. I know I've shared a lot of pictures of the kiddos lately, but these are too precious not to include as well.

With her favorite toy, butterfly. We can leave the house without anything but this butterfly.

I love this face.

Yes, those are her toes in her mouth!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Best Movies of All Time

For today, I have decided to share with you my top 10 list of the best movies of all time. I know you are super excited and ready to add them to your rental list, so without further adieu here we go:

1. Bull Durham A totally fab little flick about minor league baseball starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. It just happens to be my absolutely favorite movie of all time! I've basically got it memorized and will randomly apply quotes to any aspect of life. If you haven't seen it, you must see it. Now.

2. Can't Buy Me Love OMG! Patrick Dempsey in his younger years as a totally lovable nerd. Choreographed by Paula Abdul in her pre-barely-coherent-Idol days. If you are a lover of '80s flicks, this one is for you.

3. The Aristocats This is the first movie I ever saw in a theater. I was 5 years old and cried when they turned out the lights. It is a great Disney movie even though it might not be as sparkly as some of the more recent ones.

4. Tombstone I'll be your huckleberry. I love me some western action (in small doses) and this is my favorite one. Val Kilmer spends the whole movie sweating in this really oily way but somehow it never grosses me out.

5. Trading Places Another fab '80s flick. This was my favorite movie when I was like 4 years old. (I'm sure my mom cringes when I tell people that...) Eddie Murphy (when he was really funny) and Dan Akroyd star along with Jamie Lee Curtis (who shows off her rack). Funny stuff! My favorite part is the bet!

6. Dirty Dancing I wish I could dance.

7. Pretty Woman Really, who doesn't love a story about a prostitute and a rich guy falling in love? I mean, because that happens every day, right? I love love love when the snail goes flying in the fancy schmancy restaurant.

8. The Brotherhood of the Wolf A French flick set back in the day. I'll admit that this movie most likely isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the hubby and I like it.

9. McLintock! The most amusing of the John Wayne movies. You'll laugh. a lot.

10. The Parent Trap (the original one) This one stars Maureen O'Hara, who just happens to also star in McLintock! and is one of my favorite actresses of the time. I was heartbroken that they remade this movie in the '90s and did such a butcher job on it. But then it is hard to recapture the magic of the original in so many cases.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have You Forgotten?

United we stand. Divided we fall.

Eight years ago, I was a 19-year-old newlywed with a baby on the way. We were young and had no money. In August, we had decided that my hubby would join the Army. The benefits were great and he would be entering a peace time Army, so we were excited and free from worry for the first time in months. He went through the recruiting process and was set up with a date to leave for basic training: September 11, 2001. I remember marking it on my calendar with tears in my eyes. These tears came partly because of the hormones coursing through my body and partly because I would have to live without my new hubby for a few months while he underwent his transformation into a Soldier. The morning of his departure arrived and I stood in a hotel lobby at 4:30 am waving goodbye to him as he boarded a bus to go to the MEPS startion. He had told me to stay at the hotel and get some more sleep, but I couldn't. When the bus pulled out of the parking lot, I gathered my things and checked out of the hotel. I began the four hour drive home not knowing that before I got there my world would be changed forever. I listened to a tape (yeah, didn't have a fancy car with a CD player) for the first three hours. Then I turned on the radio and heard the news that a plane had flown into the first tower. It spiraled out of control from there. By the time I got home, all I remember is running into my parents house, finding my dad and crying to him that I had just sent my husband off to the Army and our country was being attacked. My dad had not been watching TV so he thought I was off my rocker. Soon enough, he knew. We spent the rest of the day watching the news with my grandparents and awaiting a phone call from my husband. It was the most gut-wrenching day ever. His call brought the news that his leaving had been delayed. We spent the next week in limbo waiting for him to ship out.

I tell you all of this to come to these points:

  1. The feeling of unity that we shared in this country on that day and in the following weeks was incredible. Despite the scariness that the uncertainty brought, there was a comfort in knowing that we Americans were going to face it together. For a brief time, we actually believed in "United we stand".
  2. I am proud to have been alive to feel this. I think that very few times in our nation's history has there been that collectiveness.
  3. I miss that unity. I hope we can find a way back to it without suffering another unthinkable tragedy. People claim they haven't forgotten but I think they have. They've forgotten how it felt that day and in the following weeks.
  4. Have you forgotten?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Book Orders

All moms since the printing press was invented have seen book orders. You know, those pamphlets full of fabulous color pictures of wonderful books that kids suddenly can't live without. Yeah, I used to think they were awesome when I was a kid. However, as a mother, this stupid things are now the bane of my existence. (Well, those and my Spanish III course, but that's a whole other story.) I dread the day my kids bring home book orders. Dread the day more than I dread going near a foreign border and being taken hostage by some radical nation then having to be rescued by Bill Clinton. Yeah, it is a deep level of dread.

"Why?" you ask. Well, because my darling little children who normally know exactly what they want and respect boundaries (well, kind of) suddenly turn into little heathens who act as if they've never owned a book in their lives (despite the full case of books in the hallway) and who can't make a decision to save their lives. "I want this", "No, no I want that", "Um, Mom can I get this book that cost a gazillion dollars". This is what I have to hear for days after they bring those stupid things home. It drives me crazy!

I love that my children want to get new books so badly. Although, I am an English major so, really my kids do not lack books. But those danged book orders make me want to pull my hair out! I'd rather take my children to the book store and down cups of coffee while they agonize over the world changing decision of what book to get that day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Perfect Gifts

Recently it was the hubby's birthday. Any time there are presents in our house, the bows become accessories. I love that kids get more fun out of the wrapping than out of any actual gifts. Anyhoo, here are the most perfect gifts ever...

RTT: Vocab Edition

It is that marvelous day of the week that we like to call Tuesday, martes if you are a Spanish speaker! And you know what that means...that's right, it is time for more of my randomness. So, sit back and enjoy...

**Being that I am currently taking my third semester of Spanish, shouldn't I at least be able to speak it?

**Did you know that the dictionary defines parenting as " the work or skill of a parent in raising a child or children"? I love that they recognize that it takes both work and skill to raise children but seem to imply (by the use of the word "or") that the parent only need possess either work ethic or some innate skill to accomplish the task. My definition reads "the work AND skill (plus a little bit of luck and the help of a freakin' village) of a parent in raising a productive adult".

**I love the word plethora and use it whenever the opportunity arises...sometimes I even create opportunities just so I can say the word plethora.

**My middle kiddo (he's 5) has recently added a new word to his vocabulary, aggravate. As in, "Mom, you aggravate me when you tell me to put down this stick that I'm running around with playing like it's a gun and will inevitably fall and poke my eye out with."

**I currently have a professor who constantly says the phrase "nonetheless, however" and it drives me almost as crazy as the civics teacher/football coach from high school who constantly said "and so on and so forth". Shake it up, people! Learn a new phrase!

**I think my baby girl's first word will be "whatevs" because she's just cool like that :)

**Um, I just realized that there was a box from my mommy (yes, I just called her my mommy) on my doorstep when I got home and I haven't opened it enough with the randomness!

I'm off to see what goodies my mommy sent me. Enjoy your random Tuesday dearies!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Smells Like Olive Garden

A few years back, the Express Lane Meals cookbook by Rachael Ray was published. At the time, I was a total 30-Minute Meals junkie so I went right out and bought it. In the book, I found the most yummy smelling recipe ever...and it doesn't taste half bad either! The hubby loves this with some pork chops or grilled chicken. I think it was meant to be a main dish, but there is no where near enough meat in it to be a main dish in our house. makes the house smell like Olive Garden and I feel like an honest to goodness gourmet chef whenever I whip this pasta up. Give it a try someday and you'll see...

Here's the recipe, with my own modifications...for the original, check out Rachael's cookbook...

Drunken Tuscan Pasta (come on, you HAVE to try something with a title like that!)

1 bottle (or whatever you have left over) red that you like
1 pound spaghetti
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 slices bacon, chopped
3 portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1 to 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
4 garlic cloves, minced
red pepper flakes
4-5 cups spinach (I use baby spinach to avoid chopping, I'm lazy)
black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Parm. Cheese

Pour wine into large pot, then add enough water to bring liquid up to where you normally would to cook pasta. Bring to a boil. When it boils, add salt and pasta. (FYI: You will need to ladle out a little of the cooking liquid for the sauce before draining the pasta.)

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the chopped bacon and brown. Then transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add mushroom to the skillet, season with rosemary and cook 6-8 minutes until they are deeply golden. Push mushrooms to sides of skillet and add remaining olive oil to center of skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for a minute or so, then toss together with mushrooms. Add spinach to pan and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. When spinach has wilted, add a couple ladles of pasta cooking liquid to the pan and cook for a minute to reduce.

Drain pasta and add to skillet. Add bacon and cheese to the pan. Toss pasta and allow to absorb the remaining liquid.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Haphazard Musings

I've already been random once this week, but some weeks are just more random than others. So, I've decided to dedicate a second blog to randomness this week. I'm calling these random bits my haphazard musings. Best of luck figuring out what really goes on in my head. I've yet to figure that one out myself and I've been living in this wonderland of randomness for 27 years now...

**I want to reach that silent place within myself where I see the blue pearl. Problem with this is that I don't meditate.

**When I become a big, fancy-pants Senator and then I die, I want Congress to put my name on a bill and pass said bill requiring that all citizens take a daily nap. (I clearly don't expect this to happen as I have no political ambitions and no desire to ever be a big, fancy-pants Senator...)

**Why do people not take the time to spell words properly? Spell check, people!

**I cherish complexity. Good thing, since I'm an English major! But, seriously, I love diving into a book that is full of layers and can be interpreted in many different ways. This love of complexity probably also explains why I enjoy studying religions. It also explains why I'm good with the fact that there isn't always one right answer.

**I am NOT a literature snob! I think I have finally settled on a topic for my senior honors thesis and it deals with the Harry Potter series.

**Literature snobs bother me.

**I think the word "literature" scares people.

**I call my middle kiddo "Jakey-Bo-Bakey" and I have no idea why.

**I think that Spongebob might be the most obnoxious cartoon character ever...oh wait, I take that back...Ed, Edd and Eddy are the most obnoxious characters.

And that's pretty much it...well, not really but that's all I have time to write about for now...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I've Lost Control...And That's Ok!

At one point in my life, I was a total control freak. I wore a watch, kept an immaculate day planner, and knew exactly what I would be doing at all moments. Yeah, those days are long past. You know what cured me of my controlling ways? Motherhood! Yep, popping out those darling little children of mine. I have come to accept the fact that there is no controlling them. I can corral them, but like goats they will just eat their way out. I can distract them, but that usually works as well as waving a red cape in front of a charging bull. So, I no longer wear a watch. We are generally late to everything and I don't need a watch mocking me with that fact. I no longer keep a day planner because I can't find it. And I never know what I'll be doing at any given time of the day.

But, oddly enough, none of this bothers me. I'm perfectly ok with the controlled chaos that is my life. I'd rather spontaneously walk to the park with my kiddos than sit in the house filling in all those days on some planner. John Lennon once wrote, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." Well, I lost my planner years ago, so I am always available to enjoy life as it happens and this beyond all else makes me happy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Here We Go Again...'s Tuesday! You know the drill...

**Because I spend an inordinate amount of time watching iCarly with my kids, I now believe there should be a deep voice-over and flashing disco lights any time anyone says "Random Tuesday Thoughts".

**William Blake was off his rocker.

**There's this weird artsy, philosophical type guy who apparently doesn't own a brush that sits next to me in my English class that understands what Blake is talking about and it makes me feel very intellectually inadequate.

**I just finished re-reading The Great Gatsby and I'm deeply troubled by many things in it.

**I need to color my hair. It is currently a sad brown color and needs a little sprucing up.

**Exactly why do those artsy, philosophical types never own brushes?

**At the risk of sounding old and cantankerous, I'm really sick and effing tired of this "everything has to be equal and fair and I should always get my way and I'm just gonna sit here and play video/computer games while you suckers actually work to earn money" generation!

**My mom sent me a copy of Eat, Pray, Love on CD. I've been listening to it on my commute to and from school this week. It is fabulous.

**Oh my god, I commute. Shoot me now!

**I think my kids are the most fabulous creatures on earth but there are times when I could just ring their precious little when I specifically tell them to pick up their dirty socks out of the living room and find stinking dirty socks between the couch cushions after they've gone to bed.

**I want to trade my obnoxious, yippy dogs in for fat, lazy cats that do nothing but sunbathe and nap all day.

**I want to nap.

**I eat cheese and mustard sandwiches. I'm sure it sounds weird and disgusting but they are absolutely delicious in my opinion.

And that concludes my randomness for the day. Hope you have a lovely, random Tuesday!