Saturday, September 30, 2006
Last night was the big birthday party for Louisa. We had 5 girls, including her, here spending the night. I live in a small apartment..... I live upstairs.... There is an elderly couple who lives downstairs. Thank goodness for me they are very tolerant. However, 5 girls running, running, constantly running... not to mention jumping... probably drove those old people nuts!
Drew went to his auntie's house. We have a big problem with him being here while Louisa has sleepovers. He likes to chase the girls, and attack them, and do super hyper jump kick karate chops on them. Somehow, I figured the night would go smoother without him.
We started out at a Build a Bear knock off called, none other than, Build a Buddy! (How creative!) There were different birthday packages and the one we chose the girls could pick any animal, and decorate a t-shit, and they would also get a cute little sleeping bag.
Now, if I could find my digital camera, I would be overwhelming you all with pictures right now, but, as my luck goes, I didn't have my digital with me last night. We had a Bratz camera I gave Louisa as a birthday present that had a roll of film with 12 exposures. So that's what we used last night. And with Louisa taking pictures, 12 goes fast! You will just have to bear with me and imagine (no pun intended).
There were so many animals to choose from, some of the girls, including Louisa, had a hard time. We eventually ended up with a duck, two pandas, a cute little brown furry dog, and a cute brown-ish orange-ish floppy dog, and also a unicorn because we had a friend who is only 4 just for the animal stuffing, not the sleepover part. The girls got to sew a trick or treat bag, as well for their new friends. Which was a cute idea, but took way too long. I would have just prefered to stuff, decorate a shirt and be out of there.
Once we got back to the apartment, I took their pizza order and, well, ordered! They played Twister while we were waiting for the food to arrive and holy cow are they crabby when they can't cheat! This would have been an awesome time to have my camera, but alas.
One large pepperoni and one large sausage, cheese sticks, orange soda and Sprite finally arrives. And boy did those girls eat! One girl had 4 pieces of pizza and everyone else had 3. Not to mention the cheese bread and endless refills on soda. THEN they still had room for cake!
Reynolds has these cute new Fun Shapes baking cups out now, so I bought stars and hearts and baked chocolate cake and then let the girls pick what shape. We had 3 stars and 2 hearts. Then they got to decorate their own with frosting, sprinkles, gel writers, etc... Another time where my camera would have come in handy! They got pretty creative.
So, in my title I mentioned the kitten, and I have yet to say why. I'll take a minute now to tell you why. Scooter was by far the center of attention. As I knew he would be. However, it got to be a little much for him. Since his newness has worn off for Louisa and Drew, Scooter is just one of the cats now. He gets a lot of attention, like they all do, but the kids don't have the need to hold him every second. He just runs around and plays and comes to us when he wants some lovin'. That's what he's used to now. But the sleep over guests had something else in mind for this little guy. And it's called, torture!
Especially two twins who want a kitten more than anything (and their mom is seriously looking into it, just has to find one with low dander). The twins chased Scooter all over this little place, and once he'd find some place to settle and catch his breath (and hide) they would find him again. He doesn't like being locked up. I did put him in my room and closed the door so they couldn't get him, but he stuck his little feet out under the door and they still managed to get ahold of the poor little guy.
So Scooter was carried and rocked and petted and brushed and smooshed and smothered and squeezed and fought over (you could just see him saying "Please ladies... there's enough of me to go around!" in his best French accent).
Nighttime came and the girls got out all their sleeping stuff and put on pj's. I thought we'd play a game to help everyone wind down. We played Disney Scene It. Two teams and I split up the two smart girls thinking that way both teams would stand a chance. Louisa and her friend Kenady are both in the gifted & talented classes at school, so I knew I had to split them up. And you always have to split up the twins or they will just fight the whole time. Unfortunately we had a team of 2 and a team of 3, but we didn't really have a choice. Louisa's team won both times.
Then I told them it was time to lay down. It was about 11 and Hunter still needed to go to sleep and I was totally wiped. They brushed teeth and got all situated with who was laying next to who. And then the giggling began. That inevitable giggling that always comes when you get several girls laying down at bedtime together. Then someone farted and there was thunderous laughter. Then someone burped (on purpose) and even more laughter.
One of the twins got a little crabby and decided to go lay down on Louisa's bed so she could sleep. One fell asleep and then there were four!
Four little girlies, laying on the floor, one of them farted and they all laughed some more!
Hey, that sounds like a song!
So they giggled and they giggled and they talked about boys. The pretended their new stuffed friends were boys that eveyrone likes in the class and they asked them out and fought over them. Eventhough Louisa claims she doesn't like boys, she was right there with them, talking about Jakey! ((sigh)) Oh Jakey!
Funny Louisa never mentioned the boy I know she really likes. Or would like if she liked boys. She just went along with who everyone else likes.
Finally at 2:00 am I told them all to lay down. I had to go to bed. Within 5 minutes of everyone laying down, they were all asleep.
Then, 7:00 am, they were all up bright and early! And I dragged my butt out of bed as slowly as possible.
Thus ends our sleepover adventure.
Oh, did I mention that the decorations were pink Super Girl? Ya, Very cool!
(there, since I don't have pics, I did a good job of adding links!)
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
So as I'm putting her to bed, giving my last hugs to my 8 year old she asks, "Can I have a present when I wake up?" Oh, gee... I don't know.... I didn't really get her many this year because she's having a huge party with her friends on Friday, and some of the gifts she did get were kind of expensive. So we talked about it and she understood that if we counted up Drew's presents from his 5th birthday in May, and her presents, he would hands down have more. However, hers were more costly. Ya, that made sense to her. She's good like that. She thinks of Drew first a lot.
Here we are, and I can't sleep eventhough ALL three kids were in bed by 9:15. Then I IMed with one friend and then another and then read some blogs and am just too excited to sleep. Oh, and I'm also blowing up balloons! I thought it would be funny to blow up a bunch of pink, purple and silver balloons (her fave colors) and put them in her room for when she wakes up. And boy am I out of breath! I think 20 is plenty. Maybe just a few more.
Well, here I sit, finally tired, out of breath, and ready to take on this new adventure with my little girl who's grown up to be a tween! And oh boy are we going to clash when she's a teenager. We are way too much alike and I fight her laziness and airheadedness tooth and nail. I don't want her to grow up and be lazy and airheaded like me. Life is too hard this way. Life is so much easier when you can remember doctors appointments (and not forget them all the time like I did again today), and life is easier when you keep a clean house (so then you don't have to spend an entire week working your butt off cause your daughter is having a sleepover in a few days and the house is a toxic wasteland).
Here we go, on to stage two of baby girl's life. Boys, talking on the phone with friends, hanging out at the mall, ok... I'm getting ahead of myself, but you get the picture. And some of you have been there, done that, donated the t-shirt to Goodwill! So any advice you have for me on this long journey... keep it to yourself! I can figure it out on my own!
Happy Birthday Baby Girl!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Then, after that victory, I thought I'd bring up the kitten. So I asked, Can we have a kitten? He said NO! I said Please. He said NO! I said pretty-please, it's free! He said NO! Hmmm.... I wasn't going to win with this one. So I began to bargain. If you let me have a kitten I'll (insert something two married people do here) when you get back! That got him thinking. He told me when he gets back he'll let us have another kitten. Ok... we're making headway. So, I propositioned him again because, after all, what are our womanly ways for if not for bribing our husbands! Little by little he gave and then he got suspicious. He asked just where this "free" kitten was coming from. Uh-oh... should I lie? The kitten came from Ohio a month ago!
Time to fess up. I sent him an email of just a picture of the kitten and told him to check his email. He was gone for a bit and then came back and said "You already got the damn cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Yup! I did! hehehe
But how could he resist that adorable little face and that sweet little nose and those tiny little ears? He couldn't! He said it was fine, but I owed him big time!
Hehehe.... I always get my way!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
But now I'm stuck without them all day. I have the baby and he really is a lot of fun to be with, but I miss my Drew! Louisa, well, I love her here, but I know how much she wants to be in school. For her it's a NEED to learn. Not just a chore, or a job like for other kids. She has this physical NEED that she has to be constantly learning. So wanting to keep her home would just be silly of me. She's bored at home.
Drew, though, he's my little guy. This is his first year in all day school. He's a kindergartener. A very proud one, at that.
He has the same teacher Louisa had in kindergarten, which for us, is a good thing. This teacher knows that Drew is not Louisa. She doesn't expect the same things out of him. He is every bit as smart as his sister, but he's not near as calm as her. He can't sit for more than a few minutes before he's antsy and bored and looking for something else to do. Whereas Louisa could sit still longer than any other kid when she was in kindergarten.
So, here we are, a few weeks in to school. And Drew has already been sent to the principal's office for fighting and Louisa, well..... she's just perfect as usual!
Drew has a hard path ahead of him, walking in her footsteps. Luckily for him, we don't expect the same thing from him as we do from her. We know he's smart, very smart. But he's smart in a different way and we can't let him get bored.
So far he says he's not bored in school. He's making friends and having fun. Today is his first sick day staying home and he's not too happy with me. He told me, through teary eyes, that he'll miss snack time and he won't get to sign up to be a helper. And today is Hat Day, he can't wear his hat... and... and... and.... there were many reasons why he HAD to go to school today. Thanks goodness, because if he was happy to stay home, then we'd have a problem. I'm glad he fought me so hard to not stay home today. I didn't give in, of course, because he is probably contageous with his coughing and sneezing, but he put up a good fight and a very good argument!
Friday, September 15, 2006
I recently came to the realization that my relationship with my deployed husband is dependent on a box. Every Friday, like clockwork, I mail him a box. The box has a variety of things in it. Licorice, cookies, tobacco, magazines, books, pictures of the kids, pictures the kids drew, a letter from me. I try to make each box a little different so that it's like his birthday every time he opens it. And, I try to fit as much love as I can into each one.
But now I'm thinking, when did this happen? When did our lives become so dependent on a box?
As I thought more about it, I imagined a conversation between me and God that went something like this:
God: It's time now, Peggie. Andrew has to go away for a little while.
Me: But I will miss him! What am I going to do without him!
God: It will be ok. I'll be here with you. I will give you something to help you stay connected.
God hands me a box. It's a plain, brown, cardboard box. Not very big and not very small. There's nothing in it and nothing written on it. I turn the box over in my hands and then look at God. "What do I do with it?" I ask.
"Fill it with love," God replies.
So, every Friday I fill my box with as much love as I can get into it and mail it to a far-a-way place. In that far-a-way place, my husband waits anxiously for his box that he knows is filled with love.
But some weeks I'm lazy. Some weeks I don't feel like it, or I'm too sad and I don't get the box mailed out. I wonder what he thinks on those weeks. Is he sad that he didn't get one? Does he wonder why I didn't send it?
On those weeks, God hands me my box and reminds me what it's for.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
"Hey Drew Bear,
Daddy misses you a lot and can’t wait to see you and your brother and sister. I hope you are having fun in school and are being a good boy for mommy. When I get home I hope to do a lot of fun stuff with you and your bro and sis. I am missing you, but remember what daddy does is important and I am making the world a safer place every day I am away."
Monday, September 11, 2006
World Trade Center
I wish I could write something about John that was just perfect, but I found this and it was all already said. This was originally printed in the New York Times on December 27, 2001, but I found it on Legacy.com Remember: September 11, 2001, which is an incredible Sept. 11 tribute website.
Living Life His Own Way
Saturday, September 09, 2006
If you had a Drew in your family, you'd understand my relief of having made it through with very little problems.
Well, there was one big problem on the first day. He bit someone. That is sometimes his reaction when he gets his feelings hurt. He'll bite or hit. I know it's wrong and he knows it's wrong. But he's a very emotional little guy and when someone, on the first day when you're supposed to be making friends says, I don't want to be your friend, you get hurt. He's a friendly sort of boy. He likes to play and have fun and make friends with as many kids as possible. Unfortunately for him not all kids are into running around pretending to fly and climb walls and have super heat lazer vision, like he does. Hey, what can I say? He's going to make a fortune writing comic books and buy his mom a house someday, so I can't complain!
That was Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday both went well. On Thursday when I picked him up I asked if he had any timeouts that day. He looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "Why would you ask me something like that?" Well, good question! I shouldn't remind him that he used to get time outs a lot in preschool. This is a whole new year and if I expect him to move on and behave, then I'd better move on as well. So I promised, no more questions about time-outs. He'll let me know if he gets one.
Drew also wants me to talk to the teacher every day after school to see if he did good. You know what he really wants, the attention and the praise! Don't I give him enough of that at home? I think I do, but apparently he doesn't. I try! He gets rewards for a job well done, he gets tons of hugs and snuggle time, I am constantly praising him on everything he does. Wow, he's a high maintenence kid!
As for Louisa, we never ever have to worry about her in school. She is the model student! Popular, teacher's pet, gifted and talented, sweet, funny, well behaved little girl. Where did she come from?! I was never any of those things. The few times I was popular was because the popular girls wanted to use me for something, I was never in any accelerated class unless photography in high school counts. Oh, there was Honors English, but I took that to get out of speech class!
So, we made it safe and sound through one week. And now we have many many many more to go!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I've been talking about my folks so much lately that I thought I'd introduce them proper-like!
So everyone, meet my parents!
Steve and Nancy. And yes, they wear weird hats! And yes, my dad has his ear pierced and a sort of foo-man-choo going on.
They met in high school. Dated on and off and then decided they should probably just get married cause it made no sense to hook up with anyone else. Ok ya, they were in love. Oh, and pregnant, but don't tell anyone!
So, they had my sister and they had me 8 years later and then decided they would like to go to college. So, in their mid 30's they hauled us off to a new town and went to college. My mom getting her BS in teaching and my dad in computer programming, or something boring like that.
Now she's a nurse, and he's a web designer. Well, he actually only designs one web, but it's a darn good one!
So, that's the parents, in case you ever wondered!
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I love this picture! At night, lights come from the Canadian side to light up the falls. They change, sometimes it's rainbow, sometimes it's all blues and greens. Beautiful no matter what! But of all the (millions) of pictures my dad took at night, this is by far my favorite.
You can see the American Falls lit up, the lights coming from the Canadian side, the lit up skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario, the lights reflecting on the water.... This is so breathtaking to me!
And waaaaaa...... I didn't take it! (pouting)(stamping my foot)
That's ok, my dad's proved time and time again he's an amazing photographer. He has an awesome eye for detail. And with all his expensive cameras I'm the only one he trusts to use them whenever I want to!
One thing that is difficult about photographing the falls is that your camera keeps focusing on the mist. So a lot of the night time pics my dad took, the falls were blurry, but the mist was in focus. A lot of the daytime pics are like that, too.
Now tomorrow we're going to my parents for a Labor Day cookout and we get to view the 100 hours of video he took! Yipee!!! (yawn)
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Here it is! Niagara Falls, New York.
The buildings are in Ontario and the mist to the far end of the picture is the Horseshoe Falls in Canada.
But this is the American Falls. I like this picture because it shows the jaggedness of the falls, the immense mist that the falls creates and when I look at it I can still hear the roaring. You can't hear that roar from the Canadian side. I loved to watch that part right where the water falls over the rock. You can see the drastic change in color from a dark green to the palest of white-greens.
This is a higher up view. Where the people are standing is where I took the first picture.
In this picture you get more of a chaotic feeling as the falls cascade down, and then you don't really see an end. There's just this continuance of rushing water and mist.
Ok, now this is where I tried to get artsy with both my camera and my Photoshop.
At the bottom of the falls, as you can see in the picture above this, there's this beautiful peaceful place among all the chaos of the falls. It's just this small patch of the brightest green I had ever seen. Louisa said it looks like Ireland. Moss, grass and plants all mixed to give us this stunning, vivid contrast.
When we went to the Cave of the Winds, I was amazed by certain little things. This waterfall being one of them. All the other waterfalls were in such a hurry, dumping their water by the thousand gallons per second. But this one was taking it's time. Not in a hurry to get anywhere, just calmly flowing downstream on it's way to meet up with the water it had separated from. And amid this little meandering waterfall is all of this beautiful, bright vegetation. These plants that are living the dream life with the constant flow of water and spray of mist, warm sunny days and cool clear nights. What a perfect place to flourish!
This waterfall reminded me of me on so many different levels. I always move at my own pace. I take my own path and do things my own way. Nine times out of ten people don't understand me and get frustrated quickly. They pass me up for something quicker, something bigger, something more impressive. As I sat and watched this waterfall, I watched all the people walk quickly past it on their way to the top. To the real reason they were there. To get soaked by the Bridal Falls. To stand beneath the glory of one of the wonders of the world! I prefered to take my time, and thank God for this beautiful little waterfall that was so much like me.
This was also taken on our way up the Cave of the Winds. It's a good picture of the Bridal Falls.
This big rock looked like a piece of chocolate cake from the other side. It made Louisa and I hungry!
This is the American Falls. And another glimpse of that cute little waterfall I fell in love with!
Up we go!!!
Can you tell we're about to get drenched?
Here's both the American Falls to the left and the Bridal Falls to the right.
I'll save my truely amazing picture for tomorrow. As, alas, I didn't take it. My dad did. But it's still one of my favorites.
For starters, here's the camper that we crammed 9 people in to. This is what the lap of luxury looks like, and I got to spend 4 whole days in it!I can guarantee that Hunter had the best seat in the house! We were all jealous of him! I'm sure you can see why. None of us rested as good as he did the whole vacation.
My dad and brother-in-law did all of the driving. After we picked up our Ohio cousins, Rodney drove some, too.
My sister, Colleen and her hubby, Ron, enjoyed the bouncing around on the bed in the back. I mean actual bouncing here, people! Get your heads out of the gutter! Some people sat in the back on the bed as it was more comfortable, but you got bounced around a lot.
One of the nicest things about having this RV was the bathroom. With that many people, we all had to go to the bathroom at different times. So it was nice to just be able to get up and go and not make everyone pull over. Especially with the kids!
My sister wanted to make sure we brought the rocking chair in case anyone kicked the bucket on our trip. We forgot the rocking chair, so it was a good thing that we all made it home alive! Otherwise they'd just have to tie us to the ladder on the back of the RV.
For starters, we have the Cleveland Hard Rock, which we all have actually been to before. My sister most enjoyed the Bon Jovi wall. Although she wouldn't let me take her picture in front of it!
I enjoyed this the most! I printed up one and sent it to my husband. He'll get a kick out of it. I called it the "F.U. Wall" because there were pictures of John Belushi, Johnny Cash, and Mick Jagger flipping the bird.
I ate a VERY delicios Twisted Mac N Cheese with Chicken. It was so yummy, I'm still thinking about it! However, it didn't want to stay with me, as everyone in the camper on the way back can testify to.... (not something I really want to relive!)
My cousin Rodney was feeling just as nostalgic as my dad. Easily noticeable when I got the full length, in detail retelling of the night he saw The Doors in concert. The real live Jim Morrison Doors, that is! What a surreal experience that must have been.
There isn't a 50's, 60's or 70's group on those walls that my dad and cousin don't know.
My mom and I were talking about how so many band names don't really last through the generations, like The Pacemakers. No, they weren't a group of old geezers with heart problems. Pacemaker back then meant to keep the pace, to keep the rhythm or beat. So it was once a cool
bandname to have, I'm sure. Now, however, it just sounds like you're an old-fogey with an electrical box keeping your ticker going.
So, here is Hard Rock Niagara Falls, NY. Where we actually did see Stevie Nick's dress.
And I had a very delicious cheeseburger and fries!
The last stop on our Hard Rock adventure we didn't actually eat at. Some of us were Hard Rock'ed out, so we chose somewhere else to eat. But, this is Hard Rock Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
I did go up to ask to use the bathroom, though. So I got a glimpse, but because we weren't paying customers we had to use a public restroom that was quite a distance away.
Isn't their motto, "Love all, Serve all"? Guess they weren't living up to their motto that day!