Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Downside of Youth Sports

Louisa had a soccer game, and it was hands down the worst children's sport experience I've ever seen. We usually play other Ft. Polk teams, but today we played one of the local town's teams. We went to the local sporting complex and met up with the other green Dragons.
Right when we got there I realized that there was no water for the kids to drink like there usually is, so I had to go all the way back to the truck to get money, and then to the concession stand to get Louisa a Powerade. It was just Drew and I because my husband stayed home with a sick little Hunter.
While I was buying the Powerade the game started so I turned to watch it. Louisa started out as goalie and a boy came up (in her little goalie square that he's NOT supposed to be in) and kicked the ball. She blocked it, so he pushed her down and kicked the ball in the goal. THREE things the ref should have blown his whistle on! One the kid was in her square, two he's not allowed to re-kick the ball after she blocks it, three he pushed her down. Ref didn't make the call until AFTER our two coaches ran on the field yelling.
Then another little girl got elbowed in the chest and pushed down. Again, the ref called it *after* our coaches yelled about it. The coach from the other team said it was an "accident". Ya, could be, but this is a *non-contact* sport! We have rules about just how much touching is appropriate for the safety of our children. And elbowing and purposely pushing kids down is not acceptable.
Finally, and the worst offense of the game, one of our girls got tripped (on purpose) and then kicked in both the face and the chest by a BOY on the other team! And yes, they wear cleats!!! What did the ref do? Look the other way!!! The little girl's mom ran on the field and THAT'S who the ref blew his whistle at! Can you believe that? Then the ref storms over with his whistle in his hands and says to our coach "Here, you take the damn thing then if you can do so much better than me! I quit!" and he stormed off the field.
One of the coordinators for the town's sports program comes storming over yelling at OUR coaches saying that they have a hard time finding volunteers and we just made one of them quit. We were all on our feet yelling. This little girl was crying and gasping for air because she's got asthma and got kicked in the chest by a cleat and the sports coordinator guy is yelling at us!!!
The coaches try to talk calmly between our Ft. Polk youth sports coordinator, the town's coordinator, the ref, and the other coach.... it didn't go well. In the end I don't know what will happen to the other team. The most they can do is ask the coach and ref to step down since they are only volunteers. Their coach claimed it's all "part of the game". NOT for 8 and 9-year-olds it's not! They played dirty and rough and we already said we refuse to play them again.
How sad for those parents and that coach that they need to win so badly they allow their children to play that way. We didn't even get through the first half before they called the game. And they called it all because the mom on our team jumped up to run out and get her daughter. Heaven forbid a mother protect her daughter who's getting kicked in the chest by a cleat!
The other team packed up and left right away, pouting and mumbling. What did we do? Our coaches took advantage of the opportunity of the wide open field and we played a kids vs. parents game. Major kudos to these two ARMY guys who volunteer their time to coach our kids, after what I know is a long day at work. Not only did they rationally try to discuss our problem at a time when all tempers where flaring, but they ended this day on a positive note. And that, my friends, is so much more important to me than anything else. Louisa left with a huge smile on her face because she got to play her mom in soccer, and everyone was laughing and having a good time.
My heart goes out to the kids on the other team. Most of them being pawns of a coach and parents who are so hell bent on winning that they encourage their kids to play so roughly. Shame on them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy 10th Birthday, Baby Girl!

She's a ray of sunshine when I'm having a cloudy, "Eeyore" sort of day. That's the best way to describe her. Just pure, unfiltered sunshine. She glows when she's happy. Her smile is so bright that often times everyone else around her smiles, too.
Some days she's sad. Some days it's rainy and the sunshine can't get through. On rainy days she puts up her umbrella, splashes in the puddles, and the smile comes out again.
Nothing can stop her. Her drive, her ambition. But yet, at times she can be quite lazy. She gets tired of things quickly, but she always needs to be busy. Her hands need to be doing something, or her mind needs to be learning something.
She has her Great-Grandma's patience and faith in God, her Grandma's artistic ability and love of books, her Mom's eyes and dramatic tendencies. She adores her brothers and will do anything for them. She thinks the world of her daddy and loves the fact that he *chose* to be her daddy.
On her own she has learned how to be a leader. She is outgoing and puts 100% into all her friendships. She has learned how to forgive and forget. She is a joiner, joining every activity that is placed in front of her.
At school she's friendly, supportive, attentive, a leader, a librarian, a journalist, a gifted student, a teacher's pet, and a member of the student council.
At home she's loud, joyful, sweet, loving, compassionate, argumentative, not afraid to stand up for herself, independent, dependent, loves her pets, loves her TV, loves her books, and often times she can be very frustrating.
She gets disappointed easily, and she cries when she's hurt. She gets over things quickly and will easily make a compromise.
She still loves to curl up and read a book with me, and she absolutely loves to read to her brothers.
She enjoys every season of the year. In summer she can easily play at the beach all day long. In the fall she loves raking and playing in the leaves. In the winter she likes to sled and build snowmen until her fingers and toes are numb. In spring she loves to fly kites and take long walks on the nature trails.
I could go on describing her all day long. All the wonderful, and not so wonderful, qualities about her. Who better to know than her mother?

This morning when Louisa walked out of her room, she seemed taller than I had ever seen her before. Did she really grow last night? Or is there that big of a difference between being 9 and 10? I knew she was getting tall, but not *that* tall!After she left for school I wrapped her presents, made meatballs and put them in the crock pot for her meatball sub dinner that she chose tonight, and now I'm about to go make the red velvet cake she picked out.

It's a strange feeling knowing that my baby girl is so big. A little sad, too. I don't want her to grow so fast. Soon she'll grow into a young woman. But, I *am* excited to see what she will be like. Louisa is such a beautiful presence in our house. Being the only girl, she knows how special she is. She may have moved on from Princesses and Ponies to High School Musical and Hannah Montana, but that doesn't stop her from being my sweet little girl. I'm very proud of all that she's accomplished so far.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cool Art Stuff

Louisa's big birthday party with friends is on Sunday. We're going to a local place called Paint N Party. The kids and I went there for a playgroup meet-up during the summer, and since we love making art so much this is the perfect place to celebrate Louisa's birthday.
I told her that she can invite up to 10 kids, including her and Drew, because it will be about $10 per child. So far she's invited 4, but has a few more in mind.
We were trying to figure out a "theme" for the party, like Hannah Montana or High School Musical. But nothing really fit with an art party. We always make our own invitations, so we sat down and got creative.
This past Sunday the kids went into the yard and splatter painted a bunch of paper. Drew, in a very Jackson Pollock-esque way, splattered a nice piece for himself.
Before Louisa started splatter painting, I stamped some birthday cakes onto the paper. At the end, we added a 3-D effect with a pop-up birthday cake in the middle. She gave them to her friends yesterday and they were amazed that Louisa actually made them.
Drew's finished product went perfectly in these new frames I bought. I needed something big enough to hold a regular size piece of paper to show off the kids' artwork in a better way than just sticking them on the fridge, so I was excited when I found these "floating picture" frames. A beautiful piece that Louisa did this summer is hanging in a frame next to Drew's.
The picture frames look so nice, I want to go out and buy some more to display other projects the kids have done.
Our elementary schools don't have an art class (*gasp*) and with two very artistic kids, we're always creating something, or are at least coloring and drawing.
We're excited for Sunday to come. Louisa has had some awesome birthday parties in the past. We went bowling one year, to Michael's craft store for a craft party one year, and last year I took Louisa and her friends to a stuff your own stuffed animal
place. I'm expecting this year's party will be just as fun!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Soccer Stuff

Louisa had another soccer game yesterday. This time it was for real, and the parents were much more on edge. You could feel the tension between the three teams who played. Is it because we're military families and we're more competitive by nature? Or is it just because we're all trying so hard to live vicariously through our children?
Last Thursday I went to my MOPS meeting, and the Youth Minister of the church that it's in gave us a talk about raising our children. He said that he's a new parent and doesn't have all the answers yet himself, so right away I started to tune him out. You know what, I have an almost 10 year old, I don't need some guy who's only child isn't even 2 yet to tell me how to parent. But I did listen, and I did take most of what he said to heart. He told us that our job is not to re-live our lives through our children. And how many of us really do that? I'm willing to be *a lot*! The mom who wanted so badly to be on Homecoming court when she was in high school now pushes her daughter to be popular and make Homecoming court. Or the dad who misses his time in the Friday Night Lights pushes his son to be the best quarterback the school has ever seen. How often do you hear stories like that? I hear them quite often.
So then I start thinking, am I trying to live through Louisa? I was on winning teams when I was younger. I know what it feels like already. I know what it feels like to lose, but I also know it made me stronger. I don't feel that Louisa needs to win every game. And I really don't feel that I'm living through her experiences. She's a totally different person at 9 and 11/12 than I was. For starters, I'd *never* have played soccer! I was a basketball/softball person and that was it for me. I didn't like any other sports. Louisa loves to try it all. She loves dance, soccer, football, basketball, cheerleading. There's no stopping her.
Back to the parents yesterday. The tension... thick. The sideways glances... not friendly. The coaches... not on the same page.
We have two coaches, and you could tell they weren't on the same page. One coach was telling them to take the ball and run with it, while the other was telling them to pass it off. So the kids were confused, and didn't make any goals in either of their games. The guy who started out as the head coach, seems to have taken a back seat and let the other guy do the work. Not sure what's up, but they need to agree on play strategy.
I refuse to take these games too seriously. Louisa needs to know that we are supportive no matter what. Every time I felt my blood start to rise yesterday, I sat back and thought about my games as a child. Having an upset parent to deal with as well as upset team mates and coaches, was not something I would have enjoyed. Luckily for me, my parents were always supportive no matter what. I had my share of losing games, and still got ice cream afterward. Maybe that's why I'm not as competitive as the other parents. I wasn't raised in a competitive home.
Husband on the other hand... we're still working on him!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Girlie Comics

Louisa is really into comic books, and she loves to read your average every day Spiderman or Superman comic. But lately she's been wondering about "girl" comics. She saw an ad once a few months ago for a comic book with the character Anita Black from Spiderman, and we ended up sending Grandma & Grandpa on a wild goose chase trying to find it. What we found was that there are a very small few comic books with girls as the main character. Oh if only I could draw well! I would put out girl comics left and right. Drew is very good at drawing comic book style, but he has no interest in helping mommy put together a "girlie" comic.
Tonight I thought I'd Google "comic books for girls" to see what I could find. First I found this blog called Girls Read Comics and They're Pissed. This was such a fun blog to read! I think I'll go back and nose around some more as soon as I finish typing this.
Then I found something called Angry Little Girls. Um... Weird. But yet, interesting, in that weird sort of way. Okay, I spent way too much time on that site.
Lastly I found this article, which led me to Amazon to look up Leave It To Chance, which led me to Alison Dare, which led me to Go Girl.... and now I just ordered way too many comic books for Louisa, and they probably won't get here by next week for her birthday anyway. But they look very cool, and I know she'll be really excited to get them.
So... anyone out there a good comic book artist? We could maybe do a little tag team thing?! We need more girl superheros that play the central role in a comic book.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Louisa's First Soccer Game, It's Only a Kid's Game!

Yesterday was Louisa's first soccer game. It was more of a "practice scrimmage", but her team, The Dragons, got their butts whomped anyway. They played two games, and got beat both times. But, it doesn't matter! It's all for fun! (I need to keep reminding myself that!)
Each team is only supposed to have seven players, 6 players and 1 goalie. The first game they played, the opposing team had so many extra players that each kid got a chance to sit out and rest up before coming back in again. They also had 8-9 players on the field at a time. My husband tried to call to the refs a few times to point it out and I eventually made him sit telling him, "It's only a kid's game, let them be". I did point it out to Louisa's coach after the game, though. I also pointed out how it's not fair that one team is so much bigger that the kids get to sit out more, when our team only has one extra player, meaning most of our players have to play the entire game. But it's only a kid's game, right?
The second game they played, The Dragons were beat even more miserably thanks in large part to the fact that not one single Dragon played defense the entire game. Um... Coach? Aren't we supposed to be teaching the kids ALL the fundamentals of soccer? Not just how to score a goal? I could be wrong. I've only successfully coached a team to a championship once before, whereas this coach has done it... *none*! I don't mean to criticize... okay, ya, I do! TEACH THEM DEFENSE!
Louisa played goalie for the first half of the second game. She really had no clue what to do. She thought she had to stay in that little tiny box right by the goal the whole time, and she kept throwing the ball right back into the legs of the opposing team. They scored more goals on her than I'd like to count. She was very frustrated. One very nice parent came to me and said, "Your daughter can go out farther in the box. Does she know that?" I said no, I don't think the coach has taught them defense at all. So as I am sitting there screaming my lungs out, trying to direct Louisa where to throw or kick the ball, my husband says (in a way that only husbands can get away with), "Honey, it's only a kid's game!"
We are going to the soccer field to work on a few defensive moves today, as soon as Husband gets done putting my shiny chrome step-rails on my truck.
Here are some of the highlights of the soccer game yesterday:

{Louisa is to the far right... playing *defense*!}

{The only ball she stopped while playing goalie. At least I got a picture of it!}

{The peanut gallery.... I mean, the rowdy soccer crowd!}

{Drew and Hunter take up their own game.}

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hunter's First Hair Cut

Hunter and I went to a playgroup meet-up during lunchtime and then we had to go shopping at WalMart. The fridge was *empty*, so it was one of those big shopping days with lots of coupons and a long shopping list.
Our WalMart has one of those walk-in haircut places in the front of it. It's where Louisa got her hair cut, and I also got mine chopped off a few weeks ago there. All three of us done by the same really nice lady.
The decision to finally cut off the mop was a tad impulsive, but that's how I roll! We walked past the haircut place on our way to the bathroom to wash Hunter's hands. (He had been eating tiny cinnamon rolls in the truck so he was just a little sticky! ) I noticed that there was no line, for once, and I just walked in and sat him down. He loved sitting in the chair! He sat very still the whole time. The lady kept saying she'd never cut a toddler's hair who sat so still. She also let me take all the pictures I wanted. Other times when I've taken the kids in, the haircut person looks at me funny when I ask to take a picture.
When we were all finished she took some hair and stuck it in an envelop for me and gave Hunter a "My first haircut" certificate. He was very proud of his new, shorter hair. He stood looking in the many mirrors, gazing hapily at himself. He looks like a whole new boy! (And not quite such a long haired hooligan!)
I did take pictures with my camera phone afterward and messaged them to Daddy, but Daddy is in a class today so I knew he couldn't call us back. When it was time for Drew and Louisa's buses to come home, Hunter was sitting anxiously at the bus stop for them. They both shrieked and showered him with hugs. It's like getting a new brother!

And here's the finished product! Now no one has any reason to call him a girl, or "Little Miss".

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rainy day with nothing to do...

Since we're having a rain day and we're stuck inside *all* day long, the kids and I have been looking for stuff to do. First they played a spirited game of Twister, then they got bored. Then we printed out TONS of coloring and activity sheets from, then they got bored. I was searching around online and found this blog called The Generator Blog. Ooh Fun! I love all those little "generator" thingys.

We made a giant cookie first (and now I'm dying for a giant cookie and have no chocolate chips! But if you DO have chocolate chips, the website provides a recipe for a giant cookie):

To make your own cookie, go HERE. And you will also find many more things to do on that site.

We also found this one, where a little wizard writes whatever you tell it to:

Wizard Animation

Get your own little wizard HERE. As well as a typing ninja, talking cat, talking tomato, and other fun things that you can type in what you want them to say.

Here's a good one that I'm sure my nephew will appreciate. Need a good, quick, witty insult? Go to the Insult Generator! That one not good enough for you? Just hit "refresh" to get another one. Let's see what Insult they have for me today: You strange drip of humourless zit squeezings

Remember when those 3D Stereograms were so popular? People had them hanging in their houses and you were supposed to squint your eyes and stand at a distance and a picture was supposed to jump out at you. Ya, I could never see anything. But I made one HERE. It says CHAOS MOMMY. Can anyone see it?

Did you ever want to know what your "Monster Name" is? Ok, probably not! But, here's mine:

Person-Eating, Geek-Grabbing Imp of Emotion

And here's Louisa:

Lethal, Orphan-Upsetting, Investigator-Snatching Abomination

And here's Andrew (who is crying because I typed Andrew and not "Creepy")

Abhorrent, Nun-Devouring Ravager from the Enchanted Woods

Okay then, that's not really what I wanted him to grow up to be! Get your Monster Name HERE.

I also made my own Garbage Pail Kid (anyone who's a child of the 80's like I was will love this one!) and my own Simpson's character, but am having way too much trouble trying to get them on here.

So anyway, that's how I'm currently spending my day. Seeing just how many things I can "generate". Why? Because I'm bored and there are no munchies in the house.

Hurricane Humberto

This is Hurricane Humberto (image from, and the last time I checked it is a Category 1 hurricane. The news keeps talking about Texas and I guess they got hit pretty hard when the hurricane first landed. I haven't heard one word about Louisiana, though. Funny, cause I'm looking out my window right now, and the rain is coming down in sheets and it's pretty darn windy.
I woke the kids up at 6:30 this morning, as usual, to get ready for school. At 7:00 I sent Drew out the door to the bus stop. I gave him a hooded sweatshirt so he wouldn't get too soaked while waiting for the bus (can't trust him with an umbrella). After I said good-bye to him I checked my phone and there was a message from Husband saying that school was canceled because of the storm and we could all go back to bed. Uh-oh! Wish I had listened to that before. I sent Louisa out after Drew and called Husband back. He said that we're expected to get winds up to 70 mph today, so there is no school.
Now here we sit in our first ever hurricane. The bad part hasn't hit us yet, and who knows if it even will. On the map above we are located about a half a centimeter to the right of the big red spot.
What I find interesting is that when Hurricane Dean came around, everyone down here panicked and some people evacuated. Dean didn't come anywhere remotely close to Louisiana. We didn't even get rain from it. But yet a real actual hurricane comes through, and I never heard a word about it. Maybe I've just been too engrossed in the slaughter.... I mean hearing of General Petreaus and Ambassador Crocker.
Either way, here we sit. At home. It's a rain day and Louisa wants to play games and Drew wants to watch TV. Hmm... I wonder which one I chose? Currently they are playing in Drew's newly cleaned room, and the rain has gotten worse since I started typing this.
But really, I grew up in Southern Wisconsin and some *fierce* storms, complete with tornadoes, stomp their way through several times a summer. I'm sure I can handle a little Cat 1 hurricane!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Louisa the Librarian

With Louisa being in 4th grade this year, that means she's at the top of her school. Most primary schools, I think, have more responsibility for the top grades like hallway monitor or crossing guard. At Louisa's school they get the opportunity to work in the library. Louisa, being the bookworm that she is, wanted to do that more than anything.
She had to apply for it, just like a real job. First she had to fill out an application, then she had to interview with the librarian. She was a little nervous, but she did good.
We hit a road block at one point during the application process when Louisa's class had a bad day in the library and the librarian said she wasn't going to interview anyone in that class because they couldn't behave themselves. Mass punishment. Hmm... sounds familiar, like something my husband's Army unit does. Not something a school should be doing to children, though. So, Daddy to the rescue, he emailed Louisa's teacher *very nicely* and let her know that we didn't appreciate the librarian taking away Louisa's chance to work in the library just because a few other kids in class were acting up one day. Louisa's homeroom teacher replied that she didn't know that happened, she agreed that mass punishment wasn't the correct way to go about it, and she would look into it. The next day Louisa told us that several other parents complained as well and the librarian would indeed interview anyone from this class who wanted the job.
Now, two weeks later, Louisa comes home yesterday very excited because she is now a library helper!
Her duties will include reshelving returned books, straightening and organizing the shelves, and once in awhile assisting the little ones in choosing a book.
Her payment, she can have a snack while she's there, and the librarian will sometimes reward them with a donut breakfast, or a pizza lunch. All sorts of things that kids like to be paid with!
She can go in on any free time she has, which is a lot because she usually finishes her work ahead of the rest of the class, and any recess that she wants to stay in she can go see if there is work in the library to be done.
I'm so proud of her! I really hope this leads to big things.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Teddy Bear Project

I'm helping my friends over on Jonathon's Closet out with a worthy cause, and asking you to help, too.

Direct from Kate:

The Teddy Bear Project ... providing Teddy Bears to children affected by
domestic abuse and other traumatic events.

Mission: To give symbols of comfort
and caring to children experiencing trauma due to violence in the home or an
emergency medical situation.

Vision: We know that domestic abuse happens every
day. We also know that organizations working with survivors need help. Unity of
Greater Lansing is committed to supporting them through The Teddy Bear Project.

We are collecting new Teddy Bears, from Beanie Baby size up to 18" long, to give to first responders (police, fire, ambulance, pediatric trauma unit) as well as to domestic violence shelters to distribute to children experiencing trauma.

Our goal is 25,000 bears. Yes, this number is sadly astronomical. Yet this is the number of bears that the agencies involved estimate that they use in ONE YEAR'S TIME. Won't you consider making a difference in the life of a traumatized child and send a bear?

Bears can be sent to:
240 Marshall Street
Lansing, MI 48912
attn: Kate

This project is endorsed by:
The Lansing City CouncilLansing
Mayor Virg Bernero
State Senator Gretchen Whitmer
Fire Chief Tom Cochran
Police Chief Mark Alley
Bishop David Maswell; Office of Community and Interfaith Initiatives

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Honestly, I never thought I'd enjoy MOPS. The kids are separate from the moms, so it's not really a "playgroup". You drop your kids off with a babysitter, then you go sit at a table and listen to someone talk to you about being a parent. I have 3 children, the oldest of which is a few weeks away from being 10, I think I've got this toddler/preschooler thing down pat by now.
In my other playgroup, we all sit around with our kids and let them play and talk and have fun. I didn't really relish the thought of dropping Hunter off to get mommy time. Maybe I'm weird. I know that I'm in the minority when I say, I don't need "Mommy Time". Heck, I'm getting it right now. Hunter is watching PBS kids and playing quietly with his toys. I could be cleaning, or reading, or doing just about anything right now. All of my kids have been good about playing by themselves. I just don't crave that time alone like other moms do.
So today, I attended my first MOPS meeting at the urging of my playgroup friends who were going. I got there a half hour late, in true ME fashion. Dropped Hunter off in the 2-year-old room and took the last possible seat in the "Grown-ups" room. My friends were over at another table and I was disappointed that I couldn't go sit by them. Little did I know I'd be stuck at this table for awhile because we will all sit at the same table every week. As I drove home, I had one of those deep thought/epiphany moments. Why sit at a table with my friends, who I already know? Why not sit at a different table and get to know some new friends? Isn't that what this is about?
I did enjoy myself, won a prize for guessing the cartoon character who was taped to my back, and probably made a few new friends. I also found out about the church that this MOPS group meets in and it sounds like what we're looking for. Tomorrow night is Hobby Nite with the MOPS group, and I will definitely go and get some scrapping done. Maybe make another friend while I'm at it.

**I'm updating this because I just had a thought. Yes, really, a thought. And yes, my little light bulb was probably glowing!
When I went to the MOPS meeting today, I left Hunter with the babysitters. Strangers who I never met before. What kind of mom am I? I don't need my own personal background check, but I didn't even stop to look at their name tags or anything. Since I was late, I literally just scooted him in the door and took off. That thought struck me as kinda scary. A million What If's circled my head. I shouldn't let my guard down just because it's in a church, it's a Christian based group, and MOPS is a nation wide club. I should have at least paused long enough to make a note of *who* was watching him.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mama's Got a New Ride

No offense to those who love their mini-vans, but I couldn't stand mine. It was an ugly tan-ish color, it looked way too mini-van-like, and I'm glad to be rid of it. I've complained about it since the day Husband brought it home. It served it's purpose, got us from point A to point B, got good gas mileage, and totally sucked the youth out of me. Let's say, I won't miss it, and leave it at that.

We have been discussing the possible purchase of a new vehicle for awhile now. We read up on everything new that's out there taking into consideration what will fit 3 kids and ALL of our gear on those long trips home to Wisconsin, and what will be sturdy and reliable once Husband deploys so that I don't have any car issues while I'm by myself.
Then we threw all that out the window, got impulsive, and bought Mama her very own 4-door Dodge Ram 4x4!

I could have easily gotten a different color than black. We already have a black Dodge Ram. However, it was the only 4x4 on the lot, and Husband won't have a 2x4 truck. It's a guy thing.
So we traded in the awful mini-van. Who knows, maybe I'll eat my words someday. I completely understand that a truck isn't very *practical*, but we're impulsive, impractical people.
When we got married, Husband had a red Dodge Ram truck. My car had been totaled in an accident before we were married, so that's all we had to drive. It was nice and I liked having a truck, but after I got pregnant with Drew we discovered that the infant car seat didn't fit rear-facing in the backseat. We had to get something else. The day before I had Drew, after a series of mess-ups on the dealer's part, we bought a Mitsubishi Montero (SUV) with 4x4. Husband was sad to let go of the truck that he was so proud of, but he liked having 4 wheel drive. After we moved back to Wisconsin (from Georgia), we had to get a different vehicle because we were driving more often and we needed something more fuel efficient. We ended up buying one of the dumbest cars I think I've ever owned. A Dodge Neon. It was cute and little and kinda fuel efficient, although because of the really small tank I was filling up all the time. I get pregnant with Hunter and we realize there's no way we can fit a car seat along with Drew and Louisa in the backseat. We start looking around, but we have bad credit and owe way more on the Neon than it's worth. In Husband's defense, I told him to go get whatever we could get approved for. He brings home the mommy-van. Ugh!
Like I said, it did it's purpose, it hauled a lot of stuff, and now I'm done with it.
I'm sad to report that Husband also gave up the Harley. I didn't ask him to! This was all his doing. As he was talking with the dealer yesterday, the idea struck him that maybe he could trade in two vehicles. His main thought was, "Why pay on a motorcycle for 15 months when I'm deployed if I can't ride it?" True, but I'm still sad that he decided to let it go. This is his second bike. He traded in his first one earlier this year for a newer, bigger bike. He stripped the paint and repainted it himself.
Here he is saying good-bye for one last time.

I have only driven the truck once so far, but it handles far better then Husband's old truck (in the background of above picture). I am liking the 4 doors! When I drive Husband's truck, I have to climb in over the seats to get Hunter in his car seat. My truck still needs some kind of step. It's a high climb to get in there, but we are looking at step-rails now.
I also said, that since I have my own truck, I'm going to girl-i-fy it. I got funny looks for that, but I can't have too manly of a truck! I'm thinking Tinker Bell floor mats....

Monday, September 03, 2007

Making Progress and Working on Labor Day

Alright, alright, so the dining room isn't quite finished. And it should be. I have no excuse other than, things just came up. Yesterday we drove the kids over an hour south of here to a city called Lake Charles to have their pictures taken at JC Penney. Not really high-class, but I loved the Sesame Street background they have for Hunter's 2-year-old pics. Also, I found out that Drew and Louisa's school pictures are in uniform. I like to have school pictures to give away at Christmastime, but I don't want pictures of the kids in their school-green polo shirts. I mean, really, if I'm going to pay the insane prices they make you pay for school pictures these days, I do not want them in a dumb ole polo shirt. So I let Drew and Louisa get their pictures taken, too. However, I was not at all impressed with the job the lady did. We bought the bare minimum we'd need and got out of there.
One issue I had with the lady is that she had no sense of "going with the moment" photography. When we were having a group picture taken of all three kids, Hunter casually put his head on Louisa's shoulder. It was so cute and so exactly something Hunter would do. What did the photographer do? She tried to get him to pick his head up and smile! Huh?! When taking pictures of kids, you let *them* lead. If one kid lays his head on his big sister, tell the other one to do it, too. Take their lead and you'll get much better pictures than forced smiles and cranky kids. I was so upset when we left. Can't believe I drove an hour for that.
I also wanted to go to Lake Charles because I have a gift card for Bed, Bath & Beyond and we really need new pillows. Guess what I forgot to bring?! That's so like me. I always forget that kind of stuff.
Now, back to the house cleaning. This has become a project of EPIC proportions. And, I'm so very happy to report that we are making good progress. Just because the dining room is still a disaster, doesn't mean we haven't been working hard.
I'm proud to present the *BEFORE* and *AFTER* of Drew's room. And yes, this really was what his room looked like. With a huge emphasis on the WAS part.
(my dad will recognize this mess as this is what my room always looked like. husband likes to joke that his tent in Afghanistan was cleaner.)
Drew and Hunter getting their hard hats on and preparing to go into the trenches, I mean, Drew's room.
Ta-Da!! Ok, so it's not quite perfect yet, but THERE'S A FLOOR!!! Four garbage bags later and we can finally see his room again.
Daddy worked hard to organize the closet. Hopefully everything has a place. He made the shelves in the closet, by the way.
We also cleaned Hunter's room. It wasn't near as bad, but there were many plastic tubs full of toys that no one played with anymore. We went through those, emptied, sorted, organized, all the fun stuff that comes with three growing children and more toys than Toys R Us. Hunter is very excited to be able to play in his room again. I also went through and changed batteries on every toy I could find with low or dead batteries, so he's in there right now pushing every button he can find.

No doubt, many of my friends and fellow moms/parents are out there enjoying this day off, celebrating Labor Day. Someone's firing up their grill. Someone's knocking back a few beers. Someone's at the lake swimming, where we were supposed to be right now. Unfortunately for us, Husband's army unit has a little rule, when a few people get in trouble, everyone gets in trouble. Mass punishment. So, here we sit (the kids and I), at home instead of heading out to the lake. Husband is at work along with all the other guys in his unit because a few messed up and got in trouble this weekend. Labor Day is supposed to be a day off for many (save people like my mom who is a nurse). Husband just got off working 18 days straight with no break. One four day weekend shouldn't have been so much to ask for. He still has tomorrow off, but it's the principle of the situation. They just worked for over two weeks and now they are made to come in on Labor Day. When stuff like this happens, I can't help but think about how last year he was in Afghanistan, and next year he'll be in Iraq. I have this one little, short year to fit in as much as I possibly can with him. The army comes first. It's our way of life, but one little tiny four day weekend shouldn't be so much to ask for.

I hope you all can relax, enjoy yourselves, be with friends and family. And drink one for those who are too far away from their families (and can't have a beer!). And if you're reading this today, Get off the Computer! Go enjoy the last weekend of Summer!