Friday, December 28, 2007

"I've always wanted that! and lets stay here lots of minutes.

The kids and I made it safely to my parents' house. They got to have a second Christmas. Kendall got another snow globe and her response was, "I've always wanted that!" Clayton got lots of cars. I think they are having a good time. I know Clayton is because he told me he wants to "stay here for lots of minutes." They got to drive their little red jeep around the yard yesterday even though it was very cold.

Tomorrow, I am going to a Razorback basketball game with my dad. I can't wait for that! Go Hogs!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone. I wish peace for everyone this time of year.

Kendall's and Clayton's cousins from NYC are here for a couple of days. It is pandemonium. The kids and I are heading to North Arkansas tomorrow to see the grandparents (my parents). I hope to post some good pics soon.

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Shortest Day of the year

Hooray! It's the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year! No, you're not hallucinating. I am so glad that starting tomorrow the days get longer! After today, we are on our way to spring, and then, SUMMER! So, come on Christmas, New Year's, my birthday, Pete's birthday. I'm ready for shorts, sandals, and T-shirts again! :)

I am still not ready for Christmas when I look around at the house and feel paralyzed by my procrastinating. Help.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Favorite Things

I love this song. It really gets me into the holiday spirit.

Catching up from a busy weekend

Our weekend started last Friday night with Kendall having a friend spend the night. I don't think kindergartners are ready for this. By bedtime, (10 pm), they were on each other's nerves. Kendall crying, Sydney egging her on. They woke up at 6 am, and I heard Kendall say, "I'm still sleepy." Poor child. I knew how she felt.

After the kids were up and ready we headed out to our Wegman's grocery store to have breakfast with Santa. Originally, it was to be a family affair with my husband coming along. Pete dropped the bomb on me two days prior by informing me that he was going duck and goose hunting. Great. So, I stupidly offered to take Sydney with us to the breakfast (since we had pre-paid). It was a buffet breakfast which meant I was going back and forth to the table to get food that would just sit there. The kids hardly ate anything. What's new? I stuffed my face to make up for what they wasted. Finally, our number was up to go see Santa. It is pretty magical.

Kendall wants a snow globe. And Clayton wants "wots of fast cars".

After the breakfast, Sydney's mom picked her up and the kids and I went home. Kendall took a nap as soon as she got home. At 3 pm, Kendall went to a birthday party. After that, both kids went to another birthday party. It was quite a busy day.

Sunday, we went to church in the morning and then we went out that afternoon to get our Christmas tree. You can see some pictures here. We started decorating and immediately, the ornaments started breaking. Kendall dropped one, I dropped the lights, etc.

Needless to say, I was very glad when it was time to go to sleep on Sunday night. I think I am still tired.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dan Fogelberg - Same Old Lang Syne

Dan Fogelberg died today. What can I say? I'm a sentimental person. This song always brings a tear to my eyes.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Never trust a kid with styrofoam and scissors...

This is his head. You should have seen my living room floor!
I made Mexican Wedding Cookies yesterday for the first time.

The Netherlands (part 2)

The first two days were spent in Amsterdam. The next two days were in Leiden and then the remainder of the trip was back in Amsterdam. For the last two days in Amsterdam, we had a PhD student showing us around. His name was Willem. He was born and raised in Amsterdam and he was a great guide.

The first place Willem took us was the Van Gogh museum. This was the high point of the trip, as far as I was concerned. It was amazing. Kendall even recognized some paintings which made me get a little lump in my throat. While gazing at the Sunflowers, Kendall said, "When we get back to Pencil vania (Pennsylvania), I want to draw." Now, this is nothing new, but at that moment, she felt inspired. That, my friend, is why you visit museums. Kendall even recognized Van Gogh's bedroom. The museum was quiet that day, and we could get really close to all the paintings.

We went to the Artis Zoo the next day. It was a cold day, so the zoo wasn't as fun as it would have been otherwise. Oh well, we made the best of it, and the kids really enjoyed seeing the animals.

I did end up getting some nice boots while I was over there. I imagine they will be my Christmas present for a few years to come.

Rooftops in Amsterdam.
Cannabis seeds for sale. (now that's something you don't see everyday!)
We flew back to State College, via Detroit. I called my mom once we were back on U.S. soil and she told me the news that the Razorbacks had beaten #1 LSU that weekend. I was back home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Potty-training disasters...

My son is old enough to be potty-trained, however, he is still having some accidents. But, for the most part, the going #1 is successful so I don't even monitor him in the bathroom. Evidently, he uses a lot of toilet paper. Today, he flushed and started yelling for me to come to the bathroom. I entered the bathroom to discover that the water had overflowed and a bunch of TP was swirling around in the bowl. Oh crap! I quickly turned the water off and started sopping up the water with some old towels that we keep down stairs. Of course, I grabbed the TP and put it in the trash and used the old, handy, dandy plunger. Relief, (no pun intended), and the water went down. While I was doing all of this, I asked Clayton if he would run upstairs and get some more towels. I asked for two towels. He obliged and hurried on upstairs. A minute or two later he returned with the two towels. In each hand he had a strip of toilet paper consisting of a couple of squares each.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santaland Diaries

I don't know what is wrong with me, but every Christmas, I have to listen to David Sedaris' "Crumpet the Elf" on NPR. The first time I heard it was many years ago, and I honestly think it was the funniest thing ever. It still makes me laugh and cringe at the same time.

And in other topics, has everyone sent out their Christmas/Holiday/Whatever cards? One year, our Hindu friend gave us a card and I thought is summed up what goes through every body's heads this time of year. I thought it was so perfect so I've kept it all these years.

In case you can't read the small print, it says under the paper clothes 'Christmas', 'Hanukkah', and 'New Year'. I personally like to send cards out that say 'Merry Christmas', but my husband likes the ones that say 'Happy Holidays' so we don't offend anyone. So, I'll apologize to those that might be offended ahead of time for saying Merry Christmas when we get closer to the date...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Elf Yourself

Go here for a laugh. Seriously, I am not ready for Christmas! I have got to get my act together. I think we are getting our tree tomorrow, so that will hopefully inspire me! I can't believe it is almost here...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas...

Candy! I successfully made some peanut butter fudge this morning! Last year, I made one good batch and then the others just didn't set up properly. I am determined to make fudge the right way more than once this Christmas season.

It has turned really cold here in central PA. My car thermometer read 6 degrees F this morning while I drove my daughter to school. It's sad when 30 degrees F would feel "warm". There truly is a time for everything...

Next on the list for candy is black walnut divinity and peanut brittle. Yummy.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sports' news

I saw this last week where Houston Nutt resigned as the head football coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He is going to Ole' Miss for around $1.8 million a year. That's a nice chunk of change. And just this week it was revealed that Coach Paterno makes around $500,000 a year. Not bad considering he is as old as dirt and the team hasn't been that great lately. Penn State didn't want to let us tax payers know citing that it would hurt morale. Really. I'm sure all those profs are very supportive since they are rolling in the dough themselves. (yeah, right).

And look out. The weather is looking nasty this weekend. I'm not ready for the snow but I guess it is a necessary evil. Oh well, just 20 more days and the days start getting longer...but I'm not wishing my life away--I promise!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Netherlands report (part I)

OK, as promised here is the post all about my trip. I feel like I need to disclose that my in-laws flew us over there and paid for our hotel and most of our meals. So, with that said, it was a great trip and I enjoyed seeing Amsterdam.

Our flights went fine. The kids slept only after watching movies over and over. I saw "No Reservations" on the plane and can say that I am glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater. It was fine, just not worth whatever a movie ticket costs these days. The food was surprisingly good but our kids didn't eat it if my memory serves me correctly.

We arrived into Schipol Airport and immediately, it hits you that you are in Europe. The cigarette smoke about knocks you over. It seems like in the U.S. that the smoking sections are not right by the gates as you get off the plane. Oh well. We gather our bags and head outside to grab a taxi. I think if I were traveling alone or without kids, I would have taken the train into Amsterdam. Once we arrive to the fabulous hotel, we check in, but then we have to walk around because our room is not ready. I take in the sights of water, boats, bicycles and people. Amsterdam does not disappoint. And why is it that Europeans are so impeccably dressed?

One sight that was amazing was how the women dressed in dresses, opaque tights and dress shoes were riding bicycles. And the bicyclists have the right-a-way. That includes over pedestrians, too.

Here is a view out of our hotel room. I believe the first time we stayed in Amsterdam, our room looked over the Singel canal.

This is the living room:
This was our bedroom. We were in the attic of an old house that was probably built in the 1500's.
We actually had to climb up some stairs from the living room to get to the bathroom and bedroom. It was quite enchanting.

The night we arrived, my in-laws had made reservations at this fantastic restaurant where we had dinner with a couple that was in town for the day. The husband is Dutch and is waiting on his green card, and the wife is a former student of my father-in-law's. She had just arrived that day, too. My in-laws eat really well and this meal was no exception. The chef let the children into the kitchen and they came out with their own desserts. It was really cute.

The next day (Saturday) was spent walking around town and taking in the sights again. We had arranged for a babysitter for the evening so the adults went out for dinner by ourselves.

On Sunday, we took taxis to a town called Leiden. The oldest university in the Netherlands is here. The town was smaller and the hotel was not that great. Let me rephrase that. It was fine for me and my family, but not acceptable for my in laws. We stayed in Leiden two days and then headed back to the Ambassade Hotel in Amsterdam. Before we left Leiden, however, we did take a train to Den Haag (The Hague) for a day trip and we saw a miniature place called Maduradam. It is Holland in miniature. I was the only one that appreciated it. The kids were a bit too young and my mother in law's Alzheimer's disease keeps her from understanding what is going on.

Here is the windmill in Leiden:

And here I am at the miniature place called Maduradam.

We did go to some museums while we were in Leiden. They have an excellent natural history museum called Naturalis. Clayton enjoyed looking at the dinosaur bones. We also went to the American Pilgrim Museum. The pilgrims set out from Leiden before they left from Plymouth. Because of the Netherlands liberal government, all groups were welcome for refuge back then. The pilgrims were one of those groups.

Here is a shot of the "commuter" lot at the Leiden train station. I'll continue my report later.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm back from the Netherlands...

I really think I could live in Amsterdam. It is a beautiful city. I'll write more later, but for now, you can see some pictures here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Almost time to go...

Wow! It just hit me. I am a procrastinator. I thought I was organized last night and now I am feeling the crunch. You know, that nervous little feeling in your chest and your brain just can't stay focused? And why the heck am I blogging right now? Ah, yes, procrastinating.

I am really excited and realized a while back that you can almost buy whatever you leave behind (soap, shampoo, socks, etc.). I don't want to buy stuff like that, but it does help with the worrying.

So, I'm off to the Netherlands. I will take a ton of pictures! Can't wait. I better go finish packing....

Friday, November 09, 2007


My husband made it back this afternoon. The kids and I were glad to see him. The weather has turned cooler and we even had snow flurries today. Kendall and Clayton were so excited about the snow and were asking if they could see Santa.

I went to Barnes and Noble today to look at travel books. I just loooovvvvveeeee looking at travel books. I didn't buy one because I left the 25% off coupon at home. That means I get to go back tomorrow! I think we are going to take the kids to the story time and then pick out a book for the Netherlands. It's always nice to know what's going on and what museums are around, etc. I have to admit I am getting excited. Don't worry, I'm not kidding myself. This trip won't be a "vacation"--it never is when you are traveling with young children. Some good news is that we won't be bringing pull-ups for the little man! Now, if that isn't light at the end of the tunnel, I don't know what is. He's finally in underwear (about time)!

And one last thing. I'm worried about my friend, NYKAT. Just want to let her know that I'm thinking of her and hoping she is all right.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

An acquaintance told me about a website that helps with getting rid of clutter. A couple of weeks ago I was really overwhelmed with my house, kids, etc. Anyway, she told me about it and I signed up. Now, they send me emails and tell me what to tidy, etc. It's great. I really needed someone other than my husband to point me in the right direction. This site helps you with the C.H.A.O.S. (can't have anyone over syndrome). So, now my house looks a little more tidy than it did a week ago. I just thought I would pass it along....

Is it bad to wish a few days away?

Is it Friday, yet? And I was doing so well. I read somewhere that raising a toddler (however, I think this can apply to any young child) is like being plucked to death by a duck. I feel like I am barely alive right now....

In other news, my in laws are headed to Stockholm, Sweden right now. They will be there for a week and then we will meet them in Amsterdam next Friday morning. Yep, they are flying the four of us over there for Thanksgiving. I doubt we will be able to find some turkey, green bean casserole, and candied sweet potatoes. I guess that will be OK for this year. Ha ha.

I have no idea what kind of clothes to pack for this trip. I guess sweaters, jeans and a coat? Is it rainy or snowy or cold? I've only been through the airport at Amsterdam before so I don't know what it is like there.

Roll on Friday...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Two down....three to go!

This is day 2 of being a single parent. Pete will return on Friday. He is in New Orleans for a meeting. On his way to the hotel on Sunday, the taxi driver offered to locate a prostitute if Pete wanted one. After a long silence, the taxi driver started talking about touristy things. I see New Orleans hasn't changed. Yes, it is one of the seediest cities in the U. S. and our government wants to bring it back.

The kids were great today (up to this point) and I actually am not stressed at all. At 4:30 pm, I picked Kendall up from school and then we went to the docs to get their flu vaccines. I had arranged for the nasal kind. Clayton did it like a pro and Kendall was a little uncoordinated. I had to help hold one nostril closed while she 'snorted' the dose. On the way out the nurse said "no picking your nose for 30 minutes!" And Kendall did listen. About an hour later, she asked if she could pick her nose. Oh, to be 5!

They are watching the Backyardigans right now. It came today from Netflix. I was hoping I had picked a grown up movie, but they are happy vegging in front of the TV. I say since daddy's away, I am taking the easy route.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Relaxing Saturday to report

Well, my husband left for New Orleans this morning. He won't get back until Friday (ugh)! I think he knew I needed to 'store up' some energy, so yesterday he took the kids out with him while he ran errands. I was in the house by myself. Ahhhh. That does not happen very often. What did I do? I watched "The Queen" with Helen Mirren. And I thought my job as the queen of my household was hard? I loved it. I am an anglophile so I was soaking it all up. I didn't realize that the film was going to be about Princess Di's death and how the Queen responded. It was still a good movie, I just thought it would be about other things. I did learn some things about the Queen that I didn't know, however. 1) She was a mechanic in the war -if you can believe the movie and 2) She couldn't vote. I did like how they portrayed her as very practical and a can-do person. The makers of the filmed must have adored Diana because she was held in a very good light. And they totally loved Tony Blair.
All in all, a good film.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Good (and easy) chicken recipe

Last night, I had some chicken that I needed to cook (it had thawed, so there was no going back), so I looked up the Food Network on line and searched under chicken breast. I found this really easy and good recipe by Rachel Ray. It is *Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce, White and Wild Rice with Walnuts. I had to modify it a bit since I didn't have tomato paste. I used diced tomatoes instead, making sure I didn't put any of the liquid in. I used sour cream but next time I will make sure I make it with the heavy cream and tomato paste. I didn't use the walnuts because the wild rice I used had pine nuts (pinoli) in it. This recipe was really good and user-friendly. Anybody can do it! (yes, even you, Ronda). :) I just had to pass this on. It was too good to keep to myself.

*ps it looks like the link doesn't connect to the recipe. Just go to the website and under 'search' put in the title of the recipe. It should come up.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween is over...(yeah!)

Well, we have been busy with Halloween activities the last few days, and I'm relieved all the hoopla is over. But, nevertheless, I have some cute photos of the kids.

Tuesday, Clayton and I went with the local MOPS group to a nursing home/elderly care facility to spread some good Halloween cheer. The kids paraded through and sang some songs. Clayton insisted on bringing his toy guitar that plays songs. So, he would sing for the residents and dance, sort of.

Here he is above showing off his talent. (Notice the lolly-pop in his mouth). He insisted on being Superman this day (this is last year's costume and it is actually PJ's.)

Of course, last night the kids went trick-or-treating. They really scored with the candy and I can't wait to partake of the bounty. We have been going to our friend's neighborhood for about 3 years now since our neighborhood is smallish. It's a fun tradition.

Clayton was Bob, the Builder, Kendall was Ariel as a bride, and Michaela was a cowgirl. The weather was great and the kids had a blast!

And last but not least, here is a picture of our jack-o-lanterns:

We grew the two big ones.

Monday, October 29, 2007

To the dentist I go...

Last Friday I received a phone call from my dentist office saying I was scheduled for a check up and cleaning on this Monday. Drats. There went my free time for Monday morning. I could have sworn I was just there. But it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. I was there an hour (I didn't think I had that much stuff to scrape off my teeth). My hygienist is very gentle and she doesn't talk my head off. I actually can relax there. The music she was playing was some oldies, which I find very easy to listen to. Duh, I guess that is why it's called 'easy listening'. Anyway, no cavities to report! Yeah for me! I think I will reward myself with some chocolate.

After the appointment, I drove down town to Clayton's preschool to pick him up. We were driving down the street and he recognized the location as to being near our church.

Clayton: That way is to my church.

Me: Yes, Clayton, it is.

Clayton: My like my church. My like the people. My like the church people.

Me: Do you like Jesus?

Clayton: Yes. My like Jesus. I want to talk to Jesus and ask him to come to my house and play.

I thought that was so darn cute. Then he started talking about Jesus' car and I knew he still didn't quite "get it". Oh well. It's a start.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

So far, so good for my weekend...

Friday night I asked my husband if I could sleep in until 8 am on Saturday morning. He originally was going to take our black lab out for pheasant hunting, but seeing how I still felt awful from my cold, he relented. Ahhhhhh. I didn't get out of bed until 8:30! He was up early anyway and he had even made pancakes for the kids. So, when I got up, I had pancakes and bacon, too. Major points for my husband. And it is amazing what sleeping in does for a cold.

Mid-day, Pete had to drive about two hours to a wedding. The couple used to work in the lab where he works, so he and another guy drove down together. I was on call for the hospital and was sweating the whole day because I hadn't made any plans for the children if I got called in. The Man upstairs was looking out for me and I didn't even get a phone call! Then around 3 pm, I called a neighbor to see if I could look at her newly painted kitchen. I really needed the kids to get out of the house because they were picking on each other. It really worked out because we ended up staying for dinner! Then we went home to see a little of the football game. No surprise, THE Ohio State University sent the little kitties running. I tried to explain to the kids that all those people were just about 20 minutes down the road and it was very exciting. They just didn't get it. And then, I put the kids to bed after their bath.

Last night when I lay my head down on my pillow I said a little prayer. I prayed for two things: 1)My brother's marriage situation and 2)that the kids would sleep until 7 am. (One or both kids have been waking up at 5:30 am the last 10 days!) And I can say that the kids stayed upstairs until 8AM!!!!! Thank you, Lord!!!!

I can honestly say up to this point, it has been a good weekend. This evening we have band practice (yes, I am a singer in a band and Pete plays guitar), but I doubt my voice will be able to do much tonight. We have a gig December 1.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This and that...

I spoke with my mom yesterday about my brother's situation. She called me, for I had not quite come to terms with everything and couldn't stand the idea of my mom being sad about it. Turns out that she called to "vent". I don't think I've ever had her call me for that reason. So, it was a good conversation and I think we felt better after we were able to compare notes and all.

On a lighter note, I managed to stay awake for "The Office" tonight. I think the 30 minute episode is easier to watch. And I watched the season premiere of "Scrubs" right after. I love that show. It is so goofy.

Well, this old gal better get some sleep. I'm fighting a stinkin' cold and I hope it goes away soon. And THE Ohio State University is coming to town this weekend so that means stay in your houses everybody and no one will get hurt! Traffic is going to be awful and I am on call this weekend. I hope and pray I don't get called in since Beaver stadium is next to the hospital.

One more thing. Tomorrow is my first real parent/teacher conference for Kendall. I can't believe I have a kindergartner.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Remember

I was tagged by Char for this "I remember" meme. I feel honored. :) Anyway, I am a very sentimental person, so I hope I can get through this one.

I remember watching the Carol Burnett Show when I was very little and thinking it was so funny.

I remember sharing a room with my sister when I was very little and we would 'write' letters on each others back and try to guess what we were writing. We would get in trouble for not going to sleep.

I remember my sister diagnosed my chicken pox when I came home itching from Kindergarten. I was her first patient.

I remember my first neighborhood friend, Lindsey Chambers.

I remember I had a tortoise shell cat when I was six and her name was 'Colors'. She was the best cat ever.

I remember my first friends when we moved from Harrison to Fayetteville, Arkansas. They were Sarah and Cheryl. I was the new kid in second grade at Asbell Elementary. Go Roadrunners!

I remember my first real crush. It was Bobby Foster in sixth grade. He was so shy.

I remember my first solo in church. I was so nervous. I'm so glad my mom made me do it.

I remember my first concert. It was Chicago and I was in eighth grade. I went with my best friend, Andrea Cummings. My mom stayed up late and washed our shirts so we could wear them to school the next day.

I remember getting ready for school on the first day of September when I was in high school and the radio played "September Morn" by Neil Diamond. I will never forget the feeling I had as I listened to the song. That is when I first realized the power of music.

I remember my first love. I was in high school.

Fast forward a few years.

I remember the hour and day when I met my husband. It was a Thursday, January 6, 2000, around 8 am. I was wearing a grey turtleneck with over-alls and black buckle shoes. My seat was by his on a flight out of Chicago on American Airlines. We were both flying to Fayetteville. I remember our conversation. We were on the same flight heading back at the end of the weekend.

I remember thinking I have met the 'one'.

I now tag

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ups and Downs

Last week I had a few days where I was really down. No reason, except maybe some fatigue. The husband and I also had an argument and sometimes words get said that cut to the bone. Anyway, Thursday, I just couldn't shake my funky mood. And I know my kids (and husband) deserve better than that. So, of course, that always brings along the guilt. There were some things that made me feel better this past week with my mood. Such as Flight of the Conchords and some ice cream.

This flavor is the best and it has half the fat. So that meant I could eat twice as much, right? And there was something else that made me laugh last week. Kendall and Clayton dressed up in their Halloween costumes and looked really cute.
Clayton will be "Bob the Builder" and Kendall will be Ariel as a bride. (you know, the little mermaid gets married in the end and she gets to stay as a human). But, seeing them playing and laughing did cheer me up a bit.

Then my sister called me tonight to tell me that my brother and his wife are going to divorce after 30 years of marriage. My heart sank. Although, I must admit, I wasn't shocked. They had been through some trying times and I was surprised they were still together. I love them both so much and I am having a hard time seeing through my tears right now. I can remember sitting in Pam's lap when I was just a child and she and my brother were dating. I idolized her and wanted to be just like her. She taught me how to twirl the baton (I wasn't any good) and she has been the best aunt my kids will ever know. But, I know there is always two sides to every coin and no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. I feel so sad for my brother (he doesn't want the divorce) and I hope he can weather this storm now. A few years ago, both of their daughters were going through, albeit different, some medical troubles. I honestly felt like no family deserved either one and my brother and sister-in-law got a double whammy. One daughter was diagnosed with bipolar and there is a lot of stuff/heartache/problems that go with that and the other daughter had to endure two separate brain surgeries to remove a tumor--all before the age of twenty. Like I said, I am not surprised with the outcome. I am very saddened, however. I hurt for my brother and my sister-in-law.

So, sorry for the downer post.

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength;They will soar on wings like eagles,they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."Isaiah 40 : 31

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My daughter paid me the highest compliment yesterday. I had just picked her up from school and we were driving across town to deliver some food to a couple that just had a baby. Anyway, one of the streets downtown is undergoing construction so I took a back alley to avoid an intersection. I turned onto a street that came out to a traffic light. While I was waiting for the light to change, I noticed something in my periphery. It was a black, furry spider. You know the kind. The kind that gives you the heavy jeevies. Well, I immediately put the window down and grabbed one of Clayton's socks (what? you don't have extra socks on the front seat of your car?) to try to knock the spider out of the car. I accidentally threw the sock out onto the street and the spider eluded by swipe. I undid my seat belt and jumped out of the car to reclaim the sock and I looked at the inside of the front seat to see if I could find the spider. I saw it crawling along the edge of the car and down into the floorboard. There was my chance--so with a quick movement of my feet, I stepped on the spider with my right foot and made sure it was dead. You know, come down hard and twist the foot back and forth to make sure. Well, it was surely dead. I quickly hopped in the car and put my seat belt on and the car in drive all before the traffic light changed to green. I gave a big sigh of relief and that is when my daughter said, "You are a good spider killer, mommy!" Now, isn't that the best compliment?

Monday, October 15, 2007

He's back.

Well, my husband got back yesterday from his hunting trip. The weather was really nice, not good for duck hunting, but he had a great time. He even got a wood duck! And some grouse. The grouse will be delicious and he plans to have the wood duck mounted. He even thanked me for watching the kids while he went on vacation. And that got me thinking. Vacation? It never occurred to me that he was taking a vacation!!! So, I must start planning a vacation for myself, too. I could call it a hunting trip if that would make it more palatable to him. Now, what would I "hunt"? I think I would hunt sand, water, margaritas and Mercado 28 in Cancun! And sleeping in wouldn't be so bad either. I guess it never hurts to dream....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Truth is stranger than fiction...

You know the saying, "wild horses couldn't keep me away"? Well, last night was my very much anticipated dinner out with the play group moms. So, Becky, our baby-sitter arrived promptly at 6:30 pm and I was just heading out the door to go pick up Ronda when I noticed there was a horse in my driveway! I looked a little more closely and there were 4 more behind him/her. They were brown and white and not as tall has a regular horse and not as short as a pony. I fed them some floppy carrots (you know the ones that sit in your fridge for months---turns out there is a use for them). After several calls to the local farmer neighbors, we were able to locate the owner. His fences are always breaking and it seems like live stock get out every so often. By the time I was leaving, they had headed back down my driveway into the woods near our house. I had called the non-emergent police in case we never found the owner. I didn't want the horses to get hit by a car. The kids had an exciting night! They got to see a police officer in uniform and Clayton wanted to know if the horses were going to get into the house. It was so strange--they would hang out in the front yard and then run to the back yard. Eventually, the owner was able to round them up. Yeehaw!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and this morning Kendall told me that they watched Peter Pan last night. Which means that I didn't record The Office! Boo hoo. I had the DVD recorder all set and ready to go. Good thing I had asked Ronda to save it for me on her TIVO. So, I hope it was a good one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yeah!!!! It's Thursday

It's Thursday and I like it. Tonight is extra nice because The Office is on and 30 Rock. But, the reason tonight is extra nice is because it is Girls' Night Out for our play group. We meet on the second Thursday and go out to eat. No kids. No husbands. Sometimes we go to a non-chain, but tonight it's The Olive Garden. Unlike my husband, I don't mind chain restaurants. I mean if they are good, who cares if they are an original? OK, my husband would say The Olive Garden is not good, but I guess that is his opinion. And we know what can be said about opinions.

And I am going to need this evening out. My husband left for his annual duck hunting trip this morning at 4:30 am. Is there anything worth getting up that early for? OK, if Sting called and said "meet me at such and such place at 4:30 am to go duck hunting," then I guess I would say some things are worth getting up early for. Ha ha. Pete will return on Sunday, exhausted, but hopefully with good stories of how Cody made some awesome retrieves. He took my camera so I hope he gets some good pictures.

Happy Thursday, Y'all!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Is it just me, or is it hot up here?

I can't believe this October weather we are having in Central PA. Don't get me wrong, I love warm weather and could live where I wear T-shirts, shorts, and sandals year round. I think cooler weather is headed our way tomorrow. My husband is lamenting this balmy weather since he has his duck hunting trip coming up in a couple of days. I imagine all the ducks will still be flying around in Canada and not migrating south. So, for my husband, I'm hoping for some cold, yucky weather confined to the Black Lake area of northern New York, please.

Hey, are there any "lurkers" out there? Show yourself! I would like to have a "de-lurker" day!! How's the weather where you are today? Sunny in Australia, India, and California? And, my friend, Diane in France, is not a lurker but I will say hi to her as well!

Take care everybody!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ni hao and hola!

Tomorrow, Kendall starts a new school. We received a phone call last week from a *charter school in town that requires all their students to learn Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. We had applied last January, but Kendall didn't get in this year at the beginning of the school year. So, I started to get involved in our local elementary and even went to the volunteer meeting. Kendall enjoyed riding the bus and even buying her lunch at school. All was well, and we were adjusting to our new life. Then came the phone call. My heart sank. I was beginning to feel as if I was part of a wonderful community. Kendall had friends and I was meeting new parents. But, my husband and I felt like this school was going to be a great fit for our girl. The school originally called to say that she was moving close to the top of the waiting list and that we needed to call by 6 pm if we were still interested. Of course, I called. Wednesday morning the school's vice principal called to say that no one else called and the spot was ours for the taking. Kendall is very excited about her new school. I hope it does not disappoint. No more bus rides, no more lunch trays (this school does not provide this). We took Kendall in to meet her new teacher and she participated in an activity with her future classmates. She seemed to love it and the class did seem to be a good fit.

The scary thing about kids is that you never know if you did the right thing until later on down the road. I hope this is the right thing.

*a charter school is a public school with a mission. This school is a multi-cultural school that teaches from a global perspective.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I just finished watching The Office. I just love that show. There are way too many quotes to remember, but tonight I laughed out loud a couple of times. I think one of the things that makes this show so funny for me is that it supposedly takes place about 2.5 hours from here in Scranton, PA. I even noticed that Toby (HR guy in sitcom) had a PSU sticker on the wall in his cubby. Oh, and Pam and Jim were 'outed'. Where, oh where, are the *writers taking us?

*I just hope the writers of this show aren't part of that group that might strike. What would I do without new material?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My husband sent this picture to me and I couldn't resist posting it. This is our daughter, Kendall, when she was probably under 6 months old and Abbey was about 6 years old. Kendall is now 5 and a couple of months and Abbey is gone. She was such a tender dog.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Party!

" Why is my husband standing next to a picture of a mascara model?," you ask. Well, that explanation will come.

We made it to New York City on Friday and then on to the engagement party of Matt and Tati. Matt is a friend of my husband's from their high school days. The party was on a yacht with dinner, toasts and dancing! It started out with hors d'ourves and moved to a sit-down dinner on the main level and then we had toasts for the bride and groom. Pete did an excellent job on his toast talking about climbing mountains with Matt in Africa many years ago, etc. But during the first part of the night, a man pointed out an older gentleman in the crowd. I couldn't believe it when he said it was Yogi Berra. So, after dinner, I was lucky enough to meet him and get my picture with him. He is a neighbor of the groom's mother. Pictured with Yogi and me is Ahn. She is married to another friend of Pete's from high school.
But, the best part for my dear, sweet hubby came when he and Chris (old buddy from high school) asked a Victoria Secrets' supermodel if Pete could get his picture taken with her. Now, do you see why I took the picture of my husband standing by the Maybelline add? The next day after the party we were in Bed, Bath and Beyond and, for some reason, my husband spotted the add. Things that make you go hmmmm? Ha.
Doesn't he look like the 'cat that got the canary' here? Her name is Adriana Lima and she is from Brazil. The bride is from Brazil so there were a few tall, beautiful Brazilian women there.

After the party, we tried to get into a club in the Meat Packing District. Evidently, you need to be surrounded by tall, beautiful women to get in if you are a guy. Matt got in when the Brazilians showed up, but my husband nor Chris could get through the door. Ahn and I got in (for free), but they wouldn't let our men in. So, we decided to go home! The club was the Pink Elephant. Oh to be young, rich and hip! He he.

You can go to the My photos link on the left to see some pics from the party! I'll add some more later.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm still in New York City this weekend, but we had a BLAST last night at the engagement party for Tatiana and Matt. I wore the dress that my husband liked. I will have to wait until we get home tomorrow to load photos but you will see some funny photos. My husband got his picture with a Brazilian supermodel and today we saw her face on a Maybelline mascara add in a store. So, of course, my husband posed by that and I got another photo with her in it. Ha ha. And I had my picture taken with Yogi Berra. Yep, that's right. Can you believe it? He was a very good sport about it. Turns out that Matt lived in the same neighborhood as Yogi when Matt was a kid.

So, the evening was magical, the skyline of Manhattan took our breath away and the party was a lot of fun. My husband gave a great toast to Matt and Tati and we later got to dance on a yacht! I'm just too tired right now to recount the whole evening, but I promise to fill in the gaps when I get home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I can't wait until tomorrow night! Yeah! The Office will have it's season premier. I got this coffee mug at Target for $1.oo. Does it get any better than that?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I found the dress! (sort of)

I had a quick trip to DC on Sunday coming back on Monday. I got lost on the way to the hotel where Franci was going to stay, but eventually, got her there and found my way out to my friend's house.

We went to Tyson's Corner where they have everything. So, check out what I bought and give me your opinion. I bought 3 dresses and I plan on returning two of them (although my husband thought I should keep two and return one).

The first dress is plain black but the picture here is black and white. So imagine a solid black dress with rhinestone earrings and necklace. I plan on wearing black, strappy fabric shoes. The next dress is also from White House Black Market. It definitely is a little more cocktail-ish. Click here to see it. It comes just to my knees on me because I am only 5'2". My husband likes this one. The next one is from Ann Taylor and is very classic and timeless. Click here to see it. I would not wear black tights but only black high-heeled sandals and no tights.

So, which one should I wear?

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I worked yesterday, and, by golly, I'm tired. The kids got up before 7:30 (of course), but luckily they went downstairs and hung out with their dad. I fell back to sleep and woke up at 8:30. We headed downtown to the Centre County Day for Kids (something like that) and had a blast. The weather could not have been better.

Here I am holding a young python. My husband said I couldn't get it. But they live for 15 years! What a bargain. My kids now know for sure that their mom is crazy.
Clayton was all smiles watching the magician. The guy was really funny and could make the kids laugh.

Here are the kids enjoying the big slide. All in all, we had a great time.

Tomorrow I am off to DC just for 24 hours (I'll be back Monday evening). I am driving Pete's Post doctoral student to the Brazilian Embassy to pick up some paperwork. The best part is that I get to see my old high school friend and go shopping for that cocktail dress that I need for the engagement party at the end of the week! Yeah! And the kids are staying with their daddy! Life is good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What was I thinking?

That is what I was thinking this morning when my alarm went off at 5 am. I had to work today and my scheduled time to be at work was 6:30 am! Ouch. I had gone to bed at a decent hour so I did feel fine. And it is really pretty driving in at that time of day. Work wasn't too bad, either and I really enjoy working at the hospital, probably because I don't do it everyday. Anywho, I have to work two more days this week. What was I thinking?

The other thing that I agreed to that has made me ask that question is teaching 5th grade Sunday School. I'm not the head teacher--silly people--I am just one of the team (thank Goodness) and only will have to teach once in a while. But, we had a dinner party last Saturday night and I was so wishing I could have slept in on Sunday and just not gone to church. Bad, I know. Well, I guess it's official. I am a grown up and I have responsibilities now. And I need to set a good example for the munchkins.

Tomorrow, the husband will send Kendall off on the bus and drop Clayton off at preschool. He hates school. I'm worried about it and don't know if I should send him somewhere else. He says things like, "I want to go to a new school with happy teachers." Or, "I want to stay with mommy and watch TV." Oops. I assure him that if he stays with me he won't be watching TV. OK, a little white lie, but I'm hoping he will see that preschool is so much more fun than hanging out with me. So, tomorrow since I am working, the little guy has to stay all day at preschool. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Well, I have got to go and see what junk is on TV. I can't wait until September 27! I miss The Office!!!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

We took this photo last Wednesday. It looks like Abbey is smiling here. I did add some photos of Abbey's last day on the flickr site. You can see them here.

Things are getting back to normal around the house. The husband is still sad sometimes. I still think about that little girl that died the same day Abbey did.

The weather has been so beautiful the last few days--just like I always remember September to be. It may be corny, but one of my old favorite songs is "September Morn" by Neil Diamond.

The potty training is hit or miss lately. I am sick of changing pull ups and I just wish Clayton was sick of peeing on himself. :) He had an accident on his car seat today. But, it's OK because he is alive and I am able to kiss and hug him today. He did make it until the afternoon before he had an accident. I was almost knocked over when I hopped in the back seat to remove the car seat. Whew, that urine really burns the nose hairs! C'est la vie. I know one of these days he will be out of pull ups!

Tonight is back to school night for Kendall's kindergarten. I'm so excited and I can't wait to see what all she has done is her almost two weeks of elementary school. Ha ha.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Keeping things in perspective

Abbey is gone now. She was a beautiful, smart dog. She will be missed greatly and we are still red-eyed and puffy-faced from 24 hours of crying off and on. But what we are going through today is nothing compared to a family from Kendall's school.

This morning, I received a phone call from the school counselor of Kendall's elementary school. She assured me nothing was wrong with Kendall (whew!), but that she was calling to inform me that a girl from Kendall's class was hit by a motorcycle last night. The little girl was life-flighted to a big medical center but did not make it. I could not contain myself on the phone. It hit me like a ton of bricks and all I could do was cry. Oh, the pain that the parents of Adria must be feeling right now.

This reminds me of how fragile we are and how, in a moment, our lives change. Pete and I lost a dog and we had 24 hours to say goodbye. Adria's parents lost a 5 year old girl and didn't have that chance. I am praying for the parents that they will find strength through this difficult time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Poor Abbey

Well, I am writing with a heavy heart today. This morning our 13 year old lab, Abbey, couldn't use her hind legs. We took her to the vet and he gave her a shot of cortisone in her back, but it hasn't done the trick. There is nothing else we can do, so tomorrow we will most likely have to put her down. My husband is not taking it well. They go back a long way and she is/was the best hunting dog! He was hoping she would make the big trip this October, but it isn't looking good.

It all started about a month ago when we noticed that she just wasn't herself. But the last few days it has been really worse. She has been panting and wanting to be left alone. The main thing is that we don't want her to suffer.

This is a picture of Abbey on one of her good days.

So, here's to you, Abbey. Please forgive me for griping about you and your barking at 'nothing'. Who will stalk Clayton now when he is eating?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

In need of advice

If my husband RSVPs 'YES", then we are going to an engagement party the end of September. But, It is not your ordinary engagement party---
It is on a yacht
that is docked in Manhattan
departing at 8:00 pm
with dinner, drinks, and toasts
disembarking at midnight.
You see, not your ordinary engagement party.

What should I wear?

I oh so hope that we can go. It is an old friend of Pete's from high school. (and besides, it would be a nice, grown-up evening out.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hey, Sports Fans!

I had a Joe Paterno sighting yesterday. I was meeting some friends at the park that is right next to his house. I turned down the street and I was behind a BMW sedan. I wondered if it was his, and sure enough, the car continued down the street and turned into the Paterno's driveway. I also recognized his hair from the back. It took all I had not to stop in the middle of the road and watch him get out of his car!!! Ha ha.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Yeah!!! It's Friday!!!

Well, it's Friday and Kendall still enjoys riding the bus and going to school. Clayton goes along with preschool but I think he prefers to stay right by mommy.

I was going to run on the treadmill but I didn't want to rush around this morning. I'll try later on when the man gets home from work.

So yesterday I walked to the bus stop and on my way, I noticed that the parents of a first grader in our neighborhood weren't home. I assumed they would be at the bus stop waiting, but when I got there, they were no where to be found. The bus came, the kids hopped off and I decided I needed to stay with him until his mom or dad or both showed up. We went to his house (how would they know where he is if he was at my house?) and the kids played in their yard. This is the same 6 year old boy that exposed himself to my little darling girl earlier this year so I am not keen on being around him much. And I will never leave her at that house under the supervision of his parents (because there is no supervision). Anyway, the mom shows up and said that they arrived at the stop one minute late and assumed they beat the bus. I informed her that the bus arrived 5 minutes early (shouldn't they know that from last year?) and that it was fine. OK, a little white lie. I was annoyed with their irresponsibility but not surprised. I just hope they don't take advantage of the situation. Their excuse was that they had lunch and two pitchers of beer! Arrrggghhhh! They both are artists and teach at PSU and went out to lunch after their meetings. Fair enough. Am I wrong for being annoyed? C'est la vie, I suppose.

OK, I better go and make an eye appointment. The last check up I had for my eyes was 11 years ago. Now, that I have some time, I plan on taking care of some things. (Besides, I've noticed it is harder to see at night while I am driving.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of School...

Today was Kendall's first day of kindergarten and Clayton's first day of preschool. Kendall woke up early and was very excited. She rode the bus with some neighbor boys and looked really small getting onto the bus. I think she had a great day. She talked about it a little bit...played outside, went to the gym, ate lunch, etc. You get the idea.

Clayton was a little less excited about the day but once we got there, he was ready. On the way in to town, he told me he wanted to go to mommy's house. I explained to him that it was a school day and he was going to school.

Here is the 'big girl' getting on the bus

She looks so small in the bus. Seeing the bus drive away was like, "Is that it?" She's gone!
And here is Clayton (aka Stinker):
And here is Kendall at the end of the day:

So, what did I do for 2.5 hours this morning? I went to Walmart by myself and then made it home in time to run on the treadmill for 20 min! Yeah! It felt great! Now, I hope I keep up the exercise. I do hope to clean out some closets (much overdue) and catch up on my reading.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dim Sum and then some

We went to New York City this Labor Day Weekend to see Pete's parents off for their sabbatical. They had flown down from Boston to stay with Pete's sister for a couple of days. We had a great time. We arrived early Saturday afternoon and sat around a visited. Then for dinner we went to Johns for pizza. This pizza place is on the upper East side and is down-home. It was a nice relaxing meal. Afterwards, we stopped at a park so the kids could play. After everyone went to bed, Pete and I went out for a drink. After walking around what seemed like forever, we found the St. Regis Hotel. It is very swank. We stopped in the bar and it was packed. It was very nice and there wasn't loud music blaring. All you heard were glasses clinking and the hum of voices. Nice. We had 3 drinks between the two of us and the bill came to --yikes---$60! Yeah, it's New York. Oh well. We were lucky this weekend and found parking on the street so what we saved in parking we spent on drinks. We caught a taxi back to Anne's.

Sunday was a great day, too. We headed downtown to Chinatown for dim sum. Dim sum is a brunch that is composed of little dishes and hot tea. This place was traditional with the waiters coming around with carts of food. It's great. You point at what you want and they stamp your card. The total bill for the 8 of us (4 adults, 4 kids) came to $70! One of the best deals in town. The place was packed and we had to wait about 30 min just to get in. After lunch, we walked around Chinatown for a while. We happened upon a park where some old men were playing music. Something tells me they do this every Sunday in the summer. The kids then played on the playground while we hovered around them. After a while we decided it was time to find the subway and head home.

Here are the cousins sitting down together to have a snack.
Here is one of the carts with the little dishes. It was really yummy.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Random bits

The end of the week is coming and not too soon, I might add. Next week begins a new chapter in my life. My first-born will go to kindergarten and her little brother heads to preschool for 3 mornings out of the week. It's exciting to me and I hope they both adjust to their new schedules. I'm lucky in that both kids enjoy being around other people and can get along with most kids. Now, the big adjustment will probably be this lazy butt of a mother getting up every morning and being organized. (Let's hope I can get my rear end in gear soon). So, with school around the corner, I had to take Kendall to the doctor yesterday to get her shots. She got 4 separate shots and did not cry. She whimpered a bit and then stopped. I told her in the car that it is OK to cry and she said, "no, it's not OK to cry." I must hit my husband up side the head because I know he is putting these notions into her head. She was great at the doctor and did everything they asked.

And it's football season! Oh boy. Tons of people flocking to Mecca on the weekends wearing their blue and white. WE ARE PENN STATE! (My husband and I joke around and say "WE BE PENN STATE"). Every time I have been at the grocery store this last week (because I am not organized to shop once a week), I have seen people staring off into space as to say, "where, oh where, is the cereal aisle?" You can always spot a new person to town by the way they shop in the grocery store. I'm sad to see summer ending and just hope the next few months go by so fast that I won't know what hit me. Did I say that summer was my favorite season? Oh, I might add that my Razorbacks are ranked either 20 or 21, depending on which poll you look at. And to be fair, Penn State is ranked higher.

One more thing. Tomorrow is Cheryl's birthday. She was my best friend in second grade and we were best friends on and off throughout elementary school. I moved across town and attended a different junior high and then she moved just before high school. We lost touch and last summer I was reconnected through our high school reunion website. She is the reason I even blog. Her blog was the first one I ever read and I got hooked.

Well, off to bed and get ready for one more day of work. And then off to the big city for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's Business Time...ok, not really.

I want to upload a video from but I can't figure it out just yet. For now, if you want to see a funny, funny parody, click here. Our friend, Richard, from New Zealand showed us this group. We thought this was a good one for all to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Confessions of an Extrovert...

Lately, I have been around a lot of people. Usually, I love it and get energized from that. But, for about a week now, I have been with a group of people day in and day out, and I am getting tired. It all started last Wednesday when my husband picked me up after work and we drove 3 1/2 hours to meet his friends from his undergrad years. The wives and kids came, so it was a big group. We hung out for 3, count them, 3 days at a lake that was rocky and the weather was not so nice all the time. Anyway, I realized that even this extrovert needs her space and time to be alone. Yep, you read it right. ALONE. No people. No non-family hanging around. There, I said it.

So, Sunday, our old friend, Rich, rode back with us to State College so he could clear out his old office at Penn State. He stayed with us for two nights. Our old friend, Richard from New Zealand flew in Sunday night and stayed with us, too. I have been looking forward to his visit and, unfortunately, we haven't had time just to chill and hang out. Richard (NZ) is an awesome cook and I think he has been cooking a lot for people (while visiting a colleague at U of A). So, my husband has been scheduling dinners since Richard is here and it's been really busy( and I think Richard could use some down time too). Oh well. Anyway, I digress.

So, I see light at the end of this friend smothering week. And I am grateful for friends--don't get me wrong. This extrovert just needs a day to do nothing and hang with her two kids and hubby.

Whew! I feel better.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Long Time Gone...

It seems like we have been traveling a lot this summer. We just got back from a few days in Ithaca, New York. It was a reunion with some of Pete's friends from undergraduate days at Cornell and a visit with some friends that just moved up there this summer. I am tired. The weather was not that great, but I think Pete enjoyed himself. The guys had rented a few cabins and a lake house on Cayuga Lake. Mostly, people hung out, went out on the boat, and ate. I did take our kids to the Trumansburg Ag fair for a few hours with our friends that just moved up there. The high light was a hike through one of the gorges.

I can't believe how beautiful this area is. These parks were only a few minutes out of Ithaca and there are gorges throughout Ithaca itself. No wonder people say, "Ithaca is gorges."

So, that is our long weekend. And there is another one coming up. Off to NYC for Labor Day and to see off the in-laws as they head out to Asia for a few weeks. Then school starts back for the public schools and I will settle into some kind of routine.