Saturday, December 29, 2012

Waiting Rooms

Why are waiting rooms so quiet?  Nobody really talks to each other and if you do talk it seems like everyone else kind of stares at you.  A few months ago I was in a doctor's waiting room with Dominic. When we first walked in it was very quiet and about half the people kind of looked over at us.  I guess it was because I had a child with me.  The median age of the people in this waiting room was about 65.  After we had been waiting a little bit, Dominic started talking really loud. I tried to shush him, but that attracted even more attention. When you are waiting in a doctor's office, it would be kind of awkward to strike up a conversation. You can't really ask the person next to you, "so, what are you here for?" One thing I've learned about doctor's waiting rooms is to bring your own reading material!!  I was in my cardiologist's office a few weeks ago and there was a husband and wife waiting to see the doctor.  The husband said quite loudly, "these magazines here are 12 years old!!"  I was going to offer the guy part of my newspaper to read, but then the nurse called me in.  What's the worst is if you are in a waiting room that has no reading material and you didn't bring anything.  Yikes!!  Where do you look? At the person across from you in the chair??  The orthodontist's office where Lauren is being treated has the best waiting room ever! They have all of the most recent issues of my favorite magazines AND a television!  An added bonus are the wonderful ladies that work the front desk. They are so polite and friendly! The next time you are in a waiting room, take a look around.  Do most people have something to read? are they talking? texting? or are they staring into space??

Monday, December 24, 2012

The First Snow of the Season

Last Friday, (ironically the first day of winter), we got our first measurable snow of the season.  Lauren's response when she woke up and saw the white stuff was, "FINALLY!"


Growing up in Maryland, we did get some measurable snow from time to time, but not anything compared to what we get here.  We moved to the Midwest a few weeks before the Christmas of 2001.  The first time we got a significant amount of snow here, I went out to our driveway in my fashion boots (the only boots I owned at the time) and promptly fell on my backside!  Within a week, I marched right to the nearest store and got myself a proper pair of snow boots.  Now, after over eleven years of living in the Midwest, I have come to really LOVE the snow.  I used to dread having to drive in it, but have come to the conclusion that things don't shut down around these parts just because of a little snow. The schools don't close for the day unless it's about six inches or more.  The kids and I like to try and build snowmen, but I've noticed the snow here is a little more fine and powdery than the Maryland snow I grew up with.  Christmas Eve afternoon it started to snow, actually pretty hard, it looks like we will definitely be having a white Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Classic Toys and Games

Back in the day before "electronic" toys (Game Boy, XBox, Wii, etc.), kids played with games that didn't involve batteries or a plug :)  I came across this box of dominoes yesterday and was kind of scratching my head wondering where they came from.  I asked the hubby and he said they were his.  He remembers playing with them as a child.

While doing a little bit of research for this blog post, I got a kick out of the games and toys that popped up when I Googled the words, "classic toys and games."  At least 75% of them were toys and games that I used to play with when I was little, like Monopoly, Yahtzee, the Game of Life, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Don't Break the Ice and Battleship.  Wonder if that means I'm a "classic?!?" What's cool is we have all those games in our house and I have played them at different times with my stepson, Lauren or Dominic.  How about an Etch a Sketch?

 or needing a View-Master to use these:

Legos have been around over 50 years and are still going strong.  Right now, they are Dominic's favorite toy. He builds all kinds of things.  A few days ago Dominic made an apple.  I usually have to grab the camera real quick, because sometimes he takes it apart a few minutes after he finishes it!


I played the card game, Canasta, many times with my grandmother (my mom's mom).  She had quite a poker face.  I can probably count on one hand how many times I beat her! One card game that doesn't seem to ever go out of style is War.  You can play that game for HOURS (and I have)!!  One toy I really wish I would have held onto was my Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll.  I had him for a few years until I believe he was sold at a yard sale :( There was a little string that made his mouth move and I actually could talk without moving my lips.  I also had a pair of stilts and would walk up and down the street with them.  The things I used to do when I was younger! What can I say? the summers were LONG!  What are some favorite "classic" toys and games that you remember playing when you were little and now enjoy with your own kids??  I would love to hear!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trying to Make Sense of It

Last Friday afternoon, when Dominic hopped off his bus, I gave him an extra giant hug.  I'm so glad that he was unaware of what had happened earlier in the day in Connecticut.  Friday night, we purposely kept the television off for a while.  We talked about what happened with Lauren and my stepson later on in the weekend.  I think whether you have little kids, teens, grown up kids, grandchildren or no children, what transpired Friday morning, will be in our thoughts for a long time.  Children especially are so innocent.

I took this picture recently of Dominic. He looks so peaceful when he is sleeping.  When a tragedy occurs like what happened Friday morning, it makes me appreciate every moment that I have with the special people in my life. I have tried to make sense of it all and have come to the conclusion that it makes no sense. We lived back in the Washington, DC area at the time of September 11.  I can remember like it was yesterday, how I felt.  My stepson was at his high school, Lauren was in kindergarten and the hubby was at work in the heart of downtown DC.  The not knowing feeling of whether they were all okay was horrible.  When the hubby did make it home from work, we went up to Lauren's school and the administration wouldn't let our kids out, it was locked down.  A bunch of us parents circled around the school trying to get in so we could get our children.  I can't even wrap my mind around what the parents of the kids at the school in Connecticut must have been feeling last Friday morning. I pray that in the coming days, months and years they find a way to cope with this tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the children and adults that were taken too early from their loved ones.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Honesty is the Best Policy

One of my husband's nicknames for me is "Honest Abe" as in Abraham Lincoln.  During the summer, while I was in my kitchen, I heard what sounded like a lawn mower.  After looking around at my neighbor's houses I figured out there was a lawn guy mowing OUR lawn!  I went outside and asked the guy what he was doing. He was like, "don't you use a lawn service?"  I said, "no, I do it myself."  I guess I could have let the guy do our lawn, but then my neighbor who did pay for his services would have got the bill and not had their lawn mowed! Yesterday, we got an envelope in the mail.  We didn't recognize the return address, but opened it up anyways.  It turned out, somebody found something of ours that was lost and they took the time to mail it back.  That really meant a lot to me.  This morning Lauren and I were talking about Christmas presents.  A month or so ago she had told me there was a certain book that she wanted.  I guess as a "gentle" reminder, she was telling me this morning, "if you haven't already bought me any Christmas presents, there's a book I want."  I said, "well, I'm not going to tell you whether I bought it or not."  Lauren took one look at me and could tell by my face that I had already bought it and said, "you're not a very good liar!"  I think honesty is a good quality.  It's definitely a trait I try to teach my own children.  I remember once my grandmother (my dad's mom) telling me she didn't "trust" one of the guys I was dating.  She also used to tell me if I had pimples.  At the time, I thought she was being a little too honest!! I'm glad I listened to her about the old boyfriend though :) One of the definitions of the word honest is genuine.  My friends and family know that what you see is what you get with me :)  It makes me sad when somebody will say one thing to my face, but says something else behind my back.  I guess I like to try and see the good in everybody!!  Do you think it's possible to ever be too honest??  To me, honesty is always the best policy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Sweaters

I'm kind of bummed.  The last time I washed this sweater (which was probably last Christmas), I think I automatically put it into the dryer.  I tried it on a week or so ago and now it's too small :(   I have had it for about ten years, so I definitely have gotten my money's worth out of it!

Since the sweater doesn't fit me anymore and I have worn it around the holidays for such a long time, I had to start looking to see if I had anything that could become it's replacement as "the" holiday sweater this year. I have a couple red sweaters with no snowmen, sleighs, etc. which I guess could work, though they seemed kind of plain.  I then fished around a little more and found this one!

One of the local papers around where I live is having a contest to see who has the best holiday sweater. I don't think it's an "ugly sweater" contest, I'm pretty sure they are looking more for ones that are unique.  I have had my "penguin" sweater for as far back as I can remember.  I do believe I used to wear the sweater with a pair of black stirrup pants, so that will tell you how long I've had it!  Since it had been a while since my "penguin" sweater had made an appearance, I asked Lauren and the hubby for their opinions.  Lauren told me the sweater was "loud" and it would be a good entry into the contest.  My husband said it would be good to wear when I'm out holiday shopping. The thing about holiday sweaters is they have a very limited shelf life, about six weeks.  You really can't wear it before Thanksgiving or after the New Year.  Well, I guess you could, but you probably wouldn't want to. People might look at you a little funny if you wore a holiday sweater in the middle of July! I'm going to enter my "penguin" sweater into the contest, but I'm not sure how good my chances are.  A few weeks ago, the paper posted a picture of an entry that had a man and woman sitting on Santa's lap.  The man was wearing a sleeveless holiday sweater.  Not sure I can compete with that!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coupons and Freebies

I know that I'm going to sound ancient, but does anybody remember "S&H Green Stamps?" When you would shop at participating stores, you would get adhesive stamps that you had to stick into a book.  When you got enough stamps, you could redeem it for merchandise at a Green Stamp Redemption Center. The "stamps" went electronic in 2000 and is now called S&H Greenpoints. At one of my jobs when I was in my 20's, I had my boss tell me it was a requirement that I wear pantyhose. I found out about the "Silkies Hosiery Service" and knew it was a service I needed!!  Every five weeks, I received three new pairs of pantyhose.  It was similar to "green stamps" where every time I made a purchase, I would get points.  Once you got enough points, you could redeem it for merchandise.  I was able to get a vacuum cleaner and a kitchen clock among other things. The company is still around and ships out pantyhose to your home, but I'm not sure if you can still accumulate points for merchandise.  I always thought it was kind of cool to tell people I got my vacuum cleaner from wearing pantyhose!!  Earlier this year, I called Nestle to ask how long I could use chocolate chips I had in my pantry. They sent me a free cookbook and some coupons. I bought some rice cakes a few months ago that were burnt. I let the Quaker Company know and they sent me two coupons each worth $4.00. When the hubby turned 60 in November, I went to my favorite grocery store and bought two candles, the number 6 and the number 0.  I hadn't realized when I bought the 6 that it was broke in half.  I sent the company who manufactured the candle an e-mail and they wrote me back saying they were sending me some free coupons. Yesterday, I used the coupons to get two tubes of holiday decorating icing, each would have been $2.99.  Just about every company out there has a website. A lot of times, all you have to do is give an e-mail address.  If you don't want to have a bunch of e-mails clogging up your personal e-mail account, open up an account through Yahoo or a similar company which has free e-mail and only use it to receive coupons and freebies, that's what I did :)  If you are a regular user of Facebook, there are multiple coupon groups that will send you "alerts" when things are free or at a reduced rate.  I'm getting a free one-year subscription to Family Fun magazine from an offer I saw on Facebook, no strings attached! Try calling or e-mailing a company when you have complaints or praise and see what happens.  It will be the best five or ten minutes you could spend and you might just get something for free!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Powerball Mania

Okay, I admit it, when I heard the Powerball jackpot was over $550,000,000 yesterday, I kind of got caught up in Powerball "Mania." I made the hubby go buy one ticket for me. I could hardly wait until 10:59 p.m. to find out if I had won.  I had one number right, but I think all that will get you is a pat on the back :)

I can't even wrap my mind around what it would be like to win that jackpot. After I heard that two tickets with the winning numbers were sold in Arizona and Missouri, it got me thinking this morning, would winning buckets of cash make you happy? I'm happy that my basic needs are met everyday - a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes to wear. I am blessed with a loving family and many friends.  For many of the people that just lived through the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, it may be several months or even years before the most basic of needs will be met sufficiently. If I had won the jackpot, I would have donated about 95 percent of it to different charities :) It will be interesting to hear what the winner and/or winners plan on doing with their new found wealth.  One thing is for sure, it will change their lives forever!!!  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday "Traditions"

Last Saturday night, Lauren and I went to see the Nutcracker.  We started going back in 2009 and have been going every year since.

It is put on by the local ballet company in the area and they do a magnificent job.  We see at least one or more girls (or guys) that we either know or know of in the production.  Since this was our fourth year of going together, just the two of us, I guess you could say it has become an after Thanksgiving "tradition." With high school graduation about a year and half away and then college after that, Lauren was telling me we might not be able to go together every year.  Hopefully, that is not the case :(  For some families, making a certain kind of cookie during the holidays, putting up the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving or going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve are "traditions."  Back before I met my husband, I would always spend Thanksgiving with my own family in Maryland and Virginia.  Once we started dating and then later married, we started going to Cleveland for Thanksgiving. Since both of my in-laws have now passed away, and my hubby is an only child, we don't really travel there too often.  It was just the hubby, myself, Lauren and Dominic for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  My stepson currently lives out of town, so he was unable to be with us. We cooked a turkey close to 18 pounds, so I think we'll be having that ALOT the next week :)  We have been living in the Midwest almost eleven years and I love it here, but a drawback is most of my family and a handful of close friends live back on the East Coast.  I keep in touch with them by e-mail, phone calls and Facebook, but it isn't quite the same as seeing them in person.  We have traveled back at holiday time to Maryland and one of my best and fondest memories is ringing in the New Year with my best friend and her family one year.  My best friend and I have known each other a little longer than I've known my husband and she is like a sister to me :) 

She opens up her house to my family and I when we travel back to the East Coast (usually during a holiday time or other special occasion) and it's become "tradition" that when we come to town we stay with her and her family.  I love it because I spend tons of time with my BFF and it makes up somewhat for all of the time we are not able to spend together normally.  It is really hard at the end of our visits to say good bye to each other :(  She is my best friend for life and I know that I am incredibly lucky to know her.  As the calendar creeps towards December and it gets busy with the holidays, what are some "traditions" that you and your family partake in??  I would love to hear!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A "Unique" Opportunity

I found out about an opportunity recently that I knew I wanted to be a part of.  The College of Human Medicine at the university located nearby were looking for parents to share their experiences with second-year medical students about having a child with Autism.  I think the main purpose was to give them some insight about how to treat their future patients. Yesterday morning, two other moms and I sat at a table in a lecture hall with about 100 or so medical students in front of us. One of the moms had been on the parent "panel" before twice, the other mom was like me, she had never done it before. It was a teeny bit intimidating and I was little nervous when I first started talking, but I soon got over the jitters :) After we got done sharing our experiences, the medical students could ask us questions. They read about Autism and other related disorders in books, but to hear from parents on the "front lines" is something all together different for them.  Looking out across the room while I spoke about Dominic and our family was a very moving thing for me.  I have to say, the whole experience was one that I will carry with me for a long time to come.  We only had a little less than an hour and after we were done talking, the medical students all clapped for us.  I wasn't expecting that reaction - I guess that means they appreciated us coming :)  As we left the lecture hall, one of the medical students came up to the three of us and told us that her brother has Autism.  She shared a lot of her own experiences with us :)  It was pretty cool to talk to her.  She will make a terrific doctor, so sweet and compassionate.  I'm glad that I participated in this "unique" opportunity and I hope to do it again soon!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Modern Conveniences

This is what our kitchen floors currently look like. We had a dishwasher that we didn't notice was leaking a little water until a few months ago.  We put it off because we had a bunch of other things going on.  When we eventually got around to taking care of the problem, it turned out we had mold under our carpet :(  One thing I found out about mold is that it's not dangerous unless you start disturbing it, which kind of happened when the old dishwasher was pulled out to make room for the new one!!  It cost more to "fog" our house to get rid of the mold than it did for the company to rip out our old cabinet and carpet!! We have been washing dishes by hand until we get the new dishwasher installed.  My hubby grew up in a household where his parents didn't have a dishwasher.  I grew up in a household that did.   I remember complaining one time to my grandmother (the one who lived to be 101) about having to wash dishes by hand sometimes.  Her reply back was "at least you have a dishwasher!!"  One of the many interesting items we found when we cleaned out the in-laws house was this:

I have no idea how old this is, but I'm guessing it's pretty old. The back of this thing says, "ideal for silks, hosiery and lingerie or handkerchiefs."  I'm so happy washing machines were invented - it's definitely a "modern convenience" I'm glad is around :)  My in-laws never got central air conditioning.  In my family that air conditioning was running several months out of the year. It's a battle of wills in the summer with the hubby and I about when the "air" should be turned on.  He doesn't like to be cold, I don't like to be hot!!!  One of my favorite book series to read when I was little were the Laura Ingalls Wilder books - she wrote "Little House on the Prairie" and other books.   Those to me were fascinating to read - she talks about what it was like - like using a fireplace to heat your house and cook meals.  Now we flip a switch for heat and use our stove, oven or microwave to cook and bake.  Thank goodness for those modern "conveniences!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Being Thankful

It was around this time last year that I had my unexpected hospital stay overnight.  I can't believe that it has been that long already!!!  I have spent that time reflecting and truly appreciating all that I have to be thankful for.  I am thankful to the nurse at the Red Cross who caught my irregular heartbeat in October of last year, when I was getting ready to donate blood.  Her finding that problem, necessitated an echocardiogram, which in turn, led me to get a heart catheterization, which showed I have the heart condition, non-ischemic cardiomyopathy!! Yikes, I really don't like to think what would have happened to me, had that not been caught.  Especially, since the cardiologist told me the worse case scenario for my condition is a heart transplant :(  I'm so very thankful that my four medicines I take are keeping my heart going strong! My husband told me recently that the whole experience of having me in the hospital was very "scary" to him.   For a guy who doesn't share his feelings too often, I guess it kind of shook him up.  I'm thankful for my family, extended family, friends who are like family, old friends, new friends and everyone else that supports and cares so much for our family.  I can't remember where I heard this, but it's one of my favorite sayings - "be thankful for what you have, not for what you don't have."  I have an appointment to donate blood almost one year exactly to the day that I was in the hospital last year.  It seems fitting that I do that.  I'm thankful that I have my blog to share my feelings and thoughts.  I appreciate every single person who reads it and if I can help or put a smile on even one person's face then I am ecstatic!! I don't proclaim to be an "expert" on anything, I'm just your average gal trying to embrace each day with a positive attitude.  I take the glass half-full, versus the glass half-empty approach. Thanks for coming with me on this journey/adventure that I call my life!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Too Set in My Ways??

When I go to the grocery store, I kind of get in the "zone."  I'm looking at my list, balancing coupons, looking for those good deals, etc.  Last week, when I was doing my shopping, I heard a voice say, "so, how is your week going?"  I looked over and it was the guy who stocks the shelves for Frito-Lay.  I have been going to the Kroger on Tuesday mornings around the same time for as long as I can remember.  I have bumped into my "buddy" on more than one occasion in the snack aisle.  I think I started chatting with him one time when his huge cart was in my way.  He's really nice and I asked him his opinion once about the flavor of the Lay's Dill Pickle chips, thinking he would have an inside track  :)  I told him that my week was going well and that I was going grocery shopping on a Wednesday just to shake things up.  He said, "it's not like we're in our routines or anything is it?"  We had a good chuckle, I grabbed two bags of my family's favorite potato chips and finished my shopping.  Good grief, am I so set in my ways that the Frito-Lay guy recognized me like he did?!?!  I know that I can pretty rigid sometimes (I'm working really hard on changing that part of my personality).  My hubby has been doing yoga every morning for over 30 years. It's definitely part of his morning "routine" and I've learned through the years to give him that space and time to himself.  I think it mentally prepares him for the day ahead.  There is very little about my life these days that is predictable.  I used to volunteer in the library at Dominic's school one day a week at the same time and on the same day.  I used to tell the librarian that even if the rest of my life was busy and unpredictable, I could always count on the sameness at the library.  I think it's good to be somewhat set in your ways, but also open to change.  Life is not always the same everyday and wouldn't it be boring if it was?

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Uncle My Husband Never Got to Meet

Uncle Eddie was my mother-in-law's youngest brother.  She was one of 13 children, but she and her brother were very close, given that they were the two youngest of all the siblings. Uncle Eddie fought in World War II and was killed in action at age 19. My mother-in-law would talk about her brother and how difficult it was when he died.  I can't even imagine what that must have been like for her, losing a sibling at such a young age.  I used to tell her a lot how I admired her for being such a strong woman. When we cleaned out my in-law's house in Cleveland, we found the items below.

Other relatives of my husband (including his own dad) were also in World War II.  When I found the Purple Heart that was Uncle Eddie's, I have to say it made me stop in my tracks. When I asked the hubby if I could write about his uncle on my blog, his words were, "I'm sorry I never got to meet him."  My husband's middle name is Edward (in honor/memory of his Uncle Eddie). So many of our loved ones have been or are in the military. I think it's important to take a few moments on Veteran's Day to remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mom "Radar"

I'm all for trying to make your kid independent, but I witnessed something this weekend at my local Target that set my mom "radar" off big time!! We were putting away our cart after checking out and were heading for the main set of doors to leave.  The kids and I watched as a mom and dad headed to the customer service area leaving their son (who looked to be not quite two years old) by himself near the shopping carts.  He started pushing the carts around, banging into people and all the other carts. Not once in about one full minute did the parents look back to see what he was doing. There was an older woman standing around, like us, looking at him and I think she was thinking the same thing, why don't the parents come get him and let him wait with them in the customer service area??  I was telling Lauren we needed to do something.  It was VERY busy right there near the carts, people coming in and out of the doors very quickly.  It would have been easy for someone to snatch the little guy up and take him right out of the store. That is one of my biggest fears with Dominic, is that he will get separated from us and not be able to tell somebody his name. We have worked really hard with him and he now knows his first name, last name and phone number :)  Before he was as verbal as he is now, the thought of him getting lost in a store really freaked me out!!  Since there was a clerk standing there by the cart area, I told her, "I think that little boy belongs to those parents over there" and pointed towards the mom and dad.  She led the little boy over to the parents and asked them if the little boy belonged to them. It would have been easy for the kids and I to walk out of the store and assume the little boy would know where his parents were or that someone else would do something.  If he was older, I might have done that, but he was so little.  It made me think back to when I lived back in Maryland and there were little kids sitting in a car all by themselves in a parking lot near a store.  I actually went up to the car and asked them where their parents were.  It was kind of a hot day and the windows were rolled down, but they looked pretty young to be sitting by themselves in the car, especially on a hot day.  I waited in my car until a parent came, got in the car and left.  I wanted to make sure they were okay :)  Even before I had kids of my own, if I saw something that didn't seem quite right going on with a child, it would really bother me. Maybe it has something to do with being the oldest of my siblings. I've had that maternal "instinct" from a very young age. I found my experience at the Target to be very disturbing and I'm glad that I stepped in and did something! What would you have done if you saw the little boy by himself??? Would you have taken a few moments to make sure he was okay??

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Not Everyone Embraces the "Differences"

The special needs bowling group that our family belongs to started up again in mid-October. The group meets once a month from October until April and is sponsored by one of the local area churches.

One of the moms that I met last year came up to me and we started chatting and catching up from the last time we saw each other.  She has a son with Down Syndrome and he is getting ready to graduate from high school :)  I love this mom, she always has a smile on her face and has the best positive attitude about her son. She also has two older children that are typically developing.  She was asking me about Lauren and how high school was going.  She was telling me about her older kids and I was telling her about my stepson and his job.  Her son has been busy getting his senior pictures done and with everything else the last year of high school entails. My friend and I were chatting so much, the hubby had to keep gently "reminding" me when it was my turn.  Even though her son is about ten years older than Dominic, she is a wealth of information and a terrific resource.  One thing she said she has observed over time, is that not all people have embraced her son's "differences."  Her son is so sweet and kind.  He and some of his buddies were in the lane next to us and when Dominic had a good frame (he got a few spares and a strike), he gave Dominic a "high five." Very cool to watch :)  My husband remarked to me that he really enjoys the bowling group because everyone is kind of in the same "boat." All the parents have one or more children with special needs.  It is a very comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.  We all understand if a kid has a meltdown, cries, accidentally bowls in the wrong lane, or doesn't wait their turn.  We are all very accepting of each other.  I was thinking to myself, that if it wasn't for Dominic, I would have never met this mom and her son.  Those people that don't embrace others that are "different" are truly the ones that are missing out :) 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Superstitions and Old Wives' Tales

Black cats kind of get a bad rap.  According to superstition, you shouldn't cross paths with a black cat. Since today is Halloween, I thought I would bring up the subject of superstitions and old wives' tales.  I had a conversation several weeks ago with Lauren and one of her friends about how a lot of buildings don't have a thirteenth floor.  Next time you are in an elevator of a tall building, look and see if it has a thirteenth floor. What about how you shouldn't walk under a ladder? I asked the hubby about that one and he said something like, "why would you walk under there, it's unsafe!"  True :)  One I remember from my childhood, was don't step on the cracks of the sidewalk - "step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back." Ouch! Another one I have heard FOREVER - don't  go out with a wet head, you'll catch a cold.  I always go outside with a wet head - I have very thick hair and it takes hours to dry - it's already dry enough because I color it, so I don't blow dry very often :)  I have yet to get a cold from going out with a wet head.  If I ever do get sick, I'll try a little chicken soup!!  How about when you're pregnant and you put a needle/ring on a string in front of your belly and if the needle/ring goes a certain way you're having a boy and if it goes another way it's a girl?  There are so many superstitions and old wives' tales still floating around out there!! Don't ever break a mirror - seven years bad luck, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, the list goes on and on and on.  My husband told me that his parents told him growing up if you changed the calendar to the new month before the old month was over, that would bring you bad luck. We still adhere to that one around here, whether I want to or not :)  Maybe I'll go around today and change all of our calendars in the house to November, just to play a little "trick" on my husband!! Two superstitions that bring you good luck are finding a four-leaf clover or picking up a penny.  What are some old wives' tales or superstitions that you believe or don't believe??

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Food and Memories

Don't certain foods remind you of certain people? Kolaches remind me of my mother-in-law, because she would always make them around Christmas. Below is a kolache making "lesson" my mother-in-law was giving Lauren and the hubby a handful of years ago.

While looking through some old pictures recently, I stumbled across this picture from Christmas of 1988.  This was my grandmother and I horsing around with the turkey.  We had nicknamed the turkey, "Fred."  I can't remember why we named the turkey, maybe because it was the size of a toddler!!!!

I have talked about my grandmother before, she was a really special person to me and a lot of other people.  She lived on her own into her 90's and then went into assisted living.  She passed away in 2004 at 101, the year Dominic was born.  I still use her metal mixing bowl whenever I bake, which is often  :) Food and memories just seem to go hand in hand.  My father-in-law was a great cook.  He made the absolute best pork chops.  He told me the "secret" to making them one time and I really wish I would have wrote it down.  One year for Christmas, my in-law's bought us a turkey roaster, which we still use whenever we make a turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  When the in-law's would visit, I would always make french toast for my father-in-law.  To this day, whenever I make french toast, I almost always think of "Pop-Pop."


The picture above is still one of my all-time  favorites of my father-in-law.  Of course it involves food!! This was his birthday and we had made him a cake. Lauren was so little, she was standing on the dining room table.  This morning, since my stepson is visiting us this weekend, I made my mother-in-law's sour cream kuchen.

I think when you no longer have those special people in your life, when you make the foods that were their favorite or foods they would make for you, it kind of keeps a part of them with you :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Best "Gift" of All

The hubby has a milestone birthday coming up next week.  He doesn't like me telling everybody that he'll be 60, but with my big yap, I've had a hard time keeping it shut.  When I first met him almost 22 years ago, I thought he was around my age.

He is in fact, 11 years older than me.  The only time we ever have an "issue" is with our musical tastes.  I like bands from the 1980's and 1990's and he likes the music from the 1960's and 1970's.  We both do like the Rolling Stones, though. That band has been around forever :) My husband is a hard person to buy a present for, so I was kind of racking my brain trying to figure out what to get him.  I thought a few months ago about throwing him a big surprise party, but he doesn't like being the center of attention.  How about a trip? We already went to Jamaica in April, so that was out. I was really beginning to get stressed out trying to figure out that perfect "gift."  Well, a few weeks ago we got an e-mail from my stepson telling us that he would be able to come see us this weekend.  We have not seen him for almost a year, due to his job commitments. When he said he could get out to visit us for a few days we were ecstatic!!  We were supposed to have been going to a wedding out of town this weekend too, but thank goodness the bride was a gem and understood. Marrying my husband almost 17 years ago was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I knew when I got married to him, that he would be a wonderful father to any children we would have based on the great relationship that I observed between him and my stepson.  The hubby is an amazing dad and he is always there whenever any of his "kids" need anything. Given the ages of our children (28, 16 and 8), means there is never a dull moment in our house :)  Dominic definitely keeps the hubby "young."

I don't need to worry any more what to get my husband for his birthday.  My stepson being able to visit so close to the hubby's birthday is definitely the best "gift" of all.  I can't wait for our whole family to celebrate!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

On Strike???

This week has been pretty busy and I haven't been home too much during the day.  A casualty of that has been the laundry starting to really pile up.  I figured I would get around to it this weekend. The hubby took a look at the big pile of laundry a few days ago and asked me if I was "on strike."  Sometimes my husband is a real comedian :)  When we got married, doing the laundry become one of my household "chores."  I wash all the dirty laundry, fold it and sort it, but my family members are responsible for putting their own clothes away.  It's a system that for the most part has worked well all these years.  A few weeks ago, I happened to have the television on in the early afternoon and caught a little of Katie Couric's new talk show.  She had a mom on her show that did go "on strike" from her household chores. The mom stopped doing everything like making meals, etc. for a set amount of time. I guess the mom was frustrated from picking up after her family and didn't feel appreciated.  Going on strike is a bit extreme, but maybe the mom felt she had no other choice.  Personally, I think it's better to talk to your family before it gets to that point. When you make meals, clean the house, wash dishes, etc., you might not always get a thank you from your family.  That's when it's good to give them a "gentle" reminder about all that you do, so they don't take you for granted :) One of the things I do almost daily is to sweep our kitchen floor and the hallways near our front door, closet and mudroom.  It's one of those "chores" that if I didn't do, the dust bunnies would be bigger than Dominic!! Some moms have set days they clean, wash laundry, etc.  I would get too stressed out having to follow some kind of schedule like that.  But, everyone is different. I say, if it works for you and your family, go for it!!  Yesterday, I did finally tackle that huge pile of laundry.  The hubby didn't say anything, but I think secretly he was happy I finally did it!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How the Questions Have Changed!!

When Lauren was a baby, the questions I got the most often were - are you breastfeeding or bottlefeeding? are you using cloth or plastic diapers? These days, the questions are - which college is Lauren thinking of going to? and, what is she interested in studying?? I think the questions were easier to answer when she was a baby :)  I had someone as recently as last night ask me the college question.  It feels like it was just yesterday that the hubby was giving her a bottle.

Gone are the days of diapers, pacifiers and taking naps together:

Since starting her junior year, Lauren has had loads of homework almost every night and stays up late getting it all done. I have told her having all that homework while balancing other activities, friends and sports is a preview of college :)  Lauren's choices of colleges and courses of study have changed a handful of times. At one time, she wanted to go to college in California because it's much warmer than here where we live in the Midwest. Then, it was a college about an hour away.  Most recently, her college of choice is the one ten minutes from our house.  Where we live there are many in-state schools that are great (and affordable).  Next summer, we will be touring college campuses and getting her senior portraits done. Time seems to be going by at warp speed lately - I wish it would slow down just a little and let me catch up  :)  Enjoy every day and cherish the time with your kids, they grow up in a blink of an eye!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Soliciting in the Parking Lot???

When I was walking towards my car in the parking lot of the grocery store earlier this week, I heard someone coming up behind me saying, "excuse me, excuse me!!!"  The voice belonged to a well-dressed, young woman maybe in her early 20's.  She launched into a rehearsed speech and was talking really fast.  So fast, I couldn't quite figure out what she wanted.  She opened up a box of suncatchers and was showing them to me asking if I would buy one to help fund some trip she was going on.  I told her politely that I wasn't interested and she moved on to someone else in the parking lot. When I get phone calls asking for donations of money and it's not an organization I've heard of or wish to donate to, I've been saying, "please remove me from your calling list."  The hubby says, "I'm sure your organization is worthwhile, but we already give to other organizations."  Most telephone solicitors say thank you and hang up. I think they respect the honesty. It's getting towards the holiday season, so I know we'll be getting more of those type of calls.  Unfortunately, there are organizations that try to scam you into giving them your credit card number and other personal information over the phone.  It's much harder to say no or politely hang up the phone when someone is in your face in a parking lot. Many years ago, when I still lived with my parents, I had a young woman come to the front door saying she was from my old high school.  She claimed to be selling something on behalf of my old school and wanted the money upfront.  I'm still waiting to get what I ordered :(  Another time, a few years before we moved to the Midwest, I had a gentleman come to our front door selling magazines.  I told him nicely that I wasn't interested and he called me a very nasty and insulting name.  Since those two incidents,  it's made me very leery and hesitant to open my front door to solicitors.  I pretty much only open the front door if it's someone I know, like students from the local high school raising money for school sponsored activities. What would you do if someone sidled up to you in a parking lot trying to sell you something??  Would you buy what they were selling? or would you walk the other way??

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hard to Explain

Dominic woke up one Saturday morning a few weeks ago earlier than I would have liked.  Before I had my first cup of coffee, he kind of caught me off-guard.  He said, "Grandma, live, heaven."  I asked him if he missed her and he said, "yes."  It took everything in me not to start crying.  It was about this time two years ago that my mother-in-law starting slipping into severe dementia.  She lived in an assisted living facility close by and we would visit her there and/or she would come to our house for Sunday dinner.  Around Christmas of 2010, she was hospitalized for two weeks into the New Year of 2011.  Shortly into the New Year, we moved her to hospice, where she passed away three days later.  To say it was a traumatic time for our family would be an understatement.  My husband is an only child and we had to make arrangements long distance (she was to be buried in Cleveland).  We spent a lot of time at the funeral home, which isn't exactly the best place for kids. I think when someone passes that you are close to, it is hard to explain to small children what is going on.  One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do is explain it to Dominic.  Lauren and my stepson are older, but it was still very hard for them too.  I have asked different people about how to go about explaining the passing of a loved one to a special needs child.  Believe me, there isn't too much information out there.  The best thing we have found to tell Dominic is, "Grandma was broken and she has gone to a place where they can fix her, that place is heaven."  When he was asking about my mother-in-law, we went down to our basement where I have a couple poster boards full of pictures that we had at my mother-in-law's funeral. I told Dominic he could look at those pictures anytime he wanted. It's hard explaining loss to children and extra hard if your child has special needs.  I'm glad that Dominic got to meet her and know her.  My mother-in-law was a really big supporter of Dominic and all of his challenges.  She would have been so proud to see how far he has come.  She was a special woman and I still miss her a lot!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My "Mandatory" Daily Coffee

I used to think the smell of coffee was one of the nastiest smells ever invented. Since I was about 12 (when I drank Tab out of a glass bottle for the first time), instead of coffee, I would drink a Caffeine-Free Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi first thing in the morning. When my husband and I first got together and he would see me drinking pop in the morning instead of coffee, I think he was taken aback a little. He has been a coffee drinker for a LONG time.  The hubby loves his coffee and I would sit looking at him wondering why he loved his "colored water" so much.  One day, when Dominic was a few months old, I decided to give coffee another try. Maybe it was those early days of sleep deprivation that was making my body need some caffeine.  Much to my amazement, I discovered I kind of liked coffee. Now, I absolutely HAVE to drink two cups a day - it is mandatory and helps me function :)  Lately, I have been waking up way too early.  To be coherent whatsoever in the morning, first thing I do is get that coffee machine going. I'm so impatient, sometimes I don't even wait for the coffee pot to fill up, I stick my mug right under the direct stream.  I'm a creature of habit, I drink out of the same coffee mug every morning. It's one I've had for a really long time. It was from a soap opera that went off the air a number of years ago :)  That will kind of tell you how old this mug is!

I never thought I would ever say this, but I look forward to my coffee every morning.  Any other late in life coffee drinkers out there?? I know I can't be the only one!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Savant" Qualities??

I like to watch the movie "Rain Man" from time to time.  If you've never seen the movie, it's about a man with Autism that has spent the bulk of his life in an institution.  My favorite parts of the movie are where he shows his "savant" type qualities like memorizing entire pages of a phone book or counting toothpicks that fall on the floor.  I have had more than one person ask me if Dominic is a "savant." I've wondered the same thing myself sometimes.  I do know that he can take a bunch of Legos that look like this:

And turn it into this:

Dominic has been using the computer since he was very young.  What we discovered a few months ago is that he will go into YouTube, find what he wants to build and then will build it.  He figured out all on his own how to access YouTube with absolutely no help from us.  No matter how many times I offered to do an educational CD-ROM with him, the answer most of the time was no.  Dominic is strong-willed like the rest of us in this family and he likes to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it  :)  Even this morning - I asked him to make a chair for the piano above and it took him probably 30 minutes to make it.  I should have just left him alone and let him make it himself.  He has Lego kits geared towards his age and he can put those together in minutes.  Dominic also loves puzzles.  I have talked in prior blog posts about him doing 500 piece puzzles.

The one in the background he did already by himself.  The one he was working on was before he went to school one morning.  The thing of it is, both of these puzzles were mixed together.  He found which pieces went to which puzzle and if any pieces were missing.  He bugged me one day for hours asking for a few pieces that were missing from one of these puzzles.  I had to keep telling him I think they were lost.  It took him a few days before he understood that and would continue making the puzzle.  He kept telling me, "puzzle piece missing!"  Dominic also has ADHD which makes him sitting for hours and doing his Legos or puzzles even more remarkable.  Over the weekend, I was sitting with him at the kitchen table helping him do his homework.  He sat just long enough to finish it and then ran back to the computer to work on another Lego project!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Texting Update

Back in December of last year, I wrote about how I was pretty resistant to texting.  Well, I'm here to say that my resistance has been replaced by some amount of confidence in my texting abilities.  What I've definitely come to realize is that texting knows no age limit.  My teenage daughter is ecstatic that she can text me now and I text her back.  Last weekend, two of my friends and I were at a sporting event and we all had our cell phones out and we were comparing them to each other.  I use a TracFone which is a pretty basic phone, but it works for me.  On my birthday last year, I tried to upgrade my TracFone and after several frustrating hours trying to get my number switched to the new phone, I couldn't figure it out.  I ended up sending the phone back :(  I'm still learning cell phone "etiquette."  One of my friends was wondering if I was upset or mad at her because a lot of my texts to her end up in capital letters (like the text below):


I had to explain to her I was still kind of figuring out what I was doing and didn't quite have the hang of putting my texts in lower case letters :)  It's kind of interesting in our house with our cell phone plans.  Lauren, the hubby and I all have different phones and different cell phone plans. I have to buy minutes as I need them with my phone, Lauren has a monthly plan with unlimited texting and my husband has a plan that doesn't have many minutes during the week, but extra minutes on the weekends.  I NEVER thought I would say this, but I actually kind of like texting.  The hubby is still resistant to texting and once in a while someone will text him, but he doesn't know how to text them back.  Maybe I should give him some "lessons!!"

Monday, September 24, 2012

That "Go-To" Dress

It's been awhile since I've been to a wedding.  In October, we are going to two weddings within a week of each other!!  Both are relatively formal, so my usual mom "uniform" of shorts/capris/jeans and t-shirts/sweatshirts with tennis shoes probably won't cut it :)  About a week or so ago, I went looking for a dress. After trying a bunch of dresses on, I came home kind of bummed and deflated.  I was beginning to think I might have to wear my shorts!!  After a quick look in my closet, it hit me that I already had a dress that would be suitable for both weddings.  I have had this particular dress since before Lauren was born.

I guess you can say I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of this dress. I'm pretty sure I paid less than $100.00 for it originally. This dress must have some magical powers, because I have worn it when I was thinner than I am now and when I was heavier than I am now.  I think I even wore it when I was pregnant with one or both of my kids. I was pointing the dress out to the hubby a few days ago and telling him it was my "go-to" dress.  He was like, "what does that mean??"  I had to explain it to him that it's a dress that never goes out of style, it ALWAYS fits and I can wear it for just about any formal event. Men have it easier I think than women. My husband has a job where he has to wear a suit or tie at least a few times a week.  The other days of the week he has to wear a button down shirt and slacks. His hardest decision with what to wear to the weddings will be which tie should he wear :)  With women, you have to worry about the pantyhose, shoes, purse, etc.  Now that I have the dress figured out, I need to go dig around under my bed, find my high heeled shoes and brush the inch of dust off of them!

Friday, September 21, 2012

TV Dinners

After doing a quick look on the internet, I found that TV dinners have been on the food scene for over 50 years.  My mom cooked probably 95% of the time when I was growing up.  The only time I remember eating a TV dinner was when my dad was out of town for business. It was considered to be really special and something we didn't eat often.  The dinners at that time came in an aluminum tray with a piece of foil over it.  There were no microwaves in the early 1960's through the 1970's when I was little, so an oven was required.  Wow, have frozen meals come a long way since that time!  I do my big grocery shopping once a week and I don't know how it works out this way, but I always seem to be checking out around lunchtime :) By the time I unload the groceries, I'm usually pretty hungry for lunch!  I love to cook, but lately I've been buying a frozen meal while I'm at the grocery store and while I'm unloading all the groceries I toss it into the microwave.  By the time I'm done unloading the groceries, my lunch is usually done.  The price of one frozen meal even without a coupon is usually still cheaper than going through the drive through somewhere. I caught a sale last week and had a coupon, so I bought a few stuffed pepper frozen meals. Nobody in this house would eat that but me.  This week at the store, I bought sweet and sour chicken.  What is your favorite TV dinner??  How many of you out there remember the TV dinners with the aluminum trays??

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Don't Have Time to be "Sick!"

After feeling not quite 100% for the past two or three weeks, I decided I better pay a little visit to my doctor.  The diagnosis - shingles!!! Excuse me, really? I almost told the doctor, "I don't have time to be sick!"  Luckily, there is a medication that will get it cleared up in about a week or two.  As parents, do we have the "time" in our schedules to not feel well?? There is still laundry to wash, meals to make, kids to get to activities, etc.  Having shingles is kind of like having a continual sunburn on your skin. The doctor wanted to prescribe a very strong painkiller in addition to the other medication. She said, "you probably won't take it anyways!"  She was right.  After having a major operation back when Lauren was a toddler, a few hours afterwards, I was already picking her up. Two weeks after my operation, I was matron of honor in my sister's wedding.  After having my left knee operated on in 2006, I was driving the car a day later. Two years ago after my latest operation, I couldn't drive for two weeks - those were the longest two weeks I've ever experienced!!!  I had to depend on others and I couldn't barely stand it!!!  I guess I need to work on my "control" issues still :) My hubby has told me before, "when you go down, the whole house goes down!"  It's kind of true.  In my household, I'm the "master" organizer of all of our appointments, activities, meals, and everything else our family does.  They are pretty good about taking care of themselves, but I think they like when I'm running at full "capacity." After the medication starts kicking in and I head on the road to recovery, I'm hoping the next time I have to deal with shingles again, it will be when we need a new roof!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Feeling Like Part of a "Team"

Sports have always been a part of my life.  I tried karate, softball, basketball and soccer when I was younger.  My dad is a huge Washington Redskins fan and I grew up watching professional football on television.  I married someone who loves watching just about any kind of sports.  For about seven years, from the time I was about 10 or 11 until I was 17, I played soccer.  My nickname (which I actually had embroidered on my sports jacket) was "Tuffy."  The hubby gets quite a chuckle out of that one :) I loved being part of a team.  I have very fond memories of playing soccer with my "peeps."  One thing I always hoped was that my kids would want to play.  Lauren tried it and decided that she would go the route of competitive gymnastics which she did for a handful of years.  She now does cheer and loves it. A few months ago on our local news, I heard about a special needs soccer group in the area.  I have been looking for something like that for Dominic since he was about four.  He has done a few sporting events at school through the Special Olympics, but I was searching for a group where he could play soccer.  The group met for the first time this past Saturday.  There are kids from the age of four up to the age of 10.  All of them have special needs.  Dominic was more interested in hanging out behind the net on Saturday, but that was fine.  It was a little overwhelming for him.  He had another practice last night and this time he participated better in the "drills" that Coach M. had him doing.  Dominic called him "Coachman."  A bonus of participating in this group is that you get your own soccer ball.

When we were driving back home after practice, Dominic held the ball in his lap the entire ride :)  I love that there are organizations around like the Special Olympics and the group Dominic is participating in.  It gives those kids with special needs a place where they can feel part of a team. I'm loving being a "soccer mom!"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Getting Back into the Routine

This past week was Lauren's third week of school and Dominic's first week of school.  One or both of the "kids" were around the entire summer.  I have to admit, the house has been pretty quiet with the both of them gone during the day.  Dominic was in school half-days most of the summer (we feel very fortunate) and he had to catch his bus early, so he was "kind of" in the routine of getting up, getting ready and going to school.  Lauren enjoyed sleeping in and staying up late during the summer.  She was busy with sports practices and seeing her friends, but she and I did get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with each other :)   I'm happy she still likes to hang out with me once in a while! Since I'm used to being by myself during the school year, it usually takes a little time to get into a different routine for the summer.  It seems like as soon as I get used to having both of the "kids" around more, then they start school again!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Loose" Change

If you saw a coin lying on the sidewalk or street, would you take a moment to pick it up? or would you keep walking? Doesn't it seem that coins seem to collect in the bottom of your purse, in your pockets, in the car or under the cushions of your couch?  Even though I check the pockets of the pants when I do laundry, some change inevitably seems to end up clanging around in the dryer. Towards the end of the past school year, I mentioned to Dominic's teacher about having a penny drive to raise money for charity.  I have heard of schools doing it, but I had never tried to organize one.  The school administration was on board about doing it, so after a little planning on my part, the drive began! I went to my local bank and told them my idea and they gave me penny, nickel, dime and quarter wrappers for free :)  I pulled a number out of my head of $100.00, thinking okay, maybe we would get $25.00 (if we were lucky).  The penny drive total actually went 50 cents over the goal for a grand total of $100.50!!  Some of the kids in the school (including Dominic) helped count the coins. To make it easier to count, I sent in sandwich sized bags and had the kids put 50 pennies in each bag. In  pennies alone, there were 4,750!! Some bigger bills were donated also, which really touched my heart.  At the beginning of August, the money collected was donated to a charity Dominic's teacher had selected :)  I was so impressed by the administration, teachers, students, parents and everyone else who donated or helped in some way.  I'm hoping the school makes this an annual event and that they pick a different charity to donate to each year.  What will you do with all of your "loose" change?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gas Stations

On our car trip back from the East Coast this summer, we stopped at a handful of gas stations to "fill up."  At one of the stations that we stopped at, as the hubby was getting ready to hop out and pump the gas, we heard something that sounded like someone was yelling at us.  I thought maybe it was somebody saying we cut them off at the pump :(  As it turned out, it was an attendant at the gas station asking us what kind of gas we wanted!  It was a full-service gas station :)  Wow, I don't even know the last time I saw one of those!!  Back in the day (I was born in 1963), that's they way all gas stations were, now most are self-serve. They remodeled the gas station that I frequent the most in town.  A few weeks ago when I was pumping gas into our van I took a look at the pump.  It had a screen attached to the pump with advertisements for the various products you could buy inside the gas station going across the screen. Pretty clever marketing - you kind of have to look at it while you're pumping the gas :)  Inside the station, you could buy just about anything!  In a way it's kind of good, what if you were on your way home, but needed some milk.  It's usually more expensive, but it's definitely convenient. Most of the gas stations I remember going to growing up had restrooms and possibly a little stand where you could get the newspaper, some chips, candy bars or soda pop.  I've seen more than one gas station with  a restaurant attached to it.  I do like that I don't have to go inside to pay for my gas.  Especially if I have one or both of the kids with me.  That's a convenience I definitely like!  If you can remember the days of full-service gas stations, do you miss having them? I think most people these days are so busy, they probably prefer just getting their gas by themselves and keep on going!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Water "Babies"

We went to the beach over the weekend.  When we told Dominic we were planning on going to the beach, he thought we were going to Jamaica.  That is where we went at Spring Break and I had to explain to him that we didn't need to go all the way down  there just to go to a beach :)  As soon as we put all of our stuff down on our beach blanket, he couldn't wait to take off his shoes, etc. and run right into the water.

The waves were relatively tame and Dominic had a great time body "surfing."  He got wiped out once, but quickly recovered.  A few times I tried to lift him up before a big wave came and he got kind of mad at me because he wanted  to ride the "wave."  Lauren, Dominic and I are big water "babies."  I grew up going to the beaches of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Near a beach or the water is still where I am the happiest.  Even now, that is my favorite kind of vacation.  This summer has most definitely been the hottest one I can remember since we have been living in the Midwest.  We had several days in the 90's, which is pretty unusual.  Dominic spent a lot of time indoors this summer.  Lately he has been telling me, "headache, stomachache, shade."  I think he's trying to tell me that the sun has just been too hot for him this summer and it doesn't make him feel well.  It was a warm day at the beach yesterday, but kind of overcast, so it was good.  We have toyed with the idea of joining a pool, but we like hanging out in our backyard with a sprinkler and a hose.  I bought a Slip 'N Slide a few years ago and the hubby and I have even tried it a few times.  Thank goodness Lauren didn't take a picture of that :)  This is Dominic's favorite thing to do, pick up a bucket, fill it with water and toss the water at whoever is the closest.

He has tried to throw the water (including the bucket) at us and we have had to tell him you don't need to include the bucket when you're tossing water at somebody! See the little smirk on his face, he knows EXACTLY what he is doing :)

We belonged to a pool when I was growing up and it was okay, but it was always so crowded :)  To me all you need is a hose and a sprinkler to have a good time.

I heard  on the radio this morning that the temperatures will be in the 80's and 90's this weekend. I know where we'll be - the backyard!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

School Pictures

This week was Lauren's first week of her junior year of high school.  She had to get her school pictures done on Monday.  I was thinking school pictures have come a pretty long way from the days when I would get my picture taken.  Usually it was one and done! Take one picture and the photographer would say, "next!"  Below is my senior picture.  As you can tell,  I was a big fan of perms. I really wish a friend would have handed me a comb and mirror before I got this picture taken. The only thing I see whenever I look at this picture is my bald spot right in the middle of my forehead. That, and my shiny lip gloss!

Now, you can add all kinds of features when you're getting your pictures taken.  The most expensive package Lauren's school was offering was $58.  That doesn't include "extras" like a premium retouch for an additional $12 :)  You can even get the pictures on a CD! When Dominic first started school he had his pictures taken.  They took a picture with him crying and snot coming out of his nose.  I promptly sent those back!! Yikes, why in the world would I want that picture?!?  Next summer, we will be getting Lauren's senior pictures done.  It's kind of exciting to be thinking about that.  I'm a big picture person.  On my mantelpiece right now I have a bunch of pictures in frames.  I love looking at them.  I carry around pictures in my purse.  Isn't that usually one of the first things a person will ask you? do you have any pictures of the kids?  I'm hoping that Lauren's junior pictures turned out well.  Dominic is the one whose school pictures don't always turn out the way I would like them :) I'll take this picture any day over the "snot" picture, though!

My New "Relationship" with the Sun

Long gone are the days that I would sit on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean for HOURS at a time with just baby oil on my skin for prote...