Tuesday, August 26, 2008


About two months ago, we had a disaster in our house.

It was early, the kids were still sleeping, and I got up, got my coffee and went to the computer to check my e-mails, do a little work and check my favorite blog sites.

But the computer wouldn't turn on. It seemed to be in sleep mode, so I wiggled and jiggled the mouse, but no luck. So I turned the computer off using the button on the tower, gave it a minute and turned it back on. Nothing. So I tried again, and again, and again. Nothing.

Finally on try number 3 it worked! Yahoo! So I sat and waited while it started up.

As this was happening, I smelled something weird. Like burning rubber, or plastic. And then I saw it - SMOKE! Coming up from under the desk around my legs! I screamed for Dan, who really hustled to get upstairs (NOT!) and by the time he arrived I had everything off and unplugged.

But I was in a panic. All of our pictures, many of them saved to CD but not every single one, are on that computer. I was afraid to turn it on for fear that it might actually really blaze this time.

In the end, after a visit to a computer place and some help from our friend Dan, our pictures are safe and are on our new computer. But I was frantic to save them ALL to CD's so as never to feel this stress again.

In the course of doing this today, I came across this beauty. Is there anything cuter?

Oh, the memories......

I'm Conflicted

Those of you who know me well probably know that I am a little overprotective of my kids and what they watch, read and do. Call me a nut, but I really just think that as long as I have "control" of them (and I use that term loosely) I should be able to have ultimate say in what goes into their heads.

I held strong on not watching Spongebob for a long time, and caved. I fought like crazy to keep Raven off my screen, and caved. And just recently, with the assurance of my sister Krissa, I've allowed iCarly to be seen by the kids. I really held off on the one......but again, I caved.

But I am totally and completely boggled by the folks around me who have let their 11 year old children read the Twilight series.

I know, I know, Bella and Edward don't really "do" anything, they don't drink, smoke, do drugs.......but the descriptions of how they feel about each other, and the little bit that they do do, are enough as far as I am concerned. Yes, Liv is much more the sporty girl, and not into boys at all, but even if she was, this book would still not be on her nightstand. I guess this is the one good thing about her hating to read - she isn't asking to read them anyway.

What do you think? Am I being crazy?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'll Say It Again

Well, actually, I won't say it - this guy will say it for me.

Watch this totally hilarious video.....

Enjoy, and think of my previous words......

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Great Friends Make a Great Vacation

At long last, a post from our trip. Although I had high hopes for a daily post, things get a little big crazy and time got away from me.

In case you are reading this and don't know us, let me give you a little background.

This group of families came together from our men. They met in college, over several different years and graduating classes, yet bonded in an amazingly strong way. They may have left school from time to time for one reason or another, may have overlapped in different ways, but were in the same fraternity and that brought them all together. Friendships were formed......and kept. I think this is unique among men.....not so much with women.

Over the years, and one by one, they introduced their "women" to the group. Would that make or break them? Would the women get along?

Well, the answer is yes. Some of us are celebrating our 16th anniversary this year, with others not far behind. We are godparents to each others children, and we care for each other's kids as if they are our own. I feel a great comfort in knowing that these friends would be there for me whenever I needed them. I have no doubt.

For years and years we have planned our summers together, forgone other vacations to be together and it is an amazing thing to me. Our children have an unbelievable bond. From the minute they see each other, it is like not a moment has passed. That bond is there, between us all, and both Dan and I hope it always will be.

It makes me happy and sad at the same time. So incredibly happy that they have these friends that they call their "cousins", and so so sad to have to take them away from them. I am sad myself that we don't live closer.

So to the Papa, LaRocca, Skala and Hennig families - we love you and will miss you.....

We'll see you next year.

The people who make it happen........

Kids, don't forget that. Value your friends. Your parents are amazing and gave you this time. It is no small feat to get five families together, and we do it not only for us, but for you.

Part of the clan being fed......a long task. But we laugh.

Just the boys......

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quote #2

One more quote...

Commenting on his dislike of Crocs after seeing someone in our group put theirs on, Kevin announced:

"Crocs are for nurses and fags."

Cracked me up.

Quick Quote

A longer post to come later, but wanted to share a quote from Matthew in the hotel yesterday:

"Mom, I need you to wipe the cream cheese on my bagel for me.....I can't do it myself."

Love it!

Friday, August 8, 2008

New Olympic Sport

There are some amazing devices and gadgets created for the elderly and disabled. My grandmother had one of those "grabber" things that helped her pick things up when she couldn't reach them. Another one of these genious inventions is the elevated toilet seat that makes getting on and off the bowl and little easier.

If you haven't seen one, here is a picture.


My question of the day though is this.......What do you do when you come upon one in a bathroom?

We had this quandary this week when we visited The King's grandfather, who has one of these in his bathroom. Hey, at 97, he deserves to use anything that will make his life a little easier!

When we arrived in NC, we all needed to use a bathroom. Grace headed in first, came out and in went Olivia. After a few minutes of talking and saying hello, I went in too. When I got there, I noticed the elevated seat, I wondered immediately what the girls had done when they saw it. But in all of the excitement, I forgot to ask them until later that night.

It was worth the wait.

Me: "Hey girls, what did you do about that thing over the toilet when you were in there?"

Grace: "Yeah, I didnt know what to do, so I just moved it out of the way and then I put it back when I was done."

Me: "Good job honey. Liv, what did you do?"

Liv: "Well, I wasn't sure what to do either, so I left it there, but I grabbed on to the bars on the side and just put my legs out straight while I peed so I wouldn't have to sit on it."

Is this how the pommel horse began? Hey, if TABLE TENNIS is a sport, why not this? Hmmmmmmm .....

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Here we are today in Matthews, North Carolina visiting family before we head to the beaches of the Outer Banks of NC next week.

One of the people we are visiting here is The King's grandfather. Given the fact that The King is a mature man, with three children who are not babies, and who has been married for 15+ years, you will surmise that his grandfather is a man advanced in age.

In fact, The King's grandfather is 97 years old. In the video below he is teaching our kids a card trick while we are out for dinner, and as I filmed it I just couldn't stop thinking about how lucky they are to have this incredible time with their great-grandfather.

His passions are cards (he knows every game and all of the rules) and the New York Yankees, and he is fully and completely with it and aware of every trade, score and pitching change. He is totally amazing, and we are so lucky to be a part of this time in his life.

How rare and unbelievable. Grandpa (and Great Grandpa!!!), we love you.

Two Different Sneakers

Today I was lucky enough to hear a story about a friend who has recently re-entered the dating scene after many, many long years in a relationship. She has a real "get out there, and "get on with it" attitude that I totally admire.

She joined a dating service, began chatting with someone on-line, things progressed and they set up a date. Exciting! When they were on the phone setting up the date though, he told her he was planning to bring a camera with him on the date, and hoped that would be OK with her. What? She said her response was less than enthused, and suddenly a red flag went up. But the date had been set, so she forged on.

She picked him up at the train station, and as she saw him coming down the stairs, she knew she was in for trouble. How? HE WAS WEARING A FANNY PACK. Yes, a fanny pack. The fact that his socks were pulled up to his knees was also a problem, but the fanny pack was really all that was on her mind at the moment. But again, she forged on.

The plan had been to play miniature golf, but it was raining so they bowled instead. Desperate to get an end to the date, they played two games and headed off to dinner. Forging on.

During dinner, clearly oblivious to the signs she was showing, he reached across the table for her hand. When he touched it, she said she responded without thinking about it and said "Wow, your hands are so soft!" He got a big smile on his face, pulled his hand away, quickly unzipped the fanny pack and whipped out a bottle of Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon lotion. "It works so great", he said. "Do you want to try it?" Ever the lady, she said politely no, and forged on.

During dinner, she happened to look down at her date's feet. At first, it just didn't make sense, but after a few more glances, she just had to ask. It looked distinctly like he was wearing one Converse and one Nike. "Are you wearing two different sneakers?" she inquired as politely as possible. He didn't skip a beat, looked down and said "Yeah, I guess I am." That was pretty much it.

They split the check and began to leave the table. After a step or two, although eager to escape, she noticed that one of his shoes was untied. She pointed it out, and he bent down to tie it up. She continued to move along, planning to meet him at the hostess station, when she heard her name called in a hysterical screech at top volume. The entire restaurant glanced their way to see what the scream was all about, only to realize nothing was wrong but that her date was just afraid she was going to flee and leave him there tying his shoe.

Obviously, there will not be a second date with this man for my friend. She will forge on, hopefully to find the person she deserves and who deserves her, and who wears just one brand of sneaker at a time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

He Disagrees

The King, that is.

He feels that he has been inaccurately represented in my blog. He takes special issue with the story of the pasta for dinner event, which he thinks makes him look bad. (Wasn't that the point?)


So he has threatened to start his own blog to counter any attacks he feels are unjustified. He says he will call it "The Blog of Truth".

While I think this would be hilarious, I hold no hope that it will actually happen. He isn't technically savvy at all......but if it does happen, I can promise that I will provide you all with the link.

Stay tuned.....

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dinner Dilemma

The King, as I have implied before in this blog, is particular. I say "particular" rather than many other words that describe him that might not be quite as nice.

To be honest, I blame it partly on myself. I have created, in many ways, a "monster". Not because I do everything for the King, because I don't. But in all ways food, the King is getting a little big for his britches. I like to cook, and The King loves to eat. And it isn't usually a simple dinner....I look up recipes and make something different every night. Spoiled he is.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the King and I had discussed what we'd have for dinner. He asked if we could have this shrimp dish, which he loves, but it is a total pain in the ass to make. I guess I said OK at the time, but when it came right down to it at the end of a long day, I wanted to beg out of it. I started making shrimp fra diavlo with pasta.

When he came home and looked into the pot, The King's response was: "Having pasta is like having cereal for dinner."

Well folks, the war that this comment started lasted for a long, long time, and that war began with me dumping the half cooked dinner into the sink. The King went out for a sandwich.......But I digress.......

This "too big for his britches" attitude was again illustrated during a conversation today at the pool in Florida, where we were discussing our dinner plans. It was getting late, it had been a long and busy day, and my mother-in-law said "How about hot dogs for dinner tonight?". This one seemingly innocent comment caught the attention of The King.

The King: "Did you say we were going to have hot dogs for dinner? You mean hot dogs will be the meal?"

Mother-in-Law: "Yes. Hot dogs will be the meal."

The King: "How will they be cooked?"

MIL: "On the barbeque. Why?"

The King: "Well, that makes it slightly better, but usually I don't eat hot dogs as the only thing during a meal, but maybe more like a side dish."

MIL: "WHAT? What's the matter with you?"

The King (looking a little sheepish now): "Well, can't we have something else too? Like chicken on the grill? Or something?"

MIL: "Chicken takes too long to cook. No. Hot dogs are quick. We're not having chicken."

The King: "How long does chicken take? Is there some rush for dinner? Is there some kind of a rule that dinner has to be shopped for and cooked in less than thirty minutes or something? I don't get it."

MIL (now laughing, as we all so often laugh with and at The King, who is pretty witty, but a little dumb too): "Fine, maybe we can have chicken too."

We all sat and listened to this convseration, laughing totally hysterically.

We did have both hot dogs and chicken for dinner, which McGuvyer made easier and quicker to cook on the grill by pounding the chicken out with a hammer....not a kitchen mallet, but an actual hammer. McGuvyer rules!

It was a great dinner, after which my father-in-law said:

"When I heard earlier today your mother was thinking of hot dogs for dinner, I thought to myself "Yeah, let's see how that goes over with The King."

The reputation of The King preceeds him.


We Call Her McGuyver For a Reason

Greetings again from super hot and muggy Florida!

Yesterday we left my sister's house (where we had such a great time in her new beautiful castle! Thank you Krissa and Fred for being such amazing hosts!) and drove 2 hours to Apopka Florida to visit my in-laws and my sister-in-law Dana. The kids were super excited about this since they have great memories of being here last year, swimming, playing mini golf and just having a relaxing time.

So last night, the kids were literally pooped. We had gone to the pool, ordered pizza, visited with everyone including Dan's cousin Nicole who is here visiting from New York. I was just thinking about getting the kids to bed, when I heard some commotion coming from my father-in-law's office. I went in to see what was happening in there.

And then I saw her - McGuyver.

For many years, I referred to my mother-in-law as this icon of adventure. For perhaps the first ten years of my marriage, this was done in secret, but one day I said it right to her, and now it is just out there. She really should have been a hero of stage and screen with her abilities to solve a problem, big or small, in a creative, and sometimes dangerous way.

What McGuyver was doing tonight was trying to blow up the air mattress for the kids to sleep on. She had the mattress unfolded, the pump in hand, and was furiously turning it on and off. But not a breath of air was coming out. Frustrated, McGuvyer continued her efforts. After watching her struggle for a few more minutes, I asked her if I could take a look at the pump.

This is what I saw:

If you can't read the fine print here, it says that the pump needs to charge for 12 hours before it can be used, and it doesn't work if it is plugged in. Bummer. It was already 9:00pm and we didn't have 12 hours to spare.

McGuyver, we need you! And hearing our call, she came to the rescue.

Thinking that perhaps a hair dryer would do the same as the air pump, she began her work. And tedious work it was. It seemed that the air flap wouldn't stay open so not all of the force of the air from the dryer was getting into the mattress. Ahhh....if this isn't a job for "you know who", I don't know what is.

At first, she took a risk and fished out a paper clip and began trying to attach it to the mouth of the nozzle on the mattress. With a scream from Dana though "Ma, you can't stick a paper clip in there with the hot blow dryer! Geez!", she searched furiously for another option.

And came up with this:

Can't see it well enough you say? Sorry - here is it a little bigger:

Yes folks, it is a straw, wedged in the hole to keep the flap open. And it worked! It really worked!

Proof that it worked is Matt, a short five minutes later, laying in bed looking very tired.

Not every kid can say that McGuyver is their grandma.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Serious Injury List

We all know that traveling, especially on an airplane, is like putting yourself in the middle of a germ factory. I want to scream when I hear the words "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom." while we are mid-flight. Those bathrooms are so nasty I just want to let the kids pee in their pants instead of going in there. But on a nine hour journey heading east (two flights, total trip time is 9 hours if you are lucky), what can you do!

That being said, let me recount the numerous ailments and injuries we have sustained thus far, some I can blame on the germ factory, others just plain stupidity, and some can't be categorized. None of them are serious, thank goodness, just annoying.

The first full day here was a great day. Went out to lunch, got ice cream, had a nice dinner at home, and come six o'clock, Matt becomes the king of poop. Said king actually did not manage to make it all the way to the bowl during one episode, which was awesome. Blocked him up with some immodium and all was well.

Except when he woke up in the morning......with conjunctivitis. Kill me now. Eyes all stuck together, green goop everywhere - nasty. Luckily my sister had the drops so that regimen began right away.....but still, what a disgusting thing that is! What made it worse though, was that the next morning, Olivia had it! UGH!!!!!!!

But swimming seemed to help, at least to keep their eyes clean, so that was happening a lot. I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to join them one morning. Donned the suit, went out, was sitting on the edge tolerating the splashing and heckling by the kids trying to get me in, so in I went. I slid off the edge, dipped under the water, and smashed my right knee so incredibly hard on the bottom of the pool (much shallower than I thought it was!) that I literally came up to the surface crying. Yes, crying. It hurt so wicked, wicked bad, had a huge bloody cut on it, but the pain in my kneecap was incredible. Maybe I am being a tad dramatic here, but it really, really killed. I floated on a raft with an enormous ice pack on it for a while, but the pain, oh the pain....I still don't have full movement in it, and the cut will be around for a long time. Which is great since we are on vacation and there is nothing better than seeing a woman in shorts with a huge scab on her knee. Love that.

The last ailment to report is that Grace and my nephew have developed this red and painful rash on their sides and chest from sitting too long in a wet bathing suit. This rash requires the constant application of multiple creams all day long and has turned the counter at my sister's house into a virtual pharmacy.

So there you have it - the serious injury list. Let's hope there are no more additions.