Friday, July 31, 2009

Daddy and his girl . . .

oooh! My heart was just aching with love when I snapped this photo.

Is there anything more beautiful than a daddy and his girl?


I didn't think so!

****This is a part of the Inspired Room's Beautiful Life Friday. Link on over to see some more everyday beauty in life!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hanging the Shelf

Today I
tried to hang a shelf.

First, I marked the holes.

Then, I checked the marks with a level.

Next,  I used the power drill to drill into the wall.

Then, I cursed our plaster walls as a tiny hole slowly crumbled into a small crater.

Moving on, I sunk a wall anchor.

Then, I carefully twisted in the first screw.

Next, I rechecked my level.

Then, I cursed again for while I was level, I needed to redo my 2nd and 3rd marks.

Plodding on, I drilled holes 2 and 3 and sunk a wall anchor for each.

Finally, I twisted in the 2nd and 3rd screws.

I was ready to hang the shelf . . .

Until I realized that I had not measured the distance from the screw to the corner of the wall or compared it to the distance between the screw holder and the corner of the wall.

Then, I cursed a really, really bad curse ( a doozy!).  

The distance from the screw to the corner :  12 inches

The distance from the screw holder on the shelf to the corner : 16 inches

The distance from here to insanity . . . 0 inches!!

Agenda tomorrow:  Have Paul cut the shelf so I do not have to remove the screws.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Must Be Doing Something Right

We attended my hubby's family reunion yesterday.  While there, the kids participated in a kiddie game where the reward was a grocery store bag full of candy.  Yikes!  Not my idea of a fabulous prize, but the kids were tickled happy.  Anyway,  after a few pieces of candy indulgence, I told the kids to put their treasures in the car.  I could see that these bags of candy were going to be just like Halloween candy to the kiddies, so I pointedly asked both E and Ab, "Do you remember the rule for candy in our house?"  And, they both responded, "One a day!"
I was pleased that there was no whining and that they both seemed to accept the candy rationing as fact.

Later, Ethan was playing with an Etch a Sketch on the  3 hour ride home when he piped up from the back seat with a question.



"How do you spell 'I don't like you' ?" he asked innocently.

I couldn't resist finding out about this one.  "E?  Why do you want to know how to spell that?"

He blushed, looked down sheepishly, and said, "Well, I don't like you, because I can only have one piece of candy!"


I must be doing something right.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Letting Things Slide . . .

A few days of summer rains and cloudy weather and I am running on empty (even after the stroke of genius that was the cloudy day lemonade stand today).  This week is particularly hard because it is hubby's mini-camp week for his football team.  He has been gone every night this week during the witching hours of dinner, baths and bedtimes,  and frankly, I am dog tired.

That is why . . .

Ellerie is currently running around in her "pwitty soos" (translation- pretty shoes) . . . and nothing else.

Ethan emerged from his solo bath time with a chocolate ring around his mouth.  When I asked him if he had washed his face, he replied, "Yeah, mom!"  all the while smiling with that crooked, chocolate moustache.  I think not!

I didn't flinch when Ab removed all of the cushions from my sofa and built a massive fort in my living room.  Though the site of all of the bits and pieces of crud in my couch was actually offensive, I was waaaaaay more excited to find my tube of missing mascara.  My eyes have been naked for days!

There are dishes in the sink, crumbs on the floor, and a laundry volcano that is ready to explode, yet, I am choosing not to touch or engage any of it.

So,  all in all,  it is an insane evening around here once again.

I am so blessed!

The Cost of Fun

Pink Lemonade for Lemonade Stand  : $2.59

Dixie Cups  : $1.99

Assorted Papers and Markers  for Signs:  approximately $2.00

Total: $6.58

Keeping kiddies occupied for 3 solid hours on a summer day :  Priceless!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

True or False?

The family has a new show that we have become quite addicted to watching.  

It is Discovery Channel's Cash Cab.  Basically, unsuspecting New Yorkers hop into a cab to get to . . . well . . . wherever, and when they give the cabbie their destination address, the cabbie reveals that they are in a cash cab, a trivia game show.  Contestants are asked random trivia questions and accumulate money for each correct answer.  If they answer incorrectly, however, it is a strike.  If they gather three strikes, you guessed it, they are out.  Literally out.  They have to get out of the cab right then and there, even if they have not reached their destination.  It is fun to watch and even more fun to participate.  The whole family gets involved, including Ethan.

So, lately, the role-play game of choice has naturally been  the Cash Cab.  Ethan always wants to be the "cabber."  In his terminology, the cabber is the driver and the game host.  He gets to ask the questions.  As we cruised around town this week, Ethan has asked us such gems as, "Is the sky blue?" and "What is my favorite color?"  Variations on a five year old theme, I suppose.

Today, though, was by far, the best family episode of Cash Cab.  

E started out the show by using his deep announcer voice, "Welcome to the Cash Cab!" Here he paused to do some sound effects.  "I am your cabber Ethan.  Let's go!  Round one: fifty dollar questions . . ."

Abbie and I glanced at each other and giggled at Ethan's antics.  We were ready!

He jumped right in with the first question.  "True or False?"

We waited for a few moments for Ethan to finish his sentence, and when it appeared that he wasn't going to finish it, Ab looked at me for direction, and I posed the question to E.

"E?  True or False what? What is True or False?"

Obviously frustrated with us for not understanding, E repeated a bit louder, "True or False?"

He clearly was not getting it!  So, I just went for it.  "OK, Ethan.  True,"  I answered.

He paused dramatically and then stated in his booming voice, "Nope!  That's wrong.  Strike one for you mom!"

At this point Ab's giggles were turning into full force laughs, and they proceeded to get worse when E said, "Question 2:  True or False?"

I was laughing too by now, so I looked at Ab for help.  She posed her answer.  "OK Ethan.  False, my answer is false!"

Sure enough E came back with, "Nope!  Strike 2!  Just one more strike, and you are both out of the cash cab!"

Our laughs boiled over with his latest exclamation.  Ab and I had to wipe the tears from our eyes before we could speak coherently.  

So,  a winner at cash cab I am not. But, after laughing like that, I felt like a winning mom!

Now, onto teaching Ethan the logistics of a true and false question . . .


Well, it's about time that I bless you with one of my very favorite recipes.  It is super easy, and super delicious (Cause really  . . . why make it or eat it for that matter, if it wasn't?)  I make it in huge vats and snack on it all day long. 

 You should too.  

Really.  You should.

Here goes . . .

Queen of the Night Salsa 

From the Sweet Potato Queen's Big Ass Cookbook And Financial Planner
(I love a good title, don't you?!)

2 cans of black beans, drained
2 cans of corn, drained
1 chopped red onion
several tomatoes chopped
some fresh cilantro chopped
some lime juice
about a tablespoon or so of vinegar
a little bit of oil
salt and pepper

That's it!  Pour it in a big old bowl, mix it up and eat yourself happy.  It is especially delicious when consumed with yummy  and cold margaritas and tostito chips.  I have also used this as a dressing to my salad,on top of a burger, and as a yummy side at a picnic ( No mayo, no worries about poisoning.)  I have also tried this with fresh, off the cob, corn and it was so divine that I almost passed out with the chip and half eaten salsa in my hand.  It is that good!

Hope this hits the spot today.  And if it doesn't, don't forget the margarita.

That should do it!

********I am participating in the Mcklinky blog hop with this post!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not My Child! Monday

It is Monday and in the spirit of mixing it up, I will still be joining MckMama's crazy Not Me! therapy ride, but this time it will be a Not My Child!  Monday.  I think that I have enough material to write an entire book on the Not My Child! theme, so feel free to stop whenever you feel that your eyes start to cross or bleed from overuse.

Onto the insanity that defines my kiddies . . .

It is certainly not my child that continually likes to stick her chubby little fingers into her freshly pooped in diaper.  My child would not enjoy the feel of that gross poopie, and she certainly would not choose to paint with it whenever no one was looking.  My child would follow in her mom's footsteps and embrace a love of the clean smell of white vinegar and/ or chlorine bleach.

It is also not my child that still removes every stitch of his clothing each and every time he uses the facilities.   And, lord knows that my child would never strip down to his birthday suit even when we use public restrooms.  My child would also know better than to sit down on the public restroom floor while naked in order to redress himself.  Clearly, I would have taught my child the dangers of germs and would never have allowed such crazy behavior.

It was not my child that did not have her hair brushed for 3 consecutive days last week.

And, furthermore, it was not my other child that accompanied me to the grocery store while still in her summertime pjs.  Ridiculous!

Finally, it was not my children that decided to draw pictures in the remodeling dust that accumulated on our dining room table.  My children would use the proper tools like crayons and paper!

I am sure that I have many, many, many more, but these are just the ones that happened in the last few days.

Happy Monday!

***** The links are to more in depth stories about those specific Not My Child antics.

Not So Goooooood Morning!

This morning I woke up to unseasonably cool temperatures, a snuggly husband and a stray kiddie, and the knowledge that I would be painting in the kitchen.  All things that undoubtedly make me smile.

Then I remembered that I have a dentist's appointment for a new crown at 10:30 am.  

My smile evaporated, and in its stead there resides a grim, full of dread, expression.

Even though I know that I will be fine,  that the shot doesn't hurt that much (considering I have done three labor and deliveries), and it will be over soon, I still do not like going to the dentist.   It makes me wonder.

Just when did I get so old that I need a crown?  I thought old, grandma ladies needed crowns.  Not youngish, on-the-go mamas.

Just why do I dislike the dentist so badly?  My dentist is truly the nicest gentleman!  I enjoy our conversations up until he sticks his hand or his dental instruments in my mouth.  

Why can't someone invent a non-invasive dentistry?  It could be a million dollar industry if patients only had to swallow a pill or sit in a chair for some laser dental surgery.

Oh well.  Off to the chair.

Wish me well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Goooooooooood Morning Annie!

I slept until nine am today without being interrupted.  If that is not proof of God's miracles, I do not know what is.  But, here is one better . . .

The kiddies slept until 10 am!  Can you say Good Morning?

I love, love, love summer vacation!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Year of No Pizza and More Updates

Updates . . .

Hubby finally finished the Rubik's Cube using the online tutorial.  It was a triumphant moment when he made that final turn on the cube and each side was uniformly one color.  We did a mini family celebration with improvised drum rolls and and whoops and shouts.  Ethan, however, did not get the significance of the moment when he asked innocently, "Can I mix it back up now?"  I think Paul was planning on shelving it like a trophy up until that point.


I survived vacation with my mom's dog.  If you don't remember the saga with her pooch, click here  or even  here for a refresher course on the world of Cappy, the dog.  In truth, this vacation Mom was very good about her dog on the whole.  He only had one vet appointment in our vacation city, and Mom refrained from carrying him around in the front doggy carrier, so, overall, not too bad, I say.  I even made a gesture of goodwill and brought Cappy a present.  I had found a doggy tuxedo at a garage sale for a dollar, and I knew that my mom would have fun with that.  Cappy, however, apparently doesn't like to wear clothes, as he snapped at my mom when she tried to adorn him in his fourth of July doggie sweater.  Even Cappy realizes that he is, in fact, a dog, and dogs don't wear clothes. 



After his defeat during his pizza eating contest, hubby has decided that he will not eat another slice of pizza until July 4, 2010.  This fact however, does not mean that the rest of us will forgo pizza for the year.  For me, that would be impossible!  We have dubbed this the year of no pizza for obvious reasons.


I was actually caught up on laundry when I arrived home from vacation.  This has never happened to me before and I was quite proud of myself.  But now, I have been home for 6 days and I have not done one, single load of laundry.  The mountain has resurfaced in my basement laundry room, and I am dreading scaling it.  I have actually been toying with the idea of hiring a college kid to come to my house once a week to tackle this chore.  Either that or I will have hubby remodel the house to accommodate a second floor laundry room near the bedrooms.  I am convinced that the proximity of the vacation house laundry room aided in my laundry skills.  I think that the college kid solution may be a bit cheaper.


I am enjoying being fabulously tan.  This is especially cool since I acquired my glowing hue with the use of liberal sunscreen.  It reminds me that I will really have to investigate to find a good self tanner for the winter months.  One that doesn't make me look orangy brown like  a Willy Wonka Ooompa  Loompa.  I just can't stand my olivy winter white skin.  Blame it on my Florida upbringing.  One of my favorite comedy authors likens skin to bacon.  She says winter skin is like under-cooked bacon.  White and grisly and unappealing.  Crisp up that skin however, and you get a lovely brown color that is just beautiful and appealing.  I couldn't agree more.  


Finally, I am dreading going back to my healthy gym-rat habits.  Before I left for vacation I was down about 5 pounds and was feeling great, but after a vacation that included fried oreos, cheese steak hoagies, ice cream, ice cream and more ice cream, I have a feeling I will be back to the drawing board.  Oh well.  The fried oreos alone were worth it.

I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A,B,C's of vacation

Update:  Apparently I do not know my Abc's, because on my original post, I forgot the letter D.  Fortunately, my lovely mother reminded me and suggested  dog.  Go figure.  So mom, you ask and you shall receive.  Don't say I've never done anything for Cappy.


Bare- Bottomed





Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

I am starting to see the vision.

Yesterday, hubby and I continued work on our kitchen remodel project. Thus far there has been lots of dust, lots of unexpected problems, and lots of colorful language. An experience to say the least.

But, yesterday, we were given a glimmer of hope. After layers of who-knows-how-old linoleum and splintered sub-floors . . .

we found the original hard wood floors of our 1927 kitchen in pretty fabulous shape considering 80 plus years of wear and tear.

It was just the little gift that we needed to keep plodding onward. That tiny floor discovery put huge smiles on both of our faces. Just like a sometimes golfer that hits a fabulous tee shot and makes a rare birdie, we are just as encouraged to keep working to find our next beautiful shot, our next birdie.


I am off to remove staples from the floor. Hubby will be sanding his drywall and hopefully this week I will get to painting the newly formed pantry.

It is a long road ahead, but I can see the potential, and it will be beautiful!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Winning Isn't Everything

There are times when I think that I am married to the most competitive man alive.

This is not a new revelation for me. I see his penchant for competition almost daily. On our weekly dates, we often go to a local hangout for wings (his favorite), a beer, and a trivia game. We agonize over questions like, "What do a movie, a car and a tuxedo have in common?" And we are uncommonly tickled when we are the only team to figure out the answer . . . they can all be rented.

So, no, I am not surprised at hubby's love to compete. I hear him start his trash talk at dinner each night with the two older kiddies. He starts with something like, "Are you ready tonight? Are you ready for Dad to kick your butt in Wii Mario Kart?" The kids giggle and trash talk right back, and after dinner clean up, they head down to the basement for the tournament. Once there, I can hear their voices waft up through the air vents, and I smile at how much they too enjoy competition.

Heck, hubby loves competition. I know this. Why else would he love coaching so much? In my estimation, even though he can no longer go long for a pass or even post-up under the basket, he can still be a competitor when he coaches. I get this.

That's why when the family saw the sign on the boardwalk for free pizza, I should not have been surprised when Paul's interest was piqued. The sign read, "Three Brothers Pizza . . . Eat a whole pizza in 15 minutes and win 100 pizzas." Hubby looked over at me, smiled, and I knew. He actually thought that he could do it! Hubby was seriously  considering eating an entire pizza to win . . . more pizza.

"Annie, what do you think?"

Playing dumb I answered, "What do I think about what?"

"You know,"  he replied.  "The contest.  I think that I could do it."

Not wanting to burst his prideful bubble I answered, "Well, I have seen you eat a whole Domino's pizza before, so . . ."  I trailed off in thought, but he jumped right in.

"I know. I know," he said excitedly.  "And look, if I eat it in one hour, I can still get 10 free pizzas!"

An hour definitely sounded much more reasonable to me, but my more pressing thought was about how we would utilize and eat 10 free pizzas when we lived more than 3 states away.  I should have realized that hubby was not in it for the prize.  I quickly learned that he was in it for the bragging rights when he trotted back to me after speaking with the owner and stated, "Only 4 people out of 3500 have done it!"

This would have scared me away.  That and the sight of the Three Brothers large pizza that measured 26 inches in diameter.  It was one monster pizza.  No measly Domino's special here! Hubby was undaunted, however, and later that week he did it.  

He entered the contest.

According to him, the first two slices were delicious and went down in less than 8 minutes.

The second two went a bit slower but still were consumed at a good pace.

The third two went down . . .

with some difficulty . . .

and then . . .

to put it politely . . .

tried to make their way back up.

Hubby fought valiantly and kept those pesky slices down, but it was over. He could not take another bite.

No free pizzas.

When I asked him if he regretted entering the competition, he looked at me incredulously and said, "Nope!  I gave it my best shot, I'll get my picture on the wall, and I now know that I never want to enter another pizza eating contest again."

Well said.

I figured that he had learned his lesson.

I was wrong.  

Two nights later hubby and my brother-in-law ordered all-u-can-eat crab legs.  My brother-in-law ate 4 rounds.  Paul ate six.

At least he left vacation on a win.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The View From My Back Porch

This was the view from my back porch for two short weeks.

Can you believe those blues? Whoa! It just blows me away.

There is just something about waking up to beauty that makes my coffee taste just that little bit better!

It will be so hard to leave . . .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Poop Happens

On the beach yesterday, I had that all too familiar feeling.  I needed to find a bathroom . . . and fast!  So, being the polite and discreet mom that I am, I calmly let my family and hubby know that they were on kid patrol for a bit, without me.

"Hey ya'll!  I need to go use the facilities quickly, OK?"  I quietly announced.

Knowing nods accompanied a few waves of hands, and I was free to go.

Except for E.  Being the literal kid that he is, he didn't get my turn of phrase.

When I was only about 10 feet away, E said loudly, "Hey mom?  Where are you going?"

Trying to be discreet, I answered in a lower decibel, "I am going back to the house to go to the bathroom, buddy."

Remembering what I had shared with him earlier in the week, E proudly said, "Well mom, just go pee in the ocean!"

I blushed, smiled, and visibly shook my head to indicate that that was not going to work for me in my current situation.  I turned and walked another 15 feet toward the house when E shouted the following . . .


I didn't even turn around to the chorus of laughter that erupted.

Poop happens.

It should become my motto.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not Me! Vacation Edition

It is Monday, and I have some dooozies for the Not Me! carnival of therapy today.  If it gets too much for you, may I suggest that you step away from your screen, catch your breath, and return when you can.  Remember!  I have warned you!

On to the insanity . . .

It was Not Me that advised E to add his part to the water balance in the Atlantic Ocean rather than walk all the way back to the beach house to use the facilities.  Clearly, I would not have advised my five year old to pee in the ocean rather than the toilet.  I would never!  I would also not have laughed as I witness his shocked face turn to pure glee as he realized that I was actually serious. Nope!  Not Me!

It was also not me that attempted to bake a Fourth of July treat and almost poisoned the family with chemical fumes.  I would have checked that the oven was not being used for snack storage before I turned it on to preheat.  I would never have melted 5 bags of snacks in their  plastic snack bags all over the oven.  Ridiculous!

It was not me that ordered fried oreos  (Yes, you read that correctly.  Fried. Oreos. Ummmm. Heaven???)  on the boardwalk under the guise that the kiddies needed to try new things on vacation.  It was not me that walked down the boardwalk with a look of pure pleasure on my face as I munched happily on that hot and sweet, fried doughy goodness.  It was not my children that begged me to get a second order of the treats after they scarfed down the first order with me in about 2 minutes flat.  They would never get off on such junk food.  Neither would I.

It was not me that promptly googled a calorie count for a fried oreo when I returned from the boardwalk.

It was also not me that fainted when I saw the dreaded calorie count.

I t was not me that allowed dear Ellerie to have her very own ice cream.  It was also not me that allowed her to solely feed herself the said ice cream.  It was not me that laughed with El as she dumped the soupy, melted contents on her head and then licked the drips as they ran down into her mouth.  Nope! Not me!  I would realize just how much of a mess ice cream in your hair creates.  I would never indulge a kiddie for my own enjoyment.  Silly!

It is not me that is loving being on vacation.


Much better!

On to week two of vacation . . .

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Problems of a Wart-Free Vacation

I am in a bit of a limbo here.

Sharing a vacation with my family and with my mom and dad is a joyous occasion.  Yet, I also find it imperceptibly difficult, too.

Why?  You ask.

Simple.  It is hard to be the mother when your mother thinks of you as the daughter.  

Role definition has never come easy to my clan.  In fact, there is a running joke in the family about asking a question and getting an answer.  No matter who poses the question or who is supposed to answer, inevitably, my mother answers it for him or her.  Never fail!  It used to make my sister and my own skin crawl when mom would do this.  Now, we just shrug, giggle, and realize that mom means no harm.  She is just being a mom in her own mom way. 

But, when you are used to being the mom and being responsible for your own family day in and day out, it is very difficult to have someone (even if it is your loving and dear mom) try to up and take care and take control of you and yours.  Next to impossible I would say.  Really, even when it comes to deciding on food for dinner, my family looks to me and hubby, but mom also wants input too.  Because she is, of course, always a mom first.  And, even though my brain logically understands this, my heart sometimes jumps first.  So, instead of two adult moms coming to a rational decision about dinner.  We get one older mom with hurt feelings and one younger mom trying to balance her mom/ daughter role so that no one gets upset.  

Clearly, this doesn't work.

Instead of a harmonious blend of generations, we get a cacophony of clashing roles!

We gnash teeth . . .
We walk on eggshells with our decisions. . .
We try to put ourselves in the other person's position . . .

But. . .

We fail quite often.  

And, this makes for some very grumpy, very non-vacation like moments of power struggling . . . interrupted by moments of sheer,relaxing fun.

So, while not the ideal vacation every moment of every day, it is my real vacation, where my whole family gets together . . . warts and all.  We may argue over who picks the activity or how to deal with a cranky, up too late toddler, but we still can laugh over me burning up all the snacks stored in the oven because I didn't check to see the oven was empty. We can still giggle over escaped naked kids running amok after a necessary sand-removing bath.  We can still roar over silly squirt gun fights with the kiddies or even how my mom forgot to rinse conditioner out of her hair and only "remembered" why her hair was a bit greasy a day later.  Those are some good times.  Undeniably.

So, warts are good.

And, frankly, I wouldn't have my vacation wart-free for the world.  Because in my book, wart-free would equal laugh-free. And boring.

Not my kind of vacation.

I'll take my vacation (and my life, for that matter) laugh-filled . . . with a  large side of warts. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vacation Realities

The Good . . .

(A nap, of course!)

The Bad . . .

(Hair that is!)

And . . . The UGLY!

(Cappy- sporting the cone of shame!)

At least family makes vacation bearable!

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Girl


Always my baby




Always willing to help

Impossibly kind

Loving and loved

******Check out the inspired room for more beautiful life moments.


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