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Entries from November 2010

Fountain Of Youth

Just a little teaser picture from a couple days ago, here in Charleston (click to embiggerate):


I love, love, love, this picture of Sophia.  She's my good-time gal, that's for sure! (And yes, it was warm out!)

I have far less free time hanging out at these hotels than I thought I would, so a longer blog update will probably have to keep 'til we get home. But we'll see...


Sunday Stealing: Thanksgiving 2010

Linky, linky!


What was the last thing you put in your mouth?

A "coopa coofa," as my dad would say. Translation: a cup of coffee.

How late did you stay up last night and why?

If you mean Friday night, I crashed before midnight. If you mean Saturday night, well, it's currently 4:33 AM on Sunday, and I'm still goin' strong! Why? Who knows why? I had a bajillion things to do (laundry, packing, shop reports) to get ready to check out of this resort in the morning and drive to my dad's, and if I slept, I'd oversleep, so...

If you could move somewhere else, would you?

Heck yeah. Don't get me wrong; I'm seriously fond of Virginia Beach. But I love being on the move, on the go. I get bored, and we've been there going on 8 years. Eight years! I haven't lived somewhere that long as an adult, by five years! I told my dad I'd never live in South Carolina (I'm an ardent Southern mentality-loather, sorry), but I'm currently loving Charleston. My heart belongs in Florida, however.

Have you ever been kissed under fireworks?

Sure.  My favorite time was just before 4 July 2001, when I was immensely pregnant with Chloë. We lived in a small shack in Panama City Beach. Across the way, someone in another shack was out in the field, setting off fireworks. We came out of our house to watch. Standing in the driveway together, Rob stood behind me with his arms around my big belly. The 'works boomed and banged, and the baby in me jumped and kicked wildly each time. Did she like it or hate it? I couldn't tell, but I was loving the moment. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the kisses. Too bad.)

Do you believe exes can be friends?

Sure they can. I'm friends with several of mine. My husband doesn't love that too much.

When was the last time you cried really hard?

Bunco night. The second Wednesday of the month. And if I don't get ahold of my shrink and get him to send me an emergency script for the meds I forgot to pack, I'll do it again soon!

What items could you not go without during the day?

Diet Coke. My iPhone. Some kind of lip balm (preferably Nivea; that stuff's the best). And an internet connection.

Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?

Stephanie and her new baby, Luke, 13 months ago.

How do you feel about your life right now?

A bit uneasy. Things are tentative on several fronts. But all will be okay in the end.  I know it.

If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?

Too many unread and unanswered messages! (Sorry, friends!)

Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?

Uh, yeah. Of all the possible vices, drugs have never been a part of my picture. (Not that all the rest have, but you didn't ask about those.)

Has anyone ever called you perfect before?

Hardly. But I have been told I have a perfect nose, which is good enough for me. Who wants an ugly schnozz?

Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m.: who do you want it to be?

I can't think of anyone I'd want knocking on my window at 0200! I'd jump out of my skin. If I had to pick, I guess I'd hope it was my sister, Stacey.

Do you think too much or too little?

Entirely too much, if there is such a thing. It never stops. Speaking of which, last night, Sophia was lying next to me in the bed, trying to fall asleep. After a while, she rolled over and told me, "Mommy, I can't go to sleep. My brain thinks of everything all at once." I knew exactly how she felt. Poor kid. Five is too young for that!

Do you believe in fairy tales?

Yes and no. Do I believe in Happily Ever After? Sure, but not Happily-Every-Second-Ever-After. And I'm pretty sure there aren't really any ogres or monsters.

Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?

Is that a thing? I've probably licked my thumb and then rubbed the CD, but I'm not a CD-licker. Or a window-licker, for that matter...

What’s the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated?

21 years. I was 21, and he was 42. Although "dated" isn't quite the right word. I'm not going to say anything else about that!

Have you ever been on a blind date?

Several. One time, the guy was a devil-worshipper. I never saw him again...! You meet some interesting people in Miami, that's for sure.

Do you have any friends that you’ve known for 10 years or more?

Well, sure, I do. Lots, actually. Wouldn't it be quite sad if I didn't?

Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?

Oh, yeah. Mr. Magnarelli (I know you're cringing, those of you who went to BHS with me) was so cute!

What song do you want played at your funeral?

Something funny. "Another One Bites the Dust" or something. Who cares? I'll be dead.

Would you tell your parents if you were gay?

I guess. I don't know. I'm not, so it's hard to surmise what I'd do if so oriented. But I'd like to think I'd be open about it. 

What would your last meal be before getting executed?

I haven't the foggiest. I can only eat an egg's worth of food now, so it really wouldn't matter. KFC sounds good right now. Do they deliver to prisons?

Do you walk around the house naked?

I sure do, all the time.

What do you do as soon as you walk in the house?

I've told you this before, but I'll tell you again, so you can sleep tonight: I hang up my keys on the hook where they belong, put my sunglasses on the shelf, take off my shoes (tho I've been keeping them on lately for whatever reason) near the front door, walk into the office and put my purse down by the desk.

Who is the person you can count on the most?


What is your favorite Holiday?

Billie, I guess. I don't know any others.

Would you ever get plastic surgery?

Sure. And I'm gonna. About half of my width is taken up by the loose, jiggly skin left over after rapidly losing 200 lbs. It's not a pretty picture (and yet I still walk around the house naked, go figure). I wouldn't touch my face, except maybe to get a chin implant, because I have an insufficient mandible (thanks, Dad). I don't think I'd ever do anything to make myself look younger, though. Oh, and I'm probably going to get new boobs. The ones I have now are so very sad. Like golf balls in tube socks.

Have you ever caught a fish?

Yeah. On a line, in a seine, in a throw-net... I've caught fish, sure.  I don't think I kept any, but the fishing I did was always for science, not sport or food.

What is the first thing you notice about people?

Honestly, it's usually the color of their skin. I'm very aware of that (but in a good way). And then their sex. And then everything else. I notice all of it.

What is the farthest you’ve been from home?

Well, I lived in Guam, so I guess I can't say Guam, since it was home for a brief period. I guess it would have to be our trip to Europe in 2008.

How did you meet your spouse?

We met online. Have I told you this story? If you want to hear the whole thing, leave me a note about it in the comments, and I'll make a separate "how we met" post, 'kay?

Where was the last place you drove (other than home/school/work)?

Friday, I drove from our home in Virginia Beach to here (Charleston, SC). I find it interesting that I drove relatively the same distance to Pigeon Forge, TN, exactly one week before that. The rest stops for that trip, when we had two extra people with us (I'll get to that story eventually), added up to an extra FOUR HOURS. For this trip, our rest stops totaled less than 45 minutes. That includes all stops to eat, refuel the van, and pee! We hauled ass this time.

Well, that was an abrupt end, huh?


Saturday 9: Thanksgiving 2010


Link up here if you playing along... yesterday! ;)

1. Tell us about your very favorite (yes we know that's redundant) Thanksgiving.

Thanksgivings have been pretty good for the past 10 years. I think maybe my favorite was that of 2001. I'll never forget it. I don't know why; it was pretty quiet and uneventful. Chloë was a newborn. I dressed her up for her first big holiday. I was so excited for her. I couldn't wait to make a big feast with my new husband. In the end, the turkey turned out beautifully (we used a recipe I found in Parade magazine and still use it to this day), and the rest of the food was great. The baby? Slept through the entire thing. It cracked me up. The only pictures I have of her on that day, with her pretty dress on, were of her sleeping in her bright red crib!

2. What are you doing for Turkey Day this year?

Well... heh. The kids and are I traveling throughout South Carolina right now, and we're not due to drive home until Thanksgiving Day itself. There's a chance we may go home a day earlier. I was hoping I could find cheap tickets to have hubby fly down and meet us here the night before T-day, but it didn't pan out. Pretty sucky. Not sure what we'll do at this point...

3. If you were to go to somebody else’s house, what would be your favorite dish to bring?

I always have a hard time with that. I never know what to bring for main dishes, or sides. I'm not a bad cook; I'm just indecisive. And neurotic. I'd rather bring a dessert, every time. I'm good at desserts. Maybe a pie. Or cupcakes. What kind do you like?

4. Tell us about the funniest person that you'll be with this Thanksgiving.

Sophia! I'd normally say "me," because I'm pretty freaking funny if I do say so myself, but I think that little girl has me beat. She's hysterical. Hey, what can I say? The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

5. What would surprise us to know about your Thanksgivings?

In the 10 years we've been together, I don't think we've been with anyone outside our little immediate family even once! It's just been us. (Correct me if I'm wrong, please.) I would absolutely LOVE to be part of a huge feast with family and/or friends just once. Eh, but maybe not: growing up, we always had a huge group, and we always had big drama. Maybe smaller is nicer.

6. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you’re happy to see?

Ha! I swear, I never read the questions in advance. See #5.

7. What did your family do for Thanksgiving when you were a kid? Do you still do it?

Everyone gathered at our house. We had a dining room with a pretty large table. And a kitchen with a table, and if we needed, people sat in the living room and family room, too. And there was always an argument. Every birthday and Christmas, and every other holiday, there were always tears. It was like our favorite tradition. No, I definitely haven't repeated that one with my kids! Thank God.

8. We know you've been asked this probably 15 times this week. But share with us in 2010, what are you most thankful for?

I haven't, actually, because I've been absent from the blogosphere. 2010 has been pretty hard on us as a family. I am thankful we have each other. Whatever happens, we are together, and nothing else really matters.  People may criticize our marriage and our parenting, but most of the people I know who are doing so have had multiple failed marriages and/or are doing things raising their children that make me raise my eyebrows, so... yeah. I'll stop there! 

9. Okay, the big question: are you going to 'attend' any of the "Black Friday" sales? ...and if you are, are you hard core serious like the 5 am "be there" crowd?

God, no. But this year, I thought about going out for a few awesome deals, for the first time in my entire life. I would have, too, if we had the money. But, we don't, So, no. (Gosh, could I use more commas??)

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!


Paging Dr. House

Going on 

For over two months now, Rob and I have been increasingly perplexed about this breathing problem Sophia has been experiencing. Basically, she sighs deeply, over and over again, and complains about not being able to get enough air. Lately, on occasion, there has been slight wheezing associated with this, but mostly it's just the deep breathing.

Clearly, there is a problem. Not so clear is what the problem actually IS.

She has seen a doctor four separate times:

1: I took her to the pediatric clinic at the Naval Hospital. That doc basically told me that either (a) she's doing it for attention, or (b) she's learned to pleasure  herself. That nothing was wrong with her.

I knew she was wrong. I knew something was definitely wrong with my daughter.

2: A week or two later, I had Rob take her to the local (civilian) ER down the road. They took the issue more seriously, but they still couldn't find anything wrong. They gave her an Rx for an albuterol inhaler.

3: One week later, she's used the inhaler and still can't seem to catch her breath. Rob takes her back to the same civilian doctor. A different doctor sees her, one who was present for the previous week's visit. He has her run up and down the hallways, and her O2 sats drop. I don't know what else is done; Daddy isn't great about taking notes or giving me the pass-down from medical visits. This doc refers her to the local (civilian) children's hospital (where Jack had his "nut surgery" on 1 September of this year) for a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test).

4: To get insurance to pay for this PFT referral at Children's, I take her back to the military ped clinic. Again, they check her resting O2 sats (which are perfect), listen to her lungs (and hear nothing), and conclude that absolutely nothing is wrong with my kid. They can't refer her to Children's, because there is a pediatric pulmonologist on staff at Naval. They are reluctant to make the referral, though, because she isn't presenting as having asthma, allergies, or anything else. All they have is my say-so.  However, they agree to put in the referral, and I feel like they are doing it to pacify me. I don't care. I have zero doubt that something is definitely wrong with my kid. I just don't know what it is.

Friday afternoon: On the way down to Charleston, SC, which is where the kids and I currently are, Sophia once again experiences trouble getting enough air.  I am in tune with this child; I can tell by the sound now, before she voices a complaint. I know when she's having a hard time before she does, I think.  She confirms that she's having a hard time breathing. I pass her the inhaler and call Daddy to ask him to make the Ped Pulm appointment we have yet to successfully schedule, because we can never get through to the clinic.

He calls back. Their next availability isn't until January, so they'll probably refer her to Children's.

Are you banging your head against the wall right along with me, now?

Yes, Children's, where she was supposed to have been seen on 10 November for this issue. I had to cancel that appointment, because they wouldn't refer her out of network. Now, they will, because they can't fit her in. We'll probably have to wait just as long to be seen there as we would to be seen at Naval, but I'd rather go there because, well, the Naval hospital isn't high on my list of places I trust with my children's medical care. Or their lives (because, ah, I think they killed my son).

So I think what I'll do is, after seeing how far out the children's hospital will be able to schedule, call the original two ER docs and see if they can't use their positional (physicianal) influence to secure an earlier appointment for us. I mean, if we wait 'til January, we're looking at four months since the problem began. For a five-year-old who can't breathe.


And then, two hours after she puffed on the albuterol, she was asking for more. I tell her she has to wait two more hours.  She commences asking every five minutes if it has been four hours yet.

A light goes on in my head.

The first time she complained about this problem, we were in the van.

The times the problem has seemingly been the worst, we were in the van.

Right then, we were in the van.

My new van, which we bought about, oh... two weeks before the problem manifested itself.

Could there be a link???? Could she actually be allergic to something in the van? What about a chemical or coating that is present in new vehicles? New Honda vehicles? New Odysseys?

I don't know. I put in a call to our dealership and posed the question to a guy in the service department, but my phone conks out immediately afterward, and I miss his reply. (I've been having trouble with the beloved iPhone lately. I've had two appointments at two different Apple stores, but, um, I've missed them both. I'll try again on Tuesday...)

I did a search online, but the engine seems to think I've made a typo and keeps returning links about CAT allergies, not CAR allergies.

I think it's a significant coincidence, though. I honestly think I may be on to something.

My BFF, "Dr. Lisa," agrees, although she has no further suggestions as to what it could be. I suggest silicone, knowing that a great many products are coated with it during the manufacturing process, but she tells me that such an issue is generally more grave, more obvious, and... something else I forget. Not likely. So maybe it's something else.

Or, she suggests (and I'm aware I'm switching tenses like a crazy lady in this post, but since it's 4 in the morning and I'm thinking 'aloud' as I type, I figure you'll forgive me), it could be a positional problem. I also realize that the carseats she and Jack are riding in were purchased immediately after the new van. So maybe that's a factor? Could her O2 be dropping because of the position she's in? Not likely, since she's usually awake when it happens and, well, isn't a {premature} newborn... but who knows?

If we ever manage to see an actual pulmonary specialist, you can be sure I'll mention it.

Stay tuned.


So That Was Cool

Earlier, we were running errands and stopped by Chloë's dance school to pay this month's tuition.

When I walked in, I noticed one of the teachers (Miss S) chatting with a parent I'm friendly with (K). I hadn't seen K in a couple of years, but her daughter and Chloë had danced together for several years back in earlier days. Her younger daughter is Jack's age or so, and we both had another baby after that... and so we would sit at dance class and chit-chat every week, getting to know each other. It was strange that I hadn't seen her in a while, but apparently her daughter stopped dancing.

Anyway, when I walked in and realized it was K, without thinking, I reached out and whacked her on the arm, in my excitement!

She turned to me, stared at me for a few moments, and then said, "Um... am I supposed to know who you are???"

I said, "Yeah! I'm Chloë's mom??"

At the same time I realized she hadn't seen me since before I dropped 200 lbs, she realized who she was talking to. Her jaw literally almost dropped to the floor, and she didn't pick it up for a whole minute.

I smiled broadly.

"MELANIE?!!" she squealed! "Is that YOU!? You look AMAZING!!!"

"You really didn't know it was me?" I squealed back.

She had no idea. NONE.

Miss S confirmed that I have lost "two whole people" my husband's size. She has complimented me on that every time she has seen me lately!

So that was my little excitement for tonight.  It was a boost to the ego, for sure!


P.S. We just got back from a weekend in Tennessee. It wasn't a terrific trip. Maybe if you're good, I'll tell you about it...

Sunday Stealing: The 14-Q Meme

Sunday Stealing 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. What do you consider your hometown to be?

B'ville, NY - although my heart remains in Miami

2. What’s the hardest part of your average day?

Waking up! I like my slumber - when I can get it.

3. The easiest? Why?

When hubs walks in the door from work. Then I can handle anything.

4. What beverage do you reach for to quench your thirst?

Diet Coke

5. What is one not-so-secret goal you have for your life? I’ll let you keep your secret ones to yourself.

I would like to travel the world.

6. What physical pain do you fear most? For example, I’m trying to decide how bad my jaw pain needs to get before I risk a potential needle from my dentist. So, for me, throbbing is preferable to jabbing.

I would like to die by getting eaten by a shark. What a cool way to die - although I'm terrified of it at the same time.  Hope it's over quickly!

7. Where do you find solace?

Surprisingly, sometimes, I find it from my dad. As big a jerk as he can be, he's good with comforting words.  Recently, I stayed up all night stressing about a situation with a woman I know, and I called him the minute I knew he would be awake for the day. He told me, "Don't let her steal your peace. Don't let her rob you of your joy." It was good advice.

8. What makes you the saddest when you read/see the news?

The death of a child is the worst. :(

9. What do you eat for a favorite snack?

Lately, nothing. I really amn't eating enough at all right now... Although I recently rediscovered bananas, and they are yummy!

10. What movie could you/would you watch more than two or three times and still enjoy just as much as the first time?

Dirty Dancing or Grease

11. What boy first made you cry?

Hmm... I can't remember if I cried over any of those elementary school boys. I had a huge crush on Dennis B. in 4th & 5th grade. Now he's married to the sister of my first real boyfriend!

12. What brand of coffee/tea do you drink most often?

Whatever we have, I'm not particular. I do NOT like Seattle's Best, though - ick!

13. Dig in the dirt with or without garden gloves?

Without, because I hate losing my sense of touch - but I don't really like digging in the dirt and am not much of a gardener, either.

14. James Taylor or Carly Simon?

JT, baby - you've got a friend!


So maybe I'll be back later with some more 'real' posts - did you check out all the ones I did the other night? :D


Our Corolla!

(Ten points if you can tell me what that's from)


Skipping over Halloween for now, though I promise I'll go back... mid-week, the children and I took a mini-working vacation back down to a very, very, nice, nice hotel in Corolla, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were just there in October for that hotel mystery shop in Kitty Hawk just down the road, and we could have done this shop back-to-back, but I needed the money from that shop to pay for this one. Ya dig? Plus, that one had to be a weekend, and this one not, so it really wouldn't have worked out too well anyway. Here's the view from our balcony; we were upgraded to an Ocean View room, which wouldn't have happened if it weren't, well, November in the middle of the week. Lucky us. (Would you guess we were only on the 3rd floor? It looks way higher than that, doesn't it? I know!)

I was totally hoping Rob would come down after work and surprise us - we even prayed about it in the van on the way there - but alas, he broke his iPhone and was none too comfortable with the idea of riding in the middle of the night without it. And he'd have had to wake up at 0200 to get to work on time, which would have been really selfish of me to ask. So I did. What, did you think I wasn't selfish? (So what? I gave him all four of his Christmas presents yesterday, because I knew they would please him to have right away. That makes up for it a little bit, doesn't it?)


Hot Tub

After I finished all the work I could do for the time being, I took the kids to the indoor pool and hot tub. They have been dying to swim, since the beach-going season ended entirely too abruptly for them this year. Knowing about the hot tub at this hotel, and their enduring love for staying in hotel rooms in general, was pretty much the sole reason I took this shop in the first place. For them.  Nothing pleases me more as a mother than seeing my children have the times of their lives. I have a dozen pictures of them in the hot tub that night, but I chose this not-particularly-good one because I think Sophia looks especially lovely in it. Red eyes and all.

{It's difficult to take a bad picture of the always-photogenic Chloë, and Jack is ridiculously cute himself. Sophia's beauty - while boundless in my eyes - is somewhat more difficult to capture on film. Maybe because she's so active, or maybe because she's less classically beautiful than the other two, but when I find a picture that makes me stop and say, "ahh, there it is," I have to share it.}

{Also, have I told this story? When Chloë was born, and they showed her to me, I was instantly taken with her. She was impossibly gorgeous from Day One, and it's been hard to be humble about that as her mother. Robby, well... and Jack, too, was so freaking cute from the get-go, I couldn't stand it. And then Sophia came, and they showed her to me, there on the OR table, and my first thought was, "Whoa! That ain't mine!" Ahaha! She was NOT a beautiful newborn. No, sir, she was not. But later that day, when they brought her to me, and she started nursing as soon as I put her to the breast, and I could take the time to truly admire what we had made... that's when I discovered how very lovely she really was.}

{And one more thing before I continue on about the trip: you see Jack's hair? Rob and I had been 'arguing' for a while about its length, which I deemed too... long, and he insisted was just right. Well, Sophia solved that problem by hacking off a huge chunk from the front. Out came the clippers, that night. Thanks, Soap!}


See what I mean? Such joy to be had here, in a little pool, in a hotel, on an island, off the coast, with my babies. Totally worth the trip.



I don't remember exactly what sea creature Sophia was pretending to be here, because she often pretends to be one animal or another. (Lately, she gallops around the living room like a horse, stopping now and then to rear back and whinny. It's both highly entertaining and thoroughly annoying, when she won't stop!) I think she was a fish out of water. She was rocking back and forth, back and forth... Nothing provokes her to do these things, other than her own vivid imagination. And don't tell Chloë this, but I think Sophia would be even more talented as an actor than she is. Not that Chloë doesn't have talent. She does; but Sophia? I think she has some sort of gift.


I was in the middle of admiring Sophia's antics on the deck when something made me turn to the left, and there s/he was: an absolutely beautiful fox. A red fox, I guess. You know I never look things up until later. I had seen her (we'll call her a vixen) out of the corner of my eye and assumed she was a cat, but when I glanced over, I knew something wasn't right about that. After the double-take, I was stunned to see that it was a fox! At first, she was looking into the hotel, more to the right, but when I moved to train the camera on her, she noticed me. I tried to quietly get the childrens' attention, so they wouldn't miss this opportunity, but I didn't want to be too loud or have them come running and make her sprint away before they saw her. It worked; all of them were able to sneak over and get a good look at this foxy lady before she spooked and tore off in the direction of the beach. It was marvelous; they're still talking about it.



You see these two dorks? After the fox left, they wanted to see the pictures of her on my camera. Flipping through them, they noticed the ones of Sophia being a fish out of water. Or a seal. Or a dolphin. I don't know. Of course, they wanted their photos taken right away, doing the same thing. We're not camera-shy here, are we?

I hadn't been able to find the top to my own bathing suit, so I didn't swim. Keeping me away from the water is a chore, and even I got bored after a couple of hours of watching my own adorababies having fun. I convinced them to take a break for dinner and some cartoons, but only after promising that we would come back before bedtime.  We visited the Front Desk to inquire about ordering in a pizza, but no one delivers there in the off-season. We'd have to go out and get one ourselves. If you've been to OBX, you'll know that nothing is nearby; everything is at least a 20-minute drive, so I wasn't thrilled, but the kids had to eat!

Somewhere between pool and pizza (and sorry, but I do not recommend pizza from The Tomato Patch in Corolla - ick! There is such a thing as lousy pizza after all!), Chloë came down with a severe headache. I think it was a migraine, because she was nauseous and crying and miserable. She gets them sometimes. Of course, I have an enormous stash of OTC meds here at home, but I had to drop by the Harris Teeter on the island to get some Tylenol anyway. Bah. (And bad Mommy: I wasn't thinking and bought regular Ty instead of children's, since they can all swallow pills now. It wasn't until we'd gotten back to the hotel and HT was closed that I read the box and re-remembered it's not for children under 12! Eek! I said a prayer and gave her one anyway, she was suffering so...)

The kiddos and I picked at the sucky pizza (they're so going to sue me, aren't they?) and watched some Nick-nick-nick-na-nick-nick-nick before the Littles started begging to go back to the pool. I was in the middle of an online chat with Rob, so they really had to tug on me to get me to go. I missed him, what can I say? Chloë wanted to stay back at the room and play on the computer (which is fine; she can only go on the sites I have programmed on her username), so I took the kids and left.

This time at the pool, I just couldn't help myself. The water looked so inviting. I rolled up my pant legs to my knees, grabbed half a dozen of the tiny pool towels to sit upon, and put my feet in the hot tub water. Ahhh...! It felt amazing. So good, in fact, that it didn't take very long before I was looking around to make sure no one could see me. I had an athletic bra on, and boy-cut unnerpannies, so after I shucked my shirt and pants and surveyed myself in the mirror-like windows, I decided that even if they could see, it wasn't so terribly obvious I was wearing my unmentionables in the pool! Sophia and Jack couldn't stop giggling and cracking wise about my wearing underwear in public, but I didn't care. I was in the water at last!

I can't stay in a hot tub too long without getting dizzy, so after about 10 minutes, I stepped out and put one of those teeny towels around me for a sarong. (Amazing! It fit with more than enough length to spare. Couldn't have said that two years ago.) Sophia wanted more room to play, so she trotted over to the pool for a swim...

... and swim, she did!!! She SWAM, people! Doggy-paddle, yes, but she went from the shallow end, diagonally across to the deep end. Five feet! There's no way she could touch there. At first, she was hesitant to go out there, but when I offered her $5 or a dozen doughnuts to do it, she went right away. (And she didn't pick the doughnuts, can you believe that? Okay, she did at first, but after she gave it some thought, she realized, "I want the $5, so I can get a doughnut AND a toy!" Smart girl.) I was ecstatic. Poor Jack kept trying to steal my attention away with silly little tricks I'd seen him do a hundred times, but I would not be moved: my baby could swim!!!

Chloë came into the pool area while I was still squealing with delight. She wanted to see, too, so Sophia happily showed off her new-found skill to her older sister. Neither Jack nor Chloë can swim, so while they were impressed, they didn't like it too much!

At 2200, about 10 minutes after Chloë joined us, it was closing time at the pool. Not a moment too soon; the chlorine fumes were giving me a headache. We went upstairs to get ready for bed, which was a huge joke, since none of them fell asleep before midnight. In fact, when I finally lay down after 0200, the girls' eyes were still open! Oy vey.

We never got the 0800 wake-up call I'd requested, which completely threw off my Thursday plans. I didn't rouse until 0930. The drapes kept the room so dark, I thought it was still the middle of the night. Chloë couldn't believe it, either. She was awake but thought the same thing! Argh. No more light-blocking drapes for me.

Sophia was soundly sleeping, so the Bigs and I snuck off to breakfast without her. We brought her back some food, but on she slept. It wasn't until after I'd showered and started packing that she finally stirred. With the promise of a muffin and apple, she was awake and eating in a flash. Doing what she was born to do: chow down!

After she ate, I rushed the kids down to the pool for a quick dip. They wanted to stay, but I'd warned them I only had time to get Sophia swimming on video before we had to leave. She really didn't feel like doing The Big Swim this time, so I had to take what I could get and dash off to finish packing. It's amazing how much crap three kids can generate in one night's hotel stay... really. You'd be surprised.  We checked out (I'm skipping all the boring shop-related tasks), hopped in the van, and sped off toward home. What should have taken two hours was completed in 3/4 of the time, but don't fret, because I never did more than 5 mph over the limit. People were passing me. Scout's honor.

Anyway, I'll keep what happened after that for another post, and leave with you with this fine cinematographic evidence of my youngest child doing her best impression of The Thorpedo:


Isn't that frickin' cute?! I had it on 'loop' for a half-hour, watching her little legs go crazy. Hee. I love it.


Not Just For Dogs

So the other day, I was actually doing laundry (it hasn't happened much this last quarter-annum; ask Rob) for once, when I turned and found this in the master bath:


That cat was so far into the toilet, having a drink (note to self: remember to fill the cats' water dish once in a while), that I couldn't believe she didn't fall in. Of course, I had to grab the iPhone and take a picture - what else should one do?


This is her seriously "Perturbed at Being Disturbed" glare. Oooooh, Star! You so scarreh!

(I was hesitant to post this picture, lest y'all think the shower is really that nasty. It's not. The insert cracked, and Rob repaired it. It works, but it's SO ugly and looks nasty. It'll have to be re-repaired before we try to sell this mess house!)


I Think I Like It


If we're not friends on Facebook (and why not? I'll take ya), then you haven't seen this self-picture of me before. I was up late, sorting out all my make-up, since I have amassed large quantities of it with all the drugstore "deal shopping" I've done this year... and got to playing. I don't usually wear eye-liner, and if I do, I almost never wear it on the bottom lid. It smudges terribly on me, and creases and makes me look older. I want to BE older, but I don't want to LOOK older, know what I'm sayin'?

Anyway. Despite the Big Gulp and other crap in the background, and the funky bangs, I like it. I like the coloring in this picture - and I like the rarely-seen-on-me eye line-age. What say you? Do I look good for 34, or what? (Don't say 'or what,' my ego is fragile. Unless your 'what' is better than 'good,' in which case, by all means, have at it.)

Okay. On to a real post. I mean it this time. Pinky swear.


So Far Behind, I Think I'm First!

Busy, busy, busy. Whew! Have I mentioned we've been busy?

It's 0700 right this second, and I have been up all night. But don't worry about me and my lack of sleep, because - get this - last week, I slept all night for FIVE whole nights in a row! Five! You know when that happened last? I'm not sure, but I know it wasn't this calendar year. And, I have The Sick, so I spent all day Friday lyin' on the couch after sleeping the whole night through. School? What school?

Green is my favorite color - blue-green, actually, the color of the water in the Carib - but I like to type in this shade of blue the best. Don't ask me why that is or why I'm sharing it. You asked me to write more than just memes, so take what you can get, man! ;)

I know I still owe you lots of Halloween pictures, and I may or may not get to that tonight, but not right now. I'm missing some, so I have to go on the hunt. But, I think they will be worth the wait. And seriously? Halloween was already a week ago? What the hell, time? Could you possibly go a little faster?!

(Those of you without children may not be aware that when your kids are young, time goes faster than it does for other people. What is it they say? Oh, yes, "The days are long, but the years are short." It's so true. So true.)

Here's something you're probably dying to know: After I publish a blahg post, I usually try to read it on the screen you see. I do that for two reasons: I like to read (and laugh at) my own (often corny) writing, and it's easier to proofread there. Sometimes, like when I've spent too long on and am utterly sick of a post, I skip that until later. And then, I am invariably chagrined to find at least three things that need correcting. I imagine that you're all keeping details lists of my typos and just-plain-wrongos... You are, aren't you? Don't lie to me.

Just for fun, I'm not going to post-read this one. Now go through it and find the mistakes, and leave them in the comments.


Okay, okay, that was just a teaser post. You probably won't even read this until I've gone through the pictures and published at least one more. But, if you manage to squeak a comment in by me before I do, you get, well... you get a big damn gold star.

Saturday 9: Watching The Wheels

Hey, y'all - I hear that you want fewer memes and more "regular" posts, and I will get right on that. Look for some chatty, newsy posts later on tonight, I promise!


1. What do you see when you are watching the wheels go round?

Uh, sometimes I really don't even know how to answer these questions. Is it just me?

2. Do you watch reality shows? Which ones?

Nope, we don't have TV service.

3. What's your favorite all-time reality show?

I love "The Apprentice"! (Sorry about the incorrect formatting, but Typepad is being nutty about all that right now.)

4. Do you feel "reality" shows are real or are they faked?

Eh, a little of both, but if it's entertaining, I really don't care.

5. What does your personal neon sign say to the world?

This week's questions suck, I think.

6. Ever seen a neon sign with certain letters burned out so that it said something unintended?

Yeah, sure, but I can't think of anything amusing off the top of my head right now.

7. What gives you a headache? Could be a scent, a sound, someone's actions - anything.

Cigarette smoke gives me an instant migraine. Ugh, I hate it.

8. What song, artist or album in your music collection would you pull out and play if you wanted to give your roommate/neighbors a huge, head-splitting headache?

Seriously? Am I in a bad mood, or do these questions really bite?! Anyway... I don't really listen to music like that, so I don't now. Sorry.

9. What do you do to relieve stress?

Knit, sleep or my husband, depending on my mood and what's available ;)

Fin... thankfully. 


Field Trip: Hunt Club Farm (And The Usual Blah-Blah-Blah)

Last week, we had a field trip to Hunt Club Farm, which is where our family traditionally goes each October to go on a hayride, pick a pumpkin, and all the usual stuff. However, money's tight, so when I saw one of the local homeschooling groups was offering a special outing priced at only six bucks per child (and free for parents), and we usually spend waaaay more than that to go there, I jumped on board. I was hoping Rob would be able to go, too, but alas, he got switched back to daytime shift one day before we were set to go and missed it. Rats!

That morning sucked for me, too. We were supposed to be at the farm by 11:15 AM. I had lost my debit card the week before that, and the replacement still has yet to arrive. So, I've been borrowing Rob's when I need it, and that morning, I needed it. I hastily (because they've been sleeping late, and I've been letting them) woke up the children and fed them, and when it was almost time to go, my phone rang. I got sucked into a lengthy conversation, despite my protests that I was on the way out the door, and so... yes, I admit it, I continued the phone call into the car and down the road.

No, I didn't get into an accident. Which is good, since I've already had TWO in the new van. I'm dropping it off in the morning to get fixed. But I digress...

Anyway, I had to stop at the bank for some cash, and Penelope (the van) also needed refueling. I was below "empty" and didn't think I could make it all the way out to the distant farm on the remaining fumes. All the while, I yakked and yakked on the phone.

When I stopped at the drive-thru ATM, I put in the card, punched in my PIN, and tried to get some cash. Only, I had forgotten it was Rob's card, so of course the PIN was wrong. I couldn't remember his PIN, and I was on the phone already, so I couldn't call him to get it. So I canceled the transaction and drove off... leaving his card behind.

I knew I shouldn't continue the conversation and drive anymore, so I pulled into a parking space at the bank until I finished. Which took forever and a day, because this was a notorious talker, and I should never have answered the phone. While I sat there, an elderly couple drove by and motioned to me to roll down the window. I did, and she shouted that I had left behind Rob's card in the ATM, and she had brought it inside the bank for me. Phew, thanks!

After the call finally ended, I ran inside to get Rob's card. "We can't give it to you," they said, "without some identification." Gah! Of course, stupid me. I ran back out to get my wallet, and back in to show them my ID. Only then, they old me, "We can't give it to you, because it's not your card." Seriously? I have 37 different things in my wallet showing my name, which is the same last name as my husband's and ALSO, I am a joint owner on that account. I mean, really, now they were being ridiculous, and I was running super late by that point, and why didn't they tell me that the first time, AND now I had no way to get the cash I needed OR get gas to get to the farm!

I stomped out, fuming. I'm good at that. Fuming.

So I called Rob, all pissed, swearing a blue streak (some people out there, who only know me casually, would be shocked at the potty mouth I have when I'm angry!), telling him I needed him to go get his #$%^&* card at the bank and then bring it to me at the farm, because I seriously needed some gas. Thankfully, he was able to get out and go do that for me, or I would have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Fortunately, we made it to the farm without running out of gas, AND to a gas station afterward without getting stranded. Unfortunately, we were late to our field trip, and the hayride was first. Fortunately, we hauled arse to the hayride departure zone, and our group was just about to board. Unfortunately (have I told you about the "Fortunately/Unfortunately" car game? Remind me), the group leader, K., had left our tickets at the office, across the big parking lot from where we were. Fortunately, I've dropped 200 lbs and can now sprint with the best of 'em! Unfortunately, the kids did NOT stay put like I told them to, and raced after me in non-runnin-friendly shoes. Fortunately, we made it back to the hayride juuuuust in the nick of time, and they let us on-board. Whew. Day saved. And since hayrides are one of my absolute favoritest things about Fall, I forgot about all the earlier mess at the bank and resolved to enjoy our field trip.

On to the pictures (taken with the trusty iPhone, since I forgot the camera in my rush to get out the door):

Hunt Club Farm 001

Jack, who is badly in need of a haircut and reminds me of Captain Kangaroo, and Sophia on the hayride - hard to tell when someone blinks on the iPhone screen!

 Hunt Club Farm 002

Chloë, altogether too excited about something she has probably seen dozens of times in the past

Hunt Club Farm 003 

After the hayride, we were let into the petting zoo to visit the animals. Can you see inside the little green house? There were baby goats! And... a chicken, which thoroughly amused my brood.


Hunt Club Farm 005

We were all "awwww"ing when one of the kidlets wandered out for a suckle. So wee! I don't think I'd ever seen a goat this small before, so it was a joy.


Hunt Club Farm 006

A piggy, which Chloë kept cracking me up by calling a "warthog" - mayhaps we've seen The Lion King once too many?

 Hunt Club Farm 007

Next there was a cage that housed all kinds of different birds, from turkeys to doves to an African Crowned Crane. Sophia loves birds, so it wasn't until Chloë shouted out, "Look, a pony!" that we were able to drag her away from them. Lately, Sophia is all about "ponies, unicorns, and horses," as she tells me.


Hunt Club Farm 009

The afore-mentioned pony, in which Jack had zero interest.

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A zebu, which I kept calling a "cow," until I saw the sign. Which may not have been wrong, actually, since this is a type of cattle. I just don't know if it was a lady-zebu or a gentleman one, and I didn't get up close enough to, er, check...


Hunt Club Farm 012

The chicken habitat is always a favorite of kids, mine and all others'. They're allowed to pick up and hold any they can catch, and boy, do they try! I imagine the chickens are well and truly traumatized by the time Sophia gets through with them, although I do my best to keep her from chasing them!

 Hunt Club Farm 015

My current favorite snap, and also my desktop picture. Love!

Hunt Club Farm 016

What's in here??

Hunt Club Farm 017

Why, it's Soapy, trying to hide from her mama!

Hunt Club Farm 018

"Mommy, look at me! I'm doing it!" (right before she fell off)


Hunt Club Farm 020

The $6 admission included a small pumpkin for each child, which was great because we wouldn't have had money for one otherwise. They all were SO careful in picking out the perfect pumpkin - although somehow Chloë's ended up being rather, um, interestingly shaped!

Hunt Club Farm 023

All-in-all, it was a fun outing, even if we didn't get the educational talk about farming that we were expecting. Stay tuned for more Halloween updates later this week!