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Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you're fragmenting today!

My word! My last blahg post was FF two WEEKS ago!!! I have had so much going on, something had to give, and I suppose this time it was blogging. I'll try not to do all my catching up in THIS post, else YOU will disappear for a fornight. ;)

My husband is turning 40 at the end of August, and - half because I've been waiting two years for this and half because everyone is so far away, I wanted to give interested parties time to plan - I set up the event and sent invites last night on Facebook. Too soon? Hey, wanna come?? :D

When last I posted, we were well into a move that still continues. We're now into week four. I actually had friends and plans to rent a truck lined up to finish the job tomorrow, but a big bill that I had forgotten about came through our account yesterday, leaving us with, like, 43¢ to our names. Awesome! And since I'll be away for a big mystery shopping gig next weekend, who knows when the rest of our stuff will ever make it over here?! I'm so peevish about the whole thing. Friends, take it from me: Never decide to move the day before you actually do. I know at least one reader here who will at least think, "Proper prior planning prevents piss-poor performance!" And she'd be right.

I also told you that my oldest child, Chloë, was up for a role in a TV show. Well, she got it! It filmed all last week. I want to devote a whole post to that occasion, so stay tuned if you're interested in hearing more about that. I will say it was a great opportunity for her to grow and learn as an actor, and for me as a young actor's mother! The cast and crew were like family, and we really miss them.

It deluged this afternoon, and now we're stuck in our new house with the road flooded out. Good thing our house - and van - are situated on high ground, so no concern there, but we did interestedly watch several vehicles try to go through about 4' of water, including an emergency vehicle, at rather high speeds uncalled for in the situation. One got stuck and had to get out and push for a minute. Rob, my hubs, didn't get out and help, because...

He had a quadruple surgical hernia/hydrocele repair last week and is still in major pain. (As opposed to usual when he IS a major pain. Kidding, that would be me.) So he watched from the window and kept a runnng commentary on the poor sap who tried to drive through a flood. Anyway, if you were wondering, he was recovering nicely while still on narcotics, but his pain levels are not well managed now that he's run out and refuses to ask for more of those delightful drogas. We rival each other in stubbornness nicely.


We transported our son Robby's urn over to the new house without mishap, I'm happy to report. I was anxious about it for days and did NOT want to place my baby in a box with foam and bubble wrap (he might suffocate! thinks the irrationally bereaved part of my mind), so I finally found the right trip when Rob didn't have much else to worry about and let him carry Robby, er, his urn, in his arms. It worked perfectly, and our baby boy is now safely perched in our closet until furniture comes. Hey, he can breathe in a closet.


(I've edited this picture down over and over, to no avail; it wants to stay this way.) Rob snatched this picture for me on his iPhone after I spotted it on the interstate: "GIGIDDY." Are you fans of the TV show "Family Guy"? If so, you'll be amused, too. If not, carry on, then!


I snagged this one in the McDonald's drive-thru lane. A nice, cheery message; I like it!


This was my room last night, covered in clean laundry that couldn't be put anywhere until we brought the hangers you see in the foreground, there, over from the old house. I've about used all of those up, so the job is only half done until the dressers are brought over here, too. I hate it!


Welp, that's about all from me, so I'm going to make like Sophia here in my beret and Peace OUT!!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you've got bits and pieces to share with us today!

I'm afraid I don't have a lot to share this week, so I'll have to spare you, for once, and be quite brief, compared to my usual blather. That's probably closer to the real point of this anyway, though, right?

We're still not moved into the new place. Oh, a tenth, maybe more, but not much more. We've run out of boxes, don't have the water turned on there yet, and still need to rent a truck to do it. I was hoping that would all happen by the end of this week, but it's looking like not. Gah! So until then, we're stuck between two places, and let me tell you, I HATE IT!

You ever have a good friend, a really good friend, whose kid(s) you don't really like? I have that situation going on now. It's a little nerve-wracking, because of course you can't treat the child any differently (than one you like, lol), but it makes you want to spend less time with the friend, doesn't it? Advice??

Speaking of good friends, my girl Jenny From the Block's husband left the night before last for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan - just as I'm in the process of moving away from her. Granted, I'll still be well within reach, but not right around the corner like I am now, if she needs me. I kind of feel like crap about that, because this is so rough on her, and it's only the beginning. :(

I came downstairs from up in my room this morning, to find Sophia, my 7yo (youngest), hiding under my desk and eating a part of a very dark chocolate bar and drinking a can of her daddy's Coke. Um, let's hope this isn't a gateway drug. What's next? Snorting Pixie Stix and chugging Red Bull?! :\

I can't remember if I shared with you last week that Chloë, my 10yo (oldest), had auditioned for a role in an episode of a TV show. We were supposed to hear by Wednesday (two days ago) whether she got the part, but when no word came, I assumed she didn't get it. Welp, just a little while ago, the casting director called me and asked for more information on her stats and availability. They haven't decided yet, and she's still in the running. Cross everything you can, please - she really wants this gig!!

I guess that's all the bits and pieces floating around in the ol' noggin at this point, so I'ma letcha go now. Hopefully I'll get around to actually reading some more FF posts this weekend for once, since we are in moving limbo! Cheers and happy weekend, y'all.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're playing along this week!


That's all I have to say.  Not, you know I have more.

So, you may or, more likely, may not have noticed I haven't fragmented again in a few weeks. Our lives are always, well, let's be honest, chaotic at their calmest, but things have been even crazier lately. For example, this week:

Monday: Rob had the day off, and I was exhausted, so I slept much of the day away. Nothing newsworthy there. But...

Tuesday: We decided to move.

Wednesday: I hunted around and found a potential place.

Thursday: I met the landlord inside the house with the kids, decided to go for it, signed the lease, paid the rent and security deposit, and got the keys.

Friday (today): We can move in.

I'm a little dizzy, but that's how we roll. Well, that's how I roll, anyway. Hubs is a tad bit freaked out by the whole thing, but we'll be aiight.


I'm still on Project Vanity Plate, and this is today's find. Hopefully they're talking about God and aren't egomaniacs! If you missed it, I posted a whole bunch of them on Wednesday here.

Today, in addition to checking out the house and stuff, was total nutballs. I took Rob to work at the buttcrack of dawn, and then I was supposed to take the daughters o' mine to the dentist, but I ended up konking out on migraine medicine and missing that appointment. Gah! I woke up just in time to shower and go meet our new lord of the land.

After the new house visit, I stopped to get the kids a semi-celebratory lunch (thank you, Wendy's Dollar Menu), zoomed home to update Chloë's résumé and grab her new headshots, and then dropped Sophie and Jack off at Jenny From the Block's house before racing to Chlo's audition. I didn't get to watch the actual audition, but I'm still tremendously proud of her. I was a nervous wreck for her, shaking and trembling, but she was confident and relaxed. How?! I don't know; she didn't inherit that from me, but hopefully her nurturing has had something to do with that poise.

Anyhoo, it's for an episode of a TV show I can't name at the moment, but we'll find out Wednesday if she got the part. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed! She really wants the role. I'm highly biased, but I think she was the cutest kid there, and she did great practicing her scenes for me. Stay tuned!


After the audition, I raced to pick up the Littles before heading to pick up Rob, two hours late, from work. We headed over to the BMW place to pick up his supposedly 'fixed' motorcycle, a month after it was put in for repairs. After a freakin' MONTH, you'd think it'd be in excellent shape, right? Ha. More on that in a mome.


We went straight to a Thai restaurant for a semi-celebratory dinner (not really; we just have not much food in the house currently, and we had a gift certificate to use there). Aren't these roses so cute? They were the straw wrappers atop each of our drink straws. Love!


We ordered family-style. This was my dinner. Well, that and a wee Spring roll. It may not seem like a lot, but apparently it was too much for me, because I didn't keep a single bit of it down, dang it. Um. It tasted better the first time. I probably could've kept it down, but I had the Jasmine rice with cashews, and, stupid me, I should've known better. I can never eat rice. It just looked so good. Anyway....

All was well and good after dinner. Rob hopped on his motorbike, the kids and I buckled into the van, and off we went toward home. Only, I zipped into a 7-11 on the way home to refill my giant keg of Diet Dew and, well, hurl, and he followed me into the parking lot. By the time I restarted the van, his bike was smoking and leaking more fluids than a ... ah, skip that. Every metaphor I can think up is gross and graphic. Awesome. So not only was the BMW not fixed, but a freakin' panel was missing off the side, too! Really?! I'm way disenchanted with the place that had it for so long. They can bite me hard, right on my hindquarters.

So, short story long, we sat there for an hour while Rob yapped on the phone to our insurance company, who basically solved nothing, and then watched him make the necessary repairs himself. I've dated some pretty useless guys before, and lemme tell you single ladies this: Marry a handy guy. I don't care what else you like about him, you will appreciate this advice. The other day, our toilet handle broke, and My Guy fished one out of his "pile of crap," as I not-so-tenderly call it, and fixed it on the spot. Pretty good. Back to the bike. While he was working, I went back into the 7-11 and bought a big bag of White Cheddar Popcorn. The kids pretended they were watching a movie while they ate it - and Dad was the show. I don't know how he felt about that, but I was entertained, and that's what counts, y'all.

I don't know what else to tell ya. I have a million and one anecdotes I could share, but (a) you probably don't care, and (b) I should probably start packing. To move. Because we're doing that. Eek.

Have a fab weekend, folks!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you're fragmenting with Mrs. 4444 today!

Time flies 

Is anyone else shocked it's May already? For Heaven's sake, our pool will be open in 3 weeks already! I can't believe how fast the time is flying. We are so busy all of the time, it's almost hard to keep up with flipping the calendar pages, I swear. Man. I wish I could clap my hands and stop time temporarily, and just... breathe.


I haven't been here in a few weeks, again, because of our packed schedule. Aside from our usual nutso routines, we've had a billion and one doctors' appointment, and Rob's had an accident that has kept me occupied carting him to those, work, and everywhere else, so... I am off my blog routine again. But! I am here now, and that's what counts, amiriiight?


King neptune

If you've ever thought about visiting my town, Virginia Beach, I just wrote this sponsored blog post about many of my favorite places and things to do here. Check it out if you're interested!

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I love this cute picture of Jack eating wings during a mystery shop a couple of days ago.  With the watch and everything, he looks so grown up! For a nine-year-old shrimp, that is. I've been doing lots of mystery shopping again lately to make some much-needed extra fundage. It's fun, but man, all the reports! Ugh.


I swear, Virginia must be the vanity plate capital of the world. They're so cheap here, after all. Even I have one! I'm going to start taking pictures of the ones that amuse or interest me and posting them as part of my Fragments posts each week (or month, as it were). Can you see this one that I snapped today? It says "RR M8T." Arggghh, Matey! Hee. Do you have vanity plates?


On Wednesday, the kids took part in the coolest thing. We drove up to the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA, to attend a special event: a ham radio chat - which NASA said couldn't be done - with International Space Station Astronaut Donald Pettit! Here, the kids first learned about the early age of exploration, in the times before, during and after Columbus' life, so they could later relate that Age of Exploration to the current Space Exploration.


Then, we migrated over to the closed studio, where we connected with three classes (in New York, Michigan, and Louisiana) and the astronaut in outer space, about 400 km above Earth, over Italy. Selected students were able to ask questions and hear Pettit's answers in real time, and we learned a lot about living aboard the ISS. Did you know it only takes eight minutes to get up there, but two days to transfer into the space station? Wow. I would kill to have that opportunity. Maybe one day they'll take an old fart like me and see what they can do with me. I'll be like the female John Glenn. Anyway, it was really cool, and my kids - especially Jack up there - got a lot out of the experience. Way cool!


I took Rob in for his Neuro follow-up today, after his mini-stroke scares and subsequent finding of a benign brain tumor back in November. I was hoping for a more thorough check-up than the five minute "How are you? Fine? See you in six months" that he got, but I guess no news is good news. He hasn't had any weird things going on like he did six months ago, even after his accident, so I suppose all is well for now. He'll go back in another six months.


Also today, I went in for a my regular dental check-up, fully expecting to have two new cavities. My teeth have been ultra-sensitive lately, especially in two places, so I thought fillings were going to be the order of the day, if not a full root canal or some badness. But the diagnosis was surprising: I grind and clench my jaw and teeth so much that it's causing my gums to recede, and my enamel to wear, which is causing the pain and discomfort. The dentist said he'd be happy to sell me a $600 mouth guard, or I can go pick one up at any drug or sporting goods store for five or ten bucks and try that. Hmm. Tough choice. But yay for no new cavities!


Stay tuned for a post about our train trip up to Richmond last week; we had so much fun in our two short days. I'm so glad MIL suggested it!


Aren't these newsprint nails so cool?! I am totes going to do this as soon as I find where I put the rubbing alcohol. Hopefully that'll work, since Rob drank all the vodka and stuff. Kidding. There's probably not even a beer in this house. I love this manicure, though. Trés cool.


And finally, my 10½-year-old, Chloë, has a "boyfriend," S. Yeah. We've reached that stage. They're mad about each other. I even had to go on a ride with them to make sure they didn't kiss!!! WHAT?! She's TEN, FPS. I'm keeping a tight rein on this one and don't let them hold hands or anything, but S did recently give her a necklace in her favorite color, with hearts on it... oh, my word. I'm not ready for this part!

Chloe 2

Since Chloë had a photo shoot for her acting and modeling "career" recently, my friend Saritah - S's mom - was joking about, "Great, my son is dating a model. That'll go to his head..." but yeah. He is. Hee.

Well, I hope you all have a great weekend, and I'll be back in a bit with my Aloha Friday question & some more updates from our latest travels and adventures. Ciao for now!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you've got bits & pieces rattling around in the ol' noggin to share with Mrs. 4444 and friends today! I have quite a few, so take a load off and stay awhile, won't you?

I've got new news, so pop on over to this post if you want to know what big changes are afoot in my (and my older daughter's) lives!

Likewise, I'd love your input on my Aloha Friday question for this week, which is here! Let me know if you have an AF post this week, too, so I can be sure to check it out!

New Looks

I've been playing around with the new Jafra color collection lately, so I'm experimenting with some new looks instead of my usual standby, which is closest to the bottom right in this collage. Which do you like best?


Chloë, my oldest, was looking particularly adorable today, so I snapped this photo of her and then played around with it in Picasa by Google. I can't claim credit for those curls, which she gets from her daddy. His hair looks just like this when he's not, well, in the Navy for 19 years!



Chloë wanted a makeover, so we played around with some of my make-up on her for a little while Thursday evening. What do you think about make-up on a 10-year-old? Totally wrong, or okay if it's just for fun, like this? Obviously, we don't do this very often, but I think it's fine once in a blue moon, for kicks.


Speaking of Jafra, I've been painting my nails with our wonderful lacquers faithfully, and they're actually growing and not breaking! I have paper-thin nails normally, and they break easily. My sister's nails are long and strong, so I sent her this picture on Facebook. Yeah. We bonded over nails. What can I say; she's a cosmetologist!

Feb Kiwi Crate

Sophia and Jack have been having so much fun with their Kiwi Crates over the past few months, that I finally relented and renewed their subscription after being asked approximately 8700 times. They worked on it a bit Thursday evening and made parrots and treasure boxes. Can you guess the theme? Yep. Next we'll be making pirate hats and eye patches to go with them. Fun!


After nearly two years of trying to get a table to our local Melting Pot's Girls' Night Out, I finally scored us a table - at 10:30 PM! It ended up working out to be a good time, albeit very late, because my friend Tabby and I had preview tickets for the movie American Reunion, the American Pie sequel, the same night. So for seven hours, I was out with first Tabby, and then Tab, and two of my "Turtle Friends," Saritah and Jenny From the Block at dinner. And oh, my gosh, I laughed so hard and often during both events. The movie was hysterical from start to finish, and we had ourselves a hilarious time at dinner, too. I hope we don't have to wait another couple years to do it again!

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Our tax refund check came in recently - well, partially, anyway, as the IRS denied Chloë as our child based on a clerical error on their part, argh - so Rob and I got some very necessary new tires for his motorcycle, Elsie, and my Odyssey, Penelope. The tire appointment was supposed to take about two hours, so I asked Jenny From the Block to keep our kiddos while we were there. I just wasn't up to deal with the boredom whining, basically! She agreed, so in the end, Rob and I decided to venture out together on his motorcycle for the first time, to use one of our Groupon-like certificates for a local Thai restaurant which we'd never tried. We were the only people there for quite a while, as you can see, but it certainly wasn't because of the food quality!


Our meal was excellent, although mine was spicier than I expected. I can't do spicy, and not just because of my sensitive gastric bypass pouch; I never could handle it. I just don't have the stomach - or tongue! - for it, sad to say. Still, it was good. But better than that was the fun of riding around on the back of the BMW with Rob! I had so much fun! I was a little scared, sure, but it was a breathlessly-exhilarating kind of fun. I hope we get another chance to do that again soon, too!

So pretty much other than the pictures and details of Jack's birthday party, I'm all caught up now on my blahggy show-and-telling. I really ought to do that, especially since it'll be time to show Sophia's birthday party pictures in another week! On Friday the 13th, my youngest child will turn seven! We'll have her, 9-year-old Jack, and 10½-year-old Chloë. It' to face the music: my family is aging out of the "little kid" stage. I guess we're pretty well established by now, huh?

And now to leave you with my old standby, a Cute Kid Quote. As you may or may not know, in my previous existence as a singleton, I was a marine biologist, studying shark feeding behaviour. My kids know all about that, and for whatever reason, it comes up frequently. Anyway, Thursday afternoon, we were driving around, when Jack suddenly asked what a car's muffler was for. Before I could answer, Sophia snapped at him, "She doesn't know! She's not a car biologist! It's not like she dives into cars!" I had quite a chuckle over that one! These kids. They kill me.

On that note, thanks for stopping by, and have a fabulous weekend!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you've got newsable bits to share with the pulchritudinous Mrs.4444 and cohorts today!


I haven't fragmented in 3 weeks, because I've been SUH TI-RED. I've had my share of drama and stuff I could've shared with you, but I've actually been sleeping more, well, at least on Thursday nights I guess, so I didn't make it here. I won't bore you with three weeks worth of bits, though, rest assured!


Confidential to Mamacita: I'll do the online Jeopardy! test if you will!! Surely they can get a stool or something so you can stand on it to see over the podium... ;)


The kids, normally night owls anyway, have been totes off their sleeping schedule since Daylight Savings time began. Last night, they were up until - no joke - 0500 (so, this morning, I should say)!!! I stayed up with them, to ensure they didn't burn the house down, and it was so late when they finally crashed that I just decided to stay up and face the day. Well, that plan was a FAIL, and I lay down at 10 AM for a "nap," thinking I'd just sleep 'til noon or whenever the kids got up. NOT! I didn't wake up until after 4:30 PM!!!!!!! S**T! That meant we missed our Girl Scout meeting, which was a field trip to the local Food Bank. Major suckage. :(

So this boy:


(2012 Pinewood Derby winner for his Den and overall Pack)

had his District races this past Saturday morning. There were only four heats this time, as there were four lanes, as opposed to our (ahem, much better) six-lane track. He won three of those heats and came in 3rd on the other. Our Pack drops the lowest heat score, so I thought that was standard operating procedure for all Derby races. Well, apparently not, because even though his car was zoomin' and it looked like he would take home a trophy, he didn't even land a 3rd place on the podium. I was stunned All. Day. Long. And I know, I know, it's about the fun and not the trophy, but dang, I so enjoy looking at those things up on my mantel! Having never earned a trophy of my own, I'm enjoying living vicariously through my kids' awards. Sad, I know, but ... ah, well. For one thing, there's always next year. For another, it was still fun and exciting.

(Still, though. Crap!)


The cookie sale is over! Hallelujah! It really wasn't that bad for me, since I'm not the cookie mom and didn't do a whole lot of door-to-door that year, but we did a bunch of booth sales that usurped our weekends for the past month or so. Anyway, I'm glad that's over and we can get back to our not-so-normal weekend pursuits.


AND, now that that's over (cookies), I can once again concentrate on my reborn Jafra business. I'm celebrating 13 years with the company this month! If any of you would like to order or have questions, check out my Jafra website or send me a message/comment through here. Anyone who visits from Friday Fragments will get 25% off their first order - the biggest discount I can offer! (Offer good through the end of March. Must mention FF to get discount.)


I hope you're reading this post slowly, because that's how I'm typing it. My thumb is all bandaged up, since I shoved the back end of a sewing needle ¼" deep in it, whilst sewing Girl Scout patches on Chloë's vest. I hollered. A whole bunch. Loudly. You may have heard me?

Our nice hunka-hunka-burnin'-tax refund is due any day now, and we have a looong list of things - mostly vehicular and medical - it's going to be parceled out to in a quicklike fashion. One of these days, maybe we'll actually be able to hold onto it longer than a week or so. That'd be nice. (At least I don't need more yarn...)


And finally, while my boys' birthday is actually on the 22nd, we're celebrating Jack's 9th birthday party this Saturday with friends. Yep, St. Patrick's Day. No, I'm not going to make the above rainbow cake - it just looks like ick to me - but you'll have to stay tuned to this blahg to find out what I do end up serving. He's SO excited and had been counting down the days!

Hope you all have a great weekend!



Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you're fragmenting along with Mrs. 4444 today!

This will be short, as I don't have a whole lot to say. I haven't had a good week. As you may know, I'm bipolar, and my psychopharmacologist (the shrink who prescribes, basically) changed up one of my meds last week. (I take quite a cocktail to stay on a semi-even keel, needless to say, as I'm Bipolar I, and it's... hard to stay stable.) Anway, it was a bad move on his part, and I took a nosedive and got very depressed and suicidal very fast. I couldn't sleep, then I slept too much, and back and forth, back and forth. To be completely honest, I took my first shower tonight in a week. A WEEK! I barely left the house, and I had to take the week off from homeschooling the kids. I finally called him and said "uncle," and he put me back on the old med. It's been a day, and I can already feel the difference. I'm on my way back up, thank GOD, and I know it'll be okay. So... that's pretty much how I've spent my week.

Last Friday was my mother's birthday. She would have been 61, had she not died at the age of 33. As I'm 35 now, that once-far off age seems so surrealistically, impossibly, unfairly young. She was just a babe. It still blows my mind that she died, let alone so young.

Friday was also our "second eleventh" anniversary. To explain, Hubs and I eloped on January 2nd, our "real" wedding anniversary, but we had a wedding in front of family, friends, and God on my mom's birthday. A very small wedding on the beach at sunset. I was barefoot - and pregnant! - by then. It was funny, because I thought I sent my husband flowers for Valentine's Day this year, and when they didn't come, I mentioned it to him. I'd never sent flowers to a man before, and he'd never been sent flowers before, so I thought I'd switch things up and take the pressure of him to be the one to, you know, spoil his lady on that Hallmark holiday. Heh. Well, when the flowers showed up on our sort-of anniversary, I was all, ohhhh yeah. Duh.

Meh. I really don't have much else to say. This post is kind of a downer, huh? I'm sorry. Hopefully next week I'll be more upbeat and fun.

Have a great weekend, y'all.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Hey, y'all, link up with Mrs. 4444s if you're fragmenting today!

My husband texted the following to me, but he didn't ID which kid said it, so I can't give proper credit (my Mommy senses tell me it was 6yo Sophia, though): "Unicorns are real. They're just fat and gray and we call them rhinos." I was out shopping when I got his text, and I split a gut laughing and had to share it with the other person shopping near me, lest they think (correctly) that I was loony! Too funny!

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I shared this gorgeous yarn I received from The Knitting Goddess (in the UK, so shipping took what seemed like forEVER) the other day on Wordless Wednesday, but it's so beautious, I wanted to see it again. Hehe. Tell me those aren't some luscious colors?! I'll be using these for hexipuffs on my Beekeeper's Quilt. Why haven't I started yet? That's a darn good question. I will today, I think.

My husband's alarm has been going off for 45 minutes now (it's currently 0645). Why don't I wake him up, you ask? Because. It's IMPOSSIBLE to rouse that beast. Hence the 45 minutes. Are you easy or difficult to awaken? Most of the time, I'm hard to wake, too. I don't sleep well or often, but when I do, I want to stay that way, thank you!


My gardening friend, Miss C., was a guest presenter at my Daisy meeting yesterday, and while I was editing the pictures, this one popped up as the first one. Yes, that's MY kid disrupting the group, not in uniform (she had it on but yanked it off, as she always does) and being a total goose. Sophia!! She is such a pill. Or as Miss C diplomatically put it, "She's spirited." Oh, I'm so glad I'm the Leader, because I'd be mortified if she behaved that way for others meeting after meeting (and she does). Argh!


As far as what Miss C. did with the girls, she read them the next chapter in our yearlong story (aka our "Journey," "Between Earth and Sky) and then talked to them about how plants clean the soil and air. She then gave them a project that I'm sure we've all seen before, if not done a time or two: made pinecone bird feeders with peanut butter and birdseed. However, her yard had a dearth of pine cones but plenty of gum balls, so she brought those instead, and they worked great to clump up with PB and seeds. Sophia rushed right home and tied hers to her special 4th birthday tree, out front, and waited immediately for the birds. And did they come! Mostly gulls and crows (?) or some sort, but we're hoping for something a little more exciting colorful. Anyway, it was a great meeting, and I'm glad we did it!

Jack, who will be 9 in a month and a half or so, has been asking for his own digital camera like his sisters for ages. I mean, forEVER (I used that one already, right? So what) - and I found a killer steal on one for him the other day. I'm even going to get $40 back in rewards for it, making it an even sweeter deal. I didn't pay a cent for it, because I am one of those crazy coupon deal girls, when I get the chance, and I'm so ecstatic about both (a) the fact that I'm going to make him SUPER happy and (b) my great deal, I just had to share it with you!

Speaking of deals, kids and birthday presents, I got a robotic penguin toy for Sophia of a Plum District deal the other day, too, as she is a penguin fanatic. I mean, she is nuts for them. She likes all birds (and bugs!), but penguins are her absolute favorite. So yay me for scoring goodies - with slick deals - to make their upcoming birthdays fantabulous! (She'll be 7 a month after Jack's birthday; my gosh!!!! I can't even stand it that my baby will be that old. I wish I could make another one or three. Hehe.)

So I've had that iron transfusion, confirmed with the oncologist/hematologist that I do NOT need to continue taking oral Fe supplements daily, and yet I still get so dizzy I almost pass out when I stand up half the time. What gives? My blood pressure is on the low side, but still within normal range. It's wicked annoying. I mean, if I'm gonna get that dizzy, can't I have the fun of passing straight out, already? That would make for a much more interesting fragment, at least. I did it once, in 8th grade. I was the talk of my class. What fun! Haha.

By the way, if you're a frequent www.Amazon.com shopper (hello, Swagbucks money!) and you know about their Prime free shipping but don't want to lay out the moolah to pay for that service, here's something I scored that you might want to know: If you have an .edu email address - even if you're a college alum! - you can sign up for Amazon Student and get free Prime shipping! I've been taking loads of advantage of that sweet deal, since I do get tons of Amazon GCs from Swagbucks, surveys and other things I do on- and off-line to save a buck, and it is Teh Awesome. Check it out. Rats. I just went to go link you to Amazon Student here, and the free offer is now gone and replaced by a half-off deal. Still, better than $79, right?

It's 0708. Hubby finally woke up. Just keeping you updated, since I knew you were in suspense about that!

If you're at all interested in Native American culture, be sure and check out my post here about our field trip last Saturday to the Mattaponi ("matt-upon-AYE) Indian Resevation 90 minutes north of here. It was cool as all-get-out, and I can't wait to go back up in June for their annual Pow-wow. Worth a read, I'm told!

And, as long as you're here and I'm in demanding begging mode, answer my Aloha Friday questions, will ya? I'm nosy interested. And I like strikethrough.


I've been struggling with constant, daily migraines the past few weeks again, so schooling has been sketchy lately. Anyway, a recent day last week was quite warm, but rainy. Once the rain cleared, I was ready to get up out of the house and go for a walk to get some exercise for my and the kids' young bodies. Instead of just walking, though, we did a lot of running and jumping and splashing in the ubiquitous mud puddles around our neighborhood lake. It was too fun, and Chloë declared it, "The BEST rainy day EVER!" I had to agree. Sometimes, you just gotta be a kid again, right? We were so soaked (and muddy), we jumped right into warm showers when we got home. But what a memory that should make for all of us!

Guess I'm out of fragments for now - lucky you!! I'm off to email my Girl Scout troop about Thinking Day, which is coming up. It's a day when we think about the Girl Scouts and Guides around the world, every year, and we always participate. Anyway, blah blah.

Have a great week! 'Til next time...


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if your thoughts are all over the place and you think Mrs. 4444 and pals have just gotta read 'em anyway!

I've been grateful to have a pretty low-key week both at home with the kids and extra-curricularly, since I'm still nursing a weeks-long migraine. It's a baddy. I need to call Neurology today to get back into the headache clinic. I was supposed to call Tuesday, but I haven't even been able to bear being on the phone for five minutes. Thankfully, the children "get it" and have been pretty hushity-hush when Mom is begging for them to be quiet. All three of them get migraines, too, so they're able to empathize, sadly for them.

Anyway. I did manage to do some extensive deal-shopping and save (even make!) a few bucks this week, but that's about all I've left the house for, other than driving a friend to work one night.

No one's answered my Aloha Friday question yet - won't you? - so I'm thinking people either don't get the question or I'm the only such weirdo. Now that latter thing wouldn't surprise me, nor does the confirmation of it smart, but it'd be nice to know that someone out there knows what I mean and has a similar feeling!

Oh, I know what's happened since last Friday! On Saturday, my son Jack's Cub Scout pack ran their Pinewood Derby race, and he won first place for both his Bear den and the overall pack. Woohoo! Three years running, he's taken home a trophy (or two) and headed to the District race, coming up in March. You can see his grins here, if you'd like.

Also, that night, I took my Daisy troop - and Chloë went with her Junior Girl Scout troop - to a local museum for their environmental activities and exhibits. I haven't blogged about that yet; perhaps I will after this, 'cause I'm wide awake this early morning and yet not energetic enough to, y'know, fold the dozen or so loads of laundry taking up space over yonder. It was fun, and I think they learned a few things, but my Assistant Leader and I both agreed it probably wasn't worth the cost. Meh. Whatcha gonna do, barter over Girl Scout programs? I don't think so. But we probably won't do that one again next time.

So that's me for the week. Usually I can blather on 'til the cows come home, but my head aches, and if I told you anything else, it would likely be a complete fabrication!

Have a great weekend!


P.S. Oh! I've been asked about my iron transfusion last Friday. It went great! It took forever, and I was humbled as I was by far the youngest patient in there and, judging from the bald and be-wigged heads of the others, probably the healthiest, relatively speaking. It took about six hours, so I did a little knitting, a bit of chit-chatting with the nurses and other patients, and mostly, I napped. I probably snored and drooled; okay, I know I did, but I didn't care then, and I don't care now! Ah was tarred. If it weren't for the migraines, I'd be feeling like Superwoman now, I think. That infusion made a huge difference. I'm already looking forward to the next topping-off in 4-6 months. Hee! Iron-piggy, me. Thanks for your concern, askers out there! Now cross your fingers I'm able to donate blood tomorrow afternoon; I'm O-neg and feel it's my duty, but I've been deferred every time I go in for a year now! Ayee!

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with here with Mrs. 4444 if you've got bits and pieces floating through your brain today!

Right off the bat, I have to say I'm excited that tomorrow is the day I'm spending ~8 hours getting my iron transfusion! It's my first one, and it's not unusual for gastric bypass patients to need them. I'll probably be getting my first of many Vitamin B12 shots, as well. My hemoglobin levels are abyssmally low, which means it's a struggle and a chore just for me to make it through the day, every day, let alone cover everything that's on my plate. I've been dropping a lot of balls lately, admittedly, and I'm hoping this will make a huge difference for me - and my family, who have to put up with me. Hopefully, too, I'll be able to stop consuming the massive daily amounts of caffeine that I do to stay functioning and focused. So, yay!

The only downside is I won't be able to knit during the procedure... but I have about eleventy-billion magazines to catch up on, so I'm covered there. And I can always nap. What I'm wondering about now is, when do I pee? And eat? (I'll let you know. Hee.)

In awesome news, my kids have been focusing on their reading in our homeschooling so far this new year, and they have progressed dramatically. My oldest, a fifth grader, had to write her first book report, after much gnashing of teeth over it, and she did a splendid job. I had to make just a few corrections - all mechanics - but the content was fantastic. I was so pleased!

As for the two Littles, my son is in 3rd grade and came out of 1st grade public school hardly literate at all. So I remediated him from the Kinder level with our K-2 Hooked on Phonics program, and he just "graduated" from the program! It only took him a year and a half to do all three years' worth, so that's pretty great. Yes, I'm proud of him, but even more incredible is how visibly proud of himself he is! I love it!

The youngest, a first grader who was a late bloomer with regard to reading (she's the most active, physical of the lot), has suddenly pushed through the block and is now almost to the 2nd grade level of the program. So go, kids!! Starting next week, we'll slow down on so much all-reading, all-the-time, and focus more on math, with which all three of them also need remediation. No child left behind, my butt! But the buck stops here. :)

We were supposed to go on a field trip to the Food Bank with our two respective Girl Scout troops today, but I found out two hours before the trip that they had to reschedule it. ARGH! I had no choice but to cancel our regular meeting, since I have it planned to have a guest speaker come in, and there was no way to get her on such short notice. It was pretty stinko (my word of the month), and I was bummed, since we're behind where I wanted to be in my Daisy troop at this point. But with the iron deficiency, I have to say, I wasn't too terribly disappointed to get a reprieve! Just sayin'.


We've had Sophia to the Emergency Department 3-4 times this past week, as her breathing struggles have suddenly kicked back into high gear. It's not the weather, since it's barely cold here, and it started in the summertime anyway (in 2010!). We've seen 8 or 9 different doctors and gotten just as many "suggestions" about what it could be, with no real answers. It's frustrating for me, as her mom, to watch her go through this, so I can only imagine how much of an annoyance it is for her. My husband thinks it's entirely stress-induced, but I disagree. That may be a component, certainly, but since it frequently comes on when she's just sitting around, doing nothing remotely upsetting, how can that be?? I just wish I could help her.


A local-but-online-only friend of mine is a potter, and she fashions these awesome, funkadelic business card holders that I've been coveting for a long time. Last week, she made this red one, and I KNEW it was the one I had to have. It arrived today. Do you love it?! I do! So cool. Check out Lisa's Etsy shop for more awesome clay-mations!


We drove up the Eastern Shore of Virginia on Sunday (here's my view out the windshield of the Chesapeake Bay), for a high-paying mystery shop. Great, except I kind of screwed it up a little, and now I don't know if I am going to get paid for it. Argh. Well, if that happens, at least we had a fun trip and enjoyed lots of interesting scenery, right?


This is the kids in the back during the trip, watching Judy Moody and the Not-So-Bummer Summer, which they've been waiting for me to rent from the Blockbuster kiosk for ages. I waited until it dropped to $1, so I could get it for free (lots of codes out there, folks!), because I'm cheap like that!


Speaking of mystery shops, Rob and I finally went out for a nice dinner - with the kids, so it was only semi-romantic! - to celebrate the 11th wedding anniversary we shared on the 2nd of this month. Here's my Appletini. The kids love cherries and all clamored for mine, but um, no. Not the ones all soaked in Smirnoff, kiddos! It was really strong, and I got drunk very quickly. I drink maybe once a month, if that, and wow. I'm such a lightweight since my surgery!


And here's me, that night (tipsy), showing you my hair in its awkward growing-out phase. I can't stand my hair right now. I want it to be long NOW. I'm half-tempted to just chop it again, but it grows soooo slowly, I may never have another ponytail. Is 35 too old for ponytails, anyway? Not around the house, or in the summer at least, right? ;)


Last week (which I can tell ya, because I skipped FF then, sorry), we totally kept the kids up and took them to the 12:01 AM first showing of the newly re-released Beauty and the Beast in 3D. It was AWESOME. I think I had as good a time as the kids did. It cost a small fortune; I had sticker shock, but it was worth it for the "cool mom points" I earned, I think. At least Rob managed to stay awake during the whole thing - he'd had a nap first to make sure! Have you seen it? It was great.


Lastly, speaking of Etsy, I have to share this story. I bought this gorgeous yarn on clearance from Summer of Perfectly Handmade, and the whole situation quickly turned into a comedy of errors: First, she accidentally sent me the wrong yarn, and then she sent me the correct yarn after I mailed it back (and she was GREAT through this whole process, and I totally recommend her, so don't think I'm speaking too badly of her). Well, it was badly skeined, and when I wound it into center-pull "cakes" with my swift and ball winder, it took about two hours vs. the 10-15 minutes it should have, because it was such a mess. I finally got it, though, and managed to knit ONE hexipuff for the Beekeeper's Quilt I'm making before going to bed for the night. Well, I stupidly left that troublesome-but-lovely yarn out overnigh, and our two kittens decided to make it their plaything overnight. When I woke up early, before the kids, I went to go knit another puff with it... and it was GONE. So I instantly knew "the twins," as they are, were the culprits and headed upstairs to look for it. I found two 8mo kittens, each with a shred of the yarn hanging out of their mouths and looking at me guiltily. They immediately dropped it and went to go hide under my son's bed! Then I searched around and found the yarn strewn all over my older daughter's room, some of it chewed it into short strands, some of it just a gnarled, knotty mess, but all entirely wrecked. GAH!!  However, I kept plugging away at it, and look! Up there! I managed to eke out 13 or 14 hexipuffs out of the yarn, which I eventually sorted out, and they'll look great in the quilt. But what a pain!!

P.S. Summer sent me some more yarn as a gift, for all my troubles. So if you're a "yarnie" like I am, don't hesitate to check her out!

I'll leave you on that note. No, this one: "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

RIP, Dr. King.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're playing along today.

I really only have one fragment this week: I'm still sick. It's going on three full weeks of this illness, of which I'm sure you don't want the gory details (think, intestinal blah), and I am weak and useless. I've shed many tears and am feeling quite weary, both physically and mentally. As such, it takes everything I've got just to get through the days, and I haven't been doing a whole bunch with the family. I got a brief reprieve (thank you, God) on Christmas and had a pretty decent day, but otherwise, sickkkkk.

On that note, and really, that's all there is for me, I wish you all the very best that 2012 can bring.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you're fragmenting along with Mrs. 4444 this week!

I had, like, the worst headache ever yesterday, for half the day. Coincidentally or otherwise, I was also in the worst mood ever. Every single thing pissed me off royally. You ever get in that mood? I Hate it!! Even being mad makes me mad. Ah well. I'm over it now. But still, very annoying. I had to text Rob to steer clear, to give him fair warning!

We went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, for the third time, earlier this week. It was our early Christmas celebration. I enjoyed it immensely, though our budget for this trip was more strict than ever, because the kids were old enough to let loose in the waterpark. This allowed Rob and I to go on the more grown-up slides plenty of times without worrying about the kids. I gave them two rules: No leaving the waterpark area without a parent, and if you needed one of us, meet at our table and wait until one of us showed up. I checked back frequently, and it worked out well. Other than finding Sophia with some lifeguards getting a bandage after a scrape, there were no issues, and we all had a fantastic time. I've been SO stressed and anxious lately, and it was a nice little 24-hour escape from that for me. I needed it!  (Pictures to follow in a separate post.)

Speaking of GWL, while there, we gave Chloë her big Christmas present: a cell phone. She's SO excited about it and wants to use it like crazy, but we've reined her in pretty well. She understands, at ten, that there are strict rules about usage, but we felt that the time was right for her to have one, especially since we occasionally leave her home for very brief periods and don't have a landline. Peace of mind, basically. Do your kids have their own phones? How old were they when they got one?

Tonight, we're going to the Pumpkin Farm for their Christmas celebration, as part of a homeschool field trip. We went last year, too, to visit the farm animals, see the lights, and - to the kids' utter delight - roast marshmallows and hot dogs. They don't know yet that we're going, so it'll be a lovely surprise for them later in the day. Hopefully we can get plenty of school done first, since this week has largely been a bust on that front!

If you do yoga, can you give me some tips for getting started? I used to do it years ago, but it's been so long, I don't know where to get started. We have it on the Wii Fit, but the Wii Remote has vanished, so I can't do that, argh. I need to do it to help control my anxiety. I'm more worried I'll be stressed about my form, but I guess I just need to let that one go and concentrate on the breathing and meditation aspects, eh?

I guess that's all I've got for now. I think I'll go knit a hexipuff before getting back to the work I was doing before: getting my list of bills together. Exciting stuff, bills. The hexipuffs are way more fun:


001 (2)

On that note, see you next week and have a great weekend!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Hiya, fellow fragmenting folks! Link up here if you're into bits 'n' pieces today! Thanks for hosting, Mrs. 4444. ♥

So I haven't blogged much this week, not like more than a handful (a small handful, like a lemur's hand. Wait, a lemur's hand? Nevermind...) of people noticed, but I did change the blog header. Do ya like it? I didn't mean to include myself in there, but I couldn't figure out how to center the kids' picture, and I didn't want all that blank space, so... there I am! But the kids, so cute, right??

Mrs. 4444 asked for a health update on my hubs. So here it is: We saw Neuro on Wednesday, and he was in and outta there in five minutes or less. Basically, his spinal MRI was all clear, and they ruled out the Von Hippel-Lindau disease, so that's good. He's still having headaches sometimes, but they're fewer and farther between, if not more mild. So the current treatment will just involve maintenance for that, and occasional monitoring of the benign tumor (cavernous angioma) in his cerebellum. Pretty good. Guess I can stop lining up potential future suitors and counting my life insurance money now, right? (I jest, I kid, I josh, I joke!!)

So I've been hexipuffing these last coupla days. What's a hexipuff, you ask? Why, here are four I've done:


So if you can't tell from the pictures, they're little knitted hexigon-shaped pockets stuffed with a wee bit of fiberfill, and then when you've made enough, you sew them together to make a kind of hexipuff quilt, AKA the Beekeeper's Quilt, as seen here. Cool, huh? I like making them. It doesn't take long to make one, or use up a lot of yarn, so I'm addicted to doing it when I have a down moment (okay, and sometimes when I should be doing eleventy-billion other things, like, um, always...)

Do you have pets? Love 'em? Take pictures of 'em sometimes? Go answer my Aloha Friday question here, pretty pretty please! If you have a post, link to it in your comment as well, and I'll answer yours. Thanky kindly!

So I have had a major upset stomach (TMI but we're talking both ends, living in the bathroom) for three days now. It's NO fun, and I feel sooooo weak. It made me miss my Girl Scout meeting for the second meeting in a row, and I felt badly about that until I learned two things (a) everyone was glad I didn't bring my tummy bug to get them all sick and not mad at me, and (b) they ran the meeting with my Daisies anyway, so the girls didn't miss out. Still, I felt like a crappy Leader. Well, pardon the pun...


Here's the (undoctored) photo that didn't make the cut into the blog header. I think I made the right choice. What do you think?


Did you know you could shrink Crocs by putting them in the dryer? True story! Chloë accidentally washed the one on the right and, well, now we're out a pair of shoes, darn it! Funny, though. I guess we'll wash the other one and give them to someone with smaller feet, huh?


So I took the kids to Sears for their portraits (free sitting fee & 8x10, so that's all I'm getting, because hello, we po') on Monday, and it was first thing when they opened, so no one else was there. So why did it take over an hour, and I STILL didn't get to pick my portrait? Because their computer system wasn't functioning properly. Ugh. That was annoying. That picture better be cute, if I ever get back there to choose it.... ;P

(Note that these are the girls' holiday dresses but not Jack's, which was supposed to be here by the 30th, and, uh, it's not. Grr. Grr, Old Navy, I say, grr!)

003 004

So I've been lame and kind of giving the kids Christmas presents whenever I feel like it, instead of waiting until the actual Day o' Christmas this year. Anyway, I made this dress and shawl (color combo chosen by Chloë; don't blame me!) for Chlo's new American Girl doll that she got for her birthday. Don't you think Faith looks so cute in it? It was super fast to make, too. I'm going to make her a bunch of outfits so she has a whole wardrobe of hand knits. Hey, I like knitting (and crocheting) on a small scale, what can I say?


Speaking of giving them early Christmas presents, they each got one of these cool nightlight lamp thingies from Discovery Kids. Did I show you these already? Well, I gave them to 'em. It was cool because I asked each one privately, separately, which one they really wanted most, and they each chose a different one! Serendipity, baby!!!


One last pic and then I'll let you be. So I totally got these Webkinz (another Christmas present for the kids, I know, I know) for FREE! Can't beat that. I didn't pay one thin, uh, penny, not even for tax. Can you saw AWESOME? Because that was. And they were happy! Look at the boy! The one who "doesn't know how to smile" is doing a pretty good job of it there, eh?

Okay. That's all I got. Lucky you!!  Happy weekend.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're fragmenting today!

NOTE to Mrs. 4444 herself: I have a really hard time commenting on your new DISQUS system. It usually doesn't let me, and when it does, it usually takes me at least four tries. Please, change it back so I can comment?? ☺

Today was the first day in about 3 weeks that Rob (Hubs) hasn't had a migraine of some degree. Hallelujah! The steroid course the neurologist prescribed is working. Whew! His tummy is upset from it, but it's a welcome trade-off as far as I'm (and he) is concerned!

You gotta know when to delegate authority sometimes, and today was one of those days. Between my own health problems, which have been in the background but cumbersome enough these past three weeks, and Rob's, and the kids' various issues, I've been drained. Today was our regular Girl Scout meeting date, and I just didn't have the energy to go, much less run it, or even plan anything. So last night, at the almost-11th hour, I called my assistant and begged her to take over the meeting for me. She seemed happy to do so, and let me tell you, it was SUCH a relief. I'm not really good at asking for help, but I'm so glad I did. I usually am, as it turns out.

Do you have an iPhone, or other Smartphone, like we do? I find I download lots of cool-sounding apps and then rarely use most of them, because I forget about them. Tell me I'm not the only one.

I have a headache. Ironic, isn't it? Actually, I've had one just about almost every day that Rob's had one. Maybe it's something in the air. :\

I have baby fever again, even though neither Rob nor I is capable of making them, after visiting with my friend Donnatello's sweet little girl yesterday. Ah! She's precious. I can't stand it. Babies. I just ♥ them.

Is it wrong, or normal, I wonder, that when Rob was at the height of his health crisis, I was listening to the radio and my iTunes music and deciding which songs might be considered for his memorial service? That, and I was considering who might prospects might be if I were to re-marry. Well, if it's wrong, don't tell me, because I don't want to hear it. Besides, I told him. :P (His opinion? Normal.)

Don't forget that today is mega-Swagbucks Friday! Sign up here if you haven't already. I've already won three times tonight, and we're only 45 minutes into Friday on the Right Coast! I'm up to 52 $5 Amazon.com gift cards and counting... Hey, free money! Don't forget to do the daily polls and watch Swagbucks TV in addition to doing searches; I've boosted my 'take' considerably that way, lately.


Ever since we went to Europe in 2008, I've been coveting a Smart Car (hey, I could put it in the minivan's trunk, or maybe strap it on the back like my Odyssey was reproducing by budding), but then the other day a forest green BMW 325i convertible was driving down the road (by itself, yes), and now I covet that, too. Looked kinda like this, but much nicer, newer, and shinier:



Of course, my dream car has long been an old-style Volvo - the boxier kind - but it'll be a long time, if ever, before I can have any of these cars, what with having to carry around a bunch of offspring and their stuff all the time. Le sigh. So what about you? What's your dream car?

Seems I riled up quite a few people yesterday when I posted a few politically-charged cartoons and status updates on Facebook, so I've decided no more of that! It's not worth losing friends over. Do you discuss politics with the people you care about? I normally don't, but sometimes things are just funny, and hey, I like to stir the pot once in a while... ;)

On that note, I bid you all adieu. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you're in the U.S. of A., and if not, a simply terrific week!

Until we meet again...


Friday Fragments


Link up here if ye be fraggish today!

So if you read my post last week, you might remember it was a hellish week for us. Welp, this week has been even more nerve-wracking. Hubby has been in and out of the ER & hospital. We found that, after two CT scans, 2 MRIs and an MRA (basically an MRI of the vasculature), he has probably had several TIAs (temporary ischemic attacks, or "mini-strokes,") and that he also has a cavernous angioma, a benign tumor on his cerebellum.  (Remember Flo Jo, the track star? She died of this.) Awesome, right? He's totally been pulling the, "Hey, but I have a brain tumor!" card every chance he gets, but only when it's funny. We've been laughing our way through this latest crisis, but honestly, I'm scared to death!

Our next step is another MRI, on his spine this time, to see if he has Von Hippel-Lindau Disease, since he meets all or most all of the symptoms. It's genetic, too, and it's a dominant autosomal trait, so if he has it, pretty much all of our kids are at risk, too. More awesome news!

Seriously, though, I'm thankful he's alive and here, and that we've found all this out incidentally because of the constant headache he's had since 10/29. *sigh* We've been through a lot together, and we'll get through this, too. (If you're inclined to pray or send good thoughts, I'd much appreciate them!)

Anyway, what else? It's hard to think of much else to say, truth be told, since that's affected our entire week since my last FF post. We missed our two daughters' Girl Scout troops' Annual Feast tonight, not just because of Rob's latest issues but also because he and I, and Chloë, have icky colds, and I thought it better to stay home and rest. No one likes germ passers, anyway. The kids were bummed, but I was grateful for the day off from doing pretty much anything.

We missed our last day of co-op on Wednesday, too - well, no, the kids went with my friend Jenny from the Block, while I was at the hospital with Rob. There's a party for it next week, so we'll go to that, but I wasn't able to help with Cooking Class. I teach/taught three of them, and apparently, all three went poorly! On the one hand, I feel bad that none of them went well, but on the other, I'm a little, well, I don't know, flattered that it appears they needed me, since all the other weeks pretty much went more or less smashingly well, you know? Is that wrong of me to say?

Don't forget that it's Mega-Swagbucks Day today, and every Friday. Not a member of Swagbucks, yet? Then click my link, and you can sign up under me (pretty please) and start earning SBs for everything from toys and games to Swag Gear to gift cards. My favorite thing is to get 450 SBs and trade them in for $5 Amazon.com gift cards. I've gotten over 50 of those so far! Hey, not bad, right? Free money = a good thing.

So my dad pretty much came down hard on me for posting about Rob's strokes/tumor/etc. stuff on Facebook, in order to let people know about it and, of course, get their support and prayers. What the heck? He claimed that it was "too personal," and Facebook is too broad a venue for that kind of thing. Really? It's not like I was posting about, well, {insert your choice of TMI here}. I mean, I would want people to know, and the patient himself wanted that. And his friends and loved ones wanted it, too. So what do you think? Was Dad right, or does he just not "get it"?

On that note, I'm going to mess up my hair as much as I can and go walk into 7-11 like that, in yesterday's clothes, for a Diet Coke refill. I've seen worse there. They've seen worse, too. And they know me, all too well, so it ain't no thing but a chicken wing.

Okay, okay, I'll probably straighten up, put on a coat, and wear my beret.

Hope you all have a happy weekend, and God Bless all you veterans out there, including my husband, who has served in the US Navy for the past 18½ years! Happy Veteran's Day!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if you need to get some crap stuff off your chest today, too!

This has been a week of injury, pain and crisis for Team Odette. Wanna hear? Good, because that's pretty much all I've got to share right now.

Sunday, 6yo DD Sophia slammed her hand in the van door. Cue major crying and agony, as her hand swelled up to double its regular size and turned 15 shades of red and purple. So we drove home from where we were and then Daddy took her to the ER for X-rays. Thankfully, nothing was broken, but as there were a half-dozen booboos on the outside, too, they bandaged her up to high heaven and sent her home with Tylenol and Motrin.

(P.S. She's fine now.)

Monday, Chloë had her braces put on by the kids' dentist, Dr. C., on the top row of teeth. None for the bottom. She's been practically howling in pain ever since, whining and complaining that everything is poking her in the cheeks and gums, it's too tight, yadda yadda yadda. As her mother has had them twice, and her Daddy once, she's at least got sympathetic parents. And lots of yogurt in the fridge so she can eat.

(P.S. I had to make a special stop at Dr. C.'s office on Wednesday for more wax already. I asked her to use it a little more sparingly, huh? 'Cause I can't be driving down there every two days for more, y'know?)

Tuesday, the third day of crying in pain, Jack's own dental pain became so bad that we had to take him in to Dr. C. at night on an emergency basis. He had to keep his staff there late and everything, to treat the poor boy. Turns out, he had an abscessed tooth, which they immediately extracted (it was a baby tooth, fortunately). The poor kid is prone to cavities and has about eight right now that need filling under general anesthesia, so we're trying to get that taken care of at the Naval Hospital.

(P.S. He's fine now, as long as we keep him dosed on the same Tylenol/Motrin schedule as Sophia's hand required. His only complaint now is, "It feels weird where my tooth was." Well, yeah, duh.)

Wednesday, I was shopping at Wally World cooking classes in the wee-wee hours of the morning. So maybe I was a bit tired when I got back home at 0400 and started taking bags out to bring into the house.... I use canvas bags as much as possible, this trip being no exception, and have a number of drawstring ones. Well, I thought I had the canned-food bag right-side-up, but apparently I didn't, because as soon as I lifted it out, PLUNK-DUNK-PLUNK-PLUNK came out all the cans - plus a 68-oz bottle of olive oil - onto the toes of my right foot. I said a lot of bad four-letter words and ran into the house to check things over. Not unlike Sophia, there was blood, swelling, redness, and pain involved. I was pretty sure I broke between 1-3 of those toes.

(P.S. I still am, but since I can walk, and there's not a lot they do for broken toes other than confirm it and dummy-tape them, I've done nothing for it but take the occasional Tylenol. I'm beginning to think we should buy stock in that company, eh?)

Thursday, my husband came home from work acting funny. Not his usual self. That, combined with unusually high blood pressure (he's usually healthy as a horse, fit as a fiddle, you get picture), a horrible puking migraine that gave him residual headaches every day since, and a few other symptoms, had us driving back to the emergency room as soon as our Girl Scout meeting ended. A few tests later, we found out that the CT-scan showed several spots which indicated he'd possibly suffered a mini-stroke!

(P.S. !!!!!! Yes, I am super concerned. I want him to go to the neurologist, like, yesterday.)

Also Thursday, I was supposed to go to the Onco-Geneticist for counseling to see if they would do the breast cancer screening test on me, based on my family history of it. I mean, they're going to do it, but this was my intake appointment. I totally forgot about it, so I didn't go. Hopefully, I won't get a $50 missed appointment bill. Ugh.

Friday hasn't quite started yet, but things are already looking interesting: I'm seeing my prescribing shrinky-dink in the afternoon, and I have the following symptoms to share with him (and no, I'm not to copy my husband, lol; I think these are all/mostly medically-induced): sudden and severe occasional stuttering; muddled thinking and inability to do things I can normally do; the front of my tongue curling so that I talk funny, which I can't stop no matter how hard I try; more visual hallucinations; acting "drunk" according to my husband; and, tremors in my right hand. Awesome, right?

(P.S. I have to go camping again for Girl Scouts this weekend. I totally don't want to go. I'm tired. It's been a rough week. Think good thoughts for me out in the woods, will you, please?)

That's all I've got. Nothing Halloween-y, as we didn't Trick-or-Treat, or pass out candy, or decorate, or anything. This is not our usual custom, but the kids had 10 days (ten!!) to get their rooms clean, and they didn't do it, so they had it taken away. Le sigh.

Hope you all had a better week than we did, and here's hoping to a better one ahead for us!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if you're fragmentin' along with Mrs.4444 today!

I've taken no fewer than three naps today. I've either turned into a cat, or I'm sick. Guess which. (I don't have whiskers, if that helps.)

Last night, I went out with one of my girlfriends for a mystery shop at a bar. I told Hubs I'd be be back in an hour and a half to help clean the house. Well, I strolled in 3½ hours later and felt fine about it, since I'd had more and harder laughs in that time than I'd had in ages. Love my Jenny From the Block! When I brought her home, we sat in her drive for at least another hour, "saying goodbye." I love having good friends like that, and the fact that she lives close by doesn't hurt, either.

Just before that, our sister troop's leader and I ran our annual Girl Scout Rededication ceremony with both her Junior and my Daisy troop, plus one Investiture for my new little Daisy. It was lots of fun, and my Daisies did GREAT remembering (and reciting, by themselves) the short Promise, and the Law, which is rather long. I handed out tissue packs for all the moms, because sometimes you cry at these things, and patches that the girls have earned in the last few months. This time, I made them into little books. Now, I have to get sewing and ironing, to get my girls' vests up to date!

Co-op is going FABULOUS on Wednesdays. If you're new here, or just forgetful, we're in our second year of homeschooling, and we go to a co-op for Christian Military Homeschoolers on Weds. I teach three cooking classes, and sometime, I'll get around to posting what we're actually up to in there, but I've gotten nothing but great feedback from my students and parents. One girl, M, comes into class saying, "Hello, favorite teacher!" which, you know, gives me a bit of an ego boost. My kids love it, too. Chloë frequently exclaims, "I wish Co-op was every day; it's so fun!"

When my son died, my MIL gave me a necklace representing each of my then-three children, with Robby as an angel. Then Sophia was born, and she took it back to have a new dangly child added. Well, a few months ago, I took off the necklace for one night, to wear something else (I almost always wore this one), and it disappeared. Earlier, my husband told me to turn around and close my eyes. As soon as I felt him reach around my neck, I knew what it was. "YOU FOUND IT!" I squealed. He's my new favorite husband. ♥

I have to get up way early tomorrow morning for three different back-to-back Girl Scout-related events. Seriously? From September thru June, it practically takes over my life. Oy. Is it wrong to be looking forward to Summer for that reason...?

That's all I've got for now. I'd probably tell you a hundred other things, but I have Sick Brain and CRS.  Have a great weekend!


Friday Fragments


Link up here if you're fragmenting with Mrs. 4444 today!

So if you've been following my saga here, on Facebook, in real life, or via ESP, you know I've been dealing with the fear that the cervical cancer that led to my complete hysterectomy in 2008 (save one ovary) had returned. Well, I finally got in to see my GYN/oncologist yesterday, and the news was very good: there's no "Big C" in there, my "cuff" (what's left after they remove your lady bits) is well-healed, and I have a completely healthy, normal, uh, vah-jay-jay. So, yay! I'm celebrating today. How, you ask? By being happy. Smiling. Being content. And I'm going to practice what I preach to my children, by being "nice, kind, sweet and loving," to them and everyone else I may meet today. And hopefully, every day.

One last woot: Woot!

Tomorrow, I'm finally taking the Instructor's Course for the American Red Cross CPR/First Aid certification, so I can teach it to other Girl Scout volunteers and, if I want, whomever else may be interest. I've already gotten interest from the parents and teens in my homeschooling co-op, so maybe someday soon I'll be up in FRONT of the class demonstrating lifesaving techniques to my friends, instead of being the nervous fake-lifesaver on the floor, scared my dummy is going to expire before I can save it. Hee. Anyway, I'm excited. I just feel like this is one more step in the "growing" course I set myself on last year, to step out of my comfort zone and be more in charge of my life, instead of taking the back seat and letting others drive me around. If that makes any sense to you and not just me, good. It's early, yet.

The one thing I'm a little nervous about is, I have to give a brief presentation on the topic of my choice to my fellow classmates, and the only thing that's coming to me to talk about is what I know well: Loss. Grief. Bereavement. So... I'm not sure that will be the most fun topic for them to hear about, but I think I'm gonna stick with it.

After the course is over, the busyness continues. My family and I are headed for a full-on mystery shopping weekend in DC, complete with dinner at a fun restaurant, a hotel stay in Rockville, Maryland, breakfast at the hotel, lunch in the District at a well-known, huge restaurant, and then home again to run around doing about a half-dozen fast food mystery shops for dinner. I've been cutting way back on the mystery shopping now that school, co-op, and Scouting are back in full swing, but this will be fun. I like to travel, and I need to do it frequently or I get depressed and feel like I'm stagnating. Plus, I love DC. I just wish we had more time to go around and "do," y'know?

Oh! Sophia's saga continues as well. She's my 6yo daughter, who has struggled with breathing issues over the past year or so. She has had daytime issues as well as, we discovered through a sleep study ordered by the pulmonologist at Children's, central sleep apnea. After a recent MRI, we went back to the neurologist yesterday to discover that there are absolutely no anatomical abnormalities within her brain, which is great news. And her labs were all perfect. So, we don't have a concreet reason why she has the apnea, but it's minor enough that I don't have to fret and watch her sleep every night. We just have to watch and see. It's still a little nerve-wracking, but the Neuro. assured me that I can relax and not worry, and I believe her. Now, we go back to Pulm. with these results and see what they want to do next.

This afternoon, we have a field trip to the pumpkin patch with members of our homeschooling co-op, and I can't wait. Hayrides are one of my favorite things ever. I could go on one every single day. I don't know what it is about sitting on a bale of scratchy hay, being pulled around by a tractor going 3 mph, but I love it. The kids do, as well, but they're more excited about the petting zoo and pumpkin picking process (say that 5x fast) to follow. Can't wait!

My JAFRA business continues to grow and go well, although now everyone is getting busy, so I'm trying to find new and creative ways to meet people and get them to sit down with me. We went to the mall the other day, and I handed out candy bags with my card and an offer for a free pampering session in them. So far, no response from that, but if I can just get one, just one, then it will be worth it. Meanwhile, I'll be doing a few holiday craft shows/bazaars with my product front and center, so hopefully that will be a great way to get the JAFRA name out there and some clients for me!

Well, I guess I'm out of fragments for the time being, so here's to hoping a great weekend is ahead for all of you! Cheers!


Friday Fragments


Link up here with Mrs.4444 if you're feeling fragmented today!

Happy Autumn! Good-bye, 100º days with NO air conditioning, hello, well, 65º days so far... Much more tolerable. Better get the HVAC fixed soon, though, or we'll (I'll) be miserable come Winter!

Check out my Aloha Friday question on the previous post for a special offer! I'm running a Jafra promotion for my blog readers only and it ends in one week, so hurry!

Wednesdays are homeschool co-op days for Team Odette, and while the kids are in their classes, I'm in the kitchen all day teaching cooking to children from age five to 14. Last week was the first week and quite chaotic (but fun); yesterday went much more smoothly and was a blast. Still, it wears me out. I had more errands to run and finally crashed before midnight, and I slept late late late today. We were supposed to spend the day up in Yorktown for their homeschool days events, for which we had tickets, but I was just too pooped. I think we'll have to think about taking Thursdays off from doing school, because last week was the same. Can always make it up Sat & Sun, though technically, we "do school" ALL the time, if you count the lessons the kids learn on-the-go, in the car, at the store, and so forth. Yeah. Let's count that.

Tomorrow, we WILL be going up to Jamestown for the kids' classes, since Jamestown/Yorktown Homeschool days end this weekend and I want to get our money's worth, but since we already went to J-town last week, we might either go early or stay late (or both, what the hey) and venture over to Yorktown. We've never seen Y-town, and it's unlimited free admission during this event, so I'd like to go check it out. Have y'all ever been to the "Historic Triangle," as they call it (Colonial Williamsburg is included in that)?

Saturday is free museum day! Learn about that here and get your two free tickets if you haven't already! We plan on going to the Children's Museum of VA in Portsmouth until Jack has to go home and get ready for his Cub Scout popcorn show & sell (a booth sale, as we Girl Scouts call it), and then a friend's having a birthday party for her husband after that, so... another busy weekend!

Oh yeah, and the Girl Scout Fall Product sale (candy and nuts) starts on Saturday, too. Phew, it never stops. My dad always complains that our life is too chaotic and hectic. I guess he can't seem to remember what life was like with four teenaged girls going in all different directions all the time?

If you want to read about my trip with Chloë to D.C. for her 10th birthday celebration, read the two posts prior to my Aloha Friday one. We had a grand weekend at American Girl, taking the train, going to the National Zoo, and staying in a hotel in the middle of the District. And I left her alone for her very first time while I slipped out and did a mystery shop at a restaurant and bar with a friend who lives there. Chloë did great, except she was upset that she couldn't get the laptop OR the TV to work, so she ended up taking a bath to calm down and missed my check-in phone call. By the time I got back, after watching the Mayweather-Ortiz fight at the restaurant, she and her AG doll, Faith, were sound asleep in their bed. (Speaking of the fight, did you see that? I kept cringing while the men cheered; it's the mother in me, I guess!)

I'm back in therapy at least twice a week now, and it's helping considerably. I adore my therapist and think it's the best-working relationship I've ever had with one (and I've had a bunch).  My psychopharmacologist, "Paypal," has changed up one of my meds, from Side-Effexor to Pristiq, and it's not going so well... plus he was out of town and unable to take any of my "what should I do?!?!" phone calls. Luckily, my therapist was there and able to help me cope. I ♥ her.

So, my 8yo son, Jack, had his latest appointment with the new pediatric endocrinologist this week, and that went as expected, with the medication refill put in and new needles ordered. However, apparently we're supposed to be physically seen in the office every 4-6 months - as opposed to the 12 we've been asked in the past - and he's supposed to get an IGF-1 test every other visit or so. Now, like you I'm guessing, I'd never heard of this test, so someone has been dropping the ball. At least this new endo is on top of things. Basically it tells us whether his med dosage is correct, according to liver function after taking some marker meds. I love finding this kind of thing out after, what? Five, six years of being following for his growth hormone deficiency? Nice. (In the "good news" category, though, he's grown 8½ cm since Feb. 2010, which is fantastic! It would be 0 cm without the meds, more than likely.)

Chloë, at age 10 and smaller than her 6yo sister Sophia, weighs less than 50 lbs and has barely grown herself, so at the end of the endo visit, I asked the doc if she should be re-evaluated. She'd been checked a few years ago and was "borderline" for the condition, but I remained concerned. He took a height check on her and then pored over her medical records. Doc called me himself within the same day and told me that, yes, she definitely needs to be seen again and will probably end up taking the shots herself. I broke the news to her a little while later, and she was fairly calm about it, saying she kind of knew that was coming. She just doesn't want her shots "in the butt" and asked if she could have them in her arms and legs instead. I don't know, but since she's not very meaty in those places, I'm guessing that'll be a "no."

{Note to Grandma: her appointment is October 18th at zero-dark-hundred.}

Since we're talking medical stuff now, I visited my PCM myself this week to ask for referrals for both a new sleep study (do I still need the CPAP, which I don't use anyway, for apnea since I've lost 205 lbs??) and for the breast cancer gene test. Normally, they don't approve the gene test unless there is a "strong family history," which to Tricare means a mother or sister with the disease. Well, my maternal grandmother had it both in her 30s and 50s, and my mother died too young, at age 33, to know whether she would have gotten it. Since Sis and I have both had lumps checked out, I was able to talk my way into getting the referral submitted. I found out tonight that I've been referred out for an oncologist-geneticist appointment. Woot! (Meanwhile, the sleep study referral is still "under review," which I think is ridick. Whatevs.)


At Jack's Cub Scout pack meeting tonight, he earned belt loops for Gymnastics, BB-gun shooting, and Archery, along with his first Popcorn patch for this current sale, and his Wolf badge, which he somehow didn't get last year. (He's a Bear now.) We don't know what those arrow point-thingies are for, though. Grandma, help?

Ehh, I guess that's way more crap than you really wanted to know about me/us this week, so I'll shut up now. I really need to go do some cleaning, since we're having house guests (a friend and her three doggies) all next week. With four cats, this should prove interesting!


Friday Fragments


Hie thee here to link up with Mrs.4444 if ye be fragmentin' today!

Look at me! Fragmenting two weeks in a row! I'm on a roll, kids. You should feel blessed to have me in your presence. I jest. But I'm working on being a more consistent blahgess, so "here my am!" as I once heard an exuberant two-year-old exclaim.

So I'm pretty sure that one of our two twin kittens - or maybe both of them - just went potty on my kids' books that were left layin' on the floor. I'm utterly NOT in the mood to go check it out, mainly because I don't want to clean it up for the umpteenth time. These two kitties, Cupcake and Muffin, are 6 months old and quickly running out of chances with me. Unfortunately, we tried the SPCA, but we were told they were unadoptable with this behavior and would immediately be euthanized, so our options are limited. Seriously, though, I have just enough OCD that I'm about to lose my shit over it. No pun intended.

I had a major manic episode last Friday, and it involved lots of visual hallucinations, suicidal ideation, and severe anxiety. I saw my psychopharmacologist, who basically put me to sleep for the next two days. I woke up feeling much better, but it was a freaky thing. My husband took emergency leave for both the kids' sake and mine. This bipolar disorder is for the birds. I'm not looking forward to living with this crap for the rest of  my life, but I suppose I don't have much of a choice. (Please don't leave me a comment saying I DO have a choice and leave me a bunch of religious mumbo-jumbo about it. So not in the mood to be hearing that. If you wouldn't say it to a diabetic or a cancer patient, then don't say it to me. Thanks.)

I'm back in therapy 2x a week, after a two-month hiatus on my shrink's part. I'm so glad to be back. She and I hit it off like peanut butter and Nutella, and she helps me tremendously. I feel so much better, so much relief, after talking to her. She asked me, do I want to stick to twice weekly sessions or go down to one? I chose to stick with the two, since, um, six was apparently out of the question. Heh.

We've been taking some time away from our regular studies in order to participate in the Colonial Homeschool Days at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center in the Historic Triangle up by Williamsburg. We'll get to Williamsburg later in the semester for their homeschool day(s), but today, we're headed to the Mariner's Museum in Newport News for more fun and edumacation. I'm looking forward to it - except for the waking the kids up early part. They don't do so well with that, being night owls like their Mama. (Click on over here to answer my Aloha Friday question about Colonial stuff, please-and-thanks!)

And in the evening, I'm having a JAFRA party to celebrate my return to that oh-so-wondrous of skin care and cosmetics companies. It's truly an awesome company with fabulous products - and I would know, as I've been using them since I was a young lass of 22 years! (I just turned 35 a week ago, so that should tell you how much I believe in the benefits of both Jafra the company and Jafra the product!) If you've never tried it and would be interested in doing so, give me a hollah! Even if you're not local to me, we can work out a hostess plan for you to try some samples and get some free gifts. Your skin will thank you!  Here's my site, although it won't be active until sometime in the next couple of days - check me out (soon)!

Finalmente, the eldest girl-child, who just turned 10 (!!) and I will be heading up to D.C. this weekend via train. I'm taking her shopping for her first (and probably only) American Girl doll and some spa time, like getting the doll's ears pierced if that's what she decides (and I think she will). Now if I could just get their dang personal shopper to call me back, that would be glorious!

So our first day of co-op on Wednesday when really well, I think! It was hectic, and there was some chaos, and I was way exhausted afterward, but I'm looking forward to what the next 9 weeks will bring for both the kids in their classes and me in mine (I'm teaching cooking to kids from 5 to 14 in three different time slots). I'm so glad to be back in the group, after leaving prematurely last spring!

That's all I've got for fragments, but I may be back later with pictures from our Powhatan Indian Village tour in Jamestown, among other gems. Come back and see me if you get a chance. ☺


Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs.4444 if you're fragmenting this week!

I haven't fragmented in ages, and my FF posts have been few and far between, so probably a lot of you have no idea who I am anymore. That's okay. I'm feeling particularly fragmented, mentally, so hey, let's get to it!

So I turned 35 yesterday, which, to me, was A. Big. Deal. Bigger than 30, and almost as big as 40. Hubs disagrees, but I see it as officially grown-up, officially an adult, officially "supposedly a responsible human being" and stuff. And, gulp, dare I say it - middle aged! What's your take on 35? Big deal or no?

All I asked for from my family was a clean house. That's all I ever ask for, for my birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas... any occasion in which I may possibly expect to receive something, you know? And I never get it. This, I suppose, is the life of a mother of three young children (and four cats, and a slob-by-nature husband), but still. Just once, maybe, it would be nice, eh?

One of my Daisy Girl Scout parents brought me a Diet Coke for my birthday, at our first meeting of the year yesterday. She knows I live for - and on - the stuff. I thought it was the sweetest gesture and was so touched!

My oldest kiddo turned TEN on Wednesday (yes, she was my 25th birthday present, but I was NOT happy about that. Why? Because I had wanted to go swimming on my birthday, dangit, and in the middle of my emergency c-section I asked my surgeons - there were about 5 of them in the room - if I still could. Much laughter ensued. I'm still bitter) and we had a huge blast doing all kinds of free stuff around town. Read all about it here. You know you wanna.

Oh, and answer my Aloha Friday question about your kids' birthdays while you're at it, wouldja? Prettiest please?

So, I took a poll about whether I should remove my nose ring when I'm doing stuff for my Jafra business (inquire within; website to be forthcoming in a week's time), and 75%, roughly, said it was unprofessional and I should take it out. Really? In 2011? I was surprised. Vote here if you want to have your say, and I will listen to the majority when the polls close on, say, Saturday night. 'Kay? Thanks.

Okay, enough linkage to my recent posts. Totally not where I meant to go with this. I don't even know where I did mean to go with this; I'm kind of just going with the flow of my fingers as they type. Do you ever do that when you blog? At least when you fragment?

I'm heading to my psychopharmacologist today for more happy pills. These visits excite me lately because, well, I'm severely bipolar AND I think more might be going on in the ol' bonkin-head, and it irritates this particularly irritable shrink-person when I start listing new symptoms. He's not one for change. He likes to keep with the status quo. Maybe I'll make some stuff up today, just to completely mess with HIS head for once. Wait. He might have me committed if I do that. On second thought...just give me the drugs and we'll call it good.

And then, later tonight, my daughters and one of my Daisies and I are going to bring supplies to pack bags for foster children, at the Girl Scout Council. I'm kind of excited about it. I have a special place in my heart for foster kids, and I look forward to seeing how much has been collected for them. What a life they have. I like to pay it forward when I can.

Saturday starts the homeschooling days (they last thru the 25th) in colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, and we've got our tickets this year! I'm excited. Hopefully there will be as much really fun stuff as I've been told there is, and the kids won't be bored to tears. We've been here 8½ years and have NEVER done the "colonial thing" yet, so it's about dang time, ya think?

I chopped my hair off about 3-4 months ago, super duper short, and now it's grown back enough that I'm in that awkward "should I cut it again or let it grow" phase. I am so torn. It's cute short, but I miss ponytails. Life's tough decisions, you know?

I guess I don't really have much else to say, so I'm gonna go download the three free American Girl apps to my iPhone, like I promised my eldest AG-obsessed child. We're going to DC in a week or so to get her a look-alike doll and have loads of fun in the store, and I think I'm as excited as she is!

Welp, have a good week(end), y'all, and maybe, just maybe, I'll see you back here this time next Friday.


Friday Fragments

Link up here if you're fragmenting today. I sure am, which is why I'm back after a long absence.

I can't post any pictures, so no cool logo to add. Sorry Mrs.4444. Typepad is being a buttdart.

So if you've read this post of mine, which you probably haven't if you're coming from Half Past Kissin' Time, then you know I'm struggling with Bipolar Disorder.

I'm really struggling this week. It has been bad. I'm pretty non-functional at the moment. Not because of the depression. Because of the meds. I just can't seem to be "normal," which I know is not a reality, for me or for anyone else, but I can't seem to ... function. Well. It sucks.

I'm sorry for complaining, but it's been a really hard week for me, and I needed to say so. And I'm starting to worry - not for the first time - that there's more going on than BPD. Like, am I schizo? I don't know, but I doubt that... I just feel like, because of what I went through with TBFH (aka, my former stepmother, growing up), I have lots of crazy to which to look forward. It wouldn't surprise me if I developed split personalities or something.

Geez. This is not an uplifting post, is it? I'll work on that.

If we're Facebook friends, then you may know I've started a dessert business, as of Monday.

It's called You Take The Cake!, and it's going pretty well. I haven't officially sold any cakes yet, but I do have half-a-dozen orders for future desserts, and some other leads for more.

It's fun, I love it, and I am hopeful that it will help generate some much-needed income for this po' family.

So if you're in the Hampton Roads area, keep me in mind, please! And if you're not, "like" us on Facebook and stuff. That would be cool. Thanks.

Well, that's pretty much all I've got going on, since I'm non-functional. Crap. I thought I had more stuff to say.


Have a good weekend.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments 

Link up here if you're fragmenting along with Mrs.4444 today!

I can't promise my fragments today won't depress you. If you don't feel like it, shuffle on along now... ;)

So I had this friend. A really, really good, close friend, who I cared a tremendous bit about. I knew him a very short period of time, but we clicked immediately and got along like two people who get along real well.

Anyway, things got too intense, and when I posted this, he had enough. It cost me the friendship.

That was what, a week ago? My heart is still broken.

Actually, for the first time since I was a teenager, I did this:


002 (2) 

I never considered myself a "cutter," because I have always used my fingernails (I have attempted scissors and knives but couldn't ever manage to break the skin with them), but apparently that counts. It's worse than it looks in the picture; that was fresh. Don't ask me why I took a picture.

Right now it looks like this, though:



...because Hello Kitty was all I had in my First Aid kit. Hey, whatever works. It hurts like hell. I won't be doing it again anytime soon. That's a promise.


I did try not to cut. I even put on my sneakers - which I never, ever wear - and went out for a run to try and stop the pain I was feeling. I don't run. I just don't. But I did. And I liked it. So I've been gathering up a Playlist of run-worthy songs on my iPod, and as soon as the weather isn't crappish, I'm going to keep doing it. I WILL run that 5K this year!! Another promise.

Anyway, CM, if you're out there reading this (which I doubt, but you never know), please stop this nonsense and be my friend again. Please?

Here's another thing I posted this week, that I think you should read. I'm actually kind of proud of it. I printed it out and mailed it. Kinda hoping it makes the old man cry again. Is that wrong?

I have to admit, I feel like I've been falling down on the job when it comes to homeschooling. I think we do okay at it when we DO it, but we haven't spent enough time on it since Christmas. Granted, my 5yo went from not knowing all her letter sounds to READING, and my 7yo went from a mid-kinder reading level to a mid/late-first grade level so far this school year, and my 9yo went from being TERRIBLE at math to adding up $80 worth of groceries in her head and only being 3¢ off the actual total... and oodles of other things, but... I'm slacking. There. I said it. I'm slacking. Time to get back in the saddle and be more gung-ho again.

We've been doing lots of Valentine's arts and crafts projects this week, including all these on Tuesday and more stuff today:



our bedecked chandelier, and


our Valentine (eucalyptus) tree, and



our bannisters, and 


this little love-note to my alma mater, the U. of Miami. Fun times. I had every intention of doing more academic stuff today, but we had a rough, tough morning, so I made it up to the kids with an afternoon full of buttons, ribbons, glitter and hot glue!

Tonight, I continued the craftiness by finishing up the African Gray (amigurumi) parrot I've been making for a good friend of mine. I had no pattern or experience, really, with amigurumi other than one or two little things, so it was a real challenge for me. I can't show you the picture yet because she hasn't seen it and reads this blog, so I'll just show you my starting point a few weeks ago:


She approved of my color choices, but that's it! Everything else will be a surprise. Eek! I'm nervous!

At Bunco last night, Skinny-Minnie T totally made my night by standing next to me and joke-angrily saying that SHE was supposed to be the skinny one, here! At the time, I was wearing size SIX jeans and really needed a belt!! :D

I'll leave you now with this funny (and totally wrong!) little conversation that my husband texted to me. It happened a little while ago:

Hubs, to son Jack, 7: "I'm trying to take a dump, can you leave [the bathroom], please??"

Jack: "I'm trying to look at the damn [valentine] tree!"

I busted a gut. I probably shouldn't share that, but I think it's hee-larious. Some - maybe all - of you are shaking your heads, and I don't care. It's funny to ME!

All right, good-night and happy weekend.


Friday Fragments: Smelly Returns!

Wait. "Smelly Returns" could mean a lot of things, couldn't it? Well, don't sit and think about it too long! It means I'm going to try to get back into FF after a long absence, not... those other things. Just be forewarned that I'm listening to Bob FM online through my ear buds, very loudly, so if one of my fragments suddenly turns into song lyrics, well, that's why.

Another forewarning: This is going to be long. I have a lot of stuff to unload. Feel free to, you know, NOT read it!

Friday Fragments 

Link yourselves up right here if you're fragmenting along with the awesome Mrs.4444 (who is not so awesome at Words With Friends - aka Scrabble - on the iPhone, it turns out. Heh heh heh)!

And away we go!

The past two weeks have been insanely busy for me, so I'm pretty much going to post about the goings-on then. For starters, Rob (The Hubs) was in the hospital for 8 days, starting on Tuesday last week and ending on Tuesday this week. He's all right now and stuff, but he didn't plan that visit too well for me, timing-wise. I guess I'll forgive him, but our bank account may never recover from the amount of babysitting I had to pay for during his absence!

For starters, it was crazy Girl Scout Cookie week last week. Tuesday morning, I had an hour and a half of mandatory Leader training for that (I'm my younger daughter Sophia's Daisy scout leader). In the evening, there was the monthly Leader meeting, which, uh, I missed, because... we'll get to that. Thursday afternoon was our regular scout meeting, and Friday night was the big Cookie Rally. My co-Leader and I had to keep track of all 13 of our scouts by ourselves (8 of whom are 5 or 6 years old), because no parents were allowed. (It was insane!) Saturday, the cookie sale started, but it's been too freakin' cold out for us to go around the neighborhood, so I've been spared that for the moment. Still, I'm a little Girl-Scouted out at the moment, know what'm sayin'??

And yes, I will be happy to send you six cases of Thin Mints... if you pay for the shipping. ;)

After the cookie training last Tuesday, my Cookie Chair took me to BJ's, where she has a membership. We had to bring fourteen #10 (the huge ones) cans of veggies and fruits to Friday's Cookie Rally - one for each of our girls - for donation to the Food Bank. Our local council is really pushing the Food Bank this year. Which is great and all, but those things are 'spensive! ANYway, not the point. I did get some groceries for our household while there, and I decided I'm going to get a membership on payday. The pantry has been slim pickin's around here lately. Every time the kids turned a corner and found more giant containers of delicious-looking food, they would yell, "JACKPOT!" It was funny and sad at the same time. They were really relieved (and excited)when I told them not all that food was going to the Food Bank, and some of it was coming home with us...

So after I finally got home, schlepped all the groceries up to my door and got the kids out of the van, it was with an unimaginable amount of dismay that I discovered the water shut-off notice on the front door. Yep. Went in and checked: no water. None. I literally went berserk. I had forgotten to pay the bill last cycle, yes, but as soon as Rob got the notice on the door one single day before, I sent the payment. Online. Which takes a couple days. I didn't know they only gave you one day of notice to pay before shutting it off. Gulp. I sent the kids upstairs to play in their rooms so they wouldn't hear me fall apart on the phone with the water people. I was in tears and threatening to do things that would put me back in the Psych Ward I visited in December. You just can't have three kids at home with no water. Can't cook, can't wash dishes or yourselves - can't FLUSH. And have you seen what three little kids put out? You must have The Flush. Needless to say, I got them to come turn the water back on within hours, after swearing on a virtual stack of Bibles that I had, indeed, paid that %^&*( bill.

That was definitely not the highlight of my week.

I just don't get to say "schlepped" often enough. It's a fun word.

Moving right along...

Wednesday, I saw my shrink for the second time since I got out of the Looney Bin. It was a good thing. My bipolarity has me swinging off the chandeliers one moment and contemplating slicing up my wrists the next (not kidding). It's been pretty hellish inside my brain lately. He changed one med, increased another, and refilled the third. Fingers crossed that this is the combo that works.

Jack was supposed to go to his Urologist on Thursday morning for a follow-up after his surgery on September 1st, but uh, it took me so long to get him scheduled that his referral expired. Stupid, sucky Mommy. (He had a bilateral orchiopexy.) Yet another thing lately on which I have dropped the ball. Hopefully by next week's Fragments, I'll have scheduled the appointment to get a new referral...

Thursday afternoon was, at long last, our Girl Scout Christmas party. The girls each exchanged gifts. Sophia completely and totally embarrassed me when she opened her present (from my Cookie Chair's daughter, no less), saw what it was, threw it, looked like this:

Sophia pouting 

for a few minutes, and then burst into tears. Why?? Because it was Tinkerbell/Fairy goodies, and she thought *I* had given her MORE Tinkerbell stuff. She had all Tinkerbell things in her stocking this year, and Chloë got Disney Princesses stuff, and she wanted Princesses, and here was more Tinkerbell, and ...ugh! It was mortifying. I had to take her out of the room, lecture her once again on the proper way to receive a gift, and then put her in the corner when she was STILL being bratty. And then go apologize for her behavior. I'm still embarrassed!


The Cookie Rally on Friday night went really well, and I didn't lose a single Daisy. (The chemist in me thinks of my troop of Daisies as a whole lot of excited valence electrons, if that's any explanation!) Sophia was probably griping here about not getting more cookies... See her red shirt? One of the troop parents had the bright idea to put all our girls in the same color, and we chose red. Worked like a dream.

Saturday and Sunday, the kids and I spent pretty much all day at the hospital with Daddy. Thankfully, they provided crayons and paper to keep the little ones busy. It helped. Mommy and Daddy got into the drawing and coloring for a while there, too. It was pretty therapeutic. I smuggled in some chocolate for the patient, even though no outside food was allowed. It was most appreciated. I smuggled in my new iPhone 4 for him to "ooh" and "ahh" over, too. Daddy likey.


So far this school year, I've been working a ton with Sophia on letter sounds. She kept getting them mixed up, and she found the whole process rather boring, so we didn't really graduate beyond that - until December, when things suddenly clicked for her, and she began to read! Still, I didn't go back to the Hooked on Phonics program we'd been using, because we did so much traveling last month, and because I wanted her reading skills to develop more informally in that period. We went back to HoP on Monday, and she did a beautiful job with the program, even reading her first three stories to me, unassisted. So she finally got to put her first sticker on her reading chart, which has been up on the wall since September. It was a momentous occasion, so we all did the Happy Dance! Yay, Sophie!

Monday night was dance class for Chloë and Cub Scouts for Jack, so we didn't get to visit Daddy at the hospital. That sucked, and we all missed him like crazy. I may have cried a little.

Tuesday was nuts. I had to go to the mall to get an eye exam (yes, for a mystery shop, but I really needed it). My vision has jumped another big step, for the worse. Awesome. Not that you care. After that, I stopped in at The Children's Place to check the clearance racks. Score! I got over two dozen pairs of good, quality pants for less than six bucks each - half for the girls, half for the boy - since they've all been in high-waters lately. Imagine that, my kids actually grew! Now to take the 3Ts and 5Ts to the kids' consignment shop...

In the afternoon, I still hadn't heard when Hubs was getting out of the hospital, and I was starting to panic. I had to take Jack and Sophia to gymnastics (the boy joined his sister in class last week, too, and he's über-enthusiastic about it) in the afternoon, and then spend four hours at the Girl Scout council doing my CPR certification class, and I really didn't want to get another sitter for that... plus I wanted him HOME, of course! I called the head nurse, his command, his chief (because he had to be released to the command, not his wife, argh), and finally found out they were discharging him in the next 20 minutes. Really? You couldn't keep me in the loop?? I dropped The Littles off at the gym and then raced my tush over to the Naval hospital to scoop him up, before rushing us back to the gym to pick up the little gymnasts. In rush-hour traffic, both ways. Normally, that should have taken me about 2½ hours, but I did it in an hour and 15 minutes. Go me.


Tuesday night, I spent four hours learning CPR, for the first time. I meant to do it after I had my first kid, and then the next two, and then the last one, and then... I never did. Now that I'm a scout leader, it's time. It was an adrenaline rush, for sure. I've been on the lookout for an unconscious victim ever since. Next month, I'm going to take the next step and take the course to be a Red Cross CPR instructor. I'm doing it for free through the Girl Scouts, in exchange for teaching a couple classes a year after that. I'm nervous and excited!


Wednesday night was our monthly Bunco night. I almost forgot to make my cupcakes! 1700 rolled around, and I finally got started... or at least I did, after I sent Hubs out to pick me up some eggs. Well, I wanted to make some really cute cuppies, only all the Wilton food color gels I wanted to use had dried out. So I had to use blue. I tasted some of the blue frosting... can you tell??


Then, I put the tinted frosting in the fridge so it wouldn't be soft and melty like it was in the tub, while I showered and got ready. Only, I left it in there so long, it got TOO hard, and I couldn't use the swirly tip I wanted to use. So I ended up doing these slapdash basketweave cupcakes, in blue, and getting exactly nothing like I wanted. Apparently they were good, though, and I was asked to bring cupcakes every single time.

This morning, I had my two-year check-up with my gastric bypass surgeon. Hard to believe two whole years have gone by since I weighed *gulp* 341.3 pounds. I've lost about 205 of those lbs along the way, dropping from a BMI of 62.xx to somewhere in the mid-20s (hard to tell with all the extra floppy skin I'm still lugging around). I'm happy, but I'm not finished yet. I look okay in clothes, but when I take them off, it looks like I'm 92 years old. No lie! So Plastics is in my future, and I'm okay with that. Just don't touch my face, because I'm pretty adorable. Ha!

Tonight, I went for the follow-up to my CPR class, which was the First Aid portion. I aced my test. Well, I did get one wrong on the child first aid portion, because I read the question as a CPR one instead of a choking/abdominal thrusts one, der. That'll teach me to rush to be the first one done! (That's a lifelong habit I've had, so dumb.) It was a good class, and I'm seriously glad I've had it. My only complaint - and a major one - is that there was waaaaaaay too much joking around and talking during the instruction and videos. A little laughter is fine. The entire six hours? Not so much. Not when some of us aren't taking it for the 7th time and actually want to learn this stuff! Now I need to stock a first aid kit to bring with me everywhere I go!!

Well, I could bore you to tears for another hour, and THEN share some cute-and-funnies from the kids, but I shan't. This has gotten long enough, and I know you agree. Have a fantastic weekend, and send me any extra gauze and band-aids you have in the house. ;)


P.S. Scroll down and read my Poop Story, if you missed it. I'm told it was a good story, anyway.

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments 

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're fragmenting today!

I haven't done this in ages. I've been soo busy, since we started homeschooling this year and I started a Daisy Girl Scout troop, too. With those things, a return to regular mystery shopping, and everything else that life entails, I've barely had time to blog. So... happy to be back. I hope it sticks!


I spotted this sign on the door at 7-11 yesterday, and it just made me giggle. Am I the only one who sees the humor in this? The clerk didn't find it so funny when I mentioned it... but I guess she wouldn't!


Chloë's hair has gotten super-long again. Just above her tush. Well, it was, but after this, I chopped about 2-3" of dead ends off, and now it looks much better. She was upset at first, but then she looked in the mirror and couldn't even tell the difference, so I was spared a fit. Phew!

Self portraits 007 

So, here's some big news: I've lost 200 pounds!! I finally hit the mark, and I'm ecstatic. On January 26, 2009, I was a size 26. Now, all these months after my gastric bypass surgery that day, size 8s are loose on me! Woohoo!! After I get all my loose skin cut off (hopefully in the spring), I'll be in a 6 for sure - if not a 4!


The Fall Product sale for Girl Scouts is in full swing, but WE are not! I have been very lazy (or forgetful) about taking the girls out to sell, so they've only gone this one time, here. Historically, Chloë has carried her troop for this and the cookie sale, but not this time if we don't get our butts in gear. Hopefully this weekend will be nice... but anyway, isn't Sophia the cutest Daisy ever??


And in her 5th year of Scouts, Chloë is now a Junior! Hard to believe; it's going so fast. Of course, she's still Daisy-sized, so she looks pretty teeny up against her fellow troop members!

On Sunday morning, I crashed my new Odyssey. I'm upset, but I would be more so if I actually felt an affinity for Penelope (that's its name). I really don't. I miss Vanna, my old van, which I loved infinitely more than Penny. I just keep reminding myself that she's super-safe, and that's the most important thing. And I can't even get her fixed right now, because I'd have to be without a vehicle for goodness knows how long, and we can't afford to pay for a rental. It's a suck-suck situation, all the way around.


Tonight after the regular meeting, I held an Investiture Ceremony to welcome my Daisies officially into Girl Scouts. It went really well, and the girls were adorable! What made me happiest, though, was that our audience was absolutely packed with proud family members. Such support made me so glad. I have great parents in my troop!

Flower small

I'm looking through the pictures that Jeff and Lisa Keeney took of our family in May right now, and there are just so many favorites, it was hard to pick just one to share with you. So here's one I love... would you like to see some more?

And now, a few cute kid quotes:

Sophia, 5½, was watching a documentary about the fauna in Antarctica when she suddenly exclaimed, "Mommy, look! It's a beach beaver! A beach beaver! Wait... oh, no, it's just a sea otter..."

Chloë, 9, proclaimed, "Elbow macaroni is America's favorite macaroni. I will NOT eat any other macaroni."

Sophia was explaining to someone about how she lost her two front teeth: "It didn't hurt when I was hanging ON the treadmill. It didn't hurt until I fell OFF the treadmill."

(Which I thought was hysterical - the explanation, not the fall!)

Going door-to-door, selling for Girl Scouts, Sophia wanted to know why she couldn't go by herself. I answered that she was much too young, and Girl Scouts requires a girl to be 13 before they can do so. She replied, "Mommy, can you hide so they know I'm old? Can I pretend I'm 8? I mean, 10?"

Chloë said about Jack, 7½, "He doesn't even like brown sugar - and that's, like, the best sugar there IS!" when telling Daddy how to make Jack's oatmeal.

Have I told you this one, before? We were in the mall, walking along, when Jack shouted, "LOOK, DAD! THE ESCALATOR STOPPED!!" all incredulously. Rob looked back, stopped, and then said, "Those are stairs, son."

I died.

Have a great weekend!