wADmM5mNLtOv064mhMCS_CYE3Bc Just Dorothy: 2012

It's always interesting

Periodically I check the stats on this little blog of mine.  And it always is interesting to me to see which posts are read the most, how long ago they were written, and who is reading them.  The US is always the first on the leader board with the UK a distant second, sometimes 3rd. 

It's a hoot when I see that people from Germany, India, or the Ukraine have read Dorothy.  When I checked today though, Russia is in the lead and the numbers are pretty huge for them for the week.  And I can see which posts are the most popular.  Always, always the Baby Jesus Hot Dog and the Baby Jesus Peanut post is looked up.  It makes me wonder what the heck people are Googling! 

I also noticed that the last 3 months the views have climbed significantly.  Whatever the reason, whoever the audience, I'm really appreciative.  I'm not sure they find what they are searcing for but I hope at the very least they are entertained!

2012 Wrap-up

We didn't send out Christmas cards this year and I didn't send out a Christmas letter.  I did that once when we first moved out of state and it was 5 pages long and I vowed to never bore anyone that much again.  So now...I just blog!

December of 2011 was pretty cool in Nebraska.  Very little snow on the ground for that day and we just hung around the house, the 4 of us with our dogs and our little cat.  We watched basketball and had a movie marathon and it was nice and relaxing.  It was also our last away from family.  I was happy that Christmas but hadn't been home for any holiday in 4 years and I couldn't take it anymore.  In February we put the house on the market and moved back home in April.  Ryan told me that his friend Cole said there was 8 inches of snow on the ground yesterday in Minden.  Not here...

Earlier this month, we got to go look at Christmas lights ... without wearing hats or coats or gloves.  Or shoveling out the driveway.
From May to July I searched and searched for a job and was extremely stressed at not being able to find one.  And then, dream job!  Librarian at the elementary school 4 blocks from my house.  Zach goes to the school too, so it's perfect.  The high school Ryan goes to is literally in our back yard.  He hops the fence and walks across the street.  We can see the Performing Arts Center from our window.  I can also see the mountain views from our windows too...
Ryan played football this year, of course.  And Bean played basketball...
This football season was the first time the Wolves had ever won section Champs.  The team went undefeated in division games and lost only 2 non-division games.  It was pretty awesome!  Zach's 7th grade team had a pretty good season and were eliminated in the first round of playoffs.  It was just fun to watch both boys play and be active. 
We were able to return to family camp in California this year.  So much fun!  I missed this place...
Since we've been home we've made it to several birthday parties for family.  Zach turned 13 and Ryan turned 17.

And Kevin came home from Afghanistan!  That's his "mean" face... :)
And we've had our first Christmas back...

So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Here's hoping 2013 is an amazing year for everyone!  


The Ugly Truth

Due to the sad, sad events of Friday, today at work we had a lock down drill.  We had discussions with parents and meetings with law enforcement.  Our principals and our Superindendent will meet this week to discuss ways we can keep our campus safer.  Because as our police officer pointed out, it's not a matter of "if", it's a matter of "when". 

Our town is small.  Not rural, like a few other schools within our district, but small and a little out of the way.  You kind of have to know where you are going "up the hill" if you want to find us.  It doesn't make us any safer, although we'd like to think so. 

We've all been told to be hyper-vigilant, be more aware of who is on campus and why.  Right now, many, many parents walk their kids directly to class in the morning and wait right outside the gate for afternoon pick up.  There is some discussion on whether or not to take that option away, at least for the drop off.  We all have mixed feelings about it.  And different reasons for those mixed feelings.  We will discuss on whether or not we want to have an auto lock on the front office entrance and "buzz" people in.  There are mixed feelings on that too. 

But, this afternoon, one of the Kinders came in to the office and was waiting to talk to the principal.  He was in a bit of trouble and sat quietly waiting, his brown eyes huge, taking everything in.  His blond hair was messy and he was completely adorable.  And I felt so unbareably sad.  Those poor, innocent, precious children, barely more than babies really, the same as this little one sitting before me.  And they are gone. 

So, yes, if that means a little bit of extra work on staff's part, if that means more taxpayer money or bond overrides or whatever, I will never complain or roll my eyes or even sigh heavily at the school for going "overboard".  Because it means that our children are a little bit safer. Because it's not a matter of "if"...

So yesterday...

My intentions were to create a birthday post Thursday night or Friday morning for my wonderful kiddo, John Ryan.  I didn't do it and now I regret it because his special day has passed and it turned out to be a day that really, truly sucked.

It started out great.  We woke up, slapped his butt, said happy birthday, gave hugs all around and headed out for school and work.  I had promised I'd make his cake when I got home later that afternoon and we'd open gifts after he and his girlfriend got back from dinner.  And then I got sick and came home.  My mom called me and asked if I'd heard about the shooting at an elementary school in CT.  28 dead, 18 of them children.  I briefly turned on the news to hear the story but had to turn it off, largely because the media drives me insane in cases like this.  They "try" to be sensitive, but in all reality they are just trying to get the scoop, be the first to report any new information and it's almost always wrong.  Anyway, I spent the rest of the day in bed, sleeping my aches and pains away and my great kid would text me to check up on me.  When he got home, we started talking about this tragedy and about how someone could walk into a school and shoot people, kill children.  I don't have any answers.  I don't know that the elementary school  I work in would be any safer if we were armed or not.  I do know that Monday, when school is in session again, I will not be able to look at those kids and not think of the little ones that lost their lives.  I'm hoping that over the weekend, our parents take precautions and not let their kiddos watch too much tv that shows this tragic event over and over again.  I want our babies to always feel safe. 

So, even though I was sick, didn't get to make a cake, Ryan's plans fell through I had to put it in perspective.  Ryan HAD a birthday.  He's one year older.  He is 17 and next year he will be 18.  I get to see his handsome face for one more day.  I get to hear his laugh and hug him for one more day.  I get to enjoy his company for one more day.  And I get to help heal his hurts for one more day.  I'm a very lucky, very blessed mom. 

Glazed Carrots

On the school lunch menu today, glazed carrots were offered.  Do you know how many kids didn't bother to even try them?  I actually paid one little girl 75 cents to eat 4 spoons full of them.  She did it.  And bought a bottle of water to wash them down with. 


This song makes me super, super happy and is currently stuck in my head. 


Boys of Fall

Boys of Fall

EFHS Football banquet last night marks the official end of football season.  It's bittersweet.  So glad the grueling schedule is over, both for Ryan and for us.  But I love watching those kids play.  They play with heart and passion and integrity.  They are held accountable for their actions as individuals and as a team.  They are applauded both as individuals and as a team.  They've played in blazing heat and chilly weather.  They've ran miles and miles and done countless up-downs and 55's and spent many, many hours in the weight room.  This link, Kenny Chesney's Boys of Fall, highlights everything football should be about.  From little PeeWee players to highly paid NFL pros. 

Next year, Ryan's senior year, I can't even think about it without getting emotional.  When he walks that field for the last time on Sr. night with his dad and I....I can't even finish that thought.  Every year he has debated back and forth about not playing and has always made the decision to stick with it.  He has played through illness and injury except when I pulled the Mom card and made him sit out for one game.  He has had awesome coaches and he's had men who should never be allowed to call themselves coach.  Each has taught Ryan, and us, something.  They've created learning experiences for those kids, good and bad. 

As soon as Ryan graduates, Zach will start his freshman year.  I have 5 more years as a football mom.  I'm in for the long haul and I couldn't be happier.

Congrats, Wolves on your banner, on being section CHAMPS for the first time ever!  You should all be very, very proud.  I know your parents are.

Notes to self...

Things I learned today:

Kiwi doesn't taste so good right after brushing your teeth.

Don't go hiking on an empty stomach, especially with your panicky husband. :)

Don't go hiking and then to the store to buy break and bake cookies.  :(

It's never a good idea to try to jog a trail without the proper undergarments.

Weekend Randomness...

Went hiking yesterday by myself.  One more reason I love living in EMR: several trails to choose from.  Anyway, I had my earphones in, listening to music, and I thought of every single murder mystery show I've ever watched where they always find the girl buried in a shallow grave because some maniac is waiting on the trail, sees the perfect opportunity and attacks.  And I thought about how I couldn't hear if anyone were to come up behind me because of my earphones.  Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I see someones shadow behind me.  I jumped and turned around really fast, like a ninja ready to fight to the death if I had to.  I think I scared him a little, this man on his mountain bike.  "Good morning!" I say a little to loudly and scootch over to the side of the trail to let him pass. 

Further up the trail, about a mile in, I keep thinking I want to go further but being all by myself it's probably not a good idea.  I'm seriously bad with directions (yes, Steve has me on Life360 so he can "map" me and direct me home, if needed) and get turned around very easily.  And it was getting steep and I thought, if I fall and break an ankle or something, no one will ever find me and I'll die out here.  So, I kept going, naturally.  About another half mile.  And then I hear men sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat".  Boot campers of some sort on the mountain with me, but on the other side, on a different trail.  They got through it three times and couldn't quite get the cadence down so they stopped.  I finally turned around and kept to the trail all the way back down.  Turns out I would have been fine if anything had happened. By the time I was heading down, there were 6 more people on the trail.  Popular little place!

So this morning, I'm taking Steve, against his will, to the trail.  He told me last night, "I'm such a sucker for you", so I'm taking full advantage of it!

Thank you!

Monday is Veteran's Day.  Facebook will be flooded with posts thanking veterans in general and veterans specifically.  I have a few to thank personally. 

Thanks to my amazing husband, Steve, for his service in the Army and then the National Guard.  I'm happy he's out, but proud of his service. 

Thank you to my brother-in-law Kevin.  Currently serving in Afghanastan, due home in December.  Can't wait to see him again!!  Thanks to my sister Amy, for holding everything together at home while he's gone.  You are very brave, Mim!

Thank you to Jordan Stanton, for making the ultimate sacrifice.  I've never met you, but I've heard lots of stories and great things about you.  I pray for peace for your family.  I know they are proud of you and miss you. 

Thanks to my groovy cousins Spencer, currently serving in Japan in the Air Force, and Valarie for her service in the Air Force, too!

I appreciate all of you, the sacrafices you've made, the sacrafices your family has made, to keep our country safe.  Please stay safe, and those currently serving overseas, please come home soon.  We love and miss you!

Oh, hello panic! It's been a year since I've seen you...

Every stinkin year I do this to myself.  Actually I think the retail industry does it to me.  I panic starting in November about how I'm not ready for the holidays. 


And then I remember that I work Monday through Friday and I'm off by 3:45 every day and I work for a school so I get some extra time off and that I am HOME, which is exactly where I wanted to be, that I couldn't take one more Christmas being away from HOME and now I am HOME.  So I just need to relax and know that I have time to get things done and it doesn't have to be perfect it just has to be filled with joy.  And it will be, because we are home, and have much to be thankful for, much to be excited about.

I should probably stay out of stores though, just in case.

I think I'm dying....

It's November in Arizona.  It's 91 degrees in November in Arizona.  This sucks.  The mornings are nice a chilly, enough to wear a sweater.  Or not.  By lunch time kids out on the playground have red cheeks, are sweating and are crabby due to the heat.  So are teachers.  And librarians. 

It's hard to feel festive and autumnal when it's in the 90's.  I'd almost kill for rain right now.  Maybe I should move to England where I hear it rains all the time.  I hear Germany gets a lot of rain, too. 

Certainly something to think about....


Beanie Weenie

November 5th, 1999.  That's the day our youngest was born.  The day my life would be changed again, going from a mom of one to a mom of two.  I worried that I could not possibly love anyone as much as I loved Ryan.  I was so wrong.

My pregnancy with him was so much easier than with Ryan.  He was also a little smaller when born, thank God!  Ry was 9 lbs 4 oz, Zach, a puny 8 lbs 7 oz.  That was a piece of cake compared.  From the moment he was born though, he made his presence known.  He cried a lot.  He fussed a lot.  He threw major fits.  No one that attended family camp May 2001 will ever let him forget "baba chockit milk!".  Ever.  At his wedding, I guarantee someone will bring it up.  Probably me.  He would cry in the car, almost always.  Ryan would do something to piss him off and he would throw a fit.  The only way to calm him was to rub his foot.  My arms would go numb rubbing that tiny foot just so he'd stop.  Zach would climb his dresser and pull every single thing out of his drawers, tossing them on the floor.  At just over a year he launched himself out of his crib and never returned.  He would destroy cassette tapes while he was supposed to be napping.  He's the reason I had to turn door knobs inside out and lock him in his room from the outside.  That kid was exhausting.  Completely adorable but exhausting.

The day that kid turned 3 was like a switch was flipped and it just stopped.  He had a sense of humor, this new kid.  He became random.  Still is today, which I absolutely love.  I think he gets it from me.  Steve knows he gets it from me.  I will never, ever, for as long as I live, forget the cowboy song he made up and sang to me in the car on the way over to his grandparents house.  I had to pull over to the side of the road to collect myself, the tears of laughter rolling down my face.  I couldn't breathe.  Only my kid would make up a song about cowboys, chocolate chip cookies and jousting. 

He's kind, polite, smart and handsome.  He's stubborn.  Steve swears he gets that from me, too.  I refuse to admit it.  He's persistent. 

He's perfect. 

Happy 13th Birthday my little Bean!  I love you!

Ugh, Halloween...

So tomorrow is Halloween.  We have no candy, no costumes, no decorations out.  This year, I'm just not feeling it.  Not sure why.  We don't even have a pumpkin!  Usually, we have all kinds of decorations out, more candy than trick-or-treaters and Zach has at least a mask of some kind.

I don't know if this makes me a bad mom or just a lazy one.  Probably a little bit of both.  It doesn't feel like fall here yet, which doesn't make it any easier to get in the mood for the start of the "holiday" season. 

I had Steve stop at the store on the way home and grab candy.  Maybe I'll sit in the front with Ryan, snap a few glow sticks and hand out candy.  Maybe I'll even dress up like a zombie, which is very trendy right now.  Maybe I'll just give Zach all the candy and he and I can both call it good.  Maybe I will turn off all the lights and watch a movie.  With the candy. 

I miss when they were small and we'd go out, all excited to trick-or-treat.  I don't miss the pressure of finding the perfect costume, my kids trying to eat all the candy in one night, or the "just one more street mom!" over and over again. 

Ryan was 3 when I was almost 9 months pregnant with Zach.  He was dressed as a dinosaur in this deluxe costume that included a big, heavy head and floppy feet.  It was so hot, temperature and weather wise, that he ended up taking it off and I carried it until we were done.  We probably only went about 7 blocks or so, but I was exhausted by the end of the night.  It did the trick though.  Zach was born 5 days later, about a week before he was technically due.  But that's another post entirely....

My Name is Dorothy McFadden...and I Approved This Message!

This is my blog.  This is my blog about politics.  Which, in an earlier post, I said I usually refrain from discussing with anyone.  Discussing politics with loved ones or even liked ones is one sure way to ingite animosity.  It can even lead to the disolution of friendships and cause a rift between family members.  Bottom line:  just don't do it!

However, here is my rant, my little tirade, my ginormous soapbox, if you will.  Being an election year, of course we can't escape political chatter.  It's on TV.  All. The. Freakin. Time.  It's on billboards and signs on street corners.  It's in social media.  Oh, God, is it ever in social media.  And if I happen to disagree with your opinion on who the better candidate is...look out.  It's an all out attack.  If I disagree with Obama, I must be a racist.  I must be against the black man, right?  I must want to "keep the brother down."  Yeah, that's me.

If I don't vote for Romney I must agree that the bigger the government the better and universal healthcare is the way to go and that I want to allow all the immigrants to come on over with no consequences. 

Personally I think all government officials are liars and untrustworthy, period. So why would I vote for anyone?  Because someone is going to run our country and our states and our counties.  And I want to make sure that my voice is heard, even if the politicians are going to do what they want to do anyway, regardless of what my voice is saying.  I want to give our country, our state, our county the best chance possible to get out of the situations we are in.

I've had to remove "liked" pages on my facebook page due to the overwhelming negative comments that always follow, regardless of party.  True, I lean more one way than the other so some of the comments don't bother me.  But the negativity and the constant berating of those that disagree with others is horrendous.  It's social media so anyone can say anything they want without any repercussion.  However, if this were a face to face conversation most (I hope) people wouldn't even consider saying half of these things to someone. 

But the bottom line is this:  it's none of my business whom you are voting for.  It's none of your business whom I'm voting for.  I realize social media is your place to voice your thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc.  I just hope you realize that most of your friends would much rather hear about anything other than your political views.  I also hope that IF you do decide to post all this political junk and voice your opinions, you intend to back it up and use your power to vote.  Nothing worse than someone yakking about all kinds of stuff and then not doing anything about it.  If you don't like it, vote to change it.  If you do like it, vote to keep it the way it is.  If you don't intend to vote....shut up!

Bam! Just like that....

So I've realized lately that I sometimes don't mind listening to talk radio when I'm in the car by myself.  Sometimes I will when the kids are with me, just for pure torture.  I also caught myself listening to the Cardinals game on the radio.  Voluntarily.  Alone.  In the car.  And BAM!

Just like that I turned into my 60 year old dad....

DIY Magnetic Board

So I've been on Pinterest and seeing some really cool DIY stuff that I've been dying to try out.  One of them was a flat (no edges) cookie sheet from the dollar store, painted, papered, etc and used as a magnetic board.  Our nearest dollar store didn't have flat cookie sheets but they had pizza pans.  It's not really big or very thick.  In fact, I don't think I'd use it as a pizza pan at all.  Anyway...

Then I had hubby drill two holes so I could add ribbon to hang.  Spray painted it blue (school colors as it will be used in my new office at the school, natch)....

Added ribbon to the top to hang and rubber stamped in white "Bloom Where You're Planted near the ribbon.  Then add stamped flowers, again in white. 

I should have just stuck with a few flower stamps, got a little carried away.  But!  I can cover it with paper cut to size.  Or! Use it for it's intended purpose as a magnetic board and cover it with pictures and various notes/artwork, etc.  I bought two anyway so now I can just perfect it, right?!

Jewelry Cleaner

Saw this on Pinterest and tried it.  LOVE!

Jewelry Cleaner
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon dish detergent
1 cup water

1. Heat water in the microwave for a minute or two
2. Cut a small piece of aluminum foil to cover the bottom of a small bowl
3. Pour hot water into the bowl and add the salt, baking soda and detergent
4. Put jewelry onto top of foil and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  Rinse jewelry with water and dry. Throw the solution away, just make more as needed.

I used this on my diamond rings and they sparkle! 

Again, here's the LINK where I got the recipe from on Pinterest ~ http://www.food.com/recipe/jewelry-cleaner-180133?soc=pinterest

Good Chop, Bad Chop

Kids are naturally curious. "Why?" is a favorite question. So is "how?". Sometimes it's best to show "why" and "how" with hands-on training! Think outside the box and come up with something age appropriate and tasty for your kids to help you make. Keep in mind, attention spans are not very long for the very young; they prefer quick, easy jobs and like quick results. That's not to say you shouldn't try something that requires cooking time, but the job of "helping" should be quick and fairly easy. Children that have a hand in preparing food have a better chance of eating it, which is great if you have a picky eater.

Little hands need a few little tools. Popsicle or craft sticks become great knives for cutting soft foods such as bananas. They are also amazing little spreaders for cream cheese and peanut butter. Here are a few hands-on, fairly simple recipes to try:

Bean Dip: In a plastic baggie, put 1/4 cup canned beans, such as pinto or red. Close the bag and have your child push and mash and squish those beans until they have it pretty mushed. Open the bag, have them toss in a little cheese if they prefer and let them dip tortilla chips.

Fruit & Cheese Kabobs: Wash and cut strawberries (you will do this with a knife so you can hull) in chunks. Have kids peel and cut bananas with a plastic knife (with supervision, of course!) or a craft stick. Trust me, the tiny hands can manage! You might have to start the banana but they can peel it the rest of the way. Cut 1 inch squares of cheese. Wash red or green grapes. Have your child slide the fruit and cheese onto a skewer. We use coffee stir sticks. Have your child create a pattern and ask them what they like best about the kabob they just made!

Apple Wraps: Place a glob of peanut butter in a small bowl. Give your child a paper plate, a tortilla and small chunks of apple or banana. Using a craft stick, have your child smear peanut butter on the tortilla. Then have them sprinkle the tortilla with the fruit. You can even have them sprinkle on a little cinnamon if you'd like. Roll the tortilla up and enjoy!

These are super simple recipes that almost all children will enjoy. There are many, many more hands on experiments you can do with food with even the youngest, pickiest eaters. Don't be afraid to step outside the (cereal) box and try. It's good for kids! They learn a few things like early math skills (measuring, patterning) and a little bit of independence. And they get to spend time with YOU!

Help Us Cure Diabetes!

I've been a part of a lot of different teams over the course of my life. I've joined a new team recently that I want tell you about.  It's the Step Out team to end diabetes.  Diabetes sucks.  Type 1, Type 2, it doesn't matter, it still sucks.  It's scary, it's confusing, it's heart breaking.  It's sad. 

The ADA has started a walk to raise money for research and to find a cure for diabetes and I'm honored to participate.  We've started a team called No Moore Diabetes and we will walk a mile or run a 5k here in Phoenix in October.  We've pledged as a team to have 10 walkers and raise $1000 dollars.  We're at 45% of our goal and we only have 93 days left.  If you are in the Phoenix area and want to walk with us, please click on the link and we'd be happy to have you join.  If you aren't in the area or can't walk with us, please feel free to make a donation to the team.  Any amount would be appreciated!  If you have any questions, please, please feel free to contact me. 

Together, when we Step Out, we get one step closer to No Moore Diabetes!

Vegetarian Burritos

Yesterday I made vegetarian burritos from items I received in my Bountiful Basket.  My family, huge carnivors, devoured them and asked for more!  I should have taken pictures of the process and end results but I just never think to do that when I'm making stuff.  Anyway, here's the super delicious info:

Mexican gray squash
Grape tomatoes
Green chiles (roasted by me!)
Refried beans

First I added the roasted, diced green chiles in a non stick pan, topped with halved cherry tomatoes, diced squash and diced onion.  I added two packets of Swanson's Vegetable flavor packets and a little bit of water.  Add pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Simmer until squash is soft.  Heat refried beans.  Heat tortillas.  Spread a little bit of the beans on one end of the tortilla.  We added a little cheese, put the tortilla in the microwave for about 15 seconds to heat the cheese a little and then added our hot mess of veggies to the cheese and beans.  Wrap like a burrito and enjoy!  It was so good!!

Variations or additions:
Black Beans (we LOVE black beans in a lot of our dishes but with 3 men in the house I figured one type of bean was enough)
Regular zuccini if you don't have Mexican gray squash

Use your imagination, you seriously can't go wrong with this!

Vegan Lip Butter ~ Nature's Garden Candles

Recently, I was one of the lucky blogs chosen to receive a kit from Nature's Garden Candles.  It was like Christmas opening that package, I had no idea what I was going to get.  Vegan Lip Butter is what I got!

The kit comes with the following:
Candelilla wax
Coconut oil
Cocoa butter
Vitamin E oil
Flavoring (mine came with Black Cherry Boom)
Stevia sweetener
Lip tint (mine came with Prissy Pink)
16 lip balm pots
Plastic tansfer Pipettes

I was a little worried when I first opened the package.  Due to the extreme Arizona heat, some of my oils were a little mushy and or flat out melted.  I waited for them to reconstitute a bit (the next day!) and got started melting them again.  I wanted to be sure to start out as close to how they were originally sent as possible.  Anyway...

I have never worked with some of these oils and I never used color.  I LOVE IT!  This is so smooth and silky with just a hint of color. 

The kit gives you everything you need and an instruction sheet.  Follow those directions and you get this:

A silky, smooth Vegan Lip Butter with a hint o' color and a bold Black Cherry Boom flavor.  If you are a novice and interested in creating wonderful, good smelling, useful products, definitely go with a kit from Nature's Garden Candles.  Even if you are experienced, you seriously can't go wrong with a kit.  It makes it super simple and gives you a wonderful product!

Oh, ye of little pop culture knowledge!

So the other day I woke Ryan up to go to weights for football.  I said, "Come on Ryan.  Time to make the donuts."  His reaction... "What?!"  It was too early and I was too tired to explain.  This morning the same thing happened.  And I thought, how sad that this young generation doesn't know about Fred the Baker from Dunkin Donuts or "Where's the Beef" lady, Clara Peller from Wendy's.

I realize that with technology and progress and all that other stuff, commercials have to change, marketing has to be different.  But I think some things were better then than they are now.  McDonald's commercials come to mind.  Way better back then.  Same with Charmin commercials.  "Don't Squeeze the Charmin!"  Now there are talking bears that, apparently, shit in the woods.  "School House Rock" was never the same when they tried to revamp it recently.  "I'm Just a Bill" just can't be redone, retooled or remastered.  I've tried to explain that, yes, the commercials from back then are really, really cheesy but better than what they are now but they just don't get it.  If Dunkin Donuts brought back Fred the Baker with the "Time to Make the Donuts" slogan, I don't think it'd be as funny for them now as it was for us then.  Not that I think they should try to bring stuff like that back.  It's just kind of a generational thing. 

Remember Madge the Manicurist shilling Palmolive Dish Detergent?  Calgon, Take Me Away!  Got ring around the collar?  Use the Ancient Chinese Secret! Spuds McKenzie sold beer and 2 old guys hawked wine coolers ~ Bartles and James. 

So, for all my fellow 70/80's kids here's a stroll down memory lane through pictures I boosted from Google images.  Enjoy your trip through the way back machine!  Oh, and whatever happened to Pudding Pops??  I miss those!

Summer Bucket List

The secret to a great bucket list is to make it things that are pretty easy to obtain.  Duh, makes perfect sense, right?  I have gone back and forth on a bucket list for a while and I had lofty goals.  I don't know if these things really need to be on a bucket list per se but these are things I really, really want to do.  Things that I want to do SOON, things that are totally obtainable and fairly easy.  A trip to Prescott for sure and I really want to go to an Irish pub and listen to a Celtic group.  I don't know why, I just do.  I also want to take the boys to a concert.  Outdoors if it's in the fall or indoors if it's before October.  I'll definitely be checking out venues!  I think I'll have more soon, but for now, this is enough.

Attack of the Zombies!

Ok, so what's up with this cannibal/zombie attack in Miami?  I'm not making light of it, it's definitely a tragedy for both families and all the responders and witnessess.  I mean, how do you ever forget seeing something like that?  It's disturbing, disgusting and flat out weird.  And of course the media is running rampant with ideas, theories, and sensationalism. 

My kids are convinced though, that this is the beginning of the zombie apocolyps.  Seriously!  Anyone that has ever been around my boys (and some of their friends!) knows that zombies are a huge topic for them.  They even have a plan.  IF (when!) the zombie apocolyps happens we are all supposed to head to Cole's house because his family has lots of guns.  The boys will hang out on the roof picking the zombies off one by one as they try to approach the house.  I'm not expected to survive.  In fact, they've said they think I'll be the first one to go.  It's ok, I'm realistic about the whole thing.  I WANT to be the first to go if a zombie apocolyps happens.  Who really wants to deal with all that?  Not this girl. 

Yay for meatless Monday!

The boys don't know it yet but they are in for a treat tonight for dinner.  I picked up stuffed portabella mushrooms today at the store and we're going to grill them.  None of us have ever had them.  And if Steve doesn't read this before I have him start the grill he won't have time to complain and stick his nose up at trying something new.  I'm excited to try them too.  I'll roast sweet potatoes and make a fruit salad to go along with those mushrooms.  At least I know they won't starve!

Warning: DO NOT read if you don't like strong opinions on breast feeding!

First let me make it clear that I don't have a problem with anyone breastfeeding their babies.  I don't care that anyone feeds their baby in the McDonald's lobby while my kids are chowing down on their Happy Meal's.  I don't want to see exposed breasts, like plop it out there and let it all hang out, but really, why would anyone want to just leave their boob hanging in the breeze like that anyway?  I personally have never seen anyone be anything but discreet about it so I typically don't notice when anyone is breastfeeding anyway.  So, again, I don't have a problem with anyone breastfeeding their baby.

I draw the line when that "baby" can wipe his own ass.  If the kid is freakin age eligible for preschool and even kindergarten why would you ever, ever have him still attached to your boob??  Yes, of course I'm talking about the Time Magazine cover/controversy.  Some are standing with the mother saying there is nothing wrong with her feeding her child in this way.  I say, honey, you are standing, STANDING! and your kid is feeding off of you...there is something so wrong about that.

Like I said, I don't disapprove of breastfeeding, I have no problem/issue with anyone wanting to feed their baby that way.  I have no problem with mothers feeding their babies in public places as long as there is no nipple exposure (again, why would anyone want to let it all hang out anyway?) and I would never insist that someone go into a bathroom or dressing room to feed their kid like so many companies are getting in trouble for lately.  But I would so completely freak if I saw any mom let her 3 or 4 year old attach on!!  And by the way, mother of nearly 4 year old boy on Time Magazine cover, way to go on NOT giving anyone a reason to ridicule your kid.  What happens when he's old enough to realize that he was "that" kid on the cover??  Good luck with that!

Sunday, Sunday

Time for meal planning again!  In no particular order:

Pizza with side salad
Grilled chicken with zuccini and yellow squash
Baked potato bar
Sloppy joes with baked beans
Bean burritos with mexican rice and homemade salsa
Soup and salad

We're baaaaaaaack!

We're back in AZ!  It's been a long, drawn out process, but finally, we are home.  We moved to a community in Goodyear called Estrella Mountain Ranch.  They have a residents club with a water park and fitness center, a youth club, a yacht club, all free to residents.  Yesterday my mom and Zach went kayaking at the yacht club and today Zach and I went.  It was tons of fun!

Earlier this week we went to "my place" (as my dad calls it) for my birthday.  It's called The Duce, as in, short for produce.  The owners renovated an old produce warehouse and turned it into something really cool.  Hard to explain exactly what it all includes but you can facebook it and "like" it...awesomeness!

Today all the boys in the family (except my brother Rob) went to go see The Avengers.  They like doing stuff like that, being together and doing that whole male bonding thing. It's a lot of fun for everyone and, at least for me, it gives me a few hours to myself. 

We did leave a few great things behind though.  The boys had great, great friends.  That's always sad, leaving them.  We found new homes for Romeo and Jerry.  Rex went to heaven.  It's so heartbreaking.

Steve starts back to work tomorrow.  I start looking for a job tomorrow.  I've gotten a few leads but haven't been anywhere yet.  This last week has been pretty busy for us getting the house all situated, the boys in school, setting up bank accounts and new phones, etc.  Now it's back to business and "real" life!

Things I'll do when I get home...

With our impending move, I've been thinking about all the things I'd like to do once we get back home.  Some I used to do, some I've never done.  Some of those things that I've never done, I want to do simply because the opportunity to do them is available in the big city as opposed to the small town.

I will become a frequent participant in happy hour.  I will entertain more at my house.  I will try a lot of my Pinterest recipes.  I will try my Pinterest recipes at the happy hour I host at my house with my family and friends!  Those mason jar drinks will be at the top of my list.

I'll use my reusable bags at the grocery store and stop forgetting them in the car.  I'll designate one bag for meats and one bag for fruits and veggies to prevent cross contamination.  I'll rediscover my love of reading and become a patron of the library again. 

I'll redo my blog.  And blog with frequent purpose.  I'll pursue guest bloggers to post and will be a guest blogger to post.  I'll focus on marketing this fabu blog.  I'll also try to figure out how the whole "traffic" thing works and keep my posts from being linked to abexerciser.com and crap like that. 

I will start back at the gym or the Y and get rid of this weight I've gained since arriving in Nebraska.  I'll scrapbook with friends again and get caught up on the albums I've started.  And I won't rush through them, just to get them done.  I'll take time to make them great!

I'll learn to relax.  I'll get a massage.  I'll regularly get my hair cut, my eyebrows waxed and seriously keep a standing appointment for pedicures, complete with designs on my big toes.  Arizona is flip-flop weather practically year round, you know.

I will travel up to Prescott overnight or just for the day because driving an hour or an hour and a half for cooler weather and beautiful scenery is nothing.  I'll also pursue other areas of the state that I've never seen before. 

I will learn to make tile necklaces.  I'll manage my diabetes better.  I'll rent from RedBox.  I will make the ultimate sacrifice and attend a baseball game with Steve.  If he really, really wants me to.  And can't find anyone else to go.  I'm going to buy a gun and learn to shoot.  And I'm asking myself why I bring up "gun" and "learn to shoot" right after I mention "Steve" and "baseball"....

Ringwork, cold sore and pinkeye? Oh my!

Nope, not me...I don't have any of it (knocking on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder, double holy crossing myself) but it's going around my work place.  I don't want any of it so I'm taking precautions.  I've got hand sanitizer, tons of it.  Even after washing my hands with warm soap and water and washing long enough (Row Your Boat song three times - I over kill by doing it 4 times), I soak my hands in hand sanitizer.  I don't touch the little one with ring-worm, even with gloves on.  Can't do it.  I'm so in the wrong profession....

When I was a kid...a short walk down memory lane

I'm of an age now where I can say "when I was a kid".  I'm also of an age now where when I say it, it makes me cringe because it makes me sound so old.  So mature.  But, when I was a kid (shudder) I remember watching The Muppet Show before ballet class.  I would not leave the house until the ending credits and music was rolling and Kermit the Frog waved wildly, jumped up and down and said "byyyyyyeeeeeee".  I also liked Sesame Street and the Electric Company.  Remember the 12 song? 123456789101112 do do do do do do do do...do do do 12!  Ok, writing it out doesn't make much sense, but I'm singing it in my head.  And if  you are of a certain age, you have the song stuck in your head now, too!  Gordon and Maria, Mr. Hooper, Bob, Big Bird, Mr. Snuffalufagus and Barkley were my favorites.  Telly kind of annoyed me.  Elmo was beyond my time but my kids liked him.  Those shows were comforting, entertaining and educational, even though we didn't know it at the time.  Ok, maybe The Muppet Show wasn't educational but still, a lot of fun!  I also used to watch Lil Rascals reruns and Abbott and Costello. Man, those were a blast!

My kids watched Sesame Street, Barney, Rugrats and Hey ArnoldOut of the Box on Disney and Gula Gula Island were favorites, too.  Now, I'm just not that impressed with today's programming.  Yes, I watch tv, yes my kids watch tv and no, I'm not at the point of banning it.  But it seems like the more vulgar, the more distasteful, the more on edge just for the sake of edge, the better.  There are shows that show videos of people breaking limbs, pranking people, being stupid just for stupid's sake.  When you're 12 and 16 fart jokes are still funny.  Ok, when you're 40, they're still pretty funny but for an entirely different reason.  Most of the shows today are geared towards dumbing down our society.  Snooki?  Really?  I guess it could be a great learning tool to sit down with your 16 year old and say, "you see honey, those kinds of girls will give you nothing but genital warts and herpes.  Stay far, far away."  And the Bachelor and Bachelorette....I can't say that I've watched any of those shows since maybe the very first one ever and even then just one time.  I found the concept completely weird that on a reality show with hundreds of cameras and people around, watching your every move and the cattiness of most of the ladies...how could you possibly find love?  It seems so far fetched.  And really, have any of them ever made it beyond the show?  Just my opinion, not judging you if you watch it, just think it's not really my cup of tea.  But I'm the one that likes shows like The First 48, which is pretty much the same thing all the time.  To each his own, I suppose.

Anyway, I kind of went off on a tangent here, got on my preachy soap box, when all I really meant to do was take a short walk down memory lane and reminisce about the shows I loved as a kid.  I wish those shows would resurface.  And I wish our kids weren't so desensitized by today's society that Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges were still must see tv.

This week's good stuff

My menu planning is sporadic at best but I love doing it.  We don't live and die by the menu but it sure makes it easier to at least have an idea of what we're doing.  This week will be a little rough because I won't be here 2 nights to make dinner.  I hate having to go out of town for work.  I can throw some things in the slow cooker I suppose.  Anyway, in no particular order...

Grilled pork chops with side of baked beans and potatoes
Buffalo chicken pizza with side salad
Hamburgers with potato side
Southwest chicken and steamed veggies
Garlic spaghetti with side salad
Tacos with side of black beans, tomatoes & cilantro

If the wind doesn't pick up again this week, we should be able to grill out a lot, like the chops, the pizza, the hamburgers and the taco meat. 

What are your menu plans this week?

Spring break?

I wish all of life followed the school calendar.  I'd still have 3 more days off, time to read, surf the net, catch up on the ol' blog.  But I don't.  The boys do.  So...time to put their little butts to work. 

Yeah, right.

The boys and I did get to go out of town, if only for one day.  We left early Friday morning and headed into Lincoln to cheer the Minden basketball boys on at State.  Wow, talk about crowded little town!  But it was fun.  We headed out at 6am, watched the game, checked into the hotel, went shopping, went swimming, met with friends and had dinner at this cool place called Lazlo's where Zach ate what is called a "Widow Maker".  He's 12.  I told him he should have his own show called "Kid vs. Food".  I think he could totally give Adam Richman a run for his money.  And after that he still had room for fro-yo. 

Visited a store called "Licorice International".  Guess what they sell there?  Zach decided it would be fun to try licorice root.  I think I will let him guest post on my blog and let you know how that worked out.  Ryan bought chocolate covered espresso beans.  Back to the hotel room we went where he proceeded to eat one while sitting on the bed.  Somehow, some way choclolate got on the bleachy, bleachy pure white sheet and pillowcase.  I left a note for housekeeping on the little note pad they leave there for you...."Sorry about the CHOCOLATE mess!"

Being in the "big city" of Lincoln got us geared up for making the move back to Phoenix.  Traffic, traffic, traffic, sirens.  Diversity.  A shopping mall with more than 10 stores and 1 story.  Really good restaurants, a night life (not that the boys would know about night life, but at least we SAW it!).  I can't say I want to go back to all of that, but I want to go back to most of it.  I like big city.  I like little town.  It's a complicated dilema. 

Anyway, it was just nice to get away and shake off some of this cabin fever, see something different for a change. 

You suck at parenting....

Ok, I've been going back and forth on this blog topic because I don't want anyone that actually reads "me" to be offended or think it is specifically about them.  Because it's not.  Promise.  It is about lack of parental responsibility.  Lack of caring about your own precious children. 

Being in education, even at the preschool level, we hear a LOT of things.  Most we know (or really, really hope) are made up stories or gross exaggerations.  Like when one child tells us there are weeds and mushrooms growing in his basement.  And another little one tells us her mom spent the weekend in jail.  Deep breath, let it go.  Of course, some we can't ignore but that's another blog entirely. 

What really pisses me off and makes me all judgy and crap is when you blame ringworm on our fine establishment.  Even though we have no animals in the facility and the last time I was in your gross, disgusting, filthy pigsty of a house, you had 2 indoor/outdoor cats eating from your kitchen sink, not to mention the 12 or so inbred outside cats that were practically begging to be put out of their limping, cross-eyed misery, you blame your child's ringworm on us. 

And then there are the ones that want to get all pissy because you don't want their sick kid in class even though they just told you that the whole family has had flaming diarrhea and projectile vomiting within the last 12 hours.  Don't get me started on the ones that are all up in your face for a reason that I just can't bring up.  And the ones that think you nitpick every little thing. 

I'm sorry, but we're responsible for 17 other families besides yours.  We must think of their welfare, too.  If your kid has diarrhea running down her leg at school and we call you it's not because we just want to get rid of her.  It's because A. she's now completely mortified to be at school after shitting her pants, B. she's most likely coming down with something and we would like to keep it from spreading to the other families and to our own families.  Because if we can't make it to school, guess what?  We don't HAVE school. 

I get it that having small children is not always easy, not always fun.  But when you act indifferent towards your kid, I'm gonna judge you.  When you can't tell anyone what you actually like about your daughter without seriously being prompted, I'm going to judge you, too.  I know it's not easy to be put on the spot and you feel like you might say the wrong thing.  Been there, done that.  But once you think about it and get the ball rolling, it should be hard to stop the words flowing on how spectacular your kid is! 

So, that's my judgy blog on lack of parental responsibility. I could go on and on but.... ehh.  If any of our school parents are reading this, please know it's not about YOU!  Promise.  And please know this is MY blog and my opinion, not anyone else's at the facility or within the program. 

There's WHAT in my bread??

I read food labels.  Not religiously or anything but mostly for total carb count, calories and the first 5 ingredients.  I'm fully aware that most of our food items have artificial color and/or flavor and usually don't give it a second thought.  But after today I'm seriously considering becoming a raw foodie.  Foodist?  Raw-er?  Rawgetarian?  I dunno, but after hearing that human hair is a component in bread and that beaver anal glands are used to enhance vanilla used in things such as ice cream and to "spike" raspberry flavored things I'm all over it like white on rice.  IF the white isn't titanium dioxide used to make skim milk or your living room walls white. 

My friend just told me that she was talking to a lady that said she makes 2 or 3 loaves of homemade bread for her family every 2 days or so.  Because bread has hair in it.  And it's usually not hair from the United States, not that it matters much.  It apparently makes taste and texture so much better.  It's not like strands of hair sifted in with the flour, it's hair reformulated into a chemical concoction and poured into the batter.  For consistency.  Naaaahaaaassssty!

A month or so ago we all heard about the nastiness that is the Chicken McNugget after that girl collapsed and had trouble breathing, you know the one that ate nothing but McNuggets for 15 years...who apparently had no parents to slap that shit right out of her hands and offer up some fresh veggies instead.  Anyhoodle, that whole McNugget thing got me thinking about changing a lot of the way I look at foods and what I eat.  Now I'm thinking the only safe way to eat is to grow everything on your own and maintain a diet of "raw", unprocessed foods.  Like Gwyneth Paltrow and Woody Harrelson.  Except I don't think or live on the same level as them. 

Oh, and I found out that wood pulp is used in A LOT of stuff.  The upside of that is that even when you don't think you are getting fiber, you probably really are. 

So what's a meat loving, processed food adoring family to do?

The one where I go psycho and tell you how I really feel....

I seriously, seriously dislike my husband's family.  Those bitches have been telling lies about us for the last 4 1/2 years and I'm fed up.  When I hear the new lie come up I get really defensive and I want to call them out, punch them in their big nose faces and kick their super fat asses.  Huge. Honkin. Beaks. Super. Fat. Asses. 

Once I calm down I try to rationalize why I won't do exactly that.  (A). not worth my time or the bail money, (B) they aren't worth the drive to Kearney, or wherever it is they live now, and (C) I'm so much better than that and refuse to let them make me feel that way.  But mostly it's A. Definitely A.  Especially the bail money part.

Apparently we see them in the grocery store or the mall all the time (despite the fact we live at least 25 miles away from the nearest grocery store or mall) and turn our noses up at them.  They try to say hi and start a conversation but we simply shake our heads, ignore them and walk on by.  We have NEVER done that!  But I can guarantee I will now.  According to them, this has happened several times and when it does they call my mother in law to "tattle" on us.  Pathetic. 

Some people have no drama in their lives and feel the need to create it.  Whatever, just leave me out of it.  What really bothers me though is the fact that they don't even know me.  They barely know my husband.  When we moved here a little over 4 years ago they came by maybe twice.  We went to the wedding of one and the birthday for the other one's little girl.  And that's about it.  Other than that we haven't seen them, don't talk to them by phone or by social media so unless my mother in law is talking about us to them, they don't have access to information about us or what is going on in our lives. 

I think the next time I hear about one of these lies being told about us, I will track down a phone number and confront them with this.  If they're gonna talk about me anyway, might as well give them something to actually talk about. 

The one where I sound like a spoiled brat

So we're moving.  Soon, we hope.  We've had one offer out of 7 lookie lou's and it fell apart.  It felt like too much work with this one.  They wanted a lot for very little.  So back to the drawing board.  And we're completely ok with that.  Even though we'd really like to get the boys enrolled in AZ sooner rather than later it needs to be the right offer.  Anyway, when we move I don't want to work outside the home.  This is gonna make me sound spoiled but...I just don't want to.  I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it and get paid for it.  It's not asking too much, right?

I want to write, blog, review, etc and get paid enough to help support my family.  I've been trying to get my blog up and running and lately I haven't had a lot of time to tweak it to my exact liking.  I also haven't been able to work on getting sponsors, advertisers, etc.  I'm too busy "working" to do what I adore.  Ok, that's not entirely true.  I have days where I have nothing, NOTHING to do so I could totally dedicate time to this.  But, nothing exciting happens here.  I could blog about my job or my friends or my kids but I do have to respect privacy.  That's not entirely true either.  I could blog about those things but sometimes it's just wise to keep my mouth (and blog) shut.  Actually there is another blog I have in mind that is coming up next and it will probably piss some people off.  It gets all judgy and stuff.  Anyway....

I don't want to "work".  I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it and get paid for it.  Not asking much, right?

Playing tricks on my family

I like to play tricks on my family.  Food-wise at least.  Most of the time they don't know what I've deleted or what I've added to a dish to make it better for them.  Like shredding or dicing zuccini into spaghetti sauce or meat loaf.  Or using fat free cream cheese for the jalopeno poppers instead of full fat versions.  Cauliflower mashed "potatoes" anyone?  Steve is suspicious at times and asks.  I try to lie.  But I'm not a good liar so I usually just don't answer.  And then he knows for sure that I've done something.  I really need to work on those lying skills.  I made cheesecake yesterday.  And banana bread.  As I started with the cheesecake I realized I was out of sugar but had Splenda.  I can't tell the difference but Steve said it tasted different from when I've made it before.  I think it could have been the bland canned cherries but...until he reads this blog he has no clue I used Splenda. 

Then I made the banana bread, using Splenda, but also using a whole grain baking mix in lieu of white flour.  I have flour but I also have diabetes so...It was delicious!  It didn't cook like traditional banana bread so I might have to tweak the recipe just a little or adjust the cooking time.  It didn't slice like regular banana bread.  But, just like regular banana bread, it's already almost gone and no one has said they taste a difference. 

I'll keep playing tricks to get them to eat better.  And work on those lying skills.

Menu Planning

I love menu planning.  I don't always follow it though, but I at least like to have an idea of what I plan on doing, what I have in the fridge, etc.  And with our house on the market and hopefully selling soon, we're trying to depleat our frozen foods and such.  We don't plan on moving any canned goods or anything so ... let the feeding frenzy begin!

Dinners look like this, this week:

Meat loaf
Smothered pork chops (maybe not smothered...topped? Coated? Ehh, whatever)
Fish tacos (first time trying it so...cereal as a back up? Yes, Steve, this means you)
Garlic spaghetti - love this wonderful standby!
Sloppy Jones with potato side dish
Chicken salad sandwiches with chips
Tamale casserole

I won't have to go to the store to buy anything, this is using everything we already have at home.  We'll have our "supply" gone in no time!

Now if someone would just buy the house....

Romeo, Romeo...I know where you are, Romeo!

So...we have a cat.  I don't think I've actually done a post about it yet, which really surprises me.  Maybe it's because I really don't want to be one of those cat people.  Ok, so back story on how Romeo came to be Romeo and how he even got here to begin with:  Zach = huge animal lover and tender hearted.  Finds kitten at the high school boys football practice one day and the poor little baby is starving!  Tender heart feeds him some sunflower seeds because it's the only thing he has.  Kitten is meowing like crazy and Zach calls to see if he can bring him home.  My response?  NO!  We have dogs that would like kitty bbq and I'm allergic so it really wouldn't work out Z.  But Mom...he's so cute, he's so tiny, he's so hungry.  NO, Zach, I'll be there to pick you up after practice. 
So, I do.  And we've had this kitten ever since.

We thought it was a girl so Ryan names it Ana.  It never really looked like an Ana or a girl so we kept trying different names out.  One day I said to Steve, I just don't know what to call this cat...she doesn't look like a girl.  He says, I'm not so sure it IS a girl.  I said, what makes you say that?  Steve says, he's got balls.  So of course I had to look.  Sure enough, Ana was no longer and we really had to come up with a different name!  The boys come home and they were just as surprised as I was that we had a boy cat instead of a girl cat.  We went around and around with names. I wanted Romeo because he's such a little lover.  Alfonso Soriano was thrown into the mix (Ryan has a thing with all the animals needing a middle name) and Ryan also wanted to name him Warhammer because he is feisty and has zero fear.  ZERO. 

Ok, so now the cat is called Romeo Alfonso Soriano Warhammer the 3rd (I don't know who the 1st and 2nd are but, there you have it) but he mostly goes by Cat. 

I've never had a cat long enough to know how funny they actually are (remember the allergy and dogs?)  but did you know they can entertain themselves for hours, hours! just by skidding stuff across the hardwood floor?  I never knew they liked to do brodies around your living room using every single piece of furniture you have, bouncing around, peeling out, sliding across the wooden tv stand (because you just dusted a few minutes ago and it's puuurrfect for sliding, all slick and shiny).  Romeo likes to used the hallway as his runway, launch himself up onto the arm of the couch, bounce to the 3rd cushion, on to the tv stand, s-l-i-d-e across, jump to the mama chair and run along the back of it, hop onto the end table and then onto the back of the recliner.  Where he sits up high and looks at the dogs as if to say, "Let's see you try that". 

Mostly the dogs ignore him.  Jerry is pretty cool with him and actually seems a little intimidated by him.  If you knew Jerry, this would not surprise you.  Rex merely tolerates him.  Romeo attacks Jerry sometimes, bites his tail nub and his jowly flabber.  Jerry walks away and tries to hide.  Romeo gets to within 4 feet of Rex and he starts growling.  Romeo will get as close as he can to Rex, until Rex just gets up and walks away.  NO FEAR for this cat. 

He also fetches like a dog.  Do all cats do this?  He runs downstairs, grabs a mini helmet the boys (Steve) have collected and comes back upstairs with it in his mouth.  Rolls/chases it around the kitchen floor, over to the basement stairs, knocks it off, chases it down the stairs, carries it back up and starts again.  For hours.  You almost always know where this cat is.  He also likes to play peek-a-boo in boxes.  All boxes, but especially the one that has the plastic around it for the bottled water we buy.  When he was smaller, he would lay in there and hide and poke a claw out when you would walk by.  Or his head would come out the little hole you make in the top to pull water out.  Sometimes the hole was too small and he'd get sort of stuck.  He finally has hops, too.  He can now get on the table and the counter, all those high, out of reach places that he couldn't get to before.  Accckkkkk, that freaks me out!  Furniture is one thing, but the place where you prepare your food and eat is another thing entirely.  I've polished the kitchen table only to come home later and find little kitty footprints across it. 

It's a learning process for all of us.  We need to learn to be cat people and he needs to learn how to quietly approach Jerry from behind so he doesn't see him coming.

TOM'S Shoes!

Have you heard the TOM'S story?  For every pair of shoes sold, they GIVE one pair of shoes.  Click on the link and check them out.  Pretty sweet!

Old Familiar Places

So...we've put the house on the market and as soon as it sells we'll be back in Arizona where we belong.  We are very, very excited.  I'm a little apprehensive too, though, truth be told.  I don't like moving across town let alone cross country.  We're leaving four seasons and going back to 2 seasons: warm and hades hot.  But at least we'll be suffering in the heat with our family and friends and they have swimming pools.  It's our goal to have a house with a pool, too.  But there are other things I'm anxious to get back to.  Normal, every day things like being able to walk into Ulta and buy my Pur Minerals makeup and not have to order it by mail.  I can go to my own personal stylist again, my sister in law Shelly does amazing things with my hair and knows exactly how to do what I like.  That is priceless!  I'm looking forward to the grocery stores there, where there is one on every corner and you can get anything you want, ALL of them take coupons and most of them even double them AND their prices are reasonable. 

We will be able to take the kids to the zoo with only a 30 minute drive away instead of a 3 hour drive.  We'll be able to go to so many of the activities we've missed the last 4 1/2 years!  We'll be there for birthdays again and sing Cha-Cha-Cha.  Concerts, both indoor and outdoor and those that our friends participate in, yeah, we'll go to those too!  I'm getting excited!

With all that said, there are things that I will miss about being here in a small mid western town.  There is little to no crime here, unless you consider city offices but that's another story.  Sometimes there's the occasional vandalism, breaking into cars, trying to break in to the coffee shop or the dollar store, some domestic disputes, but really, that's about it for the most part.  It's quiet here.  I can see tons and tons and billions of stars from my back deck.  No city lights to block them out.  The boys have made great friends and they are a part of this community and that is fantastic.  I will miss that for them.  There are no 5pm traffic jams.  Actually, there's no traffic, period!  We have a non cookie cutter home here, unlike in AZ there are subdivisions that have the exact same houses in the exact same kind of neighborhoods.  We have grass!  In the front AND the back yards.  Arizona has mostly desert landscaping, which is great maintenance wise but no so much for walking barefoot to your mailbox.  Which brings me to the next thing I will miss:  Being able to walk outside in the middle of summer and not fry!  Yeah it might be hot and humid but you don't burn the soles of your feet.  Ever!  I will, however, really love being able to wear flip-flops or sandals almost year round again.  Bring on the pedi's!  I will miss high school football here and how the town pretty much turns out even if they don't have kids or grandkids playing.  They watch just because they are supportive.  But I'll love that my whole family can watch both the boys play football this coming season.  Like I said, the boys have had great support and great friendships here, it will just be nice that ALL of us can be there to yell for them.  I will miss being able to walk to work or if I do drive it's 2 blocks away.  I'll miss knowing I can leave my doors unlocked or my garage door open all night and nothing will happen.  I'll miss the door to door honey sales in the fall. 

We're all very anxious to get back to our family and have the conveniences of big city life.  It will be sad to leave but also a relief to know that we ALL fit in in AZ and the anonymity of it saves you from cliques and gossip and speculation.  Not that it doesn't happen there, but at least you're just another small fish in a really big pond and you can sort of escape it.  And you'd have your friends and your family have your back and no one would leave your cheese hangin in the wind.  You are surrounded and supported by your family.  And that's how it's supposed to be. 

Oh, Pinterest, how you stress me!

Ok, so I have this new addiction to Pinterest.  It's got me interested in stuff I didn't know I was interested in.  Looking at the wedding stuff makes me want to get married again (to Steve, of course!).  It makes me want to be a gourmet cook.  Or just a cook that thinks outside the box and stops doing the same thing over and over again. 

Pinterest makes me want to travel, gut my house and start over and paint every room in the house using tons of color.  And by "me" I mean Steve.  I don't like to paint.  Actually, I can stand about one wall and then I'm done.  It makes me want to pick a style and go for it.  Pinterest also makes me want to shop for really cute outfits and wear really cute shoes.  Ok, ok, I always want to wear really cute shoes but I just don't have the feet to wear really cute shoes. 

Pinterest is a blessing and a curse.  And really just a lot of fun!

I've got a goal, but I don't have a plan.

I have a goal to have a cabin in Prescott, AZ by the time I'm 50, if not sooner.  But no later than 50.  I don't have a plan, however, on how to do that.  There is no such thing as savings for us right now.  Every dime goes OUT, nothing stays IN.  And I know we're not alone in that.  People all over the world are trying to make ends meet.  Some can kind of keep their heads above water and some are just sinking slowly.  I see light at the end of our tunnel but that tunnel is about 2 years and 5 months away.  Or if I take the short term tunnel, it's really just a better hourly wage away.  Either way, 10 years from now I want to have the cabin.  I want it small enough that it's cozy but big enough for our kids to come and visit and bring their families.  I want my siblings and parents to come and stay for a long weekend and relax in the pines. 

I should probably start working on winning the lottery or writing that best seller.   Or maybe just find a better paying job instead of working the two lower paying ones I work now. 

But that is another blog entirely.

Hey, networks ~ we're available!

Ok, so I've been watching TV lately.  It seems like anyone can be on reality tv these days.  Got 4 wives?  Have 8 kids?  19 kids?  A "celebrity" family that does...something insignificant?  Getting married?  Obese? Have a drug problem?  Have some kind of "Taboo" thingy going on like wanting to be a parapalegic?  (Yes, seriously!)  Well, how 'bout something that's "normal"?

Here's my idea:  Steve and I go through a couples bootcamp to get in shape, so that we can have a vow renewal ceremony complete with a full on wedding created by David Tutera and I get to go to the people that Say Yes to the Dress and NOT be a Bridezilla.  And America can vote on our honeymoon destination by calling in on their Verizon phone and we can be sponsored by Pepsi (because I'm not a fan of Coke) and then we can start Dancing with the Stars on a secluded island and be voted off the island one by one, even though there are only two of us, if we don't do the samba correctly but we would get bonus points if we could do the Paso Doble (which I can say, but not spell).  I think I would kick Steve's butt at both dances, therefore he'd get kicked off first.  And then we could have a rose ceremony to see if I would give him immunity.

I'd watch that show.