Monday, April 28, 2008

Umm, I Am Not Crazy

I just spent 30 minutes calling around to different ophthalmologist's offices trying to figure out where in the heck I had made my appointment the other day. I called 5 different offices, 2 of them twice sounding like an idiot going "Umm, my name is blah blah do I have an appointment with your office today?" After 30 minutes I called the first place back determined I was NOT crazy and I did have an appointment there. Indeed I did we discovered after I begged her to please check for me, I can't be THAT crazy. She checked again. Yes. I am indeed there. Wednesday. "Oh, Thank God" I declared. "I am not entirely crazy!" She laughs as if to say "I'm not so sure lady" YAY!

I am always happy to know I haven't completely lost it. At least I didn't show up at the office right? Actually, maybe I should have worked that angle. That would have left Alex with the kids and me with nothing at all to do! By. My. Self. Oh well. I already made the call to tell him I was crazy.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

In My Head - A Lovely Retreat

I have been having a quiet more contemplative day today. You know, as quiet and contemplative as is possible with a three year old dancing around in her underwear shaking her booty and screaming the entire soundtrack to Happy Feet while her one year old brother forces his head between my feet screaming what must be baby expletives at me as I am trying to cook. After all, there is nothing in his mouth right now and clearly there is food in the house because he can smell it wafting down from the magical place that is the stove. Slacker mom. How can this be considered either quiet or contemplative?

For this I take you to my sister. My sister is 6 years younger than me. Growing up I perfected the power to block things out. Things being sister and apparently any request remotely resembling a chore from my mother. Though I don't recall the latter at all. Something I will surely pay for with my own children as she has cursed me to have children just like myself. I can turn that selective hearing on and completely not notice the banging, pounding, screaming and all out war that is surely only at the beginnings. Yes, they are three and one. It has begun.

The "Moooooommm! He is hitting me!!!" has begun. The shrill angry eruption that means "MOOOOOOOOM, She stole my toy!!" is in full force. Sometimes I can block it out. Usually only successfully with proper back up. Ahh yes. I wanted 2 so the one wouldn't be spoiled. On the other hand they are incredibly funny when they go in Ella's room, close the door, turn on a cd and dance their little hearts out. Together. Sweetly playing cohesively coexisting. I love to peek in her room when this is happening. They both love to dance so Ella will be doing "princess ballet" and Nate will be poised at the cd player ready to press the buttons - if it had a remote he would have it. Already a man. Nate usually does this incredibly fast booty bounce move sort of like a cross between that obnoxious Beyonce move and a good squat. Great for baby thighs! So funny to peek in when they don't see you!

So quiet - maybe not in reality but at least I can retreat to my head sometimes. Usually the 8th or 9th "Moooom!" snaps me back to reality. Fortunately as a mom, I can recognize sounds of distress from 1600 feet away in a dead sleep with an elephant on my head and still determine if it is distress that needs attention or just a kid who needs to roll back over and leave mommy to her sweet dreams - or a more accurate description - the drooling coma of a woman still trying to recover from last year's sleep deprivation.

I have always had the ability to retreat into my head. I have an incredible imagination and lately it has taken me away. Who needs Calgon? I've got the voices in my head to keep me company and the depths of my gray matter to keep me amused.

Friday, April 25, 2008

April at the Duke Gardens

Just a few pictures from our quick trip to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. I miss my camera. The old one isn't doing it for me. The gardens are quite pretty. I will have to go again soon when I have hubby's backup so I can take lots of pictures and he can amuse the kiddos!

Do yourself a favor. Click that pink flower. It is fabulous.

Isn't Spring Beautiful.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nate's New Trick - Walking!

Nate has been working on walking.
Here are the steps!

The Stance

Ta Da! I'm Cute!

A New Pink Dress

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Isn't It Earth Day 2008?

It is April 22nd, 2008 is it not? Isn't today EARTH DAY? I have seen almost nothing this morning encouraging us to be more respectful of our Earth. This disturbs me. Maybe I am just up too early! (UPDATE: Indeed, they just weren't up as early as I was) Here are some tips to help you. Maybe even a couple you haven't thought of or (if you are honest) don't want to think of. I am not in any way great at doing these things and some I don't even do at all yet. My negative impact is much greater than I know it should be. It is a beautiful place isn't it? Lets keep it that way for our children.

Everyday Tips for a Lower Impact and a Cleaner Environment...

  • Wash Clothes with Cold Water
  • Use a water pitcher with a filter instead of buying bottled water.
  • Use Earth Friendly cleaning products
  • Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. Easy.
  • Turn things off when not in use; lights, computer, tv.
  • Buy from Local Vendors
  • Grow your own veggies, herbs and even flowers for cutting. This saves money and reduces emissions from transportation and pesticides!
  • Use natural pesticides in your yard and garden.
  • Buy used items such as furniture instead of always needing the newest and "best"!
  • Salvage old items for use in your home; doors, sinks, and tools are great examples. Steer clear of toilets, appliances, and single pane windows as older items are less efficient.
  • Clean your refrigerator's parts and dryer vent! These are huge electricity suckers!
  • Contact your power company for a free energy audit!
  • Insulate your home efficiently. See me here. funny.
  • A HUGE one: Buy an Existing home. So many materials go into building a home, even a green home. These resources can be saved and a regular existing home can be modified to be earth friendly. Alter the way you thing. "New" "Biggest" "Best" got us into this mess.
  • Buy sustainable products such as bamboo flooring and cabinetry.
  • Walk. Ride a bus. Carpool. If you can't (like me out in the boondocks) think about where and when you are going. Plan your trips and make them more efficient.
  • Check your tire pressure to make sure you aren't wasting gas!
  • Buy Carbon Offsets - Mine is 103.95 for a year of driving my minivan. Not bad!
  • Get creative! Use milk jugs & the liners from cereal boxes to make waterproof toy sail boats!
  • FREECYCLE! This organization can help you reduce your input into landfills.
  • Most importantly think. Be more aware of your individual impact on the world around you. Even if you can't buy a new hybrid car, you can drive less. You can change your mindset and impact the world around you in a positive way!
  • There are so many more tips. Let me know what you have done to change our world! Got any great reusable tips? Share!
Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Undecided Voter Here in NC

I am still undecided who I am voting for in the upcoming North Carolina primaries. These primaries will be my first and while I assumed a few months ago that the race would be decided long ago, I am now convinced my vote very much matters and is indeed going to be influential in deciding the outcome. So I am taking this vote very seriously.

I am registered as an unaffiliated voter in a state that allows me open primaries. While I do know which side I will be casting my ballot for, the specifics are still fuzzy. I am excited that my vote really will count and I am elated to be participating in an election that will no doubt go down in history as a first.

Not only do I need to decide who I am voting for Presidentially. I also need to consider my local and goobernatorial vote. I mean Gubernatorial. I can tell you what. The ads are doing our goober's no good in my opinion.

I hope you registered but if you haven't it is not too late to vote in the primaries! You can do on site registration at one stop polling until May 3! It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple weeks.

NC Voter Registration Statistics


(approx 65% as of 4/21/08)

Please vote. Women vote! Men Vote! Minorities Vote. Majorities Vote!
Get ready, do your research.
Vote Responsibly!

Alex's Work Update

So where have I been and what have I been doing? Well Alex put in his two weeks notice last week! Normally I would have freaked out because he didn't have something else already lined up but I have actually been pretty laid back. I am quite proud of him. It was the kick in the pants he needed to get himself unstuck. Now don't get me wrong, if needed he has a job waiting for him but he has a few things lined up to keep him busy if he needs some temporary work while he looks.

So I have been playing the role of personal assistant. I have been updating resumes, scouring eployment web pages, filling out online applications (love this - am I the only one who hated not being able to type these out in the days before PDFs?), sending off emails, sending faxes etc. He is so lucky to have me haha. No really - he is! He is quite happy to have me doing leg work.

If you are the praying type you can pray he finds something he is happy doing that will also provide for the family. He has felt stuck for a while and I want a happy husband. I am very excited for him. It takes a lot to get out there and look for something new. We have found several that seem just about perfect but I want him where he can do good. I know God has his hand in all of this (or I would be a complete nut job).

I will keep you posted.

Walking Through Life... and Toys

Nate is officially walking now! He had taken a couple unassisted steps the other day ( I did not tell Daddy) but today he has taken off. He did about 8 or nine in a row then realized it might just be easier to walk. We will see what he decides when Ella is bashing about again and the dog is disregarding his steps but he seems content with his new abilities. Ella was a proud big sister assisting, clapping and encouraging all the way.

Of course as soon as the camera was out to capture the moment he decided he had better crawl over real quick to press some buttons so nothing captured on film as of yet.

Congratulations little man! Your on your way!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Sweet Monkey

My sweet monkey is throwing up. Poor girl.

UPDATE: No throwing up since last night. Good! She is restricted to noodle soup and crackers today just in case.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Provider Complex

It is hard to be supportive sometimes. It is easier when you know they really are thinking and trying to make the best decision they can possibly make. It is harder again when that is not the decision you would make.

As an assertive, logical, reasonable (those who know me are laughing) person it is especially challenging for me not to second guess a decision that seems to me, an illogical one. You know, because I am right. I am always right. No one else, my husband for example, could be making the best decision financially for our family right? He is providing financial security. So this is what we are looking at. Again.

It looks like a 4-6 month job. Not too far away. He could commute on weekends sometimes. Not too bad. Closer than Florida or Utah. Alex has always talked about doing this. It is good money. It is what he did before we met, sort of. He has always listened to me when I begged him not to go. Money is never ever the priority with me. But men have this need to provide. It should not be confused with a need for stuff or a need to provide for a new boat. It is more like our compulsion about how our bodies look. It is always there in their mind. Are they being successful providers?

I don't understand it but I am starting to accept it. Starting. I am trying to be supportive. He has always had good judgment and he has never given me any reason not to trust his judgment. It is hard though.

Also, I just don't want to be a single parent. I didn't marry into the military for just this reason. So God shows us just what we are capable of by challenging us. By pushing us to our show us how he has equipped us. We don't have to take that step out in faith, we can choose not to. We will never know what God has in store for us if we have no faith in his plan for our lives. We can choose not to do what he is urging us, that is our choice, but we will never know what great things he has in store if we just trust him.

Grr. I don't like when I can not plan what is happening. When I can not control what is happening. When I have to be brave and trust someone else, even when that someone else is my husband.

I told Alex I would support his decision. I will. I think maybe he translated that into "I will be happy about your decision" or "your decision isn't going to be followed by me feeling depressed" or "your decision isn't going to stress me out" or "I will understand your decision". I try to shield him from these things because I do think he is making the right decision he can and I have expressed my anxieties for about 6 of our 7 years. Now I need to support him like he supported me.

Men are weird creatures, not like us women. Completely sensible. Always rational. Ever have trouble backing him because you have trouble handing over control?

Sometimes you just have to have faith when you can't see whats ahead.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I've Got Gas: How Stimulated is Your Economy?

I have realized it has been a while since I blogged anything I have been thinking about. In the past few months, tacked on to the last few years, I have been analyzing my relationship with money a lot. A lot. Hence the shopping fast and more.

For those of you either living in another country or in the US but under a rock, the economy is not doing great. Being the planner (read compulsive over analyzer) I am this is not something I have casually overlooked assuming it will all get better.

I have expressed my confusion before over where my family stands economically. I do not know what the term "middle class" refers to. Wikipedia is no help, offering me no definitive numbers as apparently this is some obscure term thorn about by would be presidents vying for my vote. I figure we definately belong to the working class anyways. I think I prefer this. It sounds more productive than "Middle Class" or "Uber Rich" doesn't it?

Upon marriage we have gone through some phases in our marriage. The first was a phase I like to call the "rectifying all the stupid credit mistakes we made as single people" phase. It was extensive. We were both working and I took the utmost pride in seeing our FICO scores climbing ever so slightly with things being paid off. We sat down and did budgets to husbands horror (NOT ANOTHER SPREADSHEET!) and I memorized the bank ballence daily to be recalled accurate to two or three dollars. The next phase was the "we both need an edumacation" phase. This time was spend accurately filing FAFSA forms so next year we could get some assistance from the government (no matter how little) to make us more productive members of society. This phase consisted of various job status by myself and also overlapped with the next phase. This was the "Adult phase". This consisted of having a child and later buying a house big enough for all her stuff. Thats what adults do after all.

I think this phase which seems much longer than those phases might be referred to as the "I've got gas" phase. You like that? Me too. For the last year or so I have been constantly asking Alex if he has gas. We do an analysis almost daily to make sure "he's got gas" and we can make it another day. This is due to the increased gas prices in combination of the growing expense of operating a household. Now granted, some of this is due to the other mouth we added 14 months ago. If I could just figure out a way to turn dirty diapers into fuel for minivans I would never need to look at my bank balance again! I still have some of those spreadsheets from the first phase of our lives (they give me a great sense of accomplishment!). Gas was an afterthought in those days.

So times change, fuel consumption changes, commutes change and yet oil demand stays the same. As gas prices increase while income stays the same we have made changes. Mostly to our attitudes.

I will finish this post tomorrow as it has gotten terribly long. You know me. Think about your attitude toward money. How has it changed in the last 2 years or less? What kinds of changes have you made to account for the economy? Has the amount of gray hair in your mane increased along with the price of oil?

Friday, April 11, 2008

The 28th Anniversary of My Debut

Yesterday was the 28th anniversary of my introduction to this big world. I managed to confuse myself for about 4 days, pegging my birthday as occurring on Wednesday as opposed to Thursday. I can not even remember my own birthday. A sign of aging perhaps.

To celebrate I decided to do something fun and spontaneous. Moms if you are thinking like I was you are waiting to hear the horror stories aren't you? The kids and I went to the Zoo all by ourselves! She drove where and did what without back-up?

It was no problem. I was almost sure I would have some good blog fodder but alas no exploding diapers, chimps making off with my kid's backup panties or poo flinging (at the zoo there is risk of not only children flinging but animals also)! We had a great time and a wonderful outing. Alex was sad we went without him as he had to work and I knew he wouldn't be able to get off for this. We saw all sorts of fabulous animals and had a great time. Where are the pictures? Well, I lost my usual camera somewhere and figured without adult backup the kids would probably not stand for me stopping every 6 seconds to take a picture or taking 17 shots of bamboo to make sure the angle and the light were just right. So I left my backup camera at home to avoid the temptation.

We finished up the night with me not cooking. Always a good choice.

Sidenote: Nate is getting to that age where he is ridiculous to try and take out to eat. I felt as if I had just spent dinner time with the angry baboons I had seen hours earlier at the zoo. He wasn't flinging poo though. I guess thats something.

NC Has Arrived! Shoppers Rejoice!

I have long been a fan of Ikea. Years and years ago I remember strolling the isles of the Alexandria, VA Ikea in wonder of the interesting look and feel of the furniture, the crisp lines, the contemporary vibe. I was about nine. Years later I have yet to actually purchase anything from them. Why? I am too cheap to pay shipping and handling.

I want to GO to the store and it just hasn't happened. Our friends at Mapquest estimate I am approximately 4 hours and forty minutes to my closest Ikea. Anyone who has been knows tacking this amount of time on to already daunting Ikea experience is not something to be taken lightly. These things take planning. And hotel rooms. And PTO days. You know - to really do it right.

Those trips have indeed been planned, under the disguise of a trip to our nation's capital. I have also driven by on 1-95 a couple times sadly waving to the Ikea who can be seen from the road. There was no time to hit Ikea on those trips.

Well ladies and gentlemen who live or will live within driving distance to Charlotte NC, I have good news! No longer will you be reduced to drooling on your keyboard or dog earing countless pages of a beautiful catalog. You will probably still do that, you just won't be reduced to it. No ladies and Gentlemen your newest Ikea, the 5th in the south, will open in Spring 2009! They broke ground this week on a bazillion acre site that will sport children's play areas, a 300 seat restaurant serving Swedish delights, 1,700 parking spots and supervised play areas. Did I mention play areas? Start making plans!

If only this were open this year, Bush might have been more happy with me. I might have supported my economy as opposed to being responsible with my refund, stimulating all at IKEA!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Reason for Fast Shutter Speeds

It is quite hard to get Ella to stand still for photos these days. She simply can not be bothered. It was not always so. She would ham it up for photo shoots galore and then one day she just stopped. I think it was the day she realized the power her smile had over me. Heartbreaking for Mommy. Bribery - stern voices - trickery. Nothing works. She is the reason your camera's "Fast or Action" setting was invented. "Inquisitive preschooler who cant be bothered to stand still longer than 2 seconds" wouldn't fit on your digital display screen after all. Today she felt a little hammy. Thank you my monkey! Mommy is so happy!

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Special Treat Straight from Antarctica!

This is a series of pictures some friends of mine from church took. The really interesting thing? This trip was a family trip and the two children picked the location. Brilliant. A cruise to Antarctica! How many of us will ever get to the Antarctic? Thank you for letting me share your pictures! Enjoy everyone!

Go Heels!

Just a few penguins.

A pre-teen amongst pre-teens