Monday, November 1

October 2010 photos

Happy November everyone! Hard to believe we only have two months of 2010 left.... but that's why we take pictures, no? To save and savor a few moments in time, which remind us of a memory! Here are some of my favorites from October. . . .

A trip to the pumpkin farm with Dad and two of my nieces, on 10/10/10:
Hurricane, Sunshine, & LuLu
My dad and 3/4 of his granddaughters!
Miss Sunshine & Miss Hurricane
Now in an outhouse!
Oblig scenic family photo!

Next, we hit the apple orchard. My favorite apples grow here, and they're only available this time of year! While we waited I asked the girls to sit in front of one fireplace so I could get this picture:
Strike a pose, girls!

And finally, we come to Halloween. I think I enjoy dressing up as much as Miss Hurricane enjoys it! Mister Twister, in his tweenage-ness, is a little less enchanted with it all. But he still decided that he'd like to dress up one last time (since next year, he'll be "too old" for trick-or-treating):
Lily, Hobo, VamPrincess
I was Lily Munster (but my wig was giving me fits, so I went without it this year), I brought along my little Vampire Princess, and we found this hobo on our way out the door.  LOL  =D
I'm unarmed!!
Red eyes make the costume!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, as is Christmas! I'll keep taking pictures, and will do my best to keep writing throughout this holiday season.
Also, remember to get out and vote tomorrow - elections all across the nation (and the kids are out of school for it... yessss!)!

Have a great week ~ namaste
Amphitrite + Ardeo

Sunday, October 24

Another Lazy Sunday Update

I meant to get over here and write something a week ago, but my ADD got in the way and I just today remembered, and have my laptop open in front of me. I also changed the actual URL for the blog, which I'll go into below. So here we go with an update!

- Remember how I was sick for a couple weeks? I seemed to get better for almost a week, then whatever it was came back again and knocked me out for *another* week. Ardeo told me to go the doctor, but I never got around to it (notice a pattern?!)... I did, however, get over it and have been fine for almost a week now. Bonus news: I was the only one in the house to get sick AT ALL! The Lysol has been dispensed liberally all over the place and I think we'll all be just fine now.

- Also, remember that I told you about us quitting smoking? Yeah, we're still not smoking! I think my being sick helped me in that I only used the gum for a week or so, got sick and just -quit- because going upstairs for more gum was just.too.much.effort that week. Ardeo is still using the gum - he had to get another box of the 4mg; he discovered that 2mg is still not strong enough for him to use exclusively - and together we've only given in a few times. Fortunately, those times were excellent reminders for us, and now we both agree that we cannot believe we smoked for so many years. It really does taste like an ashtray! (I think I had a hard time accepting that as fact, even though I'd heard it from *so* many people over the last 20 years. But it is so true!!) So here's my honesty: since 9/9/10, a date that's easy to remember!, I have smoked four cigarettes and regretted each one. Three of those happened while I was up visiting Mom over a long school weekend, so I can only tell you about myself there; Ardeo said he bought a pack over that same weekend, but I think it lasted him a week or more. One pack used to only last us one day, so that's still good in its own way.

- While I was sick I managed to get a lot of reading out of the way. I enjoy reading, but over the last 7 years or so I hadn't really given myself the time to read anything that I liked (as opposed to kids' books, you know). I have an iPod Touch that's a couple years old and *loaded* with apps. One I recently found is iBooks; I have at least 25 books on my virtual shelf and have slowly worked my way through about half of them. The most recent one - I read it in its entirety this weekend - is The Book of Adam by Robert M. Hopper. {Click the author's name to purchase a hard copy from Amazon} I only wanted to mention this here to remind myself to write a little more about the books, and iBooks.

- The kids are doing really well in school:
We're waiting for the boy's report card to come home, although I can see his grades online through a site called Infinite Campus. (That's a link to their home page, which is different from where I sign in to view both kids' schedules and grades. Not all districts use this site, to my knowledge.) We know what his report card will say, but I'll still have to sign a hard copy for the school. They just finished up a food drive at his school so I'm expecting the card to come home tomorrow. Since a new quarter began a week ago, his schedule has changed for two classes. He's had to drop Lego Robotics (replaced by Geological Studies), in which he earned a 90/B. He *loved* this class! It's just what it sounds like - they built little robots with legos, then attached little motors to the robots and programmed them to make it through an obstacle course. During open house night, I got to see some pictures from class while we parents wandered the room and listened to the teacher. It looked like fun! It also reminded me of my own Industrial Arts class in 7th grade, which later came in very handy when I went to trade school for HVAC/R.
Anyway, the other schedule change was from Life Skills (i.e. balancing a budget and career options, with a dash of Home Ec) to Art. He earned a 72/D in Life Skills, but it was solely due to missing homework/classwork - some things haven't changed. He loves to draw, and had this Art teacher last year, so I think he's looking forward to having a doodling class for 9 weeks. He should get an A, again, just like last year! At his age, an A is worth $5... if he gets a D, he owes us $2, so he's still getting life skills! :D
I had scheduled a conference with the girl's teacher last Monday, but she was out sick (it's that time of year already!). The teacher sent home the papers we'd have gone over, let me know I could contact her with any questions or concerns, and I could sign and send the packet back in the next day. I've emailed her teacher a few times since the start of the school year, and she is so great and so easy to get/keep in touch with, so this was not a problem at all! As expected, this child is scoring very high on tests taken so far for the year and is breezing through her homework when she has any. (She gets that from her father - I did *not* do so well in any school year! LOL) By the end of second grade, each child in her school has a goal of 50 Accelerated Reader points earned. So far, Miss Hurricane has 20.2 points and averages 97.9% on each quiz she takes (again, that'd be her father's DNA showing); we're only 2 months into the school year, so I think she'll make the goal by Spring Break.

- I mentioned up top about changing the URL for this site. It was a small change I made sometime in the last week, but I don't remember exactly what prompted it. I think I was poking though all the settings looking for something and noticed that I *could* change it. I didn't think about what effect that may have on anything (do I ever look before I leap? Not usually.) but I now see that if you were to type the old URL into your address bar, you're gonna get a blank page that says the site doesn't exist. So, right here is where I'm going to drop all the info so I can still be found! Luckily all my old posts are still linked on the sidebar, and I have them saved on my hard drive, so nothing is/was lost.
The old URL was ->
The new URL is ->
See, it was a minor change, but big enough to have an effect on anyone who might follow us. Most of my followers are related though =) I love you all!

~*** As of January 4, 2011, I have reverted back to the original/old URL. Sometimes I just get that proverbial 'wild hair', so I changed it; I then found out that it was causing some issues for some readers, so I went back. As you'll see, you didn't miss that much! ***~

I think this is long enough for one day. I'm going to post this and get on writing about that book - I loved it - and looking for more by the same author! *adds yet another name to the reading list*
Halloween pics should come within a couple weeks (since you know I'm behind on pictures as well... another story for a different day!).
~Amphitrite + Ardeo

Wednesday, October 6

A video, for fun

I'll admit to giggling like a fool when I found this one... in honor of Halloween coming up, and to go along with my picture for the month, I give you a classic song:

♫♪ Giddy-up [a-oom-boppa-oom-boppa-mauw-mauw]
Giddy-up [a-oom-boppa-oom-boppa-mauw-mauw] ♪♫
The Definitive Collection (Oak Ridge Boys)

I think that has to be my absolute favorite part of the song. It also reminds me of my uncle Freddie (Dad's cousin, not Fred/Grandpa's brother) and a barn dance from years and years ago, which brings a smile to my face without fail. I will try to describe my memory:
Great Uncle Jim (Grandpa's brother-in-law) has a big farm - now run by his sons and grandsons - not too far from where I grew up. We would go visit a few times a year, but every Fall they would hold a barn dance which we attended a few times. Just what it sounds like, family and friends came over to dance and play games, mostly in the barn by the house. Their house is a typical white-with-black-shutters and has a porch the length of the front of the house. The barn I remember is right next to the house, rather than another barn across the street (also theirs), which I believe held some of the machinery.
Anyway, one year - which in doing the math makes me think it was probably 1985? (*maybe* 1986? but I think it was before the Challenger tragedy) - Freddie was having an exceptionally great time dancing to every song. I remember it was already dark outside, but Jim & Ell had all the lights on so everyone could see where we were walking. Bro and I were running around with Freddie's three kids, and I'm pretty sure we were playing hide-and-seek or tag with all the cousins in attendance, but I stopped to get a drink or something just inside the barn. I saw Freddie dancing with Aunt Bo (my mom's sister. I need a bar graph to explain.), my mom and dad were dancing together near him, I saw Dave and Becky dancing, and a few other couples (who are now fuzzy in my mind's eye) all enjoying themselves - "Elvira" is the song that was playing, and I watched Freddie take Bo by the hand and give her a ballroom-dance type of yo-yo move... it's hard to describe, but I smiled at the time and it still makes me smile to this day. I remember that moment getting stuck in my head as, "that is the kind of husband I want! ♥♥"

Freddie died about 15 years ago, when he was only 39. He was always having a good time, he really did love deeply and much, and lived many of his days to the fullest. He was so cool! He raised two excellent men and one lovely lady, and now has 5 grandchildren. He is missed and still loved by many, and I'm glad to have that one magnificently clear memory of his smiling, fun-loving face!

Tuesday, October 5

Oopsie - overdue update!

It's not so much an "oopsie" as "too much has happened, so I haven't even thought about writing anything" if I'm being honest here.
What has happened since my last post:
- Sept. 9, we quit smoking. Still we are ex-smokers! Not sure when we can officially call ourselves "non-smokers", so I'm sticking with EX for a while.
- Sept. 19, my paternal grandpa got a helicopter ride to the hospital two blocks from here. I live about halfway between him and his birth city, and he still has family there, so was visiting. He turned 85 a few months ago; he's also had a few bypass surgeries over the last 20 years, but is otherwise as healthy as can be. He was hanging out with his younger brother when he felt funny, and said so. Uncle Fred called his local hospital, who decided that they should send him here (two hours away by car) where the heart center is better equipped. I found out that Grandpa was in town after my parents and Dad's sisters all arrived at the hospital (because I didn't hear my phone ring... ugh). Mom came here and took me to the hospital to see everyone; it was around 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, and Ardeo was here to stay with the kids. I figured I'd be back by midnight anyway! Long story short - Mom slept here in the hide-a-bed, Dad and Uncle Fred stayed at the hospital, and the girls got a room downtown (I don't have enough room here, otherwise the option would have certainly been offered!); it was a bypass thing, he got a new stent, and was good to go home on Tuesday! I believe he is already back on the golf course as well!
- Sept. 22... the first night I felt sick. I'll spare you the details, but I was sick for almost 14 days. I seriously am not sure even *today* that I'm 100% better, but I am definitely able to function normally now. The downside to this is, I think the boy caught it from me, or at least a little of it. House bleaching starts tomorrow!

Yeah, being sick really took it out of me. Ardeo was in charge of everything while I laid on the couch or in bed, all complainy and sleeping most of the time. But I'm glad to be much better now - I even made dinner on my own tonight! (This is not normally cause for celebration, I just haven't been able to do that much work at once since the day I got sick!)
Lately, the most I'd been able to do was think about posting here for you... that was as far as it ever got until tonight. I've spent the last couple days reading other people's blogs (I'll link them in my sidebar soon) and laughing like a loon over some of the stories.
Okay, so I've just been informed that it is movie night, and the kids want to get this ball rolling! They have the rest of the week off (first Fall Break for this district in the 7 years we've attended!) and so are rearranging our 'schedule' regarding movie night and pizza night. Fun times ahead, and I will do what I can to take/post pictures! (Ardeo still has all the good pics on his computer... I'll get to that soon as I can, too. Promise.)

Love to all,
Be well,

Wednesday, September 15

Want to win some Avon? Check this out:

This is an old post - giveaway ended Oct 15, 2010!

My sister-in-law is giving away some Avon goodies on her site ~ check her site out!
She is giving away THREE different goody bags, and all you have to do is subscribe to ShawnAnn's World via email. Plus, you can get extra entries for other things (follow her on Twitter, retweet the giveaway, "like" her on Facebook, etc.) if you'd like to increase your chances of winning! The giveaway ends on October 15, so you have one month left ~ if you Tweet, you can retweet up to 10 times daily.... and each tweet counts as a separate entry :D

Not enough time for a family update tonight, but I wanted to toss this out for everyone. Click the button above for ShawnAnn's World to go right to the Avon Giveaway, and I'm going to put her button here in the sidebar as well so you can find her anytime. Good luck, and have a great day!

Monday, September 13

September 9, 2010 - I quit.

Maybe it's still a bit early to say so, but today is Day 5 without a cigarette - only using nicotine gum - and I wanted to mark the date here. Who knows, this may even get me to write a little something every day for the next few weeks!

I did try to quit (cold turkey) 3 years ago but that time didn't stick. Here I go again, and it's a little easier this time around.
I started smoking regularly the summer I turned 12. A few months ago, I marked the start of my 33rd year. That's 21 years too many!
Mister Twister was born a few months after I turned 21, so that seems to be a good number right now and will likely help my mind stay focused on quitting. The kids are already proud of us for not having smoked only a few days yet - it's good to have the little reminders from them about breathing better and all that... they are smart kids!

Nicorette Coated Gum 2mg, 100 pieces (Fresh Mint)

It feels a little easier this time, and probably because I've known we were going to quit for a few months now. Ardeo and I wanted to quit smoking before the big move, but in the midst of trying to plan and move that far, we never did "get around to it"; the best we did was found nicotine gum on sale for $10 off early in June. We went from saying 'we ought to quit soon' to 'we really should quit now' to 'well, we're poor and this isn't helping' - so I pulled out the boxes of gum for us. 2mg for me, 4mg for him; on Wednesday, 9/8, we smoked the last of our cigarettes before bed.

Nicorette Coated Gum 4mg, 100 pieces (Fresh Mint)

I've never been the kind who could wake up and *immediately* go out for a smoke. I snore like a man, so I would often wake up with my throat hurting even if I hadn't smoked much the previous day. Thursday morning wasn't bad for me; I think I had Miss Hurricane off to school before I even thought about 'needing' that drug. All day I think I only had 4 or 5 pieces of gum; once it's chewed so many times, it gets very difficult to chew anymore, like any "old gum". There's also the side effect (personally) of heartburn and hiccups. Also, I'm a gum-popper and I can't blow very good bubbles with this stuff!

All righty... today begins Day 5 for us; 4 days was my previous record for not smoking, so I think I'm well on my way. I'll write more tomorrow ~ it's time to get the boy off to school!

Friday, August 27


Just a little update today...
August 11, we started a new school year. We have all the kinks worked out of our new morning routines; the kids both go to bed and get up with little problem, neither has missed their morning or afternoon bus, and dinner is always eaten by around 7 (although I'm still shooting for 6 every evening). They have each made 'new' bus friends, and I talk to the other parents every morning too. So far, so good!

Wednesday evening, I needed to turn in a few library books. Well, the car would not start, so that didn't happen. Luckily I was able to renew the books online and avoid overdue fees :) So yesterday, after both kids were off to school, Ardeo and I did a little research to try to diagnose the car problem ourselves hoping it would be an easy fix. We decided that it could be a problem with the fuel pump; the tank is full, yet we couldn't hear the fuel pump doing anything. We walked up to Auto Zone (about 3/4 mile away) to get the manual... Murphy's Law came into play here. They didn't have the manual for *our* model year, but the years *surrounding* it. Came home with a bottle of starter spray stuff (I don't remember, he did all the work) and tried that, which didn't work. Oh well, right? We talked last night about what to do with the car, our options being: ask family who know about cars, ask friends who know about cars, or call a garage and see about having it towed and fixed properly. We are looking at the cheapest option here!! I'm ready to just be done with it, maybe get a new-to-us car (ours is a 1997) and be done with it - or, take the city bus/walk everywhere. Unfortunately we do not have the ability to get a new car, so fixing on the cheap it is... wish us luck!

This morning, I decided to go for a walk in between the kids' buses. That looks funny written out like that - here's how my morning went, and I intend to do this every school morning:
5:40 - I wake up, have my breakfast, make oatmeal for the kids, and enjoy my 30 minutes of news without interruption.
6:20 - wake Miss Hurricane so she can eat and get ready for the bus.
7:05 - her bus leaves. I start walking toward the run-down mall (it's really just a parking lot anymore) to walk around the lot, then back home. [This is .96 mile, according to MapMyRun.]
7:35 - back home before the boy gets up!
7:45 - Mister Twister gets up; he eats, showers if needed, and gets ready.
8:35 - his bus leaves. I walk the other direction and go through the neighbourhood behind us, coming back up a main thoroughfare (with only a bike lane - no sidewalk!) so I can loop back home. [This is 1.8 mile.]
9:15 - I am back home and have almost 2 miles in for the day! Now I can have my second cuppa! :D

Hopefully I sleep well tonight, and maybe I'll take the short walk tomorrow.
Also, I just found what I want for Christmas ~ hey Mom, click that link for 'second cuppa' - I still prefer tea! (Seriously, that's a cute cup, I love it!)

Yummy PG Tips

Have a beautiful, feels-like-autumn weekend!

Sunday, August 22

Festival Weekend!

Yesterday, the family and I were looking forward to a few things going on in our city this weekend.

First up, the Freshman are moving into their dorms, so we knew traffic and getting around could very well be hairy. (I wouldn't say the city's traffic flow is really set up for this sort of influx of people...) We wanted to stay on our side of town, and if we could help it, stay very far away from downtown!

I knew there was a Greek Festival just up the street (i.e. within walking distance) from us. I found their website and saw the menu, and decided that we should at least go there to have dinner - gyros, Greek salad, spanakopita (I loves me some spinach!), souvlaki... it all sounded *so* good. I also knew that this festival was being sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Church here (which was fine) and that money collected was going to the Shriner's Fund, also totally cool. But when we got to the festival... it looked like there weren't many people there. Our kids were certainly the *only* kids we saw, although they had two bouncy houses in the parking lot. We also saw (outside) a Gyro stand, but not much else. I saw a sign on the door of the temple, and just inside was a table where they were collecting the $2 admission fee. Okay, no problem. We walked in, and Ardeo looked a little further into the building - he said it looked like a Bingo meeting... so we all went back outside (no one in line behind us, only one ahead of us) to talk about this. We decided that it was probably only for members of the church, so we left. The kids (Miss H, mostly) were disappointed because we had talked this up so much, and everyone was really looking forward to going! Since we had no idea what else to do that didn't involve going downtown-ish, we came home to have dinner here.
While cooking dinner, I looked on the website again - and noticed for the first time, that a portion of funds collected were going to the Shriner's Fund, and the rest of the money was going to the church's building fund. Honestly, I felt kinda duped. That info wasn't mentioned *anywhere* at the actual event, nor was it mentioned on the news this week (after the noon news, my NBC affiliate runs a spot highlighting what's happening and coming up around town/not too far from here). Anyway I'd rather have known this before going, because we can get good Greek food in the mall and I know exactly where that money is going! I'll donate to the Shriner's Fund separately... thanks.
(I'm sure that makes me sound like some kind of jerk, but I don't attend any religious services anywhere, therefore I do not want my money going to a church's building fund. A church/temple/mosque/synagogue doesn't have to be big and fancy, for Pete's sake.)

Red beans and rice for dinner, thank you Zatarain's!

After dinner, I did a quick search to see if anything else was going on nearby - especailly if it didn't involve driving through a sea of lost Freshmen! I got lucky, found a community calendar, and found the perfect thing:
Japan Festival!
Started at 3 and was wrapping up around 9 last night, at the same park where my MIL's family has their annual reunion. I knew a secret shortcut :D
So, this festival was put on by the Japan/America Society (of our state - find one near you here), it was only the one day, and I lucked into finding it.
{I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but Miss Hurricane's school has a Japanese teacher; (I asked Mister Twister, and he said it wasn't offered until she got into Kindy in 2008.) she has been learning Japanese at school and really enjoys it. Even I have learned basic phrases, as her sensei sends home a monthly newsletter for parents to help the kids study/remember what they've learned. I think we must have had an influx of Japanese families move to the area recently, but we've also had a Toyota plant near here for about 15 years. Japanese students also learn English during their junior-high years - why not bring their language to our country too? /ADD storytelling}

ANYWAY - it was only 6:30 when I found this festival. Knowing how to get there, I thought 'we could easily be there by 7 or so, that gives us a couple hours, let's go!'. Ardeo didn't feel so well after dinner, but told me to go ahead and take the kids - he knew as well as I did that Miss Hurricane would enjoy it. Mister Twister enjoys Japanese culture from the point of their video games and manga/anime/cartoons, so he wanted to go as well. Sounds good to me!
Off we went. We arrived just after 7, while the koto performance was in full swing. (This isn't the lady who played last night, but here's a video so you can hear it: Japanese Koto) Her music echoed throughout the area, which was situated just beside the lake - it was absolutely awesome, beautiful music! While the kids and I walked around a banjo player started working his magic too. I'm sure everyone knows what a banjo is... :-) He was really good too; I love music, so I enjoyed having some background music as we walked around the festival.
We talked to the lady at the front booth first, who told me a little about where everything was located ('travel to Japan' booth over there, 'try on a kimono' up that way, food is all over here, etc.) when Miss Hurricane shyly said to her, "Konnichi wa." - I told the lady that she was the only one yet learning the language, so she also greeted the kid and then said something we did not understand one bit... LOL I told her "she's only in 2nd grade, I don't think she's learned quite that much yet :D ". She told said kid that's okay, that she was happy to hear of young ones learning Japanese at school, and that she said "Hello" very well - I think that kind of catapulted Miss Hurricane's confidence and interest in trying to at least say the basics to all the vendors we were going to see!
We got a flyer with info on our local Society and walked through the gate (no admission fee - sweet!); immediately to our right we could smell and hear the food cooking up. Remember that I said we'd just finished dinner? The Boy Wonder, who is newly 12, said "That smells good, can we try it?". ...Ha... didn't you just eat, son?! :D I said we'd come back before leaving, I wanted to see everything that was there first. Miss Hurricane just took off on me - walking very fast toward a booth with Hello Kitty items e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. This is akin to this child's idea of "heaven" these days, why would I expect her to wait for us?? LOL
The boy found his wallet and had it with him; she and I looked for 10 minutes to find her wallet, but never did see it. She asked me about 50 different things with amazing speed; again, I said we will come back around, "let's see what they have over here". She stopped at every table/booth to ooh and aah over the things laid out for sale. She also greeted everyone with "Konnichi wa" and told the vendors 'this is pretty!' or 'this looks nice!' or 'that smells good!' (followed by "Mom can I have this pleasepleaseplease?" - child, patience! heh...).
We managed to get over to the free stuff tables, where I was hoping to spend most of our time. We found an origami table (we made a horse - it looked a little sickly due to Miss Hurricane's not-yet-honed folding skills), a taiko teacher (Mister Twister was watching in awe), and a place where anyone could try on a kimono. The kimono booth was where the kids both jumped in and said "I bet they let you keep them!" (this was not the case...) - I only had my phone with me, but the pictures actually came out pretty well! Evidence:

Try on a kimono!

Kimono-clad siblings

Mister Twister-san

Pink obi! :D

She found a fan to borrow!

They did have to return the kimonos after about 10 minutes, which allowed them to have about 30 on hand that everyone could try on for a bit. They also had the sandals (you can even get special socks for the sandals!) if one were so inclined to go all out - and both kids went for it (sockless)! I have to say, I really like the picture of them next to each other. I'll have to keep that one handy for when they start fighting over stupid things... "look, you guys can get along! See?!?" (they typically get along *great*, for which I am totally thankful!!)
I know this is getting really long already, but I'm almost finished. When I tell a story, I try to stimulate your brains as much as I can in the same way a good author can use words to fill your head with a movie-like fluency! (Props to all my English teachers in middle and high school!)

The kids returned their kimonos after the picture-taking, and just one booth to our right they found a little kiddie pool filled with small, round balloons. For $1, you get to go 'fishing' for a yo-yo balloon. Miss Hurricane went after a pink one (of course) while her brother just watched and tried to coach her in the art of balloon fishing. After a few minutes she did 'catch' her balloon; it was tied to a rubberband with a loop, and weighted with a little water inside so it would act like a yo-yo. She told the vender "arigato" and went went on around to the other booths. I managed to keep the kids away from the giant TV hooked up to a Wii!

The next booth we saw was the 'travel to Japan' one, which was a table with a bunch of brochures laid all over it - the kids walked fast by him... The next booth was personalized calligraphy, again for only $1. Miss Hurricane said Konnichi wa, and the ladies writing grinned from ear to ear and said Konnichi wa right back. They had simple paper fans on which they could write any kanji character (or phrase) we wanted.

All three fans!


Guess who owns which fans? :D

While the fans were being beautified with kanji, the Taiko group came on stage. Again, I don't have video of this group, but here is an example for you: Japanese Taiko Drummers. That's a 5 minute video, leave the new tab open and listen while you finish reading here! ;) (I don't know what the girl says, but I think I heard 'itadakimasu' at the end, which sounded familiar - might also mean 'enjoy'? I will ask MH's sensei as soon as I can!) Also, if you saw the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing 2008, that's pretty similar to this.
Now, let me tell you something here - it's one thing to see a video of this, but another entirely to actually *be* there. You can seriously feel every beat vibrate your whole body, even from 50 yards. Totally awesome. (Can you tell I'm a child of the 80's? Just wondered if it shows.) I wanted to close my eyes and feel the music... but, watching both kids I had to keep them open. This looks good for home use: Big Bang (Portland Taiko).
At this point, it was about 8:30 and people started leaving. The last event was a folk dance in which the audience could learn and participate. Mister Twister decided he had to have some food, and even offered to use his own money for it. He got some food and drink while Miss Hurricane and I browsed the few booths still open.
Naruto, Vol. 48 (Naruto (Graphic Novels))

Joseph-Beth had a table there full of manga, and he chose a Naruto book (written in English but still read from right-to-left, or back-to-front in this case). He has liked Naruto for years now, and he did take his time to peruse the books there before finding #48. Ardeo has watched the series (in Japanese, with subtitles) together with the boy, so his buying #48 wasn't just a whim - he's read quite a few from the school library.

Maneki Neko Money Lucky Cat Chinese Japanese Statue Figure Collectible
Miss Hurricane wanted a few of the Pokemon critters, but being that they were special-issue *and* imported from Japan, they were a bit expensive. I did get that vendor's business card and we just might consult with Santa about that. :) I know we could find other Pokemon products from Amazon, among other places. What we did find for her was a Hello Kitty mask ($5, not bad really), and she thought this *perfectly* complemented her new Neko* fan, so now she wants to be Hello Kitty for Halloween. I just might work on that for her!

*(I know that link is for Maneki Neko, but that's something you'll see if you go out for Chinese food anywhere too!)

Most everyone had left by now, and Mister Twister was still eating. I'm not sure the name of it, but his food did have (cooked!) octopus and squid, and he said he liked both tastes! There were noodles and vegetables too, the seafood wasn't the main ingredient. He got a cold bottle of true green tea (as did I), just like this one:  Ito En (Oi Ocha) Japanese Green Tea, 16.9-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12).  We usually get those from "our" Japanese grocery on the other side of town; I'm pretty sure this vendor was from their restaurant part of the building.  Miss Hurricane wanted some sort of peach drink, although it looked and tasted more like strawberry - it was carbonated and sweetened, but she didn't like it, so the kids traded drinks.  Again, I'll have to take the empty bottle up to her school and ask her sensei, because it is written entirely in Japanese.  I liked it as well, but she and I enjoyed the green tea better.

All in all, we had a great time!  Ardeo was sorry he missed out on it, but even when we got home around 9:30 he still wasn't feeling very well.  I was sad knowing that it was only a one-day festival; the three of us definitely wanted to go back today had the festival still been there!
I hope you enjoyed reading about this little piece of Japan here, and maybe I tossed out some links that you'll enjoy too.  On a related note - I now think it might be more fun to learn Japanese rather than Spanish... or, I suppose I could shoot for a linguistic trio!

I am already looking for something to do this coming weekend. The kids have labor Day weekend (Sa/Su/Mo) soon but we may go up to Mom's. I have no idea if she has any plans though, but our next chance to visit would be October.

OH! I also have a new family member!! My cousin Jenn delivered another beautiful baby girl on the 18th - right in between her big sister's and mother's birthdays! As soon as she's able, I'm sure she'll update her blog with the info - but with a newborn, give her some time :D I know everyone is super happy for them, so congratulations!!

That's all for now, folks. Much love and be well!

Wednesday, August 11

He's 12 now, and school is back in session!

Mister Twister turned 12 a few days ago... his one big present is a video game (Halo Reach) that isn't even out yet, but he said he wanted it and is willing to wait for it. We did let him choose where to eat lunch on Monday (Chinese buffet, one of our favorites!), and he also asked for cake and ice cream since we were headed for the grocery store. A small fudge brownie cake, a pint of Phish Food and another of Cherry Garcia ~ our man-cub has good taste in birthday food! :D
Unfortunately, he seems to have hit the age where he doesn't want to be photographed, so I don't have any pictures from Monday. I'll get a new one up once the school pictures come in (usually in mid-October here) if not sooner.

Today was the kids' first day back to school. It seems earlier every year! Both are riding buses too, so I don't have to go start the car early this winter... love that!! School has always started just days after his birthday, at least for as long as we've lived here. (Portland schools start after Labor Day, an idea which I *love*!)
For Miss Hurricane, we had an open house Monday night at her school - met the teacher, found out who was in her class from last year (almost everyone!), a few papers that had to be filled out and turned in that night, and I got my school calendar (I love having it every year). We left the school around 7:45, and I put her folder of info on our desk to finish up later. Finally got back to looking through it around 9 that night, so I filled out the rest of the paperwork and put the folder in her backpack. I got the calendar out to look at it again - I knew there was one day soon that they'd be out of school, it's next Friday - and just glanced at the pictures, all drawn by kids in our district. I flipped through a few pages before I realized the calendar was *entirely* in Spanish! This was (and still is) fine with me; if you remember a few weeks ago, I said that I was going to relearn Spanish anyway - well, this just seemed like a sign and it gave me a giggle! I emailed her teacher and told her about it, she said she would get me an English calendar (she did today), but I'm still going to use the Spanish one for myself. I'll hang the English version in the kids' room :)
Mister Twister is in 7th grade this year. Nothing much new for him, other than teachers, this year. Oh, he did have to get a TI-34 Multi View Calculator so I think he's in pre-algebra... if so, if he needs help with homework, I'll have to call on my cousins who are still good at that! Since they're just graduating and in college, they remember much more easily than I do!!

Since the kids were both gone by 8:45 this morning, Ardeo and I talked about whether or not we needed to go out today. We thought about seeing a movie, but we only want to see Inception and wouldn't have had the time before Miss H was due home. We thought about taking a walk around our new neighbourhood, but even at that hour it was way too hot and sticky outside - just walking out the door was enough to make us both feel like we were suffocating! So, we grabbed our books and chilled on the couch for the morning:

Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of CivilizationArdeo is reading Human Smoke, given to him by a friend last year.

Symbols of the Soul: Discovering Your Karma Through AstrologyI'm reading Symbols of the Soul, my second Gina Lake book. (The first one I read, Sojourn: The Soul's Evolution on Earth, is on iBooks - I read it on my iPod Touch)

It was rather quiet around here today! Around noon, we went to the smaller grocery store nearby and just grabbed a bagged Romaine salad for lunch. Ardeo is helping me with dinner tonight, and we should get started on that, since both kids are now home....

Happy hump day and many blessings to you!

Sunday, August 1

It's World Breastfeeding Week!

Having nursed my own two babies, this is a special subject to me. Breastfeeding is very common - and the standard - around the world; unfortunately, not so much here in the US, where this act should also be the norm in my opinion. Much has been written by many people across the blogosphere, and Dr. Momma seems to have the best list of resources that I've found yet.
If you're researching for any reason, are new parents, or just need more encouragement, check out Dr. Momma's post full of breastfeeding resources:

Peaceful Parenting: Breastfeeding Resources

(I wrote something a few years ago on the subject as well; it was really my first-ever research paper!)

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week: if you happen to notice a momma nursing her young one - don't make a fuss or ogle her (ogling = creepy), but a smile and a thumbs-up is a great compliment, no matter where she may be feeding her child (which is perfectly legal in all states). If it makes you uncomfortable, just look away.

Peace, love, boobs and no spanking* - that's been our parenting philosophy - so far, so good!


* that phrase actually came from a piece of 'hate mail' directed at Dr. Momma. The writer likely has no idea that it's a great idea, and a quite a few have adopted that phrase as a credo!

Friday, July 23

Here are those pictures, as promised!


(I have it set on autoplay. If you want to read all the captions, click on the slideshow and it should take you to the album directly.)

Yesterday, I was able to take these pictures of our new place. It's a townhouse, in a row of about 10, and we're still in a very nice neighbourhood. Loving it in here! :D

Thanks for dropping in!

Thursday, July 22

This Land is Your Land...

Ardeo and I were up late last night, talking and playing with the kids before bed, and this song came up at some point during the conversation. We all listened to it, then Ardeo explained it a little for the kids; he then told us why he thought the song should be our national anthem, and we both told the kids that we had to learn it in our elementary music classes.
After the kids went to bed - and this all is happening between midnight and 1 A.M., by the way - he & I talked a little more about the political lyrics within it, which led to conversation about Woody Guthrie in general. We agree, Mr. Guthrie is the Mark Twain of early American music.
Ardeo said he thought it would make a good blog post, so he's researching and collecting thoughts and will eventually write one up. I will prod him along too. ;)

Wednesday, July 21

Another week has passed...

Just a general update:

- We are all moved in and settled. Figured out where everything needed to be, learning the quirks and idiosyncracies of the new place, and really seeing that living minimally is working out VERY well for us. It's smaller, but perfect, and we hang out together more often now - the necessity of that has even made us enjoy each other more!

- No pictures today though. We've had really crazy storms here in the last couple of days, and discovered the hard way that our skylight and one bedroom window have *serious* leaks. The only pictures I've taken so far are for the maintenance crew and owner. Once it dries out a little more and the skylight can be re-caulked (our guess is, that's all it needs), I'll get a photo tour together for you. We really do like it here; I don't think we had any idea just what we were missing out on over the last 7 years!

- School starts back up in about 20 days - August 11 - for the kids. Mister Twister is going into 7th grade, while Miss Hurricane will be a 2nd grader. This year will be her first experience with riding a bus to and from school; we moved from the neighbourhood right behind the elementary, (which was easy for walking to/from) and now live across the main road (which even *I* wouldn't cross alone). It's a minor artery for our city, and a bit hard to get in and out of our street by car... so, on the bus she will go! We have some school supply shopping to do very soon, and first day pictures will come as well.

- In the meantime, we do still have a few weeks during which we will visit distant family. My big family reunion is coming up in August, and we'll be there this year; we're staying that weekend with Mom & Dad, and visiting some dear friends before the day of the reunion. We also will trek up to the Detroit area to see our sister-in-law and family!
{PSSSTT - She is gearing up for a Breast Cancer Walk, and giving away some goodies on Twitter - check her out!}

All in all, things are going pretty well for us these days. I wish the same for you and yours!

Wednesday, July 14

An update on our move

As far as having everything in the new place, we are all moved in! As far as putting everything where it goes and where we want it, it's almost finished. For now, we only moved a few blocks from the old house, so we didn't have to take anything very far. The lease here will end on June 30 next year, and this time we will have everything ready to move to Portland as originally planned!
As soon as we get everything in its place and have a little extra time, I'll take some pictures and post them here. Last night, we were informed by the young lady of the house, that one bedroom is bigger than the other. Well, yes dear, it's called a "master bedroom" and it's for the parents. This was not good enough for her - she said she wants to switch bedrooms with us. We're working on her so that we don't switch bedrooms. Building their bunk bed once was enough, we really don't want to take it apart and build it all over again! Their room is a little smaller than their last, and ours is bigger than our last. She's a perceptive little thing and picked up on it almost immediately! By the end of this week, I should have their room all cleaned out. It looks a little smaller than it is right now because we still have moving totes full of things that aren't put away yet. We still have some in our room too, but the living/dining and kitchen rooms are all pretty much "done". All the Mom Work that never ends is also in the process of being done, so it's kind of a big mess downstairs.

Downstairs!! :D We moved from an inefficient and small, old ranch-style house into a small but efficient, split level townhouse! All the appliances work (*and* they're newer); I have an automatic dishwasher (*squeee!!!*), a kitchen island, TONS of kitchen cabinets, TWO toilets (one up, one down), central air, and walk-in closets. These are things I have lived without for the last 7 years. While I was totally fine with it (and still would/will be, as most of those things are "creature comforts") before, I am totally excited about having these things now - even though I know it's only for a year.

It could still be another week before I get back here again, but I will, and I will try to have some pictures.
I also wanted to mention a slight change I made here, which you may have noticed by now - I changed my husband's nickname from "Poseidon" to "Ardeo". He started a blog a couple years ago, and used Ardeo as his nickname there; he's listed here as a co-author, and Ardeo is the profile name Blogger tossed out onto this page. Henceforth, he is Ardeo in writing on this blog. (And I'll go into that another time. It's a Latin word.)


Thursday, July 8

First week:

It's been one week since we left our old house... and tomorrow, we can start moving into the new place! I am totally ready to get my stuff back and set up in a space that is our own again. I am also grateful, and very thankful, that my in-laws have let us stay at their house over the last week! Doing so kept us close enough to town and the new place that once we got the phone call, we wouldn't be too far away to finish up the paperwork. Next week I'll write up something more about the delay in moving; the last few days have felt very laze-around-ish ... then today, we got a concrete timeline and will be busting our humps through this weekend to get it all in place! That is really fine with us though - still leaves us time for family visits before the kids get back into school this year. Now, it has been as dry as bones here for about two weeks - and tomorrow afternoon we are expecting thunderstorms. We are supposed to start moving things after 2 p.m., adding a whole new element of fun to the matter of moving. Oh well. We are good to go no matter what!!

Have a great week everyone!

*(our cable/internet will be hooked up Monday)

Tuesday, June 29

One more day here, and a product recommendation

We have most everything moved out of here, waiting in a storage unit until our new apartment is ready. Last night, my father-in-law came over after work to help us move all the big things - beds, couch, chairs and lots of boxes full of clothes and blankets - in his truck, then took the kids home with him so we could move the rest of our things in the car. As of today, we only need to make another trip or two for the last few things that we need until tomorrow, and we have a lot of cleaning to do.

The very last thing we will unplug and clean out
to store is our water pot. I cannot tell you how much
<---- I
<---- love
<---- this
<---- guy.
We've been using it daily for about 5 years now, often refilling once during the day and using it some more! It does hold 3 litres of water; I drink a whole lot of hot tea all year long, the kids have a cup of hot Chamomile tea with or right after dinner, Poseidon drinks a few cups of coffee in a day, and during winter the kids use it for hot chocolate too. In this house we have very little counter space - this fits in one spot right next to the kitchen sink *extremely* well, and it's convenient for refilling anytime. We have tried to get something smaller a few times, but those never held enough water and I would have to refill 8-10 times daily. None of the others had a timer either. This pot can be set to reboil 7 hours later - so, like an automatic coffeemaker, the water is ready for use in the mornings. I do have to be sure to turn it 'off' by 10 or 11 p.m. if I want the water ready by 6 a.m. (By 'off', I mean that it is set for a 7-hour sleep; to turn it totally off, just unplug it from the wall or the pot itself. When plugged back in, it boils the water again.) The timer is probably my favorite feature. It only takes about 10 minutes to boil 3 litres, then it will keep the water at 208 deg F until it's turned off, turned down, or unplugged.
There are three temperature settings - 208, 190, and 170 degrees F - though we very rarely use the lower settings. And very handily for households with little ones, you must first push "unlock" before the "dispense" button for the water to flow - no automatic burns if you hit the wrong button. Of course, keeping it flush against the wall means littles can't reach either button; Mister Twister is just now 5 feet tall and has only been able to reach and correctly operate the water pot for about 2 years. It only needs cleaning about every other month, and that's very easy to do as well. The packets of cleaning powder only cost about a dollar each, and some stores do carry it on their shelves. If you like to have plenty of boiled water at the ready - for cooking or drinking - the Zojirushi water boiler is the way to go.

Poseidon found this product, and it is probably the best purchase we have made in our 8 years of marriage! By Saturday, he will tell you about the process he uses to make the best cup of coffee. He's the sole coffee drinker here and has perfected the art for making coffee at home short of using a Chemex Brewer (he will talk about that as well).

Off to cleaning for today! Have a great week everyone :D

Saturday, June 26

You know we're indecisive, right?

Ugh. Again, we are putting it off. I know that's disappointing - we're both disapppointed in ourselves for rushing ourselves (we didn't quite move our butts enough in the last year, if we'd really wanted to get there) and had been discussing and kicking ourselves and going back and forth all week on it, up until the other night when we finally decided that right now, it probably is best to stay here another year. We also decided to stick with the June 30 moving-from-here date and found a different apartment in town, and still in the same schools.

Believe me when I tell you, I still want to move so badly, and I just really still have a good feeling that if we moved out there everything would work out and we would be fine. Maybe it's the Bob Marley-isms coursing through my mind all the time :) You know, it's one thing to follow your heart, but it's another to follow your heart and know logically that everything *will* be okay. Does that make sense? I almost want to bang my head, but at the same time I have to believe that we're doing the right thing, the right way, and we have a better finish line for the goal so to speak. Tonight we truly made the most difficult decision of our lives in deciding to stay here again. There is also a chance that our tickets cannot be refunded, and I'll find out Monday; if they cannot, we may try to change the itinerary and take the kids for a visit.

Bottom line - we do still want to, and will, move to the west coast. Portland is at the top of the list, Seattle would be a close second as I have a cousin stationed nearby. This last year, since last June actually, we only wanted to do it and didn't have a fire under either of us to make it feasible. The night we made this decision, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote 'this is the what, how, and when for me' and left space for Poseidon to do the same on that paper. He is looking at going back to school here, which was an option we had in Portland as well; I think maybe we're both more scared than driven and we have to think about how the kids would live and the possibility of having to come back here with our tails tucked between our legs, having failed - you know?

Today I'm going to go to the library and see if I can have my same library reactivated. Earlier this year I asked them to cut me off in mid-June, but I do have about sixty cents in fees to pay (late books a while back) so I may be able to use the same account/card. The rest of this weekend will be spent packing the few things we have, deciding what still needs to be sold, and more cleaning. The kids have now enjoyed a solid week of being allowed to play video games all day - keeping them from being underfoot so we can get the big stuff done. Next week we'll have family and friends swoop in with us to get things moved. We are also taking a week or two to visit some family we don't often see, then I'm off to a job hunt. Luckily I do have three places at the top of my list, and they all are hiring! Cross your fingers for me - I've been a stay-at-home mom for the last 7 years... I love my kids, but I think I am ready to be around grown ups again!


Thursday, June 24

If you don't use it, you lose it!

I'm sure most of you have heard that phrase - meaning if one has learned something, it can be easily forgotten if one doesn't put it to use.

Back in high school I chose Spanish to fulfill my foreign language elective; my adopted grandmother is the grandchild of Spaniards, and to this day she is fluent in both languages. So I heard it a bit while growing up, and a few of us grandkids opted to learn it in school so we could help Mama keep up her Spanish skills. Two of my younger cousins work as translators! I've never had any trouble comprehending Spanish spoken to or around me; I seem to be able to translate it in my head fairly quickly and can follow a conversation. Participating, however, wasn't so easy just a few years after graduation (1995!) and it's only gotten worse from there...
With an impending move to a new city, I thought something 'easy' for me to do would be brushing up my speaking skills. I'm surfing online right now to find some free lessons - there are a few here and there - and am taking notes on what I find.

It is something I could use anywhere, with Spanish being the second most-spoken language in the U.S these days. There are books in libraries, and for sale at every turn.

About 9 years ago, I bought a novel written in Spanish and used to read it during my lunch breaks at work. That book is long lost, but it's a good place to restart, right?


Unrelated: a friend from high school just birthed her firstborn today, a little girl. I am so excited for her!! Everyone is healthy and doing well! <3


Monday, June 21

Ever been robbed?

Our car was broken into last night, and we are now short one car stereo and an iPod charger/connection cable that goes with it. We really did not need this now.
Our neighbour has a friend visiting from Colorado - and his car was also broken into, but he also has a busted window from the deal. Missing a couple things himself. Now that totally sucks.
This has been a really good neighbourhood, apparently for decades, but definitely since we moved in 7 years ago. Last year we noticed that someone had rifled through our glovebox, but nothing came up missing that time. We don't keep important things in the car - anything over $50 comes inside if it ever went out to the car in the first place.
Back in 2006 or 2007, a different neighbour had someone try to break in to his house *during the day* - and he is a retired police officer! Nothing was stolen, I think the theif chickened out or something (the details were never really clear to me) and the wife told us that he was arrested a little later that day, because he *did* get into someone else's house and was caught red-handed. Those two incidents have been the only incidents that we know of, and are the only ones any older neighbours have seen in at least 10 years prior to us moving in.

I am so very ready to move. Not that moving will solve all our problems, but at least when we get out there we won't have a car for someone to break into or steal! Oh, but I am also going to post somewhere on Craigslist about this - an open letter to the theif. If s/he never sees it, oh well - but it will surely make me feel better. I'd like to use my most colorful language, though I probably will just call him/her a coward. It's the nicest insult I can think of publishing.

Criminy. :/

Saturday, June 19

T minus 16 days!

Today, it is 17 days until our flight out! Very early flight, leaving the gate around 7:30 a.m. We are stoked!!

So, yesterday we had a yard sale to shed off some of the furniture, and the other stuff that we accumulated over the last 7 years. Those garage sale early birds sure do come out early! We planned (and stated in the paper and online ads) to start at 7, so we could start setting up at 5:30. Our first visitor showed up just after 6, and that guy bought a lot of shelving and some office stuff. Probably $50 just from him - and he had to take it in two trips, but was happy to do so! Then a few more people came by even while we were still setting up and putting things out, but no one seemed to mind picking through boxes and patiently waiting while we worked around them a bit. It was probably 8 before we had most everything out and ready, although due to space issues we didn't even bring the clothes out (and there was a TON) until right after noon. Because of that, we did actually have a couple people looking for clothes earlier who came back again and looked through the kids' clothes. Our sweet neighbour even called all of her daughters - who have daughters of their own - to come by and see what they could get!
The only snafu from yesterday was my jewelry box - a few years ago, Poseidon and the kids bought me a very lovely jewelry box for either Mother's Day or my birthday. Both are in May so it could have been either, all I remember is Miss Hurricane was pretty young at the time! I had decided to sell it a couple months ago, so I went through it and bagged up the jewelry I was also going to sell, and dropped that baggie in the necklace holding area. Yesterday morning, I did so much so early that I didn't even think to look inside again (solid wood - no glass to see through), and I'm pretty sure the lady who bought it late that morning was super excited when she found that little surprise! I do remember that she paid the full $5 I asked, and had I remembered about the jewelry, that really would have only added about another $5 to it and I'd have sold it all together anyway (I know I put the hemp necklaces and bracelets that I made in there). Fortunately, I know (and double checked last night!) that I did indeed keep every bit of jewelry I wanted to keep, so I lost nothing important to me. But I didn't remember anything about jewelry until the afternoon, at which time I frantically tried to imagine what was in the bags! I was pretty sure I hadn't just given away something important - I have my wedding bands and a couple others that were special, I have a couple necklaces (one of which I wear almost daily), a few bracelets and some earrings - and when I checked later, I did still have all those pieces. Whew :)
Besides that incident, the day went very well and we managed to sell off everything except the bulk of the clothing, the toys, and some kitschy stuff that everyone has at yard sales. I did get sunburnt on my back, but it isn't too bad; our friends let us borrow their tent that they use to sell tie dyes at festivals and craft fairs, so we kept a lot of things in the shade and ourselves inside the house whenever possible!
Today we are going through what's left and taking pictures of what still in good sellable condition - the rest will probably go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. This week we will be attempting to sell our bed, the couch, the washer/dryer set we bought for the house (unless the landlady wants to buy them?), and our small appliances that we're still using for a bit. The last three days of the month will be for cleaning an empty house, and hopefully one more playdate with Miss Hurricane's good friend and birthday buddy from school; I love her mom too, and we've been able to chat more this past school year, even though we met when our boys were in elementary and the girls were just wee nurslings!

Time to get super busy now... we have storms here now and it's supposed to rain all day so it's a 'work inside' day for us. Feed the kids, make more coffee, and off we go! Have a great week everyone, and many blessings your way!! :-)


Friday, June 11

What's going on around here.....

Okay, I know it's been a few weeks, so I thought I should write a little update for those of you following along at home:

The kids have been with my in-laws this week; it's VBS week at their church, and the kids have really enjoyed it in years past. I'm sure I'll get pictures soon! :)

We are almost ready for the yard sale, which will be a week from today. I really had NO IDEA how much *stuff* we had here! We seriously have two piles (which seem to breed when we're not looking!) that go almost to the ceiling... we hadn't sold or given away much of anything in the last few years, so it is a truly ridiculous amount of stuff.

Last night we started scanning in old pictures. I have had this fancy shoebox for about 15 years in which I've kept mine, and Poseidon has his own similar box of pictures going back about 20 years. All our married life, we have shuffled these boxes around - in closets, under the desks, in the kids' room, everywhere - always intending to "someday" scan them onto a hard drive. We are finally doing that! He started Wednesday night, worked on it a little yesterday afternoon, and all day today... in just my photo box, we so far have almost 1,000 pictures. Yes, one thousand!! And, because he was born in 1998, over half the pictures are of Mister Twister!! (He was born a few years before we owned a digital camera LOL) We will sort them out and put them up on our Flickr as soon as we can. I am so glad for some great advice at my first baby shower - "take lots and lots of pictures, they grow up way too fast!" - absolutely I did, and soon I will share them with you. It's had me tearing up a bit to remember some of those days, especially now that he's almost 12 years old - turning into a young man on me. *sniff*

To finish out the week with no kids, we will be doing some cleaning here too. We will turn in our keys on the 30th, and cleaning a little at a time will make everything easier on us. All that's really left will be to hand the utilities back over into the landlord's name and to pack everything up!

Back to the scanning... I will certainly come back with a link once we have the pix ready! Have a great week everyone :D


Thursday, May 20

Miss Hurricane begins her 7th year!

Yes, our baby girl is 7 years old now. Going on 17... LOL

Not much of a party per se, but my in-laws did take both kids to dinner last night and we had cake & ice cream here afterward. Poseidon was the photographer of the night! :)

We had a Jetsons kind of party ~ Mom and I both have Skype, so we called her and everyone was able to see and hear everything at both houses, even though there are 100 miles between us. The kids and my parents absolutely loved it; it's the coolest thing since sliced bread now!

The cake, pictured here before the addition of strawberry pieces which spelled her name:

I'm holding my MacBook so everyone at Mom's house can join in the singing of Happy Birthday.  L-R: Miss Hurricane, me, (via Skype) my oldest niece, my mom, and my MIL holding the other camera:

Wish made, candles blown out, and now she's grinning for the cameras:

Time for presents!  She picked out a messenger bag-style carrying/storage case for her DSi (here's an Amazon link).  It's pink, and that's all she requires of things she owns.  Here I'm showing it to Mom and niece:

At dinner, which was eaten at a local place similar to Chuck E. Cheese, Miss Hurricane won some games and earned enough tickets to 'buy' a set of pom poms with a streamer baton.  "I want to be a cheerleader!"  Um .... okay?  (She did ask for poms but we couldn't find any; she only gave us a couple days' notice that she wanted them!):

Our baby is growing up.  *sniff*


Wednesday, May 19

A funny thing happened last week.

The funny story I promised you:

Last week, I think on the 12th, the kids were in their room playing quietly (i.e. not fighting!) while we grownups were reading online. We'd already eaten dinner and everyone was basically relaxing a little before showers and bedtime, putting the time this happened right around 7-7:30 p.m.
The boy was building with Legos, and we thought his sister was helping or at least doing the same thing. We soon found out differently!

I was sitting at the dining room table, reading Fark.
Poseidon was across the room from me, at the desk, reading somewhere else.
Miss Hurricane came into the room and stood by me for a minute, all the while looking back into the bedroom (which is just out of sight from where I sat).
Mister Twister was still in the bedroom... so I asked her if something was wrong.
Being siblings, sometimes they irritate each other - that is what I thought may have been going on at the time. She ignored my question and crept back into the bedroom.

At this point, I thought she was acting a little strange; however she has acted this way before, and I didn't hear any yelling or anything from the bedroom, so I let it go. I figured if she wanted to tell me, she would eventually.

So... she ignored and went back. I went back to reading. Not thirty seconds later, I hear her scream. It was the kind of blood-curdling scream that scares a momma out of her skin. I have heard Miss Hurricane let out this particular scream a few times before, and it's usually only unleashed when she sees a snake in the back yard.

Timeline now is: girl screams - I fly out of my chair - she runs out of the bedroom screaming.

I saw a look of absolute terror on her face. I thought for sure there was a snake in the room. *THEN* Mister Twister starts screaming and he also ran full-speed out of the bedroom, with his own terrified look.

And here's where I freak out, thinking now that maybe there is actually a *person* in their room. I thought I may have heard three screams, but I felt certain that one came from outside the house (neighbor kids, possibly). That did not matter at the time, because as the kids are screaming, I am trying to corral them into the kitchen and Poseidon is freaking out a bit as well.

Now we're all screaming - parents trying to figure out what just happened, kids freaking out over something that terrified them both. Mister Twister's eyes were solid black - he was so scared that his pupils dilated completely! Both kids were crying and even cowering in the corner of the kitchen, with Poseidon and I separating them from the rest of the house.

I took a step toward the bedroom to see if someone was in there, and I couldn't see anything amiss. So I grab the girl child and start the snuggling and asking what happened. The boy has his hands over his ears, eyes still as big as saucers and tears streaming down his face. I felt totally helpless and scared too.

Amid all the freaking out, I heard two words that explained it all: Miss Hurricane's little voice said "scare maze". Dots connected in my brain and I started giggling a little bit. I told their father what she said, and we two were okay and could now focus on calming the children. That is also when it clicked for me - I *did* hear a third scream.

After a few minutes I found out that she had been watching YouTube videos on the iPod Touch. I have always let her use my account (which is why my 'favorites' is loaded with Mario videos LOL), and she's always gone looking for either Mario videos, or funny animals.

**Here's a warning for the faint-of-heart or those who scare easily - also, if you have kids you may want to mute this or use headphones and don't let them see it until you know how it ends.**
Click HERE to see the video that scared our kids nearly to death. It isn't bad, not gory or anything, but for a child who isn't used to seeing or hearing those things it can be frightening!

This entire scene unfolded in a matter of minutes. Maybe three or four minutes, but its effects were felt throughout the next day.

It was a family bed kind of night - my husband slept with a kid on each side in our bed, and I took the pullout couch since I am the first one up on school mornings. Those poor kids... but it was funny in hindsight. The next day while they were at school, I went into my YouTube account and deleted the history so she wouldn't find that video again! I am also going to give her her own account (the boy will have one of his own too) and will set her up with some favorites - and SafeSearch turned ON. (That's my bad, I had it off and forgot... bad momma!)

File this under "Won't Do THAT Again, Will Ya?".