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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Love Is A Battlefield

There's an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" where Ray and Deborah come back from vacation and leave a suitcase on the landing. 

There's a battle of wills for 3 weeks and it finally comes to a head when Ray has to travel again and takes his clothes in plastic grocery bags rather than move the suitcase.  Before he leaves he puts stinky cheese in it so that his wife will be forced to move it while he's gone.

For some reason, I LOVE this episode.  I think it so simply sums up the small battles that you go through as a married couple.  The arguments are simple, she thinks he should carry it in because she was the one who packed and will have to unpack it and do the laundry.  He thinks she should do it since she walks by it every day and he lugged it around while they were away.

The mother in law on the show takes the daughter in law to her house and shows her that there's a big fork and spoon hanging on her wall that is the result of a similar fight and then she says the words I love...

"Don't let a suitcase full of cheese be your big fork and spoon."

I think of this all the time when I find myself in a similar situation.  There are certain things that I totally think should be my husbands job, like car stuff and trash.  Then there are things that he thinks I should take care of, like everything else.  Ha ha ha. I'm kidding. Sort of.  I do take care of a lot of other stuff, but he helps out and pitches in when I need him to.

Our "big fork and spoon" is the trash.  I swear my family could win a trash stacking contest.  No one seems to be able to take the trash bag out.  They will stack and stuff it until it can take no more.  The only time my husband takes the bag out of the kitchen trash is on Friday, which is garbage day. 

What happens next makes me crazy.  Instead of putting a new bag in the trash can.  He takes a plastic grocery bag out and hangs it on my oven handle.  I don't get it!!  I will admit, the way our trash can is, you have to place the bag around a plastic ring and then put it in the trash can, then put on the lid.  The trash bags are literally a step away.  The grocery bags are at least 10 steps away and then you have to walk back to hang it on the oven.

It makes me crazy on a weekly basis, but instead of being stubborn and making this a bigger deal than it needs to be (you know , like dedicating a whole blog to it) I have accepted that on Friday mornings I will come downstairs to see this......

 and this.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Little Writer

I have never thought of myself as a writer.

My sister was the writer, the English major, the teacher.

My mom takes writing classes and workshops.

Yet, I found myself being asked to write a column for a local on-line news site.  No one was more surprised than me to find out that I enjoy writing. 

I want to be clear that I am not trying to toot my own horn here.  I don't think I have any professional capabilities. It was nice to get paid for my work. (Sigh, it was so nice while it lasted...dumb economy), but I don't think I ever really felt like I deserved it. 

I always feel like, "Well , I just took those thoughts that were rumbling around in my head and wrote them down."  Really, it's just as simple as that.

I had an English teacher in high school that was brilliant.  The problem was, I didn't care back them and I certainly didn't appreciate all that he could have taught me.  Mr. MacArthur, if you're out there.  I'M SO SO SORRY.  I really wish I could go back and audit your class now, I swear, I would totally pay attention.

My daughter has recently become obsessed with writing.  She asks me all the time how "Two Penny Jenny" is going.  In her school, each student gets to write their own book.  She's almost done writing hers at school, so she's been writing a ton of books at home.

I love the way she thinks, so honest and sweet.  I love all her 1st grade phonetic spelling.  I asked her why she liked writing so much and she said, "I must like it because you like it."  It's so funny, that never occurred to me!  I'm glad that she and I share this, and now I'll share some of her work with you.  Enjoy!  I apologize for how light the pictures are...it was the best I could do with my mere computer skills.

(I'll write it as she did) "My Life  My life is nice.  Becos pepl chret me vrey vrey VREY NICE to me!  Efen ef I get sad.  I dote relly care.  I stell have to go to scool.  But it is ok that I stell have to go to scool.

"My daddy is so so so funny!  My daddy is 38 like my Mommy they are both vrey nice.  I am telling you I love my family"

"Jack is my brothr.  We fite ulot.  Me and Jack fite like avry day.  My brothr is 13 tene yers old.  I am only 7 you now that I relly am 20!  Jush jokeing."  ( This cracks me up because I really don't think they fight that much, apparantly they just do a really good job of not letting me know about it all the time)

"As you see I LOVE my life.  So So So vrey vrey VREY much !!!!!!!!!!!  I love tham a lot and a lot"
(In the mouth)  I love you so much.  I am glad you are in my family!!!!  I shud brush my teth!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Bless The Rains Down In Africa...

One African violet has been left in my care for a few weeks. 

There are many things I am happy to help out with when people go on vacation.  I can check your mail, feed your cat, water the lawn or shovel.  I'd even take your kids for a week without batting an eye!  Asking me to take care of your plants will put me in an all out panic.

I do not have a green thumb.  I love plants, I just don't seem to have any knack for taking care of them.

I currently have 2 plants that I've managed to keep "alive".  Their names are Miss Piggy and Kermit.  I also refer to them as my Frankenstein monsters because I am so sure that they are dead and then they magically spring back to life.  (The magic I refer to is water, they seem to like that)

If it wasn't for the cheesy aqua globes I bought at The Christmas Tree Shop one day, they would have never made it this long.  I had one plant I thought I could manage without having to go and get more globes, R.I.P. Gonzo, you never had a chance.

So when my mom called and asked if I would take care of her African Violet while she was away, I was pretty sure she had dialed the wrong number.

She was smart enough to officially give the job to my daughter, but I am the one who will spend the most time with it.  It will sit there, begging me to just keep it alive until it's capable owner gets back.  I took a picture of it today, just so I can make sure that it's thriving.  (And maybe also in case I need to replace it)

My mom came over with the plant and also food for it.  This may be where I have gone wrong in the past.  I have never in my life bought plant food.  Ever. 

My daughter has the instructions and so far has done what was asked of her, but it's the first day, we can't rest on our laurels just yet.

I hope when my mom returns, she will find her violet in excellent condition and then promptly get that thing the hell out of my house.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Knee Deep In My Roots

I didn't have any random thoughts this week.  I may have to re-vamp Thursdays. 

I have been so consumed with my family history.  I have some of my Grandma's photo albums and I am scanning and saving pictures so that anyone who wants a copy can have one. 

I only recently found out that my Papa (Grandfather) had a sister that passed away when she was only 13.  I don't know if it's because I have a 13 year old of my own, but I have been slightly obsessed with finding pictures of her.  So far I have come across 3 and I just think they're are so special.

This is one of my favorites of her.  I love how everyone is dressed up.  I also kind of like how her's is the only face you can really see.  There are so many pictures of everyone else, I like how this one is kind of just hers.

I also came across a photo of my dad on a swing that reminded me so much of my nephew.  I always think my sister's son looks so much like his daddy, but in this picture I do see a little of our genes in him.

Here's a picture of my nephew at the park.

I am really enjoying all of the pictures and history and questions.  I am going to spend the day with my Grandma next week and she's going to help me fill in some of the blanks. I can't wait.

Happy St. Patrick's Day !

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I am a very literal person.

Once when I was baking with my sister and my mother (I should probably tell you that I was a CHILD, but it will not stop my mom and sister from laughing hysterically) I was in charge of making some cookies. I read very carefully from the recipe and followed the instructions. Once the ingredients were in the bowl, I went to the sink to wash my hands. I then began rolling up my sleeves and dug my hands into the bowl.

My mother exclaimed, "What are you doing!?"

I turned to her and said, "It says mix by hand!"

The rest is history.

I still love a recipe, I think it's why I like baking more than cooking. My husband has the ability to take, "a little of this and a little of that" and make something pretty yummy, but I can only thrive with a recipe.

To prove the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I'll share this with you.

One day, we were cleaning up the house as a family and my son came and asked me what he could do next.

I told him that it would be a big help if he could take the clothes out of the washing machine and put them in the dryer. I had to give a brief explanation of how to run the dryer, but he seemed to get it and off he went.

I was doing a few things and some time had passed, I didn't see my son or hear the dryer running.

I yelled out, "How's it going in there?"

His reply? " I'M SOAKED!"

I'm not even sure how I processed this information, I'm pretty sure my feet just started running.

I walked in to see my son putting soaking wet clothes into my dryer. His sleeves were soaked, the front of his clothes were soaked, it was a mess.

Apparantly, I had forgotten to shut the lid when I ran the wash and so the clothes were just sitting in water. I yanked the clothes out of the dryer, yelled for my husband to grab every towel in a 10 mile radius and begged to the appliance gods that I wouldn't be dryer shopping the rest of the weekend.

By some miracle, we got all the water out, we let the dryer sit for a few days and it's been fine.

My son, literally did what I asked him. Should he have known better? Probably. I was definitely flustered and frustrated at the time, but it's now become a funny family story that we tell over and over.

The First 10 Minutes

During the week, there's a lot to get done in the morning.

My kids , for whatever reason, do not enjoy their lunches ( I guess really just their sandwiches) when I make them the night before. 

It's a small sacrifice of my time to make them in the morning.  I'd rather do that then have them throw it away when they get to school. 

In the hustle and bustle of the morning, there's a little ritual my son and I have that really starts my day off on a great note. 

We always watch the first 10 minutes of "The Today Show" together. 

He's usually eating his breakfast around that time, so whoever makes it downstairs first in the morning, puts the TV on NBC and should one of us be running late, we pause the TV at 6:59. 

We have a contest to see who can guess what the top story is, lately the sure bet has been anything to do with politics.  There are some mornings we're so sure we're right only to find out that something has happened overnight that we had no idea about.

I'm not someone who really follows the news too much.  Some days that 10 minutes is the only news I see all day, but I feel like some top stories and local weather are all I need to make it through the day.  I also have the benefit of being on Facebook enough, that if something big happens, I usually find out about it.

I love the little discussions we get into about the news.  We both really miss Meredith Viera, and we both agree that every morning we still wish they would announce her name.

There are some news stories that are tough to talk about.  The recent news of an American troop going on a killing spree was confusing to my son, but it really made him think about how much pressure our troops are under. 

There's one particular story that my son brings up a lot.  When we first started this ritual, there was a boy named Kyron Horman who disappeared.  Every morning , we anxiously hoped that the top story would be that he was found.  As time went on, my son was concerned that Kyron had stopped being a top story.  Weeks turned into months and now over a year has passed. 

My son still asks about him from time to time, we occasionally look on Google to see if there's any new information.  Sadly, there isn't, it's so hard to try and explain to any kid, how this could be possible.  I am grateful for the opportunity it gives my son and I to talk about how this makes him feel and how he can stay safe, but I still get a lump in my throat every single time.

After the first 10 minutes, he's off to brush his teeth, get his shoes on, grab his backpack and he's out the door. 

I don't know how long we'll have this, but I will always be grateful for 10 minutes where it's just me and him.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Making a list

This past week and weekend I decided to finally bite the bullet and make , "THE LIST".

I feel like I have a million things that I want to do around the house.  There are things as simple as changing light bulbs in some of our fixtures.  (They have like 4 bulbs in them, so I'm not completely lazy, but some have a bulb or two out) and then there's things like putting in a chair rail in the dining room. 

I think of these things as I do things around the house, but I seem to forget them as soon as I walk away from whatever it is.

A few years ago , I painted a vanity for my daughter's room.  As she's gotten older, she likes to use it as a desk.  Her room is small and there's no way we'll ever get an actual desk in there, so I thought that maybe I could get a piece of glass cut and put it on top of that so it could be used as a little desk and would save the top of the vanity.  I have been thinking of this for at least a year, yet it never occurs to me to go and get it done.  I completely forget about it the second I walk out of her room!  It is now on the list.

As I go around the house, cleaning, organizing, etc.  I add anything to the list.  My goal is to accomplish one task a week.  I'm definitely starting out small, like light bulb small, but my hope is to finish the list, not just continually add to it.

We were able to get a chunk of things done this weekend, there's something about nice weather and daylight savings that gave us a nice burst of energy.  It was also super easy because my daughter was sleeping at my cousin's house for the weekend and my son was off playing basketball in the neighborhood most of the day. 

I love my kids dearly and usually it's so nice for us all to spend our weekend time together, but I was happy for a chance to get a lot of stuff done with my husband without interruption.

That being said, I think we were all in bed by 8:30 last night, we were all exhausted!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

Almost 6 years ago my whole family flew out to Denver to celebrate my sister's wedding.  My son was the ring bearer and my daughter was the flower girl. 

My daughter had a gross motor delay and although she was almost 2, she didn't walk on her own yet.  My husband proudly help her hands as she walked down the aisle.  It was adorable and so sweet.  She actually took her 1st independant steps exactly one week later.

My son took his job very seriously, man did he look handsome in that tux.

Here are a few shots from that beautiful day at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

I could have added a ton more photos and there are many stories from that day, but I am exhausted and I actually almost forgot about blogging today!!  It will give me a chance to talk about it another time.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Poor Little Lark

Random Thoughts for the Week....

  • I really want those "Alouette" dancing, colorful Target commercial people to run through my house and upgrade everything with a little splash of color.  I want that song playing the entire time.

  • I decided to look up the song, since the kids and I have been singing it lately and learned that it means "Lark, nice, lark", very sweet...but then goes on to say " I will pluck out your feathers...eyes, wings, etc..."  Oh my!  A little more research showed that the lark was a game bird, so they were killed and then plucked.  Not the happy little tune I thought it was, The French can make anything sound wonderful.

  • I am STILL cleaning out my closet, I have been really distracted by researching the family genealogy and scanning a ton of pictures onto a passport drive so that my dad can have access to all the old pictures his mom has.  I plug away at a little bit each day, but ick..I almost wish I never unearthed this madness. (The closet I mean)

  • I found 2 used undeveloped rolls of film in my closet.  I cannot wait to see what's on them.

  • Is anyone eating cream of mushroom soup or can we all agree we just use it in recipes?

  • Bananas go from "just wait one more day" to be eaten, to , "Everyone eat the bananas!!" in my house.

  • I know we lose an hours sleep this weekend, but I cannot wait until it stays lighter later.  It changes my whole outlook on life, I swear.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

King Of Pain

"There's a slippery spot on the floor today.....It's the same old spot as yesterday...."

This "song" has been running through my head all day.

At the bottom of our stairs, there is a slippery spot.  I don't know what it was from.  There wasn't any apparent spill or furniture polish residue, but it was slippery none the same.

Here's the thing.  I was not the one who first noticed it, I was the only one who didn't slip on it.  I was the one who decided to see how long these fools I live with would continue to slip on it before they did something.

I kid you not, my daughter slipped 5 times, my son about the same, my husband slipped so badly he scraped his arm on the corner of a little table we keep in the foyer.

NOT ONE of them thought to try and wipe the floor or maybe ask me if there was some way they could fix it.  They just continued to fall and yell and complain.  I said nothing.

This morning my daughter just all out slipped and fell and I think she scared herself more than she hurt herself, but there were tears just the same.

Once she was off to school, I decided maybe concussions weren't the lesson I wanted anyone to learn and I grabbed a sponge and a little soap and voila! , magically the floor was fine again.  Yeah, it was that easy.  I don't have a masters in slippery floor spots or anything.

I wonder how long it will take them to notice?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Might as Well Face it......

I'm addicted to mugs.

I love mugs.  I am not big on collecting things, but I can appreciate how a mug can make me remember a trip or a childhood memory.  Since I am a complete coffee addict, I often pick a mug that reflects the mood I'm in.

I thought I'd share my mug moods with you today.....

 This is a mug from a beautiful inn that just happens to be run by some family friends.  We had my Dad's 50th Birthday party there and it was a weekend full of fun, friends and family.  I enjoy the shape of this mug and the memories it brings back.

This you may recognize as a mug from The Titanic.  It's a replica, obviously, we saw The Titanic exhibit in Denver when we were visiting my sister.  It was great, but you weren't allowed to take any pictures, so we were excited to pick out a few souvenirs to remember the  day.  This is a perfect size cup for a quick cup of coffee before I'm off and running, or if I dare to sneak in an afternoon cup.

Nubble Light, Maine.  I will always always love you......This mug makes me happy.  So happy, we have 2 of them.

A mug for any occasion!  I usually use this one on the weekends.  My kids like to see what I write on there.  A few from the past have been, "Rain, rain go away"  "Go wake up Daddy" and "Ahhhhh...coffee".  A bonus is , it holds a lot of coffee, perfect for getting me in gear for the weekend.

No explanation needed. "Who are these kids and why are they calling me Mom?"

This last mug I have had the longest.

 It stayed in the back of the cupboard until recently.  My Aunt Louise brought it back for me when she went on her honeymoon over 30 years ago.

 When my parents named me Jennifer, they thought they had picked such a unique name, they didn't know anyone named Jennifer.  Sadly, about a kajillion other parents had the same thoughts that year.  I started out as Jennifer and soon became a "Jenny".

 Sometime around 6th grade, I decided that I was far too mature and cool and would now be referred to as "Jenn".  I went with the double "n" to try and stand out just a little.  Most of my fellow Jennifer, Jen and Jenn's ditched the "Jenny" and never looked back.  I know we all have relatives that still call us by our old names, but they get a pass.

 Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I don't mind The Jenny like I used to, and so the return of...

The Jenny Mug.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Control Freak

My refrigerator has always been haunted.

When we bought our condo 6 years ago, we had to purchase a fridge.  We were definitely looking for a deal as buying our place had sucked the life out of our bank accounts.  We were delighted to find a great deal at Best Buy on a nice fridge with a water and ice dispenser.  It had a dent on the side, but that side would be against a wall, so we were thrilled.

Soon after we moved in and we slowly settled in to all the new noises of our place, we noticed a high pitched humming that was coming from the fridge.  We tried a million things, but weirdly we got used to it and would only notice it when someone would come over and ask if our neighbors were vacuuming.  We would just joke that our fridge was haunted.

Then one day, the water dispenser stopped working.  My husband is handy, he has managed to fix a ton of things around the house, for which I am so grateful, but plumbing is not something he would attempt without a professional.

We then found ourselves living without the water dispenser, the ice maker still worked, so we were fine.  Then, the clicking began.....

Our ice maker started making ice at an insane speed, and it seemed as if this would be our fridge's swan song.  My husband did some research on the internet and it seemed the problem was our control panel.  He had seen where the company had actually sent people a new control panel at no cost and would then send a repair person out to install it.

We had the late night talk about the cost of the part (if it wasn't covered) plus a repair person vs. a new fridge.  I will admit, I had a gleam in my eye thinking about a beautiful french door fridge, but ultimately would be much happier to save some money.

After a phone call to the company, they said they would send us the part for $200.00, and schedule someone to come out fro an additional $100.00.  My husband worked them a little , a 6 year old fridge shouldn't die, etc and they agreed to overnight the part to us for $27.00, he told them he felt confident he could handle the installation, so for now, we didn't need someone to come to the house.

It arrived Friday and we eagerly awaited for my husband to install it.  The power kicked back on, it seemed to be starting to cool.  This was enough for me...I was thrilled.  Then he grabbed a glass and threw it under the water dispenser.....water came out!!!  The kids and I actually squealed with delight and Dad was declared a hero!!

Later that night, we heard ice dropping in the bucket, it seemed all was right in the household again.  My husband looked over and said, "Listen."  I didn't hear anything, which was exactly the point..no more haunted fridge!

We realize now that our fridge must have been dying a slow death all along and it was really a trooper for hanging in as long as it did.  We were so lucky that it only cost us $27.00, we didn't have much in there that had to be thrown away since I was due to shop last week.  My grocery bill this morning was less than desirable, but so much better than the cost of a new fridge.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What A Feeling!

In trying to give my life some order, you may or may not have noticed that I am trying to give each day I write a theme.  I've labeled them at the bottom of the post.  I have been inspired by  What Happens Matters a blog by Christine.  She is one of my blogging sidekicks and I encourage you to check out her blog, she blogs everyday and has really inspired to keep writing.

So with that, I introduce to you FLASHBACK FRIDAYS!!  Enjoy...

This is a picture from 2008.  My parents, my sister and her husband, and my family were in Maine for vacation and to celebrate my parents 35th anniversary.  My sister wrote a play, recreating their lives throughout each decade.  It was hilarious, full of lingo from the 70's, 80's and had lots of funny nicknames that my dad calls my mom.  My kids played my mom and dad getting married.  It was so cute, they were so excited to put on a play for their grandparents.  I think you can tell in this picture how happy they were. 

We stayed at The Anchorage in York, Maine.  I love that place.  My parents got one of the new rooms there and we stayed in the smaller rooms in back.  When we weren't at the beach, we all hung out in my parents room most of the time.  It was a really great time and such a fantastic memory that I will cherish forever.

I am also remembering that I had a horrible rotten toothache that weekend that I think resulted in a root canal and some serious medications.  I think it's a good sign that I mostly remember the good times that weekend.

See you next week on Memory Lane!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday

Luckily, I've been writing some of these down as they come to me.   The kids have a snow day today and let's just say our day started out with a bag of flour spilled in my front closet.  Snow day in my closet! 

Here's this weeks random thoughts.....

  • Am I the only one who tries to rewind the radio in the car when I miss something?  (The regular radio, not my ipod, I am clearly spoiled by the wonders of DVR)
  • I really wanted Christopher Plummer to win The Oscar, I haven't seen the movie, but I still have a massive crush on Captain Von Trapp.
  • I cringed when I watched Sacha Baron Cohen on the red carpet, spilling whatever all over Ryan Seacrest.  I think it was cheap, awkward and not at all funny.
  • I have learned I am unable to clean my house without music playing.
  • Why oh why didn't I buy those snow discs that were $5.00 on clearance at Target?  I regretted it as I was blowing up 3 snow tubes today.
  • I may be late to the game, but I have always been annoyed with how goopy and gross the lid/measuring cup from my laundry detergent gets. (You know the big ones with the press down spouts) I try to rinse it out, but it only helps a little and eventually it just gets gross.  It occurred to me this week that if I put a little bit of water in the measuring cup/lid, I can still measure it ( I pretty much eyeball it anyway) and it won't stick to the cup.  It gets diluted in the machine anyway, so no harm.   This isn't earth shattering , but an example of how something so little can make me happy.
Not too many thoughts this week, I have been too distracted by my closet clean-up project which I made not a bit of progress on today...Oh and also, my fridge is on the fritz...more on that later.