Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Every T-day, I write down &/or say out loud what I'm thankful for. Some years, it's been difficult to come up with anything. Some years, I had a LOT to be thankful for. This year, I have a list:
1. My friends, old & new (no, Manny; I'm not calling you old!).
2. My animals; two of which have health issues, but they're still here.
3. My home; paid off two years ago, and slowly being upgraded.
4. My career & the flexibility it gives me for home life.
5. My clients; two of which this year had to deal with some very serious health issues themselves... and have come out on top.
6. My SKs. These two try my patience quite a bit, but I love them, and cannot wait to see them finally grow into adulthood.
7. My husband. We've been through some crap, I'll tell you. But, he's my rock, and he works very hard to make sure we're well taken care of. He's working today, even, because working today gives him Christmas off.
8. My daughter. In her 10 years of life (so far), she's had some terrible things happen to her; things no one should ever have to go through. In spite of everything, she is happy, healthy, and very loved; and she knows it.
9. Food on my table. There are a lot of people who go hungry. I am not one of them.
10. My health, and that of those around me.
11. My beautiful & so smart niece, C. She amazes me, more each time I spend time with her.
12. The rest of my family -- "adopted", married-in, &/or birthed. MWAH!

Now, eat, drink, and love on your family and friends!

Monday, November 16, 2009

LONG-Overdue Update

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. Well, I guess I'd have to believe in a diety for that. Besides, not blogging for a while just means I've been busy, right? Looks like my last blog was just over a month ago...

Since my last blog, nothing new has been done to the house. There's been a lot of rain, wind, ice, and cold temperatures... not to mention CHILDREN & DOGS in the house. Since the next project is painting the ceiling and replacing the lighting fixtures, we'd have to turn off the power to the house to do that. Ace and I are okay for a while without heat & lights, but can you imagine two teenagers and one pre-teen without lights, heat, computers, or television?!? I'm all for torturing them, but that (I believe) would torture US, so we wait.

Other than no house stuff to report, there are some life updates:

First, our Princess turned 10. That's right; DOUBLE-DIGITS! She took it a little hard, at first. She didn't want us to do much to celebrate, she didn't want many gifts, she didn't want to do something special with her Mimi... As it got closer, though, she lightened up and got a little excited. The Tuesday prior, the mini-fam went to her favorite Mongolian place (T - do you still like that place?); she wanted to make sure her beloved Papa could join us (he worked on her actual birthday). We had lunch together at school, then dinner together at Red Robin ON her birthday, and I let her open a couple gifts.

This past Saturday, we had a large group of her friends come over for crafts, pizza, brownie cake, gifts, and good times (it's what she wanted), then four of them stayed the night. I told Ace to take his kids & our dogs to the beach house, which worked out well for all involved. Her friends are great; they treated me to a dance party, a fashion show, some artwork, and a lot of laughs & squeals (true to pre-teen-dome).

Second, my two older sisters, my mom, and I took our annual girls' trip. This year, it was New Orleans. We had some good southern cooking (I tried collard greens for the first time), got to tour some cool plantations, hit a jazz club, Bourbon Street on a Saturday night, and many bars. NOLA has the best "French Market" as well -- it's like a Saturday Market and Farmer's Market all in one, but BIGGER!! There was Cafe du Monde for coffee & beignets, and a carriage ride tour of Jackson Square in the French Quarter. The whole trip was great; just a little short. Next year... CHICAGO!

Third, a little not-so-good news. Ace fought long and hard; even asked his doc to assist, but was eventually officially turned down for his request to remain on his modified schedule at work. The benefit to his modified shift was two-fold. Not only did he get to spend most of our parenting time actually with his kids, but he hasn't had a migraine in over a year (the modified shift matched his natural body rhythm).

His new (normal) shift trades his every other Saturday off back to every other Wednesdays. Since the older two kids are now in high school, though, they are wanting to be part of the parties, the football/basketball games, the dances, etc; most of which are Friday nights. So now, the kids get to participate in more Friday night school & friend activities, and Ace doesn't feel like he's missing out on Saturdays, and leaving all their parenting to me. We do have the option to take EVERY weekend (except holidays belonging to Mama) instead of the three/month we have now, but we'll see.

This also leaves a little more ability for Gamerboy to get that job he's been saying he wants for over a year... His ADHD could be a hinderance to keeping a job, not to mention where they live, the practically non-existent transit system out there, and his lack of want to get his license. Guess we'll see about all that, too. I keep waiting for him to be interested in having a girlfriend (or boyfriend; we really don't care which). Ace thinks that may change his outlook on getting/keeping a job, and getting his license. Just a really late bloomer, I guess. At least his grades are good (Squeeks, too, btw).

Fourth, as far as my legal stuff, there is nothing much to report. Princess' bio-dad still owes me a huge chunk of money; I do not expect to ever see any of it. I don't need it; she's perfectly taken care of (and then some) without it, but that doesn't eliminate the fact that he owes it to me. Yes, I could ask for jail time; he IS on bench probation, but I won't... not right now, anyway. Status quo is working well for us at the moment, and as long as waves aren't made... He did make it to half of one soccer game this season. Yes, I said half; as in 1/2 of ONE. Princess and I decided some time back that if we don't expect anything, we're not surprised. So far, so good on that note. Princess is happy, healthy, loved, and secure in our home; "my parents" she calls us. Ace and I give her the stability and the honesty & truth she needs, and she is blossoming.

Thanksgiving will be fantastic this year. We've been invited to my bff's & her family's home for Thursday's dinner, and Friday, we have a family/friend gathering at my mother's. This year, we expect 12 people at mom's. I look forward to the holidays, a time to celebrate love of friends, family, and winter (Mother Nature is a powerful, awe-inspiring, thing).

Friday, October 2, 2009


Two weekends ago, our painting was finally finished. I'd like to thank MARK P and his crew (Herman and Chris) for doing such a fantastic job. I am very happy with our home; the elasticized paint is awesome (and totally worth the extra cost).

For those of you that have seen the photos, the feedback I've gotten has been "That looks GREAT!" or "Good choices on the color. It's subtle, but looks fantastic." or other things equivalent. I could have gone for blue or maroon or something, but it's just not "us". This greys & white combo suits us to a tee.

Of course, after the painting outside was done, we had to install the new outside lights. We went with medium-sized lanterns, from LOWE'S (I bought the last three; the company is no longer making the ones I have), that have hidden motion detectors, and can be either hard-wired into the house, or put on a switch. They also have timing options both for when they come on and go off, as well as how long they stay on after being set off.

First, we installed the front door light. That one is on a switch; dusk-til-dawn -- which means it still has to be semi-dark for it to come on. The low light comes on, and the motion detector (brighter light) is set off when you enter my yard. The house numbers plaque I bought on EBay went up next. We went with black reflective material, and white reflective numbers; VERY easy to see from the drive.

Second, we (& by "we", I mean Ace) cut holes on either side of the garage door to accommodate the new electrical boxes (we originally had ONE motion light, to the RIGHT of the garage, so we had to fill that back in, and cut these lower to match height of the other one). Boxes in, we wired the one on the left side of the garage from an outlet, and built a junction box on the right side of the garage (old wiring wasn't quite long enough to accommodate the new spot).

That done, the lighting units themselves were installed. Once it was dark, we tested them. Everything works perfectly, and I am glad (a) they're in, (b) this project is completely done, and (c) they aren't blinding, but are effective. I'd take a photo head-on of the whole house, but there's a tree next to my driveway that blocks the view...

Next project: ceiling paint and new lighting in the main areas of my house; probably next weekend. I've already bought them, but am just waiting until we have less people here (darn kids, wanting to have lights on when it's dark... geez!). :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Updates, Galore!

Dealing with contractors is never an easy thing. Nothing ever goes as planned. Luckily, being self-employed, I can move my clients around when necessary. The bad news this time around: some work was VERY CLOSE to other work, when it should not have been. Here's a little update...

August 16th: Home Depot At Home Services sent out their first man to measure for fascia covers. We paid Ken, making sure to let him know we had to have this project DONE before September 11th (the date the painter was supposed to powerwash). Ken said, "No problem. It's a small job; shouldn't take more than a couple hours. I'll have the project manager call in the next few days to set up the secondary measure appointment." (You know, measure twice, cut once?)

August 20th: Still no call. I left early that morning for my trip to the Dakotas. I asked Ace to call H.D., and he said that if they don't call by the time we return from our trip (he joined me on Saturday; we returned late Tuesday), he'd call them then.

August 26th: STILL no call, so Ace called the main number in Vancouver. Apparently, they were moving offices, so our time-crunch got "lost in the shuffle"; they'd get right on it. Second measure appointment was then set for September 4th (that doesn't seem like "getting right on it", but we were assured, it would be done BEFORE the 11th).

September 4th: H.D. came out, as promised, and took the second set of measurements. Whomever it was (some other guy; not Ken) that came out that day reassured Ace (again) that the work would be scheduled within a few days, and done before the 11th (one week from that date).

September 5th & 6th: We ripped out our back deck over Labor Day weekend, only to discover that whoever installed the deck did NOT do it to code; we had dry rot. Crap -- this better not set back my painting!! Ace called the painter; he gave us a number of a general contractor he coordinates with on a regular basis. Ace left the contractor a message and Sunday night (this was the holiday weekend, still), he called back. He was at the beach for the holiday weekend, but could come out Tuesday to assess the damage, and give us a bid.

September 8th (this is now Tuesday): The contractor came out, as promised, and gave us a bid. It was slightly more than we were anticipating, but since the painter's bid was lower than expected, I called it a "wash". I then called the window installers to see if I could have the contractor remove the sliding glass door's trim (which doesn't fit, now, anyway, since it was cut-out to fit around the decking). My idea was to have the contractor remove it, and do his repairs, then have the window people come back out and put on new trim that goes all the way to the bottom of the siding. Window folks said, "No problem. Call us when your painting is done, and we'll come out to put new ones on; no charge." Awesome.

September 9th: I called H.D. (AGAIN), and pitched a controlled fit to our project manager. We were running out of time, and that work HAD TO BE DONE before that Friday. Apparently, not only were they moving offices, but the two project managers who run this area were swapping districts, and she was never told of the time crunch. I gave her my availability over the next couple of days, she called the on-site guy, then called me back and said, "How's tomorrow between 8am and 9am? Should take a couple hours." "Great. See them then." Ace then called me and said the painter called. Due to the rain over the holiday weekend, we are being pushed out until Monday. That's fine, 'cuz I can have the contractor come out Friday, now.

September 10th: About 9am, H.D. showed up. Took them just over 2 hours to do the work, Ace signed off on it. Good to go. Stephanie (our project manager) called me around 2pm and asked if everything was done, and to my satisfaction. I told her, "Yes. All done. I'm happy with it, and ready for painters."

September 11th: The contractor's son, Dave, shows up with the work van at 9am, ready to work. Thankfully, he was VERY detail-oriented... of course, that means work takes a bit longer to do. He was there until 530pm, meaning I couldn't go to the hospital to see my friend, A's, new baby, until the following day. Not a biggie. The work was done, and it was done right and on time; I was very happy with that.

Yesterday, the painters did powerwashing, and today, they're scraping, sanding, and priming. If the weather holds, the plan is to paint just the siding tomorrow, then come back Monday to do the two garage doors and the trim (well, the trim that needs to be painted, anyway; the new slider & windows won't need it).

In the meantime, as I said, A & E had their baby girl on Friday (my bet was off by only 2 1/2 hours!), and yesterday, I found out I'm going to be an auntie again; sometime in April. I am excited!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Working" Vacation

As most of you know, last week, I was gone on a sort of vacation. I say "sort of" because for the first part, I was (happily, just unexpectedly) a personal attendant for my friend, E, at her wedding, and the second part, I was partially there just to do whatever my Mama needed while she is still recovering from her recent surgery.

When I got into FAR on Thursday night, the bridal party and some miscellaneous friends & family were hanging out by the pool (bride & groom had a poolside room that night). I finally got to meet her man, her 10 yo daughter (K), and her soon-to-be daughter (A) who is 7 yo. The girls are wonderful and I adore her husband! We all finally got off to bed at midnight, but had a lot of fun.

Friday (wedding day) was extremely busy, of course. Hair appointments, room set-up, make-up, dresses & shoes, pictures, and (of course!) the wedding itself! I'm pretty sure that had I not been glued to E's side, she would have forgotten her veil, forgotten to eat, and punched the photographer in the nose. Luckily, I am a VERY organized person, and kept her in check while making sure her bridal party were where they needed to be (and when), her shoes were clean (I should have smacked the photog myself), and her hair/make-up/nails were perfect. Minor hitches, but the end result was beautiful -- traditional mixed with military... awesome.

Dinner was served afterward, speeches were made, and then there were many hours of dancing. I think that all of us ladies temporarily misplaced our shoes more than once that night, but we had a BLAST (and I <3 E's other friends, too). After the DJ closed up shop, a bunch of us pitched in to de-fancify the hall; we all dragged ourselves to our rooms at 1am.

Saturday morning, E called me at 830a and had me meet them in one of the conference rooms; it was present-opening time!! Many photos and cups of coffee later, and it was time for me to go. Her hubs told me that since they all get free (standby) seating on military flights, they'll be coming out here for a visit next year; he's never seen the beach! I reminded him about the family's beach house, and said that I'd LOVE to show them around the area!! That would be fantastic; our daughters would totally have a blast together!

I met up with Ace in DEN (a wedding is never a good time to meet someone for the first time, and, not only did he have to work, but, as busy as I was, it was a good thing he wasn't there; he'd have been bored!) and we headed to RAP to visit my parents. Dad met us at the airport and we drove to his campground ( -- it's a GREAT place). He gave us one of the cabins and a car, so we had full mobility during our stay.

Dinner was Chinese food that night, from Mama's favorite place. For those who aren't aware, she has been going through some medical issues and just got back from a serious surgery a couple weeks ago; making her very tired. This trip was somewhat just to see for myself that she was on the road to recovery, and that she wasn't going to die any time soon. When I originally got the news of her diagnosis, I was very scared, and had a good, long cry. This woman means the world to me; she's been my mama for almost 30 years!

Anyway, eating that night tired her out. It literally took her four tries just to finish a plate of shrimp fried rice! She's lost too much weight, and has to be reminded to eat on a regular basis. She takes a two-hour nap every day. It's not pretty, and I am even more in awe of my father for not having lost it yet.

Oh, forgot to mention, up until early August, Grandma had been living with them (age 96). Grandma's mental health has been slowly declining for the last 6 months, so they moved her into their place (instead of the cabin she'd had, across the path from their house) and got her hospice care 2 days a week. Still, with the campground busy (and currently for sale) along with mama's recovery, she was getting to be too much, so my aunt came to get her (she's a nurse) and took her back to Texas. There, she gets 5 days a week hospice and my aunt can leave to go to work (and escape the exasperating behaviors).

Ok, back to our visit. So, the other half was, of course, to see some sites we hadn't before. The last time Ace was out there was 2003 (when we did some tourist-y stuff, bought my engagement ring, and he asked my dad for his permission to marry me). The last visit I went was with Princess in 2005 for a mini-family reunion. There's been some expansion, but not a great deal, so the area is still beautiful, and most towns still have the small hometown feel to them.

Sunday, we had about 3 1/2 hours to kill before meeting up with my parents again, so we took a drive through Custer State Park. The lake there (Sylvan Lake) is beautiful (took a short walk on the path)! Then, we drove through part of the Needles Scenic Highway; two tunnels in this part are only wide enough for one car to pass through it at a time. The Wildlife Loop took us another 45 minutes, and we saw bison ("tahtanka" to the Lakota Indians), longhorn (mistakenly called "elk"), burros, etc. What a beautiful drive; definitely a recommend if you ever get out there (remember, though, the state park has a day use fee).

We then met up with my parents back at their house, and drove together to my sister's and her bf's house, back in Rapid City. J has a very nice house (as he should; he's paid very well for what he does)! They made a lot of food, and it was all good. Then, sis broke out the photo albums. Apparently, the parents gave her all their old photos to organize as she had the time and energy to do so. With a full time school schedule, as well as her job, there's not much of those, but she's put together a wedding album for my parents, a baby album for herself, and has started albums for all six of us "kids". I can't wait 'til they're done!!

When we got back, Dad went to close up shop at the office, so Ace and I went to the store for a few things. We knew there was a storm headed in, so we were fast about it, but still... as we left the grocery store, the wind kicked up and knocked a bunch of carts all over the parking lot! We picked them all up and got them corralled, then headed back to our porch to watch the storm. SD storms are different from storms in the Pacific Northwest, so it's always a joy to get to watch them. I even got a little video!

Monday, Ace and I had the whole day to ourselves. After getting our morning mochas, we started our little road trip with a helicopter ride over some bison and got a full-on view (from both sides of the copter) of the Crazy Horse monument. I'd never been in a helicopter before, so that was cool; I even got to sit up front and got some great photos!

We then took the main north/south highway to the main highway loop, and hit (among other things) Pactola Lake (pontooning there is fun), and the cities of Lead, Sturgis, and Deadwood. Along the way, there were waterfalls, wild animals, and a lot of windy roads. Ace decided that next time we go out there, we're bringing our motorcycle! This time, though, it won't be so long until our next visit!

Side note: Sturgis is just another small town when the Rally's not going on... but we still spent a good 2 1/2 hours there, checking stuff out. Lunch at the Loud American Roadhouse was AWESOME, and I highly recommend stopping there to eat, then heading over to the Motorcycle Museum before you leave. We finally returned to the campground at 530p; in good spirits.

Tuesday morning, we meandered downtown Custer and met up with the parents about 2 hours before our flight left. Both parents joined us on this leg, and it was nice to have the time to chat with them. Dad, of course, would love for us to move out there, but with Ace's two kids still in h.s., that's just not going to happen. Maybe when his kids are grown... we'll see.

Anyway, it was a good sort-of vacation. I got to see a long-distance friend and watch her get married, and I got to see my parents, which doesn't happen nearly as often as we'd like (Dad did mention, btw, that he likes this husband a thousand times better than the previous one; I, for one, have to agree). Next visit, we'll bring the Princess (Grandpa's orders!).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Or, just the "lights" part of that. Friday, after my BFF's mom did my hair (her shop is in Vancouver), BFF and I went to the best lighting store EVER! GLOBE LIGHTING has almost everything you could ever want. Kristi (the manager) is a crack-up, and a very good client of BFF's mom. Dann is Kristi's sales guy extraordinaire! While BFF & Kristi were busy cackling in the back areas, Dann followed me around with his little pad of paper, writing down all the SKUs of the stuff I liked.

There, we found three of the lights I need, and he took notes on a few others I had my eye on "just in case Ace wants..." (things I'd like to replace, but don't need to be just now). Kristi kicks such @$$ that she gave me a discount 'cuz of how much BFF's mom rocks! I took the printout Dann gave me when we were all done, thanked both him & Kristi, and proceeded to go home. I showed Ace on Saturday (you can look things up by item number on their website), and he liked what I chose... but wanted to see it all in person.

Monday, we decided to take my printout from the Vancouver GLOBE to the Beaverton store. Mike, the manager of the Beaverton one, helped us finalize our decisions. Since Kristi gave me a discount - which Mike honored as well - we weren't out any extra money, Dann got the sales credit, and we didn't have to drive all the way up to the 'Couv to get our lights! Everyone wins!

Since yesterday was Ace's last day off for the week, we took advantage and went to a couple more stores to get the rest of what we need as far as lighting is concerned. In addition to the stuff from GLOBE, we bought: a new main-kitchen fixture, a new set of track lights to go in where we currently have can/recessed lighting, and two matching lanterns for the front yard (with cool security features, btw). Lighting for the bedrooms will come later (probably when we get to painting them). I also already have everything I need to paint our ceiling.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, we plan to rip out the deck & small garden, have our fascia boards redone, remove all the old lighting we're replacing inside, then prep & hopefully paint the main living areas' ceiling, and replace all the lighting with the new stuff. I can't (of course) replace the outdoor lighting until the painters are done next month. We also plan to get something better for our house numbers, but I'm not going to ruin the surprise by telling you what we're going to do.

Everything is coming along nicely...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Home Improvement... So Far

Since paying off our home last year, we have been (little by little) making much-needed improvements & upgrades. Actually, it started when I first moved into this house with my ex (we moved here February of 2000 with a three-month old baby).

He decided to use his (I'll admit, limited) knowledge of areas of construction to tile our kitchen (such a crappy job was done that it needed to be REdone within a year). We also painted (well, mostly I painted) Princess' room in pastel green, blue, yellow, and (a minor wall) pink with accents in bright green, blue, yellow, and red.

After we split, mom offered to replace the ugly green carpet in the house with nice, low-maintenance Berber. She also helped me completely turn Princess's "baby" room into a "big girl" room when she turned two (butter yellow, light blue, stars & moon themed).

When Ace moved in (February of 2002), we almost-fully gutted the bathroom and redid it. I built the under sink cabinet and the over-toilet cabinet; he soldered new plumbing, and we both ripped out the old (and reinstalled a new) tub insert then painted the whole bathroom. New sink, new lighting, new towels & rugs; we were good to go!

From then until about a year ago, we've slowly replaced things as they've worn out &/or we had the money. We've replaced some stuff (furniture, appliances, heat pump, roofing, etc), but not others... yet. It was usually a matter of money. No longer.

We've also started to paint. It started with Princess's room (again), which turned into Gamerboy's room about three years ago (the girls now share a room, and it will be painted, too; as will ours). He, of course, "couldn't stand" the "toddler room decor" so we updated it to his tastes. New-to-us bed (painted), dresser, bookshelf (painted), hardware, desk, curtains, and framed prints to tie it all together, along with newly-painted walls, trim, and the back of his door, and he was set.

So far, my garage has been painted (both the main garage area, as well as the laundry section), and Ace has built some serious work benches, shelves, and cabinets. Three walls in the main living area have been painted, as well. However, before I can proceed with painting more walls, I'd like to do the ceiling. Before I do the ceiling, I want to replace all of our lighting (both inside and outside).

This weekend, we start the hunt for new lighting. I have some ideas for kitchen, dining, living room, and our bedroom lighting. We really need better (and, in some cases, brighter). Not sure about the hall light (my cousin called it "the pineapple"), but I'm pretty sure the specialist I'm going to see can help me with that. I also figured that I can start looking for new outside lighting, too, since we're going to do away with the ugly brass fixtures we currently have.

One of the biggest current projects -- next month, our home is going to be painted! In all the years I've lived here, I've never been able to afford to have someone do it professionally, and painting the house was just one of a thousand things my ex said he was "going to get around to" doing, which just never happened. (He, apparently, preferred to hang out with his friends and his girlfriend instead of working to support our family & make our home the best place it could be.)

We also have plans for landscaping (both the front and the back yards, as well as fencing for the side yards), redoing the paint, flooring, & trim in the bathroom, installing new flooring all over the house (to be done after all the painting is done), and the other big project -- our kitchen redo. That will have to wait 'til next spring or summer, but it WILL be done.

All in all, I am happy with what's been accomplished so far, happy my husband & I are able to work together to get this stuff done, and happy the rest is no longer just a dream; it's becoming reality.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So Quiet...

After some discussion about a multitude of things, Ace and I decided that our older two children should skip their final summer weekend with us (this coming weekend would have been the last one until after school starts up again).

One of Gamerboy's best friends is having an end-of-summer party this weekend up at the mountain (possibly the only weekend all of his buddies are free), and Squeaks's Girl Scout troop has an informal get-together happening. Since Gamerboy hasn't been able to spend much time with friends this summer (in person, anyway), and Squeaks missed out on her troop's annual camping trip, we figured it was a small concession to give up one weekend.

This weekend also happens to be the weekend that T, D, & C are coming through and swiping the Princess, my mom, and mom's friend (NP). The six of them are headed south for a weekend of good food, family/friend visits, and some culture!

Since we will be kid-free, and Ace has this Saturday off, we plan do get more things done around the house (this home improvement stuff is time-consuming, but SO MUCH FUN - I love owning my own home and finally being able to afford all the upgrades!), and take a day trip on the bike up to the Gorge.

We plan to continue to work our butts off on the upgrades, one project at a time, until they're done or the weather gets too yucky to do anymore (the kitchen will be our "big" one, probably next spring). Photos are posted both on MySpace and on FB. Bring on the power tools & paintbrushes!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I just thought I'd take a few moments to give you who chose to respond to my first poll (piercings)...

My & Ace's personal beliefs:
EARS -- 1st hole when babies is fine, but definitely a parental choice. 2nd and subsequent holes should be when both the parents and the child agree to do so. For us, the second hole will probably be granted to our youngest for her next birthday, if she so chooses. I had my second hole done at the age of 14, but for no other reason than my family's finances.
NOSE/TONGUE/FACIALs -- We believe once children are 14, they may pierce their nose (although our older two must get their mother to take them & sign the forms, as she is the custodial parent. I'm also pretty sure the boy wouldn't want his nose pierced, but seeing as he's never actually said anything about it, who knows?). If the Princess decides she wants her nose pierced, I will take her at the age of 14, assuming Oregon laws support that decision. However, due to the legal ramifications of other piercings (like the possibility of a potential boss not hiring them because of it), we would prefer they wait until the age of 18 (or later).
BELLY BUTTON -- This is a tough one. Fourteen is OBVIOUSLY (to me, anyway) too young. Belly buttons are not fast healers (I speak from experience), and take much more care than other piercings; I just don't think 14 year olds are mature and responsible enough to take proper care of them. At the age of 14, a child is too young to handle the responsibility (apparently, though, the mother of the 14 yo girl who got me thinking about this subject either foolishly allowed her daughter to get this piercing or found out after the fact and doesn't care -- either of which would account for the daughter's other behavioral issues, btw, but that's another story).
I think this one would be subjective to the child who wants to get it done. Squeaks is too young to handle the care that comes with it, so as far as we're concerned, will not be getting it any time soon (if at all). Princess, however, is more mature than Squeaks was at her age, so we decided that if she wants one, she can do so at the age of 16. And, yes, I would go with her.

Piercings, for the most part, should be a personal choice, but we are parents and as such, we do get to control (or try to) some aspect of our minor children's lives. Tattoos, as well, are an expression of self; a way to tell others who you are. Piercings are not permanent, though, so I am more likely to let my children experiment a little... but not to the point of looking like a hooker or white trash (like some parents I know).

Another Poll

I know where Ace and I stand on these questions, but I'm curious as to how our own beliefs/requirements compare to others'...

At what age would you allow your child to have a networking site (MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, etc) account? What restrictions, rules, etc would apply? How closely (and how) would you keep tabs on it (or would you at all?)? Thanks!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baby Scare

I mean my fuzzy baby, of course (no more human ones for us, thanks!). For those who don't know, we have two dogs; Anabelle and Isabelle (Belle and Izzy for short). Belle is a black lab/whippet mix, about 7 years old (a rescue from the Humane Society, so they're not exactly sure) and 55 lbs. Izzy is a blonde mutt, 5 years old this October and about 45 lbs. Belle is a mama's girl, and Izzy is her Papa's baby.

A typical morning goes like this: Mama gets up, and before I get to the bathroom, Belle is wagging her tail and tapping her front paws on my legs; trying to get a hug & kiss (yes, my dog hugs). Izzy is never too far behind her, also greeting me with kisses, but she's not quite as energetic about it. When I'm at the computer, Belle is next to the chair. When I'm making my morning mocha, she's at the edge of the kitchen, watching me. When I'm watching The Price is Right, she's on the floor at my feet.

This morning, there was no greeting. There was no tail wagging so hard, it sounds like she's knocking on the bathroom door. There was no nose poking into the bathroom to greet me in there. When I came out, she was lying down in her kennel. I thought, "Huh. That's weird. Maybe she's tired or hot," and I made my mocha.

I checked all my messages, responded to a few, and sat on the couch to watch t.v. At this point, I called Belle over to sit at my feet, and she just looked at me. It took some coaxing (TOTALLY out of character), but she finally got up, and meandered to my lap, then sort of flopped down next to me. I watched her walk over and noticed her back legs weren't functioning correctly. My first thought was, "Probably laying on them wrong," as she's done with her front paw (not sure if dogs get pins & needles, but that's about how she acted with one front paw a few weeks ago).

As time went on, she still wouldn't get up, and when she did, she didn't go very far, and looked like she was in pain, so I started to get concerned. I had her lay in my lap on her back, and moved her back legs around; feeling for broken or dislocated bones/joints. I didn't feel anything unusual, but I considered cancelling my one client, just in case. Ace told me that I should go (it was only a pedicure), and he would keep an eye on my dog while I was gone. If she didn't get better, we'd take her together when I got home.

He then called me when I was just starting my client, and told me he & the girls were taking Belle in; she wasn't getting better and he was now getting concerned. The only other thing we had to go on was the boy telling us that when she came in from being let out this morning, she was "walking really slowly."

The doc did a bunch of motion & manipulation tests on her, and (sweet girl) she didn't even whimper. No nipping, no trying to get away, just tolerated the whole ordeal very well. At times, she did give Ace that pleading look, but all in all, handled it perfectly. They found nothing with any of those tests, so decided to X-Ray her, just to be safe.

X-Ray results took about 1/2 hour, but came back clear. No broken bones, no dislocation, and no joint damage. Very healthy, probably just a sprain. Our best guess is that while outside this morning, she must have caught a hole just-so, and twisted. Docs gave us a couple days worth of pain meds for her, and now, she seems to be feeling better. She's walking stiffly, but still no jumping or anything. Only $214 for everything; and she's worth every penny, and I'd spend thousands more making sure she has a long and healthy life.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Poll

I know I don't have a lot of readers, but I'm curious about something. I want an HONEST opinion, and a discussion of your answer. Thanks.

How old is an appropriate age to get _________ pierced?
Ears -- first, second, third holes.
Belly button.

No, my "pre-tween" is not asking for her belly button to be pierced, but this discussion came up recently on one of my networking sites and I thought it was a good topic for discussion. What do you guys & gals think?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Gamerboy left on the 16th, headed to Alabama for a week and a half (he returns Saturday evening). After they got his luggage/boarding passes taken care of, he shoo'd Ace on his way (he actually hung out 'til the boy got through security, then waved).

Squeeks was dropped off by Ace this afternoon for a two-week rafting camp (not all rafting, just rafting/water-focused). He told me that as soon as they went through the check-in process, she tried to ditch him. Unfortunately for her, he had to take some things to her counselor, so she couldn't escape right away.

The Princess went for a six-day "Challenge" camp at her church's private camp near the coast. This one is meant for children aged 8-11, so she should fit right in. She had a ride up there (one of the boys in her class was also going, so his mom offered to drive up 4 of the kids), so I just met them all at the church parking lot. Once everyone was gathered, and introductions were made, I got my goodbye "loves" and was waved off too.

It's odd when they try to act all mature, but seeing their behaviors at home, I know better... I know they want to be "grown up", especially around their age-mates, but they still have a lot to learn from home. Anyway, I hope they have fun, and I, for one, am happy to be kid-free for the week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Addition

Ace and I have lately been discussing, in between "what's next for the house", when to get a new motorcycle and what to get... After his ride to the coast over the holiday weekend, it suddenly became more of a necessity; the wind during that 2 hour drive made it a lot less fun than it could have been if his bike were heavier.

We talked to T, Ace asked questions on his M50 forum, and we hunted the internet to find out what was available. We had it narrowed down. The two major selling points for him were (1) big enough to not be affected by the wind so much and (2) a big enough engine to not require an upgrade in another year and a half (the amount of time we had the M50).

Monday before his birthday, we headed up to Washington to look at a couple they had. On the way, we stopped at another dealer who had a C109r in black listed on their site. Seems that one was sold over the weekend, but hadn't been removed from their site, yet, darnit! Oh, well; we didn't want that one. We just wanted to look at it and see if it was worth going up to WA for the other one...

We got up there at just after 130p. Ace looked at two models -- the C109r and the C109rt. The "rt" model had a lot of mods we didn't like, so it made more sense to go over the "r". They let him take it around the building and in the parking lot for a test drive (2008 model, but only had a couple hundred miles on it). Then, the negotiations started.

We decided to go for trade-in for our M50, and give it to them stock (we can sell all the after-market parts that we can't/won't use on the new bike), but didn't have it with us (we weren't planning on buying that day, so had the car with us), so they had to go with sight-unseen and work up the paperwork based on that. Our M50 was only 2 years old, so it was in perfect condition, and of course Ace kept all the stock pieces for this reason. After a lot of back and forth, we settled on a price, signed some paperwork with our intent to buy, and headed home.

We didn't leave until almost 4p! We were STARVING (thank goodness I bring water and snacks when I go anywhere), so we got KFC Snackers on the way home, since we were going out to eat that night. By the time we got home, the older two were buggin'; wanting to know if we bought it, where it was, why we didn't bring it home, why we were gone so long, etc... He spent a big chunk of that night removing the after-market parts and putting back on the stock ones.

Tuesday, Ace got up a little earlier than normal, had his coffee, and went to the bank to get the title out of the safety deposit box. He came home, we took a couple of "goodbye M50" photos, and he left. Three hours later, he arrived home on our new ride. I reminded the kids that the same three rules apply: (1) He rides alone until he is ready for a passenger; no bugging him about it, (2) All riders & passengers will wear proper gear or will not ride, and (3) I ride "bitch" before anyone else; wife's right.

We are now the proud owners of a beautiful maroon Suzuki Boulevard C109r. So far, mods include: new seat/backrest set, passenger floorboards (it comes with floorboards for the rider, but only pegs for the passenger), grips (held over from our M50 mods), and a lightbar (instead of the one front lamp, this one has three). Future mod will include some sort of gear bags and possibly a windshield; especially if we tour (as we're planning) with it...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


After an early morning and not one, but two, airplanes with different things wrong leading to a longer than anticipated layover in Dallas, the boy landed safely. This trip is longer than last year's, so I hope they get to do all that Uncle Ricky has planned and more.

There's a water park nearby, a shooting range we were asked permission to take the boy to, and the annual VW show my brother is a big man on campus for... Baring no further issues, the boy returns around 6p on July 25th.

One down, two to go (the girls go off to camp on Sunday)...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Flash, Bang, Boom

It's been way too long since I've been able to take a real vacation; especially with some of my family. Ace works long hours, but only the last half of each week. I try to work when Princess is in school. On top of all of that, the SKs are here, during the school year, on a very regular basis. Summer changes things a bit. Not only have we had the Princess full-time for over a year and a half, but every summer, we get my SKs a grand total of about 8 weeks (not all at once, but still...).

Life, and vacations, would be a heck of a lot easier if all the children were either here, or not here, at the same time. Alas, that is not possible; less so now than it used to be. After "the incident" that lost her bio-dad his parenting time (October, 2007 is when it happened; November, 2007 is when his time was removed), we haven't spent much time away from Princess. For the most part, she is still apprehensive to be anywhere unless one of us is with her, or she's absolutely sure her father won't be. I'm not complaining, mind you; just stating a fact. Counseling helped her figure out it wasn't her, nor my, fault and that there was nothing she, nor I, could have done differently.

Back to my point... Having her around practically all the time is pretty cool, most of the time. She's a great kid; very helpful, mature, playful, silly, and so obviously secure in her love for Ace & I ("my parents" she says). But sometimes, we need a break.

Since the older kids expressed no interest in going to the beach house, we planned this past weekend's trip knowing they would be with their mother, and it was a holiday weekend (thank goodness we have a beach house) -- blondie dog isn't fond of the bangs & booms. And, since Ace had to work on Saturday (his holidays "float" so this didn't count as one), Princess & I took the dogs down on Saturday, just after lunch, by ourselves, stopping only at a little stand to buy elk jerky.

The drive was pretty uneventful until we were about 25 miles outside of L.C. At this point, traffic came to a complete stop, and stayed that way for almost an hour. During this time, a lot of people actually got out of their cars to walk around. I decided it would be fine (since I wasn't going anywhere) to text Ace. If he was at his desk, he could check TripCheck for me to see what the holdup was. I guess he didn't find anything, 'cuz all he said was, "That sucks." Then, a little later, "A little cooler over there I hope. Surprised you have service there." To which, I replied, "Currently 82`, and me, too." It was soon after that that the police let us all through (slowly, but we all made it safe).

About an hour and a half later, I get another text, "You moving yet?" I chuckled, and said, "Been at the house for over an hour now. Got a few groceries, too." To which, he replied, "Oh, good. Looked at TripCheck and it said 2 hour delay outside of..." (where we were). That means we missed the worst of it. However, I did tell him later to be VERY CAREFUL when he rode (his motorcycle) over the following morning, because a motorcycle was part of that accident.

Princess & I fed the dogs, then had dinner ourselves. Around 8pm, we lit some of our sparklers (got some GREAT photos) and took a few videos, and took the dogs for another walk. At 9pm, they were locked in the garage, and we headed down to the beach access (open only for residents & their guests). Cool side note: there is now a full set of stairs going from the grassy area up top to the beach itself! This is new since the last time Ace & I were there -- Thanksgiving of last year. Anyway, we made our way down to near the water and laid out our blanket, then just watched other people setting off their fireworks. Usually, you can see the one fireworks display that is shot off about 2 miles north of where we were, but it was SOOOOO foggy, you couldn't see anything past the houses on the north side of the beach access! After about an hour, we were both tired, so we headed "home." That first night, she insisted on sleeping with me (I have to admit; I love sleeping with her!).

Sunday morning, Princess & I got up and had our breakfast, then took the dogs for a walk before heading into town. I haven't walked the north side of town in quite sometime (you know, where all the "antiques" & collectibles shops are?), and Princess was game, so off we went. We walked around for about an hour & a half, then decided to stop in a great little dive shop that advertises ice cream, but also serves crab cakes, chicken strips, hot dogs, etc. I have to be honest; their crab cakes were the third best I've ever had (first being Newport Grill and second being a little restaurant Ace & I used to go to before it shut down). We also stopped at the outlet mall and picked up a few things both for the Princess, and for the new baby coming in September, then we headed back to the house.

I stopped at the gift shops about 2 miles north of the house, and got a text from Ace telling me he was already at the house; wondering where I was and if I was going to be back soon. The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent literally hanging out. There were a lot of games played (mostly by me and the Princess), and a couple movies watched. We all read quite a bit, too. After another walk with the dogs, it was time for bed for the Princess; this time, in her own bed.

Monday was our most eventful day. After our usual morning routine (coffee for Ace & I, real breakfast for the Princess, and a walk with the dogs), we took off south. We started out by picking up fudge at our FAVE fudge place, then walked around that little town (which also does whale-watching tours, if you're interested), but weren't quite ready for lunch. By the time we got to the next town, we were starving, so stopped at one of Ace's faves, where we had fantastic clam chowder (the best I've ever had, and that's saying a LOT -- I apologize to "Mo's"; it's not yours!), then wandered around THAT town for a while. Down the road from the restaurant, we found a cool woodcarving shop and Princess got to play on a real wooden rocking horse!

Then, we headed to the aquarium. I haven't been there for YEARS, so it was neat to see, and to play with some of the "hands-on" displays. By the time we were done there, it was mid-afternoon, so we headed back "home". About an hour later, we headed out to get dinner. We ended up just driving until we decided on something, which ended up being a place we'd driven past a hundred times, but never stopped at. This one came highly recommended by a few of our friends, so we did that. The food was very reasonably-priced, and tasted pretty good (not as good as where we went for lunch, but almost), too. More chillin', then bedtime when we returned...

Tuesday, Ace slept in a bit longer than we did, so we just read and played a game until he was up. We all started cleaning up, then I sent Ace home. Princess & I finished cleaning up, packed up the SUV, took the dogs for a final walk, and headed home.

Of course, what trip to the coast wouldn't be complete without a stop to my favorite chocolate store and the smoke shop (meat, people; not the other stuff)? The fake surfing wave was moved to a surf shop next to the smoke shop, too, so we stopped there for some cool photos, as well, then we were finally homeward bound.

All in all, a good, though not as relaxing as when we go without kids, weekend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Missing Her...

I have to admit it. I desperately miss my Princess. Since her bio-dad lost his parenting time over a year and a half ago, she hasn't really been gone much. Sure, she's had her overnights with friends & "Mimi", she's had a couple week-long camps, and she's even taken one other overseas trip (that one was to Amsterdam), but this is different. She's in Costa Rica, and this is an 11 full-days trip.

The local overnights are nothing; just a chance for her to have fun with people without Mom around. The camps & other overseas trip were short enough that I just focused on having some adult time with my friends & husband, or working a bit more than usual. This time around, though, she's been gone for 10 full days, half of which I've had off of work.

To make matters worse, the older two took this first set of Summer parenting time to act up more than usual, causing Ace to threaten to cancel their biggest activities - which is WAY outside the norm for him. Almost every day has also been too hot to do much yard work or start another home improvement project. Yesterday, they were returned to Mama's (another round with them begins next week Friday), and we took advantage of having no kids around to put in our new door & hardware (photos are posted on MySpace & FB)!

Tomorrow, my Princess returns from her trip. Before I pick her & mom up from the airport, though, I am finally having dinner & chat with Kristine. For those of you who are local, yes, the same Kristine who used to be on KUFO as a radio host/producer. I've known her for almost two years (thanks, Jamie), but we've only had time & opportunity to get together IRL a couple of times (although, we chat via the 'net all the time). She's a kick in the pants, and we have SO MUCH in common...

I look forward to having Princess home again. Ace and I both missed our "little girl" very much, and look forward to whisking her & the dogs off to the coast this weekend for some good family fun. I will also post some of her photos from her trip when I get them; viewable either on my Flickr account or FB. One more day...!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Catching Up & Turning 35

Last week, Wednesday, was Princess' last day at school. Monday, they had their field day, Tuesday was "move up" day (where they met the teachers of the next grade and found out what they were going to be doing throughout next year), and Wednesday was a half day. I'm not sure what the exact requirement is for number of days the children must attend school, but I'm pretty sure most of them learned nothing in the final three days of school!

While I was waiting for her to come out of the building, I saw a ton of 6th graders pour out. They were singing. These are the kids that move on to the middle school next year, so they were high-fiving just about every teacher they came across. Once Princess came out, full backpack and a Father's Day gift for her Papa, the area had cleared a bit, but we had to go back inside to check the lost and found (just in case; we weren't actually missing anything) and get the Box Tops/Soup Labels container (Ace is the PTA's coordinator for those).

By the time we came back out, the only people left outside were three teachers, and they were waving to the busloads of kids. These teachers, though, happened to be all ones we knew (which isn't saying much; Princess, Ace, and I know almost every teacher & staff member at that school): her 2nd grade teacher (Mr. S.), and the two men who were co-presidents of the PTA (Mr. R. and Mr.
P.). We got our own high-fives and fist-bumps, and headed home.

Thursday, we had a playdate with our new mom's group. My friend (another from high school that I've recently reconnected with), A.A., started it so her school-aged kids could have friends their own age. I like it because it gives us scheduled things to do when we're home (which is only about 1/2 the summer, considering everyone's activities & trips we already have going on). Besides, a big chunk of the moms in this group are also ladies I went to h.s. with, so that part of it is nice, too!

Friday, I worked a bit. Mom was my last client, and afterwards, we went for Happy Hour at Newport Seafood Grill (nee: Newport Bay) on Portland's wonderful waterfront. Mom treated me to an early dinner, drinks, & dessert. She also got me a cool gift: flip flop shaped coat hooks for my room at work. It was raining off and on, so instead of my cute heeled flip-flops (to show off my awesome toenail polish), I wore my new biker-style boots. Dark, long jeans, a cute green top, and a black sweater topped off my outfit, but I couldn't find my umbrella in my car, so we shared hers.

Saturday, I had one client... at 8am. This has never been a time I take clients, but (a) I really adore this client, and (b) it was the only time he & I could both do it this week (he had to cancel his last one 'cuz he had nasal surgery). Oh, yeah, he also tips really well, and loves my kid. When I got home, I made the children do their chores, so Sunday was free for Father's Day.

Sunday, Ace and I slept in, but I got up a little earlier than he did, so Princess & I could make him his mocha. After we were both mocha'd up, the kids brought out their gifts. I got photos of all of this, but since he was in his robe, he won't let me post them :(. I gave myself a gel pedicure that early afternoon, then we decided to do a little "window-shopping" (not for actual windows; we have those already... for kitchen things. We're starting to think about remodeling), then went grocery shopping for dinner things.

Ace made boneless pork chops, garlic bread, etc for dinner (my choice). After dinner, we gathered to do presents for me. I did get photos of that part, which you can view on my MySpace & Facebook accounts. Today is officially my birthday, but Princess left this morning for Costa Rica, so we did dinner & gifts last night. After dinner, we took Princess to Krispy Kreme (my idea of a birthday cake), then took her to my mom's. They left early this morning, and will return late on July 2nd.

Maybe it seems weird, but even though I miss my daughter when she goes on these trips, I look forward to her leaving. I know that she'll write a few times and may call me once or twice. And, I know she's going to have a great time; an experience like no other that very few other children get to experience. What a wonderful thing for her.

To answer the unasked question, no, I don't feel older, but then again, I guess aging is a slow process. The goal is to do it with grace, and hopefully gain wisdom as you do it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's Over

Softball season, that is. Seems like it went by faster than in the past, although I only have one other year to compare it to. Perhaps it was due to the three cancelled games, perhaps it was due to the fact that we missed a couple games for personal reasons, or perhaps I just wanted it to be a little longer... Whatever it was, it's done.

We had a good season. The team won 4 of their games overall; about the same from last year. Princess made contact with the ball a few times, which is a definite improvement over last year. The ball also made contact with her... which left a few bruises, but nothing broken. During tournament games, that means a free walk to 1st base. She's decided to play again next year, so I bought her a full-inch-larger sized mitt, and am on the hunt for bigger batting gloves (the local sporting goods store has a HUGE discount on most of Spring sports' gear).

I've said before that softball is the beginning of Spring, to me. So, the end of the season means the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. Bring it on!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Not The Storm of the Century, but...

... definitely one for the record books! I don't know how much rain/wind/hail my area got, but I do know that tree branches were coming down all over the northwest part of the state, then it moved northeast (I'm assuming it hit T & D, too?).

Yesterday was my SD's 8th grade graduation/promotion ceremony. The Princess had MAD SCIENCE after school, and since it was the last one of the school year, I told her she could go, but I'd pick her up 15 minutes early. Her instructor, "Professor Genius", made her some slime to take home before she left. Then, we picked up Ace from work before driving what was supposed to be 1 1/2 or so hours up toward the mountain to A's school.

As we got closer to where we were going, the winds got worse. At one point, my SIL called to tell us they got halfway there and the winds were so bad, a tree branch flew between their car & the one in front of them (turns out that their area got the worst of it), so they were turning around and going home. We kept going. Then the rains hit.

Ok, a little sidebar here. For those who don't know me very well, I should probably tell you a few things: (1) Unless I am super-familiar with an area, I hate to drive. (2) My husband usually drives when we're together because he gets a bit carsick if he's not (plus, the whole I-hate-driving thing). (3) Storms are awesome, unless stuck in the middle of one.

Back to my story: There weren't many people on the road, anyway, but when the rain is POURING down and the wind is WHIPPING BRANCHES OFF TREES, it's usually time to pull over. I was in the left lane, going about 10 miles/hour so decided to pull off; yes, on the left side (median). I couldn't see to safely change lanes & pull off to the right shoulder, so I did the next best thing. Now, tell me, given the choices to keep going when you can't see anything through all the rain & wind, try to change lanes so that you can "legally" pull to the right shoulder, or pull to the left median with your flashers on, which would YOU do?

After a couple minutes of Ace ranting about us being late, but him not wanting to drive either, I told him he had two choices (well, three, if we turned around to go home): either drive the car, or shut up and let me do it my way. He really didn't want to drive (I still don't know why), so we waited it out a little, then continued on our way.

We got there, with time to spare, as I figured we would. Streets were soaked, and there were branches & leaves everywhere, but we were fine. We found our seats, and proceeded to watch Squeeks, and the other kids, become high school students. AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Going To The Chapel...

... and E. B.'s getting married! I have known E. B. for going on 15 years, but the last time I saw her in person was about 14 years ago. How sad is that?!? Thank goodness for email, FB, MS, and texts!

Anyway, her wedding is in August and I am going! I told the husband that I'd love for him to come if he can get the time off, but I am not about to miss this. So, today, I made hotel reservations. Stupid 800# people told me I couldn't get one of the reserved wedding rooms (they reserved a chunk of rooms together for people flying in or in the drunken -- haha -- wedding party), so E. B. called them directly and pitched a fit. I now have a KING room for a cheaper rate, on the same floor as everyone else. T/y, E!

Now, I'm trying to work on my flights. This would be fairly simple if I was just going to Fargo and back home, but I'm not. My plan is to go to the wedding, then meet my husband in S.D. to visit my parents, grandmother, and "little" sister (and to finally meet her bf!), then fly home with husband. Not sure if that's going to work, but I'm going to try...

My Princess is not coming with us for this trip. She will be staying with my mom, since that weekend is their annual camping/beach trip with their church. She's been going every year since she was 3 and loves it. She hopes next year (when she's 10 1/2) her cousin, C, can come, too. C will be almost 3 by then...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Weekend Near The Bay

"When the lights... go down... in the city..." Every time I hear that song, I think about San Francisco, as I should be. That IS what that song is about.

This past long (Memorial Day) weekend, Princess and I accompanied T, D, and C to the Bay Area for a full weekend of gaming (them) and kid-wrangling (us). The hotel we stayed at was not near much, and I didn't have a car or carseat, but we made due.

We arrived Thursday evening, checked in, and got situated. Dinner was in the hotel pub, Knuckles. C was cute, cheering for hockey (that's D's influence, being from Canada). D had a staff meeting (she worked the event, T played), so T actually put C down that night. Princess and I decided it would be best if we went down to the lobby to read until C was out. We ended up doing that every night (although the other nights, it was D that put her down).

Friday, I found the hotel's STARBUCKS (better than most I've had, btw; not a big SB fan) and had the girls share a banana. That was our morning routine (since D showered & fed C when she got up every morning). D had to work 'til early dinnertime, so D.W. came down from Vacaville (a little over an hour's drive north of where we were) and did lunch and the park with us. She even brought her "fuzzy baby". C's funny about dogs; she loves them, but only when they're no closer than 4 feet or so... Any closer than that and she gets uncomfortable. In the small amount of time we were outside, I actually got a little bit of a sunburn. Not enough to blister or be uncomfortable; just enough to be red (forehead, nose, forearms, & clavicle areas).

We got back and C went down pretty easily for her nap. What surprised me was how good Princess was at the whole process. I guess it shouldn't; she has taken care of babies before. D was off work in time to meet us for dinner, so we headed back to Knuckles. Princess decided to give C a bath to give D a break, which was cute (I got video of one of her baths).

Saturday, D only worked a little in the morning, so we waited until she was done and did lunch buffet in the lobby. D & T got me a 20 minute chair massage, too, which was fabulous! C went down soon after that, and we had a relaxing afternoon. T was done with his game by mid-afternoon, so they had a little date night while Princess and I took C back to the room and ordered pizza. Luckily, a couple of pizza joints DO deliver to the hotel! They were back in time to get C down and T was off again to go play with his friends.

Sunday was a lazy morning for us. D had to work early (and most of the day), but T didn't have a game 'til later so he hung for a bit. I wanted to take the trolley to downtown for shopping and walking around (since there were no playground parks within easy walking distance - both were on the other side of the freeway & difficult to get to), but since C was napping, we didn't make the 150p. That meant we had to wait until 350p... I told T what we were doing, and after some back and forth, he asked us to stop by his gaming room before we left. That actually made us late, so we had to wait for the next one, 45 minutes later. Argh. That gave us only 45 minutes to shop before we had to get back on the trolley to make it back to the hotel by 6p.

I could have stayed in downtown all afternoon. Had we made the 150p, I would have been absolutely content. We basically had time to hit one women's clothing boutique (didn't buy), a baby boutique (bought a couple things, including a nice necklace for Princess as a "thank you" gift), and Baby Gap (bought a couple things there, too) before we had to go. However, I wasn't about to miss In 'n Out for dinner, so that was fine. After we all ate together in the big room T & his buddies were gaming in, there was an awards ceremony. T & D both won a little something, so yay for them! Their friends, M. S. and C. S., also won some stuff. M. S. paints miniatures; I've seen some of her work. She's really good. So is D, though...

That turned in to a later-than-usual night for C, so it actually took D about an hour to get her down. D was super-exhausted and was planning on going to bed early, but I kept her up talking. I love my SIL very much and am so very glad T has such an awesome wife (& daughter, of course).

Monday, D worked a little bit after getting C up and ready for the day. T, Princess, and I packed up most of our things and headed downstairs to meet their friends (and D; turns out she got off work in time to come eat with us). We planned to hit MAX'S (a diner practically across the street) for breakfast, but found out they were closed; darn holiday! So, we all traipsed upstairs to the atrium for breakfast.

During breakfast, I chatted a little with M. S. and found out since I'm T's sister, I'm "in". HAHA! Cool. I've been accepted! Actually, that was nice.

Highlights of the weekend include:
1. C saying my & Princess's names. Actually, her toddler-speak is very understandable for the most part. The funny part is how quickly it came back to me.
2. The chair massage.
3. Shopping in downtown.
4. In 'n Out Burger.
5. D.W.'s visit, even though it was short.
6. Being trusted with the care of my niece.
7. Being invited back next year.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend, 2009

For me, "Mother's Day" actually started the Tuesday prior, when the Princess, the husband, and I went to the craft store. They went off in one direction, and I went off in another. I was in search of card-making supplies. I am not what you'd call "crafty" (although I do have an artistic side), but I was watching a morning news program and they had a very simple "recipe" for making cards for mom's day. Since I have two moms, I thought I'd enlist the help of my daughter.
We got home from the store and started working. I have one set of specialty "craft" scissors (in a wave design), and had bought three types of card stock, stick on flowers, and stick on "mom" decorations. Took us most of the afternoon, but we got them done, and I was proud of our work.
Wednesday, she brought me not only a marigold plant, but also a cilantro plant. They are now sitting in our garden window in the kitchen.
On Friday, the Princess brought home a cool placemat she made for me. She drew photos, wrote little things, & colored/decorated a piece of large white construction paper, which her teacher attached to a slightly larger piece of purple paper and laminated. It now sits at my place on my table. Later that afternoon, we picked up mom from the transit station and went to the Princess's school for their "Spring Fiesta", where we had Mexican food and got to hear a live Mariachi band!
Saturday, I worked, then M and my mom replanted my flower box at work! After a quick trip to the Farmer's Market, she had a game. Their team lost by points, but she pitched the second inning, and struck out two players. In our eyes, that makes her a winner. We had a birthday party to attend after that, so by the time we made it home, we were exhausted. We had chili cheese hotdogs and salads for dinner because I was just too dog-tired to cook much. It had been a long day; I was up since 7am and went to bed (early) at 10pm.
Sunday, Mother's Day, I got to sleep in. When I got up, we made my mocha and vegged on the couch 'til the husband got up. I did hardly anything that day; it was my day. Dinner was Spaghetti Factory with some fam -- T, D, and C were in town (surprised mom), so there were seven of us. Good visit (even if C did prefer M's company to anyone else's!). When I got home, M gave me a third gift (one that my husband helped her with -- hence, the craft store trip). She had made me a key chain that says "MOM ROCKS" in beads. I love it!
Every year, I am reminded just how much my daughter loves me. It's not the gifts (although, I do like the thought she puts behind them); it's that I get to watch her grow. I get to see, every step of the way, who she is as a child, and a glimpse of who she'll be as an adult. I have questioned some of the choices others have made in her name. But, I will NEVER question any choice I've made. She is an angel, a blessing, and my not-so-little Princess, and no one can ever take that, or her, away from me.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some Things Come In Threes

1. About two weeks ago, I tripped over my dog. Now, I trip over her on a pretty regular basis (she's black, and follows me everywhere), but this one took the cake. Her favorite spot while I'm on the computer is up against the recliner to my left (which sits about a foot from the desk chair -- yes, I have a small house). My typical move is to spin to the right, and get out of the chair. For some reason, my brain wasn't functioning properly (my brothers should be familiar with this concept), and I decided to spin to the left, instead. So, I spun to the left, stood up, and proceeded to fall into a stack of large Rubbermaid containers filled with clothing (I had just gotten done going through them and reorganizing; they are my daughter's too-big clothes). One of my artificial nails popped off (ow) and I fell to my knees (major ow). I lay there for a good couple minutes while my husband took my coffee mug & cell phone off the floor & set them on the table.

I then decided it would be a good idea to just sit down, so with my husband's help, I got settled on the couch and he brought me some ice packs. There I stayed for two hours or so. By the next day, my knees were both swollen to the point where there were no indents at the knee cap and I was purple & green. Over the next few days, I turned more colorful, and realized I had lost feeling in my left knee. I have since gained most of the feeling back, I am no longer swollen, and the bruising is all gone. As bad as it all sounds, it could have been worse. On the other side of the Rubbermaid containers is our CD rack. It's one of the types that are tall, have four sides, and rotate. Had the containers not been where they were, I would have fallen right into that rack, and probably would've whacked my eye to the point that those who didn't know better would think my husband beat me...

2. About a week ago, I was switching out our sheets (flannels for summer whites). We have a nice cedar chest in the closet in our bedroom (remember I said we have a small house?). I pulled it out just a little; enough to open the lid (it's on hinges and has a nice decorative latch in the front) partway. I lost my grip on the latch while my hand was still partway inside and scratched up my inner left wrist. A scratch wouldn't have been a big deal, except I happened to also catch one of my veins on the latch, too, so it was bleeding a lot. I got it all cleaned & bandaged up, but had to change the bandages because I bled through. After that, I made sure it was cleaned & I put Neosporin on it twice a day. I will probably have a scar from that one...

3. Finally, I stabbed myself in the wrist (right side this time) with a nail from my very-old-&-needs-to-be-replaced deck. Our other dog (the blonde one) likes to crawl under the deck on occasion. She gets muddy under there, though, so we try to keep it blocked off (yes, the deck will get ripped out soon, and replaced with something else -- smaller deck and flagstone perhaps). The husband & I were out there discussing tentative plans for the yard (small raised produce area, outdoor seating, bbq area, etc), and I noticed one of the boards he had put against the underside of the deck had come undone & was just laying there. I turned it upright and pounded it into place with my hand... and got stabbed in the wrist. Hmmm, perhaps I should check these things first, huh?

I had to work that day, but only for an hour, so I called my doctor's office. I couldn't remember the last tetanus shot I had had, so thought I may need one again. She called me back and said my last one was in 2005, so since I got hurt, I should come in to get another one. For the record, the doc said if you have no issues (ie: don't get stabbed with a possibly rusty nail), you can go 7-10 years in between shots. If you do have an issue come up, they recommend 3-5 years; therefore, I was due. She asked me to come in when I was done with my client, which I did. The nurse has been my nurse for 5 years (Melissa), so when I got in the room, she goes, "What in the heck did you do?!?!" I told her the story, and she couldn't stop laughing.

I really do hope bad things happen in threes, 'cuz I'm done being hurt for a while!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It all started when we were kids. I'm not sure when Ace's affection for motorcyles started, exactly, but I know he was pretty young. For me, it was somewhere around the age my daughter is now (or maybe a little younger?). Anyway, it's been a LONG time that we've both had this craving...

A few years ago, we finally had the ability to buy a motorcycle. However, knowing what I know (my ex lost a family friend to a really bad accident back in 1996), I refused to let him even sit on one without taking the certification classes. He had to wait until summer, and make sure he had the days off (they're only offered Fri-Sun), but he passes with flying colors.

Next step, decide what size, etc we want. A 650 was our original choice, but after talking to T, we decided to go a bit bigger. We ended up with a Suzuki M50 (equivalent of just over 800), in a beautiful purple-blue. At the time, they had a "no payments/no interest for a year" deal, and since we had only 10 months left on another loan, we knew we could pay it off in full before the year was up (which we did). We then got him geared up -- Scorpion helmet, Tour Master jacket/pants/gloves, and a great pair of biker boots. He was ready to go.

Once we got the bike, I had two rules: (1) I would not ride on the bike with him until he'd been riding alone for at least 6 months. (2) I would be the FIRST person to ride with him. He agreed and off he went. That summer, he rode the bike everywhere he could; even taking it on back roads, hilly roads, curvy roads. He wanted the experience, plus it's FUN! The older kids bugged him to ride, thinking that since they're mother owns a bike and they ride with her, it wouldn't be a big deal. Sorry, kids, first ride is MINE.

However, I wouldn't ride until I was properly geared, too. I got a Scorpion helmet, but all the rest of my gear is also Scorpion, and (if I do say so myself) I look pretty hot in it (hahaha). Well, Ace approves, and I feel safer, so that's all I need. We took our first ride together in the Spring of 2008, and every chance we get, we're on it together. It's one of the ways we bond.

Yesterday, we both had the day off, and it was 81 degrees, so while my daughter was in school, we took a nice ride. Headed west, drove through areas where E used to live (that's the older brother) and made a huge circle. Drove through, among other things, farm country & timber areas, and saw horses, lots of trees, and big old homes & barns. We even stopped for ice cream. Took us a good 2 hours or so, and we were home in time to pick up the Princess from school.

Ace's ultimate goal is to get a bigger bike and give me this one... For, now, though, I am perfectly content riding "bitch", and looking good doing it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Joys of Softball

I love softball season. For me, it is one of the signs of Spring. This is my daughter's second year playing, and she loves it. Not as much as she loves soccer, but that's ok. Softball is different. You're not on the move all the time, you're waiting for the ball to come to you so you can do something with it, and HOPEFULLY, make a couple runs and get a couple of the girls out. We're lucky in that she's had the same coach (one of her bff's dad) for many years. He coaches both soccer (this fall will be her fourth season) and softball, and I love how his is with the girls; gentle & firm at the same time, and very patient.

Last year was her first year. We realized a bit late in the season that she should have been wearing her glasses under her helmet (when she bat); she probably would have connected with the ball a bit more... This year, I made sure she has a pair in her bat bag for every practice. They're not the newest pair, but they do help. I think I may break down and buy her a pair of "sports goggles" with her prescription (probably next year, before softball season starts).

So, I noticed that, from last year, there's a big improvement in catching the ball (knowing where to hold her gloved hand is a big part of this), but also in throwing the ball. She can throw from home almost all the way to 2nd base without it bouncing! She's also more accurate with her throws. I'm hoping this means she'll have some interest in learning how to pitch, but again, this is a sport for fun, so that will have to be her & her coach's decision.

So far this season, she's made contact with the ball while at bat about 1/2 the time. I think it's just a timing thing more than anything else... After last year's season was over, I told her that if she decided to play again "next year", I would buy a glove for myself (I have NO IDEA what happened to my own glove that I had had since I was a teen...) so that I can help her practice. I did play as a teen; I even have a trophy to prove it (hahaha), but I don't know all the detailed rules for her league (things change and things are added as they get older), so we'll stick to batting practice, pitching practice, and throwing/catching practice.

Right now, she has an art class after school on Wednesdays, softball practice Thursdays & Saturdays, and a science class after school - also Thursdays. So, if her homework & chores are done, most Mondays & Tuesdays are good days to go to the park and work with her; Sundays, too, if her weekend chores are done.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Muffins with Moms

This morning, my daughter's school hosted a breakfast called "Muffins with Moms". Back in October, there was a "Donuts with Dads" event; of course my daughter wanted her Papa to go with her! He had to get up 2 1/2 hours earlier than he normally does (he works a modified swing shift), but he has a hard time turning her down. This morning, she and I got up a little earlier than normal, got ready for the day, and off we went. According to her, the "Donuts" event only had slightly less people than the "Muffins" event. I even got to chit chat with a couple of the other moms, and enjoy 1/2 a large COSTCO muffin. I was home by 8am, though, as they did have school to start...

I love stuff like this. I don't always have the time to volunteer as often as I used to; my business has picked up again and when you work for yourself, you take it where you can get it. I am lucky, though. My husband runs the Soup Labels & Box Tops for the PTA and goes to every meeting; not to mention all the homework assistance he gives her. My mom volunteers in-class about once a month. I was supposed to be the Field Trip parent, but they've only had one this year and I had to work that day. Oh, well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And So It Begins

Just an intro for now, as it is late and I don't feel like messing with this right now. First, I truly am a busy mom. In fact, "mother" is what I do before I do anything else. My husband knows this, and really is okay with it. He is "Papa" first, and my husband second. Second, this blog will be different from what I blog on another site. This will be all about my life as a mother, a wife, and a nail technician. Third, I haven't decided if this will be a "public" blog (for any and all to see) or a "private" blog (for any and all I choose to allow to see). I'll let you know later. For now, I am signing off. I have a breakfast date with my daughter in the morning.