Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Don't you hate it when someone calls you up right after you've eaten a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, fries and a chocolate shake and brags to you about how she lost 12 lbs? Sigh......ok, seriously. I'm VERY proud of my sister, and not so proud of my butt. It seems she is starting to inspire others in my family as well to lose some weight. Guess I need to jump on the bandwagon too, but it's SO hard.

I know what you're thinking..... I don't look like I need to lose weight? Well, I am most deceitful, because I had to dig my profile picture out of the archives from when I was in the Army.....about 30lbs lighter than where I am now. I don't really take any pictures of myself anymore. It's too embarrasing.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Few Pictures

I took Seth out this morning for some sprinkler fun. He is my water-a-holic.

And I got a great deal on a Super Duper Baby Entertainer today at Burlington Coat Factory. John is getting so determined to get his hands on everything, and he loves to stand up and I'm sure he'll have lots of fun in this one that he can bounce, sit and stand up in.

Of course, Seth saw me taking John's picture, and needed to have his done too.

I tried to get a new updated Seth/John picture but it just wasn't working today. They both look like they're drunk.


A rather uneventful weekend for us. We just hung out at home besides the usual church, grocery store outing. I made strained peas and carrots, and did lots of housework, crochet and got up to about half-way through Harry Potter. We rented a couple movies, one of which I still haven't watched. John was pretty fussy all weekend. The second of the bottom two teeth came in, and the left side of his top front two is really puffy and red and poor guy is not too happy about it.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I'd just like to brag about my husband, who has been so giving lately. Seeing my need for a little "me" time, he has been going to the Y to work out at 5am or so on his nights off, so that when I wake up I can go work out myself while he watches the kids. Yesterday, he woke up early from his usual sleeping time so that I could go out to the movies while he watched the Seth monster, and then helped me clean the house this morning before my friend was to arrive at 830am. Just after my friend left at 10, he packed up and took Seth to the Y for a swim, which also happened to be the time John goes down for a nap and gave me a good hour to sit and read Harry Potter in a quiet clean house. What a huge difference it makes in my mental state to have just that hour a day! I sure really needed it, and I SO appreciate my husband for making that time a priority.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Old McDonald Had A Blankie

After a half year or so phase of non-motivation to do any crocheting, I am finally back in business. I couldn't wait to post these pictures! But I had to actually gift the blanket first. I am pretty pleased with the results, although the multi-colored circles turned out a bit on the pinkie side, which I should have re-thought since it's for a boy. But it is very bright and perfect for a tummy time blanket or something.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Goodness Gracious My Kids are Cute!

Tickle Time!

Play Time!

Monday, July 23, 2007


I am the MEANEST Mommy in the WORLD!!! I deserve a BIG MEDAL to pin on my chest that says MEAN MEAN MOMMY on it! So that all the kids that walk by can run away quickly before I make them put on their SHIRT and their SHOES and make them go to the STORE! And while I'm at the store, I'll make them ride in the BUGGY and make them pick up the box of waffles they threw on the FLOOR! AND I'm SO MEAN that I WON"T BUY any COOKIES!!! WAAAAHAAAAHAAAA! I'm the Olympic Gold Champion of MEANNESS!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Today the cashier at the grocery store gave Seth 3 stickers as we were checking out. Instead of thinking....yay! I have 3 stickers! He says, look Mom! One sticker for me, one for Daddy and one for Mommy!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I am having a very FAT day today. I think it's time to do something about it. Don't you think Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig should be covered by medical insurance as preventative maintainance or something? Sigh......big blubbery blob of whale fat roll bla. Maybe a brownie will make me feel better.

Friday, July 20, 2007

14 Yrs, A Time to Reflect

It is this time of year around late June to mid-July that somewhere out of the blue I remember what time it is and start to do some reflection. It was this time of year that I was originally diagnosed and declared in remission from leukemia.

I don't really think of it anymore, it being so long ago, except maybe for a day or two a year like today where suddenly I realize that I can add another year to my survival year total...now 14 years. I like to reflect on those times, pull out the "get well" cards I saved, the few pictures I could find of old friends, maybe even glance at my old broviac catheder I saved (yes eew gross). This year with half our stuff in storage, I just have a few pictures to share.

Here is my sister Noreen and I on her high school graduation day. It was somewhat of a bittersweet occasion, in that this day was just a few days after I was released from my original diagnosis and hospitalization. It should've been a great day for my sister with all spotlight on her, but it was overshadowed by the fact that I was there and people wanted to talk about me and the illness that affected our whole family. It was no one's fault, but it wasn't until years later that I realized just how much it affected everyone else around me. My sister, since then has donated her hair to Locks of Love, as well as motivated others in her school to do it too. She's also very involved in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, helping to raise like...a quarter million dollars for the local chapter.

These two pictures were taken at a Christmas party given for all the pediatric patients of the hospital. On the left, Me, Mom and an elf (hmmm look familiar? hint, check out the valentine). On the right is a picture of me with Meghan Starr and her big sister Jamie. Megan was 3 and was my roommate once or twice.

This picture was at my Honor's Society dinner with friends Sarah(left) and Tanya (right). I think it was around Thanksgiving time after my diagnosis. It was my first public appearance wearing my wig. I probably should have test-driven a wig before my parents bought it for me, as it turned out to be my only public appearance wearing it. We expected to lose my hair completely, which never happened. It was more comfortable to wear hats.

This picture was taken the following February. At that time I was done with all the intense treatments and my hair (what was left of it at that time) had started to grow back.

So, reflecting back I think of this time in such a positive light. Not just because of the positive outcome, but because it was for me a religous experience. It was this time in my life when I realized just how real God is. It is a time that we developed relationships with some really awesome doctors and nurses, and other patients and their families. All of us who put our trust and faith in both God and medicine and prayed that one or both would intervene.

It was also a time when my friends and family pulled together and made my life as normal as they possibly could. My first boyfriend, first kiss was in the hospital (as ackward as that sounds). Thanks to my teachers, I took my pSATs, and all my final exams in the hospital so I wouldn't have to repeat the last few months of that year. My friends all video recorded the last day of school for me. My church youth group came to the hospital while I was there and had their weekly Sunday meeting in one of the playrooms so that I could come. My entire extended family came and had Thanksgiving (they brought the turkey and all the fixings) with me in the hospital since I had to have treatment that weekend. I could go on and on. These are the memories I have of my cancer. Memories of love, and community, and surviving. 14 years ago.

Busy Busy

John has been extremely busy this week. I mentioned earlier how he started rolling over onto his tummy. Well, that was just a starting point for him! John has been rolling all over the place now, AND he has started to sit up like a pro. He loves to play his little xylopiano AND if that wasn't enough to make you want to nap.........drumroll.......the emergence of............his first .......tooth.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's HOT

Blah, it's hot. My air conditioner can't even keep up with the heat outside. It's like 97, and not even a little cloudy. Makes me wish I had a clothes line. I've done a ton of laundry today and I'd probably have gotten it done a lot faster that way. Sigh........ Oh well.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Things about Seth that Make me Laugh

There are some things that Seth does that are just so funny!

Sometimes he likes to wear 2 or 3 pairs of underwear at a time.

When he gets dressed in the morning, he'll put both legs in one side of his pants just so that I can tell him how silly he is. Or he'll put a shirt on like pants and put his legs through the sleeves.

He does this little dance where he wiggles his hips and sings "Smile Smile Smile" to the tune that we sang when we were kids "Na na na na na" when teasing another.

He calls freezy pops "bee"s. Not sure where that came from, but that's what we call them now.

When we're going somewhere and I need him to get ready, or get in the car he pretends to be asleep. Not just asleep in his bed or laying down but in whatever position he happens to be in, even if he is just standing in the middle of the room, he is "asleep" and it's my job to wake him up. He doesn't do it to be defiant because he doesn't want to do what I'm asking, but he just thinks it's he is so funny!

When he's brushing his teeth, he likes to pretend he's brushing, but instead of his teeth he'll be brushing his nose, or his chin and just keep doing it until I notice.

And finally, he LOVES to look at his reflection. Particularly in doorknobs, faucets, windows, anywhere where his face looks distorted. Then he says, "Look at me I'm upside down!" or "Mama, where'd my nose go?" or something to that affect. SO FUNNY!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I haven't been reading much since Bookseller. I started a book called Family Matters, by Rohinton Mistry, but I've been thinking about the next Harry Potter and if I'm still reading Family Matters when HP finally comes out then I will feel guilty putting it down to read something else. So, I just decided to stop reading it all together. After HP, I've chosen The Littlest Hitler, by Ryan Boudinot. It's a collection of short stories that Kerrie and I will read together so we can discuss and it was posted on the Top 50 books of 2006 list for amazon.com. I was really feeling a need for change from the Afghanistan-subject books I've been reading lately. If any of my lovely readers would like to join in, please do.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was a very busy day. I managed to get the house immaculate-looking for that "just in case" scenario if it rained for Amie's shower. Fortunately it did not rain, and my house is still immaculate. Today, I plan on keeping it that way!, so I am taking my children out of the house. It's off to the library and then to a movie today to stay cool and relax. Tonight we have a dinner date with Dave's friend and his girlfriend. I'm looking forward to it all!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ferocious Man-Eating Badgers

So, did you hear about this? I heard it yesterday on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and laughed histerically at it. Read the whole story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6295138.stm.

British forces have denied rumours that they released a plague of ferocious badgers into the Iraqi city of Basra.

Word spread among the populace that UK troops had introduced strange man-eating, bear-like beasts into the area to sow panic.

UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said: "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.

The rumours spread because the animals had appeared near the British base at Basra airport.

"It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey" Housewife Suad Hassan.

But several of the creatures, caught and killed by local farmers, have been identified by experts as honey badgers.

The director of Basra's veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, has inspected several of the animals' corpses.
He told the AFP news agency: "These appeared before the fall of the regime in 1986. They are known locally as Al-Girta. "Talk that this animal was brought by the British forces is incorrect and unscientific."

A Milestone

John has been trying SO HARD lately to roll over onto his tummy. Well, he finally did it this morning! Woo Hoo John! After which he screamed and cried.

Reason #1563 of Why I Hate GA


Friday, July 13, 2007


It occurred to me that it's been a while since I posted any pictures. Here's John today. He is growing way too fast for me. He doesn't like to sit in his swing, or bouncy seat or playgym anymore. Sitting up and standing up are where he wants to be, though he still needs practice at both. I think I may try to trade a few items for a exersaucer thingy for him. He'd really love it. John is a master at grabbing things, and really likes exploring faces now. He started on bananas and cereal and in the last week has discovered his tongue, which occasionally he sticks out. His hair is starting to fill in a bit, though it's hardly noticeable unless you look really close.

On the Job Front

So after a month with no communication, I finally wrote to my contact with the consulting firm to check in on the job openings. Thankfully, I got a response. There's really no exciting news to tell or anything, but he did confirm that I am at the top of the list to get the first full time long term position that comes out of the agency that I want to work for. I know this is not new news for anyone, but when I wasn't hearing from them (and it has felt like soo long) and in the emotional day I had yesterday I started to doubt myself. Needlessly, and it is a big relief to know that we WILL get out of Augusta, and I WILL be able to work again soon but that I just need to have patience and know that in God's good timing we will be back on track.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Baby Foods

Found this website that gives great info on homemade baby food how-tos and recipes. With Seth we mainly purchased our baby food because I just didn't have the time or know-how. Those little jars really add up to a lot! THis time, I'm going to do it myself and hopefully save a lot of money. I've been starting John on cereal and find that he likes oatmeal a lot better than rice. I'd love to make my own baby cereal but boiling and cooking it takes forever, and listening to a baby cry for food for that long is a killer. I can't wait to see what foods will be his favorites!


People make me SO MAD- a bitch session

frustrate me
particularly people who have no clue when it comes to their children or children in general
I honestly believe people SHOULD have to apply to make babies 'cause then maybe those that are too lazy to watch or discipline their kids would be too lazy to go downtown to apply and therefore never have those children. Though, I don't really know what the criteria would be since absolute MORONs can apply to work in a daycare and get hired. Like the one daycare I took Seth and John to today at the Y so I could work out and in the first 5 minutes Seth was handled improperly while I was STANDING RIGHT THERE! Seth cried in my arms he was so scared, so I immediately took them out and took Seth to the pool instead, where we encountered every bullying child in the city. Poor Seth with his Superman action figure said to another kid I'm Superman! and this kid got mad and said repeatedly STOP SAYING THAT! I"M BIGGER THAN YOU! I"M 6 YEARS OLD! and when Seth turned around and walked away from this kid, the kid followed him, literally on his tail.....all around, and all the while yelling at him and the kids parents were sitting next to me doing absolutely nothing. The kid wouldn' t let up. What he was saying seems harmless, but it was the WAY he was saying it and his actions toward Seth. Seth was being bullied and it made me SO MAD!

It reminded me of the times I got picked on at school and no one did a thing and it's a no wonder those kids at Columbine got so crazy that they killed everyone. Not that I'm justifying killing!! but if for years and years you are picked on and bullied and isolated by people and no one is willing to step up and protect you there's got to be a point where you just snap. Skin can only be so tough. Not that today's incident at the pool was all that huge a deal, but now that I have my own children I am learning that these feelings of anger are venting up again for my child. Can you tell I'm having a bad day?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad- a book review

Asne Seierstad is a young journalist in post-Taliban Afghanistan who is welcomed into the home of a middle-class bookkeeper and given the freedom to experience their lives with them on a daily basis. Being a westerner, she is permitted into both the lives of the men and women and she writes about her experiences in a collection of stories that is now The Bookseller of Kabul.

My struggle with this book is that I mainly just didn't really like the bookseller Sultan Khan, who is the center of the family. While I would applaud him for his efforts to save ancient Afghani liturature from the wrath of the Taliban, when it comes to his family and friends Sultan Khan is unforgiving and cold. It also reads more like a story, when I believe it was perhaps meant to be read more of a documentary. There were so many family members in the Khan family that I got frustrated when a chapter would end and a "story" or "event" would be left unfinished, though I supposed that the author was not present to find out about the rest. Anyhow, I put this book down temporarily for A Thousand Splendid Suns, and then picked it up again just to finish it.

There was one particular chapter toward the end that I found particularly interesting, when it discusses the American's involvement with tribal warlords in hiring them to help in the search for Bin Laden. These men who have always lived in an area of Afghanistan where tribal feuds guide war and life, are suddenly given jets, bombs and cell phones to the US AirForce which are not exactly used to fight Al Qaida, and they are unable to even identify Bin Laden in a picture in a magazine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Home Again Home Again Jiggidy Jog

So, we finally made it home last night with our wits still about us. Due to weather issues, we were delayed in D.C. for 3 1/2 hours, and even upon arriving in Columbia our plane had to circle around for 20 more minutes before it was allowed to land. I'm so proud of my boys. They were so good. Seth, especially, who did not throw any tantrums and listened to Mommy, and the poor kid had nothing to play with. The battery for the DVD player ran out half-way through the first flight and I didn't pack any toys for the plane for him because I'd planned for him to watch movies the whole time. One thing that I did like, that impressed me on this trip as well as the insanity of the flight up to NY, was how nice perfect strangers were that took pity on this Mom traveling alone with two small children and gave up their seat in the waiting area so I could sit down knowing that they may have to stand for several more hours. May God bless their good deeds tenfold.

This trip to NY was SO nice. Despite it's length being shorter than last month's trip, the weather was warmer and it was much less buggy. The black flies had died off and so I could take John outside, and the new sand on the beach was just perfect for keeping the kids entertained. I was able to take Seth out on the ATV several times and see a bunch of deer. Seth had his very first try at fishing, and in a roundabout way he contributed to the catch of one 14 inch rainbow trout. The water in the lake was a degree or two warmer than last month, and so much nicer to swim in. It's been much more fun now that Seth is older to be able to do these things, and I'm so excited that he loves to do them too. I have to say that my favorite part about this whole trip was riding the 4-wheeler with Seth. I don't get much kick out of superheroism that he is SO into nowadays, but it sure is fun to watch a boy, whose attention span is about a minute, be SO patient and careful reeling in the fishing line to try to catch that first fish. Or watch him sit so calmly and wave hello to the doe we were looking at just a few feet away from us. I think it's so cool that when he hears a frog or a woodpecker he can stop and listen and know exactly what animal is making that noise. So, now I'm going to shed a tear and think about how big by baby is getting...............

Sunday, July 8, 2007

This morning I drove my Dad's ATV down to the main road (about a mile and 1/2) and came within about 10-12 feet or so of a fawn. She was eating her breakfast, and hardly took notice of me. Being so close made me feel closer to God. In the past few days we've been here, Seth and I have seen numerous deer and wild turkeys on our drives on the trails around camp.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Laundry Soap Revisited

So, after more than a week of using my new homemade laundry soap, I must conclude that it works. The baby poop came out of the diapers and clothes, the dirt out of the 3-year-olds clothes, the spit-up out of my shirts. So, it looks like I'll be making my own soap for a long time. The only thing I must warn you of, and this was to me, is that this soap smells like nothing. For those who live in the woods or have newborn babies that is good, but for those who like to have nice smelling fresh laundry, I suggest adding some fragrant essence to the soap. I saw some at the craft store with the usual soap crafting scents like lavendar, orange, floral, etc. I plan on keeping the soap as-is without any fragrance, and then maybe using dryer sheets that smell like my favorite Snuggle Blue Sparkle (that bear is so darn cute and snuggly!).

Monday, July 2, 2007


Sunday, July 1, 2007


Just wanted to share a few pictures of my Pop, who died a few days ago while we were in WV. Here he is with Seth in 2003 when he was about 3 months old, and another family photo taken in 2005 with Pop in the middle.
Growing up, my sister and I called him Pop with the Cherries, to differentiate between him and our other Grandfather, because he always had extra cherries and cherry juice in his Manhattans. He would share the extra cherries with us, and when he was older and not allowed to drink anymore my Dad took on that responsibility and shared his liquor-soaked cherries with my Pop. My sister and I would buy him more marachino cherries for Christmas.
Pop would always stash some extra Hubba Bubba gum in the side table of his recliner for my sister and I as a treat since Mom would never buy us the sugary brands of gum.
He always saved up all the pop cans and bottles for my sister and I to separate and count when we visited, and then we'd bag them and drive with him to the recycle center to get the deposits back for them. The money would be split between my sister and I, sometimes to spend, but mostly to save for college.
Pop loved cookies, and we'd call him the Cookie Monster. He and my Grandma would always stock their cupboard with a package of double stuff oreos and those neopolitian wafer cookies for us when we visited. He loved Christmas cookies.
During the holidays when he and Grandma were visiting us, he would go for a walk into town to buy a newspaper. Upon his return, there would always be a box of stickybuns or donuts as well. "They just fell out of the newspaper!" He would always explain. For many years, I honestly thought that those sweets really did fall out of the paper.
Pop loved to golf, hunt, fish, and play cards. He taught us how to spit off the porch of the camp at Raven Lake, and thanks to him we have the camp at Lidge Lake now too. Last week he asked my Dad if he would take him fishing, though I'm sure he knew it was too difficult to take him. Now, like my Mom said, he's off fishing somewhere in Heaven and happy.

Country Roads, Take Us Home to the Place We Belong!

We had a great time visiting Great Grandaddy and Nani Lois in West Virginia. We drove up this past Wednesday and surprised Grandad on his birthday. It took us about 9 hours to drive up there, but we stopped for lunch and for dinner for about 45 minutes each, and then stopped a few times to let the kids stretch and go potty.

Thursday we had a nice dinner with the whole family, including Lois' children, spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren. So, Seth was able to play with Christian (pictured above) in the evenings and they really got along quite well.

Friday we took Grandad and Lois out for lunch to celebrate their birthdays, took Seth for a swim at the hotel, and then had more family time in the evening to finish leftovers from Thursday and just hang out and have fun. It is always great to spend time with our family. Both Grandad and Lois looked really good. And of course John charmed them all with his adorableness.

The drive up and back was just beautiful, as WV, next to NY is just a wonderfully picturesque state. While our car wasn't too happy with all the mountains we drove over, there's just something about WV mountains that feels like home.

A Thousand Splendid Sons by Khaled Hosseini

Yet another excellent read by Khaled Hosseini. A Thousand Splendid Sons takes place over the past few decades in Afghanistan during the many wars that have plagued their nation. It is a story of the plight of two women, Mariam and Laila, whose tragic lives bring them together in the same household as the two wives of a middle-class shoemaker in Kabul. Mariam, born a harami (an illigitimate child), her life is riddled with suffering and enduring. And Laila, who sacrifices her dreams of getting an education and having a career to save her own daughter from becoming a harami, after the love of her life heads to Pakistan to escape the war with his family.

I read this book in a few days while on our trip up to WV. It was a beautiful story, with just about everything in it. Tragedy, Sacrifice, Passion, Love, Violence, and an ending that brings everything together and makes it complete. The background activity during the story gives a great picture of what it must be like for people living in Afghanistan to be on the ground during the wars, a fabulous cultural picture of the struggle the country has between its desire to become more Westernized, and it's need to adhere to the strict Islamic laws and the affect that that struggle has on the freedoms that the women have in Kabul. If you enjoyed reading The Kite Runner, Hosseini's first novel, you will also enjoy A Thousand Splendid Suns.