Monday, December 31, 2007

Go Vikings


I’m getting really sick of saying “there’s always next year”
History has repeated … again.
Maybe I should start rooting for the Packers… at least they have cool cheese heads… I love cheese.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mid-life crisis?


Yesterday I received my first tattoo.
It's not as if it was a spur of the moment thing. I've had the appointment for 3 months.
I wanted to do it not only because I'll be 40 soon, but also to remember this year. The palm tree represents my SoCal hubby Stuntman... and see the 3 little coconuts? E1, E2 and E3.
I cropped and blurred the photo a bit to disguise Stuntman's real name, but you can see most of the tattoo.
The artist, Henry Powell, did a great job, I think.
We (I went with a friend that received her first tattoo) chose him because we knew many people that had been tattooed by him in the past. He was worth the 3 month wait.
He's one of the artists at six feet under.
I hadn't even thought about the pain, until today. It wasn't that bad. I wouldn't want full body art, but not that bad.
This is from someone that has had 3 kids and has had her knee accidently bend the wrong direction at one time... and the title of my blog? how do you think I came up with that?... I'm not known to be injury free.
I like it, and I guess that's what matters... I haven't received an email back from Stuntman yet with his reaction.
*update*
I received an email back from Stuntman... "I take that as a yes, that you will be there when I come home"
I guess there have been a few Dear John's in his unit.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I'm not ready

Yesterday, E3 wanted to use the potty. I KNOW... he's just a baby! He just turned 18 months, and E1 trained herself by 22 months. He took me by the hand and wanted to sit there, only gas, but that's something.
Instead of happy that he's reaching this milestone, I found myself sad. I'm not ready for him to be a big boy. Definitely not before Stuntman comes home, he was barely crawling when he left!
I told Stuntman what E3 did, he was excited "keep at it, he may be trained before I get home, I may never have to change another diaper!"
I guess it's just one's perspective.

So, I met this chick on the internet...

...sounds like something my brother-in-law would say.
I met the amazing Butterfly Wife for coffee yesterday. She's in town visiting family for the holidays. It was great conversation, but went much too fast before my sitter called.
Coffee with someone that gets it, $3.65. Having someone listen to my rants and raves, priceless.
During this deployment, I've really had no military connection or connection with any other military families, except through blogging. Spousebuzz has been a lifesaver. The Life and Times of a Butterfly Wife is an amazing blog, written by an amazing woman. She is an inspiration.
Thank you Butterfly Wife. Thanks to everyone that is helping me navigate through this deployment. I've realized that I am not crazy... or just not any crazier than anyone else.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the day after


The day after Christmas tradition of the in-laws.
It was a beautiful day at the beach. Several tons of sand arrived home in pockets and in the car... but isn't that why vacuum cleaners were invented?
We had a wonderful Christmas although I was weepy at times. The kids had a blast playing all day. I ate more yesterday than all last week total.
I can't wait until next Christmas when Stuntman is here and we can enjoy it as a complete family.

Only 15 more hours until I meet, in-person, an amazing blog friend! Yippie! Coffee and conversation with a grown-up! Yippie!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

It's almost Christmas...
I just hung up from a video chat from Stuntman, great connection , it was like he was with me while I wrapped the gifts and set them under the tree. Usually he's the one that does all of that. I do the cooking.

We attended mass earlier in the evening, it was packed and we sat outside, the wind came up, a cold wind, a few people left, but it was bearable. I just kept thinking of all those around the world that cannot openly practice their faith and would love to be attending church under those conditions.
Cookies and milk are out for Santa, carrots for Rudolph, kids are snug in their beds.

I've already used my propane torch to glaze my budget version of Honeybaked Ham. Just as tasty (I've had many compliments on it), plus it's fun to take out the bern-o-matic.
I'm going to make monkey bread and my phyllo dough sausage egg bake for the morning. (recipe here) After opening our gifts here, we'll travel down to the inlaws to see Stuntman's sister and brothers and have brunch. I'm sure the kids will play all day.

I'll get cooking... the power just flickered off for a moment, it is windy outside.

Merry Christmas everyone!

*update* A recipe request was made for the ham. It is a less than $20 version of the $80 ham at the store, without the 2 hour wait.
1 fully cooked shank half ham, bone in (pre-sliced)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash ground ginger
dash ground allspice
Mix sugar and spices together, coat the ham with the mixture. Place the ham on a pan, flat side down. Use a propane torch with a medium flame to caramelize the sugar , wave it slowly over the glaze so it bubbles, but doesn't burn. Repeat with additional sugar mixture and torch until it's just right. You will not use all of the sugar.
Eat cold, or reheat in the oven.

According to E2-part 2

Her To-Do list (exact words):

"-church
-sleep
-Santa
-wake up
-unwrap
-play"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

According to E2

"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets to swim"

her version of the It's a Wonderful Life quote

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lots and lots of laundry

It seems to be that I didn't have food poisoning after all.
Just as I was going to bed at midnight, E1 started complaining of a stomachache. (I was concerned since none of the kids ate much at dinner). Shortly after, E3 awoke to a puddle of puke. My night consisted of taking care of those two and doing a ton of laundry.
Somehow, (knocking on wood here) E2 seems to be fine after a bit of an upset stomach at dinner.
They all seem to be on the mend, and I recovered just in time. Grandma is sick now too, and sleeping. Hopefully we will be good as new for the weekend.
I spoke to the mother of E1's best friend at school, seems that she had it on Wednesday... going around.
Time to put in another load of laundry...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not.Fun.

I think someone tried to kill me…
or maybe it was just food poisoning.
I spent most of my 18 hour fast kneeling on the bathroom floor.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Thank Goodness, Grandma is visiting to keep an eye on the kids.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wow

I needed to run to Trader Joe's tonight to pick up a few essentials... milk, bread, cereal and Candy-Cane Joe-Joe's.
On the way home, I ran into this house... I've seen ones like this on YouTube before, but it is really cool in person. The kids and grandma want to see it every night before bed, and I think we will. video video

Stuntman is really going to have a hard time keeping up with the Joneses next year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

To the Fallen Records

Today, I received my order of CD's from To the Fallen Records.
I ordered "Rock-Vol 1" and "Country- Vol 1". There is also a hip-hop CD, but I didn't order it... one hip-hop song now and then is OK, but I couldn't handle an entire CD.
I've listened to both of them while I was working tonight. twice.
I have some new favorite songs, and a couple made me absolutely bawl.
fight for me on the rock album is great.
start saving me expresses exactly how I feel on my bad days with lyrics such as "I'm holdin' on, I can barely breathe, come on home,and rescue me, forget the world, start saving me"
There are several more that I would like to talk more about, but a baby is calling my name... maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

the Gratitude Campaign

Saw this over at Most Certainly Not and needed to pass it along...

My crush


SNL had a special tonight remembering Chris Farley... 10 years after his death. I missed some of it because I just wasn't aware that it was going to be on.
Chris Farley cracks me up. Tommy Boy is my all-time favorite movie. His death was unnecessary, disturbing, sad but not surprising. He followed in John Belushi's footsteps...two great losses, both jut 33 years old when they died.
Stuntman saw Chris Farley shortly before he died.
Stuntman knew (but did not believe) of my infatuation with the man. He was on my list along with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Val Kilmer and Kid Rock.
Humor is a straight shot to my heart. That's what first interested me in Stuntman, and his cute butt of course.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Back to the present time

Today, I read over at Butterfly Wife’s place that she’s in need of a time machine to bring her to the end of the deployment. I’ve been wishing for the same thing for the last year or so, but I also worry about what that wish really means.
I’m wishing my life away… I’m not living in enjoying the present… I’m wishing my children to grow up faster… I’m missing so much.
I have spent a good portion of this deployment just “going through the motions”… feeding and clothing the kids, feeding the dogs, keeping up the house, working, etc..
I didn’t want to enjoy anything. I was focusing only on my “to do” list of the boring, but necessary things that need to be done by me, and me alone since I’m now a temporary single parent.
My happiness suffered and the kid’s happiness suffered.
The kids are growing… I can’t stop that. They will be a year older than last Stuntman saw them. I wasn’t focusing on all of the things they’ve learned this year, all of the growth in their little personalities. I was just trying to keep them in one piece until Stuntman was home to be Daddy again.
A few weeks ago I realized all that I was missing… and I decided that I didn’t want to miss any more. I looked at the kids with fresh eyes and saw how they’ve grown. How did this all happen?
E1 is so mature. She really carries herself well. She’s not as stubborn as she has been since birth. Compromise is actually an option with her now.
E2 is no longer a toddler…. she is on the verge of reading. She’s not always the easy-going kid she used to be. She’s strong in her opinions… when did that happen?
E3, who was just a wiggly baby at the beginning of this deployment is an energetic toddler. “Energetic” doesn’t even begin to describe him. I swear he understands every word I say, and his language is improving.
The doggies have changed too... I couldn't stop Pumpkin from dying without Stuntman here, and Roxie and Sparky have "matured" since her passing.

I guess I just wanted the end to be here so Stuntman wouldn’t miss anything… but instead I missed it right in front of my face.

They're Gone!

Yep, I tossed them all.
My fat pants, that is.
I went through my closet and my dresser. I purged anything that was too big or that I just plain would never wear again... like maternity clothes.
Man, that felt good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What a beautiful day

OK... I complain about living in LA sometimes... smog, crazy people, it costs too much $$$, no one speaks english, etc...
but today it seemed all worth it. It was chilly last night, maybe 40 degrees. (hey, I know what real chilly is, I grew up in Minnesota and played outside in below zero temps, but it's all relative)
Today was gorgeous. 60, sunny, no wind or a cloud in the sky.
I brought E2 and E3 to the pony rides at Griffith Park, then a little train ride. We followed with a couple hours at Shane's Inspiration, a great playground specifically designed for kids with disabilities, but also an awesome playground for all kids. I usually have a star-sighting there, but not today.
After dinner, the kiddos donned their jammies, we loaded up the car and we went to the coffee drive-thru for chocolate shakes for the kids and an eggnog latte for me. We drove around looking at Christmas lights for over an hour. One neighborhood we visited really goes all out. Each street has a theme and almost every home for blocks and blocks is decorated. Stuntman would love to live in a neighborhood like that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I could learn something

E1 was twirling around the room (like she often does). I asked her what she was doing and she said
"I'm dancing like nobody's watching"

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I was impressed

The shop finished my car and I was able to pick it up. I almost didn't recognize it, it was as good as new.... shiny and clean, inside and out. E2 looked inside and thought her "seat looked funny". I told her it was because it was clean.
During the 2 week repair process, I had a rental car from Enterprise. When I returned it, I had what was possibly the most positive customer service experience I have had in years. I'm in the process of writing a letter thanking them and naming the two employees that were so absolutely helpful.
When we arrived to return the van, we sat in the waiting area and E2 proceeded to say "I'm hungry!". She had already eaten 2, yes 2 breakfasts. I had nothing in my bag, I am usually very prepared, but didn't think of it because it was only 10 am and she had already eaten twice already! The Enterprise employee came over and asked if she liked oatmeal (only her favorite food!)... he then made instant oatmeal for her in a styrofoam cup and she ate every last bite. She must be having a growth spurt.
The employee that drove me to the car repair shop (which was outside of their usual delivery area) was also so friendly and helpful. He waited at the shop until he knew I was satisfied with the work done on my car so I wouldn't be stuck there with 2 kids and 2 carseats. He even held E3 while I installed the carseat into my car. Let's just say I was impressed with everything.

Friday, December 7, 2007

a bit of history...


my father (on the left)


Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. My dad was on a ship, about to enter Pearl Harbor, the morning of December 7, 1941.
I don’t know exactly what my father did on the ship; I do know that he worked below, in the “fireroom”. My father passed away from cancer Thanksgiving Day, 1982.
I wish that he were still alive so I could ask him questions. He did say once, that he saw bullets strike across the deck of the ship. He rarely spoke of the war…he was a man of few words. He never even spoke on the telephone, except to say “hello”. Prior to and during World War II, my father was on the USS Antares. His ship was mentioned in the movie “Tora, Tora, Tora” . I have seen this movie dozens of times. A few years ago, I purchased the DVD. I think of my father every time I see the DVD case.
He was one of the few that witnessed the start of the war…before the Japanese planes arrived the morning of December 7th.

Here is an exerpt from wikipedia:

Entering Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked
On 7 December 1941, Antares stood toward the entrance to Pearl Harbor at 0630 with a 500-ton steel barge in tow, having arrived from Canton and Palmyra and expecting to transfer the barge to a tug and then proceed into Pearl. Not sighting the tug at the appointed time, Antares altered course, turning slowly to the east, when her watch suddenly spotted a suspicious object about 1,500 yards on the auxiliary's starboard quarter. Antares notified the destroyer USS Ward (DD-139), on patrol off the harbor entrance, and the latter altered course toward the object which proved to be a midget submarine. A Consolidated PBY from Patrol Squadron 14 showed up almost simultaneously and dropped smoke floats in the vicinity; meanwhile, Ward went to general quarters and attacked, sinking the intruder.


Attacked with no armament to respond
While the report of this incident off the harbor entrance was making its way up the chain of command with glacial slowness, Antares spotted the tug USS Keosanqua (AT-38) at 0715. At 0758 Antares spotted explosions in Pearl Harbor and Japanese planes; two minutes later an enemy aircraft strafed the ship, and soon thereafter, bomb and shell fragments (perhaps American "overs" or unexploded antiaircraft shells) hit the water nearby. As Antares' captain, Capt. Lawrence C. Grannis, subsequently reported of events at that point, "As this vessel is not armed, no effective offensive or defensive tactics appeared possible." Passing the tow to Keosanqua at 0835, Antares zigzagged and turned to a position between the restricted waters of the entrance to Pearl Harbor and the entrance to Honolulu harbor, inshore of the warships beginning to sortie.



more information regarding the USS Antares can be found here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A bonus


Sometimes the kids wake up before the alarm.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

He has no idea how lucky he is

Chocolate Chip, the hamster, is staying in my office for a few weeks.
My mother is visiting from Minnesota and sleeping in the girl's room. Hamsters are nocturnal... Grandma is not... so therefore, Chocolate Chip has a new temporary home. His cage is placed inside a baby playpen... I have no shelf or table space available in my office, it's a bit of a mess... I'm sure a fire marshall would have me fined, or arrested.
Sparky stepped into my office tonight and began sniffing and trying to reach under the playpen. Then I see a flash of black and white on the floor. I fly out of my chair, grab Sparky, and drag her out of my office.
Little Chocolate Chip is sitting there , out in the open, looking at me.
That hamster really has no survival instinct, but he is soooo lucky.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

On with Decorating...

A busy day here... good , because it helped get me out of the funk I've been in lately.
Church, huge birthday party at a friends, and decorating.
I was able to hang the lights outside. Stuntman goes a little overboard with the outside lights. Not as bad as Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation...but that is his eventual goal. He adds something each year.
I did not climb onto the roof to hang lights from the eaves. I have a lot of left-over light strings, but it's not too bad. It looks as if a drunk monkey decorated, but the kids think it's beautiful... and that's what counts. Only two neighbors can see the decorations, we have a long driveway, and the lights can't really be seen from the street, unless you stand in a particular spot, and tilt your head... but we enjoy them.
The inside tree is almost complete. I really have too many decorations. Everyone collects something ... some people collect stamps, coins, shoes, Stuntman collects camo pants and TA50, and I collect Christmas ornaments. I've added 5-10 Hallmark ornaments every year since 1984... you do the math. Every one is unique, and reminds me of something or someone. It takes us forever to put them all on the tree, but it's also a fun trip down memory lane. More to do tomorrow...
I'm going to do what Kelly suggested in a comment in my last post, and walk toward the sunshine.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Little Christmassy

Tonight we went to a local Christmas parade. It was chilly outside, probably mid-forties. (chilly for my SoCal blood and those around me)
It was a fun parade. A small-town atmosphere, everyone and their brother was in it.
Santa did 3 fly-bys in a helicopter and waved at the crowd, and it concluded with Santa on a fire truck waving at the kids. We watched, sipping hot cocoa and eating churros. E3 waved and yelled “Hi!” to almost everyone walking by in the parade. His little hand was just waving for over an hour straight.
It was a nice end to a day that had it’s down moments.
I decided that I wanted to put up the tree this weekend. I have an fake everlasting tree after having real trees for years. I got sick of the needles and the dropping ornaments in the middle of the night.
The only thing I had on Stuntman’s to-do list before he left was to bring the tree out of the attic and put it into the downstairs storage room. I searched the room today…no tree.
I checked the attic…there’s the tree. It’s a huge box. I hate the attic…it creeps me out. I’ve carried the tree box before, I was the one that brought it home from the store, but today I could not budge it. I couldn’t open the box to take the tree out piece by piece. My sore arm (it’s been hurting for months, a strain from carrying E3) was killing me. I realized that I was stuck. I was stuck putting together a Christmas for the family… alone.
I broke down in tears; tears of frustration because of the f!%&#ing tree, and tears from the realization that Stuntman would not be celebrating Christmas with us this year.
How am I suppose to do this?! Who ever thought that I could do this!? Dammit!
E3 then came around the corner and looked at me… I realized that I needed to get over it and just do it. I did. The tree is up, but we’re decorating it tomorrow.