Monday, March 31, 2008

Will he be bored?

I spoke with Stuntman's civilian boss recently. We work for the same company. His manager and coworkers are really anxious to have Stuntman return to work.
Stuntman is the type of guy that draws little attention to himself. He rarely, if ever, asks for help, but often helps out his coworkers. He tries to remain "under the radar" as much as possible. I don't think anyone realized just how much he did, until he left for the last year plus. Everyone has had to pick up more slack than they anticipated, even though they hired a temporary worker to help fill the gap. This does mean good job security for Stuntman though... at least his job is waiting for his return.

... but will he be bored with his civilian job when he returns?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I don't think so

I don't discuss politics here usually... never, actually.
I read and think about politics a lot, but don't discuss it here.
No one's coming here for my political insight... there are numerous other sites for that.
... but something caught my eye the other day while I was watching CNN (I only watch CNN at the gym, I don't have any news channels on during the day while the kids are around... too disturbing)
There was discussion about calls urging Hilary Clinton to bow out of the race now.
OK... I pay minor attention to the battles on the other side of the aisle... but what?!
It wasn't that long ago that her nomination was a given, I'm sure she was already packed to move back into the white house.
She really doesn't seem the type to give up that easily.

Cake and stuff

This is the cake made by E1.
She received a cake decorating kit for Christmas from Grandma. It's the kit that you probably have seen advertised on TV, many, many times. E1 did everything for this cake... I only put the pans in out of the oven.
It was delicious :)

For my birthday, I have decided to give my name back to myself.
I never really liked TripleE. My given name is Susan... so I'll go by that mostly. I'm sure I'll make comments around the blogsphere using TripleE now and then, but here, I'm Susan.
Sorry for the confusion :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I arrived to my "surprise" birthday party 2 hours early.
My sister-in-law planned a party for me ... just said that dinner was at 4. We always arrive at the family house a few hours early when they are in town visiting. That way the E's can play with their cousins that they don't see very often.
She was surprised (and a little pissed) when we arrived, but I'm glad that I missed the big "SURPRISE!!"... I don't think that I could have taken it. My emotions have been a bit on edge the last week. Stuntman leaving after R&R, my birthday, just everything, has been wearing on me... I would have totally lost it if I walked into a surprise party.

The photo above is one of my cakes.
I had a phone call from my best friend's father yesterday. He lives in MN (AZ in the winter). He told me to go to my local bakery today and pick up something. It was the cake.
24 years ago, I lived with my best friend and her family when we were in high school. Her father had his 40th birthday. We made a giant banner and put it on the big barn by the road. The banner said "Lordy, lordy, Donny's 40! HONK"
All day long, cars were honking as they drove by the farm. It wasn't until the end of the day that her father saw the banner. I can still see his face... and it wasn't smiling.
When I spoke to him yesterday, he said that he couldn't find a banner maker in my area, so he went with the cake. Through the the phone, I could hear his smile.

I'm enjoying my last few hours of being 39 by watching "True Lies" on TV... Stuntman and I always crack up at the line "but they were all bad"

Climbing the hill

bad case of PMS + Stuntman still gone + turning 40 tomorrow = bad combination

I really felt like kicking someone's arse today... but there was no one to kick.
so I went to the gym.

I feel much better now

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Circus dog, part 2

I am sure that Emma escaped from the circus before she ended up at the pound. We nicknamed her circus dog before.
Today, the kids were playing outside on the playset and "camping" at the top. Emma wanted to join in the fun and climbed up the ladder. She stayed up there as long as the kids did, then took the ladder back down. The slide was too intimidating for her.
That's one place she can escape from Sparky when she's a pest.

Emma went down the slide today (Friday). She's a riot!
Also... We LOVE this swingset! We purchased it almost a year ago from Playwell, a great local company.. I highly recommend them if you are in the market for a playset of your own.
We'll be adding options (such as a rock wall) when E3 is a little older.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Part of him is still here

Stuntman left home at the end of R&R more than 2 weeks ago.

The morning he left, he changed his ACU shirt when he realized that the one he was wearing was faded more than his pants. He removed the velcro patches and the pins and put them onto his new shirt. The old one was hung on the back of a kitchen chair.

It's still there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I still got it

my accent, that is...
saw this over at Insignificant Inquiries and had to check it out.
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
North Central
The West
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, March 24, 2008

A night out

We just returned from the movie.
The E's and I saw "Horton Hears a Who" at the drive-in movie theatre. Yes, there is one still around.
I remember going to the drive-in when I was little, it was very close to my house, so we went quite often. We would always go early so that we could play on the playground before the movie started. My mom would bring popcorn and buy me a malt-flavored ice cream that came with a wooden spoon. I never saw those sold anywhere else, it was my special drive-in treat. We would change into our pj's during the movie and fall asleep during the second show.

We only stayed for the first show tonight.. it was still a huge bargain. Only $8 per adult and kids under 11 are free. So that means that for the four of us, it was a whopping $8. Compare that to the fifty bucks or more it takes at the regular theatre when you factor in popcorn and twizzlers!

So, if you're in the SoCal area, there is a drive-in, it has multiple screens, shows new movies, and it's fun for the family.
Pacfic Vineland Drive-In in City of Industry. Just off of the 605 and Valley Blvd. Easy to get to from almost anywhere. It's not that close to our house, but it's worth it. Relive a part of your childhood... and go to the drive-in!


I have a hangover... a sugar and chocolate hangover.
is that possible?

I did make it to the gym today... that helped.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Eggs and sprinklers

The kids are outside running in the sprinklers.
It's 90 degrees. On Easter.
At least I didn't need to worry that they would be too cold in their dresses this morning.
The day has gone very well so far.
We made it to mass in plenty of time to get our regular seats (ones that are near the door in case E3 acts up).
Came home to an egg hunt, had breakfast, bachelor Uncle joined us.
Now I'm sitting here with the hams warming in the oven, surfing the net a bit, waiting to go to the cousin's house.

I really miss my husband today.

There was an email from him today... he received his care package with the Easter egg in it. Just in time.





Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring has sprung

It was a beautiful and warm day today. 90 degrees and sunny.
On the road, there were many people driving convertibles with the top down. I've never had a convertible. They're not very practical in Minnesota, and since I've lived in California, I've mainly driven company cars or my minivan.
Stuntman's pickup did have a removable sun roof that we would take off when we went out 4x4ing ... we stopped doing that when we hit a big mud pit once and mud splashed inside on us.
It was so warm today that I wore a short skort. My legs are so pale that they are almost transparent. Note to self: use the self-tanning lotion tonight, and tomorrow, and the next day.

Tomorrow is Easter. Easter has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. When I was little, it was probably because it was usually near my birthday. I also loved (and still do) reading the story of the empty tomb. It is still my favorite day of the year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

different years

I was at the gym, pedaling my ass off, literally, and watching CNN. They were doing a video montage of the last 5 years of the Iraq war… and it hit me.
Here I am, in my middle-class suburbia life and the love of my life is… there.

It’s not as if I haven’t seen video of the war before…
or thought of the current differences of our two lives…
but for some reason, I became weepy, right there in the gym.

I’ve never doubted that when this deployment was over, that we would just pick up where we left off… that our relationship would be the same… that we would be the same… that we would be the same together.
I’ve read about reintegration issues and problems, but I never thought that those would apply to us. We’ve always been two halves of the same whole.
It’s not as if his time home on leave gave me any doubts. We were “us” again.

… but for some reason, seeing those videos of the war hit home today. Stuntman has seen things that I can only imagine, and things that I don’t care to imagine. We’ve discussed some of the things he’s seen… some of the places he’s been… but I’m still so na├»ve.

I’m sure he’ll still be my easy-going Stuntman… But I know he will have changed somehow. How could he not?

Easter memory

Jan, over at Standing By has a funny post about last year's Easter experiences. It made me recall Easter two years ago.
The tradition at our house is this:
Up early... attend early Easter mass. Arrive home and see that the Easter Bunny visited the house while we were gone. The kids search for eggs in the front yard and then notice a basket for them on the front porch. It's been the same , up until 2 years ago.
To pull this off, Stuntman hides the eggs in the wee hours of the morning, then when we bring the kids to the car, we keep them distracted so they don't notice any brightly colored eggs in the bushes. Stuntman then has to "go back into the house because he forgot something" and sets out the baskets.
Two years ago, the tradition was going as planned, the girls found the eggs, the baskets, and were in the living room dumping out their eggs and looking at the candy.
It seems that a couple years ago, egg manufacturers thought it was necessary to put tiny little holes into the eggs. I don't know why, so the plastic chick can breathe? I don't know. Anyhow, the grass was damp that morning, and slugs squeezed their way inside of the eggs. After the girls had opened a few eggs, they began seeing the slugs. They were everywhere.
The blood-curdling screams that came from our house must have terrified the neighbors.

Last year the eggs were hidden inside the house.

Stuntman was deployed last Easter also, so I had my neighbor hide the eggs while the kids and I were at church. I hope she can repeat her job as Easter bunny this year.

Stuntman bought all of the Easter bunny supplies while he was home on leave and right now I have an email to him that is awaiting a response. It says "where did you hide the Easter stuff?!"
I hope he replies soon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pool maintenance

I cleaned the pool today.
It wasn't very dirty. Stuntman did a very thorough cleaning of it when he was here. I had let it go a bit. It wasn't filthy, but it sure wasn't clean.
When Stuntman arrived home on leave, he had made a comment about me not needing his help around here since I seemed to have everything under control... then he saw the pool.

Since the first day of spring is this week, I'm making a promise to myself that I will keep the pool clean. I'll need to drop the ball somewhere else now... I wonder where.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wrong number

Two nights in a row, I've received a misdialed call.
They were AT&T collect calls. The caller didn't state a name, just "pick up" or "it's me", like the person they were calling was expecting their call.
I wasn't expecting calls, so I refused the charges and hung up the phone.
The calls originated from LA Mens Central Jail.
I hope some guy isn't using his one phone call to call a wrong number every night.
I wonder if I'll receive another call tonight.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

the ranch

We visited a friend today. He, lets call him "B", and his wife have a horse ranch about an hour and a half from here with some of the most beautiful horses that I have ever seen. I don't know my horse terminology well, but they are dressage and jumping horses, about 30 of them. The girls wanted to ride one, but I wasn't about to let them on a horse that cost more than my house... I didn't know if there was a "you break it, you buy it" policy.
E1 had fun talking with the horse trainers and riders and asking how they liked their job. What is it with little girls and horses?
We spent over 5 hours there and the kids were wiped out when we left. We'll have to go back soon. B said that the girls could ride one next time. We'll see. They aren't exactly the pony rides at Griffith Park.
I received some good investment advice and had a great political chat with someone that gets it. Last time I took his investment advice, I had a HUGE return, but I didn't take it soon enough, or invest enough, or I would now be a multi-millionaire. Oh well, live and learn.

I did see my dream house down the road from him is for sale, but I think that my net worth needs to be moved over a decimal place before I can afford it.

*update* I saw the realtor's listing for the house online.... over 3 mil and over 11,000 sq.ft. , who needs 11,000 sq.ft.? I would never be able to leave the house, I would never be able to find my keys or the kids shoes if I had to search 11,000 sq.ft. for them!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Circus dog

Emma went to the park with us today. She was having a blast and following the kids around. She even followed E3 up the stairs, up two platforms, and down a double slide... five times.
I think she escaped from the circus before she ended up at the pound.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring has sprung

Today we planted the garden. I've been living here in SoCal for 12+ years, and it still seems so odd to plant anything before Memorial Day. I picked up a few bags of soil and a couple tomato plants and the girls picked out a bunch of seeds. The girls (with a little help from E3) did all of the planting. E1 read all of the packages to see the depth and spacing recommended and then they planted everything. Seeds are pretty forgiving, we usually have a pretty successful garden. We have tomatoes, pea pods, carrots, watermelon, zucchini, parsley, and sunflowers. I'll pick up some potatoes and radishes to add to the mix soon.
I planted a few climbing vines along the fence on top of the hill, I hope they take root well and grow.
I've hit the gym every day this week. I didn't go at all when Stuntman was here. I didn't want to sacrifice any time with him. I gained a couple pounds over his visit, could just be hormonal, or could be because I ate more than usual, and didn't get any exercise except walking around theme parks and ummm some other type of exercise I had been missing for a year.
Monday morning brought a stack of FedEx packages to my front door. I'm back to work.... so I better get going.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just a dream?

Good thing that I took so many pictures... or I wouldn't believe that Stuntman had been here. It feels like just a dream... a very good dream.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stage 3

The kids R&R to-do list:


We finished it, just in time. He's gone... again.
That sucks.

We broke this deployment up into 3 parts.
part 1-a couple months of stateside training
a few days leave
part 2-10 months overseas
part 3-just a few months left

It felt so normal to have him home. Now back to the Groundhog Days of single-parenthood. I'm still in a fog right now, didn't really sleep last night. He had an early flight, we were up late, and I enjoyed watching him sleep one more time before he headed back.
The alarm went off at 0430... I nudged him awake and said "time to go to war".

Flowers for Lemon Stand

Get well soon Lemon Stand!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Troops with hearing loss on the rise

I was just telling Stuntman to turn down the TV, again, when I read this story.
He said that he wouldn't be surprised if he had some hearing loss as a result of nearby explosions.
(AP) U.S. soldiers and Marines caught in roadside bombings and firefights in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home in epidemic numbers with permanent hearing loss and ringing in their ears, prompting the military to redouble its efforts to protect the troops from noise.

read the entire story here

Like it should be

Late last night, Stuntman and I were cozy on the sofa, watching a replay of the Daytona Supercross. It was a great race to watch. The torrential rain had soaked the track and the riders were barely making it through the mud and muddy lakes that were once a supercross track. It reminded us of a dirtbike outing we had years ago. We rode in the rain and were covered in mud from head to toe. The bikes were so full of mud that we could barely hold onto them or load them into the truck. We laughed hysterically. It was such a fun day.

E3 woke up part way through the race last night and wanted to watch one of his shows on TV. He snuggled between us and he watched the race with us. It must be in the genes. I remember when I was in my hospital room, E3 was hours old, and I was watching motorcross on TV when Stuntman came back to the hospital with the girls. Maybe E3 remembered that :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

errands done

I ran a couple errands today. I needed to drop off two things:

1) A bag containing E3's stool sample to the lab for analysis

2) A bag containing Girl Scout cookie money to the bank for deposit

The lab and the bank were less than a block apart from each other.
I sure hope that I didn't get the two bags mixed up.


Legoland, take 2

Yesterday we went to Legoland in Carlsbad.
It was open. Stuntman didn't need to take a security guard hostage so we could enjoy the park.
The weather was perfect. It was warm enough so the girls could enjoy Pirate Shores, the little water park inside Legoland. E1 was soaked, but Stuntman bought a towel and she dried... eventually.
E3 is 34 inches tall and was able to ride several rides! He wasn't completely left out of the fun. His favorite was the safari ride. A little car that drives past Lego animals. We went on it 3 times in a row.
I have no idea how Legoland sustains itself. It was empty... the longest line was 5 minutes long, and many rides had no line at all. Sooooo much more enjoyable than crowded Disneyland. Disneyland is always crowded. I've been there weekdays, weekends, summer, winter, you name it... and it is always more crowded than the busiest that I have seen it at Legoland. Legoland isn't for everyone. I can see how it would be boring for kids over 12. Our kids love it. Some of the rides require you to move, so if you're lazy, it's not the park for you either. E1 really liked the Sky Cruiser. You need to pedal the car to move you along the roller coaster-type track. It was a lot of fun, but a workout too. I didn't feel so guilty eating that giant ice cream cone after that. Or after pumping the lever to race the fire truck down the track, and pumping the lever to squirt water to put out the "fire' at the Fun Town Fire Academy.

One odd thing that I noticed, is the different people that I saw at Legoland vs Disneyland. At Disneyland I felt very thin. There were so many large, obese families there. Not just a few. I've noticed that before, and I feel so insensitive even mentioning it. I'm not exactly the picture of fitness myself, but I saw way too many people that were just plain huge. Mom, dad, and all the kids too. When I see a small child that is so fat that he/she can barely walk, it saddens me. How do they gain so much in such a short time on this earth? I'm sure some are because of medical reasons, but not all!
At Legoland, I didn't see one obese family, not one. Odd.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We're the Griswolds

We headed to Legoland today. It's a great place for kids the age of ours, and it rarely has lines during the week.
After a couple hours of "are we there yet?", we finally arrive in Carlsbad. We followed the signs to Legoland... then noticed that the road was closed. Uh Ohhhh... I had checked the website on Sunday... we originally planned to go yesterday... crap... it's closed. Called the park and found out that for a few weeks it is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Man, am I an idiot.
So we drove back up the 5 and went to Disney's California Adventure instead.
The day turned out great. We all had a good time. E1 and E2 had each grown a few inches since our visit last fall and passed the height requirement for additional rides. Everyone was happy.
Note to self: ALWAYS check park hours BEFORE leaving the house.

Monday, March 3, 2008

We were hungry

Stuntman has been home for 1 week and tonight was the first time I cooked him a proper dinner.
We've been sick and not in the mood to cook or eat.
I've really missed cooking for him. I like to cook (and eat), and cooking for the kids just isn't the same. I swear the girls live on air, and most of E3's food ends up on the floor or in the dogs tummy.
I grilled steak and potatoes and had a green salad. Nothing fancy, but it was delicious. I grilled a couple extra steaks and I'll use those for fajitas tomorrow.

E1 and I spent a few hours this afternoon selling Girl Scout cookies outside of a grocery store. I'm rid of over half of the cookies I had in the storeroom. Hopefully we'll sell the remaining ones next weekend. My van was seriously loaded down when I picked up the cookies last weekend... just minutes after Stuntman arrived home actually. Somehow the timing was perfect.

It is crazy windy here right now... has been all day. It wasn't windy at the grocery store, and it's not windy at the end of the block, but here, it's I-think-the-house-is-going-to-lift-off-of-the-foundation windy.

So far, the kids R&R to-do list: