Thursday, June 30, 2005


I'm on the verge of having 15,000 hits!

I can't believe there are people out there that stop & read. My awful writing. My rambling sentences. My incomplete sentences. My boring little life.

But...THANKS to all of you who do come by on a regular basis.

Let me know you're out there! Leave me a comment. A link to your website. Anything. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A day at the park

Saturday we were at the park. ALL DAY.

LilSis wanted to have her graduation celebration at this particular park. It's a grassy area right next to the beach. The only thing that separates the park from the beach is the sidewalk. We've had lots of family gatherings at this location in the past. Lots of good memories. So, LilSis figured it was the best place for us all to gather.

The only thing is? It's a public park. No reservations. Someone had to go early to stake a claim to the area. Who did that turn out to be? Shorty. LilSis boyfriend.

Shorty showed up at 7am with his roommate to get an area. Two other groups had already claimed the treelined grass area. Shorty and his roommate laid out a perimeter. A perimeter made of soda boxes, lawn chairs, a grill, briquettes, and blankets.

We showed up around 9:30am with Starbucks in hand. My Mom drove separately because she was picking up some food. In the PT Cruiser, I had the cold stuff & ice in coolers. We reinforced the perimeter and hung out. We hung out all day. We didn't leave the park until 7:30pm. That's right. SEVEN THIRTY in the evening. That's 10 full hours at the park.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day. It was in the 60s when we first got there. It got up to the mid-70s at the most. There was a slight breeze. The grass was soft. We had a wide area to spread out.

What did we do all day? We ate a load of food. Breadsticks & salad from Pat & Oscar's. Chicken wings. Lumpia (Filipino eggrolls). Pancit (Filipino pasta dish). Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Marinated tri-tip steaks. Strawberry Pie. Puto (Filipino dessert). We had enough food for lunch AND for dinner. It was fantastic.

In between eating, we played. We bumped the volleyball. We tossed a couple Frisbees. We threw the football around. The kiddos played ball & swords. They also colored and squished Playdoh. Some of the boys played the guitar & sang. We laid out on blankets and talked. And laughed. And talked. Sis#2, my Mom, and I even got to meet Shorty's parents (who dropped by for a bit).

It was so relaxing. It was so much fun.

The changes I saw...

I must say it was nice to see the changes in my parents' house.

The kitchen only needs new flooring and window coverings. It's got Corian (in Sandstone) counters and a sink. This way they've got a seamless edge. They opted for one large sink instead of two smaller ones. They did get a new dishwasher so they're using that instead of handwashing the dishes (pots are still being handwashed). The refaced cabinets are nice. I would have chosen a different doorstyle and color, but it definitely looks updated. They painted the flourescent lighting box to match the ceiling color, so it blends more instead of being a huge eyesore. They did change the lights over the sink and the nook area to something similar to this.

They still need to get the popcorn (acoustic) ceiling scraped off, primed, and painted. I do believe they'll stick to a flat white finish up there. They are going to get the walls painted at the same time. The flooring in all the downstairs is going to be done by a different vendor. Tile in the kitchen and powder room. A wood laminate in the family room, living room, entry, and dining room. They did change out the lighting fixtures in the dining, entry, and stairway to something similr to the photo below. It's more of an antique bronze finish on it.

They chose white for the refacing in the bathrooms and hallway. They installed simple brushed nickel hardware. They updated the hollywood lighting fixture in the powder room. The toilets are simple and use less water. LilSis bathroom and the powder room have new mirrors. Out went the huge panes of glass that we all get in a new home and in went framed rectangle pieces. Shorty said that he'd want a bathroom just like it.

I was so busy running around all weekend that I didn't take photos of all the updates. Dang it! But maybe next time (or if LilSis can find the time in her busy schedule).

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Nope...not yet

My sister doesn't have a ring on her finger...yet.

Shorty didn't ask for her hand in marriage as yet. But we do know the two of them have discussed it. They've discussed how many children they want. They've discussed where they'd live once they get married. They'ved discussed how he'll support them while she attends law school. They've discussed how she'll support them while he gets his masters.

But there's no ring. No engagement.

There is a time limit though. He got her a graduation present. Why would a present affect their impending engagement? Because he's arranged a weeklong trip to HAWAII in September.

I know my folks would NOT want my sister to go on a trip with a guy. If there was no future. If there was no commitment. So we (Sis#2, Jello, and I) let Shorty know that there NEEDS to be a ring on LilSis finger before the folks will approve of the trip.'s old fashioned. But it's what's expected.


There we were (the Princess and I) at the rental car agency. Our flight was 30 minutes late. I had to haul our two duffle bags (no wheels) up a flight of stairs, across a bridge, down a flight of stairs, and across a street. Oh yeah. While holding the Princess' hand to be sure she was safe. I was tired. I was sweaty. I wanted my vehicle. NOW.

I waited patiently in line. We weren't in a hurry. I just wanted to get see my family.

Rental Agent: "Hi. May I help you?"

Me: "Yes. I've got a reservation. It's number DG3252CJ."

Rental Agent: "Let me look it up."

He types the information into the computer.

Rental Agent: "Looks like you've got a mid-size. Right?"

Me: "Yup!"

Rental Agent: "So what're you in town for?"

I look over at the Princess who is sitting on top of a duffle looking around at everything. I wave to her. She waves back.

Me: "We're visiting my folks. It's girls weekend. We left my husband and son at home."

Rental Agent: "Oh fun! You know...for only $9 more you can get a PT Cruiser."

Me: "Naw. That's okay. We just need something to get us around."

Rental Agent: "Alright."

The guy next to me is trying to give his information to the 2nd Rental Agent behind the counter, but he's got someone on his cell who won't shut up.

Customer: "Dude. Dude. I'm at the rental counter. Be quiet. Be quiet. I'm trying to get my car..."

I start giggling to myself. It's too funny. He finally hangs up the phone. But I'm still tickled that he got so flusterred by the call. The Rental Agent notices my giggling and chuckles to himself. He takes a few more minutes on the computer. He gets my paperwork together.

Rental Agent: "Your car is in space number 15. Have a great girls weekend."

Me: "Thanks! You have a good night!"

The Princess waves. I grab our gear. The Princess grabs the end of one of the bags. We head out into the dark parking lot. We trudge. And trudge.

Me: "Where the heck is #15?"

It's at the far END of the parking lot. Go figure.

A Dodge Durango was in space #14. I walked past it and plopped our stuff on the ground. I looked up. And there it was. A PT Cruiser. The Rental Agent had upgraded our vehicle! FOR FREE!

So all weekend we were riding in a bright blue metallic PT Cruiser. It was cute. It was zippy. It was just what we needed for a girls weekend.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wanted: Cool breezes (updated0

Our ceiling fans are in! Woohoo!

Store manager (SM): "Hi, this is SM from the Fan Store."

Me: "Oh hi!"

SM: "I'm calling to let you know that we've got 95% of your order in."

Me: "Okay..."

SM: "On two of the fans, we didn't get the right downrods. They should be in sometime next week."

Me: "Okay..."

SM: "We were wondering if you wanted us to go ahead and install the fans that we do have in... or do you want to wait until we have all the items?"

Me: "Oh...come on over. When will a technician be available to install?"

SM: "Eddie could come by tomorrow if that's okay with you."

Me: "That'll be GREAT! What time?"

SM: "Eddie likes to start early."

Me: "Well, I'm usually up by 6am."

SM: "Really? Would that be too early?"

Me: "If he wants to start that early that's fine. I mean, the sun is up at 5:15."

[she cuts away for a minute]

SM: "He said he could start at 7am. Is that okay?"

Me: "That's fine!"

I'm fine that they don't have all the parts in. No biggie. As long as we get the other seven of them into our house I'll be happy. That's right. SEVEN fans. I'm sure that having the fans will take a bite out of our summer electricity bill.

We'll have cool breezes flowing through the place by the end of the day.

The fans are IN!

The ones outside look inviting. The ones upstairs are functional. I did have the guy check the one fan because it was making a funny noise at the low speed. He fixed it quickly. The one in the master bedroom is HUGE. It's on low right now but I can feel the breeze anywhere in the room.

Turns out we had 8 fans put in. The 9th fan will be installed (hopefully) next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Leaving tomorrow!

No. Not with my Hubs on my long break from the kidlings.

Tomorrow the Princess and I will be flying home to see my family. And watch LilSis graduate with her Master's in Forensic Science. My smartie-pants younger sister. Another academic notch in her arsenal. But she really needs to get a job. J-O-B. Get paid LilSis! Gotta learn how to EARN a living. On your own.

But I digress folks. I've already got the Princess' outfits selected. I just have to stuff them into a bag with the new little car booster seat I purchased at WalMart the other day. Since I'll have a rental car, I want her to have a booster seat. I'm not relying on the rental agency to have one available for me. Plus. It's one of those backless ones. So it's not HUGE.

I've got to get MY stuff together still. Gotta find shoes. Gotta find outfits. Got to get it together! OY!

I'm really excited to be heading out with my girl though. It's going to be a fun and exciting adventure. Kind of like when she was almost 3 months old. That's when she took her first plane trip with me. To see my family. It was just the two of us. On a practically deserted airplane. It was great.

All I have to do is make it through the day and then I'll be "...leaving on a jetplane."

Building errors

In the process of building a new home, you have to make a lot of decisions. We made ours and we're 95% happy with everything. Of course, we still had to have the builder send out repair crews for a few items since we've had all the initial issues fixed.

1. The master bath ceiling fan starts sounding strained after about 5 minutes of use. It's like the motor is trying too hard. It warbles high and low. Not normal. They have to come out and fix this.
2. One of the cabinet doors in the kitchen was coming loose. It's a hidden hinge system and it kept on making a 'popping' sound when we'd open the cabinet door all the way. They put in a larger screw to secure the door.
3. Our side gate had a loose lower bolt. They came out and put new longer screws. Fine, right? The new ones they put in are not fully flush. This is causing the gate to get stuck on the bolts. So the gate is getting stuck and the iron frame is getting scratched.
4. Our formal dining room lighting fixture is not positioned correctly. I never noticed this. The Hubs did and never said anything. When you look towards the dining room from the living room, the light fixture is too far to the right. I'll get those guys to fix it at our 1-year check.

Our one neighbor?

1. The air conditioning in his house isn't pumping correctly throughout the house. The room that traditionally would be the tandem garage section was only getting 30% of the air it should be getting. They haven't figured out why that's the case. Another room vent was somehow crushed during construction which resulted in less air flow. They had to replace that one.
2. Their front door had a visible varnish seam in it. Turns out that when they varnished the door, someone CLOSED the door before it was dry. They've had to sand the door and revarnish it. Took TWO days because it was so hot out here.
3. We were having our water softener and RO system installed. Our neighbor had called that company to get an estimate for his house. The one install guy went over and checked things out. It was going to be a bunch of money. Much more than what we were paying to get our system. Why? Their house was piped for an RO system to loop to their refrigerator. Good. But their house was not piped for a water softener system. Their main pipe was on the west side of the house. Their garage was on the east side of the house. So they would have to dig under their yard and put pipes in to put the water softener in the right spot.
4. My neighbor decided on the vendor who gave him the lowest price to get the water softener connected. The guys who did the work? They looked like they were 18 years old! VERY young. It took them all day to trench and lay in the pipes. They had to come back the next day to finish up. They broke the kitchen faucet and had to buy a new one and install it.
5. A week ago, my neighbor's hall bathroom tub wasn't putting out any hot water. I told him about the issue we had with the clogged valve. He got the builder's plumber to come out. The cause? Rocks in the pipes. ROCKS! Turns out that the boys who installed his water softening system were jamming the pipes through the dirt without putting a stopper on the end of the pipe being shoved. and dirt in the pipes. And the boys had installed a connecting water pipe backwards, so it was good that they had to come back out to fix the rocks in the pipes issue.

Other neighbors?

1. Garage doors that stick or rub.
2. One neighbor's garage door opener was actually activating the next door's garage door.
3. Inefficient toilets. Apparently, a couple neighbors have noted that their toilets don't flush thoroughly. We've all go the same low-flow toilets. I think it may have something to do with their pipes. We haven't [knock on wood] had any problems with our toilets.
4. One neighbor's air didn't kick in the late afternoon. Thankfully, it was only in the 90s that day and it cooled down to the 60s at night so it wasn't unbearable in their house. Plus they had a 2nd unit that did work.

To sum it all up...if you're building a new house. STAY ON TOP OF IT! Visit your house often. Take photos.

When you notice problems during the construction stage, the builder can address them at that time. Oftentimes, waiting to fix a problem only adds to the cost of the repair. At your final inspection? Turn on all the lights. Figure out which light switches connect to which electrical outlet. Make sure all the light fixtures work. Turn on all venting/bathroom fans. Flush those toilets. Try the stove and oven. TAKE YOUR TIME.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Humid & sticky

It's the start of the monsoon here in Arizona.

The result? Hot. Sticky. Overcast afternoons. Lightening. Sometimes rain. But LOTS of wind. Strong dry wind that carries particles of dirt with it.

This is when I HATE wearing my contacts. The wind dries them out. The dirt makes my eyes tear up. Horrible. Looks like no mascara days for me!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Anyone else watching 'Property Ladder'?

This is latest of new shows by TLC.

The channel is trying to regain the audience they've lost since the downward spiral of Trading Spaces. Can you believe it? I've been sucked back into their world! But I must tell you that I really am enjoying 'Property Ladder'. It's kind of like 'Moving Up' (another new TLC show). But PL focuses on fixing up a property that'll be sold once the work is done.

It can be comical. Watching these people make bad decisions. It can be informational. Learning what changes can give the most bang for the buck. It can be horrifying. Seeing what ugliness is behind the walls.

The latest episode had two Texas cousins trying to whip up some magic in an old (meaning dilapidated) 2 bedroom 1 bath cottage. They did a lot of teardown work themselves (their husbands helped of course). But it was great watching these two gals get into it. They let the professionals do the electrical and the framing. But they did create some magic because the place looked spectacular in the end.

If you've missed watching the show, they are retelevising the three episodes this Thursday night. Watch it. Tell me what you think.

Monday, June 20, 2005


I think LilSis will be engaged this weekend.

Why? Because her boyfriend finally met my father on Saturday. I'd mentioned that my father has been out-of-town for MONTHS now. He was getting a house built for my aunt (my Mom's sister) and he was making sure it was built correctly and on-time. He got back late Friday night. He met LilSis boyfriend, Shorty, on Saturday morning.

According to LilSis, my father has dropped more than a few hints that he knows that Shorty is serious.

"Well...I'm getting old now."

"'s okay to get married."

"...she's never been serious about any other boy."

I know that Shorty wants to have a discussion with my Mom and Dad. But he wanted to first meet my Dad. Then he'd have "the talk" with them. I'm thinking that this weekend would be a GREAT time. LilSis will be graduating. Lots of family and friends will be at the party on Saturday. If he talked to my parents on Friday night, then they could announce their engagement at the party!

But...we'll see.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Weird behavior

We celebrated Father's Day yesterday up with the Hubs side of the family. We drove up early so the kidlings could spend time with the ILs. They had a good time with my FIL. My MIL had left for church when we arrived and it was time to drive to the restaurant by the time she got home.

We got to the restaurant at the same time my SIL drove up. We walked in together and they seated us immediately. My MIL had called and made the reservation so the staff had our table set up. We were placed at a couple tables squished together. On the wallside of the tables is a long benchseat that spans the entire wall. On the other are 4 chairs. They had one highchair set up. There were 9 of us total. We told the gal we weren't going to need the highchair. The Bear hasn't used it for a few weeks now. The little guy clamored onto the benchseat next to the Hubs. My SIL sat next to the Bear. The Princess sat next to my SIL. All fine, right? No. Once they took the highchair away, I realized we were short a chair. So I took one of the chairs & squeezed along the end of the table. My BIL and his fiancee came next. She sat next to me and my BIL next to her. My ILs came in a couple minutes later. My FIL immediately sat down next to my BIL. My MIL? She sat on the benchseat at the next table with a sour look on her face. She seemed perturbed. I guess when I took the one chair we were short a chair. But why not ask for another one? It's not like there wasn't a place setting next to my FIL! She ended up sitting at the end of the table opposite me (see photo rendering).

Now why didn't my MIL sit right next to my FIL? There was a place setting there. Anyway, the entire dinner she had a sourpuss face. I was happy to be on the total opposite part of the table from her. What's amazing is that she had just come from church. And to act all uppety? That's not right. Aren't you supposed to feel settled and joyful after church? I don't know. Why attend mass if you're not going to exude what's been taught at church?

My MIL talked outside the restaurant after dinner for a minute. I'd overheard during dinner that she was going to order wood shutters for her bedroom. She was planning on getting them from one of the big discount warehouse stores. She'd have my FIL put them up. Okay. Fine. But this is the first time we'd ever heard that she wanted shutters. She'd never been interested in them before. She has been talking about redoing her kitchen. She's been contemplating this for two years.

Me: "So, you're going to get wood shutters?"

MIL: "I'm only going to get them for the bedroom. I want to see how they turn out."

Me: "Are you still planning on changing your kitchen?"

MIL: "Yes. I just went over to see what Mary (her neighbor) did with hers."

Me: "So when do you think you'll be changing your kitchen?"

MIL: "I don't know. It depends on how much it costs."

Okay. She's been thinking about changing her kitchen for TWO years. She's had time to check out different cabinets & counters at the big home improvement stores. She's had time to do this. It's not like she has any other responsibilities other than herself and her husband. It's not like the kitchen will reflect my FILs style. It's my MIL who runs the show. What's stopping her from getting pricing information? She should have all the cost estimates by now if she was SERIOUS about doing her kitchen. If she's not going to do anything about the kitchen, then she needs to stop BITCHING about how she wants a new kitchen! And she complains about her kitchen every second or third visit.

Most of you know that my MIL gets on my last nerve. Couldn't leave this post without some nice things that happened yesterday.

There was the Bear. In his carseat. Situated behind the Hubs, who was driving. The Bear had his shoes off. His feet were stretched up. Resting on his Daddy's headrest.

Bear: "Ow!"

[about 10 seconds pass]

Bear: "Ow!"

What was causing him pain? He was hitting his shins with a little plastic green hammer. Yes folks! He was hitting himself.

We're on the ride back home. The Princess has been keeping busy by singing silly songs to herself.

Prin: "All you've got to do is laugh...All you've got to do is hop...All you've got to do is jump..."

Bear: "Jump!"

Prin: "You've got to...jump! And you've got!"

Bear: "Jump!"

Prin: "It's all about H-G-T-V! H-G-T-V!"

It's like the Bear was a back-up singer when he chimed in. Then the shift to HGTV? I guess I watch too many home improvement shows?

Me: "Look! There are horses over there on the right!"

Prin: "They're riding their owners!"

Me: "Uh...the owners are riding their horses."

Prin: "Yeah!"

The Bear on the left side of the truck (behind the driving Hubs).

The Princess on the right side of the truck behind me.

Both have the leg closest to the other hanging from their safety seats (carseat & booster).

They are both swinging their legs towards each other.

They are having a foot fight. In the car. was in FUN...not war. Whew!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Travel much?


Love to do it. Haven't done it in ages.Why? Because I've got obligations. The kidlings.

I am going to be able to go on a trip next month. A trip alone with my husband without the kiddos. It's a work trip for him so he'll be gone most of the day. That leaves me to my own devices. I'll get to explore without having a bag with diapers, wipes, snacks, and drinks. I won't have to hold anyone's hand. I'll be independent! I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T!

Truth be told? I'm not going to miss my kids one bit. Does that sound selfish? Some might think so. But it's how I truly feel. They'll be with my sister & my Mom. The kids will be fine. Now me? I'll have a taste of life without any obligations other than myself (and my husband). It's something I haven't been able to relish in so long. Since I became a full-time stay-at-home Mom. I never thought I'd be married. I never thought I'd have kids. I always thought I would be single and have a career. Yes. There are a lot of Moms out there who have a career & raise a family. But where I live? I've got NO help. It's just me and my husband. No one nearby to help. You see, when we decided to have kids we resolved that we'd only have family watch our kids (while they were young). Just like the way WE were brought up. Since we don't live near anyone? I'm the one who gets to stay home and raise our kids. It's definitely hard work. Some ladies excel at this job. Me? It's a struggle. I'm NOT the most patient person in the world, so it's one day at a time for me. I get overwhelmed and get frustrated. I'm "on call" 24/7. Never a break. Even when I'm in bed at night I've got an ear out for either one of the kids.

Does anyone relate to this feeling? So anyway, time away from my kids will be great. I'll be able to relax. I'll be able to eat a HOT meal with my husband. I'll be able to sleep in late. I'll be able to meander through a shop and actually LOOK at things I find interesting. I'll get to be ME again. There are lots of days when that person is missing. But I'll get to be that person again. For a little bit.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Whe she was a baby...

Today as I held my daughter as she vomited into a bucket, I began to reminisce about when she was a baby.

  1. She was born via c-section.
  2. She had barely ANY hair at birth.
  3. At birth, she was 1 ounce above "under weight baby" weight.
  4. Before my milk came in, she lost 5 ounces.
  5. She gained 3 pounds 14 ounces in her first month.
  6. In her first year of life, she gained almost 14 pounds.
  7. In her first year of life, she grew 14 inches.
  8. She nursed like a champ until she was 9 1/2 months old.
  9. She took to formula in no time flat.
  10. She could eat rice cereal but had a reaction to the oatmeal cereal.
  11. When she started to eat solids, she enjoyed squash and sweet potatoes the most. She ended up with a yellowy cast to her skin.
  12. She did NOT like Stage 3 foods. She hated the taste and/or the texture.
  13. She did enjoy Cheerios, Arrowroot cookies, & Gerber Fruit Wheels.
  14. She would not eat the crust from bread or bagels (she still won't eat bread crust).
  15. She liked to sit in her bouncy seat & Exersaucer, but not in the swing.
  16. She liked to lay on her back in her Gymini and look at all the dangling objects.
  17. She HATED tummy time.
  18. She hated rolling over. She didn't like the sensation I guess. So we were never worried about her sleeping in her crib (SIDS).
  19. She started to sleep through the night at 3-1/2 months in her crib.
  20. It took her 2 nights to realize that she needed to sleep in her crib.
  21. On weekends, my husband would get the Princess when she woke and put her in our bed. She'd play for a bit and then fall asleep between us. It was a nice relaxing way to wake up on the weekends.
  22. I used to sing her name to her to make sure she knew what it was. "Priny-Priny-Priny-Priny..."
  23. We took her for her first casual eating out experience at 4 weeks of age. We did our normal Saturday morning bagel shop run.
  24. Our first official evening dining experience came at 6 weeks. She slept through it.
  25. She took her first plane trip (with just me) when she was almost 3 months old. I still have her "wings". She slept through it in the Baby Bjorn.
  26. She hated taking long rides in the carseat.
  27. She was baptized at 6 months of age.
  28. She learned to walk (not holding onto anything) TWO days before her first birthday.
  29. She had her first taste of chocolate at her first birthday party.
  30. She still barely had any hair at her first birthday party.

Now? My girl has grown SO much. In September she'll be FIVE! She's got long hair. Big brown eyes. Long slender fingers. The cutest smile. A hearty laugh. A sensitive one. On the reserved side. She does possess a smarty-pants sassy side. It's hard to believe what she's become. I still remember holding her ever so carefully when she was first born. But she will continue to grow. And I'll just have to remember to let her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


The last Friday of June, the Princess and I will be flying on a plane to see my family. Even though she finished school in the fall, the official graduation ceremony for LilSis will occur that Saturday.

I'm really excited about seeing my family. I love hanging out with them. It's easy. We sit. We talk. We nap together. Yes, that's right. The last time we visited (Memorial Weekend), my sisters and I were talking in one of the bedrooms. We all sounded delirious at one point.

Sis#2: "Let's take a nap."

So that's what we did. I was on one of the bed. Sis#2 was on the other -- with her feet in the opposite direction of mine. LilSis was on the flat cushioned bench at the bottom of the bed. We all zonked out for about 45 minutes. We could hear the kids laughint and running around in the backyard. We even heard people opening the bedroom door trying to figure out where we all were. I know for a fact that the Hubs fell asleep on one couch in front of the tv, while my Mom dozed on the end of another couch with my BILs Mom on the other end of that couch. Yeah. We let each other doze when the urge hits.

But I digress. This next weekend will be an exciting one. The Princess and I will be flying out after dinner Friday night. We'll be getting a rental car so we can come and go as we please. LilSis is having a graduation bbq at the beach (it's actually a park next to the beach) on Saturday. Then we'll all be attending the ceremony on Sunday. The family will probably end up going out to dinner that evening. The Princess and I will fly back home Monday afternoon. This way we can get some rest from all the running around. AND spend more relaxing time with my family.

But this graduation does not signify a new beginning for my sister. It's just another "ribbon" to put on her long trail of awards. This is a Masters in Forensic Science. She received her Bachelor's of Science degree with a minor in History a couple years ago. Whatsl she doing now? She's gaining experience by interning with the City. She's learning a lot, but it's not a paying gig. She's also studying for the LSAT. Yes! She's thinking about going back to school. Law school.

She's a very intelligent girl. My LilSis. But that girl has got to get her life in gear. She's got to get out there. DO SOMETHING! I wonder when that'll be....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hosting dinner

Remember the botched gathering in April?

The Hubs and I will be hosting his family for dinner in a few weeks. Yes! We'll be having my favorite group of people in my house.(Gag-me!) I do truly enjoy my FIL and my sister-in-law-to-be. I'll just have to be on my sunny-side behavior for the rest of them.

The event will actually be July 3rd. We'll have the standard barbeque fare. Hot dogs. Brats. Burgers. French Fries. I'm going to have some cut-up fruit. Some dark green salad. What else? Bud Light for those who think alcohol goes hand-in-hand with family gatherings. Pepsi for those who won't let Coke past their lips. Yes, there's some picky ones in the bunch. But I'll go ahead and saute some mushrooms and onions just for those of us who like that stuff.

But I try to make sure everyone has what they need. Being the host? That's what you do, right? Right?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Got us some new wheels

I mentioned that the Princess has a bicycle, right? She's had this particular pink bicycle since she was about 2 years old. Since we moved in March 2004, the bicycle has been in storage. The townhouse complex parking lot was not a safe place for her to ride in. So it's been a while since she's ridden on a bicycle. We got it out of storage a couple weeks ago. It has a flat front wheel and a bent front fender. She's been riding the thing on the back patio. But she's grown SO much in the last year. It's been awkward for her to ride it.

On Saturday I talked to the Hubs about our girl needing a new bike. The other kids in the neighborhood have bikes. She needed one that would be more comfortable for her to take around. Yesterday? Sunday? We ventured to ToysRUs. YES! We actually took both kids into that confusing cauldron of toys. It didn't take us long to find THE BIKE.

What did we end up with? A Schwinn 16" Whisper Bike. It's metallic blue & purple. Ha! Got away with purchasing a bike that wasn't hot pink. Thank goodness! Got away with it not having Barbie on it. Got away with it not having Strawberry Shortcake on it. It's a basic, sturdy bike in girl-ish (versus girly) colors.

On our walk last night, the Princess rode her new bicycle. Yes, it has training wheels. Yes, she wore her helmet. Yes, she ended up falling twice. But she jumped back up after a quick brushing off and got back on both times. Whew! What was great was that two other of the little girls in the neighborhood were riding THEIR bikes as their parents were taking their evening walk. All the girls ended up riding up the hill towards our homes. Then they all headed into the cul-de-sac to hang out with the rest of the neighborhood crew.

Cooling off

We finally went out and ordered new ceiling fans for the house. We visited one store that had a ton of fans but the majority were very unattractive. The place we ordered from had a smaller selection but had really cute fans. The only unfortunate result is that we have to wait TWO weeks for the order to come in and get installed. Oy! I think the Hubs thought they'd have the fans in stock and that they could just install them this week (which is what happened when we lived in our old house). Ummm...NO!

For the upstairs bedrooms and loft, we ordered the same style fan. The entire 2nd floor only has an 8 foot ceiling so we went with something basic. Off white. Simple. For the Hubs den, we got something a little more elaborate details. It's got cherry blades with a brushed nickel finish.

Here's what we got for the family room and the master bedroom. It's got this exact brushed nickel finish but the blades will be a mahogany finish. It was the closest color to our cabinets. We also got an uplight on both of them. This way we can have a little bit of light in the rooms -- nothing glaring and bright.

Then we chose a dark finished one for the backyard covered patio area. We've got two since the patio cover is so long. We didn't get any lights for it but I'm thinking we should probably get something. Like a dome thing. Not those flower looking lights.

I just can't believe we bought 9 ceiling fans at one time. Crazy? But with the temps expected to be in the 100s this week, we SHOULD have ordered these things a month ago. But at least we'll be getting them by July! Can't wait to feel the soft breeze of ceiling fans throughout the house!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

New trend

Seems that we've started a new routine in our household. An evening walk. The powers that be (aka "the kidlings") have influenced us to do this. A simple thing. A big change for us.

The Hubs gets home early compared to some parents who work. Around 5:15pm. He gets to work about 6:30am, so arriving home early is the benefit. We eat dinner early too. So this allows for more time together in the evening. Somehow, it has evolved that the kids play outside almost every night after dinner. But not every other family eats as early as we do. Which means there's no one else outside right after we finish eating. The result? A short evening walk. By the time we finish a small circuit, the neighborhood begins to come alive.

Tonight? We had a late dinner. We ended up taking a late walk. The cul-de-sac where we normally congregate? There was a housewarming party going on so the kids were inside. We took a longer walk than normal. The kids didn't mind not running around and playing though. I ended up getting the jog stroller to push the Bear in. The Princess had acquired the Bear's tricycle as her mode of transportation. But she was miffed when she saw that the Bear was in the jog stroller. We took a short loop and got the umbrella stroller. We swapped the kids out and continued on our merry way. I guess we'll be using the jog & umbrella stroller on our walks from now on.

What's nice about our evening walks is being able to meet up with the other neighbors in our area. We said "hi" to a young couple walking their two big dogs (a rottweiler and a large boxer). They couldn't stay to chat very long but we had enough time to say which lot we were located. We were also able to meet the couple that moved into the 2-story four spots up the street from us. They moved in last week. Turns out it's an older couple (most the parents around here seem to be in their 30's) and their 12-year-old son. Just the three of them! But he did mention that they each had kids from their previous marriages, so I guess they'll have visitors all the time.

It was a cool evening. The heat of the day was pushed away by the brisk breeze that came up as the sun began to set in the west. We were able to walk in the quiet. Waving & smiling at the cars that would pass us by. What's nice? They'd wave & smile back too. It's a good feeling. A nice neighborhood feeling.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Almost completed

I can't believe that the transformation to my parents house first floor is almost complete. You'll recall my most recent posts here and here.


  1. Cleaning of downstairs closets
  2. New lighting fixtures at entry, stairwell, and dining room
  3. New sconce installed in formal living room
  4. Demo of all bath & kitchen countertops
  5. Installation of new cabinet doors, drawers, and veneer to update color
  6. Installation of new pulls on all cabinet doors & drawers

Next week:

  1. Monday - Installation of new counters & sinks in all baths & kitchen
  2. Tuesday - Begin install of new flooring for 1st floor (kitchen, powder, living/dining room, and family room)
  3. Wednesday - Installation of new faucets (6) & new toilets (3) & garbage disposal
  4. Install moulding to cover surround sound speaker wires
  5. Saturday - Garage sale!!!

Next steps:

  1. Remove all popcorn (acoustic texture) from ceiling
  2. Paint kitchen, powder, living/dining room, and family room
  3. Install new curtain rods and sheers

Changes that might happen further into the future:

  1. Purchase & install new vent hood, dishwasher, stove, & refrigerator
  2. Cover brick fireplace hearth & face with tile
  3. Install oak banister on stairway

I'm still waiting for my sister to post photos of the transformation. Can you tell how excited I am to see it all?

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Petty adult behavior

As you all will recall, the other day we got a wedding update from my BIL & his fiancee.

All well and good, right? Well, there have been emails flowing between family. I'll let you read some excerpts to let you figure out what's going on. I'll put them in chronological order...

From my BIL to the Hubs:
We're planning on getting married on a Cruise Ship. We're looking at a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise to the Eastern Caribbean that sails from Miami.
  • While it would be great if you guys went, there is no pressure for you and the family to attend because I know it's kind of expensive.
  • Matt (their cousin) wedding is May 1st, a few weeks later.
  • We're kind of hedging right now because Mom is pretty disappointed at our choice. We'll still probably do it, but will not make reservations for a few weeks
  • Mom and Dad aren't going
  • Little Sister is up in the air.
  • I invited Rob (another cousin) but he is not sure if he will go either.
From the Hubs to my BIL:
Is there a port call sometime during the 3rd or 4th day? The expense does not concern me but having to be away from work for more than 3 or 4 days does concern me. Miss a whole week in the market and you miss a lot. I was thinking Grace and I could do it if there is a port call either the 3rd or 4th day so that we could then fly home from the closest airport if you'd be willing to have the ceremony sometime within the first 3 days. I've spent enough time on ships to know the novelty has worn off and that I'll be ready to walk the plank by the 4th day anyway. Also, Grace is prone to seasickness.

From my BIL to the Hubs:
Sun - Depart Miami
Mon - At sea
Tues - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Wed - Philipsburg, St Maarten
Thu - St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Fri - At sea
Sat - Nassau - Paradise Island, Bahamas
Sun - Miami

As I said earlier, I'll let you know when we firm up our decision. Hope you can make it.

From me to my BILs fiancee:
Although I'm sure there's disappointment in the air on the current plan for the two of you to get married...I want you to know that the Hubs and I support the two of you in your decision. It's your wedding. It's your honeymoon. The Hubs and I are going to try to figure out how to get things planned out so we can go. But even if we don't go? You have our support 100%. We're not ones to go along with what others might think or say. You know? Always know we're behind the two of you with whatever path you choose.

From my BILs fiancee to me:
Thanks for your support. From what I understand "the Mom" is pretty upset. I haven't spoken to or seen either "the Mom" or "the Dad" since my fiancee (my BIL) talked to them about our plans. My fiancee (my BIL) and I talked about changing our plans, we'll have a final decision in a week or so. My fiancee is pretty bummed that his mom is so upset.
It is really kind of you and the Hubs to try and go. We completely understand if you can't make it, we know you both have full plates, with the kids, work and all, not to mention the expense! We are planning to have a small reception when we get back.

Can you believe my MIL is making such a big stink about the decision to take a cruise? My Hubs and I view this as an opportunity to do something different. Take a vacation we wouldn't otherwise do on our own. My MIL? I've known her long enough to conclude that she wants my BIL to have a wedding that's convenient for her and for her family to attend. I still can't believe she gave my BIL a flat out "NO" about going. I mean, it's not going to be for another 10 months! Plus, the two did mention they would have a reception once they return.

What do you think about the situation?

Keeping secrets

This morning, the kidlings and I got out of the house. We went to Lowes to check out their flowers and small shrubs**. We then headed to Target to get a couple items. Suddenly, the Princess starts to act up.

Prin: "I'm SO hungry. I feel like my stomach is going to fall off."

Uh. Okay fine. We check out as quick as can be. We stop by Starbucks drive-through since it's the closest place. I get TWO pumpkin loafs. My kidlings LOVE the pumpkin loaf. Of course, they love pumpkin scones a wee bit more but they didn't have any left at 11am. Anyhoo, the kids gobble up the pumpkin loaf before we're 1 1/2 blocks away from the Starbucks. I'm headed to get fuel for my vehicle.

Prin: "Mom? My stomach is still kind of hungry."

Me: "That's all you're getting honey."

Prin: "But...did we eat both loafs already?"

I got out of the car and got the fuel. Subject dropped.

We talked about the second pumpkin loaf later on. After she'd had lunch.

Me: "Honey. I got that second pumpkin loaf for Daddy."

Prin: "Why?"

Me: "He gets up so early each day to go to work. I thought it would be a nice surprise for him if we set out that pumpkin loaf for him to have for breakfast in the morning. What do you think?"

Prin: "Oh yeah! It'll be a surprise!"

I don't know about your four (almost 5) year olds, but mine can't keep a secret for anything!

The Hubs came home and we sat for dinner. He mentioned that he'd be headed to the grocery store in the morning to pick up a birthday card for his grandfather. He said that while he was there he planned on picking up a donut for breakfast.

Me: "Honey, don't you have something to tell Daddy?"

Prin: [turning to the Hubs] "Daddy! We got a surprise for you!"

Hubs: "Oh really?"

Prin: "Yes Daddy. You are going to really like it."

Hubs: "Hmmm...I wonder what it could be?"

Prin: "Well, we ate the first pumpkin loaf for our snack after we went to Target. We kept the second one for YOU! You are going to really enjoy your surprise."

Hubs: "Gosh honey. I'm so happy you got a surprise for me."

Prin: "Yes. We wrapped the pumpkin loaf in some plastic. It's going to be so yummy for your breakfast!"

Hubs: "I'll look for your surprise in the morning."

Prin: "Okay Daddy!"

I sat there holding my laughter in by looking down. When I finally looked at my husband, I had tears running down my face due to the huge effort it took to NOT bust out laughing. The Princess seriously doesn't realize she told her Daddy about the pumpkin loaf. She really thinks she kept the secret! Thankfully, the Hubs played along like he didn't hear the slip up.

**I need to get some plants together to put in big planters for the backyard.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Same structure...different look...

Last night I toured one of the houses in our subdivision.

My kidlings were playing and the couple & their two girls were just returning from their evening (post-dinner) walk. The husband went for a quick run while I chatted with the wife. Their baby got restless so the Bear & I walked them towards their house.

Let me tell you that their house is SO different from ours. Not only the furniture. The options they selected.

We chose to have a den, powder room, and large laundry room downstairs. The arch into the den is just opposite from the living/dining room (photo below - den entry to left). The entry hall divides the space between. They chose to have a bedroom downstairs. The entry to the bedroom is on the opposite wall where ours is located -- in the hall that leads from the garage. Because they chose a bedroom, they've got a 3/4 bath and a smaller laundry room. We chose to get bay windows in our master bedroom. They chose not to. I didn't realize that the room would seem so much larger with the bay window. But it really does.

We chose to put a gas fireplace in the family room. This results in two tall openings on either side of the fireplace (see photo below of the model). They chose to forego the fireplace which results in one HUGE opening. They've put a 62' screen television in there. The Hubs would be floored by that set-up.

We chose to have a loft upstairs just above the family room. They chose to make the loft into another bedroom. They use that space as their office and workout space. Because they made that room into a bedroom, they have a wall going where we've got the banister showing. Because they chose to have a bedroom, they've got a halfwall where we've got the oak railing on the 2nd floor.

I have to say that the colors in our house are pretty neutral. It's mostly warm colors (see flooring photo below) Browns. Beiges. Their house? The tiles are a reddish-brown color. Very dramatic. I guess they had light tile in their previous house and it didn't work out. They have dogs and they said their grout ended up being pretty dirty after a bit. So they've got those dark tiles & grout downstairs. They also chose a reddish-brown shade of cultured marble for their master bedroom. However, they did select the light sandstone color for their upstairs & downstairs bathrooms.

Even little things like putting crown moulding on the kitchen cabinets. We have them. They do not. They have lots of accessories above their cabinets. The crown moulding is so tall the accessories wouldn't be visible. They've already got knick-knacks in their nooks and on their plant shelves. Photos and mirrors and candle sconces on the walls. Us? Nothing.

Don't get me wrong. I do love our home. But their house is very nice too. We've got 4 bedrooms, a loft, and 2-1/2 bathrooms. They've got 6 bedrooms and 2-3/4 bathrooms. Their colors are darker and more dramatic. Our colors are light and bright. It's just funny HOW different the two homes are. It shows how different our styles are. It also makes me realize how important people need to be in making selections for a new home. Choose things that work for YOU. Not someone else. Choose what makes you happy. What makes you smile.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Wedding update

The Hubs let me know last night that my BIL & his fiancee are planning on taking a cruise for their wedding & honeymoon in April 2006.

The Hubs told me that he told his brother to forward the cruise info to us. When we initially found out that a cruise was a possibility, the Hubs and I initially figured we wouldn't go. There is NO WAY we'd go on the cruise with the kids. But, the Hubs has reconsidered. He thinks that he and I could go. Alone. Without the kidlings. Hmmm...interesting idea.

My SIL is also requesting the cruise information before she decides if she'll attend or not.

I guess my ILs gave a flat out "Nope, we won't be going" to the cruise. I'm wondering if it's the cruise itself they're not interested in. Or is it the marriage? It's an opportunity for the two of them to do something they've NEVER done. And they'll be with people they know. I just don't understand why they won't even consider going.

Granted, I would have preferred they have their wedding in Vegas. This way we can all meet up and then spread out and do our own thing. No issues with being seasick. But it's THEIR wedding. So the Hubs and I will try to figure something out. It'll probably end up being a "cost" decision. There's another wedding we want to go to in May 2006. We've known about this wedding for 6 months already. Then there might be a wedding for LilSis -- still no progress on that one since my Dad isn't home yet. So the Hubs and I have to determine what we can handle financially in such a short time span.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Ch-changes update

You all know that updates are happening at my parents' house.

Got a call from LilSis. She told me that a crew is there prepping the cabinets for the refacing. She said they told her it might take until Thursday to finish up the job. Sounds like a long time, but there ARE a bunch of cabinets that'll be updated. The master bath (double vanity), the hall bath (double vanity), the powder room, and the kitchen.

LilSis mentioned that there's a bunch of new lighting fixtures that were put up on Saturday! I didn't think those would be switched out already. There's a new breakfast nook light along with a pendant light over the sink area. The staircase, the entry, and the dining room all have matching light fixtures (it's one open space). There's even a new sconce in the dark corner of the living room. The powder room fixture is also in. I'm very impressed that those were put in already.

Next weekend they'll be attacking the popcorn ceiling. LilSis has decided to repaint the hall bath (the one she uses) this week. It's currently lavender. She thinks that the lavender won't go well with the white cabinets and the Sandstone corian. I think it will but she says she's going to put up a more "neutral" color. I guess she's thinking of the resale already. Good for her!

She's going to be sending me photos. I'm so excited to "see" the changes! I'm sure my father will be SO surpriesd at the changes when he comes home next Friday (he's been gone for the last 3 months). Hopefully, everything (except the flooring) should be completed by then.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Heard here & there...

The Hubs was looking for something in the moving boxes in our bedroom.

Me: "Sweetie, those are my boxes. Yours are on the right."

Princess: "Yeah, Daddy. On the right. You know where your right is."

My allergies have subsided quite a bit since the yellow flowers have dropped from the trees, but I do still sneeze a couple times a day.

Me: [sneeze-sneeze-sneeze]

Bear: "Bess you!"

Me: "Thank you very much!"

About 15 minutes later.

Bear: [sneeze]

Me: "Bless you, buddy."

Bear: "Fank You. Much."

Can you believe he was copying me?

Troy the neighbor boy just hit a golf ball with one of his Dad's old golf clubs. It flew into the landscaping across the cul-de-sac.

Bear: "Yeah! Yeah!" [clapping his hands above his head]

My little guy was cheering for Troy. You would have thought the Bear was at a football game.

Since I got the movie out of a storage box a couple weeks ago, we've had the privilege to watch "The Toy Story" every morning. This is what I hear every morning.

Bear: "Toy. Toy."

Me: "Yes Bear?"

Bear: "Toy. Watch."


The Hubs was out-of-town since early Friday morning. He came back last night with this little story.

There he was driving in the right lane southbound on the two-lane highway. He could only drive 65mph because he got a flat in the back left passenger tire. He was driving on a donut. Why was he driving on a donut? Because by the time a roadside assistance guy got to him, it was just as all the tire shops were closing. So he drove the 100 miles home on the donut. At 65mph.

About 50 miles from home, there's a highway patrolman in the left lane. The highway patrolman is going the same speed as the Hubs. The highway patrolman signals to get into the right lane. The car behind my husband slows to allow the patrolman between. The lights turn on the patrolcar.

HP: "License & registration please."

[Hubs hands over the paperwork]

HP: "Sir, do you know why I stopped you?"

Hubs: "No. I don't."

HP: "Sir, do you realize you were only going 65 mph?"

Hubs: "Yes, I did."

HP: "Sir, why were you going 65 mph?"

Hubs: "I'm driving on a donut on the back passenger side. The manual says to drive around 60mph."

[HP steps back and takes a look at the donut]

HP: "Hmmm...okay. Well be careful. At 65mph you're going to get over out here."

Can you believe it? The HP stopped my husband because he was going too slow! Don't forget that my Hubs got pulled over last Friday because he was going too fast!

Last night a few of us adults gathered on the driveway of one of the homes in the cul-de-sac.

Patty: "I'm going to need to have a yard sale. I've unpacked stuff that we just don't need anymore."

Me: "You too? I've got stuff I need to get rid of also."

Patty: "I think Linda has stuff that she wants to sell too."

Me: "I remember her saying that. I think she wants to wait until the other houses** are finished."

Patty: "I wonder how long that'll take."

Me: "I'm thinking by the end of August or early September they should be done."

Patty: "By then it'll be cooler. That would be a good idea. A neighborhood yard sale. That'll definitely increase sales. Then we could pitch in any proceeds to a end-of-summer block party!"

Rob: [Just walking up] "What're you guys talking about?"

Patty: "Oh, we're thinking about having a neighborhood yard sale in September."

Rob: "You all have stuff to get rid of too? Man. There's nothing like moving from temporary housing## that gets you thinking about stuff you don't need."

Patty: "It's true!"

Rob: "The only problem is....I don't know if I can wait until September!"

** There are 6 houses that still need to be completed in our section. Think about a capital "T". There are 3 houses on the vertical just below the cross-line (just on the one side of the street). On the right part of the cross-line there's one house. Then there's our house next to that house. Then to the other side of us there are two more unfinished houses.

## Patty, Rob, Linda, and my family all lived in temporary (read that as much smaller than normal) housing until our homes were completed. We all that the majority of our stuff in storage for more than 3 months.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Time to commit

There are couples that know right off that bat that they are going to get married. This is great. This means both individuals are in the same point in life -- both ready to make a commitment to one another. Of course, there is the other side of the spectrum where couples are together for years and do not make the legal commitment. Then in the middle there are couples who are "engaged" but have yet to set a date.

There have been a lot of newly famous engaged couples as of late. Paris & Paris. Now who else knew that she was actually dating someone? I've never seen a photo of her with this guy in 9 months? But since they both come from wealthy families than it has more of a chance of lasting since they've both grown up the same way. Then there's the down-to-earth coupling of Ben & Jennifer G. Those two are so much better as a couple than the previous Bennifer tangle. JenG & Ben are both casual. Laid back. Homebodies. I'm so happy that they are engaged. I'm sure their child will be beautiful. Then I'm waiting to hear official news of Tom & Katie. I picked up a magazine yesterday that stated that the two have discussed marriage and having children together. Wow! That is SO fast!

Of course, there's the most famous couple of all who has never seemed to even THINK of marriage -- Goldie & Kurt. Those two have been together forever. They've got kids together. And they SEEM to always be happy. I'm sure they've had their bumps in the road (I hear he flirts like crazy with other women), but it seems they keep those issues private and they work them out. This "no marriage" arrangement seems to work for them. It's something they are both comfortable with. They have been successful in their careers. They seemed to get together as both of them were bright stars. Now that their shine has faded...they are still going strong.

The one couple that comes to mind for being together and "engaged" is Oprah & Steadman. It's funny that they even are engaged. I see the two of them as the same as Goldie & Kurt. They've just been together SO long that it works for them. Now if they'd gotten marriage shortly after they got engaged it would have made sense to me. But why even claim to be engaged if the end result is not marriage? They might as well have not gotten engaged and be done with it.

There are so many people who define their relationship differently. Whatever works for them that's fine. I guess I'm just a traditional kind of gal.

I know when I was dating my husband, I was in my mid-20s. I was developing my career steadily. I was at a comfortable point in my life. I wasn't looking for any kind of relationship. Then we "found" each other (Feb 1993). We started dating immediately. My then-boyfriend came for Thankgiving dinner in Nov 1994, he heard a conversation that still rings in his ears today (11 years later).

Dad: "Honey."

Me: "Yes?"

Dad: "You know...there's a nice young man that I met recently. I think you should meet him."

Me: "Uh. Okay..."

You see, my father was bringing up a topic that was bugging him. I had been dating my then-boyfriend for 21 months, so my father was WHERE our relationship was going. He didn't want to ask my then-boyfriend directly, so this was my father's way of getting his question out in the air. If my then-boyfriend wasn't going to make a commitment, then my father knew someone who might. I know. He was butting in to a place where he really had no vote. But he's my father. A father of 4 daughters. He was just looking out for my interests.

But I have to tell you that I was on the 2-year plan. In my own mind, people should know where their relationship is going after about 2 years. So, I had already thought of the possibility that this relationship MAY not work out. Especially if the two of us didn't have a serious discussion as to our future plans. You see, in all the time we were dating we never discussed the future. We went with the here and now. I didn't know what he was thinking. He didn't know that I was on a 2-year plan.

Thankfully, about a week after our 2-year anniversay he asked me to marry him. It was Valentine's Day. I thought we were just out for a fancy dinner. But no. When he took me to my condo, he got down on his knee and proposed. After I recovered from the shock of the moment, he told me to call my parents to find out if they were home. The two of us drove over to my folks house and informed them of the situation. They kind of suspected what was going on because I never would call them up on a weekend night to find out if they were home. We were married 13 months later.

For us, it took 3 years to finally get to a legal commitment to one another. We've been married now for over 9 years. We have our rough moments. Overall? It's been good.

But I must comment on what's going on with LilSis! I met her boyfriend over Memorial Day weekend. He seems REALLY nice. He seems to fit into our clan very easily. He came over to Sis#2's house for her birthday party. Sis#2 and her husband both feel he's a good guy. He played with all the kids. Nephew#2 just loves to play with him. My Mom seems to be fine with him. And I know for a fact that LilSis and he have discussed marriage. They've discussed how many children they want. They've discussed that he will support her if they get married and she is in law school. They've discussed that once she gets a job that he'd like to go back and get his MBA. They've discussed where (what part of the city) they'd like to live. They've only been dating since the end of January! What's great though is that HIS family is so on board about the two of them making it official. His parents are telling other family members about my sister. What's funny is that one of his cousins graduated Memorial weekend and had a party. All the family that had heard about my sister where wondering "Where the heck is this girl that our cousin is in love with?" The rest of his family that hadn't heard about my sister where wondering "When did THIS relationship happen? We were all together at the holidays and there was NO talk about this!" I think everyone is excited that the two have "found" each other. So compared to me...LilSis is on the fast track to commitment.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Random thoughts

I'll be solo for the next two days (until Saturday night). The Hubs will be out of town to take a test on Saturday. He leaves for work at 5:30am, so the kidlings and I are still in dreamland when he heads out. He won't be coming home after work tomorrow. He'll just drive up and spend the night at a hotel across the street from the testing location.


Latest Bear sayings:

Woody the doll = "Bouy"

Bath = "Baf"

Bless You = "Bess you" --> He says this every time any of us sneezes!

Plane = "Pane"

Helicopter = "He-cop-er"

Outside = "Side"

Upstairs = "Upf"

Turn on tv = "Watch"

Fall down = "Faw" --> He'll look my way when he says it. I just say "Shake it off. Get up. Go. Go!"


The Princess has become a bit sassy lately. I'm doing battle with her every day it seems. I think I've just got to spend more one-on-one time with her. Get her in more activities with kids her age. Something.


Why is it that I miss my family more intensely after I've visited them? I've spoken to both LilSis and Sis#2 twice since this weekend!


LilSis has begun the cleanup of the house. She's thrown a bunch of stuff out of the garage into the dumpster. She planned on cleaning out the downstairs closet next. She'll even be tackling the Tupperware issue, as well as the numerous pots & pans the folks have stowed. The guys took out the counters yesterday afternoon.


House Hunters last night -- "Designed to Buy" -- was simply awesome to watch. That single gentleman who was a clothing designer actually worked his business in that teeny-tiny one-bedroom apartment. I was so glad he selected the home that he did. I had a feeling he would. Granted. It was a total fixer-upper. It needed SO much work. New kitchen. New master bath. Totally new guesthouse (since it was gutted). But the bones of the house were fantastic. He kept the original mouldings. He kept those sweet built-in cabinets in the dining room. He just freshened up the rooms that weren't too bad looking. But he did great work in the rooms that needed full attention. I'm surprised he didn't put a steam shower in his master bath. He opted for a whirlpool tub. Then he put those two sets of french doors in the master bedroom that led to that HUGE backyard? What a scene to wake up to in the morning! Impressive!


My goal for today is play with the kiddos. TRY to stay off the computer the rest of the day. [crossing fingers]

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Oh it's a beauty-full day...

It's cloudy outside!

Cause for celebration? Here in Arizona it is.

The overcast skies also bring with it a cool breeze. It's only supposed to be 96 today. Tonight it'll get down into the chilly mid-60s.

Seeing that it was cloudy this morning, I set out to take the kidlings to the park after breakfast. Oh what FUN they had. The Bear went on a 'big kid' swing today. The Princess was trying to show him how to use the swing, but he kind of freaked when I started to push him. The Princess showed him her 'favorite' swinging position -- on her hummy. The Bear quickly followed suit.

"Fly! Fly!"

He seemed to think that he was flying. Just like Buzz Lightyear in The Toy Story (which we've been watching EVERY day). So the two of them kept on 'flying' on their tummies for quite a long time.

We got home around 10:45am (we'd been there since about 8:30am). I threw the kidlings into the tub to rinse off. They played in there for about half an hour. By the time they got out, I was ready to serve lunch. They'd missed their morning snack because they were having TOO much fun at the park. So an early lunch was in order once they'd cooled down in the tub.

Right now? They're watching A Bug's Life. Once that movie is done we'll pile into the car and (hopefully) get the Bear to sleep.

What's even more great? They are finishing up the sidewalk in front of the house next door to us. This means we'll have sidewalk in front of our house and all the way around to behind our house. The kidlings will have more sidewalk to ride their toys. Woohoo!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Gross! How can they live like that?

On Saturday at my Mom's house as the Hubs and I were chatting it up with LilSis & her boyfriend, we had the television tuned to TLC. That show "Moving Up" with Doug Wilson came up and we were transfixed. We could NOT believe what we were seeing. The particular episode we were viewing was called "Calamityville Horror".

The basic premise of the show. Three groups/individuals from 3 different abodes. Group1 moves into Group2's house. Group2 moves into Group3's house. The rest of the show displays how Group1 changes Group2's house to make it into their own style. Group2 changes Group3's house to make it into their style. All this is to be done in 3 or 4 months. Then Group2 goes back and checks the changes to their original home. Group3 comes back and checks the changes on their original home.

This episode showed that people can live in disgusting conditions. It's not like the couple (with 2 kids) couldn't afford to have a nice interior of their home. They CHOSE to live in filthy conditions. When Group1 (a single female) started to move into the house, she realized she COULD NOT move into it. There were rat droppings on the floor. There was an awful stench in the air. She went into one room and saw maggots (that's right! MAGGOTS) in the ceiling fixture. She got professionals in and they ripped out the entire interior of the house. They ripped it all out to the studs. What did they find? Do it yourself wiring that could have resulted in a fire. The flue (is that how you spell it?) had a crack in it, which also could have resulted in a fire. Rat burrows throughout the place. Carpenter ants. Flies. A hornet's nest in the roof. More than a handful of dead squirrels in the rafters. The squirrels were falling down as they removed the ceiling drywall and insulation. It looked horrible on tv. I'm sure it was 100 times worse in person. So the dead squirrels caused flies to lay eggs. The eggs hatched into maggots. The maggots matured and turned into flies. UGH! Gross!

When Doug Wilson confronted the previous owners, they acted shocked. The previous owner (the wife) asked "There weren't any rats, were there? We had a problem with that when we first moved in, but we took care of that." What was even more pathetic was that the previous owner (the wife) would giggle in this ha-ha got you kind of way. Then why were there droppings on the floor when the gal moved in? And they couldn't hear the squirrels in their roof?

But, in reality, this is a lesson for all home buyers. The gal did NOT have a home inspection performed. That service (usually less than $500) could have saved her a whole lot of stress and aggrevation and money. She was a first-time home buyer and she was given some HORRIBLE advice. Never skip the inspection. She ended up putting in tens of thousands of dollars into that house. But it turned out so pretty.

I certainly do hope that that couple that sold her the house get lots of disapproving looks from now on. They were totally dishonest. They did not disclose issues with the house. They took advantage of this gal. I'm sure the folks who live in the neighborhood that this couple moved into will be watching them warily. Hoping the house they bought doesn't turn into the house they moved from. EWWW!!!!


The demolition at my parents house starts today. My BIL (Sis#2 hubby) will be taking out the faucets to all the sinks.

Tomorrow? The countertops and sinks will be hauled out.

Next Monday? The refacing of the cabinets is set to begin. They'll have new drawers installed. New cabinet doors will be put in with hidden hinges. Pulls will also be put on the new cabinets. Don't know how long the refacing process will take. Anyone know?

Next Friday? The new Corian countertops (in Sandstone) and sinks will be installed in the kitchen and the 2 1/2 baths.

I don't know when the plumber will be in to install the new faucets (which haven't been purchased as yet) and the new garbage disposal (which also hasn't been purchased). I'm trying to talk my Mom into purchasing a new low-flow toilet for the downstairs powder room. Their current one is original and it's got a leak in it (so it's got a drip-drip sound). I told her that since the plumber is coming out to install the faucets that she should ask him if he could take out the old toilet and install a new one.

I don't know the specific timeframe, but I do believe the crew that'll be removing the acoustic (popcorn) ceiling will begin sometime this week. Once they finish removing all the ceiling material, they'll prime and paint the ceiling a fresh coat of white. All the walls for the downstairs will also be painted different tones of khaki-beige. The chandelliers in the entry, dining, and stairwell will also be changed out. I'm going to try to get LilSis to buy a new fixture for the powder room so that's updated as well.

LilSis is taking a couple weeks off from work to clear out old stuff from the house. She's actually rented a small dumpster for a month. The dumpster will be emptied once a week. So she and my Mom can go through the house and get things out. A Clean Sweep kind of deal. My Mom is having a hard time letting go of items. Stuff she doesn't even look at on a regular basis. So LilSis is going to help her let go of things. For example, my Mom bought a new coffeemaker at Christmas. She has the old one in the garage. Just sitting there. She doesn't want to throw it out.

I convinced them that they've got enough stuff to have a garage sale. Dehydrator. Carseat. Booster seat. Umbrella stroller. Regular stroller. Couch. Matching chair. A few lamps. Frames. Wall decorations. Kid toys. Shoes (both LilSis and my Mom have tons of unused shoes). Clothes. Oh...the clothes! My Mom has tons of clothes that she doesn't use. She uses her closet. 1/2 of my Dad's closet. 1/2 of the guest closet. But I seem to see her in the same outfits all the time. I told LilSis that she should go through my Mom's closet, get 5 items that are never worn, show them to my Mom, and convince her that she doesn't need them. I told her she should do this every 2 days or so while my Mom is at work. This way the closets get cleaned out gradually. I think my Mom is overwhelmed at the sheer volume of what she has to go through. This'll make it easier for her.

By the time the Princess and I come back at the end of June, the entire downstairs and some of the upstairs will be transformed. It's going to be so exciting!