Friday, March 31, 2006

week at a glance - updated

Sunday - B built retaining wall for pond in corner of backyard. Went to the gym where B played in his racquetball league, I worked out, boys hung out in the child center. Everyone spent a few hours in the pool. Had an early dinner at Pei Wei's. Trip to Lowe's to look at plants, wheelbarrows, statuary. Attended evening mass.

Monday - Spent entire day working in the backyard. It was awesome that the 4 of us were all able to help prepare the corner garden. B moved 2 truckloads of dirt into the gardening areas. We're closer to being finished than ever before! See picture blog for progress pictures.

Tuesday - early morning run to W*l-M*rt for grocery items and a pot for C's venus flytrap. Home for early lunch and a phone call from a friend to take her daughter to preschool since her newborn was feeling poorly. Picked up A, had to go to 2 gas stations to buy gas and ended up late to preschool at the D*sert B*tanical Gardens. Enjoyed a very busy class (15 students this session - twice as many as last!). Took A home, stopped at Spr*uts for produce, T*rget for incidentals, pick up B's shirts from cleaners. Called my brother about buying him a camera for his Ir*q deployment, found out he is getting married next week (!?!?!?!?!) Re-potted venus flytrap. Vented to B about brother's plans to marry. Called sis to let her know. Talked to Mom and vented more. Fed kids dinner. Talked to brother AGAIN and it didn't go well. Talked to Mom again. Made B call him and congratulate him, since apparently nobody else in my family felt up to it (including me). Spent tearful evening, ending with long bubble bath.

Wednesday - Early morning doctor appointment for C. Got renewal prescription for Fl*vent, got a new prescription for Fl*nase in the hopes we can dry up his runny nose. Visited a local nursery and bought more plants. McD for early lunch. back home to IM convo with brother and finally coming to terms with his decision. (it's his life and his decision -- just because it seems sudden doesn't mean it isn't right). Clean kitchen, finally put away items purchased yesterday, update blog. Kmart to fill prescriptions and picked up new towels for rental condo. Bought wedding card for brother & intended. Bought brother a digital camera to take to Ir*q.

Thursday - Make beds and clean floors in rental condo in prep for Saturday arrival. (anybody looking for a condo to rent during vacation in AZ? Let me know!) Post office to mail brother's camera & wedding card and cord rosary. Much drama with family over brother's wedding next weekend, finally find solution that allows me to attend.

Friday - Call Mom to find out how exploratory surgery went. Plant plants purchased a couple days ago -- realize I bought way too much groundcover. I'm still not sure what to do -- I could carve out another garden area, I suppose, or relocate some of the ground cover I already planted. Still thinking on this one. Go to post office for money order for B's sister and mail. Drop off bulletin notice at church for mom's group and drop off paper recycling. Stop at nursery and look for plants for 2 remaining clay pots. Laundry. Change sheets.

Saturday Plans - Vaccuum, clean floors, general cleaning. SMALL grocery run.

End of March Friday Feast

Name 3 things that you think are strange.
Adults with stuffed animal fetishes, cartoon vegetables and sponges that speak, many of my neighbors

What was the last ceremony you attended?
T's mother blessing

What is one lesson you have learned in the past year?
That people are more than willing to help - even when you don't ask outright for it.

Main Course
Tell us about one of your childhood memories.
I remember lining up bread crumbs on the windowsill of my great-aunt's upper flat and watching the birds come and eat. That was the first one that came to mind when I read the question.

If you could extend any of the four seasons to be twice as long as normal, which season would you want to lengthen?
Without a doubt -- Spring. I love the anticipation of it, the cool breezes, the blooming plants.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

i'm going

Drama . . . . drama . . . more drama . . I won't bore you any more tonight.

But the result is that I'm attending my brother's wedding next weekend. My amazing friend D will watch the boys on Saturday for as long as we need and B will turn down any late calls on Friday.

My sister is also going, so we'll fly together.

The boys are sad that they can't go, but we have another trip already planned and paid for in mid-May.

Should be interesting.

March's Reading List

I really enjoyed only one book I read this month - "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents". The rest were so-so, or downright awful. I tried to complete every book I started this month (sometimes I just skim when I start to lose interest) and I think I'll go back to skimming. "Cuba" was an exception in that the plot took a while to develop, and the characters seemed very unrealistic in many places -- but I'm glad I finished the book as it was oddly satisfying at the end.

(**) Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander / I read another of his novels last month that I really enjoyed. This one was predictable and slow in many parts.

(*) Altar Music by Christin Lore Weber / A sad, depressing look into a woman's choice to enter a convent - written by a former nun. I guess that should have tipped me off. The book made me uncomfortable and seemed to focus only on the negative.

(***) Tattoo Artist by Jill Ciment / This was another book that took a bit to get into it, but it was ultimately interesting. The main character was stranded on an island for many years with native peoples and returned to NYC after 20+ years.

(***) 42 Up by Bennett Singer / One of the original "reality" type shows. This is a book that is a companion to the English movies that followed a group of individuals from the age of 7. They were interviewed every 7 years to see the changes in their lives. I find peoples' lives interesting, so I liked this read. I have only seen one of the movies (7 Up) but the others are in my Netflix queue.

(*) Queen of the Underworld by Gail Godwin / Very unsatisfying read. Not much of a plot, loose ending, poor character development. Won't bother with any more of author's novels.

(**) Master Tanner Heads West by WC Baumberger / Kinda weird. Again, poor character development. I would have liked to understand the character's a bit better.

(**) Fever by Sean Rowe / B movie material. Low on character development, but quick read.

(****) How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez / Most enjoyable book read this month. Great look at family life. My only complaint is that the time frames jumped around too much -- one chapter it was 1952, next chapter it was 1980, then back to the 60's.

(*) Passion: A Novel of the Romantic Poets by Jude Morgan / Ehhhhh. Too many characters not easily linked to each other.

(***) Cuba: A Novel by Emily Barr / Glad I stuck through to the end. Very weird in parts, but interesting in others.

(***) A Gathering of Angels by Katherine Valentine / Easy, fun, simple read. Mitford becomes Catholic. Annoying that the author has ripped off so many plot developments and characters from the Mitford series -- this book even had a large dog and a children's author.

Friday, March 24, 2006

friday's feast

How would you describe your personal comfort zone?

With people I know & love, and no anticipation of dealing with people I don't know or love in the near future.

What is your favorite tree?

Can't decide between willows or cherry trees. I used to like to think I was as flexible as a willow - but I also loved the cherry tree in my aunt's backyard when I was a kid.

List 3 foods you'd like to include in your dinner plans for tonight.

something sweet and yummy, something without meat, salad

Main Course
What is the best advice you've ever been given, but didn't heed?

I can't think of any -- I'm pretty happy with the choices I've made, and even when they've had dodgy results, I learned quite a bit in the process. Maybe advice to save more money?

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest), how much attention do you feel comfortable receiving from others?
Maybe a 3. I get uncomfortable fairly easily.


noisy things

Why doesn't everything that makes a noise come with an "off" switch?

I'm bothered by sudden household noises. Our doorbell is disconnected. The ringers on our phones are turned off, except for one, and it's on low. I am still trying to figure out how to disconnect the buzzer on the dryer. I just don't like those noises. We got a new fax machine (B needs one for work, and our old one was 10+ years old and gave up). It is connected to the phone line, and there is no way to turn off (or even down) the ringer! It doesn't even have a handset - it's just a fax machine.

So - that's my pet peeve for the day. I won't even get into how I tape and/or prop things up over all the lit things in our bedroom so the lights don't bug me. LOL

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

another meme

Relationship Status: Married for 8 years – will be 9 in August
Shoe size : 9 – 9 ½ US
Parents still together? Yes – my father never dated anyone other than my mother; how sweet is that?
Siblings: One sister 11 years younger, one brother 12 years younger
Pets: 1 dog – a white female boxer; purchased because my parents bought her brother and convinced me to go “look” and we couldn’t leave without her


Color: yellow, red
Number: don’t have one
Animal: dog
Book: Just about anything
Flower: daffodil


Twirl your hair? No
Have tattoos? No
Cheat on tests? No
Like roller coasters? Yes!

Wish you could live somewhere else? Nope, I love Arizona
Own a cell phone? Yes.
Current clothing: flowered sweat shirt, grey pants, white socks
Current hair: brown, with way too many blonde highlights. Not thrilled with the hairdresser I saw this week . . . my usual one is out for surgery and I should have just waited I think.
Current thing I ought to be doing: putting the boys to bed
Current CD in stereo: Bon Jovi, “Have a Nice Day”
Last movie you saw: Curious George
Last thing you ate: Microwave popcorn
Life on other planets? Doubt it
Do you hate yourself? No.
Collect anything? Used to collect black & white cows and Madame Alexander dolls – don’t really collect anything anymore

A daydreamer: Sometimes.
Sarcastic: No
Shy: Often
Talkative: Sometimes.

Get your nose or lip pierced? Neither – but if I was forced, I’d go for nose


Simple or complicated? Complicated – but I bet I put on a good show that I’m simple


What time is it? 8:58PM Arizona Time
Nickname(s): Melly, Mel, Lanie (but only by one aunt who heard it on a soap opera)


Where do you want to live: Right where I am
How many kids do you want: however many I’m blessed with
What kind of job do you want: Other than taking care of my kids, I’d love to write and get paid to do so
Do you want to get married: I am.

Nervous Habits: pull on my eyebrows, twiddle my thumbs
Are you double jointed? No
Can you roll your tongue? Yes
Can you raise one eyebrow? No
Can you cross your eyes? No
Do you make your bed daily? If I don’t, B does

Which shoe goes on first: whichever one I grab
Ever thrown one at someone: Yes.
How much money do you carry in your wallet: depends – anywhere from $1 to $100

Bought something: Yes. Actually lots – it’s been a big consumer month around here
Gotten sick: No
Sang: with my boys
Felt stupid: Yes
Missed someone: Yes
Gotten your hair cut: Yes
Watched cartoons: Nope
Lied: No.


Slept in your bed: B
Saw you cry: N
Made you cry: The Army (when hearing that my brother was being deployed to Iraq)
Saw a movie with you: all my boys : )

Been to California: Yes
Been to Canada: Yes
Wished you were the opposite sex: Nope
Snuck out of the house: No


Today we ran our weekly errands! Since the boys are able to be out & about for hours at a time now, I try to do them all in one day. When they were younger, I would spread them out over a few days to avoid meltdowns and missed naps.

  • Bank

  • Post Office

  • Paper recycling to church (the local church with the most paper wins cash which is used for scholarships at our parish.)

  • Recycle cans (wooo hooo! We earned 45 cents! It's more about recycling/reusing and the environment than the money, though)

  • Library

  • Drop B's shirts at the cleaners (yes, I realize I could do them myself. But I am horrible at ironing. It makes me very crabby. And they do such a nice job for $1.45.)

  • Grocery Shopping

Those errands, plus lunch, took about 4 1/2 hours. As we were driving home, I was thinking about how much easier this is now -- neither boy naps, both are old enough to walk along side the cart, can mostly buckle their booster seats, and are reasonably well behaved. It's been years since running errands was this easy!

I was talking to B after we got home, and he laughingly said "Well, I'll knock you up again and you'll be stuck at home!" I replied that we'd just teach the next one to nap on the fly!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)

The Traditional Princess
You are generous, graceful, and practical with both feet planted firmly on the ground. You tend to be a little on the old-fashioned side. You value home, hearth, and family life and love to be of service to others.
Role Models: Snow White, Maid Marian
You are most likely to: Discover a hidden talent for spinning straw into gold.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Saturday, March 18, 2006

our week

We had a typical, busy week.

Monday . . . we did something, but I just can't quite remember what? It must have just been typical errands - groceries, library, bill paying? B was prepping for a new class (and he has yet another new class next week!) so I know we didn't do anything as a family.

Tuesday . . . we had a pallet of bricks and two tons of flagstone delivered in the morning. We have a very large backyard, which is mostly un-landscaped. Slowly, but surely, we're getting it done and this delivery is a starting point. B will build a patio with the bricks to hold our outside dining table & gazebo. The flagstone will be used in various areas - the center of a garden I've been planning for a while (either herbs or flowers), stepping stones, and other features yet to be determined. We had to purchase an entire pallet to get it delivered - so we ended up with about a ton and 1/2 more than we wanted . . . but I know we'll find a place for it.

In the afternoon, we had lunch with my friend D, and then took the boys to the Arizona Museum for Youth. We had a nice afternoon, and poor D was completely worn out by the time she headed home. She's expecting her first child in June, so the pregnancy tires her out.

Wednesday . . . We stayed home and did home stuff. The boys played in the backyard most of the day, and I should have cleaned house and did laundry . . . but didn't ;(

Thursday . . . We shopped for my friend T, who had her baby last weekend. Josiah is an absolute doll and it was fun to bring her meals for a few days and hang out with her baby. Her 3 year old is adjusting fine so far, and she had a wonderful birth experience.

Friday . . . B only had one call, and that was late, so we all went to the Desert Botanical Garden's plant sale. They had lots of plants available, so we spent a couple hours looking and thinking and finally decided on about $150 worth of desert friendly plants. We still need dirt for the backyard / planting areas, but the plants will last in their containers another couple weeks and we'll get some dirt soon. I would say we'd do it on Monday, but B is teaching a new class this week and will need Monday to prep.

B put together one of the new beds for the boys, and took down the bunk beds. Here was another situation where those extra beds in the master bedroom have been useful! In fact, they've slept in them all week, and I hadn't even bothered to go back to their bedroom. Bedtime had become such a ridiculous battle, but when I gave up trying to put them to sleep/bed in their bunkbeds, the entire routine fell back into place.

Today . . . I'm finally getting to the laundry. (ugh, didn't I just post recently I was back in the laundry groove? I fell out of it again!) B will put up the other bed and we'll put the boys back in there tonight for bedtime. I'm hoping for an easy time of it!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

love languages, part 3

B took the quiz and his top 2 love languages were Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. Physical Touch was tied with Acts of Service for #3.

I'm not surprised at all. It's funny that Words of Affirmation was my bottom response. It's very true that he affirms me verbally very often, and I know I need to work on affirming him verbally. It's not that I don't adore him and the things he does for our family, but it just doesn't come naturally I guess for me. I think I do okay on the Acts of Service . . . he can count on having clean laundry, the accounting taken care of, basic household things done. We should work on finding more Quality Time. That's been lacking in our lives, and I need to find a new sitter so we can start having time alone again.

And, well, we do just fine on the Physical Touch area. thank you very much. LOL

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

love languages, part 2

I found the quiz in the previous post interesting. Especially interesting since I have read that book. B & I used to talk about it during the "communication" segment of the program we facilitated with engaged couples who were marrying in the Catholic Church. And, never once, in all the discussions about it, did I think that "physical touch" was my first love language. It never even made the top 3!

I think the quiz was very interesting, and allowed me to step back even further and answer honestly to determine my love languages. It was just my own evaluation of my needs/wants in the past - but considering the questions posed, and an even more careful look at myself - I realize the quiz is most likely correct.

Why was I so afraid to admit that to myself? Was it because "men" often have physical touch as their primary love language - so of course I wouldn't? B never chose physical touch as his primary love language either, but I wonder what results will come when he takes the quiz (I sent him the link via email, but he hasn't done it yet)? Personally, I don't think it will be his primary -- I think his main love languages are affirmation and acts of service; but I guess I'll see!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

love languages

The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Physical Touch
with a secondary love language being
Acts of Service.

Complete set of results

Physical Touch: 10
Acts of Service: 8
Quality Time: 7
Receiving Gifts: 3
Words of Affirmation: 2


Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

bunk beds and ikea

We'd talked about getting bunk beds for the boys ever since we moved them into one room and made the other room a playroom. (which was about 2.5 years ago?) It seemed like a great idea - bunk beds would take up less room, leaving them more floor space.

We found a great deal on Ikea bunk beds in their "AS IS" section and snapped them up before Christmas (I think we bought them for $20!). The boys were excited about moving out of their toddler beds, and looking forward to the bunk beds.

Until . . . I found out what a difficult and time consuming thing it was to change the top sheets. For someone who changes the sheets on a weekly basis, it was annoying. For someone whose son stopped sleeping in pull-ups, and started having accidents, it was very annoying! Add that to the fact that C felt "lonely" on the top bunk and often curled up at the foot of N's bed so he wouldn't be alone. And, then the boys realized they could climb to the pot shelf from the top bunk and I'd come in and find them sitting extremely close to the ceiling. And the fact they could touch the ceiling fan. There were a lot of factors playing when I started telling B I wanted to get rid of the bunk beds!

So, back to Ikea's "AS IS" section where B found 2 twin size beds with drawers underneath to replace the bunk beds. It'll be a few days before he has the opportunity to put them together, but I can't wait. These beds weren't as amazing a deal as the bunk beds were . . . but they were 50% off regular retail, so I'm not complaining.

While they're losing floor space, hopefully C won't feel lonely and perhaps he'll spend the entire night in his rooms more than once in a blue moon?

About the picture - N often sleeps with one of his blankies covering his head like a little hat. He'll be all set if we ever move back to a cold climate. LOL!

Monday, March 13, 2006

irish soda bread

In anticipation of St. Patrick's Day on Friday, I thought I'd share my soda bread recipe. It is yummy, and easy to make! I'll serve it with corned beef, carrots & potatoes (I don't like cabbage).

Since B often works Friday nights anyway, we'll have our traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner on Sunday. (and, yes, I know that corned beef is about as Irish as macaroni & cheese . . . but it's family tradition all the same.)

**Note -- I use the SACO brand powdered buttermilk instead of real buttermilk. It's found in the baking products aisle of most grocery stores. For this recipe, for the 1 cup of buttermilk, add 4 T powder to the dry ingredients and 1 cup water to the wet. For 1/4 cup buttermilk, add 1T powder to 1/4 cup water and mix before adding to the melted butter **

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2 In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
3 Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

my favorite recent picture

weekday mass

One of my Lenten ideas was to attend a mass during the week, in addition to Sunday.

When I told B, he said "Want to try something more difficult?"

Weekday mass at our parish is at 8AM. My kids (and myself) are in a schedule where we wake between 9 & 10AM most days. This is a schedule that works for us at the moment - sleeping schedules could be a whole 'nother post . . . but this is about weekday mass.

B receives his daily schedule between 8:30 and 9 most days, which means that his first call is usually no earlier than 10AM (he leaves around 9 typically if he has a 10AM call). So, as long as I get out of bed . . . I can be back from mass before he has to leave.

This morning, I woke at 7AM. Everyone was still sleeping (in our room . . . hmmm . . . I really should do a sleeping post) and I was snuggled close to my sweetie. The sheets were warm; I was so comfortable; and then I remembered my promise. 20 minutes later, I was out of bed and getting dressed. Hopped in the car by 7:40 and in the pew by 7:50.

The church was packed. I enjoyed the fact that the songs were cut down from Sunday mass, and we didn't sing the "Our Father". Fr. P said the mass, so he included the extra prayers at the end, as he is wont to do. It felt good to be there, it felt like I belonged.

I realized it is possible - there's no reason why I can't rise early and attend . . . and as our schedules swing back to earlier bedtimes and earlier risings, I'd like to start attending with the boys as well. I think this is something that will continue past Lent.

Monday, March 06, 2006

which flower are you ?

You are an Iris:

You are logical, analytical, dignified, and wise.

You are studious by nature and may prefer

books to people. You tend to be a serious

person but are capable of making others laugh

with your dry sense of humor. Friends always

benefit from your advice.

Symbolism: Over the centuries the iris has come to

symbolize faith, wisdom, hope, and promise in


Which Flower are You?

faith or fashion

found via Musings of a Discerning Woman

Do you wear a cross? Yes. I have 2 different crosses and a miraculous medal that I wear regularly.

Is there a particular time or place that you consider wearing a cross? Not really. I'm just starting to wear necklaces again after years of having young, grabby hands on me all the time. I tend to wear my crosses and medal more often than any other necklaces.

Where do you were it? On a chain around my neck.

What does the cross look like? One is mostly yellow gold, with white gold detail and small diamonds. The other is yellow gold, much more delicate, with a slight curve to it.

Who gave the cross to you or did you choose it? B gave me both crosses. One was a confirmation gift and the other was a Christmas gift a few years ago.

Is this your favorite cross, if so, why? The one I received as a confirmation gift is my favorite. It is unique, I love the way it looks, and it is special because of who gave it to me, and when I received it.

What does wearing a cross mean to you? It's a physical & visual reminder that I am Christian.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

when he's ready

Parenting is tough. I've always tried to stay with the idea that when my kids are ready to do something, they will. Finding the balance between support and encouragement with pushing and insistence is difficult. How hard do we push? How far do we stand back?

This week, I was shown that we're doing okay. It started with pull-ups. YES, both my boys still wear pull-ups to bed at night. They successfully learned how to use the toilet during the day right arond 2 1/2. (again - very little pushing - C mastered it in little over 2 weeks, N got it down in just a weekend.) I don't really tell people that they are both in pull-ups at night - mainly because it's none of their business, but also because it's one of those statements that make people think "what's wrong with him / them?" and I'd rather just avoid that.

For a long time, they were both wet every single morning, and my sleep was more precious than dealing with wet pajamas and wet sheets. So, we waited. We would sometimes talk about it, but never put any pressure on him. He stayed dry one night. And then another. We started asking in the morning "Hey, are you dry?" If he was, he got a high-five; if he wasn't we said tonight was another chance. He stayed dry 3 nights running. I started talking about wearing undies to bed. He kept choosing pull-ups. After 6 straight dry nights, he said "I think I'll try underwear tonight" I said "Ok!"

He stayed dry and thought that was pretty cool. The next night, he wet the bed. He was in tears that night, but B changed his clothes & sheets and tucked him back in with love. He could have chosen to go back to pull-ups, because we didn't say anything . . . but he chose underwear again. We're on the 4th pull-up free night and I think they're history for C.

The first morning he woke in undies, he turned to his dad and said "Today is the day I think we should take off my training wheels!" B says "Okay!" He went out that afternoon and took off the training wheels, expecting to spend the afternoon holding on to the back of the seat and anticipating a sore back (but a worthwhile sore back!). As B is in the garage putting away the wrench, C hopped on his bike and took off. He knew he was ready - and he was! There were some wobbly rides & stops, but for the most part - he's mastered it.

He has always been a child who has the need to study something before trying it. He observes, reflects, studies and then acts. B sometimes worries that he is too tentative, but when he is ready to do something, he usually nails it right away.

I'm proud of him, and also proud of us - for letting him be who he is.
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