Friday, July 28, 2006

Fine Art Friday

"Two Young Girls at the Piano"
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

When I visited the Louvre in Paris during college, I bought a copy of this print for my sister. I chose it because of the color of their hair and the closeness the picture portrayed, and the fact my sister is musical (she plays flute, trombone, picolo and clarinet.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I may have mentioned my dismay that my teeth suffered during our lean years. Last summer, I had started getting some of the issues addressed . . . and then DH lost his job. Another tooth crumbled in my mouth a couple months ago, and last night I finally made it back into a dentist's chair.

He came back with the x-ray and looked at me and asked if I was able to sleep at night. I replied that I was. As he was showing me the x-ray, he told me that he would have thought he'd come in and find me in tears from the pain. Apparently the tooth I came in for is completely rotted and infected to the bone.

And, here I thought I was just having a rotten headache (not unknown to me).

I'm currently on penicillin and a prescription painkiller as I wait to get an appointment for the oral surgery consult (not until 4 weeks) where I will then have to make an appointment to have the tooth extracted. There's nothing to save. The dentist told me that he wouldn't be surprised if the entire tooth imploded before I made it to the consult.


I have a high pain tolerance. But, I have to admit that I did take a painkiller this afternoon and while I feel loopy, I also feel better than I have in weeks. Constant pain (even though I think I'm tolerating it) isn't any fun. I'm guessing that once the penicillin does its work, I'll feel even better when my body is rid of this infection.

I was afraid to ask him to look at the crumbled tooth on the other side of my mouth. I will, though . . . but it can wait until the next consult.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

new design

Thanks to Susie at Bluebird Blogs for my fresh, new look!

She was great to work with - communicative, friendly, and willing to work with the little info I gave her about what I wanted :)

I like what she did to spruce up my space!

Monday, July 24, 2006

prayers please

My mom (and my SIL, I'm assuming) received a call today to inform them that one member of my brother's unit has been killed and 2 injured. They arrived in Kuwait late last week.

That's all the information they will release at this time - but at least we know that my brother was not the casualty, nor among the injured.

Please say an extra prayer for all those serving in the military, especially those serving in dangerous zones. I don't think we could possibly offer up too many prayers for these courageous men and women. And, while it may be selfish, say a prayer for my baby brother as well. Let him stay safe in body and mind during this tour of duty.


Just a note that I am going to start updating more often on my homeschooling blog (link on the right), for those who are interested in that sort of thing.

I'm off to make a post about last weekend's homeschooling conference that I attended, and a really neat art program I purchased. (well, at least I HOPE it's a really neat program! LOL)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fine Art Friday #6

As usual, I chose this painting because I like it :) When I used to think of Picaso, I usually thought of his odd-looking portraits - but he painted a number of lovely portraits as well.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

mini vacation

We took a mini-vacation to a local resort this weekend. We went to the Pointe South Mountain and had a fabulous time. For a very low price (at least considering the winter rates) we stayed in a 2 room suite that was beautiful. The resort has a water park (the reason I chose to stay there) - so after we checked in and changed into our suits, we called and had a shuttle come to drive us the 3 minutes to the water park area. (The resort is pretty big - and it is pretty hot - so the shuttle was a wonderful thing!)

The water park has a wave pool, a baby pool (1.5 feet deep throughout), sprinkler area, lazy river, water slides and a hot tub. Waitstaff is available to take your orders as you're lounging by the pool, so I had a few frozen alcholic drinks and then we ate an early dinner by the pool as well.

After we were done swimming (maybe 5 hours?!) we headed back to the room, changed back into clothes, and had the shuttle take us to one of the restaurants on the property. We chose to go to the Rustlers Roost to have steak. The restaurant was very rustic and it was fun. Too pricey to consider returning . . . the tables were also too small and the food was "okay" - nothing fantastic. The boys ate free, which is always a plus, and after all that swimming, they chowed down another meal with no problem.

The shuttle returned us to our room, where I put the boys to bed and B worked on a presentation he had to give the next night. In the morning, I debated about ordering room service ($11.50 for a breakfast burrito!!!!) but in the end decided to send B to the Sonic down the road (breakfast for the 4 of us for $10.75!)

We checked out of the room, drove our van close to the water park, and spent another 4 hours playing in the water. Then, lunch at a Mexican place close by and home.

It was a very relaxing way to spend the weekend. My sister was sweet enough to stay here overnight to take care of our dog. And, one of the nicest things was that we were only 35 minutes from home! So, a short drive and we were back in our own house. LOL!

We talked about how much fun it will be when we have our pool installed . . . and when we got home there was a message that our permit is complete! They start digging the pool tomorrow!!!

hey . . . Phoenix person

Someone from Phoenix is hitting my blog a bunch over the last few days . . .

do I know you? Don't be shy . . . drop me a comment or an email!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Brother's Day

Alexa (or was it her son, Rocky?) declared July 15 to be "Brother's Day!"

In celebration of such a day - I present you with my one & only brother -- M. He is shown here wearing his usual daily uniform in MS a month or so ago -- where he has been training in preparation to head over to the Middle East sometime this month (it's a secret . . . we'll know he's there once he's already there)

There are 12 years between my brother and I -- and while he & I haven't always had the easiest relationship, I love him as only a sister can.

There are many stories I could tell - but this seems appropriate for the time - when he was 5 -- some fool from the neighborhood knocked him off his bike. I saw it, and took off running after the kid -- chased him into his house and had him about 2 feet off the floor against the wall explaining to him why it would be a good idea to stay away from my brother. All in front of his mother. To whom I explained that her son was a hooligan and she should keep a better eye on him! I may not be able to run as fast as I could at 17, but I would still chase down any person who dared threaten him!

With so many years between us, our relationship has often been more like a mother/son - but maybe one of those moms who only want to be their kids' friend but still worry about them quite a bit. We have a great mom -- but my brother & sister were often left in my care, so we have a unique bond.

Anyway -- I love you, bro! Please keep him and all the other soldiers in the Middle East in your prayers.

Friday, July 14, 2006

errands day

Today was an errands day. I tried getting out of the house early this morning, but the boys were involved in some elaborate game involving wooden fences, dinosaurs and the McDonald's Cars toys . . . so we didn't leave until closer to 11.

First we headed to one bank, where I cashed a couple checks and got our homeschooling affidavit notarized (woo hoo - it'll go in the mail and we'll be "official" and I can get my 20% educator's discount at Borders and Barnes & Noble!).

A stop at the library - only to find that it didn't open until 1 on Fridays (they recently reduced the hours dramatically, which I knew, but I thought they opened at noon on Fridays.)

We stopped at the dollar store where the boys picked up 2 hula hoops (smaller size, so easier for them to use . . . although they've been using them as racetracks since we got home) and I got a bunch of goodies to send to my brother once he arrives in the Middle East.

Off to a different bank to pay our mortgage.

McDonald's for lunch. Happy Meals for the boys - and toys they already have so they want me to sell them on ebay next month (we ended up buying Mater & Ramone from ebay last week . . . so they think it's a great idea to sell their duplicates.)

The water company to pay the water bill (yes, I could mail it -- but it's the only bill besides the mortgage that I can't pay online . . . so I usually just drop it off on an errands day).

The post office. There was a long wait, but I needed to send a certified letter, and needed some stamps. I asked for Disney stamps . . . not realizing until I got home that they are .37 stamps instead of .39 stamps . . . which means I need .02 stamps now. Ugh. I wish the post office person would have told me!

And then back to the library to choose some books and videos.

We made it home around 3. And ordered pizza for dinner.

Not a bad day at all ;) Now if only DH would come home early enough to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie!

Fine Art Friday #5

It almost feels like a cliche to like Monet, but I do. I like the softness of most of his work, his apparent love for nature, the warmth that comes from his pieces.

I love sunflowers, and this piece speaks to me with the tall sunflowers on each side, making a path for the small child. I love the view of this garden. It's a picture that makes me happy.

Feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Today is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. She is considered a patroness of ecology & the environment. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1980.

Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother a Catholic Algonquin - tribes from New York state (where I was born.)

The link above has her biography, and many links to more sites about her. It also includes a lesson plan, for those interested in that :)

I'm drawn to stories of people who are willing to be outcast for their faith. I feel so fortunate that I am able to freely practice my faith, and only meet with mild derision from my family for doing so. I would hope that I would have strong enough faith to continue to proclaim my beliefs -- even at the risk of losing those I love most.

This is a prayer for her canonization:

O God who, among the many marvels of Your Grace in the New World, did cause to blossom on the banks of the Mohawk and of the St. Lawrence, the pure and tender Lily, Kateri Tekakwitha, grant we beseech You, the favor we beg through her intercession; that this Young Lover of Jesus and of His Cross may soon be counted among her Saints by Holy Mother Church, and that our hearts may be enkindled with a stronger desire to imitate her innocence and faith. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Biographical Poem

Seen various places, most recently at Amy's

Mother of 2 boys, wife of amazing man, daughter, sister of one, brother of one
Lover of the beach, chocolate, hugs
Who needs solitude, compassion, touch
Who gives love, knowledge, empathy
Who fears the dark, poverty, the unknown
Who would like to see Ireland, Vatican City, my home de-cluttered

The formula:

First Name
How You fit in the Family
Lover of (3 things)
Who needs (3 things)
Who gives (2 things)
Who fears (3 things)
Who would like to see (3 things)
Last name

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm melting . . .

I realize this goes without saying . . . but it's hot!

I know I live in Arizona and it's July. This time of year, though, just drains me. Getting in and out of the air conditioned van to go in and out of the air conditioned grocery store is draining. If I have multiple errands to run, I come home and lay in my bed with ice packs to cool me off.

I love Arizona. We have awesome weather 9-10 months out of the year. But July & August are scorching.

I'm so drained that I don't even take pictures apparently. My mom was asking why there were no recent candids of the boys - and a quick search of the 30G of digital pictures on my hard drive showed me that I have NO pictures of them this July, last July or July 2004.

We're off on Sunday to spend the day/night at a local resort that has a waterpark. It'll be a fun family adventure with a POOL! And I won't have to wash dishes! Or make beds! I can't wait! It'll make me that more anxious for our pool to be installed - but I'm trying not to think too much about that. The permit is slowly making it's way through bureacracy (we're 4 weeks into the 12 week estimate), and then it's 30-45 days to get the pool completed. I keep reminding myself that the pool will always be there after it's installed and I'll never worry about melting in my own backyard again! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

eye doc

N was extremely well-behaved for the eye doctor today . . . and we found out that his vision is perfect. Absolutely no sign of lazy eye, far-sightedness or near-sightedness. The doctor said there was no reason to see him for another 3 years.

The thought is that he couldn't sit still long enough at the pediatrician's office, so their results were skewed.

I'm glad I didn't spend too much time talking up glasses . . . otherwise he would have been disappointed. LOL!

Monday, July 10, 2006


Today, both boys had dentist appointments - their first ever. Yes, I know you're supposed to start at 1 year . . . but we didn't have dental insurance or the extra funds until now.

The office personnel and the dentist were very nice. I have heard horror stories of dentists not allowing mothers in the examining area, or holding kids down for x-rays -- but this office was gentle, compassionate, and very friendly.

Each boy had x-rays - but only the front top & bottom. They tried to get side x-rays, but they both gagged and they didn't try more than once. (And I didn't even tell them how I threw up in the dental chair last time they did side x-rays on me!)

Then, the dentist did a thorough cleaning, and a flouride wash and gave them goody bags with new toothbrushes, plastic frogs, stickers and a flosser. The only thing that marred the vist for C was that they spelled his name wrong on the "No Cavity Club" certificate.

Yep, both boys came through with a clean mouth - no cavities! I knew I was going to feel guilty if they did.

If we didn't have dental insurance, the visit for both boys would have cost me $358!!!! With our current insurance, I owed the dentist only $35.80. There's a cap of $1,000 of benefits per family member - so the boys will be fine, but B & I will end up owing who knows how much to get our teeth fixed. I have my first appointment in over a year in 2 weeks . . . last time I visited the dentist they gave me an estimate of almost $6,000 for my mouth! YEOUCH! I did spend almost $1500 at that time on some work, but I still don't have $4500 to spend!

Tomorrow we head to the pediatric eye doctor for N. His 4 yr well-child visit at the pediatrician showed him as a little far-sighted, so they suggested we have him checked out. While there, I need to make an appointment for C - since last year he was diagnosed as a little near-sighted; but not enough to correct.

Wednesday, a friend and her kids are coming to play and for lunch. She asked me tonight about cloth diapers, so I'm going to pull mine out and see if she's interested in them. She had been slightly interested when her oldest (a couple months younger than N) was an infant, but never made the switch. She has a 4 month old now, though, that is sensitive to the disposables.

Thursday, a new sitter will come over so she can get to know the boys better and be comfortable in our house. She's watching the boys for the entire day next Friday, so I wanted to make sure she was comfortable before leaving her on her own here. I'll stay home and work on the office while she plays with the boys for an hour or so.

Another busy week!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

101 goals in 1001 days

I saw this idea on a blog and thought it was neat.

The premise is to spell out 101 goals or activities and attempt to accomplish them all in 1001 days. (You can use Excel to figure out the date 1001 days from your starting date by creating a formula with today's date and adding 1001 to that date. The result will be the date 1001 days from today.) The goals should be precise and able to be measured.

Of course, this means sitting down and coming up with 101 goals! It's not that I couldn't come up with 101 things . . . it's taking the time to write them all down that I might fail at! Perhaps that should be goal #1?

I think I may start working on my list this weekend. If anyone else decides to do this, let me know!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fine Art Friday #4

I only recently came across this image - although once I did, I started seeing/reading about it in a number of places.

She is called "Mary, the Undoer of Knots" and she is a patroness of marriage. This painting was done by Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner around 1700. The knots she is untying are thought to be those of discord and difficulty in a marriage.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

more house pictures . . .

Here's our living room. DH just replaced the carpeting with this laminate flooring and I love it! We bought our leather couch when we moved to AZ 7 years ago. They delivered it, I went to the bathroom, and our dog bit a hole in the corner of one of the cushions! It wasn't even in the house for 10 minutes. urrrgh! I've used superglue over the years to hold the hole closed.

Here's the kitchen. The island is one of my favorite things about this kitchen. The boys usually eat their breakfasts and lunches at the island, and also use it for drawing and crafts. It also gives me lots of extra storage. We're thinking of painting the kitchen a pale-ish orange color this summer.

This is the eating area in our kitchen. We don't have a dining room - this is it. It works perfect for our family, but it's hard to have people over. The drawers are full of craft supplies, and I hang various creations from the wire on the wall. The doorway in this picture leads to our bedroom.

The remaining rooms in our house are the office, laundry room and our bedroom. Those rooms are in need of a good cleaning, however . . . so I won't be posting pictures anytime soon. LOL!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

inspired by Alexa

Alexa showed some pictures of her house tonight - so I was inspired to share some of mine ;)

This is the boys' playroom. Each drawer has a specific content -- we have a car drawer, people drawer, animal drawer, 2 dress-up drawers, 2 leap pad drawers, puppet drawer, food drawer. Then, plenty of bins for all their building blocks, playmobil items, dominoes, etc. Unseen is another 3 drawer set for all the Fisher Price people/extras and a shelving unit with the Fisher Price big pieces (farm, ark, castle, raceway). Also unseen is the bin full of musical instruments and the small 3 drawer piece full of "tools".

They have a ton of fun in this tent - and I love that I found it for $5 on clearance!

Staying with the theme of the boys - here's their bathroom: The theme is balls. My mom has fun sending items to re-do their bathroom periodically. When we first moved in, she sent us all the things for a yellow duck bathroom. We've had the ball bathroom for a while now - - it might be time for Grandma to re-do it again! Their wastebasket is also ball-themed.

And, here's their bedroom. Both beds have 3 large drawers underneath. One is full of dinosaurs, one is full of miscellaneous treasures, one is full of underwear & pjs. The mural was beautiful, but unfortunately didn't stay on the wall very well (it used to cover 2 walls) - so we'll be re-doing their bedroom sometime this year. The walls are painted a yummy chocolate milk color (found in the "oops paint" section of Home Depot!) In these pictures you can't see their dressers - both were designed and made by B. They were gorgeous, but have taken some beatings in the last 5.5 years. Our plan is to re-model their closet with built-in drawers so all the clothes can go in the closet, and we'll put bookshelves on that wall.

Here's the hallway to their playroom & bedroom:

I have a shoe organizer hanging on their playroom door filled with postcards and pictures. It's a fun decoration piece - and very inexpensive! The hallway also holds 3 bookshelves and an antique desk B & I refinished soon after we met. I want to re-frame most of the photos on the walls of the hallway so that they match better; and I want cabinets in the alcove above the desk for homeschooling stuff. Hopefully that will happen this summer.

And looking back down the hallway from their bathroom:

Tomorrow maybe I'll share some of my kitchen and living room . . .

Monday, July 03, 2006

lost keys

I lost my husband's keys.

We stopped to pick up the mail Saturday evening. He was driving with my keys (we only have one key for the van) so he handed me his keys to get the mail. Our neighborhood has locked individual mailboxes at the end of the street.

I must have left his keys hanging in the mailbox . . . because when we looked for them Sunday morning we couldn't find them. Sunday night I went down to the mailboxes and saw our box hanging open. My heart just dropped! I went over hoping the keys were still hanging there, but they weren't. They weren't in the box either. I searched around the boxes with no luck.

I put up a sign with our phone number hoping that somebody picked them up and is going to be looking for a sign. No calls yet though!

Our neighborhood isn't that big - so if it wasn't a kid that picked them up to play with - it wouldn't take much to figure out which truck the truck key belonged to . . . and then which house the house keys belong to. Plus, DH's locking truck bed keys were on the ring.

We're going to have to change our house locks, change the truck locks, and the truck bed lock. I don't know how much this is going to cost. And then there's the worrying that is happening before we change the locks . . . and the wonder of how long to wait in hopes that someone returns the keys before we spend the money to replace the locks?

UGH. I feel so absolutely stupid. I've lived with a locked mailbox the 7 years we've lived in Arizona and I've never done this before.

Thankfully, DH is not angry with me or even upset with me. I am so grateful that he takes things so well and doesn't place blame. But, I am so very frustrated with myself!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

June's reading list

Time for June's reading list! I had very little luck in the fiction/story books I read this month. I found one book that I enjoyed/was intrigued by -- only to find out that it was fictional -- even though the author originally billed it as a true story. The story was still compelling, but it definitely lost something when I found out it was NOT based on the author's life.

I read a lot of non-fiction this month . . . and I think I'm going to start keeping track of those books as well. Next month!

(*) "Saving the World" by Julia Alvarez. I really enjoyed another of her novels a couple months ago, but was disappointed in this one. The story fluctuated back and forth between time periods hundreds of years apart - and I didn't care about any of the characters. I gave up about 1/2 way through and began skimming.

(**) "Time Was Soft There" by Jeremy Mercer. A memoir based on his time living at a bookstore in Paris. The story definitely dragged in many places, and I'm sorry to say that the poor man's life was rather boring. Perhaps that was the point? I don't know . . . but it was a boring read.

(no stars) "Tropic of Night" by Michael Gruber. OH MY GOODNESS was this book gruesome and disgusting. It disturbed my dreams for weeks and I didn't even read the entire thing. I jumped to the end to find out the conclusion. I picked it up because someone else's blog had recommended the author - but I will never touch another thing this depraved man wrote.

(**) "SAHM I AM" by Meredith Efken. Christian chick-lit light. Very light! LOL! The book consisted of email messages from the members of an online group made up of stay-at-home moms. It was amusing in places because I recognized some of the personalities that tend to show up in almost any online email group. Fast read - good for the beach.

(*) "Kitchen Congregation" by Nora Seton. Very melancholy look at mothers and daughters and the role of the kitchen in their lives. Too melancholy for me!

(***) "Honor Lost" by Norma Khourin. This is the book that I thought was a true story. It was about 2 women in Jordan who were best friends. One was killed by her family in an "honor killing" because she fell in love with a Catholic man (she was a Muslim who followed the Islam faith. Do I have that right?) It was well written, interesting and kept me turning the pages. Unfortunately, I found out after I read it that the author didn't actually experience any of it - since she left Jordan at the age of 3. Oh, well, still an interesting read.

(*) "Codex" by Lev Grossman. Tried to be a thriller - but he apparently got tired of writing the book and ended it without explaining 1/2 of what happened. First half was better than 2nd half - but after the conclusion, I wish I hadn't bothered reading any of it.

(***) "Closers" by Michael Connelly. Mystery - fairly well-written and I was able to connect with some of the characters. I didn't know who the bad guy was until late in the book. Another good beach read.

(*) "Across the Bridge of Sighs - Venetian Stories" by Jane Rylands. BORING. Sometimes I like short stories because they give me a quick conclusion - these were just boring.
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