Friday, May 30, 2014

What. A. Day.

Oy vey, today was a doozie. I very rarely arrive at the end of any day thinking, "I want wine, and LOTS of it!" but I did tonight. (No wine in the house though, so that was a good thing!)
How to sum it up?
While running errands to prepare for my "little"brother's graduation dinner I was hosting tonight, our ONE AND ONLY CAR blew a head gasket. Anyone who is reading this who knows anything about cars just sucked in their breath and said, "A head gasket? Yikes! Those are expensive!" Yup. They are. About $2,800.
Pardon me while I swallow my tongue.


Instead of focusing on that, I'm going to focus on what m thankful for today.
1. I got to spend some time chatting with one of my best friends this morning.
2. She gave us about eleventy four pounds of meat because their freezer is on the fritz. Steaks, hamburger meat, brisket, a roast, some jalapeƱo venison brats, and fabulous summer sausage...I just drooled. (Bad for them, great for us!)
3. She and her husband are letting us use their car until ours is fixed.
4. I got to spend time with my Momb because she came to our rescue with AAA card in hand so our van could be towed. (I always knew she was Superwoman!)
5. I got to spend time with my dad, who loaned us his car so we could go out and get the OTHER loaner car.
6. We are healthy.
7. The car is fixable.
8. Troy has a good job.
9. Declan lost 2 teeth within 25 minutes of each other on the left side if his head and kind of looks like a hillbilly.
10. Reilly sent me this text while I was at Midas:

(She realized she left out a "Him"...)

So, I think that, at the end of the day, I'm doing well. Even without wine!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Short Timer's Disease!

We're in the last two weeks of our ninth year of homeschooling. THE NINTH YEAR! Can you believe it? I can't, nor can I really wrap my mind around the idea that Reilly's going to be in high school next year. When we started this homeschooling thing so long ago, high school seems like a vague mist in the far, far future. The fact that that "future" is our "now" is testimony to the fact that if I can do this, anyone can!
Right now we are all struggling with what I call Short Timer's Disease. We only have eight days of school left, and three of those are going to be spent  at Practicum, a three day seminar for Classical Conversations, which we are starting next year. What we are struggling with in school right now is the fact that we have finished up books and various things, and we don't really have enough time to start anything new. We don't have any class parties, yearbook signings, or assemblies to attend, so our school just sort of peters out. To quote...well, actually to TWIST a quote from "The Hollow Men", by T.S. Elliot, "...this is how our school ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper."
Bring on summer!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cleaning Day

While the Peegies are mostly Reilly's responsibility, I do take it upon myself to clean their cage once a week. After all, we only have two peegies because we decided that the one she already had there needed a companion. (We won't discuss how much I'm obsessed with these guys myself! That might be embarrassing…)
So on Saturdays, they get a full cage clean out, and yesterday lent itself to a whole photo essay.

Rubio: "Hey, where did all our stuff go?!"

"I really need to get in there..."

"Hmmmm, that really looks like a place for me."

"Maybe if I just streeeetttch and jump..."

"Oooo, look at all this SPACE! Now, where is my food bowl?"

Cappie: "Hey! Wait! Why are you in THERE and I'm out HERE?!?"

Rubio: "Now, where's our food bowl? And our hay? We're gonna STARVE in here!"
Cappie, singing, "Nobody knowwwws the trouble I've seeeeen..." (If he had a wee tin cup, he'd be banging it on the bars!)

"Whew! Hay! Just in time!"

"Aaaah, sweet, sweet sustenance!"

"Now, for a nap!"

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I was seventeen years old when we met. (Feel free to head to another page if you've heard this story before. It's one I love to tell, so I probably have written it already.) I was a cashier at a fancy-schmancy grocery store here in town, he was the assistant manager of the bakery/deli. I always looked for him when I was coming in to work, making sure to pass by the deli to see if he was there. If I saw him behind the counter, I'd get a little thrill. If I didn't see him behind the counter, I'd look in the break room to see if his HUGE insulated QT cup was there because that meant he was around, somewhere. If I didn't see that, I'd be a bit disappointed. That meant it would be a slightly more boring day at work. No flirting over the deli counter. No tugging on his braid when I walked past him. No "facing up" the baby food jars because they were right across from the deli and I could furtively watch him work and hope that he would talk to me. No having him slip gummy bears to me over the half wall that separated my favorite cashier station from the deli. No buying chicken salad on my break just so I could see him smile at me. 

He was older than I was, by a lot; seven years, to be exact. I was a senior in high school and dating a boy who I genuinely thought I was going to marry. Yet I flirted, shamelessly, with this deli guy. When I stopped working at the grocery store, I would periodically go back to say hi, sometimes finding him outside in the alley, reading on his break, sometimes just flirting (shamelessly) over the top of the deli case. One night I arrived just before closing and he asked me if I could give him a ride home. I said I would, and he invited me behind the counter to wait while he finished bagging up all the leftover cookies. He then proceeded to drop an entire tray of cookies on the floor, which made me laugh and start to tease him. He stepped close and kissed me. My knees, oh how they were weak.

I gave him a ride home that night, and, you might say, the rest is history. Lots and lots of history, lots and lots of changes in both of us. A wedding, five cats, five dogs (not all at the same time!), five cars, three residences, one mortgage, two (fantastic!) kids, some tears, lots of laughter (more laughter than tears!) and seventeen years later and I'm so glad he picked me. My knees still get weak, I still get a little thrill when I see him. He truly is my other half. And, oh, how I love him.

Happy 17th anniversary, Ched.

All dressed up and heading off to my 20th high school reunion.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


Reilly has spent most of the summer in Atlanta with my cousin and her husband, helping out with their three little girls. Apart from a little bit of home sickness at the beginning, she has fared well. When we go and get her, she will have been gone almost 6 weeks and I'm discovering that, although it's been nice to have NO ARGUING in the house, I'm really beginning to miss her. I can't wait to hug her neck!

Two days after we return from picking her up (a short 12 hour drive! Woot!) we will begin our 9th year of home schooling. How is it that we've been doing this for this long? Dang! Sometimes, I feel excited about this year because we're not involved in any type of co-op, which means there's no place that we have to be on any regular basis. This excited feeling is sometimes overtaken by panic because WE'RE NOT DOING ANY TYPE OF CO-OP THIS YEAR AND I'M ALL ON MY OWN AND I DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I'M DOING AND WHO GAVE ME PERMISSION TO DO THIS, ANYWAY?
Yeah, it's a fun ride, lemme tell you!
It'll work out. It always does.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

I Am, Apparently, a Slave Driver

New summer thing here: making The Kids do chores each day.
I know, I know...some of my friends who are vying for The Perfect Parent Award have been having their kids do chores since they were toddlers. Those people probably have funny, adorable stories of their little dumplin' wobbling around with a dustpan and broom, diaper sagging, sweeping the kitchen in a darling, haphazard way. Or standing on a chair at the sink, elbow deep in dish suds at the age of five. Or alphabetizing the movies and CD's and arranging the books in order of genre when they were seven. And to those parents I give a high five. You. Rock.
I don't.
Not sure why I've waited this long, but I have.
Well, kind of. We've worked up to this slowly, I guess. Declan has been feeding the dog for years, and they both know to clear their places after dinner and wash their dishes. (Our fabulous dishwasher pooped out on us about a year ago and we've not ponied up the dough to fix it. Dish washing by hand, FTW!) They pretty much make their own lunch each day because, frankly, after a morning of doing school with them, I'm ready for some PLEASE BE IN THE OTHER ROOM time by the time lunch rolls around. They now have to vacuum their own rooms after they clean them.
The BIG thing was that 2013 was the beginning of The Kids Do Their Own Laundry, which was really genius! They each have a laundry day where they wash, dry, and fold their own stuff, and I'm left with only The Grownups laundry to wash, dry and...well...set on our bed till it gets moved to the dresser and then folded a few days later.
But this summer I decided that they needed to do more. Have more responsibility. Learn new skills. Plus, this leaves ME more time to sit on the sofa and eat bon-bons and watch mindless television. :)
I kid! I kid! I don't eat bon-bons! I prefer graham crackers and milk!
So, here's how it works:
Way Number 1: On the white board in the school room, I will write a list of things that need to be done. Then, they will come in and take turns choosing one or two, depending on how long the list is, and they have until the end of the day to get it done. Pretty simple! (I pick up the slack if the list is an uneven number.)
Way Number 2: On the white board, I write what each child needs to do for the day. For example, today Reilly has to finish her laundry from yesterday and pick up and vacuum her room. Declan has to pick up and vacuum his room and dust his room.
I've not heard too much weeping and gnashing of far. I will say that, on Monday, Reilly had the audacity to ask me, "Well, what will YOU be doing?" *insert fairly snotty, almost-13-year-old voice*. I promptly launched into a looooong list of the things that I would be doing, which led to her eyes to rolling so far back into their sockets I thought they'd never return to normal. There might have also been some sighing on her part. I don't know. I tuned her out.
Anyway, we'll see how this goes!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Changes...They May Be A'Comin!

I've been thinking about something lately. 
See, I started this blog as The Karate Mom waaay back when I was actually taking karate. I had advanced to the rank of purple belt, which means my next test would have been for third degree brown, which is farther than I ever thought I would go. I had sparred many, many people, competed, broken lots of boards, broken concrete, participated in many karate demos, and had lots of fun. Then, I decided that I was ready to have my Thursday nights back to myself. It has been about three years since I quit and I've not once regretted that decision.
So, I'm not The Karate Mom any more.
I have become, however, an avid rollerblader. Since receiving my beloved skates as a Valentine's day present from Troy, I have probably put two hundred miles on them. I own safety gear...because that's smart! Pebbles can really sneak up on you! (And OUCH when they do!) I actually own an extra set of axles, and have had to rotate my wheels because of wear. This is something I DO! A lot!
And when I'm skating, things happen: funny things, poignant things, silly things, things that make me angry or thoughtful or that make me laugh. I see things and hear things and experience things, and sometimes I want to share them.
So I'm thinking of changing the blog from The Karate Mom to Insights From Inlines. Or Reflections From Rollerblades. Or Ruminations on Riverside. Or A Funny Thing Happened as I Skated On the River...wait, that last one might be too long. Then using this as a place to share the things I think about.
What do you think?
Have you died of boredom yet?