Thursday, March 27, 2008

Random Stuff

Kai is now totally kicking my butt at Guitar Hero III! I, who only have time to play the game MAYBE once a month, am still struggling to learn 'Talk Dirty To Me' at Level 1. Kai, on the other hand, is now rocking out at Level 4! This must come to an end. Apparently he does not know who he's dealing with. Actually, he does. Last night when I was putting him to bed, in his little sing-song voice, he said, 'you are a loser, you're at level onnee! I'm at level foouurr!' I was crushed. Mocked and crushed by the person I gave life to. I see how it is.

Have you ever had a thought pop into your head, and once you start thinking about it, you can't stop? That happened to me the other morning. I was getting ready for work, when I suddenly wondered what (Re)Pete the Parakeet was doing. 'What does he do when we put the cover over his cage?' I wondered. It's kind of like wondering if the light stays on in the fridge after you shut the door. Finally, I tip-toed into the living room and very gently lifted the cover of (Re)Pete's cage. You know what he was doing? Just sitting there. Looking at me like I was the idiot in this situation.

On the eating healthy front, every day is a struggle. More than once I have fallen off of the 'healthy eating' bandwagon. Hell, a couple of times, I've not only fallen off the wagon, but rolled off the road and face down into the ditch. One day at a time people, one day at a time. Um, what else? I went to the dentist yesterday, which will bring me to my final gripe for now.

Why can I not just go to the dentist and get the check up and the cleaning? The hygienist spent 10 minutes trying to sell me a $90 electric toothbrush (whatever, lady) after telling me that my Crest SpinBrush works great. Then the dentist comes in and says I should get a couple of wisdom teeth pulled (Kai says if I do it, I won't be smart anymore because wisdom teeth give you wisdom) for grins and giggles, I guess, and then says 'and after that we'll discuss cosmetic options'. Yeah, if I could afford cosmetic options we would discuss them, but it ain't happening in this lifetime. He recommended Invisalign, Zoom whitening and porcelain veneers. Nominate me for Extreme Makeover and I'll do it, but gee, I feel this nagging responsibility to the rest of my family not to blow the yearly dental plan on my Miss America smile. Just scrape, polish and floss and let me get out the door!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dooney & Bourke, Look Out!

Ok, maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself with that title, but I'm awfully pleased with how my first bag turned out.

This morning, we did the Easter thing and gave Kai his basket of goodies. Tim's mom brought over a basket for him too, and we did the egg hunt in the house because there were snow flurries outside. Stupid weather.

After I took my afternoon nap, I got to work on my purse. I had a few tension issues with the sewing machine, but once I got that straightened out, I was on a roll. And this is the result-



This bag was made using some of the fabric that Tim found at the estate sale. I used hot pink for the lining-

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Weekly Wrap-Up

Wow, this week went by fast! I've been cross-training a co-worker on my desk at work, and it kept me busy.

The first part of the week was so dreary. The cold and the rain really make me feel like I'm just dragging around. But the past couple of days were wonderful, weren't they? The sun was out, the temperatures went up, up, up, and all was right in the world.

On Thursday, Tim called me to tell me about a couple of boxes of vintage fabric he came across at an estate sale. Were they worth much? Did I want them? I told him not to go any higher than $25. He called me later to tell me he got both boxes for $20. I was excited but hesitant all day. There's a huge difference between 'vintage' and 'old'. What if these were just boxes of old, dingy, double-knit or something? So, I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and started digging through these two boxes! Gorgeous, VINTAGE fabrics of all kinds. Most pieces are drapery and upholstery fabrics, and a good majority of them are chintz, so they have a pretty sheen to them. Now, I can realize a long time craft goal of mine- to make purses! I'm going to work on some this weekend and hopefully have pictures of a completed bag to post by tomorrow night.

Yes, I know it's Easter weekend. But, we're not having anyone over for dinner this year. We're going later today to have dinner with Tim's family at Red Lobster. Tomorrow, I'm hoping for a quiet day! We're going to have an egg hunt for Kai and dinner tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Birthday Hell

So, Kai got invited to the birthday party of one of his classmates. They had the party at a place called Power Play, which offers a huge assortment of arcade style games, laser tag, go-karts, etc. Kai had been buzzed about this outing all week, so by the time we got there this afternoon, he was AMPED!

I had thought about having his birthday party at Power Play this summer, but after today, yeah, I don't think so. I loved the concept of the place. Think Chuck E. Cheese on crack. Power Play has everything the mouse has, times 10. They had carnival rides, a bowling alley, put-put golf, and everything else I've mentioned under one roof. Plus, an all you can eat buffet of pizza, tacos, salad, etc. But....

First, there's absolutely no kind of security in place. At least at CEC, you and everyone in your party gets a hand stamp, and if a child leaves with an adult, the stamps have to match. PP is a free-for-all. I noticed that our hosts had a very difficult time keeping track to 12 rambunctious boys. Luckily, there were plenty of parents that stayed to help herd the kids. Of course, the kid who's mom just dropped him off was the one that turned up missing. Luckily we found him right away as he had just trotted off the the skeetball game to get a bunch of tickets.

Second, there were just too damned many people there. I don't know how they could better manage the crowd control, but when you've got 20 or so party rooms that are turning over every 60 minutes, there's a lot of people. We were there from 1:30 until 4:30, and I'd estimate that the boys spent about an hour of that time waiting in line for their turns at laser-tag and then the go-karts.

I don't really know what the answer would be. Limit the 'big' attractions like the karts and tag to party groups only? I dunno. After we FINALLY left, we went to the Wal-Mart Supercenter, because well, it was there. I was tired, thirsty and cranky so I was not in a shopping mood. All I wanted was to go home!

Tomorrow, I hope that my day will be restful. I plan on doing laundry, making some cards and I'm going to throw a corned beef brisket in the oven for St. Pat's.

Oh, and I made a card this morning, yay! We didn't know what to get the birthday boy, so I played it safe and got him a wally-world gift card last night, on our previous excursion to Wal-Mart. But, I forgot to get a card! So, I dug through my supplies this morning and I came up with this-


See that little red button on the end of the big race car? You push it, and it lights up! Cool!


This is the inside. I just stamped 'happy birthday' and cut a little notch to hold the gift card.

Now, I'm off to bed!

Friday, March 14, 2008

More Momma Drama

OK. About 6 or 7 months ago, we agreed to have my mom move in with us. At the time, it seemed like a dream situation for all involved. She didn't want to be alone, and it would help her our financially. We thought it would be a great opportunity for Kai to have a close relationship with one of his grandparents, and let's be honest, it would help us out financially, too.

From the beginning, I knew deep in my heart that this would not work. I really, REALLY wanted it to. I told everyone that I talked about it with, that everything would be fine. Look at the Waltons. They all lived with Grandma and Grandpa Walton. A happier family you never did see.

As with everything in life, the reality was much different than the expectations. My mom assured me from the beginning that she had put aside her feelings for my husband. Granted, he and I had been through a lot in the past, but we went through counseling, got it all worked out and remained committed to each other and to our marriage. He was more than willing to bury the hatchet with her, and wanted to simply move forward. Things didn't quite work out exactly like we planned.

My mom has had a hard time adjusting, and I totally understand that. She's gone from having her own place, to living with a family. She's not just seeing Kai on the weekends or talking to him on the phone, she's with him every day. And if you're not used to the delightful whims of a 7-year old boy, that's a lot to get used to.

With all of this adjusting that we were all doing, Kai was also having problems at school with bullying and with what was eventually diagnosed as ADD-inattentive. Tim and I were stressed to our limits, and homework time or cleaning up Kai's room usually involved lots of yelling and tears from everyone involved. Luckily, Kai started seeing a great child psychologist, and is now on medication. At one point, I would have said 'NEVER' to meds, but it's been the best thing we could have done for him. His behavior is better; he can focus and get his work done in school, and the school has taken steps to back up what they say about 'zero tolerance' when it comes to bullying. Happily ever after, right?

Not so fast, there. There have been several instances where my mom has said very negative things to Kai about his father. I can't begin to tell you how big of a No-No this is with me. All it succeeds in doing is upsetting Kai and upsetting me and Tim. I've talked with her about it, and told her that I didn't care what her feelings about Tim were, she had no right to discuss them with Kai. She simply says, 'well Kai knows how I feel, so what's the big deal?' Oh boy.

Finally, after a particularly bad argument the other night (it was very Jerry Springer-ish, I'm sorry to say. Except we were all clothed), I sat down with my mom an told her that it was up to me and Tim to decide the best way to raise Kai and to discipline him. If she could not accept that, then perhaps it would be best for all concerned if she made other living arrangements. It was very hard to tell her that, but it's been getting to the point where every time we correct Kai (we don't spank, we usually take privileges away, and we usually raise our voices if he's not paying attention to us), she says we're 'abusing' him. We don't spank. We don't do time out or make him stand in the corner. If he's making me absoultely batshit crazy, I yell at him to knock it off. And if Tim yells at him, it's usually because he's not doing what he's told. And see, she makes me feel like I have to justify the way we discipline our child. We're both loving, caring parents who would do anything in the world for our son. But, because we on occasion raise our voices and it causes Kai to cry, we're 'abusive'.

After experiencing all of this, I have learned a couple of very important lessons.

1. No one can ever 'try' to like someone. You either like them or you don't it's as simple as that. My mom hasn't been able to set aside 14 years of not liking my husband, and I really can't expect her to do that. If she really didn't like him, she should never have moved in.

2. If you have a parent moving in, put something in writing. Especially if you are raising children of your own. Even well meaning parents can overstep their boundaries and interfere with how you raise your child. If their principles are different than yours, this can cause quite a bit of friction. It's better if everyone knows up front what's expected from them in this living arrangement. I wish we had done this!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Confusing

Ok, so as part of the bunch of 'big losers' at work, I've been trying very hard to make healthier food choices, be more active, etc. Pioneer Woman's Cooking Blog doesn't exactly make things easier, but I still hold firm to my believe that a healthy lifestyle is about everything in moderation. All this being said, how, this past week did I lose almost a pound, but gain nearly 2 inches? Bloat? Hmm...maybe. I'm drinking lots of water, but I did have a couple of sodium heavy meals. I need to walk more, but with the exception of this past weekend, it's been too damned cold to walk outside. Oh well, I'll just stay on the wagon and see where it takes me.

It's hard to believe that Daylight Savings Time is coming up upon us. As much as I like it staying light out later, I miss my hour of sleep! And it will be next to impossible to get Kai to go to bed when the sun has just barely set. Why can't they leave the damned clocks alone?! (wow, I sounded just like my mom there) And stay off my lawn, rotten kids!

March is turning out to be a very busy month. St. Patrick's day (for which I can't get the day off, but gee, I'm not bitter [/sarcasm]), Easter, the first of spring. I'm going to try to get Kai in with Tim's dad to get his pictures taken. The school ones this year were less than pleasant, shall we say.

I was sad to hear the news today about Patrick Swayze having pancreatic cancer. What a terrible way to have to go, and he's much too young to die. I pray that he responds to treatment.

Not much else going on around here. I need to make up the shopping list for tomorrow night's dreaded trip to the grocery store. I'm going to make Pioneer Woman's apple dumplings and I need to stock up on large quantities of butter!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Random and Rambling

I don't have any one coherent idea to write about tonight, so I'll just jot down some of the stuff rattling around in my head.

My mom said something to Tim today about not being here this summer? Where will she be, exactly? Is she moving out? Going on the grand tour of Europe? It would be nice if she would tell me if she's moving. Maybe she's trying to surprise me, but that's not a very nice surprise. I know that she's not happy living here at the Casa and if she's unhappy then of course I don't want her to stay. But if she's planning on moving, that would be a nice little piece of information to share with me, don't you think?

We've recently been talking about sending Kai to Holy Cross school next year. We're not parishioners, so the sight of the tuition made me say 'Holy CRAP!' I'm not sure how I feel about things spiritually. I believe in God, or the concept of a higher power at least, but I'm not sure if I want Kai's education to be centered around organized religion, when right now, it's just not a big part of our lives. We were looking at private school mainly to get Kai into a smaller class, and away from some of the constant irritations that he keeps having to deal with at his current school. We've been wanting Kai to experience a variety of religious and spiritual practices (Catholicism, Buddhism (not really a religion, per se, more of life philosphy), Judaism, Hindu, Greek Orthodox, etc) and then decide for himself what his beliefs are when he gets older. I don't want to force one set of beliefs on him and say 'this is what we believe, don't question it, just do it'. More thoughts for another day, I suppose.

This past weekend at the store, I picked up a package of panko breadcrumbs. Wow, they are great! I made some sauteed chicken breasts last night, and I dredged them in the breadcrumbs before throwing them in the pan. The panko crumbs are very crunchy and light. Deeelishh!!

Tomorrow, I'm going to share lasagna at lunch with Rhonda, and discuss momma drama type events. And, it's Hump Day, which means I may have to make a coffee run!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Weekend Warrior

Well, it's Saturday night and the weekend is zooming by, just like they always do. Why is it that we work so hard for five days, just trying to make it to these two?

Kai went to his first sleepover last night at his friend, A.J.'s house. I've never seen him so excited for everything. A.J.'s mom, Carrie, is a super-mom. Seriously. She has six kids and attempts feats that I could never do. I knew Kai was in the safest of hands when I sent him off with A.J's family, and they had a great time. They went for pizza, on a Wal-Mart run and then played Wii games and watched a movie. My kind of evening! Tim and I celebrated our time alone with Taco Bell and me fixing his laptop (again!) because he got download happy (again!) and I had to restore everything.

After Kai came home, Tim ran some errands and then we dashed up to the store real quick. I had to get a few things and with the impending snow storm, I figured it wouldn't hurt to stock up a bit. And besides, I needed to get the ingredients to make lasagna. I made Pioneer Woman's Lasagna and it turned out great! Take a look-



I goofed when I was layering the ingredients and put the mozzarella cheese on top of the meat sauce, when it should have been under it. But that's ok, it was just extra cheesy on top. And who doesn't like cheese?

I managed to control myself and just eat a small piece, along with a salad. Kai, whom I think is coming down with something, ate just a few bites. Tim liked it though, and so did my mom. But I've still got plenty of leftovers, so feel free to stop by!