Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Only two things could make this week better...

having my hubby along, and having our backyard swimming pool!  I could live at the ocean.  Seriously.  This is the best.  Listening to the sound of the waves from our condo, watching the beach from our balcony, walking to Dunkin Donuts every morning for breakfast, hearing the joyful sound of my children as they play in the surf....

Today was a perfect beach day.  The weather couldn't have been better:  mid-80's, sunny and just a slight breeze.  I sat in my beach chair this morning and watched J & K build sand castles while Grammie and Godmother S went for a walk.  When they came back, it was my turn and I have to admit my solitary walk was bliss!  I haven't had any time away from my children since I left Texas and it was nice to be able to hear myself think!

We drove down to see the Fenwick Island lighthouse, which is in a very odd location.  It is about five blocks INLAND from the beach - right smack in the middle of town!  It is a pretty lighthouse, but unfortunately it is only open on Saturdays & Sundays so we couldn't go inside. 

Tonight we had a wonderful dinner at a bayside marina restaurant called Harpoon Hanna's (where they serve the BEST bread:  muffins to die for, homemade rye and pumpernickel, etc), then we all played a round of putt putt at Old Pro Pirate Ship golf.  I think we are all quite pleasantly tired and will be ready to do it all over again tomorrow after a good night's sleep!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Ahhhh.... the relief of finally making it to your destination, and leaving the shortest travel day for last!  Sometimes I'm so smart I amaze myself.   421 miles was a piece of cake after the previous two days. 

We were back on the road yesterday morning at 7am, headed from Advance, NC to Ocean City, MD.  There really is no direct route from point a to point b, so we ended up going down winding, hilly country roads throughout Virginia.  Dealing with 55mph speed limits and traffic lights after almost 1300 miles of interstate driving was annoying.  It was worth it, though, when we reached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  That is an amazing drive!  J was enthralled - the bridge, the tunnels, the water, the boats, etc.  So neat.

We arrived in Ocean City about 30 minutes after Grammie & Godmother S did, and thankfully they had already checked in and acquired the keys to our place.  And WHAT A PLACE!!!  The condo is so perfect it's ridiculous.  You know how you see pictures online or in an advertisement for a place, and you just know the pictures make it look nicer than it really is?  This place is BETTER than the pictures!  Everything is in great shape (except the washer/dryer combo, but that's a whole other post), there is plenty of space, great parking, elevator (we did NOT want to lug all that stuff up 4 flights of stairs!), and best of all, OCEANFRONT!  We have a huge balcony that overlooks the sand dune and beach.  Perfection.  The beach is gorgeous, and since we're way on the north side of Ocean City, it's not even crowded.  We couldn't ask for anything better.

My children LOVE the beach.  The last time we went to the ocean, J was 5, K was 1 and we went to New Hampshire where it was cold, foggy and rainy all weekend.  J didn't care, he was out there in the waves regarless, but K was not a happy beach baby.  She basically sat in the sand and cried.  Fast forward four years and it's a whole different ball game.  My children are bursting with excitement.  They are squealing and running and screaming and laughing, sitting in the sand, trying to ride the waves, digging for clams, etc.  The epitome of joy.  Unfortunately the surf is a bit on the rough side and J took a tumble in the waves with his boogie board.  A few scrapes and a sore back, but he got right back in the water later today.  If I could figure out  a way to keep my kids' skin from getting sand/salt rash, we'd be much happier campers!

We played at an awesome indoor putt putt place today, enjoyed some ice cream, shopped for t-shirts (and new flip flops for me since mine BROKE while I was walking around the store), then had a great dinner with a friend of mine and her daughter who drove down from Dover.  We attempted to fly a kite tonight, and saw a boy catch a skate (sting-ray type fish) while fishing on the beach!
So far we couldn't ask for a better time at the beach.  It's supposed to storm tonight, but by tomorrow morning clear skies and smooth sailing until we leave on Friday.

Life's a beach.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


miles driven today.  99.9% of which were on Interstate 40!  Driving across Tennessee is beautiful, but staying on one road the entire time is Boring with a capital B, and of course it RAINED.  Thank goodness we seemed to miss the severe weather that blanketed the area today, but I can not drive through that state without getting caught in rain (about 5 or 6 times today).  It did make K happy, though, because she was able to use her new Hello Kitty umbrella when we stopped for lunch. 

I drove on a part of Interstate 40 I have never been on before (southeast of Knoxville, TN toward Asheville, NC through the Smokey Mountains) and I have to say it is THE most fun road I've ever driven on.  It really made me wish I still had my little red MR2.  To give you an idea of what this road was like, the posted speed limit for trucks was 35mph.  On the interstate!!!!!  There were twists and turns and hills and valleys galore, and even a couple of tunnels.  I wondered why I saw a sign that said, "Take off sunglasses".  Ha!

Unfortunately I was a little too proud of my children yesterday.  Considering we have spent 22 hours in the car and driven almost 1300 miles in two days, it's understandable, but they were not nearly the super travelers today that they were yesterday.  J took two naps and K took one long one, which did help (especially since we were on the road before 7am today), but I can't tell you how many meltdowns my little girl had.  Even J, toward the end of the day, got very antsy and started acting up and they asked me EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES all day long "When will we get to our hotel??"   I'm trying to be Super Mommy and not lose patience because I know this is a crazy schedule for them, but there's only so much I can take after driving that much and doing it solo!

On the fun stretch of I-40 I was surrounded by huge NASCAR semis who showed no disregard for the speed limit or the fact that trucks were restricted to the right lane.  I don't know if the NASCAR drivers were driving the trucks themselves or what, but it was insane!

We are now at our super cool hotel which has a nice pool, hot tub, AND two tubular water slides that go outside the building and end up inside the pool area.  J is going up & down over and over again, but unfortunately K isn't tall enough (or brave enough).

Tomorrow is another long day of traveling, but thankfully not as long as the previous two.  We should reach our destination by 3pm.  Ocean City, MD, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


That's how many miles I drove today to start off our annual summer trip.  My kids and I left Abilene, TX this morning at 7am (which was a miracle in itself since that was my scheduled take-off time!).  We drove down Interstate 20, Interstate 30, and arrived at our hotel off Interstate 40 in Memphis Tennessee just before 6pm.   Luckily the skies were clear, the roads were even relatively clear and we had a great day of travel.

Here are a few observations:

My kids are the best travelers ever.  Period.  We were in the car for eleven hours.  We stopped once for lunch at 11:30, where we hung out for an hour at a cool McDonalds featuring touch-screen video games in some of the booths!  We stopped again at a rest area around 4pm to stretch and make a bathroom pit stop.  That's it.  No whining, no fighting, only a few thousand "how many minutes till we get to our hotel?" from K.  They were unbelievable! 

O'Charley's (a place we haven't been to before) has awesome food!  We walked down the street from our hotel to the restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful meal (how I got away with a non-fast food meal on our trip is a mystery!).

My son calls white people "peach".  (The majority of the people in Memphis are black, and while he and K were swimming, he announced "We are the only peach people in here!")

Porsche makes an SUV.  I saw one today.  If you can afford a Porsche, why would you get an SUV? 

My husband is as good (if not better) at packing the car as I am at loading the dishwasher!  My car is loaded down with two golf bags, two suitcases, a tote bag full of shoes, a sleeping bag, two beach chairs, three pillows, a tote bag with swim stuff & beach towels, and our toiletries bags.  And I can still see out my back window!!!  (Don't laugh, but I took a picture of the packed trunk with my cell phone so I can re-pack everything the way it was)

I'm impressed with my SUV's highway gas mileage.  Around town at home I'm lucky to get 19-20mpg.  Today I averaged 27.0, and that's with a loaded-down car!

SiriusXM radio is fantastic.  99% of the time I listen to country music, so I don't need the variety of 250 channels, but the ability to listen to WSIX out of Nashville my entire trip without searching for a good country station is awesome!

I can't wait to see the ocean.

I miss my husband already.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pet Peeves

Advertisements for "plus sized" clothing featuring models who are skinnier than I am!  I wear a size 8 or 10, which is not even close to being plus sized, and yet I am heftier than any of the models displaying these clothes!

Speaking of clothes... why are sizes so un-universal?  It's the worst with kids clothes.  My 5 year-old daughter needs size 8 or even 10 shirts.  Really?  I know she's above average in height & weight, but she's not fat, huge, gigantic or plus sized.  How can she possibly wear the same size as her 9 year old brother?  And my clothes are no better.  Most of my jeans are size 8, my shorts are either 8 or 10, and yet today I am comfortably wearing a size 12 pair of shorts.  Huh?

Other drivers.  If you've ever been in front of me going slow, behind me tailgating, next to me in my blind spot, putting your blinker on at the last minute or, better yet, WHILE you are turning, pulling out in front of me when there is not another car for miles behind me, I apologize for any rude thoughts, words or gestures.  But I honestly can't stand people who don't follow the rules of the road, both the spoken AND unspoken.

The silent treatment.  If you have a problem with me, or just a problem in general, don't sit and stew in silence or give me a cold shoulder.  Tell me what's wrong.

Bad editing in books is the worst.  I am not a writer, and I wasn't an English major in college, but even I know the difference between "there" and "their".  Or halfway through a book when an author uses the wrong name for a character.  Or a baby who reaches age 5 in about three years.  Really?  They didn't catch it, none of their editors and/or proofreaders didn't catch that?  

Hotel rooms.  No matter how nice the hotel is, I still get grossed out.  I don't really think I'm crazy about germs or anything like that, but sleeping in a bed thousands of other people have slept in?  Walking around on that dingy carpet (or better yet, my children LAYING on it?)??  The hotel pool?  Gross.  Not good thoughts when I'm about to embark on a cross-country drive with my children, staying in hotels and a beach condo along the way.

If you are a salesperson, I give you a lot of credit, because frankly it is the most annoying profession ever.  The people working the kiosks in the mall?  LEAVE ME ALONE!  I don't want you to straighten my hair, I don't want to try some lotion, I don't need new cell service.  If I did, I would come to your booth and express an interest.  Since I didn't, I'm obviously not interested!

Off my soapbox now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Most of the time, when a woman exclaims the word  "men", it is tinged with negative connotations.  Today I use the word in the most positive of ways.  I am blessed to have wonderful men in my family.  My son is one of the lights of my life.  He is so smart and funny and inquisitive and loving.  He is all 9 year-old boy wrapped up in a handsome package.  My brother is one of my best friends.  We share a love of family, a love of football and a love of golf.  He is a shining presence in my and my children's lives.  My father-in-law (Peepaw) is a quiet soul, a hard worker and a joy for my kids to be around.  He lost his wife this past winter and my heart aches that this wonderful man will spend his remaining years without that companionship.  He is strong, though, and continuing on in his life, trying to enjoy every day.  The two men I want to honor most today, though, are my husband and my father.

My dad is such a kind, steady, rock of a man.  Very little ruffles him (why couldn't I have gotten that from him?).  He is strong in his faith, loyal to his friends and playful with his grandchildren.  He is 70 going on 50.  He is very active in his church, bowls twice a week and plays golf regularly (and beats me almost every time!).  "They" always say that a girl looks to her daddy for the kind of man she will fall in love with.  I will agree with that to an extent.  My hubby is also a kind, steady rock of a man.  He is the even keel to my over-sensitive Type A personality.  He is a hard worker, a loving family man who always puts his wife and children first.  I wish I could hand him the whole world on a platter this Father's Day for being such a good, good man.  Since that would be impossible, he'll have to settle for a "Big Comfort" camp chair, some t-shirts and a new bathing suit.  Let's not forget the homemade brisket (my first) that turned out better than either of us anticipated!

Happy Father's Day out there to all of the terrific men in the world who grow up hearing the word "Daddy".

Friday, June 17, 2011

A new era

As with most almost 10-year-old boys, my son spends too much time playing video games.  I already knew this, but it was reinforced at his eye doctor appointment last week.  I've noticed that when he watches tv, he puts his fingers up to the outside corners of his eyes, and I had asked him if it helped him see better.  He never really would admit to it, he just said "it's more comfortable." 

At his eye doctor appointment, the exam proved that his vision is excellent - at arm's length (the perfect Nintendo DS-playing length).  Anything closer or farther and his vision is blurry.  The eye doc seemed to think his eyes were just "locked up" from playing too many games and reading, and that, if given a rest for a while, his eyesight will return to normal, or at least improve.  So now my handsome young man is sporting bifocals that will do the focusing for him and give his tired eyes a break.  He picked out sharp-looking blue metal frames and I think he looks great!  (Now his sister is upset that she's the only one in our family who doesn't wear glasses, despite me telling her that is a GOOD thing!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I want to lobby for moms to get sick time!

It's bad enough we don't get paid for the gazillions of tasks we do every day, but what makes it worse is the fact that moms do not get sick days.  Ever.  In fact, it seems like whenever we are sick, everyone becomes even more needy!

I have been fighting off a summer cold for several days.  So far I've managed to keep it contained to a bad sore throat and a sinus headache.  Last night I bit the bullet and took Nyquil before bed in hopes of getting a good night's sleep.  Wouldn't you know that would be the night that BOTH of my kids would wake me up for something or another during the night? 

My kids are generally not good sleepers, but now, finally, at the ages of 9 and 5, they pretty much sleep all night (at least until the crack of dawn).  Every once in a while one of them (usually the 5 yr old) will come in for something in the middle of the night.  She hasn't done it recently, though, until last night.  What was her problem?  Sore throat.  (Have I mentioned that she's a sympathy-sickie and also a hypochondriac?)  What was her brother's problem?  He stepped on a sticker the other day and the bottom of his foot was "really, really, really itchy".  Did I want to deal with either of those things while I was half asleep and drugged up on nasty-tasting cherry Nyquil?  Not at all.  Of course they never, ever go to the dad's side of the bed.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the innocence of a child

K just asked me, "Mom, if you wish that Princess Peach is real when you throw money in the fountain at Abuelos, will it come true?"

Ahh.. the heartbreak when I told her it probably wouldn't.  How to explain to an innocent 5 year old that a video game character could not possibly come to life? 

Monday, June 6, 2011


I just listed 24 auctions on Ebay.  Will it be worth it?  I don't know.  They were books we are getting rid of as a result of J's room overhaul/makeover.  I don't expect to make a huge amount of money, considering most of them have a starting bid under a dollar.  However, if someone is looking for a good deal on children's books and they buy more than one to save on shipping, I'll be one happy camper to get rid of some of these!

I still have a huge Rubbermaid container of toys in J's room that I'm trying to sell on Craigslist.org.  No luck so far.  I know I can unload them at the children's consignment sale, but that's not until October.  <sigh>  Do I bother listing the decent ones on Ebay, too?  It's such a pain, though, because then you are dealing with packing and shipping and all that junk.  If I wasn't so cheap I would just dump them off at Goodwill!  Anything to make a buck, though, right?

On a side note, I just checked our ten-day forecast on weather.com and only one day out of the next ten had a high temperature below 100 degrees, and that one was 99.  Yikes!

Nalini Singh

Have you ever read her books?  If you haven't, now is the time to start.  I (and millions of other readers) am hooked on her Psy-Changeling series.  They take place about 75 years in the future, but it's not all weird sci-fi stuff.  That's not my thing.  There are three "races":  humans, changelings (human shifters like wolves, leopards, etc) and the Psy.  The Psy are basically humans with extra psy talents such as telepathy, mind control, etc.  Most of the Psy are "Silent".  Silence was initiated years and years ago because the Psy came to believe that human feelings and emotions weakened them as a race.  There is no love, no sex, no anger, no joy.... everything with the Psy is middle of the road, do the right thing, don't step out of the box.  They don't touch, they don't laugh, they don't cry.  Everything, including childbearing and parenting, is a business transaction, and done for the better of the psy race. 

In Singh's series, there is so much time spent on the total storyline (which carries through from book to book) and on the world-building that I think the romance in each book almost takes a secondary role.  This would normally disappoint me since I'm strictly a romance reader.  However, Singh is a genius.  She has created this fantastic story in a world far enough into the future to explain some of the technology but not too far where it's not familiar.  The interaction between the humans, the Psy and the Changelings is done so well and so believably.  If I had one complaint about these books it would be that they are almost too technical.  There is often paragraph after paragraph filled with explanations and psy terminology that I can't even hope to understand, so my eyes tend to glaze over.  A computer geek or a science major would have a field day with these books!

I still have two more books in the series to be caught up to read the latest, but the one I read most recently was Blaze of Memory.  There is so much I could say about this book. I went from being underwhelmed halfway through to being completely overwhelmed at the end. It wrecked me. Throughout the first half of the book I found myself skimming through parts, waiting for something to actually happen. It seemed like there was chapter after chapter of build-up with nothing really *happening*.

All that being said, I loved how you could sense the need Dev & Katya filled in each other, right from the beginning. He was a man on the edge - trying to balance his humanity with the icy steel core that helped him endure rough times and tough decisions. Katya was the softness and light that balanced out his coldness. She was also a broken woman - a former scientist who didn't even know her own mind after her capture and torture. Dev was a caring, protective, possessive lover - something she wanted desperately despite her psy make-up. The last quarter of the book was stunning in its heartbreaking intensity and filled with emotion. It was amazing to see Katya come into her own by refusing to cower to her tormentor, and what Dev admired and loved about her was obvious when she eventually accepted her fate, knowing there was no hope, and forcing him to do the same. Watching such a strong, sometimes stone-cold leader and former soldier be brought to his knees by his overwhelming love and devotion for his mate was incredibly touching. When he said, "I will never be at peace with this," my heart broke along with his.

I stayed up until 2am to finish this book and spent the last hour with tears streaming down my face. It had been months since I read the previous book in this series so I wasn't totally familiar with where the storyline was going and I didn't have much of a feel for Dev's character, but none of that mattered. The changelings with their sensuality and warm affection are my favorites in this series and I was afraid I wouldn't feel connected to a book where the two main characters are Psy.  I shouldn't have worried.   I loved it.

(By the way, if you decide to try this series, definitely read them in order - Slave to Sensation is the first - and give a few a try before you quit.  A lot of people felt lost in the first one and gave up because they didn't "get it", but the series really just keeps getting better and better.) 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Free-speaking Friday

Keeping up with a blog while my kids are home for summer vacation AND my mom is here visiting is next to impossible! (which is why I'm writing Friday's post on Thursday)

I did not inherit my father's great bowler genes.  My first game today I barely broke 100.  Luckily none of the kids beat me, but it was close.  I think Mom and I were neck-in-neck on who had the most gutterballs.

I hate wind.

There are WAY too many books in this world that I want to read.  I could sit around all day every day for the next three years and not even make a dent.  How can I possibly keep up when I only get an hour to read each night before bed?

Three thousand miles later, I still love my new car!

I hate bugs.  After stepping on a scorpion last week, I was very thankful that the bug guy came today.  Mr Pest Patrol must have done a serious job because bugs and spiders are crawling out of the woodwork.  Mom just came out of the bathroom while brushing her teeth, saying, "There is a very scary bug in here." 

I'm thankful that I sold some of J's toys after cleaning his room, because that money has kept me and my kids busy this week with all of the activities we've done.  Eating out just about every day, golf, movies, bowling, birthday party, etc... this has been an expensive week!

I hope and pray that J makes a nice new friend next year.  His best bud (also a J) spent the afternoon with us today and it makes my heart happy to see my guy having so much fun.  Unfortunately J's family is military and they are moving next week. 

My daughter = drama queen!

I'm grateful for my hubby who keeps our pool in swimming shape all season.  When it's 100 degrees every day in early June, what else is there to do besides lounge out by the pool and swim???

Speaking of hubby... a few weeks ago he bit the bullet and decided to try electronic cigarettes.  He has smoked since he was a teenager and he tried to quit a couple of times since I met him.  I am SO PROUD of him for giving up his vice.  While the electronic ones are still "smoking" because there is some nicotine involved, there is zero tobacco and only fake "smoke", while still giving him the smoking sensation.  Keep up the good work, hubby, so you can be healthier and grow old, old, old with me!!!

TGIF everyone!