Saturday, July 31, 2010

212 / 365: Good Bye to a Class Act

Yet another icon is signing off into the sunset.

Chuck Roberts, the inaugural anchor for CNN's Headline News, is leaving the network. While his plans were not made known, I do know his departure struck something in me.

I remember moving out of my parents' house in 1990. When I set up my TV, one of the first channels I loved was Headline News (my father was a newshound, so I come by it naturally). I looked forward to coming home from work and turning on Channel 34 to catch the latest news. Sometimes I'd even sleep with Chuck after an exhausting day of teaching.

The qualities that I really appreciated in Chuck were his dependability, professionalism, and just a "no-nonsense" approach to the news. There were few, if any, editorial quips so prevalent in journalism today. Just the facts, ma'am.

While I wish him the best in his future endeavors, I am sad to know that yet another generation of journalists will miss out on what delivering news is about. Good bye Chuck. You'll be missed!

Until next time....broadcast away!

Friday, July 30, 2010

211 / 365: Retail therapy

I spent the day at two large shopping "meccas" in the area.

This morning, I accompanied my dear friend to support her as she made the purchase of her lifetime!! Her excitement was contagious and I'm still thrilled that she did what she did!!

This afternoon, we all went to another shopping "mecca" so AAC could purchase some stuff. While we were there, we took advantage of the free entertainment: a water area for children. These fountains were the perfect remedy for the boys, who don't see shopping as an important task.

Judging by my lack of spending today, I didn't see it as important either. At least for today.

Until next away!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

210 / 365: Nice

This rainbow was a vision to behold!

Ironically, earlier in the day we listened to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while driving home from Costco today. SRR was discussing his favorite food (Ramen Noodles), so I drove past the Maruchen factory located about 5 miles from our house. While planning his future employment with the company, he burst into song: (With warped collaboration by the entire R family.)

Somewhere, over the Ramen,
Way up high
There's a bowl of noodles
That will say bye-bye.

Until next time....slurp away!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

209 / 365: The Soloist

Tonight, Hubby and I watched this thought-provoking movie, a true story of an LA Times journalist discovering, then befriending a homeless man. This man was a gifted cellist at Julliard. This man is schizophrenic.

My thoughts bounced around. First, to gratitude. While I often joke about my mental stability, I know that I have a somewhat sound mind and can take care of myself. I often express appreciation for physical health, but after seeing this movie, a shout out to good mental health is in order.

My contemplation soured as I thought of the millions of mentally ill people living out on our streets. According to the statistic at the end of the movie, 90,000 homeless people live in Los Angeles ALONE! Out of those 90,000, how many are of sound mind? How many can take care of themselves? Not all of them have an LA Times journalist to help them.

It's a frightening, sad and frustrating issue. How can we help?

Until next time....think away!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

208 / 365: Kickboxing....a Haiku

The class was a blast!
Teacher is pregnant and still
Beat our a**es down!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

207 / 365: Goofs!

One more week of vacation and I'm torn. Do I rush like a madwoman and try to get domestic and work / business / choir stuff done? Or do I chill, knowing that the work will get done eventually? I have two reasons I'm going with the latter.

Do you blame me?

Until next time....goof away!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

206 / 365: My 168 Hours...

I posted last week that I was reading 168 Hours, a book on time management. The author's claim is that we have more "free" time during a week (168 hours) than we think. Her first assignment for the reader is a self-assessment of how we utilize our 168 hours. I printed out a blank schedule from the website and kept track of seven full days. Above was the end result.

While it is accurate, it is truly not a reflection of a "normal" week. I'm still on vacation (hence the "BG" for the Tuesday's Busch Gardens trip), there are many blocks of nap time (yeah!), and the boys and I played a lot. However, there were somethings I noticed about my time:
-I squander too much of it on my computer (shock!).
-Cleaning and laundry really don't take up much time, especially when Hubby does it.
-With all my reading time, I still didn't finish my book.
-There is the potential that I DO have enough time in the week to get things done. I don't mean housework either. Playing with the boys, watching a movie with Hubby, hanging out with friends, can all be accomplished as well.

This experiment will continue next month, when I track my work week. It will probably be the second week of August, when work is going full throttle and I won't have Vacation Bible School at night. That will be the litmus test. Am I really making the most of my 168 hours?

Until next time....accomplish away!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

205 / 365: Caliente!

Enough already!! Bring back the blizzards!!

Until next time....broil away!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

204 / 365: A star in his own right.

OK, so his horns were crooked, he missed rehearsal today (due to Mommy of the Year), the group sang his goat song too fast, and he couldn't find his shoes. He was also the only boy in the class.

Besides all that, he was AWESOME!!

This was a big production for SRR. The musical was only 20 minutes, but this was his first one without his big brother. He had to shine without his sidekick, and did he ever!! I could hear him singing from the middle of the auditorium and his lines were crystal clear. Momma the Music Teacher is very proud of him.

Now about those horns....

Until next time....bleat away!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

203 / 365: Let the nail biting begin..

MGR bought a football game at GameStop. This to speed up JOR's indoctrination process.

My heart's already racing. I am NOT looking forward to football season.

Until next time....fret away!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

202 / 365: Stay-cation

I'll take it!!

I can't believe 2 1/2 weeks have gone by so quickly. I'm trying to get as much out of the remaining 1 1/2 weeks as I can.

Visiting with local friends has really helped me retain my vacation mentality. Sitting around, sweet tea in hand, chatting about everything, really takes me away. Today I had two such wonderful encounters. While one was bittersweet (a dear friend is leaving the county to pursue other interests), and the other too short, they were still refreshing!

And, in a house full of testosterone, the estrogen boost helped as well!

Until next time....visit away!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

201 / 365: We did it!

Short post! I'm pooped!

Mission accomplished. We surprised JOR and SRR with a visit to Busch Gardens. They had no idea! It was wonderful watching them soak in everything and having the time of their little lives!! We went on roller coasters, saw shows, got soaking wet (especially Mommy!) and had a wonderful time.

I think the best part of the trip came at the end when I realized that, after the boys thanked us 152 times, MGR and I are blessed to have such awesome kids! They really make our job as parents easier than it seems. That is, until something happens.....

Until next away!

Monday, July 19, 2010

200 / 365: Excitement is building....

Tomorrow is the big day. Spontaneous decision by Mom and Dad to do something REALLY fun with the boys before schedules get hectic and Mommy has to go back to work (and our pay cut kicks in).

We just decided last night and put a secret plan into action. Even while getting stuff for the big day, we fibbed about why we were getting it. When the boys went off to bed, we tiptoed around the house getting ready.

It truly felt like Christmas Eve! Now I hope I can sleep.

Until next time....wait away!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

199 / 365: God's vastness

This morning, the Pastor at BHUMC homilized about the vastness of God. One thing she said really stuck with me: God's vastness is found in the smallest things.

Today I found God in:
-the cotton ball shaped clouds.
-the hole in SRR's head after he lost his tooth last night.
-the patience in CSR and AAC as they taught the boys how to swim.
-the freckles on JOR's cheeks.
-the sights and sounds of tonight's thunderstorm.
-the 6 string beans that are actually growing in my garden.
-the sounds of laughter from all 3 boys as they watched "Looney Tunes Back in Action".
-my sister's voice as we chatted for the first time in months.
-the postings on my Facebook page, reading about my friends' triumphs and tragedies.
-the dinner that Hubby threw together for the boys.

I am thankful for all the little things that make my life so big!

Until next time....thank away.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

198 / 365: Opposites

Sorry for the blurry picture. I couldn't stop laughing!

MGR and CSC took it upon themselves to "tweak" LA's macaroni and cheese recipe. Two totally different human beings came together to create a delicious dish. Their friendship deepened over cheese. Life is good.

Until next time....tweak away!

Friday, July 16, 2010

197 / 365: 168 Hours

In my perpetual quest to become a more efficient human being, I found this intriguing book, 168 Hours.

It's premise it that we all have the same amount of time every week (168 hours). It's how we use these hours that make or break us. The author described one woman and her use of time. This woman is the CEO of a million-dollar construction company and a mother of six (2 of them are twins). However, she has time to be in a book club, go hiking. read with her children, and get a full 8 hours of sleep a night. Half of me wants to clone her, half of me wants to slap her silly (just joking). If this woman can do it, why can't I?

That's what's inspiring me to read this book.

The first exercise given is to document how I'm currently spending my 168 hours. I am going to start tracking Sunday and see where my time is sucked up. This should be interesting.

Until next time...track away.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

196 / 365: Silver....a Haiku

(Haven't done one of these in awhile!)

Finally paid off
Rusty, noisy, smelly van
It is all mine now!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

195 / 365: Yerba Mate

Oh, how I missed you!

Yerba Mate, or mate, is a tea on steroids. It contains over 20 vitamins and minerals and is a known stimulant, but without the coffee side effects. Mate increases awareness, suppresses appetite and gives the drinker energy. However, there are little to no jitters and one actually feels a strong calm after having a cup.

I discovered mate in my perpetual search for the "something" that would give me that "strong calm". It is popular in South America, where the tea is shared. Hot, not boiling, water is poured into a gourd containing leaves. Then the tea is sipped through a bombilla, a metal straw with straining holes at the bottom to prevent the leaves from being sucked through the straw.

While there are disputes about the actual effectiveness of Yerba Mate, I can tell you from personal experience that it works. It has a nice taste, hot or iced, and gives me what I need: physical and mental energy with out the jitters. I started drinking it again this week and I am feeling the difference!

Until next time....mate away!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

194 / 365: We Three Queens

The annual tradition continues....

Two of my dearest friends (KSBJ and CB) and I started this tradition about 5 years ago. We, along with husbands, meet for dinner in July to celebrate the end of another school year. For ten years, we all worked in the same elementary school: KSBJ is the PE teacher and CB just retired from her position as library media specialist. At our peak, we ran the school. Students and parents respected us, classroom teachers tolerated us and administrators let us do our jobs. Why? Because we did it well!

Fast forward a few years: CB retired after many years as a master librarian, KSBJ is celebrating one more year, and me...well they'll have to carry me out of school. During this time, the three of us celebrated weddings, births and our kids' achievements. We have also been there for each other in times of sorrow, especially deaths in the family.

These two ladies, and their wonderful husbands, have been such a blessing in my life! I am so fortunate to have such outstanding human beings as friends!

Until next time...celebrate away!

Monday, July 12, 2010

193 / 365: Blah....

Tired, trying to focuse, feeling yucky....

I think it's time for yerba mate again.

Until next time....mate away!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

192 / 365: The King

SRR was King for the day. I guess it's allowed when you turn 7.

His Majesty had a happy day. Brought cookies to his LIFE class at church. Had KFC followed by cake and ice cream. We had a "Wacky Water Day" theme complete with a slip and slide, water guns and water balloons. Brother, cousin and neighbors helped the little guy celebrate by getting soaking wet. His Highness got lots of great gifts from Grandma and Grandpa, the A's and C's, and the family, even gifts from his brother!

I think Daddy and I got the best gift when, after everyone left, he hugged and kissed us and thanked us for making his birthday so special. That, along with my annual reading of "On the Day You Were Born", got my tear ducts working. The King has earned his throne!

Until next time...celebrate away!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

191 / 365: Water = Public Enemy #1

This essential element to life is going to cause me an early death. To wit:

-Forecast showed rain (heavy with thunderstorms) on its way to Richmond. Hurray! Except that I had to mow the lawn in preparation for SRR's birthday party tomorrow. I waited, and waited, and waited....not only did I waste the day, but the stupid rain never arrived! I finally went out and cut the grass this evening. UGH!!

-Attempted to use the kitchen faucet to fill water balloons for the party. There was more water on the counter than in the balloons. I finally shlepped everything outside, moved a lawn chair next to the spigot and filled away.

-While trying to fill the balloons in the kitchen, MGR tried the faucet in the guest bathroom. Those words I dread came echoing into the kitchen, "Why is there water all over the floor?" I flew in there to find a leak under the sink. How convenient, as tomorrow we'll have friendmily over for the party. This kind of situation happened two years ago, when a leak from upstairs created havoc in my kitchen, again right before SRR's party. Lesson learned: check all plumbing before SRR's birthday, or have it somewhere else!!

-As MGR and JOR were leaving for tonight's gaming events, they took some bottled water with them. JOR: "Dad, the water bottle's leaking!" ARRGGHHHH!! It seems that when Hercules (aka MGR) cut open the case of water, he cut a bottle or two as well.

-Tired of the day's water issues, I was reading the news online, which boasted the headline, "Voluntary Water Restrictions Begin Monday". Sigh.....

Until next time....water away!

Friday, July 9, 2010

190 / 365: Spoiled & Smart

We commenced celebrating SRR's turning 7. His birthday is not til Sunday, but with SRR, it's always an extended celebration!

AAC took JOR to get his brother a birthday gift. Since they were out most of the day, MGR and I decided to have a "Spoil Day" for SRR. We started with lunch at Qdoba, then moved onto the bookstore, toy store and Trader Joe's. He got stuff along the way, but I think the best gift was uninterrupted time with Mom and Dad. He felt like a King, which is exactly what Daddy and I wanted.

We sat at the Qdoba counter for lunch. While munching on our food, we did some people watching. The "unique" people walking along the sidewalk, along with the escapades of "non-drivers", gave us fodder for many comments. Finally, SRR said, "Boy this is fun to watch. It's like watching TV!" Out of the mouths of babes!

Until next away!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

189 / 365: Bears everywhere!

Had a "Stuff n Fluff" workshop for 60 children today. Luckily, they were in 2 groups so I thought it could be do-able. Well I was wrong....dead wrong!

The first group consisted of 30 preschoolers. Anytime there is a large group of 2,3 and 4 year olds, one has to be concerned about the dangers of an explosion. Their energy level was off the charts! Luckily, in survival mode, I put on my preschool teacher hat: we danced, we sang, and we played games with our new "friends" (the bears). However, the damage was done. By the end of the workshop, bears were everywhere (luckily, we put names on the tags), 1 child was crying (not my fault), 1 little girl was dumping Legos out of every bin, and we lost a child temporarily because he was my stuffing!

My thought process was amusing: Well, the next group of children, 30 5-11 year olds, shouldn't be so demanding, right? I needed a happy hour after that group!! Luckily, we didn't lose any children in this workshop, but the dream was there..... Then one little boy with autism wanted nothing to do with the entire event, so he walked laps around the activity, humming a tune so many times, I have the earworm in my head. Oddly enough, the older kids were cooperative and fun. I had "assumed" that they would feel too cool for this. They really got into it and had a good time. The younger ones in this group need some "learnin'": "No, honey, we don't hit people with the bears.", "You can write your own birth certificates, I don't know how to spell that name.", ad nauseum.....

Luckily, the 2 workshops lasted less than 2 hours. By 2:00 I was napping, dreaming of children buried in stuffing....

Until next time...stuff away!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

188 / 365: A clean bill of health....

Thank God he's healthy!

MGR went for his first "real" physical in years. He switched to my doctor, a fabulous woman with whom he is really impressed.

Prognosis: Excellent health, save a genetic cholesterol issue that we'll try to control with diet. If that's all it is, that's fine by me.

A prayer of thanksgiving goes up for MGR's good health. Besides, his life insurance isn't paid up yet. (Just kidding..really...No, Really!)

Until next time....thank away!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

187 / 365: Julie and Julia and Blogging...oh my!

A charming little movie! Highly recommended.

The catalyst of this movie was for Julie to blog and cook for an entire year. Her dishes, fresh from Julia Child's cookbook, are the foundation for her blog material.

Her blog has a foundation. Mine.....not so much. It's foundation is worn away in some places and cracked in others. I'm not the best writer (hence a reason for my project), but I'm journaling my life. Since my life is fodder for my blog, I guess it, too, must be worn away in places and cracked others.


Until next time...journal away.

Monday, July 5, 2010

186 / 365: Time out

We played musical rooms today....

The boys now have their own rooms. We did this originally, then thought it would be "cute" if they slept in the same room and use the other as a playroom. That was just stupid! It caused us many an ulcer when it came to bedtime. Between the giggles, arguments and frequent contests involving bodily noises, bedtime was stress time. One always ended up starting the night in our bed, then we moved him back when sleep hit.

Now they have their own rooms again. We flipped flopped, giving SRR the bigger room for more playtime space and JOR the smaller room for his "study", complete with desk and office chair (mine). We did a "Clean House" reveal and they loved their rooms!!

That was a really good thing, because toward the end of the day, we had to use it for a time out......

I'm SO glad they are separated!

Until next time... split away!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

185 / 365: Happy 4th!

234 years of freedom. We're still young, we're still learning, we're still trying to change things for the better. The country and I are growing together.

My own declaration of independence might include the following freedoms:
-Freedom from negativity. I don't like being around toxic people and situations.
-Freedom from perpetual laziness. I have the ability to work and work hard. So be it.
-Freedom from jealousy. This is a tough one for me, but I'll try.
-Freedom from unhealthy living. Ditto on this!
-Freedom to love my husband unconditionally. Yes, even when he's being ________ (fill in the blank).
-Freedom to be the best mom I can be. Fair but fun. Encouraging but not stifling.
-Freedom to give myself downtime. It will make me a better person in the long run. I hope!

Until next time....declare away!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

184 / 365: 1776

We kicked off our July 4th celebration by watching the musical, "1776".

I have very fond memories of going on a field trip to see the movie in a theater. It was a special screening due to the bicentennial, 4 years after the movie's release. I thought it was so cool to see a movie during the school day, especially one with so many curses in it. (Mostly d's and a few a's and LOTS of sexual innuendo!)

We went against parenting books tonight to let the boys see a little bit of history, warped though it may be. JOR is a history buff and SRR loves a good song and dance, so they thoroughly enjoyed the first part. We're taking it in segments due to its length (close to 3 hours). Tomorrow is part two.

My favorite part is when they are signing the Declaration of Independence. Very powerful. I hope my boys understand and appreciate the sacrifices made to make this a free country and that many continue to sacrifice to keep us free today.

Until next time....sacrifice away!

Friday, July 2, 2010

183 / 365: Work and Play

They need to know balance. Mean Old Mother (M.O.M.) tried to teach them that lesson today.

JOR and SRR had to do chores this morning. After 3 days of pampering and a day of not doing anything, you would have thought I'd ask them to step into traffic. Their jobs were to unload the dishwasher, pick up the sticks in the yard, then weed a little patch of the garden. Hard labor, according to them.

They started out full throttle, then took turns "supervising" (drinking water while watching the other work), then the complaints nauseum! Yes, I showed them what to do and how to do it. I gave small, attainable goals. I gave them breaks (as required by law). I was still public enemy #1.

Finally, the work was done. It was now time to play with AAC and CSC.

I had to remind them that it's OK to work then play. Mommy does it all the time!

Until next time....balance away!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

182 / 365: Food For Thought....

I am currently reading "The 10 Things You Need to Eat". To break the suspense, here they are:
"Super" Fish

Obviously I have no problem eating (hence my forever journey with Weight Watchers). It's what I eat that needs to change. I enjoy a majority of these foods, however I still can't get over my hurdle with beets. I also have this aversion to avocado, but after reading some of the recipes in here, I could be a convert.

This book is an easy read, yet quite informative with some neat recipes.

Until next away!