Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hugging Hunter

Background:  The military is trying to address PTSD and the general emotional health of soldiers (partially?) with this program:  Hunt the Good Stuff.

Which, I always love to point out, shortens to HuGS.  Its official name appears to be "Comprehensive Resilience Module," which is amusing in its own right, but that link goes to a power point with smiley face icons so pick your poison.

Military lingo aside, I'm trying to play along because I am a lucky, lucky girl in a thousand different ways but... I have to work at it.  Which is annoying, but a fact of life.  So there.

Happy belated Memorial Day to everyone who served, is serving, and their families.

In the blogging equivalent of closing my eyes, covering my ears, and singing la-la-la-la-la, these are the things that made me happy today.  Well, this weekend and today, because today I was back at work engrossed in some scintillating continuing ed courses - but then all the more reason to hold on to the happy stuff, right?

Or, you know, hunt it down and tackle it.

#1.  The Hunter.  My sweet, ugly, aging Maude pulled something again and has been limping around so badly I've started carrying all awkward, protesting 65# of her down the stairs in the morning.  Matt reported her alleged injury did NOT stop her from bolting at top speed across the yard after an errant rabbit a few days ago.  A miraculous recovery I myself witnessed tonight as she bolted across the kitchen toward her dinner bowl.  I'm not judging though.  Food is a powerful motivator.

#2.  Speaking of food, my guilty pleasure du jour:  Hawaiian rolls with a bit a mayo and cheddar cheese.  [And leftover angel food cake]

#3.  Tima's visit.  And family pictures.
Also, finding a family picture in which someone isn't making a goofy face.
Never mind that no one is looking at the camera.
It's artistic, right? 

#4.  Siblings, mine & theirs.

#5.  Continuing Ed ethics courses that haven't been updated since 2004 and cite NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's cases against various insurance carriers as an example of a needed ethical crackdown.  

#6.  Continuing Ed quizzes which ask this question without a trace of irony -  

#7.  Having to explain to my co-worker why I was laughing so hard... and then having to explain who Eliot Spitzer was.  That's the upside of being the oldest person in the room.

#8.  Also, everyone is healthy, the weather cooled off, Matt remembered my dry cleaning, and the cake is finally gone, so I can get back to my magnificently failing diet.
Happy effin' Tuesday.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

7 Days and One Z-pac Later

Happy Birthday Little Boy

The Boy's Party was delayed thanks to recent pestilence but that gave me a whole week to remember someone had gifted us these pirate decorations 2 Christmases ago.  He'd wanted a Spongebob party and they were nautical.  Why not?  

Also the traditional [Familial Name] Angel Food with Orange and Lemon Frosting.  Yes, I capitalized that intentionally.  The Family cake is nothing to mess around with.

The various grandparents gifted him a bike, a boomerang, a pair of stilts and build-your-own electronics 16 ways to shock yourself.  No one gifted mommy any valium or the expected ER co-pay.  We're taking bets on which will land him in the hospital first.

Not posted - the pictures of ME running around the block with him, dripping in sweat and heart thudding.  I might need to ratchet up my jogging a bit.   Also, yes, we might've waited a bit too long to lose the training wheels.  Shush.

Tima's visit happily coincided with the rescheduled party.  I called her on Thursday to say The Boy was still home sick and this might not be the best weekend but I had her flight info wrong and she was already here ("here" being flyover country), visiting my brother and his wife (WHO IS EXPECTING - SQUEE!), but the Z-pac kicked in and all was well.  The boy made it to the last day of school, all 3 hours of it, on Friday and we were able to further deplete the helium reserves on Saturday.  Did you know there was a helium shortage?   Matt said he's known for years - I just found out last week.  Hmm.
Tima & company
Uncle G.

My brother, preparing for parenthood by perfecting that Y-chromosome gift of being able to sleep while children climb on you.    
Thirsty dolly
Pre party, helium abuse.
Also, fuzzy picture, but there is a small critter trying to eat the cupcakes in this shot.

Signing bike

 Also, I love this dress.  It's already wrinkled here because spray starch seems to be in short supply too, but she'd also worn it to a Cinco de Mayo party, I forgot to get pictures, & I'm not above recreating events....

At Cinco, after we switched to PJs.

or finding a weak reason to post this picture.
Party dad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Holding Bubbles

Remember when I said my dream vacation involved nothing but a lounge chair and an umbrella?  My dear sweet husband scraped together all the change he could find under the couch and made it happen.  Free flights and a ridiculous hotel discount helped but Disney charges $10 a piece for these little bits of heaven and, MAN, did they add up.

Totally joking. Despite my occasional frantic texts to Matt on his way home CRISIS: NO WINE! We might need milk & diapers too, not sure, BUT BUY WINE... turns out I'm a lightweight and only had two of these pre-mixed plastic glasses of deliciousness the whole weekend.  All of my Irish ancestors are disappointed in me.

Should I feel guilty?  

You know what's even more relaxing than margaritas?  SLEEPING.  I arrived Thursday, Matt arrived about 6 hours later (separate flights, of course), we spent Friday by the pool and "napping" (*cough*), and Saturday we went to Epcot's flower expo, because Matt thought I'd like it.  What a sweetheart, right? He is off dish duty for a month, at least.

Whee!  No dishes!

I should make a crack about the mass commercialism and Machine that is Disney, but damn if it just doesn't make me happy.  Also, I have topiary fetish - which they lavishly indulged.    
When I retire, I shall have topiary.  

Look!  It's a peacock! 

Just 'cause it's silly.

There was a garden-expo-y thing going on -  
(Ignore the cutesy house on top)

 Look closer - it's a giant PVC pipe with holes drilled out.  
I could grow strawberries this way!

 100 year old Bougainvillea Bonsai.
Bougainvillea reminds me of CA & makes me happy.
Not sure about the tortured, stunted bonsai though.

Living walls.

And roofs.

I love my new camera phone

The wonders of mass planting.  


Pinks & Purples. 
(You probably didn't need those labels, did you?)

We saw a movie, ate WAY too much, remembered that we were once able to discuss things other than bills, schedules, & children's temperatures, and we slept (no, I mean really slept).  It's amazing how late I can sleep when no one is tugging on my pillow asking for pancakes at o'dark thirty.  We returned home in time for a Mother's Day picnic, hugged the minions, admired the cutest mother's day card in the world and then dove headfirst into the icy cold waters of our reality.  The end.

Not so icy, this. 

Or this. 

I kept hoping I'd have something more profound to say about our little vacation but inspiration hasn't struck.  It was a vacation.  It was incredibly relaxing.  Flowers make me happy.  My husband knows that flowers make me happy, which makes me happy.  I could wax poetic about trying to hold onto that little bubble of bliss for these last couple weeks, by way of explanation for my blogging absence, but really?  Vacation has triggered my L.A.Z.Y. gene and so after working and tucking the kids in, I've been barely able to muster the energy to work the TV remote.  Where's that cabana boy now?

This would be a good spot for a poolside/cabana shot.  
Ha!  No way in hell I post a picture of myself in a bathing suit on the internet.  
How about a squirrel we saw at the pool, instead?  

[Awkward segue to follow]  Sooo, speaking of children's temperatures, and being busy, and reality:  While we were gone, The Girl had a little GI trouble (HUGE THANK YOU AGAIN TO MY IN LAWS FOR MINDING THE MINIONS -  ESPECIALLY AFTER THE INCIDENT THAT SHALL NOT BE DISCUSSED) and so we were on high alert that first week back, waiting for a call from her daycare - because nothing says Five Star Employee like taking time off after taking time off.  The first week luckily passed call free but then this last Friday, on his 7th Birthday, the day before his family party, The Boy spiked a fever.  I'll tell you some other time about The Meanest Most Awfullest Urgent Care Doctor Ever, but we had to cancel his party (leaving us with vats of sangria because Matt bought the cheapest wine ever made but it was undrinkable until Mommy doctored it up.  Voila!  It's a sangria party!).  Luckily Aunt Mary was here and always brings the fun (especially with all that sangria), so he wasn't devastated, but he's STILL randomly spiking fevers, even today, 5 days later  (What was I saying about taking time off?).  We started meds yesterday because there is a bubbly cauldron of pestilence swirling around the neighborhood and no one knows if it's viral or not but 5 days is the extent of my "Fevers are Natural" holistic streak.

No small children were eaten by giant bubbles during the production of this shot.
Also, some reference to the giant blissful bubble that was my vacation.  

The fevers come and go.  This morning he got dressed for school without being asked - too bad he wasn't going.  Poor munchkin is missing all the fun stuff last week of school and I was cursing the 24 hr fever free rule.  We went outside to use his giant bubble maker, but by noon he was back up over 100 degrees and went upstairs to sleep, again without being asked.  He's all grown up.  How is it I have a 7 year old?  Happy Birthday Little Boy.  (Try not to breathe on the cake.)

I'm as surprised as you are, buddy. Seven?  Really?  
Anyone comparing my yard to the flowers at Epcot will be summarily shot.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saturday Morning

Giant bubble making loop thingy that we’ll probably never take out of the package? 

Giant Bouncy Ball that won’t survive a week with our dogs?

Spongebob connect four game, with one piece already under the fridge?

Spending 2 hours trolling suburbia during the city-wide garage sale with my son
while holding hands(!)?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Universal Monkey Business

Follow up to Monday's post.... The Girl is sleeping through the night again, allowing Mommy to sleep through the night again, which means Mommy feels less like the walls are pressing in on all sides.  Sleep deprivation doesn't sound as bad as, say, being mock-drowned, but it messes with my equilibrium and I don't underestimate it as a torture device.  And just in case I didn't grasp all the other illustrative possibilities, the universe sent me leaky plumbing at home AND work, on top of the sleeplessness and other stuff, which seemed unnecessarily redundant and a little mean.

I just perused Google Images for pictures of cars being crushed, the Star Wars trash compactor scene, and drowning scenes, for actual illustrative purposes [I am a TON of fun at parties] but then I was distracted by this guy:

Which I think illustrates this week's Life Lesson perfectly well - it can always get worse.  You could always catch on fire and be thrown from great heights by a huge robot AFTER being crushed.... Nevermind, no complaints here, we're just moseying along, thanks.

Let us talk of happy things:
I want to see the hippos!

Like some more pictures from the Family trip to the zoo - Matt and the The Boy were off, hopping all over the country during spring break, using our free flight benefits with NO problems  (grrrr!), so my brother & his wife came to keep me and The Girl company.

Funny story about these monkeys.  We sat down on the bench in front of them to take a breather and because they were cute & especially active.  One of them turned around right in front of my face, revealing what I thought were some very large, er, boy monkey parts.  My brother and I may have - allegedly - hypothetically - immediately made some juvenile crack thereabouts.  But at that very moment, a creepy zoo keeper mysteriously appeared at my shoulder & archly informed us the boy monkey was, in fact, a girl monkey, a cancer survivor, and those were fatty deposits leftover from her chemotherapy, you insensitive assholes.  The last bit may not have been verbalized but it was clearly implied.  OH MY GOODNESS.  This is a new low - suburban mom caught verbally bullying a cancer surviving monkey.  I'm not sure about the etiquette of atonement here -  Note of apology?  Extra souvenir purchase?  Fresh fruit basket?  Maybe she didn't hear us.

Dear Miss Monkey - I am very sorry I thought you were a boy.  Yours, k.

We quickly moved on.

Strike a pose!
STL natives might notice the The Girl's sticker.  We stopped by Ted Drewe's for frozen custard before going to the zoo but I didn't take any pictures because there is no good reason to document for All Time the consumption of that many calories in one sitting.  The combined guilt of dessert AND monkey bullying?  Well, maybe that explains my luck lately.  [Redacted:  offensive religious joke about cleansing waters & Old Testament floods].  Hmm, I wonder if I should reconsider that fruit basket?

Ha! You think a fruit basket can fix this? Funny!