Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Orioles and dreams

Tickets and Group Photo
Today we went on a field trip to Camden Yards to see the Orioles play.  Nana and Granfer have season tickets and treated the kids and I to a game.  The kids had a great time.  Keener loved dancing whenever music was played. 
 Rolo, Elizabeth, and Christopher enjoyed everything from the food to the music  and occasionally watched the game.
          Yes, this is a picture of Christopher with the big Oriole.  He's a nut!  The funniest part of the game was when a foul ball came very close to us and he offered the man who caught the ball all of his money for the ball.  He probably had $5 in quarters in his pockets!  The man said no, but it was funny nonetheless.
          Unfortunately the Orioles lost, but it was a great time anyway.  It also happened to be field trip day at the stadium, so at least my kids were not the only kids there for the afternoon game.  It made the cheering a lot higher in pitch, but at least the atmosphere was energetic.
          Elizabeth wanted to know why a school would have a field trip to a baseball game. I don't think she quite realized how funny it was that she was asking, since she was on a school field trip.  I replied that even though we were watching people play a game, we were watching professionals.  They represent hard work, determination, skill and perseverance of a dream.  Not many people can play a professional sport, but all can learn how to dream and persevere.  Sometimes school lessons are not about facts and figures, but about how we can live a better life for ourselves and about fulfilling our own dreams.  It reminds me of one of my favorite poems.  Here it is.

     - by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly
Hold fast to dreams 
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Church Take 2

The boys spent the night with Nana and Granfer last night since Christopher had a boy scout event somewhat close to them today.  They were going to Brownie Beach/Bayfront Park in Maryland.  I am sure they had a blast.  Granfer used to take Honey and his brothers there when they were little kids.  So Keener and Elizabeth and I went to Mass without the boys today.  It was a little crazy still, since Keener is LOVING to tell all the babies to be quiet.  I am praying that she will be quiet too! ! !  
After that we went to Elizabeth's Lacrosse game.  It was about 95 degrees outside and HOT! HOT! HOT!  To think that last week I had the heat on!   Spring is nice, but I wish we could have a little less fluctuation and few more moderate days.  

Family Oldie

This is an oldie but goodie about our family (August 2007). It should be noted that you always risk a trip to the ER if you plan on going on vacation with us. Just ask me about leaving for Disneyworld! Maybe I'll post that on another day.

This happened two days before we were going to leave for the beach.
Story of our week:
The disposal broke.
We bought a new one.
Honey started to replace.
Christopher & Rolo were helping Honey by holding the flashlight and handing him tools.
The new disposal fell out of the box.
Hit Rolo's Toe.
The toe is broken, 3 stitches, 4.25 hours @ ER.
Disposal's Fine
Moral of the story... it would have been cheaper to hire a plumber...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hannah Montana

For Elizabeth's Birthday party, she wanted to take her friends to see the new Hannah Montana Movie.  I thought it sounded easy for me, no house to clean, no cake to bake, no activities to run.  All I had to do was buy tickets and endure the 15 minutes of getting drinks and food for the movie for each girl (by far the worst part).  The only problem was that we had to wait for the movie to come out, so Elizabeth had her party a month late.  The movie was surprisingly good.  It was filled with music and a teen love story.   I like country music anyway, so I enjoyed the music.  Since the movie really was a G rated movie and not one trying to remain a G rating when it truly is not. I was impressed by how Disney kept the movie very simple and appropriate.  It is not often that we see that done with movies.  The girls all had a good time and I was grateful to have that checked off my to do list.  Elizabeth enjoyed seeing all her friends.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Volcano Olympus Mons

          Yesterday the kids and I started their Volcano experiment for science by creating the volcanos out of salt dough.  They then let them dry overnight.  This evening the kids got to make the volcanos erupt.  They used a mix of vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, and water.  Everyone chose a different color of dye for their volcano.  Of course Keener was feeling left out (since she did not make a volcano), so I got her a measuring cup and let her mix the ingredients and cause a big foaming mess.  Thank goodness I did it outside.  They all had a great time and really enjoyed the experiment. In case you are wondering about the blog title; Olympus Mons  is the biggest known Volcano in our Solar system.  It is on Mars.  Here are some photos from the event.
Elizabeth's eruption                      Christopher's volcano
Rolo working!                                                Keener working.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dream world vs Reality

While Honey is gone, I am desperately trying to hold down the fort, and get both the house and myself into shape.   As you have seen in previous blogs, the house is slowly but surely on it's way to a better (and cleaner) existence.  So now it is time to work on myself.  I need to loose weight like everyone else, so I am joining a gym with daycare so that I can make myself a priority.  I find that as a mother it is hard to make myself a priority.  It is as if I am skimping on my children.  The truth is that my children can easily see that I am a happier person when I take a time for myself.  We'll see if both the house and I can be prettier and healthier when Honey comes home.  The balance will be in what is realistic vs what I want to happen.  I will never be my over-organized mother, but I do not need to be a slob like my father.  I hope I will find the balance that I so desperately need.  So here's to spring cleaning and a happier healthier life!

Love hate relationship with rain

          Yesterday was a little scary.  I took the kids to their Lacrosse practice before CCD (like usual).  Then I went to fill up the car with gas.   I was on empty and hoping that the car would not stall because it had no gas.  (This is something that Honey does for me since I hate doing this.)  When I finished filling up and was driving back home, I saw lightning and a storm coming.  I knew I needed to hurry and get the kids from their practices. Of course I then had the pleasure of sitting in our horrible traffic (I SOOOOO want to move from here!!) while the downpour with thunder and lightning was going on.  I was very  anxious over the safety of the kids.  Of course they were safe, because their coaches are intelligent people that would not let them remain outside in the storm; but Christopher's practice area has no building to hide out in, so I was very concerned about where they would be.  I love thunderstorms, I just don't love it when my kids are out in them.  
          One of my favorite things to do is curl up in a chair with a  book on a rainy day.    It is actually one of the things I did not like about Hawaii.  (And I LOVE Hawaii!!)  Hawaii has very few thunderstorms a year (about 5).  So while we lived in Hawaii I really missed them.  I was really glad when we moved to Norfolk and were able to have a good thunderstorm.  The best part about Norfolk was the covered front porch where I could sit on the swing and read while it rained.  It just goes to prove that simple things in life can make a soul happy.  So in honor of Earth Day, go read a book Hmm, maybe that's not very really earth friendly, but go read a book anyway.  It's good for you!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bye Bye

After our fun time at church this morning, we went to watch Elizabeth play lacrosse.  Keener and Rolo had fun on the nearby playground, Christopher enjoyed playing basketball with another kid and I glanced from my post at the playground wistfully towards my folding chair that I had hoped to actually sit in.  Oh well, another day...
   Then we drove to my sister's house (an hour away) to drop off and pick up stuff.  Then off to visit my in-laws for a little while (they live close to my sister).  They took the kids and I out to dinner mostly because I called and said "Hi, We're going to be in the area.  Do you want to take us out to dinner?"  How's that for being blunt?  So they took us out and the kids behaved, a first!  They never seem to behave when we go out with the grandparents, so that was a real treat for me.  Of course I think the sweetest moment of the night came when we were saying goodnight and giving hugs and kisses.  Keener got very agitated because she wanted to give Nana another hug.  So she gave her Nana a big hug and kiss and said in her not very quiet, wake the dead voice,"Bye bye! Bye Bye!"  It is so sweet to see her loving her Nana.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


During Mass today Keener was being very loud.  She kept pointing out each little kid and saying "Baby! Baby!"  Then when I whispered to her "shhh, quiet!", she started saying. "Quiet Baby! Quiet Baby!"   Ahhhhh!  She was being pleasant, but just not being  quiet.  On top of that every silent moment we had during mass she said very loudly "Bless Daddy! Bless Daddy!"  So I just let her pray in her own little way, Daddy can use all the prayers he can get.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Busy Busy Day

          From 9:15 this morning to 10:15 tonight, I was not at home for longer than 1 hour.  This was my first weekend with two baseball games and a lacrosse game, not to mention picture day for lacrosse for Christopher, and a birthday party to attend for Elizabeth.  There was also something for CCD that we never made it to.  It was a crazy day and I'm exhausted, but at least the kids had fun with their sports and at least it made the time pass more quickly.  I would much rather have a busy schedule while we wait for Honey to come home.   There is nothing worse than waiting for time to pass.  It is better to be busy.
          Keener loves playing at the ball fields because there is always something to explore and she can climb and get dirty.  She finds happiness in simple things like dandelions, gravel and of course... mud.   Today it was all three.  At Christopher's baseball game she scared the other parents by climbing up and down the bleachers (they are not that high-maybe 6 feet). I guess I am so used to her climbing high, that it hardly phases me anymore.  Seriously, when you recognize the staff at the ER, you know you've been there a lot!  It's also hard to be worried when you start to think: "I know how to sew, I have a needle and some thread, I have neosporin, why should I waste 4 hours and a couple hundred $$$'s?" 

Sunny Day

Today was such a beautiful day.  Hopefully this warm weather will stay.  I'd  like to get the chill out of my bones from the winter.  We spent the whole afternoon outside playing with our neighbors.  Unfortunately, they will be moving in less than 2 weeks.  They were the first people we met in the  neighborhood and it will be an adjustment to have them gone.  I am so happy for them to move from their "starter" home to their 2nd home, but we will still miss them. Their new neighbors are lucky to get them.  I like to say that if you are a good neighbor, you will have good neighbors.  Except of course for that one crazy lady that we all lived next to once in our life. No Kat, I'm not talking about you!  Friendship given  brings friendship back.  I have been blessed with many different and wonderful neighbors and friends in my life and I am grateful every day for them.  My friend Amy once said to me that "Friends are the family that you get to pick."  I couldn't have said it better myself.  

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cleaning Take Two

It's been 10 days since I started my cleaning campaign.  I gave up on the flylady, she's sort of confusing.  In the meantime, I am making sure to keep the kitchen sink clean every evening, and trust me when I say that I have FORCED myself on several days to do this before going to bed.  The next day, I have been happy that I did it.  I am managing to tackle little bits of clutter by myself and Elizabeth and Christopher are doing well on their assigned bathroom duties.  Each of them has to clean one bathroom daily.  It is a 3 minute cleanup.  We are making slow and steady progress and that is all I can ask.   I am glad to have my helpers.  Honey will be so proud of them when he gets home.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Boy do I hate taxes.  I think that the productivity of the average American would increase significantly if we did not have to bother with individual tax returns.  Does anyone REALLY understand what those forms are asking for?  I think the point is to make you so confused that you are mad at the forms and not at how much money the politicians are stealing from you. Even my kids point out the U. S. Capitol building and say "Hey look, that's where they're wasting our money!"  Okay, maybe I did have something to do with that!  But the facts are the facts.
Here's a photo I took 2 autumns ago of the Capitol Building. The building sure does look pretty from the outside.  A wolf in sheep's clothing!! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Since Honey's been gone, I've been in charge of all the cars.  To make life easier I used that little power of attorney Honey gave me and sold one!  A man literally came and knocked on my door.  It had a flat and couldn't start, and I am pretty sure something had lived in it over the winter, so I was GRATEFUL to get rid of it.  I thought I was going to have to pay someone to take it!   Since I had rammed it into my sister's car a few years back, and it had had the frame bent and stretched; it was not going to be an easy sell.  It was also a dud year anyway and everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  I was very glad to see it go.  All I can say is good riddance to the Volvo, and thank God for sending someone to my door to buy it!  

Monday, April 13, 2009

Naked baby-G rated

Keener got very mad at me after her bath.  She kept screaming "Naked! Naked! Naked!  I'm Naked!"  Apparently she REALLY wanted her clothes on. I had a hard time stopping laughing.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

            We are dressed and ready to go to church with a few minutes to kill, so I decided to take a few pictures.  Christopher, Rolo, Elizabeth, and Keener were excited because they had already had some Easter Chocolates from their baskets.  The egg hunt came after church.
Most of the rest of the cousins are ready too, so I got them in the shot also.
I spent Easter with my sister and her family.  Since we live fairly close, we normally swap Christmas and Easter. 
   To make life easier in the morning for my sister and to get the row of seats that we needed (7 kids and 3 adults), I took the kids to church  while my sister and her husband finished getting ready and drove separately.  Luckily I can fit all the kids in the Suburban.  The church my sister attends is so beautiful that it is hard not to love attending mass there.  Of course it is an old church and very tiny, so you have to get there early to get good seats.  We got there 45 minutes ahead of time and I sent in the two oldest kids to get a row for us near the front (per my sister's request).  I hope she liked it, we were seated in the front row!  It can only be called divine intervention that the kids were well behaved after such a long wait!
         After mass was more pictures (with the missing cousin this time).  I love this picture of my niece and Rolo off in "playland" while I try to take a picture.

So here's the best one of all of them after 60 pictures!!!  Sure do love the fast speed of Honey's camera!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Keener awakes

Keener decided that tonight was her night to stay up late.  She is such a good baby and goes to sleep so well, that the rare occasions when this happens, I usually indulge her.  I assume that she must need food or the attention.  Tonight it was both.  She drained her soymilk and sat in my lap while we read stories.  She loves the DK picture books.  She likes to point out the objects that she knows and say the word.  All little kids are "baby".  All foxes are "dog".  I did get her to say fox tonight, but it sounded a lot more like a word I do not wish for her to say.  So, maybe now I'll call all [former] foxes: "red dogs".    She is sweet to cuddle with and I am glad to have one baby to hold in my arms for a little while longer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


       I was speaking to a friend of mine today about our families and hurts from long ago.  Holding onto the hurt lets it control your life.  Forgiveness can be a very hard thing to give.  I should know, I have a hard time forgiving my father for choosing to abandon me twice in my life, once as a child and once as an adult.  It's easy to say that you forgive, but to live it is much more difficult.  Especially when the behavior doesn't change and you must forgive the past actions AND the future.  That is my struggle.  I can forgive the past, but in protecting myself from the future I hold onto the past. As Easter approaches, I am always so awestruck at the sheer magnitude of what Jesus was doing for mankind.  Even though I am decidedly a Catholic Christian,  I don't think you have to be religious or even Christian to reflect on the generosity of the gift.   Whether you believe that Jesus is the Son of God or not, the gift was something extra ordinary. It is an amazing sacrifice for one man to give his life for mankind.  Every mother knows that she would lay down her life in a heartbeat for her children, but would you do it for everyone you know?  Would you do it while they were beating you? mocking you?  Would you be able to endure the pain and suffering?  Would you be able to forgive the cruelty? I don't think there are any of us that truly could.  Many of us are not even able to speak our minds without hesitation, much less act virtuously all the time.  Forgiveness seems like such a far away dream, but if only you choose to wake up, the dream will end and forgiveness can begin.  So as I struggle to awaken and fully forgive the past, I ask you also to awaken your soul.  Live, Forgive, Love.  Each day is a precious gift.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dying eggs

       After dinner the kids wanted to dye Easter eggs.  They helped get the table set with the plastic tablecloth and newspapers.  So we dyed our Easter eggs for the Easter bunny to come and hide.  They sure had fun, but in the future I won't buy the dye kit at the dollar store.  They were really weak colors and we ended up with a lot of pink.  Oh well, the kids had fun and that's all that matters.  I was smart enough to put Keener to bed before we started, I would have the most beautiful tie dyed carpet otherwise.  Hmmm, Maybe that's a good idea, the carpet is sort of disgusting!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pit of Despair

       Since Honey has been gone and I was in a car accident, the house has gone from barely tolerable to a complete mess.  Now that I am feeling better, I have decided that enough is enough.  I am trying to follow's cleaning group to get me headed in the right direction.  Today was day one, so we'll see how long I last.  She tells you to start small and build a little every day to establish your "habit" of cleaning.  So today's task: Clean your kitchen sink.  Yes, that is all.  You have to start with a deep cleaning of the sink, then maintain it nightly before bed.  Simple enough.  It truly has been a great day.  To see the one task stay maintained. has motivated me to clean the laundry sink as well and to try to keep the stovetop & microwave cleaned after every use.  Of course the idea is to focus on accomplishing your task of the day and anything else is golden.  I do feel happier and the best part is that when I explained to the kids what I was trying to do, they helped!   I told them it would make mommy a better and happier mommy.  So, they helped me keep the sink clean all day and get the dishes into the dishwasher after every use.    They were so sweet and helpful to me ALL DAY.   We'll see what tomorrow brings, but I am grateful that they cared enough to want to help.
My shiny sink!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kennedy Center Performance

I took Rolo, Christopher, Elizabeth and two kids from our homeschool co-op to the Kennedy Center today.  This is the 5th (and final) event that Elizabeth and I have been to this school year.   The boys have been to the last two.  We saw a 1 hour snippet of the Opera Carmen, a practice session by the National Ballet, a musical storytelling of The Trumpet of the Swan, a play "Unleashed" about animals in the White House, and today we saw "Got Rhythm" by the National Symphony Orchestra.  It has been great to have this opportunity to take the kids.  The tickets for school children are a mere $5 compared to the normal prices at the Kennedy Center.  Todays event was the best so far.  I thought it was the most entertaining for the children and the performance length was perfect.   So I thought I'd give a ratings for the performances we saw, the good and the bad.  I definitely think I'll do this again.  The price is great for the kids to be exposed to the arts.  And now that I don't get lost every time I go ... uhh, well, maybe we shouldn't go that far!!




Other Kennedy Center issues

Carmen-Opera short snippets.

1. Music was amazing.  2. Descriptions of scenes by narrator before viewed them.   3. Sent CD of music and Opera information to school groups ahead of time.

1. Sat in last row handicapped seats with no ability to see screen with translation.  So bad that it was no worth the $5 paid to see the show.  The handicapped seats are horrible.

1. Staff very abrasive.   2. Had to watch a self congratulatory session from another school about how they studied the opera, including seeing a “fashion show” of their costumes. 

The Trumpet of the Swan-musical storytelling

Great music.  Interesting concept; a book reading set to music. 

Too long.  Needed more visuals.


National Ballet- working rehearsal viewing

Quality ballerinas, worth seeing professional dancers.

No narrator.  Would have tremendously helped.  We had no idea what scenes we were seeing or what was going on. 

Staff kept telling me (quite rudely) to be quiet and I wasn’t even talking.


“Unleashed” a play (for kids) about White House Pets

Entertaining.  Very factual.  Funny for kids.

Very politically slanted and too PC.  Too long.  Kids got antsy.

Early morning performance 9:30.  Kennedy Center “opens” at 10:00.  Doors were locked in the parking area with no signs explaining how to get in.  I had to hunt down a security guard to find out that only some doors are locked!!! Annoying!

“Got Rhythm” by the National Symphony Orchestra

1. Had docents with instruments that the kids could try while we waiting to go to our seats. 2.  It was Interactive with the children.  Encouraged them to clap along and shout out answers to questions.  3.  Had a Question and Answer session for the kids.  4. Brought a few kids on stage to “help”.  5.  Music was entertaining and well played.  6. Kennedy Center Staff was friendly- a first.


Same problem with doors as Unleashed, but I knew to go to other doors.    

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Elizabeth's Lacrosse

       Elizabeth had her turn playing lacrosse this weekend.  The weather was perfect, upper 70's light breeze, sunny.  I sure do love spring. But for some reason, it seems that I barely get to watch her even though I am there for the whole game.  Oh wait! I know why-Keener
        Today was better than most games because there was a playground at one end of the field on a hill.  I could watch Elizabeth and let Keener, Rolo, and Christopher play.    I was able to watch while Keener went up the stairs, down the slide, up the stairs, down the slide, up th ... (you get the picture).  Since Elizabeth plays middie, she doesn't have as many scoring opportunities as her brother since he plays attack, so no scores yet this year.  She did score several last year, so I expect her to this year as well.  Before you ask me, no I do not know the difference in the positions.  I only know that the middie stays in the middle of the field and the attackman stays near the ball.   I think?! 
         It is interesting how different Elizabeth and Christopher's are in their style of play.   Elizabeth is more of a mental player and tries to cut off the route of the opposing team players rather that attack.  This tends to be quite effective in driving the opposing team into a corner and forcing them to pass.  Christopher is pure attack.    I am glad they both love the game it is nice for them to have something in common with their Daddy.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009


A constantly changing schedule for Saturday has plagued me all week.  I had to be in Maryland to attend the annual Meeting of GSCNC as one of our Service Unit's delegates.  This meant that I needed someone to watch all the kids.  Arranging the schedule was difficult at best.  In the end, my  twin sister watched 3 of the kids (thank you sis!) while Christopher's Lacrosse coach took him all day (thank you coach).  This made him happy since it meant that he would be able to play in the game.  I am sad to report that I missed seeing my sweet lacrosse fanatic score his first goal.   Yeah for him, boo hoo for me.  Since he was upset about not scoring in the last game, I know that he put his mind to it this time.  I am very proud of him. I am sure he will score again.  He is so competitive, that I can hardly imagine that being the only time he scores.  Maybe next time I'll have my camera ready and snap a photo for Honey!

Friday, April 3, 2009


      The rain woke me up this morning.  I should say, it was the thunder that woke me.  The whole house shook and I was disoriented into thinking we'd had another earthquake.  We had a small one last spring (earthquake link).  It was small only a 2.0, but when you live at the epicenter it is still really scary. 
      I actually love a good rainy day.  I think there is nothing better than reading a good book while it rains.  The rain stopped so we went outside to look for rainbows.   Not the right conditions, but it's always worth looking for a rainbow.  Elizabeth said it best, "The rain washed away the smell of winter and now it seems like spring."  I couldn't have said it better myself.  I love the fresh smell of spring.  We'll keep looking for rainbows.
     Here is a picture of our Church last June when I just happened to be there during a rainbow.  I love this picture.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Driving thoughts

One day this month I would like to stay at home and be a "stay at home" mom. I think when Honey comes home, I am going to go on strike from driving. A month off sounds good to me, maybe a year! He should want to drive since he is "missing" the opportunity. Of course, nobody could possibly miss driving around here. It is probably statistically safer to drive around Afghanistan than drive around the Washington Beltway. By the way, it is statistically safer walking around in Afghanistan than in DC. Maybe our next war can be in DC. But who to fight....? the crooked politicians? the gangs? the lobbyist? the press? so many choices, not enough time!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good News Bad News

No pranks for April Fools Day, although I do think I'll do it next year when I have Honey to help.  Unfortunately today I had a repeat of Monday with one less  doctor appointment.  We only had 4 doctor appointments today.    To think, today was all for well visits!  The good news is that Keener has finally stopped slipping in her weight %.  She has leveled off at 2%.  When your child goes off the growth charts in the negative direction and is still declining, it is not fun.  Most other people would not be thrilled to hear that their child is in the 2% growth range.  I am thrilled.  It is much better than -10%.  The phrase "failure to thrive" just kills a mother's heart.  I am so tired of the phrase.   It appears that her allergies were the cause of her inability to gain much  weight.  Thank you to my dentist Dr Alejandro for telling me about his daughter's allergies.  Otherwise I would not have pushed to get Keener allergy tested.  
   The bad news is that Christopher is almost ready to have his braces on (there's another $2000 I won't see) The Orthodontist said possibly as soon as 6 months away.  He was the one child I was hoping to avoid braces with, oh well!