Sunday, February 25, 2007

Meet Klaus

I was sitting in my office late last night working on some Artist's Trading Cards for a convention that I'm going to next week when I saw Bunsen perched very still outside the linen closet right outside of my office. He's sitting there like he's about to pounce on something, so I called Tom up and told him that Klaus was back. After not quite believing me, he obliged me and opened up the closet and moved the storage tubs (thank goodness for plastic bins!). Low and behold did Klaus peek out from behind one of the bins. You could feel the electricity in the air (well, the cats felt it). Bunsen was just about beside himself with glee when he saw the mouse peeking out from the tub. Tom was able to flip a tub over and capture Klaus.

After a prolonged discussion about how to deal with the mouse (Dad is in town for the boys' birthday and suggested snapping it's neck in a very scientific manner - he's a scientist so he's done this before) and whether or not to kill him at all, and after I finished up laughing at Tom's idea of dazing him by shaking the tub back and forth rapidly until his little brain sloshes, Tom took him and tossed him outside near the street. Hopefully it's far enough away that he can't find his way back here. Bunsen was crushed that he didn't get to play with Klaus more, but it was a short lived disappointment.

Tom told me a little while ago that while changing the bulbs in the boiler/laundry room tonight that he saw Klaus pop his little head out and scurry across a pipe (until he saw Tom and ran as fast as possible in the opposite direction). Tom thinks it was Klaus but we all know that it was either Klaus II, Klaus XXVII, or Klaus MCMXV. They all look alike and all live here somewhere...unfortunately.

So, for now Klaus I has been evicted, and Tom sealed up one spot where he had an easy in and out of the house. But, I'm sure this isn't the end of the Klaus saga.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Four years ago

So four years ago today we had the beginning of a really interesting ride. I was terribly pregnant, and had made two runs to the hospital to stop labor. At this point I was almost 36 weeks along, and quite uncomfortable. It was a beautiful day out, Max was riding his trike, and we were expecting a big storm. Little did we know that the storm would bring more than just snow to our house.

Tom went to work on the 24th like any other day, at least like any other day as you would with a very pregnant wife. I was already on full bedrest and Patti and Henry were on full time Suzie and Max duty. The storm came in and as the day went on the weather got worse and worse. I was starting to have contractions, so I tried everything that had worked before. The contractions were 8-10 minutes apart, so I was in pretty decent shape. I called Tom at work and asked him to come home. It took him just about forever to make that trip home as the storm was getting worse. It was snowing and we weren't sure if the roads were going to close or not. The doctor told me to go ahead and come on in just in case we couldn't get in later. At this point the contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, so we were in fine shape.

With Tom in front of me and Patti behind me, I walked out to the truck, which we decided was the best way to get downtown to the hospital. There was snow everywhere and it was starting to freeze over. The highways were mostly closed at this point, so we knew it would be along drive down there. It probably took us about 1.5 hours to get down to the hospital, but we got there in one piece. It was the middle of the night by the time we arrived, and the hospital was pretty slow.

So, long story short, they put me in bed to watch the contractions, which were actually 2-3 minutes apart, but I just couldn't feel them. I slept until about 5am, when a nurse discovered a foot down in my cervix. This meant no vaginal delivery, but a c-section. Within minutes my room was full of nurses, anesthesiologists, and doctors explaining what was about to happen. Within one hour Tom and I were the parents of not just one cool little man, but three. Ian and Sam were delivered in the midst of an awful ice storm, early in the AM, and were healthy, healthy, healthy little men.

So, here we are four years later, and what a wild trip it has been. I have so enjoyed being the mom to these two spunky, bright, little men, and wouldn't trade it for the world. Max is a fantastic big brother, sharing the good as well as the bad habits with his two little brothers. He really enjoys playing with his brothers, and they have really enjoyed having him around. These guys are three very different little men, all bringing their own unique qualities to the table. Who would have thought four or five years ago that we'd be welcoming these two little men into our lives. Certainly not Tom and I. Life is full of wonderful surprises, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Callie and his Chicken Nuggets

Ian likes chicken nuggets. But so does Callie, our old diabetic cat who escaped two days before we moved and was found under the deck of the neighbor's house in the snow five days later. I digress. Ian doesn't always eat all of his nuggets and tosses the remainders in the trash. If Ian has been so bold as to be at the table when his food is served so that Callie can't try to snatch a nugget then (Ian generally IS at the table when his dinner is served), then Callie has to resort to other methods. I caught him a few days ago watching the trash can like a hawk. He waited until Ian tossed some nuggets out and then he moved in. He looked at me, sitting a mere three feet from him, and then went right after those nuggets. The next picture would have been (had I not gotten up to remove his arm from the trash can) him knocking the trash can over and scaring the beejeezus out of himself, and getting no nuggets. Sad to say those chicken nuggets are wily, and were not to be eaten this day. But Callie has tried to steal Ian's nuggets several times by just sliding up onto the bench next to him and taking advantage of Ian's good nature to no avail (apparently this good nature doesn't extend to sharing his dinner). He did get one nugget one day when we all went to the window to peek at Daddy in the driveway. Callie grabbed a nugget and downed it within about 30 seconds. Guess he knew that if he waited we would remove his kill and he would be once again without a precious chicken nugget.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Meet Klaus

I've been gone for a few days but have a LOT to share!

I spent the weekend in the glorious San Antonio, TX with some friends from third grade - yes, third grade. Some of these people I haven't seen in 25 or so years, but we fell right in like no time at all had passed. We went back to our school and planted trees, just as we did the first year we were there. We also went o some great restaurants - the kind that you can't take your kiddos to. The weirdest part was that we invited our teacher, who had a huge impact on all of us way back then, and she also fell right in as though we'd just seen her yesterday (although this time as adults!). We weren't sure if she'd make it or what she'd be like, but she was oh so young when she taught us way back then, so she's not much older than us now. It was a relaxing, truly enjoyable weekend. did I mention that the hotel had a spa? I got a massage...a much needed massage.

On the way back from San Antonio, I got a call while waiting to catch the plane in Dallas. My good friend Ray was asking if I wanted to fly to Chicago to see OPRAH. I nearly died when she asked because I knew that I really couldn't. She found out she had tickets and figured that I would want to go (which of course I did), and so she was calling around to see who was available to go with her. Normally I'd have said yes and called Tom to get me a plane ticket (still en route to DC) but he had missed almost three days of work the week before due to snow, and I knew that he had a big meeting this upcoming week (turns out it is on Wednesday - same as the Oprah taping). I was so bummed about this, but I'll have my TIVO on to catch her on there!

Then, my Klaus made an appearance today. Klaus is Tom's mouse. I call him Tom's mouse because Tom named him. I think he's vermin and shouldn't be named, but when Tom has to rid our house of Klaus, we'll hopefully NOT see Klaus II. There are traps down, but seems that Klaus got away from one of those traps several days ago, so I'm calling Terminix back in ASAP. I've dealt with ants (Texas) and palmetto bugs (Florida) but this take the cake. NO MORE KLAUS IN MY HOUSE! And the worst (besides the fact that there's a mouse in the house in the first place) is that the cat watched him skitter across the floor and didn't even lift his head. He just kinda looked like "been there done that" and didn't move. Not so much the big mouse catcher in this house. Maybe the other cat will come to my rescue...or maybe the Terminix man will - he's got my back for sure.

Speaking of cake, gotta decide what to do for the boys' birthday on Sunday. We're heading to Build a Bear with family and friends, so that part is good to go, but no idea what to do about the cake. Maybe I'll just make cupcakes 9or buy them). So gotta work on that tomorrow.

Boys can be so gross. All I hear these days are fart jokes, fart noises, and "underwear," which are all funny to 6 and 3 year olds. Problem is, some of it is funny - not because the words themselves are funny, but because the boys are cracking themselves up. They think the weirdest things are funny, but it does irritate me some. Sam was calling me 'booty" today, and called Tom that too. He got corrected in both instances. Can't hardly blame them for being boys, but man, i wish they'd outgrow this stage...but I know there's worse to come! ;)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Life's Little Lessons - Winter Edition

Lesson 1: The snow moved when a plow comes through is dirty and kinda gross. (We learned this yesterday actually.)
Lesson 2: After a big snow if it doesn't warm up above freezing, it doesn't start to melt.
Lesson 3: It's a good idea to shovel the driveway after a snow - see Lesson 2.
Lesson 4: It's hard to drive on ice. (We knew this from Texas.)
Lesson 5: If it rains after it snows and then stays below freezing, the snow becomes really, really hard.
Lesson 6: Really, really hard snow covered by ice is very tough to drive on.
Lesson 6: It's really a good idea to shovel the driveway after a snow - see above.

It took me 10 minutes to get out of the driveway this morning. We did make it out, thanks in part to Tom, some patience, and a decent set of tires on the van, but we certainly have learned our lesson. Some guys came by a bit ago and we told them to come back later on and they could clear the driveway out. Man, now we know. It's beautiful, but now slippery, hard, and slightly dangerous. Us Texans and Floridians are learning our way around this whole winter thing slowly...but it still is beautiful.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

All things cold.

Ever since we moved our freezer - the big huge chest freezer that holds all of our extra frozen foods and all of my pre-made stuff - hasn't been keeping things frozen. I guess I should say not quite completely frozen as some things were definitely frozen, just not as much as they normally are. So last week I started smelling food when I opened the freezer, which meant that things were defrosting. I called GE and they came out to fix the thing. Ninety five dollars later I was told that the temp in the mudroom was too cold for the freezer and that if I kept it above about 50 or so degrees that it would work. This means that we run the heater all the time and keep the temp up, which drives Tom absolutely nuts. So, we've kept the temp between 53 and 58 degrees (as best we can tell). The repair guys said that this would do the trick and it should freeze right up. Well, five days later and the food is now is completely defrosted. We grabbed what we could and plopped it into the freezer and fridge that was working and have called them back again. Apparently the refrigerator repair guy had no idea what was wrong and chalked it up to a dumb customer. They are coming back on Friday to "fix" the problem again free of charge.

It's so cool when the trucks go by with the big plows on the front. The totally uncool part, and that which we never would have thought about, is that the snow that they plow has to go somewhere, and it's dirty and slightly nasty when it lands where it is plowed. So, we have a bunch of brownish snow on the end of the driveway that is piled up about a foot and half high. This means that even though we can get up the driveway (sort of - it does take a bit of work) and that we can drive out on the streets (they are clear) that we can't get to the street without shoveling.

This brings me to the next "cold thing." When we dragged out of bed this morning, we heard the sound of snow blowers everywhere. We have a shovel (thank goodness we go that at least!) All these folks have snow blower to use ONCE per year when it snows like this. As Tom pointed out (after I stopped laughing at him for attempting to shovel the driveway - the LOOOONG driveway) this really isn't necessary tool. It really does only snow like this once or twice per year. And we don't really need that Taco Bell (yes, craving Taco Bell drove me to shovel the drive out a tiny bit so that he could get out!). Well, Tom never did shovel the drive to get his car out and go to work. I told him that it would take him at least two hours to get the part behind his car shoveled and after taking about 30 minutes to shovel a path out there he realized that it just wasn't worth it. So, he hung out with us all day and in between working, he helped to build a snowman, make snowballs, and have lunch with his kiddos.

Yes, we did build a snowman. His name is Sparky - thanks to Tom. to the name, so Sparky it is. Sam instantly took a liking to the name, so Sparky it is. The kids even made him a GameBoy out of snow and some food. Cute, huh? I love playing in the snow, but we still don't have the appropriate clothes to stay warm and dry. One of these days we'll get them, but it seems silly to have them when it really does only snow once per year (big enough to play in) and the kids are growing so much each year. So, until they slow down some we'll play in the snow and our fingers will freeze after the gloves that surround them get wet, our knees will freeze when our pants are soaked through, and we will fuss and complain, enjoying every minute that we are outside playing in the snow.

Goofin' with Sparky

I'm a snowball making machine!
Sam got in on the snowball action too!

What do you do when it snows? Max plays FOOTBALL!

Ian skipped right over the snowballs and went for the blocks of ice!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow is precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes

So it's sleeting outside (so I thought) and come to find out that it really is sleet. What the heck is the difference between snow and sleet, and just WHY? So, I did what any common sensed person would do and looked it up. I thought I'd share because I'd like to think that I'm not the only one who doesn't know. If I am, feel free to have a giggle to yourself on my account. I am so taken by the whole snow thing. Who would have known? (Take a look out into our back yard and you'll see why I'm so taken - even with a tiny bit of snow it sure is beautiful!)

  • Snow: Falling ice composed of crystals in complex hexagonal forms. Snow forms mainly when water vapor turns directly to ice without going through the liquid stage, a process called deposition.
  • Snowflakes: Aggregations of snow crystals.
  • Snow flurries: Light showers of snow that do not cover large areas and do not fall steadily for long periods of time.
  • Snow grains: Very small snow crystals. The ice equivalent of drizzle.
  • Snow pellets: White, opaque ice particles that form as ice crystals fall through cloud droplets that are below freezing but still liquid (supercooled). The cloud droplets freeze to the crystals forming a lumpy mass. Scientists call snow pellets "graupel." Such pellets falling from thunderstorms are often called "soft hail."
  • Sleet: Drops of rain or drizzle that freeze into ice as they fall. They are usually smaller than 0.30 inch in diameter. Official weather observations list sleet as "ice pellets." In some parts of the country "sleet" refers to a mixture of ice pellets and freezing rain.
  • Freezing rain or drizzle: Falling rain or drizzle that cools below 32°F, but does not turn to ice in the air. The water is "supercooled." When the drops hit anything they instantly turn into ice.
  • Ice storm: A storm with large amounts of freezing rain that coats trees, power lines and roadways with ice. Often the ice is heavy enough to pull down trees and power lines.
  • Hail: Falling ice in roughly round shapes at least 0.20 inch in diameter. Hail comes from thunderstorms and is larger than sleet. Hailstones form when upward moving air -- updrafts -- in a thunderstorm keep pieces of graupel from falling. Drops of supercooled water hit and freeze to the graupel, causing it to grow. When the balls of ice become too heavy for the updrafts to continue supporting them, they fall as hailstones. Sleet, in contrast, consists of raindrops that freeze on the way down.
And here I thought a deposition was a legal thing...who knew!

Oh - thanks to USA Today for these great definitions! There's more here if you want to know about rain, storms, etc.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Follow Me...

Saw this on another blog and thought I'd give it a go. Here's what I came up with - what does your music say about you?

Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING. I posted every weird answer I got, so you do the same!

How does the world see you?
"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves (hmmm...interesting...let's see what else this comes up with!)

Will I have a happy life?"
"Semi-Charmed Kind of Life" by Third Eye Blind (O.K. Now this is getting weird. Let's see where we go from here.)

What do my friends really think of me?
"It's a Sin" by the Pet Shop Boys (hmmmm...wonder what this means...)

How can I make myself happy?
"Shame" by Evelyn King (Let's just not go there at all)

What should I do with my life?
"Lady Marmalade" by Pink, Christina Aguilera, and Mya (O.K. This thing is being naughty...)

Will I ever have children?
"That's the Way I Remember It" by Garth Brooks (O.K. This is a bit creepy. I really am hitting the shuffle!)

What is some good advice for me?
"Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen (Guess no life in politics for me)

How will I be remembered?
"Two Pina Coladas" by Garth Brooks (I hope this means that I'll be remembered OVER two pina coladas, not that I have them in my hands continually!)

What is my signature dancing song?
"Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" by ABBA (Hmmm...not so far off base...ABBA is cool!)

What do I think my current theme song is?
"In the Car' by the Barenaked Ladies (Well this about hits the nail on the head!)

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
"What you Gonna Do With a Cowboy?" by Chris Ledoux (Huh?)

What song will play at my funeral?
"Riders on the Storm" by Creed (This is definitely kind of creepy - good thing I didn't have the kids' music on my mp3 Player!)

What is my day going to be like?
"Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C+C Music Factory (Hey...who's looking in my windows...)

Should I publish this meme?
"All Alone" by Gorillaz (well, while my music isn't so sure that I should share, I'm going to!)

So, my music speaks VOLUMES about me...what does your say about you?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


It SNOWED! It SNOWED!!! The boys were so excited (not me...I was completely calm the entire time...yeah, right...). After having 7-25 degree weather for a week straight, we finally got some snow. So, we had to take advantage of it!

Our Front Yard:
The boys playing in the snow on the deck out back (Ian is in the blue coat, Sam in the red coat, and Max in the light blue coat):

And my cool purple snow boots! You can't really tell that they are purple because I have no real idea how to take pictures inteh snow, but I am sure that I'll get a hold of it eventually!

Monday, February 05, 2007


6:56 pm. That's the time last night that Tom got the projector, speakers, cable box and all those dang cords plugged in and up and running. Notice I didn't say screen. He was projecting the Super Bowl onto the wall. It's actually not a bad view, but he wasn't happy with the blacks and how they looked grey. Anyway, note that the game started at 6:35, and that we've lived here for almost TWO WEEKS now. Just kidding - I've kept him busy since we moved in. Anyway, he got the whole thing plugged in so I could watch the Super Bowl full sized! So, I'm keeping him.

When we woke up today it was 11 degrees out. I sent my son to school in 11 degrees. Weird. Tomorrow, it will be between 9 and 11 degrees when he goes to school. Dang - if it's this cold it might as well snow! They say it might flurry on Wednesday morning, but I'm not holding my breath. There's also a wind, so it's not only cold out, it's really cold out. It feels like it's 0 degrees out right now, and I can tell you that's cold. I long for that mailbox slot in the door. Now it all makes sense. Never liked it at the old house - I love going out to get the mail. But right now I dread getting the mail as it's out at the street - and we have a long enough driveway that I might just leave it until tomorrow. And I've got to get the trash cans out too...sigh

The good part is that this house is keeping warm. It's got radiators and radiant heat as opposed to forced air, so there's no system going on and off loudly, no cold periods followed by warm periods, and pretty much even heating over the entire house. The basement even stays warm! Very nice as the old place couldn't keep up when it was 32. Can't imagine what temp it is now.

I did meet the mailman and the UPS man today. mailman nice - brought my oranges to the door so they wouldn't freeze (also rang the bell!). UPS guy cold and unfriendly. I assume both because there were warmer places that he'd rather be - say Hawaii or South Florida. Hopefully he'll turn the corner as it gets warmer - he's going to be here a lot.

Got the kiddos a Game Cube to replace their Nintendo 64. It died before we moved and we just hadn't replaced it yet. Tom got a PS3, but there weren't any game that were out for the kids yet, and it's also a $600 piece of electronic equipment that I wasn't too keen on letting them touch. So, they get the refurbished Nintendo Game Cube and some fun games for a whopping total of $100. They were delighted. They actually share when they play this (we forced them to because there were only two controllers before). Now there are three controllers and they are still sharing - simply amazing. They have their days but they are enjoying every minute of their new to them video game system.

So, that's all for now. The first coat of paint is up in my office - and it is purple. I'll get some pics up when I get the second coat on and when I get things put away...hopefully before too long.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Good Day Today

I held my first crop in the new house last night and it was a nice, relaxing crop. There were three ladies that came - two new folks - and they all seemed to enjoy the scrapping time. It's been tough getting a foothold on business here in VA, but that's because I'm still not plugged into the right circles. I'm getting closer though - taking steps to build a solid business. So, this first crop at the new place was free (had to change the date because of the move so I thought I'd make it a free one) but in the future I'll charge. Anyway, it was a good time and I actually semi-completed four pages. I say semi because I only had a few things out of boxes. The rest will be completed when my supplies escape those boxes.

The big news of the day is that I bought PAINT for my office. Yeah, it's a rental but Tom really liked the idea of painting my office - mostly because it's little stuff like this that makes me happy. He's such a good guy (not saying that to be mean honey) - he's always looking out for that which makes me happy. Anyway, brought home some paint chips and I was heading towards my standard blues palate and mentioned the purple. He offered his opinion and I ran with an actual purple! It is called Palace Purple and the number is 630D-6 in case you're near the paint section in a Home Depot soon. So, tomorrow I paint! I'll get some before and after pics so you can get a feel of the room. Right now it's just a bunch of boxes and some assorted stuff that has escaped and not much else. The room feels like it's packed to the gills (and it's 13x15 or so, so that's a real task!) but in reality everything will have a nice neat home to fit into. I have a cabinet for paper arriving on the 10th or so, but in the meanwhile I can get the rest of the stuff up before then. Paper is so difficult to put on a shelf as it needs to be on a shelf deeper than most bookcases. But, we found a good solution at IKEA. Originally I was going to get these Expedit shelves, but they are only 13" on the inside and that's just not big enough to hold my paper holders. So, we roamed around and found these things:

They are stackable up to four high, so I got four of them. The best part is that they are very deep. They are 17" deep, so nothing will hang off the front, and nothing will slip so far back that I can't see it. They are about 16" tall and 33.5" wide, so they four of them stacked up will make a nice bookshelf for all my paper. Also, Tom saw these wheels and in his phase of "everything is better on wheels," we got the base that has big casters on it. Still honestly not sure why he wants to wheel around this big heavy bookshelf of paper, but he insists it's so I can change my mind and he can move it more easily. Think we've done this before in my office? No, not me...

Anyway, I'll get the room painted, get the shelves in and put together and then I'll get the "after" picture. Give me a few weeks to get settled in there. I simply must make use of those wheels on the cabinet after it's completely loaded down with paper to watch Tom squirm...

Thursday, February 01, 2007


O.K. In a nutshell, here's what's happened over the past few weeks (and after reading this you'll understand completely why I've been MIA...):

We pack a bajillion boxes (really almost 200)
Tom and I take the boys to see the Monster Jam in DC
Patti and Henry come to help us move
Max plays several indoor soccer games ona team that has some female ringers (they win their games by a huge margin)
The old cranky diabetic cat runs out the door the night before the move and is not immediately found
Winter finally comes to VA, the day of our move
The movers load us into our new house
We start the tedious process of unpacking
We hit IKEA several times for that sort of nice but not expensive furniture
The cat is found under the neighbors' deck five days after escaping with an attitude adjustment
It snows on the way back from IKEA and as we're picking up the escapee cat it takes us almost an hour and a half to drive four miles
I was a vendor at a Crop for a Cure Event, which raises about $2700 (I sold about $500 worth of products)
Sam decides he wants to pee and poop in the potty for real - still working on this one
Tom gets a PS3
Max attends a birthday party (and discovers that they have Chuck E Cheese in VA too...sigh...)
I narrowly avoids going insane. Oh wait - that's still under discussion. There's no place for me to run and hide here yet. My office is still in boxes and we have no TV's on the first floor. That needs to be remedied quickly...

Anyway, we're in the new place, done with the old place, and are looking forward to the fight with the old landlord about the deposit. There's just something about a good legal battle that gets one's blood pumping. Fortunately for us the new landlord has a clue as to how to be a landlord. He even called to check in after a week or so and has been very responsive to us thus far. What a difference a clue can make...

So, I'll have lots of pics here in a few more days, I promise. Here's one from the old house right before we moved. A picture really is worth a thousand words, especially with these three. I need to get through a crop here at the house tomorrow night (yeah, poor planning on my part) then dig out my office a bit. Hopefully I can get a bit more settled before I need my scrapping stuff (in about two weeks) so I don't go tearing open random boxes and creating an even bigger mess.