Archive - August 2007

1
The Haircut
2
New Neighbors
3
Behind the Living Room Couch
4
The Sales Pitch
5
We’ve Got Winners!
6
Something Is Seriously Wrong
7
Really, We’re Not Always This Messy
8
Some ‘Splaining to Do
9
Somebody Is Turning 2
10
Half Birthday

The Haircut

I got my hair cut today. It’s been awhile because finding a good stylist is so hard. Especially when you live on a military base located in what we’ll call one of the not so desirable DC neighborhoods. Let’s just say it’s no Georgetown and leave it at that. But recently a stay-at-home haircutting dad moved on base. His wife is active duty Air Force, he’s decided to homeschool this year and already he’s quite the hit with the ladies. He did a wonderful job with my hair, which is super thick and super straight. It’s been a while since I’ve had a hair cut worth talking about. In fact, my last great cut was the one in my old blog avatar picture. Like most things in my life, it has A Story. Do you want to hear it?

It was October 2004 and we were living in Korea. We were busy doing who knows what one afternoon when there was a knock on our door. It was an MP, telling us that we needed to get everyone out of the house and go across the street. Turns out that unexploded ordnance from the Korean War had been found in our neighbor’s backyard. Why they thought we’d be safe on the other side of our cul-de-sac is beyond me. But there we waited for further instruction. Then an explosive ordnance disposal team was going to be brought in from another base, which was about an hour away, so we needed to go away for awhile. They allowed us 15 minutes back into our houses to gather what we needed. I guess the possibility of being blown to bits was mitigated by the fact that none of us had our keys or wallets and many of the children weren’t wearing shoes.

Most of us ended up going to the Dragon Hill Lodge, a beautiful, resort style hotel on base. In many ways it was the social hub of the base. Its amenities included 3 restaurants, a bakery, tailor, tavern and a salon (I think we were actually sitting at that same table in the picture). As we were sitting in one of the lobbies, I was complaining about my hair, which at the time was straight down my back. My friend recommended I go to her girl, who worked right there at the salon. So we walked over and it turns out she was able to get me in that afternoon. And what else did I have going on that afternoon, besides wondering how long we were going to be stranded, how they were going to let us know it was safe to return and if there was even going to be anything to return to.

Turns out this girl (sorry, she was quite a bit younger than me) had trained with Vidal Sassoon in London and was the type of stylist who could look at your hair and your face shape and come up with a great cut. I loved what she did so much that I had Philip take my picture as soon as we got back home. Here it is…
Oh, and as for the rest of the story, one of our evacuated neighbors was also an MP and kept in contact with them so he was able to tell us when it was safe to return to our homes.

Isn’t that a funny story? Or do you all have unexploded ordnance in your backyards, too? I really don’t make this stuff up. You can read the for-real account of it here: Unexploded mortar shell… But as you read it, remember that I told you the true story, where we were just told to leave and no one told us where to go or how we’d know when to return. I guess someone decided in hindsight that we should have been taken to a central location and taken great care of and that’s the story they told the paper.

New Neighbors

We’re getting new neighbors.  We weren’t sure that we were, because for various and sundry reasons our housing area was “frozen” to new people moving in.  Then on Friday I spied two children playing in the backyard of the empty house next door.  I didn’t recognize them and I didn’t think it was a good idea for them to be playing where their parents, wherever they were, couldn’t see them.  Then they moved closer to the house and I couldn’t see them any longer and they stayed out of my view for a long time.  I started to wonder if maybe…

So I checked the front yard, and sure enough there was an unfamiliar minivan parked next door.  Woo hoo!

Then I tried to decide how to “run into” these people.  I could grab the mail key, watch for them to appear and casually step out for the mail.  Or I could pretend to weed my garden. But our normal August heat and humidity had returned so I opted for staking them out from my air conditioned house.

I didn’t have to wait long.  The children I had seen earlier wandered over to check out my children’s bikes.  I made my way to the front door and they saw me and ran away.  I opened my door anyway and saw the mom.  I waved and asked if they were moving in.  She said that no, they were still just looking.  I started talking to her, then my brood started clamoring to come out, so I let them.  Which led to more talking during which I found out that this family

1) has a 7 year old boy, a 5 year old girl, a toddler boy 1 month older than Bip and a new born

2) is Catholic (but not homeschoolers).

Yippee!  I pointed out the advantages of this house in particular, especially my own 8 year old boy, 6 year old girl and 2 year old toddler.  I mentioned that being on the end of the cul-de-sac made for a great place to ride bikes.  And that the yard already has a fence.

When they left, I was pretty sure they’d choose this house over any others they might have seen.

Sure enough, this morning, I heard children out front and spied their minivan backed up to the house while they unloaded some of their things.

It’s hard not to worry about things you have no control over, isn’t it?  Especially when it involves all your children’s friends moving away and being one of only 3 families living in a 6-plex.  But God is good and knows the desires of our hearts, even before we can speak them.

Behind the Living Room Couch

Is there no end to the places we have found to stash clutter?  At some point I think we stopped trying to hide it, and just tried to contain it to certain areas of the house.  That might help to explain this:

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To fully understand the scope of this particular area behind our living room couch, you need to know that the couch is located right smack in the middle of the room.  Imagine a long room, one end is your standard family room the other end is more of an office area.  The couch provides a physical divider between the two.  When you walk into the house, you look down a short hall, then directly  the living room and you see this mess.

This area has given us particular grief.  Most of the things stashed here are things we don’t know what to do with.  We want or need to keep them, it’s just a matter of where.  It took a long time to go through each box or bin, sorting, tossing and putting away.  Not every solution was the best, but we made it.  Another problem with this area was that its location made it very easy to add to.  It was a quick and easy place to stash whatever came into the house.  But it’s gone…

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And here’s the new view as you walk into my house:

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Ah, peace!

You can enjoy the rest of my attack against clutter here:  Corners Of My Home.

The Sales Pitch

Pumpkin Girl’s writing assignment today was to write a dialogue starting with “I wish I had a…”  Here’s what she wrote:

Pumpkin Girl: “I wish had a dog. Then I could play fetch with it.”

Mama: “That would be an idea.”

Pumpkin Girl:  “And I could also, for it’s birthday, give it maybe, a bone.”

Mama:  “Yes, that would be nice, just, a bone would be probably hard to find.”

Pumpkin Girl:  “Yes, I suppose so.  But with my dog, I could take it for walks.  I even have a dog book about them.”

Mama:  “I know that you have a dog book.  And you probably would take good care of it.  But we would have to leave it behind where ever we moved.”

Pumpkin Girl:  “Maybe when we stop moving, we could get a dog.”

 What’s she trying to say, exactly?

We’ve Got Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered my Planner Give-Away, and double thanks to those who promoted the contest on their blogs!  An added benefit of this contest was that I found several blogs that were new to me and I’m looking forward to reading them regularly.

Enough talk.  Just in case you’re wondering, I used List Randomizer to help me choose the winners, and here they are.

Winner of Amy Knapp’s Family Organizer is Sheri.

Winner of the Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner is Carrie.

Congratulations, ladies!

Something Is Seriously Wrong

Date:  August 22

Time: 11:31 am

Location: Washington, DC

Temperature: 65 degrees.  Fahrenheit.

I’m on my way to turn off the air conditioner and put on some socks.

Something is seriously wrong.

Really, We’re Not Always This Messy

Don’t you hate it when people stop by and you’re unprepared?  Oh, I don’t mind if my friends drop by.  They all homeschool, too and have at least as many children as I do, so they know that if you drop by unannounced, you get what you get.  Even if you’ve been invited, you never know when Destructo Toddler and his Evil Minions of Mayhem will have been up to No Good, tearing apart the house behind me as I’m trying to clean up.

So a couple of weeks ago, the Feds showed up again.  I was infinitely less prepared than last time.  It had not been a good morning so far.

Bip has been refusing to sit quietly and eat his snack while I tackle history, science and religion with the older two. I’m sure that the fact that he is 2 years old has something to do with it.  In fact, not only does he refuse to sit quietly, he has taken to whining incessantly. Usually with proper threats of Baby Jail, also known as the pack’n’play, he quiets down enough. This day however, he decided to throw his bowl of cheerios on me.Not his most shining moment, nor mine, as I bundled him off to Jail.

Let me tell you that we don’t often confine him to the pack’n’play. So imagine my surprise when we heard little feet running across the floor upstairs. Young Houdini had escaped Jail and was sitting on my bed. Back in Jail for him, back downstairs for me. Not 10 minutes later, we heard him on the top of the stairs. This time he was quite penitent and ready to come downstairs.

So we continue with school as best we can.  We finish our main subjects, have a snack break, then move to the dining room for seatwork.   I don’t pay much attention to the mess in the living room that we’ve left.  We’ll get to it before lunch, when school is all done for the day.

Then the doorbell rings.  Probably a neighbor kid looking to play.

Nope.  It’s a nicely dressed young woman, flashing a federal investigator’s badge, wanting to know if she could take a minute of my time to talk to me about our previous next door neighbors.  Sure, no problem, come right in, says I.  I tell the children to keep working and scoop up Bip, who is hovering nervously at my feet.  I show the nice lady into my living room.

And then it hits me – the living room the way she must see it. There are school books piled on the couch, snack bowls, toys and the remnants of snacks scattered everywhere.  I’m barefoot with no make up.  Bip starts whining.

I sheepishly clear off a space on the couch, where she perches on the edge, obviously wary of staining her chic trousers.

She asks me the same run of the mill questions about our neighbor, while I bounce Bip on my knee and try to get him to stop whining.  I’m suddenly aware of how oily my face feels.  And I can’t remember anything about our neighbor.  We only lived here for 6 months when they moved, and it being winter for most of that time, we only saw each other in passing.  I can’t remember the wife’s name, what the husband does or where he is stationed now.  I did remember their son’s name is Diego and their dogs were Paco and Lola. That didn’t come up, though.  And to make matters worse, I had to give her my full name and all my dumb non-answers are going to become a part of the public record thanks to the Freedom of Information Act.  At least I didn’t mention the time the wife was out of the country visiting family and the husband went out who knows where and the dogs got out in the back yard and couldn’t get back into the house and barked until 1:30 in the morning.  In December.  Though hopefully that little tidbit wouldn’t be enough to end his security clearance.

By now, Bip is whining so loud that this young woman, who clearly had no children of her own, frowns and asks if Bip has a stomach ache.

Interview over and I show her to the door.  On the way there, I notice the hamper of laundry in the hallway, waiting it’s turn for the washing machine. Sigh. I come back to the living room to see if it really was as bad as I thought.  Yep, it’s that bad.  My only saving grace was that my hair wasn’t in curlers and Bip was not clad in only a saggy diaper and a runny nose.

Honestly, if it wasn’t my life, I’d never believe this stuff.

Some ‘Splaining to Do

Ok, so Matilda and Andrea both want to know if we usually have Half Birthday Parties. While in general, I like to hear myself talk or in this case, read what I’ve blogged, I thought I’d spare you my usual verbose self and write a more concise answer.

Nope, this is our first year doing half birthdays.

Hmm, that answer, while concise, is somehow infinitely less satisfying than usual.

So for the complete picture, we have to go w-a-y back to October 2006. Boo’s birthday is at the end of the month, the 31st to be exact. While that’s a very cool birthday to have – and is the reason we call him “Boo,” by the way – it is very difficult to have an actual birthday party that day. We manage a small immediate family only party and do something a little bigger the following weekend. However last year, that weekend included his end-of-the-year Soccer Victory party on Saturday and us getting on a plane and flying to Disneyland to meet my Grandma Honey, Aunt Peggy, and Cousins April and Jesse for dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen on Sunday. And since we’d made such a long trip, we stayed at Disneyland for the week. So no time for a birthday party.

So we thought we’d have his party a little later, not exactly right after we returned home, but within a couple of weeks.

Right.

Then while we were getting sunburned in Disneyland during an unseasonable heat wave in Anaheim (remember how I’m responsible for localized global warming?), our house was busy flooding and destroying itself. It wasn’t pretty.

We returned, not home, but to the Temporary Lodging Facility here on base, where we lived for a couple of weeks while we sorted through water logged and moldy stuff, salvaged what we could and moved into a different set of quarters.

Our first day in our new house was Thanksgiving.

And we’d now taken 3 weeks off from school.

So we spent December unpacking, getting ready for Christmas and doing school. Pumpkin Girl’s birthday is right after Christmas and we now had a house full of moving boxes, Christmas decorations and Christmas presents. December turned to January and well, you can see where this is going.

Eventually we decided on having Half Birthday Parties this year so they could at least invite their friends and have cake and ice cream. Boo is a simple guy and was more than happy to invite his best friend’s family out for bowling, pizza and cake. Pumpkin, of course, required the Ultimate Princess Party, with lots of pink, dress up clothes, magic wands, tiaras and glitter.

And yes, I know that August is actually 8 months after December. Don’t remind me!

Half Birthday

Store bought cake (pink!) with princesses added.

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Check!

Pin the tiara on the princess game hung on the wall.

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Check!

Cards for Princess Charades printed out.

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Check!

Cupcakes ready for decorating.

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Check!

Princess plates, napkins and cups standing by for lunch.

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Check!

Ipod loaded with the definitive Princess Party Mix.

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Check!

Two Digornio pizzas cooking in the oven. Check, check!

Must be time for a Princess Half Birthday Party for Pumpkin Girl!

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