October 31, 2012
October 30, 2012
The worst part of Sandy is over, and although the newscasters are telling me there will still be winds coming, it will be nothing like what we had last night.
From the roar of the wind to the crack of trees and branches that you couldn’t even see, the whole night was surreal.
But, now it’s over.
I went out to survey the damage and was really relieved to see that we escaped completely unscathed.
The neighborhood is eerily quiet, with the underlying hum of generators from every other house helping me to imagine a collective sigh of relief from those inside.
During Irene, there was only one generator in the neighborhood, yet, this morning I counted more than five homes that were humming away.
So, remember this scene from my backyard a few weeks ago?
Here’s how we look, this morning:
One dead tree fell in the backyard, inside the fence, but it fell toward the house, so the fence didn’t break and it wasn’t tall enough to hit the house.
The kids are enamored of the branches that Sandy shot straight down into the yard:
(these first two actually fell on either side of the wires connected to the house…how they didn’t bring down the wires, we will never know)
We lost a huge limb that just missed our fence and just missed the baby’s room:
As that one fell, it brought down a ton of smaller branches with it, again, just missing the fence:
We lost one lightbulb on the deck:
Pieces of bark were stripped from the trees and tossed into the yard:
Near misses all around us.
We are grateful.
Down the street, our neighbors had a tree snap in half:
But our next door neighbors had a tree fall directly on their house:
The sky is still gray and ominous, and it makes me think of everyone who did not fare as well as we did.
Facebook is full of friends who were flooded out, had trees breach the roof, lost decks, lost cars.
Our beloved beach is gone.
The news is even worse.
The story of the two boys who were killed by a falling tree while playing in their room hurts my heart in a way I can’t even begin to explain.
So, today we are grateful and are holding those who did not come away unscathed close to our hearts.
October 29, 2012
So, let me begin with a huge thank you to those of you who donated or sent well-wishes to me with regards to the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes.
I wound up raising $1,001.00!
So, thank you! So very, very much!
The walk was this past Saturday in Bridgewater, NJ.
Monkey Girl went with me and we had a blast.
It was held at TD Bank Stadium, which is where the Somerset Patriots play.
We had a great time driving down together, chatting and having some girl time.
When we arrived, we headed to the check-in table and I handed them my paperwork.
The woman immediately picked up a cowbell and started ringing it and all of the volunteers behind the table (about 10 of them) started clapping their hands and cheering.
Monkey Girl looked at me and said out of the corner of her mouth “Um…what did you do?”
“I have no idea,” I responded.
The woman checking us in overheard and laughed and explained that since I had raised over $1,000, as an individual (there were many teams there, but only about 100 individuals), I was considered a champion.
Then, she handed me a nice, long-sleeved black t-shirt proclaiming me a champion and a warm red hoodie that said the same.
She looked at my paperwork again and then said “Oh! You are a Red Strider!”
Again, Monkey Girl and I looked at each other with a “Huh?” look.
She said, “It means you are a walker with diabetes. Many of our walkers are simply here to raise money for the cause, but don’t actually have the disease.”
So, she stamped my hand and told me to visit the Red Strider tent inside, and then gave me another t-shirt, this one short sleeved and gray and very nice.
We said many thank you’s and headed inside.
At the Red Strider tent, they gave me a red bag and a red baseball cap, identifying me as a Red Strider.
At this point, I started to wonder how much all this swag was costing them and whether that money could have been better spent going directly to the cause, but Monkey Girl reminded me that it’s always nice to reward people for their efforts.
The voice of reason, that one.
We walked around and looked at the different vendors, all health related, and did some general people-watching.
They made an announcement for people to enter the stands, and so we went and found some seats.
They then started the pre-game show, which involved the National Anthem, some key speakers, and then they started calling people onto the field.
Oh, the Champions. The individuals who had raised over $1,000 by themselves.
Monkey Girl said “I think they are going to call you out!”
I said, “Um, I wasn’t prepared for this!”
She said, “You have to go!”
I said, “Then you’re coming with me!”
So, one-by-one, they called 15 of us out to the field.
The 15 of us had raised over $20,000 for the walk, alone.
They gave us a medal and the crowd cheered.
It was a pretty proud moment, and I had my girl right with me.
Then, we walked.
I said to Monkey Girl, “I don’t expect you to walk a 5k with me. You can certainly take a seat in the stands.”
She said, “No…I want to do something for the cause, too.”
And so, hand-in-hand, she and I walked 13 laps (5k) around the field.
There were over 500 of us that started and less than 100 that finished, but me and my girl did it and I was so very proud to be there with her.
And so, I share this experience with you not to toot my own horn but for a few other reasons.
First of all, to say thank you.
Thank you to everyone who donated.
Thank you to everyone who sent me a message of encouragement.
There are very few people that I know that didn’t at least say “Good luck!” at some point during this journey, and I appreciate that more than you know.
I also share this with you to show that no matter what the cause, there is always something you can do.
There is always some way that you can help out, no matter what your passion.
Will I find a cure for diabetes?
But I can do this…fundraise and walk and do a small part in funding the search for a cure.
On the wall in my school, there is a mural that has this saying on it:
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. – Helen Keller
Do what you can.
October 28, 2012
I’m writing this on Saturday morning, but you will be reading it on Sunday…right before what is supposed to be “Frankenstorm.”
After the debacle of losing our basement during Hurricane Irene last fall, I’d be lying if I said that Real Man and I aren’t really nervous about the impending storm.
The difference is, this year, we have a generator.
Now, there is always the possibility, the very real possibility since they are saying this is “The Perfect Storm,” that, even with the generator, the sump pump won’t be able to keep up with the water.
And that would stink.
Still, the generator does provide some feelings of comfort as we prep for the storm, and we are all feeling good about it.
Well, almost all of us.
Monkey Girl is disgusted with the whole generator business.
She loved having no power and having everyone sleep in sleeping bags on our bedroom floor and using candles for light and going to Grandpa’s to shower and having to eat out when we ran out of non-perishable food.
She truly saw it as an awesome adventure, which is a fantastic thing.
I hope she views all of her hardships and obstacles in life as awesome adventures.
For now, though, we could do without the stomping and eye-rolling and “this storm isn’t even going to be any fun because of the stupid generator!”
Every time something on the news mentions the storm she gets up and says “But we’ll be fine, because we have a GENERATOR!” and leaves the room in a huff.
Real Man reminds me often that while still in the delivery room after finding out that Monkey Girl was, in fact, a girl, one of the first things I said to him was “Oh boy…the last thing you want in your house is an 11-year old girl.”
And while she has proven to be one of the greatest blessings of my life and I love her and her drama with all of my heart…
…there are days when I think I was right on the money.
October 27, 2012
We all try to feed our kids good healthy food.
We all also realize that there is a balance and that everything is okay…in moderation.
However, one area I won’t compromise on is breakfast.
As a teacher, I can tell you with 100% certainty that what you feed your children before they go to school absolutely matters.
So, we don’t have sugar cereals in the house.
There are a few exceptions: winter break and spring break and every now and then in the summer
Other than that, I try to keep their brains and bodies fueled, in the morning, with healthy fare.
There really has been minimal complaining on the part of the monkeys.
At least, they haven’t said anything to me directly.
Yet, on Sunday, when I sent the boys ahead of me to the cereal aisle to pick the cereal for the week, I found this as I rounded the corner of the aisle:
Yes, my boys were either praying or begging in front of the Frosted Flakes.
We left with the Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.
It’s a good thing.
October 26, 2012
1. Who wakes up in the morning with the kids, you or hubby?
I seem to be the default person for the kids to come to when they need something in the morning, and even if I wasn’t, I hear everything.
The second someone is up, I’m up.
Real Man will try to let me sleep, every now and then, on the weekend, but the problem is, I’ve already woken up and heard the monkeys and I can’t fall back to sleep.
So, it’s me.
2. Do you watch the World Series even if your team isn’t in it?
Don’t have a team.
No World Series for me.
3. What is the best compliment you have received?
That my children were kind.
It’s really all I want for them…to be kind people.
So, whenever someone tells me that they have been kind to others, it makes me beam inside.
4. Do/did you dress up to take your kids trick or treating?
I usually take Halloween as a personal day so I can go to all of my kids Halloween parades, and since I’m not at school, I don’t dress up.
To dress up to stand in the street while my kids go up to doors and ring doorbells seems silly to me, so, no, I don’t.
Before kids, however, I used to dress up for school every year.
5. Do you have a favorite bible verse? What is it and why?
I’m not much of a biblical scholar.
I’ve already shared that one bible verse that I had memorized when I was a little girl (Luke something), but as for a favorite?
I am a fan of the Christmas story, and I think it’s because my Dad used to do the Christmas story in candles at church.
The lights would be dim and he’d light a candle each time he mentioned a new person in the story, and then extinguish the candle as each person left the manger, and eventually, it was just the Christ candle and it was really beautiful.
Whether or not you believed it, it was beautiful.
So, I guess that story.
October 25, 2012
Please don’t think I’m shirking my blogging duties, but I feel like I would be completely remiss if I didn’t send you to this website to read this list of 60 Tiny Love Stories.
Some made me cry.
All of them made me smile.
I find it completely fitting that I share these love stories with you today.
Real Man’s birthday.
The star of my very own love story.
October 24, 2012
October 23, 2012
1. I’m a frugal girl, but I am also all about anything that might make my life a little easier.
So, when I found sliced apples, pre-packaged, I was thrilled.
My monkeys love apples, but rarely will finish the whole thing.
Pre-packaged and sliced, they go nicely in their lunchboxes and we’re good.
I posted awhile ago about having found chopped onions and chopped peppers and how happy I was.
It may sound lazy to you, but time is at a premium over here, so I buy it, freeze it and pop it out when I want to make dinner.
Anyway, one of our favorite meals is chicken primavera, which I’ve previously said that Baby calls “chicken bra.”
It’s cubed chicken, chicken broth, broccoli, brown rice and seasoned to taste.
However, I despise making this meal because the cubing of the chicken is so labor-intensive and takes so freaking long.
Chicken cubing – 15 to 20 minutes
The rest of the prep – 3 minutes
Cook time – 15 minutes
As long to prep as it is to cook?
And then, I found it.
Perdue Short Cuts.
Pre. Cut. Chicken.
And, again, I realize you all probably have known about this stuff for years.
Now I have.
And there’s no turning back.
2. In thinking about my upcoming hair chop, I’ve been looking at different styles.
However, I wasn’t really sure of how the cuts would look on me.
Then, it dawned on me.
Why not check out Reese Witherspoon’s short do’s?
She’s the celebrity that people tell me I look like, so, it’s gotta be a good place to start.
Currently, this one is in the lead:
I kid…I kid.
This is the one that is actually in the lead:
It’ll be a little shorter, but I’m a wash and go girl and this looks fairly go-able.
Of course, if someone slips with the scissors, I might wind up as Michelle Williams:
3. I came across this list, the other day, while browsing the news.
It’s that time of year, and I am definitely looking for some scary.
So, I was pleased and excited to see a list about the scariest movies you haven’t seen.
Except I had already seen six of them.
Still, worth a look at the other two!
October 22, 2012
Saturday was beautiful.
And in between the appreciation of just how lovely Saturday was, Monkey Girl and I hit our church Bazaar and scored 23 books for $5.25, a bracelet for $2, and the obligatory apple pie.
To say Monkey Girl likes pie is like saying Hugh Hefner likes girls.
She’s a fan.
Our afternoon was spent at Monkey in the Middle’s last football game of the season, which they won, beautifully.
MITM threw a gorgeous touchdown pass, and he also caught a pass from his cousin and ran for a touchdown.
It was a good game for him.
After the game, we all went our separate ways.
Real Man and MITM headed to the team party and Monkey Girl left with Grandpa to go work at a church seniors dinner.
So, it was just me and my two littlest guys.
I told Baby we could head wherever he wanted to head for dinner.
His gourmet pick?
We haven’t been there in quite sometime, so off to McDonald’s we headed.
He chatted and chatted and chatted the entire car ride, the entire meal, the entire walk to Walmart to pick up Madagascar 3 from the Redbox kiosk, and all the way home.
He was absolutely delightful.
He talked about what would happen if a tornado struck McDonald’s while we sat there and his plan to save Tiny was priceless.
He talked about which is his favorite local park and then ranked about ten of them, explaining that a park has to have at least two slides in order to even be considered for his top 10.
A tire swing puts a park immediately in contention for Spot #1.
He talked about how black is his new favorite color (it’s been orange for the past four years…black is new) and the reason that he loves black is because he feels like it’s awesome that it’s a combination of everything.
He talked about how, when Tiny grows up, he’s going to teach him how to tie his shoes, ride a bike, make his bed, and do the dishes.
When I reminded him that he doesn’t actually do any of that stuff, he said with a straight face, “Just because I don’t do it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to.”
Touché, little man. Touché.
When we got home, we were going to snuggle on the couch and watch Madagascar 3, but he decided to wait until MITM came home from his party, and instead, we played with Tiny and chatted some more.
He’s a great date.
I love that kid, and it breaks my heart, sometimes, that he is so quiet in public, because I feel like the rest of the world is totally missing out on his awesomeness, however, he has a Dad who is pretty quiet in public, as well, and is the most awesome person I know, so I know where he got it.
He’s a great kid.
I was looking back through old photos on my phone, and I figured I’d end the post with one of my favorites.
Just kind of embodies what a loving little soul he is.