Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Four Little Words

For anyone that collects sports memorabilia, this one’s for you.

We don’t have very many items, but the few my husband does have, mean a lot to him. He’s pretty choosy when it comes to getting autographs, particularly on his special football.

Of course, there was never an issue about the collectibles when we didn’t have children. The items could be proudly displayed in the home office without any worry about little hands tossing around various sports balls as their own toys.

Kids don’t understand that they are not supposed to flip through the comic books that are wrapped in plastic.

Seven year olds don’t know the value of unopened boxes of sports trading cards, and wonders why he can’t just add them to his own collection in his binder.

Thankfully the baseballs are in pretty glass cases and can’t be mistaken for replacements when the ones in the garage can’t be located in time for a scrap game in the yard.

All of the above memorabilia now resides under lock and key in a protected location because we’ve learned from our mistakes. But there’s one item that just couldn’t be sent away. The autographed football. There have been plenty of times when we have tucked it into our backpack with a Sharpie, hoping to add to the signatures while watching the Colts practice, or are invited to a special sporting event. So to have it inconveniently inaccessible, well, is a pain.

There’s a problem with this though. It’s called, We Have A Son That Is Obsessed With Football. But he doesn’t understand that The Football is not to be played with. Somehow, it makes its way into the tiny grasp of his hands. Often. Filled with hopes and dreams of becoming a quarterback someday. Role playing like he is Peyton Manning or Tom Brady when he gets his hands on it, and runs through the house at top speed.

Well, Carter had some friends over to play the other day. Can you tell where this is going yet?

They were happy as clams outside for the longest time, being so well mannered, quiet and having a great time taking turns being the quarterback. Which in Mom-Speak usually means, Get Your Butt Out There And See What Is Really Going On Because Something Must Be Wrong.

That’s when it hit me.

My face must have turned white as a ghost with just the thought. Imagine me looking like the person in the painting, The Scream by Edvard Munch. Yep, the brain was making quick calculations.

Whhhhhaaaattttt?? Oh no! I quickly ran outside just in time to see one of the boys go in for a terrific catch and land right on top of the ball. Yes, this was THE ball. Spiraling towards me, I could see names like Marshall Faulk and Jerome Bettis. I could read those because they have decent handwriting and weren’t covered in grass stains.

I actually felt bad telling them they had to turn over the ball to me and could no longer play. I was torn between my pangs of thinking how many times have I tried to tell a certain-someone to put the ball where the kids won't mess with it, and just letting them continue the game and stay happy kids. And now I was turning into The Grinch Who Stole Playtime, and the Bearer of Bad News when certain-someone gets home.

I guess we should get Carter his own NFL ball for Christmas… Sorry boys, you’ll have to settle for Nerf until then…

I told Carter after his friends left, I’ll let you tell your Daddy all about your ball game today. Explaining why it's a little squishy and a little dirty.

Because I’ll be too busy standing behind you biting my tongue, so that I don’t blurt out with an eyeroll the infamous Four Little Words, I Told You So…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Whispers Were Too Loud This Time...

Oh my. It's that time of year again, and it's not even October yet. The time when the Halloween candy on the shelves starts to whisper my name a bit louder than it did in August, when I was hushing it away for being TOO EARLY to tempt me.

Well, I broke down this week. Tuesday to be exact. I had a good excuse though. I told Olivia I had to buy Carter his favorite treat because I was getting her two new books. You know, to be fair and all. So, in the cart went the first bag of the season. Candy Corn. Hey, it was a small bag, give me a break! Empty - there - on the left.

I think everyone has a little bit of a sweet tooth this time of year, but I wouldn't put down that I necessarily have one at any other time of year. I much prefer a crunchy, salty snack - a pretzel rod I can eat each individual nugget of salt from before crunching into it - that's more me.

But there is one combination that I can't resist.

Candy corn, mixed with salted peanuts.

Oh. My. Goodness! Ever had a Payday before? This combination is like every woman's sweet/salty fantasy food. We come wired with some crazy craving center (at least once a month) that says to us, Hey You, Roll That Hunk of Sweet Gooey Fudge In This Here Bowl of Salt. Or how about, Hey These Chips Could Use An M & M Chaser. You know, those sorts of thoughts.

Now, I don't know if this is a regional thing or not, because never have I seen or heard of this combination when I was raised on the East Coast. Or maybe I was just not let in on the secret back then. But out here, you can buy it already mixed. In little plastic containers near the produce. Yes, the produce section, because everyone knows that's exactly where it needs to be located to counteract the effects of what a crisp green bean can do to the body. Odd. But no less tasty.

Anyway, I'm proud to say that I did not gorge on the candy corn, nor have I purchased OR made any of the peanut mix. (yet!) There is still time. But I had one happy little boy who nibbled on the sugar-flavored wax triangle morsels each day until they were gone.

And hearing him hum with happiness as he chewed - well, that was just about as good as eating them myself.

....Just about......

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy 1st Day of Fall!

Here are a few scattered signs of Fall's arrival around my house, proof that I am celebrating today, even though it's 82 degrees out....

Here we have the ghost and pumpkin bags that hang from a tree in the front of my home...

The wreath that greets you at my front door...

A sprinkling of Fall in a pillow on my couch...

Mr. Scarecrow that hangs happily on the door to my basement...

And lastly, a nook made especially for toddler hands to pull down each adornment. You'll probably notice how much I love autumn by the colors we chose to paint our walls. With colors like Pumpkin and Straw, do you doubt my love of Fall now?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ah, What a Let-down!

I had one of those "Oh Bummer!" moments yesterday after returning home from a walk. It was starting to get warm out again, low 80's so I wanted to see what was in store for the forecast over the next week. Not because there is anything special going on, just because I want FALL to get here already!

So I log on to weather.com and punch in my zip code, choose the extended forecast option and behold what was in front of me. Holy smokes - FALL IS A'COMIN this -week!!!?? YAY! Man, look at those temps - woot woot! A million things start going through my mind like a movie reel....

Decorations! (nope, still have not dragged them out of the attic yet)

Soup! (Mmmm flipping through my cookbook)


Mums! (my neighbor already has hers out!)


No more air conditioning!

Smell of fireplaces being used!

Pot Roast!

Now, once the euphoric Oh-I'm-So-Happy-It's-Fall fog cleared, this is when my let-down kicked in.... I glanced a the top of the page and realized it said 5-Day Forecast for Lynn, MA.

My old hometown.

NOT where I live now.

NOT the forecast I was hoping for after all..... I had a slip of the brain and typed in that zip code that I have forever imprinted on my brain. 01902.

After I begrudgingly put back my favorite brown boots, tucked the sweaters back to the top shelf, gave my t-shirts, flip flops and pony-tail holders a dirty look, I mustered up the courage to type in the correct zip code. GAH!

Better put aside the pot roast, turn the central air back to Cool, and water my flower boxes.

Looks like we still have time for shorts, sandals and chicken on the grill....

Mother Nature apparently has not taken pity on me yet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just b'cuz....

...because sometimes you have to admire a cute picture of your kids in order to get you through the day without duct-taping them to the wall so you can get some stuff done.

Let's just say, that today.... is one of those days that she's lucky she's cute!

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Call me crazy...

Do you save your User Manuals for different items you purchase?

I am anal about this. Thankfully my better half has been threatened into submission enough about these must-save gems, that it is automatic for him to now file product manuals when they are done being thumbed through.

How anal you ask?

Hole punched, three ring binder, color coded dividers for each product, date-of-purchase written on the family calendar each year- Anal.

It’s a sickness, I know. I inherited it from my grandmother. She used to write the date on tiny pieces of paper and tape them to the batteries that she would change out of her remote controls, so that she could satisfy her curiosity when she had to replace them again. Do you need to know the anniversary date in which your pinky finger was operated on in 1984? It was written and carried over on her wall calendar every year. How about the day you purchased that coffee grinder? Yep, that’s there too.

You see, I can’t help it. I must save the manuals, and date stuff. Do you know how many times we have referred back to a user manual for an electronic, complex toy or the like? Do you really know what all the settings on your high-tech GE Harmony washer-that-talks-to-your-dryer do? I didn’t think so.

But when we need to reference or troubleshoot, behold the giant purple binder…

For instance, each winter when we want to use the fireplace, we can never remember which button and valve goes which way on the gas line so the fire will start. It’s almost that time of year again. This is a pain, I miss my wood-burning fireplace from my old house. The cords of wood delivered and stacked just-so outside the house. But that is what new construction gives you – fancy gas burning logs – fake fire as I like to call it. Anyway, since this fireplace does not require matches, kindling and opening a flue, we need the manual every year.

Did you forget which way your kid’s 100 piece Matchbox race track design is set up after you’ve cleaned it up? No worries the next time – the giant purple binder is at your service!

Does the automatic garage door tension need to be tweaked again? Gotcha covered!

How about that remote control code that you use to program your new Does It All remote-from-hell with the 10 million buttons on it? Do you remember the right code to reprogram it after your toddler gets her hands on it then frantically pushes buttons while you’re coming towards her to get it back?

Oh sorry, I was wrapped up in a flashback for a moment...

No problem – that code was written down on the front cover of the user manual for just those occasions by an anal homeowner. Just follow the tab labeled Remote Controls and your TV remote is back in business!

What brought me to thinking about this particular quirk about myself on this day? I had thoughts of my late grandmother today while tearing a piece of plastic wrap from the roll. I purchase the giant roll at Costco so I don’t have to keep buying it. And it lasts for years. Seriously.

When I tore a piece off, I glanced at this and thought of her…

Yes, she even taught me to date the plastic wrap to see how long it lasts! C’mon, 3000 ft. of wrap is going to take a while to get through! In fact, I’ll let you know just how long it took when I am ready to buy my next roll.

Probably sometime in the year 2010… call me crazy, but I will have the exact date in fact, don’t you worry....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Baby come back...

Have you seen the new Swiffer Wet Jet commercials that are out now? First of all, I can't believe I've actually seen ANY commercial now that we're in the age of DVRs and fast forwarding through them etc., but on the rare occasion that I am actually watching live tv - then I cannot fast forward through the commercials and am forced to watch advertising that I accidentally fall in love with.

That's where these new ones come in.

I'm finding myself totally laughing out loud at them! I think whoever sat around the drawing board for these is pretty clever. Commercials are usually pretty boring, but these actually make you chuckle, and see? Their marketing is working because I am talking about them! I'm hoping for a longer one, possibly for the next Superbowl spots.

It helps that I use Swiffer products. And that I have a quirky sense of humor and find it funny that a mop is stalking a woman, begging for her to come back. And lastly, I'm a 70's music junkie at heart, and hearing the music chosen for these "Baby Come Back" gigs sends me into a music high.

But then, I can't get the song out of my head.... oy!

I posted the videos on here so you can enjoy them too. Take a look - but really, I just put them here so that I don't have to go far for a laugh.... I dare you to watch them, and not at least snicker!!

And this...my FAVORITE one - watch what the mop does at the end...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day We'll Never Forget

September 11, 2001

Amazing that it has been 7 years since this terrible day. I know everyone will never forget where they were and what they were doing when they got word of this horrible mess. I watched it live on The Today Show, along with the anchors who were speechless and as confused as we, their viewers were.

We watched in horror together as plane #2 hit the tower.

On live television.

Glued all day, and for the next week and more, to the news channel's 24 hour coverage.

We sat. We prayed. We cried.

We still do. Every September 11th, when we take a moment of silence at the times of each terrible crash.

These are the moments that will be forever imprinted in my mind - for as long as I live - this is a day we will never forget.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Midwest Living

We rang in the weekend with our town's annual Fall Festival kickoff parade on Saturday. I'm originally from a city 9 miles north of Boston, that has a population of just shy of 90,000 people in 10 square miles. Going to these midwestern small-town parades are really fun to me, and a bit curious still after all these years. We seem to have festivals out here for everything, and a parade is always part of it. The town I live in now is not far from downtown Indianapolis (approx. 15 miles), but its charm is small-town all the way. I think our last census counted us at just over 11,000 residents in about 6 square miles.

This year, the parade was quite long, lasting about 2 hours from start to finish. The kids had SO much candy, it looked like Halloween came early. Their bags nearly bursting from the weight of their high-fructose-corn-syrupy goodies they collected from all the floats and causes along the route.

It was the perfect parade-watching weather. 70 degrees, bright blue sky and smiles everywhere.

Here's a little glimpse of our afternoon... remember to click on any photo to enlarge it.

No parade is complete without the lights and sirens to signal the official start...

These bagpipers played while walking uphill toward us. How they still had breath in them was beyond me. I thought he looked good through my lens, so I snapped a picture of him.

Yes, our grocery store in town has a Mascot. Our Marsh mouse named Fielding. Is that small-town enough for you?

Played around with the colors in this photo. The flag holds its own I think.

How cool is this emblem?

These two felt worthy of my collection today. They capture the leisurely spirit of the Midwest. Patient. Relaxed. Content. They're just chillin' out, waiting their turn in the parade line. Who needs a Mustang when you have a John Deer as your ride. Iced tea anyone?

Indianapolis Corvette Club members - my parents. They are active volunteers in the Club and enjoy being a part of the local parades. It was fun to see them in ours today. Hi Mom! No, the Vette is not two-toned color - I was playing with my pictures again!

Here's our kid's school banner and float from the parade. The school won an award for their float, "Where Magic Happens and Every Student Is A Star". A school bus coming out of a magician's hat and decorated nicely for fall.

An action shot of a couple of Carter's buddies yelling his name and throwing candy at him. They walked in the parade representing his school.

Ok, here's where I must say, I didn't see a whole lot of this as a youngster in our parades in 'the city'... I suddenly had the urge to pick my teeth with a piece of straw. Or is it hay?

Nor can I say I have ever seen this in parades as a child... who needs a dog when you can have a goat?

Well there you have it. The official mark that Fall's arrival is on its way. My favorite season. I think I'm going to start bringing my autumn decorations down from the attic next weekend. S'mores anyone?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Are you ready for some football?

We are!

But our TV is not. Ugg. This morning we turned it on and the convergence was all out of skew. The color is whacked, the picture is warped and the repairman doesn't arrive until Monday.




Oh, the humanity!

This is our luck sometimes. We dug into the files and found the receipt for the tv, it's only 5 years old. And nope, no extended warranty left, of course. I had a lot of faith in SONY. They were like the kings of electronics, so I am quite disappointed that this TV has failed us in such a short amount of time. We shudder to think we might need to consider replacing the 47" boob tube - I guess when we get the estimate on Monday, we'll be making a decision. I think we might all go into convulsions if we were without it for very long. It's football season for heaven's sake!

5 years ago this happened to us the night before a major game for the championship against the Patriots. Our other TV crapped out, and we were forced to upgrade at the last minute just in time for game day! So, in spite of the situation, we are kinda laughing at ourselves that we are in the same boat again.

So today I will pay homage to the Indianapolis Colt's new house, Lucas Oil Stadium. It's like a piece of art, really. Massive (63,000 seat stadium can accommodate up to 70,000 fans for other uses). Expensive ($720 Million). State-Of-The-Art (its retractable roof is first ever to divide lengthwise, and the window wall is the largest movable glass wall in the world). It is a beauty, and one of the best places to play football in the country. Certainly the only retractable roof system like it anywhere in the NFL, and it's going to make it's national debut during Sunday night's game at 8:15 pm on NBC.

The guys were invited on a tour of the new stadium a few weeks ago, so I present to you....

(Click photos to enlarge!)

Street view of the stadium....

These windows slide open, and from the inside the fans get a view of the Indianapolis skyline.

Inside field view....

Another inside view, but with the roof open and the end-zone windows open to view the downtown skyline... awesome!

Can't forget a shot of our Superbowl banner!

Carter wearing his team jersey with pride!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

We Interrupt This Marriage To Bring You The Football Season....


The new season begins.

Washington Redskins at NY Giants. 7:00 pm.

Go Manning! (our Manning will play on Sunday, but this one will do)

Bean dip is chillin' in the fridge. (recipe to follow)

Fantasy Football players have been selected.

Let the games begin... woot woot!

Texas Caviar recipe

1 lg. green pepper
1 lg. red pepper
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 onion, chopped
Jalapeno if you like it.
Cilantro if you like it.
Marinate overnight in: 1/2 Cup each of sugar, canola or veg. oil, cider vinegar
Drain before ready to serve.
Serve with Scoops tortilla chips.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This weekend, we took a trip an hour and 45 minutes north of the city and visited Fair Oaks Dairy Farm. We headed out of town around 9:00 am and arrived early for the first tour at 10:00 am. No, we didn't drive THAT fast, the time zone changes once we get closer to Chicago. Yes, I know, it is still funky that Indiana has a couple of different time zones within the state. I'm just glad we have stayed on Eastern time. Until of course, I get tired of it being still sunny at 9:30 pm in the summer. I'm digressing....

Anywhoooo - we arrived and the kids played in the Adventure area while we waited for our bus tour to start. We also had time to watch a 3-D movie about the farm, complete with glasses and spray holes in the seats, like Disney, which sent Olivia into hysterics when she was sprayed with water and a shot of air. Lovely.

Come along on my photo journey... you will be jealous that you didn't get to go with us.
Remember, you can click on any photo to enlarge it!

This is Carter playing around with the giant cow display, which teaches one the process of how to properly milk a cow. Complete with a timing device that lets you discover the length of time it takes you to figure out how much you are NOT a farmer.

Here we are pulling up in the bus that took us about 5 minutes across the farm to the dairy barns. That very long building is just one of the several set-ups they have on the farm where the cows are allowed to free-roam in their stalls to eat, drink and be merry.

Here is a shot of some infant cows that are lined up outside of the Mommy stalls. You can see in the background, one of the areas explained above. These cows were so darn cute you just wanted jump out and give them a head scratch!

Here we have a shot of the feed silos. This farm grows all their feed for the animals, stores it and processes it into fine dining for the dairy cows. It is amazing how everything works off the farm by using renewable resources to power all of the different buildings. I spared you the pictures of the sludge ponds where the manure is kept, recycled into gas and used for fuel and fertilizer. Pee-ew!

Here we have an enormous mountain of grain being kept under special covers, sort of like a compost pile, with rubber rings holding the covering down. This is where they get the food to feed the animals. Large tractors and bulldozers were hauling feed to the barns, as well as continuing the processes of harvesting the corn from the fields, filling silos and chopping up the goods.

Here's where the action gets amazing! The picture is not that great which disappoints me, but if you can imagine trying to balance a toddler that wants to get down, beads of sweat dripping from my brow from trying to keep her quiet and my son from weaving in and out of the crowds, then you'll understand why there is only one picture here, and it looks like this.

Anyway, this is the milking building. If you look at the picture near the top, you'll see gobs of cows coming down a hallway of sorts. That is outside of one of the free-roam stalls. The cows know to walk themselves down this row and get into line. Where you see the highlighted circle, is where the cows enter this turning circle. There are probably 100 cows in this motorized pez dispenser as I liken it to. Each cow gets on when there is an empty space, a farmhand puts on the hoses to milk the cow and the cow takes a spin in this carousel. Once it makes a complete circle, another farmhand takes off the hoses, dips each teat into a antibacterial solution and the cow backs out of its spot off of the twirl and heads back to the barn. I was so impressed that these animals knew just what to do without their parents having to tell them 5 times to do it. I kept telling that to my son. Maybe if I branded his date-of-birth on his hind quarters he'd know I mean business. Or send him to live on a farm. That might do it.... anyway...

This photo was taken in the Birthing Center. There is a building that is just for pregnant cows ready to give birth. Complete with two birthing rooms on view for all of us to see. There was staggered seating that went at an incline so that you could choose to either sit up high and watch the birthing process, or stand down below at eye level and behold the power of fresh baby-goo. Here is Mama Milker licking her newborn. There were 2 babies born while we were sitting in there. My kids only cooperated long enough to watch the first one finally get up and stand. The second birth was witnesses by my parents who stayed inside while we took Carter to go let go of some energy. I'm glad we didn't see the second birth though because it was apparently pretty graphic. The last part we watched was the Mama struggling to get the calf out, with only the baby's legs sticking out for over a half hour. We saw the light turn green outside (which meant a baby was born) and found out that the Vet had to pull the calf out of the mother. First she used her hands and some straps, and apparently that was not working. So they had to use another contraption and with all their might, they pulled the calf from Mama and all was well. I'm glad I didn't have to explain that to my kids! By the way, approx. 80 calves are born at this farm a day. Pretty cool to be able to witness that anytime you visit!

Here's just a cute shot (and the only one I remembered to take!) of the kids before heading back to the Cafe to enjoy some of the best ice cream we've ever had!

Does this need explaining? Mmmmm, chocolate! She's all, get the camera out of my face woman and feed me more chocolate before my eyes beam you with my burning lasers!

We need one of these bouncy things permanently installed in our backyard. I wonder if the neighborhood Homeowner's Association would approve it? Man, he loved this!

Carter's first time climbing a rock wall. He's always been too apprehensive to do it, so we were very proud of him for getting up there and ringing the bell on his first try!

Olivia being cute - wearing Grampy's hat...

Heading back home after a long long day at The Farm. Always nice to see a familiar exit sign!