Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 Facts About Me and My Better Half

One of my favorite feisty bloggers is sharing little known facts about her and her guy and she's invited her readers to join her. I was thrilled to have a blogging assignment as my brain has been in a fog and creativity has been lacking here due to a sweet little someone keeping me from getting adequate sleep. So here goes:

1) The moment he threw me into the pool (5 minutes after we first met, I might add) I knew Wingnut was the boy I would marry.

2) I say "boy" because we were just babies when we met; just 18 year old babies.

3) Dating long distance for 3 years was incredibly difficult. He broke my heart more than once while he was at the Academy, but I never gave up hope. He always came back around and in the end, he was caught.

4) He has a very bad tendency of making up outrageous stories (lies) just to see if I'll believe him. I have a very bad tendency of believing his outrageous stories (lies). The more outrageous the more likely I am to believe. Then he laughs and shakes his head in disbelief. I keep asking him if he wants me to believe him or to just think he's a big fat liar. There have been a few stories (lies) that I've fallen for and believed were true for years because he's forgotten to tell me he was just teasing. Those REALLY crack him up.

5) This June we'll have been married for 20 years and will have known each other for 24 years. That's more than half our lives! It really does seem just like yesterday he was throwing me into that swimming pool.

6) After 20 years, he still makes me laugh hysterically. I hope our children, as they grow up and leave home to start families of their own, remember the sound of our laughter together.

7) He gets what we fondly call, the "sleepy hypes". He often has trouble settling down at night to go to sleep and so he resorts to pestering and teasing me with his crazy stories. Apparently, misery (insomnia) loves company.

8) We were on a very strict budget for our wedding. We had only $2000 to spend, so we had a very small wedding with most everything homemade. My mother made my dress and my sister's Maid of Honor dress. Wingnut and his best man wore their Mess Dress uniforms, saving on tuxedo rentals. My lovely and talented sister-in-law made and decorated our wedding cake. A family friend, who was a professional photographer, took all the photos for just the cost of film. The three items we spent money on were the flowers, the venue (a retreat house with a beautiful garden), and a lovely catered buffet. It was a wonderful wedding and I wouldn't trade any of it for something more upscale.

9) Our honeymoon was a different story. His very generous parents gave us the money for our honeymoon and we had a fantastic time in Hawaii. We stayed at the military resort, Hale Koa, on Oahu and took advantage of their wonderful travel office to take trips to three other islands. Molokai was my favorite because it was almost deserted of tourists. The beaches were completely empty. It was like being on our own deserted island. Thankfully we had this honeymoon, because in 20 years of marriage we have not taken a trip together alone since. We just don't leave our kids over night with anyone, except when we are adding a new member to our family. Wingnut has to travel for work and so leaving his children just for pleasure is not something he would like to do. I have left the children with Wingnut only twice in our marriage for very short trips--once for my grandmother's 90th birthday and once again that same year to appear on a TV game show in New York. On both of those trips I had our nursing youngest child with me. Funny thing is, neither of us have ever felt the need to take a trip or even a retreat away from our children. Once they are grown and out on their own, I'm sure Wingnut and I will travel.

10) No matter the crazy, fringe plan I come up with, Wingnut jumps in behind it and supports it 100%. No immunizations? No problem, he's there at the pediatrician with me explaining our position. Get rid of the crib? Wonderful, he doesn't mind having our youngest between us kicking him in the head or groin throughout the night. Homeschooling? Great, he's printing out articles on the benefits of homeschooling and other articles on the problems with traditional school settings. He's been there supporting breastfeeding, natural childbirth, my short lived stint with cloth diapering, restricted diets, vitamin regiments, homeopathic remedies, etc. I think he's still a bit freaked about Lil' Lamb's water birth, but he was right there supporting me all the way through it, no argument. That's the kind of guy he is. He's pretty special.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Life has been busy around here.

Karate Kid and JayP have jobs. They are both working as coaches at the gym they were once competitive gymnasts for. We know the owner fairly well and for us it is a well known and safe environment for their first real paying jobs. The owner was thrilled to get them both, but especially thrilled to have Karate Kid as his girls' team has really grown recently and he has been fairly short staffed. She knows what to look for in a gymnast and she also knows all the competitive routines. JayP's job is will begin this summer. He'll be working the summer sports camp. I think it's a perfect first job for him. He won't have to get up early in the morning, he'll still be able to play tennis, and he'll be able to spend his time playing sports with a bunch of kids that will worship him.

Karate Kid completed a much needed project for me. The kitchen was once covered in a floral wallpaper that was really not my style. Years ago we peeled the wallpaper from the walls and painted the entire kitchen, but somehow the wallpapered pantry was missed. I've let that go for all these years, but as it looks as though we may move in the near future, this project was a glaringly obvious one that needed to be done. She pulled all the food stuffs from the shelves, removed and cleaned the shelving, pulled the wallpaper, patched the holes in the walls, sanded the walls, wiped down the walls, and then painted the pantry. Hopefully today I'll be able to replace the shelves and restock the pantry. One project down, countless others to go.

Lil' Wingnut has four cavities, and the dentists really don't know why. He has a very clean mouth with little or no plaque. His cavities are between his teeth, just like Special K. The hygienist explained that he and Special K have acidic bacteria in their mouths that attacks the enamel on their teeth. Brushing protects the surface of their teeth, but it just doesn't reach the tight in between spaces of their molars. Thankfully they have discovered a fix for that problem. The two of them need to ingest 5 to 6 grams of xylitol a day. Xylitol is a natural sugar that is found in berries, corn, and other plant fibers. Apparently it has some great anti-bacterial properties applicable to dentistry and so the dental industry is making toothpaste, gum and mints sweetened exclusively with xylitol. Xylitol intake must be spaced throughout the day and so my two cavity prone kids brush twice a day with a xylitol toothpaste, and then either chew a piece of gum or eat a mint between each meal. Ben is actually excited about having cavities. Now he has an excuse to ask me for gum none stop.

Lil' Lamb hates riding in the van. All of our children have hated riding in vehicles, some more than others. Seriously though, you'd think out of seven I'd have one that enjoyed it or was lulled to sleep during car trips. He could be completely comatose, and the moment I begin buckling him into his seat he begins to cry. He gets so worked up I often will stop to check and make sure I didn't accidentally pinch him with the buckles. He'll even cry until he spits up. It's miserable and I wish I didn't have to go places most every day.

We can see the light at the end of a long school year. We are counting down math lessons and most everyone is completely on track to finish by the end of May. I am so looking forward to a nice long summer break.

My kids have been exploring in the woods in back of our house. They are constantly bringing back skeletal remains. It's rather disgusting and I wish they would stop it. The other day they brought home the dismembered remains of a very large baby doll. They thought it was absolutely hysterical. They keep leaving it in different spots in an attempt to scare their family and friends. It's completely creepy.

This has been the easiest recovery from pregnancy that I've ever had. I only need to lose 5 more pounds, but I think I've lost quite a bit in my face and hands especially. I'm having to wear my wedding rings on my middle finger because I've lost so much in my hands that my rings are falling off. I'll need to get them resized. 10 years ago I needed to get them enlarged a tad. I think my ring finger is now the size it was when Wingnut and I got married. Pretty weird and wonderful, too.

Lil' Lamb is not a good sleeper. He cat naps a lot and although he's sleeping at night, it is not a restful sleep. He really struggles and grunts and groans quite a bit. He's been getting up pretty early in the morning, too. He and I usually end up asleep on the couch right around the time we usually begin school each day. My clock is completely messed up, but it's not affecting my mood or my mental capabilities too much, at least I don't think it is. I wonder if we'll have deep, peaceful, undisturbed slumber in heaven?
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Partying with Religious

On March 25th the IVE celebrated the 27th anniversary of it's founding. The celebration included a beautiful Mass with Cardinal Wuerl in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine. Mass was followed by a reception dinner replete with fellowship and entertainment provided by seminarians, Sisters, and priests from theIVE family.

Reflecting on the festivities it occurred to me that we experienced a little glimpse of the banquet feast awaiting us (hopefully) in Heaven, although an imperfect glimpse. Everyone was greeted as a brother or sister in Christ with such love and joy. This is how the religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word party.

There was room for everyone at the table. Food service was provided by SSVM postulants and novices and seminarians.

Encumbered by Lil' Lamb, was only able to take a few photos, but I was able to surprise this group of plotting sisters.

Lil' Lamb was a huge hit. The sisters were all going gaga over his sweetness. Sister Katie, Special K's CCD teacher, managed to wrangle him from Wingnut for a little snuggle.

Sister Doule Kyriou had a moment with him as well. Do you think we'll be passing innocent babes around the Eternal Banquet Table? I hope so. It wouldn't be quite Heaven without them.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

MCP Project 52: Week 12

This week's theme is From the Jewelry Box.
The porcelain box was a gift from my grandmother. It was one of her treasures she kept on a high shelf. When she gave it to me, we discovered two very old silver thimbles and a tiny key to who knows what. I got to keep those little treasures too. The pearls were a gift from Wingnut. He found them in a shop on Okinawa when we were stationed there 14 years ago.

As I was snapping away, I saw that at certain angles I was catching Lil' Lamb waiting patiently for me in the reflection of the mirror. I changed the focus on my camera to get him in sharp focus. I thought this was a neat shot. My children are my true treasures from the jewel box.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Appointments, More Appointments, and Still More Appointments

Since the beginning of December we have had one sort of appointment or another at least once a week, and usually two a week. I'm getting pretty sick of it. We've all had doctor's appointment, some have had follow up doctors visits. We are in the thick of dental exams for the next few weeks, especially since we discovered Lil' Wingnut has several cavities that must be filled over a series of appointments. Three of our children see the orthodontist every 4 to 6 weeks and their appointments almost never coincide with each other. I had OB visits and a postpartum exam. Lil' Lamb has had three Well Baby appointments, a PKU test, and a hearing test. Imagine my irritation when it was discovered Oleander's flute had some technical issues and I needed to schedule an appointment to have it repaired. She then needed a time scheduled to rehearse with her accompanist just before a flute competition she had entered. He, of course, lives 45 minutes from our house. The van has logged some serious miles.

It's no wonder I have very little time for blogging these days, with a new baby, homeschooling, trying to keep the house from completely imploding, running kids from one activity to the next, and all these appointments that continue to crop up. I cannot wait for spring break. I'm not scheduling anything for that entire week. I need a vacation!
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MCP Project 52: Week 11

This week's theme was Darks and Lights. Lil' Wingnut and his best buddy were playing together this week and I thought their sweet friendship fit the theme very nicely.

Aren't they just goofy?

This is the photo I submitted for the week.

Wingnut found a new photo editing program for me and I have been watching the tutorials and using them on some of my photos as part of the learning process. This was a quick and easy technique to learn using layers and masks. Do I really need a new way to fritter away my time? Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lil' Lamb 6 Weeks: Smiles

I'm hoping y'all aren't getting tired of photos of Lil' Lamb. We are enjoying this time so much. He is an absolute doll and overall a very good baby (I just wish he liked riding in the van). He's been smiling for the last few weeks and I managed to capture this slight grin. He's also responding to us with little squeaks and coos. I could just eat him up! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, March 18, 2011

Harsh Realities

Other than sports and a little Spongebob now and then, our kids don't watch much television. Recently, however, Lil' Wingnut has discovered a passion for a History Channel offering called Top Shot. It's your typical reality competition show in which two teams square off against each other and the losing team sends home one of it's weakest members until there is only one competitor left standing. In this particular show, the contestants are all expert marksmen with various weapons and each week they compete using a different weapon selected by the show producers. They use everything from tomahawks to Berettas, from compound bows to Civil War era rifles. To add to the excitement and entertainment, the show employs super slow motion camera shots and at times explosive targets. Lil' Wingnut loves it. Due to occasional unbleeped language and aired commercials, we DVR the show and fast forward through the reality banter and advertising.

Lil' Wingnut loves his heroes and he always has a favorite to root for on his program. This last week, his favorite shot had a very weak showing in the team competition and was put up for elimination. In the elimination round, the two perceived weakest players battle it out for survival. Poor Lil' Wingnut was distraught that his guy had to fight for his life in the game. He covered his eyes and declared he just could not watch. The competition was so close, we could not tell in the end who had won and lost until the host announced dramatically that Lil' Wingnut's guy was indeed the loser by one missed target. Our lil' guy was completely beside himself with grief. It ruined his whole evening and he spent and good 10 minutes weeping over his spoiled hero. Good grief! He's still undecided as to whether he will continue watching this season. Why bother when his favorite is already gone?
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011


I love March Madness. There is just something about the excitement come tournament time that has more to do with the approach of spring than basketball itself. We are died-in-the-wool UNC fans in this house, so much so that all of our children choose UNC to win the whole kit and kaboddle when filling out their brackets. Wingnut and are fans, but we are also realists. Wingnut has the 'Heels gracing the ranks of the Elite Eight, while I have them losing to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen. Our children can't believe we are so disloyal.

Just out of curiosity, who do you have in your Final Four? I have Ohio State, Notre Dame, Texas, and Pittsburg, with Pitt and OSU playing in the final game and OSU winning the title. I can't wait for the games this weekend. The tournament rarely fails to surprise and entertain.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

MCP Project 52: Week 10

This week's theme: Childhood Toys
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lil' Lamb 4 Weeks

I'm a bit behind in my posts. The lil' one will be 5 weeks old tomorrow.
This was taken just after his baptism. He was wide awake and fussing like crazy during the ceremony, but racked out during his party.

The whole family

Msgr. and the proud godparents
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Facts and Musings about Ash Wednesday and Lent

1) The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are the burned remains of the palms distributed on Palm Sunday from the previous year.

2) Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, and yet it is one of the most attended Masses/services of the year.

3) Lent is "observed" not "celebrated".

4) Lent is not a "countdown to Easter" as my 15 year old son quipped on Facebook. If one is going to call it a "countdown", Lent more accurately is a countdown to Holy Thursday, but even that idea is somewhat of a fallacy..

5) Very few of us are holy enough to refer to Lent as a retreat, as our wonderful pastor did in his bulletin article this past Sunday:

"I like to think of Lent as a 40-day retreat that we enter into with the entire universal Church. It gives us an opportunity to re-examine our personal relationship with the Lord and to personally judge the spiritual state of our own life. The ashes of Ash Wednesday are a stark reminder of the shortness of life, the reality of death, the mortal nature of the human body, and the need for redemption. Salvation has come to the human race in the person of Jesus Christ. He suffered and died on the cross for the remission of our sins and to show us that death is the doorway through which we enter into eternity-eternal life or eternal damnation. Lent provides an opportunity for each one of us to contemplate the mystery of our redemption that we might more deeply appreciate the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our daily life, the forgiveness of sins that He has purchased for us by His suffering and death, and the eternal life that He has promised to those who are committed to Him."

6) In ages past, the Church imposed fast and abstinence was practiced not only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, but throughout Lent. Not only was meat abstained from, but milk, eggs, butter, and cheese were also sacrificed during the entire 40 days.

7) For more facts and reflections go here.

Have a blessed and holy Lent.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

MCP Project 52: Week 9

The theme for this week was Express Yourself. This was such a fun theme. I had a difficult time choosing just one.

Mr. Expressive, himself. I asked him for mad. I think he delivered.

Special K is also incredibly expressive. I loved this one with her snaggle toothed giggle.

This was the photo chosen by the group moderator. Apparently I've been breaking the rules by submitting more than one photo to the project. Whoops! I love, love, love this one. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, March 3, 2011


We have been blessed by living in this community in more ways than we can count. We have never lived any where in our military career that can compare to the love, support, and hospitality we have experienced here, especially when it comes to welcoming a new little life. Our parish has been the most pro-life parish we've ever gone to, and in the ten years we've been stationed here, this parish has experienced a constant baby boom. At this moment I can list at least six families that are either pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months. The most surprising aspect of this trend is that it has happened so very quietly. While children are most welcome in our parish, it is not something that has been preached about very frequently. The babies just keep coming. It's been a beautiful thing to witness.

Families here love to organize meals for those of us that have recently welcomed a new life. When Lil' Wingnut was born, we had meals brought to us for two straight weeks. It was fantastic! In the last four years, since his birth, we've discovered our family has some food allergies and issues, so when Lil' Lamb was born, we opted out of the meal program. Funny, our friends would have none of it. Even when I expressed our older children were providing meals for the first week of post-partum recovery, our friends still wanted to bring us food. Even after listing all the foods and ingredients we could not have (no dairy, no preservatives, no dyes, no artificial flavorings), they still wanted to provide meals. This is what it means to be pro-life in our community. We have been so blessed.
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lil' Lamb 3 Weeks

Lil' Lamb was 3 weeks old on Friday. Life has been busy around here, and so I'm just now posting his 3 week photos. He is definitely filling out his clothing a bit better, but he is still such a tiny guy. He is tracking with his eyes, recognizes my voice, can hold his head up for a good bit of time, and is smiling at people. He especially loves his Godpapa's face.

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