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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with the old... In with the new...

2008... in a few hours will be history. Bring on 2009! I am ready, I think. Lots of challenges ahead... things to face and deal with but I know it will bring some good moments... even some great ones. This year has been a long struggle but we have had some fun and interesting moments too.

We have had two new additions to our household. On July 5th we went to the Wisconsin Humane Society and adopted Simon - a cute 4 month old gray and white tabby. He was vocal when we first got him and didn't like being left alone. I remember spending his first night sleeping on the couch and he constantly woke me up. I should mention here that J and K1 were on a backpacking trip at the time and had no idea we were going to do this. J wasn't happy at first but when he saw how happy Simon made not only the kids but me as well, he let him stay. Well, J should've known what would happen next... I am a big believer that cats need to come in twos. A month later we went back to WHS and adopted Lydia only we would change her name to Luna. I went with the intention of adopting another boy kitty (I have never had any success with female cats) but Lydia/Luna was a beautiful Siamese mix with blue eyes. I relented and we know have a him and her... both fixed and microchipped compliments of the WHS.

J and K1 went to Philmont Boy Scout camp in New Mexico for 12 days of backpacking. They were supposed to be completely out of contact for the entire time so 7 days into the trip when I recieved a phone call from J, I knew something was wrong. He had wiped out pretty badly on a mountain bike and it was thought that he had dislocated his shoulder. He was pulled off trail and spent the remainder of the trip at base camp while the others carried on. J was able to join the boys on their last night on trail as it wasn't far from base camp. When he got home, the doc diagnosed it as a dislocated clavicle that didn't necessarily need to be repaired as long as J didn't mind living with a bone that continually popped up out of its joint. He tried it for a month and finally decided to get it fixed. Three months and $22,000 later, he is better with a nice looking scar as a reminder.

While the boys were in New Mexico, the girls and I drove to Ohio for 4 days joined by K2's BFF, Erma and her mom. We spent 2 days at CedarPoint - a fantastic roller coaster park. I hadn't been there since I was 10 - it was the place of my first upside-down roller coaster, The Corkscrew. We had a blast riding all the coasters like Magnum, Maverick, Millenium Force and yes, we did it... Top Thrill Dragster! It wasn't quite a "real" vacation but it was a nice chance to get away for a few days.

The kids continue to do well in school... K1 still likes high school...lots of friends, guys and girls. No one that he is dating, which is perfectly fine with me. He is on the swim team again this year... working hard. He turns 16 in a couple of months but we haven't started him in Driver's Ed yet. Too much with school and swim team. Spring is soon enough for that. K2 is in her last year of middle school. She's ready for high school, I just hope it doesn't change her too much. She is still this sweet, easy-going girl who is friends with everyone and walks to the beat of her own drum. Her own unique sense of style often earns many comments as well as some strange looks. But she still acts like a tween even though she is 13. She isn't trying to rush being older than she is. She is playing the oboe and was invited to play in the UWM Honors Band Festival this fall. We were proud of her. K3 is in her last year of elementary school and can't wait to get to middle school. This one is my helper and the first one to notice things. She's smart too... she has already learned to be quiet and observe. She says she learns lots from adults, even teachers, that way... by being quiet they don't realize she's there listening. She is paying the trombone in band and loves it - the only female trombone player at school this year. She can definitely handle it and the boys, who are all "dumb" and don't know anything.

I had my first anniversary at Compass this year in April. It's not a field - health insurance sales - I ever thought I would be interested in but while some is very mundane other parts are interesting and I am learning lots. I love most of the people that I work with... we get along well. Although I'm sure I am not exactly what they were expecting as I am the loud-mouth there. Most people accept it and play along. Back in March, I started working for our agent who specializes in Medicare products. My normal day is 4 hours for Compass and 2 for TW but the last couple of weeks I have been working 8-9 hour days with some weekends involved... it certainly helped with Christmas. Now that open enrollment is officially over, things can slowly go back to normal (except for the fact that my desk is a mess and about two weeks from being caught up). But regardless of it all, I do like where I work... it certainly beats T@rget.

So we have our health... we have jobs... we have happy, healthy kids.... all in all, I shouldn't be complaining. The rest can be worked out. Bring on 2009!!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trying to Get Back into the Swing of Things

Wow! More than a year since my last post. Where does the time go? I miss blogging... I miss alot of things right now. I am going to take baby steps trying to get back into it all.

I really need to go to bed... today was a long day at work. One of my bosses is an agent specializing in Medicare products. Open enrollment ends tomorrow and we are trying to get the last of the applications overnighted and faxed off. This year was a hellish year. Anthem is discontinuing two of its Smartvalue PFFS plans for 2009 and a majority of TW's Anthem clients were on one of those plans. Hence they all needed to be switched over from the old to the new. Then due to increases by Humana and others, it turns out there is one company that is a better fit for most of TW's Part D clients. We needed to review over 350 clients... most are switching. But it's not just the volume of clients that need plan changes but also mistakes made by one company in particular in the processing of TW's appointment paperwork. His appointment didn't come thru until early December... over two weeks into open enrollment. Then we didn't have the right forms. Yeah... this year has been a nightmare. But after tomorrow, it is over. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that all apps were processed and no one was missed... and if they were, please don't let it be my fault.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The BEE Movie

I have had an itch to go to the movies but lately, it's all been crap out there. The girls and I saw The Game Plan a few weeks ago but other than that there have been no movies that have been acceptable for family viewing. At least with the holidays coming up, we are guaranteed some choices in movie selection again.

We had heard about the Bee Movie for the past year and quite honestly, I had no desire to see it. Then we saw Se!nfeld making the talk show circuit and I slowly became more interested in it. Now you have to understand we never watched his TV show when it was on prime time. However, with reruns being played at dinnertime we have slowly become fans of his comedy... even the kids like it. Watching him on Oprah and Jay Leno combined with a movie draught, we decided to see the BEE Movie as a family... even J went along. K1 didn't come along because he had seen it Friday night with a date.

I really liked it. I had a few problems with parts of it but overall I found myself laughing out loud at many of the jokes and scenarios. The girls liked it and thought it was funny too, although I think mom and dad enjoyed it more.

We have one movie that we saw that was gawd awful... Hoodwinked... did anyone see that one? So whenever we see a movie, we will always ask how it compares to Hoodwinked. And this one definitely passed the test. J even said he wouldn't have minded paying full movie admission (we saw it at 10:00 a.m. for $5 each)... and coming from him that is a huge compliment.

So if you're looking for a family friendly movie, I definitely recommend this one.

Halloween 2007

Another Halloween has come and gone... thank gawd! This year we didn't decorate at all. Normally, we grow these huge, ginormous pumpkins in our garden but not this year.... and it just didn't seem right buying them. So we went without.

As for trick or treatin', I told K1 he was too old to go this year which was fine because he helped out his friend's parents who turn their house into a haunted house for the night -- way too cool! He played a werewolf inside and enjoyed scaring everyone who walked thru... except for his mom (who absolutely HATES haunted houses!!) When I walked thru, he kept staring at me (no mind you, I had no idea which character he was in this place) like he was ready to pounce and then he slowly put his clawed hand towards me and said, "Meow!" in a cute little kitty tone. I love my son! He said he knew when I was coming thru when he heard K2's friend say to her, "K2, your mom is hanging on me." What can I say, at 12, K2's friend, M, is taller than I am... she seemed like she could protect me. But K1 said he heard that and knew it was us coming thru. I wish I had pics of him dressed up but the costume was provided by his friend's parents.

As for the girls, K3 was dressed as a vampiress. Very dark... She had fun wearing it to the elementary school party and trick or treatin'.

Then there was K2, who started off the season as a Vampirate... a cross between a Vampire and a Pirate. She loves a book series on these very characters and used pieces from earlier costumes and came up with her own character. She wore this when she volunteered to help out at the elementary school Halloween party.

However, when it came to the 31st and trick or treatin', she couldn't find all the pieces so she she was trying to come up with something on the fly. Her friend, M, was going as a supermodel and she toyed with that idea until she came downstairs and told me, "I am going as a mime!" She pulled clotes from her dresser and voila!

The girls are really old enough to go out by themselves but honestly, J and I have lots of fun walking thru the neighborhood and seeing all the kids out. So I doubt we will ever stop going with them... J says that when our kids are too old to go he is going to miss going out. Me? I'm not sure about that. It might be nice to just stay at home.

It Would Appear That I am Behind in Posting...

So lately it seems like all I have been doing is making excuses for why I haven't done this or that... execise, blogging, etc. It's time to take control again... again... again.

I did start exercising again last two weeks. I started up riding the stationary bike at work. I have managed 15 miles each week, not bad but I can do better if I just add one more day to the mix. Also, I started in on step aerobics again. Just me, the basement stairs and my mp3 player. I did great at the start of the week and slacked off towards the end. I just really need to push myself... something that I haven't been very good about doing. Back at it...

As for blogging, I have so much to catch up on. I was having trouble with my Kodak software for uploading pics from camera to computer. Tonight I finally sat down and found new software on-line and have been able to correct that problem. So while I am in the process of uploading pics to my on-line account, I am going to try to get caught up on updating my blog.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I am finally feeling better. I have been knocked out by a cold(viral nothing I could get antibiotics for) for more than a week. I am not 100% yet but this is the first day where I finally feel as if I am at the end. I don't know what it was about this one... I was still functioning...going to work, getting the kids to their "stuff", etc but it certainly wasn't helping me improve any. I took a couple of days to just recuperate and get better... I think it is definitely what my body needed.

Just in time, too, because this weekend is a busy one. Tonight is the Halloween party at the elementary school. K3 is attending and K2 is volunteering to work the games with her GS troop. However, it means full Halloween dress for the two of them. K3 is going as a gothic vampire and K2 has put together her own costume as a Vampirate (she loves this book series that a friend in England has been sending to her). So she's been a pirate in the past and a vampire... she decided to combine the two and voila!... Vampirate. I will take pictures but how good they look may fall upon how well mom can do make-up.

This weekend the boys are going to help J's dad dig out some trees at his rental property so it is GIRLS WEEKEND! Woo Hoo! We love girls' weekend. However, it is interrupted by another GS event. K2's troop is going to a haunted house tomorrow night. Let me just say that, this mom will drive and chaperone but in no way is going anywhere near the place. I will either have a book in my hand and sit in my van or more likely, you may find me sitting by the snack stand downing popcorn and diet coke praying like crazy that my little girl will make it out alive. I hate those things! I hate being scared... period. The last time I was in a haunted house was in high school. We had to walk single-file thru it. I was plastered to my friend in front of me with my hooded sweatshirt pulled up over my head and held tight at the sides so I couldn't see a thing. And had another friend plastered behind me so that nothing could get me from behind. When one of the ghouls tried to do something to me, my friend in front yelled, "Leave her alone! Can't you see she's scared." (Seems to me that was probably his job but what a friend.) Finally, we made it outside, only to discover that we were now being led to the basement thru a cellar door. I was done. I was outta there. I left my group and waited by the car for them to finish.... and have never been inside one since. The only haunted house I will go into is the Disneyland version... I still am not crazy about it but I can at least tolerate it. I will give a report tomorrow after the event.

Not sure what else is in the plans for this weekend... hopefully, some rest... some movies... and some peace and quiet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I survived my first Homecoming experience... and yes, I know it was my son who actually attended but I think I had more to do than he did. Who had to worry about what he was going to wear? -- "A suit? I have to wear a suit?" Who worried about getting a corsage for his date? -- "Flowers? We're just going as friends." Who had to drive him back and forth to the football game? Drive him to and from his friend's house the day of the dance? Who chased all Saturday morning trying to find a corsage (paid $25 for one only to have it fall off the wrist band at the start of the dance)? Who had to calm him down an hour before we had to leave when he started to get panicky? Who had to calm his sisters down when he started laying into them because he was nervous? Who had to watch their little boy now not so little go to his first dance with a date and admit that he was growing up?

Me -- his mommy.

I love that kid and he is growing up into a fine young man. But no matter how tall he gets, how old he gets... he will always be my little boy... my first born.... my son.

I love you, K.

This isn't the best pic but I don't really like to post pics of my kids here... this one is still him while still a little ambiguous. Plus, all of his other pictures have friends in them and I don't feel right posting pics of other kids without permission.

And by the way, Grandma, he LOVED the vest. The suit coat came off and went into the coat check but he wore the vest the entire night. Apparently some upper classmen complemented him on it which is always cool. He looked good. Thanks!

Trying to Get the Feeling Again...

Do you remember that song from Barry Manilow? In the song, he sings about his girlfriend coming back and he doesn't feel the same as he used to. However, it seems kinda appropriate for what I've been trying to do with trying to get that feeling of exercising again and getting back into the rhythm and routine of it all...

I've been up (up), I've been down (down), and tryin' to get the feelin'
I've been up (up), I've been down (down), I've been tryin' to get
I've tried and I've tried and I've tried to get (up) the feelin' (down)
I've been trying to get the feelin' again
I wanna get that feelin'
I want to get that feelin'
I've got to get that feelin'
I've gotta get that feelin' again (up)
And again (down) and again (tryin' to get that feelin')
Tryin' to get (up) the feelin' (down)
I've been tryin' to get the feelin' again

After taking the last two days off due to tight muscles, it didn't seem like today was going to be any different. However, yesterday a Gator Patrol was posted and I had yet to post. I was going to post this a.m. when I woke up and explain about how I upped the ante and added some cardio to my routine BUT that my muscles were rebelling and I had to take a few days off. Then I started to count the days I was "resting" and figured out that today would've been Day 3. There was no way I was going on that BB and admitting to that... so I hauled my sorry a$ off the couch and did Essential Abs and even bumped it up to the Intermediate level. After that I was able to go on and post to the Gator Patrol.

After I posted however I looked at the clock and realized I still had time... enough time... before I really needed to get ready for work. Seriously, my legs were still hurting a bit so I was a tad intimidated about doing legs but I needed to do something. I pulled out my Walk Away the Pounds DVD and did the 1-Mile Morning Wake-up walk. It was always one of the easiest to do... nice, short, simple and sweet. So tell me why I had sweat pouring into my eyes by the end and my arms were burning using the ball weights. Well, regardless, I made it thru... my legs did fine and I think it even helped them loosen up a bit. I no longer walked like I just got off the horse. And, even better, it felt good! I was sweating again... I was energized... charged up and ready to go. So much so, that I even took my tennies with me to work and went down to the fitness room and rode the stationary bike for 15 min.

It felt good today! And I have the Gator Patrol posts to thank for it. I love hearing from others... those who are struggling and need encouragement (Hello? Been there, done that, am there). ... those who are having great success (gives me hope that someday I too will get there)... I love hearing what works for others (gives me ideas to try)... and most of all, I love seeing the support that everyone offers up to each other.

I am feeling good and just a tad proud of myself... I have renewed hope that I can do this again. So I am doing what I can... bending down low and reaching up high... trying to get that feeling again.

Monday, October 1, 2007

And the Couch Wins...

So this morning I gave in to the call of the couch... I still woke up at 5:30 but spent most of the time after on the couch. I am completely whipped this a.m. Not only is my body protesting the increased exercise (I walk like I just got off a 3 day trail ride), but I am exhausted! This was Homecoming weekend and I never knew how much of my own time would be spent on it. I will do a separate post from Friday's football game (marching band video to come) and pics of getting ready for the Big Dance. But I need to be more coherent than I am now plus my computer is not letting me grab the pics and video from my camera... now that J is home maybe he can look into it for me. But I just wanted to post, since I have been commended for my honesty... I was a couch slug this a.m. :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sounds Like the Little Red Hen

The baker's hat in the house will now be worn by K1. The girls and I came home from a study session at B&N (the library wasn't open today) to the smell of Peanut Butter cookies. When I asked him he told him to bake cookies (figuring that J had twisted his arm to do it), he said no one... he just wanted to do it.

Now PB cookies are not my favorite, in fact, I don't like them except for the flourless ones. But I have to tell you... these were the best... the absolute BEST... PB cookies I have ever eaten. They were soft and chewy and damn near melted in your mouth. He did make them rather large so we only got 23 cookies from the batch of dough. But did I mention how yummy they were??

When I tried one and loved it, I was worried because I thought I was done for... lawd knows how many calories I would be consuming. However, I worried for nothing... it seems K1 thinks that since he made them, he is the one who gets to eat them. Hmmm... I did remind him that I was the one who had bought all the ingredients. He let me have an extra one.

So now the the truth is known and K1 is to become the family baker... maybe I can go sneak another one since he's in bed.