Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Honk if you love Cars

Today marks a wondrous occasion.....we no longer have to dine on McDonalds crap food.

I may have mentioned previously that my son's new found obsession happens to be the new Disney flick, Cars. We saw the movie a couple of weeks ago and, aside from one terror inducing scene involving a combine, it was a big hit. The stores really did their part in promoting the film because in the past month my mother has purchased: Cars cereal (two kinds), Cars tissues, Cars beach towel, Cars plates, Cars fruit snacks, Cars chapstick, Cars tee shirts, Cars underwear, Cars pajamas, Cars Leapster game, Cars bike helmet, and Cars yogurt (for a kid who doesn't eat yogurt). She did buy him one toy and he agreed to do chores and be well behaved to earn more. So he earns his money and we head off to Big Blue Yonder and Guess What? Cars is passe.....Superman is the hot item. They cleared the end caps and displays where the Cars stuff was and replaced it with....Superman? Isn't that an adult movie? The only Cars stuff they had left in the store was shoved on a bottom shelf in the back of the toy department, consisting of a few stuffed characters, a package of birthday party blow-outs, and a game of Cars checkers. So I figure, hey, Mr. Walton is fickle, and made the half hour trip to the TRU and find out, NOPE, the toy manufacturers are fickle because they had no Cars merchandise there either. So there dashed the hopes of my five year old of a Cars birthday party (in March) and blowing his loot on Cars. Then, the great living room orb flashed a Happy Meal commercial and we were off. Long story short, we have eaten Happy Meals every two to three days for the past three weeks. We have traveled to four different restaurants in a 30 mile radius to find the EIGHT cars we need. I have personally ripped a new one disagreed with teenage employees who inform me over the phone that I can have car x only to drive fifteen miles and get car y. I have found out that the local MickeyDs has a customer appreciation club, where you can get toys FOR FREE and before general public, but yet it's a mystery how to join. I have learned that you really do not have to buy the drink with the Happy Meal, they ring up separately, thus saving you money. I have learned that if you get one toy for one boy, you must buy same toy for other boy OR ELSE. Today we found toy number eight, AKA the last one. My big boy is pleased. He now has a "complete collection" and he couldn't be happier. I am pleased that I do not have to see those rude teenagers ever again. All is right with the world.....until the new fad comes along.

**Totally stole the picture from Shane's blog, thanks Shane**

Monday, June 26, 2006

Jacob and his Technicolor Hat

Why, yes, I listened to a lot of Bob Marley while he was in the womb.....why do you ask?

Here is Jacob in the knit cap he requested. Don't you love the yarn he chose? We couldn't talk him into anything else, he thinks it's beautiful. I misjudged the size of his head, apparently thought that since his brain is now so full of knowledge it must be the size of a basketball, so he will be able to wear that thing well into adulthood.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Find

It's time for Friday Find by Mary Ann.

My find of the week is DeFelice Pizza. My husband and I found it when I first moved back to West Virginia nine years ago. I had heard people I worked with talk about how good it was so I sent Derick to pick up a pizza on his way home from "town" one afternoon. He called me on his ancient, hooked up to the car cell phone to ask what I wanted on it so I told him everything but mushrooms and anchovies (HATE those). He came home with a thirty dollar pizza! Now, by everything, I figured the pizza basics: onions, peppers, pepperoni, sausage, you know the Pizza Hut way. Well, this pizza was loaded with so many toppings and different kinds of cheese and meat, I had no idea how we were going to eat that, but it was SOOOOO good. They have the best crust I have ever tasted too. We have never been able to find a pizza as good as DeFelice. Everytime we order in at home, we always remark that it's a good pizza, but NOT DeFelice. We have eaten there three times already and the last time I ordered cheese sticks, thinking Adam would eat them (he doesn't like pizza), and how did I live so long without having them before??? I wish I could give you all a huge slice of my favorite pizza, but if you ever drive through this way on the way to DC or the Eastern Seaboard (because, really, why would you be coming here) and spot a DeFelice Pizza, it will be worth the thirty minute side trip to stop in, it is, after all, the best pizza in North America.

*** I have tried to post a picture from their website, but this dang dial up won't let me. You have to check the link to see their pizza and read about the award they won.***

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Proud Mama on Board

Warning: This is the post in which I shamelessly gush over the amazing abilities of my first born child. I swore I would never be that mom, but here it is and I can't stop it.

Jacob can read!

Yes, I know, millions of people the world over can read, BUT now MY kid can read! Last week my mom's friend came for dinner and, as usual, she came bearing gifts and not just any old gifts but stacks and stacks of books that delighted Jacob (and his book loving mom) to no end. There were so many we couldn't even check them all out that night so we flipped through them the next day and spotted a phonics workbook among them. Now typically the sight of a "worksheet" book would send Jacob running but for whatever reason he was interested that morning so we sat down and looked through it and I cautiously started going over the -at words, -an words, etc. with him. Now, he has known some of the small words from sight for some time and at first I suspected he was reading from memory but as we went through the book and came to longer words and consonant clusters I realized he was actually sounding them out. HE GOT IT! He cracked the code to the reading mystery! I think I was as thrilled as he was. As a former teacher who has worked with struggling readers, I would wait and pray for the moment a student "got it". For some it happened, for others it didn't, at least not with me. To witness my child learn this important skill was truly inspiring to me, how awesome for him that he can now pick up a book and know what to do! Of course, he has been practicing his new skill all week. The smile on his face when he figures out a word, especially a long one, is just priceless. If it didn't take me forty minutes to download a photo with this ancient dial up, I would post a picture of it.

Ok...bragging over

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Treasure Tuesday

I don't have many tangible treasures here in West Virginia, since all my sentimental stuff is back home, but I did receive a sweet treasure yesterday morning from my husband...these beautiful flowers he had delivered for our anniversary. I don't get many flower arrangements, remember my husband and I are cheap so when we weigh the fact that a flower delivery can set us back fifty bucks, we usually decide to spend the fifty bucks on, say, groceries or a dinner out. The year Jacob was born we were so sleep deprived and half crazy that we almost let the day pass so I got my husband a half-gallon of ice cream while he treated me to a 2-liter of vanilla coke (my first taste and the beginning of my soda love affair). You know what? I was thrilled with that vanilla coke; I'm pretty low maintenance that way, but these flowers were such a nice surprise and we are all enjoying them so much, especially Phoebe the cat who tries to snack on them behind our backs.

I think the gorgeous little dude next to them is somewhat of a treasure too.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day was weird for us this year. The kids spent it with Grandpa instead of Daddy for the first time. If my husband didn't consider the day just another Hallmark holiday, I would probably be sad about it, but it will probably be the last time this occurance will happen, so I hope he had a good day all on his own.

We gave Grandpa a new television and spanking new hernia to go along with it. It was classic, though, I pictured this wonderful day with the grandchildren and instead he injured himself lugging his brand new tv into the house, we bought a take out lunch that he couldn't stomach, and Jacob was in rare form climbing the walls literally, so Grandpa spent the afternoon watching Old School alone on his new electronics. So, no, I didn't get any good Father's Day pictures with Grandpa.

Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been married...let's years. WOW. It sure doesn't seem like that long, yet in some ways it feels like a lifetime. I have a good husband. I made a good choice. There is a reason I didn't get married until I was 30 and, no, it wasn't because I couldn't find anyone else. In fact, I found plenty of anyone elses, I was just smart enough not to marry them. Little story: The first time I met my husband I didn't like him. AT ALL. He seemed condescending and rude and completely full of himself and I was appalled that my sister wanted me to meet him because she felt we were "perfect" for each other. She continued to try and pawn him off on me for a couple years and I would laugh and continue to date complete losers just to have something to do and one day 11 summers ago (eleven? dang, I am old) he showed up for dinner at my parent's house when I just happened to be home for a visit, and the rest, as they say, is history. Once I realized I liked him, I knew I would marry him because he was everything I had been waiting for.....
Fast forward seven years and here we are, no longer just us but with a houseful of kids and pets. It ain't all wine and roses, shoot, it ain't even beer and poppies half the time, but we keep going. I am grateful to have found a good father to help me raise these boys, just hate that he missed spending Father's Day with them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Little Less Conversation

My baby does not talk. He says Mama and kee (for kitty) but nothing else. He makes noises sometimes and grunts a lot, but no talking. He doesn't lack for communication, though, because he can sign pretty well, in fact, he was mistaken for a deaf boy at the Steak and Shake yesterday afternoon with all his "please more eat french fry and milk". I have been using this book to find new signs and the boys and I can actually have conversations this way, albeit small conversations. I kind of like that the boy doesn't talk yet...retains some of his babyness that way and I am so not ready to leave the baby stage yet. My parents, on the other hand, have been encouraging him to speak since we pulled up in the driveway. They swear that his noises are actually words in which I cannot understand, and didn't I hear him say Grandpa just then? I think their hopes were dashed this afternoon when he found a small board book devoted entirely to pictures of food. He turned to the page with bananas and brought it right to Gammy then trotted off to the high chair to wait to be served. The book also has picture of donuts and chocolate which he let us know he preferred over his dinner. Of course, I think he is the smartest baby in the world to have figured this out, or he may have inherited my lazy gene and found a way to avoid exercising his vocal cords, in either case, it's so damn cute I had to share it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

mmm, mmm, good

Up until now we could not coax Adam into eating anything remotely resembling a noodle. No mac and cheese, no lasagna, no spaghetti, nothing. I mean what kid does NOT like macaroni and cheese? I was kind of glad he didn't like spaghetti because that meant I didn't have to deal with the mess, but apparently he just doesn't like MY spaghetti because he ate my mom's homemade sauce last night and dove in for a second helping as well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What's Up?

What is up with Blogger today? I have tried in vain to publish some awesome pictures, but get the blank screen of death every time. I also found something cool on Jennifer's site that I wanted to pass along, but you will have to just go there yourself because I don't know when I will be able to post pictures again.

It is COLD here. My poor kids are freezing because I only bought them one pair of warm clothes and they've been wearing them for the past five days. Jacob ruined his only pair of pants on his bicycle adventure so he's wearing shorts, tee shirts, and sandals, and I see those looks from the old ladies around thinking what a horrible mama I am to let him out dressed that way. It actually made it up to 71 today....woo hoo, break out the swim suits! I can't believe it is mid-June. I am not complaining though, no way, because the Daddy informs me that it is in the nineties back home and the mosquitoes have taken over the city. I definitely don't miss that at all. Plus, the nice air conditioner man never has come to fix the AC here so while it is cool and pleasant we are living well, but if the heat returns before he does we will effectively be in hell so keep the winter like weather coming.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Why I Should Have Paid Attention in Science Class......

My son learned about the Law of Gravity yesterday. Namely, that kid on bicycle picks up momentum on a downhill motion....

Jacob's Gammy took him to the ever fabulous blue store and purchased for him a nice and shiny new bicycle complete with Lightning McQueen helmet and pads. You don't know who Lightning McQueen is? You don't have boys apparently, but never fear because I will educate you in all things Cars this summer because it my son's new love.

Anyway...we are in the mountains here people, a far cry from the Texas flatlands from which we come. The mountains are pretty to look at and the mountain air is heavenly, but riding a bike is much more difficult here. So Jacob takes his fancy bike and rides it up and down the sidewalk, which is on level ground, but got pretty boring after a while so his highly intelligent Mama suggested that we walk down the street where there is a cul-de-sac/traffic circle and to the naked eye seemed FLAT. So off we go down the street, happy that we have come up with such a fool proof plan. I am thinking I should have hauled a chair down there because surely he will want to stay there all afternoon riding that bike and dang, I have hats to knit, when I look at the circle and notice it had a slight slope to it. I casually mention to my beloved son that maybe he might want to stay away from that side, I pointed and everything, when he steers that bike right around the bend and that bike starts heading wildly for the curb. I figure, well he will hit that curb and fall off the bike and that will be that BUT NO, he hit that curb and went right up over it, through a vacant lot, and began careening down the ridge headed straight for a group of trees OR the fifty foot drop off into nothingness. Have you ever seen Better Off Dead when that paper boy is chasing Lloyd down the ski slope on his bike? Like that. I am screaming "brakes, shit, brakes, oh shit" all the while chasing my kid at track star speed down the hill myself. All I could see was his little legs trying to keep up with that bike and then finally he just gave up and stuck them straight out to his sides and finally jumped off the bike, or fell off it, who knows, but he just missed the trees by about three feet and I shudder to think about that drop off just next to them. After I checked him over and deemed him ok, we sat and laughed our butts off. Well, it took Jacob a little while to find the humor in it, but eventually he laughed too. I am sure it was pretty hysterical to anyone watching, especially the grown woman running barefoot screaming obscenities in such a nice neighborhood. It could've turned out so much worse if I hadn't forced him to wear that helmet or if that bike had veered a little more to the left. SO, lesson for the day: Wear the bike helmet, you may feel like a geek, but it may save your life one day!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Find

One thing I truly love about coming to West Virginia is the food. You wouldn't think it would be the haven of tasty cuisine, but there is a variety of wonderful restaurants and ethnic speciality foods, and two of the best pizza joints known to mankind. For the rest of my stay here I will use the Friday Finds to report on the foods I find here.

This week I stopped at my favorite grocery store and found in their recently refurbished deli, gorgonzola stuffed green olives. Two of my favorite foods together in one bite...pure heaven. If they weren't $7.99 a pound I would still be noshing on the them. I also picked up some spaghetti sauce and peppers. My friend got me hooked on these eight years ago and then we moved away to a place that has never heard of them. If you could taste these, you would never eat Ragu again.

See Follow Your Bliss for more Friday Finds

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ta Da!

***Cue the trumpets and Ode to Joy***

Hallelujah! I have been "knitting" for six weeks now and finally, finally completed something! I made a hat for my baby, my sixteen month old baby, but still it's a hat for my baby!

No, he did not sprout horns, I know you're thinking that. I didn't say it was a good hat, geez

I really didn't think he would keep it on his head, figured I would put it on him long enough to get a few pictures and it would end up in his hope chest, but he wore that hat most of the afternoon like he was proud of it. Jacob, the child who cannot even LOOK at a hat, wants one too, so we are going "to town" on Friday so he can pick out some yarn and I will get started on one for him this weekend. Now, I am by no means an expert knitter. I, in fact, still suck at it. I anticipate that I will continue to suck at it for quite a while, but I am glad I now have something tangible to show for my blistered and calloused fingers.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Treasure Tuesday

If you have not figured out by now, I am somewhat of a TV junkie. I turn it on just for background noise, although I am trying hard to quit that habit. At one time (pre-children) I would watch every free moment and knew what was going on in just about every show out there. I even cut dates short to be home in time for Cheers, back in the day and scheduled my life around Must See TV Thursday. Once I became a parent, it was a toss-up between sleep or tv and eventually sleep won out and if you have kids yourself you know there comes a time when you no longer tune to soap operas and The View because your television seems permanently fixed on Noggin and Disney Channel. Having children really cuts into quality viewing time in the evenings, there is always a bath to give, stories to read, and (at least in our house) the two hour rock/fight/sleep fest so I have gone to having 20 or so MUST SEE shows to just a few, and thank goodness for tivo because I wouldn't be able to see those either. Maybe I am getting old, but I have a hard time finding entertaining television these days. Usually if I do find something, they cancel it pretty quickly, like The Book of Daniel and Reunion this season. A couple years ago I stumbled across Everwood and I was hooked. It was just a simple show about a man and his children, just trying to live their lives after their wife and mom passed away. The stories were interesting, the scenery was breathtaking, and the soundtrack was awesome. When I was pregnant, I seriously considered the names Ephram and Amy after two of the characters. All season long I waited for "fresh" episodes of Everwood, but they bumped them to spring fill-ins and we all know what that means...television death. WB is merging with UPN this fall and you know the new network is going to be chock full of quality entertainment so there was no room for a sweet, wholesome show like Everwood. Will you take my Gilmore Girls from me too, CW? So, this Tuesday I mourn my Monday night treasure, Everwood. Thanks for wrapping it up so nicely for me.

Elementary, My Dear Watson

Jacob is having a blast with his grandparents. They allow him to do lots of things that would never fly at his own home. A few days ago I walked out of the bedroom where I was trying to get Adam to nap and found him dressed like this:

He took the liberty of digging through my parent's huge closet and confiscating coats and pants and even a magnifying glass for his own use. He spent the entire afternoon playing "detective" and he cracked me up. The camouflage hunting cap really was a nice touch.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The View From Here

When I am in Texas I see bumper stickers and magnets, you know souvenir schtick, that say "I Wasn't Born in Texas, but I Got Here As Fast As I Could". I always snicker when I see them because I WAS born in Texas. My first fourteen years were spent in the same Texas place and I never knew anything different. It was nice, hot, but nice. My family moved to West Virginia in 1984, I didn't like it at first, missed my friends and had that whole teenage angst thing going on, but after spending about fourteen years here, I consider it home.

Now, there isn't much in West Virginia, at least where I am now. The capital is Charleston, and it's big by WV standards, but small sections of Houston could swallow it whole. West Virginia University is in Morgantown, which is one of my favorite towns in the world, it is eclectic and homey at the same time. The campus is beautiful and the parks surrounding it provide scores of outdoor entertainment. My friend lives in Harpers Ferry and I hear from her that it is growing by leaps and bounds, seems the DC crowd is looking for some peace and quiet, but I have never been there. My parents live in northern WV so they have access to Pittsburgh if they desire some city atmosphere, but they are secluded, living on top of a ridge away from even the small town that houses their address. It is beautiful up here. I look out the windows and see trees instead of privacy fences. I do not hear the neighbor's private conversations because the houses aren't smashed together like a lego village. I have seen robins, cardinals, orioles, and woodpeckers just today. The deer come to the house like pets looking for food. There is even a small black bear back in the woods whose Mama left him who comes scouting for his meals now and again. We might see an occasional squirrel in my southern neck of the woods. Don't get me wrong, I love my squirrel, but I would love to have a little more nature and a little less Walgreens and pavement in my everyday world. Of course, it would come with a price. I am already feeling the Target withdrawal and it kind of sucked being cooped up in a hot house on a rainy day without the old Chuck E. Cheese option to fall back on. I felt the urge to go to Kohl's this morning, but the closest one is over an hour away. I miss my urban conveniences, but I love the fresh air and beautiful scenery that is West Virginia. I wasn't born in West Virginia, but I got here as fast as I could.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

Just when I thought we were clear of the bug, it strikes again!

Adam is the latest casuality of "the stomach crud". Nothing is sadder than seeing a baby puke. It totally blows his mind and he has no idea what is happening to him. I guess it will make it's way through my parents too and I am sure our friends in Memphis have picked it up by now as well and who knows how many people we spread it to in that motel.

Who else watched Katie Couric's last Today show yesterday? I love the Today show. I love Katie, Matt, Al, and Ann, they are like friends to me. How could Katie leave us all like that for the BORING evening news? How can she be sweet and spunky and entertain America in such a somber setting? Why does the world have to change? Oh Katie, please say you changed your mind and you will stay with Matt and banter with him shamelessly forever. I can't watch Meredith Viera do it. Oh, and don't even get me started on Rosie doing The View this fall. I won't be able to stomach that.

Let's Make a Deal will be on tv tonight. I LOVE that show. When Jacob was a baby and after 9/11 we started watching Game Show Network because there was nothing else on and we got hooked. They don't show it anymore and Jacob is more of a Family Feud kind of guy now, but I hope I can get a reprieve in the puke for a while so we can see some of it tonight. It's amazing what kinds of little things can make you happy when you get so old.

My little hometown here has entered the 21st century and joined the rest of America by housing that big blue giant store you are all so familiar with. It's nice because we don't have to drive half an hour for diapers, but at the same time it sucks because what little small town charm this place did have is being blown away by the big parking lot and fancy Subway inside. It makes Jacob happy...that much closer for the grandparents to spoil him rotten with Cars merchandise.