Monthly Archives: September 2008

Memories

Wow – 9 months of 2008 are history.  I remember when I was a kid, not being able to wait for my birthday and Easter and then summer vacation and then Halloween and Christmas.  It seemed like time went by s-l-o–w–e—r than molasses.  And now, it won’t slow down.  I recently asked my mother was it like that for her when my sisters and I were kids.  She said, yes, time did seem to go faster at that same point in her life.  It seems like after the kids were born, our lives have been on fast-forward.  I look forward to birthdays and holidays and other special events, but they come and go so quickly.  I busily prepare for them, and then they just shoot by, and I don’t feel like I’ve had enough time to enjoy them.  Sometimes I try to sit back more and drink it all in, try not to do all the cleaning and preparing that I normally do, just so I can enjoy some of the time.  But now it’s still just a memory.  I guess that’s what life’s all about though.  And I hope that we are doing a good job of leaving our kids with some good memories to take with them into their adult lives. 

I was out with a girlfriend recently who just had a baby boy 5 months ago and whose (military) husband recently deployed overseas.  They also have a 3- (almost 4) year-old daughter as well.  She had dropped her daughter off for a parents’ night out at her preschool, and we were catching up over dinner at a restaurant in the mall (Cheesecake Factory…yum yum).  I had taken my youngest two as well, as they had some gift cards they had been wanting to spend.  My friend asked my children what their first memories were, to which they responded with places they remembered living at the time, Florida, Japan, Guam…  My friend said she was afraid her daughter’s first memories were going to be of her yelling at her.  And then my daughter said, Oh yeah, one of my first memories was when I stole some of my mom’s M&Ms from her purse when she told me not to, and she was so mad at me!  I didn’t know whether to try and save my friend from more feelings of guilt or feel guilty myself.  I did a little of both. 

Sitting here thinking about it now, I don’t wish that one of my daughter’s first memories is of me getting mad at her about disobeying me, but then I know that that moment must have had an impact on her because of the relationship I have with her today.  My daughter and I are very close, very good friends.  I am still The Mom, but she knows she can come to me at anytime and talk to me about anything.  I’ve told my boys the same thing.  I’m sure they don’t tell us their every thought, but we talk – a lot.  And I love it.  When I’m out and see other moms or dads with their children, I feel blessed when I see how some kids speak to (ignore) or treat their own parents (often not very well).  We aren’t the perfect family, and I know I don’t always use my best words or tone with them, but I try, just like most parents.   And we try to emphasize that how we speak and what we say to one another is important.  Why is it that we act differently with strangers (sometimes it seems better) than with our own family?  Because there is a lot more interaction going on; that’s where the memories are being made.

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Eeny Meeny Miny Moe

My children are not going to be professional athletes, that I know of, but it is so much fun to watch them play.  Yesterday, both of my sons had events at the same time.  I hate it when that happens because I have to eeny-meeny-miny-moe which one I go watch.  With three in sports it happens often, but I still don’t like it.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time yesterday (getting ready for the house to be taken over by six 14-year old girls for my daughter’s birthday slumber party), I decided to watch our oldest at his cross country meet since it was a bit shorter in length.  Since they don’t play on a field where you can sit and watch, we crossed back and forth through a large field of knee-high grass as he popped out in different areas of the course.  It was a bit warmer than we expected; the temperatures have been dropping into the 70’s this past week, so it has been much better for running.  Yesterday it must have been back up towards 90 with 100% humidity (it felt like it anyway); I was sweating just standing out there.  So I know my son had to have been feeling a bit sluggish.  He didn’t PR (better one of his previous times and make a Personal Record) but was the 2nd to cross the line on his school’s “B” team.  He came in ahead of 2 or 3 boys he’s been trying to pass with each race, so it was exciting to see him happy in achieving another goal. 

After we left his meet, my husband dropped me back at home to finish preparations for the party.  He went on to watch the end of our youngest’s football game.  When he came home, my son immediately told me the bad news; he often starts with, “I’m sorry to tell you, but…”  His team lost by a touchdown, but then the good news came.  On one of the last plays of the game, he caught a tipped ball while playing on defense and ran it back 70 yards for a touchdown.  I immediately felt regret for wanting to get back to clean and decorate for the party but was so glad my husband was there to see it.  I almost wish I could have been there just to see my husband’s reaction as he is still on crutches from his hip surgery.  I can almost see him half running, half hobbling along the sideline cheering at the top of his lungs.

Act 3 came around 5 pm with 6 giggling girls at our kitchen table.  Since my daughter loves crafts, they sat around giggling and talking and giggling some more while knotting hemp into bracelets.  Then they made English muffin pizzas for dinner after which we partook of cake and ice cream.

Luau Flower Birthday Cake

Luau Flower Birthday Cake

It was interesting to see the interaction among the girls.  I know how my daughter is around me and our family.  But I got to see another side of her as she spoke (giggled) with her friends, each of whom had a different personality from the next.  The spectrum ranged from one girl who was somewhat quiet and serious to another who was very bubbly and talkative.  Our daughter is somewhere in the middle, so it was neat to see how she interacted with the different personalities.  Last night there was a lot of (did I already mention?) giggling.  She is often stressed over school work and tests, so I think it was a nice break from all the seriousness in life. 

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Répondez S’il Vous Plaît

Even though it’s French, I think most people knows what RSVP means:  call the phone number on the invitation and say whether you can attend the event or not.  And the most important part of that is “whether you can attend the event or not.”  I have been sending out birthday invitations for my children’s parties yearly for over 15 years and then there are those for adult parties as well.  I can probably count on one hand the number of people who have actually RSVPed – to all of the parties.  I have gone so far as to call everyone on my invitation list to see whether or not they were coming as I had to know in order to plan for the event.  Why do people blow this off?  Why do they assume if they don’t call, the host knows they are not coming?  Or that they think, we’re close friends, so they know I’m coming? 

My daughter is having several friends over this weekend for a sleepover for her luau birthday party.  We sent invitations out several days ago, and yesterday my daughter came home and told me we had forgotten to put our address on the invitation (oops).  I usually go through the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) but this time forgot the Where.  After thinking a short time, though, I said that maybe this was a good thing.  If they were coming, they would need to call to get directions and then we’d get the RSVPs.  That still leaves the ones that don’t call because they can’t come.  But we still have 24 hours before the RSVP deadline, so we will see.

The French are big into dinner parties.  We got invited to many while we lived in Paris and even continue to be invited to some as we have met French families that have been transferred by their military to the area we live in now.  It’s funny how, no matter who is hosting the dinner, it feels exactly the same as another.  We are invited to arrive around 7 or 8 pm.  We go inside, greeting our hosts with handshakes or kisses to each cheek.  We are taken to the living room to drink apéritives and eat hors d’oeuvres.  And every few minutes the host walks around the room with one of the plates of food for each person to take some.  After an hour or so, we all go to the dining room, where we eat anywhere from 3 to 5 courses, each thing being served one at the time.  The wine does not stop the entire meal.  If your glass is close to empty, it is refilled.  By the time dessert is served, it is nearly 11 pm, and I am tipsy and tired.  But ususally we sit and talk some more, sometimes at the dining table, but usually back in the living room, with coffee or tea, probably to help with the tipsy and tired so we can make it back home.  But since I drink neither, I sit there stifling yawns hoping my husband will drive home. 

Foreigners love to practice their English, but sometimes they are uncomfotable not knowing certain words, so we end up speaking French for the evening.  My husband loves it.  I like it that I can practice my French too, but after an evening that starts when I am usually winding down for the day and getting ready for bed, I am pushing the full meter and don’t want to see, hear, or speak French for a while afterwards.  We’ve been invited by a French couple to a wine party next week.  My husband says that I don’t have to go (I’m not a big wine person).  But it would be weird; other couples have been invited and he would be there alone.  I know he’d be fine, and he’s just trying to make it less stressful for me, but I would feel badly for the hosts wondering why I wouldn’t come.  So, I will go and practice my French and sip some wine and hang out with my hubby (sans enfants – hey, there’s a motivation).  But first, I need to be sure he already RSVPed.

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Information Overload

I go through phases in which whatever I am into at the time, I devote almost 24/7 time to.  Well, I ocassionally stop for a bathroom break, but I really get wrapped up in the task.  When my father gave me several boxes full of old family photos (some taken before he was born) and some old birth and wedding certificates a few years ago, I went on line and googled every name I found in them.  I searched every corner of ancestry.com and any other genealogy web site I could find.  I have a huge file filled with information about family from both my father’s and mother’s sides.  I started collecting info about descentants of ancestors (distant cousins) but had to stop because it was just too much.  Now I just concentrate on direct ancestors. 

Last night as I sat here finishing my last blog, my youngest son was sitting at the kitchen table (my “office” is right next to it) asking me question after question.  I probably heard every other one.  With him, you could miss half of what he says and still get into the conversation at any time.  He LOVES to talk, to anyone at anytime.  He was 2 when we moved to Japan.  At the park, he would get into “conversations” with 60-year-old Japanese men; he spoke no Japanese, and the men spoke no English.  At that age, kids are learning new words everyday.  We would have to go through a small toll booth each time we drove in a certain area of the city we lived in.  After you give the money to the toll collector, he says, “Dozo” (pronounced with the long o sound) which means “Please (go ahead).”  Well, my son started saying it back when we would go through the toll booth, but his 2-year-old pronunciation was “Dodo!”   Needless to say, it was very difficult for me to get through the toll booth each time without cracking up.

Today he went to the dentist to get a couple of fillings.  He doesn’t have cavities from too many sweets; his teeth have little pockets that needed to be filled before they turn into something more serious.  So the dentist had to numb his gums.  But did that slow him down any?  No, he couldn’t stop telling me where he could and couldn’t feel things in his mouth and that he could feel it moving toward his ear.  He said the dentist told him not to chew on anything for a while, including his tongue.  He actually started a discussion with me as to why the dentist would tell him this.  Then he asked if he would be able to eat lunch, and he was very concerned whether he’d be able to play his trombone in band class (which is held after lunch time).  I sometimes wonder how he gets along at school without talking during class.  I have been told by all of his teachers how wonderful he is at school, so helpful, so kind, so inquisitive.  But I’ve never been told that he won’t stop talking to his neighbors.  He must save it all for me when he gets home. 

So, today I decided to check out some other blogs, now that I’ve been doing this for a few weeks.  I found out I still have a lot to learn, like how do you get music to play on a blog?  and how do you personalize it so it isn’t just one of the default templates in the background?  and how do I get through reading all of the ones I like and write mine without sitting in front of the computer from the time the kids leave for school in the morning until they walk in the door again in the afternoon?

I am having fun reading others’ outlooks on life and learning about new uses for used dryer sheets (really; see http://thenigburfamily.blogspot.com/2008/09/works-for-me-used-dryer-sheets.html).  And I found yet another place to get cookie recipes 🙂  (http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/).  My daughter will be soooo excited.  She loves to bake (like mother, like daughter); I think my husband is worrying that he will never lose those freshman fifteen (the 15 pounds he’s gained from our 9th grade daughter’s baking).  Maybe, eventually, somehow, I will learn to tame all the information coming my way.  But probably not.

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Here, There, and Everywhere

I kind of feel like I live in the land of Dr. Seuss sometimes.  Some days, it’s just non-stop fun.  I rolled out of bed at 6:30 this morning to take my oldest to a dentist appointment at 7.  What dentist is open at 7 am?!  Mine.  I guess it’s good in that the kids never miss any school when teeth-cleaning time comes around every 6 months.  We found out today that it’s time for wisdom teeth extraction, so we’ll have another patient in the house soon.  I then took him to school where I spoke with his driver’s ed teacher from last spring to find out how we go about getting his driver’s license.  Either times have changed by huge measures since I was 16 or Virginia’s got some funky laws.  When I was 15, I walked into the DMV, took a written test, and walked out with my learner’s permit.  The day I turned 16, I walked into the DMV, took a driver’s test, and walked out with my driver’s license. 

Now, 15-year-olds with learner’s permits must drive at least 45 hours with a licensed driver, 10 of which must be at night, and all of this must be recorded and signed by the aforementioned licensed driver(s).  When this is complete, along with the mandatory driver’s ed class, he has to wait until 9 months after the learner’s permit is issued before he can apply for a driver’s license – yes, “apply.”  After the license is applied for, an appointment is set with the court, which is usually about 3 months after the application date.  Until that time, he is an unofficially licensed driver with a learner’s permit and a piece of paper that says so.  On the court date, he is to appear before a judge with a bunch of other unofficially licensed drivers and go through a licensing ceremony.  When the driver’s ed teacher said “ceremony” I almost laughed; he was serious.

It’s things like this that keep life interesting.  Because if it was just getting up, cleaning the bathrooms, going to the grocery store, picking up from cross country practice, doing the laundry, dropping off at football practice, cheering at a softball game, vacuuming the house, delivering to a girl scout meeting, and getting up to start it all over again, then it would get boring.  Tomorrow starts at the dentist again but this time with my youngest.  I’m pretty sure he won’t need any teeth pulled, and I know he won’t be attending a licensing ceremony anytime soon.  But I’m sure there will be something else that will sneak its way in there.

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Back to the Books

Now that my kids have been back to school for 3 weeks, it’s my turn.  Last night I started the second half of a Spanish class I started in the spring.  Then, the class was held during the day and mainly consisted of senior citizens, most wanting to have a better understanding of the language when they go on missions trips with their churches.  They had some neat stories about their travels to different Spanish-speaking countries.  This time the class is at night and is full of people more around my age.  I’m sure I’ll gradually find out their reasons for taking the class.

I took Spanish in high school, and since the French I learned 3 years ago has stuck fairly well with me, I thought I’d give Spanish a whirl again.  I don’t think I can beat the training we had with the military program, but I figure I’ve got nothing to lose in trying (except the $65 I paid for the class).  I need to be a bit more disciplined than I was in the spring though.  I’ve bought lots of Spanish workbooks and even language tapes and cds.  I’ve downloaded podcasts to my ipod.  I’ve listened to a few here and there when I’ve had the chance.  But I think actually going to the classes will help the most.  In the spring I studied a little between the once-a-week classes but not nearly as much as I did with the French.  Maybe the fact that there were tests and grades with the French class motivated me a bit more and that the class was held every weekday probably helped as well. 

When I first started researching blog spots a month ago, I came across some foreign language blogs on livejournal.com.  There were quite a few posts by people who are trying to improve in a second language.  I found one girl who speaks English but grew up with a Spanish speaker at home as well.  She is now trying to improve on her French which she took in college.  We are in the process of meeting on line and trying to set up a way we can help one another.  I hope it works and that this might be another way to improve on my Spanish. 

As I continue to look at other blogs, it is amazing all the info out there in cyberspace.  One website I found is a little different than others, experienceproject.com.  I think it’s a neat concept.  I found it while searching for military families who are getting ready to separate/retire from the military.  I found a posting there by a woman who is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life; as a result I met a slew of others with similar interests to mine.  I met a brand new Navy wife last week who is getting ready to move to Guam; it will be their first duty station.  She seemed so excited yet nervous, but I think I helped alleviate some of her worries. 

The internet is a great place to learn new things, meet new people, share experiences…  I could spend hours on the computer sometimes.  But I don’t think it can beat face-to-face interaction.  So, I’m off for now to go learn and share with my family.

Hasta luego!

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Politically Correct Stories

Since my significant other’s surgery last week, he has had a lot more time on his hands.  He wants to talk politics with me, since I am always around asking if he’s okay or needs another round of meds.  I have always been one to stand back and watch a situation before jumping into it.  I don’t know who I’m going to vote for and may not until I mark my ballot in November.  The e-mail forwards are in full force right now, and I usually peruse them and then press DELETE.  I don’t forward much of anything.  I don’t believe that I’ll be struck down by a meteor if I don’t or that my e-mail address will make its way back to Bill Gates and consequently be paid $1B, so if you don’t hear from me after this blog, I was wrong.

I’ve been trying to find a new book to read since last week.  I ordered Twilight on line (my daughter borrowed it from a friend and then decided to start buying them with book #2, so I’m waiting on a backorder).  I’ve been searching my bookshelf because I often buy a bunch of books by one author when I’ve found a book by them I like.  I just can’t remember which ones I’ve read and which I haven’t.  Kind of sad, huh?  As I was perusing, I came across Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, a book that was published back in the 90’s.  I love fairy tales and I found this book a riot when I first read it.  I decided to find out if the author had put out any other books (or “processed tree carcasses,” as he calls them).  His website says he’s got 4 others, and 3 are out of print.  I should check if the local library has them, but my husband and I are book fiends, so I’m checking Amazon as I type here.  There’s a teaser about his most recent book, Recut Madness: Favorite Movies Retold for Your Partisan Pleasure, just enough to make me want to know what happens next.  So, they are on their way, hopefully not backordered so I don’t have to wait until Christmas to read my next book.  I guess I could read one of the books on my shelf; if I’ve forgotten whether or not I read it in the first place, I guess it won’t matter much.

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