Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Lights!

It is our first Christmas in this house; the second Christmas in Florida.   

Over a stretch of three days after Thanksgiving, Chris decorated the house.  I instructed him quite well and he followed directions okay.  

My firm request were for the candy cane stripe columns in the front of the house.  I was pretty adamant about that.  Those columns  SCREAM for candy cane stripes, don't you think?   

We have more decorating to do.  With a toddler who desires to escape at every chance that is humanly possible, it is a little difficult.   We are practically biding our time until DHS is called on us; this child is smart and inventive with her escapism plots.

So a little-at-a-time is how we roll.  


Thursday, November 25, 2010

When You Say "Wisconsin," You've Said It All....

If I had one wish, it would be to be a student at the University of Wisconsin.  That is the greatest school ever and I love the whole state of Wisconsin.

For Christmas I would love for Chris to purchase tickets to the Rose Bowl or whichever bowl it is in which Wisconsin plays.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tearing out Shrubs and Planting New Flowers

The people who landscaped our house will probably weep if they drive by our house.

That's because yesterday I yanked  out everything they planted in our front landscaping, save for the sago palm.  

It's amazing how spoiled we have become with this house.   

This is a picture of our first house.  

When we first moved in, there was NO landscaping.   As in none.  

Chris planned and created the retaining wall landscaping all by himself.  (I was so proud of him.)  We were completely broke with the down payment and moving, so we had to wait to the following year to landscape.   Until then, it looked sad and barren.  
I had always wanted to have lilacs, and these lilac bushes on the south side of our house FINALLY bloomed the VERY LAST YEAR we lived there.  

We lived there just shy of five years.   I loved my lilacs, and honestly, I was so sad to leave these shrubs.  I knew lilacs don't do well in Florida and they are my favorite flower.  

Now, jasmine has become my new lilac.  

Before closing.

Early summer...getting settled.

Adding more to the front...see the bistro?  Probably mid-late summer.
 As I said,  we have become really spoiled.

We were presented with this beautifully landscaped house and I ripped it all out yesterday.    It was driving me bananas, and I realized why:  there was no color!

I have set the plants out in the places where I intend to plant them, but they aren't officially in the ground yet.  That is tomorrow's project.

(Sidenote ~ I'm driving my husband completely bonkers because the inside of the house remains unpainted.  He has asked me to finish the painting "project" before I start others like landscaping, decorating, making windchimes, etc.  But painting just isn't as much fun.)

I took pictures to show my mother today when I visited.  I thought I would share them with you, too!

All set out.

Hibiscus "tree" and the Imperial Blue Plumbago 

Imperial Blue Plumbago & pink double knockout roses! 


Roses, Imperial blue Plumbago bush and the yellow Verbena

This was the most interesting petunia I have ever is pink on the inside, with green around the outside.    They are also the "wave" variety, so they will cascade out of the hanging basket.  So cool!

This was the prissiest little bougainvillea plant for the longest time.    I honestly thought it was dead.  It has finally perked up,  grown like wild and has gotten flowers on it.  I am going to buy a trellis soon for it so it will climb up the south side of the house.  


I am a dumpster diver!  Someone threw this almost-dead aloe plant out in the trash....with a little TLC, it has come back and is ALMOST healthy.  

These climbing roses are getting SO BIG!

I tore out the regular grasses and replaced them with varigated grasses instead.  

I'll update the pictures when I am completely finished and my landscaping is complete.

Actually...scratch that.  Knowing me, it will never be complete.  I'll keep fussing with it.  I'll never be settled.  Changing things out/adding to/taking away from the landscaping is what makes owning a house so fun.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Freak Outs and Insanity

I don't like announcing the fact that I have been alone with the kids for two weeks in my blog.

However,  since these two weeks from effing hell are heaving their last, labored breath and are winding down, I feel I can disclose my vulnerability.

I guess if I think about it, I am fairly anonymous so who the heck cares?

But there are those horror stories, you know...  In my case, I watch too much of the local, Orlando news about weirdos and freaks.

And statistically, because Florida is more populated than a state like Nebraska,  there are THAT many more freaks living here.    So, I just think twice about writing publicly that my husband is out of town.

He has been in South Carolina at Army Chaplain training school.  He has been telling me about it, but as usual, I have been "hearing," but not really "listening."

 I do know he has been at Fort Jackson, because the last time he was there, Wes and I visited him and we had a splendid time kicking it in the base's kick ass water park for a week.

At the end of our visit, I split to Florida for two weeks of "mommy alone time," to be taken care of my MY mommy and lay by the swimming pool.

However, the weather gods had other ideas, and sent hurricane Charley directly through the path of my parents' and my brother's house and messed up my sunning, shopping/dining out plans.   Everything closed and there was no gas available from Florida to Georgia for weeks.

Anywho, here are just a few highlights of my two weeks home alone with the kids.

There were many other times in which I wanted to "swim out past the breakers, and watch the world die," (as Everclear  put it)  and offer myself as shark bait.

Yet. I have been hanging on with, bleeding, unmanicured fingernails.  There is a slight chance that I may need to be admitted somewhere sometime in the near future; however, I haven't been listening to the Counting Crows 24/7 like last time, so the situation hasn't hit "critical mass" just quite yet.

1.)  The brakes went out on my old Mercedes.  To anyone who knows anything about Mercedes vehicles, when brake pads go out, the entire system (pads, rotors, etc.) need to be replaced.  Can anyone say, "beaucoup bucks?"

And since we are fabulous planners in our house, do you think we were ready for this?   Riiiiiiight.   My neighbor had to take me to rent a car at the nearest Enterprise.      There was one car available.  It was a convertible.

I had this little daydream floating around in my puny little brain about my hair blowing in the breeze along A1A.    

"I just need a car to get around town and pick up kids and stuff like that," I told Luke, the Enterprise dude.

"Eh, how many kids you got,"  he sounded hesitant, and frankly, his tone of voice was seriously cutting into my rock star daydream.


"Three might be a little difficult in this car.  There's practically no backseat, and it is a two door."  

Mehh, I thought...they'll manage.  It's a convertible.  

I realize Luke was a little wiser than he appeared ~ what with the food stains on his shirt and the greasy hair ~ the very second I tried to get the car seat in the back seat of a two door convertible.  

And you just try securing a wiggling two year old into a car seat in a two door convertible EVERY SINGLE TIME you get into the car.      
It wasn't this particular convertible.  I wish.
And you can't put ANYTHING in the trunk if you want the top down.    Not even groceries!

And if a kid wants to get out of the back seat, and someone is in the front seat, the person in the front seat has to get out of the car to let the person in the back seat out.  

And most likely, the person in the front seat is the person in the back seat's brother.  And they hate each other.  And it causes a fight.   And name calling.  And punching and hitting and shoving.  

And the mother wants to go drive the said convertible into the ocean.  

And those two doors are way heavier and bigger than I am used to, which means I keep slamming the driver's side door on my thigh.  I have a ginormous bruise to show for this.

AND it has rained much of the week.  Now it has turned way cold.  Not convertible weather.  

Dammit.  I should have just rented the Chevy Cobalt.  Not sexy.  But neither are straightjackets and thorazine.

2.   Last Friday, Calvin couldn't get a ride home from the varsity football game.  

It was an away game and the bus arrived at approximately 11:30 p.m. at the high school.  

I was frantically texting him.  

"Did you get a ride?"  

"Find a ride?" 


 "TEXT ME." 

 "CALL ME."  


The hysteria was setting in.

Because I was alone with two sleeping children and I honestly didn't know what I was going to do or who I was going to call at midnight to come sit with the sleeping kids.  I COULD leave them, but people are arrested for that sort of shiz all the time around here, and I didn't want to chance it.

I peeked out my door to the neighbor's house.  He's usually outside drinking beer at all hours, working on one of the six cars in his front yard.   And he didn't fail me now.  

Although HE wasn't outside personally, the garage light was on and it looked like everyone there was still up.  

I walked over and knocked on the door.     Imagine his surprise to see YOURS TRULY on his doorstep at 11:45, begging him to come sit on my couch for 25 minutes.  

I swung into the school, frantically looking for Calvin.  

He glanced at me sauntered towards the car.  

He saunters and moves extremely slow.  I have no FREAKING  idea how he was put on varsity offense.

I rolled down the window.  "Hurry up, dammit!  I left a STRANGER with kids!"

I was met with a vacant, fifteen year old boy stare.

"Move it, move it, move it," I squealed as I motioned frantically.  

"What's wrong," he said as he flopped into the car, flipping his hair.

"I left the neighbor with the kids.  I don't know the neighbor."

"Sorry, mom."  

"Yeah, whatever."

3.)   This week, Wes decided that he wasn't going to go to school.

Yeah, I KNOW. 

He woke up with a little allergy induced sore throat the first day, but certainly not enough to stay home from school.   There was some freaking out, threatening of "no more Jaguars games," which brought a few tears, but not enough to motivate him to get his nine-year-old butt to school.  

The SECOND day, he flat out refused to go to school.  I'm still bigger and stronger than he is and I suppose I could overpower him, throw him in the car and and just drive him there, but a.) he has been known to jump out of cars (I KNOW, this kid is nuts when he doesn't want to do something), and b.) there is the problem of having a two year old along for the ride.    

So, I called my Hungarian neighbor.  

Wes is a little scared of her after she chewed him up and spit him out for running around the neighbor hood with no shoes on.  ("Vhere do you think you live?  You live in Florida now.  Things vill kill you in Florida.  You vill vear shoes.  You VILL!!!!"  Except it went on for about ten minutes and Wes was in tears.  It was awesome.)

"I vill get him to school,"  she said.  

After a while,  when she realized he wasn't going to be convinced to go to school,  the tone turned to, "I vill get him to clean his room."    

And she did.  And he cleaned the family room.  And vacuumed.    I heard her yelling the entire time, "Vhat is this?!  You mother and father give you, give you, give you.  You live like a gypsy! (He didn't get the insult.)   Look at this room!  Vhat a mess!  Look at the trash!  Candy wrappers!  Oh, my GOD!  Vhat a mess!"

This morning, another neighbor came over and had him crying and out the door by stressing he was going to fail school and would have to repeat the fourth grade if he didn't go to school.   

 I wish I would have thought of that one.  

Other mothers would be embarrassed to admit failure to have to call in help, but I am not.   As the kids get older, I'm buying more and more into this "it takes a village" shit. 

 Wes is a different bird and he is so ready to have his father back.  He is so wicked smart  that sometimes he outsmarts me, and sometimes even outsmarts Chris.  

Chris  told me a few months ago, "Everyone gets it...the kids drive you nuts."  As in, "don't blog about it anymore..."    

But you know what?  Sometimes when I read other peoples' blogs about how nutty and out of control their houses are, it makes me feel a little better about mine.  Like...I am not alone in my insanity.  

And it HAS been insanity.   The blood pressure has reached 2008 levels.    I am hoping things will calm down now in our lives.  I don't think there are going to be any more out of town trips any time soon.

You know, there are some mothers who are cut out for this kind of stuff.  They can handle what is thrown at them, they can organize like rock stars, they make it all seem effortless.  But, that is not me.  

Things seem to fall apart when he is gone...because he is the stabilizing one in our family; I am more of the flake.    

 Maybe that isn't the best thing, but he loves me, and I love him.    And when he is gone, I learn to appreciate him more than ever.  

And I don't know what I would do without him.