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Monday, December 29, 2008

Aunt Jill is really smart!!

Out of the blue this morning...

Jake: "Mom. Did you know that Aunt Jill is REALLY REALLY smart?!?!"

Me: "Well.....sure I did...but what makes you say that?"

Jake: "Well, I forgot to ask Santa for some more Bakugan stuff, but Aunt Jill knew that I wanted it and gave it to me! She must be the smartest person ever! How did she know that??"

Me: "She's just really smart, I guess. And maybe a little magic, too"

Jake: "Nah...not magic. Just smart."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Before and After

Before:
and AFTER:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

10 things I like....

....that start with the letter V. (side note - I started this about 10 days ago, but was not feeling very creative, so I abandoned it in hopes of finding some inspiration. Not so much. And then it was the week before Christmas, and my little niece was sick in the hospital, and Jake started basketball, and school ended and the kids were home all the time, and Eric was home from work....and I just couldn't find the time. OY! How's that for an excuse!???!?!)

Jen (who is freakin' hilarious, by the way) over at Sprite's Keeper assigned me the letter "V" for this meme. Gee thanks, Jen! I can hardly think of 10 words that start with the letter V, let alone things I like that start with the letter V. But I'll give it a shot...

1) Vitamins. I like vitamins,because after taking them, I don't tend to feel so bad about having cookies for breakfast.

2) Variety. It's the spice of life, after all, and who doesn't like a little spice? My days may not always be action-packed, but they are never actually dull. Having two kids, a husband, a dog and a cat always leads to a variety of events or non-events.

3) Visits. I like that I am now closer to most of our family and they can come visit us or we can go visit them fairly easily, unlike those 4 years we spent in Alaska, when visiting required no less than 18 hours of air travel...and that's if the weather cooperated.

4) Vacuuming. Yes. I'm a little weird. But vacuuming is one of those chores that makes me feel like I've accomplished something. Those neat little tracks in the rug that the vacuum leaves behind? I like them. They are somehow satisfying. Again..I'm a little weird.

5) Vapor. As in water vapor. For someone like me with heinous sinus issues, water vapor from a humidifier is my friend.

6) Venus. I like that I can see it up there sometimes. And that I actually remember something from college Astronomy.

7) Velcro. Thank God for Velcro. It means that my kids have been able to put on their own shoes since they were about 2, thus saving my back and knees from bending down!

8) Vermouth. Not in cocktails. In a great recipe (Chicken and Vermouth) that came from my Aunt Nancy. Yum. Delish.

9) I'm running out of "V" words....might have to go get the dictionary..Valor? Nope...don't have anything to say about that. Value? No. Vasectomy? No. Vermin? No. Valkyrie? Nope...haven't seen the movie.

10) Vision. I'm glad I have it and can easily see that I need to end this post right now!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Friday, December 5, 2008

Things that make you go "what the.....!?!?!"

Someone please explain this to me...

I was standing in line at the checkout at Walmart behind a guy wearing a jacket like this one:

Now....I understand the need for camo when hunting...so the deer don't see you creeping up on them. And I understand that sometimes blaze orange jackets are necessary for hunters, especially if you are going hunting with Dick Cheney. But a camo, fluorescent jacket??? Really? Doesn't that just cancel each other out? Or maybe (and it's quite possible in this town!) the guy was just wearing the jacket because he thought it looked gooooood. Let me tell you two things, gentlemen: blaze orange is a hideous color and looks good on no one! And...camo? It should only be worn if it is part of your required military uniform.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ouch

Can you imagine the crick in your neck if you fell asleep in this position?


I thought she was trying to hide from me, and was quite suprised when I realized she had fallen asleep bent in half like that. I had to remove the blanket from her head to check that she was still breathing!

Check out this giveaway!

A classmate of mine from highschool is a quite talented and creative seamstress of sorts. She makes beautiful purses, burp cloths, pillows, and even jewelry. And she's doing a great giveaway! Check it out:

http://www.mommyandbeyond.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 1, 2008

Age is just a number

76. What do you hope to be doing when you are 76? I hope to be alive and well and relaxing somewhere tropical with my husband. A friend of mine, Beverly, who turned 76 yesterday, has more specific goals in mind.

Beverly is a little wisp of a thing that attends just about every one of my classes. You might take one look at her and think "oh, what a sweet little old lady". But then you would get to know her or you would see her keeping up with the "young" women in my class. She is the spunkiest lady I have ever met. She recently told me a story about chasing down some bike thieves in her car with one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand on her cell phone, poised to dial 911 when she found the little criminals. Message: don't mess with Beverly!

Anyway - back in the middle of the summer sometime, Beverly started talking about what she was going to do in honor of her upcoming 76th birthday. She couldn't decide if she would do 76 push-ups or climb the rock wall! Can you imagine??!?! This morning, after sweating it out in my class for a full hour, Beverly asked for 6 people from the class to join her in doing 76 push-ups. Many people just ducked their heads and walked out of the room, not to be outdone by someone twice their age. A few people volunteered (including me, of course. I couldn't duck out! How would that look? The instructor can't keep up with a lady twice her age??!?!) And then I guilted a few more into participating as well.

So the 10 of us assumed the push-up position (on our knees, not our toes...don't judge until you try it!) and we all began our push-ups with Beverly counting them off. We got to 10 and the lady next to Beverly started to count up to 20 and so on and so on. By about number 28 I thought my arms were going to fall off and we were only about a third of the way through! A lot of ladies stuck around and cheered us all on, hootin' and hollerin! When we all finished (well, most of us. A few people took a few breaks.) the crowd went wild. It was great!

That was all at about 10:15 AM. My arms were still shaking and burning about 90 minutes later. And tomorrow??? Don't ask me to lift anything. Including my arms.

Beverly rocks! She is living proof that age is just a number. I just hope I still have the gumption to even attempt something like that at age 76!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday Jake!

How on earth did this:

turn into this so fast?
Happy Birthday, buddy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

No Special Treatment

Apparently when Megan is in charge....even princesses have to wait in line for the bus.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day

Happy Veterans' Day. Please take a moment today to honor those men and women who put their lives on the line to ensure our freedom.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Award

OK...so enough about spiders.

On Friday, Jake's elementary school held an awards assembly for kindergarteners and first graders honoring those students who showed the most improvement over the first 9-week grading period. Jake was given the award for Most Improved Writing!



Here he is going up to accept his award:



He was also selected to carry a flag at the beginning of the assembly
We're so proud at how well he has been doing in school! I guess I better start studying...at the rate he's going, he'll know more than me by the time he's in 3rd grade!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Spider


This guy has taken up residence in the flower bed in front of our house. I'm not a big fan of spiders (and either is Eric...he's been known to jump up on a couch in response to about 150 tiny baby spiders jumping off their mother's back in our living room. I don't really fault him for this reaction, but I do mock him. I was forced to deal with these tiny baby spiders armed only with a can of strawberries and cream air freshener. OY!)


Anyway - this spider is actually kinda cool. He (or she?) spins some really cool webs and catches some interesting prey. Jake likes to check it out each day after school to see what has been caught in the web. Someone told me it was a "banana spider", but that just sounds weird. Any spider experts out there?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

3/28/04

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

As I have mentioned before, I hate politics. I rarely discuss politics with anyone. But I find Election Day really cool, for lack of a better word. There's an excitement in the air. Everyone is buzzing about it. Starbucks is handing out free coffee to those who voted (!!!!). Waiting in lines is not my idea of fun, but I'm looking forward to arriving at my polling place this morning and waiting in line to cast my vote. Every vote counts. Mathematically or statistically it may not seem like it does. I'm one of several hundred thousand (or more - I don't know how many people live and vote in my state) who vote here in NC. What's one little vote among so many? It's a lot! Remember - the election in 2000 hinged on 537 votes in Florida. 537! What if those 537 people decided not to vote because they thought their one vote didn't count for much? So vote! Because if you don't....you have no right to complain. I could go on, but the blogging genius over at Undomestic Diva said it so much better! Check her out.

*UPDATE* I went to vote and it was sort of anti-climactic....not a single person in line. In fact, I was one of just two voters at the place! Everyone else was either working there or doing some last minute campaigning by the front doors. Weird.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Delish!

My neighbor, Lori, has joined us for dinner a couple times in the past few weeks while her husband is deployed to Iraq. Each time she comes over, she brings a delicious dessert. This past weekend, she (with the help of my little Megan) made the most delicious Caramel Bars. They are my new favorite dessert...and that is saying a lot since I pretty much haven't ever met a dessert that I don't like (unless it is some sort of fruit dessert. Fruit is not dessert. Unless it is covered in chocolate. Dessert should always contain chocolate, caramel, or frosting...or all three).

So - the next time you are looking for something unbelievably decadent, make these!

Caramel Bars

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup better, melted
1 bag chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk, whatever you prefer)
1 small bag chopped pecans (about 3/4 cup)
40 Kraft caramels, unwrapped (duh!)
1/3 cup milk

Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add in melted butter and combine until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, melt caramels and milk in a double boiler or sauce pan over low heat.

Remove crust from oven, sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped nuts over hot crust. Drizzle caramel sauce on top. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool before cutting and serve with a big glass of milk! YUM!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sandwich


Look, Mom! Daddy and Megan are the bread and I am the meat! It's a Jake Sandwich!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our little starfish


Megan finished up a session of swimming lessons and has really done great. According to Megan, yesterday's class was her "gradulations".






Our little soccer star

Jake has just finished up his soccer season and what a season he had! He scored a goal in his first game back in September, a goal here and there throughout the next few weeks and he finished up the season with a bang! 2 goals ("ALL the goals for my team!") in his game on Tuesday and 1 goal in his final game, last night. After his spectacular performance on Tuesday, I brought the camera on Thursday in an attempt to capture his greatness on film and he did not disappoint! Jake is #6:

video

His teammate, Brandon, went on to score the next two goals and after each goal, Jake told him "Brandon, I was open. You should have passed it to me so I could have scored the goal". I guess they don't learn the whole There's-no-I-in-team thing until next year!

A few more pictures:



Thursday, October 23, 2008

36

Yes...I am 36 years old. But that's not what I'm talking about.

36 pairs of jeans. That is how many pairs of jeans I tried on today in my quest to find a pair of jeans that is both comfy and doesn't make me look like a total slob. I started in the misses department of a department store and tried on about 10 pairs from there. Nope...not one that was right. Most were just too long and I've never come across a tailor who can alter jeans without them coming out dorky. Some were just too matronly. Why don't jean manufacturers (or at least one's that make affordable jeans for regular people like me) make stylish jeans for people my age that don't have the words "tummy control" on the label. I want to be comfortable in my jeans....not have my mid-section wrapped in industrial strength spandex.

So off I went to the juniors department. First question - are there really people that wear size 0, long? Who the heck are these ridiculously skinny people with legs the length of your average giraffe? Oh - they are 12 year olds that haven't "filled out" yet. But still. Size 0? That's just wrong. Needless to say, I was not successful here, either, despite trying on 8 more pairs of jeans. So I was off to the next store.

9 more pairs later, I was still no closer to finding some that I liked. Too long, too tight, too flared (really - on a short girl, flared legs are just goofy looking!), fit the thighs but way too big on the waist, or fit the waist and way too tight on the thighs. Second question - why don't women's jeans come sized like men's jeans ... waist and length? That would make things so much easier! A pair with a 28 inch waist would have just that! None of the quesswork about what size of what brand will fit. And some brands' "short" are too short, but the "average" are too long, so an inseam measurement sure would make things easy!

So off to the third store I went, feeling a bit discouraged, but still determined to find something worth buying. I grabbed just about every style in my size and off to the super fabulous dressing room I went. On pair number 9 at this store, I finally struck gold! I pulled them on, zipped and buttoned without sucking it in, and checked myself in the mirror. They looked like they were made for me! Just the right length, not too tight anywhere, and a little bit of spandex to make everything more comfy. YEEEHAAAAA! After dumping the ridiculously large pile of discards at the fitting room entrance (I felt a little guilty about this, but I only had 15 more minutes before I had to go pick up Megan. I had been trying jeans on for 2 hours!), I noticed a sign that advertised a 15% discount for all military ID holders. BONUS! So off I go to the register, hand over my jeans and present my military ID and am promptly informed "the discount don't apply to jeans" (nice grammar, babe) to which I replied "well that is just asinine" and the lady looked at me with horror in her eyes. I guess she didn't know that word and probably thought I had just called her an ass. I no longer felt guilty for leaving the pile of discarded jeans in the fitting room!

Next on my to-do list: look up the customer service number for the store where I bought my great jeans, and tell them their so-called military discount rules are asinine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You know it's gonna be a long day when....

1) your three year old - who normally sleeps until 8 - wakes up at 6:15

2) same three year old begins whining immediately upon waking

3) the lame-os at the school system call for a one hour delay for FOG that was gone by 6:45

4) five year old spends extra hour at home bouncing off the walls and winding up the dog

5) three year old resumes tantrum from previous night over drinking 3 whole ounces of non-chocolate milk and carries on for 90 minutes (hmmmm...imagine if she had just slept until her normal time?)

UGH.

Luckily, the rest of the day has gone fairly smoothly. So far.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NOT an invitation

Why is it that complete strangers see my Alaska license plate and take it as an invitation to tell me their political views, their opinions on Sarah Palin and then ask me mine? Two people stopped me in two different parking lots today after seeing the Alaska plates. One of them even went on and on about how horrible Obama is. The other was more polite about things, but still....

I hate politics. I never discuss them with anyone, except maybe Eric. And even we don't agree all the time. So why would I want to discuss politics with complete strangers? And why did these strangers assume that since I once lived in Alaska I must me a Palin supporter? (Never mind the fact that she was elected AFTER I left Alaska) Didn't their mothers teach them never to assume ("it makes an ass out of u and me") anything? Whether the assumptions are true or not is not important. People need to learn some manners.

Hey - and isn't there some saying about not discussing politics or religion? What is that saying? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Note to self:

Don't use the word EXPLODE when talking about your soda bottle spraying soda all over the kitchen. It will make your 3 year old daughter afraid of diet coke.

P.S. Also...stop letting children watch TV shows with explosions.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's Official

It's official. I have turned into my father. Not my mother (although there are many things that I have -- ehem -- learned from her that I never thought I would do, say, or think...but that is a whole 'nother post!), but my father.

I distinctly remember a time when I was about 8 or 9 and my sisters and I were playing outside while my father did some yardwork or something and a teenager, driving a beat up old car of some kind, went tearing down my street. I looked at my dad and I swear I saw steam coming out of his ears. The kid must have driven by our house again and somehow my dad got him to stop to share a few words. My dad was fuming...a few bad words may have been said (nah...not my dad!)...bodily harm or legal action may have been threatened...and the kid finally drove off - very slowly - quaking in his boots. I couldn't understand why my dad got so mad at this kid. After all, isn't that what teenagers are supposed to do? Drive fast and try to look cool?

I understand now.

This afternoon, Megan and I took off on our bikes in search of Jake who was not answering my call over the walkie-talkie. During our ride, I noticed a white SUV driving VERY fast down the neighborhood street and running a stop sign. The driver pulled into a driveway, got out and disappeared into the house. After locating Jake, I noticed Mr. McSpeedalot pulling out of the driveway. I parked Megan on the sidewalk, told her not to move, and raced into the middle of the street to flag the little bugger down. He actually stopped instead of running me over and I gave him more than a piece of my mind. I ripped him a new one. I really let him have it. I was FURIOUS! And then I called him an idiot (seriously, I called him an idiot...and I only one bad word came flying out of my mouth...and it isn't such a bad word anymore...they say it on TV all the time). I memorized his license plate as he slowly drove off. I don't think he was exactly quaking in his boots (my father, at 6'3", is a tad bit more imposing than me at 5'2"), but I'm quite sure he got the message...even if he was wondering where the heck the crazed lady came from!

So you see....I have become my dad. There sure are worse people I could become. So thanks, Dad, for loving me and my sisters enough to scream at an irresponsible teenage driver that could have brought us harm.

So how have YOU turned into your mom or dad? Or what have you recently done or said that, as a kid, you NEVER thought would happen?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Slacker - *Updated with photos*

OK...OK...OK...here I am writing something. I hadn't given up on this here blog. I just didn't have anything exciting or interesting to write about. Still don't, really, but I'll give it a whirl.

Germophobes Beware!
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a germophobe. I carry Purell with me in my purse. I have a bottle in the car. And one in my gym bag. Anyway. While getting Megan ready for her swimming lesson the other day we observed another young girl (maybe 4? or 5?) walking toward the toilets with the top of her bathing suit on and the bottoms in her hand. After using the toilet - are you ready for this? - she sat down, bare-assed, on the slimy, wet, hair-infested, dirty tile floor to pull her bathing suit bottoms on. And then I puked. Not really. But I sure felt like I was going to. I'm not sure what is the grosser part of this story: the germs from the floor getting all over the girl's parts...or the germs from the girl's parts getting all over the floor where they will flourish and fester in the warm, wet environment of the lovely locker room. Bleck...Yuck....Ewwww...Ick...and every other sound you can make when something is disgusting.

On a much less gross note, Eric, the kids and I went up to Norfolk on Sunday to see one of our favorite bands ever, Eddie From Ohio (or EFO), play at an acoustic music festival. Both Eric and I play their songs in the car with the kids and we've even downloaded some of their songs on to the kids' iPod, so the kids were familiar with the music. It was a great show. We hadn't seen them in years and they managed to play the kids' two favorite songs, "Hey Little Man" and "Fly". If you aren't familiar with EFO you should get to know them. They are great. Check out their website: http://www.efohio.com/. You can also find them on iTunes and listen to some clips! I have some pictures on my camera...but putting them here requires ...yadda, yadda, yadda....here they are:

...waiting for EFO to start playing

more goofing off before the show

Eddie From Ohio

"no, mom, I will NOT dance....cheeeese"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dazed and Confused

On my way to drop Megan off at school one morning last week I spotted the following message on a sign:

Sirloin Tips
with Bev
550

I'm thinking...What kind of tips could Bev be giving about sirloin? And why such an odd time? Why not at 6? How strange.

Duh! It was on the sign for Prime Sirloin Steak House.

Maybe the sign writer should not use abbreviations. And how about a dollar sign, people? Or maybe I just need more caffeine in the morning.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Miscellaneous Storch Stuff

I realized earlier today that I haven't posted anything in a while and figured I'd better get cracking on uploading some pictures and making a few notes. (Thanks to Supervised Mama for the kick in the pants that I needed!)

Jake technically started kindergarten last week, but the bus didn't pick him up on his first two days. (Insert eye roll here....don't get me started!) He was quite disappointed that he didn't get to ride the bus, but he soon got over it and had a great day at school. Here are a couple of pictures from his actual first day and from his first bus ride to school.



He was so excited about school on his first day that he went out to sit on the front porch at 6:40 AM! The bus was supposed to come at 7:10! (Grrrrrrrrr....damn bus driver!)



There he goes...my baby is riding a bus. To school?!! How did that happen?

He was so excited to get on the bus that I nearly missed getting the picture! I was tempted to follow behind the bus to be sure that he got to his school and to his classroom alright, but I resisted and instead went back inside and back to sleep for a little bit. Mother of the Year. I'm a shoe-in.

Side note: There is a child in Jake's class named "Wonderful". I assumed it was a girl. Nope. It's a boy. I'm curious to know if he has any nicknames. Derful? Wundy? (OK. Snark stops here. For now.)

Side note #2: I, exclusively, will be dealing with his teacher. She is entirely too hot to meet my husband. I told him this. He thinks I'm crazy. But of course - he's never met her, so he just doesn't know.

Next up: Megan's first day. She was eager to get into her new classroom and play with all the new toys. Some photos...

Pretty stinkin' cute if I do say so myself!

My big girl!

Apparently now that Jake is such a big boy and rides the bus to school and everything, he thinks that he should have free run of the neighborhood. We do live in a fairly safe and friendly neighborhood, but holy crap - I mean - goodness gracious, he's only 5. ("I'm almost 6, mom!") He wanted to ride his bike down the street to a friend's house. So I dug out the walkie-talkies (I guess they call them 2-way radios now) and showed him how to use it. He sort of rolled his eyes at me (where, oh where did he learn that?) as I told him he needed to check in with me every few minutes, but he did as I requested. He even called me on the radio once just to say "I love you, Mama". Such a sweet boy.

Once TS or Hurricane Hanna clears through here, I will be taking the kids back over to the CG beach so I can try to get a photo of Megan doing her duck impression (trying to do a handstand in the water while wearing a floaty!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And it's only Wednesday!

It seems like it has been such a long week. But it's only Wednesday. How can that be?

I've been single-parenting so far this week, quite unexpectedly. Hubby left for work on Monday morning and is still not home. Such is life married to a military pilot flying planes that are older than me. Something always needs to be fixed. I suppose a delay in coming home due to repairs is better than the alternative, but try explaining that to a three year old who wakes up in the middle of the night crying for her daddy!

The funniest part of the week was Megan attempting to do handstands in the water while wearing her floatie. She would throw herself forward in an attempt to get her hands down to the bottom, but the floatie was making that a bit difficult. All I could see was her little tushy up in the air and her feet kicking furiously. She looked like a duck. And then up she would come shouting "did you see that Mommy?". I was actually rolling on the sand laughing at her. She just kept doing it over and over and over until finally she flung herself forward with enough force to flip herself all the way over. Boy did that surprise her! Not to be outdone, that prompted Jake to try to do flips. Unfortunately I didn't have my real camera with me and only remembered that I can take pictures with my phone at the very last minute...so I didn't capture the duck imitation on film (on digital? on memory card? whatever). But I did get this cute (and blurry) picture of the kids actually being nice to each other.

Oh - and Jake had his Kindergarten assessment test on Tuesday and the teacher was "wowed" by how well he did. Her word, not mine. She was also quite impressed by his drawing skills. I think this is going to be a great year for him. He goes his first full day on Friday and then begins a regular schedule after Labor Day.

So - all 6 of you who are reading this, please cross your fingers that hubby will make it home tomorrow so that he can be here to see Jake off to school on the bus on Friday morning. And so I don't have to spend the holiday weekend in the psych ward.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lessons from a 5 year old

I took the kids to the beach on the Coast Guard base this afternoon. As I sat in my chair under my umbrella, I watched Jake trying over and over to catch the minnows that kept swimming by him. He worked at it tirelessly, never doubting that he would catch them if he could only dip the bucket into the water just right. He believed that he could do it. Why would he believe otherwise? He kept at it for about 15 or 20 minutes until something else grabbed his attention. But he didn't give up....he had faith that he would catch those little buggers sooner or later.

It took me back to the back yard of my friend Meredith in Houston in the early 80s. She and I were certain that we could learn to fly if we practiced enough. We set up a step stool and jumped off it over and over and over, convinced that we were getting closer to actually flying each time we jumped. We tried various materials on our arms to help us fly. We tried different step stools. We tried different types of shoes. We must have jumped a hundred times. We truly believed that if we jumped up high enough, the wind would lift us up to the clouds.

Watching Jake's perseverance, unwavering confidence and positive attitude today put a huge smile on my face. Isn't it amazing that a five year old can remind you of such a fundamental life lesson by simply trying to catch a few fish? You may not actually ever scoop up those minnows, and you will probably never take flight by jumping off a stepstool, but it sure doesn't hurt to believe in yourself and to keep trying.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The ICK Factor!

Allow me to set the scene: a 30-something mother of two successfully potty trains both of her children before they become adults (at times it seemed as though the darling son would be wearing diapers to college). Said mother therefore thinks her days of cleaning poop are over.

WRONG!....because she didn't take Max the Cat into consideration.

Flashback to November 2007:
Jake and Eric are playing outside in the early evening when some type of four-legged, furry creature approaches them. Upon further inspection, they determine the creature is, in fact, a small cat. A very dirty, very flea-ridden, and very skinny cat. With really big ears. He had obviously been living outside for quite sometime and therefore did not appear to have the self-cleaning feature that most cats usually possess. So of course, we decided to adopt this mangy little thing. Max eventually learned to use the litter box with relatively little mess. The key word is "relatively"!

Back to present day.
I walk up the stairs to take a shower and an overwhelming stench of cat poop assaults my nostrils. Armed with a can of Lysol, I bravely enter the room from which the toxic smell is emanating. After I regained consciousness I discovered little brown cat footprints leading from the litter box to the door, out into the hallway, all the way through my bedroom, and into my bathroom. Yup - he stepped in his own poop and tracked it ALL OVER THE PLACE!

And Eric wonders why I am constantly kicking the cat out of our bed. Say it together...."ICK!!!"

I have only one question remaining: Is it bad to clean your cat with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes???

Monday, August 11, 2008

Love it!

Yes...another post about the Olympics. Can you tell how much I LOVE the Olympics? Last night's men's 4 x 100 freestyle relay is the exact reason why!

A thunderstorm rumbled through our area right around 11:00 and I was sure that our satellite TV was gonna go out right before the relay race that I had been waiting up to see. It didn't, thank goodness. The storm did, however, wake Jake up. I was actually glad that he was awake. It was 11:20 and I brought him downstairs to watch the race with me. I told him which lane to watch. I told him that if an American Flag popped up on the screen each time a swimmer touched the wall it meant our team was winning. After each length of the pool, he wondered where the American Flag was. I told him to just wait. Have faith. We will win. But then I wasn't so sure...

As our anchorman, Jason Lezak, dove in the water, I started to think that the USA team might have to settle for second place. Jake's eyes were glued to the TV. My heart rate was accelerating. Why isn't the American Flag on our screen? he asked. I don't think our team is gonna win, he said. It's not over yet, I told him. And then it happened. Lezak started closing the gap and the adrenaline took over. Mine...not just Jason Lezak's! Jake and I both sat up straight, leaning toward the TV. They might win, Jake....they might win...I think they're gonna win, I said. And then the American flag popped up and Jake's arms (and mine, too) went up in the air. I got chills. I've seen the replay no less than 20 times today and I still get nervous watching the last couple of seconds and I still get chills and a huge grin on my face when I see Lezak touch the wall first and see the reaction of his teammates. It was so great to watch and so great to share the excitement with Jake. After a race like that....how can you NOT love the Olympics???

In case you didn't see the race, see it here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Can't Wait!

I feel the electricity in the air. I can feel everyone's excitement. I'm even starting to get the adrenaline rush myself. No - I'm not talking about Coast Guard Day (Happy 218th Birthday, Coast Guard) - I'm talking about the Olympics!

I love the Olympics. For 2 1/2 weeks, I am a HUGE sports fan...no matter what the sport is. I love the swimming and the gymnastics, and the track and field, and the soccer. Heck - I even like the archery. It's all about cheering for our country's athletes. I always feel so patriotic while watching America's best compete in their sports.

I'm especially excited for the Olympics this year because Jake is old enough to really get into it. I was telling him about it last night and he said "I want to watch all of those games right now, Mommy!"

So - starting this Friday I will be glued to the networks of NBC soaking in as much patriotism as I can and cheering on every one of America's athletes! Go USA!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hugs and Kisses

Me: I need some Megan hugs, please.
Megan: Not today. Tomorrow. Tomorrow is hug day. Today is kiss day.
Me: OK, then can I have a kiss, please?
Megan: No, I don't have any more kisses. I gave them all to Nana.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Isn't he too young for this?

This evening, one of Jake's friends from the neighborhood knocked on the door to see if Jake could come out and play with her. After a few minutes of playing with the new basketball hoop and a few laps around the house chasing the dog, Jake and Abby settled on the front step and were just sitting there talking to each other. They looked so darn cute that I had to take a picture...but I didn't want to disturb them so I was taking the picture from inside the house:





Then I decided to just go out front and take their picture:

Could they be any cuter? But seriously - isn't he too young to have a girlfriend?

P.S. Please pay no attention to the dead grass in our front yard. Don't you know that NC is in the midst of a severe drought?

Finally she sleeps!

After many days of not napping, several nights of staying up late (either because of activities or because she just won't stop playing!), a couple days of bad allergies complete with a couple doses of Benadryl (and STILL not napping or falling asleep at a decent hour), she finally fell asleep! And it was before 8PM! Hallelujah!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Funny Megan

After another afternoon without actually sleeping during nap time, I asked Megan "Are you ever going to take a nap again?" Her reply -- "no I'm only gonna take beds".

An interesting take on it, I suppose....naptime vs. bed time...time to take a nap vs. time to take bed (although I never actually say that). I see the linear progession there, don't you?

Surely all these days of no naps, staying up late and getting up early are going to catch up with her sooner or later, right? Maybe she will sleep through all of next week.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Seriously!?!

Why is it that my son cannot not remember that I have ears? Does he seriously think he is fooling me when he says he was taking a nap when in actuality he was hopping around his room like a kangaroo? Does he really think I can't hear that?

Calgon....take me away!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Crazy magnet

I've frequently kidded my friend Toni that she is a magnet for crazy people. Toni has some good stories about these frequent encounters and they never get dull. Unfortunately, I think the magnetism has transferred to me! UGH! It's amusing to hear the stories, but not so much when I am a part of them.

Nothing major happened...I just got blind-sided by some crazy lady during one of my classes last week. I thought she was about to simply walk out (it happens every once in a while), but instead she chewed me out right in the middle of a turn step! I could do nothing but stand there completely still with my mouth hanging open and twenty something aerobicizers waiting for me to tell them what step to do next! It was a short chewing-out, but a chewing-out nonetheless. Thankfully, my faithful followers literally cheered me on, saying "shake it off", "just let it slide" and the like. Therefore the tears threatening to fall simply stayed in my tear ducts. I took the cheers as them being supportive and being just as dumbfounded by the whole thing as I was, but really, they were probably just hoping I would call out the names of some steps pretty darn soon so they could actually get a workout in!

One of my regulars actually chased after her with the intent of telling her that her outburst was one of the rudest things she had ever seen, but couldn't find her. Oh well. The crazy lady couldn't be found, because apparently she went to complain to the management. OY! My boss just thought she was crazy and didn't really give much more thought to it. Cool. It's over, I thought.

But for the last few days, every time I run into someone I know from the gym, they say something like "I heard about the incident in your class...it's the talk of the gym!" Great. For once I actually handled something fairly well - without my mouth getting me into trouble (shocking I know...can you believe it?) - and yet it just won't go away. Oh well. I can only hope for some other incident to occur so this just dies.

Toni - please take your crazy magnet back. I'm done with it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm off the hook!

Here's a big weight off my shoulders...

"Scientists at Harvard School of Public Health found no link at all between eating fruits and vegetables and cancer risk. It didn’t matter whether people consumed two servings a day or 10; their risk of developing cancer over the 15-year study period was exactly the same."

YeeeeeeeeeeHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

This not-so-good fruit and veggie eater (do fruit-flavored Skittles count as a fruit? Kidding, Mom, I do eat some fruit...every once in awhile...sortof) is not more at risk for cancers than all those extra health-conscious people. What a relief.

Now if someone could just find scientific proof that eating ice cream every day is EXCELLENT for your health. Then I'd be really good to go!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fourth of July at the Beach

We hopped in the car around 8AM on Friday to head out to the Outer Banks. My sister, Julie, her husband, Chris and their kids, Ryan and Kelsey, were in the area visiting Chris's parents. Mid-morning, they all trekked out to where we were on the beach and hung out for a few hours. Unfortunately, Kelsey wasn't feeling well and didn't last too long on the beach, but Ryan had a ball. He and Jake were like two peas in a pod, jumping around in the waves, splashing, and just generally having a great time.
Hopefully Julie and her family will be out at the beach again this summer so the kids can play together again! Here are two pictures that Julie took:

Ryan, Jake, Megan and Kelsey



Ryan and Jake

Sunday, July 6, 2008

41 is not old!

I'm watching the Olympic trials and just saw Dara Torres kick butt once again. That's great. I love the Olympics. But it is totally driving me crazy how they are making such a big deal about her being 41 years old! I realize that this is much older than the average Olympic swimmer, but for God's sake - it's not like she's 70! She's only 41! The announcers keep saying "this is such a story of triumph".... and so I keep waiting for some bombshell of a story to drop. Did she overcome a terrible illness? Did she have a heart transplant? Did she recover from a catastrophic injury? Did she lose a limb? No. She had a baby. And she aged 8 years since the Olympics...yup...8 years ago! Not so triumphant, really.

The fact is - Dara Torres rocks! She is awesome. She works hard, she trains hard and hard work pays off at any age. So all you NBC announcers and other news people need to just get over her age! 41 is NOT old!

(I suppose I might have had a different perspective 10 or 15 years ago, but I just don't think of 41 as old now that it is not so many years away!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Beautiful, beautiful rain!

Monday afternoon brought some much-needed rain, a bunch of frogs, a silly 3 year-old, a very wet dog, a rainbow and a dripping, nutty 5 year-old.

Anyone who has ever met Jake can attest to the fact that he LOVES water. In any form. A puddle, the ocean, coming from a hose, in a lake or river, in the bath, squirting from the refrigerator's water dispenser...or even in a cup. I'm telling you - if you are ever stranded in the desert, you had better hope Jake is with you. The boy can find water ANYWHERE. After which he will promptly splash in it.

SO - when it actually began to rain fairly hard on Monday afternoon, Jake was just crazy with excitement to stomp around in the rain puddles getting soaked. As Jake ran around delighting in the water falling from the sky, Piper followed closely behind him, trying to catch raindrops in her mouth. Apparently we don't provide enough drinking water for her.

The ditches in our front yard began filling up with rain water and out came the frogs. They were jumping into the water, jumping out of the water, hopping away from Jake as fast as they could, all while making all kinds of weird noises. Jake was in heaven! Megan, ever the more cautious Storch child, stayed on the front porch observing from afar for awhile. After finally venturing out into the driveway and subsequently getting quite wet, she started shivering and announced "I'm going inside to get a jacket". A few minutes later....out she came....wearing this:





Yes - it is her winter parka. Over her little sundress. With bare feet. Silly girl.

The rain storm also produced a gorgeous rainbow. The picture doesn't quite do it justice. It was beautiful.



It sure was nice to get some good, steady rain. Hopefully we will get more soon and have some more fun splashing around!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another great day at the beach!

We drove down to Nags Head today and had a GREAT day. The kids, as always, had a marvelous time playing in the sand and surf. It was Piper's first trip to the beach and she had a blast as well!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kids say the darndest things...

I was really dragging this morning, not much in the mood to teach my 60 minute step class at the Y. I got started with my class but my energy seemed to be kaput. Always one to try to kick the butts of my class participants, I felt I was struggling to keep them going. I know I was struggling to keep going. At the end of the cardio portion of my class, I looked over at two of my regulars - who can always keep up with my attempted butt-kicking - and they both looked exhausted. That helped me feel a little better. Shortly after my class ended, the young son - about 10 or 11 - of one of the class members came in to talk to his mom. He pointed at me and asked "who is that?". She responded "that is my teacher, Laurie". The boy thought for a second and said "Oh - she's the teacher whose classes you LOVE, right?" and mom said "yup - that's her!" So... a well-timed, much-needed ego boost for me on a day when I felt like I was doing a horrible job. It's all about perspective, I suppose.

When I got home, I took a shower, of course. When I came into the kitchen, Jake said, out of the blue, "mommy, you're pretty"...and I thought to myself "how sweet". But then he continued "...but not so much with your hair all wet like that". Maybe not so sweet. Oh well. The ego boost was nice while it lasted.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What a HUGE pain in the eye!

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to put a contact lens in your eye when your eyelid is swelled up like a dark blue balloon? VERY DIFFICULT. Just so you know...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wear your SPF!

This morning I had two small skin cancers (basal cell carcinomas) removed from my forehead, bringing the grand total of removed skin cancers to 11! Yikes! And 10 of them were on my forehead. The 11th was on my nose and I have a lovely fish hook-shaped scar to show for it. So in place of these two latest basal cell carcinomas, I now have a beautiful sideways "J" stitched above my left eyebrow. I'm lookin' good. Eventually it will fade and blend in with the rest of the scars. And at least I will never have a wrinkle-y forehead...it has been so lifted, tightened and stretched over the years.

And now for a Public Service Announcement: PUT SUNSCREEN ON YOUR KIDS. EVERY. TIME. THEY. ARE. OUTSIDE. I am living proof that sun damage from your early years will come back to bite you in the ass (or forehead) when you are older. Now - I'm lucky that I have had just basal cells. I realize it could be worse. Sunscreens are getting better and better, more effective and less greasy, sticky and smelly, so the list of excuses to not put it on yourself or your kids is dwindling....fast.

That said....I wish someone would just invent sunscreen in a pill already! There are many drugs that make you more sensitive to sun exposure, so why hasn't someone come up with a drug that does the opposite??? I'll get right on that. Me and my scientific self. Right.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A new home...

...for the Storch Stuff blog! I have many friends and family members who use "blogspot" for their blogs and I just decided that I like the way it is set up better than the MSN Spaces page that I have. So - here it is...

...Oh and I promise to try to update more often. I've been seriously slacking off for the last two months.

Beach Vacation

We just returned from a fantastic week at the beach with two other families. What a great vacation! In this case - a picture is really worth a thousand words. Err...well...several pictures.



One of Jake's favorite things about the beach...
being buried in the sand!

Another favorite beach activity for Jake: karate chopping the waves!

Megan boggie boarding in a tide pool...
the real waves were a bit much for her

Crossing the Oregon Inlet Bridge

The server seems to be having some problems with uploading photos, so the rest will have to wait.

Piper the puppy

On May 10, the Storch family brought home a new addition to our family: Piper, a beautiful yellow lab puppy. It's sortof like having an infant in the house again...getting up in the middle of the night, frequent feedings and some crying, but she has really adjusted well. She is now 12 1/2 weeks old and is doing great. She loves to play with the kids and cannot stop chasing Max the cat! When she catches him, she chews on his head until he gets tired of it and runs off.


I will post some more recent pictures soon...the rest of them are saved on the other computer.