Friday, December 31, 2010

Rarest of Things

Today was a beautiful day.  The temperature was in the 60's and the boys had a blast playing outside with friends.

As we were driving along, Dominic said,"A day this warm during the winter is a rare thing.  I won't say that it's one of the rarest things.  After all, it's more rare that an American can do 10 perfect push-ups."  heehee

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dominic, the Phoenetian Sailor

Dominic got in trouble tonight.  I know this is a shock to many of you.  As cute as he is, he's not an angel.  His offense?  He was playing gameboy instead of getting his bag and getting out to the car, where we were all waiting.  His punishment?  He got his video game privileges suspended.

So, there we are, driving home.  He says, "I feel like I've made a huge mistake in my life.  I feel like I've made a huge, big, big mistake in my life."

After we determined that he was in fact referring to his game playing, I said, "Look.  That was just an itty-bitty mistake."

And then, do you know what that sweet little boy said?  He said, "Could you only take my gameboy privileges, instead of all my video game privileges?  It was just a little mistake."

Wow.  He set me up like for that like a used car salesman trying to sell a lemon.  He's good.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gangsta Christmas

Dominic received four Christmas gifts that made for a great gangster look.  He wore it all day.

Bartender, a beer for the little lady.

Dude, Merry Christmas!

Bet it all, Baby!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pushup Camp

When I was in boot camp, my company commanders decided that the best way to build up our pushup endurance was to make us do pushups at random times throughout the day.  So, starting the first week of boot camp, any time someone entered our company room, we had to drop down and do pushups.  The number of pushups was determined by what week and day it was.  So, the first day of the first week, we had to do 11 pushups.  The third day of the second week, we had to do 23 pushups, and so on until we were comfortably doing 87 pushups several times a day during our last week of training.

Last week, Gary and I decided that they boys' pushups were sorely lacking for red belts.  We decided that something similar to my company commanders' routine would work for our family.  The question was how to make it work?  Gary decided that it would be whenever anyone went to the bathroom.  So, when anyone in the family goes to the bathroom, everyone has to do pushups.  We're starting with one.  I know.  That's a little pathetic, but our goal right now is to make sure everyone has perfect form.  We're of the opinion that if the form is not good, the pushups might as well not be happening.

I think it is probably due to cosmic justice that we're starting our pushup camp the same day I decide to get hydrated.  That means I am drinking a lot of water.  Which, in turn, means I am going to the bathroom every 15 minutes.  Oh yes.  We will be doing a lot of pushups this week.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coming Light

Wishing you a wonderful winter!  Celebrate the coming light.  Enjoy the new birth of the world.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Three Pictures



And not one of them had every person's eyes open!  Oh well.  Aren't we beautiful?  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

He's Home!

I take a shower every morning.  Every night, I take a bath.  I love hot water.  In fact, we have decided that we need a hot tub.  It will save water, big time, to have one.  After all, I don't take a bath to get clean.  I take a bath to relax.

Gary got home Thursday afternoon and I have not taken a bath since.  You see, he's got jet lag and is pretty much knocked out every night.  I have husband lag and just want to spend all my time lying in bed beside him.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Vacation We Have no Pictures of

If you are planning to take a cruise and are easily put off by things, don't read this post!

My husband travels, a lot. In 2006, he was gone over 4 months, but not all at one time. He was gone for 2 days here, a week there, up to 3 weeks there. Usually with a couple weeks at home thrown in between. He also had a pretty stressful job. So, one day, looking a my beloved husband, the light of my life, I noticed that he was getting a wee bit burnt out. We'd always wanted to go on a cruise, so I decided to send the 5 of us on a cruise for his Christmas present.



A few days before Christmas, we pulled the kids out of school early, rushing from Xavier's Christmas play to the airport, and left for Orlando. To give you a hint about this trip, the best thing about it was our flight down there. We had a GREAT flight. We flew Southwest, and our male flight attendant must have been a stand up comedian in his other life, or he wanted to be. He cracked jokes the entire flight. He was actually funny, too!



So, here we are in Orlando, on our first "real" family vacation ever. In the past, we always spent all of our money visiting family. We do go camping at least once a year and that is what we consider our family vacations, which we really, really enjoy. But, this is our first commercial vacation. We've got our luggage and have just realised that the hotel we had booked has to be canceled and we have to make reservations at a new hotel. Fortunately, after much stress and strain on my part (read tears and thoughts that our vacation is ruined- I'm a little dramatic), we get settled into the hotel that is in the airport. Now, this is a really nice hotel. I would recommend it to anyone. It was the Hyatt. (As a side note here, my in-laws took the older kids and their cousin on a cruise in April 2006, and stayed in this hotel. Some of the rooms look out over the atrium of the airport and my in-laws had connecting rooms on that side. My father-in-law looked out to see my then 8 year old son climbing from one balcony to the other! Here is a picture of said balconies. As you can see, he had to climb out around the outside to get to the other balcony. Needless to say, I strongly encourage you NOT to let your children do this!)







The next morning, we got ready nice and early and waited around FOREVER (it seemed) until the bus was ready to take us to our ship. The bus ride wasn't bad, they had movies that they played for the hour we were on our way. When we got to the cruise reception area, it was to find out that their computers were broken. So, the boys played while I stood in line and waited, again, FOREVER (maybe 30 minutes?).

That first afternoon on the ship was a lot of fun. We ate lunch, which was fabulous. We looked at our room. We went swimming after our luggage arrived. I suggest you keep a suit with you so you can enjoy the pool before everyone else gets their suits! When we got our suits, we went to the kiddie pool. It was packed. Dominic (3) did NOT like it. However, there was a splash zone there for little kids. I let him get in that. Shortly thereafter, I was told that that area was for toddlers 2 and under, only. What! So, what is he supposed to do? I got up my gumption and asked the attendant if he would please clear out the pool so that my son could play in it. He said as long as the other parents didn't mind, my son could play in the splash zone. Fortunately, those parents suggesting me talk to the man were the reason I managed to get my gumption up, so Dominic was allowed to play.

Gary and I had reservations for a special adult only restaurant, so we had signed the boys up for the kids' zone for that night. They ate supper at one of the many "fast food" places around the pool, then got ready to go. On our way back to our room, Gabriel (9) started complaining about feeling sick. Once there, he wanted to go to bed. Then, he threw up. Okay, obviously, he isn't going to the kids' zone, now what? We packed the other two off to the play zone and put Gabriel to bed. Now, this is the part that I was really impressed with. We called the restaurant and told them that our son had motion sickness and could we please reschedule. They asked us if we would like our meal in our room. They brought everything we could possibly want, even when we forgot to order dessert. It was a great meal. I was very impressed with their service.

After the meal, we picked up the other two kids and put them to bed. About 11:00, I heard coughing and then, Dominic threw up all over his bed. We called our host and he came and changed all of Dominic's sheets. Then, Dominic did it again at 1:15, and again the host came and changed all of Dominic's sheets. Then, Dominic did it again at 3:00. Again, the host came and changed all of Dominic's sheets, at which point Gary moved to Dominic's bed and Dominic joined me. For the next 5 hours, Dominic threw up ever 15 minutes. After a certain point, he could no longer hold his head up to throw up in the trash can. Since he was mostly producing phlegm and spit, I stopped worrying about it. I had a wash cloth by the bed that I held under his mouth, then threw on the floor and went back to sleep. It was a rough night. In the morning, we arrived in Bermuda. Now, I had been looking forward to Bermuda. I love traveling. We planned to spend the morning shopping and the afternoon at the beach. What could be better? Well, for one, sleep. I took Dominic to the Clinic, where they said he had the flu. Huh? The flu? The only symptom he had was vomiting. He had no other symptom. But, since they diagnosed him with the flu, he was confined to his cabin for 48 hours. Okay, this is a 3 day cruise. The first day was really 1/2 a day and that was already over. So...he was going to have to spend the rest of the cruise quarantined. Since Dominic was only 3 years old, this meant that one of the adults was quarantined, too. Since I had gotten NO sleep the night before, that meant me. Nobody was allowed to leave the ship. Since no one else had shown signs of sickness, they were allowed to leave the cabin. Dominic and I spent most of the day sleeping.

Fast forward to Thursday night. Gary is sick. In and out of the bathroom. Same symptoms, but not as bad. He didn't go to the clinic the next day. I remembered to give Gabriel his Dramamine BEFORE the ship left shore that night, so we had no seasickness.

On Friday, we were allowed to leave the ship and go to the beach, since we were on Disney's private island. However, everyone was so tired and weak, we only stayed for an hour (long enough to eat) before we went back to our cabin.

At about 7, we get a call from the kids' zone, Gabriel's not feeling well. We go to get him, and what happens? Gabriel throws up right in the middle of the floor just as I got there. Poor kid. Thinking I didn't give him his seasickness medicine in time, I take him back to our room to relax for a bit. By the time we got there, he was ready to be sick again. Then, Xavier got sick. It was all night. They were in and out of the bathroom all night long. Close to morning, Gabriel stopped throwing up. Xavier, however, was still throwing up when the morning came. Gary carried Xavier to the clinic, where they gave him a shot. He will tell anyone who listens that while a shot in the buttocks hurts a lot, it's better than throwing up!

So, by this point, Dominic is feeling better, Gary is exhausted from taking care of the boys all night long (Thank you, Gary!) and neither Gabriel nor Xavier can walk unsupported. We had to stand in line to go through customs and that was not fun for Gabriel and Xavier.  When we got to the airport, we realized that we were about 3 hours early. The cruise lines had recommended that we not get a flight until after noon to accommodate unexpected delays. That is great advice, but we had two boys in wheel chairs who were too weak to open their eyes, a husband that was exhausted, a 3 year old that needed to run, and a mom that just wanted to have everyone home.  We paid the change fee to get everyone on an earlier flight that left 20 minutes after we got to the gate. Yay!

We got to Baltimore and realized that, of course, our luggage is NOT coming in on our flight. Not a big deal, we're home. Wait, our keys were in the luggage. What? Who would do a stupid thing like that?  An exhausted man who's brain is doing well to walk and talk, that's who! I had a free rental car certificate with me that I had just gotten in the mail before we left. Gary took it and got us a rental car. Now, I say it was free, but since he had to rent a car seat, and since we didn't know when he would be able to return it...

While we waited for Gary to come back with the car, Gabriel and Xavier sat in wheel chairs while Dominic romped. It was December in Baltimore and a bit chilly. We were all in short sleeves without jackets because those were locked in the van. Why? Because I knew that we were going to get right into the car when we got back. Why would we need to take them with us? So, there we were; I was worrying that I was going to miss Gary in his pass around the airport, because it is taking him so long. So, I took all the kids (that means pushing 2 wheelchairs) outside to watch for him. When everyone is nice and cold, I took them back inside, and like any good mother, leave them there while I go back outside to watch for Gary. Unfortunately, I could't watch for Gary and stare through the window at the boys at the same time, so I just went back inside. While we were waiting, 3 people, 2 from the airport and 1 traveler, took it upon themselves to tell me that those wheelchairs were for people who need them, not for children to play in. At this point, I was so stressed, I really wanted to go off on them, but instead I calmly told them that, contrary to their uninformed opinions, my children do need them because they were sick all night and CANNOT walk. So, please, go away. Okay, forget about the good intentioned interferers. Finally, I see Gary walking up. Smart man. Apparently, Baltimore doesn't have rental cars on site, so he had to ride the bus off site, get the car and return. Then, being the highly intelligent man that he is, he parked the car and came to get us. Too bad we hadn't arranged that beforehand! LOL

Well, that's the story. It is the only Christmas I can remember where everyone slept past 9. All I can say is, if you knew us, you would know, that while this was the worst cruise possible, we all really enjoy telling this story. It is probably the best vacation story we will ever have. Which makes it a great cruise!

Was it relaxing? Not really. Was it funny? By the time we got home, it was. Will my husband ever go on a cruise again? Probably not. Which is really too bad, I really miss shipboard life. I miss being out on the ocean, surrounded by water, in the dark, feeling like I'm the only person around... Oh, back to the story.

I still don't think it was the flu. I have a nonexistent immune system. If someone sneezes 3 miles away, I get their cold. Yet, I was holding my son's spit in my hand, and believe me, I had stopped jumping up and washing my hands after a while, and I never got sick. This illness really acted like food poisoning. Since the stuff my husband and kids were eating almost always upsets my glass stomach, I was eating other stuff.... So...  It doesn't matter.  The lesson here is: Always get the travel insurance.  They refunded us the portion of the cruise for myself and Dominic because we were quarantined.  If Gary had gotten quarantined, his would have been refunded as well.

Dominic-ism

"I've been re-contemplating whether or not I like Domino's."  Where does he come up with these words?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Musings of an Almost-Convert Part 2: Christianity

I'm not sure where to start in regard to my experience with Christianity.  It was a long, sometimes painful, experience.  The experience continued far past my personal search for G-d in Christianity.  I have do desire to relive the experience, and I have no desire to denigrate any religion.  So, instead of discussing in depth my experience with Christianity, I will give you an overview and a few observations.

First, I want to say that I obviously still have a very strong painful reaction to my experience with Christianity, or I wouldn't have difficulty discussing it.

I was raised in what can only be termed an Evangelical church.  I began to question the religious beliefs of my parents when I was in elementary school.  So far as I can remember, no one took my questions seriously.  I was supposed to believe whatever the pastor taught me, and I was supposed to believe with blind faith.  I asked questions that were not adequately answered- ever.  By the time I was in high school, my faith was on full reverse.  I tried so hard to believe what I was taught.  After all, if I didn't I was going to go to hell.  Hell is a fearful thing.

After I left home, I still pursued the Christian religion.  I went to different churches.  I visited many different churches with other sailors.  I went to Chapel on Sundays.  I read my Bible.  Finally, after much soul searching, I decided it was time to move on.

Here are a few of the things I observed about Christianity.  Please remember these are my observations of the churches and people I knew and know.

First, Christianity is a religion that is built on fear.  Certainly, Christians talk about heaven a lot, but mostly they want to avoid hell.  Avoiding hell is the main motivation.

Second, many of the Christians that I knew talked about peace in their souls.  G-d gave them peace.  But, when they weren't talking about that peace, they were talking about the hardship in their lives.  They talked about the things they worried about.  They spent large amounts of time grieving for and praying for those that were "lost."  This is not peace.

Third, I have a problem with faith healing.  I will not go into detail, again, about my problems with faith healing.  If you would like to see what I have already written on the subject, please visit my previous post.

Finally, and perhaps most important, I truly believe that any religion that is based on fear is not truly what G-d would have us believe.  Certainly, I have no scripture to back this up, but I am not a Christian.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Musings of an Almost-Convert Part 1

I left my parents church with a heavy heart 16 years ago.  The heavy heart was not for the religion, but for the family I was leaving behind.  I had stopped believing what they believed at least four years before that. However, I had not stopped being a spiritual person.

Over the years, I searched for that religious place I could call home.  I researched and investigated multiple religions.  I tried out different churches.  I spent more time wandering from religion to religion than most people spend thinking about the beliefs they've held their entire lives.  I knew I believed something.  I just didn't know what.

I spent an entire year attending a Buddhist temple in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I loved it there.  If I had not had two young children and a husband who was deployed, I would have continued to attend.  To this day, whenever I am in town, I have a strong desire to attend services.  Unfortunately, I think my mother might have a heart attack if I did.  So, I have restrained that desire.

Five years ago, I finally took the time to start studying a religion that I had been curious about for as long as I can remember- Judaism.  After reading a couple books, I realized that I had found the religion for which I had been searching.  Sadly, I have major social anxieties, which include using a telephone, so I put off my conversion for another two years.

Finally, after we moved to Kentucky, I decided to pursue my conversion.  I found a synagogue.  I began to meet with the rabbi there, and attend services.  It felt like I had come home- to the religion that is.  The synagogue was not a good fit.  It was hard for me to complete my conversion when I knew it would be one more thing that I did not share with my husband.  Gary is gone so much that I didn't want anything else in my life that I could not share with him.  So, I struggled with my decision to convert.  Then, Gary deployed.  It was hard to make it to the conversion classes.  After three months, I decided to stop pursuing my conversion.

I still believe.  This is who I am.  In my heart, I am a Jew.  In reality, I am just a person in limbo.  I read books about Judaism.  I study.  I celebrate Jewish holidays.  I mourn on Yom Kippur.  But, I continue along this path.  Perhaps someday, I will complete my conversion.  In the meantime, I am happy with my decision.  It was the right thing at that time.  Some day, what is right may change.

8-8-2013 Edited to add: What is right for me has changed, but not in the way I thought it would. My searching continued, and I have come to a place in my life that no longer requires religion. I still celebrate the major Jewish holidays, but only in my heart, and not for religious reasons, but for love of tradition, the same reason I still celebrate Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time Together

Our heater broke Saturday night.  I may or may not have had anything to do with it.  Well, technically, it was my fault, but the technician says I didn't cross any wires.  The thermostat I was installing was of "poor quality."  *sigh*  The entire unit needs to be replaced, which is neither the thermostat's fault, nor mine.  Actually, I was planning to call an HVAC repairman before I replaced the thermostat, and the verdict would have been the same, since the problem was not the cause of the thermostat, but mismatched units.

Anyway, it's been cold here.  Even though the temperatures have been in the high teens, and even got up to the high 20s today,  our house has stayed a toasty 49*.  Obviously, our house is better insulated than I thought.  We've been running space heaters in two rooms, because we have two space heaters.  At night, I warm up Xavier's room, then move that heater to my room to warm it up.  Gabriel has the other one.  I refuse to run space heaters while we're sleeping.  As a fireman's daughter, I'm a little paranoid about fires caused by space heaters.

Since I don't want to have to heat Dominic's room (Xavier's is smaller, and Gabriel's is in the basement, which means it's always warmer anyway), Dominic has been sleeping in other beds.  The first night, he slept with me.  Yeah.  That's not going to happen again if I can help it.  That boy is all elbows and knees.  Last night he slept with Xavier.  Since they both tend to steal blankets, I piled them each high with their own blankets.  Then they took their books and started reading.  It was so adorable.  I'll have to take a picture of them.  Sadly, my camera is out in the car, and it is even colder outside than it is inside.

Tonight, I'm sitting in the library, next door to them.  I can hear them murmuring to each other.  I miss the companionship between them that comes from sharing a room.  When Gabriel was 4 and Xavier was one, Gabriel suggested to me that it was time for them to share a room.  Likewise, when Gabriel was 7, Xavier was 4, and Dominic was 1, Gabriel asked me when I was going to move them all in together.  They slept in the same room for about a year.  After that, Gabriel got his own room.  They have never been as close.  I'm not sure what it is about sharing a room that makes you closer to your siblings.  Perhaps it is the fact that there are no barriers.  There are no doors standing between you.

Gary and I plan to sell this house in the not too distant future.  We have decided that it is too big for our family.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons I believe that.  With a house this big, time together has to be forced.  Time apart is much easier.  That smaller house can't come soon enough.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Today's Mama Holiday Wish List Meme


Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama  and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.
1. What is your holiday wish for your family?
I wish for my family to be together for Christmas.  Gary's only been gone for 6 weeks, but it seems so much longer this year.  Perhaps it's because we knew it would be short.  Here's hoping all of his flights leave on time and there are no delays.
2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition?
We actually celebrate Christmas and Chanukah.  We celebrate Christmas as a family tradition, since both Gary and I were raised as Christians and Chanukah as a religious holiday.  For Chanukah, we stick to the basics.  It is not a major Jewish holiday, and we treat it that way.  We light the menorah candles each night.  On Christmas morning, we stay in bed as long as possible.  Then we all gather in the living room in our new pajamas and open presents together.  We spend the rest of the day in our pajamas just enjoying each other.
3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?
A vacation for Gary and I.
4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?
We play lots of board games.  The holidays are a time apart from the daily grind for our family.  It brings us closer.
5. What games did you play with your family growing up?
Monopoly, Uno, Super Mario Bros (That's right, I'm from the Nintendo generation!), Dutch Blitz (a favorite that I haven't introduced to my children, yet.)
6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?
Setting out milk and cookies for Santa.  However, that tradition has morphed over the years.  Once, we had to set out water and broccoli for Santa, because Gabriel thought Santa needed to lose weight.  Now that Gabriel is aware of what's going on, he always suggests that Santa would prefer a beer.
7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?
I would go anywhere.  We love traveling to secluded places for Christmas.  We would like a cabin in the mountains, or a villa on the beach.  As long as we're together, it doesn't matter.
8. Check out GameStop and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?
I'd have to say 3 DS's for the boys, but if we're talking three different things- DS, XBOX 360 w/ Kinect, and a PS3.  We already have a Wii, and would love to be able to play some of the games that aren't available on Wii.

If you would like the chance to win an XBOX 360, a Wii, a Nintendo DS, and a $1000 Gamestop gift certificate, head over to Today's Mama to participate!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails