A little Mayan fun in Florida

The view from the beach, the best part. Especially nice when a history major, 2 engineers and an architect play in the sand. You get an less than normal castle here, complete with a blood channel. Ah, colaboration!

I also decided to enter this in the SUMMER FUN PHOTO CONTEST check it out!


Once in a lifetime -- Crush and Squirt

For basically the last 17 years we have been going to the same beach. A real beach, with no condos, no restaurants (save a pizza place and a beach shack). The kind of place where pretty much anyone could wear a thong bikini on the beach because there are few people to offend. When the kids were little we would go out early and look for the signs of sea turtle nest making. You could see the tell tale swirls of sand and a pile up near the dunes. We always thought that was pretty cool, pretty back to nature...

Tonight we got the see the other end. A real once in a lifetime experience. Discovered by Daniel, Nolan, Trish and Brendan (who was supposed to be in bed, but had managed to talk Dad into a quick run to the beach to pick up the beach chairs). We got to see 85 (yes, we counted) baby sea turtles swarm up out of their nest and head to the water... In the words of the coolest turtle dad ever, "PRETTY GNARLY DUDE!"


Boys, guns and annoyed mothers

OK, so I know it's funny that this post should directly follow yesterday's. But I have to vent for just a moment. As I walked around straightening the house this morning in an attempt to vaccuum and remove the fur balls hiding in the corner, I had to pick up 6 guns-- yes, toys. But annoying none the less. Yes, real guns would have been horrible, despite what my NRA friends think. Let me reflect just a minute... was it the guns that bothered me or was it the FACT THAT MY CHILDREN TREAT THIS HOUSE AS THEIR PERSONAL DUMPING GROUND? Hmmm, tough call.

I had a very wise pediatrician tell me once that it was in a boy's nature to play with guns. Their evolutionary role as protector made it almost instinctive. Anyone who has had a boy has seen evidence of this. Pacifist household? No guns, swords, lightsabers, even water guns? Check out those kids, they'll be fashioning a small pistol out of legos, play-do, fallen tree branches. Why was she wise? Because she could tell that I was totally freaked out by the gun play despite the fact that my overprotected first son had really not been exposed to much media wise. [Now, that 4th child is another story completely -- his older siblings have fixed that one for me.] She was not wise because she was discussing evolution... she just helped ease my fears that I was the worst mother on the planet (that proof will come much later...)

So, back to my rant. What is the need to stash weapons all over the house? I found a nerf rifle under the sofa -- I am sure this was to protect the younger ones from the older ones poaching the tv remote. I found another nerf rifle leaning agains the dining room chair. There was one on a kitchen chair-- protecting dessert? There one by the front door and one in the bathroom. OK, that was a squirt gun. So are my guys future weapons prodigies? Readying for the next hostile takeover in suburban Georgia? Even my anxious, prepare for anything brain can't give them that one. Might they be just lazy?

My vote goes to lazy....


Love Thursday

So today is Love Thursday. Here is my brother-in-law and I at Ft. Jackson a week or so before he shipped out to Iraq. Claire and I stopped to see him on our way to Charleston. We ate at Friday's and heard some stories and then had to drop him off in East Buddah before getting on our way. Despite being part of a demonstrative CRHP family, I am still a little repressed in the hug department-- but I am recovering! But I could not let go of Rob, and I was DETERMINED not to cry. This is a major feat for me because I have always cried at everything, including dog food commercials. So I am posting a two-fold Love post. One, that I really do love "Uncle Lobbie" and it hurts to think of the sacrifices he and my sister made for this war. And two, I love them both so much that I am willing to post a HORID picture of myself (OK, so I did try to photoshop out some under eye circles and a fat roll) to prove it. Love you Rob!

Pray for peace in our world, please.


Mosaic Meme

Ok, so I grabbed this from Sara over at A Shower of Roses, and I had to play along. I had seen this on a few other blogs and thought it was really cool!

The Questions (and The Answers):
1. What is your first name? Kathleen (Kath to my peeps)
2. What is your favorite food? "chicken and prunes" or Chicken Marbella
3. What high school did you go to? Marist School (tho not this one in the Phillipines)
4. What is your favorite color? Purple
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Hugh Jackman
6. Favorite drink? DIET coke on ICE in a GLASS
7. Dream vacation? Galway
8. Favorite dessert? Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz (thanks Ben and Jerry!)
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Remembered
10. What do you love most in life? Family
11. One Word to describe you? Intuitive (cool pic, huh?)
12. One hobby of yours? Reading

Here are the instructions if you want to play along:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions above into Flickr Search. b. Using only the first page, pick an image. c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. d. Save image to hard drive and post to blogger. e. Copy HTML code for flickr photo credits and paste into blogger at the bottom of the post.

1. for kath. :), 2. Caramelized Chicken with Prunes and Olives, 3. DSC_0169, 4. The Color Purple, 5. OUT17292479, 6. Refill please!, 7. Sunrise over Galway Bay, 8. coffee cofee buzz buzz buzz, 9. Call of the Raven (formerly Nature's Special Effects), 10. bless from above, 11. That's interesting, 12. The Old Library


Summer Bravery

Bravery is defined by climbing to the top of the BIG waterslide when you are only 6...

and getting a cuddle from mom after you bump your head at the bottom....


Lauging and George Lopez

So the boys and I are sitting here trying to decide on what movie to watch. I know it is late, but hey, it's summer. But instead of watching a movie I find myself being forced to watch George Lopez on Nick. Golly, do they love this show. I wish I were 10 again, when silly things like walking garbage makes me roll on the floor in laughter. How long has it been since YOU laughed like that?

What makes you laugh? Here are a few things on MY list:
1. Baby giggles -- or that whole body laugh of a 4 year old
2. Brian Reagan on ANYTHING, but my personal fav -- "Uh, mom, remember Kevin? You know how his arm USED to bend like this?..."
3. Really good comedies like Arrested Development and The Office
4. Inside jokes
5. When my sisters snort-laugh, or even better when Claire makes fun of them for snorting and does it in the process
6. Anything Eddie Izzard does (see this post) Nothing funnier than a man in heels
7. The original production of Bad Cops expertly written, directed, filmed and acted by three big goobers circa 1997
8. The Poppy Dance
9. My hubby -- still... after all these years....

Maybe I'll come up with a few more tomorrow... anyone want to add a few?B


The Power of the Jedi, women and COMCAST

OK, so our friend Robert has fully mastered his Jedi powers when it comes to getting good customer service. I seem to lack that ability. Last week I learned that our analog cable plan costs the same as digital cable with a box. So I figured, why not get the box? If I want to get a pay per view movie I can, and that might save some gas money, right? Well, after 4 calls to CS to set up the box, it was set up -- except for a few little quirks. My last CS rep said that I had an old box and they could send a new one to me, or I could go pick one up.

In the effort of creating a paper trail to back up my non-existent Jedi Power, I called again today to complain about the quirky box. The conversation goes as follows:

"Welcome to Comcast. How can I help you?"
"I have a new box and it is very quirky. Could you please reset it from your end?"
"How long have you had it?"
"Only a few days, but it is..."
"Oh I see, You have an outage in your area, why don't you call back when it is working."
"Sir, I don't have an outage in my area, I am looking at my cable right now on 2 tv's one through your box and one analog."
"Well, my system says there is an outage, I am sure that is what is wrong with your box. Please call back."
"Sir, I am looking at cable tv right now."
"Let me check for you.... Hmmm, you do have cable." [DUH!]
"Can you please reset my box, it is very quirky and seems to have a mind of it's own. Either that or I am going to return this one and get a different box."
"You don't want to do that right now, wait a few days, it will get better." [REALLY??]
"Excuse me?"
"Wait a few days, it will get better. That box you have, does it have a clock on the front?"
"You don't want the new box, it doesn't have a clock in the front."
"And, why would I want that?" [I really wanted to know-- some big cable company secret maybe??"
"Because it is easy to see the time. Just wait a few days and it will get better."

OK, correct me if I am wrong, but does electronic equipment "get better" when it is not working properly? When the company gave me an old box to begin with? I would really like to cry sexism here because I KNOW if my friend Robert or my husband had called they would not have been told to keep the old crappy thing because it is easy to tell the time -- or that it would get better in a few days! Am I being just a bit too sensitive? Anybody else come across a situation like this?


scenes from a Saturday

Me, checking grey roots in the car vanity mirror. "Hey look, I can get my hair in a ponytail. I didn't think it was that long!"

Ryan, from the back seat. "Don't do that mom. I don't like your hair in a ponytail."

"Why, because you can see the grey?"

"No, because you look like you just got out of prison."

And this child thinks he's going to marry some one someday....

RIP Rocky

Sad day today. Rocky Aoki has passed. He is the founder of Benihana and was apparently quite an unusual character. Olympic wrestler, insider trader, wives and mistresses, speedboat accident, suing his children...Do a quick google search.

Why mention this? Well you see, my hunny and I have a history with Benihana. For some reason he has always LOVED this restaurant. Doesn't matter that it is not really Japanese food. His uncles blamed it on the fact that he spent many summers in Hawaii thanks to IBM Golden Circles and his mother's art shows (tough life, huh?). Who knows really. But Benihana is where we went on our first date -- I should have know something when the maitre-d greeted him by name. Apparently, I wasn't the first woman he charmed with flying knives and raw meat. In fact, the other day my daughter and I were talking about Dad's love of "Chop Chop" as the kids call it. I mentioned that I married his VISA debt from Benihana. She was shocked, "You had to pay for Dad taking out other women?" Ah, love...

Here we are the summer after Denise and I graduated. He had another year left of architecture school. Gotta love that Miami Vice jacket and gold bracelet. No wonder he stole my heart.

We have celebrated birthdays, new jobs, anniversaries, times when the kids were babysat at Church so we could Christmas shop-- but we went to Benihana with friends instead... Now to be fair, it is not always Benihana, sometimes it is a local mom and pop teppanyaki restaurant, but it all started with Benihana. Twenty years, 4 kids and many friends later -- it's not too bad a start.

Dancing Liquid

OK, so I am not a homeschooler, but I have been know to do fun science experiments with my kids. Ooblek is always one of them. Check this out, very interesting use of sound and the non-Newtonian properties of cornstarch and water.

Link via Neatorama.com


Sororities and helicopters

OK, this month's Oprah had a great article on Helicopter Parents. Sorry, no link, the web site is not as thorough as one might think. It was a pretty decent article highlighting how today's parent is micro-managing and controlling, to even their adult children. The author sited parents who asked to have the job offer and benefits package sent to them when their college graduate is offered their first job. My favorite was a woman that drove 2 hours EACH WAY to do her son's laundry at college!

So, we all know that I have struggled in the past with not hovering. I try. And, actually, I thought I had been doing fairly well. I went to orientation, did the parent meetings alone, "made" Claire walk several blocks with her suitcase (the outrage! Just ask her, I am sure she will share the evil mother stories!) and sign herself in to the dorm. I thought I had been a pretty cool mom.

So today a woman calls me, for her daughter, asking for a sorority rec. She mentioned her daughter is up doing summer semester and would I write the rec for her for AXO** Some small talk ensued about college etc. and I explained how I like the fact that Claire is going to a smaller school and I feel that they are really reaching out to the parents to ease the transition. Somehow this turns to the conversation to, of course, the helicopter parent. How it is such an outrage that parents are pushing their way in to their young adult's college life -- e-mailing professors etc. etc. My excitement about the extra help I felt I was getting started to dwindle. (DAMN SELF CONFIDENCE) Yes, I understood. I shouldn't worry about whether laundry was free or not (it is at Claire's school!!). I hung up the phone feeling like a first time parent, fumbling all over the place.

Then I realized the reason she called in the first place...who is going through rush again??

Helicopter parents.

We all have different parenting styles. What are your thoughts on this one? Has our need to create safe play enviroments (no more staying out til the street lights come on)caused us to be a generation of parents who over-schedule our children? Where else can this lead but to continuing to have total hands-on when they reach their teens and adulthood? When does it end?


A night with the girls, a day with a snake

You know, you would think that having family close that we would be doing stuff together all the time. In reality, this is not the case. Monday night however we of the "young generation" were treated to dinner by the two matriarchs. And it was a fun night by all -- all be it an early night (dinner at 6 home by 8:30). I am worried that soon we will be going to the "senior special"-- dinner at 4 and an extra quarter if you want blue cheese dressing....(love me mom...)

The night was filled with raucous laughter, a few snorty laughs, and lots of family humor. Who knew that Irish girls could be so fun - with no alcohol for the majority of us? So we girls from 19-68 shared some laughs, some good natured teasing and a few discussions on the origin of everything. And yes, Bree if you wait til we are all dead to write the tell all book, who will laugh? I say we each write our own version and see how they compare. (Wait, there may be an idea there... think about it)

All morning I have wandered around trying to think of a really good topic to blog about. OK, I did some stuff.** Then I decided that since I am not getting paid to blog, nor am I getting a grade (my two greatest motivators in a past life) then I am just going to sit down and write. If it is boring, then my 5 readers (ah, I mean friends,) will stop.

**Oh, and by saying did some stuff, I did some STUFF! Procrastination Queen here finally tackled the pile of rotted out railroad ties that have been lying at the end of the driveway for A YEAR. I cleared out the old wood, shoveled out the dirt and crap that was there and blew off the driveway. In my attempt at being super mom, I WAS talking on the phone while simultaneously shoveling. In my attempt at being a true southern belle I did not stop said conversation when I discovered a snake coiled up in the wood pile and promptly chopped it into 5 pieces with a shovel. I know that snakes are good and eat bugs and mice, but in my 5 second surveillance of the situation I was positive that the 10" long baby snake had a triangular head. And we all know from Jeff Corwin that that means VENOMOUS. So I pulled a Grandma Joyce and chopped it up. Yea me!

Now, for those of you who don't know me well, please know that this industrious outside landscaping job has come at the expense of anything inside. There are dirty dishes in the sink, a washing machine full of clothes that needs to be tossed in the dryer and large tufts of dog hair that are beginning to resemble ferrets under a breakfront in the kitchen. But tonight when hubby gets home he will notice all the work I did for him --or notice the railroad ties in the middle of the driveway waiting for the boys to drag them to the curb on yard trash pick-up day.

I didn't EVER say I was perfect!


The joys of summer

Hard to imagine that I grew up in a house full of women. This summer it seems that testosterone is dripping off the walls. I know I should get used to it because come Aug.22 my girlie will be be gone, and I will be left with my bodyguards.