Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Happy Birthday Momma!

Happy Birthday to the woman who made all this possible. Truly mother, were it not for you, there would be no me (and I can’t say that to too many people). There is so much to admire about you, mom, where do I begin? You are loyal, loving, and giving - sometimes to your own detriment. PLUS you can out-aerobicize most people who are half your age! I won’t embarrass you by telling your age, but I will provide this handy test so that you can gauge just how old you are:

How many of these do you remember:
1. Blackjack chewing gum
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar-water
3. Candy cigarettes
4. Soda-pop machines that dispensed bottles
5. Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
7. Party lines
8. Newsreels before the movie
9. P. F. Flyers
10. Butch wax
11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (e.g., Olive - 6933)
12. Peashooters
13. Howdy Doody
14. 45-RPM records ... and 78-RPM records
15. S&H Green Stamps
16. Hi-fi systems
17. Metal ice trays with lever
18. Mimeograph paper
19. Blue flashbulb
20. Packards
21. Rollerskate keys
22. Cork popguns
23. Drive-in theaters
24. Studebakers
25. Washtub wringers

If you remembered!
0 - 5 = You're still young
6 - 10 = You are getting older
11 - 15 = Don't tell your age
16 - 25 = You're older than you think!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day

I know this is kind of “belated”, but such is life. On Sunday our church honored all of the veterans by asking them to come to the front of the sanctuary. The men, mostly elderly, stood in front of the congregation and they announced their name, and their branch and years of service. Some had fought in the Korean war, some in Vietnam, some in World War II even. They stood so proud and I was overwhelmed with emotion just looking at them. I leaned over and explained to Avery that these men were soldiers that had fought for our country. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself that he must’ve thought we had a pretty weak army – made up of a bunch of hunched over, gray haired men with glasses, some with canes even...not very formidable.

They were all so cute, all lined up in their old man attire – some with suits, others with just the polyester slacks and short sleeved buttoned down shirts. After they had all introduced themselves, the congregation clapped and clapped and then a standing ovation and more clapping. Tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t help but think of my dad, who had served in the Army. He would’ve loved to have stood there and told of his service to our country.

The church honors these men (and women) each year, for many it’s probably the only time they are asked about their military service, an otherwise forgotten chapter in their lives. As they walked back to their seats I noticed one gentleman using a cane and another, older gentleman walking alongside of him trying to assist him. “No man left behind” I thought.

I am so proud of our military heroes and so thankful for them.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Labor and Delivery

My mother and I just finished 9 hours of labor; the delivery is set for June 26th.

I told my Jermaine that I did not want stainless steel appliances. They’re overrated. They cost more, they have black trim, they show fingerprints, they aren’t magnetized, and there is about 40 different type of stainless steel. I told him that white would be better, it would brighten up the kitchen, it would be a breeze to pick out. I told him that if he wanted stainless steel, he would have to pick it all out and he better not tell me how much he spent.

My mother (in Maine) and I (in PA) began our day with an early morning call: 7:30am. By 9 she was telling me all about the LG appliances in Home Depot. By 10 I was in Home Depot (in PA) looking at appliances (stainless steel), by 11 I was in Lowes looking at Fridgidaire appliances, by noon I was utterly confused and wondering how I was in the middle of this mess. By 1:00 I was online, researching appliances…(why do they make titanium refrigerators – they don’t match any other appliance!!!!). By 2:00 I was in Best Buy looking at their LG appliances. By 3:00 I was back and forth between Jermaine and my mother (who was calling me from the Home Depot store phone because she couldn’t get a signal on her cell phone in the store). By 4:00 I was ready to skip appliances altogether and move back into the stone age – rubbing sticks together and cooking over an open flame seemed more appealing than choosing an oven. At 5:00 she finally executed the sale at Home Depot. Then she had to visit the kitchen design dept to add the cabinet frame to our kitchen cabinet order (to cover up the ugly black side of the SS refrigerators – why do they do that?). By 6:00 we were both sweaty and tired from the ordeal.

This morning I’m toying with the idea of changing my refrigerator and oven selections. (Don’t tell my mom).

Friday, May 26, 2006

What in the world is going on?!

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of ranting and raving about things lately without giving any personal updates. There is a lot going on (as usual), so here’s the scoop:

Amaya is crawling and saying “Da Da” on command. She began crawling at the 6 month mark and moves quickly around like an inchworm. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. She tries to pull up on me, but isn’t coordinated enough yet to achieve this goal. Plus I usually feel bad watching her struggle and I pick her up. She says “Da Da” clearly and will say it when I ask her to “Say Da Da”, but she doesn’t know who “Da Da” is (don’t tell Jermaine). Her next words will probably be “Where the heck is...”. At this point she isn’t calling him, she just thinks “da da” is fun to say. She turns 7 months on June 1st.

The house is coming along. We have a full crew consisting of Jermaine, Purple Girdle (aka Papa Gordo), my mom, and St. Rick. The stairs are a work of art; PG did an amazing job. We are so thankful that he flew up to do them for us, we never could’ve have afforded custom stairs, if it wasn’t for him, we’d probably have a plywood ramp with a rope pulley. This week he’s putting in the kid’s bathroom. The tub, vanity, sink, & toilet are in, and the bead-board is almost finished. The kids’ rooms are finished (thanks to Grandma), just awaiting carpet, which should be installed next Tuesday. The entire house has been primed with Kilz and needs to be painted (minus the kids rooms). The kitchen cabinets are in, but unfortunately the countertop isn’t scheduled until late June (I’m praying for an earlier installation). The wood floors are installed in the LR and most of the DR, Jerms will begin laying them in the kitchen and hallway today. We have cable and Jermaine is now sleeping at the house on a bare mattress.

I’m heading into my final semester of school and looking forward to graduation in August. This final term is going to be a challenging one, but I’m sure August will be here before I know it and all will be well in the world again.

Avery is being homeschooled by a wonderful family from our church and he is loving his new environment. He wants me to drop him off first and pick him up last every day, he told me this morning that he’s “enjoying” it. It’s a beautiful, holistic, country setting. Amelle is finishing up preschool and still talking about her field trip to a pizza shop that she had last Tuesday.

Jermaine starts his new job on Tuesday, he’s hoping to get a round of golf in before then. I’m winding down at Cardinal. We’re looking forward to living together again, in one state, in one house. God has been amazing throughout this tumultuous time. He has held us in the palm of His hand and carried us through this process with minimal stress. He has made the path clear, He’s crossed each t and dotted each i. We are so grateful that we have a relationship with Him, in these, the good times, and also in the dark and cloudy times. I can’t go to sleep at night without thanking Him for His amazing grace.

Oh, and now that William is 3, he’s upgraded to driving real tractors. Plastic is for 2 year olds.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Little Debate

Last week Jermaine and I got into a bit of a discussion about little people (you know...midgets, there, I said it.). One of us (I won’t mention names) thinks that little people would rather marry big people, but they usually end up with another little person because big people generally like to marry other big people. The other person (no names mentioned) thinks that little people want to marry other little people so they can be the same size as their spouse and they can tailor their homes to their little size. For example, do you think that little people have low kitchen counters and little kid tables and stuff, or do you think they have all regular size things in their houses?

This will end the debate between an otherwise happily married couple. Cast your vote now!

Monday, May 22, 2006

They even WALK differently in Maine

Saturday morning confirmed the move for me. Wendy and I took the 6 kids to a Cystic Fibrosis walk. I changed out of my flip-flops into a comfy pair of sneakers, grabbed my camera and a bottle of water, put Amaya in her stroller and was ready for the walk. I felt like a fundraising walk veteran, after all, it was just the previous week that I had boarded the train for Philadelphia with the girls to do the Race for a Cure breast cancer walk. I thought I knew what I was doing...I was wrong.

Come to find out, the CF walk was slightly different than the 80,000 person center city Philadelphia walk. Pictured left, fellow walkers make their way around the bend. Somewhat different than the crowded city streets in Philadelphia last weekend. (Those little white specks are the people) ...note our position: dead last.

Sure, Wendy and William had the Jeep Wrangler stroller - Adventure Edition. Amaya and I were in the Toyota Corolla stroller model. Poor Amaya's cheek were jiggling the entire time as we ventured over the rugged coastal terrain.

The two events, juxtaposed, seem to confirm why we're moving. Everything about the CF walk was perfect to me. From the pick up wiffle ball game that Avery quickly joined, to the "lobster toss", to the ocean breeze and beautiful coastal scenery, to grilled steak tips that were out of this world, to hearing "We Will Rock You" in the middle of the woods, to the outhouse with a flushing toilet and the basket of hand sanitizer that was thoughtfully placed outside...the whole event was perfect. I know that other people enjoy the city scene, but I'm glad to trade in the subway station for a gravel road.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Free Therapy

As a service to my fellow bloggers I am going to open this blog up for everyone to sound off about what really "nitches their craw", or "crawls under their skin", or "peeves the heck out of them". (I don't know if any of those are actual sayings, but you know that's a weakness of mine). Anyway you get my point.

I think we'll all find it a little cathartic to write down our biggest frustrations in life.

Here is mine:
People who back in to parking spots. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Did I mention that I hate it? It's one of the most idiotic things a human being can do, and it reveals a low IQ. Yes, it does. With the exception of needing to load something into the back of the vehicle, there is absolutely no reason for it. It takes 10x longer to park because the person has to attempt to back in to the spot 4 times. Backing out of a spot is much easier and it only takes one attempt. So unless you're a bank robber and in need of a quick getaway, please stop backing into parking spots! If you do it I hate you - see, now you've done it, you've made me sin. Sorry Jesus.

Go ahead, liberate yourself...blog away your frustrations...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Elected!

So I pick up the phone and I hear the familiar voice “It’s your favorite defending counsel”. He’s usually right about things, and this time is no different; he is my favorite defending counsel. I ask him how he’s doing and he replies, “better than I deserve” (he’s right again). Then he informs me that he won the election that he had been running for – city counsel or something like that. Last time we spoke he had explained the whole thing to me, but I was really only half listening (a bad habit of mine). So now he’s a lawyer and a politician, I inform him that it can’t get any worse; he’s never going to find a good woman. Then I look up his picture on his firm’s website and we joke about what an awful picture it is. “You look like you have dark hair, you’re blonde!” I shriek. “I am?” he asks – only confirming that he is blonde – duh… Then he tells me I’m 13 months away from being middle age and I whine about why they haven’t raised the life expectancy for women yet. I tell him about being old, but feeling immature and he’s on board with that. I explain the "ball incident" (see previous post) and he gives a little chuckle - clearly he's not as immature as I am. He thinks he’s going to use this move to Maine to dump Jermaine and I but I tell him that’s not going to happen, he’s stuck with us. Now that he’s a politician he’s definitely stuck with us – Jim might be the only hope that we have to actually know the President of the United States one day. Who knows where he’s going to go with this city counsel thing, I say we keep in touch just in case. All this to say that I’m proud of Jim, congratulations on winning your election!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pick ups...I don't understand...

I’m fairly certain that something happens to otherwise normal men when a pick up truck enters their lives. Over the past two weeks I’ve paid close attention to this phenomenon and I think I’m on to something. It all started one day when I was innocently driving along the turnpike. I noticed a pick up truck with what appeared to be a bunch of those “Christian Fish Symbols” on his tailgate. As I approached this vehicle, I got a closer look. It was actually a bunch of different fish symbols “swimming” to and fro. Some were the traditional Christian Ixthus (fish), then there were some that said “Darwin”, then some that said “Truth”, then some that had the Truth fish eating the Darwin fish, and then there was the one that notified me that something was definitely wrong. It was the Christian fish with the word “Devil” inside. Why? At the top of the tailgate, the words “It’s a Big Sea” were plastered in self-adhesive letters and the bottom of the tailgate said “We should all get along”. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we should all get along, but I couldn’t get past the mode of the message and I still haven’t recovered from seeing the letters “D E V I L” inside of the Christian fish. Why don’t people who like the devil come up with their own symbol? What ever happened to the pitchfork and horns?

Anyway, the next trucker I saw had an “emblem” that read “When the tailgate drops the bulls#*t stops”. I don’t understand what that means. Can someone please explain?

Yesterday when I pulled into work I parked behind a truck that had an “emblem” on the back window that said, “Ditch the B#*ch, let’s go huntin’”. That’s not nice.

I’ve also seen many pick ups with photos of Osama Bin Laden with a bullet hole in his forehead and many more with cartoon etchings of boys urinating on Chevy signs and Ford signs, etc. I don’t understand all this. What is it with pick ups that makes people act strange? No other vehicle has this, just pick ups. Can somebody please explain?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sorry Mom, this blog isn't about you...

I should be writing a paper right now, but it’s the eve of mother’s day and I’ve got something (someone) on my mind…

Wendy. Wendy is one of the best mothers I know. She gives so much of herself to her children; it amazes me. I am so proud of her. She came into Shaun’s life when Joelle was only 1+ year old and rescued him from being a weekend single-father. There aren’t many women who would take in a man with two little baby girls, but she did. Then she stuck around and wound up having a child of her own, totaling FOUR children she has to take care of. (Yes, I group the man in as a child, for that is what men are – largely just grown infants).

She is so invested in those three children. She always seems to be “on”. When I barely have the energy to pour cereal, she’s making chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream damns full of syrup.

It’s one thing to love and care for the children that you give birth to, but Wendy doesn’t skip a beat or play favoritism between her biological child and her step children. An outsider looking in would never be able to distinguish which child is biologically hers. She truly defies the stereotype of a “stepmother” – she is everything good and nothing bad when it comes to raising her three children.

I’m actually thinking about putting myself up for adoption so that I can get in on being the 6th Casey - the Casey 6 - yeah, has a nice ring...

Though both my mother and my mother-in-law are incredible women whom I am blessed to be loved by, the honor of this year's mother's day blog goes to Wendy. I love you, Sis.

Friday, May 12, 2006

High Fashion off the Highway

Kristy says I'm not in style, but I don't care. All this from a woman who is, as we speak, wearing a watch with a band that is so thick it looks like Wonder Woman could use it to deflect bullets. When I questioned Kristy about her watch she informed me that big watches were "in" and I don't know anything about that. Then she admits that she got it at a rest stop off the highway. If fashion comes from a rest stop, I'll stick with my swiss army watch from ebay, thank you very much.

Then she tells me that she wants me to wear a flip flop (thong) shoe with a kitten heel for her wedding. I frown. She tells me I'm not into fashion and I tell her that I'm going to wear my black white mountain loafers and that's final. I also re-confirm that I'm going to be wearing a life preserver over my dress since she's getting married on a boat.

If being "out" is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Just a hair

I finally did it. I broke down and "did" Amaya's hair. Here she is at 6 months with enough hair for three little pig tails. Reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book "The Hair Book" - "Hair hair everywhere, some have little, some have lots, plain hair, striped hair, polka dots". (Yes that was from memory).

Also, here is my other hairy lady (no, not you Wendy). On Saturday Jermaine and Amelle enjoyed some special father/daughter time. He took her to the Kimmel center to see Alice in Wonderland. Amelle was so excited to have a special date with her dad. Now I'm just waiting for my turn for a special date with him!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Quite an AFFAIR

It's that time of the year again - the time when otherwise unoccupied parking lots and miscellaneous large spaces transform into an explosion of light, sound, pipe organ music and cotton candy. Fair Season.

There was no way to avoid a visit to the fair this year - the ferris wheel could be easily spotted from the turnpike exit. It would spin slowly in the distance in all it's glory, mocking me with it's flashing lights, knowing that it owned my children. It was a force too great for me to escape. Amelle and Avery would go crazy in the backseat as soon as they spotted it "Can we go to the fair!" they'd shout in gleeful anticipation.

I wanted to tell them of the impractical use of money: $25 for a ride all day wrist band that we'd only get an hour out of, $5 cotton candy, $3 water, and the no-win games that we'd be heckled into playing. And then there was the danger: large power lines running all over the place, roller coasters that were built in a day by temp employees, and transient carnival workers.

So on Saturday we headed to the fair. The children had a great time. The below photo illustrates the "fair dance", you know, the dance that is done by children when they are so excited that they have to just move their bodies to release some of the energy (otherwise they'd combust).

Sunday, May 07, 2006

ConGRADUATIONS Nurse Sylvia!

On Friday night we were honored to attend Sylvia's graduation from her 18-month long LPN program. I am so proud of Sylvia. We both attended school at the same time - during which time we were sounding boards for one another. I have to admit that her LPN program was far more rigorous than my master's program. She has definitely had to study more than I've had to and she has poured more of herself into achieving this goal than I can even imagine. The whole first year that she was in the program she didn't deviate from the schedule of work/school/study. She never missed a day of class or clinical (except for the day of Amaya's birth). I know this wasn't an easy goal to accomplish, but she did it and I am so happy for her!!

NCLEX here she comes!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Observations from the field..

A few weeks ago I found myself at the outlet mall in Philadelphia – it was the first warm day of the year and I was rushing around to find some capris and short sleeved tops for Amelle. (I don’t know why the change of season always catches me off guard – it happens each year at approximately the same time, yet inevitably my kids end up either over, or under dressed).

Anyway, on my way out to the mall Avery had asked me to buy the movie Jurassic Park for him (he was learning about dinosaurs in school). As I sped through the mall I noticed one of those mall carts with DVDs on it. There was a large sign above the cart, “Urban Movies”, so I stopped and asked the associate who was comfortably reclined in one of those director chairs, watching “The Kings of Comedy”, if they had “Jurassic Park”. She looked at me like I had two heads and then let out a little chuckle as she bluntly muttered “No”. I knew it was a long shot because the movie is like 10 years old, but it didn’t warrant all that attitude, not from a mall cart clerk, not from anyone really. As I glanced back up at the DVDs on the cart, I noticed a common theme; they were all black movies. Duh.

Why is there a cart in the darn mall with only black movies on it? What if there was a cart with only white movies – would that be wrong?

The kicker was that on my way back I passed the cart again and who was standing at it, but the Easter Bunny. Yes, the Easter Bunny. The 7-foot tall WHITE rabbit with the yellow and blue polka-dotted bow tie. He was chatting with the associate who thought my Jurassic Park inquiry was stupid. They probably had a good laugh about the dumb white lady. I didn’t care about that, I was more concerned about the Easter Bunny being away from his throne. I thought it was inappropriate and unprofessional for the EB to be shopping. Today the Urban Movie cart, tomorrow Victoria's Secret. Who knows...

I’ve heard it said that there is a lesson to be learned from every experience. From this experience I learned that the Easter bunny has an affinity for black movies.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Good Advice

Okay, you’re probably over reading about lyrics – but I heard a song yesterday that had some good advice that I’d like to pass along:

You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Slim,

The song is “Don’t mess around with Jim” by Jim Croce. I only know that because my car radio came equipped with a fancy “caller ID thing” that tells you the name of the song and artist. This is very helpful to me because it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to a station that plays music. Avery once asked me why we had to listen to commercials all the time (referring to my beloved talk radio).

Anyway, I’m passing along this advice because I’ve performed two of the above with poor results. Spitting into the wind – yes. Twice. I tried to spit out of my car window. (I had a cold – okay?! …don’t even try to act like you haven’t ever had to spit before). The first time I ended up with spit across my cheek and on the inside of my car, the second time I ended up with dribble down my chin and window. I’ve also messed around with Slim, and that was no picnic either. Yes, that was really his name – it was even tattooed on his boney little arm, in case he forgot.

That being said, I’ve learned from my mistakes and you won’t find me trying to pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger or tugging on Superman’s cape (or Santa Claus’ beard for that matter).

You know, they really don’t write songs like that any more, it’s a shame.