About Me

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Married to GI Joe, and the Mother to GI Joe Jr (whom is currently addicted to the Wonderful World of Superheroes), I'm a WV Hillbilly plunked down in a subdivision. I have a backyard garden, crazy neighbors, and a goofy dog that we love on Tuesdays. We love to travel and explore new things, so feel free to browse our life. Sometimes it is exciting, most of the time it is just life. But we are having a good time at it.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

1994 called!

We purchased a camper...
Don't get too excited...it's not a mac daddy fifth wheel with roll out living room and bigger than my house.
It's a pop up.
Yup...a starter camper if you may.
Just big enough for the Hubby, the Toddler and maybe me. The Toddler seemed to just move in last night when we set it up in the driveway. He didn't want to leave to come inside.
It's nice...and roomy...and clean...and a good starter for us to make sure we really want to get into this camping thing without sinking ourselves in a huge payment. Campers are not cheap...no way.
So we've popped it up out in the driveway. It's cute...and we really look like the neighborhood yoo hoos.
It has a sink...a stove...a refrigerator...two beds on either end (duh), a dinette that folds into a bed (We've decided to just make it into a couch and be done with the dinette thing), lots of storage, and a potty/shower right in the living room! Who could ask for anything more!?
By the way, unless it is a DIRE emergency, I am not using the potty in the living room. I will happily truck my tail to the bathhouse. However, it will be handy for the Toddler.
I need to do a few things...
One...find replacement covers for the dinette cushions. Really...1994 called and wants that pattern back. This is a 2004 camper, but OMG...the pattern is 1994...all zig zaggy lines and weird color combinations. Solid blue would be nice. And normal.
I don't sew...so this could be a small issue. I will just deal with it until I can figure out what to do exactly here.
I want tacky lights to string on the awning. The Hubby says no...I have a check card thank you very much and access to Ebay, Craigslist, and a Dollar Store.
I want that big state sticker that you see on the big RVs and I want to fill in states. Hubby again says no...again...I have a check card and access to Ebay, Craigslist and a Dollar Store.
I am going to tack my ILOVEMOUNTAINS bumper sticker on it. And then play dumb when he sees it. It was there already...even though the people we bought it from had never been to WV...but still.
I've hit Target's clearance and have plates, bowls, storage caddies, cups, etc. We even bought a small tabletop gas grill. We're moving right along.
Made our first camping reservations too. Four days at Myrtle Beach. At that point the camper should have shrunk to 1/4 its size and we've either decided we like this or we don't like this. Whatcha think?
We have hopes and dreams of going places and doing fun things together on the weekends with this contraption. I can only hope that this all works out. If not, I know how to use Craigslist. Which, by the way, is where we found it.
This should get really interesting...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Take me home...

There are a few things in this world that take my breath away and make my heart ache, and that silly little lump in my throat.

The National Anthem

My son

My husband

Seeing the first swell of the Appalachian Mountains when we go home to West Virginia.

That first glimpse of either the Peaks of Otter near Bedford VA, or the Highlands near Charlottesville Va gives me that ache and brings a lump to my throat everytime.

I just suddenly have the urge to belt out 'Take Me Home, Country Roads' at the top of my lungs.

I want to giggle.

I want to get out and spin around.

But we just keep driving, and soon that exhilaration turns into aggravation from having to follow the tractor trailers creeping up those wonderfully steep slopes, and then careening down the other side with those big rigs pushing my little tail all the way.

But its still the most wonderful sight in the world.

I've seen it in the middle of the night with a full moon and stars casting.

I've seen it in the colorful fall.

I've driven those mountains in snow so thick I had to guide myself by the lights built into the sides of the road.

I've seen it in the barren seasons when they look brown and desolate.

The most beautiful is the lush green of summer...with the sun sparkling, the blue sky, and that breathless view as you top one ridge and look out to the next.

My son, the first time I took him home to my parents by myself, was introduced to the mountains for the first 'real' time. I got so excited to see Peaks of Otter, and kept exclaiming, "look at the mountains baby!" He caught on to the enthusiasm and was soon peering around the edges of his car seat at the giants looming up around us.

I explained we were going to Nana and Pawpaws in the Mountains (as his other Nana and Pawpaw live in North Carolina)...see the Mountains baby! He busted out with "Can I touch them?" I remember smiling.

Of course you can darling. You can touch them. You can listen to them. You can talk to them. You can marvel at them. You can climb them. You can breathe them. You can let them enter into your soul and never let go. You can raise your arms and just let them lift you.

There's just something about going home. I relax.

I never relax.

But pulling across that state line, and beeping the car horn as we wave at it, I just relax.

The life is slower.

The details are fuzzier.

The mountains just reach out and wrap their big arms around me, and I sink in. Just want to pillow my head in a holler and snuggle down between two ridges and just disappear into the fields below. I just want to sit and breathe, and listen. To nothing.

The crickets, the frogs, even the coyotes yowling...its just part of that song.

I went to NY City once, and I walked around with my mouth hanging open and gaping at the skyscrapers and the city around me.

I live near a fairly large city now, and commute through it every day.

But nothing is more awe inspiring or worth gawking at than those rolling hills and proud peaks.

Yes, WV has it's issues, and we have our stereotypes, but I am so proud to say I am a hillbilly. My family has been there for over 200 years, and my roots are soooo deep that I can almost feel them reach up and wrap around my toes when I step out of the car.

I cry when I see the mountain top mining videos. God created those mountains. Mother Nature formed them with her hands and breath and birth waters. We, as man, cannot destroy like we have done and expect no repercussions.

I understand the need for jobs. Why do you think I had to move so far away?

I understand the need for power. I am not so naive to think that my laptop spawned itself and runs on rainbow juice.

But how can we do what we are doing? How can the screams of those ancient grandmothers not be heard when they blast off the chunks of her beautiful face, scalp her locks, dig deep, take her heart, and then like a cat covering their mess, paw it back over, tamp it down, and move on.

Then the flooding comes.

The the landslides.

The Pollution.

It just makes me mourn. It hearts my heart.

One of my family's first settlements in Wyoming County WV is under such attack. And there is nothing that can be done now to save that ridge.

But our voices will be heard. They will echo from holler to holler, and canyon to canyon...What is the Appalachians without her mountains? Really? A flattened desolate unstable scar.

Mountain Top mining does not mean more jobs. It takes seven men to bring down a mountain. Not a fleet of workers and laborers. Seven men. And equipment. Like a cat scratching over their mess.

What a legacy we leave our children, who haven't touched the mountains face.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Martin's...oh how I loathe thee...let me count the ways.

Martins…oh how I am starting to LOATHE thee…

Ukrops sold out to you. I get it. Capitalism at it’s finest. I had high hopes. I was sad to see Ukrops go...but this was a whole new era! New items, new prices...same people.

You promised greater selection of organics and natural foods (which you fulfilled).

Your beer and wine selection is quite good.

Your Sunday and Holiday hours are awesome. I hated doing the Saturday night run to Ukrops to load up on my son’s Ricemilk and other food items I could only acquire there and not drive an hour to Whole Foods.

Blah blah blah.

BUT…you are killing me with your shabby overpriced produce.

Give me a break!

Molded raspberries? Really? Who is running your produce department that you did not see the fluffy green and white and RED raspberries. We are not finding new ways to take penicillin here…get it off the shelf!

Your blueberries. Buy 1 Get 1 pint for $3.99 Or you can buy a quart for $3.99. Can you do the math? Either way, I’m getting quart for $3.99

And the blueberries..never again. Three days and they are shot. Never again.

And the ears of corn. What a shame. Half ears...not full at all...maybe three quarters up the cob. Did we get the culls of the crop? Not buying it. I'll buy at the Farmer's Market.

Alas, this morning, was the piece de resistance…I bought blackberries. Just a little container.

Nowhere in the directions did it state that I would probably need to soak them for hours to get all the dead leaves and stems out of the berries. Did your supplier run them through a grinder? You ruined my cereal, and I am on a diet…this is not acceptable in my world this morning.

I’ve never seen so many leaves and stems all gommed up in a berry before. They were floating in my cereal...I couldn't eat it.

I’ve picked blackberries before. Honestly, I don’t remember grinding up leaves and stems and throwing them in the batch too…I picked the BERRY for crying out loud, not mowed the field.

OMG...I'm so disgusted with what you have done with Ukrops and what they were in this community. Your employees are under a giant veil of 'big chain' now and cannot even be trusted to use their common sense in dealing with a problem, while your customer has to stand in line for 20 minutes while the cashier beings out The Book and looks up The Code. Really? For that watermelon, I should have just left it on the counter.

Or the manager that is trolling that seems to be in NO hurry whatsoever to help you out...or even knows how to help.

I'll still shop there...I know I will. I can't eliminate you completely because of the items you carry that I need. But I will NOT do my regular grocery shopping there, and your produce is forever off of my list.

Argh...like you care.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Interstate bumper sticker musings...

I have a long commute. 45 miles from my house to my job...98% of it major interestate. 3 lanes, bumper to bumper most mornings...3 lanes bumper to bumper most evenings.

When we first moved here nine years ago, as Hubby and I are careening up the interstate to my job interview...I covered my eyes with my hands as we careened under and over HUGE overpasses and swore up and down I could not do this! There is no way!

I was a country bumpkin, raised on a one lane road for crying out loud. I could drive an interstate, but only the kind with like two lanes of polite hillbillies going to work...while winding around tractor trailers doing like 15mph UP mountains...there was NO way I was going to be able to handle rush hour on a MAJOR interstate.

Here I am 9 years later, with the Toddler in the backseat happily munching goldfish, and I am careening with the best of them. No big deal right?! I'm a big girl now!

To amuse myself I add up license plates...yes I do. Hubby finds it really annoying. Or I decipher the infamous VA personalized license plates...some are just stupid. SHT4LCK Either that is Shit For Luck or Shoot for Lick... PHAT...now that is a good story. Green beat up minivan, overweight old dude with Santa Claus beard, and his license plate read PHAT.

There are a gazillion of them. Some I see a LOT...we're on the same schedule. I'd wave, but they'd just look at me funny. Like the lady at Target with the WICCAN license plate in the red Honda. I see her three or four times a week. I pointed that out as I parked next to her. She looked freaked out and got in her car quickly. Really? I should be the one freaking out! She's a Wiccan for crying out loud! Where's the Holy Water! LOL! She was afraid of meeeeee.... :) And this was BEFORE Toddler. And to make it clear...I am not afraid of Wiccans. I actually looked into it when I was in college. I just wasn't too keen on the whole diety thing, just like other religions...but I digress.

So last night I get behind a chick in a car with a nursing license plate. Apparently she is a RN of some sort...but it was her bumper stickers.

They were all anti-war. Nasty ones. Which shocked me. People who look like THAT (older lady, my mom's haircut, seemed really nice from 10 feet away at 70mph) don't have angry anti war bumper stickers on their car.

I'm following her because it is raining. And my blood starts boiling. My Husband spent a year over there helping rebuild that hot mess. He didn't go out breaking down doors and setting homes on fire. He worked on a rebuilding. I had to raise our son for a year by myself so that he could do his job!

Had she ever put her husband on a plane with a four day old infant in her arms knowing that she may never see him again, and if good fortune rains upon us, that it will be another year at least? Has she ever done that? Has her heart every stopped every time a she hears a car pull into the driveway and realizes she hasn't heard from her spouse that day? Has she had to webcam Thanksgiving and Christmas? Has she ever had to tell her husband about things their baby was doing that he couldn't see? Has she ever had to talk in code about what her spouse was doing for the next few days and why she wouldn't be hearing from him? Has she ever counted down the homecoming only to have it yanked out from under her? Has she ever just cried because of it all? I have no idea...maybe that's why she hates the war.

I eased into the other lane and tried to get next to her. I am focused on wanting to give her a piece of my mind. Like that is really possible at 70mph in traffic...All the while Kiddo is munching away on his goldfish and making thunder noises.

I keep getting next to her, but I cannot get in front of her. I wanted her to see my Army license plate. I wanted her to see my Support our Troops sticker. I wanted her to see my combat boots Army spouse sticker. I wanted her to KNOW that she had pissed me off. I really wanted to run her off the road and shake her.

The lane opens and I jump in front, but then she decides to jump back over and be in my lane. She probably didn't want to see my stickers right?

That's fine honey...so I ease back over, and make her follow me. I kept my speed down just enought to where she had to SEE those stickers. She had to read them, and scowl and get all pissed off. I kept looking in the rearview with this odd feeling that I was mooning her by forcing her to look at the rear end of my car.

And I don't think it made one bit of difference in her thinking.

And yes, I was acting like an idiot with a kid in the backseat.

That's why we are America right?

And also why I may need some therapy.

It's like the day I was driving home, a few years ago, long before Kiddo and I passed a mini van. They had drawn MY DADDY IS COMING HOME! in window marker all over that van. WELCOME HOME DADDY! WE LOVE OUR DAD!

The van is covered in Support our Troops magnets, and American Flags,and I see the front passenger seat with its huge bunch of yellow roses, and I just start bawling right there as I honk my horn and wave like a crazy woman.

Their daddy was coming home...

Been there, done that....going to find a box of tissues now.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Down Three!

I'm down Three from Monday's start at 186.

Whooo hooo!

I'm not really hungry...except for Monday night's extreme disappointment over dinner. I was really hungry when I got home, to discover that my sweet husband had forgotten about the beef on the grill. It was inedible. Alas...I could have cried...honestly. I did feel that lump come up in my throat. I ate my broccoli and scowled at the Husband.

Tracking my food with LiveStrong and using their DailyPlate application. I've really been able to see where my calories and such are coming from. The huge salad I ate yesterday was more calories than my Subway sandwich and chips on Wednesday. I knew people said that salads were worse, but this was funny! By the time I added in everything, I was over like 400 calories from the lunch the day before. Hysterical!

I gotta start getting up in the mornings and walking. I HAVE to. Otherwise, I am going to plateau out really soon.

The Toddler is in a big boy bed. We found a race car bed on Craigslist for a fraction of a new one, and set up his room Tuesday. Three nights, and he's doing great! I'm just happy to get moving in that direction. Even though taking his crib apart was a little sad. He's almost three, therefore we were going to have to do it eventually, but geez. It was an odd moment.

Speaking of the Big Boy Room...I found some cute prints on Ebay of the Cars characters. I received them a week and a half later...and they are not the right size. Yes, I needed to read the teeny tiny print in the ad to see that they are printed on 8 1/2 x 11 " paper, not true 8X10. Yes, I left a feedback notice stating that they aren't true 8X10s before I went back to the ad to see that the disclaimer is there. Yup, I am a snippy Ebay buyer this morning. I will have to spend some time botching them up tonight on my handy dandy guillotine I bought a year ago to cut school pictures with. Life will go on.

Is it time to go home yet?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Is there a way to fool myself into believing that the FOUR homemade blueberry muffins that I have consumed today are actually GOOD for me?

Considering they are fresh organic blueberries, that should me a major plus.

Then I paid a MINT for the stupid organic fresh blueberries...therefore that qualifies as REALLY good for me...right?

I used Organic Flour...hmmmm...even better.

The sugar was not organic...I ran out of that on the last batch of chocolate zucchini cake I made...so that is a mark in the bad column.

The butter was organic...old but organic.

The eggs were free range pastured eggs...not organic...fairly fresh...ok...

So the FOUR humongo blueberry muffins that I have eaten today should qualify as a health food right??? Right????


Confessions of a Cuddler

I rock my son to sleep...
He's almost three...
There...I said it. It's out there. *GASP*

I don't mind one single bit either. I am happy to get him to go to bed happy and safe, and cuddled. I like feeling his nearly forty pound self cuddled up with his head on my shoulder, left hand gripping my hair. I like feeling that little jerk of his body when he finally goes to sleep. I love laying him down in his crib and covering him up. I am happy to get this cuddle time with the squirmy wiggly boundary testing hard to hold toddler.

I don't know how many nights I have fallen asleep in that chair...lets see...he's almost three...so over a thousand nights probably. My butt print is ingrained in that cushion.

And I don't mind a bit. Not at all. Nada.

My husband left for Iraq (I had left out the 'for Iraq' part and then re read it...that makes it a whole new scenario when you leave that out) when he was less than a week old. He had issues with silent reflux, ear infections, bronchitis, the whole nine yards. He slept with me propped in the Bobby Pillow or in the Bouncy Chair for nearly a year.

I'm labeled an Attachment Parent. Or an Aware Parent. Whatever. I'm doing my job. My parents did theirs. I slept with them off and on until I was five. They resorted to putting my crib mattress on the floor beside their bed. I'm not sleeping with them now...so it eventually ended.

I never could do the Cry It Out sleep training. He was sick all the time. If I had left him alone in his crib to just scream it out, he would have been miserable. He was letting me know that he couldn't sleep (he had apnea due to enlarged adenoids), he wanted comfort. That's my job, as a parent, to comfort. This is the way we did it...the way many generations before us did it.

I carried him in a baby wrap...a lot. It was nice. He wanted held. I didn't mind. It was better than the alternative of him fussing and screaming in another room while I attempted some sort of housekeeping.

My SIL is pregnant. I've given her some advice and sent her a few things already. My email to her yesterday was pretty basic...but I felt I needed to tell her to never ask me about sleep training, cry it out, or any of the new methods of teaching a child to self soothe. Self soothe...now what the hell is that supposed to mean? I don't even self soothe...I want comfort when I am upset. Letting a baby figure out how to comfort themselves is the most absurd thing I've ever heard of. Really?

Yes...the CIO method works...sometimes...but you get to repeat that sleep training everytime something new in their life interrupts their schedule. Doesn't sound too promising to me.

I'm just happy to have that time. Yes, it takes time. I spent 24 hours in labor waiting on my husband to get to the hospital. Everything takes time.

Believe me, I will not be cuddling him on my lap when he is 18. This too shall pass.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weigh in

Ok...so I didn't lose anything, but the best news is that I didn't gain anything over the weekend.

Between all the burgers and dogs and brownies and all that good stuff...I'm still holding at 185.

I've got to get into the gym...but when do you get into the gym when you leave your house at 730a for an hour commute to work, work all day, drive the hour back home and arrive right at 7pm...and have a two year old in tow? Guess I am going to have to make myself roll out of bed at 430a...unless I just want to stay comfortably chubby.

That's the problem...I don't want to stay comfortably chubby. I don't want to have a ba donk a donk tail, or a muffin top, or back fat. The back fat is the worst... But I also want to buy cute clothes again (because they don't make cute clothes for comfortably chubby. The make five pound bags for ten pounds of crap clothes...you can't help but look terrible). Jelly roll there, back pudge here...yak.

But I digress...

So today I will be more careful, and outside with my little man. No work for me! I wont' say I will hit the gym today. But I will make it my small goal to go in the morning.

I'm just wishing for the metabolism that made weight loss so easy before I had kiddo. He put the skids on that!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It was my first time...

I have my first Follower! WOW! Happy Fourth of July to me!

I log in before jumping in the shower after an evening of bug spray and fireworks, and there is a new Follower! Hoorray!

I have no idea if I am down any weight. I've sweated about fifteen pounds off because I chased the Toddler everywhere this weekend. But I cannot confirm or deny those allegations. I know that the pan of brownies I ate this evening in lieu of the watermelon (of which I am allergic to) will not help my numbers at all come tomorrow morning. Alas...what's gonna happen? The 'you promised astounding results' police are not going to show up. However, the dude to haul away the motorcycle is supposed to...please keep your fingers crossed.

We journeyed five hours south this weekend to my inlaws and enjoyed the Lazy Five Ranch. My sister in law recommended it and we all had a good time together. I will say, the wagon ride portion was a lot of fun, but the Virginia Safari Park has them beat hands down on variety of animals and experience. Very nice clean park, reasonable rates....but I think our park in VA is just a bit better. The Toddler enjoyed it immensely! Especially the giant cattle they have. OMG...all I could think was 'STEAKS!'

As for my inlaws, for posterity sake, I am not going to write anything demeaning or bad. They are very nice people... The husband and I have been together since high school, so we've figured each other out. This blog is not about inlaws issues, unless a juicy one pops up.

However, my MIL had gastric bypass last year...and I am concerned. She eats JUNK. JUNK JUNK JUNK POPSICLE JUNK all the time. She hasn't changed what she consumes, just the quantity is limited. Its sad...she is miserable. She's lost so much weight, but food is such an issue. We cannot even go out to eat without drama. Makes me want to make sure I get my tail back on the wagon. I don't want to end up like that...ever.

We headed home this morning, another six hours in the car with a nearly three year old...oh goodie. But he passed out about half way home, and literally did not wake up until we turned onto our exit. How's that for instinct! He woke up and blurted out "Where we are?" His version of "where the heck have you all taken me now?!" Poor kid...he's peed in every rest stop between here and whereever. I will say, NC rest areas are VERY clean and well kept. Thank you North Carolina! (BTW: Georgia rest area supervisors please travel to NC to see how you are supposed to do this..GA wins the Nastiest Rest Areas Award).

Tonight we hosted the 2nd Annual Cul De Sac Fourth of July Spectacular. Basically everyone shows up at our house, we water our lawn and driveway with the sprinkler while eating dogs and burgers and sipping beers...the at dark, we start the extravaganza.

Of course, right before we start the extravaganza, The Toddler flips his chair over and bonks his head on the sidewalk...so I immediately imagine the rest of our evening in the ER. He cried for two seconds then tells me he is 'Happy now'. Okay...

So $50 worth of Sam's Club fireworks later, a kiddo that keeps asking if we are done yet, a cat that has completely left the state, and one slightly drunk neighbor offering commentary the whole time, we disperse and are done. Thus ends the second annual festivities. And a fun time was had by all.

Happy Fourth!

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