Monday, August 29, 2011

And So It Begins....

We are now starting the first full week of school, and so far so good.  The day before it began Ryan had a hard time falling asleep because his eyes just didn't want to stay shut.  He asked me over and over again how he would know when it was time to get off the bus.  When I answered that when he got to his school the bus driver would tell him, he just wasn't satisfied.  Of all the things I thought would make him nervous, this wasn't even on my radar.  We had open house so he got to meet his teacher and see where he sat and where to put his stuff.  He got to meet the lunch lady and see where the bathroom is located.  That really seemed to calm him down. 

The big morning came and Dave went into work late to see him get on the bus.  We all waited down at the corner and the bus came.  He hopped right on and waved to us from the window.  No muss, no fuss.  Just hopped right on.  Most of me was really glad it went that way.  I didn't have to worry that he was upset and alone for the first time ever.  A tiny part of me was really sad because I realized that this was the last time one of my kids would be starting school for the first time.  My boy is growing up. 

I wasn't as ready as I thought I was. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Bookends

Lauren is starting college next week, and since she is going to become a Golden Flash, (go Kent State University!) I asked if she would like to go over to the campus and map out the best path to get to her classes.  We decided to go today, so I took the boys and met Lauren and William at the student center.

We call Lauren and Ryan the bookends because she is the oldest and he is the youngest.  While we were waiting for Lauren and William eat their Subway sandwiches and mapping out our plan, Ryan told Lauren (yet again) that he is starting Kindergarten.   It is at times like this that I can truly see the full scope of our family and where we are in our lives, how far the kids have come, and how much farther some of them have to go. 

Both of them are embarking on a new educational career.  They are both nervous about how things are going to go, meeting new friends, and finding their classrooms.  Lauren has already successfully navigated the wild and dangerous waters known as  high school.  She graduated and made it into the honors college at KSU.    She is carrying on in the fine tradition of both of her parents and Dave and me, too.  I am so excited for what is ahead of her. 

Ryan has successfully navigated the dangerous waters of Kathy's Preschool.  (You may have heard me tell just about anyone that will listen to me how much I loved it there.) He has had to deal with his first bully, crusts on his sandwich and nap time.  Oh how he hated nap time.  His eyes were never tired and had a really hard time staying closed.   

I think it is safe to say that they are both ready for their respective challenges, and I can't wait to hear about their first days.  I will keep you posted.    

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

When Dave and I were dating and had what seemed like unlimited time and money, we used to go to about eight to ten Indians games a year.  We started going when they were at Municipal Stadium where every seat had a great view of a pole.  We even went to the Final Series.  I can't tell you how many times we have gone at Jacob's Field/Progressive Field, but it is a ton. 

When we were going that much it was when the team was really good in the mid 90's and one of our favorite players was Jim Thome.   He currently has 598 home runs and Dave wanted to go to see him play this weekend with the Minnisota Twins in the hope that he would hit #600 while we were there.  So we packed up the boys and headed out to the game. 

When I go to the game it is a lot less about seeing baseball and more about people watching.  Here are a few things I observed:

1.  I had to go to the bathroom.  Perhaps I am a total germaphobe, but one of the first things I can remember my mom telling me is that we do not take food into the bathroom.  I couldn't believe it when someone was standing in the sink area holding an entire hot pretzel the size of her head.  I can only pray that she did not take it into the stall with her or I would have had to throw up on it for her so she could not possibly eat it.  I would have been doing her a favor.  I was also questioning whether or not she actually washed her hands, or where she put it while she did it.  Obviously I have given this way too much thought. 

2.  As each player walks to the plate to bat, they get to choose the music that is playing.  It ranges from country to rap to spanish rock.  There was even an Irish Jig for Jack Hannahan.  To the man that was sitting next to me before we had to move because you were so annoying, with music that diverse, it is not appropriate to do the robot dance with all of them.  Also, sometimes it is appropriate to JUST STOP TALKING!

3.  To Sandy Duncan, thanks for signing an autograph for Colin.  It really made his day that a real life athelete at a real life professional sporting event took the time to do that.  I know you are not a superstar of the team, but you are a nice guy. 

4.  Again, just because you can fit into clothes from the junior department doesn't mean you should wear them.  If you are no longer a junior, please stop shopping there!  I AM BEGGING YOU.

5.  Finally, I didn't really want to go to the game.  One of the symptoms I have with my high anxiety and depression is that it always seems like things will take an unattainable amount of energy to accomplish anything.  All week, whenever Dave would talk about it I would have some excuse for why I didn't want to go.  If I would have succeeded in talking him out of it I would have missed a night filled with this: 

Jim Thome did not hit any home runs, but the Indians won the game!  It was a really great night.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Other Things Keeping Us Busy...

As I have mentioned in every post for the last month or two, we have been really busy.  Here are a couple of things keeping us occupied.

Adam and Marsena got married!  You may remember me talking about them when I was telling you about the Fritz Family being my guardian angels.  Adam is the oldest child in that family and he has been dating Marsena for eleven, yes, I said eleven years.  They had just started going out when we started going to Tricia's house for babysitting.  I remember telling Tricia that I wouldn't bother to get to know her because they were graduating and would be going their separate ways.  I am so happy that I was wrong.  Aren't they the cutest couple?  I loved her dress, and we got a great seat at the family table. 

I also went to dinner with Kellie and Lynn from our 40th Birthday Weekend!  That in and of itself is not that exciting, but my best friend from grade school, Susan, joined us.  She left our school to go to a Catholic high school and we lost touch.  Then she moved to California.  The wonder that is Facebook reconnected us and we have seen her twice in two years.  So. Much. Fun!  With all three of these women, we had not talked in about 15+ years and it was like we had not missed any time.  I am so happy to have reconnected with all of them.  Aren't they beautiful?  We have come a long way from bad perms and glasses.  (Well I had a bad perm and glasses.  Oh, and the braces added a nice finishing touch.  It took a lot of work to get me to this place.)

This post is getting long.  Next time I will tell you about Fun 'n Stuff.  I believe this has been the highlight of Colin's summer.  Nothing beats Laser Tag for an 11 year old boy. 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Help Me Decide...

Okay, as I promised yesterday, I got two new pairs of sandals and I can only keep one.  I need you to help me decide which one to keep.  The purpose for this sandal is to wear when I want a casual sandal but not as casual as my Clark sandal.  I want to wear it with a summer dress or a pair of shorts out for dinner.  You get the point.

Here they are in no particular order. 

This shoe has a little bit of a heel on it and is very comfortable.  I like that it is black around my toes.  I am afraid it might be a tad too dressy. 

This shoe is totally flat and is also very comfortable.  I am concerned that since it is white around my toes that might get dirty and not be so cute.  It is kind of a suede feeling material. 

I wish I knew how to do one of those instant polls where I could get the results immediately as we all know that patience is not a virtue I possess, but leave a comment or if that doesn't work, send me an email at

Thanks for your help!  I will let you know the answer in the next day or two. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Getting, Getting, Getting Kind of Crazy!

It is days like today that I live in Ohio.  Okay, that and my 20 relatives that won't come to a warmer climate with me.  We all know that I can't move anywhere without them. 

Today the high temperature has been 80 degrees with low humidity.  Colin and I walked down to Handles for ice cream.  (If you don't have a Handles ice cream stand by you, I feel sorry for you, it is GREAT!)  I love to spend time with him, and the extra added bonus of getting some exercise in the fresh air without sweating through my clothes made it all the better.

We have been sitting on our back porch all day and just finished dinner.  That is really nice now that I don't have to worry that the roof is going to cave in on me.  I am writing this post while each of us gets to choose a song to listen to.  Colin chose Another One Bites the Dust, Ryan chose Ghostbusters, I chose You're My Best Friend, and Dave did Wanted Dead or Alive.  We are so predictable. 

It has been insanely busy for the last couple of weeks and I feel like I am finally getting my head back above water.  The end of summer break is in sight and that means that Ryan is finally going to full day kindergarten.  After 11.5 years I will finally be done paying for daycare.  Holy Cow Am I Excited! 

Finally, I got a new pair of shoes from Zappo's.  Can I tell you how much I love this website?  Again, I am not getting anything from Zappo's to tell you this, but they have revolutionized the way I buy shoes.  I wear a 9 AA.  Growing up is was usually a slim.  I had to wear old lady shoes my whole life.  Now I can go on the site, say I want a black strappy sandal in my size and it pops up with all the choices.  I then narrowed it down to heal height and it popped up with about 20 choices.  They had it to me the next day and has free shipping to me and back if I don't like them.  Tomorrow I will show you my two choices and let you pick which are cuter. 

Until then, I am going to enjoy the rest of the day.  It will soon be back in the 90's with 95% humidity.  If I didn't have such a strong policy against sleeping outside, I might just sleep on my deck.  Don't worry, the fresh air has not gone to my head.  I will just sleep with the windows open in my Luxurious-Queen-Sized-Stickley-Bed.  That is a story for another day. 

The Wilds

Life has gotten away from me.  It has been a wild and crazy ride the last few weeks, but that is not what I am talking about today.  Last week we went to a little gem of Ohio called The Wilds.  It is 10,000 acres of wild animals in as close to their natural habitats as possible allowed to roam free. 

So Dave got up on Thursday of his vacation week and once again didn't want to sit around on his day off, so he decided that we should drive 2.5 hours away to the middle of nowhere so we could drive around what amounts to a reclaimed strip mine.  I have been incredibly busy with my other life and the laundry is around my ears.  All I wanted to do was stay home and get some stuff done.  This was not to be and we set off on yet another adventure. 

First we called William and convinced him to come with us.  William wants to study animals in their natural habitat and has mentioned about 45+ times how much he loved going there and how he would like to go back.   We headed to get him and then had 3 hours to get to our destination.  Our GPS told us it would be 2 hours and 15 minutes so we headed out thinking that we would get something to eat on the way.  Again, to make a very long story short, (please just trust me on this) we got to our destination with about 10 minutes to spare. 

We chose to ride the open air bus to see the sites.  The other option was an air conditioned bus, but on the recommendation of the staff, we decided to eat the dust and sweat through our clothes to take the tour.  I am so glad we did.  We had a great tour guide/bus driver names Leeann.  It was her third summer working there and you could tell that she knew the animals, the history of the reserve and that she loved what she was doing.  Her enthusiasm was infectious.

We drove around the preserve and got to see all kinds of animals including, but not limited to, two different kinds of rhinos, camels, giraffes, all different kinds of deer, antelope, ostrich, , cheetah and zebras.  Every time I looked somewhere else there were different kinds of animals to see. 

I am not doing this justice, but I suggest that you go see it for yourself.  I am not getting anything for posting this, but I want to share the good things they are doing and right here in Ohio. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Not-So-Beautiful Part of the Day

Okay people, I do realize that I am 40.  I am making the assumption that I am no longer hip and happening.  Okay, who am I kidding?  I was never really hip and happening.  There is one thing that I do know.  It is not now, nor was it ever, cool to have your thong showing above your pants.  Quite frankly, underwear preference of a total stranger is not something I want to know about.  This is exactly why we wanted to control who we sat by and didn't want to sell our extra U2 tickets on Craig's List. 

A Beautiful Day...

Last Tuesday was a day nine months in the making.  It started last October when Dave was surfing the net talking about bands he would like to see.  As luck would have it, he went to the U2 site and discovered that they had added a final date to the 360 Degree tour, AND IT WAS IN PITTSBURGH,  a mere two hour drive from here.  A few phone calls later and we had Ann and Bob and Mary Beth and John on board.  We joined the fan club so we could get tickets before the lowly general public, and we were on. 

At Thanksgiving we thought it might be a good idea to try to get a hotel room so I started to call around.  To my dismay, all the hotels close to Heinz Field were already sold out.  It was eight months away, who would think that the hotels would already be gone?  We were lucky enough to get three rooms at the Hampton Inn where, on the map, it looked like a delightful summer's night stroll away from the venue. 

Fast forward to a week before the concert when Mary Beth called to tell me that she would not be able to go.  I was really disappointed, but both MB and John have very demanding jobs with somewhat unpredictable schedules.  Who knew that accountant's schedules would be that way.  We had to go With or Without them. That put us on the hunt for two people that would take the tickets that we actually wanted to sit with.  This proved harder than I would have thought.  In fact, small wars have been waged with less calls back and forth between myself and Ann.  To make a very long story short (you are going to have to take my word for it) we ended up with Lauren's boyfriend Mike, and my friend/neighbor, Lisa.

We packed our bags, figured out who was riding with whom, (I told Dave we needed the third seat.  Now maybe he will believe me next time!) and headed east to Pittsburgh!

We got to our hotel and immediately discovered we had a problem.  Instead of 2 double beds we had one king.  If we would have had our original group this would have been preferred.  With the group we ended up with it was not as desirable.  We ended up having the girls plus Will (my 16 year old nephew) on a cot, and the boys plus Mike in the other room.  After we got that all sorted out, we  decided to walk to the restaurant to eat dinner and then head over to Heinz Field.  Remember when I said that it looked like a nice evening stroll?  Guess what?  It was more like a hilly marathon.  On our way to the concert our leader was thinking that we were going to miss the opening band.  It felt like we were doing a 5k in sandals.  My feet were killing me!

Let me tell you, if I would have had to walk 5 times as far to get there, it would have been totally worth it!  There are certain bands growing up that I have dreamt of seeing live.  The Eagles, The Who, Queen, and U2 to name a few.  I have been to The Eagles, The Who, and now U2.  You would think that after being on tour for that long they would sound worn out, but they sounded way better than their recordings.  There is really no good way for me to describe the show.  It was lights, special effects, a great stage, and even better music.  Holy Cow, Bono oozes charisma, and The Edge is no slouch either. They played for almost three hours and had about 4 encores.  They played every song I like but one, and some that I have never heard before.  In short, it will be the concert that all other concerts will be compared to.  I mean really, check this out:

Once the concert was over, of course there were no cabs to take us back to our hotel.  We took the trek back and were all in good spirits after such an amazing concert.  All told, our delightful summer's night stroll was a 6.1 mile hike.  It took about 3 days for my feet to recover. 

The next morning we went down to breakfast and one of my favorite parts of the whole trip was when Lauren saw William texting.  It was around 10:00 and Lauren said, "William, who are you texting, nobody is awake at this hour."  I said that the way she said that you would think it was the middle of the night.  Will replied, "you would have a better chance of getting a reply in the middle of the night."  Perhaps this is why vampires have become such a big cultural phenomenon.