March 30, 2012

hey batta, batta

It's that time of year again.

We are knee deep in baseball, baseball, rainy weather and baseball.

At the big boys' first cactus league game, El Fuego slid into home base but was tagged out. I like this series of pictures none the less. The kiddos play so hard and it's fun to watch.

March 28, 2012

aligning the stars

Today my horoscope read "A very positive change or a big transformation is possible for you now. This could be a positive change in yourself, or with regard to something you want that will better your life and the lives of your loved ones. The key to attaining what you want, though, is to listen very carefully to your heart."

Let me say this. I'm not a big hippie dippie, let's get together and read each other's palms sort of gal. I grew up in a town in which the local college ran very much on this belief system of everything is cool and magical, peace and love. Throw on some tie dye, brew some tea with a mixture of herbs they grew in the backyard and everything will be alright. Women wouldn't shave because they felt it was a political stance for "sticking to the man" so to speak. And, the smell of garlic mixed with incense was usually prevalent. As a whole, they were known as "greeners". Mostly because of the name of the college, but also because they were tree-hugging, earth loving peeps. Very stereotypical, I know.

So I don't trend towards that mind set, however, I like a good horoscope from time to time. I believe in fate and what's meant to be, will be. I'm a huge believer in karma. Don't mess with karma people! If I continue to put good things out there (no matter how tough that can be sometimes) eventually good things will return. Right?! That is what I tell myself anyway.

Lately, my getting a job has been on the horizon. But what kind of job? I've not worked for ten plus years. Ten years!!! Who the heck is going to hire a blogging, ex-teacher with three kids (meaning a limited schedule) and hasn't held an outside-of-house job in ten years? And, what kind of career would I even try to embark on? Go back to my roots or change it up completely?

You see, I've decided that going to back to the classroom just isn't going to float my boat any longer. Too much "other stuff" that takes away from the enjoyment I once felt being a teacher. So in many ways, I've let that ship sail. However, I think leaning on my background while going another direction is a possibility. Librarian perhaps.

Or maybe nursing.

Or (my dream) toy store owner.

With that said, I am so ready for a complete change of pace. Not just with my career of choice but a gigantic LIFE re-set. Lately, I've felt like I have no emotional attachment to my belongings or the area I live. The only thing really holding us here is Mr. Hawthorne's job. I've never truly operated out of my comfort zone. I've never not lived in my current home state. I feel the need to mix it up. Not in a little way, but in a big way.

Oh sure, I would miss my friends and my neighborhood. The thought of leaving a community behind that we finally feel apart of the community is scary and a little sad. But if we can do it here, we can do it anywhere. Right?! I think the kids are at perfect ages too. Young enough in which change wouldn't be as tough but more of an adjustment and yet old enough to enjoy the new adventures.

Lots to ponder .... stay tuned!

March 21, 2012

boy oh boy

There are two things I like least about myself. Number one: I keep stuff. Man, that drives me crazy! And, number two: I worry. The latter has gotten me all worked up more often than I care to admit. I worry about silly things to huge life changing things. Of course, as I've aged I worry less about what my hair looks like and what I'm going to wear. You know, the all important things back in the day. Now, the stuff that fills my brain space are things like getting a job or if we have to replace the washer. But always, always I think/worry about my children.

My latest worry is El Fuego. Well, I take that back. He isn't my latest worry per se, I tend to always have some sort of worrisome degree when it comes to my only son, but lately the amount of worry attached to his being is more intense and certainly more often. The emails exchanged back and forth with his teachers. The untruths that get uncovered after the fact. The battle that ensues about almost. every. little. thing. like brushing his teeth and wearing clean clothes. "Oh My Gawd!!!! Just put on a clean sweatshirt dude! It's not THAT big of a deal! HOLY CRAP!"

Seriously, my obituary will read: "This mother of three was unable to keep her cool in the laundry room after having the four millionth argument right (and I do mean 'right') before going to bus stop about wearing appropriate attire/undone homework/hidden notes from teachers/fights with siblings that she fell over and just died. Resuscitation was unnecessary because her children didn't notice her on the floor and continued to argue about who would push the garage door button. She might be missed."

El Fuego, as I've shared before, is intense, impulsive and has himself a healthy dose of boy/potty humor. Which in many ways makes him freaking fantastic!! And, if I don't die before he is out of the house, I know these qualities will make me damn proud of him. Because, people who can make quick decisions, are passionate about their work/life and are funny, are people I'm always drawn to and who impress me the most.

However, these qualities in a classroom setting are pretty much always frowned upon. My boy tends to get the most frowns of them all. *heavy sigh*

I've had an itch that has been bothering me for some time now regarding El Fuego's life. His personality. His mindset. As much as I don't want to squash all the super great things about his character that makes him uniquely him, I do struggle with helping him hone his skill set. And, his appropriateness of which he chooses to use his said skills. If you catch my drift.

So I grabbed myself a pair of boot straps and I'm pulling myself up and at'em. I called his pediatrician and we have a meeting next week. Although I worry what will transpire as a result, I feel at peace as well.

Hopefully my obituary will also read: "Her one goal of growing her children into the best, self-reliant, free thinking, resilient, whole human beings they could possibly be was met by leaps and bounds!"

March 19, 2012

that's a wrap

This past weekend we wrapped up the basketball season. It went fast but was lots of fun. I, for one, especially enjoyed the warm and dry gymnasiums. The action packed entertainment was a bonus.

Now we are up to our eyeballs in baseball. With all three kids on a team plus Mr. Hawthorne and I coaching, it's very close to baseball 24/7 up in here. The overlap of basketball ending and baseball beginning had my head spinning.

Transition from basketball pictures to baseball pictures will commence shortly.

March 15, 2012

one year

Today marks my one year anniversary.
At this time, last year, I was laying in a hospital bed dozing in and out of consciousness.

This was me. 

Eighteen months ago I decided to navigate my way through the journey of gastric bypass surgery. Increasing medical difficulties were weighing heavy on my mind and body. Sleep apnea, asthma, chronic bronchitis, fatty liver to name a few. I was tired of carrying around the load in more ways than one. So I took the plunge and made an appointment with a surgeon. The process before surgery takes about six months. Many doctor appointments, lab work ups, support groups, visit with nutritionists, and psychological evaluations are required.

I didn't share my decision at first and when I did let it squeak out, what I was embarking on, it was received negatively. Friends and family meant well, I know that. However, the comments of "you are not that big" or "____ is losing weight the right way" or "you just need to eat better and move more" would seep into my soul and fracture it a teeny bit with every slip of the tongue. Everybody knows somebody or read something or saw something on television that sheds a not-so-positive light on the subject. The more comments, the less I shared. The thought of surgery is scary for most. Although well meaning, people would rather see a friend or loved one drown in their weight issues than go under the knife.

Then, about half way in the required six month pre-op process, my insurance denied my benefits. If I were to go through with surgery, it would be my financial responsibility. Up until the point of denial, I was still in the first stages of deciding. On the fence so to speak. Weighing my options. But, as soon as someone told me I couldn't move forward, I knew at once I wanted the surgery and I headed into battle to overturn my denial.

Fortunately, my insurance did overturn their first decision. And, about a week after the good news, I had a date scheduled. I remember the morning of surgery, the anesthesiologist appeared from behind the curtain and made reference to me being his 'smallest' patient. It was a good thing that milky white, sleepy time medicine entered my intravenous drip nearly the same time his words filled my brain because I almost decided to take my cold feet on out of that sterile environment and order up a cheeseburger. My last remembered emotion was of extreme guilt. As if I wasn't worthy of this surgery because, after all, "I wasn't that big!!"

A few hours later, I woke with rearranged guts and a huge case of buyers remorse. Sore and discombobulated. Unsure of the future.

Surgery is not the "easy way" out and recovery takes time. I had to learn how to feed myself while my insides healed. I developed a stricture which slowed the healing process. I lost hair and I was cold all the time. I was hungry and angry I couldn't belly up to the dinner table for some grub. I had to learn how to feed my soul with things other than food. But, as with all things tough and complicated, there was light at the end of the tunnel. I survived. I healed. And, I came out the other end a new person.

This is me now.

I don't regret my decision. In fact, I am overjoyed. To date, I've lost a solid ninety-three pounds. With every pound down, I have felt better and lived life more fully. No one can argue that isn't a good thing.

March 12, 2012

play ball

We are gearing up for baseball season around these parts once again. We are trying out something new however. Mr. Hawthorne decided not to coach/manage El Fuego's team this year. Instead, he is managing Miss Divine's team.

El Fuego was drafted onto a team of some major players this year. This weekend, the boys stepped out for a little scrimmage fun. Although, I'm not sure how fun it actually was because it was freezing complete with wind and snow.

Yes, you read that right. Snow! In the middle of March.

I'm excited to see the team play when they aren't freezing their cleats off.

Three cheers for a super season! And, maybe some sun would be good. Cross your fingers for sun!

March 7, 2012

spring cleaning

These last few weeks I have been feeling uber inspired by clover lane's 40 Bags. Coupled with Pinterest and a healthy dose of that crazy show, Hoarders, all I want to do is purge, organize and repeat. I took a huge bag of junk out of the laundry room already and I'm still reeling from the high of the neatly organized cabinets above the washer and dryer.
Ever since September I have had a goal to park my car in the garage. A little slice of goodness I haven't been able to do since....ever. I've never parked a car in a garage either because I've lived in spaces that didn't include a garage, or the garage has been occupied. Like now. Currently it's habitants include an undrivable car, man gadgets and lots of lots of other stuff.
Yes, let me introduce myself. I'm "little irish" and I keep STUFF. It's horrible disease I'm trying to rid myself of. All this stuff I hold onto has been weighing me down for too long. So! I wrote myself up a little list of places I could take a bag away from. Working myself down the to biggest jobs. I've already started chipping away here and there, randomly picking areas that are quick and provide instant gratification.

1.       Boy bedroom
2.       Boy closet
3.       Boy toys
4.       Girl #1 bedroom
5.       Girl #1 closet/wardrobe
6.       Girl #1 toys
7.       girl #2 bedroom
8.       girl #2 bedroom
9.       girl #2 toys
10.   Kid bathroom/linen closet
11.   Master bathroom
12.   Master bedroom
13.   Husband clothes/dresser
14.   Toy corner (little kitchen)
15.   Book shelves
16.   Family room
17.   Game cupboard/storage
18.   Kitchen
19.   Kitchen
20.   Kitchen
21.   Refrigerator
22.   Pantry
23.   Dining room
24.   Living room
25.   Desk
26.   Craft closet
27.   Laundry room cupboard
28.   Garage
29.   Garage
30.   Garage
31.   Garage
32.   Garage
33.   Garage
34.   Shed
35.   Shed
36.   Shed
37.   Office
38.   Office
39.   Office 
40.   Office

Disclaimer: The 40 bags in 40 days is a project Clover Lane does during Lent (40 days) in which she rids her house of 40 bags of stuff. I'm not religious (and not honoring Lent) but I can appreciate the value of ridding our living spaces of unneeded, accumulated things.

March 6, 2012

party on

Party hats seem to be a bit of a lost art don't cha think? I remember (a long time ago) my mom hosted a fifth birthday party for me. The pictures of the shin-dig have children in various primary colored party hats. I tend to forgo the paper cones for my own kids because it seems like the party goers never want to wear them. So why bust out the wallet for things that will most likely hit the trash before they are worn upon heads. However, at our most recent soiree, some of our wee guest chose to wear their dog bowls on their heads and it made me think about party hats.

After a quick looksie, I came across these great how-tos:

March 5, 2012

who let the dogs out

No, seriously, who let them out???

Party day finally arrived and no one was more excited than this newly crowned six year old. She was so excited, in fact, she took to screaming every time a party guest arrived much to her mother's dismay. With every additional guest, more chaos ensued.

Before the party fun, I managed to snap a few pictures of the spread. I must say I very much enjoy the preparation of the parties more so than the parties themselves. My favorite part is having it all come together in an adorable final product.

We had dog bowls for chow and mini water bowls too.

The cake from Rave Bakery was better than I had hoped. Plus it was super yummy!!

We had some crazy fun party pups!

Dog house building!!

And, eating.

We can't forget the doggie disco complete with dog tricks entertained the pack. For a few.

Presents were opened.

And, birthday songs were sung.

Oh, and we can't bowls were also worn on heads.

In the end, Petite Artiste enjoyed her party to it's fullest.

And, I was dog-gone tired!

March 3, 2012

chew on this

More party planning to report. Are you sick of it yet? No? Good, because I could go on and on and on and on. (just kidding) The party is tomorrow so bare with me, you won't have to endure much more. That is until Miss Divine's peacock extravaganza.

So Pillsbury has these cute little cans of yummy breadstick dough. And, when you tie the ends and bake them, they turn out looking a little like those raw hide dog toys. Fun, right?!?! I thought so too.

Not to mention, when you brush a little melted butter on top and sprinkle some garlic salt too, they come out pretty darn delicious. Yum! Yum!

I hope the little pooches coming over to play enjoy chewing on these.

March 2, 2012

thing 1, thing 2

Petite Artiste is celebrating her birthday today. And, because her class has been doing all sorts of fun Dr. Seuss activities this week, we (or I) decided to do a fun Seussville treat.

"Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!" when you put your mind to it.

We started out with red velvet cake mix. The only hiccup was that Miss Petite has a fellow classmate that is allergic to eggs. I'm no chef, and too lazy to make home-made, allergy conscience, organic (blah, blah, blah) anything. However, after doing a little research on the ole interwebs, I did learn that one can replace milk for eggs. Two Duncun Hines boxes later, I had mastered the recipe minus eggs. Toot, toot! 

I added some blue icing and blue cotton candy purchased at the dollar store. Easy peasy!! I was a little disappointed in the cotton candy though. It wasn't as fluffy as I wanted. But, heck, those little kinder kids are just going to swallow these babies whole and run around on a pure sugar high for 30 minutes. Which is really what Dr. Seuss books are all about anyway.....literature on a sugar high.

March 1, 2012

woof, woof

I've been pluggin' away on this little shin dig we've been planning in honor Petite Artiste's birthday. Yesterday, I put together the favors. And, for basically throwing them together, they turned out pretty cute. I love it when things are simple and yet look fun at the same time.

I found these perfect Walkers shortbread scottie dog cookies at one of my fave shops, World Market. I saw them around the holidays and I snapped up a bunch. Good thing the expiration date is forever.

When I opened these little cuties up, the smell of butter was intoxicating. When they say "pure butter" on the box, they mean it. Believe me.

I put them in a little treat bag to keep them fresh, and added some curling ribbon. Man, I've forgotten how much I love curling ribbon. It makes everything look fancy!

In my recent attempts to organize and declutter, I stumbled across these wee boxes I've been saving for a rainy day. Love! After adding some blue tissue paper and the cookies, I decided to use even more curling ribbon.

A pattern of curling ribbon madness might be forming....