Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Saturday Night at the Man Cave

January 31, 2012

The Official Portrait

January 31, 2012

My handsome young man and his date Pearl at the Winter Formal.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

While I'm Spilling My Guilty Pleasures...

January 29, 2012

Several years ago, I absolutely fell in love with a product called Jif's Chocolate Silk Supreme, It was heavenly, seriously. If you never had an opportunity to try it, I feel bad for you. Some likened it to Nutella, but Nutella doesn't even come close. Apparently, it didn't do well in the test markets, though (Fresno being one of those test markets), because a few years ago they discontinued it. Oh, I was so sad! As suddenly as it appeared, it was gone. There were petitions to bring it back, and whole discussion threads by devoted and disappointed consumers, but to no avail.


I was at the grocery store this week, and saw the individual snack cup version. (As yet, I haven't seen the jar form, which is how I used to buy it.) Immediately, I snatched up a few. I may or may not have gone back later in the week for more. I'm torn, actually, between urging everyone to storm the stores and buy the product, so that Jif will know we appreciate having it back, and urging you all NOT to go out and buy it, so that it will still be there when I'm ready to head back to the store for more.

All I can say is that between this and Girl Scout cookie time, it's a good thing I've decided to hit the gym on a regular basis. I think I'm going to need it!

One of My Favorite Times of the Year

January 29, 2012

Recently I found this picture on the internet:
I'm pretty much right there. I love the time of year when Thin Mints make their arrival back on the scene. Sure, there are other cookies, but Thin Mints are the gold standard. I'm a little addicted, but I don't like people to know exactly how addicted. People judge--I know they do. They say, "Sure, I love Thin Mints as much as the next guy." But take a look at their faces when you tell them that you've ordered sixteen boxes from the neighborhood Girl Scout. Oh yes, they judge. So I buy only four boxes from the neighborhood Girl Scout. And two boxes each from my nieces--you've gotta be supportive, you know. (Thank you, Lisa, for putting all three girls in Girl Scouts. You probably didn't do it just to be an enabler, but it worked out like that, anyway.) And then, for good measure, I go to two or three different grocery stores, just as if I'm going into the stores to buy fresh produce or some other healthy food. I make my purchases, then I wander out the door nonchalantly, as if I didn't notice the Girl Scouts exercising their entrepreneurial skills outside the store. How could I say no to girls who look so earnest and hopeful in their endeavor? Certainly I'll buy a couple of boxes. At each location.

All of that is the easy part in hiding just how many Thin Mints I need to purchase each year. The hard part is finding hiding spots in my house, so that my kids (and the hubby, for that matter), don't dip into my private stash. Did I mention I also buy Oreos for the family, just to throw them all off the scent of Thin Mints? Seriously--stop judging.

I Have No Idea How This Happened

January 29, 2012

Last night I realized that my finger was really bothering me. I looked down at my hand and realized my wedding ring had been smashed into a flat, oblong shape. This is not the actual shape of my finger, so my poor digit was getting squished. It took a lot of hand lotion and some serious work to get that ring over my poor knuckle. I'm not even sure right now if I could get it back on. This is pretty much what my ring looks like now.

How it happened, I have no idea. Wouldn't you think I would have noticed doing something that would have bent the ring so out of shape? But no, I have no idea. We've got to get off to the jewelers to get it fixed as soon as possible--I hate not wearing my wedding ring!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fluffy is Only Cute Up to a Certain Point

January 28, 2012

My fluffy used to be cute--cuddly, adorable. (At least that's what I told myself in my head.)Lately, though, the fluffy has gotten out of hand. Not so very cute anymore.

If I don't get myself in gear, this fluffy is going to turn into something akin to a Yeti. Not adorable. Not even a little tiny bit....Definitely need to avail myself of that gym membership I just signed up for, to find the cute again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

That New Car Smell....

January 17, 2012

My Honda Odyssey has been something of a money pit over the years. Up until this mini-van, I have always loved Hondas--efficient, reliable, spacious. But this one that I got cost way too much (courtesy of a balloon payment at the end of my lease from the previous vehicle), and it has had all kinds of things we've had to repair along the way. A key that wouldn't turn in the ignition. (We replaced the ignition switch, so that we had separate keys for the doors and for the ignition.) Oh yeah--the door keys only worked selectively on the doors. Rarely for the driver's side, only occasionally for the passenger side. Mostly we relied on unlocking the trunk to unlock all the other doors. Then there is the air conditioner, which suddenly stopped working in the 100+ degree weather last summer. Since it was supposed to cost nearly $1200 dollars to repair the system, our solution to the no air conditioning situation (I get cranky when I'm too hot) was to trade cars with Doug during the summer. Since his commute to work takes him an hour up into the foothills, the heat wasn't as much of a factor for him. Plus, he's not a princess, like me. He'll tolerate sweat. Add all that to some minor cosmetic issues--windows that screeched horribly when I wanted them raised or lowered, plus a few dings in the windshield--and you have a car with issues. Nothing terrible, nothing insurmountable, but still--issues. This is all besides the fact that it was a boring silver color. Ugh. Not beautiful blue, not racy red. Just blah.

Nevertheless, it was drivable, workable. We made it work. It was sufficient for hauling around kids and friends and soccer balls and stacks of books and just-about-everything-but-the kitchen-sink which comprises what my kids and I cart about with us on any given day. It was working, until we hit the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. This particular straw came in the form of a Friday evening trip to the bank. Mind you, this was Friday night on the last day of the month, when lines can be out the door. We drove into the parking stall, took care of our banking needs, and then got back in the car to leave. Except that the car wouldn't go into reverse. Or rather, it did go into reverse; there was just no corresponding movement in that direction. I tried everything, including coaxing, coddling, bargaining. But try bargaining with an oversized piece of tin. It's just futile. I called Doug asking for advice, and he thought I should put the van in neutral, push it back out of the stall, and then shift into drive. My worry, however, was that I'd get it pushed back and manage to block the pathway of all the folks who were driving into the lot for their Friday evening banking needs. (There is only a single lane driveway into the bank,) I assure you, that would have been worse than staying put. I didn't want to have a mob of angry people behind me in addition to having a colossaly uncooperative vehicle. Finally, after closing hour at the bank, my car decided inexplicably to actually shift into reverse. Once backed out, I was able to shift into drive, and drive I did---straight to the auto mechanic. There, I was given grim news. In addition to all of its other quirky issues, my van's transmission was shot. The problem was only going to get worse if I did not send it in for repair, to the tune of $2100. I don't know about you,. but I don't happen to have $2100 just lying around in loose change. However, having a car that only sporadically decided to travel in reverse would simply not do, and it was my understanding that the forward motion only had a short shelf life as well. It was time for a new car.

After doing some online research and looking around at local lots, we settled in on a greenish gray Prius. The MPG is, of course, leaps and bounds above what the van was getting, and certainly much better than Doug's Durango gets as well. We've decided that Doug will mostly drive the Prius while he's commuting an hour or so each way to work every day, because we'll save quite a bit in gas money. In the meantime, I'll be using his Durango for the daily Mom Taxi Service. For now, the van haunts the driveway, big lumbering hunk of tin that it is, until we can pay it down enough to make selling it a viable option.

The new ride:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NHS Induction Ceremony

January 12,2012

As co-advisor for the National Honor Society this year, I got to be one of the ones in charge of putting on our high school's Induction Ceremony. I'm really proud to say that so many of these amazing kids are not just in our NHS, but are in my class as well.Our NHS President, Miss Kaitlyn
Victory, me, and all of our officers.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nicholas' First Winter Formal

January 8, 2012

Three or four days after my camera was stolen, it suddenly dawned on my that the following Saturday was Nicholas' first Winter Formal. Both my sister and my ex-husband, both of whom know how much it means to me to be a historian of sorts, had offered me the temporary use of their cameras, and I can't tell you how much that meant to me. However, Doug also knew that no matter what, he wanted to make sure we got my camera replaced. He knew it was the one thing I'd really want to splurge on, since it's something that I use all the time. He took me to Best Buy, and we shopped for cameras. The big brother of my stolen camera was on sale, and we couldn't pass it up. I was ecstatic to be able to use it to take pictures of my very handsome young man and his lovely date at the Buchanan Winter Formal.

Doug and Nicholas, getting ready for the dance. It was really sweet to see Doug helping Nicholas with his cuff links and his tie. Am I a little emotional? Yes. Yes I am. I remember a Winter Formal many years ago when Doug was putting on his own cuff links and tie, and picking me up for our Formal date.Mama's handsome boy.

It was pretty fun, actually, the whole week prior to the dance, when Doug and I tried to impart little gems of dating wisdom to him. When your first date ever is a Winter Formal, it's kind a high bar.

"Even if you don't want to dance, dance. It's her first dance, too, and you don't want her first high school dance to be one where she sits in a chair all night."

"Don't forget that you have to budget for tip for your dinner. And tax."

"Take a toothbrush so you can brush your teeth after dinner. You don't want to slow dance with the girl when there's a piece of lettuce stuck in your braces."

"Have a few conversation starters already planned, in case you're not sure what to talk about at dinner."

"At some point in time in the evening, make sure you tell your date she looks pretty. She probably will have spent a lot of time and effort to dress up for the dance--let her know you appreciate it."

"Look her in the eye when you're talking to her."

"Whatever you do, if there's a t.v. on in the restaurant, don't sit facing it. You get distracted far too easily by t.v., and you'll stop talking to her."

"When her mom picks her up from the dance, be sure to walk her out to the car. Don't just wave and let her walk out by herself. Also, if she's cold, offer her your tux jacket to wear."

"Make her laugh, and you won't go wrong."

And to his credit, he didn't balk or get embarrassed, or even roll his eyes when we dropped these little hints throughout the week. He just took it all in.

Nicholas and his best friend, Edward.
Nicholas and his date, Pearl. (Pearl is Edward's cousin.) They all went out to dinner together at Red Robin before the dance.

I thought perhaps Nicholas might not dance, but his whole group got out and rocked out together.
When I drove Nicholas home, he said he'd had a lot of fun. Of course, he might have just been saying that because he thought that's what I wanted to hear. But his Facebook status later that night: WINTER FORMAL: AWESOME. BEST NIGHT EVER.

My little boy is growing up, and I couldn't be happier!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hey, Batter Batter....Swing!

January 5, 2012

Annual softball game pictures, courtesy of my sister, who was kind enough to lend me her camera since my beautiful camera apparently belongs to someone else now.

New Year's Eve, 2012

January 5, 2012



My good friend Julieann joined us for a very family-friendly celebration including cousins, Scattergories, sparkling apple cider, and homestyle version of karaoke!
This is the guy I want to spend all of my New Year's Eves with, til we're very old and gray.
As always, two peas in a pod--Devin and Danielle
Miss Bailey
Lisa and Laura
It's the Mayes girls!

Skywalk, Where the Adults Get to Act Just Like the Kids

January 5, 2012

When the whole family was in town for the holiday, we piled everyone into the car and headed out to Skywalk. What a great way to spend the afternoon! The kids can jump around and just be kids. And the adults? We get to jump around like kids, too. By the end of our time there, the kids were still jumping like kangaroos. We, on the other hand, were recovering on the sidelines.