Friday, August 31, 2007

Has it Been Ten Years?

I distinctly remember being 9 years old, and setting up a tape recorder next to the television set, so that I could record the audio of the royal wedding, back in 1981. I had to go to swimming lessons at Bowdoin College, so I didn't get to watch it (this was obviously before the invention of the VCR!). What I can't remember is what it was that began my obsession with all things Diana - - maybe it was simply that day, and all the coverage that went along with it. For years I would collect books, magazines, and keep meticulous scrapbooks. There was just something about her that I loved and admired, and I liked nothing better than to look at my books, over and over again. Fast forward to 11 years later. I was a student at Oxford Polytechnic in Oxford, England. I had been to England once before, in high school, and would end up going once again, in 1994. One rainy day, my friend Gail and I had decided to take a bus to London for the day, along with a large group of other students. We trudged nearly 2 miles to the bus stop, in the rain, only to find that we'd read the bus schedule wrong, and the bus wouldn't be there for another couple of hours. We all headed back to the dorm, but Gail and I decided to walk back to the bus stop later and head on to London anyway. It was a long day - - we were still slightly jet-lagged because we hadn't been in England for more than a week yet, and I remember falling asleep while getting my hair cut, nearly scaring the unsuspecting hairdresser to death when I almost did a nosedive out of her chair. We visited Kensington Palace, and wandered around London, eventually deciding it was time to head back to Oxford. As I knelt down on the sidewalk to search for some bus fare in my back pack, I happened to look up and see Princess Diana walking toward me. This was around the time that she was making headlines for simply leaving Kensington Palace without a bodyguard, walking around Kensington High Street and popping in at McDonalds, or doing a bit of shopping - - just trying to blend in I suppose. I don't remember what I said to Gail, but I'm quite certain it sounded something like, "MWAGGHHH! BLAHHH! WHAAP!", accompanied by lots of frantic gesturing and such. When Gail finally understood what was happening, we watched Princess Diana cross the busy street and head into the Gap, of all places. So, we of course abandoned our spots in line and followed her! The best part was, not many had recognized her, so we watched like a couple of voyers, behind racks of hip clothing, while the Princess perused the store. As quickly as she came in, she was ready to leave. Once she hit the sidewalk again, however, she had been recognized, and random people started chasing after her and yelling her name. Back to Kensington Palace she went, and Gail and I headed to Pizza Hut to try to digest what we'd just seen. When we got back to Oxford, I remember calling my parents and breathlessly telling them what had happened that day. Just five short years later, I was on my way back to my apartment in Swanville, Maine, after having spent the weekend in Topsham. I stopped in Camden to call my mother for one reason or another, and that is when she told me that Princess Diana had been in an accident. I didn't have a television at the time, so when I reached my apartment I didn't know anything until my mom called me again, a little while later, to tell me that she had died. Oddly enough, I was meeting Steve the next day, for breakfast, in Camden. I hadn't seen him in years, since the time we'd dated briefly, back in 1994. I'm afraid I had a hard time paying any attention to him that morning, because as we sat at Cappy's Chowder House, CNN was blaring on the restaurant television, so I was a little preoccupied! It's odd to think back on all of this now - - it seems so long ago in some ways, and like it just happened, too.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Please Tell Me What is Wrong With My Brain

I actually have this book, but now I'm starting to think I may need something even more elementary. I really don't know what is wrong with me, but I'm linking my complete stupidity when it comes to sewing, along with the fact that I cannot read a map, math makes me weep in fear, and if someone tries to give me driving directions using "north, south, etc." I nearly have a nervous breakdown. Steve would probably add that I do the same thing when trying to calculate a tip at a restaurant, but I'll just lump that in with my math problem, obviously.

Yesterday, Camden decided he needed a "treasure bag" for his "pirate booty" (contrary to what you may be thinking, "booty" in this instance, means "loot", and not "butt"). So, while out running errands, we stopped in at JoAnn Fabrics and picked out a lovely piece of skull and crossbones material, along with some gold cord. My thought was to make a drawstring bag like one my mother had made me as a child. Sounds simple, I know. Luckily, I purchased enough fabric for two bags, because I needed it. I won't even tell you what I did on the first attempt, because reflecting on it now, I cannot believe what a sewing nimrod I am. Okay, I can, but that's besides the point. Eventually, I finished the bag, but not without a lot of seam-ripping, head-scratching, and cursing under my breath. I want so badly to teach myself how to sew, but my little project yesterday knocked me down a few pegs. I think I may be lacking the necessary brain matter to properly operate a sewing machine. I'm not giving up though. Stay tuned...I will keep you posted on my progress (or lack there of).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Arrrrrrrggghhh, Matey!

So we've moved on from the Lion King, and right on into pirates. This latest costume change was brought on by a visit to Camden's cousin Banzer's house the other night. Camden spent the evening wearing Banzer's pirate hat, and has been obsessed ever since. This is Camden at breakfast this morning. As the day has progressed, we've added a black beard and moustache, a hook for a hand, and a pirate's sword (compliments of Daddy). Camden's also informed me that we're to address him only as "Black Beard", and he's further requested that I buy a box of fish sticks for him, because "pirates only eat fish". He is my costume boy, and I love it. He has the best imagination, and nothing makes him happier than getting decked out in a costume.

Speaking of costumes, I was at Old Navy yesterday, just as they were bringing out all of their Halloween costumes. You may recall that we take our holidays pretty seriously around here, and have no problem hauling out the decorations a little early (we had the Halloween stuff up by September 14th last year). Anyway, I'm browsing around the store when another shopper scoffed loudly and said, "Oh my goodness! I CANNOT BELIEVE they already have Halloween costumes out! Give me a break!" to which I just smiled and nodded my head, all the while with two Halloween costumes stuffed under my arm. I've always been a holiday girl, but with two little boys, it is so much MORE fun. Sometimes I suspect Steve thinks I am a little nutty, but that's okay.

I may be jumping the gun here, but I broke out the crock pot today...I couldn't help myself. I generally only use it in the fall/winter months, and it is expected to be in the 90's later this week, but what the heck. As you can see, I'm trying out one of those handy-dandy slow cooker liners and I have to say, I'm excited that I won't be soaking and scrubbing my crock pot tonight. If you are wondering what's in the crock, I'm cooking "pork chops abracadabra", my favorite crock pot recipe, given to me by my Aunt Jean. Just brown some pork chops (a step I'm just now realizing that I failed to do this morning!!) and then place in the crock. Pour one can of cream of chicken soup over the top (I like Campbell's Cream of Chicken with Herbs), set on low for 8 hours, and that's it! I'm going to make some whipped sweet potatoes, and serve with the gravy from the pork chops. Yum!

Here's a neat idea that Camden and I tried out the other morning. It was a little chilly, as well as buggy out, so I didn't really want to send Camden outside, but he wanted to dig in the dirt. So, I filled my roasting pan with some rice (very inexpensive when you can buy it from a bulk bin at the supermarket). He had the best time playing with his tractors! When he was done, I just poured the rice into a big Ziploc bag, and we can use it again and again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Camden's Breakfast Guest

See that wooden box on the table, next to Camden? Sort of looks like a recipe box? Um...that's Sadie. That's actually the "urn", full of her ashes. Camden is very intrigued by the whole thing. We picked her ashes up yesterday, and ever since, Camden's asked repeatedly, "Mummy, can you open up that box and show me Sadie's bones?" "No," I reply, "I don' t think we'll be opening the box, Camden." When he woke up this morning, he went right to the box and gave it a pat and said, "Good morning, Sadie!" So, it's been a bit of an odd day around here. By this afternoon, Camden had taken to calling the urn, "Sadiebox". Ahh, the inner-workings of the four-year-old mind. Never ceases to amaze me!

We had a call from Steve this morning, saying that he thought he would be able to have lunch with us, if we drove out to meet him. So, we scrambled, piled into the car, and had a really nice little picnic. The boys were happy to see him (as was I). It sounds as though he'll be back home sometime this weekend. When this training is over with, I don't think he has any longer commitments like this for quite some time.

This picture of Griffin cracks me up, because this is what I see at just about any given point in the day, when I look down. He's taken to following me wherever I go, and hanging on to my leg. I must admit, although I have spent many, many days, weeks, and months parenting solo, this feels like a whole different ball game now. Griffin is rather mischievous, and Camden is a very active 4-year-old. This new phase that Griffin is currently up to his eyeballs in (mobile, getting into everything, wants Mummy 24/7) combined with the busy-ness of his older brother, is wearing me out!

As you can see, I've been playing around with my blog format. There seem to be quite a few glitches still, but it is going to have to be a work in progress. The section of my brain that deals with formatting and such is virtually non-existent, so just changing my blog template practically made my head explode.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nail Polish, Prune Juice, and Ear Mites (and other highlights from our day)

  • Camden broke a bottle of red nail polish, all over the bathroom. Luckily, no glass shards or injuries to report, however, my fancy bathmat, Camden's nice grey sweatpants, and his new pair of socks did not survive. House reeked of nail polish/nail polish remover for the rest of the day.
  • Silly me decided to take an 11-month old, a 4-year-old, and a very neurotic 10-year old dog to the vet at 9:00 a.m.. When we arrived, we learned they were short-staffed, dealing with a handful of emergencies, and would be with us "shortly". Griffin got a little slap-happy after the long wait, but other than that, we survived!
  • Force-fed above-mentioned 11-month old prune juice with a syringe, in an effort to solve his massive "constipation" problem. It wasn't pleasant, but hey, it worked!
  • Endured day three of non-stop chatter from 4-year-old. Steve is away at an Army commitment, so I've not had any adult interaction since Friday. Goodness, I love that boy more than life itself, but can he TALK! He does not come up for air from the time he gets up until he goes to bed at night, and every sentence begins with, "Mummy? Guess what?"
  • Had to sit down and write out medication schedules for Griffin and Riley, so as not to administer amoxicillan to Riley, or ear mite medicine to Griffin.

Time for a glass of wine! Nighty-night!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Baking Fest

I do love to bake. I was feeling extra-ambitious today, and managed to churn out a loaf of honey wheat bread, two loaves of zucchini bread, and a big batch of banana-cinnamon pancakes (some with mini chocolate chips, for my sweet Camden) for my boys. I like to make up a bunch of pancakes ahead of time and freeze them, because then I can just pop them in the toaster in the morning and it makes things so much easier. While my parents were here, my Mom made 9 meals-worth of her delicious spaghetti sauce, which is now in my freezer, ready for an easy dinner. I'm thinking that over the weekend I'll make up and freeze a big batch of meatballs. I like having some things pre-made and frozen because sometimes the day escapes me for whatever reason, and it is hard to pull dinner together at the last minute.

The boys are asleep and I hope to be sleeping soon, too. First, as promised, here are some photos from when my parents were here. My mother took most of these...thanks for sharing, Mum!
Sweet Camden

Oh, how I love my boys...


A kiss on the cheek from Nana

Banzer and Griffin at the Capital City Farmer's Market

Riley, mourning Sadie, while simultaneously wondering if he himself has died and gone to heaven, since the last time he was allowed on the bed was sometime back in 2001

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My folks left this morning, so the boys and I are spending a quiet day at home after an early trip to the airport. Their visit sped by much too quickly, I'm afraid. Luckily, we are headed to Maine in 61 days though (yes, we are counting!). I'll post some photos from their visit within the next day or two.

Life is quite different without Sadie around. I've gone to let her in the house, or have caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye a couple of times, only to realize my mind was playing tricks on me. Camden has asked quite a few questions, but is dealing with it all very well. Riley, on the other hand, is having quite a hard time of it. It is an odd thing, watching an animal mourn for another animal. I think it dawned on Riley that something was wrong when he went to bed on Monday night, and Sadie wasn't there. He did lots of pacing and couldn't seem to find a place to sleep. Yesterday, he wasn't quite himself, but we kept him busy. Today, though, he is very quiet. He is a dog that normally loves spending the day outside, sleeping under the big blue spruce, but he's refusing to even go outside today. Sadie was the alpha dog, and I think Riley doesn't even know what to do without her. Hopefully in time he will come around and adjust to his new place in the family.

Today, I spent some time familiarizing myself with Camden's new EpiPen. Steve and I have been growing concerned, because each time Camden gets a bug bite, he develops a huge welt, and they seem to be getting worse with each bite. I had Griffin at the doctor yesterday (yes, ANOTHER double ear infection), and mentioned Camden's reaction to bug bites. The doctor promptly wrote out a prescription for the EpiPen and told me that most likely if he reacts that way to mosquito bites, he would probably be highly allergic to bee/wasp stings. So, from here on out we'll be carrying the EpiPen with us at all times. He will probably have to go through some allergy testing down the road at some point, too.

Griffin has mastered the low-crawl, and is now working on regular crawling. He has pulled himself up on furniture a couple of times, but isn't into doing that on a regular basis, although I'm sure it is only a matter of days. He is full of energy and doing so well. I cannot believe he is almost a year old. Where has the past year gone?

Steve is busy, as always, and is gearing up for some army commitments that will have him away from home quite a bit over the next two weeks. He has some travel coming up at the end of the month as well, so it looks as though we won't be seeing a whole lot of him until September.

My mother just called to say that they've landed safely back in Maine...oh, how we miss them already!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rest now, sweet girl

My sweet, quirky Sadie Ann died this morning, just a little after 9 o'clock, with her head in my lap. Her death was very peaceful, and I was able to hold her and stroke her, and tell her how much I loved her, and how much she has meant to me. I am having her cremated, and will take her back to Maine in the fall, where life was sweet, and full of car rides with the window down, long walks off the leash, and the smell of salty air. Go well, Sade. I will miss you.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Real Crowd-Pleaser

If you don't have one of these, you MUST get one! Tonight, we used our Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker for the first time, and it was so much fun! It makes the BEST ice cream. Tonight we made vanilla, but plan to branch out and try all kinds of flavors. It was fun rolling it around, and even Riley got in on the action. Some highlights:
Freezing the ice cream
Digging in...

Camden and Nana

Camden and Papa

Thursday, August 09, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Depressing...

I sit here at my keyboard tonight with a very heavy heart. I took my girl Sadie to the vet this afternoon, in order to obtain some guidance as to what I should do, in regards to her health. She was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease about three years ago, and at this point in time her quality of life seems to be declining. After talking with my vet, I have a clearer understanding of what is in store for Sadie, and he's advised me that the most humane thing to do would be to have her euthanized. The thought of it literally tears my heart out - - I can't even wrap my brain around it right now. I've been Sadie's "mom" for 10 years, ever since I inherited her from a former landlord, who no longer wanted her. She is Riley's best friend and that poor dog is going to be lost without her. On top of that, I have a small boy who will also struggle with Sadie's absence, and I don't even know how to begin to help him through it. I think what I am wresting with the most, though, is that I have not cared for her in the manner that she has deserved, since moving to Idaho. She (and Riley) have never exactly been welcomed here, and unfortunately I have been too weak of a person to do the right thing by her. I'll never forgive myself for it. Never. To those of you who do not know the whole story - - this post probably sounds a little nutty, not to mention, melodramatic. But those who know me best, and know how much I love my pups, then I know you understand.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Idaho Wine Country

We are having a great visit with my folks, who arrived on Saturday evening. Here they are yesterday, posing with the grapes at Hell's Canyon Winery. We packed a picnic and the six of us headed out for a scenic drive to check out a couple of the many wineries here in Idaho. I can't believe that I've been here for six years, and I've only been to two...I'll have to work on that. Anyway, our first stop was Koenig Winery and Distillery. The Koenig brothers make fabulous wine, as well as fruit brandies, and potato vodka. The copper pot stills were pretty amazing. In the tasting room, I tried a wonderful Cabernet Syrah, as well as their 2005 Ice Wine. I'm not a huge fan of sweet wines, but I absolutely loved their ice wine. I'm not even sure how to describe it, but it was delicious. We had a picnic lunch on the grounds, Camden spent some time rolling down the hill, and then we headed off down the road to the Hell's Canyon Winery. Again, we had fun sampling some different wines. Steve brought home a bottle of Deer Slayer Syrah, which we had with dinner last night. We then headed home with the boys, while my folks stopped in at The Winery at Eagle Knoll. We are hoping to visit Ste. Chapelle next weekend, where they will be having a concert on the grounds.

Unfortunately, Steve got held up in some meetings today (he was supposed to have the day off) and ended up staying at the office all day. The good news is, he will be taking Thursday off, so that's great.

Griffin didn't nap yesterday afternoon, so he was extra tired last night. So tired, in fact, that he couldn't seem to get to sleep! Luckily, he had his Papa to snuggle up to, and that did the trick.

Story time with Nana (if you're wondering what that is that Camden's hooked up to - - that would be my father's sleep apnea mask that he has to wear when he sleeps...Camden thinks it is fun to wear).
The four of us, at Hell's Canyon Winery

Camden wanted his picture taken with this mini-forklift

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dried Out

The basement is finally dry...yippee! I still need to clean the carpeting though, so I've set my folks up in Steve's office for a couple of nights, and then we can move them across the hall into the guest room. We'll head out sometime mid-afternoon to pick Steve up from drill, and then head to the airport to get Mum and Dad - - I can't wait! I can't believe it has been nearly a year since I've seen them. Too long.

So, it has been a busy week here, between the basement clean-up and the general house clean up, and two boys who have been in rare form this week. I have a bad case of kid burn-out, I must admit. You know I love my boys more than life itself, but sometimes I can only talk about matchbox cars, The Lion King, and monster trucks for so long. I have found myself on more than one occasion this week, longing for an iced coffee and complete silence, if only for 30 minutes. That being said, there sure are worse problems to have, aren't there? Nothing that some quality time with my parents, as well as two extra sets of hands to help me with the boys won't cure!
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