Monday, June 30, 2008

Wow - a week has gone by already?

I'd love to say that its been a whirlwind of activity around here, that we've been up to this and that and done so much, but it would be a big ole' lie... Swimming, tutoring, going to the gym *not as often as I should*, fighting heat-related headaches, trying to not melt into the pavement and trying to keep the boys from killing each other about sums it up. Oh, we also saw WALL-E yesterday. Very cute - highly recommend. Loved by all!

Last year we, as in the State of Arizona, broke a record. 33 days of heat in excess of 110*. It took us all summer to break that record.

This year, so far, we have already had 15 days over 110* and we have not reached the "hottest part of the year" yet. Oh, Goodie.

Hopefully, by the time many of you read this, I will have a new website up and running for my photography. It took nearly all weekend to create the site, most of that time being frustrated that my iMac and my iTunes wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the MP3 format the site needed for music. It was on Sunday morning that I was very thankful we were not an all-Mac family. Steve's PC saved the day!! Please - check to see if the link is live and then let me know what you think of the site.

The boys also had a swim meet on Saturday morning. If we could combine the talents of the two boys, Michael Phelps would have a good competitor... Parker is fast and sleek but his diving into the pool is comical at best. Matthew can dive in like a pro, but lacks the instinct to 'go for the gold' as it were, and struggles with the race itself.

It would be easier for the kid if he did not have to race against his brother. In more ways than one, its a killer for him. Ego-smashing, and all that...

You may have noticed a new 'feed' to the right of the blog. This is my new addiction - TWITTER. It's sort of like blogging-lite. So now, when I have neither the time nor the motivation for a full, no-holes-barred blog session, you can still follow what we are doing by reading the "tweets" I leave. Cool, huh?

You can also check out my marathon reading efforts of late. I rarely have time to read during the school year, so for the last three years or so, I keep a list of all the books I want to read, and then I plow through them in the summer. I have lost track of how many I have read so far this year, but Stephenie Meyer's books (all 4 of them) were fantastic and I anxiously await both the release of the latest in the TWILIGHT series as well as the movie version of TWILIGHT in December.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

two videos to share

In my world, brainwashing must begin early in order to be truly effective. Case in point: Christopher with his own rendition of the USC Fight Song. A SO CAL Spell Out is coming next...

And this next one is of the boys 1st swim meet. It was yesterday. Each boy swam in 2 races - one individual 25m freestyle race and one 100m freestyle medley. Parker came home with 2 blue ribbons. Matthew came home with a second place and a 4th place. Unfortunately for him, he had to race against his brother both times.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Open Wide!!

The boys all went to the dentist this morning. I made the appointment ages ago, and cannot for the life of me remember why, the hell, I would have scheduled 3 appointments at 7:30 in the morning when it is summer and we don't have to worry about missing school. But - I did. 7:30?? Ouch!

In very un-Jensen like fashion, we were out the door in plenty of time and made it to the dentist's office with even a few minutes to spare! (who are these boys and what have they done with my children?)

And all went swimmingly at the dentist's office. Well, except for Christopher who refused to let the doctor clean his teeth, and then he had to have x-rays which was, in his mind, torture to beat all other forms of torture, but hey - he got a bouncy ball out of it so all is right with the world.

Parker got to do the two-hands-in-the-air-touchdown-celebratory NO CAVITIES MA!! dance. But, I most certainly hope he has no cavities because he had SIX the last time we went to the dentist, and he has since had them all filled and had those protective sealents put on his teeth.

Matthew has one cavity. It's a contact variety cavity, meaning he needs to get better at flossing (he's not alone there - can't remember the last time I did that, but SHHHH don't tell anyone!) He, too, will have sealents put on the next time we go.

And that leaves Christopher. Poor bloke has a big ole, see-it-with-the-naked-eye cavity on a back molar. Which will need to be filled, obviously. Which was most likely caused by the "unusually deep grooves" in his back teeth. Which the dentist wants to file down and seal. Which is unusual in children so young.

Just what I want... an unusual dental patient!

So we have some sedation and a bit of nitrice-oxide in our future... They will try to get his teeth cleaned at the same time they fill the cavity.

I know the ADA recommends that children start seeing the dentist as soon as they have teeth. We are, knowingly, a bit late, then, in getting Christopher in. But I really can't imagine how they DO anything with the younger kids - Chris knows how to follow directions like "Open your mouth BIG" and he was reluctant to go along with the whole gig. I simply cannot imagine using sharp instruments around a child even younger who is more likely to act erratically.

Guess that's just one of the reasons why I did not choose to become a dentist!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dry heat?


We had an unusually cold spring for us. In fact, we usually end school well into the triple digits but this year we were given a reprieve. It was a delightful change to be packing up boxes and moving them and not melting into the pavement. This nice trend lasted through the start of swim season.

Then came to an abrupt halt.

The last few days have been over 110*, and to say it is making life very uncomfortable would be an understatement. It also means that our most reliable way to staying cool (the pool) is even out of reach both because of the strength of the sun as well as the tub-like quality the water has developed. I think the pool temp is running around 98.6 or so.

I belabor this point about the heat each and every year. It never gets any better and complaining certainly changes nothing, and yet somehow it is inevitable that I find myself moaning and complaining. I know it is partly the whole 'living like a mole" thing that goes on - drapes are drawn, shutters closed up, everyone stays inside. Everyone simultaneously begins going stir crazy. My hardest job is keeping the two older boys from killing each other, and letting the littlest one sleep! Summer should be about 3 weeks long. That's about the time it takes for everyone to relax and then begin to grate on the very last good nerve of everyone else in the house. If anyone listened to me, I'd vote for year-round schools. Personally, I think 9-weeks on and 3-weeks off is just about a perfect schedule. Just as soon as we start to get sick of looking at each other, we go back to school! Of course, no one asked me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I have a confession, and a request

Ok, Y'all... I have a confession. It is of the "cyber-stalking" variety. Do you see the counter at the bottom of the blog? Yeah - that one. It tracks how many folks have visited the blog on any given day, and can tell me, more or less, who is reading. That is, if I had an address book for every ISP out there. Which I don't.

So - you from San Jose?? Norwood Mass?? Please, do me the favor of leaving a comment so I know who you are. I am getting a somewhat creepy feeling not knowing who it is who is reading. I have made sure to check all the basic privacy settings so that I am not 'out there' too much.

So please - I am tracking you - please let me know who's out there reading.... Thanks folks!

(Grandma & Grandpa - don't worry, I can tell which one is you!)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One more for good measure

Just to really make sure I can actually upload video to this thing.... Christopher, learning to bob....

Cutting the cord

Christopher has started swimming lessons. He has been in the pool with me for, well, ever is seems. He has always been the dare devil baby - not minding at all if he goes under the water, but certainly needed me close by.

Not any more. He is now in level 1 swimming lessons, and while day one was horrible (he screamed and refused to stay with the coach) each day since has been wonderful. He is having so much fun, and, I think, even learning something...

Thursday, June 12, 2008


The house my dad grew up in is for sale in West Hartford. We drove by the house many times as a kid. I remember him telling stories about the house, and being able to walk to school. He never said it was a particularly large house and with him being an only child, I presume the original house did not come with 6 bedrooms, so clearly folks have amended and added to it along the way.

There is a strange pull for me toward this house. I keep looking at the pictures and I have the strong urge to call Dad and tell him about it. Might be hard to place that call, but I am sure he knows.

What makes me sad is that there are only a small handful of folks who would even care that my dad's house is for sale. We don't have close contact with his relatives, and don't even know if all the cousins are still living. His son would probably find it interesting for a second or two, but I doubt would be somewhat haunted (in a good way) by the idea of living in the house where his father grew up. Scott was raised in California. I was raised 20 minutes from West Hartford.

I want to go back and see the house. I want to walk the halls and listen to see if I can hear my dad as a kid running down the halls or in the back yard. Maybe it is Father's Day coming up that is making me sentimental. At any rate - how cool would it be to live in the house in which your parent spent their childhood?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Better luck next year

After a lot of discussion, deliberation and debate, Steve and I have decided to take the house OFF the market. We could most certainly sell it if we decided to bottom out our price and basically give the house away, and I am not willing to do that. We are in a fortunate position of only wanting to move, not needing to. So, we will wait.

And while the idea of another summer makes me feel a bit panicky and trapped much like a caged animal, I think I had pretty much already accepted one more summer. One more I can do. 5 more? 10 more? HELL NO, but one more.... I can do this one more summer.

We will spend fall trying to complete the renovations that we can, both with money and time and lack of hard labor notwithstanding. Anyone want to come out and lend a hand? Room and board are free... You will pay in sweat-equity!

Of course, bathrooms and kitchens are where its at... all the HGTV shows you see and the Realtors you talk with agree that your best bet is to update a bathroom and the kitchen. So, I have plans. My plans always seem to out stretch our budget, but hey... if HGTV can make over an entire kitchen for under 2000$, well, there is possibly hope for me as well.

Our plan right now is to tidy up a bit more and then put the house back on the market around January. I still have my dreams of making back to the land of more-moderate-summers-and-to-heck-with-snow climates. I will sign up for ONE more summer... If I find myself in the same position NEXT year, well.... I doubt anyone wants to see THAT!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

So much for the wagon...

I spent the rest of Monday with a migraine, and most of Tuesday with a migraine, and a cold. (ie: no gym)

All of Wednesday with a cold, and Thursday with a cold and a pulled-out back. (ie: no gym)

Spent Friday with a cold, a pulled out back and the feeling of being really, really OLD. (ie: still no gym)

Both the back and the cold appear to be getting better. But still I have no plans until tomorrow to push my luck. The boys begin swim team, and Christopher and I start our mommy & me water classes. It should be interesting - I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Trying to get back on the wagon

For a brief moment in time, there, I was becoming a running addict. I know - ME?? RUNNING??? Surely, you jest!!

Well, I don't jest, and don't call me Shirely! () Yes. That was me - waddling down the street nearly every morning, clocking in 3 or 4 miles. I'm not fast, and I don't go tremendously far, but I was getting OUT THERE, MAN!!

Then it stopped. I don't know when, exactly, but I am sure my little Nike+ Gizmo could tell me when I logged my last run. Suffice it to say, it was a while ago. Allergies kicked my tush BIG time, and huffing & puffing in the wee hours of the morning is the WORST thing to do for allergies. I tried running at night - not the same.

Then I was plagued with a few annoying aches and pains that had me walking around like I was 90. Surely, you don't want to run when walking is proving to be dangerous.

So I made a commitment to myself.... I said, "Self, you HAVE to start DOING something". So I took my annoyed-at-myself self to the gym yesterday. I did 2.25 miles on the treadmill and lifted some weights in a futile attempt to rid myself of the flags I see waving at me whenever I try to wave at someone or erase the whiteboard at school.

And what was my reward for a job well done at the gym? If you follow my blog at all, you will probably see what is coming....

Yes - a migraine that not only left me incapacitated for the majority of the afternoon, but has managed to linger around until this morning.

I tell ya - My brain wants me to be healthy, but the dang body is fighting me every step of the way!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Summertime, Summertime....

Our weather has been flirting with "normal" temperatures all week, meaning we have been dancing above and below the century mark with regard to temperature. I swear - I've said it before and I will say it again, Arizona is the ONLY place on earth where 90* is not really all that hot and 70* can be down right chilly! So in all, the weather has been lovely and just right for enjoying vacation. And enjoy it we will, because we all know it won't last!

My oldest friend in the world was out on Scottsdale this weekend for a birthday get-a-way. We were able to sneak in some time for lunch in between her pampering sessions at the Phoenician and it was delightful to see her and spend some time with her. We ate outside at the golf course - the 19th hole is a little patio grill. It was lovely, and the misters were on (Arizona is known for misters - an advantage of having 8% humidity is that the evaporation of water from the air actually cools things down nicely). We commented that the sun was quite warm, but none of us were uncomfortable sitting in the shade.

Where it was 98*.

And yet, get me to 110, 113, 118.... I am M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E! I guess I can equate it like this, for those of you who live where it gets cold. You can probably handle 30* in the winter... its not shorts and flip-flop weather, but you can get by. Drop it to 10*, however, and its a whole other ballgame. Same here - 100* I can handle. But kick it up even 10 degrees and all bets are off, and you will find me in a dark room with just enough clothes to not get arrested and the AC cranked.

I hate the heat. I just have to get to a place in my own head where I can enjoy TODAY when it is not ghastly hot rather than dread with ever fiber of my soul the oncoming, inescapable fire-pit that is Scottsdale in July...