Pokemon Go requires pants

Comment 1 Standard
Pokemon Go requires pants

Pokemon Go requires pants, which for a child on summer break is the biggest obstacle to catching Pokemon. If you saw my earlier tweet, the Dad spent days trying to get signed up for Pokemon Go, amidst a crush of other Dads (and not dads) attempting to do the same.  Finally, after getting set up, he called down our youngest to let her play on his phone. And there we discovered the problem with the Pokemon Go game.

If you don’t know what this is, this is a virtual reality version of the game that has ebbed and flowed in popularity here in the US since the early 1990s.  A quick run down on the Pokemon Go phone app is:

  • available for iPhone or Android device
  • Walk around to places – no, really.  As the Pokemon Trainer, your job is to hunt down the Pokemon in your area and catch them.  You’ll find them pop up on the app, where you click on them to throw Pokeballs (is that a thing?) at them to “catch” them.  Hence, the reason PokemonGo requires pants – your neighbors and community in general will thank you.
  • Then battle, collect, and have fun.  I haven’t gotten to any of these stages yet, but you will find “gyms” in your area, where you can go and challenge other trainers to help gain experience and level your character up.  But we all know how I feel about gyms, so I haven’t entered one as of now.

As a not so techie type person, it’s so cool when you snag one as you are driving around town, then you see it appear in your car, where you have to catch it into the ball.  It’s even cooler to see one on your front lawn or at some of your favorite community landmarks.  This simple concept of having your camera show the real world in front of you on the screen in which the Pokemon are also shown is so cool to me (as a mom, not a Pokemon guru).

It is fun to see the kids out and about this summer.  It moves them from in front of the TV screen or computer screen and gets them walking, running, and actually interacting with other trainers in public.  Just remember to stay safe, don’t let young children go alone on this endeavor, and make sure you aren’t walking into dangereous situations in an effort to Catch ‘Em All.

Oh, and don’t forget – to catch them all in Pokemon Go requires pants

Pokemon Go requires pants

Pokemon Go requires pants and a sense of humor –  http://owlturd.com/post/147090507219/we-have-arrived-image-twitter-facebook

 

 

In the Blink of an Eye

Leave a comment Standard

That’s how fast life happens.  It’s how quickly life changes.  When we are least expecting it, in the blink of an eye, the things we thought we were sure of are gone.

Grace and Dram

My mother has had some very significant health problems these past five years.  She has been through multiple surgeries, and she has seen the inside of too many hospital rooms.  There are days when I think she might be telling me stories of old childhood friends and the fun times they’ve had, when really, if I actually pay attention, she’s recounting tales of the nurses on various floors, in various wings, at various hospitals, and how they helped her get through some of the roughest roads.

DSC04146

I sat silently this afternoon while the nurse in ICU tended to my mom.  She emptied containers of fluids that were too full, measuring each with deft precision, taking notes on her gloved hands that could be later transferred to the medical records she was keeping on my mom.  I watched as she drew blood for more lab work through the port in my mom’s neck, talking to her the whole time, patting her hand, wiping hair that wasn’t there out of my mom’s eyes.  She put a thermometer in my mom’s mouth, letting her know she was doing it ahead of time, gleefully announcing a normal temperature reading.  Vitals were checked, IV bags replaced, blankets straightened.

Dram and Grace POR Christmas Tree

In the blink of an eye, the nurse was gone.  We were left sitting, watching my mom’s chest heave up and down with each breath of forced air from the ventilator.  Life support.  Without it, she would be gone.  She appeared every now and again to shiver, but in the blink of an eye, that movement ended, leaving us to wonder if maybe she was expressing some discomfort or if her reaction was purely involuntary.

After 8 hours of surgery on Friday, my mom is gravely ill, with words like, “grim”, “brutally honest”, “seriously ill”, and “advance directive” being tossed in our direction.  I last spoke with her on Thursday.  It was a quick, blink of an eye conversation, one that ended with “I’ll call you later.”  She was in pain, a doctor was coming in, I was taking a kid somewhere.  There wasn’t time for much to actually be said.

Now, I wish I had been able to say it all.

Because in the blink of an eye, life changes.  And the things left unsaid remain unsaid.

I can do nothing now but pray I get to say them.

409758_10151017264363001_1706928267_n

Fakesgiving – Food and Friends to be Thankful For

Comments 3 Standard

Back in the early 90s, living in Florida away from family was tough.  We couldn’t always take time off during the holidays, so we spent quite a few Thanksgivings and Christmases by ourselves.

We invented Fakesgiving as a way to celebrate when we had family or friends with us.  My dad and stepmom came down one year a month before Thanksgiving, and I was so excited to have the visit, we made Thanksgiving dinner.  We coined the term Fakesgiving, and have been doing it ever since.

Through the years, some recipes have been really successful.  Others, not so much.  We’ve had guests bring things that I can’t imagine not having on the table, even when those guests can’t be with us.  Below are some of the recipes that are always repeat guests o the table.  If you don’t see one you think you’d like, let me know.  I also do sweet potatoes with pecan topping, kielbasa and sauerkraut, stuffed mushrooms, and more!

broccoli casserole

Broccoli Casserole

  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into pieces (or one bag frozen – which is way easier)
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb.) salted butter, cut into pieces
  • Pepper
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed (1/3 of a 12 oz. box)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Steam broccoli until crisp-tender, 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water.
  3. Mix soup, eggs, mayonnaise, cheese, butter and pepper in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and combined.
  4. Drain broccoli; spread evenly in baking dish. Pour cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with crackers. Bake for 30 minutes.

creamed corn

Crockpot Creamed Corn

  • 3 bags (12 oz each) Green Giant™ Steamers™ Niblets® frozen whole kernel corn
  • 4 packages (3 oz each) cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  Spread corn over bottom of 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Top with cream cheese cubes.
  • In small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients; pour over corn and cream cheese.Cover; cook on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours.
  • Stir well before serving. Corn will hold on Low heat setting up to 2 hours; stir occasionally.

sausage stuffing

Sausage Stuffing

  • 1 pound mild or sage breakfast sausage
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped celery
  • 10 cups cubed French bread or white bread
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups chicken broth

Lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking up and stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink. Use the same skillet and melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread cubes with the herbs and seasonings. Add the vegetables with the butter and the drained sausage. Stir in chicken broth until well moistened, but not mushy. Pack gently into the prepared baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and broil for about 3 to 4 minutes, or just until browned on top.

Toddler Disney World tips what when and how

Leave a comment Standard
Toddler Disney World Tips

Thinking of taking a baby or toddler to Walt Disney World?  Use these tips for taking a toddler to Walt Disney World to help turn your stress to the start of making the magic happen!

Toddler Disney World Tips #1 – What to Bring:

Your own stroller – If you are flying, gate check the stroller so you’ll have someplace safe to keep your little one comfortable while you wait.  The basket underneath will also allow you to store a carry on item or diaper bag so you’ll have your hands free at the airport.  Having your own stroller at Disney will give your tiny traveler a familiar surrounding, and possibly more comfort.

Carry-on:  Bring a bag with a supply of diapers/wipes; changes of clothes for an accident; bathing suit; sunscreen; hat; food items or medicines that might be needed until bags are delivered or in case they are lost.

ONE:  Favorite toy/stuffed animal

A Ziploc baggie with a few washing machine tablets/pods – just in case you need to do laundry.

Toddler Disney World Tips #2 – Ship Down or Deliver:

To save room in your luggage or in the car – ship a box to your resort ahead of time with diapers, wipes, powdered formula, extra supplies.

Toddler Disney World Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Address it to your resort, but include your name and “Arriving Guest” with the date of your arrival.  The resort will store it until you arrive, and you won’t have to worry about taking up precious luggage space with essentials.  You’ll use most of this stuff up before you go home, so you won’t have to save space – buy those souvenirs!

You could also use a service like Garden Grocer.  This grocery delivery service will shop for the supplies you need and drop them off right at your hotel.

 

Toddler Disney World Tips #3 – Baby Care Center:

Located in each park, these are air conditioned, comfortable areas where you can attend to all of your little one’s needs.  Changing tables, high chairs, and a room for nursing mothers can be found here, as well as a microwave for quick heat up for your toddler’s meal.  You can also buy forgotten items like diapers, formula, and baby foods.  Moms and Dads can use the centers, and there is a place for older kids to watch cartoons while you tend to your tot.

Toddler Disney World Tips #4 – What Not to Bring:

High chairs, pack and plays, bed rails – all are available upon request at no additional charge at your resort/restaurants

Every toy you own – you’ll be in the parks most of the time, and not likely to need many things to play with – but do bring a favorite sleeping buddy.

Other Suggestions:

Stick to a schedule – eat when you do at home; try to remember bedtime and nap time if your kids have one. When making your FastPass+ reservations, avoid times when your little one is likely to prefer napping or eating.

Don’t force them to go to the characters if you sense anxiety – you’ll end up paying for therapy in years to come!

 

Appreciate What You’ve Got

Comment 1 Standard

Jim and I were riding in the car listening to Comedy Central Radio, and comedian Katt Williams was talking about how important it is to appreciate what you’ve got in life.  It kind of hit home for me because I dropped the ball on two Facebook gratitude challenges – not because I don’t have things I’m grateful for, but in part because I almost feel guilty talking about the things I’m grateful for.

gratitude-quotes-3

 

We’ve been so fortunate in our life together.  But we’ve faced challenges – for sure.  I remember when Brighid was just home from the hospital after a month in NICU, and Jim lost his job.  Then our insurance company decided that since our preemie was on room air after four days, they weren’t going to pay any medical bills beyond that point – despite the fact that at four days old, she weighed just barely over two pounds.  Gotta love an HMO.  We were literally down to our last cents when we were approved for a gas station credit card.  While certainly not the cheapest option, it allowed us to grab a few packages of diapers and wipes, a gallon of milk and some eggs, and it helped us let by until we got on our feet.

I’m so grateful for that time in our lives.  After freaking out over being new parents to a sick baby and worrying about where the paychecks would come from, we somehow managed to use creative thinking to get us through.  And oh my gosh, how I appreciated being able to go into Babies ‘R’ Us a few weeks later to buy a case of diapers!

gratitude-quotes-4

I think part of the reason Jim and I work after more than 25 years together is because we do appreciate what we have.  We’ve lost so many people that were close to us – both of our dads, my sister, close friends – it gives us an appreciative perspective on the time we have with the people we love.  We’ve been a step ahead of dirt poor, and learned to appreciate the luxury of a $5 pizza and a free movie rental.  And when life has been good and we’ve been able to do things like cruises, trips to Europe, and cross country vacations, not only are we grateful for those opportunities, but there is an appreciation for the ability to provide those opportunities to our girls.

So this is my apology to those of you who challenged me to find three things I was grateful for three days in a row.  I cannot think of one thing in my life for which I am not grateful – the good, the bad, the God awful.  I’d need more than three days and three things – and I’m grateful to you for understanding how tough a challenge it was for me!

monday-quotes-gratitude-quotes-5

Shades of Green – Military R&R At Its Finest

Comments 2 Standard

SoG entry

Shades of Green is an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC), located within the Walt Disney World Resort property.  As the only AFRC resort in the United States, this is a popular destination, and the resort has more than 500 rooms that can each accommodate at least five guests.  There are rooms that are ADA compliant for those with accessibility requirements, and there are a couple of suites for larger parties.

SoG guard house

As we pulled up to the beautiful flag lined entrance, the gate guard checked to make sure our name was on the list, and you must have your military ID to show him.  We pulled up to the front of the resort, and a valet came over to see if he could help us.  He explained that there was a parking garage available for $5 per day, or we could use the valet for $5 each time we needed them to get our car.  We opted for the garage, which was a multilevel facility with ample parking.

The lobby is beautiful and simple, with comfortable furnishings and a nice fireplace.  The registration desk is in an alcove just off of the lobby, which is kind of nice, because you are removed from some of the noise and busyness of the lobby.

SoG lobby

The room, on the Magnolia side of the resort, was easily as big as a room at the Grand Floridian (and a check when I got home shows the Shades of Green standard room is actually 40 square feet larger than a room at the Grand Floridian).  It’s not fancy, but there were two queen sized beds with comfortable mattresses and a convertible sofa for a fifth person.  Not a fan of the color scheme, but they are definitely aiming for a tropical feel.

SoG whole room SoG sofa bed SoG seating SoG dresser SoG beds

The bathroom was very generous, although I wish they had separated the toilet from the shower, which I think works better for families.  There was a definite lack of toiletries – one small bottle of shampoo, no conditioner or lotion, and a small bar of soap on the sink and in the shower – but I always bring my own, so it didn’t impact our stay very much.

SoG bathroom

One of the pools was open during our stay, and it was a zero entry pool with lots of seating, tables and umbrellas, and room to move around without bumping into people.  The Mickey pool was being renovated during our stay, but just near the pool was a small play area.  Not huge, but it was cute.

The people here were all very friendly and really helpful, from the valet and the front desk people to the store clerks and the room service attendant.  The resort is laid out so it’s easy to find everything – even for the directionally challenged.

We used the room service option for dinner once during our stay, and the food was delicious.  I had the very best steak I’ve had in ages, and the calamari was just delicious.  The portions are not huge, but sufficient.

Overall, our experience was great.  This was kind of a no-frills resort – but the comfort and quality were certainly there.  We paid $95 a room for the night, and taking that into consideration, this was a huge bargain for what we got.  We would totally stay here again.

H is for Happy – a-to-z blog challenge 2014

Comments 3 Standard

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

H

There is no better place to be in life than Happy.  When I was a kid, I had a very definite opinion of what Happy was, where I would be in order to find it, what my life circumstances would have to be for me to achieve it.

Looking back over the nearly 50 years that I’ve been here, I realize that Happy is less a place I have to work to get to – it just kind of happens.  And it hasn’t mattered whether there has been money in the bank.  It hasn’t mattered where we’ve lived.  It certainly hasn’t mattered that not everything was going my way.

I don’t know when I learned it, but I know that I’ve found happy in the strangest places.  It’s made me Happy that someone has struck up a conversation in a grocery store check out.  It made me Happy when Dr. Veitia sat next to me on a sofa in my hospital room a few years ago, when the infectious disease doctor wouldn’t even come into my room.  And as much pain as I was in and as sick as I was all three times, it made me Happy to bring all three of my daughters into this world.

Hearing my littlest beauty girl singing this song on the back seat of the car on the way to school?  That’s Happy.  And it’s when you realize that it honestly doesn’t take much to find Happy.  It really is the little things.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpahtm6oJ28

G is for Granuaile – and the Reasons We Gave Our Kids Weird Names

Comments 4 Standard

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

G (1)Naming a child is a very personal thing.  Regardless, you will find that this very personal choice is one of the few that you will make in life that is subject to so much comment and criticism.  Everyone has an opinion when it comes to babies, but when it comes to babies’ names, everyone thinks they are way better at picking than you are.

Granuaile-in-disguise-685x1024

None of our children has a typical name.  Brighid, so named because it means strength, and my 2 pound 10 ounce preemie seemed to need all she could get, could have been Bridget – which everyone would recognize.  But when you have a child so beautifully and uniquely yours, here to carry on your heritage and traditions, why not give her a name that reflects that?

Naming my children has given me an opportunity to show a love of my Irish heritage, and a love for some of the strongest women our family has seen.  Eilis, whose name I actually fell in love with while watching a documentary on conjoined twins, is named after my grandmothers, women who raised families, worked hard, and were in their own right strong and beautiful.  And Granuaile, whose middle name is Frances, bears the Gaelic name of Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s pirate queen, who changed the way women in Ireland were depicted.  Strength, courage, and devotion to her family were the traits of the original Granuaile, and traits of Granuaile’s other namesake, my sister Frances (Bean).

GraceOMalley

I’ve had to explain often through the years why my kids have the names they do.  I never mind.  It’s an explanation I’m proud to give.  Just be prepared for a wee history lesson.

 

A is for Awesome

Comments 6 Standard

 

 

 

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775ca

I have three kids, in case you can’t keep up with the menagerie that is the Beauty Girls household.  Each of the girls has had a nickname – something that we’ve called them, grandparents have called them, or they have called themselves.  It’s the names they’ve referred to themselves as that have always been the most unique.

B birthday

Brighid for a while in kindergarten decided Brighid wasn’t a great name.  Among the list of thousands of available names, she chose Pansy.  As in the flower. As in she didn’t know then it was the name of a flower, but we called her Pansy for days on end. Until Brighid was in vogue again. Then all was right with the world.

Maine 2

Eilis answered only to Super Duper.  As you do, when you’re three.  You could call “Eilis” all day long, until you were that proverbial shade of blue in the face, and she wouldn’t answer you.  Until you called her Super Duper.  She still is, by the way, Super Duper, however, she seems perfectly content to answer to Eilis.

G viking

Then there is Awesome.  I mean Granuaile.  Who is Awesome. Don’t mess with this kid – Awesome ain’t got time for your nonsense.  T-shirts with arrows that point up and say, “I’m with Awesome” crowd her closet – along with sweat pants, sweat jackets, and other t-shirts that refer to her by her chosen name.  Awesome.

You have no idea how hard I pray she will always believe that she is.  Awesome.

An Open Letter to Husbands – You Won’t Read This in Cosmo

Comments 2 Standard

God knows, I love my husband.  He can be thoughtful and considerate, and rarely goes into a store without bringing something out for me.  He’ll go into WaWa or 7-11 for example, and come out with a bag of cheese curls or a chocolate bar.  Then he’ll run into Walgreens and bring out a fitness magazine.

Yeah, I know.  How he hasn’t been murderized yet is a pure miracle.

husband-joke

I am taking it upon myself to write this letter to all husbands, though, my own included, to avoid the brutal execution of ignorant men across the planet – the ones who order you a mushroom and extra garlic pizza when you asked for plain cheese, then whine that you’re ungrateful because they brought you a “surprise” instead of what you wanted.

Dear Husbands:

You’re lovely, really, and quite thoughtful, in your own way.  However, there are some things you just haven’t quite grasped about living with the adult female, and in your own best interests, possibly preventing excruciating bodily harm, you really need to know these things.

1 – Do not congratulate us on how great we are doing on our diet by bringing home Krispy Kreme Donuts.  Or Dunkin’ Donuts.  Or Tim Horton’s Donuts.  To simplify, if you are celebrating weight loss with anything that contains the word donut (or the more proper doughnut), you are doing the wrong thing.

2 – Please do not come to bed after browsing an internet “documentary” on a site that requires you to verify that you are 18 or older and expect that the average female specimen has the ability to to contort her body into such a way that she can give you a back rub, trim your nose hairs, cut your toenails, compliment your manliness, and suck her own toes.  The women in your “documentaries” are aliens.  No real women do those things.  Not even for diamonds.  Or Jaguars.

3 – “Helping” around the house when company is on the way does  not mean go clean out the glove box in the car.  It means scrub away the spot on the kitchen floor from the root beer you spilled not five minutes after your wife last mopped the floor, then vowed not to clean up your mess, resulting in a battle of wills your wife has been winning, until this minute when she now has to scrub that spot clean for company unless you finally do it.

4 – You are not “babysitting” when your wife has to run out to the store and you are left with your children.  You are “parenting” – babysitting implies I have to pay you, feed you junk food, and book you in advance for all major holidays.

5 – You are not “parenting” if the time you spend with your children involves you propping a bottle up on the edge of your desk to feed the baby so it doesn’t interfere with the gaming controls on your video game.

babysitting 2

6 – Lastly, if you see it in Cosmo, read it in Hustler, or gaze at it on Fit Magazine, it’s not real.  Those women and the deeds they claim they do are made up.  Like unicorns.

I hope I’ve saved a few lives today.