And right now it’s summer “vacation”

Oh dear.

I’m so busy.  My full-time job just got a little more full-time.  My son starts football practice on Monday.  Soccer practice for Grace will start up soon.

I’m trying to fit in some lunches and conversations to get to know a few people around here.  It’s tough to find the time.

The former owner of this house called and asked me if I could please return the modem to Cox Communications since he’s being charged for it still.  (There’s a different modem here I need to set up instead.)

My roses are being eaten by little green worms. I need to figure out how to fix this.

I guess things really aren’t going to slow down.  Ever.  At least that’s how it feels.

My husband was supposed to fly home from a conference in Cleveland last Friday.  The flight was delayed by three hours, so he missed his connecting flight in Houston.  We agreed that he should stay in Houston over the weekend to spend some time with his family.  And while he was gone, yesterday I:

  • Took son to school for football equipment pick-up
  • Took son and daughter to Old Navy to buy school clothes
  • Dropped off a package at the UPS store
  • Ate lunch with son and daughter at Rubio’s
  • Dropped off son at home; daughter and I got back into the van and . . .
  • Returned wrong-size jeans to Costco; shopped for necessary items like sourdough pretzels
  • Located thrift store recommended by friend where we found a bunch of great stuff, including four kitchen chairs
  • Tried and failed to locate Goodwill
  • Headed back to Carlsbad to pick up son’s guitar from repair shop
  • Discovered local Farmer’s Market; bought zucchini and corn
  • Created and ate our own frozen yogurt sundaes

This could explain why I was so tired today . . . but despite that, we went to Sunday School this morning.  Then we came home and I took an accidental nap.

I finally unpacked and hung pictures in my house.

Then I took three out of four of my kids to the beach.  A lovely time was had by all . . . and we got to see our first lifeguard rescue at the beach by a lifeguard guy with a red rescue can.

We left before the sun set because I had to get to work.

And now you know . . . the rest of the story.  (Not really, but I suddenly heard Paul Harvey in my head.)

I was going to say something else, but I can’t remember what it was.

The end.

Blog Review: HealthyWomen.org

If you don’t have a uterus, you may wish to look away.  If you are a married to a woman with a uterus, you may wish to proceed with caution.  But be warned, this is a post about heavy menstrual bleeding.  (I can’t believe I typed that.)

Now’s your chance to LOOK AWAY!

When I was in college, I used to embarrass college boys by talking about a woman’s cycle in terms of premenstrual, midmenstrual and postmenstrual.  Yes, I made up two of those terms.  I was trying to explain that women have a lot to deal with since three out of four weeks every month we are either about to have our periods, having our periods or recovering from having our periods.

Truth be told, though, it wasn’t all that bad for me.  I never had PMS, I never had cramps and I breezed through every week of my cycle without much ado.

I only really started to notice my cycle when I started trying to get pregnant.  Then I noticed how wacky it was, how unreliable, how unpredictable.  (I found that super annoying, for the record.)

Not until twenty years–TWENTY YEARS–later did my cycle decide to magically get super regular, as in every twenty-eight days.  (Or so–let’s not get crazy.)

And here’s the part that I want to talk about (but I don’t really want to talk about).  Every month, I fear I am going to bleed to death.

Yes, heavy monthly bleeding.

Apparently, I’m not alone in dealing with this.  A lot of women deal with similar issues–but the thing is, most of us never really talk about it.

And so, I present to you, information from HealthyWomen.org.

Understanding Heavy Monthly Bleeding: The Latest on Lighter Periods

Treatment Options for Heavy Monthly Bleeding

Here are some Answers from Experts:

Causes of Heavy Periods

How to tell if your heavy periods are normal or not

Talking to your health provider about heavy periods

Your health care provider may be able to help you if you are really suffering.  Just be brave and speak up.

* * *

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Ferring Pharmaceuticals and received a promotional item to facilitate my review.

Light Bright

I wake up confused.  What time is it?  Why is it so bright in my room?

I can’t see the clock but the light seems as bright as the noon-day sun.  Is it noon?

I keep my eyes closed, reluctant as ever to get out of bed.  I have never been a fan of getting out of bed.  (Is that bad?)

Finally, I stretch over to reach my phone so I can see the time.  Sometimes it’s only 7:21 a.m.; other times it’s 9:23 a.m.  I can’t tell the difference.  I’m weary no matter the hour.

I’m in Southern California now and the sun sets earlier than in Seattle, but during the day, the sun shines with endless cheer.  It’s weird for a Pacific Northwest girl to have so much bright light all the time.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love it.  It’s just so different.

Yesterday, my daughter and I met a blogging friend (Carrien of She Laughs at the Days) at the park.  Carrien (pronounced “Careen” not “Carry-en” as I’ve been pronouncing it in my head for years) and her four adorable children was running late.  I had decided that she either chickened out or got lost or was simply running late.  After all, four kids, including  a baby.  Haven’t we all been there?

So, she arrived.  The children played and we chatted–it’s always kind of strange to meet a blogging friend in real life–they already know some of your stories and they remember things about you that you don’t remember yourself.  After exploring some trails, we all came back to my house to have lunch.  It was fun to have a house full of kids–eight kids between just the two of us.  Carrien herself was lovely and showed me on a map a bunch of important destinations:  good pizza, good thrift stores and the local YMCA.

In the late afternoon, my daughter and I took the twins to their first music lessons here.  After we delivered them to the music studios, we walked down the street to the Carlsbad Visitor Center where we picked up brochures.  Then we walked another block and served ourselves frozen yogurt with do-it-yourself toppings.  It felt like twenty minutes of vacation.  And then we had to pick up the boys.

We delivered them at home and picked up 13-year old Zach and returned to Carlsbad to go to the beach.  We drove up and down the shore and finally found a good parking spot.  We walked down a trail that looked like a gully created by a rushing flood of water and emerged on the beach.

The sun glowed low in the sky as we walked down to an empty spot of shore.  I stood up to my knees in the waves, watching the kids for awhile before deciding to boogie board, too.  Why not?  Life is too short and all that.

The kids were shocked, I think.  We had fun.  At some point, I abandoned the board and simply jumped in the waves as the sun sank lower and lower on the horizon.

We watched the last sliver of sun sink below the border of waves and sky.

“That was the first time I ever saw the sun set,” Zach said.

It will not be the last.  I love spending those last moment of light watching the sun glow and slide out of sight.

Goodnight, Sun.

You can run but you cannot hide

So, as it turns out, when you move you carry along all the clutter that has accumulated in your head, all the slights and rejections and misunderstandings and hurts and unmet expectations.  And the unanswered questions.

But, of course, I can’t really discuss much of that here because it has come to my attention that the Internet is quite a bit less private that those spiral notebooks I used to fill with my youthful angst.

You know what else you can’t really discuss on a public blog?  Your kids, once they reach a particular age.  And if you are a mother who lives full-time with kids, what else are you to discuss?

Certainly not the teenager who will agree to go to the beach but who refuses to actually get out of the van.

Being a mother of older children is complicated.  Boy, isn’t that a nice sanitized way to putting it?  I love my kids and I would do anything for them–short of buying them a new video game–but some days I wonder if anything I’ve ever said or done has made any sort of positive impact on them.

For instance, even though I have asked approximately eight billion times, they still do not think to wash the pans they’ve used to cook macaroni and cheese.  I feel like a failure.

The other day, I discovered a broken piece of glass in the kitchen sink . . . but not the actual glass it broke from.  No one would confess, either, so I went outside to the trash can and SURE ENOUGH, I found the broken glass.  What?  I am the kind of mom that kids feel they must hide broken glasses from.  But really, I just want information.  Who broke it?  Why?  When?  How?  I do not want to mete punishment–accidents happen–but I want to know the details.  Is that too much to ask?

Do you know what I lost?  My paring knife.  It disappeared long before we moved but since we have moved and I have touched every single item in my household as I packed it, I know that it is gone.  How does that happen?

I’ll tell you how.  It happens when you live with kids.  At least blaming kids offsets the exasperation.

As it turns out, four weeks after leaving my house in Steilacoom, I have way too many boxes in the garage and stacks and stacks of unsorted and unorganized books in my office.  I haven’t hung anything on the walls yet so it seems like we’re living in someone else’s house, kind of.

But I have an office.  My very own office with a patio door and a television and a door I can close.  It’s pretty exciting considering I worked almost four years smack dab in the center of the family room.  Working at home is the best of all worlds but also the worst of all worlds.  Imagine working in an office with four kids and their friends traipsing through and playing electric guitars while you try to do your office job.

But the books everywhere?  And the four boxes on the floor?  And the empty walls?  All of it is making me kind of discouraged.

The moral of this lesson?

Wherever you go, there you are.  And so is your stuff.  And the mishmash of crazy in your head.

Almost a movie-review: Super 8

When “Super 8″ opened on June 10, I wanted to see it.  But that was impossible since I was in the midst of working and keeping children alive and packing my household belongings.  (My calendar page from that week is covered in my stressed-out scrawl.)

Finally, a few days ago, I went to see the movie.

First of all, I had to find the movie theater.  Thanks to my iPhone app (Flixster), I located the theater and the time of the show.  Thanks to my GPS, I was able to find the theater.

To my great delight, the theater was blocks from the ocean and I had enough time to park and walk down to the beach and stroll down to end of the Oceanside pier.  The sun shone, the surfers surfed, the swimmers swam, the fishermen fished and I tried to observe it all and remind myself that I was not on vacation but a resident of this idyllic place.  Sunshine!  Palm trees!  Sea breezes!

Then I walked back to the theater.

Ahead of me in line were four black-haired girls.  The ticket-seller said, “Harry Potter?” and they said, “Super 8.”  That was my first clue.

I bought my ticket and my popcorn and headed down the hallway.  I noticed the four black-haired girls in the theater–and no one else–and so I made my way to the upper row of seats, one down from the top.

As I sat and nibbled my popcorn while waiting for the show, more and more Asian kids came into the theater.  I realized that I was in the midst of a school group of some kind.  I listened to the chatter and counted the kids–a dozen or so–and waited some more.

Then a young woman (teenage girl?) came right up to me and said, “Hello?  May I sit next to you?” and I said, “Sure,” even though I was thinking NO NO NO, I came alone and I want to sit alone!

She sat down and said, “There is someone I do not want to sit by,” and I understood that so completely that I forgave her for invading my solitude.

My curiosity got the best of me and soon I leaned closer to her and said, “Are you all in a group together?” and she said, “Yes.”

As it turned out, I watched Super 8 in a small theater with forty Chinese exchange students who had been in the States for one week.  (I’ve never been in an audience which paid such close attention to the pre-preview commercials–they giggled at the Jennifer Lopez razor commercial and I was aghast at a commercial for a feminine hygiene product.)

Many of the boy students chattered in Chinese during the whole movie . . . which was oddly enough not distracting because I had no idea what they said.  More distracting was the fact that some of them pulled out Tupperware and silverware and ate the lunches they brought from home.

The movie was excellent.

My fellow movie-goers were entertaining.

All in all, two thumbs up.  I love the odd communal experience of watching movies with an audience and this particular experience did not disappoint.

What I take for granted

We went for a walk along the seawall.  The kids were particularly entertained by the ground squirrels on the steep slope between the seawall and the upper sidewalk.  We paused to watch the surfers bob in the ocean and occasionally catch a wave.

“Hey, do you see those swimmers?”

I squinted and spotted the four swimmers moving in tandem in the distance.

They swam far beyond the line of surfers in the deep ocean water.

I kept an eye on them and began to wonder.  Were they young hot-shots?  Some college swim team members, perhaps?  We neared our car in the parking lot and I noticed the quartet of swimmers seemed to be heading for shore.

“Oh, I really wanted to see those swimmers come out of the water.”   I lingered for a moment.

“Well, let’s wait and see,” my husband said.

So we did.

The swimmers emerged from the surf.  Two women supported a third woman as she hopped up the sand.

She hopped because she had only one leg.

The swimmers were three women and one man.  I watched as they high-fived one another.

I walked–on my two-taken-for-granted-legs–back to my car with more questions than answers.

Notes on this and that

People who live in Southern California refer to the various highways like Ivana Trump referred to Donald Trump: The Donald.  Interstate 5, commonly known in the Seattle area as “I-5″ is called “The Five” here.  Highway 78 is “The 78.”  Interstate 405 is “The 405.” And so on and so forth.

*

Today we ate lunch at a breezy Mexican restaurant just a few blocks from the beach in Carlsbad.  As we were finishing, a man stopped by our table to ask if we were from . . . Idaho?  My husband said, “No, Washington, but we live here now.”  And the man looked to his friend at the door of the restaurant and said, “Washington!”  And the other man said, “I was close!” and I wondered if they made a bet . . . and what might have given us away as Pacific Northwesterners.  (The rust between our toes?  Our pale faces?  Do we have accents?)

*

While it’s more fun to unpack than it is to pack, it’s still less fun to unpack than it is to go to the beach.

*

Speaking of unpacking, has anyone seen the toothpicks?  or the USB cord for my camera?  or that salt-shaker I got from my grandma?

*

The worst part about moving has to be finding a new person to deal with my unruly hair.  I’m trying to make a good first impression on people but it’s hard when my hair looks like I can’t find my hairbrush.  I am Roseanne Roseannadanna. And I’m so sorry.

*

Someone told me you know you’re home when someone recognizes you at the grocery store.  On Saturday, Grace and I were lollygagging in an aisle at Costco when we heard, “Hi Grace!’  We turned and a man and his daughter waved at  us.  Grace is highly recognizable with her blond curls and when I am with her, so am I, apparently.  That was weird.

*

The other night, we had a family over.  Husband, wife, daughter, son.  The wife had pretty blond hair woven into a pretty blond braid.  Sunday at church, the husband said hello to me and then, “You won’t recognize my wife.”  She turned into a woman with pretty brunette hair.  That, my friends, is a dirty trick.  It’s hard enough to recognize new people if they change their clothes. Dye your hair and I will have no idea who you are.

*

Our last house had carpeting in the bathrooms and kitchen until we finally got around to replacing it with vinyl flooring and Pergo.  Carpeting + kids + toilets + bathtubs = Very Very Bad.

So, imagine my chagrin when we moved into this house and discovered carpeting in all three bathrooms.  Who does that?

*

I haven’t figured out what all the light-switches control in this house.

*

The end.

Coming to you live from my new office in my new house in my new city in my new state wearing my old slippers

Every night by the time I’m done working at midnight, I just want to sleep.  So I do that instead of writing here.

But tonight I am sacrificing a bit of sleep so I can quickly update this blog so you don’t think I’m trapped in an avalanche of moving boxes.

A week and a half ago, the moving truck arrived.  The truck driver directed his three helpers and by 5 p.m., all of our belongings were loaded into the Mayflower truck.  That makes it sound so easy, doesn’t it?

Truth be told, my feet hurt from packing sixteen hours the day before. I was exhausted from sleeping only three hours that night.  And I was still packing up the master bedroom while the movers were emptying our house of boxes.

The sweet thing about that day was how my kids’ friends showed up just to hang out while the movers were moving our stuff out from under them.

At 5 p.m., we drove out of our circle.  I kept wondering what we might have forgotten, then remembered that the house was empty, so we couldn’t have forgotten anything.

The first night, we drove to Salem, Oregon.  I’m not sure how we ever managed car trips without a GPS and an iPhone.  It was after 7 p.m. before I started calling to find a hotel.  (And scored!  We stayed at a nice Best Western that gave us a free breakfast at Denny’s the next morning.)

On Saturday, we drove from 9 a.m. until . . . oh, I don’t remember, but it was ten hours or eleven.  The terrain through northern California is hilly and curvy and exhausting to drive.  We were at the hotel early enough for the kids to swim before the pool closed at 10 p.m.

On Sunday, we only had to drive about six hours before we arrived at our new home.  Of course, I had completely overlooked the need for bedding, so that night I slept on the couch (we purchased from the sellers of the house) using two bath towels for a blanket.  (I had two duffel bags of clean last-minute laundry packed into the car.  It was pretty random.)

On Monday, we walked along the beach, gawking at ground squirrels on one side of the path and pelicans overhead and surfers bobbing in the ocean.

Tuesday, the moving truck arrived.  By 2 p.m., they had unloaded all of our furniture and boxes and belongings.  I have unpacked most of the important things–the kitchen is completely unpacked, as are the living rooms and family rooms.  The master bedroom is in good shape, though my half of the closet is a jumble of shoes and clothes.  I’ve discovered boxes in the garage that seem to have been abandoned there by lazy movers–it was easier for them to put those boxes in the garage than to cart them upstairs where they belong.

The first week we were here, Grace went to VBS and Zach went along as a helper.  The teenagers keep waking up unbelievably early because the light is so bright in this whole house.  Sunlight!  Who knew that it could shine so regularly and intensely?

This week, Grace is going to soccer camp.

I’m back to work full-time after taking off two half-days to pack.

We barely acknowledged Independence Day since we had no real idea where to watch fireworks without being caught in bad traffic.  My husband bought a couple of back-yard games for the kids–and they played while I went to two different grocery stores and spent the afternoon doing food preparation.

Our new house is spacious and bright.  I’m still trying to figure out what the light switches control and what time the mailman comes.  I unpacked nineteen boxes of books, then discovered nine more boxes marked “OFFICE” in the garage.

I’m wondering if I’ll ever have any friends here and how long it will take to fit in.

Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting at Soccer Camp in the morning, reading in the sunshine.   Though, of course, as soon as we left Washington, the sun came out there.

Packing, packing, packing

My living room and dining room are now lined with stacks of boxes.  My storage room has more packed boxes.

The cats were shipped off to San Diego via Alaska Airlines cargo plane.

I guess we’re really moving.  One week from Friday!

Product Review: Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts

A couple months ago, I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon about my aching Achilles tendon.  He examined me and explained that my tendon injury was caused my muscle tightness in my calf.  Who knew, right?  So, he prescribed stretching exercises and recommended that I wear orthotic inserts in my shoes.  He gave me a full-length pair and told me to start wearing them.

So I did.

But they hurt!  They hurt my arch.

Then MomCentral gave me the opportunity to try the Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts.

I jumped at the chance–being very careful not to rupture my Achilles tendon, of course.

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been wearing the Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts that Dr. Scholl’s recommended for me.

To get them, I went to my local Wal-Mart, where I stood on the FootMapping kiosk.  It was very simple and before I knew it, my analysis was complete and I had my recommendation. (It was kind of cool, really, to use the kiosk.)

Now, I have to say that compared to the original inserts my doctor gave me, the Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts were super comfortable.  Although they are 3/4 length, I didn’ t experience any slippage.  And because they are only 3/4 length, you can wear them with a large variety of shoes.  (Though I stuck with my Chuck Taylors, pretty much.)

After wearing them for these past weeks, my feet do feel supported.  Sometimes, though, it does seem like the arch is too high–but my doctor told me that it takes some time for the foot to get used to wearing Orthotic Inserts. (I saw him for my follow-up appointment last week and confessed that I was cheating on him with Dr. Scholl.)

So, if you’re looking for an orthotic insert, I can recommend the Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts.  I thought they were kind of pricey, but I hear actual custom-made ones can run hundreds of dollars, so fifty bucks isn’t bad.  (Plus you can get a rebate here.)

* * *

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Dr. Scholl’s and received a Custom Fit Orthotics from Dr. Scholl’s to facilitate my review.

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