Sunday, April 29, 2007

Welcome home Wolfman Jack!

On Saturday we brought home "Wolfman Jack" (no, not this one), aka, "Jack" for short, our new 1 1/2 year old Yorkie Russell. He has been a great addition to the family and I think will settle in nicely. Saturday night he slept in his own little bed next to Gromit's on the floor of our bedroom and had no problems whatsoever. He even participated in our early morning cuddle fest (which translated, generally means that Gromit wants to go out and we allow him to jump up on the bed and sleep with us so we lazily do not have to get out of bed until we want to...).

Jack is still a bit skittish, but follows Gromit and me around most of the day and will come when he hears, "Come dogs!". He is still working on his own name, but having a mill dog is a bit like having a puppy (except he is already house trained, whoo hoo!), in that he has not had much in the way of obedience training. Despite this, Jack seems very eager to warm up to us and loves to cuddle, so I think that he will respond well and be easy to train. Mr. Clean has already started leash training him and there has been a great improvement in just one day (he has never been on a leash). I promise to post a picture of him soon and you'll see why we named him "Wolfman Jack".

So I expect great things from this pooch. If not, you will see us on the next episode of "The Dog Whisperer"...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Pooch Perhaps?

I got an e-mail today from the director of the rescue that we had wanted to adopt another pooch from. Initially the cost would have been a little prohibitive as I prefer to feed and clothe my children and all those selfish things. However, she offered to reduce the price of the adoption to the original price that had been offered by the previous rescue organization that he was with! So, now we just might wind up with this dog after all!

We really liked the dog and thought he would be a great fit in our family and were a little disappointed originally when we thought he was out of reach financially, but we were resolved to stay within our budget. How cool the Lord saw fit to make it happen!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Little Disillusioned

When we were looking for a dog before we adopted Gromit our little Jack Russell/Poodle mix mutt, I searched We looked for a while and then Gromit was posted on the site by a nearby county shelter. We paid $60.00 for him and then the cost of the vet expenses and supplies afterward. He was a fantastic investment.

Mr. Clean and I have decided that we might like to adopt another dog. I have always wanted two dogs and I think that Gromit would benefit from having another canine in the house. So again I began the search on Petfinder and came up with a dog that may be a great match. We took the offspring and Gromit to meet the dog at his foster family's house (the dog is a rescue) and thought he would be great. The two dogs seemed to like one another and although skittish, the little pooch looking for a home responded well to us. I found out today that his adoption "donation" would be $300.00. It broke my heart. I simply have no desire to shell out $300.00 for a little mutt no matter how cute and perfect he seems. The only reason I have not hit the same pound we got Gromit from is that because of my mother's allergies we need to stick with certain breeds or mutts mixed with certain breeds so she can still visit without her allergies bothering her. So the easiest thing to do was search Petfinder by breed and location.

I know that the rescue organizations that are trying to place the animals have expenses. I do not fault them for trying to recoup some of the expense, but the part that I do not get is how one dog whose adoption"donation" at one rescue organization would have been $150.00 turned into $300.00 when he was transferred to another organization (due to space) just days after we inquired after him.

This sparked my curiosity. I took a look at a lot of the rescues that post on Petfinder, curious as to what they are asking for a "donation". Cute little fuzzy puppies? Close to $400.00 according to some rescues. Older dogs, not as much but close. Some rescues had very low adoption fees and some were large. What I find ironic is that one of the mottoes of is, "Don't buy a pet for sale. Adopt." What's the difference really?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

This week has been a whirlwind (in a good way), so I have not had too much time to sit and blog, but a couple fun things went on this week.

First, my little man has now officially become a Wolf Cub. Sigh... Next it will be a driver's license, 401k and then a pension. This boy is growing too fast. Mr. Clean unfortunately had to be at a late meeting with the big dogs at his company and missed the ceremony and the presentation by our local bomb squad. K.Z. was anxious to call Daddy and fill him in on all the evenings details. I was comforted that I have just a bit more time with my little boy when he described the demonstration by the police in these words, "It was really cool dad, they "boomded" some bombs", with all the grown up Wolf Cub bravado he could muster!

K.Z. with his "Tiger striped" war paint, showing off his Tiger Cub Badge (sniff sniff!) after his part in the ceremony.

My girls trying on the hat belonging to "The Scout formerly known as Tiger". It's a big hat to fill!

Mini-Me, a.k.a C'sa

The other fun thing was that my in-laws popped in on their way from their home in Florida to their home in New York. The kids always enjoy having, "Nan and Pop" around. We were all sitting in the kitchen table chatting with Nanny when C'sa (dd- 3 yrs old) brought over a part of an old Sega Dreamcast that Mr. Clean no longer used. The attachment allowed a player to save their game at any point and it was portable (a lot like a thumb drive). She was annoyed because she could not get it to "turn on". I explained to her that it needed a power source and could not turn on without it. I was sure that would be the end of the conversation.

A lightbulb turned on over her head and her eyes got bright. "I will get it", she responded and popped off her chair. Quite curious to she just what she thought she was going to go and "get", I turned in my chair to watch her rummage in a kitchen drawer. Proudly she came back to me and plopped a 9 volt battery in from of me and exclaimed, "here is a power source!"

Another proof positive that homeschoolers are geniuses (wink!)!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anyone for a dip?

Sunday night is small group night for our family. We get together with 5 other couples and spend time in worship, prayer and fellowship. We needed that tonight more than we would ever imagine.

After we got home from small group I got the kids ready for bed while Mr. Clean took out the trash. After everyone was successfully brushed, washed and in pajamas I sat down to work on this week's curriculum. From the basement I heard Mr. Clean call out, "Angel, I need you."

Now normally that would be fairly romantic. He needs me? Like to quench flames of desire? He needs just to see my face since it has been a whole 10 minutes and he misses me? He needs my presence by his side to remind him of the life long commitment we made in front of God and family? Fat chance. He only calls me "Angel" when he is talking about me or there is something wrong. Usually I am "Babe" or "Honey". Something was amiss.

I went downstairs to find a brand new indoor swimming pool! Granted, it was just a kiddie pool, but there was wall to wall water nonetheless. There was about a solid inch of water covering the entire floor. It is pouring rain here and the float on our super-duper-less-than-a-year-old-sump-pump had gotten stuck. And we had a mess. As soon as he fixed the pump, which took about 3.6 seconds it was as if the tide was going out. Water was starting to be sucked down into the no longer filled to capacity sump pit within minutes, but since our house can not be picked up and tilted to one side and the basement is fairly level, there was still a ton of water. Mr. Clean surveyed the mess and decided to call our friends whose house we had just left from small group. Two families were still there and with out a second thought two of Mr. Clean's close friends and brothers in Christ were on their way to help us deal with the flood.

I set to work to deal with the two loads of laundry that had been carried downstairs the day before but not yet laundered. They probably had wicked up at least a gazillion gallons of water on their own, the clothes were that heavy. Through it all however I was amazingly unfazed.

Here is what I know. Even in a mini flood like this, Christ is still on His throne and is in control. Our basement is unfinished, but we did have two huge area rugs with padding that covered half of the basement wall to wall. We had partitioned off half the basement with a 4 foot wall (just made of plywood) and a gate to keep the kids out of the workshop on the other half. In just two hours three men had cut up and removed every bit of seriously waterlogged carpeting and padding, carried the furniture and toys that could have been ruined up to the garage and used a wet shop vacuum to remove the over 40 gallons that was still on the floor.

Every bit of computer equipment Mr. Clean had downstairs in his home office was above ground level and protected. We had previously removed every card board box and all the Christmas decorations as we wanted to reorganize the basement. Most all of the toys that were down there (save Dressy Bessy, poor soaked thing) were in plastic containers or were made of plastic. None of this was pre planning on our part. It just so happened that nothing was damaged or ruined except the carpet. All I could do was praise the King of all creation. God is good!

Now that isn't to say that by some miracle all the water magically disappeared and the basement is dry as a bone. We still have work to do downstairs, but I can guarantee that the floor has never been this clean before!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Praise God for the Self Check-out!

Imagine this scenario. You are in the supermarket late one night with a box of Midol and chocolate and the only register open is that of a dorky teenager shamelessly flirting with the bag girl. Now, said clerk may be a dork, but he is not stupid and knows exactly why you have a box of Midol and chocolate and he smirks...

Now, before you panic, this was only an imaginary scenario, for had it been real, the clerk's beaten body would have been found shamelessly wedged between two carts in the cart return kiosk in the parking lot.

I was imagining this when I was entering the grocery store tonight with a very real agenda. I needed Midol and chocolate, not in that order. Midol was a luxury, chocolate the necessity and Mr. Clean did not quite understand this impending emergency (the man actually offered to pour Hershey's syrup in my mouth for me as he polished off the last of the ice cream; he's lucky he did not wind up in the cart return kiosk).

Like a lioness on the hunt I stalked my items stealthily. I had no real plan of attack, but I made it up as I went along. First I bagged the Midol since it was closest to the door. Then three containers of various chocolate infused Ben & Jerry's ice creams (they were on sale, one may have possible been frozen yogurt, I was too singly focused to care). Defenseless to my advances was the poor chocolate donut, I needed something to offer immediate relief, as you simply should not eat ice cream out of the container and drive the long three miles home from the store. A gallon of milk (for the cubs), Reddi-Whip and a magazine (collateral damage at the checkout) and I was on my way back to the den to devour my target.

I think I just might pass out from the sugar high, but boy has my mood improved!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On a Sweet Note

Resurrection Sunday in our house always follows the same pattern. We go to church and then after we get home the offspring get their basket of goodies. They know that it is from us, we have never subscribed to the bunny myth and I rarely put a ton on candy in it. They get a few plastic eggs with some confection, but usually it is a movie, game or cd and a couple other trinkets. Mr. Clean and I have rendered this a kid tradition and don't normally exchange gifts.

This year while shopping I found a version of Narnia for Xbox. Mr. Clean loves Xbox and really enjoyed Narnia (book and movie) and based on the theme of the movie I thought it would be a good gift for him. The next logical holiday just so happened to be Easter. Surprised by this, he was remorseful that he had nothing for me.

A few days later and quite out of the blue, K.Z. came to me and said, "Mom, next year for Easter I will go shopping with Dad and help pick out a present for you. Or at least I will share my candy."

Eeyore Syndrome

Have you ever had one of those seasons in life that you feel like Eeyore? There is a rain cloud over your head, nothing goes right and to sing and praise is the last thing you have energy to do? I feel like such a pansy complaining as so many people have real woes, but I am having an Eeyore moment.

Mr. Clean needed to take an unplanned two day trip to Manhattan yesterday morning and wouldn't you know it, when I got up I had a fever and a raw throat. I pushed through with school and tried to carry on but we just did not get a lot done. We skipped Xena's t-ball practice (it was also really cold here) and finished off the looonnng day with baths and "Momma time" in my room, which was actually pretty nice. The offspring and I watched a silly kid friendly show until bedtime on my bed and then I whisked them off to their own beds. At that point I broke out my friend, "Jack". Okay, I am just kidding, it was really just Nyquil, but I thought "Jack" sounded a little more dangerous and edgy.

Normally I hate Nyquil, since I fall asleep only to wake up 3 or 4 hours later, but last night I snoozed the entire night. I still, however, felt down right miserable when I woke up and it was homeschool co-op day. I did not want K.Z. to miss it so I dragged myself out of bed and fed and dressed everyone. We amazingly got out of the house early and were off to a decent, yet mopey (me) start.

I set my car on auto pilot since the Nyquil haze had yet lifted and drove to co-op. The road we take to co-op ends at the PA turnpike. Our exit is one exit before. Apparently no one reminded the van's auto pilot. I realized that we missed the turn off to co-op as we approached the gleaming lights of the turnpike's toll booths. The haze lifted mighty fast at that point. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of traveling the PA turnpike, it is a commitment. The exits at bare minimum are 15 miles apart. At this point all I had left to decide was which direction I would take (east or west). There was no turning back, lest I want to get a ticket for making an illegal u-turn and have the cops laugh at me when I admit I had no clue the turnpike was approaching (the bright yellow warning signs are hard to miss).

So I went west. Seventeen miles later I turned around and went to co-op. Thank the Lord I have an EZ-Pass. I did not have a dime on me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Black Bean Brownies?

I saw the recipe below on Spark People, a site I really like. Now I love black beans and just might sell a kidney for chocolate, but combined? I just don't know. I will never make this since I don't use Splenda and using sugar would defeat the purpose (and I hate coffee), but if anyone gets a hankering for black bean brownies, let me know how they turn out!

Black Bean Brownies

Nutrition Information

Fat: 3.4 g
Carbohydrates: 8.9g
Calories: 79.2
Protein: 4.1g

15oz can black beans (drained & rinsed well)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated Splenda
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp strong coffee (or 1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp canola or olive oil
1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350*F.
Prepare an 8x8 baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Add the beans last and make sure you blend VERY well.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.
Brownies are approx. 2"x2" in size.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The End of An Era

We are home and it feels so good! Friday we scrambled to get everyone packed up and on the road to be in Virginia where my Grandmother lived, in time for the wake. We had planned to stop midway at my mother's to grab a bite to eat and then change into more appropriate attire. After I fed everyone and got myself dressed I went to dress the kids. It should have been an easy job. Before we left our house I meticulously packed all three kids in one suitcase with every possible thing they would need for the wake, funeral and etc. Then I promptly left it where I had packed it and Mr. Clean never grabbed it either!

So, there we were, two hours from home with a half hour to get to the wake on time (which was another solid hour's drive) and my kids were in grubby jeans and t-shirts with no suitcase whatsoever. After 15 seconds of panic time (all that I could afford) we ran off to Wally World to buy outfits, socks, underwear, shoes and diapers (for C'sa to sleep in). Of course Wal-Mart had nothing appropriate and NOT ONE DRESS, so I wasted more time trying to be creative with skirts and shirts. The shoe department was even worse. They did not have one pair that Xena could wear that was not with a heel (she is 5!) and all of it was for summer. She wound up with a very cute pair of flops that matched her skirt, but did I fail to mention that it was a brisk 30 something degrees, windy and snowing?

A hundred and twenty dollars later (and I was being as frugal as humanly possible) we left Wally World and changed the kids in the car. We raced off to the wake and arrived an hour and a half late, but we got there. K.Z. had a hard time with it and cried a lot when we left.

The next day things went off without a hitch. The weather was still cold, but bright and sunny and the service was beautiful. In lieu of a funeral service at the funeral home, my Grandmother wanted to be in her church so that's exactly where they held the service. It felt good to be at a good old fashioned Southern Baptist service and was quite comforting. The pastor knew her well and cared for her deeply and was able to personalize the message.

The internment was at a cemetery where her family has been buried since the 1700s. The land and church was once owned by the family but has long since been sold and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a beautiful place. Afterward we were greeted by an army of women back at the church ready to meet our every culinary need. If you have ever been to any Southern Baptist event, you will know that the food is worth every bite and popped button. There was all the typical southern food you could have asked for, fried chicken, mashed potatoes with pools of butter and gravy, mac and cheese, salads galore, sweet tea you could use as syrup and a dessert table that could put anyone in a diabetic coma. It was heavenly. Even skinny little Xena wolfed down three plates of food.

The day ended with a long drive back home and three exhausted kids, but it was a good day. We celebrated my Grandmother's life and spent time with much loved family members. Not a bad way to honor the end of an era!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Aduladi & Co. and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Want to know the secret to make a big, tough, firefighting Mr. Clean tear up? Make his women cry.

Today was one for the record books. This morning I got "the call" at 08:40 that my beloved Grandmother had finally gone to be with the Creator. She had been discharged to hospice care and allowed to go to her house on Tuesday night as she had been praying for. All she wanted to do was die in her own home and in her sleep. The Lord granted both requests. She died peacefully with two of her four children at her side.

I had the honor of spending 3 days with her a few weeks ago while she was still up and about after she had found out that she was no longer in remission. We went to chemo, went shopping and spent a lot of time just being together. My Grandmother and I had been traveling companions quite a bit and loved spending time together and this was no different. Last weekend I spent a few days and a couple nights in the hospital with her. I knew then that she was waiting to die and desperately wanted to go to her house. She was a completely different person. Still herself and lucid, just ready to stop fighting.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Mr. Clean and I made the tough decision to finally help Al the cat
out of his pain. We planned earlier in the week to take him to the vet today and I almost chickened out a few times and rescheduled. But after the call, I prayed about it and felt quite at ease about the decision we had made to put him down. Even though my grandmother had died as well, it still made sense. The only thought I can come up with to describe it was that it sucked. Majorly. I cried like a two year old the whole time until I wound up with a migraine. Then I came home and laid down for an hour or so while Mr. Clean made dinner and supervised a mini clean up of the downstairs. The whole time he made everyone whisper. The man is a prince.

We had prepared the kids for both deaths and had been talking about them so that the kids wouldn't be thrown for a loop. K.Z. and C'sa had spent a great deal of time with Al today but I did not realize until later that Xena never took her chance. After the offspring were tucked into their beds she came down with Muttzart, a musical stuffed dog
and scrolled through the selections until she got to one particular piece.

"This makes me 'bemember' Al", she stated to me and started to cry. Really cry, not just a "little girl who wants an excuse to get out of bed whimper". After a few minutes of sobbing on my lap, Mr. Clean came in to see what was wrong. Through fat tears she told him, so he printed out a picture of Al he had taken earlier for her to take to bed and then like the superhero that he is he scooped her up in his arms and carried her back to bed. When he came back his eyes were red.

Giving him a hard time, I said "Suuuure, she makes you cry, but when I blub like a baby it does not affect you." His reply to me? "You tore me apart too."

And that's how you make a a big, tough, firefighting Mr. Clean tear up.

In Celebration of a Thursday

Because I love my hubby and son and both are, or have been, obsessed with Legos and Indiana Jones at some point in their lives (dare I say, "right now"?) I had to post this video Mr. Clean found last night. It was also a mood lifter for me. It is a hoot! Enjoy...

Monday, April 2, 2007

Too Tired to Think

I got to my mother's house about an hour ago which is about 60 miles from my Grandmother's town and the hospital where she is currently. I stayed at the hospital overnight on Friday, Saturday during the day, all day Sunday, Sunday night and today. It was an honor to do it and help my Grandmother but I am tired all the way to my bones.

On Friday we were told that she would not make it two more weeks and to my untrained eye, I can see why they think that. She will be leaving the hospital on Wednesday and will be in hospice care at her house for her remaining time alive.

I have to go to bed, I am about to drop. Thank you so much for your prayers, they mean so much more than you could know.