Thursday, July 30, 2009


One night this past week I received a phone call from both my niece and nephew - on the same night... but separately. Both were going through something. My nephew more a problem that he needed to vent about, and had my brother been here on this earth - I fully believe he'd have called him to blow off steam. My niece cried to me on and off for about 1 hour on the phone talking about how she had went to her daddy's grave to talk to him, and how it wasn't fair that all the daddies who give up their kids, beat their kids, and don't care about their kids are still in this world... and how unfair it is that HER daddy DID love her, DID take really good care of her, and how he woke up EVERY day and put family first - how unfair it is that he had to die. She's going into 6th grade and my brother ALWAYS made a huge deal about school with her, and she's having a very difficult time right now with everything. She's having a REALLY hard time accepting it. Who could blame her?

I'm having a difficult time too, it was hard to hear the sadness and frustration in their voices. I listened to her cry, and listened to my nephew vent and thought to myself how very unfair it does all seem. We've been shorted, those kids have been shorted, and even though I know there's a purpose for everything in this life - that doesn't make it hurt less, nor does it make any sense on the "why". How do you answer "why my daddy??" to a little girl who longs for her fathers hug, scruffy face after a long day at work... you can't do anything but simply say "honey, I don't understand either, and you're right it's NOT fair." Saying that over and over, does NOT make the hurt go away - not for her, or for me. I find some peace in telling her that God must have REALLY needed some SERIOUS manpower up there... because my brother IS the man for THAT job. Even THAT, does NOT make the pain go away. I'm human, and so is she. Pain is real, and I'm not going to pretend it's not there. Simply put - I am not happy about it, and I don't like it!! But I have to accept it...

We're rounding the corner to a two year anniversary of his death.... but saying 'anniversary of his death' just sounds out of place to me, sounds heartless. It's not a party kind of day, and when I think anniversary I think party, cards, balloons, etc. So, two years and I'm not ready to shut up about it, I'm not ready to quit blogging about it, I'm not ready to stop posting that same TIRED picture I keep posting because it captures in one expression exactly who my brother is/was/always will be to me... I'm not ready to quit being angry, sad, upset, hurt, torn, stressed, overwhelmed, broken down, beat up, ripped apart, confused, lost, melancholy, depressed at times, empty, and overall - just down right crushed. I'm not ready to say "it's getting easier" because that's a lie. I'm not ready to say "I'm at peace" because that's a lie. and I'm pretty sure neither of those kids are either.... same goes for the rest of my family. But we have to accept it...

Robert Frost - Acceptance
When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud
And goes down burning into the gulf below,
No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud
At what has happened. Birds, at least must know
It is the change to darkness in the sky.
Murmuring something quiet in her breast,
One bird begins to close a faded eye;
Or overtaken too far from his nest,
Hurrying low above the grove, some waif
Swoops just in time to his remembered tree.
At most he thinks or twitters softly, 'Safe!
Now let the night be dark for all of me.
Let the night bee too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be, be.'

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday... Fun stuff.

It's me, but morphed into a 1960's yearbook photo... man I look like my mom!!! I graduated in 1994, my how times changed!!

Above: Me on for 1960
Below: ME - in an actual yearbook photo, from my graduating year - 1994... whooooooppp look at those puff bangs ladies!! Curling iron accurate....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Small Talk Six - 6 skillz I sometimes wish I had

Some days I like doing Meme's because there random, and most of them are short.... they're fun for me because I get to read other people's views and opinions and it's all done in good fun!!

Today’s Small Talk Six topic is what are “6 talents you wish you possessed?” Add them like you want, 6 pictures, 6 sentences, 6 paragraphs, 6 videos or 6 words. You can go here to read more small talk, and even participate if you'd like!

  1. I'd love to be able to draw!! My husband's AWESOME at it, but I can screw up a stick figure :) so, it'd be nice to draw!
  2. I'd love to be able to sing... again, husband can sing like nobodies business. Just think it'd be cool for one day to be able to do that.
  3. Knitting.... ahh - there's definitely a talent required there. I'm learning, but I'm not at ALL confident in it! I wish I could sit and whip up baby booties for some random babies somewhere, because knit baby booties are just the bee's knee's!
  4. Fondant Cakes... I have only purchased one of these babies in my life. I knew a woman who did this on the side for extra family income and she's an incredible talent. The cake looked like it was fake it was so pretty!!! I wish I had the talent to create such a work of art that was edible!!!
  5. I wish I had the talent to read someones mind... does that even count???because it's impossible I suppose?!?!? Reading minds v/s assuming - tough one. I'd rather be able to read minds. Either way, it'd save alot of trouble just to know what people are thinking all along. That's a toss up, to know or not to know... hmmm.. still it'd be cool to have the gift just for a day I guess. That'd have been super cool during the presidential race huh??
  6. I wish I had better foresight, not sure if that counts as a talent either, but it's one which I plan to aim high for.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

splish splashin away part two...

The boys go out almost daily to slip n slide (well spent $5.00!!)...
We love watching their faces.... they're having so much fun. When they're having fun together, it's like the world stands still for them...
Pure bliss... water, sun, fun. They don't even care about the mud puddles around them.
Little J is always so excited because big E is playing with him and they both really get into the splashin fun!
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You can even see the mud splashing right at little J's hand... the yard is a mess in every spot we've put that slip n slide, and we could care less. What matters is they laughed, they played hard, and they enjoyed themselves and each others company.

I can remember many afternoons spent in my front yard growing up playing on a slip and slide with my brothers and my best friend... those are memories I'll cherish forever!!

On a side note, I remember very well that back then, slip and slides did not come equipped with fancy water fountains and splash pools and there were bruises and scrapes from grass all over my body alot of times... I'd give anything some days to go back to such an innocent time, I'd take those bruises all over again!!

yummy goody delivery day....

We received our yummy fruits and veggie delivery today early, and big E was exited with this weeks contents!!! His favorite - the kiwi! Little J's favorite... nanners and grapes and apples.... he's a fruit boy. My favorite??? Baby spinach!! Big J likes whatever he's fed usually, so he's not too picky ;).

1 container yellow cherry tomatoes - local -2nd time receiving this and these have been outstanding in flavor!
2 large crowns broccoli - local
2 jumbo red onions - local
1 bag of baby spinach - local
6 fuji apples
7 kiwi
1 pound seedless grapes
5 red plums
6 bananas

This afternoon after a doctors appointment, big E and I stopped at the local market to pick up some fresh rainier cherries.....

MAN we love summer for it's yummy produce! We were excited when we saw my mom recently and she brought me lots of yellow squash and a cantaloupe the size of a soccer ball! The kids are enjoying cantaloupe or honeydew melon almost every day and little J is going through 2 apples and 2 nanners a day on most days. Those boys love some goodness!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I woke up at 5am'ish this morning, to the lovely sounds of a small dog barking it's head off next door.... my neighbor's dog is one of those dogs with a high pitch, VERY LOUD bark!! He kept on and one, and then when little J woke at 615am, I was a wee bit frustrated. So, I took the dog some treats (n'bors know I do it, they're ok w/ it) and it hushed for a bit.... then it started back up.
I went out only to find it barking at this turtle!!! The turtle was trapped and cornered, so I grabbed the shovel, reached over the fence and took it to my patio where it finally relaxed, stretched out and head on it's merry way. Little J went to tell the turtle hi, and asked it "hey turtle, what are you doing in my yard??"

The turtle just looked at him, and then went bye-bye :). I told little J that the turtle missed its family so it was going to find it's mommy... he was settled w/ that. Big E wasn't awake for the appearance of the turtle so we took some photos for him!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - just two of the reasons...

... why we're driven to keep our thoughts positive during trying times.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts - lots of B's

I haven't RTT'd in a while, so here's my two cents....
  • My 3yo runs around the house talking about BALLS all the time lately. He's not talking about his boy parts, but with my 10yo being a 10yo - there's alot of "ball" banter lately. And giggles. And it's fine - I have boys, and no matter how bad I like to BELIEVE I'm raising them to be a WEE bit modest, they're going to LAUGH every time they hear the word balls, boys just do that.

  • My BAKING sucks monkey toes. I tried this recipe and also tried making an "easy" cobbler with some pantry items that I needed to use.... NEITHER turned out. I was quite BUMMED. My mom, a seasoned baker(ha SEASONED BAKER), says I needed to use more flour (maybe add wheat flour for density) to the first recipe... BLUGH. I hated throwing away those creations.

  • Our BACKYARD has become the source of summer fun for our BOYS and I'm so grateful for that simplicity. With the hubs being laid off recently (BOO) it's been a huge change in routine around here, this has been a welcomed daily outlet for us all. Hubs and I get to go outside with the kiddo's and just unwind. It's also been a fun place for our n'bors kids!!

  • I've found myself ignoring my BLACKBERRY alot. I don't answer the phone when it rings lately... unless it's family or work. Random rebellion I suppose, or maybe it's this.

  • One of my BEST friends just found out she does NOT have cancer!!!! Woohooooo!! Happy Dance!!!

  • Summer BREAK is 1/2 way over for my oldest, he's starting to realize this, and every day he asks me another question about his upcoming grade in school. Eager beaver. Wonder how long that'll last??

  • That's about all I have for randomness, except maybe that I am watching Will & Grace right now.... re-runs have become my vice. Every night at 11 and 1130 I watch Will & Grace... if I'm working I have it on in the background and yes - it distracts me for that hour.

Visit Keely at The UnMom for more bits of randomness....

Monday, July 13, 2009

restructuring some thoughts....

We came across some beautiful wildflowers on a recent trip to a park with the kids... My mind has been full of thought lately, and moments with nature seem to bring clarity to my life.

I am wrapping my arms around growing moments for my family, and especially for myself as a wife, mother, daughter and friend. I have some terrific women in my life, my mother, my stepmother, mentors, and handful of truly honest and dear friends. I'm thankful, and need to be better at expressing how important they are to me, and how very much I need them and enjoy having them in my life.

We really have alot to be thankful for, alot to consider about our future, and alot of simple beauty and humbleness all around us to help keep us grounded - in people, nature, and life in general. Changes are not easy, but with loving supportive people in our lives - it certainly makes it more tolerable.

A THOUGHT went up my mind today
That I have had before,
But did not finish,—some way back,
I could not fix the year,

Nor where it went, nor why it came
The second time to me,
Nor definitely what it was,
Have I the art to say.

But somewhere in my soul, I know
I ’ve met the thing before;
It just reminded me—’t was all—
And came my way no more.

~Emily Dickenson

Sunday, July 12, 2009

splish splashin away

Saturday, July 11, 2009

name that critter

I had no idea what it was called, and my boys like to know the names of stuff....
I googled it and it's a Katydid. Katydids get their name from the way their songs sound. Some katydids have been called long-horned grasshoppers because of their long and slender shape. However, all katydids are more similar and related to crickets than grasshoppers.
This Katydid was hangin out on little J's swimshorts that were outside drying after a day filled with splashin in the little pool in our back yard and squirting water soakers with his brother!!

boys + water = FUN!

The boys have had a blast with these water squirters I found on clearance at Walmart for less then $5.00 each. I couldn't believe how much they liked them!!! I'm a little freaked out by watching kids "shoot" at each other with "guns" filled with water, so I'm a prude and I buy "water squirters".

Don't get me wrong, I grew up shooting pump up bb guns AT my brothers (and I also received *gasp* spankings for it)... but times have changed. I realize it can be taken way out of perspective, but either way, to each his/her own... they don't know the difference and they don't care that they have squirters v/s guns - so they're happy and mama's happy :)!! These things squirt half way across our yard!!

Countless hours have been spent right in our back yard with water + squirters + boys!!

I think the below picture of little J is HIL-AR-IOUS. Big J wants so bad to cut out the background and add in Lego soldiers or something... He looked so serious for that moment the camera snapped the picture! Almost like a toddler Rambo or something. HA!

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."~Plato

Friday, July 10, 2009

growing deeper roots

My husband was laid off of work again recently. There's alot of emotion in me right now, about life and this situation in general. I'm thankful that my husband is the man he is, we're facing this with an open mind and keeping a positive outlook. We have alot to discuss, we have alot to consider, we have alot to re-think... thankfully we communicate with each other, otherwise I'd go insane. He's a very talented artist and right now, we're fine. We had some savings tucked away (for once in our life) and everything is ok for now financially. We are in a weird spot right now as a family, but it's not the end of the world, each day I'm reminded that other people have bigger burdens or struggles:
  • Like a blogger who I've followed for a while who lost her son...

  • A friend of mine from highschool and I were reconnected by using Facebook, and she was recently diagnosed with a form of bone cancer (sarcoma) and is sitting in a hospital right now as I type this while cancer chemicals are being pumped into her body to help her fight. She's a fighter, and so far - her will can't be broken. She has young children and she will do whatever it takes to fight this.

  • Another friend of mine, lost her dad yesterday to a 11 year fight with cancer. 11 years ago he was given 18 months to live - he really showed that cancer something, huh? He died peacefully yesterday, but a peaceful death is still a death that is greatly grieved by those who loved the person who passes on...

  • ANOTHER friend who's wife has battled brain cancer for 2 years, and she still fights...she's at Duke Hospital almost weekly.

  • One of my best and dearest friends just had a total hysterectomy, she's younger then me. Her life has taken some major turns in the past couple of weeks, including a very scary 2nd visit to the hospital with pneumonia.

  • My aunt, lost her brother AND his wife in a tragic auto accident less then 2 weeks ago. She's one of 15 siblings, and it seems like she had just buried a sister and then her brother AND his wife passed away.

  • My best friend in the world wakes up each day knowing her husband has been diagnosed as a carrier of Huntingtons Disease, watching life through eyes that are aware that each day is a gift. Each day that he spends with his child is a blessing, each day that he's still "him" - she's grateful. No signs of disease yet, but if you're a carrier it's inevitable.

  • My family out of state is getting pointed in every direction about the pending adoption of their daughter, the ins and outs of getting the medical assistance this precious child needs are heart wrenching and their family literally sits and waits for people they barely know to decide what's best for their child's medical future, what subsidiaries they receive to help her move forward with her challenges, challenges that this child didn't ask for. Challenges that are existing because of a lost soul, her biological mother used heavy drugs while pregnant with her... she is truly a miracle to be here and alive and be where she is today - so I fail to understand why there's even a question in what should and CAN be done for her with the simple flick or a wrist and signing a paper that says "you get THIS amount of assistance to raise this child in a loving home, without abuse, without drugs, without all of the bad things she could have been exposed too, you get THIS amount of open arms to welcome this bright, beautiful little girl into a healthy world"... I mean really, why think twice?

So... when I think of all of what my friends and family are enduring - I think it's petty of me to even consider feeling sorry for myself. We have alot of goodness in our lives, alot of precious moments to be thankful for.... we went to the lake recently and spent time w/ the kids tossing rocks and acorns into the water. I found my favorite perch and took a few photos - the photo below is exactly where I sit every time we go. For whatever reason, this lonely awkward shrub always fascinates me. It's always so peaceful there, even with the kiddo's running around and yelling - the water, the scenery, it all brings a certain amount of peaceful clarity to my head. It's a big world, and we're just a small family of 4 people in it. There's so much to be thankful for!!

Storms make trees take deeper root. ~Claud McDonald

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Today's Goodness

Today's box of veggies and fruits were delivered just a few minutes ago; I didn't take a picture this time, but what we received was:

5 sweet potaotes
2 broccoli crowns
1 container (pint) yellow cherry tomatoes
1 head of romaine lettuce
6 zucchini
1 container blueberries
6 gala apples
1 mango (organic from Florida)
1 bunch of bananas

They always give me great recipes to go with the deliveries, today's recipes that were included are:

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins (Amy, that ones for you!!)
Risotto with Corn, Zucchini and Green Pepper
Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

I'm eager to try the enchilada's... and maybe I'll cheat bigtime and make those muffins! I may substitute the sour creme for fat free and use skim milk, and try them with 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour... Wheat flour is much more dense, so it's seems to work better when I bake if I mix it with a bit of white flour. If anyone has a good suggestion on how to cook with wheat only, I'm all ears!! I usually portion it out.... I make my pancakes w/ buckwheat flour and they definately require special attention!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - hangin around

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Jump Start review & giveaway

When I was contacted with the opportunity to review JumpStart, honestly, I was a little hesitant. We really encourage learning through play for our youngest, but it’s unrealistic for me to say or think that my 3yo has no interest in a computer or video game. Technology, mainly video games, can be consuming, and it’s just not something we use as a form of entertainment for long periods of time. With both parents working from home right now, we do our best to schedule our time(s) on the computer around naps and bedtimes for kids, both kids are aware and know what a computer is!! The little guy (3 years old) also sees his big brother play games on Xbox and often feels like he wants to give it a try. He was a little excited when I told him mommy had a “game” on the computer for him to try.

Our main focus was the area geared toward 3-5 year olds. At first, I noticed a few setbacks with delay on mouse communication with the computer and wondered if it was my laptop, so I installed it on my desktop and it worked fine. So it must be a lag with the mouse pad on a laptop. Otherwise, controlling the game was a breeze. Making the avatar/character was fun for my 3yo and it required little help once I showed him how to point and click. Then, once in Story Land, my 3 year old was excited to hear familiar songs in the Theatre! He also enjoyed planting flowers all through Story Land.

I how the program Incorporated memory games, puzzles, and sorting sizes (big to small) as this goes along with things we’re learning at home with hands on activities through play, so when we were able to access those areas of the game it was 2nd nature and seemed familiar fun for our 3year old! As far as how often we’d use this program, I’d say maybe 1-3 times a week for 15 minutes at a time would be plenty for our little guy. He seems satisfied with the game being a special treat and I like that it goes hand in hand with things he’s learning through play at home and in the community.

There’s a Fun for Parents link that takes you to the Jump Start blog, I was so excited to see fun art project ideas, and experiments to do with the kids. Both of my kids will enjoy these types of activities and I like having a ‘rainy day’ option available to me!! If it’s messy outside we can learn how to get a hardboiled egg in a glass bottle OR we can get ideas for family game night and even learn how to make cuisine critters!! One other thing I noticed is that Jump Start is soon to release Jump Start for the Wii!

A big thanks to Jump Start for my membership and review; it’s been fun for me and the kids to work our way through the entire site of learning and activities - even our soon to be 6th grader enjoyed navigating through the site. The site has vibrant colors, clear speaking voices, easy directions to follow, and offers a wide variety of skills and learning tools. Overall, I’d say it was well received at my house!!

Jump Start has offered a 3 month free membership giveaway to one person who comments on this review. The comment will be picked at random by using a random number generator, so if you’re interested in winning a 3 month subscription go to Jump Start and take a look around then come back here and leave a comment about why you think JumpStart would be fun for your house! You can also earn additional entries by: grabbing my button, and/or you can tweet about this giveaway, be sure to add @bassackwardsmom in your tweet so your entry will count! Contest ends 06.17.09. Official giveaway rules can be found here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

another year

Today is my dad's birthday! I was so excited to be part of a birthday surprise!! A room was filled with friends, family, co-workers, and church friends - all to celebrate my dad. Amazing.
As I sat and watched a room of people talk about, appreciate, love and celebrate my dad's 65 years I couldn't have been more proud that he's my dad, and he's still here for me to celebrate with. MY dad has outlived HIS dad's age. My grandpa died when he was 64. So to be honest, given our family history (especially with men) of heart disease, I don't believe my dad ever thought he'd live to see 65.
With another year behind him, another birthday celebrated, we have another reason to be grateful that we have been blessed with all these memories and these times together. I hope there are many more to come...
Happy Birthday Dad!

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.

~George Eliot

we had a blast...

... after friends and family left, we hung out and waited on the big fireworks to begin. We sat on the patio and enjoyed 4 different big shows from around the neighborhood... big E and I talked alot about the history of July 4, and what it means. He was very educated in the subject, even told me a few things that I didn't remember!! I was proud that he understood the meaning, but at the same time - they're kids and we totally enjoyed the beautiful firework displays. Little J really enjoyed the screaming ones... it was funny hearing him describe those each time they went up.
Overall, we had a wonderful evening filled with family and friends... right there in our little backyard!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

On this day...

(this is a photo of a dear friend of mine during his tour in Iraq)

while we celebrate with friends and/or family... let us not forget why we have our freedom. Let us also not forget those who still fight for it everyday.
You can visit HERE and learn how to send your support to any soldier overseas, any time. There's also a quick and easy online option HERE to send thanks...
My friend, who's pictured above, is someone I've known for 12 years - we've worked together for some time. He re-enlisted to active duty with the Army Reserve, after having served his "time" already, specifically for the opportunity to go to Iraq and stand by his fellow soldiers and fight for what this country stands for. He spent several months there, and while there, his days were often brightened by boxes of goodies that were sent to him by many people that knew him and worked with him back home.... I was glad to find an online resource that allows people to reach out to a soldier, even anonymously. The simplest of things meant so much to my friend...
You can also visit HERE to send a free handmade card to any soldier -APO required.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


We've had lots of critters lately, a big black snake, black widow spider(s), and this little fellow keeps hanging out at the front of the house...

... I wanted to take lots of pictures of him, but I moved one inch and he took off like lightening!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - RockBand