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Tweet via @tinalouise_net 9/20/12 3:01 PM (Comments: 0)

Yay! I got to sleep in today. I heard the kids early, like around 7:30am, but they didn't make much noise. What good kids. Hmmmm, trying to remember what I threatened them with if they woke me up???? Just kidding. They are just nice kids. I asked them last night not to wake me too early.


Talk about a laid back day. Did almost nothing. The beach was too cold for sand dollar hunting. Feet in the water would have instantly frozen. My Kindle Fire told me the temp was 41 at 9:00am. Wind chill made it feel like 32 degrees. I would have needed my nice warm winter jacket.


Wait!? Where am I? Surely South Carolina is warmer than this in the winter. Maybe I was transported somewhere else during the night. I was sleeping very soundly. Nope. Same place. Maybe the poles shifted and I didn't hear about it.


Anyway, it was too cold outside to do much. TVs played in two rooms. Then DSis came out. Wii dancing commenced. At one point the kids ventured outside, only to return a few minutes later. TVs played in two rooms. DSis came out... You get the picture.


Four o'clock basketball practice couldn't come soon enough. Phew! We were so excited to go somewhere, we all realized I missed the turn for the rec center about 10 blocks after it. No problem. We got there. Ciaran ran inside, and the kids and I played at the playground.







I about froze at the playground. Little kids really don't have any temp readings when they are playing outside. They never get cold, unless it's snowing or rainy. They played for an hour. After about 15 minutes, I sat in the car reading and watching them. This is a reason I love audiobooks. I didn't have an audiobook with me, though, so reading became quite slow...


Read two paragraphs. Look up to see where critters are. Make sure they are ok. Make sure there aren't any creepy looking people around trying to lure them away. Look back down at page. Try to remember what was just read. Find the spot. Read two paragraphs. Look up... Oh yeah, really slow.


With an audiobook, you never have to look down. You only need to pause it when the kids are talking to you. You never lose your place. A simple push of a button puts you right back into the story. Yep. I love audiobooks.


After an hour of play, the kids run to the car and tell me they want to go out to dinner again. "Mom always takes us out after basketball." Ok, I believe this. Of course, I do. I know their mom.


Can you believe they want to go to a pizza place. At least one of them has eaten pizza every day this week. There is still leftover pizza in the refrigerator. I remind them of this, but it doesn't matter. Must have pizza. Maybe they are some form of newfangled zombie child who has pizza for brains. Beats me.


Luke and Ollie's is a hole in the wall pizzeria. Very cute only about 6 tables in the place as well as a small bar. The workers are friendly. Duh! This is "The South." They have to be friendly. It's a rule. Really.




We get the menus. Desserts look good. The boys share a cheese pizza.






Catie goes crazy and orders grill cheese and fries.




I geta stromboli.




I'm pretty sure that's what it's called. Kind of a folded over pizza much like a calzone, but not. Lots of cheese. Chester Cheetah would have loved our meal. My stromboli had a bunch of different meats in it besides the cheese. It was scrumptious.


I passed up my last piece to go for dessert. Finn insisted he ate a whole brownie sundae all by himself the last time he was there. Uh huh. I don't think so. Catie wanted the same, so I made them share. Good thing. It was huge. Ciaran just wanted a chocolate sundae.




I thought I'd try something more exotic...a creme brulee cheesecake bites sundae. This is no ordinary sundae, nor is the cheesecake. The cheesecake bites were covered in batter and fried. It was kind of strange and had no flavor or texture that even remotely tasted of "cheesecake." It was different, but ok. The vanilla ice cream was creamy and smooth...and cold.


I was lucky because the head-burns that ensued didn't attack me. Just a note: a sip of water or pop, no matter its temp, will instantly curtail a head-burn. Finn started shivering. Ice cream on a cold day just makes a person colder. Go figure.


I thought I'd make the kids happy by telling them Mom & Dad would be home tomorrow.


They cheered, but then I looked at Ciaran. He looked close to tears. I asked him what was wrong. "You'll have to leave then." I love the minds and honesty of little kids. I told him I don't leave until the next day. He was happy again and told me we could go to Disneyland then.


ALL my kids love me. Not much else matters.


Life is good.










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I thought the kids were going to sleep in today. No school for five days. They told me they were happy they could sleep in. I even let them stay up a little longer. I should have known better. Don't you always wake up early when you know you don't have to? I know I do. Sleeping in is an urban legend or myth or something.


At 3:30am, according to my watch, I hear laughing. Ok, it's 6:30 here, but really? They are usually zonked out when I try to wake them up at that time for school. Why did they have to wake up that early today?? I dunno. I rolled over putting the pillow over my head. Periodically throughout the morning I hear playing and laughing and "Ssshhhh! She's still asleep."


They are so funny. Being at the age when whispering sounds like shouting and excited whispering is 10 times louder than that, I wasn't really sleeping.


By 8:30, I roll out of bed, get dressed and check on them. They are, of course, happily playing. I go back in my room and lay on the bed with the door open just listening to them play. At one point Catie walks past the room, sees me, then shuts my door. She's being nice.


After a while I get up and remember the sudoku book in the closet. I may as well figure that out.  It's a "Dummies" book. I sit on the couch in the Wii room to figure it out. Funny, now that I'm out of bed, all the kids are doing some kind of quiet game. It would have been a great time to nap. Sigh.


After about half an hour of quiet, the critters come out of the woodwork and start dancing. Any of you ever try the Wii dancing games? We've got one at home, but these guys have three games. Lots of songs to choose from. The dancing lasts for a bit, then the DSiXLs come out. For some reason they are all playing the math game. It's nice that companies have created learning games kids can get lost in.



Suddenly the Kid Cuisines are calling from the freezer. Must be lunchtime.


The sun is out today. So much for our storm of yesterday, although it is a bit windy. We decide to go for a walk on the beach. Today is a good day to find sand dollars, I think. So, we get our shoes and sweatshirts on and head out the door. At the beach, we leave our shoes in a pile by the trail and head toward the water.


It's about an hour from low tide, so it's pretty far out. I'm the only one with long pants on, so I hike them up and wade through the trough that cuts the beach in half. At first the water is cold, but we all quickly acclimatize.




About ten guys are parasailing with the brisk wind pulling them along.




Groups of sand-pipers run along the wet sand picking at whatever creatures they eat.



And the kids hoop and howler as they run along getting wet and looking for shells. I enjoy the whooshing sound of the waves beating on the sand. It doesn't matter that it's only about 60 degrees and windy. The beach is a place of peace and fun and happiness.





It would have been (should have been) a great day for sand dollars. It started off well. I found a nearly perfect specimen.



Not thinking about it, I drop it in my sweatshirt pocket with another shell. Soon I bend over to pick up another shell and hear the crack. End of $1. 


Next Ciaran finds one.



He's happy. I'm happy. Finn is happy. Catie is upset because she doesn't have one. I tell her she needs to look around. She'll find one. Sure enough, she finds one just as I pluck a 4th and 5th from the sand. This time I'm careful and don't put them in my pocket. Five almost perfect sand dollars in less than an hour. Cool! We look around for more, but by now the kids have lost interest and are a bit cold. We head back.


The second tragedy is when Ciaran, who is running and jumping and just having a good time, drops his $1. It breaks. Oy! No big deal. $2 down. Then, Catie, who is running to catch up with the boys, trips and falls, breaking $3. She was a little more upset, but walks it off.


We get back to the trailhead picking up our shoes. We're all happy, cold, and ready for home. Worrying about ants, Finn and Ciaran put on their shoes. Smart guys. Catie and I just carry ours. I don't want to put my wet, sandy feet in my shoes.  I'm pretty sure Catie is just copying me.


So, the day is going good. I still have $2. Nice.


We walk across a street, then another with no mishap.


Suddenly landmines attack my feet. I stepped into a bunch of stickers. Big stickers. My body won't move. Can't go forward. Don't want to sit down. I'm stuck. Ciaran comes to my rescue and starts plucking out the deadly bloodsucking pointy things. Those suckers hurt!


Somewhere in this process, we hear a blood curdling scream. It's Catie. Then another scream. The bloodsucking pokie landmines have Catie. I hurry as quickly as I can to get my shoes on to help her. Ciaran tries, but it's no use. The screams get louder and longer. The boys desert us by running the last 30 feet or so to the house. By then, my shoes are on. Catie is still trying to shatter glass. I get her shoes fixed for her to put on, but she's immobile. Darn landmines! Finally, we get the stickers out of her foot and her shoes on. Phew!


I'm sure I can't hear. But all is well. We had a great time at the beach finding sand dollars...


I realize I had put my $2 in my pocket when I encountered the first landmine. Oh man! Yep. Broken.


We get home and everyone changes clothes to get warm. End of sand dollar hunting for today. I'll have to try to get them to do it all over again tomorrow. Wish me luck.


The evening seems rather laid back. Just normal playing. No screaming. No fighting. Just you're basic relaxed afternoon. Nice. Maybe I can talk them in to eating something I cook. We do have leftovers. I'll make it happen.


Life is good.

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It was a quiet afternoon and evening today. Well, other than the basketball game with its high energy, high scoring game. But before that...the day was very blustery. Unfortunately the video I took is too big to show here. Just think Winnie the Pooh's Blustery Day. If Piglet had been by, he would have blown off the deck. Also missing was the lack of lightning and thunder. Not happy about that at all. I was so looking forward to a good storm. Grrr.


With all the wind and rain, the critters played inside, and very quietly, I might add. I didn't get a nap earlier and the strange jet lag hours seemed to catch up with me. My eyelids started to droop. I knew Ciaran's basketball game was at five so at four I told the kids I was going to rest for a bit. A bit are the prime words here. In 15 minutes some strange music woke me from my non-slumber. Then ten minutes later one of them called for help and my adrenaline kicked in. I was up and in their room in no time.


"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Nothing. Catie was sitting on me, but now she's off."


No crisis, but complete end of nap.


Before the game the kids all emptied their trashcans. No complaining. They just did it. And Ciaran took the kitchen trash to the garbage. Well trained critters.


The rec center is very easy to find. Good thing since I forgot my map (not a good thing). I also forgot my phone. Sorry, Rosemary. I know you tried to call.


At the rec center, Ciaran was ready to go and jumped right in.

P1110005Ready to go!


P1110008Action shot!


P1110009Serious business.




The dark haired kid in the last pic made most of the shots. I think there were about 8 baskets just from him. The other team didn't have a chance.


After that high energy game, Ciaran still wanted to run around the playground. Fine with me. He ran around the field and still beat us to the car.


For some reason the kids still wanted to go out to eat. I offered to make something, but nooooooo, we had to go out. Arby's was out since I never found it. The next choice was DQ, but I couldn't find a close one, so we ended up going to Target. That is easy to get to and hard to miss. Good choices for me.


It didn't matter that we had leftover pizza at home, they all three wanted a cheese pizza. And were all hungry enough to finish most of their meal. We talked about the hidden cameras and the funny pictures on the wall. Then we wandered a bit deciding on a bag of Hershey Kisses for dessert. (I think the Double Fudge Chocolate ice cream is calling me, so I might have some of that later.)


Anyway, we head home. When I say it's bath night, they proceeded to tell me they took baths...a couple of days ago. Uh huh, that's why it's bath night. Sheesh.


The critters ended the day dancing...



Now it's time for that ice cream...

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Woke up to clouds and some rain. Ok, sprinkles. But they were big drops. Waves pounding the beach in the distance made me curious to want to go see, but I had to get the kids to school.


I decided to drive in a direction I hadn't been before after dropping the kids off. Anyone who knows me, knows I can get lost at the drop of a leaf. Yes, it's true. Fortunately for me Ted has a great navigation system in his car, and he had the foresight to punch in the home address. Smart guy...or he just knows me. Anyone I ever babysat for knows if you want me to take the kids somewhere, you had better give me a map or we might just end up at Mt. Rainier or Lake Tapps or Forks. Yeah, the vampire/wolf place. It is a nice area of WA, though.


Anyway, I headed toward the big city. I didn't want to cross the cool bridge, so turned off to check out Patriot's Point. Charleston College has a sporting complex there.  Some exclusive condos sat next to a big marina called the Freedom Boat Club. But the attraction of this park is the USS Yorktown sitting majestically with planes and helicopters dotting its deck. It was kind of a shock to suddenly see it there off to the right as I drove around the grounds. It is part of the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum.


From there, if you want a nice day trip, you can hop a ferry to Ft. Sumter--something I did with Christopher when he graduated from Army Basic Training. That was just over a year ago. I doubt it has changed any. As we ferried along back then, a group of dolphin played following the boat that took us to the island. I had never thought of Ft. Sumter as an island, but there you have it. It is an island. Which kind of reminds me of that prison in San Fransisco Bay, Alcatraz. I digress...


Anyway, I drove along the only road around Patriot Point and ended up at a high class golf course called Patriots Point Links. Not many were out and about yet, which is surprising if you think about how golfers get up at the crack of dawn to go chase golf balls around a field. Maybe they were just out too far for me to see.


That was the end of the road, so I turned around and headed back and saw the memorial that is shaped like a submarine. It was kind of odd to see the top part of the boat sticking out of the ground. The size seems to be the same as an actual sub. Maybe it is in fact a real sub, but I didn't stop to find out.


On the way back I decided to follow the sign to Fort Moultrie. Not much to see there. A fence ran the perimeter of the old fort. One interesting sign I saw told of how Sullivan's Island was the place where most of the slaves came into America. I'd probably heard about that before, but got to put a visual to the place. It's interesting to me since my parents had been to Ghana. Ghana is where most of the slaves shipped out of Africa. Mom told me of the creepy vibes that emanated from that place. I can't imagine the pain and suffering that went on there.


On a ways up the street the Sullivan Island Lighthouse towered over everything. Again, it was fenced all around. I'm going to have to go back with a camera and show you how strange this lighthouse looks close up. Ok, it looks strange from a distance too.


The cool thing of this area is the size of all the houses. I'm sure the reason for the height of these homes is the fear of flooding. I can understand that. But the size is something else. They are huge. I thought we had some big homes in the Seattle area, but these things are all mansion-plus sized. One really cool one sat behind Fort Moultrie. It was probably the Commander's home or Governor's Mansion or something. But it kind of looks like a castle. Very tall and squarish.


Not all these huge houses are old, though. Many are new. And quite a few sported signs for "Rental Vacation Home." There was one that looked like the carport was in the water. It was right on the beach, and I must admit to driving around at high tide, but I would be so creeped out knowing that the ocean could be carrying away my vacation rental car as I slept. Nope, I wouldn't want to stay there.


That was the northern end of Sullivan's Island, so I headed home. I'd spent two hours driving around exploring the area and that worked up an appetite. The leftover beef broccoli called from the fridge. I heated it up and enjoyed it on the veranda while listening to the surf pound.


A most enjoyable morning.


Lots of fun today! After getting the critters to school, I had to go for a walk on the beach. There isn't a lot of beach at high tide, but enough to take a nice long stroll. I went up the beach toward the "city center" of Isle of Palms.


The beach and "town" were almost deserted, which suited me just fine. The lull of the waves, call of the birds, and luscious warm sunshine created a very peaceful atmosphere. I wanted to bask in the sun. Unfortunately, I didn't have a beach chair.


Inside the two shops were all sorts of trinkets, t-shirts, and even alligator heads and claws. Ick. It seemed the only other shop open was a surf shop, but I didn't have any desire to surf today, so I didn't check it out and just headed home. Then it was time for a nice nap.


I opened the sliding glass door to let in the sounds of the peaceful day. Are there Loons here? The birdsong is certainly different than the Pacific Northwest. Did I mention it was a really peaceful day.


Later I got the kids and talked them into walking on the beach again. This time the tide was out, and the clouds and wind were present. Ciaran only wanted a short walk, so I assumed it would be a nice short walk. Apparently they had to show me a sand mountain on the other side of the pier. So the walk was a nice long brisk one facing the wind. By the time I got there my shoes were full of sand...off they came. The coolness of the sand felt good. It's always nice to be able to squish sand between your toes. After playing in the sand for a while, we headed home. The kids were still up for playing with their buddies outside which gave me time to play some games inside on my new Fire.


We had decided to go to Arby's tonight and McD's tomorrow after the basketball game, but things went awry. The kids assured me they knew the way to Arby's. Ok, I would follow their directions. After about 45 minutes, I made the command decision to eat at the first fast food place we found. It was McD's. Since we were all starving by then, it wasn't a problem.


Finally back at home, we finished eating and the kids started their homework. That went well. No complaints. Although, Ciaran lost his report that somehow appeared right in front of him on the table. Strange how that happens.


Homework done. Jammies on. Time for a few Where's My Water games before bed.












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Gingerbread houseWe had a great surprise from my second family this week! Everyone was very excited to see what was in the box, but nobody opened it until I got home. After we dug through the packing peanuts we found this wonderful gingerbread house. All fresh and delicious.The kids loved the fact that our name looks like the writing for The Simpsons. Ok, they're funny kids. We love the house!


Thank you, O'Neills!!!

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A friend of mine is an author with Samhain Publishing.  One of those epubs we're all hearing more and more of these days.  For Valentine's day Samhain is offering some free ebooks.  Check them out here... http://www.thesamhellion.com/

Not to be outdone, eHarlequin is doing the same thing...
A friend sent me the link to this new device.  Not one I'd want.  What do you think?

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My sister-in-law is great for sending me funny emails.  The following is one such item.

They Walk Among Us and Many Work  Retail
I was at the checkout of a K-Mart. The clerk rang up $46.64 charge. I
Gave her a fifty dollar bill. She gave me back $46.64. I gave the money
back to her and told her that she had made a mistake in MY favor.
She became indignant and informed me she was Educated and knew what she
was doing, and returned the money again.  I gave her the Money back
....same scenario! I departed the store with the $46.64.
They Walk Among Us and Many Work Retail
I walked into a Starbucks with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for a
Grande Latte.  I handed it to the girl and she looked over at a little
chalkboard that said 'buy one-get one free.' 'They're already
buy-one-get-one-free,' she said, 'so I guess they're both free'.
She handed me my free Lattes and I walked out the door.
They Walk Among Us!
One day I was walking down the beach with some Friends when one of them
shouted, 'Look at that dead bird!' Someone looked Up at the  sky and
said, 'Where?'
They Walk Among Us!
While looking at a house, my brother asked the real Estate agent which
direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun
waking him up every morning.  She asked, 'Does the sun rise in the
North?'  When my brother explained that the sun rises in the East, and
has for sometime, she shook her head and said, 'Oh I don't keep up with
all that stuff.'
They Walk Among Us!!
I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I
got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was
open. I told him, 'The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week.' He responded, 'Is that Eastern or Pacific time?' Wanting to
end the call quickly, I said, 'Uh, Pacific.'
They Walk Among Us!
My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car designed to cut through a
seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the trunk.
They Walk Among Us!
My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were
discounted 10%.  Since it was a big party, we bought 2 cases..  The
cashier multiplied 2 times 10% and gave us a 20% discount.
They Walk Among Us!
I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area, so I went to
the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never
showed up. She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a
trained professional and I was in good hands.  'Now,' she asked me, has
your plane arrived yet?'
They Walk Among Us!
While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man Ordering a small pizza
to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like
it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time before
responding. 'Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough
to eat 6 pieces.'
Yep, They Walk Among Us!

In general, I hate fund raisers.  School or sports, it doesn't matter.  I hate them.  The parent is usually the one to have to ask for the money.  The schools and their PTSA and the city little leagues know that too.  Kids don't have offices to go to, their parents do.  Or, a lot of parents do.  And, that's where the money is--in office buildings.  Chiefly the parents that are chained to their desks in cubicals.

Cubical workers will do any thing to get out of their cubical. They are like prison. You're put in a cubical with a computer in front of you, the phone next to you with myriads of paperwork on the desk trying to find that memo about the meeting you may have missed and as Tom Hanks warned us, the florescent lights sapping the life force from our bodies.

Such stress!

Then, along comes Bob saying, "Hey, my kid's selling candy.  Want some?"

You step out of the cubical with Bob. Of course you want candy. Notjust any candy, but chocolate candy. If you're lucky there's a peanut butter cup still there. Those seem to go the fastest. Don't know why.Could be that you can just nibble the edge all around and peal off the top then eat the peanut butter all by itself, kind of like a chaser or something. No one can turn down a peanut butter cup.

I got sidetracked for a moment. Anyway, along comes the internet and a whole new ballgame for fund raising. Christina is trying to go on a trip with her French classmates, so she's done a lot of searching and decided to make a web mall for all the internet shoppers out there.

No more stepping out of the cube to buy your hit of chocolate.   Those poor cubical workers don't get to ever leave their cube.  So sad!

But this opens a new idea...cubical worker procrastination. I'm sure no one ever surfed the web for just the right birthday gift or flowers for Valentines Day or books to read while at work.  Now you can surf the web and help out people fund raising for good causes. It doesn't seem so bad that way.You are not wasting time, you're helping a kid do something they may never have a chance to do.  Yeah, that's it!  That can't really be procrastination.  Besides you could do it during your break or lunch or while you are on hold waiting for your next client.

Yes, web malls are the next generation money making fund raisers.  Try this one out for size...
http://visitourmall.com/FranceTrip2008/  Then remember to tell everyone you know about this great way to procrastinate and help a kid at the same time.

Your karma will love you for it!
Big Grin
I collect bats and have lots on my computer desk along with all the other junk.  But, today Stormy Kitty decided it was a purrrfect place for a cat nap.  Little did he know my bats would attack him.

I cracked up watching this.  Maybe you will too.
Christina was trying for the Kirsten Larsen of American Girls look.  She and Christopher went on a Mormon pioneer trek for a few days.  They had to do everything like pioneers and pushed hand carts for, I think, about 10 miles up hill in, pretty much, the desert here in Eastern Wa.  There were lots of blisters and a couple of cases of dehydration, but the kids had a great time.  The idea was to teach the kids teamwork and trust in others and what it was like for the pioneers in the late 1800's.   None of the teenagers were with a true family member.  The only people that were related in a family were the Ma and Pa.  Christina was lucky to be in a group with a kid that she knew.  That didn't always happen.  Each  kid wore a bracelet with the name of a person who died while trying to get from places like Denmark or England to Salt Lake City.  The kids had to relate their person's story during one of the camp fire meetings.  Talk about sad stories.

The grownups, Ma's and Pa's, didn't push the carts at all and, we found out later, had a really nice picnic of big hoagy sandwiches and who knows what else.  Apparently the leaders wanted to make sure the Ma's and Pa's were always in good moods to keep the kids going.
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Not a great picture.  Mice are hard to get standing still.
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