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Thursday, July 29, 2010


i just had to share...
maybe it's the fact i'm his big sister, but, i can't stop smiling at these pictures.
7 months on a boat in the ocean.
his clothes smell like jet fuel.
but he's ok.
and he's home.

and i'm happy.
and proud.

i just love them to pieces.

welcome home, little brother!
my heart feels complete.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

doing our children justice.

i have this slight addiction.  

i'm going to call it a blogiction.  

my blogiction has me obsessed with reading blogs, following blogs, bookmarking, tagging, flagging, liking, and commenting on BLOGS.  like, all the time.

i love the creativity out there.  i love the inspiration.  i love how people i don't know move me to tears.  humans are wonderful creatures and so complex.  they not only have the ability to piss you off, but also the ability to calm you down.  to make you realize your blessings.  to make you thankful for what you do have.

recently i have undergone a lot of stress at work.  it made for a stressful vacation and a stressful home life.  i have taken my children for granted.  i have been short tempered, short sided, and constantly annoyed at their negative pleas for attention.  i know i'm not alone, but it doesn't make me feel good when i read other blogs who have far worse going on in their lives right now.  and by far worse, i mean, stress directly related to their children.  and loss thereof.

my friends annie and dave recently experienced a travesty... or series of travesties.  annie got pregnant only to find out the baby had Trisomy 18.  not only that, but later they found out that baby Noah also had Omphalecele.  on July 16th Annie's water broke.  her husband was out on a carrier in the Atlantic Ocean.  she was in California.  she was so lucky that she had a great friend by her side that day to help her through both the physical and emotional trials of what she was experiencing.  when she reached the hospital she was sad to learn Noah's tiny heart had stopped beating.  she gave birth to him that afternoon and miraculously Dave made it to the hospital that evening.  they were kind enough to post some pictures of little Noah on their blog for those of us that were mourning from a distance.  they are the epitome of strength and after reading their news, i felt as though i was the epitome of weakness.  as they went through this most difficult experience i was in my own little world getting frustrated with the constant needs of my three children.  

i still feel so weak and selfish.

and this same week, this same week, i blog-hopped from CJane over to Patrick and Ashley's page.  Patrick and Ashley's daughter, Preslee, was air-lifted to a hospital after she fell into a canal in Idaho, only to be found by a farmer two miles down the canal.  about a week later, little Preslee got her angel wings.  

i need to do my children justice.  as much as i love my blogiction, my kids deserve better patience from them mama.  we aren't guaranteed a certain amount of time with our children in this life.  i can't take it for granted.  while i don't anticipate giving up blogging or reading blogs, i just don't think i'll be doing it as often.  it's like a diet.  you just need to get in the groove and then it becomes second nature.  unfortunately, i have things bass-akwards.  just like i did when i picked up scrapbooking.  or farming on facebook.  {which, neither of the latter are currently in my life --that farming was ridiculously addicting -- so much so that did a study on it.  so go ahead and stop judging me.}

we have one life to live.  one.  the things that matter the most to me are my children.  i need to recondition my habits to be the best mom i can be.  then i can be a better blogger.  i'm sure of it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

in exchange...

my man flew out this morning.  i know it's only for a few days, but please.... in ten years this has only happened two other times.  it feels totally wacked.  especially because being a single parent makes me realize how much i don't really know my kids.  off the top of my head i still have no idea which one of them prefers their nuggets with ketchup while the other two only use bbq sauce.  i'm a horrible working mother, i know.

but as he sets sail this morning i am comforted by the news that my little brother is flying back as we speak {from deployment} and will be scooping my favorite northwestern SIL into his arms tomorrow.  i am crying just thinking about the beauty of that.  GEEZ!  somebody stop me.

my son doesn't understand why this all fills me with so many tears.  at least the part about my little brother.  i guess i can see that from the seven-year old standpoint of .. "my sisters drive me crazy and i just want them to go away so they leave my stuff ALONE!"  i know one day he'll understand, but in the meantime, he just has to deal with the love and pride that is overcoming me today.  he is a man that is all about living and following dreams.  massive ones.  it's unreal and something i want my kids to learn from him.  even though he lives clear across the country, my kids scream his name into the sky any time they see a jet in the air.  i love it.  they, too, are so proud of him.

this is on ethan's 1st birthday (2003).
cliffy was able to stop by that morning for a visit before heading back to USNA.
i kinda think he loved this kid.

this was last November (2009).
he was in town before a work-up.
a three hour trip each way.
a few hours to see him.
fourteen of us helped him shop at the NEX just to spend some extra time with him.
from the look on e's face, i think you can tell it was worth it.
he loves his uncle.

last year's reunion.
i love them and am so excited for another one of these happy pictures.

Come home safely, Cliffy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

leaving on a jet plane.

it's no secret that me and my man spend a lot of time together.  as in... neither of us travel separately, thus leaving the other at home with the little devils kids. we're together every. single. day.

forty-eight days ago my hubby's grandmother passed away.  i think she was something amazing like ninety-two years old.  she was Buddhist.  in whatever sect of Buddhism she was, there are many prayer ceremonies after a person passes away.  it is my man's job to go out to california and represent the family at the final prayer service.  i'm nervous sad for him.  he has a lot to live up to.  i mean, both of his sisters went out for one of the first services and funeral -- they did the most awesomest of jobs representing our east coast family.  

i guess the good news is that my man doesn't really think far into the future on things, and thus, won't be worrying about his speech until five minutes before he has to give it.  i, on the other hand, have been sick about it for days.

so with all that said, i'll be single-momming it for a few days.  it's so weird.  i know many of you do it for months/years at a time.  i never said i envied you, which is also why this is all so weird for me.

tonight is night 1.  he went to stay with his parents so he has an easier time tomorrow morning - his flight is at something ridiculous like 7am.  he was nice enough to take the girls for a sleepover.  someone will bring them back to me sometime tomorrow.  

why am i not there, you ask?

remember this story?  particularly the part where i was sick?  yeah.  now ethan has it.  as my father-in-law starts up his first round of chemo on monday, we just don't want to be the reason why he can't start it on monday.  volcano stomachs and head colds are the devil.  we will camp in my girls room tonight, play parcheesi, and laugh ourselves to sleep.  all within an awesome distance to our bathroom.


separately, i've made a pact with my  man.  no more internet at night until the kids go to bed.  it's consuming our lives and completely unfair to our kids.  i'm hoping this helps me feel like a better mom because, honestly, this volcano stomach has made me the most unhappy person i've met in years.  


in an attempt to be more active, we took the kids an hour away to pick some berries.  it was berry hot.  107 degrees.  holy schnikes. 

beautiful background for lunch...
until the girl next to us spewed her hamburger all over the place.
check please!

my poor little emma was berry sick of the heat.
i didn't blame her.
but i mean... seriously, em?
you couldn't finish one scoop of ice cream?
i thought i raised you better than to leave an ice cream cup... with ice cream in it.

he was so excited for this quarter.
it was his ticket to feeding the goats....

in typical ethan fashion, he let all of the corn fall straight to the ground.
he is almost eight.
still can't master the candy machine.

as i sit here stuffing my face with blackberries i want to say...

you had so much to offer.
we will be back for the fall raspberries.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


sometimes if you want a little peace in your life, you need to get less peaceful to make it happen.

confronting issues head-on clears the air for a better future.  communication is key to great relationships.  you don't necessarily have to like each other, but being able to respect each other enough to not HATE each other is important ... particularly in a workplace.  as adults, i just don't think we should hate people.

so, i did this today.  i was dreading it.  but i did and it was successful and now... maybe i can have better days?  

i hope so.  i'm so sick of hating work and bureaucracy and inefficient workmanship and ... i could seriously go on and on.  instead i will say one thing...

i got less peaceful today and feel much more at peace because of it.

confrontation isn't always a bad thing.  in fact, i'm kinda proud of it tonight.

go me.

omg, seriously?

ok, i die for re-upholstered chairs. 

seriously, my heart grows faint with a slight flutter, and i become completely speechless.  i love me some awesome chairs.

thank you, design sponge for providing me with more inspiration...

                                                   i love me some large
                           scale marimekko fabric.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


i am not all about irony these days.
i can't really look at my life and think, "hmph, well that's ironic!"
because i'm usually thinking, "hmph, well this really sucks."

i went grocery shopping this weekend.  i was kid-less.  i used the excuse that i was sick so i didn't have to take kids.  it makes sense when you realize my stomach was a volcano and i didn't want to tote two yappy kids into a public restroom stall with me.  at walmart.

so kid-less.  yeah, that's right.  jealous?
well not so much when you realize i went to WALMART.
but it did feel awfully nice.

but back to irony because i need to vent.

just hear me out.

twenty-two months ago my hubster became a stay-at-home dad.  he was living my dream.  well, my dream during the school year.  never during the summer.  initially he used to be all good about making dinner so i didn't have to worry about it when i would get home from work.  it was schweet.

SIDENOTE:  back when he was working, he was a commuter.  two hours each way.  TWO.   he left the house each day at 6:30am.  which meant, i had to get the kids up, fed, ready and dropped off before going to work.  then he would get home at 7pm every night, which meant, i also had kiddie pick-up duty (at one point, all three were in different locations every single day --- that's right... three nightly stops.)  it also meant i had dinner duty.  it sucked.  the chaotic pick-up schedule made me dread mealtime.  they wanted food immediately.  i wanted to pee alone.  nobody won. but fast forward to unemployment and dinner was graciously provided for me almost every night during the week.  it changed my life immensely.  and it was usually made from scratch!  such a bonus.

then hubster became a student and we eventually found ourselves high-fiving in my parking lot at work as we swapped cars and lives for a bit after i worked an early shift to enable his wacked-out class schedule.  and i was back to dinner duty.  and swim lessons.  and weekly nightly playdates.  and chaos.

ebb and flow.  ebb and flow.

so ... walmart.  i spent a bajillion dollars there this weekend.  we needed it.  i mean.... we came back from the beach the day before and really had nothing in the house.  i purchased a bajillion dollars worth of food and you know what?  i have nothing to make.  because you know why?  my life is ironic.  my hubster is home during the day in between his summer school classes and {because he's never here at dinner time} doesn't even think about thawing any meat.  this is a problem because my kids are pure carnivores.  that's right.  you heard me.  life would be over if they didn't have meat with their meal.  i know they are soooooooooooo not hip and food-trendy, but i'm ok with it.  ok until we come to dinner time with no unfrozen meat, after a swim lesson {so EVERYONE is extra hungry}, with kids screaming left and right.  {it is times like this where i am truly thankful i only have two ears.  i really couldn't bare to listen to much more screaming via a third or fourth ear.}

so, BLUF {bottom line up front} the irony... 
with a bajillion dollars of walmart food sitting in this house...

i ordered out tonight.


for those of you that are english majors and would like to beg to differ with my example of "irony" tonight, please don't.  i mean, i'm still boggled over my final exam in 12th grade english that went like this...

"In Alanis Morrisette's song "Isn't It Ironic" there is only one statement that is actually ironic.  Which is it?"

chew on that.

and for those of you that think, "gee erica, why don't you just pull out meat from the freezer in the morning?"... um, yeah.... is one simple act of pulling out meat to make my life a little easier too much to ask my hubster to do every day?  when it's the only thing i ask for???????????

meat.  it's all about me.


Monday, July 19, 2010

oh henry. II.

oh Henry Road... how I love you.
you amaze me with that talent of yours.

These chairs went from this... this...

...and this...


did you ever see this one:

interested in purchasing?
head over to their shop... you won't be sorry!
run... don't walk.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

oh, it's totally the unwritten rule.

when you're the mom, you rarely find yourself in pictures with your kids.

you are the chosen one.
photog, that is.
and that's ok, in a way.

until you sit back and wonder... "if i look back at these pictures fifty years from now, where does it show that i was actually part of this vacation?"

but if it was my hubster's job... there just wouldn't be any pictures.  it is totally the unwritten rule that it is my job to chronicle any photographic events in our family's life.

the only shots i have of me this year are literally the family shots.  even then, i totally clash.  with all the hoopla of getting the kids clean and together, the hubster changed AND shaved, and everyone in a good mood -- i forgot i needed to change.  

at least we all look ... together.  isn't that what a family is supposed to look like?

we had such a wonderful trip, the kids especially.  chris had to leave for a couple of days for summer school, and thankfully one of those days it thunderstormed ALL DAY LONG.  but it was worth it because we got to see this cool rainbow right from our living room:

i am so blessed to have married into such an awesome family.
they aren't just good people, they are fun and FUNNY people.
there's a lot to be said for that combination.

this, my friends, is my adorable niece, Gaby.
she stole my heart this very moment.
ok, so she stole it for the bajillionth time, but i thought it was too precious to pass up.

see, papa bear benefits from mama holding the camera.
actually, he hates having his picture taken.
but he'll love it in fifty years, i'm sure of it.

my boy.
i didn't see much of him last week.
knowing he was having the time of his life with his cousins made it bearable.
because he is the ultimate co-snuggler.

Anna Marie Horner commented on this last week, and I'm seconding her opinion.
the humidity provided by the beach made for some mighty foggy lenses.
it was annoying 99% of the time.
but then i get a shot like the one above - cool enough that i could find something to like about the fog.
but barely.

here are three cousins taking a break after some serious crabbing.
those suckers are scary.
the crabs, that is.
well, sophie, too, when she doesn't take a nap.

men folk doing what they do best.
man talk.
and fruity little beverages.
i jest, i jest.
i'm sure it was cold hard Jack.

here are the girls getting their airbrushed tattoos.
i find it quite ironic that they do this at the beach.
i don't find it ironic, however, that they wait to tell you why it's ironic that they do it at the beach until AFTER you get them airbrushed on.

1. No swimming for 2 hours.
2. No sunscreen anywhere near the tattoo/space EVER.
3. Any amount of sunscreen will take the tattoo off within a day.
4. With proper care the tattoo can last up to 10 days.

no sunscreen?
we're at the BEACH and they have baby skin, for cripes sake!

thanks for waiting until i had no choice but to shell out $20.
i suggest to the rest of you... use the good old fashioned tattoos you adhere with wet sponges.

watermelon at the pool.
their lives were perfect this day.

we were lucky enough to have a movie theater in our beach house.  yeah, i know.  i can't make this amazingness up.
the chairs were uber comfortable, as you can tell.
this little boy was tuckered out -- and he was happier snuggling with the chair than with his mama.
because, don't you know....

"Mom!  I'm a man and have armpit hair!  I don't cuddle!"
{until we got home from the beach and he was all up in my bed, of course}

but for the record, he has no armpit hair.  he does have armpit stank, however.

best friends for life.
and after life.
not "forever."
that's for girls.

mandatory rest time every day was the key to survival.
even my almost-eight-year-old benefited from it.
this is what his rest time consisted of.
sounded good to me as long as it meant i could get my mandatory rest time in, too.

dolphins. suntans. and fruity coconut rum drinks.  i'm not sure it could get any more perfect than that.

all i have left to say is this...

thank you, Masoudis!
we love you forever.

the hamakos

Saturday, July 17, 2010

blame it on the sun.

it is so true.  i went on vacation and totally left you behind.
i blame it on the sun.

the sun made me feel all warm inside this week.
{it could've been the rum}

the sun made me remember life is about more than work.
{it could've been the rum}

the sun made me play with my kids like i was one of them. 
{it could've been the rum}

whatever the cause, and not to rub it in your face and all... but...

i had a great week away from you.  sorry.  it's true.

but i'm back.
with slightly tanner skin.

Friday, July 9, 2010

train. wreck.

tomorrow we leave for the beach.
it's g-awful timing.

i will try, try, try for my kids, to put the train wreck at work completely out of my head so i have a chance of enjoying this week long trip to obx.  work related train wrecks don't just suck because they suck, they suck because that's all that sits on your mind.  it's all you can focus on.  it's all your energy put into one horrible...... train wreck.  

no time for blogging.
no time for cooking.
no time for going to the pool.
no time for hanging out.

no time?  NO ENERGY!

it's friday night.  i leave at 0700 tomorrow.  kids are packed.  crafts are packed (they make mandatory afternoons in the house bearable).  snacks are packed.  CAR snacks are not packed.  mom and dad are not packed.  the house is a wreck.  laundry needs folded.  i'm a tired old bag.  

if i could take you all in person, i totally would.  since i can't, i will try to post from the beach.  you know, those mindless, silly, random kinds of postings.  and i write that now in case i drunk-blog.  you never know.

and because i can, here is a picture of my dear sophie...
she definitely thought i needed a laugh.
sho' did.
i love my little monkey.

Monday, July 5, 2010

fifth. and i pit you not.

today is the fifth of july.
life has slowed down.
all that's on my schedule today is taking the kids to swim lessons.
thankfully, they'll have two back-to-back.
i'll have some tuckered out babes tonight.
thank goodness.

this weekend ended my crazy week.  it was a crazy ending to that crazy week.  especially for my kids.  long days, no naps, lots of sugar.  the downward spirals were awful and frequent.  sheer exhaustion.  irrational fits.  i put myself on suicide watch.

 what's a 4th of july without floating around a pool?
it's what i did as a kid every single year.
it was awesome.

these two.
i love these faces.
she may be totally sassy, but she is also a heartbreaker.

i am totally aware my cake is not to scale.
but it was  so totally awesome you wouldn't have noticed. i know i sure didn't.

the kids hanging with their grandma at her booth.
she has the only store in this new village so we had a prime viewing location.

see note below.

that dog is half-pit, half dachshund.  i pit you not.
her name is chica.
she is built like an iron horse.
a sight to see.
her mom bore three litters of this new breed.  accidental breed.
one of chica's siblings was the size of a basset hound.
again, i pit you not.
chica is the only one that has the brindle coloring.
she was awesome.

i hope you had a fantastic fourth and that it lived up to all that it should have.  because we all deserve to have our holidays live up to all the holiday hype. 

and just because i can, i'm slipping in the one picture i got with my man this weekend:

love you, babe.