Saturday, December 31, 2011

My thoughts to my children on New Year's Eve 2011

To Stephanie~

My oldest :) Sometimes I'm surprised you survived my parenting! I surely tried to do things by the book with you, along with a healthy dose of advice from your Grammie and your Grandma. This past year has been one of many many emotions for me. So much pride and accomplishment in watching you graduate and then the journey of choosing colleges and the messy map of how to get it paid for! What an adventure this year has been. It has been hard for me watching you have grown up problems, e.g. love life, paying bills, moving, etc., but also another opportunity for me to glow with pride at how you've come through it all. Your dad and I continue to comment on how we see you more now that you've 'moved away to college' than when you lived at home! This past year has been focused on graduation and what the future will hold. My wish for you in 2012 is to appreciate where you are and to just take a minute to slow down and experience things one day at a time. College will go quickly I'm sure, just as high school did and then you'll have more responsibilities. I love you Stephanie and continue to beam with pride at the young lady you have become. Happy New Year! Love Mom

To Brennan~

My sonshine. When you were diagnosed with Autism, I didn't know what the future would hold for you. I didn't know if you would get a job, learn to live independently, or drive. This past year you have worked so hard. You have fought your way through regular education with some help of some great mentor teachers. You learned to drive (and I only have a few more gray hairs) and you got a job. You are learning to manage your money and to take on more adult responsibilities. You have learned to stand up for yourself and to help others. You have close friends and a family that loves you. The things you have achieved are all things I had hoped for you but wondered if you would be able to achieve them and you certainly did! 2012 will bring with it the start of your Senior year, which is beyond hard for me to believe. My wish for you in 2012 is to work hard to become all you can be and don't let setbacks get in your way! You are an amazing young man and I know you can do it! Happy New Year! Love Mom

To Kristina~

My babygirl. Perhaps there will come a day when I don't call you my baby girl. Maybe you'll be 40 or 60 or maybe you'll always be my baby girl! This year you will turn 16 and will get your driver's license. It is hard for me to let you go, more than you will ever know until you're a mom yourself. You have always been strong and capable and I need to remind myself of that! You are an amazing smart young lady with a bright future ahead of you. My wish for you in 2012 is to continue to work hard in keeping a little bit of yourself for you and to appreciate the world around you and to enjoy the moment you are in right now. High school is a fleeting time. Enjoy being 16, work hard and bloom where you are planted. Your name Kristina, means little christian girl...continue to grow in Faith and truth. I couldn't be more proud of you! Happy New Year! Love, Mom

Friday, December 30, 2011

As We Approach the New Year

Thoughts of many things are in my mind as we approach the new year. Most of them begin by recognizing the fact that although the last year has been very challenging, it was also full of blessings. As I lay here recuperating from foot surgery two days ago and wondering in my mind HOW CAN PEOPLE WATCH SO MUCH TV? I am also contemplating my goals for the new year. I would love to once again try a photo a day for a year. I've never made it past February in the past and I think this would be my third try. It's definitely something I would like to do for myself and my family.

I look back on my oldest daughter's first year at college and yes I made it through it. (At least half of it). My baby girl will be 16 in a few weeks and my son will begin his senior year this fall. Once again I shake my head and wonder where has the time gone?

Professionally, this has been a great year. I continue to grow my private practice and most recently passed my LCSW certification. Really what this means for me is that I will have paying clients once I get on the insurance boards. Which brings me to my next biggest goal...paying off student loans! I love my jobs but often find myself torn between work and family. There never seems to be enough time for both.

Being a small business owner has capped off this being an especially tough year. Finishing my second graduate degree has meant more time with my family and more time doing things I love, e.g. working in my yard, reading, cross stitching, and learning again how to just sit around.

A goal for the new year is to work diligently to reduce debt and on a more trivial scrapbook...regularly. After 5 years of graduate school, internships and homework there are many unfinished home improvement projects that can use my attention as well.

I hope to spend time this year with my time goes on, people age and families change. I want to spend a moment cherishing my family in the point they are now and enjoying the moment.; that is my biggest goal. I wish you the very best 2012...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The woman of the place may have been the subject of an undercover experiment

I (Mrs. Ruchus) do the bulk of the cooking around here. The Mr. cooks on the grill and frequently reheats left overs and once in a while has been known to brown a pan of hamburger, but other than's on me. I'm a bland eater and a bland cooker. (I like it that way duh!) The Mr. however feels the need to add Lots o salt and pepper to everything I cook.

Today, while I was here catching up on facebook, the hubby was heating leftovers and asked if I would like some. Of course I said...Parmesan cheese? He said. Of course, I said. AND he even heated it up for me. So nice! He dropped off the leftovers in the den for me and headed to the family room. I took one bite and it was good...immediately after bite #2 my mouth was WAY hot!! I said, did you salt and pepper this? Of course he said...I thought I was going to eat it, but then you wanted some. know, he had to be sitting in the family room waiting with baited breath to see if I would EVEN notice the taste! YUCK, YUCK, YUCK!!! Wait...I then had to compose myself after saying yuck 80,000 times and thank him for heating me up some leftovers :) It really was a nice thought...right?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Homecoming 2011 and Christmas preparedness

Does that title grab you? If so...welcome to my world. As I see the pages of my cherished Covey planner ticking away into October, I know that the holidays are right around the corner. I haven't had a chance to see my family as much as I would like to and perhaps that is the reason that I simply cannot wait for the holidays. One of my daughters this weekend said, "I'm in the mood to bake cookies". Me too! I was in GFS the other day admiring the trays and covers they have there and thinking how awesome it would be to use those for my cookie deliveries. In addition, I have saved a few recipies on my night stand to be added to the trial list this year. If you are a long time reader, you know that cookie baking is big business for the Ruchus. We hit over 300 dozen every year, a five day process, and we all look forward to and love it. At least I do :) This year we're going to add a gingerbread house decorating party for all the little ones in the family as a new tradition.

This week I added to my planner to clean the kitchen...for 3 days. This will allow me enough time to clean and organize cabinets in preparation of making the cookies. Next will be a complete scrub down of the kitchen, top to bottom. I'm not sure about you, but I have pets in my house and I don't appreciate hair in the, we always start wtih a good fall cleaning.

Many lists of Christmas gifts have run through my head already as well. In past years, especially the last two I haven't really had anything special in mind for the folks on my list, which is not the case this year. I've also been cross stitching Christmas stockings all summer long, so perhaps that is why I am anticipating the season. Who knows...I do know, it feels better than last year when I really had a hard time getting in the spirit. I think I was so burned out on graduate school, and tired, and broke that even on the best was tough. I feel the outlook this year is just a bit brighter...hope that feelings hangs on until December 26th!

OK, next...Homecoming!! For whatever reason homecoming at our local high school gets earlier and earlier. It used to be near the end of October. Last year it was a few weeks earlier (still freezing by the way) and this year it was moved to September! As an educator and a mom, I appreciate the earlier homecoming because I really feel the kids don't concentrate academically as much until all the festivities and match making are over. My precious one disagrees and says having homecoming so early puts undo stress on the students by having to find a date so early in the year. It's always good to know both sides of the story. Anyway...we had a slightly smaller budget this year, but learned some good tricks on saving money and my baby girl looked fabulous regardless! (If I don't say so myself) I really like her darling boyfriend (don't tell a highschooler I called him darling ok?) and I like his family as well. You can go to my facebook page - via the tag over there on the right...the one that says facebook :) to see ALL 120 or so pictures...and I'll share a few with you here as well. As the crazy mamarazzi that I am, I especially appreicated having 'no group' this year, which meant no other kids to coordinate time, place, parents, number of pics etc. AND I finally got my choice of locals: Downtown.

Our downtown is a place that not too many people venture to. I however work downtown and so everyday as I drive I think, that would be a great place for pictures, and so would that and so would that. So, finally...we have beautiful downtown urban pics. The precious one's boyfriend said, why are we taking pictures in an alley? Well, I appreciate the mix of glamour and alley. What can I say? Judge for yourself.

You'll have to judge photos via my facebook page since blogger has not been cooperating with photo uploads. As technical difficulties allow I will eventually post pics here too :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Evidently a little more training is required

You might be asking yourself..."What on God's green Earth is that?!?" I think that is what I also said when I opened my kitchen cabinet...and then ran for my life! I have a great son, whose job it is to do the dishes... I often tell him that we have differing standards when it comes to clean. I have recently come to discover that we have differing standards when it comes to organization as well.

This week's task = teach that boy how to stack the dishes!!

Parental mistake number 892,736,124

Do you, like I, realize after the fact that maybe that just wasn't the best idea? Or do you, like I, realize these things after one of your children less than tactfully points it out to you? I believe I tend to fall into the later category...

Perhaps if you are the parent of a high schooler, you may have heard the hubub lately about the requirement to be asked to homecoming or prom via a creative method. Believe me, among the 15 - 18 age group, this is indeed a hot topic.

OK, now you have the history. Here's the story...

I came home the other day to find this...

I quickly wondered who on earth left me such a wonderful surprise on my front porch! Having over 40 eyes, I looked a little bit closer to observe this...

Well, the surprise clearly wasn't for me...but for my precious one. Being the good blogger parent that I am, I quickly went inside to get my camera to capture this moment for future generations. Then...I made the ultimate mistake. I took a picture with my phone and sent it to her.

Good idea right? No?

Who knew?!? I didn't really mean to spoil the surprise. I meant for the picture to be the surprise, and certainly not to steal the young man's thunder by any means. Evidently, that wasn't a good idea.

Gratefully, the precious one was home just a few minutes later to open said homecoming invitation so all is well that ends well. And perhaps this parenting mistake won't be remembered 20 years from now.

For all you high school mom's out there...let me clarify. If you come home to find any type of sweet sentiment meant for your child... DO NOT! I repeat DO NOT! Let them in on the secret. Just sit on your hands, do not text, no facebook, no pictures....just wait :) No extra charge for the invaluable advice!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The U Dub Dub world

As you now, my big girl has left for college....more than once. Even though I love having her home on the weekends, I know the importance of campus involvement for college Freshmen. She recently bought tickets for some upcoming shows on campus...and also attended an art show. She has had so many experiences already in life that college is kind of the icing on the cake for her :) What I especially love about her being in college, is that she has begun blogging... again. I kind of chuckled when I read her side bar descriptions including professing her love for all things Jonas and also her college plans when she was how times change.

To keep up with the joyous one on her latest journey visit her blog at You'll be glad you did!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hello 11-12

Even though my two youngest have been in school for a few weeks, my new school year and my daughter's 1st year of college both start tomorrow. As school administrator, I choose to always start the school year with a kick off breakfast to welcome everyone back and hope to have something inspirational to say. That's where I'm stuck. Last year was a tough cuts, staff changes, loss of our director, and of course a whole slew of personal struggles, I have now formally dismissed along with August. I'm not sure what I'll say tomorrow, probably something completely memorable like "Welcome Back!" This has been such a restful break for me. I didn't make endless to do lists, which is VERY unlike me...but I got a lot done: at home and at school and I feel very rested and ready to go back to work. That's pretty good I think!

Looking ahead...

This is the year I will take my LCSW test so I can begin seeing clients with insurance...this will, in turn, allow me to begin paying down the national debt student loans. I'm also hoping this to be my last year of working my third job. I think I'll have to have my old dog put to sleep this year, I'll have to start working on a formal transition plan to get my sonshine from high school to college and perhaps I'll clean the basement! One thing I do know is that one summer spent not in graduate school has allowed me to catch up more than I ever thought possible. One daughter in college and the other two in high school and driving have given me more time to myself than I ever thought possible. This past year has definitely been a year of transitions for me and I can only wonder what the new year will bring. I have certainly grown closer to God this year and have prayed more than ever before. I have set many goals and accomplished much.

This is the year we have committed to no vacations and to pay bills instead. That sounds completely no fun, but just a little bit responsible. Somewhere down the road is retirement for me and a house on the beach...Missing a week at the beach this year will be worth retiring on the beach some day :) Remind me I said that when it's 20 below here!

While I contemplate what last minute inspiring thing to say tomorrow, I think I'll watch several episodes of the Young and the Restless to empty my DVR. Surely there should be some inspiration there right?

OK, Now for a quick photo update of the Joyous one's college adventure.

Her room is all set up...with a place to relax....

and a place to sleep and study....

And of's just a little bit pink :)

Let's just say...the 4th floor was...HOT!

We dropped her off at the arts building to change her major (again), kissed her goodbye, and we were off!

Study hard!! We love you!

She went for one day...moved in...stayed overnight...had welcome to college kick off...then came back home. (Something about it was just too hot to sleep there!) Since then she's been home 4 days and left to go to college again. About a half hour later she returned with a friend. I exclaimed "Gee! I hardly missed you!" and continued weeding the flower gardens. About 20 minutes ago...she left again...for college. She said she'd call when she got there so perhaps now she has really left. All this repeated leaving makes this whole going to college thing much easier on the Mama. Thank God she didn't go to California! Look how much she's saved me already in airfare :) I am so very proud of the young lady she has become...just four more years til graduation. Again!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dear have been dismissed

As much as I have looooooved this summer, and I truly have, August has been a little more challenging than I care to recall. So, despite the lovely weather and sunshine this month has brought, the personal struggles, challenges at work, difficulties at home and the joyous one leaving for college just haven't been worth it! So...August, you're fired! Bring on September :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Is closing her eyes, covering her ears and whispering quietly...say it isn't so

August 1st...sigh. School registration tomorrow. Where has the summer gone? Why do I say this every year? This year the precious one will be a sophomore (and I will be sure she knows how to spell it) and sonshine will be a Junior. They will be riding to school together for as long as they can stand each other and no one gets hurt, or until her schedule gets out of hand which will precipitate the mama pitching in with rides...

Besides the portion of the national debt that equals school registration fees, I'm just clearly not ready for them to go back. NOR am I ready for the joyous one to head off to college just one week later.

Being this is my first summer without graduate school for, count them, five summers...I may have slightly over enjoyed this summer. In fact, I'm catching up on things like cleaning under my bed and organizing the linen closet. True story, both of those have happened. Perhaps I will enjoy the business of two teens in high school without homework and classes of my own. There's a chance that I'll relish in all things back to school like I have in all things summer this year...but it's unlikely.

The good news is, we still have a weekend planned for the beach... Summer, it just doesn't get any better than this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Coming in and out of your life...

That title is from a Barbra Streisand song that I loved...perhaps in middle school? That seems odd to me, that I would like that song at that age, but I loved to hear Barbra belt it out, while playing the record. (For all you under 25, that's a plastic thing that music used to come on that was played with a needle...odd I know) Anyway, I heard on the radio that every 7 years or so, 50% of your friends are no longer your friends. ponder, ponder, ponder...I have found myself saying lately on more than one occasion, that SO many people have come and gone from my life recently and I really wasn't appreciating it. I'm thinking we lose friends so often, because people change jobs so think? I have been extremely blessed to have maintained friendships from my last job (one I was at for 9 years), especially when the job was in a daycare where you see your friends and their children for 9 or 10 hours every day where everyone is so close, I count myself lucky. I still have a few friends from a job I had for 9 years before that. Hmmmm, there seems to be a trend with the 9 year thing...Anyway, the point I'm making is this...friendships have to be maintained. They do. When one of my best friends left for greener pastures, we committed that if we had to we would schedule time to see each other! Doesn't that sound crazy? worked. We used to schedule scrapbooking trips and then when our budgets got tighter, we scheduled scrapbooking nights. Well, our last night of scrapbooking, I'm not sure anyone scrapbooked, but we all sure did chit chat and catch up and it was wonderful. We looked at Lia Sophia, we talked about soap operas, we talked about who knew who and who lived a few houses from my daughter's boyfriend. I suggested maybe next we should schedule dinner and movie so we can all just chat!! Those nights I cherish and the time flies so fast. We always try to schedule our next get together right away or before we know it, kids have gone off to college! Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration...but you know, time gets away from you and next thing you know, 50% of your friends are gone!

To digress and share a memory from my baby book: My mom wrote, Jacque doesn't like when anyone goes bye bye without her. Odd isn't's only a few years later :) and I still don't like when people go bye bye without me! So, here's the thing...if you're in my life, make an effort to stay there ok? I'll do the same...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I hear voices...not the kind that require $300 an hour therapy sessions, but voices none the less

I am a country music monger. When driving in the car the other day my baby niece said..."Auntie, we don't listen to this music at my house, we only listen to rock and roll." The funny part of that statement is that her mama sure doesn't listen to rock and roll, unless Brittany Spears and Lady Gaga have suddenly changed genres. Anyway, I digress...on the second sentence, that must be a record.

I was going to blog about voices. A post that was inspired by the country song...Voices, by Chris Young. A few lines...

I hear voices...

Like my dad sayin, work that job, but don't work your life away
Mama tellin me to drop some cash, in the offering plate on Sunday.
And Grandad sayin you can have a few, but don't ever cross the line.
I hear voices all the time.

You get the picture now right? THOSE kind of voices.

So as I was deep in thought paying close attention to driving and listening to that song I began to ponder a variety of the voices that still bounce around in my head today. Come to think of it, maybe some did require therapy...clearly that's a story for another day...

Thought I'd share a few of my favorites...

Work before play .... I'm not sure, but I've surely been called a work-a-holic

Pretty is as pretty does .... I'm still pondering that and I'm not sure where sarcasm falls on that continuum...but sarcasm can be pretty, right?

Showers and snacks before 9:00 ... probably why my kids have no bed time ...

If this is old age, I don't want any part of it ... A truer word has never been mumbled by my precious Gramma Bee

Are you cereal? ... spoken when something just couldn't be

S'nice piece ... Originally spoken to depict a lovely antique

Flip-ops ... all rubber bottom shoes shall now be known as flip-ops

It's too mall ... when something clearly doesn't fit!

It's not Santa, it's Marks! ... from a little friend who departed this Earth MUCH too early and clearly wasn't fooled by that Santa costume!

Graaaatefully I didn't write these down while I was paying careful attention to my driving...they just all continued to bounce around in my head. There are so many. It amazes me how many times each day I think of the person who's 'line' I still hear to this their voice. They are fond memories...they have become a part of my voice.

You have voices? Feel free to share them here and save the therapy fee :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In 30 minutes or less

The time leading up to my daughter's graduation was certainly a roller coaster of emotions for me. I spent a lot of time crying happy tears as well as I can't believe it's over tears. I cried them not only for my daughter but for at least 20 of her closest friends. I went to many end of the year performances where I watched out of the corner of my eye. If I were to watch too closely and realize this is the last this or this is the last that...the tears would flow. When graduation day finally tears! I was pretty sure they were all out...until now.

It's graduation party time and that means creating a "Joyous one, this is your life" video. I'm not sure how you summarize 18 wonderful years in 30 minutes or less, but I have done my best. As I walked into the video store with pictures, videos, music in hand...the tears began to flow. Thankfully, a family friend is making her video so I was among understanding company :). After a bit of a struggle at the door, a thought popped into my mind. 'Be grateful you are creating her graduation video and not an end of life story'. If've had friends that have lost their children at tragically young ages due to very tragic circumstances and once I got things in perspective, I was able to go through the pictures and videos and realize what a celebration this is....with no tears. I am blessed to have raised a successful young lady with a good head on her shoulders. I couldn't be more proud of her. I so enjoyed watching her baby videos...her sweet face, her cute waves, and best of all her saying, "Grammie! Take a picta of me making this face!" Pictures of soccer, dance, softball, birthday parties, sleep overs, dragways, playing in the front yard, plays, musicals, and honors societies. It has been one amazing that I will summarize in 30 minutes or less...with joy in my heart.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I just decided not to

In the past hour or so, I have toyed with the idea of going to church. It's ordinarily not a decision, I just get up and go. Today is a little bit different. Today is father's day. Which means to me, two things. One, my dad is buried in the cremation garden, which I will have to walk by to go to church. Two, my former pastor is also buried in the cremation garden, which I will have to walk by to go to church. Any other day, I enjoy throwing a greeting their way...Hi Poppy & Pastor Bill, hope things are well in Heaven....miss you more than you know.

Today....I'm longing for a pastor Bill sermon about father's day and a trip to the store to buy Twinkies and peanut butter cookies for my dad, not a visit or a walk by the cremation garden. I'm longing to hear the benediction...And now may the Lord bless you and keep you, may he make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May God give you his peace in your going out and in your coming in, in your lying down and in your rising up, in your labor and in your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears, until that day you stand before Jesus in which there is no dawning and no end, in Pastor Bill's powerful voice with his hand held high for the blessing.

I'm longing for hugs for my kids from their Poppy, and handmade wooden toys, or the project B, or S, or K. I'm longing to hear...hey Jackson! take a picture on the Polaroid, or to go on a family outing to the garden store. But most of all....I'm longing to not be sad.

So today...I'm going to just stay home

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I know a large Blue dog that needs a face lift...

We have a large dog. An old large dog. With big saggy lips. The lips have never been a problem until he turned about 10 1/2. We first started noticing wet spots on the floor where he had been sleeping. Assuming he was becoming incontinent, we assumed the worst. However the spots were no where near large enough to be that. We finally figured out it was drool.

Our dog is part great Dane and part he has big saggy lips. Now, evidently they are too saggy to hold in the drool. There are not only wet spots where he sleeps, but around his water bowl since part of the water goes in, and the other part leaks out his lips!

I've heard of a tummy tuck, but never a lip tuck. Perhaps he needs collagen implants in his lips to fluff them up a bit and thereby hold in the drool?

Anyone one know a dog plastic surgeon? Or better yet, anyone wanna donate several boxes of swiffers for the cause?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Be it ever so humble...

There is no place like my own bed :) We just took an amazing trip to Disney World for the joyous one's graduation from high school. It was a fabulous trip, because not only did the Ruchus attend with two boyfriends in tow, but also, my two brothers and their lovely wives. Eleven of us in all! There will soon be a photo montage of the 400 images of all things Disney...AND I hope to get a copy of my sister in law's pics that actually have me in them! Shocking I know, but I digress.

OK, so, you know how you don't appreciate something until it's gone? Well that is what I discovered about my bed. You see, we have one of those beds that when the other person don't feel it. And I must admit, I appreciate it every day. Let me mention that Disney World did NOT have the foresight to invest in 80,000 of those mattresses and WOW did I notice! I was certain I was on a cruise ship, or in a tornado, or an earthquake or something every time the man of the place moved in the super tiny double Disney bed.

So....besides having a great time, spending some MUCH needed time with my brothers and family (including celebrating the 10 year anniversary of my kidney donation) the best part of being home is by far my bed! As I sat in bed for the best part of two hours catching up on work email...let me just mention that I don't think the man of the place has moved once. Evidently he saved all that for the super tiny double Disney bed.

Did I mention I was glad to be home?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sitting without panic

Mama Ruchus...does not sit well. Perhaps that is why for the past 20 years, she has maintained 3 jobs, 3 kids, a marriage, an unkept house, and earned a few college degrees along the way. Mrs. Ruchus is definitely at a crossroads...the road to cross includes sitting. As in actual down time, and mama Ruchus just isn't too sure what to do with that.

It all started a few weeks ago, when she finished her final master's degree...yes you heard it hear first...FINAL degree and found herself with a spare evening on her hands; one that had been filled with the drone of professors for the past two years. On top of that, she found herself with some free time on the weekends, because there was no 'couldn't hate it any more' homework calling her name. To top it all off, the precious one began driving and the joyous one graduated high school. YES! GRADUATED!! No more musicals, award nights, voices performances, bringing dinner, signing permission slips, scholarship applications, finding the missing shoe, prom dress shopping, and the list goes on and on. You get the picture...there is A LOT of unanticipated free time. Mama made the first executive decision about what to do with all this newfound free time and joined a garden club. That only covered one night per month. She found herself with nothing to do (cleverly excluding the years of housework and laundry she is behind).

That first night was awkward to say the least. Sitting by the pond, nope...walking the neighborhood, closets, nope...nap, nope...none of those things worked to relax her, had deadlines, or were remotely even comfortable.

Until now...

The breezes of summer are blowing. Mama Ruchus has adjusted...or is at least making the valiant effort to sit and just be. The pond has been a wonderful addition although the incessant sounds of the bullfrogs do limit the amount of sleep mama can get on certain has been peaceful none the less and mama has learned to sit. So much so, that she believes a patio set is in her future; and a patio; and a house in a warmer climate. Mama may like this sitting stuff so much, that sitting on the patio set, on the patio, by the pond, may become a year long past time.

We're still a little busy here at the Ruchus, don't worry. Summer ball starts tomorrow and the boy is taking his drivers test this weekend. Oh, and then there's the years of housework and laundry to catch up. But for now...the mama is sitting; and getting quite used to it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Tis the season...again! There are a whole lot of balls in our house that are holding great significance at this time...

First...let me introduce you to this little darling:

This specimen can often be found at the receiving end of the precious one's foot right into the goal! I coached soccer many moons ago and when it was time for the precious one to play, in true fashion she put those little hands on her hips and pronounced, "I don't want to play soccer. I want to play softball with my friend Caroline!" And so it began; summer ball that is. After several years of the rec leagues she tried out for high school ball. After many days of conditioning and tryouts, the precious one was cut from the high school soft ball team and ended up playing soccer by default...and is really quite good at it. I do love to watch her play soccer :)

Then, there is this...

The precious one is also quite fond of this and plays the fall. Spring tennis is for boys and the sonshine loves nothing more than tennis. No referees, no team, just him, the ball, and the opponent. His kind of sport. AND I love to watch him play tennis :)

Finally, there's this...

And summer just isn't the same without it. Many girls on the precious one's team have been together for 7 years. Fast pitch softball is summer to me. I have sat at the ball diamond doing homework many summers, 7 summers to be exact, but I was there. This year, as I am done with school in two short weeks...there will be no homework for me! But there will be summer ball. I can't wait!

Baaaaaaaaaalls in! Let the games begin!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Highly Educated and Flat Broke

If you're en education monger like me...did you ever find yourself saying after this degree I'll get this job and then...or, after this degree I'll get that job and then...or do you find yourself saying, after the 4th degree, I'll get that job, the economy will take a dump, pay cuts, furlough days, unpaid holidays and benefit increases will ensue? ME NEITHER!!! Well, despite the stupid, ugly, annoying, disturbing...well you get the picture...economy, I still find myself on the path to paying down my debt and sending my first daughter off to college. Has it been easy? Really? Not at all. But I'm sticking to it. We have sure learned to live with less....and that often includes gas and groceries, but there are times you feel like you're being closed in on and then the break is going to come. I surely hope that's where I'm at.

I finally have my type 75, which means I can and am applying to a variety of schools to see what options are out there for me. I am also just waiting for one more form from my college so that I can take my LCSW and finally after almost 6 years can begin seeing clients that have insurance. I have always said, when I knew starting out the road would be this long, I wouldn't have started. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't know...and I'm glad I started...and I'm even more glad I finished. Now it's time to accept the challenges, take the risks and move forward.

I've been married 21 years. The very first book my husband and I read together was "Do what you love, the money will follow". OK, every day I find myself doing what I love. It is now time for the money to follow!

On a brighter kids are on spring break this week. I am not, but I took the week off for 2 reasons. It's the last spring break my kids will be home together and I didn't want to miss it. AND, oh my gosh, could I be any further behind? The paint I bough in December is still sitting in the dining room with the half-stripped wallpaper. That, my friends, cannot continue any longer! The laundry and this house have been put on notice...Spring Cleaning time has arrived!!!
Open the windows and let the fresh air of spring move you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Couldn't be any more delicious...

Tonight I find myself in wind down mode...for two months or what seems like an eternity, my girls have been practicing for Footloose the Musical....many nights, many hours, and many many trips to school with dinner. Once or twice I cooked and took food to them, but most of the time it was fast food. Isn't it amazing how fast food can seem like a treat, until you eat it all the time and then...YUCK!

Today was the last show. I've seen the play 5 times in 5 days and I am more than ready for a break, a nap, and did I mention....HOME COOKED FOOD! Tonight I made a simple thrown together recipe I call rice stuff for lack of a better name...celery, hamburger, rice, chicken noodle soup, cream of mushroom soup, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Sounds terrible I know, but tastes terrific! It's one of the few all-in-one-pan foods my son will eat. He looked hesitantly in the pan and announced, "Oh! I like that!" Yes son, I know you do!

So...the thrown together recipe, canned green beans, and a glass of milk. In a real glass. Without a lid...or a straw. Nothing has ever tasted more delicious!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are you thinking Christmas yet?

It is just the very strangest thing, how urges come and go with me. My very latest urge is to cross-stitch, which I find very odd. I haven't cross stitched in about a hundred years, but when I go to my mother in law's house or my mom's house, there hang beautiful cross stiches that I have done over the years. In true form, I have none in my house...none. Well, as long as you don't count the unfinished projects! (I know they're around here somewhere!) I've been wanting to start cross stitching again for about a month now. I have talked myself out of it over and over telling myself, it will soon be spring and the garden will need the attention, not the cross stitch! Recently I have told myself that perhaps the house requires the attention, perhaps finishing the half peeled wall paper border in my dining room and maybe even using the paint that I bought 3 months ago to paint the dining room! Oh, and I might possibly find time to find my missing telephoto lens and the battery charger for my camera. Lord help me! So much to do, so little time; unfortunately to no avail...

Today...I gave in.

After a blissful hour spent at Michael's browsing the painting aisle, the scrap aisle, the floral isle, the cake making aisle, and the cross stitch aisle...I was hooked. And what I have I decided on you ask? Christmas stockings!
When I came home and hopped on ebay, I found myself humming Christmas carols on this, the 'spring ahead day' with the warmest weather of the year. How very odd is that? I am most pleased to say I purchased this little darling on ebay...
You can't stand it right?!? Neither can I!! As I was looking through a variety of patterns and picking out one for my husband and I, I thought to myself..." the not too distant future there may be spouses, that may require a stocking on the fireplace, and self, you better buy more than five patterns" :) And so I did!!! NINE, count them NINE for each of us, and three for future spouses, and 1 extra :) In case there's a pattern I don't like!
I strangely feel better. I've talked myself into the fact that I can cross stitch in the summer...after dark right? Then I won't be taking time away from the garden, the bird feeders, walking the dog or any other daylight sort of thing. In case I haven't mentioned it...I am also DONE!!! with a capital D; DONE with college in 7 short weeks and I will certainly require something to fill my time. Not to mention I have a baby going off to college in 5 short months. I am anticipating some time to cross stitch. It's good to know I'll have plenty of patterns to choose from!
Completely away from the Christmas topic...I made my first potential garden trade today. (insert an incurable smile on my face) Let me begin by saying that my house and especially my gardens have suffered over the past 5 years I have been in graduate school and interning. This year, I intend to get these gardens in order! Ihave even contemplated rejoining the plantaholics garden club :) My son's friend's mom (got that?) has a beautiful hosta that I have been envying for the past few summers. Today I mentioned to her, as I was there to pick up his forgotten DS, you know, I'd love to trade you some hosta of mine for some hosta of yours...and she agreed! Give us a few more weeks when they peek through the ground and let the trading begin!!!
Happy Spring! oh...and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A useful use for something...often annoying

My husband is the king. THE KING I tell you...of bad jokes. Jokes that he thinks are hilarious and because of this feels it necessary to tell them. Repeatedly. I've tried everything to change this. I've told him the old adage...never tell a bad joke more than once. I've given him an online subscription to joke of the day. I share jokes with him that I actually think are funny. FUNNY!!!! There's a novel idea...a joke that's funny.

I think, however, I may finally had the epiphany we've all been waiting for. The other day while driving back to work, after droppin the precious one at the library for a research seminar (nothing but a good time I tell ya), driving through and getting my lunch, and not 8 seconds later receiving a call asking if I could bring him lunch, I found myself on the phone, listening to another less than stellar joke. "Did you hear about the midget (If your under 4' please don't be offended, it's not my joke) that moved into a nudist colony?" Uh, no, and I probably don't want to, was my response. "He was asked to leave cuz he always had his nose in everyone's business" Followed by nearly hysterical laughter at the other end of the phone. I was silent. "Did you hear me? He had his nose..." Yes dear, I heard you. "Well isn't that crazy funny?" Silence. I do actually feel badly for him at times ;)

Wait for it...

Here's my new solution! Honey, I said. I think I have a useful use for your jokes! The very next time a telemarketer or better yet A BILL COLLECTOR calls you....TELL THEM YOUR JOKES!!!! There I said it! Doesn't that just sound like the best solution ever? Certainly it will cut down on unwanted calls and my husband could continue to tell the bad jokes over and over to someone other than me...or his precious children...or his mother...or anyone else that will listen. If you'd like, we could start a daily email of bad jokes and you could use them too!

Needless to say, my husband went on to figure out who he hadn't told his latest and worst too...his poor mother. Sorry Grandmother I tried to deter him, but to no avail. Better luck next time!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's not summer break, but it feels very similar

Life as a mom of three darling high schoolers can be hectic. Can be? Wait. IS HECTIC! All. the. time. Just sayin. However...there are points in life, such as today, when the darlings have a 4 day weekend. This allows me to get up, not wait for the bathroom, not run around waking the dead 3, 4, 8, as many as it takes times, before finally bellowing, "I'm leaving!!! Good luck with getting up!"

This is peaceful, tranquil, quiet, get the picture. Just me, one big lazy dog, one small hyper dog and two adorable cats (who may become unadorable very quickly if they don't get some breakfast).

It almost seems like summer :) Ahhhhhhhhh summer. Except for the pesky snow on the ground, which serves as a reminder that school will resume on Monday. Until then, I'm livin in my fantasy summer break world. Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You take the top, I'll take the bottom

Let me just be the first to say that Great Dane feet are NOT, I repeat are NOT meant to walk on human feet. As I am sleepily trying to let the little dog in this morning, my old big dog decides that my foot would be the perfect place to stand. And not move. Thereby pulling my sock right off, as I tried to get to the door without falling. I was successful in letting the little dog in; I was also successful in noticing how sweet and adorable that big dog is. Before leaving for the day, I squeezed him and's ok walk on the top and I'll walk on the bottom. (An old time statement compliments of my beloved Gramma Bee) Have a great day!

Friday, February 18, 2011

We're just lovin' and laughin' and bustin' our asses and we call it all livin' the dream...

Do you ever find yourself evaluating that whole livin the dream thing? I'm here to tell you that it seems to me that livin the dream ain't all it's cracked up to be sometimes. I am ETERNALLY grateful that after many hours each week of bustin my a** that I have a safe haven to come home to where I have a wonderful husband, three amazing kids, a peaceful home and a handful of pets.

There are times in my life when I have certainly had my fill of liars, fakes, and people without ethics or morals, and not that I'm perfect...cuz I have a looooooong way to go...but I'll tell ya, I know right from wrong as do most kids by the time they reach 5 and I just don't understand how people get through life, become adults, get themselves a happy little job and just fake their way along.

There's a saying I learned a long time ago..."I put my eggs all in one basket and I was surprised when they got broke". I tried HARD to be trusting, that people would not let me down if my eggs were all in one basket. I gave it my all. I learned. Next eggs in that basket. Just sayin. Live and learn. Thanks for listening...the domestic Goddess of the Ruchus feels much better.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dare I, Shall I, Might I?

You know the old adage, the names have been changed to protect the innocent? I'm contemplating it; let me tell you why...whenever I tell a story, not just any story, but an honest to God, truthful story of some of the craziness that has occurred throughout my lifetime, or even today, let's say...I am often should write a book, or how did you turn out remotely sane, or you've got to be kidding me, or sometimes there's swearing involved, hysterics, blah blah blah, you get the picture. But here's the glitch...seriously many of these things are worth sharing...however...there's the public life, the job, the other job, the third job, the professional reputation, the public servant duties which shall remain nameless, let's just say...many things at stake if I were to cough up and put into print such truthful craziness. So, I have contemplated an anonymous blog...something that says I live in Australia say, and my name is Sally Jo May, and the other people I know...well let's just say they would be anonymous too and I could finally have my say....get it?

I am REALLY feeling it today. I think I'll add it to my to do list. Perhaps you'll find the alter ego me, somewhere...feigning residency in Australia...and letting it rip! Good'ay Mate!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

December Daily - December 25th

I did it! I did it! I actually completed a daily photography project! AND I already made the scrap book. So once I finish this post, I just have to print my pictures and voila! I am so excited! When I was scrapbooking the other day, I say a tote bag that said, "Queen of unfinished projects" and I pondered how perfect that was for me. Usually...but not this time! No sirreeee! This here project is complete. And now for the final December Daily...

Christmas morning has always included our kids opening gifts at our house and then we head over to Grandma's. Grandma's house is the same every year. Kids, presents, stockings, breakfast, hugs, naps, dinner, naps, then home to play with our new toys. I am truly blessed with THE most amazing mother - in - law in the world. As always at the grandmas...a good time was had by all! Merry Christmas.

December Daily - December 24th

As is the tradition, my famiy celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. We have usually had a big dinner at our house, but in the past few years, I have found that this makes it difficult for me to enjoy the evening and also leaves me with a huge post holiday mess. This year we broke from tradition and went to JMK Nippon for dinner. It was a little different because we had to arrange our budget to afford it, as well as our celebration was cut a bit short since no one showed up for hors d'ovres, but instead all met at the restaurant. I'm hoping next year to move up the gathering time so we can all spend more time together before dinner. Stephanie and Kristina weren't sure they liked the change, but everyone else responded positively. Perhaps we'll try it again next year and see if it will become a new Ruchus tradition!

December Daily - December 23rd

Delivery day is by far our favorite. Due to some of our usual recipients being on vacation and making our cookies later than usual this year, we had a small delivery list. I love how bubbly and excited my girls are when we deliver our cookie trays. The oohs and aahs as people sample our cookies make all the effort and time well worth it. We love to bring joy to others at Christmas! This tray went to our friends at Circles of Learning. I love that a few weeks before Christmas, the staff there started asking on Facebook wether they would be getting cookies this year :) That warms a person's heart I tell ya!

December Daily - December 22nd

The best part of our cookie baking tradition is how much my daughter's look forward to the baking and how much the cookie recipients look forward to the eating! We got a little smart this year and started with the most difficult (the roll and cut cookies) first this year. It's always a good idea to bake the ones that require the most patience first right? After trying different cut out recipes and spritz recipes, I returned to the original tried and true cut out cookies recipe from when my kids were little and the cookies turned out fabulously! I made butter and powdered sugar frosting with sprinkles and all of them turned out so cute. I also purchased a set of medium sized cutters so we had more cookies than if we used the large wilton ones. Much better this year!

December Daily - December 21st

Our main family tradition at Christmas time, revolves around our cookie baking extravaganza. I took this picture to demonstrate that I do, in fact, have the smallest kitchen ever that has created hundreds of dozens of cookies! Our baking is usually a 5 day process. Day one planning cookies and recipies and making the shopping list. Day! Day 3 and 4 baking, Day 5 decorating and then our favorite :) This year we added peanut butter cup cookies and they were fabulous! They will definitely become part of the annual list which includes sugar cut out cookies, cranberry cookies, strawberry sandwich cookies, thumbprint cookies, russian tea cakes, peanut butter blossoms, peanut butter balls, peanut butter cup cookies, corn flake wreaths, and carrot cake cookies.