Saturday, December 31, 2011

Funny family least I think so

We have some crazy family stories, as you have already seen. We have some super crazy family friends who are as much like our family as anyone could be. Every Christmas Eve when I was in high school, college and early marriage, we spent Christmas Eve with our dear friends. Their children were much younger and I babysat for them sometimes. We all teased and had a great time with each other. Among other things, the husband was an antiques dealer specializing in vintage jars and bottles. He had some gorgeous pieces and was very generous with his collection. He and his wife also loved to get strange gifts for my father. Dad is, among other things, a connoisseur of hot sauces and mustards. We have gone to the Williamsburg Pottery Factory solely for the purpose of getting a case of a rare Trappey's hot sauce and special stone ground mustard. The man is hard core. So, they always tried to find the hottest and weirdest offerings of these two delicacies. AND, if they found a rare hot pepper mustard, well, Heaven on Earth. These were always put in some sort of pretty basket or antique dough bowl or some sort of stellar presentation and given to him with great ceremony and humor because there was always a hidden evil trick or item within. One year, when Brian and I were first married, the basket was indeed beautiful. We sat in the family room of my parents' house, in anticipation of the hidden object. The wife, who is as big a teaser as my dad, is from the country and knows some people. My father had often joked about when he might benefit from her connections, tongue in cheek of course. She knew some people that Christmas, that's for sure. In the middle of his beautiful basket, was a very beautiful, hard to find spiderweb flask.

The flask was full of pretty purple liquid. Why, again you ask, am I telling you this story tonight? Well, we got stuck watching the Moonshiners marathon on Discovery, because nothing says "Happy New Year" like illegal liquor makers. The flask was full of homemade grape flavored moonshine. Not the legal kind you get from the Back Porch or some liquor stores with maraschino cherries floating in it. No, this was some "back in the holler have to know somebody to get it probably contains kerosene" kind of liquor. After several fruitless attempts to find out which county it came from, my father opens the flask, smells it and, with his usual sarcastic smirk, takes a sip. My mom then leaves the room, partly to ready the Christmas desserts and partly out of protest. Then my brother looks at the flask, smells it and takes a sip. The hub takes a sip, after smelling it of course. Lastly, it comes to me. At first I was admiring the flask and envious of the fact that Dad had one and I did not. I then opened the flask and smelled it like everybody else. As I was taking my sip, my mom walks in to see her baby daughter trying the illegal moonshine in the family room of her home and on Christmas Day of all times. She stares me down, then turns around and as she is walking off said to herself, "Well, I'd better write this down in the book as the Christmas the whole family went blind...kerosene will do that to a person....". Well, we all started laughing hysterically and closed up the flask. I think they still have it with the remaining shine in it. While I love grape, one sip was more than enough. Still don't know where it came from...Carter County....Mountain City, well deep in Johnson County, who knows. But I get cracked up every time I watch Moonshiners on Discovery. One episode they were cutting it with bleach. Not sure if that is an upward or lateral move from Kerosene, but I think it could still cause some damage. Oh well, just another strange story in the weirdness that is my life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

That boy is going places

Today was a busy one, although I can't honestly remember all that went on. It has been nice spending time with my parents at my childhood home...just wish I could do it more often. Tonight we went to my little cousin's first birthday party. It was cute, just as all first birthday parties are. She loves to dance and bopped up and down to music, allowed herself to be passed around to loads of awaiting arms and gave herself a new hairdo with buttercream icing. Adorable of course. The kids were on the verge of getting whiny, so we left after she was cleaned up and decaked. We got home and ate dinner while watching Chuck, our family's favorite show. Appointment television on Friday nights around here. The kids were growing even more tired after this and emotional since it was an emotional episode tonight. So, we had them march their sleepy carcasses upstairs and get ready for bed. S was trying to get her contacts out, it was the first time she'd had them in in a while(long story). Getting them out of her eyes was proving to be a difficult task. She was exhausted which then brought on tears. G was complaining her eyes hurt and was sitting and rocking with a wet washcloth on her eyes and face. I finally got her to bed. The boy's feet were hurting, so I had to rub those while the hub was giving S a contact removal pep talk. Finally they came out and the girls were both in bed. I took this as my golden opportunity to get ready for bed. Because of the events of the day, sorry to say this, I had not had a chance at the bathroom for a good six hours. Things were getting critical very quickly. The girls had tucked themselves in bed and had failed to turn the light off at the wall switch. "Mom! Can you turn our light off?". I told them them I was very sorry, but I needed to have a bathroom trip immediately or there would be a puddle in the floor(sorry). Just then, the boy said out loud to no one in particular, "Good grief. Everybody in this family has issues tonight!". This is what I live with. The token humorist for the preK set. Needless to say, it is never dull around here....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Too late for this windbag

I am at my parents house, so I cannot upload from the cloud because I don't have those skills. Anyhoo, I have a nice picture of the finished toy closet that I will show you at some point. I am very tired after travel and errands, so I will not say much. I will say that. the wild Alaska show I just watched was very interesting. The respect and reverence shown when killing an animal for the survival of one's family was refreshing to see. They did not lightly accept that task. Sorry, heavy stuff we watched there. I am looking forward to engaging in some serious sloth for maybe one whole day. I may not even get out of my pj's. Yes, it's a gonna get crazy!!! Still planning to tell you the moonshine story. I just have to draw a few more pictures. Until then, I bid you farewell.....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Painting and pitching

Today was a strange day, which isn't unusual in my life. I helped paint the boss's pressure there. We got it done and it looks better than it did. The paint was supposed to be a turquoise but turned out to be a robin's egg blue. Oh well, it. Looks so much better than the institutional white they had. My home girl Maggie and I worked several hours in the freezing bowels of the church,but we were succeasful in our painting endeavors.I then returned home to continue with Operation: Pitch out the crap before the kids notice. Three bags of toys to donate and two full of trash. I feel. Pretty good about that. I consider that progress. Time for bed. The moonshine story will come soo. Just. Eed an earlier blogging time. I am sleepy!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shaaaame, shame shame shame

My children have been blessed to have so many nice things. Toys, games, puzzles, all that stuff. Some are new, but the lion's share of them are hand me downs or purchased from consignment sales. I try to save some of the very favorites and then sell the rest or give them to other family or Goodwill. With the busyness of this year so far, I have fallen short when it comes to my "culling" duties. Today I decided to take all of the toys out and reorganize. What was I thinking? How shameful is it that we have so many things that can fill a room? I am not sure where to start, but it is going to be ugly. I will let you know how the closet turns out. Have to make room for the boy's Playmobils. Saw Sherlock Holmes tonight...very entertaining. I enjoyed it immensely, but then I have mad love for Robert Downey Jr.. Been a fan even during the fall into a drug induced sleep in the neighbor child's bed day. He was a tortured genius. I am happy he cleaned himself up and I'm happy for his success. I have to get good sleep and have strength to pitch and donate tomorrow. Updates to follow,,,

Monday, December 26, 2011

Putting away stuff

Today is always the let down down after the excitement surrounding the actual Christmas day. It should still be a high...Jesus was born and that is a biggest of all deals. Today was the day the secular-ish signs of Christmas started going away. I did not go out early to fight with the crazies at Target at 6 or 7am. I did go to Walgreens at 10:35am and clean them out of the little gift bags that are the perfect size for a gift card. Hobby Lobby had a few cello bags and some thank you notes and that was my crazy day. I played Scrabble with my mom and the girls on the new board. We worked to regain some sort of order in our dungeon. The kids played with their new games and S made duct tape accessories for all who entered our house. The grown ups sat downstairs after the kids had gone to bed. We listened to the boy sing "American Pie" while trying to sleep. Hearing your 4 year old say "Whiskey and Rye is hilarious and scary all at once. Tomorrow will bring a whole new of yuck to do, B goes back to work and I will get a head start on one of my resolutions: getting organized. Let's think positively on that one! I am still planning to tell you another funny family story. Just need a night where I can start before 11pm. Here's hoping....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas To All

We had a wonderful day....even had to wake the kids up! They talked a big game, but in the end they couldn't deliver. They always stay at the top of the stairs until B checks to make sure that all the elves are gone, so here is their traditional "Top of the Stairs" picture. After excitedly opening presents, they dined on bacon, fruit salad and French toast casserole. They played a little bit more and then we got ready for church. I admit I did not want to get out of my pj's, but I am so glad I did. Between the music, the company and the shared words of our three pastors, we were so blessed. We returned home to Christmas "Lunchdinner", as the boy called it, with family. Then later more family arrived to share dessert. I have been blessed with great men in my life. My wonderful father, my husband who is my rock and the love of my life, my first, best and most loyal friend and brother, M, and my cousin E who has always been like another brother to me. I was so blessed to be able to snap a picture of my brother and cousin tonight. Please ignore my "In remodel mode" pantry and kitchen. You know it has been a good and busy day when the boy asks if he can "go to sleep now" and is asleep in less than 30 seconds. He did manage to sing the Lord's Prayer to us before he conked out. Doesn't get any sweeter.Merry Christmas and God Bless you all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blessed Christmas Eve

Just a line or two before I slip off into a Christmas Eve induced slumber. Brian got an Erector set from a very thoughtful and caring friend. As you can see, he wasted no time breaking into it and soon Gracie joined in on the fun. The second picture is a teaser about a story to come. It happened a few Christmases ago when Brian and I were first married. Just ponder it.God bless everyone of you who may read this or come across this in your surfing. May the blessing of the love that came down at Christmas enrich your life every day. "Long lay the world in sin and error pining, til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.". "Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother. And in His name all oppression shall cease.". I can't even read the words to this song without crying., but words to take to heart. God bless you all this Christmas Eve and Day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Moldy ceilings and mint cookies

Well, bah humbug and all that. The best laid plans, yadda yadda yadda. We had plans to work in the morning and have fun in the afternoon. As the girls were cleaning their room(I was shocked too), Gracie found a couple books and papers that were wet. We did have quite a soaker last night, so not completely shocked. Upon further examination, we found mold and super soft drywall. Sooooo, there went our afternoon. We are so thankful that she found it before the ceiling fell in on them. That could be scarring. The evening ended with baking about a gajillion candy cane puffs. They sure smelled good and look very festive. Not much on the crazy side to report. There's always tomorrow. Pray for my friend and coworker Suzanne who will be spending her Christmas in the hospital. I pray for the miracle of healing in her body. It has been through so much. The Eve eve is almost over, so I bid you a sleepy farewell.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spell check at the Walgreens

I have always loved Snoopy. My Granny never made me doll clothes....she made me Snoopy clothes. So imagine my dismay when I saw the display for "Snoppy" pet beds. No really, but you wonder if they ever spell check their signs. Or compare the sign to the tag. Just funny. Snoppy. He he he he. The kids survived their last half day of school and are free until January. Thank goodness. They are truly done and so am I. We are so excited to spend time with each other. We let them stay up until 9 tonight. I know some people may think that is awfully early for the holiday, but they needed to go. An hour earlier would have been better. Oh well.Hopefully cookie baking and last minute gift pick ups will bring with them a funny story with strange people. The bite suit kind of sucked all the funny I had out. I'll try to get involved in some sort of strangeness tomorrow. JTC out...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sweet little Christmas voices

Tonight the kids had their Christmas choir music program at church. What a blessing it was! They all sang so sweetly with their groups and were so sweetly confident in their performances. Sarah's choir has been practicing every Tuesday for at least an hour since September. Her director, Ms. Kathryn(pictured above), is a saint. She has taken so much of her time and had retreats on Friday nights. She makes it so fun for all of them. Fin's director, Amy, has made him LOVE music. She gave us the wonderful gift of teaching him the Lord's Prayer in song. You want to talk about making a mama cry!! He runs to choir every Wednesday and I can't thank her enough for that. Gracie's director, Betsy, has a talented group. She has been so patient with them and has taught them so much about music. What a wonderful place for G to go! I would have gotten pictures of G and F with their directors, but they were so hopped up on sugar from the cookie reception afterward....well, they would have been such a blur. The girls' art and classroom teachers showed up for the program, along with aunts and uncles. They were, of course, thrilled.After we got home and wrestled the kids to be, the hubby and I mixed and baked lots of sausage balls...I lost count at 215. We ran out of steam and didn't bake them all. Guilt baking only goes so far. When your feet wear out, you're done. I'm done and ready for some sleep. Have a great evening!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Frozen feet and Christmas prep

I have been in the basement for the past two and a half hours wrapping presents. My mother would not be pleased...I did not have my slippers on. Even though it is not a creepy basement, it is a cold one. The Brain has been kid enough to rig a tv up down there so time passes quickly whilst wrapping or ironing or crafting. Thankfully he Watson tape patrol this evening, so everything went much faster. I shopped most of the morning for something for the Brain...frustrating at best. Here is one of the best things I found, though I don't think he would appreciate it too much:
I cannot believe the Garbage Pail Kids are back. Gross. I am very tired and have no bite suit, strange interaction stories today. Hopefully soon. Christmas is coming and family gets together...anything can happen!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Antifreeze and the cable company

This morning the boy and I played the waiting game with the cable company. No we don't need all those channels, but when one of the two channels we allow the kids to watch on the weekends(and only on the weekends)goes out, we need to have some technical support. So our 8-11 window of waiting began. I put away lots of laundry, watched the Goonies with the boy, put teacher gifts together. Then the sweet little cable guy arrived, fixed the problem and then informed me that his car was broken and leaking antifreeze all over the driveway. He was going to be towed and hoped we didn't have any animals around who would get in the spill. Then the tow truck came and he left. After consulting the Facebook answer crew, it was determined I needed to purchase kitty litter, which I have never gotten before. Used it all over the driveway and proceeded to fight with the cable company all afternoon. They were supposed to come deal with it by five today but no luck. Let's hope there is no mass murder of neighborhood critters tonight. I don't want blood on my hands. Heard tonight that our beloved barbershop was vandalized and, sadly, by a former coworker. Thank goodness for surveillance cameras. I pray for his safety and the safety of his business. I'm also praying for the vandal.....clearly he needs some assistance. I rejoice in the miraculous healing of my friend's husband who I have spoken of before. He had an aneurism rupture and was not expected to live. He is now off of the ventilator, out of ICU and asking for his wife. Talk about Christmas miracles! God is good and It is horrible that I only take time to recognize them during these special seasons. Tomorrow is going to be blitz day and I hope to finish up preparations so I can fully enjoy the time we have off with the kids. I cannot wait!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And he stayed married to me after that...

Some people question whether these situations I describe are real. I tell you that I tell stories better than I make them up. After this story, maybe people will get an idea as to why weird things happen to me. I am weird to the core and it follows me. This one is to show people also what an understanding man the hub is. This is lengthy but worth it. It was 1996 and we had just been married in May. On an early August weekend, we went to my hometown to visit family and so I could attend a bridal shower. The Summer Olympics in Atlanta were in full swing and they had recently had the bombing in Centennial Olympic Park. Law enforcement was being called in from all over the country to monitor the different events for any suspicious activity. While we were in town, we had a somewhat last minute surprise visit from my cousin L and her husband, who came from New England. My aunt, uncle and cousin came from VA to meet up and have a mini family reunion. Why did I mention the Olympics? Here we go. My cousin's husband, P, was a state trooper but had been in the Marines for several years. He was one of those intimidating, stern looking Marines who stood outside of Marine 1 as it landed on the White House grounds with the Prez inside. Kind of a tough guy. He owned, trained and worked alongside officer dogs. He had been called, because of his unique skills, to monitor the Olympic soccer games with his highly trained and scary dogs. So, the family road trip included them in an old school Suburban, their little girl and the two dogs in crates. As soon as they pulled into the driveway, P got out and kind of went over the dog rules with us. Basically, don't get near them unless you are happy with one arm kind of rules. They were shepherd types and extremely intimidating. My cousin, her husband and the their girl could lay all over them, but none of us....which we were more than fine with. Any time they got rowdy, P would bark some German at them at they would settle down. My other cousin S, who showed up in the other car full of relatives, was hardcore into being a military/law enforcement man. It was his ultimate dream, though at the time he needed to do a bit more growing up before he did that. He since has gone on to be a border patrol agent and now is currently a DC officer, but I digress. The dogs and family had been cooped up for a long time. P got them out for a bit and let them walk around and smell everything. We, of course, were terrified to move so we froze until he put them back into their crates. Mom and I had made a few snacks in anticipation of their arrival and then had to skedaddle out to the shower for a bit. When we returned, we came through the garage and did not know what was about to take place in our backyard. Let me show again the key players:

Unbeknownst to the civilian family members, police dogs need training every day to keep them sharp, scary and up on their German. P wanted to run the dogs and drill them a little bit so they would be fresh when they got to the ATL. My mom was inside getting lunch stuff together. I had just changed out of "Shower clothes" and was ready to go outside and relax when my brother walked in, grabbed a hot dog and said, "Things are about to get really interesting.". He then walked back out, shaking his head. On the walk outside of the back door, there were several lawn chairs set up to look out onto the backyard. Cousin L told us that her husband was readying the dogs, so it was best to just sit down and be still. Out of the corner of my eye, I see this coming from the driveway:
My cousin S has decked himself out in a bite suit, VOLUNTARILY, to be part of the training exercise. That is when my dad sent me next door to warn our neighbor. Her name was Grace, an 80 year old firecracker of a woman who we named our own Grace after. Dad said, "You might just want to warn Grace what is about to happen so she won't run over here and get hurt.". Let me give just a little diagram of the whole scene:
I ran over through the hedge and saw Grace, frozen in her backyard looking like this:
She said, "What is that thing and why are those animals rabid?", referring to my cousin in the bite suit and the dogs, who were snarling at the sight of the bite suit. I explained to her, as best I could in the time I had, what was going on and that she would be best to stay where she was. She already had the hose in hand, poised and ready to turn it on those dogs(she was a cat person). She and I stood together, per my Father's instructions, when the drills began. P held the dogs by their leads and my cousin starts running across the yard. Snarling and foaming at the mouth, P yells something in German and lets them go. The next thing we see is them run, jump up in the air and take my cousin DOWN! Grace gasped an, "Oh my!" out, decided she'd had enough and went inside. I snuck back a little closer to watch more drills. My parents live in a neat older neighborhood with lots of sidewalks and lots of walkers. This was before they had a fence so you could see, depending on your angle, what was going on in our backyard. P then ran over , barked a few sentences in German, pulled the dogs off and took them to another part of the yard. S in the bite suit then went and acted out another strange scenario, popped out of a hedge and started running again....looking like a rabid yeti. I heard some rustling and turned to find our yard had attracted a gaggle of walkers, mouths wide open in horror at the spectacle playing out in front of them. There was no way to explain to all of them exactly what was going on. They couldn't hear me what with all the German and screaming and snarling and barking. So I just hoped they'd figure it out for themselves. Either that or my parents were sure going to get a reputation. When P felt that the dogs had worked enough, S got out of the bite suit, barely avoiding heat stroke in the brutal August afternoon. All of my immediate family members were standing there, frozen and trying to process what we had just seen. My brother, who had been mesmerized enough to freeze mid hot dog, turned to my new husband, shook his hand, said, "Welcome to the family," popped the remaining bite of hot dog in his mouth and went inside. That is why weird follows me everywhere I go....and I am so blessed to have a husband brave enough to take that ride with me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Don't be that guy....

I am working on a big post coming soon that chronicles one of the most bizarre occurrences in the history of our family. That will not be coming today. I am a bit jaded and road weary from Christmas shoppifng and I want to do it justice. I will say that, if I write it right, it should be very entertaining.I ran all over the place today. Heck, my parents were in town and offered to keep the three kidlets and B had to work on top secret computer issues(my words not his), so I ran while I had the chance. After failing over and over again to find decent and reasonably priced church shoes for the boy, I gave up to look for another elusive gift. We drew names on my side of the family, so I was trying to find something fun and unusual. I headed to the Guitar Center for help, only to strike out. I figured as much, but I decided to look around anyway. I drooled over the ukulele selection, but did not partake. I was in a section looking at capos when I heard something coming from the row next to me. There I saw a guy, old enough to know better, playing an electric guitar that was way above his pay grade. I tried not to stare, but I got tickled. There he was, jamming out to some ditty he wrote himself,head swaying back and forth, up and down. He looked up at me, bit his bottom lip, threw his head back and inhaled deeply. He then muttered a "Oh yeah...that's the stuff.". It was at that point I felt it was time to leave. Just like in the guitar store on Wayne's World that had the sign saying "No Stairway", this store needs to have some set of rules. That's all I'm saying.I had some success and then came home to help bake with the kids. This was my favorite:

It is me, apparently. Nice. Red hair and apparently I am drinking blood too. The boy made his salt dough version of the holy family. The dough was a bit old, so it kind of turned into the melted family....but baby Jesus turned out all right. Here it is:
Hope it was a successful Saturday for all. It has been interesting here, as always.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Busy day and weird men

Today was another run and scramble day. I had a little shopping companion with me all morning, which makes things challen...interesting. Packages were mailed to the WI and SC Cook's. A couple books picked up at Barnes and Noble, with a trip to the children's section to play with the train set. The boy is very big into negotiating, or reframing, when it comes to something he wants. So, because of this reason, it took us about 10 minutes longer to get away from the train than I had planned. Thank goodness, we did escape and finish most of our errands, including one of two trips to Kroger. At school pick up time, we had a sleepy girl get in the car first. She gave the usual incident report: who pulled cards and to what color...what they did to pull a card...what was for lunch. She then started to drift off to nap land. Then the safety parol got in the car, smiling and carrying two Purple Awards from her 4H craft projects. This is my favorite:
I thought it was pretty excellent...thanks Google Images search result for "Button Tree". After everyone was buckled, I remembered that I had not picked up coffee and filters. With the weekend and Christmas quickly approaching, we were needing to stock up on the safe "liquid awake" to help us in the final gift wrapping and baking push. With the coffee and filters in hand, we headed for the dairy cooler to pick out some tasty creamer make our brewed beverage complete. But before we got there, we were met by a nice little old lady giving out samples of this:

It was funny just as it was that an 80 year old woman was selling deodorant targeted for young, single men. What happened next was even funnier. Mind you, I have three children with me, but that doesn't seem to matter to some people. After the lady asked if I had a man that I would like to take a free sample to, I said, "Sure! Free is always a good reason to try a new product.". So I take it and put it in my purse to let B check it out. As we all took about five steps away from the lady and closer to the Coffeemate, a man with his shopping cart looked at me and said, "The commercials say that Axe is supposed to be great to attract men. You want to try it on me?". Really? Bustin' a move in the dairy section to a frumpy, exhausted mom with her three kids. Wow. There are lots of things wrong in this situation. And, think about what he said...."great to attract men..". Um, a deodorant targeted towards men to use on themselves. Wait for it. Wait for it. The man looked at me as I looked back at him, waiting for him to process his comment. Then, BING, the lightbulb came on. "It is to attract men, I mean. Make men attract well, I mean, well, not that there is anything wrong with that.". Then he walked off shaking his head, turning an odd shade of purple. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David would be proud that their legacy lives on. It did make me wonder if it would attract a man. I'll have to ask my friend about that. Anyhoo, some people do not have any clue or any Imodium for their verbal diarrhea. I drew, with my new paint program, my depiction of the events at Kroger. Hope you like it.
Is there something about me that attracts this stuff? I don't know, but it sure makes life interesting. Night all.

Sore feet

Been doing lots of prep work this evening. Making cupcakes to freeze for the boy's party on Thursday. What a waste! I consider my self to be a decent baker. Today was not my day. This is what happened:

I am trying out a new paint app. We'll see how it works. Has to be better than the two batches of Inedible cupcakes were. I whined a bit this evening. B got home late, the kids fought and I ruined two batches of cupcakes. Oh well. As much as I complain, I have to remember that as tired and frustrated as I am, there is one thing that is more important than cupcakes and teacher gifts and wrapping and all that stuff: 
Have a great evening...well early morning now. I am going to bed. Finally.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Well, nertz.

There has been a joke in recent months where I call myself "Jenny the Jinx". I don't watch the Okies play ball, because when I do they start messing up. Truthfully, I know I am not a jinx, but it really feels like it sometimes. Last night at our SS Christmas party, we were talking about our children and my oldest's problem with the bullies. Since I hadn't received any incident reports lately, I felt comfortable enough to report that things were pretty good. Well, Jenny the Jinx strikes again. The sad face and even sadder stories were right there on her face as I saw her doing her safety duties. When she got in the car, it all just poured out like a broken dam. She would go over to play with a group of girls they would turn their backs on her. She'd sit down on a swing with another group, they'd look at each other and all get up at the same time and leave her. The boys let her play World Cup Soccer with them, but no girlfriends to play with. I find myself questioning her as to her interactions with the other girls. Are you a goody goody? Do you get bossy? Do you talk about others behind their backs? What is wrong with me? I have asked these questions of her before. I know the answers. There is no reason for my actions. She is purposely being shunned, excluded, whatevered. It makes me so sick and angry. I tell her to toughen up, but I cannot continue with this line of parenting. She sits and takes it like a champ, is expected to suck it up while the other girls get away with it. The break cannot come soon enough for all of us. Please pray for wisdom for us as we try to deal with this in the least damaging way....such a difficult time.On a humorous note, while subbing at school today, several of my boys had to potty at the same time. One who was particularly wiggly and impatient told me, "At home I just pee in the garden all the time.". When I informed him that there was not a garden inside, he told me "I'll go find one.". Funny little guy. Have a good one, everybody. Margaret, the nertz was in your honor, :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Partying with the Staff and Seekers

Today was a party day. I know, when you look at me everything screams party. My version of a party is having some people over, eating tasty snacksand having nice conversation or playing an entertaining game. We don't have a whole lot of options for childcare, so we don't get out much. Backtracking, after I fulfilled my ECM assistant duties, I went to work on getting the boy's glasses fixed. Last night in the throes of a sibling wrestling match, the glasses were irreparably damaged. Titanium, apparently, cannot be soldered so no chance of a patch job. LensCrafters wanted Brian to buy plastic frames for the boy. Uh, no. Sooooo, off to Dr. Hopper's I went. Thankfully, they listened to my sob story about the poor boy walking into door frames and windows. They had a pair of close out forms that would work until he had his maor big appointment in February. I sat in the waiting room while he was grinding the lenses down. Next to me was a member of the Forensics team for the police department. I had to resist not starting up conversation, especially considering Forensics are an interest of mine. Luckily he was reading what looked to be a textbook. After checking the lates FB statuses, I looked around the office and then over to see what kind of book he was reading. What to my wandering eyes did appear, but a chapter of blood spatter and some pictures an smears! There were several shots of blood patterns and the object used to cause that pattern. You go in to get new glasses and you learn about spray patterns from the handle of a golf club....who knew?After a frantic attempt to clean the house before my aunt and uncle came to babysit, I went to the Christmasluncheon for the church staff. Good lunch, fun group and interesting gift exchange emceed by Pastor Jim. I wound up with a silly ornament. Whirlwind afternoon to pick p the kids, go home and wash my hair, take S to choir, come home and get the kids showered and pj'ed, dress myself, visit with the the aunt and uncle and then go to the Seekers SS Chrismas party. Despite a splitting headache, I had a lovely time. We started out coupled up, which was unusual, but then got into the girl's side and the boy's side. We did an ornament exchange. These usually get really spirited, but I think we were all a bit tired. Another Jenny was brave enough to steal someone's ornament and then it got a lively. We ended up with a cute ornament that will require a hefty branch for it, but that is okay. Very cute! We also have narrowed down the suspects for the naughty ornaments that appear. We say that because they didn't show up and neither did the ornament. Mmm hmmmm.Time for bed. Please remember one of the boy's friends tonight. A CT scan found a tumor on his spine and a hot spot on his lung. He goes for an MRI tomorrow. As a mother, I can't fathom what they must be going trough. Terrifying, I'm sure. Pray for his completely restored health. So scary. Going to hug mine a bit tighter tonight....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not much to say

It has been a long day. Sick boy, gift wrapping, homework helping, dinner making, hair fixing, Christmas concerting and laundry folding. I am beat. I will say that the above pictured crackers are of the devil, they're so good. I have a coworker to thank for my new addiction. It was nice to sit and listen to Christmas concert music this evening. I thought our bell performance was pretty nice, if I may say so myself. My favorite part was seeing my oldest sing with her choir. She plastered on her best permagrin and sang her little heart out. In her little robe she looked like an angel. I am grateful for moments like that to conclude a day like this one. It puts things into perspective...just like it always should. So on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, sit back with some tasty crackers and watch the concert. There'll be a sweet little face singing up there and some great music. I'll be watching....

Gonna have a little talk with...a trained mental health professional

I just had to start out this somewhat mentally heavy entry with a little levity. The recipe on the bag of chips today called for "processed cheese loaf" which just grossed me out and tickled me at the same time. We all know it means "Velveeta"....I don't know why we just can't say that. It sounds so much more appetizing, if cheese can be appetizing. Another writing for another day.
I want to chat a little bit about mental health and mental illness. Mental health is a fairly common subject these days, unlike when my parents were growing up. We see commercials for pharmaceuticals that help with depression, OCD, ADHD and any other letter combination you can find. I, personally, have ADHD with out the H. Why am I telling everyone this? Well for one, it is not that big of a surprise. My good friends have to get me back into focus. They can see when I have gone to the zone and need to snap out of it. Poor B has dealt with me for almost 20 years...good grief that's a long time. Secondly, mental illness is the giant elephant in the living room of my entire family. My grandfather was textbook Bipolar, or Manic Depressive as they said back in the day. He had crazy highs and terribly worrisome lows. My mom and aunt and uncle rarely talk about that aspect of their lives. It is filled with pain and shame and some anger. They have told us some good stories, but mostly we heard about my grandmother. As we got older, Granny felt we could process more of the information about him, so she gave us bits and pieces. When I say he was textbook bipolar, I mean he was shock therapy, institutionalized and majorly drugged for his condition. By the time I knew him, he lived in a group home near my grandmother. He was too much to handle by herself and the home monitored his medicine and provided him a safe place to stay. I do not want to make him sound like a monster. He was not. The hand he was dealt was a rough one. He was on some serious meds when we saw him and mostly liked his stories and to whip me at checkers. He appreciated a good old fashioned barber shop shave and a good meal. As his grandchildren, we have lived with the specter of his condition on our backs. Would we get it? How would we know? His own mother didn't tell Granny of his condition because that might make home "unmarriable". This is what we have dealt with our entire lives.
A little background, when B and I were first married , he was in a job that was terribly stressful and he hated it. When I say hated, I mean puke before going to work kind of hate. We sought a professional to help us deal with it as a couple, but it ended up the doc wanted to only hear what B said. Fine...he felt a lot better and eventually got a new job so we were done with that mess. We moved to Knoxville and, while I was excited, I was left with all the resentment of not dealing with my feelings while he had a new job to go to every day. This caused me to be very depressed. No friends to talk to in town. The family was scared because depression equalled hospitalization in their eyes. I was given the recommendation of a psychologist and minister, Dr. John Stuhl, by a psychologist friend of mine. I started to see him for sessions. It was wonderful and horrible and difficult and relieving and frustrating all at the same time. Then, a husband of a friend said, "I think people who say they are depressed and have to go to counseling are just lazy and selfish. They have to bring another person in to help them solve their problems.". I was devastated. Was that what people thought of me? I didn't go around broadcasting my counseling, but if asked I would confirm it to people. What people didn't get was why 2 or 3 sessions weren't enough. "Are you that wacko?". Or the inevitable,"Gee, I wish I could just sit and have someone solve all my problems for me.". Nothing makes me angrier. There were times I left his office free as a bird and others when I felt worse than before. I would get so mad at him....I'd cry...and swear I wasn't going back. But I did and I am so glad I did. I fear I would be in a rubber room now if I hadn't. Was I that disturbed? No. But I needed some help. I worked hard, I studied. I wrote. I did homework for him. It was tough. He told me,"Just like you have glasses to fix your vision problem, you have counseling to fix your heart and head problems.".
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, for those who haven't yet clicked over to the Icanhazcheezeburger site, I say this to explain. When I put up a sad or sketchy or depressed sounding tweet or FB post, it is not to get attention. I am desperately trying to work out my issues. With ADHD, it goes hand in hand with depression. It is very depressing to know that my mind is always going and never stops. I don't sleep well. I walk into a room to get my car keys and forget untilI I have gotten through 5 other rooms. The meds I took for this made me very queasy. It just wasn't worth it. The only way I could get my mind to slow down and focus was to play my guitar, look and the music and listen to it in my ear buds. The ADD kids who can play video games are hyper focusing with hands, eyes and ears all working together. When that synergy happens it is such a relief...I can't even tell you. Unlike some people I know, I don't want the mental health specter to be my crutch, my "thing". I want it to be the thing that I have whipped into shape. I have tender feelings. I am an easy target. I want to be liked. I allow myself to get hurt....I allow it. However this may look and read to you all, never forget this: I will not allow the differences in my brain to define me and allow me to wallow in self pity. I have my lows, my flightiness, my issues. But, I will never allow it to ruin me or rule me. I will now jump off of my soapbox on my mental health and head to bed. Fingers crossed for a good sleep....and prayers that people who read this won't look at me like I have a third eye the next time they see me. But I understand if they do....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A visit to the place where the holidays exploded

Today was one of those days where I needed to get five million things done and failed miserably. I did get S to practice for the Christmas concert at church. They sounded very sweet and looked a bit intimidated by all the orchestra members. Then they sang for the ECM Christmas party dressed up as angels...too sweet. Above are the wings that S wore with her costume. Kind of strange. The boy enjoyed his treat at the party.  Can you tell?  Then we got her black pants for the concerts. I know, I know...the excitement is overwhelming. After a day of being very unproductive, no gifts treats baked...we decided to take the kids to the Shadrach's Light Show at the Smokies Stadium. It indeed was like the holiday season exploded in a parking lot:
The kids enjoyed it and the peppermint Ice cream they got when we arrived back home. I wish I had a crazy buffet story or a strange musing whilst watching people at the mall, but I don't. Just a run of the mill day, time with family. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holy gift cards, Batman!!!

Today was Brian's 9/80 day, so we were pleased to have him home for the day. No big plans, besides maybe some Chrismas shopping, so we were looking forward to the day. We had our usual "Day off breakfast" at Panera, my personal favorite for people watching without the food poisoning threat of P Inn. You can't get too dangerous with coffee and a bagel. After seeing half of the church, we left and made our way to the Star 102.1 studios. See, when B and I were being starstruck radio geeks on Black Friday with Frank Murphy, we were encouraged to sign up for ticket drawings to various upcoming shows. Well, slap my back and call me Cosette, I won two tickets to Les Miz. The Brain and I went to see it in Roanoke when we were in college and I fell in love with it. My roommate and I sang "Stars" every night as we were trying to go to sleep and drown out the noisy neighbors. My parents have always loved the music but have never seen the actual show, so we decided to give them the tickets. Again, we were nosily starstruck as we saw our favorite radio personalities hard at work in the studio. As much as we wanted to peek, the boy wanted to ten fold. Luckily we kept him from jumping up and plastering his face on the glass. It would have made tweeting with them awkward. Anyhow, we made it out of there without getting humiliated. After our arrival back at the ranch, B and the boy went to school to have cruddy cheeseburger lunch with the girls and I went about knocking out a few more Christmas gifts. After stops at the Hobby Lobby and Harvest Town(yes, the liquor store to buy a hostess gift), I headed to Kroger to buy some gift cards. Teacher gifts and stocking stuffers are easily knocked out in the gift card section...AND fuel points are quadrupled when you buy gift cards until the 11th. Apparently everyone and their grandmother had the same idea that I did. One lady was even discussing a way to beat the system that Kroger and Shell have going by buying Shell gift cards and quadrupling their points then using the Shell card to then take the receipt back to Kroger and...oh I got confused after a while. It was way above my thinking of school teacher and choir director gifts for the kids. Well, I knocked out ten gifts with these:
Now mind you, I had already gotten two of these couple weeks ago. That being said I took my selected gift cards, egg nog,cereal and creamer to check out and lined up with lots like minded friends. I learned long ago it is futile get annoyed while waiting in the line. It makes the wait longer and the people around me much more hostile.  The  older couple in front told dear Barry, one of my favorite kroger friends, they been looking for cards for an hour. Their stack was enormous and I could not wit to see what was going to happen. After he scanned their 20th card, I asked if they were looking for any new family members and said I would be happy to help them out. They told me they had 28 grandchildren to shop for, God bless them. After Barry scanned everything, the register started making all kinds sounds rivaling R2D2 and spit out about ten yards of receipts. The total you ask? $810.00 or 3240 fuel points. Nice.  When I was done, I exchanged pleasantries and left. I hope they locked their car doors as soon as they got in...they had lots of interested eyes on them.  The weekend is here again. The kids are safely tucked into bed and we are winding down for the evening. Once tomorrow comes, the Christmas rush truly begins for us.  I just pray that we can keep perspective and celebrate the blessings we have been given. Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men and gift cards not necessary to experience joy. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dark day...bright night

It was a dark day for my beloved alma mater today. A senseless killing of a brave law enforcement officer on the campus of Virginia Tech. So terribly sad for not only the family of the officer and the Hokie nation, but the family of the shooter. Someone must be full of questions, grieving his loss. I pray that, once again, the Virginia Tech community can come together and become stronger after yet another tragedy. My heart breaks for the loss of life and innocence. My love for this place goes beyond just simple school spirit. It is where I was born...where I first gained my independence...met lifelong friends...met the love of my life and started a life with him. We are Virginia Tech....we will prevail.

Brian and I were feeling very glum and heartbroken this evening considering the circumstances. We were very much in need of a distraction, and a happy one at that. Then S reminded us of her extra credit science homework observing the night sky. A collective groan arose from both of us as we remembered its due date of tomorrow. Because of the rainy week we've had, the project had been postponed and had to be done. So, after downloading the app "Star Walk", we piled in the car and drove to a friend's subdivision that is nice and dark and treeless. Somewhat skeptical of this new app, we exited the nice, warm car and entered the cold and moonlit night to start getting our eyes accustomed to the dark. Then, in true astronomy fashion, we whipped out our cell phones, activated the app and started holding them up to the night sky, waiting to see what popped up. S is big into astronomy right now, so every name of a star or planet or constellation that popped up was met with squeals of delight. The boy was running around saying that he would "find another earth" for us. G helped point out all the planets and kept track of them until S could write them all down. The night was nice and cold, Ursa Minor was visible and Jupiter and Uranus were shining brightly in the moonlit night sky. Polaris clearly and brightly owned the sky. We left the house with heavy hearts and entered it, spirits buoyed by the miracle of God's night sky. Crushing day....magical night....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blah day

Today was a preschool sub day. Nice group of kidlets...cute and well behaved. Got to hear an Australian accent today. All these things were fine. The boy was not thrilled to go to school on his off day. It was Dad Day at school and, since it wasn't his usual day to go, he didn't have his daddy to bring like everybody else. Luckily another teacher, and mother of F's friend, let the boy be a part of their family for the morning. I so appreciate that. It gave me some peace of mind. The kids were a bit crazed today when I picked them up. I think two days with no recess have taken their toll. Bursts of energy mixed with periods of sloth. We have a no tv during the week policy, but I broke that today. They watched and I conked out hard for a good 20 minutes. Then to church for bells, dinner, choirs/trollers and then home. I have discussed. This before thy Wednesday night fellowship brings out the inner crazy in my boy. He loses his mind. Completely. He loves an audience and "tweenaged" girls are his most rewarding audience. They think everything he does is funny. Pure Heaven. I apologize to my readers this week for really lackluster posts. The rain washes away the funny and just brings the blah to our house. I hope for some fun soon. I will leave you with this picture. On our way to get the girls from school, I encouraged the boy to put his head back and close his eyes. He refused repeatedly, finally compromising by putting his head back with eyes open. When we got to school, this is what I saw:
Yeah, Mom still has the power. Don't forget it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Humbled by 5th grade math

Jack the Garden Gnome is wishing you a happy December. He is going indoors for the rest of the cold months. Jack came to live with us when we moved into this house almost 8 years ago. He resides in the small round bed with the monkey grass in our back yard. My brother Mike picked him out to guard our yard and, with the exception of some rats from the neighbor's woodpile,...don't judge us. Speaking of my brother, have you ever been related to or married to or very close friends with a genius? Not just like someone you think is a genius, but like a real "genius-y genius"? Well, I'm a sibling of one and married to another. The funny thing is neither one acts like one. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, I mean they don't act like Jimmy Fallon's computer guy on SNL after answering a question, "Uh, you're WELCOME!". I hope B doesn't read this because he will not be pleased, but it is true. It was a rough evening in the homework realm, well rough for me trying to help S with her Advanced Math stuff. I have never liked math. Never. Ever. I am sure I have mentioned this before. My mom was(or always will be) a home economist and my dad is an engineering professor. I have no math skills. Before I dated Brian, I had a statistics class that was required for all social science majors. Since a large part of psychological research is based on statistics, it was kind of an important class. We had a handsome Greek professor, Zachary Stoumbos. Never will forget it. All of us hated math...that was part of our reason for choosing the major we did. We loved our professor and all did well and attended every evening study group he gave...until we found out he was married and had helped deliver his child on the side of the highway with a trucker. Wah wah waaaaaahhhh. The girls in the class were deflated...not that we thought we were going to date him, just the Indiana Jones' students swooning(without the painted eyelids). I got a good grade in the class and only because by the point we found out he was married he had actually "learned" us the information. That sneaky man. This was a story that veered way off of the path of anything we were talking about. The point is, after Statistics for the Social Sciences 3400, I never had to take anymore math classes. Just like any other skill, if you don't use it you lose it. I never had much to lose. So when the percentages came out in the homework tonight, I got through question one and a quarter. That was it and I had to utter the words that saddened me: "You'll have to wait and ask your father when he gets home. I don't understand it.". Ouch. As I sat and listened to him explain, I became more and more confused. Fifth grade math. How sad is that? This information comes to Brian like breathing is to most. Not just fifth grade math...any math. Makes me sick and proud all at the same time. Once I got to the point of being close t embarrassing my child, I left and did laundry. Seemed more my speed. And if you have ever met my brother, that's all you need. The sharp, quickness that is Mike. Finishing up his PhD. I like like a real academic gem as I bleach the socks.I pray often that my children will get their Father or Uncle's brain. It will just be so sad if they get mine....a life of laundry is ahead of them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Interesting times...sad times

Let me start off by saying, if you pray, please say a prayer for my friend Allison's husband Tim. He had an abdominal aneurysm rupture last night and is fighting for life in the hospital. Less than 5% usually survive this catastrophic event. He has age on his side as most sufferers are a good 20-30 years older than he is. They have seven children, the oldest being 13. He received 22 units of blood during his emergency surgery. I cannot fathom the sadness and fear...just running the gamut of horrible emotions. Prayers for the Meredith family....Anything I say after that is going to seem very shallow and insensitive. My cousin texted today that their youngest baby's hips are out of socket. They were going to meet with orthopedic surgeons to see how to progress. They said it was treatable but a long road ahead. Prayers for them as well.Tonight I went to my work Christmas party and many people were told of this blog and how funny it is. I can't see that, but I am glad people enjoy it. Today is not a funny day. It is a heavy day. I think that the heavy days make the others so much lighter...much easier to shoulder. As much as I want levity, it is not appropriate for me tonight. While I don't want to feel the emotional gravity of situations, I need to feel it. I need to remember to hug my husband a little thank God for my children's health. Sorry for the Debbie Downer post. Just say an extra prayer for Tim tonight, that he can be one of the 5% who defy the statistics. And for Allison, that she can feel the power and comfort of prayer and find strength to help her children navigate through the days ahead. Thanks....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saw the big man today...and his right hand man

It was a big day today. The our two youngest sang in church stinkin' cute, you could eat them up. F always looks so serious when he sings. He stands, very stoically, with his hands in his pockets and stares a hole through Aunt Amy, his choir director. I sit there in the congregation like some stage mom, putting my hands up to my face making the "Smile!" motion to him. If I continue on this path, you'll see me on Toddlers and Tiaras putting him in "Western Wear" and bleaching his teeth. But I digress. It was cute and they did such a nice job for both services.After church, we went home to have lunch and prepare for a busy afternoon. Brian had to play ref to the fighting sisters, choosing not to react to the screaming and cries of supposed pain. I lucked out and was on the phone with my mother getting the lowdown on a wedding we convenient for me. After the Treaty of Sibling was signed, the kids ate and began getting dressed in their "Going to see Santa" clothes. Uncle Mike and Aunt Deb showed up, as is tradition, to be extra hands and extra photographers/witnesses to the excitement. As we arrived, we met Papa Elf, Santa's head elf and chief of quality control. He thrilled the kids with magic tricks and juggling while Santa was feeding his reindeer for 20 minutes or so. The kids had fun seeing the big man and all put on their perma-grins for the photographer. F then practiced his handshake and introducing himself protocol to Santa, who seemed impressed. Papa Elf commented on the boy's glasses and we were off. Fun as always...they are growing up too fast.Tonight we started reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" tonight. I have always loved that book and thought the kids would enjoy it. They are so far and I can't wait to read again tomorrow. This season goes by so fast...I want to slow time and soak up every ounce of it. What a gift!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas exploded at our house today

Today was tree decorating day, which was good especially since I was recovering from Pizza Inn's revenge. Sad to be losing a prime people watching venue, but that was rough. So with little energy or patience, we set off to run to the grocery before starting the tree festivities. We got our sammich makings and ended up driving to another part of the parking lot so we could watch the Christmas parade from our car. We saw many parade-esque things: floats, rescue vehicles and cheerleader/twirler girls. What we weren't expecting was the mobile wrestling ring with two guys, one who was dressed somewhat like Spiderman and the other like Sea Bass from "Dumb and Dumber". I don't which was more amusing, the wrestlers or Brian running out of the car and down the road to get a picture. We also saw an Elvis who was dressed like young Elvis but built like the Las Vegas sweaty Elvis. We scurried on home and began preparing for decorating. It took a few adjustments and a 10 minute bizarre stint on the Irish Rover Christmas channel on Pandora, but we finally got a decent channel...starting with "O Holy Night"...which got me crying. A lot. The girls helped with the lights. Each child took a strand of wooden cranberries. F obviously helped with the garland. Soooo much help. Then came the ornaments. We have the very first one my parents ever made as newlyweds, with directions from Southern Living:
My parents are the masters of home made ornaments...pure artisans in the salt dough medium. Here are some of my favorites:
The picture directly above is not of my parents making, but of their doing. It has become the ornament that all the kids fight over. The Christmas Pickle. Who woulda thunk it? Well, the tree is done and we found some visitors who are staying though the holidays, I guess. Beware if you come to visit:
The rest of the day was consumed with recuperating and 4H craft projects(picture coming soon). Now I await bedtime which is nigh. Let's hope for better sleep for tomorrow we see the big man. I hope he is ready for them.One last housekeeping note. I am using the only somewhat workable app for BlogGer at this point and it stinks. A nice man writing in broken English wrote me that my old app is in line to have its corrections approved. Can't come soon enough for me. So, forgive the breaks and weird sentences. I have to read and edit in HTML which very difficult for me, so thanks for not thinking of me as an uneducated idiot who doesn't proof her work. It is just hard to sort through everything. Thanks!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Not as good as last trip, but there's always something to watch...

Another weekend is upon us, thank goodness. This week has felt more like a month. We had not eaten out in a bit, so the request was made to go to, wait for it...wait for it...PIzza Inn!! I must preface this by saying that our experience tonight in no way comes close to the excitement of last trip. Nothing ever will and if it does I will write a novella, make millions and live out a comfortable life running a firewood and home repair ministry for the locals here while indulging my love for skeet shooting and snow skiing with my husband, my children, my 17 grandchildren, my brother and his family and my parents. There is, however, a wealth of material to draw from every day. It took us over a month to get over the OCD incident, but we were ready to venture back in without fear of breaking into hysterical laughter. It was unusually quiet for a Friday night, but we weren't complaining. As we were enjoying our meals, a father and two sons came in and sat down at the booth next to us. As soon as the one son went up to the buffet, we knew he'd be someone to watch. He seemed very familiar with all the employees of the Inn. He spoke to them on a first name basis, calling the cooks in from the back line to instruct them on their pepperoni placement and slice size cutting. He was very particular about exactly how much of what he wanted on his requested pizza, all while dressing in khakis, a polo shirt and crocs. He just seemed like a miniature adult. We were winding down our visit, when S requested a slice of dessert pizza. They had just brought two out of her requested pizza when a line began to form. I went to take my place and our little "friend" pushed in front of me. That was fine, I had no need to fight a 6th grader over a piece of pizza with chocolate chips on it. He looked at the first pizza, which had a few pieces missing, and moved on. Surveying the second pizza, he yelled back to his brother "Hey, -----! They did a better job with this one! The chip to slice ratio is much better and the slices are much bigger!!!". He then, singing a little song to himself, searched the pizza for the two biggest slices and placed them carefully on his plate. He held the plate up to his nose and inhaled deeply. Then, he turned to me, stuck his plate right in my face, then pulled it back and forth and back and forth saying, "This piiizzzzaaaa is sooooo chooooocolaty....mmmmm....mmmmm...mmmmmmm!". This went on for about 15 seconds with me looking at him like he had a third eye and he was looking me like "Nanny nanny boo boo!". I started looking around to see if anyone else was watching this, but most people were just wanting things to move along so they could get their food and sit down. I got S's piece, told her she'd better appreciate it after the bizarre experience of getting it and to hurry up before I had a buffet induced nervous breakdown. Needless to say, I told B it was obvious that we hadn't stayed away long enough between visits. Bizarro time as always. The rest of the day was fairly boring. I made two little bags for a brother/sister team. I wrapped his up before I got a picture, but I did get one of the girl's:
Nothing exciting, but fun. Our neighbor is trying to get some sort of government clearance, so I got interviewed by an agent about him today. I made sure to let her know that he, as a former gymnast, had taught my children some cartwheels and flips in the front yard and he had been braver than most trying their triple strength grape koolaid at their lemonade stand. And, because of the privacy act of 1974, he can access my whole statement and see what a weirdo he has for a neighbor. I know they have to do their job, but the man is a navy guy who recently spent a year being deployed in Afghanistan...I think he will be loyal to our country for sure. Well, bedtime. Tomorrow we'll trim the tree and hope that all the coughs and sniffles are a little better. Sleeping in will be a great help for that. Ahhh, weekends.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Weird follows us where e'er we go

It has been a long week and we figured we needed some sort of fun activity for this evening. Since it is December 1, what better time than tonight to go get a tree? We have had, as I suspect most people have, varied experiences with getting trees. When we were newlyweds, we usually went to Lowe's or the local nursery. As the children have come along, we have tried to make it a more memorable experience....just like picking a pumpkin at Halloween. We have driven to hell and back trying to find unique tree experiences. Being Frasier Fir people, we pay a premium regardless of where we go in our area. NC is the closest place where they actually grow, so we are at the mercy of the dealers. We have tried to break our FF habit, but to no avail. So with that in mind, we have gone to several places where the owners think they can convert us to Pine and Spruce people...luring with us with hot chocolate and turns at using axes and chainsaws. We have driven into places and prayed our way out, either because the terrain was rough or the area was sketchy(more on that in a minute). When my parents had a country house in Blacksburg, VA, their next door neighbors were horticulture professors who had a Christmas Tree farm on their property. When we went up for Thanksgiving, we made a trip down the road and had the whole experience. We named our particular type of tree, rode a wagon out there, picked our favorite, B chopped it down and then we got hot chocolate and cookies. We had the full set of scientific directions for the proper care of said tree. Wonderful! Then we had a couple years of the various lots or overpriced nurseries. Then, two years ago, our lives were changed forever. B found a "tree farm" online and they had FF trees, so we were up for an adventure. It was in the East Knoxville area near the zoo, so we headed out. You know you are in for a real experience when the GPS no longer registers your location and your animated vehicle looks like it is flying in the clouds. When we got there, oh were we in for a treat. The gift shop was manned by, forgive my description, two people who belonged in Deliverance. The gifts were from circa 1982 Big Lots or Dollar General, covered in dust with their original 1982 prices on them. Brian asked about the trees, which prompted a longwinded explanation of how the farmer tried to grow F Firs and how we just don't have the climate for the and he lost thousands of dollars on little failed seedlings. About this time, a barefooted feral 5 year old girl rode up driving an ATV of some sort. At this point, after seeing all of this plus the following picture, B gave me the "Let's pick a tree and get the &/$; out of here" look.
Yes, this was at a Christmas Tree farm(picture from my friend Denise who also had the experience). After all of this,the F Firs were unceremoniously kept in a small, locked dog run across the road from the gift shop.we got the tallest, plumpest and most affordable one we could find....practically threw the money at them and were off before the children had much time to ask a lot of embarrassing questions out loud. Longing for the days of normalcy, we went back to Lowe's last year and got a perfectly acceptable tree. This year we wanted to get one as soon as possible, so we chose to go night hunting. This eliminated the aforementioned Tree farm for a whole bunch of reasons, probably the biggest being my youngest's severe diarrhea of the mouth malady. We wanted to get out alive and his strange and unfiltered questions could make for a slippery slope. We ventured to the tree lot across from our grocery store. We had successfully obtained trees from them before, so what the hey. A virtual Frasier Fir wonderland it was. We were a sight: the kids on super hyped up mode, drunk with the Christmas spirit and the smell of tree and B, in his cargo shorts, Batman tshirt and vest. I looked my usual self, jeans, Chucks and a fleece. Now, to be fair, I started the kids up by reenacting one of my favorite scenes from "A Christmas Story":
I know, you can't take me anywhere. We found our tree fairly quickly and waited for the man to come take us through the process. I am not a small person so I can say this, the man was a bit on the round side, very friendly and pleased with the traffic at his lot. Dragging our tree the 30ft to their little trailer and bagging area, he set the tree down, started breathing labored breaths and grabbed his chest. B was rerunning CPR training through his mind and the man kept saying he needed to catch his breath before continuing on. His wife thought B was crazy for wearing shorts and said so often. After the tree was wrapped in the netting, Brian, fearing for the man's heart, dragged the tree to the car. Tree guy got winded again trying to assist in the placing of the tree on top of the van. He then ordered his wife to help B tie the tree on while he helped a very affluent lady in her Merecedes load a Norway Spruce into her car. The wife forgot about helping B and was handing candy canes out to random people. B said, "That man is so drunk. I'm afraid he won't make it back to his trailer.". All of a sudden I heard the word "gun". My ears perked a little. The Mercedes woman left...I heard "gun" again. The man then got over to B and asked, "Do you have a gun so you can shoot me?". Well, the look on B's face was priceless, the children went ashen and I fought the urge to laugh out of my discomfort. B assured him that all he had was a small pocket knife. This seemed to not be the answer Tree man wanted, so he wished us a Merry Christmas and was on his way. This just proves, once again, that our family can do nothing in a normal way. I really love that, I think.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a day!

First off let's say, I am a bad mom and take pictures of my kids while they are sleeping in awkward positions. The boy had to go to school on his off day for me to sub, so he didn't get a nap. After he got home from church this evening, he got bathed and learned to ignore the shrieks of pain(more on that in a minute)then fell asleep. Hard. I came up to start winding down for the evening and found him like this. It almost resembles a handcuffed person who decided to lay down and go to sleep. I assure you that this is not the case here. But it did warrant a loud whisper down to B to "come up and see this one!". It had been. An interesting day up to the point of the picture. I subbed at preschool today with a lively bunch. Very lively. I stayed for the afternoon as well, subbing for an ailing coworker. New p.m. Teacher is like blood in the water for sharks. They tried everything they could think of on me. One boy even tried to convince me that, when I caught him with his hand in the fishbowl trying to squeeze the fish and scare it, his teachers let him do that anytime he wants. Okay. Let me tell you, that fish was stressed. but, as God is my witness, it was alive when I left. Hopefully it's little Beta heart held out.After church, we came home in a flurry. B's car battery was ill, so he went to get it changed out. I told the kids to get bathed and get to bed. G had been complaining about her toe, saying she kicked a ball too hard in gym and had hurt it. I felt it was probably some drama from being tired at the end of the day. Then she showed it to me. Terribly ingrown. Terribly. Another "Mom feels an inch tall" moment. Now I know about ingrown toenails all too well. I don't think they are an inherited trait, but the habit of cutting them too short is. She actually had broken hers off a couple weeks ago. I sent her back in the bathroom to soak her toe in the tub for a while. I readied the tweezers and cotton, prepared to take on the surgeon role as my father has so many times. Luckily for all involved, B came back just in time for all hell to break loose. My first little shove of that cotton under her toenail produced a scream that was heard out of state. After that, I had to hold her still while B did the technical work. I think we both experienced hearing loss tonight as well as strained muscles. After he had gotten what we thought was a generous portion stuffed under her nail, he requested scissors to cut the slack off. This is what we got:
The scissors circa probably 1976 when I was in preschool...yeah I'm that old. They may even have my name written in nail polish on the other mom did that often to mark our school property. As you can I imagine, those scissors couldn't cut butter much less cotton shoved under a toenail. The cotton was kicked out or convulsed out about 4 times, but finally it was done and band-aided to the point of being an ER job. B and I then looked at each other, realizing we would never get that hour back. At least she got some relief. The evening ended up with us having to call Kroger and find out food prices on three items(not in the sales add)for S's advanced math project. I won't spend time on that, but let's just say that it sparked a lot of "after kid bedtime" conversation. It is never dull around here. If the screaming disturbed you, I sincerely apologize. If she had just let me get a needle and relieve the pressure that way, it would have all been over quickly. But you say the word needle and everybody has a loud opinion. Oh well. Fargo's on and I'm sleepy. Night all....