Monday, December 31, 2012

Almost a new year...let's make it a good one

Well, it's all over but the dropping of the ball and the first year without Dick Clark. I plan on settling down for a comfy evening in pj's with my family and out traditional viewing of the Twilight Zone marathon. Party animals, we are not. I lack the stamina to stay up late anymore. Just too much of a snoozy girl. So enjoy bringing in the New Year your favorite way.

Every year I resolve to lose 3,000lbs or make a million dollars or have all my Christmas shopping done in April or learn to play five new instruments. Every year I manage to disappoint myself and others. This year, I have decided to be the best me I can be. That is all I can do. I sure hope that I can do this in a joyful manner, being a good example to my children, family and friends. During this year, I covet your prayers and encouragement and hope that I will be the same kind of person to you.

The hub and I decided to end 2012 on a positive note. After all of our Kroger Plus gas points, we piggybacked cars at the Shell station and managed to get this price per gallon:

I was most pleased with this price and figured saving $50 was ending things with a bang. After that, I went and spent my Christmas money. The dulcet sounds of a red mother of pearl accordion will be flowing throughout our house. Rock on, 2013! God bless you all and I look forward to another year of sharing our strange and funny life with you....Happy New Year!
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

I've reached new levels of geekdom

Go ahead and say it..."We didn't think that was possible." Har har hardy har har. I am a geek, I'll claim it. Growing up I was a Star Trek watching, NPR listening, Apple II+ playing, Weird Al listening bonafide geek. I watched my brother play D&D. I bought little lead dwarf and elf figures at Ben's Toy Store in Johnson City, TN. And now, I am on the cusp of purchasing something to propel me into the realms of geekdom with one of my heroes, Weird Al. Yes, my friends, I am about to buy an accordion. Having the desire to own one for several years has kept me on the lookout for some time. Seeing as how this area is not a hot bed for accordion activity, it has been a fruitless search so far. If we were to travel up to Wisconsin and visit our family, my brother in law assured me that there are accordions to be found on every corner...across the street from a bar. They have the right idea becasue what goes better with beer than polkas? And what do you need to make any polka legit? Yessireebob, an accordion. I have been hesitant to buy one online sight unseen. As with most musical instruments, I want to hold it and check it out and see how it sounds. So you can imagine my excitement when my brother texted me to say there was an accordion spotting downtown. I grabbed S, who needed some TLC after a rather hurtful experience during Sunday School this morning, picked up my brother and sister in law and headed downtown to take a look at this beauty. The only problem was I didn't really know what I was looking for in terms of good or bad. The words "vintage" and "mother of pearl" were thrown around, which sounded promising, but looks aren't the hallmark of a good musical instument. It was very flashy:

What makes me extra geeky is the thought that kept going through my mind: "Would Weird Al approve of this purchase? Would he play this?". The man is coming to our fair city in April and I am hoping upon hope to get some tickets, but like he cares what I buy. I couldn't bring myself to spend the money today so I left no poorer, but a bit disappointed. After consulting with my musical genius friend, Prince Andrew(long story), he said that it looked like an excellent deal to him. I will travel back downtown tomorrow to see if this 1950's beauty is still there. If it is, it was meant to be. If not, we all know the answer. Either way, the peppy sounds of a polka(or my favorite Yankovic tune)will be coming out of our house one way or another. You'll know where to come party.
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

I am a computer idiot...pure and simple

Just let me say, first off, that the post oabout my son's favorite barbershop is not new. It was maybe my third post on this freshly created blog. Like any inexperienced computer person, I failed to label my posts to help people find them in a more efficient manner...not like people are feverishly seeking out any one post of mine. As I had a little bit of down time over the holidays, I thought I would take a few posts a night and label them, you know, "OCD" for the Pizza Inn post or "Bite suit, crazy cousins, Olympics" for the post about attack dogs. I apparently pushed the wrong rectangle and posted a year and a half old post today. Why and how I do not know. I can't undo it now. Dur. So for those of you who have read that one before, sorry. For those who haven't read it, enjoy. It is kind of a sweet one for me.

Today has consisted mostly of de-holidaying the house and getting ready for the new year. Like the slacker neighbor I am, I sent the hub and kids out to deliver Christmas cookies that I had not been able to deliver earlier. We have older neighbors who are very good to us and I had not yet baked the cookie dough when they showed up with their bread and rolls. I was the ultimate neighborhood loser. After feeling low and inadequate, we set off for the Apple Store, whose employees can certainly make one continue to feel low and inadequate, what with their Genius Bar and all. S had, as previously stated, saved and purchased herself an iPad mini. She was going back with commission(allowance) and a loan from the 'rents to purchase her AppleCare for the device. The boy used some of his commission to buy a new iPod Touch case for his hand me down device. Captain America cases are the best. G chose to play on the ipads in the kids area and save her money. She has been a bit on the dull feeling side today, asking to just go to sleep today. Anyhoo, after the Apple Store and a trip to Williams-Sonoma to puchase some deeply discounted items for next year's Christmas gifts, we headed home. I think all the hustle and bustle of the post-Christmas mall was too much for somebody:

She is now resting in bed, although I keep getting little ipod text messages from her. Maybe I need to go check and see if there is any slumbering going on in there.

Tomorrow brings with it a work day and then relaxing with the family, I hope. If any snow would like to make an appearance, I'm sure the five heartbeats of this house would welcome it with open arms. We need to get some sledding in...all except for the hub. He better not.

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My son's favorite place

My son is a boy of simple tastes. He likes chewing gum, super heroes, playing with his friends and getting his hair cut. He used to go to one of the big haircutting chains in our area, mostly for the entertainment value he brought to my grandmother's weekly hair appointment. While he enjoyed spending time with her, he HATED getting his hair cut there. The clippers sounded like a buzz saw from a mill and the ladies did not appreciate squirmy little boys. Then, we discovered the barber shop and the game changed. Instead of dodging the clippers and crying at the sight of the beautician, he collapsed into a trance worthy of a snake charmer and his flute. Then, tragedy happened. Our beloved Jerry was gone. The only barber who could cut Fin's hair and not make him look like Lloyd Christmas was gone! We all went into panic mode, going to the Facebook airwaves to see if anyone knew of his location. Luckily, our friend Philip came to the rescue and gave the great news that Jerry was opening his own shop in a much more convenient location. Celebrations commenced and all was right with Fin's world. Why would a boy love the barber shop so? I hear many stories of moms and dads holding children down in the chair while the nervous barber did his best not to take off an ear or unintentionally cut gang symbols into their scruff. Fin is the great great grandson of a barber. It is in his blood. As a woman, the beauty shop is a place to talk about the latest gossip, significant others and how best to fix your split ends. I love my stylist...she is the bestI have ever had and is my dear friend to boot. I treasure our time together. While the barber shop is, for the most part, the male version of the same, it is something more. A sacred brotherhood where men come to talk sports, crazy wives, the latest arrests and get themselves cleaned up. My father, a fairly well known and well respected engineer, has the barber blood in him. I have seen him work through many problems with my brother, husband and uncle as they sit in the chair and he trims up their beards. The hypnotic motions of watching my grandfather go in for his weekly shave at the local shop bring me back to a simpler time...where a hot towel and and straight razor made one feel like a man again, fresh and clean and ready for possibilities. The smells of shaving cream and pomade, the zip of the straight razor and the buzz of the clippers are all soothing. When I take Fin, I feel a bit like I am intruding on an exclusive club. Luckily, I am given a bit of a pass since the boy needs a ride at this point. I feel honored that I am allowed to be a part, even if just on the outside, of this process. My parents' church has opened a twice a month barber/beauty shop to help those regardless of means. I tear up every time my mom tells me of clients standing a little straighter when they walk out with their new looks. Jerry and the other barbers in our society are in a ministry that others fail to recognize. One where the heartbroken are heard, where the storytellers have an audience and where the disheveled are cleaned up and sent out looking like a shiny new dime, ready to take on the day. God bless the barbers of this world.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Just another chilly, boring day

You can't have it both ways. I understand that, but sometimes I forget that. When it is terribly busy, I want calm. When it is too calm, I want some action to liven things up a bit. Today has been one of those days that, while I loved having no agenda, I feel dull and a bit of a loser in terms getting anything accomplished. I did go to visit a friend whose mother was having surgery today. Coming from a long line of hospital waiting room squatters, the magnetic pull of cramped quarters, bad coffee and poorly stocked vending machines beckoned me to crawl in the car this morning armed with a bag of treats to be consumed by the waiting family. My aunt, uncle and parents have spent years of their lives dropping in on friends and family who are patiently, or impatiently, waiting for news of loved ones. I feel the same pull in my blood, but sadly I lack the finesse and comforting words of my family members. Today's trip got me as far as the hospital parking lot where I found them still in their car, but I felt awkward following them in like some weird lost puppy. SO, I shoved the bag of treats in their hands, gave a hug and went on my way. We did text throughout the day, so my squatting relatives would probably be okay with that...even though they still don't understand the attraction of talking by typing on a phone.

After returning home, I found children still in pj's with one of them making a home made barometer for school. Laundry, straightening and cleaning followed. Then a few hours of sloth. In this time, we received word that sweet baby Drew was not doing well. His pulmonary hypertension is causing such issues and those issues are hard to overcome. He is resting and all we can do is pray without ceasing, hoping that his little body will find its will to fight once again. Miracles happen every day and I just hope one of them happens in his life.

I am currently listening to the hub and children listening to our team play their bowl game. Overtime is never where you want them to be, but at least they got to a bowl game. We just won, the kids and hub are happy and bedtime is about to commence. There is a peanut butter ball with my name on it and then bedtime for me. Aren't you riveted by the excitement that is my life? I'll take it a million times over.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Back to life...back to reality

Well the last of the family left today to return to their own homes and comfy beds. It is bittersweet without the sweet. Reality had to return, but I was not really ready for it. And in true fashion for the kind of luck we have, not two minutes after they left, the boy tripped over the dog gate and hit his nose against the wall. The tip of it turned blue immediately. Screaming and crocodile tears commenced. After feeding the children lunch, I treated myself to a luxury that I hadn't indulged in since Thanksgiving: I sat down. On the couch. And woke up 90 minutes later and felt like complete crap, but was warm and snuggly with my children. I'll take that any day.

We splurged and ate out tonight. Frankly, as much as I love Chirstmas dinner fare, we could not take another night of ham or pork tenderloin...any pork product. G had more fun with a paper placemat than most people that girl:

The evening has been spent enjooying the fun of Apple products and iMovie. I have been baking to take treats to friends in the hospital waiting room tomorrow. As much as I love to bake, I think I may be losing my cooking mojo or suffereing from a janked up oven. When turning out loaf number two of lovely pumpkin bread, it does not bode well to have actual bread batter ooze out of the crack in the top of the loaf...especially when it was baked almost 15 minutes longer than the recipe asked. Grrrr. At least the ends are nice. Honestly, that is just beyond annoying.

It is about time to turn it. Have to go clean bread goo off the counter and try not to cuss and run over the bread pans in the driveway. It's too cold...that won't happen. Tonight.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The day after kinda stinks...

The day started off with some promise. I slept in past 7am for the first time in I don't know how long. The rain was dropping on the roof, making me want to turn over and try for a little bit more sleep. Then I looked at the clock and realized that the hub was going to be late to work if he didn't get moving soon. The kids got up, the hub left and then all hell broke loose. Attitudes were in the dumpster, everybody wanted Daddy and Mom was a swamp witch again. I took a quick jaunt to Walgreens and Kroger to see if there were any after Christmas deals to be had. The kids are good for gift bags for teacher gifts for the next three years, I think. After returning home, we started taking the ornaments off the tree which was fun for about, I don't know, two minutes. After that, the swamp witch was working alone. The boy got a remote controlled solar system for his bedroom. He was thrilled when my dad finished putting it up. Our little budding astronomer wanted to write about his new toy in his new journal. He said, "I need to write it down now. My memory is erased when I go to sleep. It resets each night." Where does he come up with that stuff? By the way, I am writing on my new keyboard and it disables the autocorrect. Sorry for the typos that I have not caught. I'm sure there are more than usual.

My aunt and uncle came over today and brought the kids Christmas presents. The boy once again got a great gift. He was thrilled with his new sheets. Can you guess why?

S had a big day as well. She has been saving up money and, after receiving Christmas money, had enough to take a trip to the Apple Store. She took lots of time to make a list of questions for them and even made a chart of comparisons between products. A bit later she came walking in, the proud owner of her very own iPad Mini. Gotta admire her for her thriftiness, which was burning a hole in her pocket.

Good things happened to the kids and that's enough. It just stinks to be an adult dealing with putting decorations away...and being the bad guy...all the time. But I am blessed. Baby Drew is having a bad day today and nothing I've complained about today is even important compared to his problems. Pray for his little body. So worrying...
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sweet Christmas exhaustion

We've had a long day of excitement, unwrapping, worshipping, eating, visiting, eating, worshipping and finally blogging....and then ending with total collapse. The children were pleased with the generosity of their relatives, but also mindful of their schoolmates and others who are not as blessed as they are. Their prayers today were so thoughtful and pure, it warmed my heart and wet my eyes. Time was spent with family, though it never seems quite long enough. We had lots of laughs and plenty of food. I didn't sit down much today, so the prescription strength dose of ibuprofen I took tonight was justified. This mommy gig is hard on the feet. Besides the gifts and stockings and family, the most fun was had with a wig and fake mustaches that my mom had.

G, of course, was hoping to look like her uncle who has an outstanding curly mustache.

I am blessed beyond measure and am thankful for my family, friends and each and every one of you. My life is much richer and more exciting with all of you in it...even if one of you came to find me by Googling "Saran Wrap Madonna". Hey, friends, I'm not that kind of girl.

Have a blessed night and enjoy the rest of your holiday season!
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Monday, December 24, 2012

It's almost here....

This day has flown by what with all the cooking and wrapping and cooking and visiting and cooking and finally worshiping. I made seventy five thousand sugar cookies and about the same number of sausage balls. The kids enjoyed a day of sloth, with an occasional visitor thrown in here and there. We have diligently tracked Santa by way of NORAD all day, amazed at the stats on his sleigh:

I will never cease to be amazed by the wonderful work they do each Christmas tracking Santa and answering the phone calls of children everywhere. We learned that Santa favors the cookie food group in a major way...luckily he will benefit from the work of earlier today.

Church tonight was chaotic as always, but what maternity ward in a manger wouldn't be? G and the boy chose to be "Wise People". There is always a healthy looking Heavenly Host and the sheep are well tended. S did the Christmas Eve prayer which made me teary. When we all sang "Silent Night" and raised our candles high (the boy was old enough to have a real one this year), the hub and I both choked up at the bounty of blessings we have.

We returned to home to find that the elves had not only brought us all new pj's, but had made a mess in the kitchen and played with toys in the kids' rooms. We feasted on spaghetti and sauce that G made all by herself, which was delicious! We sat as a family and listened to G read a children's book on the Chriatmas story and S read the story from the Gospel of Luke. Rather than get the whole family bawling this year, I chose to read "How the Great Guest Came" by Edwin Markham by myself. It pierces my heart and puts me right where I need to be for this season. If you have never read it, google it now.

We have completed all of our Christmas duties, the hub is softly sawing logs and I am I am finishing this up while listening to "A Christmas Story" on TBS...."Wowee a zeppelin!!!!". I pray this Christmas is filled with wonder and love and family and peace and thankfulness for the greatest gift who brought light to the world. God bless you all!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Go ahead and ask Santa...

My children are not selfish kids. They never walked through the "'R Us" asking and screaming for every toy they saw. I am grateful for that. They are not machines, they ask for stuff...sometimes unreasonable requests. But a person's got to test the 'rents and see what they're made of in terms of negotiating. Sorry, kid, you aren't getting your own iPad. Mommy saved up for a year to buy this now older model one. Save up. Shopping spree at American Girl your friend had? Great. That's just great. Our oldest has now entered the realm of middle school. For 99% of it, it has been a wonderful experience. She has a great group of friends with good heads on their shoulders. Blessed. Some of her friends come from families of a little more privilege. Some have no siblings. Some have parents who are not unreasonable tightwads. Our poor children do and I will never apologize. It gets harder to not cave, simply because you don't want your child to be the only one without this or that. Middle school, unfortunately is about finding your individuality and fitting in all at the same time. So when my mom calls to tell me that S wanted a new pair of boots like all her friends have, I told her I would consider it. I agreed to price them out because, as my mom said, "As much as I hate it, unfortunately it's about the label...just check them out." Sooo the hub and I took a jaunt to the GB Shoe Wharehouse thinking that they discount name brands. This will be excellent. Oh you poor, sweet, naive little parents you. As I looked for a paper bag to breathe in, the hub just shook his head and said, "Uh, no."

I am a shoe girl, I will not lie. The most I have ever paid for a pair of my own shoes is $85....and that was twenty years ago and I STILL have them and wear them. But apparently Australian sheepskin boots have gold hidden in the fuzzy interior. I have offered to buy the $30 ones at Target when they go on sale and create a little label to put on the back. Maybe "Ug" or "Fugg" for Fake UGG. Either that or she can take $$ from her iPad mini fund and buy herself a pair of Aussie boots that will be too small next year.

Whatever her choice, It will be her money and not ours. I hope she makes the right choice. I know she will. I'll just kick up my twenty year old Birkenstocks and watch her squirm. Go ahead and judge me... :0)
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Comfort found in the simple things

I took a little trip to my parents yesterday. Just a quick trip there and back. It had been since Father's Day, of which I am ashamed. The kids were crazy because school was officially out for Christmas Break. I was crazy because the realization hit me that I was completely unready for Tuesday...not only present wise, but more importantly mind and heart wise. The sa yu can't go home again, but I did and I enjoyed it. After dinner and a chilly but fun drive looking at Christmas lights, we all got pj'ed up and went to bed. I laid down in the bed of my childhood. My great(I don't know how many greats)grandfather built it and I slept in it for over half my life. I know I was tired, but there was something so comforting and calming about sleeping in that bed. Even as a grown up with children, there's something so comforting about going home and sleeping in tour childhood least to me there is.

I am going to bed soon. The hub and I have been watching the youtube sensation "Beer and Boardgames"....well, about 8 episodes. Not for young ears, but very funny. Very.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Keep calm and, oh who am I kidding?

I had several meltdowns on my children today. Tis the season for children to lose their minds and parents to question if they ever had one at all. The kids are all exhausted, sad to leave their friends and excited to be off for some much needed rest. Too bad their way of expressing that excitement is to beat the stuffings out of each other and perfect their dagger looks on me. I get it. They are so much more over tested and worked and expected of than I ever was at that age. But, I sometimes think as workload increased for the kids, so did the same loads increase for the grown ups. It can become overwhelming. But I know that I didn't lose a child in CT and I don't have a severely ill baby in the hospital. But reality is what reality is. We will all make it through in spite of ourselves. Now that my son has educated us on the fact that when babies are born they don't have any clothes on, I feel the Christmas season has been even more educational than usual. We are going to show the love and try not to torture each other for the whole break. I'll be the example setter....but I tell you right now, if SyFy does not have its yearly Twilight Zone marathon near New Years, you might find me on a ledge somewhere. Just sayin'. Fa la la la laaaaaa....

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Party animal, I am not...

Think of any party song you can think of and then think of me and you'll hear the tune, "One of these things is not like the other...". It is my honor and pleasure to be allowed to assist with my children's class parties. Truly it is. But after 7.25 hours of parties, I am ready for some chilled beverage, a couch and some slack jawed movie marathoning. I am not the best parent in the world but I am convinced that, after today, I've done something right in the manners department. G had a lovely breakfast party, complete with snowflake cutting, ornament making and Rankin Bass movie watching. She enjoyed herself:

My apologies...I caught her mid sausage ball. They were so sweet, I hated to leave them for the chaos of kindergarten, but the boy needed me there. So down the hall I went, steeling myself for the chaos ahead. They were understandably amped up. I was asked to kind of head up this party, which was brave on his teacher's part. Each table had a different craft going on, a Christmas around the world. The boy seemed especially careful with his gingerbread man from Germany:

The green with white on the right hand side of the picture is his suitcase from the laminator incident...we shall speak of it no more. They all had a good time. I will brag a second and say I am especially proud of the tonight. When goody bags brought by a classmate ran short, he gave his to a new friend and went without thinking twice. I love that kid.

With midterms over and class being playtime for tomorrow, we took the kids to see Santa tonight. We have never waited this long, but we got it done. The boy was first to tell his three wishes, then the girls followed.

Then they rode the train with Uncle Mike, a longstanding tradition. The boy chose to ride by himself...he is in kindergarten after all.

All in all, it was a day well spent. My feet are screaming and I am overdrawn in the patience savings account. Time for bed, but blessed. Blessed indeed.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ramping up for a crazy day...

Tomorrow is going to be a hellish day. As I was talking with a friend tonight who has yet to dive into the public school life, if you want to make sure that you do not have to devote your life to room momitude do everything in a poor quality way. On weeks like this, it is really tempting to screw things up so I won't get asked again. But, I am a child of my mother who is 20 minutes early to any appointment and makes sure to do 1000% over what is expected. I do not claim to be anywhere close to her, but I have the intentions at least. Two back to back 3 hour parties, one requiring sausage balls and the other requiring me to prep all the crafts. Bedtime will be a blessed relief tomorrow.

I am going to bed now with a headache and tired feet. After two parties tomorrow, I hope to have lots of material to share tomorrow. I hope....

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Awkward moments...

I seem to attract awkward people and situations in my life. Maybe because I am pretty awkward myself...this is not new information for anybody. I am so self conscious about everything about myself, that I am often surprised when others are not so self aware or self critical...clinically so, like myself. ;o) But, cats and kittens, how self aware do you really have to be to know that wearing a top two to three sizes too small whilst craft shopping in JoAnn's may not be the brightest of choices. I think the three little old ladies and I were afraid of an incident right there next to the collegiate duct tape in the checkout line. Every time the lass took a step, her cleavage increased and rippled...and not in a Bo Derek running on the beach being chased by Dudley Moore kind of way. Wow. That dates me. The chewing gum chonker behind me in line stared and cracked and stared and blew a bubble, focused on the chest of the lass like some hormonal teenage boy. Not to get blue on the blog but if she had tripped off the curb, there would have been a need for actual placing of body parts back into her size xxxxs tank top. I stared awkwardly at the new pack of curved needles I was holding, trying my best to not get pulled into the staring contest.

As I sit here writing this, I am reminded of the wonderful and Godly writing of my friend Leanne on her Caring Bridge sight. She is so gifted in her prose, so inspiring in her words, so capable of having the right verse for the right situation. I feel this is kind of a shlubby(again with the Yiddish)body of work compared to hers. I hope never to make fun or be cruel. I just observe and report the things I see, or the strange way I see ordinary things in life. I am horrible about quoting correct scripture, knowing book/chapter/verse. That is a constant struggle of mine. Just know that my words are meant to give a laugh if needed, an occasional learning opportunity or an occasional tear...but never pain or hurt.

That being said, it is time to go do some wrapping and wade my way through the 753 socks that I need to put into pairs, knowing one will not have a friend. Living the dream, friends.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

What am I thinking?

Soooo, I'm an idiot. I claim it, I own it. It is what it is. Let's start at the beginning of the day and work our way through, shall we? I'll try to be brief.

As one of the room moms for the boy's class, I have been asked to plan their Christmas party. Why not? Uh, I can think of a thousand reasons, but I agreed to do it. Seeing that it is a "Christmas Around the World" theme, one of the ideas was to make them each a file folder "suitcase" to put their crafts in for storage. I had worked on these blasted suitcases, copying and cutting and gluing and labeling. All that was left was the laminating...which I have done a gajillion times. Unfortunately for me, the previous user did not know that the special "clip" was necessary for the proper function of the machine. I assumed, and we all know what that does, that the clip...well let me show you this important clip:

It is just one of those office supply binder clips, the big kind, that holds the end of the laminating down to keep disasters from happening. So simple, so easy. Did I check to see if it had been put back? I brought you this far, we all know the answer. Here is what happened:

Instead of my precious little file folder suitcases flowing gently and happily to the floor, they wound tightly around a roller, curling and wrinkling into molten green paper sausages. We stopped the machine and tried to reverse it. We turned it off to cool it down. Epic. Fail. Once the sad little suitcases were peeled off the machine, I had an internal temper tantrum, took the carnage and went home. My knight in shining armor and I then spent an hour, at least,cutting them apart and he did his best to iron them flat. They are currently sandwiched between two pieces of wood, weighed down by a five gallon bucket of drywall mud that could give most people a hernia when lifting it. Fa la la la laaaaaa.

My oldest was studying tonight for midterms. Her brain had hit its limit and immediately turned loopy. While she was locating another study guide, I was telling the hub that someone referred to him as a "mensch". This turned into a discussion on Yiddish and telling S of the Jewish parts of our family. In the course of the conversation, we discussed the hub's cousin's vanity plate, "SCHMUCK"...yeah, real proud of that one. We also discovered that S would never be great with Yiddish. It took us five minutes to get her to say the word correctly. At one point, the hub and I looked at each other and realized that, instead of reviewing integers and literary terms, we were teaching her the correct pronunciation of Yiddish insult words. Dur.

I need to go to bed and start over tomorrow. Thank God we're given that gift.
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Joy is necessary, even when we don't feel joyful

I am sitting outside of the Youth Christmas party at our church. They are currently playing the church youth group version of "Dirty Santa". I made a sock creature for S's gift and saw that her best friend Emma got it. At least I know that for a little bit it will have a happy life...until a boy gets it and rips its head off. She at least fared better than her poor friend walking around with a shadeless cowboy boot lamp. Oh well, one man's trash.... As I sit and think and fret and grumble about all the things I need to be doing, wrapping/baking/cleaning/shopping/mothering/"wife-ing", I hear the laughing and squealing coming from that room. When we went to the drive through for dinner on Friday and then drove around looking at Christmas lights, the oohs and ahhs were infectious. The innocence was still there. The urgency of the materialistic part of the season coupled with the burdensome content of the news in our world have made me, no, I have allowed them to take away my joy. That makes me mad. Enough said.

As I type, my fingers are worn out from cutting out the pieces parts for 23 little holiday suitcases for "Christmas Around the World". I cannot wait for Friday to come. Not because all the activities are so overwhelming, but because I can truly enjoy the importance of this season. People ask what I am looking forward to most during the holidays. Besides the obvious reason for the season and the awe and weight that comes with it, I am looking forward to snuggling with my family and watching the traditional Twilight Zone marathon that comes on during the holiday. Pajamas and maybe Scrabble thrown in there. Heaven. Bliss. Ahhhh.

Hopefully strange, funny stories and pictures will return soon. I need some lighter material or my three readers are going to go blog shopping. We can't have that...

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'd be his neighbor...

I've spoken of my mad love for Mr. Fred Rogers before, but it never hurts to bring him up again. He helped me and my children through the deaths of grandparents and great grandparents. He posthumously prepared my children for their future siblings with love and care. He showed me how crayons are made and introduced me to top notch jazz musicians. I got to watch Chef Brockett make cakes and, years later, play a dangerous mental psychopath cell neighbor of Hannibal Lecter. Chew on that for a minute. He taught me that I was special and that "it's such a good feeling to know you're alive." Now, in the wake of the school tragedy, it is such a comfort to still have his words to share with my kids. I love this:

In the midst of the tragedies, we tend to focus on the horrible...the unspeakable. But there is so much good in the world, so many people ready to help without thinking twice. Kids need to know this.

On a completely different, trivial and stupid note, we went to the mall today. As usual, it was a chore to keep the kids from noticeably speaking the words "Paul Blart" when the very similar looking man drove by on a Segueway. It was complicated by the fact that he was singing, "Bom chicka wow wow...chicka boom boom...chicka boom wow." Beatboxing mall cop...doing the sepentine in front of Williams-Sonoma. The hub looked back at me, the kids shook their heads in amazement and I kept saying, "Blog alert. Blog alert."

Some people may have found him strange or too simplistic or too sweatery or too milquetoast, but I will forever possess an undying love of Fred Rogers and the love and respect he showed to children. Never talked down to them, always loved them.

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Friday, December 14, 2012


The events of today are more than any one heart can take. My son, my precious baby boy, is a kindergartener. My daughters are elementary school and middle school. After following the Connecticut tragedy all day, I couldn't get to them fast enough at pick up time. The absolute devastation and heartbreak that these parents and families are experiencing is more than I can wrap my head around. I'd prefer not to get into the whole gun control debate. AllI know is that mental health assistance has to be cheaper and guns must be regulated more than they are...and I own one myself. But I also feel the great weight of responsibility as an owner. And, simply asking visitors to report to the office when they enter the school building is it enough. Anyone who is sick enough to commit a heinous act will not let a sign stop them. All I can do now is listen to my children, share with them Mr. Rogers's tips for dealing with tragedies....the first one being to make sure and point out all the helpers wen watch the news. When seeing such sadness, it is important that they know people are there to help...good people.

Right now, we are snuggled up and watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Precious time, even if Santa comes off looking like a real jackhole in this whole production. My babies are safe and I am heartbroken for the other mommies who will not engage in such a luxury with their loved ones again. God bless them all...

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas with the crazies

Many years ago, two crazy kids met at a large land grant institution and, after a year of friendship, fell in love with each other. They got married, yada yada was quite sweet and lovely. Then, the girl asked the boy if he ever thought about growing a beard. It was simply a question, I promise...I mean I heard she promised, not a suggestion. The boy, intrigued by the fact that he would not have to shave and had a wife who didn't mind a scratchy face, decided to give the beard a try. So out went flicking his Bic and in came the scruff. It was a little patchy at first, but he looked awfully cute. His coworkers, who were typical boys, decided to give him some flack as they had no life and needed a study break. It was very unfortunate timing for the sweet beard growing boy that 'twas the month of Christmas and all the holiday specials were on a constant loop. He returned to his happy little cottage that he shared with his bride with a tired and annoyed scruffy face. "Maybe this beard thing is not for me." "Why would you say that? It has grown so nicely!". "Tis not the season for a sense of humor." They had thrown out a comparison that the boy was not too fond of, but what's a guy gonna do? "Who did they say you looked like?". "Um, Yukon Cornelius...":

She laughed a bit for, although his hair was fairly brown, his beard had come in fairly red. He was not amused...not amused at all. That month and many Decembers to come, different Yukon Cornelius likenesses graced our home. Her personal favorite was the doll who sang "Silver and Gold". That is, it was her favorite for the first 312 times that $&@% doll sang the song, but then it got a bit annoying. Fast forward 16 years later. The boy is now a father. His heart has softened, as has his sense of humor(though it has always been good). He is a father with children. This year it was his turn to put up one of the two most coveted ornaments in the family collection, the first being the Christmas Pickle. The son got that. But this was the sweet bearded boy's year:

"Silver and gold....silver and gold...ev'ryone wishes for silver and gold...".

Meanwhile, the boy's son told all of us the Christmas story with every detail...Mary and Joseph took a camel instead of a donkey but, you know, poetic license. He brought props and everything. The kid is prepared.

Yukon Cornelius and mama Mary on a camel. I love this season. Tomorrow? The Playmobil nativity meets the Scooby Doo lunchbox ornament. Oh the possibilities.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The light before Christmas put my mind right..

Tonight was the always epic children's Christmas music night a church. Personally, it is my favorite concert of the year. I love the grown ups in concert, don't get me wrong, but the offerings from the children are what really warm my hear and turn on the waterworks. The boy got up and did his singing. He is very serious about it and never will crack a smile. But his little voice is so sweet to hear. Next came G's group. They have practiced their musical since September and were ready to go. As it always happens, circumstances and illness always come at the worst times,and it tried to mess things up tonight. G's buddy came after having been home sick all day. The poor thing suffered through practice and we all were concerned as to whether she could make it through the musical which was 35 minutes. Well, my friends, she powered through like a trooper. What a grown up thing to very proud of her! I was teary through the whole thing. I was proud of G. She had the first solo and the mic wasn't working. It came on at the end, but her one moment was sullied. She could have stopped or pitched a fit, but she sang on and didn't show that it bothered her at all. She got sad later. I think she had a right to be. Even though snafus and illness occurred, the program was wonderful. Ms. Kathryn does an absolutely spot on job with these kids. We are so blessed to have her. The message of the musical and their sweet singing but my mind from the inconvenience of the holidays to the miracle of Christmas.

On a completely different and anticlimatic note, I am watching "Amish Mafia". Holy moly. The Discovery networks really have a fascination with the Amish and creepy families who make Southerners look horrible. I guess they market what works. Sad, really. But come on friends, Amish smoking bongs/slashing tires and sending enforcement out to shut down knockoff Amish craft dealers and all run by a man at a desk in a barn? If they combine this sow with Honey Boo Boo, that would be something to watch. Just sayin'.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baking, sewing and Bob Newhart

As previously stated, we have now entered the mad rush of Christmas parties, performances...all that stuff. Now that I have a job where I work with people (not thread, poly-Fil and cloth), I feel the need to give little "thank you for your hard work" gifts, as well as teacher gifts and family gifts and a million other gifts. I found what appeared to be an easy little nativity-esque ornament to make and give in the spirit of the season. So I have been holed up in the basement like some troll, chained to the sewing machine. In between sewing baby Jesus's head on and giving Joseph eyes, I have also been baking sausage balls for a snack supper for G's little singing group tomorrow. This all gets monotonous after a while. Thanks to one of my all time heroes, Bob Newhart and his button down mind, through the magic of iTunes I have been able to pass the time with relative ease. His comedy is s witty and intelligent...and clean. Why can't we have more of that these days? Listen, I am not above a raunchy joke now and then, but put some thought into it for goodness sake. His bit involving a conversation that a driving instructor is having with his student is just excellent. Look it up.

On a completely different note, I must share heartwarming news. My friend Leanne got to hold her son, baby Drew, for the first time yesterday. As a mother myself, I cannot imagine how torturous it must have been for her to wait almost a month before getting to hold him. What precious news and a sweet picture to see and to hear that he fell asleep in her arms. The comfort was there, even if her arms were around him for the first time. He knew his mommy's arms. That just makes my Christmas.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Kids are so suggestible

Tonight was night numero dos of our church music program...unfilmed. This was the performance where the kids could relax a bit. They were troopers yesterday, but the program was also three and a half hours earlier. Tonight, after being told to use the bathroom as it was their last opportunity, the power of psychological suggestibility reared its ugly head. One had to go and then 3/4 of the pew cleared out over the course of the program. Between the adult bell ringers behind them, who were all mothers, we were busy. My friend had one attempting to lift the hymnals with their feet kicking their feet to see if they could make the mic stand move. I had one making a paper airplane contraption to cover their nose, held to their face by spit and a Kleenex strategically stuck up the nostrils to hold the contraption together. Another ate, in opposition of my stern warning, an entire Kleenex during "O Holy Night". There seems something very unholy about the union of the birth of our Savior and consuming bathroom paper products. Maybe it's just me. Either way, the concert was beautiful even if the entire tween set was stricken with a terrible case off"Ants in the pants". The music was gorgeous and I think our bell number was pretty super duper. I am now going to listen to Michael Buble' sing the last song of his special and conk out. Velvet voice lulling me to dreamland....

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

I am not ready for this

I was informed in the last few days that my son has a girlfriend. Well, the "girlfriend" term was used by my daughter. My heart started to race, my head started to hurt. This is not supposed to happen already. My baby is not supposed to like girls yet. So you can imagine that I, as any mother would do, immediately asked him about HER. He told me that she is not his girlfriend, but was very happy to say that he liked her. When I was in the big K, I do not recall having a boyfriend. I was trying to choke down stale graham crackers with warm milk and staying in the lines. He informed me that they do normal stuff together like pushing the tire swing together and hanging out on the playground. Whew! If that's all it is, I am fine. I want my son to be a gentleman and a godly man to the girl he dates, but not for about 20 more years...and that's when he will go on supervised dates. Just a warning, ladies.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Learning manners during the holidays

Our Christmas choir program is coming up on Sunday and Monday. Both my girls are singing in it, which is thrilling for them and for me. Because one of the performances is always televised, we all have our clothing requirements. G has to have black pants and, well dadburnit, she does not have any. So off to Target we went and luckily had success. In the shopping center next to Target is a brand new JoAnn's crafts. I had to go in to find some more swaddled baby Jesus colored felt for a project and the girls wanted to check out the new store. After we had our fill of rabid wreath buyers and cloth cutters, we took our place in line to purchase our treasures. While there, the pregnant lady in front of us was wrung with the cashier. Her voice was raised, her attitude was harsh and her face was cold. Her treatment of the cashier was enough to make my girls stare, mouths open in shock. They kept looking back at me, waiting for me to explain it away and I could not. I just shook my head. Why do the holidays bring out the worst in people? What does one gain with rudeness?

The girls and I made our purchase and left the store, ten footsteps behind the offender. I explained to them the old sayings about catching fewer flies with vinegar and how there was no call to speak to anyone with ugliness. We talked about that none of us are beer than others and said we have no right to put ourselves above anyone. We arrived at our vehicle to find it parked next to the ugly woman. She got her pregnant self into their truck and lit up a cigarette. I wanted to be judgemental and ugly. I wanted to make snarky comments, but then I realized that my learning opportunity for their learning would be destroyed. Oh how we are humbled ever second of every day.

After learning opportunities and soccer games that lasted for-ever, the kids are in bed and I am finally on the couch for a minute. We may even sample some frozen dairy delights...or I'll just go to sleep.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

I'm so tired my teeth hurt

I went on a field trip with eighty third graders today. We rode the Three Rivers Rambler train, which turned into the Polar Express. They had hot chocolate and animal crackers and saw this guy:

The kids went mildly mental and the big man handled it as only a trained Jolly old elf can. The volume level was rather high which rattled the teachers and chaperones quickly. I will say that the kids were very well behaved for a mob. As always happens with a new place, everyone suddenly had bladder issues and needed to relieve themselves, because who wouldn't want to go to the bathroom on a train? Uh, me, but I don't count. After the train ride, the kids travel to an Applebee's for lunch. That place didn't know what firestorm was about to hit. The kids were fairly well behaved, although some did not have enough sense to realize that making a condiment slurpee in their cup and daring someone to drink it, in front of a teacher, might get them in a bit of trouble. The management did not have their ducks in a row and presented the teachers with a stack of 80ish individual checks, which then turned into one check but not the agreed price, which turned into the agreed price but no tax exempt, which turned into 50 minutes later and all of us leaving without resolution. The manager showed up at school 10 minutes later with a hangdog expression and the newest bill.

I am now at home with a clenched jaw and janked up head,but the kids had a good time. Applebee's will never be the same.
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Creepy treasures, thrift shopping and cool rooms

For the past several days, we have been working to try and get the girls' room transformed from cutesie nursery turned little girl room into an organized tween/middle schooler cool sleeping pod. Their room is quite compact, so the options were limited. First up, wallpaper removal. I have several wallpaper removal jobs under my belt, so I was up to the challenge. Actually, the kids peeled it off with almost no effort. Oh how wallpaper is a deceptive demon that fools the innocent. After feeling the wall, the hub determined that the adhesive was still hanging on for dear life and needed to be removed. Here I come, armed with our steamer ready to do battle. I started steaming and the adhesive turned from fuzzy dry wall covering to voodoo glue from Hades. A one foot wide, seven foot tall strip took 1.5 hours to somewhat clean. The next days involved scorching Downy water in a spray bottle, a scrub brush, a huge razor blade and the envisioning of future PT and chiropractic visits for "wallpaper shoulder". After the walls were cleaned, primed and repainted, the task became to "tween" the room up a bit. Where do you go to find decor on a limited budget? The Habitat Resale Store of course. We found a great Captain America pencil drawing, but I was too cheap to pay $20 and it didn't have pink, purple or green in it, so.... I found a whole section of Tom Jones LP's, but this trip was about the children, so.... The pictures were too big or tacky or kitchen decor or masculine. We gave up on decorating and thought we would have a "new" book for each of them on their bed. But what to my wandering eyes did appear, but:

Aaaccckk!! Dark Shadows is good campy fun, but this face is disturbing. But for those of you who who are fans of Barnabas Collins, go to the Resale and look for this:

A whole Kroger shopping cart full of vampire soap enjoyment. Not exactly kid bedroom friendly, but oh well. I did get a treasure, although not from Habitat but from my aunt. Hand me down sheets for the boy. Retro goodness at its best:

Sleep long and prosper everybody.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bloggin' back at ya

As I sit here watching the Duck Dynasty Christmas special and writing my musings for the day, my mind wanders to my friend and her little warrior baby. While so many of us are in the spirit, preparing and shopping for family, they are savoring every second of their time with him. Every day, every hour, is a gift to them and their faith is amazing. But even great faith does not stop the bills from coming and expenses from popping up. They have allowed their family to set up a website to help raise money to help them during this time. A friend and sister blogger, who can actually write, has set up an "Awesome junk prize BONANZA". When you hear "bonanza", you know things are getting exciting. I am not going to even try to describe the process for the bonanza, so I will let her. I will say that I contributed the saddest prize of all, but it is my crafty thing. I make creatures, so I put in a bear. This is what they kind of look like:

Unfortunately this one is spoken for, but the one in the prize bonanza is a tan and navy checked bear. He's pretty cute. Just an FYI, I also make sock creatures and dinobunnies:

Please forgive the classy table in my pictures. it is a table, circa 1968, that is in my sewing area. Kind of didn't class up the product too much. I would have put these in the bonanza, but they belong to young people in my home and are covered in various pajama fuzzies and drool from proper sleepy cuddles in the night. Dinobunny got in a tussle with a sock monkey and needs some repair work.

Anyhoo, go to the blog: and check out the bonanza. Read about baby Drew and look at his sweet little face. Even if you don't feel comfortable donating, send up a few prayers for the little guy. Thanks for reading. Tune in tomorrow to read about the grocery cart full of Dark Shadows episodes I discovered at the Habitat Resale Store. I know you can't wait.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Learning from the little guys

I am biased. I'll admit it, but I admire my children...I admire children in general. Up to a certain age, they approach the world with a black and white attitude. They approach faith with a black and white attitude. There is little to question, they are sure about what they know. If you leave the "angel warning the shepherds" out of the Christmas story, they will point it out. They have something to say and a whole lot to teach me about letting go and going on faith.

I've heard a lot of discounting the importance of the role children play in our lives for too long. Are they just to be cute and "seen and not heard"? I think not. My children have profound things to say. They may not contain vocabulary that reads like a well written novel, but they make their points very clear. I am humbled by their absolute faith and certainty in their beliefs.

I'll stop now. Just a bad day that confirms my readiness for a break and some time with my children and husband. Twilight Zone marathons while playing Scrabble and wearing pajamas sound like Heaven right now.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Über Intense Mom and Charger Dad...the Demonic Duo

So my friend E and I are sitting here at snobby soccer skills practice. Let me state once again, I have allowed my kids to do this so they have some physical activity during the winter months and can get some extra skills training from "expertly trained" people who are rabid about their soccer. I have no illusions that my children are going to grow up and be on the US team, but if they can parlay this sport into a cheaper college tuition, great. The funny thing about this field house where they play is that as soon as you walk in, the intensity level goes up 1000%. The majority of these parents think their 4 or 7 or 13 year old is going to be the next Solo or Hamm or Chastain. The sense of humor is gone. One father ended up moving away from us because we were chatting too much for him to keep up his stats on his 5 year old. Another mom, feeding her infant, went out on the field to yell at her 4 year old for playing instead of working on drills. Get a life people. If they are having fun, leave them alone. It has been said, those who can't play, coach. Not necessarily true, but you see lots of parental broken dreams being lived out in their 5 year old's life. Sad, really. I just like to watch their spazzy little bodies. It is just the best!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tabloids are making me explain everything

My oldest saw a tabloid tonight at the grocery store, I think it was the they still make that?...and it spoke of Tom and Suri. It asked "Will he leave the church since he cannot speak to anyone who doesn't believe in the Scientologist doctrine?". S asked if it came down to it, would I choose the church or her? I told her that I would never be asked by our church to never speak to her again, although I may have to explain my alien baby that I had with Burt Reynolds. Tabloids make such outrageous stories...totally would have been Tom Selleck. Because she is a sixth grader she is going though the confirmation process to decided if she wants to become a full member of the church. When I was a confirmand, we visited several other churches of differing religions just to hear what they had to say. They wanted us to be aware of other religions and fully weigh out our options. S asked me, after seeing that tabloid, if we visited a church of Scientology during that time. My answer was this...verbatim..."Uhhhh, no." The tabloids also allow me to explain how makeup can really make the stars look different, but so can photo editing.

So in summary, tabloids are entertaining. Our child's church journey is very sacred and important to us, and it is going to be a miracle if Suri doesn't grow up to be an ax murderer thanks to the Enquirerer.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

That boy is a fighter!

The selfish stuff first. Snobby soccer Saturday was exhausting. I am sure the are learning valuable skills, but it is nauseating to watch your children get purposely left out by coaches because they are only "Winter League" players and not "Academy" players. The boy's coach spoke to him like he had a traumatic brain injury that was contagious. G had the same coach who singled her out constantly. I keep telling myself that it is just for a few more weeks. This will build character. My oldest scored the winning goal in her game, but her coach was our friend and is a kind person. I despise snobbery...despise it.

Our soccer woes are a mere blip on the screen of importance compared to the heartache and worry that our friend L is experiencing with her baby boy. I have spoken about them several times before. He has defied all the odds against him thus far. What a little warrior he is! Yesterday and this morning/afternoon have been extremely scary. His levels have dropped and they have been afraid of losing him. The decision was finally made to put him back on the ECMO machine he had successfully been removed from several days ago. The odds were put at 25% for being put on the machine a second time. But he did it!! Now that he is on it, it is time to let his little body rest and for the docs and parents to decide their next steps. I truly believe God has big plans for this little warrior boy. I ask for all of you to pray, send positive thoughts and well wishes up for him. If you would like to follow his Caring Bridge page, let me know and I will give you his mom's name.

I'm now going to say a prayer for the boy and go to bed. God help him rest and gain some strength through the night.

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