Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stupid safety pins....

Okay, so I was way too cheap to buy a tagging gun for my consignment sale prep. The only ones I could find locally were $55 and $47 at the large office supply chains. Being too cheap to take that much of a cut out of my profits, I chose to do what I have done for the past years: turn into a human pin cushion. I did manage to not bleed on any of the items so far.

Other than that, my day was comprised of destroying my office, buying a rug, reimagining a sixth grade solar system project for the 77th time, going to a receiving of friends, playing taxi driver and generally coming to terms with the disguting amount of crud we have in our basement. I am not a hoarder...I am not a hoarder. I just have a healthy love of fabric and socks and thread and needles and craft supplies that relate to sewing creatures. Don't judge me.

I am going to lay down and finally watch the new Duck Dynasty episodes. I saw my husband laughing the silent laugh with crimson face, so I know good things are happening. TTFN, dear readers.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My son the writer

Busy day again today, but that is nothing new. My aunt had knee replacement surgery today and, thankfully, she came through it fine. I'm sure she is not feeling overjoyed at the whole process right now, but it will pay off soon enough. Keep pressing the button on that drip, Aunt K.

My mother and father came in to sit with my uncle at the hospital and make sure he takes care of himself an eats/sleeps/hydrates, you know, the important things a caregiver must do. Once their services were no longer needed at the hospital, they came back to our house. My mom and I have been in a consignment prep frenzy. Ironing and hanging and pinning. No, Margaret, I have not gotten a pricing gun, but I am getting one tomorrow. My fingers will be saved. I took a break to look through the kids' paperwork from school today. I found the jewel of the lot today:

The boy is learning to write freestyle thoughts. His handwriting is better than what you see...he kept correcting himself. But "Stinkbug-gate" has really changed him as a boy and as a sibling. Quick backstory from this morning, S found a stinkbug in her room this morning and brought it to me on a mound of 10 feet of toilet paper, holding her nose. She was completely freaked out. I took the offender, wrapped him up and threw him in the trash. Fast forward to his musings. The translation of his paper is: "I saw a bug. It scared my sister. That is why I like bugs." While I hate the overuse of this word, I have to say it. That kid is awesome. I love him. Stinkbug and The Boy: 1-Sister: zip.

Night everybody.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thankful for the little things....

It has been a typical Tuesday...very hectic and exhausting. We were all a bit groggy this morning in the aftermath of "Stinkbug-gate". Sleep never comes easily when you and your sibling are hunkered down in bed together, waiting for yet another nose hopping bug to destroy the night's calm. They powered through and completed their morning routine with minimal whining. The boy was fine, having slept through the melee like a champ...even working hard on his shoe tying:

Everyone was delivered to their schools in good time and I drove on to work. My true temptation was to turn the heat on in that frigid office, build a Constanza-esque sleep cubby under my desk and wipe out until just time for staff meeting to start. Somehow I think that sleep lines and wrinkled clothes would be noticeable to others. So I read my email and received another notification about Baby Drew and the family. So many burdens they are much worry and uncertainty. From Drew's health to insurance snafus that threaten to leave the family in even more difficulty, the horror just contiues to pile up...not to mention the family toll. Time spent away from their older son, time to spend with her husband, time away to just be normal. They are grieving the normal. They are grieving the little things. So often I grumble at the many monontonous tasks in life. More laundry, muddy shoes on the floor, "I need more glue sticks, Mom!", tiny ants in my kitchen, hanging clothes up for consignment, night meetings at church, driving to yet another activity.

As I sat watching my son play on the ipad with his friend this afternoon, I noticed that as they had wiggled and squirmed in order to get comfortable they had moved 15 feet across the floor....totally clueless. I'm thankful for that. Seeing the boy have a little Alfalfa hair going on...I'm thankful. To French braid my girl's hair before dance while she's grumbling...I'm thankful for that. To see my two youngest bond together out of their anger for my making them sit through a boring meeting...I'm thankful for that:

I'm blessed with normal and I am so very grateful. My prayer is to always be thankful for the is definitely underrated.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Perfecting the art of procrastination

It is that biannual time of the year, friends and neighbors, when frazzled moms and grandmothers sit with safety pins, hangers and sore fingers desperately trying to ready clothes for consignment with the Picky Chick. This sale has been good to me for many years...ever since she had the sale in her garage and I waddled up her driveway a mere 24 hours from giving birth. I am one of those mothers and I have the clothes all over our living room. As you can plainly see, so much work is being done here. Clearly I am the example on just how to do this effectively and efficiently. Cough cough. Just coming out and saying it right now: I HATE to prepare, tag and price my items. If I weren't so cheap, I'd take the 50-50 split and have someone do it for me. But I can't. So I sit. In the corner of the sectional. And write whilst watching "The Following". Uh oh wait. Drama upstairs. Be right back.............

Okay, so the sound of blood curdling screams came from upstairs. Honestly, I haven't seen my husband run that fast since before the surgery. Apparently a huge creature landed on my child's nose, causing her to scream and give her parents heart palpitations. Luckily, the boy slept through it and we had both recently used the facilities. When the offending party had been located and identified (stinkbug), B tried to take advantage of an educational opportunity and show them the bug. Stinky had other plans which included, oh I don't know, escape. This then unleashed a firestorm of "We're sleeping in your room" which was answered with "Stinkbugs can move. It might come in our room next." Apparently there is safety in numbers against something 1/1gajillionth your size, so they are bunking together. Whatever gets them back to sleep....and me back to taggin- oh who am I kidding. Kevin Bacon is mocking kidnappers. The clothes can wait.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Super Bowl night....

It's a wonderful night for Oscar, Oscar Oscar...who will win? I love this night for so many reasons. My family hates it. I feel bad about that, but then again I can barely take 99% of the childen's programming that is on right now....and I can usually only take about a teaspoon's worth of sports most of the time. But give me TCM, a movie marathon and Oscar night and I'm a happy woman. It is still my dream to be a voting member of the Academy and be a seat filler there someday. I know, big dreams with little to no chance of ever happening. We'll see how Seth McFarlane does as a host. Not bad so far....he has a suprisingly lovely singing voice.

On a completely different note, I found a funny today. I look at the stats this blog gets, more often than I'd care to admit, and I find some funny stuff. One of the items I can check is the words put into Google to find this blog...or maybe they stumble upon it because of what they put in there. This is the funniest one I've seen in a while:

HAHAHAHAHA!!! And I must say that I agree with that statement. Have a good night everybody!
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sweet pain in the afternoon

Our day started off normally enough. The hub woke up at 5:40. On a Saturday. The boy woke up five minutes later. They took a trip to see Jerry, our favorite barber and all around good guy, and got the untameable mess on the boy's head chopped off. This is a good thing, for I was running out of creative options for making him look human. After a riveting morning filled with kid shoe shopping and kitchen floor sample looking, we returned to our abode for lunch and solar system construction. Living the dream as usual, friends.

This afternoon we changed clothes and went to church for an event no one looks forward to attending but we long to be there as a tiny source of comfort:  a receiving of friends and funeral. With three children in toe, there was a lot of coaching and explaining and question answering. As a parent, you don't want your children to say anything to the family that will make things worse. Comforting words....comforting words. It was hard not to reflect back to when my grandmother died. The sick feeling in my stomach. The exhaustion from the physical and emotional toll that death can bring to those left behind...the loss not yet fully realized.  My heart hurt for the family. We walked into the sanctuary, me straightening the boy's tie and pulling G's hands away from the belt on her tunic top. Familiar faces were heavily peppered throughout the crowd, some smiling, some crying, some brightening as they caught a glimpse of a face from years ago. The children were anxious to see Dr. Mark. As with people they love and have known for their lifetime, they have always asked to call him "Uncle"....their ultimate gesture of love and devotion. When we got close, he complimented the boy on his dapper appearance, told the girls how much they were growing and took them into his arms. "When you leave here and go to lunch or home or about your day, will you children do me a favor?", Mark asked. "Will you look at your mom and dad and tell them how much you love them? Will you do that for me?". Wide eyed faces nodded in obedience with tears welling in all the eyes. He told them he loved them very much and then we moved on to speak to his sweet sister and other family members. After speaking with the rest of the extended family, we made our way out. I sent the hub and two children away, for a severe case of ants in the pants is never received well in a somber church service....and we had a doubly bad case, I'm afraid.  S and I looked at the lovely pictures of Nancy, commenting on our memories of seeing her in the grocery store, our stomachs growling when she told us what she would be fixing with the contents of her buggy. After making our way back into the sanctuary and finding a seat in the pew, we waited for the service to begin. We were very early, but it was so sweet to see so many people to come and honor the memory of this woman and show their deep affection for the family. With Granny, I remember that just when we didn't think we could stand upright another second, another welcome face gave us strength to make it for a little bit longer.  When the service began, we were overwhelmed and blessed by the beautiful music and words spoken. Music moves me in a way no spoken words can. It stirs me to my very soul. The beauty of seeing the choir sing, not only to God, but also to one of their beloved members who had been in their position so many times before just brought me to my knees. What a fitting benediction to a lovely life. I don't know who felt blessed more....but I am eternally grateful for the sweet pain that comes from loving and losing, by a family so steadfast in their faith and a church loving them through all of it.  I am blessed to have been a witness....

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Not enough product in the world....

This morning was a hard morning for me to wake up. I'm not really sure why. Just a run of the mill Friday. As Jimmy Stewart said in "Rear Window", "The calendar's full of 'em." The boy, however, was up soon after his daddy got up. He completed his morning routine and then chatted with his daddy while he completed his. After getting myself as ready as I was going to be, I inspected each child to make sure they were adequately dressed for the day. S was, per her coach's request, wearing her soccer jersey and a black pair of fleecey workout pants. Seeing as it was Spring picture day, her choice of pants and hairdo were a bit off from my tastes, but gotta let go sometime. G had a decent outfit on with the thick, gorgeous hair of hers brushed and tamed. Then the boy walked in and I got my first look at him post "getting the sleepy" out of my eyes. Here recently he has been dealing with an extreme case of bed head that no water alone will overcome. Today was no exception, but it was worse than usual. There was a mixture of Rod Stewart meets Alfalfa meets Buckwheat. The perect storm of hair disaster was preparing to destroy my sweet little boy's reputation of being "Johnny Coif". I used hair glue to fauxhawk it up and then desperately tried to get the sides to calm down. I wet them down and then too the hairdryer to insure their staying down. By the time we went from the bathroom downstairs, they were up making him look reminiscent of Eddie Munster. At dinner, the 'hawk had calmed, but that was the least of his worries. The picture doesn't do it justice:

This was calm. Tomorrow brings with it a crack of dawn trip to see our hero, Mr. Jerry and have him work his magic. Otherwise, I'm going to black out his glasses, give him a cup and set him on a corner with a sign. He looks that ragmuffiny. Help him out if you see him. He gots to get a trim, friends.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crunchy play-doh kinda day

I am currently sitting in the corner of the sectional with my feet up, Big Bang Theory on the Samsung and the kids contained in their beds. There are about fifty seven thousand things I need to be doing, but I have absolutely no energy left. Between helping with RIF, helping watch the kids at church for a meeting, shuttling children and picking up dog poop off of the rug, I'm done. I've learned a few things during my time in the car today:

1. When the play-doh dries up and you try to put it to the side, the kids tend to gravitate towards the crispy, unusable pieces than the soft, squishy stuff. Why?

2. On RIF days, my children are some of the few that want to pick the old school books that I had when I was little. A flashy cover they do not need. I like that...although sometimes those old books are picked over for a reason and the flashy covered ones really are better.

3. When you change the lyrics to "Rock A Bye Baby" to warning the baby not to "bonk his head" and knock the blue little person out of the bed, it is a big hit with the 4 and under crowd. Physical comedy. Starting them early.

4. No matter how low I felt today, when Bob Newhart came on the XM comedy channel doing his bit about when his son was born, it immediately pepped me up. He's the man.

5. When you get to be 14 years old, I guess dogs have a right to leave a pile on the rug and use the excuse, "Oh, did I do that? I forgot." And I have the right to get gagged every once in a while.

6. My childen are blessed with warrior friends who protect their hearts and their honor. My heart is full from the fierce love they have for each other.

7. When I feel I'm the biggest failure as a parent, one hug from my three little heartbeats makes me almost feel normal again. I am blessed.

Have a good evening. Readying myself for bed and a clean slate tomorrow.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What am I doing wrong?

I ran all day in search of items and ways to personalize my office. This is my nightmare and completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. My dear friend lost his mother yesterday. I am so sad for him and ask prayers for comfort for him and his sister and family.

I am having a hard time understanding and processing what I am doing as a parent to raise girls who are targets. S had a hellish time in elementary school, but is thriving in middle school...thank God. Now G has become a target. I know I am biased, but that kid is the sweetest, kindest, most tenderhearted child I've ever known. She cries at sweet Kleenex commercials and tender stories about people succeeding in spite of great odds. She got teary at the return of Robin Roberts in GMA this morning. So why does she get to be the target of the kid who chooses to be ugly? What happens to a person to make them mean? Why does someone think that every day they need to come in and tell my daughter "I still don't like your hair. It looks awful"....a month after the haircut. Why do they say, "Why are your teeth so yellow? I hate them." Every day. I feel like I send her into the middle of a gunfight with an LL Bean backpack and no defense. I know we all have to remember 'Sticks and Stones", but come on. She's eight. And she's a nice kid. I just covet your prayers in this situation. I had such high hopes for a bully free year.

Other than that, I'm just doing great. The boy's story about the bruise on his cheek continues to grow in intensity and severity. By the time we were to have dinner at church, he was telling people that he lost consciousness after his sister knocked him down flat and, in a Karate Kid-esque "FINISH HIM" kind of fashion, rammed the broom handle into his cheek as one would ram a sword deep in the chest of a downed gladiator. We are planning a talk to help differentiate between lying and epic storytelling. That kid. I'm going to bed.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feng Shui...fing's all Greek to me

Tuesdays are always long days for me with work, picking up kids, G's choir, dance, meetings. I am just now home and trying to contemplate bath and bedtime for the kids and dinnertime for myself. Luckily I snuck JRC(fromerly known as Jump Rope Club)in while the kids were changing clothes between activities. That 15 minutes of jumping was painful as I did not change into more activity friendly shoes. Oh well. While S went to dance, I went to try and make sense of the chaos that is my office. For several weeks now, I have contemplated changing the look of it a bit. I am not a design person...I'll do the manual labor, I just can't visualize. My office is just slightly smaller than my college dorm room, so I can't sit in there without thinking, "Hmm. My loft could go here and the desks will go here. Oh wait...have to make room for the mini fridge and hot pot." My mother is the moaster when it comes to conceptualizing a room and it is an understanding we have that she provides me with designs and I help with the labor and pitching of crap. Welll, with my mom safely tucked away an hour and a half north of here, I was without my design guru. My boss also loves design and was deeply disturbed by the red painted and red and white checked fabric covered bulletin boards. I inherited these. One of the ministry assistants was desperately trying to be a good steward of our stuff and repurpose a board that really needed to be part of the landfill. It was a good idea, but with the light blue walls took on a agriculture-esque theme that made me feel a desperate need to wear overalls and sing about a "chick chick here and a chick chick there...". So we started moving things around. And some more things around. Then feng shui was mentioned. I don't understand all of that. I just know what I like and what I don't. I just want a happy office that resembles order and not an A&E special in the making. The school pick up line was beckoning, so I had to leave it in a state of incompleteness. This does not make a feng shui-y kind of happy mind for me. Luckily S had dance tonight, so I went back up there and cleared it out a little while listening to Bob Newhart. Ahhhh. When asked by our SPRC chair if I felt more feng shui, I told him that Newhart will add some shui to any office.

Now it is time to roll my feng and shui into a bed and wipe out for the night. "With a moo moo her and a moo moo there....".

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Rocky Mountain Dental High

Happy Presidents Day to all and to all a happy Monday evening. As I type, I am listening to the sounds of my children laughing. John Denver is playing in the background and the hub is reading the paper or playing Bejeweled Blitz, one of the two. I am trying to work myself up to standing up and getting a few pieces of laundry away. Frankly, jump rope club has kicked the tar out of my legs and the laundry can wait. If I groan one more time, I think my rope may be adding to the landfill come Wednesday. It is getting a little easier every time and is nice to do outside...except I did catch the neighbor watching me while he was up on the ladder fixing his gutters. His look was one that can only be described as a mixture of amusement, shock, horror and confusion. I get it. I love him dearly, but I get that look a lot...deservedly so. After finishing my fitness commitment for the afternoon, I cleaned up and readied myself for an afternoon at the dentist's office. I adore our dentist, as do the children. As I've stated before, I've known him for many, many years and am lucky to have him as a friend as well as the poor soul who has to go all samuri on my crazy teeth. He was not there today and I ask you to please pray for his family. His mother is deathly ill and we are all so sad. She has been a fixture in our communtiy for so many years. I pray for comfort for all of the family.

The children had great reports and no cavities which is always music to my ears. When they had their tooth polishing done, they got to choose from new flavors the office was trying out. We as adults get the boring and mint and sometimes cinnamon. The kids had exciting choices and made interesting ones. S got birthday cake flavored toothpaste/polish and G/The Boy got Key Lime Pie. Brrrr. I love me some citrus, but not in my toothpaste. Kind of makes me thankful for my boring mint.

Well, dear three readers, I am off to wash the day off of myself and plunge into a time sucking Pinterest session to explore ideas for our kitchen and backyard. Gots to be prepared for Spring. Jenny out.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

The perils of play

I have some pretty sore legs, knees, ankles, hips, arms. Jump rope club was a little harder, but I jumped a little longer and faster today. The kids did better as well. G managed to work out the twisting of the ropes today. S just managed to make us all look bad and the boy turned his conniption like jumping into a little more flash...little less frenzy. Even though it was very chilly outside, it was beautiful and we had no excuse for staying in the warmth other than to be slothy. After I completed my allotted jumping time, I sat down to take a breather and decided I would jump a little bit longer. A sound of metal meeting concrete and a cry followed by a sister saying, "'ve got breathe, " and then a huge screaming cry. A splinter rebel group from jump rope club had traveled down to the basketball court to ride scooters and sweep tree trash for fun. Kids these days. The boy comes running up holding his cheek. When you crash you scooter and fall full force into the broom handle your sister is using to sweep a path, bad things happen. And they usually have the colors black, blue, purple or red attached to them. Poor little guy:

Luckliy the lighting and picture do not show you how angry his cheek really looks with an abrasion on top of a bruise. What happened in the splinter group off of jump rope club obviously did not stay in jump rope club. I just told everybody, well all three of the people, who read this blog. Bless his looks pretty darn painful.

I know that I only have more pain to look forward to tomorrow, but I think this jump roping is a good thing. I'm using muscles I haven't used for a while. This is good and comical for all those who might catch a glimpse.

Season finale of Downton is on. I guess I need to see what my favorite downstairs folk are doing. Night all....
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Frozen jump roping hippo

Our Saturday is quickly drawing to a close. The hub is desperately trying to get warm after working on my car all afternoon. We cleaned house this morning, desperaely trying to knock a layer of dust off the tops of, well, everything. I also cleaned our snack and bread bins out in the kitchen. We even caught up on laundry. Our oldest has a solar system to construct, but somehow that didn't get done again today. Oh well, I passed secondary school...not my problem. At least that is what I'm trying to tell myself. It is bugging the crud out of me.

This afternoon I noticed a strange phenomenon. This ball of yellow light was up in the sky and it beckoned me outside. While I wanted to go out, I needed an activity to keep warm. Looking in our sports equipment box, I found the item that would help keep me warm outside: a jump rope. So the kids and I bundled up, went outside and formed "Jump Rope Club":

While the boy's style is more conniption fit with rope, the girls resemble prize fighters deep in training for a match with the devil. Their mother, who can indeed jump rope, resembled those tutu clad hippos in "Fantasia"....but lacking the grace. The kids did get to understand that I am not completely inept, but I lack the skill the cross the ropes and do that fancy jumping move. Don't worry. I'll get it. We have jump rope club every day. But don't expect a picture of me...what happens in Jump Rope Club stays in Jump Rope Club. Sorry, friends.
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Friday, February 15, 2013

When pretzel bites are nutritious, the whole world's ending

I spent the better part of my day at our school's jump rope fundraiser for security improvements(cough cough) watching my children jump rope, learn about heart health and raise money for a cause that has exploded into a major mess. I won't go into it, but you can certainly read about it in papers and see reports on local stations. With staff, parents and children on edge, the atmosphere was lacking the extreme peppiness of previous years. When the school board official who represents our school district walked in, after saying some rather "interesting" things in this morning's paper, the gasp from parents and teachers was noticeable. I didn't mean to say this much about it. so let's talk about the shabby excuse for a lunch my children got today. The boy's class jumped and dined first, so we got to see what they were having. Apparently the cafeteria ran out of chicken nuggets halfway through the third kindergarten class and they started serving these instead:

What are those, you ask? Pretzel bites and cheese sauce. They gave out free dessert. Now, he could have had scalloped potatoes(I think that was what they were)and steamed veggies of a gray variety. I understand their absence. The other option was an Uncrustable PBJ. It saddens me that frozen/processed PBJ is the healthiest option for a lunch right after learning about heart health. We pack lunches some, but I have wanted them, especially the boy, to learn about giving his student number and making good choices and trying new things. How could a good choice be made in this situation? I can't even begin to talk about the cheese sauce that seemed to turn to glue before my eyes. Kids used it once and then played with it for the rest of lunch. One of the boy's classmates stuck his whole hand in it which, with my cheese issues, just about made me hurl at the table. I don't want to blame the cafeteria ladies. I imagine they are cooking what they are sent. Just terribly disheartening and revealing about so many things. G said, "I hardly get milk anymore...just water. The milk's disgusting!". When I asked if it was just not to her taste or if it had turned she said, "Not sure what turned means, but a couple times a week it is chunky." No words. I have a feeling the kids will be packing more than paying.

I did take away some positives today. I am going to start jumping rope outside on the patio. You can stop laughing now. I'm not too bad. I learned that when someone, for whatever reason, drives a purple Lotus luxury sports car past 25 cars in the pickup line, heads phones click...Twitter blows up. When you are, like I was today, the first car in line, it is very entertaining to watch people(10 plus a police officer)take pictures of the car. Good stuff.

Now it is bedtime for the kids and relaxation time for the parents. I'm going to try and forget about this day. Except for these things:

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Massacre....of a good meal

As our Valentine's Day draws to a close, I find myself tired and almost glad it is over. While this day usually smacks of amore' for most people, it has always been so much more in our family. Two of the most important people in my life were born on this day: my brother and my grandmother. Our family always came together for a big celebration filled with birthday cake and chocolate hearts. I looked forward to it every year. My grandmother passed away in July of 2009 and Valentine's Day isn't quite the same. I know my brother, who always graciously shared each birthday celebration with her, feels an extra loss for his birthday twin. Each year held another picture of the pair blowing out the candles on their particular desserts: his, cheesecake...hers, Butterscotch Delight. Sweet memories that will forever be in my mind and will fill my heart with pain and warmth.

Okay, so this evening I had planned to have a nice family dinner of steak, baked potatoes and veggies. I consider myself a fairly decent cook, but grills and I are not great friends. When lighting our gas grill a few years ago, I pressed the igniter only to have it flare up in a dramatic way and give me a free eyebrow contouring. To say I'm a little gun shy is an understatement. I waited as long as I could, hoping the hub would get home and save the day by becoming the grillmeister. Alas, it was not to be. I fired the grill up without incident and went inside to get the meat. I had also popped some potatoes in the oven for a low and slow bake. Then the steaks went on the grill and I looked at the time so I would know when to flip them. All this was going along just great. Then I got a phone call...which lead to some emails...which led to some get the idea. I also forgot that our grill is psychotic, so when I went out at 5 minutes to check on the meat, there were not so small hunks of burnin' beef. I quickly flipped them and rearranged them to try and prevent another flareup. Running inside to get a pan to put the meat in, I realized that an extra hour had passed since I had put the potatoes in the oven. Crap. They didn't look too shriveled, thank goodness. I ran back out, got the meat off, ran inside and started to plate everything. The cucumbers I purchased look lovely in the little heart dishes. The bread seemed okay. I mean, how can one really mess up bread wrapped in foil. Well, I guess you could, but it turned out. My brother dropped by quickly to drop off Valentines for the kids. I put dinner on the table. The cucumbers were bitter. The steak was cold. The potatoes were over baked. Aren't you sad you weren't a dinner guest tonight? The heart shaped cookie was the one thing that turned out better than expected. Next year, we'll order a heart shaped pizza and be done with it.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you. Brother Mike, I love you and Granny I miss you terribly every day...and, yes, you taught me better cooking than what I showcased this evening. I am blessed by my Valentine birthday babies and my 4 sweet Valentine heartbeats who bless me every day.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hey, you got dirt on your forehead...

So, um, after a night of little sleep due to the fact that my big, huge grown up body cannot handle a grown up dose of Benadryl. As Cosmo Kramer calls it, Benadryl gives me the "Jimmy Legs" and I thrash around like some sort of weirdo. On top of that, we have a gutter/downspout issue going on right outside the window on my side of the bed. If the sound was a steady drip, drip, drip, it would be one thing. Instead, it sounds like a birds is inside the wall trying to peck at bugs randomly. I got up at one point and pounded on the wall, hoping that the rain creature in the wall would shut up. The hub turned over and looked at me as though I was insane. Partially true. Benadryl psychosis. I ended up across the room on the floor with extra pillows over my head. Then began the nightmares that our dog kept finding mice all over our breakfast room. Yuck. So my morning started in a grumpy way. I needed to get my mind right....quickly. My first order of business was to purchase Valentiney stuff for the children and a birthday gift for my brother the Valentine baby. I then went home and attempted to take a nap. At the same time, my phone decided to blow up with calls and text messages for the next hour. Finally I gave up, calmed my hair down and left to go to church. I sat down in our chapel and contemplated Lent and what my sacrifice or addition would be. This year has been harder than most. I give up the some thing every year, so I feel a change is in order. After the message I got the ashes on my forehead and went on my way. You forget quickly that you have the ashes on your head...and then you go out in public. I don't care if people stare. It just takes me a minute to remember and understand why my friend in the produce section of the grocery store points at my head and motions for me to wipe it off. I need those ashes...that dirty forehead...because it reminds me of the 40 day journey I am beginning. I look forward to it.

But tonight, I'm snuggling with the boy and reading "Castle" by David McCaulay. I will halve my Benadryl dose and pray that my Jimmy Legs are calm. Otherwise tomorrow, cross the street when you see me. I will not be a delight to be around. Positive thoughts, friends.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Goodbye Shrove Tuesday....

The night is coming to an end and I am ready. Most of the time my Tuesdays fly by and leave me wondering where the day went. Today was the exact opposite. The hours from 12-2 crept by like a turtle on benadryl and I never thought it would end. I did enjoy hearing the two hispanic men talking as they were painting the office down the hall. I did not enjoy the fact that when my coffee ran through and I went to the bathroom down the hall, there were men replacing the sink. You know your bladder has reached a critical point when you pause to evaluate how embarrassing it would be to just go on into the stall with them in there. I made the right choice. Thankfully a coworker who sometimes jumps out to scare me chose to be in another part of the building today. Things could have taken a different course.

After a full day, we all went to eat pancakes for our Shrove Tuesday celebration. There was a much a bigger crowd than anticipated, which was great. The Shrove Tuesday miracle, which I really just invented today, happened when this guy ate his first bite of pancake in a good ten years:

The kids sat in stunned surprise, watching something they had never seen before. Not being a breakfast person and living at scout camp for a significant portion of his life ruined him for the fluffy, syrup soaked delights. Oh well, Superman had his Kryptonite. Afterwards, we made a Lenten spiral. It will help us as a family to track and learn together during the 40 days of Lent. This is not ours, but it is a similar representation:

I look forward to this period of reflection and preparation. I need a bad way. But now, I really need benadryl and mucinex and a comfy pillow in a bad way. Enjoy those last few pancakes....ready to get my ashes on tomorrow.
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday, Monday....

I have nothing much in the way of exciting news today. Laundry and grocery shopping and laundry and school pick up and laundry and cooking dinner and laundry and bedtime stories. The boy and I are reading the first of several David McCaulay books. I remember that my brother and I got them for my dad over the course of birthdays and Christmases and Father's Days. The first one we are reading is Cathedral:

Some of it is a bit over his head, but the drawings are absolutely amazing and the educational value is tremendous. To hear him say "flying buttresses" over and over is very amusing. If you have young people who like to see how things were made and hear all the technical terms, this is the book for you. We also have Castle and Pyramid. If not, may I recommend the Richard Scarry books. They are big with fun pictures, too.

I'm watching "The Following" right now, so if you hear screams, it is me. Kevin Bacon is awfully good in it, but sometimes it is so tense I long for him to break into his "Footloose" dance to diffuse things a bit. Anyway, have a great evening and I'm going to continue to torture myself with suspense.
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dinner table discussions...

The fine art of dining as a family is quickly becoming a lost art, I'm sad to say. My mother fought hard to make sure that we had family dinners 5 or more nights a week. I am so grateful for her persistence. We worked through a lot of heavy things around the table. We had games and light hearted discussions. We had devotions....we had lessons on proper etiquette. Sometimes we did not want to be at the table. Bad attitudes and parents who had reached their of ailing family and friends. Subjects that plain put one off their dinner. But all the dinners were important. Even the one where I wouldn't eat what was offered so I sat at the table until bedtime and then had it served up to me for breakfast...cold. Even the beef stroganoff and chicken tetrazini meals...sorry Mom, but yuck. And she is a GIFTED cook.

Tonight we had family dinner together and it was, well, different. First off, the hub was in pain, I was hacking from allergies and the boy was hacking as well. Seemed like some sort of medical ward in there. I got on a kick a few years back of buying educational placemats for the kids. Some of them had letters and numbers, some had the solar system, and tonight's had the presidents...up through George W. Bush. I got it a few years ago. So right out of the box, one of the kids asked, "Mom, were you born when Eisenhower was president?". D'oh. That was harsh. Next I sadly learned how little our school system has taught our children about the leaders of our country. I learned of the exploits of "Ruverfer Black Hay" and "Jim K. Pork" and their travels to form our great country of Finland. The boy added the country's name. Appropriate, I guess. I weep for our future "Jeopardy" players.

Tonight we laughed, we argued, we shushed. The hub and our smacked our heads a few times. But we were together. Working it out together...and I'll never stop fighting for that precious time.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

My favorite Valentine...

Tonight was the tenth annual Father Daughter dance at our church. It has turned out to be quite the event for the community. Unfortunately for the hub, he does not have ants in his pants and the need to dance. He goes because of the mad love he has for his daughters...and the realization that they pretty much dance with their friends and he visits with the other abandoned dads. After about year four, he realized he wasn't obligated to dance anything but YMCA or one song like that. The girls always like to get dressed up, even our tomboy G. She was so excited to walk down the stairs and reveal herself to her daddy this year. Here is the happy trio before they departed:

The boy and I had a date as well. We were going to go bowling, but with a bad allergy/cold that sent him to the doc this morning and my teeth that ache at any loud noises, we decided to play it cool and quiet. We went on a double date with Uncle Mike and Aunt Deb to a Chinese restaurant and then went back to their house so the boy could watch his very first episode of "Thunderbirds". Needless to say, when you show a boy fires, explosions and cigar smoking marionettes, you have a "W" in the cool mom department.

The dancing trio has returned none the worse for wear. The kids are now in bed and the hub and I are inexplicably watching "Lethal Weapon 3". A Mel Gibson mullet movie at its finest. The hub is tired and back weary, but my favorite Valentine of all made two girls very happy tonight and showed them how much he treasures them in his life. I am blessed.
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Holy burning herbal oil, Batman

I had a stressful day. In the grand scheme of things with Superstorm Nemo and Baby Drew and friends with cancer, a stressful day is really nothing. But to my teeth and jaw, it is torturously awful. I carry all of my stress in my jaws and shoulders, so today feels like I could produce enough pressure to make diamonds if someone took me to a coal mine. By the time dinner was over and I had chewed on both bacon pieces and pecans, bad idea, I was in tears and praying for relief. The hub kindly drove all of us to Walgreens to search for clove oil, thanks to research and "Marathon Man". While there, we saw my aunt stuck in the Redbox line from hell. Her husband, my uncle and mother's brother, is a pharmacist. I always hate to call him and take advantage of his position, but sometimes I do out of desperation. Walgreens had no clove oil and could not order it. Seeing my look of defeat, the hub said we would try CVS(my uncle's chain) and see if they carried any. Thank God they did. This tiny little vial inside of a childproof pill bottle. I laughed at the packaging. Insert foreshadowing music here. We were partly home and my aunt called to say she had purchased the husband-uncle recommended remedy and had it for me in the parking lot. I realized after that exchanging boxes and bottles in the drugstore parking lot on a Friday night may not have been a super smart move, but luckily the bulk of the policemen were busting prostitutes next door at the laundromat. Lucky for me. The three miles home felt like an eternity. I called first shower and readied myself for the blessed, sleepy relief that would envelop my body after applying the tooth relief. The directions were very specific as were the tools:

The box had little pellety looking cotton ball about the size of a quarter of a Skittle. You took the tweezers, soaked the mini-cotton in the liquid eugenol oil and placed the ball on the affected tooth, taking care to not touch any other tissue in the mouth. They warned against dripping, which I again joked about a little bit. Foreshadowing music once again. It was all a bit clumsy, but going alright until the cotton shifted and touched the side of my mouth. The reaction was almost instantaneous. I jerked in reaction which then caused the cotton to then fall into the well of your mouth where your tongue rests. I then took my fingers to pull the cotton out and place it back on my tooth, then touching the side of my lips. All the while the heat of a thousand burning suns exploded in my mouth. I couldn't get it to stop. And let's just say that rinsing with water only spread the love around. Kind of like swishing with lava. And that was just the right side. The left side produced the same result with me drooling like a teething toddler. An hour later, the pain is better but my mouth still burns like crazy. I started to question the amount of relief Dustin Hoffman's character felt from the stuff, but then I remembered he had a drill shoved down in a healthy tooth. The heat of the surface of the sun was probably a blessed relief. Either way, I have maybe a quarter of the pain relieved and I smell like a country Christmas kitchen. Win-win, I guess.
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back in the saddle again....

I got called into duty today, friends. No, not jury duty. Preschool duty. Our preschool staff was running thin with illness and appointments and illness and more illness. So I got called to help with the little guys this morning. The good thing is when you are the sub, you do what you are told and just play a lot. I played with lots of trains and animals and pretended to be horrified by a rubber spider and a grasshopper that they continuously threw in my lap. That was a big hit....drew major belly laughs with the two year old crowd. I got on quite well with my friends. Only one criticism for the day. I was helping with handwashing before snack and was singing the handwashing song I always use: "Wash wash wash your hands...wash them every day! After you potty before you eat to wash the germs away!" the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". The kids seemed to enjoy it. Well, most of them did. One litle guy came up, got his squirt of soap and started washing. I began to sing the song and he put his hand in my face. "I don't want you to sing at me. It's hurting my ears." Um, ouch. I'm no Annie Lennox, but I think I have an okay voice. Needless to say, I did not sing to him again.

Not much else to report. I did forget to tell you a funny from yesterday. When taking a group of kids to the library to take their test on the book we had read, one boy was talking to me about his outfit for the day. He had camo pants on and a shirt that looked like a long underwear shirt underneath a short sleeved tshirt. You know the look. He said, "You know, Mrs. Jenny, my clothes I have on are all totally official military." "Wow. Really?!". I didn't know they made official military that small in this country. "Uh, yeah they are official military. My mom got them at Old NAVY!". Complete straight face from him. I had to hide mine so he wouldn't see me laugh.

There you go. Good night.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Today was my day to read to the boy's class and help them take their reading tests. It is certainly an exercise in patience, among other things. I must say, completely unrelated to reading, that I feel so terribly sorry for some of these little heartbeats who come from homes with smokers. If someone wants to smoke, totally your choice. But don't do it in the home where those little pink lungs are working. These poor children are just smoke saturated to the point of taking your breath away. So back to the day, the kids were squirmy but tested fairly well. We do have a fairly new little friend who likes to growl at the other the point that he is getting in trouble for it. That always makes things interesting. After testing, the kids went to do their once a month Art Masters project. As they were messing around with their watercolors, drama broke out with a male and female at the boy's table. She hit him and said something ugly. He looked at her and said, "You kiss me-then you get mad at kiss me-then you get mad at me. What do you want woman?". After the intern and I picked ourselves up off the floor, my child looked at us and said shaking his head, "They are always like that. Couples." My gosh, I can't take it. Trying to hide your laughter gets physically painful after a while.

Having been there for a bit over two hours, I went home to decompress and prepare to go see my favorite dentist. Because he goes to our church and I have known him most of my life, I always love to go see him. And because he goes to our church, the waiting room is usually stocked with congregation members. Today did not the people department. As much as I love my dentist, I did not love his news. Two cracked teeth because I apparently take my anger and stress and press my teeth together hard enough to crack them and make me have pain and the need to sell a kidney. March will be my month to become dental royalty and get crowns. Ha ha ha. So until then, I will chew motrin like candy and have a heated rice bag constantly on my jaws. Happy times.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Is it safe?

Have you ever watched "Marathon Man"? If you haven't and are at all squeamish about going to the dentist, I would suggest you not. If you have, then you cannot help but remember the disturbing and terrifying scene where Laurence Olivier is trying to get information from Dustin Hoffman by committing horrible acts of dental violence:

Each time he would drill into his mouth, Olivier's character would say, "Is it safe?" and then drill...immediately following he would put clove oil on his tooth to soothe the pain for a bit. Why can't more pharmacies take a note from this movie? Have they not learned from this movie that former Nazi sadists may be among us, ready to commit heinous dental acts and we need herbal pain killers? For shame, for shame. I have a crown. We do not get along. I did not want it in my mouth to begin with, but had no choice. My tooth had a small crack in it 16 years ago, which was quickly shaved off and dismissed as nothing. Four hours after the novocaine wore off, I experienced 72 hours of pain that made a middle school oral surgery to cut out 7 teeth seem like a pin prick. Who woulda thunk it? Not me, but when I finally got back in that dentist's chair I had the throbbing pain of a thousand Mike Tyson punches in my jaw. This then led to a root canal, which I won't even discuss, which led to the aforementioned crown. When we moved to Tennessee, I went back to my old friend and wonderful dentist, Dr. Mark, to have a cleaning. While digging around in there, I had a weird feeling in that crown area. He got the "tooth sleuth", which is a piece of plastic harder than titanium and had me bite down on it. Well that crown just popped right off and he just cemented it back on just as happy as can be. Fast forward to now. Thirteen years after having it glued back on, it is giving me addition to another cracked tooth on the other side. I've got to stop eating pea gravel. Anyhoo, the crown tooth area is about at the pain level of half a Tyson punch to the jaw, which is still significant. So after oragel and Anbesol did nothing, I decided to go the "Marathon Man" route and get some clove oil. Having pharmacists in the family, I know they keep that stuff behind the counter. Not really sure why, but I gues you have to watch out for people who make a lot of stained glass candy. They're sketchy. When I asked the girl for it, I received the look someone with five eyes would get when they asked for a bottle of "Essence of Lizard Burps" at the counter. I was told they could get me some by Thursday, which wasn't very helpful. "I really need some to get me through until I see the dentist tomorrow. I guess I'll just load up on motrin." "Are you making potpourri or something?", she saked. Oh least the pharmacist rolled her eyes at that comment.

This month, TCM is doing thirty days of Oscar winning movies. Pharmacists? Check the schedule, find this movie and educate your employees. Ensure them that it is rare to find Nazis disguised as innocent old men dentists in our country anymore. After that, have them watch "Days of Wine and Roses" to educate them on the horrors of excessive drinking. Watch and learn, friends. Watch and learn.
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Lunch room politics

My sweet G was not feeling super duper today and made a trip to the clinic to try and get sent home. No fever, no home. To be fair, I went for a lunch time visit to find her reasonably fine, well as fine as one can be eating school pizza. I quickly realized the breakdown of the lunch room assignments for her class. She had unfortunately, though not purposely, had been placed at a table away from her two closest friends in the class. I watched as she looked at the other table, like Ralphie Parker with his nose pressed against the toy store window looking longingly at the Red Ryder BB Gun. It broke my heart, but I didn't feel I had any reason to have her moved. I did get a better understanding of the hierarchy of elementary school lunch table girls worked. Those at her table who volunteered to be helpers in the cafeteria, used their position and freedom to walk around to other tables and hurl insults at other girls. Normally I would just have to guess that was the activity going on merely by the shocked or upset faces of the other girls. These girls made it easy. They spoke at the height of their voices and reported back to the table their exploits with the other girls. Then I had my reason. I asked my child if she ever spoke at the lunch table..."No, I just concentrate on my eating....but if I were at that other table, the time sure would be happier." The steam started rising from my head as it almost popped off. Then it was time to go. Luckily for me, my girl got up her courage and asked for a table transfer(my words not hers). I'm proud of her courage to get away from the influence of the "cool kids"(their name for themselves). If being cool means being a cruel person to others, thank God my daughter is a run of the mill kid. The coolest I know.

On a lighter note, after school pick up, we went for a nice walk. Then the kids competed to see who was the best at jump roping endurance. The boy got high points for style.

Thank God for my geeky kids. They are the coolest kids I know.
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Downton Abbey Bowl

The day started off with a surprising snow, initially alarming, but quickly melting off once the sun came up and got to work. Work was work...not much to mention there. I did have one of my little boys tell me that he planned to go "huntin' them birds" this afternoon. Good to have goals, buddy.

I have had my fill of football, but I always enjoy expressing my opinions on the different commercials. I took S to bells, choir and a youth bowl party. Prior to this, she and I went to our grocery of choice, Kroger, to get a 2-liter and a snack as her contribution to the party. The crowd and parking more than rivaled that of Christmas Eve or the day before Thanksgiving. I've never seen so many carts full of fried snacks in my life. We grabbed a Sprite and some hulless corn and beat it out of there. I could have done with nerve medication for fear of running over one of about 70 people rushing home to make their seven layer dip or wings for the big game. Having no plans, we used our remaining pizza crust dough to make pizzas and watch he spectacle. Once the lights turned out and the sportscasters were grasping at straws as to what to say next, I turned to watch aristocracy deal with death and prostitutes whilst flipping back to to see if any good commercials were redeeming the disappointing offerings of the first half. Meh. Not really. Episode five has concluded and the game is much closer, so you know what time it is? Alias reruns on demand. Night all....

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Buttoned Down Bliss

I don't have much brain power or energy left. My brother and sister in law were kind enough to watch the kids while we went to see Bob Newhart at the Tennessee Theatre. If you don't know of this venue, look it up. It is gorgeous. The seats are pretty squished together, but it is a wonderful place to see a show. Aside from the inconsiderate man next to me who played with the cellophane wrapper from his starlight mint the whole time..crackle...crackle...crackle...the show was wonderful. When someone in the "expensive enough for Bob to spit on you seats" forgot to turn off their ringer and the phone kept on and on and on, Bob stopped his bit and asked politely to "answer their d&^% phone" to the roaring aplause of the audience. He was just like he is on television. Just an everyman, but wonderfully funny. I feel it an honor to have been able to see such a comedy giant who can still crack a room up and doesn't have to play it blue. He did one of my favorites, "The Driving Instructor" and, well, I could gush for a while. I think the hub enjoyed him, too.

People tell me I was born in the wrong time with the people I enjoy watching and listening to....and I think they're right. But boy, what some people are missing. Thanks, Bob.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Camp-In craziness

My feet hurt. Wah, wah, wah. But they hurt just a bit more than if I had walked an entire amusement park or something. First I helped with G's ice cream sundae reward party for learning her multiplicaton tables. I was the sprinkles and chocolate syrup mom. I was at the toppings table while the other table was strictly ice cream dipping. The kids were very pleased so it was a roaring success. G's teacher has enough sprinkles and maraschino cherries to last for three more parties. I cleaned up, picked up kids and got straightened up enough to go to church for the Mother Son Camp In. Although it was not as big a crowd as last year, it was the perfect number. They did camp crafts, had a talk on hiking(done by the hub), decorated their own hiking stick and of course made s'mores. My girls ended up being a part of the helping crew in the absence of others who didn't show. S led the camp songs and G helped with dinner, leading the boys around and teaching a craft. The boy was with all of his buddies. His friend N, Baby Drew's big brother, and his mom came for the fun. We were all thrilled to see them. It made the evening for sure. The boy worked hard on his name plate:

I am grateful for the special time with my boy...even if it was in the midst of craziness. We had a great time, but now I must rest my feet. I have to get my beauty rest for my date with the hub and Bob Newhart tomorrow. I cannot wait.
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