Sunday, November 30, 2014

Back to reality

Tomorrow we will all return to reality from the Thankgiving holidays. My return kind of started today as Sundays are a workday for me. We were down quite a few grown ups today, so I got to work the nursery this morning which is always fun. They never cease to crack me up. I was discussing what they had to eat for the holiday feast. The baby looked at me like I had a third eye, spit up a little and smiled. I'm pretty sure I know what he had. The girls had to think about it a while. One would repeat that she had eaten every food we suggested. Me: JL, did you have have asparagus for your meal? MC: I had 'paraga at MY meal. Me: Ms. J, did you have frog lips at your meal? MC: I had lips at MY meal! The other wanted to be very coy about what she had at her feast. She was happy to share that she had spent the night with her aunt, got to sleep in with her cousin and hear her uncle snore. When I finally got her to talk about her meal, I said, "Did you have turkey, JL?". "I had different turkey."(insert eye flutter here). Me: "What do you mean 'different turkey'?". (insert heavy sigh and eye roll here) "Different know...ham." The other grown up and I just rolled.

I'm going to go pack lunches for tomorrow. Just an FYI, I'm making "different turkey" sandwiches.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

We're treed

Today was the first day of the Thanksgiving holiday break that I got to actualy sleep in...and it was glorious. I can't even try to pretend like I have guilt about it. 7:30 wake up time. Yeah, baby, I got crazy up in this house.

The boy had a wad of cash burning a hole in his pocket and was itching to go Christmas shopping for his sisters today. After a long discussion about why you really don't want to take all the money you have saved up in your Target...during Christmas shopping season...we agreed on a set amount and got on the road. An hour and a half at Target later, he had a very thoughtful gift picked out for one sister and had already put an item on hold at another store for his other sister. The kid is hardcore.

We also took the plunge and got our tree, always a Frasier Fir, from the tree gypsies across from our grocery store. We have gone to farms and cut our own trees in the past, but no Frasier Firs grow in our area too successfully so we have to imagine chopping them down. One time, I think I've told this before, we went to a tree farm where the FF's were locked up in a chain link dog run and the gift shop had decorations from Kmart circa 1982 and assorted nudie magazines if needed. It made for a great story, but we needed easy this year post back surgery. We went to these people one particularly cold night a few years ago and the children started pretending to stick their tongues on one of the poles holding lights. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to reenact Flick's decision to not back down from a triple dog dare:

Luckily, no one had to have a bandaged tongue at the end of the experience. The tree is now living in our house, acclamating to its new environment. It will be decorated in a few days. Until then the children will walk in a sniff it and probably bring Copper in to check it out. We are really exciting people around here...
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Friday, November 28, 2014

I have Black Friday feet

My oldest child is a great kid, responsible and true, but she is something that I will never be: a shopper. Unless it involves a bookstore or, back in the day a record store, I am good to stay home. She plans and researches for weeks ahead of time, budgeting her money and planning amounts for each family member. She has been looking forward to Black Friday shopping for a long time and the decided departure time from Casa de Loco was 6:30am. That alarm clock was not a happy sound this morning, I will tell you that, but I got up and got S up as well. Last minute change of plans, we had to take the hub's van. My doors were frozen shut...well at least 4 of the 5 of them. That's a problem. Vehicle changed and we were on our way. Our first destination was a Target store out in the western part of the county. Upon entering the store, and lots of stores after, I learned things.

1. Caffeinate and eliminate before you "consumerate". I think that is self explanatory.

2. Start every question to all employees with "I'm so sorry to bother you with this question, but...".

3. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT make eye contact with the Mediterranean skin cleanser kiosk. They sense weakness and will slather you with goop.

4. Stay away from the little train that drives little chilldren around the mall. That man is serious about his job and apparently has a hard schedule to meet at each station stop. I saw him clip a woman coming out of Williams-Sonoma with her cider sample. Conductor don't play. He honked his horn and clanged his bell with great "authoritay".

5. Don't stare at anyone with a cart overflowing with the same item or strange combo of items, like a cart full of gloves or one full of Natty Light and boxes of Eggos. You just need to move on and make up their story in your head.

I will think of more, but feet are calling for motrin. I should have worn my pedometer, because these dogs are barking. Night all.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for sure

Presently I am sitting in bed with sore feet and a tired mind...just like millions of other people today. I started the day before 6am making sure that Tom Turkey, or as my grandmother used to call it "Turkey Lurkey", had safe passage into the Jenn-Air for his five hour tanning session. Attempts to go back to sleep were in vain as the boy had gotten up with me and was in all of his wiggly glory. Eventually I gave up and got dressed in my dinner prep uniform and descended into a wave of roasted yumminess. The next several hours are a blur, but included(not in any particular order): visit from the VA cousins and jubilation as all the kids rough house and bodyslam each other in celebration; discovery that I had cleaned and dressed the turkey and roasted him upside down...very moist; the revelation that one can sustain a fairly severe hand injury from a "lively" game of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots and that holding babies really does lower one's blood pressure.

We did have a great experience this evening. Our minds had been with Stanley, the gentleman who had helped us look for a new television a couple weeks ago. As I explained, due to Black Friday starting on Thursday, this was his 6th Thanksgiving with his famiy he was going to miss due to company requirements. We were so sad and had invited him to come eat with us, but we knew he wouldn't...but he appreciated the thought. The boy can be very convincing, but the poor guy probably just needed to have his feet up before being on the sales floor all night. He remained in our minds and hearts for the next several days. After ingesting enough food to feed a small country, the boy said, "What about Stanley?". We chuckled, looked at each other and began the deliberations. If people you had met twice brought you a plate of food, would you eat it? Would you be scared that it might not be cooked properly? What if he has food allergies? Would it seem creepy or too forward? We came to the conclusion that we would bring him a sampling of all the desserts just in case he didn't have access to a fridge. A tray was located and a bag with napkins and plastic utensils was prepared. We had plates of dessert and labels on them so no one with any conscience would take them:

We were all kind of nervous walking in there, not gonna lie. A couple of people looked at us in a suspicious way. Some employees came up and said, "Look at the food...where is that going?". After we explained that it was going to our friend Stanley, they looked disappointed. We saw him and he looked at us out of the corner of his eye. He was making a sale, so we didn't want to bother him. Then he walked by us, got a grin on his face, and said, "I'll be right with you folks." A couple minutes later he walked towards us, kind of shook his head and grinned. "We decided to bring you some treats to enjoy on this busy evening...get you good and sugared up to make some money." He shook his head, put his arm around me and said, "I can't tell you folks how much this means to me." He just stood there a minute and it felt like he didn't know what to say. We tried to alleviate his surpise and explained to him what was on each of the plates and who had prepared them. The boy got a fist bump for his chocolate dipped strawberries and S received a proper handshake for her mint chocolate trifle. "We just couldn't get you off our hearts, Stanley, and we wanted you to know we were thinking of you." Again he shook his head. "Thank you all so much. I can't say anything else or I'm going to cry." He gave another hug, handshake and fist bump and we let him get back to his work. We all walked out to the car a bit teary. Sure we had lots of food and family and fun and they were all great...but who knew that the little question "What about Stanley?" would lead to our favorite part of the day. Night all.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Prepping for Tom's 2014 debut

I am exhausted as I know many men and women around this great country of ours are. I did not have the greatest of sleep last night, so today's venture into cleaning and cooking was a bit more of a challenge than usual. The kids are mentally burnt to a crisp and were needing a day of complete sloth. Their battle ax of a mother made them do horrible torturous things like pick up dog poop and clean dog slobber off the storm door and mop up dog hair....I'm sensing a trend. I had to battle with relatives who were feeling guilt for not hosting 75,000 people at their home when all they wanted to do was relax. I get it...stop apologizing and enjoy. I had to battle someone who decided they were going to be carrying 25lbs of poultry, unassisted, up the basement steps at 5am tomorrow so I didn't have to get up. Nice, but when said poultry is half your body weight? No. My feet and hips and back and neck hurt, but dalgarnit Tom Turkey is dressed to the nines and ready to make his debut tomorrow about 1pm. Anyone needing some food can come on over. You just have to clean up some dog hair.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Someday I'll learn

We had futsal practice tonight, so it forced me to get away from the house and listening to "Serial:Podcast" and not getting any work done. Talk about ear crack. Anyway once practice was finished, the oldest and I went on a corn casserole mission at the Kroger. I was a bit punchy and singing in th aisles. Thankfully the girl was too tired to argue and make me stop. I sang to the celery. I did a little jig while choosing oreos for a trifle. I decided I'd better tone it down when, in the dairy section, I said, "Noggety nog nog" in my best Eeyore voice. Apparently dirty looks were free and the lady looking at pumpkin spice creamer did not appreciate me or my mouth. S was blood red in the face from laughing so hard. At least someone appreciated the humor.

I'm going to take a shower and get ready for bed. I may stay awake long enough to see who wins DWTS...but I may be finding out the winner on Good Morning America tomorrow. Night all.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Beast mode on the BSA

I know I am biased, but I think my son is about the cutest little Cub Scout working on his Wolf rank that I have ever seen. I just want to squeeze him he's so scrumptious(as the mom in The Goldbergs would say). Tonight was a pack meeting where he was to receive several belt loops for his work at meetings and at home. He sat so quietly with such good posture, ready for the portion of the meeting that included him. As unusual as his name for our parts, he has another one in his den. Three boys were called and then his was. He popped up and started up there. The cubmaster said he was the wrong one and to sit back down. He then proceeded to go through all the other boys in his den, except for my boy, and then went on to the next group. The boy's sisters looked distraught and tried to get the attention of the cub master. My sweet boy, always the gentleman, sat in his seat repeating to himself, "It's okay. It's okay. It's really okay." His mouth said those words...his little face looked crestfallen. The hub and I looked at each other with the same "Heads are gonna roll" kind of face. I had to leave him to go to a Church Council meeting in the room next door, so the hub dealt with it. While I won't go into details, I will say that the den leader was as confused as we were and apologized to the boy. The higher leadership gave a bit of a sketchy excuse which, based on the last pack meeting, was inaccurate. Either way it had better get fixed. My boy worked hard for those loops and takes his job as a scout very seriously. I am so proud of him for being so gracious in this awkward position. He could have pitched a fit and cried. He sat there like a little man. WIth class and grace. I love that kid.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pecan pie organ donation

I had a brilliant idea this afternoon. Brilliant. Let's get ahead on the Thanksgiving Day baking and get supplies. Hey, let's go to the grocery store! At 4! On the Sunday before Thanksgiving! Excellent idea. I came to the conclusion about five minutes in that there was absolutely no reason to get angry at the people around me. Preparing dishes way ahead and putting them in the freezer is something I do well in waves. Unfortunately, we are in a low tide period of life and so I find myself with 300 of my best friends at the store. The employees there were top notch. I have no complaints. They answered every poorly thought out question, listened to every strange and ridiculous gripe. "Where is the gallon jug of tea sweetened with lemon?" a woman asked in a snippy voice, "There were two jugs there when I passed by 15 minutes ago!!!". The employee was very kind and went in search for more, never losing his polite attitude. I wanted to say lots of things, but instead navigated my cart to the baking aisle for much needed pie supplies. One woman was angry that she could not find pumpkin pie spice, not realizing that she held a bottle of it in her hand. A can of Eagle Brand milk got dropped on my foot, but I managed to hold my tongue. I will confess that I looked at the price on the bag of pecans I was getting ready to buy and said, "Geez. I didn't know I would have to sell a kidney to buy pie supplies this year." Unfortunately, what I thought I said in my head I instead said out loud. A lady laughed at me. I get it. I did see a scramble for the last "10 for $10" celery that got interesting. It's the little things that get one through a shopping trip, you know?

I look forward to the cooking and the family time and the time away from work and school. Every sweetened condensed bruise and super pricey pecan will be worth it.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

One proud mom

Today we drove our oldest to the next county over so she could try out for Junior Clinic. If you don't know what that is, it is a chance to audition for a place in one of several bands made up of middle school kids all over the area. S was one of 78 kids to try out for percussion alone. I participated in Junior Clinic myself when I was her age. Let me just say that I felt like I wanted to throw up all over again as we walked in there. Auditions, interviews...they are all the same. Terrifying. The auditions were held in different classrooms in a junior high. There were lines of kids standing outside classrooms, gripping their instruments with white knuckles, pale with nerves. S had worked hard to learn the music, practicing on her drum pad in the car and at soccer practice. She really wanted to be as prepared as she possibly could. Three rooms and three auditions later, she was finished and famished. You see all kinds of people at these things. Kids with parents who have no clue about anything to do with music..."What are these 'dynamics' other people are talking about, son?"...insert teenage eyeroll here. Or there was the dad hulking over his daughter in the practice room, "You only have yourself to blame if you don't get it. I told you two hours of practice a day, Two hours." Insert terrified kid look here. S knew that we had nothing to do with her outcome and that her practice and determination and NERVES were going to determine her outcome. It was her first audition for anything. Ever. We got a call this afternoon saying that she had gotten an alternate spot. Sure, I was disappointed that she didn't get a band spot. But that was me. When I asked her band director how many auditioned and he told me 78 and she was number 24, I was even more proud. That was nothing to sneeze at. To go into a room, unable to speak due to blind audition rules and play to a judge behind a have 30 seconds to review a piece of music to sightread and play? Alternate is just fine with me and shame on me and my expectations. I am proud of that girl and I'm grateful for her example to set me straight.

Lots of food for my thoughts. Night all.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

A New Sport to Try

I am currently sitting in an aluminum shell building covering some tennis courts at our local YMCA. My toes are a distant memory as I am seated near the open door. Moron would be the operative word for my current location i"ll admit. Well, my current location in the building makes me a moron. The hub has said, "Um, you do realize that you are sitting right at the door opening? Right there? " Well. What would I have to blog about if I weren't sitting in the dumbest location in the building? The kids are learning to play futsal, an indoor soccer game with different shoes and a weighted ball. It should be interesting for sure.

International food tasting happened in the boy's class today. He is pretty much a fearless eater and tried a little bit of everything. It was quite the success for sure...and entertaining. I won't go into details, but the interpretation of what people brought to represent their country was very interesting. Either way, there were lots of full tummies...some of which really needed filling.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Check one off the list

Please forgive me for how this sounds. G had her fifth grade talent show this afternoon and tonight and I have to admit that I am relieved for it to be over. They did a lovely job and my sweet G sounded lovely. I must admit I would have loved to hear G sing more, but I am grateful for what she did and that is a selfish mom talking. I know our sweet music teacher has to be absolutely exhausted this evening and I hope she is able to get a nice foot rub and a good night's sleep.

The Chinese almond cookies are ready for international tasting tomorrow and G's 4H poster is complete. Now I can finally watch Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder in peace. Feel free to judge me for my show choices. I need to mentally escape for a bit. Night all.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Getting a little cultural

The boy is having an international tasting party thing at school on Friday. They have been assigned a country or countries and have to make a food from said country for the class to try. His group has China/Japan which is full of possibilities. But, I was not sure if there were going to be many children who wanted to eat fried rice or lo mein or moo goo gai pan. So, I found a Chinese almond cookie recipe and have constructed and baked those. Thank goodness for Pinterest. Tomorrow is G's fifth grade musical, so the bulk of Thursday is out in terms of making anything majorly complex. Hopefully the kids will like these and no one will have any nut allergies. I do not want to be the reason for someone using an epipen. The boy said his friend is bringing in a pizza since he has Italy. That should be a win I guess.

Night all. Have to clean up international tasting party messes.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is it time to hibernate yet?

I'm tired, but who isn't at this point in the year? The kids are tired and so is the hub. Everyone is ready for a long winter's nap. Oh well. Soon enough. I need to remember to be grateful even on the tired days. So many people dealing with so much loss.

I have made a little bit of progress on the Thanksgiving front. The most important part of the feast has been purchased:

The boy even lifted it from the cart onto the belt at check out. It was every bit of half his weight at least. He was up to the challenge. Now if I can just get some other things taken care of this weekend, I might get to relax. Maybe.

Oh well. I am going to bed. The craziness starts tomorrow and won't stop until after Tom Turkey is in the oven. Night all.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

The deal with the dozens

I am not going to lie. I was not a good role model today. Art class was on the schedule today and I was on tap to help with sock monkey construction with the fifth graders. There was an exchange between two boys about tail placement and how one dared the other to sew the tail on the front. There was a lot of snickering and bathroom jokes. Nothing out of the ordinary, but I had to help them get back on track a little so they would get all their parts sewn up in time. They were just being kids and I love it. I went to take a handful of thread pieces to the trashcan when I heard one of the girls say, "I learned these from my cousin. They are funny." I wasn't really paying attention to the conversation, just caught snippets here and there. I was reading one of the posters in the art room when the girl said, "Your momma's so fat, the only hike she's ever taken is up Mtn. Dew." I tried very hard not to laugh, but I did...longer than I should have. Anyone who has children, works with children or was a child at one time, laughter is just like fuel to the fire. She came up with more: "Your momma's so poor, she eats cereal with a fork to save on the milk! Your momma's so dumb, when she got sick she made a call to Dr. Pepper!". The monkey makers shook and were dangerously close to stabbing themselves with their needles as they listened to "the dozens" going down in the room. I gained my composure after staring at one of these like it was my focal point during labor:

Finally, they stopped shaking and were able to complete their jobs. I was exhausted when I left. It is hard to force yourself not to laugh. Thanks to YouTube I was able to get those laughs out by watching an episode of "The Dirty Dozens" from In Living Color. So funny. I know the jokes aren't kind. I know that. But the kids don't really understand they were used as a form of verbal sparring. They just like the "punny-ness" of them. I will leave you with one S found this evening: Your momma is so slow, she works from home and still can't get there on time. There you go.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yet another capital discussion...

We had yet another discussion on state capitals with a group of people ranging from grown up on down. Boredom will breed desperation which will breed random conversation. This is what happened today. I said, "Okay. I have all the states and capitals in front of me and I am going to tell you the state. You give me the capital...okay?". And then, they blew my mind. First person..."Nevada". "Um, I know this one. Nevada City!". No...but it does have city in it. "Okay, that's right. Salt Lake City." Nooo...Carson City. Next one. "Minnesota." "Okay. I know it has Saint in it. Ummm." I had such hope. "St. St. St...." We did give a biblical hint which, thankfully, they picked the right man of God. "St. Paul!!"...and there was much rejoicing. Next one. "New Mexico." "I know this is right-Salt Lake City!". No. The poor LDS nation is weeping at their misplaced city I just know it. I'll give you a hint...Santa. "Claus! Santa Claus!". Really? "I was just was Santa Louis." Sant Fe. I just gave it to them. When I said, "Utah", I had such high hope. What did I hear? Crickets. "SALT LAKE CITY!!! Why did you choose this state not to use it!! ARGGHH!!". The gaggle of faces looked at me like I had a third eye.

I need some ibuprofen.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Almost warm

Frigid soccer Saturday today. Two games for loss one draw. I was very pleased at how all of them looked. They were placed in the upper category of their division and were playing teams a lot bigger than they were. We have several girls on our team who play up, so there may be two to three years different in age between some of our girls and the older girls on the other team. They held their own which speaks to the training they are receiving, I must say. We all sat on the sidelines, bundled and layered and frozen. I think, after boiling myself in the shower for 15 minutes, I may be almost thawed.

Injury report: G went to get the ball and a snarky little girl decided to cleat her in the knee. She layed there on the field for what seemed like an eternity, the teenage ref not stopping the game. I watched the ball whiz by her head and running players and cleats come dangerously close to her head. We yelled for her to get up and she wouldn't. The coaches yelled at the ref to stop the game. He wouldn't. Finally the ball went out of bounds and our coach went out and checked on her and walked her off the field. She's pretty sore and is going to be tender to play tomorrow for sure...but she was a trooper.

We are all wind burnt, but comfy in our warm pj's. Happy Saturday night to all.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Poor Stanley!

Our TV croaked.  Life is not over, but it croaked and when I would like to see James Spader in his full snarky presence...I can't.  The boy, the hub and I went to a retail establishment to peruse their TV section and see how much an equivalent model would cost us.  After finding a deal we liked but wanted to sleep on, we got the card from our helpful associate, Stanley, and began to say our goodbyes.  "I'd appreciate your prayers as we go into this holiday season.  Because of the greed of Black Friday having to start on Thursday, I will spend my 6th year in a row not having Thanksgiving g with my family.  It's a shame."  The hub and I lamented the lack of focus on family time by big retailers and offered Stanley a seat at our early Thanksgiving dinner since we eat at 1 and he has to be at work at 4.  He grinned and thanked us for the offer.  But we are serious.  I may just have I buy a special cooler and take him some dinner on Turkey Day.  He needs to know someone cares.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stomach aware and needing some care

Well the mighty crud hit our home last night. The boy went to bed stating he had a 9.5 on a 10 point scale tummy ache. There were some questions as to the validity of this statement since he had been rough housing with his sister just moments before. He went on to bed and the hub and I went about our nightly jobs. The hub went to take the boy for one last pit stop before bed and then, well, the heaving began. It lasted about 5 minutes and then he was escorted to the shower for a fresh start before being escorted to the sick mattress in our floor. Now the fear of 11pm puke times runs like icewater through the veins of those of us still standing. I would like to hope that his combination of lasagna, salad, peach crumble and LEMONADE at church made for an unholy combination in his tummy, but hearing how many are down for the count in classrooms, my optimism may be in vain. The boy has been quite sedate today, though not without his sense of humor. I did find a rarity after coming inside from a fetch session with the dog:

Poor guy. He was pretty pitiful. Here's hoping that whatever this is gets out quickly and health is restored to the land.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Feeling the need to bake...

I know that people at this time of the year are either jacked up on or sick to death of pumpkin stuff. Heck, Starbucks has a countdown and a Twitter account for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I get it...I am a fan of the pumpkin for sure. It makes coffee spicier, donuts yummier, cakes and bread "moister". While I was helping G's class work on their sock monkeys in art...

...I started thinking about pumpkin bread and I have not been able to stop. I had every intention of coming home tonight after work and whipping up a recipe's worth of my go to pumpkin bread recipe. Unfortunately for me and for my poor children, they will be eating store brand cereal tomorrow because I forgot one major issue about tonight: The Goldbergs and Modern Family are on and they trump pumpkin. WHAT?!?!? I am sorry to say such a thing. But tonight it is the truth.

On a completely different note, but along the lines of last night's post, I leave you with the dog's ritual every afternoon when the boy gets home:

In his lap...every afternoon. Funny.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

She loves her boy

It was a work day today, so I have very little to report. I went home to let the dog out and run her a bit before the afternoon pickup grind. Because we have lots of trees in our backyard, we have lots of wildlife(skunks, squirrels, raccoons, foxes)back there and often find their carcasses in various areas of the yard. Horrifyingly enough, we made the grisly discovery of a drowned squirrel in one of our 5 gallon buckets that we carry weeds and sticks from the garden. Not what I wanted to find whilst playing fetch. Thankfully the shock collar was charged up so, when Copper made an attempt to get near the bucket, zzzzzzztttt. No, it wasn't a long shock. It just got her attention, BUT now that bucket could be made out of steak and she won't go near it. She's a crazy puppy, but she is getting better. When the kids get home, she can't get close enough to them. She is so excited. When the boy arrived, she planted herself in his lap and wouldn't move:

That dog is in total is her brother.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

New regime in town

I have struggled for many years to put the responsiblity for taking care of their rooms and their things and completing chores without my nagging on the children.  This has not caused me to go in a prematurely gray kind of way, but I truly am surprised by that.  I have researched many options from the fairly punitive to the touchy-feely sticker reward systems.  Meh.  Thanks to the magic of Pinterest, I came upon a very interesting option that combines completing a daily laundry list of chores with a cash reward at the end of each day...but with a twist.  I even made a trip to Kinkos, or what used to be Kinkos, to have some specific chore pads created just to make it even a bit more foolproof.  I sat all three down and gave them a tutorial on the new system.  Always motivated by the almighty dollar, they were excited to see actual money there for the taking.  "All you have to do is complete your list and get a stamp of approval and the money is yours."  Their eyes lit up at the possibilities of what might come from that cash.  It isn't as easy at it might we'll see what happens.

On a completely different note, I had a weird incident today.  I'll admit, I am a car jammer.  I love every bit of singing loud and proud to the songs on the radio.  I was driving back home from a meeting when all of a sudden "Vehicle" by the Ides of March came on. If you are not familiar with this song, uh, shame on you. It is an excellent creepy stalker angry powerful sounding guy song. Great horn riff. One of my very favorites. I was jamming to "Vehicle" at the red light, singing every work with great enthusiasm and power when, well, have you ever had the feeling someone is staring at you? Well. One of Knoxville's finest was about to spew Weigel's coffee all over his dashboard while watching me. I smiled, nodded my head and drove the legal limit away once the light changed. Nice. Just know, that song is my jam. I can't help but dance.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Shoeboxes of love

Today was a long day. A go in to work at 7am and leave the building at 6:15pm kind of long day. I'm not going to feet hurt in kind of an out of this world kind of way. But oh well. We had a lot of things going on in church today, including our family Advent event and a large funeral. A lot of very emotional people hurting and needing care today. So an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox packing party was the perfect thing to have today. There was a lot of prep and lots of pieces part, but it was wonderful. A Sunday afternoon isn't always the best time to have an event, so attendance was a bit low. But the group of families we did have were all blessed. The children were very deliberate in every step of the process. They decorated their boxes with great care, choosing their colors based on what "their" boy or girl might like. Sweet messages of love and hope painstakingly drawn and information sheets about themselves for their child were so thoughtfully completed. Items were placed in the boxes in certain position and order based on each child's plan. They then put their info sheets and cards on top of all the treasures and put the lids on so that they could then label their boxes and ready them for travel. As I glanced around watching the different children with their boxes, I noticed some holding theirs, heads bowed and eyes closed as the whispered prayers over them. I saw some giving theirs a kiss and a pat before they were placed on the cart. It was a beautiful thing to watch. I am grateful that after a long and dificult day I was able to end it on such a sweet note.

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Saturday, November 8, 2014


Today has been quite the day. I am so very proud of my two youngest(proud of all of them) today. They played games and showed great sportsmanship. Honestly, the boy played to games...two full games and never missed a beat. He tore it up out there and really got some very positive attention from the coaches. Afterwards, he and his sisters went with me to our local Kroger store to stand outside and ask people to donate cans of corn to the Fountain City Ministry Center. There are so many hungry people in all of our communities. How can anyone really resist this:

I mean, come on. One guy bought two flats of 12 "because of the boy and the hat".

I am off to settle down for the night and rub the sore feet of a tired little boy. No place i would rather be. I'm a lucky woman.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

I mean, come on

Let me start by saying, I am not a Munchausen by proxy mom...I am not purposely or inadvertantly making my child sick or get hurt. But I can see how one might begin to wonder considering the luck my children have. Today I was happily assisting G's art class in making sock monkeys, when my phone rang and displayed a somewhat familiar number. I excused myself and went outside to answer. Let me backtrack a bit to say that we had experienced a bit of a rocky morning. Our teenager is a great kid, but even she has some days. We questioned her outfit which annoyed her to no end. When we dropped her off at school, she barely spoke as she left and we watched her fist and unfist her hands the whole way up the hill. Flash forward, to ouside art class. I answered the call. "Uh, Mom? Um, I popped my shoulder out in gym. Here's the nurse." The sweet nurse got on to tell me that she had dislocated her shoulder and I needed to come get her and give her some motrin. I was kind of unable to get between buildings at elementary school, so I called the hub(it was his 9-80 day)and sent him until i could get out of school. He got her and took her to our PT friend for a look. Apparently tetherball is a rough sport(ha) and if you swing your arm the tetherball whomping way, you can dislocate it. I think that shocked her and made her queasy. The cherry on top was when the gym teacher strted to manipulate it a little and it popped back in...for all the class to hear. Glurg. Needless to say, she came home, got a sling and a dose of motrin and some down time. While she was convalescing, the hub and I were decompressing and doing some work down in the basement. It smelled a little strange down there, like burning plastic or something. We didn't see anything, so continued with our activities. I started to not feel so good and felt lightheaded and queasy. The hub followed suit. So we turned off the gas to certain things, opened some windows and tried to air our brains out on the chilly patio. The hub called the HVAC guy to come and see if he could figure out the smell issue. I left to pick up the youngers and the guy came to investigate. Walking down our steps with his CO monitor, he missed the last step and fell down the rest of the way. After the hub recovered from his minor heart attack and potential suing, he found out all was well with big stuff. They came to figure out together that out washing machine motor is burning out and melting stuff, cause, why not?

So S is currently at the high school playoff football game. Orders were that she could not play the cymbals, but she could use her left hand to play the bass drum. She will be a icicle, but will enjoy herself I'm sure. The youngers and I are watching the JJ Abrams version of Star Trek. Of course G and I bawled our eyes out at the birth of James T. Kirk and the death of his father...the circle of life...sorry, different movie.

Here's hoping the freak accidents are done for a while. Night all.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Well I'm no hero that's understood..."

Do you have a song that speaks to you? Like really speaks to you no matter what day you are having? "Thunder Road" is that for me. Bruce Springsteen, the poet laureate of New Jersey, writes lyrics that just get me every time. It has been one of those days and when it says "the night's busted open these two lanes can take us anywhere...". That sounds fabulous. I think our family is in a funk and the thought of escape just sounds absolutely wonderful. Fall Break was a bust in terms of rest and relaxation. Our calendar is relentlessly full...but then whose isn't? Our problems and exhaustion and frustrations are no bigger or more substantial than anyone else's...not by a lot. But when I have days like yesterday and today, his line of "it's a town full of losers...and I'm pullin' outta here to win", I feel it sometimes. No I don't think people here are losers, it just fit for my mood. I am grateful for artists who allow me to escape my bad day and take a trip down a two lane highway headed for a land of infinite possibilities.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Well, crap

I've spoken before about my son, the boy, and his overexuberant almost attitude towards Wednesday night church activities. First let me say that he is a great guy. So well mannered and behaved, well spoken for a seven year old and just an all around fun guy to spend time with in general. When he walks into church on Wednesdays, it is like his mind and all common sense get sucked out of him. I know he is excited about seeing his friends and dinner and singing and seeing some of his very favorite people and that makes me very happy. I also know that Wednesdays are a work night for me and I am somewhat stressed making sure that childcare is in place and that there are no problems with children and all that jazz. His silly button goes into overdrive. I finally had my fill when he started eating cucumber slices and green beans on top of his cookie and would not stop when I asked him. Then I made THE statement: "When we get home, we are going to have a talk. I'm not sure you can continue to go to Wednesday night activities if this keeps up." Shock and horror and immediate regret filled his face. "I'm sorry, Mommy." Almost a whisper. I dropped him off at his choir and went on to mine. After programming, the hub took the children home and the boy really wanted to chat with me, but I always stay late to finish work and do planning with the other children's ministry staff. I tried to get home before his bedtime. Tried so hard, but the hub said the boy went to bed wanting to have a conversation with me and apologize. "He felt really bad..." the hub said. So now I sit, feeling like a heel. The mom who has always preached the "Don't go to bed with unresolved anger or issues with those you love" type of mentality has now allowed it to happen. I may have to just crawl in with him and his original Star Trek sheets, whisper sweet nothings and apologies and my undying and fierce love for him no matter how he behaves. They never tell you about these situations in the parenting books. We just have to deal with the aftermath the best and most loving way we can. Fingers crossed I do it right.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My little moment of pride...

I know everyone is tired of hearing about Book Character Day and the hats I sewed because I am too cheap to go out and buy something appropriate. Anyway, I worked on those darn hats to the detriment of my future dexterity. The kids were very pleased, so it was all worth it. Because I am a lover of Twitter and a subscriber on Instagram, I decided to put an Instacollage of each child, their book and their costume on said social media outlets. Sunday morning I got some mentions from people I did not know about the boy's zombie goldfish costume. I looked to see that one of them was a literary agent who knew Mo O'Hara, the author of the goldfish books. Then one of the illustrators of the book expressed how he enjoyed the hat as well. Yesterday the author commented on how much she enjoyed it and today she asked if she could put the picture on her website. Am I being braggy today? I guess I'm being braggy today, but I am tickled. In my world, the author/illustrators are my rock stars(along with the Car Talk in peace Tom are one of my heroes). This is just a very exciting development in my very unexciting world. I will attempt to put the link on here. If it doesn't work, her name is Mo O'Hara and when you google her, the website comes up first. Sorry to write a whole post about it. I'm a geek.

Night all.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

I entered the Bizarro world today

I went to the store today. Heck, I usually have some reason to go to the store every day. Some school supply emergency or food that needs to be taken to school the next day. Never fails. Today I found myself at the store to get some supplies to prepare for a guest who would be visiting later in the day. Anyway, I pulled my wallet out and paid for my items, put my wallet back into my purse and began to gather my bags. Anyone who is a mother knows that a mother's purse is a catch all for everything. So, the lady working said, "Hey is that yours...did it fall out of your purse?" I realized what it was:

One of my girls wore this mask to dress up her costume at our Fall Fest. I picked it up and put it back in my purse. The lady said to me, "Rough night, huh? Is that a thong?". Ummmm, what? What did she just say? I just about died in the floor right there. Instead of saying something snarky, I put the mask on and went, "Not quite." Embarrassing.

So from now on, watch if you put anything sequined in your purse. It may make casual conversation uncomfortable.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014


I am trying to come up with a magic pill that I think parents through the times have tried to invent. Most people have their methods and I have yet to develop an effective one for myself. I must ask you, three readers, this haunting question: why stuff dirty clothes into a bag and that bag into another bag and then that bag into a backpack and stuff said backpack into the corner of the closet under a rack? Why not just take said clothes and put them right into the laundry basket? Why? For the love of everything, why?? So when the hub and the children left after church and went a couple of towns away for the championship soccer game, I took the time with an empty house to get to the root of some of this insanity. I had already done a fair amount of laundry and had one load left in the dungeon to do. After spending time in one of the rooms, I had already filled a laundry basket and was thinking about finding another one. I found enough hangers for a small consignment sale and enough pins and rubber bands to open a mini Sally Beauty Supply. Words were said, friends. I'm not going to lie. Words were said. Bad, evil, non-Sunday words. I'm not proud, but I will air my confession on the very public and read by a trio of loyal readers blog. When I found the hidden stash of Three Musketeer mini-bites in someone's bed, I had to sit down and watch an episode of "Homeland". Kidnapping and murder and international espionage in the Middle East brought comfort to this mother who almost tore at her clothes and screamed down the street at the bug potential attached to chocolate candy between one's warm and comfy sheets.

I am now watching "Criminal Minds", but(oddly enough)not sewing any creatures. I am working on chore charts that, when presented to the population in question, will surely catapult me to the tip top of the leader board for mother of the year. Oh well. A new "Homeland" comes on at 9 tonight. I will rest in the solace...even though I fear my bleoved Saul is not long for this world. Oh well. Another fight for another day.

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Going all directions

We were a family divided, but only geographically today. One soccering east and one soccering south and one off the hook and helping his mother. Of course the weather had to be frigid and windy and horrible for outdoor sports and I felt horrible not being with them. I stayed home to work around the house and participate in an "art" show at our church. I have been sewing bunnies and bears and creatures for a good while to sell and some to contribute to the silent auction. They had a very nice turnout and lots of nice things to buy and bid on. Sadly, I did not stay for the dinner and show. I had to help fetch and thaw out our children. Thank goodness we fall back tonight. I need some major sleep. I'm going now. Night all.

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