Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Change is in the Air
I wanted something funky and fun for the blog... not sure if this is it. I'll probably mess with it a few more times over the next few days... so don't be frightened if you stop by and the blog looks a little random or weird. Not that it doesn't already look random and weird, but you know what I mean.
I think this will be an interesting year for us. We're making some big decisions and wondering how in the world it's all gonna work out... I feel a bit like this right now...

The first step is always the hardest, right?
So, off we go, into a new year. I'm sure it will be full of craziness. After all, the last 32 years of my life have been that way, I have no reason to believe that it will stop now!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Have you ever looked at something and thought... "Hey, I bet I could do that!" and then when you actually TRIED to do that thing you realized it was much MUCH harder than it looked. Yeah. Case in point:
This is Baby Girl.

Please notice her lovely golden hair. I am not sure what possessed me... you see, I cut all the boys' hair the other day. No big deal - I just take the razor and buzz them. Easy as pie (well, except for Little Bug... but that's another post for another day). Baby Girl came and said she wanted her hair cut. I told her we could take her to have it cut. But that's not what she wanted. She wanted ME to do it. And, in my disillusioned state I thought, "That shouldn't be too hard... "
She wanted it just a little bit shorter. So I cut a tiny bit off and realized that the sides were uneven. So, I cut a little more... now the sides were even, but the back was longer than the sides. I kept snipping and cutting. At one point I told her I had to cut a little more off and she burst into tears.
"Mom, if you keep cutting, I'll be a BOY!!"
I admit that tears welled up in my eyes... what had I done??
I trimmed and evened things out, but it's short. A lot shorter than what she had told me she wanted. And the back? It's still longer than the front, but I don't dare try to fix it...
See all those fun little jagged edges? Yeah... sigh... she doesn't hold still and I don't know what I'm doing. Bad combo...
I curled it this last Sunday to hide all the mistakes... you can see from this picture that the sides are a lot shorter... I've given my child the "wedge" haircut from the 70's. Think Dorothy Hamill sans bangs.
She's still my little cutie but I really hate what I've done to her hair! Sigh. It's a good thing it will grow back...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Sound of Music was on t.v. last night. I didn't get to watch it, but I did see enough commercials to get the music stuck in my head :)
I was buzzing around the house singing "My Favorite Things" and this is the conversation that followed...

Red: Mom, what is that song from?
Me: What do you mean? (I twirl and continue singing) Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...
Red: Is it from a movie?
Me: Yes.... bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens...
Red getting a little exasperated with his crazy mom: What movie is it from?
Me: It's called The Sound of Music.... (singing a little louder) brown paper packages tied up with strings...
Red: Doesn't sound like music to me!

Oh how I love my pre-teen child!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Resolve: Not Just a Carpet Cleaner
It's that time of year again. Around this time of year I tend to set goals and make resolutions that I have absolutely no intention of keeping. I usually set mediocre goals so that when I fail, it's not such a big deal. If I say that I plan on eating healthy for a week and then only make it 10 minutes, it's not as bad as if the original goal had been for a year. Yes, I basically set myself up for failure each year.
But this year I've been thinking about my time and how I spend it. A few weeks ago I taught a lesson to the women at church about unity and how sacrifice can bring us closer together. I had read about the early pioneers of the church tithing their time - one out of every ten days was given to the Lord to work on the temple. And I wondered - how would my life be different if I tithed my time?
I can't really give a full day every ten days, but what if I tithed the hours of my day? What if I gave 10% of my time each day to the Lord? It comes out to 2 hours and 24 minutes. How would I be different if I did this?
Then I started thinking about how I spend my time during the day. I have about 16-17 hours each day where I am awake and functioning (well, semi-functioning). Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less. Those hours are squandered on trivial things. Things that don't improve me. Things that don't bring joy to my life or the life of my family. Things that keep me from progressing in any way, shape or form. It makes me sad to think that I don't feel a sense of purpose in my life at this time.
And so, it's time to become resolute.
I can't afford to set myself up to fail again this year. I could opt to just not set any goals (I've done that before) but I feel compelled to do something this year. I'm tired of sitting around watching life pass me by.
Last year I had hoped to lose 10 pounds. The year has passed me by and I still have those 10 pounds (plus a few extra). The time passed and I did nothing. I don't want to look back on another year and wonder what I accomplished with my time.
And so, as usual, I turn to you by bloggin buddies: Do you set goals or resolutions with the new year? If so, how do you keep yourself motivated to follow through?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I've been trying all day to write a Christmas post. At first I thought I could come up with something really deep and profound to share with you. But, it's fairly safe to say neither of those words describes me. Then I wanted to be very spiritual and thoughtful. But that didn't really work out either. My message then progressed to something very silly and a tad on the bizarre side. A little too silly and bizarre if you ask me. And so, instead, you get this:
From our Craziness...
to yours (because, let's face it, if you're reading this blog, you must be a little crazy)
Merry Christmas!
I hope that the true spirit of the season fills your heart and stays with you throughout the coming year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day One
There are moms out there that look forward to their kids being out of school. They love the time with their kids. They enjoy doing projects and playing. They are organized and ready for any craziness that could creep into their day.
I am not one of those moms.
Oh, I love my kids and I love to be with them, but I fly by the seat of my pants. I'm a little crazy and tend to be more than a little unorganized. I procrastinate and don't plan ahead as much as I should. Often times this leads to chaos in our home. This week is going to be a good example of that.
My kids are bored - already. It's only the first day of Christmas break and they can't seem to find anything to do but watch movies and play video games. I really don't want to spend the next two weeks plugged into the t.v.
But, I didn't plan. I didn't prepare. I don't really have anything for them to do and so now? Well, now I'm paying the price.
When kids are bored they do the most natural thing possible - they fight. We have had some lovely disagreements today over toys, treats, Wii games, lunch, movies...etc.
It doesn't help that I have no desire to leave the house. The snow-bats (a.k.a. cranky old people who are escaping the frozen north) have descended on our valley and their driving is more than frightening (yes, I know that there are a lot of very nice old people who drive very well... there just aren't very many of them HERE).
I do not want to stand in lines with my kids at this moment. I'll stay home and let them drive me crazy before I take them out in public by myself. Especially since they are all in such stellar moods (it doesn't help that I had the brilliant idea of letting them sleep under the Christmas tree last night... Little Bug didn't get to sleep till 11:00 and Red and Baby Girl were up for the day by 6:00... so, my idea was good in theory, but perhaps not in reality).
They don't want to play outside. They don't want to play with their toys... I think they are too excited about the possibility of new toys. They don't want to do anything and I'm going insane!
Thoughts? Ideas? What do you do with your kids to keep them from getting bored during the holiday break?


Saturday, December 20, 2008

We accomplished a lot yesterday. We cleaned the house, did a little laundry, dropped off Toys for Tots items, recycled our plastic bottles, went to the bank, fed the ducks, walked around the park, saw "The Tale of Despereaux", ate at a new place called The Slice (and loved it) and then used my plethora of 50% off coupons at JoAnn Fabric. WHEW! Just to highlight a few little things...

Toys for Tots is something we try to do every year. One of the local furniture stores had an advertisement on t.v. saying "Come help us fill our sleigh with toys for kids here in the valley!" So, I, being fairly literal, thought they had some kind of sleigh set up to put the toys in. I got the kids all excited about putting the toys into this sleigh... only to find out it was two cardboard boxes. Kind of anticlimactic, but still good for the kids to remember that this season is about giving.

"The Tale of Despereaux" was cute. Our family was fairly split on how we felt about it. Red and I have both read the book. Now, we didn't expect it to be EXACTLY the same, but they changed it a lot! The overall message in the book is different from that in the movie. It was kind of disappointing for us. But, Baby Girl and Hubby, who haven't read the book, quite liked the movie. Little Bug was not impressed (but, he may have not been feeling well... he woke up this morning at 5:00 with the flu that I had earlier this week... good times). There were parts that seemed a little intense for a movie that was rated G, but other than that, it was good.

As for the 50% off coupons... from now till the 24th JoAnn's is having their "Coupon Commotion" and they sent out an ad with about twelve 50% off coupons for different things. Last time I was there a lady gave me her coupons saying that she wouldn't be using them. Then they stuffed coupons into my bag at the checkout. Then I got the ones in the mail... I had TONS of coupons! I bought a few beads that were already 40% off, but I had enough coupons to get everything else in my bag for 50% off! It was fantastic and made me very, very happy :) Coupons have that affect on me...

And, to top the day off, Little Bug wore his new shoes all day! I know that's not a big thing to most people, but he has a lot of sensory issues. New shoes are a really hard thing for him. It was a struggle to get them on, but once they were there, he did great!

All in all, we had a really fantastic day! How has your weekend been?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Randomly Random
Who doesn't love a completely random meandering post? I can't seem to gather enough thoughts to write a real blog post right now... sorry!
  • Thanks so much for all the well wishes yesterday! Apparently I had a 24 hour bug because I feel great today. Yesterday was so miserable. I woke up and felt like someone was jabbing two knives into the back of my head. Then we had the dizziness, dry heaves and fevers. Fun stuff! But, Hubby was able to take Baby Girl to work with him for awhile. So, I was able to rest and SLEEP! I think that helped more than anything.
  • I'm doing a major cop-out for gifts for teachers this year. I bought a Barnes and Noble gift card for the classroom. I never know what to get teachers, but I would think that they could always use new books, right? It was just going to be too expensive to buy everyone a gift... Little Bug has 8 people that work with him in his class! Plus two bus drivers... so the classroom is getting a gift this year... is that really lame? Or do you think it will be okay?
  • I was grocery shopping and decided to smile at everyone I saw. Most people smiled back and even said "Hello" or "How are you?" But one kid ...grrr. He was probably about 16-17 and I gave him my best friendly grin. He stared at me, rolled his eyes and walked away. I am so not looking forward to having teenagers.
  • We didn't get snow in the valley, but our mountains got dumped on. Some areas got 2 feet of snow! I know that's not a lot to some of you Northern Folk, but around these parts, that's a pretty amazing storm. They have closed Interstates and Highways all over Southern California because of this freak storm.

  • We were at the mall today and I felt like I was at a weird street fair/carnival. Maybe it's just because I don't ever go to the mall, but all the people at the booths in the center kept trying to attack me! Every time I would walk past they would spring out from some hiding place and ask if I'd like to let them curl Baby Girl's hair (wait...what?) or try their newest lotion. I kept expecting someone to ask if they could guess my weight and birthday or see if I'd like to whack a mole and win a giant stuffed teddy bear...
  • Red wrote a sweet letter to Santa the other day. He asked Santa to use the "materials" from his gifts to make a really great gift for his brother and sister. Now, Red knows the truth about Santa, so I'm not sure if he was sucking up or just being really kind. I'm going to choose to believe he was being a sweetheart.
  • I haven't done laundry all week. My children will have to go to school naked tomorrow if I don't do something about it...
  • I think we are going to take the kids to see "The Tale of Despereaux" this weekend. Red and I both really loved the book and can't wait to see how it translates onto the big screen. Are there any other movies coming out for the holidays? We have two weeks off from school and I'm looking for ways to keep the troops entertained!

Well, I think that's it for now. I'm not sure how much I'll be posting in the next little while. I am hoping to get caught up on blog reading in the next few days though... I'm way behind. Till then, adieu!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Haiku and Other Nonsense
Five blankets, still cold.
Stomach quivers, headache throbs.
Flu season is here.

Yeah. I've got the flu. Lucky me. Just thought I'd take a moment to let you know that I accomplished everything from my list yesterday. And it's a good thing since I won't be going anywhere today.
Now, onto the "Other Nonsense". As many of you know, I live in Southern California. It's warm here. Sorry, but it is. It doesn't snow... usually. But tonight?? Well, it's supposed to rain all night and drop below freezing... which means snow! We may see something like this...Palm tree... Pictures, Images and Photos
tomorrow morning! How crazy is that?
Okay... I'm going back to bed now. The nonsense is over...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wait... What?
I hate frantic days. Especially during the holidays. I'd rather just sit home and watch movies or catch up on my blog reading. Or do laundry. I would actually rather do laundry than the list of things I have to do today. Sad, eh? Here's my list of things that must be accomplished today in no particular order

  • Take packages to the post office. I know. I'm really late in doing this, but I sold something* on eBay. It ends this morning and I want to get it in the mail ASAP. Plus, I still have Christmas packages floating around that should have been sent a week ago. Sigh.
  • Pack up one of my nativities and take it to the church for decor. I have been asked to help decorate for a Christmas party for the women in our church. I've been asked or signed up to do 50 other things for this party, but we'll talk about those later.
  • Call all the women who said they would do a part in the program for tonight and remind them to come early.
  • Make an apple crisp for the party.
  • Make corn chowder for the party.
  • Get costumes for the program tonight pulled together.
  • Gather all the items and be to the church by 6:30 without spilling hot soup or apple crisp or forgetting anything :)
  • Practice my parts for the program. I'm singing in a quartet and possibly doing a speaking part since one of the women might not be able to be there.
  • Go to the store and buy styrofoam peanuts for Red's class. He has no idea why he needs them. I don't know either. Can you buy styrofoam peanuts?? I've never looked for them before...
  • And, to top it all off, it's Tuesday. Tuesday is early release for my boys. They will be home by 1:00. I have to have all my errands outside of the home DONE by that time.
So, there you have it. Craziness abounds in our home today. I admit, having to make the corn chowder is my own fault. I signed up to do it. Well, all of it is my fault. I'm a procrastinator and a person that has a hard time saying "no". Which is a bad combination :) I'm really not complaining. It shouldn't be too bad of a day. I'm just tired. Little Bug was up last night around midnight... which means I was up last night around midnight. Blah!
Wish me luck!

* I decided to sell my Twilight books. I went on eBay and found a set just like mine that was selling for $56 - that's more than what I paid for my books! I like money more than I like the books (please don't hate me Twilight fans)... so off they go :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Through the Years...
I wanted to start a new holiday tradition this year. Of course, it won't actually be a "tradition" till we've done it for a few years. But you've got to start somewhere, right?
I took some garland, wrapped it with ribbon and put it around our front door.
Then I found my favorite photos from this last year, resized the pictures, created an 8x10 document and arranged 6-8 photos on each page. After that I printed them up at Costco, brought them home and cut out the individual shots. Then the fun began.
We looked at each picture and I had the kids try to guess where we had been, who we were with, and what had happened that day. After we talked about each picture we hung it on the garland with a tiny clothes pin or a paper clip. It was so fun to take a look back at our year and see some of the really fun things we had done. I was amazed at how much the kids remembered! We giggled as we looked at photos from Halloween and Disneyland. We groaned a little bit over the shots from our crazy drive through the desert. We loved the pictures that showed all the fun things we had done at the beach. We smiled at photos from birthdays and scout events. We talked about friends and family that had come to visit and the great times we had with them. We had fun reliving it all. And to top it off, I think the door looks great! I love the thought of going in and out of our home through an arch of photos representing our favorite memories from the last year. Hopefully as we see these photos every day, they will help us remember how great our family is. I think this is something that we will try to do each year!
What holiday traditions do you love? Have you started any new traditions this year?
Things I've Learned While Preparing Christmas Cards

  1. Gel pens are BAD for the backs of photos. The ink doesn't dry... ever. Well, okay, maybe it eventually does, but not till you've smeared it all over the place and made a huge mess!
  2. is an awesome site for locating long lost friends addresses. It's also kind of creepy to see how much information they had about me on there...
  3. There is no such thing as the perfect family photo. Find a semi decent one and move on.
  4. You don't have to send cards to every person you know... no really... you don't!
  5. The person who invented the Avery Wizard Label program was someone who had hand addressed their Christmas cards and realized that their hands would never be the same. Next year I will use the program, if I can get my fingers to work by then.
  6. If someone volunteers to help, accept it! Even having another person put on the stamps can be a big help.
  7. Don't wait too long or your Christmas cards may end up being New Years cards... or even Martin Luther King Day cards...
  8. Have a good attitude. If you're grumbling or complaining (not that I would EVER do that) while addressing the cards, it kind of defeats the purpose. Sure... you may have written an address WRONG 3 different times, but it's the thought that counts. And negative thoughts never helped anyone...
  9. Don't talk and write at the same time. You will soon find that you are writing your conversation down instead of happy thoughts or addresses.
And there you have it! Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes wisdom and enjoy your time getting cards ready.
Do you have any tips to add to the list for making Christmas cards easier?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Have You Ever...
It's that time again. Time for me to post odd random things that are perhaps a bit weird in the hopes that some of you can relate just a bit. Thus making me feel a little less like a total weirdo.
Without further ado...
Have you ever...
... decided not to send out Christmas cards and then changed your mind last minute and scrambled to gather addresses and get them out the door? (If you'd like a card, I'd love to send one... email me your address)
... entered a contest on this blog? (Please be aware that this woman writes in SATIRE... everything is supposed to be silly and fun, NOT taken seriously)
... taken your kids shopping and given them hints of things your spouse can get you for Christmas?
... made a big decision and then felt really unsure of yourself?
... hiked in an area and hoped that you'd be able to go back again soon only to find out that the field trip you signed up to go on with your son's class is going to the same place? (I really love it up there and can't wait to go again)
... had a child change their minds 100 times about what they want from Santa this year?
... moved ornaments around on your tree because you hate having "holes" in the decor?
... watched a Barbie Christmas Carol?
... bought a gift for your spouse and then second guessed yourself... but can't do anything about it because you bought said gift in another state (Idaho)?
... been financially irresponsible during the holidays (ahem)?
... gotten a head cold right before you are supposed to sing in a program?
... hit the "spellcheck" button and felt a sense of joy as it said "no misspellings found"?
Okay... I think that's it for now. If you can identify with any of these items, please, let me know. It will make me feel a bit less lonely :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Update in Pictures
Lots of pictures today about really random things... enjoy!
We got our fake tree up and decorated. Even though I'm not in love with the tree itself, I do love the fact that we gathered together and had fun decorating it! And, I do really like the way it looks, even if it doesn't smell the way I want.Little Bug took a break from decorating to play with our Fisher Price Nativity.It was Baby Girl's turn to put the star on this year. She was so excited!
Our hike on Saturday was amazing! The Autism Society chartered a bus to take us to the canyons. We watched Ratatouille and played around in style. When we got there we looked at some homes made out of palm fronds called "quiches". I'm sure that's not how you spell it, but that's how it's pronounced!The area was beautiful with lots of majestic rock formations and a stream! We live in a desert and it was so odd to see a natural stream out there.Our party at church was so fun! Hubby wasn't feeling very well after his test (which, he thinks he did okay on... we won't know till January) so I took Baby Girl and Red to the party. Little Bug doesn't always do well with crowds in confined spaces. So, he stayed home and played with Dad for the night. I got our costumes done but Baby Girl refused to have her picture taken. So, this is the best shot I have. She's the one in the bright green.Red agreed to pose with some of the "coins" they made for everyone to buy their dinner at the different little stands they had created. My birthday on Sunday was fantastic. Hubby made corn chowder for dinner and this is what we had for dessert...I still have some in my fridge if anyone would like to come over!
And, my last bit of randomness comes from this morning. I was opening blinds when I saw this guy...
That's some kind of hawk. And that pile of fluff he's sitting on? That would be a pigeon. Needless to say, I haven't eaten anything this morning. I can't seem to find my appetite just yet...
And there you have it! Lots of randomness just for you. I know you're excited, but please... try to contain yourselves :)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

My children don't believe in sleeping in. I think they are under the misconception that sleeping in will do them severe bodily harm. Does anyone know how to convince them otherwise? Little Bug was ready for the day to start at 5:00 this morning. Everyone else was up by 6:00. Don't they realize all of the things I have to do today? And now I will have to accomplish those things on a limited amount of sleep. You'd think that they'd figure out that I don't function well when I'm sleep deprived.
Our first thing is already done. Hubby got out the door to take the LSAT test for law school. He has put a lot of time into studying and preparing. I'm sure he will do really well on this test.
Items number two on our list is a hike. Several months ago I signed our little family up to go on a hike with the Autism Society. They chartered buses to take us to the destination. They have had a lot of people bail out for this activity. I don't feel like we can and I don't really want to. I've never seen the canyons they are taking us to and I really want to go. It will be a little crazy just me and the kids... but, uh, I can do it... I think.
After that we come home and get cleaned up. Then we have to make brownies and costumes for our church Christmas party. They want everyone to come dressed in clothes from "ancient times". Specifically, Book of Mormon times. Then we have to be to the church by 5:30.
To top it off, we're waiting for news on Hubby's dad. My FIL has been in the hospital for some tests. We're waiting for answers and hopefully we will have some soon.
It's going to be busy. Very busy. Oh, and tomorrow? We'll tomorrow I'll be 32 years old! I plan on taking it pretty darn easy tomorrow. That should make up for the craziness of today, right? Well, we're going to take a hike (ha!). Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I never do pronounce that right. I always say it as "ME! ME!" because that's what the darn things are usually about... ME! I got this as an email, but thought I'd use it here on the blog for fun! Feel free to play along if you'd like...
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? For every other gift giving holiday we do bags. But for Christmas it HAS to be wrapping paper
2. Real tree or Artificial? Sniff... sniff... I don't want to talk about it. (if you missed my WHINE fest about going from real to artificial, you can read all about my sadness here... although, the fake tree is growing on me. Not that it can really grow, being fake and all, but whatever)
3. When do you put up the tree? As soon after Thanksgiving as possible
4. When do you take the tree down? Um... whenever I get around to it. Sometimes it's right after Christmas other times it's been the middle of January.
5. Do you like eggnog? No! And for the life of me, I can't figure out why others do!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmm... I got a walkman one year and I carried that thing with me everywhere I went! Loved it :)
7. Hardest person to buy for? Hubby and Red. Hubby won't ever tell me what he would like and Red is getting to a stage where he doesn't want toys and everything he does want is EXPENSIVE!
8. Easiest person to buy for? Baby Girl - she wants everything!
9. Do you have a nativity scene? I think I have 4 full scenes and then 5+ with just Jesus or Joseph, Mary and Jesus
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'm sorry... did you say something? Sigh... I admit it. I'm the WORST Christmas card person in the world. I haven't sent any out for a long time...
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I can't really think of one...
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? ELF!! hee hee... love that movie!
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I shop all year long and hide it away... which can be problematic when I go to find the gifts and can't remember where they are at.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Just one thing? Hmmm... well, there's fudge... and butter cookies... and cinnamon rolls... and candy canes... and chocolate carmel pretzels... and hot cocoa... and...
16. Lights on the tree? Yep!
17. Favorite Christmas song? I can't pick just one. It's an impossibility. My playlist is a pretty good indicator of what I like (although, this is the same playlist I have on our family blog and so some of the song selections were not mine ;))
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I used to love to travel, but I'm becoming more of a homebody
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yep
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We each open a new pair of P.J.'s (as opposed to opening an OLD pair of P.J.'s) on Christmas Eve and everything else on Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People complaining about the season. It just reminds me how far we've gotten from the true meaning of the holiday.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I have lots of favorite ornaments. When I was a kid my mom bought us a new ornament each year and tucked it away in a box. When I got married, she gave me the box plus all the ornaments that had been given to me over the years or that I had made. It was a great thing to have on our first Christmas as a couple! I'm doing the same thing for my kids and they love it!
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Hubby usually makes Puerto Rican chicken and rice
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Instructions on EXACTLY what I should be doing with my life. That's not too much to ask... is it?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Before we left for Idaho I did all the laundry. I was so pleased with myself because usually I leave it till we come home. Then I have laundry from the trip AND all the stuff I left here. This time I was on the ball... or so I thought.
Yesterday Baby Girl took a bath. When she was done she told me she wanted her elephant towel. A friend had made the towel when she was born. It has her name on it and a little elephant. So, I started to look for the towel.
Not in that bathroom. Not in my bathroom. Not in her room or the boys' room. Not in any of the cupboards or closets where I keep towels. I was starting to wonder if a towel eating monster came into my home while we were gone because I noticed that most of my towels were missing.
Then, I had a thought. A yucky, nasty, horrible thought. Could I have? No... no way. But I thought I'd check anyway... and yes. Yes I did. How could I have forgotten them?? I left a batch of towels in the WASHING MACHINE for a week and a half!
The edges on some of them were a tan-yellow color and the smell... blech! Totally over powering!
Unfortunately, the kids "special" towels, including Baby Girl's elephant one, were in there. I had to try and save them. I set the machine to super wash and put bleach and detergent in. Rinsed them twice. Then washed them again with Borax. They are now in the dryer. I haven't had the guts to go check and see if they are ruined forever or if they were salvageable... if you'll hold on for a moment, I'll go check.....
The look okay.
They smell okay.
The real test is getting one of the items wet ...
I got one of the dish rags wet and the verdict is....
Apparently the two washings with a plethora of cleaners did the trick.
Still can't believe I completely overlooked that last batch of laundry. You know, they say that a stegosaurus brain was the size of a walnut. I think I just might be a descendant.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

There are some aromas that bring to mind holiday memories. I love the smell of hot cider (even though I'm not a fan of drinking it - weird, I know), goodies baking in the oven and fresh cut pine trees! Unfortunately, most of us are allergic to the pine trees.
I never had troubles as a kid. I don't remember feeling like my head was so full it was going to explode or sneezing till my lungs begged for mercy. But, as I've gotten older, the allergies have kicked in. I think Little Bug, Baby Girl and Hubby are all affected by it too. Red is the only one it doesn't seem to bother. And he could care less about what kind of tree we have - as long as there are gifts under it with his name on them, then he's good.
We're so miserable when we have a fresh tree and seems so silly to suffer for such a small thing. Yet, we've done it for a long time. I grew up with a real tree. We've been married for 10 years and we've had a real tree each and every year. It's tradition.
But this year is different. We already have really bad head colds and we're tired of feeling blah. I couldn't justify making my family more sickly than we already are. I gave in. I bought a fake tree.
And now? I want to cry. It seems so ridiculous to be so upset over this, but it makes me so sad. 33 years (almost) of having that wonderful smell in my home and now it's gone.
Does anyone know of a candle or spray or something that smells wonderfully Christmas-y? It doesn't necessarily have to be a pine scent, just something holiday-ish.
In the mean time, I think I'll go bake some cookies to make myself feel better...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sporadic Speculation
  • We're home! We're slightly sick, but we're home. Visiting family in Idaho was fantastic. We didn't get to see the lights on Temple Square though. There was a concert there that night and we were afraid that there would be TONS of people. Little Bug does not do well in crowds. So, we stopped and stayed with friends that night. It was so great to visit with them.
  • I did not finish my 50,000 words for the NaNoWriMo thing. I'm disappointed, but it's okay. I plan on trying again next year.
  • I love my shower. I know that's an odd thing to say... let me explain. While in Idaho I dreaded every shower. You see, my parents have no water pressure. So, it feels like a spit bath (how's that for a mental image?!). My in-law's shower head is about 5' high. I'm 5'6" which means I have to bend myself into odd positions to wash my hair. I can't tell you how good it felt to stand up straight in a normal stream of water when we got home.
  • I've changed the blog look (it's not my favorite) and added Christmas music. I know there are those of you who are not fond of the music starting when the blog comes up, but I really want the Christmas music going. So, please, don't boycott my blog during the month of December :)
  • I was able to buy the last figurines in the Willow Tree Nativity that I needed! I still need the creche (please don't ask me how to pronounce it... I have no idea... usually I call it "the manger thingy"). I'll take pictures and post them eventually.
  • My Mom and I hit 3 Black Friday sales. We went to smaller stores and missed all the crazy crowds. I still got what I wanted and didn't have to beat anyone up for it.
  • I am almost done with my holiday shopping. I am struggling with things for my Hubby. I have one thing, but I'm not sure what else to get. Any suggestions?
  • I feel like Wonder Woman today! I got everything from our trip unpacked, put our Christmas decorations up, changed the blog look, did dishes, played with Baby Girl and finished off the fudge :) Tonight we'll get our tree and I'm going to have everyone help to get the house looking fantastic! All in all it's been a good day

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good morning Bloggernauts! How are you on this fine Tuesday before Thanksgiving?
Me? I'm freezing my tail off. Something possessed us last week. Something sinister, I'm sure. Whatever it was it convinced us to spend some time in Idaho, which is where I am at this very moment.
It's always great to see family and friends, but... it's IDAHO! In NOVEMBER! I mean, really... what were we thinking?!? We awoke to a balmy 20 degrees this morning. It's going to warm up to a delightful 45 sometime around midday.
Apparently we have all acclimated to the California desert because I'm feeling a little bit popsicle-ish right now. All the locals (aka - family) are saying how nice it is for November. I'm laughing and putting on another layer of clothing.
I'm not going to be able to read blogs or write on here till the beginning of next week. We've got so much going on right now. We're having a great time, even though we look like the little brother in "A Christmas Story" after he gets his big ol' snow suit on. We're going to play and laugh and enjoy one another.
On Saturday we'll be at Temple Square to see the lights. I'm really looking forward to it. My kids have never seen them and it's been a long time since I've been there either. I know it will be cold, but if any of you bloggernauts would be brave enough to venture out to meet us there, email me and we'll plan a time and location to meet up on Temple Square! If you can't meet on Temple Square, well, we probably won't be able to visit this time. We've got to try to get to St. George after our time in SLC.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you'll be spending the day with those that you love and eating delicious food that you love even more!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I haven't posted twice in one day for a long time. I just had to get this out of my head and onto the screen. I was going to say "onto paper" but, uh, that doesn't really work, now does it?
I was sitting here at my computer having a little pity party for myself over something really stupid. When I say "really stupid" I mean REALLY STUPID. I pulled up my blog and turned my play list on hoping that the music would put me in a better mood.
"Stand" by Rascal Flatts came on. This was one of the songs that I listened to this last spring when my friend passed away. It hit me like a ton of bricks: this will be their first holiday season without her. I think of her four boys and her husband and suddenly the stupidity of my own insignificant problem is intensified.
I have so much to be thankful for. I'm not going to waste any more time feeling sorry for myself. It's not worth it. None of us know how long we will have on this earth. Can we really afford to use our time worrying about our own little problems? There are too many out there who need us. Starting with our families.
It's so easy for me to hide behind my computer. To answer my kids questions as I clickty clack on my lovely little keyboard. I've buried myself in my writing. The characters in my story have become more important than the people in my life. I look at my kids and wonder, "What will they remember?"
Will they remember the times I do play with them? Probably not. Because those times are short and not often enough. Will they remember me sitting at the computer or reading books? Probably. Why? Because that's what they see me do. This is not what I want my kids to think back on and recall.
I know this is a rambling post. My emotions are all jumbled up and I feel a tad overwhelmed at the moment. Hopefully as I get my priorities straight, my feelings will sort themselves out.
If you think about it, would you pray for the Gasaway family? I'm sure they could use it about right now.
After we went to the San Diego Zoo we stopped off at Oceanside. It was cold, but my kids are die hards when it comes to sand and surf!

As you can see, there was a pretty darn thick fog rolling around while the two youngest played in the water and the rest of our group gathered shells for our project.

Then we got to work!

It's our tradition to make a sand sea turtle and decorate his shell with shells.This year our turtle had a kazoo.Rock on dude. Rock on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do
While my parents were here we went to the San Diego Zoo as part of the birthday celebrations for Little Bug. It was a great trip, but our feet were sure sore by the time all was said and done. Little Bug loves the elephants (of course)
This is the look he gave me when I told him it was time to go.
See this cool looking otter?
It's not an otter! It's a monkey! It's called a swamp monkey and they like to swim under water. This one was teasing the real otters by pulling their tails and then running or swimming off.
I think this may be Red's long lost cousin...
And, of course, the three headed giraffe.
Oh come on! Doesn't it look like it has three heads? Right... moving on... Little Bug was pretty tired by the end and would lay down on anything he could find - including Grandma.
I'm so glad my parents come to visit us a couple of times during the year! We always look forward to their trips!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Belated Birthday
Little Bug's birthday was in October... another thing I didn't blog about. Sigh.
It was so fun to have my parents here for his birthday! They gave him a huge floor puzzle with zoo animals on it. He got lots of elephants for his birthday - they are his favorite animal. He had to open each gift and then take it over and examine it while sitting or laying down on our giant pillow (love that thing!).
He's not very fond of cake or cupcakes. So, cinnamon rolls were on the menu. He does love those!
It was a great day. He's such a sweet kid. We are so blessed to have him as part of our family!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recap in Pictures
First off, thanks for all the support about going back to school. It's a stressful thing to think about, but we both feel really good about this decision. I have no idea why we feel good, we just do. So, we move forward.
Second - I'm sorry I've been absent in blog land. I had no idea that writing a book would take so much out of me. I get done writing that and I feel like I don't have anything left to say - which is why I haven't blogged or been a very good commenter. I'll keep trying... don't give up on me yet.
Since words seem to be escaping me, I thought that for the next little while I would do recaps in pictures. That way I don't have to really think. Just share photos from what's going on in our lives. We're going to go back a few weeks... to Halloween. I know. It feels like it was forever ago. But I'm sharing anyway...
Red was Commander Cody from Star Wars (yeah. I have no idea who that actually is, but he was excited about it. And yes - the mask TOTALLY smashed his nose - good job to whomever designed the darn thing!)
Baby Girl was Fancy Nancy - each time she wore her costume it was a little different depending on the accessories she chose.
Hubby was a nerdy tourist for a youth group activity he was helping with.
I was a witch - not a far cry from reality.
Little Bug hates Halloween. He wore his cowboy hat long enough to grab a few pieces of candy and then he was done. I was handing out candy while he was wearing the hat and then he wouldn't put it back on for pictures... so no pictures of him this time.
There you have it. In the next few days I'll recap in pictures (and a few simple words) about our family photo shoot, Little Bug's Birthday, Disneyland and other random things! Hopefully when I get this NaNoWriMo done I'll be a little more active in blog land. Till next time! TTFN!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Deep Breath
So, I mentioned that on Sunday my family took the opportunity to beat each other senseless with pool noodles. It was great fun and a wonderful stress reliever. But, perhaps some of you were wondering what may have brought on enough stress to whack my family around? Well, I didn't really beat the kids. But Hubby... well, that's a different story. He bore the brunt of my fury, and I did pack quite a bit of fury into those swipes.
You see this guy right here?
He would like to go back to school. Not just any school... law school. Please excuse me while I go do some deep breathing exercises. I'll be back momentarily.... in through nose.... exhale out through mouth... inhale positive energy... exhale negative energy.... and one last time.... iiiiinnnnnn.... and ooooouuuuuuut.
M'kay. I'm back. Thank you for your patience. Anyway, as I was saying, Hubby has decided that he would like to go back to school. He told me this on Saturday, hence the beating on Sunday. I'm actually not too upset about this new development. He had mentioned before that he would like to go back to school someday. I always smiled and said, "Yes dear." Because I thought he was talking about a few courses from the community college. Not actually returning to student living. Let this be a lesson to you... don't agree to ANYTHING unless you know all the details.
Where was I? Oh yes, law school. Things have been moving in the direction of change for quite awhile in our lives. Hubby had applied for several jobs, but they just didn't seem to really fit what we were looking for. I know there is no "perfect job", but we like to pretend it's out there somewhere. Anyway, the jobs just weren't working out. A friend from high school came a few weeks ago and he is going back to school next fall. Hubby and my friend chatted at length about it all. Seeds were planted. Who knew they would take root so fast?
Even though this is going to sound totally insane, I'm feeling okay with this right now. I'm a little worried about how we're going to make it all work, but I worry about that here and now too. Now, I want you to go ahead and tell me how insane we are. Or, if you'd rather try to make me feel better, you can tell me about something totally crazy you've done... but please, only share if it has a happy ending!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween is Over...
Last year a gal in our church gave a talk and I loved it! I still remember feeling excited about the ideas that she shared and so I found the article she pulled some of her thoughts from and wanted to share it with you. It was written by Glenn Beck - a radio and TV personality.
The holidays are upon us, my friends, how will we approach them? Just some food for thought... this article was published in Glenn Beck's magazine "Fusion", December 2007 issue.

Trinity of Holidays
- by Glenn Beck

Let's talk turkey (and eggnog and noisemakers, for that matter). We're in the midst of the holiday season (no, that's not a PC term; I'm talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's) and I have just one question: Do you even remember what it's all about?

I'm guessing you don't, because we've buried the magic of those holidays under so much noise and irrelevance that we really don't enjoy this time of year -- and we certainly don't grow spiritually from the gifts that are right in front of us. Over time, we've mangled these holidays into unrecognizable displays of gluttony and greed.

Take Thanksgiving, for instance. In November 1789, President George Washington made Thanksgiving a national holiday when he declared that the nation needed "a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer." Somehow, this day in late November that was intended to be a timeout to give thanks to Almighty God has turned into a feast of food and football that has nothing to do with prayer (unless you count praying for your football team to cover the spread, which I obviously don't).

Christmas is intended to celebrate the birth of Christ, but political-correctness and consumerism have mangled it so far beyond recognition that I'm actually surprised when I see a reference to baby Jesus anymore.

January 1st offers the promise of a new start and a new calendar year, but it's become an excuse to party and drink so much that you wake up not even knowing what day it is.

It's no wonder that, after the turkey comas and pine cone needles have disappeared, the only thing left over from the holidays is a bigger waistline and more credit card debt.

I want us to take back the real meaning of these holidays. I don't think it's an accident that they are clustered together; I see it as divine design. Every year they offer us a clear series of steps we can take to become better people.

Step One is gratitude. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to humble ourselves and give thanks for the many blessings we have. Prayers help us find peace and acceptance with who we are.

Step Two is redemption. If you have seen my Christmas show, you know that I believe Christmas is more about the death of the man than the birth of the child. We celebrate the birth of the baby on December 25th, but the reason for His existence was so His death would cleanse our sins. His journey, from manger to cross, gives us a second chance.

Step Three is hope. The New Year gives us a clean slate, made possible because we've already humbled ourselves, given thanks, and found redemption. You can't succeed in your resolutions if you are still damaged from the past or if they are just a list on a piece of paper.

None of these holidays started out as anything extravagant. Thanksgiving was just a proclamation, Christmas began in a stable, and the New Year has always just been a day on the calendar. But their magic is in what they represent and in the opportunities they give us. They are very simple in their rewards: your grandmother's tablecloth; your child discovering the Christmas tree; the promise of a new year.

The true gifts of the season aren't in a lighting display or a gourmet meal; they are in your heart, and gathered around your table. You just have to take the time to look for them.

Traditions and glittery stuff are fine -- but our souls need attention, too. There is such a thing as a second chance and I hope, if you need one, you will find it this season in all the blessings around you.

Happy holidays from the Glenn Beck Program

Take it for what it's worth. But, I'm hoping to apply some of the things he mentions in my life. I think that too often we get caught up in the material aspect of these holidays - I know I do. I'm so busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day that I forget to be thankful for the family I'm surrounded by. I'm so eager for my children to open their "perfect gifts" on Christmas morning that I neglect to remember the only TRUE "perfect gift" ever given. I'm so exhausted on New Years that I don't make resolutions to change. It's so much easier to just stay the same.

This year will be different. I'm going to keep the materialism in my holidays to a minimum. I wish I could say that I would eliminate them entirely, but that would be a lie. I like to cook for my family on Thanksgiving, but this year I won't go so crazy with our menu. I want my kids to get a few things for Christmas, but they don't need so many things - because that's exactly what they are - THINGS. And I'm going to make some changes. I can see how much I need that in my life.

Sorry this is so long! I'm not trying to be preachy... just using my blog as a sounding board for a few thoughts that I thought might be useful to someone else. What do you do to keep the holidays in focus in your home? Do you have traditions to help you maintain the spirit of the holiday rather than the things of the holiday?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

We got out our pool noodles and had a sword fight tonight. We chased each other around, giggled and showed no mercy in our "poodle" battle (pool+noodle=poodle. I know. We're weird). My muscles will probably seize up on me tomorrow, but it was worth it. You have no idea how good it felt to smack my family around a little. I think they felt the same way. This may become a new tradition. When things are a little stressful in our lives, we'll just go out and beat each other up with 6 foot long pieces of foam. You should try it. It's cheaper than therapy and I feel tons better. Apparently I had a lot of pent up feelings that I needed to get out. Maybe I need to take up kick boxing?
What do you do as a family to de-stress??

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I'm back... sort of! We've had a really busy 2 weeks! Lots of fun, but lots of running around... let me give you a brief rundown...
  • Wednesday October 22: A friend from high school came for dinner. We had a great time visiting and catching up. I was so glad he was able to stop in!
  • Thursday October 23: A friend that used to live here in the valley came for a visit! Our kids played and had a ball. It was sad to say good-bye again, but we had a blast while they were here! (Come again any time Adena!)
  • Friday October 24: My parents arrived! WOOHOO!! Let the party begin!!
  • Saturday October 25: Clean up day at the school. My parents are so awesome. We gave them the option of staying home or coming to help. They both rolled up their sleeves and went to work! Mom and I went shopping that afternoon to gather supplies for Little Bug's birthday and for a youth Halloween party Hubby helped with.
  • Sunday October 26: Little Bug's Birthday! My boy is 8. He is such a blessing in our lives! We had a pretty mellow day. We opened gifts and ate cinnamon rolls (L.B. is not a fan of cake in general). We also did family pictures (which I will blog more about later...)
  • Monday October 27: Made chili and got last minute details for costumes for a party at our church. The kids had a blast and came away with TONS of candy. Dentists must really love this time of year...
  • Tuesday October 28: Shopping! Playing! General frivolity! The kids picked activities, the grandparents complied. It was a fantastic day for the kids and their Grandma and Pop Pop to just spend time reading and being together. We usually plan so much in every time they visit, they don't get a lot of down time to just hang out.
  • Wednesday October 29: The San Diego Zoo was calling our names! We walked all over that place and had a wonderful time. Then we headed to Oceanside to dip our toes in the water and build our traditional sand sea turtle.
  • Thursday October 30: MORE SHOPPING!! Had to go out again! Baby Girl and Pop Pop stayed home and played every board game we own. Then they played the Wii and I think they both really enjoyed that. That afternoon Red played the piano for them and that evening Alan and I went on a date! A REAL DATE! It was fantastic!!
  • Friday October 31: Halloween! My parents decided they were going to scrub my house. They dusted, picked everything up, wiped down counters and vacuumed... which is how my Dad threw his back out. He has a bad back and he twisted just the wrong way. But, we did learn something new that I thought I'd pass a can make homemade ice packs that stay cold for a really long time and they are slushy - so they conform to your body giving you better icy coverage! We found two things that worked - dish soap or a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. The dish soap will freeze solid (at least, mine did) but it thaws fairly well and stays cold for a really long time. The rubbing alcohol and water (1 cup alcohol, 3 cups water) just stays slushy and, again, stays really cold! We just put it in Ziploc bags and it worked great! Anyway... back to Halloween... Little Bug HATES this holiday. He's not a fan of masks (they aren't supposed to wear them at the church party...) and he hates having people jump out and scare him. So, this is usually a pretty stressful day for him. He did well at school, came home and didn't want to leave again. We ordered pizza that night and Baby Girl, Hubby and I went out trick or treating. Red went with friends (he's too cool to go with us!). That night, after the kids were in bed, we watched "Emma Smith: My Story" and it was really good! I would recommend it!
  • Saturday November 1: Wait... it's November? This last month flew by... anyway... today is the day we pulled out the Kleenex. Time for my parents to go home. Baby Girl and Red cried. Little Bug screamed. I let a few of my own tears flow... sigh. It's always so fun to have them here and always so hard to see them go.

And there you have it. I have more to tell you, but it will have to wait. This post is getting long enough as it is! I hope your week has been fantastic! See ya in blog land!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I know I already blogged a little about Baby Girl's birthday and how Murphy's Law lost a great battle, but I thought I'd share a few pictures from that fun day.
We did a "Fancy Nancy" dinner just with the family. Baby Girl wanted spaghetti and kool-aid slush. So, just to make it a little fancier, I pulled out some old green goblets and found the little paper umbrellas. Nothing too great, but she thought it was fantastic! (Yeah, her teeth are blue from the slush)I made little crowns out of royal icing for the cupcakes. They were really easy to throw together. They aren't anything amazing, and the red one broke (you can see where I stuck it back together), but Baby Girl loved them! She had an "Art Party" with her friends. We let them draw with sidewalk chalk while we waited for everyone to arrive. Then we gave each kid a canvas just like a REAL artist (you can get a 3 pack of canvases from WalMart for $3.50 - they aren't fabulous, but they worked...). The kids loved it! After that we came in and had each kid make their own personal pizza. We used frozen rolls for the crust, so it was pretty simple. While the pizzas were baking we let Baby Girl open gifts and then we ate pizza and had cupcakes. Again, I used royal icing to make little artist pallet candies to go on the cup cakes. Overall, I'd say she had a pretty fantastic birthday!