Monday, December 29, 2008

And I Was Just Getting Used to 2008....

It's over.

No more presents under the tree. Only stale broken bits of the Christmas cookies left. We can no longer locate the lower ornaments on our tree.


They never had a chance.

We had a wonderful Christmas. Santa was good to all of us, especially the children. Jacob's bedroom is covered with the 1,000 piece Star Wars lego set that he knew Santa would bring, Adam has enough Bumblebee Transformers to share with all his friends, and Elizabeth got GIRL toys which thrilled Mommy to no end but, Beth, not near as much because those Bumblebees are pretty awesome.

And we all got a Wii.

I think it might be fun. It looks fun. Maybe one day someone other than Daddy can play it.

And maybe one day I might post pictures of all the post-opening Christmas chaos, but I left my camera cords at home when we packed up and drove to the lake the day after.

So, yeah, we're at the lake.

I was going to be home today, but since the kids and I have nothing else to do this week, we decided to stay here. I hope my parents can survive all this fun and togetherness. My dad decided to go to work today. I swear he said he was going to be off all this week. Hmmmm. I'm glad my mom got her heart fixed.

So I probably won't be around the blogs too much this week. You might be able to catch me on Facebook, though. Just go to Word Twist, I'll probably be there. You know, in all my free time.

Happy 2009! I hope it passes a little more slowly than 2008. It makes my kids grow up too fast.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our New Christmas Tradition

Back in May when we decided to live beyond our means buy our new home, the husband and I both agreed not to purchase gifts for one another on our anniversary or Christmas anymore for the next few years and use that money to begin replenishing our savings and paying the newer, fatter mortgage.

That all seemed like a good idea at the time. I didn't miss an anniversary gift since I rarely got one anyway, but Christmas, well, who doesn't like to open a little something on the big day? Yeah, yeah, I want some *Peace on Earth and all the children of the world to hold hands and sing* as much as the next person, but as it got closer, I was a little bummed out about raising my husband's children 24/7/365 while being his live-in maid and not receiving a year end bonus.

But I wasn't going to renege on our deal. And, really, everyday here is like a gift now that we're out of the crappy neighborhood and I have a whirlpool tub and ample cabinet space.

But then the husband started to waver, felt like we should mark the occasion, just didn't seem right not to buy me a gift, all AFTER Thanksgiving where I will under NO circumstances shop outside of my home.

So. I came up with a clever plan. We would take an afternoon and go to the grocery store. Our big, fancy grocery store with the sushi bar and ready-to-go meals and all the foods we don't typically buy for ourselves any other time of the year due to our budget. Our 375 dollar a month grocery budget. We could buy whatever food we wanted, we could shop without coupons, we could purchase whatever we desired without feeling guilty that one afternoon and then we'd take our loot home and sate ourselves informally off of paper plates in front of rented movies and have our very own holiday party, just the five of us.

And with visions of California Rolls, the husband agreed.

So on Saturday, we set out on our quest for all things delicious and typically monetarily out of reach.

We spent a lot of time in the wine aisles. The reds were ten percent off, so SCORE!

I'm not much of a wine drinker, but the husband has a glass for his health.

I got beer instead.

We used the forbidden red cart. On a weekly trip, I refuse to employee that unsteerable, germ-laden monstrosity and the kids know it. They don't even ask for it anymore. But, hey, it's fun! and sticky And Christmas! And Daddy is there to push it so, what the heck?!

My golly it was fun! You can just sssllliiddee down into the nether regions of cart crustiness. Who needs to be healthy for the holidays???

Those poor little deprived boys were finally able to partake in the joy that is THE ICEE. And they shared with their sister. Their sister who has, since yesterday, been running a high fever and dripping mucous from every orifice. Merry Christmas boys!

We blew about a third of our monthly budget on our cart full of edible heaven. The husband didn't even wait for our "party" and inhaled his sushi before we'd completely unloaded the car. I've been eating real, imported bleu (not blue) cheese and expensive antipasto from the olive bar. The boys enjoyed their Lunch*bles and ice cream and Spongebob mac and cheese. Elizabeth asked for only bananas, but she's not shy about sharing.

So I won't have a gift under the tree this Christmas. I don't really care anymore. We had such a blast shopping and enjoying our finds together. This is definitely going to become a new tradition at our house. Our new tradition in our new home.

**And I might share my olive bar goodness to anyone who can tell me where that reference is from**

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I always knew she was a little monkey....

She peeled her own banana. Even the big one can't do that.

I am running out of places to hide the chairs and food.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Key Points

This is what happens when you leave your laptop open while you're scouring the house for your lost car keys.

Which, by the way, I totally found. Twelve hours later. Or more accurately, Adam found when he finally told me where he put them.

He had no idea all day long where those keys where. Even after I promised him a brand spanking new Optimus Prime if he found them, he'd just shrug and say, "Me not know!" and go about his business. Shoot, he even patted my back at one point and told me it would all be okay and all that time he knew where they were!


His story is that while I was drying my hair Elizabeth pushed a chair over to the counter and snagged my keys where I had left them when we came in the door. He knew she wasn't supposed to play with them so he took them from her and threw them wwwwaaaayyyy in the back of one of the kitchen cabinets so she couldn't find them.

Or anyone else either.

And I guess he forgot all about doing that until 9 p.m. when his Daddy asked him, after his own car key search, if he knew where Elizabeth put the keys when all of sudden he jumped up, went to the cabinet, and pulled them out.

My husband thinks I'm an idiot for not finding them and staying trapped in my house all day long while my kid rode home with a classmate at the last minute.

But he didn't find them either, so there.

But now I and my computer have keys again, so all is right with the world.

And as if I weren't lucky enough to have those all those keys back again, we went to a the company Christmas party this weekend without the children and we won a most awesome door prize

Those flowers are so pretty, huh?

But did you see my most awesome new camera?

We won a frickin' camera, man! It's a Nikon Coolpix and it's going to make me all cool like Ashton Kucher. Free = Cool.

And I also brought home a nice hefty hangover as well because forty year old Mommy can't drink like Twenty-two year old Girl-Without-Children could. The husband tried to warn me, but I don't get out much and they totally had an eighties cover band so the line between old me and this me was pretty hazy.

Note to self: Five beers is plenty. Seven will kill you the next day. And just don't drink at all if you have to drive eighty miles to a kid's birthday party the next day. Trust me on this one.

And now I need to spend the week baking and viewing the six hour defensive driving video before the end of the year so I don't get arrested.

I'll just be sure to close my computer and put my car keys away before I do it.

And there will be no drinking involved. I swear.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let It Snow!


I was going to have Dad pick up a pizza and a movie to console Jacob after, well, you know.

But then I figured, hell, let's have a snow storm instead!

Okay, okay, technically I did not cause the snow but thank you God for making my son forget all about being dissed by his mother because SNOW IS THE BEST. THING. EVER!

Christmas miracle? Just maybe.

And that was just the beginning.

My camera died before the other inch and a half covered the ground.

It was absolutely beautiful and so much fun.

I hope we don't have to wait another four years to see it again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Forget College, I Need to Start Saving for Therapy

Jacob sang in chapel this morning.

It was the first time he'd done it this year. He's been practicing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" for two weeks now.

He was very excited.

He's reminded me every day that he'll be singing on December 10 at 9:00. He asks every morning if I'll be there to watch him sing and I assure him I wouldn't miss it for anything.

Except I should've added a bail-out exempting myself in the case of an act of G*d.

Or Elizabeth.

Elizabeth ran off with my car keys. My car keys that were in a basket on the counter away from her theiving little hands. How dare I think I could dry my hair!?

I've looked everywhere and they are no where to be found. She flushed the toilet a couple of times this morning before I could fish her away. Elizabeth loves the toilet. I didn't think too much about it other than how much I wanted to gripe at Jacob for leaving the door open again. Now, though, after upending everything in this house and still no keys, I'm thinking all that hysterical laughter was for more than just some potty water swirling.

So I did not get to see Jacob sing in chapel today. I called the office and had them send a note to class explaining but I know it won't make up for the fact that he stood up there to sing and couldn't find me. Because I know he spent the entire time looking for me. And I know he waited until he couldn't wait anymore for me to show up at his side and walk him back to class. To tell him what a good job he did. To tell him how proud I was of him.

But I wasn't there.

Yet another story for his therapist in twenty years to back up his claim that his Mama never loved him and ruined his life.

And I still have no car keys.

So he'll have even more to talk about when no one is there to pick him up this afternoon.

You'll see us on a Lifetime movie one day, I just know it.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Shallota Spaghetti

I made Shallota Spaghetti for dinner last night. It was very tasty.

Elizabeth helped me prepare it. She has started showing an interest in the cooking process which thrills me to no end. The boys could not care less. They won't even frost a fricking Christmas cookie, but the girl will push over a chair and watch whatever I'm doing at the counter.

So last night she pulled up just in time to see me begin chopping a ton of shallots.

"Apple," she'd say, pointing and grinning. "Mmmmm."

"Shallot," I'd say.

"Apple," she continued to say to which I usually replied, "shallot." This went on a while. It was very cute.

After a while I amassed quite a pile when she grabbed a slice and and said, "Apple. Mmmmm." and then popped that piece of raw shallot right into her mouth.


"Shallot." She said. And made a face. I didn't have the camera to catch the face, but I did go fetch it once she realized that, hey, those don't taste like apples, but I think I might like them anyway.

Shallot. Mmmmm.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Thanksgiving Picture

So close, yet so far......

Saturday, December 06, 2008

From Deep in the Draft Files....

I may just make this a regular post. I'm finding lots of old crap stuff back there.

February 11, 2008

You'd never know I wrote a paper in my early childhood psychology class about the ill effects of dressing your children alike. They won't form their own identities! They will lose all creativity! All prisoners were at some time dressed like their siblings!

I so obviously did not have children at that time.

Because, ittle-bitty matching outfits are SO awesome!

And Mommy feels like she's won a scavenger hunt when she finds three in all the right sizes!

I can't believe how much they've grown since then. It doesnt' seem that long ago.

Friday, December 05, 2008

What's The Deal?

With The Jeho*ah's Wit*esses?

Oh, I know, everyone knows, they go door to door and in a quest for converts. I thought it was all pretty random, but I think I have my own personal Witnesses. The same two woman have been here three times since we moved here. The first few times I thought they were making their rounds through the neighborhood, that they were sharing the wealth, if you will, with everyone. Today, however, I saw them drive their big white caddie into my driveway and since I was expecting someone here to fix a window, I opened the door. When I saw who it really was, though, I got a little ticked. Them. Again. The first time they showed up, I'll be honest, I didn't listen much. Trying to keep three children and two animals inside the doorway takes some skill and I'm not that good of a multitasker. I took their pamphlets with a smile because I am like that. Plus I was living in a new neighborhood and what if they caused a scene if I dared disagree with them? The second time they came I was literally, and no I wasn't lying, walking out the door so they shoved some pamphlets into my hand and went on their merry way. Today, they were a little more forceful. Lady One read to me from the pamphlet. Something about how Jesus really is okay with drinking wine, I mean, why else would He have turned water into it? Huh? Huh? Whatever. You can believe what you want to believe, lady. Did you see the bottles of wine in my recyclable bin and think you could convince the drinker in me to join you? Ha! The husband is the wine drinker, that argument won't go far on me. All the while Lady Two was hunched down grinning at Child Three while trying to shimmy closer to the threshold. Then Lady One switched to some part about Jesus requiring cleanliness and, again, it's okay to drink and have a good time, just don't get drunk, okay? Then:

JW: (Pointing at my Christmas tree and decorations with an exaggerated swoop of her hand)Many people are confused this time of year and we are here to set the record straight and let you know what Jesus is really all about?

Me: (I can't say anything because I'm standing there with my mouth agape)

JW: You should be shown the true way and alleviate your confusion.

Me: What makes you right and me wrong?

JW: I can see where you'd be confused, everyone is this time of year. If we could just come in and speak this over with you.

Me: No, thank you. We are busy today and I honestly don't feel very confused. (as I try to shut the door in her face)

JW: (as the door is closing) You have beautiful children! How adorable!

After thinking a bit about these encounters I am wondering this:

1. How did they get through our front gate? Who gave her the code or voiced her in?

2. They came in the neighborhood and came straight to my house. When they left, they left out of the neighborhood so they obviously came just for me. The more I think about this the more I remember that everytime a Witness has come to my door has been pretty soon after I've moved someplace new. So. How do they know we're new here? Are they in cahoots with the post office? Do they search public mortgage records? Is that part of their plan? Befriend the new folks in town and feed them the kool-aid? Hope someone is looking for someone to chat with and BAM!? What?

3. Why come at Christmas and so obviously frown at my beliefs? Are they hoping I have such low self-esteem that I'll instantly conform just so they'll like me?

4. Do they get points for every convert?

5. Was the whole "You're kids are beautiful" routine part of the schpiel? Why yes, they are beautiful! And since we agree on that we must agree about Jesus too?

Really. I don't have a problem with Jeho*ah's Witnesses. Our country was founded on freedom of religion and they are entitled to theirs. I am also entitled to mine. Maybe I should've made it clear to them the first time that I believe in God, that I (sometimes) go to church, that I'm confident in those beliefs and thank you very much. I do have a problem with people coming to my home, my home so obviously celebrating the birth of Christ with it's nativity scenes and Christmas tree, and telling me how I should believe.

My aunt became Jeho*ah's Witness fifty years ago. It nearly killed my God-fearing Christian grandmother. She moved very far away from home with her new husband and had four kids in seven years. She was lonely. And depressed. She had no friends for a long time. Until two Jeho*ah's Witnesses showed up at her door. Then she had friends. Then she wasn't lonely. She never tried to convert us. In fact, she was very receptive to any Christmas gifts given to her or her children, holiday surprises she called them. Go figure? What do you think the fold would think of that? My aunt is happy at her Kingdom Hall. I am happy for her. But I can see where my aunt may not have been strong enough in herself to stand up for what she had previously believed in. I just see her wanting someone to talk to while her husband worked long hours and she cared for her kids. And I wonder? Did they know that too?

So seriously. I'm not trying to be anti-anything. Really, I'm not. I just want to know what the deal is. I want to know why I've been targeted, so to speak, and how I can kindly let them know that their visits really don't bring out the joyful in me. Come hang and have tea or coffee with me, but please don't try to convert me.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What Some People Have to Go Through for a Nice Smile

Adam had his first dentist appointment a couple of weeks ago. You know, because he just turned three. Ten months ago. Part of the reason it was so late was because I forgot about it, but when I did remember it, I'd put it out of my mind and remember Jacob's first trip to the dentist. Let's just say it wasn't fun. Jacob at three hated ladies and hated to have his teeth brushed. Then I took him and let a lady brush his teeth. Ah, good times. Yes, he has a red file there.

But he's better now and even tolerates the gritty mint toothpaste that was the previous provoker of white-coated nightmares. He is seven after all. But Adam, Adam is still three so I put it off as long as I could, until I was reminded by snarky forwarded postcard that Jacob had missed his six month appointment and it had been *gasp* nine months so I bit the bullet and took them both in for checkups.

I did not prepare Adam for the dentist. I've learned my lesson about the over preparing, scares the crap out of my over-analytical kids. I put them in the car, drove down the road, and when I pulled into my parking space turned around and said, "Yeah, we're going to the dentist! Hooray for healthy teeth!" and led them to the door. Jacob grumbled a bit about it and let me know all too often his opinion of the mint toothpaste, but Adam was intrigued, so I gave a brief overview of all things oral medicine while Jacob took his turn first. I expected resistance or at the least bit some apprehension, but all I got was some pissiness over having to wait his turn (and almost an hour at that).

But his turn finally came and he was eager to chew the ugly pink tablets and show the lady just how clean his teeth really were (and they were, he does love to brush his teeth). I thought he might cry going alone down the dark hallway of doom but he just waved and I think I saw him skip at some point. Now, typically, a child's first visit consists of the pink tooth wash and an introduction to the dentist and then you schedule a follow up a month later for a cleaning. You know, because it's easier on the kids. Has nothing to do with getting paid for another appointment, no. When I was finally able to go "to the back", the dentist said he was so impressed with how well Adam did that he would clean his teeth then and there to save me a co-pay a trip. And since this post is about Adam I'll only touch on the fact that he had me sit down and threatentalk to Jacob about ceasing the screaming or they'd have to sedate him for the sealants he was getting. But see Dentist Man! It's not me, one of them is GOOD!

So Adam had his teeth cleaned. He was so proud. He received THREE prizes (and Jacob was grudgingly given one. A small one) and a new patient baggie filled with his new toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and a six month supply of pink pills. He carried that bag around with him until it fell apart last week. I wish I'd taken his picture with it. Anyway, the point of my post, and it does have one, is that the dentist was thrilled with Adam's clean teeth. His bite, not so much. I cannot believe I never noticed it before, but his front teeth don't meet.


I just always assumed he had a quirky smile, but no. His teeth haven't come all the way down and are a bit poked out, while straight, they aren't where they are supposed to be.

And I was totally thinking we'd have to start saving for those braces now and not what the dentist had in mind which was trash-the-pappy.

OMG! Do not make me take the pappy away from my teeny, tiny, itty-bitty baby! Because, uh, he's a baby. Sure he wears underpants and plays Star Wars but he still says leggalow (yellow) and sucks a pappy. Because he's a BABY! My baby!

So the pappy is evil because it has caused Adam to lay his tongue around it, pushing his teeth forward. Apparently this *could* also be the reason he says leggalow too. Or, you know, didn't talk for, like, ever.

Yeah. I ruined my child's teeth AND his speech! I am SO Mother of the Year.

So that dentist soothingly told me to ease my BABY off his last token of babyness oral device and patted Adam's leg and sugary-sweetly told him his teeth would be so much better if he ditched the Nuk.

And that's what he did.

He gave me all his pappies. He said he didn't need them because he was a big boy.

It hasn't been easy on him. He's a little cranky. He cries over little things. He lets me know he's sad. He went a whole week without taking that pappy, even when I'd offer him one at night to sleep he'd say no, it would ruin his teeth, he was a big boy. Although he's had a few setbacks, he is ready to give up his baby crutch. Mommy? Not so much. I know I am being crazy, but it almost physically hurts me to get rid of those pappies. Those three remaining pappies are the last link I have to Adam's babyhood. It went by so quickly. I'm not ready for it to be over. I thought it would only be hard with the first kid. But I was wrong. It doesn't get easier.

Adam is officially a big boy I guess. I knew it was coming. I just didn't expect it so soon.

I'm so proud of him. How many three year olds would give up their favorite possession all in the name of straight teeth?

Lord help Mommy though.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I Am So Thankful....

That we made it home alive last night!

I realize Thanksgiving is a huge travel holiday, but come on. What we encountered last night went beyond a little bit of traffic, it was the crazy, angry, homicidal person convention on Interstate 10.

Seriously. Who gives these people a drivers license?

I totally get the need to make it home quickly. Believe me, no one wanted to be cozy and warm in their own home more than I did. Sitting in the same spot for four hours listening to screaming children amidst the faint aroma of cat urine can really wear on a person. And does everyone have a rendition of Sleigh Ride? I love the all-Christmas-all-the-time radio station but nine different versions in two hours seems a bit excessive. How about a little Frosty the Snowman once in a while? Joy to the World?

But Joy to the World would've been much too ironic for the situation. There was no joy on the highway last night. Lot's of shouting, many middle fingers, but no joy. No. We're on the interstate about seventy miles or so, usually less than an hour, but last night we were there two. Traffic came to a stand still half way to our exit. We thought there may have been an accident, most likely the brand new silver Ford Focus with the high school tassel hanging from the rear view who was apparently on it's way to a huge emergency judging by the way it cut everyone off and rode the center white line for a while. What a shame we thought. So young. So angry. So we turned up the tunes and took bets on who'd sing Sleigh Ride next. Willie Nelson? Miley Cyrus? Nirvana? We putted along at five mph for a while longer. The cars next to us played Chinese fire drill. Why not? We weren't going anywhere. The guy to my right finished off his tall boy in a bag. Because, did you know they sell single alcoholic beverages at the gas stations in Texas? They so do. No, that doesn't interfere with the open container laws at all. People just want to buy one at an exorbitant price because they look all pretty lined up in that cooler of ice, much nicer than a cardboard box. Some people gave up and took the frontage road even though we seasoned interstate drivers knew it would end at the river a few miles up. Suckers.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, stuck in traffic. So the husband wants me to roll down the window and look for the red and blue lights because surely we should be coming upon that mangled Ford Focus. Is it blocking the left lanes or the right lanes? We need that information so we can be prepared and be in the correct lane. I almost killed us all with the exhaust fumes, but there were no lights. No sirens. Just lines and lines or cars. So. Many. Cars. Holy Crap! What the hell was going on?

You want to know what was going on?

The left lane of the road ended. That's what.

The highway went from three lanes to two just as it has since it was constructed, oh, fifty some years ago. I don't know why this surprised some drivers as that sign, you know the one, the one that says LEFT LANE ENDS was posted six times, every half mile for three miles. Some people heeded the warning and got over quickly. Some kept talking on their cells and then realized they needed to get over and would apologetically beg for entrance. The angry, aggressive even-an-expensive-car-can't-make-me-happy people gunned to the front and cut their way in. We sat in traffic while the baby screamed, our bladders filled, and gas fumes were all that was left because a bunch of idiots had to win.

My biggest traffic peeve. Just get over already. Quit being a dumb ass. Please tell me there's a special line at the Pearly Gates for those people.

And if that weren't enough. All those line jumpers who thought they'd found the secret passage were turned around and came crawling back to reenter on the right side. Oh, but excuse us, go right ahead and cut us off. We're just sitting here. Wait! It's another Sleigh Ride. Yeah!

But we made it home. Thank God. I think I saw the dog kiss the ground as he disembarked. The cat was thrilled to have a skin shreddingrelaxing bath afterwards. And the brand new silver Ford Focus lived to see another day. We passed it going the speed limit right before our exit.

Only 25 more days until the Christmas traffic fest! I'll be sure to remember snacks and my own music then.