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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reading Review 2009

Wow... So I've been seeing these little reviews everywhere for books you have read in 2009. I'm not entirely sure that I can remember every book I've read in the last year and I didn't exactly keep track.

This year found me without a whole lot of new books to read, very little cash to spend on new books, and little time to go browse at the library... which means that this year I did A LOT of re-reading books I already own and have read as well as borrowing books from friends.

I re-read:

1-7. The entire Harry Potter Series from book 1-7
8-11. The entire Twilight series
12. The Secret Life of Bees (twice) (Sue Monk Kidd)
13. Poision Study (Maria V. Snider)
14. Magic Study (MVS)
15. Fire Study (MVS)
16. The India Fan (Victoria Holt)
17. The Thirteenth Tale (Dianne Setterfield)
18. The Sharing Knife (Lois McMaster Bujold)
19-21. Diary of a Whimpy Kid books 1-3 (Jeff Kiney)

Other Books I can remember reading are:

22-24. The Immortal Instrument Series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass) by Cassandra Clare
25. Sea Glass (MVS)
26-28. The Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore books 1-3
29. Will Storr Vs. The Supernatural
30. Phantom of the Opera
31. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
32. Baby Proof (Emily Griffin)
33. Little Earthquakes (Jennifer Wiener)
34. My Sisters Keeper (Jodi Picoult)
35. Salem Falls (JP)
36. Keeping Faith (JP)
37. Cinderella Rules (Donna Kaufman)
38. The Host by Stephanie Meyer

I'm not entirely sure if that's every book I've read this year or not. I would like to think that I've read more... but in any case, these are the ones I'm certain I read. 38 isn't really a bad number, but I'll keep better track this year. Anyway, I'm going to steal Daphne's little book survey thingy.
Best Book Overall
That's really a tough one. I really, really, really like Keeping Faith. But the fact that I re-read both The Secret Life of Bees and The India Fan (AGAIN) speaks volumes about how good both are. I was assigned Secret Life of Bees as part of my orientation class my first year of college and I've read at least once a year ever since. I first read the India Fan when I was about 15 and it gets read about once a year too. In fact, I had to buy a new copy this year because my old one disentegrated.

Best Young Adult
This one is easy. I'm going to go with the Immortal Instruments Series. The series was aimed at the same age group as Twilight but was infinitely better written and the story line had much more to offer. Plus there is word that a prequal series will be coming out too and I'm super excited about it. I thought these books had way better characters. But that's just me. Please don't kill me Twilight Fans!!!!

Best Chunkster (450 +)
Is it sad that I didn't read very many books that fall in this category this year??? Anyway, staying within those guidelines I'd have to say The India Fan, hands down. It really is a wonderful story.

Best Unexpected Delight
Definitely Will Storr Vs. The Supernatural. It was entirely different from what I had expected when I picked it up but it was AWESOME. I can't reccomend it enough.

Best Non-Fiction
Again, not many books fell into this category... in fact only one that I can re-call so Will Storr wins by default.

Best Horror
I thought Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was hilarious. And it's one of the only books I read this year that can really justify that genre.

Biggest Dissappointment
Definitely Cinderella Rules. I thought it might actually have a cute plot, even for a fluffy book... but I was wrong. It has some horribly botched together and entirely unbelievable "plot" that the writer uses to fill in the gaps between the love scenes which start taking place almost immediately. It's seriously like two strangers meet in the back of a limo, exchange names and are making out by the time they reach their destination. Boo! Boo I say! Not intellectually stimulating in the least. There isn't even any good banter going on. Boo.

Best Re-Read
The Secret Life of Bees or again, The India Fan.

Best Guilty Pleasure
I don't feel guilty for reading! LOL I read a lot of fantasy, fiction, and young adult books, and kid books... and I enjoy them all!

That Being Said, here is a list of my goals for the New year:

1. Make a concious effort to Pay for what I NEED before spending money on what I WANT

2. Keep Track of the books that I read

That's it! Real ambitious, I know. But I've never actually made "resolutions" before, so I have to take baby steps.

Happy Up-coming New Year!

What?! It's a NEW YEAR ALREADY?! .

So, um... yeah... I haven't blogged in so long that my computer no longer automatically remembers my password for Blogger, and I had to go on a 15 minute hunt through piles of tiny slips of paper and index cards just to log on. I guess that's the holidays for you. I am always so excited in the months leading up to them, starting with Halloween. I always enjoy the whirl wind of changing decor, the excuse to bake things that are very bad for my waist line, the thrill of picking out and hiding presents and the excitement of seeing people open and enjoy them.... but honestly...

As soon as the living room floor is buried in wrapping paper and ribbon and tiny bits of toys are strewn EVERYWHERE... I'm just glad it's over and done with. I immediately begin itching to take down the tree, put every thing away and put everything back in it's place.

Our holiday was over all, pretty wonderful. Tim never had a clue what he was getting until he opened them and then was surprised that he had gotten every thing he had asked for that I had told him I wouldn't be able to afford this year. I am very sneaky. Very sneaky indeed. His favorite was probably his brand new cell phone with the full keyboard so that he can keep up with his sister in the text messaging department. He always gets so frustrated when he's in the middle of trying to text her back and she keeps sending him new ones because his old phone would automatically switch to her message and he'd have to start all over. I don't care so much for the electronics and cell phones and such... but he was very excited.

My favorite gift is going to be hard to pin down. I got a new coffee pot and I have to say... it's pretty awesome. And it's black, which is wonderful for my OCD because the old one was white and I had to attack it more than once with a tooth brush. So that was awesome, but then the hubs also got me some White Diamonds. Not the hard sparkly kind, the perfume kind and I love that too. I also got a few new books including the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series and I love books. Mom and Papa got me a new sewing machine and that made it a REALLY close call, but I have to say, my sister Allie's gift takes the cake: She bought me the first season of the Carol Burnette show on DVD. I literally squealed. I never squeal... but come on... Carol Burnette???!!!!! My all-time favorite variety show. EVER. HANDS DOWN. Nothing has ever been funnier or even come close to being as enjoyable to me as the Carol Burnette Show. It's going to be hard to top that... unless you know.. you get me season 2. *laughs*

The B got several really awesome things this year, including a new nick name. My niece, who is 2, has a hard time pronouncing people's names and so has taken to calling her "Ya-Ya-Bey-Bet." This is because whenever I fuss at Nadia I always say, "Nadia, Baby!" And I guess Anita has heard it and picked up on it. But I have to say, it's extremely cute and I crack up whenever she says it because Nadia is a Ya-Ya in every sense of the word. Other than that though, she got a new bike and some new barbies and play doh and all of the wonderful things that little 4 year old girls like. Although she isn't nearly as excitable about Santa coming as I thought she would be. After all of her constant pestering about WHEN Santa was coming, on Christmas morning she actually asked Tim if he would go check and see if the presents were there in favor of more sleep.

As for the baby, Allie took the cake again with the best gift (in my opinion). She got him a stuffed character from the Wild Things movie. His movie name was Bull. He is SOOOOOO adorable. Calvin loves him. Currently, Bull is very close in size to the baby and if you sit them in front of each other, the baby will "growl" at him and screech in joy and make other wild thing happy baby noises. Then he grabs Bull and tries to gum him to death, nose first. This was my favorite of the kids' gifts because I LOVE the Wild Things book and so does Ya-Ya. We read it ALL THE TIME, and even though I thought the movie was way different, I still really loved it too.

Anyway, the holidays, while wonderful, were hectic and everything was going a mile a minute. Then when they were over I spent 3 days taking down all of the decorations, organizing them and sending them up into the attic crawl space via Tim. Then I had to go through all the kids' stuff and get rid of old and broken and grown out of things to make room for all of the new things and I had to organize all of the toys and clothes and such because they are currently sharing a room. The rest was just a matter of cleaning up the aftermath and putting everything back where it belonged. And now that it's all done and put away, we can all finally relax and enjoy our new things and a little bit of quiet time. Whew!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday/Christmas Meme

I saw this little Meme over on No Whey Momma, and thought I'd go ahead and fill it out too.


Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
I'd choose Hot Chocolate if I'm choosing between the two.

Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree?
Hrm... if they are big gifts like the scooter Santa got the B this year for christmas, it is left unwrapped with a big bow under the tree. All other presents are wrapped. P.S.- In my case Santa still wraps my presents and leaves them under my parents' tree and then my Papa drives them over on Christmas morning and says, "Look what Santa left at OUR HOUSE!" Yep... there is absolutely NO, and I mean NO disbelieving or discussing the possible non-existence of Santa Clause in my parents house... otherwise "Santa" gets all cranky and threatens to not bring any presents next year. Serious.


Colored lights on a tree or white?
I have to do the white lights. I can't do the colored ones. I'm extremely OCD about my tree.. it is very hard for me to give up my creative dictatorship and allow the hubs and B to help decorate. For the record, my father in law uses colored lights that both blink and play music and it's just as obnoxious as you're thinking it is. ZOMG... I cringe every time we have to go over there for christmas.

Do you hang mistletoe?
no... mostly because I never think to.

When do you put your decorations up?
After Thanksgiving... and after that it just depends on what I get done and when. For example... I only got my outside decorations up last week. I only got them plugged in like... 2 days ago????

What is your favorite holiday dish?
Papa makes gumbo every year around this time.... mmmmmmmmmmmmm.... gumboooooo.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Growing up- NEVER. Remember the thing about Santa? Yeah... there were no presents to be seen or found (not for lack of trying) until Christmas morning. Now that I'm older and we have to juggle our visits between the two families, we occasionally will do christmas presents on christmas eve with my parents or with Tim's family. However, in the case of my family if we have to christmas eve all presents are address from "Mom and Papa" and then he still brings Santa's presents on christmas morning.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Remember my OCD? Yeah... I decorate it the way I like it. Which is fairly traditional. Reds, greens, whites, and golds. You will never see purple, blue, pink, or other spring related colors on my tree. Most of my ornaments follow the woodland type theme with lots of pine cones and red berries and such like. Also, all ornaments are shatter proof. This is because when my cousin was a baby she bit into one of those shiny glass christmas balls and had to have stitches and now that i have my own babies, I'm terrified of living that experience with front row seats.

Snow. Love it or hate it?
How bout... Snow- only seen it ONE time in my entire life. I live in South Alabama... it doesn't snow here except the one off the wall time we had a freak snow storm in the middle of march and we all got to miss school for a day so we could hurry up and play in the snow before it melted.

Can you ice skate?
Sometimes... certainly not well by any means.


What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Two Words: DIVINITY FUDGE. Nom nom nom nom... My grandmother used to make it every year. LOVE IT. CRAVE IT!

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Picking out a Tree. Growing up, Momma and Papa never did the fake tree thing. It was always a big trip out into one of the local tree farms to pick out the "perfect" tree. But first there was the week before when Papa would tease about how we weren't going to get a tree this year, or that he was just going to Charlie Brown it and chop down some sad looking specimen from the woods behind our house.

Then when he'd finally decide to go get the tree, he'd load us all up in the back of his truck and off we'd go to the tree farm, where we would then spend hours in the cold picking out the tree. Why? Because I come by OCD honest. The tree had to look just right from every angle, even though no one ever came over to the house and bent over sideways at the waist and cocked their head up to the side and looked at the tree that way... it still needed to look okay from that angle. No holes or gaps, no twisty trunks, etc. Then when he'd fine one, he would station one of us kids to stand next to the tree and "save" it while he looked around some more.

The trip usually ended up with you standing by a tree by yourself throwing sticks in the air until the rest of the family found you. It was AWESOME! EVERY YEAR! Then we'd bring the tree home and it would never fit in the stand and it was always leaning and we'd have to wait for three hours while Papa fussed and wrestled with the tree and the stand to get the tree right and when it was finally up... low and behold there'd be a hole in it. Which is why Mom and papa's tree is always in the corner. Then there was the decorating.... but that's another story all on it's own.

Candy Canes. Yum or yuck?
I love candy canes. But only the peppermint kind. I don't like all the fruity sour kind they have now although the hubs loves em.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Answer is 2 1/2 Hours:

The question is: How long does it take for 4 women to do approximately 25 loads of laundry, not counting the 5 or so bed comforters that also got washed?

So, last evening some of my lady friends and I, were sitting around complaining about how much we all hate to do laundry. We each had our own "laundry list" of reasons for disliking it:

My drier takes twice as long, if not more, to dry clothes as it takes to wash them

I hate folding it.

I hate putting it away

I hate folding it and putting it away because it's boring and lonely

No matter how much laundry you do, there is always more.... so it feels helpless and hopeless.... a lost cause....

This conversation led to one where we began comparing how much we were each behind on our laundry, approximating how many loads we had to do all together. Words like "mountain" and "sea" were used a lot. (P.S.- yes, my lady friends and I consider it a good time to sit around drinking wine complaining about laundry... why.... don't you?)

Somehow during all of this, we had this amazing idea to gather up every single stitch of laundry we each had, pile it into the car and meet up at The Soap Opera and just GET IT DONE. For once and for all. I can only imagine what we looked like as we barged in there, carrying in load upon load upon load of laundry: jeans, sweaters, sheets, comforters, pillows, blankets, onesies, socks, towels.... just EVERYTHING. I know that I myself washed 4 loads of colors, 1 load of whites, and 3 loads of towels. That's 8 loads... and I ended up having to do two more at home. My girls had just as much a piece if not more. But we got it done. 2 and 1/2 hours later, every bit of it was washed, dried, and folded. That's the wonder of being able to use 8 washing machines at once rather than just the one I have at home.

Did I mention that the entire time we were carrying out our mission impossible that it was RAINING BUCKETS?! Because it was RAINING BUCKETS ALL DAY. It is STILL raining. Oh my goodness at the FLOODS of RAIN!!!

Everyone gathered over here for dinner afterwards. My COMPLETELY AMAZING hubby watched all four kids (2-4 yr old girls, a 3 yr old boy, and the baby), cooked dinner, and tidied up the house while all of us ladies were doing laundry. Now my entire house is cleaned, the baby is finally moved into the kids room rather than our bedroom, and ALL the laundry is DONE.

The ending of the story?

I'm completely exhausted.

pfffft.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

I know I haven't blogged here in ages. Lame... I know... but recently I just have been tuned to a more inward station than outwards.

I've posted it several times before, but this time of year seems to always draw me inwards, calls me to hibernate and hide out and reflect and review. It's also the time when I can most easily slip into depression. I tend to withdraw deeper and deeper until I am completely removed and people start to wonder where I've got off to and what my problem is and so forth.

Last year was particularly bad. Everything went to shit, as they say and I slipped farther than I had in a long time. It finally got to the point where my mom came knocking on the door demanding to know why I had quit answering my phone all together, much less going anywhere or doing anything.

I don't know if this year is different because Tim and I are just in a much better place than we were last year. No worrying if he's going to get to stay at work all day. In fact he's working OVERTIME today at CHRISTMAS time. Wow. I don't know if it's because I have grown so much, been through so much in the last year that I'm just stronger, more mature, less dramatic..... I'm not sure where the difference lies, where it comes from. It is just simply different.

I'm still tuned inward. Still reflecting. Still reviewing, but somehow this year I've managed to be able to do it without turning off the phone and closing the blinds and hiding from friends and loved ones. I still go out and spend time with people I care about. I hang out with my friends, I spend time with my family, I answer the phone when people call me and talk until the battery dies. I get up in the morning and get things accomplished. The only thing I've neglected lately is blogging, which is usually something I really enjoy. I don't know if it's been neglected because I've been keeping my fingers busy elsewhere with sewing and wrapping and the piano, or tickling the kids and feeding bottles and fixing snacks... or if it's because for awhile... I've just simply had nothing to say.

I have sat down with actual MINUTES of spare time in which to blog, when the kids are quiet or napping and just stared at that big blank box only to think: Not now. I don't know what to say to you. I don't have anything to share.... YET. And then gotten up to do something else: make a crayon roll, a purse for a little girl, bake something. I've just been busy with life. Too busy to think of how to put my mundane doings into words that are interesting.

Even though I've maintained an outward front, and even though I've been sincerely HAPPY, there is still a little touch of darkness inside... like a cloud brushing across the sun, dimming the whole world for just a moment.... and then it is gone and seconds later is forgotten. That little cloud has long been my companion, though usually it is formidable and dark and full of anger, hurt, depression, worry, anxiety.... I wish I knew why it is so different this time. I hardly recognize it, but it hardly seems worth puzzling over.

Calvin laughed for the very first time this morning and I was the only one who heard. It will take far more than a tiny cloud to cover all those rays of sunshine he gave to me. I'm fairly certain that thousands of Fairies were born in that brief, beautiful moment.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Book Review: Keeping Faith

Mariah White is the sort of woman who likes for life to be organized and precise with all of the tiny details kept in their places, much like the intricate doll houses she makes for a living. On a particularly bad day when things have been frustratingly straying from her schedule, Mariah returns home to find her husband Colin home early from a business trip. Thinking he is there to surprise her, she embraces him only to discover that he isn't alone when the woman he has decided to leave her for comes out of the shower. The worst part is that Mariah and Colin's seven year old daughter, Faith witnesses the whole ordeal.

Unable to cope with her husband's infidelity (again), Mariah lapses into clinical depression and Faith stops speaking. As they both struggle to bring themselves back together after the ugly divorce, Faith seeks solace in the comfort of a friend whom she refers to simply as "her Guard." When Faith begins quoting biblical verses despite having been raised nonreligious, Mariah takes her to see a child psychologist.

After several sessions and an unsuccessful run on anti-psychotic drugs, the psychiatrist makes a startling discovery: Faith is talking not to just any guard, but to God. Mariah is disturbed, wondering why God would choose to reveal Himself to a nonreligious, Jewish child who up until recently has never heard of Him.

Oh wait.. .did I say Him? That's right, not only does Faith profess to be seeing and speaking to God, but that God is indeed a SHE not a HE. As Mariah and Faith's lives get tossed into a whirlwind of press coverage, skeptics, and believers Faith develops Stigmata and begins to perform miraculous healings including bringing her own grandmother back from the dead. As if their lives aren't hectic and invaded enough what with continuous visits from priests and rabbi's alike, Colin decides Mariah must be to blame for Faith's wounds and sues for custody of Faith.

The story is well written and well researched. I have to say that I have a lot of respect for Picoult for writing about God from this angle. Not only does she address the issue of God being female but when the grandmother returns from being clinically dead for 1 hour, she reveals to her daughter that God wore the face of her own mother.

My favorite quote from the book is during the conversation between Mariah and her mother:

"I always wondered why God was supposed to be a father," Millie whispers. "Fathers always want you to measure up to something. Mothers are the ones who love you unconditionally, don't you think?"

While I can certainly see how that is true generally speaking, I also happen to know of several examples of Fathers that DO love unconditionally as well. But I understand what she MEANS. There is just something so fierce and beautiful and even a little scary about the way a mother loves her children. It is an entirely different breed of love all together. Incomparable to any other form.

I found it interesting that while researching the book Picoult ran into a lot of people who were so uncomfortable entertaining the notion of God as female even for a fiction novel, that she was shooed out of offices. I suppose technically speaking, God is neither male nor female and also both but for (in my opinion) social and political reasons has always been referred to as a male or Father by the Church.

I once heard a speaker that opened her speech with: "If man is made in God's image... than woman says, What about me?" That phrase really kind of struck a chord with me. I am just not sure that I entirely jive with the whole Genesis thing. I would like to think that God put a little more thought into creating woman than simply grabbing the nearest rib and throwing together woman as an after thought. After all, God had created male and female in every other creature, even plants have both male and female anatomy. And even if you interpret "man" to mean "mankind" in the whole creation bit, then that still leaves an open door for questioning. If both man and woman are made in God's image, than God must also posses some amount of femininity.

What it comes down to, for me at any rate, though I may end up being attacked for it: is that God is much more spiritual than physical and that it matters very little if you envision God with a man's face or a woman's or even both depending on your need at the time. Isn't there a verse somewhere that reads you cannot see the true face of God and live? That it is THAT incomprehensible. Personally I think that when it comes to envisioning the face of God, that it matters little what you see, so long as you can relate it to how God makes you feel. I personally have no problem with a female God. Heck, sometimes I need a more matronly figure to pray to.

But I digress. In any respect, the story in this book was a GOOD story. I read it in about two days and ended up staying up to nearly one in the morning trying to finish it. If you are interested, even just a little bit, it's well worth the read... unless of course you are a very conservative Jew or Catholic... in which case you *might* walk away offended. You might not though. The priests and rabbi characters in the book are really awesome.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Silly Husband

Drives me crazy with this kind of thing. Pay close attention to the search box.



He typed it in just before he left for work and when I was cleaning the computer desk (my OCD is STILL acting out A LOT), I bumped the mouse and it popped up. He left it open knowing one way or another I would be at the computer before bed and knowing I hate when he has to work night shifts. We've been together five years, have two kids, bills, worries, responsibilities... and yet we are still the kind of couple who does this kind of thing. The kind of thing that makes other couples gag (they are secretly jealous *winks*). Sometimes I tease him about it, but deep down and all sarcasms aside, I love that he still puts notes in my pockets and occasionally in my search boxes.

I might also add that he was searching how to make a blogger account just so he can read my blog since I don't post much on myspace anymore (over it!), and he knows how much I enjoy this site. Yeah, so sorry if this post made anyone queasy... but sometimes I just have to show this sort of stuff to other people just to make sure it's all real.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Just a Suggestion

Anne Shirley's Apprentice

Wherein an old childhood friend posts a beautifully written piece about the amazing powers of Can't Trees.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Can I just say how incredibly STUPID I feel for waking up at FOUR AM to go shopping on the WORST shopping day in the history of EVER at the WORST establishment known to mankind?

I feel about {{{{{{{{this}}}}}}}} stupid. I have NEVER bought into the whole "black friday" thing. I have never even left my house on black friday. I have major issues with large crowds of people, especially frantic crowds of people, but I totally sold out this year and got up at 4 am to meet my older sister, Nollie for 4:30 to do a little christmas shopping. There were only 2 things I really wanted to get for B that were going to be on sale SUPER cheap this morning.

So was it worth the $30 dollars I saved on her gift? Eh.... yes and no I suppose. It was bad and frantic and CRAZY and STUPID, but even being all of that it still wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. After all, people were, for the most part, polite barring a few exceptions. The gobs of people was completely ridiculous and I felt like an idiot as well as vulture while hovering around the un-opened display of V-smile hand held systems which I thought for sure no one would be interested in considering the Nintendo DS's were on sale as well.

Side note: I NEVER had video games as a kid. My parents didn't even spring for a computer until I was in high school and even then they waited a few years before getting the internet. I'm only 24, so do the math: I'm not saying they didn't have those things when I was in school... just that parents were always about 20 years behind on updating. My parents never bought video games or systems of any sort and quite frankly, I didn't really, and still don't, feel as though I missed out on much of anything. The Hubs, however, being a boy, grew up with the video/computer game phenomenon, even if he didn't own any himself. He just played at friends' houses and such. I would have been perfectly happy to not to do the video game thing for my kids, but as I said, Tim is into the stuff so we have them. We have an x-box that primarily acts as a dvd player, but B loves to run around on Fable... mostly because her character (Tim's character) has a dog that she can throw biscuits to (poor unfortunate overfed animal). She loves to play Tim's lvl 80 character on W.O.W. (otherwise known as the World of Warcraft). She can't actually PLAY, but she loves to put him on the mount and "ride around on the pony" and she loves making the character swim. She once swam him so far out into the ocean that he died of fatigue.

Recently she has been really into PBSkids.org. and playing the seek and find games on the DS (the only video games I enjoy are seek and find puzzles). We pull up PBSkids on the computer and she plays the little freebie games. She loves Caiou and Clifford. I actually really like PBSkids.org. I was fascinated by dinosaurs as a kid and so is the B. The Caiou game section has a game where you can dig up dinosaur bones and piece them together to make the dinos. When you get it right it pops up a small video clip of the dinosaur you built as a prize. She can do those puzzles too. I never thought I'd believe in educational video games, but she has seriously learned a lot just in the last week that we've let her play around them. However, I do have to set a timer and monitor her time spent playing the games because I don't want her bottom glued to a couch or chair all day, educational or no.

We decided to go for the little V-smile game after we brought back the leapster one that was supposed to have games but didn't. You remember... the one from the hell-mart post? Yeah. The V-smile is the same thing, has the same kinds of games and everything, but is much cheaper.

Even amongst the vultures, I still managed to get one and two games without getting punched or bitten or elbowed out of the way by another adult on a toy frenzy (if you don't believe that humans have animal instincts... just go to hell-mart before dawn on black friday...). By the time I had gotten the v-smile and games (it only took me about 30-45 seconds), all of the other displays surrounding it were empty. The motorized scooters displayed next to the v-smiles were gone before they even finished opening the v-smile display. (no exaggeration)

All in all though, I have to say that this was by far and large the quickest trip to hell-mart I've EVER made. I got there, I got the one or two things I wanted to get that were on sale, a stocking for the baby, and one or two stocking stuffers. I should have taken a picture because this is the ONLY time I have EVER seen more than 5 registers opened at one time in hell-mart. It was also the shortest time I've ever waited in line at the register. The sale started at 5 am and by 5:15 I was walking to my car with only a few minor scrapes and bruises and the only person I ran over with my cart was my sister, Nollie ... and it was totally by accident! So I suppose it could have been far worse than it was... but I still feel like an idiot.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Misgivings: Part 2

Ahh... the holidays! The packing up enough food and gear to keep a four year old and a 3 month old busy and taken care of for an entire day; the running to the store at 6 in the morning because the baby has been up since 3 to get a few last minute items for the day, the travelling way out into the sticks and wilderness to visit the hubby's family! *record screeching to a halt* Eeeerrrrt!

It has been an extremely long and trying day and I'm starting to understand why people choose to abstain from celebrating the holidays. For the most part, everything went fairly well. We didn't get much sleep as the baby was very much awake for the vast part of the early morning hours, but one double shot Starbucks vanilla iced coffee later and I was good to go. I packed up the huge bag for the kids with everything I could fathomly need for a day out and then some, we loaded up the young ones into the car and headed over to the Wade compound.

Since we actually got there early this year, they were just setting out the food which for once wasn't cold and badly prepared..... well... at least not ALL of it anyway. Tim's cousins were there and I really enjoy his cousins and his uncle and some of the out of town relatives and everything with the grandparents was going very well and polite .... AND THEN.... *sighs*

As I'm searching for butter for the B's roll, I get cornered in the kitchen by Tim's grandfather who then proceeds to ask me to bring both of my children to his church so that the congregation can pray over them. Now... listen: I am a very spiritually open minded person. I am trying to teach my children to be open minded and respectful of people and their differences in religious choices. But there are some areas where I draw the line. I never mind when people ask if they can pray FOR me or my family, but I have a huge problem with people wanting or trying to pray OVER me or ON me. I just kind of stood there, flabbergasted and taken unaware and feeling backed into a corner like a small furry animal about to be devoured. On the one side is the fox, and on the other is the pack of praying wolves.

If I say no, then his grandparents officially believe that I must worship the "debil" but I really, really, REALLY do NOT want to say yes. I CAN'T say yes and let me explain why. I do NOT have issues with prayer. I LOVE prayer. I pray all the time, every day. But I have issues with fanaticism in ANY religion. Extremists in any religion or philosophy are dangerous people and Tim's grandparents go to a church that is one snake handler away from being a creepy religious extremist group. (serious) Every time that Tim and I have attended with them I have been forced way outside of my comfort zone. I fail to feel anything spiritually moving when I'm surrounded by people who are screaming and twitching and blabbering "in tongues" (another issue for another time). I fail to find anything of God or divinity in that kind of carrying on.

As I said, I try to be open minded and respectful of other people's religious choices. I have never expressed my distaste or disagreement with Tim's grandparents over their beliefs. I have never tried to debate or negate their religious practices. That aside, I REFUSE to put my CHILDREN into a circle of GROWN ADULTS who will then scream and twitch and babble and touch them and "pray." That is certainly one traumatic experience that both of them will be better off without. The B, I KNOW would FREAK. The last time we attended a service with Tim's grandparents the woman in front of us was "moved by the spirit" and B, who was 2-2 1/2, kept asking two questions for the entire THREE HOUR service: 1) Can I go to the bathroom? (because she was smart enough to know I would not say no and she got to leave for five minutes) and 2) What is WRONG with that lady?? We are talking about a child who gets freaked if more than one person in the room is looking at her.

I ended up just muttering something about how I wasn't sure when we would be able to make it out there due to B having Sunday school at Mom's church on Sundays and her hating to miss it. (both true) And how I help with the youth choir on certain Sundays by providing piano accompaniment (also true). Then I had a brief frantic talk with Tim on the front porch after which he disappeared into one of the back rooms with his grandmother to discuss the state of our souls apparently. Basically this is coming from the trying to "save" our children's souls and being completely disrespectful and criticizing of our religious choices and practices.

Tim pretty much told her it was a no go, that it would scare the children and that it was unnecessary and that we simply did not believe in the same things as they do. She seems to think this is still open for discussion and that we all talk about this later. Tim told her that probably wouldn't be a good idea because she has a tendency to step on toes. He's right. This is not open for discussion and is not going to happen. I really hope that they don't continue to try to push the issue or I could just go another year and a half without visiting them in order to get my point across that I won't be bullied (the only thing that has worked in the past).

The long and short of it is this. If you/they want to pray FOR me and my kids every morning, every night, and sometimes in between, then YES! Do so! I am grateful! It's WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL and just amazing that you would do so. BUT, no one will be praying ON or OVER me or my kids. I just don't believe in that kind of "prayer." *sigh*

So after I was sufficiently "fit to be tied" and frustrated and offended... we gathered up the kiddos and headed over to Mamma's where Tim got irritated with me for bringing up the issue and discussing it with Mamma and Papa and my sisters and brother and kept trying to change the subject. Now we are finally home, really tired, cranky, and the baby STILL hasn't slept more than 20 minutes the entire day and all I can think about is... I REALLY want to put my Christmas tree up today. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am Thankful:

Warning: This post has a "sappy" warning label attached to it, because I'm feeling a little nostalgic and my left over pregger's hormones still aren't quite under wraps yet so ... just so ya know.

I am thankful for my husband. Seriously, even on those days when I feel like I'm going to lose my brain if he says ONE MORE ridiculously sappy thing to me like "I always think you're beautiful!" even when I'm lying on the couch in my pj's at 2 in the afternoon, haven't showered yet, and still have eye boogers from the night before. (gag) Even on days when I'm so frustrated that I have to lock myself in the bathroom for a little ME time... I am thankful. I am thankful that SOMEONE saw fit to put a man on this earth that thinks I'm beautiful at all, much less on those 2 in the afternoon/pajamas/haven't showered yet days. I am thankful that there is at least ONE person who truly, no matter what, loves me and puts up with all of my moods from the blackest to the lightest and has never once judged me and is always there for me... even when for his own safety he has to be there for me from the other room.

I am thankful for my kids. Even though we never planned for Nadia, and we weren't married, and everyone was disappointed in us, and no one thought we would ever make it because we had went and "stuck" ourselves together, and even though that one priest told me that B was pretty much doomed to live a far inferior life due to my mistakes, and even though I didn't breast feed past 6 weeks.... I am thankful that SOMEONE saw fit to send me my Nadia. I am thankful that she is an obviously happy, obviously loved, by BOTH of her parents, and obviously healthy little girl. I am thankful for Calvin, even after having to muster up the courage to try for another baby when people were so hurtful and judgmental about the first. Even after all of the pain and disappointment of trying over and over and over (and over and over and over) again for 2 and a half years. I am thankful that he FINALLY came into our lives and was celebrated as all babies should be. I am thankful that my kids ARE. Not because they are anything, Just because they ARE.

I am thankful for my friends. That there are people in my life that I can call when my kids and my husband are driving me CRAZY and they will laugh with me, or cry with me, or rant and rave with me, and then spend the rest of the conversation reminding me why I love them and why I am thankful for them. I am thankful for people who can not only laugh at me for my quirks, but love me for them.

I am thankful for blogging (as cheesy as that may be). I am thankful that there is a place I can go to celebrate, to gripe and complain, to ramble on about my every day, boring life, and that there are actually people out there that care and that actually read about it. I am thankful that I can come here in the mornings or afternoons or whenever I have a moment and read about your lives and your kids and your every day lives and that 9 times out of 10 I walk away laughing. Seriously, I talk about you all like we've been friends for AGES instead of just a few months. I relate to where you are in your lives and to things that happen with your kids and where you are spiritually and I take comfort in knowing that I'm not always alone in my experiences.

I am thankful that I live in the same town as my family and that I don't have to travel great distances by car or plane to visit with my Mamma and Papa, or my brother and sisters and that my kids are getting the opportunity to grow up surrounded by their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Something I did not get to do.

I am thankful that I've never had to hire a babysitter because there is always family to be with my children when I can't be. I am thankful that should I ever have need of a baby sitter that there are a handful of wonderful young people that I used to babysit for that would happily be with my children and that I know I could trust to care for them as I used to for themselves.

I am thankful that I have a home that has electricity and heat and blessed air conditioning and running CLEAN water. I am thankful that I have more than I need and I am thankful that we do our best to share what we have and whatever we can with those who have not and can not.

I am thankful for our cats and for the birds and squirrels who hang out in our back yard.

I am thankful for the opportunity to BE thankful for the many many many blessings that abound in my life, whether I deserve them or not.

I am also thankful for less sappy things like:

coffee- without which I could never make it through my mornings

tea- without which I could never make it through my afternoons.

spellcheck- without which I would post horribly misspelled words

Blogfriends- who link to such awesome things like other blogs! and Pandora radio (thanks Tammie!) which is this amazing little thing that plays whatever kind of music you like and are in the mood for. For example, I typed in "Celtic Christmas" over 45 minutes ago and it will probably stay here all day!

Books- without which my life would be empty and devoid of meaning

and just.... so much more.

And wow... this blog was so sweet and sappy that I need to dunk it in my coffee. *laughs*

Happy Thanksgiving to each of You!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas List Part 2

Remember this list? Believe it or not, I've actually put a small dent in it. So far, I've made:

This reversible smockette for the B, that criss-crosses in the back. I *love* this pattern. SO EASY!!! And so cute! I got the pattern for free from here.
I also made this little elf feet t-shirt for B using applique'. I made the skirt to match. Here she is modeling it. She is such a flattering little thing, she now constantly asks me to sew things for her. I love it.



This is one crayon roll to be used as a gift for a little girl. Thank goodness these are so easy to make because I know a bunch of young children around the age of 3-4 that are getting these for christmas from me this year.


I only know one little boy. LOL So this fishy one is for him. The rest of them will be made out of more girly fabric.


I've also made the baby one pair of dinosaur pajama pants, which I don't have a picture of at the moment. Actually.... he's wearing them right now.... lemme just sneak in there and take a picture really quick.........

Yep. Here they are. Don't you love how he sleeps with his little bottom poked up in the air? The pants are made out of this really soft blanket flannel and took about 30 minutes to make from start to finish. While I was in there, I went ahead and snapped a picture of this adorable hand knit bunny that was given to me for the baby by the wonderful ladies over at Red Tent Temple at this month's meeting.
Is he not the cutest thing ever?! He's made from a bamboo yarn that is incredibly soft. I love his big floppy ears. I was so touched!
Aside from all of that, I'm about half-way finished with Tim's pj's and then I'm going to be starting on the sketch pencil cases because those have to be mailed out soonish and I already have all the fabric I need for those. So I'm just slowly chipping away at everything, one item at a time. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the feeling of this being my "job," and am wondering if it would change if I started sewing to make a little extra money as opposed to just doing it for people I love. It's something to think about certainly, but for now I'm content sewing for my friends and family.

Thanksgiving Misgivings

Well, it's that wonderful time of year again... The Holidays. Ahh... The turkey, the desserts, the holiday music.... the trying to figure out how and when to see which relatives on which days so that you somehow manage not to hurt any body's feelings! Whoo Hoo! That NEVER works out for us.

See, EVERY year we go through this wonderful (read that word dripping with sarcasm) little game of musical families (like musical chairs, only with family members and everyone is cheating and no one really wins).

On the one hand, my side of the family likes to plan things.. usually 2 weeks or more in advance. Every one's conflicting work schedules are taken into account and a day and time are picked when everyone can make it so we can all be together and enjoy each other. Tim's side of the family likes to wait until the last minute, call us two hours before we are supposed to be at Mom's and exclaim that "thanksgiving is today and we've told all of the visiting relatives from out of town that you are coming so they can see the baby! So when will you be here?" I swear. EVERY YEAR!!!! And, every year we have to explain to Tim's grandma that we can't make it on account of we are supposed to be at Mom's in an hour and never mind that we've had these plans in place for WEEKS. We still have to hear her gripe and moan about how we "always choose my family over his" and how "SHE never brings the babies out to see her," and blah blah blah blah. *sighs* Ahh the wonderful sounds of the season. Am I right?

Of course, she's right about a few things. I RARELY bring the kids out to see her. This is because 1) They live 30 minutes away from us and packing up enough gear to sustain one 3 month old baby and one four year old for a 4 hour visit at a house with enough glass figurines of Jesus, Angels, and Dolphins to but even the largest gift shop out of business is no easy feat. Not to mention the then loading and transporting said babies out that far and then chasing them around making sure they don't break anything.... grrrr... 2) She spent the first two years of the B's life trying to teach her to say, "Oh it's ok, it's All MOMMY'S FAULT!" every time she dropped or spilled anything. 3) She knows where we live and it's much easier for her to put herself in her car and make the drive herself if she really wanted to visit with them, and it's much easier for me to keep track of my kids at MY house. And usually when it comes to picking between the two families, mine generally wins out. It's quite possible this is because my family has welcomed Tim with open arms and no one has tried to teach our kids any nasty things to say about him, and no refers to him as an "outlaw," simply because he married into the family. These things tend to make the visits with my side of the fam a little more enjoyable.

So, this year both families have decided that Thanksgiving dinner will be ON thanksgiving day and no exceptions. So far the day looks like this: 11 am we will go to Grandma Wade's for Tim's family's dinner where the food will most likely be cold and been sitting out since 9 am (WHY?! GRANDMA WHY?!!!), but as long as the turkey isn't burnt to a cinder, it will be better than last year's fare. (no lie, but that's another story altogether) We will eat what we can while avoiding the 4-5 yipping, shaking chihuahua's that run the house. We'll visit for about an hour, and then head to Momma's for around 3-ish in the afternoon. Papa's nixing the traditional turkey all together and making gumbo instead. SCORE! After visiting with my side of the family there are two possibilities: 1)Go home and pass out, or 2) Head over to our friend's house for thanksgiving dinner the right way and then go home and pass out... if we make it. It's highly possible we could just do our passing out at our friend's house. It's been known to happen before.

In other news, I'm hoping to go out and do a bit of christmas shopping this week BEFORE friday. Believe me when I tell you that you will NEVER, and I mean EVER catch me out and about on "black friday." I'd rather eat dirt. So anyway, if I somehow survive thursday I'll be sure to blog about it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Whew... I made it!

Well if you've been following around you know that last week was full of hurrying around and planning and trying to prepare for the gobs of people we had over yesterday to celebrate Calvin well... just *being.* By some miracle, everything went great! Even with both sides of the family present. It went over much better than the last time both sides were present in one place (our house, thanksgiving, about 3 years ago). There ended up being 18 people not including the hubs, me, the B, or the baby. It was INSANE! But, lots of fun all the same.



Calvin looked pretty dapper in his blessing gown, which I got lots of compliments on and am still very proud of. Here he is with his new godparents: My sister Allie and my brother Malcolm.


Here is Tim, looking very handsome and striking his "Napoleon" pose for the occasion. Don't mind Malcolm's goofy expression. He has a habit of acting out when pictures are being taken.



Take for example: this picture of him and my dad at my wedding. This would be his favorite pose and much to my mother's embarrassment, someone snapped a picture of him doing this same thing with the Archbishop and it appeared in the Catholic week. However, the Archbishop thought it rather delightful and sent my mother a framed 8x10 of the same picture. He comes by it naturally.


See? Here's Mom sneaking into my sister-in-law's pic with her boyfriend, Ryan. *laughs* Anyway, there were tons of pictures taken and lots of food... though not very many plates and forks. Seriously. We ran out about 3/4 of the way through dinner so there were people eating off of serving platters with giant spoons and that sort of thing. It was all in all very humorous. Lots of jokes were made at my expense about the lack of dishes and cutlery, but it didn't stop anyone from eating or telling me that the food was delicious! And the house was clean and everyone was comfortable and enjoyed themselves, so I was happy!



This would be the Wade side of the Family. From the Left: Dad, Angela, Grandpa, Kenny, Grandma, Me, Tim, Calvin, and Nadia.



This is the first picture taken of me and all of my siblings together in many years. LOL From the left: Allie, Malcolm, Noelle, and then Me.


And a fun one as well! We're are hopelessly un-gangster, but we try. *laughs* So all in all I would say that the hectic week was well worth the actual visit. Even if I was ready to pass out by 6:30! To make up for it, we all spent the entire day in our pajamas and did a whole lot of nothing all day long. It was wonderful!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Apologies

To anyone who might be offended that I have christmas music on my page before Thanksgiving. I tried to wait. Truly I did.... but what can I say? I *love* holiday music!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wasn't I supposed to be doing something???

Oh right! Christmas presents! Doh! I only have like a million of them. So as I mentioned, yesterday and the day before I spent working on the Baby's welcoming gown. Miraculously, I finished it yesterday and then my camera died. I got new batteries last night though so here is a picture of it:
I am so proud of myself for not screwing this up too badly. I was terrified of all the "gathers" involved but I managed to make them look fairly decent. Plus I didn't use the pattern for the collar, I winged it. The collar in the pattern was round and I couldn't figure out how to put the trim on it, So I made a more squared off one.

See, this is why I had to use the trim. The lady's who own Glen's (my favorite discount fabric store), GAVE me this fabric. They gave me FIVE yards of this beautiful white fabric with an embroidered trim as a GIFT for the baby because I've been going in there since the B was a few months old. This was their baby gift they said. I was so touched and I wanted to make sure that I used some of the trim to dress it up. So I used it on the legs and the collar and if I get to make that jacket, I'll use it on the jacket as well.
Yesterday evening I decided that all of this sewing I'm going to be doing warrants a new pincushion. So I made one. Yep, I wasted a whole hour of precious sewing time making this thing:

Procrastination?! Who?! ME?! NEVER! Anyway, it's all slightly wonky as I discovered that the blue striped fabric apparently melts and shrinks when you iron it. Whoops. But it's functional and bigger than my last sad attempt at pincushion making. I also managed to get exactly one crayon roll finished last night. Only about 5 more to go! WEWT! So now that I'm done... uh.... NOT procrastinating, I will go back to the sewing machine and make more presents, which by the way, I am thoroughly enjoying! I know it *might* sound as if I'm really not enjoying it, but truly I love sewing... even when I'm cursing at my machine or ripping stitches... I'd even go so far as to say I'm ADDICTED to sewing... or at the very least I KNOW I have a problem buying fabric. I can't stop myself! In any case, getting back to the sewing machine is going to be infinitely more fun than folding the three loads of laundry still waiting in the laundry room! So with that said.... later taters!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Irritations Galore

Well this has just been one busy busy busy week, and it still isn't even over yet. This coming Sunday we are celebrating the baby's "christening/welcoming" thing whatever you want to call it. Either way, it's just going to be a small ritual to celebrate him being born and is a chance to name godparents and bless him and all of those wonderful beautiful things. What this means is that on Sunday there will be AT LEAST 15 people in my house not including myself and the hubs and the babies. There will be tons of food, which I have to prepare and almost no room for all of the people we are expecting.

I've been stressing out all week trying to finish sewing up the baby's little gown/romper thing for the welcoming as well as trying to keep the house caught up so that on Saturday I don't have a nervous breakdown trying to clean everything before the people start showing up. I finally finished the gown today and if I have time in the next couple of days a matching jacket *MIGHT* happen... but I'm not making any promises.

I have finally got all of my groceries together for Sunday: Ham-check, green beans and mushroom soup-check, potatoes and cheddar cheese soup (for cheesy scalloped potatoes)-check, ginger snaps, 6 packages of cream cheese, 2 cans of pumpkin puree' (for pumpkin cheesecake)-check. How I'm going to prepare all of this food with one oven-uh................ I have pretty much decided though, to do all of the actual COOKING on Saturday, that way on Sunday, all I have to do is heat everything back up and I can still visit with all of the company and family that will be here.

Meanwhile, I've had a sinus infection the last couple of days, the baby has decided to stop napping during the day, and I forgot to bring the B to preschool this morning. Yeah... I FORGOT. How could I forget?! So, the only way I've managed to get anything done at all is by hoodwinking my mother into taking both of my children to her house yesterday afternoon.

I still have 3 loads of laundry waiting to be folded and at least as many more waiting to be washed. I decided to make the leap and stop buying and using paper towels so I now have a huge bag of cloth napkins to wash and fold. I need to find two large tables and chairs to borrow. I need to clean the bottom room and set it up for eating in. I need to put new carpet down there too, but let's face it... that is so NOT going to happen in two days.

Meanwhile, I keep getting stupid friend requests on myspace from people that I DO NOT KNOW. Why? Why? do these strange people keep trying to add me? I recently deleted a ton of people from my myspace with the intention of only keeping up with the people I actually talk to and have a relationship with, thereby using myspace for it's actual purpose: I.E. to keep up with friends and family that I don't get to see in person on a regular basis. It annoys me that weirdos think I want to be their friend simply because we live in the same area or have mutual friends.... is that anti-social? Mean? *shrugs*

I'm also frustrated and have indigestion because every meal I've eaten in the last four days has been eaten at top speed while the baby screams in the background to "PAY ATTENTION TO HIM AND PICK HIM UP!!!!!!" I have literally scarfed down whatever food-like substances I could find as fast as possible just to get in some sustenance.

Not to mention that over the screaming, the B is constantly saying, "I'm SOOOOOO hungry! I'm Soooo thirsty!!" Nevermind that she just ate an entire waffle with peanut butter and syrup and a huge glass of milk. Is this a growth spurt or something? Because I swear as soon as she polishes off one meal she is asking about the next.

My nerves are seriously short at this point and my temper is even shorter. And if I get one more request from some weirdo on myspace I'm going blow a gasket. Is it too early to start drinking? Because if it isn't I think I just might break into the wine I have set aside for Sunday..... LOL

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nightmares

I hate being sick. Every time I get sick, I have nightmares and the last couple of nights have been doosies.

Last night I had a dream that my dad came barging into mine and Tim's room demanding a cigarette. Even in the dream, all I could think was "Papa doesn't smoke... neither do I..." I kept telling him I didn't have any cigarettes, and that I didn't smoke, but he kept insisting. "Yeah, I need one, just one. Are you SURE you don't have one?" Then he offered me $95 dollars for one, at which point Tim handed him a match and sent him on his way.

For the rest of the dream I kept saying out loud, "WHY did he want a CIGARETTE? And what's with the match? What is he going to DO with that?" I was so confused, and then I heard water running and ran to the bathroom.

The baby was in the tub and screaming under the water and then I saw the last little bubble of air escape from his mouth. I yanked the baby out of the tub and started trying to scream for Tim. My lips felt glued together and I was shaking so hard that I had to force the sound out. I blew air into the baby's mouth and pushed on his chest to try and push the water out of his lungs, I placed him over my shoulder and felt the water gush out down my back. I kept patting the baby, and pulling him out to look at him. Then I realized it wasn't Calvin, it was the little baby that is always in my dreams with brown hair and brown eyes, the same brown hair and eyes that I have but neither of my living children have. The baby blinked at me with a blank expression as though she wasn't sure what had just happened, as though she was asking me what I was so upset for.

I just held her and sobbed and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm SO sorry" over and over again. Finally Tim responds to my shaken screams and reappears in the dream. "What's the matter?" he asks me, but I just keep rocking and patting and shushing the baby and saying I'm sorry and then I wake up.

For a moment I just lay there in bed trying to figure out what happened. I want to roll over and shake Tim awake and demand to know why he left the baby in the bathtub with the water running. I want to cry and sob and scream at him for not answering me when I was trying to save the baby. But I don't wake him. I lay there until I can convince myself that it was just a dream, that this tragedy has NEVER happened to us. Then I get up and turn the bathroom light on so I can see Calvin in his crib. I stand over him and place my hand on his back, under his shirt and leave it there until I can feel his breath moving in his body. I lean over until my face is right next to his and I can hear his little snuffled breathing moving in and out of his puckered mouth. I kiss the back of his head with it's dark blond hair, just like B's and console myself with the knowledge that his eyes are blue, not brown and he is fine and not drowned in the bathtub.

I try to go back to sleep but I can't shake the sadness and stress from the dream. So I get up and check the baby again to make sure he is still breathing. Then I walk around to Tim's side of the bed where B is sprawled out against his chest and make sure that she is still breathing. At some point I went back to sleep, but even in the morning, I could still feel the left over emotions from the dream sitting in the back of my head. Every time that I hear Calvin fuss, I am thankful he is still breathing.

I wonder if my mom still has these kinds of nightmares, and I wonder if there will ever be a time that a nightmare or an episode of SVU or a story on the news or read on another mother's blog doesn't keep me awake at night checking that my kids are still okay.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hell-Mart Post for Not Hannah

I was reading This post over at I'm Not Hannah and remembered my own recent suckish trip to the dreaded Hell-mart. I thought I'd share it just so my buddy over there knows that she is SO NOT ALONE in hating that place. I LOATHE it, and as mentioned in her post, the people that work there are about as equally like able as the whole Wal-mart corporation.

About a week ago, I had to take back this toy that we had bought the B for christmas. Lemme just pause to say that I was really proud of myself for actually following through with the "I'm going to buy a present here and there instead of doing it all at the last minute" thing this year, too. Anyhow, I had bought her one of those little leap frog hand held game systems which was supposed to come with three games, as advertised on the box. Well after very carefully opening everything and such, I could not find said games. SO, we brought it back to the store.

I hate dealing with the customer service reps because they are just snotty horrible, rude people and they always put my back up. SO, while Tim is dealing with bringing the toy back I went ahead and gathered a few things that I needed: diapers, coffee, some veggies for dinner, that kind of thing. As I'm finishing up, Tim walks up to the cart still holding the box and looking flustered.

He explains that they will not take the toy back because:

A) It doesn't have the three games that are advertised on the box (so obviously we must have stolen them, but now we want to bring the system back. That's right. We don't want to PLAY the games, we just want to look at them. MORONS).

B) The customer service lady says that THIS wal-mart doesn't even carry those games so we have to take it back to the store we bought it from.

C) No receipt.

Apparently while she was explaining this to my hubby she was talking VERY slowly like he must be some kind of idiot. There was plenty of eye rolling and "I'm just doing my job sir's" while she grinned knowingly at him for being a supposed thief. And not just any thief mind you, a dumb one who was stealing games but returning the system on which you play them. And apparently she just knew they didn't carry them because the electronics person she called to the front wasn't familiar with them.

OH HELLS NO

SO, I walk over to the TOY section where the EXACT SAME SYSTEMS are sitting happily on the shelf and pick one up, making sure that it is

A) EXACTLY THE SAME AS MINE, advertising the 3 games and all

B) COMPLETELY UNOPENED, with eve the tape in tact.

I then wheel my happy ass back up to the customer service counter and wait my turn while glaring mind bullets at the customer service woman who is grinning all knowingly like she is getting ready to show me something.

When it is my turn I set my system and the one from their shelves onto the counter and tell her that I would like her to open the box FROM THEIR SHELVES WHICH THEY DO HAVE BECAUSE IT'S IN THEIR TOY SECTION NOT ELECTRONICS (MORON!!!!!) and show me the games it is SUPPOSED to have.

She says, "Oh! Okay!" all sing song and happy like, still as though she's about to show me something.

I swear she spent a good 15 minutes tearing that box apart. She pulled the cardboard apart, looked in every nook and cranny, I thought she was about to start shredding the cardboard to find those stupid games. All the while she is getting more and more flustered looking for those damned games. And she couldn't say I took them because that damn box was TAPED SHUT and I had a line of about 5 witnesses behind me as well as an assistant manager watching her search that box for those games.

When she can't find them, I explain to her that as MY BOX is EXACTLY the same as the one I just pulled off of THEIR shelves, and they are BOTH missing the games that I would like my money back. She gives me the same stupid grin she gave my hubby and says, "Well it was the customer service manager's decision because this is supposed to be loaded, so would you like to take it up with her. " I reply, that YES I WOULD, I would be friggin ECSTATIC to talk to a manager! which is apparently NOT what she wanted to hear. I guess she thought I was just going to take her word that the manager already said no and not cause her to call them over and explain how she was WRONG. Unfortunately for her, I would be more than willing to explain to the manager how she was ALSO WRONG and that someone was going to give me something back for this toy that I bought from their store that was defective.

She quickly says that all she can do as we have no receipt is to put the money on a gift card. That's fine, I say, I just want something back for this toy, which is EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ONE ON THEIR SHELVES!!! She gives me this "tut tut" look and says that she thinks I have made my point. I respond, that I'm glad she now understands that my husband and I are not dishonest people and neither are we stupid enough to steal games and then return the system that is used to play them. I tell her that I'm also glad that I've made it quite clear that she was WRONG about their store not carrying the toy, much less the fact that she didn't know which part of the store that it was in. She gives me this stupid plastic grin that at this point I'm about ready to "bad-biscuit" slap off of her face and then explains that she will have to get a manager's key in order to put the money on the gift card. At this point the assistant manager behind the counter practically shoves the woman out of the way in a huff while explaining that she HAS a key. (So apparently I"m not the only one who thinks that woman is an idiot)

We got the money on the card which I used to pay for the things in my cart and I swear, if the people behind me in line hadn't been holding things they would have applauded. I don't often show my ass, having worked in retail and in groceries stores and in customer service myself, but this warranted an exception. I understand that she had a job to do, but if she doesn't know her job or her store she shouldn't be behind that counter. Also the way she TREATED my hubs and myself, like we were stupid, dishonest people was just down right RUDE. So I will admit. I SHOWED MY ASS. I was RUDE AS HADES to that woman and I was as belittling to her as I could manage to be, WITHOUT swearing. I hate resorting to swearing in those types of situations because I feel it makes me appear unintelligent and hick-ish. I made sure to use plenty of big words like "Incompetent" while telling her exactly what I thought of her "customer service" and to make sure that my expression was just as snotty and superior looking as her own. Meanwhile, my hubby is standing behind me trying so hard not to laugh that he was choking.

I hate Hell-Mart too, not Hannah! I HATE IT! LOL I will do everything I can NOT to have to shop there.

The List:

Of what I am going to try to sew before Christmas:

1) Dora purse and matching crayon roll for Allie and Jeff's Haley

2) 1 my little pony crayon roll for Barb's Emmy

3) 1 crayon roll for Barb's Nadia

4) 1 sketch pencil case/wallet for Barb's Gabe

5) 1 sketch pencil case/wallet for Stormy's Henry

6) 1 sketch pencil case/wallet for Stormy's Amaya

7) 1 sketch pencil case/wallet for Stormy's Gabrielle

8) 1 crayon roll for Noelle's Anita

9) 1 tote for Mom

10) 1 tote for my sister Allie

11) 1 tote for my sister Noelle

12) 1 patch work scarf for my sister in law, Angela

13) 1 patch work scarf for Leanne

14) 1 tote for Jess

15) 20 christmas themed goodie bags for B's class

16) Clothes for B and Calvin

17) A Scarf for me

18) Pajama pants for Tim and the kids

19) A scarf for Tim

20) And any orders that come in from friends and family.

Somebody just do me a favor and shoot me now. Or at the very least, hide all of the breakable objects that are within easy reach of the sewing machine. Maybe I should go talk to my doctor about some prozac or something to help me through this holiday season........

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Twist on an Old Favorite

So I was chatting on the phone with my friend Barb this morning and we start talking about what we're doing for dinner and then she says: "I'm making a taco roast."

"A what?!"

"A taco roast, you've never heard of it?!"

"NO!! TELL ME!! TELL ME NOW FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!!!"

So she tells me, and then I make it and OH-EM-GEE... it is deeeeleeecious! You have to try it. If you love pot roast and if you also love tacos... then do this! Seriously:

Put a 2-5 lb beef chuck roast (or pork if that is your preference, but I did the beef. PS- I used a 2 lb roast and it made A TON) into your crock pot and cover it with water. You want to have about 1/2-1 inch of water standing on top of the roast. Then toss in one packet of your favorite taco seasoning. Simmer the roast in the crock pot on high for about 4-5 hours. Remove the roast and using the two fork method, shred the beef.

Now comes the good part. Heat a large skillet on the stove to a medium-high heat. Laddle in about 1/2 cup of the left over taco-y juice that is now in your crock pot and then toss in a big tablespoon of cornstarch. Begin whisking this together to incorporate the cornstarch. As it begins to thicken, forming a sort of roux, start adding in more of the taco juice a little bit at a time. Then start re-adding the shredded beef. Bring this deliciousness up to a boil and start letting the liquids reduce. Add more of the juice and continue letting it all simmer. I ended up using just about all of the left over juices from the crock pot and then just kept letting it all cook down and reduce. It makes the meat OH SO TENDER and juicy and taco-y.

When your taco meat is done to your liking serve in taco shells or with warm tortillas and all of your favorite taco fixings. It's amazing. It's SERIOUSLY GOOD! Your husband will fall on his knees and worship you! Or at least grunt out how good it is between bites of taco-y yumminess. Enjoy. And you're welcome ahead of time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'll try to make this Quick:

If I thought life was going to be any less busy after Halloween, I was kidding myself. I think from now until Christmas I'm pretty much going to be glued to either : A) The Kids, B) The sewing machine, or C) The piano. So much for the relationship I've been fostering with my computer. *sighs*

SO ANYWAY: Halloween




The B went as Cinderella and she looked BEAUTIFUL! if I do say so myself. Only she got really upset if we called her Cinderella and promptly reminded her silly parents that she was only DRESSED as Cinderella and was, in fact, STILL Nadia.




We took her Trick-Or-Treating one town over where she caused a HUGE scene because one of the little booths gave her a ticket for free french fries instead of candy. First of all, lemme explain that B DOES NOT EAT FRENCH FRIES. She is probably the only kid I know who doesn't like them. AT ALL. Secondly, she apparently was not impressed by the paper. AT ALL. She looked into the bucket and then promptly starting *shouting* "HEY! THAT LADY GAVE ME A PIECE OF PAPER!!!! SHE DIDN'T EVEN GIVE ME ANY CANDY!!! SHE LIED!!! THAT'S LAME!!!" It was embarrassing... and also hysterical. LOL


Calvin went as the Roaming Gnome and got lots of attention for it. He was considerably better behaved than the B.


Tim was a monkey with bananas and I went as a cross between a fairy and Cindy Lauper, or, as I like to call it: "The-anything-you-can-pull-together-at-the-last-minute-from-the-closet-costume." Which is pretty much what I end up going as EVERY year. My favorite costume that I've ever pulled together at the last minute is this one:



I'm thinking of going as Miss Piggy every year from now on actually. The hubby made a pretty handsome Kermit too. PS- I did the Pirate and Queen of Hearts costumes too... which is why mine was pulled together at the last minute. RAN OUT OF TIME AGAIN!!

So anyway, Halloween was pretty fun, though as always, there were little reminders of how it would be much more fun to celebrate it elsewhere. They don't really do door to door trick or treat around here. They round up all the kids in the center of town and let the businesses do "booths" where they hand out candy. It sounds like a neat idea except that you end up waiting in a HUGE line for HOURS, and the teenagers pretty much ruin it for the little kids EVERY YEAR. Plus, all of the local crazies come out too. This year over half the booths were handing out bible verses and pamphlets instead of candy. My personal favorite is the one that read, and I quote: "WHERE WILL YOU GO WHEN YOU DIE?" As if life isn't confusing enough for my four year old let's throw in THAT morbid question. SHEESH! LIVEN UP FOLKS! Since when is taking an opportunity to dress in a funny costume and get free candy from strangers the same as "devil worship?" Pfffftt. I just wish people like that would stay indoors on Halloween and leave the rest of us heathens to it! *LOL*

Friday, October 30, 2009

31 Days of Halloween: A Catching Up Post

If you haven't read my post of lame excuses detailing why I'm behind on these, feel free to mosy on over if you like. If not, you can just read these to pick up where I left off:

Movie Review #27: Wallace and Gromit The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Okay, this is a movie that NO ONE should miss out on. ESPECIALLY at Halloween. It's hysterical. I mean... come on.. it's a WERE-RABBIT. Not a were-wolf, not a were-tiger, a were-RABBIT. LOL In the film, Wallace and his slightly more intelligent than he dog, Gromit try to save residents of Tottington Hall from a mutated rabbit. Perfect for kids or just for some really not very scary at all Halloween fun and spirit.


Movie Review #28: Young Frankenstein

If you haven't seen this Mel Brooks film then you definitely NEED TO. There is Dr. Frankenstein's grandson, Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced "Fronkenstein"), and an Igor (pronounced "eye-gore"), who refuses to believe he has a hump. There are several more equally funny characters and the Frankenstein monster does a wonderful rendention of "Puttin on the Ritz." It doesn't get any better than that. I watch this one all year round whenever I need a good belly laugh.


Movie Review #29: Hocus Pocus


Ha! I bet you thought I was going to forget this one!! Seriously... if you go through Halloween without watching Hocus Pocus then there is no help for you. Bette Midler is amazing. One year I WILL make enough time for myself to make that costume and I will go as Winnafred (her character) for Halloween. It's on my bucket list. It's going to happen.

Anyway, like most of my favorite Halloween movies, it's got a lot more funny than it does scary. I think my favorite part is when they all take to the air and one of them has to use a vacuum cleaner. LOL Classic!


Movie Review #30: Monster Squad

Okay, this movie is one my husband's childhood favorites. In the movie, a group of teenage kids battle against all of the classic monsters: Dracula, Wolf-man, the Mummy, etc. over possesion of an amulet from Van Helsing's diary. It's a pretty cute movie and just perfect to get you in the Halloween Spooky Ooky spirit!

And this has been a "catch-up" post on all of the Halloween Movie Reviews!