Monday, December 31

Still

Antique Mommy had this meme and I liked reading hers, so I figured I'd take the easy way out this last day of 2007 and do my version.

Still amazed: that God blessed me by making me a mom.

Still getting used to: the fact that college kids think I'm old.

Still loving: my laptop computer.

Still proud of: having my employer ask me to take a temporary assignment on a permanent basis.

Still not proud of: the way I get grouchy and impatient when my To-Do list gets overwhelming.

Still hoping: that I'll start liking my body the way that it is.

Still worried: about being enough of a Godly influence on my kids to equip them to handle the world they live in.

Still never going to: sky dive.

Still pretending: that I'm going to be a competent digital scrapbooker some day.

Still reading: my Bible through, which I had hoped to finish by the end of 2007.

Still wanting to read: the rest of the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia.

Still interested in: learning how to use the power tools that fill up our basement workshop.

Still not interested in: taking up the sport of hunting, although the entire rest of my household has done so.

Still looking forward to: camping this summer.

Still not looking forward to: seeing my boy start middle school.

Still failing: to eliminate procrastination from my list of bad habits.

Still grateful for: my sweet husband who builds me up every day.

Still praying: to see my kiddos grow up, find their mates and have a happy family of their own.

Still not believing in: the idea that "you can have it all." At least not all at once.

Still believing in: Jesus.

What are YOU still doing?

Saturday, December 29

Couldja Give Me a Minute?!....

....to catch my breath?! While grabbing a few items from the store, I nearly tripped over the Valentines cards and Yellow Peeps they have out for Valentine's and Easter. Good grief, People. Let me get my tree down first.

Friday, December 28

Say What?!

Muh Main Man desperately wanted to get himself Brainy Boy the nifty Schwitzer 300 RC helicopter that was for sale at the mall kiosk. It was way overpriced, I might add. In Nice Mom & Cool Wife form, I agreed, but through gritted teeth.

You see, we've been buying RC vehicles, helicopters and planes since, well...since we found out a boy was in the womb. And they work for about the first 15 minutes until one flies it into the woods. Or crashes it into the pavement. Or some mystery malady hits the battery. Then we sit the ailed aircraft on the kitchen counter until Easter, fully intending to fix or buy some new part for said toy. Eventually the piece of junk becomes part of the scenery and I can safely throw it out without anyone noticing it disappeared.

But anyway. We bought this one. And I cautiously admit that it has worked so far. It appears we've made a record because now we are three days post-Christmas without any permanent destruction. UPDATED: I take that back. As I'm writing, Brainy Boy has come in with the antennae broken in half. So there ya go. What'd I tell ya?

But this leads me to the process of getting the thing up and running in the first place. Apparently we've been graced with this piece of machinery from the far away land of China. Where else would it be from? And the hunk of fun-ness is rated for ages 14+. My kid is 11. Maybe that's the problem. The first statement I noticed on the box was "Caution: This is not a toys." Yeah, toys. As if they were giving us a Two-fer-one. Apparently Chinese-to-English translation isn't all that smooth.

Then, they proceed to explain that "The fly requires a warm weather with no wind." I didn't realize we were purchasing a fly, but it's good to know, nonetheless. The instructions also helpfully point out that the helicopter rotates "anticlockwise."

Perhaps the two most helpful cautions:
1) Do not play the chopper in strong winds, which can confuse your control. I totally hate it when my control gets confused.
2) Main rotor blades and tail blades and gear can rotate at very high speeds in your playing and therefore can inflict severe damage or injury to people especially from parts such as your face, fingers, eyes and hairs. And not just one hair either.

I think it was easier when our dads were putting together Radio Flyers on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 25

I'll Be Home for Christmas!

With all our family living scattered near and far, it's a rare occurrence for us to spend the entire Christmas vacation at home. But this year we are, and we're actually excited about it. It was awesome to attend Christmas Eve service at church last night, come home and do the Christmas Eve traditions and then get up this morning with no place to go! After we attended our annual candlelight service at church (in which Little Chic sang), we came home, sipped a little Purity Egg Nog, read the Christmas Story from Luke 2, opened our new Christmas jammies and settled in for a traditional viewing of Little Lord Fauntleroy.

When the movie was over, Little Chic was initiated into the world of "non-believer" since this is her first year of officially not believing in Santa. She has been on the fence for a while, but she was never really ready to admit it before this year. We live in a family of skeptics and realists, so it's amazing that she held out as long as she did. The initiation included watching "Santa" eat the cookies that we always leave. I had intended to do away with this ritual, but Little Chic thought it was such a hoot that the family dog always does the honors, and she wanted to be around for DogSpot's first experience as the stand-in. Believe me, it was as much a thrill for DogSpot as it was for Little Chic. Little Chic also humored us with a sweet letter to Santa to go along with the snack. I'm quite sure DogSpot was not nearly as impressed with the personal note as she was the cookies.Today was no disappointment either. The morning started bright and early, and the only small glitch we had in the day is the near brawl between Muh Main Man and Brainy Boy over the new RC helicopter. Which was a gift to Brainy Boy. From Muh Main Man and me. Hmmm. Gonna have to work that one out. But anyway.

Merry Christmas to all, have a wonderful holiday season and the diet starts on Monday.

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas To All

During his sermon yesterday, our pastor related statistics about how many people, including pastors, don't enjoy the holiday season because of all the commercial pressure we put on ourselves. One woman, in the middle of a hectic shopping trip, remarked that whomever was responsible for Christmas should be shot. A fellow shopper responded, "Don't worry, they already crucified Him."

I'm sorry to say that I've had my frazzled moments this season, but I hope you'll join me in getting your perspective back and remembering why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Enjoy your family, enjoy your traditions and enjoy your moments reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas.

"Thanks be to God for His Unspeakable Gift." II Corinthians 9:15

Thursday, December 20

I Wonder What Exactly Guaranteed Means?

We all know that I can procrastinate along with the best of them. But I do consider myself a realist nonetheless. Do the online companies really think that I will swallow their line when they promise that if I order in the next 4 hours, they will, in fact, deliver the perfect gift to its recipient by Christmas day? I mean, seriously, enough with the marketing emails every time I open my in-box. It's down to the wire, now, People. And checking out all your ads is putting me way behind. Just give it up and send a New Year's gift if you weren't on the ball. That's what I'm gonna do.

Tuesday, December 18

The Big NYC

Okay, so Little Chic and I went to NYC last Saturday. This was a long-awaited trip as we are both city girls at heart, and we were psyched to see the Big Apple in all it's sparkly Christmas splendor. We were gettin' a little worried about the big bad Nor'easter that was supposed to come, but luckily our trusty weathermen were completely wrong. As usual.

But so. We got on the bus bright and early, which was an exercise in determination for me in the first place. We made the trek into the city, got dropped off at Bryant Park and the day started.We decided to start out with a bit of education, just to make the bus fee worth our while. As if it weren't already! We headed down to the United Nations all excited to see the national flags for ever member nation. It would have helped if it had been a weekday so the flags would have been actually flying. Disappointing. What was not disappointing is the fact that once we entered the building, we found out we were in international territory. That was weird. We even sent postcards to ourselves with special UN stamps that can only be used in the UN post office inside the building. I made a slight boo-boo when the woman asked what country I needed a stamp for. I got wise and thought that I'd send Muh Main Man his postcard with a Norwegian stamp for his family heritage. Apparently she meant where was I sending the postcard TO which would explain why they cost 3 times the amount the US ones cost. I bought three of them. The tour was highly worthwhile and Little Chic, even at 10, got a lot out of it.

We proceeded to Grand Central Station and saw their Christmas light show which was a nice break from the walking we'd done already. I realized that it's not so gross to sit on the floor of a public subway building when your feet are desperate for a rest.

Rockefeller Center was no disappointment with the fabulous tree and the four-hour wait for ice skating. We passed on that particular pleasure, although Little Chic was a bit disappointed. But Hey. We live in the north. We can ice skate at home for $6 and no wait.

We finished up at Toys R Us which had been Little Chic's big dream. It ended up being shoulder to shoulder people, causing us to clutch one another like crazy people so as not to be separated. We did enter the madness and stand in line 45 minutes to buy a video game for the ride home.

We were disappointed to miss dinner at Hard Rock Cafe but a 3 hour wait was going to make us miss our bus and cause us to faint with hunger. We opted for a local pizza joint and it was actually pretty good.

We are already planning our next trip back, but that will be in warmer weather with fewer tourists. Hate those tourists ;)

Incidentally, Muh Main Man took Brainy Boy the same day on a snowmobiling expedition. He took my camera along. Grrr. Luckily, Little Chic received an early Christmas gift of a camera of her own from Grammy, which we had with us. So we got lots of shots like this.... There are more where that came from, but we'll spare ya.

Monday, December 17

You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!

Okay, so I'm at my local Walmart this morning. The one in rural upstate New York. I hear them making their morning announcements, sending out a special thank you to the employees for their hard work this past Saturday. According to Walmart officials, my small-town Super Walmart was #1 in sales for the Entire Company on Saturday. For real?

From what I hear, it was a madhouse but I would've expected stiffer competition from say, the City?

Wednesday, December 12

How Do You Holiday?

Melanie is always good for some interesting memes that get-to-know-ya better, so I figured I'd steal this one from her.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? All different prints of wrapping paper.
2. Real or artificial Tree? Totally fake, but pre-lit, so no light aggravation for me, Baby.
3. When do you put Christmas tree up? I try as soon as possible after Thanksgiving. Sometimes a little later than sooner.
4. When do you take the tree down? I always feel very self-satisfied when I have it down before the end of January. It was very embarrassing the year February came and I hadn't packed it away yet, so I try not to let that happen any more.
5. Like egg nog? I'm an egg nog snob. I suppose I don't like it enough to drink just any brand. But Purity from Ithaca, NY. Well, let's just say it's more like melted ice cream than egg nog. In calorie count as well as taste. I promise you, my favorite brand will totally beat up your favorite brand.
6. Do you have a nativity scene? Oh, I do. This one. It's purty.
7. Favorite gift received as a child? I think maybe a Barbie Camper I got....not really sure.
8. Hardest person to buy for? The Dads.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Little Chic. You call it a gift, she loves it! And she gets excited about clothes now too!
10. Worst Christmas gift? Probably a bird that Muh Main Man bought me. I adored it at the tine, but it pooped all over our apartment because we treated it like a dog. We named it "Woodstock" and it could chirp exactly like our telephone. We were constantly answering the phone only to hear the dial tone with the bird looking all suspicious-like as if saying, "Who, Me?!"
11. Mail or email a Christmas Card? That would be neither. Which is why I keep a blog.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Little Lord Fauntleroy with Ricky Schroeder.
13. Favorite food to eat at Christmas? My shortbread Christmas cookies.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh, I'm sure I have, but I've also been the willing recipient of one, so who's complaining?
16. Favorite lights? White inside, colored outside.
17. Favorite Christmas Song? Love 'em all.
18. Travel during Christmas or Stay Home? Lots of time we're visiting family but this year we are home. And I get to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales. Yay for me!
19. Can you name Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen & Rudolph. ( I knew every one myself~!)
20. Angel or Star on Tree top? A cute pine cone star that matches my house.
21. Least favorite thing about this time of year? The frazzled bustle that sometimes takes the fun out of the holiday season.
22. Which one person do you really want to see blessed this Christmas and why? My Auntie, who has had a stressful year.

Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy

This is about the sweetest thing I've heard in a while. Just right for Christmas-time. *Sniff*


Credits: Stolen from my brother, who is always good for scouting out those funny, touching or generally interesting web videos.

Tuesday, December 11

So Much Goin' On In So Little Time

I'm well aware that although we're alive and well, Blogdom has not kept you properly updated on all the comings and goings. And coming and going we've been.

For one thing, Brainy Boy shot his first deer this week. It was unplanned, downed from the back yard, but thrilling nonetheless. Or so I've been told. I have to say that I've not quite witnessed Muh Main Man be such a proud Papa. Not even on the birth-day of his own offspring. You'd-a-thunk Brainy Boy was proving his manhood. Apparently the guys thought he was. It was a button buck, so all the males in the household are feeling extra test-os-teroney. Although Little Chic has by far been the more enthusiastic of the hunting-champs-in-training, Brainy Boy has a newfound interest in the sport. We'll see how that goes when he spends hour upon cold hour in the tree without seeing anything. That's not generally down his alley. But we'll see.

As for my own whereabouts, I started subbing yesterday at one of the district schools and will be until Christmas break starts. I'm working in the school office and it's been really fun for a change, but enough to make me wonder what in the world I was thinking with Christmas fast approaching. I proudly report we've eaten a hot homemade meal every night after I've gotten home from work. Both days.

Little Chic had her holiday program at school for Tempo Tigers, the chorale that she joined this year. Attending her concerts is sometimes the teeniest bit stressful as she is very intense about everyone being very early and getting just exactly the right spot in which to see her the best. Once the show begins, though, it's all smiles. Well, all except for Brainy Boy who gets to watch for the second time in a day. Although her solo was a booming success, Muh Main Man was struggling with Musical-Picture-Taking-In-a -Dark-Auditorium 101, so you'll have to take our word on the awesomeness.

Little Chic and I are getting excited for a bus trip to NY City this Saturday and we're gonna see the City in all it's Christmas fabulous-ness. We're planning to see the big tree in Rockefeller Center, the awesome Toys R Us with the ferris wheel inside and we're gonna take a carriage ride in Central Park. Muh Main Man and Brainy Boy are so jealous of our excursion, that they have scheduled a competing trek into the Far North for a day of snowmobiling extreme.

So I bid you adieu while I act responsibly and take care of life for a few days. Or maybe a day. Well, at least an hour anyway.

Thursday, December 6

All Sorts of Gadgety Goodness

There just aren't many things that warm the heart of one like me more than when I get invited to a party dedicated entirely to gadgets. And how much better is it when I can legitimately profess that I ne-e-e-e-d to go because it furthers my never-ending and generally unsuccessful quest to become a domestic goddess. Really it does. Now what man can argue with that? Not Muh Main Man. Or perhaps he's just indulging me.

So I bounced gleefully off to a Pampered Chef party a couple of weeks ago and have been checking my doorknob each and every day for the delivery of the u-tin-suls that are now gracing my kitchen utensil caddy. I just love it that they have their own caddy. Oh, it makes my heart uh-flutter, it does. Now at this time of the year, many a party-goer is looking for gift items for their loved ones who are all cook-ey and bake-ey and all. That is a bit much to ask of me. I get within catalog-view of the loveliness and my wish list just grows ever longer. Unfortunately it is usually for stuff which I will never use. Since I'm not a master chef. Or even a decent cook for that matter. Just ask my son. But I love each and every item, nonetheless. Recently I have curtailed my wild imaginations of becoming Rachel Ray and have kept my order forms to containing everyday items that, if not used for edible material, will do an equally fine job on play-dough or craft projects.

So last night, I did nearly have a conniption and heart-attack rolled into one when I careened into the driveway, late for the 8 o'clock episode of Kid Nation and happened to glance on the kitchen counter. Muh Main Man had failed, I say, failed to tell me in our many text messages back & forth that my dearly beloved utensils had arrived. At long last.

I sacrificed and missed the juvenile cuteness of Kid Nation while I ripped open each package and dreamed of creative ways I am gonna use them. I even thought of a few cooking uses for one or two of them.
So here they are in all their beauty. I'm not even going to tempt you with the useful cuteness of the teeny tiny measuring cup that measures teaspoons. Can you even believe it?! How great is that? I have one more piece that's not shown because it was a spatula that was used to serve lasagna this very night. Proving that even frozen lasagna can feel Pampered when properly served.

Wednesday, December 5

(Don't) Let It Snow

Winter has hit us a bit earlier than usual this year, and yesterday we christened the season with the first snow day off school. Since DogSpot is only eight months old, this was her first experience with piles of the stuff and she doesn't seem to mind it one bit.

DogSpot has also taken full advantage of Muh Main Man's hunting prowess and has fulfilled her dream of smelling a deer's butt. This is something she has always wanted to do but up to this point, has never gotten up her nerve. It was very considerate of the deer to stay completely still so as not to spook Her Wimpiness. DogSpot is freakishly afraid of everything including her own shadow. Of course, all the cold and activity wears on one's furry energy level, so a snooze with Sissie by the fire is always in order once you come back inside.

I have not enjoyed the snow deal as much as the Short People and Muh Main Man. My idea of winter activity is skiing or snowmobiling on the days when your jacket is actually making you too hot. I'm not big on the snow preservation temperatures. I'm also not into bundling. I'm in the minority, though. Muh Main Man has had the snowmobile in action every day, and the Short People have spent hours inviting frostbite to their noses. They are dreaming of the long winter ahead of us, with smiles on their faces. I, on the other hand, have huddled inside watching them all, jacking up the thermostat, pretending that I'm back where I belong. Which is anyplace warmer than here. And dreaming of my flip-flops.

Tuesday, December 4

Elf Yourself

I'm feeling indulgent to my readers today ;) This is by popular request. Enjoyment at my expense. I'm nice that way.

Saturday, December 1

More Thanksgiving Recounts

To indulge those who weren't present and who haven't seen my family for a while, here are some other pictures of our week away...





My Sis, My Mom's Sis & Me





Amy, Dale, Brooke,Connor and Liam (turning two while we were there)








Uncle Dave (my dad's youngest brother and his family) From lt to rt (Josiah-15, Dave, Jonathan-21, Martha-18, Aunt Susan, Emma-10)










Aunt Susan with her eyes open ;)









Bravo to Ken who suggested that the men do all the Thanksgiving dishes. They even kept their smiles on to the end!



Contrary to Popular Opinion....

....we really did have a Thanksgiving celebration with some of my family. Indeed, I've been home a week without giving all the juicy details, but that's because I've been unpacking the eight over-the-weight limit bags we hauled back & forth, working at school and intending every day, yet failing to get my Christmas tree up.

So though I've kept you in desperate suspense up to this point, I assure you, I have lots to tell. I can't begin to describe how overdue I was to spend some family time with my own flesh & blood since I live so far in the nether regions away from them all. Bonuses always come with that sort of rare family get-together and this time was no exception.

First and foremost was my chance to meet my very first blog friend. Sort of. She's a friend of my sister's, she reads my blog, so wah-lah. Blog. Friend. There ya go. Since her name's the same as mine, you know she's gotta be cool. And she likes the same kind of TV shows as me--who knew two reality TV junkies could co-exist under one roof in a house that receives no television channels.?! We suffered together. And we TiVo'd at home simultaneously. In the spirit of things. Best of all, she brought me a bunch of loot from my man, Dave Ramsey, who we all know that I uh-dore. I even took the fleece blankie on the airplane with me, complete with his logo embroidered on the corner. I got all sorts of jealous looks, I did. It was either that or the other passengers thought I was stuffing a particularly plush airline blanket into my laptop case. That was probably it. Any-whoo, I have this secret plan to kidnap her as my BFF and to coerce her into doing the Amazing Race with me some day before I'm too old. I haven't completely hatched the plan yet, but I'm working on it.

Another side benefit of having Thanksgiving with far-off family is that you get to celebrate Christmas early. This was the year for descriptive monogrammed jackets. All I'll say is that Muh Main Man picked out his own snowmobile jacket and received it compliments of my ma. Does the logo say anything about him? I do think so. Little Sis gave me mine and I've worn it in sub-freezing weather even this very day.

One of our favorite days of our vacation was when my Uncle Dave came over with his family from Galvaston, TX. It was so cute to see the way Little Chic and Brooke took to Cousin Jon the way I remember all the nieces taking to our favorite uncle (his dad) when we were but giggling bitty girls. Jon followed in his dad's footsteps and endured the pestering in good-sport fashion.

All in all, we had a fantastic time at Mom and Ken's beautiful lakeside house, the weather cooperated, at least for the first half of the week, and we actually hated to go home when it was time. Could have been that we had to get up at 4am to catch our plane. Because we all know how I love those early mornings.