Friday, December 26, 2008

Double Digits and Divine Intervention

Today marks the day that my oldest girl turns ten. Double digits. Pre-puberty. 'Tween. I can't even begin to imagine where that time went. It was a mere blur... a speck on my radar.

One minute I was pulsating through the pain of her ridiculously fast delivery, at the tail end of which my obstetrician beckoned me to open my eyes during a particularly strenuous contraction, and give him my hands. And when he positioned my outstretched fingers underneath my birthing daughter's tiny armpits, allowing me to gently grasp her and deliver her up onto my stomach myself, all of the pain simultaneously washed away, and the floodgates of joy took its place.

With this child, the feeling of joy has remained. She is, without a doubt, an incredibly special being. Her kindness is almost limitless, and her love for humanity is to be revered. During the insanity of 9/11, and all of the days of sorrow, confusion, and pain which followed, my husband and I (like almost civilized human beings on this planet) were practically glued to the television set, reaching out for even the tiniest smidge of hope that another lost person may be found; that some semblance of happiness or normalcy could be unearthed from all that rubble. My daughter was almost 3-years-old, then. Such a tiny thing, that one would think she couldn't possibly fathom the preposterous scope of the trauma that was coming into our living room every evening.

One day, shortly after the Twin Towers exploded throughout New York City, my teeny bit of a babe came to me and said, "Mama, I want to be a firefighter when I grow up, so I can help people like those firefighters did." Her conviction was so strong that year that, when we came across a uniformed firefighter one day at the grocery store, she walked up to him, tugged on his pant leg, and said, "Thank you." (To which he scooped her up, and with tears welling up in his eyes, he said she was more than welcome.) She also wanted to be a firefighter for Halloween, and I was proud to dress her up as one that October.

To this day, she still expresses interest...those memories firmly etched in her mind. When she isn't talking about fighting fires, she says she'd like to be a veterinarian, so she can make animals well. She sobbed uncontrollably over every lost fish, hermit crab, and bug that she'd snag in her bug catcher. She still talks about all of her "pets", recalling them with the fondness and love that only a person with the kindest of hearts can feel.

On her birthday four years ago, one of the earth's worst disasters hit most of the land masses that border the Indian Ocean, when, as a result of an enormous aftershock from a giant underground earthquake, the tsunami that followed rose up in 100 foot waves and devastated several countries, killing over 200,000 people.

Again, my compassionate, empathetic child watched the news....and cried. When she heard one of the news reporters state that all of the children survivors had nothing... not even any toys to play with.... she announced that she would like to donate ALL of her new Christmas and birthday toys to those children, because she was lucky, and had enough old toys to play with.

I believe this child is truly a gift from God. Two years before her birth, when I was convinced that, in my heart, I could never love more than one child, and was content to have only him, I dreamed of this little girl with wavy, sunstreaked hair, and the most amazing ice blue eyes I'd ever seen. We were at a park I'd never seen before, and I was lounging in the grass, calling out to her. She came running over the crest of a small hill, wearing a grape-colored, short-sleeved t-shirt with little puffs on the sleeves and the tiniest of bows on the neck, underneath a pair of faded denim Osh b'Gosh overalls.

She had in her hands a bright red ball, and as she ran toward me, giggling the entire way, I called out to her: "Come bring the ball to me!", and spoke to her by name. It was then I knew that she was out there for me. That God was trying to let me know, in his Infinite way, that this little girl was waiting to be delivered. This gift.

And, on the day after His son's birth, he brought my gift to me. Ten years later, I'm still feeling awfully blessed to have her in my life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

When I think of all of the gifts I could possibly want for Christmas, NOTHING can compare to the love shown to me by my family and friends. No material possession can come close to feeling the arms of my babies wrapped tight around me with a big "neck squeezing hug". No amount of money is worth hearing my kids laughter, or having them tell me they love me, or that I'm "the best mom EVER!". And, every time I either meet a new friend, or reconnect with an old one, I feel the blessing that is part of the REAL reason for the season.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you and your family be blessed with the bounty of the greatest gift of all.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Snow's STILL Falling

The storm came in right on time yesterday afternoon. The first flakes I noticed fell sometime right before 2:00 p.m. It is now almost 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, and it's STILL flurrying.

I can't tell for sure, but it looks as if we've gotten a good foot and a half. Enough to make driving anywhere distant a major nightmare. I'm just so grateful that we're DONE with all of our major Christmas shopping. We will need to make a trip to the grocery store sometime this week, to get the remaining ingredients for our Christmas feast (and for our oldest daughter's birthday celebration the following day), but hopefully the roads will be much easier to navigate in a day or so.

Last night, my girls and I all climbed into my bed and snuggled up watching Christmas specials while the snow fell. We must have all passed out relatively early, 'cause my husband said he came into the bedroom around 9:00 to say something to me, and I was passed out! I'll tell ya, all the jewels, fancy cars, and big homes can't compare with a nice snuggle with your kids. Especially when you know that as they get older, they're less and less inclined to want to cuddle with Mom (it's not too "cool", you see).

I know it's going to break my heart when my oldest daughter gets to the point where she no longer finds it acceptable to climb in bed with dear old Mom and watch some hokey movie on TV.

But, I have a three-year-old. There's still plenty of "cuddle" years left in her.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Battening Down the Hatches

An impending snow storm is heading this way sometime tomorrow. Depending on which channel I turn to, the forecasters have different conclusions about how much is going to be dumped on us, and when it's going to begin. The general consensus is sometime late tomorrow afternoon, with an accumulation of anywhere between two and six inches.

Which could mean that it starts early tomorrow morning, and we'll get whalloped with three feet. Such is life along the coast. The ocean breezes can sometimes wreak havoc. If you don't believe me, take a gander at these:

http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=45

http://www.mass.gov/czm/blizzard78.htm

After then, I think all of the meteorologists (especially the "old timers", who were here in New England forecasting that particular nightmare back then) have become a little gun shy when it comes to impending snow storms in our vacinity.

If there's one constant about snow, it's that it can sometimes be completely unpredictable.

Hopefully, this will all blow over and we won't get much of anything. I certainly wouldn't want to be cooped up in my house for a week, like we were back in '78. I have shopping to do! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Something to Do Until My Hubby Comes Home

Okay, so I'm sure there are a bazillion other things that I could do, other than to participate in this particular "tag", but none of the other things are half as fun! :)


1. Did you date someone from your school?

I had several boyfriends all throughout high school, some that never amounted to much of a relationship, and some I was pretty darn serious about.


2. What kind of car did you drive?

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 41-years-old, so in high school, if I wanted to get from Point A to Point B, I either took public transportation, bummed a ride, or hoofed it.

3. Did you pass your driver’s license test on the first try?

Why yes, yes I did! :)


4. Were you a party animal?

I certainly had my fair share of fun, but I didn't do anything lewd or lecherous. I was a good girl then. Still am, to a certain degree! :)

5. Were you considered a flirt?

HECK, yeah! But, mind you, there's a REAL distinction between a flirt and a tease.


6. Were you in a band, orchestra or choir?

None of the above. But I was heavily into theatre.


7. Were you a nerd?

Not in terms of the standard definition, no.


8. Were you on any varsity teams?

I've never been athletically inclined. I was asked to be on the cheerleading squad during my Senior year, but I was too crazy busy to fit that into my schedule, too.


9. Did you get suspended or expelled?

With the father I had growing up??? NEVER!


10. Can you still sing the fight song?

I never even knew we HAD a fight song!


11. Who were your favorite teachers?

Honestly, I liked most of my teachers, but my true favorites were Mr. Toomey (History), Miss Sullivan (English Lit.), Miss TePaske (Musical Theatre), and Betsy Grady (Psychology). Oh, and Miss Grant was the best Homeroom teacher EVER!



12. Where did you sit during lunch?

If I wasn't going across the street to grab a slice of pizza, I had lunch in the cafeteria.


13. What’s your school’s full name?

Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School.


14. What was your mascot and colors?

I couldn't even begin to tell you what our mascot was, but our colors were maroon and gold.


15. Did you go to homecoming?

Our school didn't have a homecoming, but I did go to my Senior Prom.


16. If you could go back and do it all again, would you?

Yes, but only if I knew then what I know now (and could somehow arrange to meet my husband back then).


17. What do you remember most about graduation?

That the ceremony itself was excruciatingly long, and how amazing it felt when a whole buttload of people cheered for me as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma.


18. Where did you go on your Senior Skip Day?

I don't think we had a Senior Skip Day. If we did, I sure don't remember it!


19. Were you in any clubs?

No. I just participated in the Theatre Arts program.


20. Have you gained some weight since then?

Ppppffftttt!! Next question, please!


21. Who was your prom date?

Skipper McKaskill (hmmmm... I wonder what ever happened to him???)


22. Are you planning to go to your 10 year reunion?

That's come and gone. If there is another reunion planned, it'll be my 30th, in 2010. Ask me then, if I'm going.


23. Did you have a job while in high school?

Oh, yeah. I started working a month after I turned 16. And I haven't looked back since! :)

Conversation with a Three-Year-Old

My littlest little is home from preschool today. Partly because we woke up to snow on the ground this morning (told ya... New England), and partly because she has yet another cold, with a low-grade fever, and one of the many rules of her preschool states that you can't bring your child into school if they have a fever, and they may not return until they're fever free for 24 hours.

No matter. I love my one-on-one time with her.

Case in point:

After sitting on the floor behind me, contentedly coloring and singing a little tune while she was at it, she decided it was time to play with her dolls. So, she gathered up a couple of her stuffed animals (one in particular, her pink bunny with its missing ears and holey backside, is an absolute favorite of hers), her dolly high chair (in which pink bunny sits, at its place of prominence), and her little chair from her table and chair set.

She then proceeded to explain to me that I was the mommy, she was the sister, and her treasured, holey bunny was the baby, and that we were to pretend to be at a restaurant.

I asked her, "What are we doing at the restaurant?"

Her reply?

"Eating, you silly!"

Guess she got me on that one! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like... Springtime???

Here in Massachusetts, it's 47 degrees outside. Right here. Right now. It's supposed to get up to 56 degrees, at some point today (according to the weather thingy-ma-bob on AOL).

I currently have all of my kitchen windows open, my bathroom window open, one of my living room windows open, and both of my bedroom windows open, and the breeze that's blowing into each of those windows isn't the slightest bit cold. Not even cool.

Need I remind you... it's December. And I'm in New England.

It's just so weird, that it's a week and a half before Christmas, and it's so balmy here. Not that I'm complaining, though. I've grown to HATE shovelling.

But, seeing as how it's New England, the old adage can hold true: "If you don't like the weather here, just wait a minute."

I'm not holding my breath.

Monday Randomness

Morning, all!

I just realized I haven't posted anything since last week, so I figured I'd better get on the bandwagon and update you all on my oh-so-exciting life! :)

I FINALLY managed to go to the doctor's, and his "official" diagnosis was that I had a sinus infection. I personally think it had gone waaayyyy past that. When he tapped on the spot underneath my eye sockets and asked if it hurt, I told him, "It doesn't now, but as the antibiotic starts to work, and everything begins to drain again, it will." I was so clogged up that NOTHING was coming out!

He wasn't my usual doctor (in fact, that's one of the reasons why I don't like going to my doctor's office much any more; my doctor's SO in demand that I hardly ever get to see HIM when I make an appointment), so he didn't know ME well enough to know that when I get sick like this, I know pretty much exactly what's going on with me. So, even though I wasn't symptomatic of anything in particular, he was nice enough to take me at my word and give me a prescription for ten days worth of amoxicillin.

I'm happy to say that, after three or so days of taking the prescribed medication, I'm sleeping a bit better, and FINALLY starting to feel as if I might just shake this thing after all!

While I was there, I wanted to have him administer a TB test for me. I have the opportunity to work in a lunch service position at my littlest little's school, but everyone who goes NEAR their food on a regular basis has to have an up-to-date TB test performed. Since I don't believe I've EVER had one, it's important that I get one. The logistics are what always seems to get in the way, though.

He was happy to put the order in for me, but said I'd have to come back in two days to have the test "read". That meant going into Urgent Care on Saturday. Not one of my favorite prospects in the world. Not only would the wait time depend on the amount of people waiting to be seen, but I couldn't figure out a way to get the reading done without having to pay for parking. And, call me cheap, or call me stubborn, but I REFUSE to pay six bucks before I even walk in the door! So, I canceled the test for that day, and will call in to schedule it for the week that my husband's home on vacation. Problem solved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My husband has taken it upon himself to take off his scheduled weekday (Thursday). The good part is that we've been able to spend some time together, get errands done that either require the both of us to participate (like finishing up the wrapping of Christmas gifts), or that we need to "tag team" for (like for my oldest daughters parent/teacher conference -- I stayed home with the girls, while he went to meet with her teacher, only because I was sick as a dog that day, and didn't feel like getting dressed and heading out ANYWHERE). The bad part is, we're losing valuable overtime everytime he doesn't work on that day.

I know he's wanting to take some time off and relax, but I need to get his butt in gear to make that extra money! :) He said he'll start working the overtime again after his vacation week. Fair enough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I mentioned that we're done with our Christmas wrapping. Or, so I thought. One of my girlfriends dropped me an e-mail, letting me know that Amazon.com had some INCREDIBLE, one-day deals on toys. I made the HUGE mistake of looking through the list of things that were on sale. Of course, there were two things that Miss S. has been BEGGING for; 1) Puppy Grows and Knows My Name, and; 2) the holiday singing Hanna Montana doll. Both were RIDICULOUSLY marked down, and I couldn't resist. I ordered them. So, even though I thought I was completely done, I now have two more things to wrap (which isn't all that bad, really). That is, unless I decide to put them away for her birthday in February... then I can hold off on the wrapping for awhile! :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Speaking of birthdays, my oldest daughter's is coming up, too. She was born at 8:24 a.m. on December 26th! :) She's without a doubt THE best Christmas present I've ever gotten!

She was dying to be old enough to be able to have a laser tag party at Good Times Emporium. You can't play laser tag until you're ten, so this year was IT for her. She was all excited about the prospect... until, to her dismay, we found out that Good Times had shut down. Another victim of the lousy economy. She was crushed.

I found another place that has laser tag parties, but they only schedule them on certain days, either before or after the general public is allowed into the building. The laser tag birthday party involves a package deal, and because it's a bit pricey, she's agreed to hold off having her party until after the holidays are over (I'm thinking February or March). To a kid that's had her heart set on a laser tag party for YEARS, a few more months doesn't matter much, I guess.

Of course, we'll still have a small family celebration of her birthday ON her birthday, as we've done every year. Considering the fact that she is pretty much a Christmas baby, I have a certain set of criteria for her that MUST be followed:

1) Her birthday is always celebrated on her birthday (the same as my other children);
2) Any birthday present that's expected to be opened on Christmas will be considered a Christmas present;
3) Any birthday present that's wrapped in Christmas paper will be considered a Christmas present;
4) Any Christmas present given to her on her birthday will be considered a birthday present.

I don't want ANYONE to ever assume that, because she was born on the day after Christmas, that she got jipped somehow. Everyone's birthday is special... INCLUDING hers.

And, like she has always said, she feels lucky, because she gets to celebrate Jesus' birthday, and then she gets to celebrate hers! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Why is it that, as a mom, my needs pretty much always come last? At least that's the rationale I'm going with to defend my position against making a doctor's appointment... until now.

I felt a cold coming on, about a week before Thanksgiving. Oh, great. Just what every pie-making, cookie-baking, turkey-and-all-the-fixins Mama needs to feel when she knows she's going to be up against a marathon of a day. But, like a trooper, I persevered, getting all the dinner (and desserts) expertly done, in between sniffles, coughs and sneezes. Heck, I even felt somewhat GOOD on Thanksgiving. Perhaps I was only fooled by the euphoria of the day.

By Friday morning, the sore throat came back again in force. Once again, I bravely (or stupidly, depending on your side of the fence) ignored it, choosing instead to push ahead and get through the day, as only a mom with three kids home from school for Thanksgiving vacation (who were hopped up by an overload of apple pie, might I add) can do.

I'd casually mentioned to my husband, in my Robitussin induced stupor, that I'd like to put up the tree for Christmas that weekend. Silly me.

I woke up late on Sunday, after a ridiculously fitful nights sleep (I was coughing up half a lung all night long), and saw, with dread, that my well-rested husband had taken it upon himself to assemble our tree already. Poor guy... I know he meant well. But, all my weary body wanted to do at that point was go back from whence I came... and crawl underneath the covers and die.

But, once again, I persevered. I half-heartedly went through the boxes of lights, garland, ornaments, and other Christmas-y doo dads, and pretty much stopped at the tree and the mantel. Mind you, I typically have something... something that embodies the spirit of Christmas in each and every room of my house. My kids even have their own little Christmas trees, which I place in their bedrooms every year. Not this time, though.

After the tree and mantel were complete, and my homemade Advent calendar was hung, and the wreath was placed on our front door, and a few nick nacks were strewn about in the dining room, I called it quits. My husband gave me quite the quizzical look. I think, only then, he knew how sick I really was.

I spent the next week feeling about the same. Struggling to get through the days, doing just enough to get my kids to and from. Struggling even more to get through the nights, stealing what sleep I could in between brutal cough after brutal cough.

Finally, today, I decided enough is enough. I've thrown down the gauntlet. I called my doctor's office and made an appointment for ME. I'm to be seen by someone in my doctor's staff at 9:30 in the morning on Thursday. (I told the nurse who returned my call that I couldn't care less if I was to be seen by the janitor on duty, as long as he had the authority to write me a prescription for amoxicillin!).

So there you have it. I have succumbed. Now, please pray that I'll be better for Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gearing Up For Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering up the ones you love around you, sharing a delicious meal (from soup to nuts), and reflecting on all you have to be thankful for. Although money's been tight, and we've had to sacrifice quite a bit this year, I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's in the world. I have a husband who's the love of my life, three beautiful, healthy kids, and an abundance of family and friends, whom I hold dear to my heart.

I thank God that I'm able to have people jammed around my dining room table tomorrow, eating a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, gravy, my husband's incredible sour cream mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, fresh green beans, glazed carrots and rolls with butter. We'll have to make some room for my homemade apple or blueberry pie, too! :)

I know, deep in my heart, how truly blessed I am, because I am fully aware that there are those who (for one reason or another) will be unable to gather together with their family and loved ones, to celebrate their season's bounty.

I'm also blessed to have gotten to know so many of you. When I'm going through my list of all I am thankful for, you all will definitely be included, too.

May you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Please Vote for Brandon!

Hi there!

My friend Don has asked me to pass the word around that his younger brother, Brandon, is in a contest to help showcase young and "up and coming" talent. Brandon's written a beautiful song called "Thine Own Son", which is the one that he's premiering as his entry into the showcase.

The link to the site is:

http://music.mormontimes.com/contest.php?id=737


If you could PLEASE take a moment, create an account, and then vote for Brandon's song, I'd truly appreciate it. And, if you feel so inclined as to go back every day and vote for him, that would be incredibly awesome!

Also, if you're up to it, it would be wonderful if you could pass along this information to any other people you know, who might also be willing to vote.

On behalf of Don (a very proud big brother) and Brandon, I thank you very much! :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree (In OCTOBER??)

My friend and blogger bud Don posted about the overkill of Christmas and holiday music. His main gripe (as you will) is that it is played way too early, and that we should give each holiday its just due.

While I totally agree that the commercialization of Christmas leaves a LOT to be desired, and thoroughly takes away from the REAL reason we celebrate and value the holiday of Christmas, I have to admit... I love hearing the holiday music. Granted, radio stations who begin solely playing the festive tunes THE DAY AFTER Halloween may be pushing it a tad, but for me, their reasons are sound. The deejays explain that their rationale behind playing that particular genre of music so soon is to "lift people's spirits", by getting them in a holiday mood. I certainly enjoy tapping my feet to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", or "Here Comes Santa Claus" while I'm driving, or doing work on the computer, or whatever. And you know what? It does certainly work to lift my spirit some!

My own personal feeling is that Christmas music falls into the same category as every other type of music.... I love hearing it, as long as it's good. There's nothing more moving than hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing "Silent Night", or nothing more fun than hearing my little ones singing along to "Dominic the Donkey". (You can keep such pitiful pieces like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" How dreadful!).

I, for one, am glad that the music is being played now. With the economy in flux, and our country on the brink of turmoil, maybe a little lightness of heart and lifting of spirits is in order for all of us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah....

I have a lot of simple ramblings to update you guys on.... hope you don't find it too boring! :)

Mid-week last week, my mom decided that she wanted to take R. on a bit of a shopping spree, for some new sneakers and jeans. Miss R. has definitely "sprouted" over the past several months (gaining curves in places I really don't care to discuss! :(, and it's been quite the challenge to keep up with her growing frame.

Because she's grown so much, and her body is jutting out in all sorts of funky ways, I can no longer simply go into a store, pick a certain size off of the rack, and bring the clothes home, knowing they'll fit her. She has to try everything on. And, being a nine-year-old girl, I think she'd rather have all of her fingernails pulled out with pliers than try on clothes. So, going shopping with her is a daunting task, to say the least.

We went to Marshall's first, because my mother needed to return a (too small) pair of jeans she'd gotten for R. previously. My mom wanted to check out the sneakers in Marshall's, but after a few minutes of scoping around, I quickly decided that the designer labels (and designer prices) were just a bit much for a girl that's way too hard on her shoes. With that, we headed off to Payless Shoes.

We went into the girls section, and I promptly started hunting for sneakers in a girl's size 4.... all of which had some kind of problem with the fit. So, I moved over to the 4 1/2's... all of which were still too small. I went around the corner to the women's sizes, and pulled a bunch of size 5's and 5 1/2's. STILL too small. I moved on to the 6's. And, you guessed it... she still had some issue with each of the pairs.

By then, I was getting a bit irritated. It was 45 BAZILLION degrees in the store, and in between listening to my oldest daughter whine, trying to wrangle my youngest daughter in (as she proceeded to use the entire store as her own personal playground), and maintain my quickly frazzling nerves, as my mother's temper grew more and more short with each new pair of shoes that were being tried on, I decided that I'd had enough messing around. I looked for a salesperson, and asked if I could have R's. foot properly measured.

The salesgirl asked if I wanted her measured in a children's size, or in women's, and I opted for women's (to assure that her shoes fit properly).

After a few moments of wiggling R's foot back into the contraption correctly, and finding just the right spot where her foot measured up, the salesgirl looked up at me and said, "Well, her foot is really in between sizes, but it's sitting somewhere between a women's 7 and 7 1/2."

EXCUSE ME????

You can't possibly mean MY daughter! My baby girl??!! The same one who was fitting comfortably in a girl's size 4 back in August.... is now a WOMEN'S size SEVEN????!!! Yikes!

Well, no WONDER why she was fretting over the girls shoes!

I made my way over to the proper section, and scoped it out, finding a couple of pairs of cute sneakers. She picked out one plain white pair that she liked a lot, and said they were really comfortable.

Done deal.

We then made our way to Tello's, to look for some jeans. They had a bunch of Junior's sizes on the clearance rack, and we grabbed several in a size 3. Of the four pairs we picked out, two fit and two didn't (see what I mean about having to try EVERYTHING on???). My mom took the two pairs up to the register, and paid for those too. Thank goodness for her!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Miss S. missed out on the majority of the school week, 'cause she had a dreadful cold, complete with a dry, hacking cough, all last week. And, as a total act of generosity, she decided that her life wouldn't be fulfilled without sharing her sickness with her Mama! I'm sick as a dog today, and feel like I've been plowed over by a Mack truck, but I'll persevere. I'm just glad the rain is gone... all that moisture in the air wreaked havoc with my asthma, and I was having a difficult time breathing, especially yesterday.

And, even though I truly wanted to just sack out in bed yesterday, we had to take my car to Sears to have it looked at. The dreaded engine light came back on again, but this time, it won't go away.

The crew that does the diagnostics wasn't working yesterday, so we decided to take a quick walk around the mall. I thought maybe Santa might be there, so the girls could stop and say "hi". I also wanted to go into Sears, to see if I could find a good deal on a portable CD player for R. for her birthday.

As expected, Santa was all set up, and ready for pictures, in the middle of the mall. Since my girls were in their play clothes, I didn't really want to have their pictures done, but they could still go up and talk with Santa, and tell him what they wanted most of all for Christmas.

While we were waiting in line, S. turned to me and said, "Mama, I'm going to tell Santa all of my wishes!" She was so excited! Still, I wasn't quite sure how she would react when she got face to face with the Jolly Old Elf.

Quite to my surprise, her excitement remained as she walked up to him. He asked them if they were both good girls, to which they promptly answered with a resounding "Yes!" He asked R. what she would like for Christmas, and she rattled off, "An XBox 360, a PSP, a phone, and some Bakugan toys." He shot her a look as if to say, "Yeah, right" (and frankly, I couldn't agree more! :), and said, "Well, that's quite some list! I'll have to see what I can do."

And then, he turned his attention to S. He said, "What about you? What would you like most of all for Christmas?" She replied, "A pee-pee doll", and he thought she said a baby doll, so he asked, "Which baby doll would you like? Do you like Barbies? Or maybe Dora? Or how about the Princess dolls?" Again, she said, "No... a pee-pee doll!" He looked to me for help, and I said, "She's saying pee-pee doll. She wants the Little Mommy Baby Gotta Go doll" "Oh!" he said, "I see! Well, if you're a very good girl, then I'll do my very best to see what I can do for you, too, okay?"

"Okay, Santa!" she squealed, and she gave him a big hug. He handed both girls a candy cane, and wished us all a Merry Christmas. The girls were on cloud nine.

In Sears, we found a cute little portable CD player, with an AM/FM radio. Just right for Miss R's. room. My husband went back later last night to get it for her. It was Friends and Family night at Sears, and the store was open from 6:00 to 9:00, for Sears employees and their families ONLY. And, everyone who made purchases got an extra 10% off of everything, with special deals on certain items. With all of the discounts, the CD player I'd picked out was only $20.

He also swung by a fellow Freecycler's house, to pick up some children's videos she had up for grabs. When he came home, Miss S. was so excited to see all of her "new" Sesame Street, Dora, Blues Clues and other videos. She picked out the Elmo Saves Christmas one, and watched the entire thing in her room last night, without making a peep! :)

With the purchase of the CD player, I'm officially DONE with both Christmas and R's. birthday! I've also begun wrapping things, so we won't be up until the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve. Goodness knows our little one will have us up before the roosters on Christmas morning!! She's SOOOOO excited this year!

Now, I have to focus on Thanksgiving. We typically have Thanksgiving dinner here, with various family members popping in to eat or to have dessert. I have to go grocery shopping today (but only because we have NOTHING in our house at the current moment!), and I'll start picking up things for Thanksgiving dinner. I typically have a turkey with stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes, a few vegetables (like broccoli, green beans, corn, glazed carrots), and rolls for dinner. I also make an apple pie and a blueberry pie, and some kind of other simple dessert (like brownies, cookies, or a cake).

What is your typical Thanksgiving dinner like?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shameless Plug (well, kinda)

I don't typically participate in any kind of "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" postings, where people give away free stuff on their blog, and in return, I'm supposed to give them a shout out on my blog, with a gazillion links back to them. My theory typically is, if you wanna give the stuff away, just go ahead and DO IT already.

But, I gotta tell you guys.... this woman makes THE cutest darn stuff! Her hairclips, hats, leg warmers, and other little doo-dads for girls are just too adorable for words! And, since I think her stuff is so amazing (almost works of art, really), AND because I would love to be the winner of her current giveaway, well... I've succumbed!

The URL to her blog, Hair Flips, is located amongst "My Favorites" (over there, on the left of my page). And, if you want to go and check out her products up for sale, here's the link to her Etsy website: http://babybandsbeyond.etsy.com/

If you need to pick up a cute little gifty for a girly-girl this holiday season, I'd really recommend you take a look. Or, if you want to just "ooooh" and "aaaahhh", you can go check it out, too! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Memoriam, and In Tribute



In honor of my father, who swiped his older brother's birth certificate and faked his age in order to enlist in the Navy and serve his country to fight against Japan at the tender age of 16;

In honor of my oldest brother, who also enlisted into the Army at the age of 17, during a time when guys were enrolling in college to refrain from being drafted, and fought in the trenches of Vietnam, experiencing things so traumatic that he can't talk about them, even all these years later;

In honor of my nephew, who enlisted in the Army at 18, and is actively working through his tour of duty over in Iraq;

And, in honor of all of the noble men and women, in our past and present history, who have nobly stood up to represent, serve, and protect ALL of the freedoms that we hold dear --

With humility, I salute you and thank you, for all you have done to make and keep this country, our country, free.

Monday, November 10, 2008

1:24

If you Google 1:24, you come up with a lot of interesting tidbits.

For example, did you know that 1:24 is the true (and apparently only technically acceptable) scale for any model car?

Or, how about the fact that the Schweizer SGS 1-24, also referred to as the Schweizer-Burr SGS 1-24, is a United States single-seat, mid-wing, Open Class competition glider?

Inevitably, there were a LOT of entries that contained the date 1/24 (with lots and lots of different years attached), telling tales of meetings minutes, science and medical experiments, individual and group blog entries, birthdates, dates of death... those listings were endless.

I also noted some particularly interesting Bible passages, listed as a result of this particular search:

Colossians, 1:24:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

Matthew, 1:24:

And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife.

Wait...what? Joseph awoke from his sleep??? Was it at that EXACT time? Is that the relevance...the Holy Grail... the meaning behind it all?

THE REASON WHY MY 3-YEAR-OLD HAS BEEN WAKING UP, EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN' NIGHT, AT 1:24 A.M.????

Is Joseph trying to communicate with her? Is she being told to rejoice in Christ's sufferings? Or, is she merely trying to torment her poor mom???

Like clockwork, every SINGLE (early) morning, that child enters into our bedroom, waking me up out of a sound sleep. At 1:24 a.m.

I guess now I've added one more Google entry that is just as random as the thousands I've pulled up, and makes as much sense as her 3-year-old internal clock.



Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blogging for Susy

Okay, so I'll be the first to admit that I've been shirking my blogging duties as of late (sorry, Sus...and thanks for the nudge!). I promise you guys it's not because I haven't wanted to. It's more because I've been INSANELY busy, with the holiday season kicked into gear. I've also been rather boring, with nothing more than general ramblings to post. And, I didn't want to turn my high-falootin' blog into a total yawn fest. That would be pure torture! :)

So... the day after Halloween, two of my favorite radio stations started playing Christmas music. Now, I know that some of you may hear that and start screaming your fool heads off, but let me tell you... I actually rather enjoy it. In fact, I just about love it. It SOOOOO puts me into the "Christmas spirit" (more than our current 60-ish degree weather does, that's for sure!). So, for the past week, I've been coming home from dropping the little one off at preschool, taking care of whatever things need to be done around the house first, then getting the live feed from the radio station on my computer, and putting myself into a wrapping stupor!

I mostly began the whole wrapping spree out of necessity. I had so many boxes and bags jammed into the corner of my room that their edges started creeping more and more onto the floor, to the point where I started tripping on them (more than once). When I stubbed my pinky toe on the hefty box (that housed several of my children's treasures), that was the proverbial straw. I hiked out all the wrapping paper, tags, Scotch tape and scissors, and went to town! I'm proud to say that that mountain is down to a mere hill! :)

How many of you use completely different wrapping paper and tags for your "Santa" gifts? I started down that particular road quite a few years back, when N. said, "Hey, Santa uses the same paper as you, Mom!" Smart little whippersnapper! Ever since, I've used EVERYTHING different for the stuff that "Santa" gifts. It can get a little confusing sometimes, but so far, I haven't made any profound mistakes.

I'm going to try and score tickets to this year's Polar Express ride, too.

http://www.polarexpressride.com/schedules.html

We were fortunate enough to go last year, and it was a total blast. The ride is only limited to certain towns, but if you have the chance to go, I HIGHLY recommend it. It's great fun!

I also want to really try and go to see the Festival of Lights at the Stone Zoo this year. We went one year, when N. and R. were very small, and it was so wonderful. I wanted to go last year, but we just ran out of time. I'm hoping we'll get to see it again this year...it's so beautiful!

http://www.stonezoo.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=875

What are some fun things YOU want to do this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More General Ramblings

This morning, after dropping our little one off at preschool, I took my husband to an oral surgeon to get one of his teeth extracted. He woke up Sunday morning looking like a lopsided chipmunk! The left side of his face was all swollen, and he said it was very painful and tender to the touch. He took our oldest daughter to school yesterday, and then went straight to our dentist's office from there. That's when he found out that he had a severe abscess, and that the tooth had to come out before it got any more infected. They gave him prescriptions for both Vicodin and Penicillin, and sent him home, with copies of his x-rays, and a chart indicating which tooth was affected (he had to bring both to the oral surgeon's office today).

The entire procedure took about a half hour, and he was pretty groggy when they called me into the "recovery room" (a.k.a. a leather lounge chair for the patient, and an office chair for the "designated driver", in a teeny tiny room!). He said he'd just woken up, so they must have given him some of that medicine that puts you into a twilight (and not the nice, Edward Cullen version -- that's for you, Michelle! :), as well as the Novocaine. He came home, and shortly afterward, settled into bed. He took a much needed snooze, and just woke up a little while ago, saying he was hungry. Thank goodness for Sunday Baker, and her plethora of recipes.... I made the taco ring, which is nice and soft enough for him to chew! The swelling in his face has gone down a whole lot too, which is a good thing. Now, to just get him to continue to follow all of the "rules" he's supposed to adhere to over the next couple of days!

I can't even believe that I'm typing this, but, with a BIG thanks to the help from my mother, my Christmas shopping for the kids is just about DONE! :) I had one more thing to get for my oldest daughter (apparently, she needed some game board to go along with the Bakugan "accessories" I picked up for her a few weeks back; otherwise they'd be rendered pretty much useless! What do I know??). I also had quite a bit to get for my son, whose tastes have become VERY expensive. And...only two months to do it in. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how I was going to pull it off, without putting bills aside to do it (which I really didn't want to do, for very obvious reasons).

Then yesterday, I got an e-mail from KB Toys. It contained an e-copy of their "Big Toy Book" (or whatever they call it there). Underneath the header of the e-mail, there was an icon that said "Bill Me Later". I clicked on it, and to my pleasant surprise, found out it was a feature that could allow a person to purchase items now, and delay the payment for up to 90 days!!! Since this feature requires good credit (and mine's less than stellar), I asked my mother if it would be all right if I could plug in her information, and she totally agreed to let me do it!

So... next Friday, I'll give her some money towards it. Then, mid-December, I'll give her some more. Then again in mid-January, and again in mid-February, when the bill comes due. By then, it should be all paid up!!

This definitely frees me up to not only get a few things for both my husband and my mom (neither of which I thought I could get much more for at all), but it also gives me peace of mind in case I wind up having to get my car checked out (the stupid engine light is on.... AGAIN... and this time, it won't shut off!).

What a nice thing to do, huh? See...she can be a real pain in the patoot, but she definitely makes up for it sometimes! :)

Oh, and by the way.... I voted! Did you??

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wishing Everyone A Spooktacular Halloween

I'd like to wish all of my ghoulies and gobblies
a very safe and happy Halloween!
Have a spooktacular time trick-or-treating, everyone!
Hugs,




Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy 15th Anniversary, My Love

Fifteen years ago today, my husband and I exchanged our wedding vows. I had been married once before, and right before my first marriage ended, I had a long heart-to-heart with God. I asked Him for His forgiveness, and also asked that, if he were to bring another viable suitor my way, could he please bring a man who treated me with kindness, sincerity, and respect? Two weeks before my divorce was to become final, I met my husband for the very first time.

I learned very quickly that God had answered my prayers by "introducing" me to this man. My husband is the kindest, gentlest, most loving person a woman could ever ask for. He treats me as his equal, never making me feel inferior or disrespected.

He taught me how love should be, not how I thought love should be. He makes my life so easy, and says or does things every single day to make me fall in love with him all over again.

He is my protector, my savior, my lover, and my friend. He helps me to rear our children fairly, kindly, and with respect.

I consider myself incredibly lucky, not only because he chose me to be his wife, but also because I was given the gift of this man in my life. I hope, with all my heart, that our life together ventures forward into our golden years, and that we can look forward to many, many more anniversaries to come.

Here's some pictures of us, on our wedding day:





















Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spooky World 101 (Or Lessons Learned By A 14-Year-Old Boy)

Our local Boys and Girls Club graciously offered to take a bunch of the teens to Spooky World last week. Surprisingly, my son was among them. There were a few years there when I wanted to take my kids, but thought the ghosts and gobblies that pop out from every direction, and the gruesome rides and attractions would be way too much for tender young hearts (can you just IMAGINE the amount of Monster Spray I'd need after that excursion? Oy!). But, my son decided he was old enough (and brave enough), and joined his friends. Another rite of passage for him, I guess. Be still, my quivering Mama's heart.

He actually said he had a really good time, too. Maybe TOO good. His new "idea" is to stay home and scare the holy crap out of all the little ones as they step onto our front porch. His plan? To hang out on the recesses of our front porch (which is shaped like a LONG rectangle, with the front doors on one end of the porch), and stay perfectly still, until an unsuspecting little one climbs our stairs to Trick-or-Treat us -- then he's going to pounce.

He thought that was a terrific idea. I was horrified. I told him, "How would you like it if someone did that to your little sister?" I guess that image was too much for him to bear, because now he's going to stay home (he feels he's gotten too "big" for Trick-or-Treating now... another rite of passage.... I tell ya, I don't know how much more of this I can take! :), and simply pass out the candy to the little ones.

I thought I was being the good doobie mom by preventing him to do something as sinister as that, but I spoke to a friend of mine (who's a decade older than my son), who said he's planning on doing the exact same thing. And then, I remembered.... my brother (who's 52) does something similar, as well.

Hmmmm.... maybe it's a "guy" thing.

I know it's definitely NOT a "mom" thing!

I'm Taking Back My House... One Monday At A Time

(Okay...so this one's a day late. I started it yesterday, but never finished it. Go ahead... you can beat me with a wet noodle. You have my permission.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love my husband. I truly, honestly do. And, I know that I'm blessed to have him in my life, in so many ways.

That being said, there's one remarkably BAD trait about him, that no amount of gentle nudging (and I'm sure quite a bit of nagging on my end over the years) can change. He's PITIFULLY sloppy. Granted, he's gotten much, MUCH better than he was when we first began co-habitating, but he's still pretty notorious for just leaving things where they lay, and not giving a goodness gracious heck if they stay there until the dust bunnies move in around it and take up residence. He's got better things to do than to pick them up. Like watching a NASCAR race. Yawn.

Anywhoosie... my wonderful, sweet, generous husband knows that I need much more in the way of sleep than he does. Therefore, every Sunday morning, he gets up with the girls (my son would sleep until Christmas if we let him) during the wee small hours of the morning, leaving me to stretch out and really lounge for another hour. Or two.

The downside to this luxury? I emerge from our bedroom to a house that looks like we've just set down on the Wicked Witch of the East. He cooks a lip-smackin', down-home country style breakfast every Sunday morning.... and leaves a huge, heaping, bloody mess in my kitchen to show for it. The newspaper he was reading while eating this amazing breakfast can be found picked through and strewn all across my dining room table. And, because the girls feel like they can roam free throughout the house, making their mark wherever they go, there are trails of toys, pillows, blankets, clothes, and various other "girly" belongings all throughout the house. They like it when Daddy gets up with 'em, in more ways than one.

In earlier years, this disaster area would have set me reeling. Now, however, I take it all with a grain of salt. Oh, sure, I get on them all to clean up their messes, but I no longer allow myself to stress and strain over it all. I simply tell myself that on Monday morning, when my husband has left for work and my oldest two children are off to school, I will reclaim my house. MY house. I will primp and fix and position all of the furniture where it belongs. I will pick up the objects that have been strewn all over the floors. I will put away things in their proper place.

And these people with whom I live KNOW that they don't mess with Mama during the week. Sunday is their only day to kick up and go wild. And I guess that's a fair enough compromise.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is It Just Me, Or Is Something REALLY Wrong Here?

Here in New England, it's turned quite chilly really fast. Like turn-the-heat-on chilly. (I hated to do it, but yes, I succumbed.)

On Monday, while in the midst of dropping my littlest little off at school, her Junior Teacher said to me, "I've been told to inform all of the parents that we'll be taking a nature walk on Thursday, and it's supposed to be freezing out Thursday morning, so we're asking that all of the kids be dressed appropriately." I told her that my Little Miss went to school this morning in her late fall/early winter coat, with a hat, a scarf, and some Thinsulate mittens. She was all set.

The teacher then said to me, "Well, to be honest, I wasn't concerned about your daughter at all, 'cause I know you take good care of her. But, I was told to say that to everyone." My response was, "Yeah.... I'm not like SOME mothers in here, who dress their daughters in sundresses and Crocs when it's 45 degrees outside." (NOT kidding!)

So, this morning, because I knew in advance that they were taking this walk, and because it surely was frigid out first thing this morning, I piled the clothes on my little one. She went to school dressed in her a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and a sweatshirt. And, as before, when leaving the house, we put her in her coat, hat, mittens and scarf.

We got to her school, and I signed her into the parent's log, and she went off to "sign in" on the kids' board. As she was looking to move her name from the "Out" column to the "In" column, I noticed the same little girl I mentioned before, sitting in the listening station with her mom.

Wanna know what her mom dressed HER in today?

Ready???


She had on a tank-top style velour leotard. Oh, and Crocs. That's IT.

What makes it WORSE (if there is such a thing), is that her mom doesn't even drive her to school. She sticks her daughter in her swanky, fancy-schmancy jogging stroller, and she pushes her to school while rollerblading! So, this poor child is being exposed to the elements.... in her leotard and Crocs!

I was COMPLETELY appalled, and more than a little shocked when, as I was getting ready to leave, I heard her say to her daughter, "Do you want to think about putting your pants on now, sweetie?"

Huh??? Are you KIDDING ME???!!! Is it just me??

And of course, you KNOW that kid will be the only one in school who NEVER gets sick. Isn't that always the way?

I walked out of the school, shaking my head all the way. I got out to the car, turned on the ignition.

And turned on the heat.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Things I Remember About Growing Up

This is a tag, of sorts. So, for those who want to play along... feel free! Just let me know that you've added it to your blog, so I can take a peek. Thanks!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TEN THINGS I REMEMBER ABOUT GROWING UP:

1) Cowl necks:



















I had a sweater almost exactly like this, only mine was red and white striped. I triple loved this article of clothing. I think I even took a school picture with it on one year. VERY 70's chic!

2) Bonne Belle Lipsmackers:



















EVERY girl carried at least one of these in her purse. It was almost sacrilegious not to own them! My all-time favorite flavor was (and still is) strawberry.

3) Wacky Packages:



















I went almost certifiable, collecting these bad boys for awhile. I never got the coveted "Band Ache" one, though. This one was the crown jewel of Wacky Packages, and only the real die-hard collectors (or, those whose parents would willingly shell out tons of dough for their kids to buy these) would own one. My mother was cheap. She was saving her money for ridiculous things. Like food.

4) Charlie perfume:



















This was the VERY first perfume I was ever allowed to wear. I think I was about 14 when I got a bottle of it for Christmas, and I was thrilled! Of course, it never occurred to me that I smelled just like every other girl in my class.

5) Lite-Brite:














I absolutely LOVED this toy as a child, and had it on my Christmas list more than once. I never got tired of plugging in those little lights into the preset holes, and turning the thing on once I was done, to have the lit picture appear. It was completely awesome to me. Of course, I nearly blinded myself once or twice with the bare light bulb in the viewer, and I scorched my hands several times with the hot lights. Nevertheless, it was a thrill.

6) "I'm Leaving It All Up To You" -- by Donny and Marie Osmond














I can clearly remember wanting this album for the LONGEST time. It seemed to take forever to save my weekly allowance to have enough to purchase it. When I finally owned it, I practically wore it out, playing it over and over again (on my turquoise and white portable record player, no less! :)

7) The Dorothy Hamill "Wedge"









I'm willing to bet that John Suga had NO idea what kind of phenomenon he'd create when he cut Dorothy Hamill's hair into the perfect "wedge". Girls lined up all over the world to duplicate her cute and sassy style, myself included. It took quite a bit of courage for me to cut my hair this short, but once I did, I loved it, and wore it this way for YEARS.

8) Earth Shoes:










These shoes were as ugly as they were comfortable, and I absolutely loved my brown suede pair. I wore them all the time.

9) Roller skates:













To the youngin's that frequent my blog... yes, these really ARE roller skates, and these are very similar to the pair I owned as a child. You'd slip them on over your shoes, buckle them around your ankles, and tighten them to fit your foot with a key (which looked sort of like a mini ratchet). These were state-of-the art back in the early '70's, and they made the BEST sound on concrete!

10) Charlie's Angels:















As completely hokey as this show was, MAN, did I love it in my early teen years! I had a "girl crush" on Farrah Fawcett so badly, that I named all of my early diaries Farrah! (And, if you tell anyone that, I'll dope slap ya! ;)

Even though that's ten things, I couldn't do this tag without including some of my favorite dolls/toys I loved growing up, too:

* Thumbelina Doll:



















I must have been about seven when I got my Thumbelina for Christmas. I adored her. I loved the way she felt like a real baby, and the way she squirmed like a baby when you pulled the string on her back. She was one of my very favorites for a long time.

* Barbies and Dawn Dolls:



















I owned a BUTTLOAD of these dolls, and played with them all the time. I found out, years later, that my little niece took up the habit of biting the feet off of all my dolls, so my poor mother had to go out and replace tons of them before I got home from school. I always wondered why my dolls looked so new! :)

* Flatsy Patsy dolls:



















I had a couple of these dolls too (Patsy and a few of her friends), and I really had fun with them, too. I loved how their outfits snapped on and off. It was quite innovative at the time! :)

*Little Ittles:










I never owned any of these (my mother had a thing about toys with small parts), but I had a friend in school who had a bunch of them, and I envied her. I thought they were the cutest things!

* Pocket Pets:


















I can clearly remember going to the five and dime store around the corner from my elementary school, and buying a few of these with my own money. I thought they were so adorable, and so tiny! I never got to get as many as I would have liked, but I made up for it in my adult years -- my little one now has her very own collection of these (thanks to EBay!).

* Joan Walsh Anglund's Pocket Dolls:














The artwork of Joan Walsh Anglund has recently been "copied" by another artist called Gorjuss (c'mon... you know it has!), but this doll is a prime example of the original work. I begged my mother for one of these, for the longest time, and wound up getting one for Christmas one year. Mine has black hair, parted in the middle and put up into ponytails, and is wearing a red and white pinafore-style dress. I still have her, to this day, and she has been well-loved. In fact, I've recently had to relinquish her to my youngest daughter, because my Pocket Doll makes her feel more comfortable while she sleeps. Apparently, she loves her, too! :)

~~~~~~~~~~

Well, there's my brief trip down memory lane! I hope you've enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see all of your contributions! Don't forget to let me know that you've done it, so I can be sure to check it out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The "Quirky" Tag

This tag entails the "tagee" listing six quirks about them. So, for better or worse... here goes:

1) As tired as I've been during the day, I absolutely CANNOT take a nap if I'm alone in the house. I've certainly tried, but all of the quiet brings out all of the noises, and it just wigs me out too much.

2) I also cannot take a shower if I'm alone in the house, either. Think Norman Bates, and you'll get it.

3) I'm a stickler about making sure that doors and drawers are CLOSED. All cabinet doors, closet doors, bureau drawers, linen cabinet drawers... they have to be SHUT TIGHT. It completely irks me if they aren't. In fact, if either the closet or room door isn't shut before I go to sleep, then I HAVE to get up out of bed to close it, or I can't sleep.

4) When I go to cook anything, all of my countertops HAVE to be free of clutter, and my kitchen sink cannot have a single dirty dish in it. I have to make sure everything's neat and tidy before I can start preparing a meal.

5) I can look like the biggest schlep in the world when I walk out the door and not give a rat's patoot, but my kids HAVE to look neat. Their clothes have to match, they have to be clean and neat, and they have to look nice.

6) I have to fall asleep watching the television, but I can't stay asleep if the TV is left on. I always wake up at some point and shut it off.

Okay, now that I've completed Paula's request, I ask that anyone who wants to participate, please feel free. Just make sure I know you're doing it, so I can come and read your responses! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Almost Cannot Believe It!

I had another one of my "monthly" headaches last night, so I retired to bed EARLY. Mostly just to rest my weary head and try and rid myself of the marching band that was pounding behind my eyeballs.

However, as is the norm in my household, whenever I climb into my bed, I'm almost certainly never left alone. Either one (or both) of my daughters has to come in and cuddle with me. Even my cat, Bear, wants in on some of the cuddle action from time to time. Poor guy... he tried last night, he really did... but he was out maneuvered by my littlest little, who'd taken up prime residence, occupying her dad's side of the bed. Even my oldest daughter had to relinquish herself to lying across the foot of the bed, 'cause apparently, S. needed some more Mama time.

Before S. got all cozy though, I made her go potty, and get out the Monster Spray so she could vanquish the evil nightdwellers once again. After an empty bladder, and a satisfactory dousing, she was content to crawl back into bed next to me.

R. fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow. I'd taken her out of school early yesterday, so she could pay a visit to her pediatrician. The cold she once had is all but gone, but a lingering (and horrific sounding) cough remains, and it had me concerned enough that I thought it warranted another visit to her doc. He took her off amoxicillin, and put her on Augmentin, which knocks her out even FASTER. She was out like a light in minutes.

S., on the other hand, took awhile longer to nestle into the task of sleeping, probably 'cause she'd had a nice little snooze during the mid-afternoon. It was fine with me, though -- she wasn't protesting what I was watching on TV, and it gave me the opportunity to talk with her, and tell her that when she did fall asleep, I'd let her stay for awhile, but when it was bedtime for Daddy she'd have to be moved into her bed. She asked if I'd carry her in, and I promised her I would, which I did, when the time came.

My fear was that she would be SO sound asleep when I transported her from my bed into hers, that she would do what she'd done a few nights before... wake in the middle of the night completely disoriented, wondering how she got into her room, when she'd fallen asleep in mine! But, praise be, she not only did NOT do that.... she SLEPT THROUGH THE ENTIRE NIGHT!!

When my husband tiptoed into our bedroom at 6:30 this morning to kiss me goodbye, I was shocked and amazed! I absolutely could not believe that my daughter and I both FINALLY got a decent night's sleep! WOOO HOOOO!!

Let's all hope and pray this marks the beginning of a really good run of evenings. Our weary bodies need it so badly!

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's A Love/Hate Thing

As most of you who have more than one child can attest, the relationship between them can be pretty dicey. One minute, they're each other's best friends in the entire world -- bound to each other by this secret code that no one can possibly break. The next minute, they're ready to get in the ring and fight to the death over something as small as a toy that they both want, and neither is ready to relinquish.

Such is the case with my two daughters. Most of the time, they play very nicely together. In fact, right now, I can hear them in R's room, which is at the top of the second floor landing. They're playing their own, make-believe version of "Rock Band", and both making up this sing-songy little ditty as they go along. Priceless.

Yesterday, however, was a different story. Oh, they were fine together for quite awhile, but S. tends to believe that R. is her soulmate, and can sometimes be a bit too suffocating for a prepubescent girl, who occasionally wants to be left alone to embark on a particular activity. I was sitting here, burning a copy of the new High School Musical movie soundtrack for R. (who was thrilled beyond belief that I'd actually figured out how to do that, because, as you know, she's secretly hoping to be Mrs. Zac Efron someday). Miss R. was sitting directly behind me at the dining room table, working on one of those supermarket coloring contest pages, in the hopes that she'll once again win in her age category and get some sort of prize (she actually WON something last year, and is hoping for a reprieve).

Miss S. saw the paper, and the bucket of crayons, and probably thought she'd died and gone to Heaven. In her quieter moments, she'll sit placidly behind me on the floor and color to her heart's content. But... to actually be able to share in one of her most beloved activities with her big sister??? Well, it must have been almost too much for her little beating heart to handle!

Miss R., however, would have none of it. S. wanted all of the particular colors that R. wished to use, as well, and every time S. would even brush her tiny fingers over R's artwork, all Hell would break loose.

I had to scold them several times, because quite frankly, they were starting to get on my last nerve. That is, until R. decided that she'd just about had enough of her then pesky little sister, poking around with all of her favorite crayons, and threatening to potentially ruin her in-the-works masterpiece.

From behind me, I heard R. begin to proclaim, "Give me that crayon! I need that color to finish this part! Will you just go away and leave me alone, please?"

And then finally, the one sentence that made me break, "Will you stop touching things, Miss Touchy-Touch!!"

Maybe it was my ever-present sleep deprivation. Maybe it was the fact that the cold medicine I'd taken earlier had just fully kicked in, making my head all loopy and disoriented, and taking me out of my typical MAMA role. Maybe it was just 'cause we all needed to lighten up a bit.

Whatever the situation, I found that one sentence ridiculously, insanely funny, and began cracking up laughing. The girls had no idea what I found to be such a hoot, but, as we all know, laughter is contagious. So, they just laughed along. 'Cause that's what little kids do.

They decided to put the coloring away, and go play warriors. My tomboy, and Miss Touchy-Touch.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some Randomness... So I Can Get You All Caught Up

My oldest daughter has taken up the habit of "dining" with my mom every night. I think she likes the one-on-one attention she gets from Nana. Either that, or she doesn't like the food I cook! Either way, it's perfectly all right.

Anyway, after asking for my permission, she trotted on down to my mother's apartment to share a meal with her. The next morning, my mom came upstairs, and she told me that she had cooked some chicken and rice (both pretty much staples of Miss R's. diet). When she asked R. what kind of vegetable she wanted, my daughter gave her a sweet smile, and basically said, "I'll pass." "No", my mother persisted (after all, she IS my mother.... even though I wanted to say, "Yeah, right... good luck with getting her to eat vegetables!"), "...you're going to have some sort of vegetable with dinner." My mom walked over to her cupboard to see what kinds of canned veggies she had on hand. "I have green beans, peas, beets...." to which my daughter asked, "Do you have corn? I like corn." "Well, yes, I have corn, but I'm not going to heat it up because we're already having rice, and that's two starches. What about something else? Are there any other vegetables you like?"

"I like ketchup", my daughter proudly proclaimed.

Like I said.... good luck with that.

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I'd just finished picking up R. from school yesterday, and the usual car ride conversation commenced: "How was school? Did you have fun today? Did you do anything special in class?". I also asked her about her spelling test, which I knew she was very nervous about. Her teacher gives the entire class a pre-test on Monday, and those who get 9 out of 10 correct can do a certain set of language activities. Those who get less than 9 correct work on activities that focus on their spelling words for the week. On Tuesday morning, Rachel got her test back. She got 2 out of 10 correct. (Well, in her defense, even the teacher said the words were really hard this week!). So, she was in the group that did various activities to learn the words, in preparation for the "real" spelling test, on Friday.

Back to the car conversation. Again, I asked her how she did on her test. She excitedly told me she got a 10 out of 10! I was thrilled for her, and let her know that she did an excellent job.

She went on to tell me that one of her girlfriends got a 9 out of 10, and she felt badly because she was the only one (the rest of the class got all of their spelling words correct). So, my precious, compassionate daughter said to her, "It's okay. As long as you did your best, that's all that matters. You should never feel ashamed for the grade you got, as long as you know you tried your hardest."

I couldn't have said it better myself. :)

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I reconnected with two old friends this week, and I feel really good about that.

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I was talking on the phone with one of these old friends last night, and he and I were reminiscing about all things high school. It was a hoot, recalling old times, old friends, familiar faces and familiar places. He's out in Oregon now, and he's admitted to feeling a bit homesick. I'd like to think it made him feel better to reach out to someone who's still on home turf.

Anyway, we were chatting away, and my littlest little was doing what she does best when I'm on the phone; hanging on my hip, trying to vie for my attention, and being a total noodge (for those of you who get pissed at me for not wanting to talk on the phone.... I say to you, just talk to my friend, and he'll explain why!). I kept going from room to room, trying to grab a bit of quiet so I could hear my friend talk (and myself think!), but she kept finding me. At one point, I was in my bedroom, sitting on the bed, and she climbed up, wanting to "cuddle" with me. So, I was holding the phone with one hand, while rubbing her belly with the other, all the while, chatting it up with my friend. At one point, I dropped the "F" bomb. My daughter, who had been completely relaxed, popped up, looked at me with her big, doe-like eyes, and said, "You said the BAD word, Mommy!"

I don't think my friend and I stopped laughing for a good two minutes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Elite 8 (or... Tag, You're It! :)

You know the drill... just lemme know if you're playing along, and I'll go check out your blog. Danka! :)

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My Elite 8:

8 Favorite TV shows...
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. Boston Legal
3. Project Runway
4. Dirty Jobs
5. Heroes
6. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
7. Mad Men
8. Bizarre Foods

8 Favorite Restaurants...
1. The Border Cafe
2. On The Border
3. The Olive Garden
4. Macaroni Grille
5. The Great Wok (not really a restaurant, but they have the BEST Chinese food!)
6. Chili's
7. Cafe Luigi
8. Blue Ribbon Diner

8 things that happened yesterday...
1. My computer crashed
2. I spent 47 hours yesterday, trying to reload ALL of the information I've lost
3. My little one had her very first playdate with her new BFF from preschool!
4. I reconnected with an old friend
5. I was invited to a Pampered Chef party (and am actually thinking about going! :)
6. I started to feel sick.... again
7. I got the two EBay packages delivered that I'd been waiting for
8. I received some cookware handoffs, that my sister didn't want anymore (hey... they're perfectly all right for me! :)

8 things to look forward to...
1. Everyone in this family NOT BEING SICK anymore!
2. Sleeping through the night... again
3. Halloween
4. Thanksgiving
5. Christmas
6. Taking my kids to see Santa
7. Being able to work at my daughter's school, to make some extra cash
8. My oldest daughter's birthday

8 things I love about Fall...
1. The warm days
2. The cool nights
3. NOT SWEATING all day long! :)
4. Being able to wear a lot of my favorite clothes
5. The kids FINALLY going back to school!
6. The beginning of the holiday season
7. Halloween
8. Thanksgiving

8 things on my wish list...
1. Having a little one who sleeps through the night
2. Having a son who keeps up his good grades
3. Being able to spend more quality time with my husband
4. That my kids have a wonderful Christmas
5. "New Moon" and "Eclipse" (could someone tell my husband, please? ;)
6. Finding some cash windfall somewhere (just enough to help us out financially... don't want to be greedy!)
7. Figuring out a way to start a diet and actually STICK to it!
8. No one in my house gets sick again for the rest of the winter!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Erica

Can you e-mail me, please? My computer got thoroughly messed up, and I had to do a system recovery. Which means I lost EVERYTHING, including all of my e-mail addys. :( I keep trying to log into your private blog, but it says I'm not invited.

Sigh.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Good News and Bad News.

About last night, and my littlest little....


The good news is that, with all of the posters that we made and hung up in her room, and with another dose of the Monster Spray (and the corresponding chant) administered, she had NO bad dreams of monsters last night.

YAY!!


But.....

The bad news is.... she STILL woke up three times in an hour (between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.) this morning.

Not so yay.

She'd fallen asleep in her room, with her television and light on. I shut off the light, plugged in an extra nightlight, and decided to leave the TV on, but turn the volume almost all the way down, to see if the extra light, and the "company" from the TV might make a difference.

The first time she woke up, she probably saw the TV still on, realized she'd fallen asleep watching it, and came out into the living room to look for my husband and me. When she couldn't find us, she came into our room, looking for me. So... I put her back into her bed, and asked her if she wanted me to leave the TV on. She did. She also wanted her light on. I personally thought it was too much light for her, and tried to talk her out of it, but she'd have none of it. So, I unplugged the second nightlight, and plugged her desk lamp back in, turned it on, left the room, and said a little prayer before crawling back into bed.

I flicked the channels on my TV, found "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" airing on the Food Network (I LOVE that show!), and settled in to watch it for a bit. I had JUST dozed off when my bedroom door swung open again, for Round Two.

This time, she was complaining that she wanted the light OFF. *ugh!* I bit my lip, salvaged my last thread of patience, and shut the light off, after asking if she wanted the second nightlight back on. She didn't. But, she DID want the TV back on (she'd shut it off when she got up out of bed). So, I turned it back on, made sure the volume was just above a whisper, tucked her in, gave her squishes and smooches and left the room, returning back to Guy and Triple D's.

I just started dozing off again, when... you guessed it. Round Three began.

She came into my room again, THIS TIME needing to go potty. Okay. So, I lugged out of bed AGAIN, and went into the bathroom with her, trying to dismiss the fact that I'd suggested to her, BOTH times before, that she use the bathroom before getting back into bed, only to have her vehemently deny my request. Yet here I stood, a full hour later, listening to her whizzing in the toilet. Another testament that children should listen to their mother.

We repeated the tucking in, squishing and smooching, and saying goodnight process one more time, and I dragged myself back to my side of the bed. By now, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives had been replaced by another show, and I was too tired to even care to find out what it was. I shut out the light, shut off my TV, and prayed to God for sweet salvation.

She didn't enter our room again until sometime after sunrise. I couldn't tell you what time it was, and frankly, I didn't care. It was my husband's turn. :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Monster Spray, Part Two.

For those of you who read yesterday's post, and were scratching their heads (and thinking to yourself, "That poor, sleep deprived woman has FINALLY gone off the deep end!"), the "Monster Spray" is actually a bottle I picked up at The Dollar Tree, filled with water and just a dab of the stinkiest perfume I could find in my house (you know the free samples you can get at the makeup counters? I used one of those). I basically told Miss S. this ENTIRE story, and she and I literally did the chant to "seal the deal".

And guess what?

No... it's probably not what you think.



Not only did last night NOT work... it was her worst night YET! There was nothing I could do to get her back into her bed after she awoke from another horrid dream. So, she wound up jammed into bed between my husband and me for a couple of hours. She fell fast asleep, while I sat motionless and brutally uncomfortable, watching T.V. from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., when I finally decided she HAD to be asleep enough to allow me to carry her back into her room.
I picked her up and carefully transported her from one room to the next, praying the ENTIRE time that she'd stay asleep, and not re-awaken and want to crawl back into our bed (so I'd have to start the whole damned process all over again!). But, Glory Be, she stayed asleep.... until 5:15, when she woke again. But, that time, at least, I got her to go back down in HER bed.

I was so surprised to hear my husband telling me that she was still asleep when he came in to our bedroom to say goodbye to me at 7:20 this morning. I guess she's just as weary from all of this as I am.

Today, R., S., and I made a bunch of posters that we're going to strategically place around her room (one on the outside of her bedroom door, one on the inside of her bedroom door, one on the inside of her closet door, and one on the floor, underneath her bed). All of the posters depict either S. or R. as Warrior Princesses, attacking monsters, and screaming at them to "Go Away!", and "Don't Bother Me Anymore!", and "Never Come Back!". We'll also douse the room with Monster Spray again, and again recite the ritual.

If this doesn't work, I'll seriously think about calling a Priest to exorcise her room.

Seriously.