September 27, 2006
Santa is Satan!

LOL!!!!! Santa = Satan! (Laughing with little tears running down my cheeks!) You simply MUST go read Leni's post on the impending holiday season ...

We don't "do" Halloween in a big way mostly because it dawned on me that I could use that "Halloween" decorating money to boost my "Christmas" decorating budget, since I don't have unlimited resources. Although, when I'm going to be home, we have GREAT treats.

One year, kids went to the end of the driveway, turned their coats inside-out, and came back to get a second round. Yeah, I did SO give them a second round. They showed appreciation and wonderful problem-solving-skills! (Not to mention one tiny boy who blurted out "I remember you! THIS is the house!") Once I realized what a giant handful of candy was costing me per trick-or-treater, I decided to get more impact for my buck. Because it is naive to think that I'm the kind of person who can hand over one small hard piece of butterscotch per child. Know yourself! Accept yourself! Work smarter not harder!

Trick-or-treatering is easier if you have everything in one package. One lump per child and you're done. One year we gave out oreos. Not the "mini" packs where there are two cookies. Spend the extra nickle and get the six-pack of oreos in the snack aisle. Each six-pack is about a quarter. I actually saved money over my free-handing candy days! Or, crayons. I've noticed that Walmart has a 24 pack of Crayola for 20 cents. Kids LOVE new crayons with the sharp points, and you don't gain weight from the leftovers! And then there's the costume-prizes ...

Yes, I've been known to give prizes for costumes. This is why Walgreens has those one-pound-Hershey-bars on sale in October! Make a cute ribbon, certificate, etc. for "Great Costume" or "Extra Polite Trick-or-Treater" or "Fabulously Creative Creation" , then tape it on the candybar with a little curling ribbon and watch small children completely freak out as they wave it at their parents while dancing with glee. Tip: I ususally have about ten awards ready (some of them duplicates, notice none of those suggestions said "most") and never give them to children in groups so no one is left out. Really, they're for very little kids who have a parent lurking at the bottom of the steps.

I've got to admit though, the increasing gore is starting to creep me out. I have LITTLE children. I hate taking them to the store this time of year because dangling fake-bleeding corpses and monster vampire masks aren't images they need in their heads. I don't let them watch horror movies either. It seems each year the gore-n-violence gets weirder. Rotting-corpse brides? What!?!

My family freaked out when we told them that we didn't celebrate "Santa" (and the Toothfairy). We just explained to the children that "Santa" is a game Mommy and Daddy like to play, and that if anyone tells ANYONE else about it then Mommy and Daddy will STOP playing the game. Period.

That works out great for us as parents because we rotate years. One year I shop for "Santa" and the next year I shop for "Mom and Dad". I ALWAYS do the stockings. Just because. Otherwise, my world would stop spinning. My husband is, at best, perplexed by my fascination with the stockings. But when I was little, it was the first thing we got to open. And then we had to stop for breakfast (or at least while my mother had coffee) and then after we realized there was no Santa my brother and I did each other's stockings. Its one of my fondest memories of my brother. He was younger than me and SO excited to overfill my stocking. He spent his own money and did his own shopping and by November my parents had to squash his little purchases because no stocking would hold everything he had already bought! That was back when he loved me :)

Next year, Ron will be 10 at Christmas so I'm going to let him help me with the stockings. Then as each of the children turn 10, I"ll let them help too. Nothing like a rite-of-passage to ensure enthusiastic participation. I want to make sure they learn that gifts don't have to be big and expensive to be thoughtful or great (there's a size AND price limit for stocking stuffers) Stuffing stockings is an art-form, a life-skill even. And they'll be so busy having fun they won't even realize they're learning!

This year though, I'm on my own. Which is ok. I've got mad skillz. (LOL, that must a hold over from my accidental encounter with the Bad Velour Rapper Pants) Anyway, Cassie is getting a Barbie with non-fuzzy hair. She's four. Thats all that matters. Barbie. Good hair. Less than $5 at Walmart. The boys are getting binoculars. Yeah, $10 is more than I usually spend for the stocking-topper but they need them for the farm and $10 isn't bad for the "real" binoculars at Walmart (in the sporting department, NOT in "toys") Plus, a few pencils which they need for school, maybe new crayons, some really "cool" socks (bought on sale during the summer), personal deck of cards, maybe glow-sticks from one of those everythings-a-dollar-stores. Oh. Cassie is getting some WILD costume jewelery from the everythings-a-dollar-store! I forgot about that.

I really need to check my baggie and see whats what. I put my "stocking stuff" in a plastic Walmart bag, loop it over a hanger and put it in my closet. That way, I know where it is and can access it easily. Stockings would be WAY to exspensive to do right if I waited until Christmas-time and paid retail!

September 25, 2006

Does anyone know what happened to Julie? I mean, I know she was thrilled to get her new Mac although she was having a few vague health concerns, and then her site went dead. Being the totally morbid Southerner that I am, I went over and read her husband's site thinking that surely he would have mentioned it if she were actually LITERALLY dead. Not that I need to know every detail of everyone's life, but occassionally my curiousity gets the better of me. There. You've seen my worst. That's as stalker-ish as I get. Maybe I'd be worse if I weren't consumed with homeschooling three children, and awana, and house-building, and Better-Idea-stuff, and had the unlimited resources to hire discrete private investigators. The kind you see on the movie-of-the-week that quickly find out everything you ever wanted to know about everyone and anyone and the person being investigated doesn't ever know? You know, MAGICAL private-investigators :)

September 23, 2006
Paging Danielle

If you are not reading Six-Year-Med-Student's pager-blogging, you are missing something. It will enrich your life. (I swear, the other day out of the blue, my exhausted husband kinda giggled-n-snorted to himself and muttered "nipple-tweaker". I just looked at him and fell out laughing. And then he laughed more. And then we both laughed so hard our sides hurt. It was even better than the morgue episode!)

But, I digress. I was reading Danielle's blogging about all her pager-ing and it reminded me of MY last medical pager-ing moment. I was in the hospital with my first son. It was the middle of the night. I had a serious question about my medication (and what I could take that wouldn't interact). Each time I asked the nurse, she blew me off with "I'll have to check". That continued for hours and hours.

I started to get a little testy. Finally, I decided to call the answering-service for my doctor. Knowing SOMEONE was "on call", and he would have the answer. So I had the doctor paged. Sixty seconds later, a nurse was literally running into my room asking what I needed. ( ... get an image of Max-The-Bunny from Max-n-Ruby in your mind, with his ears flat and his eyes beady ... )

I looked her in the eye and told her slowly and clearly that I wanted an answer to my question about my medication. She blurted out "You paged him for THAT!?!" It seems that the service had paged the doctor (waking him up) with the message that there was an emergency and given him my phone number. Which he immediately recognized as one of the hospital rooms! Apparently, nurses and interns were missing appendages after he was done with them!

The story ends with the nurses-n-interns straightening out my medication QUICK and that particular round of pain was gone in a few minutes. It was a learning moment for everyone. Interns learned to not REALLY mess with a patient who has access to a phone. I learned that, as a patient, access to a phone will fix many things as fast as you can dial :)

September 14, 2006
Death-march To Disney

I have done the unthinkable. No, I did not sign up to walk from here in the Midwest to Disneyworld in Florida. THAT would have been easier, and probably have taken less time and involved less aggravation.

(Backstory: I found a note from my husband from a few years ago, trying to motivate me, suggesting that my big treat for losing some weight would be a trip to Disneyworld. I LOVE Disneyworld! How can you NOT love a place where they serve your dinner-roll-butter in the shape of little mickey statues!?! And it would be STUNNING to stay at one of the hotels on site! In an ideal world, I'm thinking that Thanksgiving week would be the best, but who knows? Between here-and-now and there-and-then is a huge chasm full of fat. So, how much weight do I need to lose to achieve Nirvana aka Disney, you ask? Well, hang on to your cookie. I need to lose 100 pounds. There. I typed it outloud )

So, we have arrived at the point where I did The Unthinkable. I told the kids that if I lost a hundred pounds, we were going to Disney. (Big pause as you grasp the significance of telling three chidlren ages 5,7,9 that the only thing standing between them and bliss is ... fat)

Yep, fat is now the enemy. We made a chart. We weigh on Thursdays and for each pound lost they get to color in one square. Ron looked at me suspiciously as I explained this and asked "But what will happen if you lose negative pounds?" We have decided that at that point we'll use stickers to move me back and have to re-color the stickers before I can go on to fill in the next square. He's all about anticipating the problems and avoiding them. Which is why he's told me No More Sugar. I think he means for as long as I live.

Which would probably be easier than what Lee suggested glibly while rubbing his hands together. "First you can run around the block a few times, and then push-ups and pull-ups and you have to grunt while you do sit-ups. I can show you how to do jumping-jacks and cart-wheels. Cart-wheel are really good for shaking loose the fat!"

(Big Pause for you to imagine me shaking loose lots of fat by doing cart-wheels!)

I think we'll be learning a lot about nutrition in the next few months. Apparently I have to justify Every. Single. Bite I put in my mouth. Lee is all about being the Excercise Police and Cassie has a way of slipping up on me and looking at me with her eyebrows raised and then looking at my apple and looking at me again that makes her more like the Food Police, and Ron is all about the chart.

All though, he did walk up to me out of the blue today and said "I trust you. I trust ithat you can lose that weight so we can go to Disney. I know you can do it, Mom!" He immediated dashed off, sure he had been supportive enough.

We'll see how this goes, having several small eyes watching your every bite, and several small brains thinking of ways to remind you and motivate you. Its like I have three live-in trainers!

And, thus begins ... the Death-march toward Disney!

September 13, 2006
The Difference Between Baptist And Presbyterians And/Or Methodists

I read a post by Paul last week, about his bandwidth thieves. I don't understand EXACTLY how it works, but apparently hordes from have been linking to a particularly attractive picture of his aqua jeep.

Paul, being the sweetie that he is, did NOT change the image they would see upon clicking through to an attrociously scandleous picture. He just moved his picture so that when they click through they will get ... nothing.

My husband remarked that right there is the difference ;)

A good Baptist would have substituted a brief summary of the Roman Road (those verses in Romans that lead the way to Christ) or at LEAST have put up a sign: God loves you, even if you're a bandwidth thief!

I suppose this is just another example of where Paul is laid back and I'm a touch ... agressive. (And getting all the more aggressive every time I think about contractors, but thats another story. If I have to actually have a biblical intervention with the church body as witness, then THAT will be a story that you'll probably see on the news. A story that will undoubtably point out that I am most DEFINITELY a Baptist.)

September 04, 2006
Liberal Tree-Hugging Hippy Nature Freak

Ok, class. Everyone who thinks Lucy is a liberal tree-hugging hippy nature freak raise your hand! (Lol, sometimes I crack myself up. Of course, it might be the mommy-sleep-dep)

Leni, psssst ...

Your comments are broken! And yeah, I would SO be commenting about the scalloped pineapple. Because it sounds mysteridously close to scalloped potatoes which is basically potato slices in cheese and if THATS what "scalloped pineapple" is then it sounds nasty. Really really nasty. But, maybe I'm wrong. You're serving it for a party, so there must be SOMETHING good about it, right? Did the name mislead me, or is it actually cheesy pineapple which is one of those weird things that sound horrid but taste yummy? Kinda like dark chocolate fudge and tomato slices. Or sausage and green olive pizza. Or pickled okra. Or waffles and fried chicken. Or cornbread and grape jelly.

September 01, 2006
Now, THAT Would Have Been Interesting.

My husband came home from the office and hit the answering machine button (which I always forget to do) so we could listen to the message while I fixed dinner and he sorted the mail. Its one of those really great domestic moments from the 1950's thats kinda cool to live. (No, I did not have on the heels and apron and hairspray and pearls). One message was from the dentist asking me to reschedule, and one was from Lowes about the house account, and the last one was from Sam who claimed to have something interesting to tell me when I called her back. My husband commented that I should call her back, and I said I already had even without hearing the message, and we sent the kids downstairs to play video games, and he was talking and walking down the hallway carrying the baby to our room so we could talk while he changed out of the khaki's before something bad happened to them. We have a house full of kids. Bad things often happen to his clothes if he's slow getting them into the relative safety of his closet.

The point being, he's laying on the bed in jeans and a t-shirt talking to the baby and I'm standing by the bed arranging pillows in case the baby escapes and plunges over the edge before he grabs her, and I'm telling him about the interesting stuff going on in Sam's life. Mostly normal stuff. She painted her boyfriends living room lime and mango and it looks good. No, he's not gay. She met a friend of our uncle's. But her really BIG news was that her father has started seeing other women since the divorce!

Suddenly, everything was still. I look over. My husband is not moving. Not a muscle. His eyes are a little flared. I can see the wheels spinning, trying to wrap his mind around that thought.

Needless to say, I was a little confused. Sure, her dad is a jerk. Sure, he abruptly left her mother after about 30 years of marriage. Sure, he moved to Florida to party on the beach. But, we all knew this. It's interesting, but un-shocking, that he'd start dating other women. I asked my husband why that grabbed his attention. He just blinked at me. I confirmed slowly "Yeah, Sam's a little upset, but basically all it comes down to is her dad is dating"

He rolls with laughter, eventually coming out with "Thats NOT what you said. You said her MOTHER had started dating other women!" He continued to roll with laughter.

He was actually prepared to believe that I was telling him the divorce had driven Sam's mother to become a lesbian! I guess nothing about my family shocks him anymore. Every family has some skeletons in its closets. Its just that in the South, we all know what they are and discuss them occassionally. What's the point in having them if you can't examine them once in a while!?! Regardless, there's nothing in our closets like that. Now, THAT would have been interesting!