Monday, December 29, 2008

Hello there!

Hi friends! We've been out of town, visiting family and friends in Ohio. Our trip began with a 4:00 a.m. wake-up call, with a 6:00 a.m. flight.

Is it just me, or is it nerve-wracking to go through airport security -- especially with kids in tow! The first leg of the trip went smoothly .... until we landed in Chicago. The airport was a virtual skating rink, covered with a thin sheet of ice. We sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour, waiting to pull to the gate.

I was so thankful our kids are old enough to entertain themselves with tic, tac, toe, I Spy, and countless rounds of thumb wrestling. We weren't worried at all about catching our connecting flight, as we already had a long layover in our schedule.

Well, when we looked at the departure screen, we were horrified to find that our next flight had been CANCELLED. That's the worst word you can imagine in a crowded airport! Can I get an "AMEN"?!

I was glad that my hubby was there to handle all that mess of getting us on another flight. Bottom line: we were booked on the next flight to Columbus, Ohio -- but we had about 6 hours to pass in the meantime. Folks, that's a LOT of thumb wrestling!

We actually managed to pass the time rather quickly ...... spending our life's savings at the airport restaurant and making up games to entertain ourselves.

We're having a truly wonderful visit, having quality time with family and dear friends. Grandma's house is full of fun for the kids, and it was warm enough on Sat. to take them to my favorite childhood park! We then came back to the hotel and had a pizza/pool party at the hotel with all the cousins.

It was way special to worship at our home church yesterday -- where Greg & I met and were married almost 15 years ago. So many new faces, yet many familiar and dear ones we've missed seeing.

We're headed soon to the greatest Amish restaurant in the whole world, where I fully intend to eat half my body weight in pie! And yes, I am wearing stretch pants, because I'm a planner that way.

I'll check in again soon! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Our kids are at such a great age this holiday season. They're super excited about Christmas AND also understand what it's truly about.

Have a wonderful day, enjoying your loved ones, making memories and especially reflecting on the ultimate gift -- JESUS!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Natalie was thrilled with her new swimsuit, and strutted around wearing it all day -- regardless of the minus zero windchill outside!

AND she has the option to add the ruffled skirt for a more modest look.

Yeah, she thinks she's hot stuff!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the first day of Christmas break

Hello wall, meet my head. I can describe yesterday in one word: UGH. On the first day of Christmas break, my children gave to me -- a near nervous breakdown.

I had awakened early, with high hopes, imagining a festive day with my children. Making Christmas cookies. Doing crafts. Snuggling while sipping cocoa and watching a movie. Worthy of a stinkin' Rockwell Christmas painting, friends!

I donned my best apron, pearls and pumps, humming a happy tune while making a special breakfast of waffles topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips.

That Rockwell Christmas dream took a major hit at approximately 7:01 a.m. when my beloved children stampeded down the steps and proceeded to do bodily harm to each other over which breakfast plate they claimed. And yes, they were all identical. Mr. Rockwell's ideal Christmas image proceeded to die a slow, painful death throughout the day.

It was more like "Good Morning, Vietnam".

I accordingly kicked off my pumps and put on my combat boots. It was shaping up to be a day in the trenches.

It was just one of those days where you look for the hidden cameras of Candid Camera or wonder if someone's secretly shooting authentic footage for an anti-depressant commercial.

Here's a little secret: That doesn't bring out the best in me.

Our good friend loaned us Narnia: Prince Caspian, which I viewed as a major lifeline to make it through the day. That would be a good two hours of entertainment, where the kids would hopefully co-exist in peace.


When the movie was booting up, a huge argument occurred between my son and my youngest. It seems that they were spatting because Evan clicked on "English" as the preferred language. Natalie came unglued, because she didn't WANT to watch "English"; SHE WANTED TO WATCH PRINCE CASPIAN!!!!

Just a little real life example for you there. Charming.

And so the day went on ...... and on ....... and on ........ until I wondered if my husband would EVER come home from work.

At which point I greeted hubby and simultaneously retreated to a long, hot bubble bath with a good book. Do you remember the commercial, "Calgon, take me away"! That was SO me yesterday.

I awoke today with a clean slate, with new hope for a good, positive day together. Co-existing without blood shed. Making special memories. But this time, I'm going to clothe myself in prayer, instead of trying to do it all in MY strength and effort. Honey, you can put on the pearls and pumps, but if YOUR heart ain't right, it don't matter! Can I get an "AMEN"?!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Got a decoder ring?

BEHOLD my Christmas list, which I delight in torturing my kids with: I didn't give this a second thought until a friend recently noticed it and exclaimed "WHAT IN THE WORLD?!" My first thought was that Evan must have hawked a loogie on the kitchen counter, then realized she was pointing to my Christmas list.

It was then that I realized that some people have never in their life seen authentic, old school shorthand. When I mentioned to another friend that I kept my shorthand list lying around the house, she said "what if the kids figure it out?" Well, you tell me -- could you BEGIN to guess what's on the above list?! Any of you prehistoric shorthand junkies care to guess a word or two?
As a side note, guess who was the 1983 state champion in the shorthand competition of the Office Administrative Olympics? I'm the closest thing to Bruce Jenner that I know. No autographs, please!
Back to Christmas -- Each of the kids will receive 3 gifts to open on Christmas morning. That's what Baby Jesus got, so that's enough for us! Granted, if a Wii game system had been on the wish list, the wise men may have had to pawn their goods and give that lone gift. Unless they hopped on their camels and fought the crowd on Black Friday to get a miracle of a deal. Just sayin'.
What about you? Is your shopping done, or are you still hunting that much-sought-after gift? What was your hardest gift to find this year?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Spirit Abounds

I had a very special experience yesterday, which truly filled my heart with Christmas joy.

Typically when I'm entering Wal-Mart, it's with a decidedly unglamorous shopping list, including such items as dishwashing liquid and cream cheese. I put my head down and get to work comparing prices on margarine and shampoo.

But yesterday's trip to Wal-Mart was different. Every year, our school's 4th graders sell personalized keepsake ornaments, with the proceeds going towards making Christmas extra special for the needy in the community. I had the privilege of joining Holly's class for that shopping excursion.

We were virtually Santa's elves, and loving every minute of it! I finally found my calling in life -- I want to be an elf! I'm going to chat with Santa at the mall and see if he can hook me up.

Back to the shopping .... Each group was given an anonymous list of family members, with their sizes and interests. Working within our allotted budget, we had a ball picking out items which we thought would bring them joy on Christmas morning.

I do hope the daddy enjoys his holiday boxer shorts. We spent a little extra on the ones that jingle.

Seriously, it brought tears to my eyes, thinking of the anonymous little girl who will excitedly open her much-desired princess toy on Christmas morning. All thanks to the generosity of our wonderful community.

And that's when my heart was filled to the brim with the Christmas spirit ..... in the toy aisle of Wal-Mart (which usually gives me hives).

Guess what I'm getting for Christmas? I'll give you a clue: I'm a princess too. A CROWN! Only I'll be wearing it on my molar. (I'm pretending it's my "white girl grill") Fo-shizzle.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Maybe you've heard that our nation is officially in a recession -- or a "reception" as my little sister accidentally called it. I'm with her --I'd prefer cocktail weenies to foreclosures any day!

We've had our financial belts tightened in our household for a few years now, and are constantly analyzing our wants versus needs. But let's face it: Financial stress STINKS. It seems that especially at the Christmas season, we are bombarded with an endless wish list.

It's easy to fall into the pattern of focusing on what we don't have, instead of being grateful and recognizing all that we DO. I'm convinced that we take so, so very much for granted. All of us.

I was reminded of a great perspective at my friend Christi's blog. It relates to a dear church friend who has gone through unimaginable, heart-breaking circumstances and still praises the Lord. Someone who had every single thing stripped from her at a moment's notice. Who spent endless months captive in a jungle. Who said the hardest thing about that whole situation was coming face to face with who she really was.

I truly hope you'll take a look at Christi's page, listen to the song and follow along with the printed lyrics. And I pray it will minister to your heart today.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Inappropriate Laughter

I don't know what it is about me .... but when faced with certain stressful situations, I tend to react by giggling. The kind where I'm unable to stop. As Oprah would say, "the ugly giggle". Trying so hard not to, but that giggle's gonna win. It's a strong force in the gut of my being.

If it had happened only once, I could shrug it off. I'm here to admit that I find myself giggling at completely inappropriate times. I've looked in the yellow pages and there's a gaping hole in the "anonymous" support group network for that issue -- so I'm turning to you. Still love me? Does anyone out there feel the need to sponsor an intervention?

For example, when my kids get hurt -- and I mean more than a typical scraped knee -- I can feel the giggle rising up in my belly and I've got to fight to keep it down. Because to sound like a laughter track from Three's Company does NOT convey love, care and concern for my injured child. Am I right? Although that Jack was a crazy piece of work.

Years ago, I accidentally shut my niece's arm in the car door (sorry again, Kelsey). I could hardly get out the sentence, "I ... don't .... think ..... it's ....... broken" through my halted laughter. AND I'M A certified MERCY GIRL, friends!

Can any of you relate? I have a hunch it's an adrenaline related thing.

And if I'm ever visiting you in the Intensive Care Unit and you happen to notice my uncontrollable cackling ..... you'll understand why. And I'd like to apologize in advance. It's going to be so very insensitive of me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brace Yourself ... I Had a Deep Thought

Yes, it's true. I had an uncharacteristically deep thought today, which I will now attempt to articulate to you.

Yesterday brought our first real snow of the season. When looking out the window, you felt as though you were in the middle of a snow globe .... and some crazy brat was shaking the globe with all his (or her) might. Beautiful.

Although there wasn't much depth accumulated in the snowfall, the roads were very slick as a result. Even in our heavy Suburban, we were slip sliding all the way to school. A nerve wracking commute, to be sure.

No matter how cautiously I attempted to drive, I couldn't know what was around the corner waiting for us. What's down the road? Could be a slick spot, maybe a pile-up of cars, or perhaps be dry and clear. I could hold the wheel tightly and be alert, but ultimately I recognized that I had only a certain amount of control.

There have been seasons in my life where I've held gripped the the steering wheel with white knuckles, determined to go MY preferred way. I gritted my teeth and prayed for the outcome I envisioned.

And sometimes the path has been dry and clear, and other times I've ended up skidding out of control. He's allowed me experience quite a few bumps over the years! "But God, I don't want to go that way"!

Ultimately, God has the control, despite my efforts in the flesh. He knows best and has the perfect plan for my life, no matter how I may try to resist and steer my own direction.

It reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw that read: If Jesus is your co-pilot, YOU'RE in the wrong seat". The word of the day is "YIELD" -- to Him!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Who's been watching Terms of Endearment?

Evan surprised me this afternoon with a deep, impromptu conversation that went like this:

EVAN: Mom, if you're ever sick and know you're probably going to die, would you tell us kids?

ME: Well, would you want me to tell you?

EVAN: Yeah, I guess. That way I could cut a little piece of your shirt and ask you to autograph it, then have you to put lots of lipstick on and kiss a paper that I could keep and always remember you.

Wow, for a crazy 8-year-old boy, he has deep thoughts sometimes. For the record, I feel fine. A specimen of health. But if you want my autograph to be on the safe side, just say the word!

He Make-a-me-Laugh

Hello, funny bone? Prepare to be tickled!

Check out the Christmas humor of Dave Barnes:

It's adorable, CLEAN comedy, so turn up your volume and ENJOY his silliness!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Plain Crazy, I tell ya!

Now I hate to stoop to ..... um ..... well, talking about the weather. And this is most decidedly NOT to just make idle small talk, folks.

Although I will come clean and admit there's absolutely NOTHING else going on that's interesting at the moment, so I'm had pressed for a topic. Unless you find my cleaning the house in my p.j.'s while belting it out with Karen Carpenter's Christmas CD fascinating.

Anyway, about the weather. It's CRAZY! The current temperature is 67 -- albeit with 70 mph winds. But here's the kicker: the trusty weathermen are predicting snow tomorrow. (see how I bolded that for emphasis?!)

When the kids get home from school, we're going to play outside and eat popsicles ..... Then we'll get to bed early to have energy to shovel the snow in the driveway tomorrow morning. I tell you, people -- I'm having to keep both tank tops and wool coats alike handy around here!

Ta ta for now -- I need to go apply my sunscreen. And then dig out my flannel pajamas.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cheering is a Full-Time Job!

As I've posted a time or five in my blog, my little Alli has begun her maiden voyage in the world of OFFICIAL cheerleading for her middle school.

I had no idea all that would involve. She has been utterly exhausted. It's a lot like DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS: Making the Team ..... without the skimpy uniforms. ThankyouJesus.

Not only does Alli have practice nearly every day after school, she also cheers two nights a week for the boys and girls' basketball teams alike. Back to back games. Some 2 1/2 hours of high energy kicks, jazz hands and plastered on smiles. Wears me out just thinking about it sitting on my couch. I need a snack, hold on.....

The whole family went to the boys' games on Tuesday night, and I was amazed at how talented and aggressive the players were, many of whom I remember from early years in elementary school.
Alli has a crush on one particular player ..... and after watching him on the court all night, I told her I have a crush on him too! He's pretty much the "Troy" of the school and I'm considering asking him to the homecoming dance. I just have to find a babysitter....
Moving on to Thursday night, we passed on watching the girls' games, and came towards the end of the games to pick up our favorite cheerleader.
When we got there towards the end of the 4th quarter ..... the game score was 8 to 7. Seriously! During the last seconds of the game, the score ended up tied at 8.
So we found ourselves in a sudden death situation, where the first team to score would win the game.
Can I just say that in a 7th grade girls' basketball game ...... that deadlocked score can stand for QUITE. a. while.
It was a nail biter, and after about 20 minutes of frenzied dribbling and wild shots, I'm happy to report that "the good guys" managed to land a free throw and win the game! GO JAGS! I did my best hurkey jump and we headed home to relish the victory. FINAL SCORE: 8 to 9. Look for the recap on ESPN.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gladys, She Makes Me Giggle

My little sister sent me this link, and it's well worth watching if you need a little chuckle!

I'll post some "new and original material" soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let's Hear it for the Cheerleaders!

Today is a big day for me, I mean, um for Alli. It's finally here -- her big debut on the 7th grade basketball cheerleading squad! She was so excited that the school held a pep assembly this afternoon, and I was touched when Alli specifically asked if I could be there. I said, "No, my soap opera is on then....." Oh, I kid -- I wouldn't miss it for the world!!

Here she is, headed to school this morning: (if you click on the photos, you can see enlargements)
Right before the pep rally .... "now what are we doing?"
There she is -- on the left. The one who's showing superior effort with the bent knee and heel off the ground.
She was even the most graceful cheerleading sitter, if you ask me...... but I know I'm biased.
This stage of life is fun. Days like this are a reward to this mommy's heart.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yah Me !!!

You like me! YOU REALLY LIKE ME!

I'm honored to have received this award from Alicia of

Funny thing is, I've never actually met Alicia. She's a friend of a friend, and we've gotten acquainted through the blogging world. Check out her blog -- you'll be glad you did. Thanks, Alicia -- You made my day, and it's not even 9:00 a.m.!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

All By My Lonesome

Well, I did something on Saturday that I don't think I've ever done before.....

I went to the movies ...... ALONE. Some plans with friends didn't pan out, so I decided to be a big girl and go it alone.

My heart was set on seeing "Australia", but since it was sold out I settled for "Twilight". I wish I could say that God closed the door to Australia and ushered me towards the vampire flick, but even Ozzie Osborne would say that's a stretch.

Venturing in, I was surprised to see the Twilight theatre empty. So I boldly decided to do another thing that was completely out of character for me -- I went & bought a popcorn and drink! And proceeded to notify my mortgage company that our house payment may be a little short as a result ....

Goodies in hand, I headed back to the now almost empty theatre, and tried to blend in and not feel like a loser who was there by herself. A feat in and of itself. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb, even though in my head I knew that was an irrational thought.

It seemed like time stood still waiting for the lights to go down. I nervously crammed popcorn into my mouth and looked around as if I were expecting someone. The phrase "where are they?!" may have been uttered under my breath for good measure.

The bottom line is that Edward Cullen & I shared some quality one-on-one time -- but I don't think I'll be hitting a matinee solo again for quite some time.

So the question is: Do you go to the movies comfortably alone? And why is it a big deal for the rest of us to do that?!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tales from the Dental Chair

I'm so flattered to be featured today on 5 Minutes for Mom! Take a look:

In the words of Barry Manilow, LOOKS LIKE WE MADE IT! Yah!!


HOW DO YOU COOK A TURKEY? By Natalie (while in preschool)
"You find 'em on the first aisle at Wal-Mart. Then we drive it to our house .... put it in a pan with salt & pepper, and put it on the stove for 50 minutes ..... When it looks like a chicken then we eat it! My mom & dad get big pieces."

(Natalie, preschool): I AM THANKFUL FOR ...... my cat. I love our class gerbils and how they eat food. I'm thankful for cheese. I'm thankful for my sisters and brother.

For our wedding back in 1994, I rewrote the words of Cindy Morgan's song, "How Could I Ask for More?". Today, my heart is full of thanks, and again I ponder, how could I ask for more?

With Jesus in my heart, family & friends by my side -- I'm truly grateful and blessed beyond what I ever deserved.

"Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." ~ Ephesians 5:20

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Allow me to introduce you to my newest addiction, Line Rider:

It's a simple game that's big fun for the whole family! The girls and I will undoubtedly be playing many rounds during ALL the football games tomorrow.

Give 'er a try!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From the Mouth of Babes

This is my 1st grader's latest spelling test ..... number 14 was "Thanksgiving", which she spelled "tax given". I think she's been watching too much C-Span and political ads!

Up to NO Good

I was just at the dollar store grabbing a couple quick items when I saw a large group of middle school boys milling about.

They ended up being right in front of me a few minutes later at the check-out line ..... and I had to grin when I took stock of their purchases:

ALL the toilet paper they could possibly hold, a 2-liter of Diet Coke and a pack of Mentos.

Those boys are most definitely up to some mischief, and thankfully, that's as close to gang-related activity as we get in our wholesome little suburb!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm a Frugal One, Yes I Am


To get extra mileage out of and give new life to used overalls, just add a few ruffles and patches in festive prints! Pick up some overalls at your local thrift store and then add the personality! These are one-of-a-kind and get lots of compliments.

My girls are too grown up for this style now (sniffle, sniffle), but we have plenty of pictures where they're wearing similar outfits -- to visit Santa, for school programs, Christmas dinner, etc.

If you want to see more great ideas, visit Antique Mommy's blog where she's holding a "Handmade Holiday Carnival!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Have a Lot in Common with Little Rabbit Foo Foo

I'm not much of an outdoorsman. I wish I were cut out of that fabric (say, um, burlap?), but I'm more of a satin type gal. Don't give me rough, thankyouverymuch -- I'm comfortable with smooth. In a nutshell: Steve Irwin & I would NOT have made a good pair. He'd be caressing a snake, saying "Crikey, she's a be--UTE", and I'd be screaming & running for the safety of a nearby production van.

Aside from tinkering in my flower bed occasionally, I tend to migrate indoors .... in the air conditioning (or heat), perhaps looking out the window and admiring nature without getting dirty, battling mosquitos, and encountering SCARY spiders.

I recently had yet another recent confirmation of being a "satin girl", which I'll share, even though it makes me look really bad. Really.

The kids & I discovered our cat, Peanut the Mighty Feline Warrior, toying with a big fluffy mouse right in front of our garage. He looked a lot like Gus from Cinderella, come to think of it. All the kids (who have more burlap content than their mommy) were pleading with Peanut to let the mouse go, and trying to intervene. The little guy was injured but still hanging in there. About that time, that mouse made a daring run, nay CHARGE, for the inside of our garage to escape.

My knee jerk reaction (literally) was to boot that mouse to prevent its entry into MY residence. Yep. It's true. I punted a poor, wounded mouse about half the length of our driveway. To the absolute horror of my satin-free children. Two of them burst into tears .... and I felt so awful, and rightfully so.

But in my mind, THIS is what I saw:
I'm not sure there's a valid self-defense argument in my crime of mouse punting, but I'd like to assert that defense for the record. Is there a notary in the house?
Sing it with me, my new theme song: Little Rabbit Foo Foo, hoppin' through the forest, scooping up the field mice and bonkin' them on the head.
If you'd like to send a Get Well Card to Gus, he's hanging out at a nearby stream where Greg took him, quite possibly nursing a throbbing headache.
Still love me?

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Song

My hunk of a hubby can croon a mean rendition of Elton John's "Your Song". You know the one: "it's a little bit funnnnny, this feelin' insiiiiiide....." He's been known to bring down the house when channeling Elton at the karaoke parties. Does anyone ELSE have goose bumps right now?! Someone quick, hand me a lighter that I can wave in the air. And girls, back off 'cause HE'S ALL MINE!!

Well, I discovered today that I have "another song" -- officially.

A friend referred me to, where you can plug in your birth date to find out what was the #1 song on that day in history. It's such fun!

The #1 song on my actual day of birth was a catchy little diddy called "Yankee Doodle". Oh, I jest. It was actually "My Girl" by the Temptations.

After you find out YOUR song, leave a comment and let us know which one it was!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who Knew?!

I came across this very fun (and FREE) "celebrity look-alike" function at, and was amazed .... and very FLATTERED .... at my results. It goes without saying that had my results favored, say, Roseanne Barr or even Jack Black, I wouldn't be sharing this with you!

As you'll see from my OFFICIAL results below, I should clearly be packing my bags for Hollywood. I'd especially like to point your attention to Angelina Jolie in my look-alike collage. (Brad, call me!)

I'd like to thank all the little people for this honor. Oh boy, I hope the paparazzi doesn't get wind of this and start hounding me. The price of fame is steep, my faithful fans.

You've got to try it, and let me know how it turns out for you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Growing up so Fast

Fun at the park with Natalie (6)

Alli (12) was so thrilled to get her cheer uniform this week!

Holly, anxiously awaiting her ear piercing on her 10th birthday.

And workin' the hippie costume on Halloween!

Natalie playing dress up and looking so grown up!

We rarely see Evan (8) without a basketball or football in tow. Doesn't he look tall in this shot?!

Alli, our favorite 7th grade basketball cheerleader!

Evan found one of his old baby outfits in the back of his closet, and was teary eyed when reminiscing.
We were amazed by how much he'd grown!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cold Food Can Be a Costly Blessing

Last summer, we returned home from vacation to discover that our refrigerator had given up the ghost while we were away. Oh the pain -- no time to say goodbye.

We instantly found ourselves wandering the aisles at Lowe's, muttering words like "doggone it" under our breath (even before we had unpacked our suitcases). There are SOME things you can put off ..... a functioning refrigerator for a family of 6 is NOT one of those things.

We selected a suitable, semi-affordable model and anxiously awaited its delivery the next morning. The Lowe's men showed up right on time and the delivery was made seamlessly. That was a relief, as we had a photography appointment we needed to run along to.

Here's where the plot thickens: When we got back a few hours later, my daughter reported to me that "the basement ceiling had caved in." Huh?! I went to see what she was talking about, and sure enough -- inward cavage had occurred. What the?

It would seem that the installer of our new fridge didn't "quite" secure the water line 100%, and enough water had leaked through our hardwood kitchen floor, through the sub floor, through the basement ceiling, to cause its collapse. Ugh!

ALL I wanted was cold food, folks. Is that too much to ask? I realize that in most third world countries that's a luxury. But if my 7th grade U.S. History memory serves correctly, chilled & amply preserved perishable food is an inalienable right which our founding fathers fought for and secured. Come to think of it, I think I may have failed that course.

Bottom line is that Lowe's made it right ... eventually .... and paid for the entire treatment and repair. Despite not being able to use our kitchen for a few weeks, and huge industrial fans which sound like jet airplane engines occupying half our square footage for a while -- we got a brand new kitchen hardwood floor out of the deal, and a new basement ceiling. So I guess it ended up being a good thing, if you can get past the inconvenience of the whole process.

Anyway, when I saw this cute video of comedian Brian Regan's synopsis of a refrigerator salesman, that made me reflect on our refrigerator saga. You've got to take a look:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our very own Veteran

My hubby served in the Air Force from 1977 to 1988. During that time, he was stationed everywhere from Maine to Texas to England.

All of this was P.S. (pre-Sharon). For that, I'm grateful. You see, I feel like I have the best of both worlds: I am proud to be married to a veteran, but recognize that it was at no sacrifice or cost to myself.

I didn't have to worry about his deployment, his safety or about relocating repeatedly .... primarily because I was in middle school at the time. I was rather busy and challenged myself with those pesky fractions and that book report on the history of Walt Disney.

Back to Greg ..... He is a skilled aviation mechanic, who was responsible for keeping aircraft ready for action at a moment's notice. In addition, he literally helped write the maintenance manual for the B-1 bomber.

Yesterday the kids' school held a Veteran's Day assembly which was so touching. There were patriotic songs, kicked off by an acapella Star Spangled Banner by a 2nd grader that made you squint your eyes and tilt your head to one side. I'd venture a guess that dogs within a 2-mile radius were howling. She was SO close to being on key .....

Anyhoo, our kids were so proud to have their daddy, their very own VETERAN, there to honor. To all the active military, veterans and families who have sacrificed for the good of our country -- God bless YOU, and Happy Veterans Day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reflecting .....

The kids are at school ..... which means I have until 3:00pm to sift through their unguarded trick or treat candy. Ah, hello long lost Butterfinger. My sweet mini Twix, come to mama. And since they're "mini" size, which is short for miniscule, that means I can justify eating 4 or 7. That reminds me, I need to add Spanx to my shopping list.

Anyway, ALL this Halloween candy made me reflect on an event last year, which occurred the day after trick or treating. Shall I share it with you? Okay, if you insist.

On that rueful day one year ago, our boy came home from school literally doubled over in pain and in tears. Now, keep in mind that after four kids, I tend to subscribe to the "you're fine" theory and don't over-react in medical situations. aka: Walk it off, kid! But Evan was in such excruciating pain that I feared it was an appendix attack, or maybe a creature was about to burst out of his gut -- because I've seen the original "Alien" flick.

So in a panic, I called our family physician's office and begged them to see Evan before their office closed for the day. The doctor literally stayed past closing time to squeeze him in. After a thorough examination, the doc was stumped. He suggested that it was perhaps a punctured lung or a ruptured spleen. Is it just me, or is the word ruptured one you don't want to hear in the doctor's office?!

An x-ray was going to be necessary. On the way down the hall with my little guy who was hunched over walking like an 89-year-old man, Evan asked if he could stop in the rest room.

After a l-o-n-g time, he emerged from the bathroom, proclaiming that "I feel MUCH better now"! Uh huh. All that trauma over a bit of constipation.

In short: We made an urgent visit to the doc and paid $83 for the pleasure of taking a dump at his office.

The end. Ugh! On second thought, I'd better hold down my candy consumption a bit today...... After all, I do try to learn from our mistakes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cue the Horse-Drawn Carriage

Our 7th grader went to the "Under the Stars" dance at school last Thursday night, and looked entirely too grown up and adorable! She had a great time, and I'm so glad to see her joining in and enjoying middle school.

I don't know about you, but my middle school years were NOT my shining moments, as is evidenced by MY 7th grade school picture which I've posted.

What do you think -- does she get her good looks from me?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oh Dear

I wish I could go back and edit my spoken words as easily as I can edit my written text. Just click and delete ... all gone. Erased.

I think it's hard to judge how much we should share with our kids. While I want them to have a carefree childhood and JUST BE KIDS, I don't want them to be sheltered to a fault. A fine line, would you agree?

The presidential election has been a big topic in school. That has, in turn, generated discussion at home, such as "what's the difference between a Republican and Democrat?" "Well, darling, one of them is led by Satan."

Seriously, we talked about some important differences. Although no party is perfect, one is more aligned with our Biblical beliefs, values and morals. The other leans towards supporting abortion and acceptance of same sex marriage, which the Bible clearly teaches is wrong. I attempted to explain those items in simple terms they could understand.

That's where I'd like to go back and "EDIT".

Because the morning after the election, the kids poured into my room, anxious to hear the outcome of the election. Upon learning of Obama's victory, this was their immediate reaction:

EVAN: "OH NO! ALL the babies are going to die!" (I think he just learned of Pharoah's similar decree in Sunday School)

NATALIE: "You mean I have to marry a girl now?"

Yeah. Maybe I should have left some of that out. Rewind and edit, please. I'd like to try that explanation one more time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall Fun .... and Flu Shots

Last Saturday our family took a little "field trip" .... no, not to the zoo. No, not to the children's museum. We went to get flu shots. Yay! Now THERE'S family bonding time.

With our travelling to Ohio for the holidays, we wanted to take every precaution to preserve our stellar health.

Like most things in life, the anticipation was worse than the actual event. The only one who actually took it hard and shed tears was Natalie. She was quickly consoled by a Dum-Dum sucker and a handsome Barbie sticker.

She further attempted to re-center herself by meditating on the swing at the nearby park.

It's interesting to me, to observe the differences in our children. Allison & Natalie are more cautious, whereas Holly & Evan subscribe to the mantra of "FASTER!! HIGHER!!"

It's the simple things in life -- like carefree playing at a great park on a perfect Fall day. With only the tiniest of band-aids on your upper arm as evidence of recent, and now forgotten, trauma.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet

Now I realize that people tend to have strong feelings one way or the other concerning trick or treating. Personally, I'm all FOR any opportunity to accumulate mass quantities of candy!

Alli (12) was a crazy Teletubby Clown;

Holly (10) was a stylin' hippie;

Evan (8) was a Cheesehead football player;

And Aerial's got nothin' on OUR little mermaid, Natalie (6) !!!

The kids even had fun dressing up Peanut in a Build-a-Bear costume, complete with crown! She looks so ..... um ...... pleased.

Some of my fondest memories involve trick or treating. I can remember dressing up as a princess bride and as Snow White.

What childhood costumes do you most remember wearing?

A Chuckle for Ya

This made me giggle -- hope you enjoy it! And NO, there's no boogie man at the end, like yesterday.

I'll be posting Halloween pictures soon!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Halloween Trick For You

The above sign is my disclaimer ...... yes, the same as the scary rides at the big theme parks. If you do hereby and herewith promise not to hold me accountable for any subsequent heart attacks, view the below link for a Halloween fright!

Turn your volume UP to get the full effect and watch the girl on the bike closely.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Double Digits

Our Holly turns 10 today -- quite a milestone! She's excited to get her ears pierced after school and celebrate with a family night at the mall.

Ten years ago .... even then she was unpredictable and had a mind of her own, as she decided to make her entrance into the world a week early.

She's our most complex child, who is artistic, athletic, with a strong sense of justice. (I've suggested a career as a parole officer when she grows up).

Happy Birthday, Holly Dolly!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Easiest Recipe Ever

This is a simple recipe for PUMPKIN MUFFINS that's ideal to whip up with the kiddos!

One box yellow cake mix (the Golden Butter Recipe cake mix works best)


1 2/3 cup pumpkin pie mix

Equals this !

Just mix the dry cake mix together with the pumpkin pie mix, and that's it.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

I think the only thing simpler than this would be to go the bakery and BUY the muffins!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Adjusting our Lenses

In response to my last post, by popular DEMAND (just for you, Amy) -- here's a picture of my new short 'do.
I think the weathered fence background brings out my eyes.
I had to take several photos before I was satisfied. One shot accentuated my wrinkles, one seemed to highlight my fashion forward double chin......
Is it just me, or do you view pictures of yourself with a critical eye? I have tendencies to view myself through a critical "lens" in most areas of my life, actually. Always trying to measure up.
I need to adjust that lens to be less severe, sort of like that "soft glow" lens I'm fond of at the photograhy studio. You know, the one that softens all the features and glosses over the imperfections? It's called GRACE.
Are you prone to be too hard on yourself? Come on, admitting it is the first step in recovering!
I have to remind myself constantly that all I ever have to be is what HE created me to be. And that He doesn't expect perfection and extends grace and unconditional love to us.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lost in Translation

I'm going to level with you right now -- I tend to put off hair cuts for myself. I also procrastinate on oil changes for my vehicle, but that's beside the point. Back to the hair, it's entirely possible that I have some lingering baggage in that department.

Anyhoo, last week I took the plunge and dropped in to a "quickie" salon for a trim. That, by the way is a key word: TRIM. I think you sense where this is headed.

The hairdresser (who appeared to be fresh out of 6th grade) proceeded to then lop off the majority of my long, luxurious tresses. (Hey, it's MY story -- roll with it)!! In her little cosmetology world, the word "TRIM" must translate to "LOCKS OF LOVE".

The aftermath includes relentless choruses of: "YOU GOT ALL YOUR HAIR CHOPPED OFF"! I tell them that wasn't my intent, and then go on to assure them I am NOT undergoing chemotherapy. My self-appointed personal stylist, Coco at SuperCuts, took it upon herself to make that fashion choice for me. She who holds the scissors is the one in control, folks. Apparently, with my dainty, pixie like facial features, she was convinced I could carry the Mia Farrow look.

The bright side is ..... I won't be needing another cut until, say, 2011. At that point, I'll head to that swanky, renowned salon of Great Clips. After all, they're cutting edge. Ba dum bum!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This Should be a Tide Commercial

At our recent community festival, Evan was presented with the perfect opportunity for an 8-year-old boy: Chasing a pig in a pit full of mud!

This little piggy proved to be elusive, but there's always next year! See him in the far left part of the picture mocking us? Consider this fair warning, Wilbur, our snouted nemesis -- we'll be training during the off-season! Evan was even hosed off by the fire department afterward. What a great memory for him!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh I Love Me Some FALL !!

Fall is my FAVORITE season! I just love pulling out the autumn decorations and "decking the halls with boughs of pumpkins" (feel free to chime in with a fa-la-la, if you so desire)

Our weekend was da bomb! The kids were out of school last Friday for a "teacher in-service" day. (What IS that, anyway?!)

As a side note, they most certainly DIDN'T have such things when I was in school. We counted ourselves fortunate to get a day off from school during the Blizzard of '76, but I'm not bitter.

Anyway, on those occasional days off from school, I make an effort to plan a fun day for us to enjoy. This time around we headed to a GREAT pumpkin patch we had heard about and spent about 5 hours having the best time!

This wasn't just your run-o-the-mill field-o-pumpkins, friends. This was the mother lode of Fall Festivities! There was so much to do -- lots of plain, simple fun. Here's where I'll mention that I. FORGOT. MY. CAMERA. Oh, the pain! I spent the whole day thinking "that would be such a precious shot"!
One favorite stop was the underground slide that the kids went down repeatedly, paddle boats, an inflatable to jump on, hay bales to climb, a mega bin full of feed corn to romp in, a train ride, a corn maze, playgrounds, and of course, a hayride to the pumpkin patch.

I allowed each of the kids to pick out a small pumpkin -- and it was interesting to watch each of them approach that task. Natalie had hers selected in 10 seconds flat, and thought everyone else should too. Alli hunted and hunted for the perfect one. Holly kept picking up pumpkins, carrying them around, and trading them repeatedly. Evan was pretty much just happy to be trekking through the mud! Here's what they ended up with, in age order:

Holly had a Fall concert last week where she had to dress as a scarecrow. Doesn't she make a cute one? AND an effective one -- you'll notice NO crows around! It goes without saying that she had endure more than one chorus of "If I Only Had a Brain".