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.!!