Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

This is the last day of 2006. And I feel like it should be more special or something. But it's an every day kind of day, very un-special. And I think tonight will be spent just like every night around here - we'll put the kids to bed and maybe watch a little TV, I'll read a book and fall asleep, and we'll be lucky if we see the new year in.

But who knows, we may decide to be wild and stay up late...


Whatever it is you are doing tonight, I hope you are enjoying yourself. Stay safe and warm. And best of luck to you in the coming year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Did somebody say 'pictures'?

The cookies, they are for Santa! They are all for Santa! And the kids, they are excited!

The boy and his loot.

The girl and her loot.

And no, he didn't fall asleep here (because he was up at 2:00 AM checking to see if Santa had come,) he just looks like he did.

That, my friends, is a Hot Wheels Radar Gun. Now he'll know if you're speeding down our street. (You may also be able to find me outside playing with it, because that's one cool toy.)
Hot Wheels, Beat That.

A study in concentration.

That crazed look in her eyes is from the unbelievable high provided by lots and lots of Littlest Pet Shop animals.

Eh, an ornament.

Yeah - eh, an ornament.

Easy Bake, baby! That's her first cake. It was hard as a rock and the frosting looked like, um, looked like nothing like frosting. But we ate it. And I made all the right mmmmm noises.

The kids were overwhelmed by Christmas, as always. They received a lot of presents, and were, overall, very pleased with what they got. I think Santa would be better off not going with the misguided notion that the boy needs less video game time and stop trying to get him toys that are not video games, already. Because the boy is happy with video games. Santa just needs to deal, and it would save Santa a ton of money on toys that he doesn't like as much as he likes his video games. Just a small hint for Santa.

But this, people, is one happy boy.

Have a good Christmas?

Kids, while looking at the front of a gift bag: "Mom, what's NOEL mean?"

Me: "Um... you know, I don't know."

Daughter, grinning triumphantly: "Oh, Oh, I know! It's the alphabet, without the 'L'. No-El."


I'll post pictures sometime, um... soon? I uploaded some from the camera, but the work required to post them here seems to be more than I can bring myself to do right now. I'm too busy playing referee to the children and all the friends that are spending time over at my house. (Let me tell you, they are all crazy.) And also, I am busy driving around in the little Equinox the Chevy dealer gave me to drive while my van is in the shop, yet again. (Crappy Chevys.)

SO... pictures. Soon. Sometime. Sometime soon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My wish...

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

There's nooo day like an off-work Friday.

I am off of work today. (WooHoo!) In fact, I am off of work until January 2nd. That makes me oh so very happy. The kids are off of school until then also. We're finally off at the same time. (And this is going to make me feel very sad come January 2nd, I think, when I realize how much I enjoy hanging out with my kids and having free time.)

My poor husband, however, is not off until January 2nd.


My van - oh lord, that van - is back at the dealership today. It's making a thwump thwump sound, and it's more than likely got something to do with the tires. We had them balanced and rotated, but that didn't help. So the darn thing is back in the shop.

You know... I know that I shouldn't make sweeping generalizations about automotive companies based on one single vehicle, but I'm not thinking I'll buy another Chevrolet (or GM). Who knows, maybe I will, sometime further down the line. But this particular van is a dud (I had piece of sh*t written, but felt dud was nicer. Then I thought about and still felt like I should tell you I think it's a pieces of sh*t. What can I say, I'm not feeling very polite regarding this van.) I want to take it back to the dealership and tell them to shove it in a very unmentionable place. That's how much love I'm feeling for it right now.


Enjoy your Friday. I hope you have off of work today too. I also hope that if you go out into the fray today, you manage to enjoy yourself. But for God's sake, stay away from Walmart. It's too crazy out there, people, and I fear for your safety.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Um... yeah...

The whole previous post? Ignore it. Evidently, I am an idiot. I think that the whole lightbulb issue is really a non-issue. According to what I read online, the new oven don't even use a lightbulb anymore. Which could be why it doesn't come with one.

That's what I get for listening to someone I don't really know well. And then not looking it up for myself.


Don't say anything, but I think my little girl is getting an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. I'm not ruining the surprise, so don't tell her, okay? But the reason I'm telling you is because I just found out that the oven does not come wtih the lightbulb it needs to bake. And I want to rant a little about toys not coming with all the supplies needed. I understand the whole 'batteries not included' thing. And that's fine with me. I buy lots of batteries, and always check the boxes to make sure I have the correct size on hand. But there are some toys, like the Easy Bake, that do not come with other items.

We were looking at the different remote control flying/racing vehicles out there for my son for Christmas. And there were several that were very neat looking. They were, however, very expensive, and I was on the fence about whether or not to get one. Then I noticed that most of them did not include the battery pack needed to use 'em. And I'm not just talking about a few 'C' batteries, I mean the special, use only for this toy, rechargable battery packs. It seemed ridiculous to me! And then the battery packs were fairly expensive to boot, pushing the cost of the toy up into stratospheric proportions. So we abandoned the idea, for now. I'm hoping something good comes around that includes all necessary items.

So today my mission is to go buy a lightbulb (for the Easy Bake.) And do it without tipping off the girl, because she's smart, and will figure out what it's for.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

This is where I say 'mattresses' a lot.

On Monday morning I told you that I had ordered new mattresses for the kids. As of Monday afternoon, when they hadn't called me to arrange a time for the delivery, I called them. And the folks at Sears (yes, today I'm naming names) told me that my order had been cancelled because they ran out of stock. However, they did not call me to tell me. Nor did they even drop me an email. They, I guess, were not planning on telling me at all. Because it wasn't until I called them that they even looked up the order and said, "Oh, it was cancelled."

What made me even more angry (and believe me, I was ready to blow steam out of my ears) was that when I asked the customer service rep what they did have in stock and available for delivery before Christmas, she said she didn't have anything available for Christmas. I should have ordered "yesterday if I wanted a delivery by Christmas."

This was on Monday. She said I should have ordered on Sunday. In fact, I had ordered on Saturday. Saturday morning, to be exact. And if someone would have been nice enough to tell me that they were out of stock, I probably would have then gone ahead and ordered something else on Sunday!

I was fuming for a good long time.

(That's the last order Sears gets from me.)

Oh, but anyway, last night we went down to the local mattress store and bought mattresses. They only had one of the style we wanted in stock at that particular store, but they are getting the other one in this afternoon. (Keep your fingers crossed, our luck with mattresses has not been very good lately.)

So mattress dilemma solved. And the kids' beds are now nicer than mine.

But stores who sell you items that they say are in stock, and then cancel your order because they are out of stock, and then don't tell you about it when they do - well, they suck. (I'm looking at you, Sears.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

He comes through for me yet again.

Guys, you remember when I was so unhappy about buying a new washing machine because mine finally gave up the ghost? Well, this is why it's handy to have a husband who works in the laundry equipment industry. The company he works for builds laundromats and dry cleaners and sells equipment to places that need industrial washers and dryers, etc... So that's how I've come to have this in my laundry room:

It's brand new (never mind the duct tape mark on the top, a little adhesive remover is going to take that right off) and it came at a much lower cost than a new washer. And we have it set to $0, so that I don't have to pay to wash clothes. I do, however, have to slide the little coin slot back in order to start the washer. (And doing so makes me giggle every time!)

Although, maybe we should charge money for every load of laundry. By the time the kids are 18, I'd have their college paid for. Hmmm...

Monday, December 18, 2006

I was having a productive day...

So this morning I was all, "La, la, la, la, la... I'm cleaning and doing chores... la, la, la, la, la." And I was sort of enjoying myself. I mean, as much as you can enjoy yourself while you're cleaning. I cleaned the oven, and was very satisfied at how well it turned out. (So shiny!) I swept the wood floors, and wiped down some of the baseboards. (So clean!) I put a load of clothes in the wash... and this is where it all went to hell.

After the washer shut off, I went to transfer the load to the dryer. When I reached in to get the clothes, it looked a little like it hadn't been rinsed. There were still soap bubbles sitting on the top of the clothes. Hmmm, I thought, I hope the washer is rinsing okay. So I turned the rinse cycle back on and stood there for a minute to make sure water was going into the tub. Satisfied that it was indeed filling, and thinking that it just might have been a case of too much soap, I went back to my cleaning.

And that load of clothes turned out fine after the second rinse. I put it in the dryer, and started yet another load. (We have at least a couple of loads a day.) Once that load was finished, I opened the washer and saw soap bubbles again. This time I was sure I didn't use too much soap. And I noticed that the clothes still looked really, really wet. So I thought, oh no, it's the spin cycle that's not working. And I turned the little knob to spin, shut the washer, and listened to it buzz. It was not spinning, it was buzzing. Okay, I thought, I'll just rinse these and then I'll have to just squeeze them out and put them in the dryer for longer.

So I started the rinse cycle yet again, and stood there to watch the whole process start. That's when I found out that my washer not only didn't do the spin cycle, but had also decided to just sit there and buzz instead of agitating the clothes. My clothes were just sitting in a big tub of water, listening to the washer buzz.

I had to wash those clothes by hand. By HAND. And let me tell you , that is not very fun. And then I had to squeeze them out before I could put them in the dryer. That, also, is not very fun. (And it's hell on the skin. My hands are dry. My wrists itch. And even my nails look dry.)

I guess I should count myself lucky that at least the washer was filling and draining. But I may just weep a little at the thought of buying a new washing machine.

Weekend wrap-up.

  • I ordered the children new mattresses. Because, apparently, having crater-like mattresses is not good enough for them. (Kidding!) My son came to me one day, after jumping on his bed, and said his mattress make a big "cracking" noise. Their mattresses are the bunk bed types that have the boards at the bottom of them. Well, his board broke. Now maybe they'll listen when I tell them not to jump on the bed. Maybe.

  • My daughter attended her first birthday party yesterday. Well, the first party for one of her school friends. And she was so shy she sat in the corner, in my lap, the whole time. The. Whole. Time. And the party was at a gymnastics place, which she would have loved had she actually gotten up off of my lap. It was so frustrating for me. This girl is so confident at home - she is loud, silly, and sure of herself - yet she just locks up when she's somewhere new. (And I swear I have no idea where she gets that from. I was nothing like that, right Dad?) ( I was everything like that, actually.) But that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

  • I am now going to go clean my oven.

  • It's good to be me.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm dangerous with a library card.

Early one weekend morning, in a fit of boredom and misery, I ordered some books from the library. You see, I have a couple of favorite authors, and there were a few books from one in particular that I hadn't read yet. She writes in a series, and I wanted to read the missing books so I could 'fill in the blanks', if you will. (And, yes, I will.)

I found out how easy it was to put a request in for a book and have it delivered to your local library from other parts of the county. It was very easy. And that is how it came to be that I ordered a whole sh*tload of books.

There were many I hadn't read. And I kind of figured that I would put the request in, and the books would trickle in from parts unknown, giving me a book or two a week. That makes sense, right? Because other people would have some checked out, and some would be in and some out - giving me good selection to last a month or more. But, holy heck, my reasoning must have been flawed.

The library called me to tell me a few of the books I had ordered had come in. So I made my dear, dear book-hating husband* take time out of his Saturday to drive us to the library. (We were already out, so I figured we would just stop by. He hated the idea.) And you can just imagine my surprise when the librarian emerged from the back room with a stack of books. And then, then, she went back for more. People, I got stares from passers-by when I emerged from the library carrying what is, in fact, a whole sh*tload of books!

So I have a stack of books to read. And while I'm enjoying it and reading my little heart out, I'm a little afraid I won't have them all read by the time they are due. And I'll feel like I've got some sort of book monopoly going on if I renew them. And I'm also afraid that I won't remember to bring them back on time, and at $.10 a day, per book, I could be very much in debt to my local library.

This is where my dear, dear husband interjects with, I knew those darn books would be trouble.

*He doesn't hate books per se, he just hates all the time I like to spend reading. Which may or may not be all my time. I'm not admitting to anything here, folks.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

We went to the hospital...

Last night we went to see my sister-in-law, her husband, and her new baby. The baby's still in his little bubble (not really a bubble, but I don't know the name of those bed/pod things they put the babies in.) He's hooked up to all sorts of machines tubes, and he still has a ventilator on. But even through all that I could see how gorgeous he was. And y'all, he's so gorgeous. I can't wait to get my hands on him and snuggle that little boy. I'm hoping it'll be soon.

On our way to the hospital, we made a pit stop at a store to buy them a car seat and stroller combo. The baby came so unexpectedly, they didn't even have a car seat yet! So my SIL called me yesterday and asked if I could go buy her one and bring them the car seat so they would be prepared when the baby was healthy enough to go home. She told me the couple of designs she had looked at (which, she had only started looking the day she went into labor!) and told me basically what she wanted. So me being me, I set off to find her the exact one she had mentioned. (Because she deserves the best, of course!) After several phone calls dealing with overworked and grumpy store clerks who I'm sure thought to themselves, lady, just come down to the store and look at what we have, I managed to track down the design at a store between here and the hospital the baby is staying at. So I bought it - and mission successfully accomplished. (Phew!)

Once at the hospital, (and after getting lost and circling the area, then finally being talked in by my SIL via phone) we went to the cafeteria to get something to eat. And let me tell you, this cafeteria was big. And confusing. I barely knew where to go or what to do. I just think we're lucky that we managed to find things for everyone to eat. When my husband was offering cake to my daughter, I panicked and said, "I only got $40.00 from the ATM! Don't get too much!" (Which, what's up with the hospital cafeteria not taking debit or credit cards??) My husband found my panic very hilarious, but I maintain that it was justified. None of the prices were well labelled, and I didn't know how much we were spending as we loaded up our trays. I mean, I didn't want to get to the cash register and find I had to start taking food off of the trays because it was too expensive! "Let's see, I'll take off one chicken leg, the kids can share a drink, and we can do without the ketchup packets..." He says that if I thought $40.00 wouldn't pay for a simple meal at a hospital cafeteria, I am crazier than I thought. He found it funny, I found it panic inducing. (The total cost of the meal? Less than $16.00. But it could have been much more!)

I was very glad to see everyone, and very honored that my sister-in-law took me through all the washing/gown-donning to see the baby. They all looked tired, but very good. (The woman had a baby, was discharged a little more than 12 hours later, and has been busy, busy, busy ever since!)

So please keep up those prayers and kind thoughts. Think of our little baby O, and all those other little babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. And donate to the Ronald McDonald House, which is where they are staying while the baby is in the hospital. You never think about those places until they're needed by you or someone you love, but they really are a lifesaver for tired, stressed parents and families.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Inactivity drives me crazy.

I'm finally going to get my Christmas cards out today - it is my goal for the day. (I know, I aim big. Go me!) Also, I'm going to do laundry and more laundry. (Fun!) And also, I am going to wander around my house looking for something to do until I can go see my sister-in-law and her husband. I heard I won't be able to see the baby, but that's okay, I'll have plenty of chances to see the little guy later.

(He's still in the little baby-bubble. His lungs are still not doing well. But we have every reason to believe they will do well soon.)

But this non-ability to do something for the baby and his mom are driving me crazy. Me, who needs to be doing something, anything.

So no real post today. My mind is too busy to slow down and think of anything.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Happy, sad, and everything in between.

Y'all, my sister in law had a baby last night! A little boy - right under 6lbs.

He came a month early, and right now he's not doing as well as they'd like. He's been in a little oxygen booth-thingy (that's the technical name for it, I'm sure) with a little breathing mask over his face and an IV drip. And now they're moving him to another hospital, one that has a neonatal intensive care unit.

They haven't been able to hold him.

So say a little prayer for the little guy, please.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One dirty sock and one frustrated mom.

Son: "Mom, I got my breakfast on my sock."

Me (upstairs, brushing my hair) : "If your sock's dirty, take it off."

Son: "Take it off?"

Me: "If it's dirty, take your sock off."

Son: "My sock?"

Me: "Yes! If your sock is dirty, take it off and bring it up here. Put it in the dirty clothes basket."

Son: "Take my sock off?"

Me: "YES! Take your sock off and put it in the dirty clothes! Then go get yourself a clean pair of socks!"

Son: "I spilled my breakfast on my sock. I need to take it off."

Me: "YES!!! Take off the sock! Now!"

And while I was practically foaming at the mouth with anger and frustration over the whole take-off-your-SOCK(!) thing, he calmly came upstairs with the dirty sock in his hand and went to get a change of socks. By this time I had abandoned the whole trying-to-look-like-I-at-least-tried-to-fix-my-hair thing and was on my way downstairs to see what in the world had happened to his sock. He walked past me nonchalantly, and then said over his shoulder, "Mom, I took off my sock because it was dirty. And I got a new sock."

I wonder if he possesses some sort of genetic mutaion that prevents him from hearing my voice. I'm thinking that this may be the case, because his father (love you, honey!) has a mild form of this and hardly ever hears my voice.

My daughter, on the other hand, hears my voice every single time, and can do a so-real-it's-scary imitation of what I sound like (complete with nagging tone and hands on hips stance.)

She'll make such a good mother one day.

Friday, December 08, 2006


My son's progress report came home the other day. He's doing well, but needs to improve his "reading strategies" and also "get more help at home."

I'm not going to lie to you, that last one really upset me. Especially since it came the day after I spent an hour with him helping him do his homework, and then even more time helping him practice writing neater. I mean, shit, how much more time can I spend with a 7 year old? Especially a 7 year old who has the attention span of a gnat. (Do gnats have short attention spans? I'm just assuming that they do indeed.)

And then I thought, does she think I'm not helping him at home? Does she think he just sits down to do all of that homework all by himself? Does she think we don't want him to do well?

Now before you get the idea that I do not like this teacher, let me tell you that I do. I like her very much. She is enthusiastc and patient. She gives my son the attention he needs, yet still leaves him to do things for himself. She's made math not such an enigma for him, and recognized that he's a child who needs his routine in order to function. She's also nice. But I was still upset with her (and at her.)

So I emailed her and asked specifically what more she would like me to help him with at home. And I got a non-specific answer. Which kind of irked me. Because now I'm feeling like she thinks I don't help him enough at home, and I am also not smart enough to know what to do to help him (should I actually decide to offer him help.)

Overreact much? Maybe I do. Just a little.

(I do not envy the position of a teacher trying to deal with parent's pride and feelings. Just saying.)

Also, I do not know what the heck "reading strategies" are for a 7 year old. So maybe I'm not smart enough to help him.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm giving you excuses.

I've actually been... wait for it... too busy to post today. Not that I've been busy doing anything productive, really, but I've not had a chance to sit down and type because I've had a lot of children-in-my-lap time today. But I have had a few minutes to look around a little at some of my favorite sites (besides, which is not really my favorite, but is a big favorite of the 1 year old.)

Over at Awesome I found a link to a site that literally made me laugh at loud. Literally. Check it out - especially if you are someone who gets a giggle and/or nervous twitch when people misuse words.*

*(I'm thinking about you, Melissa. I don't know how you can stand to read what I write. It must pain you at times. But I'm very glad you stop by!)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Health insurance has not been my friend.*

I wrote a post for you on Monday that was all about yet another round with my health insurance company but I did not post it because I am either very lazy, or very busy. I'll let you determine which one it was. Also, I did not post yesterday for the same reason. But here it is, a post written two days ago:

Hi there!

How are you?

I am writing this whilst on hold with my health insurance company. And, amazingly, I am not having fun.

So far, the recorded voice that periodically comes on between the music has advised me on how to remember to take my medication daily. (Get pill holders with separate compartments for each day of the week.) Also, I've learned how to quit smoking. (I do not smoke, but if I did I now have helpful hints on how to stop.) And I've heard music. Bad music. Fun!

Once the music cut off again for yet another round of 'helpful hints', I was informed that I should help my children stay healthy during cold and flu season. (Who knew! I was trying to keep them ill. Silly me.) Then, oh then, the operator came on the line and it took me a minute to realize that it was an actual human being speaking.

Operator: "Thank you for calling Blue Cross and Blue Shield. My name is Heather, last initial J. May I have your name?"

Me: [...]

Operator: "Hello?"

Me: "Oh....sorry"

SO I found out that my health insurance company (Hello! I do not like you! But please continue to pay for our doctors visits and prescriptions, and please do not cancel yourself again! Thanks!) is screening all of my doctors fees from my bought with kidney stones for pre-existing conditions. Because there is a pre-existing clause in my policy, and they may be able to get out of paying it if they find sufficient cause. I'm just hoping they do not list having a kidney as a pre-existing condition. Because then I'm totally screwed. Also, I found out that my son's allergy medication will be expensive, no matter how much I try to talk them into paying for it.

Did I mention how much fun this is? To be not covered, cancelled and otherwise told to 'shove it' by your health insurance company? Yeah. You wish you were me, don't you.

*I'm done now. I won't talk about this anymore because I'm taking a deep breath and moving on from it all. And everyone's taking vitamins and walking around in full padding and helmets because we must stay healthy!

Monday, December 04, 2006

If you are a kid, do not read this. (And maybe some adults shouldn't either.)

At what point in time does Santa no longer become the person who leaves you presents?

Now, I'm not going to give away any sort of secrets here, because you never know the severity of heartbreak one may cause by 'outing' Santa. (And you never know who can read, and who can't.) But for those of you who know what I'm talking about... well, explain to me how this is all done. How does the 'outing' happen?

(Oh, I just know someone out there is going, "Santa's gay?")

(And if you are thinking that, my only reply can be - it depends on your Santa.)

I'm a little disturbed by the lengths some people go to during Christmas time. They get phone calls from the big guy, letters, pictures, etc... And not that I think anything is wrong with that, but I'm a little worried for the psyche of the child who believes with all their heart. I'm worried about the horrible feeling of betrayal they'll feel when they find out that Santa may not really be magical. (Not that I'm saying he's not! I'm not ruining anyone's Christmas here, guys! I said he MAY not be magical. MAY not be. Which means he MAY really be!)

I don't remember a definitive moment when it all came together for me. I don't know if it just wasn't a big deal for me, of if maybe I'm just blocking it all out because it was so mentally scarring. Regardless, I don't know how it happened in my childhood. Do you remember? Was it awful? Or was it just like, eh, whatever?

Because I'm a little afraid of getting myself in too deep around here, and stomping my tender-hearted children's hearts into the ground. I'm avoiding putting our name on the phone call list, and I sure as heck don't want to do personnal correspondence, lest they develop a deep relationship with someone who will later be 'outed' as not being anything close to what they thought 'he' was.

Or maybe I will never tell them the, um, secret, and put them in an isolated bubble for the rest of their lives.

Option two is sounding very good to me right now.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Amazing is

...Watching your son do jumping jacks perfectly, when in September he couldn't seem to get the whole hands-up-legs-out, and all-at-the-same-time thing down.

...Seeing your son go through his Tae Kwon Do routine without missing a beat.

...Witnessing your son breaking a board with his tender little foot.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Pictures and daily news.

I'm a little late in posting these pictures...

Here are the kids decorating the tree. Every year I string the lights and let them decorate the tree. And I think they do a wonderful job - I only have to rearrange a few ornaments. They've come a long way since the times when they would hang all of the ornaments on one or two branches. (And they used to laugh and laugh when I would get frustrated!)

And here's my ham of a girl and my ever-patient husband. (I swear she looks like she's much older than 5 here. And I don't like that one bit. Quit getting older, missy!)

And here is the living room during Decorating-Fest 2006. That's me over there - barely in the picture. And I'm sure I'm giving orders and bossing the kids around - because that's what I do best. (And Dad, note that white box down there. It has been with us since we moved from England.)

Pictures of the outside will come soon (maybe.) They are pending on the arrival of one inflatable snowman (or not.)


Today's my daughter's Star Student day. She's actually been Star Student of the Week, but today is the day her Daddy goes in to talk about his job and eat lunch with her. And then, because he's a good Daddy, he's also staying to eat lunch with my son. (Their lunch times are back-to-back.) Also, my little girl is Student of the Month at her school. Not that I'm bragging or anything... but I think she's absolutely wonderful and I'm so proud.


My son is testing for his new belt tonight in Tae Kwon Do. He was so excited, he couldn't sleep last night. So I'm a little worried that he'll be over-tired and sick to his stomach by the time 7:00 rolls around and it'll be time for him to test. So cross your fingers for him. And I think he's absolutely wonderful and I'm so proud of him too. (Not that I'm bragging or anything...)