Thursday, December 30, 2004

Precious memories

13 years ago today, even at this very hour (2:10 a.m.), I was in the process of delivering my firstborn into the world. Little did I know her labor and delivery would be my longest..... only about 9 hours of active labor. It was a fairly typical hospital delivery. Unmedicated except for 1 shot of Stadol, and I don't know why they gave it to me... I didn't ask for it. My water had broken and the nurses were not checking my progress until shortly before I was able to start pushing. (They finally checked me when I told them, "If it's going to hurt more than this, I think I'll need something!") Turns out my cervix was complete and I didn't know it... wasn't having a real strong urge to push (maybe because I was flat on my back). I was quite thrilled to be able to start pushing, and after about 50 minutes, Emily Kate arrived at 2:54 a.m.

9 years ago today, at this same time, I was awakened from a very short sleep by contractions signalling the imminent arrival of Noah Luke. I had gone to bed at 12:30, thinking I would not be seeing this baby until the new year. Less than 2 hours later, labor had begun. Noah was 9 days late and I had persuaded my family practice doc to attempt to jumpstart my labor with some prostaglandin gel earlier in the day (noonish). I hadn't noticed that it was doing anything when I went to bed, but evidently it kicked in once I went to sleep. It was a very manageable labor. I sat and played solitaire at the computer and timed my contractions by the clock on the desktop. I woke my husband around 3 and called my best friend (a doula) who was in town for the weekend. When she said that she would shower and come over, I decided a shower sounded like a good idea. Maybe it was... maybe it wasn't. I wasn't in the shower too long before my contractions became double-peaking. I got out and felt that urge to go to the bathroom.... my water broke on the toilet and I immediately felt that urge to push. I got on my hands and knees (somewhere in all this, I had grabbed a housedress and put it on) and assumed a knee-chest position so that I wouldn't push. My friend arrived to find me still in that position in the bathroom floor... she gave a quick look-see and shouted to my husband, "Brian, I see the head!" He immediately put in a call to the base ER (we were living on base in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, at the time). The staff in the ER recognized his voice (he was a nurse in the ICU there)... we wound up with an ambulance crew, the base cops, and the base firefighters all at our house. They arrived just in time to toss my husband a bulb syringe to suction the baby. Noah arrived around 3:50 a.m., after about an hour and a half of labor (at least, that was all I was awake for!) including maybe 10 minutes of pushing. He was 8 pounds 12.9 ounces....compared to Emily's 5 pounds 15 oz. Yet, he was so much "easier" to get out! (But not my easiest... I was telling Mellie Helen earlier today about how my last 2 babies arrived with only 1 push each. Am I lucky or what??)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A post before bedtime

I am soooo ready for bed, but thought I'd get a post in before hitting the hay. Brian and I spent what seemed like forever out shopping for Noah and Emily's birthday today. Took a while, but we finally found what we were looking for. Then we came home and started taking apart this room, rearranging some furniture and getting the kids' new computer hooked up. All that is left to do is clean off/out our desks and we will be done.

Tomorrow is Noah and Halle's last bowling day this year. They will start back up again in February. The bowling coach is throwing a pizza party for them tomorrow. I will be sure to plan my meals accordingly. Gotta save room for pizza.

I'd better go before I fall asleep at the keyboard.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Do I really need a title?

Obviously things have been busy around here, since I didn't get a chance to post since Saturday. We had a pizza and game night Sunday night. There were 3 other couples from church here and we ended up playing games till shortly after 11.... kinda late considering some of the adults had to go to work in the morning! We played a new card game called Man Bites Dog, in which you are dealt 5 word cards with which you must make a newspaper headline. It's a quick-playing game that has some hilarious results. Then we moved on to Trivial Pursuit 90s Time Capsule Edition. That took a while.... but it was fun. My online addiction came in quite handy on several of the questions! We followed that up with a rousing game of Pictionary. Boy, we hadn't played that in forever!
Yesterday we wound up sleeping in a bit and then heading out for a little shopping in the afternoon. Hubs decided to get the kids a new computer. We had just enough time to get it home and get the kids changed for their taekwondo classes. Then we played games (Scene It and various GameCube games) for the rest of the evening, so we didn't get the computer set up yet. I suppose we'll get to that this morning. I think he and I will have to head out to look for some birthday stuff for Emily and Noah as well.
Not sure what today will bring, other than laundry and setting up the computer. (And shopping for birthday presents.) That certainly seems like enough!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

What a day

This was the earliest Christmas morning I can ever remember my kids having. They were up around 7:15. (Still didn't beat me up, though.) They were all truly appreciative of their gifts. The boys love their GI Joes, Halle likes her new doll and stroller, and Emily thinks her new electric blanket rocks (but her favorite gift was Sims 2). Hubby liked the things I got him (several items of clothing and some desk accessories for his new desk (the one he'll have in CA). He totally surprised me with a pair of diamond earrings and a comfy new office chair. He also gave me a Josh Groban CD he burned from ITunes after hearing me talk about how much I loved Josh's version of O Holy Night. If you haven't heard it, look for it and listen. I swear, the first time I heard it, I was alone in the car and thought I was going to have to pull over. It had me in tears and goosebumps.

So now the wrappings and new things are mostly picked up and put away. Hubs is bathing the 2 youngest kids. We're planning a game night for tomorrow evening and inviting a few other families from church. Now we'll have a chance to try out some of our new games Santa brought us (Trivial Pursuit Disney Edition, Disney Scene It, Scene It, Trivial Pursuit 90s edition and Pop Culture Edition). Have I mentioned we like to play games? The kids will be able to play Playstation or GameCube, or maybe some of the abovementioned games, if they are so inclined.

All that is left to do is get ready for Emily and Noah's birthday. They share the same birthday 4 years apart. It is this coming Thursday, and we haven't really gotten them anything yet. Guess I'll try to hit some of the after Christmas sales!!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Settling down for the night

Well, we made it back from our Christmas Eve soiree. It was a nice little buffet style dinner with about 25 people in attendance (including 8 kids ranging in age from 6 mo old twins to my 13-yo-in-one-week daughter). Pork tenderloin was the main course, with old-fashioned baked mac and cheese, a potato casserole, collard greens and assorted appetizers rounding out the meal. Dessert was an assortment of brownies, sweet potato pie, and chocolate fondue. But the best part of all was the company. We were able to just sit and visit, swap stories and share memories with each other, all the while making new ones. Our hosts had even gone to the trouble of getting gifts for the kids.... my boys got some way cool Spiderman foam soap for their bathtub pleasure, my youngest girl got a nice art kit full of crayons and markers, and my oldest got a pampering party in a can (facial and pedicure stuff). What thoughtfulness!

The kids are finally settling in for the night. The 3 oldest are camped out in Emily's room so that whichever one of them wakes first in the morning can wake the others. Joel opted to stay in his and Noah's room tonight. Hopefully they will all fall asleep soon so we can get our elf work done and get to bed ourselves!

BitterSweetLife: The Christmas We Miss

You gotta read this!It will help you refocus your thoughts on just what this season is about.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Could it be??

This has to be the first Christmas in which we will not be madly wrapping presents after midnight on Christmas Eve. The hubs and I ran out for a couple of hours this evening to get the last of the stocking stuffers for the kids (plus a doll for my 6yo.... who lost the doll for which we had purchased a bunch of accessories for Christmas). He says he needs to run out in the a.m. to get me some stocking stuffers (should I give him some suggestions??). I will probably run out as well... I need to get him some chocolate-covered cherries or cherry cordials... it is kind of a traditional gift I give him each year. I need a couple of things for his stocking as well. I only have one thing in it right now. I'll probably grab him a CD or 2 for it.

So tomorrow could be the most relaxing Christmas Eve we've ever had. Unless I just jinxed it by saying that. We do need to decide what we are taking to the Christmas Eve soiree we are going to tomorrow evening. Hmmm, time to pull out the recipe books!

If I never see another roll of wrapping paper

it will be too soon! I just spent almost 3 hours wrapping the kids' presents to put under the tree tomorrow night. I stopped counting at 24; I think there were around 30 or so. That doesn't count what we wrapped on Sunday. We got several things that were combination gifts (for all the kids or for the whole family). There are just a few more things out in hubby's truck that need to be wrapped. (I think I'll let him do it.)

Oh, and don't believe anyone when they say all wrapping paper is created equal. I could definitely tell a difference between the Hallmark paper and the Target paper. The Target paper did not cut as neatly and tore much more easily. I love hitting the after Christmas sales at Hallmark to get pretty paper!

Family ties

This evening, my family and I received an invitation to spend Christmas Eve with some other families from church. Being a military family, most Christmases are spent away from our "blood" relatives, so this invitation is such a welcome and special thing for us. 2 of the families who will be there are long-time friends who have a longstanding tradition of spending Christmas Eve together. 2 of us are military families, and the other couple just moved to the area this past summer. We are really looking forward to spending the evening with all of these people who are part of our larger family. And now I have even more incentive to get all of the presents wrapped before Christmas Eve night!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My BlogExplosion rant

OK, I haven't talked much about BlogExplosion, but I hafta say something now. Why do some people have to make 20 different banners, none of which identify exactly what site you are going to? I understand why they can't put the name of their site (kind of silly, if you ask me), but I think there has to be some way to let us know, so we don't wind up going to their site 10 times in 20 minutes. Or can't BE come up with a way to know we have already been to the site during a particular surfing cycle, and not keep giving us banners for that site?? I am one of those BE surfers that will actually read the blogs, rather than just wait out 30 seconds (unless it is a marketing, sports, or just really skanky). So I don't need to read this blog again until something new has been posted.

Did any of that make sense? It made more sense in my head than it did on screen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I think we're done

All we have left to do is pick up a few stocking stuffers for the kids. I need to get the yearly box of cherry cordials for hubby. And then there is ..... the WRAPPING. This is one of those times I wish I had Samantha Stephens' twinkletwinkletwink powers to instantaneously transform the piles of hidden presents into beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree. Oh yeah... not only do we have to wrap the stuff, we have to lug it all downstairs once the kids are asleep on Christmas Eve. Have I mentioned my kids tend to be night owls???

Which reminds me... in the 13 years I have been a parent, my kids have never been the ones to wake me up on Christmas morning. I am always the first person up and have to sit around and wait for the kids. I usually end up waking them up because I am tired of waiting. If I waited for them, it would be nearly 10 a.m. before we started opening presents. Nope, Christmas is nothing like it is in the movies here at my house.

Just call me secretary

I've started working on inputting the recipes for my non-profit group's fundraising cookbook today. It's not a good idea to do this on an empty stomach. Now I'm scouring the cabinets looking for something to munch on. Why can't the recipes all be for something I don't like, like "Creamed Spinach Surpise" or something like that. No, we have Frozen Oreo Fudge Squares and Chocolate Delight. It's a good thing I didn't start doing this before I went grocery shopping today, or I would have bought a whole lotta stuff I don't really need to eat.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

And a partridge in a pear tree....

No, make that some other kind of bird in our storage room. The hubs and I locked ourselves in our bedroom today (no, not for *that*) in order to inventory the gifts we had bought the kids so far. While we were there, we decided to get a head start on wrapping so that we wouldn't be stuck doing everything Christmas Eve night, as we have had to do most years. We have a storage room connected to our bedroom... it over the garage and is as of yet unfinished. We've managed to get some insulation added to the floor, get it wired for electricity (a couple of electrical outlets and some overhead can lights), and add some heating/cooling vents. There are still access holes in the walls and ceiling where this work was recently done. So meanwhile, we are being happy little elves and wrapping gifts when we see a swift, dark shape swoop past us out of the storage room and into our bedroom. Yup, it's a bird. It flew around a bit before heading back for the storage room. Now we have to find out how it got in.... and try to get rid of it. I suppose we could just board him up inside the walls, but I'm not sure that would be a good idea. Sigh.... first a couple of mice, and now a bird. I hope we get this resolved before the we have to put the house on the market in the spring.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I really could have used one of these last night. There were kids walking all over the movie theater talking on their cell phones in voices loud enough to be heard 50 feet away.

Coughing-induced insomnia

It's 4:30 a.m. here and I haven't been to sleep yet. This darn cough just doesn't quit long enough for me to fall asleep. I took some Robitussin a little while ago; hopefully it will kick in soon.

We took the kids to see the Lemony Snicket movie tonight (Friday). I found it mildly amusing. My kids haven't read the books yet. I read the first one back in September on our way home from a trip to the Mall of America. Our hotel gave out free copies of the books. I wasn't overly impressed with it. The "unfortunate events" really got old. I can't imagine reading every single book in the series.

Hoping to get started wrapping presents this weekend. Otherwise, Christmas Eve will be a very long night. Could be another night like tonight, with or without coughing.

Update: I finally fell asleep around 5am.... and Joel woke me up at 8. We'll see how long 3 hours lasts.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A stroke of luck

When we last visited the ongoing saga of our Christmas letters, I was headed to Office Depot for a new color cartridge. Upon arriving at OD, I perused the many offerings (single packs, double packs, mixed packs of 1 color cartridge and 1 black cartridge), I decided upon the color/black combo, figuring that the black ink would run out eventually. Little did I know what a wise decision that was! After I got home and installed the color cartridge and printed the test page, the printer readout said, "black ink low." What are the odds?? I felt like quite the Girl Scout as I installed the second cartridge. Mission accomplished. Christmas letters are all printed up. I've addressed 50 envelopes in the last 2-3 days, with more to come once the other set of Christmas photocards arrives in the mail. Looks like we need that original order after all.

I'm off to take some cough medicine. I'm going to wake the dead if I don't get it stopped. Stoopid allergies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

If it isn't one thing.....

it's another! After getting the printer paper I needed to print a second run of the annual Christmas letter, I look at my large stack of freshly printed news to see that the color ink cartridge has run out of ink. Looks like another run to Office Depot is in order tomorrow morning. My goal is to get the rest of the letters in the mail by Saturday.

Other goals for the weekend: make up a dozen jars of hot chocolate mix to give as gifts to the hub's coworkers next week, get caught up on my laundry, and start wrapping Christmas presents.

Getting into the spirit

I got our Christmas letter written yesterday and managed to get over 30 envelopes stuffed and addressed before I ran out of printer paper. I'll be making a run to Office Depot for that today, I suppose. I think I have at least 30 more to do.

Last night, a group of women from church rented out a trolley for a driving tour of Christmas lights around town. We wound up in some VERY nice neighborhoods (we drove past one house on the market for $12.5 million) and saw some beautiful displays. Then there were some displays that were just too much.... One family had their entire front and side yard full of decorations: Disney, Rudolph-themed, Grinch-themed, nativity, toy soldiers, elves... every character ever associated with Christmas. They even came outside dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and the "head elf." I say "Pick a theme and stick with it." I mentioned this to my friend Kayla and she agreed, saying that she called this type of decorating, "Christmas Barf." How apropos. I have stolen her phrase and will continue to use it for years to come.

In other news, Emily (my oldest) spent way too much time last night working on updating our old webpages over on Geocities. She is teaching herself HTML by way of using the old page as a template and changing things here and there... learning what works and what doesn't. If she can't figure it out, she calls me in to find out what is holding things up. I can usually find the answer. Anyhow, in return for being allowed on my computer (her brother was using theirs), she promised not to get on a computer at all today. If she can do it, it will be a miracle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Santa has Parkinson's

There's a story behind this little guy.... One of my friends is getting ready to move away from here. She was relating the story of how she happened to be flipping channels one evening and came across this Santa lamp. Now, this isn't just any ol' Santa lamp! It's a Tiffany-style bobble-head lamp!! The poor girl was nearly in tears, she was laughing so hard, trying to describe this to those of us who hadn't seen it. Of course, me being from Missouri (really, I truly am), I had to rush to the QVC website later that night and see if I could find this wonder of wonders. Once I did, I knew right away that this little man belonged with her. I set about ordering him for her, enlisting the support of a few of the other ladies who were present the night she told me about him.

Today, Bobble-head Santa met his new owner. It was a riotous reunion, complete with squeals and peals of laughter. We have ensured that Kami will never forget those weird ladies from Omaha.

Want your own Bobble-head Santa? or Snowman?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Life in the fast lane

OK, not really.... I know my life is probably a lot more boring than most others', but when I feel like I have a neverending list of places to go or things to accomplish, I feel worn out before I even start! This week's list of things/places:


  1. Get kids up, fed, and doing schoolwork.
  2. Go to Sam's Club to pick up holiday cards. (More about this later)
  3. Laundry.... carloads of it.
  4. Taekwondo classes
  5. Plan/fix dinner

Rest of the week:

  1. Holiday Lights viewing with women's group from church.
  2. Holiday Brunch with above-mentioned group earlier that same day.
  3. Cub Scout Christmas party/potluck/gift exchange.
  4. Bowling league for Noah and Halle Wed. afternoon.
  5. Wednesday night Bible Study.
  6. Thursday afternoon ladies' prayer/accountability group.
  7. Youth group holiday party Sat. night.

Well, I suppose it isn't as much as it seemed once I got it written down. But it's enough...

Now, back to the Sam's Club thing... I ordered Christmas cards online Saturday afternoon before we left to take the kids to see Santa. I was in a rush... we were trying to get out the door. So I didn't notice until it was too late that the cards were going to be sent here instead of being made/held at the local club for me to pick them up. I jot down the service number to Sam's and call from the cell phone on the way to the mall. I explained the predicament and was told they would cancel that order so I could place a new one later when I got home. Once we got back, I placed the new order (and realized why I made the earlier mistake.... on one of the order pages, right next to my name, it said, "Pick up in store," which led me to believe that was the option it was set to...... especially since I had previously placed a similar order. Anyhow, nope.. you had to click on that to change it to in-store pickup. sigh). Sunday morning, I received notification that the original order had shipped. I do not want to pay for 2 orders... I don't think I really need 100 photo Christmas cards. I emailed customer service immediately (no phone customer service on Sundays) and am waiting to hear back. I may call them today as well.

Doncha hate it when stuff like that happens?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Picture number 4,629 (not really)

We took this picture of the kids and dog yesterday. It's going on our Christmas cards this year. (Don't ask how many pictures we had to take to get one that would work.)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Santa Baby

We took the kids to the mall to see Santa today. I was so glad he was "real" (not a fake beard). They were very well-behaved, especially considering the line was quite long. Hubs bribed the eldest child to get her picture made with Santa with the other kids. There was quite a bit of negotiation while waiting in line. The fellow ahead of us was getting a kick out of listening to them. Emily settled on a small cup of Dippin' Dots as her reward for submitting to the absolute torture of posing with Santa. When I get a chance to scan the picture, I'll put it up here. I think it came out quite well.

After we got back, it was time to get ready for my husband's work Christmas party. I had baked a devil's food cake earlier in the day (a WW version.... substitute 12 oz. diet coke for the water, oil, and eggs). I frosted it and added crushed peppermint candy to the top. Then I made a green bean casserole. The cake got good reviews and the casserole was totally devoured.

By the time we left the party, my husband's voice was going and I was coughing. I think the hosts' Golden Retriever was messing with our allergies. Even though she was kept downstairs, I think there was enough of her presence left upstairs to affect us. The "dog smell" was evident immediately upon arrival. Noah even said to me right after we got there, "It smells like they have a pet, but I don't see one." I guess I have taken Campbell's undoggy odor and hypoallergenic hair for granted. Anyhow, I was better once we got back here.

A little digression

OK, so I'm not a terribly political person.... you generally won't find me in the middle of political discussions and debates. But, I found the flash animation found at this site to be very interesting. Truly not a surprising discovery to me.... I need to search out the election results and see what color the county of our new home next year is. Hard to tell from this map. But isn't it rather intriguing that the bulk of the blue color is concentrated in large cities??

Friday, December 10, 2004

Movie night

Our church's MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group had a Parent's Night Out fundraiser tonight. Babysitting for $2 an hour per kid, from 6-10pm. The other half of the parental pair is OOT tonight, so I dropped off the youngest 2 (the next oldest is spending the night with his best friend) and my oldest and I went to see Christmas with the Kranks. Loved it!

Tomorrow night is my husband's anesthesia department Christmas party. He signed me up to make a dessert and green bean casserole. Guess I need to hit the WW website again to find a good treat!


Here are those recipes I was telling you about:

Apple Bundles (2 points per serving; makes 8 servings)

  • 2 large or 3 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 8 oz. can reduced fat refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/2 c. Splenda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. melted margarine/butter

Preheat oven to 375. Peel and core apples, then slice thinly. (This is where the Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer comes in handy.) Cut slices in half. Unroll dough and separate into 8 triangles. Cut each triangle in half lengthwise. Place 3-4 apple slices at wide end of strip and fold up. Arrange bundles in baking dish. Mix Splenda and cinnamon and sprinkle over apple bundles. Drizzle bundles with butter. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Crispy Peppermint Treats (1 point per serving; approx. 36 servings)

  • 1 Tbps. margarine
  • 30 medium marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 5 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 20 pieces peppermint hard candy, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 serving butter-flavor cooking spray (enough to coat hands)
  1. Melt margine in a nonstick Dutch oven (yes, please make it nonstick, otherwise you will have one heck of a time cleaning out the pot afterwards!). Add marshmallows and cook over low-medium heat until melted, about 5 minutes. Stir in extract and cereal.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir constantly until cereal is coated with marshmallows; stir in candies.
  3. Coat hands with cooking spray. Roll cereal mixture into 1-inch balls and place on foil-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Yields about 2 balls per serving.

Note: The last tray we made didn't get put into the refrigerator and I could tell no difference between the texture or firmness of the treats. Also, be prepared... these are crispy treats, not the gooey ones we are used to making with Rice Krispies.

Hope you enjoy 'em!

Good stuff

First happy news.... I lost another 3.4 pounds this week! That put me to 30.4 pounds lost and only 2.6 to go for my 10% goal. I'm definitely thinking this is doable by Christmas.

Was busier than ever yesterday with getting ready for my ladies' group and my Southern Living party. Made some fabulous low-point treats... One was a rice-krispie treat kind of thing (just not so much butter in them, so they were more crunchy than gooey) with peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candy in them. I also made a Pampered Chef recipe called "Apple Bundles", substituting reduced fat crescent rolls and Splenda for the sugar. Mmmm, Mmmm. When I have more time, I may post the recipes.

Anyhow, it was a very late night. My Southern Living consultant was here till almost 11pm (we are good friends, so it was not an unwelcome thing). I fell asleep in the family room watching a Saturday Night Live Best of Will Farrell DVD... woke up around 1:30 to find someone had switched it out to the Dana Carvey one. 3 of the 4 kids were STILL awake! My oldest was playing games on the computer and the younger 2 were watching her. Needless to say, I hurried everyone off to bed.

Now... to figure out exactly what I need to do today...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Late night cleaning

I just finished up cleaning the kitchen and family room... all that is left to do in those rooms is sweep/mop (kitchen) and vacuum (family room). We'll have to pick up and vacuum this room as well, along with making sure the basement is in some kind of order. Tomorrow afternoon I am having my ladies' prayer group here for our weekly/biweekly meeting, plus I am having a Southern Living at Home party in the evening. I have to figure out what kind of goodies I am going to make for that and then decide whether I have time to make them right before the party or if I need to get them done earlier in the day. I've got Weight Watchers from 10-11, then ladies' group from 12:30-3, then Halle and Joel have taekwondo from 6-6:30. I'll be rushing back here for the party at 7. Brian and Noah will be leaving between 6 and 6:30 for Cub Scouts. Obviously, tomorrow will be rather insane.

So the kids will have their chores tomorrow.... Emily will be mopping the kitchen, Noah will be vacuuming, and the younger 2 will help pick up and put away things. The oldest two will also be cleaning the kids' bathroom. I'll be cleaning the main floor bathroom and taking care of laundry, plus cooking.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Random thoughts

I have a cool idea.... I'd love to see cable television go to an a la carte system. You know, 20 channels for $20, or something like that. I am sick of the "levels" and "packages" the companies offer. We don't watch half of them! No ESPN, none of the home shopping networks, no "all sports all the time" channels... Seriously, we'd probably get a few superstations (TBS, maybe WGN... hmm, I wonder if there is another one in CA, since that is where we're headed in 6 months??), maybe some educational stuff (History Channel, Noggin), TLC (I love Trading Spaces and While You Were Out), HGTV, Disney Channel.... I dunno what else... but we wouldn't have 100 channels of total CRAP flowing into our television set. Right now we don't have cable... and the basement tv is the only one with any kind of antenna on it. It can pick up 3 or 4 channels... and not all of them very well. I think WB is the one that comes in the clearest. Anyhow, we got rid of our cable because the kids were just addicted to it. They spent every free moment they had in front of the tv and we got tired of competing with it. I hate that. So I lost my one evening of Trading Spaces in order to save my kids' brains. I sure hope it's worth it.

2 down...

Campbell, the mouse-hunting dog, located another little critter last night. We moved a trap back into the bread drawer (moved the bread out) before we went to bed. I got up a little while ago to find an empty drawer and an email from Brian informing me that the total count of mousies sent to mousie heaven from our house is now 2. Wondering how many more there are... hopefully none. This is old. And I really have no clue where/how to look for their entrance places, especially not now that it is getting so doggone cold outside!

Oy, Campbell is staring at the oven again... please don't tell me there is another one back there!

Monday, December 06, 2004


You ever have a day where you feel like you did nothing productive??? Today was definitely one of those days. I honestly did so very little it is sad. Other than folding a huge basket of kids' clothes and washing a large basket of clothes from my bedroom, nothing got done around the house. I played Crash Bandicoot with Joel, Uno with Brian and Halle... took the kids to taekwondo... and that is about it. How sad. Tomorrow will have to be better! I cannot let the kids sleep in while I surf BlogExplosion. We must have school in the morning. And the house has to be picked up and the laundry put away.

I am meeting friends for lunch tomorrow and then stopping by the church building to pick up materials for the cookbook our adoption agency auxiliary is putting together. We have just begun collecting recipes and need to start deciding the details, like cover design, divider pages, layout, etc. We're very excited about this fundraising project. The cookbooks put out by this company (Morris Press) are very nice. I am also excited because it will be a great memory of the 2 years we will have lived here after we move to California.

How come I think of scads of hilarious and witty things when I am not sitting here at the keyboard, but once I sit down to type, everything I say is so boring??? sigh....

He's history

Mr. Mouse is no more. Noah alerted us to the fact that the dog was intensely sniffing around the bread drawer again. He opened the drawer to see mousie frantically struggling to free himself from the glue trap. After giving all the kids (and the dog) a chance to see it, we sealed him in a ziploc bag and put him in our outside trash dumpster. I figure it was as humane a way as any.

I'm leaving the other traps in place for a while, just in case there is any family lurking about.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Odds and ends

The mouse is still on the loose. Campbell seems to think he hears/smells it occasionally. I did discover that the mouse has been in the bread drawer. I ended up emptying it out and leaving a glue trap in it. I am hearing from friends/neighbors that it has taken them up to 3 weeks to find and get rid of the pesky little things once they discovered them.

I'm switching to We've been using Netflix for a couple of years now, but Blockbuster has come up with a better deal. Not only are they 50 cents cheaper than Netflix, but each month will give us 2 free movie or game rentals from the local store. I think that's a pretty sweet deal.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Uninvited guest

We. have. a. mouse. Not a pet, but a wild one... running loose somewhere in the house. Our intrepid fox terrier, Campbell, sniffed him out in our kitchen last night. We came very close to capturing him (and I'm sure had video cameras been rolling, we would have some award-winning footage), but in the end, he vanished and we were left holding the brooms. Hubs is convinced the little creature is here due to sloppy housekeeping and has declared a day of cleansing for our home. The kids are overjoyed (not) that they get to spend their Saturday cleaning. We'll also be making a run to Home Depot for traps. This is so not fun.

All hail Campbell... doing what he was bred for, ferreting out rodents. Just wish the darn thing wasn't in my house! I have visions of mayhem a la Mouse Hunt ensuing.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Spending dough

So my husband and I go out for a couple of hours today, just the 2 of us. (I love having a 13yo who can watch the younger kids!) We went to Sam's.... managed to get a couple of Christmas presents there, as well as other stuff. My husband found the Mickey phone he has *always* wanted, so rather than risk it not being there later, I said, "Merry Christmas," as he put it into our cart.

The real deals of the day came when we stopped into Office Depot on our way home. We were looking for an office chair for the kids to use at their computer. We walked in the door and right smack dab in the front of the store was a very nice leather task chair... last one of its kind. Marked down to $19.04!!!!! Oh, and they were throwing in the floor mat under it as well. Turns out they had just put it out 5 minutes before we walked in. The assistant manager said the original price on the chair back when they were doing their back-to-school sales was $99. Not a bad discount, eh?? The other find was a nice lamp for our bedside table. Once again, the particular item I wanted happened to be the last one, the display model. They marked it a couple of bucks down from the original $19.99 to $17.97. I am happy. Now we have a bedside lamp that 1) is not Mickey Mouse and 2) doesn't have a short in it.

All is well with the world.

Friday's Feast

Tell about a toy you remember from your childhood.

We had a toy called "Incredible Edibles." It made
bug-shaped candy, kind of like gummy bears.

If you could make one thing in the world absolutely free for everyone, what would it be?

Approximately how many times per day do you think about your significant other?
Probably not enough. Too many other things to distract

Main Course
Name something you believe in 100%.
My inadequacies.

List 3 things you did this year that you would consider a "good deed."
While I'm sure I did them, I certainly didn't keep

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Clothes shopping with a 13-year-old

can be torture. I met hubby and the kids at Kohl's to shop for the 2 oldest tonight. They have a choir concert tomorrow night and my son Noah (9 in 28 days) has outgrown most of his nice stuff. My daughter Emily (13 in 28 days) says she doesn't have anything to wear, either. I am in Kohl's almost an hour and a half with her. I want to scream. (I don't.) I want to tell her that I will pick something out and she will wear it and like it. (I don't do that either.) We finally settle on a red blouse with some sparkly red beads on the front to go with a black skirt she has at home. And I talked her into an awesome chenille sweater that I would kill to find in my size. I haven't even looked at what hubs bought Noah. I know he got 2-3 pairs of pants (I did see some gorgeous green corduroys... I love corduroy in the fall and winter!) and a couple of turtlenecks. I would like to have gotten him some button-down shirts, but by the time I finished with Emily, hubs was ready to leave. Maybe some other time.

The Cotas: Sowing Award-Winning Seeds

What a great story.... Definitely something to think about!

I'm such a loser!

Oh, I mean that in a good way! Thursday mornings is when I go to my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. Today was my first weigh-in in 2 weeks, because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I lost 3.6 pounds!! That puts my total at 27. Just 6 more and I will have reached my 10% lost goal. (Yes, I have a bunch to lose.) But I am just jazzed that I was able to have a normal Thanksgiving, go to the movies and eat buttered popcorn (just not the whole darn bag, like I might have tried a few months ago) and even have fetuccine alfredo at Olive Garden... and still walk away with almost 2 pounds a week in weight loss.

Beginning a new book

Tonight at church, we began a new class just for us ladies. We used our time tonight to decide what book (out of a 5-book series) we wanted to read and discuss. We wound up with Cultivating Contentment, a Women of Faith Bible study. We start chapter one next week, and I am really looking forward to it. When I first looked over the titles we were selecting from, I initially thought that Managing Your Moods or Living Above Worry or Stress would be the winning titles, but after reading the introduction to our chosen book, I realize this is a good choice. At first, I thought that because I could think of so many other women in our group that I thought of as discontent complainers (I know, shame on me!).... but then God turned it around and brought me face-to-face with my own tendencies toward negativity and complaints. It didn't feel pretty. I am expecting great things from this study.

However, I am part of another small group of women who meet once a week/every 2 weeks to share prayer concerns and/or study a book together. We are finishing up a study of The Politically Incorrect Wife and will be looking for a new title for after the first of the year. I'm hoping we can pick one of the other titles above. They both looked really good.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

More Christmas favorites and reminiscings from Christmases past

All this talk of favorite Christmas songs got me to thinking about the other Christmas tradition: movies. Here's my list of the ones I have to watch every year.

  • Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Beats White Christmas all to pieces, IMO. And did you know that the song White Christmas was first introduced in Holiday Inn, not White Christmas? Anyhow, I just prefer this movie. Now if they would just put it out in DVD format so I don't have to watch it on VHS.
  • The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2. Tim Allen in one of his best roles ever.
  • Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. These are the best 2 of the series.
  • It's a Wonderful Life. 'Nuff said.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The original (I call it the *real* version), not Jim Carrey's worthless imitation.

And what about the TV specials? I miss the Bing Crosby specials. Doesn't seem like anyone makes those kind of things anymore. There are still a few animated specials from my childhood around.

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Twas the Night Before Christmas

I miss the commercials of my youth, too. Remember Santa Claus riding down the hill in a Norelco razor?? That was always one of the first clues that Christmas was coming. Oh, and the Sprite commercials sung to the tune of Good King Wenceslas. But one of the all-time bests was the Coca-Cola commercials with bundled-up carolers passing around that bottle of Coke while singing, "I'd like to buy the world a Coke..." sniff, sniff.... Those were the days...

Music, music, music

The stereo is on nonstop these days, either tuned to the local all-Christmas station or spinning 3 CDs at a time out of my 22-CD collection. My online pal Annie posted today on her favorite Christmas songs and I thought, "Hey, what a cool idea!" So I am shamelessly piggybacking on her post and giving you all a look at my own (not in order of preference).

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Vince Guaraldi Trio: love just about everything on this CD and have to have it playing when we decorate the tree. It just doesn't feel right without it on.
  • White Christmas, Bing Crosby: Nobody sings it like Bing.
  • Jingle Bells, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters: coolest version out there. Barry Manilow and Expose tried to copy it, but Barry is no Bing (sorry, Barry!).
  • I'll Be Home for Christmas, Bing Crosby: I just love how he croons.
  • Who Would Imagine a King?, Whitney Houston: I love the lyrics. This one is from The Preacher's Wife.
  • The Gift, Jim Brickman: I'm a sappy sentimentalist. (And I love his piano-playing.)
  • Christmas is All in the Heart, Stephen Curtis Chapman

Not on my list of favorites: Feliz Navidad (or as my 4yo sings it, Feliz Mommyma)

What are the rest of you listening to out there??

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