Saturday, December 31, 2005

Insert favorite rainy day quote here

Yup, it's raining here. Rained all day yesterday and is still raining. Our backyard is waterlogged and the patio has standing water from about 4 feet out the back door, all the way out into the yard. Glad we don't own this house.

Brian has already written about our day yesterday, so I'm not going to repeat it. I will say I was not impressed with Benihana and am missing our old haunt in Omaha, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. We'll have to keep looking for good hibachi/teppanyaki here, I guess. And as far as my impression of The Ringer, it was mildly entertaining. Not worth a full-price admission, probably worth a rental.

The boys get to brave the rain for today's Raiders/Giants game in Oakland. According to the forecast at Weather Underground, the rain may stop before or at least during the game. So maybe they won't get soaked. They're taking along our Mickey ponchos from one of our long-ago Disney World trips, just in case. That's about as close as we come to having rain gear in this house.

Not sure what the girls and I will do for fun this afternoon. We'll come up with something.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

What's on my mind

As I tried to think of something to write about tonight, the only thing that really comes to mind is this wonderful birthday card Noah received today. Oh, it was accompanied by gifts, but for me, the card outshined them all. You see, this card was from his best friend back in Nebraska. Not only had he taken the time to remember Noah's birthday, he took the time to sign the card with a personal note. "Wish you could still be here. Love, Logan" It took every ounce of self-control I had to not burst out in tears when I read that. Ok, so I'm sitting here crying as I type this. Is there any better gift than to know you are loved and missed? I am so glad Noah has Logan for a friend, and that they are not letting the miles separate them in any other way than physically.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Spit and polish(ed)

Today Emily and I were treated to manicures and pedicures at a day spa in Napa. Santa left us each gift certificates in our stocking, and we wasted no time in getting appointments. There is nothing like a good foot/hand massage. Like tickling, it's just not something you can do to yourself. I wish I could just set up regular appointments for my hands and feet (oh heck, I wouldn't mind an all-over rubdown as well!).

Plans are shaping up for the birthday weekend. Right now, it looks like we'll be spending Friday in Sacramento... shopping, dining, perhaps seeing a movie and/or doing a little sightseeing. Then on Saturday, Brian and the boys will be taking in the Oakland Raiders/NY Giants game. Or it may just be Brian and Noah. Joel keeps changing his mind. Whoever stays behind with me will get to do something fun here around home. Noah is excited because they are going to ride the BART to the stadium. We drive past a BART station every time we go to and from church, and he has always been interested in it. Maybe I'll get a chance to ride the BART before we leave CA, too.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The early bird catches the worm

Well, not really worms, but then I'm not a bird, either! I took advantage of my early-morning nature to head to the base exchange for its 8 a.m. post-Christmas opening this morning. I was not unrewarded. I left with 4 new Hallmark ornaments, 2 boxes of Christmas cards for next year (I wish Christmas was next week, so I could send them out now), and 8 rolls of Hallmark Christmas paper. I love the Hallmark wrapping paper... so easy to cut. I also scored 2 more sweet finds:

This Mary Engelbreit Santa

and this Lenox Christmas bell:

It's been a very nice day with the kids. They've been playing with their new things. Joel says his favorite gifts were his Leapster and the Harry Potter Lego set (the Graveyard Duel). I had a great time helping him put the Lego stuff together. I could seriously get hooked on that stuff! Halle's favorites were her Leapster and Easy Bake Oven. Noah liked his Batcave and Batman figures, plus the ESPN Shot Block basketball set. And Emily... well, she said her IHome was "sweet." That's a real compliment coming from her.

Now we need to prepare for Emily and Noah's birthdays (both on Friday). We're still scratching our heads about deciding what we're going to do.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas Eve meme

Seems like just about everyone is doing this meme, and since I don't have much else to write about today, figured I'd jump in!

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider? Hot chocolate (especially if it's Starbuck's Peppermint Hot Chocolate!)

2. Turkey or Ham? For Christmas dinner? Neither. I usually make lasagna, although this year it will be manicotti.

3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree? Fake and prelit. No more fights putting on the lights!! We tried real a few times, but Brian couldn't decorate without breaking out into a rash.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house? Just a simple prelit greenery swag over the front door.

5. Snowball fights or sleddin'? Neither. I make the hot chocolate and warm socks for those people who do.

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping? Sometimes

7. Favorite Christmas song? Too many to name

8. How do you feel about Christmas movies? Bring 'em on!

10. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? Before Thanksgiving.

1i. Stockings before or after presents? Before - as soon as we wake up!

12. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them? Do people really do that anymore? I'd listen if they did. Better yet, I'd go do it if I had someone to do it with!

13. Go to someone else's house or they come to you? Sometimes we get to spend time with friends at our house or theirs, but usually it is just us.

14. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when? We listen to Linus read it.

15. What do you do after presents and dinner? Play.

16. What is your favorite holiday smell? Peppermint

17. Ice skating or walking around the mall? The mall.

18. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day? The kids usually get to open one thing on Christmas Eve.

19. Favorite Christmas memory? Any good memory is a favorite.

20. Favorite Part about winter? Emily and Noah's birthdays, just 5 days after Christmas

21. Ever been kissed under mistletoe? No, we've never had mistletoe at our house.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The day approaches

Brian is out finishing his shopping. We're waiting for him to get home so we can all go see Cheaper By the Dozen 2. Sometime either before or after the movie, we want to get haircuts for the boys. Then it will be a typical evening here at home, with a little bit of holiday preparation thrown in. We haven't wrapped the bulk of the kids' gifts yet, so we still have that left to do. Then I need to make a couple of batches of fudge to take to a Christmas Eve gathering at the home of Brian's boss/partner. I will also be making those stuffed mushrooms I made last weekend, but that is a "do the prep work just before leaving/bake them when you get there" kind of thing.

This will be one of the first Christmases on a Sunday that I can remember. It will be interesting to see how it goes, considering my kids aren't the "wake-up-Mom-and-Dad-at-an-ungodly-hour" kind of kids. Most Christmases, I sit around waiting for them to wake up! But this Sunday, we'll have to make sure everyone is up, presents are opened, and everyone is ready to leave the house by 9:15 so we can make the 35-minute drive to church. Should make for some {interesting} video footage. (Donna, notice the brackets?) I wonder if I should hide the video camera....

No White Christmas for us here... The song is more like "I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas." Those of you with white stuff, enjoy it for us.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A little something extra

No, this isn't a good something extra, at least not for someone out there who wanted to send something to a friend. Let me 'splain. Last Wednesday, I took 3 wrapped gifts to the UPS Store located so conveniently a mile from my house. I filled out the paperwork to have these 3 gifts packed and shipped to my best friend's home in Nebraska. Today I received an email from her, telling me that the package arrived, but that there were *4* gifts in the box. In addition to what I intended to send her, lying on top of everything else in the box was a mailing tube with an art print in it. Handwritten on the outside of the tube: "To Roy and Jill---From Jasmine, Mikki, Sherry & Me." Now I don't know who Jasmine, Mikki, Sherry, and me are, but I can only bet they would not be too happy to know that Roy and Jill did not receive their art print. I made 2 different phone calls to the store today and still haven't gotten the situation cleared up. Tomorrow I am taking the boys for a haircut just a couple of storefronts down from the UPS place, so I will try to handle it face to face. I think I'll be doing my own packing for now and using the USPS. My friend's package she sent here cost less to send and got here faster.


When I take the time to hunt down the USB cable to the camera (ok, I doubt I really have to hunt; it's probably in the camera bag), I'll upload a picture of the gingerbread house that Brian and the 3 youngest kids made last night. They did a great job. Now the kids are counting the days till they can demolish eat it.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Sights and sounds of the season

As I sit here, I can hear Brian and Emily laughing as they play PlayStation together. The 3 youngest have been engaged in various activities; earlier, I could hear them singing Away in a Manger together. Noah came and asked me to play it on the piano and I had to transpose it downward 3 steps in order for him to sing it. He's not quite 10, but he is already losing that "boy choir" voice.

Behind me in Emily's room, I can hear Summer giving her exercise wheel a workout. Campbell is lounging in the living room watching all the various goings-on with a somewhat interested gaze.

The house is still relatively clean, thanks to everyone's hard work over the weekend. It makes for a peaceful night. No silent nights in this house, but all is calm and bright.


Yesterday morning's Christmas program went pretty well. There were a few glitches (such as a couple of praise team altos .... who shall remain nameless .... not being able to see their music in the dark and having to hum/mumble (humble?) a few words of Mary Did You Know?), but as Jarrod and Rick put it, the cute factor of the preschoolers helped to obscure those foibles. Joel even had a little featured spot on one song, being that he is just about the only 5-year-old who can snap his fingers like a pro. He helped out the Harbour Lights Preschoolers on The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy.

My favorite parts yesterday were Jarrod's telling of the story in simple, modern language. It was very powerful. And Tom's portrayal of Simeon was moving, as well.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Work and play

You know the saying, "All work and no play make Jack (Jill) a dull boy (girl)?" Suffice it to say that life here has been anything but dull. There was plenty of work over the past couple of days, but it culminated in an evening of fun here at the old homestead.

Yesterday was spent with schoolwork, shopping, and cooking (snickerdoodles, peppermint treats, and chocolate peppermint fudge). Today I was out and about at 9, getting my hair cut and colored, then came home and made more fudge, this time the regular chocolate version with walnuts. Did some cleaning and picking up, then I had to run to the store again while Brian did his bit of cleaning on the house. By the time I got back, it was time to make crockpot cocoa and start getting the treats laid out on the trays. I set out some cheese and Ritz crackers and made stuffed mushrooms. (These mushrooms are unbelievably easy to make.... take some baby portabellas, remove the stems, wash & dry, and spoon in some Philly Cream Cheese with Chives and Onion. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.)

The company started arriving right on time. We spent the first hour or so just shootin' the breeze and snacking a bit. Then we got down to the serious business of fun. We were able to play 2 games of Apples to Apples before it was time for Rick and Virginia, Jarrod and Lauren, and Doug, Melody, and Suzy to make their 45-minute or so drive back to their homes. There was much laughter.... I'm still chuckling that hairball was chosen as the best answer for sexy. Jim, do you think that beats Meredith's mischievous mold choice for weirdest/funniest winning answer?

2 of the families that were originally coming weren't able to make it tonight. But I have plates of goodies for them.... So although they missed out on the fun, they still get something yummy.

Now for some sleep. Tomorrow is our Christmas program at church, and I'm "on." Wouldn't do for me to be yawning up front!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wherein things that are supposed to work, do

Yep, that's right. The dishwasher is operational once more. It was another blown fuse in the dishwasher and the repairman (different guy than last time) said he didn't know if it was the same one or not. He said if it was, we could have just gotten a bad fuse. Or.... there is a deeper problem with the dishwasher. Well, as long as it holds out past all the baking tomorrow. I'm thankful I don't have to pay for the repairs!

A few weeks ago, we bought a new steam cleaner. Today was its inaugural use. I cleaned the floor in Emily's room and in our living/dining room. It wasn't fast work, by any means... but it wasn't hard, either. I'm pleased with the results. I still need to do the other 4 bedrooms, but there's no big hurry.

I managed to get all but a few of our Christmas letters addressed today. I'll finish the rest tonight or in the morning, then tomorrow I'll take them to the post office. Tomorrow will also be baking day. I haven't decided everything I'll make yet, but snickerdoodles and peppermint rice krispie snacks are 2 definite treats.

Still humming that AWB song, but my stress level is much lower. Funny, I have more people coming Saturday night than I originally thought (12 instead of 4), but that just makes things more exciting, not more stressful. I'm weird that way.

I got work, work to do...

If you recognize the song lyric, please realize I am not really that old. I had an older brother who liked Average White Band. I think that song and Pick Up the Pieces are probably the only 2 songs I would recognize. I think the latter was often played at the roller rink when I was in 5th or 6th grade.

But back to the post title. I do have work to do, trying to get ready for a little gathering here this weekend. Of the 6 couples/families we invited, 2 couples are coming and 1 family has not given me their answer yet. So it could be a very small gathering, or it could be a bit bigger, given that the one family is a family of 7. Anyhow, all the daily stuff (school and mounds of laundry) keeps me from attacking the special stuff I want to do. It's frustrating. Add to that the fact that the dishwasher went on the fritz again... But Sears is coming out in the morning to look at it again. Seems like the same thing, which was a blown fuse inside the dishwasher. Makes me wonder what is causing it to blow and if it will just blow again if the technician replaces it. I need a functioning dishwasher this weekend. It's no fun using extra dishes and having to wash by hand. So once he gets it working, I can spend Friday baking cookies and making treats.

We are nearly done with our shopping. I thought we were done, but an inventory done last night revealed that the boys could use 1 or 2 more things. I need to find a couple of things for Brian as well. Hopefully I can do that by early next week.

For now, I've got sleep, sleep to do.....

Monday, December 12, 2005

Is someone really listening?

I don't know if any of you have heard my cable TV rant, but someone out there must have heard... or someone else who thinks a whole lot like me was able to get through to the cable companies. Check out this article. By spring, we might be able to subscribe to "family-friendly" tiers, or use "a la carte" pricing, something I have often said we needed. No word on the costs, yet. But if the options are right... maybe our family will enter the cable world again.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

He's not a tame lion

Oh. My. Word. That had to be one of the best movies we've seen this year! The kids were all fantastic in their roles... they really seemed like brothers and sisters. Liam Neeson was awesome as the voice of Aslan. When I think of some of Christ's words now, that is the voice I hear speaking. Gentle, yet commanding. Warm, inviting, but with authority. Gives me shivers (in a good way!)

We have the BBC version of this movie, but I know we'll be adding this new one when it is released on DVD. The special effects were so well done, the scenery was amazing, and the acting was superb. Yes, there were a few changes from the book, but on the whole, it was fairly faithful. The kids are already asking for new movies of the next books. And my husband, who has never read any of them, is ready to start now.

If you weren't planning on seeing it, GO. If you were planning, but haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for???

Friday, December 09, 2005

Further up and further in

Well, we were supposed to be treated to a free showing of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on base last night, but the base theater was already full to capacity 1 hour before the show was to begin, so we missed out. After we got home, I went to Fandango's site to get us tickets for a show today. The kids and I are meeting hubby at a local theater in a little over an hour from now. We are so ready.

Tomorrow, we'll be going to Sacramento to see a Christmas musical. I've been looking forward to this for about a month or so. I hope the kids enjoy it, too.


I was listening to Christmas music in the car the other day and realized I left something off my list of things I want to do before I die. I want to go on a sleigh ride... a real one, with a horse-drawn sleigh, lots of snow, and a big blanket to snuggle up under while riding out under the stars. Something like the one in Holiday Inn, my most favorite Christmas movie of all times.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Seven Sevens and a reason to celebrate

I was tagged by Carrie to do this meme:

1. Seven things to do before I die:-
Settle down near friends
Get to a healthy weight
See all my children grown and serving God
See a Broadway musical on Broadway
Grow old with my husband
Become a grandma
Mentor young women at church

2. Seven things I cannot do:-
Stop singing
Stop reading
Stop checking my email
Drive a stick shift
Sleep late
Play Spades or other bidding card games
Clean house as well as my husband

3. Seven things that attract me to my husband:
He has a great sense of humor and loves to laugh with me.
He is thoughtful of me and others.
He works hard to provide for our family and tells others that I work just as hard.
His smile
He puts up with my shortcomings, but encourages me to be my best.
He cleans house better than me.
****Not for public viewing****

4. Seven things I say most often:
Get off the computer.
I have to run to the store...
Turn that down!
Just a minute.
We need to start school.
Wake up, little Rosebud, wake up....
I love you.

5. Seven books (or series) I love:
The Chronicles of Narnia
To Kill a Mockingbird
Hinds' Feet on High Places
Lightning, Dean Koontz
Peculiar People, Richard Soule
Not My Will, Francena Arnold
The Bible

6. Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would watch over and over if I had the time):
Holiday Inn
Return to Me
Fools Rush In
Mr. Holland's Opus
Fiddler on the Roof
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
You've Got Mail (well, if I had it, I'd watch it)

7. Seven people I want to join in, too:
Grace (it would be a great beginning to your blog!!)

Oh, and that reason to celebrate??? Sears is coming to fix the dishwasher today!!! Those of us getting dishpan hands are quite thankful.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Musical memories

Many of the memories I carry around in my head have music associated with them in some way. Christmas memories are no different. I've been totally digging this XM station I found this past week. It plays "traditional" Christmas music, the stuff I grew up hearing as a child. Johnny Mathis, Ray Conniff, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Perry Como..... you get the picture. You can't imagine the peaceful feeling I get hearing these old songs. And believe me, I can use all the peace I can get! Christmas sure does change as one gets older.... I kinda miss the days when it was just a special time of year in which everyone was nice to everybody else and you might find a couple of hoped-for surprises under the tree. Now it just seems to be a time when the kids are waiting to see their wishlists fulfilled.


On a totally unrelated note: have I ever said how much I dislike my DSL connection and wireless router??? I don't know which is to blame for all the troubles we've had with our IP address resetting and the router ceasing to function, but I've about had it. Thankfully it is MY computer that has the DSL modem by it, so I have my access to the internet protected, but that just means until we get things fixed around here (the Linksys guy says we can replace our router since we only bought it this past spring... but we have to find the receipt first. Ack. I don't think that's happening), I'll have to share. Methinks we'll have to spring for the new router ourselves, if at all.

Twinkle twinkle little lights

One of my favorite things in the holiday season is to just sit and look at the Christmas tree after it is lit up and decorated. I love the look of a tree covered in white/clear lights. Emily keeps urging us to go multi-colored, but I really prefer the white ones. I grew up decorating my family's tree with multi-colored lights (remember those big bulbs that got hot and actually screwed in?) and certainly didn't mind them then, but when I started noticing the all-white trees, I was taken in, and knew that's what I wanted when I had my own tree. I do want to thank the person who invented pre-lit trees, though. Because of him/her, hubby and I were able to do away with one family tradition I wasn't sad to see go: the annual fight while stringing lights on the Christmas tree. Tree decorating is much less stressful now, mostly limited to keeping the kids from breaking ornaments as they help decorate. This year, the breakages were limited to the parents.... I mean, the parents were the only one who broke anything! I think we had a total of 3 mishaps. I dropped one ornament (thankfully not anything with great sentimental value), one had a broken piece when we unwrapped it from its bubble wrap in its box, and the star fell out of Minnie's hand when Brian was putting her on the tree (I tried to repair those last 2, and haven't checked to see if I was successful or not). If the family room floor had carpet instead of ceramic tile, we would have only had the last 2 mishaps.

The 3 youngest asked to sleep in the family room with the Christmas tree last night, so they are slumbering away in there. It is quite a peaceful scene, one that will probably be repeated several times before the tree is packed away after the holidays. I might just do it myself.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Getting into the groove

Last night's Art Fair was a lot of fun. Halle did quite well for her first time in the limelight. She did pause for a moment after the first couple of lines of her poem, but instead of getting flustered, she just giggled a moment, remembered her place, and continued on. She got a chuckle from the audience at that giggle and then a good burst of applause at the end. One of the high school girls later told me that Halle was just "so cute I wanted to hug her." Noah also did very well with his poem. I was worried he would mumble, but he didn't... and his last line was rewarded with the hoped-for laugh from the audience. There were several good performances last night; some violin duets, piano performances, a martial arts demonstration, and one 9th-grade boy did a couple of vocals that were quite good. He did a DC Talk song, What If I Stumble, and also Mary, Did You Know? There were also 2 small groups of girls who did some ASL performances, one to O Come All Ye Faithful and the other to Breath of Heaven. Music interpreted in ASL is beautiful to watch.

Plans for today are to do some chores around the house, then take the kids out shopping for their annual Christmas ornament. Once we get back from that, we'll put up the tree and decorate the house. Hopefully I'll have time to make some Christmas snacks as well.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Holiday hap'nins thus far

So far, today is shaping up to be rather productive. I've already made a batch of Crispy Peppermint Treats this morning. These are to take to today's setup for our homeschool group art fair and program time (which is tomorrow night). Noah and Halle are each reciting poems for the program time. I've worked with Noah on his (a short piece by Shel Silverstein), and will go over Halle's in a bit. She is doing a little poem I remember memorizing when I was around her age, called Mice. Do kids in school still memorize poems very much? I seem to remember doing it quite a bit when I was a kid.

No other plans for this weekend yet.... but next weekend we'll be going to see a Christmas musical in Sacramento. I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, November 28, 2005

You title it

Well, we're on the home stretch to finish out the year. December brings not only Christmas, but 2 of our kids' birthdays (my oldest 2 share the same birthday, 4 years apart). I'm finding myself sorely lacking Christmas spirit right now... at this point, Christmas presents equal more stuff to trip over/get lost/get broken in this house. I'm sure this will pass and all will be merry and bright soon. Cue Bing Crosby CD.....

The lock on the front door works better than ever now, but we're still without a dishwasher (at least a mechanical one). I'm waiting to hear from the landlords about when someone will be coming to fix it. Hopefully it will be soon.

This concludes one of my most boring posts to date.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Brokedown palace

If a man's home is his castle, then that's the new name of this place. Slowly and surely, things around here are going on the fritz. OK, it's only 2 things, but it sure feels like more. It began Thanksgiving morning, when I was going to run the dishwasher before we ate. It was a no go. The dad-blamed thing is deader than a doornail. It ran fine the day before, so I don't know what is up with it. Brian did the dishes by hand (both before and after dinner) and we've used paper plates as much as possible ever since.

Then, the doorbell rang. When he went to answer it, he couldn't get the deadbolt unlocked. It is totally stuck. We can't even unlock it from the outside, with the key. This lock has always been a little stiff, but this is ridiculous.

The landlord is supposed to come by today to check this stuff out. I just hope nothing else goes.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My wish for you

Edited to add:

Now wouldn't this be a handy dandy device?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I got to thinking a little more about Thanksgiving traditions. When I was a kid, our family wasn't into the whole football scene, so there were no scenes where the menfolk gathered around the TV while the womenfolk did the dishes. No, if you peeked inside of our house, you were more likely to find us all gathered around the table playing games: Pictionary, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Scattergories, Scrabble, High Nine (now that's a card game I never learned to play), rummy, dominoes... the list goes on. The only time I remember the TV being on was to watch the parade first thing in the morning and then maybe later, when one of the networks used to show those animated children's classics like Treasure Island or A Christmas Carol. (Why did they stop showing those? I sure wish my kids could watch them now.)

Nowadays, when it's just my immediate family here, we are likely to either play board or video games together or take in a movie.

What are your traditions?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Thanksgiving memories

Seeing as that we're stuck out here on the left coast this Thanksgiving, I've been thinking of holidays past. Most of my Thanksgiving memories are of my mom's house, the house I grew up in. Even after I got married, we tended to spend Thanksgiving there, until the Air Force took us too far away to make it back. There was always more food than we needed and always lots of leftovers (except for the pies... those went pretty fast). I've never been a pumpkin pie eater, but I do make coconut pies with lots of meringue on top. Those were one of mom's specialties. That and her homemade rolls. I've never been able to duplicate her rolls, but then again, neither has she. You see, she doesn't have a recipe. She just puts "some" flour, "some" milk, "some" shortening... you get the picture. But I do have a couple of other recipes that come kinda close, so I make those for dinner as well. Of course, I have to make the traditional green bean casserole, too. And of course there was turkey. My brother Greg and I used to squabble over the skin. (Good-natured squabbling, to be sure.) But my turkey.... well, the recipe for that is one I didn't get a hold of until Brian and I had been married 5 years. It was a recipe from the food section of one of the Cincinnati newspapers, and we first tasted it at the home of a cousin when we were living in the Dayton, OH, area. That very next Thanksgiving found us too far away from Mom's to get back, so I called this cousin and asked for her recipe. So on Thanksgiving of 1992, I made this turkey for the first time. I think I've made it every year since, even if we did get back to be with family.

Old-Fashioned Roast Turkey

1 12-lb turkey
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil


2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. currant jelly
2 Tbsp. bourbon

Take the giblets and neck out of the turkey.
Rinse turkey with lukewarm water, then pat dry.
Salt and pepper the cavities.
Brush outside with oil.
Place on a rack in a shallow baking pan.
Roast in a preheated 325-degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Make glaze by melting together butter and jelly either in microwave or small, heavy pan.
Stir in the bourbon. Brush turkey with glaze.
Cook for about 20 minutes longer or until a thermometer placed in the
center of the thigh muscle registers 185 degrees.

Remove from oven; cover with a foil tent and allow to sit at room
temp for 20 min or so before carving.

I've also been thinking a lot of last Thanksgiving. It was our last one in Omaha, and we were so lucky to have friends there who came to share it with us. Grace and Pat, their kids Megan and Ryan... Troy and Rhonda, their children Shayna, Dillon, and Kailey... That was such a fun day. Our house was full of laughter, music, kids' voices. I sure hope we get to do it again one day.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It's Saturday, so it has to be football/Harry Potter #4

But not after today. Today was Noah's last game of the season. It was a well-played game that ended in a 12-12 tie. Afterwards, the team met at Mountain Mike's for pizza. Coach Walt had certificates, whistles, and Oakland Raiders mini-pennants for each player, along with lots of positive comments and praise. I am sure that if he is coaching again next season, we'll try to get on his team.

Brian flies out to St. Louis tomorrow morning to be with his family for his dad's surgery Monday. He'll get back late Wednesday night. I'm hoping he is able to accomplish what needs doing on this trip. If he can, it should help get his stress levels down to something in the more normal range.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was a very different film from the first 3, but still quite excellent. Very little to disappoint, except for the absence of Dobby and Winky. It's understandable why they had to be cut, but I was looking forward to seeing Dobby again. He's more lovable than Yoda. Ralph Fiennes was a superb Voldemort. A bit freaky looking, but then the dude had been only partially alive for the last 14 years.

There was just enough comic relief to keep the movie from being overly dark. I've heard from several parents who were concerned this movie was going to be too graphic for their kids, based on their reading of the book. I think those fears can be laid to rest. This movie was more akin to the scary movies of old, which managed to send shivers down your spine without resorting to showing severed limbs and slashing knives.

I was left hungering for the 5th movie. How long will it be until it's ready??

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I solemly swear that I am up to no good

Well, I guess that's not true. Did a lot of work around the house this evening with Brian, moving and reorganizing bookcases. Things look much better.

The kids and I have tickets for the first showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Napa tomorrow. I would have loved to have gone to the midnight show tonight, but there is no way the younger two would last for it, and they are looking forward to the movie as much as any of us. So, 10:15 tomorrow morning it is. I have my print-at-home ticket from the Fandango website, so hopefully if we get there early enough, we won't have to be stuck at the back of a line to get in. Review to come.... and I will do my best not to spoil anything for those who must wait for it.

Mischief managed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Funny (and not-so-funny) stuff

We've got "stuff" going on around here right now. I'll direct you to my hubby's blog post of last night for the 411.

With that out of the way, time for something a little more light-hearted. While Emily and I were on our little trip this past weekend, I found something that gave me a chuckle... in an airport bathroom, of all places. Upon entering the stall and assuming the position, I looked ahead at the door and noticed there was a logo stamped on the faceplate of the latching mechanism: "Hiny Hiders." Someone had a lot of fun coming up with that, I'm sure!

One of Emily's favorite quotes from our weekend... A friend of hers took a bite out of a pepperoncini and proceeded to say, "Holy Crap! This jalapeno's hotter than Andrew Rush!" (Ah, teenagers...)

I'll leave you with the latest funny to grace my inbox:

White Lie Church Cake

Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this -- especially for all of the ladies who bake for church events.

Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church ladies' group bake sale in Tuscaloosa, but she forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets she found a dusty old Angel food cake mix in the back of her kitchen cabinet and quickly made it while drying her hair and dressing and helping her son Bryan pack up for Scout camp. But when Alice took the cake from the oven the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured.

She said, "Oh dear, there's no time to bake another cake." This cake was so important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of new friends. So, being inventive and not wanting anyone to think she was not the perfect woman able to handle all things at all times or that, God forbid, she wasn't participating in her church's bazaar, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake.

Alice found it in the bathroom -- a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect! Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter Amanda and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the minute it opened at 9:30, and to buy that cake and bring it home.

When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found that the attractive perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone and called her Mom.

Alice was horrified...she was beside herself. Everyone would know ...what would they think? Oh, she wailed! She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed. She would have to move or kill herself! All night Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing their fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself that she would try not to think about the cake and she attended a fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a friend of a friend and try to have a good time. Alice did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa but having already RSVPed she could not think of a believable excuse to stay home. The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old South.... and to Alice's horror the CAKE in question was presented for dessert. Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake, she started to get out of her chair to rush into the kitchen to tell her hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, "What a beautiful cake!"

Alice who was still stunned and trying to formulate what words she would use to explain the situation, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, "Thank you, I baked it myself."

Alice smiled and thought to herself "There is a God". AMEN!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The travelers return

Emily and I made it home late last night. The trip was wonderful/awful. It was so great to be home, and so heartwrenching to leave everyone behind again. Just as I predicted, Sunday morning was jampacked, with over 400 people. The singing was beyond description. More than once, I was too choked up to sing and just soaked it all in, picking out the voices of those dear to me: Jim, Troy, Grace (the list of dear ones is much longer, but these were the ones sitting close enough for me to hear them). I just know heaven is going to be filled with lots of singing.

I am so glad Emily got to go. She was beyond happy to be with her best friends again, and to see other old friends from camp. She is already making plans to go back next summer for church camp. I really hope we can make it happen.

I was able to spend time with a few people as well. On Friday night, my best friend planned a pizza/game night with 2 other couples. Then on Saturday, she and I went up to the church and sat in on one of the worship sessions with the youth before heading out to lunch at one of my favorite Omaha restaurants (one that doesn't exist out here in California). Then we took in a movie (now that is a subject for another post.... boy, was it not what we expected!). The rest of the evening, I spent visiting with more people at the youth rally and then went out to dinner with Grace at Charleston's (my first time there).

After morning services Sunday, Kayla and I had lunch with more old friends... Troy and Rhonda, their kids (Dillon, Kailey, Shayna... Shayna's boyfriend, Cole), Ronda and her girls, Kailah (there Emily.. I fixed the spelling) and Courtney (Kailah is Emily's friend). Then we spent a leisurely afternoon just hanging out around the house until evening worship. It had been such a whirlwind weekend, and my emotions were just right on the surface. Seeing Emily and her best friend Ali together got me choked up before we even started. (I told her later that since she never cries, I just do it for her.) Emily and I had one last fling with Jim and his wife Martha afterwards, heading to Olive Garden, where we practically closed down the place. OG was Emily's one request for eating out in Omaha, because for some reason, the OG's in Califoreignia don't put much garlic on the breadsticks at all (and isn't the garlic the reason we eat them??)

Of course, Monday was the day we had to leave. Kayla had a MOPS meeting at church, so we went along to that (saw more old friends to say hi/bye to) before leaving a bit early to head to the airport. We had an uneventful trip home (apart from the gate change in Atlanta... after we had arrived at Concourse D and had been waiting a few minutes, the flight was changed to a gate all the way back at Concourse A). Watched The Island on the plane. Brian and the kids picked us up outside the San Jose airport... Noah was the only one still awake at that time (10:00 pm); they'd all been awake since 6:45 am and were pretty tuckered out. By the time we got home a little over an hour later, Noah had joined the other 2 in slumber.

So now it's back to real life. I have a list of things for the kids and I to accomplish today that takes up 2 sides of a sheet of copier paper, so I'd better get off of here and get to it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Well my bags are packed; I'm ready to go

Ok, not totally ready, but nearly. Just a few things to toss into the suitcase and my purse, and I'll be set. Just finished getting the IPod all set up (thanks to Donna for reminding me how to fix my problem). It is fully charged and should be able to get me through the night/flight to Atlanta. (Anyone else have Whatever gets you through the night running through your head now?)

I doubt I'll be posting over the weekend... Of course, since I'm leaving the land of nearly no free wifi and going to a place where free wifi spots abound, there is always a slight chance I could use my Pocket PC to send an update. But I may just be too busy.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A girls' night (mostly)

The 2 big boys (Brian and Noah) are headed over to Sacramento in a bit to see the Kings play the Pistons. Brian scored some last-minute tickets yesterday. I hope they have a great time. Maybe I'll get to go to a game one of these days.

Anyhow, that leaves just me, the girls, and Joel here for the evening. We're going to call out for Pizza Hut and then watch some movies. While I was up at the base earlier today to get groceries, I ran into the BX and picked up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Christmas with the Kranks. We're all set for an evening of laughter.

And speaking of laughter and good times.... in just under 3 days, I'll be hanging out with my old crowd in Omaha. I'm just a little excited. The girls are planning lunch on Friday; I don't know what the rest of the weekend will hold, other than a very crowded Sunday service.... there will be teens from all over Nebraska and neighboring states there for the annual youth rally, Akastasia (rumor has it one girl is even flying in from California!).

The boys have left; time to get the party started!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Space and time

I've been keeping a bit busy these last 2 days. Sundays are always pretty full, especially since we have to leave almost an hour before time to get to church. Yesterday was no exception. We had a great song worship, despite me feeling like I had a bunch of feathers in my throat. Did a couple of songs that I'd never done before moving here, but which are becoming favorites, That's Why We Praise Him and We Are the Body of Christ (the latter arranged by one of my favorite bloggers, Clarissa Cox). We had lunch afterwards with another family from church.... good food and good conversation (although I did my best, quite unintentionally, of screwing that up... thankfully our dining companion is/was most gracious and forgiving!).

Once we got home from lunch, we had almost 3 hours before time to head back for Reunion (our 1st Sunday of the month evening service). Brian and I made a run to Office Depot to get supplies for invitations and programs for his senior anesthesia residents' upcoming graduation. Yours truly is designing these. I worked on the invitations before leaving for evening worship and managed to get the design done.

Reunion was nice... a short song service (another new song for me... Refiner's Fire; I'd heard it before, but had never sung it). The worship stations focused on the first half of the Beatitudes: "poor in Spirit," "those who mourn," "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness," "meek." One station I found meaningful was the one pertaining to being poor in spirit.... realizing our total need for God. A table with slips of paper and washable markers was prepared, along with a clear vase of water. Those who participated were to think and pray about something(s) in their lives in which they realized their helplessness apart from God, then write that thing on the paper and place it into the vase. The water begins to wash the ink off of the paper... just as God begins to change us when we ask. What a cool illustration!


Today I spent time getting the graduation invitations printed on cardstock, and also setting up my IPod for my upcoming trip. I was burning some CDs into ITunes when my computer proceeded to let me know I'm running out of disk space. A lot of tweaking and deleting later, I still only have about 153 MB of space on my 13.9GB drive. But here's what I don't get. This computer has a partition, so I have another section of hard drive with 129 GB free. I was going to move my ITunes there, but when I started to do that, I received a warning that it might not work if I do that. Aack. So I have this freakishly huge hard drive that I am doing nothing with. (This particular computer is really designed for video editing... something I don't do.) I guess I need my big sis here to fix it up for me, since she is the computer whiz. But it's truly sad. What good is a 60GB IPod if ITunes is on a drive not even 1/3 that size? I've only got a little over 1.5GB on my IPod now. :o(

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Film and football, continued

Elizabethtown was fun. Emily laughed her head off and said she wanted to get it when it is released on DVD. I do think it's a movie I could watch more than once, if only to see the Freebird scene again. I was a little disappointed at the ending; it was too abrupt for me. I tend to like all the loose ends tied up, and that didn't happen here.

Football was great today. Our team won, 20-13. Noah really hustled out there; I can see a lot of growth in his performance since he started. Next game is Monday night.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday films and Saturday sports

It's a movie bonanza for me today. Today was opening day for Chicken Little, and my 3 youngest were clamoring to go. The spouse unit really wasn't interested in seeing it, so off the 4 of us went to a late afternoon show. It was a cute movie. Once again, Disney made a flick with a dearly-departed maternal figure. What is up with that?? I found myself identifying with Runt of the Litter (enough with the fat jokes, family members), mostly because he and I share a strange tendency to quote song lyrics at the drop of a hat. I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if it's one we'll wind up adding to our DVD library or not.

Emily didn't want to see Chicken Little, so she and I are taking in the only showing of Elizabethtown later tonight. We'll have to head out in about an hour or so. I'm sure I'll be quite ready for bed when we get home, considering the fact that it will be around midnight by that time!


Tomorrow brings another flag football game for Noah. Acck... I just remembered it's our turn to bring snacks for the team! Guess I'll be making a run to CostCo before the game. But back to football.... one of our neighbors used to coach college football (I believe at Oklahoma State), and he often does a little one-on-one with Noah out in the cul-de-sac, giving him pointers on passing and kicking. I appreciate his thoughtfulness, and I know Noah really enjoys playing with him. I'll have to be sure to send over a plate of cookies for him this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Growing up is hard to do

What a lot of insightful comments regarding maturity! Maybe it wasn't fair that I didn't define maturity, but I feel like most of you were thinking along the same lines I was... being able to accept responsibility for one's actions and life, learning that life is more than just doing homework and playing games. Thumper stated it well when she said that today's kids may have a broader knowledge base, but that doesn't translate into maturity. Donna mentioned sheltering our kids, which I think goes along with Caltechgirl's and James' comments on parents protecting kids from consequences. In general, I believe that a lot of parents have reduced the responsibilities of their growing children to the bare minimum.... schoolwork. Household and family responsibilities get absorbed either by the weekly maid or the mom. Or if there are household responsibilities, we are either wishy-washy about enforcing these, or we keep our standards low... never really teaching our kids about the value of work well done. Jettybetty has a point when she says that today's kids are postponing some of the milestones of maturity (moving out, marriage). I would agree with her that that's not a bad thing. I suppose what I was trying to get at is that I think in generations past, we began instilling the idea of responsibility, giving opportunities to practice responsibility, training and rewarding responsibility... all these things... we did this much earlier in our children's lives than we do now. You may laugh, but think back to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ma and Pa could leave Mary and Laura at home with baby Carrie while they went into town, and come home to a tidy cabin and perhaps even some dinner cooked. Today, few of us will let our kids turn on an electric oven, much less light a fire in a fireplace! Somewhere along the line, we've underestimated what our kids can handle. We've stopped expecting them to accept and learn responsibility and taken on a lot of things they could be doing/experiencing on ourselves. I think Shane really put it well when he said that maturity has become an option, and that societal roles are vague for kids. We've blurred the lines between childhood/adolescence/adulthood.

So... them there's my thoughts. Not terribly eloquent, but my thoughts nonetheless.

Just some links

No time to write anything tonight, but I thought I'd leave you with some funny things to see/hear:

Asian Backstreet Boys: I got a chuckle out of watching these guys lip sync their way through some BSB tunes. How did we ever enjoy music before we got to see it??

Is that really a Sir Mix-a-lot song?? Listen carefully to the words.

I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the today's kids/maturity topic. Thanks for all the insightful comments!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Another day come and gone

This was the first Halloween we've had in which the trick-or-treaters kept coming after the appointed hours for treat-seeking were over. Tonight's hours were supposed to be 6-8, but our doorbell kept ringing on up to 8:30. We finally decided to turn off the light to get some peace and quiet, especially as the 2 youngest would be going to bed in 30 minutes. I saw a lot of older (over 13) kids... more than I ever have before. I don't know if it's a California thing or what. Very few of these kids had what I would call "real" costumes, but there was 1 kid who looked to be around 13 or so who had an awesome costume. I didn't begrudge him the handful of candy I gave him. He was dressed as a kissing booth! It was the most original costume I saw all night.

Brian took the 3 younger kids around the neighborhood. They were accompanied off and on by the 11-yo across the street. His parents allowed him to trick-or-treat unsupervised. Brian said he was double-dipping.... pulling off his mask and jacket and then returning to a previously-visited house. He also stopped him from running through someone's roped-off driveway (where they had apparently made some recent repairs). Brian said he felt like this kid needed more supervision than Noah. Brian did brag on our kids... he said they were all very well-behaved and never forgot to say "Thank you."


The piano repairman comes Wednesday morning. Can I get a hallelujah??

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Somebody else come up with a title; I can't

Had a short discussion with a friend today regarding today's kids. I'm interested in hearing y'all's viewpoints, so I'll give you the topic, and you can talk amongst yourselves here in the comment section. I'll share my thoughts later. Anyhow, the topic was the issue of maturity. Do kids today mature sooner or later than kids of years past? (I'm not talking physical maturity...) Let me hear what you think, and be sure to explain what you consider "mature" to mean.


It's been a productive weekend. Time spent with the kids, a flag football game that ended in a tie ("A tie's as good as a win," according to Coach Walt), some laundry, a couple of movies (one in the theater and one here at home... Batman Begins was great!), and a small potluck after church this morning. Brian and I managed to make a run to a couple of stores without the kids and have some uninterrupted conversation and discuss plans/ideas for the upcoming holiday in December (like many people, I don't like saying the word too early in the season). All in all, not a bad weekend. We've had busier, and we've had ones that were more relaxing.

We did hit a bad patch of traffic shortly after we left the church building to come home today. When it was finally letting up, we realized that traffic on the other side of the highway had been totally stopped, the road closed, and people were being allowed to turn around and exit the highway on the onramp. There was a guy threatening to jump from a sign on that side of the road. I guess we will need to watch tonight's news to see if we can find out any more information on this. Traffic was backed up for what seemed like 5 miles. Hopefully, the guy is safe now and getting whatever help he needs.


One last note: Emily has a new page with more samples of her work.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Footloose(d) and fancy free

The cam walker is now a thing of the past. As of this morning, I am now free to wear my tennis shoes or the stylish flat boot I received at my original doctor's visit. My foot isn't totally healed, though; the doc said that will take almost 6 months. I still have to take it easy... no running or jumping. I almost feel like I am learning to walk all over again.


The three younger kids and I went to see Dreamer early this evening. High marks all around on this one. We will definitely be getting it when it comes out on DVD. Halle really liked Dakota Fanning's hair in this one and is asking to get her hair cut tomorrow. I think we'll probably do it... Maybe taking off some length will encourage her natural wave/curl. Right now, her hair pretty much just hangs there.

Also on the agenda for tomorrow is Noah's football game. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do. They are 2 and 2 now. The last game really could have gone the other way if the ref hadn't called the game early. At least tomorrow we don't have to worry about him being late, like he was to the last game.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Should I turn on the vacancy light?

It looks like our home is going to remain visitor-free for the holidays. Yesterday, my brother-in-law IM'ed me to tell me that the plans for my sister and him to visit at Christmas aren't going to work out. No 3-part harmony for me now.

My mother called today to say she didn't think she could come for Thanksgiving, either. She's not feeling 100% and didn't want to come out here and be a lump who didn't feel like doing anything with us.


I have an appointment in the morning to get my foot checked out again. We'll see how it's healing. I honestly have no idea. I've been taking mega calcium supplements in hopes that will speed my bone's mending. It would be nice to get this boot off before the Omaha trip, otherwise I imagine I'll be one of those lucky individuals who gets "special" treatment by the security folks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What a Wicked day

Take it any way you like; it fits. It was a hurried day of schoolwork and housework. We were expecting a furniture repairman to arrive shortly after 1pm, so we needed to finish everything by then. As Ron Weasley might say, we worked wicked hard. Goal achieved.

Fast forward to a couple of hours after the repairman's arrival. He was still working (he was repairing all the gouges and scratches the movers left on our furniture). Noah and I were in here on this computer, looking at stuff for the new Harry Potter movie. I heard blood-curdling shrieks from the other room and got in there in time to see Emily lifting the Clavinova off of Halle. She and Joel had been spinning around in circles and bumped into the piano, causing it to fall over. She had a small impression on the inside of her right leg a couple of inches above the ankle, and the area had already started to bruise. She said she couldn't stand on her leg. I carried her to the sofa to look at it more closely. I couldn't feel an obvious break, but there was a good amount of swelling. I put an ice pack on it and had her sit for a bit. The repairman told me he had about another hour to go, so I called Brian at work on his cell. Luckily, his class was on a break and he actually answered the phone (if he hadn't, I'd have paged him and added 911 to our number... our little code that says, "Call me NOW!"). When I told him the situation, he said he would come home and get Halle and take her back to the hospital to have her leg x-rayed. He made it home about 30 minutes before the repairman left.

So... Brian left for the hospital. About 30 minutes later, it was time for Noah and me to leave for his football game. The repairman left a mere 10 minutes or so before this. We made the 35-minute drive to the football game, which lasted until about 7. Brian and Halle were done at the hospital by then (No break!!! Just swelling and bruising). I called Emily on our way home to ask her to start up the oven for frozen pizzas, really the only thing we had time for by this time. Noah and I beat Brian and Halle home by about 10-15 minutes. Halle lay down on the couch and went straight to sleep.

Now for the good Wicked part of the day. At some point in the day, my latest order arrived. It included 2 books of Wicked music. You can be sure I'll be trying them out tomorrow once everyone is up.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a little calmer around here.

Tires and TV

Got the tire replaced on my van today.... FREE! As I was thinking (and hoping), it was covered under warranty. These really are neat tires. I was able to drive all the way to the car dealer on my flat tire, even though the air pressure in it was only 13-14 PSI. Getting that taken care of meant I could get my other errands run, namely getting groceries.

Did any of you see Extreme Makeover: Home Edition last night? I definitely thought it was one of the more touching episodes I've seen (and I haven't seen too many). The family they helped last night was one that had lost the dad in the last year. Mom was trying to run the family farm alone... they were living in a very ramshackle house (weeds growing into the house through the walls, holes in the walls, unstable foundation...). The team built them a new house and a new barn, neighbors donated hay to fill the barn (for the family to sell), more neighbors helped plant 20 acres of alfalfa so the family would have a crop to sell next year, donations for a trust fund for the kids were made, and the family got 2 new vehicles (a big truck for farmwork and a Ford Freestyle for the "mom" car). It was very neat to watch the family's reaction.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Do nots and donuts

I forgot to mention the latest drama in our house. Friday evening, one of the neighborhood boys (11 years old) enticed Noah to take the cap off the tire stem of a car parked in the neighborhood. This wasn't an ordinary plastic cap, but a specialty cover.... one that looked like an electric blue bullet. Once Noah did that, the other boy proceeded to take a couple off of other cars (these were the plain kind). Once we found out, Brian took Noah across the street to the other boy's house. His mom already knew about it, but apparently hadn't done or said much to her son. She told Brian that they couldn't be too hard on the boys, because "they're going to do this kind of thing." Well, we've told Noah he can't hang with this kid any more. If he is going to be so easily led, we just don't want him around this guy. The sad thing is, he's really the only kid in the neighborhood that's close to Noah's age. It makes us even more determined to move when our lease is up, though.


We stopped by Krispy Kreme on our way to church this morning and discovered that all Krispy Kremes are not created equal. Oh, the donuts were good... but they don't make cinnamon buns here!! What a disappointment. To top that off, the closest Krispy Kreme is 13 miles away, across a toll bridge! At least in Omaha, we could get there in 15 minutes or less... and get a cinnamon bun.

What else?

This has been a day with a few frustrations. We were headed out to Noah's football game this morning when Brian noticed the warning light informing us that one of our tires was low on pressure. No problem; we'll add some air on our way. Drove about a mile down the road to the service station, where he added some air to the tire. Then the warning light says that that tire is now using its "run-flat" capabilities. Noah's game is a half-hour away when driving 65-70 miles an hour. On a run-flat, you are supposed to drive no more than 50mph. So we turn around, switch everyone into Brian's Yukon XL, and head for the game. We arrive about 10 minutes late for practice (20 minutes before the game). It is then we realize our lawn chairs are still in the back of the van. The grass is still damp, and this bum foot makes it extremely difficult for me to get up off of the ground. I wind up sitting outside the fence on a bench. We lost the game, so now we are 2-1.

We'll find out next week if we'll have to pay for the new tire or not. It's possible it is covered under the warranty. We're not sure why it went flat; there is a damaged section... just don't know what caused it. If it isn't covered.... we're looking at around $1K to replace it. OUCH!

After the game, we drove to Sacramento to get our tickets for Omaha. Using a voucher Brian got for giving up a seat on his way home from Oklahoma a few weeks ago, we were able to get 2 tickets for only $80. Downside is that we have to take an overnight flight, leaving around 11pm and getting into Omaha a little after 9:30am. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends again, and so is Emily.


Tomorrow morning, I am "on" praise team. We're doing a new song, Magnificat, a Randy Gill song off of the new Zoe cd. We're also doing one that is new to me and a few others on the team, I'm Forever Grateful. I'm looking forward to it. Our song worship is one of my favorite things.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A night of TV

Rare night in our house last night... I actually got to watch TV! We started with Smallville, a show I've never really watched before until the last few months. Even then, I haven't seen it with much regularity. The kids have filled me in on key details that helped me understand the background. Last night was kinda fun, seeing Aquaman. He was a much darker character than the one I came to know and love from Saturday morning cartoons as a child. I got a big kick out of the scene in which Aquaman told Clark they should start a "Junior Lifeguards of America" group and Clark replied he didn't think he was ready for the J.L.A. yet... is that a foreshadowing of the Justice League of America??

Next up was CSI. Hubby and I both agreed last night's show was quite excellent. It was unusual in the fact that the whole show revolved around just one case, rather than the typical 2-4 cases. I loved George Eads' final scenes with the young girl. My eyes couldn't stay dry.

We finished the night with Without a Trace. I was left thinking that Jack didn't learn much from his mistakes in this episode. I felt that he did the same thing with the new suspect that he did with the first... coerced a confession that wasn't necessarily true. There is no way to know whether the kid's hands slipped or if he let go, and I didn't see why Jack had to force him to say he had.

All in all, a fun night...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Seeing red

Naw, I'm not mad. I just got my hair cut and colored today. New stylist, new color. It's darker than my usual shade, kind of a coppery color. Emily does NOT like it, but she is known to hate change, so I can't fully count on her opinion. Brian is reserving judgment till he has time to get used to it. It does feel strange to look in the mirror and not see reddish blonde. I imagine it will take me some time to get accustomed to it as well. But at least that dark stripe that was running down the middle of my head is gone now. No more "reverse skunk," as my husband calls it.


Jim had a great post today on being safe. I love how he takes everyday phrases and occurrences and finds a way to connect them to the spiritual. You rock, bro!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Run, boy, run!

Tonight was Noah's second flag football game. Because we were late entries, he's never attended a practice, just the last game and tonight's. The team ran a few plays for about 15 minutes or so before the game started tonight and I noticed the defense coach spending some time filling Noah in. Once the game started, it was obvious that things were clicking for him. He really hustled out there tonight and even managed to get the ball carrier's flag on one play. This is getting to be FUN!! (Yeah Jim... I'm starting to like football. Whoda thunk it?)

Practice Thursday evening and then another game on Saturday.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Friends, flags, and furry things

Mike Cope has written a wonderful article on friendship. In it, he quotes Larry Crabb:

The future of the church depends on whether it develops true community. We can get by for a while on size, skilled communication, and programs to meet every need, but unless we sense that we belong to each other, with masks off, the vibrant church of today will become the powerless church of tomorrow.

If you haven't read it yet, please do. Then thank God for those he has placed in your life.


Noah is playing flag football this season. We are driving about 1/2 an hour east of here in order for him to play. We actually found out about it a little late, but just in time for him to join the team in its first game. They won! His coach seems very nice, as do the other kids on the team, who were very welcoming to him. Next game is Monday night. I've never been much into football, but I think I just might learn to like it.


I forgot to tell you all that one of Emily's "babies" died while we were on our vacation. Brooke, her white rat, passed on to that great cheese wheel in the sky the same day I broke my foot. Summer is still doing quite well, though. She has taken a great liking to her exercise wheel; she tends to hop on it first thing in the morning when she gets up. She's still quite the social creature and loves to sit in Emily's lap and nap while Em is on the computer. She and Campbell still enjoy each other's company as well. She has taken to licking Campbell on the nose and trying to chew his beard hair. What a pair.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Light at the end of the tunnel

Bright spots ahead:

My sister may be coming to visit for Christmas
My mom may be coming for Thanksgiving.
Emily and I may get to visit friends in Omaha next month!!

Prayers for any and all of these appreciated.

Of birthdays and beyond

So yesterday was Halle's 7th birthday. Per her request, we took in a showing of Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Cute movie with some funny sight gags for the adults (i.e., a jar of "Middle Age Spread" on the kitchen table). Did some running around, a little searching for Halloween costumes for Joel and Noah, and then tried out a local Japanese hibachi restaurant (well, somewhat local... up in Vacaville). Service was horribly slow and the food was so-so. Our search for good hibachi continues. Came home for presents and cake before bedtime.


Today was an errand and cleaning day. Made a run to CostCo and then cleaned out the fridge, helped Joel clean his sty room, and vacuumed his room, Halle's and mine. Noah and Emily did their rooms and the living/dining room. In between all that, I did a few loads of laundry, which are still calling my name to be folded (somehow, that is a task that totally escapes everyone else in this household, with the exception of Brian.... who does it when he has the time.). I was able to talk to a couple of old friends on my cell phone while I was out running errands. It was great connecting with them again. I don't have any connections out here, so I treasure those so much.


Hopefully tomorrow will be a little less busy. I like a little downtime.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Borrowing a theme

So I deleted my earlier post today. Anyone who happened to read it, consider yourselves lucky (I guess...).

Borrowing from Donna (and others in the past), I'm curious as to why you read my blog. What makes you come back? Or for people who are first-timers or occasional readers, what brought you here? I've often wondered; today I got up the noive to ask.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A little "me" time

Hubby is off for the weekend on a last-minute moonlighting gig, so I am single-parenting it once more. As a pick-me-up, I treated myself to a movie sans children this afternoon. Just Like Heaven was fun. I've enjoyed Mark Ruffalo since 13 Going on 30, and Reese Witherspoon is also a favorite, so I pretty much knew I was going to enjoy this one. Most critics didn't care for it too much, so that was another clue that I'd probably like it. (Anyone else out there usually like the films the critics pan?)

Before hubby left, we took in a movie with the kids on Thursday night, seeing Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. It was mildly entertaining, although Brian said it was one of the few times he actually wished he hadn't paid money to see a movie. Ouch. What is it with Burton's preoccupation with death, dying, and life after death?

Still haven't seen The Greatest Game Ever Played, but hopefully we'll get to it before it leaves the theaters. Also on our list of movies to see as they are released are Dreamer and Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Yup, I live in California, and all I can find to do with my free time is go to the movies.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Just a little brag

Here's a sample of Emily's Paint Shop Pro work. She made this today and is using it as her desktop on her computer.

See the new button she made for me tonight over on the right, too!

Not much else new around here, just trying to keep ahead of the housework. It's a neverending job when everyone is home nearly 24/7.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Movie reviews on the fly

Didn't make it to the movies this weekend, but we did rent a few to view here at home. Crash was hard to watch, but harder to stop watching. The language was atrocious, but probably fairly realistic, and I'm afraid to admit that the portrayal of prejudices and racial stereotyping were probably accurate as well. It was thought-provoking. The Longest Yard ... the best description for it is "inappropriately hilarious." I felt guilty for finding it so funny, since much of the humor was either somewhat crude or otherwise inappropriate. But laughter is the best medicine, and I'm looking for some speedy healing. Last movie for the grownups was The Wedding Date. Cute, nothing spectacular, definitely a rental film and not something worth paying full ticket price at the box office.

I have another post in my head, but since it involves bathroom humor (literally), I'm not sure I have the nerve to post it. I should ask MissZoot to do it, as she would make it funnier than all get out. She can write about anything. I'm just too reserved.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Random thoughts

Well, I no longer need to worry about being mugged. My toeless version of half of a pair of Chucks has given way to a cam walker. Yesterday's x-ray showed some displacement of my fracture since Sunday, so the doc said I needed something that would provide more immobilization of the break. It does make a difference in the amount of pain I am feeling, and walking feels a little more natural, but it's bulky and makes moving quickly near impossible (my kids know it, too.... and are taking advantage). The plus side: it's black, so it goes with everything.


Halle's 7th birthday is coming up in 11 days (Oct. 12). She wants a sleepover. That means we can't do it on the actual day, but it will have to be a Friday. This next Friday is too soon; Brian may be gone to a men's retreat on the Friday after her birthday. I do not feel up to handling extra kids who are not my own on my own. So do I wait another week to do this??? I am sooo not a birthday party planning kind of person. I much prefer taking the party someplace else and letting others handle it (last year we did Build-a-Bear, and it was AWESOME). Should I try to talk Halle into another party out of the house??


Hoping to get to the movies today and see The Greatest Game Ever Played. Anyone else planning on seeing this movie? Shia LeBeouf is maturing nicely... a far cry from his character on Even Stevens.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Vacation rundown

Ok, now that I have a little time, I'll give you all the highlights and lowlights of the trip (you've already heard a few). As I mentioned before, our Eastern Caribbean cruise turned into a Western because of Hurricane Rita. Instead of enjoying 2 days at sea before heading to St. Maarten, we docked at Castaway Cay on Sunday morning. Brian and Noah had a fishing excursion and Emily had a teen excursion involving biking, snorkeling, and kayaking. I didn't do much of anything; I guess that was to prepare me for the rest of the week. That night, none of the kids ate dinner with us; the 3 younger were in the clubs and Emily ate with a new friend and her family. We were able to sit with a pair of sisters whom I had met online before the cruise and had a great time, never lacking for conversation. They turned out to be good companions for the rest of the cruise as well.

Monday was our sea day. Not a lot to say about it, except that was the first night we had our new servers due to switching to late seating from early. Things did not go well, and we asked to have new ones for our next dinner. Of course, that dinner was the one after I broke my foot, and I already posted about how great our server was that night. He never disappointed us for the rest of the trip. Also on Monday, because of our dinner troubles, we missed the comedy show that night (our meal took much longer than it should have), but bumped into our dinner friends from Sunday night and wound up going back to our suite to play cards (SkipBo, for those who are into details). We ordered up sodas and cookies and had a great time with Jenny and Melissa (the sisters).

Our Cozumel excursion was canceled because of rough seas and wind, so the main attraction of the day was shopping. Big deal. Brian wheeled me around Cozumel, boys in tow (Halle in the club, her favorite place to be). I just don't get into shopping, especially with every shop having someone out in front trying to lure us in.

Thursday was Brian and Emily's horseback riding excursion in Costa Maya. Despite coating himself with OFF, Brian still managed to get eaten alive by insects. He came back with one eye swollen and had to take Benadryl and use an icepack to get the swelling down.

That night's entertainment was Gary DeLena; he did a family show early on, plus one for the adults later that night. Both were fun. Gary was on our first cruise as well; he did some of his old stuff, but had plenty of new to keep us laughing. He even picked on my husband, because we were sitting in the front row along with Jenny and Melissa. (Note to guys: don't sit with 3 women in the front row of a comedy show if you don't want to wind up as material for the act.) Gary was also part of the Farewell Show on Friday night. The Farewell Show was great... I was actually in tears; I didn't want our cruise to end. More tears that night at dinner when the servers did their parade of nations singing "It's a Small World." Heck, I'm getting verklempt just remembering it.

Despite the mishaps, it was a good time overall. Aleks, our server from Croatia, worked tirelessly to make our dinners enjoyable. Sonja and Erika, the concierge team, were also wonderful. Every day, there was some kind of treat in the room (food, arcade cards for the kids, hidden Mickey scavenger hunt). And our suite was unbelievable. I cannot imagine not getting it again. Hopefully we will be back onboard in 2007.

I'll try to post pictures soon.

Monday, September 26, 2005

This boot was made for walkin'

So we made it home... not at our originally scheduled time, but still on the same day. Our original flight plans would have taken us through Houston, which was closed on Saturday. The airline told us the soonest they could get us out of Orlando was Tuesday afternoon. Thanks to Brian's forethought in purchasing insurance on our tickets, we were able to get a flight with another airline (JetBlue) and still get home somewhat on time. The 6-hour flight from JFK to San Jose would have really been a killer if not for the DirectTV. It was nice to get to see Trading Spaces; I hadn't seen it in months.

But on to the title of this post... once we were up and about yesterday, Brian took me up to the base to get my foot checked out. After a 2-hour wait in the ER, I was finally called in. X-rays confirmed our suspicions that my foot was broken. I fractured the 5th metatarsal (the long bone on the outside/bottom of your foot). I am now in a highly fashionable boot that demands I stay out of certain neighborhoods for fear that someone will mug me for it. I am stylin'. I have a recheck on Friday to see if we are going to continue with the boot or cast it.

I want to post about vacation, but I'll save that for later. Today there is much to do to get the house back in order.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What next?

So I'm sitting here with an Ace bandage wrapped around my left foot. Yesterday was our first port day since the first full day of the trip (when we stopped at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island). We were anchored off of Grand Cayman and tendered in on small (80+ people) boats. We decided to head over to the island a little earlier than we needed to for our excursion in order to check out the shopping. We made it through one shop before I lost my footing on a raised sidewalk (about 3 stair-steps from the main sidewalk) and fell. I don't know exactly what I've done to myself, but walking is painful (although not as bad today as yesterday). We came back to the ship and got a bandage and ice, and I sat around the suite all afternoon with my foot up. The concierge brought a wheelchair for me to use last night and it was very helpful. Today I am hobbling for now. I don't want to miss today's excursion in Cozumel, a catamaran sail with time to snorkel and swim (not sure if I'll get out of the boat or not, since I don't know how hard it will be to get back on with this bum foot). As long as my foot doesn't get worse, I'll live with it and maybe get it checked out when we get back home. The wheelchair is ours to use as long as I need it on the ship.

The kids are having a great time. Poor Halle fell asleep at dinner last night, so Brian had to carry her back to the suite. Our server actually pushed me all the way back, up the elevator from the 3rd floor to the 8th and from the aft end of the ship to the forward. I had several "cast members" offer assistance during the times I was piloting myself in the chair while Brian was busy with the kids.

Even with this setback, I'm wishing our cruise wasn't going to be over so soon. I love life on board.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Well, here we are aboard the Disney Magic.... We have dinner in our bellies and the 3 youngest kids are all in their clubs, ready to party the night away without parental intrusion. Looks like rough seas in store for our original destination (Eastern Caribbean), so we've been rerouted to Cozumel and Grand Cayman, with a first stop in the morning at Disney's island, Castaway Cay. We were looking forward to those 2 straight days at sea on our original itinerary, but welcome the chance to see something new as well.

Had a great time during our 2 days in Orlando before the cruise. Our 2-bedroom villa at Beach Club Villas was great; I can definitely picture a week-long (or longer) stay! The washer/dryer came in quite handy. We were able to meet up with old neighbors/friends on Friday and did MGM and Epcot with them. Best rides of the trip: Test Track and Soarin'. Soarin' is awesome. I'm looking forward to riding that again when we visit Disney's California Adventure after Thanksgiving this year.

Backing up a bit.... I have to pass on the shaky start we had. We left home much later than we wanted to on Tuesday. We dropped the rats off at their sitters' house and then ate a quick meal at McDonald's. I had mapped the "quickest" route with Microsoft Streets and Trips... unbeknownst to me, this route was very twisty and curvy. It was not a "quick" trip by any means. And then poor Joel, sitting in the 3rd row, lost his dinner. Thankfully we were near a 7-11 and were able to clean out the truck and his seat, spray everything with Febreze, and get him cleaned up and in clean clothes. The best is yet to come, though. When we reached our hotel in San Jose and carted everything inside (we were doing a Park and Fly), Halle asked, "Where's my suitcase?" Yes, it was back home, an hour and a half away. It was now shortly after 10pm and Brian, who had been up since 4:15am, had to drive back home to retrieve her clothes. He got back around1:45... we got up at 3:30 to get ready for our 4:15 shuttle to the airport. Yes, Wednesday was a VERY long day!!!

Off to see what fun there is to enjoy tonight!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Getting down to the wire

OK, today's goal is to PACK. We are leaving this house in less than 36 hours and I haven't packed a thing yet! But on top of packing, I have to shop. Joel has outgrown both his tennis shoes and his "church" shoes. He'll need the dress shoes for at least 2 nights on the ship, maybe more. So shopping, packing, and... oh yes, laundry. There really isn't that much to wash, but I have to get everything clean before we go so everything we could possibly want to pack is clean (and we won't leave behind a pile of laundry to add to what we'll bring home) . Thankfully, we'll have a washer/dryer in our villa at WDW, so that on Friday night I can wash up everything we will have worn in the previous 2-3 days before we get on the ship the next day. That makes packing easier... we won't have to pack quite as much as we would otherwise. We may do a little laundry on board as well. I know, laundry and vacation?? The two don't seem to go together. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Picture post

Here are the promised pictures of Emily's "babies," along with our dog Campbell.

This is Brooke. She is the larger of the two and tends to be a little more laid back.

This is Summer. She tends to be very active, except when she wants to snuggle with the dog.

He isn't sure whether to love her or eat her.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Say cheese

We bought a new digital camera today. I think it is going to be awesome, and can't wait to start taking some pictures. (The battery is still charging right now.) It has a 12x optical zoom and image stabilization; that last feature is priceless. Sometimes my hands shake so much when I'm taking pictures, I think I'm in the early stages of Parkinson's. I think once we get back from vacation, I want to check around and see if there are any photography classes I could take... I'd really like to get as much out of the camera as I can. What would be awesome would be something like an online tutorial for using different features and learning the different camera settings (this one allows for manual settings, much like those of a traditional 35mm SLR).

So no packing got done... but we did find a couple of shirts for Emily to take on the cruise with her. She had 2 new skirts with nothing to wear with them. I certainly hope there isn't anything else we need. I guess I'll find out when we finally do start to pack!

And now for the latest quiz:

Your Brain's Pattern
Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.

You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.

You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.

You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.

Not sure about the matchmaking part, but the rest sounds spot on.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Making a list, checking it twice

The kids and I are working on keeping things done around the house after finishing up with school. It doesn't come naturally to any of us, but it does to Brian. So he is helping by giving each of us a list of things to accomplish each day. Noah and Halle both had a sense of pride today in what they accomplished (if you'd seen Halle's room before she cleaned it, you'd have been proud, too!). Thankfully, we got so much done today that unless someone totally trashes the place tomorrow, or goofs off too much during schooltime, we'll actually have some free time in the afternoon. Today I was going non-stop until after Brian got home from work, and I didn't even finish what was on my list.


Just 6 more days till we fly out to Orlando! We'll probably start packing some things this weekend. We'll be spending 3 nights at the Beach Club Villas, having Joel's 5th birthday dinner next Thursday night at Chef Mickey's, and then boarding the Disney Magic for a 7-night cruise on Saturday. I am soooo looking forward to this trip. Can't wait to see our Category 2 cabin!! We have plans to do a tall ship day cruise on St. Maarten and a tour of St. John; Noah and Brian also plan a morning of bottom fishing our last day. I hope everyone has a good time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails