Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not to Jump the Gun or Anything, But...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's Still 2008? Are You Kidding Me?

Have you ever noticed that once the regular schedules of school and work are put on hiatus for the holidays, it's really hard to keep track of time? Not that I mind every day being another Saturday--but that means the next day should always be Sunday. A week of tomorrow-Sundays really stresses me out!

I've been trying to get Christmas put away (let's not discuss the fact that the trees went up late and have barely seen more than 2 weeks!). We've had Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, we've played with all the toys, identified the gifts to exchange/return, had guests for dinner, watched movies, gone out to dinner, hosted sleepovers, gone sledding, watched movies, played Wii, played Uno, played SkipBo, eaten cheesecake (and gained a few pounds), and now I realize it's not even 2009 yet! Is this the longest week of the year or what???



Anyway--New Year's Eve is on my doorstep... And apparently it's in no hurry to cross the threshold, so I assume I'll have time to pack the Christmas ornaments, make hors d'oeuvres, organize some party entertainment, and confirm the guests... Hurry up 2009--you're killin' me!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snowed In and Loving It

Have I ever mentioned that we get a lot of snow at our house? Well, in case I haven't mentioned it... We Get a Lot of Snow at Our House! We get falling snow, blowing snow, swirling snow, horizontal snow, drifting snow, piling snow, blinding snow, lots and lots of snow.


We had an awesome storm blow in over Christmas night--and when I say it blew in, I mean it! Our street was drifted over to the point of no escape. We had to turn down invitations all day long because we were snowed in by the huge drifts. At one point, The Boy's girlfriend tried to come over just to prove that we weren't as stuck as we thought we were... She didn't ever make it... The Boy had to hike out to meet her...

Anyway--we really were stuck in our house until about 4pm. Even the snowplow driver who was hired to clear our street shook his head when he arrived. He called the heavy equipment guys and turned the job over to them.

So here they are--our new snow removal crew. THANKS GUYS! And according to the weatherman, I guess we'll plan to see you back here next week!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Not-So-Rip-Off Christmas

Much to the utter amazement of my children, yesterday turned out to be an exceptional Christmas. As you may recall, this was the year that HRH labeled the Rip-Off Christmas. She and The Boy had decided that they were going to be stiffed in the gift department. Boy were they wrong!

We decided not to go overboard this year in the gift department (and we didn't!), but somehow everyone got what they really wanted anyway. The Little Buddies got the games and Legos that they were dreaming about, The Boy got his goth-looking guitar, and HRH got the beloved new phone for texting her entourage. Among those most requested items sat an additional family gift. The Wii.

Let's just way that we enjoyed a lot of family togetherness around the Wii yesterday! And I dare say that the fun will continue! We laughed hysterically when HRH got pelted in the forehead with soccer cleats and panda bears. We snickered and guffawed when The Boy tried the latest yoga poses. And there might have been a little trash talk during the tennis and baseball games. And for someone who wasn't initially interested in the Wii, let's just say that The Boy was up well past midnight last night playing against himself...

Despite all the fun toys and games, the best part of the day was just being together. If for no other reason, I love Christmas for the togetherness that we enjoy on that holiday. I love you guys!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Warmest Wishes

to All our Friends and Family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Greetings 2008

Another year's ending, I'll give you the gist.
Events kept on happening, sometimes with a twist!

We traveled, played soccer, and danced up a storm.
By the end of it all, this family was worn!

We're happy to say we survived yet another.
And we're glad to report that we still love each other!

Where does the time go? I can't believe that we've already come to the end of another year. This year was full of ups and downs, but for the most part, we all survived it well!

This year brought many opportunities for travel. The Mister and I took a ten day cruise to French Polynesia and The Cook Islands. It was a new experience for us to spend time alone together, I think we should do it again sometime! The Princess and I spent about ten days in New York City for a national dance convention. In October, we went to Orlando to play at Disney World. From Orlando, we took a family cruise to The Bahamas on the Disney Wonder. I think it's safe to say that this was our family's all time favorite vacation.

The Buddies took up soccer this year. The Mister coached their team. While it wasn't exactly a winning season (ours was one of the youngest teams), the boys had a really great time. The Buddies started kindergarten this year--what a change that was! They are in separate classes and enjoying making new friends. JJ's teacher loves him for making her smile. Max is in the highest reading group in his class. Zeke is friends with all the girls--yes, all of them...

HRH, the Princess, is dancing on Teen Company at her studio. Age-wise she is only a Junior, but she competes against the older dancers. We enjoy traveling to conventions and competitions, and she will be competing for another national title again this summer. HRH is only in 7th grade and is already studying Algebra II and getting straight As. She's such an over achiever!

The Eldest took a little detour this year. It was a great decision and we are proud of him. I think our whole family has benefited from his choice. He is back home and going back to school in January. I can't believe he will be graduating this spring! He continues with his music, art, and voracious reading. The boys now reaches six feet tall and is officially tall, dark, and handsome!

We hope 2008 brought you as much fun and excitement as we enjoyed.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Do You Remember When We...

I found this on my friend's blog and thought it might be fun. Can't wait to hear from you....

1. As a comment to this post, please leave one memory that you and I share. It doesn't matter if you know me a little or a lot, anything you remember is fine!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It will be fun to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll visit your blog to leave a memory about you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Storm

At the onset, a frenzy of chaotic motion assails me. I watch the movement as it drifts and flows from one direction to another--swirling and ebbing without order. I am timid about entering the storm, but I have a destination.

I feel as though I am swept along the way. I follow the others who seemingly share my destination. I attempt to slow my pace, yet I cannot extract myself before being swept beyond my goal. My minimally restrained travel continues to push me along. I find myself skidding with little chance of regaining control. I desperately hope to avoid a mishap as I struggle to maintain my course.

Suddenly, everything becomes sluggish and slow. It has become a waiting game. I inch along in the stop-and-go, waiting for the next cashier...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmastime Miscellaneous


Can you believe it? Christmas is just around the corner! I wonder, are the gifts I ordered online going to get here on time???

The tree is trimmed (OK, both trees are trimmed--and one is seriously listing to the side), the snow is piling up in deep, fluffy drifts, and the snicker doodles are cooling on a plate... what else is there to do?

Oh, let's see--I need to wrap a few things (OK, everything I've bought so far, which isn't much, but there it is...), I need to make treats for my nice neighbors (and figure out what to do about the mean ones??? Just kidding!), I need to sweep the snow of the porch so the carolers don't slip and fall (and sue me), I need to hang my wreaths (and take down the Give Thanks decor), I should find some mistletoe, I need to get out the advent calendar (oh, is it too late for that?), and I still have to find that dang partridge in a pear tree--here kitty... here kitty, kitty...

Aside from all that, I think I'm ready. I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gotta Getta Life

After much contemplation, it has been determined that I need to get a life. I have been reading so many clever and interesting blogs--and I wonder, why is everyone so much more clever and interesting than me?

Hmmm. Let's analyze...

I have five kids (all of whom I like on most days but love on all days), a hubby (who I like a lot more when he's actually home--and whom I always love), two cats (ok, ok, they are cute and fluffy), a house to keep, a job (or two), meals to cook, homework to supervise, laundry to do, errands to run, carpools to drive, oh yeah... that's right... I don't have time for an interesting life!

So--I'm already planning for my New Year Resolution (resolution, singular, I'm nothing if not realistic). My goal for the upcoming year is to do something to make my life more interesting. I plan to inspire myself with a fun/exciting/educational/inspiring something at least once a day... or maybe once a week... how about once a month... maybe once a quarter??? Well, we'll see. But I do want to be more clever and interesting!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow


Awakened by the sound of a hushed world. Silence, the color of white. Lights aglow from the rooftops and trees, muted by the swirling flecks. Drifting through the air--fluffy, frozen perfection. Points and filigree, fluttering on a breath. Swirling and scattering, embracing all, while suppressing sound. Blankets of quiet--settling into drifted swells.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Mom, my head is getting bigger.

What???

I said, my head is getting bigger!

What do you mean?

Well, I need bigger holes in my shirts because my head is getting bigger.

Oh, it's hard to get your head through the neck of your shirt?

That's what I said!

Oh, of course! Duh!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow Storms and Santa Sleighs

Breakfast with Santa was met with the perfect setting today. The snow blew in and made the whole neighborhood look like it had truly become winter, just in time for The Jolly One's sleigh to deliver him to our event.

The food was good, but the company was the best part. And I am so happy to report that "Santa" is prepared this year with just what was requested from atop his lap--at least in respect to my kids! So, YAY!!!

There is nothing like Christmastime when you have children at home. While I've had a hard time getting in the mood, I'm sure Christmas Morning will be spectacular.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trees of Glass and Other Stuff


You just never know where some things will lead... A couple of years ago we gave my dad "lessons" at a glass studio for Christmas. He loves to stay busy and we thought this would be a great outlet for some of his hands-on tendencies. He'd mentioned a long time ago that he thought glass work would be interesting, so when the opportunity came along, we signed him up!

Now, two years later, my dad just brought me the most beautiful piece of glass art. He designed the artwork and then created this amazing nativity scene. My dad has also been working on the stained glass for the new LDS Draper temple. He's worked on glass for some of the other temples as well.


Last week my mom and I attended the Festival of Trees in SLC and made sure we stopped by to see the glass Christmas tree submitted by the studio where my dad volunteers. He didn't work on the tree, but he helped put together some of the glass packages that are under the tree. While it's not exactly my style, it's really an amazing piece of art. I heard it sold for $25,000 which will go to Primary Children's Hospital


Making of a Glass Christmas Tree from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Define "Good Mom"

I think I'm a good mom. Not Supermom, mind you, but a relatively good mom. I cook, I clean, I do laundry (if not windows) and I usually remember to meet the school bus at the corner... usually...

I was at a meeting tonight and I got to thinking about being the mom of active triplet boys, a busy tween, and an angst-wrought teen. I could probably be a better mom if I was in a position to specialize, you know, super-cool teenager's mom, way-fun-and-crafty tweener's mom, or build-a-snowman-in-the-yard triplets' mom... But the truth is, I'm your basic, all-purpose, everyday (just a little bit crazy) mom. Is that good enough?

I once purported to be an "awesome" mom. I did something outlandishly cool (it could happen!) and then encouraged my son to answer his phone for a week by saying,

Hello, this is Mike, my mom is awesome!

OK--so maybe that's not the best way to become Awesome Mom... oh well...

My daughter loves to have sleep-overs. I, however, abhor them to an impressively extreme degree. If you knew how I really felt about them, you'd be amazed at amount of emotion that I can put into something as simple as a bunch of slipper-wearing, pillow-toting girls. If I were Way-Fun-and-Crafty Mom, I'm sure I wouldn't feel the stress and weighty responsibility of these events.

As for my short-comings in regard to the triplets, where do I start? I often get invited to join playgroups and mommy-and-me groups, but I am always reluctant to attend. First of all, have you met The Buddies? You must realize there are three of them, right? Why would anyone want to expose themselves to our particular brand of chaos? And really, keeping track of three at the park, the zoo, the swimming pool--it's not exactly a picnic, folks! I don't want to join a playgroup, I live in a playgroup!

So there it is. Maybe I'm fooling myself with this good mom business, maybe I'm really Slacker Mom. Pin a giant "S" on my chest and I'll get myself a cape.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reason to Celebrate

Yes, I am aware that this season is reason enough to celebrate. However, I am inordinately giddy because the tinker-er called it quits and let the professionals take over.

After the ill-fated tinkering attempt of last weekend, it took (only) three days, one Comcast repairman, two phone consults with the whole-house automation guys, and one personal visit from our family favorite whole-house automation guy, Ritchie. Hi Ritchie!!! (The partridge in the pear tree was our next option.)

Since I know you're not as over-the-top thrilled at this life altering event as I am, I'll spare you the rest of the details. Suffice it to say, the phone, tv, and internet are all back to their original working order and it only cost us three days of frustration, many hours of ranting, a few minutes of cussing, lots of ribbing, one scheduled appointment, one impromptu visit, several phone calls, and about $80 in labor fees.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What? No Snowman Butts?


What do you mean you don't have a snowman butt tradition???

Christmas is the quintessential time of year for sharing traditions. Some traditions are handed down through the generations from the "old country," some traditions happen by accident, still others are nothing but premeditated ways to spend time with our families.

I love Christmas because of all the happy traditions I remember from my childhood. But if I'm honest, I have to admit that I prefer the traditions of Christmas Eve to the traditions of the actual Christmas Day. I remember spending Christmas Eve driving 60 miles through the snow to spend the evening with my cousins. Half the time the roads were treacherous and I'm sure we were lucky to arrive in one piece. Once we arrived, the best part of the evening was watching the nativity story in the form of a homemade slide show. The slide show was created using photos of all of us dressed as Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds, the angels, etc. The best part of this tradition was waiting for that most favored photo.

Our favorite snapshot was not the one with Mary smiling sweetly at baby Jesus. It was not the one where we were standing in the neighbors pasture among the sheep, pretending to be shepherds (but really fearing for our lives--those child-eating sheep!). It wasn't even the one where the plaid pants are sticking out of the angel's flowing white robes. No, our favorite photo was the carefully posed shot of the angel standing on the stoop to deliver his message of good cheer to the shepherds who waited at the bottom of the porch stairs. The reason that we love this particular photo is because of the big, black work boot that inexplicably sits on the window ledge in the corner of the photo. I don't know why it's so funny--it probably has something to do with my aunts gasp of distress the first time she noticed the unfortunate oversight. Cost of one gasping aunt, priceless...

My family has a new tradition. Several years ago I bought a cute table decoration with a family of snow people. I placed it on the kitchen table and thought it gave the kitchen just the right wintry touch of whimsy. What I didn't count on is the contention it would cause at dinner time. It seems that while the family was adorable from the front, nobody wanted to have to look at the "butts" during our evening meal. And just so you don't think these were anatomically "correct" snow people, let me assure you that the backsides were just round balls of snowy fluff--no details--completely G-rated. However, night after night, all we heard was,

Why do I have to sit here and look at those snowman butts?


The snow family was starting to look a little worn, so I decided the place of honor on the table was probably a thing of the past. Last year I placed the little family in the Christmas tree. I thought everyone would appreciate getting to eat their meals without taking their turn with the butts. But no! Now everyone is grumbling because I've ruined the snowman butt traditon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Now I Remember...

Ever had one of those days?

The Mister is one for tinkering around the house. Not necessarily a problem--unless he's messing with the cable. Let's be clear--the cable is the life line of this house. Without our cable connection we can't surf the web (obviously a problem), place a phone call (love the $10/ month, but VOIP still has issues), watch TV (duh, and there are Saturday morning toons on today!), upload photos (aren't you just dying to see my Christmas tree?), or in other ways entertain ourselves. It's scary to imagine that we might actually have to resort to actual conversations with one another today. (That could be interesting!) Needless to say, The Mister thought today would be the perfect opportunity to rewire a few things and get the TV in the loft working. Can you guess what happened?

If you guessed that the modem would go out and need to be replaced, the block would be defective, the signal would be too depleted, and we would be left with no internet, no phone, and only snowy TV stations to watch, then you get the prize! Because that is exactly what happened. If you continued on to guess that we would need to call Comcast and they wouldn't be able to get here for a day or two to fix it, you'd win the bonus prize! And Now I Remember why I hate it when he tinkers with the cable!

So, in lieu of an afternoon of finishing my holiday shopping online (in a quiet and peaceful manner), I was relegated to joining the masses at the mall. OK, so we'll go to the mall--big deal, right? Only I don't like the masses at the mall. I don't like getting out of my sweats and into real clothes to go to the mall. I don't like standing in line to pay for anything at the mall. I don't like cranky employees nor do I like cranky shoppers at the mall. Now I Remember, I don't like the mall!!!

I made it back home (and obviously I survived--but how?) and I'm taking great efforts to apprise you of our family's cable related misfortune. I am posting from a laptop, which has a severe inferiority complex in relation to my most favored Mac. I'm plugged into The Mister's "work" wireless modem, and I am unable to provide you with joy in the form of Christmas tree photos. And Now I Remember, I am never going to let The Mister tinker with the cable again.

Let's just hope he Remembers that!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Around the World


My mom (who happens to be awesome, just ask anybody) kindly bought tickets for the two of us and The Eldest and HRH to attend BYUs Christmas Around the World. Now, I am not a fan of that school which dominates Happy Valley, but we went to the show and enjoyed it anyway. The show itself was really good. I especially liked the Irish dancers, and the US Western Swing number. But the best part, in my opinion, was the BYU Male Choir. Those singing boys were awesome!

However, I was very distracted by the "helpful" Marriott Center Staff. Not two numbers into the show, some small child (who shouldn't have been there anyway) puked... On the floor... On the seats... On her parents... It smelled lovely--trust me! Anyway, it was bad enough that the mom and child had to escape from the center of the row, stumbling across the feet of everyone. They were followed seconds later by the dad and the crying baby (baby missed mom, obviously). In and out they went, at least a couple of times--and then it really got distracting.

First, helpful girl #1 arrived with her flashlight to survey the mess. She returned moments later with helpful guy #1 who helpfully sprinkled sawdust (or something) over the mess to soak it up. Yay--they're gone--now nobody is standing in front of me during the show (that my mom paid good money for us to see)... But no. Then arrived helpful girl #2 along with helpful guy #2 who swept up the sawdust/puke mess. Helpful girl #2 made me nervous because she acted like the smell was going to cause her to add to the mess! Oi! Again, I thought we were done, but no! Next, reappeared Flashlight Girl along with Mop Boy. Mop Boy may also have been helpful guy #2--there is some debate on that. Anyway, Mop Boy mopped (obviously) and let me say that he mopped standing up--in front of me--and he wasn't transparent... so I couldn't see anything... But yay--smell was gone, helpful people were gone, flashlight was gone, until... Lysol guy arrived purportedly to clean the seats.

This epic janitorial episode took FIVE very helpful people. However, I believe that I (one solitary person) could have cleaned up the mess faster/better/in a less distracting way/even if I had been wearing an elephant costume!

But the show was nice. Really. I thoroughly enjoyed it. HONESTLY!!! And really, the best part was spending the evening with mom and the kids. Family togetherness is good and I'm glad we had the opportunity to go to Christmas Around the World together. THANKS MOM!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Captain Trims the Tree


Do you think Captain Crunch cereal (with crunch berries, of course!) is appropriate Christmas tree ornamentation? Because if you do, that's one thing you and The Buddies have in common.

The tree has been waiting patiently in the corner for the moment when the Christmas Spirit would assault me and propel me into action. (It has yet to happen.) So the tree stands at attention, patient and stoic, lit, but bare, humiliated--I'm sure.

The Buddies took pity on me (and the tree) and decided they would dress the tree for the season. They emptied their kindergarten backpacks and bestowed upon the tree all their holiday art projects. I was OK with that--Santas, snowflakes, what's not to like? But when I took a closer look, I saw the cereal bits and berries nestled into the branches.

While I understand that crunch berries are the perfect, festive color, I really have to insist that they are not appropriate. At least not in this house. While the kitties are doing a fabulous job of keep our house a mouse-free zone, we certainly don't need to encourage a relapse.

Stephenie Meyer

So, I'm still taking flack about my post on the Twilight movie. After watching the movie (and being disappointed), I decided to reread the series. I didn't want to remember Twilight as the movie--I wanted to keep the story in my head in all it's awesome-ness! As I've mentioned before, I NEVER reread books. Even my most favorite stories. But because the movie was so off from how I visualized the story and characters, I decided to give it another go.

I am happy to report that I really enjoyed the books this time, too. I feel like the story was more complete and the characters were better developed and (at least to me) the characters now look right again. In fact, I've been surprised at how much I enjoyed the second book. Originally, New Moon was one of my least favorite books. This time, I really liked it. I guess it was because I was reading it from a different perspective this time--already knowing the outcome and where it was leading.

Anyway-- just in case you're wondering, I am still a Stephenie Meyer fan. But I doubt I'll get too excited if the other books are made into movies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I've Got It! But Can I Get It?



I finally solved the question of what the big thing is this year. The bigger question is where can I get it? The Mister and I don't plan to go overboard this year, but there is something special that we would like to get for the family. Of course I can't spell it out because that would ruin the surprise! Sorry kids! No spoilers here!!!

We decided to have a smaller Christmas this year. Fewer things, more experiences and togetherness. The kids are referring to it as our Rip-Off Christmas, but I hope they will change their minds. We are going to several concerts, shows and productions. I'm excited about all the upcoming opportunities, I just hope we haven't gone overboard on the togetherness! It wouldn't be very helpful (for the family morale) if we hit January and are no longer loving one another! I suppose we had better schedule some down time, too.

Anyway--I'm waiting for a snowstorm to get me in the mood to decorate--is that a bad idea? Weather Man??? The tree is up, but aside from the lights, it's pretty bare. I guess I'll just have to keep wishing for fluffy snowflakes and steamy mugs of hot chocolate!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Say What?

The Buddies have their own language. I had heard that happens with multiples, and it's true. One mispronounces a word and then the other two pick it up as if it's correct. Now all three are convinced that it's the rest of us who can't speak correctly.

Examples:

Under de Rest - what police do to bad guys.
B-seen - seen before, e.g. I b-seen that movie.
B-tending - making believe, pretending.
Ordamints - things to hang on Christmas trees.
Camel Ope - cantaloupe melon
Batatoes - potatoes and/or tomatoes, both are apparently yucky.
Silly Beans - soy beans, edamame.
Bizzert - anything sweet that is served after dinner.
Ripped Cream - a fluffy topping for bizzert.
Roop Deer - a beverage used for making ice cream floats.

I asked the boys if they can say "root beer," and then I said I was having root beer, did they want any? JJ says,

Mom, you can have root beer if you want, but we all want roop deer!

Interesting name changes:

Matt-You - the name of a boy in school.
Mike Handsome - AKA Mike Hansen (and yes, he is handsome).
Pretty Lady - Karen, who didn't want to be called Mrs. or Sister...
Peter - AKA Wendy, Zeke can't remember which character from Peter Pan she's named after!

And one of my personal favorite songs:

"Jesus wants me for a sun BEAN!" also sung, "Jesus wants me for a sun BEEP!"

Aren't kids the best?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Family Home Evening

The Eldest has volunteered to provide the FHE lesson for tomorrow... Should that worry me? This is the same child who regularly feigns sleep just to get out of answering lesson questions. Hmm, I'll have to get to the bottom of this. I wonder if the answer is as simple as him wanting to watch a movie instead of having family interaction. I foresee an evening of Veggie Tales.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not morally opposed to Veggie Tales, in fact, I think the theme song is rather catchy! But I was hoping for something a little more personal for our first December FHE. This month is obviously a great time to focus our family time around the Savior.

If anyone has a great idea for December Family Home Evenings that focus on the Savior and the True Spirit of Christmas, please share!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All I Want for Christmas


Christmas is coming and I'm sure it will arrive on my doorstep long before I'm completely ready. It seems like the anticipation grows at an exponential rate starting from the time the Thanksgiving dishes are washed and peaking late into the night as I herd the kids back to bed (yet again) on Christmas Eve.

The little boys' wish lists are growing and evolving every day, as yet another toy commercial sways their loyalty. The teen and tween are flummoxed as they strive to request the best gifts possible without crossing that indefinable line where they know there is no prayer of fulfillment.

I wish grown-up Christmas Lists were as simple. The Mister buys anything he wants/needs, the grandparents are much the same. What do you gift upon people like that? And for my own wish, I want something that only I can provide for myself, and the reality of achieving that is truly destined to be an unfulfilled wish.

So here we are, hurtling toward the most anticipated day of the year, and I don't know what the outcome will be. I just hope it isn't fraught with disappointment for all. And mostly, I hope we can all remember the true reason for the celebration and appreciate the season accordingly.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I think I'm ready...




I had my day--Thanksgiving leftovers are in the refrigerator--I'm ready to move on. But before anyone gets too excited, we do still have The Mister's birthday to celebrate. In the meantime, I plan to get the tree up and start with Christmas preparations.

So I've started my shopping, but like every other year, I avoided Black Friday shopping. I prefer shopping in the comfort of my jammies and slippers (in front of my glowing computer screen) to the jostling and early morning chaos of the brick-and-mortar stores. So tell me, do I really miss anything? Because I really don't think I do. In fact, I looked through the sales ads to compare prices on the items that I have already bought, and I got better deals last week than were being offered today. So really, what would be the point of going out now? I love online shopping! And trust me, if there is an online deal, I'll find it!

The only think I wish I could figure out is this: What's the big-must-have-item this year? I think I have all the big stuff, but I know that one item will allude me at the last minute. It would really be nice if I could figure out what it is before it's too late to get it!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


To all our friends and family, "Happy Thanksgiving." I'm thankful for all of you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twilight - Not So Stellar


Let me preface my comments by telling you that I loved Twilight (the book). I was very hesitant to read it, but The Eldest insisted. And he was right, I really did enjoy it. In fact, I didn't start reading the series until the third book was about to come out, so I got to read the series straight through. And that's just what I did!

So, along with everyone else, I have been waiting (not exactly patiently) for the movie. What a disappointment! My disenchantment with the movie began when the trailers and promo posters were released. The characters didn't do justice to the vision in my head. But I gave it the benefit of an open mind and bought my ticket, popcorn, and Diet Coke, and hunkered down to watch the show.

UGH! Edward isn't supposed to be a dork! Isn't Edward supposed to be excruciatingly beautiful, and perfect, and intelligent, and perceptive, and charming, and perfect, and considerate, and romantic, and did I mention perfect, and.... and... and... Edward-ly? Aside from not looking right, Edward was just missing that special something, that spark, that intrigue...

And the story didn't flow well, nor was it complete. If this had not already been a book with a cult following, this movie would have died after the opening weekend. The story was not developed adequately, and if you hadn't read the book, I don't think you would really get what was going on. The book was so emotionally charged, but the movie seemed to go for the cheap laugh instead of the true emotion of the story in the book.

I think the only one who captured the true feeling of her character was Kristen Stewart (Bellla). Carlisle was too young looking and too obviously vampire-y. And don't get me started on Jacob and his dentures. And seriously, most depressing of all--what was with the ugly Volvo??? What happened to the incredibly hot S60--isn't that what Stephenie Meyer said Edward drove?

And just as an FYI: The Eldest insists that Alice was amazingly cast. He thought she was dead-on. Also, The Eldest does, in fact, drive a super-hot Volvo S60 (so there!).

I love reading, but my time seems to be so limited. Once I start a book, it may take me a while to finish, but I always finish every book I start. I never read the jacket covers, and I never skip ahead to see how things end. I like the the story to unfold as it should, I guess that's just my own little quirk. Also--I never reread anything--no matter how much I enjoyed the story. But I am making an exception here. Since seeing the movie, I have started rereading Twilight. I was hoping to get this ridiculous version of the story out of my head. The problem is, I keep seeing those characters from the movie in my head, and it's ruining everything!

So, my suggestion: beware! If you loved the book, don't spoil it by seeing the movie.

And that's my 2 cents worth... Take it or leave it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm a Loser

Today was one of those days. I overslept, got the kids to school late (after letting them eat doughnuts for breakfast), missed an appointment, and failed a test. And then, to top it all off, I got a badge of dishonor from nablopomo.com for not keeping up with my 30 in 30 challenge. Oh, the disgrace!!!

Some day I hope to meet my aspirations of being a good mom--but it's not going to happen today. Sorry kids, not today, and tomorrow isn't looking so good either...

Anyway, on a brighter note, I won't be suffering from untreated allergy symptoms for the next nine months. I did my allergy testing today and I reacted quickly, but not severely enough, so I was disqualified from the study. Oh well, I guess I'll have to come up with another way to earn Christmas money this year!?! Does anyone know if they are still paying for plasma?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Friendly Feast

The Buddies are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow with a Friendly Feast in Kindergarten. That's all well and good, except that I haven't picked up their contributions from the grocery store. Hmm. Why is it that you never have carrot sticks (or olives, or popcorn) when you need them???

So, I'm off to Harmon's. I guess I can pick up some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies while I'm there!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Looking for Pumpkin Recipes


There's just something about pumpkin in the fall. As soon as the weather starts to cool off, I start the annual craving for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. From the cookies, I quickly progress to all things pumpkin. All things pumpkin, of course, includes our favorite Pumpkin Pie Waffles, but it does not include Pumpkin Pie. I have a severe dislike for all things pie. Don't ask--it's more involved than you really care to know.

I've been collecting recipes for years, and I've tried a lot of interesting pumpkin recipes. The one recipe that I would love to find is the recipe for the perfect pumpkin cookie. I usually resort to buying my cookie fix at Harmon's. Don't get me wrong, Harmon's cookies are great, but there is nothing like eating a cookie while it's hot from the oven.

So here's what I want from you--all two of you who actually read my blog--please send me your favorite pumpkin recipes. It can be a recipe for cookies, muffins, soup, anything but pie. I'd offer the person with the best submission a fantastic prize, but that isn't really going to happen. I can send you a really nice email!!??!! So, if you have a great (or interesting) recipe--Please Share! I'll post my favorite next week.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Art With Heart

Tonight I went to watch my daughter's performance in Art with Heart which is a fundraiser for Shriner's Hospital. Three studios collaborate each year on this amazing show, The Dance Club, Dance Impressions, and Winner School. I attended along with my mom, The Eldest, and our friend. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and I think everyone else did, too.

It's amazing how talented these dancers are, and I'm always impressed at the caliber of their performances. Several of the pieces were choreographed by Travis Wall (So You Think You Can Dance) and there were pieces by Jacki Ford and Joey Dowling (In The Heights, Assoc. Choreographer), as well. How lucky these girls are to have such impressive instructors!

Anyway! It's always nice to know that you are taking part in something that will benefit someone in need. This fundraiser for Shriner's Hospital is such a great opportunity for our girls to use their talents to benefit others.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I know Your Name!


If you're a mom of more than one child, I'm sure that you've called at least one of your kids by the wrong name (you can admit it, it's ok!). I do it all the time, in fact, sometimes I throw in my husband's name or my brother's name for good measure. You know, just to keep everyone on their toes. Of course, if you go so far as to call you husband by your Xs name, that may be crossing the line just a little bit. But that's another topic.

Anyway... One of the Buddies has a definite attitude when it comes to his identity. From the back of the car I will hear, "Mom, it's me, JJ, will you turn on the music?" I will tell him that yes, he can have the music on and that I know who he is.

Minutes later, "Mom, can I, JJ, roll down the window?" Again, I know who you are! You really don't need to label yourself.

At home, "Mom, will you put my initial, J, on this toy?" OK Buddy, I know what your initial is, I'm the one who gave it to you, remember???

It's homework time and I yell, "Ma-Zee-Mi-I mean-JJ!!! Come get your homework done!" See? I do know his name!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Diet Works... So Far...



Just in case anyone is keeping track, my diet is working. The results (so far) are at the bottom of this page. Woo hoo! I like that downward trend!

However, I have to admit that the last couple of pounds were the result of the flu (ugh!) and an inability to keep anything down for two days. So I may reclaim a little of that loss. Those are the breaks, huh? You win some, you lose some--and hopefully you keep losing them!

But it is working. Of course, it would be nice if someone actually noticed (without checking my SkinnyR Graph first). Oh well. At least nobody has asked me if I am pregnant lately, because that was certainly a low point.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Day Full of Gratitude


I know, I know, I've been doing a lot of complaining about people ruining my Turkey Day by pushing other holidays on me. I'm going to put that aside for a bit and tell you why I love Thanksgiving Day.

First of all, I love everything about fall. I love the intense colors of the changing leaves. I love the golden sunshine that streams into my living room. I love the rich flavors of fall baking. I love the smells of cinnamon, vanilla, and baking bread. I love how the fall landscape changes overnight with the first dusting of snow. And at the end of natures gloriously spectacular display, I love the arrival of the end of November and Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving has always been a warm and family-centic holiday for me. I remember years past when we celebrated at my grandparent's house. The cousins came down and it was a fun and festive day of wild games and an abundance of incredible food. A favorite pastime was trying to snitch a nibble before the prayer without getting caught. I'm sure my grandma wanted to strangle us by the end of the day--but we always had the best time.

And boy, could grandma lay out an impressive spread! The table was always set with the fine china and crystal. The turkey and side dishes were always mouthwatering. And nothing sparkled like grandma's special holiday drink--always served in beautiful cut crystal. Of course, the special holiday drink was just red punch mixed with Sprite, but to us it was a very special tradition.

I loved spending time at grandma and grandpa's house. I loved seeing my cousins (I'm sure I enjoyed seeing my Aunt and Uncle, too). I loved the traditions. The smells. The leftovers. I loved the whole day.

I can't wait for Thanksgiving this year. I have so much for which to be thankful. I am grateful for my family and friends. I am grateful for a husband that I both love and like. I am grateful for my health and the health of those who are most important to me. I am grateful to have more than I need, and opportunities to share. I am thankful to live in such a beautiful location. I am most grateful that my parents are still here to help create memories for my children.

This year, I would like nothing more than to provide for my family the same traditional Thanksgiving holiday that I remember. I know, some of the recipes may be new, the desserts of choice may have changed, and some of the faces are different. Regardless, the fundamentals of the gathering of family, the warm feelings, and the mandatory shrimp cocktail remain the same!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Now Accepting TP Donations


No, we are not in the grips of a bout with diarrhea (that was last week). The TP is requested for battling those pesky, and all-too-premature, Christmas Holiday decorators. You know who you are (don't you Sue?).

I know, I know... I'm a little obsessive about acceptable Christmas decorating protocol. As previously mentioned, I just can't help but feel off kilter when the December holidays encroach upon my Turkey Day. While I love Christmas as much as the next person, I want to enjoy my turkey amongst the glorious colors of the fall harvest.

My vision of fall loveliness is hindered by the boughs of pine swagged across the front porch of the house across the street. Flashing lights and singing Santas somehow detract from that feeling of gratitude for all we are blessed to enjoy. So please, I'm begging you, unplug the lights. Put away the inflatable reindeer. Enough with the carols and snow machines. And about the elf named Fruitcake.... really, he never needs to be seen again.

PS. Sue's house looks really lovely. Really! But I refuse to enjoy it until after the Thanksgiving dishes are done! And no, she is not responsible for the inflatables.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What a Weekend

What do you get when you fill your weekend with one neighborhood party, one ex-husband visiting, a demanding dancer's schedule, two buddies puking, and a partridge in a pear tree?

A tired and crabby Bebe!

Hope your weekend was less stressful!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Waffles


This is one of our favorites for the holidays. The perfect Thanksgiving morning treat.

5 Tbs melted unsalted butter
1 c. pumpkin puree (make sure you get puree and not pie filling)
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger (you can use fresh grated, but I never have it)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
1 Tbs rum extract (I actually like the extract better than true rum, you decide)
1 tsp vanilla extract (obviously Mexican if you have it!)

Combine pumpkin, sugars, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mixture will be thick and lumpy.

Mix together milk, sour cream, eggs, rum, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir until combined. Fold in melted butter.

Original recipe from "Waffles from Morning to Midnight." Minor changes are my own.

These waffles stay very moist. Don't wait for them to crisp up, it just won't happen. I know it's a little disappointing, but I think you'll love them anyway!

Some people like these with maple syrup. I think they scream for cinnamon cream syrup and whipped cream. They could even use a sprinkle of toasted pecans for good measure!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ode to the Easily Cleaned


Leather Couch, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love that when a child vomits (ALL OVER THE PLACE), I can wipe you off and you're as good as new. I love that when a diaper leaks (and thank goodness that we don't have that problem anymore), I can wipe you off and you're as good as new. I love that when my child (who is not allowed to eat anywhere other than the kitchen) spills his *insert messy, wet, soggy, food item here* in your cushions, I can wipe it off and you're as good as new.

Shiny Concrete Floors, how do I love thee?

When anything (anything at all) spills, splashes, or in other ways defiles you, it takes nothing but a broom or a mop to make you pretty again. Bleach doesn't scare you and Lysol is your friend.

Comfy Blue Denim, how do I love thee?

Wash and dry (without the dry cleaning bill), need I say more?

This is dedicated to those with puking children. May we all get some sleep tonight!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Qwest is Dumb

I got a call from a collection company yesterday. What? A collection company??? What bill have I not paid???

I was informed that I had an outstanding balance for October on my Qwest wireless service. Hmmm, interesting, especially since I've never had Qwest wireless service. And by the way, why on earth am I being sent to collections on a bill that is less than a month old??? (No response)

Oh, I guess it's not your wireless bill, it's for long distance. Hmmm, I canceled my Quest home service (including long distance--obviously) a few months ago. And since I paid my final balance then, how can I have a balance? The collector went on to reiterate that I must not have paid my final bill. Well, I can assure you that I pay every bill that is delivered to my mailbox...

I told the collector that I would be contacting Qwest directly.

The Qwest Rep informed me that yes, indeed, I did owe a balance for my October long distance. They explained that I had paid the final bill for my Qwest services, but long distance is a third party vendor. He said that third party charges sometimes don't get billed as promptly as regular charges. While I had indeed paid my final Qwest bill, these charges had come in since that payment was applied to my account.

OK, so then I asked why I had not received an updated *final* bill. Why had I been sent to collections instead of being sent a new bill. And on a bill dated October? Really, it's only the first part of November! I was then informed that because I had paid my final bill, my account had been closed. Because my account was closed, they couldn't bill me. What??? They have my contact information, including my address--they looked it up just now by my phone number! They couldn't put a dollar amount on a piece of paper, put it in a stamped envelope and mail it to me? They had to send it to collections instead??? Yes, I was told. That is the process. Seriously Qwest! Give me a break!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Coughing and Sneezing and not a Cold in Sight

I have allergies. If you can eat it, if it has pollen, if it flowers or grows leaves, I am probably allergic to it. I'm even allergic to many prescription drugs. "Take Benadryl," you say? Nope, I'm allergic to that, too. It gives me hives. I know it's not a death sentence, it's not even all that serious, but it is really annoying. I watch what I eat. I annoy waiters with questions about preparation. I keep the windows closed, even on beautiful summer evenings. I sneeze all year long. It's just a fact. Need Kleenex? Just ask me, I always have a stash.

The phone rang today and it was an allergy research clinic. My doctor had passed along my results from a recent skin-prick test. Gee, imagine that, I'm a candidate for a grass allergy study.

So here's the question: Is it worth my time to quit taking my allergy meds (that usually work at least a little) to test drive a new medication that may or may not be at all helpful? Factor in that I will have a one-hour visit with the doctor every month, and I will be required to keep a daily diary of my treatment and symptoms. Is it worth it? This is the dilemma for the day. If I agree, I have my first appointment on Monday. The bonus? I get paid. Pay is good, right?

So, if you see me puffy, sneezing, coughing, with itchy, watery eyes, don't worry. I'm getting paid!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things To Do - Kid Version

The Princess is dancing in a benefit for Shriner's Hospital next weekend. Her studio joins with two other local studios every year to put on this fund raiser. If anyone is interested in attending, let me know!

Anyway, while I was online buying tickets, I found this: Kid Time at the Covey Center. I think I might try this when the weather gets bad and we all have cabin fever. The only downside I can see is that a parent has to attend with the kids. I wish I could drop everyone off and get some holiday shopping done!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good Intentions and Even Better Food

I am going to try to redeem myself for missing a day in the 30 in 30 posting challenge.

I have had many requests for this recipe, so I'm going to share it with everyone. I originally got it from my friend Genn who told me it was "way better" than my yams with marshmallows. I didn't believe her, but she was right! Since then, I have altered it a little, I think it's even better now.

I serve these every year for the holidays and I make everyone try them. Even people who tell me they hate yams usually come back for more! Enjoy!

Holiday Yams

1 large can yams
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Whip preceding ingredients together and spoon into an 8x8 casserole. Mix topping and spoon topping over yam mixture. Bake at 350* for 35 minutes.

Topping:
1/3 cup flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
Pecans (optional, but awesome!)
Flaked Coconut (I don't believe this is optional--you decide.)

Note: I use the pecans and the coconut every time! YUM!

Let me know if you make these, if you changed them, and if everyone liked them! I'd love to hear back from you!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day

Today was a special day for two reasons. The Eldest has been away and we were able to spend the day with him today. He is growing up and becoming a mature young man. I know that he is working at making a difference in himself and for himself, for his friends, and for his family. I'm so proud! And boy did he look handsome!!!

The other reason that today was special was because our friend (and neighbor) reached a milestone today. We celebrated with his family and were able to share in their joy. We wish him the best and know that he will continue to make good decisions in his life. Congratulations!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Focus

I took this photo several times. The first time the background was in focus and you couldn't discern the branches and leaves.

Life would be easier if you always knew where to put your focus. I have been contemplating relationships, responsibilities, realizations, desires, and expectations. I wish there was a way to achieve everything without sacrificing anything. I know it's not possible, but it sure would be nice.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gobble Bag Got It

Yesterday I was running a little late (ok, ok, I'm often running a little late) and I couldn't find my purse. I asked one of the little buddies (the triplets) if he had seen my purse. He looked at me very seriously and asked,

Do you think the Gobble Bag got it?


For a second I didn't know what he was talking about, and then I laughed.

About two years ago I was fed up with all the stuff that never seemed to get put away. I was always removing piles of paper from my kitchen counter, stacks of books from my stairway, backpacks from the entryway, toys from the living room, you get the picture. Anyway, I created a Gobble Bag (a pillowcase with an angry face painted on it) and presented it to my family.

I no longer had to be the bad guy! Instead of me telling the kids to come get their junk, the Gobble Bag would simply gobble it up. The item would be gone until the lesson was learned. If the Gobble Bag took something repeatedly, that item might disappear all together. The Gobble Bag worked for a while, but after a few months I realized that the same stash was still in the bottom of the bag and had not been reclaimed. It was easy to see which items wouldn't be missed and those items were donated to charity or tossed. It was nice, though, to be able to remind someone that things needed to be picked up so the Gobble Bag wouldn't get them. Kind reminder--no nagging.

Anyway--we haven't seen the Gobble Bag in nearly two years. I can't belive that my little buddy even remembered that little blip in our family life. As I get ready to start dinner, I see lots of stuff in the kitchen. Maybe it's time for the Gobble Bag to schedule a reappearance . At least it makes the Gobble Bag the bad guy instead of me!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Concede to Winter

I left the house early today in a flurry. It wasn't the typical flurry of activity that occurs when you have to get three five-year-olds out the door for the bus. It was an actual, bona fide, undeniable snow flurry. Winter has arrived.

I have made my peace with the fact that I missed fall. Winter??? Bring it on! My parka hangs at the ready... And boots? Look at these cuties!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall or Winter?


It snowed on my pumpkin.

I think that's a little like "it rained on my parade."

Do you remember that post (just 2 days ago) when I hoped that we would get some time to enjoy Fall? I wanted to enjoy the cozy fireplace and bake yummy treats. Do you remember that??? I wanted to listen to the wind as it swept the leaves away... I wanted to enjoy the shapes of the gnarled and balding tree branches... I hadn't had time to do any of those things yet because it was still 70* outside.

It snowed today. Technically it wasn't the first snow, but the first snow blew in on the day we left on our cruise, so we didn't actually experience it. Anyway, does that mean that I missed Fall? Is it Winter now??? If the snow all melts and goes away, does that mean it's Fall again? Or does it irrevocably become Winter at first snowfall? And if so, has it been Winter since the first snow? Was I living in denial already??? hmmm.

I guess we could always throw the calendar into this little discussion. But I think it is certainly Winter, with or without a calendar, once there is substantial snow on the ground--no matter what month it is! Really, could you say "Happy Autumn" while toting the snow shovel out to the driveway again for the second workout of the day??? Ok, I do realize that nobody says that, but you get the idea!

Well, I guess it's fortunate that I like Winter, too. But if it really is Winter, I am so sorry I missed Fall. I'm not sure I want to jump from short sleeved shirts to parkas. Oh, for just a little sweater weather. I guess there's always next year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Am I in Kindergarten?

Yesterday was supposed to be my perfect fall afternoon. Unfortunately, it was interrupted by assorted kindergarten homework assignments. I am pretty sure that I attended and completed kindergarten at one time in my life. Yes, it was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure that the lessons I learned are still active credits on my lifetime-of-learning report card. What I would like to know is why on earth my buddies' teachers send home assignments for me to complete. Do they think I need a refresher course???

I understand teachers wanting to involve the parents in what their kids are learning. Thank you. I certainly do appreciate being kept in the loop. But please!!! Don't send home assignments that you know I will have to either do myself or be so involved in that I may as well just do them myself. What some teachers don't take into consideration is that I have three kindergarteners! When you send home a poster project, I have to do three of them. When you send home a "decorate the turkey" assignment I have to do three of them. When you send home a holiday activity, I have to do three of them... Do you see a pattern here???

Instead of baking some tasty treats, I spent last night decorating turkeys. We made a spy turkey, a football player turkey, and a snowman turkey. And no, it was not fun! I did not enjoy it. And I hope to get a free pass from similar assignments in the future. So teachers, please, send home books to read, spelling words to practice, math sheets to complete, but I beg you, no more creative, family-fun assignments. Thank you!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Best Type of Sunday

Sundays are a lot of work. Every week we get up and do our level best to get to church on time. This isn't an easy task to accomplish with five kids, especially considering that 5/5 would rather stay in bed. And if I'm honest, I have to admit that I would rather stay snuggled in bed, too.

Today was one of those rare Sundays where things were just a little more leisurely. With the daylight savings time change, everyone got that little extra snooze that is needed on the weekend. We got up at a leisurely rate and had a little time to enjoy the morning. I love getting that extra hour!

And this day has just gotten better (in my opinion). There is a fall storm rolling into the valley. It rained all night, sprinkled all morning, and now there is a delightful drizzle. Delightful? Yes! Delightful! There is nothing better than a true fall afternoon. I love the way the colors are all deepened. The bland colors of late summer are now saturated and rich. The earth is no longer dusty brown, but a rich and fertile chocolate. The grass is greener. The twisted limbs of the scrub oak trees are black and more distinctly visible. The view is so much more vibrant and interesting.

Along with the view, which I will appreciate from the cozy warmth of my family room, I hope to have some time to enjoy the company of my family. Days like today are perfect for playing games, snuggling with a book, or watching a movie. At some point, I will probably be prompted to bake a tasty treat to share with my family. I love to share a freshly baked something hot from the oven. Nothing says "Love" like baked goods!

So from my cushy chair by the fireside, with cocoa and a cookie in hand, I wish you a happy fall. And may we have a little time to enjoy it before winter arrives!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Dailies


Disclaimer: I am going to post daily for the month of November. If you are looking for exciting and entertaining posts, I might be pushing it this month. Read at your own risk.

Last night was Halloween. I like Halloween traditions: trick-or-treating, costumes, baking with pumpkin, getting a sugar high... What I don't like are houses decorated with Christmas lights--even if they are orange and purple lights. And I especially don't think people should decorate their houses with twinkling white lights for Halloween, there's no excuse for that!

Last night The Eldest and I drove past two houses that were decorated with Christmas lights. There was not even an attempt to use orange or purple holiday lights, these were full-on Christmas lights. Who are these people??? Do they own calendars? Do they know how offensive it is to have to look at Christmas lights for that many months? Are these the same people who keep their Christmas lights on until February???

Honestly, I love Christmas lights. I love the twinkle as they glow through the falling snow. I love how they outline the eaves that are weighted with thick blankets of clean white flakiness. But part of what makes them so special is that they are so fleeting. I have a firm belief that the Christmas season doesn't start until after Thanksgiving, and it ends just in time for New Year's Day. People, please! One holiday at a time!!!

So, for those of you who are lighting your houses for all the world to see, you've been warned. I, for one, do not appreciate it. And if you should find your yard adorned with toilet paper one of these mornings, you'll just have to realize that if you can celebrate ahead of schedule, I can celebrate in a belated manner. That being said, I am giving myself permission to continue Halloween pranks until Thanksgiving. Watch out you early revelers!




Friday, October 31, 2008

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!



Wishing you a Haunted (but Happy) Halloween from the Beans.
AKA Pirate Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, and the Parrot

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Free Isn't Always

We live in the foothills and we have mice. It's just a fact.

A few months ago (after using traps to catch at least one mouse in the house every night for ten days straight) we decided that we needed a cat. I had long maintained that with five kids (three who were still in diapers) the last thing we needed was a pet. We were cleaning up poop for three kids, why would we add to that? But the mice were taking over, so it was time.

Knowing that we live in the foothills, (also knowing that coyotes live in the foothills) we decided it wouldn't be prudent to purchase a cat as a pet. Let's face it, there is a real possibility that our pet could become an appetizer. I know it isn't a happy thought, but it's the truth.

A few months ago we searched the classified ads and found a free kitten. Let me be clear when I tell you that we have done everything we can to keep her away from danger. And I am happy to report that she is not only alive, but happy and thriving as well. Anyway, Shade has become a terrific mouser and frequently leaves her prey for us to inspect. Let me also report that we have not caught a single mouse since she arrived on the scene--hallelujah! Worth every penny, right?

Yeah, only now the story gets better. We decided that since we were lucky enough to get a great mouser, we should keep her healthy and pulling her weight for as long as possible. Do you know how expensive that is???

I called the vet, it's going to cost nearly $200 to get her dewormed, spayed, and whatever else they feel is necessary to keep a pet healthy. This is the information that I've been contemplating. Hmmm. Do I spend the money? Do I hope for the best? What to do....

Here's the kicker: It would appear that while we were on vacation, someone dumped some kittens in the trees and rocks next to our house. When we got home and found them, they were in pretty bad shape. We're really not sure how long they had been there. Anyway, they were too young to be without their mother, so I called the vet and asked for advice. I described their condition and explained that they weren't ours so I didn't want to invest much. I did say that I would do my best to get them healthy so I could find them good homes.

OK--so now I'm buying special canned kitten milk and wet kitten food, fixing them special meals, and protecting them from Shade, who is definitely not a fan. I don't need this! I wanted one cat to kill the mice--Shade doesn't need help, she's a mousing genius!!!

So, today I came home at noon and Eve (the little girl kitten) had a paw that was swollen to four times it's usual size. Obviously it was broken or something. I have no idea what could have happened. But here we go... We took Eve to the vet and we paid for an x-ray, pain meds, and eye ointment. If she isn't doing better by Friday, I suppose I will take her back like I was told.

So here's the deal, my "free" kittens (all three of them) are now becoming rather expensive. Shade is the proud owner of a cushy bed, a cute food dish, and a very nice litter box with special litter in it. She doesn't like the cheapest dry food, so I've upgraded her. We leave a night light on in the garage. We buy her treats and toys.

Eve has now had an x-ray, she has a supply of mini-syringes filled with some sort of pain medication (that I will administer every eight hours). Eve and Dusk share a supply of wet kitten food and special kitten milk that I have to mix up at least once every day, and ointment for their eyes. On cold evenings we heat a bean bag in the microwave and put it in their box so they won't get cold. Holy Hannah! What are we doing??? Let's not forget that everyone still needs to be spayed or neutered and dewormed!!!

So if anyone is looking for a "free" kitten, call me. I think I can hook you up!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Excitement Enough


After a week long vacation, you would think that we'd had enough excitement. Apparently that is not the case. Just a few hours ago I was sitting on the floor of my garage, crying kid in lap, surrounded by at least six EMTs. While I certainly appreciate a little male attention as much as the next gal, this really isn't the way I prefer to get it.

The neighbors will all be happy to know that the flashing lights of the ambulance and fire engine were not heralding anything too life threatening. A little scary for a minute, but we're all going to live.

Zeke was playing on our Little Tykes playset in the backyard tonight. The wind had blown the playset over during the week, so it wasn't set up properly. JJ, Max, and a few of the neighbor kids were climbing on the playset while Zeke was climbing through it. The whole slide, along with all the kids, fell on Zeke and he was hit on the forehead. Within 30 seconds he had a goose egg on his head (ok, it was more like a chicken egg--but seriously, it was really big!). The EMTs came and checked him for a concussion and neck and back injuries.

Good News: Z-man is A-OK and all the kids got pins and badges from the firemen!

Seriously--with five kids there is more than enough drama just in everyday living. Can we take a break from the extra excitement for a while???

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a Trip - Disney Wonder Cruise

Mister and The Princess joined our party for the cruise on the Disney Wonder. What an awesome experience! We sailed to the Bahamas and spent a day on Nassau and a day on Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. The kids had never cruised before and they loved it!

The ship was beautiful and our two bedroom suite was amazing. We had two bedrooms with walk-in closets, three bathrooms (two with full-sized bathtubs), a living room, and a dining room. The concierge staff delivered a basket of cookies or treats to our room every afternoon. Can you believe it???

The Eldest checked into the Teen Aloft Club and we hardly saw him the rest of the cruise. He wandered in each morning at about 2am. I think he made some new friends and I know he had a great time. One afternoon he went out on a wave runner excursion. He said it was awesome.

The Princess didn't want to hang out in the club, but we had a great time watching live shows and going to the movies. We took a catamaran out to a reef and snorkeled one afternoon. I don't think she enjoyed the salty water, and I know she didn't like the idea of using a snorkel that had someone else's germs on it, oh well. It was fun anyway! Aboard the ship, HRH got into the pin trading. She made some sweet trades with the crew.

JJ, Max, and Zeke loved the kids club. They played games and made flubber. They took a ride on a glass bottom boat and fed the fish some oatmeal. Zeke wanted to know why we couldn't always live on the ship. Aside from the cost, I can't find a reason. I loved having the kids entertained all day!

What a Trip - Walt Disney World


Note to self: midnight arrivals are not fun after a week-long trip. We got in late last night and everyone was so tired, but we earned that tired!

We had the BEST time in Florida and on the cruise. I had forgotten how fun it is to be part of the Disney Magic. I have been to Disneyland a million times (slight exaggeration) and to the Magic Kingdom in Florida several times; I don't care how old you are, it's still a fun place to be.

Last Saturday the boys (all four of them) and I left for Florida. Grandma and Grandpa came with us--thank heavens! We stayed in Orlando and spent several days at Walt Disney World. We saw the animals at the Animal Kingdom and followed that up with several days at the Magic Kingdom with the last day at Epcot.

The boys enjoyed the Magic Kingdom the most--big surprise. But you'll never guess their favorite ride: HAUNTED MANSION!

I think we toured the mansion 4 times one day and 5 times the next! The best was on the third time through when JJ said,
"I love this ride, and this time I'm going to keep my eyes open!"


The Eldest and I found a new way to meet people. We decided to do a little pin trading as a competition. We bought the cheapest pins we could find and then he had to trade for a Jack Skellington pin before I could trade for a specific Tinkerbell. We worked really hard and met lots of people, but in the end, we both had to buy our pins of choice. We had a really great time trying though, and the little boys joined in the fun, too!



Although we did make one unexpected stop on our trip (to the ER--JJ got a 103* fever and sore throat) and one unplanned stopover (overnight in Atlanta due to a missed connection) this trip was a success. And there are more details to come! Wait until you hear about the cruise!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trip or Vacation


My definition of a vacation is completely different from my definition of a trip.

A vacation is when you go away (usually without the kids) and do nothing but relax. Relaxing may somtimes include sleeping late, breakfast in bed, lounging on the beach, dinners out, but it must always include arriving back at home rested, relaxed, and ready for life.

Let me clearly state that I am about to embark on a trip--not a vacation. Now, that's not to say that I don't expect to have a fabulous time--because I do! But peaceful and relaxing? No, I'm not counting on it.

We (which includes my husband, myself, our 5 kids, grandma, and grandpa) are going on a cruise. I fully anticipate that we will come home overstimulated, weary, sunburned, sleepy, crabby, tired, anxious, and exhausted. (Best case scenario--of course!)

But we are excited!!! This will be the kids' first cruise and we will be sailing on the Disney Wonder. If anyone has any tips for cruising with kids, send them over quick! We leave on Saturday!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Arrival of Fall

I won't pretend that I'm disappointed that the warm weather is on the way out. Fall has always been my favorite season. I love it when the temperature starts to drop--that crisp feeling in the air. . . . I love the apples that come into season--that sweet tartness that begs for caramel. I love the way the colors fade from vibrant green to flames of orange, red, and yellow. . . .

It snowed in the mountains last night. I awoke to see the clouds drifting along the canyons and filling the valleys. All at once, the clouds broke apart just enough to expose the majestic, snow capped peaks of the mountains beyond the foothills.

This photo was taken this morning from my back deck--can you believe the scenery that I enjoy on a daily basis? I am so lucky!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weight for Me!

OK--so I haven't made any changes to my SkinnyR graph because my weight hasn't changed. What's up with that?! I have been eating less and getting more exercise.

My neighbor has been taking me on the death march in the mornings. I really think she might be trying to kill me! She marches me down a gravely hill, then straight up the other side. I try to stop and catch my breath, but I am pretty sure she'll leave me to the coyotes if I don't keep up!

Anyway--exercise is good--right? And it probably won't kill me, right??? So, I guess I'll just have to keep at it. oh well...

But on a happier note, tonight was really fun! Some of the neighbors came over for an impromptu party. We set up the projector and (supposedly) watched a movie out in the back yard. I'm not sure how much of the movie actually got watched, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I just wish we had started doing this earlier in the season--we're expecting snow this weekend, so that will put an end to outdoor parties for a while.

Thanks everyone! It was fun while it lasted! We'll do it again next year!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weight: I'm Falling!

You know those moments when you want to crawl under a rock and die of embarrassment? I should have had one of those moments the other day, but I didn't. Why didn't I? I guess because I can acknowledge the truth.

This week someone asked me if I was expecting. And before you even give that another thought, let me just remind you that I have triplets. And now, I will assure you that the answer is NO! No, I am not having another baby. The truth is, I'm just getting fat.

At one point in my life I would have been mortally wounded by someone suggesting that I had put on a few. The truth, however, is that I can acknowledge that I do indeed need to lose some weight. I could give any number of excuses, starting of course with the fact that I did carry a set of triplets (how could anyone forget what that does to a body?!). But the truth is, I just haven't put any effort into it lately.

So, I guess it's that time once again. Time to lose a few pounds. Luckily, I had already decided to make a change, but thanks for the added incentive!

You might have noticed my SkinnyR graph at the bottom of this page. I am going to post my progress. Is this an effort in self-humiliation? Yes, yes it is. I am hoping that by knowing there is a possibility that someone is watching, I'll try harder. So please be supportive. And no laughing!

So here's the deal: I will weigh myself several times a week and post the results. I will not fudge the numbers (mmmmm, fudge). But I am not agreeing to weigh myself on days when the Fall weather gets the better of me. For instance, if (by chance) I make a batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies I will eat one (OK, I'll eat more than one) and I will not be posting a weight check the next day! My weight chart--My rules.

My goal is to lose a total of 27 pounds. I am taking suggestions, recipes, tips, and encouragement. And just for the record--Red Mango is a diet food. It's yogurt and fresh berries. So you can still feel free to bring one over!

Friday, September 26, 2008

There's a New Treat in Town


OK--I have a confession. My name is Bonnie, and I'm an addict. It's been six days since I last indulged. . . .

I went to New York this summer and ordered my first Pinkberry. Everyone told me it was amazing, yeah right. Yeah Right! That stuff is addicting! One night we walked to the Pinkberry from our hotel only to find that the yogurt machine was broken. Can you believe that we walked to the end of the block, hopped a subway, rode two stops, walked to the end of another block, then stood in line for 15 minutes??? Addict!

Now that I'm home, I've been having serious cravings for the Pinkberry. What's an addict to do?

Enter: Red Mango. The Red Mango sign has been up for a while, but it wasn't open. The doors finally opened, and I decided it was worth a shot--of course it couldn't be as good as my Pinkberry, but I still had high hopes that it would be better than everything else I had tried in an effort to relieve my cravings.

I walked in and tried to keep my hopes in check. The styles of Red Mango and Pinkberry are very similar, hmmm, interesting. The furnishings are contemporary and clean. The offerings are basically the same: original (plain) yogurt or green tea flavored--again, very similar. The berries and other toppings are fresh and colorful--I'm hopeful, this could be it!

And then the big mistake--I mention the similarities and the girl at the counter says "yea, Pinkberry copied Red Mango."

What?! Oh -- no you didn't, you did not just slam my Pinkberry! How could that be??? My beloved Pinkberry! OK, I'll forgive that slander for the moment. . . . you're young (and probably wrong). I'll just take my Red Mango now and be going (still hoping for the best).

RED MANGO! I found it! Pinkberry, you were my first, and still possibly my favorite, but Red Mango is in UTAH!!! I know that distance is supposed to make the heart grow fonder. In my case, the heart learns to love what it can get! And I love Red Mango! I know, it makes me seem fickle. But this is really good! And now I won't have to suffer until I get back to New York next summer!

Now I'm embarrassed by how many times I've been back to Red Mango. I'm considering sending my kids in to order for me next time. If you come to visit me, will you please bring me a small regular yogurt with all the berries?! And Shelly, I will meet you there on Tuesday!

 
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