Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Something's Coming...

Could be?

Who knows?

There's something due any day
I will know, right away
Soon as it shows

It may come cannonballing down
Through the sky

Gleam in its eye, bright as rose

Who knows?

It's only just out of reach

Down the block, on the beach
Under a tree

I got a feeling there's a miracle due
Gonna come true, comin' to me...

Could it be, yes it could
Something's comin', something good

If i can wait
Something's comin'
I don't know what it is

But it is gonna be great

With a click, with a shock
Phone'll jingle, door will knock

Open the latch

Something's comin'
Don't know when
But it's soon
Catch the moon
One handed catch

Around the corner
Or whistlin' down the river
Come on, deliver to me

Will it be, yes it will
Maybe just by holding still
It'll be there

Come on, something
Come on in

Don't be shy
Meet a guy
Pull up a chair

The air is hu
And some
thing great is coming
I feel like drumming
And something great is coming

Who knows?

It's only just out of reach
Down the block, on a beach
Maybe tonight...

Maybe tonight...

Maybe tonight...!

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! By the way, something's coming...check back soon!!

Song sung by Barbara Streisand, and written by Leonard Bernstein for West Side Story

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Need to Stop Shopping the Junior Section (like at Fred Meyer)

How do I know I need to do this? Well, probably because I am usually the only one there pushing a cart through the mercilessly skinny aisles, filled with milk, trash bags and hemorrhoid cream, with two kids grabbing every other clothing item they see and throwing them on the floor. I get Jr. High School-worthy scowls and rolling eyes from teenagers every time, but, I don’t care...much. And truly, when I have the guts to venture in, I never find much.

Of course I am not interested in advertising my own Muffin Top, or wearing a “vintage” tee or donning Lycra-woven dresses. But, every time I step into the “women’s” section, and I start to see those boxy wool sweaters with holiday themes and shiny buttons, the gray hairs on my head start to glow like Frodo’s sword in LOTR and I can feel my neck skin sag a little closer to my feet. I have to rush over the thongs in the lingerie department just to reverse the effects…and I hate thongs…that’s just how far I’ll go…

Because of this, on-line shopping, especially at Old Navy, is now my standard M.O.

But what am I supposed to do? I am learning that “50” is the new “30”, so I guess that puts me at about 15-years-old or so? Which is fine, ‘cause I am, once again, feeling awkward and not sure about where I fit in…should I be telling the teens to go buy some onesies and leave me alone?

Some women my age really have it down; these perfectly coiffed women wear cute, classic, yet “young” outfits, adorned with just the right amount of “bling”, and to-die-for shoes. And, I am assuming they are either millionaires or in a fashionably fabulous financial hole. Or, I am just so blasted bad at clothes shopping that I need a full-time tutor.
If I were ever nominated for “What Not to Wear” Stacy and Clinton would kill me. I would desperately be trying to escape their manicured grips, running for the first Old Navy I saw, demanding the ONE shirt I like in every color, any pair of pants in a size 6, and all the coupons they had handy. Stacy would hurl her Louboutin shoe at my head, as I ran to the register (in my comfortable and sensible clogs), hoping she rendered me unconscious or put out my eye. That’s when I would break the heel off, point it at Clinton and tell him that I think his plaid pants are too tight. My, that would be an ugly episode…

Anyway I actually DID brave the mall to stop into Old Navy last month and buy some turtlenecks, because my old ones had holes, and my zits have decided to party on my neck recently (TMI? Sorry…you have to suffer with me). I kid you not, I think two teenagers were purposefully out to ruin my day, like, they knew how pathetic I was in HS, so they followed me, and mocked every shirt I picked up, with some garble-y slang I really didn’t understand and nauseating giggles. Their Heathers-like behavior propelled me back to the halls of Secondary Education Hell, causing me deep grief and anxiety, and the strong desire to listen to Depeche Mode. I am not, by nature, a person that seeks revenge BUT…if I could have gotten their Blackberries and stepped on them with a Louboutin heel, I would have.

Oh HOW am I going to survive The Teenage Years with my daughter? At least by then I will have made peace with elastic waistbands and sweaters adorned with reindeer, I hope…

But until then, I will shop, on-line, in the safety of my own home, away from the scary teenagers and possible heels of Stacy, praying that Old Navy doesn’t change their sizes and keeps “The Basics” around for me to buy in every color. Yes, I am stickin’ to my Levi’s 518 boot-cut jeans (the best jeans in the world in EVERY way) and I will probably layer tanks, henleys and cardigans for the rest of my life.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Do You Know about "Advent Conspiracy"?

OK I might just get a little deep here, and this doesn't happen often, so please bear with me...

This is our second year away from home, away from friends and family we have traditions with and with whom we share many memories. Moving away was something I thought I would never survive, it was all about ME ME ME! But, God has a way of saying, "trust Me, and I will change you" and then you do, and, wow...

So anyway, two things impacted me greatly as a teen, when I wasn't worried about having more than one pair of Guess? jeans and if my bangs were sprayed up high enough that day. First, my mom signed us up to adopt a grandparent at the local senior center. This was so cool. Of course, the smell of the place will never leave my nostrils, but spending time with our adopted g'pa was very calm, sweet and special, except when his ex girlfriend was screaming in the room next to him. True story. Somehow he managed to be in a room next to a crazy girlfriend he had like, 50 years before! Oh the stories he told! She was still crazy, and he often told her, while we were there visiting, to "SHUT UP, WOMAN!" We visited him until he died, about a year later.

Then, my hubby's (we have been together 17 years) parents took me along with his family to serve at the homeless shelter for Thanksgiving. Serving in this capacity was amazing as well, as it took me SO outside of myself and all my selfish wants and needs. I am thankful for both these experiences, I believe they watered the seed of serving that I have in my heart.

And here we are, basically alone, with lots of time on our hands for the holidays.

With my kids, I have tried to make sure that seed is planted as well, but in a fun way and in ways they can participate fully. That desire, since moving here, has kicked into overdrive for me. At this time we are helping pack backpacks, on Thursdays, full of food for low-income kids to take home over the weekend. This has taught my kids to be thankful for what they have, and to not complain about what they are given! They are SO enthusiastic and work just as hard as the adults, cleaning up even! About a month ago, Audrey, my 5-year-old, led the prayer for the kids after we were finished. I wasn't the only one crying.

Back home, we would participate in the Salvation Army gift-giving to children. We would get the names off the tree at the participating coffee shop and then go buy gifts, wrap them and bring them back to the tree. Then we would pray for those kids the whole Christmas season. Jacob still talks about those kids now and then. Amazing.

This year I have so much on my list that I want to do but we have been SICK and I am frustrated that we may not get to do all of them! Our church is partnering with other churches to open a toy store to give gifts to 18,000 kids in need in our area. My kids picked out gifts to give, and now they say they wish they would have picked out more and are planning what they want to give next year (SOB!) Tonight is the set up and this weekend we can help distribute gifts and serve food. I am trying to get well so we can do this. I am a strict believer in not sharing germs and viruses so, we'll see...

Last year, our good friends invited us to bring breakfast items to the firefighters across the street working on Christmas Eve. This was SO fun! The kids got to sit in the firetruck and see the lights, hear the sirens, and they got firehats! We will do that again this year, and my hubby will make his "slap your mama they are so good!" cinnamon rolls this time. He is so talented...

I am also hoping to make a surprise visit on Christmas Eve to a friend's Aunt who lives near us and is home-bound. We have so little to do with everyone away on Holiday (and being so far away from home), that it would be a travesty if we didn't share our day with someone who has no one close-by to share it with. Maybe she can become our adopted g'ma...

On a personal note, our socks were BLESSED OFF of us last year, when all of our new friends here showed up one night and brought TONS of new toys for the kids., and gift certificates for us to have a date while they babysat for us. Josh and I were speechless and amazed at how generous people could be, and they just met us! Talk about inspiration!

Anyway I write all of this not to spout off about all the wonderful things we are doing as a family, it is just lately I feel COMPELLED to do these things, like I cannot rest until they are done, like I am not being the parent I should be if I don't introduce my kids to these kinds of activities while they are still young and impressionable, and show them what this season is REALLY about. It also has to do with this video they showed at church recently. I bawled my eyes out. I have watched it over and over. I feel...compelled...

I really hope you all get to do something special for someone this season...

This, my friends, is the bliss...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Are One Sick Mother

About 5 pm yesterday the smack-down happened; I was minding my own business when suddenly my throat decided it was time to set itself on fire. Hmmm, I thought to myself, I wonder if this is the result of my son sneezing directly in my face as I was flossing his teeth two days ago? Probably, I surmise, since the smell of his infected tonsils wasn't successful in knocking me out initially, I guess The Cold thought it would give it a try. So, I am sick. Does this day sound familiar?

-You feel The Cold creep over, tap on your shoulder, and ask if it can come and ruin your life for a while. You shake your head no and pretend that it isn't there, cackling crazily as it looks for ways to settle into your mucous membranes and lymph nodes. You continue on with your day, cooking, driving, meeting, cleaning, bustling, ignoring, overcoming, and when it's all done you convince yourself that you're just a little "worn down" from the busy day. You get into bed and say to yourself, "I'll feel better in the morning."

-During the night The Cold found the key you had hidden under the mat and took up residence, changing the interior design you had worked so diligently on (with your vitamins and exercise) into a raging mess of phlegm and bacteria, and laughing as he turned up the thermostat.

-Morning comes and you stagger out of bed, met by two equally snotty children (because of The Cold) who are bouncing around like excited electrons, because apparently The Cold has no hold on their ability to move, like he does on you. This makes The Cold THAT much more evil.

-You pour orange juice over their cereal and stumble over to the couch as they scream in disapproval. You need to go to the bathroom, but, it can wait as you mumble though a few phone calls to cancel, uh, your life...

-You know today is going to be a great day for the kids, full of TV, games, and junk food, and you don't care. You will do whatever it takes to stop them from walking...their feet on the carpet causes cranial pain beyond comprehension. You are out of cold meds, so you down 18 Children's Tylenol tablets. There's breakfast!

And then it starts:

MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! He put glue in my hair!
MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! Where is the remote!??
MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! I broke the remote!

-Before you can blink it is lunch time. You haven't gone pee for fear your head will explode if you get up, but you arise anyway because kids are on your lap, bouncing mercilessly and breathing on you, which is like daggers in your eyes.

-Figuring food is merely secondary to survival (because you think so clearly while ill), you throw down some bread and lay peanut butter in a stripe (why is it white? you don't care) and sprinkle chocolate chips all over it, and zap it in the microwave. You don't remember putting the food on the table, or how you got to the bathroom, but thank goodness you did as you haven't peed in nineteen hours and you are convinced it is now coming out your nose. Oh no, that's just snot. But, lots of it.

-Cartoons are over and Jerry Springer comes on, and you figure one time is OK, since the remote is now broken and the TV is all the way across the room and thus out of reach. Husband calls to check on you.

"Hi hon!'


"Uh, not feeling good, huh?"


"Kids ok?"


"Do you need me to come home?"

"Nnnnnnne hmmm hnnnh hfffff gggg!!!"

You are PRAYING that he understood that as, "YES IMMEDIATELY!" but instead he interprets the lack of vowels to say you are actually rebounding from the onslaught of disease as he says, "love you!" and hangs up. You think to yourself, oh, he is SO getting this Cold! I will snot on him as soon as he walks in the door!

-The room continues to spin as you lose consciousness from time to time, finding yourself sometimes in the kitchen making something with chocolate chips, breaking up fights, or sliding off the couch.

-You make it to 5pm and hubby comes home, finding piles of clothes in strange places, dishes all over the house, snot rags covering the couch and the kids running around yelling, "mom fed us chocolate chips and mayonaise for lunch! Dad, what is a 'babydaddy'?" Hubby looks at you and asks, "what's for dinner?"

-You throw the phone and a take out menu at his kneecap and crawl to the bathroom as your kids bound after you, asking where their glue went and if it's OK to put apples in the dryer.

-Somehow you manage to lock the door just as the kids start banging on it, screaming "MOOOOOOOOOM" for about 5 minutes, until hubby comes over and says, "you ok?"


" want sweet-n-sour or cashew chicken?"


"Ok, I'll order that."

-Prostrate on the floor, you see a magazine left there by hubby, you pick it up to read it, but decide that the floor is much more interesting.

-The scum and debris on the floor is making you feel worse, so you throw several different shampoo bottles at the light switch and somehow get it to turn off, but now you will have to clean up shampoo that has splattered all over the wall. No time to think about that while you are busy trying to breathe.

-The ringing of the doorbell brings you back to life and you move in a zombie-like state to the table and eat some take out. Your head feels like the inside of a bass drum and it is pounding so severely that you have to time your chewing to the pulsing in order to just bring your teeth together.

-Hubby finally gets that you are SICK because you only eat half of your food and you start to cry. He sees the wad of toilet paper stuck in your nostril and says, "maybe you should go to be-" and with that you fly up the stairs, forget your teeth, (all you ate was Tylenol anyway) and lock the door and fall into the bed. Yeah, tomorrow should be a better day...

** for a look at "the day in the life" of a working mom attacked by The Cold, check out Kearsie's day...lame...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Potty Training

Just about the time you find a small group of mommies that are willing, and excited, to discuss and compare what you all find in your baby’s diaper, you smack right into the wall of Potty Training. And you thought the diaper was bad…

With Jacob, the only real reason I decided to start potty training him at 2 years of age was because the contents of his diapers could no longer be contained, even by the best of what the big brand names had to offer. Jacob is not an unusually large child, nor does he have a huge appetite. But, the kid could poop, still can, I do not lie. Sometimes I am horrified and amazed, all at once, by what he can accomplish in one toilet sitting. I haven’t taken pictures, but the visuals are burned into my brain and ready for verbal launch on Prom Night…

I had always heard that there were two big obstacles to quick and easy potty training for toddlers. People had told me that boys were the hardest to potty train, and many children struggle because they are afraid of the toilet, the fears ranging from the sound of the flush to losing a body part or two…I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Now, I had just had Audrey, so tending to a newborn and a Spontaneously Eliminating Toddler was no easy feat, this is because I took the advice of my good friend in throwing all the diapers out, buying pull-ups for the nights/naps, and sticking to underwear for the whole day. Fear…set…in…

No diapers the WHOLE day, including while in the car, at restaurants, or in other people’s homes? She insisted that chucking the diapers for good was the only way to go, and to sequester ourselves in the house for the weekend to magically make this method work in only three days. Then, she said, I wouldn’t have to worry about outings. OK…

So we went out and bought underwear with all of his favorite movie characters, took pictures of him in it, (which are SO cute but I will not post) and then I talked his Elmo doll into being a model of pooping successfully on the potty, which wasn’t hard.

I brought Jacob into the bathroom and told him that from now on he would poopy in the potty, just like Elmo, which kind of freaked him out because he had never, up to this point, seen anything poop but our dog, who did it outside or behind the recliner (bad Chihuahua!). This is why Paco lost his chance to be a good role model in this area. I held Elmo above the toilet and in my hand cupped some chocolate covered raisins. I told Elmo to go ahead and “poopy in the potty”, and out fell three little turds, into the toilet, plop, plop, plop! Jacob was mesmerized, I no longer wanted to eat chocolate covered raisins. After telling Jacob that ONLY MOMMY knew when Elmo needed to poop, so he wouldn’t hold Elmo over the toilet and drop him in for a swim, I sang a song that went like this,


And then I did a little dance. We did this a few more times with Elmo, and Jacob very quickly had his first successful poop in the toilet. Jacob loved that I broke out into song and dance after he had a bowel movement. From here, pooping was a piece of cake. Well, no, scratch that…it was easy. I don’t want to think about poop and cake at the same time.

Peeing, however, was a totally different story…

We had a little Chihuahua, named Paco, that hated the kids and felt like he could pee in the house whenever he wanted, he was not a good example for Jacob. Now, thankfully, Paco didn’t pee where people sat or walked, but still, this was infuriating. He also left "poop gifts" from time to time. Seven pounds of exasperating mess, he was.
We miss him.
RIP, Paco.**

Anyway, I had grossly underestimated how hard the peeing part would be to control. See, poop has a way of letting you know it’s coming, and it also takes up considerable space in a diaper, and instantly emits a smell. And, for the most part, if poop is fully formed, it comes out slow enough to get to the bathroom in time. Pee, on the other hand, sometimes just makes the toddler instantly feel warmer, which isn’t always a bad thing…

So, my approach was to talk about peeing and where it needed to go, which was in the toilet. I started with the “wake up in the morning and pee IMMEDIATELY” routine, jerking Jacob out of bed and rushing him to the toilet for that first morning pee. We got that down fast, even though for the most part he was still asleep. But, from there, my house became a urinal.

Every time I turned around there was the sound of a waterfall and, "MOOOOOOOMIIIE!" Rushing him to the bathroom only meant my hallway developed a yellow-tinged path leading to the toilet. If he was on our linoleum in the dining room/kitchen during an episode, we would both end up slipping and falling in mid-stride, covering half of our bodies in pee. He is a prolific pee-er, too.

I became hypersensitive, often darting up and rushing Jacob to the potty during dinner, my favorite TV show, or a deep conversation with my husband. More often than not, my timing was off and pee flowed freely wherever Jacob stood or sat. Paco couldn’t understand why every time Jacob did this, I didn’t scream at him and throw him outside for two hours. This enraged Paco all the more, and his hatred for both kids deepened…

I soon realized that 12 pairs of underwear were hardly enough, and sent hubby out to buy-out Fred Meyer’s supply, and every carpet cleaning supply he could fit into the car. It took all that was in me to not revert back to diapers as pee flowed freely through my day and the thin cotton underwear my son wore. Soon, however, he had that successful peepee on the potty, and I adapted the "poopy song" to become the "peepee song", and then sang and danced like I was performing for a talent scout for Broadway. I got great reviews and I am available for potty performances should you need inspiration.

So, as my friend said, in about 3 days Jacob became a potty-trained "big boy." I was so proud! I decided to start buying preemie diapers for Paco. After the initial fight and blood shed (from me being bitten) over wearing them, he got quite used to them.***

*** that was a joke

**Paco left us last year after 11 great years. We miss him dearly, as do the kids, though he always barked and growled at them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My 25 Fave Things, Fully Realized!!

You have made it to the end! Aren't you proud of yourself for sticking it out with me? Well, I is a trophy, with a link to the site if you want to buy it.
It's for soccer, so hopefully you like soccer, or you played but was never awarded a trophy. If that is in fact you, then here's your opportunity to be recognized for both accomplishments, and spend your own money!

So, here are the last five, maybe the least, or, maaaaaaaaaaybe not. Monday I will be back, to talk about something that stained my carpet. But, until then...

21.Turkey Stuffing Soup. OK maybe this should have been with “turkey in a bag” but it stands on it’s own, as it's not made in a bag. That would be weird. It’s this easy: dark meat of turkey, cup of turkey drippings, celery, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and poultry seasoning added to a pot of water. When ready to eat, add some stuffing in, and you have an amazing turkey and “dumpling” soup. I LOVE this soup. And if you don't like it, fine, more for me.

22. Helpful Websites: CDC, & Sometimes The Internet is useful, when it is not needlessly freaking me out about bats, MRSA, terrorism, lead poisoning, aliens, or celebrity gook I am trying to stay away from. You can follow flu season with the CDC and make strategic health decisions, like when to avoid all forms of human life, for example. Also, Watchdog is great for looking up schools and neighborhoods to see where registered sex offenders are living, working, and also what they did.

23. Current Fundraiser. This is an on-line magazine that gives 50% of the profits from orders to an organization of your choosing. Right now I am personally promoting a non-profit organization called Beyond Borders. This NPO works with the Natives in Rural Alaska, equipping the youth in the villages and cities to become leaders in order to bring healing and success to their communities. Check them out! And, if you are looking for some great stocking-stuffers to purchase, check out the magazine, and help out Beyond Borders at the same time! You still have time to order and ship before Christmas AND help out a GREAT cause!! Hurry!!!

24. Hand Sanitizer. Many wonder how we ever lived without blackberries, automatic car starters, or Red Bull, but for me it’s hand sanitizer. If I don’t have it with me at all times, I will have several freak-out episodes in my day, declaring publicly that I am unclean, which gets me VERY strange looks. I overuse and abuse hand sanitizer to the point of feeling somewhat tipsy, and I don’t care, as I know the germs and viruses aren’t building up immunity, they are just being drowned in LIQUID FIRE! Should they become immune, for whatever reason, I will just start carrying around a blow torch…

25. My family and friends…ok this is certainly not last on my list! Love them all, so thankful to have such amazing people in my life! 'Nuff said.

So there ya go! Hope this was somewhat informative/helpful/entertaining…thanks for getting all the way through this! Hey, what is one of YOUR favorite things? Could ya share? Please?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You Guessed It! The FOURTH Installment...


I am wavering a little, but I will stay true to my mission! Some of these will be quite relevant...have any of you enjoyed any of the links thus far?

16. Heating pad. I am almost 35. I am always cold, and something always hurts, seriously. The heating pad makes me HAPPY! Not sure it makes my hubby happy, as I always look like I am hooked up to something, just like robots and weather balloons are. And if he gets near me, he starts to heat up to the point of sweating (not because he finds my flannel PJ's and the smell of Mentholatum, that is slathered under my nose, irresistible, it's that blasted heating pad).

17. Turkey in a bag. Thanksgiving is my favorite meal, hands down. The turkey, of course, is the most crucial part of the meal. Every year you see on tons of morning shows, food channel specials, magazines, and even local TV programs with apparently THE PERFECT way to make and bake a turkey. All this fuss with basting, turning, baking racks, herb infusers, fancy stuffings, marinades, bacon, chickens and ducks stuffed inside…JUST STICK THE TURKEY IN A BAG AND FUGGEDABOUDIT! Oh my! A stick of butter rubbed all over the turkey and some simple stuffing is all you need to add before sticking it in a bag and then the oven to LEAVE ALONE for four hours! If your oven doesn’t cook evenly, like mine, you should turn it, but, I tell ya, you get browned skin and the best turkey you have ever had! So juicy and tender, the BEST!

18. Internet TV. We no longer have TV, except for PBS that comes in fairly well with some rabbit ears. My hubby and I LOVE being able to load up on our favorite shows on the weekends, or when we have time. No commercials, we can watch it on our own time, perfect! Netflix is great too, as they have added MANY shows and movies that the family can enjoy, anytime we want. TV when WE want it, HOW we want it…sweet…

19. Progesterone cream. I am not a doc (well, I am not a LICENSED one, and I didn't attend school, but...), and of COURSE I must stress that before you decide to play around with your hormones (even though your hormones will play around with you, without asking anyone) that you first consult a doctor, but without my natural paraben-free progesterone cream I would be, well, go check out my PMS post…I would be her. I read the book (yeah, I read) What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Pre-Menopause and it changed my life. Seriously.

20. Noises Off. This has to be one of THE funniest movies of all time. It has a great cast like John Ritter and Christopher Reeve, Carol Burnett, Marilu Henner, and Nicolette Sheirdon, just to name a few. It is about a crazy cast of Broadway actors trying to pull a play together, with the "help" of their stressed out director, the night before they open. So, if you don’t mind a few swear words here and there, and Nicolette running around in her lingerie for most of the movie, you will LOVE it!!

OK after this one people, there is one more...can you handle it?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Is this as fun for you as it is for me? Probably not...not sure this part of the list will be as relevant for all of you, this portion points more to some fun pastimes for me really...I will get more resourceful and relevant soon...promise...

11. The Office, American version. OOOOOOOO give me some Jim with a side of Pam! I loooooooove Office! Michael Scott is such a fun, amazing mess that at the end of every episode you can't help but feel better about yourself, don't ya think? I desperately need things in life that make me laugh, and thanks to Netflix (which I will mention again later) I can watch all the seasons over and over again. If you haven’t watched the show, I recommend it. It is so satisfyingly funny. I have to say, and I don't want to spoil it for anyone not YET watching, but if Jim and Pam don't get married soon, or break up, I will start my own riot, and I plan to start it at a park, where I know kids will join in 'cause it looks like fun. The original British version is great too, though, I can’t always understand what they are saying…

12. 30 Rock.
I originally did not want to watch ANOTHER show, 'cause my quota for shows is small and usually reality-based but, Tina Fey--need I say more? With her around, I can even stand Alec Baldwin! OK maybe I do have more to say. I want to dress like Liz Lemon, but with better shoes...

13. Yahoo messenger AND 14. Facebook. Without my computer I would probably, um, I don’t know...can’t go there…but IMing with all my friends and having FB around are like, THE best social outlets a stay-at-home mommy could have! I can stay in my PJ’s, I am not tempted to spend money, I can play games, play with/yell at my kids and write a sentence at the same time…too many great positives to count! Of COURSE I still love CONTACT with live people. It just seems that it happens so little these days, with busy schedules and all…ok I am getting depressed so moving on…

15. John Mayer for his music and love of baking. Yeah. I think John Mayer is pretty awesome, and I speak freely about this only because my hubby thinks he is too, just as an entertainer, and a baker. I LOVE LOVE LOVE his voice, his lyrics are refreshing and actually make me smile, and I even enjoy his sloppy guitar licks…he has a blog, too, and talks about and has pictures of..BAKING! (he posted cakes he and his family made for the holidays! ha!) isn't that great? He appears to be somewhat down-to-earth, family oriented and interested in the needs of others and serving in some capacity, all while dating Jennifer Aniston. I don’t want to be his friend or fanatically follow his blog or anything (though I might add it to my list, just for baking ideas), but, I am really happy that he makes music and that he enjoys baking.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

25 Fave Things, Continued...

OK! Time for the next installment of my favorite things! If you didn't read the first installment, please do that, immediately.

Some people have already asked if this list is in order of most favorite to least, or vise-versa. Let me say now, I cannot think that complexly. If I had to think in that order, or arrange the list in that order, or even DECIDE what goes where there would be no list. So, if you happen to be mentioned in anyway, just be thankful, ok? Pretend that I have five Top-Five lists, and somewhere in the middle is the about that? we go...

6. Green Olives and the Olive Juice. These salty orbs of yums are probably why I ended up hospitalized two times with Eclampsia while pregnant with Jacob, but, I forgive the olives…

7. Brainpop & Brainpop Jr. Home-schoolers!!!!! For not too much $$, you can buy a year's subscription to this site and have access to TONS of subjects taught by a little girl with an annoying voice and a cute robot. My kids LOVE this site. There are all sorts of reinforcement activities for them as well, such as tests, writing/drawing about what they learned, and games. Love it. This makes me a "saner" teacher-mommy...

8. My husband’s bread and pizza . Look at that picture down there. He makes tons of wonderful breads, but, that there, is THE BEST bread you will ever eat. It is called Ciabatta bread, I call it "Chewbacca bread" just because I can. It all started when he made bread for Christmas dinner last year, after I decided not to because it would be “too hard” and I would end up having a self-induced, mini-breakdown from all of my festive holiday preparations. He scoffed, “how hard could it be?” I shot back, “then DO IT, buddy!” and he did, amazingly well…check this out!

So then, since we could not find any pizza we really liked in our town, he started making those as well, with his own home-made sauce. Every Sunday, I get a slice of Heaven, served up by my wonderful hubby. I am spoiled, and this incredible talent of his (which ALSO includes bagels, pretzels, and cinnamon rolls) makes me a mom that MUST start working out!!! We have had friends tell us it’s the best pizza they have ever had, and not just because we have free food or they love our tiny apartment. If being a professor doesn’t pan out for him, I am sure he will make pizzas. OOOO. Jealous, much?

9. Other blogs! Now, I have said I do not like to read, but I DO like to read blogs, love it, in fact! The bar on the right of my blog holds the blogs that I follow on a regular basis, and I follow all kinds! There is the godmother of my children, Kristi, who blogs about her experiences of adopting two little girls from India; Kearsie, who writes about (belly-laughing inducing) snippets of her life, experiences as a mom, and, she is quite the talented craft-maker of “loverly” things; WendiWinn, who likes some pretty darn cool stuff and has the wit to match; AskBabyKid, a useful site for moms, in which Yours Truly will be featured in soon (woohoo!); This Crazy Thing Called Motherhood, a hysterical look at motherhood of course! There is also a blog about safety for kids and organic/natural products, which happily feeds my paranoia. And, Dawn Meehan’s blog, the mom who one day walked out of the grocery store an unwilling Pokemon card owner, and the next day became an overnight blogging sensation with a book due out next year! So, check them out, they are always to the right!

10. The Coupon Clippers. Wanna save some money? This is GREAT! Just sign up, look through all the coupons, order, and for a small, small fee you save a TON of money on your grocery bill! I have saved, on average, $25 on each grocery bill using these coupons, one time I was able to save ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS using coupons, and I KNOW for a fact that there are other women who are even better at using coupons than I am, and saving more! Check out the forums on the site too. You will be inspired!!

OH I just can't wait to write the next five!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

My 25 FAVORITE Things!

This is my 25th post! I have been seeing a lot of Bloggers who do a celebratory “100th post” and write 100 things about themselves. Well, I cannot wait that long to celebrate (where’s the cake??), and decided to celebrate my 25th post (ya know, kinda like teens that celebrate their one-week anniversary? Hey, they’re smart actually, how long is it gonna last, really???)

And, thanks to my friend, Wendi, and her suggestion, I will now share my 25 favorite things, in five, easy-to-read installments for only $19.95... uh, oops, habits develop from repetitive auditory stimulus...hey, this is kinda like Oprah’s Favorite Things! But, not really, because my things are cheap, and/or are not actually “things” so, I won’t be passing them out to anyone, sorry, BUT you have tons of links to click on! WOOOOHOOOO!

OK here goes! I am SO excited! In the order that they fell out of my head, here is the first installment:

1. Green Tea Frapps. This is the only reason I like Starbucks, because I am a Spoiled Coffee Snob and live for Kaladi Brother’s Coffee. Otherwise, I am a green tea FREAK! Love it, love it, love it, and I certainly don’t drink enough of it! Right now I am in a groove of drinking Canada Dry’s Ginger Ale & Green Tea Soda…I stopped drinking that caramel-colored beverage that I LOVE (starts with a C and ends with an E) because I have read how the phosphoric acid is not such a good thing. So I am getting my “fizz fix” AND antioxidants AND Vitamin C thanks to Canada Dry and their new beverage creation! BUT, when I want a REAL treat, I get a grande Green Tea Frapp, with whip, and I am in HEAVEN!! Drinking them makes me a "happier" mom.

2. Crystal Lewis’ Christmas CD, Holiday!/ Suzi Rawalt’s CD, Our Saving God. These are two fabulous CD’s that I cannot live without. Crystal Lewis is a Christian Jazz singer and her Christmas album is as wonderful to me as any childhood memory or gooey, warm comfort food. Suzi Rawalt is a friend from back home in Alaska, and with the help of family, friends and an indy lable, she has produced one of the BEST worship CD’s you could ever hope to own. You must buy it. You must. Listening to both CD's makes me a "nicer" mom.

3. Almay products, concealer stick. Looks like lipstick, covers like no other, and works well to cover dark circles under sleep-deprived mommies' eyes as well. And, when you have as many zits as I do, you NEED this! Wearing this makes me LOOK like a better mom.

4. Home Depot/Lowe’s kids’ craft day. OK…the operative word here is FREE! Banging with a hammer, FREE! Goggles and apron you get to take home, for FREE! A cool wooden craft you can bring home and paint/decorate, ALL FOR FREE! Check out your town’s times and dates. We LOVE this! Taking my kids to these makes me FEEL like a better mom.

5. Baking Soda. I have always liked baking soda, but now I LOVE it! You can bake with it, clean with it, brush your teeth with it, settle your tummy, deodorize a room, wash your clothes, use it for science projects AND its most important function? IT KILLS FLEAS! YES!! If you remember, I almost got The Plague from the evil flea vampires, in my house? So, if you want to kills fleas without killing brain cells by using toxic chemicals, just sprinkle it on your dog’s bedding, the carpets, inside your vacuum bag and even your yard! It works on ALL four cycles of the flea’s life cycle, by DEHYDRATING AND CUTTING UP THEIR DISGUSTING LITTLE BLOOD-SUCKING BODIES! DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE! Uh, sorry…fleas make me a CRAZIER mom!!

OK there is the first installment. Aren’t you just SO excited I am doing this? There will be more…please come back…

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pukes on a Plane

I don’t like flying. Which is perfect because I don’t like to travel either…but recently a change in our life has required that if we want to see people we love, we will have to get on a plane quite often. In my lifetime I have only been on a plane about 10 times. Frequent-Flier miles up ‘til now have been wasted on me…

But, not only do I have to deal with MY issues with flying, I now have to deal with two little ones, who not only have the dislike of flying like I do, but they have a very undesirable response to it as well -- puking.

We packed up only a few belongings and moved to a new state so my hubby could attend a doctoral program in business. This move required him to leave first for orientation and to secure our apartment, leaving me to travel alone with two kids to places I have never been. The thought of navigating airports, bags, tickets, and emotions while not losing two kids (who even hate riding in cars) was sometimes more than I could imagine handling.

But, inevitably the day came, and after tears and hugs goodbye, we made it through security and boarded the plane for a 7-hour flight to our new home. Yes…seven hours straight, after which we had a small lay-over and a short, 20-minute flight.

So, as always, I tried to plan as best as possible. I decided a night flight would be best, as sleepiness would overtake my kids and we would arrive without much incident via a dark, quiet plane ride. I brought games, bought headphones for the first movie, and had plenty of hand sanitizer on hand. Everything else, I quickly realized, was out of my control. Here’s how it went, from Shrek III to puking…

9pm: Board the plane, find seats, store all three busting-at-the-seams backpacks, size up the “company” around us and who is gonna bug who, strategically place the kids.

9:15pm: I am holding back tears from the reality of what is happening, which is not hard because the kids are:
Fighting with the seat belts
Fighting with each other
Ripping up the airplane magazines
Asking if we are there yet
Pushing every button they see
Complaining they are too hot/too cold
Opening/shutting the window shade
Pulling everything out of their backpacks
Asking if we are there yet…

9:30pm: The plane takes off. Audrey loves it. Jacob is asking if he can get off the plane, now...fits their personalities perfectly! They are already completely bored with the toys/games we have packed.

10:30pm: Movie has begun. Oh! Shrek III! We…just…saw…this. So, no novelty there, but the headphones seem to be exciting, and they cause kids to raise their voice levels to screaming. Sleeping passengers love us. I am hoping kids fall asleep soon.

11:00pm: Kids have eaten snacks, annoyed most of the people around us, and show no signs of sleeping. Jacob cannot make peace with his headphones. Audrey develops a fever.

11:15pm: I am cursing myself because I did NOT pack the chewable Tylenol in my backpack. Audrey is not well and it is obvious. ARGH!

11:45pm: Movie is over. I am exhausted and needing sleep. Audrey is whining in the aisle seat, and the man across from her ain’t lookin’ so good either. Jacob breaks his headphones.

12 am: I am praying for sleep as the kids kick off their shoes and attempt to lay all over me with pillows, sweaters and the static-filled airplane blankets. Jacob starts to cry that he has no room, Audrey still has a fever, and the guy in the aisle takes off his top shirt to expose his thin white tee and beer belly…oh my gosh is he burping? Is he DYING??? Yes, take more of WHATEVER you are taking! Gas-X, nitro-glycerin…whatever, TAKE IT!!!

1am: Dying Burping Guy stands up in the aisle, with his backside right next to my poor sick child’s head. She is only four, but she is MORTIFIED! As am I. We move and squirm around, trying to position the kids to “sleep” as all my body parts become numb. I am praying I don’t develop a DVT condition.

2am: They are serving dinner. WHAT??? The smell of BAD Mexican airplane food engulfs the plane, and Dying Burping Guy sits down TO EAT! Why, God, why?

3am: Lots of whining and, “are we there yet?”, “I have no room!” ,“get off my leg!”, “I have no blanket!”, and, "I don't like that guy!" statements are made. The kids complain, too.

4am: I realize sleep at this point is never gonna happen, and the five minutes of shut-eye they are getting here and there are only causing all of us to have body cramps. Oh yeah, by this time I have endured “The Bucket List” and “Walk the Line” without headphones.

5am: Dying Burping Guy is back to standing up after eating the Mexican food, and I am praying it just continues to be burps and nothing else...

6am: The end is in sight! Soon we will be in a terminal waiting for the last 20-minute leg of our journey! It has not been easy and…

6:30am: Audrey has to go potty. Now. NOOOOOOOOOOO! If there is anything I hate in this world, it is a germy, dirty, small airplane bathroom. I must take both kids in at the same time. Have you SEEN that Jodi Foster movie? Come on, now…

Here we go…
I choose the bathroom Dying Burping Guy has NOT been visiting…point for me!
We barely fit
Jacob is whining
I am trying to keep the hand sanitizer close by
Stewardesses hear repeatedly from our stall, “put your hands on your heads! Don’t touch anything!” Is an arrest taking place?
I am lining the toilet with ten layers of TP
I am trying to protect all parts of Audrey’s clothing and body from the toilet, as I squish poor Jacob against the door
The girl…has…diarrhea
Paper is as thick as air
Jacob is NOT happy
I can’t move to do anything without exposing us to MORE germs
I am now in my own horror movie…Jodi, you got nuthin' on me…

This happens one more time, by the way…

7am: Getting ready to land, Dying Burping Guy made it, and so did we.

In the terminal, Audrey seems a little better fever-wise, but is complaining about her tummy. I am trying to hold it all together, and as we wait, I provide sprite and fish crackers, which both kids down very quickly. Audrey says she feels better, I explain we have a 20-minute flight left, once we find our gate.

At this point I am weary from no sleep, BUT I am sure I have not developed any clots in my legs AND I am able to navigate the airport and the shuttle ,with all of my precious cargo, to the next plane, a 20-seater, which has about as much room as the bathroom in the previous jet.

8:30am: I am trying to keep the kids motivated by telling them that they will see daddy very soon as I struggle with their seat belts and position myself in the seat across the aisle from them.

8:35am: Plane takes off…this, even in my little experience of flying, I know is not a good take-off. I am thinking LOST at this point.

8:40am: In the air! I am thinking , "woohoo, we are almost there!" I look across the aisle at my two kids. To my horror, Audrey is PUKING up buckets of fish crackers and sprite, conveniently into her overall bib pocket. Jacob is frozen in fear, not able to take his eyes off of her, and begins to heave...

8:41am: I am out of my seat, with wipes and the puke bag, trying to contain the endless vomit streaming from my daughter’s mouth, AND empty the chunky bib pocket contents neatly into a bag as she manages to say,“I’m sorry mama” again and again, which breaks my heart.

8:45am: How is the flight attendant, who is like, 2 feet away, NOT noticing me out of my seat, or the smell that is permeating the entire plane? I ignore that we are now preparing to LAND as I take Audrey’s shirt off, throw it in a bag to discard, clean up her overalls as best as possible, and hold a puke bag for heaving Jacob at the same time. The people across from us just sit with enduring looks on their faces. I realize we are worse than Dying Burping Guy.

We land and everyone around us is relieved, though no one dared help or even look at us during this time. I hand the carnage to the attendant who says, “oh I’m sorry, were they OK?” Whatever lady. Just get me off the plane.

I give Audrey my cardigan and we limp into the terminal to find my well-rested hubby, all bubbly and excited to see us. I have not slept now in almost 24 hours. We smell like puke, and I am missing home. I cried for the next 5 hours straight.

I now know to pack extra shirts, lots of baggies, and to be ready for the inevitable during a flight. I hope Dying Burping Guy is OK.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Was NOT Made for Fear Factor

So, I don’t know if Fear Factor is even on anymore, but I did enjoy squealing over it years ago when we still had TV (college budget and kid’s eyes can cause drastic actions, like canceling your cable). I am thinking maybe it was canceled? Well, if they are still serving up cow brains to ingest, and possibly infecting people with Mad Cow Disease (maybe they test them), then, they SHOULD be canceled…BSE..shudder…

Anyway I know I wouldn't qualify. Why? I can't swim, I'm not competitive, I won't wear a bikini, and I have no sense of adventure, but, besides that, I know for a fact that I could never, ever, reach deep, deep down inside and muster up the courage and ability to scarf down any sort of bug or animal part that doesn’t end in “chop” (like pork chop) “burger” (like hamburger) or begin with “fried”, like fried gizzards. If its fried, I might be able to choke it down…

I learned this about myself the minute I put Jacob on “solid” er, baby food. I was all about giving him a balanced array of foods, mashed mush that would give him the most bang my buck (I used to sit by his crib and pray for him…and uh, count out how many calories he had consumed that day to assure I didn’t starve him. Believe me, he was NOT starving!). So Jacob ate his fair share of apple cereal with cinnamon (cinnamon for brain development) mashed prunes (for iron and easy poo) creamed spinach (for all those "benes" of dark, green leafy vegetables) and, for a protein punch, creamed turkey.

Have you ever TRIED the creamed turkey, let alone looked at it? When you open the jar, it looks like something you left in the fridge for about three months. This is one of those things I did to Jacob that I will always feel bad about, feeding him creamed turkey. My cute little man ate that creamed turkey without a peep of complaint, and I mixed it with his apple sauce, spinach, and whatever else was the food de jour.

My mom told me that when I was little and still on baby food, she would come home from work (dad worked nights, mom worked days, I got LOTS of fun time w/ both parents as an only child) and find me just starving. My mom would ask, “did you feed her?” and my dad would say, “of COURSE I fed her!” Sometime later she was present when my dad was feeding me and came to realize the source of my ravenous appetite-I’d get a bite, he’d get a bite, I’d get a bite, HE would get a bite…apparently he never tried the creamed turkey, or he has no taste buds.

That creamed turkey is the equivalent of Freddy Kruger, your garbage disposal contents, and all the fear-factor foods blended-together, COMBINED!

One day as Jacob was eating it, mixed WITH his creamed spinach (another not so yummy jarred food) I decided to try it. I thought, well, this can’t be all that bad, probably just like baked turkey. And, I LOVE turkey! Thanksgiving is my favorite meal! Surely I was raising my son to be a lover of all foods yum.

…when Jacob was six months old, and I was nursing, I made that mistake of holding him over my head and cooing at him. The boy puked up digested breast milk, and it shot right into my mouth and down my esophagus before I even had a chance to digest (haha) what had just happened. There is nothing quite like the taste of bile and curdled milk together.

I am serious, I would drink a pint of that before I would ever let that creamed turkey touch my lips again.

As I raised the spoon to taste test my son’s turkey lunch, the smell prompted a gag reflex so forceful that it caused my uvula to shoot out of my mouth and hit the wall (the uvula is that dangly thing in the back of your throat, in case anyone was overly alarmed at what a uvula might be). I actually got scared and began shaking and sweating. That instant I started considering whether or not I should even serve this vile paste to my son ever again. Protein…was it really that important? Couldn’t I just give him peanut butter and eggs and have an Epi-pen handy, in case he was allergic to either, or both?? Wouldn’t that be more humane?

I ended up switching to creamed chicken, which wasn’t quite as offensive, but I still had to be prepared since the site of anything pale and pasty caused me to start heaving. Thankfully, he was only on baby food for a few months. Audrey wouldn’t go near the stuff. Good girl! Let’s keep Fear Factor OUT of our menu!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I am about to Explode from Making an Advent Calendar

The Holidays do weird things to me; I start to feel “creative”. I am not too talented in this department, though, Martha Stewart would certainly not approve. But, because I try to allow creative, crafty thoughts to enter my head, every so once in a while I will explode with what I think is a fantastic idea.

Now, when I try to be crafty in the summer or fall, espec
ially for homeschooling, the results are often shameful. Take for instance this past fall when I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids out and gather natural materials to make bird's nests. During our walk on that sunny afternoon we collected sticks, leaves, hay, and whatever else we thought we could use, as I talked about the different materials, where birds might build their nests, and how long it must take for a bird (uh…a FEMALE bird, the guy basically just sits around and sings) to make her home, as her beak is tiny and she can’t pick up a lot of material like we can. So nature lesson, vitamin D, and materials acquired, we walked back home to assemble cute little bird's nests. Yeah, right…

I started with the idea that we would glue the sticks and what-not to the sides of a paper bowl, just to have a base. OK, three problems right off the bat: sticks are straight, bowls are round, and my kids have an extreme aversion to glue. As the sticks fell off again and again, my kids began to freak out and focus on the glue drying on their hands. They ignored the mess on the table they had made and started frantically picking glue off their fingers. At this point, my own frustrations led me to think that the home-made play dough I made for them would be a great substitute for the bowl, and no glue would be necessary. Well, I have a lot to write here so let’s just cut to the chase ok? It looked like I took purple play dough, threw it outside, and kicked it around a bit and said, “look, kids, a bird's nest!” No, I do not have a picture of that. I normally don’t like to record my mistakes that way… Let’s just fast forward to the Holidays, OK?

My mai
n focus is setting up wonderful family traditions and peppering them with just enough crafts to make the season fun, but not so much that I pull my hair out and have to move furniture around to make space to put them all. Cookies turn out pretty well, like these here. Easy enough, I just downloaded tons of recipes from the Internet and got to work with the kids. They loved it. Stained glass, candy canes, triple chocolate chunk, log rolls, coconut thingies…all good…so good, in fact, I braved massive snowstorms to drop them off at people’s homes. Oh yeah, I went all out.

My favorite tradition/creative idea (which I actually took from my mother-in-law) is making a birthday cake for Jesus, which we have, candle included, on Christmas day. I bake a white Bundt cake and dump tons of red food coloring in (I’m sure that’s healthy) then I cover it with white frosting. We sing that song about birthdays being happy, and we eat the cake, talking about how the white represents Jesus’ purity and the red represents the blood he shed for us when he died on the cross for our sins. The kids quite often want to give Jesus gifts, so that is where I explain that when we are giving to others in need, during this season and all through the year, we are actually giving to him. As of late they have been busy picking out toys of their own to give to the gift drive coming up at our church. They are wrapping them, with tin foil, and adding ribbon. They are having a blast.

So this year, more so than other years, I have heard lots of people talking about Advent calendars. Well, that is something I haven’t implemented until now! And, again, in the spirit of saving money, an idea exploded from my head. No, not just a light bulb, a nuclear blast, right from my head!

I have a hard time throwing away Christmas cards we receive, and often just pack them away with all the decorations come January. So, I decided, I would make an Advent calendar using the cards from last year! Oh, I was so proud of myself! No one could possibly get hurt doing that, right??? Here’s what happened…

I set out all the materials, and the rules: no running with scissors, no dripping g
lue on the carpet, no stepping on any of the materials, and NO complaining! We laid all the cards out and set up our stations; Jacob cut the cards, Audrey glued them to red paper, and I cut them out with a border. Not too bad…

2 minutes in: Jacob started singing the tune, “Jingle Bells” to the last word of every sentence I said, for example, “Jacob, don’t do that! “ “THAT THAT THAT! THAT THAT THAT! THAT THAT THAT, THAT THAAAAAAAAAT!”

2 ½ minutes in: Audrey announced she is tired of gluing, that her hand hurts, and she sat on the couch to pick glue off her hands.

3 minutes in: Jacob found the card that plays all the Christmas songs. He announced this should be the last card we “open” on the calendar (good idea!) and proceeded to sit w
ith the card and sing all the songs, shirking his cutting duties.

4 minutes in: I have already said these things several times; “Audrey, keep going, and put the glue on the edges of the cards!”; “Jacob put the music card down!”; “Audrey, stop picking your fingers!”; “Jacob, PUT DOWN THE CARD!” I snatched the card away as he started singing, “CARD CARD CARD! CARD CARD CARD…”

5 minutes in: Jacob nearly head-butted my scissors several times as he bent over to pick up more cards.

6 minutes in: Audrey was back to picking glue off her fingers.

7 minutes in: Most of the
cards were glued to red paper, of which we had none left so we had to get “creative”.

8 minutes in: Jacob yelled, “I have itchy spots!” Still not really sure what he was talking about…

9 minutes in: Jacob snatched the singing card away from under my knee. I threatened that the card would be “broken” if he didn’t leave it alone until Christmas Day. Audrey had lost all interest.

10 minutes in: Audrey was dazed on the couch, complaining that her hand still hurt, Jacob was running back and forth from the garbage to the living room, throwing away useless scraps, singing, “TRASH TRASH TRASH! TRASH TRASH TRASH! TRASH TRASH TRAS

20 minutes later: Kids were off somewhere as I tried to finish placing the car
ds on the green poster board and adding the border.

Here’s what we came up with . I still have to attach the bible verses under the cards, and number each card, but, you get the idea. OK so, in my mind it looked FANTASTIC! And, actually, I am sure others could do a much better job, like making pockets, or doing a mobile, or using all musical cards or whatever. But, even if this example is merely a template of what others could do, the sentiment is still what is most important to me. I have finished picking out 24 verses to put under each card and will paste them under each card. I am excited to explore a verse a day with them, verses that cover everything from praising God, to loving/helping others, and becoming more Christ-like.

So there ya go! No one was hurt, I barely lost my mind, I recycled Christmas cards, we will get some bible time in each day, and now the kids won’t have to ask, “when is it gonna be Christmas?” every two minutes.

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