Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Monday, December 29, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I used to love watching Bill Cosby's "Kids Say the Darndest Things" since I am not old enough to have seen the original show hosted by Art Linkletter. That's not say I didn't see reruns and clips of the show on cable. Nevertheless, I got a kick out of hearing what these kids would say about things like love and the Easter Bunny. That was before I had kids.

Now I cringe when I hear some of things that come out of my son's mouth. Most of them are things that my husband or I have let slip out of our mouths. (I have taught my kids at school that actions made in anger have unintended consequences, but I haven't mastered that concept myself yet.) The strangest things my son has ever said have come from his daycare. Glad to know my $350 a month is paying off. The first thing he came home saying was, "I'm going to tell my daddy on your butt" followed by his dialing a pretend cell phone and saying, "Hello, Daddy?" (Who says that?) He finally stopped saying that but replaced it with this little gem, "You're not invited to my birthday." He has since modified this statement for the holiday season by saying, "You're not invited to my GOD's birthday."

It's as if children try to think of the most hurtful thing they can imagine to say to get back at a mate. Of course, what could be more painful to a three year old than not being invited to a friend's birthday party or being left out of Christmas. I giggle on the inside when my son says this because, little does he know, that if I'm not invited to his birthday there will be no birthday. Then I become the adult and have a one sided conversation with him helping him to understand how hurtful he was. He usually responds with a blank stare and returns back to whatever activity he was doing before I insulted his intelligence.

My question is, when do children learn that words are just as hurtful if not more than a slug in the arm? As an elementary school teacher, I hear no end of mean things pouring out of children's mouths everyday - even Kindergarteners . Some days I spend just as much time teaching the use of kind words as I do teaching math, reading and science. I can only hope that my lessons make a lasting impression.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Assembly Required...Not When Daddy's Away!

Many of you out in the world of Christmas toys might have had quite an evening with the "some assembly required." I didn't have any of that to worry about, but did have to wrap presents by myself since my husband is still away.

It was all I could do to get the youngest to go to bed. I ended up going to bed with him and then debated with myself whether the presents really NEEDED to be wrapped in order for it to be Christmas. Rational heads prevailed and I dragged myself out of bed at 12 something in the morning worried the dog would wake up everyone. The next morning I woke up with the oldest and realized that Santa's goodies were still sitting by the fireplace. I tried to feed them to the dog who on any other occasion would have stolen them off the plate but, instead, snubbed her nose up at them as if to say, "I am not your garbage can." The oldest ended up running them out to the dumpster since my mother's words were echoing in my head, "You are not a garbage can." I guess the dog had heard it enough too. In the end the lack of sleep was so worth watching the youngest try to open presents from Santa.

We have left the tree up for Daddy, but when he gets home he can wrap any presents he may bring. I will be going on a Mommy Vacation. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve Crafting & Christmas Day

We had fun last night turning ice cream cones into Christmas trees. James probably put more frosting in his tummy than on the cone.

Caitlin was very meticulous where she wanted here colored sugar.

The results can be seen below:

These are the two that went to Santa with bottled water. We always have to do things a little different around here. Especially when mommy forgot to buy milk.

Christmas Day we opened presents at home and then went to Nanny's for a late lunch. After lunch, James passed out in the arm chair watching Sponge Bob Squarepants.

Gramma gave Cait a new iPod Shuffle to replace the one that was stolen on the school bus. Cait was ecstatic! (Don't ask what she was doing bringing her iPod AND Nintendo DS (also stolen) on the bus. We still don't know. Gramma was a softy and replaced both of them!
Gramma was excited to receive her Scrapblog book and calendar.

Nanny (Aunt Rose) is looking spiffy in her favorite rose decorated outfit.

We enjoyed our time together. I hope you had a great time with your holiday plans.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Curses, Foiled Again!

How many of you out there have a favorite set of sheets? I do. They were a gift from my mother, and whenever I put them on my bed, I feel so comfortable and cozy. Around the same time, she also gave me one of those really squishy things you slip over the mattress to make it last longer and feel comfier. Well, I hadn't used them in a while because it seems since my husband has been away that whenever I do use them, my son causes some catastrophe to occur that I must immediately remove them.

Yesterday, I finally decided that my son had been catastrophe free (no throwing up, no wetting the bed or spilling drinks.) So, I decided that, since it was so cold out, that I should put my favorite sheets and squishy thing on the bed. Man, it really made all the difference in the world. I slept until 7:45. Who would have thought something as simple as sheets and a mattress pad would change your sleep pattern? Even my son slept until 8:15. That, however, turned out to be a problem.

8:15 - "Mommy!"
"Yes, James"
"Uh Oh!"
Out of the room comes a little boy holding a wet pair of underwear. Tell me it isn't so. The Curse of the Three Year Old Boy continues.

So now I am off to the laundry room to wash my favorite sheets and squishy thing. Considering how well I slept last night, it will be worth the nuisance.

Tonight, however, James will sleep in a Pull-up.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Have a Secret Santa

Yesterday, I opened up my front door to find a box of fudge, a box of expensive chocolates and this....

Isn't that cool? I had to hide it from my kids. Some of these are candies my friend Renee and I would get at the 7-Eleven when we were in junior high school. It was a weekly ritual.

I have been trying to get her on the phone, but she has been mysteriously unavailable. If it's not her, I can't imagine who it could be.

NOTE: I spoke to Renee, it wasn't her...that left my neighbor who has seen me chasing after my son as he ran away down the street. She knew how much I as in need of chocolate. Thanks "Neighbor."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Playing with the Camera

Outside of my town I saw this sunset while leaving the babysitters house.

There is a big issue about the deer population in our town. Personally, I don't mind them. Yes, I have lost a flat of flowers to a deer, but I figure we have built our houses on their homes. The least we can do is put up with a few chewed plants. There are people in town who encourage deer by feeding them (this is illegal). There is a plan in place to allow bow hunting of deer in town to limit the deer population. I disagree with this. Where else can you just be driving through your neighborhood and be able to see a family of deer hanging out in someone's front yard?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Little Christmas Cheer

Click here to create your own video

Well, I figured if we can't all be in the same place in real life, I would create a virtual family get together.

The funny thing is James keeps saying, "Play it again." Then he waves at his daddy and laughs at how silly we are. He doesn't seem to tire of seeing it.

So here's to James...Play it again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friends in Faraway Places

The one thing people could say about me is that I have never met a stranger. I could immediately strike up a conversation with someone in an airport, queue, or conference without hesitation. My experience on the internet, by sheer nature of the beast, has had to be a little more conservative in my meeting of people. Nevertheless, I have "met" some interesting people through my interactions at Scrapblog and SIStv. Both places are positive sites designed to foster creativity and camaraderie among a diverse group of people. I enjoy going to these sites for inspiration but also for the interaction with people from all over the world.

One of these people is Chimene whom I met on SIStv . Chimene's eye for detail, photographic style and creativity has led her to be one of my favorite scrapbook artists. She recently started a blog to display her work which can be seen at the Art of Dutch Vink. I only wish I had the time to try some of the many interesting techniques she uses on her layouts.

Chimene has been kind enough to bestow this award upon me. Along with this sticker came these words:
This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of the prizes are cut, even more friendships are propogated. Please give more attentions to these writers! Deliver this award to 8 blogger’s who must choose eight more and include this clevery written text into the body of their award.
Far more important than this award, my experience in the blogosphere has brought me friendships, many of which are more than virtual. To these friends, I pass on this award. For the sake of their privacy, I shall refer to them by their internet moniker.

Miruspeg - Middle Age Ramblings
Mrs. Peel - Mrs. Peel's Avenging Adventures
MusicJan - Saga of Our Home
MJ - MJ's Sputterings
Flygirl - Moments in Time
BMWGirl - Tucker Wolek Clan
Sharmaine - 4 Squirts & a Dollop
Merryhear2- Certified Paper Freak

Thank you for being my friends...some virtually, some more so. I enjoy the interaction I have with you.

Signing off today as MommyVictory.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

There have been several versions of The 12 Days of Christmas out there, but this one is my new favorite. It is a 1998 performance of an a capella group called "Straight No Chaser" (SNC) from Indiana University. I heard it on the radio yesterday and promised myself to look it up when I got home...I actually remembered, so here it is. (You might need to pause the Playlist in the sidebar.)

Coincidentally, the kids and I went on our annual journey to Belton Lake where they have a display called Nature in Lights. Enjoy the pictures while you listen to SNC sing this untraditional version of an old Christmas standard.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Two Turtle DovesThree French HensFour Calling BirdsFive Golden Rings!!!Six Geese A-Laying
Seven Swans A-SwimmingFive Golden Rings
Eleven Maids A-Milking
Nine Ladies Dancing10 Lords A-LeapingEleven Pipers Piping (Sorry for the blurry pic)Twelve Drummers Drumming
It was worth the hour's traffic on a country road to listen to James ooh and ahh over the innumerable light displays.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas is Coming

My favorite Christmas show came on today-"Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown." There are so many reasons why I love this show. It's hard to pinpoint the main one.

Growing up, we used to watch all of the holiday movies including the original "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," and "Santa Claus is coming to Town." The problem with all those movies is they scared me for some strange reason. The puppets in these movies and Grinch were just a little too creepy. "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown," however actually shared the true Christmas story of the birth Christ. I felt that this was one of the few times people actually heard the true meaning of Christmas outside of all of the commercial hype.

Another reason I love this holiday special is the music. Lucy & Linus theme song featuring everyone dancing on stage hopping back and forth from left to right bobbing their heads accordingly makes me smile.

Vince Guaraldi (1929-1976) is the amazing jazz pianist who composed the scores for all sixteen of Charles Schulz's Peanuts movies. Something about his style is so recognizable to me. I can hear a song on the radio and just know that it is one of his tunes. Funny thing is, until recently, I didn't even know his name...I would just say, "Wow, that sounds like that Charlie Brown pianist." Even though I know his name now, I may still call him the Charlie Brown pianist. :-)

Regardless of the reason, I am just glad my kids and I were able to enjoy at least one of the few holiday traditions I had growing up.

What is one of your favorite holiday shows or movies?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I should have stayed in bed.

Every now and then I write about those kind of days when you would should have stayed in bed. Thursday was one of those days.

It was a typical Thursday where I had to pick up Caitlin from school and run her over to the dance studio. I called my mother to see if she could pick my son up so I didn't have to run back and forth between the studio, house and daycare. Unfortunately, she had made plans and couldn't do that for me, so I had to take James with me.

After Caitlin's class, I went to dinner with the kids to pass the time until my dance class. Upon returning to the dance studio, Caitlin said that James was asleep. Not wanting to disturb him, I asked Caitlin to stay in the car with him until he woke up (usually only takes about 5 minutes.) Caitlin had a novel and the car radio to keep her company. I kept leaving the studio to check on them and James stayed asleep through the entire class.

After my class, I went outside only to find I had run down the battery. You should have seen a studio full of women trying to read the instructions for using a jumper cable under a single street light at 9:30 at night. We finally figured out what to do and had to figure out how to open the hood ("bonnet" for my friends of the Queen's English.) Then we had to locate the battery. Time to get out the car's instruction manual and stand under the street light again. Come to find out, the car doesn't have a battery under the hood, only a post for charging it should such a situation arise. The actual battery is under the back seat. Who's bright idea was that?!?

Even after letting the charging car run for a while, my car would not start. My friend, S, drove me to the local auto parts store that had closed at 9:00, so we went to the Wal-Mart service department. We read the catalog to determine which battery to buy and found that there was no such battery even listed in the catalog...Huh?

By this time, my mother had come to pick up the children and drive me home, and S's husband T had arrived to install the new battery. Since there was nothing I could do until morning, I decided to leave the car in the parking lot overnight and take part of the school day off on Friday and get a tow truck to take the car to the car dealer.

Well, I found out why Wal-Mart doesn't carry that battery....Not even the dealer had a battery. It's because it was a special $169 battery (three to four times the cost of a regular battery) that is supposed to last 6 years. The dealer had to search the parts stores for one especially for the car. When it was all said done, including the tow truck, I spent $270 (£184.)

Merry Christmas Victory Clan. When you go to your stockings hanging on the fireplace this year, you will each find a copy of the service receipt. Ho ho ho!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Tip? I'll Give Ya a Tip!

This may seem petty, but yesterday I went to get tea from my favorite restaurant...You know the one with the big giant billboard on the highway that says, "Tea, 46 cents!" Never mind that that the sign is falsely advertising cheap tea, since you can only get that price between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00. Nevertheless, I went to get my tea and not knowing whether they would be honoring their proclaimed price. The carhop said, "50 cents, please." I handed the him a dollar, and he quickly returned with my beverage but no change. I looked at him questioningly but said nothing, to which his reply was, "Oh, did you want your change?" I said, "Yes," and quickly took my 50 cents and left.
Now, I know in the big scheme of things 50 cents is a mere pittance, and this young man probably only makes minimum wage. But isn't it rude to assume that I am going to give you a 100% tip for bringing out a glass of sugar water? Furthermore, what would be an appropriate tip for such a task - 15%, 20%? Doesn't that then defeat the whole purpose of the billboard advertising 46 cent iced tea? Don't get me wrong. I am all for generosity. My mother taught me that I shouldn't be going out to eat if I am going to have to worry about how much of a tip I am going to leave. I was just surprised when he didn't return with my change, and it is because of THAT, that I didn't give him a tip.

Am I wrong?...let me know what you think. I promise not to drop you from blog reader if you disagree. :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Week Later

It's been a week since my last post and not much has happened since then unless you count having a 5 day holiday, something. :-)

We had Thanksgiving at my Aunt Rose's house. My son somewhere along the line decided that she should be called Nanny, so when I refer to "Nanny" I neither 1) become independently wealthy and suddenly can afford an au pair, nor 2) found a long lost grandmother - that would be a wonderful miracle.

Nanny loves entertaining. Everything I ever learned about entertaining I learned from her. I remember that she had wonderful parties for no reason in her house where the kids were to be seen and not heard, and we would sneak crackers off of the hors d'ouerves table when no adults were looking. As I got older, I was the only kid out of the four cousins and me who enjoyed helping her set up for parties. My favorite party being Fourth of July where we would make baskets out of watermelons and fill them with all sorts of summer fruits - most of which I am now unfortunately allergic. She had tons of shish kabob, hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled chicken. Tables would be festively decorated with red, white and blue, and everyone had a grand ole time. (It didn't hurt that it was also my father's birthday.)
Photo from Memorial Day

This year was no different as she insisted on having Thanksgiving at her house this year. We had turkey with all of the trimmings, and a beautifully set table - reminding me that this is her gift, her area of service - making people feel happy even when we would rather have gone out to eat at the Golden Corral.

What's your gift? What do you do to make this world a better place? Tell us about it, either here or on your own blog and link it back to here. We would love to hear about it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Equal Air Time

Just so one child doesn't get more air time than the other.... Here is Cait's performance at Night of Giving at the local mall tonight - a school night. (Who thinks of these things?.) She is in the back row all the way to the right, or as she would say, "Stage Left, MOM!"

So dance lessons are paying off, Daddy. Now you know that it has been money well spent! :-) Just thought you would like to be able to take part in some of the fun.

For all of you counting, today was a "garden hose free day." Although I did have to chase a naked three year old from the back yard back into the house. At least the weather was not 45F. It was a balmy 70F today. That's Texas for you. If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes. It will change.

Additionally, it got really quiet while I was waiting for this video to post...Why?

Wait for it comes......

Yes, Daddy. Your son is officially Emo, black eyeliner and all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Daddy is in the Jellybeans

So It has been five weeks going on six since the kids have seen Daddy. He tries to call everyday, but sometimes forgets the time difference and calls me at 4:30 in the morning. He is always apologetic, but it doesn't negate the fact that I will now be up until 10 p.m. at night without sleep, making me a very cranky mommy. Today was no different.

4:30 a.m. the phone is ringing and I can't find it. My morning workout routine that I usually forgo on the weekends began with the requisite hurdles. Fortunately, my son stayed asleep so I didn't have to worry about getting him back to sleep or him playing his other favorite activity: Mommy's Stomach Makes an Awesome Trampoline.

Daddy finally called at 6:00 p.m. today and the following video is how the conversation went. (Please excuse my very deep voice...I lost it a week ago and it has not come back properly.)

After having his daddy explain to him why you don't go outside with a cold and turn the garden hose on and soak yourself when the weather is 45 degrees F, you may have noticed my son asking for the Jellybeans several times during the conversation. It took me listening to the video several times to realize that he was not asking to be taken to the candy store upon Daddy's return. He is asking to go be with Daddy in the Philippines. That made me smile.

So....Dear Daddy, you better bring back some of the all important souvenir jelly beans when you return from the Jellybeans or your son will be sorely disappointed. :-)
Mommy (aka The Human Trampoline)

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Morning Workout

I heard that laughter....I really do have a routine that I go through every morning. You, too, can follow these not-so-simple steps of the Mother of a Toddler Fitness Program.

Step One: Pectoral Butterfly: When the alarm goes off in the morning, lay on your back and reach out to the side with the arm closest to the nightstand and hit the snooze button. Squeeze chest muscle as you return your arm to the bed. Repeat every nine minutes as the alarm returns until you can't stand to hear the buzzing.

Step Two: Sit ups - Reps (1)

Step Three: Hurdles - Jump over laundry baskets of clean clothes on the way to the bathroom.

Step Four: Overhead Tricep Extensions: Blowdry back of hair from the top to tip.

Step Five: (Warning this is for only the strongest of people) Dress the Fighting Toddler Bent Over Row-Repeatedly reach for the arms and legs of your toddler while trying to dress them for daycare when they don't want to go. It usually will require several repetitions of putting his/her arm in the sleeve only to have him/her pull it out. Reach for the arm again that is securely under a 45 pound body. Repeat for the child's other arm and have fun as you complete this exercise with the child's legs for pants, socks and shoes. This is the portion of the workout will take a minimum of 10 minutes.

Step Six - Do not attempt in your three inch heels. Proper footwear will be required. Squat down, place said toddler on your shoulder like a sack-o-potatoes, stand slowly, don't forget to place your 10 pound purse on the other shoulder along with your computer bag and child's backpack. Walk slowly, carefully maneuvering the obstacle course called the front sidewalk. Place child down in front of his/her door to put other objects in the car. Turn around and begin your wind sprints down the sidewalk to catch the toddler before he/she runs in front of the bus driver speeding through the neighborhood while looking in the rear view mirror at the high school students torturing each other in the back of the bus. Tackle toddler and resume sack-o-potato method of carrying him/her to the car and buckle the seatbelt securely across the booster seat.

By this point you will need to check your heart rate You may need to walk a couple of laps around the car before getting in the car and sitting down.

Start the car and drive your toddler to daycare...Note to self: Consider canceling gym membership.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Color Purple

This week at Color Combos Galore, they challenged us to use a combination that included purple and of all the colors in the combo (purple, green, white and gray,) purple was the one that most people felt the least comfortable using or said that they hardly ever use.

I love purple. I have ever since I was old enough to have a favorite color. My first bicycle was purple. I pledged a purple sorority. Even my first truck was purple. (I miss that truck.) I am even reminded at this moment of a time when I dyed my hair eggplant. My mother then introduced me as "almost her daughter."** Does that mean I wear it all the time? No. In fact I hardly ever do wear it only because it reminds me of a Paula Danziger book The Cat Ate My Gym Suit where the girl was overweight in junior high school, and she wore a purple pants suit (the 70s) to a school dance feeling like a grape.Purple is a hard color to wear, paint houses with or even scrapbook with because of the strong feelings the color can evoke. In school, classmates used to say things to each other like "hating each other with a purple passion." That's a lot of hate, isn't it? By using the color purple to express yourself artistically, maybe you are opening yourself up like a wound. Aren't many bruises and black eyes purple? Remember veterans who are injured in war are awarded the Purple Heart.

Unlike blue which will always be cool and red which always be hot, purple - a combination of the two - changes depending on where it is on the spectrum. Sometimes it will be a cool delicate or romantic hue like iris or a deeper richer hue like the favorite color of Cleopatra. Maybe it was her love for this color that lead purple to be thought of now when we think of royalty.

My Aunt Rose vividly remembers having red shoes and wearing them with purple socks and one of the nuns of the orphanage telling her, "The only taste you have, Rose, is in your mouth!" Funny that 30 something years later my cousin would graduate from Boston College whose school color was red and more specifically from dental school whose color on the cap and gown was purple. So, for his graduation party Aunt Rose had purple and red balloons.

And on that note, I leave you with one of my favorite poems:

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Taken from the book
When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Editd by Sandra Martz
Papier Mache Press--Watsonville, California 1987

**Note to Cazjane: See what I mean about prim through and through?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Little Word Play

I was on Color Combos Galore and they had my favorite color...purple as part of the challenge. I decided to participate, but couldn't decide what to design a page about. Then it hit me. Combine my penchant for purple with my voraciousness for vocabulary (sorry couldn't help myself.) The result is the following page.

Lewis Carroll coined the term portmanteau in Through the Looking Glass including the word galumph which was a combination of gallop and triumph. So what were the original words that formed these portmanteaux? Play along, just for fun of course by posting what you think the origins of these words are. Also, think of other portmanteaux that I couldn't fit into this page. Even better, coin your own.

Happy wordsmithing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ring, Ring - Dad Calling

I woke up this morning to the strangest thing...a phone call from my father. Yes, I was dreaming. The realness of the voice that came through that dream state phone, however, woke me out of my sleep. It was a series of strange events that can barely be remembered involving a Mary Kay conference, children running up and down the conference center aisles, my daredevil cousin driving us through culverts trying to outrun who-knows-what, a ship crashing into the overpass and Leonard Nimoy reaching for his Star Trek action figure before our vehicle disintegrated into pieces. How did those happenings bring me to my Mary Kay director's office making notes on sticky Post-Its where the phone rang? One would think that anyone of those bizarre things would have woken me, but it was that phone call that did the trick.

The phone call was a simple one..."Hi, it's Dad," and then he was gone. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of him out of either necessity or out of nostalgia, but I do think about him. The following are situations or reasons my father comes into the forefront of my mind:
  1. I have lost my good set of keys again.
  2. My front tire is low and needs to be aired up.
  3. This week I just had the first of many birthdays without him.
  4. I am planning a mini road trip to Abilene next weekend. (He was a big time driver.)
  5. I forgot my camera for Caitlin's first band concert. (He never would have forgotten.)
  6. Mom has started driving Dad's little pickup truck as her primary vehicle.
  7. I can't get my lawnmower started.
  8. The ushers at church don't usher they way he did.
  9. My iPhoto files are full of his pictures to North Carolina to see my brother.
  10. A woman approached me in the store this week and said, "You don't know me, but I worked with your father at the Pregnancy Center. We really miss him there." (The director for the center told me that she didn't get the mail for weeks because that was Dad's self-appointed job.)
  11. Tuesday, I ran into the secretary from the funeral home where my father helped other people through their grief.
When you see someone everyday, you don't think about what it will be like to not have them filling that niche in your life. It's like they are on vacation, but not coming back. Well, I wish he would come back because I need to mow my lawn.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This Never Would Have Crossed My Mind

When I get home from work in the evenings, I spend it cleaning up the usual mess that I find that the elves forgot to dispose of while I was out. Lately it consists of medicine droppers, granola wrappers and the like all left behind in the whirlwind known as the Mommy Exodus.
Yesterday I came home to a glass of water sitting on the lamp table by the couch. As I was about to dump it in the sink and place the glass in the dishwasher, I stopped to notice that the water looked kind of orange. This left me feeling perplexed. What beverage had I given my son that was orange tinted? I returned to the kitchen to find another glass that my daughter had kindly left on the counter for me to dispose of, and it too was tinted orange. Now, I am really confused. I set it down and started gathering the different medications that the pediatrician had prescribed to help my son get over the creeping crud that had overcome him this past week, and oddly enough, one was orange. Then it hit me....This three and a half year old is a mastermind. He had been holding his medicine in his mouth, waiting for me to walk away and when he pretended to drink the water, he was actually expelling the medicine into the water glass, hoping I wouldn't notice. Which, by the way, I didn't. I couldn't believe my eyes, so I asked him, "James, having you been spitting the orange medicine back into the water?" "Yes, mommy," was his nonchalant reply.

We are raising an evil genius. (Cue the organ music.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Quiet Place

James was so fascinated by "mountains" when we drove out West, that he made drive toward them.

I pulled over to take pictures, and I guess people don't stop to admire the wonder of where they live, because an old man stopped to ask if I was okay. (Actually, that's not a bad thing since there is NO cell phone signal out there if one truly needed one.)

I just decided to enjoy the scenic view that my son found so amazing.

(PS - This is based on Pencil Lines Sketch #109 over here. My SIStv SISter SassySasha is the guest designer over there this week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are There Any Original Songs

I have an uncanny knack for hearing songs in other songs. My daughter has inherited that quirk too. When she was little, she would hear a song on a movie theme and be able to tell you another movie theme that it was just like. I would be sitting in a restaurant that had a dinger for the door to let workers know that someone had walked in. I knew exactly that it was the first note for Oran Juice Jones' song "The Rain."

Weird...I know.

Anyway, so, I was driving down the highway when Kid Rock's newest song "All Summer Long"** starts playing on the radio and think, "Why is this Top 40 station playing 'Werewolves of London'?" Then the words to "Sweet Home Alabama" come belting out of the speakers but in Kid Rock's Voice. Now I am really confused, so I had to go try it out for myself. You can hear the different songs on the playlist (if it is working) above and see if I am correct in my thinking.

The big question of the day is, however, does anyone write anything new anymore? Do artists only sample and smash? Maybe it's just me. I hear artist after artist and say, "He/She sounds just like him/her." After a while a get confused and stop trying to figure out who's who. Yet another reason why I like Peggy's playlist better than creating my own.

**Note: Okay...There are some glitches with the playlist, so I have add links directly to videos of each song in case this happens again. Remember this is KidRock so you may want to only LISTEN to the song, not WATCH the video.

Who Me? Why, Thank You!

I just got this from my cyber friend AVT Coach whom I "met" through another cyberbuddy and blogging guru, Octamom.
Imagine my surprise when I turned on my computer because I woke up at 4 something in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep and was greeted with this gem.

Here are the rules of the game.

1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

And without further ado ('cuz you know I am all about the Ado)....Five Super Scribbler Awards go to.... Drum roll please!

1. The first award goes to MJ's Sputterings, a mom to two active girls. I particularly like her postings because she, like I, tends to write about her daily adventures. We're not talking hanging from your fingertips , screaming for your life adventures ala Sylvester Stallone's Cliffhanger (though it may feel like it at times.) These are the everyday adventures of the "motherly" kind where at the end of the day, when it is all said and done, you just have to sit back and laugh...or cry...just happy that you made it through. To see what I am talking about exactly, read one of my favorite posts entitled, Help. You will be glad you did.

2. Next on the list is The Saga of Our Home & Our Family written by my fellow Texan Jan. (Yes, Jan, you will always be a Texan no matter where you live NOW,) who began the journey into blogdom out of necessity, but continues to blog because we got our grubby paws on her, and we won't let go. Even though she is relatively new to blogging, who else could make us come back to hear about her nightmarish experiences with a moldy new house and the contractors hired to repair it. To see where it all began, read The Cliff Notes Version of Our Story. Go on, go ahead....I'll still be right here when you get back.
(Cue the Final Jeopardy Music)
Well, was I right or what? It just makes you thankful for the little things.

3. Moving on, to my friend Shan in Japan. That actually is the name of her blog. I have known Shan since she moved to my little home town from South Dakota over 15 years ago (actually longer, but we won't tell.) She came to teach school, but God had bigger and better plans for her as he does for all of us if only we would listen. The best thing about Shan's blog is that while she is sharing about her daily life as a missionary in Japan, you walk away learning just enough about it's culture to make it stick. For example, one post she described four hours singing Karaoke. Most of her lessons are also infused with words for each of us that God wants us to hear like the entry about Movies in Japan. Shan has used this blog not only to keep friends and family updated, but has allowed God to use her as an instrument to show us all the wonderful things that being a missionary can be.

4. The next Super Scribbler goes to I Was Just Thinking. Okay, before all of you start throwing your 97% Fat Free popcorn at your computer screen shouting, "Hey, you can't give yourself an award," stop and check out the title again. This blog is completely different. Can't you see? It doesn't begin with SO. And the differences do not stop there! This blogger is my Democratic counterpart, currently blogging about politics which you know I never discuss. However, when the elections are not in full swing, she also blogs about the everyday things that make you go hmmm. She loves baseball, so NOT me. And when she began her blog way back in 2005 when I had never even heard about blogging, her purpose was to gather information about people's belief systems as seen in her very first blog...What's This All About?

She has since broaden her horizons to let us see a more personal side, a side which makes me say, "I didn't know I had a sister living in California?" I had to laugh when I went through her archives and found an article "In Which I Attempt to Become More Domestic..." which sounded so much like me that I thought for sure I had written it. I just find it interesting that when it all comes down to it, regardless of political or religious beliefs, we all go through the same struggles.

5. Last, but certainly farthest from the least, is my friend Mrs. Peel (a pseudonym.) When her health allows her to, Mrs. Peel entertains us with her Avenging Adventures. I laugh as she describes a musical obsession that is Extremely Wicked. I relate as she describes her tales of single-handedly raising a pre-teenage daughter in Joys of Parenting. Pushing through her physical pain, Mrs. Peel gives us such a personal insight to the ups and downs of tweendom. For this reason I give her my last and coveted Superior Scribbler Award.

SO, that's it. I have scoured my blog rolls looking for the best of the best to bring you these Superior Scribblers. Please take a moment out of your busy lives to stop and read them. I tried to bring out some of my more obscure bloggity friends to the daylight just as I feel AVTCoach has done. Hopefully, one of these wonderful people will speak to you in a special way.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Thoughtful Post

When I began this blog, the hardest part was coming up with a name that would accurately convey what the purpose of this endeavor was. I sat for a while trying to decide why I would want to blog in the first place and realized, as I have mentioned before, that I have so much “stuff” (a word I don’t allow my students to use) floating around in my head that occasionally I needed an outlet.

Anyone who knows me in real life has seen me just walk up and begin a conversation as if the other person had been inside my head listening to my internal dialogue. It usually begins with the word, “so.” I even do this on the phone with my brother, mother and cousin. It often sounds like this:

So I was going down the street the other day, when out of the blue a man runs across the road behind the car carrying a backpack dressed like a Ninja sans mask, stopping along the side of the road as he traveled, periodically pretending to check an imaginary watch, crouching and spinning around Ninja-style….

(By the way, this actually happened.)

Because of this style of speaking, I knew that I would have to have my blog be of the same nature, bringing the reader into my head as if they had been there all along. (A little confusing at times I am sure.)

SO today when I was creating my header, my brain began to wander off into the meaning of the word “just.” I looked it up and according to

The first meaning had never crossed my mind: 1) joust (archaic) – Having never jousted, I don’t think that is what I meant.

Next: 2) Reasonable, fair, righteous (adjective.) Although I hope I am those things when working, I don’t find myself to be to reasonable nor righteous in my thinking, driving 80 miles an hour to overcome an hour and half delay in my trip due to my forgetfulness, saying pseudo-curse words under my breath at the rancher who is just taking his usual 60 mile an hour trip from his ranch to visit with his good ole boys at the local coffee shop or feed store.

Finally: 3) exactly, precisely (adverb.) There are more, but when I read this one I said….”That’s IT!” That’s JUST the word I was thinking of.

When I get an idea, it has to come out exactly when I think it, or I am unable to precisely express what I wanted to say. This often comes across as abrupt or dare I say, rude to many people, but if I don’t do it, the idea is gone. Gone the way of the dodo bird, never to be seen again. I can’t even stop to write it down because it loses all sense and meaning on paper. The length of time it takes me to find a pencil and pad is usually too long for me to retain that thought.

So there it is - the origin of my title. My brain full of things falling out onto the computer screen for all the world to see, but only shared with a handful of my “closest” cyber friends who are willing to wade through my ramblings that begin as if they had been there in my head all along.

To those wonderful friends, thank you. Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing your thoughts in the same way, helping me realize like I am not the only one out there in the world thinking and feeling what I am.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Adventures Continue

This weekend I decided to be adventurous and travel with a three year old and an eleven year old without the assistance of their father to get me out the door in one piece and help maintain my sanity. What made me think I could travel 2 1/2 hours and stay away from home for 3 days without completely losing it? Who can say?

The usual Annemarie Antics began when I was ready to get on the road and realized I hadn't hired a dog sitter nor reserved a kennel. I then began examining my resources - both fiscal and personal. A kennel was going to be pricey. There was no room in the car, and my hostess already has two dogs in her dog run. The weather was going to possibly be cold this weekend so leaving Zoey outside with an automatic feeder and waterer was out of the question. Asking my aunt or mom to come let the dog in and out was not only unreasonable, but also asking for trouble because the house was a mess. What to do....Suddenly it hit me. My next door neighbor loves dogs and is very nonjudgmental. I quickly ran over to her house and told her my sad story. She agreed without hesitation. ---- One problem down, several more to come.

By this time, I still had to run around town moving money from bank to bank so I could pay bills while I was away leaving me just enough time to drive from here to my destination and meet MerryHeart (Certified Paper Freak) for lunch at Olive Garden. (Start humming "On the Road Again.) The kids are wondering when the actual trip is going to begin since we have been in the car for 45 minutes and still haven't left town.

I have made this trip hundreds of times on my own and with my family. I know exactly how far I have travel when I reach certain landmarks. I can estimate how much farther I have to drive and how fast I need to drive over the speed limit in order to get where I need to be on time. So imagine my chagrin when I am 45 minutes from home and realize that I have left my purse at home. Now comes the negotiations I make with myself.
Okay, Annemarie. If you turn around, you will be 1-1/2 hours late for lunch with MerryHeart. You remembered your debit card in your back pocket. Your driver's license is in the overhead visor, and the insurance card is in the center console. You don't have a camera to remember the entire trip - an important factor. Call mom and ask her what she thinks.

"Hello, Mom...."
Forty-five minutes later (anyone seeing a pattern here?) I am pulling out of my drive way AGAIN, calling Merry Heart to relay the story to her and reschedule lunch for 2:30. I figured out exactly how fast I needed to drive to get there. 80 miles an hour on the straight-a-ways; follow the signs in the Speed Trap towns of Santa Anna and Bangs. I didn't, however, take into consideration that my 3 year old would need to go to the bathroom along the way. Blast those small bladders!

2:35 I am pulled into Olive Garden - I told you I have made this trip many times. I then wait anxiously to meet MerryHeart for the first time. We had a great time and went to her house after lunch. Talked scrapbooking, children, spouses and all the things SISters talk about when meeting for the first time. When it was time to go, we said our goodbyes, and I got in the car. WAIT! Could you believe it???! I didn't take any pictures! I had to get out and find the all important camera that I drove all the way home for. Two and half hours of visiting and this is the only picture I have of Merry Heart and me:

The weekend continued with the usual Homecoming merriments. Just add in a grouchy three year old and a silly eleven year old into the mix, and you have the remainder of my time in my dear old college town. Many of the pictures can be seen in this collage I put together for a photo scavenger hunt for a SIStv challenge.

I will be making a couple of Scrapblogs later about the weekend, but for now, I had better hit publish.
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