Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Year's Eve Party

Jules from the Roost is hosting a party today!

It's a top ten of 2008 in pictures. We had to pick out our top ten favorite pictures--not an easy task when you have 4 kids! These are ones that warm my heart and bring back good times:

This is from a very rare snow we had in early spring last year. The kids loved it and played in the stuff pretty much until it melted :)


The last time Miley rode her little girl bike. Now she has one of those cute '50s style bright pink Schwinns and it's big. She doesn't look like a little girl on it.

Three of my four kids on my lap--it happens more than you think. This was us getting ready for the college football season--a great season because we (Ohio State) beat Michigan. I'm not sure how we'll do again the Horns but I'll be making buckeyes regardless ;)


Spanky got a bigger kick out of Dino's blast-ball games than Dino. He is ready to hit that ball!

Sarah is such a great asset to the family--she can double as a puppy when need be.

Yes, Spanky again--he's so cute I can't help it! Here he is in his hat. He loves his driving caps--he points out it to everyone he sees and says 'my hat'.


Dino loved watching the Olympics with Michael Phelps so much that he wanted to start swimming lessons. He's still taking them today and wants to grow up to be an Olympic swimmer (and a taxi driver too but that's a different story!)
Dino likes to look good. He's the only one of my bunch that sits still while I spike/style his hair. My girls scream because of knots and Spanky just runs. Dino also likes mirrors ;)

Sarah and ballet. She loves ballet, really, really loves it! On ballet days she jumps out of bed and says 'today I have ballet'. And she actually likes to practice on off-days.

Our Christmas card pic for the year--as usual matching PJs and smiles. It's just how we roll!

Happy New Year everyone! Have fun, be safe and see ya 'next year' :)

Spanky has an obvious connection with the King

On the way up to Ohio, we made a detour to one of the more famous houses in Memphis, really the world---Graceland. 

We made it to Graceland early on a very cold Sunday morning. We thought it wouldn't be too crowded. We didn't know Graceland is always crowded.

Now if you've been to Graceland, you know they pass out headphones with audio for the tour. There's something cool and eerie about hearing Elvis' voice as you stare at his kitchen, the stove where the red-eye gravy was made, his three TVs side by side in the basement. And of course neither Dino or Spanky was allowed the audio pack. 

Dino got to share an audio set with daddy but the second his headphones told him to press the red button, he was hysterical because he could not. Not wanting to be enemy #1 of the rest of the group, esp. the family that traveled from Japan for this tour (wow!), I handed my entire audio pack to Dino and continued the journey is silence.

Well not really silence. Remember Spanky got no audio either so he filled in his own. With screams. And 'no' and 'go away' to any guards who came near.

Spanky who apparently yearned for a close 'Elvis' moment, decided to walk under the velvet ropes of each special room. Yes, Spanky ran into the rooms only a select few entered. And I got to run too. He wanted to touch each and every glass, table and chair Elvis and his family used. I quickly mastered the art of swooping him up and out of the room without breaking anything (thank goodness, I enjoy shelter and clothing).

Spanky's favorite was the Jungle Room, decked out for Christmas and full of toys Lisa Marie got from her Christmases there with Daddy. I think he liked the giant stuffed something. I wish I remembered what the stuffed thing was but I was too busy constantly pulling Spanky back behind the rope. I would hold him. He would kick and scream until I had to put him down and he would run like the wind into the room. I am thinking this happened 3 times at least.

At the end of the tour as we viewed the graves of Elvis and his family, Spanky got quiet and then again burst into tears. An onlooker would say my little Texan was bothered by the cold. But I'm not so sure. Perhaps Spanky made a connection only a toddler and king would understand.

I'm sorry there are no pics of Spanky running into the rooms. I was truly more concerned about getting him out of the closed off rooms that to capture the moment. In hindsight, I wish I got just one :(

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Irony of Christmas

I have always been fascinated by the different ironies we face everyday like why is it we always eat prepared foods or take out on the day I buy tons of groceries. Always.

And Christmas feels like one of the most ironic holidays out there. Even in its humble beginnings as a way to bring non-Christians celebrating the Winter Solstice to the church, the birth of Jesus has always carried a big non-religious theme.

In Dino's special ed class at the public school, they spent a fews days on the meaning of Hanukah, the meaning of Kwanza and a few days talking about Santa and candy canes. But no Jesus. No mention of a babe in the manager, no Wise Men. Just ho-ho-ho and Rudolph. Ironic.

Then there's the stress. This a joyous celebration. This is a time of friends and family. Celebrating the profound gift of love given by God. But we get stressed. Too many parties, too many cookies, too many family. And we start to wish is was January 2nd so we could start our path to lose the weight we just gained in the last few weeks.

I won't even get into Christmas weight gain but seriously we starve to fit into our fancy party dresses and then gorge like little piggies at the party in our fancy dress. Ironic.

Kids always love Christmas but at least one child always seems to get upset on Christmas Day. Perhaps it's an overload of sugar from the past MONTH, lack of sleep waiting for Santa, an overwhelmed emotion from the presents and the family. Regardless the Christmas Day is almost always an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows putting everyone in mixed spirits. At least here. Ironic.

This year my thoughts are with Dante and his family. He saw Christmas! But today he has gotten worse. He is fading, his mom is in a fog. In the middle of the Christmas joy, there is the shadow of death. Death of someone so young, so innocent. And it is heart-breaking for everyone who knows him or even just his story. 

Right now just being held causes him horrible pain but soon he will be in the arms of Jesus and he will feel no pain. There will be no more needles, no more masks, no more suffering. Yet it is heart-breaking. Gut-wrenching and unfair. Ironic.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

On the road again.....

Wishing everyone a belated Merry Christmas:)
We are driving in what I am pretty sure is the middle of no where but no one is crying (praise the Lord!) the thunderstorms my phone is predicting are not here and we are listening to Johnny Denver. Life is good :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful after Christmas weekend :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Question for Northern Moms

Posting from phone, please excuse typos ;)

We are driving from Texas to Ohio and we are frozen! We are only in kentuckey and we seriously debated waiting almost two hours for pizza rather than going out and just getting it. Truly we step out just to get in the hotel and we are shivering for a good hour. How do y'all do it? Hats off to you because we cannot!

On a side note, the pizza rocked. I will be the first to admit Texas has nice winter weather but not so hot pizza ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can you spare some prayers again?

When I had Spanky, I joined a message board group on iVillage. I went through phases of being involved to not so involved to never even looking at the board. But last year almost to the day, I noticed an urgent positive thoughts posts for one of the members. It was a sweet mom named Jo who had lost a child years before. Her son Dante, two days older than Spanky (age 2), had Neuroblastoma. I joined her Care Pages site and kept little Dante in my prayers for a year. In the summer it seemed like it might be getting better. He went through some really really intense treatment including being in a lead room where anything that went in was not allowed to go out.

The cancer went into his eyes and he cannot see. Her posts recently were getting more worrisome. And then the other night she posted this:

"Our son is dying. The bruising in his eyes are obviously Neuroblastoma. He does have a scan tomorrow, it will only tell us what we already know. NB will not back down, and at this point will eventually take over. However, Dante has ultimately won this battle because he will no longer suffer. He has fought like a true soldier. An amazing Trooper."

I have read as Dante has fought this horrible horrible cancer better than Superman. She has shared pics of his big smiles and I only see joy on his face. I have never met him or his parents, Jo and Tony, but my heart is aching for them.

On their last update, they were working with a doctor to get treatment so he can see in the what is more than likely the last weeks of his short but meaningful life. I pray this is a success!

Right now they need prayers. Prayers do help. Pray for Dante. Pray that he can see. Pray that his mother can hold him a few more weeks. Pray that his daddy can open Christmas presents with him. Pray for a Christmas miracle. Just please, PRAY.

No comments--please take the few moments you usually use to leave a sweet comment and PRAY.

Thank you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And now I'm standing at the crossroads

It has been almost a year since I joined the blogging world. And like every anniversary in my life, I tend to re-evaluate my goals, my purpose, my rules. I know--I'm a bit anal that way ;)

When I first started to blog, I went in without really thinking. I discovered a friend's blog and after a few emails, I just jumped in. I had no idea there were cool names, catchy blog titles or even a tracking system. And comments--what the heck were they?

I was merely going to record things I did with my family. My rules were simple--never insult anyone, only discuss items someone over the age of 10 would be comfortable reading, no politics  and try to make the internet a friendlier place. Seriously, that was my plan.

I found a few blogs about cooking and decided to join in the fun with my 'whole food' approach cooking blog. I strived to keep this up to date but honestly my heart was not there. I do have a passion for healthy eating but it was too much to keep up two blogs. I have not written in it since August.

During this,  I discovered the whole blogging world. I made friends, even went to dinner with local bloggers and found more and more blogs.

I found blogs like mine, blogs that expressed their political views, blogs that kept me up to date in the fashion world and blogs that taught. I was in awe of how powerful a blog could be. How much it could help a person, how it could communicate with anyone else in the world. Just powerful.

So here I am. A year later and at a crossroads. I have to admit writing about my life from time to time is OK but honestly I get bored reading about me--much less writing about me. Let's face it, the life of a stay at home is not the most exciting thing and I don't think my day will be featured on Perez Hilton anytime soon ;) Please don't get me wrong--I love reading the blogs of other mommies--I find each and every mommy interesting. I just don't feel my life is something I want to write about all the time.

There have been so many posts I have written that I never hit 'publish'. There have been lots of whining, lots of anger and well I just don't care to bring that out to the world. Not because I don't think those are valid emotions--I just know me and I know I do not like to record those emotions for the world to see forever. That's just me.

I am thinking I'd like to expand my posts. I really admire this blog by CC. I love her teaching ideas and her passion for her work with children. You have no idea how many neat ideas I have seen on her blog.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I would love to post some ideas I have regarding homeschooling/education and be able to make a positive difference in a mom's life. That would the best. To improve someone's life by just a little.

Love it.

So for the next few days I am going to choose my path for the next year. I don't think I will ever completely stop discussing my children but there's room for more. I might do some education posts. And I am hoping there is a way to be a truly positive impact for someone. I might add some recipes. I don't know. I do know I want to grow and bring my blog to its next level. 

Wish me luck :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Christmas Tradition

I have been loving the blogs more than ever recently. I love seeing people's homes transform into winter wonderlands and more than that,  hearing about the things they do as a family that make Christmas time that more special.

Our tradition involves a five star hotel, a to die for breakfast, free cider and cookies listening to one of the top vocal groups in Dallas.

It's Caroling at the Adolphus. I love the Adolphus--it's where Mike and I had our wedding reception, where we like to eat for our anniversary (and if you are in Dallas you must eat here--it's the French Room--one of the top restaurants in Dallas) and the hotel is just plain beautiful.

We always get to the event early. And we always have breakfast in their not-as-fancy-as-the-French-Room bistro. I love it because it is not very crowded and the kids can eat in semi-fancy restaurant without me having to worry about them acting out. Oh and they love the food too.

Huevos rancheros anyone? (You do know she's from Texas right.)

After breakfast, we join an ever growing crowd in what is possibly the most beautiful hotel lobby ever, for some fantastic free entertainment. Today it's the Turtle Creek Chorale. This is one of Dallas' very famous chorale groups and if you can get your hands on one of their CDs do so--they are extremely talented. We have almost all of their Christmas CDs--they have giveaways during radio commercial breaks (it's live on the WRR) and we have won some. Miley won one today too! 

We love to sit on the big fluffy couches.

Oh and did I mention they serve free hot cider and home made cookies?


And then there is the tree. I wish I had my real camera with me to show you this thing. It had some of the neatest ornaments, even a stuffed animal in the big branches and a ball bigger than a basketball. Hope this way too blurry pic can show you a little of how awesome that tree was.

And that is our tradition. If you are in Dallas, I highly suggest you reserve a day this week to check it out :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

See This is Why I Don't Do My Christmas Shopping Early

Last week all four of my children brought home tiny notes from school.
The notes I see every single Christmas season. The notes that make this usually very generous Christmas loving girl a bit grouchy and well to be honest a bit of a Scrooge.

All the notes are about the same.

It's time for our Christmas (holiday for Spanky's mom's day out and Dino's special ed class) party. Please bring an item you almost never buy and is a pain to find and/or get. This year to make the party even more special,  we are going to have the students exchange a very specific type of item that will not be found where the previous item was nor will it be simple to get. We also want to show our appreciation to our teachers so if you send a check for $5 or more to the room mom, we can get a great gift for the teacher and please be sure to bring something additional for your teacher because you know everyone else will. And let's not forget the front office staff in the check! We are also presenting the teacher with hand made cards from the students. Because we want to present the cards first thing in the morning, please have your child complete the card right now so you will be needing to drop everything you are doing and run out to buy special craft supplies to make the card look good.  Don't forget to bring the 3 million cookies for the teacher luncheon next week--must be pretty and no store bought cookies! Merry Christmas!

Now if I had just one child, this would not seem so bad. I could actually see myself enjoying crafting a lovely Christmas card with just one child. But I have four. One of which is in two schools and hates to do any sort of craft (I may as well stick him with pins instead.). Oh and it's semester end so one child has a replica of the Roman forum (I kid you not!) due and my other daughter is doing a comparison paper plus speech on Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin, FDR. 

The whole money issue gets tough too. One child would only need about $10 (teacher and front  office), the $4-5 item needed for the party  plus $15 in presents for the exchange and the additional teacher gift but when you make that four kids (and one with two schools), I will be lucky to get by this party scene for less than $120. Ouch.

And let's not forget, there's Christmas in less than two weeks. And Christmas parties. And Christmas programs. And Christmas shopping. And Christmas shows.........

I am finally starting to understand you Ebeneezer.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Day My Mom Won a Major Award

My mother loves talk radio. She loves to listen and she loves to win the radio contests offered by local radio guests. 

When I was young, she was really lucky. When she was on the air, we would huddle around the radio and listen to her--and yes, laugh a little.

And then one year, she won a major award. It was tickets to the world premiere of a Christmas movie filmed right in Cleveland. The movie was not too hyped. We'd never even heard about it but hey it was better than winning something Italian (you know fra-gee-lee) or a lamp resembling a human body part.

Both my sister and I got in the car with my mom to see the movie. We sang Christmas songs on the way there (you know Deck the Halls--fa-la-la-la, not fa-ra-ra-ra). Then we got to the theater in Cleveland. It was truly a fancy site. There was a Salvation Army band playing (all proceeds from the night went to the organization), a fancy spread of food--no mangled turkey or whole duck though. 

There were stars. But behind a velvet rope. He was there minus a red rider BB gun but with glasses (unbroken) and no, he did not look like a pink nightmare. He was  just looking at the crowds with awe--like he was looking in Higbee's department window. I remembered him from "Real People" but not much else.

We took our seats and we watched to movie. Then just  like that,  the major award was over. 

I told my mom I thought the movie was OK. She insisted the movie was incredible and destined to be a classic in the years to come. I thought she was buzzed from radiator fumes.

And now years later, 25 years to be exact, my mom was right. It is a classic. It was one of the first movies I bought a DVD for and it is a movie I watch every single Christmas with my girls. And every single time I tell them about this night--so much I am sure they are going to try to stick a bar of soap in my mouth to shut me up. 

So what movie is it? Go ahead I guess--I double dog dare ya, no wait, I triple dog dare ya (yes, a breach of etiquette). 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tween Mean Girls and the Mommies who Love Them

My own tween girl Miley is growing up. She is no longer the laid back giggling girl I once knew. Now I am dealing with a sweet girl who is laughing one minute and in tears the next. And every girl around her is too.

So take a bunch of girls with new hormones messing with every emotion known to them, mix in some clueless mommies and you have, well, a mess.

This afternoon I took the kids to meet with some other friends at school. I was told who going to be there and Miley was excited about the group. When we got there, there was an extra family with a girl Miley's age (I'll call her Bess). And Miley was not happy.

We stood beyond the table and Miley made faces, groans and everything else.

"Why does she have to be here?" she whined as I tried my very best to fill five cups of water while holding a toddler and trying to keep an eye on two other kids.

"Honey," I began. "I didn't know. But maybe you'll have fun. She seems really sweet."

Eyes rolled. 

"Mom, pleeaase. She's got that fake smile and then it just goes away when a teacher isn't looking. She's so fake."

"I'm sure she likes you."

Again, eyes roll but with a bonus sigh.

I look at her and plead with my non-rolling eyes to try getting along.

She looks down and walks over to the table.

Mistake #1--I believe her behavior is obvious to every mom at the table.

Mistake #2--I feel the need to discuss it.

"I'm not sure we'll be able to stay long," I begin. "Miley isn't in the best mood. She and Bess are having some issues."

I pause and then it gets better.

Mistake #3--I ask the Bess' mom if she knows anything.

"Do you have any idea what's up?"

Bess' mom take a bite of salad. "No, I'm not aware of anything."

And she proceeds to stare down at her plate for a good few minutes while others join the table.

Great going Lisa--you made this mom incredibly uncomfortable. Rock on.

Of course, the whole thing was more or less Miley being her age. She did play with Bess. In Miley's words 'she was nice, today at least'.

So you'd think that after three mistakes and Miley and Bess getting along, you would think a mom who has weathered the politics of new motherhood, the craziness of pre-school and the cliques of grammar school would know to shut up. Nooooooo.....

Mistake #4--Talking about how you can't handle your tween's emotions.

"So is anyone else dealing with some crazy emotions in their girls," I begin looking at the blank stare of Bess' mom. "I mean Miley gets in tears if someone looks at her the wrong way and then thinks about it for days. And she takes everything so personal....." I'm sure I said more but I think I am mentally blocking my other words to save my own psyche.

I am met with blank stares from the moms of tween girls.

Mistake #5--Ignoring all nonverbal cues.

I continue, "Do your girls ever act like that?" 

Blank stares.

"Is it just Miley?"

And then one mom nods her head.

"Mine is like that sometimes," she mumbles.

Bess' mom continues to look at me as if I am wearing a tin foil hat.

I think I should have ordered a glass of wine at that point. I could have blamed it all on Merlot and not my own social cluelessness.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Prayer request for a blogger friend

Because of the sensitive nature of the situation, I am not revealing this blogger's identity. 

There's a great blogging mommy out there that needs our prayers. During this time of joy and celebration, my friend has had to take her children and herself to a woman's shelter. The husband is abusive. The police and lawyers are involved. It's ugly and not something anyone should have to go through.

Because she is in a shelter, she has limited internet access and I cannot email her. But she has a strong faith. She believes in the awesome power of prayer. And I do too.

Please pray for her and her children. Pray God gives them strength and sees them through. And that they can move on to bigger and better things.

Thank you :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Best Christmas Gift

If this doesn't warm your soul, nothing will. Enjoy :)

Tuesday Tune--My favorites-bluesy and corny

Click the play button to listen.

This is not the typical Christmas song but I love it! It comes from my favorite Christmas CD, "White Christmas" by of course Elvis Presley. There have been lots of people remake this song but it is never as good as this one. No can sing the blues like Elvis!

And I have to admit listening to this gets me very excited to visit Graceland in a few weeks! Cheesey? Maybe a little but when you consider my second favorite Christmas CD is John Denver and the Muppets (two copies of it!), not so much.

What? You aren't familiar with John Denver and the Muppets and the Christmas Together--my very favorite Christmas show ever? Well let me share.....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shopping in the Square

Come join us on a  typical jaunt through one of those several cute, open air shopping areas.

Miley: Grasps tight to my hand and uses a gentle tug at each and every 'cool' store and begs to go in just for a minue "And I won't ask for anything!" Yeah, she's a tween and therefore believes her parents are dumb.

Sarah: Sways from mommy to daddy looking to be picked up because her legs "are sooo tired and they don't want to work any more!" Until of course, something catches her eye--then the legs wake up. And then the begging begins.....This is when we pretend to be deaf.

Dino: The perfect son. Because moms of 4 deserve one easy kid.  He picks the parent with the open hand and walks beside her/him. He does look around a bit "It's Christmas. Pretty." 

Spanky: Feels no need to hold a hand or stay with us. Why be limited to where your family is when the rest of the world is so cool? Running into the street. Refusing to budge at certain points. Not letting anyone touch him. And lots and lots of screaming if he can't do the things previously mentioned. We get lots of looks thanks to spirited Spanky.

And this is why I shop online. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't Go There--A Verybusymomwith4 Lecture

Sarah usually breezes through her classes. She's quick and nothing has given this second grader much trouble until she began literature vocabulary this last month. The book has words like colonades and procure. And she has been getting quized on the words. The first time around, she didn't do too great so for the second time, I made mock quizes, stuff I do all the time for Miley, and drilled the words daily. She got a perfect on the test.

Yesterday we began to study the vocab for test three. She said she was ready and she took the mock test--a perfect 100. I was surprised since we spent such little time but didn't take it much further and we went on with the day's subjects. 

Later in the evening, I gave her a quick mock quiz just to double check everything. She did not know a single word. I asked what happened and she explained she was just tired and not in the mood. I was tired. I wanted to believe her so I did. That was my mistake.

The next morning during breakfast, I began to go over the words. She knew nothing. I asked how she knew everything yesterday. She gave me some lame excuses but long story short--she cheated and she lied.

Two very very bad things to do in the very busy household. Two of the things I do not accept. Ever.

She will be punished. Part of her punishment will of course be natural consequences--she will fail. Call me a horrible mother but I think failing is a positve thing when you are young because you aren't really failing--you are merely learning that this way does not work. Not studying for a test does not work. Cheating does not work. I'd like her to learn this before high school and college.

And when she gets home today, she will get one of my famous lectures. Then she gets to write a fifity word 'essay' on the importance of doing your work plus a fifty word 'essay' on the value of the truth. 

The cheating I have every intention of nipping in the bud. We. do. not. cheat. It only hurts you in the long run. 

The lying is harder to keep under control. I have always had the stance if you tell the truth about something wrong you did, you will be punished far less than if you lie. Because I will always know if there is a lie. Always. This has worked for the most part but every now and then something happens and I come down on them. Like a hammer. 

As a mom, there are some behaviors and attitudes I do not put up with. I know in these times, there has been the notion to let kids slide and let them be kids. A perfect example is the parents who are suing the school board because their daughters took nude pictures of themselves and sent them out via a text message. These are parents who do not believe their children can do any wrong. And I wish I could say this is unusual but I have personally met parents with the same feelings. Parents who feel the need to complain if their child gets anything less than an A (the teacher has it out for her or the teacher is not getting the subject across--never maybe my child is not doing well and deserves the grade).  

There is a fine line between adoration of your children and blind belief your child can walk on water.

I am not raising kids. I am raising future adults. Adults that are productive members of society. This is my job. Sure I want them to have fun. I want to have fun with them but first and foremost I am the mother. Period.

At this point of the lecture, I send the girls to their desks for their essays but I won't do that to you--unless you are the parent of a girl whol likes to send nude pics of herself to her boyfriend (but accidently sends it to the whole football team) and you think it's the school's fault;)

Got a Gossip Queen or Creepy Stalker on your Christmas List?

May I highly suggest Loud'n'Clear. Now it looks like a bluetooth and was created to help older people but it has even better uses like spying on neighbors and eavesdropping on the hot chicks at a party and even...well I'll just let the ad explain it:

I think I will only be texting in public from now on ;)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Channelling his inner Bill Gates

I have come to a big realization on this crisp December day. Spanky hates Mac products and is going to try to bring me to the PC world. 


Well, I know I have mentioned about 20 times when Spanky threw my iPhone in the pool, right? I forgot to mention he yanked keys off my Mac Powerbook (laptop) which I got fixed. Now he's thrown a ball on my laptop and with perfect aim, managed to completely knock off the 'V' key and I cannot get it back on.

But guess what Spanky? 

I have been using Macs since the Apple II came out. In college, I would use the Mac over the crowded popular PC area.  Even when I went to job interviews, I would ask if they used Macs. If they didn't, I did not work there. And if they switched to PCs, I quit. You, little toddler tornado, will not take away my Macs. You are fighting a losing battle.

I have already set up an appointment with the Mac store. I will be getting my laptop fixed. I may be without it for a few days (now I do have my iPhone you tried to destroy but did not--ha--so I will be able to check email and surf a bit) but that my dear son is a sacrifice I am willing to make because your mom is a Mac person. 

And that is all there is to it ;)

Oh and by the way, your sisters and your brother prefer the Mac to your daddy's PC so be prepared to see only  Apple products  for both you and your siblings in your scholastic future.

What, do you think I'm kidding?

Tuesday Tune--Giddy up, let's GO

Quick PSA--If you have not frozen the Thanksgiving leftovers yet, it's time to throw them out :)

Click play for today's tune:

Dino loves this song. He sings it all year :)

And it always has to be this version. There is just something festive, cheery and fun in Johnny Mathis' voice that just makes you want to smile. And Dino does smile.

So hurry up, hurry up let's go (and as Dino says) let's look at the SHOW (we're in Texas remember--snow is nonexistent!)

(If you'd like to join in the Tuesday Tune fun, let me know. If I can get enough interest, I'll add a Mr. Linky ;)  )

Monday, December 1, 2008

Because we all need a hobby....

You know that family you see that wears matching outfits. Yeah, that would be us. I loved matching my kids and took a real joy in finding outfits when our first boy joined our crew--a true challenge I relished to conquer! 

Every Christmas and every Easter, I spent months putting together finding the perfect outfits to make us look like the sweet little matching family:

And I was happy.

Until one day Miley decided she was sick of matching her sister (I will admit that since Sarah's birth, I dressed both Miley and Sarah alike for years) and on top of that Sarah was sick of wearing a dress, outgrowing it and then finding a hand-me-down just like the dress she out grew. There was no variety but rather a year of repeats. The girls flat our refused my matching game.

So last Christmas, I searched and searched for a way to make us match yet not in an obvious Hanna Anderson family matching set kind of way. My mother sent to different red dresses for the girls and I found suits for the boys that included a small red stripe detail in the pattern.

(Yep--my profile pic!)

Now this year, I am working with the girls to find the right dresses. Amazingly the dresses Grandma sent last year still fit and since we won't be in Dallas this year, we may just (gasp) repeat.

As for the boys--oh my boys. At this point, they love to match. But Dino only likes to wear Crewcuts. And Crewcuts does something I never thought anyone could do--they make Hanna Anderson look cheap. So I am wondering if those suits might fit--they were awfully big on them this year. ;)

So the end of our days matching in public are over but rest assured we will still all be in our matching PJs for the Christmas picture.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It all began with a segment on NPR

Almost 13 years ago, I was chatting with my boss about a document I needed to write regarding the latest system requirements. He, as always, had NPR softly playing in the background.

I'll admit I was pretty good at drowning out the dribble but then a segment began that captured my attention.

"Is your food hurting you?"

I paused and started to listen. I was suffering from IBS and woke up every morning tired and spent the entire day tired. I thought I might be depressed or maybe I hated my job. I never thought about my food.

The segment featured an relatively obscure doctor named Andrew Weil who believed the food we ate could affect every part of our body. He went on to claim eating the right food can actually 'fix' us. Suffering from IBS, I was desperate for any real fix. Taking 5 or 6 Tums was losing its effect.

Both my boss and I stopped what we were doing and listened to every word.

He proclaimed the hazards of partially hydrogenated oil, the danger of fake sugars and the need to stick with organic produce and eat more fish. 

I bought his book the next day. And I encouraged my now husband (then boyfriend) to read the book with me.

It was a plan to wellness. He suggested to take out every item in my kitchen with partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup and fake sugars. I pretty much emptied my kitchen. So we went to the grocery store and after finding almost nothing we could eat, I made my very first visit to my favorite store in the world, Whole Foods. I decided to try shopping there a few times and then go back to my other stores. This did not happen obviously ;)

The more I read the book, the more changes I made (all organic dairy products and meat, lots of fish, eating only food that was food 100 years ago, etc.--and then something happened. I was waking up with energy. I had the will and excitement to hit the gym. My stomach pains from IBS were disappearing. I began spending my lunches in the corporate gym and tacking my day with joy. I was not tired. And I felt great.

When I became pregnant, my zeal for the healthy life continued even though I could keep little down and some of the bad foods snuck by.

And then I vowed to make this diet a lifestyle for my children. No partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, fake sugar, fake flavors or even fake colors. I will admit this could be hard and we did bend on things like play group and snacks at other peoples' homes but for the most part I made sure the kids had 6-9 servings of organic fruit and veggies daily. And of course, no fast food ;)

Then we got thrown for a loop and I was pregnant with #4. The timing could not have been worse. We were strapped for cash already as Mike was just starting as a real estate agent. We had independent health care which by state law did not include maternity. We had to look for ways to save money.

So I did something I had not done in over 12 years. I shopped at a bulk grocery store and bought the cheaper alternatives to our diet. I bought lots of their fruit and veggies albeit not organic and was pleased we saved so much money.

Within two days of our new diet, my kids started getting more whiney than usual. They got angry quicker, they tended to sleep in and not jump to the table ready to start the day. They started getting acne (even the two year old) and they all experienced something they had never experienced in their lives--they were constipated ( I would love to share this story with you but my daughters would kill me--I'll just say they came to me worried their 'butts were broken') and had stomach pains. My oldest thought something was wrong with her brain--she had her first head ache.

Just from changing diet and nothing else, my kids were no longer the bright eyed, happy kids they once were. They were a mess :(

We bit the bullet. We went back to Whole Foods and never looked back. We were back to happy, awake vibrant folks who had no issues in the potty or even stomach pain.

So you'd think with all our healthy eating I would be that mom with the perfect body. Sigh--no, I need to lose 15 pounds. Healthy and organic still has calories. I can gush about how chemical free the panetone bread is all day but still has like 10 grams of fat per slice--all natural fat but still fat. And then there is bacon. I love bacon. I like veggies with bacon, fish with bacon and bacon on its own. But even my organic, free range bacon is still bacon.

I want to lose the weight. I want to look good again. I want to to be that skinny role model for my kids. I am joining this :

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Thanks Elaine for sharing this group with me. I cannot wait to be one of the hottest fittest moms in DFW!

Anybody care to join me?

Friday, November 28, 2008

How to Stay in Mommy and Daddy's Bed (a guide for toddlers)

Shhhhhh...mommy is off talking with daddy trying to figure out a Christmas clothing budget. Mommy wants more and daddy wants less. Mommy is wearing her cute shirt and pants so I know mommy is going to win very soon. This means I only have a few minutes to explain how you can stay with mommy and daddy all night.

Rule 1:
Your parents bring home the bed you picked out. Don't upset them. Spend naptime in there. Put animals in the bed. Roll in the covers. Let them know the money on a bed that looks like a car was well spent.

Rule 2:
Regarding naps. Yeah, they are a pain. You miss stuff going on in the house. You have to stop your cool game with your Little People, babies and your cars. But here me out--you need that nap so you can be alert when it comes to bedtime. And be sure you take that nap in the new bed--it's not so bad and beside why sleep in mommy and daddy's bed when they aren't there?!

Rule 3:
At bedtime, it is time to pull out all the stops. Do they like giggles? Give them a giggle feast! Kisses? Cover both of them with kisses and hugs--this is especially good if they are not next to each other--can you run back and forth (giggling) giving them kisses and hugs (aren't ya glad you took that nap now?). If they are the type of mommy and daddy that want a super smart kid, start pulling out books and pretend to read--say out loud something in the picture and they will be so busy gushing about their little Einstein, they won't notice it is bedtime.

Rule 4:
This one is big--do not and repeat do not cry. Ever. Crying wears you out and only gets mommy and daddy upset. You want them to want to be with you--not force it on them.

Rule 5:
If you see one of your parents yawn, kiss them and say night night. Then toddle (swish your butt for the cute factor) and climb in mommy and daddy's bed like you own it. Don't act like it is something special. Act like this is normal. Hopefully it is late enough they won't notice.

Rule 6:
When they approach you in bed, pull the covers up to your chin and smile--really really smile and then say 'I wuv you' even if you can say 'I love you' clearer than your oldest sister, say it with the slur. This will make mommy and daddy melt and figure--hey it's only one night. Let the baby stay with us.

Rule 7:
If mom and dad are still determined, go back to the giggling and kissing. If they try to lift you out of the bed, grab a pillow and say a very soft but firm 'NO' adding 'I wuv you' and don't forget to smile :)

Gotta go, mommy is coming back with a smile. Looks like I will soon be up to my neck in argyle!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


If you are reading this, odds are good you have both a computer and internet access--therefore electricity and a home. You are in better shape than 95% of the world.

You have much to be thankful for. We all have so much to be thankful for.

I don't know why the attached clip (actually the song) always makes me feel so grateful. It is truly one of my favorite songs of all time. I hope you have a few moments to listen. I pray the song will touch your heart and fill you with a true feeling of Thanksgiving.

And when the bird burns, your mother makes a comment about the house, or your kids are fighting--take a deep breath and give thanks. You have food, you have a home and your mother is here, you have been blessed with children.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the
Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God!
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday Tune--Are You Havin' Any Fun?

I am going to try to post a tune each Tuesday to hopefully bring a spring to your step and get you flying over hump day Wednesday.

Click play and I will tell you about my first choice.

Sarah loves this song. She loves to answer the questions--especially if mommy or daddy ask her.
It goes like this:

Mommy: Are you having any fun?

Sarah: No, I never have fun. (giggle)

Mommy: Are you having any laughs?

Sarah: No, everything is sad. (giggle)

Mommy: Are you gettin' any lovin' ?

Sarah: No, I never get love. (giggle)

Mommy: What ya getting for your living?

Sarah: Chili! (full blown laughter)

Oh and she usually looks like this:

The girl could live off chili ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

That Fine Line Between Sanity and Insanity

Looking at the blogs with pictures of snow is making me homesick.  I grew up with the perfect White Christmas living in a wooded area of Northeast Ohio. I loved the snow, the cold and the whole fairy tale feel of driving under tunnels of snow covered branches.

But I hated the black snow that seemed to plague the Cleveland area from January to April so I moved to Texas. And I enjoy my warm weather except at Christmas.

All four kids see the snow on TV, the pics on the blogs and beg to see snow, to go to Ohio for Christmas. I have to admit it would be fun. I'd love to go to Ohio; however, 6 plane tickets from Dallas to Cleveland plus a rental van is not in the cards for us (please don't feel bad here--we chose to spend money on groceries ;) ). So the only real option is driving.

Driving 18 hours (at least) with four children 10 and under. 18 hours. I'm betting this prospect would send a shiver down Super Nanny's spine.

The kids have promised they would be good; they would not fight. I know they will make a great attempt but I also know them. We are lucky to get out of the driveway without a fight.

But I want to go to Ohio to see my family too. So I want to believe it would be fun. An easy trip. We could stop by Graceland for a day and night to see the lights and pay tribute to the king. We could visit the Corvette museum in Kentucky. Dino loves cars. We could hang out at Ohio State in Columbus and run around German Village (1 pound cream puffs from Schmidt's anyone?).

And my kids would get to see Grandma and Grandpa, along with their cousins and their aunt and uncle. We don't have much family near us. Family is important, right?

But so is my sanity. 18 hours is a very long time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All That Matters--THE GAME

So what if my school, Ohio State,  lost twice this year--one in horrific unhappy valley?

Today we face the enemy, Michigan. I hate the University of Michigan. I. hate. Michigan. I remember seeing them come down to Columbus in my college days. I hated them.

If we beat Michigan today, we had an awesome season. Period. No other game is an important. 

This is all that matters.


(All my Michigan bloggie friends--I don't need to tell you this only a  rivalry and I do not hate the state. I still love y'all :) )

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And What Face is Yours?

This is how I feel when I get the mail (bills), look at my 401 K or watch the news:

This is how I feel when I realize there is no coffee:

This is how I feel at 3 pm every day:

This is how I feel when I can fit in my jeans (without having to lie on my bed to zip):

This is how I feel when I hear a mom gush about how her two year can read and is fluent in 3 languages (and how her 5 year has cured cancer):

And this is how I feel right now:

How are YOU?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Mother of All Turkeys

Tattooed Minivan Mom is having a Thanksgiving Day recipe link.

I will gladly admit I love to cook and I will also admit I am pretty good in the kitchen. Thanksgiving is truly one of my favorite holidays simply because I get to spend hours (days really) in the kitchen planning my menu. Starting in October I try new stuffings, cranberry sauces, squash ideas, pies (!!) and my family tells me the favorites.

The one thing I don't mess is the bird. I tend to stick to this recipe adopted from Tyler Florence. I do not include the stuffing in my turkey because I have never had much luck baking stuffing in the bird (something is always off) and I also brine the turkey before.

I love this mainly because the bacon--what doesn't bacon improve?! I also think this is an easy way to prepare the 'guest of honor' for Thanksgiving but I strongly suggest you do a practice run with this recipe if you have never done a bird before. Enjoy!

Maple Roasted Turkey Covered in Bacon

Brine Mix:
- 1 c salt
-3/4 c sugar
-citrus peels
-dried woody herbs like rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12 to 14-pound) fresh turkey, giblets, neck, and liver discarded
10 strips smoked bacon
1/2 cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons hot water

To brine the turkey, one day before Thanksgiving, take a large gallon container and fill with water and other ingredients and stir. Add turkey and cover. Place in a cool area until the Big Day.

Carefully remove turkey and dispose of the brine mix. Wash off turkey to make sure it is clean. Dry off with paper towels and liberally sprinkle and rub entire bird including cavity with salt and fresh black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.

Put the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go. Truss the bird legs and tie with kitchen twine (butchers will give this to you for free). "Shingle" (think a rooftop) the bacon strips over the breast so it's totally covered. Press down on the bacon so it sticks. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and cover the turkey with foil. Bake.

In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of hot water to thin. Roast the turkey for 2-3 hours, basting with the maple glaze approximately every 30 minutes. You will want to baste different areas at different times so all gets the glaze. Cook until until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. About 1/2 hour before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil so that it can brown. The thigh juices should run clear too (this means it is done). Let rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Since he's so messy, I'll try making some money off it ;)

I am going to enter a photo contest :)

It's on Five Minutes for Mom for $500 in groceries (and yes, with 4 kids that is very important, esp. with the way Spanky eats).

This is typical Spanky with spaghetti sauce--note the forever stained white bench thanks to past meals:
Note:Please please click on the pic to see the entire image--for some reason Spanky is cut in half!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How One of My Middle Children Gets Quality Time

Thank you so much for kind thoughts yesterday. You have no idea how much they helped--esp. because yesterday Sarah still hurt and needed some intense narcotics for pain. A little child in pain is just the worst.

Sarah came home from school as talkative as ever. Happy and hungry.

She ate about two bites of food and suddenly declared she was no longer hungry.

Then she had a stomach ache.

Then she fell asleep at 5 in the afternoon.

Then she refused dinner.

Then started to cry in pain. I brought a trash can to her bed thinking she got a stomach bug.

Then she got a fever.

I ran through her symptoms. Severe pain on her lower right torso and a fever and nothing else. I knew it could be  a number of things but there was one thing it could be, her appendix. And at a little after 11 I was driving my shivering, reeling in pain, little girl to the ER. Just her and mommy.

We got to the ER and the poking and prodding began. They brought us straight to a room via a wheel chair--the pain was so bad she could no longer walk. Then the pricking began and Sarah begged to nurse to make it not hurt. She was given a weird dye to drink and the doctor took me aside and said he thought it was her appendix. 

I was horrified.

The nurse asked her to pee in a cup and Sarah got very upset. 

The nurse asked if it hurt to pee.

"Only a little, maybe more," Sarah paused. "Only one or two or three times."

I sighed, a bladder infection. All this pain and a fever from a bladder infection. I could only hope that was the real problem.

We did x-rays for possible walking pneumonia (I still don't get this since she did not have a cough or anything.) and she was getting weaker and harder to keep calm by the second.

And then some results came back. She did have a bladder infection and, thank the Lord, her white blood cell count was OK. They thought it was merely a bladder infection.

The doctor mentioned getting her antibiotics and then looked at Sarah.

"To be safe, you should take her to her doctor this afternoon," he looked at her again. "Actually I'd bring her in as soon as they open."

I looked at Sarah. She was in real pain. I had had bladder infections before. I was never in this type of pain.

I looked at the doctor and made that pricey decision, "Ya know, I'd sleep better if we could rule out her appendix with the cat scan. She's already forced herself to drink that dye (she could not eat or drink anything without feeling sick) and since we are already here...."

The doctor nodded, "Better safe than sorry."

I looked at my poor Sarah.

She was in real honest to goodness pain.

I asked the doctor if she could take anything for the pain. And almost never even give my kids Tylenol (the last time was last year during our chicken pox festival).

Both the nurse and doctor agreed. Our room was right in front of the main ER desk and they heard her crying and saw the tears rolling down her cheeks.

The nurse inserted morphine in the tube in her arm. Slowly, she was not hurting as bad.

"But I still hurt a little," she whispered as I pulled to front curtain and turned down the lights.

I pulled out my iphone and we watched 'Cars' as we waited for the cat scan.

The cat scan was weird. More injections in her tube and a tech who kept asking why I didn't take Sarah to a children's hospital.

Like a broken record I kept repeating 'because she was screaming in pain and I was not about to drive for 40 more minutes than I needed to so she could see a doctor' but by the fifth time he asked I just shrugged and agreed next time.

Back in the room, I turned on the TV and Sarah giggled at 'Good Eats'--she loves that goofy show.

And finally at almost 4, we got the final results. The appendix appeared normal and the final diagnosis was bladder infection. YAY! I asked if this much pain is normal and the nurse told me it can be even worse. So I'll say we were very lucky.

Driving home all I thought about was getting into bed. It was odd that if this was a normal night, I'd be getting up in half an hour for spin  class (not happening today or even this day!) and then Sarah asked if we could watch a movie together.

"We could watch Christmas because you love Christmas,"she smiled. The morphine was really kicked in!

So we dropped off the prescriptions and drove home to watch Elf.

I watched the baby climb into Santa's bag and suddenly Buddy is opening a present with maple syrup. I am guessing I slept through a bit of it ;)

But I looked over at Sarah and she was smiling.

"This is fun mommy."

I really need to spend more time with her without doctors and nurses :) 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Running on Pure Java

A little girl with severe right side stomach pain
a fever
An ER  trip

An ER trip at 11 pm
half a dozen tests
Getting home at 4 am

Getting home at 4 am
A homeschool day
A messy home
More coffee than a Starbucks house floating in mommy's body

Details when I am back with the land of the living.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Because I have a warped sense of humor--that's why!

I have a fantasy. I have friends over during the holiday season and put on what I like to call my 'favorite playlist'. I brag about how awesome the music is and how I have just the best taste in music in the world and then I turn on the music.

Then out blares "Last Christmas" by Wham--the absolute worst Christmas song ever. 

(Yes, my opinion  but have ya heard it? Reallly.) 

This follows with anything from the Jingle Cats.

And in the meantime, I will be dancing, smiling and singing (or meowing). 

I wonder--would my friends be polite and just nod their heads or would they tell me the truth--it was the worst music they ever heard. I'd like to think they would be honest but we are in the South so who knows. Regardless, I am betting their expressions would be priceless.

Warped? Yeah, I'll admit that :)

Anyway, I think I really want to make the 'worst Christmas music playlist' and carry out my fantasty. 

Any songs you think I need?

(I'd like to say "Christmas Shoes" is the worst song but for some reason people think a kid going to the store on Christmas Eve to buy his dying mom a pair of shoes on Christmas Eve and scamming another customer out of his money  is sweet--I call it sappy. I mean how do we know mama is really dying or did he just practice the little 'Sir I wanna buy these shoes' speech just so he could spend his money on some Transformer he had his eye on? And if even if the kid is telling the truth,  do you really want to hum a tune about a dying mama and a broken hearted poor boy while filling out Christmas cards for friends? Again--I'm warped but in my defense it was named in the 52 most depressing songs, "I Hate Myself and I Want To Die.")

Friday, November 7, 2008

Karl Rove, tex-mex, Super Mario and the Cleveland Browns--Can you get more random?!

So in spin class, there's this really short, muscular guy with a mustache and curly hair. When my legs are searing in pain, I watch short little guy and imagine he is Super Mario jumping over wood barrels and I hear the sound effects and everything. It helped me get through 60 minutes of biking to nowhere. Well this morning, he walks in the room and he has a go-tee (spelling?). My total distraction is ruined. I may very well have to drop a note in Super's  gym and tell him to go back to just his 'stash--and I'll address it Super M. Maybe he'll think it mean Super Man and someone has a crush on him and he'll listen. Right?!

Right now I'm eating some stuffed jalepenos Mike brought home. So yummy--it's time like these I wish everyone lived in Texas and could enjoy some Tex-Mex.

Most memorable moment of election night? Maybe not the most historic or most important but on Fox news (bet you can't guess who I vote for ;) ) Karl Rove, the political shark, brought cookies to share with the crew. I am not kidding. He passed out cookies and he was really excited to share the cookies. You just wonder did he go vote that day and think hey, I think I'll surprise my friends with cookies tonight while we cover the election. It will be so much fun--now should I go with chocolate or sugar? I wonder if it's on youtube.

Hey, ho--Kellan Winslow's got to GO! Seriously, you hate living in Cleveland and guess what? Cleveland hates you! We've got Brady Quinn--Spanky (my TWO year old) could catch his bullet passes. Yet, you--you blow simple school yard bread and butter plays. And cost us the game. The Browns aren't losers--YOU ARE.

Well folks--there's a green chili quesadilla calling my name.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, November 3, 2008

We are quite the political household

With the nonstop news of the election, my kids have picked up names and, the older ones, various issues. We have had great talks about who we support and why. (I have stayed strong from offering my viewpoints on this blog and I am not about to break this less than 24 hours before the election so I will not delve into my beliefs.)

But our great debaters are Spanky and Dino.

Dino loves to say "Obama" and who can blame him? It just rolls off the tongue and it's pretty fun to say.

So we are driving to yet another function and the radio is discussing the election.

Dino begins "O-bam-a,  o-bam-a."

And out of nowhere Spanky screams and I mean screams "MCCAIN!"

Dino, and the rest of the car, is stunned to silence and then Dino whispers "Mccain".

And our car is the site of another political bullying.

Regardless if agree with Dino or Spanky, be sure to vote tomorrow. Your vote matters and if you don't vote, don't complain ;)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Music to My Ears

(Press play to listen and enjoy.)

Now that the costumes are placed ever so loving in the dress up clothes and the Great Pumpkin has taken the candy, I can finally play my Christmas music!

Really I just love Christmas music. My very favorite Christmas song of all-time is the one you hear, " The Christmas Song" by Nat King Cole. I don't know what it is about this song but it manages to give me chills and a warm fuzzy feeling all at the same time. It just pure perfection!

My favorite Christmas album/CD is "White Christmas" by Elvis Presley. Honestly, your Christmas collection is not complete with this one. Every song from the ever popular "Blue Christmas" to the gospel favorite "Peace in the Valley" is just heavenly. And let's face it--no one can sing like The King.

Then of course, I have lots of other must-haves (for me anyway) from  Sinatra's "Old Fashion Christmas" to the more modern Josh Groban and Michael Buble hits. Oh and absolutely every Christmas song from John  Denver--esp. the Muppets "Christmas Together" ones. 

To date I have 4 unique playlists on my iPhone--"Joy to the World"--breakfast playlist; "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"--daytime playlist; "A Christmas Dinner"--dinner playlist; and finally "Oh Holy Night"--relaxing night playlist.  The playlists equal close to 7 hours of music (and that is not all the music I have, trust me). To say I have a lot of Christmas music would be an understatement. Yet, I am always on the search for music I have never heard, music that brings the feeling of Christmas to my soul. So I'd like to know--What is the Christmas song that means Christmas to you?

I hope you enjoy the music on this post today. I hope it helps to lift your spirits and bring some joy in this rather frazzled time we live in. And if the music doesn't warm  your soul...perhaps you'd like some blurred warm coco with hand-made marshmallows we made today :)


Friday, October 31, 2008

Didn't anyone tell you the war is over?

A conversation with Miley the fifth grader.

"I can't stand my Latin teacher," Miley suddenly declares. "She wears the same ugly skirt every day."

She continues.

"And the skirt has pockets."

"I am sure the skirt is pretty to her," I say.

"Hmmmm...well yesterday one of the boys stood up to ask a question and she started yelling at him and calling him rude because he put his hands in his pockets. She said you should never address a group of people with your hands in your pockets because it was disrespectful," she starts to giggle. "But mom she had her in skirt pockets during this entire conversation. And she kept calling him rude and impolite."

"That wasn't very nice," I begin. "It's not polite to bring up someone's bad manners in front of a group."

She nods and I hear an angel chorus. My child understands manners. Praise the Lord!

"Anyway, she's from the North,  so what does she know about manners?"

The music stops and I suddenly feel this little Southern girl has watched too much Ken Burn's Civil War.

"Miley," I speak in a sweet, genteel voice." You do know I am from Ohio and I have manners."

"Yeah, but you've been here a long time. And I think Latin teacher is from even more North like Michigan or New York. New Yorkers know nothing about manners."

"Honey, that' s just not true."

"I've been North mom."

Did I mention Miley licks her food so no one will eat it when she has to leave the table?