December 25, 2007

Tea for Two

Merry Christmas! to those who celebrate. Happy Tuesday! to those who don't.

This is a first for me this Christmas. As Steve and I were driving to our favorite Indian restaurant last night, I realized that this is the first Christmas Eve in my life that I haven't spent with my parents and my sisters. This is also the first Christmas morning in my kids' life that I haven't spent with them.

It's a weird holiday season for us. No kids. And since I've had them, my kids are what Christmas is about. Of course, it's still about family and just spending time together, but it's just wrong to not have little ones running around the house.

We just did our celebrating a day earlier this year. And it was great!!! The kids shot off to their Dad's yesterday with the biggest smiles and happiest hearts... just the way it should be for them on Christmas.

Steve and I are off to find the one lone store that might be open today. He'll make me a wonderful dinner later and that will be one more Christmas passed. And it's been a great one, even if a little different.

Merry Christmas.

December 16, 2007

'Tis the season

Some call it Christmas portraits, personally, I think it should be called torture. For both child(ren) and parent(s). That's it! Screw the water tactics... just subject suspected terrorists (or, hell, as the current administration does, subject any ole' one we feel like) to that trauma called Holiday Picture Taking Session.

I mean, seriously, why do we do this? You know, the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. There ya go. Sheer insanity. Let's sum it up, shall we?...

For the sake of discussion, I'll play this out as it does year after year in my house. With the exception of last year, when the entire family was able to be together for this warm, fun-filled, fuzzy event, we have three children of whom we need portraits taken (buzz off grammar police... I suck, I know!). First, you have to schedule the session. This involves deciding what time of the day are you most likely to catch them all in good moods, able to smile without looking either too fake or too scared. Ok, again, for the sake of discussion, we'll assume that such a time actually does exist, we all know that reality is, there is no such time!!!

Eleven in the morning it is. Say... oh, two weeks away (that is, assuming you haven't waited until the last possible minute, as absolutely none of us ever do. Never!). Now, off to the closets to see what hand-me-down clothes you have that can possibly pass for cute Christmas attire. I have to say, I'm very fortunate in this department. There are oodles of girl grandchildren in my family, so there are always way more Christmas-frilly-sparkly-lacy-she'll-never-ever-ever wear-this-dress-again dresses than we can possibly manage in one season. And boys are pretty easy, generally speaking. But, again, for the purpose of discussion, let's assume that you have absolutely nothing for them to wear. You have three kids, they have to coordinate in some way, right?

Off to the stores. Do you start with the girls or the boy? I go for the girls first, my oldest first of those two. She's the hardest to shop for. Five hours, four fights, seven "I hate you"s and thirty-seven grunt / stomp foot combos, you have found absolutely nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Here, oh, picky child... just to get the hell out of the store with something for her to wear in the damn picture, you buy, at full retail mind you, the damn High School Musical tee with the wretched camo pants she just has to have because that is the only thing she has put on that has brought about that oh-so-sought-after smile you are gonna be begging for on said picture day. "Oh well, it'll be okay" you think to yourself. "We'll just put her in the back with the other two in front of her. Only the edge of the solid tee and the khaki of the pants will show, anyway."

You safely pull out the solid emerald green velvet dress for the youngest. At least she'll look festive, with the plaid bow around her waist, gold thread running through it. That is, until she sees big sis' ensemble. Holy Moly!!! "You hate me!" the four-year-old screams, with all the sass and attitude of somebody ten years her senior. Yes, small child, you're right. It's a national conspiracy against you. Nobody on this entire planet ever wants you to own a HSM t-shirt and camo pants, fuggidabouddit, kid. Ain't happenin'. Now, you're quite a bit smaller than your older sister and I can sit on you and make you wear that dress. Still wanna fight!?!?!?!?!?

Ahhhhh.... my boy. Either he really is the gentle, kind soul I think he is, or he sees the raging maniac his sisters have produced in me and he just isn't dare going to tread on that. No way. "Mom, can you put gel in my hair so I look like Danny Zuko?" sigh You know, I could just make extra copies of last year's picture. No one would know, would they????

Picture day. You've got the morning all planned out. Any food or drinks to be consumed prior to picture time is done before any garb goes on. Period. I don't care if you stomach is humming the William Tell Overture. I don't care if your tongue feels like cacti. You are not getting anything to eat or drink after you get dressed. Period!

Of course, the oldest remembers just how pretty her hair was the last time we put hot stix in it. She just has to have them in this morning. Simply has to. What do you think the four-year-old does next??? You got it... hot stix all around!!!! Luckily, I'm getting to be a whiz with these things and, never mind that my neck / shoulder feels like fire pokers are being jabbed into them by the time I'm done, the girls' hair is stunning!!!! The boy... Danny Zuko be damned. We'll save that for Halloween, son, m'kay?

Assuming you actually get out the door any where near the time you had originally hoped for, you arrive on time. But guess what? You wouldn't think for one minute that the portrait studio is running behind, would you? Nah. Oh, hell yes they are!!!! Now, I won't bore you with the recap of the morning... but, we've all just been through what we'll just call 'not fun' and now, NOW you want me to sit here and wait, while my kids hear all of these other children screaming, parents then screaming at their happy kids to SMILE, DAMNIT!!!! And you think my kids are gonna do what????

Now that they are a little bit older (than they were a few years ago, duh! That sounds brilliant!), they just plain ole' get bored. And to tell you the truth, so do I!!! So we sit, and patiently wait... and wait... and wait... and... well, you get the picture (ha! pun intended!).

I'd say I'm pretty lucky. I mean, what do we expect? Put yourself in their little shoes for just one second. We'd no more stand for treatment like that, and then, to be expected to smile??? To put on our angelic faces and actually look like we even like each other??? No way!!!

I'd say I'm pretty lucky...

Let there be light!

A couple of hours after I last posted, the electricity came back on. Off Monday morning, back on Thursday afternoon. It was quite an experience. We've all come out of it unscathed and with a few more survival skills in our arsenal that we just didn't know we needed. We were lucky that we had acquired the camping equipment last summer... and I just love camp coffee!!

The kids just stayed at their Dad's. It seemed silly for them to come home just for an overnight, only to go back with him Friday afternoon. So, for lunch Friday, Steve and I took them out. And now, I'm ready for them to come home. They'll be back tomorrow after school. Short school week (well, four days for them, three for me). We're doing Christmas with my family next Sunday, then they are off back to their Dad's Monday afternoon (Christmas Eve) for another week. Alone time has been nice, but I really prefer the hustle and bustle that is my life. Remind me of that Monday night, will ya?!?!?!?!?

About to wrap up the Christmas shopping via Amazon, I think. I loaded the shopping cart up yesterday and Steve had a peek at it this morning. All seems well and ready for take off. I just have a problem parting with that dough all at once, ya know? When it's $5 here, $10 there, it's not so bad... but all at once?!?!??! Oh well, it'll all be done then and I can breathe again!

So, back to whatever 'normal' is tomorrow. Here's to a happy Monday for all!!

December 13, 2007

In The Dark

We have no power. It’s been out since Monday morning, around eight. Kids dad lost his on Sunday afternoon and it came back on early Monday morning. He went to work on Monday, only to lose power there around noon, so he came to pick up the kids to take them out to his house where they could at very least stay warm. They have been out there since.

Our next door neighbors are on a different transformer than us, and they were only out of power for about 24 hours, from Monday afternoon to Tuesday lunchtime. They have been so kind as to ‘loan’ us an extension from their front lawn lamp. My oh-so-handy husband figured out that it doesn't take much electricity to power our gas heat, so we have a warm house, a couple of lamps and tv. I wouldn't want the kids around all of the cords stretched out around the house and since school has been cancelled for the rest of the week, they are just going to hang out with their Dad until Sunday (it's his weekend, anyway).

We just got internet back, literally five minutes ago. We've been checking email by sitting in a parking lot of a business where Steve maintains the network. Fortunately, with the extension from next door, we can keep cell phones and laptops charged. Been catching up on some reading I've been wanting to get to. Considering re-thinking that Christmas camping trip we've had planned. This may be the only taste of winter camping we'll need for a long while.

There are some beautiful pictures all over the web. This ice storm has made national news (we're in Oklahoma, in case some don't know). Check out one of our local news sites to see some pictures. Seeing the ice was a weird combination of scary and beautiful. And the noises... oh, the sounds of large branches cracking, followed by the crackle of the ice hitting the ground just before the crash and boom of the limb hitting where it may... sometimes on the ground, sometimes on cars or roofs of houses. I hardly slept Sunday night... it sounded like a war zone... in a really weird, creepy kind of way. You'd just lay in bed, listening to the sounds and with each crack, you just close your eyes and hope that branch isn't the one just above your bedroom.

We're fortunate. We're warm and luckily, we've had no property damage at all. We've got each other and fortunately, we're not sick of each other, yet. I think that's where I feel the luckiest... I'm truly married to someone I actually enjoy the company of. Nothing like hibernating in the cold and dark for hours on end to confirm that.

We've got a snow 'storm' headed this way, due to be here tomorrow evening. They aren't sure just yet how much we'll get, which is par for the course where we live. Seems we're always on that 'line' where it could go either way. So, here we sit... waiting for the lights to come back on. They are saying that everyone will have power by the middle of next week, hopefully, the majority by the weekend.

So, we're alive... kids are safe and warm... and I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful man to be 'stuck' here with.

I'm happy.

December 7, 2007

Dear Santa,

Can they please stay just like this?

'cuz they are growing up way too fast.

December 2, 2007

You've just gotta try this!!!

Real quick... go to Google... type in "my husband is useless" and look at the second (at the time I'm typing this) result.


I love you, sweetie :)

I'll never get it

* warning: the subject matter of this post may be disturbing ... Screw that! The subject matter of this post is definitely disturbing beyond my most horrific nightmare!!!

Today was pretty mundane. Could have something to do with the fact that we were up until five this morning singing. Or the fact that we didn't roll out of bed until almost noon (hey, that wasn't even a full eight-hour night!). Either way, we didn't do much other than browse the flea market, do laundry and manage take-out.

Steve had a little bit of excitement. At least, he claimed ownership of a mission this afternoon. In the process of getting screwed by a major corporation, I perused the internet looking to see how many others have been screwed by said company (turns out, there are thousands, but that's not why I'm writing this).

In the course of 'googling', I came across this article. Sick. Truly sick. Absolutely no other words to describe it.

In summary, if you don't feel like clicking to read the whole insanely gross story, sometime late in July this past summer, a beautiful little girl was allegedly murdered. By her mother and step-father. Who then hid her body in a container in their shed for more than a month, then dumped the container into Galveston (TX) Bay. The container was found by a fisherman in late October.

For about a month, this poor little girl was simply known as "Baby Grace" while investigators desperately tried to identify her. In short, she was identified and the whole horrific story continues to unfold.

As a mother, and I like to think that while I don't remember much of my life before children (I seem to have left my brain in the labor and delivery ward of the local hospital), even before I became a mother, there isn't one single fiber of my being that can understand how anyone could ever cause harm to a child, let alone their own.

I'm the first one to jump to the defense of mentally incompetent people, and I don't pretend for one minute that all people all the time are in control of their behavior. I fully concede that there are factors in this woman's life that I don't know about. I am not put on this earth to judge, please don't miss my point. While lots of things may explain why these things happen, they do absolutely nothing to excuse.

There is nothing and I mean nothing on this planet, in this world that would ever, ever bring me to bring any kind of barbaric situation to my children. Nothing. I would lay down my life for them, in an instant, without hesitation. And it is totally beyond my comprehension that any mother could not only cause harm to their child, but bring them to their death at the hands of the very one who is supposed to protect. Beyond. My. Comprehension.

I suppose, in retrospect... there really is no point to this post. Other than when I found that article, first, I was surprised that this was the first I had heard of this story, as Texas in only next-door and I try to stay on top of news events, especially 'headlines'. Second, my heart just broke for this little girl. Not to mention that she bore an eerie resemblance to my youngest. It just struck a chord in me that I didn't even know was there.

Rest in peace Riley Ann Sawyers. You'll never be hurt again.

December 1, 2007

I've failed

I just realized, as I was bragging on my eldest (well, the eldest of the five who actually sprang from my loins), that I've let down The Diva.

Last month, The Diva was honored as a Knight-in-Training for Resourcefulness and Pride. This award is similar to student-of-the-month, but carries a little somethin' special, as an 'actual' Knight (Steve always squirms when they say this at the assemblies. He's close to demanding to know if his Queen actually knighted these guys, or if they are phonies... but, for the sake of the kids, he restrains himself!) performs the ceremony. (Another digression - must stop this - Steve and I wish they'd call on Sir Elton himself to do the knighting... although, that probably wouldn't go down too well here in the buckle of the Bible Belt).

So, for the month of October, my baby, The Diva was honored and selected out of all the students in her pre-kindergarten class as one who exemplifies the characteristics of Resourcefulness and Pride.

You go, Diva!!!

Yet another Mommy Brag!!

The elementary school our kids attend has a monthly 'awards assembly' of sorts. It's called the Knighting Ceremony, or "KnightLife" as the kids refer to it. Each month, in grades one through five, two girls and two boys are selected from each grade who exemplify the characteristics chosen to be recognized for that month. Oh, of course, they encourage all kids to be model students all throughout the year, but lets be realistic... they're kids!!! So, each month, two particular 'virtues' are identified and the kids are chosen because they, particularly, stand out as modeling said qualities.

They do a similar award for the kindergarteners and pre-k'ers, as well, only they are awarded as "Knights-In-Training", which, I, myself, think is particularly cute!!! (Ack! I just realized I failed as a 'Mommy Bragger'!!! The Diva was just bestowed such honor last month and I didn't post it!!! I swear I thought I did!!! Bad, bad Mommy!!! I'll get on that, just as soon as I'm done here!!!)

The ceremony is a pretty big deal for the kids. All week, leading up to it, my three are hounding me every afternoon with, "Mom, did you get any calls from the school? Huh? Huh? Did ya??" (a 'call from the school' would mean that they notified me that my child would be knighted so that I could take off work to attend the assembly). Of course, whether or not we receive a phone call, the answer to the kids is always, "No". I've tried telling them that even if I did receive a call, I wouldn't tell them, anyway, as it is supposed to be a surprise, duh!!!

So, yesterday, for exemplifying cooperation and patience, my oldest daughter was knighted! (I won't go into all the drag here, but I really should mention what a long way she's come. If you had known her even a few years ago, and I was telling you the qualities she was being knighted for, you would honestly look at me like I had green snakes for hair and purple teeth. Suffice it to say, she's come a long way, baby!!!) She's worked really hard and is turning into such an adoring young lady!!! We are just so proud of her! An honor she quite well deserves!!!

Yea, Mac!!! You rock!!!