Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Traditions . . . Christmas Eve Jammies

Christmas Eve Jammies are a tradition in our house.  It started as a cute little prelude to Christmas when there were only two kids & I was vain enough to think that Christmas morning photos and having kids 'match' was important.
Christmas Eve Jammies have now evolved to a special family tradition.  The kids know that alot of thought and shopping go into purchasing their jammies . . . it's the sort of gift that makes us all happy!  There were flannel bottoms and a waffle thermal for Big, cotton bottoms for Middle in her favorite colors with a silky shirt by Hot Chili Peppers, footie jams for Mimi complete with a monkey in a santa cap & something themed and  unmistakably BOY for Little (this year . . . Star Wars Lego).  They rip into their Christmas Eve jammie boxes with excitment that should be bottled and sold by prescription.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Skiing 2010

 
Skiing 2010

Four kids, two adults, two dogs, house-sitter, condo, grocery shopping, ski lessons, lift tickets, helmets, warm socks . . . the list goes on and on and on.

Still . . . skiing is a large part of who we are.  MOTH was a ski patrolman for a long, long time, and spent many long days and even longer days tromping around in ski boots.  He's a gear-head of the highest order, and actually really LIKED outfitting all of our munchkins in winter gear suitable for subzero weather.  I grew up skiing at the southern ski areas  . . those not built for comfort.  It was cold and I didn't have great socks.  But it was more fun than a barrel of monkeys and it was the stuff that built my memories. 

At any rate, no matter how much we reminisce or think back to OUR youth, skiing has changed!  Lift ticket prices are at least triple.  Ski school is serious business.  Helmets are required.  Resorts are closer, ticket lines are longer, lifts are faster . . . and, honestly, the shopping is way, way, way better.  So, in December 2010, we made our first family ski trip.  The big kids did all day lessons.  It was SO, SO different from the way MOTH and I learned (ie:  point them downhill and don't get scared!!)  The kids took to skiing like ducks to water.  While they spent the day skiing, MOTH took off on his own to tear up his old stompin' ground.  Mimi and I rented a sled and took it out on the town.  A good time was had by all.    Here are the pictures to prove it . . . .

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"We're engaged."

Thirteen years ago tonight, MOTH popped the question . . .

Amazing . . .

Groceries.

I awoke this morning with a grocery list running through my mind.  Well, I'm not sure "running" is the right word.  More like all the things on the list were ping pong balls banging against the sides of the inside of my skull.  No organization.  No list.  No rhyme or reason. 

Never before have I let last minute shopping sneak up on me like this. 
Never before have I HAD to be at a grocery store on December 23rd.

So, I started today with a steamy mug of hazelnut, a sharpie pen and a green sheet of paper.   And this is what came out.  I'm blogging it tonight because (Gawd forbid, such disorganization happen again next year . . . I'll remember to come back to this post!)

Meat (do we REALLY need meat?)
Veggie (can I count a salad as a veggie)
Caesar Salad Stuff -- romaine, dressing, croutons, shredded parm
Middle wants Mashies & Gravy - done.  That stuff is in the pantry.
Little wants mac & cheese.  (Really?  So different from the once per week fare here at Elle's house of microwave entrees.)
Rolls (MOTH wants my signature annual contribution . .  I do, too.  It's a tradition worth keeping.)

Simplified, it's shaping up to be a carb-a-licious meal.  Mmm.

Middle wants pumpkin pie.
Little wants a giant cookie instead of a birthday cookie.
They think Santa needs a sampler platter.  Middle wants to try her hand at fudge.  Big's voting for Snickerdoodles.  And they all think Santa  will be keen on the old standby:  Mama's Mouthwatering , World-Famous, Tried & True Chocolote Chip Cookies.

Middle loves the "snack tray".  She got ahold of the shopping list and added "baby corns, black olives and dippy stuff"

We have a birthday tradition around our house.  The birthday person gets to pick breakfast.  It's been that way, well . . . forever.  Usually, Christmas breakfast is an easy one.  This year, Little's voting for my homemade Cinnamon Rolls. 

Does anyone see a trend?  Lots of baking . . . . uh, hello holiday pounds!

Christmas is supposed to be close to 60 degrees.  MOTH made an executive decision.  We're grilling.   Ribeyes.  And I bought 4 pounds of king crab legs.  Yum.  Caesar salad.  Mashies for Middle.  Rolls.  Yum.  Add to that the holiday baking and birthday cookie making -- and there's the recipe for holiday fun in our house!  The baking row at King Soopers today was complete cart jam.  It was absolute gridlock in the spices.  A man actually ran into me to get to the evaporated milk.  Grocery shopping when you say, "sorry, excuse me, sorry, excuse me" is no fun.  I'll remember that for next year .  . . .

Time to go . . . It's my turn to play bass on rock band . . .

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Me and Moo-Moo Playing Babies"

An eerie silence fell over the house this afternoon.

I called upstairs, "Mimi, what cha doing?"

She replied, "Me and Moo-Moo playing babies."

After another long silence, I snuck up to make sure they were okay.

This is what I found:

Nine . . . . I can hardly believe it!!

December 19th, 2001.  It was 12:57 pm.  Labor was awful.  It was nearly a c-section.   She was tiny and blue and purple.  She was 18 inches long.  Five pounds 11 ounces.  And blue.  So, so, very blue.  It was snowing.  And freezing cold.  The kind of nasty, blowing grapply snow that freezes you to the bones.  Brrr.  She was born in Room 19.  She was early . . . . almost 5 weeks early.  Once she was cleaned up, she had this fuzzy coat of blond hair, all uniform in growth.  It stuck straight up off of her head like a chia-pet.  She came home the next day wearning preemie clothes and snoozing.  Baby number 2 is the comparison child.  I remember looking at her blond, blond hair and her round, round face and marveling at how different and perfectly unique she was.   Correction:  IS. 


I love this shirt.  She spends a lot of time wearning it.  She's not short.  She's fun size!!

On her birthday list:  "a REAL CC jersey -- that I can wear to games."  She was over the moon to open this one!!

Mimi is also known as "Shadow".  She follows Middle everywhere and spends ALOT of time doing exactly what Middle does.  They look alot alike and have very similar temperments, too.   Oh, I almost forgot:  Inside the big box was the other thing (there were two) on her birthay list:  A memory foam mattress topper. 

This picture captures the essence of our busy kitchen!  It's a mess on the surface, but really a happy place full of lots of laughing people!    Look at that weather in the middle of December!!  I could have moved the nail polish, proactive delivery, cereal box . . . taken down some of the family launch pad stuff . . . but I didn't.  I like it.  And I love Middle in her NEW birthday LEO!!  It looks stunning . . .

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Middle!! Nine of the best years of my life!! (Yours, too, I bet, huh?)


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Graham Cracker Houses


One of our annual holiday traditions begins with the construction phase. 
Graham Crackers + Hot Glue = Sturdy & Sound Structure suitable for giant globs of royal icing & multiple layers of candy decorations.


Frosting . . . . My easy royal frosting recipe is this:  Whip four egg whites and the juice from 1/2 a clementine (or a lemon, or whatever citrus thing you have) on medium speed until it starts to get frothy.  Then add, one cup at a time, a whole bunch of powdered sugar (about half a bag . . so about 4 cups).  It's more of a consistancy thing than a measuring thing (like all of my fine kitchen recipes).  So, when it's heavy and thick, that's right.  It should be thicker than cake batter, but not as thick as cookie dough.  Add a splash of vanilla.  At our house, I scoop a big spoonful into ziploc sandwich bags, zip the top, clip the corner and let them pipe and lick right out of the bag.


Big's house this year is more of an outhouse than a gingerbread style.  It could also be a condo or apartment . . . .


Mmm.  A little bit on the house, a little in my mouth . . . .

Intense concentration working with tootsie rolls to create a log cabin.  She also had a wonderful snowman made out of lollipop.


These two teamed up to work on the BIG house.  Mimi is a really good candy unwrapper.  She also made a forest in the backyard out of tree pretzels.  Middle worked on a starbust chimney & lots of little details like a nerd for a doorknob! 


Finished products.  They were moved up HIGH moments later to prevent Moose from indulging in a very sweet snack.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sash & Survivor

Anyone watching Survivor this season? 

Watching an hour of On Demand Survivor is a huge treat to Big & Middle.  We usually save it up for weekend viewing.  We pop popcorn & snuggle in with blankets to catch up on past episodes.  Last week's episode was the always emotional family member episode.  I was especially touched at those young boys (Sash, Fabio & Chase) with their mommas.  It was tender & very sweet.  I actually got a little verclempt at Dan & his son.  Watching that young man smooch on his dad made my insides go mushy.  It was awesome.  Just awesome.

There was a divine line on Survivor this week that has been ringing in my head like a gong.  Somewhere in the family interviews, Jeff Probst asks Sash about growing up in his home, and Sash replies in the most put together, fantastic, eloquent way,

"Ya know, growing up, we didn't much money, but we had a lot of love.  Being out here makes me realize that's all you need in life . . . love to help you get by."

Tears were in my eyes.  What a brilliant statement.  Wise, really.  And the kind of worldly knowledge that rich kids don't have.  When a kid grows up rich, they miss out on a lot of things, alot of experiences, alot of benefits.  I am certain, I am positive, I am absoltely convinced that growing up with money can be a handicap.  Flourishing, growing, being a success as an adolescent, teen & adult has nothing do to with money.  It doesn't take money to be happy.  It doesn't take money to have a happy childhood.  Money doesn't buy happiness. 

Go Sash!!  Let's hear it for the kids who grow up happy . . . with a little bit of money and a whole lot of love.  Yep, I say, GO SASH!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Traditions

I'm having a really good time this week celebrating traditions.  Old ones and new ones.  Old ones that are expiring, new ones that are on fire with the kids' excitement & energy. 

Here's the two that are at the front of my mind this week: 

Gingerbread houses constructed with hot glue and graham crackers.  Pictures coming soon.  Such a great way to use up all of the halloween candy by playing with it and NOT eating it!!

And . . .

(the most fun of all!!) . . . . Scavenger hunts.  This is the time of year when the dulldrums and brown bag blues sink in deep and hard.  Nothing sounds good for lunch, we don't really want dinner . . . outside is dry, brown, cold & ugly.  Inside . . . well, we have to dig sometimes for inside stuff.  After a long day of education & regimen, I love playing scavenger hunts with the kids.  Today while they were gone, Mimi and I took apart a puzzle and hid 54 pieces throughout the house.  When they got  home, they split into teams; two kids per team.  They drew numbers for who got to search on which level of the house.  I timed each team in finding 18 puzzle pieces.  Winners advanced to the next round and earned a solo search for the remaining 18 pieces.  Once all of the pieces were found, they drew from four task cards.  One kid had the job of putting the puzzle together.  The other had to solve math problems.  The third had to do a chore and the last one got to open a present and eat it.  Mimi was so happy that she got to take a break and eat two Oreos!  In the next round, they solved a series of riddles.  Finally, they identified the theme of the riddles to discover the location of the package (it was in the refrigerator).  The gift was coloring books and dot-to-dot books . . . one for each kiddo.  They ripped into them like they hadn't seen a coloring book in years.  They camped out at the table for the next hour and a half coloring and eating holiday cookies.  Good, clean, family fun. 

I"m already cooking up a hunt for tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MOTH

Man Of The House, aka MOTH . . . smack dab in the middle of his 'element' . . .



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Tattered Yellow Ball Gown

Creating that previous post and mentioning Big in the tattered yellow ball gown made me wonder if I could find a picture.  Ta-da!!  Here she is at the tender age of 3 wearing THAT dress, with a bowl on her head and mixing spoon in her mouth (notice very chubby sister in the lower part of the photo!)  That old dress, minus the hem, flowers & overlay,  is still downstairs in the dress up bin. 


And here she is NOW . . .


What's your style?

Today, I'm contemplating style.   Why?  Because my girlfriend and I just had a long talk about it.  More specifically, her son.  She describes this daily war between the two of them.  Every morning.  About clothes.  Every  morning it happens.  Every morning, she fights it.  Every morning, her son wins. My girlfriend is troubled by her son's style.  She doesn't want him to wear jeans and sweatshirts every day.

So, style.  Hmmm.   Some have it.   Some don't.  But don't get me wrong . . . I'm not judging because, after all, I'm not even sure what it IS!!   Here's what I do know: 


MOTH's style is what I call, "the mountain man look."  He likes woolly warm socks and mountain-type gear.  Year round.  Light weight Kuhl pants in the summer.  Heavier ones in the winter.  It's authentically him.   He shaves his head by choice and consequently wears a skull cap or stocking cap alot.  Inside, outside, dinner time . . . whenever. 

I'm a girl born of comfort.  I like comfy jeans, jammie pants and yoga pants.  There was a time not that long ago where I truly believed that pajamas were the uniform of motherhood.  Sometimes I'll wear a long skirt, but it's seasonal and only with the right shoes.  I like layers.  Usually two or three per day.  I like a cardigan sweater or zip hoodie.  I don't iron and don't buy things that require it.

Big is an Aero girl.  She wears long shirts and boyfriend jeans with tenny-runners.  Every day.  She wears a messy ponytail or boarder braids nearly every day.  She's clean and put together and looks athletic.   Important to note, her "style" includes gorgeous skin & the kind of mixed CLEAN scent that can only come from the right combination of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion & deo. 

Middle is bohemian sheik.  She wears gauchos or yoga pants.  She likes 3/4 length shirts with a loose cardigan.   Most times she matches, but she's famous for wearing mismatched socks because she just can't decide on one pair.  It's been that way for years and I love it.  She wears ponytails even though her hair is long and shiny and gorgeous.  She's clean and put together and she's athletic from the way she holds her body to the way she walks.

Little is in a camo kick.  Today, he went to school in camo pants, a long sleeved camo shirt and a camo skull cap.  If it wasn't for his sketchers shoes flashing when he walked and his rosy cheeks and shiny eyes, I wouldn't have been able to see him at all.   He's clean.  His nails are trimmed, ears are clean and his hair is combed.   His smile is contageous and his most important accessory.

Mimi is a self dresser.  She has been since she was old enough to know pants from a top.  Sometimes her pants are on backward.  Sometimes, she doesn't match.  Sometimes, she layers all of the things she loves and wears them all  on the same day.  Any way you slice it, she's bohemian sheik meets layered country comfort all in one pint sized toddler package.  You've gotta look past the clothing exterior to see that she's clean, smiling, happy and absolutely adorable.



Mimi, in her "layering all my favorites" look.  This picture taken on the day she made Family History by being the ONLY one of our children to stuff a foreign object up her nose.  Don't fret.  Jingle bell safely extracted.

Here's a parenting mantra that I live by:  "Pick your battles .  . . and win the ones you pick."

Back to self dressing.  We have a busy home with lots of action when we're prepping to go anywhere, so when I say, "guys, get dressed", that's what I mean.  I mean . . . stop doing whatever you are doing and get clothes on.  There are seldom limits or expectations.  Why?  Because I'd rather have Big looking clean, athletic and put together than wearing goth black, heavy eyeliner, chain belts and with blue gel spiking her hair.  I'm picking  my battle, and the way I see it . . . I am winning.  She's stunning.   I'd rather Middle make public apperances in mismatched socks than be uncomfortable and show up crying with swollen eyes and a runny nose because I insisted she wear something that she hates.  I'd rather Little be allowed to be a child and wear things that he can do ninja rolls and jedi jumps in than create a false exterior of a person whom he isn't.  And Mimi, well Mimi's three.  A brand new three.  And she gets a little latitude.  Hell, when Big was three, she wore a tattered yellow ball gown 24/7.  I'd peel it off of her at night to wash it while she slept.

This I believe:  children are an extension of their parents.  How they look and act is either the greatest feather in your cap, or your biggest embarrassment.  This, too, I know:   I've never been embarrassed about the way my kids look or dress.   I'm easily able to see past their clothes to the real success underneath.  Likewise, I'm not embarrassed by fat women or bald men.  I don't mind canes, walkers, prosthetic legs or extensive scarring from burns . . . because I absolutely believe that it's what's inside that counts.   So, I guess THAT's my style.  Parenting style and clothing style.  Happy, clean and well-behaved trumps whatever pants, shirt, sweater or dress you might be wearing. 

It's what's inside that counts, that's my style.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The cake, as promised . . .

I like it.  No, I take that back.  I LOVE it.  We had fun making it.  It was fun in the kitchen, and while not as perfect as the one at Target, it also wasn't $49.99.  More importatnly, SHE loved it.  After all, that's what matters.  And while we're destroying images, yes . . . I let her lick her fingers.  And when we were finished, I put it in front of her with a fork.  


This makes me happy.

Philosophies - What I think . . .

Choices.  Life is full of choices, right?

You choose to get up in the morning, choose to brush your teeth, or listen the dentist lecture you on plaque buildup.  You choose to read books from authors that you love, choose to investigate things that interest you, choose to do the best you can & choose to be the best you can be.   Everyday, we make choices that impact our own lives and those around you. 

Right.

But sometimes choices are made for us.  Think about that for a while.

I love blogging.  It's a journal of sorts.  Are my deepest, darkest secrets in here?  No.  Writing has been and always will be a process for me.  It's good for me.  It's therapeutic.  And cathartic.  And it's deeper than a checklist of what I've done (although many days it is JUST that . . . a checklist.)  It's a window into my life -- OUR lives.  But it's not everything.  It's just the tip of the iceberg.  When you blog for the sake of (insert whatever YOUR sake is) .   . . . . there's a certain amount of filtering that is done.  All the time.  Every post.  Proof would be in perusing the posts that never get published.    I suppose if a post makes you suck your breath in and say, "holy cow, I can't believe she said that", you should know that what actually went to print is tamed, filtered could quite possibly be a sliver of the reality.

Today, I looked at followers for the first time in a long, long, long time.  I don't track followers because writing a blog, specifically THIS blog, isn't about followers.  If it were, I'd take heed to my blogger buddies advice and create a better headline.  I'd find better ads and I'd do some specific topics.  I'm not making money at this.  I'm being a healthier person . . . for me.  This is for me.  

That being said, if my language is offensive, as I understand it may well be, it's your choice to read. If my topics are offensive, it's your choice to read.  If you are embarrassed to know me and find my blog to be unlike a person you'd like to know, it's okay with me.  It's okay.  You readers, all 11 of you, land on this page by choice.  It's a bookmark in your favorites or you choose to check in from time to time. 

I have thoughts on alot of things . . . things I'd love to blog about, things I THINK.  Some are reactions, some are inventions, some are just random emotions . . . but they're mine.  And here's my current thought.  Choose to read because you want to . . . you want to check in with my family and/or me.  You want to see gorgeous children grow into fabulous adults.  You want to follow our journey through pain, suffering, loss, family therapy, grieving and hurt or you want to follow our simultaneous journey through joy, elation, happiness, accomplishment, achievement, love, faith, hope, the strength of family and the wonders of faith.  Please don't feel obligated to read. 

Please don't feel obligated to read.  
Please don't feel obligated to read. 
Please don't feel obligated to read.

What I know is that God puts people in our lives for a reason.  All kinds of people for all different reasons.  Maybe I'm in your life for a reason.  Maybe you stumbled across my blog through a random search or a link that was attached to a link's link-link.  At any rate, we all have things to learn.  We all have things to bring to relationships.  We all have things to take.  I'd be most happy if you made a CHOICE to visit this blog.  If, however, my language is to coarse or topics too rocky, it's also your CHOICE to not read. 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Full Story . . .

One of my kiddos was really struggling at school there for a while.  The whole situation was very touch and go.  Very fragile.  The situation.   There were hurt feelings  . . . lots of them.  There were tears . . . lots of them. 

A sit down meeting with kids and parents and everyone involved really proved to be the best thing.  Lots of things got clarified.  Fences are certainly not mended and I don't think these two kids will EVER be best friends, but intentions are clear and mutually positive.  They've agreed to disagree. 

I'm so proud of my kid.   She did a stand up job, even when she was really hurt.  And hurting.  And angry.  She was well spoken and a really great example. 

And she came away with a really important lesson . . . . get the full story.  Really, really try to understand both points of view.  Give it your best shot.  I think she understands that most times, friends don't mean to be hurtful . . . it's anger speaking or some other unidentified emotion.  

Still, I think her situation is a good reminder to all of us.  Get the full story.  Someone might be labeled incorrectly.  Someone might have been judged on unfair grounds. 

This story strikes close to home becasue it was right here in my neighborhood.   New neighbors moved in.  A lovely man.  Very old.  With a cane and his very old, lavendar haired wife of 40 years.  They keep to themselves.  Grandkids come and go.  They are quiet and polite and peaceful.  Some time after they moved in, a rumor surfaced that he was a registered sex offender.  And suddenly there was judgement and shame placed on them.  Only days before they were at a neighborhood barbeque and sharing stories.  Then, like a switch -- dead fish on the doorstep kind of treatment.   Turns out he was 18 when he fell in love and married the love of his life, his soul mate -- who was 16.  Her parents, who were upset and judged him baced on race and religion, filed statuatory rape paperwork.  And it's been following them around for 40 years.   How sad, huh? 

See, get the full story . . . .

Monday, December 06, 2010

Just Because . . . .

Kids rush into the kitchen, I say to Big, "you look so pretty today!"  Little says, "What about me?  What about me?  Do I look handsome today, too?"  Just because I offer a compliment to one doesn't mean the others aren't striking, too.

Dogs know that when you're on the toilet, sitting still and right at eye level, you'll pet their ears.  Just because one gets there first doesn't mean I won't pet them both.

I have new jeans.  When I put them on the first time, a reaction less than perfect crosses MOTH's face.  In honesty he says, "They could be better."  Just becasue they could be better doesn't mean they are terrible.

My correction:
I blogged a holiday post on Thanksgiving, (http://bonkdown.blogspot.com/2010/11/jiichan.html)  closing  it with "I'm thankful for MY side of the family . . ."  Make no mistake, I am very, very thankful for my side of the family.  They are my lifeline, my rocks and have provided me comforts and support beyond what words can describe.  Just because I offer holiday thanks to my side of the family does not mean I'm unthankful to the other side of the family.  I am thankful.  Very thankful, for they have created and given me the man that I love and the children that are my reason for life.   Any affected reader should know that no harm was meant and this author apologizes deeply if words were taken out of context, capitals used incorrectly or any other possible combination of misinterpretations.   Please revisit the post and celebrate the reason.  My grandfather and his timeless contribution to chopping carrots . . . a precious memory from the center of my soul.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles, but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.



-- Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Three kisses when I wake; three candles on my cake . . .

Mimi's THREE!!  She had an absolutely glorious day on her birthday.  What a blessing she is to me and our family.  I'm telling birthday stories this year, and she's no exception.  I'll tell her story in another post.   But first, a recap of HER special day. 

She slept in.  She woke with songs and stories and extra snuggles and hugs.  She watched Dora cartoons first thing in the morning.   She even watched an EXTRA!!  After juice (she still says 'juicy' . . . and she always throws in "all the way to the top, and NO water!!") and a breakfast of choice (apple cinnamon french toast sticks with 'soo-up', she took a long Polly Pocket and bubble bath (with ME).  We played Polly dolphin trainers in the tub and stayed in until our toes were raisiny and our fingers were almost unrecognizable.  

We played the morning away:  hide and seek, chase, puzzles.  At around noon, she had a friend over.  Little Emma, family friend's youngest of six (see, another big family -- so they GET it), and only younger than Mimi by three months came over for playtime, lunch, play-doh & cupcakes.  They played so, so well together.  Not a single fuss . . . happy little girls pushing babies in strollers all afternoon.    They mixed the chocolate cake batter together.  They licked it together.  See chocolate batter face below from spoon licking escapades.  They talked about animal crackers and made an animal cracker parade around the kitchen island while the cupcakes baked. 



There was no party yesterday.  She's horribly embarrassed by singing.  When singing 'happy birthday' she hides under the nearest table and  keeps saying, "stop saying that" until the song is over.  She's painful shy and we find it adorable.  Here's the thing . . .  sometimes when little kid's birthdays fall during the week, they don't have a party ON their birthday.  It's later in the week, on the weekend, or maybe even the next month.  (I'm justifying my own reasoning, I think.)  Plus, here's our schedule:

Big, Middle and Little arrive home at 3 pm.
Also at 3 pm, best friend Emma's mom picked her up.
At 3:30, Middle is out the door for gymnastics.  She doesn't get home until 7:15.
At 6:30, Big is out the door for volleyball.  She doesn't get hoome until 9:15.  

It's not fair, in my estimation  (a) to start a birthday party for a three year old at 9:30 at night . . . a full two hours past bedtime; OR (b) to have a birthday party without siblings.

From my maternal point of view, thirty minutes of birthday party is WORSE than no party at all.  Throwing a present on her lap because you should give her a gift is a different thing than watching her open and play with a present that she adores.  In any case, she opened three presents from our family before Middle departed.  She played with them long after Middle left and into the time after Big left.  That's what I'm talking about.  Grandpa dropped by with presents.  She loves, loves, loves the purple plasma car!!   She ate a great dinner, played some more, took a second Polly bath with Little and fell into bed absolutely exhausted just before 8 pm.  She fell asleep clutching her new brown baby and muttering about names for her.  In our nighttime conversation at bedtime, she said the best part of her day was "all of it" but also "getting flowers from daddy" and "cupcakes with Emma." 

Oh, oh!! How did I leave out the cake??  Great cake .  . . as requested by Mimi & hand crafted by Mommy.  Pictures coming soon :)



Flowers for the birthday girl is a daddy tradition that dates back to Big's first bithday . . . Mimi was just as excited to receive her 'daddy flowers'!!


And here she is . . . . birthday fun in full swing and looking very noble and proud!  She's giving a plasma car ride to her new baby as Moose looks on.  She loves to chase Moose on a plasma car!

Happy Birthday, Mimi!!!  We love you!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It was fun, but I'm a little disappointed.

Okay, marketing people.  Here's my comment.  Online shopping was fun on Black Friday.  Not bad, but you people need to sweeten the pot.  

I combed through  me emails for the best deals.  I ended up crossing some things off my list at http://www.littlemissmatched.com/   That was nice.  And free shipping.  Folks, if you can't offer free shipping then forget it.  You don't get my internet business.  The end.  It's a deal breaker for me.  

Aeropostle got me for just over $100.  I do love the idea of a web-buster.  And in our house, Aero hoodies are a highly coveted item.  A daughter between 8 and 11 is always searching around and muttering, "mom, have you seen my Aero hoodie?"   Adding two more to our collective wardrobe is smart mothering.  The end.  Even Mimi, especially when she's sick, asks for someones Aero sweatshirt.  They are perfect.  Regular price hovers around $44.50.  Black Friday price on some was as low as $15.  Cha-ching.  Wowza.  Aero t-shirts are a hit in my house, too.  So much of a hit that a 'regular' shirt doesn't feel right anymore.  My girls like t-shirts long and snug.  They were down to $7.  Yes ma'am.  I'll take two.  And . . . the highly coveted Aero bear.  Last year, we had our sights set on the Aero bear.  No such luck.  This year, online shopping for the Aero bear will draw at least one "ahh" from my moody pre-teen who is so, very hard to buy for.  Getting the Aero bear freezes her in time for one more year as a little kid who appreciates a goofy stuffed animal . . . because, honestly, it's not JUST a stuffed animal.  It's the Aero bear.

Land's End was a strikeout.  Zappos was a strikeout.  There was NOTHING on sale.  Seriously.  Nothing different from everyday pricing.  Kohl's . . .  is only offering 15% off.  What??  I can get that anyday.  And free shipping, but let's be honest.  Kohl's is a five minute drive from my house.  If I'm going to bear the horror of lines on Black Friday, I want a damn good deal.  Damn good.  Like, almost free.  My other favorite haunt, Sierra Trading Post . . . well, I still have that open in my browser.  We'll see.

Overall . . . I'm happy with my Aero bear and the necessities purchased, BUT, I'm still searching for couple of show stoppers. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jiichan

This is my jiichan.   Jiichan.  Japanese for grandfather.  My grandpa.  On my dad's side.  Some of earliest and most dear memories are of jiichan . . . times we spent together, things our family did that included him.   This was taken on Valentine's Day in 1974.  His 85th birthday.


He spent time at our house watching television and watching us kids play games.  He sat in a tattered old yellow chair and pretended to watch Lawrence Welk through glasses as thick as coke bottles.  He's the reason for my name.  I'm told that when I was born, my dad wanted to name me Debbie.  My mom wanted to name me Kristen or Cristen.  I came home unnamed and when jiichan came to visit, he said, in most broken Japanese, "what baby name?"   Dad said Debbie.  He gave out a har-humph.  Mom said Cristen.  He was Buddhist with a thick Japanese accent.  He sucked his breath in and said, "ah, no Crist-ians here."   They let my brother name me.

He made stuffing.  I remember him sitting at the kitchen table in a wheelchair, with a knife like a machete.  He'd sit there the night before Thanksgiving or the night before Christmas and chop.  He'd chop and chop and chop.  And when he was getting close to done, he'd chop some more.  He chopped carrots so tiny that they looked like nothing more than little orange flecks in the stuffing.  He chopped celery so fine that you didn't even know it was there.  The smell of red onion will forever remind me of jiichan chopping for stuffing.  He's stoicly sit there chopping, chopping, chopping, onion tears flowing down the deep wrinkles in his cheeks. He would sit at that kitchen table chopping like a mad man for upwards of two hours on holiday feast-eves.  (True:  I asked my mom today . . . how LONG did that take?)  His stuffing was known in our tiny little town, at least in the Buddhist community where we attended an annual holiday buffet.  It was massive . . . and the only place you could get turkey and dressing and at the next dish, sashimi & seaweed.    I've been thinking about jiichan today.  Started this morning when I was chopping.  What took him upwards of two hours, I busted out in about 4 minutes flat, courtesy of my fancy-schmancy pampered chef food chopper.  I love that thing.   I wonder how jiichan would like my food chopper.  I wonder what he'd think of the way we spend our holidays now.  I wonder what he'd think.  I wonder if he'd 'har-humph' my sausage & wild rice with pretzel stuffing that goes in the crock pot. 

Hmm.  I swear there are times that spirits of those past are hovering around.  Jiichan is chillin' in the kitchen with me today.  I thought of him when chopping.  I thought of him when my hand was up the business end of a cold dead bird at 7 am.  I thought of his stuffing today . . . I'm thankful that he paid me a visit today.   Sometimes, the holiday drama comes down so fiercly and with such force that it is hard to stop and be thankful.  I'm thankful for jiichan today.  I'm thankful for the humble and poor beginnings that have made me who I am today.  I guess today, on the day for all families, I'm thankful for MY side of the family . . . 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Save 10% on awesome socks -- even in the outlet section w/ promo code CBABL.  http://www.littlemissmatched.com/

One of my girls' favorite holiday "treats" . . . . socks from little miss matched --

Friday, November 19, 2010

Taste Bud Orgasm.

Holy cow.  I ate toast this morning for breakfast.   Bread.  In the morning.  Gasp.

It was perfectly toasted and absolutely delicious.  It was warm and soft and wonderful.  Does everyone feel that?  No wonder we are carb addicted and living in nation full of obesity and diabetes.  That toast was fabulous in the truest form of the word. 

It was a full hour ago and I'm still thinking of toast.  Dreaming of toast.  Pondering toast for lunch.  Wondering just how sinful toast would be for two meals today. 

Sheesh.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My very sad not-singer

Here she is -- look at those sad droopy brown eyes. Pitiful. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drama

Five weeks of drama came to a big, white pus-filled zit head today. 

It started weeks ago when Middle came home from school and said, "We have to do a musical.  All of the third graders have to sing."  Just getting the words out made elephant tears well up in her eyes.  Her chin started trembling and her head sagged on her shoulders.  It was sad.  We talked then, and kept talking. 

. . . . gotta get through it . . . part of your grade . . . . a requirement for everyone . . . . just a lousy hour . . . . over before you know it  . . . . picture them in their underwear . . . just sing mary had a little lamb . . .

When one cheerful day, Middle came home and said, "I can try out for a speaking part."  She was happy and I was happy.  And she did.  And she got it.  We raised our juice boxes and toasted a victory.  Speaking is good.  Singing is bad.  The MC doesn't sing.  Yippee skippy.

Until yesterday.  When she got her speaking part.  Okay, lousy.  First, Mr. Music Teacher -- you can't give kids a speaking role the DAY before the damn program.  Didn't your track coach ever yell at you . . . . "PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS PISS POOR PERFORMANCE!!!"   Middle came home crying, chin trembling, head sagging.  Speaking didn't prevent singing.  It's a double whammy.  She was assigned a speaking part AND had to sing.  Sucky.  The tears started rolling.  They rolled that night.  They rolled the next morning.  She cried her way out the door.  It was terrible.

Truth time:  Singing isn't fun for some kids.  It really is torturous, painful & embarrassing.  The whole idea makes them tremble inside, turns the guts to jelly and knots them up with anxiety.  It's not fun. 

Point to ponder:  How my little person (my Middle person) for the sake of blogger-dom, can get up on a four inch wide beam that's 48 inches off the ground in an itty tiny little leo and have the mental focus to stick her whole routine but can't put on jeans and a t-shirt and sing "super secretary" to a room full of dumpy parents is absolutely beyond me.  Absolutely.  Beyond. Me.

Today, I attended her daytime musical performance.  She did part of the speaking part.  She stood on the riser and moved her lips.  She looked pitiful, embarrassed and sad.   She cried on the way home because she had to do it again at night.  Sad.  Mimi made a sign that said "We heart you!"  and held it up from the back of the gym.  It made her smile.  A little bit.  Tonight, we went again.  She was saggy on the way.  She did her speaking part.  She mumbled into the microphone and rushed and tumbled over the words.  Then she stood on the riser looking terrified and making desperate attempts to hide behind the tall kids in front of her.  

But, (long exhale) -- it's over.  Done.  Finished.  Thank God. 

Sad, sad, picture coming soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, Monday (la, la, la-la-la . . . )

The conversation that prompted my Monday morning actually happened Sunday afternoon.  It went like this:

MOTH, "Hey, did you renew my plates?"
Me, "Huh?"
MOTH, "My license plates are expired.  Steve followed me home from the birthday party and pulled up behind me to ask me if I knew . . . they're expired."
Me, "I don't know . . . I'm sure if I got the postcard, I would have sent it."
MOTH, "They're expired."
Me, "Well, HOW expired?  There's a grace period . . . Can we talk about this when I get home so I don't crash on the way?"
MOTH, "August.  They're way expired."
Me, "Oh, Shit."

Did y'all know there's no online lookup or verification system?  That's kinda stinky when you're trying to fix something on Sunday night.

Monday morning dawns.  MOTH is stomping about in the morning fog.  Apparently, he hit his head on something in the closet, coulding find his black shirt, is worried about the damn license plates, thinks the furnace is broken because it's flashing some code that means we have a dirty light. (Sounds, kinky, but feels serious.)  He's got a snuffly nose, prepping for a long day and thinks my car needs two new snow tires.  Amazing the information that comes forth when one pushy wife corners one grouchy husband in the closet and hollers, "Spill it, damnit, I can't help you if you fail to communicate and give direction.  Use your words!"

Husband and 75% of children out the door at 7:50 meant I could settle in and get some things done.

By 8:30, I had . . . .
* left a message with the motor vehicle division
* scheduled a well-furnace visit for the 30th at 8 am
* prepped a bank deposit
* started a pile for errands today
* called some lady about a t-shirt that needs to be delivered to school
* gotten two estimates on tires for my car (He's right.  Though it pains me to slap tires on a lease with only 6 months to go til new-car-ville is mine all mine, those tread-bare fronts won't make it over the pass for ski season.  No way.  Costco wins, incidentally.  For price AND the friendly tire tech on the other end of the line.)
* called Jane . . . I'm coming by for the money you owe me
* called Wanda . . . I'm dropping this paperwork off on your doorstep
* phone calls for open house -- done -- left a bunch of messages, but, done for now

By 9:00, I had . . .
* heard back from motor vehicles.  One word:  whoops.  Another word:  wow, that's one hell of a late charge.  And finally:  I'll be there within an hour.
* fed Mimi
* fed myself
* dressed Mimi
* dressed myself
* topped off my stack of to-do errands . . . .
* heard back from one open house person . . . happy

By 10 . . .
* school the t-shirt fiasco -- done
* Wanda - done
* Jane - done
* DMV - waiting, waiting, waiting . . . being really thankful for lollipops stuffed in my trendy personalized bag, because of this equation:

DMV + MIMI + LINE OF ANGRY CUSTOMERS = NOT REALLY THAT FUN 

(I think my clerk actually laughed at me.  She said, "What happened? Did you not get a postcard?" 
I said, "I don't know . . . I screwed up." 
She said, "You're not gonna argue with me over late fees and try to wiggle out of paying this?" 
I said, "Would it help?" 
She said, "No." 
And we both kinda chuckled.   I offered her a lollipop.

By 11 . . . .
* bank - done
* ups store - done
* photocopies - done
* expressed shipped something important - done
* mailed a letter to Switzerland (poor Big's been hounding me for a week!!) - done (be watching, Swiss Miss)
* and a quick zip over to the grocery store . . .

By 12:15,
* home with a list of almost all scratch-offs, a tired Mimi, and a plan for dinners, not just for tonight, but the rest of the week.  Next, I'll pop over to ask.com and put this "How long should I bake a turkey leg?"

Whoop whoop.  Feeling pretty damn accomplished.  That was a full weeks' work done in 4 1/2 hours.  Go me. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You give them an inch . . . . they take a mile . . .

Snow, part 2.

It was snowing big fat fluffy flakes while we munched mummy calzones (no, it's not too late for holiday themed cooking.)  At Middle's request, we had an apple to the side.  "Why?"  I can practically hear you all asking.  Because somewhere along the lines of school aged tradition, my children have learned to do this the night before a potential snow day.

First, let's be realistic.  That amount of snow would NEVER amount to a snow day . . . but, long live tradition, so here we go.

Step one.  Remove all your clothes.
Step two.  Put them all back on, inside out and backwards.
Step three.  Find an apple.
Step four.  Divide and eat it among all school aged children present.
Step five.  Do a little dance, pray a little prayer and ceremoniously flush an apple seed down the toilet.

Done correctly, with a favorable forecast, and with the right planetary alignment . . . the above series of actions does result in snow days.  Happy, happy.

Fast forward to the next morning.  They were bundled.  Backpacks on.  Lunches packed.  Planners signed.  Winter hats on perched on noggins.  Gloves donned.  And then came these words, "Mom, we're HOT.   Can we go outside?"    And in the two minutes I turned my back . . . . in the two minutes of get ready to roll out the door . . . . in the two minutes of time they were 'cooling off' outside . . . .  




There were snow angels, snow balls, one giant dog chasing snow ammunition . . . . so much for the soft blanket of new fallen snow!  Departed also . . . dry children ready for a full day of learning --- apparently I traded them this morning for wet children with pink rosy cheeks from outside morning play in 20 degree weather.  Cheerful.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Come on Ski Season . . . .

I'm sure the novelty of snow will wear off sometime this winter.  I'm sure I'll curse stupid drivers, bald tires and cold hands on a frosty steering wheel at sometime this winter.  I'm sure I'll bitch about having to chisel dog crap out of an iceberg in the back yard.  I'm sure I will.  But for right now, tonight . . . watching the excitement in our house with the first snow fall, I'm not cursing it at all. 

I love it.  I love living in a place with all the seasons.  I love snow when it's snowing.  I love leaves when they are falling.  And I love them when they are sprouting, too. 

Snow started coming down and sticking when my calzones were coming out of the oven & it was getting dark.  Still . . . we went out to catch snowflakes on our tongues & twirl in the flakes.  The air was delicious.  Absolutely intoxicating.





Monday, November 08, 2010

As Seen On TV.

Who knows me?  Okay, maybe that was a trick question.  Who REALLY knows me?

The answer is . . .  few.  But if you answered a resounding "me!!" you'll know that I'm a complete jingle junkie.  I'm somewhat addicted to the "as seen on tv" row at Walgreens.  Cheap fun, I know.  

Tonight, I'm here with a consumer report.  Everyone rush right out and buy this:


It's serioulsy fabulous.  I've not found a better all around product since Boudreaux's Butt Paste landed in a baby basket in about 1999.  This stuff will smooth your dry parts  and heal your heels.  It's good on heels (obviously) but also a miracle working wonder cream on elbows, knees and the backs of Middle's achille's tendons.  It's heavenly on the back of hands and a dab on the cuticles lasts all afternoon long.  I love it.  It's good enough to have one in the kitchen and one on the nightstand.  In only a few applications, it has turned MOTH's fang-feet into baby-butt smooth toes.  It's changed cuddle time and pillow talk forever. 

Now, go.  Make a midnight run to Walgreens and get yourself some soft heels and healthy elbows.  Go.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Trick or Treat

Perfect pack of children, on our pumpkin packed front porch . . . Halloween 2010.

Cash Bonus Girl

The truth:  I despise Halloween.  I try to be a good sport because I get that the kids love it.  It's fun for them and I don't want to pee on anyone's personal parade.  But, there are lots and lots of things I (strong word) HATE about Halloween.  Candy is one.  Don't like having it around.  Money on costumes is another.  Hate spending money on costumes.   Out on a school night.  That's another.  Don't like that either.

This kid, this year . . . couldn't decide what she wanted to be.  She didn't see the point of costume purchase.  She doesn't like paint on her face.  She doesn't like masks.  She doesn't like dressing up and feeling out of place.  She put this costume together the day before Halloween, completely from things we own and have inside our house.   I gave her a $10 cash bonus.  And a new Halloween tradition is born.

Condiment, Anyone?

Big and her best buddy . . . as your friendly neighborhood Ketchup & Mustard Bottles.  Cute.

Oh-Bee-Won-Kuh-No-Bee

I secretly like to make this kid say, "Mo-oh-ommm".  He can drag it out to three really LONG syllables.  I keep telling him that Obe Wan Kenobi has a twin that wasn't Jedi material.  His name is Obe TWO Knobby Knees. 

Woof Woof

"Momma, I want to be a tiny puppy."
To this child, that doesn't have anything to do with wearing a costume.  It means she wants one of the big kids to put a leash around her waist.  She wants to crawl around on the floor, look up and bark.  Or maybe howl.   Still, we put her in "tiny puppy" gear and sent her out to trick or treat.  She was so confused.  No leash.  And she came home with a pillowcase full of candy.  Curious.

Cheese!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cherokee Legend - Youth's Rite of Passage

I"m not sure if there is any truth to this, but I love the story, from a parent perspective. 
Father and son journey into the forest.  The father blindfolds the son and leaves him alone. The young boy is required to sit on a stump the whole night.  He cannt remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.  Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.  He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because  each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of  noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blows the grass and earth, and shakes his stump, but he sits stoically,  never removing the blindfold. 
Finally, after a horrific night the sun apperas and he removes his blindfold.  It is then that he discovers his father sitting on a stump near him.  The father had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

This was just cool.

This was just cool.  Red ribbon week.  Blah, blah, it happens everywhere.  Don't do drugs. I like the campaign, but like many annual things, it's a tad dry, becomes mundane & predictable.  This year, one of our local mom's applied for special school privleges right around red ribbon week.  It allowed our school (which WAS chosen!!) to have the National Guard land a helicopter on the soccer field.  Out of the helicopeter jumps DEA agents.  Then, military dudes, DEA agents AND  Miss Colorado talked to the kids about living drug free and making healthy choices. (I know . . I'm still trying to figure out the pageant aspect, too . . but just go with me on this . . . . )  It was SO, SO, SO cool.  The boys loved the chopper.  The girls wanted a picture with a beauty queen.  I have to admit, I was a little verclempt.


  Middle and her girfriends doing the beauty queen wave.

Also very cool . . . . one of the dads "on the job" that talked to our kids also is one of the WatchDOGS dads that volunteers at the school.  Fabulous man that he is, he wore his WatchDOGS shirt, too.  It was awesome!  And the post picture does include Mimi snuggled into MOTH.  Like her puppy hat and muk-luks?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Laughing, laughing.

I opted for a DVD home workout yesterday becasue I had the sprinkler blowout company scheduled at the same time (and only time) that I could have gotten to the gym.  

I'm busting though it.  Mimi is jumping on the couch behind me.  Moose is so much in the way, I can't even really get into a plank position, and every time I do, he puts his nose in my ear.  From the couch comes, "come on Momma . . . push it . . . . you've gotta work hard."

And so I laid down on the floor with Moose and laughed.  Her tone and inflection are just like Jillian's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Hats We Wear . . .

It's sort of an ongoing marvel in my mind this week . . . the hats we wear.  I'm turning in my mind over and over and over and over this phenomenon.  In one compartment of your life, things are green and flowery and perfect.  There's acceptance and good communication and no judgement.  And then in the same day, maybe the same hour, different compartment, there's exclusion and judgement and the springy, warm, flowery feelings are suddenly devalued and crap.  Amazing.

Autumn is an annual introspective time for me.  Always has been, probably always will be.  I'm busy thinking today about the people around me.  I'm going out to have some face to face time with people that matter. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When the Queen
is Happy there is
Peace in the Kindom.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Parks

Parks.  I love parks.  I love finding parks.  I love playing in parks.  I love taking my kids to parks.  I believe in parks . . . well, and outside time (which being at a park fulfills).   

I'm starting a new tag for park posts . . . mostly because my offspring LOVE to look back through park pictures.  There are such fond memories attached to park outings.  What's NOT to love to relive??

Here's two weekends ago.  I loaded all the munchins & biked to this one.  We packed a picnic & were the only ones in the park for a long, long time . . . .

This monkey can CLIMB!!

Monkey in a cage!!


Oh, Man!! She looks so, so, so rotten!!

I pink-puffy heart these guys!!