Monday, December 29, 2008

Who Knew I Loved Teenage Vampires?

There have been many things that have happened in the last few days that I would consider "blog-able moments," but alas each night when I sit down during my usual blogging time, I have forgotten what it is that I want to blog about, I am too lazy, or I am so far into this series that I can't put it down until it is done IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO.

Or all three simultaneously.

Actually, I could use those last two excuses as well to explain why my house still isn't all the way picked up from the Christmas explosion.

Seriously, I am actually getting a bit annoyed at that book series. It is sucking the life out of me. No matter how entertained I am by the books, I am still spending far too much time reading, thinking, and dreaming about the characters and the tangled lives they live than should be allowed.

I suppose if I completely ignored life all around me, as well as sleep, and just hunkered down I could have been done a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way for me, and also I chose to start the series at the busiest time of the year.

I will finish.

I won't start 2009 still in Forks.

With teenage vampires. (I am embarrassed even writing that.)

I cannot let that happen.

Until then, I do have one fun image to leave you with:

It's like we're the Cullens a warped and twisted way.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Aftermath

The day after Christmas is always a bit depressing. We do all still have the glow of the holiday still fresh on us, but reality starts to sink in. We have to go back to the real world. The world were you can't just eat Christmas cookies every night without noticing your waistband tightening. The world where there is no longer a buzz of excitement in the air as we anticipate the Big Day. The world that has school and work beckoning us back in a few short days. The world were children actually want to play with the toys they got and not just look at them in their packages. The world where these new toys must find a home.

Seriously, could toy packaging be anymore difficult? I mean what are they trying to accomplish with all the twist ties,wiring, hard plastic, rubber bands, and tape? What happened to the days of just opening a box and whatever was in it CAME OUT. That would be nice. I cringed each time one of the kids were ready to explore the next toy. I think by six this evening we were finally done opening toy packaging. I was literally on my last nerve, and I think a tear may have snuck out.

After all the toys have been successfully removed from their packaging, you really get an idea of how much "stuff" you really have. All that "stuff" needs a "home".

Well, we are out of "homes" in our home. I guess you could say, "There is no more room in the inn," if you wanted to keep things festive. The realization that we must get rid of stuff to make room for stuff always goes over so well with The Little Ones.

The Girl actually did pretty well with the concept this year. I told her that if she wanted something to come into her playroom, that something about the same size must come out.


I told her we would be giving the toys to The Goodwill, and she would not be playing with them anymore, so she needed to be wise about her decision. Like I said, she did pretty well. Until the Polly Pockets were removed from the toy room.

I had actually removed them over a year ago due to the fact that The Little Man was at the age where he was putting everything into his mouth, and Polly Pockets are basically made out of broken balloons. They were just a tad on the freaky side to me in this regard. Well, we found them again today. Since they hadn't been played with nor missed, I figured they would be easily placed into the "Going to the Goodwill" pile.


I have since convinced her that they are more at home there, and they are making room for some of our other, much more fun, stuff.

I don't even have to tell you, I am sure, that The Little Man didn't really appreciate the whole "One Out One In" concept. Nope. Didn't like it one bit. He has tried to convince me that giving up a small toy from a McDonald's Happy Meal is totally worthy of allowing him to keep an entire race track in it's place.


So, after Christmas we have in our home a small little battlefield full of twist ties, wire, tape that doesn't break no matter how far you stretch and pull it, hard plastic packaging that could literally cut your arm off if you are not careful, and two small children trying to decide what from their beloved collections of toys and stuffed animals they are and are not going to keep.

Thankfully, Christmas vacation is 2 weeks long.

We need this next week just to work through all of this.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Promise

As Christmas day comes closer and closer, things in my home are getting crazier and crazier. My kids are BOUNCING off the walls. Sugar is partly to blame, but mostly they are so excited for Christmas to be here they can hardly stand it. At least that's what I am going to blame it on for now. If we are still seeing some of this same behavior after Christmas? Heaven help us.

I try so hard not to squash their fun with reprimands, but it gets so nutty sometimes. I feel like such a Stick in the Mud/Grinch/Ba Humbug/Meanie always laying down the law, but at some point, it has to be done.

Then I feel guilty.

And I wonder, "Why can't I just have more patience? Maybe I need to have more empathy for the situation and give a little more grace."

And I pray for just those things: Patience, grace, empathy, compassion, love, kindness, peace, self-control.

And then I lose my cool. Again.

It's a vicious cycle, really. Over and over again. Many times I have wondered, "Are you even hearing me, Lord?" And really, how ridiculous is it that I get frustrated about wanting to be more patient, but am upset that it isn't happening NOW!

Over and over again, I keep thinking of a lesson that came from my last week of Bible study this year. I think it works in perfectly with my patience issue, and it ties in a bit of Christmas as well.

In Psalm 132, God makes a promise to His people. He promises them a King from the line of David. He also promises them, that if they keep His covenant and His decrees, that they will have the throne forever. The people did not keep up their end of the deal.

I love how Beth Moore puts it in her study on the Psalms of Accent:
"As the ancient people of God made their arduous journeys to Jerusalem after sin and and exile, they sang this song (Psalm 132) with hearts in their throats, fearing their disobedience had deferred their hope forever. Then when they least expected it, 'Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough-because there was no room for them at the inn. In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David' (Luke 2:4-11)"

It had been about 400 years since they had heard from the Lord. 400 years that they sat and thought about the promise made to them for a King. 400 years that they thought about their sin, and now hope deferred.

Talk about needing some patience!

Talk about feeling convicted about being frustrated after feeling like I haven't been answered quickly enough, or with the answer I wanted!

Not only did God answer their prayers, despite their disobedience, but He answered them abundantly. He answered them with His Son who was given to us as a Savior. His Son who will never leave the throne, and is the King of all kings. God, in His great mercy, kept His promise.

This Christmas as I celebrate with my family, I will remember too that I am celebrating a promise. A promise that was given and fulfilled. An abundant answer to prayer. It is a day to celebrate the birth of our King who is forever seated on His throne. A day to celebrate the birth of a tiny baby who came to Earth and changed eternity.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We Had To Do It Again...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

We had to Elf Ourselves again this year. We laughed our fool heads off last year, so it just made sense. This year we included the dog, even though her craziness is driving me mad, we still love her. I think she makes a great addition to the "team". I also love The Little Man's smile for this just fits, and it would be EXACTLY what he would look like if he were really doing this dance.

At any rate, maybe it will put a smile on your face. Especially if you decided to hit the malls or toy stores on this, the last shopping weekend before Christmas.

Not that I would know anything about that kind of madness...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One, Two TIE Your Shoe

The Girl learned how to tie her shoes tonight.

I was shocked.

I didn't teach her.

Neither did her dad.

Nor her teacher.

He did.

Learning to Dress Elmo was a gift to The Little Man when he turned one. Recently, the kids figured out how I had turned him off. Because listening to Elmo's sweet voice day and night eventually almost caused me to throw him through a window, I had decided it was time to turn him off.

Somehow he resurfaced a couple of days ago. Apparently, since then, the kids have figured out that stuffed animals that are supposed to talk, but aren't, just need to have their switch flipped in their back behind the Velcro.


Since The Girl only owns one pair of shoes that have shoelaces in them, I really haven't focused on teaching her how to tie her shoes. It really wasn't a battle I thought was worth the time at the moment seeing as how her current Velcro shoes and Crocs were serving her just fine.

Then, tonight, she bounded out of the playroom and dashed upstairs to her bedroom. Next thing I know she is down in the kitchen showing me how she taught herself how to tie her shoes. There she was, standing there with her one pair of shoes that have laces, both shoes with beautiful bows in them.

I am a little sad I didn't get to teach her this milestone. Sad that I didn't get to see her face the first time that the laces made a tight bow.

She's as proud as a peacock.

She should be, I guess. She used a doll to teach her how to tie her shoes.

I wish that they had a Table Manners Elmo. An Always Pick Up Your Socks Elmo would be nice too. I will be begging for them to make a Don't Sass Your Mother Elmo.

Alas, they are just dreams. Far fetched dreams.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

They're Bouncing Off the Walls

Just a few more Christmas pictures of the kids. I only wish that the reality of these pictures actually existed.

Not so much.

These shots were taken after HEAVY bribery. They look so serene. So well behaved. So not hopped up on holiday sugar...

The black and white version...

Hanging an ornament

We will need some sort of sugar detox after the holidays are over. I don't even want to think about what photo shoots will be like from here on out...LOTS of sugar.

I've shot myself in the foot.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Fan of Jack Frost, I Am Not

Um, -10 degrees? Excuse me? TEN BELOW! That, my friends, is INSANE! I guess it actually got to -18 earlier in the morning while we still slept. I totally thought about keeping The Girl home from school, but felt a titch irresponsible about that, and she would never allow for such a thing to occur. I'll have to remember that for when she's a teenager. No, we got bundled up and headed out for the day just like we do every Monday morning. It was just FREEZING that's all.

I'll admit it was pretty to see the world frozen. Since it was sunny out, everything sparkled like it had been covered with glitter. Add to that all the steam coming out of the smoke stacks of each of the homes, and it was a very wintry scene indeed. I tried my hardest not to be too irritated. Our dog definitely didn't help in that department. She doesn't know what to do with herself either in such cold weather. So she just did what she does best, drive me nuts.

All day long.

She has an issue with her water bowl. Well, actually she has many issues, but the water bowl is what the main issue was today. For some unknown reason, she cannot drink from her water bowl if it is inside the house. (Trust me this is only the tip of the ice burg. The dog has a serious case of the crazy's). Well, this weird thing happens to water when it is sitting outside and it's below zero for most of the day.

It freezes.

So, she begs to go outside because she is thirsty. I let her out. She stands and stares at her water bowl thinking, "Gee, now what am I going to do? My water seems to have frozen solid." I see her contemplating her options, and go quickly to fill up our water pitcher with warm water to fill up the bowl. While I am doing that, she goes down the stairs of the deck, and fills her belly up with snow. Then she decides it's way too cold to stay outside, and she wants in. RIGHT NOW PLEASE. No, no, she cannot drink the warm water from the bowl. She is way too cold now. "LET ME IN PLEASE!" she yelps and scratches. We let her in, the warm water freezes, we start all over again in about 7 minutes.


My heating bill is sky rocketing as we speak.

Tomorrow, I am totally calling her bluff. She is drinking water INSIDE whether her "craziness" can handle it or not.

And, also, I am adding this to her Christmas wish list.

PLEASE! I am begging someone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Hate Mailing Labels

Enough Said.

Seriously, I have had to re-do my mailing labels for our Christmas cards every year for the last three years. Apparently, we have been changing computers/upgrading software more than we change our underwear.

OK. We definitely change our underwear more often, but you get the point.

When you re-do your mailing labels this often, it kind of takes away from the ease it's supposed to give. One year I WILL be able to just go and print off my labels with ease. I might need to update a few addressees here and there, but that would be much easier than re-doing the entire list from scratch.

I thought about hand-writing our envelopes this year, but then I came to my senses. However, next year, if you get a Christmas card from me and it has been handwritten, just know that I have given up.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Cookie Caper

While The Girl and I ogled some yummy cakes online that we thought we might want to try out for her upcoming birthday, something sneaky was going on behind our backs.

My Little Man's love for all things sweet runs very deep. He was born a chocoholic and will do anything to get his hands on something sweet. I guess I had noticed that he had wandered away from us while we were perusing the cakes online, but I didn't give much thought as to what he was doing.

The Girl turned her head to talk to me and then stopped and hollered out, "UH-OH! BROTHER! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Of course I turned around to see what the problem was. I found our little Sugar Hound caught red-handed with a cookie we had set aside from earlier, and were saving for after dinner.

The cookie was less one bite.

But not less the saran wrap that was used to keep it fresh.

Apparently, looking through cakes online stirred up a fresh and uncontrollable urge to bite right into the forbidden cookie WITH THE SARAN WRAP STILL ON IT. He, of course, didn't ask permission, and he knew what he did was wrong instantly. The tears were flowing like a mighty river.

When I asked him what he was doing and why, he just said tearfully, "But Momma, I am just so HUNGRY!"

It was difficult to punish him. I mean, you could tell he knew what he did was wrong and that he was remorseful. I couldn't let it slide though because you know he would've tried it again, with a little less remorse in his heart.

It was also difficult because I was laughing.

Which is precisely why he went to time out. I needed some space to get out the giggles before I had to look him in the eye and discuss the situation.

The poor kid sobbed while in time out like I have not heard him sob in a long time.

I think it was safe to say he had some Godly sorrow over the incident.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Don't Think He's Wishing For Peace on Earth

I took the kids to Super T today to pick up some randomness. While we were there I thought we should take a look at the kids Christmas ornament selection. We had made some ornaments this year, but I also love to get the kids an ornament each year to kind of mark who they were that year. Surprisingly, Super T did have a an OK selection, and the perfect ornament for The Little Man this year.

He picked out a Star Wars ornament that had Darth Vader and Yoda dangling in a mobile type way. Each has a light saber, and as the ornament hangs they circle each other like they are dueling. The Little Man's face lit up when he saw it, and I knew instantly it would be his choice. The Girl picked out an ornament that wouldn't have been one that I would have chosen. It was a Disney Princess ornament. I guess I thought she was too old for that, but she loved it, and really it's her choice anyways.

As I walked down the aisle slowly towards the cash registers, I listened in on the kids conversation:

d: I just love my ornament. It is so beautiful. All of the princesses look so pretty in their Christmas dresses!
p: Ya, I love my ornament too.
d: Just look at them! They have their hair done all special, and some even have Christmas berries. It's so gorgeous. I love it! It's so Christmas-y
p: Ya, I love my ornament too. Just look at Darth Vader and Yoda. They look It is so cool and perfect and so fight-y. I love it. Fighting is perfect for Christmas.

I could barely contain myself.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Which I Reconsider my Brilliant Idea to Potty Train Without Underwear

Do you all remember all my potty training posts? Remember how we finally decided that in order to get The Little Man trained we would go sans pants or underwear until he finally got it? I thought it was such a brilliant idea. And it was. The Little Man picked up toilet training in about a weeks time. Just to make sure he didn't regress, and also because it was summer time, we allowed him to run around in the buff for about another month (or was summer time).

Apparently, this has created a "preference" for The Little Man. Which is to say, he doesn't like to wear underwear.

Or pants for that matter.

I thought when we first started school, in August, he was just kind of rebelling against the whole "End of Summer Freedom thing". Since it was still summer time, and he was wearing shorts to school, I let it slide a few times with forcing him wear underwear under his shorts. For the most part though, I was firm and told him he had to wear underwear to school. He obliged. Until we got home. Then it was off with the underwear. I kept thinking that when the weather got cooler, and he had to wear jeans, he'll want to wear underwear in order to, er, protect himself.

Surprisingly, notsomuch.

Right now, I have him convinced that he must wear underwear to school and church. After that it's all up in the air. Usually, upon coming home from somewhere that I insisted he wear underwear to, he will come inside and quickly take off his underwear stating that "I can't wear dese anymore. Dey are just too tight!" Despite the fact that he is walking around bow-legged and the previous comment, he is not wearing the wrong size underpants.

I am desperately seeking out boxer shorts that are size 3T...yes, I've seen the boxer briefs, and "Dos are too tight!"

This evening, while eating dinner, Hubby realized he was still in his pull-up from nap time (I am still not brave enough to put him in bed without a diaper despite not having an accident at nap time in months). He asked The Little Man if he would please change out of his diaper and then join us at the table. I guess we all thought that it didn't need to be said that he would then need to put on some sort of garment that covered the lower half of his body.

Since we were all enthralled with a movie that we were watching during dinner, no one really paid too much attention to The Little Man's return to the table. As he finished his dinner and got up from the table we realized that he was totally naked from the waist down.

Just eating dinner.

No pants.

No underwear.

Just eating his steak and potatoes.

I wish I could say I was shocked, and just beside myself. Instead I just laughed. The Little Man just looked around like, "What? What's so funny? Did I miss something?"

I guess we should talk a little bit about modesty, and keeping our private parts private.

I will have to wait until I am done cracking up.

Yes, that pun was totally intended.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Fun

Now that I am free to do what I want, I am having fun enjoying some of this:

I let the kids paint their own ornaments for the tree. I am one of those weird Moms that really loves hand made ornaments. Our house has a few trees which we decorate for Christmas. One tree in particular I love loading down with our mismatched and handmade ornaments. I even add Christmas school projects that may not necessarily be ornaments. I just balance those babies onto branches and display those sweet projects like the tree is some sort of cork board.

I love them all. I love going through them each year and remembering when they were made or where we were when we bought them. The hand prints bring tears to my eyes every time.

This sentimentality should be of no surprise to you at this point.

Here are the finished products:

Can you tell which set belongs to The Little Man?

He just wanted to be able to use every paint color option I put out there. Plus, with the type of grip he had on that brush, I should have known he was going more abstract and was going to shy away from the detail work.


He was darn proud.

The Girl was in love with hers too. I am not too sure why Frosty has a yellow bottom, but whatever. She just kept going on and on about how much time and effort she had put into hers. Since we had worked on them for about 20 minutes, I had to just lavish her in praise for her persevering effort.

Also, here is a little bit of Christmas cheer. It's organized chaos, at best, and it totally melted my heart yesterday.

Go Tell it on The Mountain never sounded so sweet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Returning From Captivity

So, I thought I was only half-joking in my last post when I said I felt like I was being held hostage. That is, until I was finished with the project that put me into captivity.

Last night as I put the finishing touches on said project, I felt such a sense of relief and freedom, that I realized I was in fact being held hostage by a silly project. How did I let that happen? What about all the good times I missed out on? Will I get those back? Will my family remember the old me? The me BEFORE "The Project" started? The one that actually did crack a smile, says more than just grumbles, and doesn't normally walk around with a stomp in my step?

Instead of trying to sift through all those questions, and wonder if they really will ever forgive me for the last WEEK AND A HALF, I decided I am going to just jump back into life with both feet. I have missed out in the joy decorating the house with Christmas trees, nativity scenes, and winter foliage of all sorts. Yesterday, I finished up the last bit of decorating and cleaning, and have loved every moment of my decorated home today, even as the snow fell.

Yup, happiness as snow fell. I think I officially used up all my grouchy, and can't even muster up any grumblings about the snow.

I might re-do our traditional Polar Express night. I was so tired from working that entire day, that I fought with myself for the full length of the movie to stay awake. I was nodding off to sleep at 6:45! I am sure I won't have to fight the kids too hard to have hot cocoa and watch a movie snuggled up in bed. They had a great time the first time around.

As I walked around the house picking up all the loose ends that had accumulated during my absence, I found this and smiled:

In case you aren't able to read either microscopically or through the inventive spelling, this is a list The Girl made for her and her brother. It is their Christmas wish list. On The Girl's side we have: a box of mints, Wowee Alive Cubs (the polar bear), and a picture of your (Santa's) reindeer. Her brother would like: Spike the Dinosaur, a Batman costume, and a toy car.

When she made it a few days ago, I looked it over and felt overwhelmed. I laughed on the outside, but cringed on the inside as I thought about how only few of those wishes would come true. I mean, how am I going to get a picture of Rudolph?

Today, I smiled. I looked carefully at the effort she put into the list. I thought about how thoughtful it was of her to ask her brother what he wanted too. I thought about how she loves the little things like mints, which when I asked her about why she wanted mints so bad she responded with, "I want my OWN box of mints to keep in my room so at nap time I can have one and eat it all up and stay nice and quiet."


There will be mints under the tree.

There have also been several readings of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas so far these last few days. Along with a fresh word I received at a recent Women's Christmas Event, I have been savoring the words at the end of the story when the Grinch realizes that Christmas hasn't come to a stop because he has taken all the stuff away.

"How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"... " 'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!' ".

Well, DUH.

Somehow, though, I needed that children's book and the Women's Christmas Event to remind me that instead of running around like crazy doing projects and keeping up with "traditions" that I needed to be mindful of the truth behind the traditions.

The Truth is what we celebrate.

I'm glad I got all of that out of my system early.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Know I Owe You Much More Than This...

I am busy. B-U-S-Y. BUSY! The Holiday hustle and bustle is upon us all right now, and it is totally kicking my rear. I hate that I am losing so terribly. After Christmas is over I will share with you all what has been holding me hostage for the past week.

I want my life back!

Anywho, I did want to share a conversation that I had with The Girl tonight as we decorated the Big Tree. I will NOT allow any projects from keeping me from documenting moments like these. Even if I am a hostage.

D: Mom, are you going to decorate our big tree tonight?
me: I hope so. It looks terrible right now all bare.
D: Tell me when you are going to put the ribbon on. I want to help.
me: I'll let you know.

(I will admit that I totally said that last thing to appease her. The tree is 9.5 feet tall, people. She is NOT going to be able to provide any assistance to me whatsoever.)

Later in the evening as I am killing myself trying to get the ribbon wrapped evenly around our beast of a tree:
d: Mom! I saw you are working on the ribbon. I want to help too!
me: Sweetie, this is pretty hard. I don't know if I'll need your help quite yet.
(The Girl goes away for a second and then returns)
d: Mom, just so you know, I went ahead and gave brother something to do. You know, to keep him busy while we work.

Um. Thanks.

She has such a sweet heart.

Now it's time for me to return to my bread and water.