Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Ushering a brand-spanking new year is so fun. A colossal do-over just in case you blew it last year. Please be safe everyone. We are off to be festive. "See" ya next year!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Signs

Okay, astrological signs always make me laugh...sometimes at how true they ring-to anyone. But more often I laugh at how far off they are.

Today I got these descriptions in a forward. Those of you that know Erik and me will really appreciate this. I'll include them all so you can laugh at yours too!!

CAPRICORN - The Go-Getter (Dec 22 - Jan 19) Patient and wise. Practical and rigid. Ambitious. Tends to be Good-looking. Humorous and funny. Can be a bit shy and reserved. Often pessimistic. Capricorns tend to act before they think and can be unfriendly at times. Hold grudges. Like competition.

(This is mine.)AQUARIUS - The Sweetheart (Jan 20 - Feb 18) Optimistic and honest. Sweet personality. Very independent. Inventive and intelligent. Friendly and loyal. Can seem unemotional(anyone ever thought that about me??). Can be a bit rebellious. Very stubborn, but original and unique.Attractive on the inside and out. Eccentric personality.

PISCES - The Dreamer (Feb 19 - Mar 20) Generous, kind, and thoughtful. Very creative and imaginative. May become secretive and vague. Sensitive. Doesn't like details. Dreamy and unrealistic. Sympathetic and loving. Kind. Unselfish. Good kisser. Beautiful.

ARIES - The Daredevil (Mar 21- April 19)Energetic. Adventurous and spontaneous. Confident and enthusiastic. Fun.Loves a challenge. EXTREMELY impatient. Sometimes selfish. Short fuse. (Easily angered.) Lively, passionate, and sharp wit. Outgoing. Lose interest quickly -easily bored. Egotistical. Courageous and assertive. Tends to be physical and athletic.

TAURUS - The Enduring One (April 20 -May 20) Charming but aggressive. Can come off as boring, but they are not. Hard workers. Warm-hearted. Strong, has endurance. Solid beings that are stable and secure in their ways. Not looking for shortcuts. Take pride in their beauty. Patient and reliable. Make great friends and give good advice. Loving and kind. Loves hard -passionate. Express themselves emotionally. Prone to ferocious temper-tantrums.Determined. Indulge themselves often. Very generous.

(This is Erik)(This is also Lilly and it fits her!)GEMINI - The Chatterbox (May 21 - June 20) Smart and witty. Outgoing, very chatty. Lively, energetic. Adaptable but needs to express themselves. Argumentative and outspoken. Likes change. Versatile. Busy, sometimes nervous and tense. Gossips.May seem superficial or inconsistent. Beautiful physically and mentally. (HAHAHAHAAAA- THIS IS SOOOOOOO NOT MY HUSBAND!!! Well, except for the beautiful physically and mentally.)

CANCER - The Protector (June 21 - July 22)Moody,emotional. May be shy. Very loving and caring. Pretty/handsome. Excellent partners for life. Protective. Inventive and imaginative. Cautious. Touchy-feely kind of person. Needs love from others. Easily hurt, but sympathetic.

(This is both Erika and Kayla-definitely full of themselves, heehee)LEO - The Boss (July 23 - Aug 22)Very organized. Need order in their lives - like being in control. Like boundaries. Tend to take over everything.Bossy. Like to help Others. Social and outgoing. Extroverted. Generous,warm-hearted. Sensitive. Creative energy. Full of themselves. Loving. Doing the right thing is important to Leos.

VIRGO - The Perfectionist (Aug 23 - Sept 22)Dominant in relationships.Conservative. Always wants the last word. Argumentative. Worries. Very smart.Dislikes noise and chaos. Eager. Hardworking. Loyal. Beautiful. Easy to talk to.Hard to please. Harsh. Practical and very fussy. Often shy. Pessimistic.

LIBRA - The Harmonizer (Sept 23 - Oct 22)Nice to everyone they meet. Can't make up their mind. Have own unique appeal. Creative,energetic, and very social. Hates to be alone. Peaceful, generous. Very loving and beautiful. Flirtatious. Give in too easily. Procrastinators. Very gullible.

SCORPIO - The Intense One (Oct 23 - Nov 21)Very energetic. Intelligent. Can be jealous and/or possessive. Hardworking. Great kisser.Can become obsessive or secretive. Holds grudges. Attractive. Determined. Loves being in long Relationships. Talkative. Romantic. Can be self-centered at times.Passionate and Emotional.

SAGITTARIUS -The Happy-Go-Lucky One (Nov 22 - Dec 21)Good-natured optimist. Doesn't want to grow up (Peter Pan Syndrome). Indulges self. Boastful. Likes luxuries and gambling.Social and outgoing. Doesn't like responsibilities. Often fantasizes. Impatient. Fun to be around. Having lots of friends. Flirtatious. Doesn't like rules. Sometimes hypocritical. Dislikes being confined - tight spaces or even tight clothes.. Doesn't like being doubted. Beautiful inside and out.

Customer Service

I'll admit it, I am hardened when it comes to customer service. I am already prepared for the worst case scenario before it ever starts. The work ethic in America has reached an all-time low. However, sometimes I am so delightfully surprised by wonderful customer service and it gives me a glimmer of hope. I will first share my wonderful experiences and then two jaw-dropping examples that back up my low expectations.

  • We refinanced our house recently. I know we shouldn't have because as we all know the market is in terrible shape and banks have no money to lend. Yet, refinance we did because hubby went to Quicken loans and got a 15 year fixed loan at 4.99%. WOW!! AND IT WAS SOOOOOOOO easy. They have local people to do the appraisal, notarize the close, and their customer service was top-notch. Everything was done after hubby's work hours and I just smile everytime I think of how easy it all was. After all was said and done, we had a refund check which was overnighted to us via UPS(signature required for delivery).
  • This leads me to excellent customer service #2. UPS called me this morning at 8:30 AM with a recorded message to let me know it would be delivered later in the morning and to please call if I missed the delivery and needed to make other arrangements. WOW. My friendly UPS guy showed up about and hour and a half later and the transaction was complete. These two companies use technology to help them create services and then back it up with friendly REAL people. I love it.

Not the two jaw-dropping bad examples. Prepare yourself to be amazed at just how low the average places of business have sunk.
  • We got a Subway gift card for Christmas. Saturday, since I was still in the midst of feeling like crap, my wonderful hubby called to check and see if I had plans for supper. When I bristled (oh yes I did, bristled when he was being all considerate...I'm sorry again, honey!!), he simply stated that he would be glad to run by Subway and get some subs for supper. Then I was all sweet sweet...trying to make up for the bristle. So he did. Then he told me about the sub experience after he got home. One girl was alone working the after work rush which was crazy. He said she was a good worker who was doing her best to handle all of the people waiting in line as expediently as possible. Then, when it came time to pay, he handed her the gift card. "Those don't work. We can't accept them." WHAT!!??? Now my husband is far kinder than I. He simply pulled out some cash, paid and was on his way. BUT I AM LIVID. How does a company not take their gift cards?????????????? She said this had been a problem since before Christmas and it STILL wasn't fixed. I'll bet they didn't tell people that when they bought the cards. LIVID, LIVID. Now, as you digest that and maybe even make some excuses in your head for such a bad business practice-brace yourself.
  • Sam's club sells tires. The tire department closes at 7PM. We arrive last night at 6PM to find only one car ahead of us. YEAH. We made it and there won't be a time crunch for them. Win/Win, right? We purchase 2 tires and then head to the deli to eat pizza and then we shop while hubby listens for his name to be called. Around 7, hubby decides to walk back and check in with them because his name was never called. The garage bays are dark and all is locked up for the night, will never believe it....not in a million years....they couldn't possibly....yes, they did. Our van keys and paperwork are locked up in the tire center for the night. They just LEFT at CLOSING TIME. Erik then had to hunt down the Sam's manager who was mortified they had done such a thing. He went into the garage and looked around for a bit and finally found our keys and paperwork in a desk drawer-not even left out in plain view for him to find. Did they think we would just walk home and come back tomorrow???

I really feel like phone calls are in order to both places to address the lack of customer care involved. ESPECIALLY SAM'S. What would you do??

Monday, December 29, 2008

Almost Awesome!!

The girls and I are enjoying some time away from home a bit today. Always a nice thing. We took Toby to the vet earlier and he got his staples out. He is only going to lose a tiny bit of his paw pad and that is a miracle considering how severely injured it was. He is so good for the vet. I realize just what a good dog he is every time we go for a dressing change. He doesn't lose his cool a bit and he always seem glad to be there, like he knows it is a good place to be.

We had a great time last night at the NYEEEP at my church. My husband played his drums in the sanctuary of a Church of Christ. History in the making. In the past, it has been in the annex and it was also secular songs. Last night it was 2 Christian songs in the pulpit. (Of course, it was not during a church service-I don't think that would go over as well...heehee) The guys only had two practices and they were so great. I hope they can have other occasions to play together. Our whole family was very excited about it. The other talent acts were enjoyable as well. Our church is definitely not lacking in the talent department!!

I still haven't been to the grocery and I really don't have any desire to make that big haul. I'm crossing my fingers that Erik will want to make a family trip to Sam's and that will get us through for a while. I stocked up on pet food/supplies and then bought food and drink for last night. That was it. We do have plenty of bread, peanut butter and tuna fish. What else do you REALLY need?

We are taking the full holiday break that I swore we wouldn't. This does mean that our four day weeks are over. We have to make up for our Christmas break somehow. I don't wanna still be schooling in June!! We will start back next Monday when the kids are good and tired of their Christmas gifts and I miss school. HEEHEE. I actually miss it a little all ready. We have some cool new science kits to try out. I love science. And math. And grammar-even though you can't always tell it in these blog entries.

Have a great Monday!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pacing Myself

Since I don't feel 100% yet, I am still trying to stay rested. I did not go to church this morning because I just didn't wake up. Erik went on with the kids assuming I felt bad and soooo, I slept a long time. This works out good though, I hated to miss church but I have to grocery shop this afternoon and we have a NYEEEP at church. So, maybe I will feel like partying tonight.

I've given up the notion that I may be dying. I did quiz Erik and request he tell me how much he would miss me. I have also concluded it probably isn't a heart attack. I'm guessing it is either stress related or a possible problem with my gallbladder. I've done a bit of websearch and have decided something must be going on but don't know just what. I plan to see my family doc when she gets back to her office after the holidays.

For now, life goes on and I am off to the grocery. It is so hard to take a finger food to a NYEEEP when you don't have any food to make it with. ( :

Friday, December 26, 2008

Faking It

I still feel like crap. Woke up this morning and all the discomfort that has been settled in my tummy for three days has moved up into my shoulders and back. I am going to the doc on Monday if I am not feeling much better!!

So I got up early, walked around a bit, decided I needed a nap. I made up my bed and curled up like a pig in a blanket in my new cat throw on my made-up bed. After some not so good sleepy time, I decided to get up and martyr through the day. I took down the tree and all holiday decor. Kayla was kind enough to haul the tree to the bonfire pile for me. All ornaments are now boxed in their little boxes within the big box. Baby Jesus rested briefly in his manger while Lilly sang a few songs in his honor and then that was all put away. It looks like Christmas never happened. The floor is clean (no ornaments batted down by a cat) and most of the new things we got for Christmas are put away. Praise the Lord! A cool thing I have noticed, as my kids get older, presents get smaller. We have no huge boxes to break down into the trash.

Good news-I will finally have an MP3 player. Kayla got a new Zen 4G MP3, so I was blessed with a cool pink Limited Too one. It will have Meatloaf on it. Probably the whole album of Paradise by the Dashboard Light.

In true martyr fashion, I am taking the girls shopping. I'll just keep telling myself how good I feel and think of my nice clean house.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I have spent the last three days fighting some kind of intestinal funk. I have not been truly "sick", just really nauseous and preferring to eat very little, sit as still as possible, and take naps during all down time. The only exception was Christmas Eve night when, after a total POWER nap, I felt great and was able to eat in the manner of holiday consumption expected. I thought I was all better so I was quite surprised to wake up Christmas morn with sickness again. It has made the whole Christmas experience different to say the least. Our advent tradition wasn't. Our 13 year tradition of opening Baby Jesus first and gently placing Him in the manger did not happen. I witnessed gifts being opened and went back to bed hoping for a nap to cure me once again. My house is a wreck and I have done about all I feel like doing. The tree is totally coming down tonight or tomorrow. The cats and the dogs are driving me crazy with the ornaments. Since I have blown the rest of Advent, celebrating the 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany seems a bit wrong.

Thank you God for loving me even when I blow it!!

We have had a very good Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with our relatives. I love our families and our Christmas schedule. I also love that I was not the only one toughing it out through being a bit under the weather!!

Merry Christmas to all of you-I hope it was wonderful!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Housecleaning Day Is Declared

Today, I will first clean my own house and then help to clean another. Today and tomorrow are "breathers" before true holiday craziness commences. Gotta be ready and on my toes. Instead of not ready and on my buttocks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Festivities

I stayed up until 1:30 last night trying to master Aunt Peg's roll recipe. They are good but they don't compare to Aunt Peg's. Last night began our first family dinner of the season. We will stay busy through the holidays now and I will love every minute of it. Today we will be at my dad's house. I can't wait for my sister's banana pudding...mmmmm.

Toby is much better...slowly he heals, just like our checkbook. However, it was worth every penny if his paw makes it.

I hope you are surrounded with friends and family and making wonderful memories.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Christmas Visit

It finally happened. Random, out of the blue, completely unexpected and wonderful. My best friend from high school came to visit. We have seen each other one time since I got married. It was before children. Erik beat us both at Trivial Pursuit that visit which he loves to remind us of and did remind us of again. (Yes, we had conveniently forgotten.)

To say it was totally unexpected is a bit much, I suppose, since he emailed me some time ago expressing the possibility of such a visit. However, since he never got back to me on the details, I figured perhaps things had changed and it was no longer going to happen. BUT IT DID!! And it was wonderful. The best thing about a good seasoned friendship is that you just pick up where you left off. So we spent the evening enjoying a totally normal day supper, a wine I had never tried and fellowship with hubby and the kiddos. Then hubby went to band practice forcing the kids and I to "WOW" Jon with our game skilz.

I should also mention that Lilly is totally in love with Jon and might have suggested in a round about way the possibility of marrying him. He let her down easy though assuring her he was already sort of married. She seems to have recovered and is having another "best day ever".

I think my girls were a bit freaked out at the thought that their mom has a guy friend. Also, that the guy friend knew all about their Ninny and Pepaw Pete. AND that this guy friend knew their mom so well AND longer than they have known their mom. AND that this guy friend looked younger than their mom even though he is one year older.

We only had about 45 minutes of one on one catch-up time but I am thankful for it. Reconnecting with him sort of reconnects me to my past which is very interesting. I am thankful for the person I have become. I am thankful to have a happy home life, he remembers when I didn't. I am thankful for the person he has become-a gracious guest able to socialize with anyone. He can also build a pretty good candy cane reindeer. I wish he had a blog so I could read what he thought about such busy, loud, non-shy children!!

Thanks for the gift of time this Christmas, Jon. I know time is really hard to come by nowadays and I am much obliged.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Busy Brain

I have not blogged all day because my mind is in such a state of activity that I cannot narrow down to one thing. So I'm bloggin' bullet style!!
  • It is impossible to imagine what it must be like to lose a child. It feels very odd to try and comfort a mom who lost a child when all of yours are alive and well. It is almost impossible to see a tiny coffin with a baby in it and still be a comfort to someone else. It feels very reassuring to have someone hold you back tightly as you sob together-reassuring to know that you did ease/share the pain just a tiny bit.
  • It snowed last night and it was beautiful to watch it coming down before bed last night. Today, all the kids were up and begging to go outside and play. Soooooo, we took a snow day. We will not take a snow day tomorrow, but today it had to be done. Snow just doesn't come around very often and so every opportunity to enjoy it must be taken. They did not build a cute snowman like I thought they would. No, no. Instead they built forts and had snowball fights. So girly.
  • Toby is doing well. He is a working dog deep down in his brain so he is very driven to work through the pain. This is quite a pain in my rear as we have to make him come in after he goes out to relieve himself. The last two times he has gone out, he has had to be on a leash. He wants to scout the perimeter of our yard and patrol. His little stub print in the snow is so pitiful. He also prefers to poop in the woods out of our view. I ain't going to the woods and I wouldn't be out of view anyway, so he may be holding it a while. I hope he is healing well and his paw pad is saved.
  • I knew BLAGO was a crook from day one. He is so slick and he looks it. I wish he would just go ahead and resign already. It's over, Bud. You got your hand caught in the cookie jar. Step back and walk away. Give it a few years and then run for president with Carrol Hubbard as your VP. It can't get any worse.
  • Yes, I do want the big 3 to go under. I don't believe they really will-but I'd like them to have to figure out a new plan on their own. Perhaps they can find a way to get away from the UAW and then they can be solvent once again. I strongly believe this is ALL ABOUT THE UAW. UAW, do you not realize if they go under you will not have a job alternative??? Can you say concessions? You are killing an industry single-handedly. Unions used to keep their workers safe and force management to pay a fair wage. Now, alot of unions abuse their union rights and cripple the companies they work for. AND, they financially support SLIMOS like Blago.
  • My husband is a union worker, but the NALC is a very responsible union. Both sides really do give and take. They make very reasonable demands. Because of this level-headedness, respect for their employer, and pride in their job performance, they are one of the strongest and best unions in America.
  • I did decide to do Christmas cards. They are mostly ready to mail. Walgreen's photo service is just awesome. I made a really cool 3 photo collage by uploading some digital pics and then picked them up a few hours later. It was so stinking easy and also fun. I will do more uploads and pick-ups in the future. Photo collages are awesome!!
  • Hula-Our group wimped out and decided not to collect canned goods. When the city schools were closed tomorrow and hubby slid on his way home I decided it just wasn't a good idea.

There is still so much more stuff jostling around in my brain, but at least a few things have escaped.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Accentuate The Positive

Despite these horrible things:
  • The death of a baby in our homeschool community. A baby I held for about an hour just a few days ago so his mom could work on gingerbread houses with her other children. Vincent was a baby that was so sweet and cuddly and giggly, I didn't want to give him back.
  • My dog, Toby, ran out in front of our van this morning-his paw was run over by our tire. The biggest paw pad was ripped off almost completely. Blood was everywhere and I missed both church and care group getting him stabilized, settled and then cleaning up the mess. I spent a very tearful and prayerful morning thinking about Vincent and nursing Toby.

I have had these wonderful blessings:

  • Many church friends & friends who are ministering to Vincent's family. I have no doubt the entire community is praying for this family and serving them diligently.
  • One of my friends was kind enough to take Lilly to her rehearsal before her concert today so Toby would be alone as little as possible.
  • Our care group friends missed us and check on us to see if they could help. We love you!!
  • A delightful choral performance and the sheer joy of watching my daughter (and the other children!)sing her heart out. It was a much needed distraction!
  • A friend has her vet on speed dial and she was able to care for Toby this afternoon after we got home from the concert. I served as the vet assistant. He has over 20 stitches and 16 staples. It is gonna be a tough recovery but it could have been so much worse. The vet is the most wonderful gal ever. It is a decision that will cripple us a bit financially-but we, like Toby, will walk better eventually. After seeing first hand the extent of the wound and the treatment needed, I think he would have lost his paw without the vet visit.
  • Youth ministers who allow my girls to come a little early. I love you, Darlings!!
  • Youth ministers who teach me while teaching the kids to count my blessings even on a really bad day.
  • Steph S. does still read my blog and she is gonna call!!

All those blessings made up for the fact that I dropped my wedding ring down the bathroom drain and hubby had to take the sink apart to retrieve it. I love you, Husband!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Still Sassy!

Well, the hair is still red, but it is a much nicer and darker shade. I won't be startled when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My girls are no longer calling me "purple hair". In fact, they keep looking at it and telling me they like it. I had to be out and about this evening and I got a few compliments. I won't know how it really looks until my sister Linda sees it. She is brutally honest, like me. It is refreshing though, knowing that someone will tell you the truth whether you like it or not. She is also willing to jerk a knot in my tail if I step on any toes. I never would have dreamed I would value the relationships I have with my sisters so much. I tell my children about it all the time. They will be even closer-I see glimpses of it already-in between the fights.

Well, it has been a busy day and tomorrow looks to be even busier so I shall be getting my rump off of this chair. Have a fabulous weekend.

PS- To my friend Steph S.-CALL ME!! I don't even know if you have time to call me between a new house and a baby that is probably starting to really get into things but I would love to hear from you!!!! There is a message from me on your cell phone!!

Dollar Store, Part Deux?

I walked into the bathroom this morning at the early hour my bladder wakes me up (then I march right back to bed and promptly go to sleep). I glanced in the mirror at myself and was promptly startled by the image staring back at me. I will be purchasing a nice brown color later today. ( ; Probably, I'll even be wearing a hat when I go to get it.

To quote Amy....**SHUDDER**

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top Ten List

The top ten reasons why today is really weird:

10. My husband went back to work today-first time in 4 weeks. Although I swore we were all ready to return to normal, I missed him like crazy and was lucky to be gone alot or it would have been worse.
9. I baked a turkey today. You know, to celebrate that day between Thanksgiving and Christmas?? Oh right, there really was no holiday, but hey, it was a good turkey. Yesterday we had baked ham.
8. My husband raved on and on about how great the mashed potatoes were-yummy and just right. They were instant and I always make REAL mashed potatoes.
7. I ran to the Dollar store to pick up some things we needed and spent a few cents shy of $75. Who does that??? At the Dollar Store??? I've looked over my receipt twice now and I just shake my head.
6. Lilly had a chorus concert today. Afterwards, we went and got pizza and donuts. During her concert we had bought a little castle and some ello pieces at a consignment store. Lilly kept saying over and over that it was the best day of her life. Oh wait, Lilly says that almost every day so I guess that isn't weird.
5. At the library, I read one of my daughter's books. Usually, I just do a spot check of a few pages. This usually gives me a good indication of the subject matter of the book.(She reads like me, there is no way I could read my books and hers!!) However, this book sort of sucked me in and I read it. It passed the spot check. I will probably review it soon!!
4. Toby attacked Daisy today over a bit of turkey skin/fat. He never treats her like that. I don't think she will try to steal his food again though. It wasn't a full fledged attacked-just a mean bark and some snarling, but STILL, she is his wife. GOSH!
3. My house has been clean for almost 4 days. This is sooooooo weird.
2. I bought hair color (see #7) that was supposed to dye my hair a soft reddish brown. I love red hair, but the girls have been teasing me relentlessly because THIS red seriously borders on purple. AND, I'm going to enjoy it. It will probably be the last time I ever dye my hair red and it makes me feel very festive and sassy.
1. MY MOM CAME TO VISIT ME TODAY. My mom, you know the one with the new prosthetic leg?? She came over to see my Christmas tree because she was "in the neighborhood". She has physical therapy just up the street. She is doing SOOOO much better than I ever thought possible. Life still isn't easy for her, but we are counting our blessings!!

I love weird days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Holiday Meme!

The Christmas Tree 2008!! We just got it today despite the fact that it was yucky and rainy. It was alot of fun to go and pick it out. The tree farm we used to visit is no more so the last two years we have bought from a local charity that uses the proceeds to help needy families. This year we got a free music CD with THE Christmas Song on it!!! YEAH!! Actually he let us have 2 CD's but the other one is a bit of a dud.

The girls mostly put the ornaments on and when they get tired of doing it, I fill in the gaps and TRY to keep each branch limited to one ornament. Erik watches from the couch. We listen to Christmas songs usually but tonight we listened to "Sounds of the 70's" and sang and danced instead. A sight to behold.

Between me picking/rearranging, the kids and the cats- it will be a different ornament arrangement every day.

Sorry I took so long Ami!!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper!! This year some homemade wrapping paper made out of newsprint. I do recycle the gift bags we are given though so that means a few of them are sprinkled in.
2. Real tree or Artificial?Real!!
3. When do you put up the tree? Today! No set date but it does have to be December.
4. When do you take the tree down? I always try to make it to Epiphany(Jan 6th), but I seldom can stand it that long.
5. Do you like eggnog?Is there rum in it? heehee. I'm more of a boiled custard girl.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Got a TV as a teen that started a lifelong addiction to sitcoms and late night TV.
7. Hardest person to buy for? All of the Dads on my list. I can't afford to buy them the things they REALLY want-and they would be offended if I could and did. Aren't Dads just impossible??!!
8. Easiest person to buy for? My kids, I know what they long for and it is fun to surprise them.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Absolutely. No Jesus in the manger yet. He is the first (and best)present we unwrap on Christmas morning.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I have ALWAYS mailed them but time, cost and the lazies are all working against that tradition this year!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A lovely pair of owl earrings I received as a small child. They were very large. My sisters and I talk about them very often. Wish I had kept them...a visual would send us into fits of laughter no doubt!!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Elf
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I used to shop all year but the last 3 or 4 I start about Nov 1 with a goal to be done before Black Friday.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh please, haven't we all??
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Food. HAM!!!
16. What decorations are on your tree? Tons of homemade ones-even some made by Erik and I. Lots of Hallmark ones as well. All in their little boxes with bubble wrap.

17. Favorite Christmas song? The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole-all other versions are no good, LOL
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?
We run all day to other houses-but it is all local family gatherings and I love it!! We trash the house Christmas morning, eat candy and junk for breakfast and then keep the roads hot.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes.
20. Angel on top of tree or star? Last year I splurged on a new finial and I love it!
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? PJ's Christmas eve and everything else is Christmas morn.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Not being rich enough to help all the needs I see. (That annoys me year-round though!)
23 What theme or color are you using when you decorate? Ecclectic baby!! Just like every other area of my life!!
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Food? or Which family? heehee Again I say HAM!
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
The same thing I want and ask for every year for my birthday, Christmas and Mother's Day-children that not only do not fight but are nice to each other. (I never get it, by the way!!)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Since I spent yesterday bellyaching, I will spend today being humbled and grateful. I am grateful for people who buck the American way of selfishness and reach out to help others. I cannot wait for the day when my personal family has more than enough and is able to bless others in the way that is mentored to us at our church.

I can't think of a time when our body of believers heard of a hard luck case that didn't spur them into action. That is the way it should be. We don't need the government to take away our blessing of giving. We need them to focus on schools, roads, infrastructures and such. Let charity come from the people of America. The churches are in a unique position to know the needs and meet them. They also can usually spot a fraud and deal with it as people have been trying to scam them for years.

I am blessed today beyond my wildest imaginings by simply knowing someone else was blessed today. The Christmas spirit is alive and well even if the economy isn't.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Foyer Class

Sunday, I had the privilege to attend the foyer class at church. To be in this class one is required to be too late to go to a regular class and too early for church. I frequently attend this class. I wish I could blame my tardiness on my children...they are always first up and first dressed. We never have to wait on them to go anywhere. It is all me, I keep doing "one more thing" until there isn't time to fix my hair or put on make-up. So then I am five minutes late with very little make-up and the usual hair.

Anyway, back to the class topic, which was...the economy. Actually, since the foyer class is mostly men who are motorheads, the subject was mostly the auto industry. We all voted that we would rather every American get $100,000 than the big three get one red cent. I don't know of anyone who thinks bailing out the auto companies will be anything but a very short-term fix-at best. My heart goes out to Michigan. I have not only compassion for Michigan, but I also have relatives in Michigan that I love dearly, a lot of relatives. It is very depressing, the state of that state. However, this is nothing new to Michigan. The auto industry bailed on them a long time ago by shipping most of the work to other countries. Why should any of us want to help the auto industry when they have hurt our economy so much?? AND don't even get me started on how much I DESPISE the greed and corruption of the United Auto Workers. Job bank, my foot. That is the most despicable thing I have ever heard of. That is almost as bad as the stories my dad use to tell about how no one could start working until the guy whose job it was to start all the machinery got there. That is the union gone too far. (Unions were not the topic in the foyer class.)

Sorry, I digress. The bigger picture of our economy, in my humble opinion, is that we have all been living a lifestyle that we cannot afford. Now comes the time where we pay the piper. We have to now do without, scrimp and save and pay off debt. So many Americans live so far beyond their means that they will be paring way back. Is anyone really surprised that Americans will have to cut back??

Let's look at a typical family. The Joneses. (My info for these amounts are loosely from Wikipedia. While not the figure exactly, 52,000 is an easy number to figure with.)

The Joneses make $52,000 a year. This means $1000 per week which looks more like $760 after taxes and other nonsense. This means roughly $3040 per month of actual bring-home money. Their house payment is $1400. A car payment of $400 per month.(Most families have 2) Two credit card payments of $50 per card per month. (This is such a low credit card estimate for our fictitious family as most Americans have between $8-9000 in credit card yearly balances!) This is a family of four and they all HAVE to have a cell phone, let's be very modest and say they are only paying $100 per month for this.(unlimited texting is a must have!) That leaves a whopping $1040 for food(most Americans eat out AT LEAST twice a week), utilities, and any other incidentals. That is SOOOOOOOOOO NOT ENOUGH TO SUPPORT THIS FAMILY. And yet, I know way too many people swimming in this debt river. It is so hard to refuse easy credit and "stuff" I "deserve" for working so hard.

So eventually, the Joneses outspend what they can afford, Dad gets a pay cut, they need a new roof, someone gets really sick, they get sued OR all of those. Changes have to be made in lifestyle sooner or later. This generation wants it ALL now.

The Joneses are what is wrong with our economy. This just cannot continue. America cannot continue to spend more than it makes forever. The day of reckoning seems to be NOW.

Hubs and I are not debt free but we are working toward it. I should say we are limping toward it because we made alot of unwise decisions in the beginning of our adulthoods-both separately and as a couple. We have been swimming upriver-against the "lure of credit" for a long time. AND, we have very little extra at the end of any given month. We shudder to think what a $1400 house payment or two car payments would feel like. We live very frugally compared to most nowadays but very extravagantly compared to the way he and I grew up. You know, the good old days when easy credit did not exist. When buying a house or car meant saving up not borrowing.

Those were the good old days.

Ahhh, the foyer class is very thought provoking.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Book Review: In The Shadow of the Sun King

I was leery of this book because so many Christian authors just throw in a few Bible studies for the characters, a prayer or two, some references to God and call it Christian fiction. That just doesn't make for good reading as far as I am concerned. This book, however, shows the crisis of faith of the characters right along with the supernatural stengths that come only from God. I was sucked right into the story from page one.

Having recently read "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillippa Gregory, I was struck by some similarities. Both books deal with spoiled kings with a weakness for beautiful women. The historical accounts alone make them both worthwhile reading. I love books that make BORING history into a story about real people. I know that is what history really is, I just only had one teacher in school that taught it that way.

This book will leave you feeling satisfied with the way the problems of the characters are resolved. The situations and how they are faced speak volumes about what we can overcome with the help of faith, prayer and most importantly, God.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It's December!!

I can almost hear the sleigh bells ringing. Is it just me or have the days started flying by at warp speed since Dec. 1?

Things accomplished this week:
  • Very abbreviated school days!! But they still happened. 3R's are going right on schedule so if everything else falls apart at least we got that going on!!
  • Hubby to X-rays, doc, and released to drive-WAHOO!
  • Homeschool Mom group Christmas party
  • Orthodontist Consultation Appt. Much dismay in the land at the steep steep price of braces. Further dismay that all three will need them. Considering selling cars, house and pets. Decide to sell children instead eliminating the need to pay for said braces. (Only joking...go away pervs.)
  • Visit with my Dad.
  • Shakespeare play with children while hubby savored a day alone. Library after play and then a rushed and unexpected trip to the doc with my mom. Her blood levels very low. Me fears dialysis is in our future if a new drug they are trying doesn't work.
  • Juggle chorus carpool details from Dr office.
  • Build 3 gingerbread houses so children can decorate them with friends. Make frosting which doesn't work well and then watch children mooch icing from their friends that does work. Feel a bit inferior but make up for it by staying over cleaning.
  • Grocery shop with all the family. Pray prayers of goodwill for Sam's and their samples which held us over until our very late supper of mac and cheese.
  • Secured a "plan B" babysitter for hubby's postal Christmas party. Praise the Lord unplanned "plan B" worked out.
  • Wrapped more presents and got all gifts purchased and recorded in "little black book".
  • Purchased tickets for all of us and the grandparents for Lilly's chorus performance.
  • Thought about Christmas cards and how we are going to get our tree this year (Erik and his 30 lb weight limit-what does a tree weigh??). Cried a little. Studied our checkbook balance and cried a little.

Tis the season to be jolly, FaLaLaLaLa La La La La.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Narrowing Down....

I could blog about lucking up on free sodas. Sodas that have been sprayed down with vinegar and washed thoroughly. Sodas that could be laced with roofies but seem to be just fine, unaltered and safe.
I could blog about this place and how much more fun it is with a friend and a goofy attitude. (and wipes, don't forget the wipes!!)
I could blog about the fact that I am done with Christmas shopping except for a few odds and ends.
I could blog about the fact that my homeschool mom's Christmas party is always fun and this year was no exception!!
I could blog about hubby's Dr. appt. today that will possibly release him to drive again. Oh yeah, maybe I should go on ahead and go get dressed for that appt. instead of blogging!!
Happy Dec. 2.