Sunday, December 30, 2007

Journal Your Christmas day 25-27

I was very busy yesterday. I completed 3 layouts.

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

I also made up my end of year to do list, what needs backed up, what needs deleted and what needs printed. The what needs printed thing is a bit embarrassing. Today I finally ordered some of those photos that I uploaded to Wal Mart over Thanksgiving vacation. Just the ones from 2002-03. And I've resolved that I won't order 2004's until I have put all of these into their album with their dates & details written on the tabs provided. So I should be ordering 2004's sometime in late 2008... Fortunately as time goes by I take less photos, so I should reach parity about the time the boys start high school.

I'm going to make a softcover photo book of my JYC layouts. I'm going to use Viovio and get their 8.5x8.5 book. It will be less than $15 for 36 pages. Considering I pay $1 a page for each 8x8 I get printed, that's less than half the cost. The problem with doing it for all my pages is you are stuck with them bound that way. No switching stuff around between albums or adding stuff later. But for the JYC, it is perfect

Year End work

Back up my F drive

Back up my Documents

Delete kits owned more than 6 months & never used.

Burn .psp files to DVD

Burn 2007 photos to DVD

Sort through 2007 photos & choose those to print

Ditto 2007 layouts

Size & border JYC layouts for photo book

Uninstall all programs past their 30 day trial I have no intention of buying.

Defrag all drives

and the worst....

move music to F and redo everything in Zen.

Friday, December 28, 2007

back at it

I was given a nasty cold for Xmas. I had chills, aches & chest congestion all day Xmas day. I had chest & sinus congestions on the 26th and spend most of the 27th in bed with a hot water bottle due to stomach & intestinal issues. But today I am feeling much better and am getting caught up with some Journal Your Christmas prompts.

Day 23

Day 24

and Day 28

Before I get these all printed I'm going to have to go back through all of them & make sure they are numbered and that the numbers are correct. At least 3 that I know of are numbered wrong and 2-3 more have no numbers at all.

new to you video games

We got the kids a Playstation for Xmas.  The original Playstation - from 1999.  Last century's Playstation.  And we didn't actually 'get' it for them, unless you count 'digging it out of the storage closet where it has lain since 2003' as 'getting it'. 

Yep, parents of the year, that's us.

Ok,it wasn't an actual 'open on xmas' present. It was a 'hey look here's something to do over the weekend before xmas' thing. The boys love it. They play Jet Moto 3, Madden 2000, a Tiger Woods golf game & some racing game or other.  There are a couple first person shooter games as well but I got a bit huffy when DH played them in front of the boys.  Age inappropriate if ever there was such a thing. 

We decided to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have been given. We borrowed a Wii for a couple weeks in November. The boys loved the games. They are fascinated by video games. We cannot afford a Wii, assuming we could find one to buy and if we did buy the Wii we couldn't afford the games. We do own a working 8 year old gaming system & a stack of games.  The boys want to play games. They are not old enough to know the difference between a new Wii and an old Playstation or to prefer one over the other. Next time we won't be so lucky. Eventually we will have a Wii or whatever the hot new game system is. Right now we are taking advantage of their consumer innocence

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Journal Your Christmas layout

one of the many

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The gifts are all opened

Havoc got his shiny red tow truck & Mayhem is delighted with his new trains, but the surprising favorites, at least so far, are the games. Mayhem got Ants in the Pants and Hungry Hippos (and damn that game is noisy). Havoc got Chutes & Ladders and Let's Go Fishin'. We've played all those games several times so far already.  They haven't yet gotten into the card games or the Leapster games, but as they are off school for another week, this is fine by me.

They both got Transformers. This is such a boy toy. Mommy had to sit & read the instructions to open them from a vehicle to a robot & then couldn't get them back to the vehicle but Daddy just folded a few things an bingo! Transformers apparently come in different difficulty levels. We have the level just above the boys' actual ability apparently.

I got 2GB RAM for my laptop & a new Vera Bradley purse.  DH got a 6qt professional Kitchen Aid mixer & jumped up electronic kitchen scale.

We had the traditional Christmas chicken nachos for lunch & DH has take the boys to the park to ride bikes because it is 55 degrees and sunny out. I cleaned the living room. Later we will be having lamb roast & couscous & veggies, assuming this cold doesn't knock me on my ass again. The boys had us up at 6:50am. Gifts & breakfast were over by 8:30 and I was back in bed with chills & aches until 10:30. Mayhem has a runny nose & Havoc has a hacking cough. Why do we always get colds for christmas?

Monday, December 24, 2007


Your Holiday Stress Level Is Low

You take it easy over the holidays, and you only take on what you can handle.

You know the holidays are about celebrating and fun - not standing in line at the mall!

it is in the handwriting

What Your Handwriting Says About You

You are a fairly energetic person. You know how do pace yourself, and you deal well with stress.

You are somewhat outgoing, but you're not a natural extrovert. You think first before you act. You tend to be independent, rational, and logical.

You are balanced and grounded. You know how to get along well with others.

You need a bit of space in your life, but you're not a recluse. You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy, and you respect their privacy as well.

You are somewhat traditional, but you are also open to change. You listen to your head and your heart.

You are a decent communicator. You eventually get your point across, but sometimes you leave things a bit ambiguous.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - day 22


Journal Your Christmas - day 20


I had a hard time with this one

Journal Your Christmas - day 15


had to twist the prompt a bit to use it

Journal Your Christmas - day 4


never thought I would get this into a layout

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 19


Journal Your Christmas - Day 16


credits at my DST gallery

Friday, December 21, 2007

Naughty or Nice?

You Were Nice This Year

You Were 40% Naughty, 60% Nice

Okay, so you weren't *entirely* nice this year
But Santa doesn't expect a modern girl to be perfect
You were good enough - and you'll be rewarded for it

Had I been single the past year I would have been a lot naughtier according to this quiz. :)

Journal Your Christmas - Day 17

I'm getting this for my husband.

as usual, all credits can be found in my DST gallery

Journal Your Christmas - Day 18

I'm going to stop marking them belated. They are all belated at this point


This isn't our actual holiday meal, unless the local Cafe is having a Xmas day buffet. It is the meal I would like to serve if more than 2 adult and 2 very picky preschoolers were having dinner.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 9 belated

I'm working on day 17 now. I know how I want to do 16. I can't do 15 because we are going nowhere & no one is coming here. That just leaves 18, 19 & 20, and by the time I get 16 done, 21 & 22. I think I am just going to resign myself to being 4-5 days behind.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 14 belated

Here is the layout for this prompt. Loaded my Zen up with holiday music as well. :)
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Credits at my DST gallery

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Handing Out the Gifts

The prompt for the 13th is about passing out the gifts. How does it get done in your house? I can't see how I will turn this into a page so I'm just going to write it out.

The gifts a placed under the tree on Xmas Eve (usually as they wrapped, because we put that off until the last minute). On Xmas day, after I get some coffee, we all sit in a circle & I hand gifts out to everyone, assembling gift piles next to each person. If we are at my mom's house, then she hands out the gifts. This is because we don't put tags on the majority of our family gifts. We write a small initial in one of the corners & only the person that writes it is really certain where it is or what it is. Tags are for non-family gifts. Once all the gifts are handed out, then we take turns opening a gift at a time.  It is very important in this scenario that small children have the exact same number of gifts to open. They don't seem to notice that a package holds 2 toys instead of one or that a set has been divided into 2 packages. Its the number of packages to open that must be equal. The wrapping paper gets tossed into the center of the circle of people as we go. I like to take a picture of all the discarded wrappings. Stockings are opened last.

In other news, I have finished my mom's calendar gift and my dad's bookmarks. I've been trying to upload the templates for the bookmarks to but the wind is playing havoc with my internet connection. I've also figured out layout plans for Days 9, 14-16 of Journal Your Christmas but I have no idea when I'll get to them.  I'm having RAM issues again & PSP is running really slow or not really loading at all. I am getting 2GBs of RAM for Xmas & I'm not waiting until then to install it. It is going in as soon as it arrives.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 5 belated

We ended up buying a LEGO advent calendar. A friend gave us a chocolate filled one last Sunday but Monday morning Mayhem woke up at 5:30am, went in the living room, opened all the windows & ate all the chocolate in it. Howls of protest from Havoc when he discovered it. Mayhem cannot assemble the LEGO figures & knows it. He seems to understand that after lunch every day we open a new window & doesn't bother the box any other time. I think we may make this a regular feature.
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Credit can be found at my Digishoptalk gallery

PS thanks to my secret santa for the Christmas kit :)

Christmas movies

We start the holiday movie viewing season off early here. The day after Thanksgiving we watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We will watch that movie several dozen times before Xmas. We also watch The Grinch that Stole Christmas many times. Frosty gets an occasional airing but the boys don't seem to be that fond of it. My favorite of the animated ones is The Year without a Santa Claus. My favorite regular holiday movie is A Christmas Story. I can so see the boys asking for a BB gun for Christmas in a few years.

We have a couple boxed sets of the traditional kids movies, maybe 8 DVDs & a dozen shows all together. I have a hard time watching some of them. I used to love the Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long Eared Donkey when I was a kid but now they just seem so full of meanness. Sure everyone is redeemed at the end but I have to wonder really if they would even be made today. I have that problem with Rudolph too. Santa really is a callous old so & so at the beginning. It leaves me wondering if any physically handicapped child or even kids with big noses ever got xmas presents from him before Rudolph showed him the light (pun intended).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 10 belated

The journaling is about how I prefer gift bags to wrapping paper
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Credits can be found here at my DST gallery

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 12

The thing that seems to have changed the most over the years is the people. When I think about Xmas past I think first about who was there and then where we were.  What we actually did together is much vaguer in my memory.

When I was a little girl we would usual go to my paternal grandparents house on Xmas eve. I can't recall if we went before or after Mass or if we had dinner with them. I know we did sometimes. I remember my grandfather had many trains set up and running around the house for Xmas & we loved watching them.

Xmas morning it was the immediate family opening gifts & then we'd go to Mass if we hadn't gone the night before. After lunch we'd go to my uncle's house or my maternal grandparents' house or they would all come to us. It rotated around. My mom & her brother seemed to have some sort of game going between them involving giving each others' kids noisy toys.  It was one of the few times we got together with our cousins even though we all lived in the same town.

As we grew older, getting everyone together was more of a challenge. The last time I saw my cousins for a holiday was when I was 17. We continued to visit my grandparents on Xmas Eve until they passed away. My dad's parents divorced & Grandpa remarried a woman with grown children.  There were a few years when we went to their house & spent some time with this new family, but that ended when he passed away.

I married in 1993 and added another family to the holidays.  DH has 3 siblings with families of their own,so they usually all gathered together sometime between Thanksgiving & Xmas. We did spend one Xmas with his whole family.  I remember thinking they were very loud because there were so many of them. We've hardly seen any of them since his mother died in 2001, that would be the last Xmas we all spent together.

One year, soon after my brother married, my parents took all of us on a cruise for Xmas. There were years in there where we traveled to Wheeling to be with my parents & years where stayed at home or drove up to visit DH's mom.

So many people from Xmas past are gone now though death and lack of communication.  I miss them.

But new people have joined us. I have children now and so does my brother. Its harder to get together for the holidays now. We all live so far away from one another. Last year we were all together at my folks for Xmas before that my parents spent several years traveling back & forth between my house & my brother's, one year spending Xmas day with one family & the next year with the other one.

This year it is just us. My parents are in FL. My brother is in WV. My in laws are in Maryland. This year for the first time my family will be alone. It is very strange in some ways but I am looking forward to it in others. Just to be us every now & then is a nice change but it makes me wonder if my children will drift away from siblings & cousins as the years go by. We did and we didn't even have the excuse of distance. I hope not. I hope I change that & get back with the family we've lost touch with. I'm not sure how to fix it, but I am going to try.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 11

I got lucky today. I visited Traci Reed's Hawt Mama Team blog and found the perfect template for this topic. She is running a 12 Days of Christmas challenge until the 21st with great prizes.

credits can be found in my DST gallery

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How many days left?

I'm a little behind with this journal prompt because I have no idea what do with it.  We never really counted down the days until Xmas, except to say out loud there were this many days until Xmas. I have a vague memory of an advent calendar one year, maybe even 2 years. It was on the fridge and had perforated windows you had to be careful pulling open. There was a picture behind them & possibly some sort of treat. I'm hazy on that part. I remember feeling excited to open the windows & not liking taking turns with my brother.  I have no idea how old I was but I'm assuming somewhere between 5 and 10. I connect this memory with grade school, possibly CCD, which would make it 5 and 8.  It just wasn't something that caught on.

I'd like to do something like that now but I am not sure just what we would be counting down...Santa, Jesus's birth, the Solstice?

We could count the days until Santa I suppose, but I don't see many secular 'advent' calendars out there counting the days until Santa arrives.  I admit I haven't done much looking either.  Finding a Solstice calendar seems even more impossible. This leaves the traditional advent calendar. But why would we count down the days until the birth of someone else's God? Pagans are very inclusive in general and I could probably just stick an advent calendar on my wall & get on with it if it was just me & DH. But sooner or later Havoc & Mayhem are going to ask that question and I need an answer. We celebrate the spirit of giving and the interconnectedness of all things on December 25th.  Our dying & reborn god was born on the Solstice a few days earlier.

I suppose I could put together a Douglas Adams inspired countdown calendar with things like "Today a butterfly beat it's wings in China and the breeeze was felt here" or "It's Christmas Eve. Do you know where you towel is?" as the motivational quotes, mixed in with some general love your fellow humans, we are all connected, stuff.  That's not a bad idea actually...  next year I'll take a better look around at advent calendars & see what is out there.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 6

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Credits can be found here

There is country music on the radio; it must be snowing

We have 2 local radio stations.  One is a preprogrammed SAM station & cannot be relied on for school closings & traffic issues.It does announce closings in the morning, but does not announce early dismissals. It has no idea what the roads are like.  I like SAM. If I must listen to the radio I prefer SAM.  However, when there is snow on the ground I am forced by circumstances to listen to the other station.  It has actual live human beings in the DJ booth and they more or less keep on top of the traffic situation. They also announce all closings, dismissals & even tell you when these things are being considered.

But they play country music.  I really don't like country music.  All that depressing wailing about wasted lives & broken love affairs & how sad it is that daughters become women and date men who will want to have sex with them.  A real downer on an already gray day. 

Fortunately, if I am home, I can just check the school website from time to time & see if they have put up an announcement - no wailing guitars required.  If I am in the car though, I must listen to the country station.  I need to know about road conditions and I need to know if I have to cut my shopping short & go pick the boys up.

Yesterday it snowed about an inch. We don't get that much snow in the winter and we rarely see it before January so I knew the roads & the schools would be caught unprepared by this. Surprisingly there was no delay announced. I passed 2 accidents on my way south to school. No mention of them on the radio. I drop the kids off & head north to town to get new tires on my car (so it can pass inspection). In between the depressing songs about mamas & their babies growing up there is an announcement of an accident on one of the main roads in from the north of town. Later there is an announcement of a different one, also on a road coming from the north of town. Everyone drive slowly, only one lane is open on each of these roads. My husband calls me & says one of his employees, coming into town from the south, turned onto the northbound road I am on, just south of town and there was no traffic whatsoever on it. It appeared the road had been shut down somewhere further south on it.  As he says this I come upon 2 lanes of stalled traffic. Nothing is moving. Not a word about this on the radio.  I sit there for 15 minutes before enough other cars have decided to cross to the southbound side, drive back a couple miles and take a back road into town or just give up & go home. About the time I get to the turn the traffic starts moving on the northbound road and I decide to stick with it. Then the radio finally announces there is an accident on this road. A full 20 minutes after I heard about it and have sat at a stand still for 15. And it was not new news when I heard it.  No mention of the road being closed, of course it isn't any longer, so why would they? but still.  An announcement 20 minutes earlier would have removed at least some of the mile of traffic I had to sit in to get to the turn, not to mention the mile of back up that formed behind me.

Later the school called my cell to tell me they were closing 2 hours early before the radio announced it.

So I have to listen to music I hate on the off chance they will tell me something I don't want to hear. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white (and gold) Christmas

My fantasy Christmas decor is all rich white and gold with touches of red and heirloom glass ornaments, lots of candles and Father Chrismas. Call it a Victorian Velvet Christmas.  A 9 foot Douglas fir tree covered in red & gold ribbons with lots of handblown glass ornaments and real candles on it.  Fir swag draped on the walls, the banister, and the mantelpiece, wrapped with white lights and velvet bows.  Fir boughs on the mahogany table & sideboard in the dining room surrounding centerpieces of white & gold candles in glass lanterns.  Hand beaded velvet stockings hung by the fireplace, Father Christmas statues and pots of poinsettias thoughout the house witt more lighted fir & velvet swags all over the place.  Potpourri contaniers, golden tinsel, crystal snowflakes, candles and mistletoe scattered everywhere.

Now, I know people who know me in real life are thinking "I need to call Stacey & tell her her blog has been hacked by some Martha Stewart wannabee." But really, this is my fantasy Christmas look.  This is what I grew up with. Not so much the Festival of Lights itself (which started when I was 18) but the Mansion Museum.  We toured it every Christmas & I just loved the decor. So rich & cluttered and gloriously lit. That is what Christmas decor is supposed to look like to me. The ultimate decor that the romantic part of me just loves to look at and longs to be a part of.

But, I am at heart a practical person and that decor would never, ever work around me.

First there are the physical issues.  I don't have a fireplace or a dining room, let alone a mahogany dining table & sideboard.  My kitchen table sees far to much use to have any sort of table runner & centerpiece on it.  I do not have a second floor, so no banisters for fir swags with white lights. A 9 foot tree would be too tall for my living room & even if we removed a couple ceiling tiles to accommodate it, we'd still have to remove the sofa & chairs to make room for it.

Then there are the small boys who roam my house unrestrained, shouting and waving swords, oblivious to things like fir swags, candles, tinsel, potpourri contaniers, Christmas knick knacks and fragile glass ornaments.  None of these things would survive in my house more than a week.

There is also my husband, who really doesn't like that over cluttered look & who would constantly be moving things around so he can have some clear space to sit or put his feet.

Lastly there is me, with my allergies to dust, and oh yeah, pine. I cannot even imaging dusting all those things regularly. It must take days.

The ultimate problem with elaborate Christmas decor though is one of storage.  I can't help but look at photos of well decorated homes and wonder where they keep the stuff the rest of the year.  I assume they have large attics or basements, which I lack. I'd have to rent a POD or some other storage facility just to keep the decorations some place.

So while I fantasize about an elaborately decorated Victorian Velvet Christmas, I am quite happy with my 3 foot fiber optic tree, decorated with wooden family heirloom ornaments and my fake fir, prelit swag on the wood stove surround.  I like the single row of lights around the living room and the fake fir wreath I decorated with gold bows during one of my "Martha Moments". This year I bought a Father Christmas statue & found an out of reach place to put it. Its a look I can live with.

Without supervision

Mayhem spent most of yesterday morning with no direct supervision whatsoever.  I was in bed felled by a doctor given mix of percoset & lunesta and my husband was crashed out on the sofa due to lack of sleep. We had spent about 4 hours in the ER in the middle of the night. I woke up shortly after midnight screaming in pain as my entire torso had repeating muscle spasms. They turned out to be triggered by a rupturing ovarian cyst. They gave me a couple percosets for the pain of the cyst. I asked about the combination with lunesta, because I had taken some around 11pm. They said it would put me to sleep but that's all.  It made me incoherent and sleepy until 1pm.

DH took Havoc to school, leaving Mayhem in the nominal care of his nearly comatose mother. I remember at some point Mayhem coming in the bedroom and telling me he would get me my pants so I could get up & play with him.  I eventually had him bring me a book to read. It was one of those large print, 4 words per page kid books. I'd open my eyes to see the 4 words and be practically asleep by the time I read them. Then I would have to jerk myself awake, turn the page, glance and the next 4 words, and say them before I dropped off again.  DH came home, put on Chicken Run for Mayhem and fell asleep on the sofa.  Mayhem, to his credit, pretty much watched the movie and built a train track.  Oh, he went in the junk room and I heard him rummaging around the kitchen  & dragging things from the playroom into the living room, but he stayed out of trouble.

I dragged myself out of bed around 10:30, hoping that being vertical would help the grogginess (it didn't) to see DH out cold and Mayhem surrounded by track pieces, mega blocks, plastic bowls, trucks and trains, playing happily.  I got him a snack and staggered back to bed.  DH woke up an hour later to pick up Havoc and Mayhem joined me in the bedroom, where I groggily read him a couple more books.  I finally came out of my fog about 1pm, though I stayed in bed the rest of the day.

At dinner time Mayhem was playing in his seat and fell, smacking his head hard the bench. For a little bit there I thought we'd be making our second ER visit in 24 hours but once we were able to see his pupils were dilating & he agreed to take the Tylenol things got better.  He rattles around the house for 4 hours with no one watching & he is fine. However, once under direct observation by both parents for 5 minutes, he slips and cracks his head.  Unreal.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 3

I managed a layout for this one.

Credits can be found here

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 2

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credits can be found here

Manifesto Christmas 2007

I am doing Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas this year. I've decided to make it a mix of blog entries and scrap pages.  I know I will not scrap a page every day, so this seems best. I'll eventually just print the entries out on a background when I print the whole album.

I have been a practicing pagan since 1993 & stopped attending Catholic church in 1985. Christmas itself has not been a religious holiday for me in a long time, but I still celebrate the spirit of love, peace & giving on that day. Now that the boys are older I am struggling to work out just how this holiday and Yule work together in my life, so I can share that with them. I am hoping this project will help with that

The first thing is to do a manifesto. This is the one Shimelle gave us, with a few alterations.

I declare my intention to journal my Christmas. Writing something down every day. Creating a little bit whenever possible. Getting my stories documented for myself and my family.

I hope that by taking a little time each day to reflect, to write, t create, I will form my ideas of what this time of year really means to me, so I can pass it on to my children.  Family, friends and hot beverages will help.

I may share my work from time to time. I may remember just why I loved Christmas in the first place and that may be a very magical moment indeed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

He knows a great deal

for a 3 year old.

Me: We need to go to the post office and mail some packages
Him: Should I pack a snack?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Short term disappointment vs long term enjoyment

Last year at Xmas Havoc was disappointed in most of his gifts. The thing he really wanted was the last thing he opened & by the time he got to it he was feeling pretty unhappy. But he was ecstatic when he opened that gift. It's not like he rejected a large pile of gifts, he had 5. It's not that there was anything wrong with the gifts he had opened. They just were not the 'hot rod' he really really wanted and had asked for from Santa. By the time he had opened the other 4 gifts he was upset that he hadn't received the one thing he had asked for & wanted. I don't criticize him for this. I've felt the same myself.  The thing is.... in the long term, those other 4 gifts have seen far more use & provided far more enjoyment than the one he really really wanted. The hot rod was the toy of choice for 48 hours and was played with occasionally for a couple months after that.  It's been sitting untouched on the shelf since July.  The Leapster he was so disappointed in, gets played with weekly, sometimes even daily.  The Thomas train station is always out, the books & game are played with regularly.

I know my children. I can tell very well which toys are impulse wants and which toys are likely to see long term use.  They love radio controlled things, but they rarely play with them. They are too young to appreciate & enjoy the challenge & skill development aspect of them, so they get bored.  But they find them enormously appealing & desperately want them. I'm not going to spend $40-75 on a toy that will see very little use.

This wasn't really a problem until this year.  Last year was the first year any specific toy really stayed in his mind and it was only one $10 item. Even though I suspected the toy would not be a long term toy it was not big deal to get it.  This year the list is much longer.  I've been hearing about various remote control vehicles and race car crashing things non-stop since September.  These toys are single use items. There are no creative play aspects to them and I know the boys will quickly tire of them. I'm not getting them. I've been trying to prepare the boys for this all along. They know they are only getting 3 things. They accept that. Havoc seems to understand that if you are only getting 3 things and you are asking for 10, you won't be getting some of them, but I don't think he grasps the reality of that.  Mayhem parrots his brother & doesn't understand at all.  I've told Havoc flat out that he will not be getting any of those ride on battery powered Jeeps and things and he cries about it but I see no point in lying to him. 

I've already bought their presents. Each of them is getting something they asked for already and a couple things I know they will like & play with long term that they have not.

They are going to be some very sad little boys Xmas when,in the end, there is no Shake & Go Crashing Race track under the tree.  But I just don't have $60 to spend on a toy that will be a thrill for 3 days tops & then ignored because it does nothing but crash cars together (I don't have $60 period. It'd be the only thing one of them got.).  Even small boys get bored with that after awhile.  I know that. But man I feel bad for refusing to buy the one thing my kids really really want.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's good to be home

You know you have been stuck in a car with small children for too damn long when you and your spouse staring high fiving one another when you spot a McD's with a play area.  It took us 9 hours to get out of Florida, a trip that should only take 6. Traffic was moving at 20mph on I75 for nearly the whole time we were on it.  No reason for it. No construction, no accidents, no flat tire or cops having pulled someone over (why would they, we were 50mph under the speed limit). At one point I had to pull over so DH could hack his way into the underbrush & find a spot for Havoc to poop. I'd been hoping to reach an exit for 10 minutes by then & only gone a couple of miles. 

I seem to have a ton of laundry to do.  I'm not sure how that happened because I did laundry the day before we left. There should only be 4 sets of clothing & 2 of Pjs from that day waiting for us when we got home. I did laundry the night before we left FL as well. So there should be 2 days of clothing for 4 people from the drive home.  Yet somehow I have almost 4 loads of laundry to do.  WTF is up with that?  The house is also a mess. I'd accuse the cats of having a wild party while we were gone, but lacking opposable thumbs they can't open the door to let their friends in.  But there are a bunch of crumbs on my kitchen floor.  I know the toys are all over the house because of the boys. The first thing children must do upon returning home from a long vacation is reacquaint themselves with all their possessions. This means dragging everything off the shelves & out of the drawers,playing with an item intently for 5 minutes & then moving on to the next thing until every toy in the house is on the floor.

Friday, November 23, 2007

That is a lot of photos!

622 photos made the printing cut. Even with my parents' cable connection it took me almost an hour to upload them. I didn't go through all of them because I felt it more important to upload them while I had the faster connection. I can do some basic cropping online & that is all any of them really need. It'll be just over $76 to print them all and I only have 2 photo albums at the moment, so they will get printed in batches

I did very little black Friday digi shopping. I got a template set by Teresa fergusson, and kits by ScrapKitchen Designs and Fee Jardine at Sweet Shopp and some some overlays by Stacey J Stahl & Birgit Kerr from DSAG.

I did spend $140 at Amazon on assorted Christmas gifts & now only have to buy one game & something for DH & then I am done.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An active day

We started the morning off at 9am with what Mayhem calls a 'bike walk', where the kids ride their bikes and the adults walk along at some distance behind them.  My folks' community has all these walking/biking paths all over place, connected by humpback bridges. Havoc and cousin Mischief, rode their bikes, while Mayhem had his 3 wheeler and DH and went along. They can go fairly fast on the straightaways but they can't bike up or down the bridges so we can catch up with them at those points.  Mayhem discovered the thrill of a lifetime - riding his bike down the bridge. He lifts his feet and shout "Wooooo!" and flies down that hill. He keeps control of it the whole way & then does some gentle swerves to slow down. Impressive for a 3 year old going really really fast.  We went about a mile all told. Then we came home & everyone went in the pool.  Havoc stayed in the pool for about 2 hours or more.  Mayhem & Mischief were in and out. After lunch they were off for another bike walk, then back in the pool, then back on bikes (this time in the circle in front of the house, my folks live at the end of a cul de sac), then back in the pool until dinner. Their other lcousin, Giggles, is too little to bike so she only was in the pool.

Now they are all making sugar cookies with Aunty, while DH makes chocolate chip cookies. We will have cookies out the wazoo when they are all done.

Tomorrow we are going to the beach in the morning & then more biking and swimming

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I had no idea

I'd planned to spend part of my time here sorting through all my photos & pick out some to print. I have no printed photos. I haven't printed out a photo at all in the 21st century (professionally, I do print my own on my crappy printer for certain projects) . I thought I might end up with about 250 photos to print. But no. I selected almost that many just for the first 15 months of Havoc's life. And those are the ones I selected. I've easily got 5 times that many I'm not printing. I averaged about 125 for years 2004-2006. I have about 500 or so photos to print before I get to this year's, this will run me about $60-70 with shipping. I'm also going to need a few more photo albums. I have a couple nice ones that have a space on the side of sleeve to write information but they don't hold enough photos. I also don't recall where I bought them, World Market maybe.

I still have to go through & crops some & fix the eyes & lighting on others before they can be printed. There might be about 30 or so that need significant retouching. If they are just a tad dark or light I'm going to leave them be. I'm not running 500+ photos through Lightroom. I discovered that ACDSee will to batch resizing so once I have them cropped to right the proportions I can just tell it to make sure they are all 4x6 so they will print properly. I'm hoping to finish with this by Friday so I can upload to WalMart from here. My parents have cable internet.

I miss my dual screens. I am so not used to the limited screen of my laptop.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday & Saturday


9:15am - left with much wailing & whining & general grumpiness. This mental state would continue through the next 32 hours.

9:30am - stopped to mail a package, took 5 mintues

10:10am - realized plan to get oil change in C-ville was a forlorn hope. Why is everyone in C-ville getting their oil changed at 10am on a Friday morning? There was line of people waiting at Jiffy Lube.

11:45ish - got lost on a by pass & ended up 14 miles out of our way before realizing. According to the ladies at the Gas & Go, this is a common occurrence.

12:30pm - stop at McD's somewhere near the the North Carolina border.

1:30pm - cross into North Carolina

heavy traffic on I77. Mayhem naps for 2 hours.

3:45pm - stop at a Love's rest stop for juice, water, chips & a race around the area for the boys.  We may have been in South Carolina at this point but I can't be sure. South Carolina did not announce itself the way North Carolina and Georgia do.  We just suddenly realized at one point we were outside of Columbia and therefor must be in South Carolina

5:50pm - stop at Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. This was a very nice, quiet & understated Ruby Tuesday's, with low lighting & subdued coloring and soft chairs.  The one at home is bright & garish & full of sport memorabilia, though I hear they are redecorating & most of the sports stuff has gone to Glory Days.  I had a very good turkey & avocado burger, which is my favorite thing to order there.

6:50pm- back on the road

10:30pm - stop at a Holiday Inn near the Jacksonville airport.

Midnight - Mayhem still awake, Havoc tossing  & turning

5am - Mayhem restless.  I'd slept in small bits.

6:30am - both boys up.  DH & I lay in bed trying to sleep until 7am & then give up.

7:30am - breakfast at Waffle House, DH's favorite part of the journey.

8:30am - on I295

9:15am - on Rt301, stopped at the TA plaza for a half an hour trying to fix Havoc's glasses (we'd had them less than 36 hours & the were already bent beyond belief & one of the lenses fallen out). The a/c issue is becoming more noticeable. It is quite warm in the car.

11:10am - break at a rest stop on I75. 

1:15pm - gave up search for diner or Denny's and stopped at Applebee's. It was right next to a Tuffy's so we dropped the car off for an oil change while we ate. Mayhem so cranky & overtired the people in the booth behind us ask to be moved. I personally am so tired & worn I cannot summon the energy to be embarrassed by this but dearly wish to move with them. Learn that my car a/c has no freon & must have a leak because it was just refilled 2 months ago & something is going on with the steering column.  My car is due for inspection next month & will need new tires to pass. Guess what I am getting for Christmas?

3:00pm - back on the road, grumpier than ever knowing not only will I be spending an enormous sum in labor to fix the a/c, plus parts, but I will also be in Florida for a week with no a/c in my car.

5:30pm - arrive at Mom & Dad's

5:40pm - boys in the swimming pool.


Friday the boys watched Cars, Peter Pan, a Mickey Mouse video, Madagascar & a different Mickey Mouse video. Saturday they paid vague attention to Jungle Book, Ice Age and a collection of Backyardigan's episodes.

DH & I listened to the end of Five Little Pigs and all of A Bone of Contention, which turned out to be twice as long as I thought it was.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nothing to do but wait

and wonder...did I pack everything? What necessary & irreplaceable item have I forgotten to put in the suitcase? What am I suddenly going to remember in South Carolina?

I have lists of everything but the kids' toys and I'll have that once they pack them.  So far we have one giant suitcase, one overnight suitcase, one small dufflebag, 2 laptop cases, 2 sleeping bags, a soft sided cooler, a portable DVD player, a case of DVDs, 2 kiddy suitcases and a Wii. There will also be the winter coats we won't wear but feel obligated to bring with us in case it is really cold on our trip back (for the 5 second dash from car to restaurant or gas station bathroom).  I have my Zen loaded with about 14 audiobooks & am debating whether to bringmy crochet project along.  On the one hand 18 hours in a car with nothing to do is tedious. On the other hand there really is no room for a bag of yarn.

Havoc's glasses are in. We go pick them up after school, grab lunch with Daddy, come home, clean the house, select movies & toys for the trip, eat dinner, rush to the school for the thanksgiving play, get home around 9pm, pack up DH's clothes and go to bed. Tomorrow we leave as soon as we eat breakfast,  load the car, and round up the cats. A friend will be feeding them daily while we are gone so they have to stay in the house.  At some point I need a shower & the boys need baths.  Saturday night I can rest & then Sunday my brother's family arrives.  Busy, nosiy week ahead.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I hesitate to mention it but,

Mayhem has eaten 3 dinners in a row with a minimum of fuss. Not that they were fuss free or anything, but the fuss was more of a token fuss, a fuss because it is expected, not necessarily because he is actually upset.

Sunday he had taquitos, which were his choice & therefore limited his fussing subjects. He complained about the size of the pieces I had cut for him and there was some grumbling about whether there were too many or not enough pieces on the plate.  Then he ate them and asked for more.

Monday we had cream of veg soup - potato & spinach this time - plus a salad & bread. There was an immediate flurry of protest at this meal that ended with a request that I feed him the required one bite. He eventually ate all the soup, DH feeding him nearly all the bites. He ate the required one bite of lettuce and nibbled at the bread.

Tuesday was noodle casserole with cheese and salad. Basically homemade mac & cheese with some pureed carrot for color.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from Mayhem once he was dragged to the table.  He was persuaded to take the required one bite & he refused to eat more.  However, Daddy distracted him by talking about school, and another bite went in his mouth. Daddy and Havoc started singing the various letter songs that Mayhem is learning in school and in between songs Mayhem would eat another bite.  Eventually he finished the whole bowl.

Now I am in a bit of a quandary.  What should I serve for dinner tonight?  I'd planned on mock tandoori chicken because I need to use up the yogurt. But because Mayhem is eating I'm leaning toward pizza to be sure of keeping up the streak.  Perhaps instead of just baking the yogurt marinated strips plain I could bread them? But I have no bread crumbs.  I do have goldfish crackers though. Goldfish chicken strips!!!! A-ha!  We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I have scrappers shoulder

As a result of scrapping all weekend I have overextended some muscles in my right shoulder (my mouse arm).  I have a hard time staying properly seated when I am scrapping & end up hunched up with my mouse arm straight out & a bit to the right.  Apparently doing this continuously will pull those muscles. 

But I am about to take an enforced break from scrapping in a few days.  We'll be going on vacation and with 11 people in the house and a minimum of 5, maybe 6, laptops in use, I'll be lucky to find an out of the way outlet & bit of tabletop.  See, those other laptops are 'work' laptops and they take priority on electricity & work space.  My laptop is a 'play' laptop & is at the bottom of the power chain. Plus I really need my flatscreen monitor to scrap. I just can't work on my laptop monitor.  I've gotten a little to used to my dual monitor set up. 

So instead of scrapping I will be going through my photos.  My sons have been complaining they don't have a photo album to look through.  They have an album of printed digi pages & they like leafing through it, but they want just photos.  I haven't had a photo printed (other than by myself) since 2001.  We are 100% digi in this house, due to pure laziness on my part. I have blank albums that I have been intending for 2 years to get photos into. I just need to do. So that is my little project next week, to sort through 2002-2007's photos and choose the best of every month for printing.  My folks have cable internet so even with all the so-called 'work' being done (Yeah I can see over your shoulder little brother, I didn't realize you could sell furniture to you fellow WOW players) I ought to be able to upload everything to Shutterfly or Walmart easily.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How are my children still healthy

let alone alive?

I don't wipe every surface in my house down with Clorox.  I've never, not once, sanitized their toys.  We've had other children over to play and I've never even sprayed Lysol around the play area when they left.  There isn't a single bottle of Purell in the house.  Why hasn't CPS arrived yet?

The only thing, and I mean seriously, the ONLY THING, being marketed to me on TV currently is cleaning supplies.  No one is trying to sell me a mini van, (going by the soundtracks they are aiming toward moms 10 years younger than me) or investment advice (geared toward women with kids about to go to college), or even a burger.  Possibly they are trying to sell me Nutrisystem but that commercial featuring the woman who went from a size 8 to a size 2 just pisses me off (I've forced my body into unhealthy weight loss and so can you!), so it doesn't count.

Which leaves Clorox, and Lysol and the billions upon billions of germs that I am wantonly and neglectfully exposing my children to everyday through my thoughtlessly lax cleaning habits.  And Taco Bell who just now ran an ad with "I Melt for You" playing. I may just have to go buy something from Taco Bell in appreciation of their not attempting to frighten me with scare tactics.  And I don't even really like Taco Bell

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We've borrowed a Wii

A couple of DH's co-workers own Wiis.  They have an office 'Wii night' every few weeks. They hook it up to the overhead projector in the conference room and play it on a 6 foot screen.  The boxing game in the favorite. DH comes home exhausted after 2 hours of having his butt kicked.  One of them offered to lend DH his Wii so the boys and I could try it out.  He has had it for about a year. It doesn't get much use apparently. It was popular in the house for about a month, with every day play, then dropped to a couple of times a week and now is only a couple time a month if that. Apparently there are not that many games and they have a sort of sameness.  No first person shooter or World of Warcraft type games, which are the games they play the most. I'm sure all that stuff will be available by the time we can afford and find a Wii (probably a used 2 versions out Wii2.0 at the rate we are going, maybe as a high school grad present).  Meantime, we're enjoying borrowing it.  I like the bowling game. I'm as bad on Wii as I am in real life so I'd say the play is very realistic. I think I hurt my arm tossing the ball.  Havoc likes the tennis and cow rider game. Mayhem isn't really able to play anything but he has fun watching the graphics & making things happen.

While we are enjoying it, I think even if we could afford & find a Wii I wouldn't buy one. I'm fairly sure the same thing that happened with DH's co-worker would happen with us. We'd get 4-6 weeks of frequent use and then have a very expensive dust collector.  I wonder if any of his co-workers would let us borrow their XBOX 360?

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm not going to jinx myself

by mentioning how many toys we've had to return so far. We've been lucky.  My brother's family though has ended up returning about half their daughters' birthday presents.

Personally I'm kinda freaked out by the whole thing and am glad I'd already decided to go with books & games this year.  I'm not alone in this.  There are a whole bunch of people over at The Parent Bloggers Network sharing their thoughts & ideas about this as well.

Havoc is getting a new game for his Leapster, the movie Ratatouille, a game like High Ho Cherry-O or kiddy Uno, a giant puzzle by Melissa & Doug, and some books.

Mayhem is getting a new to him Imaginext pirate ship (Imaginext has not had any recalls), the Shrek 3 movie, a game to be determined. He wants Hungry Hungry Hippos, a set of Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles & some books.

Both will probably get a random wooden truck to be purchased at some point from the local co-op.

Both boys will get some Take Along Thomas stocking stuffers (also still blessedly recall free) and if I can find them some of the new Cars diecasts.

So obviously I am not banning all things Chinese made, but sticking with my usual shopping. We'd already decided to cut back on the toys this year so the recent recalls don't really affect my shopping

Check out the Consumer Union Advocacy site for updated information on toy recalls and ways you can help spread the "get the lead out" message this holiday season. Until we hit them in their pocketbook, big business has no vested interest in keeping our kids safe.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So, what will they eat?

It's not as if they don't eat anything but goldfish crackers & pizza. They do like a variety of foods, some of them are even nutrition & many are vitamin fortified.

Havoc will eat - whole grain bagels with honey, toast with butter or honey, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (on soft bread), Tyson chicken patties, Mrs Paul's fish sticks, taquitos, apples, bananas, oranges, watermelon, sometimes mango, dried apricots, any type of pasta in any sort of sauce (as long as it isn't chunky), pretzel, yogurt pretzels, yogurt, scrambled eggs, pizza (any sauce but only cheese, though sometimes pepperoni is ok), assorted cookies that are not solid chocolate (he's not fond of chocolate baked goods), hot dogs, meatloaf, tater tots, curly fries, tempura fried veggies (except broccoli), rice, tamako sushi, chicken noodle soup, vanilla ice cream, most breakfast cereals, pancakes and applesauce

Mayhem will eat - whole grain bagels with peanut butter, peanut butter sandwiches (on soft bread), Tyson chicken patties, Mrs Paul's fish sticks, taquitos, apples, grapes, dried pineapple, raisins, yogurt covered raisins, any type of pasta in any sort of sauce (as long as it isn't chunky), pretzel, yogurt pretzels, yogurt, pizza (any sauce but only cheese, but maybe artichokes or zucchini), assorted cookies, hot dog buns, hamburgers, meatloaf, tater tots, curly fries, tempura fried veggies (except broccoli), rice (only with spicy sauce), ice cream, most breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles with peanut butter and most hard cheeses.

They drink heavily watered down juice, often V-8 Fusion because it has veggies in it, and milk with breakfast.

Given the above lists, is it any real wonder that I put spinach in my meatloaf and purees in my pizza and pasta sauce? Or make pumpkin waffles and sweet potato pancakes, zucchini bread, banana muffins and carrot cake?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Did some scrapping

Finally! I have had a longish streak of non-scrapping but I've done 5 layouts in the last 3 days & I am working on a 6th.  Considering I did about 4 layouts in the past 6 weeks, that is pretty good.

Check out my gallery at Digi Shop Talk to see my latest stuff. 

I'm trying to get it all in now while I can.  Next Friday we leave for my folks place for a week.  My brother & his family will be there at the same time. 6 adults, 4 preschoolers and a preteen in a 3 bedroom 1800sq ft echo chamber of a house. My ears already ache from the thought of the noise. I'll survive it. I always do, but I do get a bit bitchy about 3 nights into it. I love seeing my family & I love that my kids get to spend so much time with their cousins. But I am an introvert among extroverts. My family is gregarious & social & always going someplace & doing something and I left home eagerly at 18 because I like sitting quietly & reading and I can't do that around my family. They are active, involved, chatty people & I can't even manage that as an online persona, you can imagine how I am in real life. 

I'm hoping to get to the beach this year. We missed it last year for some reason, just never made the time. The boys want to go. It looks like the waterpark will be open this time, they closed last year due to lack of lifeguards.  DS1 wants to play mini golf & that is my favorite thing to do on vacation.  I've got my list of 'books to buy' ready. I take one book with me and buy 3-5 while I am there.  When my brother & I had no kids we'd all go out to dinner nearly every night, but now, can you imagine seating 11 people, let alone paying for it??  We'll probably go to CiCis for pizza one night.  Mom will no doubt make spaghetti one night. I've volunteered to make meatloaf for dinner one night and I'm guessing there will be burgers once as well.  And of course Thanksgiving. I offered to make stuffing, so I have to remember to bring both the cornbread stuffing recipe and the cornbread recipe because you can't find cornbread in south Florida, not even a mix. I'd like to make conrbread & oyster stuffing but no one will eat it but my father & I, so I am leaning toward cornbread & bacon, but may stick to the cornbread & sage.

Traditionally on Friday night my brother, SIL, DH and I leave the kids with our folks & go out to dinner together to celebrate our anniversary. But this year they are leaving on Friday (they usually don't arrive until Wed & stay until Sun, this year they are arriving on Sun) and Thanksgiving is so early in the month, our anniversary is well into the following week.  But I think I may have to insist on a nice dinner, in a quiet restaurant that night anyway.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is going to take days

I haven't been scrapping much lately. I had little to no desire to do so for the last 6 weeks. I quit all my CTs but the PSP script one. I totally immersed myself in reading for 6 weeks. I re-read all of the Sarah Kelling mysteries (10), all the Mrs Pollifax mysteries (13), most of the Peter Wimsey mysteries (7, there is only so much Lord Peter I can put up with), some of the Amelia Peabody mysteries (8, again, only so much Amelia can be tolerated), all 4 for Hillary Tamar mysteries, several of the Mary Russel mysteries (Mary's personality is similar to Amelia & Peter's. I'd like to shut them all in a room together with a pot of tea & watch them all one up each other with thier knowledgeable smug superority.) and a half a dozen novels of historical fiction.  50 some books later I think I am as sated with reading as I am ever likely to be (though I have 2 more Polly Platt travel memoirs to go) .  And I'm in the mood to scrap.

I've done 2 layouts in the past 2 days for challenges at Sweet Shoppe.  It's also Digital Scrapbooking Day today so all the stores are having sales.  Plus one of my favorite designers, Traci Reed, was having a special sale a couple days ago to celebrate her new store and it's the start of the month so 2 sites where I have membership have new monthly kits.  I bought 2 kits from Traci, there was a gift kit at MSA and one for signing up for Little Dreamer Designs newsletter, then I went shopping at Sweet Shoppe. I got a paper pack from Lauren Reid, a kit from Scrap Kitchen designs, the SS Quarterly Pack and the SS Goodie Bag.  All together I spent less than $20.  I have 61 folders of stuff to tag in ACDSee!!!!

61 folders of stuff, many with subfolders of other stuff.  I'm going to be at this for a week!

the Dinner that Never Ended

Last night I made my chicken & sweet potato salad for dinner. It consists of chunks of grilled chicken, steamed sweet potatoes, avocados, & crumbled bacon in a mustardy vinaigrette on a bed of spinach. People seem to really like it. I get many requests to bring it to cook outs & pot lucks. Its good hot or cold. Adults & kids both eat it willingly. except my kids.

All I really ask of them is they at least taste the food they are given before rejecting it. One bite of the stuff, that is it. In this case that means you have to eat a bite sized chunk of chicken & sweet potato. 2 bites of food, that you have eaten in the past without issue. If it has become hideous to you in the 5-6 weeks since you last ate it then fine, you don't have to finish it & can go have a mini bagel or an apple. Is that too much? Am I horrible parent for expecting this? 2 freaking bites of good tasting food you have eaten before? My kids don't seem to have figured or or like the time honored kid traditions of smothering disagreeable food in ketchup or ranch dressing or using the whole glass of juice to wash down the unwanted stuff while chewing quickly. By the time I was Havoc's age I could swallow lima beans whole with one gulp of water.  I attribute my ability to swallow any size pill I am given to that early training.

Havoc eventually choked down the required bites, though each one took him well over 5 minutes to eat because he tucked in his cheek and wouldn't chew or swallow it until threatened with being served it for breakfast.

Mayhem never tried it. He just sat there saying "That's yuck." when asked to eat it, which got him moved to the time out chair for a few minutes & then back to the table and repeat. When told it would be his breakfast he said 'no it won't'. And nothing in his experience led him to believe otherwise. That threat had been made before & come to nothing because Daddy wasn't sufficiently frustrated to follow through the next morning. (Daddy does breakfast, which means pouring out the kid's cereal or toasting a waffle & then going back to bed for a half hour. He'd actually have to stay up if he followed through on the threat) Daddy seemed to have reached his point last night because the bowl was wrapped up & put in the fridge. Mayhem was given nothing else but a glass of watered juice.

This morning he asked for breakfast & was offered his dinner. He pitched a fit & ate nothing. At morning snack he said he was super hungry & asked for a PB sandwich & was again offered his dinner.  He was told that once he had eaten a bite of chicken & a bite of potato, he could have a PB sandwich or a waffle or whatever he wanted, but he had to eat those 2 bites first. He protested a bit, then said ok. But when faced with sweet potato on his fork he took a sniff, announced "that yuk!" and refused to eat it.  DH took the boys along on a small work expedition at a tower, he packed juice, snacks & Mayhem's dinner. He is going to take them to McD's for a late lunch when he is done, but Mayhem has to eat his 2 bites first.  I told him meatloaf was for dinner & he loves meatloaf & he isn't happy he's got to eat the 2 bites first.

How is this going to turn out? Which side will win? Why has it come to this? How did it come to this? I didn't set out for a battle of wills when I made dinner last night. All I wanted was something we all were likely to eat & involved the avocado that was perfectly ripe & had to be used right now. What am I teaching him, to eat the food he is given? That I am bigger than him & can make him do things? To try new things? Possibly for the rest of his life he will hate this meal because of the drama associated with it. To this day I won't eat frozen pizza because of a drama between me & my dad when I was 10 that resulted in my crying non stop while choking down 2 frozen slices.

We pick our battles, we try to keep them as few & far between as possible, but when we do choose to have them, we go to the mat. I can't imagine a good outcome to this. He isn't going to eat those 2 bites, decide they actually taste good & ask for more. We can't back down because you undermine yourself if you do that. Don't issue ultimatums unless you are willing to follow through. The best I can hope for is at some point the desire for food he likes will force him to eat the 2 bites and next time we say 'eat a bite or it's for breakfast' he'll just eat the bite & we can all get on with our lives.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And the winners of the "our mom is so lame"

category of the Halloween costume contest is....


for their mother's last minute pirate costumes consisting of her belts, her workout bandanas and their father's T-shirts!

And lets not forget to mention her fabulous camera work - taking a photo of kids in black T-shirts against a dark green bush in the dark!

I honestly think it is fun to rummage around the house & see what sort of costume I can come up with.  That was one of the best parts of Halloween when I was kid.  I had some pre-made costumes when I was small but by the time I was 8 or so I was wearing rollers in my hair, had cold cream on my face and my mom's bathroom & claming to be dressed as a housewife. Or my dad's overcoat & old hat with a notebook and calling myself a detective. A cardboard box and aluminum foil made a robot. And there was always the ubiquitous white bed sheet ghost or toga. 

As an adult I am still not inclined to spent $25 on a costume that will be worn for a total of 2 hours & then discarded.  I'm not inclined to buy the same costume, a couple sizes larger for $8 on Nov 1st either. It will either be misplaced or forgotten by next year or the child who wanted it this year will want to be something else next Halloween. Nor am I inclined to spend several hours sewing something that will only be worn for 2 hours. Plus given my children's tendencies, they will have changed their minds on their costume right around the time I get done sewing.  I do sew their Ren Faire costumes (heavily hemmed so I can let the out & get several years wear) & then encourage them to wear those outfits at Halloween. I'd meant to make proper pirate outfits for faire wear this year but then we decided to do Great Wolf lodge instead of the faire this year so I put it off.  They have kilts though. The wore the kilts to a Halloween party last week & were all set to wear them trick or treating, but then at 2pm yesterday I was informed that kilts were not scary enough. I decided they are bit young for me to disprove that by showing them Braveheart, so I went through DH's shirts until I found a couple non-collared, solid colored Ts.  I was going to cut some fabric strips for belts when I remembered I had some that would work.  Pull the shirt on over their regular clothes, strap the belt around their waist, tuck in the plastic swords they got at a birthday party this summer and wrap a bandana around their head. Voila! Pirates!

They looked really adorable too.  I wish I had thought to take pictures when it was still light out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Deep question from a 5 year old

"Does Jesus want us to Trick or Treat?"
How do you answer that? My thoughts are bouncing from "why would He care?" "why would we even ask Him?" "Where did you get this idea from?" "what *would* Jesus do? Would He go trick or treating? I've never met any Jewish people who have ToT issues, so maybe he would. Would it fall under the 'rendering unto Ceaser' rule?"
Having thoroughly distracted myself in a matter of a second & sidetracked onto the Roman rule of Egypt before Cleopatra came to the throne and the SPQR mysteries, I fell back on the standard I-have-no-fucking-clue Mom answer.
"Well, what do you think honey?"
him: "I don't know."
me: "Do you want to go trick or treating?"
him: "yes"
me: "so we'll go trick or treating then"
Did I pass up a 'teaching moment' by doing that? A more on top of it mom would have used that question to discuss the history of trick or treating and why some people think they shouldn't do it and why that doesn't mean it's bad for others and then merge the whole thing into a little conversation about how we should all accept one another's differences and we're all still good people no matter how we see god.
I know this because I have been informed of this by several of these more on top of it moms, who told me that is exactly what they would have done. Me, I just brush the question aside & distract the kid with mental images of candy. The boy is going to be knocking on doors wanting to talk about people's 'relationship with Christ' by the time he is 14 if I don't get my witchy act together apparently, and I'll be too busy reading about the adventures of Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger and Marcus Didius Falco to notice.
I probably shouldn't have said that if he really believes he ought to be doing that, then it's ok with me if he does.
Bad witch! Bad mom! Bad bad witchy mom! :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"those pumpkins make me angry!"

Mayhem says as I place the recently carved things on the storage bench outside. "why do the pumpkins make you angry?" I ask. "Because they are not scawy."

Apparently non-scary pumpkins can be a source of annoyance to a 3 year old. Who knew?

However, when it got dark out & I put lighted candles in them he was happy. They were now jack o lanterns according to him and were now scary enough for him to be happy. He says they are supposed to scare off the other pumpkin ghosts. It is interesting to see what bits of information are actually retained in a child's mind from what you have told them.

We got the pumpkins while at Fox Chase Farm on an outing with the boys school. It is a Christian school & I was once again amused to find my family choices being misunderstood. We don't do Easter baskets or the Easter bunny at our house & we don't do egg coloring or egg hunts (though we color them at Ostara). This bit of information makes people think we must be strict Christians & those who do the egg/basket/bunny thing tend to get a little defensive & justify/explain about how they only do it because it's tradition in the family & fun but of course the focus is on Jesus' resurrection. So Thursday I was treated to a casual semi-lecture on the misunderstandings of the symbols of witchcraft versus the symbols of Madison Ave by the school's headmaster, because Havoc, when asked "so, what sort of jack o lantern are you going to carve on that?" by the headmaster, replied "Pumpkins are only for pies."

My kids love the idea of making pie from a pumpkin(they are not too keen on the actual pie itself) and they have never had a jack o lantern before, despite getting pumpkins every year. This is not because I am a strict Christian or am having some sort of witchy reaction over commericalization of the holiday. It's because they have lazy & cheap parents. I'm the lazy one, DH is cheap. I'm not inclined to carve a pumpkin (its long & messy work & i am not very good at it) & DH is not inclined to pay for something that is just going to rot on the front porch (and pumpkins have remained rotting on our porch until Xmas in the past). Plus we usually end up with an assortment of weird lopsided pumpkins that don't lend themselves to faces (not with our level of artistic talent) We'll make pie out of a pumpkin because you get an edible result & you can whack into slices easily with no artistry needed

All this adds up to the headmaster taking Havoc's response to mean I am depriving my children of carved pumpkins because I believe even the commercial symbols of witchcraft are so evil they must be avoided. I found that damned amusing I must say. :)

We did find a way to make both pies & jack o lanterns this year. DH cut a hole in the top & very carefully scooped the flesh out of the sides, leaving enough to support the carved pumpkin. Between 2 medium sized pumpkins we got enough cooked, drained pumpkin meat to make one pie and we have 2 glowing jack o lanterns on the porch (where they will no doubt remain until well after Thanksgiving). we also have a buttload of pumpkin seeds. Half are a sweet spicy mix that could have been kicked up a couple notches and the other half are a garlic & salt mix that spent a little too long in the oven.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dinnertime Drama

My kids are picky eaters. I was a picky eater. I accept their pickiness as my just reward/punishment for my own behavior. My food karma as it were. My mother never said "I hope you have a child just like you." but it happened anyway. Given my own past I know at some point my picky eaters will decide they only like the most expensive things on the menu and will only eat half of it. So I have that to look forward to.

What do you do when your kids refuse all veggies and only accept apples & grapes for fruit? You hide things in the foods they will eat. An all protein diet or an all carb diet, which is what my kids vary between. is not a good thing. I considered buying Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld recently. But in the end, did not. I already own The Sneaky Chef,which is the same premise, and don't use it much, so another book on the theme seemed a waste of money I could otherwise spend on trashy romance novels.

Apparently I (and Mrs Seinfeld) am committing a horrible crime by putting eggplant in my meatloaf in place of breadcrumbs and spinach in the pizza crust and squash in the mac & cheese. At least we are according to a bunch of people on the internet, none of whom have to feed my kids. I've been reading about it & picky eaters in general at Parent Bloggers Network

I'm not sure what our crime is, something willful or negligent probably. "Just serve the kids tasty veggies and they will eat it." "get them involved in the process" "Offer it at least 15 times". Lovely advice, wonderful really. And if generalities were the answer to feeding my kids, then I wouldn't need the advice in the first place.

Serve the kids tasty veggies - what makes a veggie 'tasty'? Isn't that a personal preference? DH thinks broccoli is delicious in a garlic sauce, the smell of it makes me gag.

Get them involved in the process - my oldest son absolutely loves making pumpkin pie. He loves picking out the pumpkin, scooping out the seeds, cutting up the flesh for roasting, running the blender to puree it, mixing all the ingredients. Loves it, looks forward to it eagerly every fall. We just made fresh pumpkin pie Sunday. He took one bite & won't eat any more. he does this every year. wants to make the pie, but not eat it. And this PIE for gods sake! PIE! He does the same thing with eggplant parmigiana and vegetable soup. He loves the process but won't touch the end result.

Offer it 15 times - I have offered carrots, broccoli, parsnips, sweet potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, corn and beets to name a few, to my oldest son nearly every day of his life since he was 6 months old. Allowing for a variety of veggies in a diet that child has been exposed to all those vegetables, in various forms at least 240 times each in his life. He will not touch any of them, except maybe some corn on the cob, but only at a cookout where other children are eating it.

I've tried reward, punishment, encouragment, ignoring it. I've insisted on one bite, 3 bites, no bites, eat your dinner or you go right to bed, no dessert, dessert first, downplaying it, serving the uneaten dinner for breakfast, letting them eat nothing else that night, letting them eat an apple, bagel or yogurt if they refuse dinner, making foods they like, serving them whatever I want to make kid friendly or not, giving up & letting them live on PB&J for 2 days. For the most part they just don't eat 75% of what i make for dinner & are ravenous at breakfast

They are 3 & 5 and finickyness is a part of this stage. I accept that. I continue to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables with meals. I continue to make sure they see me and DH eating a variety of them as well. I make one meal for dinner, no special meals for the kids, though I make kid friendly things for dinner (that DH & I like) several times a week (pizza, meatloaf, spaghetti with pesto) And I hide spinach in the spaghetti sauce and carrots in the pizza toppings.

When I say 'hide', I don't mean I send the kids outside while I hurry up and steam, puree and add broccoli to the lasagna and then laugh to myself for putting one over on them. Most of the time they are in the kitchen while I cook. Very often they are helping me. They run the blender. They pour the puree into the mixing bowl. They *smell* it cooking. From a visual and nasal (Aural?) point, they know full well there is broccoli in that lasagna. I'm not hiding, sneaking or deceiving them actually. I am disguising it. I admit that. But I realize, from my own veggie issues that a great deal of the problem is textural. Crunch can be a problem, or the dreaded 'crisp-tender' so many recipes call for, or mushiness that still needs chewed (which I personally won't eat). Purees though go down fairly easily. I like raw broccoli and pureed broccoli soup, but crisp-tender broccoli has a texture I cannot stand & will only eat under duress (ie someone else made it and my kids are watching me). I serve them veggies in a variety of forms, cooked by a variety of methods, even while putting purees in what they are eating.

And I am not seeing how I am committing a terrible sin by doing this. What is wrong with making the things my kids will eat more nutritious? No one is advocating you just hide the veggies in a brownie and never serve ratatouille again. Just make the most of what you have to work with, continue to offer variety and pray to whatever god you believe in that someday your child will say "this broccoli is delicious Mom."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's pumpkin pie time

We had our first visit of the year to a pumpkin patch on Thursday. A little later than in the past but that makes for fewer pumpkins & gourds overall & that is a good thing.  Each of the boys got a small to medium pumpkin & a couple of gourds.  Tomorrow we are going to a Harvest festival where we will come home with fresh cider, lots of apples & possibly another pumpkin or so and yet more gourds.  Pumpkins are not included in the cost of this visit so we might yet escape.  On Wednesday we go to another pumpkin patch & the entrance fee includes a pumpkin & a few gourds and apples.  So I conceivably will have a half a dozen pumpkins, a dozen or so gourds and who knows how many apples to deal with.

DS1 is of the opinion that the main use for a pumpkin is pie. Whenever any asks him about carving a pumpkin he says "We're making pie!" Fresh pumpkin pie is a PITA and takes the whole damn day.  But we make it because he is actually suggesting eating a vegetable and it does taste good. 

DH decided this time that he would carve the pumpkins as well as scoop out the flesh for pie.  2 mediumish pumpkins will produce about 2 cups of cooked & drained flesh, if they are carved & enough flesh is left in them to lend stability to their forms.  But it does take most of an hour to scoop them out. 

Then you bake the flesh for an hour or so. After it cools a bit you puree it and let it drain for half an hour or so.  While it is cooling & draining you bake the seeds you have cleaned & seasoned, for about 90 minutes.  During this baking one of you takes the kids & runs into town to buy the cream & a pie crust that you forgot to get and takes the kids to lunch.  The other loads all the many dishes you have used into the dishwasher & gives the table, counter & floors a good cleaning because pumpkin slime gets everywhere.  After the seeds are done you mix up the pie filling, which as usual turns out to be about a half a cup too much for the pie crust. The pie bakes for 40-45 minutes & then has too cool.  

Having started this little odyssey about 10am, it is now nearly 4pm.   Today is also the VFW fish fry and DH fries hushpuppies for it, so he leaves before the pie is cool. Is it fair to not let Daddy have some of the pie with us? Well, of course it is but in order to get demons to eat dinner you persuade them that it is not and we all should wait to eat pie until Daddy gets home. The VFW thing is annoying because DH leaves me with a mess and boys who want Daddy, but a good thing because it means we can go eat fried catfish and hushpuppies for dinner & I don't have to cook. I've done enough work in the kitchen already today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Merry Gently Used Christmas

Yep, that's right, my kids are getting pre-owned gifts for Christmas, unless the brand new version costs nearly the same. They are into the FP Imaginext stuff. We just got Havoc the new pirate ship for his birthday. Mayhem wants a pirate ship too.  Ebay has a couple dozen of them in older models at reasonable prices.  So I bought one.  It's in perfectly good used condition.  It's a different style & color than his brother's & that is all that truly matters.  I may buy a couple of the smaller ones as well, one for each boy. Then we can have a whole pirate fleet sailing the living room floor!  I'm also on the look out for a FP digital camera or near equivalent, though I am tempted to just get a cheap used regular digital, for Havoc and we're getting Mayhem a L-Max for his b-day in January.  I'll probably get that new but the games used.  Then there are the movies & books off of for the boys & other kids I need to get things for.  Yep, the queen of tacky, that's me - giving used books to other people's kids.  I must admit though that it's never actually come to that. I am prepared to do it, but I've always been able to find a new version for only a buck-ish more.  We're hard up for cash this year, so high quality used stuff is my option of choice. 

Sunday, October 07, 2007

thoughts after a couple glasses of wine

I've been reading regency era romance novels lately. Light, fluffy things, wiht romance, sex and mystery in them. Real mysteries - murder, embezzlement, nefarious schemes, spies, not romantic 'does she like me' mysteries, though you can't have a romance novel without those mysteries. I suppose it says something about me that I am mostly reading these books for the actual mysteries, not the romance, certainly not for the sex. I skip over the sex. Simply cannot cope with reading it.
Some things strike me about the romance novels, and i know some of it is publisher dictated. The hero must always be masterful, dashing, over protective and reluctant to admit he loves the heroine. The heroine must always be strong willed and sexually inexperienced. Even widows. Judging by the romance industry there were a hell of a lot of virgin widows of much older men in the 1820's. Or widows of men who simply didn't care enough to bring them to orgasm. Is it so terrible to have had a fulfilling sex life within a marriage before meeting 'the man of your dreams'? Can't you love more than one person in your life? Only one book in the literally hundreds of romance novels I have read in my life featured a fully pleasured widow as the heroine. One. 10 years ago I found that only mildly, very mildly annoying. Now I'm just irritated by it. and by the masterful men. Seriously, I'd bitch slap half of them if they treated me the way they treated these women. Oh it's all explainable & understandable in context but it still pisses me off. But my favorite author Stephanie Laurens writes really good plots with engaging characters, which is why I care enough about them to be pissed off & irritated, so I read anyway.

The other thing is more of a an adjective problem. Heroines almost always have 'heart shaped faces' and several times during the course of the book, when they set eyes on the hero their 'lungs seize'. So I am left imaging that to be a true romantic heroine you have to be an asthmatic with a really wide forehead.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

note to self

When dividing cake batter between a single round layer and 9 cupcakes, pour the cupcakes first. 

Tomorrow is Havoc's 5th birthday.  He asked for a single layer cake for his little family party tomorrow and cupcakes for his classmates on Monday. He wanted a vanilla cake and vanilla icing. He doesn't like chocolate.  We colored the white icing orange at his suggestion, though it is really more of a peach color because he insisted on putting more red in.  Then he & Mayhem put colored sprinkles on the cake and cupcakes.  Half that cake is a solid mass of sprinkles due to Mayhem just upending his dish onto it.  I'll be sweeping sprinkles off the floors for days to come.

DH is camping tonight. He went with us to the zoo today and then he and a friend went north to camp & me and the friend's family went south home.  We stopped at a diner on the way.  I firmly believe that I should never take more small children into a restaurant than there are adults. Every child under 6 needs a watcher, an adult to sit next to to head off silverware sword fights, napkin shredding, salt spillage etc.  Havoc by himself can behave well. My friend's son, by himself can behave well. Together they are decently behaved as well.  Add Mayhem and my friend's daughter and all hell breaks loose.  My friend decided to read the paper rather than watch her kids so I end up spending the whole time saying "Stop it" "Put it down" "Don't do that" ad infinitum. I ignore my kids when they act up in stores. Some stores we just leave, but in grocery stores they get sat in the cart and I get on with my shopping. The grocery store is far enough away (and groceries enough of a necessity) that just leaving & coming back at some later date really is not an option. People can give me 'the look' & I am oblivious. It's just my turn to be That Mom, with That Kid in the grocery store. Another time it'll be someone else's turn. But I just can't look at restaurants that way. The tables are too close, you can't just avoid me & the little PITA I have with me. DH or I will remove the offender until he calms down if a tantrum is happening or issue a stream of 'orders' if the two of them are playing too loud & vigorously. But when I am by myself I can't just up stakes & leave when my child decides to freak out because the wait between the order and the arrival of food is longer than he wishes or perhaps 3 bites into the chicken fingers he is no longer hungry & wants to leave. I have to track down a waitress, arrange for the order to be canceled or packed up & paid for.  I suppose I could simply pick up the offender & drag the other one off out of the place and not pay.  Perhaps the people glaring from the table across us would be willing to pick up my tab?  How much is my kid's silence/absence worth to you?

Mayhem was tired and hungry. So he was restless and cranky while we waited for the food. Havoc & the girl kept shredding napkins & getting progressively louder & louder. The youngest boy spit water all over the place.  Why didn't we leave? I have no freaking idea.  It wasn't my car. I wasn't alone. Because alone, I'd've gone to the Taco Bell Pizza Hut drive through, got the kids a pizza to split and waited until we got home to find something for me to eat.  Taking Mayhem into a restaurant in that condition, without direct supervision & constant interaction available is never a good idea. 2 parents are required in that situation.  Going out to eat was originally my idea, but as we started looking around for a place & it became clear Mayhem was on the edge of a nap I started suggesting drive through. Then we found the diner.  We were practically the only people in there thank god, but I'm sure the other 6 people would have preferred we went elsewhere.  I agree with them.

The boys are going to bed early tonight.  They had a big active day and were not able to sleep in the car on the way home, so I am thinking about 7:30 I'm getting them in the bath & with luck they'll be in bed by 8 and I can get a glass of wine & a book and lay in my bed and read for a few hours.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bit of a bummer today

I quit 2 of my CTs.  I've just felt so blah & so totally lacking in motivation & inspiration the past month or so that I don't think I'm doing a very good job for them. I didn't want to quit.  I've been dithering about it for 2 weeks now, but today I made myself sit down and send the PMs. Just fading away with no word is not my style. I really enjoyed working with them which is why it took me 2 weeks to bite the bullet and resign.  I just haven;t been in a scrapping mood lately & my time to do it is limited. I've spent that time re-reading an old mystery series & right now have no real desire to do anything else.  I go through these phases every now & then.  I'll be back scrapping soon enough, I just don't know when & it's not fair to the designers for me to just hover in the background not contributing.

I've remained on Jane's team.  She does PSP scripts & right now isn't doing too many, so I don't feel like I am not living up to my obligations.  I can test a script while not feeling creative enough to do a layout.

I downloaded PSPX2 trial Monday. I don't know....I;m not seeing anything that makes me want to buy it.  But since I haven't really done much scrapping I'm not really giving it a fair test.  Plus I need another GB of RAM.  I'm keeping an eye on prices.  I just missed a deal for 1GB fr $59. I need 2 1GBs.  The gig of RAM I currently have is in 2 512MB chips.  So 1GB chip gets me 1.5GB of RAM.  The computer can run on that, but if I can find it for around $65 or so I can get 2. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

what to do with myself

I have all this free time.  A whole 9 hours a week completely childfree.  I feel like I ought to be doing something useful. Something more that surfing the web. I do clean but that takes about 20 minutes,maybe. Im thinking I need to do something that earns money, because having free time while your spouse works is just wrong. I don't really think that, but that is sort of an underlying thing...I *should* be earning money again or I should be doing something to get me on the path to earning money in 2 years when the kids are both in school full time.  I suppose if I was spending the whole day scrubbing the floor on my hands and kneed or washing the clothes in a bucket with a washboard & mangle I'd feel differently.  I'd be *working*.  Right now I am killing time. I suppose I should get some of my folks stuff up on eBay and reapply for my work at home phone agent job.  I used to work in telecom.  I was a call routing specialist.  It was a good job. Techy but not geeky.  Interesting, challenging & something you could walk away from at 6pm.  I've always liked that in a job.  But a 9-6 job just isn't in the cards for me for another decade or so.  So it is time to start over, rescript my role yet again.  What do I want to be this time? Home appraiser? College professor? (I have an MA) Go work in retail for the discount? decisions decisions......

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Civilization has arrived

We live in the boonies. In a low density rural area. Town is 17 miles away.  So it has been 10 long long years since I have had hot food arrive at my front door, let alone have someone other than my husband be the bearer of this lukewarm food.

But all that is about to change...

The somewhat nearby 'general store' has begun making and delivering pizza!  And subs!  And, according to the flyer, they will also deliver GROCERIES!, including wine and beer!  Be still my beating heart!  Pizza AND beer!  Brought to my door! Even subs and a gallon of milk!  MILK, delivered!  Sure they don't sell produce and meat but they have the general bread, soup, chips, dairy things and they will BRING IT TO MY HOUSE!!  Can you feel my glee?!  I called when I got the flyer, before I let myself get all gleeful, just to check on the delivery radius and they deliver in a 9 mile radius.  We live 7.6 miles away.  I know because the very next morning I drove there & measured. (its on the way to my kids school, sorta)  Since then I have been far to gleeful to actually call in anything. Ever wanted something for so long that when you finally get it you have no idea what to do with it?  That's how I feel. Paralyzed by sheer glee.

They only deliver Thursday-Saturday. Last week we already had dinner plans for those nights.  Tomorrow we're going out to dinner & what with the cost of where we are going & the cost of the babysitter, we won't be in a position to order pizza this week.  but I'm thinking next Friday we're getting pizza. DELIVERED.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

How are my children still healthy

let alone alive?

I don't wipe every surface in my house down with Clorox.  I've never, not once, sanitized their toys.  We've had other children over to play and I've never even sprayed Lysol around the play area when they left.  There isn't a single bottle of Purell in the house.  Why hasn't CPS arrived yet?

The only thing, and I mean seriously, the ONLY THING, being marketed to me on TV currently is cleaning supplies.  No one is trying to sell me a mini van, (going by the soundtracks they are aiming toward moms 10 years younger than me) or investment advice (geared toward women with kids about to go to college), or even a burger.  Possibly they are trying to sell me Nutrisystem but that commercial featuring the woman who went from a size 8 to a size 2 just pisses me off (I've forced my body into unhealthy weight loss and so can you!), so it doesn't count.

Which leaves Clorox, and Lysol and the billions upon billions of germs that I am wantonly and neglectfully exposing my children to everyday through my thoughtlessly lax cleaning habits.  And Taco Bell who just now ran an ad with "I Melt for You" playing. I may just have to go buy something from Taco Bell in appreciation of their not attempting to frighten me with scare tactics.  And I don't even really like Taco Bell