Saturday, December 31, 2011

Utterly exhausted

If this blog entry isn't entirely coherent, it's because I'm very, very tired.

We've had a crazy few weeks.  Ten days ago, the movers finished packing up the house.  I believe that was on a Wednesday.  Thanks to good friends, my kids had places to go that day to play.  We spent the night at another friend's house, since our entire house was packed away in a moving van.  They had comfy beds for us.  I was so very tired.

Thursday morning, I went back to the house.  Three other friends came over and they helped me scrub my floors.  Every inch of the floor in that house was tiled.  To get that tile clean, it has to be scrubbed with a scrub brush.  We only had two scrub brushes and two mops, but we got it all cleaned.  It was amazing.  Those tiles are hard on the knees because you have to kneel while scrubbing, but those friends helped me without a single complaint.  They were so dear to do that.  We left the house at noon and I had a few errands to run.  We finally left the city to head out on our journey at 2 in the afternoon.  We arrived in Midland, Texas six hours later and stayed in a hotel room.

Friday morning we left Midland and six hours later we were in east Texas at my parent's home.  It was so wonderful to be there.  My parents and Gran were there.  The kids were so happy to be out of the van.  They played and played for hours.

We had a wonderful Christmas with family in Texas.

I left my parent's home on Wednesday, December 28th.  We drove and drove and drove and arrived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama around 5:30pm.  We ordered a pizza to our hotel room and we watched movies on TV.  My youngest daughter was  bouncing off the walls and jumping on the beds of the hotel room. 

Thursday we drove from Alabama to Salem, Virginia.  It was another long day in the van for everyone.  I don't think I had ever been through Tennessee before, but I loved it there.  It was green and rolling hills.  It was really pretty country.  I listened to a radio program for a while that was broadcasting from Detroit! 

The trip from Salem to our home near DC was only four hours yesterday.  I drove through some gorgeous areas of Virginia.  It was really beautiful.  Thanks to the GPS, I was able to find my way to the house, where the Hubby was waiting.  If it weren't for the GPS, I never would have found my way.  The house is tucked up in some hills, through winding roads that are filled with tall trees and beautiful homes.

Our home is very nice.  In another post I'll describe it more.  I like most everything about it except it has no garage.  Where do we store all of our stuff?  Where do we put holiday boxes?  Oh, and the kitchen is very small, but after the wonderfully huge kitchen I had in New Mexico, any kitchen would seem small.

Today the moving van arrived with out house stuff. It took the guys about six hours to unload everything.  The house is just filled with boxes.  I've unpacked a lot, but there is still so much to do.  I'm feeling quite overwhelmed and my feet are killing me.  I'm looking forward to sleeping tonight in my own bed again.  I'm just looking forward to sleep.   If I make it to mid-night to see the new year in, it will be amazing.  My husband reminded me tonight that unpacking the house is a marathon, not a sprint.  I can't do it all today.  Good advice.  Maybe it's time to quit the unpacking for the year :) and relax with a cup of root beer and a plate of cheese and crackers.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's a shame when.....

It's a shame when you are having a great hair day and will spend that entire day in the car.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Tonight we are in Alabama.  Tired of traveling, we ordered a pizza for dinner.  We are eagerly awaiting the pizza.

We started the day in Texas, drove through Louisiana, Mississippi, and now we are in Alabama.   The kids have been great.  We have one more full day on the road tomorrow.  Friday will be a short drive.

I had a wonderful visit with family in Texas, but I am very excited to arrive in our new home in Virginia.

Just a few more days.... I can make it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Slightly hysterical

Today I am slightly hysterical.  I keep telling myself it will all work out in the end.

I mean, so what if I forget to keep something out and the packers pack it away in a box.  This isn't an uncivilized country.  There is a WalMart every 10 miles in every city across America.  If I've forgotten something desperately important, like a toothbrush, I can buy a new one.

I will be reunited with all my stuff in about three weeks time.  I'll probably get all the boxes off the truck and wish I didn't have so much to unpack.

I admit I haven't had much patience with the kids (they've been bickering so badly), and I've sometimes been annoyed with my husband for leaving me in this situation, again.  I'm mad at myself for not having it more together.  I've not been terrible, but I've not been great either.

Today I took a pile of stuff to the local Goodwill drop off and on the way home I had my hysterical sobbing moment.  By the time I got home, I felt much better having let off some of that emotion and frustration and was able to face the house and kids again.

There is still SO much to do.  I guess what will happen will happen.  My sister reminded me tonight that in a few days, I'll be at my parent's home, resting, laughing and relaxing.  It will all be OK.  I've made plans to get together with a few friends from high school.  One of them I haven't seen in 20 years.  I'm excited to see them both and meet their families. It will be a merry Christmas.

My husband found a house for us.  I'm relieved.  I saw some pictures of it today.  It looks like a nice home and it has a yard!  A real yard with a fence and grass and trees.  It will be green in the spring.  How lovely it will be.  The kids will be able to play outside again.  We move in New Years Day.

If I am gone for a while, it's because I'm moving.  I disconnect the Internet tomorrow.  How will I survive?  If I'm not here again before Christmas day, then I want to say to ya'll,
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How time flies

The move is upon us.  It's almost here!  The movers come on Tuesday!

There is so much to do and yesterday I was kind of freaking out about it, but then I remembered that no matter what, the movers will come, the house will get packed and we will leave.  Taking care of my huge to do list will make the move easier, but it will happen regardless.  So, I shouldn't stress out to much.  It will all work out.

One week from today is Christmas!  Yay!

Yesterday I emptied the pantry, cleaned the shelves and repainted them.  I cleaned the stove and oven.  I hate cleaning the stove and oven. I cleaned the fridge.  I still need to do the freezer size, though.  I held a yard sale.  It was freezing cold outside.  I looked completely ridiculous, I'm sure, sitting in my big, soft computer chair, wrapped in a red and black Scotty dog blanket, sitting in the driveway.  To keep me occupied during the several hours outside, I read a book.  I found Black Narcissus  by Rumer Godden at the used book store.  I've been wanting to read it for a long time, but the book is out of print and most of the copies I can find online are more than I'm willing to pay.  I got lucky at the last trip to the used bookstore.   It's a great book.

I need to take down all the pictures in the house, puddy the holes and paint over the puddy.  Tomorrow I'll take down the few Christmas decorations I put up.  The tree is up with only the lights, the star on top and about 6 candy canes the kids hung up.  I also hung a small wreath and two strands of lights on the porch. 

Tonight I pack the kids suitcases (as much as I can.) I hope they don't pack the washer and drier until the last.

The other day, I was at the Walmart.  I was in the toy section with my youngest, letting her play with the toys before we moved onto the shopping.  I saw a Magic 8 Ball.  After thinking of all the many things I could ask it, I finally asked it, "Is everything going to work out with the move?"
It answered me: "Outlook good."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pizza Cereal

The other morning, my three year old asked me for pizza for breakfast.  We didn't have pizza.  She asked again for the breakfast pizza.  I had not made a breakfast pizza.  Frustrated with me, she showed me what she wanted - Honey Combs cereal.
Yeah, I guess it kind of looks like little pizzas.  So now, when I list the cereal choices to her, she gets to choose between cocoa bombs, pizza cereal, or the stuff in the red bag.

What to join us for breakfast?

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Christmas play

My Auntie M's Children's Theater just had it's second production.

It was a reader's theater called "What Will You Tell Us of Christmas?"
The reading cast was divided into three groups and they read as a chorus.  Choral reading is really becoming a lost art among children.  They don't do those kinds of things in schools anymore.  No more reading plays or poetry.  So, a play like this is really a unique opportunity.

It turned out so cute.  The kids did great.  There was one little hiccup in the show, but it's pretty funny.  During the show, the children sang the first verse of several Christmas carols, but they never could get the tune right for "Once in Royal David's City."  They always sang it to the tune of "Hark, the Herald Angel's Sing."  I sang it for them, we even had a pianist playing the song during the show.  They still couldn't get it right.

I was sitting back stage during the show to help the little actors with costume and prop changes.  I just shook my head and laughed during the one poor mixed-up song.  Other than that, it was great!

Here is a picture of the cast after the show. Yes, we had 2 boys and 13 girls.  After the show, we had cookies and lemonade, which many of them are holding.

Thanks to my sweet kids and the parents who helped me out with the set up and clean up.
I'm sad that this was our last show here in New Mexico.  I'll take Auntie M's to Virginia and maybe I can start up something there this summer.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Shows

In October I talked about some of my favorite TV shows and their Halloween episodes.

Now it is Christmas time!

Those great Christmas specials are out and playing on TV now and I have a few favorites:

A Charlie Brown Christmas - classic.  Just classic.
Garfield Christmas

Favorite Christmas movies:
A Muppet's Christmas Carol
Several of the Christmas Carol versions: George C. Scott and Alistair Sim
Scrooge with Albert Finney (I love the song, "Thank You Very Much.")
White Christmas - gosh, I just love the songs and dances and I think Rosemary Clooney is just amazing

TV shows:
The Monkees - a cute episode to be sure, but at the end, they sing A cappella "Riu Chiu" and it is beautiful.  The harmony is amazing and it is such a fantastic display of their talents.


Friday, December 09, 2011

Dear Friends

Last night was a busy one.  My oldest son had his last orchestra concert at this middle school.  It was in the cafeteria of the local high school and involved every orchestra and choir from two middle schools.  As you can imagine, there were a LOT of families in that cafeteria.  It was hard to hear the performing groups.  Before that concert was over, my next two kids had their piano recital.  My two kids did a duet.  It was sweet and they did very well.

Hubby left yesterday morning to go to our new home.  Well, he's going to stay in a hotel because we don't have a home yet.  That's his job while he is there before the rest of us arrive in three weeks.

I had to rely on a friend to help me last night.  I couldn't be in two places at once.  I'm an independent person and I don't like to ask for help, but there was no way around it yesterday.  Thank goodness for dear friends.

I've been blessed here to know many wonderful people and have many good friends.  I'm sad to leave them. It's sadly funny, but you know who your good friends are when you are moving because they all offer to help with that trickiness that is moving.  They have said, "Do you need help packing?" "Do you need help cleaning?"  "Do you need a place to stay?"  "I'll take the kids anytime you need so you can get some work done without them."  Then there are the people who say, "What day are you packing?  I'll be there."  They don't just offer, they are ready to put it on their calendars.

It's truly amazing.  Thankfully, I don't need help packing.  The movers will do that for me!  Hooray!  We have a place to go after the movers have packed our things.  I've got sleeping bags, but on our dumb concrete floors, it's not a fun place to sleep.  My husband's co-worker and his wife (my son's cello teacher) are putting us up in their house.  I've told them you don't need to do anything special for us.  We'll just all crash in your living room.  But no, they'll have two bedrooms waiting for us.

If I really thought about all the generosity that is being shown us, I would break down and cry and you might not be able to pry me away from my empty house.  How can I leave?

I just hope that I can find good friends where we are going.  I hope I can help someone in return.  I hope I can repay the kindness that is being shown me.

I didn't mean to be so mushy and I didn't intend to write this when I sat down to blog, but I can't help it today.  Thank you dear friends.  Thank you.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Rio Grande

Here we are standing in the middle of the Rio Grande.  It's dry during the winters and fast flowing with water in the summers.  A number of miles up stream is a dam.  Right now they aren't letting any water through.  It's been a dry year, until this last week.

I knew we couldn't move without getting our picture taken in the middle of the Rio Grande.  We were surprised by the very soft sand and clams in the sand!

It was very cold that day and it started to rain while we were in the middle of the river.  We took a few goofy pictures and hopped back into the warm van.

Then on Monday, it snowed!  Tuesday was a snow day!  The kids loved that.  Today the world is back to normal, except for some snow left unmelted in the shadowed places of the city.  Pretty cool.  Actually, it's pretty cold.  Today, when my son left for school it was 20 degrees.  I wouldn't let him out of the house to go to school until he had put on long pants.  Monday, the day it snowed, he went to school in shorts and a t-shirt.  He was so mad at me today and told everyone about the cruel and unusual punishment that he has endured because his mother made him wear long pants.  He still wore a t-shirt and no jacket....

Teenage boys..... what can you do?

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Lamp

We are quite practical when it comes to furnishing our house.  I don't have a decorating gene in my body.  My sister got them all!  We have a black sofa.  We have a black rocking chair.  We have bookshelves that hold books.  The pictures on the wall are family photos.  I've tried to match all the frames, but that's about all the decorating I do.  I would like to decorate.  I would like to make cozy corners with a side tables, comfy chairs, and a gee, I don't know.  A knick knack?  What do you do with a cozy corner with a table and chair?

See I'm really not talented when it comes to decorating.

Last week, my son's employer (and a good friend of the family) gave our son a family gift.  It is a lamp.  The lamp is shaped like the Eiffel Tower!  I love it!  It's so art deco.  Now I know what to put in that cozy corner with the table and chair - my Eiffel Tower lamp.
Too bad I don't have that cozy corner.  For now it sits on my kitchen counter.  Hey!  Maybe the next house I can have a cozy corner. Now I just need a comfy chair, a side table and a house to put it all in....

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Back on line

I'm so happy to have my computer back.

Today was our last play practice for Auntie M's Christmas play.  This has been a very different kind of play and experience for me.  It's been fun.  I'm not nearly as stressed out as I was last time, but there are a few things that I'm just not sure how they will come together for the play next week.  They may not, and that is OK. 

I didn't want to involve kids younger than six, but instead I ended up with two 4 year olds.  They, actually, are doing great.  Although one of these cute 4 year olds was picking his nose on stage today.  I laughed.  It's amusing to see a shepherd digging for gold.

Next Saturday morning is the big show.  I'm excited for it.  It will be a lot of fun.  The play is short, maybe 25 minutes long, and half of that time is singing Christmas carols.  I'll be glad when it is done.  Since we are moving in three weeks, not having my Saturday mornings free to work on things has been difficult.  I really need to hold a yard sale.  I could just take all the stuff to the local Goodwill, but it would be nice to try and make a little money first.  Moving is so expensive.  Anything extra I can get will help.

This next week will be crazy!  Not bad, just busy.  I bought paint so I can start touching up the walls in the house.  I'll work on painting on Monday.  I'm NOT doing that while all the kids are in the house.

Well, I'm just kind of rambling.  I'll stop that for now.  There is a lot to work on....

I decided not to pull out all the Christmas decorations this year, but I did pull out the tree and put lights on it and the star on top.  That is probably all we'll do with the tree, but it sure is pretty to have my little tree with the blue lights on it.  I love Christmas lights.

Just a funny thing:  Last night I made my oldest son laugh while he had three saltine crackers in his mouth.  Yeah, there was a lot of cracker pieces to clean up, but it sure was funny.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Phone

Years ago, we had a phone.  It had been a good phone.  It had actually gone through the washing machine (accidentally) once.  And yet, it lived, worked, and was good to us for many years.  Then it died.

I used a cheap corded phone while I decided what to do next.

My sister had just bought a new phone for her house, so she mailed me her old one.  Now, the reason she bought a new phone was because the old one was very unreliable.  She was quite annoyed with it.

Now, I was in possession of the annoying phone.  It did give us trouble, but most of the time it worked.  Then, as time passed, it got more and more unreliable.  It didn't ring.  It wouldn't give us a dial tone.  It was not a good phone.  But, I was too cheap to buy a new one and of course, I didn't want to offend my sister, who had so graciously given me the phone.  (In retrospect, she probably sent me that phone to pay me back for trying to sell her when she was a baby.)

The phone got worse and worse.  I called it the stupid phone.  I would see someone out and about in town and frequently heard, "I tried to call you, but your phone did something strange."  and I would say, "Yes, it is a stupid phone."

Still, I was too cheap to go out and buy a new one. 

Well, this last week, it wasn't working at all.  We couldn't make calls out and we weren't getting calls in.  I yanked it from the wall and tossed it out.  I plugged in a cheap corded phone again.  My new cheap phone is a white, slim-line phone with no connections to oriental food what-so-ever.  (That's for you, sis)

Today, I admitted to my sister that I had gotten rid of the stupid phone.  Do you know what she said to me?  "It's about time!"

Well, (snobby turned up nose) see if I accept a used phone from her again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the dead computer

My computer is dead.  It's so sad.  It was fine Saturday, then that night it started having problems.  My dear Hubby, who is, in my opinion, a computer genius, has worked on it for days.  He has tried everything, but it could not be safely saved.  Tomorrow he will take it and have it erased.  We have tried to get all the important files off of it and I hope we did.  Right now, the only truly important file is my school file with the two papers I've been writing.  If anything should happen to those, I might go quite crazy.

This won't be long as I am typing from a touch pad keyboard.  I can do it, but it's kind of a pain.

Something kind of funny - my eldest son seems to have a difficult time coming out of rooms when the door is shut.  It always sounds like he runs into the door and has a fight with the knob before he gets out.  Well this morning I joked with him that really needs to remember to open the door before trying to walk out.  He smiled and walked out.  Several minutes later I hear a loud bang against a door and my son going "dang it."

ok this is getting really hard to type on.  later dudes!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Children's Literature

I love children's literature!

I love how fast I can read most of them.  Wow, I just read an entire novel in one hour! (OK, so it's a novel for a 2nd grader, but hey...)

Still, I'm picky about what I read.  I prefer to laugh or feel good while I'm reading a story, so I avoid serious dramas for the most part.  I like a lot of the classics.  I don't like books about dogs who die at the end.  I hated that we had to read Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller when I was in middle school.  They are still making kids read the same books.

I like fantasy and I like biographies.  I like books about everyday life and the silly situations we sometimes find ourselves in.  I like when the main character is an underdog, but manages to save the day.

Some of my favorites:
Peter Pan (of course) - Sir James M. Barrie
Heidi - Johanna Spyri
Long Way from Chicago - Richard Peck - all of his are funny and so heart-warming!
The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
The NeverEnding Story - Michael Ende
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
The Ramona Quimby books - Beverly Cleary
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

Recent reads include:
Island of the Blue Dolphins - Scott O'Dell
The Worst Witch - Jilly Murphy (a cute book)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cabin Fever - Jeff Kinney

Currently working on:
Swiss Family Robinson - Johann David Wyss  (I'm loving the archaic language.  No one uses the words "repast" or "repose" anymore.)
Five Children and It - E. Nesbit (again, great old language.  It was written in 1905.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The ol' batteries need a recharge

My batteries need to be changed, I think.  I feel like I'm running down.

Nothing bad is going on.  I'm quite fortunate that life is really pretty good.  Still, I feel like the batteries are dying.  My play is in two weeks.  I've never had all the kids come to the rehearsals at the same time.  One of them told me she didn't have her script because she lost it in her room and she is too lazy to look for it.  Yes, that is what she told me.  Know what I told her?  Find it!  She got my last copy of the script and I'm not making another just because she doesn't feel like looking for it.

I've got two school papers due.  One in December, one in January.  That really isn't a problem.  The problem is we will most likely be moving during those times. Moving in the middle of the semester makes getting homework done and papers written difficult.

Speaking of moving.... where are we going? Somewhere in Virginia.  When are we going?  I don't know.  Some time in December.  How's that for planning?

We lived in Hawaii for almost 5 years.  There is a lot of wonderful things there to miss, but for the most part, I don't think about it much.  Tonight we were visiting with a Hawaiian local that is here visiting family.  We heard her sing in Samoan.  She fed us!  We realized how much we miss that island and the beautiful people on it.  The culture, the food, the kindness.  It isn't the beaches or palm trees we miss.  It's the people we miss.  Too bad this upcoming move can't take us back to Hawaii.

Sigh. OK, that's enough of that. Like I said, things aren't really bad, but I feel worn down. Among other things, I'm concerned about not knowing where we are going, the kids school, saying goodbye to friends and hoping that wherever we go there are people as kind as the ones here. I need a hug. I need someone to hug me and tell me everything will work out just fine. I'm sure it will, but the hug would be nice anyway.

Things will be better Monday.  The kids will be back to school and I will be able to enjoy a little more peace.  My goal is to have my two papers for school finished before we leave and with everyone home for the Thanksgiving holidays, it's been hard to concentrate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trans Siberian Orchestra

Last Tuesday, my husband's work's Christmas party for the employees, were tickets to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  I wasn't terribly familiar with their music.  I only knew a couple of songs.  If you aren't familiar with TSO, they are kind of an electric guitar rocking band.  They have an electric violinist, two pianist, a drummer on a huge set, and a small string ensemble.  They really rocked the house!  I'm not a head banging, electric guitar rocking fan, but their music was quite awesome.  I had a fun time.  The show lasted for about three hours.  The first half of the show they told a sweet Christmas story with the spoken story being in prose and inbetween the storyteller's tale, they had their music.  Some of it was original music and some was new versions to old tunes like Carol of the Bells (one of their more famous songs.)  The second half of the show was their own oringinal music and showing off their tremendous talents.

The light system was incredible and their were lights in time with the music, laser show, pyrotechnics, and everything you would expect of a rock concert. It was a lot of fun.

Sadly for me, that's the night I got sick, so I was cold, achy and not enjoying the experience nearly as much as I might have otherwise.

I was really amazed to see, among the concert goes, a lot of gray and white haired people.  I was kind of surprised to see so many older folks at the show.  I mean, this was head banging, loud electric guitar music.  But then I got to thinking about these gray haired folks.  These guys were teens or young adults in the 60's and 70's.  This was the generation that went to Woodstock.  This is the generation that saw the Rolling Stones and The Who.  They were the first to go to ear-bleeding, head banging concerts.  Why wouldn't they still enjoy it now? 

This is my 3rd concert I've been too.  If you know anything about me, you might be able to guess who two of my favorite bands are.  Can you guess?  The Monkees and The Beatles.  I was a kid when the Monkees had their 20th anniversary tour and I got to see them when they went to Dallas.  I sat out in the grass for hours, drinking Gatorade and being so excited I could hardly sit still. Then the thrill of seeing Peter, Micky and Davy was beyond anything I had ever experienced. The funny thing about that concert was "Weird Al" was the opening band.  At the time I didn't know who Weird Al was, but it was not a full year later that I was introduced to his music and became a big fan.  All I remember of Weird Al's part of the concert was the "Addicted to Spuds" song.  He had people dressed as potatoes dancing on the stage.

My other favorite band, The Beatles, broke up before I was born, but in the 90's, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band came to Dallas and I went to see him.  Awesome!

Now I can can Trans Siberian Orchestra to my list of concerts.  It was so much fun.  Next time, though, I need to remember ear plugs.  It was a little louder than I was comfortable with.  I'm such an old fuddy-duddy.

If you've never heard any of TSO before, I recomend this - Carol of the Bells:

if you like that, you should also listen to Wizards in Winter:

Monday, November 21, 2011

nothing more than fragmented thoughts

Things are never dull here.  Honestly, I can't ever say that I'm bored. 

What a week we had.  What a week we have coming up.  What a month ahead of me. 

Thanks to good meds I am feeling 100% again after last weeks nasty sickness.  Well, I was feeling 100%, but today while lifting boxes, I pulled a muscle in my back. Note to self - get Hubby or Son to do the heavy lifting.  They have arm muscles, I don't. :)

We had family visit over the weekend.  My parents, my husband's parent's and a nephew were here for a special occasion.  What fun we all had visiting, laughing, sharing stories, watching the kids play.  It was only a few short days, but it was great fun while they were here.  I'm sad to see it end, but at the same time, I need everyone to go so I can focus on getting this house ready to move.

The kids have school tomorrow, but then they are off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  It will be fun to have them home.  I hope they will work to behave themselves and get along with each other.  Is it really just three days until Thanksgiving?  I haven't even thought about fixing Thanksgiving dinner.  I love doing it, but it's really snuck up on me this year or I've been too busy to notice its approach.  Today I was at the store getting a few essentials and not really shopping.  However, my mother-in-law, who was with me, reminded me that I hadn't bought my turkey yet.  Oh yeah!  I hope it thaws by Thursday.

My son loves the Elf Yourself website.  He plays on it every morning before school.  His favorite thing to do is put himself and some of his favorite famous people in the pictures (i.e. David Tennent (from Dr. Who), Bill Murray, Fabio, and Weird Al) and then watch them dance.  It's pretty entertaining.

Really, I have no point to my blog entry this time.  It's just some of my thoughts spilling from my mind onto the keyboard.  (Kind of weird imagery there, isn't it?)  I have a fun blog entry in mind to do, I just haven't taken the time to sit down and write it.  I've GOT to get school work done, but maybe, if I need a break from library concerns, I'll blog about a fun evening I had last week.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Birthday cake disasters

I've got many friends who, on their blogs or Facebook page, post pictures of these amazing cakes that they made for their children's birthdays or a friend's birthday.  It is simply incredible and some of them are a work of art.

Then, there are my poor cake decorated deprived children.  They have a mom who is seriously handicapped at cake decorating.  Seriously!!!  It wasn't always this bad, but it seems each cake I make just gets worse and worse.  Here is the most recent cake disaster:

Yeah, I know.  That's bad.  I don't even want to tell you what it makes me think of.  So, I made the cake, like normal.  After it was completely cooled, I took it out of the pan.  Well, it broke into about three pieces when I took it out of the pan.  Then I tried to ice it.  It just crumbled.  I've never had a cake do that.  NEVER!

Thankfully my son was very amused and forgiving of his mom's incredible lack of decorating talent.

This was my daughter's cake last year.  The two round cakes didn't sit well on top of each other and the top of the cake kind of slid off the bottom of the cake.  It was a mess.  She was forgiving as well.

Hey, my cakes may be ugly, but they are tasty.  There is nothing wrong with the way the cake tastes and that's the most important part.  Right? 

My husband an two older sons don't even bother asking for a cake, they want cheesecake and I can make some killer cheesecakes.  They are yummy!  This year, after seeing her brother's cake disaster, my daughter asked for ice cream instead of a cake.  Smart girl.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Today was a much better day, thank goodness!  I don't get sick often. I get a cold every year that keeps me coughing for about six weeks, but I can deal with that.

What happened to me the other day is a much more rare occurrence.  I wake up in the morning, just fine and ready to tackle the day.  By the end of the day, BAM!  I'm flat on my back unable to move because I feel so awful and achy and dizzy.  I was up at 1am and 5am last night (this morning) eating popsicles to help my poor throat. 

Thank you medicine!  Today I feel quite normal except for a very tender throat.

So, I cleaned today.  Not a lot of fun and there is still a lot to do, but I feel better about what I accomplished today.  Ooooo, I can feel my throat getting sore again.  Time for some meds and maybe another popsicle.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


It's amazing how you can wake up one day, feeling quite normal and with big plans for the day and by that night, you are shivering on the couch hardly able to move.

That was me yesterday.  Today hasn't been much better.  I've laid around, slept, and spent 2 1/2 hours at the doctor trying to gets some meds to help.

I have company arriving in two days.  It will be the Hubby's parents AND my parents.  Yeah, this house will not be ready for company.

OK, I'm dizzy, so I'm going to lay back down. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birthdays, discos, and not freaking out (yet)

In the last six days, we've had two birthdays in our house.  The oldest daughter is 8 now and the youngest son is 6.  It's hard to believe.  I love that they are getting older.

Last night we had a disco dance.  Now years and years ago, disco night in our house was a regular event.  We probably had a disco two or three times a month.  Our disco ball hung from the ceiling in the living room. We would turn on the spotlight, crank up the disco music and dance.  It was great fun.  Last night we turned off all the lights in the house and turned on the strobe light.  Then we danced.  It was so funny.  I wish I could explain everything that the kids did.  My youngest daughter, who is 3, had this strut she would do and she probably had the best moves of anyone else in the family.  They all had fantastic moves.  It was very funny and I'm a little jealous of their dance skills.

(Actually, my youngest just came up to me and told me she wants to do a disco dance again.)

As we will be moving soon, you can imagine it is on our minds a lot.  I hope each day when Hubby comes home from work, he will know where we are going and when we are going.  It makes moving easier to plan when you have those two vital bits of information.  While I'm sad to say good-bye to good friends, I view each move as an exciting adventure.  I'm not stressing over anything yet because there is nothing I can do about anything just yet.  Hubby told me I had a good attitude about this move.  (We've moved at least 9 times over the course of our marriage.)  I told him if my attitude was annoying him, I could totally freak out over it.  He declined my offer.

This move should be so easy compared to the last one.  Last time we were trying to sell a house and I had six month old to deal with (along with the other 4 kids) and Hubby left for his new job about a month before I could leave to join him, so I was all alone.  This time, it's a rental house, the kids are older and can help more.  I'll stress out when we get close to the actual move.  So, Molly-freaking-out will appear in about a month.  Keep an eye out for the entertaining show that is to come.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Molly and Peter

Several amazing things have happened this week.  On Wednesday,  Hubby found out his job here was ending.  That means we move wherever the next job takes us.  So, we're moving!  Most likely next month.

It's crazy how fast the news comes and you work with it.  I'd tell you where we are moving to, but I don't know myself yet.  It's looking like Virginia, but don't quote me on that yet.

So, this weekend, we started cleaning out stuff.  I've got a very large yard sale pile going.  I've been going through boxes, cleaning out stuff we don't need and other joyous tasks of this nature.

Tonight, miracle of miracles, I found a set of photos that I thought I had lost.  Honestly, I haven't seen these photos in six years and was sure they were missing forever.  Hubby will tell you how upset I've been over the years at the loss of these photos.  Tonight, I was searching through a box.  It was probably never unpacked when we moved here three years ago.  (Yeah, I know that's pretty sad to still have unpacked boxes from the last move....)

So, tonight for the first time in six years, I share with you a picture from my visit to Kensington Gardens in London back in 2005 to see the Peter Pan statue.  I was 7 months pregnant with kid #4.

Molly and Peter

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Peter Pan, my first love

I don't guess I've really talked about Peter Pan before, but I can't not talk about him any longer.

Peter Pan was my first crush.

Many years ago, when I was just a young tot of two, (maybe younger, but I don't remember that far back) I had a record player.  I listened to music and stories on my record player.  I remember having several versions of the story of Peter Pan that I loved listening to.

Peter Pan frequently sent Tinker Bell to my home to visit me.  I remember more than once, sitting in my living room while a light darted about the ceiling.  I spoke to it.  My parents might tell you that it was my dad holding a hidden flashlight, but that wouldn't be the truth - it was Tinker Bell.

I'm sure I visited Never Never Land after falling asleep many nights.

When I was three, just before Halloween, I fell and broke my left arm, just above the elbow.  I already had my costume and no broken arm was going to stop me from dressing as, you guessed it, Peter Pan.
My brother and I. 1978

At the preschool Halloween class party.  Most of the time, I wore my sling inside my shirt.
Peter was on my 4th birthday cake and I had either a mobile or a lamp from my very early childhood that featured Peter.

One of my favorite records as a child was a theatrical performance of Peter Pan on LP.  It was a very groovy recording with original music.  I LOVED that record.  I can still sing the opening song from it.  "There's a magic place I know, where it's summer all year through.  A land at rainbows end of games and let's pretend, Never Land is waiting for you!"

Terrytown Players, I love you.
The record was made in 1977
I was given a beautiful story book from my parents in 1980 for Christmas.  It had the most amazing pictures in it.  I looked at those beautiful works of art over and over.
Stunning art work.
It really set my small child's imagination running.

I went to see Peter Pan when it came to Dallas and starred Sandy Duncan! (late 70's early 80's, I don't know the year)  I remember going to see that.  It was such a thrill.  Years later I was introduced to the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan.  I taped it off the TV and had it on VCR tape so I was able to watch it over and over and over.  "I have a place where dreams are born and time is never planned.  It's not on any chart, you must find it with your heart, Never Never Land."  Then, as a teenager, the Cathy Rigby version came to Dallas and I saw that performed.
The Playbill for Cathy Rigby's Peter Pan
I have several versions of the books to read.
The book on the left is a nice hardback, the center book I got for super cheap at a used bookstore.  It's great for just reading without worrying about destroying the book.  The blue book on the right it the one with the beautiful artwork that I got for Christmas when I was very small.

The first unabridged book of Peter pan that I read.
I learned very quickly when reading Peter Pan, that it was much more than just a children's book.  The language was difficult first of all.  It's much darker story than the plays and movies I had seen.  Peter is still lovable, but less so.  He is an mischievous imp.  You get so annoyed with him in his complete lack of understanding of Wendy's feelings, and yet, when he is hurt and about to die, alone on a rock from a wound inflicted by Hook, you want to cry for Peter. 

There were movies, like Hook, in 1991 that were lots of fun.  There were other movie versions that were well done, but not my favorite telling of the story....  I was in the play Peter Pan when I was 10 or so years old.  I played the snake.  I got to hang out with the crocodile.  I was in every scene the crocodile was in.  I don't have any photos of my in my snake costume, but I know my mom has at least one, somewhere. 

I tried to convince my husband to name one of our children Peter, but I never could get him to go with me on that.

I had the most awesome record ever of the Disney's Peter Pan:

Yes, amazing pictures from the movie printed right onto the record.
As a teenager, probably 16 years old, I did a cross stitch of Peter and the gang:
It hangs on the wall in my home now.

Then, six years ago, I had the opportunity to go to London for about 36 hours.  I didn't care what I saw or did in London, as long as I visited the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.  It took several subway trains from my hotel and a very, very long walk through a huge park before I found Peter, but found him I did. A kind stranger took a picture of me with Peter Pan.  I was 8 months pregnant at the time with baby #4.  Sadly, I haven't seen those pictures since coming back from London.  I have no idea what happened to them.  I hope one day to find them, but until then, just know that I've been there.  I've seen Peter.  I sat on a bench across the walk from him, looked at him and thanked him for the many, many wonderful years we've know each other.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Fall Tradition

Where would we be in life without traditions?  Lost, that's for sure.

My kids can count on every year, the annual post-Halloween torching of the jack-o-lantern.  We started this tradition about 10 years ago.  We were living in Hawaii.  It's hot there year round.  Our poor pumpkin we bought and carved in  mid-October was a nothing but a moldy, melted orange blob by Halloween.  We decided to have a bit of fun with it and the Hubby sprayed it with lighter fluid and set it aflame.

This became a post-Halloween tradition.  This year, after an unusually warm October, we once again had a melted, gooey pumpkin.  Last night, we set it out among the rocks in our yard and the Hubby turned on the propane torch.  Flames shot out of it's eyes and mouth.

Long live traditions!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Canadian Style Mincemeat

The Hubby is a big fan of mincemeat.  Every Christmas season I make him a mincemeat pie.  I buy the brown goo in the big jar and pour it into a pie crust.  He is the only one who will east it.  I like it for maybe two bites and I'm done.  The flavor is just odd to me.  This year I thought it might be fun to do something different.  So, I was searching for mincemeat recipes and came across one that looked tasty.

It is called Canadian style mincemeat.  I don't know if it actually the way they eat mincemeat in Canada or if they get the brown goo in a jar like we have in the US.  Perhaps someone just called it that for fun and it has nothing to do with Canada.  I don't know.  If any friends from Canada can solve this mystery for me, I would be so grateful.

Well, whatever it is called and where ever it hales from, it looked good and I decided to try it.
It is apple cider, cranberries, craisins, apples, raisins, and spices.  It all gets dumped together into a pot, cooked, mashed and then stored in jars.

Simmering in the pot.  It smelled as wonderful as it looks.  Apples, cranberries and cinnamon. 
That's an amazing fall aroma.

Canned into jars.  It looks pretty.
Once I had this delicious concoction made, I had to try something with it.  I found a cookie recipe.  It's basically a sugar cookie with the mincemeat inside.  I used a heart shaped cookie cutter.  They turned out so very yummy.  These little cookies are perfect for an evening treat.  I heated up some apple cider to drink with my cookies.  If there are seasons in heaven, this is what you would eat in autumn in heaven.

Delicious little cookies
So there it is, Canadian style mincemeat.  I'll be making more of this stuff.  When the holidays are upon us, I'll make a pie with it.  Ooo, it will be so good.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The millions of ideas

There is a million things going on in my head.  I really need to focus on just a few things, but no, I try and tackle as much as I can.

I'm trying to get through school work.  I like it and much of it is interesting, but this week, I have 31 pages to read.  That's really not much, but every time I sit down to read, I fall asleep.  Or my mind starts to think about the other ten projects I'm working on and by the time I've finished a page, I can't remember a single thing that I read and I re-read it, but continue to have a wandering mind.  I still haven't made it through those 31 pages yet. 

My theater is holding auditions this coming Saturday.  I'm excited.  Recent theater experiences in the last few months have given me great ideas to do with the kids for auditions.  I'm going to have every kid go through the audition, but depending on the number of kids that show up, if they want to be in the play, I can put them in it.  It's a great little show because the cast size is very flexible.

Oldest son really wants to have a comedy troop.  We've had two meetings, but only one kid showed up and that's tough for him.  My kids and I have been playing these funny games for month, but he never has, so it's hard for him to jump into our family's insanity.  We discovered that one of our neighbors is a theater major graduate and he spent a year and a half in an improv comedy group while he was in school.  We've invited him to our next meeting to come and really help us do some fun stuff.

I've given up on writing right now.  The only thing I write these days is this blog and my school papers.  Sad, but it's a trade off in the middle of the semester.

I need to figure out how to record sound with my computer.  I can run the camera, but I don't want video, just sound and I can't figure it out.  I've asked Hubby for help, but he is so busy with everything he is involved in, he hasn't had time to help.  If I ever do figure it out, watch out!  I've got a funny idea brewing.

The kids are good.  My oldest daughter and youngest son have birthdays next week.  Ahhh!  I haven't even thought about those yet.  I had a parent/teacher conference with my daughter's teacher a couple of weeks ago.  She told me what they are learning in school and she told me, "don't teach her multiplication yet,  we need to get the addition facts down first."  OK.  Well, today, for fun, daughter was at the table, writing out her own math problems and figuring them out.  She realized that 12x6 is just 12 six times. She thinks of things that I never would have thought of at her age. She's smart, like her dad.

OK, Peanut, who I am holding, has fallen asleep.  Now it's time to put her down and see if I can tackle those reading pages again. (yawn, maybe not)

Upcoming blog entries will include:  Mincemeat adventures and my lifelong love for Peter Pan.
Oh yes, I know you're excited now.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Scary Thoughts

We love our holiday TV specials, Garfield, Charlie Brown and such.  With this being Halloween, I started to think of my favorite shows and their Halloween episodes.  Most TV shows, that I can think of, have at least one Halloween themed show during their run. 

Right now, as I am writing this, my daughter is watching Blues Clues.  It is the episode where they are trying to find out what Blue is afraid of.  At one point, they enter into an old haunted house that is occupied by a little ghost named Boo.  Every time some one says Boo's name, everyone screams.  It's funny.

My favorite TV show of all time, The Monkees, really didn't have a specific Halloween episode.  They did have four or five shows that took place in haunted mansions with monsters, vampires, werewolves, mummies and coffins.  Definitely a couple of great episodes to watch during Halloween.

Another favorite TV show for me is SeaQuest DSV.  They had a Halloween one that if I remember right, aired on Halloween.  It took place on an old sunken ship where tormented souls of ghosts did their best to scare the crew of the SeaQuest.  I've seen the episode three or four times now, but one part of the show still freaks me out.  It's at the beginning.  The crew is watching some old footage of a Titanic-like ship.  They pause the old movie to discuss what to do and while the movie is paused, one of the faces in the movie turns to look at them.  Freaks me out every time.  (Shivers)

I prefer to laugh than be scared, so I'll share a favorite YouTube clip of a not-so-scary witch.  Just a warning - do NOT eat anything while watching this.  I did this morning and about choked on my cereal because I was laughing so hard.

What's your favorite Halloween TV episode?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween movies and music

We love Halloween time here at our house.  Personally, I just love that the weather is cooler and I can bake with pumpkin til my heart's content.

We love watching our favorite holiday movies and shows:
Garfield's Halloween
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Disney's Halloween Special
The Worst Witch

We listen to great music:
"Toccata and Fugue" by Bach (the great classic organ song)
"In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Grieg
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Dukas
"Night on Bald Mountain" by Rimsky-Korsakov
"This is Halloween" from Nightmare Before Christmas by Danny Elfman
Monster Mash

I found this fun list:
Dracula’s top ten favorite songs
10. You’re so vein
9. Fangs for the Memories
8. You’ve got a Fiend
7. You Don’t Bring me Plasma Anymore
6. Bat’s the Way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it
5. You Light up my Crypt
4. Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Casket
3. Don’t Go Stakin’ My Heart
2. Stranglers in the Night
1. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Donor

Getting Ready for Halloween

Today is the first day that it has really felt cool out.  I mean, the kids can and still are running around without jackets or shoes so it's not that cold yet. But, it's the first day that I haven't turned on the A/C in the house.

Tomorrow is the first Halloween carnival we will attend.  Actually, there are three, but we will only attend one.  Just two days ago, my 11 year old son finally told me what he wants to be for Halloween.  So, what do my kids want to dress as for Halloween?

Oldest son wanted to dress as Dr. Who.  He's rather obsessed with that show right now.  Sadly, in this warm climate we live in, dark brown overcoats and matching suits with bow ties aren't to be found (for a cheap price, anyway.)  We found a costume online for Dr. Who, but who wants to spend $300 on a costume for a kid that will grow out of it in five months?  He was disappointed, but decided to be Charlie Brown in his Halloween costume.  So, that is a sheet with a bunch of holes cut out of it.  A $4 sheet from the local used clothing store is definitely doable.

Next son took until 2 days ago to tell me he wants to be a pirate.  Well, he can wear his dark pants and white shirt.  A trip to the used clothing store found a brown scrub-like shirt.  With a little help from the old sewing machine, we turned that brown shirt into a vest.  I've got some strips of cloth we can use as a belt.  OK, we're good.

Seven year old daughter.  If you've never seen the movie called "The Worst Witch," I highly recommend it.  It was filmed in the 80's and is about a young girl at a witches academy.  It's got a lot of Harry Potter elements in it, but this was more than a decade before Harry Potter even showed up on bookshelves.  The main witch student is Mildred Hubble.  This is who my daughter wanted to be for Halloween.  We found a women's sleeveless cocktail dress at the used clothing shop and an orange shirt.  They look like the uniforms the girls in the movie wear.  A green ribbon belt and striped stockings finish the costume off. It's cute!

The five year old son has also waited until the last minute to tell me his costume choice  - a ninja.  Not too tough.  Black pants, black shirt, black socks.  We've got that.  I will sew one more element to his costume this afternoon.

Then there is Peanut.  She wanted to be a ballerina.  We have a leotard already from when her big sister was this age.  Some tulle and an elastic made a tutu.  She spent two days already wearing her costume.  Her tutu is looking pretty sad now.  It's OK.  It makes her happy.

I'll wear my purple medieval dress with the huge sleeves.  I'll be Vaire the Weaver from Tolkien's The Silmarillian.

I'm so glad Halloween comes once a year.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The digital hybrid

I haven’t said much about school this semester.  We are only beginning our 5th week, so there hasn’t been much to say.  Last week we had a group project to do.  That isn’t easy when the members of the group span 12 time zones.  Most of them are in the UK, but there are a few of us in North America and several in Asia and Africa.  By the time I get all the kids to school and I’m ready to sit down and do school work, it’s around 4pm in the UK.
It’s really amazing, when you think about it, how students from many countries on six of the continents are in one class together.

Also this past week, we discussed “digital natives.”  What are digital natives you ask?  People born since 1993.  They know no life without the Internet.  The rest of us born prior to 1993 are called “digital immigrants.”  An interesting idea, but as I see it, it is not entirely true.  The generation I am from (sounds like a bad sci-fi movie) have lived with computers all of our lives.  We didn’t get the Internet until we were young adults, but we were the first generation to have personal computers, game consoles, and VCRs.
We had an Atari.  I never did get very good at those games.  The joystick was awkward in my small hand, but that didn’t keep my brother and I from trying to get the moving square (the ball) to hit the moving bars (tennis rackets, I think.)

When I was around 8, we got our first computer – an Apple IIe.  Those old things had no memory at all.  They didn’t run unless they had a disk in them.  Yes, the 5 ¼ floppies.  If you turned it on without a disk inside, it made a lot of rude noises.  We had a word processing program.  It was where I wrote all my plays and my first novel.  We also had a couple of great games – Jumpman, Nibbler and Math Blaster. 
We got our first VCR around that same time.  Great fun.  It was such a novelty to go down to the shopping center near our home and pick out videos from the brand new home video rental store.  This is way before Blockbuster.  We recorded TV shows and could watch them whenever we wanted!

Our first cell phone must have weighed about 10 pounds. They weren’t even called cell phones.  They were mobile phones and despite their name, they weren’t very mobile.  It was too heavy to carry around in your bag and your arm would cramp while trying to talk on it.
I think my generation should be called “digital hybrids.”  I don’t think of myself as a technological immigrant.  I grew up with the stuff.  Someday when I’m old, have a purple bouf, and whacking teenagers with a cane, I’ll be able to say, “Back when I was young, you whippersnappers, we didn’t have these smart phones.  Our first cell phone was as long as your arm and weighed more than a newborn baby.”
Oh yes, that will be the day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I think I need some sunshine

Having a blah day and I have no reason to do so.  I've got several great projects going on.  I love have a projects to work on.  I just can't get myself to work on any of them.  But on the flip side, I don't know what to do with myself either.  Maybe I just need to get outside and soak in some sunshine.

Last night, Hubby was on one computer which is in our bedroom.  The living room was filled with kids.  Several of them were watching cartoons on the TV and the oldest was watching Dr. Who on my computer.  I didn't want to hang out in the living room or the bedroom.  Where else can I go?  I had my oldest son assist me in moving my loom into the kitchen.  Yes, the kitchen.  I took my tablet, which has some of my favorite music.  I put on headphones, and work in the kitchen on my loom.  It was a great little work area.  No one bothered me and I got the loom re-tied so I can start weaving again.

Peanut has been funny, and slightly annoying this morning.  Several times, I've been in various rooms working on something and she comes in and says:
"Mom, can you come with me and get something down?"
"OK, I'll be right there."
"Mom, now."

and just a moment ago I got this:
"Mom, can you come to sister's room and sweep under the bed?"
"Why?  Are there toys under the bed you want me to get?"
"Yeah, can you come now?"

I guess I had better go sweep under the bed before I get the "Now, Mom!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living in the future

No, this isn't some strange sci-fi experiment.

All week long, I've thought this week is next week.  Understand?  My dear Hubby made arrangements to come home early today because I had an appointment.  I checked the calendar to verify my appointment time and realized that the appointment is next week, not today.  UG!  I couldn't get hold of Hubby for a while and when I finally did, it was too late.  He was one his way home.

Oops.  Sorry.

This week I've done some Mad Libs with my kids.  I love doing those.  My 7 year old, who has recently learned the parts of speech, is really into doing these.  She and I have had many a good laugh in the last week.

You can't help but laugh when you are talking about an orchestra playing Beethoven's "Fifth Flamingo" or Dois Day being elected Choo Choo Train of the Year and receiving a stinky dinosaur as her prize.
AND... did you know that the African Gravel Stone eats fifty pounds of fuzzy cheese a day?

Mad Libs are so funny. Oh yes, the next time you visit a zoo, watch out for the wild chocolate chips and recycle bins running around in large pens.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Auntie M's Children's Theater is back

Check out Auntie M's Children's Theater!  There are two audition announcements.

I'm also planning next year's season.  If we can work it out, there will be three productions next year, spring, summer and fall!  It should be a ton of fun. Check out the Upcoming Performances page.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Whirlwind

My three year old is a whirlwind.  She’s as sweet as they come, but a complete whirlwind. 
Each day for the last few weeks, she has taken to sorting through all of our movies.  She pulls each one out and asks me what it is.  Aside from watching a lot of Blues Clues lately, she has also been into watching The NeverEnding Story, Mr. Bean, The Berenstain Bears and Baby Einstien.  The problem is she doesn’t put any of the movies back.  I find them all over the floor.

She does the same with all of the kid books.  This last week, we’ve read Fancy Nancy’s Halloween many times.  There have been a lot of other books we’ve read, too.  They are all over the floor.
She loves to wear shoes that are not her own.  So, all over the living room and dining room I’ll find everyone’s shoes.  Then, when we need to go somewhere, I can’t find her shoes because she took them off in some odd place so she could put on her brother’s shoes.

She can make a mess of toys in her room faster than a desert dust devil.  It’s a talent.
She loves to tell knock, knock jokes.  Some of them are quite funny.  Most of them don’t make sense, but you laugh anyway because her delivery of the joke is fantastic.

She cut some of her hair this week.  It’s never good when a three year old cuts their own hair, but she didn’t do a bad job, surprisingly.  They are almost like bangs.  I don’t mind bangs, but when the rest of her hair reaches the middle of her back, a small section of above the eyebrow bangs is very short.
She thinks that she is going to grow up into a baby.  Nothing you can say will change her mind on this.  She often tells me that when she grows up into a baby, she will have a bottle, wear baby clothes, and play with baby toys.  You just have to agree with her.  She can’t be swayed in her idea.

She climbed into some of the cupboards recently to get food coloring.  She applied it very well and didn’t make a mess of it.  I just wish she had not done that.
My little Peanut, what a gal.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Halloween Fountain

Thirteen or so years ago, the Hubby and I bought a little Halloween decoration.  It’s a small fountain in the shape of a tombstone with a pool of stones at the bottom.  When you turn it on, it played spooky music and a small pump within the tombstone kept a stream of red blood-like liquid pouring from the top into the pool.
It was a fun decoration and we enjoyed it for several years.  Then, we moved and half of our belongings went into storage and remained there for 10 years before we were finally able to retrieve all of our things.  Last year, we opened one of our storage boxes to find our spooky fountain.  You can imagine my children’s thrill when we filled the pool with water and red food coloring.  It didn’t play the spooky music anymore, but it was still fun to watch the fountain flow it a most spooky way.

Towards the end of October we started to notice that we could, very faintly, hear Christmas music coming from the fountain.  Odd.

Now this year is here and we’ve pulled out our Halloween decorations, including the fountain.  I addedsome water and turned it on.  Very distinctly we heard Christmas tunes coming from our fountain.  Santa Claus is Coming to Town and We Wish You a Merry Christmas played while the water poured from the top of the fountain to the skulls and stones below.  It took away all spookiness and made the fountain quite comical. 

I wasn’t ready to add the food coloring just at that moment, even though the kids were asking me to do it.  Really, it’s quite a mess and I didn’t want to deal with it quite yet.   Well, Peanut, my ever busy 3 year old, decided to take matters into her own hands.  She climbed up onto the counter, opened the cupboard with the food coloring and added it herself.  She added blue.  I haven’t changed it.  So, our spooky skull Halloween fountain plays Christmas music and has lovely blue water flowing over the tombstone.  Happy Halloween or Merry Christmas!
I don't know why Blogger keeps turning the picture sideways, but you get the idea of what the fountain looks like.
Are you spooked out yet?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Almost empty: a family tradition

There's a joke in my family among my parents and siblings that when it comes to food you can not finish anything.

Imagine a plate with pancakes on it.  The family eats the pancakes, but then as dinner is finishing, there is one pancake left on the plate.  Who gets it?  Well, it's not polite to take the last one, so everyone just leaves it and dinner is over.

What do you do with the one pancake?  Do you just eat it?  Do you throw it out, even though it is good food?  Do you save it?  Saving it would involve using a baggie or a Tupperware for just one item.  Is it worth it?

During that same meal, everyone has a drink of milk.  But, the tradition is, you must leave a tiny bit of milk in the jug.  You must leave too much milk in the jug just to throw out, so you have to save it.  An entirely empty jug, except for about 1/8 of a cup is stored back into the fridge.

Do you see how this is going?  The family tradition of leaving just the tiniest amount, but too much to throw out has managed to be passed onto my own children.
It's too much food left to throw the container away, but it seems so ridiculous to store an almost completely empty container.

Same with the syrup here.
Must leave a little in the jar.  Now the entire jar must be stored until the next time we eat pancakes.

I have learned over the years that the next time we eat these foods or drinks, I put the mostly empty container out first.  If I set that jug of syrup out AND a brand new jug of syrup, the family will open the new jug and use it, never touching the jug that is almost empty.

Does anyone else have this problem, or is it just my family?
Just some food for thought.  :)

PS: Check out my son, Stonehelm the Wise's, latest blog entry.

An update on the almost empty situation in our house:
Last night we had pickles as a part of our dinner.  There was one lonely pickle slice the size of a nickle left floating in the jar.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

School chats

School has been going for two weeks for me.  Some of it is interesting, some, not so interesting, but I guess that's the way school goes.  Of course, it's only been two weeks.  Today we had two "chats" in a chatroom.  The first one was at 10am, Scotland time.  That was 3am for me.  I was awake and alert and participated and towards the end, I thought of a good question and decided to save the it for the next chat session later in the day.  I got to go back to sleep for about 2 hours after the chat finished and before it was time to wake kids up for school.  When the second chat started, it was 8pm Scotland time, one in the afternoon for me.  I sat down to participate in the chat and couldn't remember anymore the question I had so brilliantly devised at 3:50am.

The next chat is next month and will be at 7am for me.  That will be hard as that is the hour I'm getting kids out the door for school, but it's better than 3 in the morning.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Scary Hotel

A favorite blog inspired me to write this little story:

A little over a year ago I got to go to Detroit.  I spent four days and three nights there.  I was several blocks away from the downtown area.  Now, I’ve heard a lot of bad stories about downtown Detroit, but I have to say, the actual downtown area was very nice.  The skyscrapers were impressive and the streets were nice.  Now, you leave the immediate downtown area and things get pretty scary pretty fast.
I was about three blocks away from the downtown in a cheap hotel. 

There is no way to really describe the hotel and do it justice. I didn’t feel entirely safe.  The room was quite large, painted pink and had one 60 watt light-bulb in it.  It was dark.  In one corner of the room was, from what the manager told me, a Jacuzzi.  Yes, a Jacuzzi right in my room!  However, as I checked in, he told me the Jacuzzi didn’t work.  It was in a corner of the room and it was so dark in that corner, I couldn’t even see the bottom of the dark green tub. For all I knew, there could have been a dead body in there.  Even though the Jacuzzi didn’t work, I was probably charged extra just for the pleasure of having the view of one in my room.

There were bugs in the shower and I saw several on the bed.  Thankfully for me, the room had a couch.  I prefer to sleep on couches anyway, but after seeing the bugs in the bed, I wasn’t sleeping there.  The couch probably wasn’t much better, but I never actually saw a bug on it.

The last night I was there, there was a lot of activity going on in the halls.  I didn’t sleep well.  I kept the door locked and bolted, but someone tried to get into my room about three in the morning.  I think the people were quite drunk because I finally heard one of them say, “oops, wrong door!”
The only thing that room had going for it was Wi Fi.  I was able to hook up to the Internet and write a bad review of the hotel.  Stay Away!
The super pink hotel room

The dark corner with the mysterious Jacuzzi.  The flash from the
camera makes it look lighter than it actually was in the room.

This summer, as a family, we ended up stopping quite late one night in Flagstaff on our way to see extended family.  Some huge motorcycle convention must have been going on.  Every hotel we stopped at was full and the parking lots were filled with motorcycles.  We finally found a motel that was probably built in the 50’s.  Judging from the d├ęcor in the room, it still had its original furnishings.  I think the bedding and pillows were original too.  Our entire family slept in one room on the beds, and all over the floor.  Now, this was in July and the window A/C didn’t work.  As Flagstaff is high elevation, the outside air did cool down, but not in our room.  I hardly slept.  It was too hot.  I should have slept outside in the open air, but I was afraid of some motorcycle gang from the hotel next door might see me sleeping on the patio.  Hubby wasn’t impressed with the room at all, but I have to say, I never saw a bug in the room during our 10 hours in the motel. (Except for the dead one smashed on the bathroom wall next to the toilet, but hey, at least it was dead.)