Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pinched nerves and Precious moments

My girls came home on Sunday and we celebrated Christmas. We've been roller blading and Nintendo DSing like mad, lol. It's been a nice few days.



A few days before Christmas I started having neck pain. So on day four, the day after Christmas, I called a chiropractor who said he could see me that day. I was fairly miserable with the pain on Christmas day and didn't want to keep just enduring it. It wasn't like...the pain of giving birth, mind you...but it was gnawing and I was getting nothing done. (Not that I mind having an excuse to sit around, lol...but I had just a very few projects I was going to try to tackle during my break, and they didn't get done. I doubt they will at this rate. Any work I do in the days ahead will be in the form of lesson plans and laundry.)



Anyway I went to the chiro and found out I have a pinched nerve. I also let him check out my lower back because I've had pain in it for at least four years. I had therapy for it a couple summers ago and the PT told me it was muscle spasms in my... well, in my batootie. lol Yeah, that was some interesting therapy. ha ha



So the chiro took xrays of my neck and of my lower back. He took a profile of each and one straight on. He was very gabby and not "really" seeing patients that day, so he took his time. I stood there several minutes for the xrays. It wasn't like an xray tech that whisks you in and out and you're done. Shouldn't have been a problem, but...I THINK I was standing with my knees locked. There was one more xray to go and the thought went through my head, "Have I had my knees locked?" and I started moving my legs immediately. I guess I was a little late. I headed for a chair and made it, yay! But I nearly passed out. Tingling all over, then HOT HOT HOT, man was it HOT in there, and then came the nausea. It was quite the adventure. Then a couple minutes later I was fine and we went on with things.



He went over the xrays with me. My lower back looked perfect, he said, from both angles...which basically means that the pain IS muscular...but he can do some to help with that, so I'm happy girl. Then he showed me the xrays of my neck. Of course from the back or front, your cervical spine should be straight. Mine veers to the right for now because it's protecting that little pinched nerve in my neck. Then he showed me the profile xray. From the profile, your cervical spine should make a curved line. Mine makes a straight line. It's angled: I'm not like a pole, lol, but it's a straight line. What does this mean? It means that instead of the 20 lbs of my big ol' head resting on the cartilige...it is putting that weight on the discs. Not a good thing. And my 5th and 6th vertebra have very very very little space remaining between them. I guess they're the ones putting the pinch on my nerve. Those vertebra show some "wear and tear." Instead of a nice pointy corner on them as there should be, it is rounded off a bit. He showed me on this lovely poster that my neck is in the first stage of degeneration (or was it deterioration?). The good news is that it can be reversed...not quite back to normal but it can be reversed. If it had advanced to the next stage I'd have been out of luck as far as trying to reverse things. Bones would have started fusing and lovely things like that. But it's going to be a process. Not a terribly long one, but we're not talking a one visit fix.



Tomorrow I go for my third visit. I'm nearly counting down the hours. A visit mean RELIEF. How do *I* spell relief? Not ROLAIDS, but CHIROPRACTOR. It's longer, but it feels better.



Now for the precious moment I mentioned. When I typed it I thought of the Precious Moments figurines. I love those little things. I started collecting them as a teen, but I made myself promise myself not to buy them for myself. Yeah, my collection's pretty small, lol. That's okay.


But that's not the kind of precious moments I was referring to. I meant the ones when I'm tucking my kids in at night. Like when I tuck in Alli, I sit on the edge of her bed and we talk a couple minutes. Then we pray together and when it's time for me to get up and leave her room, I think she asks for a hug and a kiss somewhere around 50 times. Sometimes she comes right out and asks for 100 hugs and kisses. Makes a mommy feel very very very loved.

Then I go into Meg's room. Megan always wants to be last when getting tucked in, because she always wants me to lay down beside her and stay with her a few minutes. So I lay down by her and she cuddles up close and I pray aloud and then she usually prays silently while I just lay still and hold her close. Then when she's done she asks me to stay a couple more minutes. Sometimes, though, she is so incredibly chatty and despite my shushing she keeps talking. Like tonight. So I finally said, "I'm leaving in two minutes!" (We'd already prayed, etc.) She kept talking so I said, "59..........58........57........56...." She told me not to do that. Her last couple minutes she always tries to fall asleep before I leave. Doesn't work, but she can at least be totally relaxed. So she shushed me on that. So I stopped, counting in my head, and ok...mischievously said, "50!" and paused a moment before saying "40!" She shushed me. So I really stopped then. But I could tell she was just waiting for me to do it again. Suddenly she said, "I know what you're going to say: ...... 30!" I didn't say a word. A couple more moments passed and she said, "Are you using Mississippi's???" She sounded hopeful. Throw in some Mississippi's and you get a couple more seconds to the minute. I loved it: "Are you using Mississippi's?"

Being a mom is so cool. Tiring, but cool.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Phab Phriday Photo Phun

Ok, I know that's not what it's called but my brain isn't quite up to remembering the real title. It's Fx4. We'll leave it at that. And it can be found at CandidCarrie's blog every Phriday. It's a phun, share-your-phavorite-photos thingie...or videos...or whatnot. So I'm going with a video.

I was scouring through my files to decide what to share and I came across a video from the summer of 07. My girls were in a Summer Music Camp at their dad's church that year and Meg got to tell a joke on stage. I love watching her. She's nervous. She's excited. And she's grinning from ear to ear the whole time. But she nails it!

She and Alli are at their dad's for another day or two and so maybe that has something to do with me choosing this video. If nothing else I miss this smile.....




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Wishes

Hi everybody. I know there are a couple days still before Christmas, but I thought most folks would be caught up with family on Christmas day and that perhaps Christmas Eve would be the last chance to extend wishes before it's too late. And since some of you get on here before I plan to open my eyes tomorrow, lol, I decided to get this blog up tonight.

My Christmas wishes...

I wish for each and every one of you true happiness this Christmas. I hope that you all will be surrounded by people you love and who love you. I pray that the Christ of Christmas would be real to you and fill your hearts with His peace no matter what your life is dishing out these days. May that deep, settled peace bring quiet and pure joy that nothing can take away from.

I love you all and wish you the merriest of Christmases.

Love,

Hillary


Monday, December 22, 2008

Honest Scrap

My blog has been awarded the Honest Scrap Award by Sunshine B . Thank you, Sunshine! (I'm TOTALLY copying from your blog, you know...except my answers.) Scrap means left over, fragments, discarded material. Many times truth and honesty are discarded material, considered fragments and left over. People like us need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will.

There are 2 guidelines for receiving this award. One, you are to list 10 honest things about yourself. Make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep. Two, present the award to 7 other bloggers. (I honestly don't follow 7 bloggers and the ones I do are receiving the award from Sunshine already so ummmm....yeah I'm only half-receiving this thing, lol.)

1. I am a very undisciplined person...badly so.
2. I want to have more babies.
3. I keep an embarrassingly messy house. When I get it spic and span, I turn into a tyrant if anyone messes anything up. So I'm either one extreme or the other. I guess I prefer being a nice slob over being a grumpy Martha Stewart.
4. I have a very stubborn heart that doesn't like to take directions from my head.
5. I adore Greg Page and always will (please see number 4). WHAT?!! That's the honest truth. I'm just sayin' it out loud.
6. I battle with discontentment and unforgiveness.
7. I have a rather obsessive personality. Example: For years, whenever I bought a new bottle of shampoo, I had to read EVERY word on the bottle before I used it the first time...even the ingredients. I had no reason for doing it. I just did it. Even when it was the same brand as I'd had before. If the bottle was new, I read it. Same for conditioner. And my books must be in alphabetical order by authors....and then in order of when they were written.
8. I don't really care for my appearance. I'm thankful I'm healthy and all, and I like the color of my hair...and sometimes my eyes, but the rest, not so much.
9. My relationship with God is the core of who I am. And having said that, I struggle with making time with Him the priority that it needs to be...hence number 6 above.
10. I have credit card debt out of pure carelessness. A few times purchases were made simply because it was the only way to survive, but most is carelessness...and that makes me ashamed.

I know some people who aren't receiving this award from Sunshine, but they're not bloggers so I'm not going to bother listing them...but I'm thankful for them...and their courage to speak the truth.

It's About Time

It's about time I got my tip-tap-typing fingers over here to blogland. I've missed being here, but you know how the Christmas season can be. Busy, busy, busy. And ok, confession: I waste a lot of time...doing a lot of nothing. But I'm working on it.

Aaaand it's about time for Christmas. I love Christmas. Did I ever mention that? If not, then hear me now. I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I love the snow (which I haven't gotten to enjoy in the last 15 years). I love the music. I love the movies. I love the decorations. And I love the nativity and the fact that Christ came to earth as a baby, lived through the crud (and the joys) that Earth has to offer, and died for me. I love babies all the time, but during Christmas the whole newborn and motherhood thing has an ultra-ooey-gooey place in my heart.

At least one evening every Christmas season, I like to turn off all the lights inside the house, plug in the tree lights and sit and watch them blink. This year I have non-blinking, all-white lights, which, frankly, I think are gorgeous, but truth be told, I miss the colorful blinkiness a bit too. But I like to just sit in silence and stare at the tree...sometimes praying...and sometimes just sitting with no particular thought. Just enjoying the calm and the peace and the aesthetics of it all. Come to think of it...it ought to be followed up by some serious Josh Groban music. Talk about your aesthetics!

Today I was out doing some shopping and seldom does there fail to be something noteworthy (on a goofy scale) about a shopping spree. Today was no different.

For instance, I didn't quite know what to make of the cashier at ToysRUs. She was a friendly young thing, and I have no problem with that. But I'm thinking that she MIGHT be missing what some of us refer to as "a filtering system." Mmhmm. First of all, if you donate a dollar to Toys for Tots, they give you this sticker ... like when you donate blood, only Christmasier..or should that be Christmas-y-er? Anyway, she doesn't hand it to me, despite my reaching out to recieve it. No, she reaches right past my hand and puts it on my shirt front. I wasn't overly comfy with that. Personal space, you know? But I blew that off. It wasn't a huge deal. And we exchanged pleasantries, wishing each other a nice day, etc. I made a comment about how busy it was and here's where the filtering system failed.... The girl put her hands on her stomach and said, "I'm feelin' all crampy, can't hardly move, so I'm just goin' side to side" and she starts swaying back and forth. I said a merry "Get Well!" and left before I got more of her medical history. It was...interesting. Very open girl, that one.

And later I was in Wal-Mart and you will NEVER guess who I saw! A real celebrity and not only did I see him, but he saw ME and SMILED!! Try not to swoon. It was Yosemite Sam. BAHAHA! Ok, he didn't have the hat and he was definitely 3-dimensional, but it was ol' Sam alright. I'd know that face anywhere.





As excited as I was to see Yosemite Sam, it in NO way compared to what I saw just two nights ago. I was sitting here in my living room and could hear horns honking. It gradually got nearer and nearer until finally I went outside to see what the hoopla was. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a parade of somewhere between 20 and 30 golfcarts, all decked out in Christmas lights. Some had stereos playing music. Some were blowing bubbles. Others were calling out, "Merry Christmas" and "Ho ho ho!" It was hilarious and so much fun!! At the suggestion and with the help of my wonder friend, Sunshine I found a youtube video that looks shockingly similar. Click here to check it out.

I'm now on break from school, which means I should have more chances to get on here. However, I bought Mamma Mia! so ummm...well...let's just say it's as addictive on dvd as it was in the theater.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Photopalooza!!

Well, apparently I didn't take into account the fact that EVERY time I post more than one photo in a post here, I feel like I'd rather be having a root canal. Because I got this crazy idea that since I was camera crazy the past 36 hours, I'd kind of do a pictorial blog, if you will. So here...we...go.

Ok, technically this was more than 36 hours ago...it was a few days ago...but Megan was waiting for her friend to pick her up to go to youth group on Wednesday and she wanted to wait outside. So she sat in the middle of our little Christmas decorations and I had to take a picture.



Yesterday (as you are well aware if you read my blog from yesterday) was Alli's birthday. Since it was a school day on her birthday I let her open presents in the morning. She chose to open two but save two for after school. Here are her bright and bushy-tailed morning present pictures...






And while we're on the present kick, let's go ahead with the pictures we took in the evening...a present from Grandma...and her so pathetic-looking birthday cupcake. Notice the crazy woman look in her eye in this next photo. It's because she was TOTALLY surprised. She wanted that doll SOOOO bad and thought she had to wait until Christmas for it. And Christmas is a whole 20 days after her birthday! Her big sister has a Bitty Baby from American Girl dolls that she got when Allison was born. Meg named her doll "Baby Allison." So she had a baby Alli and so did I. Baby Allison is sacred and little sister fingers are very very seldom allowed to touch her. So getting this baby TOTALLY rocked in Alli's opinion. She has been named "Abby."






Now we can back up a little. Right after school, Megan had a performance in the school choir at Saks 5th Avenue. That place is so far out of my league I don't even know if I spell it right.










Before the show, the makeup people in Saks were putting makeup on the girls. They ran out of time before the show began (because only one of the ladies was doing it...the others were busy standing around and chatting...not to be criticizing or anything, but they missed out on the fun. The girls thought it was the coolest thing ever and you could see the "magic" in their eyes.) Meg was one who didn't get hers done, so after they sang I took her back over and asked if she could still have it done and the lady was very sweet to oblige. Meg loved it!





"Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back."


...so I took the girls photo in front of the window... (I love Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken.")



We went home after that... in a round-about way and settled into some nice vegging...taking breaks to open that fabulous baby doll and blow out the trick candles (mwahahaha). And while we vegged, watching tv, playing on the computer...what did my 10-year-old do? Sometimes a picture tells it best...especially when words seriously fail...




You're not alone if you said, "What on earth?" Meg likes to glue things. This time it was cotton swabs, pinto beans and glitter glue. Welcome to my world. :D

And sometime in the midst of all that fun, I went into the kitchen. I went to get something from under the sink when I noticed that the floor of the cabinet was sloping way down back by the wall. I glanced up and saw that the pipes had come unconnected. Not broken...just unconnected. Apparently one of those little compression ring thingies just kind of gave up without telling me. And for who knows HOW long and HOW many garbage disposal runnings...all that water and "stuff" has been draining down and soaking into the particle board. I KNEW I smelled something but couldn't imagine what or where it was. NOW I know.

I rent. I COULD have called the land lord. But ummm...I was a little behind on doing my dishes and thought I could pass on the mortification of a repairman coming into my house when I couldn't use the sink. (I thought the pipe was broken broken, not just...undone.) So I decided I could soooooooooooo do it myself. And well...I wouldn't recommend my work to others, but I did it...and it's functional...and...and...and...well...I took photos.
The disaster...
The gathering of supplies...
Made these little T thingies for support under the bottom of the cabinet...

Put them in and put the first sheet of plywood in....all the way back into one of those spooky, hard-to-reach corners that no one likes to use because no matter what you put back there, you'll NEVER want to dig it out...

And voila! It's done and full of junk again!! Okay, I could easily get by with only about 4 or 5 of the products under there, but well....... Yes I should either paint the plywood or maybe line it with contact paper or something but am I going to? Well....not anytime soon.

It really wasn't a bad job. The worst thing was dealing with one of the workers at Home Depot. He was wanting to make sure I got the right sizes of plywood before he cut it, so he was asking all these questions. Well I had done the measuring and was confident before I left home. Then he started firing questions at me. After he asked one of his questions, I answered and along the very same lines tried to tell him another detail about the cabinet and he INTERRUPTED me and said, "Let ME ask the questions." I almost said, "Let ME take my business to Lowe's." But I didn't. I ended up going home and checking it AGAIN, (I was right to begin with! Yay!) When I went back, a different man who was VERY friendly came and helped me. So all in all, not a big deal. Not that I want to do it AGAIN, but not a big deal.

Happy Weekend everyone....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta

It's Friday again...and you know what that means! Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiesta! Well, Friday Foto Finish Fiesta, anyway.

But we're having another fiesta today, too. Alli's turning 8 and so it's time to partaaaaay. And so for my submission to the fabulous Friday Foto Finish Fiesta, hosted by CandidCarrie over here, I thought I'd share a photo or two of my birthday girl.

My sweet baby...

Lovin' her "makeover," courtesy of the innocent-looking ::cough:: sister behind her...

Messy, but baby-sweet. I love that little face and the baby fingers. She still has baby fingers. :)


Always at the height of fashion...

Lookin' sporty! (I deleted this, turned it around right, reuploaded and the stubborn thing still fell over sideways...so it's stayin' that way. See if I care, you jpeg file, you!)

And a couple weeks ago at the ripe old age of (Almost) eight!

What a blessing this child is to me. God gave me two very special girls and I'm not choosing favorites, but I'll tell you some of the things about her I love the most. First would be her gentle nature. She knows how to have fun and get crazy, but she's been the little shy, gentle soul who wants to cuddle. No talk necessary. Just be. That's about all she asks.
I have loved watching her grow. It's been a fascinating adventure. And I look forward to the next hundred years of her life, too. (Hey, I'm hoping for as much as I can!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blogging: The Great Controversy

Sound dramatic? "THE GREAT CONTROVERSY".... Ok, maybe not so much. But a bit of a ... should I say "a dilemma?" I'm not even sure if that's right.

Here's the deal. I like to write. I like to write a lot. I like to write as much and as often as I can. But really. I haven't done much writing around here. I haven't done much around anywhere. And unlike some of you, it's not because of a busy schedule. I mean...yeah, I have plenty to do, but I'd make time for blogging late every evening, so time isn't the issue.

So what IS the issue? It's my mood, for lack of better explanation. I'd love to write, but I guess I'm just really struggling these days and I don't want to come on here and be all wah, wah, wah all the time. So instead, if I don't have some great blogging idea, I just don't write. But then I feel discouraged about that because I WANT TO WRITE, dang it! lol

I continue my struggle with motivation. I am having more and more trouble just getting up and staying on top of everything. And I don't know any other way to say this, but I feel really down about me. I don't mean that I'm having a pity party, it's more like just seeing facts about myself and they do NOT please me. Some things are things I could/should change if I could get it together and go for it. Other things are just about who I am and the way others perceive me...and there's been a real pattern there all my life. Come highs or come lows, those things don't change and so it's easy to just believe others' opinions. What else is there to go on?

I also struggle with discontentment...and the fact that I feel discontented. I am blessed. I know that. I read our Thanksgiving list. (Did you? lol) But I struggle with who/where/what I am right now...in the sense of the uncontrollable. Things I wish for, dream of, and the time table of it all...frustrate me and leave me unsatisfied. And I KNOW this is wrong. Some would debate with me whether or not it's wrong, but I truly believe it is. And at the very least it's not the best choice. Choosing contentment and working toward better things is different than just sitting back and feeling dissatisfied and discontented. And that's a struggle for me right now. I'm not sure how I'm going to work through that one...or the motivation thing...or some real changes I'd like to make in me, for my health and for my "happiness."

So that's where I am right now. And that's why I'm not writing on here as much as I'd like. I didn't mean to come on and have a pity party or be a downer (which as I explained is why I've not been blogging very regularly lately.) And yet, explaining myself kind of did that anyway.

Just wanted to share. Maybe something good and funny will come up soon and I'll share it. Hey, we've got birthday #8 for my Al-gal this Friday. It'll be ... well, maybe I'll save that for Friday.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the Break is Over...

5 days off school. How I looked forward to them. Last Wednesday morning I woke up and could hardly believe I had 5 days stretching ahead of me. Thursday I woke and thought, "What day is it?" and when I realized it was still not the weekend I was soooo happpy. Again Friday I woke and realized I had yet another day before the weekend and it was sooo awesome. It was like the break was going incredibly slow, to be savored and enjoyed.

Then Saturday I woke and thought, "Oh no! The weekend is here! I've got to get busy! I've got to get some things done around the house and for work, before Monday morning is here." I ungratefully felt quite sad. And today, I'll admit, I wimped out and we stayed home from church. Alli hasn't been feeling too great. She's battled some little intestinal bug off and on for the last week or so and then Friday night came down with a cold. So I wimped and we stayed home today.

Mercifully, today crrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllled by. At 2 in the afternoon I told the girls to put on their pajamas. They looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Apparently I had. I said, "Whoops, it's a little early. Nevermind."....and I made them lunch. lol (We had eaten a late breakfast so they weren't starving.....yet.)

And from that point on I've been trying to work at the many to-do's that haven't been done and I've gotten a smattering done. The dryer just buzzed and we know what that means...I have bills I meant to send last week and need to write out...and homework sheets to create for my class.

Break is over. How many days until Christmas break????

I'm being a bit silly about it all, although there's a lot of truth to all that I just wrote. However, I'm also very thankful for the nice break we've enjoyed these past five days. Three weeks of school and another nice break will come our way. But these next three are real whirlwinds! Prepare the cheese because there will probably be plenty of whine.

:D

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Thoughts...

This year, I didn't want to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner and ask my girls to tell me something they are thankful for. I wanted them to put more thought into the things they have to be thankful for. So about a week before Halloween, I started asking them to think of something they're thankful for and we would write it down. I tried to do it every night, but it didn't happen quite that faithfully.

Might not be much that is earthshaking, but I thought it would be good to share today on my blog.

So here we go...one girl at a time.

Allison is thankful for...

  • a mom and a dad, and having mom's arm to cuddle
  • having a home and a family
  • a bed and sisters
  • shelter
  • a house
  • toys
  • food
  • pets
  • clothes
  • a car
  • a front yard
  • a back yard
  • lights
  • Miss Winte cleaning my room
  • Odyssey and Maida (two friends)
  • that now people won't think that Megan and I are twins (Meg got bangs.)
  • books
  • God

Megan is thankful for...

  • Pooh (our dog)
  • a family who loves me
  • food for my tummy
  • moon and stars so I'm not afraid of the dark
  • that I have hair
  • people who love me
  • Spiderman
  • animals
  • that Mama agrees that spinach isn't yummy
  • a very helpful caring family
  • having a great school year
  • that they invented clothes because otherwise I'd be naked
  • that I'm able to do Bayshore Singers and my performance is tomorrow
  • that they invented the washing machine because now they have a solution for washing your panties or underwear or boxers or trousers or clothes
  • Science
  • that people have imaginations and there's Spiderman
  • rest
  • my blessings
  • pets
  • so many things to be thankful for
  • friends, family, pets and a place to live in.
  • food
  • that Allie and other people like spinach except me, Mom and other people so they can eat it.
  • inventions that make things in life easier
  • that I can recognize false advertising when I see it.
  • feet - you can do all kinds of things with them. You can snap your toes. They can walk. You can smell them.
  • Thanksgiving

I am thankful for...

  • my girls
  • a job to take care of them
  • friends
  • internet to keep in touch
  • a job at my girls' school
  • good sleep
  • for the way my parents raised me
  • my girls' creativity

That was my list. At some point I stopped writing mine in the list and just stuck with the girls. But there are so many things that I am so grateful for. I'm thankful for all my family. I'm thankful for friendships. I'm thankful for my health. I'm thankful for all the emotions our hearts can feel and how amazing that is. I'm thankful most of all for my relationship with God, something I take very personally. I'm thankful for His grace, peace, mercy and love for me. I'm thankful for His provision. And I'm thankful for the hope I feel because I know I can depend on Him, whatever comes my way.

The list could keep going, couldn't it? We all have more things to be thankful for than we even realize, I think. And THAT is something to be thankful for.

I hope today, (whether you read this on Thanksgiving or not), that you also feel blessed in many, many ways.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

8 Things

I was just over reading at Sunshine's and little did I know it was all a trap! I read through her "8 Things" survey and as I happened upon the last line, she said, "I tag YOU." And I'm me, errr, in that case "you" so.... Tricky, tricky, tricky, girlio. Tricky.

My 8 Favorite TV Shows:
1. Friends
2. Grey's Anatomy
3. Private Practice
4. The Bonnie Hunt Show
5. The Wiggles
6. iCarly (I can't help myself...even if I'm not a tweenager. Spencer cracks me up.)
7. Extreme Makeover-Home Edition
8. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
(Ok, I probably wouldn't watch #6 or 8 if my girls didn't have them on, but I get some decent laughs, so they're going on the list. Otherwise I only have 6 shows...and that was rather tough to come up with. I don't watch most of these regularly.)

My 8 restaurants:
1. Olive Garden (Eggplant Parmesan...the...very...best...everrrrrrrr)
2. Applebee's (Oriental Chicken Salad, please. Got one by accident once and got hooked.)
3. Papa John's Pizza (ohhhhhhhhh their garlic dipping sauce, mmmm)
4. Panera (yummy sourdough soup bowl)
5. Poncho's (A Tex-Mex buffet type restaurant in San Antonio and Albuquerque. Oh my lands, the sopapillas there are to die for. And don't even get me started on the sour cream enchiladas. Please, someone take me there sometime. Please.)
6. Green's (A formalish restaurant in Blantyre, Malawi, Central Africa. One of the few places we'd ever eat out when living there. They had chicken kiev and pork schnitzel that was incredible. Someone made me scream like a lunatic there once...a little embarrassing in that atmosphere, but ... well ... that might be a story for another blog.)
7. Sonic (Tator tots with cheese melted on them and I'm a happy girl.)
8. Arby's (French Dip sandwiches are soooooooooooooooooooo yummy.)
(This little section kind of surprises me...in a good way. A year ago I'd have told people that I don't care about food. That isn't a source of pleasure, but something that just needs to be done. So to type these out and sit here wishing for the food from these places...well...that's progress. It's also why certain items of clothing no longer fit right, but that's...well...not for another blog.)

8 Things that happened yesterday:
1. Read some of a novel
2. Computer (email, facebook, etc.)
3. Tested Kindies in phonological stuff, phonics, sight words, etc.
4. Took one little boy to the principal. (He told me "NO!" one too many times and took off running away from me. Tsk tsk tsk. Big mistake.)
5. Skipped grocery shopping so scraped together a very scary dinner.
6. Listened to my girls play in the backyard.
7. Watched a little tv.
8. Took a shower.

8 Things I look forward to:
1. Breaks from school
2. Recess (I never grew up, apparently).
3. Singing at church, either solo or with the Praise Team
4. The weekend/sleeping in
5. My girls coming home from their dad's
6. Email from friends
7. Comments here and on facebook (Sorry, Sunshine, I had to copy your answer.)
8. A happily ever after

8 Things I love about Autumn (Spring):
1. The crispness in the air
2. The smell of the air (not talking fireplace smoke...just a different scent in the air)
3. The nostalgic feel of it
4. The color of the leaves
5. The break in the heat
6. The way it ushers in wonderful family holidays and makes me feel cozy and thankful
7. Thanksgiving
8. Dressing for the colder days

8 Things on my wish list:
1. A trip to Sydney
2. A stronger, healthier, (and why not more toned) body
3. A healthier diet
4. Discipline
5. To write a novel
6. Looooooooooooove (I could go for some happily ever after)
7. More babies (which is why #6 might be helpful)
8. To be a stay-at-home mom

Friday, November 21, 2008

No Other Word For It

There's no other word for today than "Woooooooooooooooooo!" Tonight's blog would normally be a fabulous Friday photo of some sort. But it just can't be. Today was a big landmark for me and so I owe it to God to express my thanks. And so I will.

About two years ago my friend Ginny (you remember her...bad at movie choosing, but GREAT at friendship, lol) and I began a journey of sorts. There were times I thought the journey was a guided tour of academic Hell...and maybe it was. The majority of this journey was low points, to be honest. I'd like to say that I learned some great things that made me grow as an educator...or even as a person. But if I'm honest, I can't.

(Wondering where the "thankfulness" went? Hang with me....)

This great "journey" as some of you know was the grueling process for getting certified by the National Board of Public Teaching Standards. We started in two years ago...because I let the bad-movie-chooser talk me into it. (Thanks, Ginny!) We went through the first year and both missed it. Ginny was so incredibly close while I scored so miserably low that it was flat out crushing. I figured I wouldn't make it but the scores they sent me floored me. And the worst thing about it was that they give no feedback other than my score.

So we went at it again, redoing portions that did not pass and working even harder than the first time around. Now I love to write but this kind of writing is almost as fun as plucking out one's eyeballs and throwing them at your enemies...or friends for that matter. Not exactly my cup of tea. ;) I agonized through the whole thing. I know it sounds a bit melodramatic, but ask Ginny. I whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiined and grooooooooooooooooooooooaned. I just struggled non-stop with trying to be positive about it all. I felt defeated and felt like it was another expensive shot in the dark.

Portfolios were due April 15th and today...a mere 7 months and 6 days later...we got our scores.

We were looking them up online, knowing they would be posted sometime "mid-morning" because of an email letting us know this yesterday. At 8:45 we took our classes to Enrichment (which is the term we use to refer to Phys. Ed, Music, and Art.) We looked for our scores and they weren't up. We chatted a few minutes and then, being smart-aleck, I said, "Wonder if our scores are up!" We were in Ginny's classroom (which adjoins mine) and so we went to her computer and jumped online. Now normally, MY computer goes verrrrrrrrrrrry slowly and Ginny's is fast, but because life is funny, Ginny's was c...r...a...w...l...i...n...g. So I ran into my room and tried. And that "ran" is not figurative. :D I logged on (it was speedy! lol) and it asked which year's scores I wanted to see, which meant that the new scores were up! I screamed, "They're up!!! THEY'RE UP!!!!" I clicked on this year's scores and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a message so wondrous it filled me with cheer. "Congratulations! You are a National Board Certified Teacher®!" Two words: instant tears.

Now, Ginny was sitting in her room still waiting on her computer to do its thing, and I didn't want to blurt anything because although I was sure she'd pass because her entries were very strong and she was so close the first time around, I still didn't want to start to party before we knew how she'd done. So I did my best to school my features (although since she KNEW I'd seen my scores, the lack of sobbing I'm sure let her know it was good news) and I went into her room. She was STILL waiting on her computer, so I offered her mine. She asked how I'd done and I questioned whether she wanted to know before she looked and she did. So I told her I made it. Then we hugged and were all "wahooo-ish". lol

We ran into my room and she logged in on my computer. Long story short, she saw that she'd made it too!!! More great rejoicing. So then we looked up scores. I'd made it by ... THREE ... points. Yep. 1-2-3 little points. But that's alright. It was three more than I had to have. :D Ginny, on the other hand passed by a very comfortable margin.

We gushed a few minutes before I made a couple quick phone calls and replied to a friend's text asking if I knew yet. THRILLED was what we were.

But then...interestingly enough...we both figured we'd be useless the rest of the day whether or not we passed. We figured if we passed we'd be so elated we'd be a waste in the classroom. But...it settled quickly to just feeling relieved and pleased and on went life, lol.

Now...rambling done...I have to say how incredibly thankful I am to God. This whole process was so largely a shot in the dark for me. I felt like it was a matter of "luck" to include all they wanted because I couldn't make out very clear guidelines. I know I had people praying for me throughout and I know I put some prayer into it, too. And I have no doubt God helped me through. And I'm so thankful.

While it isn't something that I learned a lot from, it will be a financial blessing and it's just a good professional credit of sorts (for lack of "professional" terms, lol).

So while my elation faded more quickly than I'd thought it would, my heart is full of thanks and relief.

That's about it for tonight....

P.S. - (Can you do "P.S." in a blog? lol) Some of my kindies named the turkeys they colored in Art today. My two favorites were "Goldfish" and "Sandwich."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Itch, Scratch, Tingle and Whatnot

How's THAT for a headline??

I feel bad. I haven't blogged in how many days? I didn't check the date but I think it's over a week's time. I don't feel bad in the sense of not meeting an obligation. I just feel bad because I LOVE to write and lately I just haven't been able to pull it together, sit down, and write.

Ok, I went and looked. Not quite a week, but those two blogs weren't incredibly substantial...as opposed to my normally earth-shaking subject matter, lol.

And it's not that there hasn't been ANYTHING in my life that I could share. It's just been something between being busy and being blah. Neither lends itself to good writing.

But tonight I'm ready. I'm determined. I MUST write. I want to. So here I am. Any ideas? ha ha I actually have a few.

For instance, how about some of the wonderful rewards of teaching that I've experienced in the last couple weeks. First of all, let's go with the gross-out. It was the end of the day, Friday before last, and I called a little guy back from getting on his bus. He had NOT had a good day and I had not given him slack. I wanted to encourage him and still make it clear that I expect certain behavior. So I called him back from his bus. I squatted down against a wall and pulled him onto one of my knees to sit while we talked for a minute. He shyly refused eye contact but grinned as he sat on my knee and listened to what I had to say, knodding in agreement. I then stood up to escort him to his bus and noticed a very wet sensation on my knee where he'd just been perching. SERIOUSLY???? Thanks kid. Have a good weekend.

Or how about THIS one? Head lice has been ..... rearing its head ..... for lack of a better term, this year. I'd had a girl in my class checked...came back clear...but she scratches maniacally. Several weeks later, her mom writes and tells me they've been fighting it for "some time" at home and wants to know if she's getting it FROM school. I desperately wanted to thank her for sending it with her child with no warning to me. She hugs my middle and then so do a couple dozen others, including my own kids. WE DON'T WANT LICE!!! The same thing happened about 4 years ago. It was miserable and took forever to eradicate. Last week the class next to ours sent a girl home CRAWLING with lice. Ughghghghghgh! Today we talked about it and now tonight the thought recurred so my scalp is itching ... I scratch ... then every hair feels like it stands on end, tingling to beat the band. It's like people talking about ants. I hear the word and my flesh crawls with the sensation. It's driving me batty.

Oh oh...here's another little choice nugget I that made me think immediately about blogging about it. Last week, I was talking to my sister on the phone when she interrupted our conversation to say, "Felicity! What did you do??" (Fel is her 8 year old daughter). Long story short, Felicity shaved her eyebrows off, SHAVED HER EYEBROWS OFF. She has glorious black hair and dark brows, too. Oh they'll be missed alrighty. They'll be missed. Poor baby. She has the saddest little eyes you will EVER see. EVER. Her reasoning for shaving was not revealed to me.

How about some good news while I'm here? I think you folks have heard me talk about my friend, Ginny. She teaches kindergarten in the lice-ridden room next to mine. A couple years ago she went through cancer and in the process we really grew as friends. We spend a lot of time together now. Well, Ginny helped me move last February. She helped me paint inside the house before we moved in. She mowed and kept my dog while I was in Montana. She's one of THOSE friends. She has watched my struggle for the past couple years with total lack of motivation, total "survival mode" and wishing to get on top of things in my house. Two weekends back she volunteered and came over to my house and helped me get it in shape. It's finally maintainable and I feel soooo good about it. The living room is a bit of a mess and please don't look in the garage for another week as I'm still catching up on laundry but oh you would NOT believe the difference............and it's all thanks to my friend, Ginny. What would I do without her?

Well I'll tell you what. I wouldn't be going to scary movies that freak me out if it weren't for her. But other than that, she's priceless. Totally fired from selecting movies, but otherwise, a keeper. Last Friday she took me to a movie that left me tense for hours. Not good. Not good at all. I need happy endings. No...I neeeeeeeeeeeeed happy endings. I do.

Hmmm...lots of GP in the media this past week, too. Makes for a happy week and a week where my heart gets aerobic activity without me lifting a finger. Find out there's a new photo or article or video and wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee off goes the thump-thump of my heart. It's like....exercise without the effort. Not bad for Hill.

Ok, I'm outta here. Sorry for the long rambling blog, but I HAD to get back on here. And now I think I need to go shampoo and get my scalp to...no wait. It is NOT the thought of lice. Oh glory be. I've had this reaction before. I just have to figure out what ingredient it is. Dang! Something in the sinus medication I took is freaking out my scalp! Dang it, dang it, dang it!! It happened the last time I used Afrin and it happened just now with Tylenol Sinus Congestion and Pain SEVERE. Oh dear. It's allergic reaction and gets to crawl for hours.

Great. Guess I'm off to scratch. Glamorous life I'm living....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More about my girls and Harry...

Remember my girls and their hangup about the humor in the name Harry?? Remember? Harry=hairy in their minds...

This morning the news was on...quite by accident as I'm a non-news sort of gal. I was in the kitchen getting breakfast for the girls and I hear Alli call out, "Mom! There's a guy named Harry on tv...and he's BALD!!!!"

You should have heard the wonder in her voice. :D

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BFF



My wonderful friend, Sunshine, who you can find over here at SoWhatWasISaying, gave me this sweet friendship award. While I thanked her on her blog for rescuing me and giving me a launch for my blog, that was just a nice little plus. I am very touched, Sunshine. I love you, girl, and I hate that you're a whole country away! Someday...

Along with this award come some questions. Here they are along with my answers:

1. Do you have the same friends since childhood?

I'm still in touch with two friends I had as a child. They are still friends but our contact is pretty infrequent and they live so far away. The same goes for a good friend from high school. However, through Facebook, I've caught up with a few more friends from childhood and that's a pretty cool thing!

2. What do you value most about your friends?

I value the fact that I can trust them...that I can let down my guard and be who I am and they'll still love me. I value the laughter and the tears we share.

3. Are your friends sounding boards?

Absolutely. In fact, they probably get sick and tired of being my sounding boards, but they're there faithfully.

4. What is your favorite activity to share with friends?

That depends on the friend. Going to concerts, going to movies, chatting online. It doesn't have to be anything fancy and really distance limits activities. But no matter the location or the friend, I love to talk and laugh with my friends.

And now it's my time to share the love with another friend. A very sweet soul...with a British accent. Look out Mummy here it comes!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bottoms Up!

This is my Friday Foto Finish Fiesta. I'm catching the tail end of FX4, as I most often do. Friday creeps up on me somehow...even when the week is looooooooooooong.

If you haven't been to the big Fiesta, you can find it on Carrie's blog every Friday.

The photos I chose are nearly beyond explanation. It's not like they're a big deal, though. They just gave me a thoroughly good laugh at the time they happened. My girls have a dollhouse and (too many) people to play with in it. One day they have it dragged out into the living room. I don't know what I was gone doing, but when I came into the living room, this is what I saw. Check out the people....even the babies and the grandparents! Absolutely cracked me up.

And what was the purpose or the inspiration behind this? No idea, but I cracked up when I saw it, so I grabbed the camera and voila! To remember forever...










Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Weekend Wasted

And so ends another weekend. I accomplished a bit, but none of it was related to cleaning my house. And none of it involved lesson plans. So it looks like a late night of laundry and lesson planning. And that's okay. It's my own fault for living foolishly this weekend.

This is my least favorite time of the week. It's the time I kick myself for the same ridiculous decisions I made last weekend. On Fridays I get in my mind a bunch of things I should do for school...and there's always a very obvious list of things at home. Friday night about bedtime I am gung-ho about getting things done. Saturday morning I'm all about sleeping in. Then I get up to see what's gone on in cyberspace while I slept. Then if I don't have the girls, I waste a BUNCH of time online before running some errands like grocery shopping or...ohhhh, I don't know, taking a nap. It's so quiet that time passes without me paying a whole lot of attention to it. And frankly, my mind just craves for Saturday to be FREE. Along comes evening and I find I've done nothing, but think, "Why start this late?....Tomorrow after chuch, I'll get busy." And you can imagine how Sunday goes. I won't bore you with it.

But it's that time ... again.

And to polish off this glorious evening, I just returned from a Christian Financial Counseling seminar. Sunshine, did you pray this onto me??? It is actually really going to be a good thing...the best thing. But oh how I hate to even think of finances. If I could afford it, I'd hire someone to manage it all for me. But then, if I could afford it, maybe I wouldn't mind thinking about it all, lol.

Okay...the laundry and lesson plans are a-callin'. I'd better get outta here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stink Stank Stunk...and a bit of reminiscing...

Trick or Treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat!

Ok, not tricks. I'm going to share a treat...or two. Might just be a treat for me to write and more of a trick for you to read, but buckle up and let's go.

Today, Mr. Enthusiastic was there in all his glory. He really had a pretty good day today. My whole class dressed up and we went trick or treating to the 4th and 5th grade classes this morning. What was Mr. Enthusiastic's costume? Wait till you hear this...errrr, read this. It's so appropriate. He was a volcano. No joke. It was an extraordinary costume. His dad made it and it was the best homemade costume I've seen...ever. Just wow. And little Mt. Vesuvius does erupt from time to time, but not today.

In fact, my entire class was just really good today. And I was so glad. I had no volunteers in my room and it just worked out fine. I kept things fairly low key, calm, but still Halloweenie and a break from regular school work and all the "festivities" were really pretty modest. But I did not get one gripe, one whine, one complaint about any of it. Every other year I've had whine-fests and people saying "this is all the candy we get?" when they walk away with a BUNCH. This year was 15 stops which equaled somewhere between 15 and 20 pieces of candy and they were as happy as larks. It was the best school halloween EVER.

Change of subject.... Last week, here in KindieLand, my kids were sitting on the floor around my chair and we were TRYING to read a book. Emphasis on TRYING. It was a little difficult because in the midst of the TRYING, a bit of a kafuffle broke out.
Boy A said, "Ms. B, he said I stink!!!"
Boy B said, "Nooo, I said you STANK!"
Boy A said, "He said I stink AGAIN!"
Boy B said, "NO! I said you STAAAANK!"
Boy A said, "He said I stink A G A I N!!"
Boy B said, "NOO! I said you STAAAANK!"
So I intervened and instead of making sense of it for them, said, "He didn't say you stiiink, he said you staaank." (laughing on the inside all the while)
Meanwhile B is saying again, "I said you STAANK!"
And A is going on with his, "He said I stink!"
Sometimes it's like talking to a wall in KindieLand.

Another change of subject.... Halloween is one of those holidays that I would just as soon skip, as an adult....except for one thing. When I was a kid, I liked Halloween like every other kid. I got over my first trick or treat outing resulting in a busted lip at the first house. I got over the "razor blade" scares although that always freaks me out. I even got over the sugar highs. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh the sugar highs.

You see, in 2nd grade my family moved to a very small town in southwest Missouri. One of my best friends, Nancy, and I began a tradition that year of me spending the night on Halloween and going trick or treating with her family. From that year forward, every year on Halloween, even if it was a school night, my parents let me go spend the night at her house for Halloween. Rarely did either of us know what we were going to be for Halloween. We'd just head to Nancy's house after school and start scheming. Now I have trouble remembering what we were. I think one year we were clowns. And the most memorable for me was the year we were ballerinas. I found two tutus in our attic, from the family who lived there before us. I brought them to her house and she and I were thrilled. We were going to be the loveliest ballerinas EVER. Then her mom saw us, dug out some long underwear and made us put those on, too, so we wouldn't freeze. We were so disappointed, but she was right. Halloween was freezing! I'll never forget knocking on the Lutheran pastor's door. He opened it. We yelled "Trick or Treat!" and he said, "I'll take a treat please." And then he asked us to dance. We stood there and stared at him as if he'd lost his mind. He said something about us being ballerinas and that we needed to dance. More staring. He finally dished out the candy and we thanked him and took off. Lesson: Ballerinas who ALSO wear long underwear do NOT dance for candy.

I also remember the first year that I spent the night with Nancy for Halloween. It was a school night. We stayed up talking and talking and giggling, like little girls do on sleep-overs. Then, suddenly we noticed that the yard lights were shutting off....which meant one thing. There was enough sunlight to shut off the sensors. Whoops. We had stayed awake all night. We felt like pretty big stuff. I imagine we didn't feel that "big" by the end of the day, but I'll never forget seeing the lights shut off at dawn, lol. (As most giggling young girls, I developed a habit of staying up all night or most of it on sleepovers. Kind of makes the name sound ridiculous, huh? And the day after was usually a puke-a-palooza...which made my mom more and more reluctant to let me go. Imagine that.)

Anyway, fond memories make me appreciate Halloween as an adult. Take the costumes. Take the candy. But leave me my memories..............and ok, don't touch the chocolate. It's mine.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Favorite Photos of Alli

This is my blog for tomorrow. Tomorrow is FRIDAY! Which means it's time for Friday's Foto Finish Fiesta with CandidCarrie. Carrie hosts it every Friday. (And I'm not sure why I'm saying that because most of you were here before me and hobknobbing with Carrie long before I typed a single keystroke...but just in case!)

Some of you have seen these before...like on facebook this week, but they are some of my favorite photos of Alli. Normally for FX4 I'd only post 1 photo, but these belong together so I'll share all 4.

Alli was such a shy thing when these were taken. She was only a year and a half old and rarely came out of her shell for anyone besides me within the confines of home with NO visitors. I mean a tough little nut to crack. One day my friend Elizabeth was watching her and Meg for me and they played dressup. Elizabeth snapped some photos of Allison and probably to my dying day they'll be my favorites of her. They are adorable (I get to brag: it's MY blog, lol.) And they amaze me because she looks like the little show off and I can hardly believe she came out of her shell for that. But Elizabeth was wonderful. She and her husband and their kids. They were the best friends ever and I miss them sorely. They live in Mozambique now, doing mission work.

Ok, here are the photos.


TA-DA!
My ALL-TIME Favorite!

Thoughtful...Pensive Even...

Tonight I'm blogging to get the jumbled thoughts and emotions out of my head. The past several days have been pretty cool (other than the fire alarm scares.) An old friend found me on facebook. So I made her my facebook friend and through her I found, or was found by, two more friends from the same time. My family moved away from this small town we lived in right after 7th grade and I haven't seen these girls since. Unless I saw them at their graduation and I can't remember how many I made it around to say "hi" to. But you get the idea. It's been a while.

And as I look at their photos I look to see if I can see the babies I remember. I mean, let's face it: 7th graders are babies. Although I wouldn't recommend telling your own kids that when they're in 7th grade because they might choke to death at the preposterous statement you've made...or they might choke YOU to death. A lose/lose situation we'd like to try to avoid.

All three girls look SO much like they did back then...only...grown up. The eyes are the same. The smiles are the same. They're just...grown up.

But as I look at their photos again, a thought starts seeping in. "They're like normal housewifey people." Even if they work, they're normal housewifey mommy people. I know that in writing this conveys NOTHING of what that means in my head and I'm sorry because I don't really know another way of putting it.

But with that "normal" thought and thinking of my other friends (like you ladies), I'm reminded of a feeling I had so many times growing up and frankly I hadn't thought of it in a while. It's that "why aren't *I* normal?" thought. I used to sit and tick off ways or phases of my life that just proved further that I didn't fit or was different. I was never overly emotional about it and I'm still not. But it makes me feel a little sad. Like I'm missing out on something.

I think the thing that strikes the strongest chord is looking at pictures of families doing things. I KNOW that my girls and I are a family but no matter how many times I tell myself that, it just doesn't feel complete. And once again, I'm abnormal.

I didn't say this for a pity party. I just need to sort out that feeling and get it out in front of me. Or at least out of my head where it's on a slow annoying simmer.

And I know that each and every one of my friends, including you ladies, would tell tales of how you've felt "different" or this sort of thing. At least a great many would. But that doesn't do anything for my head. The feeling is still there...and the longing to belong. To not be the oddball. (Well that one I could work on but it sure would be dull, lol.)

Anyway, I don't know that I've come to any resolution by writing this out. I don't think that was my goal. I just needed to process. So sorry to take your time with it, but thanks for reading. ;)

Oh, and ... say a little prayer for me. I have to take 16 kids trick or treating through the school tomorrow. I have to dress them all up. Take them to about 15 different places. Get them back into regular clothes and do "fun" stuff alllllllllllllllllllllll day long. And let's count the parent volunteers. Ready. Ok, stop counting. That's all there are. ZERO. Yippee. Come over tomorrow night and we can count my gray hair!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FIRE FIRE FIRE!!!!

Remember how God was smiling on me yesterday? How my two most "enthusiastic" students were absent? And what an easy cheesy day it was? Well, I'm sure God was smiling on me today, too. In fact, I think He might have been laughing. Hard.

One of my two "enthusiasts" returned today. Full force. Only that wasn't the part to amuse God. He came in the door yelling and slamming it as hard as a five year old could...and laughing a laugh one should only hear on Halloween. Only that wasn't the part to amuse Him either. He laid on his tummy and slid all over his table for fun. That wasn't the funny part. And it wasn't funny when he took someone else's snack and ate it. No one laughed when he scratched another little boy who found a feather outside because he was upset he didn't find one, too. And I certainly didn't so much as snicker when he knocked the game chips flying or nearly broke the game board in half. I doubt any of that gave God a good belly laugh. No. But it got better. It got...ground-breaking...write-Grandma-good...call the newspaper's because someone's picture is going to be on the cover-good. We're talking poke-me-in-the-eye, spit-on-my-neck fantastic!

We were coming in from P.E., Art, and Music, and the precious lad began to take special notice of the little red box on the wall. The one marked, "FIRE ALARM - PULL DOWN." Quite fortunately for me another teacher saw his curious little hand reaching out for it and called out to him. I went and pulled him away from it and explained the whole "we don't do that or we go to jail" idea.

About two hours later we were coming in from the playground, Mr. Enthusiastic at the end because he wasn't too enthusiastic about leaving the playground. We got inside, I turned back to make sure I had everyone and there goes Mr. Enthusiastic's hand, only this time he's actually got the handle of the "FIRE ALARM - PULL DOWN" pulled down halfway. That's when my scream shook the roof of the school. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" Mr. Enthusiastic froze momentarily...................then released the handle.

And those two little savory incidents are what made God look down and not only smile but downright guffaw in my direction. And I'm okay with that. I appreciate a good sense of humor.

Tune in tomorrow for "What a Wild Fire Drill THAT Was!" aka Mr. Enthusiastic Succeeded in Setting Off the Alarm.

Guess who's going to be my BFF tomorrow and hold my hand wherEVER we go. :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So....How Was Your Day???

::sigh:: Today was a good day. My two "loudest" children were not in attendance today, which made it an easy day. No raising of the voice. No battle of the wills. Just 14 kids trying their best to earn my praise. This is how kindergarten is supposed to be. :D That's not to say I don't love my two "loudest" children. They have endearing traits, too. They just exhaust me, that's all. So today was quiet. SO quiet that one little girl asked me, "Why's everyone so quiet??" I refrained from saying, "Because God is smiling on me, today." But He was. Oh yes, He WAS. Not that He doesn't smile on me every day, but I LOVE how He did it today.

So I should have had my act together. I shouldn't have been frazzled. I didn't THINK I WAS. And then I got home, messed a few minutes...like a half hour or so...on my computer. Then I wrote out my car payment, stuck it in my purse and took off. I made a stop at the post office to run the payment in (hoping it will get there in two days because for WHATEVER reason, I canNOT make myself write the thing out on the 20th...but wait until drop dead time...which is the 30th. I should work on that.) Then I hopped back in the car and headed to the salon where I used to get my nails done. (Did you catch that? "USED TO" ::sniff:: I miss pretty hands. I really do. Stupid budget.) ANYWAY, I stopped there because the lady who USED TO do my nails has the tiniest children on the planet so I take my girls' old uniforms to her, and I'd gathered another bag full and wanted to get them to her.) So I hopped out, ran the bag in. Then I headed back to the car again. I dug in my purse for my keys and couldn't find them. (Not a shocker; The Grand Canyon is more shallow.) Then I started feeling pockets for them and that's when I discovered it. Not the keys. But I felt something hard and metal. Wha??? I raised my sweat jacket a teensy bit so I could see below it and well-whaddaya-know-'bout-that? It was my belt...undone...just flapping around while I walked. That's nice. That's the look I've been going for.

So I hop in the car and fasten everything back up. ::rolling eyes:: Before I'd left home I had it in my brain that I MUST go to Arby's for a French Dip Sub. It is my current craving. For no good reason, but mmmmmmmmm, it tastes soooo good. So I pull into the drive through because there's no way I'm going in. They try to freeze you in fast food places in Florida. One MUST drive through and keep the food fast and the body warm. So I do. I pull in. I order. I start to advance to the window to pay and that's when I discovered it. No wallet. No money. Nothing. Seriously?? I mean, SERIOUSLY??? I NEVER leave my wallet out of my purse. I forget a LOT of things, but my wallet is NOT one of those things. And of course I've already placed the order so I can't be "THAT GIRL" and just floor it past the window in hopes that they don't recognize me when I come back fifteen minutes later, because YOU KNOW I'm coming back. There's the French Dip, the au jus to be thinking of. So I wait my turn, inch up to the window and before that guy can blurt out his, "That'll be $6.26," I say, "Forgot my wallet; I'll be back!" The dude cracks up. I say "TEN MINUTES!" and take off.

I went back and the guy didn't even act like he remembered me. I'm hurt. I'm more memorable than that. After all, I'm not groovy. I'm not cool. I must be pretty unique! lol

::siiiiiiiiiiiiigh:: Yeah, that was my afternoon. BOY was that French Dip good. So were the loaded potato bites...and the mozerella sticks. Ok, ok, I pigged out and my stomach feels heavier than when I was nine months pregnant with Alli. And that was three hours ago...or more..the pigging out, not the nine months pregnant scenario.

Tomorrow: NO BELT.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Calling a Spade a Spade

Kids are honest, you know? I mean, brutally honest. Sure there are some who go through a phase of "creating stories" to get out of trouble, but well...their dads come along with a very large tennis shoe and smack their behind and their cured for life. Not that that ever happened to me, nooooooooooo. I've always been honest. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DAD PUT THE SHOE DOWN!!! Ok, I went through a phase. But Dad had a big shoe and zero tolerance for "creative license." Lesson learned.

I got off track. Sorry. Kids ARE honest. They just say what comes to mind and let the chips fall where they may. They don't mean to be cruel. Ok, SOME do SOMEtimes. But most don't mean to be cruel; they just think a thought and out it comes.

I know. I've heard it from my kids and have the bruises to prove it! ;)

A yearish ago, on one particular day, a few different instances came up and I warned Alli if such and such happened then such and such would be the result. I don't remember what it was now, but they were all very logical things. Things that work consistently. I wasn't telling the future...just spoke from experience. Like..."at the end of the day, the sun will go down" sorts of things, lol. Seriously...THAT consistent and THAT logical.

As I tucked Alli in that night, she said, "Mom, you are ALWAYS right! You said ______ and you were right! And then you said _________ and you were right about that too! What NEXT???" Her voice was full of amazement.

Seeing the opportunity for what it was, I said, "Mom's groooooooovy!"

The amazement left her face and her voice and as deadpan as could be, she said, "Mom...ain't gonna happen." And then she rolled onto her back ready to sleep.

Thanks, kid.

So I'm never going to be groovy. It hurts but I'll just have to live with it. After all I've got other qualities that are good. I won't share the list with you, since humility is one of my biggies. ;)

Today, Alli sat by me while I was at the computer, on facebook, looking at Parking Wars. I was reparking my cars. (What IS it about that game? Why am I drawn to it? It's POINTLESS.) As we sat there we came across someone's VERY fancy sportscar and Alli was oooo-ing and ahhhh-ing over it. She declared it to be "cool." I agreed with her and said that I was never offered any cool cars when I was buying or earning them in the game.

The All-Knowing Alli knew why this was so. "Maybe that's because YOU'RE not cool, Mom."

"I'm not cool?"

"No, you're not cool................ No offense, Mom."

::blink.......................blink........................blink::

Wait here. I've got to go mark another one of my "good qualities" off my list. ::sniff::

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Tale of Two Cages

This is my Friday Foto Finish Fiesta. I'm just posting it a few hours early. :)

If you haven't been to the big Fiesta, you can find it on Carrie's blog every Friday.

Earlier this year, my friend Ginny went away for a few days and I went over to her house a couple times a day to feed her dogs and to let them out for a bit. While I had my back turned, getting Charlie (not pictured) into his cage, something was going on behind me.... I THOUGHT my girls were putting Chase into his cage. Well, I wasn't totally wrong.....
So now I've got one of these little cages for our house, too.

ONLY kidding. Although, they look so happy...and so confined.... :D

A Child's Testament to Her Mother's Cleaning Prowess

Ok, usually this blog is my chance to write write write. But yesterday and today I was thinking about a story that Megan wrote last year in fourth grade. I didn't see it until the year was over and she brought home a portfolio of her writing. When I found it, I laughed myself silly. I cringed at the thought of my colleagues at school reading her story and wondering how much of it was based on reality. However, I was taking a class with two of the fourth grade teachers at the time that I found it, so I took it to class and shared it with them. (Yeah, that's me. Worry what someone may think about the writing then take it to them and show them. Illogical, but transparency makes me feel more secure.)

Anyway, I thought I'd share it here on my blog. I absolutely love it.

THE MISSING SOCKS

"OH NO!" My sister herd me say those words and ran as fast as a herd of cattle. When she got there she sputtered, "What's rong." I shouted, "All the socks are gone!" I bolted into the living room and sat on the couch that was millions of dolars. When Allison my sister came she sat down with me. We sat there for an hour or two before Allison suggested, "look in the dryer." I hurried to the dryer. bang, I opened dryer. Then I mumbled, "Nothing not even a speck of dust is hear." We ran to are mom's bedroom and yelled, "We have no socks." My mom leaped out of bed like a frog and groaned, "I have not washed socks in 11 or 10 weeks." We gasped as bad as a sparow. After a tiring long week we finaly found fresh, clean, and nonstinkey socks. My sister had 3 pares of difrent colored socks in her drawrs but not mine. The socks were green with ivory, blue with spots, and white. I grabed a pare of clean emarold green socks out of the royal blue clean basket. I yelled, "yes, victory, I found my socks." My mom screemed, "Finally you found your socks." From that day on tiered, old, but roudy mom checked our londry basket for any socks and then washed the socks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So What's Big on YOUR Big Day?

I got an email today referring me to a site with Flashback Charts that will tell you what the top song was on any certain day in history. Well, not the BC ones or anything that extreme. It has to be since the charts were kept. :-P

So I went on over there and started looking up birthdates of folks I know. My sister, my brother, GP (you already knew that was coming), my mom, my kids. You get the idea. Sometimes I looked at the songs that were big on their birthdays in different years and they really had some good songs. Let's take a look...

My sister and brother shared songs because their birthdays are less than a week apart. They had some good ones, like Penny lane, Bridge Over Troubled Water, My Eyes Adored You, Killing Me Softly With His Song (ohhhhhhhhhhhh the number of times I've sung that to myself, lol), Lost In Your Eyes, and everyone's favorite: Gettin' Jiggy Wit It. (Bahaha, couldn't resist.)

And let's see...Mom had Kokomo, I Can See Clearly Now, You Needed Me, You Light Up My Life, I'll Be There, Islands In The Stream, Last Train to Clarksville, Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock, Mack the Knife, and White Christmas.

And let's look at GP's. He got some good ones, too. I Will Always Love You, How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, I Write the Songs, You're So Vain, Mandy, I Heard it Through the Gravevine, The Twist, I'm a Believer, The Sound of Silence, Go Away Little Girl, and American Pie. Of course several of them were hits on his birthday...BEFORE it was his birthday, but still...nice list.

Now take a look, if you will...at my birthday. On the day I was born, the big hit was Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Indian Reservation). On other years it was Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Hanky Panky, Hard-Headed Woman, Auf Weiderseh'n Sweetheart, and Baby Got Back. What is UP with those??? LOL, ok, there were a few songs that saved it. Teddy Bear, Rock Around the Clock, (They Long To Be) Close to You, The One That You Love, Eye of the Tiger (Woo!!, lol), and Lean on Me. But the song that REALLY saved it?? Annie's Song. ::siiiiiiigh::

Well, I suppose it's not a real insightful blog...not a lot of deep thought, but I love love love music, so I decided it would be blog fodder tonight. :) If you haven't looked before, take a look. What was big on your big day?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kids Can Be So Cruel!

Ok, folks, I know you didn't ask for it, but tonight you're getting a double dose. The thoughts come and I have to put them SOMEwhere, lol. So I'll put them here where only the bravest souls come.

Kids can be so cruel. I know. I work with them allllllll day long. You know. You've been one or you know some. It's just plain and simple. Kids can be cruel. Of course, largely that's because kids are so egocentric by nature. It's hard for them to see beyond "me." But I don't care about that tonight. This isn't a philosophical blog-fest. Tonight is story time.

So come on in and get comfy. Bring a cup of your favorite. I'll make mine Butterfinger Hot Cocoa. Rich, buttery, chocolatey, and smoooooooooooth. If only it weren't so hot.

Anyway, come on in. Let's share childhood traumas. I'll start.

Tonight, I was reminded of a childhood "trauma." I won't take you down the rabbit trail that reminded me of it, but will cut back to somewhere around 1980. Old enough to care, but young enough and small enough to not do a darn thing about it.

My family and I lived on a farm. You remember if you read those childhood diary entries. (I need to go through some more and see if there's any that would be worth the keystrokes, lol.) We lived on a farm that was, I think, eight miles out of town. And so, we were doomed to ride the schoolbus. Kids, for some reason, WANT to ride on a school bus. My own do. My kindies that don't get to ride the bus talk about it. I don't get it, but they want to. Obviously they haven't had my experiences.

There was a boy who rode our school bus. His name was Ricky. Ricky always earned a "place of honor" on the first day of every school year. It was the front row seat to the right of the driver. Right where he could be kept in check. That right there tells you something.

I must say that as kids, we all usually thought Ricky was a hoot. Even us rule followers did. Because frankly he was just plain funny. So outrageously "bad" that it was hilarious. We had a bus driver that my brother and I called Bat-Max. He was not our favorite human but an authority to be endured. We had to write a few too many "lines" for him. "I talk too much and make too much noise." Front and back, every line, 2 pages. Sheesh. I have better things to do than that, Bat-Max.

One boy would write a bunch of Max's standard lines (like "I talk too much and make too much noise.") over the summer and he'd stash them in his wallet. Then when Max told him he had to write them, he'd whip them out of his wallet and hand them over. That......well.........angered Max. lol

Anyway, Bat-Max is one of the reasons that the rest of us adored Ricky. Ricky lived to be the bane of Bat-Max's existence. Ricky would get off the bus and we'd drive on down the road, then turn around and have to drive back past Ricky's house. That was a mistake. Why the driver didn't wait and drop him off on his way past the second time, I'll never know. But Max would drop Ricky off, go down the road, turn around, and come back. During those few minutes, Ricky wasted no time. He did things like go and get his bow and arrow and wait in hiding for Max to drive by and he'd see if he could shoot through the driver's window. (If I recall they were just the suction cup arrows, but they ticked Max off.) Or he'd go find his football and the tee. Stand back in hiding and try to time it out just right to punt that ball into the drivers' side window. A startling effect. Max fumed. We laughed hysterically....at least inwardly. We feared "lines."

But really, Ricky was a bit of a pest. If he finds this blog and reads it, I think he'd be the first to admit it...unless he's suffered serious amnesia.

And this pestiness leads to my little story of trauma.

Now I know you'll find it hard to believe but I was a very scrawny young girl. Imagine that. Skin and bones. I got more "the wind could blow you away" lines than you could imagine. And I wasn't really tall either. Almost ALWAYS on the front row of the class picture. It was life, though. For the most part I didn't care. That said, like many kids I was pretty self-conscious.

Well somewhere around 1980, Ricky got it in his head that I was the new victim. No arrows shot at me. No footballs punted at me. No. He pulled out all the stops. .................................................................... He called me names!

Not Skinny. Not Bones. Not ... not ... Bitty Pants. (No, we can thank my relatives for that one, though.) No, Ricky was too creative for that. No simple name calling would do for Ricky.

One day I got on the bus, completely unexpectant of Ricky abuse. But it was my day. My turn. Ricky was looking for new prey and he found it. His name for me? Ig of I, The Wicked Cambodian.

Lovely name, isn't it? I know you're all terribly jealous. Talk about taking a person by surprise. It took me a while to even process the name. But it wouldn't be all that bad if he stopped with naming me "Ig of I, The Wicked Cambodian." Oh well. Who cares, right?

No no. Name calling was not enough. Every day when I got on the bus, if Ricky was paying attention, he would let out this horrendous shriek of "Ig-uh-ig-uh-iiiiiiiiiiiii!"(all pronounced with short i, like you hear in "inch.") He somehow thought that was my battle cry or something. It was the sound, according to Ricky, that the Wicked Cambodian made.

Now that would really be enough, wouldn't it? But it didn't stop there. Ok, it did for Ricky, but it didn't for me. No sir. We could leave that gem in the past, if it were left to Ricky. But it wasn't.

My sweet, protective, big sister decided she liked the name "Iggie." Pardon me. Make that "Ig of I," again with the short i. (Like it matters.) And she didn't just call me that for a while. To this day she calls me "Ig." I've quit fighting it. She taught her four children to call me "Aunt Ig." lol I call her house. They answer the phone and yell, "MOM! It's IG!" I roll my eyes and give her grief when she gets to the phone. She even went so far a few years ago to demand that I open an email account with "Ig_of_I" in the address, because she insisted it was the only place she'd write me.

Yeah, sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will drive you nuts!!

So...go ahead...unload your childhood traumas. I'm listening.

P.S. - I totally don't care about "Ig" anymore. It's just her name for me. And she doesn't shriek it like a battle cry, so it's easier on the ears. :D

Indiana Greg!

I'm sitting outside with the laptop, enjoying what Florida thinks is Autumn. My girls are laying on grass mats doing their homework.

And a moment ago, my child cracked me up and I decided it's time to blog.

Background: I like Indiana Jones. It's not like "I like GP," or "I like Mamma Mia." I don't even own the movies. Maybe someday, though. But I think they're good movies and well, Harrison is just well...you know...Harrison. (No Kristen I'm not referring to certain men who THINK they're Harrison. I'm talking about the real McCoy.)

So, liking Indiana Jones and all, I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when it was in the theater. I loved it. It was fun. I laughed. And I laughed out loud. Like LITERAL LOL. My friend Ginny decided that I was the only one laughing in the theater, but that's okay. I was the only one singing at the Mamma Mia Sing-Along, so???

Now anytime my girls see Indiana Jones, they say, "Hey Mom, HERE's something you'll like." Even the Papa John Pizza ad. Great, thanks, girls. Mmhmm. Ok. And on goes life.

So we're sitting out in this pseudo-autumn and Megan says, "Hey Mom! Do you want the whip?" (I can't remember exactly what she said to clue me in to the fact that she was talking about Indiana Jones now, but she was.) "Do you want the whip? It's out in theaters now." (She meant to say "stores".)

I said I didn't.

She said, "How about an action figure?" Again, referring to IJ.

I said I didn't want that either.

So she told me they used GP as Indiana one time. (She always plays the GP card when she tries to make a sale.)

I just laughed.

So she said, "Hey! He HAS a hairy chest!" (I believe referring to both men in question.)

I laughed good and hard. What is it with these girls and "hairy chests." They think the whole concept is the highest form of comedy out there.

If they bring home a hairy boyfriend, they are sooooooooooo getting teased. If not I'm recommending testosterone therapy, but well...we'll deal with that later.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Don't Want to Go to School, I Don't Want to Go to School!

You'll have to excuse the mood...again. Man, you guys must think my moods swing as much as...well...something that swings a lot. If a man lived with me, he'd go bonkers. Of course I think that's part of the deal...my estrogen is free to ebb and flow all over the place so I can let the emotions go where they will. Lots of time to myself. Too much thinking time, maybe???

Anyway...to the subject, "I Don't Want To Go To School!" These weren't my words, although I don't feel a whole lot differently, ha ha. These are my baby girl's words. My Alli. My little one who finds school so easy and just goes with the flow...apart from some issues last year where she didn't want to be away from me at all. But we got through that and she'd been doing so well this year. Now the past several days, she hasn't wanted to go too badly. I usually hear about it when I tuck her in at night. Tonight's when she issued the proclamation, "I don't want to go to school!" repeatedly. And her reason?? "I miss Odyssey. School's not school without her."

Odyssey. Alli's best friend. The only place she ever saw the child was at school. Then one day last week, Alli came rushing into my classroom, sobbing. She ran into my arms and said, "Odyssey's going to a different school!" Alli didn't even get to say goodbye. Odyssey's last day had been the day before and no one had known.

Just like that. No warning. Nothing. Just here one day and gone the next and my little girl is heartbroken. Alli's fairly outgoing and can make friends pretty easily, but she and Odyssey had grown to be good friends throughout last year and the beginning of this year and now she's gone and Alli's so sad. And what do you do? ::sigh::

I can relate though. It's not the same, but I get that sad feeling sometimes too...where I miss someone so badly and there's nothing I can do about it. I feel that way tonight...and have for a few weeks. Just missing a friend and unable to do diddlysquat about it.

I was feeling a bit stir-crazy about it all afternoon and this evening. I should have found something else to occupy my thoughts. I was heavy hearted. I was craving some sort of food, but couldn't put my finger on it. Craving affection (other than tiny-kid affection, although that's precious too), but whaddayado about that either? The only adult I saw was my ex and ... not to be rude or anything but I'd rather run needles under my fingernails than hug him. Ya know...break my heart and you'll never touch me again syndrome. Between emotional and physical craving I was feeling a bit lulu. Maybe I still am. Ok, I am.

But back to Alli and Odyssey. The whole situation really kind of frustrated me. Why on earth does a parent send their child to school without telling them it's their last day and giving them a chance to say goodbye to friends? It's not fair to the child and it's not fair to their friends to at least say goodbye...exchange addresses or phone numbers, maybe? It just stinks.

So I guess I just pray for Alli. When you're seven, new friends can come fairly quickly, right? And maybe we can still get in contact with Odyssey. A play date would be good for them both.

...and now I'm going to just quit writing. I've tried to wrap this up a few different ways and keep deleting, so I'm just going to stop. :) Back tomorrow with something a bit more "up."...like a long lost photo of an MC or something, ha.