Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I've managed to run around the house cleaning like a crazy person and my anniversary slipped quietly away and Thanksgiving has arrived! Thanksgiving and Christmas are my absolute favorite holidays. Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart because it always falls close to my anniversary and because it always has my favorite meal. I love turkey, Stove Top stuffing [it has to be crispy like Mom makes it] and Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberries (I can make them come out in perfect can shape, even with the crappy new can design they implemented a few years ago). And let's not forget the Mrs. Smith's Classic Pumpkin Pie and Reddi Whip whipped cream (the full fat version, nothing else will do). All of the specific brand foods are must haves for my Thanksgiving dinner to make me one very happy Karen. It's not Thanksgiving without all of those elements present.

When Bryan and I got married it was two days after Thanksgiving. Since I love that holiday so much, I decided that our wedding menu would consist of one dinner selection: Turkey Dinner. It was essentially a Thanksgiving meal with all of our family and friends. In some cases, it would be the last time the entire family was together for a Thanksgiving meal. My grandmother passed 4 1/2 months after our wedding. All of her children and most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren [at that point in time] were present. I particularly love that each year close to the date or on the date of our anniversary Bryan and I get to have the same dinner we had on our wedding day.

I am thankful for my wonderful family, friends and neighbors, the delicious foods that I look forward to eating on my two favorite holidays (I really love food.), Colgate Spin Brushes (those things are amazing for cleaning bathrooms--no idea on how they do for cleaning teeth) and having a wonderfully clean house (thanks largely in part to the Grande Peppermint Mocha Frapuccino from Starbucks that I picked up today). I realize some of the things I'm thankful for may seem trivial or downright absurd but I've been cleaning for hours, thus inhaling all sort of fumes from cleaning products and it's after 1am in the morning.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Oh and I'm thankful for those of you who read my blog and leave wonderful comments of encouragement or support. Have a great day today! I so cannot wait to have some turkey and half a can of can shaped cranberries!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nine Years

Nine years ago today Bryan and I got married in front of God, our family and friends. It amazes me how quickly time flies. We've set up home in three places (an apartment, and then our first house followed by our current home), welcomed two children and two furry creatures into our family. We've had many trials and lots of laughter and wonderful memories. I can't believe how fast the first nine years have passed. I'm so happy that I married my best friend and I look forward to many more years with my wonderful husband.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Have a hairy little girl?

If you do, check out the giveaway over on Girly Do's by Jenn. I'm a sucker for bunnies and I had to tell you about this giveaway so I could use the cute little button she had on her blog. (And as I have mentioned many times in the past, I am fully aware that I'm a dork. The little things in life amuse me, so please humor my odd tendencies.) She has some really cute hair ideas on her blog. I pick bits and pieces of her hair styles from time to time and try them out on my hairy children.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's more fun than 1 sick kid?

That's a silly question! Why, two sick kids, of course! Fortunately sick kid 1 appears to be on the rebound. The 100.3 fever and lethargic sickly behavior only lasted Tuesday night. To be safe, sick kid 1 was kept home from school yesterday. Thanks to an organized third grade teacher, and a willing 8 year old neighbor, Madeline was able to do all of her missed school and homework yesterday afternoon, so she's already caught up. Sick kid 1 still has a cold, but she's going to school today since the fever and stomach pains have passed.

This morning has been moving super slow. Hopefully, this is not a sign of things to come. I like days when Bryan is away on business trips to fly like the wind. Slow moving days, sick kids and business trips do not go well together.

It became evident that I had acquired a sick kid 2 overnight early this morning. My child who is not a morning person and likes to sleep in came downstairs rather early this morning [likely because she heard the voices of our neighbor's daughters down in the kitchen]. She was pleasant at first, but it soon became evident that Ellie had come down with Madeline's cold and was in a grumpy mood. Ellie is not a kid you want to cross when she's miserable, but I'm the kind of person who will stupidly find every way to irritate said grumpy child by accident. I hope to God that this child decides to take a nap today.

The neighbor children have been far more agreeable than I had anticipated. They didn't argue with one another, they happily ate the breakfast I gave them (I fully expected whining and complaining about our breakfast selection--we're not a sugar cereal house [except for me].) They were happy to eat the waffles we had on hand, and they even cleared their dishes when they finished. Oh how I wish my girls felt motivated to do that every morning!

I got to experience what sending my child off on the middle school bus will be like this morning. Let's just say I'm amazed that all I have to do is stand in the comfort of my own home and watch as the middle schooler crosses the street and walks one property length to the corner. How easy is that? That's a shorter walk than the walk I have to make from the elementary parking lot to the spot where I wait to pick Madeline up after school.

In less than 10 minutes my stint of watching the neighbor's kids will be completed [that is provided the surgery goes well and they get home before 1PM]. Here's hoping Ellie doesn't go off the deep end since she's feeling under the weather. I'm ready for a nap!

Small Successes

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I managed to wake up (and stay up) at 6AM this morning. This is no small feat when you have a husband who is away on a business trip. Why have I done such a crazy thing? I'm helping out a neighbor and watching her school aged kids this morning until school starts since she has to go in for surgery this morning. I hope a nap is in my future this afternoon.

2. I am caught up on all of the laundry. I'm happy that the small mountain has vanished.

3. The main level of the house is dusted.

Bonus 1: On a holiday note, I got more of the presents wrapped. I have just a few things left to wrap and then I'll be able to say that every gift I've purchased so far is wrapped. I also officially done shopping for my kids since I picked up stocking stuffers earlier this week.

Bonus 2: I only spent one day bummed out about my less than stellar new hair-do. Now I've moved on to hoping it will just grow a bit by Christmas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On the bright side I'll use less shampoo....

In general, I tend to find the positives in bad situations. In many cases, my positives are things that no one would think of or want to think of given their situation. For example, I once commented to Bryan's aunt who was losing her hair due to the chemo for her breast cancer that on the bright side, she wouldn't have to worry about spending time doing her hair. And no, I didn't say it to be mean, I was trying to find the positive in a very bad situation. The response to me finding these positives is almost always "Only you would see that as the bright side, Karen.". Perhaps they're right, but when things go wrong, I think it's best to find the bright side, even if it's not that bright.

I got my hair cut today. Or should I say, I went to get my hair trimmed and I lost about 50% of it. I could cry. Once my hair gets to a certain shortness, I think I look rather butch, so I try to make sure that my hair doesn't go any shorter than my chin. I have no idea what happened today, but my hair is the shortest it's been since I was two years old. That's right, I'm bringing it all the way back to 1980. How short is it? Let's just say that the longest pieces make it to the bottom of my earlobes. I'm feeling sick just typing this. I have a section of hair that I can't even tuck behind my ear. If this doesn't make me insane I'm not sure what will.

So let's look at the bright side to this lovely situation. For one, I will be using a lot less shampoo. Drying my hair will take a lot less time since I have half my preferred amount. I'm going to make up all the time I've lost drying my hair that was too long for the past month. Oh, and I'll save money on going to get my hair cut for an extra couple of months since I suspect it will be probably be March before my hair is long enough to need a trim.

I can assure you all that I'll be praying that my hair grows fast so that I don't look like Madeline and Ellie's butch mom at Christmas. When I look in the mirror I see what my brother would look like with long hair. Oh and I'm sure both of my brothers will have a field day when they see my new do on Thanksgiving. Ugh.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book Review: Doers of the Word

I just finished reading Archbishop Dolan's Doers Of The Word: Putting Your Faith Into Practice. I'll be the first to admit that I was uncertain about whether or not I'd enjoy this book. You never can tell with books. Sometimes you get one that you are pretty sure you're going to love and you wind up bored to tears, and other times you get a book that you're slightly apprehensive will be a bust and you find yourself delighted with what you find between the covers. I'm really happy to report that Doers Of the Word was a really good book. Really.

I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that this book is not what I was concerned it might be: a how-to book on how to put your faith into practice. I'm not much a of fan of preachy material, and prior to delving into this book, I worried that it could be just that. So I procrastinated for a day or two before I decided to give it a go. This book was not at all what I expected. It was just so much better than what I was expecting. Now some of my zeal for this book probably has to do with the fact that as I read this book, points from books I've read prior to this suddenly made sense with incredible clarity. So my amazement at how well he explained topics that others had explained in a somewhat cloudy manner really endeared this book to me.

Much of the book is comprised of Archbishop Dolan's personal stores, insights on a variety of subjects. His approach is very simple and straight forward. Each chapter is broken up into short essays [which frequently are infused with humor] that are followed by quotes, historical information, or brief explanations of a point mentioned in the essay. It's an easily digestible book. Have a few minutes? You can easily take in a short sub-section of a chapter. Have an hour? You can breeze through a nice chunk of the book. The book is written in a very engaging manner.

If you're looking for a source of inspiration, I'd highly recommend this book.

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer Program for The Catholic Company. For more information on Doers of the Word: Putting Your Faith Into Practice, visit The Catholic Company.

As a reviewer for The Catholic Company, I was supplied with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review of this book.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I must be crazy

I went out shopping with my neighbor this morning and when I got home there was a message on my answering machine from the Thursday night CCD coordinator asking me if I could substitute tonight. Because the weather is pretty yucky right now, and because it's a 4th grade class, I agreed to come in. I figure I can avoid going out in the rain two extra times and I'll be able to help determine whether or not I really want to pick up an older grade CCD class in the future.

Since I already had to go to the parish office to drop off a lesson plan for a kindergarten substitute I figured I'd try to toss together a lesson plan for the class I'm teaching tonight. I was pretty happy that I ran into the deacon since he got me all set up with the teacher's manual for the 4th grade and he ran off all the copies I wanted to keep my class busy. I want to give a huge shout out to the Catholic Mom website. I was able to get a few things there that tie in perfectly with the lesson I'm presenting tonight.

My lesson plan is finished (it's remarkably similar to the kindergarten one I made up yesterday, just a bit more in-depth). All that's left to do is pray that I don't get eaten alive by a pack of 4th graders and that Ellie will behave herself. I hope that I'm able to have at least half the fun I have with my kindergarten class. I'm excited that these kids are old enough to read since that means we can play "Build the Church" (he deacon approved version of Hangman). So I'm looking forward to tonight but at the same time, I'm a touch nervous, but I think that's a good thing. We have to make sure the adrenaline is going just in case.

Oh and the woman who I helped out with the lesson plan is not only incredibly grateful, but she told me she wants to see if her grandson can switch to my class since she likes my approach. I really don't think I'm doing anything that special or innovative. I'm just trying to make it fun for the kids and myself. Who wants to sit in a boring class? Not me. So who knows, I may wind up with a new student in the near future. That would certainly spice things up a bit.

Small Successes

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

Clearly time likes to slow down when life becomes slightly more challenging. This past week certainly felt like it lasted a week.

1. I survived Bryan's latest business trip. Let me just say that I never enjoy his business trips. All of the little things he does with the kids when he's home really make a big difference in my workload. There's nothing like a few days without him to really highlight just how much he does. Of course, on the flip side, the house is always much neater while he's gone, but I'll admit I'd take the mess over his absence any day.

2. I managed to get caught up with the laundry. I really need to keep on top of it. On Saturday we had quite the mountain of laundry at the bottom of the basement steps. (Yes, I have heard of baskets, but when you live in a house where everyone just drops their dirty clothes wherever, it's easier to just toss everything down the steps where it can be sorted into baskets. Plus, it's harder for my husband and the kids to "miss" when they're throwing something down the steps as opposed to in a basket.)

3. I got more Christmas preparations completed. The Christmas cards arrived on Monday and I have them sealed in their envelopes. I ordered the stamps on Tuesday and I'm going to buy ink for the printer (for the mailing labels) today or tomorrow. The vast majority of my holiday shopping is now complete. I need to buy something little for Bryan, a few things for my brother, stocking stuffers and a gift card and then I'm done. I have wrapped just about everything that has been delivered so far. I can't believe I'm so close to meeting my goal of being done by Thanksgiving.

Bonus 1: I remembered to buy canned goods and non-perishables for my girls to bring to school and their CCD classes for the collections they're doing. Usually I forget and have to rummage through our cabinets [which don't often have canned goods] at the last minute. As long as I remember to send them in with the canned goods we're good to go.

Bonus 2: About two hours before my husband's plane landed last night, our dishwasher started making funny sounds. I was bracing myself for the business trip disaster that hadn't befallen us this time. I shut it off and waited for Bryan to get home (after starting and stopping it and checking inside several times). As soon as he got home I started it back up and amazingly, it ran just fine. I don't know what it is about him, but electronic things tend to go nuts when he's on a business trip. He returns and the universe comes back into alignment. Not sure what it is about him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I really dislike potty humor.

I don't quite know what the fascination is with kids and potty humor, but I really can't stand it. Most of the time, I'm spared from the annoyance of such humor, but on the occasions when it hits, it's usually over the top.

Tonight as I'm putting the girls to bed Madeline tells me that her class had to go downstairs to use the girls' room because the one upstairs was out of toilet paper. Ok, no big deal, right? Of course not! There had to be a catch to this story. Madeline informed me that there was "butt hair" on the toliet seat in the girls' room. I made the mistake of asking her how she knew where the hair came from. Why oh why did I stupidly ask a question that I didn't want to know the answer to? She didn't know how she knew, but she informed me that some people have butt hair. (And, I want no comments about my bathrooms, please. I have a hairy husband.) Let me just tell you that I find this highly disturbing given that I grew up in a house with non-hairy people. All I can think is she has heard me complain to my friend (who also has a hairy spouse) about a certain bathroom cleaning issue. Ugh!

As if the Madeline portion of this discussion wasn't bad enough, Ellie latched on to the words "butt hair" and wouldn't stop repeating them and laughing. And mind you, it was infectious laughter. It took a good five minutes for me to regain order and get my girls tucked in.

Potty humor stinks! I look forward to the days when neither one of my girls is fascinated with it.

Who says flattery will get you nowhere?

When I was in high school I had plenty of teachers who would utter the phrase "Flattery will get you nowhere." quite often. Let's just say that I'm a born wheeler and dealer and I'll work every angle I can to get what I want. It actually works most of the time, but still, people tell you it doesn't work. I think it works. It worked on me to a degree today.

I had about twenty minutes of silence this morning and I had full intentions of using that time for a higher purpose [praying the rosary]. About a minute into my twenty minutes of peaceful silence, the phone rang. I didn't recognize the name on the caller id, but something made me answer the phone. Turns out the religious ed director had given my name and number to the coordinator for the 11:15 CCD classes. She took on the task of substituting for the kindergarten CCD class this coming Sunday and was at a total loss for what she needed to do. In conversation with this very nice woman, she told me that the DRE suggested that she call me because I was really good at what I do. Honestly, I'm not sure where she got that. I don't think the deacon or the DRE (that's the deacon's wife) have ever observed my class , so other than the coloring pages I have them copy for my class, they have no idea what I do with my class. (I suppose it's possible they could have peeked in my class without me realizing it.) I could be teaching them how to perfect the art of spitballing for all they know. (I assure you I'm not.) Anyway, I was flattered that the DRE spoke so highly of me.

So as I talked to this very nice woman who has been losing sleep over teaching this one class, I decided that I could offer her more than just a little guidance on how to teach the class. I decided to write up a lesson plan for her [for a chapter that I had decided to skip for my own class]. She expressed concern that she would finish the chapter well before Mass was over and wasn't sure how she'd fill the void. So I told her I could give her a few coloring pages to copy for the class and suggested that she pick a Bible story to read during the class (a favorite time filler of mine). She had no idea how many kids were in the class, but I got her to check with our DRE and get a number. The mother of the twins in my class gave me a very generous gift card two weeks ago to buy crafts for my class. Since I usually buy the crafts when they're on sale or with a 50% off coupon, I know I'll have enough to cover at least 12 crafts for my class [in addition to the plethora of crafts I purchased over the Summer]. The nice thing about the craft kits I buy is they usually have enough for 23-30 children and given that my class only has 8 students [9 if we count the child who has never shown up], I wind up with lots of extras. I figured the least I could do was help this woman out and offer her a craft to keep the kids busy. I just have to say that I was shocked when she called me back and told me there are 16 kids in that one class. We could combine both 9:15 kindergarten classes and still have a smaller class. I never dreamed that the 11:15 Sunday time slot would be more popular with the parents. Personally, I'd rather get CCD done early and enjoy the rest of the day doing family things.

Despite the fact that I had to construct a lesson plan and take time out of my afternoon, I'm really happy that I was able to help. Tomorrow I'll be meeting her at the parish office to go over the lesson plan and the craft I put together for the class. It helped keep me from worrying about Bryan's upcoming flights home. Now that he's getting ready to take off, I have plenty of time to worry for his safety.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Madeline's Baptism

Oftentimes, dates fly past me and I realize after the fact that the date had some significance attached to it. This happens quite often with the dates of my girls' baptisms. Mainly, Madeline's. Ellie's is a little harder to forget because it falls two days after our wedding anniversary and it's usually very close to Thanksgiving [November is a month that holds a lot of important dates for our family].

I realized a few minutes ago as I was dusting the photos on my mantle that today is the anniversary of Madeline's baptism. Unlike her sister, Madeline did not have the standard production line baptism. She was baptized at her great grandfather's church in Philadelphia. And since Pop was at Mass every Saturday night, Fr. Francis made an exception and agreed to baptize Madeline during the Saturday night vigil Mass. Madeline was the only baby being baptized at that Mass and it was the most beautiful baptism I have ever attended. To this day, family members (Catholic and non-Catholic) still talk about Madeline's baptism. Actually, even friends of the family from Philly who I only ever meet at funerals still go on about her baptism. After she was baptized, Fr. Francis hoisted my not quite two month old soundly sleeping daughter over his head and walked her up and down the center aisle of the church for all to see while the grandmothers stood there in shock worried that the priest might drop their only grandchild on the tiled floor. Her baptism looked like something you'd expect for royalty. I've never seen anything like it before and I doubt I'll ever see anything like it again.

A few years after her baptism, Fr. Francis was moved to another parish. I, for one, was sad to see him go. I liked how he'd point Madeline out anytime we'd go to Mass there [even if it was during a crowded Easter Sunday Mass] when he was giving his homily and go off on a tangent and tell everybody about her baptism and how much her great grandfather adored her. If I recall correctly, he even talked about her during Pop's funeral Mass.

It's hard to believe that eight years have passed since Madeline's baptism. The day is still very fresh in my memory. It's a day that is simply rich with memories. And as solemn and beautiful as the day was, it also had a little humor. Fr. Francis had a practice of carrying the newly baptized babies up to the sanctuary and walking around with them up there. Before giving the baby back to the parents, he would lay the baby on the altar for a moment. Sound asleep Madeline shocked him when she was the first ever to let one rip on the altar. Let's just say that Fr. Francis was rather surprised and went on about how he couldn't believe what had just happened for several minutes. It's one of those stories that comes up from time to time at family gatherings.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Easily forgotten?

I'm feeling rather lonely at the moment. The kids are in bed, a certain spousal figure is in another part of the country (Texas to be exact) and even Mr. Furkins has decided that curling up in his crate is preferable to sitting in the family room and watching TV with me. Have I really been dissed by the family dog? It certainly feels that way.

I try not to be a nag, but I find it very irritating that my husband seemingly forgets about me when he travels. He called to let me know he landed safely this afternoon. Then, he called to say hello to the girls in the early evening, only he didn't get to talk to Ellie because she decided to take a nap (I'm still shocked at her recent interest in napping--where was that two years ago?). So Bryan managed to duck out of his meeting for a few so he could say good night to the girls when it was their bed time. I got to talk to him for a few seconds and he assured me that he'd call me soon. He always tells me he'll call me soon. Sadly, soon in his mind is usually several hours later. I reminded him that I didn't want him calling me at 1am or 4am like he did on his last trip. Here it is 11pm and I suspect that he won't be calling me anytime soon. When I call him while he's gone I usually interrupt a meeting or a business dinner so I do my best not to call and look like the nagging wife.

So as I sit here feeling oh so bored and lonely, I'm anything but comforted knowing that next week I'll be in this same situation again. I guess I should just be thankful that his trips are much shorter now than they were before Ellie was born and that they are much less frequent, too.

Ooh! I remembered!

Ok, so this isn't an earth shattering post, but it amuses me. I am forever making fun of Bryan for watching horrible movies of the 80's and occasionally the 70's. Since I had a rather sheltered existence as a child, I am not familiar with many of the litany of bad 80's movies Bryan fondly remembers and can't believe I've never heard of or seen.

This Saturday as I was sitting around trying to relax before my weekly hour of "let's see what I can do to torment Mommy in public" also known as going to Mass alone with the kids (No, I'm not the least bit annoyed that my husband no longer comes with us. Don't worry dear, I'll pray for your soul while you sit at home and watch movies or play video games.) I got sucked into a Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris movie that Bryan was watching. To be fair, the movie was really bad. It had to have been from the 70s based on the color of the picture, the super cool clothing and the general awesomeness of the movie. So how did I get sucked in? Well, there was a commentator that made observations about the movie as it went to commercials and when I heard that there would be some chest hair ripping, I was hooked. You see, just before the movie went to commercial, it was revealed that Chuck Norris had more chest, shoulder and back hair than Austin Powers. I'm sure I've mentioned my fascination with removing mutant hairs from Bryan's ears at least a few times. Well, the lure of seeing Bruce Lee ripping chest hair off of Chuck Norris was too much for me to resist. I found the scene to be rather amusing, and Bryan thought it was pretty funny that I decided to sit and watch the movie because it included hair removal.

Hmm...I forgot what I wanted to say.

I'm finding with increasing frequency that I can't remember half of the things I want to do or say. I'll pick up the phone and call my mom or best friend and realize once they answer that I don't recall why I even called them in the first place. And now, I'm finding that this not so lovely phenomena has spilled over into blogging. Yay!

I know I had something moderately interesting to write about, but at the moment I can't figure out what on earth it could possibly be. It's sad, really, because a primary function of this blog is for me to chronicle the funny little things I encounter in my life as Mommy. Perhaps I'll remember soon what it was that I have been meaning to write for almost two days.

Book Review: The Mass: A Guided Tour

My latest foray into reading has been The Mass: A Guided Tour written by Thomas Richstatter. I have to say that while I felt some points soared over my head while reading the book, I came to the startling realization at Mass this past Sunday that, in fact, many of them had not. Reading this book can certainly deepen your understanding of the Mass, and quite frankly that shocked me given that I've already been subjected to several poignant explanations of the Mass. Will I ever completely wrap my head around it all? Maybe not. (I still don't understand how telephones and the internet actually work--I'm serious.) But I can tell you that the explanation put forth in this book has certainly stuck with me, and I'm fairly certain that it has transformed my view.

So you're probably wondering what the deal is with this book, right? We'll, the book is broken down into two parts. Part one looks at the "Four Mysteries". There is a chapter for each mystery. They are Christmas, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I have to say it was within part one of this book that I came to the realization that perhaps this book isn't what I was expecting as I came to wonder why some of the explanations seemed like they were just beyond my grasp of understanding. I'm sure a lot of my confusion has to do with the fact that the author's method of explaining the Mass is different from how it has been explained to me in the past. Part two of this book is called "A Symphony in Four Movements". This part jived better with my own understanding of the Mass and as a result, I enjoyed this portion of the book the best. The chapters in this section discuss essentially what we are doing when we go to Mass.

In the introduction for this book it is explained that in many ways this book is more of a pilgrimage than a tour. It's a pilgrimage because this book will transform your view of the Mass. When I first read this, I was thinking to myself "Oh sure, this book is really going to change my view." (insert skeptical "I'll believe it when I see it" tone here). So when I realized at Mass this past Saturday that apparently reading this book had changed my perspective a bit, I found myself eating my words. I'm fairly certain that my difficulty in understanding certain portions of the first part of this book has to do with me and not the author. He really does do a good job at explaining all the components of Mass. I'm confident that I was simply thrown off by his approach which as I have already mentioned is different from how the Mass had previously been explained to me.

This book review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program for the The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Mass: A Guided Tour. As a reviewer for The Catholic Company, I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kid can't even read, but she's got some vocab skills

I took the girls out to Target today to drop off a prescription for Bryan and to buy a new water spray bottle since we seem to go through these things like there's no tomorrow. Truth be told, I have forgotten to buy a new spray bottle three days in a row. I always remember that I forgot to buy a new one when it comes time to do Ellie's hair. I simply can't do the girls' hair when it's dry, so the spray bottle is absolutely essential to my children looking well kept.

As we're pulling out of the garage Madeline starts going on [again, for the millionth time] about how dirty my van is. So, of course, she starts badgering me about when I'm going to wash the van. Hmm...let's see. We brought the van when I was 7 months pregnant with Ellie. I honestly don't recall ever washing the van. But, a trip down memory lane reveals that it has been washed [once], and it was done when Ellie was about 9 months old, which would be the time when my delightful four year old Madeline picked up the garden hose and shot her daddy in the butt. Talk about a proud mommy moment. That one not only takes the cake, but I also have pictures of the aftermath. Priceless. So as Madeline is admonishing me about the dirty state of my van's exterior, Ellie interrupts Madeline and tells her "Mommy's car isn't dirty, Madeline. It's FILTHY!". Gee, thanks Ellie. So I guess Madeline was being too kind in calling my van dirty. So now I can drive around knowing that my spunky four year old thinks I drive a filthy van. It's nice to know that she's got a good vocabulary.

Ellie watching Madeline and Bryan wash the van.

Madeline wielding the garden hose.

The end result (Pun not intended, but pretty funny when you think about it.) of what happens when you place a garden hose in the hands of a 4 year old who has parents who like to play with water.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's beginning to taste like Christmas!

I was browsing one of the message boards I frequent from time to time today and saw that Starbucks had rolled out the peppermint frappuccinos again. So what did I do? Why I went to Target to get chicken breasts only, and I walked out with one bag of clearanced Snickers (I couldn't just leave them there when they were 74 cents!), a Halloween CD, a case of baby fever (I ran into the mom of one of Madeline's old classmates and her gorgeous 3 1/2 month old son) and a delicious peppermint frappuccino that I'm sure will have me wired for the rest of the day.

So now I'm really in a holiday mood thanks to my lovely peppermint drink. I have to say I'm a bit sad that the pumpkin spice frappuccino has disappeared until next year.

Small Successes

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

Amazing how Thursday keeps creeping up on me. My weeks are beginning to turn into blurs. Where is the time going?

Despite feeling like I've been caught up in a whirlwind of activity, I think I've had a rather productive week. There are still plenty of things that need to be done, like my laundry and this week's lesson plan for my religious ed class (I REALLY need to work on that!), but I accomplished a lot. Even I'm surprised and I don't surprise myself much given my perfectionist tendencies.

1. Madeline's rural community model for her social studies class is FINALLY finished. We did a prototype, then we did what we thought was the final version (and I couldn't get past how bad I thought it looked since it curled). Then I made a few other possible prototypes which I didn't like at all. Finally I decided to take a few steps back and rethink how we were going about this project. I went back to tried and true methods: wood base, poster board and paint. Let me say that Crayola Model Magic is pretty neat given it's lightweight nature and fast drying. I don't like it as much as Play-doh, but it got the job done nicely. And clear mailing labels sure are great when you are required to label everything.

2. Shock of all shocks, I ordered prints of some pictures I've taken. I needed some pictures for Ellie's Thanksgiving project. (Yes, that's right we had two school projects in the house in one week. God help me if I ever have three children and three projects--I'd probably have to run far far away.) I am now the proud owner of 30 4x6 prints (coming from the woman with over 30,000 digital images) from various events of the past year and one of Ellie's first birthday, (Don't laugh, some of us take a while to get around to printing things out.) and multiple 5X7s and 8X10s of my favorite beach pictures I took last month.

3. Now that it's November I'm totally focused on the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite times of the year. I managed to get another good chunk of my Christmas shopping completed. I only have to shop for a few more people and then I'm done! I'm fairly certain that I will meet my goal of being done with Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. In fact, I have every gift with the exception of Yankee Candles and gift cards wrapped. I also ordered my photo Christmas cards from Winkflash yesterday. I've been waiting for them to have their annual 40% off photo cards sale for a couple weeks now, and they finally put up the code. I'm very happy. Now I just need to order Christmas stamps from the USPS website and print out my mailing labels.

Here's hoping next week will go by a little slower.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm still here

To look at my blog, I get the feeling that I must have fallen off the face of the earth or I've hit a major time warp. Actually the time warp thing is partly right given the recent time change for daylight savings time. Let me just say that I think that particular practice should be abolished. I'm taking a beating with the time change. Who would have thought that "gaining" an extra hour of sleep could screw a person up so much?

My past week has been a whirl wind of activity. Friday was jam packed with fun and not so fun moments. I saw the classroom Halloween party that I planned for Madeline's class come to fruition. For the most part, I'd say it was a success. The kids, the teacher and the wonderful parents who took a few hours out of their day to help run the party all seemed pleased with my efforts. Bryan took Ellie on her field trip to the pumpkin patch before he dropped her off at Madeline's school for the class party.

When I finally returned home on Friday afternoon I spent a couple hours engulfed in Madeline's social studies project. Sadly, the project was a bust and I found myself redoing it this afternoon. At long last, it is finished.

Since Bryan took Friday off to take Ellie on her field trip and to go to the doctor we decided to head out to the Olive Garden for a much anticipated dinner. Once we arrived at the restaurant, disaster struck. As soon as I got out of the car I heard this loud hissing sound and immediately suspected the tire I was standing next to. Sure enough, I had a tire that was going flat. Figures, when I'm starving and haven't eaten since 7:30 AM we would encounter a flat. Ugh! I wanted to scream and cry. I think my blood sugar had totally plummeted by the time we arrived at Olive Garden based on the massive headache I developed and we weren't able to go eat because of the tire. We rushed over to Target so Bryan could get fix a flat so we could make it home. The Olive Garden is about 30 minutes from our house and once the flat was discovered our new focus was to stop the leak and get home ASAP. The drive home was interesting. We only made it home thanks to the little air pump in my car, and the lovely air pump at the WaWa. Of course, when we got to the WaWa with a gas station we had to wait for the air hose. While waiting for 10 minutes, the tire went completely flat and all of the fix a flat oozed out of the tire. I had to yell and scream at someone who decided to butt in line and take the hose. Extreme hunger, less than desirable situations and cranky kids and husband can make me lose my composure very quickly. After letting the poor inconsiderate man from Delaware have it, he backed off and got in line for the hose. Bryan was annoyed and willing to let the guy go ahead of him, but I wasn't having it and neither was the man who was next in line. The moral of the day for the young man from Delaware was don't mess with a tired and hungry Karen and wait your turn like everyone else. We managed to make it home. Within seconds of pulling into our garage the tire was totally flat. Turns out we had quite a large gauge in the tire and how we managed to make it home is a mystery.

Saturday saw a day with a no-show soccer team (Madeline's opposing team decided not to play and didn't think to let the soccer club know.) and trick or treating. Sadly, trick or treating wasn't all that fun. It started off rather nicely with just Bryan, the girls, Oscar and me. By the time we almost made it around our block our neighbors asked us to join them. I didn't want to simply because one of Madeline's soccer teammates was going with them and I wasn't fond of the mother. Before we were done trick or treating I found myself wishing we had taken a different route when we set out. The mother of the soccer teammate criticized my dog's appearance, his rectum and the fact that we actually paid money for him when he's "so ugly". My decision to stay at home was also attacked and the mother asked me if I at least had a college education. She seemed rather stunned when I told her that I did. (I don't stay at home because I can't find a job or because I'm uneducated. I stay at home because I don't want someone else raising my children.) This woman then began to go on about how "superior" her children are because they are or will be going to private school. Her son goes to the local parish school and her daughter is in Madeline's school. They don't use the public middle school because of the "riff raff" and because their children are "superior" to the "inferior children who go to public schools". She went on and on telling me how her children are better than every other child who gets a public education. I held my tongue and decided not to say anything to her. I just said oh and I see as she and her children went on about how "superior" they are. I found it really sad that this woman has warped her children into sounding a lot like Hitler youth. And I learned that if I want my children to be "superior" all I need to do is give them a Catholic education. Since I know that our local Catholic school has a curriculum that lags behind the public schools, I'll let them find out for themselves how "superior" that education they're paying for really is. My "inferior" children will have to go to the public school and learn that not everyone is as blessed in life to have all the nice things that they do. I try to teach my children to have humility and not flaunt anything that they have and quite frankly, I'm shocked that there are parents who teach their kids that they are better than others. It's something that I found totally sickening.

Sunday was Bryan's birthday. I took the girls to Mass early in the morning and they both behaved for me (What a shock!). My CCD class was half empty due to illness for the second week in a row. I'm beginning to wonder when I'll have a full class again. The girls both had soccer games in the rain at the same time on Sunday. I'll be so happy when we can have a weekend without rain.

I don't know that I remember Monday. I'm sure I spent most of the day reading books that I have waiting for me to review. I know that we had to take Madeline to my parent's house to spend the night so they could take her to the dentist since my car went into the shop Monday night.

Since I had the tire issue on Friday, we sent the van to the Toyota dealership for repairs. I wound up with new breaks, four new tires and a bunch of routine stuff. So my flat tire led to a $1,200 bill. Just what we needed.

While Tuesday wasn't the most delightful day thanks to the car repair bill, I did have a good day. My parents took Madeline to her dentist appointment and I did some of my Christmas shopping from home. When they brought her back home, I got to go vote and I'm happy to report that New Jersey will have a Republican Governor. So I certainly feel like my vote counted. I also stumbled upon Halloween costumes for 75% off at Target. Madeline found a costume she liked for next year. She's going to be Super Girl and for $7.50 with all accessories included I'm one happy mom. I LOVE a good bargain.

Madeline is off from school all week (except Monday) so after we dropped Ellie off at school today we did a little more Christmas shopping. Then later in the day I immersed myself in Madeline's social studies project. I'm happy to report that it's finally finished and it looks pretty good if I do say so myself. I hope it gets an A. I even got some Christmas gifts wrapped today. Now I just need to go relax and read a book.

I now feel like I'm caught up.

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