Friday, December 30, 2005

Noon already?

Yes, I'm very late getting on here today, compared to normal. But I have a good excuse. Hubby had a vacation day today, and we slept in. Well, as long as the baby would let us, anyway. I didn't have to get out of bed until 9:30! I actually feel rested for once!

Tomorrow we are hosting the annual family New Year's Eve party. Hubby's two brothers, sister and mother, plus his favorite aunt, will be coming over to celebrate with us. We will have pizza and snacks and watch the ball drop together. It will be fun for everyone, and having it here means I can get the baby to bed at his normal time.

So if I don't get on here again before Sunday, have a great New Year's Eve, everyone! Don't party too hard!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hand me a tissue somebody!

Last night, hubby and I watched The Notebook. I had been wanting to see it for a while and it was on cable. Anyway, all I can say is wow. I am emotionally drained after that.

Movies like this ought to have an additional warning. You know at the beginning when they tell you it's rated PG-13 for sex or language or whatever? Well, there should also be a tear-factor rating.

T-1: People who cry at commercials will probably cry at this movie.
T-2: Mild tear-jerking scenes.
T-3: Bring a tissue.
T-4: Bring a box of tissue.
T-5: Gut-wrenching sobs. Even the men will shed a tear during this movie.

I would give The Notebook a definite T-5 rating. Do Not see this movie without at least one box of tissue and someone to hold your hand. Definitely never watch this movie when you're PMSing.

If anyone knows who to lobby to get the tear rating system implemented, let me know. We have got to warn people about movies like this!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New year, new template!

I know we're not quite to 2006 yet, but I figured if I got this template up and running, people could critique it and I could tweak it and have it ready for January 1. So, what do you think? What do you like? What do you hate? How can I make it better?

I have both Blogger and Haloscan comments working again, so you can use either one. Let me know!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Chaos and destruction

My house is a little frightening right now. Less than a week ago, it was spotless. Everything put away (or hidden away), the countertops clean, the floors (mostly) spotless. Even the boys' room was clean enough you could actually walk across it without stepping on something. Now? Not so much.

Remnants of wrapping paper float across the floor like little green and red tumbleweeds. Pieces of "some assembly required" toys form a trail across the floor. Lego arms and legs are strewn everywhere like the result of some dreadful Lego land mine. Not to mention the food and drink that was spilled on the floor at some point during the festivities, though I do have to say the dog and cat did a pretty good job of cleaning all that up.

Yes, the Christmas carnage is everywhere. But the boys are happily playing with their new toys, coffee is brewing in my new coffee maker, and hubby is home from work. It's 10:35 and I'm just now getting around to blogging, which means I've been able to sleep in. I'd say all the destruction is worth it.

Happy Boxing Day! (What is Boxing Day, anyway?)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Picture and a tag

Here's the best of many shots I took last night. Isaac has a goofy grin and that toy the baby's holding is the only way we could get him to smile. But oh, well. It's not a bad shot overall.

Meanwhile, the lovely Carol has tagged me for Christmas. So here goes:
1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider? Hot chocolate
2. Turkey or Ham? Turkey, though hubby's company gives him a ham every year and it usually lasts me all year.
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree? Fake. We got a good deal on one years ago and it's still in great shape.
4. Decorations on the outside of your house? I always want to, but hardly ever get around to it, apart from a wreath on the front door.
5. Snowball fights or sleddin'? Both!
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping? Not at Christmas time! I like it when it's deserted.
7. Favorite Christmas song?God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies? Love the animated Rudolph and Frosty I remember from my childhood. Can't stand A Christmas Story (oh, I'm just waiting for the flak on that one!)
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? I listen to Rockapella Christmas all year round - it's that good.
10. Stockings before or after presents? After.
11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them? I've never had carolers come to my house, believe it or not.
12. Go to someone else's house or they come to you? My in-laws usually come here, and we always go to my grandmother's.
13. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when? Yes, no set time.
14. What do you do after presents and dinner? Sit around and socialize while the kids play.
15. What is your favorite holiday smell? Fresh cookies
16. Ice skating or walking around the mall? Mall
17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day? Christmas Day, unless we're doing all of them on Christmas Eve for some reason.
18. Favorite Christmas memory? See yesterday's post.
19. Favorite Part about winter? The cold and the snow.
20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe? Not in years (hint, hint, hubby!)

If I don't get a chance to blog over the weekend, Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas traditions

Yesterday's post got me thinking about all the things we used to do every Christmas when I was growing up. My parents always made every Christmas special and exciting. Our tree would either be in the basement family room or in the living room. When we went to bed Christmas Eve, there would be a bunch of presents already under the tree, from my parents. We always opened one present the night before, and it was always a new pair of pajamas. The next morning, we knew there would be a bunch more, from "Santa." My brother and I would go to our separate bedrooms in our new p.j.'s and toss and turn waiting for morning.

As soon as the sun was up, I would spring out of bed and run into my parents' room. To go near the tree before Dad got his lights and cameras ready was strictly forbidden. We would bounce on their bed until they got up, and then Dad would go out and prepare to record the big entrance.

When he gave the word, my brother and I would run into the room where the tree was. We would then start exclaiming joyfully over the sheer volume of presents that had appeared under the tree since the night before. I have watched some of the videos, and I appear to have springs in my feet. I just bounced up and down, up and down! Now I know where the boys get it!

After opening presents, and consuming vast amounts of Christmas cookies, we would pack up and prepare to go to my maternal grandmother's. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive, so I would always pack some of the books I'd gotten (I always got books). We usually arrived around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and my grandmother would cook a wonderful meal for everyone: my family, my three aunts and their husbands, and my eight cousins. Then we would gather around the tree and exchange presents. We drew names every year so we only had to buy for one person, and it was a surprise who had your name. We had such fun opening the gifts. Then we would all ten dash to the family room to open our stockings, which would be stuffed to overflowing with apples, oranges, candy and little gifts.

Usually we spent the night and then traveled home the next day. Sometimes my cousins would sleep over, too, and we'd stay up half the night goofing around. Now they all stay in hotels or go back to their own homes. But at least I know that Christmas is the one time of year I'll get to see them. We still go to my grandmother's every year.

I hope that my boys have fond memories of Christmas, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

WBW, Christmas-y

This week The Kept Woman wants to see anything Christmas-y from our past. I have a great one.

When I was a kid, every Christmas these friends of my parents would have a party, and sometime during the party, the doorbell would ring, and in would come Santa, Frosty and Rudolph. It was always so exciting! I think I am 10 in this picture, and still just as happy to sit on Santa's lap (even though I knew it was some friend of theirs in a costume). It was a great tradition. After telling Santa what we wanted, and each child receiving a small gift from him (which naturally he brought in a sack), we would all join hands with the three characters and dance around in a circle, while the lady of the house played "Frosty the Snowman" on the piano and everyone sang along. Great memories.

So, what are your great Christmas memories?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fun in the ER

Yesterday, I put Isaac up on the changing table to change his diaper (yes, he's still wearing diapers at 3 1/2, but that is a whole other post). He started gulping and then said, "I swallowed it!"

Well, he's always putting legos in his mouth even though he's told not to, so I figured that's what it was. "You swallowed what?" I asked him.

"A sharp little metal thing," he said. Oh, fantastic. I called hubby, who rushed home. Meanwhile, Isaac kept crying that his throat hurt. You know that feeling when you take a pill and it still feels stuck in your throat? Imagine that with a little piece of metal.

When hubby got home, we took Isaac to the ER. We had in the meantime figured out that what he swallowed was a little one-centimeter-square piece of steel that came with some bar magnets. I had another one so I could show it to the doctor.

Hubby dropped me and the boy at the ER so he could run an errand. By this time, Isaac felt fine and was only concerned about whether or not he would get a sticker for being there. They gave him a paper bracelet, which he loved for about two minutes. Every two minutes after that, he wanted to know if he could take it off.

Finally, they took us back to a room, and then to get an x-ray. Sure enough, there was the little metal square staring at us from his stomach. We went back to the room to wait for a doctor. Hubby showed up with the other kids, and it was general pandemonium until I discovered the television in there had cable. I found Cartoon Network, and all was well.

So after all that, the doctor told us it will pass through his system. Obviously we need to watch out for pain or bleeding or anything like that, but otherwise, in a couple of days, it'll be out. So I guess when it comes to childhood trauma, this too shall pass.

300 reasons why I have a great husband

This, my friends, is my 300th post!

I want to wish a very happy birthday to my darling husband, the most handsome, most loving, most wonderful, intelligent, witty and sweet man I could ever have hoped to marry. I love him more all the time and I'm so privileged to be his partner and his friend.

Happy birthday, my love!

Monday, December 19, 2005

In the ladies' room

Last night we were at a nice little restaurant celebrating hubby's upcoming birthday. At the end of the meal, I took the two older boys to the bathroom, thinking it would be just a minute. Joshua, unfortunately, was in it for the long haul. He went in the stall and shut the door.

A few minutes later, two little girls came in alone. They were maybe 3 and 6. I was in the other stall, but I could see the younger one crouch down and peek under Joshua's door.

"Who's in there?" she shrieked.

Joshua replied, "It's very rude to stick your head under the door like that."

She withdrew her head and repeated, "Who's in there?"

"I am."

"Who's in there?"

"My name is Joshua."

By this point, I was done, and the little girl went into the stall where I had been. But this did not shut her up.

"Are you still in there?"


"Well, get out. My sister has to make in there."

"I'm not done."

"Are you a girl?"


"You sound like a girl."

"I'm a boy."

"No you're not."

"Yes, I am!"

"What's your mother's name?" What this information would tell her I had no idea.


"But what's your mother's name?"


"But what is your mother's name?"


"Well, what's your baby sister's name?"

"I don't have a baby sister."

"So what's your baby sister's name?"

"I have a baby brother." I could hear Joshua's frustration with this girl. I was, of course, standing there laughing at them.

"But what's your baby sister's name?"

"We are all boys in my family. Except my mother."

"Oh." At last, the light of understanding dawned. "You really are a boy!"

Friday, December 16, 2005

SPF - Holiday colors

Today, Kristine has asked to see some randomly holiday things. So without further ado:

Something red:

This is the obligatory leftover Christmas ornament we found under the sofa sometime last March. It has been sitting in my living room waiting for the Christmas tree to be put up again so it can join its long lost siblings. You'll notice that Smoky has a much different fate in mind for it. This does not bode well for the Christmas tree...

Something green:

This is the new futon my parents gave me for Christmas. I decided on green to match the tile in the basement, where it's going to live. My parents will be testing it out for me next week when they come to stay for a few days. Isn't it pretty?

Something I decorate:

My piano usually goes all out for Christmas. As you can tell, I have not yet gotten any of the decorations out this year. Yes, I know, I'm slow. Anyway, I have a garland that I put up there and little bits of greenery and a nativity scene. It always looks fabulous. And it's really the only thing in the house I decorate, besides the tree.

So there you have it. Did you play?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

You're a mean one, Mr. Cat

If you ever get sick of all those people who post pictures of their cats and talk about how wonderful they are (not that I do, I'm just saying), then this is the site for you. has page after page of actual cats, with pictures and descriptions sent in by their owners. All the cats are mean, nasty kitties with an attitude. The boys and I sat here and laughed and laughed the other day. It almost makes me wish our kitty were mean so we could put him on there!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


We just got home from seeing The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I must say I was very impressed. Everything was just as I had pictured it when I read the book. The children liked it, too. I was afraid Joshua and Isaac would be scared at some of the more intense scenes in the movie, but they were fine. They both really enjoyed it, and Joshua gave it a "When that comes out on DVD, I want to buy it!" which is his equivalent of two thumbs up! I probably would have enjoyed it more if I didn't have a squirmy one year old on my lap, but oh well.

I thought the four children were perfectly cast. Lucy and Edmund were just wonderful. And Tilda Swinton, who played the White Witch, was the perfect blend of charming and evil. The boys loved the talking animals, especially the beavers (which are the first talking animals we see in the movie). Isaac kept saying, "They talk!"

I would highly recommend this movie, especially to anyone who has read the book. It remains very true to the original text and nothing major is added or taken away. I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Porn for Christmas?

I was listening to Breakpoint this morning on the radio. It seems that a lot of the new electronic devices, such as PSP and certain cell phones, have wireless internet access.
The problem is, they have no parental controls. So when you buy them for your children, you're giving them unlimited access to the internet.

The disturbing part of this is that the porn industry has started making videos specifically for PSP and the video Ipod. They also offer downloadable porn for cell phones. The thing that struck me was when the commentator said that you think your kids are playing a game, and they're actually watching porn. There is literally no way to keep them from it if they go looking for it, and worse, they could come across it accidentally.

So first, don't buy these things for your kids. Second, call or write to the companies that make them and ask for parental controls. If you already have one, be vigilant. We can never be too careful in protecting the eyes, ears and hearts of our children.

Monday, December 12, 2005

This is really taxing

We received a letter on Saturday telling us we owe back taxes to our local area tax office from tax year 2003. One problem: we didn't live here in 2003.

This letter did not surprise us. It is not the first time some part of the Pennsylvania bureaucracy has decided to see if they could "get us." I bet they get people this way all the time. There are so many different taxes we have to pay, people are probably quite willing to believe they missed one, and pay up. We have state income tax, local income tax, local school tax, local property tax, per capita tax, and occupational tax. All are paid separately. You can see how a person might get confused.

In 1997 we sold a house in Louisiana. The next day, we bought a house in PA. Two years later, the state told us we owed them tax on the money we made selling the house! We were able to show that we did not actually live in PA when we sold it, so we were off the hook for that one.

We moved from Hanover in 1999. We were told in late 2000 that we didn't pay our 1999 per capita tax in Hanover, a tax which isn't owed until after the date we had moved. They even sent us to a collection agency, despite our proving we didn't live there. The amount of the tax? Five dollars.

So now, our local tax bureau wants us to pay income tax for the year before we moved here. We moved into this house on February 29, 2004. We didn't even own the house until February 28. So how could we owe taxes for 2003? Obviously, we don't. But now I have to waste my time and energy digging up the contract for the house and the papers for the tax we paid in our other local area to prove that we don't.

How much money could the people of PA save every year if we just eliminated all this local bureaucracy? I bet just the postage on letters to people who don't actually owe any taxes would be hundreds of dollars a year.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Happy First Birthday, Noah!!

This is my favorite newborn photo of Noah. Isn't he the sweetest? I can't believe he's one already! Happy birthday!

Friday, December 09, 2005

SPF, sort of

I was definitely planning on playing Stuff Portrait Friday this week. Several problems: my computer is still dead, I can't get this computer to recognize the camera, and I don't have one of the three things we're supposed to take a picture of.

#1: A tattoo or birthmark.
I have a red blotch of a birthmark next to my left eye. I have no tattoos, nor will I ever. I get woozy when they prick my finger to take blood; there's no way somebody is going to draw on me with needles. In related news, I heard my brother wants to get a tattoo of his dead kitten on his chest (as it appeared in life, not as it is now). This is the guy who, as a child, screamed bloody murder every time he had to get a shot. I would pay money to see this tattooing.

#2: Your bumpersticker.
Don't have any. On our old van we had a sticker from my college in the window, but not on the bumper. Not really sure why. I'm sure hubby could leave a comment and tell me why we don't have any bumper stickers.

#3: Something you keep changing.
You're looking at it. I like to keep changing my blog skin. It's fun, and the more I do it, the more I figure out how to do different stuff. I'm working on my first original blog skin right now, which should premiere sometime after Christmas. I kind of like the idea of changing my blog's appearance with the holidays. Plus people don't feel like they're looking at the same old thing all the time.

So, there's my lame attempt at participation. Be sure to tell me what a lousy job I did!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Important announcement

When I found out my fourth child would be a boy, I began spending a lot of time on BabyCenter's Raising All Boys bulletin board. There I met Amanda, a mom of two boys. She was always cheery and friendly to everyone and never had a negative word to say. When she found out her third child would be a girl, she sadly left the group. I kept in touch with her by email, and then one day in June I got the shocking news that her 21-month old boy, Preston, had died. She sent me the following message, asking me to pass it on, and so I am. It is long, but I feel it is important. My heart still aches for her.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Jewish religion the Bar Mitzvah is the "rite of passage," the crossover from childhood to adulthood; a milestone in a Jewish life. Melissa's son, Andrew, is about to make this rite of passage and in their synagogue all Bar Mitzvahs are asked to create and complete a mitzvah (social action) project. Andrew has chosen to create one close to all of our hearts. He has created the "Preston's Auctions for Awareness" project. All of our families have been touched by the loss of Preston Jack Drummond, who at the age of just 21 months old was lost to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). For Andrew's mitzvah project he would like to raise awareness and be able to give a very large monetary donation towards research for SUDC, a Program of the CJ Foundation for SIDS.

Preston's mother Amanda, states "Preston was the greatest joy in my life. He loved everyone and was so full of life. Always blowing kisses and waving. He has the biggest brown eyes, beautiful smile, curly wild brown hair, chubbiest cheeks, full belly laugh, chubby, chubby hands he is perfect in every way. We call him Moose cause he was always such a chunk so many rolls. I miss him every moment of every day." Preston also leaves behind his father, Brandon, big brother, Dakota, and baby sister, Alivia.

The SUDC organization has been developed to provide a centralized resource for information, support and advocacy. It serves families and professionals affected by the tragedy of SUDC, and promotes awareness of SUDC in communities.

SUDC is the sudden and unexpected death of a child over the age of twelve months, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation is conducted. SUDC is a diagnosis of exclusion - given when all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out. SUDC is not a new phenomenon, but it is very rare. Its incidence is approximately 1 death per 100,000 children. In comparison, the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is 50 times more common, being approximately 1 death per 2000 live born infants. It is not surprisingly therefore that there is very little known in the medical literature about SUDC.

Andrew is asking for people to donate items to the project to be sold on eBay in which 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the SUDC Organization/CJ Foundation for SIDS in Preston's honor. All items are welcome. Use your imagination. Items may include but are not limited to: video games, handbags, blenders, luggage, linens, and electronics. You name it and we can try to auction it!!! Everyone has something they aren't using. Once you have chosen your item or items for donation contact us immediately so we can work with you to get these items to us or onto the eBay auction site.

Monetary donations are also very welcome for this project. Checks can be made payable to Preston's Auction for Awareness/CJF and be mailed to:

Melissa Weinberger
18944 Concerto Drive
Boca Raton, FL 33498

Please visit the following websites to be touched by Preston and SUDC the way we all were:

The eBay site is slowly starting to get up and running and can be visited at:

Andrew may have started this project, but we plan to keep this going forever because Preston will always remain in our hearts and his soul will live on forever. So we ask that if you find it in your heart, please forward this to people you feel would want to contribute to such and important cause. Together, we can prevent another tragic loss.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I got complaints about my last blog skin, so I'm trying this one. I'm not entirely happy with it, but I figure it's only 3 weeks until Christmas. I'm working on an original skin, which should be ready by the time I need it. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday scenery!

Is anybody else really glad it's winter? Hubby has the coal stove cheerily glowing in the basement, there's a dusting of snow on the ground, and I can see my breath in the air. It's supposed to be 16 degrees tonight. Yeah, baby!

I'd love to do WBW this week, but my main computer is dead. No power. I could move the scanner up here, but I'm not that motivated.

And now I leave you with a favorite song lyric, by Randy Stonehill. It's funny 'cause it's true: "If Jesus came back today, they'd try to book him on the Oprah Winfrey show."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


There must be a syndrome called Post-Vacation Stress Disorder.

For the first few days after I get home from a trip, I feel shell-shocked. Is this really what I was doing every single day of my life before we left for a week and a half? All this cleaning and laundry and dishes and having to come up with three meals a day. Aye aye aye.

The kids feel it, too. Schoolwork, schmoolwork. Let's play all day like we did last week. Let's stay up until midnight.

And on top of that, you have the stress of unpacking. Unpacking is my least favorite part of travel. After hauling everything in from the car and dumping it in the kitchen, it all has to be sorted through and put away. I hate that.

So you'll forgive me if I seem a little dazed and out of it for a few days. My body is in Pennsylvania but my brain stayed in Florida.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Home at last!

We are home again after a two-day drive. I am tired. And now we must start school again. I wonder if you can hire substitute teachers for homeschools?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pictures from Busch Gardens

Here are some pictures from our trip to Busch Gardens yesterday. We had a great time, and Caleb rode on his first upside-down roller coaster! I was so proud of him - he even kept his eyes open most of the ride! We just barely managed to rescue Caleb from the jaws of this hippo. It could have swallowed him whole. That is, if it had been real.
Isaac and Joshua study the map to find the next ride they want to go on. They have to do this while Caleb is on one of the bigger rides because he is the official navigator and becomes incensed if anyone but him looks at a map.
This is Sheikra, the newest coaster in the park. That hill is ninety degrees straight down. "The only way down is face down" says the commercial. The car has eight seats across. The first time I rode it, I was all the way in the left seat of the front row. I got to the top of that hill and looked down and there was just nothing beneath me at all. I remember saying, "This was a bad idea!" However, it was an awesome ride! I went on it twice more.

World's most adorable baby dinosaur! That thing he's holding is the empty cup in which I sampled some non-alcoholic beer. He had to have that cup. You can't see the big Anheuser Busch eagle on it, but it's there. The funny part of this is that he was walking around with the cup, still very much the beginning walker, wobbling and falling down all over the place. I turned to someone nearby and said, "You see what happens when you give a one year old beer?" It was hysterical. Maybe you had to be there?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I did it! I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a month! I totally rock!

We're off to Busch Gardens this morning! Pictures tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Playing games in the morning

I just made a very important discovery. You see, ever since we were dating, hubby has for the most part been better at board games than I am. He routinely whips me at Othello, Connect Four, and especially Monopoly (though that takes a while). He's one of those people who gets a strategy and then plays that strategy every time and it always works.

Yesterday my grandmother bought Connect Four at the toy store. Hubby spent the evening winning against the boys. Well, Isaac (3) beat him once. This morning, he pulled the game out over the breakfast table and challenged me. Normally, I'd just turn him down flat. But it's the holiday season, and I'm in a giving mood, so I obliged.

What I discovered is that hubby doesn't think as clearly in the morning. I beat him three times out of four! That is huge! One time I beat him with only five checkers total on the board! So now I know that if he wants to play a game, I should get it out at breakfast and say, "Bring it!"

I wonder if Gran's got Monopoly around here somewhere?

Monday, November 28, 2005

My pun-derful son

We went to the big flea market near here on Saturday. I always have to hit the flea market when we come visit my grandmother. Usually, I find lots of stuff I want. This time, I only ended up with some coffee and a springform cake pan. The boys conned convinced my grandmother to buy them each three Beanie Babies.

On the way into the market, Caleb (9) looked up and saw a bunch of gulls flying around. He said, "Hey mom, look, flea gulls!" Isn't he funny?

So, do you like my Christmas layout? Only 27 days until Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hi from Florida!

We are here at my grandmother's house now. We got in about 3 o'clock yesterday and she had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner waiting for us. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that you've sufficiently recovered from your turkey-induced comas (of course, I'm speaking to the Americans here!).

The boys were amazingly good the first day of the trip. I suspect this might be because we drove all night and they were asleep. Yesterday we listened to a continuous chorus of "Don't look at me!" "He's annoying me!" and the ever popular "How many more miles to Tampa?" We, in response, had a repertoire of "Do we need to stop the van?" "Who wants to turn around and go home?" and of course "Nobody touch anybody!"

So we are looking forward to a nice restful week with my grandmother. We all climbed in the hot tub last night. It probably would have been more relaxing if there weren't four boys jumping around in it. But still, it was nice. We'll be heading to Busch Gardens next week at least once. I heard there's a new roller coaster and I can't wait to try it. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hooray for free internet!

I am currently in Kingsland, Georgia at the Comfort Inn. We have free wireless internet access with our room. The problem is that it does not actually work in our room, so I'm sitting in the lobby. Thanks for all the well-wishes yesterday! I will be at my grandmother's tomorrow. She too has high-speed internet. I'm glad, because I'm not sure I'd want to spend that long somewhere that didn't. Just kidding!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Over the river and through the woods

We are going to visit my grandmother in Florida for Thanksgiving. We had two options: fly down and then rent a van, or drive down in ours. You see, now that we have four children, we don't fit in her Lincoln. We decided it would be more suicidal foolhardy economical to drive it. So this afternoon when hubby returns from work, we'll be off.

There are still half a million a few things I need to do. I need to pack the boys' clothes and my clothes. I need to empty all the trash cans. I need to pack everything else in the house just in case we need it. I need to make a few phone calls. I need to pack the van. Did I mention I need to pack?

Packing is my least favorite thing about travel. I run around like a maniac trying to get things together, running through the list in my head (because though I think it's a wonderful, excellent and very good idea to have a handwritten or even neatly typed list, I just never get around to doing it). Do we have enough socks? Enough underwear? What about children's Tylenol? Q-tips? Nail trimmers? What am I forgetting???

At least I will have plenty of time to work on my NaNoWriMo novel while we're driving. I'm sure the screaming from the back regions of the van won't distract me at all.

All together now: Are we there yet? How much longer?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hand me that hammer

Proverbs 14:1
King James Version
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish
plucketh it down with her hands.

The book of Proverbs is chock full of truths. The thing I love about it is that they apply to everyone equally. You don't have to be a Christian or a Jew, or even believe in any type of God. Much of Proverbs contains what I like to call Laws. These things work just like the Law of Gravity or the Laws of Thermodynamics. And they work every time they're applied, even in ignorance.

One of these Laws is the above verse. So, who is the wise woman and who is the foolish one? Let's look at the foolish woman first. I once knew a woman who liked to complain about her husband. She constantly put him down in her conversations at work. Eventually, a male co-worker caught on to this. Knowing she was unhappy at home opened her up to this guy's advances. They ended up having an affair, and it nearly destroyed her marriage. Fortunately for her and her children, her husband took her back and they were able to heal their marriage. She was not a stupid woman, but she was foolishly tearing down her house with her own hands.

So the opposite of that would be the woman who understands that whatever goes on between her and her husband is their business and no one else's. I'm not saying you can't periodically vent about the little things that drive you nuts. I'm not saying that you can't blog about the stupid thing he said the other day. But, and this is important, if you're going to do that, do it with his permission. What did she say? That defeats the whole purpose! Exactly! If you have to get his permission, you're going to have to talk about it. And that's some major house building right there.

Can I just tell you how great it is to know that no matter how big a disagreement I have with my husband, he's not going to go to work and complain about me? We work it out, and it's our business. He knows how to build his house. And he knows I do the same for him. Because if I start tearing him down just because I'm angry or annoyed, it's the same as taking a sledgehammer to the walls of my home. I might not hit a supporting wall the first time, but eventually that house is coming down.

I think this is why I always feel uncomfortable watching sitcoms in which the husband and wife constantly tear at each other. I don't get it. Why is it funny to call your husband stupid and then go tell everyone you know what a stupid thing he did? I'm sorry, but it just isn't.

Please don't take this as being judgmental, because it was not intended that way. I just started thinking about it last night at church because we were studying Proverbs 14. I hope you'll take this law to heart and start building your own house. Because I don't think there are any foolish women reading this.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Past, Present, Future - SPF

I thought Kristine's topics this week were very interesting. She asked to see pictures which represent your past, your present and your future. Children were not allowed for any category. So, here we go.

This is my past: a hand without a wedding ring. I owe so much of who I am today to my wonderful husband, and I would never want to go back.

This represents my present. I spend a lot of time on the computer. Between blogging, teaching, and NaNoWriMo, I'm on the computer pretty much all day. Also note the cup of coffee and the migraine relief medicine, both essential to my present.

This is my future. I thought I'd already be here by now, but hey, having kids tends to make other things more important. As the boys get older, I'll have more and more time to write. And then you will see my name there, in the #1 spot.

So there you have it! Did you play?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More than you ever wanted to know about potato chips

Would you believe I didn't go online for almost 24 hours straight? We went on this trip to the Utz potato chip factory and the Snyder's of Hanover pretzel factory yesterday. I thought the kids would enjoy it, but I had no idea how much. We got home and Caleb had to tell my parents in detail exactly how they make potato chips. And since now I know you're dying for this information as well, I shall share it.

First of all, did you know that the #1 producer of chipping potatoes is not Idaho? It's Pennsylvania. This particular type of potato is used for several reasons, the first being that it is easy to peel. They just throw a bunch of potatoes into this bin lined with sandpaper-like material and roll them around until the skins are scraped off. Then a machine sorts them into large and small. The small ones end up in those little snack-size bags.

The potatoes are dropped into a rapidly spinning cylinder lined with blades, which slice them into chips. Then they go through a bath to remove excess starch before they are baked. When they emerge from the oven, they are salted in precise amounts and then inspected. First they go through a machine with a photoelectric eye, which can recognize a dark chip and blows a puff of air at it to get rid of it. Then the chips are inspected by hand. Any bad chips are thrown away. From there, they go to packaging. If flavor is to be added, it goes on right before the chips hit the bag. Each bag is filled with a puff of nitrogen, which keeps the chips fresh 3-4 months longer than oxygen would. Then they are boxed and shipped out to your local store.

So there you have it - the story of the potato chip. Naturally, we got free samples. Plus, at the Snyder's factory we bought many many bags of many different kinds of chips and pretzels. Now if I can just keep myself from eating them all in one afternoon...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

How do you dream?

In college, I hung out with the artsy crowd. I majored in Creative Writing and English, my roommate majored in English, and many of our friends were writers as well. We discovered early on that the English department threw the best parties. And they threw a lot of them.

At one of these parties, a bunch of us were sitting around talking and my friend Julie made a comment about having a strange dream the night before. She shared the basic plot of the dream and how it had ended. Well, my roommate then spoke up and said that she never had dreams with a linear story line like that. Her dreams were always just different images. A couple of the other girls spoke up and said that they, too, dreamt in images.

Then those of us who dream in story lines identified ourselves. As I looked around the group, I noticed something, which I quickly pointed out. All the story-line dreamers were the ones who wrote fiction. All the image dreamers were the ones who preferred to write poetry. Julie then spoke up and said that she dreamed both ways. And I told her that made sense, since she was equally good at both fiction and poetry.

To this day, I dream in well-organized story lines. In fact, I've gotten some of my short story ideas from my dreams. And every time I do, I think of that party. I wonder if anyone's ever done a study on this? Maybe everyone dreams both ways, but the fiction writers are more likely to remember a linear story and the poetry writers are more likely to hold on to the images. Or maybe there is some fundamental difference in the way we think. I don't know.

Maybe I should conduct my own study. Anybody want to fund my research?

So, how do you dream?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Updates galore

For those of you wondering how I'm doing with NaNoWriMo, I am now over 21,500 words! I owe a big debt of gratitude to my writing partner, Shaunta. She and I send each other our day's writing every evening. It's really kept me on track. There have been several nights when I just didn't feel like finishing, but I thought, "Shaunta's waiting for my email. I better get to work." And I get to read her novel, which is fantastic! I can't believe she's never written fiction before. I am really enjoying it. So thanks, Shaunta!

In other news, Noah is now officially walking! He just turned 11 months on the 10th. He had taken his first steps about 3 weeks ago, but now he's really walking everywhere. He's very proud of himself, too, as you can see.

School is going well so far this year. Joshua, who is using the charter school, is picking up math and reading at an amazing pace. I've been able to skip many lessons because he just doesn't need them. He especially enjoys creating art projects, particularly if it involves painting. Caleb, who I am independently homeschooling, has amazed me this year with his positive attitude. He has actually given me a big hug after school some days and thanked me for teaching him this way! It was absolutely the right choice to use a less structured way of teaching him. Isaac is just dying to have school of his own, so I have a couple of workbooks I give him every now and then. I think it would be a mistake to make him do it every day, not to mention more stress on me.

Co-op is now over for the semester, although we do have our showcase tomorrow. Showcase is when all the teachers get to show off what their classes have done. It's not mandatory so I don't usually participate.

Wednesday, we are going on a field trip to the Utz factory and the Snyder's of Hanover factory in Hanover. We used to live there, so I'm excited to go back and especially to hit the factory outlets. Discount snack food, whoo hoo!! I don't know if I'll be able to take pictures or not, but if I can, you know I'll share them!

Have a great week!

Friday, November 11, 2005

My Self and My Stuff

Friday again! Time for Katy's Self-Portrait and Kristine's Stuff Portrait. This week, Katy handed the reigns over to Erik, who has asked to see a picture of us at one of our own birthday parties. The most recent one I have is the following, taken in 2001, which would have been my 31st birthday the second anniversary of my 29th birthday. Well, that's not entirely true, I have one from last year, but I was hugely pregnant then.

Wow, I had forgotten how crowded we were in that house. You can barely even see the wall! This is way back when I only had two kids. Weird.

Kristine's Stuff Portrait Friday is as follows:

The last thing someone bought for you. This is my birthday present from my parents. I have really enjoyed it, especially the commentary on various episodes. The thing about the boar is priceless.

The last thing you bought for yourself: This is a new pair of tennis shoes. Or is it? Look carefully. What do you see?

Have you figured it out? I bought two different shoes. And yes, I tried them on. I just didn't notice. Not only are they different styles, they're different sizes! I can't even use the excuse that I was distracted by the boys because it was just hubby and me at the store. They are currently in the van waiting to go back to the store, where they can be reunited with their long-lost mates. Unless of course someone like me bought them.

And finally, your wallet. This is mine.

On the left are my credit cards, library card, drivers license, etc. On the right is my brain my PDA, a Handspring Visor. It is almost 4 years old, but it still works great. Under that I keep a few dollars and miscellaneous appointment cards and receipts. I usually carry this in the diaper bag. I haven't had a purse in ten years.

So there you have it! Let me know if you want me to come see you or your stuff! Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The ultimate word on the subject

As a student of the English language, it has bothered me for some time how certain words have had their meaning stripped from them. Last night, I heard another one: ultimate.

We often hear this word used to refer to something really cool: the ultimate sports car, the ultimate roller coaster, the ultimate whitening toothpaste. How many people realize that this word means "beyond which it is impossible to go"? By definition, the ultimate is the very last. There will never be another better than the ultimate. The end.

So, do people really think that that sports car is the final culmination of automobile design and technology? That there will literally never be another car better than that one? I don't think so. I think that they don't know what that word means. Let's look at some proper uses of the word ultimate.

Mozart's ultimate work was the Requiem Mass. It was the last thing he ever wrote. Or, you could state an opinion and say, Mozart's ultimate work was Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. In your opinion, his musical genius was at its full realization when he composed that piece. Do you see? Mozart can have an ultimate work because he is dead. There will never be another work by Mozart, so we can pick which was his ultimate.

When people say that's the ultimate (fill in the blank), they are ignoring the future. And as a fan of science fiction, I choose to believe that there will always be a better (fill in the blank).

So I'd like to start a new word trend. Let's use the oft-ignored "penultimate" instead. It means next to last. This car is so amazing I can't imagine any car ever being more amazing, but because I'm willing to acknowledge a future in which there might be one, I will refer to it as the penultimate sports car. "That was the penultimate roller coaster, dude!" Because you know next year someone somewhere is going to build a better one.

And that' s my penultimate word on the subject.

- Jana, spokesperson for the Committee to Take Back Word Meanings, founded by Jana on Jana's blog

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Way Back Wednesday

This week, the lovely Mama Duck has asked to see us doing something outdoorsy sometime in the past. I am one of the least outdoorsy people I know. However, hubby has been able to coerce me, both before we were married and since, to go on camping trips. And while I don't have any photos of the actual camping part of the trips (perhaps because I was trying to forget it?), I do have several of me doing outdoorsy things.

This is me sitting on some rocks by the shore in Acadia, in the great state of Maine. Future-hubby and I traveled there with his family (I shared a tent with his mom, in case you were wondering). This is the same trip in which we climbed a trail called Precipice and I got stuck at the top. I had no problem climbing up, I just couldn't climb back down. Fortunately, there was a "chicken" trail up the back of the mountain that I could walk down.

Same trip, different country. This is me standing on Point Wolfe near the Bay of Fundy in Canada. It is low tide. If it were high tide, this photo would have been taken under water.

The next summer, we went to the Bruce Peninsula. I had to include this picture strictly for the Star Fleet Academy t-shirt.

Here I am on a logging beach on the Peninsula. It was such a gorgeous place. And really, I was with future-hubby, so we could have gone anywhere and had a good time. This just happened to be a fabulous place to go.

Finally, here is the most outdoorsy picture I have. That's me in the silver jacket, white-water rafting! Future hubby is sitting next to me. This was a scant week before our wedding. My parents were sure I was going to break something and have to walk down the aisle in a wheelchair or on crutches. But I didn't. I didn't even fall out of the raft. We had a blast. I can't wait for the boys to get old enough that we can take them sometime. (BTW, those are my brothers-in-law in the back, but I didn't get permission to put them on here, so I blanked their faces. Hubby would say that I didn't get his permission, either, but I would have to point out that he's never complained in the past.)

So, there you have it. Thanks for stopping by, and let me know if you played so I can come take a peek at your outdoor activities!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hey, you, out there in blogland!

I'm doing a little housekeeping today. Or blogkeeping. Whatever.

If you link to me and want a link back, let me know and I'll be happy to oblige.

If you don't link to me, why not? Consider adding me to your blogroll, just for grins and giggles.

And finally, whether you link to me or not, stop by and say hi! I see the same IP addresses in my stats over and over, so I know you're out there! Give a shout out!

When I get home from co-op, I'm going down my blogroll and visiting everybody to let them know that I'm still out there.

See you soon!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Yes, I am

How would you answer this question:

"You're very talented, aren't you?"

Saturday night, I suddenly remembered that I said I would play the offertory Sunday morning. I said this about six weeks ago, thinking I'd have plenty of time to work on it. I was forgetting that trying to rehearse any sort of musical instrument with my kids around is an exercise in futility. I had practiced a song on the piano a few times, but was nowhere near proficient at it yet. What to do?

I pulled out the old standby, the recorder. Yes, that little woodwind instrument your kids learn how to play in third grade. I discovered quite by accident that I'm pretty good at playing the recorder. I have played it in church several times before, and people always seem to enjoy it. So I grabbed my hymn book and flipped through it until I found a song with no flats in the key signature. It was Victory in Jesus. I ran through it a couple of times until I felt good about it.

Sunday morning, I got up and played during the offering. I didn't use music because I couldn't find the music stand. It wasn't perfect, but it was certainly fine. I finished to a hearty "Amen" from the congregation (we are, for the most part, a non-clapping church).

As we were leaving church, someone said to me, "You're very talented, aren't you?" How do you answer a question like that? "Yes, yes I am!" I don't think so. Plus, I don't think I'm all that talented. I have almost no talent compared to my dad. But whatever talent I do have, I enjoy using it to worship God, and I feel I've been called to do so. The minute I start answering that question with "Yes I am" is the time I need to quit.

So I just answered, "Whatever God gives me." Because I certainly don't deserve the credit.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Self and Stuff

Today I decided to do both Katy's Self Portrait and Kristine's Stuff Portrait Fridays. Because who doesn't need more pictures of themselves and their stuff on their blog?

This is my door mat. Nothing terribly exciting.

My rug. I have two large rugs in the house. One always looks dirty, even when it's clean. The other one always looks clean, even when it's dirty. I choose to show you the latter. It's in my "dining room," which I actually use as a room to keep all my books and my dollhouse.

My favorite socks. They have sheep on them. I especially like the black sheep at the top. They are warm and fuzzy and oh-so-comfy on a cold day.

And finally, this is my "I am exhausted, leave me alone" look, which I am definitely feeling today, especially with my ten-month-old screaming his stuffy little head off and acting like I'm trying to steal his soul every time I wipe his nose.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My memory lane of hotties

Yesterday's post got me thinking about all my teenage crushes. These are the guys I had pinned up on my bedroom walls in the mid-eighties. These are the guys my friends and I swooned over. These are the guys I would've watched if their whole tv show had been just them sitting there staring at me for an hour. In no particular order:

Of course, I discussed Dirk yesterday, but it bears repeating. H-O-T. Look at that smile. Couldn't you just eat him up? This is him in his A-Team days, prime crush time. Someone asked what he was up to nowadays, so I had to check it out. According to this article, after a 9 year hiatus, he is back making movies. I loved this quote:

Credit his son George, 17, for talking him into it. "I said 'I miss acting, George. But if I resurrect my career, I'm going to have to spend time in L.A. with stupid producers saying things like 'Didn't you used to be blond?' And the next thing you know, we'll be having big conversations about my hair.'
"And George said 'Dad, your hair was your career.' "

Moving on, we have the swoon-inducing Jameson Parker of Simon & Simon fame. I spent a lot of time with A.J. Simon. I used to video tape the shows and memorize the lines. When A&E was showing them a few years ago, I taped a bunch. It's very '80's, but still a great show. As for Jim, he moved to a ranch and became a writer. You can find out more here.

Now we have the oldest guy on my list. The adorable Peter Tork of The Monkees. Never mind that this is what he looked like several years before I was born. This is how I saw him every day when The Monkees was rerun during their twentieth anniversary year. Also, and this is important, he looked a lot like future-hubby (who I met when I was 15). So how could I not think he was cute? What is Peter up to today? He tours the country with his band, Shoe Suede Blues, or with his friend James Lee Stanley. You can find his upcoming appearances here. Hubby and I had the pleasure of seeing him in person back in early 2004, and it's well worth the ticket price.

So far you may have noticed a pattern. Yeah, I usually go for the blonde guy with long hair. Well, my next crush breaks that pattern.

This is Matthew Laborteaux. Some of you may remember him from Little House on the Prairie. I fell for him during a short-lived show called Whiz Kids. He played a computer genius teenager. Now if there's one guy I go for over and above the blonde guy, it's the smart guy. I used to want to punch the girl on that show, simply because she stood too close to him. Mine! Back off! And I was really in heaven when they did a Simon & Simon/Whiz Kids crossover! I couldn't find much about him now, except that he's still acting. He's now 39.

And now, the youngest on my list. Kirk Cameron was actually born the same month as I was, October 1970. I think every girl in America found him either incredibly adorable or incredibly annoying. I fell into the former category. But with him it was more of a "Wouldn't it be cool to hang out with him?" than it was "Wouldn't it be cool if he were my boyfriend?" In case you didn't know, Kirk became a Christian sometime during the run of Growing Pains. He is part of a wonderful website here. He also stars in the recently released third film of the Left Behind series.

So, there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this trip down hottie lane as much as I have!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Way Back Wednesday - The Lost Photo

This week's photo is the one that I keep passing by and thinking, "Now, when is Mama Duck going to ask for pictures of us with celebrities?" So far she hasn't. But she has asked to see that one photo we've been dying to share. This is mine, and it comes with a story.

I was 14 years old and there was a big car show in Baltimore. The paper announced that several celebrities would be available to sign autographs. They had the van from "The A-Team" there, K.I.T.T. from "Knight Rider," a very young Heather Locklear, a guy named Chuck Thomas from a very short-lived show called "Automan." And then there was Dirk.

I had been a fan of Dirk Benedict since his "Battlestar Galactica" days. Besides being extensively easy on the eyes, he had this great way of delivering his lines, and this crooked grin that just made me melt. So naturally, I asked my father if we could go to the car show. And being male, he could not turn down the idea of hundreds of cool cars in one place. So we went.

The line to see Dirk was pretty long. I happily waited in it, watching him all the while. He sat behind a draped table. At one end, a guy was asking people's names and then writing them on the back of a photo, so when they got to Dirk, he would look at the name, flip over the picture, and personalize it for that person. He stayed seated the whole time.

When I got to the front of the line, I noticed how everyone who got their pictures taken with Dirk had to lean way over the desk to get close enough to be in the frame. Now, this may sound like bragging, but I promise you it's true. When I got to him, Dirk stood up and leaned toward me for the picture. I don't remember what he said to me, I was so nervous. But my dad was videotaping from below and as I walked away, Dirk turned to his bodyguard and on the video you can see him say "She's beautiful!"

I stood there next to that table for at least another hour, watching him sign autographs. And I never again saw him stand up and lean toward someone else. I was the only one. Let me tell you, what an ego boost! I still get all warm and fuzzy when I think about it.

And that's the picture I've been dying to share.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Food, glorious food!

I don't mean to scare anyone, but we are now entering the food season. It starts with snitching from your kids' Halloween treats and it doesn't end until the big ball drops on New Year's Eve.

In three weeks, we will be leaving for Florida, where my grandmother will have all manner of sweets and treats available twenty-four hours a day. No doubt she will prepare many tasty dishes for Thanksgiving, for which we will be very thankful.

Then comes the approach to Christmas. We will make cookies, which will be consumed almost as fast as they cool. Which will prompt us to make more cookies, which will be eaten almost as fast as the first batch. We will keep making cookies until we actually have a stash of them to put away. And then we will snack on them at every possible moment.

Christmas Day will find us at my maternal grandmother's house. She is a fabulous cook. My dad always jokes that he dated my mom so he could eat my grandmother's cooking. She will have a huge dinner for us, and a large supply of treats for dessert, including her own stash of cookies.

Finally, New Year's Eve will arrive. We will stay up until midnight eating pizza and snacking. Thus will it end.

Every year I tell myself I'm not going to eat too much. And every year, while I may not gain weight, I certainly don't lose any. And I never, ever weigh myself. So I'm going to say what I say every year, and we'll see how it goes:

I will not overeat. I will not overeat. I will not overeat. I will not...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

When I was a kid, trick-or-treating was done on October 31. It didn't matter if it was a Sunday, Thursday or Tuesday. After dinner, we would don our costumes and head out the door. We were usually finished by 8 p.m., but many of the older kids kept going long after that. And that was the way it was supposed to be.

When we moved to Pennsylvania, we discovered that Halloween is not actually on the 31st of October. We actually have to ask people every year which night trick-or-treating is! And it goes from 6 until 8 p.m. only. I've no idea why or when this started, but that's the way it is here.

So, Thursday night was trick-or-treating in our town. Since we live out in the boonies, we drove the kids into town, then got out and went door-to-door. That's another difference between now and then. When I was a kid, you hit every house, regardless. Now, you're only supposed to go to houses that have the porch light on. Anyway, the boys had a blast.

Caleb dressed as an alien. This is the fourth year he's worn this costume. The first year, it dragged on the ground and got frayed. The second year, I pinned it up. This year, I took the pins out and it just barely touched the tops of his shoes! He loves this costume.

Joshua had seen a costume in a magazine that he really liked. Unfortunately, he couldn't find the magazine. All he could tell me was he wanted to be a Kelp Monster. So this is my interpretation of the kelp monster. Every house we went to, before he even said "trick or treat," he had to announce, "I'm a kelp monster!" And he always hit the "p" really hard. Hopefully he didn't spit on too many people.

Isaac was a cow. He loved this costume so much he wore it all day the next day as well. And of course, since his big brother was announcing what he was, Isaac had to announce, "I'm a cow!" which changed over the course of the evening to, "I'm a little cow."

So, those are my little goblins. Are you scared? Personally, I've had an alien costume haunting me for the last four years. That's pretty scary.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Amazing Crossover

It's funny the stuff that goes through your head at 3 a.m. after you've nursed a baby and can't get back to sleep. I was tossing and turning there in the dark last night, and this thought popped into my head: "Wouldn't it be a riot to see Boone and Shannon on The Amazing Race?"

{If you watch Lost, you're already laughing. If you don't, Boone and Shannon are step-siblings who bicker constantly and neither one ever gives the other credit for anything.}

I can see it now:

"Shannon, give me the map."

"What's the matter, am I too stupid to read a map?"

Boone rolls his eyes. "I never said that. You just... tend to get it wrong sometimes."

"So I am stupid."

"Let's face it, Shannon: your whole life you've had someone else drive you places. When it comes to maps, you're worthless."

Or when given a Roadblock (a task only one team member must do alone):

"I'll do this one," Shannon announces.

"But you're afraid of heights."

"Fine, Boone, you do everything. After all I'm worthless."

"I'm just saying, you'd have to climb up to that airplane, make a call on the radio, and get back down without falling."

"Yeah, and I think we all know how that worked for you last time."

So if you could put any fictional tv character into a reality show, who would it be, and which show? Leave yours in the comments, or put it on your blog and leave me a link. This should be fun!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Any buyers out there?

My blog is worth $45,163.20.
How much is your blog worth?

Are you Lost?

I was watching a rerun of Lost last night and I started thinking about how everyone seems to have these big secrets. Which made me think, would I have a deep dark secret I wouldn't tell anyone if I ended up on an island with a bunch of strangers?

Knowing me, I'd probably talk everyone's ears off about my kids and my husband. I'd most likely share any information anyone wanted to know. I don't have any really dark secrets from my past.

One of the main themes on the show has been the idea of tabula rasa, that everyone has become a blank slate. Many of the main characters have completely abandoned who they were in order to make a new start for themselves. I wonder if I knew I would never be rescued, would I be tempted to do the same thing? Just pretend like my old life never existed? It doesn't sound very appealing. I guess that's because I'm pretty happy where I am.

How about you? Would you be willing to abandon your past and become a different person? Is there something important in your current life that you wouldn't share with people on the island?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The ghosts of Halloween past

Okay, Mama Duck, you asked for it: our Halloween costumes of the past. First up is me at age 9: This was a costume party I had for my birthday. I am the witch in front. No, really, I'm dressed as a witch. The clown is my brother. He didn't have to wear a costume.
Next up, me at 13. I am a gypsy or genie or belly dancer, take your pick. This costume is actually a pair of pajamas with a red shirt underneath. Yes, my parents let me walk around the neighborhood like that.
Here I am at age 18, my first year in college. This is a costume my mom had made two or three years earlier. I am an Indian princess. Love the pose.
And finally, this is me at age 19 (that's Halloween '89 for those of you keeping score), dressed as a hippie. The really frightening thing about this costume is that those were all my actual clothes. I wore those on a regular basis. Not all together, mind you. But everything from the shirt down to the mocassin boots was part of my normal attire. What can I say - I went through a '60s phase.

So there you have it - my tribute to Halloween past. Go haunt Mama Duck to see who else played.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NaNoWriMo 2005

I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I had never heard of it before. I came across it somewhere along the way and thought hey, why not?

What is it, you may ask? It's National Novel Writing Month. I'm going to attempt to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30.

I've been meaning to get into the habit of writing every day consistently, and the best way to start a new habit is to do if for 30 days in a row. So if this works, I'll be on my way! Maybe I'll even share a bit of my novel here, if the mood strikes! Wish me luck!

Say what now?

The other day I made a big omelet for lunch. Isaac was the only other person interested in eating any of it, so I split it up on to two plates and sat down to eat, when his little 3-year-old voice stopped me.

"Mommy, we have to play." I looked up at him.

"We'll play after we eat. I'm hungry." I started to eat again.

"Mommy, put down your food. Say the words!"

"What are you talking about?" I asked. I can be a little slow sometimes.

"We need to play a-fore we eat," he said.

Getting frustrated, I responded, "We'll play after lunch."

"No, Mommy, close your eyes and say the words!"

"What words do you want me to say, Isaac?" I asked, now totally confused.

He bowed his little head and said, "Jesus Christ, thank you for the food."

"Oh!" I said, finally getting it, "you want to pray! You want to say grace!" So we did.

Isn't he awesome?

Monday, October 24, 2005


I have been in bed all day, sick, sick, sick. Fortunately, my parents are here to watch the kids because I'd be miserable otherwise. My awesome mom even did Joshua's school work with him.

At least I can lay here with my laptop and web surf while I watch the LOTR trilogy and try to ignore the dripping of my nose and the pounding of my head.

I also played around with my template. What do you think? I was feeling seasonal. I still have the Haloscan comments enabled, or you can leave a blogger comment. I'll probably keep this for a while and then switch to something else. We'll see.

I know they're all mine...

So why do people always say the boys look like hubby, or one of their uncles, or their grandfather, and not me?

Here is a picture of me and the four boys, all at about the same age. Which one do you think looks the most like me? I know what I think, but I'm curious what other people see.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Please say a prayer

I just found out today that a friend of mine who moved to AZ a year ago has died. She was younger than I am. Her husband is in the Air Force and they were transferred out there. She just gave birth to their third child four months ago. Apparently, this was some sort of post-partum complication that caused her heart to stop. They revived her, but she never came out of the coma.

Her children are 4, 2 and 4 months and are now going to live with her parents. Please say a prayer for her family, especially for the children and her husband, David. I cannot even imagine how difficult the next few weeks and months are going to be for them.

Friday, October 21, 2005


This week's theme from Katy is before and after. I have a few pictures to share on this theme.

Here's a picture of Noah before:And here's a picture of Noah after:

Here's a picture of part of the master bedroom we're building before:
And here it is after:
Here's me before I had kids:
And after:

I don't think I'll be doing pictures of my kitchen before and after I clean it. The before is easy, but I'm not sure when the after will happen!

Happy Friday!