Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Jeep Jeep

Having an Apple is like owning a Jeep. People in the stores may not have secret hand signals as they pass each other,(yet), but they do have that same nirvana-like look of ascension in their eyes as they peruse the antiseptic white counters laden with high-tech gadgetry that is obviously over-priced, but oh so delectible to the techno-geek touch.

Apple users are a different breed. Just like Jeep drivers. A different sort of visionary.

I feel like I am standing at the door; just about to tap into my latent Gen X rebel. Next week I intend to get the full initiation. Until then, I don't feel worthy to put the little Apple decal on the mini-van denoting my membership.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Here We Go

In approximately 5 hours I will find myself as a passenger in the mini-van bound for MD. It's that time of year...where we have decided (at the very last minute) to make the 8 hour trek to visit my husbands mothers side of the family. (And by very last minute I mean we remained undecided until about 3 hours ago)

We got home tonight at about 9:30, after having spent some quality time with my dear grandma and then mall shopping for my laptop computer, which I am not able to use yet by the way--but it is frikkin sweet regardless.

Anyway... 9:30 is way to late to BEGIN post Christmas cleaning, laundry, and packing. I don't care how what you say.

So now, here I am at 2:20, waiting to put that last load of laundry in the dryer...because yes folks...I won't leave on a trip without my house being clean. Sorry, I AM that lame.

Now if I can only survive the packing of the mini-van. (My husband is the sort who was probably never good at Tetris--I however, am a champ)

P.S. I am totally freaked out that I bought an Apple computer and not a Dell. I am not sure how to navigate the Apple...and I started to have a panic attack earlier. But that is typical of me when confronted with something alien. I wish I could pinpoint the moment in time that I became such a fraidy cat and then go back and skip over that part.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Christmas Story

Tonight, as I stood in church holding a candle along with the many others in our sanctuary; singing Silent Night; I came to realize that nothing can hold a candle to the fact that Jesus was born a man, to die for mans salvation. A tiny baby. The beauty is love and joy all rolled into these moments; the moment he took his first breath and the moment he expelled his last.

As you celebrate Christmas, I pray that you will remember that this day is so much more than gifts and wrapping paper. And that your celebration is filled with many moments of love and joy rolled into one.

Please read this post by Becky at pith, marrow, and coffee spoons for a beautiful Christmas story.

A Very Merry Christmas to All You Whos

Dr Seuss

Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot...
But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Who-ville,
Did NOT!
The Grinch hated Christmas!
The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were to tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason,
His heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath
Was busy now, hanging a mistleoe wreath.
"And they're hanging their stockings!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!"
For, tomorrow, he knew...
...All the Who girls and boys
Would wake up bright and early. They'd rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!
Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
They would start on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast-beast
Which was something the Grinch couldn't stand in the least!
They'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
They'd stand hand-in-hand. And the Whos would start singing!
They'd sing! And they'd sing!
And the more the Grinch thought of the Who-Christmas-Sing
The more the Grinch thought, "I must stop this whole thing!
"Why for fifty-three years I've put up with it now!
I MUST stop Christmas from coming!
...But HOW?"
Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
"I know just what to do!" The Grinch Laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a great Grinchy trick!
"With this coat and this hat, I'll look just like Saint Nick!"
"All I need is a reindeer..."
The Grinch looked around.
But since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch...?
No! The Grinch simply said,
"If I can't find a reindeer, I'll make one instead!"
So he called his dog Max. Then he took some red thread
And he tied a big horn on top of his head.
He loaded some bags
And some old empty sacks
On a ramshackle sleigh
And he hitched up old Max.
Then the Grinch said, "Giddyap!"
And the sleigh started down
Toward the homes where the Whos
Lay a-snooze in their town.
All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care
When he came to the first house in the square.
"This is stop number one," The old Grinchy Claus hissed
And he climbed to the roof, empty bags in his fist.
Then he slid down the chimney. A rather tight pinch.
But if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch.
He got stuck only once, for a moment or two.
Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue
Where the little Who stockings all hung in a row.
"These stockings," he grinned, "are the first things to go!"
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant,
Around the whole room, and he took every present!
Pop guns! And bicycles! Roller skates! Drums!
Checkerboards! Tricycles! Popcorn! And plums!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, very nimbly,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, up the chimney!
Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Whos' feast!
He took the Who-pudding! He took the roast beast!
He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash.
Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!
Then he stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee.
"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will stuff up the tree!"
And the Grinch grabbed the tree, and he started to shove
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!
Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.
The Grinch had been caught by this little Who daughter
Who'd got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "Santy Claus, why,
"Why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?"
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Santy Claus lied,
"There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side.
"So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
"I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here."
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head
And he got her a drink and he sent he to bed.
And when Cindy-Lou Who went to bed with her cup,
HE went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up!
Then the last thing he took
Was the log for their fire.
Then he went up the chimney himself, the old liar.
On their walls he left nothing but hooks, and some wire.
And the one speck of food
The he left in the house
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.
He did the same thing
To the other Whos' houses
Leaving crumbs
Much too small
For the other Whos' mouses!
It was quarter past dawn...
All the Whos, still a-bed
All the Whos, still a-snooze
When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their presents! The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,
He rode to the tiptop to dump it!
"Pooh-pooh to the Whos!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
"The all the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!"
"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch,
"That I simply must hear!"
So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...
But the sound wasn't sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
And what happened then...? Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
And he...
The Grinch carved the roast beast!

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Today she received a "Doodle Bear" for Christmas from grandpa.
It came with markers.
I, in a moment of sheer stupidity, gave her the bear and the markers while we drove home from our visit. Apparently failing to explain that the doodling is suppose to be on the bear, and not the snoog. But who am I to hinder her artistic expression?
On the bright side, she isn't making a hideous face at me as the camera flashes.

1 Year of Birthdays

Well, I did it. Personal goal for 2005 accomplished, well almost. I tried to send every person I know a birthday card, this year.

It has always been something I wanted to be able to do...but of course never did. The "simple" act of sending cards (hence remembering) for birthdays has always eluded me. Too busy.

But not this year. I was determined.

I have to report that it was in fact, not easy.

Thankfully, I put everyone's birthday on my hotmail calendar, and I was sent reminders 5 days in advance for most birthdays...however for some of them I was not sent a reminder, and some cards and or presents were sent late.

Overall I think that I missed 2 birthdays, and for those two people, I am so very very sorry. I will do better in 2006.

I have been considering making cards this coming year. Just to add a personal touch to the act of giving them. However, I am not sure I am up to the task of making 150 birthday matter how you spread them out over the course of 12 months.

All I can say for this past years goal: Hallmark loves me.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Best for Last

Today I've scrubbed and baked.
So that tonight I can relax and play a game or two.

I decided to try out a new that requires home made frosting.

Everything is set, I'm dressed and clean. Ready to go...and the last thing to do is make that frosting.

As the confectioners suger took on a life of it's own, my black sweater a perfect backdrop for a winter night scene,I realized that I saved the messiest job for last.

This recipe courtesy of Kim.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Having sisters isn’t easy.
Half the time they drive me crazy.
One is eight and one is three,
All they do is pick on me.
They get into my room
And pull out all my stuff.
Having two younger sisters is really really rough.
Yes I have two sisters,
Not just one but two.
I try to hide but they still find me,
What am I to do?
My parents want another baby.
At least that’s what they said.
If they have another girl,
I would rather be dead.
But when that time comes,
And if they have a boy,
I will smile and laugh and sing and dance
All around for joy.
But there is a fifty-fifty chance
That luck is not on my side.
So I’ll just go to my room now
And sit in the dark and hide.

By Zac G. (my son)

The Other Child

Growing up as the step child in the family was never much fun for me; imagine a step grandmother that while hugging you would camouflage a rather hurtful pinch in her embrace, purposely put mushrooms in your food, or giving the "real" grandchildren nicer gifts at the Christmastime.

It was one of the main reasons that if I should ever get married again, my youngest daughter would have to be adopted by my husband. There is nothing in the world that can replace that sense of belonging that every child needs.

And while I do not worry very much about it for my two older children; as their father is still active in their lives, I did worry about it for my youngest.

However, my husband did adopt my youngest daughter. His name will be on her birth certificate, and with a name change it has all been made official.


there will still be differences.

I most recently observed this difference as my two oldest children took gift after gift out of the large boxes that they received from their father's side of the family, and put them under the tree.

My littlest one looked around with and expression of bewilderment and excitement, exclaiming "Where's my presents?!"..."Is this one for me?!"

And the look of dejection in her eyes, when one after the other, I said "no honey...that one is for Zac...or Abby."

Zac and Abby's dad was gracious enough to send the Snoog a couple of packages, and for that I am thankful. Nor would I begrudge my two older children the relationship that they have with their father, as I know it is very important to them. But I know that as she gets older she will wonder at why her brother and sister receive more than she does.

Today, another box came for my two older children. Again from thier father's side of the family. And the Snoog, in her little girl resolve exclaimed "Those are from Santa!"

I waited until she was out of the room to unbox the packages and quickly-quietly put them under the tree while wistfully taking inventory in my head on what she will be receiving from us this year. Certainly not the same amount of presents I am sure. But at the very least I know that she is part of a family that loves her...and will not have to suffer the experiences that I did as the other child.

Perhaps later in life, she will know that she received more than she could ever understand at the tender age of three.

Until that time, I know better than to open packages received in the mail before Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Neverending Story

"And as he spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion: but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All thier life in this world and all thier adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which ever chaper is better than the one before".
-C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia: Loved it.

Miss Priss

Reminding me that nothing could possibly be more fascinating than herself.

Yesterday Was Plain Awful...

Me, couch, book, fireplace.

That's about it. That is about all I could muster as the headache and nausea coursed through my body.

In the meantime, seeing my weakend state, the three year old and the cat took over the house; and by the time everyone was piling in from work and school, the house took on an appearance that indeed a three year old and a cat had been running the show.

Toys of every variety everywhere. Not to mention crayon bits, cracker bits, and an orange peel (We don't even have oranges right now).

My husband of course was forewarned, but that didn't prevent the fight that occured starting at 10:00 PM and ending at 11:30 PM. Which included a sweatshirt being flung at his head because I had already thrown and broken the tea pot a while ago.

(Which reminds me I need to pick up more inexpensive tchotchke to set about the house for these moments)

I finally settled down when he (upon his own initiative) took out the vacuum and started vacuuming.

Then we talked. We talked about how the children are not very helpful. And that they need to have more respect for the house, for us. And it finally hit me...the real problem. 1. we aren't working together, 2. we aren't leading by example.

By midnight we came up with a plan, and an agreement. It was like the clouds had parted and rays of sunlight were streaming down up0n us from above. Angels were singing I am sure of it. We had a break-through.
And that is saying a lot since our skulls are very very thick. (just ask the tea pot)

So, today started out with me understanding why my husband is so up tight about money. Perhaps it is the year he spent living in Detroit often without heat, or food, during his first year of college, until he figured out how to budget. He'll tell you about how he had ice in his shoes, and that for one entire week he only had an apple pie to eat; rationing one or two thin slices a day.

He finally realized why I cannot relax in a messy house, and that I do not necessarily want things "spotless". Just neat and presentable in the event Home and Gardens would like to stop by. He also realized that fighting with me over taking out the garbage (which has been a complete REALITY for the past 2 years-I've never met a man so set against taking out the trash in all my life) presents to the children that we are not united, and so why should they listen to us?

So...we agreed we need rules with concrete consequences. Written rules tacked up all over the that there is no mistaking what will happen if you leave your book bags and outer wear laying all over the place (or heaven forbid your dead socks). But that means we must follow our own rules. Damn continuity.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Under Construction

I've been considering a revamp of this blog for quite some time. And I think that the New Year will be a good time for it. So friends, look for a big change in the very near future.
Because, isn't all about me now is it?


How the Penguins Saved Christmas

My daughter, Abby, came home one day after school to announce that she was going to be in a Christmas program at school. She was very excited and she said that she was going to try out for the lead part.

"Wonderful", I said. "I hope that you get it. You will just have to practice."

She came home almost every day for a month telling me one thing or another about her Christmas program. One day she came home really upset, and upon my careful prodding (careful because if I do not tread cautiously I'll likely not get my fingers back), she tearfully let me know that she would not be the lead penguin.

I felt bad for her, because I know that she strives to be the center of attention, in the limelight on so many levels. Partly because she is a big ham, but mostly because I see she has budding insecurities. All of which I will be very ineffective in strengthening against because as she gets older she is more convicted in her own spite of mom.
She is the one who will be less likely to believe me when I tell her she is beautiful, smart and wonderful.

So, I hugged her and asked if she would still be taking part in the play. She said "yes" that she had a few lines, and there would be plenty of singing. Which she loves.

During the course of the past few weeks I heard stories of how the teachers were being demanding, making the kids practice. I helped her get her costume ready. And generally just listened.

Last night was the big night.

It was fabulous to see 50 third graders dressed as penguins, singing, and saying their lines perfectly.

I know that the teachers put a lot of work into the program, directing these children to put on a show for their parents and siblings. I know that the Snoog enjoyed it, especially when she saw her big sister up there singing.

I'm glad that Abby didn't get too discouraged that she didn't get the lead part in the program, and I hope that she knows she will always be lead penguin in our family.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Okay, let's try this again...

Take another one it again!

Okay, but this time smile...1...2...3!

No...come on...this time smile for the camera...1...2...3!

Do it again more time!

Okay...but this time give me a nice smile...1..2...3!

Okay kid. You got me.

Here's a Stamp, Merry Christmas.

Today was meant to be sitting on my butt painting ornaments and perhaps a little reading. But it was not.

I did do some painting. But afterwards I was off to the post office to mail out Christmas presents to some family members out of state.

It WOULD be typical of me to pick the busiest mailing day of the year to amble into the post office. Thankfully the girls weren't too full of distraction, so the 45 minute wait wasn't as harrowing as it could have been.

But dang...the postage to send was almost as much as the present!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Santa's Workshop

This is the week that I start doing my craft projects for Christmas, if I am going to do them at all. The kids and I stocked up on paint, wooden ornaments, and etc. today, laid everything out, and started to get to work.

The four of us actually had a moment of peace, and relative good spirits as we painted together. It was nice.

Then reality hit, and I realized how late it had become...and we still without dinner, would soon be grumpy. The dinner I had planned was going to take too long, and I didn't realize this until it was far past my temper tantrum. I relinquished my resolve to not order out, and ordered pizza anyway.

I'll make the big dinner tomorrow.

At least my kitchen will remain clean, and we can get back to our painting. That was the point of today anyway. I may as well go with it.

I wonder, during the busy season...does Santa order a lot of pizza? I wouldn't doubt it. THIS Mrs. Claus is too tired to cook.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Well, it's done. I am FINALLY completely done with my Christmas shopping. My husband has declared that he is NOT finished. But I AM *does a little dance*.

This means that I will NOT be out shopping with all the other losers on Christmas Eve. (I can safely say this, because I have been a Christmas Eve shopper for the past 5 years).

Trust me, the selection at Meijer at 5:00 PM on Christmas Eve is dismal.
(They close at 6:00)

Que the ducks Brando, 2005).

Meijer: Christmas Eve 2003 The only way I can enter a Meijer store is to arm myself with a bullet proof list. Armed and ready, I venture in. I know exactly what I want to give my children, and Meijer is the only place open at this time of night. I rue the thought of having to go home and wrap presents, but since I had to work, and then wait for someone to watch the is the time.

I am tooling down the toy aisle chucking the items into my cart, checking them off of my list. Things are going well for the first few minutes. Then it happens. They do not have the one item that will surely put this Christmas on the map of best Christmases ever. In fact they do not have anything remotely comparable to replace it with.

Here is where I begin my descent.

Because they do not have exactly what I have painstakingly wrote on my mind goes blank and for the next two hours I am officially a vagrant walking aimlessly around the Meijer store dropping items into my cart.

Security is definitely watching me as the tower of items gets bigger and bigger. Certainly the vacant look in my eyes indicates that I am going to bypass the checkout counters and bolt out the doors with one coveted item that I have sleighted under my many layers of clothes.

See...since I had to alter my thinking, I have lost track of what I was suppose to be buying. And in an attempt to cleverly alternate items to replace my original plan, I have once again fallen into the Meijer trap. I buy much more than I need, to make up for what surely would have been the best present ever.

Meijer knows this. Meijer secretly watches me write my list and then evil Meijer Minions set out to remove the precious ONE GIFT and any plausible substitutes that would fulfil my quest.

I'm not kidding.


So...THIS YEAR I have been able to completely elude the Meijer trap. I have driven up and down and all around to purposely avoid stepping into the "convenient" one stop Meijer department store. Instead I have made several small trips to Target. Where at least I can "feel" that they are not trying to make me buy more than I need, and their selection is not purposely plotting against me and my list.

Now I can attend to the eight birthdays and one anniversary that will need recognizing in the next 2 weeks. (Thatplus baking, sewing, and painting all my crafty gifts) Thank goodness for online shopping and free delivery.

It feels kind of nice. I am not sure why I didn't do this before...

Of course, next year if my wits are about me, I will probably do most of my shopping online. I think that I am totally demystified on the whole "holiday shopping experience" once and for all.

Except maybe with Target.

Baby steps people. Baby steps.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Random Fact

When I was in the third grade I had my tonsils removed. The surgeon commented that they were the largest tonsils he had ever seen and asked me if I would like to keep them.

I said "yes". Perhaps a little too enthusiastically. I barely paid attention to the look my mom gave me. I was never good at reading social cues as a child.

They were placed in a jar of formaldehyde and I kept them for a while, even brought them to school for show and tell. I DID notice the look my teacher gave me; which confirmed my insecurities and shattered my delicate self-induced delusions of normalcy. I was an odd child. No denying it.

Mind you, my third grade teacher could walk on water as far as I was concerned. The fact that she had a full grown pine tree named "Clyde" in her classroom did not in the least tip me off that she was a bit of an oddball herself.

Perhaps if I had named them, she would have been more accepting of my pet tonsils.

I lost interest in them after that, but did not throw them away.

I found them years later in my closet under a pile of clothes and toys, still in the jar, but disintigrated into gray-brown snot clumps. It was awful. I decided to throw them away, or risk having nightmares. I saw "The Blob" I knew what happened when science projects go horribly awry.

To this day, I can honestly say that I do not have tonsils. I promise.

Always a Bride, Never a Bridesmaid...until now.

I have been asked to marry 4 times.

Most people have a hard time getting asked once.

I don't think it is because there is anything spectacular about me, except that I know how to cook. Apparently this has been important to the men that I have found myself in company with over the course of my adult life.

Getting asked to marry has been easy. Getting asked to stand in someone else's wedding has eluded me until today.

I had destined myself to never be a bridesmaid. I have actually been envious of a friend who has appeared in over 10 weddings. How can that happen?

However, tonight the tables have turned. I have been asked! I've never stood in a wedding except for my own. I hope I don't screw it up by sneezing, or what if I have an itch? I guess I shouldn't think of those things right now or else I will make myself a nervous wreck...the wedding is still 8 months away.

I'm really happy about this. I'm honored that she asked me. I hope that I can be there for my friend during the most important experience of her life...(aside from passing the bar exam). I hope that when things get crazy (and they will) she knows that I will wear whatever she tells me to wear. It's her day.

Light at the End

I've managed to squeeze all of my Christmas shopping into this past week, and I am happy to say that I am completely finished with Caleb and the kids. At this point, everything else can wait until next week. So maybe, just maybe I can actually relax this weekend for a little while.

Of course, I haven't sent my Christmas cards out yet. I'm holding out until tomorrow when there is a chance I will be picking up some photos to insert into the cards. I'm not holding my breath though. I have not managed a single year to put photos in the Christmas cards. But all 70 of them are addressed, and soon to be stamped.

The weather today has been beautiful. That is to say if you are sitting on the warm side of a large picture window overlooking rolling hills and trees. However if one is driving around, the snow and slush are not so great.

I'm glad to be in for the night though. Or at least until Abby's Christmas play and a possible trip to Starbucks for some stellar hot cocoa. But for now...these few moments. The light has arrived, and no one expects anything from me for at least 5 minutes.


You Belong in Paris

Stylish and a little sassy, you were meant for Paris.

The art, the fashion, the wine, the men!

Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...

You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.

What City Do You Belong In?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Me vs. Trust

My inner skeptic has kicked in to full gear. My trust issues span beyond the far reaches of the universe. I am trust issues.

I just watched my car being towed away for the second time in 3 weeks; it will not start.

I called the mechanic. He informed me that it could be any number of things, and he'll have to make a diagnosis. That means I will have to entrust my car to his hands once again.

I hate not knowing. Moving blindly along. Nodding my head, but really meaning "no don't hurt me".

So, I called the Saturn dealership to get a quote on a refurbished engine. Something that I should have done before investing all that cash to an unknown mechanic in the first place. *kick* *kick* *kick*

So, once more I am trying to let go and trust.

He has it all worked out. He has it all worked out. He has it all worked out. Breathe in breathe out. Breathe in breathe out.

Update: The mechanic replaced my battery free of charge. Apparently my old battery was the original from 5 years ago. It was living on borrowed time.

Tangerine's Hunt

I won't look at the ball...I won't look at the ball...I won't look at the ball...

Gah!! I got you nefarious fiend; foul temptress of dangling and mockery!

Hmmph! Is that all you got?. Perhaps I should explore a bit more...

Just as I suspected!! This whole place is festooned with evil taunting dangly bits.

I give you the evil glare; and reserve the right to bite you at will.

This is all well and good, but I sense a glorious prey, one that will make my hunts legendary....

I will ever be known as "Tangerine, Tamer of the Loathsome Baubled Tree!"

It is hidden well, but I shall perservere.

GLORY...It. will. be. mine.


Having grown up in a non-Christian home, I can honestly say that the focus of Christmas was Santa Claus, presents, candy, and glitz.

The fact that the reason for the holiday was to recognize the birth of a Savior didn't really sink in until [embarrassingly] very recently.

I know better now. I am grateful for the celebration of Christmas for different reasons now. Deeper reasons. And sometimes, to be honest, I get tired of seeing the commercials that focus on receiving gifts and not giving something of yourself that costs more than paper money.

But. There is still that little girl inside of me that wonders over the magic of Christmas. And I am certain that the two ways to celebrate connected somehow, maybe a very long time ago, and were not two different ways to celebrate Christmas.

Santa had a reason for doing what he did...where did he get his goodness of heart? His need to give charitably, generously?

Anyway...for the past two years Santa has been "outlawed" from our Christmas. Choosing instead to recognize Christ's birth in entirety meant that the jolly old elf had no place here. But for me, Christmas somehow didn't seem as magical-face it we all want to capture that little kid in us during Christmas.

It wasn't that we weren't generous or loving with each other. It wasn't that we weren't appreciative of the blessings that God bestowed upon us. I think that in my feeble human mind, I connected Santa to everything good that a human could be if they were truly Christ-like. The best of someone. The most generous and loving part. And for one day out of the year, THAT is what you see of them. And the individual responsible for that gentle way is of course Christ. Because without Him we are lost, and there is no possible way that a Santa could exist.

For myself, it was the one day out of the year that I could look at my step father and feel that maybe, just maybe he liked me a little.

So, this year I approached my husband about reintroducing Santa back into our family. With some guidelines of course, so that things do not get carried away, and so that the primary focus of our celebration is for the birth of Christ.

My husband, who cannot remember having Santa Claus ever recognized during his childhood Christmas said "sure". Of course, I asked him while he was still half asleep.

And now...since he has made this concession, for whatever reason...I feel a little giddy. I guess I love having the opportunity one time a year to be lovingly generous with my family. I love the whole Santa-thing because I love giving presents. Not that I wouldn't be generous with them all year long...but playing Santa means that I get to give to them without getting anything back. Except maybe some cookies. mmm...cookies.

We won't be taking the Snoog to go see Santa, or anything like that. The gifts "he" gives are unprompted by greed or need. The kids don't even know that we are doing this. We aren't going to pump up Santa. He is a figure in a story. An imagined character to represent the good that should be in all of us while we recognize and celebrate the birth of Christ.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I stand corrected

"Mama, we're not turds...we are brothers and sisters."

-The Snoog

Sheila & Toby

We finally got my Saturn back from the auto shop. $2600 later that is. (I'll not go into how we managed to get the cash, just that we are VERY thankful, very blessed-no it didn't involve robbery or else this post would be titled "Bonnie and Clyde")

We are putting a positive spin on it though. The car (Sheila) went in with over 80,000 miles on her engine. And now she only has 30,000. So, we essentially got a "new" car out of the deal.

So now my hubby takes Sheila to work, and Toby stays home with me. I wonder if I should take the Mary Kay sticker off of Sheila. Nah.

Here is Toby by the way:

He is in need of a wash. But he is still under 1000 miles. We are hoping to break into his first long road trip after Christmas.

On a side note: I've been housebound for 3 weeks, and I still can't believe that I can actually GO SOMEWHERE without waiting for my husband to come home. Freedom is waiting at the threshold of my door...Target here I come!


Case #1: The Paw the Cat Left Behind
Has the cat been on the counter?

If you look closely you can see the perfect imprint of Tangerine's paw. Proof she has been on the counter tasting the sweeties.
Verdict: GUILTY
Case#2: Disappearing Frosting
Why is there never any frosting left for the brownies?
Since fingerprint kits weren't available, we
had to determine the culprit using different methods.
Verdict: Guilty!
Case #3 Ghost Camera
Is the camera taking photos on its own while no one is around?
Need we say more?
Verdict: Guilty!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


5. Get up and go to church...

This process was fairly quick and painless. The kids were actually ready before I was, and the Snoog did not have an accident right before we left.

4. Go shopping at Target to purchase gifts for displaced children/ young moms...

Again, the kids were in good spirits as they picked out the gifts. We had some fun with it.

3. Have lunch at Applebees...

This is where we start to have some grumbling. But for the most part we endured lunch together unscathed.

2. Watch The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe...

The Snoog did not settle into the movie until about half way through...which reminded me once again that she should not be let to enter a theatre until she has developed an attention span that is more expanse than a gnat. I spent the entire movie ensuring that she would not bother the other patrons.

1. Send the kids to bed early because they couldn't hold out long enough on not fighting to decorate the tree.

I'm not sure what happened on the relatively quiet trip home. Only that upon setting foot into the door everyone's demeanor rapidly changed. Objects were flying through the air, people were crying, people were whining. I had had enough.

If I stick to my guns on the "no fighting" rule, we won't have decorations up until Christmas Eve...if ever.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Normal Faces

We entertain a lot at our house. Meaning, we usually have friends over every weekend. Sometimes more than once a weekend, sometimes more than once a week.

I'm not sure how it all started that way, maybe it was "Anime Night" so long ago.

Over the course of the past few years since that first Anime Night, faces have come and gone. But a few remain constant. And those faces have become part of my family.

Our children have aunts and uncles that have a stronger bond than blood. They play, read stories, and color with my children. Their involvement is a priceless gift, both to me and to them, that I will treasure always.

Sometimes I worry that these times will fade, and our friendships will wane over time. Perhaps it is because my past experiences with friends have been disappointing when it came to longevity and consistency; so I try to hold on.

I am thankful every day for these normal faces in my life.

I hope that the passing of time only means that we will share a good laugh over silver hair (or no hair) and past memories of our life events. I hope that as normal faces turn to old faces, the word "old" means much more than our age.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Notes on a Napkin

For some honest to goodness great writing please go here.

Mulling it Over

I am looking at 4 shelves of Mary Kay stock and supplies and I am embarrassed. I have not done a class in over 2 months. And I now know why.

It isn't because I have stopped believing that I can have my own business. Or that I think it is a waste of time. Or that I am just disenchanted with the entire thing. Or that I am just being plain lazy. [ok maybe a little bit of that last one]

I've lost my nerve.

A few months back I had a really horrifying experience with a potential customer/friend. Or at least I thought they were my friend. Which makes the whole scenario even worse.

It is amazing, the way that people communicate. The entire process is complex. And if you aren't careful, you may find yourself listening to someone on the other end of the phone literally screaming their lungs out at you over a misunderstood adjective, never stopping to give you an opportunity to explain. Never giving you the benefit of the doubt. Quite literally calling you everything negative thing under the sun. Diminishing you until you are a weeping mess.

I didn't sign on for that. Especially from someone I considered a friend.

So I stopped.

I had been starting to wonder if I will ever start again.

Then I realized it wasn't me. It wasn't my business. It wasn't anything except my lapse in judgement in who I call "friend".

The experience certainly gave me something to think about. So now that I have...I think it is time to move past this and get back on track.

Infected [10 Things]

Okay, lets try this again...
I've been infected with a virus [tagged by Bella] to reveal 10 things about myself that are otherwise unknown.

1. When my husband and I were just dating I pretended to like Star Wars so that he would like me. It has become increasingly more difficult to maintain the facade.

2. When I was very young [like age 9] I looked at my step dad's nudie magazines.

3. I have had 11 cats in my lifetime [so far].

4. I will not buy a cordless phone.ever.

5. When I was in high school I wanted to be a twirler. I never made the squad, and it has scarred me for life.

6. I have entertained the thought that we should inject microchips into ourselves with tracking devices because it amazes me that in our time that people can be lost and never found again. But goverment tracking only makes it easier for the aliens to find us.

7. I am afraid to write a book.

8. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was afraid to raise a girl. Now that I have two of them, I know that I can survive anything.

9. I find it difficult to ask people to take their shoes off when they enter my home because I think it may sound rude. But if I don't say anything, I will be in a foul mood all night thinking about the dog poop that they have undoubtedly smeared all over my home. [regardless if it is true]

10. One of my favorite snacks is a Claussen pickle and a Coke.

And now I am suppose to infect [tag] 10 more people...lets see now...

eternal mommy



just for the comment. love you! :)

Snoog-day Party

We decided yesterday that we wanted to celebrate the good news of Snoog's adoption. She doesn't really know what is going on, since Caleb is the only papa that she has ever known. However, for us, her adoption symbolizes the wholeness of our family, and for me, the ending of a very difficult chapter in my life. New beginnings.

I just came home from Kroger, picking up the chicken wings, BBQ sauce, honey, cake ingredients and soda pop. We'll have pizza, monkey-cake, and chicken wings tonight with a few close friends. I also bought some balloons. I came through the doors with these balloons, and Snoog's immediate response "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!" [which is actually pronounced "ber-day"]
Apparently she has been looking forward to her birthday for a while now.

I'm not going to correct her. Since in a way, she is absolutely right.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I never thought that I would admit this, but there are times...such as right now...that I actually hide from my children. If I had a lap top, they might actually never find me.

Just In...

Dear Mr. & Mrs. XXXX:

We are pleased to advise you that the final adoption order concerning XXXX was signed by this court on this date.

The court has sent a Record of Adoption to the Department of Public Health in the State of Michigan and authorized an issuance of a Certificate of Birth for the adoptee in the new name, if one has been requested. You will be hearing from the agency in the near future.

XXXX has now become your heir, acquiring the full rights of natural children in relations to their parents, including the rights of inheritance. As you know, you also now assume all of the obligations and duties of natural parents.

The family Division of The Judicial Circuit of Michigan joins me in extending congratulations to you and XXXX and best wishes for a happy and successful future.

Very Sincerely,


Third Judicial Circuit Court
Family Division, Juvenile Section


For the purpose of this blog, and wanting share the good news, I have x'd out the names. We did change her name for future security, and friends and family have already been informed. Thank you all for your prayers!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Relative Assurance

Recently I can be quoted for having given advice about "letting go" and "allowing the children to have relationships with other people who may not follow the same rules and guidelines as yourself".

This is often easy to say.

This is often hard to follow.

Today I returned home from my extravagant shopping spree (on me) to find that Kimi's face is blue (from markers) is the coffee table cover.

My husband had to leave quite quickly when I returned home, so I did not really get a "recap" on the activities while I was away from my post.

So I called.

And I said something to the following affect:

"If you want me to be able to go out and spend some time by myself (so that I do not go crazy), I need to have relative assurance that I won't return home with Kimi being either bald or blue."

Yes, I HAVE come home and Kimi has had much less hair than when I left.

Then I realized what I had done. I had not followed my own advice.

So, I stepped back and assessed.

1. Kimi did not get hurt.
2. The world did not implode in my absence.

In fact the worst thing that happened is she got spend some happy time with her papa playing with markers...which mama doesn't allow. So papa is the cool one.

I later apologized to my husband.

Kimi will not have the same experiences with her papa as she will with me. He will never be able to provide the same type of attention to her as I will, because he is a different person. And as long as no one is getting hurt, I should relax and let her experiences with him be what they are; different than with me, but no less important for them both.

Sibling [Philosophical Debate] Rivalry

My kids fight. Constantly. I am not accustomed to silbing rivalry...having been an only child until about age 11, and not really having much to do with my younger brothers and sisters. I essentially skipped the entire experience of fighting with a brother or sister.

Usually their fighting drives me batty. But sometimes their fights are interesting, almost insightful, as to the type of people they are, or are developing to be.

A: I have to read every day, I'm on a schedule for my education. [Said much in the tone and cadence of Hermoine]

Z: I read without a schedule.

A: But I'm doing it to learn. It's very important. [Again, very Hermoine-ish]

Z: I'm reading a rule book, and that is educational.

A: But I am doing it for school.

Z: I'm learning to play a game, and the rule book is 200 pages.

A: That's not education. It's not for school.

Z: I'm learning this game [Warhammer], and it isn't easy.

A: You're a turd.

Z: No, you're a turd. [knocking the book out of A's hand]

A: Great! you made me lose my page!!

Z: No, the paper is right there..

A: That is just a game book [pointing to Z's rather large rule book], it's not education.

Z: Yes it is, I'm learning...

A: You're still a turd.

Note to Self

How to send Kassi into an anxiety attack: Give her $130 in gift cards for Target and stipulate that she may only spend it on herself.

Perhaps next time, I'll save the cards for spending AFTER Christmas.

some of the booty

And yes, I DID buy a blanket to match the pajamas to match the book. So?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Oh The Thinks You Can Think...

The repairs for my car have sky-rocketed to $2700.

That is because the entire engine needs to be replaced (my fault entirely). So, while birthday bliss is still coursing through my veins, I'm using some of that extra "happy" to get me through the next few days as realization sinks in.

In the meantime...maybe a nice big check made out to me will find itself resting in my mailbox before the week is through. It's possible.

Rhapsody in K Major

Thinking about yesterday makes me feel abundant.

Abundantly loved.
Abundantly blessed.
Abundantly happy.
Abundantly content.
Abundantly special.

The lists could go on.

I woke up yesterday and put on my favorite sweater. The one that reminds me that when I was a little girl my favorite color was red. And now that I am older, I have grown quite fond of pink.
We dropped off the human snoog at my cousin's house and attended to a necessary appointment. I spied a pink car sitting by itself while Caleb took Kimi inside and realized that this was going to be a great day.

For the first time in months, I started to feel true excitement.

Zac called to inform that he wasn't feeling well, so we picked up some pepto and brought it his school. I would have let him come home, but lately the kids have been "calling in sick" over the slightest I decided to make him tough it out.
I felt guilty at first...but when I got home later in the afternoon, he had of course made a miraculous recovery...

Caleb took the day off of work, so after dropping Kimi off at daycare, we proceeded to Zoup for a quick yet warm lunch. It was a bitterly cold day. But all the better for eating hot soup.

After lunch, we decided [together] that we needed to take the opportunity of this time to get some
Christmas shopping done. I love going to Toys-R-Us. I still love looking at toys. I love shopping for toys for my kids.

And undoubtedly, I always find something that I like. I rarely leave a toy store without buying something small to satiate that greedy little kid in me.
Yesterday I found Sir Polka-Dot Pants. Who can resist a raven haired Barbarian on Horseback?
Not I.

After our Christmas shopping was done...we went over to
the mall. Caleb had been mentioning going to my favorite mall for the past two days, so I knew that he had something planned. He mentioned unhindered shopping, so OF COURSE I was game.

He asked me to close my eyes as he lead me through. It was actually really interesting, and disconcerting at the same time. On one hand, I had the constant feeling that I was going to walk right into something, but on the other hand, the smells of cinnamon, perfumes, and the sounds of happy people shopping and the music made it rather enjoyable. Besides, leaning into Caleb as he guided me was nice as well.

When he finally told me to open my eyes I was standing in front of the Build-a-Bear store! I had never been in to make a bear for it took some time to choose. But finally, I was united with my very own Bunni-Bear. I love her style...and she roars like a lion. Her motto is "I am bunny, hear me roar". (note the black high tops)

Then in true chocolate-lover fashion we headed straight to Godiva and picked up the most delumpcious thing E.V.E.R. Chocolate covered raspberry cups. Need I say more?

After that, we went to Bath and Body works, where I 1. replenshed my favorite body splash, and 2. put something on my list for future and white marshmallow puffs.

Later (and this is the very good part if you can even imagine it), Caleb and the kids took me to Uno Chicago Grill, where I was surprised and blessed over and over again.

Aside from a kick-butt menu (which allowed the girls to build their own pizzas and then have them baked up and served to them), the spectacular service by the waitstaff AND management, and the singing while the many desserts were presented...I was surrounded by 20 of my very favorite people.

As friends and family walked through the doors and sat down, I almost cried. And as I saw everyone talking, laughing, and enjoying some really fine heart swelled to receive such an awesome blessing of these beautiful people in my life. For me, that will always put this memory at the top, and was the best gift of all.

(But...I'm not giving the other very wonderful and thoughtful gifts back )

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes, and blessings that you have posted, and emailed. You are very very kind! Thank you especially to Caleb who was more patient, loving, generous, and kind to me than I ever deserved.


p.s. I forgot to mention that I heard 4 of my favorite songs as well. 3 at the restaurant, and one leaving the restaurant on the way home...and I ended the evening by finding The Breakfast Club playing on one of the 10,000 channels we have on cable. Seriously. Don't pinch me.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Spoiled Cat

I went ahead and splurged on the pink Swarovski crystal collar for Tangerine. Yes, there IS something seriously wrong with me.

December 4

I've always enjoyed December 4th; the day before my birthday. I get more of a high on anticipation than I do receiving. I suppose that is why I held out so long on empty promises. I fed on the possibilities like Turkish Delight.

Today is no different. I have long stopped getting overly excited about my birthday. But when I looked at the calendar and realized that today is December 4th, my heart quickened ever so slightly.

I know that my husband has some very nice things planned for tomorrow. He has taken the day off and has mentioned the "s" word. He knows that I like to shop. And I hope I will be able to hold off the anxiety that usually accompanies shopping with other people. I am a lone shopper by trade. Like an adventurer who sets off on a wonderous journey and returns with tales of treasure and bargains.

I also know that there will be a Godiva store somewhere en route with chocolate covered blackberries. Perhaps a stationary store with a cool pen waiting for me to find it and bring it home...possibly a stop at Trader Joe's for the cherry wine I have been eyeing for a while...

But really, I get more excited thinking about it. I guess that is because in my imagination it will be a warm sunny day, butterflies and fairies will dance about, and everyone I love will receive the most wonderful news making everything right in the world. For instance, there was a mistake in accounting and my age is actually only as far back as I remember, thereby knocking off a good 5 years.

Anticipation is a dangerous thing sometimes. It lends to disappointment. And today, I think that I am going to free my mind of it all and focus on just today for what it that tomorrow can just be what it is as well; My birthday.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Toby, Swarovski, White Trash, Oh my!

I finally had a chance to drive the new van. Yeah! I haven't had a new car in ages. The smell knocks me off my feet. It's so nice! I love driving the van. It's so smooth, and high up off the ground...and I just feel safer and less cramped. I hate being cramped.

This morning, while driving the car, we came to the decision that the van is a boy. It looks too masculine in its greys and silvers, and wood accents inside to be a girl. So Caleb named the van "Toby". I like that name. Besides...Tobey Maguire plays Spiderman, and M.J. felt safe in his arms, so I can transfer the fact that I feel safe in my van...hence "Toby" is good because "Spider man" would be stupid.

I've been searching for a cat collar for Tangerine. I haven't been wanting to get one for her, I justified that she was an indoor cat, so no need. Well, it was brought to my attention that if she were to ever get out, without us knowing, she would be a goner. No collar, no name tag...someone would take her in and keep her. Which is no good for me...she's MY cat. So, I decided that I would go ahead and buy the Swarovski crystal cat collar I spied earlier today. Now to decide on the color...they DID have pink.

And of course, our neighbors at this fine hour, are playing their music altogether too loud for my liking. I hate neighbors. Especially junky ones who are too obnoxious to care about anyone but themselves. If it isn't loud music, it's loud sex. And if it isn't MY loud music, or MY loud sex, I don't want to know about it.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I went to my first M.O.P.S. [Mothers of Preschoolers] get together today. It was nice. One of the other moms gave me a ride to and from the church so that I could hang out with other moms and Kimi could hang out with other kids. It was good to get out of the house for a little bit this morning.

Unfortunately, I came home and the house cleaning fairy had not visited. In fact the cat decided it was high time she destroy an entire roll of paper towels; leaving paper towel bits all over the dining and living room. I'm not lying when I say that it looks like a paper towel roll exploded all over my house.

In a moment of insanity, it occurred to me to have Kimi "help" me out and pick up the paper towels. She was agreeable at first. I think it was a ruse for now she is very very quiet. And I am quite afraid to check on what she is actually doing.

For the most part I think that The Snoog and The Cat are conspiring against the rest of The Humans and The Dog. My team is losing.


Thursday, December 01, 2005


I finished reading "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" today. I really loved the story. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books.

However, tonight I am going to start reading the story to my children. Tonight we will order pizza (and a salad). Afterwards I will light the fireplace and make some hot cocoa. Then, with our cocoa mugs, we will snuggle down and I will introduce my kids to a magical place called Narnia.

All this being my solution to feeling lonely, left out, and trapped at home without a car.

I may light candles while I am at it.

My Melancholy

As if you haven't already had enough of me...

Family Dining

Our family eats dinner together every night at the dinner table, with the TV in the "off" position. We make efforts to actually talk to each other as we are stuffing our faces. And generally the topic is always to recap how our day has been. I rather like this arrangement. It works for us. Well most of us anyway.

There are some people in our family who are always grumpy at dinner time. This is because they are not allowed to eat whatever they want (I'm not a short order cook). They are made to sit down for a period of time without the television (which is seen as punishment of a horrible capacity). And worse, they are not the center of attention (though not without trying). Further, their efforts for being the center of attention usually ends them up to bed without dinner.

Family dining is important. But some people disagree. I'll not mention any names.

December Rules

1. Time is up. I haven't heard from the adoption clerk, which means that there is no bad news for her to dispense upon us. Therefore...for all intents and purposes, the adoption will go through without any disruptions. (as far as I know)

2. Caleb is picking up the new "Director of Transportation" for our family today. I don't know her name yet, but I do have a photo that resembles what she looks like...

3. The above mentioned points may make my upcoming birthday almost bearable.