Wednesday, December 31, 2008

AARRGGGHH! Happy New Year!

AAARRRGGHH, Mateys! Happy New Year from our pirate ship to yours!
Here's to smooth sailing in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Husband, Y'all...

Is a keeper. I knew I loved him years ago when I first saw him under a space shuttle (um, yes, you read that correctly). He's always been wonderful at all things dad, but lately he's gone above and beyond proving himself to be "invaluable to the company" (me), so we (I) can't fire him.

For Christmas, he registered me to go to a blogging conference in Nashville! How much fun! I think he noticed that I love to blog- or just that I'm missing several nights and I'm down in the basement office on the computer. Go ahead and call him Mr. Observant.

So I'm headed up there the first weekend in February. Here is all the info. Please let me know if you're interested in coming along. I'll be happy to take carpoolers- not hitchhikers or complete and total strangers- but I'd be happy to have a partner in blogging conference crime.

Because I've been quoted several times as saying that posts with pictures are more fun, here is one just for my hubby from deep within the archives. This is circa October 1998 at an AGD Madhatter's Ball in college. Jason had his beloved facial hair (that I repeatedly suggested he get rid of until he did) and I was chubby. And he still loved me. That's my man.

Monday, December 29, 2008

In looking through my Christmas pictures

This series is just too funny not to share:

Wait, let me set the stage for you first. It was about 5:00 pm (thus Ollie's nap hair) the Friday before Christmas and we were getting ready to eat an early dinner and meet some friends and family at Santa's Village. The buzzer for the pizza home-cooked and nutritious dinner I'd made was going off and I was yelling at asking politely for Jason to take it out. He told me to come in there quick with camera because the boys were both on this little ride on toy and it was a cute picture.

Then, very wisely- and a little sarcastically, he asked, "Would you rather have a cute picture or burned pizza?" That man knows me too well- a picture, of course!

So, here is the series. Anyone with multiple children can feel my pain.
Cute of Henry, Ollie not looking

Kind of cute of Ollie, but he's standing up trying to escape my photo op

Cute of Henry, Ollie not looking
Cute of Ollie, Henry growning in misery at this picture and his brother pushing him into the handle bars

There is no need for the last caption here. Just fill in your own. I think that my 3 year old might have let out a curse word if he knew any. This was the last shot- you'll be happy to know.
Also, please don't forget to comment here. Several of you have already- THANK YOU- and I will take all the advice I can get!

HELP, please!

Ollie still has a passy. I know. I'm a terrible, horrible, habit-forming, orthodontist-lovin', sissy of a mother. Oh well.
He has only had it at bed time and nap time since he was 6 months old. But, he specifically loves it and asks for it now. As in, he wakes up looking for it. And can't sleep without it.

Our pediatric dentist has told me the past 2 visits to ditch it. It's on the agenda for "after Christmas" and I think I'll throw it in with the other resolutions.

Here are the options that I've read/ heard about:
1. Take all the passies to babies at the hospital to give to tiny babies since he is a big boy
2. Sew them inside a build-a-bear for his to sleep with at night
3. Cut the tips off so that they are no fun to suck anymore
4. Have a passy fairy come and get them and leave a big boy present in it's place (like we need more presents around here)
5. Go cold turkey and just take it away

I have heard that it's not as hard as you think (probably like potty training), but I am really scared! And a little sad, too. I'm more sad that I'm having to shop for my 3 year old in the BOYS (not kids) section, but that's a different post.

Please leave any and all ideas, additional options and your recommendations in the comments section.
Thanks in advance!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Don't be jealous, but..

We are here
Doing a little bit of this
and this

Unfortunately, this is a short trip and we will make the movie marathon, 8-hour ride home tomorrow. Hope you're enjoying your Christmas toys!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

May you be blessed with the gifts of God's love and grace this Christmas as we remember the gift of His birth.

This makes it all worth it.

And behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2: 9-11

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

There will be flour (not reindeer) flying...

in Mrs. Claus's kitchen today.
Here's what's going to get made today. (I am using this as accountability so I will get it all done.)

  1. Peanut butter covered pretzels- dip in chocolate- check- they look like this
  2. Five minute fudge wreath (because I have all the ingredients and know I won't make it after Christmas- might as well fatten up now)
  3. Banana bread- because I have 3 rotting bananas (what I need) and my kids LOVE my grandmother's banana bread recipe. I'll post it here some time soon.
  4. Breakfast casserole- because Jason has to have it on Christmas morning (it's his mother's recipe, but I know you all have that one. Let me know if you need it for your Christmas morning.)
  5. Cookies for Santa- 'cause Santa just hasn't had enough sweets lately. I'll do something simple. Maybe my grandmother's oatmeal raisin cookies. Those are healthy- they have oatmeal, right? (I'll have to do a post just with my grandmother's recipes. You will wish she was your grandmother!) UPDATE: Just got back from the neighbor's house and she gave us cookies that will be perfect for Santa- the only qualification is that they're already made- and they are!
  6. Last, but definitely not least- JESUS'S BIRTHDAY CAKE! I've got several different boxes of cake (do you think Jesus will mind if it's not from scratch?) in the pantry. I seem to stock up when Publix has them BOGO free. Not that I make cake alot. I just need to buy at least one if they're on sale. You never know when you might need to whip one up.

So, I'll be cooking while the kids are napping. We're off to visit our neighbor now. I wanted to teach Ollie about "visiting" people, but I'm sure he'll learn more about his mother screaming "don't touch that!" Hopefully he won't break anything of value this time at our 80 year old neighbor's house. Or Henry for that matter! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If you think THIS is a reindeer...

Then you must have the insightful and artistic mind of a pre-school teacher.

All Jason and I can see if a piece of Christmas poop. But it has Ollie's handprints for the poop's antlers, so we have to keep this piece of crap wonderful artwork. Sometimes I think those pre-school teachers are laughing at us. Really hard. And not just on the inside.

Appropriate caveat added here: Of course I cherish my child's artwork and wouldn't trade it for the world.
Now quit thinking I'm a bad mother and you can laugh with me.

Do you get good artwork home from pre-school/ mother's morning out? Aside from the obvious Mother's Day handprints and Thanksgiving Indian feather hat (that has a name doesn't it?)?
Let me know your favorites in the comments.
Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deep Thoughts at the Dollar Tree

This afternoon while the kids were napping, I snuck off to the Dollar Tree. I'm sponsoring a mom and a 5 year old boy at a homeless shelter for a party tomorrow night. Please do not think of me as super worthy of anything, because, in case you missed it- I went to the DOLLAR TREE.
They did give us a $10 limit per person, though, so I thought this would be the best way to stretch my budget.
While I was there, I mainly ran into people who were doing their family Christmas shopping. I overheard several conversations, but the one that stuck with me most was this one:

"Look at these neat iPod covers."
"Yeah- cool- only a $1."
"Too bad I don't know anybody with an iPod."
"Me, either."

Hmmm. Until then, I kind of thought of iPods now as what a walkman would have been in middle school- a standard accessory with your Jams. We actually have 3; 5 if you count our iPhones. I didn't think of this as excessive until then. And I sulked away.
We are not "rich" by most standards, but I've found out that everything is relative. Case in point: I still think I'm young, but my babysitter has called me ma'am before. (And she promised she would NOT do it again.)
I may be quoting this stat incorrectly, but in Sunday School a while back we were talking about the average income of people around the world. In America, it's $40,000. In Africa, it's $4,000. So, on average, we Americans make 10 times more than they do. Which, in their eyes looks like $400,000 would look to someone who makes $40,000. Get the point? It's all relative.

Back to the Dollar Tree and my oversized green buggy for the undersized aisles. As I filled up this basket and made tough decisions as to how best spend my $10 (questionable generic M&Ms in a candy cane or "mock"olate looking Santa Claus pops) , I wondered if these were the only Christmas presents they would get. I wondered if my own kids would be just as happy with a bag full of Dollar Tree finds than with the hundreds of dollars of name brand, top of the line toys, clothes, games and books that await them in the playroom closet.

I want to teach them the true meaning of Christmas, but I also want them to have all the material things of Christmas. Is this possible?

Today in Sunday School we talked about living a simple life (nice guilt trip before Christmas, huh?) and how being a Christian actually is supposed to be a step towards simplicity and living like Christ. Apparently, Jesus didn't have granite countertops or 5 iPods. It's not in the Bible, so I'm not positive about that, but most scholars are going with this theory.

I've realized that I'm going to have to make a decision one way or another as to which route I want to go. Then I'm going to have to follow through with my money. Ick. I know the answer, but it is so much easier to just do what everybody else does, isn't it? It's much easier to get the STUFF than to live without and feel like you're missing out. Or explain to your kids why they don't NEED 432 Thomas trains. I think that feeling a "little less" will diminish once I fill myself more with Jesus, but I have to admit that the material things are still out there. A constant struggle with humanness.
So, if you are still shopping for me, I've decided to take a step back from materialism this Christmas (note: decision made on Dec 21st- when done with shopping). Just head over to the Dollar Tree and pick out a few iPod covers (5 to be exact) and I will be thrilled with those.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Came Early!

I walked out the front door tonight to go get the Christmas cards I wait for every day mail and I saw a HUGE package on our porch. {No ringing or barking woke up the kids- HOORAH! The sign is working!}

I brought it inside and we were all excited to see what it was- especially the kiddos. I happened to remember what it was- the nativity set that I ordered { along with a few other Christmas goodies}!!! YAY! In time for Christmas!
I think that somehow it's rich with irony {and maybe a little wrong?} to covet a nativity set, but this is the only one I've really ever loved. It's from Southern Living at Home and it came out last year. I have looked at others, but have compared every other set to this one. It was pretty pricey, so I didn't allow myself to get it last year, but I got an e-mail that it was on super duper sale- 60% off!! I jumped on it and wished myself a Merry Christmas!

Ollie could not have been more excited! These are like Jesus action figures and he was all about it! He sang We Three Kings and danced with all the kings. He caressed and held baby Jesus and told him he was a cute baby. And that he loves Him. So precious.
The night did not continue on it's precious and loving route, though, because it was soon time to go to bed and Ollie was really upset that he couldn't take his new toys with him to the bathtub. I got so tickled because he was trying to sneak pieces away- like I didn't notice. Specifically, he wanted the cow- not Jesus or Joseph or even a wise man. The cow. And this was the scene:
The whole time, Henry was very happy playing with his own Nativity set- a stuffed one that I love and would highly recommend for young kids!
Christmas did not come early just for me today. Jason went to Best Buy and bought Guitar Hero. For a child, you ask? Maybe someone that has lost their home in this Christmas season? Or a family that we are sponsoring this Christmas? NO! For him! He told me he wanted it for Christmas {and I chuckled and snorted on the inside- because I snort when I laugh} and then went out and bought it himself! He did have a gift card from his work Christmas party, but he did not clear the purchase with me- that's for certain. {Oh, and I didn't clear the entire Nativity set with him, but who's keeping track here?}
Ollie was requesting things like Silent Night and We Three Kings while his dad was in the next room saying, "I don't think those are on here, buddy" as he got back to Bon Jovi, Steve Miller and Michael Jackson. Now, I may not have married a grown up, but at least my husband is fun.
So, apparently the 12 days of Christmas have begun early around here! I hope Christmas morning isn't a let down after tonight!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For all my Fever Blister Sisters- A CURE!

I have suffered many, many years from a horrible virus: the fever blister. You can call them cold sores, herpes {above the neck, thank you very much} or whatever you'd like, but they're awful. Be thankful if you don't have them. They make it hard to eat, they burn and tingle and they HURT. Besides all that, they make you {Read: ME} feel like a monster! You can't lick your lips, put on lipstick, smile/ laugh without pain, kiss your kids or even your husband {if you are still into that type of thing :-}. I place the blame for this disease squarely on my mother- who apparently passed them on to me. If you have never had one then you just don't have the virus that gives them to you. Again- please be thankful for this.
I woke up Monday morning about 4 am and felt it coming. That horrible tingle sensation and then I felt the swelling. DANGIT. {First thought- at least it was after our Sunday School Christmas Party. I am so stinking vain sometimes.} I got up and immediately put on some Denavir cream that I had from the last one and surprisingly was able to go back to sleep. I dreamed that they were small and went away quickly.
Unfortunately, the first part of that dream didn't come true. They were HUGE. I mean big swollen globs on my top lip- 2 of them! I looked like the after picture of Botox gone wrong. Ugh. So embarrassing.
I called one of my Fever Blista Sistas, Beth, to commiserate on the way to pre-school. She told me that another of our FBSs had gotten her a prescription for Valtrex. This particular FBS, who shall remain nameless, works in the medical field and is basically our hook up for anything medical that we need in a hurry or out of regular office hours. She has checked my kids for ear infections on Sunday afternoons, she has called in medicine at 7 pm and she calms my fears at all times! You really need a friend like this if you don't have one.
So, nameless Dr. FBS called in the prescription for me and I was on Valtrex (a pill) and Denavir (a cream) by noon. Here is more information about those medicines. {And, yes, I was at the pharmacy thinking, "Please, please, please don't say over the loud speaker,'Mrs. Dunham, your VALTREX is ready", but they didn't! I saved a smidgen of my reputation. At least now people just think I was in a Botox trial. I don't know which is worse.}

48 hours later- this thing is GONE! BUSTED! I am so pumped. I can almost wear lipstick again, but the swollen and gross portion was gone by this morning and most of the redness has disappeared. Usually these things last a week, so this is like an early Christmas miracle!
I have tried EV-RAY-THANG under the sun to get rid of these boogers and this is the best cure out there- for sure.

For all the other herpes-free sistas out there, please take this unsolicited advice:

  1. Don't point out to someone else if they happen to have one. I guarantee you they know it's there. {Someone did this to me today. Yes, thanks. Really? Didn't know. Hmm. I should take a look at that.}
  2. Act like you don't see it or shocked/ surprised if we mention it. That makes us feel like we're somewhat human, even though we know you're lying. Thank you.
  3. We can tell when you're staring at it. I know it's like a train wreck, but focus on our eyes- or hair- or even boobs would be better. Just please don't drill a hole in our funky lip.
So, I hope this helps any other FBSs out there. Good luck and Godspeed Fever Blister!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Front Door War

I get a lot of packages at home since I work from home and I order a lot of things online (especially this time of year), so there is a constant flow of traffic to the front door.
If you have children who nap, then you might know my dilemma. Every day, between 1:30- 4:30, the FedEx, UPS and Post man all try to deliver things to me. This happens to be the same time that my children nap. Now, for some reason the kids can sleep through the door bell, but they can't seem to sleep through the yappy dogs that bark if anyone approaches our house.
I've tried a nice note on the front door that asks not to knock (which they ignore if I need to sign something or they just didn't read) and I even had the postman only delivering to my office door for a while (this worked fine until he started leaving packages in the rain).

So, today I've come up with a solution.

Here's our unassuming front door (the deliverer is thinking, "nice little festive home")

And here is my plea:I'm hoping that a little bit of humor, a star burst of holiday cheer (you like that part? see that it's removable for after Christmas?) and several if/ then clauses will help the deliverer pacify me (and the dogs and kids, of course). And a cell phone number if all else fails.

The note that I'd like to write goes something like this:
Are you kidding me? Please do NOT ring this door bell! It is prime nap time, but I'm sure you don't know that because you've run down to your truck before I could open the door and tell you. Just drop the package and walk away slowly.

I'm afraid that I might get a lot of "partial" packages with that note, though, so I settled for the one above.

Update: just checked- 2 packages outside, no knocking or ringing and 2 sleeping babes! Success! If this doesn't end up working, though, I think I'll get a big lion out front and paint it's teeth red. Too much?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Christmas to My Blogging Family

Since I might not have your address, here is our Christmas Card. Just think of it as being hand delivered to your computer!
I think they are all out, save a few stragglers here on my desk, so I hope I'm not ruining a surprise for any family members out there! These are from pictures that we took back at the first of October for Henry's first birthday. Melissa took all the pictures and designed the card- and- a bigger feat- made us look good. Thank you so much, Melissa!

Merry Christmas! Thank you so much to the blogging community for making my day, every day. Thanks for sharing your life with me and allowing me to ramble here. I really enjoy your company! I love sharing stories, tips, laughing and crying with you all over the computer. I am certain that this is why Al Gore invented the internet.
I hope you have a wonderful and blessed holiday season!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Cheer

I sure hope you are having a Merry Christmastime. We have really been enjoying the anticipation of Christmas this year and talking up Jesus's arrival! It's so nice to be able to talk about it every day and Owen is ALL into the season. When he sees anything Christmas related (lights, Santa, wise men), he'll just shout, "Mommy, It's Christmas!!". I love the sheer joy of it.
To catch you up on the happenings of the Dunhams (since that's the name of the blog and all), we have been having fun! Thursday night we went to eat dinner with our old friends (they are not old- they are our age- but our friendship is old- you knew that- come on) who moved to town a few months ago. Sarah and Greer have moved a LOT with his job, so they are apparently experts at it. Their new house is beautiful and immaculate! I was expecting boxes and such, but it is all set up- for Christmas even- and perfect! They have twin 2 year olds and a newborn. And Sarah cooked an amazing dinner for us. I know. A Christmas miracle! I don't know how she does it. The kids had Christmas spaghetti

And played really well together! They did have one toy that caused some distress. It was a strainer and a tennis ball. We don't know where they even got the strainer, but Sarah had to get another one to appease the crowd of children under 3.
This is a faux hug and veiled attempt to get the strainer/ tennis ball by Owen. Not a bad move, if I do say so.
Last time Sarah made an appearance on our blog, she was just moving up here and about 8 months pregnant, so that means that their newest little gal, Abby, was able to join us for this party!

She wasn't quite in a partying mood- being just 3 months old, you know- but she sure is awful cute and a sweet baby!


Friday night, we went to our annual Sunday School Christmas party and had a BLAST, as usual. No blackmail pictures there- there was too much food being eaten, goofy presents being opened (I got 3 rolls of different neon colored duck- or duct?- tape) and dancing going on. We always have SO much fun.

Tonight, I took my boys to Horshoe Bend to see the Christmas lights. We'd taken Owen last year, but I knew he would really get into it this year. Oh, how I was right. They both loved it! This is a neighborhood across the street from us that has a lot of really tacky well lit houses and people drive through it constantly. They even have a closed circuit radio station that the lights dance to (this is just at the first house) like you've probably seen on you tube. This is the house mid dance, so it doesn't really show all the lights. It's pretty impressive to see in action. At the same first house, they have a life sized Santa, sleigh and reindeer. You can't really see them from this shot below, but you can see the outline. Owen has been obsessed with reindeer lately and even asked, oh, maybe a dozen times today if he could see reindeer. So, after our 3rd trip around this loop, I stopped the car and got out with him to go see the (large and kind of scary looking plastic) reindeer. He petted them, talked to them, waved at Santa (whose hand was magically waving to us like a metronome) and started to walk away. Then he asked if he could go back for one more hug. It was so sweet.

We are going to Santa's Village on Friday night with some friends and they have live deer there that you can pet and feed, so I know he is going to get excited about that.


My Christmas shopping is almost done. As I was cleaning the toy room today, I was short an "N" in this train, but it somehow rang familiar with the thought of Christmas shopping and this time of year.

Now, we have (or had) a budget (smudget), but it somehow always gets blown to smitherines. I wrapped for about 2 hours today while the kids were napping and I really do forget what all I've bought! And I DO have a list. Please don't suggest such if you are the super duper planner/ organizer who doesn't go over their Christmas budget. Maybe next year. Anybody feel my pain?

I hope you are getting into the Christmas spirit! It's hard not to with little ones around. I thought when we had Owen that Christmas would be super fun and I didn't realize that it wouldn't be until his FOURTH Christmas that we could all really be fascinated and see it through his eyes. I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Christmas Treat That You Need

OK, need may be a strong word, but I can't imagine Christmas without this yummy treat. And you most likely have all these ingredients handy, so you can make it today!
My friend Kelly calls and asks me for this recipe every year- without fail. I let her off the hook because she has triplets that are Ollie's age, so she can call me every year. And it gives us a brief chance to catch up, too! This year I typed it to her in an e-mail, so now I'm sharing it with you!

Chocolate Toffee Bark
40 saltine crackers (1 sleeve) you might use less than this, but have it handy
2 sticks butter this is how every good recipe should start- and don't even think about margarine
1 cup brown sugar I use light, but I think dark would be okay, too
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped walnuts "finely chopped" is key here- break out your chopper

Pre- heat oven to 425 degrees.
Line saltines on the bottom of a cookie sheet. I have to use a brownie pan because you have to be able to fit whatever pan you use in the freezer- be sure to check it first!
Bring butter and sugar to a boil for 2 minutes while stirring. It will get good and bubbly
Spoon butter/ sugar mixture evenly over crackers. Don't worry about the goo only staying on top of the crackers. It will eventually be everywhere, so it's okay if some gets under there.
Place cookie sheet in oven for 5-6 minutes.
Remove cookie sheet from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers.
Let sit for one minute and use a spatula to spread chocolate chips over crackers.
Sprinkle nuts on top.
Place cookie sheet in freezer for 20 minutes.
Remove from freezer and break into pieces. The easiest way to "break into pieces" is to take a butter knife and stab a portion to crack it open. Just keep doing this to break it up.
Yields about 5 little bags full for neighbors or just enough for one afternoon with me and you if you invite me over!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Mixed Bag of Updates

I got home a little while ago from my massage. I am a different person from when I left. Let me tell you, the benefits of a massage are more than the sheer pleasure of a stranger rubbing you down; it's like to get to escape to a little island for an hour. An island with neverending trail mix, faux water falls, wonderful relaxing muzak, plush bathrobes and rubber slippers that never quite fit right. Besides the shoes, it was so stinking relaxing. I don't want to say I needed it, because I'm sure that there are many more people that need it worse than I do, but I am very grateful for it. A special whoop whoop goes to my friend Laura who sent me a gift card for my birthday that I used to finance this special splurge tonight! I had a hot stone massage tonight and I would highly recommend it!

If I happen to be on your Christmas list, please let me give you a not-so-subtle hint: I love to be pampered. I would never buy a massage for myself. Thus, if you would like to get me something that I would love and I would never buy for myself, contact Terreme here. Don't feel like you are getting a lesser gift because it's a gift card; this is the gift that keeps on giving. Just think, if there were a dozen kind souls out there who felt moved to have this kind and overworked mother rubbed down monthly, then you could make it happen. Sure, it would cost more than sponsoring a child with Sally Struthers, but you know me. (You don't know where that other money is going. There could be someone who is actually buying a cup of coffee every day and writing those notes back to people in America.) And I would put your picture here. Your generosity would be admired by dozens of people.
This is actually a great idea. I'm going to begin a spa and plastic surgery fund and have a place where you can donate over there on the right. I can make a sappy commercial, too. Oh, you just wait.

In other news, I got a B+ in my History class! I guess I'm okay with that, but I never got a B before in a history class in college. I also never had a full time job or 2 children when I was in college the first time, so I'm going to make myself be okay with a B+.

You know what, though? I kind of think the "+" is a slap in the face. Why not just say "B"? It's kind of like when you ask for an item at a store and the kind employee tells you with a sad/ smirkish face that they just sold the last one. Why tell me if I was that close?

My husband and I did something together for the first time last night. We've been together for a decade and have never gotten this close in our relationship before. He has seen parts of me that I'll never see (quite literally- with a couple of C-sections and all), but this was a new level of intimacy. We neti potted together! That's right. We went there.
Since Jason and I are both stopped up- his combined with a nasty cold- I went to the Walgreen's on the corner and invested $12+ in a plastic neti pot. If you don't know what this is, then you are missing out. Basically, it's a small tea pot with a spout that is shaped for your nose. You pour warm filtered water (does it count if the filter on our refrigerator has a red light on it- meaning it needs to be changed?) combined with their mysterious saline packet into one side of your nose. Then you watch it come out the other side of your nose. That's right- nasal irrigation. Then you turn around and do it again on the other side.
This video will give you a comical idea of what it's supposed to look like. The man/ woman here is much too docile in his/ her approach, though. Jason and I were choking/ screaming, "Is it coming out?" and "It's getting down my throat!!!". I guess we were first timers and will get better with practice. Apparently people in Asia have been doing this daily for thousands of years. It does make you feel better and cleans you out pretty good, but it's kind of like hocking up a salt lugey through your nose and balancing on a tight rope while you're doing it, so I can see why it isn't so popular over here in the western world. And I'm sure with that description you're rushing out to buy one right now.
OK, that's all I'm leaving you with tonight. Not even a picture of a neti pot. Oh wait! Here's a little candy cane with some warm milk for your holiday indulgence! Good night!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Whew! Our week in pictures

Wow! Christmas time has hit like a lead brick! Anybody else see this coming?
We are in the full Christmas-time swing- including each of us fighting off some kind of funk each day. Jason is upstairs right now looking much like Rudolph, but the kids and I are somewhat healthy- for today.

Here's a recap of our week:
Monday I took my final in my history class and I'm DONE!! WOOHOO!
And for more fun, it snowed here on Monday! I mean pouring, fluffy white flakes for most of the day. It didn't stick, but it was fun to watch and the kids liked looking at it. So, hot chocolate was in order for my little businessman (mug from Donna- he loves it):And Harris finally has hair that needs to be groomed! This is the first week I've had to somewhat comb it before pre-school. Look at this little blonde bombshell:And we finally went to get a tree this week. I had a faux (I don't want to say fake- I guess artificial is the correct word- whatever) tree growing up and have always loved real trees- even then. I always tried to convince my parents that we needed a real tree. There's nothing like the smell or ambiance of a live tree for Christmas. So, we were off to Lowe's to pick out our tree like we do every year. And then we loaded it on top of the car:What? Something missing?
Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that we bought a pre-lit faux Christmas tree this year. Jason and I pulled up to Lowe's and turned to each other at the same time after glancing at the shimmering trees in the indoor, heated section of the store. I said, "Do you want a fake tree?" and he said, "Totally" without missing a beat. I heard the loud thump in my mind; it was the sound of my expectations dropping rapidly to the ground. And I heard the the haunting echo of my parents saying, "This is just so much easier". And it's true. While not aromatic, the tree is perfectly straight, doesn't have to be watered and doesn't drop any needles. And did I mention Lowe's had all their Christmas things half off? Already?
Here we are on the way home- with the tree inside the car for the first time (we got the last one of the style we wanted, so it didn't have a box, but we bought a case to store it):And the kids got a kick out of the ornaments this year and we had a great time putting it up. Harris has only broken 2, so far. Here's the finished product:
We made it to the weekend and Jason's work party was Friday night and turned out to be fun this year! Saturday night we chaperoned (WHAT?!? How in the world am I old enough to be a chaperone? You'd think if one had 2 children of one's own that one might have come to the realization that she/ he was an adult, but I'm, um, I mean, ONE is still uncertain on the matter) our church youth group to see Winter Wonder Slam. TobyMac is one of my very favorite artists and, while all the bands were great, his group brought the funk. It was an Awesome show. Jason and I were on our feet dancing and singing ('cause we know all the words) for his entire set- much to the chagrin of the 7th graders next to me who were firmly planted in their seats. They really missed out. It was SO much fun!
Now to Sunday. With the Advent season comes a big event every year. My women's group at church holds Breakfast with Santa. We have a breakfast, crafts, take your own pictures with Santa (for as long as it takes to get a good one- major perk!) and we have a big bake sale. So, we all bake and this year I made 3 of these and 2 batches of this. Both were a hit, but my kitchen ended up looking like this:So, off to Breakfast with Santa this morning. Jason got the boys ready to go (yeah, Superdad! There is some picture pressure here) and here is the best Santa picture we got:You might be able to tell that Harris wasn't too thrilled with the jolly old elf. Owen was screaming bloody reindeer at that age, too. But Owen popped right up there this year and told Santa exactly what he wanted- the only thing he's asked for this Christmas- a big red train.
We did get a pretty good family shot, thanks to Melissa -who takes all our professional pictures, but also is a good friend who is in our Sunday School class. Thanks, Melissa!
So, we made it through the week. I have to admit that I'm tired just typing it all out!
I've started doing an Advent calendar "time" with the boys every day and of course they like it since there are Hershey's kisses involved. Owen keeps asking during the day when we can open the "Christmas doors". I'm looking for a daily prayer guide for children for Advent. Anybody know where a good one of those would be? And I'm also trying to drill in that Christmas is Jesus's birthday and that we GIVE gifts to show we love people, etc. I asked Owen what Christmas was yesterday and he said, "Santa's birthday". At least part of it is sinking in- not the part I want, but we're getting there. I've got a few more weeks to hopefully make that happen! Send along your tips and have a lovely week.
I have a massage planned this week!!! I am super excited and thrilled to have planned this treat for myself during a busy time of the year. I'll let you know how it goes, but I may be typing very slowwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllllyyyyyyy because of my superior relaxation. I'll be sure to rub that in...
Have a great night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Need a laugh?

This will be the funniest four and a half minutes of your day.
This video, sent to me by my husband, should ring familiar to all of us out there with husbands- especially those who have done some time in the doghouse. Mine is not currently residing there, in case you're wondering, but the fact that he gets this video and sent it to me should tell you something...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lessons and Carols

Ollie had his first Christmas performance last night. He sings in the 3 year old choir at church rightfully called the "Joyful Noise" choir. We drove back from Dothan to be in town for this big show. All the kids- age 3- 5th grade- performed different songs since it was the first Sunday of Advent. Here's Ollie's big debut (he's on the top left):

Ollie's group did sing one other song, but Ollie didn't sing in that one, either. The kicker is that this child was singing all afternoon. As in, we couldn't make him STOP singing. I even said, "I'm so glad you're in a singing mood! We're going to church (his favorite place) to sing for Jesus!". I think those dang jingle bells had him in a tizzy. By the time he finally got them untangled, the song was over.

The name of the program was "Lessons and Carols". While the children read the "lessons" from the birth story of Christ, I learned a few lessons of my own.

  • Ollie does not give a rip about performing unless it's on his terms. He was very loud and entertaining through the rest of the performance- including starting the clapping by screaming "YAYYY!!" when one other group was done.

  • Three is not the ideal age to ask a child to sit quietly- especially after they have been on a 6 hour car ride home. I had to keep coming up with ideas for things for Ollie to do. I was unsure about this format, but basically, Ollie's group went first and then we had to sit for another 40-ish minutes. Ugh. Painful. He was NOT using his inside voice and everything sounded like this, "MOOMMMEE... thump". That thump was the sound of my hand clasping over his mouth- constantly. Thankfully there were a lot of songs in there to muffle his loud talking entertain him, but there was also a lot of prayer and reading.

  • The biggest lesson of all: Do NOT draw rockets for your children to color on the prayer cards. Why? They might lead to mass embarrassment. Ollie had done a quiet 5,4,3,2,1 at the rocket, colored the rocket, then the final prayer was happening- YES!- light at the end of the torture, um, I mean, wonderful meaningful service. Then, without my hand over his mouth- what was I thinking??- I hear, "Make it go FASTER!!". Yes, that's right. Ollie was not using his inside voice either. And it was the new pastor who I do not know who was praying. Oh. My. Word.
Well, I've always prayed that I would not have shy children (don't ask me why- I just don't understand shyness). I think God answered this one with a big resounding, "Sure thing, Momma!". And He obviously has a good sense of humor about things. Thank goodness all of the people there have small children and really enjoyed that it was me and not them the entertainment.

Here are my cute little matching guys in front of the tree at church. Yes, that's my hand forcing them together. Uh huh. You know I'll do anything for a picture.

Happy first Sunday of Advent (or week of Advent since it's Monday)! I've got a new advent calendar and I'm excited about preparing for the birth of Jesus! My favorite sign in town is the one at the Episcopal Church down the road that lights big electric candles each week of Advent and they have a huge sign in front of the Advent wreath that says, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel". I can't say it any better myself! Amen!

It's a tough year to be a Repulican Auburn fan

Why do my teams keep losing? I've been in the majority for so long that it's hard to imagine the other side. But here it is. I've arrived.

It feels a little dark over here, but there are some rays of light:

  1. Time will keep marching on. The Iron Bowl happens every year, so we have a chance to win again next year. Unfortunately, presidential elections only happen once every 4 years, but there is always the hope to gain some congressional seats in 2010!

  2. People will get tired of the hype. There are only so much money (4 million or so a year) you can pay Nick Saban before he will let you down. He can't live up to it forever. And might not make it through this weekend . And my only hope for our new president is that the same people that elected him will go out and support the economy and make it change. If not, I have a feeling that the change that they wanted so badly might take place in 4 years when he's booted out of office.

  3. If all else fails, there are more people out there who are involved. Let me tell you, Alabama fans have come out of their trailers the woodworks for their team! "S" stickers, 6 window flags per car (Jason saw this on the way home yesterday), baby namings, classy fans skipping their wedding for a game- you name it! At least the support is there and I'm sure that will bolster goodwill for all things football- right. Just like democrats that have never voted before. They came out of the woodworks, too, to show support and I'm sure they'll be just as involved in the community and politics to make a change for good as they were on election day.

I think I've resigned myself to care about other things. Apparently, that's what losers do. I found myself not even caring about football this year. That's completely unlike me!

I think deep down there is some hope, though. I'm watching big fat snowflakes come down outside my house this morning- the first snow this winter! I don't think it will stick, but it is a good reminder that you can start fresh. Next year... next year...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Underdog Schmunderdog

It's a big football Saturday and we are all (including me, Jason and my parents) decked out in our best orange and blue.
We know it's a long shot, but we're still hopeful!

Here are our future football players in their jerseys:

War Eagle!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

You Turkey!

Hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are down in Dothan enjoying time with Mom and Dad and extended family. Jason is not "enjoying" it so much since he is down with the funk, but thankfully dad got him some good drugs this morning. He'll be back to normal by tomorrow, we hope (we- meaning me- hoping I don't have to drive the whole way home!).

Does your family have that picture? The one where you take the same picture in the same spot every year?
We have one such picture spot at my grandmother's house. She has many pine trees in the front yeard and has a white iron circular bench around one. I've never seen another one of those, but she has had it there for-e-vah. I think it's even rusting a bit and I was afraid we might break it (I would hate to be the final picture there!). But, it managed to hold us as it's held different family members hundreds of times before. Here's the outcome:

Now, I'm at my mom's house and can't figure out how to recrop. (Photoshop? Any help here?) That uneven-ness is driving me a little bonkers, but I think I'll manage to get over it. Hope you do!
So that's our update from the road: loads of food, friends and family. We're loving it!

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