"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Friday, October 31, 2008

Foto Friday: Halloween Edition

Kids are in bed.
Sign on the door reads "Out of Candy."
Raided the kids' bags for Dots and fun size Snickers.
Finally, I can get to the important stuff, like posting on my blog.

I am lame; we all know this. I make my kids go with a theme for Halloween every year. Last year, they were members of the Royal Court. Year before that, Boo was an angel and Boy was a devil (why, yes, I was type casting...why do you ask?). This year...we went back in time to the 1950s.

Boo wasn't sold on the "poodle skirt" concept until I showed her the different poodles she could get. She named her poodle Franzeeza. I have no idea where she got that. And I made the skirt. Aren't I awesome?

The Boy is a little easier to get to do my bidding to influence. All I had to do was tell him he was a "motorcycle guy" and he was all over it. Back of the jacket says "Thunderbirds." Getting him to sit still while I combed his hair like a "Greaser" was another challenge...

Then there was my costume. I make it a point to dress up every year, usually in outfits that are a little out of the ordinary and/or funny. Well, at least I think they're funny. The Man usually just rolls his eyes at me. I've been an icing bag, a deviled egg (complete with horns and a tail), and a pumpkin "pi." This year, I had planned on being a sandwich/witch but being pregnant, that didn't sound as funny. Second choice was to recycle a costume from years gone by, but again...big belly makes it hard to squeeze into things. Since my acquired girth was an issue, why not make it into an asset? Maybe I could go as a nun! That would be funny. Kind of. But since I've been obsessing lately, the idea suddenly came to me...

I lost count of how many people - who obviously hadn't read the Twilight Series - asked me if that was my baby's name. No. I try not to subject you to pictures of me, being "large with child" or otherwise. And by the way? Whoever came up with the phrase "you look ready to pop!" ought to be drug out into the street and shot.

Happy Halloween!

What treats are you raiding from your kids' goody bags tonight?

Fear: Part Two

(Read Part One first!)

The story continues...

That’s when I saw him.

A man was across the room. He looked very agitated and seemed to be pacing the floor, hands clasped behind his back, face turned downward. When he turned and paced back the other way, I noticed that he was the only thing I could see. I couldn’t see the door to the bathroom that was to my left. I couldn’t see the chest freezer that sat behind him. All I could see was this strangely illuminated man that I didn’t know.

As I watched, he turned again to continue his pacing. I caught a glimpse of his face. He seemed to be talking as his dark mouth moved but I couldn’t hear anything. It was the eyes that made my eyes go wide. They weren’t like eyes at all, just black smudges, as if they had been drawn in with a heavy pencil only to be smeared away.

Fear heightens the senses and there was no pretending that I was anything but utterly terrified now. I heard someone next to me move in their sleep and knew immediately that it was my brother. The frame of the bathroom door came into focus, closer than I had thought before. But the man…he continued his silent pacing, his anxious movements making no sound as he turned again. Given my proximity to him and the bathroom, I realized that his path took him directly through the ping pong table.

I might have stopped breathing.

There was no rational explanation. The man I watched was no man at all. It was a ghost. Plain and simple. A ghost. Only a few yards away from me. In a strange house, with everyone else blissfully oblivious as they slept.

I’d read all sort of stories. R.L. Stine was at the beginning of his scary story career and I had devoured his books, laughing as the hero vanquished the terrifying creatures. But a book read in comforts of one’s own room was something entirely different than what I was experiencing at the moment.

The ghost continued his eternal pacing and I silently watched his every move, too scared to turn away, too scared to close my eyes long enough to blink. It seemed like hours before I noticed that the ghost was beginning to fade as other items in the room were coming into focus. The sun was rising.

With the spectral image gone, I finally found the strength to move. I recovered my sleeping bag, still wadded up in it’s place between my sister and Emily, only three feet away. Crawling inside, I zipped it up to the top and buried my head under my pillow.

It seemed only moments later that I heard voices and movements as everyone else woke up, ready for more fun before it was time to leave. I was too exhausted to pay much attention. I can’t even remember what we had for breakfast or what we did before returning home.

I do remember the next day. While my mother had her hands deep in dough, I sat in the kitchen, watching her, trying to find the words to explain what had happened. Without turning away from her task or noticing my turmoil, Mom asked me to run downstairs to the pantry and get a can of vegetables.

I froze.

The pantry was in the basement. Did we have a ghost in our basement, too? I’d never spent the night down there to find out, but it did have a dark, creepy feeling to it...especially in the pantry.

Images from the sleepover filled my head as I started down the stairs. Once I thought about it, I realized that nearly every basement I went in had a creepy feeling to it. They were darker and usually smelled different than the rest of the house. Maybe those lonely basements were the haunts of choice for ghosts everywhere. I didn’t hesitate when I entered the pantry. Instead, I grabbed the closest can from the vegetable shelf and spun on my heel. Heading back up the stairs, a chilling tingly feeling crept up my spine, like someone - or something - was just behind me, reaching out to grab me and the only way to escape was to move a little faster. I was in a full on run by the time I burst through the door. Slamming the door behind me, I was convinced that I could hear steps retreating back down the stairs. It could have been my pounding heart but I wasn’t in any condition to be rational at that moment.

And I’ve been irrational ever since. Twenty years later, as I stand at the top of the stairs leading down to my basement, I can still feel the tingling shoot through my spine. I hesitate, weighing the need for more tomato sauce against the desire to run away and hide.

There’s nothing down there, I try to tell myself, just get this over with!

My footsteps sound heavy on the wooden stairs as I once again descend into the darkness...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fear: Part One

Countless memes and emails ask me to list various things about myself, revealing truths or little quirks. They ask such questions as favorite color or food, political preferences and what clothes am I currently wearing. They also ask about my biggest fear. While some more self-reflective - or perhaps more mentally stable - people answer that they fear there is no heaven or that they will never find love, my answer never changes. I am afraid of basements.

Basements? Seriously?

Oh, yes. So much so that I will do anything to avoid going into my own basement after nightfall. And in honor of my favorite holiday, I will tell you the story that inspired my phobia.

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night.

In fact, it was a rather nice late summer evening, full of fun and laughter. Really, everyone was having a great time. So how could it have possibly turned into one of the scariest experiences of my young life?

My brother, Tom, had a friend named Adam. Adam’s older sister was named Amy and his younger sister was Emily. Their mom was single so the three of them frequently came over after school. While the boys roughhoused and Amy shared whispers with my older sister, Tipi, I usually got stuck with Emily, even though she was two years younger than me. She was okay, I guess. Not terribly annoying but not very interesting either. She could sit for hours and brush my Barbies’ hair while I would rather run around the backyard with the boys. Tea parties were only fun if there was real cake.

At eight, there was still a rite of passage I hadn’t experienced yet: my first sleepover. My parents said I was still too young and no argument could sway them. But then Adam invited my brother over to spend the night and Amy invited my sister. Emily and I looked at each other, not sure if she could put down the Barbies or if I could pick them up. It wasn’t until Tom and Tipi were getting ready to leave that my mom started packing my bag. I was going, too? Really? I was so excited, I made sure to bring my Barbie that Emily loved best.

And it was everything I thought it should be! There was pizza for dinner and we got to make our own sundaes afterwards. We watched a movie (that wasn’t about a princess) and everyone got to play ping-pong on the table down in the basement. Emily and I played Barbies a little bit. It was the polite thing to do, really. Then, it was time for bed. Their house was pretty small so the only room where all of us could fit was down in the basement. We laid out our sleeping bags and fluffed our pillows. I was starting to feel a little nervous about sleeping somewhere new so I whispered to my sister and she scooted her sleeping bag closer to mine. Wedged between her and tiny Emily, I felt a little better. Then their mom turned off the lights.

It was dark. The basement had two tiny windows but there wasn’t any light coming in from outside, not at night. The only gleam of hope came from the open basement door and the light spilling down from the kitchen. Adam and Tom started a game of making animal noises, trying to match the sound to the right animal. It was fun but the game fell apart when Tom declared that Adam’s shaky roar was a Tyrannosaurus Rex who stepped on a nail. We were laughing too hard to think of any animals that could top that one, hushing only slightly when their mother yelled down the stairs for the second time to keep it quiet.

One by one, everyone drifted off to sleep.

Except for me.

In the dark and unfamiliar circumstances, all noises were instantly amplified and twisted. The humming was a crazed, bloodthirsty bumblebee, not my sister’s snore. The rattling clang wasn’t the chest freezer. Instead, it was an escaped convict trying to get in the window. And the shuffling? Well, the shuffling could be anything but it certainly wasn’t the restless movements of five sleepers.

Once I talked myself down from a panic, I tried to think rationally, like Mom had tried to teach me to do whenever I was scared. It couldn’t be a bee because they sleep at night, too. Certainly wasn’t a convict because there wasn’t a prison anywhere close by. And the shuffling? That was sound of sleeping bags on Berber carpet. Plain and simple. Fears appeased, I fell asleep, my unconscious sucking on my tongue sounding more like rabid mice clawing their way through the walls.

I was cold.

That was the first thing I noticed when I woke up. There was only stiff carpet under me and I couldn’t feel my sleeping bag. Then I noticed it was very dark. The light from the kitchen was gone. After blinking into the inky black for a moment, I realized that I was by myself. My sister and her sleeping bag were no longer close. Emily and her princess blankets had disappeared into the darkness, as well. I could hear them. There were soft snores and movements not too far away but I couldn’t see them. I tried adjusting my eyes to the dark, squinting at shapes and trying to force them into focus. I sat up to see if I could make out forms in another direction and maybe find my sleeping bag.

That’s when I saw him.

To Be Continued....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So-So Feet

Have you seen the movie "Happy Feet?" We borrowed it from the local library. Given all the hype and toy merchandising, I thought this film had been a huge blockbuster with streams of loyal fans around the globe. Apparently not.

Here's the guts of the story: Mumble is born to Elvis and Marilyn Monroe impersonators, who also happen to be Emperor penguins. These penguins find their true love by singing, so imagine their shock when their son cannot sing, but he can make his feet spasm in such a way that it kinda looks like tap dancing. He is ostracized, not just because he still has his baby feathers and twitches like a freak, with the Elders implying that his strangeness is the reason the fish are disappearing. Determined to find the cause of the fish depletion (believed to be aliens, conveniently explained by some fishing birds who are trying to eat him). Instead he meets a group of illegal immigrants who look like Adelie penguins. Together, they try to find the aliens. Surprise, surprise: humans are the aliens. We are taking all their fish. Mumble ends up in a zoo exhibit, where his tap dancing catches the humans' attention and he is released...after being strapped to a GPS locator. Of course, he hurries back home and tries to explain that the aliens will give them back their food if they all learn to dance. Sure enough, the helicopter lands, the "aliens" emerge and the penguins start dancing, causing a worldwide sensation and ending the over-harvesting of fish from the local oceans.

Moral of the story: You're only worth feeding if you can dance.

I watched it with my kids. Kinda dumb, I thought, but then again it was a kids' movie and those are directed to entertain kids who can't quite tie their shoelaces. So thinking that they would be swooning over the adorable penguins, I asked the kids what they thought. The Boy hadn't watched a good portion of the movie, opting instead to rotate among watching, playing with his train set, and throwing fits. He didn't have much to say. Da Boo was quite vocal.

Boo: It was kinda boring.
Me: Boring? Really?
Boo: Yeah, not very fun.
Me: Didn't you like the penguins?
Boo: I liked the funny little ones.
Me: What about the dancing?
Boo: I can dance better than that. (said with big rolling of eyes)

Wow. I guess Hollywood's thinly disguised environmental message wasn't the bombshell they planned. Usually, when we get a movie from the library, it's all they want to watch for the next three days. Not this time, not even when I offered.

Boo wants to know if the next time we go to the library, if we can get "High School Musical" instead.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Foto Friday #15

I better hurry and get this posted or it won't be Friday anymore...

First, a picture of the frenzied festivities from PAJAMA DAY!

They are a blur of motion, are they not? So full of vim and vigor! So much like myself these days...

Sunday night we carved pumpkins, since the Man was going to miss out on FHE due to a business trip. But the good news is that is his last one until well after the baby is born. Hooray! I drew the pictures, he got to do all the yucky stuff.

The kids were fascinated by what was inside. Once the initial "ewwwww!" wore off, they were quickly getting bored, so I suggested they pick out the seeds so I could roast them.

The Boy though this was the coolest thing ever. Parental permission to get all gooey is a moment little boys live for.

We were joined by the beloved Aunts. I was taking pictures with my camera and Aunt Denise's and apparently, I got better pictures of the pumpkin massacre on Denise's (I think she was deliberately making herself blurry in all my pictures so I wouldn't post any of those). Sorry about that. Just so you don't feel entirely cheated, here's a shot of the Co-ed:

Now, does anyone know if there is a trick to roasting pumpkin seeds? I've never done it before...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pros and Cons: Sharing a Room

*I actually wrote this yesterday morning but in my sleep-deprived stupor, neglected to publish it so here ya go!

Warning: you may not want to be eating anything just now...

Pros and Cons of Siblings Sharing a Room

Pro: Both kids in the same room make for a one-stop goodnight kiss.
Con: Both kids in the same room make for a one-stop spanking when they won't keep quiet and go to sleep.

Pro: The mess that accompanies small children is contained to one room instead of several, including the hallway in between.
Con: The mess that accompanies small children is not reduced, just contained, so shoes are essential on any forays into their bedroom.

Pro: You won't know who actually made the mess so you can instruct them both to clean it up.
Con: You won't know who actually vomited on the floor between their beds so you'll have to go in a for a closer inspection...don't breathe through your nose.

How does a child throw up several times and not wake up? It's beyond me! We moved da Boo into the guest bedroom before we pulled the Boy from a puddle of puke and hosed him down. He showed no symptoms that he was even feeling sick and I didn't hear him throwing up...it's a conundrum. All of this happened at midnight and I then had a hard time sleeping, with the smell of vomit on the air. I'm tired today...

Monday, October 20, 2008

How To Be The Coolest Mom

Alternate titles: "I've Completely Given Up" or "You Try Having An Extra Long Weekend And NOT Lose Your Mind."

So how do you survive with restless kids, knowing they're sick of being stuck with you through the long "Fall Break" weekend, with no reinforcements (because your husband is gone on yet another business trip)? Declare today PAJAMA DAY! You, too, can keep them in awe all day in Ten Easy Steps!

Step 1: Tell them the night before to choose their pjs carefully because the next day is PAJAMA DAY (and yes, always say it in all-caps...it's more festive) and they get to stay in jammies all day.

Step 2: Answer no more questions, say they'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how awesome it will be (because really? you have no clue what you're doing).

Step 3: Let them eat their nasty, sugar-laden cereal but then! Give them chocolate milk, too, for No. Good. Reason. They didn't even make their beds but look! It's chocolate milk for breakfast! Mom is soooooo cool!

Step 4: Dance with joy when you get to skip the "Get your naked bottom off my couch and get dressed right now!" argument.

Step 5: Wonder what you were thinking when they lay around like slugs all day, whether or not the tv is on.

Step 6: Get an over-due notice from the library and declare that they get to go outside in their pajamas!

Step 7: Bask in the glory of their admiration...until they start fighting over whose turn it is to open the garage door.

Step 8: Take them to the public library. Ignore all the puzzled looks from the patrons when its obvious that not only are your children still in pajamas, but so are you. Watch them notice your obviously pregnant belly and then see the understanding spread.

Step 9: Let them watch every annoying movie they want (while you hide upstairs and read blogs) because there's nothing more fun than watching a movie on PAJAMA DAY! Try not to notice them begin to roll their eyes at your exuberance.

Step 10: No arguing at bedtime because, hey! They're already dressed! Let them bounce off the walls from eating all the Halloween candy their grandma sent them and then look for signs of a sugar crash to determine bedtime.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Foto Friday #14

Well, folks, there almost wasn't a Foto Friday today. Not because I forgot (again) but because I didn't take any pictures all week. And nothing really remarkable happened. It was kinda a slow week (my two sisters-in-law who had babies this week are going to hate me for saying that...).

One big thing that's going on: da Boo is now sharing her room with the Boy. I don't think it's absolutely necessary to my children's well-being that they always have their own room. I didn't have my own room until I was halfway through high school and even that didn't last. I shared again in college and then when I got married.

Another reason for them to share? Bunk beds. The kids' rooms are rather small so bunk beds are really the only way to go if they still want to be able to open the closet or look out the window. I searched high and low for a bunk bed that I liked. I thought my requirements were simple: unisex with storage space in the headboard. That's the kind of bed I had as a kid. Didn't think it would be so hard. Yeah...it's now four months since I began my search with no luck. Then I found loft beds.

Seems ideal right? Has a desk, additional dresser and shelves! Maybe I could just hang some mini shelves for the top bunk to have storage space. No problem. But...it's a little pricey, with most of these coming in around $1,500. And most of them were definitely on the masculine side. It doesn't look that boyish in the picture but in real life (after I drove 30 minutes to see one), very male.

Then I found my dream bed:

Perfect for little girls, right? I loved it! The second bed is hidden up there in the "attic." Unfortunately, the Man said no. He doesn't want his son sleeping in a doll house for two years or something. Couldn't have been the $3,000 price tag. Loft beds, while great, were a little pricey. So the search continued.

But the Boy couldn't wait. He was tearing apart the crib, far too big/old/ornery to be in it. Then the Man made a deal with the kids: if they cleaned up both their rooms and the toy room, then the Boy could start sleeping in da Boo's room on the floor. And you know what? They actually did it! I hardly had to yell help. So last night, we moved the Boy's mattress.

I gave them the rules: you can talk but I don't want to hear it so whisper, get out of bed only to go to potty, and absolutely NO JUMPING! And they obeyed. Sure, they snickered and giggled way past bedtime but I only had to tell them once to keep it quiet. Then, just before 10 p.m., I snuck in to check on them. This is what I found:

Boo out cold. Boy still awake and extremely amused that I was taking their picture. He did go to sleep shortly after this. But they were both awake and bouncing off the walls way too early this morning. And he does have a real pillow...he chooses to use this fish one instead because he's weird. (I say that with all the love in my heart.)

This afternoon, we picked up the Man from work and went to one last furniture store to have a look before I decided to give up and just get a "normal" bunk bed. And wouldn't you know it...they had one bunk bed that looked a lot like the set I had as a kid but in a yellowy pine finish. Sure, it's more feminine but hey! It was only $500. It arrives in a little over one week.

Any suggestions on how to tame the morning crazies?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Shopping List

"Works for Me" Wednesday is a feature I've seen at Rocks In My Dryer. I've never done it before and don't expect it to be a regular feature but hey! I gotta shake things up a little every now and then!

So I went to the grocery store a little while ago. I took my shopping list and my Boy. I should probably explain that I have weird hearing. Sometimes, I can't hear a word you are saying (especially if you are a "low-talker") and other times, I can hear people whispering across the room, but only if you are talking about me. Seems odd how I am attuned to people talking about me...so it wasn't all that surprising when I passed a pair of women - probably my age but guessing from what was in their cart and the following conversation, single - and not halfway down the aisle, I heard them talking about me.

Lady 1: Did you see that?
Lady 2: I know! What a waste of time!
Lady 1: Seriously, who types their grocery list?
Lady 2: She must be a SAHM with nothing better to do.
Lady 1: I don't know what they do all day. Kids aren't that time consuming.
Lady 2: Apparently, they type everything.

Laughing, they turned the corner. Well, at least they weren't calling me lazy and fat. Seeing as how I wasn't wearing my grumpy bunny shirt, I wasn't in a bad mood, so I just kinda chuckled at their stupidity naivety.

And really, I don't type my shopping list. I use a computer program and it has made all the difference. When I was a kid, I watched my mom make her grocery shopping. Items where carefully listed by category and store as she looked over her prepared menus for the week. She had a tight food budget with no room for impulsive purchases. When I moved out on my own, grocery shopping was an exercise in losing my self control. I bought whatever I felt like but carried a calculator with me so I didn't go over budget. A lot of food went bad/stale/uneaten because I didn't have a plan for it (except the brownie mixes...).

Then I got married and suddenly, eating cold cereal for dinner five times a week just wasn't acceptable. I first heard about a shopping list program from a friend and did my own online search to find it. I came across Home Plan's Shopping List. And it was free! Here is a screenshot of the program in action from their website:

The initial set-up takes a little time. The program comes with sample categories, products and prices already in place. Simply click what you need (click more often if you need more than one of something) and the list is automatically populated. Your expected total is tallied at the bottom of your list. I have this program open on my computer while I make up my weekly menu so I can immediately add ingredients I know I'll need.

It took me a few trips to get things right. I got a store map from the local grocery store and set up my program to list the products by aisle, starting with the area of the store where I entered. I saved my receipts so I could get the correct prices on things. Occasionally, I still have to update prices and locations when the store gets all ambitious and moves things. But it saves me so much time! I'm not heading back to previous aisles to get something that was buried way down on the list. And I know exactly how much I should be spending. And I'm not trying to decipher my hastily scrawled notes.

How do you shop?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Politics are Boring

Normally, I don't blog about politics. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it's just irritating when someone tries to force theirs on you (because I'm right and they're wrong). But I found this the other day and thought that this was a candidate I could support on all their views:


Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Obsession

We're sorry but the Cow is out of the office today and cannot be reached until after naptime tomorrow. Please leave a message after the tone.


But just in case you can't go a day without me, please enjoy my latest obsession: the new trailer for the Twilight movie!

It's a very good thing that the Man comes home today because after watching that...dang, I need me some affection.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Foto Friday #13

Betcha thought I forgot all about Foto Friday (again). But I remembered! I just couldn't find my camera...

Da Boo's school had a Backwards/Inside Out day. All the kids were encouraged to wear their clothes backwards, inside out, or both. Boo refused to wear pants backwards, frequently reminding me about her preschool teacher, who apparently had issues going to the bathroom while wearing backwards pants. She wanted to wear a skirt, but inside out. This was problematic, as most of her skirts have shorts attached underneath. So we went for the backwards skirt, inside out shirt.

And the tiara was added after school. Hey, if the crown fits...

The other night, I went to fill up my kids' nighttime water glasses and this about freaked me out:

He belongs to the Boy, one of those "grow your own" things (used to be about three inches long) that I got him as a bribe from the dollar bins at the craft store. It's been living in the kids' sink ever since...I'm beginning to wonder if maybe they aren't really brushing their teeth at night but feeding the gator instead.

Although this was "the birthday that shall not be mentioned," I did get one awesome thing:

I love it! Aunt Denise was vacationing in Washington this summer and called me from Forks*. After we finished squealing, I told her I would love her forever if she brought me back a sweatshirt. And she did! This is an authentic Forks High School sweatshirt, with the actual logo and colors, not from some little kiosk at the mall. I was thinking of wearing it to a blogger lunch I'm going to tomorrow but I think the host of the lunch might try and steal it...

The shop did find my present...two weeks late.

The Man comes home tomorrow!! HOORAY!!!

* If you don't know what I'm talking about here, then I just don't know if we can be friends anymore...or you can go here to find out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Wii Gossips

So you might be surprised to learn that we have a Wii. I never mentioned it before, right? And normally, we love it. The kids can play a lot of the games without constant assistance and not every game involves shooting someone. Ours was a house of harmony. And then we got the Wii Fit.

At first, it seemed harmless enough, encouraging us toward our weight goals and only briefly mentioning that we were so uncoordinated, it wasn't sure how we managed to walk safely. Whenever one of us would log in to play a few balance games, the Wii would ask us if we'd seen one of the other members of our family. Then it would casually remark that the family member had not logged in for a while...but that was no big deal. And really, conversations with the Wii are one-sided. The only response you can make is pressing the A button. No defending yourself, no explanations. Just press A.

One afternoon, the Wii had the following conversation with my daughter (I know because I was sitting on the couch, watching, and possibly eating a Nutty Bar). And the Wii is the one that changes the color of the text...not me and my snotty attitude.

Wii: Welcome back, Da Boo!
Boo: A
Wii: Have you seen Jess recently?
Boo: A
Wii: I haven't seen Jess in six days.
Boo: A
Wii: How is Jess looking these days?
(Then it gave Boo the rare option of an actual response. The choices were: looks bigger, looks smaller, looks more toned, looks the same.)
Boo: looks the same.
Wii: Really? Well...I guess that is possible.
Boo: A
Wii: Maybe you just haven't been paying enough attention.

WHAT??? SIX DAYS, people! I hadn't been on the thing for six days and it's already calling me lazy and - quite possibly - fat. And don't think I haven't noticed that it gasps every time I step on. The Wii is such a skinny punk.

Then again, just before my birthday, it reminded all the members of the family that my birthday was coming, asked them if they'd gotten me a gift yet and suggested they plan a surprise party. So it's not all bad.

Still...machines shouldn't be allowed to talk smack about you to your kids.

Monday, October 6, 2008


My neighborhood used to be an apple orchard so there are leftover trees scattered here and there (and a whole bunch of confused deer wanting to know what happened to their winter food source). We had a bumper crop of apples a few years ago. The Man got all domestic and decided to make apple pie filling. Seriously. He made it, I just watched (and mocked). So we have lots and lots of apple pie filling in the basement. But...we don't particularly like apple pie. Interesting situation. What to do with all that filling...?

I may not like pie, but I love apple crumble! But it has to be a certain type...not just any recipe will do, which basically means I haven't had a "good" apple crumble in years. Most recipes you find don't call for apple pie filling. I guess that's cheating or something. Then I got a promotional email from Betty Crocker (she's kinda like my drug dealer) with all sorts of apple recipes. The featured recipe? Southern Apple Crumble. It was a simple enough recipe. Then Baby began demanding that I make it. Alas, I didn't want to chop up all those apples...maybe the pie filling would work? I made it for dessert yesterday. It was goooooood! Got seals of approval from Aunt Denise and the Co-ed, too. We consumed mass quantities while having a Girls' Night and watching "Stardust."

So here's the recipe:

Cheater Apple Crumble
1 large jar apple pie filling that you're husband canned and was very, very proud of himself for making so you can't just give it away, even though neither of you care for apple pie. (approx. 3 cups)
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into little cubes
1 pouch Oatmeal Cookie Mix
1/2 cup melted butter

Combine apple pie filling and cold butter. Spread into greased 8-inch square pan.
Combine cookie mix and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of apples.
Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until the delicious smell fills your kitchen and you can't resist any longer. Serve warm. (I highly recommend serving with vanilla ice cream but all we had was neopolitan so we had ours "naked.")
Hide leftovers from your children and eat them for lunch the next day.

Keep in mind that this is my version of the recipe, for high altitudes and lazy housewives. The original called for pecans but I didn't feel like chopping nuts so we left those out. I'll probably add them back in next time. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

SOS: My Super Hopeless Romance

Okay, I've just spent an absurd amount of time reading a new blog. (Just look at what time I actually posted this!)

It's called My Super Hopeless Romance. The writer, Cordy, is completely in love with her best friend. And since he is a typical guy, he has NO CLUE!! Go and read it and feel a little of her heartbreak. And possibly the over-whelming urge to smack this guy upside the head...

She doesn't allow comments but I just desperately want to tell her "Cordy, I've been there!"

I loved him. In fact, he was my first love. For years, I focused a lot of attention on him, playing the role of "the good buddy," being there whenever he wanted me. I finally found the guts and I told him, one fateful night on my front porch. And what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was business as usual, like I'd never said a thing, never laid my heart bare, never said anything other than "see ya tomorrow!" A part of me died and I've never gotten it back.

Soon, I was hundreds of miles away from him, with only emails and the occasional phone call to ease the feeling of rejection. But even that changed. He fell in love. And suddenly, he was saying those words...but not to me. Not to me. (And Cordy, I know you will know the reference on that one...I have to think that there's a reason why he asks you to sing that song.)

It took a lame rebound relationship and a few casual ones until finally, finally, I found him, the ONE. Of course, he wasn't going down without a fight, either. But I won in the end.

So go and read about Cordy and the man she loves. Try to do it when you have some time because if you've ever had a taste of unrequited love, you'll be reading into the wee hours of the morning, too.

*New to Soap Opera Sunday? Read up on it here and then go check out everyone else's soapy stories here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Well, Crap

And really, I'm trying to take that word out of my daily vocabulary (just doesn't sound as good when the kidlings say it) but in this instance, it is fitting. If you're eating anything or thinking about eating anything today, you might want to come back to this one later...don't say you weren't warned.

So the other day, I was still trying to cling to the battered remnants that remain of my pitiful Birthday Week. I wore one of my favorite outfits and some favorite pieces of jewelry. As the day progressed, I had people give me several compliments on my earrings. They're a long dangly pair, made from a copper wire with different color beads and such. I love them! So when people tell me they like my earrings, my first response is to say "I know! Don't they totally rock?" but that's not polite so I just say that under my breath after the person walks away. Anyway, I was looking as good as a short, chubby, pregnant woman can by law.

Later that evening, after tucking the kids into bed, I headed into the master bathroom for some "alone" time. I'm gonna digress for a moment (leaving you with that pleasant visual image - you're welcome!) and ask you, is it not the most annoying thing when your kids think they need to be right there in the bathroom with you? Seriously! Haven't they ever heard of privacy? I once heard a spoof song written by a mom to the tune of Hootie and the Blowfish's "I Only Wanna Be With You" called "I Only Wanna Pee Alone."

Okay, detour over.

So, after...completing my task, I reached over to flush the toilet. Just as my hand pressed on the lever, I heard a small splash. I looked down in time to see my beloved earring swirling it's way down the bowl. Oh no! Even if I had wanted to, there was no way I could have saved it. Crap, crap, crap! Now my other earring lays in my jewelry box, a widow, never to be worn again.

And now I have to find some earrings to replace them.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Foto Friday #12

Woke up to my favorite kind of morning: chilly and rainy. Now, if only the kids would get their own breakfast, I'd be set!

Speaking of the kiddos...as promised, here they are after decorating my birthday cake:

You can't tell from the picture but the Boy has chocolate frosting all over his white shirt. Oh well...it was getting too small anyway. Boo had been frantically licking the frosting off her face so there's not as much there now as there was before.

There was yet another field trip for the Boy's preschool class, this one to a pumpkin patch.

He had a great time, even went down a really big (we're talking two-story) slide with his teacher. Originally, he was going to go down by himself (because ain't no way I was going with him) but chickened out at the top. His teacher came to the rescue, taking two other kids down with her. Unfortunately, that started a trend and all the kids wanted to ride down with her.

And the Man is still out of town, so he's missing out on all the Costa Vida dinners and baking I've been doing. But he's also missing the tantrums and disobedience. If anyone sees him, would you mention that it might be really, really swell if he sent me flowers? White gladiolus is my favorite.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Young Love

No whining about my birthday (although I will say things did not improve) because I will be having a re-do. Everyone show up back here in a couple weeks and we'll try it again. Good? Good.

Every time I tell this story, people tell me I should blog about it, so here goes! I am not a first-hand source and reserve the right to adjust the script to suit my dramatic purposes.

Da Boo has a good buddy in the neighbor's son. They've played together nearly every week since we first moved here five years ago. J is a good kid, has more energy than Boo, and stands head-and-shoulders above her (but she's so little, that's not too hard). They're in the same Primary classes, same preschool and now the same kindergarten class. They are - essentially - joined at the hip. That's the background story.

A little while ago, J confessed to his mom that he had to sit out the first five minutes of recess as punishment.

J's Mom: What did you do?
J: I punched two other kids.
J's Mom: WHAT? J, why would you do that?
J: Mom, they said they wanted to marry da Boo and I'm gonna marry her!

I asked Boo about it and she got all bashful but confirmed the story. While trying not to laugh, I talked with her about how we shouldn't let people get into fights. Boo agreed and said she had already figured out how to handle the situation. And no, the answer wasn't "wait 25 years and see what happens."

The next day, I got the full report. At recess, Boo climbed to the top of the jungle gym and whichever boy could climb to her the fastest would win. J won. Of course. Boo seemed a little disappointed that one of the other boys risked cheating in order to beat J. Hey, at least she has standards, right?

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