Thursday, December 31, 2009

Still in post-Christmas week mode.

We're still not doing that much. We're all taking Cold-Eeze to try and prevent ourselves from getting the youngest's cold. He's better today, no fever, thankfully. We all hate the Cold-Eeze losenges. They taste awful. My daughter was trying to describe the flavor today with one in her mouth and said "Holwible". We did clean a bit and take the Christmas tree down. The living room seems much more spacious without it. My youngest son has been making hot ham sandwiches for which he puts the ham into the microwave, making it pop and sizzle. He has named this sandwich Ham-A-La-Bang-Bang. Overall, it's been a good week, despite the illness and the broken van. I do wish we knew what we were going to do about the van. That worries me a bit since we can't afford anything else. I may be 'grounded' for a while. That might be kinda holwible.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two things we got for Christmas that we didn't want.

One was a flu-like illness that my youngest son has and the rest of us are really hoping not to get. The other is a broken down van. Blah. I guess we have to stay home for a few days. I hope that my son gets better before New Years because we are planning to attend a party. (We can drive my husbands car!)

On the work front, I haven't really started looking for anything. I did get an email a few minutes ago about jobs so I'm kind of looking. A little. Kind of browsing. It just seems like too much effort. Since Christmas everything has seemed like too much effort. I think it would be better for tax purposes to wait until after the new year, so that's a good excuse not too look too hard, isn't it?

I'm really in the back of my mind starting to think about the new school schedules. You know me, I don't want to do the same exact thing since it's a new year. I like to change things up. I want some kind of new math program for my youngest 2 kids and I want to really start preparing my oldest son to take another CLEP test and get college credit. Of course I always want to write the perfect school/life schedule that will get us educated, groomed, organized and where we are supposed to be on time, but that never works out. Still, I keep trying. Hope springs eternal.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A little bit of our normal today.

That's what we are hoping for. No parties although we love parties. No unlimited screen time although the kids love that. We'll work a little at getting the house in order since it looks like a hurricane hit a toy/video game store and then hit our living room. Other than that, we're just going to take it easy today. I might start my job hunting because that is my after-christmas priority but I also may leave that for a couple of days.

I know my going gluten free may not be that interesting to anyone but it is to me so, so I'm going to say a little bit about it. I think it may need to be a permanent change for me. I'm feeling so much better, less aching, less fatigue. Yesterday I went from church to baking, to a party, to work without needing a nap and without feeling particularly tired. This is a tremendous change from just a few months ago. We planned our party attendance to that I would get home an hour before my shift started, with the assumption that I'd need a nap, as usual, but I didn't. This is huge people. Huge. My brother gave me an assortment of gluten-free products for Christmas (very thoughtful!) and I used one of the products yesterday, of course not in the way it was intended. It was a pancake mix and I wasn't craving pancakes, I was craving biscuits, so I made up a little of the batter and baked it into biscuits. They were actually good! My first experience with gluten-free bread from the store was so horrible, I wouldn't even feed it to the dogs, so this is very encouraging. I can imagine making some decent chicken and dumplings now, maybe even chicken pot pie and ooh, ooh, pizza crust! You know what I said about not missing bread, well I kind of do at the moment. There's also several pasta dishes and some brownie mix in the basket, so I'm going to enjoy experimenting with those too.

I now need to decide what to spend my Christmas money on because I did get a little of that. That's always a fun way to spend a post-holiday day. ;-0

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Better day.

Today was definitely a better day. We had a family party with my husband's family. I really love my husband's family, so I don't have any in-law or out-law jokes to make. We just got home a little while ago and I'm getting ready to work. It was really good to get to visit with everyone, hold the babies, eat the chocolate and it even snowed a little while we were there, making it really seem like Christmas. :-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Today's thoughts.

I went to the visitation before the funeral today. I didn't stay for the funeral for a few reasons. One was that my back was/is killing me. Another is that I have to work (really a lot today!). Also, and probably the most important, is I don't handle funerals well. I guess nobody does. I'm feeling kind of vulnerable right now for a couple of reasons. One is that it is that time of the month and I've recently went off my antidepressant because I was not feeling depressed. I've read a book on cognitive therapy which helped with that and I think maybe getting off the gluten has helped with the depression, so I don't think I'm depressed, but I do feel a little bit down at the moment. There's the after-Christmas slump, the after-Christmas fatigue, the fact that my aunt died after months of terrible suffering and it all leads up to my not feeling like I could do it today. I would have stayed if I felt that my presence mattered a lot to the family, but there was such a huge crowd, I didn't think they'd even notice if I slipped out. So, right or wrong, I did. I feel a little bit bad about it. I'm going to try and get a bunch of work done today and also try to get in a little bit of rest and maybe once I'm not as tired, my back will stop hurting and maybe then I'll get some of my good humor back. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully a better one. I'll try and think of ways that I can reach out to my uncle and cousins in the coming weeks, to let them know how much I do care about their loss.


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was nice, until my husband and I had to go back to work tonight. That kind of made reality hit a little too soon, but it's okay really. It was a good Christmas. One thing that was funny was that the kids realized today that all the work their Dad's been doing on computers in the living room in the last month was to build computers for them, so now the 2 youngest have their very own (inexpensive) computers. Oldest son already had one from a couple of Christmases ago. Another funny thing was my daughter wearing a Snoopy Christmas T-shirt and bermuda shorts on Christmas Eve to my parent's house. She thinks 49 degrees is warm, apparently. My daughter made me a Christmas card and I'm going to try and attach pictures of it, it was so cute.

Here's a funny scene from our Upwords game, me versus Mom and she had all vowels except one and I had all consonants except one, pretty typical really


Everyone seemed pleased with their gifts and my youngest son said it might have been the best Christmas ever. (I'd like to point out that I typed this on Christmas night which was when my husband and I both had to go back to work, but it wouldn't actually publish until the 26th).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

100% done.

I got 100% of things on my list done today and 100% of my Christmas shopping is done, just, as Hank the Cowdog would say, in the nickering of time. Of course it helps that my list only had 6 things on it and all of them were pretty easy, clean, color hair, books to library, pick up some things at Walmart, return Freshwater Fred and see the Squeekwel. Uh oh. We didn't actually go to the movie because it was sold out. Do you think that should count against me? Probably. Okay, so I got almost everything done. We could have went to a different movie, but the younger kids didn't want to use up their new movie gift cards on movies they didn't really, really want to see. The older boy and me didn't really want to see the Squeakwel and we were both thinking about attending other movies at the same time (while the younger ones were with their friends) but it didn't matter to us. We ended up going to Grandma and Granddad's and taking their gifts over to their house so we got an errand done that wasn't even on the list. That should be a bonus or something! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I hope to be able to relax and enjoy it.
(The picture is from the Blurry Scenes From Our Christmas Tree series and that is a baby sock snowman. Unfortunately, bad mom that I am, I'm not sure which kids baby socks those are!)

Eve, Eve.

Today's the day my kids traditionally exchange presents with each other, so they made sure to get that done as soon as they woke up.  Good to check things off early.  We're trying to get a few things done, the house straightened up, books to the library, Freshwater Fred package mailed back and a couple of things purchased.  Then we need to go through all the lists and make sure we have a present for everyone that we're supposed to have a present for.  My husband and I are both working every night but Christmas Eve itself so that adds and interesting level to the festivities.  We've also got a big family party this weekend and also a funeral, sadly.  My aunt, who has been suffering from cancer for 14 months passed away yesterday.  It was not unexpected, but it is sad.  I really feel for her family so much. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve.

And guess what?  I've got one more present to get.  We got them out and looked at them all and my daughter was 1 short.  Oh well.  Today's another day.  We've got 4H and it's a cookie bake and a Christmas party and it will probably be a lot of fun.  I hope so.  I might take some gluten free flour and make some cookies for me.  I've already exceeded my Christmas weight loss goal by 4 pounds so I might as well party! 

I wasn't kidding about that math thingy yesterday.  I really do need suggestions.  Anyone? 


Monday, December 21, 2009

After all the whining ...

I'm almost 99% positive that I'm done shopping.  I still need to have a final meeting with my husband and we need to drag everything out of hiding and look at it, just to make sure, but I think it's done.  I went this morning and took something back to Michael's crafts.  Fortunately for me, a thoughtful shopper before me had left a 50% coupon (for any one item) in the cart I used and I got to use it and saved 6.50.  Cool, eh?  We've got a Christmas party tomorrow with the homeschool group and then nothing much until Christmas eve.   The kids and I plan to play some board games and watch some Christmas movies.  The youngest needs to be distracted because he's so excited. 

In the back of my mind, there is a little school planning going on.  I'd like to find a new, wonderful, self-teaching or computer taught math program if anyone can recommend one?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seems more like Christmas now.

It seems more like Christmas now. We went to see a performance of The Best Christmas Pagent Ever and all the kids up to 90 years old got treats, which used to consist of an apple, an orange and a candy cane, but this year we got a banana too. It's a good thing, because I had just come from a lightning fast (not really) trip to the grocery store and I hadn't bought any fruit. I bought groceries for my parents too and I always forget half of my stuff when I get theirs. Oh well. Today's been kind of rushed, we slid into the play 15 minutes after it started and back out the second it was over, but it was worth it. It was really cute.


I totally cannot believe it's December 20, although the kids are counting down the days and continuously telling me. My husband's working extra hours so I may have to have the last of the big Christmas meetings by myself. This is when we pull everything out of hiding and look at it to make sure we've got everything. I need to take what my mom and my mother-in-law bought the kids to their houses so they can wrap them. I was blogging this and calculating and looking at my list and my youngest just walked in here and leaned over really quickly and read the first thing on his list, the turd. I tried to fake him out on what it was, but I don't know if he believed it. I may take all his stuff back to the store, I'm so annoyed that he would do that. It's difficult having PMS so close to Christmas with still so much to do.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Okay, I need to adjust my plans.

As usual.  Last night my oldest son had a Christmas party at the youth group and needed a present.  So we grabbed one from under the tree, re-labeled it and sent him off.  Now it has to be replaced, so I'm not done, but that's okay.  I still had to make a trip to Michael's crafts to return something, so I'll just do it then.  We're trying out recipes today, making a flourless chocolate cake.   It's PMS time so it is an excellent time to try out chocolate cake recipes.  I'll let you all know how it turns out.  A friend of mine has made it and hers was good.  To balance out the calorie load from the chocolate cake, we're having vegetable soup for lunch.    We're also going to try and get some presents wrapped, but I'm starting with a headache and last time I had this kind of headache it lasted for 5 days, so I'm not sure how much I'll get done.   Yesterday when I ordered the last gift for one of my kids the delivery estimate was 12/24/2009.  That's not cutting it too close is it? 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dare I say it?

I think I might possibly be done with my Christmas shopping!  I'm not sure.  I need to check my list again, get everything out from the hiding places and look at it all again, but I might be done.   Wow.   It's been quite a whirlwind since I started.  I do need to pick up candy for the stockings, but that it best put off until the last couple of days for some reason.   Chocolate, even secretly hidden away chocolate, has a way of disappearing in this house that is just remarkable. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Blogger is letting me post again! 

I realized after I posted yesterday that I never got around to writing about any of "the other things" that I mentioned in the title.  Oh well.  Here are a few of the things that have been floating around in my head. 

It's nice being out of school.  We're doing some cleaning and some Christmas-y type things, wrapping presents, watching Christmas shows, listening to Christmas music.  My youngest son has been making to-do lists for himself.  Last night, his list consisted of saying "I can't wait until Christmas!" 10 times.  It's silly but I told him that I like silliness, it makes life fun.  I'm also happy that he is writing a list - The kid who hates to write! 

I ordered my Christmas cards a couple of days ago.  I was supposed to pick them up today but I forgot.  They're imperfect.  I took some pictures of the kids and they were all kind of blurry, but I just didn' want to do them again, so I'm going to send the cards as is.  Hey, life's not perfect, but have a nice Christmas - that will be the message of my cards this year.  Last year I didn't get to send my cards, because my mom was in the ICU, so this year, I'm going to send out my imperfect cards and be happy while doing it. 

It's a week until Christmas eve! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Eating like a bird and other things.

Yesterday, I couldn't find the funnel to fill up the birdfeeder which was empty AGAIN, so I used my hand to funnel some in and used a measuring cup to pour.  I put in 2 cups of seed and hung it back up.  By 5:00 pm yesterday afternoon, all of the 2 cups was gone, mostly to the tufted titmice, who are apparently hogs in disguise as birds.  The kids and were discussing this and started thinking about the phrase "eats like a bird" which I've always taken to mean that someone is picky about food and eats little, but apparently it means the opposite.  So what we've learned from all this is that my 17-year-old eats like a bird.  :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

School's out.

We're done with this semester. We got 85 days in, a tiny bit short of the halfway point. If we start back January fifth and stay on schedule we'll finish easily by the end of May. And to tell the truth, we need a break. We need time to clean the house, participate in Christmas-y activities and enjoy the season. My youngest son is hoping that it starts snowing tomorrow and snows a couple of inches every single day until Christmas so that we'll have a bunch of snow on the ground, but it won't overwhelm the snow plow people or the power lines, so we'll be able to travel through the woods to grandmother's house, and we'll have electricity. He's very practical this boy. (At least about some things he is.) He remembers a few years ago at Christmas time when no-one for miles around here had electrictity.

Our bird feeder is getting some traffic. Besides the tufted titmice, we've been getting black capped chicadees, cardinals and juncos. I didn't realize that we had all these kinds of birds around here. I've learned quite a bit myself. The picture above is a dark eyed junco. Cute, aren't they? Also, they eat all the seeds the titmice throw down onto my deck so they're my favorites now.

I'm frustrated with my job to an unbelievable level and am going to do everything in my power, after Christmas, to find a new one. That's my mantra these days 'after Christmas'. That's when I'm going to get so much stuff done.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Getting there.

I got my stuff returned this morning and spent several hours shopping and crossing things off of my list.  One item that I had been searching for endlessly it seems, I found first thing this morning, in a tiny little store, exactly what I needed, the size, the color AND the price. I could almost hear the alleluia chorus as I walked in the door.  It's coming together now.   Thankfully.  Just a few more odds and ends to pick up and I will be done.  It feels great.  Now I'll be able to concentrate on other things, relax and enjoy the season.  After the shopping is done, I become less scrooge like. 

In my travels today while looking for something else, I saw a new used bookstore in town.  Since I had time, I went in and spent some time browsing.  It's a great store.  Everything's organized and she has a great selection of books.  We'll definitely go back there. 

I've been in the mood to take pictures.  I haven't taken one for my Christmas cards, but that's beside the point.

This is our Christmas tree.   It's been up since Thanksgiving day.   My youngest son taught me how to take dark pictures with my digital camera so that it won't flash. 
Here's one of Freckles, my constant companion who is currently under my desk.  I like the way the no-flash pictures come out. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ice skating and some progress.

We went ice skating today, well, the kids skated and I sat, but it was fun.  I enjoyed watching everyone skate around with the Christmas music playing the holiday decorations up, it made for a very Christmasy scene.  Only problem with it, was it was COLD.  I thought probably it'd be somewhere around 30 degrees, just enough to keep the ice frozen, but not cold enough for anyone to be miserable.  Was I wrong!  I bet it wasn't even 20 degrees in there and the benches were metal, so I was doubly cold.   Next time, I'll wear more layers and bring a thermos of hot cocoa.   Afterwards I made some progress on my lists and took the kids to get a free ice cream at Chick-fil-a.  I didn't want any ice cream myself for some reason, maybe because I was still frozen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Update on Thursday.

I didn't work at all and went shopping only to get an email when I got home that made me realize I have to take 2 things back. Oh well, tomorrow is another day. We're going ice skating in the morning and I might do some shopping afterwards since I'll be in a town. I don't know. It's difficult trying to fit it all in, especially when I end up having to take things back and trade them and if I've got the kids with me that's an added difficulty. I'll have them with me tomorrow, of course all except the one who is still hobbling around. I've got 8 items that need to be purchased and 3 that need to be returned. I'm making list after list after list. It's kind of crazy around here. Or I am.

Anyway, I made progress today and I will get it done. Eventually.

Thursday, My Day Off.

Woohoo!  I love my days off.  I probably will work some, but only for a couple of hours and not on any particular schedule.  That's huge.  So, I'm going to try and get some of this Christmas stuff out of the way.  First, we're going to clean the house up, at least a little.  The, I'm going to take my oldest to pick out a coat which, I've decided, will be his Christmas gift from his grandparents (they're fine with whatever I think) and drive the long drive to the nearest Target because some of the things we need are there.  I so wish our town would build a Target.   Then, I'll come home tired and NOT HAVE TO WORK UNTIL 11:00 p.m.  See.  It is huge, not having to work tonight.  I may even watch some Christmas shows.  I need to see A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas sometime this year. 

School is not in my plans for today.  I'm being flexible with it because I don't mind doing school on the 22nd, but if I don't have my shopping done by then, I'll be apopletic apoppletic nuts.  I need to have it done soon.  Once I finally get started, then I need to get DONE. 

I know I'm weird.  It's not a surprise to me. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


It's very windy here.  I made the comment that it is a blustery day and my youngest said "Well, it is Windsday".  Brings back memories of Winnie the Pooh.  We used to watch a lot of Pooh around here.
 ;-)  We need to dig out the Winnie the Pooh Christmas special and watch it.  You never get too old for Pooh.  My favorite part is when Gopher picks up this giant tree and says "Tell me where you want it.  TELL ME WHERE YOU WANT IT!" 

Yesterday I took the kids to Walmart to get presents for their homeschool friends, cousins and each other.  It was a pretty successful trip.  Then, last evening, my daughter got out the presents from her, wrapped one and left the other just lying on the floor for her younger brother to see.  She wants him to be surprised by his present so it just ruins it for her that he knows, so they worked out a deal so that he'll pay her for the present and get to keep it and she'll buy him something else.  Sounds weird, I know, but they're happy.  The toy he got is some kind of gyro racer.  He's been playing with it this morning.  He told me that the 3 main parts are called the gyro racer, the gyro and the ripcord, but that he's probably going to be referring to them as "the spiney thingy" and "the fast thingy".   Whatever you want to do son.

On the presents front, it turns out this may not be my year to get presents. :-(  Oh well.  I guess maybe I'll have to get myself a little something.  :-)  I' m very thoughtful in picking out presnets for myself, though kind of cheap. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Book review and other things.

I just finished reading a book called Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale.  It's very good.  It's based on a fairy tale by the Brother's Grimm that I had never heard of, but I enjoyed this book very much.  I am considering it as a read-aloud with the kids.  Might be too much romance in it for the youngest though.  :-)  It's a wonderful adventure and a very sweet book. 

We might go Christmas shopping today. We're trying to rush through school so we can go.  The kids have to shop for their friends in the homeschool group and their cousins and each other.  I still need to get my thinking cap on and figure out what to buy my oldest from his grandparents and a few other things like that.

The good news is that of the 2 parents of this house, this year is MY year to get presents.  We alternate.  So, here's my list in case my DH is reading this at work.

1.  A housekeeper (or at least one visit from Merry Maids?!!!)
2.  A motorized Dirt Dog vacuum sweeper.
3.  A new toaster oven would be nice, but not exciting.
4.  Chocolate.
5.  All books Katie Fforde has written.
6.  Household projects done.

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Christmas Shopping Timeline.

This is how I do my Christmas shopping each year.

1. 1st week of November, begin whining that it could not possibly BE November.
2. 2nd & 3rd weeks of November, continue whining, same tune, but with a tad more urgency.
3. 4th week of November, browse Black Friday ads, realize they have nothing I want enough to brave the crowds, draw names in various families and groups, start to feel a little bit desperate.
4. First day of December. Start to panic but otherwise take no action.
5. Second day of December. See first day of December.
6. Third day of December - Frozen panic, continued.
7. Fourth day of December - Start to browse online stores.
8. Fifth or sixth day of December - Go to local stores and finally BUY SOMETHING.
9. Start to whine about how much I hate Christmas shopping. (This is December 7 because it's what I am doing today.)
10. Sometime between December 7 and December 20, just finally do it.
11. January - Regret spending the money.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas shopping.

I'm going Christmas shopping today!  I'm always enthusiastic before I start but then by the end of the day, I'll be kind of deflated.  It's such a difficult thing.  I think I may be an amateur shopper.  I mean, I like shopping, but I'm not all that good at it and I get tired easily.  Still, I gotta do it.

It's time for my yearly plug for my store.  If you need gifts for grandparents, shop here.  If you don't see exactly what you want, ask me and I will make it/customize the design as much as I can.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Surprising to me.

I remember before my kids were born (back when I knew a lot more about parenting) thinking that really only kids under about 6 were cute to me.  I thought and said that I only thought kids were tolerable until they were about school age and then they became obnoxious.  I expected my kids to do the same, go through an obnoxious period from about 6 to 18 and then hopefully become okay again.  This is not what's happened.  They are delightful people even at the ages of 11, 13 and 17. Of course, I'm their mom and I would love them anyway.  The thing that is more surprising to me is how much I enjoy my kid's friends.  They are just wonderful kids, polite, funny and a joy to be around.  I'm privileged to know them and surprised that I feel that way.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A funny question.

Yesterday my oldest son actually said this to me.

"Hey mom, do you care if I do an extra load of laundry today?"

Hey, knock yourself out bud. Do all the laundry you want.

I'm such a good, generous mom.


Time moving so quickly!

I've really got to get on this Christmas shopping thing! So far, I've bought one item. I did write out my list though, so I'm proud of that. It's progress anyway. Today, we're going to try and focus on school. It's really not the kids who haven't been focusing. They've been doing the school work that they do on their own, which includes all the essentials but we haven't been doing group time, our enrichment kind of activities, in other words, the fun stuff. So today I'm going to focus on school until about 2:00 p.m., then focus on Christmas shopping! I'm going to be ordering most things on line, so I need to think about shipping times. I've been downloading some Christmas music from Walmart and really enjoying that. I'm feeling Christmas-y, but I'm also feeling kind of pressed for time.

Still, physically I'm feeling pretty good. I've lost another pound. I'm not having as many headaches. I'm not taking as many naps. I think maybe I'm not as crabby, but I need to ask the kids'. :-)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Doing school today.

It feels weird after all this time off, but we're doing school today.  I got up and got busy and did my chores and work early even though I felt kind of bad.  I thought maybe I'd accidently ingested some gluten and sure enough I had, I finally got the gluten-free menu of the restaurant we went to yesterday and it turns out the sour cream sauce had gluten in it.  I really think that the gluten free diet is the way for me.  I'll just have to adjust to it.  I do not enjoy feeling bad.  Although I also don't enjoy having to give up some of the best of the yummy foods, it is better than feeling like cwap all the time.  Today has been a good flashback for me, to realize how much better I've been feeling.

The kids are not getting back into the groove of school very well.  They've already asked for extensions on getting their priorities done ... I hope we'll be able to get some really good days in before Christmas, despite all the distractions of the holiday season. 


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