Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Huh? Was that a Compliment?

Last night I made chili for dinner. We hadn't had it for a long time, so I took extra care in preparing it. It's a simple recipe, but still.

So, Rob is eating his helping and he says, "MAN! This chili is GREAT! What did you do to it?"

I smile and open my mouth to answer but I don't have time because he continues with...

"Oh! It must be that new chili powder we bought."


It couldn't POSSIBLY be the cook. I guess this says something about PAST batches of chili that I've made! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas with Nerf Enthusiasts

Every Christmas, we travel to go to my side of the family's big Christmas gathering. This year it was at my aunt's and literally 5 minutes from our front door! Now, THAT is the way to travel for Christmas!

We always try to time our arrival to match my cousin's arrival. She is ALWAYS very late but we've gotten to these things on time and been so BORED before she got there. My kids can't wait for her kids to arrive. Rob has no one his age to talk to until her husband arrives. You can see why we wait. This year she arrived about 2 minutes before me (which made us both about an hour late, planned on our part). The older generation enjoys the Brandy Alexanders that my uncle makes in vast quantity while they wait for the delinquent younger generation to arrive. They don't seem to mind too much.

About those Brandy Alexanders... they have been my uncle's trademark at these gatherings for about 30 years. As soon as I was old enough to drink them, I was supposed to join in the fun, but I can't stand the smell of them, so I've never indulged. Now, of course, Rob and I just don't want to drink in front of the kids, so we decline.

Now, for dinner, my uncle brought good wine. Again, I declined, but I said I would like MILK and please hand me a wine glass to put it in. WELL, NO WAY was my uncle letting me do that! He said it would taint the wine glass and no future wine in the glass would taste the same. It might even ETCH the GLASS! He threatened to find me a sippy cup instead! However, he's not much taller than me, so I elbowed my way past him and snatched my glass of choice. Thus began our wildest Christmas dinner ever.

Usually, we eat (late, it's ALWAYS late... food promised at 2 PM... we never actually eat before 4 PM... which probably explains the drinking...). Then we have my aunt's incredible dessert, Plum Duff (a family tradition). There is calm chatting throughout.

NOT SO this year. First we started with the jokes. I seemed to garner most of them... first with the milk, then with my oatmeal bread... being oatmeal, everyone said they would be most regular now (Wow! WHAT a compliment!)... and since Plum Duff is made with prunes, well, you can IMAGINE where the conversation went after that. I would like to point out that there were NO CHILDREN at the table. Oh no. This was ALL ADULT. I know it SEEMS like a 9 year old would have started us down this line of conversation, but no...

Then Matt came into the dining room with his new Nerf blaster 6-shooter... a gift from my uncle. Those two ganged up on us all and turned into sharp shooters! They particularly found aiming and HITTING the --um-- rears of the women doing dishes was a hilarious activity. The various --um-- "sizes" of the targets provided much jocularity and much shrieking! Bad uncle! We kept telling him that Matt is not allowed to aim at PEOPLE without goggles, but he didn't care and Matt LOVED IT. Of course, I thought they were going to collapse laughing when they hit me in the chest with their targeting prowess (although, I believe that was accidental and we won't discuss the size of THAT target). :)

My uncle said it was the best Christmas gift EVER. He's SIXTY-FIVE years old! :) Matt, age 7, was quick to remind my uncle that he GAVE the gift to HIM. :)

Now, here's the best part. When I was 7 years old, my family had just moved to Ohio from California. I was very uncomfortable with my newly met cousins and all the new extended family. My uncle was the one adult who really made my brother and I feel welcome. I remember him chasing us around in various outdoor games and being in awe over his various exploits (like outrunning the mean bull in a neighboring field). Now I got to see him with my own son, making him laugh and feel part of the celebration, and the years fell away.

I love having such a wonderful memory to take away from our family gathering this Christmas. Sometimes weird, but wonderful nonetheless. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hmmmmm.... Too Weird?

I'm starting to wonder just how WEIRD it might be looking for me to be dressing myself and LASSIE the same way in my profile pic!


Honestly, I do NOT dress my dogs in clothes. For real! Maybe a santa hat before they ate it, but that's it. :) Oh, and there WAS that Princess Leia incident...

But somehow, in a profile pic, with a famous canine movie star, it's funny to me!

So, bloggy buddies, if it is too weird, I hope someone TELLS me before it just gets out of hand because Speedy over at Speedcat Hollydale sent me over to Photobucket last night with the directions to use stickies and, well, it is FUN. :) And sometimes you just have to have fun, right? :) Even if it is just silly fun.

Besides, I'm blaming the outfits on Daisy over at Dancing With Daisy because her profile daisies just looked so CUTE all dressed up for winter! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Wife He's Ever Had

I feel so special. :)

Last night, Rob and I went over to Kroger for some quick groceries. I had coupons. I'd checked out sale items online.

So, we got what we needed (or just wanted, like doughnuts), and headed for checkout.

We bought $40 of groceries and spent only TWO DOLLARS out of pocket. That's right. $2.

Rob says I'm the best wife he's ever had. :)

And now I'm going to go eat a doughnut.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Beware of the Doghouse

One of my friends posted this on Facebook today and I just had to share it here. I laughed through the whole thing and it's pretty long! See if you would accept any of these gifts. Rob and I don't exchange gifts, so he's off the hook. Sort of. :) We DO have two doghouses in the backyard, though, soooo....

Beware of the Doghouse- Hilarious! - More bloopers are a click away

If you feel like it, leave a comment with what YOU would consider the perfect gift to keep your significant other out of the doghouse! :) And really, I LIKED the RAM gift guy! I thought that was sweet with the cute note attached and all. But, then, that's just me. I like thoughtful, even if it's brief.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Music Monday - Thanks to Speedcat Hollydale (the Real Santa)

Speedy's Music Monday

Cute Animal Christmas Song

(Go on... listen to it... and try not to smile! :))

Breathing Places (Lyrics - click here then scroll down)

A Sad Hair Day

I think it qualifies as a sad hair day when you sort of wake up and realize...

1) Your new hip hairdo really looks rather like the hairdo you had in eighth grade... which makes it an overgrown version of a Dorothy Hamill style when she won the Olympics (I feel OLD!) and NOT the spittin' image of the picture you took in to the stylist... which was a really nice pic of Kyra Phillips from CNN.

2) The hair you've spent 6 months growing out is now SHORTER than when you started. SHORTER. And I really wanted some long hair for once. I was really loving how it felt swishing around on my neck. Unfortunately, the hairdresser likened it to a .... to a.... (I can hardly say it...)... to a (whisper) mullet. OH NO! Really, it did NOT look that bad. It was just how it grew out and I didn't style it before I went in to get it cut. I was just trying to give her something to work with. But, she took the AXE to that idea. Literally. In the form of some very sharp sheers. Bye long hair. I loved you.

3) You need a hair straightener to mimic the look the hair dresser left your hair with... and which you cannot duplicate... and you have NO idea what kind to get because heaven forbid should you buy something that would hurt your already hurting hair. Did you know severe iron deficiency anemia makes your hair fall out? Did you know that gray hair is NOT the same texture as your original locks? So, now my hair kind of makes me wanna cry. But I won't. Because there are way bigger things to cry about than HAIR.

But, now I remember WHY I quit getting my hair professionally done. It's so much easier to just not pay any attention to it at all. Yes, DENIAL sometimes is easier to deal with. I'm goin' with that. Sniff.

Fortunately, I still have a Christmas tree to decorate and it's my favorite, a Hallmark miniature tree which was given to me by my dearest friend ever. And I'm quite sure she didn't give it to me because of my HAIR. This will be a darn fine distraction.


The "me" my hair wants to be (Yes, yes, I know. JUST the hair. The rest is just an "I WISH." Sadly, my hair isn't much longer than my EARS. Sigh. This is the pic of Kyra that I gave the stylist.):

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What? Blue Eyes?

Just a moment ago, I was trying to take a snapshot of my new haircut with my iSight computer camera.

My husband walked by and commented, "Wow! That picture sure makes your eyes look blue."


My eyes are NOT BLUE!

We're gonna have to have a little chat.... A chat in which I say, "Repeat after me, my wife's eyes are GREEN." Really. Not even CLOSE to blue.

Taco Soup (YUM!)

I'm just in the mood to post a recipe today. This is one of our favorites! Actually, we just had it for dinner because it is soooo cold outside. Brrrrr! I highly recommend trying this!

Paulette's Bean Soup ("Taco Soup")

2 lbs. hamburger
1 large onion

Brown hamburger and onion together.

Add (do NOT drain cans):

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 can white hominy
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can red beans
1 can white limas (we use butter beans)
1 can pinto beans
1 can navy beans
1 can Rotel (mild or hot, your choice)
1 package Taco seasoning
1 package Valley Ranch Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix

Simmer for 45 minutes.

Serve over Frito Corn Chips. Sprinkle shredded Cheddar cheese over the top of the soup. Add a dollop of sour cream (if desired).



If you have a very large crock pot, this will all fit. It takes about 4 hours on low.

Use all the same size cans. They are usually 15 oz. size. We sometimes add 29.50 oz. of the pinto beans. It makes the soup a bit thicker. We also substitute onion powder for the large onion.

This makes a lot of soup! It freezes very well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Wild Hair Day or The Discovery of the Fountain of Youth

Evidently, when your mom's hair has looked near-hideous for as long as you can remember and you finally see her with a decent hair cut, your response is:

"Mom, what did you DO to your HAIR!" (In an aghast voice that only a 12-year-old junior high girl can muster up).

Mind you, this was said in front of about 20 people in a very crowded hallway after the school musical tonight.

I feel SO uplifted right now! Really!

Flashback to earlier in the day...

Rob went with me to the beauty salon at 10 AM. He wanted to provide moral support. Plus, he wanted to take me shopping at the new outlet mall. What a guy! (He has Fridays off.)

The beautician, named Kristen so I automatically liked her, was so patient with me and my million criteria for my new hair style. I even had a picture! She helped me learn how to style it and everything.

So, when she was done and admiring her work (trust me, it was a VAST improvement), Rob finally saw me and said, "WOW!" Good answer, I thought! Then they both oooh-ed and awwww-ed and said I looked 10 years YOUNGER. (I quickly realized that if I have my hair done only once every ten years for now on, I can maintain the youthful look of a THIRTY-FOUR year old! Hey! it's a plan!)

So, we got home about 4:00 PM and Matt walked in the door from school. "Mom, did you get your hair cut?" he said. I replied, "Why yes, Matt, I DID!" He said, "Oh." Just that. "Oh."


After that, I decided to walk next door and show my best friend. She thought my hair was WONDERFUL and made both her daughters come see it. Either they had a real laughfest after I left or they really did like it!

Thomas, my thoughtful child, then saw me and said it looked nice.

Evidently, it's a mixed bag for how it actually looks. So, NO ONLINE PHOTO. I'm sticking with thinking I look 10 years younger and am happy as a clam!!! :)

Now I just need to schedule my plastic surgery and spend about 1000 more hours at the gym! I'm getting this body of mine back into shape even if it kicks and screams the entire way!!! I think it will be easier with good hair, though, don't you think? :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008



I did it. I made an appointment to have my hair cut and styled.

Why is this a big deal? It's been a DECADE since I last had my hair professionally cut. That's right, TEN LONG YEARS.

I've learned to cut it myself pretty well... as long as you don't notice the back too closely. :) After awhile, I just let the back grow all one length and either had my husband cut it (whining about it all the while, let me assure you, because he was afraid of cutting it crooked) or my daughter. Yes, the twelve-year-old daughter. Not sure why Rob was worried once he knew I was letting Sarah cut it occasionally. Hey, I'm brave. :) Or, maybe just in denial. If I can't see the back of my head, no one else can either, right? Sure.

Why did I stop going to a beauty salon? Well, first it was that I didn't want to offend the stylist by going elsewhere after she gave me a really horrible haircut. That's what happens when you live in a TINY town and the stylist has just joined your church. So, it was either drive way out of town, or learn to cut it myself.

And then, of course, I began to LIKE cutting hair. I cut Rob's hair and Tom's and Matt's. Sarah's doesn't need much since she just wears it long. They generally all look presentable. :)

So, tomorrow at 10 AM I get my hair cut. I AM NERVOUS.

The part that makes me the most nervous is that my hair has issues. It is OLD hair now. :) It used to be full of body and plentiful. Well, now not so much. It is down to my shoulders, though. I haven't had hair that long since about 3rd grade.

Okay. Deep breath. :)

I think the worst part is going to be the people who notice it's cut. "Oh, hey! Christen got her hair cut!" I've noticed that when it looks bad, people just comment that you got it cut, and leave it at that. I'll be listening carefully to what people say. Or, maybe I'll just wear a hat. :)

I'm brave enough to let a twelve-year-old cut my hair... but am I brave enough to post my picture after it is finally cut professionally? Ha! I doubt it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Flurries at their Finest

I just got back from swimming. I have to say, swimming indoors while watching the world turn white outside from the millions of snowflakes floating through the air... well, it's spectacular. The pool room has a wall of windows on one side. It makes all the difference to the enjoyment factor.

Ten minutes in the hottub watching the same scene... AWESOME!

I think I'll go back. :)

I'll Have a Little Fat with That

It's a noisy day around here. :) We've been doing Legos all morning (which seems like a quiet activity but is somehow not). :) The kids are home from school due to ice/snow. We don't have much here in the valley, but up on the hill where the high school is, they got 4 inches.

So, now the little munchkins are hungry. It is nearing lunchtime. They begged for meatballs, salami/cream cheese, and cheese cubes. Hmmm... Somehow, I'm not thinking that is a good lunch. :) Tommy also wanted chips. Personally, I find salami/cream cheese roll-ups to be disgusting, but my mom got them hooked on them and actually BRINGS them to us.

So, I tell them, "SURE, fine, go for it. BUT, at dinner tonight your ENTIRE plate will be VEGETABLES. Preferably green leafy ones. A big HEAPING plate of veggies. YUM!"

Six eyeballs whipped toward me, flashing with horror!

I grinned. Mwa haha! :)

But then they surprised me. They said, "Well, can we have a potato with them?" And they were PLEASED!

So, I'll make them eat a few carrots now and then really enjoy the completely healthy meal tonight. :)

But, I am wondering if I'm being a completely horrible mom! :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

“When 900 (or 7) years old, you reach… Look as good, you will not.”

They may not have reached 900 years, but I think this crew looks pretty darn cute!

Today was Matt's 7th birthday party with friends. We chose a Star Wars theme. Darth Vader paid a visit. We made pizza planets, ate moon cake, put together Lego spaceships, had a Nerf blaster battle, etc.

See if you remember all these memorable quotes from Star Wars! I've posted the answers in the "Comments" section.

“This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Kenobi, and will soon see the end of the rebellion.”

The party started with our foster dog making a bid for freedom and us chasing him all the way down the street. Nothing like a little exercise to really add some fun (and weirdness) to the party!!! :)

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

Darth Vader arrived at last. He arrived late because he (my husband) was out doing a funeral. NOT in his Darth costume, in case you were wondering. His first words were, "Matthew, I'm your father." He arrived in the nick of time...as the natives were becoming restless at the end of the Lego activity.

“Watch your mouth kid, or you’ll find yourself floating home.”

Lee said, "These pizzas look like larvae."
Darth was outside making cola explode with mentos while I watched the pizza planets bake...which the kids had just made. Can't say they looked like planets... more like larvae...as Lee pointed out. Gee. Thanks, Lee! I'm SO excited to eat one now!

“That’s no moon, it’s a space station.”

I found a picture of a moon cake online and thought it looked easy. It's just a cake mix baked in a bowl, with one 9" layer of cake as the base. I found the little wind-up "moonwalker" robot at Target just to have something to perch on top of it.

“I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.”

When I was done cutting cake for everyone, I actually had to grab the cake stand and take the remaining cake away... because one of the boys was a little too "into" the Star Wars theme and was evidently envisioning himself as Luke Skywalker blasting the Death Star! He actually wanted to destroy the CAKE! My poor cake! It's in a place of safety now.

“He’s holding a thermal detonator!”

The boy off to the right in the picture is the one thinking he is Luke. He is ready to dive in already! If you look closely, you can see his tongue hanging out... we had to stop him from LICKING the CAKE!

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Hmmm... I think we invited a bunch of wild things!!!

"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3720 to 1."

We finished up the party with no injuries and at least one boy asking to come to next year's party. Although, sadly, I think that was mostly because he was enjoying petting our collies! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shoot! Stop that Cursing!

You know how I don't swear? (Okay, MAYBE twice a year or so, if I'm honest). Well, wouldn't you figure my kids wouldn't either?

WELL, evidently, NOT SO.

Sarah got flagged online by one of her teachers for INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT on her website. I.E. SWEARING.

My little girl. Oh. My. Gosh. I'm thinking, "She just turned 12 and look what happens!" At the same time, I just don't get it. I've never heard her swear. And then I think..."The minister's kids... they are always the ones... why, oh WHY didn't I marry an accountant?"

When I managed to close my gaping mouth, I read the teacher's comment:

"Heck no is not appropriate. Is that what you would want your grandmother to read or even perhaps Mr. Dunlevy (principal) tomorrow morning? Read the rules again. Clean it up."

That's right. She said, "HECK NO." That's all. And now she needs to, "CLEAN IT UP."

And the funny part is that I say that all the time. I consider it more of an exclamation than a curse. And trust me, grandma says worse. She wouldn't even blink over a "heck no."

In what circles is HECK NO considered swearing? Really, I'm curious. Because I'm sort of starting to wonder if I've just entered "redneck world" and have NO powers of discrimination any more.

Is she not allowed to say, "GOSH," either? Because that fits the same rules.

OH SHOOT! OOOPS! Would that be swearing?

Want to help me out? Just take the poll. :) I need all the help I can get.

I'd love to read your comments, too! Thanks!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cookie Irony

Yesterday morning I logged into my email account and was happy to find 5 comments on the cookie swap post I'd just done.

Here's the funny part. Sandwiched in between my email copies of the blog comments, I found the following emails from Sparkpeople.com. How did they know? :)

Best of SparkPeople:
Getting real about weight loss

The Weekly Spark:
Counting Down the Calories in Holiday Cookies

There is some irony here! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cookie Swap Day! Recipe for Monster Cookies

It's Fuschia's Cookie Swap Day! Everyone can join in. Just follow the directions in my sidebar, or go over to her site and read the directions there. It's fun! :)


My family LOVES these cookies. I usually have to hide some in the freezer or they all disappear overnight. My daughter even made them as an entry in our local fair and won a red ribbon! It's a nearly foolproof recipe and you can kid yourself into believing these are healthy because of the oats! :)


1 cup margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini M&M baking bits


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together margarine, brown sugar, white sugar and eggs until smooth.
Stir in the vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and stir into the sugar mixture.
Add the oats.
Mix all until well incorporated.
Mix in chocolate chips and chocolate baking bits.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Makes 36 cookies.

Bake for 10 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. If you like chewy cookies, take them out before they look done.

These freeze really well!
I use a medium or large size OXO cookie scoop.
Use regular-sized HOLIDAY M&M’s to make these festive! I use the red/green for Christmas. Just press a few EXTRA M&M's on top of each cookie before baking. That way the colors pop.
Sometimes, I add ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the recipe for a yummy chocolate version. You cannot see the colors of the M&M’s as well when you do that, though.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ranger our Foster Sheltie is a Bit of a Butthead

See those oh-so-sweet innocent faces? Hmmmm... Better look twice! Matt is just as sweet as he looks (even though he is bouncing off of the walls today because it is his 7th birthday!).

However, don't be deluded by Ranger, a.k.a. Rocket-butt. Our collies don't know WHAT to do with him. Even now, they are laying around the house in a comatose state. Ranger keeps them all riled up and in racing dog mode! This is SO not like my collies! They are slug collies and proud of it! It's a very special breed and took years of careful development. Keeping up with Ranger is exhausting them!

Even I have felt the effects of his presence, literally. He doesn't like me to leave the house, so in proper herding dog technique, he grabs my shoes, my coat, my purse, my foot, my leg, my... well, ANYTHING (ahem) large enough (ahem, ahem) to keep me in the house. OUCH!

And my poor feet. They are toasty warm now, mind you, but they must never hit the floor under my computer chair without a sheltie head on top of them. I sit down, he lays his head on my feet. Yes, yes, OH SO CUTE, but then my feet go numb because he looks so endearing... and I don't want to move him... because he is, after all, an abandoned dog looking for a new home.

Let's not leave out the new dents in my stomach. I have a recliner. I enjoy watching TV in my recliner with a big micro-fleece blanket tucked in all around me. Bliss. NOT ANYMORE. As soon as 'ole Ranger-butt sees me snuggling in, he decides he wants part of that action and FLIES IN THE AIR (with NO WARNING) and lands his FORTY POUND self on my STOMACH. OOOOMPH! I have permanent dents. The dog is an acrobat.

Okay, okay, he is also the snuggliest little critter. Once on my lap, he tucks his head under my chin and sighs. Adorable.

Man, this little guy is going to be hard to give up.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks to a Helpful Blogger...

A very helpful blogger is helping me download a music file so that I can post it here instead of sending people all over the internet to find it. Isn't that nice?

So, in much appreciation, here's your AWARD. :)

Thanks, Eric!

(Speedcat...Cat's Pajamas...It's a cat...Get it?) :)

Cat's pajamas - Something considered to be outstanding
The term "cat's pajamas" comes from E.B. Katz, an English tailor of the late 1700's and early 1800's, who made the finest silk pajamas for royalty and other wealth patrons. Nothing like a cat nap in Kat'z pjs. (from the book, "Cats out of the Bag" compiled by Terry, Don and Ken Beck)

Christmas Photo Poll

Photo #1: Ice Sleigh

Photo #2: Santa

Photo #3: Happy Kids

Ring the Bells

Thanks to Diary of a Southern Drama Queen, I have found my favorite song of the season! O Holy Night by Travis Cottrell. It's on his new "Ring the Bells" CD. It is BEAUTIFUL. It lifts your soul. If you want to listen to it, just use the link and then scroll down the page until you find the list of songs. He has an amazing voice.

Friday, December 5, 2008

That Christmas Spirit

If you read yesterday's post, you know that I took my kids up to Oglebay Mansion to meet Santa (the REAL one). The whole enormous place is decorated for the holidays. A guy from Pittsburgh came down to do an ice sculpture on the front lawn. There was a play, and a magician, and crafts. It's a fun time for a mere $6 and only 5 minutes away! :) It's neat. It's possible I enjoy it more than the kids. :)

Isn't the picture of the kids in the ice sleigh completely cool? (hee hee... yes, they WERE VERY COOL in that sleigh! Very cool indeed! They did have little rugs to sit on so I wasn't torturing them that badly in order to get a picture.) :)

Something very nice / nearly traumatic happened while we were there. Matt likes to take his Nintendo DS with him to these things, especially when he knows there will be a long waiting time (like the loooong line to see Santa). We walked in the mansion and I really meant to tell him to put his backpack on his back instead of holding it like a satchel, but I forgot. So, you guessed it, we sat down to watch the magician and got up to leave...without the DS. I looked at him after we'd climbed up 2 flights of steps to get to the theater ensemble, and noticed NO BACKPACK. Which meant, NO DS, and probably 6 games. My heart started to race because NO WAY could I replace all that right now. The whole point of the backpack is so that he doesn't sit the DS down and forget it. I felt horrible.

So, we raced back down the stairs and checked where we were sitting. NO DS. All of us are starting to look somewhat stricken at this point. I asked a volunteer and she said to check the front desk. Back up the steps we go, down a long corridor, through some mobs of tourists, ending up at the front desk.

I gasp, "Was a backpack just turned in?" I have NO hope. SO MANY people are there. What are the odds of an honest one picking it up AND bringing it all the way to the desk that fast? Not very good.

So, when the lady at the desk said, "Why YES, it was," it took us all a moment for her words to register. Matt about cried. So did I because I didn't have to see him brokenhearted on his trip to see Santa. We turned to go back to the festivities and I heard someone say, "Oh! I'm so glad you found it!" IT WAS THE LADY WHO TURNED IT IN! I about kissed her.

It still just warms my heart to think about the EFFORT she went to in order to make sure a little boy wasn't devastated by the loss of a favorite toy. She must have raced faster than we did to get it to the front desk ahead of us. It sure made a big impression on my kids too. I know they'll all do the right thing if they ever find something as expensive lying around somewhere. It was a valuable lesson. Oh, and Matt's lesson to KEEP his BACKPACK on his BACK was highly valuable too. :)

Going to Oglebay Mansion to meet Santa: $6.00
One backpack with DS and games: $250.00
FINDING lost backpack against all odds because of one special person: PRICELESS

Happy kids after Nintendo DS was found:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Last week I went up to Oglebay Mansion with my three little darlings. It's an enormous and beautiful place and SANTA makes it one of his first stops of the season. The REAL santa. He told me so when I asked him for a new Lexus... and maybe an iHubs (shhhh!).

Really, the same nice man has been Santa at the mansion for something like 20 years. He really does seem like the REAL Santa! :)

Now, my two oldest, Sarah and Thomas were ADAMANTLY opposed to sitting on Santa's lap. Not so with Matt, age 7. He hopped right over to him. He was so cute. He got all embarrassed and couldn't think of a thing. I cleverly prompted him with several items I'd already purchased. :)

And then, before my wondering eyes, stood THOMAS wanting to tell Santa his wishes too! And when I glanced questioningly at SARAH, she blushed and nodded vigorously as well!

So, now I have this picture. Probably my last, of all three with Santa. I love it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Clever Girl Goes Blog Has a New Invention

Oh. My. Gosh.

I just read one of my favorite blogs and she has come up with a new invention!


It's called an iHubs.

Go ahead. Read it. Clever Girl Goes Blog: My Golden Ticket. She's hilarious.

Now, of course, I do not actually NEED a new husband. But, a SPARE for when this one is incapacitated sounds quite tempting! And HER iHubs model doesn't SNORE! She added apps like "Snore No More" and "Flowers for No Reason." She goes on and on and is so funny. I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did! :)

UPDATE: Rob arrived home that evening and sadly told me that he had called around various stores, checked online at Amazon and Circuit City... pretty much been a bloodhound over it... and was unable to find me an iHubs. He's so funny. He reads my blog before he comes home from work, you see. :)


"Life is short,
Break the rules,
Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly,
Love truly,
Laugh uncontrollably,
And never regret anything that made you smile."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Crazy Story

Let me just be clear, the STORY is crazy, not me. It's not up for debate, no matter what you think. :)

Yesterday, I posted about fearing mice in bonnets. I also mentioned my "bug dreams" and selling Boyds Bears online. In this story, all three come together in a terrifying manner.

Anyone who has owned their own business knows the stress of it. The long hours, paying your suppliers, dealing with customers, etc. etc. It's satisfying, but has real headaches attached as well. And on top of all that, I was working into the wee hours so I could take care of Sarah and Thomas (when they were babies) during the day.

So, here you'll see one of my fears:

Now, I did say mice in BONNETS and that mouse is not wearing a bonnet. Just be patient.

So, I was particularly stressed one Christmas season with getting Boyds Bears shipped out in time. Honestly, people always acted like I was shipping them emergency insulin not a stuffed animal. But, I digress.

Extreme stress brings on nightmares from which I cannot seem to wake up.

I was slumbering peacefully when across the bed came a FIELD MOUSE. And you know how FAST those things move. Well, I SHOT out of the covers and was standing on the bed screaming when Rob finally woke me up. I made him take all the covers off of the bed. Because that thing WAS THERE, I tell you!

The thing was, the mouse wasn't just any ordinary mouse. It must have had special powers or something because it was WEARING the BOYDS BUNNY TAMI'S HAT! A bonnet.

Here's Tami, still with her (soon-to-be-removed) bonnet:

Now, I don't want to know what that evil field mouse had to do to get Tami bunny's bonnet, but it can't have been good.

So, I've had a real aversion to mice in bonnets ever since. Wouldn't you? :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've Been TAGGED

I've been TAGGED by Summer to blog about 6 things you may or may not know about me. And I thought she liked me.

Gee. Thanks, Summer. Then I get to tag more people. Is this the way to make friends or enemies? I guess I'll be finding out! :) (Summer, you know I am teasing you, right?) :)

Here goes...

1) I was born in Los Angeles, California and adopted. My brother is adopted too.

2) I have TWO brothers named Scott. No, it is not because I live in West Virginia. :) One is my birth half-brother and one is my adopted brother. Both are the same age, height, coloring. It's kind of weird. I'm afraid one day I'll be somewhere with the two of them and be forced to say, "Hi, this is my brother Scott, and this is my other brother Scott."

3) I am hugely competitive at playing Euchre.

4) I used to run a retail website that kept me very busy selling Boyds Bears. It's still out there hogging up cyberspace, actually.

5) Someday, I want to open our home to foster children. For obvious reasons, I always wanted to adopt a child, but there is more need in the foster world.

6) Before kids, I was a sixth grade teacher of reading and language arts. I loved it. I can't wait to go back.

Those are the 6 kind of normal things. Now let's go for the more...unusual... :) (This isn't part of the tagging, I just think it's fun, see #1 below). :)

1) I always go overboard. And I don't mean out boating. I overdo everything. Just ask Rob.
2) I have irrational fears of vacuums, worms, and mice wearing bonnets.
3) My kids are both PK's and TK's. They are maimed for life.
4) I haven't had my hair cut professionally in 10 years. Now, that's scary!
5) I never go in bare feet. (My folks owned a shoe store, so why would I?) :) Probably because of this habit, I have very wimpy feet. Very.
6) When under undo stress, I often have "bug" dreams. I wake up screaming about some bug or rodent or snake in the bed. I'll say it for you, "Weird." And if Rob tries to wake me up, I kick him. Oh, I am SUCH a fun wife! :) I'll say this for him, though, he takes his life in his own hands and grabs me if I try to stand up on the bed to escape... especially if the ceiling fan is on. Yeah, it scares me too.
The rules:

-You don't have to play if you don't want to.

- Pass this along to 6 other blogger buds (via a comment on their blog).

- List 6 things people may or may not know about you, providing you're okay with 6 other bloggers (and the rest of the blogosphere, potentially) knowing more about you.

I am tagging (and apologizing in advance):

Eric @ SPEEDCAT HOLLYDALE PAGE (and don't you dare tag me back!!!) lol
Beth at "A Mom's Life"
Tosca @ Perfect Tosca
Leslie Ruth @ Diary of a Southern Drama Queen
Lauren @ Must Love Dogs...and My Parakeet
Suburban Correspondent @ The More, The Messier