Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Home sweet home

We arrived home safely although it took us 10 1/2 hours! It was a LONG ride home, but I will blog about it tomorrow, as I'm too exhausted right now. We had a good trip, though, and look forward to seeing Denise, Nick and Kids again in a few months. I expect to go jogging with Denise at that time!

Heading home

More about the trip and thrift store finds later. We are heading home in an hour and a half, so I have to get going. We had a great time and are sorry to leave.

You know you are spending too much time reading blogs when.....

....you start dreaming about the families you read about! Last night I had a dream that we had to move in with Claudia and Bart's family. This is the second dream I have had about them, but this is the first time we moved in with them. Last time, we just lived near them. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the dream, but I didn't want to move to Minnesota from Virginia, mainly because of the weather, so I kept bursting into tears as we walked around Claudia and Bart's house, getting to know everyone. Bart told me not to worry, that my life would be easier because there were so many adults in the house that could help me deal with things. Dominyk kept giving me dirty looks.

Then for some reason, we all went outside and a police car drove by with it's siren blaring and Claudia, who then turned into Kari, started running after the police car. I was puzzled at first, but then I said, "Oh, I remember this from her blog, she always runs after police cars because she is terrified that it is one of her kids they are going after." Then my sons, Drew and Steven, got into a huge fist fight in Claudia's house and I got lost in an apartment building......enough said, it was really weird. I wonder what that dream could possibly mean????

Monday, December 29, 2008


I overheard this today, "I'm not making any plans until I review the status of my cold sore." I can honestly say that I've never heard that statement before!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More trip pictures

Hannah and her soft pillow

Hannah and E

E, thinking about what trouble he can get into next!

Nate Dogg

Alex and E

Our trip, day two

Well, apparently I posted about day one and day three, but skipped day two! I guess because we just hung around the house and talked and laughed. One of Denise's sisters stopped by for a while, but that was probably the only thing interesting enough to blog about! Not that we didn't have a fun day, it was just a "you had to be there" day.

Our Trip, Day Three

GracieGirl and JJ

E playing Webkinz (this kid is 2 going on 15)

The kids hanging out

Hannah and Alex at the park


We had another one of Nick's delicous breakfast feasts this morning. Mike made the sausage and Nick made bacon, a spinach fritatta and eggs to order for those of us who wouldn't eat the fritatta due to onions and peppers. I had a super yummy fried egg sandwich with well done sausage links and extra crispy bacon. Not so good for me, but it sure tasted good!

We spent the day mostly being lazy, although I organized the kids and we did a "family clean-up". We put all the toys, clothes and junk away and vacuumed all the rooms. Alex, Hannah, Shauna, Nate and JJ all helped. They hardly even complained! Nick did the dishes and now, a few hours later, it still looks pretty good around here. We are cooking chili and hot dogs for dinner.

Mike took the older 5 to the park while the 2 little ones napped. Between that and jumping on the trampoline, the kids were able to burn off quite a bit of energy. The weather was beautiful, with temperatures in the low 60's.

Tomorrow we are planning to hit some thrift stores, which should be fun. Virginia doesn't have very good thrift stores, so the kids and I are pretty excited about bargain hunting. I still have to get a Christmas gift for my mom, anyone have any ideas? I have no idea what to get her.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My email

I just checked my email and I had 5 new messages. All 5 of them were from Denise, who is sitting 8 feet away from me!!!!

Our trip, day one

Well, we got a little bit of a late start, due to the driver insisting that she get enough sleep the night before. The plan was to leave at 5 am, but I got to bed much later than I thought I would and ended up sleeping in. We didn't end up leaving until 9:30 am. The trip itself was pretty uneventful, a little bickering in the car (not Mike and I!) and some traffic jams, but other than that, it went very smoothly. We stopped for lunch at Friendly's, which was a treat because we rarely eat out anymore. We arrived at Denise and Nick's a little after 5 pm.

Once we walk in their house, we feel instantly at home, which is great. The kids are so cute! I can't believe how much E is talking and how tall JJ and Nate have gotten. GracieGirl was a little shy with me for the first few minutes, but quickly got over it. As is often the case with mommies of toddlers, Denise was taking her morning shower when we arrived!. Nick cooked a delicious sausage dinner for us (even though I don't really like sausage, it was very good) after he and Mike ran to the store for some supplies. I think we are going to start a new tradition of sending Mike to the store with Nick because I think that was the shortest time Nick has ever spent in a store! Let's just say that Nick is a "take your time" shopper and Mike is a "get the heck in and out as fast as possible" shopper. Since Mike drove, Nick was forced to shop quickly or walk home!

CUP came with us and is staying with his friend, Janine, who lives nearby. Janine came over to pick him up and we got to meet her for the first time. Now, I didn't really feel like it was my first time meeting her since she and CUP have known each for many years and she and I have talked on instant messenger and even on the phone once. She is just as wonderful in person as I thought she would be! She even brought gifts for the whole family, which was unexpected and very sweet of her. The gifts she brought were perfect, too, she somehow knew exactly what everyone would like. I was impressed! She also brought a yummy plate of cookies. We had to put the cookies away because Denise's kids have so many allergies, but those of us who are not allergic are sneaking them. After Janine left, Denise made the comment that she is one of those people that you just instantly know you like. Thanks for coming, Janine, and for taking CUP off our hands!!!

I have one complaint about this resort. My room was rearranged and I don't do well with change. I complained to Nick, but he said it was for my own good and I would just have to deal with it. If the company wasn't so great here, I would think about upgrading to the Motel 6 next time! I guess the chair lift that takes me up the stairs also makes up for the disturbance in my room.

I will try to post some pictures, but they will be mostly kids because Denise made me sign a contract not to post any of her!

Oh, I almost forgot, Drew broke his collar bone yesterday. He was playing football and a "big guy" tackled him. He went to the urgent care center and they sent him to the ER. They immobilized it and told him to see an orthopedic surgeon on Monday. Here we go again, but at least it isn't a leg!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

First Annual Family Hockey Game

What a perfect day for a family hockey game! It was in the 60's and sunny. We were joined by Gramma, Steven's friend Will and Hannah and Shauna's friend Shannon. It was the girls and Steven vs. the rest of the boys. The girls and Steven won!!!! It was so much fun. There was a lot of screaming and the boys kept making fun of us. Who knew that the girls in our family (and Shannon) scream while playing hockey? Well, all of us except Hannah, who actually is a hockey player and didn't scream once. It was a great time and everyone is looking forward to next year's game.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We're going on a trip!

We are heading out to spend some time with Denise and Nick the day after Christmas! Everyone is very excited. Nate called yesterday and he seemed excited, too. Denise assured me that we will be more of a help than a hindrance, I hope she isn't just saying that! We always have a great time with them, the kids get along great and so do the parents!

There is one big worry that I have about the trip, though. Nick has a few strange hobbies (or you might call them obsessions). They include a preoccupation with Walmart, collecting soup ladles, breakfast meats and taking extremely unflattering pictures of me! I'm trying to figure out how to disable his camera for a few days! Other than that, I'm looking forward to spending time with some great friends.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve dinner, lasagna, Italian sausage, corn and Strawberry Cream Cheese Jello. YUM!

I think Shauna is enjoying the lasagna!

The youngest eating dinner, ignore the background mess, that was the temporary wrapping station!

Luke, trying to ignore me and Jack and Mike not even noticing me because they are so interested in the food! We were missing Steven, who is in jail today and Drew, who had to work, but we still had a nice family dinner.

Alex's artful arrangement of the fudge I made. There is chocolate, cookies and cream, butterscotch, peanut butter and peppermint fudge.

This has been a really nice Christmas so far. It hasn't been nearly as stressful and upsetting as the last 7 years or so have been. I'm not saying everything has been perfect, but about as close as we get to perfect around here!
The kids all pitched in and helped today, which was awesome! First I got up to a family room and kitchen that had been cleaned up by Hannah and Alex. Alex was doing dishes while Hannah finished wiping the counters. I was amazed and thrilled! Hannah tired pretty quickly (more on that later) and Alex went on to wash the entire cook top (still broken, but dirty anyway) and wash all of the cabinets! Luke washed a big load of dishes a bit later in the day, after I dirtied everything up again.
Since I had a nice clean kitchen, I was able to get right to the cooking this morning. While I was doing that, Hannah came up and gave me a big hug and put her head down on my chest. I said, "Are you cold? The only time you ever hug me like this is when you are cold!" She answered, "You're my soft pillow. My pillow that talks." I KNEW she was using me somehow, I just had the use wrong. Oh well, I'm still pretty smart, for a talking pillow!!!

Santa's DNA

This is the first Christmas that all the kids know that Santa doesn't bring the gifts. We will still have "Santa" gifts on Christmas morning, though. As always, I had someone, this year it was Mike, take the kids to the park or out somewhere, while I wrap all of the Santa gifts. I got everything wrapped while they were out, except for several clothes boxes. I figured they could come home while I was still wrapping those, since they couldn't tell what was inside.

So....I was wrapping and marking the packages with Santa's handwriting. Shauna saw me and said, "Ah-ha, now I have Santa's DNA!". It was sort of a "had to be there" moment, but funny. She meant that she had seen me writing in the fancy Santa writing and now knew for sure that there is no Santa.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

3:30 am

Hmmm, it's 3:30 am and I am WIDE awake. Maybe the two Cokes I had at the restaurant were not a good idea.

Tacky light tour

We went on a mini Tacky Christmas Light Tour tonight. We were going to Richmond to see our brother-in-law's band play and since Christmas lights in Williamsburg suck, we decided to take a quick tour of some good light displays in Midlothian. We saw several good ones before we had to head over the the restaurant where the band was playing. It was kind of like the good old days when tacky light tours happened every Christmas. By the way, there was nothing tacky about any of the displays we saw, they were just pretty. Well, one we laughed at because it was the furthest away and then it was only a ton of white lighted reindeer (45 or so) just chillin' on the lawn!

We had a great time at the sports bar, watching hockey games and listening to the music. I will post some pictures tomorrow. Hannah went home with Chuck and Roni to spend a couple of days with them. She won't be home until Monday night, so the next few days will be pretty quiet around here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can you figure this one out?

Last night Drew got home from work around midnight. Steven got home around 1:15 and saw something white hanging from Drew's side view mirror. He went to investigate and it turned out to be a white shirt. Then he saw a torn open Target bag with clothes hanging out, on the driveway, next to Jack's car and also a piece of clothing in the grass next to the driveway. What the heck? We have no idea where it came from. It was about 10 pieces of ladies clothing.

The only thing we can think of is that some kids were walking around and found the bag (the clothes are used, so maybe it was a donation someone had left outside?) and tossed it. Or maybe it was in some one's car and they threw it out? That is what it seems like because if they tossed it from the street, over Drew's car, that would explain the shirt hanging on his side view mirror, the one that was on the curb side.


See who???

Shauna and I were having a conversation about her crankiness. She said she is only happy when her friends are entertaining her or when she is playing a video game. Hannah pipes in, "She needs to see an orthodontist!". She realized immediately what she had said, started to laugh and changed it to therapist, but it sure was funny.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yesterday Sucked-Part Two

Alex had a call back for his school play after school, which was supposed to end at 6:00. He called at that time and said that the drama teacher had asked a few kids to stay after until 7:30 to read for the leads. He went in, thinking that he was getting a lead since she had asked 5 boys to stay after and there were 6 boy leads. At the end of the hour and a half, she gave all 4 of the other boys a lead, gave one of the remaining leads to a boy who wasn't even there and gave the last boy lead to a girl. Alex was the only kid there, including the girls, who didn't get a lead. Then she says, to everyone, don't worry if you didn't get a lead, you are still in the play.

Alex has had many disappointments before with not getting the parts he wanted. It is a part of acting and he handles it really well. This time, however, he did not and I don't blame him. First of all, he was on the fence about trying out for this play. They have a new drama teacher this year and he didn't think she was very good. He had joined drama club at the beginning of the year, but ended up quitting because it was so unorganized and she let the kids run wild. I encouraged him to try out because at that school, they had always given preference to 8th graders for the leads, only going to 6th and 7th graders if they ran out of 8th graders. Apparently that isn't the case any more.

At the try-outs, the drama teacher wasn't even the one who was doing the evaluations. She had brought her middle school daughter, one other middle schooler and several high school students to help with the auditions. The high school students did the evaluations. Then she posted the call back list and some of the kids who didn't get on it went to her and begged and she put them on the list. Who ever heard of such a thing? Call backs are never negotiable.

Anyway, the reason Alex melted down was because first of all he figured everyone who was asked to stay late would have a lead and she was just having them stay late to decide which kid would get which part, since she had fewer boys than available boy parts. All the kids who stayed thought the same thing. Another reason was that he had gotten compliments after singing a duet with a girl at the earlier call back. He also had gotten a standing ovation from the kids in the audience after he sang. All of the other kids who were trying out were sure and kept telling him they knew he was going to get the part of Troy (High School Musical 2 is the play).

CUP and Luke went to pick him up and he came in the front door, threw his backpack down, kicked off his shoes and ran through the house and out the back door. I asked what was wrong as he went past me and he wouldn't answer. I let him stay outside for about 10 minutes and then I went looking for him. I couldn't see or hear him, but I started calling and got no response. Then I started to get a little worried because I had never seen him that upset before, but he finally came up on the deck. He had obviously been crying and still could barely talk about it. He finally told me what had happened and I didn't blame him for being upset. I don't like the way the drama teacher handled this at all. She should have known better. It has nothing to do with the fact that he didn't get a lead, that he could handle, it was the way she went about not giving him a lead that was the problem.

I don't know what he is going to do now, as far as the play goes. All of his really close friends got leads. I think he should quit because it is a huge time commitment. That would be fine, if he had trust in the director and respected her, but in this case I think it would just be stressful. My guess is that she doesn't like him for some reason and might make his life miserable if he stays. I normally hate quitting and never allow him to try out for a play with the understanding that if he doesn't get a good part, he will quit, like many parents do. I tell him that if you make a commitment, you keep it. I did tell him before he tried out for this one, though, that he could quit if he wanted to, as long as he did it at the very beginning so it wouldn't be a problem for the teacher. In this case, since he will just be an extra, they won't miss him anyway. I am going to leave it up to him and support him either way, but I really hope he decides to quit. He applied for a scholarship with a local acting school and if he gets that, he will have to quit anyway.

Ugh, yesterday was one of those days when I wonder if I would have been better off childless!

Yesterday Sucked-Part One

It started out rather peaceful, until Hurricane Hannah came home from school! She was still in a "mood", which started the day before yesterday. She must have known she would be grounded for being violent with Shauna, as violence always comes with a grounding. She figures if she denies things, they aren't so. So, she came home from school and expected to go to her friend's house. I could see a rage coming a mile away, but what could I do? The only way to stop it was to let her go and that would be inconsistent discipline. She was getting more and more irrational in what she was saying and sobbing and make motions to punch me. I knew that it would only get worse, but I couldn't calm her down. Jack and Luke grabbed her off me when she attacked and the rage lasted about 5 minutes, I would guess. It feels like forever when it is happening. She only got in two really good punches on me and I have a bruise on each forearm from trying to deflect the blows. She kicked Jack in the leg, which he said is okay today, but his thumb is hurting. It probably got bent back while he was trying to hold her down. She had gotten ahold of Luke's hair with both of her hands and wouldn't let go, but I don't think he has any lasting pain from that. She was trying really hard to bite us, but we were a little quicker than she was.

Once she calmed down, she rested on the couch for about 45 minutes and then went upstairs. A few minutes later, she came downstairs, sweet as pie, and told me that she needed me to take her to the store to buy some black shoes for choir. Apparently they were supposed to have them by today so they could get fitted for their dresses. Are you kidding me??????? Did she really think I was going to smile and take her shopping? Luckily, she didn't melt down, which was a surprise. I had, however, been able to get her to take a very small extra dose of her medication, just a minute or two before the rage, so I guess it had gone into effect and helped her stay in control. She just said, "Well, I'm going to get my grade taken down one grade if I don't have them, so it will be your fault. I have an A now, so it will go down." Sorry, kid, not MY problem.

This morning I reminded her that she is grounded today because of the rage, since one of the irrational things she kept saying last night was that I never tell her that she's getting grounded in advance, so it doesn't count. I'm hoping that she will have it in her head that she is grounded and not get obsessed with going out. I really hope so because I'm just not up for another rage today!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One of those days

It started early this morning when Hannah decided to steal some of Shauna's clothes and Shauna woke up and caught her. Shauna, of course, started screaming at Hannah and trying to grab the clothes out of her hand. Hannah, of course, shoved Shauna up against a dresser, grabbed and pinched her shoulder and slapped her in the face.

Then it was time to wake Steven up to take him to jail. He was very cranky. He went up to take a shower and CUP told him not to use his towel. That somehow turned into a scream fest, with Steven doing most of the screaming. Actually, I think he did all of the screaming, CUP only told him that he couldn't use the upstairs shower. I can't even begin to repeat what was being screamed, but the "f" word was used at least 8 times and a few other nasty words were thrown in for good measure. He ended up showering in my shower, leaving his soaking wet towel in the middle of my bathroom floor. He also left three of his work aprons in the middle of the family room floor, saying Dad could wash them this weekend. Apparently middle of floor equals hamper in Steven's world.

Remember how I said Steven needed to have whitey tighties, white t-shirts and crew socks for jail? Guess where we had to stop on the way to jail today? Yup, Target. He changed in the car. I guess the crankiness came from being nervous about going to jail. Good, he should be nervous. He would never admit to being nervous, but I know he was. I'm anxious to find out what the jail is like and what he does there all day, if he will talk about it. I hope he hates it, but I wonder if he will. If he just sits around and does nothing all day, he might just like it!

You know, I truly believe that it is a good thing that Steven has to serve this jail time. I really do, but as a parent, it was really hard to watch my baby boy walk into the jail building. I can't help but picture his little chubby cheeks, big blue eyes and raspy little voice when he was a baby. Boy, how I would have argued with anyone who told me he would turn out like this.

Continuing with my fun day, when Hannah got home from school, she was as always, beyond anxious to go out and play with her friends. I had the wonderful luck of having to tell her that she was grounded for being violent to Shauna in the morning. That was fun. She melted down, which I was hoping she wouldn't. CUP heard her and came down to defend me, but luckily I didn't need it. She followed me around, screaming at me to change my mind and give her the "right answer" and arguing and arguing and arguing....She finally gave up and hit the cat, threw a cat sleeping mat at my head, threw a hat at me, but missed and hit Alex in the face, then proceeded to rip all the garland on the railing into tiny bits. I hate to tell her, but that was old, yucky garland that I was going to throw out, but Alex put it on the railing. I actually have lighted garland that goes on there, I just can't find it. Oh, and she threw all the folded clothes that were waiting to be put away. Thank goodness there were only a few stragglers, so that wasn't much of a mess. She then went upstairs and fell asleep and has been asleep ever since and that was two hours ago. Should be fun when she wakes up.

CUP and I went to Golden Corral for breakfast after dropping Steven off at the jail. I guess I was feeling like I deserved a treat for going through that trauma! It was very good and we had a nice time. I really liked the orange/strawberry/banana juice they had, yum. We also had to stop at the DMV to renew some expired plates, for which CUP had already gotten a ticket.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I need some chocolate

No post, I just need chocolate and felt the need to talk about it! A dark chocolate covered white buttercream from Fannie May would be perfect.

Warm weather

I forgot to mention that it was in the 70's today! I LOVE Virginia! The high was 15 degrees today in Frankfort, IL, where we used to live.

Green Tree 2008

More Pictures

Christmas Decorating

The lights on the porches and the wreath on the garage

A close up of the wreath

We worked on finishing up the decorations tonight. Alex and Shauna helped me put the outside lights up. They look really nice, as always. Then I finished putting the blue lights on the green tree. Drew ran to Rite Aid for me to buy some more lights and pick up prescriptions. He has been home from work for the last few days with an eye infection, so this was his first time out of the house. He got the infection from leaving his contacts in for two weeks, when they are supposed to be removed and cleaned each night and then the entire pair changed after two weeks. Well, he was in a lot of pain and wouldn't go to the doctor, so I'm pretty sure he learned his lesson.

After putting the blue lights and white garland on the green tree, Alex, Shauna and I put the ornaments on. Luke helped Alex carry the ornament boxes down, after Alex located them in the attic, after looked couldn't. I think Luke's idea of looking for the ornaments was to open the attic door and glance left, then right, then close the door! We had to really cram them on, but we got all of the good ones to fit. We have two small trees this year, instead of a big one. Since the cats climb and ruin our trees, I have to be able to put them in the sun room each night, so they can't tear them apart.

I took pictures of the green tree and will take pictures of the white one tomorrow. I didn't even bring the white one out today because I didn't want to have to worry about the cats getting into it while I was working on the other one.

The green tree with all the family ornaments

Rebel straight chillin' in the box

Hmmm, this isn't such a great chill spot, once Wrigley sticks his snout in!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dance Pictures

Alex and Hannah went to a dance Friday night. I straightened Hannah's hair and took some pictures. Alex didn't want to be in one, but I made him. Speaking of Hannah's hair, ugh! She found out about 6 weeks ago that if she washed her hair and left the shampoo in, her hair would stay wavy and wet-looking and not puff up. When I found out that is what she was doing to achieve that look, I told her she needed to stop immediately because she was going to dry out her scalp and hair and her hair would break off more than usual, etc. Well, you can't tell Hannah what to do when it comes to her hair. She is obsessed with it and plays around with it constantly. I'm not kidding, some days she will change the style 25 times, not an exaggeration. Well, she ended up drying her scalp out (surprise, surprise) by leaving the shampoo in and I had to pick hundreds of clumps of disgusting dry skin (think dandruff, but WAY bigger with most pieces about 1/4" x 1/2") out of her hair after I washed it. There were some before I washed it, but when I massaged her scalp, it loosened a ton more. Her ears were covered with dry, flaking skin, too. These flakes were a dark color, as well, because they had taken on some of the color from the other hair products (leave in conditioner and probably hair spray, even though she is forbidden to use it) that she uses. YUCK! I hope she learned her lesson. She said she has, but I wouldn't be surprised if she forgets and repeats it at least a few more times in the next few months.

Las Vegas trip

Mike is going to Las Vegas to teach for two straight weeks in January. Since he will be staying over the weekend, he invited me to come out for a few days to join him. His company will be paying for the hotel and he has enough frequent flyer miles for me to get a free flight.

On Saturday, we were talking about the trip and Mike kept going on and on about how much it was going to cost to bring me along. He kept bringing up that water bottles are $2 each, it would cost an extra $15-$25 for my suitcase, plus food is extremely expensive and when I mentioned I could just go to a grocery store and microwave something, I was told there aren't any grocery stores in Las Vegas (at least not near the hotels). Mike eats lunch while teaching and gets reimbursed for his meals, so that isn't a problem. He went on to tell me that it would cost at least $75 a day for me to go. That really took most of the excitement out of the whole thing for me. I put away our anniversary money and my birthday money from my mom, for this trip, which totals $100, so obviously, if it is going to cost $75 a day, I can't afford to go.

I don't think I would ever spend $75 a day on food, even if it is expensive. I only eat one or two meals anyway. Mike insisted there aren't any in Las Vegas, unless you go into the "seedy" areas. I did some internet searches and found several places that are either within walking distance or on the bus route, that were reasonable. I understand why he would think that there aren't any cheap places to eat, since his company is paying and they always go to expensive places, but there seem to be quite a few that still have bargains.

I'm not sure how to take what he was saying. At one point I said, well, it sounds like you don't want me to go and he said no, he is just warning me how expensive it is. I have several theories on what that was all about.

1. He is just being his normal pessimistic self and seeing the glass half (or a quarter) full.
2. He changed his mind about me going with and is trying to discourage me.
3. He still wants me to go, but is worried about spending the extra money.

Whatever the reason for all of it was, the result is it really made me feel bad and the rest of the day really sucked because I was upset, disappointed and cranky. So, now I'm not sure if I will be going or not.

The weekend

I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished this weekend, although not as much as I would have liked. I cleaned out a cabinet that has been a gathering place for some kitchen stuff, some spices and extracts and some junk. I haven't quite finished yet, as I still have to vacuum the cabinet out (I asked Alex to do that, but I'm pretty sure he never did) and put everything back in that is staying. I also cleaned out three boxes that have been sitting under the recipe desk part of my kitchen counter for the last few years. Yes, years, I'm not exaggerating! Almost everything in them was trash. It was mostly old paperwork that I didn't need anymore. I saved some report cards for keepsakes, found one savings bond and a few other keepers, but the rest went in the trash. I also realized one of the boxes was craft supplies. I have been looking for the beads that were in there forever. I remember now that someone was doing a project for school and I brought the box out and never put it away. This whole time, I thought it had paperwork in it!

I took Hannah shopping today to get something for her Secret Santa. Each year, the 7 kids draw names and get a $20-$25 gift or gifts for their Secret Santa. They love this and have a wonderful time shopping for their person. Hannah also picked out a few things for herself that will be either from Gramma or Santa. I usually pick things up for the girls for my mom to give them because she doesn't really spend much time with them and really doesn't have a clue what they like or are in to. She used to just buy them things that she knew my niece would like and their tastes are much different, so I offered to get their gifts for her. Not exactly what I need, more shopping to have to do, but I prefer that to seeing their disappointed faces when they get things they aren't interested in. My mom always gives the boys money, so that one is easy.

After I dropped Hannah off at home, I picked Alex up from "Godspell" practice and took him shopping for himself from Santa and for his Secret Santa. I can't pick clothes out for him and that is all he wanted, because he needs to try them on. By the time we finished shopping, we forgot all about getting something for his Secret Santa! We did stop at Walmart and get frozen pizzas for dinner so I wouldn't have to cook when I got home.

After a full day of shopping, I came home, ate and then combed Shauna's hair out. She had washed and conditioned it herself, while I was gone. She did a really good job because she put the conditioner in and then combed it out, before rinsing it. That got a lot of the tangles out so it only took me about 45 minutes to comb it out. I just put it up in one pony, so I will have to either straighten it tomorrow or braid it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Out to lunch

I went out to lunch with two of Mike's sisters today. One lives in Richmond and the other still lives back in Chicago. We went to Red, Hot and Blue, which was delicious and had a very nice time. We spent almost two hours together, but then I had to leave to drive Steven to work, or so I thought. I rushed home to make sure he got to work on time and when I got there, he had already gotten a ride to work with is friend, Will. I'm really mad that he didn't call me and let me know, but that is classic Steven. I'm sure it never even crossed his mind.

We wouldn't have stayed too much longer anyway, Connie and Roni were going shopping and I'm sure they didn't want to stay in town too long or the ride back to Richmond would be horrible. We had a very nice visit. I hadn't seen Connie since Mike's mom died in August of 2005, so it was good to talk to her. Turns out she is having some of the same medical problems that Mike has had. She is getting really bad cramps in her legs and they can't find the cause. She doesn't have a blood clot, which Mike has, but she has very narrow veins and had to have an angioplasty. Also, both of the sisters have insomnia problems, just like their brother. They, however, both take medication for it, Mike doesn't.

Tooth fairy update

The tooth fairy's alarm worked and she remembered to put the money under the pillow, but the recipient forgot to check for it, so it is still there! Actually, the recipient (Shauna) said this yesterday, "Don't forget that the tooth fairy has to come tonight, MOM. I know the tooth fairy is you, MOM, so make sure you don't forget this time, MOM!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The tooth fairy is senile

The poor tooth fairy is WAY too old and has been doing this for WAY too many years. She can no longer remember to visit the children who lose a tooth and leave them a dollar. Since she forgot last night, she has to leave two dollars tonight. Ugh. At least this time she remembered to set an alarm to remind her to do it. When are these darn kids going to be done losing teeth????

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pizza cutter substitute

As I predicted would happen, Mike was not happy that Steven bought me the pizza cutter since he had planned to get that for me for Christmas. Being the good wife that I am, I figured I should tell my husband some other ideas. Since I haven't spoken, in person, with my husband since I mumbled "I love you" and "Have a good week" at 4:00 am Monday morning, as he headed out to the airport and I headed back to sleep, I figured that since he usually reads my blog, I should tell him here.

I want a large square of either granite or marble. I don't care what it looks like, but it should be at least 18" x 18", but not too wide to fit on the counter. I would also like a marble rolling pin, but that is not as important and I would prefer to wait for that, rather then spend too much on me at once! I saw a piece of marble at that kitchen store I love, for $14.99 but it was a little to small to roll out a large pizza crust. I'm thinking you can probably get a left over piece at a counter top store. Maybe even at Home Depot or Lowes.

Tail wagging

Luke was cuddling with Wrigley and he would wait until his tail stopped wagging and then say, "Idiot" in a nice voice. The tail began to wag, each time. Then he did it again, but said, "Wrigley" and the tail wagged twice as high and fast!

North Vs. South

Christmas decorating in the North usually involves a parka, ski gloves, a scarf and sometimes even a shovel and bag of rock salt. Christmas decorating in the South involves being a little patient and waiting for just the right day because you know that sometime between Thanksgiving and mid-December, it is going to be in the 70's! Now if I only could get these Southerners to put up colored lights (and lots of them!), I would be all set!

I know that the single candles in the window are very pretty and they are an invitation to the Christ child to come into your home. We had them in our windows when I was a kid, too, but we had colored lights surrounding them (in the shapes of Christmas trees, no less, thanks to my dad!) and we had colored lights lining the roof of the house. Here, many people just have the candles and maybe a wreath or two or maybe even a string of white lights on the house. Ugh!

I know, any Southerner who reads this will probably think my idea of Christmas decorating is gaudy and theirs is sophisticated. I agree, but I LIKE gaudy for Christmas! And what kid doesn't love to go see those crazy houses with tons of lighted, moving figures everywhere??? When I was kid, we went every year to a house that was a couple of blocks away from my grandparent's house in Palos Heights (Palos Gardens subdivision to be exact) that, rumor had it, a doctor owned. They always had one of those over-the-top Christmas displays. The kind of would never have at my own house, but love to see. That is one of my favorite childhood Christmas memories. I can still see the whole display in my mind.

Because money is tight, we may be cutting down on our lights this year. I'm not saying that for sure because if I get too many protests from the younger kids, I won't do it. Instead of putting the colored icicle lights on the lower and upper porches, I'm thinking of putting them only on the lower porch and only lighting them for a few hours a night. I will still put up the big wreath on the garage, that has tons of lights on it. Or more specifically, Mike and CUP will put up the big wreath.

Cream Cheese Pastry Results

I blogged about using margarine this year instead of butter in my cookie baking. I tried making a batch of Grammy's pastries with margarine, even though the recipe warns "do not substitute margarine for the butter". I'm not often a rule breaker, but in the name of being frugal, I'm willing to step over the line, as long as it's legal!

Well, here is what happened. The margarine pastry was way easier to roll out and form into cookies, way easier. The cookies looked the same, smelled the same, but didn't taste the same. They were really lacking in flavor. CUP came downstairs and I offered him some, not mentioning the experiment I was doing. He ate a couple and said, "Did you do something different with these, they don't taste as good at all." I guess I have my answer, I'm going to have to splurge on butter!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Court can be amusing

Read the post underneath this one first!

While in court today, a couple came in and sat on the bench behind us. I could see them out of the corner of my eye and they were sitting close together and at one point, one of the bailiffs yelled at them and told the one woman to get her head off the other woman's shoulder and for them to spread apart. She didn't actually yell, since court was in session, but she mouthed and pantomimed the warning in a way that left no doubt that she was yelling. It was pretty amusing.

We waited and waited while everyone got called, except for Steven and the person behind us. Finally they called the woman who had put her head on her partner's shoulder. She had her trial and they were pretty much finished talking and were waiting for the judge to finish writing something. The court room was really silent and besides the judge, the only other people in this large room were the two bailiffs, one lawyer and his client, the client's girlfriend, a representative from the probation department and us.

Suddenly, we hear a loud outburst of bottom noise from the bench behind us! Now I say bottom noise because that is what Denise's kids call it and I love that. My kids are not as politically correct as Denise's kids, so mine would have said we heard a loud fart! Now that is what I call court entertainment!

A proud parent moment

I always knew that my goal in life was to get married, have kids and adopt. I just always knew that I was going to do that, it wasn't a decision I made. I had no interest in a career or graduating from college. I never, in my wildest dreams about parenting, ever thought I would be in the situation that I am in today.

I think God has a good plan. He has made it so that future parents are not capable of accurately forecasting or understanding how much pain they would have to go through while raising their kids. Even though everyone tells you how hard it is and you see how they are struggling, you really can't grasp just how hard it will be. If it weren't this way, no one would ever have kids.

Today I sat in court while my son, Steven, was sentenced to 30 days in jail. I joked with Luke, a few hours later, that I felt like I should knock out a few of my teeth, put a wife-beater (or Dago-Tee, depending on what part of the country you are in) on Mike and sit in front of my trailer, smoking a corn cob pipe. I never could have imagined that a child of mine would serve time in jail. Maybe get a speeding ticket or detention in school, but jail???

After saying all that and as upset as I am to have a son who is going to jail, I am actually happy that he was sentenced to some jail time. He got an underage drinking charge last May and was put on probation. If he complied with the probation requirements, the charge would never go on his record. He complied with some of the things he was supposed to do. He went to the probation meetings, after a bad start when he "forgot" about the first one. He went back to the doctor and got a new prescription for his bipolar disorder meds, which he had stopped taking. He never filled the prescription. He went in for a drug test every time he was told to and failed every one. He went to an intake appointment for a substance abuse program, but then refused to go when he found out that the intake appointment was costing him $75 and each weekly meeting would cost another $35. He was supposed to go to MA, AA or NA meetings, which are free and he refused to go. He got several warnings from his probation officer, but he didn't care. In his mind, it was a much better way to go to just go ahead and get convicted. Unfortunately, his PO had told him that he would only get a slap on the wrist if he violated. He figured that would be cheaper and less effort than paying all the therapy and doctor fees and attending all the appointments.

Turns out she wasn't quite accurate about the slap on the wrist. Unless you consider 30 days in jail (he only has to serve 15, if he behaves), an $8 fee for each day served, $45 in court fees, revocation of driver's license for 6 months and a $150 fine a slap on the wrist. He still also has the original fine and court fee to pay, which he has been ignoring, so he might get another charge. Again, I'm not complaining, just pointing out how silly it was for him to believe that getting convicted was a good idea.

Is Steven upset about all this? Doesn't seem to be. He doesn't think it is any big deal because it is only "weekend time". He will have to present himself at the jail by 10 am every Tuesday and will have to be picked up at the jail (since he can't drive and has no car anyway) at 10 am every Thursday, beginning next week and lasting for 8 weeks. Yes, Mike or I have the pleasure of having to leave our house on Christmas morning to pick our son up from the jail. Oh, and we get to experience that same pleasure again on New Year's Day. And there goes the whole family being together for Christmas Eve, which is the main celebration day in our family.

I always try to find a bright side to things that suck in life and there are actually several here. Firstly, Steven might actually learn something from this. I doubt it, but it is possible. Maybe he will begin to understand that you can't do whatever you want and get away with it. Maybe he will start to mature a bit when he sees all the low lives that he will be living with in jail. Maybe he will get tired of paying all those fees and behave. Lastly, he has to wear whitey-tighties under his jail uniform, which I think is hilariously funny! For someone like Steven, having to buy and then wear white briefs might just be more of a punishment than doing the actual jail time!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Funny memories

CUP didn't believe that I hadn't even heard of pot when I was 9 years old. That is a true story. I also didn't have any clue that sex existed until I was in 6th grade. When I found out, I was absolutely HORRIFIED! I spent the next 2 years or so trying to get over the shock! After finding out, I remember looking at pregnant woman with the thought, "Oh my God, they must have "done that sick, disgusting thing" at least once!" LOL! I also never heard the "F" word (at least not that I remembered, more on that later) until I was in 7th grade and the boy with the locker next to me (a really nasty kid, who was mean to me and would slam his door open on my fingers!) said it all the time. I guess I was sheltered, but I really my kids had been able to have as innocent a childhood as I did!

As for the "F" word, my first memory of hearing it was in 7th grade. My mom says I actually said it when I was little! Now my parents never said that word. The only swearing I remember from them was an occasional damn (with a God in front, if they were really angry) or shit on a shingle (my mom's phrase). There was a family who lived two doors down from us, they were sort of the redneck type, but very nice. The mom, who had a son my age, used to call my mom and ask her to send me down because she really liked having me around and thought I was so cute. She eventually had a daughter and named her Michelle! Anyway, apparently, they used the "F" word quite frequently in their house. My mom said that one day, when I was 2, I came home from there and opened our kitchen door, which pointed directly to our next door neighbor's house and started yelling "F" YOU! out the door, at the older lady who lived there and was out in the yard! My proper Bostonian mother was mortified to say the least! I'm assuming she put soap in my mouth and I never said it again.

Same for the "N" word. I said it one time and one time only. I was 5 and my sister was 1. She had a wooden giraffe ride on toy that you could also push. I remember that we were in the hall of our house and I wanted to push it and I guess she didn't want me to. I got mad and called her the "N" word. All I remember is that right after saying it, I felt myself being lifted to my feet from behind (I was kneeling) by my ponytail and rushed to the bathroom, where my mouth was promptly washed out with soap. My mother said, "Don't you EVER say that word again". I had no idea what the word meant, but you can rest assured I never said it again! I've since told my mom that story, she doesn't remember, but is sure that I must have learned that word at the same neighbor's house because we didn't hang around with anyone else who talked like that.


I spent many hours today, trying to organize my stupid, stupid coupons. Okay I have a love/hate relationship with my coupons. I love to save money, I hate to have to use coupons to do it. It is incredibly difficult, time consuming, and stressful for me to try to organize anything, including coupons. I just was born without the Organization Gene. I have come to terms with that, finally, but it doesn't make it any easier.

I know I will never, ever be organized. It just isn't possible. I am going to, however, continue to take baby steps towards being as organized as I can be.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Santa Smokes????

Last year my sister took my niece to the local Christmas Parade. Our family was in the parade for hockey, but that is another story! They always arrive to everything late, so they were at the end of the parade route. The route turns there, goes on for a few more houses and then breaks up in the William and Mary parking lot. Apparently, Santa jumped out of his float where the route turns, but also where the parade isn't quite over yet. He lit a cigarette immediately upon jumping off the float, right where all the little kids could see him. Ugh!

Well, my sister was talking to my niece (now 9) about the parade and Sydnee said, "I know that wasn't the real Santa last year". My sister said, "I know, it couldn't be the real Santa because Santa doesn't smoke." Sydnee said, "Right the real Santa doesn't smoke cigarettes, he smokes pot!" My sister was horrified, but after questioning Sydnee, she realized that she meant that he smokes a pipe. Apparently 9 years old are now aware that pot can be smoked in a pipe. I didn't even know pot existed when I was 9!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The events of the day

I don't have a whole lot to blog about tonight, but since I get yelled at for not blogging every day, here goes. Nothing broke today and no one had any meltdowns so it was a good day. We had a delicious dinner of baked potatoes and fixings. Mike did a ton of laundry and Hannah helped me clean my bathroom. Now I just have to work on sorting out the books that were in there! I made two more batches of Christmas cookies. One batch of Grammy Foley's Cream Cheese Pastry and a batch of Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies. I did some dishes and am getting close to having all the dirty dishes done. I'm sure that won't last for more than 10 minutes or so, but it's a goal of mine anyway.

Jack picked up the new toaster oven for us, which is really nice. I'm looking forward to talking to and/or meeting the woman who gave it to us. She is not only the step-mom of my former hockey player, but she is a foster parent, is in the process of adopting a daughter from Texas and is a daycare provider.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Toaster Oven

As the resident poltergeist is still active in our house, our two toaster ovens needs replacing. Well, we only need one, but the two we have now are in really bad shape. They burn everything and smell really bad when turned on, so I've been expecting them to blow up at any time. I didn't want to have to buy a new one at this time of year. Luckily I saw one offered on freecycle and we were picked to receive it! Yay!

I also think the woman who offered it to us is the mom of a sweet little autistic boy that I used to coach in hockey. What a small world.

Christmas Cookies

I started making Christmas cookies today. I made two batches of sugar cookies and two batches of vanilla refrigerator cookies today. I froze the dough so we could have fresh cookies when we are ready to make them. I've frozen cooked cookies before, but they don't taste quite the same.

In my ongoing effort to save money , I'm using margarine instead of butter this year. I prefer butter in baking, but since butter is $2.50 a pound and margarine is only .73 a pound, my choice has sort of been made for me! I even had several .50 off coupons for Blue Bonnet which helped even more. I was also able to get 4 pounds of sugar for .99 and 5 pounds of flour for .99. I'm going to be sending Mike and a few boys to the store for more before the sale ends, since only one per person is allowed. At those prices, each batch of cookies actually cost less than $1!

I love being able to pop some frozen dough out of the freezer and just bake it. It is so much less messy than pulling out all the individual ingredients. I'm working towards a stress-free Christmas this year, as I haven't had one of those since Jack and Drew were little!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Steven applied for a new job and has been playing phone tag with the human resource lady for the past week or so. I talked to her today when she called, but he was at work. She is going to try to call when he is home tomorrow morning. He likes his current job, but is looking for more money and hopefully some benefits.

Steven just got home from work a few minutes ago and told me that he would like to get the new job and still keep his current job, as well. I was thinking of mentioning that he should try to keep his current job, at least part time, but I was afraid to mention it. Sometimes if something is my idea, he automatically thinks it is a bad idea! I am proud of him for being willing to work extra hours. I'm not sure how that will work out, but we will see. I would think that his current place would be happy to keep him because he is a hard worker and has done a great job of showing up and even working when he is very sick. This is the first job where he has done that, in the past he has called in sick when he just doesn't feel like going, etc. I guess he is starting to grow up a bit. Yay!

Today's meltdown, starring ME!

Usually when a post contains meltdown in the title, you can count on it being about Hannah. Well, not today. Hannah has actually been doing really, really well. I thought I was, too. I had gotten home from grocery shopping and was starting dinner. I asked one of the kids to tell Luke to come downstairs and I asked him to make the sauce for the pizza I was making. He started complaining about not wanting to do it and I lost it. I yelled at him about how sick I am of people arguing with me about every little thing that I ask them to do, etc. It didn't last long, just two or three sentences.

I went from being perfectly happy (well as happy as I could be while making dinner, anyway) to yelling and crying and being totally upset within seconds. I don't know why. Maybe stress, I was listening to a Dr. Phil and it was about husbands and wives dealing with the stress of financial problems and that was stressing me out! Mike and I have been dealing with that since the end of 2001, but now that so many people are in the same boat as we have been for years, it is constantly on my mind because of the frequent reminders that are everywhere. I haven't yelled or anything since that one incident, but I have felt like crying, I've been nauseous and feeling really depressed since then. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day and I won't feel so overwhelmed.

Okay, I'm done moaning now. On the bright side, the homemade pizza was delicious and my new pizza cutter from Steven worked great.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Steven surprises me!

Steven wanted to buy new shoes and had enough money for them. He wanted me to get up early yesterday and take him to the outlet mall to get them. I hate getting up early, especially on Monday, so I told him I would take him on Tuesday because he didn't have to be at work until 2:00. So, we went to the outlet mall today and he picked out a very nice pair of shoes that were also on sale. He couldn't get the ones that he really wanted because his size was gone, but the ones he got look good.

After we finished at the Nike store, I wanted to take a quick look around in my favorite kitchen store, which is only a few down from Nike. Mike was saying he wanted to get me a new pizza cutter for Christmas, so I figured I would check them out and see which one I wanted. I LOVE this store and I walked around looking at all the cool stuff with a big smile on my face! I looked at the pizza cutters and decided that I would tell Mike to get the KitchenAid pizza cutter because that looked like the nicest one. I then did a quick tour of the store. Steven mentioned that we needed to leave to get him to work on time. I said I will be done in a minute or two. When I turned, Steven was gone, so I figured he had gone to wait outside for me. I started for the front of the store and only stopped once, to look at a marble board, so I was pretty proud of myself since I wanted to stop and look at everything! When I got near the front door, there was Steven, walking towards me with a bag. He handed me the bag with the pizza cutter I wanted and said, "Here I got this for you."! I was so excited because it isn't very often that Steven does anything like this and I was really proud of him.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Alexander Justin Green!

Happy 14th Birthday Alexander Justin Green! Thank you, Elizabeth, for giving birth to such a great kid and sharing him with us. I'm sure she is celebrating Alex's birthday in heaven.

Whewww, that is the last birthday until March. Of the 9 people in our family, 6 of them have birthdays between September 29th and December 1st. Not the greatest time of year, financially, to have so many birthdays, with back to school and holiday expenses, but what can you do?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In law visit

We went to Richmond today to visit with Mike's sister and her family. We haven't seen them in about two and a half years, I think. Mike's mom died in August of 2005 and I think we saw them a few months after that and they may have come over here once more, I'm thinking spring of 2006 or so. Mike has never been close to any of his sisters, although we usually have fun with them when we are together.

The younger kids had fun with their two cousins, Cathy and Chas. Roni invited them for a sleepover during Christmas break, so that should be fun for them.

I made a point of putting my camera in my purse last night so I wouldn't forget it today. Well, I didn't forget it, but I did forget I had it and, therefore, have no pictures. I hope I remember to take some when we see them at Christmas time.

Happy Birthday Drew Michael

Happy 23rd Birthday, Drewie! Drew spent the weekend with his friends in Norfolk. I called him today and told him that he should spend every birthday with his mother, since I was there for the first one and that started a tradition, but he was having none of it.

My chubby-cheeked, 9 pound, 13 ounce baby boy now towers over me. He still has those big blueberry eyes, though!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

23 years ago tonight....

I went into labor during Wheel of Fortune. The kids really enjoyed hearing all about it at dinner tonight! (In case it isn't obvious, I was being sarcastic.) Hey, that kid was a month overdue, I'll talk about it for the rest of my life, if I want to!!!!

Here is a picture of Drew, 20 years ago, on his third birthday. He was the cutest little thing! He had the biggest, bluest eyes and the longest, dark brown eyelashes. He hated the long eyelashes, but I think every check out clerk we ever went to, commented on how beautiful they were. He was forever getting an eyelash in his eye and it was so hard to get them out.

Out with the old, in with the almost new

I have had it with my couches and decided it is time for a family room make over. We have had this sectional for 8 years now and it is in horrible condition. It is covered with rips from the cats scratching on it and the recliner part has been broken for a long time. The whole thing is falling apart and looks terrible. We cannot afford a new one, so I decided to get some slip covers (even though I hate slip covers!) for a couch and loveseat that I have, but haven't really been using. I waited for several months until I found the slip covers on a really good sale.

I was not prepared for all the opposition I would get on this decision. Almost every single kid was in an uproar because I was getting rid of the green couches. Here are some of the things I heard, "But that couch is my life!", "You can't get rid of it, I sleep there.", "But I love those couches.", "Why do we have to get rid of them, they're fine."

Here are the pictures, THIS is the couch they were crying and complaining about, you be the judge:

One of the cat scratched areas

A nice close up of the rips and stains

Here is the old blue couch in the process of getting it's new look. This one is stained, but still in good condition. The material just didn't stand up to our family!

Cute Pictures


Miss Banana

My sister, Tricia, brother in law, Tim, niece, Tatum and my mom

Niece Sydnee, Shauna, nephew Lucas

My oldest, Jack and youngest, Shauna

Lemon & Lime Cakes

Alex was having a pot luck lunch between performances today and they were going to celebrate his birthday. He wanted me to make a dessert, so I made a recipe that I've been wanting to try. It came out really delicious and was so easy! I made a lime and a lemon cake. YUMMY!

Here is the recipe:

Pastel Pound Cake

One white or yellow cake mix
3 ounce any flavor jello mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs

Mix all for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Pour into two sprayed loaf pans (9 x 5 x 3)and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.


1 cup powdered sugar
lemon juice

mix lemon juice in until it is a good consistency and drizzle over the cake.

The cats helped with Hannah's science project!

Hannah had to do a project for science. In the past, projects have been really stressful for her and me. This time, she was allowed to work with a partner. She did a great job, not waiting until the last minute and working hard on all the paperwork part of the project. They had to make an edible Bohr model of Zinc. Hannah decided that she wanted to make a pizza model. We made the pizza last night and it came out really good. She used cheese for the rings, turkey for the electrons, sausage for the protons and pepperoni for the neutrons, with a sauce-only nucleus. It actually came out much better than I thought it would, so we were happy with it.

I put the pizza on the counter to cool. When I went to cover it and put it in the refrigerator, I was horrified to discover that one of the cats (who shall remain nameless, mainly because I don't know who it was!) had eaten a bunch of the neutrons!!!! I didn't have any more sauce made and putting the pizza together had been a huge pain in the butt, so there was no way I was going to make another. So, this morning, I had to cook some more turkey and replace the eaten areas. It worked out fine, thankfully.

On a related subject, Luke is so smart. Hannah and I were frantically searching the internet (because she forgot which website she had found it on previously) for what the model was supposed to look like. I had no idea what it was called and Hannah told me to search for "a round thing with zinc stuff on it". Hmm, I didn't try it, but I'm pretty darn sure that doing a google search for that wouldn't have turned up an answer! Luckily, Luke came downstairs while we were searching and I asked him if he knew what it might be called or what I should search for. He matter of factly replies, "Oh, a Bohr model, B-o-h-r". I must have learned that at some point in my life, but I sure don't remember. I guess it just always surprised me a little when Luke comes up with things so easily. This is the same kid who spends every spare moment playing computer games and scours the internet for "useless facts" when he finished his classwork in computer class. I think he also has the script for every single Family Guy episode stored in his head. Of course, he is also addicted to the History and Discovery Channels, so I guess that might offset some of the other things. It will be very interesting to see his resume when he graduates from college!

Alex's Play

Mike, Jack and I finally got to go see Alex in "Father of the Bride" last night. It was sooo good! I didn't realize from just reading the script that it would be so funny. Alex did a great job, as did almost all of the other actors. There was only one who had obviously not acted before, but even he did an okay job.


Thanksgiving was very nice this year. We were disappointed that we couldn't afford to go to Chicago, since this was supposed to be our year to go, as we try to go every other Thanksgiving. The weather was beautiful, it's been in the 50's and 60's for the last week or so.

We went to my sister's house, but my mom and I did all the cooking, since my sister doesn't cook. She did make two pumpkin pies, though. A former neighbor of my mom's also came with her family. Things went well, with no major drama, which is really unusual for our family!!!! My mom wasn't even cranky, like she almost always is on holidays. The only rough patch was when my sister insisted on waiting to have dessert until my niece got home from work. The neighbor family was obviously ready to leave, as their 3 year old was getting antsy and the kids were all very anxious for dessert. Well, we ended up waiting about an hour and then my niece got home, ate her dinner plate in the corner of the kitchen and then headed to her room to talk on the phone and use the computer. I'm still trying to figure out why we had to inconvenience everyone else to wait for that! She barely said two words to anyone and disappeared. Oh well, I guess I should be very thankful that that was the only annoying thing that happened.

We brought the Wii, which kept the younger kids occupied and happy, but my older ones were pretty bored.

The kids were all disappointed that my mom didn't give them their usual Christmas ornament. She started a tradition when Jack and Drew were babies, of giving each of the kids an ornament with the year and their name on it. I guess she just decided that she didn't want to bother anymore or that the expense wasn't worth it. The kids didn't want to be rude so they acted like it didn't matter too much, but they all expressed their disappointment when we got home. Even Drew was disappointed!

Our dinner was delicious! Here is the menu, so I won't forget next year. I didn't forget the candied carrots that I usually make and Steven was upset about that.

Turkey (1 18 pound Butterball turkey and one turkey breast-there weren't enough leftovers for us to take any home, so that was disappointing)

Sweet potatoes with cinnamon and sugar

Broccoli Casserole (note for next year, made two 9 x 13 disposable pans, used 6-2 pound bags broccoli cuts (1 1/2 bags per layer), precooked in microwave, one large Velveeta slices per pan and did not use butter on the bottom layer of crackers)

Strawberry Jello with cream cheese layer and pretzel crust

Cranberry Jello ring

Make Ahead mashed potatoes

Cranberry sauce

French bread




Pumpkin pies

Frozen French Silk pie

Lemon Squares

Cream cheese brownies

Apple-Pecan Pie (no one ate any!)

Whipped Cream