Tuesday, November 30, 2004


We're back home after a trip to Northern California for Thanksgiving. It seems it takes me almost as long to get back to 'normal' as we are gone - three day trip, three days to recover. We had a really nice time with Stu's family, and the kids had a ball. They are the only kids in Stu's mom's family, so imagine about thirty adults (sometimes more!) and my two kids, and you can imagine the attention they get. They had such fun. Our trip home, however, was anything but fun. It normally takes us about six and a half hours to do this drive. The trip up was our best yet - less than half an hour of screaming from Samuel and only two stops to use the potty and grab some food. Back, however . . . . the first five and a half hours were ok. We went in and out of light showers, but the kids were great. We hit the grapevine, and drove through some thick clouds and heavy rain. Scary. At the top, the clouds parted and it was beautiful. Then we descended into hell, or something like it. Thick black clouds, heavy heavy rain, and Samuel, poor boy, got carsick. He threw up all over himself, and then screamed for the last hour and a half (or was it two?) it took us to get home. By the time we arrived, I was near tears because I had to pee so bad and my back hurt from twisting around to try and comfort Samuel. Stuart was on edge because he had to drive with all that mess, and Samuel was screaming "Daa! Daa!" for the last fifteen minutes of our trip. Sally was tense because I told her to be quiet - we could only handle one crisis child at a time, and it was Samuel's turn. Samuel, well, he was so happy to get out of the car, and he had those shaking sighs that follow a big cry. You would think that after all that, he'd sleep like a log. Oh no, not so. He climbed out of his crib. First time! I thought the cries sounded funny, so I went to check on him, and opened the door to his room and ran into him. Scared the *@#* outta me! So now we enter a new nighttime phase, one where the eighteen-month-old has access to the whole house while we sleep. Great. I'd like to say it scared him enough to not climb out again, but I know better. He fell off the kitchen chair - landed on his head and back - and was up on it again within ten minutes. Sometimes I just shake my head and thank God we have insurance. And speaking of thanks, I started this post with our Thanksgiving, and so I'll end with what I'm thankful for: my wonderful husband and great kids - the biggest blessings in my life. My extended family, who are all great people and love my kids. The comforts of my life, my house, my car, food to eat, clothes to wear. A country where freedoms are sometimes taken for granted - a true luxury. I'm thankful to God, who loves us so much, and sent us the Saviour He promised, Jesus Christ. As we enter the Christmas season, reminders of His love are everywhere. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Quote for the Day

"It is not the number of books you read, nor the variety of sermons you hear, nor the amount of religious conversation in which you mix, but it is the frequency and earnestness with which you meditate on these things till the truth in them becomes your own and part of your being, that ensures your growth."
Frederick Robertson

Sunday, November 21, 2004

As Good As It Gets

My favorite quotable movie is "Tommy Boy." That is, it was. We watched "As Good As It Gets" last night, and I don't know if it was the late hour, the happy state of mind I was in, or the sudden downpour that we had to go out in - in the night - to put plastic over our newly installed window (more on that later), but it is now number one on my quotables list. Let me share my favorite lines:

Sell crazy somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.
Aren't you worried someone might take him? (meaning the dog) Well I am now!
Good times; noodle salad.
You make me want to be a better man.
A load has been lifted.
I'm drowning and you're describing the water!
She's evicted me from my life!
I like you, but you bother me greatly.
I'm gonna grab ya.

See more at IMDb.

Friday, November 19, 2004

It's me in the morning! :) My friend Sherry has been toon-ing all her friends. She did a nice one of me, but this one makes me laugh. (Look around her blog for a link to do your own toon!) Posted by Hello

Fat Turkeys

This is one of the songs Sally learned at school this week. I swear! I guess public schools aren't vegetarian pc, are they? (This had me on the floor laughing. I made her sing it about ten times)

Gobble Gobble Gobble
Fat Turkeys
Fat Turkeys
Gobble Gobble Gobble
Fat Turkeys are we
We're not here for living
We're here for Thanksgiving
Gobble Gobble Gobble
Fat Turkeys are we

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Full Hearts

It's been such a great morning. Stuart and I started out with some warm baby cuddling with Samuel at 6:00 - a bit early, but it was nice. Then the kids and I had to go to the grocery store, so a morning trip means coffee for mom and a donut to take home for breakfast. Lovely! While we were eating our donuts, Sally yells out, "My loose tooth is out! My loose tooth is out! Oh I am so happy!" Dancing and more yelling followed, and then phone calls to Daddy and Grandmas to share the news. And, if that wasn't enough, two little birds found a puddle on our spa cover, and took a little bath. The kids and I watched, Samuel pointing and saying "birrr", and Sally hugged me and said, "My heart is full. God gave me such a good morning." My heart is full, too. What a beautiful morning!

Sally lost her first tooth today. Great rejoicing! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Here's another one. Posted by Hello

Holiday photos. Thank you, Sears. Posted by Hello

My Book Blog?

I started this blog to tell my kid stories - you know, the ones that start with "Sally did the cutest thing yesterday . . . " or "Listen to how smart Samuel is - he just . . . " The ones that people get tired of, so I thought this format would be perfect - if you aren't tired of them, come, read. If you are, go do something else. We're not forcing you to read. But I'm amazed at how my blog seems to take on a life of its own, going in places that I never planned to go. That said, I started a new book last night. I know what some of you are thinking - this girl! She has five books going now, and she starts a NEW ONE??? So I have an excuse. Want to hear it? There I was, getting some books for Stuart from the library last night. It worked out well - I needed some alone time, he wanted to watch the football game and can watch the kids at the same time. So I'm off to the library (which I found out has a limit of 35 items. 35!!! yowza) and I find his books and I'm waiting in line to check out. And it's a long line. And then I see a Janet Evanovich book I've never read, Visions of Sugar Plums. It's a Stephanie Plum book (so funny). I can't resist. I pick it up. The line is very long, so I open it to the first page. By the time I check out, I'm to page five and totally hooked. I read for a few hours last night, and now I'm half way through. I'll be finished by tomorrow, and then it's back to Lord Peter at the advertising agency. I feel like a literary mess, but in a good way.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Musical Books

I have only read a few pages of the promising Lost In A Good Book and Stuart finished his book and asked to read it first. Not a problem, because I have another one from the library waiting for me. So, although it's probably bad form to list both of them now since I'm not really reading both of them, too bad. This is my blog and I want to! :) So there they both are, over there on the right of your screen, with the nifty blue "new" that I taught myself to do! (too many Dr. Seuss books)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I Spy

While Uncle Jon was here, he played several games of "I Spy" with Sally. Our favorite - by far - was this one:
Uncle Jon - "I spy something invisible"
Sally - "The sky?"
UJ - "No, you can see that."
S - (burps) "My burp?"
(Uncle Jon and Mommy are speachless as we are laughing so hard, so Sally continues guessing)
S - "God?"
UJ - "No, it was your burp. You got it."

Another good one was this (this one is long, so I've taken the liberty of editing it):
UJ - "I spy something silver"
S - "Mommy's bracelet"
UJ - "No"
S - "Your ring"
UJ - "No"
S - "Samuel's book"
UJ - "No, but you are getting warmer"
S - "Samuel's carseat"
UJ - "No"
S - "Samuel's shirt"
UJ - "No. Here's a hint: it's something that has pink and green playdough on it"
S - "Samuel's pants" (his shirt and pants were NOT even silver!)
UJ - "No"
S - "Samuel's hands"
UJ - "No"
Mom -"What would have playdough on it? What would he use to step on playdough?"
S - "Samuel's feet"
UJ - "No"
S - "Samuel's belly"
(Mom bangs her head against the steering wheel)
UJ - "No. What would he step with?"
S - "Samuel's toes"
UJ - "No"
Mom - "What do you walk with?" (I turn around and tap her shoes)
S - "Samuel's shoes"

Reality TV Confessions

OK, I know I had the big rant about how I dislike reality tv. But this season, there are several reality shows that I really like, perhaps even am hooked on. Although none of them are TiVo-ed yet - the sure sign that I love a show - I am close to programming a few of them.

Extreme Home Makeover - I cry every episode. It's like "It's a Wonderful Life" every week. I think it is great that abc is helping people who really need it and/or deserve it. The show where they worked on the house of the single mom with two adopted 12-yr old sons was just beautiful.

Wife Swap - It's so horrible and funny at the same time. This last week, it was the sheltered, vegetarian homeschoolers swapping with the junk food, tv-loving public schoolers. It was so very funny. The junk food mom arrived at the homeschool house, and couldn't believe there were five kids in the house and no meat. She said, "I'm gonna die here." When she saw the homeschool materials, she sighed and said, "Oh no, I'm gonna mess these kids up." After five days, she threw out all the rules, sent them to public school, and ordered up satellite tv. After a dinner of brightly colored junk food and hot dogs, the kids went to bed happy, but with "upset tummies." Of course, the public school kids hated their new mom, but the dad was a great sport at first, and tried to enforce the rules. Every week, at the end, all spouses hug their mates and tell them "I love you" and "I'm so glad we have each other." Watching it, you feel the same way about your own spouse. Thank God we have each other!

Nanny 911 - I said I wouldn't watch this, but Stuart calls out, "Oh Sheila, you have to see this. You won't believe these people!" And with that, I was hooked. (See? It really is his fault! :) ) I can't believe some parents! It is awful to watch a grown adult being manipulated by a four year old, yet you can't stop watching. The nannies have some really good advice, and are very restrained. I'd show up and say, "Discipline your brats! Come on people!" Obviously, I'm not nanny material.

Faith Under Fire - This one I TiVo-ed, because I usually don't watch tv late on a Saturday night, and I didn't want to miss Tony Campolo. Thanks to my friend's blog for recommending this show to me. It does a good job of presenting both sides of an issue. My favorite - the Christain vegan who actually tried to convince us that Jesus was a vegetarian. Did he miss the part about prepairing the passover lamb?

Well, they may not all be good shows, but they are reality tv that appeals to me. Much better than watching girls wearing bikinis eating insects.

This is Samuel's latest thing. If you ask him something about food - "Do you want some lunch?" "Do you want a cracker?" - he'll get all excited and cover his mouth with his hands, as if to say, my goodness, that is just too much for me to take! Posted by Hello

Here is Samuel saying the word 'shoe.' I love his lips! Posted by Hello

It's Bucket Boy! He climbs furniture in seconds! He grinds Cheerios into bits with his bare hands! He wears a bucket on his head! (don't know why) Look out - here he comes! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Nice Day

Uncle Jon (Stu's cousin) is visiting us this week, and we had a nice day with the kids. Coffee and Lucky Charms for breakfast. Sally had school and Samuel had a nap, then we went to the park and fed the ducks. We collected some leaves (yellow and red ones - in Southern California!) and then saw two chickens. I'm not kidding - two chickens at the park. We were amazed. We went to 31 Flavors for an ice cream cone - yum. Then it was home to play playdough. Dinner. Sally's dance class. Home for more art stuff, jammies, milk, a story. Bedtime. Blogtime. Thanks, God, for such a nice day.

Sally, Samuel, and I feed the ducks at the park. If you click on this pic, you'll get a larger view and you can see my hand is blurry. Samuel would just stand there and hold the piece of bread. He wouldn't throw it. He'd hold it out. I'm trying to get him to throw it into the water. He never got the hang of it, but had a fun time anyway. Posted by Hello

Uncle Jon and Sally at the park. Posted by Hello

Monday, November 08, 2004

Ma! Ma!

Samuel is learning lots of new words these days. The one that takes me by surprise all the time is he'll be doing something - maybe looking at a book, maybe playing with a toy - and he'll shout out "Ma! Ma!." If I am close, he'll pat my arm while he yells at me. Then I'll say "What, son?" and he'll babble something or point and say something I don't understand. It's funny. His best word is still "Bob", for Spongebob, of course. Spongebob merchandise is everywhere now, so whenever we are in the store, it's "Ma! Ma! BOB! Ma! Ma! BOB!" Pretty funny. He tries to say dog, cat, Sally, please, and "what is that?" He can also sign 'more' (which he thinks means please) and 'thank you' (which he combines with a blowing kiss). He's growing up so fast. Tonight he fell asleep during dinner. I looked over at him, thinking he's been pretty quiet, and he's slumped over in the highchair. Tough day.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Back When We Were Grownups

I finished this book last night, and I hated the ending. Actually, I didn't like the whole last quarter of the book, but I liked the first half so much that, overall, I can say it's a pretty good book. In the first half, Rebecca is looking back on her life and wondering how it would be different if she chose a different path, if she would be happier. She has a dream about having a son (she has all daughters) and she takes this dream and adds to it in daydreams that slowly start to seem more real than her real life. The way Tyler describes this is just brilliant. It feels almost like a dream. I'm looking forward to my next book, Lost in a Good Book. It's the second book about Thursday Next, a wonderful character. Jasper Fforde's first book, The Eyre Affair, is one of my favorite books - it is clever beyond description. I highly recommend it. If I were an English teacher, I would have my students read it after they read Jane Eyre. It is just wonderful. I'm so looking forward to reading Lost in a Good Book. I just hope I can make it last more than two days :)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Just Another Day in Paradise

What does a stay-at-home mom do all day? Good question. I'm going to jot down everything I do today, to show you what's typical. This could be long - maybe you should go get a snack.

5:00 am - Samuel wakes up early. I listen to him scream for 15 minutes, then get up, change him, and bring him to bed with me. He hugs me.
5:45 - He is still awake, so I go get him a sippy cup of milk. At least he'll be quiet, and maybe I can get a few more minutes of sleep.
6:05 - He's not quiet anymore. He keeps poking me in the face and saying "Ma! Ma!" I take him to his room. He screams.
6:15 - Sally gets up and tells me she'll go sing to Samuel. I thank God for her and go to sleep.
6:30 - My alarm goes off. I hit snooze.
6:40 - My alarm goes off. I get up, get Sally cereal, start coffee. I get the dog out of the garage, turn on the dryer for 15 minutes (last night's load is still in there) and grab a basket. I feed the dog and put him outside. I make myself a cup of coffee (ahh) and make Sally's lunch. I pick out Sally's outfit and tell her to get dressed. I kiss Stuart goodbye and tell him to have a good day.
7:00 - I get a shower, get dressed, change Samuel's diaper, get him dressed. I brush Sally's hair and put it in a ponytail. I tell her to brush her teeth and find a jacket. I finish getting myself ready. I load the empty basket with dirty clothes, and put it by the door to the garage.
7:40 - We walk Sally to school.
8:10 - I return home with Samuel; I bring in the empty garbage cans (yesterday was trash day) and the newspaper.
8:12 - I let myself blog for 5 minutes. (yeah - creative freedom!)
8:17 - I set up the pack and play (playpen) because Mia is coming today and make my bed. I stop Samuel from cleaning the toilet. I start a new load of laundry. I change Samuel's diaper - this takes me awhile, because it is down both legs and he needs new clothes.
8:40 - I fold the clothes that I washed yesterday and put them away. I play with Samuel, chase him around the house a bit, kiss him, tickle him. I give him a banana and more cheerios and another cup of milk.
9:30 - Samuel goes to bed for an early nap. I make myself an omlette (brunch for today since I missed breakfast) and enjoy the quiet.
9:45 - Mia arrives. I play with her for a bit, tickle her, hug her. She's such a sweetie!
10:00 - Mia goes to bed for a nap. I clean up the kitchen, put the laundry in the dryer, talk to Stuart on the phone. I do some paperwork for Sally's teacher.
10:45 - I take a blog break and check my email. I make a few phone calls.
11:00 - I wake up the kiddos, load them into the stroller, and go get Sally from school.
11:30 - Back home! I start Sally on her homework, change Samuel's diaper, get Mia some lunch, get Sally some lunch, find Samuel and give him some lunch. My sister calls, so I talk to her while I feed the kids. I get the glitter gels for Sally to finish decorating her turkey feather for school tomorrow. I help Sally fix her glitter because she has it too thick and it will never dry. I clean up the kids and their lunch. I set up a fan to dry Sally's feather. I put Samuel's carseat back together - this takes me awhile because it is complicated (it had to be washed and air-dried, so all the straps are off) and because he keeps helping me. I change Mia's diaper. I tell Sally to pick up her shoes. I get Samuel out of the carseat (he's stuck).
12:55 - I reward myself with 5 mins. of blog writing & reading. My 5 minutes are cut short because Samuel needs to be changed - Sally informs me he smells bad.
12:58 - I change Samuel's diaper. I play with Mia and Samuel in his room. Sally wants to do a puzzle, so we pick one out and get it set up.
1:30 - I put Mia and Samuel to bed for an afternoon nap. Sally and I work on the puzzle and watch "Hercules".
2:30 - Mia is up already. We play with her. We have an afternoon snack. I clean up the kitchen.
3:45 - Samuel gets up. I get him a snack, change Mia's diaper, help Sally with her computer. I unload the clothes in the dryer and start folding. I go and hang up a few shirts, and I put the playpen away. Mia and Samuel have followed me, and Samuel goes right for my toilet brush. I help him clean it, since he loves it, and we go finish the folding.
4:45 - Mia's dad comes and picks her up. Sally wants to play playdough, so we get it out. This is Samuel's first time. He loves it. I play with them for awhile. Stuart calls, and I talk to him while I clean up the playdough mess and Sally and Samuel watch an episode of SpongeBob. I start dinner - we always have leftovers on Thursdays because it's Stu's softball night, and I never know if he's going to eat here or after his game. So dinner's pretty easy tonight. I make some soup for the kids and feed them. I eat a salad. Stuart gets here and we eat together. We all relax and watch some tv. I want to watch a movie I TiVo-ed earlier today, so I send Stuart and Sally to our room to watch some Jackie Chan movie they are into, and I watch "Alex & Emma", a sappy but entertaining love story. I play with Samuel while I watch - I set up the blocks and he knocks them down. Then we play a little catch. I have to stop the movie twice to change Samuel. He ends up falling asleep on me.
8:30 - I carry Samuel to bed, and find that Sally has fallen asleep on my bed. Stuart puts her to bed and takes off for his softball game. I channel surf for a bit, then start cleaning up the family room. Toys, clothes, mail, cups of milk - they all seem to reproduce in this room. I go change into jammies, and wonder why I am so tired and have accomplished so little today.
9:30 - Post my last blog and talk to my sister on the phone for a bit. My last thing to do tonight is to clean the kitchen and get ready for bed. Hopefully I'll get to read a little before I go to sleep. I'm pretty tired though . . . .

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I just caught Samuel about to eat a dead grasshopper. "Get that out of your mouth!" is a common refrain at our house.

A New Blogger

Please join me in welcoming a new blogger - my friend Jaymarie! She's been checking out your blogs, so stop by her blog and say hi!

An Evil Genius At Work

I was talking with some friends last night, and I was reminded of myself as a teacher. One summer, in fact. I thought it would make a fun post, to remember that part of my life, and to introduce you to a part of me that you have never met, or maybe have met and forgotten. It was a lovely summer, and I was enjoying my class (high school math) - a good mix of older students who were repeating the class and younger students who were taking it during summer to get ahead. What pompous little social misfits they were! But I loved them - so smart, so eager to please. On a Wednesday, I gave an exam. I gave two or three a week, since we did a year's class in just six weeks. Anyway, as I was looking around the room, I saw it - a girl was cheating. I watched her, looking at a boy's test again and again. She was a junior, lovely red hair, a girl who liked to live dangerously, trouble. I was so mad at her. I started thinking about my options - call her parents, arrange a meeting with a counselor and her parents where I would accuse her of cheating and she would lie and say that I just hated her and was picking on her. Her parents would take her side. It would be unproductive and unsatisfying. Unjust. Unfair. I fumed. I was a smart girl; certainly I could come up with a better solution. And I did. That afternoon, I took Friday's exam and made four copies. Then, with a bottle of white-out and a black pen, I made four versions of the exam. They were brilliant - they looked the same, but had a number changed here, a word changed there. Then I made a seating chart. Friday came, and it was like Christmas Eve - the anticipation was almost too much to bear. As the kids came in, I made comments like "Don't get too comfy - we'll be changing seats for the test." I put all the smart kids in the back row of the room. I put the cheater, and others I thought may be cheating too, in the front. I put the boy they were cheating off of right in the middle, so everyone could have a good view of his paper. Then I passed out the tests. I had presorted them so that the smart boy would have one version, and all the cheaters around him would have different ones. It was so great. Then I did the calculator check. We used graphing calculators, and most of them had a cover that concealed a cheat card very easily. I found and confiscated two. (Later, while talking to these kids, the football player started to cry. That's right - I made a football player cry.) Of course, the cheater-girl failed her exam horribly - a 12%. True to form, she had copied most of the test - the different test. I had her. By noon, I finished grading the exams, and I found I had caught another cheater. This one had a 28%. I delivered the final blow - the phone call to the parent. "I'm sorry to bother you at work, Mr. Smith, but I am so concerned about your daughter. She was doing SO WELL in my math class, but today she got a 12% on the exam. I just don't know what happened. Yes, well she is now failing the class, and I just wanted to let you know right away. Oh, you are welcome - of course I'll keep you updated on her progress." Remember, this was FRIDAY. Both girls got grounded that weekend - one of them was grounded until she passed the class. Neither one ever looked me in the eyes again. They knew I knew. The best part about this whole situation was the look in the smart kids faces, the ones who worked hard and watched these slimy kids cheat and get good grades. No one had ever done anything like this before. Not one teacher had waged war against the cheaters, had worked to protect the privacy of the smart kids. No one until me. Their hard work was safe in my classroom. Every class I taught after this, I told the story of the summer school cheaters, and the battle that I won. I warned my students about cheating - I assured them they would be caught, and they would be punished. There would be justice in my classroom, and it would be dished out by me. I told them about the crying football player, about the Friday afternoon phone calls. They all thought I was psycho. I never caught anyone trying to cheat in my class again. That summer is one of my fondest memories.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Happy Halloween! Posted by Hello

The ballerina princess and the grumpy giraffe. Posted by Hello


Yesterday was Halloween, and again I was cheated out of my little lions. A few years ago, one of my friends gave me an adorable lion costume, with paws and claws and a mane and little lion ears and a very long tail. So cute. Finally, last year, Sally was big enough to wear it. But no! She wanted to be the turtle. Fine. In the after-halloween sale last year, I found a little jacket that was a lion - perfect size for Samuel for next year! Aha! I buy it. I wait. A few weeks into October, I get the costume box down and we try on the lions. They are SO CUTE. We are looking forward to matching. We tell people Sally and Samuel will be lions. Halloween morning dawns, and Sally gets in trouble for not listening, and whammo! She punishes me by changing her mind and deciding she doesn't want to be a lion; she wants to be a ballet dancer. So ok, Samuel's jacket is reversable - he goes as a giraffe. We get lots of candy; I claim all the dots. (Love the dots this year.) Fun times. We never made it to the pumpkin patch this year. This from the family that went three times a year for the past three years. This from the mom who was RECOGNIZED by the pumpkin patch employees from a previous year! Ah well. There's always next year!