Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Christmas Meme!

Karen did it to me again.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Almost all wrapping paper. Occasionally there may be a gift bag if the gift is just one of those crazy to wrap things.

2. Real tree or Artificial?

We've always done real before but this year we have an artificial tree.

3. When do you put up the tree?

Typically the first week of December, but I actually plan on putting ours up today (that's almost December) so it'll be up when the kids get home.

4. When do you take the tree down?

Shockingly late. Typically long after most other people do. I have a lot of heart shaped ornaments so it really can pass for a Valentine's tree as well. :)

5. Do you like eggnog?

Oh YES. We mix it with half milk to cut the thickness over here, but I've been known to abandon myself in a glass of pure nog.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

A stuffed Smurfette doll. I hadn't told anyone except for Santa that I wanted one so it really sealed the "Santa is real" thing for me to see it positioned there on the pink floral banana seat of a pink Huffy bike.

7. Hardest person to buy for?

The Man. Everything he wants is either insanely expensive or I have no idea what it really is.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

Goober, by far. He wants everything.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

No, but we do have a motion activated singing Christmas tree that freaks Goober out.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

I'm going to try to mail some this year... I actually never send any because I'm horribly disorganized. But I'm working on that.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

One time my mom bought me some super conservative outfit from Talbots that just completely wasn't my taste. She also bought it a size too big, which made me sure she thought I was fatter than I was. I was probably fourteen or something and Talbots just wasn't my bag, baby. Love you, Mom.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

A Christmas Story usually wins it for me... but last year we watched Shrek the Halls a trillion times and I loved it. It has found a solid holiday place in my heart.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

I'm usually starting a little before Thanksgiving and I've actually finished before Thanksgiving before. However, typically I'm still scrambling to get last minute gifts a few days before the date.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Not that I can think of.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

16. Lights on the tree?

Yes? Who doesn't put lights on their tree? Isn't that the point? I like them colorful and NOT BLINKING. However, our new artificial tree is all white lights. I'll live.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

I'll Be Home For Christmas and Hard Candy Christmas

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

This year we're traveling to Orlando to spend Christmas Eve at my sisters, but then we'll be home for Christmas Day.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's?


20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

an angel... but I sort of want a pretty lit star...

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Both. It's typically a two day present extravaganza.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

Every radio station around December 21st. There's only so much Christmas music I can handle.

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?

One year after Valentine's Day I found a display at some store of these little heart shaped ornaments. They may not have been marketed as Christmas ornaments but they go on our tree every year and I love them. They're red and pink and silver and puffy and they unleash the twelve year old girl in me.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

Every Christmas Eve we have a roast with Bearnaise sauce and these mashed potatoes that you would die for and asparagus. Yum. At The Man's aunts house the traditional fare is all there but I'm hooked on the sausage bread and the pumkin rolls.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

I truly just want to spend a happy and peaceful time with my family... no drama, no tension. Last year my mom had brain surgery on Christmas Eve so it was all a very tough day for us - but very eye opening as to what's really important. This year I just want to see smiles on everyone face.

O Christmas Tree...

Okay, so back in September The Man's cousin and I decided to have a garage sale. We didn't do very well with it and at the end of the sale I noticed that she hadn't sold this artificial Christmas tree and she was going to take it to Goodwill. Now, for a few years I've been debating getting an artificial tree but then I decide I'll wait until after Christmas when they're sure to be on super discount and I just end up never getting one.

So I was super excited and all giddy as I snatched her tree up and threw it in the back of the van. This evening I decided to drag it out and put it up. My first artificial tree! I began to imagine us all sitting in the living room drinking cocoa by the light of the tree for the next month.

I grabbed the box and put it on the couch in our living room and opened it up.


My first clue that this might not be the tree I was hoping for was that it came with its own tree stand. The tree stand seemed... well... less sturdy than the tree stand we always use.

But still I happily assembled the stand and started on the tree. In three pieces our tree came together. I stood back and looked.


Perhaps I have been spoiled by our trees in the past. This tree says it's 6 1/2 feet and we always shop in the 6 to 7 foot section of the tree places so I was a little shocked at how short the tree is. On the real trees I'm always dragging a stool out to put the angel on the top. But hey! No stool required on this one! That's good, right?

I probably should have realized that I wouldn't have been able to hoist the box for the tree I was imagining all by myself so easily. Then I noticed the clue I should have picked up on way back in September.


Now I see why she wasn't at all concerned about getting rid of this beauty. :)

Eh... it may not be the perfect tree, but I'm going to jazz it up anyhow. And then I'm totally hitting those after Christmas sales this year.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

They call it Black Friday because it is the color of their souls

Yesterday The Man and I decided to venture out for Walmart's 5 AM amazing super discount sale. Being that we're usually in North Carolina and have the responsibility of taking care of 3 little people we've never really had the opportunity to do so before.

At just a couple minutes after 5 we pulled in to the parking lot of the Super Walmart and noted that the parking lot was FULL and people were parking in the surrounding parking lots. I think I've mentioned before my nervousness in crowds.

Nevertheless, we had dragged ourselves out at 5 AM and we were going to do this Black Friday thing if it killed us... and that very well might have been the case. I had two major things marked on my list that I wanted to grab. Walmart was offering the LEGO® Castle King's Castle Siege for a mere $50 and Thomas at Tidmouth Sheds for only $15. It was a mission, I tell you.

Inside the store was a scene I had never seen before. Carts jamming the aisles, people clinging to their loved ones for dear life, multiple giant screen TVs making their way through the crowds seemingly pushed by nothing but pure economic panic. It was grizly... but I was determined to make it to toys and find that Lego set!

After squeezing by about a jillion carts and people, The Man and I made it to the toy section to find that pure mayhem was prevailing there. Everything out of place, people searching with tears in their eyes, piles of Cabbage Patch Kids strewn about. I searched high and low and in between, I looked in every section of the store hoping it had been misplaced, I even looked in other people carts. There was no sign of the Lego set or the Thomas set. It was as if neither existed.

The Man and I ended up purchasing a $5 DVD and a package of Nilla Cakesters.

Later around 1 pm we decided to head back and see if we could find any great deals after the crowds thinned out. We were in luck! There were still great deals to be had! We managed to cross a lot of kids off of our list as well as a couple of adults but I still had not seen either of my two goal purchases. We were tired, we were ragged, it was definitely time to go home.

But for some reason, from the comfort of our minivan, my strength was renewed and I steered the van toward another Walmart. The Man looked at me in a panic. I could see the whites of his eyes as he pleaded with me. But it was to no avail, I was on a mission.

Pulling into that second Walmart we were greeted with another full parking lot. We managed to snag a halfway sort of decent parking spot that someone else was pulling out of and we made our way into the store, bracing ourselves for the worst.

But inside the scene was almost cheerful! People were smiling, the aisles were relatively maneuverable, items were on the shelves where they were supposed to be. Still, there was no sign of either the Lego or the Thomas set. I did locate a large display of Hanna Montana Barbies and then another of High School Musical Barbies, all priced at only $5 a piece. I loaded up my arms and had almost given up before I began casually looking through a cart of items that the stock people were placing back on the shelf.

And then my hand hit it. Could it be? Was it really? It was! I had found the Thomas set. It was right there in my hands! For only FIFTEEN dollars!


And The Man and I felt the Christmas spirit filling our hearts as we skipped down the aisles to the check out hand in hand. All the world was right and good.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Insomnia

Well, I did not complete the kids rooms as of yet. The task is just so daunting I'm taking it bits at a time. As I go through all of the toys/clothes/papers/crayons/etc I just can't figure out how it builds up like this. I think the stuff is multiplying in there. I literally have filled up 5 thirty gallon trash bags out of Munchkin's room alone and I'm not done. Now, when did we actually bring 5 thirty gallon trash bags of junk into Munchkin's room? How on earth does this happen?

Granted, I'm really cleaning house here. Things she hasn't played with in the last six months are out. All Happy Meal/Kids Meal/Wacky Pack type of toys are out. All stray crayons I find lying on the ground are out. Christmas is coming and it's time to make way for the new... because no matter how I throw the dice, there will be an onslaught of new toys this Christmas for my children. There are just plain too many relatives to expect anything different.

It's nearly 6 AM and I'm still awake. I attempted to get some sleep around 2 AM but my mind wouldn't stop working so I went ahead and got up, doing some more work in Munchkin's room before trying to lay down again. At 5 AM I finally just got up again and did a little organizing of my eBay inventory.

My brain absolutely refuses to shut down tonight/this morning so I guess I'll just have to post my Thanksgiving post early. :)


1. We have a house. It's not the cleanest house and it's not the best house in the world, but it's really a pretty nice house and it's where my kids have grown up thus far and a whole heck of a lot of memories have been made here. Even when it seems like every thing is breaking and there's no end in sight to all the problems we have to deal with in our house, every once in a while I take a moment and just realize how thankful I am that we have this home.

2. Peace and quiet. I miss my kids... I've never spent a holiday away from them before and it's strange to have them away from me this Thanksgiving. However, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet around the house so far. I haven't been called "Mommy" in over 36 hours and I'm sort of liking that. Check back with me on Saturday, though, and I'll be frantically missing them.

3. Tiny marshmallows. I love them. I love to snack on them. I love to put them in my hot cocoa and lap at them with my tongue when they get all gooey. I love to put them on top of yams and eat them when they get all gooey and crunchy. There's just nothing not to love about those little marshmallows and I am truly thankful for them.


4. Internet access. I only appreciate Internet access when it's gone it seems. So I'm taking a moment to reflect on how much I am thankful for it on this day of gratitude. I've become so accustomed to having all information at my fingertips from how to bake vegan bread to how to get a pee odor out of a mattress. When the Internet access goes out I inevitably freak out because I can't get some piece of vital information immediately like I've become accustomed to. Remember the days when you had to ask someone how to do stuff? When you had to call your mom or your friend to find out how long it takes to bake a potato in the microwave? Remember when you wanted to go see a movie and you had to call the theater to see what was playing and you had to redial like fifteen times before you didn't get a busy signal and then you had to wait forever while the recording read off each and every movie and time? Yeah, I'm so thankful for Internet access.

5. Ricola cough drops. They don't taste bad, they're natural, and they actually work. On top of all that they're inexpensive! Every winter I typically get several little sore throat/cough type of colds and Ricola gets me through each one. I have those little yellow bags stashed all over the house. Thank you Ricola.


6. Bookshelves. I haven't had bookshelves in our house since we moved in over 5 years ago. I know, ridiculous, isn't it? It's just something we never got around to getting. But I got some just the other day and I'm thrilled with them. Not only are they beautiful, but there was practically no assembly required. Seriously, the only tool I needed was a knife to open up the box. Sweet, eh?

7. Our family. All of them. The Man, the kids, my parents, my sisters, my nieces, and The Man's family, too. Every member of my family has some amazing quality that makes them unique and wonderful and makes me proud to know them. From The Man's ability to make me laugh at the silliest things to Bug's ability to make me think about things that haven't ever occurred to me in my whole life. From the newspaper clippings that my mom relentlessly clips for me to read to the comfortable two hour phone calls I have with my sister about every other month. From the old solid friendships I can always fall back on with my own sisters to the new "call me at any hour of the night" bond I've made with The Man's cousin, I can't imagine a better group of people to be so close to. How lucky we are to know them.

There's so much more I'm thankful for, but right now I'm hoping I'll be thankful for a few hours of sleep before we're off to The Man's aunt's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading, I hope you find yourself blessed with so much to be grateful for this year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If I'm not back in 8 hours, send reinforcements...

For the next almost 48 hours Oprah is giving away free downloads of her Holiday Hits 2008 collection at I just downloaded it and it is a great selection. :)

Today's been a little tough for me. The kids were traveling all day in the car and there's just something nerve wracking about knowing your kids are in a car on one of the busiest travel days of the year and you're not with them. I just got the call a couple of minutes ago and they've arrived safe and sound so I feel about a billion times better.

So now I'm off to begin one of my biggest projects for when the kids are away. I'm going to clean their rooms. I'd post a "before" picture but I'm too horrified.

Hopefully I'll make it out alive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Child Free Thanksgiving

Later today (much later... it's midnight as I'm posting this) I will pick my children up from their bus stops and from their pre-school and I will drive them to my sister's house. I will hand my brother-in-law two bags and assorted pillows and blankies and I will kiss my children goodbye and they will climb into my brother-in-law's silver SUV and drive far far away and I will not see them until Monday night.

And I have mixed feelings about this.

A good portion of me, maybe even more than half of me, is excited. The Man and I can go out, we can stay out all night, we could get drunk and do dirty things on our kitchen floor! We won't do dirty things on the kitchen floor, though... we're just not like that. But we could!

I'm planning on cleaning the kids rooms out and throwing out all their broken toys and organizing stuff and putting up our Christmas decorations. I'm going to create a schedule and make a new chore chart for them and I'm going to enjoy some time sitting in my living room reading a book without being interrupted once.

I'm going to sleep in and enjoy silence. It's going to be great!

Then there is this other portion of me. This other portion is beginning to feel a little angsty. This is the portion that reminds them to put on their seatbelts and don't distract Uncle B1 when he's driving and call me as SOON as you get there! and don't forget to wear your jacket when you go outside and eat your vegetables and mind your manners and be sure to call me every day.

This part misses them already.

I'm trying to shove that portion of me in a closet and lock the door.

PS - I went ahead and filled in the leftover answers to the Holiday Movie Meme in case anyone was just dying of curiosity. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

I wonder if it increases my metabolism...

I really need to rearrange my office. Currently I sit with my back to the door. For some people this would probably be okay, but not for me. You see, I'm a very jumpy person. I'm easily startled. And strangely, The Man and my children are stealthy.

You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but at least twice a day someone just appears next to me without my knowledge and says something that successfully causes me to jump straight out of my chair.

I'm not sure my nerves can handle this any more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And thus the holiday memes begin...

I stole this little meme from Karen because it looked like fun and I've been feeling in the holiday spirit lately. It also seems just the PERFECT thing to post on the blog on a Sunday afternoon. :)

Behold, the rules which I have altered slightly for the new and improved Holiday version :

  • Pick A Baker's Dozen of holiday movies, because it's all about the food this time of year.
  • Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie.
  • Post them on your blog for everyone to guess.
  • Fill in the film title once it's guessed.
This part is for the reader:
  • No Googling or using IMDB search functions.
  • Leave your answer(s) in the comments.
So here are my bakers dozen:

1. Look, I've boned a lot of fat chicks in my time, sure. But, as far back as I can remember, I've never fornicated anybody. - Bad Santa

2. You guys are dumber than a box of hair. - Trapped In Paradise

3. That's twice this month you've slipped deadly nightshade into my tea and run off. Nightmare before Christmas.

4. Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead? - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (which happens to be my dad's favorite movie ever)

5. I want my house to be seen from space! - Deck the Halls

6. Ah, come on! It's Christmas Eve! I could be home right now, drinking this *monster* eggnog my brother makes with lighter fluid. - Better Off Dead

7. Nobody means what they say on Thanksgiving, Mom. You know that. That's what the day's supposed to be all about, right? Torture. - Home for the Holidays

8. You're skipping Christmas! Isn't that against the law? - Christmas with the Kranks

9. Yeah, that's your brother. He's 15, he likes to experiment. We still love him though. - Saving Christmas

10. My mama used to always say, 'Christmas ain't Christmas till somebody cries!' Usually that someone's me. - Shrek the Halls

11. If that's HIS sack, then why do you have it? - Ernest Saves Christmas

12. When did I become your slave? - I'll Be Home For Christmas

13. Hurry up big boy, I'm naked and I want you at least twice before Jamie gets home. - Love Actually

Have fun, y'all!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


To the person who Googled "putting fish in your vigina" and found my blog - thank you for making me laugh, but please do not put fish in any of your orifices aside from your mouth and then only if the fish has been properly prepared to eat.

And please learn to spell.

Thanks again.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another Day In The Life of the Spaz

I'm alive y'all!

I mean, seriously, I haven't posted for a week! Crazy... have y'all missed me?

Today was again one of those days. One of those days that make you wonder if there is some karmic force punishing you for something bad you did in a past life.

It started out okay... I was up so late last night that I started to hear traffic from people going to work before I went to sleep. So The Man took the kids to school in the morning, stopping at the grocery store to pick up two cans of whipped cream for Goober's Pow Wow and making sure Bug could get on the bus with his giant science fair project, so I could sleep in.

I slept in till after noon and awoke feeling refreshed and rested.

Shortly after the older kids came home from school I discovered that Bug has been telling his teacher that he doesn't have enough time at home to complete his homework after reading a note his teacher sent home. Donthca just love how kids like to pitch their parents as the bad guys? The way it read was that The Man and I are just filling this child's time up with senseless activities and making it impossible for him to do his work.

Except that Bug comes home from school every day at quarter to 3 and is required to sit down immediately to do his homework. On the off chance that we actually have to leave the house within the next couple of hours after he gets home, he always brings any homework he has left with him and does it on the way. So if he's not doing his work, it's because he's telling us he doesn't have any. And frankly, I'm shocked he's learned to manipulate the system this early.

Later I went to the grocery store for a few things. The Man requested an all dark meat container of fried chicken from the deli so it was my first stop at the store. Of course there was none ready to grab so the guy behind the counter went to check on the status for me. He informed me that there was no "all dark" left but the "mixed" would be ready in 20 minutes. After being perplexed about how they could make mixed containers but not dark containers, I went off to get the other things I came for. 10 minutes later I was done filling up my cart and went back to the deli to check on the chicken. As I approached the counter the guy was telling another customer how it would be 20 minutes until the chicken was ready. And I got all pissy because they had told me that 10 minutes before. And then I expressed my pissiness and then I learned they were talking about some completely different chicken.


So then I left without the chicken because I was afraid they would spit in mine.

And then I went to the checkout and discovered that I had left my wallet next to the computer where I had earlier in the day ordered something online. So I had no way to pay for my cartload of groceries.


They held my groceries for me while I drove all the way home, got my wallet, and drove all the way back.

And then I got clam chowder all over my kitchen... and all over my legs... and all over my flip flops. See, The Man made himself some chowder this afternoon. But he didn't make the whole can of chowder so, being the thrifty guy he is, he saved the leftover half a cup of chowder in the fridge. Not in a container with a lid or anything... nope, right there in the can. So while putting away the groceries, I bumped the can and it went flying.

And I hate the smell of clam chowder. So I had to lose my mind right there in the kitchen and cry.

But on a brighter note, my sister is planning on taking all 3 of my children to North Carolina for a week to have Thanksgiving with my family and The Man and I will stay here awaiting the birth of my best friend's firstborn. So I'm looking forward to a little serenity. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

I've been bitten...

I've been feeling a little less bloggy lately. I can tell you exactly why, too. Because I've been obsessed with the Twilight series. And by obsessed I mean can't put it down, ignore my children, read it at stoplights obsessed. There hasn't been anything this powerful since I discovered Philippa Gregory's Tudor period novels.

And I sort of knew this would happen, actually. which is why I've been avoiding them. I've read all sort of bloggers talking about how great they are and all that but I avoided them. Because I surely don't have time to get myself all sucked into another series of novels.

However, for some reason I caved. It was election day. I don't know what came over me but there I stood in the Super Walmart and the movie edition paperback seemed so harmless. I added it to my cart.

And now, exactly 10 days later I'm halfway through the third book in the series and I can't stop. When I finish one I get a panicky feeling inside until I can start the next one. What am I going to do when it's over?

So I'm sorry, I've been reading instead of blogging. I can't help myself. I'm sure you understand.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Heads In The Refrigerator

Today Bug had his second appointment with his therapist and she gave us a lot of tips on how to reign in some of the frustration Bug has with his siblings and life in general. She also gave me some information on how to handle children with ADD and ADHD, which I have not had a chance to look over just yet.

I don't really know what's going on with Bug exactly. Today he shut his sister's head in the refrigerator. Yep, you read that right. No need to go back.

He has no explanation for this. She wasn't even really irritating him at the time. He just wanted to shut her head in the fridge.

So off he went to time out while I got to listen to Munchkin cry about her head. Her head that has been hurting for a couple of days while she's been battling some virus and had a fever. Her head that finally stopped hurting for a little while today until her brother shut it in the refrigerator.

And as much as I know that Bug is a good-natured kid who typically doesn't want to do anyone any harm, I wanted to wring his little neck for hurting her when she's so vulnerable. It's interesting how protective and defensive I can feel for my child, even when it's my other child I have to defend her against.

Bug really enjoys going to see the therapist, I think. He thinks she's very nice and they played Uno together. She lent him her Uno game and told him she trusted him to take care of it. I think it's great for him to have a sense of responsibility to take care of someone else's thing. He talked in length with her today about Cryptids, of which he has an obsession with. It was great to see his eyes light up and for him to repeat definitions to her as if he was reading straight out of a dictionary... even though all that information is stored right there in his head.

He's turning into who he's going to be. I hope we're guiding him correctly.


Monday, November 10, 2008

How do I love thee, electricity & hot showers?

So I'm back... and I survived... and I actually sort of kind of maybe had fun. I think I'd even do it again.

Shocking, I know.

It was with trepidation that I drove to Camp Welaka Saturday morning. I left my quiet house in the dewy morning, coffee in hand, Munchkin's pink canvas duffel bag slung across my shoulder, and my new 30 degree sleeping bag dangling from my arm.

I arrived at the camp around 8 AM, checked in, and walked my stuff straight into my assigned camp site. As I was walking to the site, one of the trainers stopped me on the way in. She was telling me which cabins I could choose from and then added that some of us would be sleeping in the unit house on mattresses on the ground and that the benefit to the unit house was that there were fans.


Guess where I chose to put my stuff.


After unloading all my stuff on the bench in the unit house, I ventured out to talk with one of the trainers and wait for the rest of the attendants to arrive.

When everyone arrived we all headed over to the main flagpole for an opening camp ceremony. Now, our council, the Palm Glades Council, has recently merged with the Broward County council. Recently, as in last month. So as with any merger, there are kinks that need to be ironed out. Evidently, the proper way to do a flag ceremony needs to be ironed out still. There were all kind of bickering between leaders from Broward and leaders from Palm Glades about such things as where did the horseshoe end and whether women were allowed to wear hats and if you were allowed to be carrying things in your hands. It was all very unprofessional and unsettling... not exactly a great way to open up camp.

But whatever... I was planning on making the best of this 28 hour session and hoped this bickering wouldn't continue throughout the weekend.

After the flag ceremony we headed back to the site where we settled in to learn knife safety, how to tie a few basic knots (square, clove hitch, and bowline), and how to select and make a good stick to roast food over the fire. Then it was time for lunch.

And here's my note on lunch. If you choose to roast a hot dog over an open flame, simply put your toasted weanie into a bun. Do not try to get fancy and wrap crescent roll around the dog in lieu of a bun. Crescent roll is a pain in the butt to cook over an open flame.

After lunch we took a 2 1/2 mile hiking tour of camp, including a walk on Welaka's cat walk. The cat walk (and forgive me, I did not get a picture) is a very narrow stretch of wooden boards that you can walk over the natural swamp land and through the thick mangrove trees. I do vaguely remember this from being a girl, but as an adult I'm more observant of nature and I was in awe of all of the little crabs walking along the trees right next to us and how dense the mangroves are in that area. It was spooky and beautiful and magical and I can't wait to take Munchkin to see it. :)

After our exhausting tour of camp was complete it was time to head back to our site and cook our foil packet dinner.

I was a little freaked by the amount of people who were in the fire circle at one time...


But dinner turned out great. We made sliced chicken with peppers and onions and potatoes and learned that putting a wet paper towel in between the pieces of foil would keep our chicken moist and a couple of ice cubes inside the packet would help steam the vegetables.

After dinner we, of course, had to have toasted marshmallows!


After our marshmallows we had a flag retiring ceremony at another fire circle and invited a couple of other sites along to watch. Before the flag retiring we sang typical girl scout songs and some groups performed a couple of skits and it was really just like traditional girl scout camp! So much fun. The flag retiring ceremony was very moving and sort of sad and beautiful. I'm so glad I got to see it, it really helps inspire respect for the flag and I hope to do it with our girl scouts one day.

Later, some of us opted to go on a night hike to the catwalk. I was a little apprehensive to go on the catwalk at night, but I wanted to experience as much as I could and the moon was very bright, so I went. We really didn't see too much, but it definitely got our adrenaline rushing to be out in the swamp at night! Definitely spookier than in the day!

When we got back to camp I was ready for bed. I headed into the unit house and found that there was NO mattress left for me! My stuff was still there, but there was no mattress. Super.

Luckily, there was one extra bed in one of the cabins with a couple of the wonderful women who had gone on the night hike. I could not thank them enough for their hospitality as they welcomed me into their cabin and I lugged all my stuff up the hill, in the dark, and to their little cabin.


As they went down to munch on cheese and crackers and then get ready for bed I set up my little bunk and changed into pajamas. Not easy to do by flashlight, let me tell you. When I stripped off my socks I was shocked. All my hiking had made my feet smell like something I had not smelled for 20 years. It was Camp Welaka foot, for sure. Horrified, I scrubbed them with baby wipes I was thankful I had remembered to bring and put on new, clean socks.

Once I was all clean and had ventured down to brush my teeth I slipped into my sleeping bag and settled in for a night of whacking mosquitoes and wondering what every noise I heard was.

In the morning I woke up early enough that my little group wasn't all awake yet. After changing I decided to take a short walk down to the lake where we had been for our flag retiring ceremony the night before.



I sat for about 10 minutes and reflecting on how peaceful and serene it all was, the birds flying around, the muffled sounds of people getting ready for the morning, and the stillness of the lake.


Finally I got up and walked over to take a picture of the fire circle from the night before.


I was sad to see this piece of one of the retired flags that someone had dropped and forgotten. Not knowing the protocol, I simply placed it in the center of the fire circle hoping that it would be retired properly during the next fire.


Soon it was time for breakfast. We had decided to cook cinnamon rolls in a box oven for breakfast. When it was first presented to me that you could actually make an oven out of a cardboard box and some aluminum foil I was intrigued. I guess I assumed that the foil protected the box from fire and that was how it didn't go up in flames. I was wrong.

Our box (which was unfortunately borrowed from another group since the group member that was responsible for creating our box - who also happened to be the only man in our group - didn't show up) went up in flames. We lit our coals, placed them inside the box, and waited for it to preheat. While waiting, we decided to quickly go into the unit house to get a drink.

By the time we grabbed a drink and went back to the fire circle, this is what we found.



We had to beg to get someone else to lend us their box oven so we could make our breakfast. Some running was involved. :)


And after much ribbing, and a little ruffling of feathers, and some comments about how you never leave a fire unattended and how we could have burned the whole forest down we finally got to eat our cinnamon rolls.

And they were really good, too.

(We were supposed to put the coals in after the flames had gone out and they had gone white... I know, seems like common sense now... duh.)

After breakfast and clean up and packing up and evaluating and saying our goodbyes, we all got to head out to the parking lot to drive back to civilization.


It's good to be home. :) All in all, I met some wonderful women and got some great ideas about things we can do with our troop. I have a completely renewed love for scouting (girl scouts, especially, of course) and really can't wait to take the girls camping. It was a great experience and it's going to be wonderful to watch these little girls grow into strong and confident young ladies.

Friday, November 7, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Did I tell y'all I'm going camping this weekend? No?

I am.

By myself.

Well, by myself and with a bunch of other Brownie moms.

But without the kids and without The Man. And without anyone else I even really know. Because somehow I became camping mom for Munchkin's troop. Therefore I must complete Basic Troop Camp training and therefore will be spending all of Saturday and half of Sunday (and the night in between) camping at my old girl scout camp from back when I was a girl.

Ahhh... Camp Welaka, how I loved you so.

I loved you so much that I wrote letters home nearly every day of my hot, humid, sticky, dirty, buggy summers that read something like this:

Dear Mom,

Please come get me. I am dying here. I hate it. It is hot. I want to go home. I am covered with mosquito bites and may have malaria. I think one of my bunk mates is a lesbian and has been trying to sneak a peek at me in the shower.

They have been trying to feed us something called Girl Scout Stew and pretending it's great to eat, but I know it's really just everything from last nights leftovers shoved into a big pot. It is slop. If I have to hike up that hill to that lodge one more time I think I might keel over and die.

Please, mother, have a heart. Retrieve me from hell.


The last summer I spent there I remember wanting to go home so badly that when I spotted my sister there to pick me up on the last day I burst into tears at the very sight of her. It was as if she was retrieving me from the site of a battle I had just barely survived.

And now?

I'm camping mom.

I'm going back to that place of my own accord. Willingly. I think I can hear the bugs mocking me already.

Stay tuned for a report on Monday. If I survive.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

That which doesn't kill us...

The past couple of days have been a mix of happiness and sadness and confusion and anger and elation. I'm thrilled that our new President Elect is Mr. Barack Obama. I'm deeply saddened that America was not quite so open-minded about Amendment 2 and Proposition 8. I'm confused that people I love so much and hold so close to my heart can shut their minds so firmly and I'm angry that some people who I have grown to care about will have rights taken from them due to this vote. I'm elated that our country, as flawed as it is, has made such a bold step in the right direction of equality.

Sometimes I think the universe, God, karma, whatever you'd like to call it has a way of laughing at us. We can feel so strongly about something and all of a sudden we're thrust into a position of having to deal with it. Every corner we turn around shows us that we can have no plan... there is no way to predict what will be thrown at us.

I seem to stand alone in the face of the people I love. I am different, I have always been different. How I emerged from their strong opinions and ideas to become the person I am today is mind-boggling to me. I never wanted to be the one to make waves. However, I can't help but know what I know and feel what I feel and believe what I believe. To deny all of those things would be lying to myself.

I am praying... yes, praying... to whom or what I don't even know... but I am praying for peace today. I am praying for love and acceptance, for openness and honesty, for all of us to put aside our differences and do what is right and good.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In the great words of Bob the Builder... Yes We Can!

There isn't too much I want to say about the election this year... not too much, but I can't help but say a few things.

I couldn't stop my tears as I watched the election coverage. November 4, 2008 is a day that has changed our country, our world, forever. We have made a giant leap in such an exciting direction. I can truly turn to my children now and tell them with no doubt that anything is possible.

I can tell them now that anyone can become everything they have ever hoped to become in this country of ours. I can tell them how lucky they are to be here, to be born here, to live here, to have the rights of an American citizen. Because here, not only can they be whatever they want to be, they can feel whatever they want to feel and say whatever they want to say. They can express themselves and change their world. There is limitless opportunity.

And I can point to November 4, 2008 on the calendar and show them that this was the day that proved that all things are possible.

As The Man and I sat together and watched history happen on our big screen TV, I imagined doors opening for people of all types, all races, all sexes, all belief systems. I felt hope well up inside of me for a future for my children that is free from all the bigotry and hatred of the past. We changed the world November 4, 2008 and it was for the better.

All They Want For Christmas

I don't know about you, but I've stepped on one too many Legos in my life. Among Legos, I've also had the privilege of stepping on Barbie shoes, Lincoln Logs, Magnetix, and many other assorted toy parts.

Every Christmas there is a new onslaught of toys with tiny little parts that are brought into our house for me to injure myself on or otherwise become frustrated about when those tiny little parts are found in places like the drain of the sink, in between the cushions of chairs, the dryer, or teensy little crevices of the minivan that I will in no way ever be able to retrieve them from.

So this year when I get the inevitable "What should I buy your kids for Christmas?" question from family members and friends I have told them all "NO TOYS!"

This year, I'm all about toy alternatives. I'm thinking that even though my children won't be receiving quite so many toys this year, they'll still have a great Christmas. They'll be receiving books this year and some shelves to put them on. Perhaps some tickets to one of those fabulous Florida theme parks are in order. Some games for the Wii or the Gameboy will make a nice gift and maybe even some new crayons and coloring books.

I refuse to get caught up in the Hannah Montana/Tickle Me Elmo/Xbox 360 crazes that go around every year and I will not wait in 3 hour long lines and plunk down half of our monthly income so that Munchkin can have the *perfect* Christmas morning.

Because Christmas morning in this house will not be about material possessions or dollar amounts spent per child. That morning is about our family and how much we love each other. It's about wonder and magic and lights and pajamas and bare feet and hot cocoa. It's about sandy eyes and tousled hair and half eaten frosted cookies left out the night before.

And darnit, I just can't wait. :)

For more Works for me Wednesday posts, check out Rocks In My Dryer!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How appropriate for election day... Vote!

On our way to the therapist's office yesterday Bug asked me if I'd like to live in the white house.

"Well, that would mean I was related to the president and I probably wouldn't like that very much." I replied.

"Well," he said "I was thinking I'd be the president, but I won't do it if it wouldn't make you happy."

And in that moment, a little munchkin crept into my body and squoze my heart. Of course, I quickly corrected myself and made sure that Bug knew that I wanted him to be happy and if being the president was what he wanted to do that I'd support him and be incredibly proud.

Today I'm reflecting on that conversation and I just can't help but be in a little bit of wonder at how limitless my children's dreams are. My babies, my children, the little people I have produced, me, me! They can be whatever they want to be and they know it.

My children are born in this country and they have limitless opportunities. How absolutely amazing is that? I just hope that they never lose those aspirations, that they continue to know they can be anything, that they continue to strive for their highest dreams. I guess that's the best thing I can do as their mother is keep feeding those dreams.


We're heading over to vote this afternoon when the kids get out of school. The Man will take Bug with him and I will take Munchkin. Goober isn't quite old enough to understand what's going on, but Bug and Munchkin get it. Munchkin keeps asking me who I'm voting for and I keep telling her it's a private matter. She doesn't quite understand why I don't discuss it, but I know she will one day. Their schools have been talking about the election and they even had a mock election at their school. I'm happy to say that both of my children voted for the right candidate. ;)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Maybe I'll Get It Together This Week

Why is it that by the time I really feel like I'm getting the hang of this whole time change thing it's time to go ahead and change again. Although, I'm sort of thinking that I like this particular time change because this morning I woke up without the aid of my alarm clock.

And every family member who is reading this just about keeled over from shock with that sentence.

Today I took Bug for a meeting with a therapist to discuss his inability to focus in school among other issues. We talked about how Bug is easily distracted and unable to keep things organized and the therapist asked me if there was a history of these problems in our family.

I felt as though five gleaming gold shiny arrows magically had appeared above me and were pointing down to my head as I answered.

"Well, I guess you could say I'm a little disorganized."

And then, sweet lady that she is, she asked me what I did to help combat that.

"Um... nothing yet."

I wonder what she was writing in that notepad.

Child's problems stem from mother's inability to get her crap together.

At the end of the appointment she handed me a little questionnaire to fill out and one to give to Bug's teacher and we made another appointment for a week from now. I guess we'll see how that goes. Perhaps I should attempt to put some type of organizational skills to the test in the meantime...

Like, totally, that party was mad kickin' for sure!

This weekend was my brother in law's 30th birthday. To celebrate he threw an 80's birthday bash and we all dressed up in our finest retro garb.

I threw my own outfit together at the last minute, discovering that it's pretty easy to put together the 80's look with things I found in my own closet (with a little help from my sister and niece).

The Man wore an AC/DC 1982 reproduction tour tee shirt that I found at Walmart along with black jeans and the oh-so-retro checkerboard Vans.

Much beer was ingested, much pool was played (I would have won that second game if I hadn't scratched on the 8 ball), much Michael Jackson and Freestyle was heard, and all in all strangeness and wonder occurred. If that doesn't make a great birthday party, I don't know what does.


Happy Birthday to The Man's only brother and welcome to your 30's. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This is Halloween


Halloween may possibly be my favorite holiday. It's just about fun to our family. There's no real pressure, no cooking required, no need to find that perfect gift. It's all about acting goofy, and maybe a little spooky, and just having a good time.

This year the kids were adorable, if I do say so myself.



As usual we started the evening out with a visit to Bubby and Granddaddy's house and then it was on to Aunt & Uncle B1's house for trick-or-treating with the cousins.

Even Uncle B1 was being goofy while handing out candy to the local trick-or-treaters!


Till next year!