Monday, January 31, 2011

Bullett Points of Excuses

  • Behind in home schooling. The month of December kicked our butts. Yes, I know we are almost into February. 
  • I've discovered Netflix Instant watch. I found my favorite books in a t.v. series:  James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small.  First time I read this book, I was in 6th grade and my teacher, Mr. Larsen, encouraged me to not only finish the book (at that time, it was the longest book I'd ever attempted to read) but read the entire series. Which I have, many times. To find the book as a t.v. series really made my day. So, every free moment I have, I'm watching it. 
  •  I had an IUD put in in December, to supposedly help with my heavy bleeding every month. TMI? Too bad.  Since then, I have pretty much bled non-stop. My doctor said this could continue for up to 3 months then, hopefully, things will taper off. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because the non-stop bleeding is making me T.I.R.E.D
  • My face looks like a meth user's face. I have broke out in more zits than I ever accumulated during all my teen years. The sad thing is, I have zits on top of wrinkles. So not fair. 
  • I also have pink eye. At least, I think it's pink eye. Believe me, with 4 kids, I have experience with it. I have a pink eye, the gunk that makes it impossible to open my eye in the morning. But, I also have pain on the entire side of my face and my eye is more RED than pink.  
  • The last 3 bullet points are not excuses for not blogging, but more of a ploy to get some sympathy. Did it work?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Movie Recommendation

As if my opinion matters to you in the first place.

But, I watched a wonderful movie last night, it was however, three hours long and I'm feeling the pain today. But, it was worth it.

Lost in Austen was lent to me by a friend. When I heard the plot, I was a little skeptical. But, seeing as how my husband was watching River Monsters, I decided I'd give it a try.

I love the book "Pride and Prejudice" and the movie, with Colin Firth, even more.
This movie, actually a miniseries that aired in the UK, takes a modern day woman into the life of the characters of the novel. Through a magic door. Sounds stupid, right? Like I said, I was skeptical. It turns out to be funny and sweet and a great love story. The main character of course, screws everything up and the wrong people fall in love and you see different sides of characters you've  "known" for years.

So, if you have 3 hours to spare and lots of popcorn (and some tissues),this is the movie for you.

If you'd prefer, on the other hand, to mindlessly watch ugly water creatures being captured by an idiot*, then my husband's show would be more your style.

*To be fair, I never watched River Monsters. I'm just speculating. Accurately I imagine.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pay It Forward...Rock the ONEder Fund.

Pay It Forward...Rock the ONEder

I've been reading, following this blog for quite some time. Ever since another bloggy friend posted the link. And, it's touched me in a way that I can't put into words. But, Kelle can. She is a wonderful writer and once you "meet" her girls, you will be instantly in love.

It's almost little Nella's birthday and her momma is doing something pretty awesome to celebrate.

Go look. Donate, if you can. A little goes a long ways.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

"I Just Want You to be Happy"

I believe I've said that statement approximately 1 million times these last 6 months or so.
My brother has gone through a tough time lately. And, even though I hate to see him hurting and the things that have resulted from that pain, our relationship, his and mine, has grown. It has grown more in the last year than the previous 32.

We've had some great conversations. Some dark and depressing and some silly.
But, through it all, through all the decisions that he needed to make, I would tell him  "I just want you to be happy".

But, if I'm honest with myself, and ultimately, with him,  what I should say is this:
"I want you to be happy WHEN you follow my advice." or "I want you to be happy IF you do things the way I would do them".

Because, truth be told, I would advice him and talk to him and listen to him. And tell him "be happy". Then, a couple days later ( or in some cases, hours) he'd call and let me know what he decided.  And, it felt wrong. And, it would upset me.

But, he's happy. And, isn't that what I said I wanted all along? For him to be happy?

His happiness shouldn't be conditional. My support of him certainly shouldn't be conditional (ok, if he was a mass murderer, perhaps that's a condition I would not support) .

It has made me stop and think:
  • everyone's idea of how to be happy is different
  • when we give advice, we have to give it freely, no strings attached
  • we cannot be surprised, hurt, angry, etc. when our advice is not heeded*
  • truly, truly, I do want him to be happy
  • most importantly, he's my brother and I will always be here to listen, to laugh and to love. 
And, to all of you:  I want you to be happy as well.

*does anyone else have a certain t.v. show quote pop into their head whenever the word "heed" is used?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Josie Birthday Interview

December 30th marked Josie Lynn's 8th birthday.  She's growing up so fast, this momma can't keep up. Josie is a wonderfully sweet, funny and unpredictable little girl.

Mom:  Josie, what is different about being 8?

Josie:  I only feel different. I look the same.

Mom:  What do you want to be when you're a grown-up?

Josie:  I want to be an artist.

Mom:  Why?

Josie: Because I'm good at painting. 

Mom:  Do you like having 4 brothers?

Josie:  NO! 

Mom:  You answered that fast!

Josie: Did you put exclamation marks after my answer? 

Mom:  Yes.  Why don't you like your brothers?

Josie:  They're annoying.  And, weird. 

Mom:  You don't think you're ever annoying. Or weird?

Josie:  NO!  Make sure you get exclamation marks on that answer too. 

Mom: Ok, moving on. What is your favorite movie?

Josie:  The Barbie movie Grammie got me. 

Mom:  Favorite food that mom makes for you?

Josie:  Mac and cheese with hotdogs. 

Mom:  Yeah, that is gourmet. What is one thing you hope to do this year, while you're 8?

Josie:  Go to Disneyland again. 

Mom:  You may need to think of something else...

Josie:  Go camping?  Yeah, I'd like to go camping again. And, pack all my clothes this time. 

Mom:  Josie, I love you!

Josie:  (silly smile) I love you too!    

Not that great of a picture of the birthday girl, but I think she's still beautiful! (Jeven can't wait to eat some cake!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gettin' Kinda Hairy

It's a HUGE fear of mine that one of my children, or even myself, will get head lice. It was more of a fear when Josie had hair down to her waist.  Now, although, I still wouldn't love it if she got it, with her hair shorter, I think I'd manage it with mild screaming and head shaving ok.  Like I said, I would NOT love it if she, or anyone else in my house, got it. 

Yes, I know many, many kids get lice. And, it doesn't necessarily mean they are not clean. In fact, lice prefer clean hair over dirty hair. I know that. But. Still. It's bugs. In the hair!!! 
It's like fleas. Animals can't help that they get them. And, if you have a dog or cat, you will have to deal with them sooner or later.  But. Still. It's bugs!! In the house!!!

Before the craziness of Christmas hit us, I took Josie to get her hair cut. Just her and I. A date.
We went to a quick-cut place, no fancy salon or anything.  And although there were other customers, it wasn't packed.

We tell the lady what Josie wants. I go to sit in the waiting area, still within sight of Josie.  The lady parts Josie's hair and clips it all up.  And says words that I have feared since Josie's first hair sprouted on her tiny head: " Um. Mom?"

"WHAT?"  I yell so loudly every person in the place is now looking at me ask, quickly analyzing how Josie would look bald.

"Did someone draw on her head?"
"What?" This time said much, much more calmly.
"She has ink on her head. Come look!"

There was no need to tell me to come look as I had jumped out of my chair as soon as the lady said "Um..."

But, indeed there was ball point, blue ink on Josie's scalp!! I was SO relieved that it wasn't bugs, I just laughed.
Then, I said "Josie!! What did you do?!!"
Her immediate response was to throw her brother under the bus:  "Jayce did it!!!"
"A couple days ago"
"You mean to tell me, Jayce held you down, drew on your head, and THIS is the first I'm hearing about it?"
"Yeah RIGHT!!! Jayce can't fart on you without the whole neighborhood hearing about it! There is NO way he drew on you without you saying a word!"
"I didn't do it, Mom! It was Jarrett?"
"Nice try."

Between the stylist and myself, we determined that Josie had been doing her schoolwork and had reached up to scratch her head with the pen in her hand.  The squiggles on her scalp confirmed this theory.  I tried to take a picture but Josie would not let me. She seemed embarrassed for some reason. I am sure it was NOT the yelling and panicking done by her mother, in a public place.

Never, ever would I thought I'd be so relieved to have my daughters head drawn on.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hamster Shopping

Last post I mentioned we got Josie a hamster for Christmas. Sounded like a great idea. In theory.

Months ago, we found a used hamster cage, complete with a wheel, water bottle, bedding, etc. on Craigslist.  We thought, brilliantly, that we'd hide the cage, then at the last possible minute, purchase the hamster, and set it up in the garage until Santa would leave it under the tree.

Great plan, no?

Yeah, turns out that we weren't the only ones thinking so brilliantly. I was shopping Christmas Eve day, (up at 4 a.m.!!!) and left that for the very last stop.  Told the sitter Grandparents I'd be home by noon.

At 11:50, I was starting to panic. I'd been to 3 different pet stores and no hamster. Finally, called my husband, in tears, asking what I should do.  He brilliantly suggested I check the pet store 2 miles from our house, where we buy hamster-like creatures (mice) to feed our lizard.

I walk in and the owner recognizes me and greets me enthusiastically. I explain I need a hamster right away, for a PET, not for FOOD and he directs me to a cage that has approx. 10 hamster in it, all cheaper than the other 3 stores were selling theirs.

I was so relieved to not only purchase the hamster but some food for less than what we were planning on spending.  I picked out what I thought was the best looking, spunkiest (who wants a boring, non-spunky rodent?) girl hamster.  The owner scoops her up and proceeds to the check out counter.
Where she jumps out of his hands and lands with a thunk on the counter. "Ooops!" he says.

He puts her in a Chinese food take-out box (remember, he sells a lot of "food")  and then starts to scoop up the food I was purchasing, sold in bulk.  The hamster then escapes from the box and runs around on the counter.

I quickly point out the escapee and he puts her in another box, this one slightly more sturdy looking.
I pay for everything, and put it all on the passenger seat and sped drove home to put her in the cage and then go to pick up the kids. The entire time, the box was shaking and I KNEW she'd get out and I'd drive down the rode with a hamster on my head.

I did make it home, my head unscathed, set her up in her new home, out in the garage. The cage, pictured above, turned out to be a piece of ....well, something undesirable. We'll leave it at that. Opening the thing made it all fall apart. 

There I was, trying to put together the useless hamster cage, in the garage, while the Chinese food box containing the hamster was being chewed to pieces. And, I knew I was already late to pick up the kids. On Christmas Eve.  I still had tons to do and I did want to relax at some point.
I finally get the thing put back together, rush to get the kids (not too bad of a rush, Grammie and Papa live 2 blocks away) and we're all back home. Safe and sound.

The hamster is safely in her cage, on top of the fridge, in the garage, covered by a blanket. At one point, I did have to let Jayce in on Operation Hamster because he went out to the garage for some reason and was alarmed that something "alive" was out there. 

At 5 p.m. it was time to go to my SIL house's for Christmas Eve dinner. We, brilliantly, decide the hamster would probably be better off inside the house, not in the freezing garage. With the kids buckled into the van, I help my husband bring in the hamster, still in her cage.  He brings the whole thing to me and says "Uhhhhh....look?"  The hamster is sleeping very, very soundly in her cage.  Judd kind of rolls the cage to one side. The hamster rolls right along with it. Thunk.  Judd rolls it to the other side. Thunk.  
The only thing that is running through my brain is "The pet store was open until 7. The pet store was open until 7" . You see, this had to work as it was Josie's Santa gift.  Our kids get 4 presents each, TOTAL, including a Santa gift.  We didn't have a lot of wiggle room. 

Miraculously, the hamster wakes up and seems a little peeved we woke her from her sound nap. I don't blame her.

We deposit her in the bedroom, on my husband's side of the bed, covered with a blanket.

We do the family thing, come home, get the kids into bed, wait for them to fall asleep.  Get out all the presents (90% already wrapped, thankyouverymuch. THAT was something new this year) and finally we were ready to get the hamster.
That hamster had pulled not only the blanket that was covering her, but also my husband's work shirt he had left laying on the floor, into the cage. Well, that's what we think those things were, there wasn't much left to them.  She had shredded them to, well, shreds! 

(Is it just me, or can you see that this hamster ,maybe, perhaps, wasn't as brilliant of an idea as originally thought? )

We managed to get all the clothing out of the hamster cage (again, she seemed a  little peeved) and set her under the tree.
Josie was excited and surprised to find her Christmas morning.

She did have some difficulty picking out a name. 
That poor hamster was "Princess Fatty " (Judd's favorite), "Fiona", "Cupcake" and finally "Jingles" is the name that stuck. 

Since Christmas, two other cages have been bought and returned.  In our effort to "save" money and buy a used cage, we actually ended up spending more money between all the gas used in our travels back and forth between the 3 different pet stores in town (the one 2 miles from our house was not a good source for an actual cage), and the cost of the cages.  The one in the picture above, because the wheel is it's own unit,  all the hay and poop the hamster accumulates in the wheel ,ends up flying all over the room.  Not fun if you are not of fan of poop. And/or hay.

Currently, Jingles is in a 10 gallon aquarium (no water) with my baking racks and encyclopedias on top ( I knew those would come in handy!) in the living room. We did order a fancy "topper" thingy and that should be here tomorrow.  Then, with more hope, Jingles will be back in Josie's room and they will be BFFs. 

Here is some brilliant advice, from one hamster mommy to all of you:

Do. Not. Buy. A. Hamster. 

Ok. That's not entirely fair, I know. 
If  you MUST buy a hamster (really? MUST you?), do not buy a cage that is made out of any type of plastic or in any way resembles the cage in the picture at the beginning of this long , and I'm sure, boring post.