Sunday, December 30, 2007

Oh, the blog, I have missed you

Merry belated Christmas, bloglings! I have missed you. I purposely took a break from blogging this week. I really wanted to just unplug and watch my babies play with their new toys. I did sneak a peek now and then at some of my favorites, but spent most of my time away from the computer. Santa was very good to our family (in spite of the fact that I'm perpetually on the naughty list) and the kids still aren't tired of their junk.

Christmas Eve was spent with some very special old friends that live here in MO. We enjoyed a live Nativity put on by the children. Very spiritual. It was especially touching during Mary's serenade to the baby Jesus when the sheep (age 2) climbed on back of the stuffed pony and wanted to go for a ride. I'm sure that totally happened at the real thing, too.

Here are some highlights (feel free to skip it if you're not a grandparent...or even if you are):

After Christmas, we were looking for someplace to get away for a few days. We had been asked to speak in church and just weren't quite ready for that kind of commitment (don't worry - they got us re-scheduled for mid-January) so we packed up the car and headed south to Branson.

Have you ever been to Branson? We hadn't either. It was a strange combination of worlds. Picture a bizarre mix of the Osmonds and Las Vegas. That's Branson. Only without the gambling. But with extra helpings of old ladies and a disturbingly large number of wacky theme-restaurants.

It was about what you'd expect it to be.

We spent most of the time at our hotel on the lake (never did find out the name of this lake -- everyone just called it The Lake! The Lake! We're going up to The Lake!) but the weather was glorious and we spent hours outside exploring, hiking, and throwing rocks into The Lake! We only ventured indoors briefly, and that was for some swimming when we tired of all that fresh air.

Here are some highlights:

Yeah, I'd totally do it again. Might have to. Say, maybe Sunday, January 13th.

Anyone care to join me?

Return of the Stie

I am back and will get posting soon. Had a spontaneous little mini-holiday after Christmas and we're just getting unpacked and back to routine.

[Well, not so much as a spontaneous little holiday as a desperate need to have a legitimate excuse for not speaking in church today. I'll be honest.]

Details coming. Excited? Me, too.

Friday, December 21, 2007

And the fake google search was...

The fake entry in the crazy google contest was...


While I am sure there are many people out searching for their sanity, none of them have been looking through me. Probably because I don't have any and the internet knows that.

There was a lot of strangeness - nothing beat camel toe sneakers, that is for sure. I had me some good laughs on a daily basis at the expense of these searches.

And speaking of contests, the recipe challenge is going extremely well. My family has been devouring the delicious recipes sent by all of you kind people. So far, some favorites have been from Lisa-Marie, Jessica R., Tiffany W., Holly, and many, many others. I am still working my way through the recipes and will probably have to extend declaring a winner until January 15th so I have enough time to try all of them. You all were just way, way too good to me. You've given me some fantastic help. Who knew that there was so much variety out there?

Well, you did.

And now I do.

My husband thanks you from the very bottom of his heart. Stay tuned for a winner January 15th.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And now we'll never invite him to another party

Let's just say you have a son. He seems like a good boy. You enjoy him most of the time. He grows up and turns eight. You let him have a party and invite all his friends. One horrid child will bring your son "Frog World." Frog World is a frog habitat, which you think looks like a really cute toy for him to house his plastic frogs.

Your son will fill out the enclosed card requesting the live tadpole that comes with the gift.

He will mail off the card in September.

Then one cold day in December, you will open your mailbox and see this:

Nothing in the mail pile should ever say "Live Tadpoles, Open Immediately!" That does not a good mail day make.

Unless you are them. Then it's the best mail day ever:

So we have a new pet. Against my will.

Chase named him Sir-Croaks-A-Lot. [I'm hoping he's more like a Sir-Croaks-Not.]

Sir-Croaks-A-Lot comes with his own food, which will only serve him for the next four weeks when he is in his tadpole state. Once he becomes a grown-up frog, he will require live crickets. Yes, that's right. I said live.

Sir-Croaks-A-Lot only enjoyed his post on my kitchen counter for about ten whole seconds. Then he was banished to the black hole that is Chase's bedroom.

[Is it wrong to hope we accidentally kill him before the four weeks are up?]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One of these things is not like the other

Here's a fun game. All of these phrases, except for one, were actual google searches that led people to my blog. See if you can guess which one does not belong:

  1. Annoying cough in kids.
  2. What does my baby look like right now?
  3. Pouting chauffeur recipes.
  4. Birdlike arms.
  5. Teepee p0rn.
  6. Things to say to your son.
  7. Finding my sanity.
  8. The best thing about my brother.
  9. How my hair look like.
  10. Strep throat infection on face.
  11. I need to quit or I will lose my mind.
  12. Camel Toe sneakers.
  13. Things men hide.
  14. Why does my infant look at my hair?
  15. Bad belly aches.
  16. Hot sneakers in November 2007.
  17. Trying to forget my past.
  18. I need your help.
  19. Pictures for a web site download.
  20. Birthday massages for best friends.
  21. Favorite things to give husband.
  22. Martha Stewart n*ked.
  23. What are your guilty pleasures clothes?
  24. My luck my life.
  25. Hannah sandwich.

The answer will be posted on Friday. Give it your best shot.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mother of the Year

Today after running on the treadmill (or what I like to call "Attempting to burn what I will eat at the Great Cookie Swap of 2007"), I went upstairs to take a shower. I took my time getting beautiful (because it DOES take a long time for me) and made sure I looked my best (I didn't).

It was then time to turn my attentions to the Princess and take her breakfast syrup-soaked tangles and turn them into something lovely. I called and called, but she didn't come. Not even when I used my loud yelling voice or my angry impatient voice.

Assuming she was paralyzed by the hypnotic powers of Noggin (because it's like preschool on TV!), I took a trip downstairs to retrieve her. It was not until I had my hand on the basement door that I heard her screams.

Rushing down, I find her head pinned awkwardly between a collapsed metal folding chair -- her body twisted and tangled -- and unable to get out. She was hysterical and sobbing (understandably). I pulled her free and felt pangs of guilt as I saw the large bruise on the left side of her face. I have no idea how long she had been like this, but I suspect quite a while.

What added salt to this already painful wound (for me, not her) was when she said, "I thought you were in the other room and just wouldn't come get me."

Yes. My child was painfully pinned between two pieces of metal and she thought I would not help her.

I must be the best mother. Ev-er.

Stupid Mondays.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our first snow in two years

They've missed it.

[I haven't.]

Friday, December 14, 2007

You give me THIS for Edward? Really?

While I realize that Twilight might not be everyone's cup of tea, I enjoyed it immensely. Ever since I got sucked into the series this summer, I have been dreaming of the perfection that is Edward being played out on the big screen. Bridget first alerted me to this breaking news, and I had to have a debate of my own. Robert Pattinson has been cast as Edward (you may know him as Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter).

What do we think?
I have to say that as of right now, I'm not feeling it. I have no doubt that a good make-up artist, several thousand hours in the gym, and a brow wax would help, but I did picture Edward a bit more dashing than this Mr. Patterson. I will reserve the final judgement to when I see him in the movie, but I am cautiously disappointed myself.

For Bella, they have cast Kristen Stewart (who is the Meg Ryan lookalike in In the Land of Women). Here's hoping she's less annoying onscreen than Bella was in the book. I so wanted to drop-kick that girl until she got some sense knocked into her stupid head.
So what do you think?

And yes, I know these are teen books.

And no, I don't care.

I liked 'em.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

My disease

This is for Jessica. A little peek into the world of my OCD. Now I know it's not customary to let your crazy out for the world to see, but I'm going to do it anyway. May you still like me when I'm done (shut up, Daniel. People really do like me. You do, right? RIGHT?)

Here is a picture of the cupboard full of the kids' craft supplies. Yes, even when it's for them, it must be neat and labeled in tidy, plastic bins. I really ought to have at least 50 percent ownership in the Container Store by now. It's quite sad, really, that they all know me by name at that place.

  1. I can only do laundry on Tuesdays and Fridays. If I miss a day for some reason, it throws everything off in my mind. It won't get done and I feel like I'm doing laundry every day (something I try to avoid), so I stick religiously to my schedule.
  2. When I load silverware into the dishwasher, there has to be an equal amount of silverware in each little spot. I will pull a clean fork or spoon out of the drawer and re-wash it just to keep the numbers even.
  3. I like things in groups of three. I don't know why. I just do.
  4. I have to make my bed everyday. Even if I don't get to it until right before I climb in at night, I will still make it. Most days, it is made first thing.
  5. I also have a very specific number of pillows that I need under my head and in between my knees in order to sleep well. Hotels never meet the quota, no matter how many pillows the nice ladies in housekeeping bring you.
  6. It literally hurts my head if there is a crooked picture on the wall. It's all I can do to NOT fix it when I am in someone else's home.
  7. I like to set my bedroom clock five minutes fast knowing that I will sleep five minutes longer as a result. The Husband can't stand it because he forgets and always thinks he's late. I look at it as a little present I give him every day - that extra five minutes that he doesn't know about. He doesn't see it that way though. It annoys him (strange, normal man).
  8. I. HATE. TO. BE. LATE. To anything. I loathe going places with people oblivious to time. It stresses me out.
  9. I clean and re-organize every closet in our house at least monthly.
  10. I cannot go to sleep if there is anything that shouldn't be on my kitchen counters.
  11. If I am more than four or five months behind in my scrapbooking, I will lose sleep at night worrying about it. I will then clear my schedule for the next several days and get caught up.

I'm afraid to give you anymore. I worry that you will have me sent to a nice padded room with lots of people in white jackets. Just take solace in the fact that most of my crazy is locked up inside for the most part. The crazy need not come out, right?

And I do realize that I'm not normal.

Now tell me what you are OCD about. Is it possible there is anyone crazier than me?

Didn't think so.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Does anyone else do this?

I am driving Chase to the doctor this morning (turns out he has pneumonia, poor little guy) and I am mentally going over my would-have-done shopping list for today. I calculate the speed at which I can whip through Sam's Club and debate leaving him home for a quick trip.

I then imagine the house burning down in my absence - a freakishly bizarre electrical problem that only happens one in a gazillion times. He and his little coughing self are asleep in the basement and don't get out in time. I am heartbroken at the thought, and figure that I'll have to go to jail for my horrendous parenting. I picture saying tearful goodbyes to the other two at the jailhouse door, me in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs. I also imagine that the Husband will wait faithfully for about two weeks.

By the time we reach the doctor's office, I am in tears over my lost child, my now motherless and abandoned children, and my burned-down house. I am also angry with The Husband for having an affair while I was in prison.

It only takes two minutes to get to the doctor's office.

It may take me all day to stop being mad at The Husband for having that affair in my imagination.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Real Life Cinderella

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Cinderella. She lived in a kingdom far, far away. She had a very important work party to attend with her husband. She had a lot to do in order to get ready for this big event.

First, she had chores that needed to be done. Which, for someone with a mild case of OCD like our Cinderella, means floor scrubbing, bathroom sanitizing, baseboard dusting, and closet organizing. Let's just say that it takes more than a few hours:

And like the storybook Cinderella, this Cinderella has her own arsenal of rodent-like workers who help:

Unlike the perfectly skinny, annoyingly cute Cinderella we all know, this Cinderella likes to eat. Bad things like cookie dough and ice cream. And since she forgot to drop eight pounds while she slept last night, she has to run hard in order to squeeze into that dress she bought two weeks ago:

Fortunately, this Cinderella is a realistic sort. She abandons all hope of dropping eight pounds before the party and decides instead to use this:

Our real-life Cinderella does have a fairy godmother, of sorts. Hers looks like this:

(And no, her fairy godmother's name is not Michael Berger. This is not an actual card, in case you couldn't tell. I've sent all my actual real cards to Mr. Liu Yan so he can process my nineteen millions united state dollars.)

Cinderella's dress looks like this:

(She promises it is much more flattering on her than it is on the hanger, especially with the help of some super-suctioning panty hose.)

And finally, Cinderella's glass slippers:

The modern-day Cinderella has a blog. She spent way too much time today doing important things like staging pictures for her blog, looking in the mirror, and taking a nap. However, this left no time for a professional manicure. She didn't plan that one well. She's not very good at painting her own nails and usually pays good money to have other people do it for her. She's slightly out of practice.

Her little rodent-like minion offered to do it for her, but she declined, not wanting to go to the party with half a bottle of nail polish on her hands. She did, however, let the rodent-like minion do her own nails, which made her very happy:

One thing Cinderella didn't leave to chance was the makeup. She marched her little self right over to MAC and had a spiky-haired punk girl give her the smoky-eyed look:

Unfortunately, The Husband was too enthralled with the fake eyelashes and slutty makeup to take a full-body shot of Cinderella in her dress. This will have to do.

All in all, it was a very fun night. Cinderella didn't lose her slipper, she didn't have to be home at midnight, and she got to go home with the Prince.

And they all lived happily ever after.

[Until the next morning when Cinderella woke up, had to make breakfast, do the dishes, pick up the laundry, and get everyone ready for church.]

Fairy tales are so overrated.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Parenting 101

Yesterday I took the kids shopping in search of gifts for the Sub-for-Santa happening at school. We spent a long time, carefully selecting items we thought the children would enjoy. I was extremely pleased at my fine parenting, and the lessons about service to others that I was instilling.

In the car ride on the way home, I asked the kids, "Doesn't it feel good to give to others? Don't you feel so good right now?"

The Princess, in her ever-so-subtle way, said, "No. I don't feel berry good at all. Because I didn't get anything FOR ME."

When we got home, I immediately sent the Princess up to her room to think about the real reason we have Christmas. She made several trips downstairs with her answers, each time getting sent back up.

She claimed we have Christmas:
  • So Santa can bring her presents.
  • So Santa can drive the sleigh and bring her presents.
  • So Santa can bring ALL the children presents.
  • So everyone can buy presents.
  • So Santa and parents can buy presents for all the kids, not just her. (She was clearly trying to think unselfishly).

When I told her that Christmas had NOTHING to do with Santa and sent her back up for some more thinking, she came down a little sheepishly and said, "Is it because of Jesus?"

Clearly, I'm doing a bang-up job as a parent.

It only took her six tries.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Our story

I heard the doorbell ring and quickly finished putting on my lipstick. One last glance in the mirror told me I'd made a good choice. I smiled at my reflection as I looked down at the red dress. I knew he would like it. I grabbed my coat, and ran to the door where he was waiting.

What was it about this man that made my heart quiver every time I saw him? He leaned casually against the railing, waiting for me. He was so dashing in a suit. He was tall and slim, and his toned muscles were ever-so-visible through his shirt. I wondered for the hundredth time what it was he saw in me.

He held my hand as we walked out to his car. He seemed distant tonight, distracted. He must have sensed my unease, and squeezed my hand in reassurance.

In the car, we talked quietly about our day. Simple, easy conversation. That's how it always was with him. No awkwardness, no pretense - it was effortless and comfortable. It felt like nothing I'd ever known. It felt like home.

We got to the restaurant and he held the door for me. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed his hands were shaking. Insecurities clouded my mind. Had he brought me here to end it? Was this daydream romance going to be over so soon? I marveled at how attached I had grown to this man in such a short time. He was a piece my heart had been missing. His sudden arrival in my life had made me feel whole for the first time. I doubted my heart could take it if he walked away now. I took a deep breath and followed him to our table.

The waitress came and took our orders. He barely glanced at the menu and ordered the exact same thing as I did. We continued talking - the familiar ease washing over me. I began to let the doubts slip away. I focused instead on his dimples and slight smile as he talked. I let my eyes wander up to his deep blue eyes, surrounded by long, dark lashes. Lashes so perfect that women everywhere wept with envy.

After we had eaten, the hostess approached our table. In her hand was a small, white box. She smiled as she handed me the gift.

"The boutique next door is having a special, and some of our guests get gifts tonight," she said.

I looked up at him, smiling in my excitement across the table.

I tugged on the ribbon and began to unwrap the small box. He was silent. Watching me.

Inside the box was a silver bell. It was beautiful. I could hardly believe my luck. Such an unexpected prize. I never won anything.

But then I noticed it. There was writing on the outside of the bell. And inside...there was a ring.

No -- could it be?

I looked at him as tears filled my eyes. He stood up. He swiftly slid out his chair and put his napkin on the table.

He got down on one knee, visibly shaking.

"Will you marry me?" he asked, terrified.

Tears spilled down my cheeks and I ran into his strong arms.

"Yes, yes, I will marry you."

He took me in his arms and kissed me. The restaurant around us erupted in cheers and applause. For a moment, I had forgotten there was anyone but us in the room.

When the tears slowed enough that I finally could see, I looked at my beautiful, silver bell. He'd had it engraved to read, "You are the ring in my bell." He gently took the ring out of the bell and slipped it on my left hand.

It was a perfect fit.


And so on that fateful night, 14 years ago today, I promised to be his wife.

And he has lived every day of his life since then in pursuit of my complete and utter happiness.

I love you, baby.