Thursday, December 27, 2012

new shoes

G's been wearing some New Balance shoes from the thrift store for about 2 years.  I've bought him other shoes from the thrift store in this time.  The school even sent home a pair of payless basketball shoes in October.  But his favorites are the New Balance shoes that have busted seams. 

One pair that seemed promising, I bought for $5 from the thrift store.  Then the rubber soles came off, on field day.  Poor G.  So dad sneakily had 1 repaired for $5 and we tried again in November.  G came home with no soles on his feet.   $10 is a small investment on the spectrum of traumatizing experiences.  Luckily G is not one to cry over something like this, as I would have... 

He's at that age where you can't get decent shoes at the thrift store anymore.  So we went over to the outlet stores to see what deals they had.  Lucky us, they were having a massive 50% off sale.  Too bad we couldn't find anything that fit him.  Then he lost his gloves in one store so we had to go back after the 2nd store that had nothing that fit.  Lucky again, a friend of ours works there, 2 friends even.  So he helped us find shoes that fit, and she gave us her 30% employee discount on top of the 50% sale.  So my first time in his now 8 years of life, buying him shoes from a store, we got some sweet shoes for $13. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


My mother in law mentioned that there would be some large gifts this year and we might need to use multiple cars/trips to get it all home.  The P family have always been amazing at Christmas but this year I was blown away.  A kitchen aid, no way!  Incredibly generous and it turns out that it is a tradition now.  Grandma L gave mother in law C one back in the day.  Now C has given me one.  Pretty nice tradition.  : )

Saturday, December 22, 2012


This is a death star.  For reals.  We had the season finale play etc for the homeschool group last night.  Then I came home and baked the cake and painted this pinata I've been working on.  The party was the usual tons of pizza with themed pinata and cake.  The theme was star wars. 

We woke up at 7:10 to get to the 8am choir rehearsal on time!  Then at 10:10 I left to hustle over to the playground and set up.  Everyone came and it was great! 

I even micromanaged the pinata to keep small kids from getting trampled.  Each kid had to have a partner, more or less.   One of the pair was to hit the death star, the other was to hold 2 cups for getting candy (quantity control).  I also packed the death star with about 8 lbs of candy and 2 boxes of Star Crunch cookies.  G was the only one to get trampled in the initial dives for small dribbles.  By the end, when everyone was so tired of standing around, I let G, who had barely stopped crying, tear it open.  His up got filled on the initial down pour, then I waved the pinata around to spread the wealth. 

So now we're home after a marathon of the last 24 hours!  Busy time.  I better go practice my recorder.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

understanding the people who say "no"

Today at choir I was a major dolt because I hadn't prepared music I'd said I would on Recorder.  Between making sure the kids are fed, clothed, homeschool group, school, speech therapy, sewing 7 costumes for G's school play, starting a scout troop, being primary president, covering for the singing time teacher, covering for the interpreter in primary, and looking fabulous, plus other major life needs, I forgot I needed to do 3 songs instead of 1.

I think I could have handled the rest if not for the school costumes.  That was too much.  For years I've been frustrated at the people who don't volunteer, and even say "no" when asked.  Maybe it turns out they want their Sabath to be a day of rest.  What a wild idea.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

someday we'll go there on a date

There is a company in town that rents bounce houses and has an ice cream shop.  The brilliance of this business model is that every Saturday they have a bounce house up in front of their store.  I'm going to start taking advantage of this pattern when we have family visiting.  I'm also going to start having date night there.  Not like often, but often enough for it to become rooted in my children's memories (like the carousel by the library) as evidence that their parents were rich. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

the insanity

 Some friends recently gave us this nice bunk bed.  The bottom fold out into a futon.  So now our moon room is also the room of many beds.   You can now comfortably sleep 4 adults!  And there is still room on the floor for more!  Then the kids threw pillows at each other and broke a blade off the ceiling fan.  So they are banned from that room until the end of January.  We have visitors through most of that time so it's just as well.  Luckily the fan hardware matches the variety sold at the hardware store.  So it's a bummer, but that's why there is money in the repair envelope, if a little less now.
This is our glorious 4' Christmas tree.  My mom gave it to us 8 years ago when G was eminent and we had no Christmas decor.  The ornaments are mostly kid friendly.  I was sad that someone recently broke the pinkie off the "I love you" penguin.  M pointed out with relief that now the penguin is signing "L" so it's ok.
 I plan to compare this stately hug picture with future pictures of M with boys.  The picture of her with the vacuum (the fear of which she had finally overcome) was much more affectionate.
 I'm having a real hum-buggy kind of year.  Where is my vapid consumerism and yearning to let the kids believe in the magic?  I've never encouraged any belief in Santa.  Where all the gifts come from?  Grandma, Grandma, Grandma, Grandpa, family, and friend.  This gets us into trouble sometimes when M tells her other friends there is no Santa.  It's also hard on her when St. Nicholas visits some of her friends, putting candy in their shoes, and doesn't visit us.  Harsh! 

So when M says there is no Santa, I say, "Then who was that guy we saw at the light house?"  And she sagely replies "It was just a man in a costume!" 

lP didn't want to have anything to do with it.

This year I'm really interested in gifts that are consumable and useful.  My "gift" to P is a trackball he needs for his computer.  Woah!  A gift can't be something you were going to buy anyway!  We're at that place in life where we can afford to buy what we need, and if we don't need it, why the heck would we want it?  The predominant philosophy seems to be to spend money you don't have on things you don't need.  Brilliant!  Not that gifts aren't nice, and please send them, anyone who was going to.  But it's nice to be at a place in my marriage where I can be grateful for P replacing the kitchen faucet on Dec 7, and not cry on Christmas day if there's nothing under the tree (like I did 10 years ago).   I'm finally grown up enough to appreciate his satisfaction in doing something necessary, and his dislike of doing things because society tells him to.

So this year I'm mostly interested in giving people delicious food.

Also, I recently learned how much amazingly good food can come from $12 of pork and bbq sauce in my crock pot.  It's probably not a good thing either.  But it is so good and so easy. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I don't think my mom ever wore a blanket to pick me up from school.

On Thanksgiving morning we cooked up some bacon.  The kids acted like it was the first time in their lives that they had had bacon.  JK.  They acted like it was the first time in their lives that I had cooked it for them, which it was.  Camping a few weeks ago a friend had let the children each have a few slices and they've been begging for it ever since. 
Grandma is so kind and kept offering to help.  It was the bacon that made me realize that in general I don't want help, but if someone asks as I'm about to start a task I don't like doing, like cooking bacon, or washing dishes,  I'll say yes!
She also bought us a lovely bouquet of which this is only a portion.  It brightened our life for a week and then a friend was visiting and I sent it home with her.  She was thrilled and it lasted another week for her.  Pass it along flowers! 

Last year a friend came to visit on their way home in Tampa, from a visit in Jacksonville.  They had flowers from a dance recital in Tampa that had survived their visit in Jacksonville.  They didn't feel like taking them the last leg, so they left them with us.  They gave us a week of joy and then it was great to throw them away knowing they had brightened so many lives.  They had been appreciated enough, their growth hadn't been cut off completely in vain.

Today when I went to pick up G the girls were asleep so I asked the secretary to bring G out.  They are so kind and this is the usual arrangement.  I just have to remember to bring my phone, and make sure it has charge...  It was drizzling a little, so I got out of the car and stood there with the umbrella.  Then it got cold!  So I got our car blanket out and put it around my shoulders. 

So there I am in a blanket to pick my son up from school.  I joked to the secretary that I had become my mom.  But I'm pretty sure my classy mom never wore a blanket when she was picking us up from school.  What I mean though is that I have grown up.  And the things that children find embarrassing, I find convenient.  Luckily G is his father's son and embarrassment is hard to come by.

The blanket in question is the pinnacle of many things I enjoy in life.  The fabric was given to me by someone, whom it was given to, who had scavenged it from the dumpster= Extreme Thrift.  I use it weekly at our homeschool group.  I can tie it in a knot and use it to carry lP in a pinch.  Also, it is one layer of sheet material and one layer of flannel.  That is my second favorite weight of blanket, the first being duvet.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


For about a year I've been amazed at M's ability to memorize tunes and lyrics, and anything that is ever said in her hearing...  G learned to read at 3 but never seemed to have that ability to store it all as perfectly.  But hey, when you can read faster than your mom and your 7, who needs a perfect memory.  Except that he does apparently have an amazing memory.  He recently read a collection of fairy tales.  It's a great collection with the actual Grimms and Hans Christian Anderson etc published in the 20's.  It's about 350 pages and minimal pictures.  So it's not light reading really.  I haven't made it all the way through it.  He read it in 2 evenings.  And he's retained a functional knowledge of the stories! 

I was reading Hansel and Gretel to M throughout the day because I get really grumpy at night and usually can't make it through even one story.  G came along as the children found the candy house.  I started to sign what was happening and then he says "Nibble nibble little mouse.  Who's that nibbling at my house?" 

Honestly it freaked me out a little.  How could he have read the whole collection and retained that level of detail?  In his own words he has a "really big brain" and things just all fit inside.  Great.  We had a little talk about how nobody likes you if you go around saying your brain is bigger than theirs.  He also spoiled the ending by telling how Gretel pushes the witch into the oven.  I had forgotten and I told him not to spoil it for M.  She said "I already heard, he said Gretel pushes the witch into the oven." 

Basically he's amazing. 

And old school fairy tales are really scary.  And they are filled with all sorts of mean things said by the bad people who always get what they deserve.  So while I shy away from reading such meanness, I believe that they are less confusing than modern stories.  When the bad person is really consistently bad, like the gnome in "Snow White and Rose Red" it's ok that they get killed.  

Also, the consistent portrayal of step-mothers is a lost message in modern times.  In the old days the only way you got a step mother was if your mom died.  So of course your real mother would never do that to you and she's dead so she can't protect you.  But in modern times, a step mother is often the product of a father who didn't control his passions and is as much a threat to the children as the step-mother.  Thank you divorce!