Monday, November 26, 2007

O' Christmas Tree

After the flurry of Thanksgiving activity, I find myself unable to do anything more than sit on the couch or sit at the computer. Friday, I went to Martin's Nursery here in town to pick out a Christmas tree. I don't have a truck, so we have to fold down the back seat, shove the tree in as far as it will go and tie the trunk down. I have done this for about the last four years. So, the girls and I pick out the perfect tree load it up and head home. Sissy and I lugged the tree into the house by ourselves and put it in the stand, also by ourselves.

Thus, the annual family tree decorating ceremony commenced.

Surprisingly, the girls are EXTREMELY sentimental about helping decorate the tree. If I DARED to pick out or decorate the tree without them, they would try me for mutiny and make me walk the plank. One of the traditions I created several years ago, is to buy an ornament for each member of the family. I try to pick out something that reminds me of them or something that reminds of something about them. Sissy is really into the Christmas spirit this year. I think it's because she officially gets her car at Christmas.

Anyway, after the tree was all decorated, I decided a trip to the store for milk and cookies was in order. I went out to start Sissy's car and noticed that we had left the trunk open. When I went to close it, it wouldn't snap shut. When I had taken the tree out, I had cut the twine with scissors, leaving the knot still attached to the latch of the trunk. I couldn't find the flashlight so I got out my cell phone and found a lighter. First I tried to burn the twine off the latch. I would also like to point out that it was thirty something degrees while all this was going on. The twine wouldn't burn off. I went back into the house and got a pair of scissors. Now I have my cell phone in one hand (for the light) a pair of scissors in the other and I am trying to cut this small, melted piece of twine off the latch so the trunk would close. WE REALLY wanted those milk and cookies. I stood outside for about 15 minutes trying get the twine off. Finally, I was suggested to me that I use the clicker to hit the trunk button. Maybe the latch was already in the locked position. Sure enough that's what the problem was. So off we went for milk and cookies.

Prior to us decorating the tree, we tested all the lights to make sure they were still working. They were. When we got back from the store, the topmost set of lights had gone out on the tree. Great. Now I have to take everything off the tree, and start all over again. I was not impressed.
I get so excited for Christmas every year. Yet I always forget what pain in the butt tangled up lights are. Tangled hooks too. And lights that don't work. And villages that burn down on Thanksgiving Day. And trunks that wont close. And pine needles all over my floor. And missing ornaments.

My sister also experienced some light issues. I suggested that she test hers before we put them on the tree and sure enough, about half her lights didn't work. We got her light issues handled, and I still hadn't fixed my tree yet. I went back home and started taking the lights off the tree and guess what happened. The freakin' lights started working again. They have been working ever since then. Thank goodness I didn't take all the decorations off the tree. I was too lazy for that. I decided that we could get the lights off without taking the decorations off. If I had taken all the decorations off the tree and then the lights started working, I probably would have pitched the whole tree out the back door. And then burned it. Along with my village.

I have also developed a strange illness recently. Every time a camera comes near me, my eyes start to blink. I can't help myself. Hence the squinty eyed look that will now be seen in all my pictures. I am hoping this is only a temporary illness, brought on by too much picture taking over the holidays.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankgiving Day! Hooray!

I was thinking yesterday about how when I was a little girl, I wanted to be an only child. I hated being part of such a big annoying family. Someone was always fighting or taking my stuff. Because I was older than the rest of the kids, I started babysitting at around twelve. I would save my money, and I could always count on someone to find my stash, and go to the store and buy candy with MY money. I would be so furious. I wondered why I had to be born into the family I was born into. Why couldn't I have been an only child? Why?

Then I started thinking about how much fun we have when we all get together now. The joking, the telling of childhood stories, even the bickering. I love all of it. Then I started thinking about how different it must be to be in a small family. Maybe you have a brother or a sister, a couple of aunt and uncles, and that's it. How strange it must be. I can't imagine not having a big family.

I told my sisters last night that God knew I needed to be a part of a big family. I wouldn't be happy otherwise. This is what I am thankful for. All my sisters, Alicia, Dejah, and Marlette. I am so thankful that we all love each other and do not hold grudges over the things we did to each other when we were growing up. We were all a product of our environment, and we have all overcome many obstacles to be the people we are today.

I am thankful that God choose me to be my girls' mother. I am so lucky to have such wonderful children. They are such great kids. They are fun, loving, forgiving, all the things that I want them to be.

I am thankful for the opportunity to go back to school and further my education. Getting an education is a precious thing that should never be taken for granted. It wasn't that long ago when the idea of going to college was like someone telling me I could fly to the moon. I have Sissy to thank for that. If she wasn't here helping me with The DQ on the nights I have class, none of it would be possible.

Everyone came and ate and bickered(exactly as I predicted). You can't have that many strong willed, opinionated women in the same house and not have some differences of opinion. It was a pretty great day overall. Oh I almost forgot. Last week I put up my Christmas decorations (minus the tree). I have a village that I put on top of my entertainment center. I put a couple of tealight candles out around the village to give a holiday glow. All was well until somehow the fake cotton snow underneath the village CAUGHT FIRE. Thank goodness it was a small fire and easily distinguished. It burned the Christmas lights to a crisp. It is the very first picture. Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties, I am unable to move the pictures around like I wanted to.
In tribute to my family I am in no order listing all the peeps in the pictures:
My mom
Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends far away. We are thinking of you today.

Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house.......

My sisters very wisely decided that I could not be left alone to prepare the Thanksgiving turkey. They decided to rally the troops and have a turkey intervention.

Bet and Logan injecting that poor defenseless bird. I bet it was fun for the kids to have a chance to be the ones to inject something.

All the kids got to help get the turkey ready. My very important job was to supervise and take pictures. I can't be trusted with raw meat. (No.....really, I can't)

Sissy does not looked pleased.

I think the adults had more fun than the kids.

The bug boy was an excellent helper!

From left to right myself, Bet, and Dejah (two of my sisters)

From the top: My daughter "Sissy" next on the left, one of DQ's friends, The DQ, then Bug Boy(my nephew in the red) and Little Fisherman in the yellow (also my nephew)

There was a lot of noise, a little confusion, and a whole lot of fun. Thank goodness my sisters are smart enough to know that I needed serious help with the turkey. My regular blog readers will know that I just recently decided to seriously take up learning to cook. It is my turn to host the annual family Thanksgiving get together, since I have been learning to cook off and on for about a month, I am not ready to deal with a turkey all alone. The thought of trying to serve (gulp) fifteen people was a tad overwhelming. Thank goodness for big families-more people to help!

Monday, November 19, 2007

To Skip or Not to Skip???

I really hate to miss any of my classes. This feeling of guilt plagues me every time. (Well, almost every time). The dilemma is that I will be having my entire close family over on Thursday for Thanksgiving. I have an English Composition class on Wednesday night. While I will be getting some help, and some guests will be bringing food, I still have quite a bit to get done. My house is ALMOST as clean as I want it to be. I need to take some things up to the bonus room. (Just to get it out of sight). I have three pies to bake and will probably have some last minute shopping to do.Blah.Blah.Blah.

Gosh, I get sidetracked so easily don't I? Anyway I don't see how in the world I will be able to attend school and sucessfully get everything else done. Well, I COULD get it done by staying up half the night, yet I find myself unable to make such a sacrifice. The family get togethers at my house are few and far between. This is because we have a rotation schedule. Therefore I would not want my lack of sleep to run off everyone. See how considerate of others I am? Nor would I want to be nodding off right in the middle of someone telling a story.

All of this seemingly useless information does have a point. I REALLY think I should skip class on Wednesday night and get my stuff done around the house. When I first started school I wanted so much to get all A's. Now that I am in the final months, I really could care less. As long as I pass with a C, I will be happy. I know that is the wrong attitude to have, but I can't seem to help myself.

In other news, The DQ approached me about a week ago with a very serious look on her face. We had a conversation that went something like this:

DQ: Mommy, I need to tell you something that is really important. I am sooo serious.

Me:(In my head) Oh Lord, what is it? Is she going to tell me one of her friends is being abused? Is she failing in school? Please don't let it be her period paying a call early!

Me:(Out loud). OK honey, I'm listening.

DQ: Mommy, I want one of those Rescue Pets REALLY bad. If you don't get me anything else on my list, I HAVE to have a Rescue Pet.

Me: (In my head again). Is that all? Thank God! I really thought something serious was going on here.

I would like to address her obsession with animals. I have never seen anything like it. I have to confess that I am not an animal lover. I have no desire to have pets....... that's why I have children. I have NO IDEA where she gets this from. When she was younger(and still today) her number of stuffed animals far exceeds the number of baby dolls that she has. She has a pretty extensive collection of animals and toys from The Littlest Pet Shop series. She loves all animals. Cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, etc. She decided a while back that one of the cats smelled bad and gave him a bath. On her own. I didn't ask her to do it. I didn't even hint that she should do it. She actually called me at work and asked my permission to give the cat a bath. I just don't see how she can be my kid, yet the resemblence is too much for me to deny.

So I guess I will be off this weekend to hunt for a Rescue Pet...........................I.Am.A.Sucker

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More Holiday Cheer

As I sit here tonight at 11:30 p.m., I can't help but feel a slight sense of satisfaction. I did not do ANY school work today. No sir. No algebra, no paper writing, and no online work. I got up at the leisurely time of 9:30 this morning. I made coffee. I checked emails. I surfed the internet for a few minutes. The DQ spent the night with one of her friends, as she frequently does on Friday nights.

I really enjoy these breaks. It's really a win-win situation for both of us. She gets to socialize with her friends, and her being gone is an opportunity for me to have a little break. Back in the day, her dad and I lived in the same state. That was nice because he could get her on the weekends and I didn't have to feel guilty about the time she was spending away from me.

Then he moved out of state, and eventually I moved to another state also. This meant that the days of me getting a guilt free break were over. Now that she is getting a little older, she really enjoys spending time with her friends. Since I am having fifteen people at my house for Thanksgiving, I decided to indulge in some much needed house cleaning. I shamefully admit that it has been a really long time since I REALLY cleaned the house. Clutter was EVERYWHERE. Dirt was everywhere. Dust was beginning to take over every corner of the house.

Don't get me wrong. Housework is done around a 15 year old and a 9 year old. While I do appreciate all their efforts and help, nobody cleans like Mom cleans. I pulled out all the couch cushions. You would be surprised at the collection of extremely revolting things that get in a couch. I took down the shower curtain. I put all the clutter in a large pile in the living room floor. Once I got into it, I decided that since I am embarking on the busiest time of the year at work, and attempting to feed my entire family on Thanksgiving without killing them, that now is the time to drag out all the Christmas decorations. I added a few new pieces to my collection this year, and I was REALLY excited to get everything out.

Yes I do realize that it is the week before Thanksgiving. Yes, I do realize that technically it is too early to decorate for Christmas. Ask me if I care.

1. I WILL NOT have the time to do it next weekend. (As I will still be recovering from having a house full on Thursday)

2. No one ever comes to my house anyway to point out that it is too early.

3. Because of number 2 I will be the only one who looks at the stuff anyway.

4. I ENJOY my Christmas decorations therefore I should enjoy having them out a little early.

5. I will probably put up a tree next week. If I do, it will not be as overwhelming because the rest of the decoration will be finished.

6. I just really wanted to do it today.

7. After reviewing all the reasons, I realized that since I did get them out and up early, at least I can force my family to ooohhhh and aaaahhh over them.

So I accomplished giving my living room a really thorough cleaning, put out all my decorations (with the help of my lovely sister, Marlette). She really gave me some great ideas, and I am really happy about the way everything looks. I also got several loads of laundry done including washing some of our fall/winter blankets.

My kitchen is ALMOST as clean as I like it to be, minus the floor needing to be mopped. The computer desk actually sort of resembles a desk again. For a while there it was starting to look like a paper recycling location. This is due to me doing my algebra on scrap paper and leaving the ten pages on the desk every time I attempted to due homework or take a quiz.

I am feeling guilty about one thing. I took a mental survey of all the gifts I bought for The DQ. While she has a decent number of presents, I didn't get her anything really great yet. I don't know how other families operate, but I like to get the girls at least one special or large gift that they really want. She wanted an Ipod Nano. She already has the Ipod Shuffle, but would like an upgrade. I bought her one, but because of my computer configuration, the new Ipod Nano is not compatible with my computer. So I took it back. She also wants a digital camera. I am not sure at this point if there will be enough money in December for me to get her one. I actually told another relative they could get her one. This solves a couple of problems. The first one is that in the event that I can't get her one, that she will still get one. The second problem this solves is that she has numerous relatives on her dad's side of the family.

If they all pitch in and get her the camera, I don't have to worry about how unfair it is to Sissy for The DQ to get a large box of ten or so presents from them, leaving Sissy out in the cold. I know this is not done intentionally, it just makes me feel better about things being fair in this house. I did have to downgrade Christmas this year because of the bad year my company had. I think I mentioned in a previous blog no bonuses this year. FYI-family members. If you click on the word blog, you can go to a prior blog in which I posted pics of stuff she wants for Christmas. I HAVE NOT purchased any of the items shown.

As I was puttering around the house today, I took a moment to appreciate doing normal family things. It feels good to just clean my house while Sissy is in her room talking up a storm on her phone. This is why I don't regret anything in my life, even the bad. In order for me to truly appreciate the simple things, the good things, all that crap I went through had to happen. Sometimes God's plan hurts, but it all works according to His purpose.

Overlook my moments of mushiness, I find they happen with alarming frequency as I get older. A couple of weeks ago I cried before my sister's baby shower because I thought it was sweet the way we all pulled together to make it happen. Go figure.......

Monday, November 12, 2007

Still Sick and a Christmas Preview

It's Monday morning and illness still thrives in my household. I think Sissy is on the way to recovery, The DQ is still throwing up everything that hits her stomach. The DQ is very prone to getting stomach bugs. She doesn't get colds, flu or strep throat, but if there is a stomach bug ANYWHERE in the vicinity, SHE WILL GET IT. Usually it will run an 18 to 24 hour course. Not this time. She has been sick for approximately 36 hours this time. I am starting to be concerned about dehydration. Once when Sissy was about two, she got dehydrated from a virus and was hospitalized for two days.

Unfortunately, there is not very much that can be done for a stomach virus. You just have to let it run it's course. (Advice from her pediatrician) I keep checking her eyes and lips. If you didn't know this, if your child is getting dehydrated, their lips will begin to chap and their eyes will look sunken in. I am usually full of wisecracks and jokes about the goings on in my life. I really can't poke fun of my sick daughter. That would just be wrong.

In the middle of both of them being sick, I had to leave them alone to go grocery shopping. We had NOTHING left in this house to eat. While I was gone, we had a power surge and the internet went down. This happened an hour after I finished the assignments for my online class and submitted them. (Thank God because I just got it working again this morning)

I decided that last night while everyone is sick, that it was a good time to try out a new recipe from my new cookbook. The title of the cookbook is 365 Easy One Dish recipes. I got it in a bargain bin in the local grocery store. There was a recipe in it for a one dish tuna-potato thingy. It sounded good, and not expensive to make. You take a package of hashbrowns with onions and peppers already in the bag, add a cup of milk, heat to boiling-breaking up the potatoes. Then you add 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots, and 6oz of tuna-drained, heat a few minutes until the peas and carrots are thawed. Add 1 cup of grated cheese and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt. Mix well. Add an additional 1/2 cup grated cheese as topping and let melt. Voila! Dinner.

The good thing is, since everyone was sick I didn't have to be offended if they didn't eat it. Sissy ate some of it and liked it. I will not point out that she told me while I was cooking it that she doesn't like tuna, and she didn't want to eat any of it. That would be rubbing it in her face, and that would be rude. So, I won't do that. The DQ was spared my cooking attempt as she was still throwing up.

Having completed my Algebra homework on Friday night, and my online class assignments, I decided that I had enough time to watch a movie with Sissy. What movie does a grown woman watch with her teenage daughter? The Santa Claus. That truly is a funny movie. Watching the movie put me in the Christmas spirit. (Not like I need much help in that department).

I love Christmas. I love the family get togethers. I love the smell of a real Christmas tree. I love looking at all the decorations. I love all the Christmas music. I really love all the Christmas food. We have a radio station here that plays nothing but Christmas music starting the week of Thanksgiving. I listen to it ALL DAY LONG. Every day until Christmas. I am a certified Christmas fiend. Anyway, I digress. I baked us some warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies and milk. It's ironic to me how I never appreciated simple things like this until I didn't have time for them anymore. Some will read this and think, "Big deal, you watched a movie with your kid". That's fine. As time has become a precious commodity to me recently, it's OK if only I appreciate such a simple thing. That's what life is all about. Not the few major things that will change your life forever. But all the little memories that make up the fabric of life.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sickly Saturday

I was up late last night working on homework. The DQ spent the night with one of her friends. I had to go to a baby shower today, which is why I needed to get some of my school work done last night. Let me tell you that spending a Friday night doing Algebra is not my idea of a good time.

After I got home this afternoon, The DQ came home from her friend's house, and Sissy came out of her room. She is sick. I made dinner and The DQ started complaining that she didn't feel well either. So all three of us curled up on the couch and watched TV. Both the girls laid their sick little heads in my lap. I have so very little time just to be. The sweetness of the time was not lost on me. Even as crazy as things are around here. I could have been doing more schoolwork. I probably should have been doing school work, but nothing can replace the time where both my girls where laying on me like they were little girls again.

I love those moments. Everyone was peaceful and quiet. (Of course the fact that they both were not feeling well is a little bit of a bummer). Eventually, The DQ ran for the bathroom and I heard her drop in front of the toilet like a ton of bricks. Sure enough, she was in there barfing. She called for me to bring her a glass of water. When I took it in there to her, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, I shut the lid on the toilet because it is not pretty". How very considerate of The DQ. I am truly glad that she spared me the sight of her barf.

We go back into the living room and The DQ states that she will lay on the floor so she will be less likely to spread her germs to Sissy and myself. Sissy and I both insisted that she get back on the couch. So, what....I am going to demote my child to the floor because she got sick. No, I think not. Sissy and I both determined that enough germs have been spread in this house, and at this point it just doesn't matter.

We all settle back on the couch and after a few minutes, The DQ said," Someone is going to have to clean the toilet". Sissy says, "That would be me". The humor of the situation was not lost on me. No matter how much bickering and arguing that goes on between the girls, you can see that they love each other. Despite being 7 years apart in age. Just when I am convinced that one of them is a selfish brat, some act of kindness towards their sister proves me wrong.

Somewhere deep inside, I have to think that even though I am a certified nut, who came from a terrible situation, that MAYBE, just maybe, I have really great kids. Not only are they really great kids, they will grow up to be really great adults, thus the cycle will be broken.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Life Sucks

I have recently come to the conclusion that right now, I.Hate.My. Life. My children are not driving me crazy(At least no more than usual). Even though last week was one disaster after another, this is not what troubles me.

I am going through one of those phases where I dread going to work in the morning, yet I dread going home in the afternoon. (Not because of my children) It's because I know that after a long day at the office, I will NOT be going home to rest and relax and enjoy time with my girls. I will be going home to do laundry because The DQ has nothing to wear. This I will do this while I simultaneously cook dinner. Then I will unload the dishwasher and reload the supper dishes.

The trash will probably need to be taken out. The phone will be ringing off the hook. For me? No. Even though The DQ is only nine, she is already a social butterfly. The girls will bicker about ridiculous things and I will be forced to intercede. Sissy will be trying to convince me that a trip to the Verizon store is a must. She dropped her cell phone in water and it is not working properly. I will NOT mention that this approximately the fifth....maybe sixth phone that has been lost, dropped, thrown into a pool, broken, etc. I will also not mention that my patience is wearing thin on having to replace cell phones. I will also not mention that I refuse to pay for another cell phone. That would be complaining, and everyone knows that I don't complain.

After taking care of all this, I will then park my butt in the computer chair, at least until ten p.m., desperately trying to figure out Algebra problems. At around ten I will be completely disgusted with the Algebra and decide that I have had enough. I will be feeling stupid and frustrated. Yet I will not complain.

My company has made a decision that our year end inventory has been moved up. It has been moved to the week of Thanksgiving. That is also when we will begin year end closings. This will not be pleasant. We will be trying to complete five days of work in three. But as I said earlier, I never complain.

In desperation, I have begun teaching The DQ how to cook. I realize that she is only nine years old, however she shows an avid interest in cooking, and I feel it will be beneficial, if I can have her start dinner before I get home. I don't know if she is old enough or ready, but I figure it's worth a shot. Why not Sissy? Because she has NO interest whatsoever in anything that involves the stove. One time she was heating up water on the stove. She transfered an empty hot pot to counter, blowing it up. The counter I mean. So, I have decided that she is not a possible candidate at this time.

In summary, what it really boils down to is, I FEEL GUILTY. Guilty that they are not getting the attention from me that they need. I am always busy with chores or school work when I am home. This is why I feel so rotten. I know this is temporary. I am half way through the quarter. Next quarter is my last, and I will only be taking two classes, one of which is online. That being said I guess I just need to buck up and hang in there for the next six weeks. I have to say that six weeks never seemed so long as it does right now......

Monday, November 5, 2007

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

To Whom It May Concern:(My children, sisters, aunts, cousins, fellow co-workers, blog friends, etc.)

First of all, I would like to say that I am not dead, just very busy.

This week I have fallen into a deep abyss of stupidness. This is because I have had the bare minimum of sleep my body will tolerate. I have college math to thank for that, and Halloween, a baby shower, mid-terms, closing week at work, papers, children, and a messy house. I have been mentally unstable today. I went from almost crying, snapping on my dad, giggling with my sister, a sudden feeling of euphoria, and then the sink into stupidness.

In desperation, I purchased two calculators this week. The idea was that this would help me with my math class. That's a good idea if you can get the thing to TURN ON!! I went on my lunch hour and bought the stupid calculator. I took it back to the office and took it out of the package to see if I could get it to work. Well, I pushed the "ON" button but nothing happened. I then pushed a few more buttons......nothing. This went on for a few minutes. I told one of my co workers that the calculator was broken and I was going to have to take it back. I was really disappointed becaue I needed it for math that day. We ended up taking it to the IT department to see if they could help us take the back cover off. I thought maybe this high tech calculator didn't come with a battery. Or maybe it had set on the shelf so long that the battery was dead. I needed a tinny tiny screwdriver, which I did not have. The IT guy says, "Maybe if you pull that piece of plastic off it will work". For some reason , I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

After going round and round for a few minutes, I decided to try the plastic theory. Yep, that's what it was. I would like to go on the record as saying that that little tidbit of information was not ANYWHERE in the instruction manual. I guess that the manufacturer figured if someone is smart enough to need a fancy, high tech calculator, said person would be smart enough to figure out how to turn it on. Obviously, they never considered that sleep deprived, stressed out nut such as myself would be ATTEMPTING to use it. My lovely co worker "K" said that's what you get when you have a red head and a blonde trying to figure out how to work a calculator. Good point.

There were so many traumatic things that happened this week, I have decided to block them from my memory. Therefore, I can't remember anything that happened. I do not remember the accident that happened at work Monday( too embarrassing to repeat), I don't remember being snappy with my dad because of my lack of sleep. I don't remember being snappy with my kids because of my lack of sleep, no sir, I don't remember any of it.

This is a brand new week, the slate is clean. Let's see how long that will last.