Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Part 3- the finale

Black Friday... long lines, stampedes of people, waiting for an eternity in the dark, cold hours of the morning...

Yeah, that's what I thought too... Until they came up with the Midnite Madness sales!
Stores open at 12:00 AM ...these sales were made for Night Shift workers like me!

It's become a tradition for my girls and I to travel over the Bay to the outlet mall for a night of shopping, bonding and serious people watching... topped with a greasy breakfast at Denny's.
BratChild has been talking about it for weeks... her second year being a part of Girls Nite Out.


Except this year we went to the mall near our house. Which has outlets for stores like Timberland and J.Crew and BASS... and a lot of regular stores.

But not a lot of deep discounts like they have over the Bay.

Or as many people to watch... and laugh about ( seriously? shopping in PJs and bedroom slippers in the rain with your newborn and a 2 year old at the OUT DOOR MALL!!!)

Or as much bonding... with only a 10 minute drive the trip is over before it starts.

But there was The Skanky, I mean Hunky Santa... a stripper Santa... I mean really...Ick!
And the promise of Chocolate Chip Pancakes at IHop!

HeMan Hubby took the midnite WallyWorld watch to make sure we got the deal of the century... we relieved him by 2:30am.... that's how much Madness was not going on over at the Mall...

Well, except for that one little thing.... where I slipped off the curb and my foot slid in my shoe-
the shoe that BratChild wore earlier and walked on the sides of her feet in and stretched all to hell so they're too wide for my feet now.... so I cracked my knee on the curb and scraped my palms and twisted my ankle...
And the paramedics came running, full speed, to my rescue.
I felt sorry for them.
They had just moved the ambulance from one side of the mall doorway to the other and back again... probably from boredom.
I'm pretty sure one had just said how boring the night was and Jinxed me!

After hanging out at WallyWorld for 2.5 hours with visions of Skanky Santa dancing in our heads...
and BratChild psyched for some IHop... that wasn't open!???

Yes, I managed to find a Denny's and thanks to the NEW MENU which now includes Chocolate Chip Pancakes... she got her Black Friday Breakfast.

But it was just... not the same.
Not fun.
Not what she was looking forward to all month long.

Sometimes it's not about the shopping and the savings.
Sometimes it's about the things that are priceless....
A night spent with daughters, sisters, Mom...
A tradition that just isn't the same when it's really just about the shopping...

A tradition we will be doing the right way.... OUR WAY
Next year!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Time to find the Christmas decorations... Thanksgiving 2010 2 1/2

Oh - I almost forgot... as  I sit here with my knee on a pillow thanking GOD that we had green beans instead of the Frozen Peas for T-giving dinner...( you'll find out why in Part 3)

the boys- the ones with only one good hand each... the ones I asked to ask HeMan Hubby where he put the Xmas tree... go walking up the stairs with a step ladder... as I call out to them to NOT GO INTO THE ATTIC... yeah yeah we got it they say...

Then THUMP! CRASH! WHAM! 
Yeppers, drywall and insulation and one TeenBoy falling thru the ceiling...

Can this HOLIDAY be over yet?
I used to feel sorry for kids left at boarding school for the holidays...
Now?
I sort of envy their parents!

PS
HeMan Hubby came to the rescue.
He pulled some drywall that was just chilling in the basement and got the hole covered.

The really cool part is that he made TeenBoy help him... to atone for his stubbornness

But that's not the cool part, the really cool part is that I could hear HeMan Hubby explaining how to measure the area and how to cut the drywall and put it up so the seams would be hidden once taped and mudded and the stucco pattern to match the rest of the ceiling was done.

And TeenBoy? He listened and asked questions and actually learned a thing or two...
While spending some time hanging with his Dad doing some Guy Stuff...

I guess sometimes things really do happen for a reason...


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Part 2

don't forget to read Part 1 below
Thanksgiving is a week-long holiday that begins with Parent-Teacher conferences on Monday.


This happens every year. 
Some years they go much better than others.
This year was a 'better' year... sort of.


After working all night I had to be at the school at 8am 
with BratChild and SIX - who were too tired to get up on time-
for a student-led conference. 


Which means they tell me how they are doing in school.
Yeah, that's so very helpful... lucky for me a teacher was available to answer my questions.
Thank You God!


After working all night I had to be at the school for a Team conference with ALL of BratChild's teachers at 11am...
because of the Math teacher... who did not seem to think there was a problem... 
the other teachers did not agree ....
things should be better when school resumes! 
Yeah! not a bad day after all...


Oops! 
Spoke too soon...
TeenBoy lost his temper... you know, the way teen boys do.
And his poor bedroom window paid the price... 
well that and his hand that, after a quick (yeah right) trip to the ER was stitched and bandaged and totally useless for a week...


Why? you ask... he was mad. Bad mom, I made him get off the computer...
good news is he doesn't have to worry about that anymore... No More Computer until.... Easter?


Yes, Thanksgiving is a week long celebration of family love and togetherness...


Please God, let me make it to the end without killing, or at least maiming , anyone! 


But wait! There's more.... Look for the continuing saga of Thanksgiving 2010... 


Part 3 and the story of the Midnight Madness sale that wasn't...
Mad that is

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Road Trip to Remember

Through the years I have taken many road trips with my children.
Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall... no matter the season, if there was enough time to squeeze in a quick trip to visit my Grandma and cousins in Ohio we loaded up the car and away we went.

One of my favorite trips was Independence Day 1989.
My daughters were 9 and 4 and my son, he was 8 weeks old.

My car was my favorite one to date. A red Hyundai Accent 5-door with a sun roof and soft, fluffy upholstery.
It was also my very first New car.

We set out early on a weekday morning, traveling Rt 70 into Pennsylvania, then following the winding roads that cross into West Virginia with a detour to the cemetery to put flowers on my grandparent's and brothers graves.

Once in West Virginia the girls started the ritual of calling out which route to take over the mountains.
"Follow the River"
"Over the mountain"
"Go the back way"
"Stop at OUR gas station"

No, we didn't own the gas station, but we always stop at the same stations on our trips.
That way the kids know how far to the next stop- in hours if not in miles- and with frequent trips the employees become familiar and recognize us when we stop in.

After our stop in Bridgeport at OUR gas station to fill up on snacks and fuel I had the girls pick a number between 1-10. The one closest to my number got to pick the route over the mountain.

I don't remember which one got to pick, but we took the route along the river that led through Clark Gable's hometown. We took a short detour to drive past the house he was born in. The girls complaining all the while wanting to know what the big deal about a Black and White movie guy was... years later they saw Gone with the Wind and stopped asking THAT question!

We stopped at a little diner for a late lunch.
The hole-in-the-wall kind that always has the best food ever.

Lesson learned the hard way? Go where the truckers go. They travel the same routes and know where to eat!
And when they see a young mom and her kids travelling they pay attention and keep an eye out.

The girls talked to the waitress and told them where we were headed. I saw a couple truckers nod to each other and head out as we paid our bill.

Yep, they were going our way and they kept pace and looked out for us until we got to the turn off to Grandma's house.

SmartGirl threw up somewhere around Donegal, Pa. Her first ever bout of car sickness. And GoodMom? She got in a snit because she had to sit in the back with 'The Baby' for part of the trip.
But we look back and remember that trip and laugh.

We made the trips for years and years. The vehicle getting bigger as we added more children to our family. The detours sometimes fun, sometimes shortcuts and sometimes not-so-short-cuts.

There was the time ManBoy couldn't figure out if BratChild has spilled her drink or over-flowed her diaper...
We all laugh whenever we remember his little voice calling out " It sure doesn't taste like Lemonade".

Or the time we got a flat tire when a milk crate flew off the truck in front of us. We were headed to Ohio, this time for Grandma's funeral. I was leading the way with GoodMom driving behind.
The kids still bring up 'That time Grandma almost got run over by a Saturn'. Because, well, she almost did. She ran across 3 lanes of the Ohio Turnpike to retrieve the milk crate because... well we still have no idea why... nearly getting clipped by a blue Saturn going 70 miles an hour.

We head South now instead of West. And we travel at night with the truckers watching our backs to avoid the heat and the traffic jams on I-95.
We carry our cooler filled with water bottles and juice and apples and fruit bites... and chocolate to keep BusyMom focused. The kids watch movies and listen to iPods and take turns sitting by me just talking while I drive.

There are lots of memories from lots of road trips and really, when I sit back and think about it,  every trip is my favorite for one memory or another.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Discount Tire blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card and be entered for a chance to win a prize valued at $1,000. For more information on how you can participate, CLICK HERE."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Part 1

My beautiful family... a couple or 6 Thanksgivings ago!
TeenBoy HeManHubby BratChild Me SIX
SmartGirl ManBoy GoodMom
Ahhh, another Thanksgiving under the belt... or in some cases hanging over it.
A day filled with family and friends. Good food and better drink ... 
Eggnog people! 


Pageants with children dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians
 who dance and sing and yell out 'Hi Mom!'


This is the day that we all love and live...
thru the movies on television, that is.


Mom in a dress and heels, Dad in a suit and tie
The kids are clean and fresh come to the table in shirts and ties
 and skirts with ribbons in their hair.


At my house I'm lucky if TeenBoy puts a t-shirt on before he sits down.


And me?
After cooking a 19 lb turkey and 11 lb ham... making 15 lbs of mashed potatoes and 5 lbs of my wonderful stuffing... 2 pumpkin and 1 deep-dish sugar-free pies... 


Hey!
I'm lucky if I can squeeze in a shower AND put on some make-up BEFORE the guests arrive.


And by guests, I mean family. Who are technically guests, but not really so...
Do I have to observe hostess etiquette and offer drinks and hors d'oeurves?
I sincerely hope not, cuz I don't. 


Not that I would love to, but because I'm too busy trying to get someone to set the table... including the silver ware... oh yeah, and the napkins PLEASE


Finally, Finally! 


We sit, after managing to find 12 chairs... oops! We needed 13 this year...
We sit, except TeenBoy who stands because he has no chair...
we say Grace, er, my father says Grace...


as my lovely granddaughter, FancyPants, sits between GoodMom and I with her little hands clasped in front of her as her great-grandfather says a prayer...


Yeah, that's what Thanksgiving is all about...


yeah, that and a week off from school so kids can drive their parents insane...
But that's another story ... Thanksgiving 2010 Part 2.. COMING SOON!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Today is Sunday... a day for recharging the soul

Sunday. 
The day of rest.
But in reality, is there ever a day of rest for any of us?
Sleeping in ... all the way to 7am!
Laundry and cleaning and preparing for the week ahead.
These are the things I do on my day of rest.



You will show me the path of life.

In your presence is fullness of joy...

psalm 16:11

But more importantly, my day of rest is my day to recharge my soul.


To take the time to watch the sunlight shining through the window, lighting up the dust motes as the float by.


To take the time to relax with a child or 2 and watch TV... infomercials, Disney movies, Phineas and Ferb... whatever. It's a time to just enjoy spending time doing nothing with them.


To make the time to Thank God that I am able to see the gifts he has given me.


To stop and smell the proverbial roses along life's path and remember that no matter what God will accept me, forgive me, boost me up and walk with me...


For as long as I want him there...
and yes, even if I don't.









Thursday, November 18, 2010

Writer's Workshop: When I see you smile...

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop:


Prompt #2 - write a poem about a time someone made you smile.



This is about my son's first kiss... the one he gave his girlfriend after the final performance of the high school play she was in. He gave her the bouquet of roses he had picked out for her and then he kissed her for the very first time. I saw this happen from across the lobby. It made me smile as I remembered the awkward young boy his father was the very first time he kissed me... 


Tonight the final curtain call.
Is it the end or only the beginning
of  her career, a hobby, or a dream


A nervous laugh as the lights come up
beautiful red roses held tightly in his grasp
he saunters through the crowd unseen


And then, she turns her face toward him
her eyes gleam, her smile widens
as she watches him draw near


Flowers are thrust into her arms
he sighs then shuffles he feet, nervous
he leans in to give her love's first kiss


I watch from a distance
a smile on my face
and I think how like his father he really is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Day Another Dollar...

Or in this economy it's more likely to be a quarter.

It's that time of year. Time to clear out the old and bring in the new... er, no, that's not right.
It's time to clear out the cobwebs and dust, move the furniture to see exactly what the kids have hidden underneath, clean out closets and cabinets filled with winter clothes and coats and shoes that no longer fit anyone in my household.
That's what time it is.
Once the floors are clean and the corners of the rooms are cobweb free it's much easier to settle into the routine of winter.
Days spent indoors, instead of out, watching all those shows I DVR because I can't seem to stay awake past sundown...
Days spent baking cookies for the holidays and searching out recipes for new things to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Days spent making gifts for family and friends... crocheting and knitting while watching all those DVR'd shows or Hallmark Countdown to Christmas movies.

I love this time of year.
Not only do I get to de-clutter and clean, but I get to relax and enjoy being home.
Football and Soccer season have finally ended. Not that I don't love them as much as TeenBoy, BratChild and SIX do, but they've been going since mid-summer and quite frankly, five months of practices and games and cleaning uniforms and cleats... there is a limit to what a BusyMom wants to do.
Now we can sit down to dinner, together, instead of eating on the run on the way to some ball practice or another.
Now I can make dinners that don't have to be portable or pre-fab frozen deals that can be microwaved in a snap.

Yes, now I can do all of these things...
but will I?
All?
Probably not.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What I want to BE when I grow up List

Over at SITS I joined a group with activities to help me find my voice, my blog voice that is, and my audience... again the blog-reading one.

This week we were called to write a list- in 10 minutes- and the grocery list was not the one they meant so... here goes.

This is my list of things that I would like to be... when I grow up, or when my kids do, which ever comes first.

1- a Super Hero- any kind will do... I just think it would be cool to have people actually need me for something other than a meal and clean clothes and as a chauffer.
2-a doctor or a PA or a Nurse Practicioner or an herbal healer or Wise Woman - but not the kind that were burned for being witches.
3-a college graduate... a prerequisite to number 2
4-an acclaimed author... with a real book with my Nom-De-Plum or alter ego's name on the cover.
5-the best person I can be... and not feel guilty for wanting to be ME instead of Mom or Wife or person-you-can-always-count-on...

I know that I will in all likihood not acheive any of these because, let's face it, I am Mom amd Wife and Person-you-can-always-count-on and...

I like who I am and that is probably the thing on my To Be list that matters most...
6-Happy to BE me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day... a lesson and a Thank You... No,Really- THANK YOU!

Below is a repost of mine from last year...

Since then another fine young man died while fighting for the things he believed in... things like Love of God, Love of Family and Love of Country...

To Kurt and Charlie and all those who GAVE THEIR ALL during the last 12 months...

Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

Original Post November 11, 2009
Today is Veteran's Day.



A day set aside to honor those who have served to protect and defend our country.



Everyone knows that. We learned about it in grade school- you know back when the holocaust was real and the 'Cold War' was still being fought?

But what many people may not remember, or possibly never really learned way back when, is that Veteran's Day was originally Armistice Day.



What is Armistice you may ask... again because you were too busy watching Nixon being impeached on TV or listening to your grandfather rant how the Russians were planning to take over the world to remember what your teacher was telling you in school.



Armistice is a cessation of fighting by mutual agreement between all parties involved.



And Armistice Day was originally intended as a remembrance of the Armistice Treaty that went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, thereby effectively ending the First World War... or as it was called by many, "The War To End All Wars"... well, until the next one that is.



So, November 11th at 11:00 am is when the guns stopped shooting and the soldiers stopped marching and the tanks stopped rolling in 1918. And those left standing were able to return to their homes and families in time for Christmas and the Peace-full New Year of 1919.



But the armistice did not last because, well, let's face it, we ARE human after all, and eternal peace and happiness just aren't part of the genetic code of our species.


Someone had to decide they were "The Man" and start taking over the smaller and less adequately defended countries in Europe-- oh so slyly and quietly so that the bigger, badder nations across the globe did not realize exactly what was happening until it was almost too late.


And of course, The US being the Defender of the Defense-less, and Global Conscience that it is, we got involved. Oh- I mean before Pearl Harbor- we had pilots flying for the RAF out of Canada and Great Britain, we had intelligence personnel in Europe sending back some not-so-nice reports on Adolph and Friends and there were discussions in the governmental bodies about how and when we should intercede.



Then Pearl Harbor happened and just how much trouble Adolph and his Pals in Italy and Japan had gotten into became alarmingly apparent.

Thus the US was thrown into World War II, and although it was not our brightest hour, it was certainly not a good idea to piss us off from the get go.
 Japan was not very smart about that, or they under estimated us as a military force? Maybe it is because we frown on killing perfectly good people by using airplanes as bombs like those crazy Kamakzi guys. But hey, maybe it was something else.


So WWII happened. Lots more of our young men died defending those in need across the globe against a mad man, who had some serious mental-health and self-love issues, because he could talk a good game.



That 'War to End All Wars' ended in 1945, and not a moment too soon for those interred in concentration camps across Eastern Europe.


In 1954- only 9 years after WWII ended and a year after the Korean Conflict- cuz I do remember learning in school that it was NOT a war, just a conflict where people got killed... a lot, had been ... er, un-conflicted?


Anyway- 1954 saw the signing of a bill making Veteran's Day a day to honor American veterans of all wars by Dwight Eisenhower, who was himself a great veteran and who said... ( I had to put a quote of his here because he is my favorite president)...


"On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of those who fought so valiantly on the seas, in the air and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."



Since that proclamation was made 51 years ago many more veterans have arrived on the scene... From the cuban conflict, Operation Desert Storm, Viet Nam, Operation Iraqi Freedom and so many more that I am sure We, The People have no idea ever happened.






For ALL of those Veterans I want to say thank you... and I include those who are left who bear a tatoo identifying them as true veterans of war because, unlike American History books who barely mention the "alleged holocaust" I believe that their lives were endagered, taken and tossed aside without care... and I KNOW that without OUR Veterans of that war, and the many since, history books the world over would be filled with more atrocities than even I can imagine, and let me tell you, I have a really good imagination!






So- Thank You to Marty, Vic, David, Steph, Dad, Uncle Dave, Wink, Mr. Schuyler, Matthew, Smitty, Charlie Cartwright- KIA Afghanistan November 2009, and those whose names I cannot remember and those whose names I have never known... you are ALL to me like family... the family of Man-Kind with the emphasis on KIND.

The Heartbreak of Defeat.... or the broken hand... take your pick

SIX broke his hand.
Badly.

Actually, he didn't break it, the kid on the other team did.
Or in the words of SIX, 'Thunder Thighs broke it".

For a team of 11 year olds, there sure were a lot of BIG kids on it.
And by BIG, I mean Thunder Thighs probably weighed in around 230.
No joke!

SIX is 5'5" and 107... just a little difference in size.
But SIX stopped Thunder Thighs from getting the touchdown ... which was good.
His team still lost... which was not so good.

The season officially ended with the play after SIX's hand got crunched... yeah, figures.
No more nightly football practice.
No more Saturday's spent at the field.
No more searching for elusive uniform pads and socks before a game.
That's what our team has to look forward to.

The other team?
According to SIX...
They're at home eating donuts by the fire.
Fattening up for next year.

You know, I think he just might be right about this one.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Scary Thing Happened On The Way To A Football Game

Driving.
Many of us do it. Usually several times a day.
How many of us are safe drivers though?


A law went into effect October 1st that no one can text or talk while driving in my state. 
One MUST use a hands free device to converse on the phone while driving.


There was a cry of outrage from the media, the public, the teens who's cell phones have been surgically attached to their wrists! 


Somehow, in all the to-do about that law, another more important, and to my mind totally for dummies law, went  into effect without so much as a whisper of commentary.


As of October 1st, failing to move to the left, or if unable to move left, to slow down, when passing a police vehicle on the shoulder with lights on is a ticket-able offense.


I know, it's a long law. And it's a totally 'Well Duh!' kind of law. Everyone I asked, like me, was taught to move over a lane when a police car is on the shoulder with lights on when they were in driver's ed way back in the dark ages. 


Apparently, the driving classes now don't teach that? Or perhaps they don't emphasize the importance of this little courtesy to our men in blue? Either way, it appears that there have been so many police officers injured, or killed, during routine traffic stops by cars side-swiping or rear-ending the police cruisers, and/or the cars they have stopped, that lawmakers felt this had to be addressed with this new law.


Just when I thought that, yet again, the lawmakers of my state were wasting tax payer money writing laws for things that are common sense, I was put in my place. For thinking, that is.


On the way to TeenBoy's final football game of the season ( no you do not want to know the score), I was driving in the right lane. In front of me was a brand new full-size pickup with the ginormous tires and a gun-rack in the rear window. 
As we approached a red light the truck turned on his right turn signal and moved into the right turn lane. Only to slow, then swerve suddenly to the left, cutting off a car that was coming through the intersection - as he DID have the green light - then continued across all the lanes of traffic, pedal to the metal, only to turn into the McDonald's parking lot on the other side of the road.


I give up.
There are no 'Well, Duh!' laws. 
All of them need to be written down and THEN they need to broadcast them daily on a loudspeaker along the highways so that all the stupid people, like that truck driver, will have no excuse to say they did not know the laws.


Oh, the driver was not a youngster, or even an older person who was perhaps confused... but someone, who in all appearances, seemed to be 30-40 and in good physical health. 
At least from what I see for the10 minutes he was driving in front of me before he went insane.


TeenBoy will be eligible for his learner's permit in one year. 
Great, like I don't have enough to worry about already! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Like Ace of base.... I Saw the Sign

Welcome to another offering from the writing prompts at Mama Kat's


Todays prompt is : 


5.) Describe a moment when you saw someone hit their breaking     
      point.





She seemed calm, normal actually, at first,  as I watched from across the room.


Then, an eerie light began to glimmer, just beyond her pupils, as if from some other place behind her eyes, an almost manic look.


Her mouth turned down with sadness, her brow furrowed with anger and then her coloring got, well, blotchy.
Her face, her chest and down her arms grew cold, then hot,  then prickled with goosebumps as she balled up her fists.


It was then, right then, as she slowly slid to the floor, that she surrendered to her anger, the sense of inadequacy, and cried...


" I give up. That's. It.  I'm. Done"


She sighed, her body going limp, her eyes filling with tears, her head drooping as she leaned against the mirror, slowly breathing in, then out... as I realized that I was the only one in the room.





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Day After...the day after

Today is the day after the day after Halloween.

It was a laid back and relaxing one, for a change.

The kids carved their pumpkins without much fuss or fighting.


They dressed themselves and only asked for help with the little things like the 401k-that-took-a-beating make-up.

Before I knew what happened they were out the door and I was left...
alone
in peace
and quiet.

Just me, the TV and Ghost Hunters Live...

It was wonderful.

And then, they came home...

with 10 pounds of candy each.

Note to self-  call the Dentist!