For the first 22 years of my life I spent every Christmas Day (except one) at my Grandma's house and in later years even if I wasn't with her on Christmas Day I would see her sometime during the holiday week. Now in these last years Grandma wasn't able to participate much in the festivities but she was there.
One of my memories of Christmas at Grandma's was the popcorn balls she used to make. (Now these are the good popcorn balls not the ones made with that marshmallow nonsense). She would always bring them out in the afternoon after dinner was eaten and cleaned up and after gifts were exchanged. They were SO GOOD.
Today, even though we have had every treat known to man over the last few weeks, I decided to whip up a batch of the popcorn balls. They aren't as good as hers always were but just biting into one brings memories rushing back and brings a little part of her here this year....our first Christmas without her.
And that's what traditions do....they link generation to generation and bind families together. Here's hoping you have all had many special family moments this holiday season.
I believe this sensitive, little guy is going to be an awesome husband for some special, lucky girl. Tonight when we were playing LIFE (which by the way is not a bad game-I hadn't played it for awhile), he was SO very excited when he landed on the "you just had a baby" space. Then when he had to pick whether he wanted to go on the regular life path or the risky life path he said, "I better go on the regular life path. I have a family now!"
Today Sam was leaving work and carrying four 2X2's. He turned around to tell the cashier good-bye and accidentally whacked someone in the chest with the boards. When he turned around to see who he hit, he saw none other than the man who asked the now infamous questions (see last post...I'm not repeating it!).
Ahhh.....sweet justice! (Well not really since he lived but it's probably the only retribution I'm going to get!)
It has been documented HERE and HERE...the unfortunate incidents when I have been called my kids' Grandma. I honestly didn't think it could get worse until today.
I met Sam at Menards this morning to look at carpet (yeah...I might be getting new carpet!!) and we were also picking up a few presents. Sam started talking to a shopper that he knows and then he turned and looked at me and said....some of you know where this is going....
"IS THIS YOUR MOM?"
Let's just say I did not react well to this. First of all I "corrected" the gentleman and then I hightailed it to the next aisle where I immediately broke down crying. (Crying in Menards, where your husband is the manager, also not a pleasant experience....for anyone!). But you know us Grandmas and mothers of 41 year old men...we are so emotional...probably menopause or something!!
Sam's job tonight...returning all of the presents he bought me. I will be taking the money and immediately booking my appointment for botox or a chemical peel or something....anything that will help. Obviously I need it!!
Sam was also not happy to have me referred to as his mom. His mother is a very lovely person but it is still kind of creepy to have your wife called mommy!!
Sam, Rhonda and I were fortunate to be able to travel to the Big XII championship game last weekend in Dallas. I was looking forward to it except for the part about being in Texas, surrounded by Longhorn fans. I know, I know...get over it already right? Well I was fully prepared to be met with much rudeness and crudeness and cockiness etc. but I MUST CONFESS. We were treated so nice everywhere we went from our hotel, to the restaurants we ate at (including the Waffle House...yes I finally can say I ate at one) and especially at Jerry's world (the stadium). It was a very pleasant experience....actually it was a blast!
Sam and Rhonda outside of Jerry's world
After the VERY disappointing outcome of the game I MUST CONFESS that I wanted to leave the stadium but I just couldn't go until I had the chance to boo (Oh yes I did!) Dan Beebe one more time!! It was fun. I don't care if you think it is wrong to boo or not. I felt better!!
Then...walking to the car I came very close to getting Sam into a fight. Three OU fans walked by and taunted us by saying, "Have fun going back to the corn." (First of all how lame is that line?). I MUST CONFESS that before I could stop myself I said, "Have fun going back to Oklahoma to marry your sister you hillbilly!" (Hey, at least I didn't use a certain adjective that Billy C. used back in the day!). Anyway, they stopped and looked but you see when you are trying to get "back to the corn" you walk really fast and they couldn't catch us!!
Dear Justice, JC Penney, Dillards, Younkers, Children's Place and Claire's (feel free to insert your favorite children's store here),
Does everything in your store have to have the peace sign on it? I'm all for hoping, wishing, and praying for world peace. I mean come one now....who doesn't want that? Will we get it quicker if the peace emblem is plastered all over the notebooks and earrings, and sweat pants, and brushes, and sweaters, and coats, and pillowcases and....well everything you sell at your store?
Also, could you please ask your salespeople not to look at someone like they are a two-headed monster when they ask, "Can I get this without the peace sign on it?" or "Point me in the direction of something, anything that doesn't have the peace sign on it?" I already feel enough like a fish out of water when shopping in the tweeny-boppers section, surrounded by glitter and fur and all things sparkly. I don't need "Tiffany" looking at me like I'm the daughter of Hitler.
Thanks for listening and if possible could I get something by Christmas??
for your grace, the gift of salvation you give freely, and your love.
for Christian parents who raised me with the foundation of faith.
for the freedom we have in this country to worship you freely.
for the men and women who have given their lives to ensure this freedom.
for a husband who is quite possibly the most well-adjusted, normal person I have ever met and that makes him the perfect complement for a neurotic person such as myself :-)!
for a husband who works long hours to support our family and still finds time to help with homework, and housework, and play with kids who adore him.
for a first-born who is just like her daddy, laid back, sweet, unbothered by much and who is quickly becoming more companion than someone who needs to be cared for.
for a youngest child who is just starting to find his way in this world and who never meets a quiet space he can't fill with words and laughter.
for parents who I can call anytime I need to talk.
for parents and in-laws who are active participants in their grandkid's lives.
for my sister and the important role she plays in the lives of her niece and nephew.
for cousins who are also friends.
for a close-knit extended family.
for answered prayers over the last year.
for the hard times that have drawn me closer to you.
for calling Sam and I to send our kids to a school where your Word is taught, where your name is revered in the classroom and not just used as a cuss word, and where teachers and students are free to pray with and for each other.
for our church, a place that ministers to over 700 children a week.
for children who are healthy.
for lives free from disability, pain, or disease.
for a warm, comfortable home.
for a car that runs.
for jobs that provide more than we need.
for a fall that was so pleasant, sunny and warm.
Barely keeping my head above water here trying to kick some kind of weird, mutant cold that I picked up somewhere! I've been fighting it for 2.5 weeks and it is getting VERY discouraging!!! Kind of makes doing anything hard, even blogging. (And really how hard can sitting on the couch, typing on a keyboard be but that is how much this alien is kicking my behind!)
So until things get back to normal. let me leave you with this picture of the kids on International Day at their school (International Day takes the place of Halloween). One benefit of traveling to China is being able to pick up authentic outfits for them to wear!!
Starting now I'm on 168 hours of minimal kid duty!! Woo Hoo!! Don't get me wrong...I love the little humans but I've been looking forward to this for a while now!! Sam is on vacation and we aren't going anywhere so....again I say woo hoo!! He keeps telling me about all these projects he's going to do this week (i.e. replace the faucet, work in the basement, winter-proof the garage). Not quite sure how he's going to get all that done between school runs, helping in the classroom, chauffeuring to swimming and piano, parent lunch, homework, baths, and bedtime.
Now don't go and start feeling sorry for him....I'll help....a little!
My sister likes Elvis. She was only about 5 when he died but for some reason she has been a fan of his for quite awhile. For her BIG birthday (yes...she is a member of the club now), my parents hired an Elvis impersonator to come and do a little show. I thought it would be cute to have Camden dress up like Elvis too as he loves costumes. We really wanted him to sing but he seemed kind of scared to do that so we didn't push him. However, one night I did teach him the words to the song Teddy Bear just in case he changed his mind.
Since I am of little value when it comes to sewing, I enlisted the help of my very talented cousin Jerryl to whip up a costume for him. She, along with my other cousin Joye, sewed and bedazzled the cutest little thing you ever did see. It even has a cape. So adorable!!!
Camden was quite thrilled with his costume and I think a bit of Elvis was reincarnated in him when he put it on, as all of a sudden he wanted to sing. The Elvis impersonator was very nice and let Cam come up and sing with him on Teddy Bear. As a very biased audience, I have to say it was about the sweetest thing ever and amazing as well as he didn't really know the words that well.
The bummer of the situation is that I can't upload the video Sam took of the whole song due to some extension file issues (very frustrating!!) but I do have just a few clips that will give you an idea of what you missed! :-)
The kiddos are at my parents for 4 days so I decided I needed to spruce this place up with some paint. Because Dave Ramsey is of the opinion that I don't need to buy new furniture at this point in time, I had to pick colors that match/complement my dark plum colored couch and chair and my wonderful yellow chair (yes...some of you are acquainted with yellow chair!). Now it has never been said that I'm scared to use color in my house. I just can't have a tan house. (No offense to you tan house people.) Just can't do it!! I need me some color! So.....I picked....get ready.....fling green which is an aqua/teal color and stonehenge gray, a tan/gray color. Trust me...the faces you are making right now can't be any worse than the face Sam made when he first saw them on the wall!!
I'm halfway done with the first coat and surprisingly enough I'm having some very sentimental issues with painting over the denim blue and pale yellow walls.
First of all I have LOVED the blue walls. I always thought they were so pretty...maybe not what anyone else would pick, but I have really liked them. Sniff....
Secondly, for the last six years many pictures of my kids were taken in front of those walls. Pictures of accomplishments, first days of school, cute outfits, etc. Small sob....
And finally, there have been an infinite number of times that I've been frustrated with the hand prints and scuffs on these walls. However, today as I cover up little C's hand prints or the marks that CM's sticky octopus made on them, I'm surprisingly sad. Big sob and small tear....
The boy child spent 10 minutes (not exaggerating) last night chewing a very minuscule bite of bratwurst that we made him try, saying the whole time, "I just can't swallow it." Then tonight he turned around and swallowed a dime. Really????
1. It's fun to get in touch with people from your past and see what they are up to again.
2. It really is a good way to stay connected....especially with extended family. At our reunion this summer I felt like I had so much more to talk about with people.
3. There are some really fun games on facebook (i.e. Bejeweled Blitz, Word Whomp Derby, and Glob).
4. It's fun to post pictures for people to see.
5. It's fun to look at other people's pictures.
6. If you are having a bad day and you status update about it you usually get a lot of positive comments.
7. It helps me keep track of people's birthdays.
8. It is interesting to see what you have in common with other people.
9. There are some really funny status updates.
10. In the middle of the night, when I'm often up, I can get on facebook and see who else is online and can't sleep.
Reasons I DISLIKE facebook....
1. I dislike it when someone who I've never actually had a face to face or person to person conversation with asks to be my friend. I call that friend trolling and I say ignore.
2. When you see all the cool things people are doing with their lives, it can lead to some pretty strong feelings of inferiority.
3. Too many fun, time-wasting games that are tempting to play.
4. The many unflattering pictures of me that others have posted.
5. The pressure to come up with unique and interesting status updates.
6. No dislike button.
7. The critical responses from some people when you do post something vulnerable.
8. Wondering if anyone would actually remember your birthday if it weren't posted on facebook.
9. That I can't move into 1st place on Word Whomp Derby.
10. The time I spend on facebook could be time I spend out it in the real world actually living.
11. That for an introvert like me, there is the possibility that I could spend all my time cyber-connecting with people instead of really connecting with them.
I know there are several fall lovers who read this blog and I hope you're happy....fall is here. :-(
I know it is here not just because the calendar says so but because there is a house that we drive by on our way to school that has a very cool in-ground pool in its backyard and I love to check it every day just to make sure that there is still sparkling, inviting, beautiful blue water in it. Until one day, every year, it happens....the water is gone, the pool is covered, and a little light goes out of my life (not too overly dramatic I trust). Well, ladies and gentleman....today was that day.
So bring on the SAD, break out the sun light, get the crock pot ready to go.....the BIG NASTY is coming and if it is anywhere near as bad as last year I might as well check myself into the psych ward right now.
Just wanted to share a couple of cute pictures of a couple of cute NE kids today...not so interested in the game but that will come!!
Camden wanted to wear this shirt to school yesterday. When I asked him why he said, "Two reasons. It shows that I have a sense of humor and it says MOM on it." Isn't that the sweetest?!! (If you can't read his shirt it says, "My team is so good even your mom cheers for them.")
And of course this post wouldn't be complete without a picture of my precious little Cornhusker girlie. What a cutie!!
....sorry that your computer-generated automated phone calling machine called this number tonight.
....sorry that this is a night that I am so completely frustrated!
....sorry that my husband wasn't home to answer the phone with his Chinese accent, pretending to be Domino's.
....sorry that I don't want to give you $500, $100, $50 or even $25 because you did have a pleasant voice.
....sorry that you really don't seem to understand WHY I refused your requests for money.
....sorry that my husband wasn't home tonight (2) so he could be my political sounding board instead of you. (Although he was quite ecstatic!)
....sorry that I ABSOLUTELY refuse to give any more money to a party who can muster up more dislike and vitriol for a true conservative, who is actually a member of their party, than they can a stark-raving mad lib who is on the other side!
....sorry that if you call here in the future my answer will be the same.
....sorry that I might have, kind of yelled in your ear a little. It truly wasn't personal.
....sorry if you feel I treated you unkindly. I was not intentionally doing that.
....and finally I'm so sorry that the conservative party is no longer that, but is instead a party of people who are so obsessed with POWER that they have absolutely NO interest in representing a conservative viewpoint!!
There I've said it.
It is off my chest.
I feel better!
If you are thinking, "Oh this should be a good Camden story" you will be a little disappointed.....
Meet our clematis. I introduce it to you as it has been with us for about 5 years, however, it has been pulled up by its roots for the last two years......
and yet it comes back every year, stronger than before. (If you look closely you can see a stack of chairs under it in this picture.). It is simply unbelievable how fast and far it grows every year. (I have another one with really beautiful, pink, star shaped flowers that I can hardly get to grow.).
It has grown up on two sides of our deck.
And is starting to peek out, after growing up under the deck, on a third side.
This year it has actually started growing up over our fence and onto the neighbor's side.
They haven't complained.....yet. It is, evidently, a tough plant to kill. It has such lovely, delicate
flowers and a nice smell but it really attracts all things that buzz and when you have two
offspring such as mine who are deathly afraid of
buzzing insects (In all fairness to Camden, he was swarmed by yellow jackets a couple of weeks ago.),
it IS in my best interest to rid the backyard of this freak of nature.
Until then I guess we will be a front yard family!!
"You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. "
From the movie Parenthood, spoken by Grandma, referring to parenting
We've been to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows around here this week with one of our precious gifts and frankly I'm not sure I can keep it up for the next however many years. Something one kid wanted to try out for that we were sure would turn out to be a huge disappointment, actually went the opposite way and created quite the excitement in her young life and yet something else that has always been a constant in her life seems to be ebbing away and is making both of us quite sad. She seems to be taking everything in stride, handling it. I, on the other hand, have been worrying and fretting not wanting her to feel sad or disappointed, wishing I could ALWAYS protect her from both. Irrationally thinking there is something I can do to make everything better.....but, there is not.
So...I guess I need to close my eyes and put my hands up and try to enjoy the ride.
Even though we have been in school for a couple of weeks, Labor Day always signifies the end of summer to me. Oh summer....please don't leave...what will I do without the warm sun on my face, the long hours of daylight, and the late night blizzard runs?? Guess there is not much I can do about it so I will live in the memories of what a summer it was!! Starting with vacation!!
A trip to Casa Bonita (rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated)!
1. How do you (or would you) keep yourself awake when you have to drive 5 hours, the kids are not talking to you because they are watching a movie (and they haven't watched tv all week so there is no way you are going to get them to shut it off), and you are getting sleepy?
2. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
3. Who wants to go on a girls weekend shopping trip to the Mall of America...with me?
4. Best concert you ever saw (I might have already asked this once but I'm too lazy to go back and look)?
Just sitting here (by myself) thinking back to what I remember from Kindergarten and 5th grade.....
Kindergarten-Interestingly enough I remember both times Miss Hoaglund was unhappy with me (those people-pleasing tendencies sure started early). The first time was when my best friend Lori and I tied our shoelaces together. They were so knotted up that the teacher couldn't get them undone and so we had to stay inside for recess. That wouldn't have been such a bad thing but my dad was the principal and her dad was a teacher at school and we were both so afraid that one or both of them would come in the room and find us so we did what any self-preserving kindergartners would do and hid in the toy shelves for the whole recess. The 2nd time was when there were 3 or 4 of us standing in line at her desk to get help. Evidently the child in front of me was taking a long time so I started sighing and putting my hands on my hips (thinking that would help!) and she sharply told me to be patient and wait my turn. Those "lack of patience" tendencies also developed early!! The only other thing I really remember about K is sitting around an old upright piano, that was in our room, and singing. Pretty self-explanatory as music has always been a necessity for me!!
5th grade-Good old Mrs. Hohnbaum....a smallish, older woman with gray hair that was always, and I do mean every day, in a little tight bun. She was a good teacher, in a "look over your glasses" kind of way. This was the year that I started to notice boys. I had my first major crush. He had the cutest little Feenamint box that held all of his fake money. (Does anyone remember that gum? It was advertised not to stick to your teeth if you had had dental work done!) Not sure if I liked him or his cute little gum box more. This was also the year that I really got in trouble from a teacher and he said if he ever saw me doing it again I would get a spanking. (This was a big threat to me as my parents always said, "Get spanked at school-get spanked at home. End of discussion.") What exactly was my great offense?? I kicked a boy and it was kind of close to his special area. Evidently this teacher had "private area issues" as I think he kind of overreacted. I was at least a good 6 inches away. And in my defense he had kicked me first but did he get yelled at? NO!! (Just another injustice in the life of a first born!) I sure hope my kids have better memories than I do or at the very least, memories that are as innocuous as these are!!