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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dinner with D!

Hey! Guess who I had dinner with tonight! D from Straddling the Line!
She and her family were on their way home from the Outer Banks and stopped to see us. LLB and I met them at Uno's. It was a terrific!!

Her family is just as sweet and wonderful as she describes them. I felt like I already knew them - it's almost surreal when you meet a blogger. You already know so much about them, and yet you are just meeting face to face.

D is just as "real" as she is on her blog. She's the sweetest nicest person you'd ever want to meet. I adore her now more than ever! Her husband deserves a medal for fighting I95 traffic and pouring rain so we could meet. He's calm and collected. He seemed very relaxed even with a long drive ahead of them.

Buddy is cool! I wish #1 could have met him as I'm sure they would have a lot in common. BTW: he has the best hair ever and the most gorgeous eyes... he'll be melting some hearts before you know it!! Bear - she's just so sweet (her freckles are adorable) and LLB had a nice time coloring and chatting with her. Chick is a gorgeous young lady who has her head on straight and will go far in life. I know that wherever she ends up for college, she will do fine.

It was sad to say goodbye, but with their long drive and the crappy weather... it was best that they get on the road as soon as possible. If we never meet face to face again, I know my family and I have a new and wonderful set of friends in D's family. We will keep up with each other. We will email. We will exchange pictures. We will watch our children grow and change - and leave our respective nests. We will celebrate with each other. We will cry with each other. We will be friends - That's really what it's all about.

Toilet Trauma

Remember last weekend when we had the party to end all parties? Well, it was about 2 minutes before the first guests were to arrive. I was just about to go choose my beverage when I heard #1 calling,
"MOM!! Quick! The toilet is overflowing! I can't get it to stop! You gotta help me!"
I went flying up the stairs expecting to see Mount Penatubo instead, I had Niagara Falls coming out the back of the toilet.
I turned off the water. Aren't I the smart one?!
I discovered that the bolt that holds the tank onto the base was broken - therefore we had a hole where the water was pouring out.
My next brilliant move was to flush.
This got the water out of the tank... Thus stopping the flow of water.
I was throwing every towel I had down on the floor to sop up the water so it wouldn't leak down into the kitchen, when #1 said this,
"Mom, I don't know what happened. I was taking a dump and I leaned back. I heard a crack and the water started pouring out."
"You leaned back? Why would you do that?"
"I needed to take a rest."

"Ladybug, Mr. calls, The guests are here!"
"Crap! #1, run down and get their coats. Then come back."

Huh??? Who leans back? He's taking a rest? From what?

"Mom, I'm back. It was your friend, F, and her husband, C. I had them sit at Gram's. Auntie is talking to them."
"Great. Thanks. Honey - don't lean back any more, k? That's bad... it breaks the toilet."
"Ummm... okay. I'm really sorry."
"No more resting. Do your poop and get out."
"Umm... okay. Can you fix it?"
"Yes."
"Do you think Santa will count this against me?"
"No. You're all set. Accidents don't count as naughty."
"Are you sure?"
"Yup.. but if you want to be sure, go take coats and be a good host."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Craziness - 2nd Try

Booger published my post... I wasn't done. I didn't ask it to publish my post... So - those of you who think you've read the whole thing... try again, please.

Christmas was a blast!
We got up, let the dog out and promptly lost him. He ran off somewhere. I guess he didn't want to see what Santa had left for him. He came back eventually.
We opened our stockings. The children were happy with their sugary loot. I was happy with their toothbrushes and their fluoride rinse.
From there we moved into the living room for our presents. The kids got their requested video games and some clothes.
#1 was thrilled with his game - He curled up on the couch and settled in for some serious play.

LLB cranked up her DS and plunked herself in front of the tree with her new games. (Yes, that's a bow stuck to her forehead... don't ask...)


Gram, Grandpa, Nicole and John came over once their loot under their tree was opened. We then opened more great gifts. The children got new cameras from their Auntie and Uncle. I got enough cross stitch supplies to make a gift for each and every one of you and still have stuff left over. I also got a Cricut! OMG!! That is the best gift ever!!!! Gram got a mixer and an internet booster thingy. Grandpa got tool cabinets for his workshop a new hat.
Now he can mow the back 40 in style.

The magic - you all want to know all about it, I'm sure...
We have this magic bag. It is always opened last - I mean dead last. There is one special gift that goes in the bag. This year it was for LLB and #1 - a joint gift.
When I bought this wonderful gift, I wanted to be sure that they knew how very special it was. So... I decided to torture the children - just a little bit - because I can...

I sent them on a scavenger hunt. Bwahahahaaaa!!

They ran the .2 miles down the driveway to the mail box and back... they ran up stairs... they ran downstairs... They went inside and outside... They found the clues one by one.

When they finally got to the gift, this is what they got:

Think they liked it?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve...

Yesterday we took it easy. LLB and #1 were in the Christmas Pageant at church. He was Joseph - an overly exciting part where all he had to do was show up and sit there. She was the Herald Angel - complete with red trumpet. She played Hark The Herald Angels Sing and it was beautiful!

Later in the afternoon we met a friend of #1's at the movies. We saw National Treasure 2. It was a terrific movie. Nicole and John saw I am Legend. Everyone enjoyed their respective movies.

This morning, I'm off to Jazzercise to earn "the stupid t-shirt". Nicole has graciously agreed to come with me so that I can get it over with. I have my canned food ready for those 2 points. (I just hope that Momma K can keep Nicole moving and happy until the end of the class.) I should be completely finished with all this foolishness by 9:40am. Merry Christmas to me!

This afternoon, LLB is meeting her trumpeting friend, the Trumpeter of Jamestown at church for a few more Christmas carols during the Christmas Eve service. She has worked hard and TOJ really appreciates her efforts. As a matter of fact, I got this email from him last night: "Here I am in the waning hours of the afternoon, asking you to thank LLB for tackling that music and playing tomorrow night. It is HARD, but she digs in and it is no wonder she had become a leader in the school band."

After that, we are done. We just have to put some cookies out and wait. I think Santa will make an appearance at The Crossing. The children have been good and so have I. We'll let you know how it all goes.

Until tomorrow - when the magic happens...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Pahtay Recap

Well, it's over.
It was fun!
I think Mr. survived. He is still sleeping. We'll know in an hour or so how well he survived when it's time for him to get up.

We had our own band. A friend of ours is a wonderful person and a terrific musician who happens to play all kinds of instruments. He brought the music, his trumpet, and his valve trombone thingy and I supplied the instrumentalists. We had a french horn, a flute (2 if you count me), two trumpets - both red of course, a sax, and a clarinet. We played a bunch of Christmas carols. It was a blast!!!! The music was easy enough that I could think about other stuff and I couldn't help thinking that I never, in my wildest dreams, ever thought I would have a little band playing carols at my party in my house. It was wicked cool. I know Gram loved it. She finally saw something positive come out of those years of private flute lessons. (I did quite well, thanks.)

The house was full of merry makers. We had a marvelous time. The coo coo killer did not show up, but if they did I could have easily missed them. LLB and #1 had a bunch of friends to hang with and all the kids got along. At one point LLB and her friends escaped to the stair landing to eat. I heard girly laughter and when I looked up, there they were - ensconced on the landing chowing down. Hey - whatever works!

The pot luck thing worked out great! There was plenty of food and everyone ate until they were stuffed. I have a bunch of cookies and stuff like that left over. Those are going to church this morning for coffee hour. (Yes, I'm smart like that sometimes.)

The only mishap we had was a red wine spill... all over gram's blue portugese rug. The poor girl who spilled it was frantic. The glass just broke. It wasn't her fault. We had wine everywhere. We sprayed and sprayed some magic red wine antidote that Gram had. We rubbed and rubbed and it all came out. Note to self: No red wine at the next party. Another note to self: Buy stock in that magic spray.

I think it was a terrific party. The pot luck thing was the way to go. So, next year.. be here - and bring your instrument. You missed a good one!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Last Big Blast

Our party to end all parties is tonight. Mr. made his world famous chili and our house smells great. Gram has been cooking for the past few days and has wonderful goodies to set out tonight.

I did the costco run - I made sure that the adult beverages are in excellent supply. Yup, my car sounded like a beer truck making a delivery... clink clink clink all the way home.

I have a few more presents left to wrap and some laundry to fold. I did some dusting and I need to run the vacuum in the family room. Other than that, the rest of the house looks pretty good. I have to put the children's gifts for their friends in a big basket - and then they have to remember to give the gifts.

Some of LLB's and #1's friends will be here with their parents tonight. I love these kids and I want them to be here. I do NOT want little kids here. They touch my stuff and break things - like LLB's coo coo clock. One woman who has a bratty little kid (who broke the coo coo) called yesterday and asked if children were coming. I told her that the older kids would be here, but that I'd rather not have the younger set. She was a bit put off and I think she is still bringing her kid... All the others with younger children are leaving them home. Why can't she do that?

Well, I'm sure I'll have all kinds of blog fodder pop up tonight. I just hope I can remember it all to share with you tomorrow. Maybe I'll keep a notebook and a pencil in my back pocket, so I can write it all down as it happens... Or, I could be nice and take the stance that "what happens at the party... stays at the party". Nah... What fun is that?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas - I can see it!

I know you all think I've just drown in a sea of things to do, but I'm still treading and I can see Christmas.

This week has been totally crazy. We've had concerts, teacher appreciation lunches, trips to Costco and multiple pickups at school along with all the other regular things we do. To add to the craziness, a friend of mine and I are trying to win a t-shirt at Jazzercise. All we have to do is go 38 times between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 combined. We have a few blocks left to fill in. We have become obsessed. It's a t-shirt... But we are both competitive and we WANT THE STUPID T-SHIRT! If you need me this morning, you know where to find me.

Today is a half day for both children - We are all ready for a school break, let me tell you!! LLB has a concert at school this morning. She will be playing her red trumpet (much to her music teacher's dismay...) #1 has a concert as well, but asked me not to attend as we saw it all last night. (I'm happy to oblige as I want the stupid t-shirt. I will be at LLB's concert because I can get my class in and still make it over to school.) We have a swim meet tonight for #1, Christmas Pageant for both children and bell rehearsal for Mr. and me tomorrow, the party to end all parties tomorrow evening, and the Pageant on Sunday. After that, I think I might be able to relax and enjoy... Although, I'm enjoying every minute of the busy-ness of the season. I'm pooped, but I wouldn't change any of it.

My sweet sister, Nicole, and her husband are flying in this afternoon. We will get to enjoy them for Christmas this year. They haven't spent Christmas with us as a couple yet, so we are happy to show John how Christmas is done. You know, the right way.

One of our traditions is the Magic Bag. A very special gift is placed in the bag. The bag is hung on a door knob where everyone can see it and touch it. You can squeeze it and feel it and make it your own, but you must NOT open it. The bag is squeezed and guessed at until Christmas Day. It's so much fun to try to figure out what is in it. There is usually one person who knows the recipient of the magic bag. That person is a secret until Christmas Day when he/she gives the bag to the recipient. This year the magic bag is even more special... It's truly magic!!

I'll tell you all about it on Christmas Day after the magic has happened.... I might even be able to include some pictures of the magic happening...

Another tradition we have is the opening of the stockings. We all sit together in our pajamas and open them. We compare. We swap. We chatter on and on about the insane quantity of tissue paper and tape used to wrap each and every item. John has no idea what he is in for this year!!

I'll fill you in on our escapades as the weekend progresses... come back and read all about it, k?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Dime

I have a busy day today - almost busier than yesterday's concert that went very very well (amazingly enough). Today I'm helping with the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Normally, I try to stay away from this stuff, but as PTO Co-Chair, I don't have much choice but to be there and pitch in. That said, I haven't made my pizelles, but I did finish crocheting a scarf for #1's swim team secret Santa party. So, in lieu of a post, I have this sweet story that my friend C sent to me in my email this morning.

The Dime
Author: Unknown

Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't own any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift. He shook his head as he thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have any money to spend."

Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity. Bobby had two older and one younger sister, who ran the house hold in their mother's absence. All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother. Somehow it just wasn't fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and he had nothing.

Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops and stores were. It wasn't easy being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to. Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window. Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach.

It was starting to get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting off of something along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny dime. Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment. As he held his new found treasure, warmth spread throughout his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned cold when the salesperson told him that he couldn't buy anything with only a dime.

He saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line. When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother's Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and said to him, "You just wait here and I'll see what I can do for you." As Bobby waited he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers. The sound of the door closing as the last customer left jolted Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid.

Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box. "That will be ten cents young man." the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the dime.

Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime. Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime! Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like them?" This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas, son."

As he returned inside, the shop keeper's wife walked out. "Who were you talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?"

Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied, "A strange thing happened to me this morning. While I was setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn't sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime. When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago. I too, was a poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give me ten dollars. When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very best roses."

The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't feel cold at all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Phew... I'm glad that's over!!

What a weekend!
The Nutcracker went off without a hitch - all 4 performances this weekend. The kids did great and I took almost 300 pictures. Yup. I'm glad I have that digital camera!! Now all I have to do is upload them... That ought to take me about a week.

I did a photo fund raiser for the ballet studio and the pictures came in. They are so cute! I am pretty proud of myself... I told the parents that I would try to get them in for Christmas - some cared... some did not.

Anyway, I called the parents who wanted their pictures for Christmas. Most people were gracious and kind and accomodating. But, as you know there is always one... This lady returned my call yesterday and yelled at me for not using her new phone number. I told her that I used the number in the phone book and that I was calling her from my home and not the ballet studio. (Geez, excuuuuse me for trying!)
I told her that I was going into town later that day and that I could meet her at the studio to give her the pictures.
"No, I don't want to do that. I was already out today." (Like I wasn't...)
"Hmmm... okay. I teach at the school over there, I can tape the envelope to the back door of the studio and you can pick it up at your leisure."
"No... I don't go there unless I have to. Can you bring them to my house?"
"Ummm... no."
"Why don't you just mail them to me. That's better for me."
"I'm concerned that they will get bent. I don't have the right kind of cardboard." (I would have used the envelope in which they were shipped to me, but I need to send something back.)
"Just mail them. I'll pay your postage."
"Fine. I'll do that."
Then she told me her address and hung up. No thank you. No nothing.
Bah humbug to her!

People like that ruin it for the rest of them...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nutcracker H*ll

This is it!
Today is the last day of Nutcracker.
The children have 3 performances today.
They had one performance last night.
They did great -- but we weren't there to see it. We are bad parents who dropped their children off and went to see a handbell concert.

Today we will sit through 3 performances.
And we will like it.

Catch you all tomorrow. You know where I'll be - ummm yup, back row center.

Sweeny Todd



Johnny Depp is Sweeny Todd.

Johnny Depp... Oh how I've watched him over the years. Remember Edward Scissor Hands? I loved that movie. My all time favorite part is when he makes it snow. You all know I am a romantic at heart and that it snowed just a few flakes as I entered the church on my wedding day. I just love that Edward always makes it snow for her on Christmas... It's just so special. I also loved the part where he creates all the topiaries in the yard. I think that is hysterical... oh and then when he starts doing hair. LOL!!! All the ladies love him... actually, they want to LOVE him. I find his facial expressions the best -- since he doesn't talk he has to communicate with his actions. I just adore this movie.

I love Johnny Depp in The Pirates' movies - every last one of them. I love how he runs! OMG!! That makes me laugh just thinking about him running across the sand -- like a GIRL!! I love how Johnny Depp makes Jack Sparrow witty - When he gets slapped and says "I didn't deserved that!" Then he gets slapped again and says, "Now that one, I deserved!" The nuances in those Pirates movies are the best - you can watch them over and over and still find something you missed before.

I can't wait to go see Sweeny Todd! It opens on December 21'st. The Tim Burton - Johnny Depp combination is absolutely fantastic. Burton's movies are usually a smidge on the "dark" side - oh how I love that. Johnny Depp seems to enjoy the dark or different characters. I can't wait to see how he pulls this one off!

Don't forget tovisit the official Sweeney Todd movie site. Get your Johnny Depp fix while you wait for the movie to open in theaters. If that site isn't enough for you, visit Sweeney Todd on MySpace

Friday, December 14, 2007

Music to my ears

LLB had her middle school concert last night. It was lovely. The kids were tired, though. I have heard them play better. And, considering their concert was supposed to be last week, it was pretty good. Delays wreak havoc with performances. They were up for it last week - last night they just wanted to get it done.

LLB got up to play her piece. We've heard it a gazillion times. It was okay. It wasn't great, but if you didn't know the song - and most people didn't - it was pretty darned good. The nerves got the best of her and dried out her mouth.

I'm just glad it is over.
So is she.

We were on the way home and I mentioned to her that she had another shot at it.
I do? When?
Next Friday when you play for the school.
Oh yeah... I will play it perfect then.

Yup - she will. And I will send a bottle of water for her to keep next to her chair.

Garlique.... It sounds better in French


Your Score: Garlic


You scored 50% intoxication, 75% hotness, 75% complexity, and 25% craziness!




You are Garlic!

No offense, but you stink. Pretty much everyone loves you, though. You're smart and pretty hot and you fit in with about any culture. You're a total cut-up; in fact, the more cut-up you get, the hotter you become. But be careful, when you get embarrassed, you turn really sweet.




Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Anniversary Funny

Mr. and I were simultaneously hacking the other day.
He was at the counter and I was here at my desk.
We are geeky... we know it.
Mr turned to me and said, "I feel bad. I didn't get you anything for our anniversary."
"Don't feel bad. I didn't get you anything either."
"But you've got me."
I grinned... "Yes, dear... I've got you... That's quite a gift..."
We both laughed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Holly Ball

LLB had her Cotillion Holly Ball last night.
When we arrived home from church at 12:50pm she asked if she could start getting ready. "LLB your chariot does not arrive until 5:30pm. I think you can wait a little bit. Besides, I've got to get your brother out of here by 1:20 since he's helping with year 1."
She was not happy, but she knew I had a point. I told her to be ready to start her hair at 3pm.
We got #1 out the door. He looked great.
We started LLB's hair at 3. We sprayed. We curled. We sprayed some more. This is what we did:

We decided to wait until 4:30 to start the rest of the beautification process - not that she needs beautifying in any way.

Here is the dress:

She looked so beautiful!
At 5:20 we were ready to wait for the chariot - complete with one HP - to arrive. While we waited, she said, "I'm excited. I think I have nervous excitement. Did you know that those feelings are both the same in your tummy? Yesterday I was nervous. Today I'm excited. My tummy feels the same."

Once HP's parents pulled up, she flew out the door. She practically ran to the car. I helped her get in - that's a lot of dress and petticoat to get into a car before the dance -- you have to look good when you get there.

They danced together a lot. When Mr. and I arrived just before 8, they were dancing the foxtrot. The best thing we saw was this: The kids had to find a partner close to their height - they immediately picked each other -- there was absolutely no hesitation there what so ever. Then they had to put a snowball (a whiffle ball) between their foreheads and dance without dropping it. (Mr.'s comment was "That had better be a really big ball...") LLB and HP didn't drop it once! They did have whiffle ball impressions on their foreheads, though! Not only did they not drop it, they danced beautifully and they chatted while they did it! They were too funny!

It took me a while to find #1. He was dancing with a pretty tall girl. I noticed that he managed to keep her as a partner even when they had to swap. So did LLB and HP. Those kids are really slick...

It was a pretty successful night. The only bummer was that when LLB went to get her Pashmina shawl, it was gone. I gave her my winter parka to wear. It was most attractive with her dress...

If any of you want to see the pictures - the ones with heads and faces - email me. If I deem you worthy, you'll receive access.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Eighteen

That's how many years we've been married, my Mr. and I.
Today.
I would do it all over again.

This weekend was a whirlwind but I just have to tell you all about it.
I'll start with Friday afternoon.
3:15 - retrieve #1 from school bus. Bus is late. Arrives at 3:24
3:25 - get LLB from school. School is 15 min. away at 65 miles per hour. The roads are icy. Do you see a problem here?
3:35 - I arrived at school behind my friend K who had Dancing Princess whom I needed to put into my car along with LLB. Oh - did I mention I was driving the civic? 1 six foot boy, 1 LLB and an 1 DP along with all their school bags, dancing bags, instruments, and general junk. It was quite a sight in that back seat. My trunk was full - it had a small chair for the ballet lady, #1's swim bag, LLB and #1's rehearsal clothes and #1's costume...
3:55 - Arrive at McDo in nearby town. Feed children.
4:30 - Arrive at high school for dress rehearsal for Nutcracker
5:30 - Mr. arrives from Honda dealer where my car had it's oil changed and we go to dinner.
7:30 - Mr. removes #1 from dress rehearsal and takes him to the high school swim meet (fortunately it was across the street). I stay and take dress rehearsal pictures.
9:30 - LLB is released from rehearsal. We head home.
10:00 - Take Zeb out. Feed Zeb. LLB runs off to bed.
10:30 - Zeb is under my bed. I'm falling asleep.
11:30 - Mr. arrives home with #1

Are you ready for Saturday?
6:30 - get up and get everyone else up. Dress in layers.
6:55 - go through McDo drive thru for breakfast
7:35 - arrive Manassas for District Band Auditions. Mr. and #1 head for high school line. LLB and I stand in Middle School line with R, HP, my friend G and her daughter A. Toes get cold. We are outside.
8:30 - door opens. We register. LLB, HP and A warm up in an auditorium with 200 other musicians in it. Parents become deaf rather quickly.
This is where the story gets hairy...
Mr. comes and tells me that none of the kids from our high school can register because their teacher isn't there. Their teacher isn't supposed to be there today another teacher (who is also the clarinet judge) is supposed to take care of them. She is not there. The check from the school is not there. I head out to fix this foolishness. I make some waves. Mr. makes some waves. They finally let the kids register. The teacher arrives at 10am. She was supposed to be there at 8am. Do you see a problem??? Hmmmm??????
LLB has #1 for trumpets - this means she auditions first. This could be good... or this could be bad. She sets the bar. She comes out confident. #1 should have had #4 or #5, but ends up with #18. This puts our schedule at risk for this afternoon.
He comes out confident, but knows he made a couple of mistakes. We shall see....
We run home. I get hair gel and brushes ready. #1 shaves and heads to shower. I put LLB's hair in a bun. #1 comes out of shower and gets his hair gelled. We head out. It is 12:45. Rehearsal starts at 12:30. I have been trying to reach the ballet lady since 11am to tell her we would be late. No luck.
12:59 - head through drive thru. Again. Yes, they know us by name now. We make relatively healthy choices.
1:30 - arrive at HS for Nutcracker performance at 2:30.
Set up tables for star grams, tickets and concessions. Mr. sets up his video camera to film for the ballet lady.
2:30 - The show starts. It is lovely!!!
#1 is Drosselmeyer. He does a fantastic job. LLB is everything from a soldier, to an angel, to a snow flake, to a flower. She is graceful. She is gorgeous!!!

4:30 - show is over and children are ready to go. We need to be back at 6:30 for a 7:30 show. #1 has homework. He stays at school to study. We head out in search of food. It will NOT be McDo. We decide on a small pizza for the girls and a crab sub for Mr. We bring back a meatball sub for #1.
7:10 - The kids' private instrumental teacher, Mr. H, arrives to see the show. He asks how the children did that morning. We chat. I tell him about the teacher who didn't show up until 10. He is not impressed with her. It seems she is trying for the same HS teaching job he is at the new HS in our county. I hope he gets it - even if it means the private lesson schedule becomes messier. I do not want that irresponsible woman to get a primo teaching spot in the new high school - even though my children will not be attending that school.

7:30 - curtain goes up. The performance isn't as smooth as the earlier one, but it is beautiful. #1 and LLB did great!!! Mr. H. is impressed with both of them. It is sweet.

10:15pm - arrive home.
10:30pm - children are asleep. They are pooped out!!!

It was a very very long day...

6:50 am this morning. I check my email. There is an email from LLB's band teacher.
LLB has made District Band!!
She will be so excited - when she wakes up...

We have another busy day today, but it is all fun.
We have Cotillion Holly Ball today.
LLB and HP are looking forward to "letting their hair down" and "boogieing the night away".
More on that later --- News at 11.

Digital Photography


Need a nifty Christmas present for a very special person? Have you considered a digital camera? I'm not talking a point and shoot, mind you... I'm talking a serious SLR. Did you know: "Digital cameras were the #1 requested electronics gift for the 2006 holiday season, and are sure to be a hot item again this year. Every day, millions of people use their digital camera to capture family moments, important milestones, sporting events, or just the memories of a fun outing." Think about it...
My digital camera is a Nikon D80. I'd have loved a Nikon D300, but my budget doesn't afford that one.
I love my Nikon D80! If you are looking for a digital camera and you have a bigger budget than I did, the Nikon D300 is easy to use, easy to download, and totally reliable.
I take pictures of everything. The Nikon gives me great pictures every time. I am not a professional photographer. I'm just a girl who likes to take pictures. I used my Nikon D80 for a band fund raiser. I took formal and informal pictures of the band kids. Each and every picture came out great!!!! I can count on the Nikon to give me what I see in the viewfinder every single time. The pictures are clear, crisp, and the colors are great!
People often ask me how my pictures of my kids come out so good each and every time. My basic technique is this. If you are using a point and shoot camera: When you think you are close enough, take one step closer. For SLR's with serious zoom: I follow the potato rule. I imagine one potato between the top of the head to the top of the frame... Just like in video or on TV. It's silly, but it works.
So, consider a digital camera this Christmas, okay?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Feast

Appetizer
What was the last game you purchased?
I can't tell. It's a present for someone.

Soup
Name something in which you don’t believe.
The weather man knows of what he speaks.

Salad
If you could choose a celebrity to be your boss, who would you pick?
Jody Foster - she seems level headed, confident, and competent.

Main Course
What was a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
Study for the exam...

Dessert
Describe your idea of the perfect relaxation room.
One comfy couch complete with comfy pillow and blanket. One TV with remote that stays where I put it. One wood stove with a person to keep it going. One perpetually full glass of my beverage of choice. No children.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Jump on the Bandwagon!

My friend Uisce, is trying to eat healthy and avoid all sweets and junk food. I have agreed to help him by not eating any sweets or any junk food. I am also going to avoid all soda except seltzer. What can I say? I like my bubbles...

Will you jump on our little bandwagon? If you will, drop by Uisce's and tell him.

Thanks!!

Christmas Meme #2

It's been a busy couple of days around here and today we have no school because we have a whopping inch of snow on the ground. Thus my plans for a little present wrapping, a little cookie making, and a lot of laundry have been postponed. Since I hope to get some of my chores done before I go to bells and then out with the girls, I decided to post this meme I found over at Susan's.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Whatever is easiest at the time. Honestly, it depends on the recipient, the size of the present, and what I have available.
2. Real tree or artificial? Fake - O.
3. When do you put up the tree? If we aren't cooking, Thanksgiving Day -- otherwise the day after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? January 6th - Epiphany
5. Do you like eggnog? Ummmm YES!!!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Snoopy -- and yes, I still have him. He resides in my hope chest.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes - 2
8. Hardest person to buy for? My Mom
9. Easiest person to buy for? LLB
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't think I ever got a yucky gift.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail...
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? All of them... I can't choose
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I never stop shopping for Christmas...
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Who hasn't?
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Petitfours
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I prefer clear, but right now we have both clear and color.
17. Favorite Christmas song? All of them...
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Grinches
23. What I love most about Christmas? Giving -- okay so maybe the shopping runs a close second. I love the hunt for the perfect gift and then I love to see the reaction of the recipient as he/she opens the gift.

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you want to do this one -- feel free!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Tradition Exposed!

I got some questions from MomCat about the houses and I thought it would be best if I came clean to all of you. I'm a good mom, but heck... I'm all for the path of least resistance.

MomCat wanted to know how I made the gingerbread the right consistency... It's simple. The houses are kits that come in a box. I purchase them at AC Moore every year on the day after Thanksgiving. There was a time when W and I made all the houses for all the kids, but those days, my friends, are long gone! W had a mold (from Pampered Chef) that came with a great recipe, but the mold is no longer available. We would get together the Wednesday before and crank out about 6 or 7 houses. Now I shop. For a relatively small amount of cash and zero aggravation, you too, can have a gingerbread house.

The kits come with icing mix and some candies. The icing mix in the kits is HORRIBLE! Get your own royal icing recipe off the internet. Buy some egg whites in a carton and make the icing.

The candies in the kits lack big time. I only really buy the kits for the house parts. I supplement the candies with really good stuff like M&M's, Snowcaps, Gummy Bears, Dots, and more. It's a dentist's dream spread out on my counter...

The kit also comes with a pastry bag. That just doesn't work. Throw it out. Get a Pampered Chef Accent Decorator. We've used one for the past few years and believe me, it was worth every penny. All I do is fill the tube. The kids put the icing where they want it. No mess. No crying. No craziness. See, I told you I do it the easy way.

Do we eat the houses?
Ummm... No. When do you think they made that gingerbread to get it into the stores on November 25th? There is absolutely no way that I would allow anyone to consider taking a bite out of those houses. Besides, when I toss them into the trash, they stay whole... they don't break. I know some of that is from the icing, but really.... The thing does not even crumble. You could definitely break some teeth trying to bite a chunk off the roof!

So, there you have it.
This is just a fun activity with very little hassle or bother. The hardest part of the whole event is getting the icing right and making the choice between the Merlot and the Pinot.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tradition!

We make gingerbread houses every year.

The tradition started years ago when the kids were little.
We'd go to my friend W's house to decorate the houses. We'd all bring some candies and a bare house. Then we'd stuff ourselves full of candy and pizza. The kids would put a few decorations on the houses, give up and go watch a Christmas movie, and the moms would finish up. It was a fun thing we did every year.

Alas, things change. W has since moved to Wisconsin and we moved here. The past few years my children did their gingerbread house by themselves while Mr. and I stood around and critiqued, drank wine, and ate candy. This year we decided to share our tradition with HP, the Dancing Princess, and their parents.

Sunday was the day!
I put the houses together after church with LLB's help. You know, you need 10 small hands to put those things together...

I made pizza. Yes, amazingly enough, I CAN cook.

The houses started out like this:
FYI: LLB and #1 always share a house. I asked if they wanted their own, but they really wanted to share. Fine with me. It has always been this way... Next year might be different.

We parents stood around, ate pizza, critiqued, made cement - umm... I mean icing, and took more pictures than the paparazzi.

This is how the houses came out:
LLB and #1's - Side A Side B
HP's
DP's

Aren't they cute??

This sure is a nice way to start the Christmas season!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

I'm a Snowman!

I saw this over at Flip Flop's and I borrowed it....
You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!


I have a bunch of things to tell you, but absolutely no time today.
You'll have to manage on your own for another few hours until I get the photos from the weekend off the camera...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Busy doesn't describe it...

Yesterday started out with a bang! - Okay so it wasn't exactly a bang... It was more like a groan.

#1 had to be at the high school by 8:15 to march in 3 Christmas parades. Yes, they call them Christmas parades around here and we LOVE it!
I left there and headed to my church to pick up 3 tables for my school bell choir to use for their performance at 11:30. 3 handsome fellows put the tables in my car while Mr. continued to lead his men's breakfast discussion group. Their topic was "What is too much Christmas". He had a book of Christmas questions that he asked. The guys really enjoyed it and had a lot of laughs. The favorite question was the last one - Have you ever regifted or been given a regifted gift. It seems that someone got a knife set for their wedding present (in June) that had pine needles in it. I can only imagine the laughter!!

I zipped home and picked up LLB complete with ballet clothes but minus ballet slippers and toe shoes -- this will come into play later.

We arrived at the concert venue - outside in the shade behind an iron fence. The wind was blowing, but it was a crisp clear winter in VA type of day. It was crisp enough that everyone had pink cheeks, red noses and really cold hands. The hunt went by - the horses and the dogs - In my next life, I'm going to ride horses and have all the nifty jackets, riding pants, and boots that will fit in my closet.

The bells did great considering:
they were outside in the cold and the wind
they were two choirs
one substitute ringer - my sweet LLB
a couple of adults (including my Mr.!!)
the wind kept turning pages
AND they couldn't hear each other

Next year they are learning a processional and they are marching. That's it. I'm done with this silly concert stuff. A processional will be so much easier. AND it will be so much cooler!!!

After that, I headed off to school to drop off the bells and the music. Did I mention that I was smart enough to bring carts for all of this equipment? No carrying, just hauling and lifting.

By then, LLB needed lunch before her ballet rehearsal. I think this was when she realized she had forgotten her ballet shoes. We went to our favorite McDo. After we ate, we ran into some friends. Mr. took LLB over to the rehearsal and I stayed for a few extra minutes and chatted.

I took my car and headed for home. Those tables can wait in that there car until I go to church where I'm sure I'll find some handsome young(er) men who will be very happy to unload those tables from my car. (With age comes wisdom... I'm getting smarter every day!!)

We stoked the fire, grabbed the ballet shoe bag and a hairbrush (the other item we had forgotten in the am) and headed back to ballet in Mr.'s car. You know - like together. We were finally able to take one car.

I ran into the rehearsal, put up LLB's hair, gave her her shoes, spoke with the director, and learned that she would be done at 4. OMG!! #1's parade starts at 3. We need to be there since we've missed the other 2 parades. I placed a frantic call to my friend R - knowing that the Dancing Princess needed to be picked up at the same place - and she told me that she would take LLB home. Insert sigh of relief.

We got to the parade venue - the same place I was in the morning, mind you. We waited. The parade started a little late, but it was fun! They even had a corgi contingent marching. I think Zeb might be doin' that next year! We waited for what seemed like forever and then the HS band rounded the corner. They were playing The Grinch. All the flag kids were dressed up like Whos. OMG!! It was sooo cute!!! The band sounded strong and they all looked like they were having a wonderful time. I took my pictures.

We booked it to the car and checked the watch. It was 4. We knew that ballet would NEVER be over right at 4. I called R and told her we were going to make it. She said she'd wait with LLB. She's the sweetest friend.

We arrived just as everyone came out. I thanked R profusely. She showed me pix of #1 that she got at the 2nd parade. The boy looks like he has a caterpillar residing on his upper lip. That boy is shaving this morning!!!

From there, we headed down to the high school to pick up #1. He was one tired boy. I think he may have conked out on the way home. How many miles did we put on the cars yesterday? I dunno, but I used a half a tank of gas myself. And you know what? It was worth it.

What time did I go to bed? Ummm.... 8:30. Yes, I was pooped.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Busy Bee....

That's me.
I've got a million things going today. I'll fill you in when I get back this evening.
For now, I'll leave you with this - It fits me to a T!!

You Are Christmas

More than most people, you are able to find magic in life's small moments.
Traditions mean a lot to you, and you tend to be quite nostalgic.
You are a giving, kind person who really understands the true meaning of holidays.
You inspire others to be as altruistic and caring as you are.

What makes you celebrate: Tradition and a generous spirit

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The storyteller. You like to recount memories with everyone.

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Give a gift to everyone you know