Friday, January 30, 2009

Indulging my inner Tex-Mexican

Lately, all food mexican has been sounding good to me. I'm hoping that if the family has noticed that we've had 3 mexican-type suppers in the past week, that they don't really mind. I thought I'd share a couple of recipes for the crock pot.

Chicken Ole (makes 8 servings)
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (7 oz) can green chile salsa (I used "salsa verde" from the ethnic foods aisle)
1 c. sour cream
1 T. grated onion
12 corn tortillas, cut into 6 or 8 pieces each
4 c. coarsely chopped cooked chicken or turkey (I used ~3 cups, and thought it could have used more)
3/4 c. (3 oz) shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp cheddar, because that's what I had)

Lightly grease sides and bottom of a slow cooker. Combine soups, salsa, sour cream and onion in a bowl. In the slow cooker, arrange alternating layers of tortillas with chicken and soup mixture (I did 3 sets of layers, ending with the soup mixture on top). Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook on low another 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with orange and avocado slices.

As you can guess, the tortillas pretty much dissolved during the cooking, so we were left with a slightly spicy corn, cheese, and chicken mush--so delicious! The leftovers were good, too. If you want to make it a one pot meal, I would suggested adding fresh broccoli florets (2-3 cups) with the chicken. You could also add frozen or canned corn.

Beef Burritos (makes 6 to 8 servings)
2 lbs boneless beef chuck or other pot roast
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 t. beef bouillon granules or 1 beef bouillon cube
1 onion, chopped
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro (I left this out)
1/2 t. salt
1 (16 oz) can refried beans, heated
6 to 8 (12-inch) flour tortillas, warmed

Trim fat from beef and discard. In a slow cooker, combine meat, chile, garlic, bouillon, onion, spices, and salt. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until meat is very tender. Remove meat from slow cooker. With 2 forks, shred meat; combine with 3/4 c. cooking juices. Spread warm tortillas with refried beans. Add shredded beef. Fold over tortilla sides, then roll up. Serve warm. Shredded cheese and/or salsa can be added to the burrito before folding.

I don't actually know how this one tastes yet, because it's in the slow cooker right now. Smells good, though. And obviously, if you don't like refried beans (I'm the only one in my family who likes them, and I only like the americanized version, not the real thing), you can leave them out. I'm sure you can accessorize with lettuce and other traditional taco toppings. And our crock pot seems to cook extremely hot, so I'm going to go up and add some beef broth.


Thursday, January 29, 2009


Remember a couple of months ago, when I mentioned that I always feel a bit of an emotional let-down when I get home from being gone for several hours and no one has called (or at least left a message) while I've been gone? Well, on Monday, when I really needed it, a good friend called while I was out of the house. Now that's what I call divine intervention. Her message was like a ray of sunshine piercing through the storm clouds that had been gathering in my head. There is no way I would have thought to call her on my own, but the brief chat we shared did wonders for my attitude and provided a much needed infusion of patience.

The kids were driving me batty. Now that I've had a chance to think about it, I realize that the reason they were driving me batty was because I had been cooped up in our house for 7 full days, out of 12, with these children, all by my lonesome, with the only breaks (when they finally went to bed) being filled with cleaning up the messes that are inevitable when you have 3 (or sometimes 4) children under the age of 9 hanging out. For an additional 3 nights, I had been feeding them, helping them with homework, playing with them, reading to them, and putting them to bed all by myself, with no adult interaction other than waving at the bus driver (in case you're not doing the math yourself, that means only 2 "normal" days in that 12 day period). For most of this time, it had been too cold to play outside, so "Mama, I'm bored," had become a constant refrain. I had also been hearing quite a bit of, "but I don't wanna," when I asked them to do something helpful, like bringing their dirty laundry upstairs to be washed. At the moment I listened to that message, my well of patience and good-will and loving feelings had run dry, the last of it running out along with my tears on the half hour drive home.

Normally, this friend will call me on a Tuesday or a Thursday--that just works best with her schedule. But on Monday she heard God's gentle whisper (call Tera) and acted on it. My friend provided a life line to me that day. She was God's way of putting his arms around me and telling me that he loves me, and that everything was OK. She was God's way of giving me back my perspective, which had narrowed considerably in the previous 12 days. I have a bookmark that reads: "Friendship is God's way of telling us we don't have to walk alone." That has never been more true for me than that day. Thank you, friend. What a blessing you are to me...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Household drudgery

I vacuumed our stove today.

(I'll pause here, so you can reread that, and move through your disbelief)

It seemed like a good solution to the problem of scores of little broken ramen noodles littering the cook top. And it worked. You see, my oldest son decided to make ramen for himself and his brother for lunch yesterday. I'm glad that he's gaining confidence and independence in the kitchen, but he doesn't quite know how to open the package without spilling all over yet. The stove has these two shallow depressions, each holding two burners, and it's kind of difficult to get particles out using a dishrag or sponge. Usually I just grit my teeth, and maybe growl a bit, and get a little frustrated before it's all over. Or sometimes I just wait for my husband to clean the stove. OK, most of the time, I wait for my husband to clean the stove, but I was going to have to wait until at least Tuesday for that, and I believe I may have mentioned before that I have a severe aversion to clutter (and in my sometimes twisted brain, crumbs from the toaster and broken ramen noodles on the stove qualify as clutter).

If only all of my household cleaning tasks could be accomplished by vacuum. I like the vacuum. It requires very little effort on my part (except, of course, cleaning up all the toys and tupperware and toothbrushes and other things that get transported from where they belong to carpeted areas), and you can see and hear the results: see that the area you vacuumed is now cleaner, and hear little particles banging on their way up. Vacuuming also has a defined beginning and end, as opposed to some other household chores that I could mention that are never-ending.

As I was vacuuming our stove, I thought to myself, "why did I never think of this before? This is brilliant." Don't you think so?

Friday, January 23, 2009


So I was in Goodwill today, checking out the winter outer wear. I'm still upset by the Target outerwear fiasco (for those of you who don't read the comments on my Dad's blog, I was in Target on a Saturday, and all the boys jackets and most of the snowpants were 50% off. Good price, so I bought some snowpants but decided to wait on buying any jackets. I happened to be in Target again on Wednesday, and noticed at a distance that the racks on which the jackets and snowpants were residing had 75% off signs! Euphoria struck. My hopes were dashed, however, when I got to the racks and realized that the only sizes were 4/5 and 16/18: too small, and much too large for our kids (and I already have two new 16/18 jackets hanging in our basement waiting for Cody to grow into)), but now I have something else to be upset about. Have you seen the prices in Goodwill lately? They had a kids' jacket priced at $24.99, and another at $19.99. Most of them seemed to be around $13. I don't even pay that much for a new (on clearance) jacket!

I was also in Kohls this morning, and found myself wondering who in the world would be willing to pay $110 for a kids' jacket that they're just going to be outgrowing in a year or two...of course, I've been around Kohls enough to notice that everything there goes on sale all the time, so perhaps no one really does spend that much for them.

So I'm on the lookout for a size 6/7 winter jacket, and size 8/10 winter jacket, and size 6/7 snow bibs and size 8 snow pants (black)...Let me know if you see any.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Grandma goes viral

I thought Grandma might be off the hook because the processing was taking a while again, but nope...

Sorry about this, Mom B, but you knew I had to post this one...

The Tree Dance

I think this one is self-explanatory...


Sorry it's on the side like that...hubby was videoing and just wasn't thinking about orientation, and wifey doesn't know how to rotate videos. So Caleb got this truck for Christmas, and loved it! He danced for minutes and minutes to that little song.

Wave pool

Here's Cody "surfing" in the wave pool at Great Wolf Lodge. As you can see, he takes his surfing very seriously.

Mat slide

Scott and Logan coming down the mat slide at the Great Wolf Lodge


Here's what the kids were up to on one of their canceled school days...

The toilet paper bandit

We've been having to do a lot more baby-proofing for our current baby than we had to do for the other two. I think it's mostly due to the layout of the house. For instance, in WV we never needed a safety gate because there was a door at the top of the steps to the basement. Here the stairway is wide open. In WV, once we were up and about, we could pretty much see everywhere in the house from anywhere else in the house. Here we can't. In WV pretty much the only barrier we put up for our toddlers was one locked kitchen cabinet, and even then it was just a rubber band stretched over the handles of the cupboard. And in WV we had a lot more up-high storage, including two rows of shelves in our laundry closet (which was right in the kitchen, so we could keep sharp kitchen items like our blender and grater in there) and a huge cabinet that was almost a closet in the bathroom. Here, if we want to store anything bigger than a bar of soap, in our bathrooms, like for instance, toilet paper (which is a good idea to have around), it has to go under the sinks. And that little bundle of entropy, who we call Caleb, has decided that toilet paper is his new favorite toy.

I agree with him that toilet paper is a lot of fun. He likes to walk around with two rolls on his two hands, which is actually kind of cute, but lately, he's been starting to tear pieces off as he walks, and the other day, he pulled the center right out of a roll. In case you've never realized it before, toilet paper has the potential to create a huge mess.

I've put a lock on our bathroom under-the-sink cabinet and taken all the extra toilet paper out of the hallway bathroom (dangerous, I know). I've even had to take the in-use rolls off the holders, placing them on the counters, thereby creating clutter, which I have a severe aversion to. I know that this time in our lives is only temporary, and that this too shall pass (thank you, Melissa, for that mantra), but in the meantime, it is extremely exasperating.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Misc and Inaguration Day

Here are Logan and Cody trying on the wet suit Grandma gave us.
Here's Caleb sitting in his rocking chair reading his new favorite book: God Made Me. He would climb up into the chair and say, "me, me, me" in that cute little boy voice, while flipping through the pages. His favorite is the mirror on the last page.
The picture doesn't really do it justice, but I had to try. Our trees had tiny little feathers of ice all over them this morning.
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I have noticed that when I buy bananas for a specific purpose, such as making smoothies or banana muffins, the bananas are always eaten before I get around to using them for that purpose. However, when I just buy bananas for no reason other than to eat, they almost always are over ripe before we eat them all.
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The other day I was preparing a microwave-heated sandwich for myself. Reading the directions, I saw these words: "caution, after microwaving, product may be hot." Well, you know, hot was kind of what I was going for...
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Today Barack Obama will take office as our 44th president. Here are some excerpts from a letter to his daughters published in Sunday's Parade Magazine:
"When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me--about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation. ...
"...And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other. ...
"[Your Grandmother] helped me to understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better--and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be."
When Mr. Obama won the election, I didn't understand why everyone was making such a big deal of him being black. I guess I wasn't looking at the color of his skin, but at his ideas and values. Then again, I guess that I have never lived in or experienced the kind of prejudice and oppression that still exists in our country--for that, I am thankful. I thought we were over that. Based on our country's reaction, I'd have to say I was wrong, but I hope that this historic election process has caused a giant leap in the right direction.
Mr. Obama, I wish you the best. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, and I thank you for being willing to serve our country as president. The task set before you is difficult--some may even say insurmountable--but I know that you love this country and will do your best, and that's all we can ask.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another chance

It wasn't really my 100th post, because blooger was counting unpublished drafts in its total. So this is the 97th published post, and I get another chance at my 100th.


I forgot to mention in my last post that it was the 100th post. Do I win a prize?

Our pastors are currently delivering a sermon series inspired by A.J. Jacobs' book, The Year Of Living Biblically. In this book, Mr. Jacobs tells about his experiences on his quest to follow every rule and precept in the Bible for an entire year. This Sunday Pastor Dan talked about keeping Sabbath.

Honoring the Sabbath day to keep it holy has been my favorite commandment ever since early on in 2002. Up until then, I had subconsiously viewed the 10 commandments, and all those other God-rules, as punitive. As in, God gave us all these rules because He doesn't want us to have any fun (subconsiously). Beginning in the fall of 2001 (hmm, can you guess why I remember so clearly when it was? I bet you can if you're related to me through DNA), I participated in a Disciple Bible study: the red book, during which I read 80% of the Bible in 34 weeks. Early in 2002 (don't remember when quite as clearly), we came to a discussion of the Sabbath. Sure we had touched on it earlier on, in Exodus, but now we had come to the place in the Gospel when Jesus says, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I came to realize then, that the Sabbath is a gift, and that all of the rules God has given us are for our benefit, not for God's.

God realized that we would be this way: that we would work and work and work and wear ourselves out. God realized that His example of resting on the 7th day of creation would not be enough for us to take the hint that resting is OK. God realized that even a strong suggestion to rest one day out of seven would not be enough to get us to do it, so God commanded us. Granted, this commandment, of all of them, is probably the most ignored (all right, I suppose the idol one is too, but most people don't realize they're ignoring that one).

So I view Sabbath as a gift, but I also think keeping Sabbath is a matter of faith. God has promised to provide for all of our needs (and, yes, rest is one of our needs). If we feel like we must work every day, we must not believe that God will actually provide for all of our needs.

I say honoring the Sabbath day is my favorite commandment, but it is also difficult for me to keep at this time. Since my job is taking care of my three children, I am always on duty. I don't get a rest day. Sure I avoid housework on Sundays (and for my reward the house is always even more of a disaster on Monday morning). I've even given up cooking on most Sundays, but the kids are always there. I suppose that most folks would say that honoring Sabbath to keep it holy means that this one day is set apart from the others: that it should look and feel different, and in that way I'm keeping the commandment, and I suppose it's true. Sunday is a family day around here, but what I really want from Sabbath is rest.

So my question to you is: how do you honor the Sabbath?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cleaning up

I took the opportunity presented by taking down our Christmas tree to rearrange our living room furniture. We've agreed to reevaluate in a month, but I think I like the way we settled on. As we were lifting and moving the couch for the 4th time or so, I was thinking what a good sport my husband is. He didn't complain at all, or even roll his eyes at me (at least that I saw), as I kept saying we had to move this thing here or that thing there. When I was a teenager, I rearranged my bedroom furniture all the time, I'd say at least once a month. I'm not sure why, except that perhaps at that time in my life I needed to feel like I had control over something, and I chose furniture layout. I still get frequent urges to rearrange furniture, but it actually happens much less frequently now.

In the course of cleaning up I found cause to use the hose of the vacuum. The past several times I had used the hose it didn't seem to be working as well, but it did work, so I figured it was probably just my imagination and ignored it. Last night, however, it just wasn't happening, so we took a look to see if the hose was blocked. The hose is black, but when stretched you can see through it, sort of, so that's what I did, one section at a time, until I saw something that didn't look like it belonged there. I thought it looked like a toilet paper holder, you know, the spring loaded thing that holds the roll in the holder, and I thought, that's got to be something that belongs there, because how could something that big get in there if it wasn't supposed to be there?

So my husband disconnected the hose and took a look, and it was a toilet paper holder! As he removed it from the hose, he asked, "do you think we should take a picture?" And I said no, because there's no way anyone would ever believe it, even with a picture. We should have taken a video, but you probably still wouldn't believe it. It works much better now. I wonder how long that thing was in there, and which of my little balls of entropy put it there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yes, I know the digital conversion has been in the works for more than a year, but I think that's about when the ads started up...

School's canceled again. I don't know what's gotten in to the school district people around here. School has been canceled 1 time in the almost 3 years that we've been here, and now they've canceled two days in a row. Not that I mind not having to go out to the bus stop in the cold...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brrr and ravings, continued

So this is what our thermometer said when I got around to taking a picture of it this morning. The news people said that at our current wind chill (at 6:50 a.m.), exposed skin would be frostbitten in 5 minutes or less. Finally, school was not just delayed, but canceled. I know I'm going on about the cold an awful lot, so I'll stop now (although I hear that we're national news--probably more International Falls than us, but still, pretty close). Cody's friend came over and now those 3 boys are terrorizing the rest of the household (which would be Caleb and me). Don't worry about us, though. Evidently Caleb has laser vision, so we're protected.
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So I was watching the news last night, and something set me off again. The city of Minneapolis called a snow emergency on Tuesday, I think it was, meaning that people can't park on the streets, or certain streets at certain times, so the plows can come through. It all sounds pretty complicated to me, but I'm sure if I lived or worked on a street in Minneapolis, I would take the time to figure out where and when I can park during a snow emergency. Anyway, every time there's a snow emergency, hundreds of vehicles end up being towed, and last night, on the news, they showed people waiting in line to retrieve their vehicles. And one of the guys (who was not dressed for the weather, by the way) complained, "they have no business towing cars with the economy the way it is. Nobody has $200 lying around to spend on getting their car back."

I am just a little bit tired of people using the economy as an excuse for anything and everything. The economy's bad, so the cable company shouldn't increase their rates. The economy's bad, so I shouldn't have to move my car so that the road can be plowed curb to curb. The economy's bad, so I am a victim when I have to drop my home phone service and only have a cell phone. The economy's bad, so how dare the grocery store raise their prices. The economy's bad, so how come no one is coming to my house and offering to give me everything I want for free, and on a silver platter to boot? Yes, folks, it's the welfare state rearing its ugly head. We have become a nation that expects to be prosperous without working for it.

As I listen to and read the coverage of this recession, I have to wonder how much of what's going on is self-fulfilling prophecy. I know that people are hurting. We know people who have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced, and it's not that I don't care about what's happening, but honestly, when people hear that the U.S. economy is in shambles, it makes them want to spend less, which is not necessarily a bad thing--I think people should have been spending less all along--but when people spend less, the economic situation gets worse, and the media reports that it's worse, which makes people spend even less. It's a country-wide mass panic, but at a slower rate than one usually equates with panic.

I also start to wonder about our collective memory as a country. I've heard that the last time there was a recession "this bad" was in 1983. Actually, I believe it was the unemployment rate, which doesn't necessarily equate to a recession, but anyway...that's not that long ago. I was 10 at the time, so I don't remember, but anyone who is currently about 45 or older should remember, and they should also remember that we always come through these things, and we're always stronger on the other side.

Our nation's economy is a cyclical thing. We know that there are going to be good times and we know that there are going to be bad times. This is exactly why during the prosperous times, we need to be storing up our grain (a la Joseph in Egypt), so that we can weather the rougher times.

So back to the "they've got no business" guy: don't you think that paying $200 to get your car out of the city's lot is a bargain, compared to what you would have to pay to fix your car if the plow driver decided to just plow through it? And don't you think that having streets that are passable is a good thing for the economy? So people can get to work and all, you know.
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And now that I've been raving for several minutes, I'll just tack this on. Don't worry--it'll be over soon. I'm sure you've heard that Mr. Obama is calling for an extension of the deadline for television stations to switch to digital transmissions because people aren't ready for it. Well, Mr. Obama, if the past year, during which there have been ads, increasingly frequently, on the air, warning people of the impending switch, was not enough time for people to prepare, another however long you're planning to give them isn't going to be enough time either. There are people in this world who will not act until forced to do so. I still don't quite understand why our federal government feels the need to make us all watch digital TV, but after all this hype and preparation and money spent, they darn well better go through with it. Especially in this economy...

P.S. Only one misspelling in that entire post!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brrrr continued

On the news broadcast this morning, the weather person had revised his predictions to a high of -4 today, and -5 tomorrow. They were saying it hasn't been this cold since 2004, which really doesn't seem that long ago... It really, honestly, doesn't seem that cold to me. Granted, my exposure has been limited to a few minutes here and there, mostly getting into and out of the truck. I really do wonder about next week, if the temps really do get into the 30's, how it'll feel then. Paradise-like, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Family pictures


You know it's cold when the weather people are predicting a high temp of -1 degrees F. We were watching the news this morning, thinking that our school district might have a delay since the air temperature was -17, and the wind chill was around -30. Nope. They're hardy folks around here. Anyway, today the high is supposed to be -1, tomorrow we're having a heat wave, with a predicted high of 2, and then Thursday the high is supposed to be -4. Yes. The high. They're saying it'll be 30 on Monday...we won't know what to do with ourselves. We'll be wearing shorts and T-shirts.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I took a walk this morning and Caleb fell asleep (much to my surprise), so I'm blogging solo today. It's a little easier without having to jump up every few seconds to rescue Caleb from some situation he's gotten himself into, or rescuing some item from Caleb. That kid is fast.

Some pictures from our family fun day on Sunday. We decided to head to a nearby state park to walk on the lake. There were quite a few ice fishers out--there were at least 15 shelters, and pretty much each shelter had at least two people in it. Here's one of the abandoned holes. It looked like the ice was about 8 inches deep. I told Scott I wanted to take a picture of the boys standing in front of the dam sign (whenever I say that, I think back to the time we were driving around Taylor's Falls, MN with Scott's family, looking for the road to the dam, and my mother in law said, "so where is this dam thing?" Sooo funny. We got her a dam shirt when we went to the dam store. I don't know if she still has it). I meant the diamond shaped DAM sign that you can see from the water. Oh well.Yes, Cody is licking the sign, but this is better than the other one where for some reason Logan put his hands in front of his face right as I pushed the button. I wonder if I can cut Cody out of that other picture and paste him into this one...
Here are Cody and Logan checking out the rushing water. It seemed like there was more water going over the dam yesterday than there usually is during the summer. I had visions of all of the water draining out from under the ice, leaving just an 8 inch shell of ice above.

Here are Daddy and Caleb wondering if there are any fish down there.
After walking on the lake and checking out the dam, we headed over to do some extreme sledding. It's a pretty steep hill there in the state park, and since it's been very cold, but with little snow fall, the snow was packed and slick. Very fast. I hear the boys were doing some sort of curvy track sledding after Caleb and I left to get warm in the truck, but once again we were having camera issues, so no pictures or video. I guess we'll just have to go do it again sometime.
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We're going to Florida on a real vacation and our flight times keep changing. As of Saturday, we were leaving Daytona to come home after our trip at 5:30 in the morning! Now we were a little concerned about our tight connections, and the new flight times ease our worries, but that is not quite what we had in mind.
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I'm happy to report that the credit showed up for that cute little penguin ornament. Whew. What a relief to be done with that mess... Remind me to order personlized things from that particular company blank.
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In the middle...
You may remember me talking in a previous post about middle children, how I can see why they might have issues. I've been thinking about that more, probably because my husband accused me of being a middle child myself. (While it is technically true that I am a middle child, I have always considered myself to be a youngest, and my younger brother to be an only, since he was 13 years younger than me. All those birth order books say that if there's more than about 5 years between kids, the birth order thing starts over).
So, you know how when you're with 2 friends, everyone wants to be in the middle, and it's an honor, really, to be in the middle, because that means that two people want to be near you: you get to sit or stand or whatever next to everyone. Our middle child, simply by virtue of being born not first or last, gets his wall portrait hung in the middle and higher than the others. It really looks like a place of honor. Our middle child gets to do things at a younger age than our older child did. And you know it seems like everyone gets along with the middle child--he can play with the oldest or the youngest, because he's halfway in-between. The birth order people say that middle children are often peacemakers (I don't see this happening with our middle child, but perhaps he'll mature into it).
So it's not all bad, being the middle child, and it's not all sweetness and light being the oldest or the youngest, either. This year I almost bought those ornaments for my kids. You know the ones: they say "oldest child", "middle child", and "youngest child", and they all say "Mom's favorite" underneath. Because they are all my favorite.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

P Saga

So I finally called the company from which I ordered the cute little personalized penguin ornament and informed them that they messed up again. They (I think it was Leslie) told me they'd refund the purchase amount to my credit card, and then this morning, I received this email:

"Thank you for ordering with [our company]. At this time the items you selected are out of stock or have been discontinued. We apologize for this inconvenience. Your order has been canceled and it will not be charged to your credit card."

Doesn't sound like a refund to me! I thought I was done with this mess, but I checked our credit card activity online and no credit yet. I guess I'll give 'em a week or so and call again. I've ordered from this company probably half a dozen times and never had any trouble with anything. I don't think I've ever ordered anything personalized from them before, though.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What else?

I'll tell you what else. A piece of siding fell off our house, and it's snowing. But at least we haven't had any fires or floods, and no major sickness or injury. Hubby tells me he may be able to come home a day early, too, so we won't have much more opportunity for disaster (while he's gone anyway). Then again, we do have a Scout den meeting today, so who knows what'll happen!I have been reminded that I have yet to update you on the personalized saga. I have not yet called the company to report that they messed up yet again. I just don't have the heart for it. The name they were misspelling is Connor. They kept spelling it Conner. So I gave three of the ornaments to my brother and his family (one for mom and dad, one for Tyler and one for Conner...I mean Connor), and kept one for our tree. Scott tells me he has some white-out, so perhaps someone else will get that one next year. My sister in law tells me she might dole out their extras as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


You'll all be relieved to know that we now have an extra key to our house hidden in an undisclosed location. You can be sure that when Caleb and I went out to hide the key, I double checked to make sure the garage door was unlocked, then I didn't close the door, and for good measure I was carrying hubby's new extra key in my pocket as well. Caleb wanted to hide the key in the bird feeder, but I managed to convince him that my spot was better.

And continuing with our experiment to find out what else can go wrong while Daddy, our hero, is out of town, my two oldest kids were missing for a brief time yesterday. At about 4:25, I realized that I had never heard the bus or the kids come home. I stepped outside to see if I could see or hear them in the yard somewhere. Nope. So I called the bus company to ask if their bus was running late. Nope. And the bus driver said he didn't remember them even being on the bus that afternoon. OK, that was strange, but not cause for panic yet. I attempted to call the school, but there was no answer in the office (figures--it was 4:30 by then). I had to call back, and luckily the oldest child's teacher was still there. She said oldest child was not with her, but that she'd walk around the school looking for him. At that point, I started to get a little upset, because if Mrs. R put my oldest baby on the bus, he should have been on the bus. I'm a planner, so already my brain was thinking, OK, what's next? Where are the recent pictures of the kids? Is this a 911 or a regular police line situation? Should I stay here or drive to the school to look for them myself? After talking to Mrs. R, I decided I should probably double check to make sure they weren't at home somewhere. Turns out they were out by the bus stop building in the snow. The children have been reminded that if I'm not at the bus stop to meet them they need to come check in with me as soon as they get home, and darn that bus driver for telling the dispatcher that they weren't on the bus that afternoon.

So what else can go wrong? Well, they're not calling for snow until Friday, but I suppose that's always a possibility. I really don't want to think about anything worse...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Locked Out

So Caleb and I are back in after being locked out of our house for the second time in 4 days. Considering we were not home for two of those four days, that's pretty bad. The first time, my three oldest boys were on the way home from the airport, and due home any minute. They drove in to the rescue about 2 minutes after we discovered that the garage door had locked when we shut it. You see, the side door of our garage, which is the door we use if we're staying home and want to go outside, has a doorknob lock, plus a deadbolt. I usually leave the knob lock unlocked, so I don't think to check it before closing the door, and this particular lock will stay locked, even if you turn the knob on the inside, so it's easy to accidentally lock yourself out.

This morning, it was 0 degrees outside, and hubby is currently in a brewery somewhere in Colorado, so he's not going to be driving to the rescue. You can see that this was a bit more of a serious problem. I had already formed a plan: check all of the outside doors to make sure they were all locked (which I knew they were because I checked them all when I went to bed last night), and then walk over to the neighbor's house and beg her to drive to the kids' school to get my oldest son's key (which hopefully he transferred over when he switched backpacks about a month ago). After that first incident, I had resolved to have another key made to put in our conbination-locked shed, but of course I hadn't made any specific plans to do so. Now, you can bet we're going to be making Fleet Farm one of our stops today to have not one, but two extra keys made (hubby should have a house key, doncha think?).

So you might be wondering how we got in. One of the doors was unlocked. Yes it was. Even though I checked it last night. Praise God for His provision.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The phone rang this evening as I was putting my two oldest children to bed. I normally don't answer the phone when I'm otherwise occupied, but I figured I'd better tonight since the hubby was on his way to the airport. I'm not sure what I could have done for him if it had been hubby and he had needed something, but answering the phone seemed like the right thing to do. I should have hung up right away when my cheery, "hello?" (OK, so it wasn't so very cheery) was met by the telltale silent pause that announces a computer generated telemarketing-type call, but I'm a curious sort, and figured I might as well hang on for a few more seconds to find out who it was and what they wanted. After hearing the change in tone that indicates that there is now a person on the line, I said another (not so cheery) hello, and was asked, "hello. Is your mother home?"

Oh, how I wish I had thought to say, "uh, no, my mother doesn't live here anymore," or some other true (because my mother was living here for a few days last week), but sure to shock quip. I went with a sarcastic sounding, "uuuuh, no," and was rewarded with an, "oh, you sound so young!" It was the Lupus Society calling to ask for my household discards. Oops. I guess I shouldn't have given them such good stuff last time, because now they won't stop calling. Of course if I would stay on the line long enough to tell them not to call again, maybe they'd stop...but probably not.
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