Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A 'Toe'-st to the New Year...

I pictured my last blog of 2008 going a little differently. I thought I might impart a few words of wisdom…a few things that I learned about myself this year… recalling some of our adventures over the course of this crazy, lightning blasted, novella writing, soul-searching year of growth.

Instead, I’m talking about my toe. Yep. My pinkie toe on my right foot. How undignified.

This morning, I took a trip to H.E.B. with all three kids, to pick up a few of the things we need for our little New Year’s Eve get-together. I threw on some clothes and a baseball cap for the quick trip, and slid my feet into my flip-flops. Now let me just tell you, I am a flip-flop fanatic… I wear them almost constantly. That is, until the temperature drops down into the thirties, and then I just can’t swing it anymore.

After filling our cart with junk, and alcohol (hey, it IS New Year’s Eve!), stopping to visit with the multitude of people we knew who were ALSO shopping in H.E.B. (of course, ALWAYS when I’m looking like crap) and picking out Lunchables for the kids (they love those stupid things, and they are a very rare treat), we headed back out to the van. Libby, my sweet little angel, was ‘helping’ me push the cart, standing in front of me, with her hands on the cart handles. And then she stopped for no apparent reason, which she occasionally does. And I kept walking. And I totally whacked my toe on the heel of her shoe. It hurt, but I’ve stubbed my toe before. I even managed to not swear in front of the children.

Then I looked down and saw my little pinkie toe jutting out at the craziest angle. Well, damn… what’s a girl to do? After loading all the kids and groceries in the van, driving past my doctor’s office (just to see it closed for the day), yelling at my husband on the phone (sorry, honey!) and going home to unload the groceries, I called my wonderful friend, Sarah, to see if I could drop the kids off at her house, in order that I might go to the clinic.

Now, I know what you might be thinking… the doctor really can’t do much with a broken toe. Just tape it and go on. Well, I might have considered that if my toe hadn’t been stuck at an almost 90 degree angle. In fact when I got to Sarah’s house, she took one look at my toe, and insisted on driving me to Urgent Care. It didn’t really hurt too much, and I actually couldn’t stop giggling about how ridiculous it looked, which prompted Sarah to ask me if I was in shock. We left the kids with her husband, and she took me to the clinic (and even left and brought me back a diet Coke… now, that’s a true friend!)

So a few hours, one trip to Urgent Care, a cutie pie doctor, a dislocated (not broken) toe popped back into place, a $30 band-aid wrapped around my toes, and a prescription for 800 mg Ibuprofen, later… I’m ready for the New Year’s festivities to begin.

Thank goodness our theme tonight is a ‘PJ party’ game night, and I can just wear my fuzzy slippers. Which just so happen to look like flip-flops. Will I never learn?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

10 Things I Love...

10 Things I Love (other than the obvious... 'family, friends, wine, etc.' ;)

1. The smell of fresh cilantro.

2. Really good dark chocolate.

3. Taking a nap in the afternoon, covered up with a blanket, especially when it's raining. Especially when it's a thunderstorm. (and I've remembered to unplug the computer!)

4. Lip gloss

5. Making someone laugh.

6. The theme song from that cheesy 80's show, 'Greatest American Hero'. I can sing it word for word.

7. Wearing flip-flops

8. A brand new fountain Diet Coke (You HAD to know that would be on the list! C'mon, people.)

9. Making lists ;)

10. Mad Libs

Monday, December 29, 2008

10 Things I Hate

10 Things I Hate.

1. Rap music

2. Hominy

3. Bread pudding (um... soggy bread? hello?!)

4. Morning sickness (no, silly, I'm not having it now... just remembering it.)

5. People who are dishonest, or who are just basically full of crap.

6. The little wrinkle in my forehead from years of squinting (because I was too vain to wear my glasses).

7. People who are always negative. (Now, I KNOW this is a list of things I hate, so that might sound kind of weird... but I'm usually a VERY positive, upbeat person. I am, dammit!)

8. Being outside when it's cold and windy.

9. When someone reads over my shoulder.

10. That shivery, achy, tired, 'I might be getting the flu' feeling... which is about where I'm at right now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

'The book is better..."

To me, it is practically sacrilege to see a movie without first reading the book. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I remember slogging through Gone With the Wind in high school before I would let myself watch the movie. Same thing last year with Charlotte’s Web (or was it two years ago?). I read it to the kids in the weeks before the movie came out, and then we went to see it. And no matter how many times I’ve read that book, I just can’t get through the part where Charlotte dies, without crying. So if a movie comes out that was based on a book (especially a kids’ book), the book MUST be read first. It’s just kind of our rule. Okay, take that back… it’s kind of MY rule, and everyone else just falls in line.

So in that vein, I started reading The Tale of Despereaux to the kids tonight. The movie based on this book came out last week, and I know they want to see it… but I wanted to wait until after the craziness of the holidays was over before I began the story. And the bonus of waiting… by the time we are finished with the book, it may actually be at the dollar movie… Hah!

We are through the first six chapters, and Davis and Josie are already completely enchanted, and can’t wait to find out what happens next (oh heck, neither can I.) Libby, on the other hand, was too busy brushing my hair and putting barrettes in it while I was reading, to be too concerned about the big-eared little mouse. She did perk up, however, when she heard about the Princess, who oddly is named ‘Pea’ (we’re not very far in yet, maybe we’ll get an explanation later.) Libby nodded her head, and said matter-of-factly, “She must pee in her bed.” Yes, I’m sure that explains it. ;)

Friday, December 26, 2008

My kingdom for a damn guinea pig...

Now, I ask you... would you think that it's difficult to find two short haired guinea pigs that are female and 'youngish'?

Prior to today, I would have said, 'No'. Well, my friends, I was wrong. Dead wrong.

More later. This search for guinea pigs is enough to wear a girl out. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I believe in Santa...

My boy is a bit of a skeptic. He’s always been very analytical, and at the age of six and a half, the question of ‘Santa’ is no exception. He’s already trying to figure out how Santa does all he does in such a short amount of time, and how he will get down the chimney (see picture above)… “There’s a blocker in there, Mom!” I assured him we would open the flue tonight.

It stands to reason that ‘Mr. Black & White’ would be the first to call into question why P.J. the Pajama Elf wrapped his Christmas pajamas in the same paper that other presents were wrapped in. My surprised answer… “Well, gosh, I guess P.J. found the paper in Mommy’s room, and used it!” He smiled, and said, nonchalantly, “Or maybe you did it.” Holy jingle bells, Batman! Gotta start being more careful, I guess.

Josie has NEVER questioned the validity of Santa or P.J. or any of the wonderfully woven tales of Christmas legends and traditions. She is a believer. She knows that such magic is real, and my heart soars to see her help her little sister with her letter to Santa, and get so incredibly excited about everything that is Christmas.

Davis, on the other hand, stalks around the tree like a miniature detective, trying to sort things out in his own head, attempting to logic out why there is a Santa in the mall, a Santa at the ‘Christmas in the Park’, and a Santa at my grandparents’ house each Christmas Eve. I reassure him that they are the ‘Real Santa’s Helpers’, but I’m not sure he is convinced.

But just today, just when I worry that this might be the last Christmas that all three of my kids are believers, I noticed a sign on our Christmas tree. A letter to Santa from my son. (see the picture on the side of the blog) ‘To: Santa … From: Davis… I BLEV IN YOU’. I’m not sure if it’s an 11th hour, last ditch effort to convince Santa that he really HAS been a good boy this year, but it made me smile.

And it made me wistful because it reminded me that these early years are so fleeting. My children will only be small for so long. Hug those little believers, my friends. Those sweet children that believe that anything is possible…and remember that the magic of Christmas exists for all of us when we take a moment to look into the eyes of our kids and delight in their wonderment.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

All decked out...

So in yesterday’s blog, I mentioned going to the Zilker Trail of Lights. What I didn’t mention was that is was COLD. You might have noticed in the picture at the top of the blog that Davis looks just a teensy bit like Randy (Ralphie’s little brother) from the movie, ‘A Christmas Story’. It looks like at any moment, he could just roll right off the Yule Log, and lay flat on his back, flailing his arms, unable to get up, due to the heavy coat.

It was cold. Technically… it was freezing. I think the weather guy might have actually used the words, ‘frickin freezing’ (or maybe I just imagined that.)

The wind chill was in the 20’s, and even though we bundled up, and even though 2/3 of our children were actually BORN IN COLORADO, we are all Texas winter weenies now. We walked so quickly through the trail that even I was willing to forgo a lot of the cutesy pictures that I demand every year.

And, yes, we DO go every year. I guess that’s why they call it a tradition. Phil said last night, “Think you could just take those pictures and dupe ‘em for the next thirty years?” (I swear, sometimes he forgets who he married…) But honestly, the trail doesn’t change very much each year. The displays are the same, the music is the same, and you know when you go through the tunnel of blue stars, that you are nearing the end (last night, we were pretty glad to see the tunnel…)

But don’t you think that’s what we want in a tradition? The kids look forward to spinning under the Tree of Lights every year, seeing the trees that light up in time with the music from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, and eating kettle corn.

We all have our favorite displays, which are sponsored by various businesses around Austin. One of my favorites is the Nativity, (sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Austin, I believe), and I like to stand there, listening to the strains of ‘O Holy Night’… that is until one of the kids shakes my arm and asks, “Mommy, why is the Baby Jesus so big?” Seriously, it looks like he’s about to climb out of the manger, shrug on a backpack and head to the nearest Bethlehem kindergarten class. It’s a bit out of proportion, I guess.

Last night, though, when we walked past the Nativity, I was appalled to see a red Santa hat perched on the head of the Baby Jesus. Now it wasn’t like some jokester had just plopped it on top… it was actually fitted down on the head of the figure, like it was meant to be there. Um… whaat?! Guess I’ve been reading that verse in Luke all wrong… “She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and a red polyester hat with a pom-pom on top…”

And it’s not just the anachronism that bugged me. Seeing the image of the Christ child (albeit a gigantic one) being linked so obviously with the trappings of the conventional ‘consumer driven Christmas’ bothered me. Yes, I know… I was willing to forgive the fact that there were displays of Santa on either side, and lights strung through the trees… yeah, yeah…Trust me, I’ve got my own little ‘Hypocrite’ t-shirt wrapped up under my tree at home. I guess I just had that feeling… you know the one… ‘Is nothing sacred?’

Of course, last night, it was so cold, that He probably could have used a jacket and a scarf, too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up...

Highlights of the weekend...

1. 'Mamma Mia'... hanging out with girlfriends and watching the movie. Love, love, looove it! 'Take a Chance on Me' has been blasting from my speakers all weekend, and Josie keeps begging to hear 'Dancing Queen' over and over. (Thank God we decided to get her an IPod Shuffle for Christmas.) And there's nothing quite like singing with your 8 year old daughter, "Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight..." Egad! We're driving Phil crazy. I had no idea my kids would be so 'into' a musical soundtrack... I'm bustin' out 'Grease' next week.

2. 'Christmas with the cousins' in Temple... good times... the kids playing together... eating... hanging out... decorating cupcakes... playing Cranium with the fam...
My dorky brothers can still crack me up. Nobody can sing 'Like a Virgin' in the voice of Slingblade quite like my big brother, Rusty. hah!

3. Zilker Trail of Lights... now THIS is an Austin tradition! Never been? Oh, you must go! You must! If you've never spun around under the tree, had a cup of hot cocoa, and warmed up near the Yule Log, it should definitely be on your list of "Things to do in Austin, Texas"... right up there next to visiting the Tower (you know the one!), going to the SRV statue (okay, I admit, I've never done that), eating Amy's Ice Cream, and buying one of those 'Keep Austin Weird' t-shirts. I might be just a little nostalgic about it, considering that was one of the places that Phil and I went on our first date waaaay back in December of 1990. (If you're doing the math, yes, that was EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO!) Dressed in formalwear, no less, on our way to his fraternity's winter formal. Wow, if you've never spun under the tree in a cocktail dress and heels... um, actually, I don't recommend it. Makes me a little dizzy just thinking about it.

4. Even more CHRISTMAS CARDS in my mailbox! people have some cute kids! ;)

Hope you all had an awesome weekend, as well!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's in the mail...

Among my least favorite chores… checking the mail. I’m not sure why, except for the fact that the mailboxes are around the corner from the house, and whenever I get the mail, a good percentage of it (the junkie stuff anyway) ends up in the floorboard of my van. Why is it that in newer neighborhoods, there is no mailbox at the end of the drive? That was the way we used to get our mail when I was a kid. You remember? The little mailboxes with the red flags? Maybe it’s a small town thing, but now we have the big community mailbox with the individual locked units. You know the one... where you sit in your car until that neighbor that lives two doors down that you don’t much care for gets THEIR mail, and then you do the ‘smiley nod’ thing to them as they pass you. Wow. That might have been too much information. ;)

And my mailman must hate me. I mean, he’s always very friendly to me whenever we happen to cross paths at the mailboxes, but I just know that secretly he wishes that I would check my mail more often than once every two weeks. Well, maybe not so secretly. He’s left a note in there before to let me know that it is too full. But with electronic bill-pay, and being able to access all your accounts on-line, I just forget that there is paperwork piling up in there, and I need to at least pick it up, open it, and leave it on the kitchen counter for a month. Oops… I mean, pick it up, open it, discard the trash, and file the bill neatly in the uber-organized filing cabinet. Yep, THAT’S what I meant.

So, yes, usually I hate to check the mail. Except in December. In December, this month of all mail months, I’m at the mailbox EVERY DAY, waiting for my mailman. Just to see him pull up in his little truck, I practically start bouncing from one foot to the other, as he unloads his little packets of mail. Why?! Two words… Christmas cards.

Oh, Christmas cards… how I love them! I love to send them, to receive them, to look at them, to hang them up and display them, and finally, when the holidays are over, to scrapbook them. Just the pictures I receive, mind you. Because isn’t that what we all love best? The pictures of the new babies? The pictures of the growing kids? The pictures of the vacation? Or the pictures of the new house, or the new puppy, or the new guppies? I do. I love them. I always like to see how my friends and family, both nearby and far-flung, have changed, and what they are up to.

I love the clever cards, the mushy cards, and the ‘cutesy’ cards. I really like getting the ‘newsy’ little family newsletters that people fold up and put in their cards, as well. Well, that is, I usually like them. Occasionally, you get the one that is a detailed account of how everyone has gotten a big job promotion, all the children are in the Gifted and Talented class at school, their dog won Westminster, and their family picture was taken in front of the Eiffel Tower on their month-long vacation. Sorry…not very much in the spirit of the season, but… gag!

So, hope you got my Christmas card, and I’m looking forward to getting yours. If you’ve already sent it, it is being displayed in my home, as we speak. But if it doesn’t get here before Christmas, rest assured that I will pick it up from the mailbox, oh... approximately, the middle of March.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nicknames… Part 2…

Okay… clearly I just don’t have enough to talk about since I’m talking about nicknames for the second day in a row. Thank you to those of you who sent me emails reminding me that I do have a few OTHER names, as well. Hah!

One of my mother has always called me ‘Ladybug’. She’s the only one that calls me that. And have you ever noticed that that’s the way a lot of nicknames work? For the ones that really ‘stick’, there is oftentimes just that ONE person that calls you that? From anyone else, it’s just not quite right. Nobody else can call me ‘Ladybug’… it’s a special name my Mom has for me.

Josie will tell you in a heartbeat that ‘Josie-Bear’ is her Daddy’s special name for her. And my mom is the only one who calls Libby ‘my Liblet’. I, on the other hand, call her, ‘LibbaLoo’. Davis gets to just be ‘D’ or ‘D.C’. My poor kids…. They are going to have such an identity crisis. We have so many little names for them.

But you know, I honestly think nicknames are a way to tell someone that you care about them. Okay, a silly, funny way to tell someone that you care about them, but a ‘language of love’, nonetheless. My grandfather has always been famous for giving out nicknames to his grandchildren. Some names stuck, others not so much. But my little brother has been ‘Slick’ for the last thirty-three years. He was bald as a cue ball when he was a baby and PaPa has never called him anything else. Keep in mind that over the course of 33 years, he has not only grown hair, but he has turned around and even lost a little (love ya, hon!)…no matter, he’s still ‘Slick’ to PaPa. That’s love, right there, my friends.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nicknames... gotta love 'em...

I love nicknames. Some people hate… I mean, really HATE nicknames. They give their child a certain name, and they expect people to call their child by their given name, by golly. Which I can totally respect. I, however, love diminutives… nicknames… as evidenced by the names of my daughters. I gave both of them what I thought were very classic, beautiful, timeless names. The names in fact, of two of the sisters in one of my favorite books: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Josephine and Elizabeth. Yet we call them Josie and Libby. I guess I just figure I get two great names for the price of one. ;-)

So, yes, I love nicknames. I love the stories behind nicknames. And even though it’s hard to shorten ‘Staci’, I’ve had my share of nicknames, too. In high school, it was tradition that when you were on the varsity cheerleading squad, the sponsor, Ms. Bray, would give you a nickname. Sometimes it would take Ms. Bray longer to choose some girls’ nicknames than others. But once you were given a name, THAT was your name. Evidently, mine was pretty easy. I was dubbed ‘Miss Priss’ practically from the beginning… which was shortened to ‘Priss’ almost immediately. Of course, I was in good company with Grumpy, Huey, Christmas Tree, Gabby, and Gumby, among others. So ‘Priss’ was my name, and it stuck. Ms. Bray never called me anything else. And when I saw her years after I had graduated, she still called me Priss. I guarantee that if I saw her tomorrow, I would still be her ‘Priss’, even though it has been over 21 years since I was first christened with that little moniker. (Jeez… I feel old now!)

At the scrapbook store where I work a few hours a week, teaching classes and spending any money I might actually make, I have been given the dubious nickname of ‘Cyclops’. Why?! Because I’m ‘Staci with just the ‘I’…. Get it?!! To differentiate me from the other two Staceys that work there. Do I mind? Of course not… it actually makes me laugh. It’s even funnier that customers have been known to call the store to sign up for a class, and they check to make sure that ‘Cyclops will be teaching’.

I do have to admit, though, that I haven’t always loved my nicknames. When I was little, my oldest cousin, Kenneth, loved to tease me when we would visit them in Mississippi, and he gave me a nickname which made me so mad, and made me cry more than once. He called me…are you ready for this? ‘Staci the Tasty Pastry’. I know… it’s soooo horrible, right?! NOW, I know it’s not that bad… that’s it actually kind of cute, but when I was a kid, just the sound of that could send me into a whining fit so fast; it’d make your head spin. “Maaake hiiim STOP!!” The grownups would reason with me, "He calls you that because you're so sweet." Nope. Still hated it.

It’s funny how time changes things. I’d love to see Kenneth… it’s been years since we’ve seen each other. And I just know he’d resurrect the nickname I haven’t heard in a long time. This time, though, I’m pretty sure I’d smile.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I have sparkles on my butt.

Yep, you read that right. I have sparkles on my butt. And it’s not just me… the rest of the family has sparkles on their butts, as well.

Before I tell you anymore, let’s flash back for just a moment to the spring of 1991. Oh, I know… waaaaaay back. I was a freshman at UT, living in the dorm, preparing to go to a spring formal. I can’t remember if it was a Lambda Chi formal (my future hubby’s fraternity) or a Texas Spooks formal, but the theme, if I’m remembering correctly, was ‘Black and White’. I had the perfect dress. I had actually worn it to my junior prom in high school (and if I could ever figure out how to work my scanner again, I’d upload a picture!). It was classic late 80’s with a black velvet top, puff sleeves, and a little flouncy skirt with black velvet dots on the white satin. Super cute. I even wore my hair in a rockin’ side pony tail, curled within an inch of its life. My bangs were high, too, of course. Oh, the 80’s! My mother had made it, as she made ALL of my prom dresses, and I planned on recycling it for the college formal.

About a week before the formal, as a favor to me, Phil took the dress to Jack Brown Cleaners to get it dry-cleaned. The day before the formal, he called me… with terror in his voice. (Keep in mind, we’d only been dating a few months… he had only BEGUN to experience the terror of life with me!) He said, simply… “The cleaners called. The spots fell off your dress.” Whaaaaaaaat?!!

As if turned out, the black velvet spots came off the white satin in the dry cleaning process. Who knew? My mother had made the dress, so it didn’t come with care instructions, and I assumed that having it dry-cleaned would be fine. Now, not only did the spots come off, but the cleaners was angry because the spots had stuck to all the other clothes that were being cleaned at the same time. I was full of righteous indignation, pissed that they had ruined my dress, and I vowed never to darken the doorstep of another Jack Brown Cleaners (which I have not, to this day.) I ended up just borrowing a black dress from a girl that lived on my dorm floor for the formal. It wasn’t nearly as cute, and I had to cinch the back of it with a safety pin, but it would have to do.

Now, I’ve been pissed about that little incident for the last 18 years. That is, until last week. Last week, I washed Josie’s Halloween costume. If you saw the pictures, you know she was Sharpay Evans from High School Musical 2 (she looked adorable!) We had thrown the dress in the ‘dress-up box’ and Libby has taken to wearing it, complete with the golfing glove. Of course, since she’s four years old, she spilled something on it (juice, milk, baloney…who knows?) Not really thinking, I threw the dress in the washing machine. It was covered with little silver sparkle dots…. half of them came off… and GUESS where they went?! That’s right. On everyone else’s clothes.

So, I’m feeling a little more understanding of Jack Brown Cleaners’ dilemma, all those years ago. And I’m hoping that you’re a good enough friend that you’ll tell me when I have sparkles on my backside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Davis the dictator...

Okay, I’m back to the blog, after letting my mini-Mussolini do the blogging yesterday.

Davis was VERY specific about what he wanted ‘his blog’ to say. He would tell me exactly what to type, and then at the end of each sentence, he would say, “Period. Mom, put a period right there.” He didn’t want me to add anything to it, and you know how much I wanted to. My witty little commentary was just hankering to come out. It was a giant acorn, for heaven’s sake! That just cries out for snarky comments. When I tried, though, he just glared at me, pointed to the keyboard, and said, “That’s the backspace. I need to push it.” (darn school computer lab.)

And when he was finished, and I showed him that I’d put it on the blog, along with a picture of his beloved acorn… was he excited? Well, yeah, he was, but he was also pissed because the Daisy Duck cake picture was still on there. “I don’t want that on there! I just want the picture of my acooooorn!” (In case you can’t tell, that’s whining…) So, did I reason with him? Did I firmly tell him that all of the pictures on the blog were equally important? Did I stamp my foot, and say, “I worked hard on that stupid cake! The picture is staying!” ?

Nope…I finally just told him that no one else would be able to see it on THEIR computer. That they would only be able to see the picture of the acorn. So sue me, people! Jeesh…

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

One heck of an acorn...

In the interest of this being the ‘family blog’, I turned over the blogging duties to Davis today. He decided he’d like to tell you about his giant acorn.

Transcribed to Mommy: (with reminders of where to put each period, even!)

“My acorn is very big. I found it in my backyard. I lifted a rock up and it was pushed in the rocks. I pulled it out and it was a big acorn. It is from a burr oak tree. We googled it, and we saw a picture of it. It is very special to me because it is so big.”

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Now that I'm officially in my late thirties... ;)

Thanks everyone for all the fab birthday wishes, calls, cards and emails!

I had a wonderful birthday weekend, starting with dinner with my hubby on Friday night at Trudy's (Thanks Bonnie & Drew for keeping the three gangstas). Hadn't been there in forever, and we even went to the one that was just down the street from the school where I used to teach. I spent many a 'Happy Hour' at that location! The food was delicious, as usual, and the Mexican Martinis were strong (just like I remembered... or rather, 'didn't remember'?!) Anyway...

Saturday, I got to hang out with a couple of girlfriends, scrapbooking and having lunch, and then when I got home... the tree in the family room was lit up and decorated! Courtesy of my little family. We had already decorated the tree for the front room together, so I didn't feel like I missed out on any 'tradition', and appreciated that it was done as a surprise for me. Next time you're at my house, though, make sure you look back in the family room. The tree is so overloaded with ornaments in the front and on the bottom part, it's a wonder it doesn't just tip over from the weight. The kids gave me a gift card for a massage, and when I went to give Phil a hug, Josie said, "Don't thank him! It was us!" Heehee.

Phil also gave me a special silver ring that I'd been wanting which is stamped with each of our kids' names. Well, technically, he gave me the ring sizer, which they sent him after he ordered it because they need an exact size. The ring cannot be resized once its been etched, so there's not really room for any guesswork...anyway, the finished ring should be here in a couple of weeks. Yay!

And tonight we went to the new Salt Lick with some of our college pals. In case you didn't know, there is a new Salt Lick next to the Dell Diamond, and we hadn't tried it out yet. The friends we went with are, of course, the same ones we used to make the yearly (well, more often in college) pilgimage to Driftwood with, and it's always been a bit of a tradition for all of us. So, we were fully prepared to deem it as 'not up to par' with the original location. Well, let me tell you, it was every bit as delicious, without that LOOOOOONG drive! So, I think we may have just started a new tradition. ;)

Awesome birthday... um...looking back at this post, it appears that I ate my way through it. Oh well! Guess the kids get cake on their birthdays... I get alcohol and barbecue. I'll take the alcohol and barbecue any day...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My last NaNoWriMo post... promise! ;)

Okay, I promised ‘more later’, so here’s my last post about NaNoWriMo, at least until next November when I do it all over again (?!) I even have a few people that have agreed to try it with me. (I’m going to hold you to it!)

I hit the 50,000 word mark on Saturday night at around 9:00 p.m., and then I promptly stopped what I was writing and took a picture of my wordcount stats on the computer (yes, I know, I’m a doofus!) I entered my manuscript on the website to have my numbers verified, and when I did, the screen immediately changed to the ‘winner’s circle’, and it said that I had officially won NaNoWriMo 2008 (took a picture of that, too.) And then I cheered, took a few more pictures, and danced just a little, much to my husband’s amusement.

I had an extra day, so I could have easily gotten more words in, and waited until Sunday night to verify, but the way I looked at it was that I just needed to get to 50,000 words to ‘win’. I guess it’s kind of like having a baby. Nobody gets a medal for NOT getting the epidural and having a ‘natural birth’, and I didn’t get some kind of extra prize for writing 52,000 words vs. 50,000 before midnight, November 30th. So, I’ll just go ahead and get verified, and take pictures, and be done. And in case you couldn’t guess, I got the epidural all three times, too.

And no, I’m not done. I did not get my story finished. Not yet. The story still has a few thousand words left to go, and few more trials for my characters to conquer. And then of course, lots of editing and re-writes. I did NOT do what the website suggested and get a complete ‘story arc’ written. As much as things have changed as I have written, I wanted to see where this might go without pinning myself into an ending. I will finish it, I’m just not ‘under the gun’ so much, so to speak. Jen would kill me if I left her hanging. ;) My goal is to finish in the next week or so.

A few numbers to ponder: 119,301 authors signed up on the website to go on this crazy month-long journey, and 21,683 people got their numbers verified at 50,000 words (or more) and ‘won’. That’s an 18.2% ‘win rate’. And I have to say, I’m really not surprised that more people don’t complete it. It’s much more difficult than I thought it would be, initially. But once I got the momentum going, and got past about 15,000 words, it was easier to follow through. And I think it helps that I just REALLY hate to lose. Really, I do.

So, if you check the website, do an author search, and enter my author name (withbothfeet), you will see an awesome purple ‘winner’ bar on my author’s page.

Thanks again to all my lovely friends and family that listened to me go on about it this last month, probably to the point of splitting headaches. Sorry if I’ve been… what was the word you used, S.H.? ‘Obsessed’?! Yep, I have been, kind of. But I’m so glad I did it. I feel like I found a little piece of myself I’d forgotten about. The piece that isn’t just a wife and a mom and a volunteer (not that those aren’t wonderful things to be)…taking this personal challenge made me feel like a creative, complicated, artistic person. I guess I just needed a little kick in the pants to remember that. And what a month-long, caffeine-fueled, amazing kick in the pants it turned out to be.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Birthday Girl

“Am I still four today?” Libby asked me first thing this morning. I assured her that she WAS still four and that she would be for the next 364 days. That seemed to satisfy her. I’m not quite sure what she thought, though. Maybe when I have my birthday later this week, I’ll only have to be thirty-seven for a day, and then I can revert back to being thirty six for another year? I might like the logic of the newly four year old.

She had a great birthday yesterday with a par-tay in the park, her Daisy Duck cake, of course (yes, I’m leaving that dang picture up), snacks, presents, bubbles and a ‘Pin the Tail on Daisy' game, where I suspected the blindfold mask was a bit faulty when the first four children all stacked their ‘tails’ directly on top of one another. Hmmm…. We added a ‘spin’ for good measure, and the game was on!

Last night for dinner, we took her to her favorite restaurant, Mama Fu’s, where she got her usual teriyaki chicken and white rice which she loves to douse in soy sauce. When we got home, she opened her ‘big gift’ from us, which was a… are you ready for this?… a ‘Baby Alive Learns to Potty’. I’m not kidding. Or as Philip was calling it when we were shopping… ‘Little Baby Sh*ts Herself’.

Libby was soooo excited. She promptly named it ‘Emily’ and wanted to give her a bottle. Cute, right?

Now if the title is not enough to explain what it is, it’s a doll that ‘eats’ and ‘drinks’ and then…yep, pees and poops. Hopefully in the little potty chair that came with it in the box. More likely in the diaper that the doll is wearing. And she has a plethora of little phrases that she says when you push the button on her bracelet, a couple of the most memorable being, ‘Oooh… tinkle, tinkle!’ and ‘Uh-oh, I made a stinky!’ Think I’m joking?! I wish I were.

Had I known what was involved with this doll, it would have stayed on the shelf at Wal-Mart. Did you know that each time you feed the doll, you have to completely rinse her when you’re finished? But here’s the kicker… she’s not a tub toy. It specifically says that in the instructions. You just have to ‘flush her system’ with water to remove all the traces of ‘food’. Little did I know that I was going to be spending my late thirties giving doll enemas.

Let’s just hope Santa doesn’t bring the other doll she’s asking for... ‘Baby Alive has Smallpox’.