Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaBloPoMo #30 - WE Made It!

30 days...30 blog posts, I'd say that's a fairly successful "NAtional BLog POsting MOnth"...and yes, WE did it...because if I didn't have even the few followers that I do, I wouldn't have the motivation to write about...well, about any of the oddball stuff that I write about! So thank you fellow readers :)

The lingering question now is....where do I go from here?

Duh...Christmas of course!  Be prepared to see this blog all decked out for the holidays very soon!! (As in, probably later tonight)  This time of the year usually makes me very reflective, so hopefully there will be some well-thought-out, inspiring blog posts to accompany the decorating that I have planned around here.

Decorating has already begun....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaBloPoMo #29 - Purple Haze?

Total success!  I made it through the "intimidating" craft store WITH coordinating fabrics for a certain lil' princess' Christmas gift...AND a trunk that I'm going to paint to match the bed, that she'll be able to store her doll clothes in.

Now, if only I could sew (well).  Time for Mrs. Claus to seek the aid of one of her elves...otherwise known as mom D.  (She also happens to have the mattress in her possession.)

It's hard to tell, but the darkest purple even has silver sparkles in the material!
Perfect for a princess, don't you think?

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaBloPoMo #28 - I don't have time to be sick...

I had my plan of action for this week.  Stay on schedule, things will get done, no stress involved.

I went to bed, slept like a rock, and stretched myself awake this morning at 7:00, ready to take on the day.

And then I sat up in bed.  Or at least I tried to.  My body sat up....but then the room started spinning and my body went with it back down to the bed. Okay...let's try this again.

I swung my legs over the bed, sat up, and got out of bed to grab my bathrobe.

The room was still spinning, and I hit the wall.

Great.  It was going to be one of THOSE kind of days.

Third times the charm, right?  I got up determined to make it to the shower, only to realize that the bathroom was another spinning room, and a shower probably wasn't the best (or safest option) at that point.

Thankful for neighbors who can take my kids to school, I managed to get the monkey children out the door, and I went back to bed...

I don't have time for this.  Grocery store, remember?  Intimidating craft store, remember?  I have other things to do than entertain a spinning room.

8 1/2 hours later, still not running at peak performance, but slowly getting better as the day moves on.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaBloPoMo #27 - Taking a Deep Breath

Tonight is Sunday night pizza and movie night in our house.  I don't know how the tradition started, but it did.  Every Sunday involves some kind of pizza (either frozen or ordered), and an agreed upon movie - not easy to do between the three monkey children.  Tonight's viewing selection is Transformers in the basement with the boys, and a Hallmark Channel Christmas chick flick for the princess and I.

The thing is, it's exceptionally calm around here right now.

Tomorrow?...That's another story.

This week's project involves the bedding for the newly contructed doll bed.  Creating this bedding involves heading to my local Joann's store.  Believe me when I say there is nothing more intimidating to me ... more completely terrifying to me - even more than heading into "Man-Cave Haven" (Lowe's), than going into a craft store.

I know, I know - I've already discussed the issue of my creativity resurfacing in recent posts.  But a craft store. That's just a whole other level of creativity.  Stores like Joann's, AC Moor, et al are filled with women who who have drawers...no, buckets of crafting supplies stored away in their homes for days when they're ready to decoupage their kitchen sink, or crochet a toilet paper cozy for their guest bathroom.  Not me - I keep my toilet paper under the bathroom sink, look before you sit down.

So this week, there is the weekly grocery shopping to do (because I'm apparently required to feed the monkey children), the Christmas decorating (which the monkies would like to be done...yesterday),  the incredibly horrifying trip to the craft store to choose material for doll bedding (oh the pressure!), and then the actual sewing of the bedding (how hard can that be?  It's a sheet...and a pillow...for a doll.)  Well, only as difficult as relearning and reminding myself how to work a sewing machine that I use about twice a year.  Thankfully the elf that helped this Mrs. Claus in the woodshop, has a special Mrs. elf that can help with the sewing.

Next week is all about turning my children into little Who's from Whoville for their production of The Grinch...let's just say it involves battery powered LED light strands and LOTS of silver Christmas tinsel.

By the time that is finished, I will be feeling the time crunch of Christmas cookies that need to be baked, the shopping for gifts for my dear family members, and the Christmas cards...The Christmas cards!  I need to buy the Christmas cards!

I will not get stressed this Christmas.  I will not lose my mind this Christmas.  I will remain sane, peaceful, and full of joy for this Christmas season.

{Deep cleansing breath .... HERE}

Okay, let the fun begin!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaBloPoMo #26 - Come Out Wherever You Are

(There's currently a hockey game on the TV in the room where I'm sitting right now...that makes it a great night for lots of Mt. Dew, Chocolate and Genealogy.)

I really just wish my great-grandfather were still alive so he and I could sit down and have a chat about his life growing up.

Out of all of my ancestors, I've probably written about him the most.  Probably because he's the closest ancestor that has been the most illusive!  I can understand struggling to find a 4th cousin...or even a 4th great-grandfather...but this guy...and his brother and sister...continue to be a pain in my butt!

I spoke with my grandmother today, and she passed along a few names that she would like me to search for records on.  God love her, I just didn't have the heart to tell her that the info she was interested in could easily be found at the public library 10 minutes from her house.  After all, she thinks I'm a genealogy goddess, capable of finding any little tidbit with the stroke of a few keys on my computer.  So I said that I would search for it and get her the information as soon as possible.

The family members she's interested in happen to be the niece and nephew of my great-grandfather, and I haven't spent a lot of time on this line.  So this is good practice for me, researching family that I don't really know about.  It takes a little more endurance and diligence to see it through.

Unfortunately my great-grandfather and his sister were both pretty illusive for about 10 years.  Somehow they got missed on the 1900 census with their father in Ohio (who had remarried at this time), she showed up married in West Virginia, and then...somehow...ended up out in Illinois (which is where my great-grandfather married his 1st wife.)  I'd love to know how they ended up out there...my guess is he probably travelled with his older sister and her new hubby.  But what lured them out there?  Why Piatt County?  And what did he do between 1888 and 1910?

Perhaps it's something as simple as he was just missed on the census.  There were a lot of new step-siblings in the house by the time the 1900 census taker came around.  But I don't think so, because his sister is not there either.  My gut says that they were together...wherever that was.   And that's a bitter-sweet thought.

If the two were together, they were without their father who had moved on and had a new family.  Their mother had died when they were young, and their oldest brother had died a few years prior.  Really, they were all each other had.

But I love thinking of them staying together, watching out for one another as they made their way and become young adults, and getting married. Even when great-grandpa returned to Ohio by 1930, he was living not that far away from his sister still, as she also made her way from Illinois home to the Buckeye state.

Of this I feel certain - the two of them were incredibly close, and stayed close until his death in 1964.  That makes me smile knowing that they had that bond together.

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaBloPoMo #25 - A Place To Lay Her Head

I wasn't sure I could reach down and pull out the creative part of me that had been repressed for such a long time.  I used to be a creative person...very "right brained".  That was 20 years ago.  At some point I traded my creativity for my intellectual side.  My right side for the left side of my brain, if you will.

A few months ago I reached wayyyy down deep and tapped into that creative side.  Voila!  Lego man was created.  Okay, truth be told, I kind-of impressed myself with those results.  So much so, that I knew I could pull out that creativity just a little further...just in time for Christmas.

You see, a certain little princess has asked Santa for a bed for her American Girl doll.  And as any parent with an AG doll in their house knows...these little havens of rest can be pretty pricey!  Immediately, I thought "I could totally make a bed for her doll!  Surely there is a pattern, directions, something - somewhere online! If I can find my 9th great-grandfather via Google and the internet, I can certianly find a decent pattern for a doll bed."

You betcha I did!

Yesterday, after a yummy Thanksgiving dinner, Mrs. Claus here and one of Santa's jolly elf's went down to the workshop and went to work.  Measuring and cutting wood (with power tools even!)

Not drawing any blood and still having all 10 fingers, we safely moved onto assembly...and before long, we had a headboard!

Admittedly, the headboard took us a bit to put together.  In fact, we nearly didn't finish the project that afternoon, thinking that it was going to take us a bit longer than what we had time for.  But we decided to keep going, and putting the footboard together went much quicker! (It was identical to the headboard, only shorter.)

Once the headboard and footboard were completed, it was just a matter of attaching the bedframe.


And in a matter of a just a few hours...a pretty incredible looking bed was finished! (If I do say so myself)  Oh, there's still some finishing work to do - Filling the holes where the screws are, a little sanding, and a nice coat of paint.  


Then there's still a mattress to come up with...And a pillow....And a blanket (because it gets mighty cold here during the winter months!).  The bedding is next week's project and I'm already starting to have flashbacks to my 8th grade Home Economics pillow sewing project.  (Mrs. Hahn...where are you when I need you!?!?)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

In a completely, non-serious (wait, I am very serious about this), just lighten up people - kind of way...

I'm thankful that my kids woke up this morning ASKING ME when the parade started.  I could only grin.  I grew up watching the parade on Thanksgiving morning.  I still watch it every year.  Granted, for me, now it's more about seeing the Broadway performances at the beginning.  But I've always made a point of making sure the kids would see the balloons (Look!  Snoopy!)...and Sesame Street (they're in it EVERY year)...and pointing out the musical numbers (because every child should have an appreciation for good music)...

Seems to me, they finally got the tradition down when they remembered the parade before I could remind them.

(Score 1 for mom for establishing tradition!!)

Now on a more completely serious and gluttonous note:

I'm thankful for the bird that will be devoured this afternoon.
The mashed potatoes...oh those yummy, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.
The sweet potatoes...because one can never have enough potatoes on the table
The carrot/peas combo...not everyone likes peas.  I understand that.  I don't like salad, some people don't like peas.  It happens.  But this is a good way to start.  Go with the combo version and enjoy the other veggie included with it.
Dinner rolls...every meal should have a dough product, and lots of it.
I'm also thankful for the stuffing that is being made.  It's truly delicious, although questionably made.  yeah, you knew that those extra turkey parts had to go somewhere, right?  Don't think about it...just eat and enjoy.

And the pie....the many, many pies...
Chocolate Pie, Pumpkin Pie - from REAL pumpkin, Apple Pie, Lemon Pie. ...

And most importantly,
I'm thankful that I'm not cooking.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaBloPoMo #23 - It's That Time Again

If you've been following my little blog for a while, you'll know that Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday meal.  Okay, maybe 2nd favorite next to the Easter Ham.  But it's good.  Actually it's pant splitting, fill me so full of food I want to explode - good.  And I never have to cook.  Ever.

My mother-in-law has it mastered.  Good Lord love her, we have our differences, but the woman can prepare a Thanksgiving feast better than anyone I know.   Yes, she tried to teach me one year.  I still try not to think about HOW she makes the stuffing and WHAT goes into it.  I just know that it's amazing, and I don't put much thought into what I'm eating when I'm eating it.

Being the wonderful, thoughtful daughter-in-law...I inquired as to my yearly input for the feast of all feasts.

It finally happened.

I got napkin duty.  And apple cider.  Napkins and apple cider.



Awesome.



I was tempted to google the art of napkin folding and come up with something amazing.

Maybe little pilgrim boys and girls??



Nah.  Package of white napkins and a gallon of apple cider it is.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  (Don't forget your Cool Whip!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaBloPoMo #22 - 1st Time

I love learning new things.  Experiencing new things.  Doing something for the very first time.

It's one thing when it's done...you've tried it, and "eh...maybe it wasn't so great."

Kind of like...broccoli.

But it's a completely different thing when it's done and you can't believe you waited so long to try it, and you just want more and more....

Kind of like...chocolate covered oreos.

Come on, you knew chocolate had to be involved somewhere, right??

;)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movie Review!

Tonight...I was a loner.

I kind-of like being a loner sometimes.  I know the monkies are in school all day, but sometimes it's nice to be able to just get out and indulge in a little "me" time that doesn't involve any form of errand-running.

Tonight was one of those nights.

Our local theater was running the movie "Courageous"...and being that it's Monday night, it was cheap movie night (bonus!).

Just me...and about 10-15 older couples who all seemed to know each other.  My guess is they were from a local church here in town after hearing some of the conversations around me (what? Eavesdrop?  Me?)

The movie was ... as expected.  Created by the same people who put together the movie "Fireproof", and also the lead actor/co-writer of the film, was the football coach in "Facing The Giants".  Going in, I had a certain expectation, and this movie met that level that I had set for it.

Now...let's not be fooled.  It's a Christian movie.  I don't like "Christian" movies.  They tend to be {yawn}, poorly acted, and just way too predictable.  But given the reputation of the Kendrick brothers and their preceeding work, this is probably one of the best Christian movies that can be seen - next to Fireproof and Facing the Giants.  Whatever they do, however they're doing it...it's working for them.

The movie has gotten a lot of hype in Christian circles, and it's not even a new release any longer, so I had a vague knowledge of what the background story was going in.  Police officers...tragedy strikes...and I assumed happy ending for all.

Police officers.  Check.  4 of them.  And a  construction worker who joins the group.  All dads.

Tragedy strikes.  Check.  I don't want to spoil the movie, but good gravy...yeah - tragedy struck!  But since I don't cry at movies, I let the woman behind me borrow a tissue.  (Okay, I may have teared up a bit - I'm not a completely heartless woman.)

Happy ending for all?  Come on....you don't really think I'm going to tell you everything about this movie do you?

I have to admit, the drama was...well, dramatic and the action was exciting.  So much so, the woman behind me (yes, the one who was in tears earlier) nearly did the perfect dump of the popcorn all over herself during the final big action scene.  (It was hard not to contain my laughter over that.)

It comes out on DVD January 2012.  Get it.  Watch it.  (Yeah, maybe bring a tissue or three).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Nope, not the holiday.  (Fooled ya, didn't I?)

This is about thanksgiving, but more along the lines of the actual "giving thanks" part of thanksgiving.

It's been awhile since I've shared from my faith, but this has been on my mind, in my heart for some time, and the sermon at church this morning, just reinforced these thoughts.

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks]


As I read this, I thought back to the miscarriages I've had.

In all things Lord?

I looked 3 rows ahead of me and saw the mom & grandma who had just lost the baby girl a few weeks ago.

In all things Lord?

My mind drifted to those who have been hurt needlessly by individuals who have used their power and position to intimidate and hurt emotionally and physically.

In all things Lord?

Death, destruction, pain, suffering...

In all things Lord?

I don't like it.  I don't understand it.  But if I believe what the Bible says...REALLY believe that it's God's Word for me now...then yes...in ALL things, whatever the circumstance.

That's a hard thing to do.

I don't think it's about saying "Thank you God for ending my pregnancies.  Thank you God for death and suffering. Thank you God for allowing me to be in this painful situation."   I think it's more about "Thank you God, even though I hate it, and it was painful...you're bringing me through.  You've brought me through.  I know you're real and sovereign and in control and you WILL bring me through, because You already know how this is going to end, and you've told me that ALL things work together for good."

It doesn't necessarily make it any easier right now, and I don't have all the answers to the "Why" questions that we all want to ask.  

I don't like not having answers.

But thank you God for my faith in You.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaBloPoMo #19 - Getting personal

Two years.

It's been almost two years of ...adjusting.  Yelling.  Crying.  Lots of understanding.  Lots.  Probably could use a lot more actually.

Two years of medication daily.

Two years of questioning why, and wishing for a healing unlike anything I've ever heard or read about.

Two years.

I haven't necessarily kept it a secret.  There are friends who know.  To everyone else around me, it's just that he has his own special set of "quirkiness" that we deal with...on a daily, on-going, continual basis.  Some days are really, really good.  And then there are days...entire weekends, when I just want to crawl back in bed and say forget the whole thing.  I quit!  Figure it out yourself.

The thing is...he's an incredibly sweet kid.  I never really understood the phrase "wearing your heart on your sleeve" until I realized, oh...that's my kid.  He has a heart so big...and emotions that are so strong, that they can't help but ride on the surface for all to see.  He can be caring and loving (like having his entire class sign a card he made for his little sister when she fell off her bike and landed face-first on the sidewalk).  There are days when he's helpful and giving (doing chores without being asked and helping his little brother).  And then there are other days...

Days like Friday when he came home from school and burst through the door in a huff, throwing his backpack on the ground, and in a tear-filled voice exclaiming that "I know you and dad are going to ground me but I failed my math test, ok?!?!"  (Ummm...hello to you too.  Bad day today?)  I've learned that when his emotions are high like that...just let him ride it out on his own.  And he did.  

As his mother, I fought the diagnosis with everything I had in me.  Okay, yes - there's an obvious lack of focus in school...but you should see him glued to his computer games!  He's focused!!  (I know...wrong kind of focus.)  And hyperactive?   I have yet to see him climb any walls, swing from any chandeliers, or swing through the air or go into a complete meltdown tantrum that involves completely losing control.  (Apparently the hyperactivity is inside his brain, not a physical kind)

Add to this his difficulty in relating one-on-one with others (which makes establishing meaningful friendships, difficult at best), his sometimes inability to maintain an intelligent conversation on topic with other people,  his uncanny ability to have an apparent conversation with himself in his head and then blurt, out-of-the-blue, what he last said to himself (often leaving me to figure out what conversation he was having in the first place and who exactly it was that he was answering!).

Sometimes we deal with the frustration together, sometimes we laugh at the apparent silliness together.  And sometimes, late at night, after he's gone to bed and I can just sit, wonder, and worry how my son will make it as a functioning adult in the world one day...I'll cry alone and just beg God to heal him now. 

ADHD ... I hate it with everything I have inside of me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's a simple process, really!

I have one list, you have one list (actually, you have the short list.  I took pity on you seeing as this is normally strictly my territory.)

Head straight to the back of the store, and work your way forward.  Trust me. (This, of course, only works at our local Super Wal-Mart with the layout of their grocery section.  The freezer section is near the front, so is the produce.  No melted ice cream, no squished tomatoes.

And yet...1/2 hour later, I found you standing...at the front of the store...getting turkey from the deli.  You didn't see me, so I called your cell phone to check on your progress.  Almost done.  Okey-dokey.

I approached your cart and took a quick inventory... How did you manage to pick up the eggs and NOT the shredded cheese that was right next to the eggs?  Paper products...where are they?  Juice....juice...juice... there's no juice.  Where's the juice?  Yeah...next aisle over from the paper products...that you didn't get.

I thought it would be more "fun" to go grocery shopping as a family outing.  I won't be making that mistake again.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaBloPoMo #17 - Genealogy Side-roads

I think I've been pretty good this month about not boring those of you uninterested, non-genealogy motivated readers with tales of my dearly departed ancestors, and my quest to locate them.  Or even my journey in finding them.  And did you also know (it's rhetorical, don't answer that)....I'm considering becoming certified in this whole thing?  No, I didn't say CERTIFIABLE, although some would already attest that I hit that stage a long time ago - right about the time I started wandering through cemeteries...for fun.  But that would be another story for another day.  Today is about the importance of knowing where you got all of your information from...which, unless it all came from an interview that you personally had with your great aunt Ethel (and even that info can be...tricky.), you really should know and document where you discovered that little tid-bit of info for great-grandpa.

When I first began this hobby obsession with genealogy, I started out (as most people do) just trying to find that next name. You know...."Grandpa grew up here, so if I look in this census I should find him as a toddler, there he is...and his parents were...so-and-so.  Great!  Now, if THEY grew up in the same area, then I'll look in this census to find them with their individual families...and there they are....next!"  And so on and so forth.  I just wanted to get from one generation to the next as quickly as possible, know the names, and not really learn anything about them personally.  In some instances, I didn't even care about the siblings of my ancestors. I only wanted to see the direct trail that this family had taken, and none of the little side-roads.

Yes...mistake #1. Turns out that all of those little side roads can be helpful in searching out the direction of your direct path. For example, I was unable to find great grandpa on the census, until FINALLY one day he shows up living with an uncle. An uncle? What uncle? Oh...the one that I never bothered to document! Suddenly recording all of those siblings (and they had really big families back in the day!) seemed a bit more important.  Simlarly, I was unable to locate where my great-great grandfather was in Illinois.  I had found the woman he was married to, but it was only her and her daughters.  "Well that's not right.  Where's her husband?  Where's her son?"    Oh!  The son!  Searched for the son's name via the census, and in the process found great-great grandpa Allen living in the next town and his son living with him.  (Apparently, grandpa and grandma didn't get along too well, ya know.)

So there ya go.  Today's genealogy lesson.  Don't neglect those side roads!  You never know what valuable information may be drifting along in the dust.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaBloPoMo #16 - Mr. Migraine

As the mom of three monkey children...I like to think I'm tough.  I can tolerate a pretty good level of physical pain, and it's going to take more than the sniffles to put me on my butt and call in sick to "work" (you know, that thing I do everyday as a stay-at-home-mom)

For whatever reason, when monkey #3 was added to this party, so was the additional party favor known as...

THE MIGRAINE

I don't know why they are showing up now, but I'm fairly certain I know what is causing them, and there's not a single thing I can do about that at this point in my life except to find a way to manage the pain.  My mother-in-law (who has apparently gone to medical school and has a secret life as a physician) tells me it's a caffeine thing...I drink too much Mt. Dew...eat too much chocolate...I need to back off of the caffeine.

It's not a caffeine thing.  I know this because I was at a gap in time that I had absolutely NO chocolate or Mt. Dew in my house...and like clock-work, Mr. Migraine started pounding on my left eyeball.

I had bronchitis last winter.  It kicked my butt.  I quit functioning for two days and when the house started to fall apart along with 4 helpless needy people around me, I decided I was going to have to suck it up (not literally, that's disgusting) and motivate on.  At that point, I realized that getting sick just was not an option for me.  I don't have time to get sick, so don't bother me with it.

However.  When Mr. Migraine rolls into town, there is nothing I would rather do than to be cared for, babied, revert into the fetal position and have my mommy take care of me.  But since my mommy is a gazillion miles away, that doesn't happen.  Oh, I still crawl into the fetal position...and I just close my eyes and pray for the next day and a half to pass as quickly as possible (Yep, they always last for a day and half.  Consistent sonofaguns aren't they?)

Mr. D. hasn't quite figured them out yet.  Oh I'm certain to tell him when they hit, and give him fair warning.  But I'm not sure that he really understands just how bad they are.  I'm not sure that he understands that ALL  amounts of light...just... Hurts.  All sound....Hurts.  Quite honestly, it hurts to exist.   I shuffle through the house closing blinds, shutting off lights, even shielding my eyes from just the natural light that is in our house.  It's dark(ish) and semi-quiet and he'll barge into the kitchen, flip on the ceiling light and begin his ongoing tirade about work, the hours he's putting in, or a story that apparently I need to be told right then and there (at least in his mind) and blah, blah, blah...

("Dear...shut the light off before I put you through that wall.  And that's going to take every bit of energy I have at the moment, so it's really not going to help my current state to do it, but I swear to all that is holy that I will if you don't shut off the light, if you don't shut up right now, and just...go....away.")

Did I mention I become a very ugly person when Mr. Migraine shows up??
(Migraine Chick captured it well here.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaBloPoMo #15 - I know You're Out There...

The other day when I was writing on my laptop, I noticed a link at the top of my page...

"To try Blogger's new interface, click here!"

Sure!  Why Not?

I clicked and switched to new interface...sort-of.  I received an error message that my current browser does not support the new interface.  Okay, so switch me back to old interface....nope.  Blogger wouldn't let me do that, I was simply stuck on an error message page.  The browser I was using (IE 8) was not the most recent, but apparently Windows XP will only upgrade to IE 8 and no further?  (Don't quote me on that, I'm not a computer guru).  My option at that point was to switch {gasp!} to Google Chrome.

I have to say, yes - it's different.  And yes - I kind-of like it!  So not only am I now getting used to a new browser, I'm also playing around with this new Blogger interface thingy.  Fun things, like....STATS.  It tells me the number of pageviews in my blog and in my posts, for instance, currently...my last blog entry already had 8 views at last stats glimpse.  That makes me curious...I only have 3 listed followers...so who else is reading?  Hmmm......

I can understand wanting to remain anonymous - nothing wrong with that, I like to watch from the back occasionally too without anyone seeing me.   But I'd love for anyone who's reading...even just occasionally, to pop in and say hi!  Or if you're reading the page multiple times, I suppose that would account for the traffic as well - and that's okay too!  I'm going to take that to mean you've found it really interesting!

So now I know somebody out there is reading...a few times!  Leave me a note and say hi - you can even do it anonymously if you'd rather...Don't be shy, just say hi! (Yes that was a corny rhyme.  Forgive me.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaBloPoMo #14 - Fiscal Responsibility

(A bit of a vent...deal with it.)

The current national debt for the U.S. is ohhhh....14 trillion, give or take a dollar. (I think it's closer to 15 actually)  Someone obviously failed to explain to our fearless leaders that to spend money, you should actually HAVE the money first.  Credit is just never a good idea.  I think it has a definate appeal.  But even when it is paid back it's done so with so much interest tacked onto it....was it worth it?

I'm annoyed at the moment, in case you couldn't tell.  Anything that makes me reference government and/or politics is a sure sign that I'm annoyed.  Currently it's this whole PTSA treasurer gig that I do on a daily basis.  PTSA is the same thing as PTA, only with a Student representative (hence, the "S").  I happen to be the lucky parent who got roped into being the treasurer of my little elementary school's branch.  Awesome.

Don't get me wrong.  I love our school, I love our PTSA...they support each other very well, and work together amazingly.  I also happen to enjoy working with money...counting, adding, spreadsheets, etc...And last year, taking care of the money end of things was an easy job.  That was last year.

Right now I'm sitting here reading an email that was forwarded to me, asking/telling/requesting ME to negotiate a lower price on a specific item.  The problem is due to poor planning on SOMEONE ELSE's part, I'm now scrambling to make this work in our budget.  And it's not just a matter of "move this, drop this, switch this" and all of a sudden it will fit.  The money simply is not there to cover the cost.  It's a HUGE cost difference that is going to put us over budget.  No amount of negotiating is going to bring it down to the price we NEED it to be that will make it happen.

Suddenly it's become part of my job to research the program, find ways to lower the cost of the program, and make the program happen....yeah, not really part of my job description.  I write the checks, I balance the checkbook, I let you know how much money you have to work with.  That's it.  Or rather that was it.  Not so much anymore.

What kind-of example are we setting for the kids, when parents can't take responsibility and stay within the budget that was set for them?  Parents who are business owners.  Business owners who are community leaders.  Community leaders who want the tax payers to cover their mismanagement of money by raising our taxes in our village.  Village, State, Nation....and that's how we end up with a national debt that may have a number attached to it, but really is just unfathomable to comprehend.

Come on parents.  If you're given an amount of money, it's simple.  Don't spend more than that set amount.  Don't even PLAN on spending more than that much.  Teach your children that the allowance you give them has responsibility attached to it.  Maybe one day - you know, EONS into the future, our national debt may start to take a turn into the other direction if our children's children have been taught wisely not to spend what they don't have.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Overwhelmed

I think I'm overwhelmed.

I have a "To-Do" list that is a mile long, growing longer daily. Not just the daily chores that should get done, but the errand list that creates itself. And the projects I've taken on. And the list of things I want to do.

Yes it's overwhelming.

Did I mention that I love lists? I love being able to cross items off the list, complete satisfaction. So let's just pretend for a moment that tomorrow is full of opportunities to be able to complete my list...

  • Simple every-day start - get myself together and get the kids packed up and off on their day to school. It's a no-brainer, has to be done...but definately a start to the day.
  • Laundry, always laundry - a ho-hum chore that is never completed and always accumulating.
  • PTA sub-list: meeting with the principal, check on Santa's reindeer for December, photocopy reminder notices, organize budget report for Tuesday's meeting, pay bill at local printer.
  • Genealogy sub-list: Work on Ohio website that I volunteer for, answer numerous email inquiries that I've been ignoring, look into continuing education towards certification, transfer photos and document images off of computer onto CD.
  • Personal sub-list:  Grocery shopping (which was put off from the weekend simply because I refuse to do it with children in tow.)  Transfer family photos onto CD for keeping, clean a room in the house...any room. Just clean it.  Move Lego man costume out of family room and up to attic.  Call father-in-law and find out when I can come over and start creating 2 doll beds for a certain princess for Christmas, call mom..."just because."
Then there's helping with homework, dinner, dishes, heading off to piano lessons, and finishing the day  with children's showers, reading time, and off to bed....them, not me.  Once everyone has gone to bed, it's "me" time...total down time.  Time when I can look over this list, realize how much I DID not accomplish and was unable to cross off.

And then I'll make another list to look at again for the next day.  Yes, I love lists - I've been known to write things down on an existing list that I've already accomplished, simply for the gratification of being able to cross it off.

Consider it part of my charm.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaBloPoMo #12 - Why are we still watching?

I'm sitting here tonight with the hockey game on the tv. Be advised - I hate hockey. I don't get it, can't follow it, and I see it as yet another professional sport where grown men get paid way too much money to do what our children may do for fun.

As I'm sitting here with the game airing as mere "background noise" to me, the favored team in our house is also losing by 4 goals.....oops, make that 5 goals now.

"Why are we still watching this?" I inquired of Mr. D.

"Cause I want to."


(Oh boy.)

I forgot to mention that he set the DVR to record this game - a normal thing in our house on game night. These hockey games usually start amidst the bedtime showers, stories, pajamas routine. It's hard to focus when the monkies want your attention, ya know. So he always sets the DVR.

Sometimes when he's out for the evening, he'll usually make it home to catch the final few minutes of the game and then he'll get to celebrate the victory as it happens (or mourn the loss). But then, just for fun, he goes back and watches what he recorded. Why? He knows whether they won or lost. I think it's so he can see the goals scored, or the fights that broke out, or who knows what else happened during the game. I don't even try to understand the mind of a hockey fan.

I suppose it's somewhat similar to me on Sundays when my favorite team is playing football. It's something of an unwritten rule in our house during pigskin season. Home from church, the game on the radio while mommy makes lunch, mommy promptly retires to the sofa after lunch and watches the game. There is no Wii, no cartoons, or anything other than football on tv. At least until my team starts losing...that's when mommy promptly falls asleep by half-time.

And that's when the monkey children ask daddy quietly in the other room, as mommy snores from the sofa...

"Why are we still watching?"

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaBloPoMo #11 - Five Question Friday

I know, I'm supposed to be writing something with meaning. But gosh, golly, shucks, darn...I was mentioned in a fellow blogger's post today (Thanks Amy, at Poop in a Candle, you made me laugh when I read it!), and I think I'm just going to follow suit with her "Five Question Friday" meme that she participated in courtesy of fivecrookedhalos.blogspot.com.

So here we go....

1. What's the last thing you spent too much money on?
A 1-month trial at GenealogyBank.com. I thought it was a free trial. It cost me $9.95. I spent 30 minutes on the site during that one month, soon realizing that it was definately NOT a helpful subscription genealogy site. Yep, absolutely spent way too much money on that.

2. What celeb chef would you like to make you dinner?I don't really keep up with the celebrity cooking thing, so I'm only choosing from the very few that I'm aware of. I'm also thinking of who would do the best job of making an awesome spread of comfort food...oh yeah, Paula Deen. I would want fried chicken, mashed taters, some biscuits, apple pie...PLEASE let there be pie!

3. Where do you hide things when visitors pop over, or do you let them see the "real deal"?
Maybe this is why I'm a hermit? In my head in works like this - if I don't go out, then I don't see people, then they forget about me, and they don't come over. Problem solved. Except for the in-laws. Yes, they're infamous for the "pop over", and you would think that after 18 years they would know better and that my house is NOT going to be clean...of course you would also think that after 18 years they would stop popping over? (Oh settle down, that was not meant to be as mean as it may have sounded.)

4. Who is your oldest living family member?

Oldest living relative - my 1st cousin, twice removed - Irene...93 years old. My faithful readers may remember my trip a few years back to meet and visit with her. Of course, if you're looking for a more intimate, closer living relative - of the immediate family type...that would be my grandfather, who is 83 years old, and he will still flirt with a pretty lady if she says the slightest hello to him.

5. What is your favorite DQ treat?I love to crunch my way through frozen M&M's in a Blizzard. Although...I hear the Snicker's can be equally as delightful!

Just give me chocolate. It's really pretty simple.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Oh The Places You'll Go..."



Searching for clues around the world, a small cabin out on a big prairie, a skinny little stick figure kid and his private thoughts, a bear and his missing button, a certain mischievious monkey and the man with the yellow hat. Following the adventures of a mouse on a motorcycle and also the misadventures of two catholic brothers living in mormon populated Utah in the late 19th century.

Just a few of the tales that could be found at our school's book fair this week.

I love books. I don't own a Nook or a Kindle. I have no intentions of wanting or buying one anytime soon. I have an e-reader on my phone with 2 books on it, but I haven't yet read them. I like to hold a book. Turn the pages. And yes, I'm one of THOSE people who actually turn down the corner of the page to mark where I left off reading. I will also write {gasp!} in books...marking things that speak to me.

I'm always looking for books. Specific ones that I can't wait to get my hands on, old ones that I pick up at used book sales (best bargains EVER!), new and not-yet-released to the public are always a little fun and make me feel super-priviledged, and then there's the ones that I've owned for years. I still have a book I purchased at my own school book fair when I was but a young reader. I also have a book that is no longer in print that I pull out every Christmas season and read.

Twice a year at my monkey children's school we hold a bookfair for the kids. Some schools do so to make a profit for the school. Some do it through a program to purchase school supplies for the classrooms. We do it, for the simple reason that we want to put books in the hands of these amazing little people and get them reading. And once they start reading, their adventures will truly begin!

This week's book fair ended tonight, and I'm confident it was a success. I don't say that because of the bottom line of dollars worth of books sold, or quantities. I say that because I watched the kids come in...many of them multiple times over the course of the last 2 days. They were excited to browse, more excited to purchase, and according to our teachers...these kids couldn't wait to start reading!!

And that's what it's all about.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back To The Point

Did I have a point? What was it? I'm not sure.

When I started this blog (wow...that was a long time ago), I tried to make sure there was something meaningful that was being said in each post. A point that I was trying to get across in my own sometimes not-so-quirky way.

I want to get back to that...where what I say means something to someone, somewhere. Makes them sit back and smile. Or ponder. Or maybe even just wonder what in the heck it is that I was trying to say to begin with. Whatever it does to my reader, it leaves them thinking just a little bit.

And perhaps this is the wrong time to get back to my blogging roots with the whole blog-every-day-this-month challenge I gave myself.

Ugh...what was I thinking?

I was thinking that I wanted to improve my writing skills. Yeah, see how well that's workin' out for me? I'm gravitating towards senseless rambling and telling my 3 readers all about my blogging woes.

As I sit here, hubby dearest is curious to know what I decided to write about this evening. I told him he was going to have to become Follower #4 to find out.

I don't think he liked that idea.

What was my point again??

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaBloPoMo #7 - Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid

Halloween - Don't usually get into it, other than to steal whatever chocolate the kids bring home from trick-or-treating. My kids wear store bought costumes because I am NOT the creative, crafty mom type, nor do I have that kind of imagination to make it work. However, our church was holding it's 2nd annual "Trunk or Treat" event, and I decided that if I was going to participate, it would be of the "Go big or go home" mindset.

So...on that note, what do a 8ft. sheet of styrofoam, plus a cement form tube, plus many...I mean MANY cardboard boxes, and enough Mt. Dew and chocolate to get through it all equal??


Start with the tube...cutting down to size.


Add some styrofoam...


A quick little factoid...did you know that you can't spraypaint styrofoam? Well you can, but it would be in your best interest to seal it first, otherwise it just gets eaten away when the paint hits it. (I used "Mod Podge", works great!)

Glue, sealing, some light sanding to round of the edges...


Well waddya know...this actually might work!

Add a body -


And of course, some more cardboard boxes...for overall effect


And what do we get??

Lego Man - "Brick" or Treat!!


Apparently 3 years in the local PTA has rubbed off on me, and I am becoming that kind of mom that others look at the way I used to look at them. And yes, the pressure is already on to go bigger and better next year. I've been told we're converting the van into a giant pizza for next year's Trunk or Treat.

My crafty side has already gone dormant now that Halloween is over...talk to me about giant pizza pies next September.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaBloPoMo #6 - How Did THAT Happen?

You knew a genealogy related post was going to arrive sooner or later....admit it...all of you were just waiting on the edges of your seats for it.

Uh-huh. Stop yawning and keep reading, you may learn something!

Remember when...my excitement at being "right" was making me giddy, and I couldn't wait to tell Grandma that she was wrong? (I know you don't, so here's the post to refresh your sleep deprived minds.)

In particular I'm referring to the part of the story where I had great-grandpa's birth record from West Virginia, even though she had some still yet unseen evidence that he was born in Ohio. I showed her the picture of the actual birth registry with date, name, parents...she wasn't impressed, and I'm certain she still swears he was born in Ohio.

Fine...I'm not going to argue the point with a 72 year old woman. I'll file my record away, in my head I'm still right.

Right?

Maybe not.

I received an email yesterday alerting me to new records available that I might be interested in with connections to particular ancestors. Great-grandpa was one of them. There was the Social Security Death Index - got it. Various census records - yep, got them too. West Virginia Births Index - please, don't bother with me with this stuff, already own it. Ohio Births and Christening Index -

Whaaa???????? He can't be in there. I have a record that states he was born in West Virginia! An actual image of the birth registry! What is this Ohio Births and Christening Index!?!?

Taking a breath and settling my brain for a moment, I realized that certainly, this could just be a christening record. Not making it an unofficial record by any means, but definately keeping the West Virginia birth legitimate. A little further investigation was in order though so I could know without a shadow of a doubt...I was still going to be right!

The record didn't state much, it was only a transcription of information, not an actual image to look at. The name, birthdate, parents names all matched. The county it was recorded in was even a very feasable possibility as the family lived in that area as well. Finally, at the bottom of the record I found a number...a microfilm number for the information that was given. Putting my genealogy computer favorites to work, I was quickly able to look up that number to determine what type of record this was.

Gallia County Birth Records, Probate Court, Gallia County, Ohio.
Yep. That's about as official as my West Virginia birth registry page. poop.

I currently have no idea why there are two birth records for two different states for the same man. My next step is to order this microfilm of this new record and see what it's all about. Who reported the birth? Is it really a primary source?

I can see that you're all on the edge of your seats awaiting the conclusion to this mystery, and I'll be sure to keep you informed.

On a side note...I also discovered the marriage record for great-grandpa and his {sigh} THIRD wife. In Arkansas. What in the world would lead two people from the northwest corner of Ohio down to Arkansas to get married? Is this another mystery...an untold family secret?

Hmmm....stay tuned blogger friends. If you're lucky, I may be able to pull another blog post out of it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaBloPoMo #5 - Secondhand Lions

Tonight we set out for "movie night". I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to go, and not entirely sure that I cared to even see this movie.

Turns out Secondhand Lions is one of the better movies that I've seen in quite a while. It was funny, dramatic, and has every potential to be a real tear-jerker...kleenex dabber...{sniff, sniff}...you know, if you're the type of person who cries at movies. I'm not. Some say that makes me heartless. (I think it makes me a realist.)

At any rate, yes - the movie was definately worth seeing. I guess the critics didn't think so when this movie was originally released, and I have no idea why.

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaBloPoMo #4 - First Gift of Christmas!

Do you remember in the movie, Polar Express, the excitement that was felt throughout the North Pole at receiving the First Gift of Christmas....I hear some of you groaning already. Christmas? Really? We just finished Halloween, and haven't even made it to Veteran's Day...and she's talking Christmas? And gifts?

Yes I am!!


I received a Christmas gift today. Completely unexpected, entirely unnecessary, but so very cherished, loved, and wanted, and as you can imagine - I'm VERY thankful for! I think mainly because of the person who gave it to me rather than the actual gift itself though.

Don't get me wrong...the gift was, in a single word...perfect.

But the giver of said gift...she's the best. She knows me. She gets me. We laugh together and we grumble together/ We roll our eyes about silly things kids do and the garbage they have tried to get away with. She laughs at my insanity and makes me feel like a supermom on days when the evidence is clearly stating that the opposite is true.

Personally, I wonder if she isn't the orginal supermom.

We see each other daily, coming and going to and from school - or at least we did. She's scheduled for surgery next week and it's going to have her off of her feet/unable to drive for 10 weeks. (Yikes!)

And therein lies the reason for my early Christmas gift that I received today.

Silly girl...as if I'm not going to drive her insane by visiting her constantly, calling her, and being the overall nuisance that I know I can be.

Watch out Lynn - I may just cook you your own private turkey dinner for Thanksgiving!

(Oh...and as an added FYI...my traditions with preparing a Turkey Day feast are limited, as you can read HERE and HERE...be afraid. Be very afraid.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaBloPoMo #3 - Last Meal?

Not genealogy related, nothing spiritual...just pure gluttony.

Taken from Blogher's blogging prompts (because day #3 is nearly over, and I got nothin' to say today...)

If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

I just ate it. Well, about 5 hours ago I did anyway. This all started when I was alerted to today being "National Men Making Dinner" day. We joked (well, I was serious, but he didn't seem to think so.) When he came home at 5:30, and realized that I was very serious (must've been the lack of food cooking that alerted him to this) the family was soon heading off into the village to my favorite place in the world to eat - well, other than heading straight down past the mexican border.

My last meal would be the enchiladas that I had tonight....the red sauce, the cheese, the refried beans...more cheese...warm chips and salsa....I'm starting to salivate just thinking about it.

Okay except that the chorizo/sausage filling that I had ordered came to the table as shredded chicken. But it was still good. And the refried beans weren't nearly as creamy as they usually were. But the melted cheese was delicious! And the chips and salsa weren't all that warm, but only because I got delayed when a spilled glass of soda had been knocked over across the table.

Oh the joys of eating with the entire family.

Note to self...When it comes time for this "last meal", I'm eating all by myself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo #2 - Feeling My Age

On my last birthday, I turned 39. (Yikes!)

Not that I feel old...not really. Except maybe in the wee hours of the morning when I have to drag my butt out of bed to get the monkies off to school. And after I eat something that I used to eat in high school, only now it doesn't seem to digest nearly as well. (Doritos and nacho cheese - sooooo good, but sooooo bad for this gall bladder-free grown-up.)

For the most part, I still feel young(ish).

And then something happens...something like last week. A phone call from one parent telling me that they were on their way North to spend time with an aging sibling who was in the hospital . Another phone call a few hours later from the other parent telling me they had recently spent time in the hospital due to some heart "issues", and testing was still being done to see how serious it was and what would be done.

Neither turned out to be very serious thank goodness, and both parents are now home safe and sound. But it made me stop and think. Parents are aging...I'm aging. Neither one of them are knocking on deaths door - neither are even retirement age yet...YET.

What's my point? I'm not exactly sure.

I guess, maybe, it's about realizing that they really aren't going to be here forever.

And that's a depressing thought.

Today I talked to my grandfather on the phone. He was falling all over himself, being apologetic for not having me over to the house for a meal while we were in town that weekend. "We should've spent more time together, that's what family does."

I told him that I knew the trip was unexpected and last minute, and I surely didn't expect anyone to bend over backwards just to accomodate us. Besides...the kids thought it was a fun vacation to be able to stay in a hotel with a pool.

I told him I loved him...and my grandfather cried as he told me he loved me to.

This was not our typical exchange of a hug (usually saying good-bye) and a quick "I love you." This was an 85 year old man breaking down over the phone, apologetic, and wanting to make sure that even through all of the mistakes that have been made soooooo many years ago, he wanted to make sure his grand-daughter knew she was loved.

It's times like this...when family members are wanting to make sure their truest feelings are made known - yep, I'm feeling my age. Feeling so much more like a 39 year old than a 19 year old.

I don't know if I like growing up.

A Challenge - NaBloPoMo

National Blog Posting Month

Can I...am I able to...is it mentally possible (if not completely draining) to post on this blog EVERY day this month? And not just, "Here's what my 3 monkies did today..." But "Here's what my 3 monkies did today AND here's what I and YOU can learn from it!"

You know...something really meaningful to all 3 of you who follow my blog.

Something that is worthy of their time that they put in when they come here to read.

And of course...

Something genealogy related if at all possible.

Okay, that last one is only a slight possibility.

Does this count as #1?

You betcha!!