Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Now Have Mountains Here? and other Funny Things We've Seen and Heard this Week.

Winter Break has been filled with some hilarious moments...some a result of the "blizzard" and others because we've been trapped inside so much I've been able to hear my children talking constantly.

Miss A thinks the huge piles of snow in parking lots and at the end of our driveway are beginning to look the Mountains she saw this fall in Colorado. I've pointed out that while they look inviting and "cute" and will be here until Spring, they are far from fun! In fact, if the one at the end of the driveway gets any bigger, we could lose sight of the street for months.

We went to the Indoor Water Park this week. Why oh why do you ask? Because until last week, Miss A could not get her ear wet and we promised we'd go once she got the all clear from her doctor. So along with most of the city, our whole family went to swim, slide and spend one hour in line for lunch. Just kidding on the lunch line at A&W, it was more like 1:10 minutes wait.

The kids had a great time and we all left feeling water logged and chlorinated to the gills. The funniest part, however, (besides the people) was driving to the pool in a winter coat, swimsuit and flip flops. C commented it wasn't really all that different from our summer trips to the pool and lake considering we were wearing sweatshirts on the 4th of July.

Yesterday, the kids went up to the elementary school for some good sledding on giant hills and I sat in the car watching them giggle, laugh, and throw snowballs at each other and their friends. I'd brought along a book knowing it could be awhile. Miss A made it about 45 minutes and then asked to come into my warm car. She was mostly looking for snacks and hot cocoa which is not something in ready supply in a Honda Odyssey. However, she cracked me up when she said why don't you just take me home and then come back for the big kids, later. I said then we'd just have to come back, she told it would be OK to just leave her at home alone since she's old enough to watch herself.

Sadly, she is the most responsible one sometimes and would probably be OK. I said no way; I can't; I'd get in trouble with the law for leaving a 5 year old at home alone. Not to worry was her reply, I'll visit you in jail and bring you diet Pepsi.

Finally, the thing that cracked me up the most this week was our shopping trip on Monday to "buy" a few things with gift cards that would burning holes in our pockets since Christmas.

Miss A and Miss M had gift cards to their favorite Girlie Store and Mr. C had one to the Sporting Goods store. We decided to take care of C's purchase first as he's notoriously quicker and then the girls and then have Hot Cocoa at our favorite Coffee Shop. C covered his two favorite summer sports, fishing and golf, with his gift. The girls, as usual, took "forever" to decide on some new clothes and a new Webkinz for each of them.

M and A both wanted to go to Claire's too just to see what was "new" and C quickly shooed them away saying that they could open their own store with all the "lip stuff" they have at home. Miss A said, "That's OK. I now have Dr. Pepper lip balm too, I just got it." Somehow I think she missed the point.

Over Cafe Mochas (C) kids Hot Cocoa (A) and Carmel Hot Apple Cider (M), we discussed while it is fun to shop together, it is just as fun to be together sitting and visiting. M and A just looked at me like I'd lost my mind and C just shook his head and said, "Mom, they just don't get it do they."

I'm thinking Mr. C is going to have a rude awakening once he hits the College Years (aka the Dating Years) and sees that Girls love to "just shop."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Taking Down Christmas...

I talked my husband into taking down the Christmas stuff yesterday. We have plans for New Years Eve and New Years Day and I just couldn't imagine taking it all down next weekend...or maybe I couldn't stand the thought of having it all up any longer.

Christmas is over right? We've spent nearly 5 days trapped in this house due to the "Holiday (we say Christmas) Blizzard of 2009" and I was sick of looking at our tree, stockings, and various little doo dads. I'm not really an accessory person. I'm kinda of minimalist and having all the extra trimmings in our house gets to me after awhile.

I love the weeks leading up to Christmas sitting by the tree with all the lights off save those on the branches. I love to look at the stockings my great aunt loving needlepointed and think of the all the hours of work and all the hours of fun getting just the right gifts to go inside. I love to see all the presents under the tree and imagine the look of joy and excitement on the recipient's face. I even love all the little things that come into our house each Christmas season such as new ornaments, new little chocolate treats from friends, and the fun cards and pictures from afar.

But now, days after Christmas, it loses it's luster. It starts to look like clutter to me.

I'm sorta ashamed to admit it, but I can't stand all the Christmas glitz and glitter days or weeks after the fact. Some may think that it's kinda Ba Humbug of me I guess. Instead, I think it speaks volumes of what I think about Christmas. I love it! The real Christmas. The Birth of Christ and the promise that the tiny baby in the manger means to me and my family. Grace and Peace and Eternal Life.

There was no glitz or glamor for the baby in the manger. It's just the real thing. God Among Us.

At the center of Christmas tree right next to the branches is a big steel Christmas nail hanging from a red velvet ribbon. It's there among the branches to remind me that the meaning of Christmas really points to the Cross. Without the Cross and the Nails that hung Jesus there, it would all be meaningless. Sure it would still be a wonderful story about a baby born in a manger 2000 years ago, but without the cross that's all it would be.

Maybe the reason deep down that I want to get rid of the remnants of Christmas and the decorations is that it takes my focus away from the Cross and the Savior and my need for His grace, forgiveness and peace. It makes it seem like the glamour is all that there is. It makes it seem like if I get all "dolled" up on the outside, if my house looks Martha Stewart perfect with all the "right" decorations," I'm worth it. I have it all together. I really don't need a tiny baby to save me from my sins. I can do it all on my own. I know, though, that this is not true. Reality is much different.

Really it's so much more. The Real Christmas lives right in my heart. I can have Christ Among Me every day. No fancy dress or perfect fir wreath needed. Maybe that's why once Christmas is over I don't need those trappings any more.

Oh, and I don't like clutter either.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Blizzard 2009 Doesnt' Stop the Celebrating

T'was the day after Christmas and all through the house....
Wow! Yippee! We can't believe we got a Wii!

There was jumping and jabbing and swinging of arms as the Wii Games were played in full force.. a certain Nana smoked Miss M in Bowling and Miss A is quite good at the Boxing with Brother, but Mom has yet to jump on the Wii bandwagon fearful that she'll have to create a Mi and decide on a hair color.

Miss A in her "boxing" mode. We've almost lost the TV twice! Let's just say she breaks a sweat and if not careful could break the tv, stand and much more.

Due to the snowdrift outside of our house and the lack of plans for Christmas Day, we spent the entire morning opening presents slowly and breaking for a Pecan Roll Breakfast and Fresh Hot Coffee. Peaceful were words not normally associated with the "unwrapping" of gifts, but 2009 gave us a new outlook on the whole process.

This is our back deck.
We had time to ogle over the Norwegian Sweater Miss M got from Bestemor and Bestefar while Miss A got to set up her Dora Tent in the Family Room and, Mr. C flew his new remote control helicopter all over the house. There was time for "playing with the gifts" and learning about our new "toy" the Wii. Mom had time to check out the Pioneer's Women's Cookbook and earmark recipes to try this winter. Dad enjoyed the fact that no longer are there 1000 piece Lego's to work on or castles and dollhouses to erect.

M's Norwegian Sweater...Adorable Miss M and Miss A in the Dora Tent...where they spent most of the day in their pj's.

Granted the "new clothes" the children scored means more laundry for the mother, but everyone was thrilled with their new "loves" from Nana including the adorable Girl Scout Quilt with genuine GS fabric. Now Miss M can sleep with Thin Mints!!

C's New Bedspread M's New Girl Scout Blanket C models his UnderArmour

Our plans delayed for a Christmas Day Dinner with Nana and Papa created a chance to break out the Steaks and Sweet Potato Fries last night. Who knew some traditions are OK to change?

We watched movies and played board games. We've seen some College Football Games and made new memories. The boys have moved 14 inches of snow from the driveway to the the yard and since we've only seen one plow in 3 days we are praying that tomorrow we'll actually be able to see the world outside our own home by going to church.

Making Cookies for Santa A's new Guess Who Extra Game with Animal Faces Too

When Nana and Papa came over today for lunch between storm cells, we enjoyed our traditional Christmas dinner on the 26th and realized that the Christmas spirit lives on. Even during the Christmas (Holiday) Blizzard 09 as the Weather Channel sort of calls it. They are much more politically correct than I.

As Mr. C said yesterday, this could be our best Christmas ever. It was fun, we were able to see family, Christmas Eve worship of the Newborn King and time to relax together as a family.
Now let's just hope we are not expected to find places to fit in more snow on our streets or driveways anytime soon. I'm not sure we can find the room.

Dad and C getting the driveway ready for Visitors. Where will we put all this snow? It could be spring before we see our grass again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Celebrating the Hustle and Bustle Too Often Pushes the Christ Child Away

We are preparing for another "blast of winter" right in time for Christmas. Let's just say we won't be dreaming of a "White Christmas" as we'll have the real thing.

As a result, the stores are busting with people. None of them look too happy. Granted, I've not seen any real pushing and shoving, but the look on some peoples' faces could scare small children. No one looks like the Holiday Spirit is really flowing through them!

Yesterday, Miss M was trying to "secretly purchase" a gift for her brother. As she stood in line with her hot little cash in hand, two separate adults cut in front of her. She didn't really notice until another mother and her child tried to do the same. When we left she said, "some people aren't really happy about Christmas are they mom?"

At Target later that afternoon, I was finishing up my Christmas shopping and getting groceries when I ran into even grumpier people. A lady in the Produce section huffed and puffed at me when my cart was left over by the asparagus while I was bagging apples across the aisle. I jokily said, "Guess I need to take my cart with me" and she did not laugh.

In the stocking stuffer aisle, I asked an employee who was taking down Christmas stuff if he was really putting out Valentine's candy already and he just huffed at me. I'm just doing my job.! I wished him a Merry Christmas to lighten the mood and he did not seem pleased.

My checkout person looked about ready to collapse, sad, depressed, and at her whit's end. When I asked how her day was going she said, "not well, everyone is so crabby." We joked about the "real Christmas spirit" and how lacking it is today. I told her that too often I think people are crabby about not "getting Christmas perfect," not getting what they want out of the "holiday," and not meeting their own expectations and those of others.

As she rang up my purchases, I thought about how often I get upset that I'm not making Christmas perfect in our house. How my decorations aren't perfect. My wrapping job is not fancy and the gifts aren't exactly what everyone wants. I'm not baking pies or giving out Christmas cookies to all the neighbors.

But the Spirit of Christmas, the Christ Child born in a manger, His spirit is alive and well in our home. From the Nativity in our Family room to the Jesse Tree ornaments on the kitchen counter to the Advent Wreath on our table, He is here! Christ among us.

We celebrate His birthday this Christmas. Sure, we still get the gifts, the food, and the Rice Pudding surprise, but hopefully this Christmas He'll get the Praise and the Joy and the Peace. At a "Happy Birthday Jesus Party" yesterday afternoon, C said the prayer before Lunch. His words nearly moved me to tears. He asked God to remind us that He is what this Christmas is all about, to remind us not to lose that part of Christmas this year.

Too often in the hustle and bustle of the days before Christmas, we lose that little baby in the manger...please God help "this family" keep that in our hearts first!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gifted Hands: Movie Recommendation #2

As promised, I want to give you the information on the second movie we watched last weekend as a family and not only thoroughly enjoyed, but were moved and inspired by the man behind the story.

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story is the true story of young man who overcame obstacles in his life to become to a world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at John Hopkins and went on to win a Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is a touching story of a mother's love for her children and desire to raise them to become intelligent, strong and contributing members of society.

Sonya's Carson's determination and gusto is inspiring. The fact that she was not well educated herself and supporting her children on her own while challenging them to read books and write essays about them brought tears to my eyes. She really was willing to do the best for her children and spur them on to things greater.

Dr. Carson's life story and his grace and faith throughout his life are inspiring. Knowing that he is a man of Faith and Medicine at the same time is such a great message for my children. It is nice to see that it's possible to be a person of great faith and moral character while also a person of science, intelligence and wisdom. God's wisdom and Man's Wisdom are not contradictory, but they are great in conjunction with each other.

Watching yet another movie about people overcoming obstacles to achieve great thing gave our children a glimpse into real life. A chance to see that hard work, determination, character, faith and love from family can make you into something great.

Ben Carson has a book out with the same title: Gifted Hands. I'm thinking this is going to be required reading for a certain boy and girl in our house this winter.

Finding movies that reinforce life skills I want my children to pick up and doing it in such a way that isn't preachy or sappy really works. I love that we can spend quality time watching a heartwarming movie together and still learn lessons. That's perfect family time.

Blessed To Be Busy

All Dressed Up for the Church's Christmas Pageant

in front of the Beautiful Christmas Tree on the Altar

It's been a fun but busy week around these parts, add the last week of school into the mix and it's been done right crazy busy.
We've had a Band Concert with C in which we got to listen to the Jazz Band for the first time. They played Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and rocked the house. Mr. Trombone is getting better every year and his cheeks puffed out just a little bit less every concert. They no longer look like they might burst! I'm so proud of what a great musician he's becoming.
Miss M had a Christmas Dance Recital in which she made her debut performance with her old studio. Let's just say it's nice to back to a studio where "dance" is the focus and I didn't get embarrassed watching anyone "shake" on stage. The music and costumes were adorable and, in our Politically Correct culture, it's nice to go to a Dance Recital at Christmas time and hear Christmas Music. Yeah!! M also sang her heart out at the Christmas Program at Church and is anxious for next year when she'll get a speaking role and really "act."
Miss A had two big performances this week. First was her performance at the Church's Children's Pageant and then yesterday came her Preschool Christmas Program. She looked so adorable in her little red velvet dress with white fur collar and, of course, she had to wear her "sparkly shoes" as it was a "fancy time." She's overcoming her shyness a little bit and we are getting to see a little of her everyday sparkle on stage. Of course, her favorite part of both performances was the "snacks" afterwards.

Yeah for mothers and grandmother's who make Christmas Cookies. This mother does not and she's grateful her kids get to nibble on Holiday Cookie Creations without making them herself.

C and A all ready for customers to the Red Kettle; M and Uncle C and Cousin N manning the 2nd Bell at the other door. C was the only brave enough to wear the Red Apron that Announced "I'm a Bell Ringer" . Nana and Papa even brought some huge Bells with them so the noise outside was loud!

Finally. last night was our annual Bell Ringing time for the Salvation Army. Every year we sign up the family for a three hour shift ringing bells outside our favorite Grocery Store. The kids bundle up and we take turns standing outside singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and sending people inside to eat in the Grocery Store's restaurant.
Last night, we had the "whole family" aunt and uncle, cousin N and Nana and Papa. It was crisp and windy, but in the upper 20's so, while we were far from toasty, we were able to keep our spirits up and spread a little Christmas Cheer with only red noses and frozen toes. On the way home, M said that "was fun and I feel like we really did something for someone else." That's really our goal. Teaching our kids that it's fun to "give."
Next on our list is making Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls to give to neighbors and friends. It makes enough pans that we'll have some stored up for the next few weeks, too! Kinda like giving and receiving all at once.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Driving Conditions Scare: Thanking God

M had four teeth pulled yesterday and two spacers put in her mouth so it was not a stellar day in her book.

Even the fact that she got to miss out on a day of school didn't make up for the fact she was fearful and in pain. She was a real trooper throughout, but I think she's glad it's finally over!

The roads yesterday weren't stellar either. We had some freezing rain, mixed with about 1/2 inch of fresh snow before school. C was disappointed that they didn't think to "call it off " and have yet another snow day. Driving to Preschool was a little dicey. M and A couldn't believe all the traffic and the slow moving cars going up the hills near our neighborhoods.

Being my father's daughter, I quickly decided that neighborhood streets were the best choice from the pharmacy to Preschool and if I could have made it all the way to the Dentist by neighborhood streets, I would have. However, slow and steady, we made it on time for our "Dental Dread" appointment.

M came thru the "surgery" well, and why she looked like a chipmunk with the gauze in between her lips and talked like one too, we were ready to get A from school and get back home.

About 1 mile from the Preschool, we had to drive down a street that is a four lane divided major thoroughfare. It is, however, surrounded by farmland and tends to get a little slick due to the wind whipping across the prairie grass. (Yes I do want to break into song about a OKLAHOMA, but that's not allowed in these parts, my husband despises OU. He's a UT man remember)

I was going about 25 miles an hour and the next car nearest me was quite a ways ahead. The car behind liked slow and steady too and keep her distance. We were traveling northbound in the curb lane.

Suddenly a car traveling Southbound and in the curb lane (going about 40 plus mph) lost control slid over the next lane, jumped the huge median in the middle and starting coming right at my mini van. Never before have I seen such look of terror in another's person face; the air bags deployed on that car, they came within 15/20 feet of my front end but...All Glory to God I was able to stop the car without hitting them and move over enough into the far lane to miss their rear end as they went up the embankment on my passenger side of the street.

I thanked Jesus right there that He'd spared M and my life. He did. Had I been going just a fraction of a kilometer faster at any time in my journey I would have been directly in the path of that Toyota 4 Runner. I know without a doubt I would have been killed, and most likely M, too. It was coming that fast, with so much gusto that we would not have been able to stop it's force.

Praying and Praising all the way to Preschool pickup, I told the Preschool teacher that I would gladly pay any late fee for being 15 minutes late for Miss A. While I had told them I would most likely be late and they were very willing to help out, I wasn't really grateful for the ability to be late until that exact moment that I didn't know if I'd be showing up at Preschool ever again.

Poor Miss M I think the look of terror on her face at the moment was worse than the Dentist could ever have been.

At dinner, we were thanking God for His protection and His provision that allowed us to see death, but not taste it. Never before have I felt so grateful for those "moments" when you can see clearly the hand of Jesus. Protecting us, keeping us calm and allowing us just one more "moment" this side of heaven.

Really I need nothing more this Christmas. I've just gotten the greatest gift.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Get Yourself to the Movie Theater Today: The Blind Side

We don't go to the movies all that often. We normally wait for them to be on DVD so we can watch them at home (my husband can sleep through the chick flicks without feeling too bad.) However, my parents convinced us to go the the Blind Side and take our 12 year old son along. They even threw in free babysitting for the younger sisters. Who could resist?

The Blind Side could be one of the best movies I've seen in years, maybe even decades. The crowd to watch the movie at 7 pm. on a Friday was huge, and throughout the movie, nobody left to get anything. They just sat and watched this wonderful story unfold.

What a wonderful story of one woman's courage to step out of her comfort zone and completely change one young man's life. I was clapping, laughing, and crying at the way Leigh Ann wrapped her life, family, and determination into the life of a boy from the "wrong side of town" and as a result changed Michael Oher's life forever.

I'd love to share more about the movie and the story of Michael Oher who went from a homeless, deserted young man to a NFL football player all because someone took the time to make a difference in his life, but I don't want to spoil the story for you.

If you have not gone to see this movie, do it today. Don't wait for the DVD and don't wait for it get to the cheap movie theater. It's well worth the price of admission. It's a football/Cinderella story that gives you a warm feeling in your heart. It gives you hope about race relations, people from desperate situations making it out alive, and finally, it might just stir a little something in you to want to invest some of your own time in the lives of others.

After the movie, we talked with C about grace and gratitude and stepping up and doing the right thing. Things he knows about already, but movies like this reinforce those type of values. They encourage your spirit.

Tomorrow, I'll share the story about the 2nd Movie we saw this weekend (a DVD no less) that our whole family loved and did even more to encourage our spirits.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Surviving the 3rd Snow Day In A Row

It's quiet in the house right now. The kids are out enjoying the snow; building forts in the deep piles of snow and making giant footprints all over the backyard. I used to love the look of snow, the vast white field of snow which almost looked like sparkling diamonds and crystals. I use to view snow as something that should be looked at, but please don't make tracks in my snow.

Then I had children.

Now, I realize that footprints, sled tracks, and snowmen mean that children live in my house. Those tiny treks through the snow are a sign that laughter, giggles, and lots of cups of hot chocolate exist in my home. Something that 13 years ago I could only pray for, cry for, and long for is now a reality in my home and in my heart. I am a mother.

Yesterday, when the school district called to say they were calling off school for a 3rd Day in a row and just weeks before Christmas, my heart sank at first. I had plans.

Now, when I look out over the footprints, snow forts and marks all over our fresh fallen snow, I think, this is why I wanted to be a mother. So, that on snow days we could stay in PJ's and watch Hallmark movies together, we could offer to help our neighbors with the big snow drift on their driveway, and I could use our dryer over and over again in a day with dirty clothes, wet gloves, hats and coats.

I'm realizing more and more that these days are precious. Moments to cherish. They are the kind of days we'll talk about years from now and I won't remember the wet laundry room floor. Instead, I'm remember the messy marshmallow faces and the cans of Redi Whip that flew out my house!

For that I am grateful.

However, I might cheer the fact that tomorrow is back to normal. Too much of a good thing isn't really a good thing is it?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day in Pictures

As we prepare for Day Two of the Blizzard of 09... here are some photos from our afternoon in the snow.

M and A on the new sled; making a path down our front yard. In their words the sled was "super fast and awesome."

C helped me shovel the snow, but wanted it all piled on one side of the driveway for fort making. Today the wind took care of making it's own "drifts."

Inside the snow fort, plenty of room for all. Look at those huge flakes.

M took an inside the fort picture so we could have a look at how perfectly formed and packed the snow was. I'm thinking C has a future in igloo building!

School is out again today, but with a windchill in the -20's I'm thinking this will be an "inside" day with movies and crafts to keep the natives entertained. Dad gets shoveling duty this morning, since I shoveled three times yesterday before 1:00 when he hubs called it a day and worked from home!

Guess we complained too much about the lack of snow earlier this fall/winter. I'm keeping my mouth shut from now until March about the weather and just taking what God gives us!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Predicting A Snow Day!!

The weatherman is predicting a snowstorm or a blizzard or maybe just a dusting. Who knows. It all depends on who you listen to and when. The Weather Channel, our local ABC, NBC or heaven forbid the local FOX station that looks like it hires high school students all seem to have a different opinion.

But if you are my children you are convinced that school will be cancelled tomorrow.

Here's what my three are doing to insure that school is out....

1. Wearing PJ's inside out
2. Flushing the toilets 3 times before bed
3. Doing all their homework
4. Renting movies from Family Video so we are ready
5. Throwing an ice cube on the back deck right before bed.

Mr. C recommended we twirl around 9 times and flush the toilets at the same time in every bathroom just to cover our bases.

Here's what their mother has done to prepare for a blizzard and three kids stuck inside for days

1. Stocked up on Marshmallows and Hot Cocoa
2. Braved the crowds at the grocery store to insure we had milk
3. Ready to pull out secret stash of Christmas Crafts including a Gingerbread House
4. Purchased yarn to make some more kitted kitchen dish rags and a few new scarfs
5. Have a big bottle of Margarita Mix to use for Margarita Chicken Skewers for dinner and maybe a tall glass of frozen margaritas too!
6. Plan to go to bed extra early and set the TV for 5 a.m. when they announce school closings.

Really hoping for a smart weatherman to go ahead and call off school tonight!

Now I realize that Christmas Break is just around the corner, but I'll admit there is nothing like a Snow Day when you are suppose to be doing something else like school, dance class, etc. Like C said today, who needs snow on the weekends!

UPDATE: School was cancelled at 7:45 pm tonight. Let the celebrations begin!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Funny Things I've Heard and Seen Lately

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, I wanted to remember a few of the funny moments that caused me to stop and pause....

1. A house in our neighborhood goes "hog wild" over holiday decorations. Literally, very holiday from Halloween to Easter to St. Patrick's Day their house is decorated. This is especially true at Christmas. Our family, in fact, calls this house the "Crazy About Christmas (CAc)" House. True to form, this year they have up hundreds of decorations including lights, blow ups, and hanging ornaments from trees. Lots of things on the roof, hanging from the fence posts. Do you get the picture.?

Across the street from this "Crazy About Christmas House" this year is a new display. A green tarp with these words in Bright Lights: DITTO with an arrow pointing at the CAC house. Priceless.

2. My husband and youngest daughter had lunch the other day at the Mall and then walked around a little getting Christmas Ideas. After walking by a Kiosk selling "Dead Sea Lotions" and being asked repeatedly if my husband would like to buy some for the lady in his life; Miss A looked at her dad and said, "what's his deal?"

3. At family advent devotions this week, the was talk about the Jesse Tree's ornament depicting lots of stars. The verse that matched it was about Abraham and God's promise about his descendants. Miss M was quick to remember the bible story, but the next day as we reviewed the previous days she went through her list of Bible Men trying to remember Abraham's name; Noah, Adam, Jonah, Moses...finally she gave up and so you know the one!

4. Nana is having her annual tea parties with the granddaughters and their friends in the coming weeks. Miss A's is a Christmas Tea over lunch on Monday and Miss M's is an after school Tea Party. Big brother C volunteered to come serve as host and pass out treats etc. Nana was quick to realize the motive was for the food. C smiled and said that's true. Last year, I got food and didn't have to work so forget the offer, I'll just take the food!

5. Decorating the Christmas Tree this year was rather comical. Let's just say after 16 years it's time to replace our artificial 9 foot tree. It's not what you would call level and in all reality the branches are starting to turn brown, just like a real dying tree. Didn't know that happened with artificial trees! Hubs maneuvered, fangled and worked hard to get the tree standing up right and level at the same time.

C suggested maybe we should just go out and get a new one right away, but being ever practical, my husband quickly said "no way, I just invested hours getting this one up and lit so it's staying for the season! We are keeping it and waiting for N After Christmas sale to get a new one."

6. Miss A has a tendency to think quicker than she speaks and will often have words mixed up. For instance, as we lay down for good night prayers, she will say "down I lay me" instead of of "now I lay me." Lately, I've also noticed the phrase "that's for good" when she means that something bad is really alright. Not such a bad way to look at it really.

Amazingly both are starting to eek out of my mouth, too.

This family...they really keep me laughing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Homemade Caramels: WFMW Christmas Gift Idea

*** Edited: Instructions revised. It's only 1 cup of Karo Syrup. The cream you add in two different times: 1 cup with the sugar and syrup-bring to boil and then the 2nd cup once it's reached a boil you add slowly to the boiling mixture.

Christmas Gift Giving can be a little overwhelming when you add in all the School Teachers, Coaches, Sunday School and Pioneer/Confirmation Teachers when you have with three kids.

Not wanting to leave people out or burden our gift giving budget with $5 here and $5 there for everyone, I've starting giving out Homemade Caramels in cute little gift bags along with a handwritten note of thanks/appreciation. Depending on the relationship with the teacher, I will throw in a gift card to a local Coffee House for Hot Chocolate or participate in the group gift. I just like the idea of recognizing these individuals myself and the influence they have on my kids.

While the process of making the caramel's is a little demanding, the skill involved is pretty basic.

All you need is a big pot, a candy thermometer, and lots of waxed paper for wrapping. Oh and about 2 hours of time. I bring a book and kitchen stool right up to the stove and declare it "me time."

I must give credit to my sister in law for the recipe and idea...thanks! I've been giving these to my son's team of teachers in both 5th and 6th grade and a few cried at the end of the year when he moved to 7th grade team. He thought it was because they would miss him, but I knew that they were sad to lose the caramel's at Christmas!!

Homemade Caramels Recipe
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Warm Cream (I heat it up a little in microwave-not boiling)
1 cup Karo Syrup (light or dark depending on preference)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Margarine
1 tsp Vanilla

you can add up to 1/2 cup of nuts (I don't)
waxed paper for wrapping ( no perfect way to cut into squares; I've heard you can buy pre-cut at Michael's Craft store, but we just cut away pieces to fit the caramels)
buttered 9 x 13 pan for spreading out the Caramels

In Large Pot combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup of the cream, 1 cup syrup and salt in pan. cook on medium until boiling-stirring constantly.

Pour in the other 1 cup of cream slowly to boiling mixture- just enough at a time to keep the boil going

Cook 5 minutes longer then stir in margarine 1 tsp at a time stirring and letting it melt completely between additions

Turn heat to low and stir occasionally until the temp is 235 degrees for soft or 245 degrees for harder Caramel.

Remove from heat and add in vanilla

Pour into a buttered 9 by 13 pan- Let stand 10 minutes before they cool completely you should cut them into pieces- I use kitchen scissors or very sharp knife.

Cool to Room Temperature before placing in a waxed paper wraps. You can easily double the recipe if you desire and I've even been known to run two pots of double recipe at the same time.

**** edited: For Teacher Gifts I put together about 15 caramels wrapped individually and place in a Christmas Treat Bag and attached a card. This year I found cute little Red Buckets in the Target Dollar Aisle and plan to put them in there with some tissue.
With 6 team teachers in Junior High and then a 4th Grade Teacher and two Preschool teachers plus Sunday School etc...One Double Batch with make enough, but no extras so I usually make two double batches and have plenty for all.

Making Caramels for Christmas Gifts works for me and my family. For more WFMW posts about Christmas Gift Ideas be sure to check out We Are THAT Family

Merry Christmas and Happy Caramels!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Traditons. Celebrating Once Again As We Did Before. Perfect.

We are creatures of habit and I think I really love it.

Thanksgiving has generally been the same around the "Faithful House" for the past 10 years. The in-laws come from Chicago on Wednesday, we pack up the sweet potato and green bean casseroles along with a plate of Norwegian Christmas Cookies, and head 10 minutes to my parents for Thanksgiving Lunch with the family.

Following lunch, we watch the traditional cousin "Play" written and directed this year by Miss M and performed by all the kids. It's comical, heartwarming, and fun to see them all "act" and ham it up for the parents and grands. Miss A announced earlier this fall that she was beyond being "Plymouth Rock", a part with no lines or movement. Instead, she did a great job "reading" her part with her favorite big cousin helping out!

It's wonderful! It is full of laughter. Our celebration is a big enough gathering to feel like a holiday, but no stress of the weird relatives from Cleveland. Not that we have relatives from Ohio. In fact, my entire immediate family counts up to 12 these days and we all live within a mile of each other. Thankfully, my husband's family adds another 6! Do you sense the crowd!

We joke that we hold a family reunion every weekend we are together in the summer at the Lake House. That's how small we are.

We have a great relaxing day watching football and working on the Christmas puzzle. I get to knit away without distraction. Perfect!

Friday, we learned to make Norwegian Krumkake Cookies with Bestemor's Krumkake Iron and, while they were not perfect, we did it and now can keep this tradition alive. They also tested quite good!

That evening, it was off to the Train Museum for the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and visit with Santa. C joked that he was going to ask Santa to make him taller and faster! Guess when you are 12, what else do you need. There were cookies with lots of frosting, fake snow falling everywhere, and a beautiful tree. It was perfect!

Saturday, we enjoyed a yummy lunch out at Texas Roadhouse and a visit to a quaint Scandinavian Gift Store not to far away. The girls brought along their American Girl Dolls in the Norwegian Bunard Outfits that Bestemor had made for them and the shop owner was quite impressed with them.

We didn't venture too far off course this Thanksgiving. It was pretty much a repeat of Thanksgiving's past. You know what though, it was perfect. We had much to thankful for and we were able to celebrate around the table with all those who mean so much to us.

That in itself is reason to celebrate and give thanks!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Love this song. Love the message behind the words.

Thank You God for another wonderful year, for a wonderful family, good health, daily provision, love, grace and blessings upon blessings. I am grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rushing Thanksgiving and Missing the Blessings

Why is that we are in such a hurry? I'm just as guilty as the next person, but it seems like we are in such a rush to get through something, finish tasks, and get to the next "thing" that we are missing the little joys of life.

For instance, Christmas lights and trees are up and shinning all over town. I get that in the Midwest sometimes you need to put up the outside lights before mid-November for fear of snow and cold, but do you need to turn them on before Thanksgiving?

It's like Thanksgiving is the ugly stepsister. Forgotten. Pushed Aside.

Have we become a Nation so consumed by the commercialization of Christmas that we are willing to pillage Thanksgiving in the process and view it only as a day off to gear up for the really big day of shopping on Friday.

Isn't Thanksgiving suppose to be a day we set aside to give thanks to our God for the blessings he has bestowed upon us as a people, a country, and a family?

I love the excitement of Christmas, but I like it to start after first taking time for gratitude and thanksgiving. I'm sometimes embarrassed to think that our country can no longer take the time to really focus on the meaning Thanksgiving itself. It is the only non-commercial gift giving holiday left. It is the only one really set aside for us to give back to God and thank Him for His abundance.

Maybe that's the problem. There is not a gimmick with Thanksgiving. There is not a man in a Red Suit or No Candy to give away. There are not any presents to buy. It takes from us rather than gives to us. It takes us setting aside time to list off our thanks.

It makes me sad to think that Thanksgiving plays second fiddle to shopping and bargains. I am sad that stores will be "Open All Day on Thanksgiving" to catch those ready to get a jump start on the "Holiday Season".

Guess I'm a little Old Fashioned. I like my Thanksgiving to come first with Advent and Christmas coming later. It seems to me that Thanksgiving Turkey with a side of Black Friday Pie is a little unappetizing. Now College Football is something that I really enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stop Changing the Parenting Handbook: I Can't Keep Up

After 10 plus years of service I'm retiring my Ear Thermometer today in exchange for the new Temporal Artery Thermometer that our pediatrician recommended yesterday. You just swipe it over their heads and, instantaneously, you have the most accurate temp.

M had been sick the past three days with a sore throat and low grade temp. She was isolated from the family and spent countless hours in her room watching the new Nancy Drew movie over and over again. Even though she had other shows to watch, she loves to re-watch her favorites. When she was really sick at two and half, we watched the new Freaky Friday movie no less than 17 times! I can do the lines. Trust Me!

Back to reality.

We went to visit the doctor to rule out the dreaded H1N1 and found out she had a virus. The big news was that I've been taking the temperature of ear wax instead of body temp for years. I guess the ear thermometer is inaccurate and not consistent. That is why one ear is not the same temp as the other; it has more ear wax.

Sad thing is that I know this same doctor's office 10 plus years ago took the temp of my tiny babies by ear and recommended I do the same. Now the rules have changed. I don't remember getting an updated version of my "Parenting Handbook." Did you?

When C was born almost 13 years ago, babies slept on their sides. We even had the fancy Baby Propping Pillow to keep him on his side. By the time A came along seven years later, it was back sleeping and tummy time during the day.

This parenting business changes too fast. I can't keep up. Not only do I have to worry about electronic overload, fruits and veggies, and washing behind the ears; but now I have to wonder if the other tricks up my parenting sleeves are out of date in addition to the Ear Thermometer.

You won't however ever convince me that watching Disney Movies and sipping on 7Up when you are sick are out of date. While I prefer the original version of the classic movies, I do let the "new fangeled " version of the show in too. Guess that makes me modern and up to date!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dear Borders Bookstore A Word of Friendly Advice

Dear Borders Corporate Office:

My youngest adores Fancy Nancy. She thinks Fancy Nancy Books are Stupendous (that's a fancy word for great). When I got the email from Borders Bookstore saying there was to be Fancy Nancy Special Event, I knew this would be a "must do" for our Saturday morning. The boys were off at a Boy Scout event so we planned to make this the "fun" for the day.

We invited a few friends to come along. We got on our "Fanciest Outfit" with necklaces, bracelets, and even a little glitter on our face. Miss A was all ready for a fancy time. I'd bribed the older girls that they could hang out in the Cafe and enjoy Hot Chocolate during the event and then we'd all go home for a play date.

We arrived 20 minutes early to just browse and I was shocked at the number of cars in the parking lot. I assumed that maybe people were getting a jump start on Christmas Shopping.

Arriving back in the "Kids Area," there were already lots of little girls in tiaras, boas, and bows. Pink and purple dresses and lots of glitter. Miss A and her friend Abbey would fit right in with the crowd.

I grabbed a few seats for the girls and then waited. More and more girls arrived. There was no one from the Borders Staff in the Kids' Area to greet us or inform us of the plan. No table of Fancy Nancy Books. Not even the brand new Christmas Book: Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas.

In fact, the two big girls M and her friend went in search of copies for us to buy. Not an easy task.

Finally at 11:05, when the crowd had grown to nearly 75 girls (need I say restless) and half as many parents, the two Borders Employees came forward. No supplies, no microphone and what appeared to be a shabbily put together plan.

A lovely women with the speaking voice of a quiet mouse attempted to read the Original Fancy Nancy Book to the girls. She then offered that there would be a door prize, a coloring page, and a craft. Oh yes, she had a box of 25 to 30 crayons and about the same number of coloring pages to pass out.

For the next 20 minutes, it was unorganized chaos. Not enough supplies, nowhere to color, no space to move, and no one who stepped up in charge.

In many ways, it was heartbreaking how the hour progressed. Little girls with fancy clothes and eyes filled with excitement who were just waiting there for the action to begin, for pages to color, and for the craft to start.

Parents, who were obviously disenchanted, continued to carry on very loud conversations with each other. Kids running amuck between book shelves.

My girl scout training almost got the best of me and I so wanted to step up clap my hands and get the girls to listen quietly, read them another story, and maybe introduce the "new" Fancy Nancy Book to this waiting, eager audience.

But I held back.

When the "Froot Loop Bracelet" craft began I quickly informed the girls that they could make one, but under no circumstance could they eat even one little bite. When a child threw up all over the floor nearby, I was glad that we were almost "outta there" and was followed by lots of Purell.

However, there was still the "Free Fancy Nancy" gift every girl was to get on the way out. When the Borders Employee causally mentioned she'd catch us (all 100 plus) on the way out, I decided to start the line. Yep, I grabbed the girls, walked towards the door, stopped a few feet from the door, and informed all behind me this was the line.

Miss A and her friend got "Fancy Nancy" Binoculars and then we headed off to the Cafe' for their promised Hot Coco while I ripped off their bracelets and washed their hands yet again.

While we did leave with the new Fancy Nancy Book and another Fancy Nancy I Can Read Book, it was only because I had promised first.
Borders lost some of my respect today. They did not take into consideration the hearts and minds of Fancy Nancy Lovers. They didn't treat their littlest customers with respect.

Today's Fancy Nancy Event was not planned well. They should have had tables waiting with colors and paper, a microphone for story time, reservations so as to limit the numbers, and for marketing purposes, stacks and stacks of Fancy Nancy Books ready for purchase.

So Borders Marketing Department, if you'd like some help planning your next "Fancy Story Time" Event, give me a call. I've got some ideas that would help you and the customer out and make you more money and create some excitement so that your youngest customers and their moms will want to come back time and again.


A book loving momma !

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Told You We Were City People

FYI this is not the goat from the Zoo. I didn't get a good picture of it. But the message is the same; just a more attractive setting for Mr. Goat.

Miss A and I went to the Zoo on Thursday with some friends. It was a crisp Fall morning and perfect for a walk around our fabulous Zoo. We had a great time and felt like we almost had the place to ourselves.
Gotta love Zoo Passes! You can go for a few hours and not feel guilty about not seeing the whole zoo. We focused on what the kids really wanted to see. We got to see a really cute baby Gorilla wearing diapers and rocking with a grandma wearing gorilla fur. I even allowed A to go to the Petting Zoo.

I hate petting zoos. The smell is too much for me. Considering the fact that we are currently avoiding areas like the Children's Museum and Indoor Play zones for fear of catching H1N1, it's amazing I'd let her be exposed to hand, foot, and hoof disease and all those lovely animal bearing illnesses. So cheers to me or maybe I'm just easily influenced by friends and their adorable little boys who wanted to pet the goats.

I will say however that it was in that little petting zoo that I realized once again that we are city folks.

Miss A was a little shy touching the goats unlike her friend who was letting the goats kiss his cheek. It was too cute.

She would wander up to a goat and smile and walk away until she saw three little goats sitting in a feeding trough (don't think I'm not wanting to share a nursery rhyme right now involving a troll) filled with hay. The little goats were in the hay staying warm and just hanging out. Miss A walked up to one and said in all sincerity, "Look this one has a price tag".

Yep, that's right! She thought the goat's tag was price tag. I'm not sure if this is a signal that she shops too much or that we are raising children who need to get themselves to a farm right away.

My friend and I were cracking up! A price tag! Poor Miss A was somewhat embarrassed and began to cry a little. Not my proudest mom moment. I just couldn't help it. It was just too funny. When I told my husband about it later, he laughed just as hard which regrettably started some tears again.

I redeemed our petting zoo moment however when we saw the Zebu in the pen nearby. A real live Zebu with a hump and all. You see we could have used that Zebu last week when it was letter Z week at school and we could come up with zilch for show and tell. What a great picture I could have gotten of Miss A and real live Zebu. Maybe in kindergarten!!

City Folks. Yep that's us!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

With Grateful Hearts: Veterans Day

In Honor of Veterans Day and the Brave Men and Women Who Serve our Country…

The United States Flag: What the Folds Mean

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on mother's day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the characters of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God we Trust."

Last year this poem was read at my children's Public School for a Veterans Day Ceremony in which my Girl Scout Troop participated in a Flag Ceremony and Flag Folding. The Principal read this poem out loud for the entire school, staff and teachers.

Thank You for your service. Thank you to your families for their sacrifice. God Bless You and God Bless America.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Are City People

We are raising city kids. When I say that, I mean my kids do not have any knowledge of country life, living on the land, or what it means to have real chores early in the morning.

I realize that my husband and I are city kids, too. My husband has often said if you looked up "city boy" in the dictonary, there would be his picture staring back at you. He grew up on the East Coast and Houston so his big city roots are deeper than mine. However, I grew up in a midwestern city that is surrounded by small towns, corn fields, cows, and all rural life that you can imagine. You would think that would qualify me to be a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll!

I should know something about country life. I should be able to gaze upon a field in the midst of harvest and know the crop that is planted there. To be honest if it's not corn I have no idea. Soybeans, wheat, alfala they all look the same to me. Cows they all look alike too. Yes I know some are black, brown and spotted but I don't know what is a hefer, agnus or milk cow.

In college, I had dreams of marrying some big rancher, living in the western part of my state where cows outnumber people, and becoming a famous author. I romanticized how much fun it would be to have a big farmhouse miles from neighbors and raise a huge amount of children. We'd drive to the "big city" for necessities once a month and then stock up for the long winters.

Reality is that I married a Texan who owns a pair of Justin Boots, but never wears them except for "dress up " and works in an office building driving results around instead of cattle.

While I wouldn't trade my life and family for anything, I occaisonally wonder if I'm missing something. Shouldn't I have some knowledge of farm and ranch life? Maybe it's time our family took a little tour of a farm, took a trip to a dude ranch, or took off for a jaunt through the woods on horseback instead of leather seats in a minivan so we could see a different lifestyle upclose and personal. OK, maybe the dude ranch is a stretch, but you know what I am saying. I wouldn't have to get the "spa" package!

Never has the knowledge that I am raising "city kids" been more obvious to me than this past Saturday when we went to see the Nebraska Cornhuskers Football game (should I say NU crush OU) . Before the game, we let the big kids hang out at Husker Nation tossing footballs, practicing their kick offs and just enjoying the "big game experience" before the actual game. It was there on that little field that I saw my son, C, try to rope a calf.

Hello City Life! He was so out of his element. The younger rancher-college student tried his best to show C how to hold the rope, how to use his wrist and arm to gather the rope, and swing it around. It was like showing an eskimo how to water ski.

Let's just say that it's a good thing C is planning a career in the areospace/engineering industry and doesn't have big dreams of owning a ranch ....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Great Family Movie: A Plumm Summer

We had a family movie night last night and saw a great flick that your whole family will enjoy. It was our 16th Wedding Anniversary and we decided to celebrate "family style" with a homecooked meal Chicken Meatballs ala Smitten Kitchen (Yummo!) with Sparkling Apple Cider for the kids and Berringer Wine for the Adults ( in rememberance of our honeymoon trip to San Fran and Napa Valley).

Our movie pick was Plumm Summer a movie that got horrible reviews from the critics, but got rave reviews from our family. Set in Montana in the 1960's, this movie reminded me of a classic Disney tale from childhood. A story about a children's television icon that is kidnapped and how some young dectectives try to solve the mystery. It's a thrilling who-dunn-it family friendly flick.

The movie had a great story of redemption, forgiveness, friendship, and family triumph. There are some tough scenes to watch that dealt with alcoholism and the damage it causes to a family, but the underlying message of courage, hope and forgiveness make this a great topic of discussion later.

All three kids loved it and it was movie that my husband and I enjoyed watching as well. There were closed eyes for scarry parts, cheers and claps for great moments, and oohs and aahs over the "romance." Just what the doctor ordered for a family movie night.

Classic lines from our movie watching party:

Miss A: " She was involved from the beggining mom, I knew it"

Miss A: "That was a great movie, even if we didn't have popcorn."

Miss M: "I just love movies like that, don't you."

Mr. C: "Why don't they make movies like this anymore?"

There is just something about snuggling up as a family and watching a movie together!

FYI: Family Video Stores are running a special until November 24th : $1.00 for all New Releases for 5 Days!! (No they aren't paying me to say that, but they could if they wanted too)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I've Seen The Future of Government Run Health Care and It's Not Pretty

Today, I saw first hand the future of a government run health care system. It scares me to death. While I tend to keep my political views quiet on this blog, I cannot remain silent on this important issue facing our country.

I caught a glimpse into what it might mean to me and my family if the government runs our health care system. I saw what it might mean if the government decides who gets care, how that care is dispensed and delivered, and when and where it is available.
You see, I want my youngest to get the H1N1 "Swine Flu" vaccine. My oldest has already had the swine flu back in July and while the rest of us escaped it then, I'm concerned that if Miss A got the swine flu she might have a hard time fighting it off. She has a tendency to get really sick when she's sick as in two cases of pneumonia and a case of mono in the past three years. This fall she's already had a case of croup which our doctor treated aggressively due to her tendency to get pneumonia.
My Pediatrician's office does not have the swine flu mist or shot. My own family practice doctor doesn't either. They both recommended the free Flu Shot Clinic today at a mid-town church today. It's suppose to be for high risk patient such as kids, pregnant women, and those with underlying health issues.
After a quick checkup with the Ear Doctor and a visit to the Library, A and I were off to get the shot. I should have guessed how silly my dreams of us just walking up and getting the shot were when the Ear Specialists laughed at me and said I should call my pediatrician back and ask again for the shot at his office. His nurse added, "I think there were 4000 people lined up before the doors opened."
Yes, that's right, 4000 people lined up an hour before the clinic opened to get 5000 vaccines during an 11 hour clinic.
A and I drove by at 10:30 this morning and there were at least 2500 people standing outside wrapping around the entire church building. There were police and squad cars everywhere. People in line had chairs, books, strollers and were bundled up against the 45 degree weather.
At the rate of 500 shots an hour, we'd be there 8 hours if there were 4000 people waiting. I later learned that by 12:30, only 1400 people had been vaccinated. The line was still from here to eternity.
Here's my thoughts on this:
1. Is this really the most efficient way to get the vaccine out to small children and at-risk adults by having them stand outside in the elements for hours on end?
2. Why didn't they distribute these shots to the Doctors and let them run clinics in their offices and have people sign up in advance for time slots. That's how we do it with the seasonal flu shot.
3. Don't the people in line have something better to do with their time than wait hours on end? What about jobs, other kids, responsibilities?
4. If the government knew about the Swine Flu last spring and was deeply concerned about the effects, why did they make so little vaccine?
5. Is this what the new "Health Care System by the Government" is going to look. Waiting in endless lines, unknown quantities of the medicine available, and the public health worker doing the job of doctors and nurses?
6. Is our society really reduced to standing in line for hours on end because it is either the only source available for the shot or because it is free? Isn't there a more productive use of our time than this?
7. Why were there so many able bodied adults in that line today? If the shot was primarily for children, why do news reports show that nearly 2/3 rds of those in line had no children with them. If they were really at risk adults with underlining health issues, should they be standing around for hours? Don't they have doctors that could have already provided them with the shot? Can't we as a society come up with a better way to help these individuals then making them wait?
My husband said welcome to the "future of health care." The line was long today because the government has scared us about the effects of the Swine Flu and then double sworded us with not having the right amount of vaccine to combat it. We've ingrained into the less fortunate that their time is not worth anything. They can wait in lines for unemployment benefits, thanksgiving baskets of food, Salvation Army Christmas gifts so what is one more line. Let's show them some respect. Their time is valuable, too If our government doesn't realize that for these folks then how can they be expected to think anyone's time is worth anything.
I would have gladly paid for the vaccine. I would have gone to a Flu Shot clinic at my doctor's office and wait my turn for an appointment. However, I will not stand in an endless line, outside in the cold, with a huge crowd waiting. I honestly think Miss A would have had a greater chance of catching something standing around waiting in that line than she does anywhere else.
I realize that I'm blessed to have a husband who has a good job that provides health care coverage for our family. Health Care that we've have fully used in the past few years far more than we've paid into the system. But we've also done the responsible thing and chosen to take that Health Care Plan. We pay out of pocket the difference between the company contribution and the cost and it's not cheap!
Until today, I've sat on the sidelines and had not thought that how the Public (Government Run) Option would really effect me that much. I thought I was sheltered by the great health insurance we currently have. However, today, I saw that it does effect me. If this is the future of health care in America then I'm worried. What will this government system do to the health insurance industry? What will it do to the Doctors and Nurses who have spent countless hours studying and practicing medicine.?
My husband wrote a note today to our U.S. Senator telling him to please watch the local coverage on this Free Shot Clinic and the chaos that ensued.
They say that the reason State Run Health Care works in countries like the UK and Canada is that their wealthy can afford to come to the United States for care when they need it rather than wait around for government approval or access.
I have seen the future and I am scared. Consider this a friendly warning to wake up. Where do we think we can go when the system doesn't work for us? If we are the last line of defense for other "government healthy countries" we'll be stuck with no other option.
There has to be a better way!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WFMW:Holiday Themed/ 12 Days of Christmas Blessings

I'm so excited for the upcoming Christmas season. While I'm not one for much decorating or Christmas baking, I do love having Christmas traditions that we do year in and year out. Many of these traditions I will write about as they come up. Whether it is the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Train Station in town or the delivery of gifts with Angel Tree, each event and activity we participate over the Christmas season we enjoy doing as a family as a way of giving a little back.

We know that our greatest gift came 2000 years ago at Christmas and we want to give some of that great gift away.

One of our families favorite will always be the 12 Days of Christmas Surprises that we've done over the past several years. I wrote all about this fun tradition last year (click on link above to read in more details) explaining how we drop presents in secret on the doorsteps of deserving families for the 12 days leading up to Christmas Eve. The gifts follow with the song the 12 Days of Christmas and try to incorporate some of the "hidden religious meanings" behind the Partridge, the Lords a Leaping, etc.

Most of all, we use these 12 days a way to bring joy to family who has experienced grief, loss of job, military deployment, accident or hardship in the previous year and could use a little extra dose of joy this year. Maybe you have a neighbor or friend from church who could use a little Christmas Joy this year and this is a wonderful witnessing tool for those families. Maybe you could get your small group, scout troop or neighbors to work together to come up with the gifts and deliver them in secret. The excitement and joy your family will get back in return is just an added bonus!

For the past several years, my Mom's Bible Study Group has adopted several families from our school community and delivered the 12 gifts. Let me tell you some of these ladies are really creative and have come up with some fantastic ideas for Ladies Dancing, French Hens and the ever present 12 Drummers Drummers. I tend to take the final day and bring a box of Ice Cream Drumsticks in a "drum box".

We leave a small note with each gift saying explaining the symbolism, wishing them a merry day and sign it from a group of "Caring Friends." Each note is printed to look similar so as not to give away the secret. This year, we are thrilled to have found printed Dayspring Cards with a 12 Days theme on the outside. I'll just calligraphy the inside with the message and "Day" and give to the gift giver.

On the final day, we will sometimes give our names away, but other times we keep it all a secret, enjoying the fact that they have no idea who we are.

Participating in the 12 Days of Christmas Surprises Works for My Family; for more WFMW Holiday Ideas check out We Are That Family.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Introducing Moses, Nurse M and Princess Belle

We had a great night of "Treating"
Let's just say the season of endless candy has begun!
It's going to be beautiful here today, so we are off for a family walk.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Celebrating Halloween or Participating in the Party: How Our Family Does It

My children are going out tonight and walking the neighborhood wearing costumes and begging for candy. Trick or Treating is what we call it!

Yesterday, we had a Halloween Party at our local elementary school and I was the Party Coordinator for my daughter's 4th Grade classroom.

Last night, my son went to a Hallows Eve Lock In with the Youth Group at church. They trick or treated early in the neighborhood for Diapers and Canned Goods for the local shelter.

M went to a sleepover at her dance studio, with no scary costumes allowed. They played games and watched movies. There was nothing scarier than "Freaky Friday".

We have pumpkins on our front porch and candy waiting to be given out to the neighbors.

Yes, we are Christians, but we participate in Halloween. I'm not sure "celebrate" is a good word for what we do with this holiday because we don't really celebrate the day, we just take part in some of the "good traditions and fun."

My kids have never worn ghosts or goblins costumes. They've never been allowed to wear costumes with blood or gore. In fact, for the most part, we've used Halloween to dress up as something we'd like to be when we grow up or dress up like little princesses and just have some fun!

C, our son, has gone as Train Conductor, Air Force Pilot, Buzz Lightyear, Astronaut, War Hero, and the like. This year, he is Moses including the grey beard and stone tablet. As a 7th Grader, he's dressing up just for the costume party at church and for taking his littlest sister out trick or treating tonight. He's not in it for the candy people. Whoever believes that one, please stand up. Good to see that everyone is still sitting.

M has gone as a Duck, Piglet, Clown, Amelia Earhart, Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz with a matching outfit for Kit the American Girl Doll, and an Angel. This year she's going as a nurse which is her dream profession.

A has been a Puppy Dog, (No clown outfit for her as she's afraid of clowns) Elmo, and Eeyore. This year she's dressing up as her favorite princess: Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

We don't spend a fortune on costumes. We don't have any "Halloween decorations" as we just decorate for fall . Tomorrow, a Door Hanger will go up on my front door about Thanksgiving.

I allow my kids to participate in the school Halloween Party because I take part in the planning. I use my influence to make sure there are no "scary games" just good fun. Yesterday, the hit of the party was a game involving a hanging donut on a broom, a blindfold and kids trying to eat without sight/hands the swinging donut. C and I spent Friday morning stringing a 100 donuts on orange string!

As a Christian, I choose not to allow my kids to watch horror movies or expose them to the "Evil" side of Halloween. We talk about how it's a bunch of make believe. There are no witches or goblins.

When C was little we used to recite the line from Veggie Tales: "Are You Worried, No Not Really, Are You Scared, Not a Bit. I know Whatever Happens, God Can Handle It" when we would see scary creatures on the sidewalk on Halloween. With all the kids, we've talked about the real power coming not from Witches and Little Red Devils, but from God. We've talked about how there is nothing to be afraid of, because God is in control. Now that little Veggie Tale phrase is a family mantra.

For our family right now this works. Participating in Halloween without letting it become too big of an event in our lives. I realized doing this post that I don't even have a picture of the last two Halloweens in my scrapbook/one by choice and one from lost pictures. But, maybe that sends a silent message to my family, too. It's not that big of a thing! While I think M is adorable in her nurse's outfit and C cracks me up with his grey beard and bathrobe and A's little silver sparkly shoes make me smile, it's just a moment in time that they are pretending and dreaming.

My strongest desire for my children, besides them accepting Christ as their Savior, is that they can learn "to be in the world but not of the world." For our family, that's our approach for Halloween, too. We want to participate in the good clean aspects of Halloween and avoid the evil and scary things.