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Entries from December 2011

Saturday 9: Sam's Last Stand, 2011


Link up here if you're playing along this last week of the year! (And yes, I know I'm wicked early. I'm taking a break from doing nothing much to do this. Thrilling life I lead.)

1. Over all, how do you feel about what happened in your life in 2011?

Overall, it was a pretty cool year, and I'm good with what went down. It's only this last few weeks that have sucked bullocks.

2. Do you do New Year's resolutions? If so, what are they this year?

I have in the past, but I haven't really thought about it this year. I typically don't until the actual New Year starts, I think. I do want to start Couch-to-2K (again) and become more active, and I do want to be a better housekeeper in 2012. Should the world end, I want my toilets clean for the rapture, and all

3. In the past 24 hours, I have reconnected with 3 old friends that I've not spoken to in years. If you could reconnect with someone from your past who would it be, and why?

I recently have reconnected with a friend who I thought was out of my life since November of last year: Stephanie. I re-friended her on Facebook, and we've done a little chatting. I feel good about it. It feels right.

4. Do you have anything that you would have not done or done differently in 2011 as you look back?

Yeah, but I don't want to say what. Suffice it to say, I did apologize to the offended party.

5. Going back to my ex-friends that I reconnected with, one of them ended over a boyfriend. She called to apologize. Do you have someone that you fell out with you and wonder how they are?

Uh, say what? Anyway, yes, I do, but again, I don't want to talk about it. I do wonder if the person is happy and living a good life.

6. If you had a chance to reconnect with an ex (say for coffee), who would it be, and why?

Lloydell. We had a good relationship, for the most part, and we made each other laugh. It would be good to catch up with him over some cappuccino or something. 

7. One of resolutions [sic] is about weight-loss. Have you ever struggled with your diet?

No, never. I just ate myself into the Veruca Salt blueberry and then had a surgeon pop me.

8. What do you think was the top news story of 2011?

Ashton and Demi's split. Was there anything more compelling? Or earth-shattering? I think not.

9. What are your plans for New Year's Eve?

Same as they are every year: try to keep the kids up 'til midnight, maybe have a few snackies in the last hour, and go outside and bang pots and pans after smooching my husband at the appointed hour. It's our so-called life.

Happy new year!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're playing along today.

I really only have one fragment this week: I'm still sick. It's going on three full weeks of this illness, of which I'm sure you don't want the gory details (think, intestinal blah), and I am weak and useless. I've shed many tears and am feeling quite weary, both physically and mentally. As such, it takes everything I've got just to get through the days, and I haven't been doing a whole bunch with the family. I got a brief reprieve (thank you, God) on Christmas and had a pretty decent day, but otherwise, sickkkkk.

On that note, and really, that's all there is for me, I wish you all the very best that 2012 can bring.


Aloha Friday


I'm not really well and feeling up to it, but I couldn't miss the last Aloha of 2011, so my question for you this week is:

When it comes to yourself, and you need to go to the doctor, are you good about going right away or do you drag your feet and wait until it's really necessary?

As for me, I'm more the latter type. I'm the first one there when it comes to the kids, but as for me, I'd rather do just about anything else than go to the doctor. 'Fraid I've been four times - and counting - with this illness, though, persistent as it is.

Link up here if you've got questions for Kailani and crew today, too.

Have a happy, and healthy, 2012.


Christmas Day 2011

Once everyone was up, and we parents declared it 'time,' the kids bolted right for the stack of presents in the office. 'Scuse the clutter behind them in the pics; it's an ongoing project (or twelve) in here at all times. Right, so let's, shall we?


We started with the presents from Aunt Stacey (my sister); the girls got a couple outfits for their Barbies. I don't mind the Barbies at all, because these once oft-feuding sisters have really bonded over their play with her (them). So bring it on!


Jack's first present was a box of Ninja Legos, and he was overjoyed. The kid is a Lego fanatic.


Another Lego set for Jack - Stacey really scored points with the boy-child this year!


Actually, Stace scored all the way around - Chloë has already dug into this American Girl Fashion Studio, which caused lots of squealing upon being opened!


Sophia was given a Ballerina Barbie, and she declared, "I always wanted one of those!"


This was a last-minute snag I got off Amazon when it was price-dropped way low, and I didn't pay anything because I had Amazon money from Swagbucks to pay for it. It's a game we'll use in homeschooling (which significantly upped the "oh" factor when I told them that), because I get to make up the questions and then they buzz in. The reviews were pretty good, so I jumped on it.


Both grandpas gave the kids cards this year, and they requested Rob's dad and stepmom's card next.


Jack's reaction to getting his "own credit card" from Grandpa was hilarious, and he's been plotting and planning how to use it ever since.


Well, and so have the girls. They're all pretty excited about the concept.


Similar excitement ensued when they found gift cards to Books-A-Million from my dad's cards, especially from the bookworm in the family, Chloë.


I had gotten this Japanese-inspired outfit when we were in Charleston over the summer, before Chloë had even gotten her American Girl doll. I saw it and, given my love for all things Asian, knew I had to snag it for the doll we were already planning for her birthday.


Skipping ahead just for a second, here's Faith decked out in the outfit. Lovely, isn't she?


At the same store in the open-air market of Charleston, I spotted this tea set for Sophia. She peeked and saw me buying it, and she's been reminding me about it ever since! And I still almost forgot about it! Ha. She was thrilled when she opened it, and we've all had our share of "tea and cookies" this afternoon, including Daddy. It inspired us to plan a real-life tea party one of these days, which I can't wait to do.


I grabbed this Nerf gun for Jack online a long time ago, probably at the end of summer, when I saw a killer deal over it. Jack's still playing with it, hours later. He loves it and wants to use his gift card (this moment, anyway) to buy more 'bullets' for it. The four cats have been providing him endless target practice, which both scares and amuses me. I'd make him stop, but for the most part, they seem nonplussed by the experience. Good ol' Nerf!


Not long after we finished opening gifts, Chloë insisted on taking a shower with her new Jafra "BTWIN" shower gel and body lotion. She smells pretty good, I must say!  I could eat her up.


My metrosexual son was funny and just as quickly followed suit, bathing himself in his Jafra "Skid Rock" shower gel for boys, and spraying himself with so much of the cologne that the girls had to step outside for a few moments to get some fresh air!! I nearly joined them. *cough, cough*


Sophia was equally thrilled to get her Jafra goodies, a bag filled with perfume and sparkly lotion and lip gloss. She's probably used half the tube of gloss already and covered me in pink kisses. Silly cutie.


This was another last-minute snag, when the price dropped way down on Disney's website, and I knew Jack would love it. I was right. The only disappointment was there was no tree to hang it on, so he's looking forward to doing so next year.


We are big Webkinz collectors here, and this was Box One which contained a Mud Hippo for Curls, an Okapi for Soap, and a Yeti for Jacky-boy.


Out of Box Two, Jack chose the Prairie Dog, Sophia the Aardvark, and Chloë the Wombat. Aren't they great? I love all the different animals, I do.


I grabbed a great deal from Kiwi Crate for three months of crafts and projects for the two Littles, but I was a little disappointed they got the exact same things when I had to put in their ages and genders at sign-up time. Ah, well, we'll do the projects together - this month it's a rocket and space mobile, and I'm sure we'll have a good time. It's a little young for Jack, but he seemed excited about it, so whatev.


Rob caught me making this goofy face when modeling the earrings "he gave me," which were really another killer deal I snagged from Novica, which is a collaboration of National Geographic with artisans from around the world. I think these came from Thailand, but I forget. They're pearls, blue amazonite, and turquoise on silver findings, and they came in the most beautiful handmade paper box that will be great when I have to give a small gift to another. Two gifts in one!


I was glad when I found this deal for snow boots from Land's End, because even though we don't get a ton of snow and ice here, we do get some, and they've all outgrown last year's boots. It's hard to beat the boots from Land's End, so I'm well-pleased. I got a much-needed white oxford short for The Bob and a smaller, more well-fitting bathing suit for myself, from the same deal, but we opened those a few days ago and I didn't get pictures. Eh, well.


I paid practically nothing for this sapphire and diamond (although I think it's a CZ, but the saph is real) pendant from YaySave!, but we didn't get a photo of me actually wearing it because it arrived with a knot in the very fine chain. As you can see, I chopped my nails down to nothing, so I can't get the knot out at the moment, but I still love it. It's purty.


Sophie has been asking for a Barbie motorcycle for aaaaages, and I've been searching for one, but all I could find were either these Vespas on eBay, or $60+ collectible Harley ones. Obviously, she was going to get the Vespa. I showed it to her before I bid on it, to make sure it 'do,' but I told her I had to win it and that I might not if it went too high. She didn't quite get the concept of auctions, which I realized when she opened the packaged, exclaimed her shock that I won, and inquired as to whether anyone else got a prize. Hehe! Funny girl. But she's delighted with it, and I couldn't be happier to have finally made her small wish come true.



And last but not least, I grabbed another great deal on Rob's teapot and warmer from Cost Plus World Market, but I didn't realize we don't have any tea (that he'll deign to drink, anyway), so boo, me! The posing of this picture cracks me up, but it works, so hey.

Welp, after naps for Mom and Dad and lots of hours of playing with no signs of stopping by the kids, it's been a pretty good Christmas despite my being sick and falling short of the mark in many regards. They're all happy, so I'm happy.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday, however and whatever you celebrate, and don't have to spend 100 hours in line at the returns counter tomorrow!



Christmas Eve 2011

Let me preface this post by saying that I have been really, really sick for two weeks now, with tests still pending to figure out exactly what sort of microbe is causing my delirium. I've been tired, and I've been so weak and dizzy that I have bruises all over from the falling and  tripping I've been doing. It has not been a fun time for me, and as such, we hardly did any of our usual Christmas traditions. I didn't bake a single cookie, I wasn't up to going to the Christmas Eve service I so adore at church (or the Lights on the Beach, but at least Rob and the kids got to go), and we didn't even put up our tree or hang the stockings!! So, we sat in my office/craft room where I had all the presents stacked to open presents, and I used gift bags instead of their stockings. The upside, though, is that the kids still had an awesome Christmas and, as is their custom, all have proclaimed it "The Best Christmas Ever."


On to the pictures an' sech.


Sophia, Chloë, and Jack, about to open their "stockings"


Each of them got something different this year. The girls' were pretty similar, yet different, while Jack got completely different stuff. No rhyme or reason for it, really. They had a good time digging through and discovering!


As opposed to years past, I greatly limited the sweet treats I put in their "stockings." Nevertheless, Sophia gobbled piece after piece, true to form. This is her reaction to me calling her out on it!


Jack, a little excited about his Chiclets-like gum, I think!

After they finished going through their stockings, I had one present I wanted them to open last night. But first, I sent the kiddos upstairs to take a bath, so they were nice and squeaky-clean for it.


New pajamas for Christmas! This hasn't been a tradition of ours, but I found a deal and wanted to partake. I got a 4T for Jack, which is the size he's currently wearing in ALL his other clothes, yet they were way too small. I tried to hike them up on him, and this was his hysterical (to me) reaction! Haha. Poor kid. I know he was disappointed, but he gamely went and put on a pair of PJs he already owned.


I absolutly adore this picture of my girls, sharing a nice sisterly moment in their new jammies, which, crazily enough, ran BIG for their usual sizes. (Ugh, Old Navy. Ugh.) The socks were from their stockings, and the bow in Sophie's hair was a bow I made from a magazine page that topped the jammies box.


Rob and I got new jammie pants, too - I think this is the first pair of PJs that Rob has owned in his adult life! I think they look so cute on him! He even broke out the slippers I gave him on our first married Christmas, to complete the look (after this picture was taken). He rarely wears them, so it gave me a wee giggle.

No pictures of my jammies, but basically they're just a tank top and sweat pants. I'm all about the comfy right now!

I shall return shortly with pictures from today, Christmas Day.

Merry, merry!


A Brief Stroll Down Memory Lane


Hey, remember when Jack was about 3½ and I made these freakin' cute sweaters? I did a dumb thing: instead of keeping them for MY children, I sold them on eBay for way less than they were worth. I could still kick myself!


Here's baby Sophia wearing the same cabled and bobbled sweater. I know! Can you believe that's really her?! She has changed SO much since she was a baby, one can scarcely recognize her. Even her own mother. Crazy.


Here's the other one. I just did a search for them on Mary Maxim, where I originally got the kits, but they no longer seem to be available there. Shame. I mean, I still have the patterns (I think?!) and can use any yarns I want, but that doesn't help anyone else, does it?


And again, Sophie modeling the same get-up. I have to laugh, because I remember intentionally not wanting her to stand up on the chaise lounge, there, but you couldn't keep her down! The kid walked at seven months (!!) and has been on the move ever since.

Hrm, well, a quick-but-extensive search online didn't turn up an alternate source, so... that stinks. I hope they're still available somewhere, because they're super-cute, right?

Anyway. I'm still deep in the midst of my illness that's been going on since the 12th, so not a lot going on here today. I might look at a magazine or two. Exciting, right?


Aloha Friday


Link up here if you're questioning with Kailani today!

So, my question for you this week is:

Does it bother you when people wish you holiday greetings for a religion in which you don't participate, or do you just smile and shrug it off??

As for me, I like knowing about other people, so I won't "Merry Christmas" someone I know is Jewish, for example, and if I don't know, I'll wish them a happy holidays. I am Christian, so few people get it "wrong" when wishing me holiday greetings, but if and when they do, it doesn't bother me in the least. I guess I just figure that the person is being kind-hearted and loving, and not intending offense, so why take it?

Anyway, that's my take on things. What about you?

Have a great weekend and... happy holidays? ;)


Not-So-Wordless Wednesday - Christmas Is Coming, Whether I'm Ready Or Not!

Link up with the gals at 5 Minutes for Mom if you're Wordless-ish today. (I hate the word "gals," btw. I don't know why I just used it.)

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So our tree may not be up, no stockings hung by the chimney with care, no ornaments, wreaths and garlands, but by the sparse look of our Advent calendar, December 25th is chugging right along and will crash into us whether we're ready for it or not! Here, Sophia's showing off the FREE Build-a-Bear pup she got a certificate for in my email inbox out of the blue the other day. She named it... Jack. Yes. After her brother. Sirry girl! I don't know why the other two didn't get one... bummer!


Our two boxes of Harry & David "Royal Riviera Pears: America's Rarest and Finest" finally arrived, after I snagged the deal that was posted on Hip 2 Save, as a gift to my family. My kids LOOOOOOOOOOOVE fruit, and while I'm not the biggest pear person myself, I have to say, these are awesome. Worth every penny (that I thankfully didn't pay). They've already gone through the first dozen - and I'm glad it was 12, because the picture showed 9 per box. Lucky us!


As soon as I let them open the box, they each wanted to dig in. I mean, look at them! Who gets that excited about pears? But they really were, as you can tell by the genuine, non-"c'mon, moooooom" smiles they're wearing.


I barely took the picture before Sophia was digging in. I think she literally had four or five pears yesterday. And for once, she didn't waste a single bite. They are good.


Our first box of beautiful pears... they don't look extraordinairy, in my opinion, but the taste - oh! You've just gotta try them. Say you will.



I snagged these 60 AA and AAA batteries off OfficeMax for, like, a nickel after Max Perks. You gotta love all these loyalty rewards deals! And all of us moms know that it just isn't Christmas without going through a dozen or two AA batteries!


And finally, here's batch 2 of 3 different sets of Christmas cards we're sending out. I worked off and on addressing those yesterday. I've run out of the ones I ordered (and got a deal on, of course) at, so I've got to wait until the ones I got a killer deal on from the Paper Coterie come in the mail to get the rest out. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying all the holiday cards that have been rolling in here, myself. I love Christmas cards!!

Anyway, that was about as Wordless as the Pope is Muslim, so I guess I better move on down the road now. I've been wrapping presents, organizing and cleaning, and I've got lots to do still!


Bzz, Bzz: Truly Awesome - Or Are They?


Disclosure: I received product and coupons from BzzAgent in exchange for my Bzzzzzzzz.... All opinions are my own, whether they like 'em or not!

Oops, I'm lax on my cookie-reporting post, which was due, oh, a month ago or so... But since we've been busy and various ones of us have been sick, I think you'll excuse us, right?

So anyhow, anyways, BzzAgent sent me two boxes of Kroger's "The ^Truly^ Awesome homestyle chocolate chip cookie" to try out with my friends, loved ones, and the President. Obama declined to indulge, and I declined to invite my friends, so my family of five made like a pen of piggies and scarfed down the entire two boxes in the space of an evening. Maybe it was two evenings, but you get the point: We did not share a single morsel, and I seem to remember one of us (please, God, don't let it be me) diving for a dropped chocolate chip before it hit the floor. 87-second rule and all. (You may have heard it as the five-second rule, but it increases exponentially with the amount of kids and pets you have, contrary to what it should be. A little-known fact.)

All that being said, our opinions on the cookies were slightly different. The three kids all gave them two thumbs up, but c'mon. I could've crapped on a cracker, called it a cookie, and they would have licked their lips and begged for more. They're kids. Kids are gross. So their opinions don't count for much here.

Which brings me to Rob (where's the Facebook linkage thingy when I need it?) and myself: Rob was all questioning the homestyle-ness of these cookies, which we both agreed were quite good, so he voiced his pondering aloud to the Missus (me, hello), and I was all, "Um, no. I've had homemade cookies. I've made kick-ass homemade cookies, and these are clearly store-bought-tasting cookies." He was all, "Really? You think so?" And I was all, "Yeah." He's still on the fence. I left him there. I think he likes the feeling.

In the end, would I rush right out and buy a box if I were craving some chocolate chip cookies but didn't want to bake them? No. I'd pick Pepperidge Farm ones, or even Entenmann's, first, unless Kroger was right around the corner from me. And then I miiiiight consider. Would I turn them down if you shoved one in my face, or gave me coupons for another free box or two? Nah. They were good enough, but Truly Awesome? This reviewer has to say not only "no," but "um, no, again."

And there you have it.

So... if you've had them, or ever try them, please tell me what you think. I am literally dying to know.


Extra (Gum), Extra (Gum), Read All About It!

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a gift card in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place.


With all the opportunity for indulgence during the holiday season, it can be hard to stay in a healthy mindset. Although we shouldn't resist treating ourselves to some of our favorite seasonal confections, it's important to indulge wisely so we don't find ourselves in damage-control mode on January 1st! Extra® Gum knows that maintaining a fit lifestyle takes a little more willpower during this sugar-laden season, which is why they've launched their 120-Day Get Fit Giveaway!


Throughout the holiday season and as New Years' resolutions approach, Extra Dessert Delights® gum is the perfect ammo to have on hand as an easy alternative to high calorie snacks, and now they're offering even more ways to bring everyone a little more support during these crucial times. With the 120-Day Get Fit Giveaway, fitness buffs and gum chewers alike can enter once a day to win unique fitness-focused prizes that will help keep your New Years' resolutions on track. From now until March 29th, 2012, you can visit for daily prize giveaways and the chance to win the Grand Prize- a fitness adventure trip to Red Mountain Resort in Utah. Prizes change daily, so entrants should be sure to check back each day to see what the fun new prize will be!


So get going, and enter. I have!



Sonfish Gear: The Son Always Shines

Disclosure: I was not paid for this post, but in exchange for it, I was entered to win a gift card. All opinions are my own and will always be.


Once again, the holidays are in full swing! Last minute shopping, out-of-town visitors, holiday parties and church functions are just a few of the things that keep us busy during this time of year. As if being a Mom (and, for some of us, a blogger) doesn't take up enough of our time! On top of that, there is that 2012 church or group fundraiser you have to plan! And for that reason, we are happy to announce the launch of, an online Christian apparel and accessory store.


As a mom, church member or community organizer, we know that you may be looking for fundraising opportunities. Sonfish Gear is proud to offer a unique fundraising program which allows groups to purchase products at wholesale prices and resell for fundraising. This is an exciting way to switch it up from the usual church car wash and bake sale, to offering a variety of quality Christian apparel and accessory products. To find out more about Sonfish Gear's fundraising opportunities, click HERE!


In early 2012, Sonfish Gear products will also be available for individual purchase! From hats and sunglasses, to iPhone cases and baby clothes, Sonfish gear has something for everyone on your 2012 gift giving list. If you need a last minute holidays gift idea, the classic Sonfish Car emblem is immediately available for purchase and would make a great stocking stuffer this year! The Sonfish emblem reminds Christians that Jesus, the Son of God, is always shining his love upon us. To check out Sonfish Gear click HERE!


So check 'em out, if this is right up your alley!




This Mission Is NOT Impossible

Full Disclosure: This information was provided by IMAX through MyBlogSpark. In exchange for this post, I was entered to win a contest, but all opinions belong to me.


Get ready for action, adventure, and explosive entertainment like you´ve never seen it before! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to check out Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol in IMAX theatres.

Starting December 16th, a full five days before its North American premier, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will be shown in a mind-blowing IMAX experience in 300 theaters across the country. Join Ethan Hunt and his team of rogue IMF agents, in this awesome spy adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. With 30-minutes of scenes shot with IMAX cameras, fans will be able to enjoy certain sequences of the movie in larger than life proportions. You will be right in the action as Ethan Hunt (played by Tom Cruise) scales the world´s tallest building; the Burk Khalifa Tower in Dubai, as this and other thrilling moments expand to fit the entire IMAX screen. As an added bonus, IMAX will offer the first previews of the upcoming Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, prior to Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol.

So go on over to IMAX's Facebook page to "Like" them and check out the film. Let me know what you think if you went!

Have fun...


Saturday 9: I Will Survive


Link up here to play along with Crazy Sam this week! It's an appropriate album for the week for me, considering I am STILL sick and have gone to the ER for fluids twice so far. I've had to cancel or postpone so much, and I have begged for an early death (fortunately, to no avail...). Anyway, on to the questions!

1. What in the year 2011 has proved to you that you are a survivor?

Honestly, I'm going through some heavy stuff from my childhood in my therapy sessions now, having found a therapist with whom I have a strong rapport. After going through five or six different therapists since grad school, I have finally felt it's about time I am able to tackle these issues and know that I am strong enough to break through to the other side of them. Any other time, it would have crushed me.

2. Have you ever stayed online for a very long time waiting for someone?

Yep! My husband, during our brief, mostly web-based courtship. When he finally "arrived," the smile on my face stretched past ear-to-ear. More like wall-to-wall!
3. Are you REALLY ready for the holidays?

Present-wise, sure. But we still don't have our tree and decorations up yet, and I'd meant to do that on the 4th!!
4. Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid?

Nope, I wasn't one of those weirdos. No offense, both of my girls have/do. And yes, I think they're weirdos, but not just for that. ;)
5. What niche network do you watch the most?

We don't have TV, so none. If we did, it would be HGTV or the Travel channel.
 6. Have you ever seen the ocean?

This question literally made me snort. I'm practically a mermaid. In fact, I have recently been called a mermaid. I live for, by, through the ocean... I grew up with it and could never live far from it, ever.
7. Have you ever been hospitalized?

Another snort from me. Um. Yeah. About a dozen times, maybe more.  And that's not to mention all the ER visits!  I'm sure you don't want the boring list, which includes five abdominal surgeries. My core could stand some Pilates work, though I haven't done that in years...
 8. What do you think of the US Republican candidates for president?

I don't.
9. Could you imagine life without a computer?
Yeah, it's called, "Life before I got to college." Seriously, though, now? Wouldn't want to. I freak when one goes down. CODE BLUE!
Have a pleasant weekend, folks o' the interwebs.

Great Wolf Lodge Re-Re-Visited, Take Two


Ah, now, that's more like it, hmm? If you read that last post, I'm sorry. I won't go there this time. So, last week, we went back to Great Wolf Lodge for an early Christmas celebration, because I got a fantastic deal on a killer room. I mean, look at it! Here's Rob going UP THE STAIRS - yes, our hotel room had two levels - to the kids' loft. Rock on, dudes! That meant we could get our groove on downstairs without having kids sleeping in the bed next to us. You know what I'm talking about. And ohhhh, yes, we did. What's better than hotel sex? Okay, once again, I'm completely diverging from the intended discussion. But I rarely backspace except to correct typos, so, um, now you get to know that little factoid about our lives. Moving on. (It was great. Thanks for asking.)



Of course, Chloë and Sophia couldn't wait to play peeky-peek at us downstairs, from the ledge of the loft (cue all the helicopter parents cringing and screeching, "Oh, my GOD, they could fall to their deaths doing that!!"), but I'm apparently not one of those, because I was peeved Jack wouldn't climb up on whatever table on which they were standing to do the same thing. Chicken. Chicken and dumplings, for that matter. Whatever that means.


After they checked out their loft and squealed a billion times about how awesome it was to have their OWN bathroom and floor, we had a little photo sesh on Mom & Dad's bed (well, there were two downstairs, plus a pull-out couch, so we could've roomed in with another family, but who in the hell wants to do that?! Not this blahga, thanks). This was the best of the lot. "The lot" consisting of this and one other picture, before I got bored of that. What makes me laugh about this picture is threefold: (a) It's obvious that the youngest child, in the middle, is by far the biggest and is therefore some kind of freakshow (hey, I've offered to let him do a DNA test; I swear she's his or she'd, um, have a much nicer tan and kinky hair...), (b) NONE of their socks match either their outfits or each other, and (c) Sophie's clothes came from my "too small, must take to consignment" pile, which she must've raided without my paying attention. Did y'all notice any of that, or are you not the "Find the 10 differences between these two pictures" types?

 Right. So.


I had planned on getting to the Lodge at, oh, 11 AM or so that day. Instead, we rushed so hard we ended up getting there at, like, 7 PM! Don't ask me to explain why; I hardly remember the kids' names most of the time, let alone that. But that left us just enough time to quickly explore the hotel room and then shower and put on PJs before story time. I didn't want a picture of Sophie's posterior, so instead I ended up with this terrific, "WHAT, Mom?!!" shot when I called out her name on the way down the hall. I am so great at photography.


Chloë, ever the modeling poseur, hamming for me when we arrived in the lobby, about 3½ seconds too late to catch the nightly snowfall. Dangit! That's all I was looking forward to, too! My life, it is Teh Suck. *le sigh*


Sophia, during story time, completely oblivious to her mother's frantic waving and face-making to get a decent shot... And what's up with those pupils, anyway? She high or something?


After story time ended, we still had a good 35 minutes before the waterpark closed for the night, so I asked the kids whether they wanted to dash back to our room to put on our swimming pannies (as I'm wont to call them, because I'm kewl) and get in a quick half-hour of splashy fun (well, I can't be that cool, if I wrote that) or stay upstairs in the lobby to catch the next snowfall. Of course, they opted for waterpark, now that they're no longer convinced water play is from The Debbul. Here, the girls are waiting for the huge jagillion-gallon bucket to dump on them - always a family favorite.


(I'm back! My wireless keyboard batteries died. Didja miss me? Thought so.)

So yeah, Rob's in there, wearing a wet suit. It's a good thing he brought it, too, because my genius child, there, Chloë, left my bathing suit on the couch at home, after I asked her to put it in the suitcase! Thank God I can fit in all Rob's clothes now, so I didn't have to either miss out on the fun entirely or get arrested going in there with the lady business hanging out. I wore his trunks with my tankini top, and he wore that. And no one batted an eye, either, because have you seen some of the shit that people will wear in public swimming areas? Hello, if you're a size 20, do not go to the beach/pool/indoor-or-outdoor waterpark with your chubs squeezed (squozen?) painfully into a 14, with everything that wouldn't fit hanging out. And I can say that, because I have been way past a size 20, and I covered my junk up. I mean, damn.



Jacky loves to wear his bathing suit shirt, even though its main purpose is to protect him from the sun, so we brought that thing, too. But more importantly, how cute does Chloë look, skipping through the water, when she's not actively posing for Vogue Tween™ magazine? (The lighting inside the waterpark itself is wicked weird, so yes, these are the best I could do after my major editing with free software.)


Soon, the waterpark closed, and it was time to head back to the Den of Iniquity, aka, our room. Room 4047, not that that will help you find us now, because we be back home an' stuff. Anyway, what? Who? Lookee there! Jack decided to play peeky-peek after all. So maybe he isn't chicken and dumplings. Maybe he's just... chick? Wait, no. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)



The following day, we slept in super late - and by that, I mean, everyone else did, while I woke up at stupid o'clock as usual and waited for daylight - instead of getting up an hour before the waterpark opened like we planned. Why didn't I wake everyone else up, then, if I was awake, you wonder? Listen. I don't know if you have kids, and if you do, whether they are total grumpypants when they wake up before they've slept enough, but mine ARE. And I didn't want to deal with a whiny, cranky, moody grumpypants trio all day when it was supposed to be Happy Family Christmastime for us. So we woke up in time to pack up and check out, after a breakfast repast in the room, and that we did.

On the way back to the Lodge from Penelope (our van), because your waterpark passes are still good all day after you check out, I had the kids pose for me again. If I didn't already have Christmas outfits picked out for them, this might have been what you'd be getting in the mail from us this year. Hell, it still might, since the intended photos have yet to be taken, thanks to a photographer who apparently doesn't know how to reply to his emails in a timely manner. Maybe I'll just take them myself. I am as talented as Dorothea Lange, after all, and yes, I totally did a Swagbucks search for "Famous Female Photographers" for that. I referenced Annie L. too recently to mention her again. Aagh, I just did! You tricksters!


Our non-mystery-shop budget for dining out being quite stinted these days, we brought our own food for all our meals except this sweet treat from the Bear Paw - and the only reason I even allowed that was because it was our Advent activity for the day. Not that we adhere strictly to what I place in the daily Advent checklist, because we've done about 10% of our activities on time so far this year, but still. I budgeted for this, and so it must be, gosh darn it! (There, now, you can see the resemblance between Sophia and her siblings, right??? I know. I can't either. I'm such a teaser.)



Rob scamming some of Jack's chocolate icy cream, to the child's chagrin...

 And yeah. I did, too. I tried Chloë's strawberry sorbet as well, but you weren't getting me near Sophie's cotton candy flavor. Just... ick. Really? That should be outlawed. I'd rather eat mustar...ah! Gotcha 'gain! No way I'd eat that poison.



Here's my artsy-pants picture of Chloë drooling over all the candy choices in the shoppe. I should put out a coffee table book, I swear.


The kids were all keen to do this robofusion ice cream sensation that was kickin' it in the area outside the regular ice cream parlah, but, it was seven bucks, and you know money doesn't grow on trees, people. So I took a crappy picture of them in front of it and promised we'd do it next time. Seven dollars! As if! It's not like I'm LiLo getting a million bucks to pose for Hefner, here. (See, I'm all about the pop culture.)



Ice cream eaten, we were thoroughly chilled, so we headed back inside the park of water for some hot tubbing. My boys are sharing a moment, here, I wrote, pointing out the obvious.


Chloë enjoying the warmth and hopefully not adding to it herself.

They do that, you know. Kids. Don't drink the water. How do you think I ended up with this heinous dysentery from which I suffer?


Sophia, drowning in the vest that was supposed to protect her, even though she can swim. Daddy insists, and Mommy generally defers to his preferences on issues of safety. As soon as I took the picture(s), I went and got her one that fit. A size small, because after all, she really isn't BIG for her age. She's right at the 50th percentile. For an infant, but still. No, for real, she's just average. Blah blah.


I love Jack with spikey hair; I just never remember to do it most times. I'm gonna add that to my short list of New Year's Resolutions, because it is of global importance how his hair is coifed.


An hour before the Cub Club closed for the day, we decided to quit the waterpark and change into dry clothes. The kids love the Cub Club, but they weren't so thrilled with it this time, because there weren't any free crafts to do like there have been in the past. Bummer. So the girls colored, and Jack complained watched a movie. He's never been a big consumer of Crayola products.


I'm surprised he even let me photograph his grumpiness, because normally when he's in that mood and the camera points his way, I get this:


...which I did, moments later. Eh, whatever. He was just tired.



One of my favorite things about kids is when they concentrate on something. Anything. I love that. Love. That. They could be about to set the house on fire or set off a bomb or something, but if they're concentrating, I don't care. Kodak moment.


 All of the kids eventually got 'round to playing with this puppet bird, which was all well and good, except for the incessant squawking. I wanted to kill the thing. That's right. I wanted to annihilate an inanimate object. It was like the toy that the mean uncle who hates you gets for your kids because it's the most obnoxious one they can find, and they don't have kids so there's no chance for payback. STFU, YOU DUMB PUPPET BIRD! Look at me, I'm getting all worked up over it again. I'm sweating.



I'm back again, after some deep breathing. I like it when Rob participates with the kids' activities and stuff, but really he was checking out Facebook or Texts From Last Night or YouTube or some damn thing on his iPhone. And wearing my shirt, I might add. See. We share.


Oh, hey, what's up? That would be me. Yup, I was there, too. And d'ya know who took this picture of The Self? Soph. Yup, the babe. I entrusted her with the Nikon for precious few seconds, all the while worrying more about the camera than the kid, so she could capture photographic evidence of my presence on this mini-vacay. There, now, give it back.

(Also, do you guys know what I did with all my nose jewelry? Because, while I love this one, I've been sporting it for, like, six months or two years or something, and I can't find where I put all the rest of my nosy posies. I bet you that Sophie has 'em up in her bed or something. She would do that. She's probably got all kinds of secret piercings I don't want to know about.)

(Strikethrough rulez.)


And then I had my camera back, and then Sophia was busy on her next crafty project, and then I called her name, and then she looked up, and then I took the picture, and then I got this, and I liked it.

Yep, she's a Lefty. A Southpaw. Like her Aunt Gail, Rob's sister. I feel sorry for me, though, because even though it's a right-hander's world, I'm the poor fool who has to teach her to do stuff backward, and my non-spatial brain simply can not manage it most of the time.


Ah, actual participation with a child. The phone must've been dead. {Snark, snark}

I lay down there next to them shortly thereafter and attempted to doze off until it was time to go, but I couldn't. And I can't just lay around and do nothing, ever, so I got back up for a few more snaps before we hit the road.


I don't know why it annoys me so much when I feel like Chloë is playing "beneath her age," or whatever, but it does. She's the oldest, so she should be super-mature, right? Yet, she's not. I've talked it over with her doctors, and we chalk it up to the fact that her whole entire being is immature compared to her chronological age, but I still find it annoying. I'm such a bitch sometimes. (I can admit it, you know.)

Right after this, everyone agreed they'd had enough of the Lodge, and we skedaddled up on out o' that puppy. And literally less than 10 minutes later, bing-bang-boom, all four of the rest of Team Odette were asleep in the car, while I drove home, wishing I were, too.



One last photo, an Instagram from my own much-beloved iPhone: Sophia does this thumb-suck-while-flashing-the-"I love you"-sign frequently, and I adore it. She is pretty cute, despite being a huge (and near-constant) pain in the rear. It's the only reason we haven't given her away to the Pitt-Jolies yet. Well, that and we love her.

So that was the third trip to Le Lodge of Great Wolves, and though we were on the strictest of budgetations, we enjoyed it more than Trek Two. Next time, and there will be a next time, we have new things planned. So if we go again, read that, too. Even if the pictures are the same, after all, the words will be different, and who writes better than I do?

No one, that's who. No one.

(Ha, even I laughed out loud on that one. Of all my mental issues, a superiority complex is not among them. Which is not to say that I'm not a snob. Separate things, peeps. But this post is over, and I'm still yakking, so I better wrap it up quickly before I lose even my own interest. Y'all come back now, y'hear?)


P.S. Shoot, there's, like, 27 things I wanted to mention, but forgot, because I didn't photograph them. And no, I'm not talking about the things mentioned in the first paragraph, piggy-wiggies! Oh, well. I've asked myself to shut up now, and I aim to please.

Oh, Yeah, So Like, We Went To Great Wolf Lodge Again, And Stuff...

Omgosh, y'all. I have been so sick this week, I have literally begged, crying and cringing, for Rob to shoot me. The jackhole refuses, God bless his soul, so here I sit, in agony, crapping my brains out, cursing the virus that's causing my amoebic dystentery malaria gastroenteritis. Or as the doctor at the ER last night referred to it, apparently mistaking me for someone stupid, the "stomach flu."


What?!! I could've picked a worse picture! And trust me, Google Image has them. I'm being nice, here. And I'm feeling particularly cranky, so you're lucky. Imagine how sore my, uh, yeah. Let's move on, here. You've all been there.

(Why am I suddenly craving a bean burrito from Taco Bell? Gross.)

So last week, we had an early Christmas at Great Wolf Lodge. Trip Numero Tres, that would be. The last time was two years ago, but this time, we went because we got an incredible homeschoolers' discount. Yeah, buddy. It pays to skool yer kidz at home. Even if you occasionally get sick and that edumacation consists of, "Please go clean your rooms. Or break something, I don't care. Just leave me alone." Okay, so that exact conversation didn't really take place, but essentially, we have taken this here week off from scholarly pursuits. Can you blame me? I mean, I've single-anally upped the stock market index for all things Cottonelle.

Anyway. I thought you said we were going to discuss Great Wolf Lodge, not my arse? Oh, that was me. Because, you know, I do all the talking here, and you sit and read. That's how it works. Ah. Now apparently I think you're stupid. Well, you are here and not reading Perez Hilton or something. I mean. c'mon.

I think I'm going to just publish this one and then start a whole new one for the actual trip after I've had a chance to disinfect my brain from the havoc that is being wreaked upon my bowels at present, m'kay?

You're welcome.


What I Almost Lost


The other day, Sophia wrote this on my desk. "*♥DeAr mom I ♥ You ♥*," and I was mad. If you look carefully, you can see where she previously etched her name above the word "dear," too. That, I can't erase, but I was just sitting here knitting, thinking to myself that the next time I run across one of the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers I have in various places around the house, I'll give that a good scrub to get rid of it.

And then I mused, and pondered, and thought, well, why?

My six-year-old loves me, and she wrote it down, and if you look at the stupid desk, it's obviously been weathered and worn by time anyway... and what matters is that my baby loves me.

I hope I remember never to undo that.


Aladdin's Lamp Has Got To Be In Here Somewhere...


So I just gave Rob his Christmas present (well, one of them), a Webkinz Beaver. After much deliberation, having tossed out Snapper, Wynonna, and Frank (c'mon!), he finally decided to name my beaver "Genie". As in, when he rubs it, all his wishes will come true.


I never claimed this blog was family-friendly.

Enjoy your week, y'all...


P.S. He just informed me that one of the kittens was licking the beaver. I'm not touching that one...

Karo Syrup Facebook Contest!

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Karo Syrup prize package in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place. All opinions are my own.

Holiday presents don't need to be store bought or expensive to be meaningful. Homemade gifts are perfect for gift-giving and spreading holiday cheer. This year, Karo has partnered with Chicago pastry chef and cookbook author Sarah Levy to create delicious treats that are the perfect gift to give this holiday season.


Karo Syrup wants to celebrate all holiday baking recipes! Consumers who share their favorite recipe to bake in Karo's Recipe Sweepstakes are entered to win a special New Year's Eve package in Chicago, including a two-night stay at the Wit Hotel, dinner at Mastro's Steakhouse and a chocolate tour. Visit the "Tis the Season" tab at to share your recipe, enter to win this fabulous trip and see some of Sarah Levy's favorite holiday recipes.


So what are you waiting for? Go "like" Karo Syrup on Facebook and enter to win!



Sunday Stealing: The Blue Memory Meme, Parte Dos

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you feel the need to do so. If you don't, well, at least comment and stuff. M'kay?

Cheers to all of us thieves!

26) Are you happy with the person you've become?

I could stand to improve. The more important thing is, are the kids and hubs?

27) What's a sound you hate; sound you love?

Hate: sandpapering, ugh. Love: Kids laughing, especially my kids, especially at me because I'm being funny as hell.

28) What's your biggest "what if"?

Well, I don't normally put this out there on the blog, but it's "What if Chay (the guy I loved in college - and beyond) had broken up with his girlfriend for me? Would we have made it?" But that's a whole 'nother post, and I don't plan to go there again.

29) Do you believe in ghosts?

Nope. Unless you're talking about that movie with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. I believe in that movie.

30) How about aliens?

Like ghosts, I'll believe in them when I see one. I certainly believe the possibility exists.

31) What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?

Marrying Rob. No doubt. Hands down. (Although I was reconsidering it a few hours ago, when he was being a total jackass.)

32) What's the worst place you have ever been to?

It's a tie between Ottawa and the Bahamas. Not a fan of either place. (You thought I was going to say "my childhood home," didn't you? I probably should've, but I don't like to be predictable. :P)

33) Can insanity bring on more creativity?

Hell yeah. I'm pretty creative, right? Look at Van Gogh. His ass was crazy and his art was amazing.

34) Most attractive actor of your opposite gender?

I'm partial to Matt Damon, but I do feel guilty saying that instead of Denzel, since I do have a thing for black men. (What, you didn't know?)

35) To you, what is the meaning of life?

To leave the planet better than when I left it. In other words, to make a difference to someone, anyone; to matter; to be able to say, "I did good things here. I tried my best."

36) Define “Art”.

Art can be anything that speaks to someone. Some people find art in a rusty gate, while others find it at the museum. It can be lyrical, but that art will be gangsta rap to some (not me) or opera to others. To me, it's more about what the average Joe gets out of it than being worthy of a critic's praise.

37) Do you believe in luck?

Honestly and truly, no. But I say "Good luck!" all the time. Does that make me a hypocrite? What will be, will be.

38) In your opinion, what makes a great relationship?

Everyone's happy and content with it; no one feels "less than."

39) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?

Lou Vega's "Mambo No. 5." I mean, c'mon. How can you not shake your booty when that comes on?

40) Where were you yesterday?

See here, now, didn't you read my post, "Are You Lookin' At My Ass?" (Apparently no one did. No comments. Wah.)

41) What's the worst injury you've ever had?

The mental injury caused by years of psychological abuse from my ex-step-mother. No amount of physical pain I've endured could rival that.

42) Do you have any obsessions right now?

001 (4)

HEXIPUFFING!!!! I've got about 50 puffs now. I'm totally neglecting the laundry. The kids are all, "we don't have underwear, we don't have socks!" Darn kids, always needing something.

43) What's up?

This bread Chloë made, at my made-up direction, totally sucks. It has chocolate in it, though, so I'm scarfing it down anyway.

44) Ever had a rumor spread about you?

Does it count as a rumor if it's true?

45) Do you believe in real magic?

Nah. Unless you're talking about that goo-goo lovey-dovey kind of magic when you fall in love. Then oh, yeah, of course.

46) Do you ever hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?

Yes, it's my forte. (And please pronounce that correctly, like "fort," not "for-tay.")

47) What's your favorite (non-pet) animal?

Sharks, der!

48) What is your secret weapon to get people to like you?

I have sex with them. That usually works. I'm kidding; I have a lot of female friends and don't go that way. I don't know! I just try to be real, know what'm sayin'?

49) Where is your best friend?

Centra New York, up where I grew.

50) What do you think is Satan's last name?

Simmons. Oh wait, that's my dad. Umm...

Have a great week! I'm going to go puke up this nasty-ass bread!


Get Your Bake On With Fleischmann's Simply Homemade Bread!

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Fleischmann's® Simply Homemade® prize package in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place. All opinions are my own.


Everyone loves the aroma and wonderful taste of fresh-baked, homemade bread but most of us don't have the time, skill or ingredients to bake bread from scratch very often. That's why we love Simply Homemade®, brought to you by Fleischmann's ® Yeast! This convenience mix allows you to make delicious homemade bread in three easy steps. Simply stir, rise and bake. Available in 4 delicious flavors (Country White, Stoneground Wheat, Italian herb and Multi-Grain), the mix contains everything you need, including yeast and sugar. Just add 1 cup of water and you're only an hour away from enjoying fresh-baked bread


You might have heard about this great product, which is receiving rave reviews from mom bloggers like me! The good news is, it's available in stores near you.

fleischmanns simply homemade


Not only does Fleischmann's® Simply Homemade® want to make sure you have an easy way to provide your family with great-tasting homemade bread, they also want to connect with you online! They're currently running a great promotion on their Facebook page- the "Less than an Hour Baking Challenge". For this challenge, use any Fleischmann's New Simply Homemade® No Knead Bread Mix variety and add your own special touches to make fresh bread in less than an hour. Then, submit a photo of your final product on this Facebook page. The first 1000 entrants will earn a 50¢ coupon AND be entered for the chance to win a Simply Homemade® gift basket valued at $100. Grab a box, get baking and upload your pic today!


So what are you waiting for? Get your baking on now - and trust me, this bread is as delicious as it is easy to make!



Get Your Wish On With Build-A-Bear Workshop!

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Build-A-Bear Workshop gift card in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place. All opinions are my own.

This holiday season, Build-A-Bear Workshop® is inviting you and your family to get your wish on. With brand-new furry friends from the latest holiday movies, classic and celebrity characters, hi-tech Kinect enabled bears, gifts that give back, holiday traditions, customized presents and fun stocking stuffers, Build-A-Bear Workshop will be on everyone's wish list this year. From those searching for the perfect stuffed animal for that special someone to a child discovering the joy of creating a personalized furry friend, Build-A-Bear Workshop invites you to check out the array of gift options that are sure to bring smiles long after the season is over.

Here are some of our favorite things about Build-a-Bear Workshop this season:

  • One of the best things about Build-A-Bear Workshop is the opportunity to make or buy a unique gift, add a customized, signature sound or embroidered message and give it to someone special. From newlyweds to new parents, sports fans to foodies, tweens to tough guys, Build-A-Bear Workshop has something for everyone and every budget.


  • What could be more personal than LIVE elves, ready to talk to your child about his/her wishlist? Thanks to our friends at Build-A-Bear Workshop, your family has a direct line to Santa and his little helpers! By visiting, your child can create their own wish list with one of Santa's elves and tell them what they want for Christmas! Parental agreement is needed for all children under 13.


  • Who doesn't love a great deal, especially during the holidays? Build-A-Bear Workshop knows Moms want to stretch our "bear bucks" as much as possible, which is why they're introducing a great promotion this season. Starting today through 12/18/11, you can purchase any animal PLUS any outfit for just $24.99 (USD). That's a great price for a friend that will last a lifetime!
BABW babys first BABW Harley Davidson Bearemy BABW Chef Happy Hugs
 So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Build-A-Bear, check out the great selection, and get your wish on!

Are You Lookin' At My Ass?


This is what you're in for tonight. (Click to embiggerate, as usual.) What? You want to see the pics individually? Well, all righty, then, I think we can manage that...


But first, I'm up to some, oh, 43 hexipuffs, and I've been asked several times what I plan to do with the darn things. Oh, but didin't I link you here, to the Beekeeper's Quilt, already? Eventually, they'll be sewn together for a fun, poofy, multi-colored and -textured blanket, and I simply cannot wait to do that. I'm hexipuffing every free moment and enjoying every minute of it. Won't you join me, oh, ye knitters of the world? You don't knit, you say? Well, there's also a free Ravelry crochet equivalent, if you're so inclined... but anyway, that's what they're for. Aren't they cool? (Say yes or I'll cry.)

So anyway... (ugh, I'm full. Chloë has been all about baking bread in the bread machine lately, and her latest creation, chocolate chip-honey-oat bread just finished baking. I had a rather-too-large hunk of it with nary a chocolate chip in the slice. Life is so unfair. But I digress yet again...)


We had a homeschoolers' field trip to the Hunt Club Farm Winter Wonderland tonight, so the first thing our kids ran to do after we got our wristbands and entered through the lighted arch was run through the light maze. Lots of these pictures are blurry, and I apologize for that, but I'm still learning the settings on my Nikon. Yes, I got it in February, and no, I have not yet read the instruction manual. All in due time. These were all taken on the nighttime setting, which would have been great if the little people were not in constant freaking motion...!


Sophia, as usual, was the fastest. You'd think she was running through a laser security light field thingy.


She did pause for a quick smile at Mom after the maze, though. Time to cut the bangs again, eh?


After the light maze, we happened upon the Nativity scene, where Jack was pointing at the donkey and saying,...


..."Hey! You ass!" Then, to us, "What? That's what they're called!" What could we do but agree?



Apparently there were llamas and alpacas at the birth of Jesus, too. Who knew?


The children running through the archway on the way to the Wonderland workshop


They were here last year, too, and it was very similar then, but that didn't stop them from being amazed and wanting to touch everything in sight.


I do like me some cocks. Peacocks, people. Peacocks. Sheesh. (Heh heh)


Sophia was the most hands-on of the kids, as usual. She's very handsy. She's not the type of kid you bring to a glassware store, you know what I'm sayin'?


There were lots of little vignettes set up of elves working at various tasks. I didn't care what they were doing. I just wanted to get all three kids in one decent shot. Watch. I tried again and again.


I don't know what Jack was looking at, but in this picture, my eye keeps being drawn to the fact that it looks like the fawn is trying to nurse from his daddy. Um...


My attempt at an artsy picture


There's just something about a praying mantis that screams "Christmas!" isn't there?



Another awesome shot of the back of the three kidlets. Hey, whatever, man. They're cute from any angle, I maintain.


Soapster petting the swan


The swan's nest of 'eggs'


Chloë's always reliable for a good pose, huh? The polar bear was pretty compliant, too.


More of the the three children's backs, as they admire the doll factory


What the hell is that? A bunny? Yeah, a bunny. And an unnaturally bright child. Maybe this is Sophie's audition for Twilight.


I forget what this was that was flying around, but I think it was penguins. Yeah, that's the ticket. Rob was mocking them, because, ah, penguins. Flying. You know?


Three faces! Score! Ten points for me. Nothing for you, except eleventy more pictures.


So this elf was totally drunk on moonshine, a fact that tickled Rob and I mercilessly. I mean, we weren't falling down laughing, but we had a few good giggles over it. I mean, this was supposed to be for the kids, wasn't it? And there was a damn drunk elf! Nice.


El niño, Jackalope


Oh, here we go, back to the backs of the chirren. Looking at skiing bears. You know, I've never gone downhill skiing in my life. That's on my bucket list, too. It's a rather long list. But I'm going on yet another tangent...


So I did a freaking spectactular job of capturing the three kids in a billion pictures, where NONE of their faces were visible. Go, me!!


Sophia admiring more elfin (elvish?) scenery


Train-obsessed Jack couldn't help but get down on all fours to admire this little set-up. Give that boy anything that goes and he's a happy little mofo boy.



Hey, guys, stand in front of that tree and smile! Or, well, do that!


Santa wasn't on his couch when we got up front to take pictures with him, so I had the kids pose in his absence. They no longer believe in him anyway, so they didn't care much. They were happy just to get the candy cane out of his basket and leave, but then...



...he showed up, like, a minute later. He asked them what they wanted for Christmas. Sophia told him, "Oh, you wouldn't know what it was if I told you." I died laughing. As if! Santa knows everything. He's like the god of toys. I forget what it was she thought would stump him, but it was something to do with Barbies. That girl is Barbie-crazy.



Immediately outside, Rob and the kids were drawn to this Blacksmith Shop, which was cool and all, except for this one creepy thing Rob found on the ledge:


A severed hand, with a missing finger! What in the hell? Merry, merry, ho, ho, ho!


Time to go back through the lighted archway to head toward the bonfires. We brought our own bag of marshmallows. We paid just over a buck for a whole bag. They were selling them there for five for a dollar. Um, yeah. This place is making BANK.


"Kids, run through the arches, so I can get a picture of your heads looking invisible like in Back to the Future!" Okay, so that's not exactly what I said, but it might as well have been.


The kids wanted to stop and look at the turkey in the chicken coop. So here are four turkeys...


I always have the kids say something when I take their picture, something silly, so they're smiling and laughing (theoretically) when I make the snap. Half the time, I catch them mid-phrase, so it looks like this. I'm no Annie Leibovitz, what can I say?


Finally, the moment we were all waiting for: marshmallow roasting time! I ate about six too many. I think I had seven. I like them on fire, roasted to a crisp. It's the only food I like burnt. Otherwise, blech. The kids, they like them practically raw, with no brown on them or anything. Rob has it down to an art form. They were disappointed we didn't get hot dogs this year, but hey, we were on a tight budget, and the 'mallows themselves were a splurge we could barely afford, this being the first half of the month, after all. But anyway, anyhow.


These are mine. This is how I like my marshmallows roasted. Crispy. Fried. Mmm. Hot and black, like I like my men... ;P (That will elicit a mock-indignant "uh!" out of the hubs, I know.)


Smoke gets in your eyes... and hers... and mine... and all of ours...


Chloë in the obligatory, singular black-and-white pose. of which I don't do enough, I think....


One last marshmallow-roasting picture before we decided to pack it in for the night. We'd have stayed longer, but I was freezing. It really is time for me to pack in the Crocs flip-flops, but I love them so dearly, I haven't had the heart to break out the sneakers or boots yet...


And so, we left. Good-bye, Hunt Club Farm. Until next year.


Saturday 9: Drift Away


Link up here if you're playing along with Crazy Sam today!

1. Who or what bores you enough to mentally drift away?

Finances. Any talk about money. Or insurance. Pretty much anything my dad rambles on about. When he starts doing that, I've been known to threaten to teach him calculus. That works.

2. How many members of your family not living with you do you see during the holidays?

Usually none! :*(

3. When spending time with family, how long after you arrive do you begin to feel "antsy" about being there too long?

It depends on which family member, but like my mom-in-law says, "Fish and company start to stink after three days."

4. Does your family more generally get along at a holiday gathering or are there generally arguments?

Growing up, there was an argument for every holiday or special occasion. I really try to avoid that now. I don't want that to be my kids' memory of growing up.

5. Are you ever embarrassed by your family around friends?

Not anymore, now. As a kid, sure.

6. Of the celebrities that died in 2011, who will you miss the most?

Steve Jobs & Amy Winehouse

7. When you watch a movie in a movie theater, do you like the theater filled to capacity, halfway full, or nearly empty? Does your answer change depending on the type of movie you're seeing or do you feel the same way regardless of the movie or genre?

I prefer an empty theater. I'm short, and when it's full, someone tall always sits in front of me, and I can't see crap.

8. What’s one really cool/useful/nice thing you purchased for yourself this year?

It's a toss-up between my yarn shopping spree in Feb (or was it March?) and the cake spinner thingy that I bought when I started my now-on-hiatus cake business. That thing is rilly, rilly useful.

9. Are you in the holiday spirit yet?

I'm about 92¼ there. Tree and lights aren't up yet, so, I'm waiting on that to get fully in there.

Have a great weekend!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up here if you're fragmenting along with Mrs. 4444 this week!

I had, like, the worst headache ever yesterday, for half the day. Coincidentally or otherwise, I was also in the worst mood ever. Every single thing pissed me off royally. You ever get in that mood? I Hate it!! Even being mad makes me mad. Ah well. I'm over it now. But still, very annoying. I had to text Rob to steer clear, to give him fair warning!

We went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, for the third time, earlier this week. It was our early Christmas celebration. I enjoyed it immensely, though our budget for this trip was more strict than ever, because the kids were old enough to let loose in the waterpark. This allowed Rob and I to go on the more grown-up slides plenty of times without worrying about the kids. I gave them two rules: No leaving the waterpark area without a parent, and if you needed one of us, meet at our table and wait until one of us showed up. I checked back frequently, and it worked out well. Other than finding Sophia with some lifeguards getting a bandage after a scrape, there were no issues, and we all had a fantastic time. I've been SO stressed and anxious lately, and it was a nice little 24-hour escape from that for me. I needed it!  (Pictures to follow in a separate post.)

Speaking of GWL, while there, we gave Chloë her big Christmas present: a cell phone. She's SO excited about it and wants to use it like crazy, but we've reined her in pretty well. She understands, at ten, that there are strict rules about usage, but we felt that the time was right for her to have one, especially since we occasionally leave her home for very brief periods and don't have a landline. Peace of mind, basically. Do your kids have their own phones? How old were they when they got one?

Tonight, we're going to the Pumpkin Farm for their Christmas celebration, as part of a homeschool field trip. We went last year, too, to visit the farm animals, see the lights, and - to the kids' utter delight - roast marshmallows and hot dogs. They don't know yet that we're going, so it'll be a lovely surprise for them later in the day. Hopefully we can get plenty of school done first, since this week has largely been a bust on that front!

If you do yoga, can you give me some tips for getting started? I used to do it years ago, but it's been so long, I don't know where to get started. We have it on the Wii Fit, but the Wii Remote has vanished, so I can't do that, argh. I need to do it to help control my anxiety. I'm more worried I'll be stressed about my form, but I guess I just need to let that one go and concentrate on the breathing and meditation aspects, eh?

I guess that's all I've got for now. I think I'll go knit a hexipuff before getting back to the work I was doing before: getting my list of bills together. Exciting stuff, bills. The hexipuffs are way more fun:


001 (2)

On that note, see you next week and have a great weekend!


Aloha Friday


Link up here if you've got questions for Kailani and crew this week!

My question for you this week is:

How do you de-stress?

As for me, I tend to put in my headphones, zone out, and knit. My stress and anxiety levels are high right now, and I'm on meds, but my doctor just "prescribed" me 30 minutes of yoga per day. That was just the other day; I haven't started yet, but I plan to soon. Like, today. Hope it works!

Happy weekend. :)