Friday, November 30, 2007

Restaurant menu horrors

One look at this list on MSNBC and you'll want to ban eating out in your family forever. Be careful,'s a restaurant jungle out there.

(And if you're like me you'll breathe a sigh of relief that your fav. menu item did not make the list. So that makes it okay to eat. Right?)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Barney wields his power

As of this evening, Barney the Dinosaur has inadvertantly raised the Christmas decorations bar at my house. And the design of our house itself.

First, there was Mickey's request to "have Barney come out of the TV and help us decorate..."

Then, the "workers" need to "build us a house like that one..."

"That one" would be the IMAGINARY house in the "Barney's Christmas" video (thanks grandma) that my boys have been watching over and over since, um, August. But now it's actually relevant content, which is not at all lost on Mickey. I guess pretty soon he's going to start asking for smiling, singing children in his living room, too.

But I'd almost rather come up with that than bake gingerbread cookies. Blech.

What's next...a headstand?

Every night I go into Alex's room after he's fallen asleep and put him back together: zip up pajamas, reattach diaper, pillow off the face, etc.

Most of the time I don't move him from wherever he is positioned in the crib, figuring he fell asleep that way so he must be comfortable. But last night I had to draw the line...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WFMW: Storing decor to make room for Christmas

When you get your Christmas decorations out of their boxes, use those boxes to store your everyday decor to make room for Christmas items.

To make room for my Christmas decorations, I used to stuff my framed pictures and figurines (and believe me, that term is used loosely) into nooks and crannies in my kitchen cabinets. This year, I used my Christmas storage boxes to store these items in my garage until after the holidays. They won't be damaged by heat and it's not that long to have my precious boys' pictures put away...I think.

For more useful tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to life

Love the family, love the holiday, love the food.

Love getting back to normal.

Except for Mickey getting way sick yesterday morning, it was a fun-filled weekend for everyone. And last night I cliched myself into wrestling with tangled Christmas lights for about 45 minutes, but I prevailed and they now grace our new tree. The ornaments? Not so much just yet...although getting through today without pulling out all my ornaments with the boys so eager to help is going to be a lost battle.

Oh, and as far as winning the holiday battle against food (and by the way, why are all the cooks in my family Paula Deens and not Ellie Mae Clampetts?!), I would say I suffered quite a blow. But, I was back at the gym this morning with all the other guilty parties...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Anniversary

Thanksgiving. It’s a day on which we’re taught to give thanks. Sounds simple enough.

Today, however, is more than just Thanksgiving Day for me. It’s the one-year anniversary of the day Pete came home from the hospital after battling a pulmonary embolism for seven days.

Actually, he’d probably been fighting it a lot longer than that. Prior to riding in an ambulance to the hospital from a doctor’s appointment, he had been short of breath and had weird pains in his chest. No telltale signs of a heart attack, mind you. But not being able walk up the stairs or to his truck in the driveway without stopping to rest. The shortness of breath was consistent and worsening daily.

What’s that they say about hindsight…it’s almost tragic to think about here. To be brutally honest, we ignored all those very obvious signs. We thought somehow his symptoms would magically disappear. He’d been to the doctor before but for some reason his condition was not detected until that day a year and a week ago (through no fault of the doctors, we believe).

I’ll spare you all the details and ominous things the doctors and nurses told us during our Seven Days of Hell (save for this: when our priest visited us in the hospital, his first comment to me was “…when I hear about a parishioner with a pulmonary emboli, it’s usually after he’s died…” We chuckled nervously, but he didn’t know how much I was teetering between a smile and tears.)

But later on today, there will be only happiness tears during the blessing at Thanksgiving dinner (just a prediction). And I'll want to say thanks again: to God for bringing him home safely. To our families and friends who so quickly made me realize how lucky we are to have them. And even to my boys…for being so young and thinking they were getting so much attention from their grandmas and aunts just because they’re cute.

Today is all about being thankful and appreciating the life you have. Well, this mom and wife appreciates it all right...more than anyone will ever know. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hug your loved ones today.

(P.S. I'll be taking a blogging break during the holiday...I'll let you know next week if I gave Thanksgiving Dinner the same treatment as I did Halloween candy. But ooooohhhh, that Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting I just made...)

A family holiday needs a family movie: "The Pursuit of Happyness"

If you and your relatives find yourselves sitting around staring at each other sometime during this holiday, consider renting The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith. It's one of my favorites of the past year or so...and certainly will make you thankful for what you have. It is the story of Chris Gardner and how he fought to bring himself and his son back from homelessness. A beautiful and inspirational and not-cheesy story. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: The Results Show

Um. I won. The contest. Seems the number of times contestants visited the gym during the contest period was factored into the winning score. I'm a little embarrassed, having only lost seven pounds in eight weeks. But apparently my effort was enough to impress the fitness center judges.

So woo-hoo! I had comments to this question before, but now I'm serious: what would you do with 100 guilt-free smackers at the biggest mall in Oklahoma? (Assume it has any store you're thinking about.) Shoes? Purse? Jewelry? Cinnabons? How would YOU spend it?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Email should be ashamed.

I bet I'm not the only one among you who has established an additional, free email account for contests and web freebies.

I am?

Well anyway, I recently established another one. My other contest/junk email address actually had the word "junk" in it and I started to feel a twinge of meanness each time I used it. What?! Web sites do too have feelings!

Now all that's not the point of my post. So I got this new email address at, say 9:00 a.m. By 10:00, not kidding, I had my first email...from a "Nigerian." The one that promises you fortune if you'll just help them get their inheritance to the U.S. Or some such nonsense.

One hour, people, is all it took for one of these freakishly-strong machines to comb the Internet for my new, totally made up out of my little brain, email address.


Be careful out there...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The name's Friday. Black Friday.

If you are up to the challenge and up at 5 a.m. next Friday, head over here now to preview some already-released ads* for the mother of all shopping days. It's enough to make you want to drag your turkey-weary booty out of bed, forego the make-up (but not the shower...c'mon people), and venture out into the melee. No hitting or hair-pulling, please...

And be sure to come back with something for me 'cause I'll still be asleep.

* Thanks to my friend Pat who sent me the link. She and I did not research the legitimacy of all the ads so please don't come running to us if your TMX Elmo isn't $5.99 like the ad said.

WFMW: Spill-resistent fast-food milk

When your toddler gets a bottle of milk with a fast-food meal (since that makes the whole meal healthful, right?), punch a hole in the top of the foil liner and insert a straw.

Confession time. My two toddlers know the golden arches well. And Sonic. And Braum's. They don't, however, drink soda (yet). Most fast-food restaurants now offer milk of some kind that comes with a lid and a foil liner. Simply punch a hole in the liner with a plastic knife or your thumbnail and insert a straw. Works great for keeping spills to a minimum and it's faster than wrestling the liner off when time is short.

For more incredibly useful tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 8 of 8

(Where'd Week 7 Go?)

This morning was the final weigh-in for the Biggest Loser contest at my gym. So, can I get a drum roll? I lost a whopping seven pounds in eight weeks. Not much. In fact, I was ready to run out of the gym screaming. And then this news:

My body fat decreased from 39% to 25%.

In only eight weeks! I had no idea such a drastic change could happen that fast. The bottomline, though is that my overall Fitness Score increased from 54 to 72. Enough to win the contest? I doubt it (official results next week). Enlightening and encouraging? Yes, without a doubt.

Even if I only lost seven pounds, it's clear that this workout regime I've subjected myself to is actually doing some good to this body. So yes, I'm going to keep doing it, and yes, I'm going to keep watching what I eat, and YES, I'm going to lose the rest of these unwanted pounds.

But NO, I'm not going to keep posting my progress. Ya'll hold the applause, please...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fall and the holy (play)ground

That last picture may not seem like it belongs here but I wanted to post it anyway since I took it with the rest. No, it is not our backyard. Our house does not have a backyard...instead, a very lovely deck. But it's not a good play area for the boys to run and throw things at each other.

This gorgeous setting belongs to our church. The church that is within walking distance from our house. And that green stuff on the ground? Oh no, it is not simply grass, but mudless, water-resisent astroturf. The whole area is fenced in and most of it is shaded. And there are benches for the lazy grown-ups. And our priest has told me more than once we are more than welcome to come over any time.

In short, that last pic is heaven on earth for two toddlers.

This new playground was completed, let's see, about three months after Alex started walking. The timing on such a gift to us, I mean, the parish, was unbelieveable. Allowing even just two small boys (I've been watching Jon and Kate Plus 8) to play outside is like herding cats, and having a place so close to us where I could relax and let them play was and is priceless.

And on Thanksgiving Day last year, when we didn't travel to our families' because of Pete's hospital stay, it was our post-dinner destination. There are already so many memories for us there...and a few dings in that fence, I might add (but don't tell the priest).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What I learned this week

-- Christmas shopping when it's 73 degrees outside isn't very much fun. But having ten gifts knocked off your list before Thanksgiving is bliss.

-- If your son gets carsick while riding down a freeway and you have to let the "sick" soak in for 10 minutes while you break the sound barrier to get home, it's bad. Carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner, Febreze, and Car Jars help a lot. So does a husband who likes to clean and take car seats apart.

-- I was off a week on the Biggest Loser contest, so I found out the final weigh-in is next Tuesday. I hope I don't need to eat before then.

-- Cooking with red bell pepper did not kill me or my family. It was actually quite wonderful. Go here and see what I mean.

-- I had more blog posts in October than any month ever in the history of this blog. I'm not sure how that happened since there are still 24 hours in the day. My early New Year's resolution is to get some posts with substance out here. Or at least a useful tidbit once in a while.

-- Duh.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Biggest Loser Update: Week 6 of 8

Crunch time, people, in every sense of the word. I lost a whole pound this week, instead of just a half. Woo-hoo. But, considering the weekend of celebrating Radar's birthday like it was my own, I think losing a pound is not too shabby.

I wonder if the boys at the gym realize that Week 8 of the Biggest Loser contest, the final week, is Thanksgiving: only the biggest food-oriented holiday of the year. I think it's some sort of cruel joke.

Oh, well. As they say, and I hate it when "they" say it, I have to keep doing what I'm doing and not be so impatient. It is a slow process but if I keep going I know I'll see results.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A trip to ? on a rocketship

Tonight at bedtime Mickey asked me to tell him a story. So I start out like I usually do:

Once upon a time there were two little boys named...

Mickey and Alex.

Okay, Mickey and Alex. And Mickey and Alex were going on an adventure.

No, a trip.

Mickey and Alex were going on a trip. To the beach.

No, I don't like the beach.

Why don't you like the beach?

Because there's fish that swim in the beach water.

Yes, but they don't swim by the people. They like to swim by themselves.


So Mickey and Alex are going on a trip. Where do you think they would like to go?

Well, they can't go without a grown-up.

What grown-up will they take with them?

Mommy and Daddy.

Okay. So Mickey and Alex are going on a trip and they're taking their mommy and daddy with them. Where are they going?

On a rocketship.

What will they do on the rocketship?

They won't have any toys. But they'll have a play area for us.

What will mommy and daddy do on the rocketship?

Well, work.

Where will we sleep on the rocketship?

Well, we'll stay at the place where they make rocketships.

What will we eat while we're at the rocketship?

Well, we'll drive to get something and then come back to the rocketship.

How long will we stay at the place where they make rockets?

Four nights. Then we'll come home.

...and they say making up bedtime stories is hard.

The Fall Ya'll Giveaway is Over!

The winner of my giveway is Melissa Neece! Congratulations, Melissa. Don't spend it all in one...oh, sorry. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Personal: Happy Birthday, Radar!

Today is my little sister's 40th birthday. Except she will not start acting or looking 40 until she's at least 50. She's always been like that...on her 20th birthday she looked 10. I don't think that's really funny, but you get the idea.

Happy Birthday, girl, and have fun today not hearing "lordy, lordy..."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Take THAT, Halloween candy!

That's the treatment I gave Halloween candy this week. I ate none of it. Not so much as one M&M. No Whoppers, Skittles, Reese's, Twizzlers (who you think are diet-worthy because they are fat-free, but beware the chocolate friends they hang out with), Tootsie rolls, or Hershey's mini's. I figuratively crushed them all. That battle is won! The war, however, continues...

The boys, on the other hand, have been having a blast...candy every day is a major deal for them. And I must say it's been quite the motivating tool around here. Is that a bad thing?