Friday, October 31, 2008

Autumn asks: Halloween: Take it or Leave it? and pictures from the www

Halloween is one of those holidays that people seem to either LOVE or HATE. I know there are alot of people that LOVE it because from a retail standpoint, it is now more profitable to sell the Halloween stuff than it is to sell Christmas stuff. That's pretty amazing.

I personally don't have much use for Halloween. I don't hate it, and I don't love it. I wouldn't want it to go away...because I get a month of B rate horror movies to boot...but otherwise, who cares?

Yes, I know there are groups that use this night for untold evil...but anything humans touch have the potential for bad or evil. That's the world we live in.

When our kids are little we like to keep it low key...but as they get older I don't mind the Trick or Treating. They get lectured pretty good on staying out of trouble and told there are bad things that do go on, etc. They can't eat their candy until its checked (Don't forget to make sure and stay away from all Chocolate Coins this year!!). And we have lots of friends that don't celebrate Halloween and their kids aren't allowed to. It is important to me to teach my children why their friends don't go and to respect and support them in that decision.

Songbird will bring home some friends with her after school and they are all going to Trick or Treat in our neighborhood. DH is taking Mighty Mouse to a friends house for a little party. I'll stay behind and answer the door to pass out candy. And I'll look like a witch while doing it simply because I will be pulled away from some corny horror movie I'm trying to watch. LOL.

Speaking of which - I've enjoyed my fill this week.
These bats were so bad they didn't even look real. I spent more of the attack scenes belly laughing than not. Even Mighty Mouse wasn't impressed. And why did they have to paint/dye the main character to look like a Native American? Why not just use a Native American actor???
This is a 2007 movie. It was actually pretty good. Well, as good as it can be with PINK starring in it. I mean really.
Classic. Complete with corny love scenes. Loved it.

So how about you? Do you love or hate Halloween?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Autumn asks: Do your children do chores?

I used to think that everybody did chores while growing up. I mean, my parents explained to me how it was the way that families worked together. It's a shared responsibility on taking care of the home we live in, sleep in, eat in, etc. Kind of like being at work...everyone does there job. If someone sat around and did nothing would that be fair?

And of course we knew that our dad grew up on a farm with a father that was less than helpful at times. From a young age he was the one out in the fields plowing, weeding, watering, etc. At least we didn't have to do that! We had it easy! A kitchen, a bathroom, laundry (inside with a washer and dryer), vacuuming and dusting were really not that hard.

So we have our first child and start teaching him to do chores. He did little things until the age of 9 or 10, then he was given big chores. Big, like washing dishes. Big, like learning to help mow or edge the lawn. Big, like cleaning one of the bathrooms. Big, like keeping his room clean.
And as he hit teenage years we started having problems. Now, its not like these chores were done cheerfully or well. We had to stay on him and keep teaching. Every time. It wasn't fun. It would have been much easier to just do it myself.

Anyways, back to having problems. Bones friends did not do chores. ALL of them. No chores. Now, my son is attracted to "strays" (gets it from his mom) so all these friends were the products of broken homes and had moms that were working long hours, more often than not 2 jobs, and had strange schedules. Now throw visitation in there - assuming the ex even gave a hoot and wanted to see the kids. So mom is tired. I understand that. I'm sure when you are that beat down you really don't want to spend your time with your kids making them do chores...and re-do chores when they aren't done right.

So we had many a fight with our teenager over chores. It wasn't fun. NOBODY else does them! And then I would point out that NOBODY else will be able to take care of themselves or even go to college because they can't even be bothered to do are they going to make it through school???

So my son moved out and lives at college. He can do his own laundry. He is capable of cleaning every room in his apartment (I haven't gone in there so I don't know that he does - I'm thinking not). He can cook like you wouldn't believe. And do you know the kinds of things that went into that apartment with him? A rice cooker. A crockpot. A George Forman Grill. Dishes. Pots and pans. He was set. And he knows how to use every one of those things.

His friends? Well, one has gone to college and is still living at home while he does so. He works and is doing well. ALL THE OTHERS? Still live at home, work fast food and are pretty much exactly what we said they would be. AND ITS A WASTE. They are good kids. But no one taught them how to work, or why they should. Mom's were over-worked and dad's weren't dads.

And we have a candidate that is going to tax the workers to help support these people now? Good political lesson for my son - except I can't get the bonehead to register to vote and give a hoot. There is my big FAIL as a parent. JUST VOTE kid! I don't care for who! But his buds that are going they are voting...and know who they'd vote for.

How did this turn political? Moving on....

So now I have another teen and we are repeating the pattern. Lots of strays and then some friends that are second marriage or late in life babies that are very well taken care of. Mostly, no chores. And our daughter is MUCH WORSE about doing chores correctly, dragging her feet and being a big brat about the whole thing. But, so be it. I hate it, but it is necessary. She needs to be able to take care of herself and her home. Whether she actually does it or not is not my focus...its that she is able. Because she HAS been taught. And teaching is my job. What she does with the teaching is hers.

So I encourage those that haven't started teaching chores to consider it. It effects a lot more than just your house. It gives skills and confidence. It actually helps teach work ethic. It is worth the extra gray hair. And it teaches that mom is not a doormat to wipe your feet on -- she's someone to help out or work along side. You are teaching your sons respect for his future partner. You are teaching your daughters how to bless their families.

God bless the mother's that teach their children the daily chores of life. God bless the father's that teach their son's to work in the yard, carve a turkey and work on cars (even if that means teaching how often to take the car for an oil change and how to change a tire and check pressure only). And for all of you that haven't hit the teenage years yet, BE PREPARED. The world is working against you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Autumn asks: Am I the only one....

We met DH at the library after work/school today. It closes at 6pm so I made a picnic dinner to eat at a park. Came up with a cool recipe for a meat/veggie filling that I baked inside dough (think Hot Pocket) and then just timed them to come out of the oven right before the girls and I left, wrapped them in foil to keep them warm and off we went.

We ate at a playground by the river. The girls played for a bit afterwards and then we took a family walk by the river. Weather was great. Might Mouse didn't eat her orange before she went to play so I put it away.

So we go to get in the car to go home and MM wants her orange. I tell her she can have it as soon as we get home - but she couldn't eat it in the car so she would have to wait.

Big mistake. But it is not negotiable. I'm not having orange juice and stain in the van.

So begins the ride home with a child that will not take no for an answer. You also can't tell her to be quiet or drop just makes her complain/cry worse. You can not threaten, sweet talk or bribe her to shut up or give it up.

So the screaming starts.

So here is how mean of a parent I am. First, she gets a warning that if she doesn't stop it I will turn my music on.

Doesn't work.

So I switch it to front speakers only and TURN IT UP. She gets madder, and increased volume. Ditto for mom. And this goes on until she is screaming like you would not believe this tiny thing can scream. And I'm listening to the music at a level I haven't enjoyed since Jr. High.

But I win. Except I'm paranoid at stoplights. The booming cars have nothing on me. Get lots of strange looks. I always cross my fingers that there isn't a cop at the intersection. I can see explaining a noise pollution ticket to my husband....

We arrive at home and Songbird stumbles out of the car and runs away. DH wants to know how this happened since everything was fine as we were leaving the park. MM continues to scream non-stop.

I peel the orange and she eats. She's now been warned by dad that a repeat offense will result in going to her room with the door closed. She finished the orange and starts screaming again. She doesn't ASK for another orange, which is what she wants, just starts screaming.

DH puts her in her room. Now we have a 20 minute struggle to keep her there (she has extreme fear issues so its a creative dance on our part).

And then it crashes in the living room floor.

Thank you God.

Good night you little monster.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn asks: Don't you dread kid haircuts?

haircut n : the act, process, or result of cutting and shaping the hair

evil eye n: an eye or glance held capable of inflicting harm: also a person believed to have such an eye or glance v.: an act of visual abuse when mother's stick camera's in children's faces

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Autumn asks: Do you have a good film developer?

Crazy, but one of the things I miss the very most about Omaha, is the guy that developed my film. Well, not the guy, but the job he did. The clean fluid and bright, astounding colors made it look like I actually knew what I was doing.

Since moving here I have been very, very, very unhappy with my attempts at developing. The pictures from last Christmas almost made me cry. My husband and son had bright pink cheeks...and noses. Looked like a family of chronic alcoholics!! No joke!

That is why you see some strange photos in my collection. I try to find some color contrasts and see what the next developer will do. And I think I finally found a decent place. A Walmart of all places. They are usually notorious for dirty fluid and artifacts on the pictures.

If any of my friends in this area happen to know a good place, please pass it on.


It is finally cool enough to really go out and play in the back yard. Mighty Mouse and I have been spending lots of time out there. We were able to scrounge up a couple of Adirondeck chairs from a neighbor that was moving and getting rid of them...which I bought some cushions for and I can sit outside in comfort, with a frosty beverage and a book while Mighty Mouse plays in her clubhouse and tears up the landscaping. Good times.

Of course I have to keep my feet up to avoid the fire ants...but that's Texas for you.

And the pink is not washed out to white. Shock! And the red!

The rat. Songbird carries this thing like a baby. Upside down with his legs in the air. Now, the rest of us aren't allowed to do this. But then, the rest of us don't let him sleep in our bed either.

My goodness! True colors! Can I throw a party for this? It makes me that happy!!

Yes, I plant peppers along with my flowers. The colors are better. Plus, there is the extra comic factor of watching DH eat one. Hasn't he ever heard that size doesn't matter???

Anyone have any good spicy vinegar recipes I could use these babies in?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Round Top Picture Post

I'm still addicted to my 35mm camera. Yes, the digital is fun, but it just doesn't feel the same. Whatever that means.

Anyways...a sample of my strange picture taking....

I wish this one came out better. The sunlight streaming through this whole display of purple glass was really neat. I should have waited until the sun was down a little more and it wasn't so bright so the purple would have come through more.

It's always fun to see the ways the vendors will throw different pieces together to attract attention.

You probably wouldn't guess this one on your own. It's a table full of those wooden molds. I think they were mostly used for cookies and maybe breads. My mom has a neat one she brought home from Holland. She hung it in the kitchen and it looks neat. When I go back I want to find a couple of cool ones and copy her.

The strange booth. You have to have them. Yes, she was selling old, dirty, doll heads. It was kinda creepy. I mean really, take a minute and concentrate on a few of them. Disturbing, no? And better about a Chandelier full of doll heads??

And finally, part of my haul. I love green.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Autumn asks: Is it time for a rant???

I think it is. Be warned. You might just want to pass this post by and not read any farther.

This all starts as I am reading my all time favorite blog. She knows who she is. And she had a bad day that ended in a speeding ticket. Man, that stinks. So I went to leave her a comment on how sorry I was about her bad day and how I did the same thing once.....and while passing through the comments to get to the link, I read them.

I was completely shocked. Of course I foolishly assumed that most of the other women reading this blog were Christian as the blog has a Christian slant. So yes, I was really shocked.

You would not believe the name calling and angry words toward the officer that was doing exactly what he is paid to do. There was even a comment on how the officer's wife would not approve or something to that extent.


I want to make it clear that the blog entry did not do this - it was the comments. At no time did the original poster imply that the cop actually did something wrong. We are clear on that, right? This post has NOTHING to do with my friend.


So, this has bothered me for days. Really. So I had to ask myself, why is this bothering you so much? It isn't even about you nor does it have anything to do with you at all.

But it does.


Because there is one situation in life when I loath other women - and those comments explain it all!

Elementary school driving moms.

Why is it that women picking up kids at elementary schools (Jr High and High School I never had this problem at) are so horrible?

Why do women think the law or rules no longer apply to them when they become a mom? And manners are no longer required???

Why should moms not get speeding tickets if they are speeding to pick up a child they forgot was getting out of school early? Or speeding to pick up from daycare before the penalty for being late kicks in?

Get this. At an elementary school that my son and one daughter attended, a mother rammed other cars to get out of the place she was boxed into because she didn't want to wait (following the set pattern). She enrolled her child in another school and never came back - probably a very good thing. Of course the school turned her name over to the police and justice was served...but SERIOUSLY!!!

Why does picking up kids at an elementary school make women rude? I mean very rude. No rules apply to them. Driving by the school on your way home (if you don't have a kid there) becomes a scary event in your day. People park in clearly marked no parking places or on curbs that leave other drivers blind and taking a risk to pull out and clear the lot.


I used to shudder every time I passed these schools and saw the crazy ladies. And now that MM has speech 2x a week I see it on Mondays. Her appointment is at 3pm so the pre-k and kindergarten moms are there to pick up their kids.

I have to drive into the exit only side of the parking lot to even go in and park. Every time. Flashbacks. And next year MM starts in on this. BUT, I will not drive. Can you say BUS. I won't deal with these crazy people. And yes, it is almost 100% women. Not men. Anyways, I'll be canceling our Monday sessions this week because nothing is worth that.

Are you ready for the excuses that will be used?

1. My child will be afraid if I'm late.

Yes, if you think they will, they probably will (you know your child better than anyone). I have a child with a spirit of fear so I understand this. I have sped in this situation. I WOULD NOT call the officer names for not letting me off if I was pulled over. I broke the rules, I pay the price. THAT is the way it is designed, for a reason.

2. My school does not have a large enough parking lot.

And so? Where in the Constitution are you promised a large school parking lot? What? You aren't? No kidding? And if they have land to expand, either they haven't hit you in the tax pocketbook yet(do you vote to increase your school taxes at election time?), or they are saving up for what it cost to pave a parking lot. It's huge.

3. The way pick-up is designed at my school is stupid.

I've seen good, and I've seen really, really bad all over the states. If you don't like it, this is America, propose a new way, go to the school board meetings and get involved. You do not have a right to terrorize a neighborhood because you don't like the set up. You need a ticket. You probably even need to loose your license.

4. You don't understand.....

No, I probably understand exactly. It probably sounds something like
-the baby won't sleep through the night so I'm sleep deprived
-2 kids have the flu
-the washer flooded the basement
-we are going to be late for a doctor appointment
-someone has some kind of sports practice right after school on the other side of town..and you are out of gas
-I need to get home and start dinner so it will be on the table by the time DH gets home
-we have company coming and the house is a mess


WE ALL HAVE THAT LIFE. It does not make us exempt from manners, social skills or laws and rules.

Here's the real kicker. These women will scream up and down they are taking care of /protecting their kids. But what about all the kids they put in danger with their rule breaking? What? They don't count?

We lived in a neighborhood that I felt completely safe letting my older two walk home in, EXCEPT for the fear of one of the elementary moms running them down. That is not a joke. They even ran the stop signs on my block almost every day. And not just one of them.

My disclaimer: Not all mothers are like this. But. There are more of the crazy ladies than there are of the rule following, keep all kids safe kind of moms. At least at the schools I've had my kids in so far. And they have been very, very good schools.

For moms that don't have their kids in school yet...please be prepared. I hope for all of your sake that you end up at that school that does everything smoothly, has plenty of parking lot room and the mom's with manners far outweigh the ones without.

And by the way, these same ladies that can be satan incarnate behind the wheel, are usually very pleasant when removed from said vehicle - I haven't figured that out yet. It's a total Jeckle and Hyde thing.

And before you guys start hitching up your pants, sticking your thumbs in your belt loops and elbowing each other...I could so outdo this post if I started talking about men drivers. Not around schools...but everywhere else. And if you doubt that, just take a look at how much more typical men drivers pay in insurance that typical women drivers. The insurance stats don't lie.

Be safe mom's. Your kids are watching.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Down Time

I'm going to be away from the computer for a little bit. I hope to be posting again by the weekend if all goes well.

To Angela, Claire and Barb - a big thank you for the CD's. Yes, Angela, you do have the special talent of mixing good stuff. A+ material!

And Dona - I really loved the card. I think I will tape it to my bathroom mirror to greet me each morning.

Hope everyone out there is enjoying the fall weather!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I've been Tagged

Heather at Wanting What You Have tagged me today.

The instructions are:

* Go to your Sixth Picture Folder then pick your Sixth Picture.

* Pray that you remember the details.

* Tag 5 others.

The details: Feb 2008. Chinese New Year. Mighty Mouse and her friend Little Miss Sunshine. Before moving to Texas I found out there was another Foshan Nanhai baby in the area and we made contact. The girls are 4 months apart in age and love to get together for play dates.

I've never tagged anyone before (oh the pressure!!!) but I'll give it a shot this time.

1. Kylie at Bus Driver
2. Donna at Confessions of a Crazy Lady
3. Carrie at with all I've been given
4. Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom
5. Rose at Growing Colin

Autumn asks: Have you ever been worthy of the Worst Mother of the Year Award?

I am the winner of the Worst Mother of the Year award today. I have been a bad mom to both girls. Get your phones ready to call it in. It's not pretty.

Last night Mighty Mouse and I were alone as Songbird and DH went on an all night fun fest with the youth group at church. I think they did pizza, bowling, movies and skating. MM fell asleep on the couch in her clothes because I was doing my own little movie fest...
Yep... a monster movie night. Vintage 1968.Complete with girl falling out of her shirt. Really! There must have been duct tape in most of those scenes cause NOBODY'S shirt shows that much...all smooshed together. Did they have duct tape in 1968?The giant crab thing that fights the giant scorpion. The one eyed- octopus. Well, he was more interesting than the killer seaweed.

Also, Made of Honor was not too bad. But please! She would not have left the Scottish Duke.

Anyways, youngest child was put to bed in her clothes. At about 8am Songbird and her daddy crawled in. Songbird went to bed knowing that she could only have a 2 hour nap because she had Girl Scouts at 11:00am.

Now, this kind of relates to the Overwhelmed post. We are smack in the middle of a life lesson for Songbird. I'm trying to teach her not to over-schedule herself and why. So I wake her up at 10:00. She cried. She wailed. She was awful. The drama gene was in full swing.

So I told her fine - go back to bed.

She got quiet. I peeked to make sure she hadn't fallen asleep on the spot...but she was just sulking. No more tears and drama but serious pouting and ugly, ugly face. So she decided she needed to go to her meeting but she wasn't going to be graceful about it or anything.

About this time DH fell out and crashed. I had planned on leaving Mighty Mouse home with him while I ran Songbird out to her meeting. She is scampering around the yesterday's clothes still.

At the last minute I decide I had better take MM with me because DH is sleeping so hard and I don't want to come home between drop-off and pick-up of Songbird. Two hours is a long time to leave a 4 year old with a sleeping parent. So she gets thrown in the car...IN YESTERDAYS CLOTHES. Yes, I took my poor child out in public in the same clothes (unwashed) two days in a row. That is beyond gross. gets better.

So my older child is still putting on the "poor me" show. She's now crying about how she won't be able to stay awake during the meeting. Hey, I told her to go back to bed - want does she want from me????

Some caffeine is in order. I pulled into the corner store and bought her a Dr. Pepper........

....and No-Doz.


I gave a 13 year old No-Doz.

And I dropped her off at scouts...with a quick warning to her leader. (Oh my and look at her face she says). I also assure her leader that I am staying in town so if it gets too ugly for words to call me and I'd come get my little sleepy headed monster. But, when I returned to pick her up she was knee deep in participating and doing just fine. So hopefully I won't be in jail long.

So there you have it.

Bad, bad mother.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn asks: Are you an overwhelmed Mom?

This subject keeps popping up in my life this month. Lots of women are blogging about being overwhelmed. Then there is the mom that went in to work and left her 2 year old in the backseat - which ended tragically. She was overwhelmed in a big way. And a mistake of being out of routine and sleep deprived cost her in a way that can never be fixed. (Not making excuses for the women, but come on, how many of you have forgotten to buckle the kid in the carseat after being distracted? I'm raising my hand here.)

I am very thankful to say that the majority of the time I am not overwhelmed. I can only say this because we made the choice for me to stay home with the kids. If I had to work and do all this I would be a complete basket case. I know this about myself. I've lived this. It is not a good place to be. Not that being so tight financially is pleasant - its not! But I can work with that since we did not have debt going into this. I wish every mother at least had the chance to make this choice, but sadly, not all do. And for my lady friends that work or they would be overwhelmed at home...YOU GO GIRL!

I'd like to say I have some great advice for those that are know, a solution.

Can't help you.

I know for my own life I have to make sure I am not overcommited outside the home. So far I have not had that problem....because I've seen so many that have done this. Some of my most favorite people in life do this. And its all good stuff - serving the church, your kids school, etc. I have also noticed those people tend not to be as happy as the women that are not overcommited. That's not to say they aren't happy -- but they are TIRED. Its hard to hit the extreme highs and zero in on the little, little joys when you just want to go to bed.

Right now, I have a friend that is about to take on a 2 1/2 year old and his 4 month old twin sisters while both parents are in Iraq for a year (no other family that can take the kids). Although they feel led by God to do this, she is also feeling like she just might be crazy. Why? Well, they have already raised one set of kids...and have several grandchildren. And they have already raised a second set of kids...the youngest of who is almost an adult and moving out of the house. They are not young. And there are several Christian friends that have challenged her over this. Not an easy place to be. Not sure why everyone else thinks they know what is too much for my friend......dare I say Pharisee's?
The absolutely fantastic group of ladies I've come to know wanted to throw a shower for our friend. We are thrilled for her - the story goes much deeper than I'm sharing, but its not my story to share. Since they foster children they really have everything they need. Plus, they will have the kids stuff and the mom and dad will be sending money to support the kids.

So our extremely smart leader came up with the idea of each of us picking out our favorite scripture and framing it so she could put them all over the house to see and read when she is feeling tired and overwhelmed. Talk about a great gift! And I had a great time trying to decide what to use. Moms, the Bible is full of verses you can use this way!

So, if you know a friend that feels overwhelmed sometimes, consider this quick gift idea. I know I'd love to receive this kind of gift!And now I'm off to pretend I'm not overwhelmed today. Because, you see, I have not cleaned up MM's mess from 3 days ago. And the rat dog peed on my bed this morning. That means dragging the steam cleaner out to clean the bed...which means I might as well do the carpets since I already have it out and have cleaner in it.

But really, I know I'm not overwhelmed.

Because I didn't kill the dog.

And because I have not considered a match as the way to tackle MM's room.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Autumn asks: Messy kids, anyone?

Yep, that about sums up my day.

And who do you think is REALLY going to clean that up?

Now you have another clue as to why she is Mighty Mouse. That tiny little thing has BIG presence. Today, it appears she is Hurricane Mighty Mouse....long past tropical storm....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

She Made the Vocal Team

Anyone with a teenage daughter knows about ups and downs. Crazy ups and down. Stupid ups and downs. Confusing ups and downs. Funny ups and downs. The ups can be rather annoying -- and the downs will run the rest of the family out of the house...screaming and pulling their hair.

This post is an up. A small history is required.

Songbird spent the last year participating in a Christian dance (hip/hop) group at our church. This group is called Motion. It has been great fun to see them perform at church. They also go out into the community and put on performances...and then join the crowd and make friends. They share their message of faith with the crowd. The neat thing about that is they are trained on how to share their story and get it down to a 1-2 minute testimony. This is an important skill to have. Nobody wants to be stuck with the rambler, the mystical, the unclear or the Holier Than Thou message.

Anyways. Songbird picked up the dances pretty quick and had a great time. I got to see my teen doing something physically active, with other Christians, and it didn't cost. But, as singing is Songbirds passion, she really did want to be on the vocal team.

This year she tried out for vocal team. I waited on pins and needles waiting to hear if she made it. She wasn't making a real big deal out of it...but you could tell it was very important. And the Doubting Thomas in me wondered how badly this was going to shake things disappointed she was going to be. How were we going to pull her out of her funk? What bribes could we use to put a smile on her face.

She made it.

I'm quite sure I was much more shocked and surprised than she was. Not that she can't sing...because she really can. But there were about 8 slots...and I know on the dance team there were over 30 kids. I have no idea how many tried out for vocals...but I know it was more than 8. And this is one huge bunch of talented kids.

And the coolest part of this is that she gets to work under our Worship Pastor, Gary Rhodes. As in "My Utmost for His Highest" and "A Christmas to Remember" composer Gary Rhodes. He has won the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award. And I love seeing what he will lead us in each is always different - he's so diverse.

What an incredible thing this is for her.

My daughter is having an incredible 13th year. Even if she is sure everyone hates her at school (this week). And can scream and cry at the drop of a hat. And hates her hair. And hates her freckles.

I would never, ever, ever, want to be 13 again.