Saturday, October 31, 2009

No Power... no problem

We woke up this morning to a very dark, cold house. Our power went out during the night. When our power goes out that means that we have no lights... or water... or heat. It also means also there is no TV, no internet, no cooking and no flushing either!! We called the electric company... they had no idea how long it would be before the power was restored. Pepper and I decided that taking the kids to an early matinee was the best option. We saw Coraline... which I had never seen before, but I liked it.

We came home after another call to the power company...they said we should have power restored by 6 PM...and a quick run through McDonald's. We went home and got things organized for Halloween. Pepper, Dad D and the kids all carved pumpkins. (I do not like that activity... so I took pictures) and put the finished Jack-o-lanterns on the porch. (dad D's pumpkin is the posted one!) We had minimal power through the afternoon. Then it went out again. When we rechecked with the power company first they said it was fixed... it wasn't. Then they said it would be fixed between 11 and 1 AM. :( It was actually up and 100% sometime between when we left to trick or treat and when we got home. (Yea!!) It would NOT have been fun to come home from trick or treating in the dark with no power.

Here are some of the best things we saw in our neighborhood....

A sumo wrestler suit that was mostly deflated
Michael Phelps
a cute little yellow Peep
an OctoMom... with 8 baby dolls
Little girl in a sparkling power suit
a carved pumpkin that was used as a light post
The hanging Scarecrow that scared the heck outta Pete
and the kids kindergarten teacher with her 3 daughters.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Halloween. I'm gonna go check the candy and see if there are any questionable ones that I need to take out of the kids stash. :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Parades

I attended two school halloween parades today. One at the school I work at and one at Dill's school. I have a complaint... they changed the music! Every other year the parades have always been to the Monster Mash. How can anyone not be in the Halloween spirit with Monster Mash blaring over the school PA system? This year, at my school they had creaky doors and drum sounds, and some generic spooky music.... I did not like it at all. Then I went to Dill's school (That is the Wizard costume Dill made in this blog picture!) they had NO music. The kids just walked around and waved. In their defense, their parade is usually outside but the weather was not agreeable so the parade was inside. But since it was inside this year..... bring on the monster Mash!! "I was workin' in the lab late one night......" :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Its costume hunting time again... Our three oldest all wanted to dress up in black fish net stockings and skimpy dresses. They have fake lip piercings and very dark eye make-up... I guess they are dressing up like some sort of Emo singers. Maybe Avril Lavigne when she is depressed or Madonna back when she was with Sean Penn. They all put their own costumes together, so I did not say too much. I guess I am just happy that they don't dress that way every day!!

We suggested to Pete that he go as a football player... since he already had the uniform. He said that would be fine, except he wanted to go as something bloody. I guess it a 6th grade boy thing. We suggested a bloody football player... he loved the idea and asked if he could cut his old football in half so it would look like it was coming out of his brain. Hey, whatever floats his boat!!

Dill has not felt well for the last couple days and is going a bit stir crazy since he has been home from school. He actually made his own costume. He cut two holes in a piece of blue satin to make a cape then took yellow and black felt to make stars and moons to decorate it. He is a wizard. He is even using a leftover bag of his sister's spider web string to make a beard. I can't wait to see the final product!

This Halloween reminds me of the Halloween's I had as a kid. My Mother did not believe in "Buying" costumes for us. Unfortunately she wasn't much of a seamstress either!! Every year we had a choice of a ghost (she didn't mind sacrificing a white sheet or two for the cause) a gypsy (always fun to get to go through Mom's jewelry box and get to wear all of her cheap stuff) or a superhero (usually an old pair of pajama's and a towel for a cape). Ok, we weren't very creative back then, but we had fun and still got lots of candy and treats! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Canned Sunshine

When I was about 10, my Uncle Larry brought home a souvenir for my sisters and I from Florida. Opening up his bag, he pulled regular looking soup cans with labels that said “Canned Florida Sunshine”. My parents laughed and said they thought these were the most clever things ever… my sisters and I were less than thrilled. I waited until everyone went to sleep then got up and found a can opener…. Life is full of disappointments.

This time of the year, when I leave for work before the sun comes up and get home as it is getting dark I really wish for a little of that canned sunshine.....

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Pepper and I went to a conference in Tipp City, Ohio for the last two days. It is the second time I went, first time for Pepper. It is an extremely well run conference. The place is actually quite amazing. It is a huge mega church in the middle of the Dayton suburbs. One of the fund raisers they have been doing is called, “Its not YOUR birthday” The pastor challenged the congregation to match the funds they spent on themselves for Christmas with a donation to the poor and starving people in Darfur. The first year the congregation came up with thousands of dollars. It was an amazing project.

What is even more amazing is how much we as Americans have and spend. Why do we have gifts for each other on Christmas morning? Why so many? Why do I feel compelled to spend so much on my children? My siblings? My extended family and friends? Quite often I have to ask friends and relatives what they want and then just go out and buy things for them. And they do the same. We all have cars. We could all just get what we want if we want it so bad.

I really do want to cut WAY BACK this year. Now, we say this every year…. It doesn’t really work. If we spent just $10 on everyone we bought gifts for, the amount would still run over $400… and we spend at least three times that amount. I suggested to Val last year that we try to at least make a donation to a charity “in the same ballpark” as what we spend on ourselves and family. We did try. And we talked about doing something for the community together as a family. We tried that too.

I am not sure how to make significant cut backs in what we spend at Christmas this year. We do not know how to change things with our family and friends. We do not want it to feel like a ‘punishment’ to our kids… but really- do we want them to learn that getting material things is all that Christmas is about? We want to replace all the store-bought-gifts-ripped-open-in-5-minutes routine with something better. I welcome any suggestions…..

check this out, it explains more than I ever could...

The Sudan Project

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Easy As Pie.

Megamom has been talking about her daughters new sport…. Baton twirling. She was just in a parade and loved the sparkling costumes, the little tattoo she got to wear and all the excitement around her (and I am talking about how excited Megamom gets talking about it, I am sure her daughter was excited too!!) It actually reminded me of my own mother who was also a baton twirler in high school.

Mom used to get her fire baton out every fall when I was young. She kept it in a corner of the garage, so it was usually while the whole family was cleaning that we would come across it. We all begged her to show us how to do it. It really never took to much convincing for her to say yes. (I think it was probably a combination of wondering if she still ‘had it’ and getting out of cleaning the garage for a while.) Dad would always have fuel to put in it and we would all get ready to watch.

My job was to hold the garden hose, “just in case something went wrong”, Dad said. I always secretly hoped that I would get to spray. The idea of getting to soak my mother down with water would be hilarious, plus I would also get to be the hero that saved the whole neighborhood from burning down! I took my job very seriously, but it never happened…. there was always a chance though!

Mom always started out slow and cautiously. She would show the 3 of us the mechanics of how to do each spin and twirl. We all knew these moves. We all had received batons of our own just about every Christmas…. Why did Santa think we even wanted one?! I loved watching the way the flames lit up my Mom’s eyes as the fire twirled close by her face and the whooshing sound of the flame in the wind as it started to spin faster. She would work up to throwing it in the air. Our eyes would be wide open and we held our breath. She caught it every time. This was the sport. It was not what we did with our batons, Mom had skill. She looked so graceful when she twirled that baton.

It always impresses me that people can make some things look so darn easy. Pepper can memorize anything she reads instantly. Taking college courses with her was always frustrating. Skip can whip up a dinner for 20 and not even break a sweat. Our rector can come up with a perfectly personalized prayer on the spur of the moment. Sometimes, my kids are impressed with how easy I can make driving look, especially when they try to move the car around our yard. My kindergarten students are impressed with how perfectly I can cut out a circle. Everyone has skills. I probably owned and had access to 20 batons growing up and a mother just wishing she could impart her knowledge on me…. But, Baton twirling was not one of my skills. Now spraying that hose… I bet I’d have been damned good at that!! ☺

Friday, October 9, 2009

Gems from the Kindergarden

It is amazing how many adorable things kids in kindergarten do or say. Here were a couple this week that made me smile….

I picked up a little boy for a speech screening, he looked unhappy but came willingly to my office. Once we were in the room I asked if he was ok. He burst into tears and said “My Mom’s gonna be so mad at me for inappropriate school behavior.” I was impressed that this little guy was using such big words so I asked, “What is inappropriate school behavior?”
“It’s a red note,” he sobbed, “my teacher gave it to me to take home.”
“What did you do to get a red note?” I asked. He glared at me and slowly and more clearly this time (since I was obviously a bit dense) "In-appropriate school Be-havior!"
I said, "But what is inappropriate school behavior?" He shrugged his shoulders and said he did not know. I explained about not listening, yelling out, not keeping hands to self, running…. The little guy shook his head at every inappropriate school behavior I could think of. Now I was just as baffled as he was. He was still sniffling as we walked back to his classroom saying, “my mom is gonna be so mad…”
I walked him into his room and noticed that he had a substitute teacher. I asked, “Can you tell me what did John do to get a red note? He doesn’t know.” She glanced at John and said, “Oops, I put that note in the wrong cubbie…”
A little girl and I were coloring together and she said, “I am going to Uncle T’s house tonight to sleep over.”
I said, “Is it fun to sleep over there?”
She said, “Yep, I am taking my fan too cuz Daddy told Uncle T that he and Mommy were going on a date and it was gonna be hot.” ☺

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Some things just should not be. This morning Pepper and I were at a funeral for the child of a woman in our theater group. The baby, a little girl named Grace only survived a day. She was born way to early…. She was actually not due until the new year. She will be buried long before her first Halloween. We knew most of the people at the funeral. I was surprised. I worried that I would not know anyone. Theater people in our community are very loyal, and very supportive of each other. It is good to be a part of such a group.

The Priest spent a good deal of time saying that Grace fulfilled her earthly mission and was now a saint in heaven. He wanted to make sure that we understood that she was a saint and not an angel. He said that guardian angels were there to guide others to heaven…but saints were people that had fulfilled their earthly mission and had earned the privilege to reside there. Her earthly mission, according to this priest had been to grow..... To kick from inside the womb.... To breathe for one day.... To be held in the lap of her mother once.... to squeeze her mother's finger.... and then, to die.

I have a couple thoughts on this……..

First, I think Guardian Angels are important. I thank God that my children have a few looking over them and since I am a person that gets lost easily in this life, I am sure I will need a couple of them to find my way in the afterlife.

Second, every funeral should have a 2 year old in attendance. Grace’s big sister was there and gave her parents someone to hold and to stay strong for. She also gave all the overwhelmed, somewhat speechless adults in attendance something wonderful to focus on. She was a bright light for everyone there.

Lastly, Pepper and I talked on the way home about Grace’s earthly mission. She made us realize that we have been sweating the small stuff. Our kids leaving their backpacks in the middle of the floor or not picking up their dishes and a late phone bill or misplaced library book do not matter. We have a handful of very wonderful kids. They give us gifts, just by their presence, everyday. We have friends that are there in good times and bad. We have family we can count on and love very much. We have a home and jobs and so many other blessings. We are truly blessed. Sometimes it takes someone very small to send a message that big.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Pepper and I have been talking about adding a new member to our family. Megamom is really tempting us with a dog named Sadie. Sadie is a 2 year old golden doodle that needs to be ‘re-homed’. She is housebroken, all done with the ‘chewing’ stage, loves kids and dogs and cats and she is priced right (Megamom is GIVING her to us!!) She is part golden retriever (which is what Carmel was) but is curly haired. I love Golden retrievers but I don’t think I want another dog that looks just like Carmel right now. This would be a great pet for us. Dill keeps asking why we can’t get another dog. He misses his cuddle time with Carmel and being able to go for walks with the dog. All the kids miss having a dog around. I miss coming home to a dog and taking walks with her too.

Pepper and I talked to Megamom today…. We want her. It may take a few weeks before she will actually be at our house, but I am very happy with our decision. Stay tuned for more about Sadie…. ☺