Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Resolution #2

When Kirby was first born, I tried very diligently to continue to keep up with everything around the house. I had maintained a pretty good routine when it was just me and London and I had hoped to be able to keep it up.

Not so. Did you know newborn babies in the home can create a very chaotic atmosphere and result, also, in one exhausted mommy? No, really, it's true!

So the routine went out the window and subsequent chaos ensued. January 4th will mark one year since the troublemaker precious boy entered my life. However, there is still no sign of any workable routine. My days are pretty much willy-nilly, wishy-washy, hokey-pokey and la de da.

It's a miracle that I get anything done at all. Or it takes the complete act of ignoring my kids, which never ever happens. Ever.

Hardly ever.

Well, on occasion.


Every other day.

Okay, right now.

So, that leads me to New Year's Resolution #2:
Thou shalt get your act together!

A new workable, flexible, reasonable, none-to-strict, doable routine is in order. Yes, yes! There will be time & days for laundry, time & days for errand running, time & days for grocery shopping (preferably sans kids), time & days for bible study, cleaning, pedicures, scrapbooking, emails, blogging, friends, dates with hubby and...dare I say...I may even pencil in sex here and there.

I said "pencil in", Sweetie, pull your pants up! Geesh!

Yes, it will all be perfect! It will operate smoothly. This household will run like a well-oiled machine. We will be an efficient, time-saving, organized and productive family! Others will come to me and say, "How do you do it?" and I will smile unabashedly and reply, "I have a routine!" Yes, I can see it now!

Now if I could only eek out a couple minutes to actually sit down and come up with this routine!

But, seriously, who has time for that?

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Resolution #1

When I was in high school, we had to watch "Sybil" starring Sally Field in health class. You remember that one, don't you? The woman with, if I recall, 17 different personalities. One scene I've always remembered is Sybil frantically repeating, "thepeoplethepeoplethepeoplethepeople" over and over again.

Picture me now, if you will, pacing around my house, hitting myself on the head with the palm of my hand and frantically repeating, "thecluttertheclutterthecluttertheclutter".

That is my day.

Okay, it's not that bad but there are days when it surely feels like it. Hence, New Year's Resolution #1:

Thou shalt not bringeth any new items into thine household for a period no shorter than six months.

Basically, I'm going to cut out the nonsensical, frivolous, unnecessary shopping. *eek!*

My friend, Debbie, just spit her water out all over her computer screen. No, really, Deb. I'm going to do it! I might be over at your house from time to time rummaging through your store bags as you come home from the mall and live vicariously through you for awhile, but that's okay. You don't mind, do you?

I'm not going to bring anything new or unnecessary into this house for the first six months of the year. The only exception to that rule will be new shoes for the kids as they tend to outgrow them at an alarming rate of speed. They may be getting A LOT of new shoes come summer time. Heck, YOUR kids may be getting new shoes if I don't handle this self-imposed restriction very well.

In addition to not adding to the fire hazard mess around my house, I will be getting rid of quite a bit of it. I already have the Goodwill and garage sale piles started. Anyone in need of a children's table & chairs set adorned with half-torn off Hello Kitty stickers and pieces of dried Play-doh stuck to it? Or an old Pampered Chef baking stone that has burned on food stuck to it is well seasoned? How about a never-been-used manual breast pump? Okay, it's not exactly "never-been-used". I attempted to use it once before throwing it across the room in a tear-filled, postpartum, exasperated fit before stuffing it back into the box. But, seriously, good as new!

Also up for grabs:
- half a bag of don't-need-that-size-anymore diapers
- Some Yes-they-still-fit-Punkin-but-they-show-your-belly-so-we're-getting-rid-of-them little girls shirts. Size 3T.
- two pairs of what-was-I-thinking 3" heels.
- Eleven different diet books, all coincidentally subtitled, "The Last Diet You'll Ever Need".
- various balls of yarn, several crochet hooks in a variety of sizes and a beginner's guide to Simple Crochet. You must provide your own cuss words.
- Three large boxes of scrapbooking supplies, that even though I'm sure I'll use "someday", I'm willing to part with it all for the right price.
- And, one book titled, "Organizing from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern. (you see the humor in that last one, right?)

Lots of good stuff here, people! First come, first serve!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Memories ala Barbie.

Five years old: This Christmas, I remember getting my first Barbie-sized dollhouse. It was made of wood, painted white with green trim. If memory serves me correctly, it even had a single car garage attached. There are pictures of me, somewhere, standing next to this dollhouse on Christmas morning. I wish I could show it to you because...well...I'm pretty darn cute in the picture. I'll dig it out this time next year when I do this exact same Christmas post.

Six years old: Don't ask me why, but I got another Barbie dollhouse. This was a Tuesday Taylor Penthouse Apartment:

Very chic. I'm mean, seriously, check out that white, shag carpeting. You just can't get good carpet like that anymore.
It was plastic and it's 872 pieces had to be assembled. I remember watching Dad painstakingly put it together. My feelings while watching him grow increasingly frustrated with the dollhouse were a mix of guilt, because he was getting agitated doing something for me and impatience, because, come on, I want to PLAY!

Six years old again: I remember putting two and two together this year. How could Santa have brought me the dollhouse when my older siblings (who taught me the fine art of pre-Christmas snooping) had shown me the dollhouse under my parents' bed weeks before? It was all starting to come together. Whatever. No tears here. I've learned the fine art of pre-Christmas snooping!

Seven years old: I was, by far, the luckiest little girl on the face of the earth. That was the year I received this:
Yes, that's right. A Barbie Friendship Plane! How cool is that? It even came with a stewardess cart, plates and cups. If you look closely, you can see that the Captain is added to the drawn in details of the interior. So there was no chance any independent, forward-thinking little feminist was going to put Barbie in the pilot seat. The year was 1976 and Barbie had yet to burn her bra.

Bra burning aside, 1976 was a very good year for me. In addition to the Friendship Plane I received from Mom & Dad, my grandparents earned major points that year when they gave me:

If it wasn't enough that I got to watch the Donny & Marie Show every Friday night, now I had the dolls to re-enact the show with the next day. I distinctly remember being told NOT to cut Marie's hair. I also distinctly remember cutting it right after Marie cut hers in real life. Also, I just love the jumpsuit Donny has on. Definitely a little bit rock-n-roll, wouldn't you say? And the purple socks! Who could forget the purple socks?!

I don't recall getting anymore Barbies or Barbie related stuff after that. Dad had decided I had out-grown it all and, one day when I was about ten, he gathered it all up and sold it in a garage sale while I was at school. Thanks for asking, Dad.

It wasn't until after my parents divorced that my mom bought me another wood dollhouse very similiar to the one I received when I was five. I was now eleven and, outwardly, embarrassed by such a "little girl" present but, inside, I was elated. I was not allowed to naturally out-grow the Barbie stage and a little bit of it still lingered inside me. I played with that dollhouse everytime I visited my mom - even into my teens, after we moved to Arizona and I spent the summers with her.

It lingers on, to be honest, and I long for the day when London's Barbie playing extends past just changing her clothes and finding shoes to match. But however she wants to play is okay by me. As long as we are making memories that last.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Absolute Best Fudge Ev-ah!!

I wanted to share with you one of my Christmas traditions (I think I have a total of 3). This is my fudge recipe. I didn't create this recipe, I just found it before you did so I get to take credit for it! I've been making this fudge every year for the last 10-12 years. I hope you enjoy it!

German Chocolate Fudge

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1 (4 oz) bar Baker's German chocolate (green box) broken into pieces
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
2 cups sugar
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1 T butter
dash of salt
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts of choice

In large bowl, combine chocolate chips, German chocolate pieces and marshmallow creme. Set aside.

In heavy 3 qt saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter & salt. Over medium heat, heat to boiling, stiffing often. Once a soft boil is reached, continue stirring constantly for exactly 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate mixture in bowl. Stir vigorously until chocolate is melted and well mixed. Quickly stir in coconut and nuts. Turn into buttered 8 inch square pan, spread evenly. Refrigerate until set.

A couple of things I want to mention:

1. The sugar/butter mixture is EXTREMELY hot, not to mention, sticky. Bad combo! This is not something you want the kiddos helping with. I've been burned with this stuff before and let me tell you - OWIE!!! As a matter of fact, I order all little ones out of the kitchen while I'm making this, just to be safe.

2. Once you pour the sugar/butter mixture over the chocolate mixture, it quickly becomes difficult to stir. It helps to have a big, strong, handsome man on hand to do the mixing for you, like I do.

3. I don't butter my pan. I line it with aluminum foil instead. Once the fudge is set, you can just lift the whole thing right out of the pan with the foil . This makes it so nice to cut into little squares.

4. Do NOT attempt to eat fudge without a tall glass of milk right beside you. You have been warned!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Road Rage

Well, yesterday things got a bit ugly. Okay, not things. I got a bit ugly. I was on my way to the ped's office with my sick kids. I get on the freeway, and as I like to do, I scooted on over to the left lane where I belong (I have a tad bit heavy, malleable poor metal in my right foot). That's when this jerk...ahem...gentleman in the right lane swerves across two lanes, plops himself directly in front of me and proceeds to drop in speed by about 20 mph.

Ugh. Okay, dude, whatever. That's not enough to rile me up. I'll just "happily" go around you. So I swing over to the middle lane and begin to pass Mr. Traffic Control when he then speeds up considerably and blocks me in between him and the car in front of me that I've now caught up to. Okaaaaay, NOW I'm riled!

I seriously do not get people like this. Who are you and what did I ever do to you? People who feel it's either their job or their right to randomly pick out others on the road just to mess with really set my rage meter over the top! I'm just trying to get my kid's to their appointment. Is that a problem?

I'm pissed! My blood is boiling and any drop of patience I had left in me have I spit out. Right then, the car pool lane opens up and I swing around to the left full force and hit my accelerator. Dude doesn't even try this time (ahh, wising up are we?) and that's when I did it. Something I have not done in YEARS! I don't know where it came from but before I knew it, there it was...

the Bird.

Yeppers. I flipped him the bird. And, ya know what? He didn't even look over at me! Now THAT'S infuriating! What good is flipping the bird if the recipient doesn't even see it! That's a wasted bird! Again, this is not something I do with any amount of regularity so to have one wasted is not something I appreciate! I would've saved it for someone who would at least have the decency to look my way!

At this point, I am several car lengths ahead when I realize that God has decided to call shotgun. Okay, He's been there all along since He never really goes away. It's just that NOW I'm aware of His presence. So, naturally, I want to put on my fig leaf and go hide in a bush somewhere.

Ahem .

"I know. I know" I say. "I shouldn't have done that."

Let go of that anger.

"NO! I WANT to be angry. I have the right to be angry. Didn't you see what he did? Kirby is crying in the back. London is driving me crazy with her non-stop talking. I couldn't help it!"

Excuses. Excuses .

"I'm driving along, minding my own business. Why do these people feel they have the right to treat others this way?"

Life is not always fair.

Rarely does one win an argument with God, so I give up. I didn't say I gave in. I just stopped talking. God didn't get out of the car though. Seems to me, He can handle the silent treatment just fine.

My exit was just a couple miles down the road and by the time I pulled off the freeway, my heartrate was back to normal and, without my actively trying to rid myself of it, the anger was gone. I think that, maybe, God wasn't so much concerned about what I did to that other driver as He was concerned about what I was doing to myself. He didn't speak to me about my actions, He spoke to me about my anger.

This seems to be an ongoing conversation between Him and I. Anger is a huge issue for me. It comes out of nowhere but comes in full force. And, it seems, that the smaller that "last straw" is the more likely it is to break this camel's back. God has been working on me though and I can say, in all honesty, He's making some headway .

I'm not where I want to be but I'm not where I used to be, either. Praise God.

And, as for the bird, well...I'll be keeping that little guy caged from now on.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oops! Maybe I need to work on that.

Just moments ago, Kirby was clinging to my legs, furiously crying because, in his opinion, I was taking too long making up his bottle when London comes along and says,

"What the hell, Kirby?"

Umm...yeah...I think I need a new signature phrase. Suggestions welcome.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In Loving Tribute.

Yesterday was a sad day for us here. My beloved Samantha had been showing definite signs of kidney failure and the time had come to show her just how much we loved her. I took her into the vet's where he gently sent her into peaceful sleep. She was 14 yrs old. She was my baby before I had babies. My original Princess. My original co-sleeper. My original Punkin-pie.

She was one of the most well-behaved and loving cats I have ever had. And, though she wasn't the youngest of the bunch, she was, by all means, the "baby". She loved jumping for toys, snuggling with her "boyfriend" Willie, belly rubs, watching the birdies out the window and licking yogurt off your nose.

And even though I know what I did was a compassionate and unselfish move, I still can't feel good about it. It's hard to believe she's no longer here. I told her before she went to go on ahead and keep a spot warm for me. Three of her siblings went on before her, so I know she'll have good company.

When Daddy came home from work, London told him that Chubby (her nickname) wasn't feeling well so she went to Jesus and He's going to take care of her. How sweet is that?

Sammy taught me a lot during our 14 yrs together. Here's just a sampling:

Always look for the good spots in life.
Quench your thirst.

Find your spot in the sun.
Reaching for your goals takes effort.
Enjoy the party.
Lean on friends.
Life doesn't always fit. Make it work for you.
Enjoy the ride.
And, most importantly, take time for rest.
Good-bye, my sweet Sammy-Sam. You will be missed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

So funny I'm crying! Literally.

Have you ever found yourself flipping through a magazine when, suddenly, something catches your eye that is just rip-roaring-side-busting-cheek-cramping-milk-out-your-nose funny? Well, I found such a gem this morning, as I was perusing my scrapbooking magazine checking out all the scrapbook page ideas I'll never get around to when I saw this:

Ahh...I just love it! *wipes tears from eyes* A magazine made just for me! That's . I'll be heading there right after this post because, you know, what I need most is another magazine I can never get around to reading!

Now, if I could only find my debit card. Hmm.....

Monday, December 10, 2007

She's Out There, Somewhere...

that perfect-got-it-all-together-never-a-ruffled-feather mom. I just know it. She can't possibly just be a figure of my imagination, because, that would mean I'm driving myself crazy comparing myself to someone who doesn't exist. And I'm NOT crazy.

Well, not at the moment, anyway. Check with me again tomorrow.

There are times, however, when I honestly feel like I'm on some bad episode of Candid Camera and my kids are in cahoots with Allen Funt (yes, I know he's dead). It's just that, at no time, does anyone jump out from behind a pile of laundry and yell, "Smile! You're on Candid Camera!" and relieve me of this bad joke. Now, of course, if anyone did jump out at me from behind a pile of laundry, I would have a hard time deciding whether to laugh or cry at the realization that my life was a put-on.

This decision coming after I hide the body of the idiot who jumped out at me, of course.

But she's out there. I can feel it. Or, should I say, I can feel her, breathing down my neck, pushing on my back, stepping on my heels. She's a bitch unfriendly sort, this one. Oh, she's always smiling, always freshly showered, always crisply dressed, always waving "Hello", smiling sweetly and offering a fresh baked muffin to those poor, less organized, less efficient souls like me. But, deep down, she's vicious, cunning, and OUT TO WIN!

The only thing is, I don't know exactly who she is because, I could swear, that everyone - yes, EVERYONE - has their act together more so than I. The knowledge of this fact haunts my dreams at night. Oh, you are laughing at me right now, I know. You're thinking, "Sister, you are soooo not alone on this" but, really now, do you expect me to believe that all of you reading this find yourself snapping at your kids or allowing dust bunnies to multiply at an amazing rate of speed or getting grossly behind in toilet-brush duties or ordering pizza for dinner twice in one week or wearing your husband's socks because all of yours are dirty or putting on un-ironed pants because Heaven only knows WHERE the damn iron is?!?!

Sorry, not buying it. Because, if that were true - if all of you were just like me - then I would have to take a long, deep, honest look at myself and realize that I am NORMAL and finally ACCEPT myself as I am. As God made me. And once I do that, then what?

Cut myself a little slack?
Breathe easier?
Laugh at the day-to-day antics of daily life?

Yeah, right! *snort* No, no. I'm just going to keep on keeping on. They say the quickest trip to unhappiness is comparing yourself to others. And, the good Lord knows, if I'm going on any trip at all with my kids, I want it to be quick!

Yeah, she's out there, alright and I'm going to find her. I'll take a notepad and pen with me so I can write down all her handy home organizing and perfect parenting tips. I'll follow her around for the day, watching how she expertly cleans up grape juice from the carpet, settles disputes between the children with a smile, folds the laundry into perfectly squared piles and for dinner serves up a tasty, new recipe she created herself. And when all is said and done, I will smile, thank her for generously allowing me to learn from her and then,

I'm going to!

Because, after all, do any of us need this woman in our lives?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I was just wondering...

1. Why do the kids want to be the Cheese, if the Cheese stands alone?

2. Why do newborn socks have non-skid tread on the bottom?

3. Why are men so competitive? And, how can I use this to my advantage to get things done around the house?

4. Why does my 3 yr old refuse to eat a new food item when it is on HER plate but will beg me for some when it's on MINE?

5. Why is it that when my only white pants are finally clean, I have no clean white underwear to put on underneath them?

6. Why is it that it takes incredible human intelligence to create the modern technological devices we rely on so heavily these days but we lose our ability to think after using...oh, I forgot what I was going to say.

7. Why are the pens in the bank secured with chains yet the vault door remains open?

8. Why is it that you can't do a U-turn at several intersections throughout Arizona but, apparently, you can make a right turn from the middle lane in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and South Dakota?

9. Why is my daughter incredibly darling when she's preforming for other people but gets on my nerves when she's doing it for me?

10. Why, oh why are they still making fat-free Ranch dressing? Is there a reason for this?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

If Loving You is Wrong...

I am one of those "Lost" people. No, I don't mean wandering. I mean I'm an avid watcher of the t.v. show. Not being much of a t.v. person, it is the only show I watch. Aside from the beautiful scenery and outstanding writing, the creators of the show have given us Matthew Fox and Josh Holloway to lick the t.v. screen respectfully admire on a regular basis - often shirtless, no less. *sigh*

But, as a reward to those of us most loyal, they have given us Henry Ian Cusick, a.k.a Desmond. Shirtless, from time to time as well, thank you.

Thank you very much.

So imagine my surprise when I first saw, "The Gospel of John" starring Cusick as Jesus. I'm not kidding you when I say this, I had to turn it off. Why? Because, I don't think one should be watching a portrayal of the life of Jesus and be thinking, "Man, Jesus is hot!"

But, the other day, I was in the new Family Christian Bookstore across the street from me and they had "The Gospel of John" dvd on sale for $5! Well, I couldn't resist. I bought one for me and two as Christmas presents. I'm looking forward to when I have 3 hrs sans kids to watch it. Ooh! I'm watching it alright! I'm just hoping I won't have to keep turning it off in order to confess the sin of impure thoughts - repeatedly.

Yep, I don't wanna be right.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Favorite Product #2

When I last told you about Burt, I said he was my NEW favorite product. Well, let me just say, that while Burt is new to the family here in the Stumbling household, he is not necessarily my absolute favorite. Afterall, a good mother loves all of her children the same, right?

I have many favorite products and I've decided to tell you about them one at a time as my flighty, little whims see fit. Today, I would like to recommend to you something that I don't know how I ever lived without. Or how my husband, sheets and socks ever lived without, for that matter.

We'll call this little cutie, "Helio". Heel of Approval: Cracked Heel Treatment is a gooey tub of pure footlovin' from the shelves of Bath & Body Works. Helio resides on my nightstand next to my Burt's Bees Lip Balm (for another time, dear) and my Puff's Plus w/ lotion (is there any other?) tissue box. Combine Helio with a cozy pair of fuzzy, cotton socks and you have the makings for a night of pure, sizzlin'...

okay, I wanted to say something really sensual here, but what can one say about scratchy, cracked and callous heels that are so gnarly that they literally make noise when putting socks on?

Share too much, did I? Umm, okay...sorry, 'bout that.

Anyhoo, hence the absence of nylon socks in my drawer or evenings of playing footsie with my husband. But when Helio and I get together for 3 or 4 nights in a row, all that changes. I can literally see a difference after the first night. It's not long before my heels - and the rest of my feet, for that matter - are back to their sandal-worthy selves.

Bath & Body Works, as always, is mighty proud of their products so Helio is a bit much (if you ask me and since you're reading this, you did) at $15.00 for 4 oz., but a little does go a long way. Only because of price, and not performance, do I give Helio 4 out of 5 Mommy Kisses!