Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

So. Thanksgiving.

It began Friday when the kids got out for the holiday after the special Grandparents' Day chapel service. Shawn and I started preparing for all the family that was willing to come to us, to come to us.

But, then we realized they weren't coming until Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. And, my step-sisters and their families would be down at my mom and step-dad's come the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There really wasn't anything keeping us from going down for a little visit save a two-hour car drive. But, we can make that interstate drive with our eyes closed by now.

We did have to stick around for Lulu's finger check on Monday. But, come Monday evening, we were a-visitin'! And, Tuesday, we had Thanksgiving. (My mom is so good about "the date on the calendar doesn't matter. We can celebrate whenever we're all together!") And, so, we all stood around the kitchen on Tuesday and cooked a Thanksgiving meal together. It was awesome.

Also, while we were there. We stumbled upon Uno Attack. Do you people have this game?! Well, you should! It's plan ol' Uno but instead of a "draw pile" there is a machine that randomly shoots cards at you - it will give you no cards up to, well, we got twelve cards one time. So fun for kids 6 to 96 to be able to "attack" their loved ones!

Quote of the visit: "Come lick my finger and tell me what it tastes like."

We awoke Wednesday to hit the road home and welcome our own guests: Shawn's cousin, David, his wife, Anna, and their little girl, Cora; Shawn's aunt and uncle, Reda and Bill; Shawn's brother, Will, and his son David; and, of course, Shawn's parents live here, David and Marie. (Notice there are three Davids? One would assume this would cause mass confusion. But, somehow we manage. I guess because there's Little David and the two Big Daves have different last names. Or we, as a collective family, are brilliant and not very prone to confusion. One of those...) Shawn's other cousin (Reda & Bill's daughter) and her boyfriend would have been here but there was a little too much vomit coming out of them to make for a pleasant car trip... wait... I've probably said too much... And, Will's wife and daughter, Cynthia and Kristen, didn't make it this time either. We'll give everyone a pass... this time... but, we expect bright, shiny (vomit-free) faces at the next family-gathering!

This little group of Shawn's family have always been so gracious to come to our house for Thanksgiving the past... four... or is it five?!... years. And, they made no exception this year even though we moved the party two hours further away from them!

They kept saying we were the best hosts. But, seriously. They are the best guests. Case in point: I tried to rescue this mangy, little, mean, rat dog that was wandering the neighborhood one night. But, it wouldn't let anyone touch it, so I just lured it into the garage with a piece of turkey and trapped it there. However, by the time we figured out it didn't belong to anyone to whom we thought it belonged and was really just a mangy, little, mean, rat dog, it had torn open all the bags of Thanksgiving trash that were in the garage with it. However, somewhere in the time that I was told of the mess and turned around to deal with it, Shawn's uncle and cousin had cleaned up every ounce of the mess. Now those are good guests.

And, that's just one example. That doesn't include the hostess gifts, the laundry, the counter cleaner because they noticed we were out, the cooking, the taking us out to dinner, the fun games of Uno Attack (Oh yeah. We bought our own.), the black-Thursday night/Friday shopping adventures, or Anna, the professional photographer, taking our family's picture as a "thank you" again this year...

I'm telling you. Good guests.

And, cute kids.

Quote of the visit:
This one needs a little background.

We needed bread to make sandwiches from the Thanksgiving leftovers. So, after Anna took our pictures, we stopped by Walmart. I ran in while the kids, Shawn and Anna waited in the car.

I came back and announced to Shawn and Anna, "I think I made a new best friend. He was wearing a skull cap, had a crazy eye and I think he was a little bit drunk. But, we had a great time in the check-out line together."

Shawn asked how I knew he was drunk and I told him that he was buying mixer and, when asked (by me) if it had reached the point of Thanksgiving when it was time to start drinking, he replied, "Oh it already reached that point a long time ago."

Spencer piped in, "What's mixer?"

I said, "The stuff you use to make 'grown-up drinks.'"

Spence said, "What's drunk?"

I said, "When you drink too many 'grown-up drinks.'"

And, I truly believe Spence's next statement was meant to demonstrate how he could use his new-found word in a sentence. But, what came out sounded for all the world like he had just figured out his mother. Like all his many, many questions were answered when he looked right at me and said,

"You're drunk."

Whatcha been up to?
Well, funny you should ask.

It's been busy around here. What's new, right?

  • Well, for starters, Spencer had a project due the week before Thanksgiving. It was the student's choice for a subject of Thanksgiving, Indians, or Pilgrims. But, it had to include a visual project, a written report, a cover page and an oral report. Parental help was encouraged. Because the teachers hate parents.

  • Also? I'm pretty sure I didn't do a project with so many components until I was in college.

    But, we got it done. We're diorama-making fools around this house.
    And, although I didn't get a picture of it (because I was exhausted), Spence's cover page was a Comanche Indian with yarn braids down each side of his head, tied with leather straps and a feather. And the part in his hair was even colored with white "clay." Oh, yeah. We brought it.

    But, I think Shawn and I were both most proud of how many times our shy boy practiced his oral presentation until a) he knew it by heart; b) he could speak up; and c) he could look up and make eye-contact occasionally while speaking. Quite an improvement for the boy who hid his face two-inches behind his paper for the entire oral report he presented last year in first grade.

  • I made a Thanksgiving treat for the kids' classmates. I mean. We all knew I would, didn't we?

  • That's just a mini Reese's peanut butter cup upside down on a
    fudge-striped cookie, stuck down and decorated with frosting.

  • There was Grandparents' Day at the kids' school. My mom and step-dad drove up. And, Shawn's mom had to jump through hoops to get time away from work. But, she did. So, the kids had two of their three sets of grandparents there. They got to show them around the school, and take them to a reception. And, there was a special chapel service. It was all very sweet and special to the kids.

  • *We found Lulu's lost splint. In the Barbie basket. Duh. Where else would it be? So now we have a spare (that the darling Occupational Therapist made us for no charge)! This is a good thing. The original splint has been lost again on no less than four other occasions for varying amounts of time on each occurrence.

  • Speaking of that broken finger and splint: we had a check-up last week on that little ol' bone. It's healing well, the doctor said. But, there is still a missing bit in the center of the bone that needs time to knit itself back together. One more week in the splint. She's such a responsible little trooper about it, though. She's the first one to say, "I don't have my splint on!"

  • There was Thanksgiving. But, in order to keep this post under a thousand words, that post will have to wait until tomorrow.

  • And, then there was church yesterday.

  • Here's what's funny. I can drive myself insane worrying about where we should go to church. We've tried going to a mega-church. But, all of our friends that are members there are a part of a "small group/Bible study" that is "closed." So, we never could figure out how to feel "plugged in" - not that the church doesn't try. They really encourage you to come to a once-a-month "Get Plugged In" meet and greet where they'll match you up with like-minded people so you can start your own "small group." Shawn and I just couldn't do it. It felt like a weird speed-dating session to make church friends. And, Lulu straight-up didn't like Sunday School there. I don't think they did anything wrong. I think it was just huge - four classes for Lulu's grade alone. We never knew who her teacher would be or who would be in her class. She would see some friends she knew... but then they would be assigned to a different room. And she told us she didn't know the songs they sang. But, when Little Miss Congeniality with the most confidence in our family is uncomfortable somewhere... it might not be the right fit for our family. Spence liked it. But, Spence liked it because he had a friend from school who was in his Sunday School class - a security blanket.

    And, then my great friend Springer sent me a book by Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies. It was interesting. Clearly Springer thinks I'm a whole lot deeper than the usually fluff I read (Note to self: Send Springer a copy of The Hunger Games). But, it was worth the read for even just this one concept I took away from it. I'm sure I will paraphrase this badly, but Lamott said she was told, when praying to God for the answer to a problem, don't look for the big billboard announcing the final answer. Look at the small spotlight He's shining for you to take to the next step. Then, once there, look for the next spotlight. Just keep stepping from spotlight to spotlight until, the next thing you know, you've arrived at the solution.

    So. I took a step into the spotlight yesterday.

    We have other friends. (I know. Shocker.) They go to the lost-my-child-church (which we didn't know at the time of the "Lost Child" incident). They were talking about their awesome Adult Sunday school (that's open to new-comers)! They helped us figure out where it was, what time it started and were excited that we were there. And, y'all? The Director of Young Adult Ministry that teaches the class? Amazing. A-maz-ing.

    We dropped Lulu off at the playroom - where there is an extensive new check-in procedure complete with sticker identification for each child. Holla! (All of our friends really do say to us, though, "Ummm. So. We hear we have you to thank for this." They don't seem so thankful, though... ;) After Sunday School, we went to ask Lulu if she wanted to leave the playroom to come sing songs with us in Big Church. She did not. She wanted to stay and keep working on crafts.

    Spencer has one classmate who goes to church there that he knew of before we arrived. He wasn't there yesterday. But, lo and behold, his very best playmates from down the street go to church there! And, they did go to church yesterday, much to Spence's delight. Then, during the Children's Service portion of Big Church, Spence realized that one of his buddies from flag football goes to church there, too.

    The church service was just non-liturgical enough to remind Shawn of the Bible Church in which he grew up, but just traditional enough to feel "like church" to him, too. Shawn does not like "rock bands" in church. I don't mind them. This church has a guitarist with singers. Shawn is okay with that. We both agree that the service really is a perfect mix for us.

    As we drove home yesterday, Spence said, "I want this to be our church."

    You know what, son? I think I do, too.

    It seems that we can say Indian again instead of Native American. Who knew?

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Judge Thy Neighbor?

    I saw this on Pinterest the other day:

    The caption read:
    A group of Christians showed up at a Chicago [gay] Pride Parade in July. They were holding up signs saying “I’m sorry that Christians judge you," “I’m sorry for how the churches treated you,” and “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, I’m sorry.” THIS IS LOVE.
    This spoke to me like it was using a bullhorn.

    I feel like everywhere I look these days someone is judging someone else. Someone is trying to inflict the life God has called them to live on someone else. And, I'll be honest. Sometimes that person is me. I have to constantly remind myself that just because someone else's life is not the life that I am called to live, doesn't make the other person's life wrong.

    God never called us to judge anyone. And, we as Christians may call it "holding each other accountable" (just like we don't "gossip" - we have "prayer chains"), but let's call a spade a spade. We're judging each other. And, I personally would love to shake the hand of the person who is able to pick the speck out of their brother's eye because they don't have a plank in their own.

    Me? I'm going to try really hard to just love.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Dear Veterans:

    Thanks. (Especially you, Dad.)

    With overwhelming gratitude on behalf of my family, and our freedom,

    Monday, November 07, 2011

    Thoughts on a Root Canal

    It doesn't hurt while you are getting a root canal. Still. I would not suggest requesting one. That's all I'll say about that. You're welcome.

    Recovery from a root canal, however? #@$%! I slept 20 of the first 30 hours I was home. I looked like someone punched me in the upper lip... or like I had a terrible allergic reaction to something... or like I got some horribly ill-advised Melanie Griffith/Lisa Rinna lip procedure. And, it hurt to smile. And, talk. It just hurt. And, I kept having PTSD from the feeling of the procedure. But, now I'm saying too much. Just don't volunteer for a root canal. Promise?

    On a positive note: My husband? The greatest. He was Dancing-Daddy-Monkey Extraordinaire! He entertained the kids the entire weekend - except for the few hours my in-laws took over so he could take me out for a quiet dinner. I married into the BEST. FAMILY. EVER. Let's have a competition! ... I win!

    And, now. I give you... A few things you never want to hear from your Endodontist:
    • [As another doctor passes in the hall] "You have got to come in here and see this case I'm working on!" [You never want to be that case.]

    • Doctor: "This is like working in concrete."
      Me: "Well, huwee up. It fees gwoss!"
      Doctor: "Don't worry. It's not exactly making me hungry either."

    • "I never prescribe pain meds. But, I'm going to prescribe some Hydrocodone for you."

    • "We're gonna hope that heals up just fine and we don't have to go back and do surgery." [Yep. That's exactly what we're going to hope for.]

    And, here's something you do want to hear when he's looking at an x-ray of his work after the procedure: "Oooh! That's so pretty!" [This man and I have very differing opinions of "pretty."]

    On a another note: Lulu's custom-made splint? Lost. Already. So, I get to see about buying another one of those today. I'm really excited about that.

    Friday, November 04, 2011

    One of These Fingers Is Not Like the Others

    Yep. That's a broken Lulu-finger.

    She headed out the door ahead of her brother and turned and stuck her finger into the hinge-side of the door while he slammed it shut behind himself.

    It's Thursday night as I write this. The "incident" happened Tuesday night. I put ice on it. And gave her Tylenol. I did tell her teacher about it the next day in case it bothered her while she was at school.*

    But, today, when I was relaying the story in passing to the orthopedic surgeon's wife, her reaction may have been something along the lines of, "It looks like WHAT?! You're going to need to go get that x-rayed [as she's on the phone making the appointment]."

    Sure enough. BROKEN.

    But, now, she has the cutest, tiniest, little custom-made splint you ever did see.
    But, also? Now. When I tell you people that this girl is tough, you'll believe me. I was only telling my friend about it because it was so gross looking. Elizabeth has never complained about it unless she knocked it into something or... *cough cough*... her mother tried to grab her by the hand.*

    That girl. Damn tough.


    *I have "Mother of the Year" forms here. I'll send you one so you can nominate me.

    I also have Daughter of the Year forms, too. Because it's only just occurring to me that every. single. grandparent is about to find out about this wee BROKEN BONE via this blog post. Oh, well. Grandparents - you have to cut me some slack. I'm getting a root canal. That seems like punishment enough. Call Shawn and yell at him...

    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    What's the Statute of Limitations on Suing a Pair of Skates?

    She was just a little girl circa 1980. A little girl with new roller skates. She lived in a green house with a steep driveway. She fell on her face while trying to skate up the driveway. But, don't worry, she caught herself. With her front two teeth.* One was chipped. It got filed flat again.

    Over the next thirty years, though, those teeth slowly... well... died. There was some cosmetic dentistry involved so she wouldn't look like this:
    But, overall, she and her dead teeth got along quite well.

    Until. Last week. And, the dentist said, while looking at her x-ray, "See this dark area? That could be where it's beginning to necrotize because your body is trying to reject that tooth."


    [I'm tired of talking in the third person...]

    So, I went to the endodontist (Fancy name for "Root Canal Doctor." I think they're smart to go with "Endodontist.") They performed a test wherein they applied what I can only assume was liquid nitrogen sprayed on a gauze to my front two teeth while asking, "Feel anything?" Nope. They pressed the same gauze to my "live" teeth. I sat up out of the chair it was so. freakin'. cold. I lied back; they applied the gauze to the dead teeth for.ever. while it sizzled. Nothing. They finished. I lowered my lip over my teeth. My teeth were TOO COLD FOR MY LIP TO TOUCH. I had to let my teeth warm up before I could lower my lip over them. Those are some dead teeth.

    But, as the endodontist said, "Dead teeth do not necessarily mean infected teeth... We might just watch them... Call you back in in six months." Yay!

    Then he did an exam. And, up on my gums where they hook to my lip. Hurt. Like a bruise. He said, "I take it back. You have to have a root canal." On Friday.

    Or be the girl who one day just has a tooth fall out of my head.

    I blame the roller skates.


    *I asked my sister if she remembered the roller skating trauma.
    She said, "Yeah. I think I dipped my toe in your puddle of blood in the driveway."
    "Oh my gosh! On accident?!"
    "No... Not really..."

    So. So. SO. Disturbing.

    Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    We let Spence Trick or Treat, too.

    Since my last post was about Lulu's costume party, I believe I left some of you with the impression that Spencer was locked in his room for Halloween.

    Fear not! I present to you, Officer Johnson.
     Shawn even got into the spirit at his office.
    This is Shawn's half of our costume from the Halloween Party we attended.
    I promise I'll show you those pictures as soon as I see them myself!
    It seems the only lame one on Halloween was me! Shawn took the kids Trick or Treating around the neighborhood and I stayed home to hand out candy. But, we live on a cul-de-sac and none of the other houses in the "sac" had on their porch lights. And, in order to see our porch light, you have to be committed to coming down into the cul-de-sac. The dark houses didn't invite anyone in; therefore, no one saw our light; therefore, I gave away about ten pieces of the 300 pieces of candy that I bought. 
    Sad candy that never got to fulfill its destiny.
    Now the candy bucket and I are having a battle of wills every time I walk past it. I've come really close to saying, "I will not eat you!" out loud. Just one step closer to being the crazy lady who wears my underwear on the outside of my clothes.


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