Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rock Band

Dear Makers of Rock Band

Santa left Rock Band Special Edition for our family this year. The entire family has had a great time playing - especially my oldest, the budding rock star - no really he's good on a real guitar too.

Anyway, while the rock star in the family loves the great guitar tracks even though he doesn't really know any of the songs, the rest of the family is thinking we'd enjoy this even more if we were better aquainted with the songs - particullaly when trying to sing.

So I've put together a request list.

For the younger set (think preschool) - My youngest would get a 100% on every song if you checked out the Backyardigans catalogue of songs. My oldest probably wouldn't mind playing backup for her vocals either since the Backyardigans encompass a variety of styles.

For the elementary school crowd - Jonas, Hannah, Miley, Disney Movies - I know you would probably have issues working with Disney, but I'm sure you could find a way to work it out.

For the parents - I'd love something a little less "rock" a little more pop. I admit it freely - I like Elton John and Billy Joel. And my husband would like anything released in 1985.

For the older crowd - how 'bout the roots of rock, a little Elvis, early Beatles, something for the rockin' Seniors in our lives.

Thanks bunches.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Review

I am an avid reader. Avid might not be a strong enough word. Obsessive, compulsive, addicted . . .you get the picture. Until recently anyway. I've been having a hard time completing books, which is not usually a problem as I am afflicted with "must finish the book no matter how bad it is" syndrome. But lately . . . well, I have two books that I have started and not finished. Both seem to be good books so far. I just can't get excited about reading them, or anything else for that matter. Except I did breeze through Hot Mahogany by Stuart Woods recently.

At first I thought this book was the cause of my reading malaise (did I use the word correctly?). I wanted to read it, but was trying to stay away from it because I had been EXTREMELY disappointed with the last several Stone Barrington novels by Woods. I know I used to really like his work. I remember thinking Chiefs was fabulous (note to self: reread this one, just to be sure) and many of the earlier books were also good. His books can't always have been this bad or I never would have read as many as I have, or feel compelled to keep reading them even when my expectations are so low.

So did Hot Mahogany disappoint? In a word, yes.

The plot had potential, but it didn't seem to be fully thought out or else the reader wasn't given enough to follow the path. The characters, which should feel as real and multi-faceted as a living person, considering the number of books Woods as written about them, were flat, stale, stereotypical and one-dimensional.

In the acknowledgements at the end of the book, Woods thanks his editor for her light touch. I'd say, his editor should work a little harder at helping her author put out respectable work or look for a new line of work. Just because he's been writing and published for 25 years does not mean everything he writes is worthy of publication. Someone should stop giving Stuart Woods a free pass and I suppose that should start with me.

I will not purchase Woods' next novel. If I absolutely must read it, I will find it at the library.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It Had to Happen Sometime

All of my kids have had a favorite blanket as babies. All of my kids still have a favorite blanket. Four of my kids still carry their blankets around the house with them. Two of my kids still like to take their blankets with them when we leave the house. The youngest occasionally adds a doll or stuffed animal that must travel with her. Occasionally the blanket and/or doll/stuffed animal must accompany us into the store.

Last Friday was such a day. P had to bring her kitty into Target with us. Half-way through our list P decided to put her kitty in the cart and carry the bread.

All was well until I asked where her kitty was as we were getting out of the van at the bank. Kitty had not made it out of the cart. Kitty was not actually lost because we knew where she most likely was, but kitty was missing in action.

P was surprisingly calm while we waited in line at the bank, only once reminding me that we needed to go find kitty. P was surprisingly calm on the drive back to Target, while I was anxiously praying that they hadn't moved the carts yet, that if someone had found kitty, they had turned him in, that I would not have to deal with a broken-hearted little girl.

Seeing our cart parked exactly where I had left it was the greatest relief. Finding kitty tucked in the bottom of the cart was fabulous. Seeing the smile on P's face when I tossed kitty into her arms was priceless.

And today, when she wanted to take kitty into IKEA, she thought twice . . . and then left him in the car.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Election Madness

I bet you thought The Election was over with a month ago. And I bet you had the same feeling on that Wednesday morning -- Thank Heavens that's over. Now we can just get on with it.

Am I right?

But, alas, for us poor souls in Georgia, the election did not end a month ago. Sure the big stuff was decided, but we had one last decision to make - a run off for the Senate. And apparently it was a BIG deal. Apparently this one senate seat would be the deciding seat in the balance of power in the Senate. (I haven't done any research to see how the numbers actually look, but this is how it's being played in the media.)

So while the rest of the nation has been basking in the glow that comes after 18 months of campaigning, we have lived through another month of commercials and mudslinging and those darn automated phone calls that, while they might be filled with info about the candidates qualifications or stance on the issues, I feel are really designed to show you just how well the candidate is connected and to impress you with the clout they have. But really we all know, we just hang up the instant we realize who or what is on the other end of the line.

So today is election day again. I have done my civic duty (which maybe I could have avoided if I had voted for the guy in the first place rather than abstaining from that vote by not choosing either candidate). Now please let someone win, so I can just get on with it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I have decided at long last to complete the I Spy Bags that I purchased supplies for 6ish years ago. I have a better design now and a deadline.

But I have also decided to use a picture card with the words underneath so my non-readers can play without driving me crazy asking "What now?" (cause any mother in the world will tell you that they just won't be able to look and see what they see. No, if there is a list, and they'll know there is a list even if they can't read it, they will want to find what is on the list, which if there are no pictures, will require bothering mommy every minute which kind of defeats the purpose of handing them the bag and saying, "Please play quietly.").

However, if I put a picture of a pink hand on the card and my youngest cannot find a pink hand because the hand in her bag is red not pink, tantrums will be thrown (and again, if I can avoid a battle with a child who only because of her age is not quite up to logically thinking*, then I will do so).

So I have gone to the extra effort of photographing every color of every object and will be making every effort to ensure that the color that is on the card is in the bag, because, although I plan to sell these at the Market Day in my town and not keep them for my own neurotic children, I am a mother and am considerate of the potential pitfalls we mothers face every day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Tree

At 8:45 pm, as I was trying to get her to go up the stairs to bed, P said, "But what about the tree? We didn't do the tree."

And in my perfect little world we wouldn't but the tree up until after my oldest's birthday (3 days before Christmas) and it would be down before the youngest's (5 days after Christmas).

Just call me Scrooge. But the endless buildup to Christmas wears me out. By the time Christmas actually arrives, I'm ready to take the tree down as the kids are unwrapping presents. And don't even think about leaving it up past the first of the year.

And it's not just the tree. Everything must be put away before January 1. Not on January 1. BEFORE. I cannot enter a new year with the trappings of the old one still hanging around.

But if she remembers tomorrow, I might just allow The Hubby and the kids to put the tree up. So long as I don't have to help.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Today M (child #2, age 8) asked what we would be eating on Thursday.

"Um, turkey." I replied.
"What about the roast beef? We always have roast beef."
"Um, no we don't." What Thanksgiving has she been going to, I'm thinking.
"Yes, we do." I'm sure she's thinking, Where have you been , Mom.

I cannot convince her that we have never had roast beef at Thanksgiving. Perhaps she is confusing it with Christmas when we usually do a ham, but either way she is sure there should be roast beef.

So to please my nearly protein-phobic 2nd child, this year there will be roast beef next to the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The youngest of my five children, who we will call P for the purposes of this blog, has a few obsessive tendencies. She must put her clothes on in a specific order - panties (and don't call them underwear, you will insult her), pants, shirt, socks - or a melt down will ensue. I'm really not sure if I should just go with it or try to change it, but really she's 3 and the youngest of 5, so yeah I just go with it.

Her chocolate milk must also be made in a certain way. First you pour in the clean milk (that's just milk, but she must distinguish between clean milk and milk that we may have spiked with any medicine she may need at the moment but refuses to take) and then add the powder and stir with a spoon. If she sees you make it another way, she will refuse to drink it. Again, not sure if it's good for her future mental health to let this continue, but yeah, 3, 5, pick your battles.

Except . . . .

When she's not in the kitchen to see how I make her chocolate milk . . . .

I put the powder in first and then the milk . . . . and I laugh a slightly evil laugh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Straight and Curly

No. 5 has been asking for months to have her hair straight. Today I took her in for a trim and decided to have them blow it out and using a flat iron on it so she could have her wish. Now she wants it like this for ever. She's not even 4! I am in so much trouble.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Makes My Heart Melt

Monday I came home from dropping the middle three kids at school to find a message from my oldest carefully written into the morning dew on the grass. Hi. That's all it said. But, ahhhhh. That's the nutty kid I love.

(sorry no picture, no camera in the car, but I did have a crabby toddler - nuff said)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Why is it that the child who hasn't been able to stop coughing since late yesterday afternoon (I mean really couldn't stop, neither of us slept), who I kept home from school so that her coughing would not be a distraction, now hasn't coughed for over an hour.

And the child that woke up this morning with a cough but I sent to school because she wasn't nearly as bad off as the other, is probably coughing non-stop and her teacher is probably wondering why I let her go to school.

And I've made dr's appts for both and I called in sick to work so I could take them to the doctor, but now I'm second guessing whether or not the one really needs the doctor, but if I don't take her the coughing will start again this afternoon, but if I do the doctor will look at me like I'm crazy.

I just cannot win.

Monday, August 25, 2008


This morning before we began our errands, P told me she was really tired.

She fell asleep in the car between stops 4 and 5.

She remained asleep when I got her out of the car and woke up to tell me she wanted to ride in a cart. She promptly put her head down on the cart handle and continued to snooze.

P stayed asleep until I put her back in the car. I told her we were going home and she could go back to sleep. She looked awake when she insisted she was not going to sleep, but she was out before I finished loading the groceries.

When I laid her on the couch she opened her eyes long enough to request Max and Ruby, but not long enough to see that I complied.

Now more than 2 hours after she first fell asleep in the car, she is still out cold.

P is REALLY tired.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What Is It?

No, really. What is it?

I picked this flower from a friends yard and the image is my new most favorite.

But what kind of flower is it? I know I could Google it and I do have an idea what it is, but asking the Internet is so much more fun.

And if you are the first to tell me, I'll send you a free 5x7 print of this image (or one of the others in my etsy shop if you prefer).

You have your assignment. Now go.

Friday, July 18, 2008

That Can't Be Real

Earlier this week while taking 4 to the doctor, we saw some giant pink flowers. I was sure they must be a sculpture or similar, because I'd never seen anything that big before. Being in a bit of a hurry for the appointment, we decided to investigate on our way home.

On our way home we stopped in the parking lot where we had seen the flowers and indeed, they were real. 4's immediate announcement was that we should take one home. But I wanted to know what the flower was (and maybe get permission) before I hijacked a bloom. We ventured into the two nearest stores and found our answer -- a Giant Hibiscus. We were also given permission to pick a pink bloom and found two to our liking.

The Giant Hibiscus bloom was bigger than my head. Bigger than a dinner plate. They were also extremely fragile and bruised easily. But they were a joy to photograph and enjoy for the few hours they lasted.

These images really don't do justice the SIZE of this flower, but I think I did capture the beauty and intense color.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


So what do you think?
I love to photograph flowers. I love to examine the shapes and forms and textures. I enjoy caputuring the colors.
I do minimal fixing - mostly cropping for better composition and color correcting.
But this is not a natural blue. The lily was lemon yellow, but a quirk of the software turned it blue when I tried using "auto levels" - not my usual procedure.
But somehow - I love it.
If you love it too, look for it soon in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sharing the Passion

A few months ago I rearranged my house a bit to allow me to take over some of the basement so that I could set up my studio permanently. I hoped that having my equipment out would encourage and allow me to photograph whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without being deterred by the set-up process.

So far it's worked.

The permanent studio has had the added advantage of getting a couple of my kids bitten by the photography bug. Today has I was working on an idea I've had for a few weeks, Two (age 8)asked if she could help and then asked if she could take a few pics too. Before long Five (age 3.5) was in on the act too.

I love seeing my kids explore new things and it's even more fun when they take an interest in something I enjoy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Seperation Anxiety

Wendesday evening we had a huge storm that took out the power and had P wandering the house saying "What is happening, what is happening?"
The storm took out our less than a week old DSL modem, which the service provider assured us they would replace and would even send it overnight and we would have it Friday latest.
Turns out "Friday latest" really meant "Monday earliest." 
When I thought I would only have to live without my connection for two days max, I was a bit jittery, but perfectly capable of surviving.
When I learned that I would have to make it through an additional THREE days without my connection I went over the edge.  Must check blogs right now!  Who cares if I don't have a connection.  I am wireless.  The neighbors are wireless, but have not secured their wireless.  I'm sure they won't mind if I borrow it for just a minute.
Ahhhh.  Much better now.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Downside of Swimming Lessons

I now have a 3 year old who believes she can swim like her older brother and 2 older sisters and better than her 1 older but not bigger brother, but can't touch the bottom of the pool or really tread water for very long, loves to jump in or swim to me without informing me of her plans and has no fear.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Shouldn't There Be A Celebration?

This is my 100th post.

I feel like there should be a big hoopla.

However, I began blogging way back in Julyish of 2005 (has it really been that long?)

100 posts in 3 years -- really nothing to celebrate, so let's move on, shall we?

How about books?
Began and finished Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson yesterday. Fabulous!

Trenton Lee Stewart has a sequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society which I have not started yet. The Husband is reading it to E and M.

Read Odd Hours, the fourth book in the Odd series by Dean Koontz. Great book, but really seemed like less of it's own story than a lead-up to what I can only assume will be the fifth book in the Odd series. Why do I always want a dog after reading a Koontz book?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Harbinger of Doom

First, is that how you spell that - harbinger - okay, spell check says it's good.

Now maybe you have to be the mother of a child (or five in my case) who has had chronic ear infections who also refuses to take any medicine orally - really she throws it all up - unless it is mixed in her milk or juice in such a way that although she may taste it, the medicine does not completely overwhelm the desired milk/juice flavor . . .

. . . but this morning while trying to get P to open her mouth so I could see if she had any strep like symptoms (since E did and P has not been feeling tip-top this weekend) I got a look in her ear with flashlight and what to my horror did I see but a small blue tube! If I can see it without a otoscope, it is no longer doing it's job!

The last time her tubes fell out, we had 3 back to back ear infections, including one that began the night before she was scheduled to have the tubes replaced and we only managed to get them back in because I cried and begged and the doctors agreed she'd only get worse without the tubes.

And to make it worse, P is currently dealing with a whopper of a case of allergies. Time is running out.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

À La Carte

There are two things, I've decided that should be sold À La Carte -

Cable channels and cold/allergy medicines.

After speniding 10 minutes looking for a medicine that would cover my recent cold/allergy symptoms without over medicating, I became frustrated. I could cover a couple of symtoms but miss a crucial one, cover only one, cover a few extras but still miss the biggie or take 6 different pills and hope I wasn't accidentally over dosing on something.

It would be so much easier if you could order it like fast food -- I need an order of cough with sinus pressure, hold the fever, but give me a helping of chest congestion and make it non-drowsy.

And as for cable -- well I'm just tired of looking at all the junk on the channel guide and surfing through channels to get to the few channels I ever watch. I don't need VH1, MTV, any of the shopping channels, Lifetime, WE, and so many others are taking up space. But the one channel I do want - nope can't get that one without adding another 30 channels I'll never watch.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Better Way

Tomorrow is the last day of school, therefore I have only one more chance to send in teacher gifts, unless I want to surprise the teachers on Tuesday - no wait I have to work on Tuesday - on Wednesday, their last after-school's-out work-day, with a visit from my kids and even if we are bringing cookies, I think they'd like a longer break before seeing them again, you know, to miss them some, so I decide we will make No Bake cookies, but wait, we are out of cocoa, okay, chocolate chip it is, even though the thought of turning on the oven in this heat (heat, this is hardly bad, just wait till July when even the over night low is in the 80's, okay maybe not really, but close) makes me ill, which is why I had opted for No BAKE cookies plus they only take 10 minutes rather than the 45 it will take me to bake 4 dozen cookies (no I can't put two trays in the oven at once then the tray on the bottom doesn't cook properly and even if I'm not going to be the one eating them they must conform to my rigid standards, and yes I am a cookie snob), but chocolate chip it is, at least C can make those with very little assistance, but wait, we only have one egg, we need two and while I could borrow from the neighbor, I just borrowed a couple of cups of milk from them and even though I am still on the plus side of the neighbor-borrowing scale I hate to look like I'm so scatter-brained that I can't even manage to keep the basics in the house, although the neighbor does love No Bakes and would gladly trade a bit of cocoa for a few cookies or I can call The Husband with a request for eggs and cocoa and put off the baking of cookies for teacher gifts until later, but who knows what might happen later and I have a small window of opportunity left to get this done . . .

Really there must be a better way.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Letting Go

I use to be a mystery shopper.  Technically I still am.  I get emails and phone calls from schedulers, I'm still signed up with many companies.  But I haven't completed a shop this year.  I don't really plan on "shopping" again, but I just can't seem to take my name off the lists.
It is possible to be a full time shopper and make decent money doing it.  I've met people who do.  But when the thought of completing even one more shop at the store you've been to a dozen times in a month looking for things you have no intention of buying or hearing the sales pitch and asking questions about a product you probably  know more about than the sales person brings you to tears, it's time to take a break. 
And with gas prices as high as they are and shop fees not increasing, the distance you are willing to drive for a job decreases which means to keep working you have to keep shopping the same stores over and over and you begin to fear that the store has you picture hanging in the break room with the caption "known mystery shopper" like the wanted posters of the Old West.
I don't want to be a mystery shopper anymore, not really.  Sometimes it's tempting, but the work/pay ratio just doesn't make the effort worth it.  But it was a lot of work to get signed up and it'll take just as much effort to remove my name from the lists. And what if I change my mind and decide to be a shopper again? 

Friday, March 21, 2008

Kitchen Experiments (or I Am the Coolest Mom Ever)

Last week J started pulling things from the baking cabinet - flour, sugar, Crisco, salt, baking soda, oil etc.) and declared that he was going to make something. When I inquired as to what he was making he explained that he did not know, but would just put things and see what it made. (This is where I had a mini panic attack). I managed to convince him that we should make brownies from a mix and he could add chocolate chips.

But yesterday he began the same process again and would not be shaken on his quest see what he could make. I gave him a measuring cup and let him go, with only a few hints (the smaller the container, the smaller amount he'd want to use - good advice for the way things are contained in my kitchen - so the 1/4 cup of baking soda he was holding over the bowl probably wasn't a good idea.) When his recipe was complete, he declared them to be brownies and we baked them as such. J's brownies were deemed a success by C and are nearly gone.

Today when he arrived home, J declared he was making cookies and once again began pulling things from the cabinets. Again I allowed it and the cookies are cooling, waiting to be tasted, but if the dough is any hint, they aren't too bad. I'd have used more sugar and more cocoa, less olive oil, but at least he had the sense to not include the rock salt in today's recipe.

Maybe I can get him to whip up dinner tonight, too.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I have . . .
in my house . . .
at this very moment . . .
a . . .

MacBook Air!!!

(insert angels singing here)

Unfortunately it must return to work with the Hubby in the morning.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


As I type the, first of 5 rooms is getting it's second coat of reddish (okay, really dark pink, but don't tell P, she wants red) paint.  And all I have to do is write the check.
The very thought of painting was making me cry and the thought of painting 4 rooms in some shade of red, which seems to be an insanely difficult color with which to get good coverage, was making me think it would be easier to move rather than paint, but moving would probably require painting and, well that leads back to tears.
So I called a friend of my brother's to get a quote, knowing that I probably really couldn't afford to have someone else paint, but I could dream and then her quote was so extrordinarly reasonable that I asked how soon she could start and here we are getting the first room done and I don't have to to anything.
I may never paint again - yup, her prices are that good.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Great Move

Saturday was The Great Move. 6 people live in the 4 upstairs bedrooms of my house and not one of them went to bed in the same room in which they woke up that morning.  3 bags of trash and 2 bags for donation later, the boys are in the lime green room, using the pink bathroom and the girls are in the blue rooms using the blue bathroom and eveyone (except my mother who is quite happy to be back in the purple room she moved out of less than a year ago) is begging for paint.  Strangely enough 4 of the 5 children would like red walls) but that's another weekend or two or three or four.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Maybe It's the Hair

Today I took P to the doctor, although he was booked so we actually saw the nurse practitioner, whom we rarely see (maybe only once before) so I'll give her a little lee way for not being familiar with my family, who asked as she walked into the room, "Are you the child's grandmother (slight pause as she took in the horror in my expression) or mother?"
Now I do live in the Deep South and I will admit that my appearance was more pre-Stacy-and-Clinton-makeover than post, but I am only 34!  (Ack, maybe I really to be on "Ten Years Younger!")
Now had I had my first child when I was 16 (rather than 23), and that child had chosen to procreate at the same age, it is possible that I could be a grandmother to a 2 year old (but P is 3 and my youngest).
Either way I am mortified.