Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

I have the strangest sense of deja-vu….I have presents to wrap, and floors to mop, and children to bathe, and cheeseballs to fabricate, and cookies to decorate…

DIDN’T I DO ALL THIS JUST 365 DAYS AGO??????????

WHAT KIND OF SORCERY IS THIS??????????

Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap…oh, shut up, list and presents and floors and unassembled-cheese-ball-components. CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BLOGGING?

Now I remember what it used to take to do this: hip, hip, hooray for denial and avoidance!

So yesterday I went with My Beloved to the “big city”, where we cheated death at least 4 times (that we know of) as we navigated around white-knuckled drivers with their eyeballs spinning in opposite directions from each other, singing IT’S THE MOST! WONDERFUL TIME! OF THE YEEEEEAR!! and we bought all kinds of Christmas essentials like candy canes and grapefruit and tea and dates and bully sticks and cat food and Larabars and…

What do you mean, bully sticks are not Christmas essentials?

I’ll have you know our dogs find them extremely festive.

If you don’t know what a bully stick is, consider yourself lucky. Do NOT google it! No! Don’t do it!!!!! Save yourself and the purity of your mind!

You did it, didn’t you? And now you’re scarred for life. You never listen to me.

Speaking of things that will scar you for life, check out this link. It’s my darling brother’s blog. No, not that brother, the other brother. This particular brother has the distinction of being able to make me laugh harder than any other human on earth. His blog is full of helpful information that is sure to enrich your life and fill your heart with holiday cheer.*

Speaking of holiday cheer, do you own the Toby Mac Christmas CD? Because if you don’t, there has been a gross miscarriage of justice in your life. Not to put too fine a point on it.

To be completely truthful, I only listen to the first half of it. That’s the Toby Mac part. The second half is the members of his DiverseCity band with their contributions, and they just don’t thrill me. But the first half is well worth the money. If you like music that sounds best when turned up to 11, that is. If you prefer music that causes butterflies to dance ballet upon the petals of orchids held between the buttcheeks of unicorns as they graze upon rainbows, then Toby Mac is probably not for you, and why do you read my blog?

Okay, so there’s this to-do list…it’s not content with hanging on the refrigerator anymore. It has now leapt (lept? leaped? leap’d?) down and scaled the leg of my desk chair, where it is persistently tapping upon my shoulder and tugging at my earlobe. Le sigh.

I saw the new Sherlock Holmes, and I have a few thoughts about it. More on that later.

I have some sweet memories about Christmasses past to share. More on that later.

I have lots of pictures to post. More on those later.

For now, enjoy your Christmas Eve Eve! May all cookies be spicy and your cheeseballs free from MSG.

*disclaimer: This particular post from my darling brother is completely safe for viewers of all ages, if you don’t mind a little emotional scarring. Other posts may not be deemed appropriate for general viewing, depending upon your tolerance for irreverence, parody, satire, and the F word

Quirky

Is there anything more fun than a summer cold? I mean, really! I was battling allergies all right, and the sudden, episodic fits of sneezing with subsequent nose-gushage (that’s really hard to say out loud, by the way. try it.) when out of the blue they transmogrified into something quite a bit more sinister. My throat hurt. And my head began to make a strange crackling noise whenever I swallowed. My teeth hurt. My eyes hurt. And the things that began to appear in my tissue were downright terrifying.

Ah, bacteria! You make life so interesting!

Today I think I’m trying to feel better. I can’t really be sure, because I didn’t get much sleep last night so I cannot tell how I would feel if I had. I didn’t get much sleep last night because a certain little boy did this yesterday afternoon…

P1010016

…which means he conked out at about 6pm. Which means at about 3am in the morning, I heard “mooooommmmmyyyyy!” and had a very happy 2 year old who wanted to know why it was still so dark and quiet even though it was obviously breakfast-time.

I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day. We celebrated Charity, who successfully made the leap to double-digits this year.

small

She’s my Y2K baby…born in the year 2000, the year we were all supposed to be plunged into darkness and mayhem. The year we all ran outside at midnight, Jan. 1st, to see if the neighborhood homes would suddenly revert to caves. The year we stockpiled necessities like oatmeal and tylenol and batteries and bugles and cheez-its.

Not really.

So the big caveman-retrograde didn’t happen, but I have to say…maybe because of all the hype seeping through my pores…Charity is a little…quirky. And I’ve talked to other people with Y2K babies, and they say the same things.

“Those Y2K babies,” they say, “they’re….quirky.”

Charity, when she was about 3, commented that “I’m a strange kid.”

I have to wonder what the inside of her brain looks like. I’m betting it’s a psychedelic wonderland, if her drawings tell me anything.

I was a strange kid myself, though, and here’s photographic evidence:

scan0014

Truthfully, I think I come from a long line of “quirky.” Charity is simply the latest model.

So we had a party to celebrate her first decade. We had cupcakes.

P1010022

And this little guy showed up with his parents

small3

And my folks came over…

small4

Quirky. Is that the word I used?

It might not have been quite strong enough.

P1010049

Happy Birthday, Charity. I hope you always celebrate your honest and robust lineage of strangeness!

62%

I went to the doctor the other day. The OB. Is there any other kind?

I didn’t want to go to the doctor. He’s a nice Christian guy but I can never decipher whether he’s looking at me with pity, disapproval, or affection. I have tried many times to make him laugh and only succeeded a few times over the years. I think I’m a pretty funny person, but he makes me doubt myself. It would be nice if he’d just flat-out proclaim how he feels instead of keeping his professional opinion under wraps. I could handle that better.

If he disapproves, I could tell him to shut his pie-hole and thank me for the repeat business.

If he thinks I’m awesome, he could scream “W00t!” and go for a high five.

The mental image makes me giggle.

He doesn’t congratulate me this time. We’ve done this dance often enough to know that would be premature. Instead we chat and he nods and shuffles the papers on my chart and says “well, let’s just go down the hallway here and see what’s going on!”

In the sonogram room, I get the distinct impression that he’s not looking forward to this anymore than I am. We’ve been through this more than a few times, and the gentle delivery of bad news is wearing on him…of that much I’m almost certain. He doesn’t turn on the big projector that is turned my way, but keeps his eyes on the small screen for his eyes only. The seconds feel like hours.

“Welllll….” he begins. “We actually have good news today!”

A smile. He turns the big screen on. There is an island of life within, a little strobe light of happiness dancing in the depths. A heartbeat.

Dates are perfect. Growth is perfect. And the heartbeat, of course, could be nothing less.

There are no guarantees in life, ever. My children are gifts, the ones who fill my house with chaos and the ones whose faces I have not yet seen. I have had 8 pregnancies evaporate into mist, go straight from hope to heartbreak. Yet this one, I feel strongly, is destined for terrestrial things.

I’ll be 42 this year. I’ve never felt so acutely that these baking years are coming to an end. I’m okay with that.

But I’m happy for one more chance to fire up the oven.

There’s No Place Like Home

I’ll make this short and sweet. I made these letters in honor of Kate and Charley and their two new daughters, Vivienne (new name Bethany) and Laura. They spell out HOME, which is where we want to get them VERY SOON! If you would like a chance to have them for your very own, simply donate $5 dollars to Kate and Charley’s adoption fund via the Chip In button below. Every $5 entry will garner your name in the hat.

P1010024 (3)

The letters are made out of paper mache and covered with just about the cutest scrapbook paper I’ve ever seen.

P1010026 (3)

They’ve had little accents decoupaged on them, and some of my own doodles to boot!

P1010027 (3)

Seriously. I think these are the cutest letters I’ve ever constructed. Each one is about 8 x 5 inches high, and about an inch thick. Perfectly happy to stand upon a shelf or just about anywhere you need a little bright cheeriness.

P1010028 (3)

Oh, the cuteness. Each letter has been hand-inked around the edges to give it a little extra pop. And each one has been covered with mod-podge for protection from wayward sticky fingers and sudden sneezes. I wouldn’t recommend submerging them, but you can wipe them clean with a damp cloth.

P1010029 (3)

I cannot even BEGIN to think of a more perfect quote than this one as it relates to adoption. How blessed we are, who have warmth of home and love of family to comfort us. How much the same is needed for so many sweet children around the world.

Each letter has painted sides that have then been sanded to give it a perfectly imperfect appearance. Because we all know perfection is way overrated.

P1010031 (3)

 This raffle will end in one week, on the 3rd of March. Winners will be chosen from each $5 contribution (donate more, get more chances to win)!

February + Giveaway = Love

This is a special day. A special, special day.

For one thing, it is no longer January.

For another thing, it’s February. Which, in a wacky twist of fate, comes after January.

It is the first day of Black History month.

It is the day that Mary Shelley died.

It is the day that MY DAD was born! And Clark Gable. My Dad grew a moustache once and I thought he looked like Clark Gable. I have no pictures for evidence at the moment, but I’ll get right on it.

On this day in 1861, Texas seceded from the United States. Abraham Lincoln said “over my dead body!” or something like that.

On this day in 2004, Janet Jackson bared her breast during the Super Bowl halftime show. Abraham Lincoln could not be reached for comment.

February is a short month. The shortest month of the year. Did you know that the ancient Romans gave us our calendar? And that, at first, it only had ten months? And that the last month was December, and it lasted for all of Winter? Because the Romans considered Winter to be a “monthless” season?

I would also add that it is a cheerless, bitter season of creeping, quiet desperation, but I can’t verify if the Romans would have gone that far. Probably not, considering that they had the Mediterranean.

This is also my 535th post. Five Hundred and Thirty-Five. Heavens to murgatroid. That’s a lot of drivel.

I wasn’t paying ANY attention when my 500th post went by. I’m not sure which one it was. I could count backwards, but that would require, well, counting backwards, so let’s just pretend that 535 is the REAL number to get jazzed about, mkay?

Not that, so far, I have said ANYTHING that would cause you to get jazzed IN THE SLIGHTEST MODICUM. But let me change all of that right now.

Because right now, without further ado, I give you this:

P1010065 (2)

Are you not tantalized? Hypnotized? Mesmerized by the beautiful brown shades and the silky ribbon? I know I was. My heart went pitty-pat when it came in the mail from My Beloved. Then I started to open it.

P1010066 (2)

Oh my.

P1010071 (2)

Oh my stars.

P1010073 (2)

Oh my stars and garters.

P1010074 (2)

Oh my stars and garters and lacy unmentionables.

P1010078 (2)

And then I ate one. And it was like death, but in a good way! (name that movie, just for fun?)

SALTED CARAMELS, my friends. Almost paradise. We’re knockin’ on Heaven’s door. Almost paradise. How could we ask for more?

Name that movie, too. Just for fun.

As beautiful as these beautiful beauties are, I have to confess: they tasted even better. If your most decadent experience with caramel has been a casual Twix bar here and there, let me assure you that YOU HAVE NO IDEA of what caramel was meant to be. These will ruin you for anything else. RUIN YOU.

Now, I am prepared to give away a box of these precious lovelies to one of you. AND, just because I know not everyone’s taste buds run as adventurous as some, I will let you choose whether you want salted or unsalted, milk or dark chocolate.

Or if you’ve never tasted the wonder that is a salted caramel and you think you might be ready to adjust your worldview a hair, you can get a mixture! Just calm down, put your head between your legs, breathe into a paper bag, and let me know in the comments.

That’s it! Just leave me a comment and you’ll go into the hat. Rather, your name will go into the hat.

Fran’s Chocolates, you don’t know me from a hole in your head, but I must tell you, you changed my life. Or at least my salivary glands. Thank you.

(giveaway will end on February 7th at the stroke of midnight…chocolates should arrive by Valentine’s Day, barring acts of God)

Special Needs

One of my dearest online friends has what I consider to be some of the most exciting news EVER. She and her husband are planning to expand their fabulous family of seven beautiful children to include two precious girls from the Ukraine. 

The obstacles one faces when adopting are daunting, but to say that Kate and her husband Charley are no strangers to daunting situations would be putting it mildly. In their parenting journey they have faced obstacles that would have had most average mortals wailing in self-pity and crippled by fear.

To state that Kate and Charley are not average mortals would also be putting it mildly. They meet challenges head-on and with a tenacity and faith that I have honestly never seen before in anyone I have ever known.

The girls they are adopting have special needs of their own, and I know that there could not be a better family for them to grow up in. Kate, Charley, and the kids have fallen completely in love with them. You can read all about their journey to adopt at their adoption blog.

Would you like to help bring these precious girls home? Obviously everyone knows that adoption is costly, and there is no denying that this is a plea for funding. But even if you cannot give a dime, would you consider putting up Kate’s blog button on your own site so that others may become aware of the opportunity?

<a href="http://snadoption.blogspot.com"><img src="http://i47.tinypic.com/70vq11.jpg" alt="" /></a>

Most importantly, would you pray? Pray for direction, wisdom, and for patience. Pray for red tape to be swiftly navigated and for efficiency in the most unlikely of places: national governments.

Thank you!

Happy To Me

celebrity-pictures-matthew-fox-promised-cake

 

So today marks the anniversary of the very first post I published here at El Bloggo, and although I can’t actually offer you any CAKE (sorry, Jack), I can at least offer up a token of my gratitude to all you fine folks out in the internet ether who continue to put up with my shenanigans.

 

Don’t you just love the word “shenanigans“? Did you know it is a uniquely American word? Dictionary.com says that the earliest useage was in 1855, of uncertain origin. Earliest records of it are in San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif. Suggestions include Sp. chanada, a shortened form of charranada “trick, deceit,” or, less likely, Ger. Schenigelei, peddler’s argot for “work, craft,” or the related Ger. slang verb schinäglen. Another guess centers on Ir. sionnach “fox.”

 

Say what you will about America, we will always have shenanigans to define us.

 

Words and I, we go way back. And if they are covered in decoupage, so much the better. So in celebration of this, my 3-yr blogiversary, I give you a Valentine’s Day treat, made with my ownty-own hands:

 

bemine

 

Four wooden letters proclaiming “MINE” with a teensy weensy “be” on the M to make it “Be mine”. They have hanging holes in the back, or you can just prop them up somewhere and admire their cuteness.

 

M

 

I

 

N

 

E

 

(Click on the pictures to see them in their full glittery goodness)

 

If you’d like a chance to win them, all you have to do is leave a comment! Be sure I have some way to get ahold of you, of course. And if you’d like to tell me how long you’ve been stopping by and how you got here, I’d love to know!

 

(giveaway will end Saturday at midnight, Oklahoma time, whatever that is)

Perfection is overrated anyway

The days following Christmas are, by definition, something of a bummer. Unless you are having a beautiful baby boy on one of those days, as I was, 6 years ago.

 

P1010002

 

The labor itself was a bit of a bummer.

 

P1010004

 

“a bit of a bummer” here means “nightmare from the bowels of hell“, but we won’t talk about that now.

 

I can even look cute with lettuce on my head!

 

Because coming home with my sweet angel baby was worth the trip to the netherworld to get him.

 

Picture 023

 

He’s got the biggest head imaginable, with the cutest face attached.

 

cute-little-man

 

Over the past 6 years, he’s lived up to his angelic name…

 

listening

 

Sweet…

 

Picture 104

 

thoughtful…

 

Picture 227

 

Fun…

 

Picture 812

 

Easy-going…

 

Picture 702

 

Being six has not diminished his beauty in the least…he’s still one of the best looking kids I’ve ever seen. All-American. Sturdy. Athletic. Eager to learn. Ready to take on the world.

 

gabe

 

Six years old brings some changes, though, and never has that been more apparent than two days ago when he opened his gift from his grandparents and stated with great vehemence and indignation that it was “A BORING BOOK”.

 

Which pretty much puts him in the running for Rudest Child In The History of My House.

 

So. There’s some work to be done there. But surliness can’t diminish a mother’s love.  Happy 6th birthday, my:

 

gabe2

Merry….oh, you know…!!

I bought these

 

snowflake

 

And my daughters made these…

 

snowflake kit

 

 

P1010076

 

And I baked these…

 

P1010046

 

P1010002

 

And then this happened:

 

P1010070

 

Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

 

I’m praising God this morning that the power stayed on and that I got to enjoy this:

 

P1010073

 

P1010074

 

from the comfort of my heated, cozy house…ahhhh….thank You Lord…

 

At 8:00 this morning, the living room looked like this:

 

P1010056

 

At 11:19 this morning, it looked like this:

 

P1010097

 

Just in case you ever wondered what Christmas morning at a household of 13 looks like. To be honest, I need a wide-angle lens to capture it properly.

 

Lastly but not leastly,

 

HAPPIEST OF CHRISTMASSES EVERYONE!!!!

 

White or green, may it be merry and bright. And may you discover a sweet surprise under the tree just for you.

Merry Christmas Eve!!

 Hey, all you types out there who are taking “breaks” during “Christmastime” so you can “focus” on “family” and “togetherness”, I have just one thing to say to you:

 

You’re lame! Come on!!! What the heck am *I* supposed to read now???

 

Selfish.

 

My plans for travel have been thwarted by a forecast of snow/ice/wind/weather-spawned-from-the-loins-of-satan, so instead I am here at home on Christmas Eve, and I cannot say that I’m terribly upset. I spent three hours and My Beloved’s paycheck at Wal-Mart (along with the entire population of our town, apparently) yesterday buying ice melt and firewood and sanitary pads and leeks and coffee and spinach and hash browns and molasses and vodka and hemp milk and salmon and noodles and bananas, so it’s all good. Let the snow come! I shall laugh from the safety and security of my toasty little house.

 

Unless the power goes out. Then I will weep into my vodka.

 

Actually, Wal Mart doesn’t sell vodka. I had to go to the licker store for that.

 

I”m always a little nervous coming out of the licker store, because we attend (haha. I say “attend” as though we actually go. long story. maybe later) a particular denomination of church where the consumption of alchohol is not approved. I had to wonder what I would do if my pastor or somesuch happened to drive by right as I stepped out with my brown paper sack of inebriation.

 

The fact that I need vodka for my pasta a la vodka probably would not sound like a very firm excuse, given that I also had a couple of six packs with me.

 

Oh well. I actually don’t worry about it very much. This would be because I don’t really care.

 

Isn’t this an edifying post? Aren’t you glad you visited?

 

Hey, seeing as how I’m the only one on the whole wide interweb who is still puttin’ out, I say you get what you pay for.

 

That really, really did not sound good.

 

As long as I’m being so spiritual, watch this.

 

 

 

And this.
 

 

 

To sum up the past few days, some people are weird, and some people say really strange things, and some people shouldn’t own dogs, and some people are really hot and some people are really not, and also the fist shaking thing, wrapping presents, celebrities, hyperventilations, secret gifts, BALD faced, Blue Wiggle, bunnies, new haircut, twins, peace and quiet, giant hammerold people, garlic, X is okay, Starbucks, SNL, vodka, teatotallers, annnnnnd…..

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE, to my favorite people in the whole world: all you guys I’ve never met.

 

Okay, so you’re not my favorites. You might be. But I’ll probably never know for certain. One thing is certain, though, and that is that I hope you take time today to look around, take deep breaths, and savor the anticipation and the love of those surrounding you. Find somebody to hug, and for the love of all the fluffy puppies on God’s green Earth, hug them.

 

They could probably really use it right about now.