Tuesday, January 27, 2009


A few weeks ago, Maggie apparently saw something on T.V. or talked about something in school that sparked an interest in discussing STRANGERS. We have been having some intense discussions lately about what to do when someone that the girls don't know approaches them and tries to talk to them or persuade them to get in a car with them.

This topic is a serious matter, and we have been treating it as such. We answer all their questions, as well as reiterate over and over and over again the importance of staying safe and never getting into a car with someone they don't know. We have talked at length about how they should kick and scream and bite and hit if someone tries to take them. We have told them repeatedly that they should run in the house and get us if someone tries to get them to come outside the fence - - and that they should never engage in a discussion with an adult they don't know. We have tried to drill in their heads that grown-ups don't ask kids for directions or to help find lost pets, and that we would never send someone they didn't know to pick them up if we were hurt.

All this talk though has caused the girls to spin these elaborate stranger-danger stories, and at the end of them, they always want to tell us how they feel it should be handled. At first, we started out like this:

"If a stranger tries to get me to get in the car when I am playing out in the yard, I should run in the house and get you, right? If they try to grab me, I should kick them and scream and get away, right?"

"Yes," we answer. "Very good."

However, as time has gone on, the stories are getting more elaborate and filled with detail. A few days ago in the car, we were once again beating stranger-danger to death and Maggie said, "If I was walking to Barb and Greg's house and someone pulled up to the sidewalk and tried to get me in the car, I would run away and come tell you guys. But if you weren't home, I would run to Barb and Greg's and tell them. And if they weren't home, I would go to Ellen's. If the stranger in the car told me his dog was lost, I wouldn't help him look for it. If he said that you guys were hurt and in the hospital, and then tried to grab me and put me in his car, I would scream and say, 'MY DADDY IS A POLICEMAN AND HE ISN'T HURT AND YOU CAN'T TAKE ME!!' And then I would kick him."

Hearing this prompted Aleita to ask, "Who can I go with in a car?" We told her that if we ever needed someone to get her, we would send someone she knew well and trusted.

Aleita: "Like Grandma?"
Me: "Yes."
Aleita: "Or Barbie?"
Me: "Yes."

Aleita: "Or Aunt Stacie?"
Me: "Yes."

Aleita: "Or Rev. Ellen?"
Me: "Yes."

Aleita: "Or Diana?"
Me: "Yes."

Aleita: "Or Jeremy?"
Me: "Yes. Wait....who?"
Aleita: "Jeremy....the Schwan man."
Me: deep sigh. "No, Aleita. We wouldn't send the Schwan man to come get you."

In a crisis, you have to know who to call, right? Friends....family.....your minister.....the Schwan man.

If he'd let me eat the ice cream, I might be tempted to go with him too . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Someone "tagged" me with a challenge to come up with 25 random things about me. This list has taken me two days to compile -- I thought it would be easy, but I found that I would think of a few, then draw a complete blank. So - - after two days of working on it off and on, here are 25 random things about me:

1. My snack food craving of choice changes on a regular basis. Last month it was Wheat Thin Crisps. This month, it is Del’s chocolate covered pretzels.
2. We really need to put an extra bathroom in the basement. Instead, we are taking the kids to Disneyworld in May.
3. The font I used most often is “Comic Sans.”
4. I don’t drink coffee, nor does my husband. We don’t even own a coffee pot.
5. I couldn’t go to sleep right away last night, so as I was lying there, I thought about what flowers I wanted to plant this spring in my yard.
6. I sleep with a fan on every night for white noise.
7. I don’t vote in primary elections because I don’t want to have to register a party affiliation - - did I mention that I work for an elected official?
8. I sing along in the car with the radio. I am sometimes self conscious of this when I pull up next to someone in traffic and I am the only one in the car.
9. I absolutely love Caller ID. Yes. Sometimes I screen the calls.
10. Some people say they drink red wine because it is good for them. I drink red wine because I like red wine. I am especially partial to Pinot Noir and red blends.
11. I started getting gray hairs when I was about 19 years old. If I didn’t color my hair, my natural hair color right now would be about half very dark brown and about half gray.
12. I never thought I would stay in central Illinois after college.
13. I have never felt more at home than I do living where we do now, in a small town, in central Illinois.
14. We put up a bat house in the fall in our yard and hope to have bats move in this spring. Bats are excellent for mosquito control. In the summer, mosquitoes are the bane of my existence because I have a horrible reaction to mosquito bites.
15. I sometimes wish I had a more unusual first name - - unusual as in unique, not weird.
16. Some people say that if they won the lottery, they would keep their job and continue to go to work every day. I am not one of those people.
17. The kids and I have been eating Clementines like crazy lately…..we go through about a 5 lb crate a week.
18. I have a bottle of hand lotion by every sink in my house and one on my desk at work. I hate it when my hands are dry, so I put hand lotion on every time I wash my hands.
19. I have my 14-digit library card number memorized because I use the online library system so much to order books.
20. The smoking ban in Illinois public places has made me even more intolerant of cigarette smoke.
21. I sometimes wonder what in the world I did with my time before we had kids.
22. I always take off my wedding ring when I put on my makeup.
23. I still think of my parents as young, yet my parents are older than my grandparents were when I was a child and considered them to be “really old.”
24. People think I am really good at remembering birthdays, but I have an online program that sends me an email a week ahead of time so I remember to send a card.
25. I love butterscotch sundaes from Dairy Queen.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Aleita has had a somewhat rough week at school. She is still struggling with keeping her "high-spirited" ways in check at times during the day.

On Tuesday, she refused to nap, instead staying awake and singing a self-composed song to her teacher, Miss Jeanne, about her love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Miss Jeanne happened to be sitting at a table near Aleita trying to eat her lunch (yes - you guessed it - - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.) Aleita's act of serenading her favorite sandwich in and of itself would not have been so offensive, except for the fact that singing about it apparently roused a deep-seated hunger in her that apparently her own lunch only twenty minutes prior could not quell. Deciding to act upon her sudden need for PB & J, Aleita made a few attempts at actually taking Miss Jeanne's sandwich away from her. After being scolded and put back on her cot, Aleita was of course upset that her attempts at PB & J thievery had been thwarted. Her day was pretty much downhill from there.

Wednesday did not offer much improvement.

This morning as I got out of the car at the school and got Aleita out, I squatted in the parking lot beside her before we entered. Face to face with her, I talked to her for a minute about the need for her to behave, and how hard it was for me to pick her up in the afternoon, only to find that she had had a bad day. I told her that I knew she didn't want to be punished when she got home, and that I also knew how much happier she was when we were all happy with her. I told her that I loved her very much and wanted her to show everyone at school what a wonderful girl she is. After a few minutes, my heart-to-heart with her complete, I gave her a hug. "Be my good girl today, Aleita," I said.

She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, "Mommy. Do you smell that? Something smells like ham."

So much for rationalizing with a four year old. I sighed and shook my head and silently said a prayer that she wouldn't burn the school down today.

In the end, she actually had a pretty good day. I don't think my pep talk this morning had anything to do with it though. Last night at supper, Chris reminded her that there were two pieces of Grandma Helen's chocolate cake left in the fridge, but that she could only have one if she behaved at school (she had been denied cake on Tuesday and Wednesday - - even worse was watching her sister eat a piece each night.) When I called around lunch time today to find out how her day was going, her teacher told me that she had been good, and I talked with Aleita a little bit and told her I was proud of her. The first thing she said to me was, "I'm going to be good all day and get Grandma's cake tonight!"

And she did. She enjoyed her dessert immensely (but what's not to enjoy? my mom makes THE BEST chocolate Texas sheet cake.)

Hey - whatever works.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Last night, just as we were getting ready to eat supper, Aleita let out a string of sneezes, looked at us in surprise, and then began to laugh out loud.

I looked at her curiously and then said, "what's so funny?"

Still laughing, she answered, "I just sneezed so hard that I made a little pee come out!"

When it comes to a 4-year old, if you are going to ask the quesiton, make sure you that you really want to know the answer.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Jacquelyn, a fellow blogger and good friend of my sister-in-law, Julianne (also a fellow blogger), has "tagged me." The instructions of the tag game were to go the fourth folder in my pictures file on the computer and post the fourth photo. I had to smile when I saw this picture....hard to believe she was ever this little. This picture is Maggie, when she was just a few days old and weighing in at about 6 pounds, along with our good ol' Boxer dog, Dempsey. At the time, Dempsey was a young dog of two years old. His brown coat is very light now, and his black mask has been replaced by white.

For a comparison, I am including another photo that was taken Christmas 2007 of Maggie, Dempsey, and myself. How things change!

The other part of my instruction from Jacquelyn is that I am now supposed to tag a few others - - since Julianne has already been tagged, I can't include her - - but I WILL tag Kristin and Karen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


On Saturday, Chris and I went into the Club to work out for a little while, and Maggie and Aleita went to the kids' room for the cheapest child care around ($1 per kid while you work out.....though I am thinking - how would they know if I left for a few hours and snuck out to get groceries instead?) Anyway - that afternoon after we got home, Aleita was discussing her morning experience in the kids' room. She mentioned, "I played with Max, Jacob, and Doofus."

I looked at her in surprise and said, "what did you just say?"

She repeated, "I played with Max, Jacob, and Doofus."

I then did the parent-talk that goes into one ear and out the other and reminded her that it isn't nice to call other people names, and how did she feel when other people called her names....blah...blah...blah....

She looked at me with a shocked look on her face and said, "I DIDN'T call anyone a name!"

"Aleita!" I said, "You just called some little boy a doofus!"

She looked at me indignantly and said, "That's his name!"

"Aleita," I said, "there was no one there named 'Doofus'.....Why did you call him that?"

She defensively answered, "His name was so Doofus! I heard his brother call him that so I knew that was his name."

Apparently she thus preceded to call him by his sibling-appointed name of 'Doofus' for the entire time she was there.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sorry for my lack of colorful commentary lately. Since we have resumed from Christmas break, I am snowed under and simply don't have the time to entertain the masses with the latest installment of what is happening way down yonder in the patch.

I provide instead a pitiful substitute, but one that I do hope will at least stir up some laughs. As the world prepares to bid adieu to the man who is perhaps the least popular President of the free world ever, I thought it only fitting that we should recognize some of those "human" moments that just really brings it home for you what a good ol' boy George W. really is. Enjoy.

Letterman's Top 10 George Bush moments

Saturday, January 10, 2009


A shout out to Jacqueline for bringing this You Tube stunner to my attention. I felt it necessary to share. I'm hoping we can get the music so we can sing it for OUR church choir.

I've never considered Jesus to be like a mounty.....make sure to listen closely for the comparison.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


"Look, Mom! Apparently all that
'be good or Santa won't come'
business is just a bunch of crap!"

Monday, January 5, 2009


Tonight as I was making dinner in the kitchen, I could hear a repetitive tapping on the dining room wall. I knew Aleita was in there (as she had been placed on a chair in time out), so even though I couldn't see her, I said, "Aleita - whatever it is you're doing, cut it out."

There was a pause and then she responded, "I'm just breathing."

I came around the corner from the kitchen with my "mom face" on, prepared to give her what-for, only to find that the noise was actually Dandy playing with a tennis ball, batting it against the wall.

She looked up at me from her chair and said, "I told you I was just breathing."

Thursday, January 1, 2009


How often does it happen that just about the time you find something you really like, it becomes discontinued? I have had that happen to me with lipstick, breakfast cereal, and soup - -and that is just within the past six months. I also mentioned a few weeks ago that I couldn't find my favorite "Bells & Stars" Archway cookies this holiday season and was not very happy about it - - come to find out, the company filed for bankruptcy in October. I guess the sugary goodness of Bells & Stars will have to live only in my memory. Much to my dismay, I can now add my favorite scent from Bath & Body Works to that list of things that are a-goin' down in flames. The stores and online shop are selling the remaining inventory of Brown Sugar & Fig, but are not going to manufacture anymore once that stock is gone. Of course. I find something that I really like and soon it will be no more.

That is not to say that I will no longer be shopping at Bath and Body Works. I wonder if that store laces all their items with crack - - I will go in, just intending to buy one thing of hand lotion or perhaps some soap or hand sanitizer, and come out $50 poorer. They will inevitably have some sort of deal going on, and the salesgirl feels obliged to let me know how crazy-stupid I am being not to take advantage of it. I will set my two bottles of lotion on the counter and she will glance at it and say, "You know, if you buy just one more of those, you get a free pony." OK - maybe that's not exactly true, but what it usually amounts to is me spending $25 more than I intended to and walking out with a sack so full of body sprays and lotions that the strap has dug a spot into my hand before I've gotten ten steps past the entrance to the store. I do have a very impressive collection of Bath & Body Works items stored in my bathroom at home - - but also happen to have two little girls who have picked up on how important it is to "smell pretty," and insist on smellin' good before they leave for school each morning. We have done our share of economy-strengthening through our purchases at Bath & Body Works indeed.

I have to say though, that no matter how much I purchase, I can't stand the salesgirl who is the designated "basket pusher." The basket pusher is the lady who pursues you around the store and insists that you take a shopping basket for your wares. You can be holding a single bottle of lotion or sometimes absolutely nothing at all, and she is shoving a basket in your hands and smiling and saying, "take this - - take this! It will make your shopping so much EASIER!" What that translates to is that if I make it easier for you to load up on all this crap, my commission will be bigger when you go to leave, sucker.

Maybe Bath & Body Works will have scores of letter writers and phone callers letting them know how upset they are to have had Brown Sugar & Fig removed from their line and that they INSIST it be reinstated. Hmm...probably not - but it is a nice thought.

Goodbye, Brown Sugar & Fig - - I'll miss you!!
(perhaps if they had had a more attractive label for the product, it would have sold better?)