Monday, November 30, 2015

What?!?! I'm Actually Linking up on Friday?!?! TToT 129

It's a darn good thing I took notes early in the week about what to write for this weekend's TToT. I never would have remembered what I actually did yesterday, let alone all the way back on Monday.

1. I am thankful for the internet and people who post helpful things on it. Our dishwasher hasn't been working so well lately, and I figured it was because it could use a good cleaning. It took me all of 2 minutes to google and find a pertinent video. I learned how to take my dishwasher apart in order to get the pieces all shiny and clean.

2. I am thankful for baking soda and vinegar. All that fizzy goodness quickly destroys all built up crud. The dishwasher looks so good even half the kids noticed.

3. I am thankful for helpful crafts. I still haven't found purple candles for our Advent wreath (mostly because I've only looked at Meijer), but Cuckoo came through with a paper one he made in school. It even has "flames" to be glued on each Sunday. We put that sucker right in the middle of the dining room table.

4. I managed to get started on Christmas shopping. I didn't get much, and I really need to pick up the pace, seeing as how I need all gifts for nieces and nephews by next weekend, but at least I'm started.

5. The elementary school had a half day on Tuesday, so I was able to get into my PJs by 1:30 in the afternoon.

6. I finally figured out a theme for this year's Christmas card and got it halfway written. I tell you what, the pressure to come up with a good, funny letter for 12 years straight is getting to me.  But I can't not do it, and not just because people expect it. I like them. When they're done.

7. The envelopes are halfway addressed, too. I did that while I was brainstorming for the letter. Now, to get the photo of the kids...

8. I'm always thankful for funny dinner conversations. No need to go into how it started, but it ended up being Buttercup, the little boys, and me telling stories about one or another of them getting into a pickle, then ending the story by saying, "Guess what Mom did!" The little boys would respond loudly and confidently, "Laugh and take a picture!" They will thank me when they are adults and have the most awesome photo albums to go through with their kids.

9. We have one out of three Christmas programs done for the season. Kindergarten and first grade had their show last night. Cuckoo never cracked a smile, but he sang and did all the motions. The end song had me crying, as usual. Every single year, for the last 11 years, every program ends with the same song. All older siblings join their younger siblings on stage to sing Peace on Earth while the parents sing Silent Night. Tear-jerker I tell ya!

The tears shut off quickly, though, when I ask Cuckoo to stand still for a photo.

10. If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer at an organization to which you donate, I would highly recommend you do it. We've been donating items for the Catholic Charities Christmas Store for years and years (It's a place where parents who are referred by social services or other service organization can go to shop for their families. The clients pay a nominal amount per child, then shop through the store. Presents aren't just dropped off at their houses. They get to actually be a part of choosing the gifts and finding things their kids would enjoy. Plus, each family gets a household item, like a crock pot, vacuum, bedding, or set of dishes.), but this week, I was able to volunteer for the first time. I was blown away by it. I have never seen such organization in an all-volunteer endeavor. Last year, parents purchased clothes and toys for 2,622 kids. That means over 5,000 toys, over 7500 articles of clothing, 2,600 hats, 2,600 pairs of gloves, and all the other extras each family receives. All of it brand spanking new. And fashionable. All donated. There really are lots and lots of generous, kind people in this world.

I was able to help a woman, with whom I had much in common, shop. She and her husband have 6 kids, most of them boys. They have no family in town. She'd never been to the Christmas store before, so we figured things out together. We chatted, we laughed, we discussed what her kids would enjoy, I introduced her to the brilliance of a crock pot. At the end of her shopping trip, we hugged and wished each other a Merry Christmas.

I urge you to get out and volunteer. It is the absolute best way to counteract the fear and hopelessness that you feel after watching the news or reading your FB feed.

Well, I didn't plan on going into all of that. It just came out. I'm keeping it. :)

Your turn! What happened in your life this week to make you smile?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It Would be Silly to Miss the TToT on the Biggest Thankful Weekend of the Year, TToT 128

We're home safe and sound, so I can finally sit and go through the good things that happened this week.

1. On Monday, I was able to have a birthday lunch with my used-to-be-living in Japan friend. We see each other for approximately 5 minutes each day at pickup, when we can give quick little updates about our days. It was nice to have plenty of time to really chat and hear the full stories of what is going on.

2. On Tuesday, the 8th grade had it's Thanksgiving feast. I was able to work it, seeing as how I don't have any kids at home with me during the day anymore. I'm finding those silver linings, small as they may be.

3. I've gotten most of the photos I had printed organized and into albums. Our mothers were thrilled to receive albums with all of the pictures taken on our trip to Disney.

4. We made it to Canton in normal time. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a crap shoot as far as time in the car goes. One year, it took us 12 hours to make the 6 hour trip. No snow and no backups and no 5:00 traffic in Columbus meant we made it to Grandma's house when expected.

5. The dessert I made for Thanksgiving made the trip unscathed. It was fragile and on ice in a tote, since we don't have a cooler that can hold a 9x13 pan. I was quite worried about it. But, it made it, and it was enjoyed by everyone.

6. I actually remembered to bring everything we needed for the trip, which is pretty astounding, as I was mostly in charge of Thanksgiving for my family and had lots of things on my list.

7. Thanksgiving for my family was more difficult and problematic for many reasons I don't feel like going into. In the end, it everyone had a great time, the food was plentiful and good, and there were delicious desserts aplenty.

8. On our way home, just before getting to the outskirts of Indianapolis, we spotted a police car with its lights flashing. In front of it, stretching for half a mile, were cars on the shoulder with their hazard lights flashing. Every one of the 15-20 cars had at least one flat tire. Apparently, something was scattered on the road, causing major problems for holiday travelers heading home. While I feel bad for every one of them, I am so, so thankful we were in the other lane and didn't hit whatever it was. Changing tires on a 12-passenger van is no fun. Changing tires on a 12-passenger van in the dark, in the rain, with 6 kids inside and a husband who doesn't do well with these sorts of situations is just plain miserable.

9. I managed to find our Advent wreath minutes before we sat down to dinner. Sure, I forgot to buy purple candles for it, but we still said a prayer and read from our Advent devotions book. I'll get some candles tomorrow. :)

10. CYO basketball is very popular here in Indy, but the number of gyms in which to practice are few. This means that as kids get older, their practices times get later. High school players get the most bizarre time of all. Star's practices are 9-10 on Sunday nights. I couldn't be happier that Bryan volunteered to be his coach, because it means I never, ever have to take the boy.

Your turn. How was your Thanksgiving and the weekend that followed it?

There's still time to link up!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Forty-Four Years of Being on the Right Side of the Grass, TToT Week 127

It was a good week for a birthday.

One good thing about Facebook is it lets everyone know about upcoming birthdays. The many, many birthday messages I received made it a happy day online! (Even better when a friend writes a post all about birthdays and includes me!)

So, my thankful list this week has some mentions of my birthday, but there's more. Lots more!

1. All of the paperwork and background checks have finally been completed, so I was able to volunteer at a local public school twice this week. As I've mentioned before, the southside of Indianapolis has one of the largest, if not the largest, populations of Burmese refugees in the country. More than half the students in this particular school have parents who don't speak English, so I go in and simply chat and read with some students who are having trouble learning to read and write. It is exactly the type of thing I want to do with my time.

2.  I am thankful to live so close to a growing, popular big city. We live in the boonies, so we get to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, but close enough to the city that we can take advantage of all the things going on there.

3. Things like national gatherings... Buttercup was able to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference. 25,000 teenagers from around the country (even from Hawaii!) descend on Indy every two years. It's a heck of a lot cheaper for kids from Indy, seeing as how they don't have to fly or stay in a hotel. They don't lose out on the experience, though. Instead of coming home to sleep, our parish's kids and chaperons camp out in the gym of the high school.

4. There are lots and lots of restaurants from which to choose on those rare occasions that Bryan and I get to go out. Last night we enjoyed a meal at an 80 year old Italian restaurant downtown.

5.The opportunities to be entertained are plentiful. For my birthday (yesterday!) Bryan and I went to see Martin Short and Steve Martin perform. We laughed and laughed throughout the show.

6. On Friday, I had a nice, long 2 hour lunch with Kris. (Remember Mrs. Always Random??) She and I have birthdays within a week of each other, so we try to get together to celebrate each year. This year all the celebrating we could swing was lunch and some chocolate chip cookies, but it was so nice to visit with her and the sweet little boy her family fosters.

7. The weather was great, until it wasn't. The beginning of the week was lovely, but by the end of the week, there was some nasty, cold rain coming down. I didn't have anywhere to go until school pickup on the worst day, so I stayed home under my blanket.

8. Bad weather means I can get stuff done in the house, but I hate to clean, so I spent the time catching up on printing photos. I have spent hours and hours and hours going through the photos on my computer, choosing the ones I want printed, and downloading them to the photo site to print. I have gotten all of 2012, half of 2013, half of 2015, and all of our vacations since 2012 done. Now to get them into albums...

9. I spent all of those hours getting as many printed as I could, because I had a 40 percent off coupon that expired yesterday. When one is printing almost 1,000 photos, one could really use that 40 percent off. To help, there was a mix-up with one of the orders, so the clerk gave me an extra $10 off, and another clerk gave me a $5 off coupon. I'm getting these suckers done for a bargain!

10. The first snow of the year was on my birthday.

Normally, I'd complain about such a thing, but the flakes yesterday were beautiful through the window.

Cuckoo was ridiculously happy about the snow. He had his snowpants and boots on before the flakes were even hitting the ground.

Notice, no gloves

But that simply meant he was ready when the snow really started coming down.

Now notice, one glove. His hands were getting cold, but he has a teeny, tiny boo-boo on one finger. Guess which hand. :)

And best of all, it all melted before Bryan and I left for our evening out. If it was going to snow, at least it was the best kind of snow.

So, how was your week? Did you get any snow in your neck of the woods?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Ups and Downs in a Belated Quick Takes

Normally, this is called Quick Takes Friday, but the link is still open, so I'm doing it today. Lots of little things to tell you from the weekend...

****************** 1 ****************

The sunrises lately have been stop-ya-in-your-tracks stunning around here. Have you been seeing them where you are?

******************** 2 ***************

It's only taken about 4 months, but it seems our dogs have come to some sort of truce with the cat. She is hanging out around the house all the time now, and the dogs haven't chased her away.

She's sitting on the steps outside the mudroom door. The dogs are sleeping a mere 15 feet away. 

******************** 3 ****************

I ran into one of the parents of one of the several 13 year old boys that spent the night on Friday. He said his son proclaimed that night to be one of the best in his life. From the sounds of it, the game they played outside in the dark (I don't know what it was, but it had the word presidents in it, and it meant a whole lot of running around with flashlights. I heard them and saw them from through the window.) was the best part.

Although the mishap in the morning might remain more memorable.

A raccoon was smack dab in the middle of our driveway.

Everyone, including Bryan and the kids, went outside to see why it was there. They didn't get far off the porch when someone started driving up the driveway. (A parent to pick up one of the boys)  Everyone went running towards the drive, yelling and waving for him to stop. The driver was so busy watching everyone, trying to figure out what they were doing that he never saw the raccoon. Thump-thump went the raccoon.


***************** 4 **************

At about 2:00am, I was semi-awoken in the middle of a dream by Bryan, who was moaning that he was hurt. I didn't think much of it, seeing as how I was still asleep and all, until this morning. I asked how he was feeling, referencing the sore throat he's been fighting. He said his throat was better, but his eye was still hurting. That dream I was in the middle of when Bryan woke me up? Someone had thrown a ball to me, and I reached out to catch it. Apparently, it wasn't just in my dream that I reached out. When I went to catch the ball, I nailed Bryan right in the eye.

I will no longer complain about his stealing of the comforter.

******************** 5 ***************

I have a turkey cooling on the counter as I type. We have a lot of grocery stores around here, and they are always competing for business. Last week at Meijer, I could get a turkey for 42 cents a pound if I spent $20. I spend $20 within the first 2 minutes of being in the store, so I picked up a turkey. I'll be cutting it up and freezing it to make lots of dinners this winter. I'll probably grab another one today to cook on Wednesday. Bryan was surprise when I told him how cheap it was. He heard there was a turkey shortage and prices were going to be higher this year. How are the prices where you are?

******************* 6 ****************

Bryan and I get invited to events (through work) all the time, and he has almost always turned them down. When the kids were younger, it was because the hassle of a babysitter was not worth it. More recently, it's because they require black tie (Bryan didn't own a tux.) or our weekends were full with activities with the kids. Things are changing, though, and we decided to start attending a few things. Saturday night, we went to a black tie fundraiser.

We had loads of fun.

His firm is celebrating 60 years, so the Christmas party is going fancy. We'll be repeating this look, except hopefully a bit more relaxed and less rushed, in three weeks.

********************** 7 ***************

And while we were getting all gussied up, the little boys, thanks to Buttercup, were getting all fancy themselves.

I do believe he's trying to look like a tough football player.
Can you see that she didn't confine the paint to his face? That would be a football upright on his chest, and on his back it looks like a jersey, with "Luck 12" written on it.

That little bat on the bottom has Cuckoo's bellybutton as its face. On his back is a gigantic black bat.
Gotta say, I'm glad I wasn't there to have to wash it all off.

And lastly, can you even believe that we're all outside in the middle of November, without long sleeves, not freezing to death?


Have a lovely day!

Friday, November 13, 2015

On the Road to Recovery. TToT Week 126

I rose the white flag.

Threw in the towel.

Cried Uncle.

Packed it in.

After 10 days of this nonsense, I was done!

It is astounding the amount of snot one person can produce.

Shocking, really.

After defiling the contents of two and a half boxes of Kleenex and a partial roll of toilet paper, I finally went to the doctor for some help.

Amoxicillin to the rescue!

1. I am thankful that we live in an age in which we can go to the doctor and have medicine in our hands within minutes. I'll be feeling fine in no time.

2. I am thankful that we live in an age when some stores give medicine away for free. No joke. I went to Meijer pharmacy to fill my prescription. When I got to the checkout, it came up that I owed nothing. I looked quizzically at the guy and said, "It's free?!?!" He replied, "Yes. It's one of our 6 medicines we give away for free." What the WHAT?!?! I don't understand it, but I am liking it.

3. I am thankful that my kids rarely get really sick. Apparently this Meijer free meds policy has been around for years, but we have not had the need for antibiotics in our house since Turken was a baby and got constant ear infections.

4. I am thankful that I have at least one kid who takes oral hygiene seriously, to the point of keeping a tooth brush at school in order to brush after lunch. It proves it is not my fault that at least one of my kids doesn't give a flying fig about oral hygiene.

5. I am thankful for a warm house with warmer blankets. I've been awoken in the middle of the night a couple times this week (Someone explain to me how a laptop in my bedroom suddenly bursts into song at 3:00 in the morning!), and as I tried (in vane) to go back to sleep, I listened to the wind howling outside, warm and cozy in my bed.

6. I am thankful for generous people. My job at the crisis pregnancy center this week was to organize donations. I was blown away by the amount of brand new, adorable clothing donated to the center for the babies and children who are in need.

7. I am thankful for my kids' ability to choose kind, fun, responsible friends. As I type, I am listening to Giant and some of his friends who are here for the night. Every one of them is sweet as can be, polite, and a breeze to have at our house.

8. I am thankful that my kids are realistic and forgiving. We have three kids with birthdays right in the thick of soccer season. It is virtually impossible to have any sort of celebration with their friends anywhere near their birthdays. Shoot, we have a hard enough time finding a night just to take the birthday child out for dinner with the whole family. This get-together tonight is Giant's very delayed birthday party. (He was born on Sept. 11.)

9. I am thankful that our internet and tv are not linked together. The wind took out the satellite today, so no tv until they can fix it. The world wide web, and in turn the TToT, is a go!

10. I am thankful for friends, both long-time and new. Did you see I "met" a blogger who just bought a farm without having any farming experience. (She interviewed me here.) Plus, they have been remodeling the house before moving in, and the girl knows how to refinish floors!

Gotta run. A bunch of 13 year olds have invaded my space.

Your turn. What made you smile this week? Link up or tell me in the comments.

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Someone Asked Me for Farming Advice. No One Is More Surprised Than Me.

I have a new friend named Ally. Ally and her husband have accidentally become country folk by buying a 20 acre hobby farm. Sound familiar? Yeah, we have some things in common.

Ally is scouring the internet, looking for tips from people who have been there, done that. 

As you readers know, I most certainly have been there, done it wrong, and redid it. Ally had some questions for me, and then she went and posted them on her blog, The Speckled Goat.

If you'd like to read the interview, head on over by 


Have a lovely day!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Quickest TToT Ever! Week 125

Sliding in with little time to spare...

1. I am thankful that Phoenix and Turken were home sick on the same day, so I could still go to my volunteer hours.

2. I am thankful that when I got sick two days later, I was able to do minimal work and rest.

3. I am thankful that Bryan waited until I was feeling a bit better before he got sick. I could do the running around to soccer games while he rested.

4. I am thankful we both felt better and could go to a casual event at the high school with a bunch of friends. We had a great time.

5. I am thankful we had fantastic weather most of the week, even if I couldn't go out and enjoy it. At least we didn't have to freeze our backsides whenever we had to leave the house.

6. I am thankful Phoenix can drive, seeing as how I can't be 3 places at the same time.

7. I am thankful my kids are happy to eat pasta every night of the week if necessary.

8. I am thankful that soccer is finally officially over for the season. No more games until spring.

9. I am thankful for sunshine on chilly days, as it keeps the car I'm sitting in toasty warm while I wait for another soccer game to start.

10. I am thankful for friends who suggest a late breakfast after the last soccer game at a new-to-me restaurant.

11. Bonus! I am thankful that every once in a while, one of my kids still wants to cuddle on the couch. While I'm not happy Cuckoo was having nightmares, I am happy that we got to cuddle on the couch for a while like we did when he was smaller.

12. Bonus 2! (I really should think these through a little bit longer before I start typing.) I'm thankful for little boys who are still learning vocabulary. Cuckoo came to me yesterday and said, "I have lungs on my tooth". After some question and answer time, I figured out he didn't mean lungs (duh) but gums. He has a new molar coming in. :)

How's your week been? What are you thankful for?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group