Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

There is something about sitting in a quiet house after a perfect day that makes my Thankfulness-o-meter go nuts. And if you can sit in a darkish room with enough Christmas lights to illuminate the Rockefeller Center and NOT be thankful, that is a feat unto itself.

Over the past year, I've been so blessed and humbled and grateful beyond words. Due to the obvious fact that I'm not a writer and I do much better explaining myself if you have several hours in person rather than 30 seconds on the blog, I'm not even going to attempt to express most of my deepest thankfulness via fancy electronics.

Right now, for example, I'm thankful that on at least 6 different channels, there are so many movies that make my heart race with joy.

(Even though we own ALL of them, there is something about a divine simulcast and Brad furiously working the remote that is just THRILLING.)

{And although my heart is sad that the college football season is drawing nigh, there were several fabulous games over the last two days.}

And I'm thankful that in this vast house, all four of us are sitting on exactly two couch cushions.

And I'm thankful that The Fabulous Four went shopping together and I found some very special gifts for some very special people and that's all I can say because I believe they are very faithful blog readers.

And I'm thankful for Asian Nachos, which I've had TWICE this week and whose leftovers are tucked securely in my fridge so I can have them for breakfast tomorrow.

I'm thankful for a body that tolerates long runs in the freezing cold and for David Crowder, who is a fantastic running buddy and a fine singer when I can hear him over my own sweet pipes.

I'm thankful for friends who sometimes know me better than I know myself and love me anyway. I'm grateful they laugh at my jokes, forgive my tardiness, drink lattes with me, cry with me, challenge me, love my kids, and give me glimpses of Jesus' love I thought would only be reserved for heaven.

I'm thankful for Disney World and feel slightly guilty that I enjoy something earthly so much.

I'm thankful for Christmas Vacation and love that Brad and I laugh harder every. single. year.

Oh, and Brad. He is just great. I love that we are learning new things together and can relive old memories and can talk incessantly to each other about the greatness of our kids (or how they might not live to see morning, if that's the case).

I'm thankful that for every piece of random furniture I bring home from a garage sale and want to hang/paint/stain/refurbish it, he is The Man. AND he puts up with my mismanagement of the laundry/oil changes/trash/ironing/cleaning/calendar/locking keys in car/general forgetfulness with lots of grace.

I'm thankful for scarves and flip flops and occasionally wear them together.

I'm thankful for my family. They live far away, but they are seriously The Best. I'm blessed they give Jackson and Lilly the time of their lives so we can go to Mexico. And I see their love pour out when they beg to share a bedroom and bathroom with J&L (for fun!) while Brad and I hog the master suite.

I'm also thankful for iChat.

And I am indebted to chocolate because it makes me even happier than Disney World.

And if we meet and if you have a few thousand hours, I'll tell you all the other bigger, awesomer, insanely wonderful things I'm thankful for because this year has been a leetle bit crazy {but wonderful at the same time.}

But Jesus, the One and Only, is my anchor. And of course, I am most thankful for Him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Barbeque Day!

That's turkey for us this year. After Brad and I spent last Thanksgiving on the phone with my mom for an hour trying to get the turkey's neck out of his cavity, we decided to go the ribs and chicken route.

Picture two "adults" on the phone, both wearing gloves to our elbows, alternately screaming and making gagging sounds.

(Yes, Brad was screaming, too.)

No one, not one person, told me that buying a turkey yourself involved excavating it's own body parts and a bag of gizzards (if that word isn't gross enough by itself) from the bird.

So, pig it is.

Our little Indian Princess wants to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving:

Do you see the headband she got at school? The one she randomly chose from several her teacher made?

Hmmmm....ironic, don't you think?

I think she is better off as a Pilgrim anyway.

And for those of you who share a gene pool with me, here is the boy as well:

We love you, we miss you, holidays aren't the same without you. In my deep sorrow, I will bury my face in some ribs and breakfast burritos.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Black Friday Reality Check

So here we are the week of Thanksgiving. What on earth? Where has the fall gone?

I am giddy about Thanksgiving, time to reflect, breakfast burritos, football, and barbeque.

Yes, barbeque.

More on that later this week.

I'm also doing the happy dance (which actually resembles laying on the couch in my Snuggie) at having all of my halls decked on November 22! This includes the outside lights (props to Brad and Joel and Joel's Ladder).

I'm decidedly unappreciative of all the naysayers who think this means that my heart is without Thankfulness and that we're just skipping over a grateful attitude to get to Christmas.

Honestly, I love combining "thanks" and "giving" (since they seem to go together anyway) and stretching the season.

I feel so relaxed and able to enjoy December now that my decorating and shopping (did I forget to mention that?) are finito.

As I'm sure many of you can relate, when you have December birthdays, class parties, church activities, trips to visit family, family visiting us, and a lot of Peppermint Mochas to drink, it's much less stressful to have the Dreaded Christmas Bins already emptied.

Now I can enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights in the morning when I trip over laundry (can't get it ALL done) on my way to the coffee maker.

On the shopping scene, we're keeping it REAL simple this year, so finishing that was not even a big accomplishment. A few deals here and there over the last month, and things feel great.

Despite my shopping being complete, I will still wake up at crack-thirty and hit the stores on Black Friday. Not to buy Christmas gifts necessarily, but to check out the crowds, steal some deals (did I mention we have some December birthdays?), and just have fun.

My "less is more" philosophy is guided by this photo:

That is Lilly, with the FREE calendar/planner I got from the nail salon last year. It was her absolute favorite gift and she is STILL playing with it as recently as last week.


See those wrapped presents behind her?

Yes, they were fun and the kids played with them and I love opening gifts as much (or quite possibly more) than the average person, but the FREE present gave her so much happiness.

I know I'm starting to sound like the Allstate Commercial Man who implies that we all love Jenga and Meatloaf, but maybe there is something to that...

The screams I'm hearing right now from ten kids out back on the trampoline remind me that a) playing creatively outside is free, and b) maybe I should put all that money I'm saving towards some kind of liability insurance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Making Random Look Organized

We've been home from Disney World for almost a month now and my mind is still full of untold fables and lore from our amazing time there.

However, I think most of these fables and lore are going to stay in my mind because I AM TIRED.

I've started getting out Christmas stuff, planning holiday cheer, taking Jackson to the orthodontist, and trying to shower at least every other day. So, in addition to tired: BUSY.

I picked out five more pictures since that's all Blogger will allow me to upload at once and I thought I'd share them, and then MOVE ON from all the Disney.

This was probably my favorite moment:


Now the best thing about going to Disney over Fall Break is that lines were non-existent. We'd exit Thunder Mountain and run (because walking is too slow) back around to the front of the line and not have to wait even a little bit.

Pretty much our only wait was for Mickey himself.

Come to find out, in Disneyland he wanders the property freely and you can find him on the grounds.

Not so much in Orlando. You have to go to his house where he is waiting just for YOU.

Minnie's house is next door, where you get to wait for her. I always thought they were married, but now I'm wondering if they're brother and sister? In a Luke and Leia sort of way? But I think they've kissed in some Disney specials so I'm not clear. Perhaps Mickey is dating Daisy.

Anywho, after waiting for about an hour, we walked into a little room where we'd get to have some quality time alone with Mr. Mouse. Lo and behold, his sister/wife was with him!!

The kids' eyes (and ours, honestly) lit up like spaceships.

And of course, The Mice acted like they had been waiting, just waiting for us to arrive. I am completely dazzled at the Disney cast members' ability to make each visitor feel so special.

If we ran into Mickey in a bar, I think he'd remember our names and slap us on the back.

Or at least nod knowingly.

Here we are at Epcot:
The craziest part of Epcot was running into our next door neighbors who we didn't even know were at Disney World.

Other than that, Epcot was a little underwhelming.

Did I already show you this picture at the Spectromagic Parade? I can't remember.

The sabers of light and magic are still in hot demand around here.

Kind of like the swords we got at Sea World a few years ago. Because you know, Sea World = swords.

This next photo cracks me up because it screams of our Leg and Joint Failure on Day 6.
(And also shows where my horrible photography skillz come from.)

We were only paces away from the park exit, but couldn't take another step. NOT ONE.

Like vagrants at a bus stop, we just sat and waited hoping our location would change despite the fact that we weren't moving.

The babes WALKED through these four ginormous parks, from parking lot to tram to monorail to park to seven thousand rides to the queues and all back again for six days straight.

No strollers, no nothing...fueled only by ice cream and EXCITEMENT.

So when the excitement ran out, so did our legs.

{A quick shout-out to my Reefs, which propelled me the ENTIRE TIME in great comfort and airy-ness. I really hate socks, so the flops were phenomenal.}

Oh, and lastly, here's Splash Mountain:

Both Jackson and Lilly declared this their favorite ride. I really have no idea why, but they loved getting wet during the big drop.

I rode it once, but the temperature dipped below 85, which means COLD FRONT.

Our initial voyage soaked me so badly that my underwear was sopping for at least 5 hours. Um, not comfortable.

Therefore, due to great experience and training, I took over as photographer.

Brad only raised one hand because he had just texted me to herald the arrival of their Splash Mobile and was praying it wouldn't get wet.

Even though there are over 250 more pictures from All The Fun, I will spare you (and myself, really) from them.

Instead, I'm going to go eat some cookie dough and review the changes our benefits package for next year. So all in all, exciting!

See ya real soon!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Unfortunately My Commission is Nothing

Today while I was in Costco {and it shocks me how many sentences I start just like that} I found myself selling yet another pack of French Onion Soup to a perfect stranger.

So I thought y'all should know about it, too.

Everytime I find myself in the freezer aisle, someone is reaching in, checking out the packaging, flipping it over...hoping for some kind of taste sensation to seep through the cardboard box.

Clearly, they're deciding whether or not to purchase this goodness.

So I, faithful Costco shopper, and consumer of obscene amounts of french onion soup, always jump in and say, "It's delicious, amazing, I eat it all the time. Just try it, you will thank me."

Then I turn around and revisit all of my favorite samples on the way to check out.

I had another bowl of it for lunch today (because that is just what I do) and it never fails me.


If you do not like cheese, onions, or croutons, then NO, you are not going to like this soup.

But if, like me, you grilled onions several times a week just to eat because they are in fact, that good, you will love it.

If my math is correct (which it probably isn't), I've earned Costco at least $100 because of my well-honed soup-selling skills.

That number is pretty impressive, huh?

Monday, November 02, 2009

You Know I Am Wearing It Right Now

I interrupt the Disney Madness to offer you proof that I've officially lost my mind.

File this lapse in fashion judgment with the Crocs and character t-shirts.

Except worse.

Way worse.

I've gone the way of infomercials and crossed to the dark side of insanity.

Y'all, I bought a Snuggie. (And so did my mom.)

Although the Orlando days were a perfect temperature, the night air, combined with my insatiable desire to see as many shows/parades/fireworks extravaganzas as possible led to some interaction with chilly weather.

I'd been secretly longing for a Snuggie (or honestly, a Slanket) for awhile. Every morning, I'd been unsuccessfully juggling my coffee, books, pencils, Bible study lessons, laptops, and occasionally, balls...all while trying to stay warm under a blanket.

This led to much spilt coffee, pencils lost in the abyss of my chair, and general frustration.

(You can see where this is going.)

I resisted buying a Snuggie because of:
a) the name
b) the electric blue airplane blanket color
c) it's on infomercials
d) it's also sold at fine retailers like Walgreens
e) mostly the color
f) but the name is terrible, too.

However, it became obvious on the vacay that some sort of blanket coverage was necessary for us to see Fantasmic.

And if I was going to spend money on a blanket, it WAS going to have sleeves, and it WAS going to be a Snuggie.

Much to my delight, the local Orlandian Walgreens carried a leopard print Snuggie!

Glory in the highest!

(Dad, what are you doing in this picture?!)

Fearful of me bringing (greater) shame to our household, Brad balked at the spending of $14.99.

But approximately 2 minutes into the show, he was begging for forgiveness and searching his Blackberry for the 2-headed version that we could share.

{Come to find out, that's the "Slanket Siamese" and while I don't think it's the best choice for us, if you are into being close and not moving for awhile, it might be nice.}

Since getting home, the Snuggie has pretty much become a beloved member of our family.

It's been on a trip to the mountains and even comes with me to friends' houses with suspect heat situations like our own (aka husbands who freeze out their wives).

It waits patiently each morning on my chair, welcoming my coffee and me with a gentle purr and invitation for warmth and love.

So it goes without saying that the kids are getting them for Christmas and Brad may have some Texas Tea under the tree.

I opened Photo Booth to take a picture of me in it right this very moment, but we both would've regretted it in the morning.

My Leopard Lovely is fleece...but there ARE microfiber versions available. Had I known the great attachment and love I would feel towards an inanimate object (that is neither flip flops nor coffee), I would've shopped around a little more.

But I didn't know that $14.99 could make a girl so happy.