Thursday, October 29, 2009


Denial is a very powerful thing. In order to make myself feel better about some of the things that happened around Chez Sara this week, I am employing Denial's mystical properties. I am hoping that by denying all of the things I did or said, that it will have a "rewind" effect and be like undoing them. (What? It could happen. I said Denial had mystical properties and I speak Truth. Right? Shut up.) If not, then perhaps it will serve as a gentle reminder for better behavior from me in the future. And also, it will probably make all of you feel very good about yourselves. You're welcome. I am a giver and generous to the extreme.

Are you ready? Thus begins my experiment in Denial:

I did not spend more time carting children to various activities and meetings than I did tucking them into bed and reading to them. When it was time to read a story, I did not read too quickly so I could get finished and go relax.

I did not hide M&Ms from my family and then eat them after everyone went to bed.

I did not chastise my children for eye-rolling and then tell them that eye-rolling was the non-verbal equivalent of saying "shut up."

I did not roll my eyes at my husband.

I did not roll my eyes at my children and mutter to myself that I have too many children.

I did not grit my teeth and whisper "SHUT UP!" when my husband sang in the shower in the morning.

I did not step over the same socks on the floor at least 20 times hoping someone else would see them and pick them up. When nobody did, I did not say martyr-like things, and stomp off in a huff.

I did not yell at the driver in front of me for driving too slowly when I was late.

I did not feed my children fast food twice this week.

I did not refuse to participate in a portion of a church ceremony because it rankled me because it wasn't my belief.

I did not belittle my husband in my mind. I did not share those thoughts with someone else.

I did not wish to be alone somewhere nobody could find me.

I did not stay up too late watching garbage on television.

I did not avoid laundry.

I did not procrastinate finishing a job that I quit half-way through.

I did not wonder why we have a dog. I did not mutter bad things about her while cleaning up her dog hair and taking her out in the rain.

I did not drink more Diet Coke than I should.

I was not late picking up my son from an orthodontist appointment because I spent too much time in a craft store.

I did not spend too much time on the computer reading about other people's lives in order to avoid my own.

I did not tell my daughter that she had to try a bite of something or she wouldn't get dessert and then give her dessert anyway when she didn't try it because I was too tired to fight.

I did not eat only potato chips for lunch one day. I did not feel stress. I did not choose to eat them as a way to alleviate stress. Then I did not feel guilty afterwards.

I did not pretend I didn't see a neighbor who hasn't been nice to me so that I wouldn't have to wave.

I did not hit the snooze button too many times in the morning and then snap at my children for not moving quickly enough when I was running late.

I did not go to bed without washing my face one night.

I did not throw away something that belonged to one of my children and then claim that I didn't have any idea where it was.

I did not wish my son's football team would lose so that football season would be over.

I did not look at myself in the mirror and think bad thoughts about my appearance.

I did not yell "GO TO SLEEP" eleventy billion times from the couch when my children were having a rave upstairs. I was not too lazy to get up and take care of the monkey business.

I will not repeat these things in the future.***


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brain Freeze

I don't know why I have ice cream on my mind so much lately. I'm not usually that into it. But lately I have just been craving it and we've had it around the house more than usual. I suppose having celebrated a family birthday recently in which ice cream was consumed was the spark that fueled the flame. I am hoping that by making a list of that which tempts me, I will be able to stay away from it. Hmmm....maybe I should include the calorie count next to each.


And so, without further ado, (drum roll please...)

Sara's Top Ten Ice Cream Flavors.
10. Vanilla
9. Strawberry
8. Heavenly Hash
7. Turtle Heaven
6. Pralines'n'Cream
5. Cashew Crunch
4. Moose Tracks
3. Chocolate
2. Peanut Butter Cup
And the all-time-favorite-you-can-offer-it-to-me-any-time-and-I-won't-refuse-it flavor is...

1. Mint Chocolate Chip (Also known in our family as Frango Mint.)

Okay. Just typing that I feel better. It's almost as if I've sampled each just by seeing them in print and thinking about them.

Not really. But shucks if I'm not tryin'!

How about you? What is your all time favorite flavor of ice cream? Do tell!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life's A Beach--And Then You Have To Come Home

Our trip to Florida was fabulous. I truly cannot tell you how wonderful it was to be responsible only for myself. It's been a lotta years since that has been the case. You won't believe how quickly I can get ready in the mornings when I am not pulling covers off of people and begging them to get up already. Well, I did have to do that once. But to be fair it was only because it was the last day and Patrick didn't want to go back home. Wait. That was me...

The hotel was beautiful. I kept waiting for someone to quietly glide up to me and whisper to me in a posh voice that I must have made a wrong turn and that the Motel 8 was down the street. As we checked in, the young lady at the desk asked my husband if he had been in the military. He answered that he had not and wondered why she asked. She said that he had said "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am" and that usually only people who had been in the military or were raised in the South spoke that way. He replied that he was just raised right. We got an upgraded room. From now on, I am insisting that my children say "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am". You never know what it'll get you!

It was chilly when we arrived. Like, I need a big fleece jacket kind of chilly. Still, it was better than being in Indiana. When we drove to the airport early Saturday morning, we had to scrape the frost off of the windshield. I'll take windy but sunny and in the 60's ON THE BEACH any day, thankyouverymuch!

On Sunday, Patrick played golf with some of the guys and I decided that kayaking with his boss and some of the other sales staff and their wives sounded like fun. We met in the lobby at 9 a.m. and headed out to breakfast in Pass-A-Grille and then it was off to the kayaking spot. And you know what we decided when we got there? It was too freaking cold to kayak! Seriously. The wind was blowing so hard that I would have looked like my kayak was caught in a whirlpool if I had attempted to paddle. An executive decision was made that it wouldn't be fun for anyone to try to avoid frostbite while paddling, so we headed back to The Don. (That's the locals' name for the hotel. Cracked me up every time. I felt like I should be talking like Marlon Brando in "The Godfather" each time I said it.) I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and getting color by the pool.

We had several dinners with Patrick's colleagues and their spouses. Most of these people had met each other before and spent other trips together. I was the only one who didn't know anyone else. That's not uncomfortable at all. Especially for someone who has a hard time meeting new people anyway. But everyone was very friendly and very funny. Also, there was wine, so, you know, that helped to shutter any shyness I might have felt. (Oh wine! You are so wonderful!! You are a miracle cure for so many things!)

Each evening we got together to watch the amazing sunsets. It was an event. People would gather by the pools or on the beach, drinks in hand, and simply enjoy God's beautiful artistry. Then we'd head off to dinner somewhere. There was so much food during the whole week that they had to roll me onto the plane. My already sizable booty may now need its own zip code. But it was all so good that it's worth having to add a few numbers to my booty size.

We (the wives) spent Monday in Sarasota at St. Armands Circle. We walked several laps and checked out all the stores before meeting for lunch at the Crab & Fin. It was chilly, but Floridians are smart. They have outdoor heaters in their cafe areas, so we cozied up and enjoyed our lunches on the sidewalk while listening to a wonderful pianist who plays there daily. I found a few things that caused my wallet to get lighter and enjoyed getting to know some of the wives.

When we first arrived, the wives were presented with a bag of goodies containing information about the area and the attractions that the St. Pete area has to offer. Inside this bag was a smaller bag. You know what was in the smaller bag? No? I'll tell you. It was a gift card for goods or services offered at The Don. It was a very generous gift. I had every intention of availing myself of the services at the spa in the hotel, but because of the gift, I didn't have to pay for it. So thanks to the company thanking me for doing nothing more than supporting my husband, I was able to enjoy one of the best massages in my entire life. I was able to sit on the spa roof and take in the pools and the ocean. I was able to get rid of all the stress that had built up causing me to walk around with my shoulders up to my ears. That was one powerful gift, y'all.

Then, I was so relaxed that when the offer came to go kayaking again, I opted out. I figured, why harsh my mellow by trying to keep upright in a small kayak? Instead, I chose to sit by the pool, enjoy a few drinks, read a very funny book, visit, and just enjoy my last full day. It was, as the kids say, beast.

I took my camera and was able to capture some images as well. And just so you don't hate me, remember I am posting this from home.
My home away from home.
Doesn't the shadow of this barnacle covered shell look like a castle? It's my favorite photo from the whole trip.
Sunset by the pool.
Now you see why they are an event?

Oh how I love the feeling of sand between my toes and waves lapping at my feet. I vow to feel it again soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009


How did we get here? Eleven?!? Next thing you know it'll be twelve and then (gasp!) thirteen. I wonder if you would consider just stopping here while you still like me and I still find you unbelievably sweet?

It wasn't so long ago that you were all rounded curves and wrinkles of baby fat. Now you are hard planes and gangly limbs. It used to be that you would lift your chubby arms in the air and say "Up!" wanting to be carried. Now, when we playfully spar and wrestle, I am having a hard time holding my own. If I were to carry you now, it would have to be across my back--and your legs would probably drag on the ground. Yes, time has flown.

Memories of your birth and baby and toddler hood are still so very fresh. You like to hear me tell about how you were my biggest baby, weighing in at 9 pounds. You laugh when I wonder where I put you, because you were almost 23 inches long--almost 2 pounds and three inches bigger than any of your siblings. We tease you that you should be a girl, because that was what we thought you were when we had the first ultrasound. You take it in good humor and I tell you that you were just being modest when the camera was on you. Your dad and Giddy remember that you had the umbilical cord around your neck twice and that you were as blue as a Smurf when you were born. And yet, here you are, strong and healthy and vigorous.

You have always had a strong will. When you believe you are right, you have a very hard time giving in and admitting that there could be a possibility that you might, just might, be wrong. However, you are always willing to be the peacemaker. You are quick to offer apologies and words of appeasement and comfort. Even though sometimes this insistence upon clinging to what you think is right gets you in trouble and makes me want to dip you in ketchup and eat you, I am praying that we can channel it so that when outside pressure invites you to do the wrong thing, you will stick to your guns and do what you know to be right--even in the face of everyone else disagreeing with you. That is a powerful trait, my son. I know that you can grow into it.

You have a sharp sense of humor. You are wickedly funny and sarcastic. (I cannot imagine where you got the sarcasm from.) Once, when you were not quite three, we were on a long car trip and you and Maggie were picking at each other in your car seats. I don't know exactly what you were doing, but you had been at it awhile, and your dad had had enough. From the driver's seat, he turned around and said to you, "James, do you want me to pull over and spank you?" You didn't even blink and you said, "No. I want you to pull over and spank Maggie!" Your daddy and I had to turn sharply around in our seats so that you wouldn't see us laughing. I thought he might have to pull over but only so he wouldn't crash because he was laughing so hard. We knew then that you would either be a lawyer or a comedian when you grew up.

When you find something you like, you become a bit fanatical about it. When you were two and three, you loved trains. You loved everything about them and wanted to play with and watch them. All. the. time. A little later, your mini-obsession was over building things with K'nex, Legos, and Magz. There were not enough hours in the day to build. There was a time that we watched "Wallace and Grommit" everyday. (Not that I minded this too much. I still have a soft spot for them.) Then, when we finally allowed video games in our house, that became your passion. A few years ago, you were introduced to football. It is your true love. We have watched you grow and gain confidence as you have played. This year has been your favorite so far--mine as well, because I can truly see the skills you are learning come into play in games. I can see your confidence and swagger as you joke around with your teammates. I can see your focus as you walk onto the field. I love getting a glimpse into the future and seeing the man you will become.

You are smart. And you are not embarrassed or ashamed about it. But you don't flaunt it either. You are modest as well.

You don't care for transitions and change too much. You once asked me if I could put the wallpaper back up in our house. You asked this about 2 years after I had removed it. You do come by this honestly. Your daddy isn't too big on change either, but with the help of a good and lovely woman, (yes, that would be me) he is overcoming this quirk.

You are sweet. You are quick to help. You don't argue with me very often. You have always been kind of laid back. Even when your big sister was trying to pound you into dust, you took an awful lot before you hit back. You have taken on the idea of protecting your big sister to heart and glared at her boyfriend when he was at our house and you asked his intentions. (Yes. I laughed. Hard.) But in typical James style, before the evening was over, you were friends and ganging up on Maggie in a pillow fight.

You are somewhat absent minded. I often have to remind you that when you are looking for your shoes, it would be a good idea to look down on the floor, rather than up on the ceiling. You take this in good humor. We joke that you were distracted by something shiny. "Ooooh! Shiny!!" we'll say. And then we laugh as we find the shoes that you have walked by two or three times.

You LOVE to read. You have no idea how happy this makes me. I could happily sit for hours with a book and I think you could too. You will come downstairs after you are supposed to be in bed and regale me with plot synopses. I have a hard time getting mad about this. In fact, my heart does little flip-flops knowing that you are so into a book. You were recently given a gift card to a book store for your birthday and you were exited. Your sister immediately called you a geek, but you just let this jab roll off your back and mused about what books you could buy. Did this mama's heart proud, it did!

You have been campaigning for an Air-Soft gun for a long time. I have been your biggest opponent. It was a losing battle. For me. Your dad has been much like the dad in "A Christmas Story"--excited, antsy, happy. I have been more like the mom--"YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!!" You knew you were going to win, and yet you never gloated. You just waited patiently for your birthday and then shouted with glee when you opened your gift. "YES! THANK YOU!" you hollered. Then you came over and gave me a big hug and thanked me for making this your best birthday ever, promising to be extremely careful and offering to teach me to shoot.

You are an easy kid to like, Jamesy-boy. I can't wait to see what the next few years will be like with you. And just so you know, you are my favorite James.

Happy Birthday!
I love you,

P.S. Don't shoot your eye out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Even I Hate Me A Little

You may have noticed, if you come here on a fairly regular basis, that posting has been light this week. It's not due to laziness on my part. Oh I'll grant that I'm lazy, but my slothhood has nothing to do with why I haven't posted much this week. Well, maybe in a roundabout way it does, actually. Because when you procrastinate about things like cleaning and laundry, they tend to pile up and then take much longer to complete.

I have been running around here like a chicken with its head cut off trying to prepare. Prepare for what, you might be asking? The Apocalypse? The Second Coming? Halloween? Christmas? (Christmas?!? Don't you people know me better than that by now? I'm organized, but not quite that organized.) No. Bigger. I have been preparing for my parents to come.

Now, I know that doesn't sound very big. And even though they haven't been to my home since July 4th and their arrival would normally be a Big Occasion, it's the reason behind their coming that is the really big thing. We ( and by "we" I mean Patrick and I) are taking a trip. It's mostly business for him, but it is an awful lot of NOT business for me. And I cannot wait!

Usually, his company has their fall business meeting at their company HQ in Maryland, but they met some numbers goals this year and so are meeting off site. And the spouses are invited. (There is a God and He does answer prayers!) We will be taking off Saturday for here. So my parents have graciously agreed to care for our children while we are away.

Can I tell you that it's been much too long since my beloved and I have had even one night alone? I think it's been something like 5 years. My memory is fuzzy because having children has made me stupid. Seriously. They siphon off all of your brain cells when you are pregnant. So I can't give you the exact length of time, I just know it's been a very long time.

So I have been cleaning my house so that my mother doesn't see that I am actually a pig and am raising piglets. She always says as long as the bathrooms are clean, she's good, but I know better. I lived with her. I did chores in her house. I know good and well that if she saw my house in the state it was in, she would never say anything, but inside she'd be wailing and gnashing her teeth and rending her clothing. Then she'd go out shopping for sackcloth and ashes. Also, I don't want her to have to clean my house for me. Looking after my children is a big enough job, she doesn't need to be a Merry Maid as well. (What a stupid name for a company, by the way. I am highly suspicious of anyone that proclaims Merriment over being a maid. And I can nearly guarantee that if they came to clean my house, they'd no longer call themselves Merry Maids, more like Cranky Cleaners.)

I have also been preparing a list of important information about my kids, their schedules, foods they'll eat, homework stuff, and things like that. You know, a veritable Bible of "How Not To Kill Your Grandchildren and Granddog" type of thing. Because apparently I don't think enough of how my parents raised me to let them take care of my own children for a week. Actually, it probably has more to do with my Control Freak Gene. I could tell you all about my genetic makeup, but that's a whole 'nother post...(and yes, it would fall under the "this is why I'm crazy" tag.)

And I have been shopping. So mah preshus baybees don't starve while I'm gone. And doing mountains of laundry. Although I'm not sure there is any formation for laundry in my house that isn't a mountain. And I've also been working, of course. And do you know what I've discovered about a part-time job? It's not really part time. This is a big secret that nobody tells you until you are right in the middle of it. Kinda like when nobody tells you that when you breastfeed your nipples will feel like someone has set them on fire. Noooo...all they say is "Oh, it's a wonderful bonding experience and so good for your baby!" And they're all "Oh it hurts a little but it goes away! You'll love it." And then you discover that all those things are true--AFTER your nipples turn to leather. But nobody tells you that. So part time jobs? Kinda like that. But without all the talk about nipples...

(Truly, I have no idea where that comparison came from. Honestly. I am not even having a glass of wine right now. See how bizarrely my brain works? Pity me.)

Anyway. I am leaving for a string of days. My parents are coming over. My children are ten shades of jealous. And good mother that I am, I rub it in every chance I get. I say things like, "Gosh! It's only going to be 45 degrees today! It's cold out! Good thing I'm going to Florida soon!" and "Um, Tuesday when you are in gym? I'll be playing on the beach," and "I'll say 'hi' to the sun for you! Loser!!!"

You can send my Mother of the Year Award to my home. Although I may never come back to accept it. (See? Made you hate me just a little there, didn't I?) I may try to post while I'm there. If I can find anything to post about that doesn't include the beach. Or the spa. Or shopping. Or dining out.

Yeah. I'm starting to hate me too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Went To Camp Tecumseh And All I Got Was This Lousy Head Cold

Hey y'all! I survived! I spent lots of hours with lots of 7th graders--IN THE POURING RAIN--and we all lived to tell about it. It was fun, even! I had actually forgotten how much I liked junior high kids.

Many, many moons ago, when I was student teaching, I had a teaching assignment at a junior high and I loved it. I know. I'm sure this says something about my mental state. Most people claim that they would rather have their toenails pulled out with pliers and be given a foot bath in brine than deal with junior high school students, but as you might have gathered by now, I am not most people. In fact, I am probably slightly more odd than most people. Which probably explains why I like junior humans that most people are tempted to deep fry, dip in ketchup, and eat. I just love their flakiness. I like that they are still surging toward their potential. I love that they are still kid-like and silly, but you can see the adult they are going to become. Also, I like burp jokes and bathroom humor.

I really did have fun. Granted, some of it was at the expense of watching my child and her peers square dance. [Aside: What is the deal with 7th grade and square dancing? Is there some unwritten law of the universe that says you must take children at perhaps their most awkward and cruel stage and make them dance together? I remember having to square dance in my 7th grade gym class. It still gives me post traumatic flashbacks. And if my daughter complains about having had to endure an evening of square dancing, I will remind her that I had to do it several times a week for 6 weeks, while wearing a gym uniform and being graded on my performance. Also? Hey you whippersnappers, get offa my lawn!] Now, it is true that only one of the dances they did would truly qualify as a square dance. They did the Virginia Reel (which was by far my favorite to watch) and they seemed to have fun with it--given the amount of laughter happening all around the room. But they also did the Hokey Pokey, the Chicken Dance, the Bunny Hop (hilarious AND dangerous!) and the Electric Slide. Last time I checked, they weren't doing these at the local square dance club. (Okay, I never really checked. I'm not even sure that there is a local square dancing club, but I'm pretty sure if there is, they weren't doing the Electric Slide...)
It was a night that I'm awfully glad I got to see.

I enjoyed being the adult at the table during mealtimes. I sat with the same group of seven kids for each meal. They were gross. They were hilarious. They were awkward. They were beautiful. They were intelligent. They were insecure. They were rude. They were awesome. I think that pretty well sums up the entire 13 year old experience, by the way. After they got over the fact that I was old, I think they might have even enjoyed my presence too.

Wednesday was beautiful. The kind of stunningly beautiful autumn day that captures all of your senses: the air was crisp, the leaves were on fire, the light was golden. Thursday and Friday we were looking for the Ark. It rained. All. Day. Long. And not a wussy little drizzle either. The skies opened and buckets fell.

I had it easy. I could go back to the cabin and stay dry, take a nap if I wished (and I did--it was great!), read, hike. I did hike, but it wasn't too enjoyable. Between trying not to fall down on the slippery trails and trying to see past my blue rain poncho, I didn't get a lot out of it. In fact, the only wildlife I saw on the whole trip was an owl that was in the middle of the road (what the hell?) the night I drove out of camp. I nearly ran over it. Yes, Mother Nature loves me. We are like, BFFs.

The kids, on the other hand, had life a little more difficult. First off, they had to, you know, actually learn stuff. (Like, OMG!! What is the deal? Can't we just, like come to camp and like, I don't know, talk and hang out and stuff?!!? We actually have to do school? Ugh. Life is soooo unfair! No cell phones, like no texting, and all of these trees! I, like, don't deal well with nature.) Then they had to square dance. (Really, this might have been harder on the adults. That building smelled like a sweat lodge!) And once they left their cabins for breakfast, they didn't go back until 10:30 pm. If they forgot something, they had to learn to live without it. So all those hours of rain? Yeah. Those kids were out in it.

Maggie thought I was a big dork for making her pack a rain poncho, but after the first day of slogging through the rain, she didn't care any more. Fashion went by the wayside and kids were doing whatever it took to stay dry. When she came home, everything in her suitcase was damp. She dumped it all in the laundry room and took a very long, very hot shower. She was extremely glad to see her own bed. Unfortunately, she became a little better acquainted with her bed than she might have wished.

All those bodies together, all that trudging through the rain, all that in and out of overheated buildings into the cool temperatures, made a super breeding ground for nasty germs in my kid's sinuses. Sunday afternoon brought a fever, cough, and major congestion. She stayed home from school yesterday. She is feeling better and will head back to school today.

I know that she learned a lot. I'm certain that she had a good time. But all things being equal? I'm sure she'd have rather had a Camp Tecumseh tee shirt as a souvenir to bring home than the head cold she brought home instead. I, on the other hand, got to see my daughter interact with her friends in a different environment. I got to spend some alone time. I got to take blackmail pictures. It was totally worth my time and I can't wait to go back with another kid. But I am glad that I'll have a couple of years to catch up on my sleep before I have to go back. Teenagers wear me out!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Say What?

Scene: Patrick and I are sitting in the kitchen discussing what to pick up for dinner. James had a late football game and my time and ideas for cooking had run out. After batting around several ideas, we still hadn't decided. Sean walks up to Pat and Pat grabs him around the neck in a playful wrestling hold.

Patrick: I know! We'll have roasted shank of Seannie on the grill!

Me: Mmmmm....sounds delicious! Sean shanks!

Sean: No, we'll have grilled Daddy head.

Me: Ewwww

Sean: Yeah, we'll all have some, but since Mary is the littlest, she can have Dad's brain, because it's the smallest thing too!!!!


I love that kid.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

When To Call The Search Party

Today I am embarking on an adventure. Or a suicide mission. I still haven't decided. You see, later this afternoon, when I am all done working with actual four year olds, I will head off to work with intellectual four year olds. That's right. I am going to be spending some time with my daughter's 7th grade class.

This week, every 7th grader in her school (and there are a lot of them--hundreds and hundreds) will be heading to Camp Tecumseh for three days and two nights of learning through camping. And I, nutjob that I am, have volunteered to be a cabin mom. Although, I must admit, I am not staying the whole time, because A) I have to work on Friday, and B) I am a nutjob, but not a complete nutjob.

They have divided the 7th grade science classes and half of them are on the trip Monday through Wednesday, while the other half goes Wednesday through Friday. Maggie is a bit disappointed that most of her friends, who have different science teachers, are not on the same trip as her. She is still very excited about the trip though. And even happier that I am going along and not her dad. He did (jokingly) threaten to go, be a cabin dad, and glare at all of the boys. I told him to save that for when she goes to Washington D.C. next year in 8th grade. After all, that is a much longer trip and he's much more likely to have a bigger impact if he can spend more time with those boys...

Anyway, this won't be too hard a job for me. I don't actually have to do any teaching. I just have to herd the 7th graders where they need to go (a bit like herding cats, and an awful lot like working with my 4 year olds.) and persuade them to go to sleep when it's lights out. When they have their "school" time and are engaged in lessons, parents are free to leave camp, read, hike, nap, whatever. I am looking forward to spending some time with a couple of new books and taking some photo walks out on the trails. I've been watching the weather forecasts and they have been saying words that sound like "rain showers." I have been plugging my ears and singing "LALALALA I can't hear you!"

Because you know what doesn't sound like fun? Being outdoors at camp, slogging through the rain with a bunch of soggy, hormone-addled, hyper, 13 year olds. I have a feeling that the cabins will smell a whole lot like wet dog if it rains. And I like rain and I like dogs, but I don't like the kick to my olfactory senses when you combine the two.

So, I wanted you to know why you won't be hearing from me for a couple of days. I am preparing you now. Hopefully I'll be back by the weekend with plenty of blog fodder and possibly pictures. If you don't hear from me by Monday, it either means I've been lost on a trail somewhere and am living off berries and grubs, in which case, send out the search parties. Or, it means that I have been overwhelmed by too much time with teenagers and have taken to my bed, in which case, send booze and chocolate.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Letters To Annoyances

Dear Dumb Dog,
Why have you suddenly started sleeping on beds? I do not think this has been going on long, but even one time is one time too many. I love you. I think you are the cat's pajamas the dog's slippers, but that does not mean that I want to share my bedding with you. No offense, but you stink. I realize that in doggy world Stink = Good, but that is not so in my world. Somehow you are under the mistaken impression that my bed is now your bed. You need to get um... unmistaken. Pronto. Because if I lay my head down on my pillow and it smells like smelly dog again, I think that it's a safe bet that you will find yourself being quickly shooed away while having choice words hurled after you. And if that's not scary enough, I have two words for you that might frighten you into awareness: Dog Groomer!
Your Annoyed Alpha Human

Dear Boy Children,
I love that you are having fun playing football in the front yard with the neighborhood kids. I am happy that you are outside enjoying the weather. I am thrilled that you are getting exercise and fresh air. I am beyond happy that you play so hard that you fall asleep easily at bedtime. But why have I had to explain to you MORE THAN ONCE that I don't want you playing in your good pants?
Is it so hard to understand that if you play in your good pants and they get muddy and grass stained, that they henceforth and forevermore cease to be Good Pants? What is the difficulty in comprehending that when I spend money on new clothes I would like them to look, oh I don't know, new for more than 12 hours? Is it really so hard to change into one of your 724 pairs of Crappy Pants before you head out the door? I guarantee it will not take you longer than two minutes. And those two minutes will save you hours of future lecturing and lamenting from your mother.
The Mad Laundress

Dear AT&T,
I hate you. I hate your unreliable internet service. I hate how my computer suddenly loses its connection in the middle of important things. I think that you and the minions who work for you are the Spawn of Satan. Let's quit each other. And let's not be friends either. Because this just isn't working out. And it's not me, it's DEFINITELY YOU!
I hate you,

Dear Migraines,
You suck.
I hate you, too!

Dear Football and Baseball Season,
Are you almost over? Because you are killing me. Seriously. I am typing on my deathbed. I need my weekends back. I really do love you when we start out, but I am quickly losing interest. I think our relationship is on it's last legs.
Sorry. I'm sure that I'll go back to loving you next September. Oh, and I'll still love you when you show yourselves on the telly.
Love, but falling out of it quickly,

Dear Germy Crud,
Please go away. Nobody wants you around here. Head on down the road and bug somebody else already. I am ordering a hazmat suit. And cases of Lysol. You have been warned.
The Germophobe

Dear Laundry,
Didn't I just finish washing, drying, and putting you away? Why do you insist on using my laundry room as your own personal orgy palace? And isn't there some sort of laundry birth control you can use, because seriously, your procreating is way out of hand. Stop! Just stop.
Going commando soon,

Dear Eldest Girl Child,
Put the phone away already! Your thumbs called and they want a vacation.

Dear Youngest Girl Child,
If you go to sleep when it's bedtime, then you will not be a little bag of whiny-butt when you wake up. Please, I am begging you, for the love of all that is good, go to sleep at bedtime. And if you wake at 3:47 a.m., just roll over and go back to sleep. Really. You don't need to come in and tell me that you woke up. You don't need to come in and try to sing yourself back to sleep on my floor. I promise that the light on your bedside table and in your closet will keep anything bad from happening. I promise that if I don't get a night of uninterrupted sleep soon, bad things will happen because I will be too grouchy to deal with your whiny-butt wake-up attitude.
Go. To. Sleep.

Dear Reader,
Don't you wish you lived with me? Yes, I am a joy to be around. Please don't go away. I promise to get over myself. Venting over. I think you all are seriously awesome for sitting through this post. You rock.

Monday, October 5, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Unfortunately, there is no winner. I had only 6 people guess, which is fine, but that right there narrowed down any possibility that someone would guess correctly. I'm thinking that I might have scared people off by telling them about my mishap. (Note to self: next time you want to tempt people into entering a contest to win something you've baked, you may not want to include your baking failures in the post...)

Anyway! Wouldja like to know what happened? Wouldja like to know what the winning commenter (if there had been one) would have had to guess? I sure hope so, because otherwise this is going to be one short post.

Okay. I was racing against time to get everything packed up. My inability to follow directions was hampering my efforts, because, you know, it takes time to cook several batches of cupcakes. I finally got them baked, put in jars, frosted, sprinkled, and packed up and then raced off to the UPS store to mail them. It was a Saturday afternoon, so I couldn't go to the post office. The UPS store is about a mile from my house, so I put the box of cupcakes in my van, and headed over. I might have even driven a teensy bit over the speed limit so I could get to the store before it closed at 5.

Are you guessing what happened now? Have you figured it out? (Does this remind you of Encyclopedia Brown stories?)

I jumped in the car at 4:15, thinking that I was doing well. But as I pulled up, I realized that they had the security gates down over the counter inside the store. Yes, my friends, I was 15 minutes too late. The store closed at 4.

Do you think that I took 2 minutes to get online and check store hours? No. No, I did not. Because that would have been too easy and as you might have gathered in my previous post, I'm not all about easy. Or smart. I'm not too much about that either.

So it seems that after baking 3 batches of cupcakes and really rushing to get the last batch done so I could get them sent so they would be on time, it really made no difference because I am too stupid to live. GAH!!

The good news is, that my dear husband sent them on Monday morning, and my mother got them in time to celebrate her birthday the next day anyway.

I'm sure there is a moral to this story. There must be some sort of lesson to be learned, but I'm too tired to figure it out. If y'all have any insights, feel free to share them!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hey There, Li'l Cupcake

Recently, I found a new way to give cupcakes. It is my new favorite way to celebrate someone's birthday. In the past two weeks, I have given cupcakes three different times. Twice I have sent them long-distance and once I gave them in person and each time I was excited to do it.

You see, I'm giving jars of cupcakes. You read that right. Cupcakes in a jar. I found the idea online--sorry, can't remember where. I didn't bookmark it and now can't give credit. Once again, I didn't originate the idea, but I'm having a ball copying it!

See? Aren't they cute?

I sent the first batch to my dad. The next batch went to the teacher I work with, and the last batch went to my mom just this week. (Those are the ones in the pictures.) And lest you think that I am Superwoman, I'll let you in on just exactly what a major baking FAIL I had with these cupcakes.

You see, I gave each person six cupcakes, but because the birthdays were just spread apart enough, it was necessary to make different batches about every 4 days so the recipients would get fresh cupcakes. So when I made the cupcakes for my dad, all went well. I got them baked, in the jars, frosted, sprinkled and sent. And my family was delirious over the thought of having some cupcakes around the house. But then my friends? Things went terribly, terribly wrong.

Okay. Not wrong in the "I burned the house down" or "I inadvertently caused the recipient to have horrible gastric problems." But wrong in the "Either I have early onset CRS* or I have too much on my mind or I just can't follow simple instructions" sort of way. It's also possible that I am too stupid to live.

When I was baking the batch for my coworker, I misread the instructions and switched the amounts for the oil and the water. Now friends, these were not from scratch cupcakes. These were Duncan Hines' best. That's right. Only the best for my loved ones. And how many times in my life have I made a boxed cake mix? Approximately eleventy billion and two. I don't know if my middle-aged eyes just misread the numbers or what, but somehow I messed it up. And I knew it right away. Almost as soon as I dumped in the oil, I knew that I had messed up. But "no worries!" I thought. It was easily resolved. I just told my oldest daughter that if she'd watch the kids for 5 minutes, I'd run to the grocery store down the street and pick up another mix. So I did, and I followed the directions this time and everything turned out great. My coworker loved the cupcakes, so mission accomplished.

Then on Friday, I was making them for my mom and you would think I might have learned something from my last round of idiocy. But my friends, you would be wrong! Because learning a lesson quickly is simply not in my genetic makeup. At the very least you would think that when I bought the cake mix for this round I might have bought more than one, you know, just to have one as a backup. But you would think wrong. I only bought one. And promptly made the same mistake I made the last time. GAH!!!

My husband was heading out to drop off or pick up one of our children from um...someplace (Perhaps I do have attention issues..) so I kindly asked him to pick up another mix for me. Go on. Ask me if I told him to get me an extra. Go on, ask!

For the purposes of this post, I'll be you: Hey Sara, did you learn something from your last mistake(s) and ask your husband to get you an extra mix to have on hand? Just in case--and I know I'm reachin' here--but just in case you mess up?

Me: Hell to the no. Because that would be the simple and sensible thing to do! And I? I, my sweetlings, prefer to do things the hard way. To prove, um....I don't know! I do not know why I didn't ask!!! Gah!! I am too stupid to live!!

So! It was on to Round #2 of Sara vs. The Cupcakes and I was determined to get it right. I measured my water carefully. I checked the meniscus. I rechecked. I re-rechecked. And then I put the correct amount of water into the mix. I measured my oil. I checked and rechecked and re-rechecked and dumped. Things were looking good. I mixed the batter and spooned it into the cupcake liners. But as I was spooning it in, I thought, "Gee, this batter seems kind of thick. Huh. Wonder what that's about?" And just as I was about to put the cupcakes into the oven, the little flag in my head started waving.

I forgot to put in the eggs. Too. Stupid. To. Live.

I baked them anyway thinking that there was a possibility that they might come out alright. Maybe like a flourless cake--all rich and sumptuous. I cannot explain to you how wrong I was. I baked those suckers for an hour and they were a gloopy, gloppy mess. FAIL!!!

Finally on Round #3, I asked my daughter to double check what I was doing. And with teenage supervision, I finally got it right!

I got everything decorated and carefully packed up and drove to the UPS store to mail them.

Now I wonder if you can guess how this story ends? Make your guesses in the comments. If you guess correctly, I will make and send you cupcakes. (And I promise to have my teenager supervise me.)

Come on now, are you game? Would you like to have 6 yummy cupcakes to keep all for yourself share with your loved ones? Leave a comment. Oh! And make sure I have a way to contact you! You wouldn't want to miss out on a chance for the yumminess.

**CRS= Can't Remember S#%*

*The first two commenters to correctly guess will win. Alas, I'd love to send all of you cupcakes, but it is simply not possible. Also, I'm sorry if you are reading this from somewhere other than the Continental U.S.--well, not sorry. I love that you are reading. I'm just sorry that I can't send you the goodies. You can still comment, though! Finally, let me know your flavor preferences in your comment. Keep in mind that I am limited to whatever is on the shelves at my local Kroger. Have fun!