Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 resolutions

Some people hate new years resolutions...including somone I am married to. I like them. I think they are fun...and get you moving in a good direction...even if only for a little while. I'm good with that. :)

So here they are:

1. As some of you know I lost quite a bit of weight this fall. I am re-upping my efforts and intend to lose the rest of the pounds I want to in 2008.

2. I want to read more with my kids. Addy and I have decided to read 300 books in 2008. Paperbacks and novels. My mom gave me a really cute little notebook and we agreed to keep a list of the books we have read in there. At school she reads like 10 books a day and hit 100 books in like a month. I figure then at home we ought to be able to ready 300 in a year. Ellie and I are going to try for 100.

3. I want to do some organizing in my house. More like one time organizing than life style organzing. I just have a few scary places that need some TLC. These places are: my buffet, our closets, our dressers, my linen closet, and an old army trunck.

4. I want to write a letter to my bio-dad once a week. We could stay in touch better this way.

5. And lastly...I am going to do the 888 Challenge. You can read about it at I'm just getting started on picking my I'm a little behind.


Last year at this time I was giddy. Giddy because I couldn't hardly wait to see 2006 over with.

Neal and I have been married for 7 1/2 years. Most of them have been really really hard. Not because of each other-- nothing like that. We just had the crap knocked out of us.

2000 was fun...being a newly-weds and all. Not so bad.

2001 was a bit harder...we had a rough time adjusting to being married and I had to quit school. We also thought we would have an easy breezy time finding Neal a job and that turned out to be not so true. Interviewing for churches was AWFUL. Just thinking about those experiences is enough to make me want to stop going to any church ever ever again...but I digress.

2002 was good...Addy was born that year...and I was unaware of the ugliness of church work.

2003 was mostly really hard and no fun church work

2004 was more church ugliness and more ugly interviews

2005 was both wonderful and ugly. Wonderful because we got Ellie...and some of the most hardest months I ever lived through.

2006 though...that year takes the cake for hard hard hard times and really just getting slapped around by life. Neal got fired from one of the roughest ugliest churches ever...and I am still deal with the bitterness of that experience. I'm so glad it happened glad...but it was still hard. We ended up losing everything that year. House, friends, jobs, an awesome pre-school for Addy, every cent we had. Every bit of it gone. Thinking about some of that year still hurts me from my hair follicles to my toes. Nightmare.

So...last year at this time...I couldn't wait to kiss 2006 adios and ring in the new year hoping with all my heart that 2007 would be kinder to us.

2007 has been a very very very good year. We are still struggling through the after effects of 2006...but we are getting there.

2007 brought us:
2 news cars...and if you know us at all this is so not a brag...but whisper of grace
some really good new friends that add so much light to our lives (go Meade's!)
a new wonderful school for Addy
a beginning of financial renewal
more job security than we ever known before
more laughter than stress (for the first time in 7 years)
an experience of normal healthy family life
a glimpse at church life I don't hate
a new sister in law -- and a closer relationship with another sister in law

Its not that 2007 didn't have its own moments...but really...there were so many more good happy shiny moments...that I don't really remember the icky ones.

I'm a little afraid of 2008 though...I knew that 2007 had to be better than 2006...ahahahhahahahahah can 2008 be as kind as 2007??? I HOPE SO!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

peppermint moments

My awesome sister in law from Colorado got me a some really nice Arbonne stuff for Christmas. Tonight I used the "pampermint" set to spruce up my feet. Addy got in the tub after me and wanted to know what the rough stuff she felt on her booty was. :)

Oops...should have rinsed the tub better.

No big deal though...we finished up getting her clean and shiny and then I offered to use the peppermint smelling goo on her. She giggled and squirmed while I used the scrub on her feet. And oooohed and awwed when I put on the peppermint lotion.

Me: Now feel your feet. Don't they feel nice?
Addy: I was waiting for this and I didn't even know it. :)

Every once in awhile I get the mommy thing just right. I LOVE LOVE LOVE those moments.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

the best of xmas 07

My Christmas Highlights:

1. Season One of Gilmore Girls. I'm good. I'm good.

2. Addy's exclaimed over every little thing...saying not "wow" or "cool" or any other typical slang. No no. "That's great."

3. Ellie's fave gift this season was a super cool Diego vest complete with spotting scope, cell phone, and canteen. She only takes it off to sleep...and only then because I make her. She runs around saying, "Do you know what animal that is????"

4. The girls got oodles of new art stuff...and for the most part...all I can hear is the lovely quiet sound of markers against paper.

5. The girls got Neal a tiny little coffee pot to support his new habit. He was delighted with it and spent several minutes cleaning it and getting it all ready for when we returned from our Christmas celebrations.

6. The siblings all got together to play Chicken Foot. There was a lots of grumbling at each other for stolen plays.

7. Addy got one of the coolest gifts ever...which was a "Book of the month Club" gift. Two books are wrapped for each month all the way into April of 2009. Her eyes were really really wide.

8. Neal and his brothers got these awesome helicopters that sort of work like sky dancers. But much better...they got so high and far and fast. And they also fly right into trees and over fences. :) Fun stuff.

9. I was getting Ellie ready for bed. We were in the bathroom finishing up and Ellie says:

Mama...this the best Christmas I had.

I don't spell


That has to be one of the dumbest words in the language...really.

From now on...if I am referring to my very funny and much much loved BIL I will spell it as such...The Kernel.

so there.

Monday, December 24, 2007

peeking in the manger

Tonight was my first Christmas Eve service. No...thats not true. Once my mom and I snuck across the street to the Methodist church service...but I started throwing up in the middle of that I think that I won't count that one when I was like 6. This time was my real first experience.

There was a pretty good replica of a manger front and center. And for the first time I was more expectant for what was to fill that manger...than what was already under the tree.

They showed movie clips from the movie "The Nativity" and there were tears running down my cheecks watching Mary and Joseph rejoice over thier child and the shepherds coming in awe. Really cool stuff.

We got to take communion and have a small candlelight part of the service. I was impressed. It was a neat time.

Addy and her uncle, the Colonial, peeked in the manger at the end to see if there was a baby in there.

My parents also went...which I was thrilled for. The Christmas music was really fun and rockin.


The stockings are hung with care...and the reindeer food is out...and cookies and milk and waiting. Both girls have been steller in their efforts to be on the nice list. I'm sure Santa is tucking the much coveted portable dvd player into his sleigh right now. :)


Today at Neal's parents this big scoop was making homemade donuts. :) This is very fun and very yummy. Addy and Ellie also came home from a visit with some dear friends with Hi Ho Cherry-o and Twister. :) I'm guessing a family tournament will start tomorrow. :)


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

beggars can't be choosers

but.......if I could choose...I would have chosen to have the snow earlier...and not today. I had reservations at my very very very most favorit-est restaurant ever and they closed the place because of the snow we are getting.

Oh well...I'm enjoying the Christmasy snow.

There is a HUGE drift in the front of my door...huge. It is about waist high.

My family slept in until 9 this morning...and then snuck out in the snow to see a free movie at the old theater in the village next to us. We got to see Charlotte's Web. Ellie and Addy were quite impressed with that super cute pig...and getting to have movie treats before we ever had breakfast.

The snow was a little bit bad before we made it back home...but it got much worse after we were all home safe.

We settled in to decorate our Christmas cookies. We made enough to fill a huge tupperware container. It was very fun.

Ellie ended up sleeping on the couch the whole time...she has a nasty viral something and has really been struggling lately. She did eat a chicken strip for lunch today...and that is improvement over yesterday. I finally fed her three popsicles yesterday because it was all I could tempt her with. She's been one sick little kido. I'm hoping she gets some ooomph back before Christmas ... or I'm afraid she won't be up to opening presents. (Yes...she had been THAT sick.) As I write this ... she has been on the couch for 4 hours...and is just watching Nemo. If any of you know know this is just sooooooooooo not her. If she isn't better...I'll have to take her to the doctor on Wednesday...although...I have called twice...and they keep saying not to worry.


Addy's Christmas party was yesterday...and one of the coolest things I have experienced this season is stepping into the gym and hearing all the children's voices singing Christmas songs together. I got a little teary listening to them sing.


One more note about Christmas cookies. Addy and I were busy busy busy making festive pretty cookies. Neal decides the snowman cookie doesn't really look like a snowman...but more like a monster. Neal's cookie turned into a ferocious monster with claws and teeth. There is a little blood in the monsters teeth because he has been feasting on the local villages children. He also is sporting a bloody arrow because the parents of the local village children are not happy with this arrangement. Also...a poor reindeer got turned into the monsters faithful but bloody steed.

Addy: Papa, stop ruining Christmas.

Outside I expressed my disappointment with the morbidness...but inside I am giggling because it is just pretty funny.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I can't believe I'm getting slighted AGAIN!

All day long the map for my area was shaded in the 5-9 inches color. It's like the weather always skips me. Just me. grrrrrr. I wanted inches and inches of snow. I want to make a snowman with my kids--Addy wants to make a cowgirl one. I want to get a tractor ride in the snow. I want to have a snowball fight. And what do we have right now? A T-R-A-C-E. I'm sure there are lots people out there right now who do not want snow. I do. Bring it on.

I tried not to get my hopes up...I really did. I tried repeating the first prediction...over and over...he said it would "move right through and not accumulate." Then finally late this afternoon when the map was STILL saying 5-9 inches...I said fine...maybe it will snow...and I ran out and got Ellie a snow suit.

Apparently I jinxed it by doing so.

No fair.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

slip me some skin

Ellie: Mom...I'm krungry.
Me: What do you want?
Ellie: *tapping her lips with her index finger, brows furrowed in thought.* Bread.
Me: Ok.
Ellie: But you need to take the 'kin off.
Me: The skin?
Ellie: Yeah...the 'kin. I don't like that part.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

snow...or no snow day

At 10:20 last night my phone rings. The caller ID reads "USD ###." Addy's school system has this super neat system where they can call thousands of phones at once and leave messages about weather or emergency situations. I open my phone to hear...USD ### will be closed tomorrow due to the weather.

I ran upstairs and shake Addy awake to tell her there would be no school in the morning. This was extra good news for her as she had just come down with a ear infection the day before and wouldn't have gone today anyway. This way she didn't have to miss anything.

I was hoping for just this chance. We played Candyland this morning, got out the rice box (a huge plastic tub filled with rice and lots of toys -- fun but messy), and started some Christmas treat making. :)

We also got to watch Shrek the Halls!

And...we had dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets for lunch! OOOOHHH the fun never ends. Except that since it didn't do much beside rain...we will have to go back to the real world tomorrow. I was hoping for lots of ice to keep my family home and together for a while.

Oh well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Allstate gets me

Directly quoted from an Allstate Insurance ad in a National Geographic:

Why do most 16 year old drive like the're missing a part of their brain?
Because they are.

Even bright, mature teenageers sometimes do things that are stupid.

But when that happens, it's not really their fault. It's because their brain hasn't finished developing. The underdeviloped area is called the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex. It plays a critical role in decison making, problem solving, and understanding future consequences of today's actions. Problem is, it won't be fully mature until they're into their 20's.


Well...just ask my sister in law Sally if MY 26 year old brain is fully developed yet or not. :)

She said some of the most sweetest stuff anyone has ever told me today...and I didn't really deserve it after I failed to use my brain before my mouth. Its a good thing sisters are forgiving. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Great Commercial

Did you get the apple?

If you know my daughter Addy at know that she is a really picky eater. She has about 3 food groups.

1. Cheese pizza

2. Chicken Nuggets and Mac and Cheese

3. Peanut Butter

She doesn't really eat a lot of the foods other kids will eat...hamburgers (no way), applesauce (not so much), ham sandwich (uh-huh), spaghetti (not touching that sauce.) It drives me crazy. And I'm not naive...I've tried all the tricks and stuff.

Here Addy...dip this carrot stick in RANCH. Nope.
Here won't notice that I mixed in a little mashed potatoes. takes like mashed potatoes.
Here won't notice I smeared a smidge of beans in your taco meat. No.
Here Addy...if you don't eat the dinner I don't eat. She won't eat for 3 days.
Here help me fix and then you will more likely eat it. Yeah right.

She's getting better believe it or not...she has tried a few new things lately. She will try anything her Kindergarten teacher will ask her too--(I don't care...more power to you lady). School lunch is being helpful. Yesterday she ate a breaded chicken sandwich and declared it good...and I snuck in a smoked sausage as a hot dog and that went over well.

The only veggie I can get down her is corn on the cob. She will eat apples, melon, oranges (this is BRAND new), and grapes. She eats cheese, mesquite lunch meat turkey, a few flavors of yogurt, and tortillas.

As you can imagine...this makes packing a lunch for her pretty hard. She won't even eat pepperoni pizza at school. Today the cafeteria was serving steak fingers. Are you kidding me??? I didn't have the right kind of sandwich stuff and was out of yogurt. I sent Neal to the store to get chocolate for him and one single apple for Addy. If I slice it up and send it with a cup of peanut butter for dipping...we have an okay lunch to pack.

7 AM today

Me: Neal...did you get an apple last night?
Neal: Crap.
Me: Now what?
Neal: Get one on the way to school.
Me: Yeah right...and slice it in the car?

Me: Addy...I'm just going to have to pick you up for lunch.
Addy: REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY FRIENDS DO THAT ALL THE TIME!
Me: Lets go to McDonald's.
Addy: YES!

Again...chicken nuggets for lunch...but at least Addy felt pretty special getting to leave school for awhile. She was the cool kid for the afternoon. :) Its the least I can do right?

Monday, December 3, 2007



We went last night to the local small village's old timey movie theater. The girls and I had a girlie afternoon and took in the new movie, "Enchanted." Addy was truly impressed declaring it the best movie she had ever seen. I thought it was pretty cute and loved the song scene in central park.

It only cost us 10 bucks to get in a see the 5 more for snacks and a coke. A heck of a deal I thought. And while I love love love going to the Warren -- I forget how much I love the local old theater.

Ellie may have been more impressed with the Nerds Rope she got to munch on...but sat and watched most of the movie regardless.

Nikes for Gabriel

This is our first holiday season not in the Churches of Christ. I had a really funny post all written up about all the crazy reasons Churches of Christ don't celebrate Christmas --but Neal told me I had to take it down. So...I'll bite my tongue and just say that I'm loving Christmas at our new church and am really excited about it.

The stage area has a huge white Christmas tree on it...and about 20 smaller trees with lights and cardinals and fake snow. It was beautiful. There was a huge Christmas star projected onto the back curtain and it was just awesome. During worship the lights were all really low and the Christmas lights were all sparkly. It was a neat first time experience. My mom went to a Methodist church when she was really little...and has said several times how much she misses the Christmas festivities at church. I get it a little bit now.

The minister just started a series called the "Christmas Conspiracy" about how ***** ...and the congregation as a whole has set about celebrating the Savior of the world.


Addy's class at church studies a new virtue every 4-5 weeks. Of course for Christmas they just started studying the virtue of Peace. Very exciting stuff.

They talked about how if you are full of anger there is no room for peace. Peace is proving you care more about others than winning an argument. They learned to stop-think-and then do. I love her new class.

Ellie's class is learning the Christmas story...and started this week learning about the birth of Jesus. The first part is where the angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her she is going to have a baby. Ellie is very impressed with the paper doll versions of Gabriel and Mary that she colored and brought home. We were talking today about how much God loves us and that's why he sent us Jesus. We put the dolls up on the fridge and Ellie was studying them. Mary has sandals on...and the angel has bare feet.

Ellie: He needs to put on his shoes and socks.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

ringing in the season

Ellie and Santa!

Last night...the girls and I had the perfect start to the Christmas holiday season. We headed over to the local village to watch the small town Christmas parade. I turned out to be like 65 degrees it was really fun and not miserable like other years. We met my parents there...and my step brother and sister-in-law and her 2 boys.

Addy looking a little nervous with Santa!

The parade highlights:

A soldier standing at attention in front of a Christmas tree...with a sign that said Remember our Troops (that made me a little teary)

A giant military helicopter pulled on a trailer from which a dude threw candy

The DARE officer from Addy's school riding in the smallest biggest toy car ever

(Addy watching the parade)

A firetruck


Lots of motorcycles

and...bum bum bum...SANTA!

After the parade was over we headed down to the village museum where we the girls got to see Santa in person and visit with him. Ellie got on Santa's lap and told him she wanted markers and Dora.

Addy managed a hug and told Santa she wanted a Barbie, markers, and a portable DVD player. Addy didn't want to see or talk to Santa...she just wanted to send him an e-mail. I told her we'd have much better chances of getting what she wanted if she told him in person. :)

I'm hoping to post pictures shortly.

We walked down main street and looked in the windows of the shops. Then we drove down to the huge light display in the park. They have those really big animated Santa playing baseball...skiers...and a candy factory.

The girls ate about a million candy canes. Then we headed to my parents house and had dinner and hot chocolate for dessert. It was really a fun night.

The question of the night:

Addy: Mom...why will we see Santa but not the reindeer???
Me: Well...uh...that's because they are having to rest up for the big night. They can't be running all over making visits when they are about to fly all around the world in one night. They have to be eating oatmeal and resting up.
Addy: OH. I see.

a poet

"To-night the winds begin to rise
And roar from yonder dropping day:
The last red leaf is whirled away,
The rooks are blown about the skies."

\"Alfred, Lord Tennyson\" (1809 - 1892) English poet

It's freakin windy.

Jayme Whitlow

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving update -- a little late

My internet is back up and running I'm back.

Thanksgiving was ... NOT STRESSFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOO-HOO-KA-ZOO. (Yeah...we like rhyming things in my family.) I've been saying for years that we needed to stop having the huge family meal with 20 people and 20 entrees and 50 desserts and lots of stress and arguing...and why oh why did no one think to get ice??? Every year I swear to myself next year I am staying home and having chicken nuggets.

Well...I didn't stay at home and have chicken nuggets this year...but we did have a MUCH smaller but very yummy meal that was about 90 percent done ahead of time. And we spent a delightful relaxing day with just my parents.

I got to watch the ENTIRE parade...which I love. I know not everyone loves it...including Neal's family--

Neal: (on the phone) Hey sis---yeah we are just hanging out watching the parade!
Crystal: Oh yeah. That.

--but I get a huge kick out of the floats and giant baloons and performances.

Everyone brought 3 things symbolizing what we are thankful for to the table for dinner...

I brought a toy car (thank you thank you thank you Lord for providing us with two new cars), a page of Addy's school work (I'm delighted with her school) and a netflix envelope (I'm thankful for us watching Gilmore Girls enough that Ellie knows the theme song and sings it often).

Neal brought his work name tag (thankful for his job), his keys (again the cars), and a little doll (his girls.)

Emerson brought Tidbit (the family dog), his Bible, and a toy tractor (he loves that tractor).

Mom brought a candle (the light of the World and the Word), a poem she wrote for her parents, and a family photo.

Ellie brought Dora, a doughnut, and sunglasses (she was thankful her cousin got new super cute Barbie glasses.)

Addy brought a toy bed, a toy house, and an apple.

I did get a migraine from staring at the glare of puzzle pieces too long...but that didn't matter too much...I just also got a nap on Thanksgiving. :)

The next day started at 3:15 am as I hit the stores for Black Friday. I know its crazy...but someone could ask me to do crazier things to save as much money on Christmas presents as I did. They could ask me to eat my own foot....or run naked through the store. I'll stand in a big line to get 25 dollars of that 40 dollar remote control helicopter. No problem.