Monday, December 31, 2007

De-Christmasing Stinks!

Tomorrow is New Year's Day and you know what that means? It means it's time to de-Christmas my house. I hate putting away the Christmas decorations, don't you? It's a little sad for one thing because it's over so quickly. And besides that, it's WORK and no fun whatsoever. My husband is so good about helping too, so why am I complaining? I don't know. I just hate the after-the-holidays-time-to-get-back-to-normal thing. I wish it would snow!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Recalled due to lead paint?

After Christmas last year I decided to stock up on some "favors" for my kids' to give away to classmates at school during the holidays. Even if there's no official Christmas party (and there wasn't, which is terribly sad in my opinion) the boys still like to give a little something to each of their friends, and I'm cool with that.

So the favors I bought on sale last year were boxes of miniature wooden sled ornaments, half painted red and the other half green. We dug them out of the "stash" of gifts I keep handy and decided to write each classmate's name and the year in permanent marker. The boys agreed they would be appropriate to hand out to everyone, so we cleared it with their teachers first and then set about to personalize the ornaments.

Just as I wrote the last kid's name on a sled, I happened to turn the ornament over and notice the "Made in China" sticker on the back. Uh-oh! It dawned on me that over the past few months there had been multiple recalls on items made in China due to the use of lead paint. I started to rethink this whole gift-giving deal. I mean, think about it... It's tough enough being a kid these days, but give a gift that makes someone else sick and you might be shunned for life. I can hear it now... "Yeah, that's the kid who gave away ornaments laced with lead paint."

I was reminded of the "Seinfeld" episode where George's fiancee` died from licking toxic envelopes as she addressed their wedding invitations. Yeah, not exactly the kind of thing you'd want to be remembered for causing, not that any of the recipients of these ornaments were going to be licking them, but they're kids - YOU NEVER KNOW!

I decided not to panic though, contacting the company from which I'd ordered these ornaments, and they promised me there had been no recall on this item. Whew! Crisis averted. But next year (NOTE TO SELF) I'm buying "Made in the USA" items, just in case.

Who's reading my blog?????

Okay, I know someone is reading my blog because I can see the "hit counter" going up little by little, but I don't know WHO'S reading. Please leave me a comment occasionally! Inquiring minds wanna know. Come on, throw me a bone!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Unwrapping Christmas

It's so much fun to watch children's expressions as they open gifts. Here are our boys receiving some coveted wishlist items at Christmas...

I forgot to ask Santa for a new figure!

Christmas has come and gone, and I have eaten so much that I'm sure I could go without food for the next week and just live off of what I've stored up over the last few days alone. I have no self-discipline... I mean ZERO willpower when it comes to all the sinfully delicious foods available to me during the Christmas holiday season. I don't even have the good sense to stop when I'm full. My thought is, "It's Christmas! Time to strap on the feedbag and dig in!" Too bad I forgot to ask Santa for a new figure, huh? I HATE January! That's when reality sets in once again. Oh well, the eating frenzy was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

When I was in school....

Kids today don't know how lucky they are, and as I type those words I can hear my parents saying the exact same thing to me when I was younger. Scary, ain't it? Anyway...

The topic of interest today is school cafeteria food options. If you don't have school-age children, then you might not know there are actually options. Students at our kids' school have the choice of 4 different menu items every day, and then they have a choice of two side dishes as well.

A couple of nights ago I read the following day's lunch menu to the boys so they could tell me whether they wanted to eat what the cafeteria was serving or pack their lunches. My husband was commenting on how nice it was they had all these different food options. The boys had no idea what he meant.

He explained, "When I was in school, there weren't any options. They had one menu and you ate what they were serving or you were outta luck."

David, our 11-year-old, pipes up and says, "Like in prison?"

Things that make you go "Hmmmm..."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You Might Be a Redneck...

If you use Christmas stocking hangers with the letters E, L, N and O to spell "LEON" instead of "NOEL," you might be a redneck.

That's just what my husband did several days ago after we'd first hung our stockings on the mantle. We were having some new friends over and I was rushing around trying to make sure everything looked nice and in order. I NEVER noticed the stocking hangers spelled "LEON" and he finally had to point it out to me. I'm not sure what that says about me. I'm either not very observant or I really am a redneck, which is probably the case.

We decided to leave the hangers as they were to see if our guests noticed. No one said a thing for the longest time, but eventually their teenage son pointed it out. These new friends are probably a little leery of us now, not quite sure what to make of us and our stab at humor.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Josh Groban's "Noel" Christmas CD

I don't know about you, but I have a crush on Josh Groban, the young pop-classical singer who's about the hottest thing since sliced bread, in my opinion of course. His 2007 Christmas CD, "Noel" is breaking records in the music industry and after purchasing it last week, I can certainly see why. It's fabulous!

I first heard of Josh Groban a few years ago when my girlfriend Stacey gave me his "Closer" CD (THANKS, STACEY!), the one which includes the song "You Raise Me Up" which is still one of those songs that makes me stop whatever I'm doing and just listen. I just love this guy's style! He's so relaxed when he's singing and has such a pure quality in his voice. I'm not an authority on music, but I know what I like, and I like Josh Groban!

This Christmas CD has a smattering of duets with singers like Faith Hill and Brian McKnight, and it also had a tear-jerker version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" in which the listener hears voices of military personnel sending their holiday greetings to loved ones throughout this beautiful Christmas classic. It makes me cry every single time I hear it.

If you're looking for a great Christmas CD to purchase this year, I highly recommend this one! Happy listening!

Bethlehem Walk

For the past 7 years our church has put on an amazing event during the Christmas holiday season. It's called "Bethlehem Walk" and it's basically a re-creation of the city of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth. People dress in costumes, there's a live nativity and it's just a great way for families to come and experience the true meaning of Christmas. This year our boys not only sang in the kids' choir, they dressed as students in the synagogue as well and they had a blast.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gift Giving 101

Okay folks, there are only 8 more days until Christmas, therefore your shopping days are numbered. If you have yet to purchase all of your gifts and need some advice, you've come to the right place... well sort of. I might not be able to tell you what to buy, but I can surely tell you what NOT to buy for that special person on your gift list.

First of all, when purchasing gifts for others, don't give gifts YOU want, give gifts THEY want. Get it? You're giving the gift to someone else, not to yourself. If the recipient is conservative and is the flannel jammies type, don't buy them the skimpy new lingerie you saw in the Victoria's Secret store. Have an idea about who the person is and what the person wants, and if in doubt, ask them! What a novel concept, huh?

Never buy anyone clothing unless the person flat out tells you what they want, including the size, the color and even the store in which one can find the item. If you guess at the size, your gift is guaranteed to be offensive because a) you end up insinuating that the person is larger than they are willing to admit, which will really tick them off, or b) you appear to be thoughtless when you buy an item that's too small and now the person has to be faced with the embarrassment of admitting they are too large for the garment, thus ticking them off. It's a no-win situation. I'm telling you, clothing purchases are usually a waste of time and a total headache because the person will either take back or never wear the item you give them. They'll tell you they love it, but will you ever see it on them? I don't think so.

Another gift item to avoid giving at Christmas is jumper cables. What? You never thought of giving a set of jumper cables to someone you love at Christmas? Me neither, but I received a set one year! No, really, I kid you not. I'm sorry to have to steer you away from that idea, particularly if you're considering buying them for your significant other. While it might make you think you have the other person's safety and best interests at heart, it won't fly. Trust me on this. They're JUMPER CABLES! They don't say "I love you." Seriously... I think Jeff Foxworthy could use this in his act. "If you give your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife a set of jumper cables for Christmas, you might be a redneck." Enough said... let's move on.

Have you ever been the proud recipient of a household appliance at Christmastime? Come on, you know nothing says "I love you" more than a blender or a toaster! Listen, and listen good, my friends... If someone requests a household item, that's one thing, but if they don't request it, don't even go there! One Christmas I received a vacuum cleaner from my former in-laws (Note the word "former"), and while I pretended to be ecstatic about the gift, I couldn't help but recall the fact that my then-husband (Note the word "then-husband") received all the personal items he'd requested. I thought the vacuum cleaner made a better couples gift, especially since we were both working outside the home. The gift I received made it very clear to me who was expected to do the vacuuming in our house. Are you people listening? NEVER buy a household appliance for someone you love unless they put it on their Christmas wishlist. I'm telling you, you'll be sorry if you refuse to heed this valuable piece of advice. And if you are the recipient of such a gift, you have my permission to pout and vent all you want! I certainly do my fair share.

That's all the advice I have for today. I certainly hope you will benefit from my experience. Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Random complaints

It never fails... I go to the bathroom to do my "business," go to grab a wad of toilet paper and there are maybe four squares left, hardly enough to finish the job. Why is there seemingly NEVER any toilet paper remaining on the roll when I have to go to the bathroom? It's probably because my kids use practically the whole roll in just one trip to the bathroom, thus the recent blog regarding clogged toilets.

Same thing with paper towels in the kitchen. I go to clean up a mess of one kind or another and, lo' and behold, there's either one paper towel remaining on the roll or none altogether. Naturally someone has to replace the roll, so it might as well be me, right? It's my job. I live for it.

Here's a little test question for you....

What would you do if you ate the last Pop Tart in the box?
a) Throw the box away.
b) Put the box back in the pantry.

My children evidently think "b" is the correct answer, however, I assure you, "a" is the correct answer. This happens a lot at our house. What's so difficult about throwing away an empty box? I'll never understand the reasoning in putting the box back in the pantry.

Same thing with drinking the last bit of ANYTHING in the refrigerator. Why, in God's name, would you put it back in the refrigerator? I just don't get it!

My children and I have differing opinions on what's clean and what's not clean. When asked to clean and organize their rooms, they pick up clothing items and occasionally hang or fold them, but usually they just put them in the hamper, even the clean clothes because it's easier. The toys and trinkets and so forth? They've become masters at shoving them into the nooks and crannies of their bookshelves. It makes me crazy! And of course we can't ever get rid of anything! Everything has value and should be kept forever, even if it's broken. Makes total sense to me, how 'bout you?

Those are just the things that are on my last nerve today. What (or who) is on your last nerve today? Come on, you can vent to me. I won't tell anybody.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What's a "gyro" anyway?

I've been spending way too much time in the mall lately. I normally get most of my Christmas shopping done via the internet, but I've had to actually break down and physically go in search of a few items this year. I'm not really a mall shopper for the most part, so this experience doesn't thrill me in the least. Last night I had to take my youngest son to see Santa (the oldest bowed out) and we'd just missed the bearded gentleman as he had taken a break for dinner, therefore we had to come back an hour later. Oh joy! Another hour in the mall - just what I had been looking forward to all day!

I've had the opportunity, or misfortune, depending on how you look at it, to eat a meal or two in the mall during a couple of these excursions. I've walked past the same little food court area several times now and one place in particular makes and sells "gyros." Now, I've heard of these, and I believe they're a Greek sandwich of sorts if I'm not mistaken, but a country bumpkin like me could certainly be mistaken. I'm just curious to know what exactly are these "gyros" made of anyway?

I had also wondered for years (Yes, YEARS!) how to pronounce the word "gyros." I've heard people call them "jie-rose" or "hee-rose" or "gee-rose" (hard "g" like in "goat"). Well, let me tell you, I might not know what these sandwiches are made of, but I now know how to pronounce the word... sort of. This place in the mall had it posted in their window. I guess they got tired of answering the question, "How do y'all say that there word?" It's pronounced "yee-ros," but of course I don't know if that's supposed to be a short or long "o," which disturbs me greatly. Inquiring minds wanna know!

My, that's FESTIVE!

You hear the word "festive" a lot this time of year. Ever notice that? People talk about being in a festive mood or they'll use the word to describe how something looks. I guess it's just one of those words associated with holidays, and it's meant to be positive, complimentary even.

Whenever my husband and I hear the word "festive," we share a look and a little chuckle. During our first Christmas holiday season as married folks, we spent some time driving around the area in which we lived, looking at the Christmas lights. We noticed there were some homes decorated to the hilt and we found ourselves comparing them to the Griswalds from "Christmas Vacation." Maybe we'd see all blue lights on a house with the exception of a strand of red where perhaps they'd run out of blue. Or maybe we'd see a combination of huge colored bulbs mixed with strands of small clear lights. In other words, we thought they were tacky.

We finally came to the conclusion that we were being way too critical. I mean, who were we, the Christmas decor experts? At least folks were getting into the spirit of the season, which is what's important, right? So instead of calling someone's Christmas decorations "TACKY," we called them "FESTIVE." If they only knew...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Big girls DO cry!

Yesterday I was shopping in the local Giant grocery store. I kept seeing the same lady over and over again, one aisle after another, which of course is common when grocery shopping. This lady finally commented, "I notice you're tall and big like me." I just stood there, not really sure how to respond, but I finally sputtered, "Yeah." I didn't want to agree with her, which would then insinuate that I thought she was big, but then again, she just said I was big. It's official... I'm fat... even strangers are commenting. Merry Christmas to you too, lady!

Hallelujah! The toilet's working & the lights are on!

I finally plunged enough today to unclog the toilet in my sons' bathroom. Can I just tell you that made my day? Isn't it pathetic and sad when something like unclogging a toilet is the highlight of your day? No matter... I'm one happy momma!

My husband and I were talking over the phone (He's still gone) and I told him about the outdoor Christmas lights being on the fritz. He asked if I checked the fuse box in the basement. Yes, I assured him I had tried that. No dice. He then suggested I try pushing some other button in the basement, a button like the one in our bathroom that trips EVERY single time I dry my hair. It miraculously worked! We now have outdoor Christmas lights once again.

I need a "Life is good" t-shirt to wear or something.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas cards

I'm finding that quite a few of the Christmas cards we mailed are being returned this year. Now, I expect that from our military friends because they, like we, frequently change addresses. It's understandable that a few of them might have moved since last Christmas, therefore a handful of cards may get returned. No biggie. But this year we're getting cards back from non-military people as well. What's the deal? Is everyone moving? Are they trying to hide from us because they know we're sending that mind-numbingingly long Christmas newsletter AGAIN this year?

Of course I love the fact that I have sent a Christmas card to an aunt and uncle at the same address for years and years, but all along I had been using an incorrect house number, however, it still reached these relatives. Why they never told me I had the wrong house number to begin with is beyond me, but I suppose they figured it didn't matter as long as they were getting their mail. This year the card was returned.

Years ago in my previous life, my then-husband and I sent a card to his cousin & her husband. When we received her card in return, there was a note inside letting us know her husband had died in October of that year. No one told us! We sent a card to a dead man! Talk about being mortified!

Some of this year's returned cards also had the forwarding address sticker attached to the front. That whole process confuses me a bit. I guess it's good to let the sender know the recipient has moved, but doesn't it cost the postal service to send it back to us? Why can't they just forward the doggone card?

Many of our friends send picture cards of their kids. Those are a nice way to see how much your kids have grown, but send me a picture of yourself occasionally. I miss you too! I want to know if you've put on as much weight as I have or if I'm going to be jealous of you for the entire next year.

A handful of my girlfriends rubber stamp beautiful, handmade greeting cards every year and I just love them. They're so creative and I know how much time and effort that takes since I, too, am a rubber stamper. I've never stamped our Christmas cards though because we send out way too many and I'd have carpal tunnel syndrome by the time I was finished, so that won't likely be happening.

Lots of people are now deciding it's just too expensive to mail Christmas cards. You have the expense of the cards themselves and then the postage on top of that. Throw in a newsletter or a picture or two and you've managed to spend a few bucks. I'm still okay with that though. It's the only time of year I'm likely to correspond with many of the recipients of our Christmas card and newsletter, so I'll spend the money. We have several friends and family members who never send cards, and I don't get that, but we continue to send ours, whether they like it or not! :)

Lots of people are now going to the online greeting card, but I wonder... If you're down and out and can't afford to send cards, an e-card is cool, but I really think most of the people who send those aren't fooling anyone. They don't want to spend the money or take the time to address the cards. Just admit it people! You know it's true!

I still love sending and receiving greeting cards any time of year, but especially during the holiday season. It makes my day to go to the mailbox and see a handful of cards just waiting to be read and re-read. It's one tradition I'm not ready to give up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Murphy's Law

Why is it that things usually run pretty smoothly when my hubby is around, but the minute he leaves, things start going to hell in a hand basket? The timing of this TDY couldn't be more inconvenient. Not his fault, and I'm quick to say that because it's true, but it still doesn't change the fact that it's inconvenient for me and I find myself searching for my happy place and wanting to scream "Serenity now!" at random moments of the day.

First of all, I feel as if I need to clone myself in order to get the boys everywhere they need to be, especially this time of year. There's an activity here and a practice there... a meeting here and a birthday party there. I can't imagine what I'd do if I had more than two children. Moms with more than two kids, I salute you! How do you do it without losing your mind?

Our home is all decorated for the holidays, and I love it! It's really beautiful, even if I do say so myself, and I do say so myself. My husband always takes care of the outdoor lights and this year was no different. He did a fantastic job and the lights look great... er.. um... that is they LOOKED great. Two days ago my kids and I were off to church for a Christmas event in the late afternoon and I plugged in the outdoor lights so they'd be on when it got dark. I never leave indoor lights on when I'm going to be away from home, but I'm comfortable with leaving the outdoor lights on. So... I didn't actually look to see if the lights were lit when I left because it was still very much daytime and I just wasn't paying attention. When the boys and I got home from our event, I noticed the outdoor Christmas lights weren't lit. What's up with that? I thought perhaps someone unplugged them without my knowledge. Nope, they were still plugged in. They just no longer work. I'm sure there's a blown fuse somewhere, but I haven't had time to check into the problem. Will work on that one sometime today.

The other nice little surprise is the fact that the boys' toilet is completely stopped up, backed up, clogged up... however you wanna say it... it still comes down to the fact that it won't flush. How did I discover this? My youngest informed me that every time he uses the toilet in his bathroom, it won't flush. "How long has it been this way?" I ask my son. "Oh, a couple of days I think," says Little Man. What? He's just now waiting to tell me the toilet doesn't flush after TWO DAYS? You can imagine my utter despair and aggravation, right? Thankfully the water was only slightly yellow and not brown. But there was LOTS of paper in the toilet bowl! Oh joy! I plunged and plunged, and then I plunged some more, and I still can't get that doggone toilet to clear, but now I have toilet water on the bathroom floor to clean up in addition to a stopped up, backed up, clogged up toilet. Lord, give me the strength not to lose it.

I'm trying to find my happy place again, and when I finally do, I'll try to stay there until my husband comes home. Serenity now!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


My dad passed away six months ago today. I just realized that this afternoon and I felt compelled to blog about him. I still find it hard to believe he's gone. I guess that's because we don't live near my family, therefore Dad's passing doesn't affect me quite the same way it does those who saw and spent time with him on a regular basis. For the last several years I saw Dad once or twice a year, so not seeing him isn't unusual. It's when something reminds me of him that I stop to think, "Dad's not here," and it's still such a jolt to me.

Dad never went to the doctor, not unless it was absolutely necessary. If you feel good, why go, right? Dad actually suspected he had Parkinson's disease. His mother has it and he was showing similar symptoms. He never even had a family doctor, but because of family members urging him to go for a checkup, he finally relented and scheduled a full physical, complete with a colonoscopy. The rest is like a blur.

Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer sometime in February, if I remember correctly, and had surgery on March 1st. Doctors seemed to think the surgery was a success and that he'd be able to start chemo treatments right away. Other health issues would prevent him from starting chemo, and eventually the cancer spread to other organs and he died on June 6, 2007, just two days shy of his 66th birthday. I still find it hard to believe how quickly cancer took his life.

I was blessed to have been able to visit with Dad days before his death. My brother had been to see him and shared with me his concerns for Dad's survival. I hated leaving my husband and kids, but my both my mother-in-law and my husband urged me not to wait. We never know how much time we're allotted on this earth. It would have plagued me for years had I not been able to see Dad before he died. My husband put me on a plane and I went home to see my dad. As it turned out, Dad and I spent time together over the better part of a week. We held hands and said things to one another that needed to be said. I thought there was still hope for a recovery, even though Dad was weak and very sick. I saw him have one really great day before leaving to return to my family. I will never know if he really felt better that day or if he was simply putting on a brave face for my benefit, knowing it would make leaving easier for me. Regardless, it did my heart good to see him "almost himself."

I left on a Friday and Dad died the following Wednesday. Had I not gone to visit him when I did, I might not have seen him at all, and I know our experience would not have been the same, for hospice had been called in at the very end, and Dad was slipping farther away from everyone by then. God surely orchestrated my visit. It was a blessing, a gift to have had that precious time with Dad, and I'll forever be grateful.

I'm comforted by the fact that Dad was ready for death and was a Christian. He had no doubt about where he was spending eternity. I'm also further comforted by the knowledge that I will be reunited with him when one day we meet in heaven.

Because my parents were divorced when I was 4, and Mom had custody of my brother and me, I didn't spend a great deal of time with Dad. We saw him on a regular basis, once a week, all day on Saturdays. But we shared him with other family members - my grandparents, aunts and an uncle - so there wasn't a lot of one-on-one time. I couldn't know then (or even a few years later) what I know now... that I would truly miss him.

When you don't live with a parent, it's really hard to KNOW them. Dad wasn't a big conversationalist either. He listened more than he talked, didn't reveal a lot about himself, and was a very uncomplicated man, happy to just be where he was, doing what he was doing. There are often certain unpleasantries associated with a divorced family situation, but in all honesty, I think we dealt with those issues pretty well. Dad was not perfect, as none of us are, and he made his share of mistakes, but he never put me in the middle between him and mom. He took whatever attention we were willing and able to give him over the years, and he never asked for more or complained it wasn't enough. Now I find myself wondering about all kinds of things... what his favorite things were, what were his innermost thoughts? I grieve for the loss of the man I knew and the man I'll never know, but I also rejoice for the knowledge that he loved me, plain and simple, and I loved him back.

I suppose Dad's death has shown me more than ever the fragility of life. We think we have all this time, but we never know when it might be our last day, or the last day of someone we love. I'm trying to take better care of myself... spiritually, physically and emotionally. I want to live my life using the talents and wisdom God has given me to glorify Him. I want to take care of my physical health so that I can be around for my family for a very long time. And I want to reach out to those I love and let them know how much they mean to me. Life is short, it's but a breath, and I don't want to waste a minute of it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Solitary Christmas

I was a little bummed earlier this week to learn my husband has to be away on work-related business for a few days starting tomorrow. This weekend our church has a Christmas event in which our entire family was supposed to participate, but of course my husband can no longer be there and I hate that! Some things just aren't the same without him, but I've decided to get over my funk and be appreciative for the blessings in my life.

My husband is only going to be gone for a few days. It's not as if he's deploying or serving a remote tour like some of our friends are doing. He won't be away at Christmas, but LOTS of our men and women in the Armed Forces will be separated from their loved ones this holiday season. We've done the "Christmas apart thing" and it's not something I'd care to do again, but we managed, and I believe came out stronger for having endured the separation.

My husband left early-September 2004 and returned mid-January 2005. 4 months! That initially sounded like an eternity to me because we'd never experienced a lengthy separation. He'd been through deployments, but that was before we even knew one another. He knew what to expect, but it was even a little different for him in that this time he had a family he was leaving behind.

Naturally my husband missed lots of holidays and special events, a first for our family. I had moments when I felt really sorry for myself. I told myself families shouldn't have to be apart during these special times, and of course they shouldn't, but sometimes they have to be, and the only choices we have are to accept and deal with it or not. Let's face it, if you're part of a military family, you're eventually going to endure separation from time to time, especially now. No one is exempt, no matter how fair or unfair that may seem. It's reality.

I didn't enjoy being separated from my husband. I love him! I'm crazy about him! Our kids are all about hangin' with Dad and I knew we'd all miss him terribly. But then I realized that while we'd be missing one person, my husband would be missing three people. He would be in unfamiliar surroundings with strangers, only seeing a familiar face once in a while. The boys and I would be in our comfortable home in familiar surroundings with lots of friends supporting us. That humbled me greatly.

I also felt I couldn't allow myself to complain about a 4-month separation when there were (and still are) families enduring year-long (or longer) separations, sometimes back-to-back. Nope, I wouldn't complain about 4 measly months when I knew it could be much longer. And my husband's job, thankfully, didn't put him directly into harm's way. That was a huge comfort for me, a luxury many families do not experience.

One night during that memorable Christmas season a group of spouses from our squadron surprisingly showed up on our front lawn, kids in tow, to sing Christmas carols and bring the boys and me a gift basket of thoughtful goodies. I opened the door to them and just stood there, tears streaming down my face. These ladies understood what we were going through and they cared enough to share the Christmas spirit with us. I will never forget what a special moment that was and how grateful I felt.

This year we have several friends who will be spending Christmas in faraway places, separated from their families. We're grateful for the service and sacrifice of both the military members and their families. We wish them comfort, joy, peace and love this holiday season. Please keep these special families close in thought and prayer.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Shoot the rock, baby!

Shoot the rock, baby! I can hear Dick Vitale saying those very words, but unfortunately, no one on the University of Kentucky's basketball team was able to carry out that mission today. Kentucky played North Carolina this afternoon (and lost), which can be an ugly scenario for our family anytime the two teams meet up. You see, I'm a UK fan, but my husband is a UNC fan. Luckily our teams aren't in the same conference, or we'd really be in trouble. We love college hoops and can easily cheer for each other's teams, but only if they aren't playing each other.

When my husband and I were dating, I went to visit him during the NCAA conference and we knew UK and UNC would be playing one another. I brought all of my royal blue Wildcat attire to wear and of course he had his light blue Tarheel garb. I was feeling particularly confident in (SMUG ABOUT) my team that year and I was really bragging (TALKIN' SMACK) about how UK was going to beat (MOP THE FLOOR) with UNC. Well... UK lost to (GOT SCHOOLED BY) UNC and I wasn't feeling so confident (COCKY) after that. In fact, I was very subdued (CRABBY) and informed him that I was passionate about (OBSESSED WITH) my UK basketball, and if he gloated, I was going home early. :) He was very sweet and didn't rub it in at the time, but of course has since managed to rub it in a time or two.

Thankfully I've grown up a little since then and can handle it when our teams go head to head. We invited friends over today to watch the game with us. These are folks we just met a few months ago and they both happen to be UK fans. It was nice having other UK fans around for the moral support. God is good, isn't He? :) UNC has a really good team this year and are ranked #2 right now. And Kentucky? Well, let's just say we're in a rebuilding phase and let it go at that. I'm not a fair-weather fan though. I'll always root for the Wildcats, no matter if they suck. GO BIG BLUE!