Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My TiVo is empty.

Yes, my 80 hour TiVo is empty. Seems that the broadcast networks aren't showing any new episodes of the THIRTY FIVE or so shows that I am actively recording. Some start up in January, some run only in the summer, and some are on holiday break. But not a single new show inthe past two weeks? I have a 2004 episode of Monk recorded, several hours of the Paralympics, a few old episodes of Robot Chicken and South Park, but nothing else. Where did the rest of the TV world go? They are really leaving me in the lurch here - having to watch Robot Chicken and South Park are really making me stretch. Where is my Law and Order? Where did CSI go? Where is anything Sci-Fi, murder mystery, or comedy? Are there any dramas left? Anything suspenseful? I guess that it's off to Blockbuster to rent last season of Dexter (one of my favorites from that channel that we don't receive). Oh well, guess that when January rolls around I'll have plenty to watch. In the meantime I'll sit here and drown my sorrows in college bowl games.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hamentaschen for Santa?

We love you Santa - here are some JEWISH cookies for you!
Hope you enjoyed your Hamentaschen as you dropped off our Christmas gifts! ;)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Xmas Cards - a Family Affair

In years past the Xmas letter, card, or whatever we sent out, was all put together by me. Tom and I created something cool, and I was in charge of stuffing, addressing, and stamping, not to mention the dreaded licking and sealing of the envelopes. Occasionally I could trick Tom into helping, but not generally. Well, this year we took all kinds of steps in the right direction. I got paper that was pre-scored, so anyone could fold it easily. I bought self adhesive stamps, so anyone could stick them down. I bought self sealing labels so anyone could close them up properly. And the most important thing? Well, I started working on them while the kids were here and slightly bored. You see, in years past I've done this all when the kids were asleep or at school, but this year I figured what the heck - might as well give it a try. And it worked.

I sat down three or four days before Christmas and put out all of my supplies on the couch. I roped Max in first - he offered to help without any prompting. Then Ian wandered over and wanted to fold the letters up. Then Sam wanted a job because everyone else was helping. Soon I found Lucy in my lap as she had woken up, and we were all putting our holiday letter together happily. It took a whopping 15 minutes and they were all done. Tom came home right as we were finishing up, and I had him snap a picture. The amazing part is - we send out about 100 letters per year, and usually it takes me a long, LONG time to get them all done. Fifteen minutes and the kids not only enjoyed themselves but also asked who folks were and saw names they recognized and had fun - pretty cool if you ask me. Now to figure out how to get them to do it again next year...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Napping Cat

We all know that cats love to find little hidey holes to park themselves in, but this was a new one for Bunsen:

He found the perfect little spot to nap, until I closed the door and then he wasn't so happy...

Friday, December 26, 2008

This is what it's all about!

Xmas Day 2008



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas from our house to yours!

Christmas Day 2008
Clockwise from left: Suzie, Max, Tom, Lucy, Ian, and Sam

Ian, Max, Lucy, and Sam

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Weird Boys

Not sure if it's just a boy thing, but they certainly thought this was cool. The picture is also titled "Things to do while waiting for your food at the world's SLOWEST Chili's."

Them: "Look, we have five fingers."
Me: "But you have five fingers to begin with."

I obviously missed the cool part of this. Then again I'm a girl and I don't get half the stuff they do.

From left to right: Ian, Max, and Sam

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Talk about a minivan party

How many kids are these folks picking up???!!!!

Is this what every school Kiss and Ride line looks like?

Or was I just in the minivan only line last week?

Monday, December 22, 2008

16 Degrees

A few weeks ago Max lost the outside of his cool two layer winter coat. You know the kind - fuzzy on the inside, wind and rain resistant on the outside - perfect for those winters like we have here when it warms up as the day goes on. Anyway, he lost the outside of his coat and now he's lost his light jacket. And did I mention that it is 16 degrees outside - feels like ONE DEGREE? He was layering his light coat over the inside of his new jacket, but since that's gone too, he just going to be cold today. Hopefully since it's Monday and a short day he'll just stay inside and not freeze. But man, it's off to the store to get him coat #2 for this year. Yikes - hope he hangs onto this one or this could get expensive. One thing for sure - I'm not getting him a fancy coat where the inside zips out.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More Missing Teeth

In case you are wondering, here's the latest lost tooth count from Max:

Max 0, Tooth Fairy 8

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scoring Mom Points

I was going up to the school on Friday to bring Max's class some cookies for their Holiday party. Honestly next year I'll just show up as they had WAAAAY too many snacks there and about half of the cookies came back home. Anyway, I was a few minutes early so I sat in the car and sang to Lucy (who doesn't seem to mind that I'm basically tone deaf these days) and then finally wandered in. Well, did I totally score some mom points by walking in at just the right time. Sam's class, along with two others, were singing carols and wandering the halls of the school spreading holiday cheer in Spanish. I got there right when they were up at the front office, so I not only heard them signing, but Sam saw me and gave me a HUGE smile. Couldn't have had better timing if I'd planned it.

"Cascabel, cascabel
Música de amor..."

Friday, December 19, 2008


"Pneumonia is a lung infection that can make you very sick." -Webmd.com

Yeah, and Ian discovered this the hard way. While the rest of the world reads about illnesses, he tackles this one head on. Ian has had bouts of coughing on and off for several months, but they always clear up. This time though he was waking at night and nothing we gave him seemed to make a dent. So, off to the doctor we went and she diagnosed him with a mild case in one lung only. Whew! Mild. But still pneumonia. After four days off from school, and three days of antibiotics under his belt (and one good night's sleep!) we sent him back into the trenches. He had a ball. After saying on Day 2 of his "vacation" that he liked being sick because he got to stay home, he said on Day 1 back to school that he really missed school and he actually LIKED to go to school. Whew! Guess those *yawn* boring days at home changed his mind. But Aunt Ray was here for most of his little vacation, so she too got some rest!

Needless to say the antibiotics are starting to kick in and the coughing at night at least has subsided. He's on the mend and will be able to have a Christmas free of hacking, coughing, bag under his eyes, and falling asleep mid-sentence (he really didn't so that but it sure looked like he might a few times).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wanna stay up ALL night? YIKES!

I'm not sure whether to be impressed or scared that someone thought to put all this stuff together and sell it as a kit to gamers. Guess the college market was saturated with Red Bull and the likes, or that the gamers were not so keep on just energy drinks - they wanted more variety.

Regardless, this "Gamers Kit" contains all the sugar and caffeine (Mad Croc Energy Drink, 80 Hour Energy Spray, Mad Croc Energy Gum, Jack Links Jerky) that you'd need for a good night's worth of butt kicking on the old Nintendo (yeah, I know they don't say but kicking, and I'm fully aware that the Nintendo's aren't called that any more...). I just can't throw myself behind something that encourages folks to stay up all night. I did my share in college (sort of - always tended to fall asleep - reason generally took over at some point), so I'm not saying that you shouldn't stay up all night, but geez, you really shouldn't. And this coming from someone with an infant - someone who is definitely a night owl living in a world of early risers. Anyway, back to this "gotta stay awake so I can play more video game" kit. Some clever person really did a good job of hitting those gamers right where they are vulnerable - instead of candy or toys in the check out lane you see these kids - all nicely packaged and ready to take home. Crazy, crazy thing this is.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's time for rice cereal!!!

Lucy ventured beyond the bottle for the first time today - and complained that I wasn't feeding her fast enough! She was grabbing at the spoon so we gave her one of her own, but she ate a TON of rice cereal and is now completely camped. She wasn't really sure what we were doing - feeding her on the kitchen table? Why did she have a bib on? And what the heck was the white stuff that I was mixing up? But after the first taste she took off and never stopped. She fussed a bit when I went to get another spoonful, so I took smaller amounts and fed her quickly. She was quite satisfied when all was said and done - this feeding thing is a piece of cake for her (and hopefully that will continue).


Our kids do chores (that's a real chore chart folks over there<-). They not only do their chores, but they do them daily, and they generally don't complain about them too much. Take tonight for instance. After being told to do their chores, and after a few minutes of almost doing their chores, then being reminded that dad was sitting right there in the living room monitoring them not quite doing their chores, they were off.

Occasionally we change the chores up - adjust them if one set takes too long for all the kids, or remove some seasonal chores and add more appropriate ones. We also have moved the chores away from things like getting dressed and brushing one's teeth as we figure that they no longer need that extra easy chore (one that they already do and will certainly accomplish that night) and replaced them with things like unloading the dishwasher and clearing the table (things that they often don't accomplish correctly). It's good to strive for better...he he he...

Anyway, our kids have responded very well to our very high expectation that they would earn a sticker each and every night for the three chores each that they have to do. and of course, the cat thanks them for being fed - most nights at least. But when it come to allowance I realized that I am way behind the times. Not only have we failed to keep up with inflation, but we've also not given them ANY raise, NO increase whatsoever since we started this whole allowance thing. It's almost as if the chores are wholly unrelated to the allowance - they do all of their chores each week and they are supposed to get allowance for it. But somewhere along the way we decided that they were ready for more responsibility, but not more money. Bad parents (not losing the Xmas list bad, but still). So how much should we be paying them? I talk about it more here, but we'll let you know what we end up doing and how the kids react.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


While sitting at dinner the other night
Max asked if the cantaloupe
(in a bowl in front of him, mixed in with pineapples and grapes)
was a kind of animal...

Friday, December 12, 2008

A curious lawn

These folks have a relatively large front yard. I guess it could be a NICE large front yard if they'd only realized that they planted half of their lawn with grass that lives in the summer, and half that lives in the winter. I can't imagine that they made a decision to plant winter grass on half of their lawn and regular grass on the rest- where's the logic in that? Sure, it doesn't look completely dead in the winter, but it looks goofy all year round. This picture is from early December - only a few short days ago. Some folk are just plain odd.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Forgotten Decorations

It seems that every year it gets later and later when we actually put up our holiday decorations. Last year we had an issue with a moldy tree (welcome to the humid state of Virginia) and so that held us up by a day or two, but we were still cutting it close. This year we are two weeks out and only a single decoration has gone up - ONE. Maybe this means that next year we will barely get anything up (or take a vacation over the holidays so we aren't even here when we'd make use of them!), and then hit the reset button. For some reason I'm starting to dread putting up the decorations. Not sure why - they really do make me feel festive. Maybe it has something to do with me considering that everything that goes up must come down later - and that I'm feeling a bit lazy this year (and last for that matter).

I guess the good thing here is that we are within the window of NO college football games, so I actually have time on the weekends to do things other than watch football. While that brings me no delight on the football front, maybe this weekend will be the kick start I need to get things up around here. Then again maybe that's something we can do as a family when the kids go on break from school...on December 24...sigh...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Things Kids Say #8

We've ventured into a whole new realm of possible conversation now that there's another girl in the house - and one that occasionally appears nekkid to boot (in the baby bath or while getting a diaper and clothing change).

Ian: Mommy - Do girl parts tickle like boy parts?

(No comment from me after that - that's WAAAY too much information for my ears. He's almost six and I can't think of ANYTHING that's appropriate at that point.)

And so it all begins.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dear Santa

I can't believe that I'm writing to you about this, but I need to let you know that I lost my kids Christmas lists. I was hoping to write to you letting you know what they wanted this year, as they were GREAT and made lists VERY EARLY. I just had to mention the holidays and they were on top of it unprompted. And the best part was that their lists were reasonable - you know - not full of $300 items. Yikes. Soooooooo, I am writing to you HOPING that you are indeed that very special man that remembers all of those wish lists even though they never make it to your door, or that somehow they were entered into the central Xmas database for my kids, because I have NO IDEA what they want this year. I vaguely remember books, puzzles, blocks, bikes, Pokemon (of course), but who wanted a Pokemon stuffed animal and who wanted more cards? Who wanted the USA puzzle and who wanted blocks? Geez. I guess for this one I can claim my Mother of the Year award. Or, I can ask the kids what they asked for and tell them the truth - I lost their lists...sigh.

Thanks Santa for listening - I promise to do better next year, but then again...

Sincerely, Suzie

Friday, December 05, 2008


Now here's something that not everyone admits. I was a "bowhead" growing up. After my elementary school Dorothy Hamil cut, and then the scary "tail" in the very early 1980's (thankfully that trend passed before anyone ever took a picture of me), I wore my hair BIG and up in bows. Yes, I lived in Texas at the time...no big surprise there. Even went off to college with the big bows. So you can imagine my delight when I realized that I can wrap my daughter's hair in bows now - AND LOOK HOW CUTE SHE IS!!!

And the best part is that she left it in and SMILED for me!!!! Can't ask for anything more. Now the boys, well, they never took kindly to the big bows (he he he...or hats for that matter), so I'm holding my breath that Lucy will grow to appreciate them. And yes, I know things have changed and that the styles are much more subtle these days. But if I ever find myself back in Texas with a child with the ability to not only wear a bow but pull it off with style - well, you bet she'll have a bow in her hair!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

For lack of a smaller dictionary

Poor Max. He has to use a GIGANTIC dictionary that my mom gave to Tom years ago to do his homework. I swear it weights about 15 pounds. Not a big deal - he's willing to lug it up and down the stairs when he uses it. But having to look up the words in the definition so he can understand what they mean? That's a big much for his third grade brain. Then again some of those words are a bit much. But I'm not complaining - anything to make him stretch and grow - and he's really digging the challenge! But I think this year we're getting him his very own dictionary for Xmas. Seriously - he shouldn't have to pull a muscle (brain or arm) to get his work done!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I guess Playdoh never gets old

I used to believe that Playdoh got old. You know - once all the colors mixed together it was time to open a new can of it. But apparently I was wrong. In the midst of a sea of unopened colorful canes of Playdoh:
the boys chose to continue using the nasty old stuff. They squished, rolled, cut, molded, and even stamped the old brown/black/green/nasty colored stuff into all kinds of shapes. I offered several time to open new jars, and they finally let me open one small (tiny tiny small) pink jar. Sam made hair from it, but for the most part they used the gross stuff. I explained that they could open as many jars as they want, and that when it gets old it makes it really really hard to make turtles, give the chicken hair, and even cut, but they insisted on using the old stuff. Oh well, I guess as we get older we lose our appreciation for that well mixed pile of Playdoh.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Secrets of the night

What he heck is growing inside of the BOA sign? Look closely - it is definitely inside the sign, and it grows more full each passing day. Must be one very happy plant - hiding during the day and coming out at night.