Friday, February 29, 2008

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Julie, the random drawing winner of the fabulous prize. Julie will be receiving a package containing her Samoas, a massive bag of Valentine Hershey Kisses, and lots of other fun items that I had lying around the house chose especially for her. So Julie, send me your address at chrissyfromthecarpoollane at gmail dot com, and I'll get that in the mail to you.

This was really fun! I had to overcome the impulse to send out cookies to all of you, especially those of you who have never had them. That hurt my heart.

Even though I couldn't send all of you cookies, I do want to thank you again for reading. You make me smile.

On a side note, I cannot believe the percentage of comments that were from my relatives and high school friends. (lurkers!) In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess to you that Julie and I went to high school together, or more specifically, she went to high school with my older sister, and I have fond memories of skipping school on their 'Senior Skip Days', even though I was an sophomore, and going to eat breakfast at IHOP.

Which brings me to the question, Julie, why was it so exciting to skip school if we still had to get up early and get dressed to go to a restaurant? What's the allure there? Why didn't we just sleep late and not go to school?

But I digress. Thank you again for reading, and for commenting, and I hope to be around for 100 more.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things I have learned while eating Girl Scout Cookies

Don't worry, I haven't eaten all of them. Yet. And in case you missed it, I'm doing a cheesy little commenter appreciation/100th post contest here that you can still enter. I'll be picking the winner on Friday morning.

So yes, I have eaten quite a few, and because it's much more fun to blog in list form, here are the lessons learned:

1. 9 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies (retail value $31.50), sounds like a lot of cookies. At least I thought so when I was writing a check for $31.50 for cookies. Until I finally did the math and realized that there are five cookie-eating people living in my house. Now I have learned that 9 boxes is not nearly enough.

2. Two of the five cookie-eating people in my house wake up every day and begin asking for Girl Scout cookies before breakfast.

3. Samoas are the greatest thing in the world.

4. I am normally mistrustful of the "new and improved" cookies they come out with every year, but the Lemon Chalet Cremes are the 2nd greatest thing in the world. Too bad I only bought one box.

5. One should never eat Girl Scout cookies while performing other activities. The attention should be kept solely on enjoying the cookie. Otherwise, one could look around after reading a few blogs and discover half a box gone and not remember eating them. This is a sad, sad waste of one's only box of Lemon Chalet Cremes.

6. It is never advisable to read the nutrition information on the side of a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Just concentrate on the girls on the front of the box, their faces glowing while they achieve great things through Scouting.

7. While it seems exciting to watch one's daughter become a successful saleswoman, learning entrepreneurial skills, gaining confidence in herself, and achieving the level of cookie sales that will earn her not only a patch, but a bracelet charm and a pack of Samoa-flavored lip balm, it's not so exciting when one realizes that one has to actually go and deliver all of those cookies.

This concludes my final post on Girl Scout Cookies. I'll never mention them again. Except for Friday. And maybe once or twice after that. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Never say Never

We have a dog at our house, named Molly, who has been with us for 11 years. She was at least a year or so old when we got her from the shelter, so we're guessing that she is closing in on teenager-hood.

Molly has always been a very healthy dog, and as a person on a tight budget, I am grateful for that. I have had friends and family members (some who read this blog), whose pets have had diabetes or liver failure or cancer, and many of them have gone to extraordinary measures and astronomical expense to keep them alive. We have known people who have gone into debt to pay for expensive surgeries, checked their cat's blood sugar several times a day, taken their dog for colonoscopies (you know who you are), and the like. Greg and I have always acted indignant about this, proclaiming that we would never do such a thing to our Molly, and that when her time comes, we will be grateful for all of the good years she has had, and bid her farewell.

When will I finally learn not to use the phrase, "I would never"?

It comes back to bite me every time.

Friday night, I noticed Molly was looking sullen and her entire body was trembling. She was clearly in pain, but with no obvious injury.

So Saturday morning, as I drove her gingerly to the vet, the thought of losing Molly was prominent in my mind. I tried to prepare myself for the Worst Possible Scenario, and I pictured myself standing in the vet's office having to make The Decision. The Decision Greg and I had already talked about, the one we swore we would make before we let Molly suffer unnecessarily.

Standing by the exam table, with Molly's pleading eyes upon me as the veterinarian probed and prodded her trembling body, my tears were fighting to come to the surface. I steeled myself for the diagnosis.

"Well, I think Molly has fractured one of her vertebrae," the doctor explained. He went on to talk about possible treatments for the injury, which all seemed agreeable until he mentioned the word "Surgery".

"Oh, nononono," I exclaimed. "We can't possibly afford for her to have surgery." I continued babbling incoherently about how many kids I have and how many bills, and then I launched into my spiel about not prolonging her life at the expense of her quality of life, and how I loveherbutI'mokaywithlettinghergo (SOB).

Calmly, the doctor handed me a box of Kleenexes, and I tried to stem the flow of tears running down my face.

"You know, this injury isn't life threatening."

Oh.

Well.

Never mind then.

So I walked out of there with a prescription and treatments for my dog, and no dignity whatsoever.

Monday, February 25, 2008

100th Post! And A Giveaway!

100 posts. Wow. I guess this means I've actually stuck with this whole blogging thing longer than I ever expected. Honestly, it was not something I put a lot of thought into, just jumped in with both feet purely on impulse, and I had no idea it would be this much fun. I never expected to observe ordinary events in my life and think, "Hey, this will be great on the blog", or to lie awake at night and think of the perfect wording for something, and then have to get up and type it before it leaves my mind.

I'm just really enjoying all of it. And do you know what I enjoy the most? Getting to hear from each of you. I have made new 'cyber' friends, and have gotten back in touch with old friends and family members alike, all through this little parking spot in the blogosphere.

So today I want to show my appreciation to you, faithful readers, for all of the encouragement and laughter you have given to me. You really brighten my day. You rock. And to prove it to you, I'm going to give away a very special package that I have put together. I can't fully disclose all of the contents of the package, mainly because I haven't made up my mind yet, but I can assure you that it will contain a huge bag of Hershey Kisses and a few other fun things, and most importantly, a box of delicious Girl Scout Cookies, of the variety chosen by the winner.

You know you want some Girl Scout Cookies. What do you like? Thin Mints? Samoas? Do-si-do's? Tagalongs? Trefoils? Or are you one of those pansies who orders the Sugar Free Chocolate Chips?

Think it through, and leave it in the comments so I will know which box not to eat.

If you're a frequent commenter, I thank you. I adore hearing from you. If you've never left a comment before and you're looking for a good time to delurk, this is it. Go for it. Leave me a comment below, and on Friday, I will do some sort of magical random drawing to determine the winner.

Good luck!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guess What Came To My House Today...



93 Boxes of them. No, they're not all for me, but a little over 10% of them are.

And did I mention I was going to do a giveaway on Monday? Just sayin.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The State of Affairs in My Home: A Synopsis

Kid: still sick.
House guests: arriving tonight.
House: messy.
Husband: working all weekend, then out of town until next week.
Last night's episode of Lost: Huh? What? What's going on? WHERE'S CLAIRE?
Last night's episode of Lost in French: Huh? Quoi? Qu'est-ce qu'il y a? OU EST CLAIRE?
100th post celebration: Monday.

Weekend: Have a good one.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bob Loblaw*

Just a little business to take care of today, and yes, I am aware that this is the bajillionth time I have posted this week. Why so many posts, you ask? Because if you look at my handy blogger counter over on the side, and do a little math, you will notice that I am approaching 100 posts.

Because I am lame, I am excited about having shared 100 stories and/or pictures with you people, and I am getting ready to celebrate by having a giveaway. So I am trying to post as much as possible to get to that magic number before the prize I am giving away disappears. That is the only hint I will give you, for now.

So I've been given a few of these awards by some folks, and I have been ignoring them for a few weeks while I try to figure out what to do with them. For one thing, they are supposed to be much smaller, but I am HTML challenged, so what can I do.

But before I get to all of that, I am pleased to announce that my sister Wendy has started a blog. Hooray! So go on over and say hello.

Moving on, this beauty right here was given to me by Joy:



and I want to pass it on to Wendy, who will probably not know what to do with it any more than I did. Mwah.

Next, I was given one of these by The Vasquez 3 :


(why is this so huge?)
(That's what she said.)
(Sorry, I've been watching 'The Office' WAYYYYY too much.)

Okay, so now I am certain that my Excellent rating will be revoked.

Anyway, this is for my friend Tracy, who cracks me up.

And finally, The Vasquez 3 also gave me this little gem:


which I will pass on to Becky because who doesn't want a picture of a nerd as a present. Enjoy, my friend. I have named him Bob Loblaw.*

*extra points if you can remember where this name is from. I could make an entire post out of how much I love the name Bob Loblaw (and his law blog). And the TV show that he came from. Maybe I will do that tomorrow for post #98.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Conversations with a Strep Throat Patient

Her: (whining) I don't feeeeel good.
Me: Hmm, it's time for your medicine.
Her: NOooooooooooooo!

Her: (whining) I'm boooored.
Me: Why don't you go [insert quiet activity here]?
Her: Nooooooooooooo!

Her: (whining) I'm hungry.
Me: Would you like some [insert soft food here]?
Her: Noooooooooo!

Her: (chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter chatter) Mommy, my throat hurts.
Me: Maybe you should stop talking.
Her: Noooooooooooo!

Apparently suggesting she should stop talking is akin to suggesting she stop breathing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quarantine

Grace woke up this morning complaining of a sore throat, fever, and earache, which earned her a trip to the doctor's office. Diagnosis: strep throat. This is the first outbreak we have had in quite a while, and I consider us pretty blessed to have made it this far into the winter without one.

So for now, we're quarantined at home for the duration, and I have to admit I was a little bit gleeful just now when canceling the various meetings and activities we had planned for the next few days. The only exception would be the field trip the poor kid is going to miss tomorrow. I almost reassured her that maybe we could go to the Frontiers of Flight Museum as a family sometime soon, but I seriously doubt that will be happening. So I placated her with push-up pops instead.

Which brings back memories of the time I woke up with a fever in 5th grade and missed my class field trip to the Cyclorama in Atlanta. It was the only field trip scheduled for the entire year, and I could not go. Trauma. Thankfully, my daughter's teachers have scheduled a field trip every two weeks for the entire year, so she's not too upset about missing this one. They actually had a field trip to the skating rink two weeks ago, because they are studying balance in science. That seems like a stretch to me.

So I'm off to eat push-up pops out of sympathy, boil some toothbrushes, and make a nice lunch out of applesauce and yogurt, which is actually a much more fun Monday than the running around that I had planned.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blast from the Past

I am feeling a little bit better, for those of you who were wondering, but still not up to normal. So I thought I would cheat a little bit and revisit one of my first blog posts from back in August. I hope y'all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Close Encounters in the Parking Lot

My daughter is in first grade at the magnet school. Here in Texas, we have our regular, non-superior schools, and then we have our magnet schools. Magnet schools are for people like me who think our children are superior, and belong in a superior school, but we can't afford private school, so we pretend that the magnet school is just the best school ever. The main problem with the magnet school is that there really isn't any bus service, so I drive my daughter to and from school each day, along with 600 other parents.

Which brings us to the Car Pool Lane. The Car Pool Lane is where all of us parents of superior children sit and wait in traffic at our superior school. Every. Single. Day. Every single day, I drive the mini-van with my two preschool children to the Car Pool Lane at 3:15, and I sit in line and occupy myself for 20 minutes by either 1)reading, 2)people-watching, 3)telling the two preschoolers to stop fighting, 4)general musing, or 5)all of the above.

Today, I was doing a little musing, and a little people-watching, and I noticed a lady walking towards my car from the kindergarten carpool area. She was pretty, blonde, and petite, and she had her cute little girl by the hand. She walked over to the front left of my car and stood behind her behemoth SUV with her hands on her hips, surveying the scene. What she saw was wall to wall cars, lined up 20 deep, and no hope of backing her behemoth SUV out of its parking space prison. And mine was the first in the long line of cars blocking her way.

Obviously, this woman made a rookie mistake. I feel her pain, because I did something similar when my child was in kindergarten. She got there early and figured if she parked in this lot, she could avoid the kindergarten car pool lane, and that would enable her to sneak over there and pick up her child, driving away quickly and laughing wildly at all those suckers waiting in line. What she didn't realize was that she was planting herself right in the middle of the First Grade traffic snarl. Tough break, rookie.

So she eyed me warily, turned with a flip of her hair, hefted her child up, up, up, into the behemoth, then proceeded to climb up herself. Then this pretty little lady, I'll call her Ms. I-Have-One-Child-And-I-Need-To-Drive-An-Escalade-To-Keep-Her-Safe, proceeded to slap that car in reverse and start backing up.

Ms. Escalade, why? Where do you think you're going to go? Do you think that you can fit that gigantic thing into the 3 feet of space that you have to back up? I know you saw me here because you gave me the evil eye. Really, Ms. Escalade, this is beneath you.

For the next ten minutes (I'm not exaggerating, I timed it), she sat there with her behemoth in reverse, impatiently tapping those brakes, inching slowly back, coming closer and closer to the minivan.

Now, I want you to know something here. If I could have moved anywhere to let her out, I would have. I have no ill will towards Ms. Escalade. But I was boxed in on all sides, which she clearly saw, and there was nothing I could do but sit there and smirk at her. But I did it in the nicest way, I swear.

Well, finally the line moved, and the Escalade family fell in behind me. I guess she thought she was home free, but then I stopped my car and hopped out to wave Gracie down and help her into the car. Apparently it was too much to ask of Ms. Escalade that I could pick up my kid before exiting the parking lot. The minute I put it in park, she started honking and gesturing wildly. I wonder if she taught that sweet girl any new words. I couldn't read her lips, because the only thing visible above the steering wheel were those perfectly tweezed eyebrows, but I'm sure she had plenty to say.

I couldn't help but laugh at her second rookie mistake: When you have road rage in normal traffic, you are anonymous. When you have road rage in the Car Pool Lane, you have to see that same car every day until June.

Same time tomorrow, sweetie!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Are you people reading this?

I'm mesmerized by these bloggers, who are currently on a trip to Uganda with Compassion International. Click on 'read' and see what they have to say.







Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Really. I've got nothing.

I've got no energy whatsoever. After a productive few weeks of running around nonstop, the brakes have been slammed. I've been stuck in this cycle for months now, with my energy level plummeting to the depths for days or weeks at a time, then returning to normal again, and there is no simple solution to it. I've had blood tests drawn that came back normal. I've been trying to eat healthier foods, and while it has helped overall, it's still a struggle.

So for the last two days I have had to force myself to complete simple tasks: breakfast, lunch, dinner, laundry, driving to school and back, all the while fighting the urge to just crawl into bed and sleep. The kiddos have been parked in front of the TV, not feeling too well themselves, and by bedtime it is all that I can do to keep from snapping at them to just GO TO BED already because I AM TIRED.

Tomorrow I have to spend the day at work, completing my annual certification for a self-defense type class. The thought of lifting any of my limbs to defend myself at this point is laughable. The thought of having everyone fed and dressed and out of the house before 8 feels about as possible as climbing Mount Everest.

It's entirely possible that tomorrow will be better. It's possible that, after a good night's sleep, I will wake up feeling normal again. I never know.

What I do know is that I will eventually come back around, if the past is any indication, and I will quickly forget what all of my complaining was about to begin with. In the meantime, my posting here will be a real downer sporadic for now, but hopefully soon things will get better.

On a more positive note: I saw the first daffodils blooming today. Spring is on its way.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Finally: A Post With Actual Words and Not Just Pictures

Alternate title: "Did I really Just Post a Picture of My Laundry Pile on The Internet?"


Why yes, I did post a picture of my laundry on the internet. Some would call it honest and real. Others would say I just haven't had anything interesting to say in quite a while. Others would be correct.

The past week has been a little too busy for blogging, but not in an exciting kind of way. Just a lot of after-school activities, laundry, and cleaning.

This weekend, however, was gorgeous and 75 degrees, and we were finally able to get out of the house and have some fun. Friday night was our neighborhood moms' night out, and we played Bunco. It was fun in a mathematical sort of way, but all of the addition and dice-rolling gives me a headache. I do enjoy hanging out with the neighbors, though, and it was especially nice to get out of the house for a while and eat some chocolate.

On Saturday, while Greg was at work, I took the kids to the school to teach them to ride bikes. Grace has had her training wheels off for a while, and insists that she already knows how to ride the bike, but truthfully her only skill is hanging on for a few seconds while going in a straight line, before panicking and either taking her feet off the pedals or turning the handlebars at a 90 degree angle. So far, neither option has yielded good results.

Tommy has proved to be an eager learner on the bike, mostly because he wants to master it before his older sister. He was determined, crash after crash, to get back up, dust himself off, and conquer that bike. Even when I encouraged him to take a break (mostly due to my own huffing and puffing), he just kept getting back on, always asking the same question, "Am I doing better than Grace?"

The answer to that question would be yes. That girl, for all of her artistic talent, intelligence, and creativity, has had the misfortune of inheriting her mother's athletic ability (which is to say that she has inherited no athletic ability).

Another factor that is not helping her bike riding skills is her ability to create serious DRAMA out of nothing. She can stub her toe and scream like it has been amputated. In fact, I am so conditioned to her dramatics that my automatic reaction when she is hurt is to say, "Shake it off, you'll be fine". (Normally that works, except for the time she broke her collar bone, and it took her Daddy coming home from work before anyone took her seriously, but that's another story).

So after a pretty good stretch of coasting straight on the bike, when she inexplicably jacknifed the handlebars to the right, the bike went down and she kept going. Even as she landed on the concrete, I braced myself for the screams that were sure to come. And they certainly did. I ran to her side and in between the wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth, I discovered that the child did not have one scrape. Not one. My accusatory, "Grace, you're not even bleeding" fell on deaf ears, as she continued her wailing for all of the neighborhood to hear.

She eventually stopped crying, decided she was done with the bike, and went to play on the playground with her baby sister, who was teetering at the top of the jungle gym during the entire episode, while Tommy and I continued with our lessons.

I spent Sunday afternoon laying around the house, either on the couch or on a quilt in the sun while Greg played basketball with the kids. They cracked me up because they kept yelling, "I'm OPEN!" over and over again. Grace's explanation for this: "You have to say 'I'm Open' if you want the ball." Makes sense to me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Blogs on the Block

I have a New Kids on the Block song stuck in my head. I won't name it and inflict that kind of pain on you, but it rhymes with 'The Bright Fluff'. I think horrible affliction has happened because of a CNN report that I saw which alleged that the NKOTB were launching a reunion tour.

(Dear New Kids on the Block:
Why?
Love, Chrissy)

In other news, two of my friends e-mailed me in the past week to say they had started new blogs. Yay for old friends with new blogs!

One of them is my friend Tracy, who I know from college. We spent a summer working and living together in Key West on a mission trip. And now I would like to present to you a lovely photo of some chick and Tracy and me after spending an entire day doing landscaping work in the July heat:
Pried straight out of my scrapbook with love.

The other friend with a new blog is Becky Ray, and she and I go way WAY back. We went to high school together, roomed together in college, and she was the maid of honor at my wedding.

I truly wish I could present to you now a picture of her back in 9th grade with her NKOTB t-shirt on, but I have no such photograph, and even if I did, I wouldn't post it because Becky and I did a lot of goofy things in college that she photographed, and knowing her, I am certain that her retaliation would be swift and sure.

As for Tracy's retaliation, well, I'm pretty confident that the worst picture she has of me looks exactly like this one, so I've beaten her to the punch.

So go on over and say hello. Tracy cleans up real nice, I promise, and Becky is one of the funniest people I know.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Have you seen this man?

He lives in my house, normally. He parents my children quite a bit. He is the changer of light bulbs and the putter-awayer of Christmas decorations. And he has been missing for several weeks. There have been sightings of him in our home, mostly late at night and early in the morning before leaving for work. I can report that he has shaved his beard (picture Matthew Fox flash forwards here), making him barely recognizable to his own family. If you have seen him, please call me immediately, as I have children he needs to parent, many light bulbs that are burned out, and a Christmas tree that needs to be hefted into the attic. Thank you.

Our church is opening a new Worship Center this Sunday, and as the staff geek technical person, he has been working tirelessly to make sure that all of the sound and lights and cameras and computers are working in harmony for the big day. The new building is gorgeous and huge and it has not been an easy task for him, but I think he has done a great job.

(Honey, I'm proud of you. Now get your butt home.)

The kiddos

The kiddos

Kidney Peril Updates

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chrissyinthecarpoollane at g mail dot com.