Monday, December 20, 2010

December in Photos

The kids' annual family Santa Play - a bit more chaotic this year than last, with Meiners break-dancing while the twins attempted dialogue and Sash in the reading room waiting for someone to come play with her...but a picture makes the memory last forever.  :)

Before Sunday dinner this month, we tried to take some serious grandparent pictures.  Soon after this particular shot, Meiners kissy faced and those two admiring each other down in front really did kissy face and the littlest began to cry, and it was very successful.  When I used Windows 7 to fuse the best expressions into one photo! 

Cookie decorating at Sunday dinner early in the month.  We've enjoyed family Sunday dinners the first Sunday of every month (with a short break over the summer because we already have so many family events with birthdays and such).  I think this was a successful tradition that began in January 2010.  I've liked it, anyway.  We served pulled pork sandwiches with baked potatoes and some other things I've already forgotten (see why I blog?!).  We taste tested 3 different bbq sauces to decide which was the best.  I'll post recipes on the cooking blog another day...

St. Nick arrived on December 6th with much anticipation!  T received a karate ornament, Pookie a dolphin one, Meiners a surfer, and Sash a school house.  I'm hopeful Santa brings her an Elmo ornament that plays music.  If she were to find something like that in her stocking on Christmas morning, I'm pretty sure she'd think it was Christmas or something!   ;)

A series of Christmas program photos from church.  Love the boots, Sash!

A very happy boy.  I don't think he was feeling 100% here, actually.  And he needs a haircut (who is his mother??).  About 24 hours later, he lost his cookies in the trash can at Schnuck's.  I think it was his mother who could be heard advising her brood of four to "Run!" and then "Stick your head in this trash can!"  She's quick on her feet like that.

OK, I don't know all these kids around her, but Pookie was born to sing.  And she loves doing it.  Go Girl!

Doncha love it when your kids bring home cookbooks from the school library and insist that right then and there you must make one of the recipes?  Thankfully, it was a Sesame Street cookie cookbook and I love Elmo and sugar cookies.  And the really were quite tasty.  I think Obi the Golden Retriever ate the last batch we baked.

A photo from our first snow day of the year.  I seriously love snow days.  This was noon and we were all still in our pjs, had enjoyed a morning of playing Wii games together and had just finished baking (more of those cookies from up above).  I honestly don't know who enjoys snow days more - me or them.  But I'd have to say me, because I absolutely treasure those relaxing days with all the kids at home.

Advent calendar seems to be going well this year.  (Elfie was sent by Santa last year to keep me on track regarding this.)  The kids insist I stay on top of it.  Here, the little guys are playing with their new jelly belly pooping reindeer they got that morning.  No one ate the jelly beans, thankfully, because Matthew was recovering from the stomach flu.

Me trying to be artsy.

A face painter at the Make A Wish Christmas Party truly was artsy and dolled up Pooks with this awesome Rudolph face.  Just beautiful and sparkly in real life!

I'll be back, hopefully, later in the week to share more pictures of our December goings-on.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Me Again

You are not actually 34.  It was kind of funny for you to figure that out this morning while talking to a friend about how long it'll be before you're 40.  You're only as old as you think you are?  Or as old as you act?  Or as old as you look?  Or as old as you feel?  Regardless, you're closer to 40 than you thought two days ago.  Just FYI.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Christmas Letter to Me.

Dear Me,

This year, you can't seem to pen the memorable, the important, the regular, or the mundane.  This year, you are increasingly finding that the real relationships matter more than the Christmas letter.  And you're finding it harder and harder to remember what life was like in Christmases past, and you worry that one day you'll forget, too, what made this year matter, and so you write.  To you.  And here is what you say:

Hello Old Friend.  You really were 34 once.  And your babies were "little" and you did the best you could.  Most days.  Some times you did better than others.

This year, JT traveled.  A lot.  And you thought for a long time that you needed a bigger house.  And his lesser commute.  And you sat in the middle of "The Toy Room" and nearly had a nervous breakdown over the amount of 'stuff' you had acquired.  And you saw how very unimportant 'stuff' is.  And you tried to teach this wisdom to your children.  They have not yet grasped or embraced the concept.  Your garage is half full of toys none of you have sorted through or been willing to part with.  You remain hopeful that one day it will grow legs and walk away on its own so that you won't eventually have to face it yourself.  You are grateful that not only the new-build fell through but ultimately that the sale of your home did not come to fruition either because God has been telling you that His plans are bigger than your house.  You just haven't picked up the phone and called Him back yet to find out what His plans are.

You are terrible about returning phone calls in general, by the way.

The kids are doing great.  And all that that means. 

T is quirky and passionate and smart.  Everywhere he goes, people comment on how polite he is.  Just this morning, you yelled at him for apologizing for your own poor behavior.  "Don't say you're sorry for something you didn't do!" you chided him.  You owed him an apology.  And thankfully you gave it.  And he said, "I accept your apology."  The nurse at the doctor's office told you he would make a fine husband one day.  You couldn't agree more.  He is a boy with a heart of gold.  He is often (not always) self-motivated.  Just yesterday, you complimented him on his fine ability to vacuum with precision and focus.   Very straight lines.  Even though he forgot the kitchen.  He saves the notes you write him.  Under his pillow.  He was sick last week, and you realized again that every good man needs his momma when he has a cold.  Man-Oh.  He can talk you into brain freeze.  And he admitted the other day that sometimes he tests people he knows aren't listening by asking them a bogus question and waiting to hear their response.  And then he laughs it off.  Even though you're pretty sure it breaks his heart.  He's up at the crack of dawn and he doesn't need a list to remind him of his morning expectations (including peeing! ;) ) and he quietly finished all his makeup work in the reading room without prompting.  Sometimes he may drive you nuts.  But he's amazing.

Pookie is enjoying the ribbon she won for her gingerbread igloo (T received one, too!).  And she is questioning how big her role in the Charlie Brown Musical really is going to be.  She is shiny and bright and all things spectacular.   Her health scared you a few times this fall.  And she's coughing again but puts together her own nebulizer treatments now.  Remember when you set up the feeding tube to run every night?  And found her wrapped in the tubing at the bottom of her crib?  No?  That's why you're writing this tonite.  So you don't forget the little things that were big things that fade.   The good and the bad.  Pookie's struggling with friendships this year.  All the friends are in a different class.  Together.  She was so excited when she heard a new girl was starting this morning.  But the new girl wasn't GinaAnn Betty Davison.  You know what I mean. You remind her that it's better to have one good friend than 100 untrue friends.  And she has made friends with one little girl.  You like this girl.  She's just busy a lot.  So, Pookie yearns for friends and playdates and being a star off the stage.  It hurts.  She's teaching you that sometimes values are taught AND learned.  She's learning what it means to be a friend.  And how to be a friend.  It's a life lesson you yourself seem to still be learning.

Meiners.  What a card.  He wants eskimo kisses and extra hugs and he loves his Ma.  Just not in front of the friends, please.  He's athletic and funny and kind.  And he, too, looks for his place to fit in.  Yet, he makes the space.  We laugh at him in practice.  Competetive.  Driven.  Focused.  Sidelines, he's telling jokes and pushing the limits and making things fun.  His reading is improving.  He's learning to write in cursive.  (Because he's a triplet, afterall.)  But he's not wanting to go to Stretch.  Initially, it was an altercation on the bus, so you agreed to drive him to school.  Lately, though, it's a little unclearer as to what is ailing him come Monday mornings.  Monday afternoons, he's gregarious and talkative and full of the fun he had while there.  But getting him to Stretch is tummy aches and complaining lots and time for Mom to pull up her big girl panties and play tough love.


Sasha.  Sasha is squishable, squeezable, and fun.  She is your sidekick, through and through.  The day of BoyScout food drive, she said, "I follow the orange coat.  I follow the orange coat."  (Your coat ~ as you ran through the apartment building upstairs and down.)  You love to whisper in her ear, "Wanna know a secret?"  And before you can gather your breath in, she stage whispers in response, "I love you!"  It is such a clever race.  But don't come to her rescue when she needs toilet paper in the bathroom?  Or hello ~ even ask her to go pee in the first place?  "Hell hath no fury" comes to mind.  Or perhaps "the bump on the log."  Or "the dead weight."  Or maybe just the kid who kinda just needs a spanking.  She L.O.V.E.s her cousins.  Mostly Joe, but she really struggled with the a) vs. b) of Kaden vs. Joey at Thanksgiving (thankfully Joe was in IA).  If only the sweet li'l girl realized marrying your cuz is illegal in most states...hahaha.  Seriously, she has herself wrapped around your finger, knows the buttons to push, etc. etc. etc.  She can get away with a giant Hershey kiss for breakfast if you're not careful.  Allergic to milk my tail (sage wisdom from the sweet, maternal, and all-knowing Dr. Ortiz....).

And you?  Well sit down.  Make yourself comfy. Cuz it's gonna be a while!


You are totally, unequivocally, 100% addicted to BreadCo icee mochas.  And yet, you gave them up for 15 days.  Only to take them up again.  Because you love them. You're a talented baker, but you're not so good at cooking.  Or are you really good at healthy eating, but they're not so good at eating healthy?  You love your life, but you are still finding your way.  You wholly believe in God, but you continue to uncover your faith.  You drive around a lot thinking (you prefer calling it 'chauffering?')  You think about the 3 friends you have lost in the last few years that break your heart.  They've simply walked away for various reasons ~ and you've found them irreplaceable. You're discovering what it means to be A Wife.  And you're better at it some days than others.  Just like Motherhood.  You haven't run most of the fall.  Your knees ache and your weight - though down - creeps slowly back up pre-marathon.  Maybe you'll run again?  Maybe.  You don't have a niche, so to speak.  You used to be "The Stamp Lady."  You take decent pictures, and people compliment you, although you tend to see other photographer~moms taking pictures just as good and you scoff at your aspirations.  Maybe one day you'll go back into Speech Pathology?  Maybe one day you'll work at Bread Co.  At this point, the future is rearing its ugly head, but you're not ready to face it.  You have friends but not those friends.  You have dreams and aspirations and thoughts and goals and desires and time but no time and Christmas letters to write.  So you pen a few personal lines, and you write here.

Because one day?  One day you will read it, and it will matter that this was 2010.  And you lived it.  And you'll remember that it was important. To you.

There is laundry to fold and the dog needs let in.
Merry Christmas Karin.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Seriously Creative

Several weeks ago, the twins came home announcing this year's Creative Challenge at their school: Gingerbread Houses.  Their art teacher encourages her students each year to an extra credit project.  One year, students painted chairs, one time there was a robot theme, last year it was an Egyptian contest, and this year she chose gingerbread houses. 

It's interesting how my two firstborn children differ.  One child came home and drew up his elaborate design on paper.  A skyscraper.  With numerous floors.  And windows you can look into to see scenes of Christmas.  


The other?  She went off to the library and came home with a pile of books about gingerbread houses, complete with recipes and ideas to follow and to adjust to her liking.  She began encouraging me to help her start her project immediately.  And by encourage I mean relentlessly badger.

I didn't hear from him for weeks.

She made pastillage penguins from scratch and a gingerbread dome and three batches of frosting.

He didn't say a word.

She put together an igloo with hula dancing penguins, a dolphin swimming in a pool under a palm tree replete with Christmas lights, a glowing fire and snowman melting inside.

And T?  He put together a skyscraper.  With numerous floors.  And windows looking in on a living room (complete with Dan Dunn's Ray Charles painting) and a disco room.

You can just see the disco ball dagling from the ceiling

I marvel at them both.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Which I Vent

Have I titled a blogpost that before?  I'm not sure.  Sometimes a girl just needs a venue.

I've been had.  One way or another, I feel like the system - and my own lack of knowledge - bamboozled me.  And I'll be honest with you.  I'm not thrilled about it.  I had a good cry in front of the kids tonite.  Not proud of it.  But it happened.

Here's the story:

In October while we were in Hawaii, I tried to log onto my blog to post pictures for folks back home.  When I clicked on my link to 6byHisDesign, I came to a friendly page that said, "This webpage has been parked."  Hmmmm.  Curious.  I dropped it for the remainder of the week, knowing I'd purchased my domain name in October last year, so figuring I'd need to renew it when we came home.

We came home.  I didn't have my customer number or PIN number for GoDaddy, my registering company, so I got on their website and emailed customer support.  Customer support sent me to Google registry.  I began a lengthy conversation with TimF of incident report #00831619.  Unfortunately, I was outside the 3 day automatic renewal window, but fortunately I was well within the 15 day grace period.  Our conversations ended with my blog being back up and my registration being renewed.  Tim said:
I can confirm that your domain has been renewed till next year. However, your billing for this domain is no longer handled through Google. You are still registered with GoDaddy as your host. Can you confirm if you have contacted them directly for assistance with this? Have you previously transfered your domain to another host?

I emailed back that I hadn't but that everything looked to be in order.  My blog was working.  That was November 5th.  In retrospect, I can see how the "I can confirm it's been renewed" is a little fishy.  But it didn't smell quite as foul at the time as it does now...

Occasionally over the course of the month of November, friends would call or email to tell me they couldn't find my blog.  So I'd tell them to renew the address in their browsers, because this seemed to work.  Until last week.  My aunt told me she couldn't get to the blog no matter what she did.  So I came home from Thanksgiving and tried clicking on my link myself.  Blog parked.

I quickly typed an email to Tim.  I sent an email to GoDaddy.  I Facebook Messaged the gal whose blogpost titled Why You Should Own Your Domain Name convinced me last year upon reading it that I should own my domain name.  I sent these emails on Monday.  Tim has not responded.  I called GoDaddy.  The gal walked me through a WhoIs search.  She recommended I buy the (dot)net version of my name.  And oh goody, I can pay them to put me on a waiting list to buy my old name back next year.  If FUDogInc lets it expire.  In the meantime, a 'blogpost' about a poker event in Vegas has been written up on my old website.  Do me a favor - don't click on it to see.  I've been doing my research.  And I must admit, visited the site myself.  I don't wholly understand all of this, but speculators (yeah - they have a name for these guys) get paid by the click.  And this particular one states in his privacy settings that he's reading your cookies while you're reading his poorly written prose about some altruistic charity poker match gone wrong.

So, here's what I've learned about buying your own domain ~ because every moment is a teachable moment, right?

  • Keep your customer information
  • Renew two months before the deadline - or pay for more than one year at a time

If you fail to do this, your domain name will be bought up by speculators who do just that - buy up expired web names - usually in an effort to make money (sometimes they do it because they love the name and have been waiting to get it for themselves.  Less likely, I think.)  They make their money either by selling it back to you for loads more than it cost to renew it, or by capitalizing on the clicks of your readership.

Wanna know what I find strange, though?  I never received renewal notices.  I checked both email addresses we keep.  And the SPAM folders.  AND, no one has contacted me to buy it.  Seriously ~ does 6byHisDesign scream poker tourney to you?


It makes me sick, really.  I mean, I have all those adorable mommy cards with my web address on them, after all.  Nah ~ what makes me really sick is that 6byHisDesign was created by Me.  I thought of it.  I wrote about it.  And for one year, I owned the rights to it.  But now, it's no longer mine.  And I think that stinks.

So there you go.  That's me venting.
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