Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas is Coming!!

Family Christmas will be at my house this year! Yeah! Oh wait, didn't I just do Thanksgiving? Okay, who volunteered me? Oh that's right it was all a phone in and I found out before Christmas. Yes, I am happy but hope I get to spend more time in the chatting and laughing than in just the kitchen this time. I am sure that will happen since more people are coming.

Hip Hurray for dear old BEAR!! He is not that old after all and he does not have cancer! He will be with us for a good while now!! Buggery on those meanies with their first diagnosis! Making my sister ill through out Thanksgiving with their misdiagnosis and the rest of us feeling helpless! MEANIES! {shaking my small fist at them in gesture}

Yesterday Snow White started off the ornament purchase this year. Each year I let my children purchase an ornament so by the age of 18 they have a full set of their very own. This year she chose Barbie in the 12 dancing princesses. I tried to steer her towards the Fairytopia Barbie who was dressed just as Barbie was when she met the Actress who plays Barbie in the same on stage musical. No, already have that Barbie before meeting her in person on Good Morning America so not really interested. I then pointed out the dancing Barbie from 12 dancing princesses which played music as she twirled on her toes in an arch way. Again, No, not interested. Well, I have always said they can pick their own ornaments. She did tell me that I could buy the musical dancing Barbie princess if that was the one I chose. Me choose an ornament? Really? I had not thought about that in ages!!

If I decorated a tree just for me when the children are all on their own...I want a pink and silver decorated tree. The tree will be a real honest to goodness tree, the first year. After that I want all my crappiest, over done, hand me down, outlasted their time ornaments, the ones my children picked out but wont put on there own tree on a fake tree with lights already installed. I want in the center of my hallway on the main floor my gold bell with the pull down pendulum decorated with real mistletoe that plays "Jingle Bells". On the inside door nob of my front door will be the small painted brass bells on a vibrant string cord. The wreath on my front door will be hand made or at least purchased by my children. The outside lights decoration will be a collaboration of my children's efforts and I am sure there will be a new way to hang up Christmas and Holiday cards.

What will I want for Christmas? As always...a photograph of all my children! I am just starting to realize we might not all be together all the time. Man Son was not home for Thanksgiving. First ever holiday he was not home with us. They do grow up so fast but I did not want to believe it.

As the whole family (State Side) will be at my house this Christmas please forgive me if I do not post for a while after Christmas. I am likely to be blinded by so many camera flashes going off!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday Cometh and Goeth

I staid up until midnight looking through all the flyers to see if there was anything I should rush out to get. To my surprise it was just like the last few years. The only things on a great discount and worthy of sleep deprivation were household items.

What happened to the "The kids have to have it for Christmas" items? I remember my first Black Friday shopping experience where my sister and I waited in a line outside the toy store at 7am just to buy the new Game Boy at a great discount!

The last few years it seems like this is the only day to get a really good deal on a TV. Now think about it. If you buy a new TV who is going to wait for Christmas to hook it up? Are you really going to wait more than 14 days (the usual set time for returns) to find out that TV doesn't do what they advertised it will do or if it works properly?

The top values I found in the circulars were TVs, curtains, dishes, rugs, vacuum cleaners, guest towels and just about anything you could think of to spruce up the house before Christmas. Um, no mention of gravy boats in any of the circulars.

The TV on the top floor might need to be replaced soon so why not get up at 4:30 am and pick up a 20" TV for $69 at Walmart which opens at 5:00 am. My sister also wanted a video picture frame from Linens and Things to keep the memory of Bear alive. Linens and things opens at 6:00 am. I also had to do a double take on the Target circular! They had ATARI on sale for $20. Ok the price was not the reason for the double was the sheer thought that anyone would be selling ATARI !! Ten years ago or so I sold the Atari system my brothers, sister and I played with when we were children. Then came the "Mom are you crazy! Why would you sell an Atari?!" from a very young Man Son. I decide to make amends by putting Target on my list in an attempt to purchase this new ATARI with all the games inside the system.

I put the circulars for Walmart, Linens and Things and Target by my purse and set my alarm for 4:00 am.

Morning comes and I realize I have hit the snooze button a few times. I open my eyes a bit and look at the alarm clock. I then shoot straight to a standing position next to my bed! Oh My Goodness!!! It is 5:11 am!! Walmart is already open!!

I grab clothes, pull my hair up, grab my purse, jacket and cell phone! I was in the car at 5:13 am! Ok I forgot about my socks and shoes but I did have a pair of clogs in the car.

Wow, there is no traffic on the main road. No traffic at the stop light near the Walmart. I turn into the parking lot and Holey Cow!! I cannot believe the parking lot for the mall is just about full with only Walmart being open at this time!! I waste no time in parking in the first space I see which is way out in never land. I run to the entrance then run to electronics only to be told the TV I am searching for is in Grocery? The very nice Walmart woman holds me back from bolting and says "Let me make sure they still have them before you rush over there." She calls someone on her walkie talkie and they say there are 2 1/2 skids left. It takes me all of one minute to get to that isle and this very big Walmart man says "You people are like ants! You come out of no where in multitudes! We are sold out! They were gone just a split second ago! Please don't yell at me or hurt me!" Wow it must have been brutal in that one minute it took me to get from electronics to grocery. I felt really bad for him.

Oh well, the TV wasn't something I just had to have so on to the next store. I have two choices, Target and Linens and Things. Since my sister wants the video photo frame for Bear I opt go there first. I arrive in plenty of time since the store opens in 20 minutes. I was thinking "Who would be at Linens and Things?" Turns out there were many people wanting items such as the remote control dinosaurs, Ipod thing-a-magigs and what-nots must have been on a super sale! Non the less I was pleased to stand in line behind 30-45 others since the store had not opened yet.

While waiting in line I found those in front of and behind me were all very pleasant people full of the excitement of just living the moments of Black Friday. Some told me funny stories from the stores they have already visited. A very nice looking man and his friend attempted to quiz me on Ipods. I told them the only thing I know about them is it costs around $1 to load each song and all the fad crazed teens seem to want them.

The wait only seemed moments with such good company all around. I was in the store and over whelmed by the thought of picture frames can be any where! They changed all the displays and such from when I was here just a few weeks ago! I have to run because everyone else is running. I find an associate who tells me to go back to the front of the store to find the video picture frame. Darn it! Now I have to stand in a line that goes back to the side isles. Oh wait, some were standing here and some where standing there now I am no longer in line as the line shifted! Ok, at least I only have this one small item to tote around. Meanwhile there is a woman trying to handle her purse, a large Star Bucks coffee cup and two of the large remote control dinosaurs. She was right behind me in the first line which has now shifted so I help her maneuver the dinos right behind me. Her shopping buddy must have made the tour of the store for spontaneous sales items but came to the line empty handed. I am guessing nothing in the sales was really appealing. I, myself was only there because my sister has to work and really wants this video picture frame.

An older couple behind us mentions something about the flyer and we all start chatting about why we came to this store so early in the morning. I tried to avoid the reason I was there due to everyone being so chipper. I did not want to bring them down. We talked about where this store and that store was because I am new to the area. Then they all wanted to know why I was here instead of Target purchasing the ATARI? I told them the sad story of Bear and then it was my turn at the registar, thank goodness!

I get to the register, the lady happily rings up my one item purchase and then it happens! I CANNOT FIND MY CREDIT CARD!!! I fumble through my small purse but still cannot find it! I checked before I got out of the car to make sure I had it! I then look at the cash I have on hand...I have $43 which is not enough for the $84 video frame!! The cashier allows me to run to my car to check if it dropped out on the way to the store. My thoughts go to OH MY GOSH I lost my credit card in the parking lot! OH MY GOSH did I look away from the cart at any time while in Walmart!! I get to my car and see nothing of my credit card on the way to my car!! I open the car door and what do I see....MY card!!! I quickly jaunt up to the store and the cash register to find only the women behind me have cleared the cash register! The older couple allow me to but in before them to complete my sale. Woohoo! I managed to actually get the video picture frame and no unknown person is out spending my money on Black Friday.

I call my sister while I I rush over to Target for the ATARI. I tell her that I got the picture frame and she tells me she over slept. Good thing I called her! I arrive at Target and find the WHOLE parking lot is FULL!! I have to park across the street and run to the store! I rush in and see a check out line forming to the back of the store. I ask where the ATRI is and to my pleasant surprise I arrive before the last 10 are taken off the shelves. I wait in a small check out line in electronics where one of the electronics employees tell me "You can pay for this item up front." I quickly tell her "That line is near the back of the store now so I will take my chances waiting behind this one person in front of me." I am comfortable, I have already purchased the very needed video frame, have the ATARI in my hands and I am only one person away from check out.

I was very pleased to have pleasant people all around during my Black Friday shopping. I still felt bad for the Walmart man. I hope he had a better rest of the morning.

It doesn't take me long to purchase the ATARI and head for the exit. Then I see the Star Bucks! I so wanted to go in there for a Mocha espresso but I knew I was about to crash. Two late nights in a row? I needed a little sleep time. I return back to the house by 6:50 am to cook breakfast for everyone. My parents wanted to leave by 8:00 am so they could be at their house for the walk through of the side walk estimate at their new house.

Grandma and Grandpa had their breakfast while the girls slept in from their late night. The girls woke up and proceeded to books and TV while Mom took a nap.

Thanksgiving with the Family

After work on Thursday I picked up both of my girls and headed home. Grandma and Grandpa were already there watching TV. Thank goodness I gave them a key to the house on their last visit. This way I did not need to be home when they arrived.

We sat around talked most of the night away in either the family room or dinning room. Snow White gave them the grand tour of the new house forgetting they visited us just a few weeks ago. They ooohed and ahhhed just as they did on their last visit. We staid up pretty late the lot of us! Even Snow White staid up until 11:00 pm. We sat around talking about the past, relatives, funny little things that have happened just recently. Of course it wouldn't be a family gathering if Grandma and Grandpa didn't utter the words "when your Mom was a little girl..." Then all eyes flash over to me and the girls say "Really?" then I smile and nod in concurrence.

Yeah! It's morning!! I rush to wake up the girls shouting "Happy Thanksgiving!! Happy Thanksgiving!! The parade is on! The Thanksgiving Macy's Parade is on!!!" They eventually make it down to the family room and watch the parade with mommy. Grandma and Grandpa come down shortly after. I think it was the smell of sausages that woke them up. Ok, it might have been all my shouting but I want to think it was the sausages.

I was so thrilled when my son called to wish us a happy Thanksgiving! This is the first Thanksgiving since he was born that he was not with me. Him calling me is yet another sign that he is becoming a real honest to goodness adult. I passed the phone around so everyone could talk with him and Uncle. We called my little brother and his family to wish them a happy Thanksgiving and the phone was passed around again.

My sister called, she went to the store to buy a pumpkin pie and to her surprise it was a sweet potato pie. She quickly went back to the store to exchange it. Not wanting to be the only person who ran out to the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day she said I also had to make a last minute run. I did need a news paper and have yet to find a gravy boat so I took Sweet 16 with me to the store. Snow White did not want to come with us as she was in the middle of reading one of her many Magic Tree House books to Grandpa. While we were out Sweet 16 said it would be a good idea to pick up a few DVDs. I was really amazed that anything was open on Thanksgiving Day. Oh, we are still without a gravy boat. Now I have until Christmas to find a new one.

Dinner went off without a hitch! Grandma showed Snow White how to make cornbread. Sweet 16 made the rolls, roasted red potatoes and mashed potatoes while I tended to the turkey and orchestrated the rest of the meal preparation. Everything came out of the oven, off the stove and out of the fridge at just the right time to serve. The china looked beautiful on the table. Snow White's center piece was a big hit! We sat down to our lovely meal and gave thanks for all we have been blessed with over the years and today.

My sister and I talked on and off all through the day. One of her dear friends managed to talk her into going out for a few hours. Sort of a test run for when she went to work on Friday. When she came home Bear was still there and doing fine.

After dinner I mentioned that my sister was coming to my house for Christmas since it would be Bears last Christmas. Grandpa said my brother in TN would be coming for Christmas too. Man Son would be back from TN as well!! Since my sister and brother will be up for Christmas it was decided that everyone would come to my house no later than Christmas Eve and stay over for Christmas. I made sure to tell my little brother that he and his family can either come up with everyone else or just drive up for the day. It would be so nice to have all of us together for Christmas!

We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!!

Diane and Bear

She bought her house based on the yard was perfect for Bear. She redecorated the inside of the house to suit his needs and likes. Her car is also a result of what Bear needs. She took accelerated college courses in order to allow her to graduate with her masters degree in a short amount of time just so she would have more time to spend with Bear. Her life revolves around her baby Bear and cancer will soon take him away.

He was scheduled to have knee surgery the day before Thanksgiving (re-scheduled from this past Saturday). She received a call at work from telling her due to finding cancer the surgery would not take place. They explained he only has a short time to live and the surgery would only worsen the cancer. She was caught completely off guard due to the previous diagnosis and non cancer related surgery. Imagine receiving a call from your doctor telling you, your 11 yr old child has only two months to live.

She called me at work because she was upset, distraught and on her way to pick him up. In between her sobs, crying and screaming I finally understood what she was telling me. I ran out of the office crying but trying to stay calm since I was still on the phone with her.

My first feeling was unbelief then grief which turned in to anger. I cannot believe they told her this devastating news over the phone and then told her to come pick him up!! I know I would be in no shape to breath let alone drive if I had a similar call about one of my children.

I wanted to yell and scream but not at her so I just staid on the line listening to her cry and let it all out until she reached the veterinarian hospital.

She talked with the vet and waited while they processed the paper work to release him. During this time several of the employees came up to her and offered their condolences which only made her cry more when she was trying so hard to compose herself.

I started thinking of how I could rearrange Thanksgiving, make travel arrangements to be with her on Thanksgiving. "Everybody listen up, a Thanksgiving feast is in the fridge call me if you need instructions on how to prepare the meal. Look after my children. I will be back Sunday night." Some how that seemed the wrong thing to do but I so wanted to just get on the first flight out or even drive down there to give her the comfort she so needed.

My sister and I had many long phone conversations during the rest of the day and most of the night. She cried some of the time but not all of the time. She was trying to get a grasp on what to do. She wanted so much to hold and cuddle her Bear but he was completely unaware what was going on. Bear was still medicated when she brought him home. He wanted to do what he normally does around the house but was a bit woozy.

Around midnight he was finally thinking about falling asleep and she was so afraid of "What if he doesn't wake up in the morning?" My feeling was he just has to wake up in the morning, because it is Thanksgiving for goodness sakes. He has to stay with her until after they go home from Christmas visit at least. When he passes it should be in his sleep, at their home and only when she is there with him.

This may seem like a big too do over a pet to some people but those "some people" do not know the history of this oh so loved Bear. They have not had him in their lives for 11 years. He has been there at the beginning and the end of every day for her. Through her divorce, good days and bad days at the office, and when she just misses the rest of her family. The days she is feeling not so great to the days she is on top of the world. All of that is going to change and she is trying to come to terms with it.

It is devastating for her to finally have everything so close to the way she wanted for them and now her time with him is so short. Another reminder that life is too short.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Children are Sponges

Little children are such sponges! After Snow White and her older siblings watch a Japanese show with English subtitles she starts singing the songs from the show in Japanese! She also seems to remember some of the words from the show and what they mean.

A weird thing happened when Man Son and I watched a 13 disk series of a Japanese show with English subtitles. After the first two disks I got up to make more snacks while still listening in to the show. Then it hit me! I knew what was going on without seeing the screen! For the rest of the duration I no longer needed to look at the subtitles!

Am I a genius? Did I actually learn Japanese after only watching two episodes of the thirteen part series? Nope, not at all, I could not remember one word of Japanese. I could not repeat any of the millions of words I had heard let alone tell you what any of them meant. Ok, I know hello and thank you but I knew that when I was a teenager which was half my life ago. I am resigned to believe I have a very full and lazy brain that just did not want to read the subtitles.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What do YOU want to be when you Grow Up?

“Where do you see yourself at 30?” asked my high school Language Arts teacher. My response was quit automatic “I will be in a large corner office with two full walls of windows.” I could totally picture myself in this luxurious office of power. He asked how that works in my current plans for the future. Huh? What? It really didn’t fit at all. What in the world made me say that? Since I was five years old I had planned on getting married, having a dozen children and be a stay at home Mom. Where did this spur of the moment gibberish come from?!

Well, as it worked out, in my early 20s I started working as an Administrative Assistant. I worked my way up to Executive Assistant and went to as many classes as I could fit in to limited schedule. By 30 years old I was working in a very lucrative career but still playing catch up from a lesser financial past. Almost ten years later I feel I can relax, I have made it! [knocking on wood]

As for the children, well I wanted 100 babies when I was five years old but I settled on three.

When did my plans change? Was it this question that brought out my inner desire? Did it make me realize there were other options? I know when I started high school I did not want to be a career woman. Whatever the reason I am happy where I am today.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Car Seats ..Not Just For Kids

I read your blog today(Exiled in Toyland) during lunch and thought of the child seat I was in when I was a toddler. It was not meant for safety but as a lift up to the view of the car window. It was equipped with handles that also doubles as a let in for seatbelt straps. The legs of the chair were longer in the back and shorter in the front to allow a level view of the window.

I remember my son's 5th birthday! I made a big deal about driving to the park to feed the ducks as part of his coming of more car seat! After feeding the ducks I realized I had locked the keys in my car. Buggery, buggery, Buggery! Oh well, we walked to a pay phone (olden days term for public phone) and called the police to unlock the car door. It was about the time the police thought it was a bad idea to unlock cars and then ask for the registration. The policeman arrived and then said "We have a problem." I assured him the registration in the glove box was mine and I gave him my drivers licenses. He then asked my son how old he was? My son proudly said "I am a whole FIVE years old today!" The policeman said "Yes, we have a problem. As of midnight last night a new state law was placed to active. Children 6 yrs old and under must be in a car seat."

My jaw dropped! I was feeling a lot of emotions the largest portion was panic! How was I going to get my 5 yr old back into a car seat after making such a big deal about being a big boy on his birthday and no more car seat? There was also the question of how were we to get home with no car seat? Then would the policeman unlock the car so I could get my keys to at least get into our house once we arrived?!

I explained the birthday situation to the policeman and he looked again at my drivers license. He saw we only lived a few blocks from the park. He unlocked the door only after pointing out I must have the car seat back in the car immediately and made me promise to be extra careful driving home. "Missy, most car accidence's happen in a 1 mile radius of home."

In the new state we live in I passed a billboard I thought read " 4' 9" is the magic number" with the fairy godmother from Cinderella pictured waving her magic wand over a car seat. I thought to myself, well Grandma and Auntie will need a car seat to visit us. After reading the safety seat laws for this state on the web it is 0-3 yrs in a car seat and 4-8 yrs in a booster seat.

Hidden Dangers - Parents Worst Nighmare

This past January while at work I received very bad news. Something so unexpected you just never know how to react. To this day when I hear or read the name Sammy Shpigler I cry.

The Shpigler family were on there annual vacation in Hawaii during the winter holidays. They were having a wonderful time. While the mother was changing her clothes in one room the father was in the bathroom and I think the rest of the family were in the living room area. The mother had locked the balcony door but the younger children thought it would be great to go out on the balcony. Tow children went out the door but only one came back in. Three year old Sammy had slipped through the railings on the balcony and fell to his death.

The space between crib railings, residential stair railings and new construction of commercial buildings now must comply with the less than 4" rule. There are some states who do not have this regulation on the space between railings. Some states have a grandfather clause that does not require them to update the safety standards. One of these hotels was the Hilton Hawaiian Village where the Shpiglers were staying.

Around this time last year we were at a hotel with an inside balcony overlooking the pool. Snow White and my friend's daughter wanted to go out on the balcony. We said it was ok but did not want them standing on the bottom rung of the railing. The hotel was going through some renovations as it was not a new hotel. My thoughts were on the bolts connecting the railing to the wall. If they were loose the railing could come off and our girls would fall to the cement floor below. The thought of them slipping through the bars of the railing did not occur to me. I automatically thought they would be too close together as were all railings in our every day life since Snow White was born.

The railings in ALL hotels should be upgraded to the standard. They can be changed out with railings of proper spacing or sturdy safety glass/plastic sheets can be installed. Balcony doors should be equipped with a safety lock that not only prevents someone other than the occupants to enter but also a lock which prevents a child from access.

The Shpiglers have created the Sammy's Spirit Organization dedicated to helping others and changing the child safety regulations. There story will appear on Inside Edition tonight. I encourage everyone, whether you have children or not, to watch this show. Check the web site for the air times in your area at

The Stanley Show

While doing laundry Snow White said her favorite pal Stanley needed to be washed. Stanley is a very special bear. She took the decorative pins off his colorful shirt which was made by Grandma. Poor old Stanley is balding in some spots, some of his threading is coming apart but all in all he is holding up.

I tossed Stanley in the wash and Snow White sat by the washer. It was almost as if she expected him to pop out to say he needed her or wanted something. By the time she finished reading a book it was time for him to come out of the washer. After she looked him over thoroughly bfore allowing me to pop him into the dryer.

The dryer is front loading with a large glass door. When I first turned on the dryer she could not see him and a look of worry came over her face. That look quickly changed to sheer happiness! “Look Mommy, there’s Stanley! …There he is again!... Look at him GO! … Oh, that looks silly! Wow that looks like fun!...Mom! Mom! You have got to see this! Come watch Stanley do all these tricks!” She jumped up and down with excitement each time he popped into view. I sat and watched the “Stanley Show” with her for a full 30 minutes.

When the dryer stopped she excitedly awaited his retrieval. She hugged him so tightly and said “Aww Stanley you are so warm and cuddly. Did you have a great time?”

And to think I thought it was going to be an ordinary dull evening of laundry.

Tune in next month to see if Stanley survives yet another spin cycle. Same Hot time, Same Hot channel.