Friday, December 30, 2011

Choose the Right

I am starting out a new year, with a new Primary class in church.
They have me teaching the eight and nine year old kids.
Totally right up my alley, since that is about the brain level I am on myself.

The lesson manual I use this year, really focuses the first few lessons on "CTR."
"CTR" is the Mormon equivalent of "WWJD?"
The letters "CTR" stand for "Choose the Right."
We have songs about it, jewelry, and tee-shirts.
And vinyl wall-art, and pillow-cases, and probably underwear.

I once saw a girl with a fancy "CTR" tramp-stamp, which is about the biggest oxymoron I have seen in all my 40 years, as my religion is opposed to tattoo's.

Anyway....I made a poster (8x10) and a hand-out (4x6) for my new class.
I thought I would share it, in case anyone else out there would like their own copy.
You can right click on the image, save it, upload it to a photo center, and have it printed.
The first image is the poster, sized to be printed as an 8x10, and the next image is sized as a 4x6.
If you have any issues downloading or whatever, shoot me a comment, or an e-mail, and I will try to help you.

Wish me luck on my new class.
The first few weeks are like herding kittens.
Kittens on Red Bull.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tapering Off the Sugar Makes Me Grouchy.

Someone needs to wire my jaw shut.
For many reasons.
I am eating everything that is not nailed down. I don't even like plain M&M's....but they are right there....
Someone gave us a gourmet caramel apple.
It is so pretty!
Dunked in chewy caramel, then coated in white chocolate, and then generously sprinkled in glittering cinnamon-sugar.
I found the apple to be in my way.
All I really wanted was the candy it was wrapped in.
'Tis the season where fruits and vegetables are for suckers! Give me carbs! And sweet, sweet, sugar.

And here is the other reason it would probably serve all of humanity to have my jaw wired shut.
I have a few Holiday Season vents I would like to share.

Unexpected gift givers: I have found there are only a couple of ways to deal with unanticipated offerings: A-keep on hand several generic pre-wrapped gifts to do the instant exchange with, or B- re-gift. Either way requires lying. "Oh my gosh! You! Let me get YOUR gift, Merry Christmas, you!"

Caroling: Seriously folks, nothing is more uncomfortable than a surprise attack of carolers. It is awkward for everyone involved. I have been on both ends of the awkwardness. On the performing end, you are forced to plaster on a fake smile that says "I love this! I love giving! And freezing!"
There is always a handful of people in the group that really do have singing talent, they are needed to drown out the rest of the people that were suckered into the group. They belt out those tunes, like that are auditioning for Broadway! They know all the words to  "Good King Wenceslas." They often own things like woolen ascots, or faux fur muffs. They live for this crap!

To be on the receiving end is equally painful. Maybe more-so.

Here you are, minding your own business, just barely sitting down on the couch to take in an episode of Modern Family, when the doorbell rings. The porch is crowded with strangers and an occasional acquaintance who burst into song simultaneously the minute the door cracks. Surprise!
How many songs are they going to sing?
Don't they know we have radio now?
Do you invite them in? Thank them? WHAT IS THE PROTOCOL?
Must I whip up some glog or Wassail?

Wassail: Take some perfectly good, ice cold, refreshing apple juice, spike it with some bark and seed pod shards, boil it up on the stove until it smells and tastes just like a Glade Plug-in. Serve it up!
Everyone loves it! one on my team loves it. I think if you are on team Wassail, I can safely assume you also enjoy raisins junking up your cinnamon rolls, and secretly enjoy the occasional slice of fruitcake.

Odd batteries not included: I get it that manufacturers don't include batteries in things. The batteries can go bad quickly, or even leak and ruin the product. But for the love, please use normal batteries if you are not going to include them. Nothing is worse than getting something unwrapped on Christmas morning to find that it needs a 9-volt, or a CR123.

Gifts that require intentional post-Christmas exchanging: "I thought this sweater looked just like you, but they didn't have your size." Better yet, when the well-meaning giver buys you a size XS, when the entire world can plainly see what a pipe dream THAT is.
Even more annoying is when it is not accompanied by any sort of a sales receipt.

The kids being out of school: "Christmas Break" my butt. I am happy for all of the teachers of the world, but having all my kids home, for two whole weeks, cooped up inside- because it is 17 degrees outside is not really a catalyst for "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

New Year's: I gotta be honest. New Year's gives me anxiety. I don't really even know how it is spelled. Is it New Years, or New Year's? Grammar police? Help?
I feel compelled to lay low the weeks leading up to the holiday, thus avoiding any invitations to parties. By the time New Year's rolls around, I am tired. I want nothing more than to eat leftovers, and sit on my own couch, in sweatpants and watch a movie.
Preferable a movie that I have already seen, that I can fall asleep to.
Worse is the week after, when people ask you what you did for New Year's. Nothing says "Party Animal!" like admitting to being in bed by 10. To sleep.

Hey man, I'm going to need my rest.

I have a whole list of resolutions that I am gearing up to fail epically at.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Wrap-up

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
Christmas for us, isn't as exciting as it once was.
Our youngest, Mikayla, is 8, and at the age where she is afraid to *not* believe in Santa.
She believes this year, but she has seen a lot of holes in the whole theory.
We are hoping next year, she will have figured it all out, and we can take off for the holidays.
A real "white" Christmas...meaning: our pasty white butts sitting on a white sand beach.

This will help to illustrate how different Christmas day is with a house full of teenagers.
Christmas was on Sunday, and our church services began at 11 a.m. Sunday morning.
I had to literally wake the kids up to make it to church on time.
At 11.
They didn't care that Santa! had! come! and dwarfed the tree in presents!

Nope. Not as fun as when they were all little, and our home was electric with excitement.
Stockings are now stuffed with acne face wash, and deodorant.

We started a tradition a few years ago.
Along with their Christmas Eve pajamas, we give them a gag toy to play with.
They look forward to this stupid toy almost more than the real Christmas the next day. 
One year we gave them flying monkeys.
Another year, we gave them Nerf guns, and another year they got Sing-a-ma-jigs.
This year I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find something for them.
But I did.
Oh, man. I totally did.
They all got "Happy Hamsters."
They were the awesomest stupidest things ever!
New fleece PJ pants, heck no, I DID NOT make them.
They run on batteries, and when you put the Hamsters in the plastic ball, they scurry around the carpet. When they hit a wall, or a chair leg, or a random pile of crap, they switch directions.
Some of the stupider hamsters would only go in circles.
We had hamster races all night long.
Ready tiny warriors? GO!!!

We like stupid at our house.
We are easily amused like that.
The kids personalized their hamster balls.
"Eat My Pellets!!"
"Fluffy II"
That was Christmas Eve.
They all slept together in Jayden's room, and the next day woke up for church.

After church, we came home, changed back into our PJ's and did the whole Christmas thing.
It was a good day.

The kids are out of school for another week, so we have been playing games and watching movies every night until the wee hours. It is going to be a rude adjustment to go back to a schedule.
I attempted today.
I hit the gym for my normal 8 a.m. class.
It was a big mistake.
My body was very angry.
It was tired, and also harboring 18 pounds of Eggnog Fudge.
But I persevered.
Mostly cause Santa brought me some new shoes, and I looked dang cute.
  Priorities, people.

Santa also brought me a Happy Light.

I have been using it for a couple of weeks now.
I also supplement vitamin D3.
I am happy to report, it TOTALLY WORKS.
No kidding.
I feel normal again, and an added bonus, I no longer have the 2-3:00 musttakeanap slump.
Nor do I crave carbs and sugar.
It is a Christmas miracle!
I know I have a lot of Seasonal Depression suffering readers that have been waiting for my report back on my light therapy.
It works, people.
I don't think it is in my head. I am a very skeptical person.
But, if it *is* in my head, who the crap cares?
I feel better.
I got my light at Costco for fifty bucks.
Much cheaper than murder.

On today's agenda: Reclaiming the house.
I am swimming in the post-Christmas clutter, and I have had enough of it.
And the fudge.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December Greetings!

It's been a bad year for the elderly in our family.
I lost my Grandpa a bit ago.
Sam lost his Grandma this past week. She was the last of our Grandparents.
So we attended another funeral this week.
I guess when I get older, now would be a good time of the year to go--you would escape yet another bitter cold Utah winter, and you could forget about Christmas.


Sam found this picture in a magazine, tore it out, and brought it to me.
He thought he was funny, and "how do these people KNOW you?"

They don't know me.
Yet, they do...

Cause they have me pegged.

See my bathrobe chasing me?
See how angry it is, that I would leave it?
See the scowl on my face?
If she were wearing a track suit, and Uggs, and walking out into a frozen tundra instead of the pleasant looking illustrated yard I would wonder if I was literally being stalked by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Seasonal Affective Disorder has been kicking my butt.

There was a stretch when I didn't really get out of bed for three days.
I read a lot.
Seasonal Depression feels like you are dead inside, and you don't really care that you are a mere shell of a person.
You don't really want to run out in front of a truck, but then again, if that truck came barreling towards you, you wouldn't move out of the way.
It comes and goes.
I am in a good cycle now.
Sam has banned me from listening to Christmas music, cause he thinks it is "depressing crap" and contributing to my mood.
He also gives me dollars to go tanning.
And brings me Rolo's.
I go through spurts, and right now Rolo's rock my world.
Sorry Big Hunk, you were so last week...

Anyway, on to less depressing stuff!
I am finished with Christmas shopping!
I bought almost everything online this year, and holy cow, I will never go back to shopping, in a store, on my own two feet like a sucker.
Me and my robe have spent a lot of quality time in front of the computer.
Search, click, enter free shipping code, discount code, Sam's credit card number, send!
Then watch for the delivery truck.
Me and my robe love getting packages!
I love this time of year for the good mail alone.
We have been getting Christmas cards from friends and family.
I used to do those.
I got really tired of planning the photo, taking the photo, printing the photo, etc, etc.
My family is the ROT when it comes to stuff like that.
So I cut it out of our seasonal traditions, and no one seemed to care.

This year, however, I figure it has been long enough that people probably wonder how we are faring.

So here you are, Internets.
Our 2011 Family Christmas Letter:
Jayden is our oldest and will be turning 16 this year.
Being the service-oriented child he is, he is always begging us to let him drive us places.
We told him he could drive any time he wanted--when he got his learner's permit.
We told him he needed to get his Eagle first.
For those of you who don't know what an "Eagle" is....lucky.
It is a Boy Scout thing.
Jayden puts as much effort into Scouting as he does the rest of his duties.
I can say that last phrase with full confidence that I will not hurt Jayden's feelings should he read this. Jayden took Spanish, and will therefore not be able to translate it.
But, he is excellent at finger-boarding.
"Flip, snap, snap....flip, snap, snap."
I am sure this is a skill he will be grateful he put many hours of practice in, and honed in his teen years.
He also showers every day for 2.5 hours.
He is about six feet tall.
Has abs like a washboard.
And weighs 130.
He likes to snack on celery and sunflower seeds, even when there are chocolate chip cookies in the house.
Like a damn rabbit.
This is Brendan.
He is 13.
He is our most valuable child.
He is currently in possession of $6000.00 worth of braces.
I take him to the orthodontist every three weeks. They give him new elastics each time. As a result, he has gotten into the habit of not opening his mouth fully to speak.
Like a ventriloquist.
We affectionately call him "mumbler."
"Brendan, what do you want for Christmas?"
I can't understand a word that comes out of that kids' mouth.
He likes to tease his sisters until they cry, and then deny it.
He is plugged into his iPod 24/7, and likes to sneak crappy music onto it.
If there is an obnoxious song on the radio, one you can't change the station fast enough for, rest assured it will be in Brendan's "most played" rotation.
He is also getting stellar grades like his brother.
I would tell you what they are, but I don't want you guys to be all jealous and stuff.
This is Shayne.
His voice changed this year, and now he sounds like James Earl Jones.
He likes to watch Spongebob.
It is weird to see a 12 year old boy, but then hear a man's laugh come out of that boy.
He has the attention span of a gnat.
If you send him on an errand that requires him to leave the room, you can forget about seeing him ever again.
His physical body is comprised solely of peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
That is all he eats.
I make him take a multi-vitamin.
This is Shayne's twin sister, Shianne.
She is also 12, going on 18.
She enjoys drama, pouting, and is very generous in distributing stink-eye.
She wears my shoe size, and my shoes.
She loves when other people are in trouble, and goes out of her way to make sure that they are.
And then she wonders why in the world "everyone hates me!."
She does like to cook, and has learned quickly the power a warm chocolate chip cookie has over an angry mom, or a livid brother.
She did just receive the "student of the month" award in Junior high.
I called to verify.
I was sure they were mistaken.
She is getting curvy, and pretty, and her Dad has cleaned and loaded all the shot-guns.

This is the baby of the family, Mikayla.
She is eight.
She can whistle whole songs through that gap in her teeth.
Her foot odor could be used in a gas chamber.
We buy her new shoes every 2-3 months, because at that point they are toxic.
She loves to craft, and has crafted up the whole house.
Everything she creates is a "treasure" and gets stuffed into nooks and crannies in her bedroom.
Mark my words, that girl is destined to become a star.....on Hoarders.
Sam and I keep getting better looking every year.
We can't help it.
We continually get offers for modeling, which we promptly turn down.
We don't think it is fair to the general public.
I was "Mother of the Year" again, this year.
Sam is so handy, he made me a hand-carved wooden cabinet to house all of my many awards.
In his free time.
He still works two jobs, hits the gym, and thinks that sleep is for the weak.
He eats a lot of protein, protein shakes, protein bars...
They give him a lot of gas, which is always hilarious, and the smell is so very attractive to me.
His hobbies include: metal detecting, crossword puzzles, and golf.
I worry that he will have nothing left to do when he is a retired old man.

I have had a very busy year maintaining my "trophy wife" status.
I can't live without my tweezers, as my chin has given my teen boys a run for their money with it's menopausal whiskers.
My hormonal mood swings keep everyone on their toes!
Who will greet us when we get home from school?
"Nice mom", or "crazy chemical mom?"
No one knows.
Not even me.

To summarize our 2011.
Our family has logged many hours lovingly sitting on the couch together watching trash.
We have spent quality time stuffing ourselves with Chalupas and other Taco Bell dollar menu delights.
We went on a bike ride once, and Shayne's chain fell off.
We almost went on a trip, and then Sam's truck needed $1800.00 to run again.
We inherited three Parakeets. The kids love them. Sam thinks he can talk to them.  I think they are secretly plotting to peck my eyeballs out.
2011 has been mediocre.
Nothing spectacular, and yet, nothing horrible.

Just how we roll.