Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Last of LA

Thanks for all the "sorrys" about The Price Is Right outcome for us. I'll get to responding to the comments soon. I'm sure you all can understand the difficulties of getting much done over the holiday weekend. Today is still a school holiday for us (but we start back tomorrow) so I'm gonna try to catch up while the kids play with all their cool stuff!

Allright, where were we?

After the game, you can see that I had my picture made with Daniel, the winner of the Showcase Showdown. Since I couldn't get the picture to show on the last post, I decided to just try it here.

By the way, I don't think I've posted yet that our air date is scheduled for February 1. Mark your calendar! I am quite certain you will at least SEE us on that day :)

After we walked off set, we wound our way through The Grove shopping center which is very similar to a shopping center down in Destin -- not sure the name of it but the one where the Bass Pro Shop and Restaurant can be found. Anyway, it's a ritzy kind of establishment but is an all outdoor area. I guess sunny CA is a safer bet for this kind of arrangement but I think FL is crazy to have one.

So we walk through here because my friend (former cousin by marriage) had parked her car here. She had offered to take us for a driving tour through some parts of Hollywood that we were interested in seeing. So she worked that Magellan thingy (which is TOTALLY cool by the way - my first experience with a GPS guide) and we found our way to the Chinese theater and shopping area. It was such a neat, neat place and really put a cherry on top of our visit. I have to say that my spirits were a little down after the show but thankfully, this cap to the day revived me!

We found a neat spot to have our picture made in front of the Hollywood sign. I was surprised at where this sign was in relation to the city. Even though you can see it from several spots in town, it wasn't as big and focused as I thought it would be. There's also not really a good place to just drive past it and gawk at it. If you are gawking, you are definitely going to get into an auto accident. The only really good places to see it are while jutting through some CRAZY traffic.

So we liked getting our pictures at this spot. It was after the sun was setting so we're thankful pictures turned out at all.
From 2006 December

The handprints/footprints/stars thing was pretty neat. We didn't see every one but we saw a few goodies. We snapped pics of the following for various reasons - Stallone, because of the upcoming Rocky movie; Ron Howard - because he's just cool; Jim Carrey - the kids know who he is and appreciate him, especially in The Grinch movie; Tom Hanks - because he's Woody and Forrest Gump!; Adam Sandler - because Bob Barker beat the snot out of him; and then Johnny Depp - because he has a special connection to the name of this child that I'm carrying. I'll share more about that in a future post.
From 2006 December

While we were looking around at all these neat things in the concrete, we realized we were background for something being taped on the sidewalk. Upon closer inspection we realized it was a Jimmy Kimmel skit making fun of Mel Gibson's "Apocolypto" film. We tried watching the JK show to see us, or at least the skit but we might have missed it. Or it could have ended up on the cutting room floor.
From 2006 December

When the sun was down, our appetite was up and we started looking for a place to eat. We tried finding something that was strictly LA but we didn't find anything within the shopping center except super-nice places where our "Bama Loves Bob" shirts would have been inappopriate. So we settled for the next best thing. California Pizza Kitchen. We knew it was a chain and that there are even a few in AL but we had never eaten there and the style and speed fit our needs.

So as we settled into our booth, we heard a "Roll Tide" coming from right behind us. It was a waiter who noticed our shirts. We thought that was extremely cool in and of itself because the guy wasn't necessarily a Tide fan, he was just being friendly.

But a few minutes later, the manager of the restaurant came to us and said, "Roll Tide! I am a U of A graduate!" We thought that was REALLY REALLY cool. We chatted with him for a few minutes to find out he was born in Georgia and spent some of his growing-up years in the Huntsville area. And at the end of our conversation, this manager told us to put our tab on HIM! YES! FREE DINNER! He encouraged us to try whatever we wanted, to get dessert, cocktails, etc. WHOO HOO!

So we ordered everything we wanted to try. It was stuff I never would have attempted if it wasn't free :) And we had more to eat than we needed to stuff in our gullet but because it was there, we somehow managed to get all of it down. Oh, it was SO good.

After at least 2 hours in the restaurant just hanging out and catching up with my cousin, we went for a fun drive through some fancy neighborhoods. It was AMAZING to see that million-dollar houses were about 1/3 the size of ours. When riding through "the hills" we saw these massive houses with zero yard, but with views that must have been worth a million dollars all by themselves. I really wish we had some addresses to know where some celebs lived...but just watching for someone famous to be out walking their dog was fun enough.

The next morning brought us to the end of our journey. We had an early flight back home. And would you believe that I actually felt a little tremor while at the airport? I wouldn't have known that's what it was except that a worker at the terminal looked up and asked, "what was that?" I said, "um, wasn't that a bus driving by??" He laughed and said, "No." So I asked if it was an earthquake and he said, "Probably."

But NO ONE else in my group noticed it. Good grief. So yeah, it was small.....but I felt it nonetheless! Glad it wasn't any bigger, though.

Coming home was such a relief. We were pooped and I was DESPERATELY missing my children. I hope that our next trip out to CA will be with everyone in tow. There's so much more I'd like to experience and I want to share every bit of it with those I love the most.

I think we'll pursue Family Feud or Wheel Of Fortune next :)

I'm Going To Quit Blogging If...

I can't figure out why pictures won't upload on this stupid space.

PLEASE someone at least tell me they are having troubles too OR tell me what the heck I am doing wrong.

Even now I am working from the girls' laptop that they use for school. THIS IS A GOOD COMPUTER and tells me that it is NOT my dinosaur computer's problem.

I cannot find any of the "troubleshooting" explanations that fit my situation.

I swear this makes me want to quit. I hate working on posts only to have pictures not upload. It puts me DAYS behind because I can't get a complete work.

Yes, I'm ticked. Sorry for being such a grump.

Seriously, someone has GOT to help me. Why don't any of YOU other blogspot people seem to have this problem?? You have pictures posted every day. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

In The Price Is Right Studio

Unfortunately, no photographs were allowed to be taken on CBS property. They would have preferred we didn't even have our cameras with us but we couldn't get around that. So I have no way of showing you how truly crazy the PIR set really looked.

While we were sitting and waiting for the show to start, they played some pumped up music -- the first one being "Dancing On The Ceiling" by Lionel Richie. This was particularly funny to me because Nicole Richie kinda became an inside joke between me and Henry. You see, we were sorta near where Nicole was arrested for drunk/drugged driving. THAT, of course, is not the funny part. The funny came because some people in our group said they SAW her pulled over getting arrested. That was impossible, however, because she was arrested before we even got to LA. So, as silly as it was, Henry and I started talking about seeing Nicole Richie everywhere we went. And of course, the fact that Lionel has Bama roots made it all the more enjoyable to hear him in the Bob Barker Dome.

It was super-fast time elapsing from when we entered the studio to when we were finished taping. The most interesting Hollywood magic was actually that there was very little magic at all to the taping and inserting of commercials to the game show program. Everything was done in real time meaning that our taping lasted exactly one hour, just like it would on air. When it was time for a commercial break, the filming took a break that lasted exactly the length of the commercial. Bob would use that time to take questions (and gifts) from the audience. It was during one of these breaks that I raised my hand. Bob called on me and I stood to say, "My daughter Ray asked me to say 'hello' to your Beauty "Ray." (One of Barker's Beauties is a blonde named "Ray" and my Ray thought it was really cool that they had this commonality.)

Bob responded something like, "Well, why don't we see if we can get "Ray" to send an autograph home to your daughter. Would she like that?" He then turned to tell someone off-stage, "Tell 'Ray' to get this young Mom an autographed photo for her daughter." Several of the stage folks then took note of who I was and started shuffling around. The announcer, Rich (can't ever remember his last name -- I'm a pitiful fan) who wasn't but a few feet from us, motioned and said to me, "Write down your name and address so we can mail it to you."

So I did but one of the ladies on stage ended up bringing the TWO autographed photos to me right when the show ended. It was really cool.

Anyway, back to the show itself.

When the stage lights came on, the set took on a look that catapulted itself away from my pep rally description but didn't quite make it look as though it was the same set we watched on TV every day. Also, the aisleway in which audience members took their run to Contestant's Row was INCREDIBLY short. It seems like they're running a 1/2 mile track when you watch it on TV but in real life, it's only a few steps long.

And when those names started to be called out, the noise was deafening. They had cue cards on the stage with the names written on them because it could be very easy for someone to NOT hear their name called. So I watched those cards. And when the 1st four names were completed, and none of them were us, I have to admit that I was a little sapped of air. I knew it would be one of THOSE four people who would have a chance at The Golden Road.

But the excitement in the air wouldn't let me get truly down about it. I mean, HECK, I was getting ready to watch someone play The Golden Road right before my very eyes! (I can't wait to see this from TV perspective when it airs....it was going so fast and I had such an emotional swish happening that some of it is a blur...I can only imagine what it would have been like to be the contestant playing it.)

When I'm home watching this game on TV, I get weepy with excitement for the person who is playing. I think, "Oh how cool! They might just win that thing!"

Well, guess what THING was being offered this day...

A daggum 83+ thousand dollar CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE! Ohmygoodness.

But I can't remember if I got weepy. Henry was asking me questions because he was starting to really feel the excitement of the moment, too. He said things like, "What kind of car did he say? What does he have to do to win?"

Spoiler alert -- I'm gonna tell you the outcome of the game so don't read this if you don't want to know (for whatever reason.) The dude only made it a few steps down the Golden Road. He won the first item (I can't even remember what it was) but he didn't win the sofa that he had to win next that would THEN give him the chance to win the car. The only "redeeming" (even though that's not exacly the right word) thing about watching this game was that I think I probably would have lost when he did. It would have been very disappointing to be sitting in the audience knowing EXACTLY the right answers to say in this game. I felt a little relief knowing that I didn't miss winning that car myself. I probably would have made the same mistake he did.

After every commercial break, a new name was told to "Come On Down!" but one by one, it wasn't us. It sucked, quite honestly, to not hear our names. And not only did we not hear OUR names, we didn't hear the names of anyone in our group! (I have a theory about why we didn't have anyone from our group called but it is only a theory and to write it out on this blog would make me seem like a spoil-sport so I'm not gonna do it.) I really can't over-emphasize how quickly this "most exciting hour in television" slipped through the hourglass. I remember looking at Henry and saying, "Well....that's it. We didn't get called."

But I do NOT regret the chance we took. It was such a real DREAM COME TRUE just being there. The Price Is Right might be around another 100 years but Bob Barker won't be. And I am one of the lucky ones who had a chance to see him in action LIVE. Heck, I even talked to the legend! A couple of times in fact (the other was to answer his question about which large groups were in the audience.) And I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has blessed me in so many other areas of life that I certainly don't deserve anything else -- especially not winning cars or trips or even recliners! In fact, many of you know that I (or Henry) have actually been on the receiving end of winning a car, a trip, and a recliner already (not all at one time.) So who am I to think I deserve another? I believe it is completely possible that I am fresh out of prizes for the rest of my life.

Walking out of the studio was sad. I knew I had to call the kids and let them know that we didn't win anything. They REALLY believed we would. No matter how much I warned them that they needed to be prepared for the truth we ended up receiving, they still held on to a great deal of hope that we would call them with an exciting report. I think others had non-intentionally, built-up their hopes. Because of our history of winning things in the past, we are kinda "known" for being lucky and the kids have picked up on that through the years. They heard things like, "If anyone is gonna win big at The Price Is Right, it will be Stacy." So I didn't look forward to letting them know we were coming home without anything other than an autograph.

The saddest thing was that I think they kinda held onto hope that we were just kidding on the phone and that we would surprise them with a big announcement when we got home.

But I must say again...there is no regret. Our trip was AWESOME, and I experienced an opportunity of a lifetime. I know God has big things in store for our family and I will praise Him for it, even when it's NOT because of material blessings. I know we will never be in need because God has always provided for us. Even in our scariest moments, we have always received the perfect provisions.

After leaving the parking lot, I got the opportunity to speak more with the winner of the Showcase Showdown (eventually you will see Daniel in a picture below but right now blogger is being a pain AGAIN! What is the deal? If someone can help me PLEASE DO!) He's soon to be married and was able to win some cool stuff for his bride. I thought that was pretty cool! He was also the group leader for his large group (employees of Clinique or some other cosmetic company) so I was happy that at least ONE group leader got a chance to experience the thrill of PIR victory!

I hope you're not too bored with all I've shared so far. I'd like to share more in the next day or so. Our adventures continued into the evening so I have more I'd like to write. Hopefully I will have it all posted soon.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Finally In LA

This was our first view of the Hollywood sign. This was taken 1 block away from our hotel. This intersection was the central hub of our travels. There was a subway and bus terminal here. Day 1 had us all splitting into small groups for touring. Henry, Mom, Uncle J, and I all mapped out and rehearsed our path to CBS Studios so we wouldn't be lost the next morning. After finding our way, we started to sight-see a little. My body just couldn't handle it, though so 3/4 of us returned to the hotel room. Uncle J perservered and met up with some others from our group.

Back in the hotel room, I recruited a few others to help me finish our "Good Luck" cards. We put Lifesaver Wintermints on them with tape (because staplers probably wouldn't have been allowed in our carry-on luggage, and carry-on is all we had.) Anyway, I had to tape them to the cards once we arrived because they took up entirely too much space with the mints attached.

With the Good Luck cards out of the way, and delivery pizza in my belly, I hit the sack. It was only 7pm Pacific time so I was able to get in a good 10 hours sleep before the BIG day.

Here's us waiting for our bus Tuesday morning. We were giddy with excitement!

We arrived at the studios about an hour before we needed to and began chatting with the red-coat pages. We hoped this would be in our favor. As others started arriving, we mixed and mingled. Our Good Luck cards were a big hit....especially with the college girls from Oregon State University. They were definitely sorority type girls (you can see Lyndsey on the show -- she was the one from their group to get called) and thought we were just the "cutest things." It was sweet and insulting all at the same time. I kinda felt like we were their "favorites" (their words, not mine) because we had some sort of pity attached - like, "aw, those cute people from Alabama." I played with it, though....anything to be a favorite! We hoped this enthusiasm for our group would be contagious and picked up by the producers. Oh, and this group was particularly sweet about my pregnancy. They would rub my belly and say, "hey Bama Mama!" whenever I walked by.

Even though we were there early, we didn't get our final approval to enter the sacred grounds of contestant seating until the very last minute. One of our group actually lived a few miles away....about a 30 minute drive if it had been in AL but because it was in the LA area, it took her 2 hours!!!!!! She was so apologetic and I had to be too because I pestered the mess out of her on her cell phone. I called for traffic updates every few minutes because our group was getting nervous and restless waiting on her. But she got there in time (barely) and we were allowed to enter.

The waiting process was lonnnnnnnnnng. VERY long. We were admitted at 10:00 and didn't get to enter the theater until a few minutes after 2:00. So there was lots of mingling and snacking. While in this waiting area the pages came around and checked our ID's and social security numbers on a 2nd form of ID. We also received our AWESOME price tag nametags outside. Knowing other people's names really helped with the bonding experience. I spoke with people who were vets at being in the audience and even got to meet and hug the girl who had won the showcase the day before. You can be in TPIR audience as many times as you are admitted (first come/first served) but once you are called down, even once, to Contestant's Row, you can no longer be considered for the show. But they often allow these previous winners back into the audience for fun and maybe to encourage us and pep us up.

Can you believe I met another prego while I was there? AND she was expecting her 5th child AND was due in February! I told my group I was gonna have to take her out since she was trying to squeeze in on my "gimmick." Thankfully, I think I looked much more capable of running down the aisleway than she did. She was a little more waddly and slow. I think she was probably a few years older than me, too. But she answered a lot of my questions about what to expect over the next few hours so for that, I am thankful to have met her :)

Around 1:00 the "interview" process began. It was NOTHING like I expected it to be (at least until Prego told me about it.) We were called around the corner (still outside in the noisy environment) and stood at a roped off area. Two producers were there, one sitting and taking notes, and the other standing and being very crowd-pleasing. This is how the interview went:
"Hi, my name is Mr. Producer and I know you're all so excited to be here. We're glad you're with us! Now I'd like to ask you your name, where you're from, and what you do."

He then proceeded to walk down the line to listen to each person's answers. He would make a few little comments like, "Oh? You're an accountant? Well you're in the right place for playing with money and numbers!"

And that was it! No opportunity to tell my story. No chance to say that my Granny would be so happy for me if she knew I was there. Only, "I'm a homeschooling Mom to 4 great kids, with another on the way." There was a smile and one of those clap-and-point-to-belly gestures that acknowledge my bump, and we were soon on our way around to the 3rd side of the building. This is where we went through metal detectors (although the female security guards told me I didn't have to walk through -- how thoughtful!) and checked in our cameras and cell phones. This was also our last chance for bathrooms and water fountains.

And at 2:00-ish, we were finally admitted to the studio.

Oh my goodness.

We had to walk upstairs and on that little hike, I got all tingly and even a little teary. I couldn't believe what I was about to do.

And what is the first thing I see when I enter the studio? A sign for "THE GOLDEN ROAD!" I had to cover my mouth. The first game was going to be THE GOLDEN ROAD! And for any real Price Is Right fan, they know that TGR is where BIG BIG prizes can be won. Usually prizes were more valuable than a double-showcase win! I couldn't believe it.

And as we continued walking to our seats, and as I absorbed the idea of possibly being able to play THE GOLDEN ROAD, I started to freak a little bit about what I was seeing. It was INCREDIBLY surreal. The stage was NOTHING like you would expect. Nothing.

Now, I had been fairly warned that "it is so small" and even knew the concept from having been to the local news station. Hollywood magic DOES make what you see on TV look much larger than it is in real life. But THIS was even more shocking than I had imagined. It was teeny and cheesy! The props looked like high-school pep rally props. It was all plywood and glitter! I couldn't believe it! I kept telling Henry, "This is unbelieveable."

Sorry, but this looks like a good place to stop. I need a little break. I gotta stretch my legs. Will continue again soon.

Dragging This Out

Since Blogger is STILL not letting me upload pictures, here's a non-photo related tidbit of the travel story. I promise to write more when I can share the pictures.


First, I definitely need to tell you about Henry putting the in-flight US Airways magazine in my lap with his hand covering part of an article. In the left margin of one of the articles there was a caricature of a handsome black man in glasses. Henry said, "You will not believe who this is."

I go back and forth with him thinking it must be a celebrity but he soon halts that train of thought and says, "No, this is someone you know and this picture makes him look older than he really is."

So I start thinking it must be a doctor who has had something to do with Mannatech. Maybe Dr. Ben Carson?? Dr. John Rollins? I mean, what other black man would I know that would be in an in-flight magazine?

Henry doesn't say, "No" but moves his hand instead so that I can read the name. It said, "Twas The Gift Before Christmas" by Dr. Eric L. Motley! (for those of you who don't know -- Eric is a guy I went to school with.)

My next tidbit occurred during our Charlotte layover. While ordering breakfast at one of the concourse snackbars, the gal behind the counter asked, in a somewhat shocked manner, "How many months are you?" When I answered "seven" she gasped and said, "It must be twins, right?"


Monday, December 18, 2006

Draft In Waiting

I am nearly finished with another blog-segment of my trip post but this doofy blogger won't let me upload pictures. Since that is important to the story-telling, I will keep it in draft until this thing decides to be nice to me.

While I'm writing, let me just say that I love December weather in the 70s!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Travel of Day 1

I've got to break down the post about the trip in a few easier-to-chew bites. I hate that this will cause the rundown to be a little backwards for people who don't check the blog daily but hopefully it won't ruin your day :)

Monday, December 11, 2006 (click pictures to see them bigger)

The sun found us above the clouds Monday morning. We flew out of Montgomery to Charlotte, NC and then to LAX. The layover was perfectly scheduled -- just enough time for potty breaks and food but not so much time that we ever waited to board the plane. In fact, we were almost considered late boarding the planes both times we were in NC.

The flight to CA made me realize there are lots of places in the United States that I definitely need to visit. I wish I had a window seat for this particular flight but my need for leg room kept me at the aisle. Thankfully the dude sitting at the window was friendly and talkative and was willing to photograph the beautiful landscape for us. He was also from LA and was able to point out a few areas of interest as we flew a path that was very familiar to him.

I wish I could see how this farmland looked from the ground. How do the farmers make such perfect designs?? And what is the reason? Anyone??

Colorado was BEAUTIFUL! I must admit that I was glad we weren't going anywhere snowy, though. I very much enjoyed the moderate temperatures of Hollywood. It was a lot like being home. The temperature, however, was about the ONLY thing like being home.

This (right) was our first real view of California. It was real easy to see how geography played a big part in categorizing different areas where people live (the Hills, the Valley, etc.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Rundown Of The "Come On Down"

Actually, of the non-"Come On Down."

That's right, we weren't called.

I have soooooooooo much I want to share about our awesome TPIR experience and I know it will take me a big chunk of time to write it all. Since I can tell by the site-meter that lots of you are checking in a little more frequently than usual, however, I thought I'd give you the basic answer that most of you seek and will save all of the details for a bigger post.

My time right now is super-short and has been all day. I promise to cover the whole story soon and will share pictures.

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes and prayers. Your encouragement has meant a lot to us!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Check Your Local Paper

Of course, those of you NOT local to me won't get to see this in person but those of you in my neck of the woods can check out the front page of the Life section on Sunday morning and see a picture SIMILAR to this one (but much more professional) and a story about all of us going to Hollywood for The Price Is Right! Five of the ones going from here were unable to meet for the picture and interview. Two others from New Mexico are meeting us in CA and the last one of our twenty actually lives in the LA area. The three from out-of-state are all former residents of our area.

Non-locals who know which paper is my local paper can find said article online.

Tee hee!!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Artist

He-Man made his mark on the wall today. He has twice marked the floor and once, the fireplace hearth. The previous tools were markers or crayons so today's pencil was actually not too bad.

Henry noticed it first.

H - "Who wrote on the wall?"

Me - "I don't know. Are you sure it's writing? It could be where I had the wreaths leaning against the wall. Maybe it was scratched?"

H - "No, it's not from the wreath."

Me - "He-Man, did you write on the wall?"

Nods head.

Me - "Come here."

We then go through the, "Are you supposed to do this? What is the only thing it is OK to write on? Is this paper? Are you in trouble?" conversation. It's truly amazing how he has zero desire whatsoever to lie about any of this. He's just as honest and matter-of-fact as he can be.

The perfect consequence to this situation is to give him the job of cleaning the mess. Henry finds the box of baby wipes and He=Man then has to stand there scrubbing the wall to remove the marks. It comes off fairly easy (easy for us) but is the perfect difficulty for him. He can get it but it's work.

Later Rocky asks, "He-Man, why did you write on the wall?"

H - "It's not paper."

R - "Did you do it because.......(waits for answer)...you're a bad boy?"

(I almost intervene.)

H - (cooly replies) "Yeah."

R - "Are you gonna do it again?"

H - "No, I can only write on paper."

Allright, we'll see.

Why is it that some children feel the need to do this kind of thing? I think all of the children had ONE incident of writing on something inappropriate but He-Man has been the only repeat offender. I guess I should be thankful because some children have the desire to shove stuff up their noses or to eat poisonous substances. When I hear of THOSE kinds of stories, I realize how grateful I should be that artwork (including only 1 bad "Let's play haircut" incident) has been our only real "I can't beieve you did that!" trauma.

If I was superstitious, I wouldn't be posting this entry, ya know. It kinda seems like I'm asking for it, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Yee-Haw! Another Nod!

Aussie golfer gives "sugars" the nod for recovery.

"Glyconutrients" Will Be Household Word Before Long

Here's another exciting article recently published about glyconutrients. This time it's in the Explore: Journal of Science and Healing. It is an introductory type article but that's the phase glycos are still in on a global scale. One day, everyone will know EXACTLY what it means when they see that my email address and car say "GlycoFamily" but until then, I'll keep doing what I can to spread the hope we have in this scientific advancement.

See (and hopefully read) article here.

***note: I have the hard-copy version of this journal at home if anyone would like to see it.***

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Quarter

We're turning in our First Quarter homeschool records tomorrow. I can't believe how quickly time has flown! It's been neat writing out all of the things we've done since starting in August. I am so thankful for how well the year has gone.

The first quarter (ending November 30) was 75 out of our required 170 days within a calendar year. I'm sure the 2nd quarter won't consist of as many school days because of Christmas/New Year and Baby-birthin'. We'll probably take our "Spring Break" the week after the baby is born.

I'm a teeny bit concerned that Rocky is going to finish school way ahead of the girls. He tends to just fly through his workbooks when the day's assignment is too easy. Sometimes I have to stop him and say things like, "Please don't do that today so that you'll have something to do tomorrow." I've had to get him a few little "extras" to keep him busy. His favorite right now is the math dot-to-dot. It's got a lot of "count by 2s" and "count by 3s" some of them starting in the hundreds. He thinks it's great.

What a change from the first week of school, huh?

Henry and I still can't get over how much we all love homeschooling and how wonderful it has been for us. We still ask the kids to reassure us that they love it. We ask them all the time if they miss their friends or wish they were going to ECS or if they want to be around other kids. We ask if they wish they had to wear uniforms or stay in school until 12:30 (we only ask this on the days they finish early. We avoid this on those tough days that last until nearly sunset!) Our favorite discussions come around 4:30 when we see kids getting off the bus. I'll ask them, "Don't you wish YOU rode the bus to school?" They always laugh (and have started to sigh because of the repetitive nature of the questions) and say, "Noooooooo way!"

In all fairness, I know they DO miss their friends. That has been one thing that is definitely an issue BUT it is not a big issue. Even though they're not big phone-callers, they do call their friends a teeny bit more often than they used to. They also have gotten into emailing. Mostly they are writing grandparents and even some of my friends but that social interaction is something they really want every day. (By the way, if any of you want to write the girls an email, ask me for their addys off-blog. I'm SURE you'll get a very chatty reply. This invitation isn't open to everyone by the way. I'm sure y'all realize that!)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

TPIR Countdown

The Price Is Right trip is NEXT WEEK! We've finally gotten babysitters & house-sitters & dog-sitters arranged so all that's left is the packing and studying.

That's right. We're studying. I've tivo'ed all the episodes since we started planning for the trip. At lunch I watch it with the kids and jot down EVERY PRIZE and EVERY PRICE. I have a 12-page study guide that I've emailed (or had Mom email) to the 19 other people going on our adventure. I'm hoping that if ALL of us study, we'll be able to help whichever one of us gets on stage....and hopefully one of us will!

Here are a few examples:
(all below are only from the last few weeks)
*Least expensive - box of paper clips - $0.51
*"Worse Case Scenario" board game (shows up a couple of times a week) - $30
*Dinette range - $717 (casual glasstop by Ashley) to $4893 (glasstop by Carsons of Highpoint)
*Luggage range - $565 (3-pc. by Tutto) to $1070 (4-pc. by Pathfinder)
*Hot Tub range - (they give away LOTS of hot tubs on TPIR) $3495 (by Beachcomber - seats 7) to $8290 (7ft. by Sonoma)
*Trip range - $2405 (6 nights in Nashville - Sheraton Music City) to $7901 (6 nights in Venice)
*Vehicles range - $14,049 (Chevy Cobalt LS2) to $86,743 (Dodge Viper SRT-10 Convertible!!)

* Noteworthy - Winnebago - more than $73,000. We never found out the final price because the girl didn't win.

Both the Dodge Viper & Winnebago were grand prizes during the game "Golden Road." The Viper is the biggest prize won (or offered) to date on a DAYTIME Price Is Right. There have been more expensive prizes during the rare prime-time versions but nothing that much has been offered as a single prize during the daytime show.

*Showcases have ranged from $14,817 (casual Living Room set, carpeting, year-supply chocolates, trip to Switzerland) to $60,989 (trip to St. Lucia, $1000 cash, Chevy Corvette XE!!)

Don't y'all wish you were going with me!? There's still time! I can call to add up to 5 more people! Just let me know!

A 10-Year Old Who Has Never Believed

Wanna know what a 10-year-old does when she's raised without believing in the Tooth Fairy?

When she loses a tooth, she flushes it down the toilet!!

Funny, huh?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Way The Day Went Down

(Edited: Picture finally added below.)

It was not a good start to the day. The church was having it's annual Christmas festival and the 4th-6th grade musical-expression group I lead was scheduled to present a routine. Ray is in this group.

We needed to be at the church by 9:30...because that's what time I, the leader, said we needed to be there. Did we get there on time? Noooo. Why not? Because MY daughter couldn't find her uniform shirt. Didn't she promise me a couple of weeks ago that she had seen the shirt in her room and that she knew for sure for sure exactly where it was for when we needed it today? YES she did. Could I have ordered her ANOTHER shirt a couple of weeks ago if she could NOT find her shirt from last year? YES I could. But did she tell me there was no need to order another because she had definitely seen hers and it was fine? Yes, she did. But could she find that shirt this morning???? No she could not!


I don't know if Ray cried this morning but before we were even halfway to church, I cried enough for both of us. Mostly hormones? Probably, but there was definitely a lot of anger in those tears. I was angry at myself for trusting Ray to know that her shirt is OK. I was angry that I put so much responsibility on my children when I could put more on myself. I was angry that Ray takes after me and is a procrastinator and didn't set out her clothes the night before (we could have borrowed a shirt if we had realized this problem last night.) I was angry at Ray for lying to me saying she had 'for sure for sure' seen her shirt and all was a-ok. I was angry that we were going to be late for a time that I scheduled and expected others to fulfill. I was angry angry angry and couldn't catch my breath. Thankfully, Henry was driving so I could attend to composing myself and correcting my makeup. It was rough.

And the performances didn't go so well. I'm usually pretty firm with the kids about being disciplined for this great ministry but who was I to discipline and lead today? I was late, I was a wreck, and my daughter wasn't in uniform. So the sugar-high kids who had too many minutes to goof off before my arrival, didn't get the tongue-lashing I was so tempted to throw out at them. They were in a silly mood and I didn't get it out of them. They were care-free about the program and I wasn't capable of bringing the necessary sincerity to the group.

And in my opinion, it definitely showed in the performances.

Yes, others said it was beautiful and wonderful but I knew it could have been better. I knew I could do better.

And the day continued...

My sour mood sweetened a little bit when we finally got away from the festival. We ate lunch at the Trippes and had a little down time. But the slow time wasn't very long because we had another big job still ahead.

The job? Getting Henry another vehicle. His poor white van is still in our driveway but it's no longer very functional. We're hoping to get a few bucks for it (for parts if nothing else) but she's definitely seen better days. That old Caravan was purchased by us 6 years ago and was 6 years old already when we got her. She's been a good vehicle most of that time and a good-enough vehicle until just recently. We've known for the past several months that her time was drawing to a close. Now the curtain has fallen.

So our next adventure required all 6 of us to go through the wonderfully fun process of purchasing another vehicle. It's a "GOOD DEAL" vehicle but older and nothing fancy -- at all. It took about 2 hours to do all that lovely paperwork that is necessary, and for those 2 hours, the children were ANGELS! Seriously! I was very proud and felt so much better about my parenting skills by the end of that trip. (Yes, I sadly equate my ability to parent with the behavior of my kids. Bad behavior = Bad Mommy. Good behavior = Good Mommy.)

The kids felt rewarded by being able to ride home with Daddy in the "new" car. I'm so glad that made them happy because that's all we had to offer at the time.

And then we pressed our luck.

When we pulled into the driveway, Henry and I decided that we should go ahead and return the truck that his sister had loaned to us for this past week. Even though she said she didn't need it back for a few more days, we knew we'd be better to go ahead and get it back to her today while our schedule was open.

So we packed the kids into the van again for a 35-mile trip (one-way) to return their Aunt & Uncle's truck. Poor kids. And they were hoping we'd be putting up our Christmas tree today when we got home.

And would you believe that they were ANGELS AGAIN!?

So we took them to Chick-Fil-A for supper. The visit to CFA has become a much bigger treat than it used to be. Back in the day, we used to go to CFA once a week or more. Since homeschooling however, we've cut that back to about once a month. So tonight's dinner was a nice surprise. And the kids deserved it.

They're finally all asleep now (since about 9:30) and I'm realizing my desperate need for some shut-eye, too.

Here's Henry's new ride.

God's blessing is amazing and oh-so-undeserved. How Sweet It Is.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Pictures - Finally

Left - our side yard
Below - Mom & Dad's backyard

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Last Week Of November, Already!?

Grr. I was able to load ONE picture but it's stopping me from loading the others. I'll try in another post and see how that works.

I know I must be getting pretty large in size because I am hearing a lot more, "how much longer??" questions. In my mind, it seems like the answer "February" is forever away but...DID Y'ALL KNOW IT'S THE LAST WEEK OF NOVEMBER????

So the answer of "February" and even "the end of February" seems suitable for most people. So far (SO FAR) no one has said, "OH! I thought you were due any day now!"

But I am definitely getting MUCH bigger.

Baby doesn't punch me much any more. Now it's more of an awkward somersault that I feel. Kind of like a kid learning how to turn a flip underwater in a swimming pool. There's lots of flailing but eventually the move is made. Little boy was breech this morning during the first part of Sunday School but after a trip to the restroom and a few minutes of extra, non-bladder-filled space, he had accomplished to return himself to the correct head-down position. Of course, breech doesn't mean ANYTHING at this stage but I will say that I prefer being kicked near the ribs more than the reverse.

Thanksgiving was a good time. The turkey and dressing was YUM YUM YUM! Arthur was set to deep-fry the turkey but his eye situation prevented that from happening. Instead he gave excellent step-by-step directions on how to make the bird dee-lish right out of the conventional oven. Mom's dressing was, once again, my seasonal favorite and her sweet potatoe casserole was much too yummy to be a side dish...it was definitely my dessert!!

Even though we kinda had a crappy football season with the Tide, one good thing came from this fall: all 4 kids learned how and LOVED to play backyard football. It has been a fun recreation for them but has also given them a greater appreciation of seeing games in person and on TV. Hopefully they'll enjoy the Bama games more NEXT year (hopefully we ALL will!)

Mom wanted us to pose for her Christmas card pictures while at her house this weekend so we dressed in the appropriate color coordinations. Mom was pleased with the way her BIG group pic turned out but I wasn't at all satisfied with our half-hearted effort at a family pic. The t-shirts were fine for Mom & Dad's but we'll have to do better for ours. I won't ruin Mom's send-out by posting her picture here but you can see one of the non-approved shots of my small crew.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Please Don't Think I'm Tacky

I didn't set up a "Wishlist" for regular reader-types to feel like I'm trying to squeeze a gift out of them. I actually just set this up for those small handful of people who read the blog AND are asking what kind of things I'd like to have for the baby.

This is a pretty cool little device.

Stacy's Baby Wishlist can be found in the sidebar, too (with pictures & everything!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Black Friday

I should have posted before now but in case any of y'all are online tonight and are contemplating early morning shopping, here's a great resource:
Be sure to look at ONLINE SPECIALS! It might save you from getting out in the mess tomorrow.

I personally don't see anything worth fighting the crowds for this year. How about you?

A Surprise

I have been preparing myself for this possibility but I must say that I have actually surprised myself.

Today was 4-D ultrasound day. I was VERY unsure about whether or not I even wanted to have it. You know me....I'm so weird about interventions and there's just a little bit of a privacy issue, too. My baby's privacy that is. Are we REALLY supposed to see our babies before they are born...just for fun, I mean? I'm not arguing the blessing of diagnostic baby-viewing but I've questioned whether or not we should look at our bundle before birth.

And today was the day. I agreed to it. And without my family knowing, I pre-agreed to myself that when they begged me to know the sex of the baby, I would concede.

Until today, I have been telling everyone that I did not want to find out if our baby was a boy or girl.

But today we found out. And I'm really all giggly about it! The baby is SO cute and I actually feel a really cool new bond. I will admit that I am not completely worry-free...I don't want those freaky ultrasound waves to have warped anything in the brain or wherever!

But...now we know. And I'm glad we know.

It's a...

Can you tell yet?

OK....look closely (but not TOO closely -- that would be creepy!)

And no, we don't have a name :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Prayers For The Popcorn Man

For those many praying folks out there, please lift my brother-in-law, Arthur (he's the Popcorn Man in this video.)

He (my sister's husband) had emergency surgery on his eye today. The holidays are not going to be fun and recovery will probably be slow.

But he and Uma are a faithful couple who trust in the LORD and I know they will be blessed. Prayers are appreciated!

Friday, November 17, 2006


I've been tivo-ing TPIR every day since we decided to make the trek to LA. The kids gather around the tube with me, watching and playing every afternoon after school. I take notes of EVERY prize and its price. I plan on making a master sheet to share with all of the people who will be going with me.

And would you believe that we have a confirmed 18 out of the 20 tickets and that the other two are VERY PROBABLY going to be confirmed tomorrow!? I'm stunned, actually. I mean I KNEW there were other people out there who would love this opportunity as much as me but I didn't know it would be so easy to find them! I must give Kudos to my Mom and her friends, though because it is MOSTLY her gang that is rallying together to make this trip possible. I will admit that it has been difficult to find folks my age to go. I know there are many more responsibilities and lack of moula in the 30-something generation but I had hoped there would be more young folks going.

BUT IT'S OK! The people who ARE confirmed at this point are really cool, fun-loving, spontaneous kind of folks. We are definitely going to have a blast! I'm confident SOMEBODY from our group will be called to "Come On Down!" And if I can get the study sheets out to the group, HOPEFULLY we can come together to make sure that that SOMEBODY will win.....and win BIG!

We'll soon be getting our t-shirts printed. Right now we're going with the very simple (but I think effective) "Bama (heart) Bob" but if anyone has another idea, I'm definitely open to hearing it. I will also be putting "Happy Birthday Bob!" on the back.

I wish I could think of something clever from the (excuse the "b" word) Happy Gilmore scene -- like "I don't want to win a PIECE of TPIR, I want the WHOLE THING!"

(if anyone else is wanting to go on this trip with us, please email me because I am able to get up to 25 tickets but unless I hear from others, I'm only pursuing 20.)

New Report Sheds Sobering Light on Hospital Infections

Attention America - PLEASE put more focus on boosting your immune system than on treating every symptom with doctors' visits and medications! Running to the medical model every time you have a problem is only contributing to the problem. FIND THE ALTERNATIVES! They are out there but you will NOT find them at your doctor's office (99.9% of the time anyway.) People were healthier in the generations that did NOT have a drug for every symptom. RESERVE THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS TO ACCIDENTS, INJURIES AND TRUE HEALTH CRISES and implement what your Great-Great-Grandmother did for most everything else. Take advantage of what science and integrative medicine is teaching and use nutritional technology to fill in the areas where our diets fail us.

Infections Acquired During Hospital Stays Kill More People Than Breast Cancer, Auto Accidents and Aids Combined

ABC News Medical Unit Nov. 14, 2006— A hospital visit may be more dangerous to your health than you realize. Just ask Ingrid Kwiatek, who came home from the hospital with a serious staph infection.

Kwiatek's husband said what started as a routine hospital visit turned into an 110-day nightmare of pain and suffering in three different Pennsylvania hospitals.

"I would never wish this experience on anyone," he said. "Especially distressing was the closed-ranks attitude at all three hospitals in discussing the infection."

Following the incident, Kwiatek's family doctor had this to say: "Hospitals are dirty places."

The High Cost of Infections A new report released by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council pointed to the high cost of these infections in both dollars and lives.

The report — the first of its kind in the nation — identified the actual number of infections reported by Pennsylvania's 168 hospitals, as well as other related quality-of-care measures, in 2005.

The hospitals studied reported 19,154 cases in which patients contracted hospital-acquired infections. The hospitalizations resulting from these infections amounted to 394,129 hospital days and $3.5 billion in hospital charges.

The average hospital charge for patients with a hospital-acquired infection was $185,260, while the average charge for patients without hospital-acquired infections was $31,389. The average length of stay for patients with hospital-acquired infections was also longer at 20.6 days, compared with 4.5 days, for those who didn't contract hospital infections.

Most telling, though, were the figures on patient deaths. The report said that while 2.3 percent of patients who didn't acquire infections died, the mortality rate for those who did contract infections was 12.9 percent — more than 5½ times as high.

"This report is a first. We are no longer looking at statistics based on estimates or extrapolated data," said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union's Stop Hospital Infections campaign. "These are real people who suffered from real infections. The personal and financial costs of hospital infections are staggering."

The Pennsylvania study did offer a few solutions. It said that doctors and other hospital workers should wash their hands more regularly, use gloves and properly sterilized equipment, and routinely follow established "best practices." The report also suggested that patients should follow the same guidelines and insist that not only health care providers but visitors wash their hands too.

Shedding Light on Hospital Safety What adds to the problem, though, according to health officials, is that most states are not required to report infections or provide such information to the public.

"It's time to shine the light on this important and costly issue," said Marc Volavka, executive director of Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. "This will save thousands of Americans from the devastating effects of hospital-acquired infections."

Volavka said the report is a first step toward greater transparency.

"It's time that hospitals, patients and those who pay the bill know how many patients develop hospital-acquired infections, the type of infections they develop and the quality and cost implications," Volavka said. "The more information that becomes available, the better the focus will be on preventing these infections."

"Until now, consumers have been completely in the dark about their hospital's record on infecting patients," said Beth McConnell, director of the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. "This report sheds light on a very serious problem and will help the public hold hospitals accountable for patient safety."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

This Morning

The expected occurred.

We found that our little brown gerbil, Carmen, had died sometime during the night. It was one week ago last night that I first noticed her decline. Sweet ol' girl.

Her 'sister' Junie keeps lying in the spot where Carmen was. She never seemed to look for Carmen during the past week when we'd take her out of the cage to check on her. I guess it was kinda like normal that we'd usually take them out to play. But today when we took Carmen out, she sniffed the cage looking for her. It was really sad. She then went to the wheel and took a nap. Sad, huh?

The kids are sad but OK. Rocky is really sensitive and I know this is affecting him. He's a dude of little words but Ray found something he had written on our kitchen whiteboard when he went to bed. Here's a picture.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In My Pregnant, Hormone-Ravaged, Too-Busy Brain

"Get those bags from Target out of your trunk."

"Think of something deeply spiritual to blog about so people don't think you're thinking about The Price Is Right too much."

"How long is that gerbil going to live?"

"Maybe this baby is a girl after all. He/She is kicking my ribs now so maybe he/she isn't as low as I had originally thought."

"Don't forget to shower earlier than usual tomorrow (i.e. in the moring) because you have a busy day."

"What year did my parents get married????"

"Do we have enough chicken for Friday's supper or will I have to get some more?"

"Why doesn't everyone do email?"

"I am blessed beyond imagination and certainly more than my selfish-self deserves."

Monday, November 06, 2006

10 To Go!

I'm still looking for 10 more people to use the Price Is Right tickets I have reserved for December 12. I hope to send out some emails about it tonight.

I'm so excited that I was able to find the first 10 in just a couple of days' time! And everyone is SOOOOOOO excited! YAY!


off-topic note:
Watching a gerbil in her last few days of life is very sad. We've been expecting Carmen's death since Friday night but she's still (barely) hanging on. Every night I say that I will be stunned if she survives the night. I've been stunned 3 mornings in a row now.

The breaths are getting much smaller now. She hasn't eaten anything or had anything to drink in days.

The kids are sad but doing so good about it all. They're so sympathetic and realistic about it. Everyone is glad she doesn't appear to be suffering...just dying of old age.

The normal life expectancy of a gerbil is usually 3-4 years and we think Carmen is at least 4 years old.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Unmoderated Comments

When Jen posted that she found a ton of unmoderated comments waiting for publishing, I thought I'd check to see if I had any. I had a TON!

So if you were wondering where your comments were, they are FINALLY showing up.


I Will Be So Embarrassed But...

December 12 (Bob Barker's 83rd birthday, by the way!) is the day I have a booking with The Price Is Right for 20-25 people!

I'm looking at hotels & flights and hope to fly into LAX on the 11th and out on the 13th. The rates are surprisingly do-able.

Now I'm also looking for people to fill those 20-25 seats with me! If I show up with less than 20 people, I am not guaranteed a spot in the studio.

If I can't pull this off, I will be so embarrassed... but I'm trying!

OK, who's going with me, besides Henry & my Mom?

Again, I'm accepting any donations for the "Fulfill Stacy's Dream" campaign! :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fun With Flashcards

I didn't necessarily buy these flashcards for He-Man but he has loved them more than any of the other children.

When Do I Quit? ** update at end of post

To update you all on my TPIR pursuits:

I've called TPIR ticket offices two days in a row and have yet to have "Karen" of group sales return my call. "Irie" the girl I have spoken with each time, seems very sympathetic to my situation and says she will have Karen call me.

She also says that since the announcement of Bob's retirement that the phone has been ringing off the hook.

But I was the first one to call their office regarding the hurry to get to the show before he retired/my baby was born. How do I know? Because the ticket office itself had only just heard about the retirement announcement, too and she was bewildered about the fact that I already knew (the internet is a crazy thing!)

I have a few leads/interests on filling my group of 20 and REALLY think I could do it. But I don't have a date or ticket confirmation so I can't move forward with that.

My good buddy Ryan mentioned this might be a good news segment. I had already thought this might be a good enough story for the CBS affiliate to follow and POSSIBLY pull strings for a good human interest story. So I've emailed the correct people about THAT and have heard nothing back.

And I've prayed about this. I've prayed for God to just tell me "no" if I'm not supposed to pursue it. I mean I've got lots of more practical and more needy issues that could be dealt with if I gave up on this silly dream. For example, we're really needing Henry to get a new vehicle, we need a new mattress, and I'd like a new kitchen table/chairs set.

But couldn't I WIN these on The Price Is Right? :)

So I really don't know what to do. I don't think God has answered me with a clear yes or no yet. I've experienced God's "yes" and "no" in other situations and I haven't had a similar response so far.

And I keep having the movie "My Date With Drew" pop into my head. It's all about pursuing that dream...even if it's silly and unrealistic. Sigh.

So I really don't know what is going to happen right now. Henry is wanting the dream for me but knows the hurdles are big. My friends are cheering me on because it's such a cool pursuit. But the wheels aren't moving.

I'll keep you updated.


12:12 PM
My third day of calling the ticket office finally got me through to Karen in group bookings. While I was telling her that I had left messages she said, "I'm sorry to interrupt but if you left a message, I will be returning your call next week. I can't book any groups right now while we confirm tape dates with Bob."

Soooooo, maybe there's still a chance??

How crazy am I?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Update To My Dilemma

I know y'all think I'm joking around about this Price Is Right thing but I've honestly been wanting to do this all my life. My Granny and I used to watch TPIR together back when I was a wee little thing and even now I enjoy watching and playing together with MY kids. I've desperately wanted to attend a TPIR taping but after becoming an adult, I've been a pregnant or nursing mom and it's just never been realistic. I've always worried that Bob would retire (or worse) before I could get out to CA to see him. AND NOW MY WORST FEAR IS COMING CLOSER TO REALITY!

So as soon as I posted the previous entry, I contacted TPIR ticket offices. GOOD NEWS! Pregnant woman ARE allowed on the show! Even VERY pregnant women.

SO here's what I'm trying to do.

I'm looking for 20 people who want to go to Burbank, CA in the next few months to be at a TPIR taping. If we have a group of 20 people, we can have a GUARANTEED entry to the program. Anyone with an individual ticket is not guaranteed and might not get in.

SO, CONTACT ME if you want to do this. The group tickets girl is out of the office this afternoon but is going to call me tomorrow. We will see which dates are available for a group of 20 and I'm gonna book this thing!

SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY! Email me (without spaces between my username) at
the glyco family at gmail dot com.

Donations for my flight & hotel are still being accepted :)

Uma Ruined My Day

Now I'm not BLAMING my sister for ruining my day because I'm actually very thankful for the email she sent me. It's just that the news brought tears to my eyes and has put me in a major funk.

What am I going to do!?

Won't you consider a donation to the "Get-Stacy-To-TPIR" fund?

Baby's coming in February. I'm thinking a mid-May trip is necessary.

Click here for the details of the terrible news.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

He-Man's Dream

While looking at our beach pictures, He-Man said, "Remember I had a dream?"

"A dream at the beach?" I asked. "Tell me about it."

"I jumped off a bridge and fell on my back. And then I went down the waterfall and there were steps. Then I came to see you. That was nice." Then he smiled at me.

Sounds like it could have been a nightmare with all the falling off a bridge and stuff but it must not have been that traumatic. I wonder if this dream occurred the one night that he wandered into our bed while we were staying in the condo.

When he was making me laugh I said, "You are something else, boy!"

He- corrected me. "I'm not something else. Something else is a toy."

He walked a few steps away and returned with a dinosaur-on-a-stick toy and said, "This is something else."

Goodness. He is a doozy!

As he walked off I mumbled to myself, "Silly little boy."

I heard him holler back, "I'm not a silly little boy!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An Experience

Tonight, after a yummy but rushed dinner at C's Deli, Ray and I were on our way to church. We left Henry and the rest of the kiddos behind because we were the only two that needed to be at church early.

During the rush hour traffic, there was a slam-on-brakes congestion at a green-lit portion of the street. I had to push brakes pretty hard myself and even grabbed my purse to keep it from flying into the floor. Thankfully, I had plenty of room to stop and did not hit the stopped truck in front of me.

Unfortunately, I had time to look in the rear view mirror and brace myself as I saw a young girl smack my Honda's backside.


She came flying up to my window, thankfully with a smile on her face. She was quickly telling me there was no damage and wanted to see if I'd be OK with just driving off. I was already on the phone, however, making a call to the police...just like a good policeman's daughter should :)

She then tells me that it's been a bad day at work and that she doesn't have a license or insurance and that she's driving her Dad's car. She then calls her Daddy on her cell phone and I hear her saying, "Yeah, she's gonna call even though there's nothing wrong with her car."


So after calling the police, Henry, and then my Daddy, I finally get out of the vehicle to see the damage myself. THANKFULLY, there wasn't much. A couple of knicks from her license plate (A Bama tag of all things....dangit) and a dent/bumper-fold that was already there made bigger/deeper. Honestly, it was an extremely teeny amount of damage.

I struggled in my head... Have I made a mistake? Should I have just driven off? Am I stupid to make a police officer use his time for this minor accident?

And just as my mind started hoping that our friend Ronnie would be the policeman called to the scene, I look in my driver's side mirror to see a black Explorer U-turning. It was my friend and his family on their way to church! YES! He pulled over and you could see the young girl thinking, "Crap...she's friends with a policeman!" Even though he was in plain clothes, he had his phone and was making calls to the officer who was on his way.

So I get the rundown of info about how I can sign a waiver to keep the accident from being reported (to prevent a mark on the insurance) and I decided that was probably the smartest thing to do. And I thought that MAYBE it would be the nice thing to do for this little girl, too. BUT then I re-heard what she told me before. She didn't have a license or insurance!

Turns out the girl was driving with a suspended Florida license. Grr. She should NOT be on the streets! And what in the world has she done to cause herself to lose a license at such a young age!?

Anyway, I signed the waiver and was free to go. I'm not sure what will happen with her.

Everyone at church was sweet to check on us. The word got around pretty quick because I had to cancel a class I was supposed to teach. There was the ultra-concerned who worried for me and the baby and there were the smile-and-pat-me-on-the-back folks who just felt bad for me having to deal with the nuisance.

I really am so very grateful that everything turned out fine. Things CAN turn bad in the blink of an eye but I know that God protected us. It's only by His grace and mercy that we are so blessed.

We prayed for the girl that hit us tonight. We prayed for her to receive great blessings.

(for those who wonder/worry - I have felt the baby move numerous times since the accident and I'm confident he/she is OK. I have only experienced minor tightness in my neck/back/torso and I believe it is mostly from the tension and stress of the afternoon. I plan on visiting the chiropractor tomorrow to get me and Shayne back in alignment!)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Too Tired For Text

So you're just getting pics tonight and probably more tomorrow...or whenever I get around to it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

We're At The Beach!

YES! We're on a teeny vacation! It's so nice being away for a little bit. Not only is it nice to just have new & beautiful scenery, we also love this trip because it's one we take with family. We always have a good time together.

Here's a pic from our lunch at the "Smiling Fish Cafe." Yummy grouper and shrimp (which is something I rarely eat and haven't eaten at all since Katrina -- been too scared of the toxins the shrimp have absorbed.)

Anyway, I will post more pictures later (especially the cute ones ON the beach) but I thought I'd go ahead and get this one posted tonight.

Now it's time to hit the sack. Henry and I are the last ones still up and we're so tired! It's weird how 10:33 would cause us to have 'the night is still young' attitude at home but here, after a day of sun, shopping, and STRESSFULL FOOTBALL (yay and grrr...) we are totally pooped!

Burglars beware: We have a house/pet-sitter and a big, growling, muscular, don't-like-strangers dog so just STAY BACK! Seriously! AND we're gonna be home VERY soon! (Too soon actually...but we gotta get back to the real world.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Drugs I Need

It's probable I've posted a link to this before but it made me chuckle again today so I thought I'd embed it for ya :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yup, There's Definitely A Baby In There!

Ain't no doubt that our baby is getting bigger and stronger every day. My belly is really poking out and the kicks are able to be felt and sometimes SEEN by the curious bystander.

Henry and all of the children have now felt movements (and it's SO cool to see the kids' faces when they do) when placing their hands on my belly. Well, He-Man has felt kicks and punches but hasn't realized it yet. Rocky's not super-observant about it either. Even though he has recognized some sizeable jabs when he places his hand on my bump, he has also missed several because of an average-6-year-old-boy attention span.

Even in the midst of chaos in the world, blessings continue.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

It's All Unpredictable

While our family laughed at the antics of our children doing commercial spoofs, friends of ours were finding out about their son dying in Iraq.

While we laughed over ways we wanted to gloat over a football Saturday, our friends were choking back tears while answering questions from TV and newspaper reporters.

Now we have heard of their hurt and things are different.

Love and Evil battle on this earth but we who have HOPE know that Love wins in the end.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

They Oughta Be In Pictures

My kids are hilarious. I don't know why they're not famous already! :)

Tonight was another night I was entertained by the re-enactment of various TV commercials while riding home from church. The one that had me and He-Man absolutely doubling over in laughter was this Citibank commercial done by Ray and Indie (Rocky laughed some, too but I think he's probably seen this act a few times more than me and it's not quite as funny anymore.)

Oh how I hope I can get my girls to let me film them doing this so I can share it with you!

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Second 9 Months Of Pregnancy

I have begun early thoughts and prep for the first 9 months of our new babe's life (also known by AP parents as the 2nd 9 months of pregnancy). It will be nice to be a nursing mom again!

I have a friend who has offered to barter custom-made nursing clothes for Manna products! A deal I can't refuse! This same friend also sent me this cute little song.

For your enjoyment:
"SEE OUR BREASTS" (sing to the tune of "Be Our Guest," from Beauty and the Beast)

See our breasts,see our breasts-
Everywhere, half-naked chests.
While we nurse,
The prudish curse
And wish we'd button up our vests.

Sorry,folks,look away
If we're too de'collete',
But this is what boobs are made for,
Not those Wonderbras you've paid for.

We refuse to go feed
Hunched in bathroom stalls-indeed,
We're appalled that you would make such rude requests.
Would you agree to eat
Upon a toilet seat?

See our breasts, see our breasts,free our breasts!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Trauma We Caused

We went to Mom and Dad's house yesterday to eat their yummy grilled lunch and watch the Bama game (no comments on that part, ok?) He-Man is in a stage of wanting to take some sort of toy to every place he goes. We're fine with that if we're going to see family but it's the FORGETTING to bring the toy home that is the biggest problem with the phase.

So when He-Man took Ninja Turtle Don (the dumbed-down version of the new turtles -- no more trying to teach kids the tiniest fragment of art history by keeping his original name, "Donatello") over to my folks' house, I knew it was probable we would forget him...but we'd get him back later like we always do.

I guess the frequency of leaving toys at their house got Mom and Dad into a silly mood and they decided to email the following picture to us:

Then Mom and Dad called us to tell us to check our email.

So we all gather around the computer and chuckled. All of us EXCEPT He-Man.

We all have a good time laughing at the photo and decide that it probably wouldn't be a good idea for He-Man to see it. But when he came running around the corner to see what was up, our curiosity about his reaction caused us to show him the focus of our enjoyment.

The poor boy had the most panicked look on his face. Goodness. We are so mean!

We started doing some serious damage control and because he heard his G-Jo and P-Paw on the phone assuring him Don was safe now, we were able to keep him relatively calm about it.

But Rocky thought it would be funny to continue messing with his baby brother's little mind.

Grr. Big brothers can be so mean sometimes.

Henry finally convinced He-Man that Don was fine because he's a Ninja Turtle and was able to beat up the bad guys (thankfully he doesn't know that is G-Jo's hand in the picture!!!) and is now safe and sound. But we think there is still a little bit of internalized trauma he is working through. He wandered into our room and bed last night saying that he had a bad dream. Today after nap, he started to immediately ask if we could go to G-Jo's house to get Don. We think he is still worried about him.

So G-Jo is bringing Don to Henry at work tomorrow. Hopefully having the Turtle back home will relieve a little bit of the anxiety we have caused this poor child.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I'm Here To Serve

I'm curious. What thing makes you check out my blog? The reason I'm asking is because I find myself lacking time to really get on here on a daily basis and by the time I DO sit down to post something, I feel like I have too much to say.

Here are the things I wish I had posted throughout the week:
Doctor's visit (have only gained 5 pounds TOTAL this pregnancy! YES! Found the heartbeat almost instantly upon trying and everything is lookin' good!)
Stuff we're doing and SUPPOSED to be doing at next visit (ultrasound, sugar tests, etc.)
Apples of Gold (an awesome new Bible study/mentor program I'll be doing for 6 weeks)
Suicide-related thoughts (not because I'm considering it but because it has hit close to some people we are close friends with -- a friend-of-a-friend kind of thing. Very sad.)
Police-shooting related issues (this is always emotional for my family. Makes us so grateful that Daddy is now a RETIRED policeman.)
Ideas for a family ministry project (we're wanting to do SOMETHING and have several project ideas floating around in our heads. Which to do first??? Hm.)
Useless Reality TV thoughts (DWTS - poor Harry!!)

Since I burdened you all a little while back with a long post that tried cramming many of my thoughts into one, I thought I'd spare you this time. The big bundle of stuff didn't seem to bring on any particularly inspiring discussions or comments anyway ;)

So here's your shot - tell me what you really want to see from me and my blog. Deep thoughts? Dry commentary on my daily life? Pregnancy updates? My totally worthless thoughts about Dancing With The Stars or Survivor? Poignant editorials about difficult issues? Cute pictures of the kids & pets?

Give me some ideas. I feel like my own creative thinker is running low on fuel these days.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Farnsworth's Home

Farnsworth came home last Friday and today was our first day to see her. She looks great and is SO happy to be home! Brosnan came with her and ate lunch with us. We visited for a good long while and it was really nice.

Thanks for praying for her safe return home!

Anyone see them on the news? They looked like this:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quick DWTS Note

Shanna....I'll be fine with her gone.

Joey...just as cute as ever!

The Pros dance to Rebel Yell...AWESOME! I want to learn how to do that!

Julio Iglesias...What in the world did he do to that song!? That was horrible!

If Toni married Taylor...

Would she hyphenate her name to be Toni Braxton-Hicks?

Ha :)

Amazingly, I am already feeling these doggone things. That's right...I'm 18.5 weeks pregnant and am already having these slight contractions. Of course, I already knew that each pregnancy increased their frequency and since these annoyances are probably practical in their toning of the uterus, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that they are here already.

Thank you, LORD for building in a safety mechanism that prevents my much-loved and well-serving uterus from falling out of my body.

If I can just remember that Braxton-Hicks contractions are like a workout for the womb, I can be more accepting of their arrival.

Now if I could just talk the rest of my body into getting physically fit for the big day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No Cute Pics Tonight

That's right. I'm not uploading any pictures of the family and I'm not googling for something interesting and relative to my post. You're only getting text tonight. Think of it as your punishment for not commenting on my last entry.

And why DIDN'T you comment? I mean it was a nice, long entry with lots of things to chat about. Was it so long it bored you?

Hmph. See if I write that much in one sitting again!

So - text only:


Go Joey on DWTS! He totally rocked! And he's so doggone CUTE! And humble! I'm definitely a bigger fan this week than last.

And THANK GOODNESS Jerry got such a low score. Let's hope no one calls in to vote for him. No sympathy votes please!

Mario didn't deserve the low score he received and Sara didn't deserve a score as high as she received. His wasn't the most outstanding performance of the night but it was good quality. Hers wasn't terrible but it seemed so stale. She hardly moves when she dances.

Anyway, I love the show. It's so fun!

I hope Emmitt can get back to his cute self next week. I wasn't too impressed with him tonight. It was just OK.

And in a quick change of thought:
Wasn't today a GORGEOUS day!? Oh my goodness....just wonderful. I hope you all were able to get out and soak it up a little bit.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bringin' The Blog Up-To-Date

Finally, a little breather on this Friday afternoon so that I can tell y'all some of the things I've been wanting to tell you for weeks!

First is this. Remember the dog I mentioned a month ago? Well she has now become a member of our family! We surprised the children with her a couple of weeks ago (see pictures of their surprised looks when they look in my van to see her) and have just been SO happy with our decision to adopt her. We had actually caused the previous owners to start re-considering their decision to find her a new home. They got really sad at the reality of giving her away. That made our decision easier. If they weren't going to give her away, then obviously we weren't going to get her.

About 3 weeks passed and we received a call. The owners had made a final decision and it was to find a new home for their dog. Even though they were heartbroken at the idea, circumstances just forced it upon them. They told us they really wanted us to have her because they knew she would be loved and well-cared-for.

So, there you have it. We now have an almost 5-year-old female (spayed) Boxer. She is AMAZING! Her name is Dixie (one we probably wouldn't have chosen for ourselves but she definitely responds to her name so we didn't want to change it.)

Next, we have the issue of Sam Catser. He does NOT like Dixie. We attempted acclimation processes and squirts with a water bottle when Sam attacked, but we decided it is best to just keep the two separated. It's pretty easy to do and is definitely the easy on ALL of us (furry and not.)

Here's poor ol' Sam on the very tip-top of our cabinets in the kitchen. We have totally rocked his world. Poor guy.

In other family news, there's the issue of the baby growing deep in my womb. And I say "deep" because DANG this baby is low. We had two scares during doppler attempts because the baby's heartbeat could not be found for many minutes. The second scare was worst than the first because it was 6 weeks AFTER the first scare and my mind was thinking, "SURELY the baby is bigger now and easier to find!" But, the key to the problem did not lie in the size of the baby but in the position of the baby. This baby is WAY down.


So I question, 'Why?" Is it a boy? Boys definitely are wives-taled into being low-lyers. Hm.

More likely is the fact that this is baby number 5 and my uterus is a little more relaxed than it was with baby number 1. The rubberbands are stretched out and just not as supportive (not something I'm bragging about for sure.) Then we have the fact that I'm 6 feet tall and have quite an impressive torso :) LOTS of room in there and with the impressive width of my hips (again, definitely not braggin!) there aren't even any BONES to help lift the uterus up into the belly.

Another deep sigh.

Which brings me to the next thing about the pregnancy. I'm feeling the baby move! This is a HUGE relief considering the two scares we've had. The movements aren't huge but they are definite. I love it! The movement of the baby is definitely my favorite thing about pregnancy. But again, it is amazing how incredibly low I am feeling it.

Now, low babies make for interesting silhouettes but they also make for interesting PAINS. Babies who lie low in the pelvis tend to cause more-than-normal hip pain. Yippee.

In happier areas of baby development, I will say that we're getting closer to name choices. But there's no need in asking me what those options area because I'm not saying. Henry and I are not 'fer-sure' ourselves and we're just not ready to say anything yet. But we're getting closer. We hope that maybe we can have firm-ish decisions by Christmas.

Now, to the thing that MOST of you care about -- REALITY TV! Ha! :)

Actually, Charlotte mentioned in a comment that she had surfed over to see what I thought about last night's Surivor and that spurred me into committing to a better blog-updating routine. Not only does Survivor need to get some more publicity (ha) but there's also my favorite, Dancing With The Stars!

But before I get into my reviews, let me just say that Henry and I have become TOTALLY addicted to Digital DVR (TiVo but from our cable company). Oh my. This is the most incredible invention EVER! It's like swtiching from dial-up to cable internet! We LOVE IT!

First (and I'll try to keep this short since this is already a long post) Dancing With The Stars - I'm pulling for Emmitt and Cheryl. He's just as cute as he can be and Cheryl is my fave pro. I'd be very surprised if they made it to the top prize but who knows? Maybe they can pull it off?

Mario definitely seems to have the most natural ability of all the celebs. He just seems a little arrogant, in a charming but turn-off-ish way. Joey was really cute, too (and MAN, those arms!) and I hope that he'll figure out a way to WOW us.

The women are just kinda sad. They're not terrible but they're nothing wonderful either.

I hope Springer is the next to go. He disgusts me.

I think the newly-premised division of tribes is incredibly interesting. In very subtle ways, you see WHY we have stereotypes of these groups. Each had their own slight glimmer of things we knew might be seen. The black tribe was chanting about "represent;" The Asian tribe had a "black sheep" who was considered a "black sheep" because he was a hippy! He pointed out that Asians are supposed to be well-educated computer engineers who drive nice cars! The Latino group made jokes about their own "row boat" experiences and how they are hard workers. And the white group? Well, they just know how to classify themselves within their group and then hook-up with those they find worthy of their clique. The cuddling on the white tribe is definitely going to be the soap-opera part of the Survivor story this year where I doubt there will be a romantic issue in any other groups.

Charlotte, to answer your question about the "punk" girl who let the chickens loose...I don't know if it was on purpose or not. If so, she was very good at not letting that appear to be a motive. It looked VERY accidental to me. Also, I think she would be completely sabotaging her life on the island if she released chickens because of vegetarian beliefs...and on the first day! She should be axed immediately if that is what she did.

And real quick, before I close, I will say that thanks to the miraculous technology of the digital DVR, I was able to catch-up on "Project Runway" in about 3 days. I had never watched it before and in one of their marathon weeks, I watched every episode up to the present. I am now firmly attached to it as well. And of course, I'm pulling for Michael, the local fella making it big in Atlanta. Anyone else watch this?

Allright, I've been working on this post entirely too long. Hope it brings me lots of comments! (hint, hint!)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Teaching The Kids About 9/11

We took some of our school time today to talk about what happened 5 years ago. Even though 3 of these kids of mine were with me every second of my personal experience, I know they don't remember. How could they? They were teeny tiny. Rocky had just turned 1, Indie was 3, and Ray was 5.

Uma called me to ask if I was watching the news. I was not. I don't think the TV had even been turned on that morning. The kids were messing around and I was getting ready to go to a women's bible study.

She said, "A plane hit the World Trade Center."

I asked if it was a little plane and by the time I turned on the TV I was seeing footage and saying, "Surely that was just a little 2-seater, right?"

Uma's pretty insightful on world events and was already telling me, "This is terrorism. That kind of accident doesn't happen."

I don't remember what else we talked about, and I guess we didn't talk for long because I remember watching when the 2nd plane hit. I don't know if we were still on the phone with each other or not (Uma, what do you remember about this?)

It was becoming obvious. This was an attack.

I told my children this story this morning. I talked about how scary it was that day. I didn't tell them I thought we were entering a war within our borders. I didn't tell them that the images of "Red Dawn" were flashing through my mind. I didn't tell them I called and begged their Daddy to come home from work.

I could tell the children were actually a little bit interested in my story. They asked a couple of questions and seemed to have a somewhat intelligent grasp of the reality. I decided to get them done with a few of their core stuff in school and then we took a break to watch some "Remembering 9/11" footage that I had taped off CBS 6 months after the attacks.

They watched in near-silence. I couldn't believe how interested they were.

We didn't watch it all. But I wanted them to see a bit of the devastation. I wanted them to know a little bit more about why I might be seen with tears in my eyes during any part of the day.

I realize that I really need to be mindful of any fears I might have given them today. I hope that as I relayed the history of that day that I also conveyed to them the hope we have in God and His Reign. I must be mindful of the truth myself in order to keep the panic away.

This really IS a different America now than it was 5 years and 1 day ago. I guess we have adapted pretty well. I'm certainly on my guard a little more now but I'm also past the paranoia (I think.)

Uma, remember that guy sitting 2 rows behind us at the Bama game? He was one of the exchange students that we were totally profiling? Was that in 2001? I'm thinking it had to have been for us to be so concerned. He sure was ACTING suspicious.

I just had to write about all of this today. I didn't really watch any of the coverage of the Remembrance ceremonies but any show that has clips of that infamous day will always make me stop and remember. It's amazing how incredibly affected I was by something happening so many miles away. The nation sure was small that day.