November 27, 2009

I Am Thankful...really! I am!!!

I've seen a lot of places online where people are trying to find one thing to post about being thankful for every single day in the month of November. While I love that idea, I'm not sure I could actually keep up with it.
I'm flaky like that.
Anyhow, I decided to just to make one list of thirty things (one for each day) that I am thankful for. Now, these are in no particular order. I'll just list them as they pop into my head.
1. Thanksgiving leftovers. I could probably list thirty things I've eaten in the past few days that I am truly thankful for. For instance, the apple pie and coffee I had for breakfast this morning certainly took me straight to my happy place. I'm working on pecan pie right now. The stuffing and the turkey and the ham and the...okay, I won't list EVERYTHING!
2. I am thankful for NOT shopping on Black Friday. Okay, so I did do a little online shopping today, but I did it in the comfort of my PJ's. So there.
3. I am also thankful that David DID choose to brave the crowds today. He took 13YO with him and ended up buying her two pair shoes that she desperately needed and a dress for an upcoming dance.
4. I am so thankful that I did not have to take her shopping for those things. I would most likely have had to drag the other two along and it isn't fun having to shop for something specific when you can't concentrate. When I'm trying to think, they get all antsy and running in circles and getting in the way of other shoppers and then I have to scold them with flames coming out of my eyes and channel my inner demons and...I just don't like to do that very often!
5. I am thankful for my husband. He puts up with a lot and works hard for us. He makes me feel safe, he makes me mad as hell, he makes me laugh. I am grateful to share a car with him on this roller coaster of life. (But if you tell him I said that, I'll deny it!)
6. I am thankful for my kids. They taught me how to grow up. (Okay, so they're still teaching me that!) They teach me about frustration, patience, and how to shoot flames out of my eyes without having to raise my voice. They remind me that I really know NOTHING about life and to just roll with the punches because I'm really not in charge anyway. I'd like to be more on top of things and organized, but I get the feeling that my kids want me just the way I am. (I'm nicer this way. When I try to keep things a certain way, I yell a lot more.)
7. I'm thankful for my family. They did the best they could with what they were equipped and I think I turned out okay. I never ran away from home, never ditched school (okay, so there was that one time, but I never left campus and just sat on quad and watched the diving team practice. Plus, the teacher didn't even notice and didn't mark me absent. Obviously, it just wasn't meant to be.) They raised me to believe that, if I were to ever end up in jail, they would leave me there. While love is unconditional, respect is not. It must be earned. You don't scream in your parents' face and you respect authority. There's enough drama in the world already. Don't add to it.
8. I am thankful for being able to write. I'm not saying that I am in any way an outstanding writer. That's not for me to say anyway, now is it? But, this is my passion, my release. When I put something into words that I can actually look at and read, things seem to become more clear to me. It's nice to have an outlet.
9. I'm thankful that 13YO loves to read. I never really cared for reading books for pleasure as a child. I just hated to sit still that long! There are only a couple of good books I actually remember reading that I didn't have to. She has loved to read ever since she was in first grade and could read independently. Being a strong reader makes the other subjects a lot easier to keep up with.
10. I am thankful that 6YO is so good with numbers. She holds her own with reading, but numbers just come naturally easy for her. She could do so much in life being good with numbers. It makes sense that she likes math, since she's so 'black and white' about things. She's very literal and has little room in her life for grey areas. She loves school and takes it very far!
11. I am also thankful for 3YO's ummm...err...'personality?' She has taught me more about patience than anyone else in the world! It will be some time before we know what she'll succeed at in school, but she succeeds in making me angry and melting my heart in the same breath most days. She is an animated little person and will probably end up a temper mental actress or something. She is constantly repeating lines that she hears on TV and coming up with her own 'script' that I have to participate in. She will come up to me and say, "Mom, I'm going to walk out with these shoes on and you say 'I like your dress!' and I say 'Thanks. I got it at Taaaaar-get!' Okay Mom?" It's always something with her. And if I get it wrong or miss a word, she makes me do it over and over until I say it exactly the way she told me to. When she says her 'part,' she does in full character and everything. I think she's definitely my performer.
12. I am thankful that I can type without looking at the keys. This keyboard has black keys and the white letters have faded quickly. (Overuse, maybe?) I forget about it until someone else tries to use my computer. The typing class that I loathed in high school has served me well. Who knew?
13. I am thankful for true friends. I'm not sure if I have what you'd call a 'best friend.' Certain people are in your life for certain reasons. I have a few friends that I've known for YEARS and I can trust them. I never feel alone and I feel very lucky for that.
14. I am thankful for our church. David and I attended this church when we were first married and we drifted away, blaming our daily stresses. We have been back for a couple of months now and it feels even more like home than it did before. Our whole family is enjoying being there each week.
15. I am thankful for my new/not new cousin. She is a member of our family that we haven't always known about. I look at her as a success story when it comes to adoption because she turned out to be an incredible woman with strong values and amazing character. However she came to be, we are so lucky to have her in our family now. And we're not letting her go...she's stuck with us now!
16. I am thankful for my car. Yeah, it's ten years old and always dirty, but it goes when I tell it to and stops on command as well. The radio, heater and a/c all work. It keeps me dry in the rain and I don't worry too much about it getting scratched or spilled in. The first dings and stains happened way before I ever owned it!
17. I am thankful for COFFEE!!! Nectar of the gods, I tell you! I love the taste of coffee, I love the smell of it brewing...that's how mornings are supposed to smell.
18. I am so thankful for warm socks with grippy little dots on the bottoms. HEY! It's November people! Also, I'm pretty clumsy. The grippy dots certainly have their place in my life!
19. I'm thankful that I can knit. Even though I sometimes give myself deadlines that cause pressure, knitting is usually very relaxing. I can sit in front of the television with David while he watches some show that bores me to tears...and it's totally fine. I am completely happy and in my own little 'knit 1, purl 1' world.
20. I am thankful for the three HUGE bags of roving I was given, along with two drop spindles. I've always wanted to learn to spin, but it has always been pushed down on my list of things to do further and further. Our librarian gave me the roving and spindles because she was pretty sure she didn't want to spin anymore and they were taking up space in her garage. When you want to do something but can't necessarily justify it along with all the other things you have, it's nice to have that thing just fall in your lap. And I've already spun a little yarn with the help of all those videos on YouTube. I think I could really like it!
21. I was also just reminded that I'm thankful for Spellcheck. That really is a wonderful thing, isn't it?
22. I'm very thankful I get to stay home with my girls. Even though I could rip my hair out many days and it would be easier for me to just go to work, I am too easily distracted and overwhelmed and the kids would suffer for it. I wouldn't be able to be nearly as organized as I am now...and that's a REALLY SCARY THOUGHT.
23. I'm thankful that we can totally start decorating for Christmas now. The weather is cooling down and the lights and smells of Christmas are so inviting. The girls and I started listening to Christmas music a few weeks ago. (Shhh...don't tell anyone! A lot of people probably think that's really weird!)
24. I am thankful that I've been able to eat enough food to make my rear end this large. I'm not fat...I'm LUCKY!
25. Hopefully, I'll find it in my heart to be thankful for my elliptical again soon. It's collecting dust!
26. I'm thankful for my slow cooker. Seriously! Thanks to my growing collection of slow cookers and the help of the SLOW COOKING QUEEN, it's been easier to stick to a grocery budget and taken the stress out of what to make for dinner. Plus, my family is even eating a little healthier!
27. I am thankful for my doggies, even though I speak harshly of them at times. (Especially Aly..she's a real stinker!) They are both really good dogs. (Okay, so ONE is a good dog and the other is a LARGE PUPPY WITH THE POTENTIAL TO BE A GOOD DOG. There's a good dog in there somewhere...there's gotta be!)
28. I'm thankful for my kitty. He makes me feel VERY SPECIAL the way he tries to swim through the air to get to me when someone else is holding him. He even forgives me when I put a little hoodie on him that the girls picked out. He will truly follow me anywhere...silly cat! He will put up with any amount of abuse to be able to stay in my arms.
29. I'm thankful for where I live. It's a small-town atmosphere and the schools are great. Almost everyone knows each other and the lots are big. What more can you ask for?
30. I'm thankful that I'm learning more every single day about how to appreciate what I have and not worry about what I don't have. I still have a long way to go, but I've never been so comfortable in my own skin than I am today. (Especially since I'm still in my PJ's! HAHAHA!)

November 18, 2009

Bad Doggies and a Question for Ya

Gooooooood Morning!

Now that the coffee and Allegra-D have kicked in and I've cared for my pretend farms on Facebook, I guess you can say my day has officially started.

Our beloved, lucky-to-be-alive boxer Aly has made the 'naughty list' for the day. Apparently, Aly knows more than she lets on. Boxers are tricky when it comes to learning things. I read an article somewhere that said that, while they can learn things very quickly, they can just as quickly 'unlearn' them. They seem to have a very large capacity to learn, but the thickness of their skulls get in the way just the same. Aly can learn things quickly. With the help of a clicker trainer and a couple of treats, I had her lying down on command in a matter of minutes. But, at the same time, she still forgets to answer to her own name!

So, why do we choose a breed of dog that can be so totally frustrating? Because, even with all of that, they are amazing dogs for families. They respond really well with children and can come off quite intimidating to strangers. Even though it's not a good idea to be right in a dog's face with your own, that is where Aly prefers you to be. Her favorite moments are when her face is mere inches from a person's face so she can stare lovingly into their eyes. Her eyes tell such a story! They make the anger melt away, even if she did just steal another five pound bag of apples and sneak them out the dog door to spread them all over the yard, rendering them no longer fit for human consumption. She does the same with loaves of bread and my yarn. Yes, MY YARN. Her favorite yarn is sock yarn, which can also be some of the most expensive yarn I own, not to mention the most difficult to untangle.

Some days, that stupid dog is lucky to be alive!

Then, just as I'm at the end of my rope with her, she finds me sitting somewhere and lays her head in my lap and looks up and me with those eyes. THOSE DAMN EYES, I TELL YA! They work like a charm on me. And she knows it.
(See above picture if you don't believe me. The face and body have changed significantly, but she still has those SAME EYES!)
I just wonder how long her eyes can save her. It has come to our attention that Aly knows how to work a zipper.
A few weeks ago, we had gone somewhere for a couple of hours and my new camera was sitting on a table in the living room, carefully zipped up in its case. I swear it was! However, I came home to the camera bag sitting on the floor next to the table, with my camera sitting a foot or two away. There wassn't a single scratch or mark on the camera to be found, yet it wasn't where I had left it. Though I KNEW that I had left the bag on the table zipped closed, I couldn't bring myself to believe that a dog could have unzipped it. In addition to the whole 'no opposable thumbs thing,' I'd just assumed that she would have sooner chewed through the bag to get to whatever was inside. (And my best guess as to why she would even want the camera is that it smells like me and had been regularly attached to me in some way a good portion of the past couple of months. I mean, who doesn't love a new toy right?)
So, it bothered me that I didn't know for sure how the camera had gotten there, but I got over it just the same. After all, nothing had been damaged and I learned to keep my camera someplace else. Someplace HIGHER, to be more specific. Plus, are dogs even capable of learning how to use zippers?
This brings us back to this morning, when we awoke to find the backpack that David keeps his laptop in unzipped. David had left it zipped up, sitting in the living room floor when he went to bed last night. (Which also proves that he might 'unlearn' things just as quickly as the dog!) A Ziploc bag full of random little 'extras' that David likes to keep with him while he's at work was missing, but quickly recovered from the backyard. (Who said men don't need to carry purses?) The most aggravating part of the whole thing was that the power cord for his laptop had been chewed on. This caused various expletives to pour from David's mouth, which caused the dog to to hang her head and hurry out the dog door before he'd even uttered her name or made eye contact with her.
I've read a few books and Googled the topic a bit, and I'm pretty sure that we need to get a larger crate that we can start putting her in when we're sleeping or away from the house. While she's completely housebroken, she's still only nine months old and cannot completely be trusted. Poor Aly lacks any sense of impulse control. While she loves children, she usually ends up knocking them over at the sight of them. She even does that with our children...the ones she LIVES WITH. She would never hurt fly. Wait. That's not true...she actually eats flies! But she lives in the moment so much that she ends up being a giant pain in the arse most of the time.
Then, she looks at me with those &#%$ eyes.
We chose to get a boxer because of Hogan. Hogan was awesome! However, Hogan was around eleven years old when we started letting him come into the house. He had been an outside dog all of his life, happily living with his companion, Hercules. After Hercules passed, we knew it wouldn't be fair to leave him outside all alone. Instead of getting another dog that he may or may not bond with like he did his old friend, we started letting him into the house. He was the perfect dog...with the exception of the the smell! He was a old dog that began to be covered in tumors (which is another 'boxer thing'...YAY!) and he just got this smell about him. But he was an old man, he still had the 'puppy-like sparkle' in his eyes but he was the picture of calmness and self control. While neither David or myself never knew Hogan as a puppy, I get the feeling he might have been almost as obnoxious as Aly can be.
So, I guess a new crate and some obedience classes are in Aly's near future. I mean, so we can ensure that she'll actually have a future here!
Speaking of Hogan, I was watching some old videos I'd uploaded to YouTube a few years ago. This one video grabs my attention and, evidently, it grabs the attention of others. Around 126,000 others, to be precise. This video has been viewed more than 126,000 times. And I have no idea why! It's nothing special, really! 3YO (who was 1YO at the time) has the phone in her hand and she's talking to Grandma. I try to get the phone back from her, and she resists. Hogan makes an appearance. The lighting is dim, the video quality is atrocious, and it's not even all that interesting. I think I only uploaded it so I could share it with my mom and maybe post it on my blog when I had nothing of interest to blog about.
So, here's the video. If you know something I don't about this video, like where it could be linked to be getting such an obscene amount of traffic, I'd love for you to share. In the meantime, this is certainly no 'Charlie Bit My Finger' but...enjoy!

November 17, 2009

If you think something is fool-proof, that might just prove you're the fool!

My name is Leann and I'm a 'calendar junkie.'
I haven't always had this problem. At least, I don't think so. I feel like spent most of my life taking things one day, one minute at a time. Then again, I still feel like I sort of do that. But, then what exactly would explain the many different calendar and planner-type thingies that I have surrounding me?
Maybe the main thing I really lack is focus. I can't remember the last time I started something and finished it without dropping it at least a dozen times, and finishing it at all is a rarity!
I have this huge desk calendar that is completely blank. (You know, you write in the days and everything.) I just decided to update it, especially when I looked at it and noticed the last month on there was MAY. Geez...I really need to follow through on things! How are my children even still alive at this point?
I have so many calendar and planner pages and books and websites that you might even think I'd be organized. Nothing could be further from the truth! I just feel like, if I found the perfect calendar or system, life would just fall into place. Isn't that what happens?
It's not???
I also go very 'gung ho,' if you will, when I first get a new idea or system. I try to put every detail and thing on it. Then, I fill it up, get overwhelmed at what my life actually looks like on paper, and put it away for a week (or twelve!). I mean, I even end up scheduling the day I need to clean out the fridge before the garbage pickup every week and when my regular bills are due. I thought it would be easier to have my online calendar sending me messages a week or so before each bill was due. But, do you know what I do with a reminder that tells me I need to do something in a week? Yeah, I ignore it. After all, I still have another week before it's due!
Did you see that one coming? I certainly should have...but I didn't.
The same naive optimism that helps me roll with the punches also causes me to drop the ball here and there. But, then again...I usually have a lot of balls in the air! I am so apprehensive to commit to appointments because I have a little voice in the back of my mind that tells me I could be forgetting something. I'm usually not. Truthfully, when I am really forgetting something I don't even think about it until I missed it. That little voice that makes me doubt myself is nowhere to be found when there is actually something to forget.
Now, I need to close this before I forget (AGAIN) that I need to be somewhere in an hour. It keeps slipping my mind somehow. I KNOW!
I have plenty of time, so I'll just get ready later.
I keep thinking that over and over again, until it IS 'later' and I'm still in my PJs with my messy hair and eye boogers. (I know...HAAAWWWT!!!) And when it comes to showing up on time with eye boogers or showing up late without them, I choose the latter. And I'm sure the rest of the world is grateful for that.

November 16, 2009

39 Day's 'Till Christmas!!!

Heeheehee...sorry! I just couldn't resist!
We've been busy with more decluttering and moving some things around. I have to say, I feel like I can breathe a lot better now! I found this little 'Christmas Countdown' thing that never got put with the Christmas stuff and decided to just hang it on a doorknob as a reminder of sorts.
We put some more shelves up in the living room and I officially have a 'yarn and craft corner' that is organized. For now. We'll just see how this new system actually applies to real life! I'm really encouraged that David and I seem to be on the exact same page when it comes to the living room. I think we may have been in sync all along, we just assumed we weren't!
Evidently, communication is a GOOD THING. Who knew???
Well, I have some furniture to rearrange and an actual deadline, so I can't be here long. 3YO has been golfing on the Wii most of the morning and I've misused most of my time. I'm feeling the pressure of the impending holidays and the chaos that they bring, but I'm also pretty excited about it.
So..if my blog title gave you a knot in your stomach...SORRY!

November 13, 2009

Christmas Knitting, Cordless Sharks, and the Cat in the Dryer

Yes, 3YO has that look of ultimate suffering while 6YO gets a turn 'vacuuming.' This is probably the only time in our lives where they will argue over to *GETS* to do a chore!
Hmm....we should buy a new vacuum more often!
So, the weather is finally cooling down and some of the trees are actually changing color. Thanksgiving is officially less than two weeks away, leaving Christmas right around the corner. I love this time of year, but so much of it seems to go by far too quickly. (Unless, of course, I'm standing in line, which is when I tend to cuss this time of year under my breath and ten minutes feels more like a week! I think we all have our own 'inner Grinch' in one way or another!) So, we are already embracing all that we love about the holidays. Yesterday marked the first day this year that we've listened to Christmas music in the house. I listened to my favorite Christmas cd in the car a week ago because it takes me to my 'happy place' without getting on the nerves of others....yet! My girls love it and we all sing our hearts out in the car together. (Another plus: It's a great change of pace from all the arguing, which DOESN'T take me to my happy place!)
It's also the time of year that the tea kettle earns its keep, along with a permanent place on the kitchen least until spring! Break out the peppermint tea and oatmeal packets...cold weather has arrived!
In anticipation of Christmas, I've been knitting like madwoman. I wish I could post what I'm doing, but that would almost guarantee that the recipients would choose to read this blog post.
It's 'Murphy's Law of Blogging'...haven't you heard?
I like having several projects on the needles at once. I am not meant to be a 'monogamous knitter' and like to have projects that could suit whatever time, place, and/or mood I might be in. Sometimes my knitting needs to be mindless to mesh with the chaos that might be surrounding me. (Okay, so that's most of the time.) On rare occasions, things get a little quiet around me and my brain needs a 'exercise,' if you will. I've got a project for every situation...along with about a dozen or so that I may never touch again because they are evil and make me feel stupid.
In other news, I broke down and bought another Cordless Shark. I bought one a few years ago and loved it...until it died on me! Those things could pick up almost anything...anything but bananas, that is! It was good while it lasted, which was a good couple of years. I was looking for a new, simpler way to pick up the confetti my children habitually leave a trail of when you give them a piece of paper and the remnants of whatever something was before Aly got ahold of it. Plus, they have gone down in price! It also give the 3YO and 6YO a chance to help with the vacuuming, which makes sense because they are usually the reason the place needs a good vacuuming anyhow. For now, they take their job very seriously. It hasn't even been a week, so any minute now they are bound to hate it. For now, they have one more reason to cry and argue.
I just can't get over how bittersweet this whole 'parenting gig' can be sometimes.
Also, with the ever-cooling temps, all the creature seem to be seeking warmth. The houseflies have invaded us and we've almost gotten a handle on it. The dogs have decided to actually share the recliner that they always fight over in a effort to keep warm. And the cat has discovered the clothes dryer.
In an effort to not get buried by a mountain of clean, unfolded laundry, I've made it a habit of folding each item as I take it out of the dryer and sorting it on top of my washing machine. I'm not able to even switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer until all of the things in the dryer are sorted, folded, and put away so I never get behind. It works well for me.
It also means that I often have the dryer open with warm clothes inside for a good ten minutes or so. Snickers has discovered this and thinks it's his new bed. I turn my back for a second to find him most contentedly curled up on a load of fresh, warm towels. He looks at me as if to say, "Hey...THANKS! Has this bed ALWAYS been here?"
You don't have to tell me that it's not a good idea to let your kitty hang out in your clothes dryer, not to mention the 'ick factor' of a cat lying on clean laundry. I tend to guard my dryer a little more closely now, closing it when I know I'm going to turn my back.
Well, these fingers need to stop typing and get back to the knitting and cleaning I really need to get done. Isn't real life fabulous?

November 3, 2009

" grandma called and she wants her underwear back."

Someday, I plan to write a book about all the charming things my husband has said to me. What are the chances that Hallmark will snag some of them for their greeting cards?
That's pretty much what I thought.
We have been out of the loop, but for good reason. We spent a good part of last week at 'The Happiest Place on Earth!'
For those of you who live under a rock, I'm talking about Disneyland! It was sort of spur of the moment but it just seemed to work out so we went for it.
Once we got back home, we hit the ground running. Halloween was just a few days away and there were costumes to get ready and powdered donuts to buy. (Which, by the way, is a fairly sore subject for me. When I can actually find where I put my mind, I plan on giving the people at Hostess a piece of it for no longer supplying my local stores with the boxes of large powdered donuts. Do they have any idea how much that has complicated my life??? Do they? DO THEY???)
Okay, back to what I was rambling about. Once again, my train of thought has derailed somewhere just oustside of making sense.
Sooo...yesterday was to be my day to finally regain some control of the grocery shopping, laundry, meal planning, and blogging. However, a migraine headache had other plans for me. This one was worse than the ones I've had lately, so I tried to call in sick. NO. SUCH. LUCK. My bosses would not have it. (Yes, I don't have a job that proves itself with a paycheck, but I have three or four 'bosses' that dictate where I'll be and what I'll be doing in a day.) There was a 3YO who WON'T STOP TALKING, a 6YO with a ton of homework and THE ATTENTION SPAN OF A GNAT, and knitting group to get to. Okay, so the knitting group was mostly for me, but I had to find some joy in my day for myself, right? Besides, 3YO and 6YO were excited to go and knit. They have both learned to knit hats on a loom and were super excited to sit at a table with and 'knit' with the grownups!
Now, what is it about a migraine headache that makes my family SO OBNOXIOUS? Seriously! Is it just me? Just getting through the homework and getting out the door to get to the knitting group was so much more work than it needed to be. I blew my cool at one point, stooping down to my 3YO's eye level (Supernanny would be so proud!) and yelling, "PUT YOUR SHOES ON" with actual flames shooting out of my eyes.
Evidently, I need to blow my top more often, because that was the most peaceful car ride we've EVER HAD TOGETHER. I mean, WOW. Once they did get the courage to talk, they were super polite and got along beautifully. It's nice to see them get along and work together on their own, even if they are uniting as a team IN FEAR OF ME.
Getting down the driveway also presented its own set of challenges, as David had parked a trailer in the middle of the driveway and I had to pick it up and move it out of the way. I did learn that, even with the sheer exhaustion that a migraine headache can bring, the adrenaline rush from real anger and irritation can get you the super-human strength you need to pick up a trailer and drag it across the driveway.
So, there you have it. Now, I'm not trying to tell you that my kids are more annoying than normal kids....I just think that ANYONE is annoying if you get to know them well enough. Anyone who denies that is either LYING or HASN'T BEEN MARRIED OR HAD CHILDREN FOR MORE THAN A FEW DAYS. No one is me on this one!
And that's OKAY.
My family is still annoying this morning, but I'm sure it's more the 'migraine hangover' that I feel. Once that subsides, I'm sure the people and things around me will become more pleasant. In the meantime, my family is just sort of staying out of my way.
And I'm liking it.
: )