Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday and Apostrophes

It’s Black Friday, so that means one kid has already watched his Curious George Christmas DVD twice, another kid has already ripped a hole in his snow pants and come inside wailing for hot cocoa because he is soooooo cold, and the other kid has played puppet-master to a Lego rancor and a Star Wars action figure who engaged in an epic battle fit for J.J. Abrams.

Speaking of epic, have you seen the trailer for Episode VII? Right after I pushed Play on the video I said a little prayer, “Please don’t let this suck.” After the disasters of Episodes I – III, I’ll admit I’m a little skeptical. Not gonna lie – the trailer left me impressed. Can’t wait for next December when “the force awakens.”  

We try to remain very hermit-like on Black Friday. I have no desire to wrestle with anyone wearing Tweety Bird pajamas over a flat screen TV I don’t even need. The idea of standing in line for hours in single digit temperatures for a cheap Barbie doll that looks like Queen Elsa sounds insane to me. Nope, I want nothing to do with it. Quite frankly, I really wish I didn’t have to actually put on real pants at all today, but I’m pretty sure my boss would frown on that if I showed up for work in my pajama pants and the fluffy pink slipper/socks I’ve been shuffling about in all day. I probably should wash my hair at some point, huh? 

I like to use Black Friday to start the decorating for Christmas. Usually we would have used the time when both Evan and I were home to get out the tree and start shaping it to look real-ish and hanging the ornaments. Instead, he sold me on the idea of a real tree this year, so the plan is to find a local tree farm and go cut our own on Sunday. In the meantime, I was still able to bust out the totes of the rest of the decorations and get things looking a little festive. That’s the way I love to do Black Friday – in the comfiest clothes possible, listening to Christmas music, “decking the halls” with my kids. It was great. 

The other big goal for today was to get our TV mounted on the wall so we would have more room for the Christmas tree when we brought it in. Evan had redeemed some airline miles to get a wall-mounting kit and started tearing the electronics apart while I pulled out stockings and the Little People nativity set. He suddenly realized that our HDMI cables weren’t going to be long enough and that he was going to have to make a run to Target…

On Black Friday.

Is it bad that the thought in my head was, “Better you than me!” 

Long story short, a series of frustrating events including a forgotten wallet, poorly labelled packaging and a failed Google search ended up with us putting everything right back where it was – no TV mounted on the wall and a very frustrated husband.

So if anyone is looking for something to do tomorrow and wants to come over and mount our flat screen on the wall, I’m sure Evan would appreciate it.

Oh, and since I know many of you may be using your vacation days to stuff and address your Christmas cards, I want to take a moment to issue a very important message. Please, for the sake of my sanity, take a moment to review how to make your last name plural. I swear, I have almost unleashed a stream of obscenities not even suitable for HBO in past years when filing through my pile of mail only to find an adorable photo card ruined by a rogue apostrophe. 

Friends don’t let friends use unnecessary apostrophes.

I tell you this because I love you.

For a much funnier post on this very important topic, I invite you to venture over to Kate’s blog to get all your pluralization questions answered. This is especially important if you are reading this post and there is a pile full of holiday cards and envelopes spread across the table in front of you. 

STOP. NOW. Please don't make me have to give myself a sound face palm when I open your well-intended Christmas card. I won't be able to bring myself to hang it up on the pantry door with the others if that cursed apostrophe is there. I'm sorry, but I just can't do it. It would just be there all December, mocking me, heckling me, taunting me.

Please accept my many thanks...and also my apologies if I just offended you.

But you know what offends me? Apostrophes used to pluralize last names.

Wishing you love and appropriate apostrophes,

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Waving Hello!

We just wrapped up our first Thanksgiving meal of the week and most of us are indulging the tryptophan by lounging in the living room and watching The Wizard of Oz. I figured now was as good a time as any to make my re-entry into the world of blogging. So this is me, waving an enthusiastic "Hello!!!" to you through cyberspace! 

 The break has been good. It’s actually been nice to not feel the guilt when I’ve gone a few days without posting. And you know, I’d really like to keep that going. I need to write, that’s certain. But whether I post every day, every other day, or if it ends up being a week or so in between, I need to be ok with that. I’m going to do what I can do and I need to learn to be content with that and not feel guilty if it’s not up to par with what the standards of the rest of the blogging community.
I’m going to try to go back a bit and sometimes just write regular old family updates, posts that originally built this blog. Well, that and posts about how angry I was at Brett Favre for signing with the Jets. But I refer to the Green Bay Packers with the pronoun “we” so I think that totally counts as a family update.

Isaiah – We just had his parent/teacher conference a couple weeks ago and he is really doing very well in school. He is reading above his grade level and excelling in so many areas, including math and art. He has the incredible gift of a mind that can both compute and create. From what we can tell, he continues to be a real ladies man who charms and befriends girls easily. This is the kid who came home from Kindergarten with a girl’s digits No joke. Lock up your daughters, friends.

Micah – This kid continues to surprise us at every turn. He knows most of his letters and is actually ahead of most of his 4K class when it comes to this. Where he struggles in with several speech sounds and few processing situations. His teacher works with him one-on-one quite a bit because he has a hard time focusing and understanding instructions when he is in a group setting and she described a situation where the kids all had a little pile that consisted of a number of pieces of three different objects – candy corns, acorns, and pumpkins. The students were instructed to sort them into collections of like objects, but Micah just lines them up end to end. We have started the referral and evaluation process so we are looking forward to seeing how some additional services will help Micah learn more effectively.

Thomas – Thomas is such a hoot. He has developed this very mischievous laugh that lets you know he is either plotting world domination or preparing to poop his pants. We’ve tried four times to potty train this kid and he is having none of it. He just turned three at the very end of August so I know it’s not something that’s a now or never kind of thing, but I certainly would be in favor of sooner rather than later. His teacher is just as impressed as we are with his knowledge of letters, numbers, and shapes and his vocabulary continues to grow every day. Sometimes the things that come out of this kid’s mouth make us laugh and shake our heads.

As for Evan and I, our lives have been busy but fulfilling. Evan interviewed for a new position at work and landed it shortly after, so he is currently filling two roles at work until someone is hired to take over his previous position. It’s been an interesting transition for him to move from the quality department where he has worked for the last ten years over to the operation side of things, but I know he is going to thrive in his new position as a project manager. I got a teeny taste of what I might be like to be a wife of someone in upper management a couple weeks ago when Evan invited me to come along to a business dinner when two guys were visiting from one of their plants in China. I found a last minute babysitter and Evan taught me the names and positions of everyone who would be there as we drove to the restaurant. I got to put my schmoozing skills to the test around a hibachi grill and I'm fairly certain I didn't embarrass Evan too badly.

My job at the church has really been wonderful with the exception of that one day when I took a wrong step and fell head-over-heels down an entire flight of stairs and smacked my head on the floor upon landing in full view of no less than a dozen people in the Chapel lobby. I tried to play it off and save face as best I could, but when I limped my way down to my office and found the door locked and nobody around to open it for me, I just crumpled into a heap and cried. If I’m being honest, that day wasn’t so great. I may or may not have jumped down my office-mate’s throat as soon as he walked in the door because CLEARLY my misfortune was all his fault! Other than that one day, I have nothing but great things to say about this new position. We have really exciting things happening in the ministry as we enter the months before the big conference; auditorium tickets sold out in only 13 minutes this year! I’m working hard on designing the apparel collection for this year, writing a intro-level Bible study for men to download after the conference, filling in all the details for the program, and setting the groundwork for some cool new projects and products for future development. It’s really a whole lot of fun. The best part has been the incredible group of people that God has placed in leadership that I have the privilege of working with every day.

Of course, managing all this craziness continues to be exhausting. To be honest, I’ve had to write this very blog post in three shifts. Shift number one came right after our Thanksgiving guests had left and the kids were quietly settled in to their movie. I had to quit about ten minutes in because I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I blew it off and went to go take a nap. Two hours later, I tried to write again, but it turns out that those same kids needed to eat AGAIN. I mean, hadn’t we just fed them at lunch? Am I the only one who sometimes gets legitimately surprised at the fact that my children expect me to feed them actual meals multiple times a day, each and every freaking day? After I had prepared them a home-cooked meal of organic produce served with wild caught fish and they sat quietly, savoring every bite. Whatever, so I spooned some Greek yogurt in some bowls, threw some raspberries on top, and called it dinner. One of the three may or may not have had a bowl of dry Kix. But here we are! Happily clicking away at the keyboard for the third time this afternoon!

But now I’m going to have to call it because it’s getting to be bedtime already and I can almost guarantee the kids won’t do it on their own.

It’s good to be back.

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