Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Ghosts of Christmas Passed

Well, it's over for another year. All but the tear-down, that is. Paprika and I have always disagreed on the time-frame for the Christmas un-decorating. I have always felt that I must dismantle everything and have it stored away on the day after Christmas. By noon, if at all possible. Paprika is a little less stringent about the timing, perhaps willing to leave everything in place all the way to THE NEW YEAR. *Deep breaths...slow...deep breaths.* I have (in my mind) a good reason for this need to clear away all the Christmas school break is two weeks long. Depending on the way the calendar falls in any given year, this gives me approximately a week of Christmas doings and a week of total vacation. How can I POSSIBLY enjoy said total vacation when all these Christmas items are staring me in the face every day reminding me that they must be taken care of before I return to work? Well, I can't, I tell you!!! Or I should say I couldn't. I find myself relaxing a bit this year...not in quite as big a rush to complete the tear-down and get on with other things. Maybe it's the fact that I've got two little girls who will be so disappointed to see Christmas go. Maybe it's the fact that we've rushed ourselves silly for the last month or so and I am all rushed out. Maybe I'm finally learning that time will go by quickly enough and I better not wait until everything is just the way I'd like it to be before I can relax. Yeah, that's it. At least I hope it is.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Paprika is the Man!

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about the new FLIP video cameras that I purchased for my school and *hinted* very discreetly that I would love to get one for Christmas. Well, Paprika not only bought me one, he got the FAYNCY model! AND he already charged it up and gave it to me! This, in spite of the fact that he strongly opposes my penchant for giving and/or getting gifts early. But since he knew that I would want to use it to record our family's Christmas celebrations this week he bravely overcame this silly insistence upon waiting until the actual day to present the gift to the recipient. Now you may enjoy this special rendition of Jingle Bells, thankyouverymuch!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Tannenbaum!

Well, here it is....our Christmas tree this year! We actually managed to get it decorated on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, even though we went out of state to visit family for the holiday. That was possible only because Paprika worked tirelessly to get the FAKE tree assembled before we left town. Okay, I'm a little disappointed about the FAKE tree, but we didn't have any other option this year, due to the above-mentioned trip. Yes, it looks like a hot mess, but what do you expect when two of the three people working on it are under 5?!?!? Sadly, our tree is lacking the finishing touch this year. The finishing touch that has set it apart from all others. You may have noticed the lovely silver and gold star atop the tree....purchased at Michael's the day after Christmas last year per Paprika's instructions to replace the topper we had used for many, many years. Well, he didn't say that I had to dispose of the old one, so ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to....

the ever-popular (with me!) Tasmanian Devil angel tree topper. Notice the leather jacket! Now what could possibly prompt Paprika to suggest replacing such a wonderful piece of Christmas finery, I ask you?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Elf Yourself, again

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Elf Yourself

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Christmas Parade

Last night we went to Burleson for the annual Christmas Parade of Lights. The parade was shorter than usual, but the girls didn't mind that. We walked down to the commons area at the end of the parade to see Santa light the city's Christmas tree. After the tree lighting, there were fireworks set to Christmas music and this was by far the best part of the evening. The girls were in awe of all the beautiful colors and the music matched the display extremely well. And what Texan doesn't prefer to see fireworks in chilly weather at 7 PM, I ask you???

Whistle Stop Christmas!

Friday evening we drove down to Cleburne's Hulen Park for their Whistle Stop Christmas celebration. The girls had so much fun running around and touching all of the lights. There were hundreds of displays from the US flag to toy soldiers to trains to younameit. It was quite chilly, but that didn't slow Sugar or Spice down a bit. Paprika forgot his hat so he was suffering a bit, (what with the increasing lack of natural head covering that he's experiencing), but he played along for the girls' sake. If you're looking for something inexpensive (read: FREE) and fun, head on out to's well worth the drive,especially at $1.58/gallon!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Perhaps You Didn't Know That...

December 5th is a VERY important holiday on the U. S. calendar. For the uninitiated, today was 'Bathtub Party Day'. Sugar and Spice had a blast celebrating with party hats, blowers, bubble bath, and bubbles. Next year we'll have to add some music and lights...

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Well, we survived our 9 hour car trip (EACH WAY!) to Mississippi with three preschoolers over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was great to visit with my aunt and cousins, who we hadn't seen since Sugar was just a few months old. We were also able to visit with the man in the red suit while we were there! The three cousins (Sugar, Spice, and Cinnamon) talked amongst themselves while they waited in line apparently, and all three asked for the exact same thing: a cupcake maker and baby dolls. Well, I'm afraid that Santa is going to be all out of the cupcake makers since a little research revealed that the refill supplies cost about $13 a pop. Oh, no ma'am. We won't be going down that road! Paprika suggested a fancy cupcake pan and a pastry bag. Now that's more like it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spice's First Haircut

Spice got her first haircut today and I think I can state without reservation that she thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Just see for yourself!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spice, She LOVES the Jewelry

We were at my brother's house a couple of weeks ago when Spice found her cousin's stash of plastic necklaces and bracelets. She proceeded to don every single one of them. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present 'Missus T'!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Post in Which She Does Not Mention Sugar OR Spice

I was finally able to watch Expelled, the Movie, last week. Wow. If you haven't seen it, you should definitely make the time. Ben Stein does an amazing job of showing how academia marginalizes, ostracizes, and punishes anyone who attempts to question the religion of Darwinism. He also draws a clear correlation between science's blind belief in the theories put forth by Darwin and the holocaust perpetrated by Hitler, as well as the continuing atrocity of abortion perpetuated by groups like Planned Parenthood. This movie provides much to think about in terms of academic freedom and the open hostility of many in the 'academic elite' toward those who dare to even suggest that there might be a Designer behind the earth and all it contains. It was recently released on DVD so go rent it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Boo Hoo.

Due to a death in the family, I missed Halloween with the girls this year. My mom's only brother died unexpectedly and I had to fly to Virginia with her, my brother, and my niece for the funeral over the weekend. I hated missing trick-or-treating with my little pirate and Dr. Sugar, but I did get to see them in their costumes the weekend prior to Halloween when we went to a local fall festival. And, thanks to the wonders of technology, I was able to get pictures of them on Halloween from Paprika almost instantly! When I spoke to Sugar on the phone Friday evening she told me that she had gotten LOTS of candy, much more than Spice. Hmmm, I ask, how did you get more candy than Spice (knowing that they had been to the exact same places). Well, she says, I guess they thought I was cute. Oh, of course. That must be it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alas, poor Jack! I knew him...

It seems that Jack suffered a mortal wound in the frenzied attack perpetrated upon him by Spice shortly after his creation Friday night. We're hoping he can hang in there until Friday!

What did one jack-o-lantern say to the other? Cut it out!

We carved our pumpkin Friday night. The girls are so excited to have it lit up on our mantle in the evenings, as you can see by the way Spice attacks it at the end of this video.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bold as Brass, He Was...

He first made his presence known Monday morning in the predawn moments as I was in the kitchen preparing to go to school. Why he couldn't have waited a bit longer to dart from his hidey hole across the kitchen floor to the safety of the area beneath the refrigerator, I'll never understand. I alerted Paprika to the 'guest' in our home and left for work, confident that Ralph S. Mouse (that's a Beverly Cleary reference for all of you nonliterary types) would be enjoying his eternal reward by the time I arrived home. Naturally, I made sure that Sugar, Spice and I arrived home after Paprika....just trying to spare the girls the graphic image of their mother running back out of the house screaming, I mean, the image of a bloody little gray body lying broken in the trap. Well, there was no need to fear, I mean, protect the little darlings because Ralph had enjoyed a lovely lunch and was still sitting somewhere with his little feet up dreaming of his next meal. Okay. He might get lucky one time, but surely there would be a satisfying *SNAP* in the night that would put an end to this drama. Ummm, no. Not the case. So this morning I was forced to turn on every light between me and the garage in order to prevent any sneak attacks in the dark. Little did I know that Ralph was not one for sneak attacks. While we were finishing dinner this evening (after arriving home to find the trap once again empty), Paprika stepped into the kitchen to prepare his caramel apple. The girls and I were sitting at the table finishing our meal when suddenly there was a VERY LOUD crash behind us. I turned to see that Paprika had slammed a plastic bowl down on the floor upside-down. He then informed us that he had just captured the mouse. Yes, that is right. He captured the mouse WHO HAD COME OUT FROM UNDER THE FRIDGE WITH ALL OF US SITTING RIGHT THERE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, PEOPLE! Clever man that he is, Paprika slipped the little straw connected to his can of ether underneath the bowl and sent Ralph on to the next world. He also used a similar method to put our elderly cat to sleep when she became aggressive toward Sugar, but that's a story for another post. When he removed the body from the death chamber, Spice exclaimed (in her best oochy cooochy baby talk voice) "He's such a pretty little mouse." Yeah, right. Now that he's dead. RIP Ralph.

I'm FLIPpin' Out!

I purchased three Flip video cameras for my school this year and I have been playing with one for the last week or so to figure out how it works and such. Simply because I must be knowledgeable about the equipment the library owns, don'tcha know. Well, I'm IN LOVE with this little camera! It's SO easy to use! If you're not familiar with the brand, it features a USB connection that 'flips' out of the side to plug directly into your computer. And the software is contained inside the camera! It's! SO! Cool! It has 60 minutes of recording time on a flash drive and the software includes 6 different video 'styles'. The movie maker takes your video clips and combines them, edits them, and adds effects to create a great little video WITH music. You can use the music included with the style or add your own. Here's a couple of movies I made last night of Sugar and Spice working on our Halloween craft and making cupcakes.

So I'd just like to end by saying *ahem*...All I want for Christmas is a Flip camera, a Flip camera, yes, a Flip camera! Gee, if I could only have a Flip cameraaaaaaa...then I could make some awesome movies! And you know, in case someone (Paprika! Nana! Salt!) reads this and actually decides to buy one for me...I prefer the black case. It's got the very nice rubbery feel to it, you see.

And if there are any Flip executives reading this who would like to reward my product plug with a free camera....I would, of course, be very gracious!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trust, As Displayed in the Hay Barn

On Saturday, we went with my brother, Salt, and my niece, Cinnamon, to Mainstay Farm, a local farm that celebrates 'pumpkin days' every Saturday in October. We have made a tradition of visiting this beautiful farm every fall. One of our favorite parts of the visit is getting an annual picture in front of the "Texas Grown Pumpkins" sign.

But, I digress. Our final stop of the day was the hay barn. They had numerous bales of hay stacked to create a play area that was about 4 feet tall at its highest point. The girls were having a blast climbing up the 'stairs' and running around on top. It wasn't long before they wanted to jump off and be caught by Salt and/or Paprika. While watching this display, I was struck by the demonstration of trust right in front of me and how it corrolated to my own faith. First, there was Spice. She's a risk-taker...within limits. She had the desire to jump off to her Daddy's arms, but she's not quite willing to put herself all the way out there yet. She still wants the security of knowing that someone's holding her hands before she makes a move. Next, there's Sugar....she's moved a little farther along the continuum. She's scared, that's obvious by the way she constantly bends down to touch the hay whenever she encounters any instability. But despite her fear, she knows that her daddy will catch her so she tentatively jumps to him without any contact before the leap. (Sugar has come a long way in the last year! Jumping out into space like this would have been unthinkable this time last year.) And then there's Cinnamon. The epitome of trust. Eyes never wavering from Salt's face, she launches herself off the hay without hesitation. It's as if the thought that he might not catch her has never crossed her mind. If her daddy says, "Jump!" she jumps. Simple as that. Oh, that I would learn to be like Cinnamon in my relationship with my heavenly father. If I'm honest, I'd have to admit that I'm much more like Spice...still wanting reassurance before I leap. Oh, that I would learn to fling myself into my Father's arms, knowing without a doubt that He will always catch me when He tells me to jump.

Grab Your Tissues as We Say Goodbye to an Old Friend *sniff*

Paprika and I 'celebrated' the end of an era Friday night. And I use 'celebrated' in the sense that means broke down bawling like babies and screaming, "NOOOOO!" Okay, it wasn't really that dramatic, but it was with a great deal of sadness and nostalgia that we enjoyed our final pizza at THE BEST pizza place in town and beyond. We're not sure how long Charlie's restaurant has been open, but we've been going there since shortly after we married 20 years ago. The thin-crust capicolla and meatball pizza was much so that we never ordered anything else. Shortly after we placed our order, the waitress announced that the meatballs were still being prepared. Did we want to order something else? Uh, no....considering this was the final supper, so to speak, we'd wait for the meatballs. So, as we sat there Friday night, musing over the fact that we'd not get another chance to savor the delicious, hand-made crust topped with an indescribable combination of sauce, meat, and cheese, we decided to order a second large pizza to take home and put in the freezer. We let the waitress know about our intention and she returned to the kitchen to place our second order....but, it was not to be. The meatballs, which were still not ready, would not be rushed a second time. So, after all these years, we ordered something different. When we got home and I was putting the pizza away, I remarked to Paprika, "It would be the saddest thing if this pizza was even better than the kind we'd ordered for all these years." His reponse: "I have no regrets either way." And that's just one of the many reasons that I love this guy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Love the Liberry!

Yesterday Nana and I took the girls downtown to the central library for Libraryfest. (Paprika stayed home to mow the lawn....he's awesome like that!)The organizers did a great job of providing activities for children of all ages...we stopped by the coloring table where Sugar took the opportunity to hit Nana up for some glitter crayons this Christmas,

Spice played with some foam blocks, then

tossed bean bags through the 'Rocky' board

while Sugar continued to work on her masterpiece.

Don't know where all this artistic talent came from.....must be the recessive genes coming into play! It's certainly not from her parents.

We also got balloons! We love balloons! Balloons are SO much fun! Until they fly away...which they always seem to do before we can get them home. Why is it that no matter how careful you try to be those little suckers always seem to escape???

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Our Little Picasso

All of a sudden, Sugar has started doing some really nice artwork. It's like she just noticed the lines and started coloring inside them without being prompted. Just look at this:

I may be slightly biased, but that's pretty darn good for a four-year-old in my opinion!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Fair to Remember

Everybody sing along: Our state fair is a great state fair! Don't miss it! Don't even delay!

Well, Paprika and I took Sugar 'n Spice out to the great state fair of Texas yesterday. As you can see from this photo, Sugar got her first 'professional' face painting done while we were there. Let's just say that I won't make the mistake of giving her free choice of any design that they offer next time. And I won't assume that the sign refers to tickets instead of fourteen. actual. dollars. Ah well, lessons learned. She basked in the admiration of almost everyone we encountered after she was adorned with her butterfly design, (which was well-deserved, if you ask me) so I guess there are worse ways we could've blown that amount of money.

Spice was a much cheaper date this time
around. She wanted to have her turn in the make-up artist's chair, but since I knew that she'd never sit still for the amount of time necessary to complete any design they offered, I told her no, that she'd get her turn next year. She gladly accepted this rainbow bandage as a consolation prize. What a little trooper! Somehow I don't think I'll be able to pull that off for much longer...

We sampled one of the 'new-this-year-fried-delicacies---chocolate covered strawberry waffle balls. OH MY! YES! They were an experience in tas-teee! Not what I expected, but YUMMY just the same. I also had a plan in place to also try this year's
winner (chicken-fried bacon), but was unable to accomplish that goal due to the fact that the very idea of chicken-friend bacon was apparently unbelievably appealing to hundreds of thousands of people who waited in line while they cooked the treat one or two slices at a time. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but it certainly seemed that way when I was standing in the hot sun with two cranky preschoolers while Paprika was off on a mission of his own. I know when I'm beat...
We had a great time at this year's fair...although I've threatened to leave the Sugar 'n Spice at Grammy's house next year...I'm sure memories of the aching back and utter exhaustion that goes along with the trip will fade and I'll relent when fall rolls around again next year.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Used To Be Smarter (Before I Had Kids)

On the way home from church last night, I had the following conversation with Sugar when we stopped to look at a neighbor's Halloween decorations:

Sugar: Where are the shooting stars?

Me: I don't know what you're talking about, baby.

Sugar: Well, Daddy knows about shooting stars.

Me: Yes, he does. Daddy is very smart. He knows about alot of things.

Sugar: Yeah, but you're not. Right, Mommy?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Random (?) Act of Kindness

We took the girls to the Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth this afternoon for the annual fall harvest celebration. We stopped at the IHOP for breakfast on our way where, much to our surprise, a gentleman in a purple Alcorn State University t-shirt who was eating breakfast with a girl that I assume was his daughter, paid for our breakfast! The waitress came to our table after he left to let us know that he covered our tab. Yes, he did! Very surprising since he had to endure a good 45 minutes of restless preschoolers at the table next to him. Anyway, it made our day...and I immediately began thinking about how I could pass the kindness on to someone else. Isn't it funny how we tend to pass on whatever we receive, whether it's kindness or cruelty? Considering all that we've received from our heavenly Father we ought to be passing on much more kindness than we do....or at least I do. Maybe you guys are better about that than I am. Maybe if we (I) spent more time focusing on what I've already been given, instead of all the things that I want, it would be easier. Who would have thought you could get a life-lesson alongside your order of pancakes?

The girls had a great time at the Log Cabin Village. We saw candles being dipped, dinner being cooked over a fire, and a blacksmith at work. We got to grind corn, rope a 'cow' (or in Zoe's case, a cowboy!), and split wood. It was a great day all around!