Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rants, Raves, and Randomness

Oh, dear. I’m definitely one of those bloggers who vacillates between productive spurts and long, dry spells.

I’ll pick up the ’08 review soon, hopefully, maybe. Honestly I’d rather not relive the first half of the year, but I’ll get to it eventually. *makes shifty eyes*

Rave: My big sister came from Denver to visit for a few days. It was so cool to see her. I drove to Chicago the night before her flight arrived to enjoy a peaceful night at the Hilton. It was heaven. After the airport we hit the Ikea, then talked the whole way back to Peoria. Man, I missed you, Sis! Hope we can do it again soon.

Rant: When I worked at Stampin’ Up! there was a woman who sold homemade brown-sugar scrub. It was divine. I’ve never tried a product since that could even come close. With the cold temps here my skin is like sandpaper, so I’ve tried the Wal-Mart brand of hazelnut scrub, which smells pretty good but doesn’t leave your skin any softer. I tried Bath & Body Works scrub, which works well, but I’m having issues with the scents. The first one I bought, Vanilla Blackberry Jasmine or some such thing, gave me a migraine as soon as I opened it. That went back to the store in a hurry. Next came mandarin lime, which has been the best so far, but it was the last one they had, so when it ran out I bought mint. Big. Mistake. I used some this morning and I smell like menthol shaving cream. It’s squicking me out just sitting here typing. Ugh.

Such problems, right? I’m also searching for a decent lotion that lasts a long time but doesn’t smell weird. Curel is the best I’ve found so far, but the hunt continues for that one perfect product. I never thought I’d miss the suffocating humidity of the Philippines, but the one benefit was perpetually soft skin.

Rave: On Monday the kids went sledding for the first time. (Although I think we took the First-Born sledding pre-Philippines, but that was years ago.) Middle Child had a blast. Completely fearless. Baby Screech…screeched. She is not a cold-weather child, which kind of makes sense considering where she was born. We went with the Johnson family and had a really great time, until the very last run when First-Born and my friend Lori had a spectacular crash with a little boy who crossed in front of them. No broken bones, thank goodness, but Lori got a heck of a shiner.

Random: The boys are into Pokemon and are always talking about powers and abilities and battles. They thought up powers for themselves, though I forget what those are, and then they decided that their baby sister has Screech power. Hence the use of her current nickname, Baby Screech. Never before in the history of the world has there been a more appropriate imaginary power bestowed upon such a deceptively harmless-looking child.

Rant: Our home warranty policy bites the big one. Our dishwasher broke a month ago and after several calls, they finally sent a guy out to take a look. He charged us $95 and told us the hard water basically destroyed the dishwasher. He left and we heard nothing for days. We followed up again last night to find out that sediment build-up isn’t covered.

Aaaaaaaaagggggggggggggggghhhhhhhh! Thanks for letting us know, people. And for taking so long to do absolutely nothing except charge us $95.

American Home Shield, I renounce thee! The unhelpful, villainous crooks.

Random: I’m entering two stories in the Highlights Fiction Contest this month. One’s already in the mail; the other will go out this week. It’s not a genre I’m totally comfortable writing. I definitely prefer longer pieces for older readers, but it was good for me to stretch a little. Heck, it was good for me to write, period, since the current work-in-progress has me pulling out clumps of hair.

Random: 30 Rock is a funny, funny show. We caught up on the first two seasons through NetFlix. The Husband tells me that I’m Liz Lemon. Or Tina Fey. Or some cross between the two. Should I be scared that I relate so well to so many of Liz’s dysfunctional traits? Blergh.

Happy Wednesday, World!

Monday, January 5, 2009


We had a busy month. Visited the arch in St. Louis and Navy Pier in Chicago. Had the pleasure of blessing our little girl with all the Hayes siblings in attendance. I saw Wicked; the boys saw a Cardinals game and a Rams game and met SpongeBob at King's Island in Ohio. Oh, and they started school. Whew.

Friday, January 2, 2009


The flooded basement pretty much consumed our attention this month.

Other items of note: Dear Husband's birthday and a nice day trip to Springfield to visit family.


We love, love, love Halloween, and we missed the fall season terribly while living in Manila, so this October was pure magic.

Halloween evening was so warm that our little Dora wore her costume without a coat.
We also managed to squeeze in several birthdays and a preseason Jazz game in Chicago. You just can't beat a month with pumpkins, autumn leaves, and trick-or-treating at houses that give away full-size candy bars.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Survived a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Took lots and lots of bad photos for my photography class, and even a few ok ones. The highlight: a class field trip to photograph barns at dawn.

Met my father-in-law in Chicago and took the kids to the zoo.

This is the child we nicknamed rhinocerous at birth. (He was extremely tiny, so his daddy picked something big and ferocious.) I couldn't resist this photo with his namesake.

Leaf fight.


Lots of illness this month, but otherwise it was a pretty laid-back holiday season. We weathered our first ice storm and enjoyed a peaceful Christmas day in our new home.

I love this pic (except for the fire coming out of my child's head). The Nintendo DS was a huge hit. Thanks, Santa!

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year, y'all! I've resolved to do a 2008 year-in-review, complete with pictures, over the next few days. I'll be working backward, since I'm still hunting for my pics from January. Here's a photo to get things started: