Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

To celebrate the New Year I plan to not:

1. Stay up until midnight. - We will be leaving early tomorrow morning for Grandma and Grandpa P's house in Texas, and I want to be well rested.

2. Eat black-eyed peas. - I've heard vicious rumors that this is a tradition that's supposed to bring luck, but as Art says, "I'll just do without that extra bit of luck."

3. Make New Year's Resolutions. - Why set myself up for failure, honestly?

Hope the rest of you celebrate well and find real joy in the New Year.

Merry Christmas (Again)

We decided at the last minute to have our family Christmas with Art's family yesterday after the H reunion. There were quite a few of us packed into the living room, because the family keeps growing, but it was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed being the center of attention yet again. Zaya and Mim, along with their cousins Jaida and Addy.

Here's Baby Addy with her Uncle Carl. She just loved his cowboy hat and probably thought it looked tasty.

The girls (Mim and Jaida) got chapstick this year from a couple different sources, so we had periodic chapstick fests.

Zaya tells his Daddy about his new hat.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reunioning with the H Family

Many, many moons ago, Art's great-great-grandparents raised a family of sixteen children here on the Oklahoma prairie. Art's Grandpa, Abe, was the son of the oldest daughter of this family. The story goes that the patriarch of the family would saw a bit off of the huge family dinner table and the bench seats every time a kid married and moved out. (That would definitely discourage divorce.)

Every year, on the Last Sunday of December, the H family still gets together at the school cafeteria to consume mass quantities of good cooking (It's mostly potluck) and catch up on each other's lives. Because so many generations exist now, there's a good chance that you won't recognize a significant percentage of the group, but that doesn't seem to stop anyone from talking, laughing and comparing family size.

I don't know how long the tradition will/can continue. I think there are only 2 or 3 of the original 16 children still alive, and the families are literally scattered across the country now, and probably around the world. It's sad, but there are people from this community that we only see at the H Reunion, even though we might live only 20 miles apart. I suppose that's just modern life.

The H's have a jump on most families though. How many people can say that they annually celebrate with their great-grandma's extended family. I certainly can't. That would be like us all getting together with the children of Great-Grandma Berry's brothers and sisters and their children. (I'm not even sure how many siblings she had; that's how bad I am at genealogy. Aunt MJP, you'll have to set me straight.)

I have to tell a story on my sister-in-law, Lizzy*. (Art's youngest sister) She and her husband, Carl* (both pictured above), found a wedding picture in one of the albums there of Lizzy's great, great, great grandma and Carl's great, great, great grandpa. That kind of thing just happens when communities stick together, like this one has. In their defense, though, it was a second marriage for the two old-timers, and they never had any children, so Lizzy and Carl are only related by marriage. But still...we give them a hard time about it. How could you not?

*Names changed

Saturday, December 29, 2007

By Royal Decree

Mim has found her true calling, thanks to a thoughtful gift from Grandma Lilibeth. She's been practicing for her future reign. (Ha, "future", who am I kidding?) I told her she needed to play with toys and run around this morning instead of watching more videos. She said, "I can't wun awound! The willing woom* is too messy!" And it was. I think it finally met her expectations after I removed all my laundry baskets.

* willing woom = living room

Friday, December 28, 2007

Status Quo

Thanks for everyone's opinions on the possible blog name for my spouse. After consulting with him and weighing all of your input, I've decided to call him Art. It's short, easy to write, and makes sense in its own way since it's actually his initials. I'm sure you all care.

Zaya is finally over his fever and is on antibiotics. Mim, however, is in day two of her fever, so life for Mommy hasn't changed much. Oh, except that Zaya has started up his asthma today, but I'm just thanking God that it came after the Strep instead of at the same time, which would possibly have pushed me over the brink towards insanity.

Luckily we had Christmas here and with my family the day before the kids got sick, so they have some new toys to play with. Mommy has some new books to read and some new videos to watch; Daddy has had lots of time to work on the back of the house (with some new Christmas present tools) and has made some visible progress, which always helps out the spirit of a do-it-yourselfer, so all in all things could really be a lot worse.

Mim has been playing with blocks (including the new Creata blocks from Grandma Lilibeth) In the picture above, Mim has decided the Creatas are feeding troughs. She said to me, "It looks like the animals talkin'" When I asked what they were talking about she said, "They talkin' 'bout they wimmy poo." (Translation: They're talking about their swimming pool.) She decided that the big blue one is their swimming pool. Cow is taking a dip in this picture. She then decided to make a potty for them, but out of consideration for Uncle E and Grandma P I chose not to take photos of each animal going potty, which they did. Several times.

We're still planning to make a late trip to Texas and have our postponed family Christmas with Art's family. At least I don't have that post-holiday funk this year, since there's still so much to look forward to. My glass is half-full. (of what, I'm not sure.)

(I know, I ended several sentences on a preposition in this post. I don't really want to go back and fix them, though, so I'm not going to. Hee hee.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #43

13 Possible Blog Names for my Husband

I don't know what to call my husband on this blog. I've been using the tried and true "my husband", the letter A, or even the hated word "hubby" but there are instances when I'd really like to just give the poor man the dignity of a name and not a letter or category. Please tell me which names you think would be best for him, especially if you know us in real life, but even if you don't.

1. Aquila
2. Alastair
3. Albert
4. Alfred
5. Art
7. Adam
8. Paul
9. Jacob
10. Benjamen
11. Daniel
12. David
13. Joseph

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Streppin' out in Style

Well, it's official. This season's illness of choice is Strep Throat. I'm a little confused, since Zaya has not had a sore throat, but a cough. However, the lab tests don't lie, so he has had his first dose of antibiotics and we're hoping our Christmas with the family we haven't visited yet can proceed soon. (Just pray with us that no one else catches it.) I'm so glad that we decided not to go to the family meals we missed when he started running a fever.

OK, so the title's "Streppin'" part was Zaya. The "Out in Style" part is for my husband, who flashed (or briefed, rather) any late revelers in our neighborhood on Christmas Eve. That sounds worse than it was. Actually, our cat, Gatito, was yeowlling at one of the other toms on the street. We'd had about as much as we could stand, so A went out onto the front porch in his briefs to give the cat a swift kick off the porch.

His recent flight notwithstanding, Gatito continued to yeowl, so A got out his wrist rocket and proceeded to shoot hard Christmas candy from my dish in the kitchen at the neighboring tom. He said it was quite effective, because all he had to do was hit underneath the cat, and the impact shattered the candy and sent it flying in all directions. Sort of like tiny festive land mines.

Anyway, my apologies to Mrs. W, Mrs. G and Mrs. M, or anyone else looking out their windows on Christmas Eve. Sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. In whatever he's wearing.

The picture above is of the kids with their favorite Christmas present from Mommy and Daddy. Bubble wrap.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Quarantined Chrismtas

Zaya woke up yesterday morning with a fever, so we missed Christmas at Grandma T's house. This morning it was even higher, so now we're also missing Christmas at Grandparents P's house in Texas. I am very sad, but there's no one to blame. It's just one of those things. At least he doesn't really seem to feel too bad. It's just this high fever and a cough.

We doped him up with Tylenol and took him just for his little pre-schooler part at the Christmas Eve Program at church last night. He did a great job, and didn't wiggle or pick his nose too much. ("Zaya, what two things are you not supposed to do at your program? I'm not supposed to wiggle and I'm not supposed to pick my nose.") He said his little line loud and clear and he and Mim both sang all their songs. I was nervous, but they did a great job, so I shouldn't have been. We had Zaya, who was dressed as a shepherd, hold his sheep Lillian to keep his hands busy. Mim was dressed as an angel and danced back and forth while she sang her songs, so she might have a little Pentecostal in her soul from mommy's side.

We left as soon as the kids' part was done, and thought Zay was doing so much better that we might go to Texas this morning, so we packed up the car and had everything ready to leave at 6:00am, but alas, it was not to be. His fever was back up, higher than yesterday, and his cough sounded worse.

The last thing Aunt Hazel needs is an American cold for Christmas. We're missing all of you guys right now, but we hope to see you again as soon as we can.

'Twas the Night

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the place
Two toddlers were setting a frightening pace.

The stockings were hung by the A/C with care,
So they wouldn't fall down, and young kids couldn't tear.

The children were finally put in their beds,
Where visions of Fisher Price danced in their heads.

And Mom in her sweat suit, and Dad in his briefs
Had just settled with books for a night with no griefs

When in the front room there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window they flew like a flash.
They moved back the curtains and threw up the sash.

For what could that scratching and tearing sound mean,
But that ignorant cat climbing up on the screen.

More rapid than eagles frustration, it came,
Dad whistled and shouted and called the cat names.

As dry leaves that before the wild Okie wind fly
Dad ran to the sink with a frightening cry.

Then back to the window the mighty man flew
With a glass full of water and steely gaze, too.

And then in a twinkling Mom heard in the hall
The patter of feet and small hands on the wall

As Mom turned to look, from their bedrooms they came.
Happy young children thinking this was a game.

Their eyes were so bright and their PJs so warm,
Mom moved them away, to protect them from harm.

Dad spoke not a word, but went straight to his work.
Dousing that cat, through the screen, with a smirk.

And picking up children, and kissing their heads
The two parents snuggled them down in their beds.

They went back to reading, this Mom and this Dad
Hoping the cat would no longer be bad.

You could hear feline meows as it shivered, all wet.
“Merry Christmas to you too! I'll get that screen yet!”

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My husband just called my cell phone from up in the attic. He wanted me to get his drill bits for him so he didn't have to crawl back down the ladder.

I see that we've entered a new era of technology, and I'm not sure I like it.

On another note, it's currently snowing with 35 mph winds outside, and not a very pleasant day. I'm just glad there is no reason I need to even go as far as my front porch.

Sounds like a nice day for some hot chocolate and those warm grippy socks I bought for my own stocking. Luckily, we did our little family Christmas this morning, so the socks are accessible. I also put some little Snickers Nutcrackers in there. I might just have to break those out.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Goober Proof

I know, you all thought I was kidding about the pictures my children took on Wednesday. Here is the evidence. I have selected two particularly fine images.

We've decided to do a collage of all the faces Zaya made and save it for his Senior Graduation someday.

In an effort to show him why he should behave himself on picture day, I let him look at all the pictures when I got them today. He just laughed and laughed. Not exactly the lesson I had in mind. Oops.

Without any further ado...

This is what happens when you tell Zaya to "say cheese".

"We love you, Mommy!"


Yesterday Mama Lilibeth and I discovered the perfect place to go shopping in OKC, and the worst time to go shopping in OKC.

There's an area in north Oklahoma City with not only Quail Springs Mall (which is a typical mall, with all the amenities) but a Toys-r-us, a SuperTarget, an Old Navy, a Pier 1 Imports, a Radio Shack, a Sam's Club/Walmart, and basically anyplace you could ever need for a day of Christmas shopping. All of these things are within one city block of each other, more or less.


Do not go there the week before Christmas. It's just flat out a bad idea.

There were so many cars and people that we were sort of overwhelmed. We almost ran out of Toys-r-us (without buying anything) because of all the people, and ended up getting a few gifts at SuperTarget. We had never actually been to a Target, (which shocked my in-laws no end) so Mom and I enjoyed seeing the legend first hand. Well, we would've enjoyed it, if a significant percentage of Oklahoma City hadn't been shopping in the same store at the same time.

They circled the parking lots like vultures waiting to move in on a rotting carcass, and then flew into the store to gather and feast. It was quite frightening and we were glad to get back on I-40 and head out of town.

I don't know how you city folk do it. I really don't. Granted it would be nice to have a grocery store, or even a gas station in our town, but I'll take my little village any day over that mess we drove through yesterday. As much as I now pity them, I'm glad we have relatives who live in the city so that we can take refuge when we brave the stores and the crush of people becomes too much.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

TT Opt-Out

This is a test of the Thursday Thirteen system.

Had there been a real Thursday Thirteen here, you would have seen pictures, text and creative thought.

The owner of this blog is to lazy, busy and stressed to think of 13 anythings today. Sorry.

This has been a test of the Thursday Thirteen system. You may now go read other blogs by people with self-discipline.

(I will have one next week. Probably.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Giddy-up and Say Cheese!

We had pictures taken this morning, and I'm afraid it's official: my children inherited my photographic disability. I thought it was just my bad camera skills, but no, my children just flat take awful pictures. It's not that they weren't cute. They were adorable between every camera flash, but unerringly blinked, stuck out their tongue, made a face, pouted or rolled their eyes at the instant the photographer snapped each picture. The lady taking the pictures said, "I think I'm going to just take serious pictures." Because every time we tried to get them to smile they looked like someone was behind them with a hot poker.

I am waiting with dreadful anticipation for the pictures to actually be printed so I can face the worst. So much for using these pictures for gifts to relatives. Well, I guess I can still use them for relatives, because they have to love us. It's the friends and acquaintances who probably won't be receiving those darling little photo-cards all the other good mommies of good children are sending out. So much for keeping up with the Joneses. Maybe I should just stick to taking strange pictures of them myself. At least I don't charge me $85. In my children's defense, I'll just say that had I been in the pictures as well, there would have been no improvement in the quality. They come by it honestly.

I have, however, fulfilled my duty to womanhood today and made several spiced tea mixes to give as gifts to Sunday school teachers and AWANA leaders. Yes, thank you, I know, I amaze myself sometimes. You know this required pouring actual ingredients into actual containers and then sort of decorating them, kind of. (Do stickers count?)

Anyway, that was enough creativity for the holidays. The rest of y'all are getting candles and you're going to like it, right?

Speaking of duties to womanhood, I guess I'd better go put on some makeup and get all gussied up for our Sunday school Christmas party tonight. Yee-Ha!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Imagination Station

Zaya has been blasting off to the Lava McGoyer galaxy several times a day. I'm not sure where this place is, but it is, "spiral shaped, with pokies all over it." Your guess is as good as mine.

With a similar disdain for reality, his mommy is blogging and messing around on facebook instead of preparing her children's clothes for the pictures tomorrow, working on Christmas presents, cleaning the house, or otherwise being a responsible adult.

A is starting to give me that look as he walks around the house picking up, so I'm not going to post much. I just wanted to share the mise..I mean, joy, of hearing about the above-mentioned Lava McGoyer Galaxy and show you a picture of Zaya as he describes it.

Welcome to the U.S. of A.

My new aunt left her warm tropical islands and arrived in a comparatively frigid Texas yesterday. We're all so excited for her, and look forward to meeting her this Christmas.

Uncle Tom* has been dating Aunt Hazel* for years now through the internet, telephone, letters, and a few visits. They have wanted to be married for a long time, but couldn't get Aunt Hazel's government (the Philippines) and our government to allow her into the US.

In the end, Isaac went to find Rebekah himself. Uncle Tom flew to Aunt Hazel and married her there. He stayed for a couple of weeks with her, and then had to return here. Now, a year later, the whole immigration process has been completed and Aunt Hazel, as of yesterday, is in Texas with her husband and her new family. It's been a long journey, but I know that both of them will have that much more commitment because of all they've gone through together. Uncle Tom loves her so much and for years now has talked about nothing but getting Aunt Hazel here to America, and where they were in that process.

I look forward to letting Zaya and Mim meet their new Great-Aunt Hazel (She's not much older than me) and giving her hugs. She has a very loving family back home in the Philippines, and we're all conscious that this has to have been a wrenching process as she has said goodbye to them and started a completely new life. I hope that we, as her extended family, can help Uncle Tom begin to fill that gap left by the loss of close contact with her family and friends.

*Names changed to protect the newlyweds

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Little Stream of Consciousness

Well, I did it. I put it off for as long as I could, but I now have an account on Facebook. As if I needed another thing on the internet which I could check obsessively, and spend time tweaking. Oh, and I am currently eating a bologna, cheese and hummus sandwich. (Sort of a proletariat/bourgeois mix) I tell you these things because I know you care, and because it's my blog and I feel like. Basically.

In kid news...

One of our ex-dorm sons, (Eddie) brought Christmas presents for our kids today. He brought them some little stuffed cats. (Of the plush variety, not of the taxidermy variety.) Zaya named his Wordkitty and Mim named hers Bobkitty. We do not know why, and we do not know what this might mean. (This picture was the best one, really. I took tons, and they looked goofy in every single picture, even though they looked adorable between every picture.)

They were thrilled with Eddie's gifts, needless to say, and we enjoyed getting to chat and find out how dorm life is for the boys this year. Their new dorm parents make them do homework (gasp!) and make them keep to their lights out curfew. (double gasp!) I wish we'd had half the disciplinary guts that the new parents have.

Oh, this weekend, we had SnowZay, LeafZay and, finally, ClassicZay. He came up with all of those. On Saturday he was SnowZay (for obvious reasons) then this afternoon at Grandma's house he was LeafZay (no clue) then he decided that he would just be ClassicZay for a while, which is fine with me. This afternoon he told his daddy that he wanted to play MegaMan (on Great-Grandma's old school Nintendo) He said, "Daddy I want to play MegaMan, because it's been on my mind." We did ask him what that meant later, and he said, "It means I've been thinking about it." True, true.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


My mother (Lilibeth) recently re-opened her blog (it was originally created so that she could comment) and has written a post, called Let the Snow Fall, about the passing of one of their church members this week. (I mentioned this, a bit, when I talked about the ice storm and what happened at my parent's church last Sunday) It's a beautiful tribute to a good man, and would be worth stopping by to read.

Snow...Sort Of

We had our first official snow of the season today, and since it's Oklahoma, possibly our last official snow of the season. Who knows? We only have about an inch, but the kids think it's just the coolest thing ever and were very excited to bundle up and go out with Daddy.

When we told Zaya to open the door and look outside he started jumping up and down and yelling "It's Christmas!" After we explained that snow and Christmas don't necessarily coincide, despite all the propaganda declaring otherwise, Zaya was saying things like, "Daddy! Snow is very good for you!" We're not quite sure what he meant, because his explanation was, "It's snow, and snow is good." Mim was more excited about putting on her hat and mittens and boots, but she thinks the snow is pretty cool too.

In typical Oklahoma fashion, the wind is blowing hard and it's really not the best place to be right now, but they stayed out playing for more than half an hour. Because of a killer earache, I stepped out for just long enough to take the three pictures, and then returned to my heating pad, pillow and hot chocolate. I did get up long enough to make some atole, which is a Mexican cornstarch based hot chocolate of sorts.

Here's a picture of Zaya bracing himself against the wind, and Mim staring in wonder at the new view on our front yard.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to Us!

Today is my birthday! It is also my husband's birthday! (See, it was destiny) Actually, it is also my sister-in-law's birthday. My other sister-in-law's birthday is Sunday. With four of us all together we'll just have one big party at his parent's house, and one at my parent's house.

However, today I had a great birthday breakfast with my two ESL students. They took me to W'ville and we ate at one of those restaurants where senior citizens tend to gather. Which means, of course, that the atmosphere was clean and peaceful, the food was filling and delicious, and the prices were reasonable, if not stunningly low.

Actually, these two ladies have been my friends a lot longer than they've been my students, so we had a lot of fun, and spoke Spanish the whole time, despite telling each other that we would speak English and call this our class time.

The culture is so different, and it takes a bit of getting used to. They're very generous, and love to buy things for me. (Especially clothes) However, because of our different background, our tastes...err...differ drastically. They both struggle with weight issues (one is the mother of three and the other of four) so they tend to buy me the kinds of things they would wear if they were my size. It can be very interesting, and I've had to learn tact in Spanish, which is much more difficult that just vocabulary in Spanish.

I took my camera along this morning, but, as per usual, never actually brought it out to use it, so I have no pictures of our little excursion. After eating, we went to Supercuts so one of them could get a trim, and then we went to the local thrift store to do a little shopping. I narrowly avoided receiving a pink, faux fur cape as another birthday gift, but I convinced them that I would only be able to wear it a few times, so it wasn't worth the high price. ($5 is pretty high for a thrift store)

When I got home, A had worked hard and cleaned the kitchen for me. Poor guy hasn't had a lot of excitement yet for his birthday. I didn't even get him a present because we had agreed not to get each other birthday and Christmas presents this year. (We got a computer instead). He was a stinker, though, and bought me the BBC's Planet Earth series, which, by the by, is very interesting and very well made. He also bought me some Christmas presents, so I now need to come up with something for him. I think I know what it will be already, but I don't have much time to get it before Christmas is upon us.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Perky Pictures

I figured out my picture problem, so for any family members, curious internet folk, or relatives-who-finally-decided-to-visit-my-blog-since-I-put-your-picture-in-it (yeah, you know who you are) that have been dying to see normal size pictures of our Nerd Herd party (That's what Tina has named us) you can scroll down or just follow this link right here. Yeah, This high-lit part.

I had taken all the images from a thumbnails folder, which apparently GIMP creates for all the pictures in your folders, instead of an actual pictures folder. Oops.

Consider yourself warned. If you were looking for perfection, technical expertise, or even competency, you came to the wrong blog anyway.

Okie Insanity


So this would be my husband washing our car in the rain, and yes, there are icicles hanging from that house in the background. What would make an otherwise intelligent man do something this, err, less than intelligent? First impressions. The man even bought some hubcaps. You talk about high style...

Yes, we finally carted the old Camry off to the local Auto Auction. Good old Yoshi brought in a whopping $1100, for a loss of about $3000 to us, but we were thrilled, because she almost died on the way to the auction. (You know, smoke coming out the tail pipe, no acceleration, funny noises...the works.) We figured it up, and we still came out better off, financially speaking, than if we had leased or purchased a more expensive vehicle, so, as I said, we're thrilled.

Below is Mim, watching Daddy wash the car. She was quite upset that I wouldn't let her go out in the 35 degree weather to participate, so this was our compromise. She just looked incredibly cute there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #42

Thirteen books about World War II found in the Babystepper bookshelves

Some of these are more in-depth, and some are better for bathroom perusal. I've read most of them, though, and several more than once. A says I'm "obsessed with WWII". Maybe he's right. I did one of my high school term papers about intelligence work that prepared the Allies for the North African campaign (Operation Torch) and in college I did a huge year-long project on two fiction writers who wrote during and about the war. Is this in any way useful? Probably not. At least I know enough now
not to attack countries on both sides of mine. Hmmm. Probably wasn't really an option anyway.

I took actual pictures of my actual books instead of trying to find pictures online, to show that they really are mine and really have spent some time on the blue recliner that is the back-drop for all my fancy pictures. You'll notice that many of them are missing their book jackets. That is because I married a book jacket nazi (err, so to speak) and he can't stand to have book jackets around for some reason. He says they're pointless and redundant. (This is the man who keeps all the cases for his X-box and Wii games [even though we keep all the games in a cd wallet] because he might want to sell them someday and they'll sell better with the case) *sniff sniff* I smell a teensy-weensy double standard.

1. The War: A Concise History 1939-1945 by Louis L. Snyder - I'm not exactly sure how this is "concise" but I suppose the author was comparing it to the six volume set by Churchill mentioned below. I've read bits and pieces of this one, while researching my college project, but it's not really the type that you want to just sit down and read through in one sitting. A bit dry.

2. The Gathering Storm (Volume I) by Winston S. Churchill - These next three are just half of the above-mentioned six-volume work. I only have these three because I just happened to find them on (A site I highly recommend, btw) If any of you out there are thinking of spending lots of money on me for Christmas, I would love to have the last three books in this set, or even a complete set of six. You know, either way would be fine. Signed first-editions would even be fine. Just whatever.

3.Their Finest Hour (Volume II) by Winston S. Churchill

4. The Grand Alliance (Volume III) by Winston S. Churchill

5. WWII: The People's Story ed. by Nigel Fountain - This is one of those Reader's Digest coffee table books. I'm not too proud to say that I enjoy these books just as much as the more "scholarly" works. I love the pictures, of course, and this book particularly includes a lot of individual accounts both from soldiers and from the home front.

6. World War II: In Photographs ed. by Richard Holmes - This one too, as it says in the title, is mostly photographs. It does an excellent job of giving information too, and was made in association with the Imperial War Museum, so has many pictures I haven't seen in other places. (This book is pictured above with the next one.)

7. The War by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns - Yes, another coffee table size picture book. This one, however, is the companion to the Ken Burns series also titled "The War". It follows the war fortunes of four American cities and their citizens, so has a completely different approach than the others. If anyone else would like to spend, oh, lots, of money on me for Christmas, the video series and soundtrack would be great.

8. Children of the Storm: Childhood Memories of World War II ed. by Charles Perkins - OK, yes, this one has pictures too, but it's mostly, like it says, accounts of the war written by people who were children at the time. Very interesting, actually. I found this on a trip to Branson, MO with my college Bible study and was so excited. Yes, they thought I was a geek, thanks for asking.

9. Berlin Diary by William Shirer - This is, hands down, my favorite WWII book. I don't know why, really. Even my loving nerd husband makes fun of me for this one. You can see the book has been seriously used. I've read it three times at least. Shirer was the CBS correspondent for most of the time from 1934-1940 in Berlin and occasionally a few other European capitals. He was very astute and wrote about the climate and feeling of pre-war Germany very well. You get a real sense of being in the country.

10. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer - I can't believe I'd never read this before, since I love his Diary (above) so much, but it just never really hit me that it was written by the same person until my Uncle E mentioned it at Thanksgiving. It's a pretty hefty book, though. I'm on page 702 and the war hasn't even started yet. I mean, in Europe. Hitler hasn't even invaded Poland yet. Can we say "detailed"?

11. Secrets and Spies: Behind-the-scenes Stories of World War II by Reader's Digest - This was possibly the book that turned me on to studying WWII back in high school. It was published in 1964, so I would love to see it updated with new information now that time has revealed so much more. It just has lots of short stories about intelligence and resistance during the war, and lets face it, spies are just cool.

12. European Resistance Movements by Trevor Nevitt Dupuy (Col. U.S. Army, Ret.) - The top of this book says that it is Volume 15 in The Military History of World War II. I don't know what happened to the other 14 volumes, because I certainly never had them. I think I found this one at one of those stale cigarette scented used book shops back in college, that sells used furniture in the back. (I know this because our first kitchen table came from there, and it was a pretty cute little table, too.)

13. Paris- Underground by Etta Shiber - I honestly know absolutely nothing about this book, except that, apparently, it involves the underground movement in Paris. I'm sharp that way. I know it's about WWII because the little chain with a broken link logo on the front has tiny little red swastikas on it. I'll get around to this one someday, because I really am interested in the underground movements from this time period. I just, well, you know, don't like France very much. The more I study WWII the less I like them. (Not the people, you understand, the government and military, really.) Sorry if any of my readership are Francophiles... or Francos.

There, now, if you actually read all thirteen of those little snippets, you get a bloggity gold star and my sincere condolences er..congratulations.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Pictures from Nerdville

Here are the promised pictures. I hope. Thanks for all the picture advice. Actually, A discovered GIMP last night and downloaded it. (Then I read your comment this morning, Attolia, so you reaffirmed our decision. Thanks!) So far I really like it, (It was the "free" part that really grabbed us!) but I'll need to work with it a while to get used to everything. It can already do everything my old program did for me, though. I finally figured out the shrunken picture problem.

This is Tina and C'aunt S. (My husband's cousin) Zaya's being a goober, as usual.

This is C'uncle M (left) and Kergin (right) showing us all up on Guitar Hero. C'uncle M plays the guitar for real (very well) and Kergin has played the game way..too..much, so they're both very good. (C'uncle N is sitting in the background here.)

Here's Mr. Joe and Ms. Tina snuggling with the kids. We keep telling them they should just have their own, since they have so much fun with ours, but I suppose that kind of thing should be left to them to decide. Maybe. They do have a puppy, so that's a start. (Just kidding, Tina. I know, that's annoying.)

OK, I think that's everyone who was there, except A and I of course. Hmmm. I suppose in all fairness I should include a picture of us. Luckily they're kind of fuzzy because the friend who grabbed my camera to immortalize my Guitar Hero stint didn't know which setting to use. (Thanks Tina!) Oh, and yes, in case you wonder, I am wearing sweatpants and no makeup to a party. Thanks for asking. Did I mention I'm not cool?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Party in Nerdville

Last night we had a large group of friends and cousins over. One of them brought his PS2 and all four Guitar Hero games. (And two guitar controllers.)

I've never played this game before, but it really was a lot of fun. I'd like to see maybe a Christian rock version, because the music wasn't exactly to my taste, but the mechanisms of the game themselves were very interesting. I think it would be a lot of fun to play a drum version of the same thing.

Tina and her husband were there, as well as A's three cousins that live in town and one other friend, Kergin. (He was the one who brought the games.) We're a strange group when we're all together, but we have fun anyway, despite the fact that every single one of us has always been just a little bit different than everyone else.

I took lots of pictures, and plan to post those as soon as I can, but the change in computer has left me high and dry on the picture front. I want to be able to resize them etc. and I can't get my old copy of Adobe Photoshop to work.

I'm thinking of looking for a new picture program. Do any of you out there have any advice on which one would be the best?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Checking in

OK, I got a couple pictures of our little Ice Spatter 2007. It's still not very impressive here, but the central portions of our state got quite a bit. At least A stayed home from work, and we still have our electricity, so I'm not complaining. (too much) The picture above is from the roof over our front porch. The back has much more impressive icicles, but I'm not padding out there in my slippers to take those pictures.

The tree below is on down the street a bit. You can see that it and some of the other trees around it have a thin coating of ice.

On a totally unrelated note:

I found this interesting article on Gov. Huckabee from the Drudge Report. So far I really like this guy for the way he stands up to his critics and says exactly what he thinks. I can't help but feel that he doesn't actually have a chance at defeating the democrats, but he's definitely the best bet so far, and will get my vote if it comes to that.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a .....

The young weatherman this morning was almost giddy talking about the BIG! ICE! STORM! that we got part of today. The rest will come tomorrow, but so far I'm unimpressed. The roads are a little slick, true, but it's just nothing compared to the ice storms this area has seen in the past. Maybe other parts of the state are getting it worse than we are, I don't know.

I think it's so funny to watch the young meteorologists around here. Since it's Oklahoma, we attract them because they're all hoping to see/report tornadoes. They have to do something with the rest of the year though, so we have ICE STORM 2007!!!! Which, actually we had last spring, so they need to come up with a different name. Maybe THE WINTER ONSLAUGHT or THE HYPE FEST. Last year during a series of threatening afternoon thunderstorms the excited little weather guy actually said, "I'm afraid there won't be any more storms today...I mean, I'm happy to be able to tell you.."etc.

My "day of rest" started out with an eight o'clock morning handbell practice for which only three members appeared. We didn't get to perform our bell numbers in the service this morning because several of the players out on the farms didn't want to risk the drive in to town. Evening services are canceled, but my meeting and the cantata practice are still happening, so we still have to go back to church at three. Our church didn't cancel this morning, but my parent's church did after several of the parishioners and the pastor (my dad) all slipped on the ice. Before he fell, but after another man had hit the sidewalk, Dad yelled back into the building, "Church is canceled!" Smart guy. Actually, at least one person passed out, ended up in the hospital and could use your prayers.

If I'm gone for a while this week it means my electricity is out and the enthusiastic weatherman was right. Otherwise, hope everyone is having a safe weekend and A restful Sunday.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mandarin Pooh ("Winnie The", that is)

A is for Apple, juicy and sweet. B is for Basket with good things to eat.

Once again, tonight, I find myself glad that I do not speak Chinese. Why, you ask? Because of a little classic called "Pooh's ABCs". We only have 26 letters in our alphabet. The way God intended it to be, I'm sure. The Chinese, on the other hand, have 47,035 in one of their dictionaries. That's letters, people not words. Definitely unholy. Can you just imagine the children's stories? I think I'm tired by the time I get to "Y is for yellow, sparkly and bright. Z is for zipper; zip it up tight."

Why do these thoughts cross my head every night? Because Mim wants to read the above mentioned curse on mankind every..single...night. Nothing like tradition to keep a toddler going, and woe be unto the knowlessman who attempts to change it.

Another tradition here in the Babystepper household is the Bee-O and Hot too-lockat. As soon as Mim wakes up in the morning or from her nap, she wants to "watch a bee-o and drink hot too-lockat. (The picture above is Mim pre-hot too-lockat) I'll put in a Baby Einstein video for her (am I a yuppy or what?) and then prepare her some hot chocolate, which is actually warm milk with a little Ovaltine in it. (She only watches the video for about 10 minutes; as long as it takes to drain her drink) If I don't get on the ball with the Hot Chocolate the voice of her delicate little majesty reverberates through the house, "HOT TOO-LOCKAT!!!!". She's amazingly docile once she gets it though. Of course, I imagine the ravening lion is amazingly docile once he's gorged himself on antelope and roared the rest of the pride into submission. What's one little Mommy to do?

Actually, there has been amazing, nay stunning, progess on the Mim front this week. Not only is she going to sleep without a bottle (That's right, you heard it first here, folks) but she has worn panties all this week. That's right, big-girl panties. WOO-HAA! Triumph! Exultation! NO MORE DIAPERS!! WAL-MART, YOU WILL NOT DRAIN MY WALLET AGAIN!!

Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. I think I can always find something to waste my money on in Wal-mart. Diapers or no diapers.

Oh, and don't worry C'auntie, I didn't let her drink chocolate with that beautiful quilt on. It was just for the photo shoot.

My Mommy Says....

This Wednesday on our way to church I had to explain to Zaya that he probably should wait until after Cubbies (the pre-school Wed. night program) to be Ice-Zay. He was disappointed but took it quite manfully. I can just imagine the looks on his leaders' faces when he ran up and turned them into ice and then zoomed back off again. Actually, I have no guarantee that he hasn't already done that. Or worse.

Do parents ever stop worrying about what their children are doing or saying to other people when they aren't around? Now that both of mine are talking well I have entered a whole new field of stress. It reminds me of something my parents used to tell me when I was just a young whipper-snapper myself. (Is that how you spell that? I'm not sure I've ever seen it written.) As I entered the house or car of a person with whom I would be unsupervised, they would say, "Don't tell them everything you know, honey." Which meant, "Please, please, please don't embarrass our socks off, OK, because your little friend is one of the deacon's daughters and we will never hear the end of it if you don't keep your mouth shut."

I didn't really understand that last part until I became much older. Our family has all sorts of stories of the embarrassing things I said to friends and strangers. Now, I suppose, I'll have those stories myself. Scary thought.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas Present Quandries

In an effort to embrace my children for who they are (look at me being all post-modern), I've decided to get them things that they will like instead of things I think they need, or need to work on.

I'd like to get Mim a set of Wedgits, as she loves all things blocks and building and these look like a fun twist on the basic idea of blocks.

For my little gaming shepherd (Zaya), I'm thinking about a nice comfy bean bags for: lambs, snuggling with and games, playing of. I have no idea where to go about finding a good beanbag, though.

Any ideas from you other mommies out there? What kinds of things did you get your kids for Christmas when there were in the 2,3,4 range of age.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #41

13 Interesting Numbers from the Bathroom Reader

Almost every word that follows was shamelessly swiped from Uncle John's Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader. Because I'm just classy that way.

1. Times, on average, a person swallows during a meal: 295

2. Pounds of fish a pelican can hold in his beak: 25

3. Pumpkins grown in Floydada, Texas, every year: 1,000,000 (My brother was born there. Weird.) (The irony, not my brother.) (OK, my brother too.)

4. People in airplanes at any given time: 366,144

5. People booked for "offensive gestures" in Germany in 2003: 164,848

6. Pieces of paper the IRS sends to taxpayers every year: 8,000,000,000

7. Pounds that 8 billion pieces of paper weigh: 32,000,000

8. Calories consumed during one hour of typing: 110 (Ha! See, I am working.)

9. Islands in the Indonesian archipelago: 17,508

10. Steps to the top of the Empire State Building: 1,860

11. Pages the average bathroom reader reads at a "sitting": 2.7

12. Banana slugs that were eaten in a California slug-eating contest in 2002: 50

13. Chromosomes the average human has: 46 (the average cabbage has 18)

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen

In other news, I don't have my whole picture thing figured out quite yet, so you'll just have to cope with the lack of visual stimuli.

Coup D' Etat

We got a new computer, so I'm going to be working on transferring today. All my pictures, songs, etc are in the old one, and I'm not even sure how to start the whole transfer process.

Oh, and I've also got a cabinet full of dishes. Full.

Therefore, I will post something interesting and insightful as soon as I've got the switch figured out, the dishwasher loaded, and my kids off to college. (I know, you're asking, "Why start now?")

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gamers United

This morning Zaya told me, "Mom, I will never play a video game again." Which was his way of saying, "See, I'm a good boy and not obsessed with games." I told him that of course he could play his games again. Mommy doesn't mind if he plays games, just if he only plays games. He was very glad to hear that he wouldn't have to stick to his statement. Right now he's watching a video, which is a whole different kettle of fish. I think I prefer the games, actually.

I've had a lot of nice responders to my previous post (several by e-mail) and I just want to say I appreciate how all of my family is concerned. Not a single person agreed with me, in essence, that I should worry about Zaya's video game consumption, so I suppose I don't feel so bad now.

Just wanted to say, "Thanks", and judging by the heat of some of the responses, I am definitely in a gaming family.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

That Little Japanese Plumber Rules my Life

As we entered the church building last Wednesday I told Zaya, "Honey, please don't talk to everyone about your new video game tonight. I'm afraid they probably don't care about it, really, and would rather talk about something else, OK?" The first person we encountered was our Pastor, to whom Zaya said, "Guess what?!? We just got SUPER MARIO GALAXY!"

I think we have a problem.

On the way to Great-Grandma's house for lunch today, my son announced, "Today Mario, Yoshi and Pikachu are coming to grandma's house with me."

Yup. We have a problem.

How do you de-tox a 3-yr-old from Nintendo? I know some of you out there (i.e. the non-gamers) are saying, "Don't let him play anymore games you pathetic excuse for a mother." But it's not that easy. I don't feel right just completely removing all his games, when it's something he truly loves to do. I don't mind him playing them a little bit each day. I just mind him obsessing about them constantly.

I always tell him that if he plays video games all the time he will grow up to be a very boring little boy that people will not want to play with. (I know, I've already got the Motherhood Sensitvity Award. Don't even offer. My mom gave me hers.) He counters this cogent argument with the following. "When I play video games all day long, I am very exciting." Maybe if he only ever makes friends with pixels.

What's a Mom to do?

p.s. Grandma, Mario is a plumber, and the games are made in Japan. That's what the title means.

Friday, November 30, 2007

ESL Craziness

They're, their, there; I'll, aisle, isle; two, too, to; due, do, dew; through, thru, threw.

Not to mention read and read, live and live.

Why have we done this to ourselves?

Today was our first ESL (English as a Second Language) class. I have three students. Two of them are women, and the other is an older gentleman. I've been friends for a long time with one of my students, (the one who's about my age) and the others are her friend (about ten years older than us) and her husband's grandpa (in his late seventies). The two ladies know a little bit of English already because they have kids that are in the school system, but el anciano does not know very much at all. Tricky for class time.

We're using the Laubach method, which is apparently a popular one. I don't know if I'm crazy about it, but then it's only been one session, so I probably ought not judge it yet.

I speak a little Spanish, so I tend to talk to my students too much in Spanish. This was my problem with teaching my friend, in the past. She taught me Spanish instead. I'm doing better this time since we have actual curriculum and instructions.

We did have some interesting discussions, though, about the whole issue of learning another language. They were saying that English is frustrating because there are so many words that sound the same, but have completely different meanings, or mean the same, but are completely different words. They also have issues with our spelling. I tried to reassure them that we, too, have issues with our spelling, and that many native English speakers never get comfortable with spelling.

I'm glad we're finally having these classes officially, (under the aegis of the OK Literacy Council) but every now and then I ask myself, "Self, what have you gotten us into?"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #40

13 Things on my Wish List

1. Best of the Muppet Show : Elton John, Julie Andrews, Gene Kelly
I grew up in a real Muppet-fan family, and who doesn't love Julie Andrews and Gene Kelly? (Elton John, not so much)

2. Viva la Repartee:Clever Comebacks and Witty Retorts from History's Great Wits and Wordsmiths
Actually there are a whole lot of "word" books on my list. This is just one of the many. This particular one always makes me think of Attolia. (I'll share it with you if I get it.)

3. Deluxe Breadmaker
I'd like a breadmaker that actually bakes bread. They're great to use on the dough setting, but I'd like one that makes good bread.

4. Norpro Bread Slicer with Crumb Catcher
To go with the bread machine above. Those huge loaves can be very difficult to slice evenly, and this looks like it would help. Now, where would I put these things?

5. Emergency Crank Radio
We live in tornado alley, and our town's electric lines are notorious for going out at the worst possible times.

6. The Snowflake
This book has beautiful pictures of snowflakes. I think all of us are fascinated by the complexity and beauty of snowflakes on some level. (There's also a calender that would be cool.) (get it?)

7. Auto First Aid Kit
I like to be prepared for things. I always pack too much junk when we go on trips on the off chance that we might need some of it. If I knew this was in the trunk,it would keep me from packing quite a bit of stuff, I think.

8. Robin Hood (Disney)
This is possibly my favorite childhood movie. I would love to own it and let my own kids see it someday. (I forced A to watch this when we were already married because he had never seen it before.)

9. Love and Logic
This is a parenting book that several people have highly recommended, and anyone who reads this blog regularly know I could always use some parenting help.

10. Unicycle - I asked for a unicycle repeatedly as a child, but Mom always said, "NO." I asked her if I could have one this year and she said no again. She thinks I'll get hurt. Where's the faith, I ask you? Am I the child who had to have my own accident policy since toddlerhood? No. Am I the child who had to go to the emergency room all the time? No. Those would both be my brother. I'm the trustworthy eldest. Remember Mom?

11. The Complete Earth
This is a really cool atlas with satellite images of every place on earth and several image maps in all the different seasons.

12. The Second World War
Actually I already have the first three books in this set. (Some poor sap had put them on but I need the final three.

13. Presidential DoodlesTwo Centuries of Scribbles, Scratches, Squiggles & Scrawls from the Oval Office
Doesn't this sound like it'd be interesting to see? I wonder if Roosevelt doodled bombs and Reagan doodled dollar signs and Clinton, err, never mind.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Today Zaya announced to me that I was SuperMom, and he was GeyserZay. We asked Mim what she wanted to be, and she said, "a blalaly" (butterfly) and proceeded to flit around the house saying, "bly, bly, bly." (fly) To each her own. Speaking of which, how 'bout that fashion sense, eh? I can honestly say she gets that from me.

Zaya, or, should I say, GeyserZay, proceeded to discover New York and most of New England. We had been missing them for about an hour. He discovered them at two different places in the couch. (puzzle pieces, just in case you wondered) When Daddy got home Zaya said, "We solved the Mystery of the Missing States!" Which just tells you how much influence we stay-at-home moms have on our hapless young children.

I rearranged my living room today and set up the Christmas tree. I think I like it better this way, actually, and I'll probably leave it rearranged after Christmas. I'll show a picture sometime. You know, when I'm not too lazy to take my camera all the way in to the living room and snap a picture, and then bring it all the way back into my room and upload it onto the computer. Whew. It makes me tired just writing all that. I think it's time for my bath. Good night, y'all.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sock it to Me

My neighbor friend, Tina, has this thing with sock monkeys. I'm not exactly sure how it got started, but for a while now she's made sock monkeys for the children of her friends and relatives. She uses those big thick hiking socks, which make for some cute, rugged (and well-insulated) monkeys.

Zaya got his Tina-made sock monkey when he turned two, and now Mim has one too. She's having lots of fun with it, and it's now part of the sleepy-time menagerie on her bed. Anyway, all that to say....


or, as Mim would say...