Month: December 2011

Chippie to the Rescue

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My life rarely contains a dull moment. With five children (who have picked up some of my sarcasm), a husband who continually surprises me, and now a puppy in the mix, I’ve barely come up for air this holiday season.

In a rare moment of quiet the other night, during dinner prayer my husband asked us all to quiet our hearts and think of something we could do to prepare for the coming of Jesus this Advent Season. After a few moments of silence, including our 3-year-old participating (nothing short of a Christmas miracle there), my son spoke up. He said (with a smirk on his face), “It’s hard to think in my heart when my brain is in my head.” Great.

With little else on my calendar this week, (insert a lot of sarcasm here), my husband decided to invite 40 people over for dinner this week. Since my DNA contains some gene that insists I can’t entertain with a few dust bunnies present, this means tackling some serious cleaning in the next few days. As far as dinner, I hope they like pizza because that’s what’s on the menu.

Adding a puppy to the mix of an overactive household may not have been the brightest idea on my part. (Shh, don’t tell my husband I admitted that.) Daily, our puppy continues to not disappoint us with his constant hunt for things to destroy. His latest works of art have included gnawing on my dining room bench and a kitchen chair, and eating my daughter’s homework paper. (Am I not feeding him enough?) For dessert, he chose to destroy our baby Jesus from our nativity set until it was unrecognizable. Luckily we have other nativity scenes throughout our home. My friend assured me all this puppy madness would end in about three years. I looked at her in disbelief waiting for her to say, “Just kidding.” A week later I’m still waiting.

Of course, life wouldn’t be exciting without a toddler in the home. Mine seems to have forgotten what an “inside voice” sounds like. Competing to be heard among her siblings, she thinks shouting everything at decibel levels normally reached at rock concerts is the way to go. Obviously, this has contributed to some of my recent hearing loss.

Bordering on a meltdown, I grounded four out of five children before 9am last Saturday. This is a new record. Absolutely no one was listening to me! The only reason it wasn’t five out of five children is because one wasn’t with me at the time. Do they not remember their uncle once got coal in his stocking for misbehaving?

Coming to my rescue, Grammy, a.k.a. my mother-in-law, insists she has the answer. She says all we need is the “Elf on the Shelf.” (I was completely in the dark on this one.) “Chippie” the Elf’s claim to fame is reporting children’s behavior to jolly old St. Nick on a daily basis. (I hope it includes puppy behavior.) My job is to secretly put the elf in a different place each night. He watches the children closely and reports whether they’ve been naughty or nice. My teenager thinks it all sounds kind of creepy. I can’t say I disagree with her. And no doubt, if this elf isn’t perched high atop something, my puppy will chew him to bits. What will I do then?

With little else to grasp at; Chippie is on his way via the post office. The anticipation of his arrival has already helped some. I’m not sure what stunned my children into silence more, the fact that an elf was paying us a visit or that Grammy knows Santa personally. Here’s to Chippie!

Compliments of The Atchison Globe

Braving the Crowds

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I plotted, prepared, and planned. It took seven hours, a lot of caffeine and a sacrifice of sleep. Working as a team, my husband and I conquered, divided, and emerged victorious on Black Friday. We did our part to help stimulate the economy and help retailers start operating in the black…hence the name: Black Friday. We survived crowds and unbelievably long lines, and my husband, who likes shopping about as much as I like natural childbirth, never complained once. I owe him big time for this one!

The idea to shop the Friday after Thanksgiving all started once my children finally made their wish lists. On the bright side, the older kids’ lists have grown shorter over the years. Unfortunately, the gifts they ask for have gotten much more expensive. This is one of the reasons why we braved Black Friday. As for my youngest children, toys in general are expensive and any deal I can get is worth it.

With some stores opening at 10pm Thanksgiving night, we decided to brave those first. At Wal-Mart, there wasn’t a parking space open when we arrived. It actually frightened me as I imagined the craziness inside. With no TV’s or big-ticket items on the list, we decided to come back later. Besides, my warm, cozy bed was calling my name. My strong desire for sleep may have been influenced by that amino acid, L-tryptophan, in turkey along with the fact that our Thanksgiving morning started with a 5-mile run (Turkey Trot). Having already decorated our Christmas tree, as well as cooking and baking for two days straight, I was tired. I deserved at least a few hours of shut-eye before we braved the crowds.

At 3am, after hitting the snooze button on the radio alarm clock twice, I nudged my husband when a music artist literally sang the words “Get up, get up.” I took it as a sign that if we wanted any Black Friday deals, hitting snooze one more time was not an option. Since we failed our earlier attempt, I wasn’t taking any chances this time around.

By 4:30am, we successfully managed to get what we wanted at JCPenney’s. I was so impressed with the sales staff there that we ended up going back later. One sales lady ran (literally sprinted) to find me a pair of boots in a particular size. This was after being helped by a very nice customer too. Everyone was so friendly. I didn’t know people could be so nice at such an unreasonable hour. It was very inspiring.

While my husband stood in line to pay, I moved on to Gordman’s. That’s where things came to a screeching halt. With 10 minutes until opening time, I stood in line with 300 other shoppers, only to learn that there were 400 more people waiting at another entrance outside. Some had even camped out in sleeping bags! (I hope I never resort to that tactic.) While waiting, I found out we would be let in after those who braved the cold. It sounded fair, and knowing the gifts I needed would probably be gone anyway, my husband and I moved on.

After getting deals at several stores and hearing horror stories from fellow shoppers and employees, I felt lucky to have had the experience I did. I didn’t encounter fights, pepper spray, or mean people. No one was rude or pushy. I was able to backtrack to stores I’d missed too. Although I may not have gotten everything on my list, I accomplished a lot. I also learned flexibility, patience, and kindness go a long way. Thankfully, that’s usually true on any given day, not just Black Friday.

Compliments of The Atchison Globe