Archive for December, 2014

Room Mum: Summertime Already?

Okay, it’s not anywhere NEAR summertime, but every once in a while – inspiration strikes at the oddest moment and you just have to RUN with it.

I despise “the Wal-Mark”.  My mother loves it, but I never can find the nice employees (and I KNOW they exist, because they work every shift my mother walks in), and I can’t find the right merchandise, and it’s not going to be signed correctly.  And there’s the business practices we won’t even go into here.  Then there’s the major downside of not having a Starbucks inside.  Or popcorn (yes, Target, I love you for your Starbucks and Popcorn).

But tonight, I had the specific last gift to purchase for my wonderful nephew.  I had put it off, because Amazon didn’t have what I wanted, and it was easier to have my sister on the phone telling me exactly what to get (surprises are fun – making an 8 year old giddy with joy, since you found the RIGHT Skylander is even better).  “The Wal-Mark” was the best place to purchase said Skylander.

Once we got inside, it only made sense to sweep the Christmas Clearance section – so we did a quick walk-through, leaving with one Hello Kitty! sticker book.  But these are the things we pay less than a dollar for, and move on, since the five year old is happy.

At the front, I noticed an odd looking sign – “Clearance”  “$0.25”.  But…the items under the sign…those were NOT $0.25 cent items.  And a bin, marked $2.  NOT $2 items.  Apparently, the local Wal-Mart found about two aisles of leftover School Supplies!  And they were GETTING RID OF STUFF.  I was beside myself.  Otto took Went to the car (he was DUN, D-U-N, DUN!) and GO helped me load the shopping cart with notebook paper and REALLY nice single subject notebooks (the ones with the plastic covers).  The $1-2 items?  LUNCHBOXES!  Really NICE lunchboxes!

And that is when brilliance struck!

See, at the end of the year, it is common to fix up sandbuckets for each child, with summer goodies inside.  This is their “Last Day of School” gift.  I haven’t bought the sandbuckets yet – and when I saw these nice, thermal lunchboxes I was SO EXCITED.  There were enough for each kid in the class – a “Monster” lunchbox.  And I’ll make a cute tag: “We hope you have a Monstrously good summer!”  Inside will go wonderful goodies.

Monster Lunchbox!

Monster Lunchbox!

I am SO THRILLED!  This is going to be a unique gift for the kids in the class, and perfect for those summertime snacks to the park.  It was a lucky find, and I’m glad I was able to grab them when I did!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

(Oh – and am I the only one this happens to?  I was standing in line, being rung up (which took FOREVER), and in the line next to me was a friend’s husband.  He had NO idea who I was, but I recognized him from photos – and he had two of their three kids with him.  I was so torn, because what I really wanted to do was get his attention and tell him to call his wife, as they homeschool and there were TWO aisles of twenty-five cent school supplies!!!  But I thought he would think that was weird.  Would that have been weird???)

Grown-Up Christmas Eve

Divorced Families, with multiple children, do not have the same luxury of “tradition” that other families have.  This can (and often does) lead to depression and sadness, however, Otto and I have found that the most important thing is to make every year and every memory special – not try to “repeat” something just for the sake of saying you did it year after year.  This year, it was just the two of us and Went.  Early this morning, Cookie and I drove GO to her daddy’s house, and Otto took the older girls home to their mom’s house.

We had a fun lunch (Cookie and I brought home Krystal’s) and got dressed to go to the first Christmas Eve service at church.  It wasn’t easy (a 2 year old sitting still for over an hour in church never is), but very meaningful.  Excellent sermon and the music was beautiful.  Plus, the look on Went’s face when we lit the candles at the end was totally worth it. I wish I had pictures!

Otto and Went, ready for Christmas Eve Service

Otto and Went, ready for Christmas Eve Service

Otto and I headed home and talked, and decided to have a “grown-up” Christmas Eve.  Went had not taken a nap, so we made a quick run to the store for dinner supplies.  As a treat, we found a “Kid’s Cuisine” for Went – pizza and pudding and corn!  (That did NOT go over like we expected!)  Otto and I chose steak and corn on the cob, with garlic bread and sparkling grape juice.

Pizza WITH Pudding? (He ate not a single bite of anything...)

Pizza WITH Pudding?
(He ate not a single bite of anything…)

GrownupChristmasEve2014 (1)

We fed Went, while the steaks were cooking, and gave him a quick bath – before putting him in his penguin jammies.  He was out within 5 minutes of being put down, and Otto and I headed downstairs to celebrate.  One of our favorite shows was having a Christmas special – so a fire in the fireplace, picnic on the rug, presents by the hearth, and Ink Masters on the TV!  As funny as it sounds, it was perfect for us.

Steak Dinner

Steak Dinner

Gifts and the Fireplace

Gifts and the Fireplace

Ink Masters: Merry Ink

Ink Masters: Merry Ink

After dinner, we opened our gifts from each other and from Auntie M.  Auntie M is the Queen of practical gifts you love – Otto received a new pair of tennis shoes and I was gifted with an incredible bag that I needed for Trail Life Scouting (I had posted a picture online a few weeks ago)!

The Puppies helped me celebrate, too.  (After the steak dinner picnic was over...)

The Puppies helped me celebrate, too. (After the steak dinner picnic was over…)

My Auntie M gift!

My Auntie M gift!

My Trail Life Bag!

My Trail Life Bag!

Otto opening his gifts

Otto opening his gifts

Photobombed by Reuben

Photobombed by Reuben

Otto gave me a fun gift (Guardians of the Galaxy), a practical gift (a new hair dryer) and then we had one of those perfect moments in a marriage, where you realize that you are on the same page and striving for the same goals.  Otto opened his gift from me – a small 3 ring binder with 24 envelopes inside.  Each envelope held a pre-arranged date night (one “at home” and one “out of the home” per month).  Then he handed me my final gift – a larger 3 ring binder that he had made with tools to help us intentional have Date Nights in 2015 (and record them).  Two things that go perfectly together – and yet we had no idea what the other had planned.  It was incredibly awesome.

We headed to be rather early (well, early for us, and apparently MUCH earlier than many of my friends who had to wait up for “Santa” to arrive).  Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Book Review: Discipleship

Discipleship

Discipleship

Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind…I agreed to review this book, thinking it would be similar to many of the other books I read while I was at Seminary.  Not exactly a textbook, but not something I would necessarily gain life-changing information from.

Interestingly enough, it actually did seem more like a textbook to me, the individual chapters would be excellent stand-alone “lessons” for personal reflection that could very easily go deeper than the author went in his book.  His approach was one of painful honesty.  His life (Mr. Arnold passed away in 1982), was a character study in what it means to attempt to live like the early church, but in today’s society.

This is not a novel, and is not something one would sit down and read cover to cover.  But the truths that are written will speak to any individual willing to invest the time in studying the book.  I was touched personally by his chapter “The Lower Nature”.  About how we must be cautious to not only prevent ourselves from allowing “worldly” things to take God’s place (like sports, money, or business), but not to allow even God’s great gifts (like the beauty of nature or the joys of human love) to replace the real experience of Christ.  I know this has been a personal struggle for me, especially as my family has searched for a church, and I was struck by his ability to speak directly to the heart of the matter.

This is a book I am glad I own, and will be referring back to time and time again.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Plough Publishing) for review purposes. I was not compensated or required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Christmas #2: Cookie and Doc

Cookie and Doc with the Littles

Cookie and Doc with the Littles

Today was one of those great days, where everything went almost exactly like it was suppose to go.  We woke up early and picked up the older girls at 8:30 am.  CAM had a school event all-day (then a sleepover), so we had just enough time to grab a few Christmas gifts, before dropping her off.  Then we spent the morning in Loganville, doing a little shopping at one of my favorite local stores (Boss Brother’s Country Store) and having lunch with the Sheep family (BooSheep was feeling SO much better – she was pretty sick yesterday).

After lunch, we went home and spent almost an hour wrapping gifts.  A few had come in the mail, and we had picked up all but the last two this morning – so it was nice to feel almost finished.  The Littles watched Disney Jr, while OPM enjoyed snuggling on the couch and reading (something she WANTED to read – not a schoolbook).

Our dinner was at our favorite Chinese Restaurant, with Cookie and Doc.  A family dinner is our gift to Doc, he loves to enjoy the grandkids (and truly appreciates being taken out to dinner).  Cookie opened her gift – which, as GO said, was “sparkly…just like her”.

Cookie and GO

Cookie and GO

Cookie and her Sparkly Jacket

Cookie and her Sparkly Jacket

He was fussy until we gave him the fork and then it was ALL SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN - ALL THE TIME (seriously, I think he ate four pieces).

He was fussy until we gave him the fork and then it was ALL SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN – ALL THE TIME (seriously, I think he ate four pieces).

Cookie and Went (can you see the smear of Sweet and Sour sauce on his face?)

Cookie and Went (can you see the smear of Sweet and Sour sauce on his face?)

GO and OPM

GO and OPM

OPM and Otto

OPM and Otto

Merry Christmas, Cookie and Doc!

Merry Christmas, Cookie and Doc!

On the way home, we visited one of the best Christmas Light displays in the area, then put the Littles in pajamas and let them watch a goodnight show.  While I stayed with Went and GO, Otto took OPM out for a special froyo treat.  She had been such a huge help all day – and really spent it with the little kids, so it was a blessing to get to gift her with a few moments of “grown-up” time all to herself.

Now the littles are in bed, and OPM, Otto, and I are getting ready to watch one of our mutually favorite shows (the NCIS:LA Christmas Episode).  She hasn’t seen it yet, so Otto and I are excited to get to watch it with her!  A perfect ending to a wonderfully perfect day.

Happy 5th Night of Chanukah!  And Merry Christmas: Cookie and Doc Style!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Caterpillars Growing Up

The Boy Caterpillars left today for their Dad’s house.

On a plane.

Just the two of them.

And it’s not a direct flight.

AND they are no longer “unaccompanied minors”.

I wish I could have taken pictures.  They would probably say so much more than my words will.  They had spent the night with Cookie, attempting to get all schoolwork for the break DONE, in order to be able to truly relax.  Early this morning, I woke up the littles and we headed down to Cookie’s house.  She had an early doctor’s appointment, but B10 and CW were getting dressed and immediately loaded the van with their packed bags.

They each had one checked bag, then a single backpack between the two of them (plus wallets and B10’s cell phone).  I had promised to give each of them $20, since the two flights (Atlanta to Chicago/2.5 hour layover/Chicago to Kentucky) would take all day.  As soon as Cookie got home, we loaded up the van and headed to the airport.  I had printed out their boarding passes (two copies each) and gave them each a folder (they carried their own and their brother’s boarding passes).  B10 has a state issued photo ID (it was necessary back when he took the ACT test, because they don’t have school ID cards), and we made sure he was carrying that in his wallet.

The drive down was uneventful, they listened carefully to my instructions – then fought with their younger siblings and watched Rio 2, very typical drive.  At the airport, Cookie decided it was easier to stay in the car with the littles, while I went in to the airport with the boys.

Southwest Airlines is amazing – let me say that upfront.  The cost was very reasonable, they had PLENTY of counters open, and the check-in agent actually seemed happy to be doing her job.  She was so sweet with the boys, walking them through the steps that most adults would already understand.  And even though they were too old to be unaccompanied minors, she offered me a gate pass to go to the gate with them (which, I gladly took!).  I was so proud of CW, who heard the gate number and immediately asked me for a pen – so he could write it down.  And when B10 said “I’ll remember”, CW was really polite and said “it’s my responsibility to also know for sure, and I need to write it down.”

We headed to security, where they had all lanes open and even with B10 “setting off the sensor” (and having to have the weird body scan), we still made it through security in less than 10 minutes.  I had stopped at the little shop before security and purchased them each a pack of gum for the flight.

When shopping, I lost track of B10 (hard to do when he’s over 6 feet tall).  I searched for him, and finally saw him across the open space, standing next to two young guys in Army fatigues – as I got closer, I realized that without any prompting of any sort, he had stepped over to tell them “Thank you for your service to our country. I appreciate it and I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas.”  I said nothing, but he did that for every serviceman and servicewoman we passed.

After security, at the bottom of the long escalator, we waited for the train.  I love the Atlanta Airport, even if it is huge and busy.  I love riding the train and I love how clean they keep everything.  But the boys were already giving me hugs and gently telling me they could handle it the rest of the way.  It sounds ridiculous, as I have seen them doing quite grownup things before.  I’ve heard them and watched them handle all sorts of “big kid” and “adult” situations.

But standing there, on the outside of the train, as the doors closed on the two of them, was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  I almost cried right there.  The airport had an agent directing traffic, and she asked me if I was confused about what train I needed, since I left from standing in front of the one going to the gates, and went to stand by the one going to baggage claim/ground transportation.  I smiled (as best I could) and explained the basics of the situation and how the boys were leaving for the first time on their own to fly and change planes.

She laughed and said with a gate pass in hand, there is no way she would have left them until that plane was backing up from the gate.

I could have kept going.  I easily could have said “nope, I’m going to see you to your gate”.  Or at least “I’ll take the train with you to your concourse.”

But this is the part where I trusted them.  I trusted them to stay together, to behave, and to handle themselves.  I trusted them to be grown-up and take care of whatever situation arose.  Sometimes, walking away is the absolute best way you can show your children that you love them.

And I do love my children.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Preschool Christmas Program #2

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On the last day of school before break, we had Preschool Christmas Program #2 and the “Happy Birthday Jesus!” Parties.  This program was the two youngest ages (Wee Learn and 2’s), plus Kindergarteners sang solos and had speaking roles.  Otto took today off of work (he was able to see GO’s first program at night, but this program is only during the day).  Cookie came and had both B10 and CW with her.

The audience.

The audience.

SisterSheep getting ready to sing her solo.

SisterSheep getting ready to sing her solo.

GO ready to say her line.

GO ready to say her line.

The program was wonderful – SisterSheep had a solo, while GO had a line (“Joseph was His father, and Mary was His mom.  He was a very special baby, He was God’s only Son.”).  Went sat on the front of the stage and picked his nose.

No Fingers.

No Fingers.

Two Fingers.

Two Fingers.

SNACK TIME!  (I love the look on his buddy's face - what the HECK are you doing???)

SNACK TIME!
(I love the look on his buddy’s face – what the HECK are you doing???)

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Yay.  Best Christmas Program Ever.  We all know there is going to be a kid that does it – but it’s so awesome when the kid front and center with a finger up both nostrils (and then eating whatever he finds) is your kid.  😀  Ah well, as long as he’s not doing it at his High School graduation ceremony, it’s all good – right?

Mrs. M's cupcake tower

Mrs. M’s cupcake tower

He was a little sad (and not feeling well), but perked up when the pizza arrived.  He ate two pieced AND his cupcake.

He was a little sad (and not feeling well), but perked up when the pizza arrived. He ate two pieced AND his cupcake.

Enjoying the cupcake.

Enjoying the cupcake.

After the program, we had “Happy Birthday Jesus!” parties.  Otto and I were at Went’s (I’m his Room Mum), while Cookie went down to GO’s (I popped in a couple of times for pictures and to hug my sweet girl.  School is over as soon as the parties are done, so while I’m all for everyone having fun, I also try to help make sure everything is cleaned up and put away – so the teachers can start their vacation as soon as possible.

Me and my Girly Reindeer

Me and my Girly Reindeer

Twin Cousin Reindeers!

Twin Cousin Reindeers!

It was a good day, and I’m glad that Otto has the flexibility to take off work and be with us.  Next year, though, will be easier with only one party to attend!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

My 2nd Night of Chanukah Gift to Myself

You are asking yourself – “What does a person who doesn’t give gifts at Chanukah give herself?”  I understand – it’s confusing, BUT – a very good gift.  Something that most women I know could give themselves for Christmas (or Chanukah, if you want to hop into the spirit of things).

I cleaned out my Master Bathroom drawers and under the cabinets.

Say WHAT?  Again – you’re confused.  Just follow me along on this…

See, first I threw away an entire trash bag of junk (and recycled another grocery bag full of plastic/paper).  Then I organized all my “stuff”: lotions, fancy shampoo/conditioner samples, new razor blades, face cleanser, wrinkle lotion…  You know, all the things you buy to pamper yourself with…that NEVER seem to get used.

As a “gift” to me, I decided to spend the last half of December pampering myself without spending a dime.  I’m taking bubble baths, using the “special occasion” lotion every night before I go to bed, my face is quite soft and (hopefully) wrinkly-free.  😉  It’s nice.  I am using candles at bathtime.  My feet feel awesome!  And it isn’t costing me a penny.

My Current Favorite Scent: Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body Works

My Current Favorite Scent: Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body Works

I think we often have those “special” things that we only use on “special” occasions.  But – those “special” occasions that are “good enough” for our “special stuff” seem to be few and far between (and for busy parents, grow even fewer and farther).

So I am giving you a challenge.  Go into your bathroom.  Pull out 5 of your “special” items, the ones in the back of the drawer or in the basket under the sink.  Use them.  USE THEM UP.  Put them front and center on your bathroom counter and for the next two weeks – indulge in how special you are.  I can’t give each of you a wrapped present, but if you have even an hour of relaxation (in the midst of your crazy life), then know you are worth it and deserve special all the time.

Happy Chanukah.  Merry Christmas.  Happy Holidays.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(