Of Lice And Kin

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post, except that I'd rather be there right now!
This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post, except that I’d rather be there right now!

The funny thing about life is that just when you think you’ve got the rhythm down, it changes.  And it isn’t the least bit funny.

On Saturday (the eve of my planned Christmas baking frenzy), I shuttled kids to activities, took them to finish their Christmas shopping (twice) and nagged them until they finally wrapped their gifts.  Just when I thought I’d get to sit down and relax for half an hour before starting dinner, my husband decided to check into my younger son’s itchy scalp.  Oh, how I wish he hadn’t done that….sort of.

Sure enough, some nasty little hitchhikers hatched on his head.  As soon as my husband showed me the uninvited guests, I felt my scalp crawl.  I swore I could feel them cozying up in my curls.  I sent him to get lice removal kits for all of us while I readied the house to put on the market.  Okay, I didn’t go that far, but the thought occurred to me.

The worst part of the treatment was the fine-tooth comb – I’m pretty sure I have bald spots now.  My husband went through my hair and it turns out, I didn’t have any lice, but I’m fairly certain the experience killed any romance in our marriage 😛

(If not, we’ll get to do it all again in 7 to 10 days to make sure eradication (of lice and romance?) is successful.)

I spent the better part of the day vacuuming, cleaning, and doing 18 loads of laundry.  (18 may be an exaggeration, but not much.)  I’ve quarantined his favorite stuffed animals to Ziploc bags, where they have to stay for two weeks.  All of the bed linens in the house have been washed and dried to a crisp in the dryer.

Oh.  My son snuggled on the couch with me this morning.  I forgot to vacuum the couch.  Everyone is sleeping, so I can’t do it now.  I hope I can sleep knowing it’s not done…

(Have I mentioned this was a pain in the $*&^@ and has really mucked with my baking schedule?)

Anyway, it’s 2:43am and this nonsense has been going on for twelve hours.  I’m waiting for the last load of have-to-dos that has my pillowcase and favorite blanket.  Once they have finished toasting, I will fall into bed.

God, please let me dream of dancing sugar plum fairies, not the blood-sucking, scalp-dwelling parasites among us.

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I hadn’t planned to post, but I couldn’t resist sharing life’s little curve ball!

Has life ever wrecked your plans?  If you have a funny/frustrating story, I’d love to read it 🙂

Moments

Life is made up of teaching moments and learning moments.  As a parent, I see many teaching opportunities.

For instance, earlier this week, I had a discussion with my younger son about Christmas presents.  He wanted to get his brother a gift that cost $15, and he also wanted to buy something for my husband, me, and his grandparents.

He’s seven and doesn’t have $60.  He was upset because he didn’t have enough money to buy everything (I can relate to that!)

I explained that while it is sweet to want to generously spend, thought isn’t measured in dollars.  I told him that if he paid attention to what people like, he could find gifts for a couple of dollars apiece.  I could’ve given him examples of things I liked, but I wanted him to figure it out himself.  Thought.

12-19 Presents

Last night, when I got home from work, they had finished wrapping the gifts (my husband took them shopping.)  I’m curious to see what my little one decided I would like, but part of the fun is the waiting and wondering (and watching him try so hard not to blurt out what he bought) 🙂

Tired from a long day, I really wanted to just relax, but my older son said he needed to take cookies in for a class project the next day.  (He’s been into the last-minute things lately.)  He’d bought break-n-bake cookies so I figured it would be easy.

No.  The cookies had to be shapes (but not trees or Santa.)

12-19 Cookie CuttersI came into the kitchen to find he’d smeared the sticky dough on a cookie sheet and gummed up the rolling pin.  I got out the parchment paper and flour and had him clean up the pan.  All the while, I grouched about how I was tired, had a headache, and just wanted to relax.  In between grumblings, I showed him how the flour kept the dough from sticking.

“This dough really isn’t made for rolling,” I said with a frown.

“I know that now, Mom.”  He shrugged.  “Live and learn.”

Live and learn.  His words cut through my crabbiness.  The best learning involves mistakes.  I used to accept that better when I was younger, but somewhere along the way, I decided efficiency proved to be easier.  How silly to think I’d completed my learning phase.

Cookies in the oven, I wrapped my son in a hug.  “I’m sorry I was cranky with you.  I’m tired, but shouldn’t have taken it out on you.”

Live and learn.

My son’s wise reminder was a proverbial light bulb moment that showed me mistakes are part of life, and learning is a lifetime challenge.

I hope I learn something else today.

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I’ll spend the next couple days trying to catch up on blog reading and comments, but I won’t be online next week.  Just a heads up that I haven’t disappeared… only taking a short break (which will be filled with lots and lots of baking 🙂 )

Bows And Lights- And Memories

My older son tied on 79 red bows!
My older son tied on 79 red bows!

Fresh off the high (or “low”?) of Black Friday, we delved into hauling out our Christmas decorations.  (I’m not being sarcastic- I love holiday decorating.)  Every year, the kids excitedly adorn our tree with sixteen years of accumulated ornaments (many purchased each year on the day after Christmas.)  Our tree might look gaudy to the outside eye, but for us, it’s a beautiful testament to life, love and family.

A few weeks ago, I went out dinner with some ladies from the neighborhood.  I don’t really fit in, but this monthly gathering is my attempt to be semi-social.  Anyway, the conversation went something like this:

Lady:  Has anyone seen that house with all the decorations?

Me:  Oh yeah, it’s great!  He started decorating back in October.

Lady:  It looks like he bought everything from the dollar store or a garage sale.

This house "lights" up my kids' faces.
This house “lights” up my kids’ faces.

Oops.  Another social cue totally missed by me!  To some, this man’s house might look like overkill.  But I wonder if his decorations hold the same memories that our tree does?  I bet they do.  Here’s another thing:  his house makes my kids smile.  Whenever we drive by at night, we slow down so they can gawk at the lights.

I always thought happiness was an intended by-product of the holidays.  When I see my kids’ eyes wide in wonder (even my eleven-year-old- which trust me, doesn’t happen often) I can’t help but think such decorating with abandon is a fabulous idea.  (Side note:  decorating to the hilt in order to show up the neighbors, is NOT in the holiday spirit.  And, when decorating becomes a chore that no one wants to do, it should be stopped!)

On Sunday, the kids and I went shopping at Wal-Mart, Big Lots, and the dollar store.  We ended up with 215 ornaments, 27 feet of beaded garland, 8 boxes of lights and 82 red bows.  The kids had a blast hanging the colorful ornaments on our trees and my older son relished his role of supervisor while guiding my husband as he strung the lights.  (“Higher Dad, go higher!”)

12-3 Tree Lights

When darkness came, we stood shivering in the street, admiring our imperfect handiwork.  The kids were so excited because this was the first time we’ve ever decorated outside.  I’ve promised we’ll go shopping the day after Christmas to get more lights for next year.  Oh, and Pickles wants a lighted reindeer- maybe two.

My, what will the neighbors think?

Hmmm…turns out, I really don’t care.  It won’t dim our family’s joy in the least 🙂

100 Word Song – The Season (Her First Mistake)

12-25 LightsonWater

“Sir?” Ingrid held her cup toward the elderly man.

He halted after he’d passed by, and then shuffled toward her. He leaned down, his face inches from hers. His bushy eyebrows knitted together like one long caterpillar. That’s when she knew she’d made her first mistake. Never hit the same mark twice, Momma had warned.

“Child, last year, you took advantage of my kindness by stealing my wallet.”

Ingrid gulped.

“God forgives and so shall I,” he said before dropping several coins into her cup.

“Bless you,” she called to his back as she tucked his wallet into her skirt.

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So, today, I tried something new.  Lance, over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, has invited me several times in comments to participate in the 100-word song challenge.  I’ve never done it because it is so out of my comfort zone (and I’m a big chicken).  That’s why I decided to try it today.

The song is “Her First Mistake” by Lyle Lovett.  I wasn’t familiar with it so I gave it a listen, and then tried to come up with a different take.  You tell me whether it works or not 🙂

If you’d like to write your own response, post it on your blog and then go to Lance’s blog (linked above) to post your link.  Have fun!

Survival of the Clickest

Surviving October’s ghosts and demons, retailers thrust us into greater madness:

HOLIDAY SHOPPING.

Maybe in the tree-trimming aisle, perhaps a Costco somewhere:

Today, someone will die (at a bargain price.)

I’ll hide online!

Give me more of this, but please, please, PLEASE don't make me go shopping!
Give me more of this, but please, please, PLEASE don’t make me go shopping!

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TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to Trifecta’s weekend prompt:

In The Scorpio Races, author Maggie Stiefvater writes, “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”  Give us the next thirty-three words of this story, as you imagine it.  Take it wherever you like, but make it original and make it 33 words exactly. –

The title of this post is a take on Darwin’s “survival of the fittest.”  I believe the only way to survive the holiday shopping season is to not buy into it.  (Buy into it…get it?)  I know, that was lame- but I couldn’t resist.  It’s Friday and I haven’t crashed from my Halloween chocolate sugar high yet.

If you’d like to see other responses, or submit your own, click here to view Trifecta’s site!  Have a fabulous Friday 😛