Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

December 7, 2016

In the year of our Lord 2016 decorating the Christmas tree, for some strange reason, went down a little different than any past year I can recall. My husband was here “helping.” Now I get the song God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman! Just go take a nap already!

Last week some thoughtful male in our home brought the Jenny Craig imitation tree into the living room for me. How nice! Except that it didn’t get covered all year from Last Christmas and was filthy. Upon request, a son of mine dragged it to the backyard for me and I gave it quite the shower…. lights and all. I couldn’t remember if the lights actually worked and I knew we had 27 million strings of lights from our daughter’s wedding in the garage. Her wedding wasn’t IN the garage… that’s where the lights were.

A day later an extension cord was also brought to the backyard to see if the shower killed the lights. Surprisingly, they worked! Joy to the World! Back in the house that skinny tree was dragged.

Decorate-the-O-Christmas-Tree day quickly turned into clean-out-the-garage day, much to my chagrin. It all started at 10 a.m. with the typical where-is-the-box-with-the-decorations search and recover mission. Then the shelves got cleaned out and the toilet paper and paper towels were put on the clean shelves. Then we swept the garage floor. Then the camping equipment got put back on the shelves. Then a ton of junk got thrown out. Then I got a big scrape on my arm that produced blood. Then we swept the garage floor again. Then we threw out the dilapidated camping chairs that served their purpose for 11 strong years. (This is how my kids write stories. Every sentence starts with “then.” It really holds the interest of the readers and keeps the story moving along rapidly.) Then we found the bag of sheep’s wool that we will need to study sheep in January. Then we were all hungry. Then the Popsicle man came at the right moment. Then five kids from the youth group showed up and ate tacos at our kitchen table.

Side note: this was a stay-at-home-and-look-ugly day. I hadn’t even brushed my hair. I did brush my teeth because you can only be so gross on a stay-at-home-and-look-ugly day. I was sporting a red t-shirt, grey bally sweat pants that are floods, fuzzy black slippers and a light blue and pink Peter Rabbit apron covered with ruffles. The Popsicle man is probably used to this sort of housewife-dressing-down-deal. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

It was 7:30 p.m. when Nora, our 13-year-old, could not take the suspense any longer and begged to decorate the tree. Okay, Okay! Don’t get pushy! Let’s get this Blue Christmas rolling!

We weren’t ten minutes into our mission when realization hit me that my husband hasn’t really helped hang ornaments on the tree for YEARS! He was not aware of the ornament rules and was breaking the ornament rules faster than I could instruct him in the ways of righteousness. Little ones on top. Big ones on bottom…. but not the last row of branches. Ugly ones in the back. Elvis ones in the back. (I had to make that two rules so Rick didn’t know I think the Elvis ornaments are ugly. Shhhh.) Expensive ones at eye level and next to lights. Sheesh. How hard is it? It was notably NOT a Silent Night!

Here is the front and center of our tree: (Several rules are broken!)

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Then he figured since I had rules, he needed to make some rules. “Don’t linger by the ornament box! Just pull out your ornament and move away from the box!” Sheesh! I’ll admit I rolled my eyeballs toward heaven a few times and thanked God that He gave me All I Want for Christmas in this helpful man.

So, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas at the Crosby homestead! I pray your decorations went up with glee! May your Christmas be merry and bright at this Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Cooking with the Pilot

December 6, 2016

Wandering into the kitchen one morning last weekend, my hockey-playing, pilot husband, who is an exterminator and has a degree in Biblical studies, was vigorously chopping some food source in a frying pan on the stove. I mention his hobbies, schooling and his occupations to point out that he has no formal, or informal for that matter, training in the culinary arts. NONE! He is widely renown for his burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. So his attempt at cooking amused me initially. As I began to ascertain the situation at hand, I became highly amused…. blog-worthy-amused!

On impulse at Costco, my sweet husband, the provider for our family, purchased a skid of hashbrowns. Just look at how crispy-fried those salty morsels appear! He was probably salivating in the super store. Gluten free and 100% REAL potatoes. How could he go wrong?

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Kindly I explained that the objective of hashbrown cooking is to leave them alone so they can get brown and crunchy. Smashing them to smithereens won’t get the desired results. Previously I had cooked two boxes of said Costco bulk purchase, so I was quite well-informed on the procedure.

Peering into the pan, something didn’t seem right. The limp potato strips looked dry (and smashed.) Kindly I inquired, “Did you read the directions?” It was an honest question. As soon as my question was delivered, my 13-year-old daughter, who has been trained in our kitchen by my capable side, started laughing and pointed at her dad the I-told-you-so-finger-of-doom. Seems she already mentioned reading the directions to him. That’s my girl!

Rick, Mr. Master Chef, (term used very sarcastically) opened the little carton of goodness and dumped the freeze-dried potatoes in the hot frying pan. He realized something was off. His spidey senses alerted him to the need for butter. In went a dollop of creamy yellow goodness. Butter is the answer to SO MANY cooking situations.

THEN he proceeded to read the directions. And I’ll admit, the instructions for this delicacy are unusual. 1. Open carton and add hot water to the fill line. 2. Close carton and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain well.

Uh oh.

Things were off to a poor start. The pan he had chosen was obviously too small if water was to be added, so he switched to a larger pan. (The only reason I know this is because I discovered a small frying pan in the sink with the remains of burnt freeze-dried potatoes stuck to its non-nonstick bottom.) It was too late to add water to the carton full of spuds, so he added water to the frying pan full of crunchy strips and butter. It said HOT water, so the stove burner was turned to HIGH, obviously. Just like whipping up a grilled cheese sandwich to quality blackness.

Disclaimer: my daughter filled me in on this whole process after the fact so this is all hearsay.

Okay, thinking he was good, he went back to the directions. 3. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet and 2 TBSP. oil over medium-high heat. So, FAIL on the non-stick part. Next oil was poured over the soggy white, limp, smashed potato strips. Doesn’t this make you want to have some???

This is when I wandered in… to witness the mutilation of the oily, half-saturated delicacy. Kindly I probed to see what oil he used. There are four oils in my cupboard: coconut, olive, sesame and vegetable. He had a 75% chance of success. Again, my daughter who loves home-ec informed me in a Dad-is-so-busted tone, “He used butter from your bowl. The one you measured to make cookies.” Ooooh, there are several things that could make this mama go all kinds of crazy on you. Using my softened butter that is measured in a bowl for baking is one of them. And she knew he knew better! That’s my girl. Again the finger-of-doom was pointed at the perpetrator.

It’s doubtful if he ever did read 4. Fry on one side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Kindly I offered to show him how to divide the pan of scrumptiousness into thirds and flip them to golden brown perfection.

Surprisingly, they tasted okay.

The moral of the story is: When at first you don’t succeed, fry fry again.

Or: Touch mama’s measured butter and die a slow death of much pain. (Kindly I let him live.)

Jury Duty, My Nemesis

November 28, 2016

Since it’s been 18 months and zero days since my last jury duty, the flimsy white postcard arrived in the mail as scheduled announcing my day(s) off from homeschooling! Yay!

It’s that weird season between Thanksgiving and Christmas when most homeschool mamas are torn between math and cocoa with whipped cream. Grammar and Elf. History and fuzzy socks and a snuggly blanket and a good Christmas storybook. Turning on the heater or playing wii Dance 2 for P.E.

Needless to say, I wasn’t super disappointed to be leaving my children unattended for a day or three. (This will be our little secret, k?) My remaining offspring are 13 and 18 and fully self-reliant… with eating and staying alive. Not so resilient with doing school work unsupervised, but hey, it’s December. (Well in three days it’s December, but close enough to already have Christmas cheer!) And lying cozy and warm in your bed reading a fantastic book for hours IS school! Yep!

The day started off with a BANG! From the short walk from the shuttle bus to the front of the court house, I crossed paths with a very angry black woman who spewed, “White supremacists!” to me and my fellow non-assuming, white, middle-aged, minding-our-own-business jurors. Her words literally shocked me. My mouth dropped open. Turning to the lady walking right behind me I shared, “I have never been called that before!” She hadn’t either. Wow! I felt sorry for the name-calling woman. To harbor that much anger must make life horrible! I thought of singing Christmas carols to bring up the Christmas cheer but she walked off too rapidly for my first tune to commence. Joy to the World would have been top of my chart.

Being a returning expert to jury duty, I arrived on time. Signed in and got my sticker badge. Most of my morning was spent reading two months of text messages and trying to figure out who was the other texter. I lost all my contacts on my phone except those who left text messages… but they were nameless numbers. For two hours I READ texts from September 26 to November 28 and tried to remember who I had that conversation with followed by typing in every blinking name. When would I have had time to do that if not for jury duty? Thank you, Madison Court House!

Finally I sat working at a desk until my name was announced. Dang it. I have heard rumors of people getting the notice and sitting in the waiting area ALL DAY. Think of it! ALL DAY pretty much alone to read or look up papier mache Christmas ornaments on Pinterest or make grocery lists or doodle or nap or knit. Sugary bliss! But no.

My juror number this time, out of 40, was 2. Not good. The chances of numbers 30-40 getting selected, in my vast experience, are slim to none. But I was hopeful of being dismissed just by my explanation of what my husband does for work. The trial involved police, so I was sure to mention that Rick flies for Department of Public Safety… the governor, SWAT teams, prisoner transfers and photography… and has for worked for the State of AZ for 17 years. (So the 17 years didn’t always include DPS but I could have clarified if needed.)

This is not my first jury rodeo! (It’s my second.) So I had a much firmer grasp on my emotions as fellow jurors gave feeble attempts at being excused. There was no rolling of my eyes. There were no bursts of laughter like last time. I didn’t even snicker when an elderly gentleman raised his hand and urgently told the judge, “I have to go to the bathroom so bad I can’t think straight!”

The process of jury selection was much quicker this time around and there weren’t sob stories of abuse that we had to endure, thankfully. We returned from lunch and nine jurors were selected just like that. No questioning of any of us from the attorneys. Two minutes after lunch, the rest of us received our Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. BAM! Civic service done! Bring on the eggnog!

December 2016 I will look for my $23 fuel reimbursement check in the mailbox!

May 2018 I will look for the little, flimsy white postcard in the mailbox announcing my next half day off!  Whoo Hoooo!

Leg Cramposaurus

November 27, 2016

This is a continuing saga from the Golden birthday post of yesterday.

The night of the party, I assumed I would sleep well after cooking 27 million street tacos, three large pans of creamy chicken enchiladas and cutting 75 pieces of chocolate cake. But no. Realization hit… more like burned… that this agony may be more than a muscle cramp in my thigh. There was no possible sleeping position that didn’t produce pain. For three nights I sat in my green birthday chair in my room praying to fall into unconsciousness.

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One of those three nights, I had forgotten my earplugs and once again I assumed I would be able to sleep without them because that was a less pain-filled decision then walking across the room to get the earplugs. Wrong again. I love earplugs. The end.

Still, on Monday, DAY #4, I assumed the pain would eventually go away. Nada. On Tuesday morning, firmly poised in my green birthday chair after a fitful night of cat naps, I phoned the doctor’s office for an immediate appointment.

My son delivered me to the physician’s office at 9:00 a.m. As you may have anticipated, I was not looking my best with possibly 15 hours of sleep in four days. In my experience, the worse you look going to the doctor, the better your chances are of getting action and results. The nurse practitioner acted like this was so ordinary… a thigh cramp… no big deal… “It’s your sciatic nerve. We will give you pain meds and also steroids to reduce the swelling.” Again, I assumed I would be down and out for a few more day.

Two minimal hours later, I was singing the praises of modern medicine and was relatively pain free for the first time in five days. I love meds. The end.

The end of my expressions of love. Not the end of the story.

Two days later, at the family Thanksgiving dinner table, someone suggested that we go around the table and spew forth our thankfulness. I started. I yelled, “I am thankful for drugs!” And it was true from the depths of my being. My soul sang of unquenchable passion for pain medication. My new love.

I assumed I was home free in the pain area. Then the inevitable struck… the other result of taking pain medication…. my belly and bowels full of three days of food not wanting to leave me without a painful, tear-filled fight. I cursed the meds I had previously been in love with just shy of two days ago. I cursed modern medicine. How come they can’t invent non-constipating pain pills??? What’s so hard about that? No pun intended. I cursed the non-plush toilet paper. I cursed the cold, hard toilet seat.

My son-in-law is in med school currently and was visiting for Thanksgiving, so quite naturally I inquired why pain medicine also causes bowel issues. My youngest son chimed in, “Are you asking for a friend?” Mr. Med School explained the corresponding effects and I replied, “I’ll let her know.”

Like the clouds parting after a storm, glee hit my soul when I remembered stool softeners. (I apologize if you are eating, or were eating while reading.) (I probably should have put a gross-out, middle-aged warning on this post.) (Sorry!) To my sheer delight I found a jar of expired stool softeners in the medicine cabinet. Glory be! I believe I heard angels singing as I tossed back three of those little red and white glistening darlings.

You guessed it. The next morning I was singing the praises of modern medicine again. Call me fickle, or delusional, or temperamental, or easily swayed, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it. True love. Pain free true love.

I assume I am not the only one on Earth to have gone through these conflicting emotions with modern medicine. My sincerest hope is that this post will allow a pain-free existence to someone else on the planet currently cursing modern medicine, and rough toilet paper and chilly toilet seats.

 

Golden Birthday

November 26, 2016

A week before Thanksgiving, I was awaken in the dark of the night by a muscle cramp in my right buttocks and thigh. Not like the swimmer’s toe cramp you can just pull out of. Serious stabbing pain that made sleeping scarce. This was not fun. I like fun.

What could have brought this on, you ask? Quite possibly my almost 18-year-old son asking me if he could invite “some” friends over for his golden birthday party that he was planning while I was sitting on the beach in Maui. He would be 18 on the 18th… GOLDEN! His plan was that I would be home to cook for the party, of course. Being the nice mom, I said, “Sure! Invite some friends over.”

Next, said 18-year-old texted me to let me know he made me an administrator on a facebook event for this party for which I was cooking. That didn’t phase me until I clicked on to see why the party needed an event page on facebook. HE HAD INVITED 150 FRIENDS … while I was sitting on the beach in Maui. “Some” does not equal 150 in my mind.

As friends would respond that they couldn’t come, I would go on and type in “Good!” My hope was to scare off the kids that don’t know me well.

It went down like this: Wednesday – arrive home early in the morning from 17 days in Maui. Thursday – shop like a crazy woman. Thursday night 3:27 a.m. – leg cramps. Friday – party with 150 invites.

Thankfully only 75 of the guests showed up. There was much laughter, ping-pong, loud music, gold light-up shoes, streamers, Mexican food, a DJ, chocolate cake, line dancing on the dead grass in the backyard and 58 water bottles were opened and sampled. (Now being used to water my plants.) I am pretty sure the front and rear doors of the house were open wide from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.

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The birthday boy with his cousin, Whitney. So much happy! The golden shoes for the golden birthday really need a picture of their own. Sadly, they were not switched to the on position for this photo.

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Here you go. Not only do they light up… they strobe! BAM! Golden birthday success!

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More on the massive cramp tomorrow. I promise.

Brave Bun Debacle

November 25, 2016

2016 Thanksgiving was a tad out of the ordinary for our family for several very good reasons. 1. Our married daughter and her husband were coming home from Oklahoma for the first time in FOUR YEARS! If that ain’t a grand reason to mix things up, I don’t know what is? 2. Our niece is staying a little more than an hour away from our house and isn’t able to come home to be with family. Obviously it was necessary to squeeze in a visit on Turkey Day. And 3. The grand bun baking adventure really turned into an undertaking this year!

In years gone by, my motherly duty is to wake up semi-early and start the bun baking process so thousands of people can be blessed by yeasty white rolls of goodness on the national day of thankfulness. Perfection! This year, as previously mentioned, our morning was consumed by a ½ day trip. So buns moved to Thanksgiving Day Eve. Unfortunately, that Wednesday our kids flew in and the day turned into a driving exploit of sorts. Unfortunately, I found myself in the grocery store at 9:30 p.m. trying to locate the blasted little fast rising yeast packages. Can you already feel the tension rising? Get it?

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Frustrated and exhausted, I announced to my husband and all the other late night shoppers in the baking aisle, “That’s it. I’m not baking buns. I’m too worn out. Let’s buy buns.” Dutifully, my sweet husband followed me over to the bakery section and we stood speechless looking at the pathetic selection of sub-par store baked buns and rolls. They were puny. They were wrinkly. They were squished. They were covered in flour. They tasted dry…. I could sense it. With the savory memory of my yummy buns on the tip of my tongue, I announced, “That’s it. I’m baking buns. These are disgusting! Let’s buy yeast.” Rick mumbled, “Well, I wasn’t going to say it!”

At the late hour, I did request help from my beloved husband, who has never in his life participated in bun making. Willingly he agreed to come to my aid, not knowing what he was getting himself into!

If you know nothing about baking yeast buns, can I just tell you that it is a time consuming, yet wonderfully delicious process. It goes something like this: gather ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients with very warm, but not exactly hot, water, so as to activate the yeast, but not burn its little eyes out. Combine ingredients and stir goop until a soft ball forms. This sounds so easy, but it is deceptive. Then let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Let rise for 20 minutes. Shape into buns. Let rise 30-60 minutes. Bake 15 minutes.

Our freshly-turned-18-year-old son also joined in the process. If you could have heard them…. offering ME suggestions and baking tips. Oh my stars. One of them specializes in burnt grilled cheese sandwiches and the other one can only make waffles and mac-n-cheese. Not exactly chefs-in-the-making.

“It’s too sticky. It needs more flour.” Um, no. Keep stirring.

“This is done.” Um, no. Scrape the bowl and keep stirring.

“This is impossible to pick up and flip.” Um, no. I’ve done it for 20 years.

“I can punch down without flour on my fist.” Um…. go ahead and try, Mr. Martha Stewart.

“I can just roll them in a ball.” Um, no. Watch and learn the technique from the bun forming master.

“Just put a pan on each shelf of the oven at the same time.” Um, no. The bottom ones will burn.

“Are they done yet?” Um, no. Please stand by.

It was 1:30 a.m. when the last of the 120 not-really-cooled-off buns went into storage bags.  We fell blissfully into our beds with visions of floured buns dancing in our heads.

Thanksgiving 2016 was saved! Thank you, Rick and Keeve, my knights in floury armor.

Please see BUN RECIPE if you feel the need to have your own joy-filled bun baking extravaganza.

Still a California Girl

November 15, 2016

Last time I visited my sister on Maui, the kids would do their schooling in the morning then I would excitedly announce right after lunch, “Let’s go to the beach!” because we were in Maui. DUH! Why would you sit in the house, even if you live here? Several faces turned and looked at me as if I had horns coming out of my head then uttered ridiculous comments such as, “Now?” and “Why?” and “It’s too late” and my personal favorite: the glance to the clock and then the look of confusion on their faces.

It was 1:00 in the afternoon. Warm weather. White sand. Waves rolling just two blocks away. I did not understand the problem. At all. We had an afternoon stretching out in front of us with NOTHING to do. WHY AREN’T WE GOING TO THE BEACH!?!?

“Well, it’s kind of late in the day.” Um, no. It’s 1:00.

“It gets windy in the afternoon.” Um, yes. And doesn’t that feel good breaking up the warm air?

“We usually go early in the morning.” Um, that hasn’t happened since I arrived a week ago. So let’s go now!

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Fast forward to today. Nora, the Hawaiian Colombian princess, and I sat on Wailea Beach with the afternoon sand blasting our faces. It was a tad windy. Okay, more like gusting to 57 knots, whatever that means. Prayers were being sent heavenward that our orange beach umbrella wouldn’t do a Mary Poppins and fly away. After all the spaces between my teeth were filled with sand, we made the decision to pack up after only 45 minutes on the beautiful white sand beach.

As we drove away, I started thinking about my senior year of high school when I spent every Wednesday on the beach in Santa Cruz, California with my friend Kendle. We would drive over 17 after my only class and be on the beach by 10:30 a.m. The Maui mentality probably would have worked back then because we would lie under our beach towels until the fog burned off. It was freezing, but we could say we went to the beach every week… all year long.

Maybe this is why I find afternoons perfect for beach time? Maybe it’s because every time we get to the Maui beaches in the afternoon there are other people there? I am not the only one who thinks afternoons are perfect for lazy beach sitting.

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Today’s beach adventure was saved when we drove past Wailea to Mekena State Park, home to Big Beach. Although there were clouds, the wind was mild. The waves were relatively calm and the beach was, well, BIG. We spent the afternoon staring at the water and the sand and the insides of our eyelids.

My new mantra is ANY TIME IS BEACH TIME! Come on, people, this ain’t the main land.

Lahaina Drivel from Yours Truly

November 11, 2016

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Maui is an island paradise. Beauty captured in every direction is astounding. The mountains and valleys just a mile or two away are incredibly green and rugged. The lush farmland is also astonishing, especially near Lahaina as it is known for little rain and hot days.

However much greenery and lush landscape eye candy there is, unfortunately there are hazards to casual sleeping-in-mornings and lazy island times. They are known as the roosters of Maui. They are even referred to as feral chickens. Previous to this island adventure, I had only heard of feral cats. You would think with the food prices here, free chicken walking around would be less common than they are. But no. They are everywhere.

There is one happy rooster who lives somewhere near my sister’s house where we are staying. Even with my earplugs in I can hear him each morning strutting his stuff and cock-a-doodle-doing to his little heart’s content.

Still being half on AZ time, I am awake each morning before 7:00. Those who know me, know how unusual this is, but sadly it is true. As I laid in bed these past mornings listening to the bird brained alarm clock, I decided to time the crows… you know, just to see if I was exaggerating the frequency of Mr. Fog Horn Leg Horn‘s clucks. He proudly announces morning’s arrival every 8 to 21 seconds. Seriously. Over and over and over and over. For HOURS.

I started dreaming of where I could purchase a gun on the island, or at least a sling shot.

Then this morning, the crowing sounded like he was sitting on the headboard of my bed! I grabbed the camera and went outside to capture the beast for posterity. It was our first encounter of each other. To my dismay, he would not come out of the shade… but oh was he a pretty bird! Opalescent green breast feathers, royal blue hues in his tail, deep red and bright orange neck feathers all mixed together in a glorious display of pageantry. Irritatingly loud pageantry.

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Made me want to go eat at Chick-fil-A! Or Kentucky Fried Chicken! Or Church’s Fried Chicken! Or even a McChicken with a side of chicken nuggets at McDonalds!

Pray for me. I didn’t realize I had anger issues to this degree!  LOL!

THE Souvenir of Choice

November 6, 2016

My sweet girl has a challenge spending money. I do not share this challenge with her. At all. I do not really even understand how anyone can suffer from this. But over the past six years I have seen that the struggle is REAL!

Nora suffers from pre-buyers remorse. She will pick out a craft kit, or a shirt, or a bag of chips that she wants more than life itself. She will carry it around the store for an hour talking about how much she needs this item in her life and how it is her most favoritist in the whole galaxy. Then right before she is to lay it on the counter to pay for it, she decides to NOT buy it and sets it down. (I apologize to those who have “put it back where it goes” OCD issues.)

Being the loving, kind and compassionate parents that we are, we have forced her to buy these items more than once with her own money. It is not large sums. Nothing over $5, trying to show her that it is okay to purchase stuff. Kindheartedly we are helping her over this stumbling block in her life…. we hope.

Once in Justice (the animal-print-glitter-bling-bling palace of the universe) she had $75 in gift cards and $25 cash in her wallet. We spent more than an hour and a half in that teenie-bopper haven trying on every blinkin’ thing she could find, while her dad made dance videos to the store music on snapchat to the amusement of myself and all the other mothers and daughters. Nora picked out several shirts, a dress, a skirt and some shorts. When it was all added up at the cash register, the total came to $78.35. SEE THE PROBLEM?!?!?

Nora started figuring out what to put back to get it under $75 so she wouldn’t have to spend any cash. The glitter and bling *may have* gotten to my husband at some point because he grabbed her wallet and pulled out $4 and threw it on the counter. It was a bit dramatic for him, in my opinion. Nora’s brown eyeballs about fell out of her head. I’m not sure if this was a healthy way to teach our daughter that spending is okay, but that is how it went down and we are all still alive.

Fast forward to this week in Maui where she has been diligently searching for the souvenir to beat all souvenirs for herself. She has admired purple t-shirts, capri sweats pants that say MAUI down the leg, brown plastic slippers, magnets in the shape of Maui, calendars full of beautiful Hawaiian scenery, pineapple scented soap, rings with silver turtles, even coconut shells with candles in them. But with pre-buyers remorse, nothing had been purchased until today… day #7 on the island.

I still can’t figure out why the wooden pocket knife was the winning prize, but there was no pre- or post-buyers remorse! Nora showed it to me in the store and I was thinking she was buying it for one of her brothers or her dad. Nope. When I asked who it was for and she happily answered, “Me!” I did one of those mom-you-are-embarassing-me loud bursts of laughter that involuntarily slip out of my lips. Ooops.

I found it hilarious that my 13-year-old daughter who loves make up and painting her nails would be sucked in by a knife! A KNIFE! For Pete’s sake and all that is holy.

She is THRILLED with her wooden sided, engraved, Hawaiian Islands pocket knife. Makes me giggle just thinking of how perfect she thinks it is! And she paid $7 without beating an eyelash!

Pushy parent progress is being made!

 

Family Vacation Extravaganza!

November 5, 2016

My baby sister called me a year ago to tell me some thrilling news but her voice didn’t hold the excitement I felt it should have. A couple from their church invited my sister and her pastor husband (whose rapper name is Big Sexy but that’s not part of this story) on a two week cruise in the Mediterranean with 3-day stops in Venice and Paris. A DREAM vacation! I am pretty sure I was WAY more excited than she was about the cruise! I have taught Renaissance history… there are about 27 million places, buildings and works of art that I would kill to see. Well, maybe not kill, but close. Maim. Yeah. Maim.

My baby sister lamented, “I don’t think we should go because then we couldn’t come home to Arizona for Christmas next year.” I laughed loudly in her ear. A three week trip to Europe or Christmas with the cousins??? Seemed like a no-brainer to me. I felt like asking, “Are you dumb?” but I’m the nice sister, so I refrained. Then I remembered that we were going to Canada for Christmas and wouldn’t even be in Arizona. That encouraged her just a tad to consider the magnificent adventure at her finger tips.

The fervor had not returned in her voice. Still sounding forlorn she asked, “What would we do with the kids for three weeks?” HELLO!? You live in Maui. I WILL COME! Hence yesterday’s blog about Hana, the beach chair, returning joy and cat barf. So they went.

Knowing that we would be staying in my sister’s home, which is the parsonage twelve steps away from the church they pastor, (which consequently used to be the offices for a sugar cane plantation 50 or so years ago) I began to have visions of our own Crosby Family Vacation Extravaganza!  Whooo HOooooo! With some cousins thrown in! Party like it’s 1999.

Mr. Wallet and I discussed the opportunity and we enthusiastically presented it to the kids one night at dinner. Here is how it went down:

Me: (Can’t stop smiling!) Your Auntie and Uncle are going on a trip next November and have asked us to go over and take care of your cousins for two weeks. So we are all going to go and have a blast in Maui together!

(No one cheered.) (Maybe they didn’t hear me?)

Our 17 year old son: I don’t want to go. It is my last state band competition for high school.

(Again, I am weighing the alternatives: band or Maui?) (No brainer.)

Me: We could go the last two weeks so you could do the state competition and then go.

Our 17 year old son: I don’t want to go then either. That would mean I would have to have my 18th birthday in Maui.

(And the problem is?????) (I am pretty sure my mouth was hanging open.) (Well, that just saved us $600!)

Our 19 year old son: Yeah, I don’t want to go either. It would be hard for me to get my jobs covered and I’m driving bus for the homeless on Sundays.

(Since when did ministry come before self indulgence?) (KIDDING!) (Another $600 saved!)

The 12 year old Colombian princess: Do I get to go? 

(Didn’t I say FAMILY vacation?)

YES!!!! Her eyes lit up and a smile spread across her face. That’s my girl.

THEN a few months into the planning, Mr. Wallet counted his vacation days and decided he was going to save another $600 and stay home. What the heck? How can all these men be related to me? I live for vacations! My sons had free food, lodging and flights to Maui but turned them down. I just don’t get it. I am pretty sure when they are 40 they will regret the foolish decisions of their youth.

You guessed it… GIRLS TRIP! Nora and I are having a blast! She hasn’t flown on a BIG plane since she came to America six years ago, so of course she had to tell me all about them…. trays that come down out of the seat for your table… tiny bathrooms… free nuts! So many things to look forward to!

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Oh, you know I’m posting pictures of facebook, snapchat and instagram and tagging my sons. BEST GIRLS TRIP EVER!