Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Throw Momma from the Computer

I am sitting down at the computer for the first time in what seems like a week. My family has a computer game addiction, thanks to the Davis' grandparents, and it is Zoo Tycoon. Who knew that this game would be such a hit? Darby loves it, to the point of needing an intervention. Even Scott loves it, pondering the best resolution for his burgeoning moose population and the health and well being of his ibex family. This game should have come with a warning label for OCD types, because King OCD and his progeny are fixated.

Darby has reverted to some interesting problem solving tactics. When you build your zoo, install refreshment stands and umbrella tables everywhere, and then when your customers complain about being thirsty, do not install water fountains - just sell off the whole thing, pack up and move to Florida. I think a psychologist could draw a link between the number of moves Darby has made, plus the way she solves problems. Hmmm......

Monday, December 29, 2008

Spoiler Alert

The following post contains info about "Marley and Me" and "The Sound of Music." I was disappointed for two completely different reasons, but feel the need to share my experiences here, in my blog, my home of my thoughts.

I took my girls to see that feel-good, holiday movie "Marley and Me". I must say that the movie was not bad, it was well written, and the story was true and realistic...for a grown man and woman. The girls, having seen all the advertisements on Nickelodeon kids' shows, seemed to think that the movie was about Marley, the dog - how wrong they were. This movie is about marriage, child-rearing, relationship struggles, and a mid-life crisis. My children were subjected to talk about sex and various images thereof, child loss, post partum depression, and a couple of scenes of neighborhood violence. And this was a PG movie. It kind of makes you wonder what Hollywood would market to children, label as PG, and show on Nickelodeon.

My other spoiler for today comes from an article I read in the Arkansas Democrat yesterday. (Long road trip + Sunday paper=Sheree OD on news.) Do you know how much truth is in the Sound of Music? Very little, as it turns out. There were seven children and the governness named Maria. But Liesl is not a part of the family. There is no young love story, no sixteen year old girl sweetly taking care of the younger kids. The oldest child, a male, was 27 years old when the escape was made. The Von Trapps made it over to America in 1938 and performed as family singers for years. Maria had three children of her own, and all of them lived in an inn in Stowe, Vermont. Maria was certainly not a lovely songbird - she was domineering and demanding and forced all the children to abide by her wishes and serve her. Pretty much all of the children rebelled against her and her youngest, a son, was put upon to run the inn. He resented it, saying that he would rather do something he wanted to do, but could not battle with the powerful force of mommy Maria. She died in the mid Eighties, and after which all the kids had interests in the inn and started suing each other. The animosity amongst the children was great and it took years of battles before everyone backed out of the inn, which is now run by Maria's grandson and son of her youngest child. And you know how they play that movie at Christmastime and the live production in the theater - the family gets nothing from that. The father sold the rights to the story back in the 1950s for $9,000, so that means the kids are burdened with the Von Trapp legacy as being singing cherubs in short pants and skirts made from tacky curtains. And they get jack squat. I am so glad my name is not Von Trapp. I so love the movie and cannot imagine a big meanie Maria, but the past employees of her inn, not to mention her own family, have painted her in a different light. It kind of ranks up there with finding out that Mrs. Brady had a thing going with her TV son Greg - just plain sick and wrong.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Comfort Food

I am completely over Christmas now.  Moved on, made my peace, hallelujah and amen.

One thing I can truly enjoy is the food.  I have missed some things, some gastronomic encounters, so here is my top five:

5.  Earl's Rib Palace.  A real crowd pleaser for all the Franks' clan.

4.  Ted's Cafe Escondito - nothing compares to those tortillas, the salsa, the queso, the you-name-it.

3.  Hideaway Pizza - I am not a New York style pizza fan, which is all there is in Atlanta.  I can't imagine why people don't prefer Hideaway in Georgia, because they are really missing something.

2.  Mom's Snacketizers - a Christmas tradition.  We have many meals focused on our all-time faves.

1.  Mom's Christmas dinner - the best, hands down.  I drove half way across America for the family, the friends, and the cornbread dressing.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Second Order of Business

We had a wonderful day with the family yesterday.  Everyone was very happy, but alas, I managed to remain a little mad.  You see, the postman delivered the missing package at about 4:00, after I had checked every tracking device, purchased duplicate items, and left to see James Bond.  So, today I get to return many duplicated items.  Back to the mall, which I have tried to avoid, yet again.  I hate the mall...must kill the mall.

But that is not the only Christmas pothole I managed to hit.  Thanks to my clueless, time-challenged daughters, they woke at 3 AM and checked out the Santa presents before anyone sane would choose to wake up.  The girls came and woke me up, having already looked through their stuff, then told me the time, I clarified the time again with them, then told them to go back to bed and leave me alone until there was a six on the clock because in my mind six is plenty early for Christmas morning.  They stayed up, opening their gifts and stockings.  Which means that for the first time there are no Christmas morning videos and pictures.

I wish I could have another Christmas do over...again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Order of Business

It's the day before Christmas and my good mood is gone.  The extra large package of Christmas gifts that I packed and shipped from Atlanta has not arrived.  I spent a lot of money on that box and 13 days was not enough time for the box to get to its final destination.  I am mostly aggravated and partly ticked off.  I get to spend the next few hours shopping with all the procrastinators at the mall, a place that I have completely avoided since December 4th.  

I need Hideaway pizza - probably the Sooner Schooner.  The pizza will be mine today.

After the shopping for the second time, I will be making my candy cane cookies, for the second time.  Due to an unforeseen complication of trying to appease to many people at once, I burned Santa's cookies.  My all-time favorite cookies that I get once a year.

I need a Christmas do-over.

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Nice, Cozy Family

Highlights from our day of togetherness:

1.  The girls belting out "Ring of Fire".  It would make all rednecks proud.

2.  Endless games of "Would You Rather...".  Purchase of this book was a mistake, I must admit.

3.  Not one clean bathroom.

4.  A major wardrobe issue for Scott.  So sorry, babe.  You really looked like you belonged at that truck stop.

5.  Toe Socks for the uncoordinated.  Roxy made an executive decision to wear them, but not over her toes, so they shoot out in precarious angles through her Crocs.

6.  Dang cold weather.

7.  Two smoking vehicles and one gas leaking vehicle - all in dang cold weather.  So glad our vehicle is solid, comfortable, and almost new.

We made it!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Festivus Redux

1. Our aluminum pole made a great weapon during the feats of strength. (see photo)

2. Scott has no real challenger with the wrestling portion of the evening because all the household females are extremely ticklish.

3. The added event of our evening, cookie decoration, got a little sick and wrong. (see photo)

4. The airing of grievances was too much fun for Scott. On further reflection, the females realized that Scott airs the same grievances on a regular basis. This makes Festivus a little more ordinary, a little less festive.

5. The girls had simple grievances: Roxy does not like getting yelled at, Darby has a grievance with everything that Roxy is, does, and will be, and my grievance is toothpaste left in the sink. Can't you people just rinse properly?

6. I can't wait for Festivus next year. Oh, wait...the road trip will give Scott another Festivus Redux on grievances.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Party @ the Church

Yes, my church had a Christmas party for all the kids. It was very fun and the girls had a great time with games, stories, Santa, and gingerbread houses. Darby made a gingerbread church with a stacked peppermint steeple and it was too cute! Roxy was so excited to get to wear pajamas to church because it was a Polar Express theme, and her little friend had the exact same pair of pajamas, the Target ones with puppies all over them. Those girls are on the same wavelength in many ways. It was so fun to be at a Christmas party with so many friends from church. I will look forward to next year's party, too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Saturnalia for Everyone

Here are the outtakes of the Christmas card photos. We chose the one that best represented the true personality of the girls, complete with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I wish I could send out the perfect family portrait where everyone is photogenic, but that would not be "us". "Us" is slightly off, but real.

While watching a sitcom the other night, I learned that the Christmas tree is a byproduct of a pagan holiday called Saturnalia, which was celebrated on December 17th. The appropriate spelling of this holiday is varied, as is the link of the tree to the holiday, but thanks to the internet I have deemed it true. And, when I worked as an accountant in the '90s, I knew a guy who told me that the tree was a pagan symbol and he provided me with the same info I heard on The Big Bang Theory, so there.

In the true spirit of acceptance and tolerance and equal opportunity for all holidays, I say Happy Saturnalia to all of you. Without out it, there would be no Christmas trees. Without Martin Luther, there would be no lights on the trees. Without the Wise Men, there would be no tradition of gift giving. And without my mother, there would be no yummy food on Christmas Eve. I love each and every one of these things, plus Jesus, so thank you Jesus and pagan tree cutters and Martin Luther and Wise Men and Mom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Great Tradition

I have a giant book of Christmas music and I will play songs for the girls and they sing along. Some of them sound bueno, some of them are mucho dolor. I wish I was a better example for my daughters, practicing every day and learning new pieces of music, but alas, I have fallen off the piano wagon. The girls just love it when I get going on the songs, though. Roxy dances all around on Jingle Bell Rock. Winter Wonderland is probably my best piece, and Darby happens to love that one. I have no clue what Good King Wincheslas is even about - the words sound like the Kinks' inspiration for Father Christmas, which is a particularly odd, punk-ish song.

I have taught my daughters to sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing, but like the Peanuts gang does it, with wide open mouths and noses pointed in the air. When the song leader lead that song at church on Sunday, that is exactly what Darby did. Darby should be a part of the Peanuts gang. She could be Frida, who is always concerned about her naturally curly hair. Like naturally curly hair is something to brag about! Roxy would probably be Snoopy. She would especially like having a little bird follow her around...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What I Like About Dar

Darby is so uniquely Darby. She is impossible to sum up in 6 words and trying to describe her would required hours of observation. I had a few 'only with Darby' moments this weekend. When going to a store, restaurant, or public place, be prepared to have to guide her through the establishment because she will get distracted by words. Not spoken words, but written words. I have taken her to restaurants, like City Bites or some place where they post reading material in the bathroom stalls, and have known that I would have to pry her out with a crow-bar because of the literature posted on the walls. She HAS to read it, in its entirety. When we take her to Dagwood's, a sandwich shop based on the comic strip, she sits mesmerized by the flat screen TV that projects a continuous loop of comic strips. And when you go to museum, be prepared for information overload. She is completely addicted to the written word.

She also loves to hear stories. Not exactly soap operas, but the kind you hear on the Delilah syndicated radio show. Last night, as I was putting away the remain of Mount Laundry, I found Darby drawing in her room, listening to a Stevie Wonder Christmas song. We don't own that one in particular, so I asked where she got it. It turns out that Darby has discovered Delilah and was tuning in to her broadcast. Delilah listens to those people from all over the United States that call in to dedicate songs by Rod Stewart and Celine Dion to long lost loves, old high school friends, and people that want Delilah to listen to their hardships. I NEVER listen to Delilah, mostly because Scott would make fun of me, but Darby absolutely loves it. She even memorizes all the stories. And she tells them to me - all of them.

I am convinced that one day Darby's love of words and passion for dramatic stories will manifest itself in a great novel or a magazine article. Or maybe she will start her own blog, specifically for Delilah fans...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Angel Food

We worked at our Angel Food ministry this morning. For $30 you can buy a significant amount of food that would cost twice that much at the grocery store. For a family of four, all of the portions are ideal and I have been pleased with the quality of the products. It is basically the same things you could buy at Wal-Mart. There are additional options where you can buy a 5 pounds of chicken breasts, boxes of reduced portions for seniors or those living single, and all sorts of others choices. The good thing is that in these economically scary times, the food you buy for your family seems more expensive, but not Angel Food. We have been able to reach out to those families experiencing job losses or just hard times, and the food is a needed blessing. My girls really enjoyed helping out with food sorting this morning and we will definitely do it again, as well as order food again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What I Like About Rox

My husband and I had lunch together, ran errands, and discussed Roxy. She was in the foulest of moods this morning: school is boring, getting ready for school is boring, I don't like my pants, you are making tangles in my hair, etc. The list was long, and I was speculating out loud to Scott that she would come home in a beautiful mood and the whole morning would be forgotten.

Sure enough, it was. Roxy had earned many behavior bucks at school and had chosen little prizes to give to every person in our family. She has been promoted to a higher reading group and was very proud. And after she gave me my present - a little packet of peanut butter M&Ms, I immediately forgave the foul temper tantrums from the morning. Thank you for the prizes, Rox. You know the true meaning of giving.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Ghost of Christmas (Card) Past

I found this relic in the basement and have been reflecting on the last six years. So much has changed since my babies were 8 months and 4 years old.

1. We have moved three times since this picture was taken.

2. Roxy's eyes have turned hazel, like mine. Darby has kept her daddy's baby blues, though.

3. I sleep through the night on a regular basis. Woo-hoo!

4. I no longer have a little baby to cuddle. This picture makes me want to go back to the moments of naps, preschool, sippy cups and car seats.

5. Darby no longer loves High 5 and Veggie Tales.

6. Darby and Roxy are very good companions now. They do so many things together. Roxy is learning Darby's vocabulary and Darby is picking up on Roxy's sense of fun and action.

7. The hair: as Led Zepplin put it, the song remains the same. If only the hair could change...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Tasty Thought

Last night, out of nowhere (which is usually where Darby's thoughts originate), Darby asked Scott about egg nog, because she has never had it before. She will probably never try it now because Scott told her it was really like Christmas Phlegm. I immediately remembered playing charades with my cousins and watching one of them act of "The Flim Flam Man" by blowing his nose into his hand. Of course, my cousins immediately got the answer and I never have been able to extract the thought of phlegm from my brain.

Scott is looking forward to Festivus this year, if you can't already tell. I anticipate that the Airing of Grievances will be enlightening. We plan to watch the Seinfeld episode about Festivus when we celebrate with Scott in a couple of weeks. It should be a Festivus miracle...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Silent Night at the Mall

The girls had the opportunity to play Christmas carols at the mall. This was Roxy's first time to play a grand piano. She looked so small and so young sliding on to the piano bench. Roxy played Jingle Bells and We Three Kings. Darby has played in front of audiences before, so this was just another day at the mall for her. Darby played Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard On High.

The most amazing part of the whole event, other than the girls being completely lovely, was that Scott went to a mall, at Christmastime, and he did not get a rash and he did not bleed from his eye sockets and his throat did not swell shut. He really is NOT allergic to the mall!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Having a Monday Moment

Of all my responsibilities, momming was the toughest this morning. I went off on one of my kids this morning (trust me, she deserved it) and the "going off" drove my other kid to tears because she does not like it when anyone gets in trouble. I'm looking for a Monday Morning happy pill. I am also hoping that both of my kids are over my early Monday Moment. Note to daughters: do the right thing, turn in your work on time, and don't mess with momma. I have weak moments, too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Scott's Bah Humbug Parade

I don't know what it is, but I love parades. We attended a huge Christmas parade this morning in downtown Atlanta, just a few blocks from the Georgia Dome. We are not familiar with this part of town. But as you might expect, we drove straight to the crack houses. That parade started at 9:30 and we did not get out and wave to anyone. When in these unfortunate circumstances, I follow my mother's advice: just don't look at anyone so you don't see anything and they don't see you. Mom's advice always works for me.

We finally found our parade, along with a couple hundred thousand other people. It was on Peachtree street, and there are only about 100 Peachtree streets in downtown, so yea for us that we found it. It was a fun parade and it was cold and wintry and we had a lot of laughs. I say we, meaning the three females of the Fantastic Franks' fam. One of us, with that different chromosome, does not like driving, parking, sitting/standing, looking at weirdo people, waving to bands and dogs dressed like elves, soaking up the bizarre culture that is downtown Atlanta. Christmas? Bah humbug. Give that boy some coal.

We finished up our excursion with a tour of more abandoned buildings and slave traficking sites and then we made it to the Dwarf House. The Dwarf House is the original Chic-Fil-A, established in 1946. Pretty good eats in there. The girls hung out and ate at the soda counter while the adults enjoyed the sweetest tea in the South.

We thought about crashing the SEC championship game when we heard there were 500 trailers camped out a couple of blocks away. There should be some good tailgatin' goin' on down there, but I don't think Scott could take any more festive fun. Scott can just relive the whole experience by viewing the 108 pictures taken by Darby.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Brilliant Idea!

Darby thinks that I should post Roxy's and her Christmas list on my blog, so everyone will know what they want for Christmas. The list grows by the minute because we receive 5 catalogs a day. While the actual list is infinite, I will summarize each list for you:

Roxy - everything from the American Girl catalog
- everything from Constructive Playthings
- everything from Mindware
- every Little Pet Shop ever
- every Build a Bear accessory ever
- everything at Limited Too

Darby - everything from the Museum Store catalog
- everything from Mindware
- Nintendo DS Lite with every game, including the recipe program
- about 1,000 books that look interesting
- about a dozen new Wii games
- a guitar

I'm so glad that my daughters appreciate the simple things in life...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sheree's Dishwashing Music

I listen to music as often as possible. Right now I have a new playlist, Christmas themed, of course.

Andrews Sisters - Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Kay Starr - The Man With the Bag
Zee Avi - No Christmas for Me
The Weepies - All That I Want
Smashing Pumpkins - Christmastime
Brandi Carlile - The Heartache Can Wait
Bruce - Santa Claus is Coming to Town
The Kinks - Father Christmas
The Eagles - Please Come Home for Christmas
Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby
Judy Garland - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rapping Roxy

The first grade has their music program tonight. This should be memorable...Santa is "the man"...Roxy practicing her home girl slouch...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Attention: The Lawn Ornaments Are Gone!

I had made a prediction that my neighbors would leave their Halloween lawn ornamentation out through December. I have been glancing at witches, six scarecrows, pumpkins, and glow-in-the-dark bones since September. I even told Scott that if they went away for Thanksgiving, I would pick them all up and stack them by their house for them. But low and behold, they picked them all up yesterday. No more bones, no more flying witches in the trees, nada.

This could only mean one thing - they have Christmas lawn ornaments to put out soon. Another prediction - let's see if I'm right. I polled the families in my small group last night about whether any of them go all out on the outdoor Christmas decor. That is something that is so big out here in Georgia. You feel somewhat inadequate if you don't have some giant inflatable snowglobe on the lawn. From my small group, we had only one giant snowglobe family, but we did have one family that puts out a giant inflatable Home Depot truck, decorated for Christmas. I haven't seen anything like that yet, so they might be in for a driveby.

This year the Franks' house will just say no to the giant snowglobe and Home Depot truck - I'm sure I will get to enjoy my neighbors' decor for a while...