Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chinese Christmas

Matthew, Emily and I took a trip to Target a couple of nights ago and among our purchases was a new star for the top of the Christmas tree. The kids have heard us complaining about all the problems with China's imports lately and our sarcastic comments that they secretly want to poison us. As we are heading for the checkout, Emmy reads the box of the star loudly "Made in CHINA?! Mom, we can't get this, it is made in China! But Mom, you said we aren't buying anything from China anymore." I then tried to explain to her that I made the comment in jest and completely banning Chinese products would be nearly impossible and also asked her to check the other items in the cart, knowing she would find more items made in China. "Made in Tee aa wan." "Oh- Taiwan, OK" (Command Strips) "And, Made in Cam bo lu di ooh whatever" "Cambodia" (jammies for a gift) Well shoot, my theory failed. Then Emily said "Well, China just makes the Christmas stuff." I think I will have to agree with her and then I start thinking about it more.

China must love Christmas. Their factories run full speed every year to stock our shelves with toys and decorations so we can flock to the stores and fill up our baskets with the light strands that don't work from last year. For real, can they make lights that last for more than one year? The most irritating thing is having half a strand of lights that work and the other half doesn't, you know what I'm talking about. How many years did you shove the non-working half in the back of the tree or inside a bush outside because you had already strung the first half before you plugged it in? Uh huh, I'm not alone. I'm done with that now; from now on any Made in China light strands that don't work the following year go in the I can go to the store and buy more Made in China lights.

Enjoy your China made Christmas and as Emily said loudly in Target the other night "Make sure little kids don't put China toys in their mouths!" Man, kids are great.

Disclaimer: I run on equal opportunity import/export ticket. This is not an attack on a particular country or their race, only an attack of poor workmanship.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The race is on

Something happens each morning around 8:00 and 2:55-3:00 each afternoon. That is prime driving time for the parents that pick up their children from school. I almost sense a mentality that once you put the vehicle in drive and start driving to school you enter a race. The kids have been in school for 13 weeks now and it is always the same vehicles entering and exiting the neighborhood, so it is inevitable that I have realized the green Ford Explorer in front of me going slow is headed to school, as is the dark green Suburban that will try and back out of the driveway in front of me each day as I head down the street. I know not to get behind the gold Sienna on the way home because he believes his Sienna truly is made of gold. He will slow down to 5mph to go over the speed humps. I want to give him a little Sienna love with a bumper bump to speed him up. I know we can safely take the speed bumps at 26 mph and if you glance back in the rear view mirror you may even see some cheek jiggle from the kids but they are unphased. We really should have numbers painted on our cars to relay our pole position in the race to school; maybe a good announcer on the radio to make it all more official and that much more fun. One day, Miss White Dodge Caravan decided to cut through the church parking lot to avoid the one and only stop light. Her place in line at school? A whopping 2 places before me; and we all leave the school at the same time. If I take my time driving as usual, I am usually followed so closely that my poor van has a wedgy all day. I’m used to living in towns with uptight, type A men wearing camouflaged uniforms who carry those personalities over to their driving. I’m fairly accustomed to aggressive drivers but this type of aggressive driving is new for me. This class usually has blonde hair and says Hey Y’all and gushes sweet nothings as the children hop in the vehicle and then the race is on again; because you know children can’t wait to get home and do homework.

The fish died.
He was a good fish; he never complained about being overfed by overzealous children, he accepted his fate of infrequent filter and water changes and seemed content with sharing his life with only a frog. He just swam and ate, until yesterday. We gave him a proper flush last night and then listened to all three children completely break down into tears. Emily was distraught and inconsolable. You are not supposed to flush a fish; that is cruel in the eyes of a child. A dead fish goes in the trash. We told her he was returning to the sea but she said “BUT HE’S DEAD!” Yea, well, ummmm…our trash doesn’t have healing powers, honey.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Around town

Once again my children have stunned me with their pattern of growth over the summer. Earlier this spring I updated their cold weather clothes and purposely bought them just a smidge too big so I could get a 'two for one special' on the longevity scale. Unfortunate thing, Georgia seems to put HGH in the water supply and they all grew an inch or more since we moved here. Or, maybe I just figured out why the milk is so much expensive down here. Whatever the cause, we had crop pants and three-quarter length sleeve shirts going on in the boys' bedroom one morning before school and I knew I couldn't subject them to the "your mom didn't check your clothing size this morning, huh? Poor dear." looks at school. So I headed off the clothing store of choice for growing boys- Old Navy. Cheap clearance racks and they last just as long as the kids fit in them. Made in China works great for how quick these kids grow, just don't eat the buttons.
While there I hear a nice beat bopping along on the loud speaker and then I actually said out loud "NO, it can't be." In GA, early in November I hear "White Christmas." That is about 8 degrees of messed up.

Today we asked the kids if they would like to draw names and buy gifts for each other. We told them to try and keep it a surprise to make it more fun. The first round ended quickly when Emily decided abruptly that she did not want "That Person" and refused to participate. She broke down and everyone told the surprise of who they had drawn. I explained to the kids that it would be more fun if they kept the surprise but they had "Let the cat out of the bag" and Jacob piped up and responded with "Well, can we put the cats back in the bag?" We all had a good laugh and repeated the name drawing process another two times and I think they may have actually kept it to themselves this time.
We took them to every parents dream location, Toys R Us, to make a list of the things they would like their Secret Santa to consider. While driving I saw a sign at a car wash- "48 HR Rain Guarantee" Let me quickly explain to you the situation here in the area- we are in a severe drought. It has rained 1.9" in the last 42 days and the previous months before that were well below average as well. The lake has dropped 6 feet in elevation since we moved here 6 months ago, Atlanta and many other towns are facing a water shortage and the grass has shriveled up to reveal desert looking sand below. I chuckled when I saw their 48 hr. rain guarantee, it is like buying into a perfectly stable stock market!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Deep Thoughts

"Does Anybody Hear Her" by Casting Crowns

I've heard this song many times on the radio as a drive my countless shuttle missions around town and every time it stops me in mid-thought. Only a few songs can capture my attention for the entire song and really 'speak' to me and this one does. I think our society as a whole brushes off teens, young girls especially, once they have taken a wrong path and rarely offers them the love of a second chance. This is even true with their own parents and family members, who may have contributed to the overall situation in the first place. It breaks my heart to know there are so many children and teens out there in broken homes. It is inevitable that the circle may be impossible to end; a child that grows up without being surrounded by love will never learn how to surround those around them with love when they are grown.

The second part of the video that speaks volumes to me is the "lofty glances from lofty people." Our churches are filled with lost and lonely people and they seek the one place that should be free from judgement but yet it is still one place that holds some of the most judgemental people I have ever met. This makes me incredibly sad. Jesus, the most holy person to walk the Earth lived and walked among with the poor, sick, outcasts, and all of those with bad habits. Religious leaders of that time called him "friend of the sinners", considered a derogatory term but Jesus considered it evidence of his love. If we can love and help those lost and lonely people, despite their scarlet letters, bad habits, financial status, etc. we can show that our love comes from a much more powerful source and can endure anything. If we can love others the way Jesus loves us hopefully we can continue the circle.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Granola Anyone?

So my husband says I’m really a crunchy person at heart. I haven’t figured out if I should take this as a compliment or not. I see other crunchies at the store and think maybe some take it a bit too far but then look in my own cart to see partial crunchy-granola products causing me to pause and realize the Ho-Ho/ Twinkie buying crowd probably think the exact same thing about me. Then when I hand them my reusable shopping bags at the check-out I might as well blink a neon light above the check-out stand “GRANOLA on Checkout 5.” This is ultimately the case at the commissary. The first time I took my Green Bags to the commissary I almost snickered in line; I just couldn’t wait to see the baggers reaction to their usual “paper or plastic?” Today I was in the amusement park style line and heard the check-out employees say “Green Bags! Green Bags!” to warn each other. I need to head over to Publix and buy a couple more so I can torture them with 6 instead of 4 next time.

Since moving here (where the peeps seem to be more Earth friendly) we have started recycling, bought and use reusable shopping bags, started buying more products that are better for our bodies, and my kids take waste free lunches to school. Before long, items may need a sticker that reads ‘cage free’ or ‘free roam’ to go into my grocery cart. At that time you know I have reached ultimate crunchy status and everyone in my house is groaning when they look for a snack due to the lack of sugar in the food I buy.

Ahoy Ye Matey!

The kids were pirates again this year. I figured the people in this neighborhood needed a chance to see 3 matching pirates and the kids didn't complain (suprisingly!) so I went with it. I don't think I'll get away with three years in a row though. These are the pumpkins we carved this year, we carved the face at home and Matthew carved the bat at school with Dad.