Wednesday, December 26, 2012

end of the Advent season

Actually, since Sarah has a book about the Twelve Days of Christmas and since we do have a download with activities to do on Epiphany, I guess the season isn't really over yet.  ;)  Our tree is still up, and we're still using Christmas plates and mugs.  Still, December 25 has come and gone, the presents have been opened and exclaimed over, so Christmas Day is officially done for 2012. 

I've sung the Christmas carol "Joy to the World" pretty much my whole life, and to be honest I never really thought much about the lyrics.  I think it was last year that I looked at some of the words and thought, "Hmm, that sounds really postmillenial in nature.  How interesting."  It added an extra layer to the song for me as I contemplated those latter verses.

Since we can't print anything at our house right now, we decided to forgo our usual Advent Bible study activities (which have to be printed) in favor of a series of videos from Holy Heroes, a Catholic organization.  One thing that the videos brought out that I had never considered before is that Advent is not only celebrating the first coming of Christ but also longing for and looking toward His second coming.  We can still sing "O Come O Come Emanuel" with all of its words of yearning, because we are waiting for Him to come again.  The recent tragic events in Connecticut drove home just how desperately we need His return to put things right. 

A Facebook friend noted a couple of weeks ago how much she was enjoying a particular rendition of "Joy to the World."  A friend of hers commented that the song was originally written about Jesus' second coming, not His first.  I can't really vouch for the veracity of that claim, but suddenly some of those lyrics from the other verses make so much more sense. 

I'll close with the lyrics to "Joy to the World," and you can decide for yourself.  Until then, we can join together in both celebrating His first coming and longing for His second.

Joy to the World, lyrics by Isaac Watts, 1719
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

"Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."  Rev. 22:20b 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

more Natalie-isms

This morning, Sarah and Natalie just would not stop bickering while getting dressed.  Finally, in exasperation, Sarah declared, "Natalie, you're being mean!"  Natalie huffed in response, "No, I amn't!"  Not a bad application of standard contraction rules, even if totally wrong.  ;)

Then this evening, I commented on how clear the sky was and how you could see all the stars.  Natalie happily chirped, "And you can see the moon too!"  Then she added, "But it's broken."  I'm sure she'll be quite pleased when it gets "fixed" and is whole again.  :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Actually, we haven't had anything more than snow flurries.  But boy, that wind!  We've heard all manner of thumps, bumps, and bangs keeping time with the howling outside.  This kind of cold day just makes you want to huddle under a blanket.

The soup I had stashed in the freezer came in handy today--homemade soup in just the time it took to defrost and reheat.  It really hit the spot.  Normally coffee is my hot beverage of choice, but tonight I splurged and made some old-fashioned homemade hot cocoa (I can't drink the instant stuff).  Since the only milk in the house was Natalie's almond milk, my hot cocoa has an almond hint to it.  Not too shabby. 

Even though it was only flurries, Natalie's been fascinated by the snow.  Since we didn't really have any to speak of last year, she doesn't remember seeing any.  She loved it.  She loves running to the window to investigate all of the booms and crashes too.  ;)  

And since we're still here, I'm going with the internet fan theory that the Doctor saved us.  ;)  It's what he does. 

In all seriousness, I wish everyone a very restful (albeit cold) evening. Since Christmas is rapidly approaching, Merry Christmas as well ( just in case I don't make it back here). 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

setting the mood

You know that old expression, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy"? 

I think there's something to it. 

I've not been feeling great.  Either Christmas allergies have kicked in or I've caught Natalie's cold.  My throat hurts, and I'm tired and congested and cranky.

Sarah's been whiny and emotional and somewhat cranky today.

Natalie's been whiny and weepy and irritable as well.  (She's also on Benadryl, which doesn't do anything good for her disposition). 

Coincidence?  Maybe not.  Maybe my bad mood is rubbing off on them, and I need to watch it, sore throat and all. 

Natalie is sleeping and Sarah is reading, so I think I'm going to read and relax and try to soothe my throat with hot beverages.  Hopefully that will put us all in a better mood. 

Monday, December 17, 2012


I know I've been quiet here for a few days.  I wrote an entry about Friday's horrific events, but I just couldn't bring myself to post it.  There just aren't any words that could possibly be adequate.

Natalie's got some sort of cold; she's sounded horrible the last couple of days.  I'm sorry that she's sick, but I have to admit that her croaks and squeaks have been kind of funny to hear.  I keep meaning to restock our supply of elderberry syrup and pick up some children's chewable zinc, but I've not had a chance to do either yet. 

I do have a couple of funny stories though.  Natalie discovered for the first time that some public restrooms use hand dryers rather than paper towels.  Now when Sarah was Natalie's age, the hand dryer scared her silly.  Natalie found it delightful.  She couldn't stop giggling.  She positioned herself so that it would blow her hair as well.  She had a great time! 

After letting out a string of sneezes, Natalie exclaimed, "I'm sorry!  I didn't mean to curse!"  She got that particular line from a movie preview on a DVD we own.  The scene shows the woman "squawking" then apologizing for cursing.  I'm not sure why Natalie associated sneezes with squawks, but it still amused me. 

I'm off to bed (after finishing my hot tea and gargling with saltwater.  I hate sore throats!). 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

busy nights

Nelson had a basketball game yesterday evening, and his parents and the girls went along to watch/cheer (I'll leave you to figure out who did what).  I had a ladies event at church.  We ate and chatted and had a white elephant gift exchange.  However, I think the "white elephant" idea was lost on some; there were some NICE gifts!  And I came home with a $10 Walmart gift card--score!!!  :)

Tonight was Nelson's parents' anniversary.  So they took US out for supper!  :-D  Hey, it's a great gig if you can get it.  I thoroughly enjoyed my steak and chocolate brownie.  A big thank you and wishes for many, many more years together to them. 

Tomorrow Nelson has another game.  Eventually we might get a chance to catch our breath this week.  ;)  We're usually not busy at all, but the last few weeks have had a lot going on.  I'm not used to it! 

On a completely unrelated note, the previous post was about migraines and what health practitioners people found useful.  I got to thinking about a book I had read on migraines and some of the recommendations it contained.  I also thought of my own plan to incorporate more yoga into my life.  I got the idea of searching for specific poses or routines for migraines.

Obviously, a lot of articles I found were generic "studies show that yoga is beneficial for migraine sufferers."  Yeah, thanks--I want details.  But I did eventually find specific recommendations.  One particular pose that showed up over and over again was "legs up the wall."   It's basically exactly what it sounds like.  You lie on the floor on your back and place your legs on the wall, forming a ninety degree angle. 

I tried it.  We have hardwood floors.  It isn't very comfortable.  Next time I'll remember to use my yoga mat.  And a pillow underneath my head.  I think that's allowed.  At least it should be. 

Have a good night.  :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

an interesting poll on migraines...

Well, interesting to me, anyway--it may not be so to anyone else! 

Anyway, the poll was about which health professional were the most helpful when it came to combating migraines.  After all, if you're going to try to see a pro to address your headaches, why not better the odds by at least starting with the ones who have already proven themselves? 

I honestly found the results fascinating.  Some pros ranked higher than I would have expected--others scored lower than I would have thought.  Each responder could choose up to three, but they were to focus on who helped them the most.  Others also may have proven beneficial, but this was about who was helping the most.

Headache specialists far and away outranked anyone else--it wasn't even close.  No surprise there--go to the expert, the one who has dedicated himself to the latest in research and so forth.  Next was family doctor; this did surprise me a bit.  I wouldn't have thought the family doctor would rate that highly.  On the other hand, for many this is going to be the only person they have to work with, so upon reflection that does make sense.

Complimentary medicine came in next, which again did not strike me as odd.  We migraine sufferers will often try about anything, and some CAM practices have proven very helpful for migraine.

"Other specialist," "quack," and "chiropractor" were pretty much tied.  The "quack" category amused me because it's a term that could mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people.  Still,  many people are clearly getting some sort of relief from their quacks.  Heck, I'd join the pond myself if I thought a quack could help!  ;)  I would have liked to see "other specialist" and "quack" a bit better defined though.

Coming in last were mental health practitioners (HA!  It's NOT all in our heads!) and physiotherapists.  Dentists, nurses, and OB/GYNs did not get any votes.  However, this doesn't mean they aren't helpful--just that they aren't the most helpful.  I'd actually have to mention my OB/GYN though--he was the only who started me on a daily magnesium regimen, and boy has that been helpful! 

Anyway, if you want to see the nifty graph with all of these lovely results, you can find it here

On a lark, I did a quick search, and there are several headache specialists in my area.  Maybe one day...  :) 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

the gospel according to Natalie

 Nelson had to finish up a couple of things after the service this morning at church.  As we waited for him, Natalie grabbed my Bible and opened it to "read" it. 

"This says Jesus," she informed me.

"Oh?  What does it say about Him?"

"He died and then was alive and then they put Him in a stable!" she proudly proclaimed. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday night and Saturday morning

After the excitement of The Nutcracker yesterday morning, we had another activity last night.  The nearby state park was having a celebration with Santa, crafts, music, face painting, and refreshments.  It was free!  So we took the girls and Nelson's parents and had a grand old time.  Our tree is now sporting a couple of new ornaments that Sarah and Natalie made last night.  :) 

In addition to the morning ballet and the evening at the park, I had an afternoon activity.  I was feeling pretty tired while at the park, and I drank a Mountain Dew just to try to stay awake until bedtime.  It didn't really work.  We got home just after 8:00, and by 9:00 I was dozing off in my chair.

So Nelson graciously decided to let me sleep in this morning.  Well, he tried to anyway.  But while he was in the bathroom, Natalie sneaked downstairs.

"Mama?  Are you awake?"

"No," I grumbled in response.

"I want you, Mama," she insisted. 

"I'm sleeping," I replied.

"Well...can I have the iPad?" she inquired.

"If I give you the iPad, will you let me sleep?" 

"Yes!" she proclaimed.  "The iPad is your only hope for me to leave you alone!"


Sarah and Natalie had a birthday party at a local gymnastics place today.  Nelson took them though, so you'll have to hassle him for pictures.  ;) 

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Nutcracker

I took the girls to the Intercity Ballet performance of The Nutcracker today.  We had been planning this for awhile now.  I knew Sarah would love it, but I wasn't sure how Natalie would do.  It's a long time for a three-year-old to have to sit still and be quiet.  Still, she begged to go, so I reserved three seats. 

Both girls loved it.  They loved the pretty dresses, the dancing, and the various special effects (there were quite a few of those, actually).  The "snow" inside the auditorium was especially a big hit.  ;) 

Natalie is now begging to be in the ballet. 

I enjoyed the performance as well, although I admit the excitement and wonder of the girls was my favorite part.  Because this morning performance is designed for school children, the audience was encouraged to clap and laugh and generally express their enjoyment and appreciation.  Sarah and Natalie had no problem with those instructions.  ;)

Interestingly, the Intercity Ballet is something of a cooperative effort of several dance studios in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia and--wait for it--San Diego, California.

Wait, what?

San Diego, California. 

I'm still scratching my head over that one.  I mean, northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia make perfect sense, but San Diego? 

Apparently, Clara herself was on loan from San Diego.  And apparently, dancers from here sometimes go there to perform. 

That's just weird.

But it was a lovely show, and I'm glad we went.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

warning! danger ahead!

Did you hear the one about the lady who requested free samples? 

See, she was a cheapskate by nature.  She routinely bought the least expensive option at the store--store brands, off-brands, what was on sale.  She scoffed at the premium items; they couldn't possibly be that much better. 

But that didn't mean she would turn down a free sample when it was offered.  Free is great, right?

Those companies know what they're doing, I tell you.  Those freebies are S-N-E-A-K-Y. 

It started a couple of years ago, with a sample of Nexxus shampoo.  I had snickered about those salon shampoos for years and about the poor saps who bought them thinking they were soooo much better than normal brands. 

I then had to eat my words and swallow my pride and all those "oops, I blew it" things.  That stuff is wonderful, and it did amazing things for my hair.  I got all sorts of compliments.  It doesn't mean I can suddenly afford to buy Nexxus on a regular basis, but at least now I know that the stuff is good, and worth every penny.  And no, my arrogant words did not taste good at all.

More recently, I got a sample of these fancy dishwasher tablets.  I've always used dollar store dishwasher powder, sometimes with white vinegar in the rinse aid slot.  This tablet was supposedly high-octane cleaner with some sort of rinse substance included. 

Holy cow.  It worked.  It worked really well.  I'm eying the coupon they sent with the sample, wondering if maybe I should snag some of this stuff while I have the chance. 

Today it was laundry detergent.  I usually either make my own or buy something at the dollar store.  I got a sample for this nifty little gel packet thing.  Dingy socks never had it so good. 

Sigh.  Beware the free samples, people.  They're insidious little things. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

basketball, broken vehicles, and the kindness of friends, family, and strangers

That may just be the longest title I've ever used.  :) 

Nelson plays basketball in the church league.  The girls enjoy going to the game (although Natalie is less than thrilled with the buzzer).  Tonight at the game, we met a lovely lady named Ashley.  She was actually there in support of the rival team, which was fun to joke about.  :)  She was so sweet to the girls, and Natalie especially had a fabulous time talking her ear off.  Her husband, one of the other team's players, had somewhat shaggy red hair.  Natalie insisted he looked like Pinkie Pie (from My Little Pony).  He took it well.  ;) 

Nelson's car is dead, but at least it is home now.  A friend of ours arranged to have it towed for us.  That particular friend has been kind and generous many times in the past, so we are very grateful. Family has helped out too, so hopefully the car won't stay dead too long.  Thankfully Nelson can do a lot of work himself as far as cars go.

I couldn't squish it into the title, but here's a funny "Natalieism" for you:  the other day she was doing that whole "Eeny meeny miney mo" chant.  Her version had a slightly different ending though.  "Eeny meeny miney mo.  Catch a tiger by the toe.  If you let him go, catch him again!" 

Her version of "Jingle Bells" is pretty cute too, but I can't remember the exact lyrics she uses right now.  Maybe some other post. 

Have a good night! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Children Around the World

This is my first year teaching kindergarten for our homeschool co-op.  The previous two years, I taught the four-year-old class.  We did alphabet activities with the four-year-olds.  It was fun, and I was comfortable with the age group.  Still, moving up has worked out quite well.

The kindergarten class is supposed to cover four distinct units throughout the course of the year: Children Around the World, Families and Communities, Animals, and Plants.  As my co-teachers and I looked over this list to divvy up the planning, one thing jumped out at me--those first two units were in entirely the wrong order.

First of all, children need to start with the familiar.  Talk about their own family, community, culture, etc. before you move on to the unfamiliar lifestyles of other children.  It makes no sense to start with the unfamiliar then jump back.

My other motivation though was the realization that if we swapped the order, Children Around the World would coincide with the holiday season.  How much fun would it be to learn about other cultures' holiday traditions?  I could easily envision planning activities for Israel involving Hanukkah or reenacting Las Posadas when studying Mexico. 

The biggest problem is picking which countries on which to focus.  There are so many fascinating things we could do and so many interesting cultures to explore, but we're limited to one class a week for a seven-week period.  It's been so hard to choose!  I will definitely have to do some of the things we couldn't get to with my own children. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Yeah, I missed yesterday.  :(  Sorry.  But honestly, if I had tried to write something in the throes of the headache I had, it would have all come out gibberish anyway.  You really didn't miss anything. 

Anyway, moving along now.  We did manage to get a couple of productive things done yesterday.  We went to a nearby used bookstore to cash in some books.  We managed to get over $20 in cash and over $25 in store credit.  Yay!  We then headed to my grandmother's house.  We ate supper with her and my parents and brought Sarah home with us. 

Today I have slept a good deal.  I slept late this morning to recuperate from the headache, then napped again this afternoon.  I think I'm almost back to normal. 

Researching the yoga article a couple of days ago gave me an idea.  I'm going to attempt a "30 days of yoga" experiment.  I know the supplements and tea that I'm using are making a big difference in my overall health and functionality.  We'll see if adding daily yoga does anything.  I've always enjoyed yoga anyway, so even if it doesn't make a major impact I won't be too upset.  :)

I need to make a menu plan for the week and maybe a short grocery list.  Have a good evening.