The Life and Death of Baby Tad

The devil bowed his head because he knew that he'd been beat.
He laid that golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny's feet.
Johnny said: "Devil just come on back if you ever want to try again.
"I told you once, you son of a gun, I'm the best that's ever been."

And he played fire on the mountain, run boys, run.
The devil's in the house of the risin' sun.
Chicken in the bread pan, now they're pickin' out dough.
"Granny, will your dog bite?"
"No, child, no."--Charlie Daniels, Devil Went Down to Georgia


"Hey Mom! I just saw a baby animal!" Madeline said as we were driving to the Apple Store today.

"Oh yeah? What kind of animal was it?" I asked.

"I don't know, I think it was a baby deer.......or maybe it was a pig," she said.

(Hee hee, I bet you didn't realize that a baby deer is quite indistinguishable from a pig....and that there are droves of pigs along the side of the road in the middle of winter here in Minnesota....)

"A deer or a pig huh?" Kurt and I laughed.

"Yeah, I don't know which one it was but it was really cute!" she exclaimed. And really, isn't that all that matters when you are 6?

A few moments later we were listening to Charlie Daniels sing Devil Went Down to Georgia when Lily shouted excitedly: "HE JUST SAID CHICKEN!"

She started laughing. Apparently, when you are 4, that is very funny. But I have to admit, I had never noticed that, sure enough, he does mention chickens in the bread pan. As a violinist, I have always focused so much more on the fiddling that I had never paid much attention to the actual words. Yay for chickens!

Speaking of chickens, I mean, violins, we had to take the proverbial violin out of the closet today to play a sad song, saying goodbye to one of our oldest family "friends" (and by friends I am referring to an obnoxious, but magical, toy.)

Baby Tad had been with us for almost 8 years. I have an aunt who gave one to each of the new babies in the family when all of us nieces and nephews started having children and I do believe mine was the only family who truly latched on to all that Baby Tad had to offer. You see, he became an indispensable part of our bedtime routine: bath, brush teeth, read book, say prayers, push Baby Tad's night time music hand 6 times for 6 uninterrupted minutes of the same familiar classical music EVERY SINGLE NIGHT FOR THE LAST SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS. This is something we started with each kid early in infancy so that by the time they were sleeping on their own, it was routine, comfort, reassurance, or, if you are us parents, MAGIC! It worked so well with each of our 4 kids that Tad became the Dumbo's-magic-feather-in-our-trunk-so-that-we-could-fly, as far as bedtime goes. We could travel nowhere without him. At one point we had three Tad's in the house (there was this puking incident with one that we simply weren't sure he'd recover from and so then there were two and then one was handed down from another family member, etc....)

Needless-to-say, we are going to truly miss the last of our Tads whose hands gave out just yesterday....at nap time.....wonderful surprise, really.... And there is no way on God's great planet that we will be replacing him now that he is no longer made....I mean, who pays $150 for a toy that is really not worth $20? And I don't think buying a used Tad for $27 is going to happen either since we know what goes on with Tad behind closed doors (see aforementioned puking incident comment.)

At any rate, we will sorely miss our old bedtime routine buddy. Liam especially, since he is the most OCD of our kids and seems to be a bit alarmed at the lack of Tad singing at the foot of his new Toddler Bed which he transitioned into on Christmas day....nothing like changing everything on a kid at once! I mean, what will we throw at him next? A new baby or something?!

(....2 weeks and counting....)

Ok, I must go get the chickens out of the bread pan and feed them some real breakfast! Or were those pigs? Who knows, but they sure are cute!

Have a great day!


And to All a Good Night....

Unless of course you are the cat (what can I say...the kids picked out his present!):

Merry Christmas!


All I Want for Christmas....

What follows, in my opinion, is the plight of the majority of Americans. If you have ever known the tradition of Christmas lights, then you know this story well.

We have 9 strands of lights for our Christmas tree....that's 900 lights. Yes, you read that correctly, 900 teeny, tiny lights. They all worked last year so we took them off the tree, wound them in their light holders, put them away.....do I even need to go on?

So, let's take a little survey. How many of those darn strands do you think worked once we got them on the tree this year????

One. One. Stinkin'. Single. Strand. The very top strand......100 of 900 lights lit up..... (and yes, I know you are supposed to check these things BEFORE putting them on but seriously, who remembers to do that?)

No amount of fuse changing, finger crossing or sacrifices to the light gods worked (of course, I stopped short of the cat for the children's sake....but maybe I should rethink that one....)

So, Kurt did the only rational thing possible: he took off, braving a blizzard in which we had already gotten roughly two feet of snow, to go get LED lights for the tree so that we could decorate next to the fire, sipping hot chocolate, all blissful and merry, while singing Christmas carols...putting Norman Rockwell to shame....that is, assuming you could bleep out a few things (words) here and there, airbrush out the broom and dust pan awaiting the next ornament casualty, ignore the cat abuse as we fought him off of the tree, looked past the TWO DOZEN kid-made ornaments hanging on a SINGLE branch, you know, most of the details....

But, alas, our skinny tree, filled to the brim with decorations, is up and still standing. That says a lot for this house.

Now, the gift buying has been an entirely different story. If you ask my kids what they want for Christmas, you might think they'd say toys right?

True, if you are speaking to Aidan, who like most boys his age wants some sort of video gaming system and games to match. But ask that same question of Lily and you get her new tradition of asking for cheesy noodles ("Wasn't that funny when Santa brought me cheesy noodles last year?" she mused. "I'm gonna ask for cheesy noodles again this year!") And Liam, well, he doesn't actually talk and gets excited about everything so we figure, anything will do!

But then if you ask Madeline what she wants most of all she will tell you: a three-ringed binder.

Yeah, a three-ringed binder. More specifically, a hard-covered three-ringed binder.

"What color would you want, Madeline?" I asked.


"And that's all you want?" I asked.

"Well, maybe I could ask for two binders so that when we play school, I have one for Lily and one for Liam," she said.

Hold on kid, now you might be pushing it.....TWO binders? What do you think Santa will think when he finds out you want TWO WHOLE BINDERS?! What kind of parents do you think we are?

But as we continued the conversation, it turns out that not only does she want two binders but paper and a hole puncher to go with it. Spoiled kid.

But seriously, what kid asks for office supplies for Christmas? And, to make it even better, Kurt and I went to two different office supply stores a few weekends back and how many YELLOW hard-covered, 3-ringed binders do you think we found? NOT A ONE! Apparently you can get a three-ring binder in ANY OTHER COLOR BUT YELLOW! You want pink? No problem. Green, blue, red, purple, turquoise, chartreuse? Got it. Yellow? Nope. Nada. Nothing. Of course.

I looked online and didn't find one in the "right size" or without some other issue. So, the soft-covered, wrong size but right color binder will have to do, alongside a couple other hard-covered pink and blue binders, a hole puncher and what the heck, some post-it notes and page dividers while we're at it. She'll be living large this Christmas, that's for sure!

As for me, all I want for Christmas is a baby that stays put until at least the New Year and possibly the assurance that next year will be the year that all our decorations will light up, sing, turn, come alive or whatever it may be, without a hitch. But, don't worry, I'm not holding my breath!


Savage Chickens

Ok, I have to give a big thanks to my good friend Deb for sending me this link. This guy is pretty funny and this particular comic quite timely. Click on the link below for a good little chicken laugh.

Savage Chickens

Speaking of chicken laughs, I have had plenty to laugh at recently listening to the kids. Shocker, I know. It's just tough getting it all written down this time of year. At any rate, here are some recent conversations, starting from the top.

Aidan: Mom, so, the food goes down through the stomach and into the testament where it becomes poop right?

Karen: Um, you mean the intestines.

Aidan: I said that. It travels in the testaments and becomes poop.

Perhaps the ministry will not be his calling!


Driving home from school with the carpool kid, Matt, the kids were practicing their counting by ones, tens and hundreds....lucky me.

Madeline had just gone from counting by tens to hundreds until she got to one thousand and needed me to help when Matt chimed in.

"I can count to a cadrillion," he announced. (This ought to be loads of fun, I thought, grateful that the car ride was coming to an end.)

"Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, five hundred, six hundred (certainly you are feeling my pain at this point right?), seven hundred, eight hundred, nine hundred, CADRILLION!" he exclaimed.

"That's not right," Lily immediately said. "There is no such thing as a cadrillion."

"Yeah, it's not a cadrillion, it's an Uhjillion," Madeline said. "And anyway, you missed a number."

And perhaps math will not be their calling either.


So, I was riding to a mom's group with Lily and Liam in tow and Lily was just chatting away with Liam listening by her side. I am sure she was talking to me but I must admit, I have a great propensity for spacing out when the conversation turns one sided and I am pretty sure they don't care if they are actually heard but are talking just for the sake of hearing themselves.

At any rate, I was lost in thought when I heard Lily say, "Mom, there is more than just one virgin."

I snapped out of my daze. "Um, sorry, what did you say, Lily?"

"You know, there is more than one virgin. There are lots of virgins," she replied.

All was quiet as I tried to figure out what in the world she was trying to say and where it came from, kicking myself for not listening better to the beginning of the topic of conversation.

"What do you mean?" I finally asked, wondering if she was trying to make sense of something she had heard at church about the Christmas story.

"Well, there are lots of virgins to this song, listen," she said as she began to sing.

"Oh! Version! There are lots of versions! Got it," I said......and she was right, there were many....lucky me.


The "Myth" of Christmas

"You KNOW it's a myth. This season celebrate reason." --American Atheist billboard

"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now please don't ask why, no one knows quite the reason. It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small." - Dr. Seuss

While I don't like to weigh in on too many sensationalized issues of our time, I have to admit, this one cracks me up. I saw an interview the other day where David Silverman (president of the American Atheist group) was defending the claim that Christmas is a myth. Now, I am all for free speech and freedom of religion and obviously, Mr. Silverman and anyone else can believe what they do, but I am quite certain, no matter what your religious beliefs, that Christmas is NOT a myth. Christmas happens, EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR! Really Mr. Silverman, all you have to do is take off the blinders, look out your window, walk down the streets, go into stores, look at what people are wearing and how they are acting, possibly watch some television at night and you will realize that Christmas takes place each and every year. And it is happening, RIGHT NOW! Whether or not you believe in Santa and sleigh bells, Jesus and Mary or the Toothfairy; it happens. And many atheists I know celebrate Christmas in good cheer and with loving intentions every year. So really, I'm not sure what the "reason" is behind wasting money on billboard space. Most people who see it will probably just shrug their shoulders, having just come from a Christmas party, or shopping, or talking to loved ones about holiday plans; they are pretty sure Christmas is coming. And it will, with or without you. Just ask the Grinch.

Actually, he might learn a little something from the ol' Grinch and those of us fa-la-la-ing in Who-ville. Certainly there are millions of us Christmas celebrators who are preparing for the birth of Jesus as we speak. But even those who do not believe in Jesus are preparing their hearts in other ways for the coming of Christmas. And my guess is, no matter how many billboards go up or interviews take place, Mr. Silverman will be left "with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow...puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!""

And perhaps he, too, will puzzle till his puzzler is sore until he realizes something he hadn't before....

"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store...." Maybe Christmas really does mean a bit more. And really, is that so bad? Whatever your beliefs, is it so bad that people put a little strut in their step and a bit more good-will in their days in anticipation and preparation for something bigger than themselves? I'm not sure I follow how this is a problem. I'm not sure I follow his "reason" this season.

Actually, I feel kind of sorry for Mr. Silverman because how sad it must be to miss out on the joy that is Christmas. And while I mean that on so many levels, at the very least, it must be lonely to deny the spirit that is in the air this time of year. Or perhaps, just maybe, even as he goes around trying to free the "closet atheists" of the world, he is actually a closet celebrator himself....or, at the very least, perhaps HE HIMSELF will carve the roast beast!