We have a winner!

And the winner of the earrings is:

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife

Some days, I feel a little psychotic myself.

Storm said:
"Man, I need a way to beat them too! This winter has been the worst for me. So far, I combat it a little by planning faux vacations to places a lot sunnier than here!"

Storm, I'll be emailing to get your address!

Thank you to everyone who entered, and for all the great tips on surviving winter. Next time I need information, I'm just going to offer a prize. That was so handy!


Winter, I will not let you crush my spirit!!

Ok, it's above zero! YAY. But now it's warm enough to snow. That's right -- it's been TOO. COLD. TO. SNOW.

Natalie's fighting the winter by running around in a swimsuit. Which is a more drastic measure than her usual shorts & tshirt. Meanwhile, I am in longsleeves, a sweater, a blanket, slippers -- the works.

I'm still loving the suggestions I've been getting. Somehow just getting the suggestions from all of you is making me feel a little warm & fuzzy. Even if I've bribed you with something shiny.

I think if I can round up any spare time (the floodgates of work have opened upon me), I might give Martha-Lisa and my favorite winter pastime a go again. Fake vacation planning.

Last year I think we went to Naples, FL. We chose our hotel. Found new swimsuits online and emailed them to each other. Beachwear. Researched restaurants. Picked something off the menu. Emailed each other things like, "Where is the nanny with the children?" or "If you see the cabana boy again, let him know my drink could be freshened up." or "This color polish really doesn't go with my outfit for tonight, do you think we should call for pedicures this afternoon?"

When you're not going anywhere in real life, it's sort of helpful. Any suggestions on where I should take my fake vacation this year?


Winter blahs

Oh I have the winter blahs. Not like, "Gee, I'm kinda sick of winter." More like winter has beaten me down. I think I could pretty much diagnose myself with SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder). Who doesn't love a good self-diagnosis? I mean, once again this morning I took kids to school in -17 degrees. How's a girl supposed to deal with constant below zero temps?

But cyberfriends, you are coming to the rescue. Yeah, I made it a requirement to win something. So what? Y'all have been giving me some great ideas. (I totally didn't pull off that "y'all", did I? I'll keep trying)

Some of you have suggested a trip to someplace warmer. What a great idea!!! First, please click here. I'll wait. Ok, and those of you who suggested going outside anyway -- perfectly reasonable and a great idea. But not really a good option in the sub zero.

Here are some suggestions that I'm passing on to all my fellow winter blah-ers. If you live someplace slightly warmer, you might want to browse the comments here for ideas that involve things like going outside.

Aimee said...

We took the kids to an indoor water park to help with the "winter blahs"...that'd be my suggestion.

Great idea Aimee! The girls would love that! I don't really like swimming, but it would probably be nice and warm. I'll put it on the list of possibilities.
Megan said...

When I lived in what felt like the coldest place in the world-Rexburg, ID, I would go tan. Maybe not the best thing for you but, it was so warm and I liked tricking myself into thinking it was summer. Of course, a spray tan would do that trick to, I suppose.

I'm considering this one, and the others who suggested it. Yes, not good for me. But as the palest in the land, I'm only doing 10 minutes anyway, and probably just weekly or so. For a little while. I would warm up, and feel like I'd maybe been somewhere warm. Also going on my list of options.
Leah said...

My Mom gets the winter blahs and she took up crocheting. She must have made 60 hats so far this winter, but it keeps her busy and she loves finding new patterns.

This cracked me up. When I sit down for my own personal craft time, it's easy to get caught up in it. That's why I almost always have 20 pairs of earrings on hand for gifts.
The Jacobson Family said...

Bring some Spring inside---get some potted flowers and display them around your home!

I tend to kill plants (plus our cat chews on them), but I'm considering a silk plant. Or I might pick up a cheap bouquet of flowers and put them next to my computer.
Carolyn G said...

I beat the blahs by exercising and also cooking! The cooking sort of defeats the exercise though.

Exercise. Not my favorite. Although, I admit, I did pop in a workout DVD last week and I felt a little better.
Michelle said...

lots and lots of deep moisture lotion so you won't dry up in the house! Hot chocolate, a warm fleecy fuzzy blanket, get some sun at least once a day.

You're not kidding on the lotion, Michelle. It's insane. So far I feel like Curel has been the least greasey, but most moisturizing. And just now at lunch I sat in the sun at our table for a good 20 minutes. I feel a little perked up.

EllyBean said...

These are really cute! Best way to cheer up during the winter is with book! They can take you anywhere and it's good to get a little lost in a book sometimes :)

I will now finally admit that I have read the Twilight series 3 times. There. I said it. I also read Jane Eyre. And a Sophie Kinsella book. A good book under a down comforter is good. My trouble is when my family needs dinner and keeps hearing, "Just one more chapter..."
Anonymous said...

To combat winter blahs we do crafts. The kids love getting out glue and paper! LOL

Sometimes we all curl up on the sofas and watch movies too, and have dinner in the livingroom.


Oh Rebecca. So much crafting. It never ends here. I cannot buy enough scotch tape. There are always scraps of paper to be swept up, and I think there's a sticker stuck to the bottom of every slipper I own. Dinner in the living room with movies...now we're talking. I'm not sure it will make me feel less wintry, but it would be fun.
Emily said...

1) Wear bright colored scarves...OldNavy has a ton of super-fun scarves right now.
2) Wine. Seriously. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and its only 2 weightwatchers points.
3) Pluck your eyebrows. It hurts so bad you'll forget what you were thinking about before that was making you feel all blah.
4) Adult-only time...if you know what I mean? And I think you do since you have 2 children...
5) Lavendar or linen scented candles.
6) build an igloo or have a snoball fight...living in Texas I never get to do this, but I did when I was growing up- and the memories are priceless!

Emily (www.nickandemilystrittmatter.blogspot.com)

Emily is a girl after my heart. I'm ready to jump into scarves now. And I could go for a glass of wine. You won't find me outside til it hits at least 25 though. I'm going to get out some candles this afternoon.
Fran said...

For winter blah's, plan an indoor beach party.

An indoor beach party... that could be fun. Let me think about it. Hostessing is not my forte, but it's on my goal list for 2009.

divaqueenie said...

I've been painting my son's room...it's not calming, but it has given me a purpose for getting up and moving. Hope this helps!

I want to paint our downstairs bathroom (and by bathroom, I mean the small closet with a toilet & sink), but it's next to the furnace. And with the furnace constantly running, this doesn't seem like a good idea.

Lianne said...

To beat the winter blues, I like to

1. Look at beach pictures from previous summers and look forward to our next trip.

2. Light candles. Pleasant scents and the light they provide warm up any dreary day.

3. Do some fun exercise on my Wii fit. It's so much fun I forget that I'm exercising!

I'm definitely digging out some candles now. And may have to browse through some old trips. I like my Wii fit, but I wouldn't say I "forget" that I'm exercising. It's worth a shot though.
mom2anutball said...

Getting a massage always helps me!!

Hmmm... a massage... now that sounds like a very good idea. I think I still have some spa certificate left.
The Green Yak said...

Tea, a good book, and as much light as possible! I have a reading chair by the living room window with a huge lamp for exactly this reason :-)

I love tea. I am a tea junkie. I wouldn't have made it this far this winter without the Mrs. Teapot. I drink mostly red/rooibos teas. Have you been to Teavana? Oh sweet delicousness.
3boyzmom said...

For the Winter Blahs.....I like to buy a new board game that the kids have been wanting...and have some family game nights!!

I love this idea. Gathering around the table. The smell of cookies I've just baked still in the air. Joyous laughter while we each take our turn. (this is never how our game nights go. the 3 yr old gets antsy after 2 turns. the 5 yr old wants to change the rules as we go, and cries if she doesn't win. also, I don't bake much. is it just us? does it get better when they're a little older?)
Gene and Annie said...

I love homemade chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven! Also long warm showers always seem to warm me up!

I take marathon scalding hot showers. I pretty much stay in until the scalding hot water is gone. I have made chocolate chip cookies exactly twice in my life, both in the past month.

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I like dreary winter days, but a lovely indulgence is a warm bath, a candle, a glass of wine, and a great book (all at once!).

This sounds like a lovely evening.
Abby said...

I turn the heat up and eat ice cream!

I like the way you think, Abby. I may do this next week when Captain America goes to Dallas for the week.

Thank you to everyone for all the great ideas! I'll keep you posted. If you've already stopped in to win the earrings, but you've got some more winter tips, I'll sure take them!


Bloggy Giveaway Carnival

** Contest is now Closed **

It's time again for the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival! Last time I gave away a cd by my friend Keith. This time I have a lovely pair of earrings, handcrafted by me. They are green glass & copper.

If you're new here -- welcome! I hope you take a moment to look around. And if you feel so inclined, I'd love your vote at Culture11 (Voting ends today, Jan. 26)!

So let's see, rules. One vote per person. Mr. Random Integer will do the choosing. Friends & family welcome (let's see if Libby can go 3 for 3 over here!). To enter, simply tell me a way to combat winter blahs, because I need it. Leave an email address or a link to your blog so I can track you down. Shipping to United States only. Drawing will be Jan. 30, and I'll track you down to let you know you've won (if you leave me a way to do that).

Go check out the carnival if you're up for some goodies. It's a fun way to find some new blogs to read too. Happy entering!!


Earning my crown.

A little over a week ago I went to breakfast with Martha and the ladies, and by the time we left I thought I had something stuck in my back molar. Only in real life, I had lost a piece of my tooth. * shudder * This is apparently what life is like now that I'm 30. Fantastic.

This past Wednesday was the first day I could get into the dentist to have it fixed (since it didn't hurt). So sweet Dental Assistant W. comes in. "Ummm...Sarah? Have we really not seen you since June of 2004?" BUSTED. Apparently not. Guess what people??? If you don't go to the dentist for 5 years, YOUR TEETH FALL APART. But W. was sweet and forgiving. "Well, time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?"

When you've been gone 5 years, they need xrays. Praise Jesus, I had no cavities. Just this side of my tooth that's missing. So they took a picture of it with a little camera, and put it on the tv for the duration of my 2 hour appointment. Pretty.

The dentist came in, after they'd already given me enormous amounts of novacaine. Now I have birthed two babies with nary an epidural, and novacaine at the dentist freaks me out. Did I mention the reason I didn't have an epidural is the needle? Not a fan of needles. Oddly, unless they're filled with ink, and that is a story for another day.

Anyhoo. So the dentist comes in and gives me the low down. Patch with a filling (relatively cheap) and risk losing more pieces of the tooth or crown it (cha~ching when you have zero dental insurance) and be good to go. My favorite part is I'm sitting there and can't feel half my face, but I need to make this decision now. As in, he'll stand there & wait. After interrogating him on the differences & risks, I chose crown.

So here I sit with a piece of tin or something as my temporary crown until Feb. 23. Fabulous. Forget a vacation. I have purchased a crown. With no diamonds. And I've blown the health savings account for the year in January. Nice.

* * * * * *

Did I beg you to vote for me yet? Click here! In other news, I'll be giving away another pair of earrings next week in the Bloggy Giveaways, so stay tuned.

It's an honor just to be nominated...

I'm not completely sure how this happened, but I seem to be nominated for an award over at Culture11. And while it truly is an honor just to be nominated, I'm still pandering for your votes!

It looks like voting goes through Jan. 26, but as Captain America likes to say, "Vote early, vote often." Only multiple votes won't be counted. So, you know, just vote early.

Vote here!

Seriously, I don't know how this even happened, but it's made my week (later I'll have to tell you about the dentist. ugh).


Just one more thing about the weather.

I got this email forward from my friend Molly, and I just couldn't resist posting it. Because I laughed out loud. Because it's true.

**60 above zero:**

Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Minnesota plant gardens.

*50 above zero:**

Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Duluth sunbathe.

*40 above zero:**

Italian & English cars won't start.
People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.

*32 above zero:**

Distilled water freezes.
The water in Bemidji gets thicker.

20 above zero:**

Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats.
People in Minnesota throw on a flannel shirt.

*15 above zero:*
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold.

*Zero: *

People in Miami all die.
Minnesotans close the windows.

*10 below zero:**

Californians fly away to Tahiti .
People in Minnesota get out their winter coats.

*25 below zero:*

Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero:*

Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Minnesota let the dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero:**

Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Minnesotans get upset because they can't start the Mini-Van.

*460 below zero: **

ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.)
People in Minnesota start saying..."Cold 'nuff fer ya?"

*500 below zero:*

Hell freezes over.
Minnesota public schools will open 2 hours late


Signs your children have seen "Annie" too many times

• They wake you up at 6:45 am singing "Tomorrow." Only they get caught in a loop, never moving on. I've been hearing pretty much every song from Annie, at some point. As the mood strikes, you know.
• They name toys "Sandy."
• The 3 yr old who never wants her hair touched, demands curlers be put in, to look like Annie. (Only she wants them out after 2 minutes -- not sufficient to curl hair, by the way)
• The 3 yr old wants to wear clothes that remind her of Annie. "Mom, this dress is cute. It looks like Annie. Look at my Annie shoes (black Mary Janes)."
• They play orphanage.

And, the biggest neon sign the children have seen to much "Annie":
They call each other, us, and anyone else who is listening a "pig dropping."


The many moods of cabin feverish children

Natalie took down a pipe cleaner that Ella was using as "a clothes hook." Ella cried. Natalie wouldn't give it back. Natalie jumped on the chair Ella had been sitting on. Wouldn't get off. I had to physically remove her from the chair.

Ella colored a picture. She wanted to put it in their room. I said that was fine. She said, "Is it up to us, can we leave it there as long as we want?" Why not? "Yeah. Now you're getting to be nice to us."

Some sort of racing game broke out. Ella started to cry. Natalie wasn't following her rules. I said maybe she didn't know the rules. Natalie said she didn't. Ella started to explain, and Natalie covered her ears.

Natalie went to their room to lay on her bed for a bid. No doubt sucking her thumb to get over all the emotional trauma. Ella tries to go in to lay on her bed, Natalie screams "I WANT TO BE ALONE!!" No one is willing to move from the room. Everyone is crying. Ella comes to me. "Mom, I know how to solve this problem. I shouldn't sleep in Natalie's room anymore." Natalie yells, "NOOOO!! Don't go! I want you to sleep in here!"

"Hey, Natalie, do you want to get bunkbeds?" "Yeah-yah (Natalie's new 'yes'), let's get bunkbeds!"

All this, by 11:00 am.


Brain freeze

And not the fun, Slurpee kind.

I think my brain has frozen. Today school was canceled due to "extreme temperatures." At noon, despite the -21 actual temperature, I loaded up the girls to drop them at Grandma's so I could get a hair cut & color. Because I am a Minnesnowtan. And I don't care anymore how cold it is. Mommy needed fresh color, for a fresh outlook.

Here's the part where my brain froze: it didn't seem that bad out. I mean, after -10 or so, what's the difference? It's all freezing your face off. Literally. You walk briskly from the parking lot. You run your car for a while before you go. Whatever.

I'm over you, Minnesnowta.


Wordless Wednesday

This is our weather today. I have nothing to say anymore.



Did you know that's a temperature that can occur in the continental United States? Unless you live in Minnesnowta, you probably thought temps like that were reserved for the arctic. Alaska at least. Well that's what the temp is today. Oh I should stop complaining. It's -25 now.

I have always hated turtlenecks. They choke. Your neck isn't free. Also, wool. I have never liked wool. It is itchy. It smells like wool. Even back in my skiing days, I couldn't wear wool socks. Today I am wearing a turtleneck. And a wool sweater coat. The colors look a little nauseating together, but I don't care today. You know how much I love Stacy & Clinton, but today is about not losing an appendage to frostbite.

Some days I long to be a pioneer woman (I feel close to my pioneer sisters, because I don't have a dishwasher). I long to live in a day without things like health insurance and medical bills. The doctor came to you, and you gave him a loaf of bread or a chicken (I'm ignoring the fact that you also probably died from whatever you had). A day before every member of the family down to a 2 yr old had a chock full schedule on the Blackberry (here I'm pretending that my pioneer friends didn't spend every waking moment working their fingers to the bone, down to the 2 yr old).

In any case. A simpler time often sounds appealing. But not today. Today I cherish my modern conveniences. My computer that lets me stay home to work so I don't have to go outside (and I can wear mismatched clothing to stay warmer). The heat that will run all day long. My new storm windows and doors that are keeping the wind from blowing right through the house. My down coat. A car with heat (should I decide I really do have to leave my house). A house big enough for my cabin fever crazed children to be in another room with the door closed.

I really can't fathom the pioneer sister's reaction to weather like this. Rather than being inconvenienced and whiney, she was probably struck with fear. As wind whipped through her soddie, one opening of the door lost all the heat they'd built up from the wood stove. But you had to open the door to get to the barn (probably following a rope from the sod home to the barn to not get lost in the blizzards), because you had to take care of the animals. And hope they didn't freeze either. She was probably in constant prayer just that they would all survive it.

Fine then. I'll just put on some slippers. And turn up my heat a degree. And blow dry my hair so it doesn't freeze when I walk Ella to school in a little bit. Maybe she'll need to wear her snowpants for the walk.


I've been tagged

I got tagged by LibbyLand -- post the 4th picture in your photo folder.

So this is Ella. A really long time ago. I can't believe she's 5 1/2 (which she loves to tell you - I'm 5 1/2! I had my half birthday at school!). I'm amazed the little people my babies have turned into.

Speaking of which, yesterday Natalie drew a family picture. Here's Daddy. Here's Natalie. Here's Ella. And here's Mom. "You're having a baby, Mommy." Oh really? News to me. "You're going to have him in 20 days. It's a boy." Ok... much better than real life. I'd take 20 days over 9 months. And what should his name be? "I think his name is Batman. When he grows up, he wants to be a superhero." Yes, as well he should be.


A little insight.

We get a real tree. Which finally had to be taken down last night (probably a few days too late). Needles, needles everywhere. I found them in my jeans pocket later.

Anyway, my mom wants the tree (hi Mom!). My dying real tree. To put on her deck. I don't ask anymore, I just say ok.

Here is my email to my mom last night:
"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
You're in my backyard now
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
I hope my mom comes to pick you up
You're losing needles, everyday
So many needles it looks like hay
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
So sad to see you go"

Here is her reply email:
"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
I'll come right after lunch.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
I do want you a bunch.
Your needles here will stay on deck
Your branches fair the birds will peck.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
So good to have you come here."


You gotta have goals. Do you have a goal?

Ok, bonus points if you can name that movie.

I hate New Year's Resolutions. So I have goals for 2009. Things I'm going to try to do better on, rather than promises to myself that I'll break before lunchtime.

Here are a few in no particular order:

Drink more water. I don't like water. But it's good for you.

Become more fit. I'm afraid this will require exercise. Which may be a problem.

Be more thankful. The other side of this is complain less. So we'll see. I'm hoping to make more thankful lists.

Make more of the time. I'd like to be more intentional with my kids. More one on one time, more family time (spent doing something we meant to do, even if that just means playing the Wii together).

Be more hospitable. Martha I am not. But I would like to make more of an effort in this area.

Talk to strangers. A few weeks ago I sat down in a different spot in church. I didn't know probably the entire three rows of people ahead of me. I'd like to break out of my comfort zone a bit with a "Hey there," followed by inquisitive small talk. Not to check it off my list, but to get to know more people.

Read more books. Ever since the Tivo went down, I've been reading more. It's since been replaced with a Directv DVR (blech), but we ended up missing many of our shows. I felt so behind on them, that we really haven't been watching much tv. Then I read Jane Eyre for crying out loud. Lately I've been alternating easy breezy fiction with classics, and would like to continue. I'm really liking reading more. Suggestions welcome. I will scatter in the very occasional non-fiction for now, but am mostly liking fiction.

Throw more things away. Don't tell Captain America. I don't want him to get excited. I don't like throwing much of anything away, so I really mean to find more things a new home (not in ours). I aim to simplify and declutter.

Learn to play guitar. This has been on my to-do list for a very long time. Without much success. It's a time issue. But I'd like to give it another go.

Listen for the still small voice. I think between me and God, I do a lot of the talking.

This is by no means a complete list, but it's a start. At the end of 2009, I'd like to be able to say I've made some progress in these areas. I find the new year to be a little depressing sometimes. A year is gone, never to return. Did I accomplish anything in 2008? Was 2008 a wasted year? But I will try to focus on the fresh start that lies ahead. Not like I'm changing my life in one day because I flipped the calendar, but 2009 could hold some promise.