2017 total: $12105.73


Obligatory "We're Home" Post

Since our entire family is mostly inept at making phone calls, all relatives can consider themselves informed that we survived the drive home. And I only wanted to throw the dogs out the window one time, so that should tell you it was a pretty good drive home. But then again, that's what happens when I'm able to convince my husband that we should stop in Columbus and shop for a while. A little mall action always makes things better, especially when Cinnabon is involved.

Speaking of better, if anybody managed to get a photo of all the grandkids not making funny faces, please send it to me. You just know we will never get them all in the same place at the same time again and this photo isn't exactly 8x10 material. But it is pretty humerous :-)



Alexis has been fighting a cold for over a week and last night the little cold escalated to Sick (with a capital "S"). The poor kid obviously has a sinus infection and is flirting with the idea of having the infection spread to her eyes. Her timing, as always, is fabulous. It wasn't until 9:00 last night that it became evident that she was losing the battle. Too late to get hold of our Pediatrician. Too late to do much of anything. Except! Except that my Mother-in-law works at a doctor's office! Magic can happen late at night when you have access to someone that can call in a prescription after just a few phone calls. That magic will be the only reason we will survive the six-hour drive back.

I wonder if my Mother-in-law could arrange for some sedatives for the dogs. Pups sleeping in the back of the SUV would make for the best drive of all time.


Black Friday Madness

Yesterday was a very busy day, full of shopping, basketball, games, and food. But let's just get one little thing straight--I am not one of those people that gets up before sunrise in search of the ultimate bargain. I might be cheap, very cheap in fact, but sleep most definitely ranks higher in my mind than shopping. Every year I look through the ads in search of something that might help me to understand why some people line up at Target at 4:00 am, but I have yet to see a single bargain so good that it warrants losing sleep. You can tell me that there will be $35 DVD players for the taking, but I will remind you that there will still be DVD players at the store when I get there at 11:00 am. I really don't care if I have to pay $40 at that point. A few hours of sleep is worth $5 to me any day.

While I don't go early with the crazy people, I do shop every year on Black Friday. It's a family thing. More specifically, it's an in-laws thing. Every year all the women-folk get together for lunch at the Olive Garden then wander through the mall for a few hours. I grew up in a small family, so it astounds me that just a gathering of some of the women-folk for lunch means you'll need a table for 17. Crazier yet, we all like each other (or at least I like them and they still invite me every year, so I think they feel the same). It's a very rare thing for a family to be as large as my husband's is, and yet all get along. It amazes me any time I think about it and is something that I'm very grateful to be a part of.

After lunch with 16 of my favorite relatives, we hit the malls. I would like to say that I shopped 'til I dropped, but I walked out with just one bag. Full of stuff for myself. Totalling $20. Obviously, it's about the experience more than anything.

Another annual experience is the family outing to a Pacers game. My father-in-law, youngest brother-in-law, husband, and myself go to a Pacers game every single Thanksgiving break. It's our thing. This year, we were fortunate to be able to add two other brothers-in-law (one who was home from Iraq) and our 3-year old niece. Usually we wind up seeing a game that is not exactly the most exciting, but last night's was one of the best ever. Not only did we have great seats (thanks, Mandy and Dad!), but we got free t-shirts and boom sticks before the game. The t-shirt is one that I will actually wear since it just says "Indiana Pacers" and the boom sticks ROCK. Anything that makes noise ROCKS. (BTW, "boom sticks" are two long tubes that you inflate like a balloon then beat together. They make a killer booming noise if you hit them just right.)

I spent the entire first half trying to find the sweet spot on the boom sticks and was WAY EXCITED once I did. Of course my husband, the Master of the Annoying Universe, succeeded in about 1.2 seconds. Seated behind us were three future Masters of the Annoying Universe. The three boys were probably 11 or 12-years old and I wanted to fold them up, stick them in my pocket, and take them home with me. I'm sure some people found them to be annoying, but they were some dedicated kids cheering endlessly for their team. If I could just get them an infusion of black and gold blood, they would totally rock as Steelers fans.

The Best Pacer Fans:

Another highlight of the game was the most awesome fight EVAH! Basketball was my first sporting love, but it's lost some of it's fun in the past few years as the players have become more thug-like and the game has become more selfish and street ball-like (Does anyone know how to box out anymore? How about running a play? Anybody remember what that means?) But just because I hate that the a few dozen players belong in jail rather than on the court doesn't mean I can't LOVE the fact that the Dallas Mavericks Coach got his panties in a bunch, ran after the refs, and got ejected from the game after an admittedly questionable call. Good times, good times.

My only regret of the day was that Alexis missed all the fun. She spent the day hanging out with her Grandparents so she didn't get to enjoy the shopping or Pacers victory. I know she loved her time at Chuck E. Cheese, but she's totally going with us next year.