Monday, November 30, 2009

Clarksville Woman Trampled During Black Friday Shopping

Eric and I decided to head to the midnight sale at Toys R Us before we went to bed on Thanksgiving night.  (Mind you, this was Eric's first experience with black Friday shopping).  This seemed like a better alternative than getting up so early, especially since we could get several of the things we were shopping for all in one place.

When we arrived at 11:45pm, the line already wrapped most of the way around the store and up the sidewalk in the back nearly to the road.  Eric was ready to turn around and go home before we even got out of the car.  I convinced him to stay saying that in 15 minutes when the doors opened, we'd get into the store, get in line, and get out of there early.  Well, when you read the story below, you'll realize that it didn't happen quite like that.  We waited for 1 1/2 hours outside in freezing temperatures before we got in the store.

Once we got in, Eric immediately got in line with an empty cart, while I rummaged through the store for the things we needed and brought them back to the cart. We waited another 1 1/2 hours in line in the store to check out.  The line wrapped all the way around all the aisles to the back corner of the store.  We did find nearly everything we wanted though.  At 3:30am, when we walked out of the store, we wondered if we ought to just hit the 4-5am sales now.  People were already lined up everywhere we looked.  But, we decided, we didn't want another one of those experiences, so we went home and went back to bed.  We got up around 9am and resumed our shopping.  Even Eric was in awe at the incredible deals we got at Kohls later that day.

Below you'll find the story from the Clarksville paper of the reason we waited in line so long, not to mention the fact that the store reached capacity before we ever reached the front.  When the line hadn't moved well past midnight and we saw 6 police cars pull up, we knew there was a problem.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A Clarksville woman was trampled at the Toys R Us in Clarksville before the doors opened for business on Black Friday.
Amy Serna, 32, said she was in line at the Wilma Rudolph Boulevard store at about midnight and had been there since 8 p.m. when a crowd of people not in line gathered in front of the store.

When the doors were momentarily opened, the crowd not in line rushed forward. In response, the crowd in line shoved their carts forward.

Serna, reached at home Friday, said the woman behind her in line, Kim Boone of Woodlawn, was knocked down on top of her.

She suffered a swollen and bleeding right knee, according to a police report. Serna was taken to Gateway Medical Center for treatment and was told her leg is fractured and badly bruised.

According to 911 records, some people calling reported several people had fallen as the crowd pushed forward, and that the crowd had become unruly after the store’s midnight opening was delayed.

Serna said the delay was caused by the initial rush. Store management waited for police to come before letting people in.

Boone said Friday afternoon that once people were in the store, store staff were helpful and polite, but she wished there had been security outside the store to prevent the standoff from happening.

Pointing out that Toys R Us was the only store opening at midnight, Boone said, "I don't think they were expecting that many people."

Serna said today was her first and last day of Black Friday shopping. “People need to stop and remember human kindness,” she said. “I would never hurt a human being over a toy"

Black Friday lessons to be learned: 
(1) Wait your turn and don't cut in line (isn't that a kindergarten lesson)
(2) People are more important than toys! :)
(3) Wear a warm coat and gloves just in case you have to wait a very long time (Eric and I were both wearing light jackets)
(4) Toys R Us has a smaller store capacity than Wal-Mart/Target.
(5) If only one store opens at midnight...don't go.


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had Eric's brother, Kyle, and his wife, Jessica here for the weekend. We also had Eric's dad and step-mom for the day. It was fun to have company. We don't have relatives come too often.  We thoroughly enjoyed all the time we spent with them.  We were glad that Kyle and Jessica got to stay until Sunday for Alex's advancement and ordination to the teacher's quorum.

Tessa and Jarem ate in the kitchen due to lack of space.

Eric and I spent the morning all turned out pretty good, I think.  I was glad that we didn't overcook the turkey this year.  Here's a look at our feast:

Turkey, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, and a vegetable tray.  It was yummy!

The pies were pumpkin, cherry, pecan (made by Collette), and lemon meringue.  Eric was the pie-maker, and they all turned out great.

We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of watching football, looking through Black Friday store ads, and visiting.  Before the night was over, Eric and I found ourselves in line at Toys R Us.  See next post. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Putting up the Christmas Tree

I was looking back through my pictures and realized that I never blogged about putting up the Christmas tree.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we all got busy putting up the Christmas tree.  We bought this new 9 foot tree after Christmas last year, so this was our first time putting it up.  It was also our first experience with a pre-lit tree.  It was so nice not to have to put on the lights.

Here we are all bringing our old tree up the stairs.  Many hands make light work :)

Eric putting on the top of the tree.  It went up quick.

The kids mostly observing the beauty

Alex pretending to be helping with something, but don't be fooled

This was really what he was doing...he stuffed his clothes with blankets and other stuffing, and he went around being goofy and running into stuff and people with his padding.

You can tell by the look on his face he was in a goofy mood.

The next night for family home evening, we decorated the tree.  The kids have really come a long way in knowing where to place the decorations.  They did a pretty nice job.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crayon on the Wall

Sometime last month, I had the Goo Gone out, and I was cleaning a sticky residue from a price tag off of a picture frame. 

Meanwhile, Jarem had headed upstairs to play in his room.  I didn't think anything of it, because Jarem typically isn't a mischevious child.  As I was finishing up, here came Jarem back downstairs calling proudly,  "Mom, I wrote on the walls in my room".  I was shocked because Jarem hasn't ever written on walls before, and he is not one to flaunt it when he does something bad.  I said, "You did what?", and he repeated it again, still with no remorse.

I went up to look and see if he really had.  Sure enough, he had written in two different large areas on his wall with crayons.

Here's one

And this is part of the other...the other bigger picture didn't turn out well.  He was so proud of this turtle he drew and the other things.  I couldn't figure it out.  I told him it was naughty to write on the walls, and he shouldn't be proud.  I asked him why he did it.

He said that he saw the picture on the "Goo Gone" bottle, and he thought he would draw on the walls because we could clean it off with the Goo Gone.  Yes, there were pictures of wall drawings on the bottle, and it sparked the idea for him.  I had never used it for cleaning crayon off walls, but we gave it a try.  It didn't work nearly as well as it claimed, but since he used the washable crayons, we managed to get most of it off.

After he realized that it was a bad thing, he was embarrassed that I was taking pictures.  He didn't want me to show anyone, so here he is trying to hide it.

It was innocent enough that even though I was a little frustrated, I couldn't really be mad at him.  He was so ashamed and wanted to clean it himself.  It made me think how much I've mellowed out since my older ones were his age.  I would have been much more upset then.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sleepover and Soda Pop

For the first time ever, we let Alex have a birthday sleepover with several friends.  He's never been that into parties, but he knew what he wanted this year.  Lots of pizza, soda, desserts, candy, and video games.  I guess that is what every teenage boy needs.  He invited 5 friends who all came, and they had a really good time I think.

We made sure the food was provided, and they did the rest.  Eric had a good time playing a little rockband and Super Smash Bros with them since he teaches that group at church.  I was glad he was down there supervising, but really they are a great bunch of boys.

Brian showing everyone his big belly after eating dinner...looks a lot like Alex's probably would (still flat).

Everyone just after they finished stuffing themselves

One of the things the boys did was play the game "Generals".  Three of them networked our three computers to play.  This is one of Alex's favorite things to do with his friends.

And, of course, Rockband is always a fun way to play with a group

Matt on the drums

Even Eric did his part

Alex giving it his all

Derek on the guitar

Three singing at the same time

The next morning...they all made it up.  I had to go to a meeting, so Eric made a big country breakfast with eggs, bacon, pancakes, biscuits, etc.  They pretty much ate everything too.  I'm not sure why the chips are still on the table. :)

Alex opening a giftcard from Derek to Aeropostale.  Alex likes shopping there.  Recently, Alex went to a birthday party with over twenty kids from his grade, and he was the only one that brought an actual gift (and felt embarrassed...although I don't think he should have).  Everyone else brought giftcards...I'm told that it's either giftcards or cash for teens these days. 

Brian giving a "Brian look".

Alex getting ready to open the three big gifts from the Howe boys.  I was a little suspicious when they arrived, and felt bad I would miss it.

Boy, do they know this boy well...there's nothing he loves more than soda.

But that's not all, here's another!

And, he hit the jackpot here...7 more 2-liters of soda pop...all different flavors.

I don't think he's planning to's probably the best gift he's ever received! 

A total of (10) 2-liter sodas in all!  What a sugar rush this will be! I hope he drinks responsibly!! :)  Remind me to thank the Howes' mother for the constant state of hyperactivity my son will be in for the next 2 weeks (no, really I thought it was very clever :)).  He now has them safely stored in his "soda cellar".  It's an attic space that opens from his bedroom closet.  It stays nice and cool there in the winter months.

And his last gift, a giant bag of Twizzlers with a giftcard to Wal-Mart.  Another success...I think his friends know him VERY well!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crazy Day!

It was last Thursday morning.  The day started out pretty normal.  The kids were off to school on-time.  I had enjoyed a pretty easy and productive morning.  However, as early afternoon arrived, something was nagging at me.  I hadn't seen my purse all day...where could it be...when did I last see it?  Not in the car, not in the house...where could it be?  Then, I remembered.  The last time I had seen it was at the church activity the night before...I must have left it in the building.  I didn't have keys to the church, and would it still be there?  Surely no one would steal in the church...

I needed to take a deposit to the bank for PTO.  I prepared my deposit planning to stop by a friend's house to borrow her church keys, head to the bank and drop off the deposit, find my purse at the church, and pick up Alex from school.  The deposit was sitting on the passenger seat in a ziploc bag ready to go.  My afternoon of errands would be easy and orderly.

Stop 1: Pick up keys.  Five minutes standing outside talking to my friend was all Jarem needed to take full advantage of having the car to himself.  Jumping over seats and pushing every button (including the locking mechanism)...he was in his element.  He even ended up locking me out of the car with the keys inside, but with a few clever tactics from my friend and I, I made it back into the car with keys in hand.

Stop 2: The bank.  I'm heading towards the bank when I glance over to make sure the deposit is still sitting on the seat.  It's gone!  Where is that deposit?  It was sitting on the seat, I know it was.  Where did it go?  The search begins...under seat, over seat, between deposit.  Well, with time lost, it is now time to pick up Alex.  Where could it have fallen due to Jarem's climbing escapades? Did I leave the deposit home?

Stop 3: The school.  I pick up Alex who is completely disinterested in helping find the deposit...where is that deposit?

Stop 4: The church. Yes! I find my purse, and I'm out the door. Hmmm...we're near Wal-Mart, maybe we ought to stop and get party stuff for Alex's party tomorrow.  Alex is in agreement.  We head to Wal-Mart.

Stop 5: Wal-Mart.  I had a plan for what to get. I sent Alex in another direction to get something, and he comes back with many items that were not on the mental list!  We're in a hurry. "Fine", I say, "get your candy, egg nog, and popsicles..."  I shouldn't have given in, but I need to get home.  The girls should be home from school by now.

Stop 6: Home.  Yep, the girls made it home.  They have plenty of homework and Jesikah has an atom project due tomorrow of which she hasn't started.  Is the deposit inside the house?  Nope, still no deposit.  Jesikah starts to cry, "Mom, you could go to jail if we don't find the money."  Alex gets interested finally in helping.  We search, search, search for 30 minutes.  It's past 5:00pm, I have a meeting at 6pm that is 20 minutes away.  The kids haven't eaten dinner, and what can I even make for dinner?  I still haven't found the money. Eric is working late.

Amidst all the chaos, Jarem picks this moment to ask his nagging question:
"Mommy, we're going to live forever, right?"
 I take a second to answer him, "No honey, everyone will die someday"
Jarem: (sobbing now) "But I don't want to die and I don't want you to die or anyone to die.  Why does Jesus want us to die?  Why is Jesus' plan for us to die?"
Me: (sitting down and taking him on my lap) "Jarem, we'll all live again together someday.  Jesus made that possible."
Jarem: "But that will be a long, LONG time. I don't want to be dead in the ground forever.  I don't want to die.  Why do we have to die?" (still crying and sobbing)
Me: "Sweetheart, that is just part of what we have to do.  It might be a long time, but we can be together again after we die.".
Jarem: (can't stop crying and sobbing continuing for at least 10-15 minutes more)
I continue trying to comfort him and desperately change the subject.  My heart goes out to him for his question.  He was truly upset that we will die someday.  I can't blame him.  That is a lot for a little 4 year old to swallow.  But, why now, amidst all the chaos, is he asking about dieing.  Is he worried that Mommy is going to jail?

I'm ready to go search the middle school parking lot.  The car is on and I'm in the driver's seat ready to leave.  Alex says, "Tell me one more time where the money was and how it got lost?"  I explain it to him one last time as I'm ready to pull out.  As he is standing in the doorway on the passenger side, his eyes move down and he pulls out a secret compartment under the passenger seat.   And...there's the bag of money!!!  This is a compartment (after owning the van for over a year) I never knew it existed.  It must have slid down when Jarem was wrestling around on the seat.  Whew!  $775 would not have been easy to come up with!!

That's a relief!  I figure out something for dinner.  Maybe I should just skip the meeting.  It's a church meeting...I don't have to go, but I really should.  Ok, I'm going.  Eric is going to be home later, but he is going to help Jesikah with her project. 

I finally head out to the car.  I'm already going to be late, quite late.  Guess what!?!  I'm out of gas! After a stop at the gas station, I call Eric and ask directions to the church (which is a different building than our regular Sunday meetings).  He gives me directions and I proceed to tell him about my very frustrating afternoon.  He says he's sorry, and we hang up.  I arrive at the church 30 minutes late.  I hesitate to even go in...maybe I should just turn around now.  I finally decide that I'm already here, I just as well stay.  I can quietly sneak in the side door and not make a scene.  So, I do.  The meetings turn out to be very uplifting and bring peace to my frustrating day.  I'm glad I went.

I head out to the car, and as I click the remote to unlock the doors, I see something inside my car.  At first, I thought I had the wrong car but my keys wouldn't open the wrong car.  As I get closer, I can see that there is a bouquet of flowers inside with a note from my husband along with my favorite candy bar and the movie, "UP" (a movie he had talked me out of buying the day before).  The candy bar got eaten right away, which is why it isn't in the picture, and that alone made me feel much better!!!  I was SO surprised and happy that I was nearly in tears.  It was THE sweetest gesture of love. 

And that is not all...this is what I found at home...

Jesikah's completed atom project including report in which Eric had helped her and purchased supplies and last, but not least, a clean kitchen.

I thank my kind and loving husband for making a perfect ending to a far-from-perfect day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Alex is 14!!!

It's hard to believe that it's been 14 years since I held my first child for the first time.  Wow, has time flown by!

Alex requested that I make cinnamon rolls for his birthday breakfast.  Since he leaves the house at 6:35am, that was a bit of a sacrifice, but I didn't mind doing it for him.  I always get up with him and make his lunch while he eats his daily 3 packets of instant oatmeal.  So, I got up a little earlier and cooked him cinnamon rolls (out of the tube) with some hot chocolate.  Eric got up too, and we gave him his first present, a Star Wars Legos set that we secretly bought while in Disney at Legoland.  It is a limited edition not available in stores or online.  He was very excited and surprised.  He really appreciated us having breakfast with him, and the present too.  He told me thanks multiple times on the way to school.

That evening, we had dinner and opened the rest of his presents.  This is a card from Jesikah...she does not ever attend a birthday party empty-handed.

She drew these Lego guys on the back.  I thought it was very good.

The other side of the card

His next present was a small Star Wars Lego set and some silver coins of his birthyear.  He collects coins everywhere we go, but these were real silver unlike his others.

This was a book that Eric and I picked out called, "Far World".  We thought it looked really good, but that "pretend to be excited" look on his face says it all.  He doesn't like to read though, so that isn't a big surprise.

Now for one of the Lego sets he'd been waiting for...

And a closer look...

Someone else is interested as well...
His most exciting gift however, was the big Star Wars Republic Gunship that he has been begging for for months now (somehow I missed the picture of that one).  He LOVES Legos.  He has been particularly interested in the Star Wars ones lately.  It is a great activity for all the kids to do together and keeps them from playing too many video games.

The cake of Alex's choice: DQ strawberry cheesequake ice cream cake

Look at all those candles, and he did manage to blow them all out!

A closeup of one slice, they were very good!