• Glamore-ous Holiday Gift Ideas

    My Lord,  I love buying gifts.  I’ve had a blast teaching the boys to purchase gifts for each other, and I think even my husband’s gift-giving skills are improving.

    The last couple of years I’ve published some gift guides, and while they’re heavy on gifts for males ages 3-12, I’ve also included ideas for “The Person With Everything,” “The Elderly Aunt,” “The Spouse” and so forth.

    I’m going to give you the links to those lists here so you can peruse them.  I have NOT checked all the product links to make sure they’re still working, but the item descriptions ought to help you track down what you’re looking for.

    Be sure and read the comments to each post– y’all have been wonderful about suggesting other fascinating gift ideas that have been big hits!

    As always, leave suggestions or feedback about past gifts in the comments.

    I’m finishing up this year’s gift guide, so if there are items you’d like me to include in it, let me know.

    And now, the past guides:

    2006:

    The Ultimate Guide To Boy Toys (still the best, most comprehensive guide, featuring the ever popular headlamps, safes, flashlights)

    2007:

    Holiday Gift Guide: A Kajillion Ideas! (Ideas for teachers, babies and toddlers)

    Gift Guide Part Deux: You’re So Hard To Buy For (funky, practical, collections, cookbooks, and a smattering of this and that.  My favorite: Tervis 16oz. Tumblers.  Not terribly exciting, but you can take them everywhere, and when your kids unload the dishwasher, it’s nice to know you have shatter-proof glasses.  Plus, look at all the available designs!)

    Gift Guide For Good Kids (Or Even Merely Tolerable) (books, games, technology).  Hits: Ripstik Caster Board, Ultimate LEGO Building Set

    Check out the comments to this post where readers made fab suggestions for all types of recipients, and the teachers voiced their hatred of all apple-themed items. (The fruit, not the company)

    Some websites for men who are stymied about what to get their spouses.  Remember, her mother or best friend probably has some wonderful suggestions.

    Happy Shopping!

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    Many thanks to all of you for your kind comments about my last, succinct post.  My family is fine; my heart hurts for another.  Please hug yours today and everyday.

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    Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Decorate Like A First-Grader

  • How We’re Spicing Up Our Marriage

    Every morning and every night, Bill brushes his teeth and spits into my sink.  He doesn’t use water to rinse the toothpaste fuzz off his mouth like civilized people do; he wipes the minty froth onto my hand towel. I’ve put up with it because I love him but it’s raunchy.

    The other day I caught him clipping his toenails into my sink.

    “Dude, you’re grossing me out,” I said.  “Fingernails and toenails don’t go in the sink, and they certainly don’t go in my sink.  What’s your deal?  We’ve lived in this house for over ten years and you can’t keep your nasty shit in your own sink.”

    “Toenails can too go in the sink,” Bill said.  “But I’m just having problems using my sink.  I keep migrating over and using yours.  I think we assigned them wrong in the very beginning.  What say we trade sinks?”

    So after fifteen years of marriage, we’re making a change.  The shaving cream, razor and Scope will be on the right, and my favorite cup that holds my toothbrush is heading to the left, along with the zillions of skin cleansers and creams I require to look this devastatingly youthful.  Under the cabinets, the tampons, cotton balls and VO5 are moving to the cabinet formerly inhabited by the Speed Stick, extra toilet paper, Irish Spring and Pert.

    Switching bathroom sinks might sound mundane to some, but it’s made for a fun weekend so far. The romance of sorting and tossing outdated toiletries a deux was surpassed only by the fact we keep bumping into each other naked as we head for one sink, then switch to the other, in a tiny space. We’re treating it as the start of many scintillating changes in our relationship.

    I figured I better put up pictures of this because don’t you love seeing what’s in people’s bathroom cabinets?

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    During the sorting of the toiletries…

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    Not running out of shaving cream anytime soon. Thanks, Costco!

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    The glamorous side

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    The manly stuff

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    Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: In Which Bill Is Right

  • Great Mom, or Pelted With Candy Corn?

    I volunteered to help with Drew’s Halloween party, and since someone else had signed up for paper products (damn!), I am bringing drinks.  On Halloween, day of sugar and tooth decay.

    I am a hardass about many things (see: TV, video games, computer time, chores) and drinks is on the list, at least for the boys.  They drink milk or water except for Porter’s occasional four ounces of coffee in the morning.  When there are special circumstances they’ll get soft drinks.  This happens when I buy them out of the blue as a huge surprise and they freak out and think “Whoa!  Mom DOES love us!”.

    I also use carbonated beverages as an upper, when I need the boys to be especially hyper.  For example, I got them all jacked up on Coke and Mountain Dew before the Maroon 5/ Counting Crows concert so they wouldn’t fall asleep and piss me off because geez, those tickets were not cheap.  It totally worked and Drew was able to appreciate the bass, Finn marveled at the drum set-up, and Porter commented on everything and asked a thousand questions.

    Anyway, I’ve purchased 21 waters to take to the class party.  Bill says I’m a huge party pooper and I should wear a protective gear because the kids are likely to revolt.  He says it’s a Halloween requirement that I ply them with a sugary soft drink or primary colored juice.

    I can’t do it.

    I told him they are lucky I didn’t buy V8.
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    Here’s a picture of the guys in last year’s costumes.   Drew didn’t look quite as pimpy once he ditched his Mac Daddy hat.

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    That may have been Finn’s last year to dress up– he seems unsure about this year, but I have a huge box of costumes in the attic and can make him into anything from a biker to a dancing girl in moments.

    Yesterday I came home to find Porter skating in the driveway.  He was wearing the tattoo sleeve, the mac daddy jacket, a necklace with a large peace sign dangling from it, and pants.  He told me he was going as “a peaceful tattooed roller-blading guy who’s voting for Obama.”

    He has certainly come a long way from his previous political beliefs.  That’s the beauty of childhood; you can change your mind on a whim without anyone saying you’ve compromised your principles.

  • Finn Fulfills The Contract & Plays Drums

    Finn has succeeded in making decent grades, particularly in his Advanced Algebra class.  At the start of the school year we drew up a contract with him, setting forth our expectations for his grades.  The agreement stipulated that if his total GPA was above a certain number, he would be entitled to a cell phone.

    This was his first year of junior high, and he had to learn to juggle numerous activities.  In addition to the core curriculum he had the advanced class and two electives, Band and Spanish.  He also ran cross-country every afternoon and of course kept up his once a week drum lessons.  I was looking through scrapbooks recently and realized he’s on his third set of drums and fifth year of lessons– he’s well on his way to being able to replace Charlie Watts when he gives out.

    Here he is with his first set of drums:

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    Here he is about a year or so ago doing a gut-busting drum solo:


    Finn On Drums from anneglamore on Vimeo.

    I was positive Finn would remain phoneless.  Algebra proved to be a challenge, and it revealed weaknesses in his study habits.  We enlisted the help of the MasterMinds tutoring service in a last ditch effort to shore up his grades, and I’ll admit that I was snobby about the idea of tutoring, having never been tutored myself.  When we got to the headquarters, however, we discovered that everyone who is anyone algebraically was being tutored, and the waiting room was a prime social hour.  Plus, Finn’s tutor was much better than I was at explaining the commutative property.

    So he’s entitled to a phone, and this afternoon we’re heading to Verizon to get it.

    While we’ve been adamantly opposed to any technology for the kids that would take their focus away from reading and playing snipers in the front yard, I’ll admit that it will make things much easier on me once Finn is able to reach me when a practice is over, or when he has caught a ride home.

    Tomorrow, for example, is not only Halloween, but also Homecoming, and Finn plans to walk from school to the village with a friend to watch the parade, then join other friends for Halloween activities, and then head to the football game.  I’ll need him to check in with me and let me know where he is and who he’s with.  He’s experiencing a new level of freedom, and so am I.

    I’m taking the opportunity to upgrade my phone as well.  I have the free phone that comes with a Verizon account.  I need a phone with a QWERTY keyboard.  I mainly use my phone to talk, but now I’ll be doing a small bit of texting and I’d love to be able to check all my emails and moderate blog comments from the phone as well.  It would also thrill me to be able to tweet from my phone.

    I’m completely flummoxed when I stand before the array of phones at the Verizon store and I figured I’d turn to y’all instead.  Do I need a Blackberry, even though I’ve made fun of Bill’s addiction to his for years?  Would something else like the Dare or Voyager or ENV2 be better?  I’m committed to Verizon so don’t go suggesting that I get an iPhone, lovely as that sounds.