A Day at the Park

Three Little Letters

Ah....  Buried within the 26 letters in the English letters is a secret, a delicious, blissful secret.  There are three simple letters that when put in the correct order bring about pure J-O-Y.  And those letter are N-A-P.  Nap.  Oh blissful, joyful, wonderful nap.  That's right, I took one.  It was everything I dreamed and more.  Oh sure, there were dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, floors to be cleaned, errands to run....  The list goes on.  But today, when both girls miraculously went to sleep in their own beds at the same time, I seized my opportunity.  I got a full hour of blissfully quiet, uninterrupted midday sleep.  Fabulous.


Christmas recap

This was certainly a Christmas we will remember!  We woke up Christmas morning to one excited little girl, one crabby little girl, a ridiculous amount of presents, and a whole lot of water.  There is no feeling like stepping on to soggy carpet at 6:30 in the morning, particularly if that morning happens to be Christmas day.  At 12:30am Christmas morning, Steve and I finally had all of the presents assembled and under the tree, cocked and ready for an excited little girl to come down the stairs and open them up to play.  I noticed before we went to bed that the toilet was clogged, but it was late and I was tired.  I told Steve and we decided to take care of it in the morning.  Neither of us considered the fact that the downstairs toilet runs.  So, it overflowed.  All night long.  Our bathroom, bedroom, closet, and living room were soaked.  Thankfully, it was just creeping up to the presents when we woke up.  In the grand scheme of things, it was one bad thing on a day that was otherwise enchanting, but it still put a bit of a damper on everything else.  We made it work, moved the presents upstairs and finally got to opening them around 11.  We called the insurance company and they sent Servpro out to clean up the water.  I was still disappointed though.   I had built up such a magical day in mind.  Funny how things don't work out that way, huh?  Oh well.  Now we have to clean our closet, so that is a bonus.  And we are getting the carpets professionally cleaned pretty much throughout the downstairs.  One of the walls in the bedroom will be repainted.  I guess that's the bright side of things.  The carpet is dry, but still ripped up downstairs.  Hopefully they will come to fix it by the end of the week.  We had 6 fans and 2 dehumidifiers running for 3 days.  It's amazing how much water there was. 

 But now it is done.  On to the good parts of our family Christmas!

I finally got Christmas cards out a day or 2 before Christmas.  They were the cutest Christmas cards ever!  At least I thought so!  They were all handmade by a toddler.  We could only make so many, so mostly they went to family, but it was fun to make them!

We made 4 batches of cookies.  Wow, it was a lot!  There were gingerbread men, Christmas tree cutouts, peanut butter and chocolate chip, and chocolate snowballs.  We passed some out to our neighbors.  I branched out and tried some new recipes this season, and I gotta say, I am sorry I ever doubted my old favorites.  Tollhouse still has the best chocolate chip cookies, and Betty Crocker by far makes the best sugar cookies.  I'll post those recipes later!  However, I stuck with Martha Stewart's gingerbread, after tweaking her spices just a bit for a little funkier, pumpkin-y gingerbread cookie.   They were delicious!  Here is Kira helping me cutout the shapes: (although I think she was really just eating the dough!  She really is a mini-mama!)

We did make it to visit Santa once Kira got better!  We trekked all the way across town to the Bass Pro Shop since they had a free Santa until Christmas day.  I was really worried we wouldn't get to see him and thrilled that we did.  Unfortunately, neither girl was nearly as thrilled as I was:
Santa was giving us the evil eye while we were standing in line.  When we were up next, you could already see the dread on his face.  He made it work though.  And in all fairness, there was a long line of squirmy children!  I love the big "Santa" belt buckle he had on and the stuffed reindeer in the back!  It was definitely the Bass Pro shop!  And the most redneck Santa ever!  Haha.    

I didn't get many good pictures Christmas morning as I was a bit preoccupado.  Hopefully Grandad will be sending his soon.  Steve was in charge of the video camera, and we got a lot of great stuff there.  Thanks to the Lord that he was all over it and we have some good memories to look back on!  The girls, Kira in particular, had a great time ripping the paper off the gifts.  She was so curious to see what was inside!  As soon as she realized there were toys in them, she was all about wanting to open every one.  Funnily enough, she already seems to have that kid mentality of bigger is better.  She demanded to open the biggest presents first.  Ariana could care less, she just wanted to eat the wrapping paper.   In fact, several days and even more cleanups later, I am still digging little pieces of wrapping and zip ties out of her mouth that she is finding somewhere!   


 The first thing Kira found were the shoes in her stocking.  She immediately sat down and put them on.  Then she climbed in the wagon grandma gave her!  She refused to take the shoes off for most of the day.  Such a girly girl we have!

    And last but not least, here are the girls playing with their new cars!

 Crazy Grandad out in the 40 degree weather in his shorts!
It was a Christmas of cars.  Kira got her Power Wheels that she loves!  Ariana got a buggy (which Kira also loves!  ha ha)  Aria like being pushed around in it too.  However, on Christmas day, she was less than thrilled about being outside in the cold.  Much like her big sister, she likes to go fast!

Overall, it turned out to be pretty decent Christmas.  Only 362 days until we get to do it again!  I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Getting back on the wagon

Okay, I needed a break to get everything together, take some time just for me.  Man, all you Mamas out there, wouldn't that be great?!  Too bad I didn't take it.  However, I have really missed blogging.  I miss sitting down to document the wonderful memories I have of day to day life, a record of the things you never remember, yet never want to forget.
I want to live my life for passion, for love, to enhance all of the wonderful things that fill up (and often overwhelm) my days.  Not for money, not for everyone else, not to achieve someone else's goal.  Just for me and the things I love.  I need to work on that.  I think every once in a while, we all get caught in that trap, but I am finding my way back out of it.  Finding my way through it I guess.  There are so many things I love.  I need to focus on that: on the fact that they are fun, relaxing, and often productive and stop looking for ways to try and milk it.
Anyway, that is one of my top resolutions for the year.  Now, I don't particularly believe in New Year's Resolutions.  They never last and they are always so generic.  I, too, have wanted to lose weight for about 10 years.  I resolved to quit smoking no less than 38,000 times before it actually happened.  You know how it goes.  However, I think we should take every opportunity to step back and look at our lives, figure out how we can improve it, how we can be better humans, how we can be our best self.  And that is what I have been thinking about all week.  So here are my 'resolutions' if you will:
I want more peace in my life.  I get so stressed.  Seriously, I can go from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds flat.  I gather up so many things that I end up dropping them all.  Kira has 3 words she says very well: 'no', 'mine', and 'uh-oh'.  I was somewhat complaining about this to my dad while he was visiting this weekend.  He says that it was good.  He liked that she knows how to give a firm "No.".  He was talking about how often we would be better off if we knew how to do that as adults.  It got me thinking.  I mean, he is absolutely right.  My pastor gave a sermon back in October about this exact subject and said the same thing.  He talked about how Jesus himself knew when to just say no.  He knew what was really important.  I want to spend more time centering myself so that I, too, can know what is important in my life and how best to nurture it.  Grouped with this, I want to take more time for me.  Sometimes, especially these past few months with 2 little ones needing so much from me, I feel like I give so much out, I have nothing left for myself.  I am starving for some personal attention.  I definitely don't think this helps me be a better anything: not a better mother, wife, or human being.  It really just makes me tired and irritable.  I want that to change.  I want to feel confident in myself again, at peace with myself.  And I plan to require the time it would take to do that.
We have got to get back on budget.  We took a slight detour this past semester since we had some extra funds, but now it is time to get back on the road.  I am determined to give more and give regularly.  I wanted to do 10%, but this week I sat down and wrote out our new budget and it just isn't there.  I feel conflicted because we work hard for our money and I don't want to deny things to my own family, but at the same time, I know we can live on less so that someone else has a little.  I happened to be reading 1 Chronicles this week and last night the passage was about David ending his reign as king.  He set up Solomon to build the temple to God.  The awesome new Bible my Dad gave me for Christmas explained that the author put great emphasis on the fact that the people gave happily and freely.  If my budget is stretched so tight that I am not sure how we will pay for groceries for a month, I am not going to be able to give happily or freely and I think that is a contradiction.  But giving is giving and we will do better to give what we can, even if it is only 5%.  I am also going full out crazy coupon lady this year!  I will be doing a $5 or $10 challenge each week so look out for those posts!  I have been researching and learning a lot, setting everything up to get started, all there is left is to go for it!  So there will definitely be more on that to come.
Man, this really wasn't where I thought this post was going to go.  I always surprises me when that happens. I sit down to type and my fingers take over.  It is nice to have an outlet.  I have been working on making over my blog, I hope you like the changes so far!  I still have a long way to go, but I learn more about it everyday.  I am also starting to make digital storybooks and scrapbooks.  It's a ton of fun!  I'll be posting about that as I get some things together.  I have been thinking a lot about where I want this blog to go and I am still not entirely sure.  I think mostly it will just be about my life.  I would like to throw in some mama life things, like craft stuff and fun events around Houston, but maybe, much like with this post, I will just sit down every night and see where the keyboard takes me.  Signing off for now.  Good night cyber world.      


Yay for Cookies!!!

Yum....  I have spent all evening making cookie dough to be cut and cooked tomorrow.  Love it!  And what goes with cookie dough...  Wine of course.  Extra yum...  I love Christmas.  More on how my cookies turned out tomorrow.  The bad news is: I am almost out of wine.  Guess I'll have to make a run before I start actually baking.  I have a lot to wrap up tomorrow (both literally and figuratively).
Kira seems to be feeling fine now, though we were warned she is still contagious until all of her bumps are totally healed, at least 10 days.  So, 3 more days...  Poor kid is going totally stir crazy.  We definitely don't want anyone to catch her plague so close to the holidays, so we have been careful to confine her to our house.  Praises be that Ariana still seems to be feeling fine, other than her usual grumpy self.  Oh well, we'll get in plenty of fun Christmas-y activities at the end of the week.  Plus, Grandad is coming on Thursday!!!  Yay!  We are really excited to be spending Christmas with him.  And he is bringing us a dog door.  Seriously, I think I am more excited about that than anything else.  Wow, maybe I should hide my laziness better. 
Hmmm...  one bottle of wine down.  Don't judge, it's the holidays!  And I have been subjected to football talk all day.  The only good part was forcing myself to sit down and actually watch the Saints play.  Wait, did I say good?  I guess that was not actually the case as they totally ate it!  At least I got some nice down time.  And now for an early bedtime...  Aria has been waking up around 6 am as of late. This is entirely unaccetable, but it is hard to convince her of that.  She just screams louder.  And as she sleeps 2 feet from my head, THAT is truly unacceptable.  At least I get some good quiet time in.  Quiet time is hard to come by in my house,  I wonder why...  Sadly, I finished the last season of Weeds on Netflix instant watch yesterday and of course they left me on a total cliff hanger!  Jerks.  Luckily for me, they have Arrested Development, which, surprisingly, my mom recommended.  For as crazy as she sometimes is, she watches really good tv.  Haha.   I am starting to kind of look forward to it. 
But here in the present, I am looking forward to another glass of wine.  Have a good night everyone.  (And a good morning to ya as well!)


Christmas pics of the girls!

We finally decided to go get the girls pictures taken.  One of the mom bloggers I regularly follow is also a photographer.  She is going to be in town in Febuary, so I was thinking about postponing them and having her do them, but I am not sure how that is going to go, so we decided to pull the trigger now.  I guess it is good to go get the traditional Christmas pictures anyway.  These are memories in the making!  (Haha, that is total sarcasm directed at my brother!)
Ariana was pretty grumpy as usual.  She did not seem to dig the flash in her face every 3 seconds.  Kira was kind of a terror for Kira.  Last year she did great.  This year, she only wanted to run out and play with the Legos in the waiting room.  We managed to get some decent pics though:

 This one is my favorite.

I really like this one too.

Blessings in Disquise

After 3 lengthy conversations with the nurse (who could not tell me anything about what was going on with Kira), we made it into the doctor's office yesterday for the second time in one week.  Yuck.  The first time was her well baby where we found out she had an undetected ear infection.  So she was put on Amoxicillin and given 3 shots.  Well, Monday she woke up with a pretty awful fever.  She refused to eat all day (I think we finally got some yogurt into her right before bed).  And she was generally just icky all day.  I assumed, as did the nurse, it was just a reaction to her shots.  She was given DTaP, which is known to have all of those effects on the 4th and 5th shot.  No big deal.  Tuesday I noticed little red bumps all over her legs.  Now I am starting to think something is off.  She had a rash on the soles of her feet!  I have never seen bumps on the bottom of someone's feet.  So, I call the nurse again, who again has little to no information for me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to dog the nurse too bad.  I am not terribly articulate, so I could see how she would have a hard time diagnosing anything without actually seeing it. But still, she told me just to keep an eye on it and if it gets worse to come in.  By Thursday, most of her body was covered in itchy little bumps.  Steve and I were discussing possible causes, when it occurred to him that Kira has all of the symptoms of chickenpox.  Crap.  I now have the nurse on speed dial.  Being as Kira has had her chickenpox vaccine and her bumps aren't all blisters yet, the nurse doesn't seem to think that is what it is.  She, however, has no idea what it might actually be.  So, ok, I give, I made an appointment.  Friday morning I woke up totally second guessing myself.  I figured it was probably just due to the new lotion we were putting on her or something.  My mom is pretty much one doctor's appointment away from Munchausen syndrome, so I am always hesitant to go in myself.  I don't want to be that mom who flips out over every small issue.  But I had already cancelled our Christmas party for Friday night.  Plus babysitting Saturday night.  And this had gone on long enough, it was time for action.  As it turned out, my mommy instinct yet again proved right on.  The doctor took one quick look at her and immediately knew what was going on.  She did not have chickenpox, but she did have hand, foot, and mouth disease.  It is a virus surprisingly similar to chickenpox and equally contagious.  Fortunately, it was not in her mouth like it usually is.  Unfortunately, it is all over her body as opposed to confining itself to hands, feet, and mouth.  I hate for my baby to be sick, especially with Christmas right around the corner, but there were some perks if I squint at the bright side.
I have been feeling somewhat disconnected with Kira lately.  Steve and I thought it would be SO fun to trade places for a semester, see how the other lives.  So, I went to school during the day and he did the online/at night thing.  Turns out, we kept the schedules we did for a reason.  He went stir crazy at home all the time with the littles.  I felt like I missed SO much not being home all day.  We are switching back next semester, no doubt.  My relationship with Kira changed significantly when Ariana came into the picture.  I was worried she would be jealous and take it out on the baby.  I underestimated her intelligence.  She has never taken it out on Aria, she takes it out on me.  I feel like she thinks I abandoned her in some small-ish way.  I know when she gets older and begins to see the larger world, not only the part that revolves around her, she will understand and we can still build an amazing relationship, but I still feel like we are missing something.  Not that I regret Ariana in anyway, basically, I just want to have my cake and eat it too.  It doesn't help that Kira was always a daddy's girl (as opposed to Ariana who is so attached to me I may have to have her surgically removed).  Now that she is spending so much time with Dad, he has become her go-to guy.  When she is hurt, when she is sad, when she needs something, she goes to him, not me.  As convenient as that sounds, it always breaks my heart that it isn't me she runs to.
Friday, though, was my day.  Ariana naps wonderfully for me, awfully for Steve.  It gave me a little bit of time to hang out with only Kira.  She wasn't feeling all that great, so I got the best cuddle time I have had with her pretty much since Ariana was born.  It felt amazing.  And the after effects are still strong today.  She wanted me.  Even when Steve was home all day, she came to me.  Wonderful.
I am sure things will all fall into place soon.  Steve and I are back on normal schedules starting January 18th.  Hopefully that will help our relationship.  The past year it has been pretty topsy turvy
We still haven't gotten Santa pictures taken yet!  Ugh...  Hopefully I can slide them in right before Christmas.  We were planning to go to Old Town Spring tomorrow, but I guess we can't in good conscious take our super bug to an area populated with children and their unsuspecting parents.  Oh well.  At least we got Christmas picture taken!  I'll post them next!  So many Christmas plans are out the window.  At least we can still go look at lights though!  I love Christmas!  And my dad will be here in Houston on Thursday, so I am stoked about that too.  It is going to be a fabulous, little at-home Christmas this year!  Assuming Ariana doesn't catch the hiv....  You may want to pray for us!                            


The highlights in pictures...

Amazingly, though it has taken up a vast amount of my time lately, I do still make time for things other than school.
I am taking another Big Picture Class this month: Picture the Holidays.  It is a 30 day photography seminar with Tracey Clark.  Each day she gives you a prompt, generally having to do with the holidays for this class, and you post your favorite picture.  I have to put a plug in for bigpictureclasses.com.  I love them.  I discovered them through SavvySource, and it was the best $15 I have spent in a long time.  I have learned so much about my camera and what makes a good picture.  They have classes for writing, scrapbooking, and photography.  It is fabulous, go check it out.  You will not regret it.  I will definitely be taking more classes through them.  I would love to take one of the writing seminars.  Right now though, I am really trying to improve my picture taking skills.

So here are some of the pics I have taken for it:

I am working on focus and perspective.  Don't be too critical, I am certainly not a professional photographer, but I am learning and improving.  The prompts she gives are awesome and really force you to look at things in a different way.  I love it.  I gave you a very brief summary of the prompts for some of the more random pictures.

Something framed...

Something that made you think of Christmas...
 I couldn't get the picture that I wanted.  Kira had this look of amazement on her face looking at her Christmas tree.  I missed it.  She is loving Christmas!  She learned how to say "tree".  We have a blow-up Dora in our front yard and our neighbor's have a snowman.  Every morning, first thing when she wakes up, she has to go look out the window and see Dora.  Second, we have to turn on the lights on her tree.  These are the moments that make me feel glad to be alive, glad I have such an a amazing life, an amazing little girl.  I must be truly blessed.  By the way, I am so psyched for Christmas this year, I can't even describe it!
Heart Shapes (something having to do with love)

Something reflected

A view you wouldn't normally see...
This one was a little off prompt, but I kind of liked it.  I thought it was interesting.  The actual prompt was about taking time to see the small things.
I love how you can see her chomping those goldfish.
And, I learned a valuable lesson that day: apparently 5 months old is plenty big to eat goldfish.  I busted a jar in the kitchen and it literally shattered all over the floor.   And it was garlic, so our kitchen reaked for days.  In the midst of me trying to clean it up while simultaneously trying to make sure no one got cut open, including my two overly curious dogs, my very helpful child, and my barefoot self, I overlooked the fact that Kira set down her snack trap on Ariana's car.  Next thing I know, Ariana is munching away.  She got very upset when I took them away, and I figured since she had done ok with the ones she had already eaten, they were fine.  Now they are one of her favorite treats!

Other fun stuff:  
 Spending time in the beautiful weather outdoors while Daddy put up our beautiful Christmas lights!  The sky that day was amazing.  I kept trying to really capture it, but I never could get it quite right.
Love this one of the girls looking at each other.  It is like they have already made an unspoken agreement to stick up for one another.
 We finally got and put together a highchair AND a crib for Ariana.  Guess now she has to stay.  ;)  She was given the choice of juice, cereal, or binky.  Obviously, she chose the ever-so-loved bink-a-dink.
  Here they are side by side having a morning snack.  Kira is saying "cheeessseee..." in this picture.  Don't know where she picked that up, but it is hilarious.  Grandma sent them brand new pajamas!  Kira insists that she wears her Dora ones as much as possible.  She also tried to put Ariana's on over her own.  She gets really excited, but kind of jealous when Ariana wears her set.  My neighbor passed down pretty much a whole new wardrobe for Kira (which as my neighbor has impeccable and expensive taste, was thrilling).  She gave us a Dora jacket.  Kira loves it.  She has to show everyone she meets the Dora on her coat.  She started saying "hi" and "bye" to every inanimate object she comes across.  It makes getting out of the parking lot time consuming as she greets every car.  Strange child.  She loves the planes that go over our house.  Every time she hears one she has to point to the sky and look for it.

We have a lot to look forward to this week: finishing up some crafts, cleaning the house, doing tons of baking!  And maybe even relaxing a watching a Christmas movie or 2!  Yay!  

The highlights... (School version)

Oh man, it has been a loooonnnngggggg week.  Add a few more letters to that one, huh?  But that is just how it has been.  One final left, on Wednesday.  Yuck.  And of course it is my hardest class, Microbiology.  What sucks about it is, I took that class a couple of years ago in Virginia, but stupid Texas schools won't take it.  I loved it then, it was my favorite subject.  I hate it this time around.  I really don't appreciate my professor as a teacher.  As a professional, he is intelligent, interesting, thought provoking.  It is unfortunate that it doesn't translate well to his tests.  I think in the end I pulled out 2 A's and 2 B's this semester, which sucks.  Possibly 3 A's and 1 B, if my Nutrition teacher is nice and rounds my 89.3 up to an A, and assuming I actually managed to nab a B in Micro.  My teacher hasn't handed anything back except test grades, so I really have no idea.  Based on my tests, I got a B.  I guess that isn't so bad.  I needed A's though.  I am accustomed to getting A's.  I think this semester I may have bitten off more than I could effectively chew.  I miscalculated how much a newborn really took out of you.  Particularly when you are teetering on the edge of PPD while your infant dangles dangerously close to the wrong side of colic.  Doesn't really make for ideal studying conditions.  I just didn't put in the effort I really needed to.  I have to overcome and work harder next semester.  Which leads me to the question: do I take fewer classes so that I can focus better and hopefully achieve better grades or do I just struggle through to get my degree as quickly as possible?
I got accepted into UT Arlington, which has a partnership program where I can get my bachelor's online in 15 months.  I want to do it, but I am anxious about the details.  Namely the fact that the government will not pay me to take online classes.  So we would be living off of Steve's money, which is not nearly enough to cover our bills.  Our option is to take out student loans for the year and a half until I get my degree and live VERY frugally.  Which is possible and still probably less than we would have to do had I gone to college the traditional way.  There are several university nursing programs here in Houston.  The problem is they are all downtown and all 5 days a week, 8-4.  As Steve and I learned this semester, he is not a stay at home dad, meaning we would have to put the girls in daycare at least a couple days a week.  We would pretty much be in the same situation since daycare for 2 in diapers is about what I would make from the government anyway.  Plus I can't imagine missing out on so much of my girls babyhood.  It is 2 years that I wouldn't get to be there to watch them learn and grow everyday.  On the plus side, through UTA, I will finish at least 6 months earlier and can go get a job, hopefully one that keeps better hours while my girls are little.  And I won't use up all of my school benefits, therefore I can go get my Master's for cheap if not free.  Did I mention that?  My GI benefits run out in 20 months, which leaves me about a year short to get my degree through a traditional program.  All said and done, I can finish in 18 months through UTA, 2 and a half years through a normal program.  Through UTA I will have 2 months left over, plus another 120 hours through the Hazelwood Act.  So there is another facet.  Even if I do a regular program, a year from now, we are going to be right back at this same cross roads.  Oh to be an adult and have to make decisions.  Often I wish God spoke a little louder.  Anyone have any words of wisdom?



This is a public servicce announcement to those (veryy few) who follow my blog (how I told you lately that I love you, cause you know I do!).  I will be on a small hiatus for the next month to try and take some time to really get things going with this blog.  I'll be around to check in and give some cool holiday fun, though!  No worries, I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging starting January 1.   Hopefully with a bigger and badder (meaning more organized with excellent content) blog!  Thanks guys, and Happy Holidays!

Tom's Fun Band Giveaway extended

Ok, so I didn't promote this giveaway like I should have and that is not fair.  This is a great group of guys with a great sound, so I have decided to extend it for another week!  Make sure to enter!


Today I am thankful

I am thankful that I was born and I am thankful for the family that raised me.  You see, 28 years ago tomorrow I was born to a 15 year old child, and given to a family who desperately wanted to raise a little girl.  There may have been many times that were trying, but in the end, we became a family.
I mention all of this because I was sent a new book on adoption.  It was touching, illuminating.  I would certainly recommend it to anyone who has been touched by adoption.
The book is Adopted Ed by Darren Warren.  I'll admit to you, some of the rhymes were a bit forced, but the illustrations are adorable.  The book was written with heart and it shows.  


7 Days to be Thankful - Day 5

I am thankful for cheap toys.
Yep, that's right.  I said I wasn't gonna, but Toys'R'Us called and I ran to answer.  Well, actually waited in line for 2 hours in the very cold rain, but same difference right?
In good news, I got $400 worth of toys for only $200.  And I learned some excellent tips for next year.  As much as I was dreading it, I will definitely be right there in line again next year!
In bad news, I got home at 2am.  When I left at 8:45, Steve asked why I was leaving so early.  Next year, I am heading out 30 minutes earlier!  The line wrapped around the building AND the parking lot.  Could have been worse: people were in tents for Best Buy!  
It was a MADHOUSE inside.  I will say, they had a ton of stock though.  Except those dang Polly Pockets.  I totally missed that one.  And the 'puppy love' baby doll.  Oh well, live and learn.  I got everything else on my list.  I REALLY wanted the Powerwheels Quad rider, I was worried I wouldn't get it, but of course they had about 200 of them in the middle of the main aisle.  Yay.  Christmas shopping is pretty much done for the kids.  I have to make a couple of things for my nieces, but that will happen when it happens.  So far as spending, they are done.
There is something really nice about for once feeling like I am on top of something.
Overall I am pretty thrilled.  I gotta say: I am thankful for Black Friday. (And come Christmas Day, Kira will be too!  I am thankful for that as well.)

Today I am Thankful.