Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tie a knot in it, Jim Bob

Have you guys heard of the Duggars? The family who just had their 18th child? The ones who will keep going until poor Mrs. Duggar's ovaries dry up because God wants them to keep having kids?

Yeah, I have a real problem with them.

I actually don't have a problem with them having 18 kids per se. They can keep procreating until Mrs. Duggar's 1988 mullet comes back in style for all I care. They are financially able to provide for the family, and they're raising caring, responsible children. All that is great by me.

What I take issue with is their buddy system. Each older child is assigned one (or more) buddies--a younger child that they essentially raise. Don't believe me? It's all here on the official family website in the FAQ.

I think all children need to have responsibilities in the home. They all need to be taught life skills. They all need to pitch in.

However, I think being assigned a sibling to be wholly responsible for is unfair. Read through the FAQ. Tell me when play time for the older kids is, because I've yet to see it on the schedule.

When you see them on TV, the older kids are always smiling and saying how much they love their life. I don't know if it's acting or brainwashing, but I have a hard time believing that a 16 year old girl is thrilled that her mother just popped out number 18, meaning she gets to take on responsibility for yet another sibling.

I think a good rule of thumb for this family should be: If you can't take care of the family without full time help from the older children, it's time to stop.

But that's just me. What do you think?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Always Prepared

So, I got a tag a couple of months ago, but I put off doing it because I was afraid you'd all think I was crazy.

The tag was simple--dump out the contents of your purse and tell what everything is.

Not so bad.

Here's the purse. It's huge and I love it.

Here are the contents--nothing too strange: wallet, emergency glucose injection, folding hairbrush, phone, keys, hand lotion, lip gloss, gummy candy, antibacterial wipes and a pen.

But then I have one more thing in there. My "Preparedness Pack." This is the point where some people, like my husband, think I go from mildly eccentric to full on crazy cakes.

I would have taken everything out so you could see the individual items, but fitting it all back in is an exact science. It's a very small case.
Inside you'll find: dissolving soap paper (for those bathrooms where there's no soap), sunblock stick, Tylenol, tape measure, tissues, cough drops, antibacterial wipes, body wash, deodorant, mouthwash, Febreze, Tide-to-go, a mini first aid kit, a sewing kit, face blotting papers, hand lotion, double A batteries, a card with a picture of Jesus surrounded by children with the 13 Articles of Faith on the back, Immodium AD, and tampons.
All in a 6" x 3" x 6" case.

And speaking of tampons, isn't this the cutest?

It holds three.

I'm not sure what compels me to have all of that on hand. Go ahead and laugh, but when you find yourself out somewhere and in need of a tape measure or body wash or a button, you won't be laughing anymore. You'll be wishing you had my purse.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family Update Volume V

The top 10 things going on with the Douglasses this week:

10. Ben is actually taking care of the fish he got for Christmas.

9. Our AC is on and running all the time to keep the house at 72.

8. Will grew his thickest beard yet, which he just shaved off this morning.

7. Liam has not come out of Jedi mode since Christmas.

6. My Christmas decorations are still up. It's a record.

5. Liam likes to sneak into Amelia's room and put on her new tutu and dance in front of the mirror.

4. In addition to three neon fish, Ben also got an African Dwarf frog, which I have become inordinately attached to.

3. Liquid diets SUCK.

2. Santa brought us all (except Ben) a nasty respiratory infection, so we're all skipping church today.

1. Poor Amelia ended up in the E.R. last night. She has pneumonia.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Skinny people don't get it.

So, I'm on day 4 of my mandatory all Slim Fast and clear liquid diet. I struggled through Christmas Eve dinner. I see spots every time I stand up. I'm learning to live with feeling weak and tired and empty. The intense cravings are starting to subside. I even cooked spaghetti and meatballs for the family tonight and didn't cry.

And then what does my husband do? He goes to the store and comes home with Kit-Kats, fudge brownies and movie theater butter popcorn.

I don't think there's a court in the land that would convict me if I strangled him right now.

R.I.P. Kitty-Kitty

Remember back in September when Amelia got her robo-kitty?

Kitty didn't do so well.

Sometime in November Kitty's ear went missing.

And now?

Kitty's gone to fake cat Heaven now.

You've got to admit that dead kitty looks as realistic as live kitty did.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve and Christmas Morn

First, merry Christmas!!! I hope you all had a great Christmas. We certainly did.

We started out with a relaxing Christmas Eve morning. The kids played outside in their pajamas. It was 72 degrees out.

Then we spent most of Christmas Eve day at the home of our friends, the Pynes. We were also joined by the Roche family. There was a lot of yummy food (not that I could eat it, but it looked and smelled great and was slightly torturous to me all day). The kids (all nine of them) played outside most of the afternoon. Then we ate. Or, they ate. I drank my stupid Slim Fast. Then the kids dressed up in costumes and we had a Christmas pageant. Ben was a wiseman, Amelia was a wisewoman (because she wanted to wear a crown) and Liam was supposed to be a shepherd, but he was sick and cranky and bailed out at the last minute. As usual we forgot our camera. The Pyne's will likely post pictures on their blog, so go HERE in a day or two and check. Even if they don't post the pictures you should go there because they're an awesome family and worth reading about.

We had some games and singing planned for after the pageant, but the kids were getting cranky and I was woozy, so everyone headed home earlier than planned.

The kids all opened a present (pajamas) and went to bed early. Will and I had our usual tradition of wrapping all the presents late into the night. It's not a deliberate tradition--it just always ends up that we've put it off until Christmas Eve.

Around 6:30 this morning I heard Ben and Liam rummaging through the presents and speculating about their contents. So, we got up and opened presents. There were light sabers and pink princess-y things and tutus (which Amelia insists on calling curtains) and Legos galore.

I then passed out on the couch while everyone else played for a couple of hours. In fact, it's 5 hours later and they're all still playing.

Liam was really into the whole Christmas experience. After they opened their stockings from Santa (light sabers for all three), Ben started messing with the presents under the tree. Liam said, "Ben, we can't open those until Christmas!" And Ben said, "Today is Christmas!" And then Liam screamed and jumped up and down and hugged me 5 times. And although Ben and Amelia really liked their presents, Liam was by far the most enthusistic. Everything was the greatest gift ever.

Not to toot my own horn, but I sewed that Jedi robe. Without a pattern.

I hope the rest of your Christmas day is terrific! Sorry this is such a long post. Writing takes my mind off the fact that I'm starving. (I'm now up to 33 lbs lost!). Also, sorry for all the parenthesis (they just seem necessary today).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Liquid Diets Make Me Grumpy

It's only been 24 hours since I've started my pre-surgery all Slim-Fast and clear liquid diet and I'm ready to kill anyone who speaks to me. I feel like Jeff Conaway two days into Celebrity Rehab.

I want something with texture so badly I was eying the baby carrots like they were crack.

Did you know that Slim-Fast tastes like liquid cardboard? Yeah. It does.

On the bright side, I've lost 3 pounds in 24 hours bringing me to a grand total of 29 pounds lost since September.

Oh, and I found 2006:

Gratuitous Amelia shot. She's doing ballet. Man, she was bald.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Very Douglass Christmas

You know what's awesome about having a blog? I don't have to write some silly Christmas letter! Want to know what we've been doing? Well, just head on over there -----> to my archives.

If I were to send out a letter, it would have our annual in-front-of-the-tree picture. So, for your viewing pleasure, here's a parade of Douglass Christmases past (and present) Better known as, "what does Brandi weigh and how bad is her hair?"

1997, married 6 months

1998, we added a cat

1999, we added a kid

Our 2000 picture is lost somewhere in cyberspace. So, here's Will in 1982 instead.

2001, Germany

2002, Germany

2003, Germany (are you detecting a pattern here?)
By the way, I was knocked up in this picture but didn't know it yet. So it's technically Liam's first Christmas picture.

2004--Will was in Germany. Ben, Liam and I were at my parents'. Liam was only 3 months old and recovering from surgery. So, this was the best I could manage.

2005, we'd added TWO kids
Geez Louise, I look like the poster child for postpartum depression.

2006 is also missing. I can't remember even taking one, but we must have. Instead, enjoy me in 1977.

(Edited in 2009 to add the 2006 picture, since I finally found it)

2007, Will was deployed and we spent Christmas with my family. I guess I didn't take one in front of the tree that year either.

Today at 4 pm

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Day My Brain Stood Still

So, last night Will and I went out on a date. It's something we rarely do, but my extra buttered theater popcorn eating days are running out. Plus, I really wanted to see The Day the Earth Stood Still. I love end of the world/disaster/discovery of life in the universe movies. Even the cheesy ones.

But even my unconditional love of such movies could not overcome my disappointment in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

It was just a bad movie all around. It left me with a million questions, which if answered, would have made for a good movie. And it was really hard to believe. I mean, I know it's science fiction. But there's a difference between sending Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis to nuke an asteroid hurtling toward Earth unbelievable and the kind of unbelievable that's hard to swallow even in the fantasy world of a movie. I don't want to give anything away so it's hard to explain what I'm talking about. Let's just say that at the most pivotal scene in the movie--the scene where the fate of all mankind is decided--I was like, "That's it? That's all it took? More advanced civilization my foot." Except I didn't say foot.

And then there was the ending. In the dictionary under anticlimactic it says, "The ending to The Day the Earth Stood Still."

There were a couple bright spots. Kathy Bates played a great Sarah Palin. And I totally know what the smoke monster on LOST is now.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I don't know if it's a drawback or a benefit, but when you're a military family you never know where your kids will spend their formative years.

Ben was clueless about the U.S. because he had lived in Germany from the time he was 18 months until he was 5 and a half. He had never seen a commercial before.

Liam has only known Fort Meade, Maryland. On one of our first trips onto post after moving down here, he asked where the president's helicopter was (we saw Marine One land near the commissary in Maryland on a few occasions). He thinks going to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is a right, not a privilege. He has seen the Kennedy's grave site more often than Maria Shriver.

Amelia has also only known Maryland, but she's younger and still easily influenced.

Georgia is getting to her.

All week she's been calling me Mama in a very Elvis-like accent.

Yesterday she said she wanted a truck. When I asked her why, she said it was so her dog could ride in the back.

This morning she started saying y'all.

Things can only go down hill from here.

Please let us move before she's 16...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Morning Confessions Part Deux

I had an overwhelming request to reveal more disturbing facts about myself, so here you go.

I have a phobia of drinking water from the bathroom sink.

I get a kick out of squeezing black heads, but only my own. I will not squeeze a zit for you.

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 23.

I stole a bottle of yellow nail polish from Walgreen's when I was 13.

My Aunt Louisa thinks that I cheated during a game of Scrabble when I was 15. It has bothered me for 18 years that she still thinks I cheated. For the record I did not cheat. I'm sorry that she couldn't handle being beaten by a teenager.

I got so sick of Christmas music yesterday that I turned it off and listened to classic rock instead.

I have a phone phobia. I hate talking on the phone (with a few exceptions). Please, unless you're family, e-mail me.

I was once so mad at my step father that I sprayed his food with Windex. It didn't work. He's still here.

My cousin and I were still playing Barbies when we were 13. We just didn't speak of it publicly.

Under my hair color I'm completely gray.

When Ben complains that his friend is allowed to do something he's not, I tell him it's because we love him more than his friend's parents love his friend.

We flipped the door knobs on all the kids' bedrooms so that the lock is on the outside.

I cannot watch horror movies. Even the commercials terrify me. I have to sleep with the light on for weeks.

I think the Jonas Brothers are cute, but will end up sterile if they don't start buying bigger pants.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Not that Will and I ever doubted it, but our Evil Genius Ben is officially gifted.

He was in advanced reading and math courses in Maryland, but the school did no formal testing.

Since beginning school here in August he's been taking constant tests to see if he is, in fact, gifted enough to be in the gifted program.

Today we got the results of 5 months of testing, and his lowest score was 98%.

He'll begin the program in January.

I'm hoping one of the classes will be Using Your Gifts for Good Rather than Evil 101.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Christmas Tragedy

Dateline: Grovetown, Georgia
December 16th, 2008

Santa's annual office party turned tragic this year when a domestic dispute turned violent.

An altercation involving elf couple Margaret and Jerry Whitmore occurred when Jerry learned that Margaret had been "stuffing stockings" with family friend and co-worker, Hermey Martin.

Margaret and Jerry Whitmore

Hermey Martin

The fight quickly escalated into a brawl, with at least 30 elves and an unidentified reindeer being transported to local hospitals for treatment.

A local unit of toy soldiers was called in to maintain order.

Whitmore and Martin were both arrested and are being held on a 50,000 candy cane bail. They were both found to have blood hot chocolate levels twice the legal limit.

A spokesperson from Santa's office could not be reached for comment.

Or at least that's the only thing I could think of that would warrant so much crime scene tape around the City of Grovetown Light Display.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Quote of the day

Yesterday at church the music leader teased Ben about knowing all his secrets because she reads this blog. Last night Ben nervously asked me,

"Mom, does Santa read your blog?"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Family Update Volume IV

This has been a hectic week, yet there's not much to report.

I did my visiting teaching. If you know me, then you know this is worth reporting. I'm a terrible visiting teacher. I'm always willing and eager to help the women I teach in any way I can, but getting to their house for a visit never seems to happen unless I have partner who'll kick my butt (Lindsay-I miss you!!).

We ran the air conditioner for a day and a half. It wasn't so much that it was hot (80 degrees one day, 75 the next), but the humidity was unbearable. I'm just not adjusting to Georgia in the winter. Neither are the kids. Amelia keeps asking when the snow will come. Most afternoons they play outside without a jacket.

Liam scared us this week by complaining about left sided chest pain. His cardiologist wouldn't even take my call until he'd seen his primary care doctor--a doctor who had never seen Liam before and certainly had no idea what Liam's heart sounds like on a normal day. But we saw him and he really felt that Liam is fine. He said the heart murmur he heard was actually pretty mild all things considered and his heart sounded strong. His pulse/ox was at 100% and he was running around like a wild man. He thinks was a bad case of gas or a strained muscle.
So, we'll hold off on cardiology unless he starts complaining of pain again.

Last night was our ward Christmas party. It was very different from any ward Christmas party I'd ever attended. The room was split and one side was Bethlehem and the other side was Zarahemla. They were set up like market places and traditional foods for the two areas were available to "buy." Everyone was given beans when we entered to purchase food. The kids whined a little bit about eating dates and pita bread, tortillas and beans for dinner, but they got over it and had fun. The decorations and lighting and music really made you feel like you were somewhere other than a church cultural hall. A lot of people dressed up in middle Eastern/South American Indian costumes. I wish I'd brought my camera. I also wish I'd remembered the traditional Afghan outfit Will brought home for Amelia. Oh well...

And now for the BIG news. Will won Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the quarter for his Brigade on Friday. I find it extremely funny because he didn't study or prepare in any way because he really didn't want to win (again). So, now he'll compete to be NCO of the quarter for all of Fort Gordon on January 13th (assuming I don't die on the table on the 6th).
Yay Will!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


December 23rd I have to start an all liquid diet that will last until my surgery. The purpose is to shrink my liver, making it easier to do the surgery laproscopically. I can have 2 cans of Slimfast per meal, and then only clear liquids in between (sugar free Jello and popsicles count as clear liquid). Once in a while I can throw back a V8 for variety.

After the surgery I'll endure several weeks of clear liquids, full liquids and then mush. And even when I'm able to eat solids again, there are many foods I either should not or will physically not be able to eat again. Like carbonation. And popcorn. POPCORN!!!! Even salad will be an issue for quite a long time.

Pretty much life will be a few bites of chicken breast or fish or some other lean meat, and then a couple of bites of veggies. If I can handle it, a bite of pasta or potato or rice. The people who stray from this way of eating are the ones who stretch their stomach and gain back weight. The whole purpose of the surgery is to make it so that eating like that is all you're able to do for nearly a year, in the hope that it will be habit by the time you're able to eat more.

So anyway, knowing that in 10 days food will no longer be something fun for me, I plan to indulge. This morning I had garlic bread, chocolate covered macadamia nuts and sugar free cherry limeade for breakfast.

Here are some other foods I intend to partake of over the next 10 days:

Soda. It'll still be sugar free--I don't need to fall into a diabetic coma pre-surgery--but I will be drinking as much carbonation as I can.

Pizza. Pepperoni pizza to be exact. I plan to have this at least twice.

Chinese food. Of the gooey, sticky, deep fried variety.

Popcorn. I'll be eating heavily buttered and salted popcorn every night.

Hardees. I'll make at least one trip to Hardees for a burger. I'm not really a burger kind of girl, but Hardee's burgers are insanely yummy.

Zaxby's spicy fried mushrooms. If I were on death row, I'd request these for my last meal.

Fried chicken. I might not even eat the chicken--I might just eat the battered skin.

I heard that there's a food cart in the parking lot by Will's office that sells deep fried everything. Snickers, twinkies, you name it. I intend to make a visit.

Fried Snickers

Really good lasagna. I actually love my own lasagna, but it's a lot of work. We may need to visit Olive Garden.

A Philly cheesesteak.

Greasy onion rings. Anyone know where I can get some good, greasy onion rings?

KFC mashed potatoes and gravy. These are probably my second favorite food ever.

Mozzerella sticks. These are on the menu for my lunch today.

A nice, juicy steak. (Some people can never swallow beef again after the surgery. So, just in case...)

There are some other things I would LOVE to have before the 23rd, but they're not available locally. My wish list would include Nam Sod from Thai Garden in Keene, New Hampshire, Drake's Cakes Funny Bones (Drake's are only up North), a real Italian from anywhere in Maine, and a Doner Kebap from Sahin's Kebap Haus in Mannheim (or Heidelberg) Germany (no lettuce or feta, extra sauce).

I'll probably gain back the 25 lbs I've managed to lose already, but it'll be worth it.

Note to my Georgia ladies: Anyone up for joining me at Shang Ri La for one last Chinese food glutton fest?