Thinking Happy Thoughts

by Stefani on 9-December-2008

There are some things that are making me unhappy. 



Very unhappy. 

I will tell them to you quickly, and then we won't speak of them anymore, okay? We'll talk about happy things, like cookie dough ice cream and finding money in your coat pocket. Okay? 

1) I dropped $1300 at the dentist today, for one child. 

In about two weeks, I'll have the unmitigated joy of shelling out another $600 for his older brother's mouth. No dental insurance + an unfortunate inheritance of poor mouth chemistry = one very empty pocket book and one very sad kiddo. He said, and I repeat, "but you make me brush every day and don't even let us have any high fructose corn syrup! How can I have cavities?" 

Stinking genetics. That's about the best answer I've got. 

The up side is, we love our dentist. She's so great with kids that even fillings are kinda fun. 


For my James, the upside is the crazy good bragging rights that come with having a "silver tooth" (cap). His brothers are insanely jealous, which meant that after the whole puking reaction to the sedative and hours of "mama! my libs are tingling!" he was 10 feet tall and staring in the mirror at his wondrous new bling. If I heard, "wanna see my silver tooth?" once, I heard it 10 times. 

2) And because bad thing #1 wasn't bad enough… rats. Yep, rats. RATS IN MY STINKING ATTIC!!! Apparently Central Texas is experiencing a rat tsumami. It must be true, because we've lived here a pretty long time and never, EVER, dealt with such a thing. 

While I was writing a check to the dentist, my husband was writing a check to the pest control man. 

Funny isn't it, how the things that make adults cringe, can delight the bejeezus out of children? 

Not only do my kids think that the silver tooth is totally rockin', they also think that rats twitching in their traps are pretty freaking fantastic too. 

I worry about those boys sometimes. I really do. 

Now that we've got that over with, let's return to our regular programming, shall we? 

Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. I'm thinking happy thoughts. 

I'm happy that my oldest is making his famous cinnamon cookies again. I love that kid!

I'm happy that we found an old favorite book of mine, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and are taking turns reading it to each other. 

I'm happy that when it's not my turn to read, I've finally begun working on something that I've, up to now, been too chicken-livered to attempt. 


I'm making each of my fellas a needlepoint stocking. 

I expect to have them done around about the time that they marry. 

I'm happy too, that we covered the tables in brown paper, just for creating fun, and that white crayons make such great snowy scenes on said brown paper. 

The Winter Crafties

I'm happy that my oldest two have discovered the joy of drawing jaggedy christmas trees with multicolored balls, and also snowmen and stars. I hear them at the table chanting "make a mountain, cross the mountain, cross back again, then ski down" as they practice making the thousandth star of the day. 

I'm happy that even though we live in Texas, there are snow flurries to be had.. 

Of the paper sort, 

Cut Up

and even a few of the natural variety too!

I can't remember the last time we had sleet and flurries in December, and  yet tonight there were little men lined up at my back door, watching the ice turn our deck white, and listening to the roar of a crackling fire. 

It  might have been perfect, like Christmas card perfect, were it not for the mood shattering, "hey mama, do you think that there's any dead rats in our traps?"

But we're not talking about that are we? 

Oh no we're not. 

Sarah Jackson December 9, 2008 at 9:58 pm

eeewww! we get roof rats in our neighborhood because of the citrus trees (there is a downside to the lemon tree). My dog killed one a couple of weeks ago.

But the drawings! lovely! and the snow flurries! jealous! and the needlepoint! won’t catch me doing it. knitting is slow enough. looking forward to the progress on those – the slow slow progress. 🙂

christi December 9, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Oh! I am sorry about your dentist bill and the rats, but am happy to read of your creative genius in putting brown paper on the tables! my little sisters and cousins get so bored at Christmas dinner that this would be the perfect way to entertain them while dinner is being served and to tide them over until “present time”.

Kate December 10, 2008 at 12:47 am

I will ignore the icky parts of this post just to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Best Christmas Pageant Ever! It’s one of my favorite memories of Christmas as a kid. I can’t wait to read it to my kids now.

Leah December 10, 2008 at 4:28 am

My grandmother has made needlepoint stockings for everyone in the family and I can tell you that they are a treasured, treasured possession of each and every one of us – we were so excited when my husband got his last year!

And I played a member of the angel choir in the best Christmas Pageant ever – when I was five!

Diane December 10, 2008 at 4:40 am

Oh. My. I know we’re not going to dwell on the bad parts but ACH!!!! No dental insurance AND rats??? I so feel your pain with these two things, I really do. I’m going to send you a picture of what my children did after a few weeks of rat baiting and trapping happened at our house. Snow rats. Forget snow men, they started building snow rats. And then Em asked for a squirt bottle with some red food coloring. It was sort of like the battle scene in the Nutcracker only in my front yard. Oh. I fell for you.


Cookies! So nice! Yay for cookies… : )

Diane December 10, 2008 at 4:41 am

Oh… that last one… I mean I feeeeeeel for you, not I fell for you. Although I find you very lovely all the same…

kristin at prairie daze December 10, 2008 at 4:50 am

oh, my bleary eyed coffee drinking self is now wide awake thanks to your rat news.

take care, friend.

dang that is nasty. and so thrilling, i know.

amanda o December 10, 2008 at 5:08 am

so sorry about the dentist and rats…we had mice (and not the little tiny ones) in our old house and i have a pretty dramatic, yet funny story about catching some while i was pregnant.
the brown paper on the table is a brilliant idea…i may have to do that!

Crystal December 10, 2008 at 5:10 am

Whoa! I will not talk about what we shall not mention other than Cripes! to both things.

Yummy cookies.
Great stories.

Much better…and if you hear anything from the attic, mabye it is Santa Claus. Yes, that is. 😉

elissa Finger December 10, 2008 at 5:47 am

oh MY stefani, i feel that ONLY YOU could cover all of these subjects in one post! so, so sorry about the dentist bill. stinky thing to have to pay for (but a blessing i guess that you can). we are headed down that road eventually too… just with the orthodontist (2 of mine are pretty much guaranteed to need braces). love the pics today… good luck finishing the stockings for their wedding gifts (too bad you’ll have to start on the brides’ and then the grandkids soon after!) love the brown paper idea and love your little men’s drawings… i just want to eat that reindeer up! and seriously, what is up with your weather? turned leaves and snowflakes!

Shawn December 10, 2008 at 5:53 am

Hi Stefani! Thank you for the paper-covered table idea. Happy Holidays!

Aunt LoLo December 10, 2008 at 6:02 am

Ugh! A squirrel moved into our attic on Sunday and our landlord won’t be able to fix the hole/squirrel door until SATURDAY. It’s kind of creepy to hear him squirreling around up there, right above my head! I’m hoping we just LURE him out and then close up the hole – I don’t want to deal with squirrels in rat traps!!! Then again, they have “live traps”…maybe that’s the way to go.

Go enjoy your snow, your little men, your cookies…and try to ignore the scurrying of little feet in your attic. Tell yourself they’re just dust sprites. 🙂

Mandy December 10, 2008 at 6:07 am

Oh no! Rats are the worst! As you know, we are country turned city and the first time I saw a rat I literally got sick. It was just one and it was just once since we moved here 4 years ago, but that was enough for me. I couldn’t sleep for a week just knowing they were “around”. Hopefully Christmas fills you so full with happy things you won’t even have time to think of rats.

coffeechris December 10, 2008 at 6:14 am

I have always wanted to do needlepoint stockings ….I like your realistic goal — of by when they marry. I think I may even have some of the fixins. Cinnamon cookies are on the bake list today. Happy thoughts

g. December 10, 2008 at 6:24 am

Wow! Needlepoint stockings! How ambitios of you!

patricia December 10, 2008 at 6:39 am

Just to commiserate on the dentist thing: we also have no insurance, and at one dentist appointment, completely out of the blue, my little guy had *eight* cavities! We also fall into the category of “but you make me brush every day and don’t even let us have any high fructose corn syrup!” (Love that quote!) I do kinda wonder in retrospect about all the dried fruit. And he used to always insist on a fruit roll up whenever we were at the grocery store. Those things seem healthy but they’re evil for teeth…

Oh yeah, and last month he had to have one of those teeth pulled because the filling was infected. He got a spacer, which we call his “robot tooth.” Cha-ching!

But you have to love how kids see the fun in all of this. If our boys knew each other, I’m sure my Mr. T would blast James with his robot tooth, and James’ silver tooth would deflect the blast right back…

Em December 10, 2008 at 7:15 am

You are very very brave! I would be terrified to go to sleep if there were rats in my attic!!! The little mouse that invaded my kitchen wasn’t too bad though – we caught him in a little humane trap, and let him go outside after making sure to get rid of the things that he was coming in for… and my cat promptly caught him and carried him off… oh well… I’m sorry about the teeth! My husband’s family has awful teeth, and I’m hoping that my kids didn’t get THOSE genes – we brush and floss religiously, and keep saying “Make sure you get them sparkely so they don’t fall out like Pop-Pop’s!” I hope it works (ha ha) I love your needlepoint idea – I made a neat felt stocking for my daughter after I found it on sale… She didn’t have her ‘own’ stocking until she was 3! I guess I need to look for one for my son soon!

michelle gusic December 10, 2008 at 7:31 am

Ugh Dentist bills! I did the shell out far above a grand for early orthodontics (not braces) in hopes that it will prevent having to remove adult teeth from my son’s mouth. He got my mouth–way too small for so many teeth. I hear you on the genetics thing!

The snowflakes look lovely; I think my children and I will be making some tonight.

kirsten December 10, 2008 at 7:57 am

yikes, yikes, and yikes.
that’s right, think happy, girl!

Hannah December 10, 2008 at 8:02 am

BUMMER about the dentist, but HURRAY for the snow! Ours had already fallen asleep last night when it started, but we actually debated waking them up. There’s a thin layer on the roof of our henhouse this morning!

The cross-stitched stockings look like they’ll be beautiful, even if they end up for your grandkids! 🙂

Katie December 10, 2008 at 8:36 am

Nasty things, rats. Since we live on a mini farm we do have them OUTSIDE. I can not imagine them INSIDE. Yikes! *shiver*

Good luck with the extermination.

Miranda December 10, 2008 at 8:44 am

I totally feel for you on both icky issues. We paid a whopping $3500 last year on youngest son’s teeth. Had his checkup last week and finally had a great review. He, too, is quite proud of his mouth “bling”. Only child of 4 that inherited terrible teeth.
Hang in there…
Love the paper on the table idea!

Molly Irwin December 10, 2008 at 8:53 am

I empathize about the rats. we had them in our “little house” a few years ago, on nights so cold we would find them frozen solid to the ground outside after consuming what must have been mighty sweet, well-positioned posion. I was upsetting for a long while. good luch with that.

Molly Irwin December 10, 2008 at 8:54 am

full of typos, above. oops.

Kelly December 10, 2008 at 9:13 am

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever? I loved that book! I honestly must have read it a hundred times growing up! Now I’m going to be on a mission to find it and read it with my boys.
And I’m sorry about the things that we aren’t talking about. Today’s a new day and hopefully a ratless day.

simply December 10, 2008 at 9:33 am

poor thing…when it rains it pours I’m afraid.

the paper snowflakes are lovely though :o)

let it snow instead.


brit December 10, 2008 at 9:40 am

Mice. They are the bain of my existence. Old house, up against a hill in the country. Mice. I have on in my car, every day, EVERY day I empty out another nest. they are in our walls our basement…ugh.

The don’t bother my husband, he had them as pets, (and rats)….what is the deal with boys. I can’t sleep when I hear them scurrying around. EW. EW. EW.

sorry about your rats…love the cross stitch

sperlygirl December 10, 2008 at 9:57 am

sending lots of happy thoughts your way…

Jennifer December 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

Wow, what excitement you have been having! We have bad tooth genetics here, too. Not fun. I hope you get all those rats soon, so they are all gone!

Relyn December 10, 2008 at 10:42 am

You make me smile. You can even turn rats and dentist bills into humor, light, and love. I really love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!! For seven years I read it to my fourth graders. Now I am reading it to my second graders and they loving it just as much. Have you seen the made for TV movie starring Loretta Swit? I think it actually does the book justice. Each year we watch it at the end of our Christmas party day. Happy, happy holidays, dear Stefani.

beki December 10, 2008 at 11:47 am

I know you don’t want to talk about it anymore, but I can commiserate with you on BOTH issues. I have rotten teeth, and so far my oldest does too. It totally sucks. I think I’m paying my dentist’s kids’ tuition at the moment. Then there’s the rodents. Well, not rats, but mice. We’ve never had mice ever before, but we’ve had quite a time with them this year. I wonder what’s up with that? That scratching and squeaking drives me crazy!!!

Nadine December 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm

My littlest has ‘princess’ crowns in her mouth, and I’ve caught her little friends pleading with their mummies for ‘princess’ crowns just like Beah’s.

Must dust off the Best Christmas Pageant Ever! Loved that book too!

Baba December 10, 2008 at 1:00 pm

One of my grandsons has a whole mouth of silver teeth. It just breaks my heart.

OMG rats! That’s just scarry.

Qalballah December 10, 2008 at 1:12 pm

My kid, in the Drs waiting room tonight, said “isn’t it funny that us kids like stuff that you adults don’t?” – too true…

Amy December 10, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Lord have mercy – please don’t show me stories like rat tsunami’s again! Argh.

Oh, but the sleet treat was nice, wasn’t it?

I’ve never heard that description of making a start before – it is priceless!

Kelly December 10, 2008 at 1:46 pm

It’s wrong, I think, to laugh at another’s misfortunes. But really, you give me no choice when you tell about such things in such an amusing manner. And those boys, they truly are hard to understand sometimes, aren’t they?

Sara December 10, 2008 at 4:18 pm

When I was little, we would color on big brown paper like that and then my mom would use it to wrap presents in at Christmas. Homemade wrapping paper. That makes a perfect gift for Grandparents!

Cassandra December 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm

There are good reasons that the word “dentist” sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

I simply love that little reindeer drawn on that brown paper. What a great idea! We went to a birthday party last weekend where the mama had covered all the tables with paper and had stencils and crayons laying out. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before we big kids gravitated to the supplies and started drawing…

molly December 10, 2008 at 8:56 pm

silver teeth – we call those robot teeth around our house. avery has a few – yes, genetics are a bleep. one of the few good things about having a husband as a ups driver is we have good dental insurance. of course the bad thing is i feel like a single parent this time of year 🙂

and the rats in the attic – eek! we thought we had the same problem a few weeks ago. my husband went up to investigate but found nothing. i’m still wondering what it was making the noise. perhaps a bat? don’t know, and better off not knowing i suppose.

have fun with the cross stitch – glad to see you have realistic goals 🙂

Suzanne December 10, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Can I just say that I love reading your blog… you never fail to put a smile on my face. Oh, and thanks to you, I made my own first batch of peanut butter the other day. Yum!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: