Thursday, December 30, 2010

Burning the Christmas Cookies

... Again!

My woeful attempt to portray Julia Child at Christmas time is normally met with some traumatic experience either on the part of me or my family.  Although I do enjoy experimenting a little in the kitchen and am grateful to my loyal subjects for their willingness to sometimes act as my guinea pigs, one would think the simple tasks of Christmas Cookies would be met without incident.  Here's what happened one day when my phone rang:

Me:  "Ahlooo-oh!"  (That's my best Julia impression!  I'm really good at it!  Just ask Dan!...  I do it all the time!)
Caller:  "Uh, hello?  Mrs. Hott?"
Me:  "Who?  Oh, you mean me?  Yes, speeeeaking!"  (It's my Julia Child again!  I'm still not used to being called Mrs. Hott.  That name is reserved for Dan's 89 year old mother.  I really do forget it's me after 14 years.)
Caller:  "This is Morgan County 911 Emergency calling.  Is everything alright?  We got a call from one of your neighbors."
Now, I can hear a fire whistle zooming up our hill.
Me:  "My neighbors?  Are they okay?"  (I am confused.  All the Hotts are fine, present, and accounted for.)
Caller:  "Yes mam.  They are fine.  But they have called to report a fire."
Me:  "Fire. Really?!!!  Where"
Caller:  "Well, at your residence!  We have received a report of billowing smoke emitting from your home."
Me:  "Smoke... where?  Are you serious?  Can you see me at my house?  How do you know there is smoke?"  -- Like 911 has some magic eye;  I really thought they were looking at me talking on the phone via satellite or something.
Caller:  "Yes.  Emergency services should be there any second."
Me:  Finally realizing what in the world was going on, "Oh, oh, oh!   Smoke!?  Oh no.... that's just me.  I was burning the Christmas cookies,... again."

Oh! eat these cookies!  They called the Fire Department on me!  Yikes!  When they showed up, I had to give them the only good batch I had.  Talk about feeling like a fool!  There was NO fire!  The only smoke coming from the Hott house was a tray of Christmas cookies I stuck out on the back porch.  Well, they nearly did go up in flames before I got them out of the oven.  But the house wasn't on fire, for goodness sakes.  You probably don't believe me; so, I'll show you a picture:

Doesn't that look yummy?  You see, Julia Child (although I love her) I am not!  And for some unknown reason, I manage to ruin 90% of everything I bake and/or cook.  Although I am kidding about 911 and the fire truck, I seriously DID have to set out quite a few trays of smoking cookies on the back porch after my kitchen was engulfed in smoke and our house alarm went off.  Even the cats won't touch them. 

Each holiday, I get really nervous about the annual family dinner at the Hotts where everyone brings a dish thanks to my cooking skills.  Let me tell you in case you didn't know, my husband has a HUGE family.  There are 13 brothers and sisters.  One time I counted everyone, direct descendants, of the original Riley and Violet Hott and got 164!  That was in 2006.  I am sure by now there are at least 12-15 new babies.  For these special meals, dishes show up by the dozens.  After a few years, I realized that of my many sisters-in-laws, they each bring the exact same thing every year!  Except me.

So, after 16 years, it only took me 32 holidays to figure this out.  As much as I enjoy entertaining, bringing a dish to the Hott Family Holiday is my least favorite of all!  Normally, they tease me and criticize my creation.  Occasionally, a nephew or two has faked stomach poisoning.  Sometimes, it's just easier not to bring anything at all!  So, why is it I don't have my "regular" dish to bring!

Until this year!  We were having this conversation about what would be interesting to prepare and Dan, my husband, mentioned that his mom really likes molasses cookies.  He even had her original recipe written down by his older sister.  Molasses cookies.... hummmm... I've never heard of that.

Well, neither did our 10 year old Violet; because she erupts with an looooong "Eeeeeeeeeewe!"  WHY would you want to make those?"   I thought she was just pinpointing my unique cooking skills.  "Isn't that what COWS do?  Yuck!" 

What?  She thought it was "manure" cookies!  Now seriously... why would I make cookies out of manure?  Don't answer that!

So, I proceeded to purchase the ingredients, finding that molasses is some pretty nasty looking stuff.  But I made the cookies anyway.  After burning, well, a few, I managed to salvage enough to take to the holiday family event.  Secretly, I snuck them in the kitchen and placed them with the mountain of other cookies on the table.  And I told Caity, "If anyone mentions my molasses cookies, don't say who made them."

After a hike near the Potomac where Dan's nephew scared the cr** out of me (or molasses) with a dead raccoon (aren't these Hotts a hoot!), we made it back to the house for dessert.  I sat down with my sister-in-laws famous chocolate pie when I hear someone say, "Where are those molasses cookies?"

I froze.

Oh no!  Here it comes!  I was never going to live this down.  Beginning to perspire, I glanced at Caity out of the corner of my eye and whispered, "Don't say a word."  I was NOT about to admit I had made yet another dish the Hotts would find fault with!  Oh no!  Then I heard:

"Wait!  Here's the pan!  They're all gone!  Oh no... I wanted another!"  Much to my amazement, they emptied every last one of my molasses cookies.  "Who made them anyway?"

Silence.... which doesn't happen often at the Hott house.  I was as quiet as a mouse.  They didn't need to know it was me!  Really, wouldn't it be more fun just watching them enjoy the molasses cookies?!  In the meantime, Dan's looking at me and wondering why I'm not saying anything.  And he says, "Well, Ang made them!"

Busted!  All 164 Hott heads turned to me in shock!  Oh.come.on!  They were all completely surprised that the molasses cookies came from Angie's kitchen.  Guess me and Julia DO have something in common after all!  So, I said "Awe shucks you guys... it was Mrs. Hott's recipe!"

Guess what?  I was so proud of myself, I made another batch for Christmas.  For the life of me, I am not so sure why they like them so much because they are about the strangest tasting cookie I've ever come across.  But they do grow on you. 

Now, I look at that tray of burned cookies and I am reminded of all the dishes I've burned; crazy things I've done and silly mistakes I've made both in the kitchen and over the years.  And you know what?  It's just cookies.  Each crispy chunk of carbon reminds me of a disappointment I've had over the year 2010; another mess in the kitchen; mountains of laundry; numerous trips to the grocery store; boo boos needing band aids; noses to wipe; miles of trips to town for school events; more gas for the car; midnight runs to the ER when Levi fell out of bed; mountains of bills waiting to be paid; medical needs that never quit; to mouths to feed again and again.  2010 brought us the word "Brugada" - a rare and fatal heart arrhythmia; progressing symptoms of Parkinson's Disease; a mother-in-laws failing health; school bullies; financial strains; and lost college financial aid. 

But like I said, they're just burned cookies.  Let's count blessings! Here's mine!

Happy New Year from the Hott Family!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

I send all my troubles (a.k.a burned cookies) to God.  He doesn't mind!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Song of the Day: “Christmas Time in West Virginia”

Song of the Day: “Christmas Time in West Virginia”

This is a really cool song by the Weber Brothers!  They feature the children singing from Widmeyer Elementary.  Both Isaac and Levi are students there!  I can't wait to play this for them!

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Bring You Good News!

But It’s A Secret!

Dan and our daughter’s boyfriend, Brian, have this “thing”! Brian and Caity have been dating, or “going steady” (Do people still say that?”) since 2007 OR on the very FIRST day Caity went away to college. Now listen: Our daughter is a knock-out. Back in high school, we almost had to move to another church due to the turmoil she created among the boys in Youth Group. Seriously! She still till this day does not realize how gorgeous she is. Although there was a line of eager young men always at our door, Caity was always disinterested and completely unaffected.

Until Brian.

So, how is it this blue eyed boy from Elkins managed to keep coming home with our Caity? Ever since that first semester of college she has been bringing him on the 3 and ½ hour trip from Wesleyan College to Berkeley Springs. At times her brothers, then 2 and 3 years old, raced past Caity on the porch upon arrival to greet, not her, but her boyfriend, Brian in the driveway! Famous for the original pout, she wasn’t too happy about that.

Wellllllllllllllll… this year, Brian came again, again, for Thanksgiving. He and Dan will spend hours either watching college football or out in our garage. For the life of me, I just can’t figure out why a couple of guys like to stand around a freezing cold, dirty garage with three cats and two stinking dogs!

Maybe it’s the Becks and cigars. Who knows?! But Dan and Brian can talk out there into the wee hours of the morning about only God knows what.

Until Thanksgiving. I never ask. Normally, I go to bed or fall asleep with one of the boys. Well… the Saturday after Thanksgiving last, I got up AGAIN at around 12:30 a.m. from sleeping with Levi and came down to clean up the kitchen. (Thanks for leaving me the dishes, Caity!) Brian and Dan were just coming in from the freezing cold. Again! Dan said to me, “Brian has something to tell you!”

“Oh reeeeeealy?!” Hummmmm, I’m thinking! I’m much too young to be a Grandma – Hahaha! LOL! Wonder what this could be about? So, I busy myself, as ususal, cleaning up the dishes that Caity didn’t do… and wait. Brian’s not saying anything. Hummmm….

Finally, he said to me (and by now, I can tell he is nervous! Or, it must be one too many Becks), “I am planning to get Caity a ring for Christmas!” Oh… he’s going to propose!

“WHAT!?????” By now, he had followed me over to the Christmas tree where I was turning out the lights for the day. “WHAT!” I turned around and slapped him, HARD, on the chest! (Oh no, I thought, should I have done that? I may be only five feet tall; but believe me, I can carry a very hard punch. Good thing that wasn’t Dan. Every time I do that to him, he tells me that I’m going set his defibrillator off to give him a good shock in the chest!)

A “shock”! After I chest slapped Brian, I yelled “Get Out!” Maybe that wasn’t a good thing to do either! But it wasn’t one of those “get out of here” phrases; rather, it was a “Holy Cow! My baby girl will soon be a fiancĂ©!”

So, after I got the rundown on college graduations, grad schools, and well, getting married,… it was nearly 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Then I realized, “Oh no. I can’t tell anyone. And Christmas is a month away!”

Now it’s only four days until we will celebrate the birth of Jesus AND our daughter’s engagement. I’ll have to admit it to you all. “I CAN’T KEEP A SECRET!” So please don’t tell anyone or I am in serious trouble.

Secrets! Or, just having some amazing good news that is so beyond cool; or carrying around good news with you for days which could literally make you explode at the seams! That is what the past month has been like. You can ask my husband, it is really hard for me to keep this good news quiet!

Then, on Saturday, Brian showed me the… (drum roll)… ring! You can see it all over his face. He is so excited about this.

And the ring! It is a precious symbol of his love for my baby girl.

So, as a 45 year old, gray haired, mother of four here in West Virginia on this December 21st, Winter Solstice, and Lunar Eclipse, it is 4:30 a.m. and my house is sleeping....  except for me.  Although it will only be quiet for a few hours, I am here thinking about my little girl.  I also ponder God’s love for us on a quiet Christmas morning when He broke the silence of 400 plus years with the cry of a little boy, Jesus.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:8–14
So, if God can keep quiet for 400 years, I guess I can keep a secret for just four more days; but, like Gabriel, I feel like blowing a horn and spilling the “good news”!

By now, if you are reading this post, I have been permitted to publish the story and make public the news of Brian and Caity's engagement.  Guess what?  She said YES!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Finale Celebration at First Church!

Video 18 [HD]

Thanks to Amy Hatcher for posting this adorable link on her facebook page!  Click above to see the finale in the 2010 Christmas Program at First Church in Berkeley Springs, WV.  Check out the guys up front.  This is priceless.

Look for Violet (to the far right) rocking out with her shepherd staff; Isaac (to the left) intent on playing air guitar, and Levi as Joseph-especially when Mary loses her head wrap!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

School Runs and Baby Jesus!

When Babies Grow Up...
Please check out a new feature posted today on Moms of Faith!  I am pasting a picture of the "smiling teachers" here... it will make sense when you read the story.  The online magazine does not accept photos, so I am sending you guys a bonus feature!  I hope you like it... please let me know what you think by commenting (the editor likes that!) and sharing with your friends and family! 
And... thanks for reading!  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Post About Posting!

... and God heard an "Amen!"

This post is a little embarrassing... really!  Well, actually, it is a LOT embarrassing to tell you the truth.  However, I just want to share this story because it is important and it is a witness to how God answers prayer.  Moms of Faith ( posted this on their magazine today.

Also, I personally want to thank each of you.  Please share this with your friends and family.  Many from First Church in Berkeley Springs heard what happened (thanks to Pastor Andrew who rocks!)!  You guys were really praying and look what happened:

Thank you, from the bottom of my Hott little heart, and post God an "AMEN" in the comment and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Writing Christmas Cards

A Post Thanksgiving Post
Just this past Sunday evening, the Hott House was starting to settle in after our memorable Thanksgiving holiday where we celebrated roasting our first ever fresh (wink, wink) 27.14 pound turkey!   We enjoyed the company of grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins by the dozens for a Thanksgiving celebration that began on Tuesday and concluded with Caity and Brian heading back to college on Sunday afternoon.

Later that night, the wee Hotts; Violet, Isaac, and Levi, were engrossed in the movie Elf.  (Don't you just love the part when she sings in the shower?)  Although there were plenty of towels, sheets, and laundry to do, I decided to plant myself in the middle of the madness and begin filling out Christmas Cards.

I am really excited about these cards!  For those recipients, I'll try not to give away the surprise; but, we did an awesome picture this summer in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where each of our kids dressed up like pilgrims.  I intended to get them out last week since they were festive for both Thanksgiving and Christmas; but well...  you know how that goes.

Each year, I really do enjoy going through the list and remembering individuals as we stuff the Christmas cards.  Violet normally helps me stamp and sticker!  I attempt to get out around 70 cards that include family and friends old and new! 

A smile came to my face as I addressed Mrs. Margaret Schlimme.  At 98 years old, Great Great Aunt Margaret was the crazy fun sister of my grandmother.  She was tiny, like me, always with a sparkle in her eye.  As I addressed her card, I felt a giggle as I remembered her laughing with my grandmother Edith and all her sisters gathered around the table at her house in Smithsburg, Md:  Aunts Sally, Ester, Grace, Bunny... and Uncle Clifton (the only boy and with a funny name too!)!   They were so noisy! 

And noisy too was the Hott House for our holiday.  When I saw Great Aunt Margaret's card, I thought that of all my millions of Aunts, I wanted to be like her.  It is her smile and sparkle I hope to emulate for my many nieces and nephews when they come to visit me, and for my first ever great-nephew Nathaniel.  I'll have to give credit to Great Aunt Margaret for the fun I have in now calling myself "Aunt Angie the GREAT"!

After placing Mrs. Margaret Schlimme's card on the pile for Violet to stamp, my phone rings... again!  This time it is mom, who by the way is named after Great Aunt Margaret and Great Grandmama Mary Margaret.  She was calling with the usual "hey".   And, to let me know that her cousin Betty Jo just called.  She wanted to tell us that Great Aunt Margaret passed away,... just earlier Sunday morning.

Merry Christmas Aunt Margaret "the Great"!  I hope you enjoy your card!
Margaret Elizabeth Wear Schlimme, 98

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble! Gobble!


24 hours to go until friends and family descend upon the Hott House to celebrate Thanksgiving Day!  Let's see..., we have a 27+ pound fresh turkey in the fridge downstairs, stuffing, and all the trimmings are waiting for the first ever world premiere Hott Thanksgiving!  This is a momentous occasion as the new kitchen will get it's first workout as it prepares a holiday meal for approximately 32 people. 

Needless to say, we are all just a little excited (to quote Caity)!  Family began arriving yesterday from Pittsburgh and will continue until tomorrow.  The boys are racing Brandon on the Wii as Violet creates a Thanksgiving banner and Dan is off to Macy's to find a pan big enough to hold this bird we are about to cook!

And speaking of cooking the turkey...  I never knew that it required getting up at 3:00 a.m. to put the thing in the oven.  CRAZY!

Oh well...  let me know how your holiday turns out!  And if you run out of food, well... come on over to the Hott House!  There will  be plenty!

I'll be sitting in the hott tub with Grandma a few crazy sisters-in-law.  What will ya'll be doing later?

Friday, November 19, 2010

God Stuff on the News!!!

Not long ago, I posted a story that Moms of Faith ( featured on their website.  The story was about helping kids deal with bullies through creative dramatics in a workshop called  Holy Boldness Batman! 

At First Church in Berkeley Springs, there is an after school program called GoFriends where approximately 130 kids from the community gather.  Each week, we do games and role play with a small group of 6-8 kids where they are encouraged to discuss times that they were the target of a bully, or just things that make them feel bad or sad.   

In a nutshell, we teach children that they are each a Masterpiece of  God and it is our differences that make us special and loved!  Having Jesus as our friend can give us courage to be brave, or bold, when we find ourselves in a scary situation.  And when they are scared, all that is needed is simply to ASK God for boldness, and He is there!  Hence the words:  Holy Boldness Batman! 

Batman is an visual image of strength and a fun part of the exercise.

So, here's the God Stuff:  A reporter read the post I sent to Moms of Faith!  Last night, GoFriends was on the news!  Check it out!

Bully Workshop Makes the News!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Moms of Faith Feature....

... today!  I never know when a post will show up online so I think God is doing something really cool that this appears today - when we will do another Holy Boldness workshop!
You know what... I really think that if we "Pray for Holy Boldness" we can change the world, don't you? It has to start somewhere! Share with your church and families!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010


Introducing Our 2% Odds!

Actually, I should say, "Introducing the LESS than two percent odds!"  You see, in the Fall of 1998, a very important doctor at the Genetics and IVF Institute outside Washington, DC, looked at Dan and said the following:  "You have a less than 2% chance of EVER fathering children on your own without the help of science!"

Sound crazy?  Thousands of couples like us have found themselves in similar situations as they sit in a doctor's office, following numerous tests,  for news on how they can conceive a baby.  It's not like we don't know "where babies come from;"  but, why was it that, for Dan and I, it.just.wasn't.happening?! 

And it wasn't for lack of practice, I can assure you!  It's funny, you know... I'm not much for practicing anything at all.  I prefer improvisational drama over countless rehearsals;  I thrive on multi tasking; I can't follow the same recipe twice; I don't work out because the repetitiveness bores me to tears.  But ask me to practice making a baby and I'm all ears!  This was the most fun goal oriented "practice" I ever encountered.

Except we weren't meeting the "goal". 

Funny thing... science.  It sure can answer a whole lot of questions.  And that doctor had it right down to something crazy called an acrozome reaction.  He was certain that the answer to our unmet "goal" was something called ICSI; or intra cytoplasmic sperm injection.

Now that's a mouthful, isn't it!  But guess what?  With all the science, research, and education of those doctors we saw way back in 1998, no one can answer how it is that today, Monday, October 25th, 2010, the Hott family is celebrating the birthday of this little guy:  Isaac Daniel Hott! 

So, happy birthday to you, Isaac!  Seven years ago this very day at 8:01 a.m., I burst the blood vessels in my eyeballs delivering you and your enormous head; all 8 lbs 14 oz of your 22 inch bundle of joy!

"Joy; an additional reason why the name Isaac was appropriate for (our) child. LAUGH……… In other words rejoice with me!"  In the Bible, the name chosen for their son of promise was an unusual name, Isaac, meaning "laughter." It was an appropriate name, however, for every time they would speak his name, they would remember how they had laughed at God’s promise (Genesis 17:17;18:12), a laugh of amazement in Abraham’s case, and of doubt in Sarah’s case. They would also remember the great joy they shared when Isaac was finally born."

Like the Bible tells us about Sarah and Abraham, Dan and I (not the youngest parents in Berkeley Springs) were amazed to find ourselves expecting; especially after the odds given to us.  So, it too seemed appropriate that we give our son the name Isaac, meaning laughter.  Not only is it Dan's middle name, but it is also ingrained in the character of this little man.  Laughter!  Joy!  Rejoice!  And Praises for a gift that beat all the odds.

"Then the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say,
'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?'
Is anything too hard for the Lord?"  Genesis 18:14

Like Sarah, I laughed with God when he told me that I was carrying baby Isaac.  I celebrated the miracle of these odds as I heard him say "I have a baby for you!"  even before I bought that first pregnancy test.  Somehow, I just knew.  Isn't that crazy?  I must admit, I was in denial for a few weeks trying to figure out what was going on with my body and why my boobs seemed not my own.  Unable to ask this question to our family doctor (whom I went to high school with), I googled the possible options.  About seventh on the list was pregnancy.  Still unwilling to call "Dr. Paul" (and unwilling to show him my boobs), I continued to  hear, really, God "laughing" with his secret. 

When I finally called, Dan was headed to Atlanta for a meeting with Chevron.  I had to drive to Hagerstown and tell him the results in person.  It was hard to believe!  So, as he left for the airport, I went back to Berkeley Springs, WV, with confirmation of our mystery.  It was a long three days until he got home so we could celebrate. 

When we brought Isaac home from the hospital, Verna (my midwife) asked us what we wanted for birthday control.  Dan and I just looked at each other.  "Nah.... we don't need that!  This (Isaac) wasn't supposed to happen.  We'll be fine!" 

And fine we are.  Because 15 months later, Levi was born!  So, I guess you could say that "practice makes perfect," right? 

Or..., there really is NOTHING too hard for our Lord!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Feature Story...

... by me is posted today on Moms of Faith! Click the link below for entire feature. I hope you like it and share it with your friends! Your comments are much appreciated and can be posted here or under the story if you want (I think my editor likes that!) ♥

love, a

View IMG_0065.JPG in slide show 

October 26, 2008
Violet, Isaac, Levi (and his woowoo) at Seneca Rocks.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"HOLY BOLDNESS BATMAN!" A Warning for School Bullies!

Today, I have a question for parents.  Do your children feel "safe" at school? 

I'm not talking about fear of a catastrophic events like tsunamis or crashing jets (although both concern Isaac). I am wondering if, as you are preparing them for just another school day, does your child feel truely safe.  Can they spend the day away from home without the fear of another student losing control?  Will they feel welcomed by all their fellow students?  Are they learning in an environment where adults are protecting our children from unnecessary threats?  Is your child being harassed by a bully? 

Mine are!  Barely into the first semester of the school year, we have already needed to deal with two incidents with school bullies.  So, while home dishing out the Peptobismal for the daily  "tummy aches" and complaints about not wanting to go to school, for the first time, I recognized fear in our daughter's eyes about her day at school.

Yes, fear!   Coming from rural USA, a small community with loving neighbors, I was unnerved to learn that my little girl was stabbed with a sharp pencil by another student.  The "incident" was calculated by the student who waited, and baited her back, literally, to his newly sharpened pencil.  Granted, her injury was minuscule, but it is the behavior of the student that is also bothersome.  Today it was a pencil; what would it be tomorrow or in five years?  I learned that this student has been heard making threats to others and repeatedly commenting to our daughter in a menacing way; "I hate you!"  Long after the mark on her back heals, a piece of her broken spirit remains as such words tear away at her heart...  and mine.

Why?  Who would he hate my adorable baby girl?  Seriously????  But, perhaps like your own child, mine is a good student, quiet, and well disciplined.  As a mom, I will never forget this evening as I listened to her recount the incident, the walk alone with the bully to the office, the shake in her voice, and the tears in her eyes.  She became the target of a bully. 
So, how can we as parents empower our children to handle bullies at school?  Any ideas?  So, please be a part of Holy Boldness and post your ideas or share your bully story here!  Send me your thoughts as I am developing a creative dramatics workshop for our community called "Holy Boldness". 

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth:
but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).
The word for bold in this verse means “secure, confident.” That’s just the kind of boldness the synagogue rulers saw in Peter and John as they ministered (see Acts 4:1–2).''  And just the kind of boldness our children need at school (since we can't send them wearing armor!) 

We will use role play/dramatics at Holy Boldness to "rehearse" incidents with bullies.  I am developing a program for First Church's GoFriends after school on Thursdays where I hope:
     *  to create an environment where kids are comfortable and SAFE,
     *  to come away with at least one "cope" tactic for them to use in an event with a bully,
     *  to support their friends that may have troubles with a bully, and finally,
     *  to teach kids to pray for the bully.

Who knows?  Maybe God can help us change the heart of the bully! 

Although we can't actually armor our kids or have them swinging punches at school, we can equip them with prayer, right? 

The bullies won't know what "hit" them. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Guess what?! Mom! Guess what?!"

"Mom!  Mom!  Guess what???  Mom!  Guess what????" 

Introducing our budding kindergarten student, Levi Nathaniel Hott!  Daily, this quote has become a regular announcement on our one mile trip home from the rural bus stop. 

Once Levi has the attention of absolutely everyone in the car, which is all four or five of the Hott family, plus occasional additional two to three neighborhood kids staying at our house, he proceeds to share his daily discovery.  It is like he is about to explode after holding in this story for an entire day!

Today's announcement was:  "Ms. Lindsey (his teacher) assigned new seats today, Mom!  I have to sit next to 'Travis'."

"Really?  Who is 'Travis'?"  the general response.

"Oh, just the guy that likes to put buggers on people!"

Okay, now everyone say "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewww!"

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  Luke 18:16

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First Feature Released Today!

Hoping you are blessed by my first ever story to appear in an awesome online publication called Moms of Faith!  This story is for moms and dads alike!  I hope you enjoy its' content as you tuck your kids in tonight!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Flying Kites on the Beach by Violet Hott

When I flew kites on the beach in Kitty Hawk, NC, it was peaceful and exciting. It was a perfect day for flying kites. Look! My kite finally got up in the air!

There were so many sights that night. People were walking slowly in the sand, and I could see kites going towards the sky. Seashells were washing up on the shore, and big and little ghost crabs were jumping in and out of their holes.

I could hear the strong and mighty wind blowing in my face. The waves were crashing loudly in the sand. There were fast cars going back and forth on the sandy road behind me.

Ouch! I stepped on a sharp seashell! My kite handle is tugging hard. The cool dry sand below my feet feels so good.

I love flying kites on the beach. Oh no! There goes our box kite flying toward the ocean freely. I can't wait till next year!

Violet Hott is our ten year old daughter, gymnast, mathematician, freckled-faced beauty, with sun drenched hair and sky blue eyes! She wrote this essay for her fifth grade class at Warm Springs Intermediate! This is a true story. Isn't it beautiful! We actually lost a box kite over the Atlantic this summer.

"The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."
Psalms 19:1

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hott Traditions

Among the West Virginia hills, our family has a tropical tradition originating along the shores of Key West! Sound like an unlikely combination? Add toddlers, teenagers, smores, and guitars and you're instantly in the Hott Family's nightly tradition: SUNSET CELEBRATION!

Secluded among the trees on our mountain ridge, we were first unaware of our sunsets! A devastating Parkinson's diagnosis for my young husband found us in need to renovate. In an instant, our days are as shaky as a "fiddler on the roof"!

Dinner at the Hott House is an event for anyone! In fact, we recently served just leftover spaghetti and sweet peas to an unexpected guest. The next day, he enjoyed sunset from his own personal seat... in Heaven! What an honor to share our tradition with him on his last day on earth.

Finally, I offer a picture from our home, where nightly one hears Hott kids yelling "Time for sunset!" I think God created the Hott's Sunset Celebration to add balance to our "shaky" lives and get us to recognize simple beauty in the little things. Because each evening when He lights up my house, I hear Him whisper: "Excuse me, can I tell you something?"

What's He telling you?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Makin' Miracles!

Lately, the Hott House has had a little trouble in piano paradise that has just been making this Hott Mama a little crazy (zier than normal)!

Let me tell you this, if I may, that a very important doctor near DC told Dan there would be a >2% chance that he would ever be able to make a baby. Something scientific to do with the acrozome reaction of sperm reaching eggs. Dan was around some environmental hazards when working around radiation in the Arctic. I'll tell you this, it wasn't for lack of practice; but new babies we were not producing... for nearly five years.

Well, little did this doctor know that God had another plan for the Hott House! Only after we spent $20,000 on the American Express Card! We underwent a treatment called ICSI, or intra cytoplasmic sperm injection! Nine months later, our dear little Violet was born! Around three years later, we made a trip to the Florida Keys and guess what we brought home for a souvenir?! Isaac Daniel Hott!

When Isaac was six months old, we made another trip to the sunshine state. Guess what?... yes, our adorable freckled Levi Nathaniel Hott was born! Alright, by this time, I am 40 years old and Dan is the ripe ole age of 48. What's going on here????? We were living proof of Sarah and Abraham!
Presenting... the Hott Family:
And no, it's not what you're thinking! But remember what Jesus told us in Matthew 17:19-20 when he said "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Salvation can do miracles, and I'm a witness to this. Caity and I met my hunk-honey Dan in 1995. I was a single Christian mom with a five year old brown eyed, curly haired mop-top! Not like there wasn't a line at my door; because there was. Among them were plenty of believers. But there was my Dan; an environmental engineer, raised in a large farm-family, a successful business man, and a non believer in God.

What was I thinking? For someone reason, and I still don't know why, but Caity liked him. And you know what? She got him to come to church with us! I think he really just came along for the ride or to go out to dinner after. But he came nonetheless! And in the Fall of 2002, Dan became saved!

Now, he NEVER told me of this! Within three months of God's celebration for Dan, I was pregnant. And in 15 months, again! I had no idea what was going on (well, you know what I mean.....) until Levi was about 8 months old and Dan revealed to us his salvation story! That year, we skipped going to Florida!

Makin' Miracles? Oh yes we are! And each day is a mystery beyond what I can wrap my head around. Sure, we're dealing with life just like the next person with PD and genetic heart issues; but each day brings us a celebration, literally, of heaven on earth! Caity has depth of wisdom beyond her 20 years; Violet can soar "like an eagle"; Isaac is too smart for his own good; and Levi is the first kindergarten "Star" of the week!

I see a glimpse of holiness in the little things; and here's one to share with you. How does a new six year old play piano like this?! I have been involved with music and can not comprehend the process of hearing a song and just playing it on the piano. At 3, Isaac would listen to Ode to Joy and just play it. He could hear a note and just say it. He could play a song, and just transpose it! Sound crazy? Well, it is! Check out this pretty typical Hott House fun:

Now, even crazier; Isaac will do everything he can to avoid playing the piano! And it is making me crazy! But when he finally does, we see Miracles in the Making!
"Now thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Silly Sunday Smiles... all week long!

Isn't this just about the greatest smile you ever did see? One would think this little guy is heading to meet Santa; running towards a Christmas tree piled full of toys; or maybe being chased by a totally fantastic tickle monster! Can you just hear the giggles??? Just wait... you'll be surprised to hear that this adorable creature is in church! Can you believe it?! Who would have thought one could have this much fun in church?!

Think this is funny? Well, you should have seen the adults laughing and wrapping themselves in cellophane! It was "Kick-off Sunday" at FUMC and smiles were everywhere! I know that many readers are gearing up for the football season, but during our Sunday School program yesterday, the kids were gearing up too; all decked out in favorite team shirts and colors. Here, little Levi participated in a skit called "The Great Race", one might say he was running from this:

Scary, huh? And here's an even scarier thought... that's me! I'm Levi's "not-so-Hott-Mama!" getting ready for the race, doing all the wrong things in heels, eating chocolate and soda, over-dressed, and under-the-spell of lots of laughing kids and parents.

Immediately, just, before our skit, an elderly lady of the church stopped me on my way to the bathroom to get on my costume. She wanted to ask me a question. Then, while changing, yes!another member of the church wanted to talk too! Granted, I was trying to change my clothes, for goodness sakes, and was dangerously late for my entrance, but each wanted to generally ask the same:
"How do I stay positive and keep smiling?"

Here, I guess need to explain that we have had a banner year. This will clarify their questions. Earlier this year, my adorable husband DannyBoy was diagnosed with a weird heart problem called Brugada Syndrome. This is a condition that is fatal if not treated... and it is genetic. We have four children. Our "story" was covered by our local media.

Before Dan's ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator) surgery, we were also just getting used to the idea of living with the progressive and incurable problems associated with Parkinson's Disease. Yes, my hunk honey-man also has early onset PD, diagnosed at age 50. And it stinks! How hard it is, especially after closing his environmental engineering business to be home with a couple of rowdy, rough and romping boys (and me!) with the physical challenges of PD.

Here, I am putting my size (almost) 5's in Dan's sneakers for the skit, telling the kids they will help me be a better runner. Dan may have PD but he can still run faster than I can! (I used his sneakers anyway!) But after looking at this picture, I dare someone else to imagine taking a walk in our shoes here at the Hott House.... and continue to smile!

It CAN be done! A long time ago, Michael J Fox said that he never asks God to take away his "troubles"; he only prays for bigger shoulders to carry them. So how do I answer these questions about smiling and keeping positive that seem to continue to creep up on me even on top of more devastating news this week? I keep smiling. And the only answer I can come up with is this:
Faith. Hope. Love.
Well, that's 3 answers actually; but they all keep me going. And the knowledge that I can come back to church every Sunday to a God who allows and encourages me to laugh like a crazy woman and share a smile.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1
Keep on smiling... all week long! You know I will! And please tell me, what makes YOU smile? I mean, what really, really, puts a face-cracking, head-popping smile on you? Send me your smile stories; it could help us all to get through just one more day!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hott Dogs, Hott Pilots, the Thunderbirds, and God?

Do you see the connection? Hott dogs, hotter pilots, the USAF Thunderbirds, and God? Well, that just goes to show you how crazy our Saturday was as the Hott family and 35,000 others ventured out to the WV Air National Guard's "Thunder Over the Blue Ridge" Air Show!

"That was BREATHTAKING!" says our 6 year old Isaac as solo pilot, Major Rick Goodman soared over our heads at nearly 600 mph! And seriously ladies, grab a hanky and prepare to drool as you feast on your eyes on this:
Everyone together now! Can you say "BREATHTAKING!" At the ripe ole age of 45 and completely gray, I can't help but get giggly like a school girl at the sight of a man in uniform! You too? But seriously, as crazy as it may sound, when I complimented him on the precision performance of the fabulous Thunderbirds, to hear him say, "Why thank you Mam!" was just more than I could bear. And when he chattered away with Violet and my boys, well... let's just say that Dan had to sweep me off the runway!
Now, check this out:

How utterly and completely crazy is that? We witnessed this and more! I told Violet that watching the air show was every bit as exciting as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane! (I also asked Dan if I could have an F16 for Christmas!... he said "no"!) But there was something else I noticed. And it was this: Every, yes EVERY single head was facing up! All 35,000 people in the audience. So, it made me wonder? What do you think God was thinking as He watched us all, faces to the sky, looking upward in amazement and wonder at the spectacular technique and precision in the air?

"Excuse me, can I tell you something?"..... He got our attention!

Following our adventure from the air show, the Hott Family arrived home pumped and all ready to enlist in the United State Air Force. Isaac is ready to go now and be a Thunderbird pilot. Fortunately, the USAF will have to wait a few years. Who knows? Maybe someday my little men will be signing autographs out on a runway somewhere. But later that night, I encountered something equally as thrilling.

While cruising around facebook as the kids were watching the tube, I got an instant pop up message from a sweet young lady whom I hadn't seen or heard from since she was maybe 10 years old, full of freckles (like me!), and following her mamma around! It had been a very long time, like 15 years maybe. So, I was really surprised to see her pop up on an instant message.

And she wanted to "talk"! To me!!! And I mean about real issues too. You see, she read our story about all the stuff going on with the Hott Family and our struggle with Dan's heart condition, Brugada Syndrome, and our quest to find AEDs for our local schools.

Her question for me was how can she get connected with God. And she came right out with it! Bam!

Hugh? I really have to tell you, at first I was floored at the prospect that she considered me, the "not-so-Hott Mama" having a connection with God from reading our story. I was honored beyond words; and nervous that my response would be accepted.

After all the stuff with Dan and all, she asked how is it I stay positive. So, after a long fb conversation, I mostly told her how I find God in the little things, like looking at the sunset or finding new freckles on Levi's nose. Yet, I sensed that she was on a journey; literally at a crossroads. So, I told her that one way to connect with God was just to be in constant conversation with him about absolutely everything, little and big.

I had to seek Caity's expert advice immediately to locate specific scripture that explains such. A brain for remembering things I don't have much pass whose turn is it for a bath. Did you know that you can really google scripture??? How amazing is this World Wide Web!???

So, get ready for this! On Sunday morning at First Church in Berkeley Springs, Pastor Andrew's message was exactly that verse! I kid you not! And he blew it up gigantic size on the screen! 1Thessalonians 5:16-18. "Excuse me, can I tell YOU something?!"

So, there you go my dear friend! Hott dogs, hott pilots, the Thunderbirds, and God. It really is as easy as that to get connected! And for our blog readers, just to prove that I am not making this up, go to "messages" on!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,

for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Now that's what I call BREATHTAKING!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Answered Prayers Look Like This!

It's 10:30 this morning, all Hott Kidz are in school, and the phone rings. A WHAG TV reporter says, "Hi! I'm Charya Lon, a reporter for Channel 25. We heard about Morgan County Schools getting defibrillators and we would like to do a story on your family."

Goodness, I was really excited! We were planning a photo with our local paper, The Morgan Messenger, Dave Banks, Superintendent of Schools, the principal, school nurse, and representatives of the foundation that generously purchased the equipment. The prospect of others hearing about the importance of AED's in the news was a blessing beyond belief.

Next, Charya said, "Can you meet me at the school in an hour? I'm on my way from Hagerstown!" "You bet! See you then!" I responded, still in my pajamas, unbrushed (ewe) teeth, and scary night time hair! And we still had to go to Widmeyer and pick up the boys to boot... with crazy Berkeley Springs construction traffic!

Needless to say, we made it. Violet was interviewed and adorable in front of the camera. Dan was pretty cute himself. He even volunteered to disrobe and bare his bossom in front of the camera to exhibit his ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator). Gotta tell you... I was glad he didn't ask the reporter if she wanted to feel it! :-) ...But I know he was thinking about it!...:-) And Isaac and Levi were as rambunctious as ever. We only missed our Caity!

Hope you enjoy the end result of the first Hott family interview. Share it with your friends; it could save a life! Maybe yours, maybe your kids', maybe your neighbor.

Check with your local school system. Do they have access to an AED? I sure hope so.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hott News!

Morgan County Schools get AED's!

The Hott Family made the paper! They even printed an enormous picture of us in front of our fire place. Gotta love the expression on Levi's face! Check it out here:

Another reporter called us today even! Stay posted for another story coming up in the local Morgan Messenger....

Monday, August 30, 2010

Flippin' Out!!!!

Check out the one and only Hott Mama! That's me! Yes! I'm doing a forward tuck over the sun! Sound crazy! ???????

Well, it is! Because this is Violet! :-)

I can't even remember what a tumbling tuck is called much less get my 45 year old gray head to flip over the sun. It can only happen here at a Hott House Sunset Celebration!

Although, believe me, I really felt like I could do flips after last week's Rotary Meeting. Here's why:

Something amazing happened in Berkeley Springs, WV!
ALL MORGAN COUNTY SCHOOLS WILL HAVE AEDs! (Automated External Defibrillators)

I am a full time mom and I made a presentation before our local Rotary, my first time in front of adults in a very long time. It was a topic very near to my "heart"! You see, my husband was diagnosed with a crazy rare heart problem called Brugada Syndrome. (scroll down for links) This disease is fatal without an internal defibrillator. This disease is genetic.

We have 4 children, 3 are very young and attend schools in Morgan County. Dan was told by his Genetic Doctor, that the schools where our children attend must all have an AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, because they are at risk for Brugada Syndrome and could experience a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. There were only 3 in the schools. Our daughter, Violet, is in the 5th grade. Her school doesn't have an AED.

But they are about to get one. Last week, member of the Berkeley Springs community, Mr. Tom Seely, was at Rotary after missing several meetings for health reasons and he sat at my table. Yes, my table! I was terribly nervous to present because I can barely even think about my kids having Brugada much less talk about it in front of "big people". Mr. Seely volunteered to buy EVERY school in Morgan County an AED!!!!

The depth of commitment from this small community literally warms your "heart". Before I got home from the meeting, the Capertons of Gat Caperton Furniture also pledged to purchase another AED for the community ball field. On Wednesday, Sept. 1st, we will have the newly purchased AEDs at the Rotary Meeting with Mr. Seely and "Nurse Patty" from Warm Springs Intermediate School thanks to an amazing superintendent in Morgan County, Dave Banks.
Now you! Yes.... you can participate and bring awareness of such an important need for ALL communities. Please post and forward to your friends.

AEDs save lives! Yours, your kids, your neighbor! Give them another sunset... like this one:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Excuse me, can I tell you something?

Please click on the links and continue to read on!

For the past 12 or so years, I have had the pleasure and blessing to present creative dramatics to children, mostly in a Vacation Bible School setting. Also, I spend 110% of my time entertaining my kids and thier friends ranging in age from 5 to 20+. So, as you can see, since 1998 when I was last in the "professional" world, I have mostly communicated with those much younger than I. Other than my husband, DannyBoy, one might say that I have had limited adult contact.

Until next Thursday, Aug. 26th.... at noon... a room full of adults.

I am scheduled to present to a group of adults, yes, adults at our local Rotary Chapter here in Berkeley Springs. This time, I won't be reading or playing a part. Oh no! This time, I will be talking about something very near and dear to my "heart". It is quite serious and it is something called Brugada Syndrome.

My mission: To convince the members of the Rotary Club to purchase an AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator for the school where our children attend.

So, "excuse me, can I tell you something?" has something to say and I need your help. For you see, I'm not sure I can communicate this effectively without falling apart in front of everyone. Yes, it's that upsetting for me. Just watch this:

Here is our personal story and why we desperately need an AED for the schools, not only where the Hott children attend but also every school across the county and across the country. It was an early 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5th, when I was admitting Dan to the Cardiology Department of Winchester Medical Center. A few days earlier, they discovered a rare and unusual, not to mention lethal, arrythmia in Dan's heart. He was diagnosed with something called Brugada Syndrome (, a "syndrome that causes sudden unexpected cardiac death in apparently healthy individuals. The sudden death is caused by severe disturbances in the rhythm of the heart. This disease is known as Brugada Syndrome and it is heriditary."

It wasn't bad enough that we discover that Dan has this crazy, rare, Dr. "House", thing happening with his heart, but to hear his doctor tell us that it is heriditary was just more than any sane person could endure. Just moments before they wheeled Dan down to the operation room to surgically install a permament wire to his heart and "computer" just inside his chest with the capacity to deliver an electric, yes ELECTRIC shock, his doctor calmly tells us that Dan's ecg's were reviewed by Dr. Brugada himself in Spain; his ecg's indicate that he had all three "bad" readings; his prognosis is poor without an ICD, AND our children should undergo genetic testing as soon as possible.

What? Okay, so I've just heard that my husband would die without an ICD and now he was telling me that my babies could have inherited this fatal arrythmia in thier hearts? Needless to say, I was a mess; but fortunately a dear friend came along with me to sit at the hospital while Dan was getting this new piece of equipment in his chest. Andrew took me to breakfast while we waited and all I could do was sob in my Cocoa Puffs. Why? Why were we faced with this terrible situation?

I can't tell you how difficult it was after we first heard the word "Brugada". No one had ever, EVER heard of it! Dan's nurses were looking it up and using his case for nursing studies. One nurse was so worried that she cried before sending Dan home with the knowledge of this syndrome before having the ICD surgery.

And a rough time at home it was! Brugada can strike a healthy person. It is often the culprit of stories of healthy athletes dying unexpectedly. Even rarer for children, it is now thought to be a possible cause for Sudden Infant Death Syndrom in infants. Doctors now have linked this arrythmia to something new called Sudden Unexpected Death. The electronic mal-function of the heart actually appears in an ecg, sometimes!! Dan first was told his ecg was irregular in 2001. Studies show that once it is first recognized, patients live 72 months without an ICD.

Well, here we are in 2010! So... what does a family of six do after literally getting a second chance? We celebrate! We spend precious moments together, laugh, play, worship, and praise God that He arranged for this to happen. Sounds ironic, right? Believe me, it is!

So, we got back from the hospital and the following Sunday was Mother's Day. I was a mess. You know, there is some truth to be said that one can read too much on the internet. The more I researched Brugada Syndrome the more I worried. For children (and adults too), thier heart can experience the fatal arrythmia following strenuous activity OR it can quietly occur while sleeping! My husband would force himself awake to the point of uncontrollable exhaustion and then look at me and say "Watch me sleeping! If I breath funny, bang me in the chest." And my babies... Oh dear Lord, the miles I have walked this house at night just checking on them to make sure they are still breathing. Because after May 5th, each night as I tuck my children and say our prayers, it brings an altogether new meaning to:
"Now I lay me down to sleep,
Pray dear Lord, my soul to keep,
If I die before I wake
Pray dear Lord, my soul to take."

Well, we did celebrate this summer! We traveled to 6 beaches; drove 7000 miles; played in the sand; and if at home, well, we just watched the sunsets. Yes, nothing more than all the little Hotts running outside and yelling "It's time for sunset!" is enough to make me thankful for one more day; because, with the knowledge of this strange thing called "Brugada", it really is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for just that -- one more day.

And now, well... Dan's genetic doctor told him to be sure that the schools where our children are all have access to an AED. An automatic external defibrillator increases the survival of cardiac arrest from 41 to 74% if administered in the first 3-5 minutes. After spending such quality moments and having them within my "radar" all summer, the thought of them being away at school frightens me beyond breath. Take a look at our Violet here. She is our budding athlete:

She goes to Warm Springs Intermediate School. And they do not have an AED.

To conclude, I want to share with you a picture from the back of our house. It is something we discovered just recently. Funny thing is, we have lived here for 12 years. You see, until two years ago, it was there but hidden in the trees. Now, each evening when we see this spectacular sight, I really do hear God whispering, not just to me but to us all ...

"Excuse me, can I tell you something?"

What is He telling you?

So, if there are any blog readers out there, thanks for listening and please think of us next week during Rotary. It will be my first time at a Rotary meeting... hope it's fun! Please comment and send me your advice!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Horray for Gray!

MSN asked for my story too! Check this out. Gotta love it! I've officially placed my locks on the Jamie.Lee.Curtis. category!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Final Countdown!

Monday morning and all are still asleep at 9:22 a.m.??? Not for long! Only one week left for school to start and LOTS to do! From hemming 6 pair of 6 year old new school pants to scheduling Judo, Gymnastics, Soccer, and Piano, I'm just not sure where to begin.

We managed to find some great deals with tax free shopping in Maryland! Turns out, the only thing I had to pay full price for was Levi's backpack for Kindergarten. He insisted on having a Star Wars back pack to match his Star Wars sneakers and shirt! He'll be the best dress kid in Berkeley Springs! See how silly he is on the paddle boat on Plymouth Bay? The next picture is Levi on the boat's potty but we won't post "that" one!

So, last night we watched the movie "Julie and Julia". Anyone see it? Got me thinking about all the things I can do once school starts and wonder if trying Julia Childs recipes in 365 days would be fun..... nah! But in case you're thinking of dropping by for a visit, you might want to call first. Dan and I could be checking off "other" things on our list!

Unofficially, I have been a stay at home mom since 1999! Any ideas of what to do with myself are surely welcome! Trying to get Dan to teach me to golf; but the last time he tried to teach me to ski didn't go very well. That was 14 years ago and we haven't been to a ski slope since!

For now, guess I'll be bloggin'!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oh! Oooo! Aaaaah! School Shopping Here We Come!

So, your one and only Hott Mama from W. Va. has managed to incorporate ads in my brand new blog? Not sure if it is working; so, let me know what it looks like! I hope it brings some great deals for all you other moms out there heading out to go school shopping like we are tomorrow!

Did I mention we will be taking all three little Hott's out to school shop for the first time EVER! So, seriously, I hope we find some great deals. More than likely, we will be spending the afternoon in either Walmart or Target. Although, I heard that JCPennys and Bon Ton have great discounts for clothes.

Clothes! Aaaaaah! Our 10 year old, Violet, enters the 5th grade this year. All summer, she grows an extra inch every day. Then there's Isaac. Well, let's just say that he no longer can fit in to his Kindergarten graduation clothes from less than three months ago. For Levi, our fashion conscious five year old, well.... look out Kindergarten! He knows all the latest fashions. I just hope his teacher allows him to go to school as a rock star or super hero! Really!

Finally, Caity begins her last year of college after spending the summer in a grown up job 550 miles from home. Her internship with CVS in relationship marketing demanded several new outfits and even more shoes. I think we will be renting a UHaul just for her shoes. (By the way, we just visited Caity and brought home dozens of shoes. Still, she saved several designs just to have "options" for her last 4 days at CVS!)

Good Luck out there in the stores everyone! Let me know if you find some bargains--just 9 days left till school starts!

Before I forget, I am going to attempt to post a picture of the Hott Kids!.... before school shopping and AFTER! Oh NO! How do I turn the picture??? Someone fix it please!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just Returning From the Emerald City!!

Ever spend 12 hours in a car with a 5 yr old, a 6 yr old, (both boys... which makes a difference), a 10 yr old, and a husband? With school just about to start, the Hott Family winds down a summer of adventure which included visiting 6 beaches in 10 different states, nearly 7000 miles in the Surburbanmobile, and 80+ hours of travel time!

And we would do it all over again! You see, Dan and I received the unbelievable news on April 28th that his heart needed an ICD (internal cardio defibrilator) due to a crazy rare illness called Brugada Syndrome. Yes, I really thought that we were on an episode of Dr. House! Seriously! This heart condition was actually featured as SIDS (Sudden Instant Death Syndrome) on an episode of Miami Medical just this past April, the week Dan thought he was having a heart attack.

So, every now and then, life throws you some hurdles and makes you realize that the most important thing that matters is the time you spend with each other. Grateful to have another summer vacation together, we decided to celebrate life and go on some vacations! Cocoa Beach, Myrtle Beach, Kitty Hawk, Virginia Beach, NYC, Cape Cod..... see the trend?

Now, here's the icing on the cake. For my 45th birthday on August 4th, Dan surprised me with Broadway tickets to see WICKED! Just as Elphaba says on her way to see the Wizard, your one and only Hott Mama here has waited her whole life to see this production. A drama major in college and a Wicked fan, I never thought that I would be able to see it... ever! Really, who would watch our youngins so I could go to New York City? An occassional dentist appointment maybe, but a trip to Broadway? I just never thought it would happen.

Until last week! The FedEx truck showed up on our mountain with a package conaining 4 Broadway tickets to see Wicked! I read all Gregory McGuire's books and memorized the soundtrack. Coming from an old UMass theatre major from 1987... I literally exploded!

I can't tell you how much Dan honored me by such a precious experience. Not every day does a Hott Mama of four get to spend her first afternoon on Broadway seeing her favorite musical. Not only that, he agreed to listen to the soundtrack for a five hour car ride to NYC! And he's the one diagnosed with a fatal heart arythmia!

So, my dear "I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
and we are lead...
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But Because I know you
I have been changed for good...

Thanks for the most amazing summer... and birthday ever!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

School starts in how many days?????

It is no accident that "Excuse me... Can I tell you something?" makes its' debut today, the first day of August 2010! I really wish this was true; like yours truly the original Hott Mama could be so organized. Hah... Impossible!

In reality, "Excuse me... Can I tell you something?" is an idea that has been developing on my "list" for quite some time. Do you know what I mean by a "list"? I am referring to the endless sheets of paper I use to compile my "list" for everything from the grocery store, party invites, Christmas shopping, to the "list" that our heart composes of those important life activities one desire to achieve at certain milestones in life.

For example, I'll explain the profile picture selected for this blog. It is the vapor trail from the space shuttle launched April 5th, 2010, from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Pretty cool picture, don't you think? Ten years and two more kids later, a blizzard of the century, and we finally made it to a shuttle launch. Not a simple task coming from W. Va. Check the "list"!

You see, my garbage is soooo full of the lists I made and regularly forgot to bring along to Food Lion that I will sometimes make lists of things to do and include things I have already accomplished... just to give myself the satisfaction of checking something off!

So you see, "Excuse me... Can I tell you something?" premieres today. TaDa!!! This first day of August. Exactly 3 weeks until all four, yes four of my children ranging in ages 5 to 20 will be beginning school! August 23rd marks the day my youngest, Levi, begins Kindergarten and my oldest, Caity, begins her final year of grad school (at age 20), including Violet, 10, entering 5th grade, and Isaac, 6, starting 2nd. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 20 YEARS.... EVERYONE WILL BE IN SCHOOL!!!

No, I'm not too excited about that! Well, actually... yes, I am! Because on my "list" of life accomplishments is compiling a "list" of the crazy things life has thrown at me over the years as a mom, wife, substitute teacher, public employee, theatre manager, executive secretary, party planner, vacation Bible school teacher, dramatist intern, recently PD and Brugada and more. So now, about to turn 45, I realize that it really isn't about all the work you've done or stuff you have. Rather, it's about those around you, celebrating and cherishing each day together.

So Hott Family, get ready! Mom's about to share with the world our crazy family "list" and daily adventures. Remember me always saying, "Mom's going to write a book someday!" Or, "Behave yourself, or I'll put this in my book!" To, "EXCUSE ME... CAN I TELL YOU SOMETHING?"! From a blog to someday a book, I hope to record the Memoirs of the Original Hott Mama!

And for those reading this new thing called a blog, remember how you manage your "list" for those around you; realizing that life may sometimes whisper, or yell: "Excuse me! Can I tell you something?"