Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another strike at commercialism

I still have sugar cookies to bake and pizza to make, but after being sick yesterday, I needed to take a break to rest. So what better way to make myself stop than to blog?

While Anna prefers to remind others what the reason for the season is, Spencer is taking a silent stand against commercialism. Over the past few years, I have collected some lovable plush characters from A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Evidently Spencer is offended by these characters because I caught him putting Woodstock in the fireplace -- when no fire was blazing fortunately. Although I told him sternly not to roast Woodstock, my scolding fell on deaf ears. Today Jeremy discovered Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown and the Grinch stacked in the fireplace.

So either he was making a passive aggressive statement about how commercialized Christmas has become or he wanted to give Santa a soft place to land.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There are moments when I'm not sure if I will survive Anna's melodramatics for the next several years. But then she does something very wise and mature, and I'm hopeful that I haven't totally messed her up.

The details of this event are sketchy because she's never been great about providing me with a lot of information about what takes place at school. When she was in pre-k and kindergarten, I would ask her about school and she would tell me not to ask her any questions. (At least my boys are a little more forthcoming with educational information.)

This week the students in her language class were asked to choose a Christmas tradition, study it and share the information with the class. While many of her classmates chose to report about lights, stockings and trees, Anna took her Bible to school and read from the book of Luke about Jesus' birth. Not only am I proud that she is able to get past all the commercialism of the holiday, but I am thrilled that she attends a school where the teacher is able to let her share the most important fact about Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another video that should be a holiday classic. Stick with it to the end because they saved the best for last.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One of those questions, a mother dreads being asked...

Younger son: Mommy, when I was in your tummy did I pop out of your mouth?

Mom: Uh, no. (hoping that will be the end of the questioning.)

Jack: So how did I get out?

Mom: mumble, mumble (change the subject)

Friday, December 12, 2008

After nearly 10 years of being a parents, D and I have finally gotten the hang of opening kids' toys -- a handy pair of wire cutters and scissors. Usually a combination of both will get the package open and cut through those ridiculously twisted wires. This year I'm planning to remove the toys from their packages before "wrapping" them in gift bags. That should make Christmas morning a little more enjoyable for us.

In the spirit of the gift wrapping season, please enjoy the video below. May your holiday season be not quite as frustrating.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Evidently, my youngest is some sort of bully. His mother's day out teachers wrote a little note on his sheet earlier this week -- He's still biting what should we do about this! The writer in me, of course, what's to edit the sentence, but I'll resist for now.

First, he used to have a biting problem, but after many timeouts at home, he hasn't been using this as a main course of action when he feels angry/happy/frustrated. The teachers told me several weeks ago that there were a couple of kids in the class who were biting. I'm just guessing, but I think he's probably doing it again because he sees others doing it.

Second, what does the "we" mean? Are they being passive aggressive and really what to know what I'M going to do about it? If they really want to know what I think they should do, they should put him in timeout or whatever disciplinary action they use. As for what I'm going to do, I'll continue to tell him no and use timeouts whenever he bites at home, but I don't see how I can really effectively discipline him if he's not biting at home. Sure, I can tell him no biting, but he's young enough that he probably doesn't associate my words with the action unless he has just committed the act.

But he is one smart little snot. Yesterday I was sitting in the living room and I noticed he had taken a box into the kitchen. A few minutes later he came into the living room, picked up a small plush Thomas the Tank Engine chair and carried it into the kitchen. Soon after he walked through the living room and headed down the hall. He returned carrying over his head a small step stool from the bathroom. At this point, I decided it was time to investigate. It wasn't too hard to figure out what he was determined to reach -- a bag of suckers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Case of the Missing Christmas Lights

I'm usually very careful about storing all the Christmas decorations. I even have them fairly well organized. All of the Hallmark ornaments go back into their respective boxes and then into the same tote. All the other ornaments are carefully stored in a tote designed to hold ornaments. Miscellaneous decorations are in a couple of totes, and then of course the tree gets its own special cardboard box. In the past, I have put all outdoor lights in a green tote, but I could've sworn that last year I used more than one tote for the lights since we have accumulated so many. I do not aspire to be the Griswolds, but I am all about lights decorating the house. If I had the stomach for it, I would line the rooftop with lights, but I can't handle heights anymore and for some reason D doesn't want to do it.

Anyway, I remember winding strings of lights around new plastic light holders, but do you think I can find those lights now??? There are no more boxes left to look in, and I have no idea what could've happened. I've lined the yard with lights as usual, but that only leaves a couple of strings for the house. I wish I could blame my previous migraine medication for this bout of forgetfulness, but I haven't taken it in months and I wasn't taking it during Christmas last year.

Oh well, now I have a new preventative migraine medication that contains a sleep aid, so I don't have to worry about lying awake worrying about the missing lights.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not only do my kids have light hair and blue eyes like D, but evidently they also inherited his body temperature. If I would let Jack wear a short-sleeve shirt everyday, he would. High of 40? No problem. He's got a jacket.

Anna also doesn't seem to have a problem with being cold. She sleeps in as little clothing as possible. And when she was volunteering at the community light display in very cold weather, she started out with a light shirt, sweatshirt and coat. She quickly dispensed of the coat and never felt the need to put it back on. Yes, there were a couple of portable heaters available, but unless you were standing directly in front of one, the heat wasn't overwhelming.

So on those days when the kids must walk home from school because I'm at the office, I will not feel guilty because chances are, the cold won't bother them at all -- unless it gets them sympathy and hot chocolate from grandma.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One of the greatest joys in life is walking in the door of your house to the sound of your two-year-old yelling "mama, mama, mama" as he runs to the door and hugs your legs or whatever part of you he can get to.

Another pleasure in life is watching your daughter, who claims to be shy, lead her Girl Scout friends, whom she barely knows, in a rousing rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas while they accept donations at the local community Christmas light display. She was also the one who began cheerily wishing each visitor a Merry Christmas as they drove away. I'm not sure what brings on the shyness because she wasn't having a problem with it tonight.

As for the difference in children, Jeremy is the quiet one who pays very close attention to detail. He was unable to sleep because first he was excited about the note he made for his teacher. However, he soon became very upset because he messed up on the front page -- He wrote she was the best teacher ever. He couldn't explain why this was a problem. I can only assume he did not want to offend his previous teachers.

The best Jack story I can come up with is the cute way he has of sharing with me on most Fridays that he gets the next two days off. He is definitely ready for the working world.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It has been a crazy, exhausting, fun week. My SIL and some of her kids are staying with us, and all of the kids -- except the teenagers -- have been on the go from dawn until WAY after their usual bedtime. Spencer couldn't even be bothered with a nap today.

One amazing event occurred this week -- I saw TWO movies in ONE day!! In the afternoon, we took most of the kids to see Madagascar 2, which was cute. Then after dinner I took the three oldest girls to see Twilight. I haven't read the book -- I'll probably try to now -- but I still really enjoyed it. It was definitely a different kind of love story. I enjoy having older nieces that I can actually have a conversation with and take to the movies. If I liked to shop, I'd probably take them to the mall. But that would be insane right now.

Tomorrow is Jeremy's 8th birthday. He gets to spend it at a farm in the morning and Incredible Pizza for lunch. After that, we're going to be spending time with my extended family. I'm sure he'll get plenty of attention.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

After observing and discussing Spencer's antics with my neighbor, she encouraged me to blog more stories of his quirky/deceptive/dangerous/funny behavior. So maybe I'll make this the first installmaent of Spencer's Saturday Roundup. Please don't think this will become a regular feature. It will probably happen when I think of it.

Today's entertainment began when Spencer was in the mood for a snack. When I took him in for his two-year checkup, he was in the 5th percentile for his weight. You'd think we never feed him. Actually we don't have to because he can access food in the refrigerator and pantry. I told him he could not have anything, so he quietly entered the dark pantry and left the door slightly ajar. When I heard a noise coming from that direction, I had no doubt I would find him in the pantry even though the light was not on. I opened the door and there he was with a box of Froot Loops. Again, I told him no, but not very forcefully. He preceded to pull the door closed except for a slight crack. At that time, I opened the door and took the cereal.

However, this did not deter him. He moved to another area of the kitchen where he was determined to get either gum or a bag of candy. First, he tried to use a Thomas the Tank Engine plush chair to reach one of these items. Although he was sadly short of his goal, I chose to move the items further out of reach. After this, he realized the chair was not suitable to the task at hand, so he retrieved from his room a decorative wooden storage box. He carefully placed it next to the cabinet where he should've been able to easily reach his goal. When he realized I was watching, he instructed me to 'top! To this, I laughed. Feeling insulted, I'm sure, he chose to push me out of the kitchen so he could secretly attempt to grab the forbidden item. Unfortunately, I returned to the kitchen, so he tried to hide behind some two-liter bottles of pop on the counter while he again made a play for the candy. But he knew the jig was up, told me to 'top and then made a move to put distance between me and his goal. He was saved by the bell when the neighbor's son came looking for his mother.

But I know Spencer is thinking tomorrow is another day, and he WILL find a way to get whatever snack/drink/candy he so desires.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is how I keep track of what we're getting the kids, and I'm able to set a budget. I used this tool last year when preparing for Christmas, and this year I've already started my list. I did a much better job resisting impulse buying because of this site. I highly recommend it --

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It was a fun-filled, sports-filled, party-filled weekend. We kicked off the weekend with Spencer's 2nd birthday with a homemade pizza party with the family. The next day, I took Jack and Spencer to Chuck E Cheese while D enjoyed Anna's last soccer game and delivering food pantry sacks for Cub Scouts. I hated to miss her last game, but I've sat through many more cold games than D, so I was willing to let him handle the outdoor activities.

To top it off, D and I actually got to go on a date last night. Again, we met a couple for dinner at a nice, not particularly kid-friendly place, Trattoria, then we were transported back in time for a performance by The Rat Pack. Oh how I love Sinatra and Dean Martin. I wasn't as familiar with Sammy other than knowing who he was and seeing him perform on TV a few times. However, I have seen many, many Sinatra and Martin movies. Fortunately, we were close enough that the people weren't blurs, but far enough away that we could actually imagine that it was the real Rat Pack performing.

We are considering going to see Tuna Christmas together, but no decision has been made yet. D and I are also talking about taking the older kids to The Lion King, and while I'm sure Anna would enjoy it, I don't think Jeremy would appreciate it. Also, who even knows if we'll have time.

Now I'm going to relax and enjoy Kung Fu Panda with the kids before I crash.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well, I'm a little closer to 40 now, and I'm OK with that. Yesterday I enoyed chocolate dipped strawberries, Alfredo's for lunch and Hideaway pizza for dinner plus many hugs and I love you's from the kids. It doesn't get much better than that.

D helped the boys with their presents to me, but Anna, always the creative one, chose to make something. Again, it's a fine line between encouraging her creativity and disciplining her for 1) using materials/foods/appliances she does not have permission to have and 2) leaving a big mess. Maybe someday she will be a world famous chef, and when Food Network is featuring her, I'll share the story of when she made me a birthday gift -- a jar layered with cotton candy, Froot Loops and chocolate chunks. Jack keeps asking if I've eaten it yet. I'm hoping he forgets about it very soon. I love chocolate and cotton candy, and Froot Loops is one of my favorite cereals. However, I don't think the combination would set very well.

Regardless, it was an entertaining evening with D and the kids -- before D and Jeremy had to leave for a basketball game. Such is my life -- basketball, soccer, scouts, etc.

Friday, November 7, 2008


She's not my little girl anymore...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I have finally downloaded several pictures from my new camera, so I'll probably fill the next few posts with pictures. Here's a little Halloween fun...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spencer is such a mama's boy that it just about wears me out sometimes, but tonight I had to just laugh and give him a big hug. He is definitely the sneaky baby of the family. While all the kids were supposed to be getting in bed, I found Spencer in the bathroom sampling whatever toothpaste he could get his hands on. He even took a tube to bed with him. This happened several times. However, while I was returning toothpaste to the bathroom or cleaning up a toothpaste-related mess, he would sneak into the living room and help himself to my can of Coke. He had the whole act down -- distract mom with toothpaste and make a move for the Coke. We went back and forth a few times before I finally just downed the rest of the Coke, held him on my lap for a few minutes and put him back to bed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

God knew what He was doing when He blessed me with only one daughter. That girl is going to wear me out before she hits her teenage years. After that, I should probably just curl up in the fetal position in under my covers because I'm not anticipating calm waters until she has gone to college.

When I left for work this morning, I issued one command -- clean up your mess when you are done playing. Does that seem like a confusing statement? Could it be misinterpreted? Obviously, it was as clear as mud because when I returned home more than seven hours later, she had constructed a lovely structure in the front yard. She is so creative which is a blessing and a curse. She managed to build a small shack out of sleeping bags that had not been stored since the last campout, two ice chests, a rope, chair and other miscellaneous items.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to take the fun out of her childhood. I had a great time as a kid building various forts, but I used parent-approved materials, such as scrap lumber if it was an outside structure. If I built a fort in the house, it was limited to my brothers' room and I once again used parent-approved blankets and I didn't drag odds and ends from every corner of the house into my fort.

Anyway, seeing the shack erected next to my house did not put me in the best of moods. And her attitude while she was cleaning it up did not win her any points. But the highlight was discovering goldfish crackers scattered around her closet. So tomorrow she is not allowed to watch TV until the mess is cleaned up. She has also been told that she is not allowed to make anything in the kitchen -- judging from her reaction, I believe this punishment had the greatest impact. Ah, how I love fall break.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We should all take time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, and tonight I did. I am so fortunate to live in a city that is now home to both a Wal Mart AND a Target. I heard rumors for many years that Target would grace us with its presence, but after many disappointments I knew I would believe it when I saw it.

Well, tonight I saw it. Brand, new smooth-wheeling carts. Store brands of foods I will have the opportunity to try at my convenience. And a pack of my favorite gum at the checkout stand. Life is good.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

As I watched Mad Men this evening, I complete this quiz. I agree with quite a bit of it, but the parenting section is so way off.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Marilyn!


You are a Marilyn -- "I am affectionate and skeptical."

Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Be direct and clear
  • * Listen to me carefully
  • * Don't judge me for my anxiety
  • * Work things through with me
  • * Reassure me that everything is OK between us
  • * Laugh and make jokes with me
  • * Gently push me toward new experiences
  • * Try not to overreact to my overreacting.

What I Like About Being a Marilyn
  • * being committed and faithful to family and friends
  • * being responsible and hardworking
  • * being compassionate toward others
  • * having intellect and wit
  • * being a nonconformist
  • * confronting danger bravely
  • * being direct and assertive

What's Hard About Being a Marilyn

  • * the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
  • * procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
  • * fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
  • * exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
  • * wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
  • * being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations

Marilyns as Children Often
  • * are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
  • * are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
  • * form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent
  • * look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
  • * are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent

Marilyns as Parents
  • * are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
  • * are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
  • * worry more than most that their children will get hurt
  • * sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On the road again...I have been driving a decent distance every day this week except Monday, and I'll be on the road the next two days. Some of the travel has been business and the other pleasure -- although I'm not sure I would classify making pans and pans and pans of cheese fudge that you can't eat pleasurable.

Tomorrow is my day to enjoy the Watonga Cheese Festival, including a small-town version of Iron Chef. On Saturday, the entire family will head back to Watonga to enjoy the parade and the inflatables. Of course, the powers that be did not consult me on what would be the best time for the OU-Texas kick-off, so it looks like we'll be hitting the parade during half time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Spencer is ready for his teenage years. His vocabulary skills involve only using one word at a time; however, this evening when he came into my room shirtless, I asked him where his shirt was. His anwer -- I don't know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

At least it's a start. While the kids were in their classes at church this evening, D and I worked on a spending plan for October. Budgets haven't worked in the past, so I thought maybe if I called it a *spending plan,* we might actually be able to make some progress. Regardless, I'm enjoying these Wednesday evenings when D and I get a chance to talk for a while -- even if it's about money.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It has been a very long week, and tonight was the beginning of an even longer weekend. I sadly had the privilege of being present at the Oklahoma Air National Guard when fallen soldier Brady Rudolf was brought home.

It was amazing to see the motorcyclists waving the American flag and the soldiers standing at attention. However, my heart broke as his wife and young boys approached the flag-draped casket. It is a sight I will never forget and I pray I never witness again. For now and in the coming months, please keep this family in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two parent-teacher conferences down. One to go. We met with Jeremy and Jack's teachers yesterday, and both meetings went very smoothly. The most exciting news was that Jeremy had reached his AR goal! It got better -- he was the first one in his class to do so!! This is a HUGE change from last year when he and I struggled through reading multiple books almost EVERY evening. He was getting all of the reading done at school. All I can say is I love his teacher, and I am so proud of him.

Anna is doing an awesome job as well so far. She's already brought home a test signed by the principal and was also rewarded with a Johnny Carino's gift certificate. Tomorrow we'll find out during her conference how things are REALLY going. It should be interesting because she will be facilitating the meeting.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jack is still insisting that he plans to stay seven years old. Anna even tried to trick him by asking what he wanted to be when he grows up. He sounded confused by the question and then he got irritated. We're going to have to make his eighth birthday really good to make up for the disappointed of leaving seven behind forever.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

T-ball, soccer and boy scouts, oh my! And the merry-go-round that is my life begins. This weekend D and Jeremy leave for a camping trip, Jack has a t-ball game (indoor - the greatest idea ever!) and Anna has a soccer game. We have an activity almost every night of the week every week, and Anna hasn't even started Girl Scouts yet. The only bright side is that on Wednesday night while the kids are in their classes at church, D and I find a comfortable spot and hang out for about an hour and a half. We actually get to talk to each other!

Posting has been light lately not only because of the schedule described above, but I've also started rereading some cheesey romance novels written by a specific author. Her characters are always the same -- very young, sensitive virgin who is continually insulted by an older, experienced cowboy/military guy/business man -- but for some reason, I like reading them. Anyway, she's been writing for over 20 years and has a certain line of stories -- Long, Tall Texans. Now that I have several of those books in that series, I started reading one after another. It's been fun and gives me a nice mental break from everything else. What can I say? I'm not the type of person who loves to read deep, intellectual tomes.

I'm going to have to sign off now because I have an almost-two year old who is determined to see midnight.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The responses I got to my backwards Works for Me Wednesday were great. I can't wait to get a better look at some of the suggested sites and get moving on the family Web site.

Now I just have to make the time. We survived the big church musical weekend, so hopefully we can get into a normal routine. Of course, we are starting off the "normal" week with a death in the family, a soccer scrimmage and school skate night.

In honor of returning to normal, I'm working on implementing a new reward system in our house. The talking back, messy house, constant reminding/nagging/ordering of the kids to pick up their stuff/get dressed/eat breakfast/brush teeth/do homework is about to send me over the edge. I'm still formulating my plan, but I intend to start out by giving the kids (except Spencer who's exempt) a coin for doing their chores without a reminder, getting completely ready for school without being nagged, being kind to their siblings and respectful of their parents. After they get the hang of how the new system works, I'll start a new phase. In addition to receiving coins when they have behaved appropriately, I will also take coins away when they behaved inappropriately. It should be so much easier to just grab a coin out of *insert child's name here*'s jar when he/she cops an attitude rather than losing my cool.

If you are laughing at this new method, please let me hold onto my hope that this method might save my sanity -- at least temporarily.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

I have put this off for a year. Of course it has been a very hectic year. But Shannon's Backwards WFMW Edition is a great opportunity to get some help.

Last summer I was charged with the task of creating a website for my very large, extended family. I have aunts, uncles and cousins around the world, and we need to have a user-friendly website that will help us all stay connected. It will also be used to help us plan our reunion.

I welcome any recommendations for hosting, web page templates, etc. I would like it to include a feature, such as a message board, so everyone could have the opportunity to make comments regarding various family issues. I may want to also have the option of implementing a security feature so the site or at least certain pages on the site are password protected. Another plus would be the option of allowing family members to upload pictures.

I have got to do something very soon or else I may get demoted as communications chair.

Monday, September 1, 2008

We enjoyed another great Labor Day weekend with my college roommate, her husband and son. There was a lot of laughing, eating, shopping and spades playing.

I was very fortunate that my husband and her husband get along wonderfully. An outsider probably couldn't even determine who the friendship originated with -- the girls or the guys. I have been friends with R since fifth grade, and we roomed together for the two and a half years of college. She is the only person from my childhood I keep in contact with on a regular basis and actually arrange to spend time together. There are other childhood friends that I love visiting with when I run into them, but we never actually call, email or meet up when they come to town.

One strange aspect of the weekend was the absence of Anna. She had required musical rehersal, so she stayed with Aunt K. While I think she did miss us a little, I know she had a wonderful time. It was very strange though being the only female in the van. However, in about nine years, it will be a common occurrence.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A few random thoughts:

I love The Colbert Report. For some reason, he makes me laugh out loud and that doesn't happen often.

It is very bizarre to see a man you used to throw koosh balls at offering commentary on national TV. Unfortunately, I tuned in at the end of ABC's convention recap with Matthew Dowd and Donna Brazile. I'm glad Matt hasn't been ostracized from the political world. I need to be more aware of when he is going to be speaking or has posted a column. He's one of my political gauges.

My eating habits are atrocious. It is after 11 p.m. and sitting next to me would be chips, dip, fudge stripe cookies and a coke. I'm pathetic, but I feel no desire to change -- especially since the migraines have eased up considerably.

Maybe I can counteract the junk food with a little Wii -- if I can get the energy. Oh, it's a vicious cycle.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So many kids, so many rules to remember, so many fundraising packets to choose from. I have spent the past two evenings at parent meetings for pre-K, second grade and fourth grade. The pre-k meeting was a breeze, and the second grade meeting was relatively simple. Of course, we've already been through those grades with other kids. The fourth grade meeting was a new experience.

This is the first year Anna has a homeroom teacher and rotates to a different classroom for other subjects. So much information, and there I was sitting in the back of the room with D and some friends making wise-cracks and talking about other stuff. Hopefully, the teachers won't hold it against our children.

I also found out tonight that pretty much every kids in Anna's class is running for STUCO. When I got home, Anna was making her campaign sign. I asked her who she plans to vote for, and she's smart enough to say herself. I hope she's not swayed by any tempting promises, such as pizza every day for lunch and every day will be Fun Friday. It will be interesting. But she's off to a good start. Her campaign sign says "Go bananas with your vote 4 Anna." Hopefully, they will be impressed with the yellow posterboard and slogan.

Speeches and the vote will be next week. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Work, clean house, take a nap -- oh the possibilities! It is the first day of school. Currently, the two oldest chidren are filling their heads with math, grammar and rules, while #2 son, Jack, is anxiously awaiting the beginning of afternoon pre-k. I'm pretty anxious, too.

When I woke up this morning, my plan was to put Spencer down for a nap after taking Jack to school. But of course Spencer enjoys making his own rules. He crashed on the floor of my room around 10:30. Maybe I can get lucky and sometime before 3:00, he'll be ready to nap again. Yeah, right.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It is that time of year -- FINALLY. We had meet the teacher night tonight, and as I type, my children are piling up the school supplies all around me. Thank goodness for our PTO. I'm one of those parents who is more than happy to let that group purchase and package the supplies for the different grades. I willingly fork over the bucks just to avoid those school aisles at Walmart. Since I'm already going to be stressed out by those crowds at school on meet the teacher night, I don't see any reason to add to that stress by fighting more crowds aAmat the store.

We were disappointed Jeremy didn't get the same teacher Anna had, but his teacher seems very nice. Anna's teacher told Mrs. H that she was lucky because she was going to really like our family. Maybe she says that to a lot of parents, but I'd like to think not. Anna's teacher is the SIL of one of my good friends, so I slipped that connection into our conversation. In a school our size, any personal connection can really help open the lines of communication. As for Jack's teacher, there's only one pre-k teacher, so we're pretty familiar with her. She was Jeremy's teacher, and she also has a little girl in pre-k. So there should be no surprises there.

Strangely enough, Anna has managed to go from kindergarten to fourth grade without being in the same class with her best friend. I have no idea how the organize the classes, but I think it's odd that they've never been in the same class, and yet she's shared several classes with a few of the same kids.

Two more days before they return. Can I hear an amen? I love my kids, but it's time to implement more rules and structure than they've had this summer. I had great hopes back in May -- dedicated reading time, bike rides to the library, maybe even some workbook pages. Where did the time go? Maybe next year.

For now...three kids in school. One to go.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I have returned, and it almost feels like I haven't been gone. The kids were very excited to see me and to see what I brought them. Maybe the germs on the Boston train invaded my brain because I actually got Jeremy and Jackson little Red Sox bats. Anna is thrilled with her apron that has an illustration of Boston on it. Spencer got a soft Red Sox baseball. The guy tried to talk me into a real baseball, and even though I bought two bats, I'm not that stupid.

One of the first things I did when I got home was pick up a package at the post office. Jack missed me so much he wanted to go along. During the drive we were discussing ages. He has decided that when he turns seven, he wants to stay seven forever. I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boston is a great city -- at least what I've seen of it which is mainly the North End, part of the Freedom Trail and a suburb called Newtonville. The food last night was amazing. I kept eating like I may never get a meal again. Of course, that's not true because tonight we're headed to a seafood place. I'm thinking clam chowder.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What a day! My two oldest children accepted Christ as their Savior back in January. Actually, Jeremy made the decision about two years ago, but we weren't sure he fully understood the commitment. Anyway, today they took another big step and were baptized. Jeremy asked D to baptize him, so that was very special. Anna chose one of our ministers to do the task. Fortunately, the one she chose has known D and I since before Anna was born, so he was able to personalize the experience. All the grandparents and one aunt were there to witness the event. It was a great night!

I'm headed to Boston this week and am greatly looking forward to it. The meetings should be very interesting, and I've never been to that city. I also think the kids and I could use a break from each other. It's incredibly late right now and since I have an early flight, I'd better shut it down and try to get at least a few hours of sleep. I'll let you know how the Boston cuisine rates.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let's play Final Jeopardy!

Answer: A horrifying experience.

Question: What is your child throwing up in your boss's office?

If you bet more than $1, you are the winner! Yes, my sweet Jack could not contain himself any longer today and lost his lunch while he was sitting on my lap at my boss's desk. I'm leaving on a business trip soon. I still had a project to finish, so I picked up the kids from Mother's Day Out and brought them back to the office.

The last few evenings Jack hasn't felt well, but this morning, he was acting happy and normal. I'm not sure if he has some type of virus, but since he was insisting that I hold him, I know that the constant back and forth from my office to the printer was not helpful.

After this experience, I couldn't get the kids to the van fast enough. To top it all off, while I was pulling the sliding door shut on the van, I looked down and was holding the handle in my hand. It broke off completely. Even better I had to drive through a horrible rainstorm to get home. I would rather drive on ice than semi-flooded highways.

While all of that just about wiped me out, I was once again reminded how fortunate I am to have four wonderful, healthy kids. I watched Steven Curtis Chapman and his family on Larry King. What an amazing testimony!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I am typing this post from the comfort of my bed. However, since our bedroom is ridiculously hot, I plan to utilize my newfound mobility to work at the dining room table tomorrow -- or the couch, or recliner -- ooh the possibilities!

The kids constantly ask to use my new computer, so I'm using it as a reward. If they will do their chores without a reminder and act respectfully and responsibly, they may earn the privilege of using the laptop. Of course, Jeremy asked if he was respectful once tomorrow would that count? Talk about making a lowball offer. Anna countered by saying that should would be respectful THREE times tomorrow. Obviously my children are not over achievers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I FINALLY have my laptop!! I would write this blog from the laptop, but I haven't gotten the wireless router (which has been in a drawer for months) set up yet. Regardless, it is a beautiful machine and once I tear myself away from the Internet, I plan to spend some quality time with it.

In other news, it is official -- I gave birth to a mer-boy. I thought Spencer was an ordinary baby. As his mother, of course I thought he was one of the cutest babies ever. Very smart, too, even though he is a boy of very few words. However, while we were swimming Friday evening with Jeremy's Cub Scout pack, Spencer decided he wanted to take a stab at the diving board. He was wearing a built-in life vest in his swimsuit, but he was able to make quite the splash and be fully submerged. He would push, pull and drag me over to the board to do it again, and then he would try to jump before I was ready to let him go or D was ready to catch him. For a toddler who has never had swimming lessons, that mer-boy knows no fear.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My cousin and his wife, Megan, are expecting a baby in September. Anna and I were invited to the baby shower this weekend. However, Anna got a better offer -- a birthday party at the bowling alley. Her reaction?

"Tell Megan hi...and good luck!"

Out of the mouths of babes...

In other news, I am sooo close to buying a laptop. I have found one that seems to have everything I want and more, and it is a very reasonable price. While I have been researching this particular purchase for a while, I still didn't want to make a hasty purchase -- it wasn't a brand I had reviewed very often. Since this particular computer will be on sale a few more days and they have 3 or 4 in stock, I'm planning to return to the store to buy it either tomorrow or Saturday.

My two youngest are staying at the grandparents tonight, so because I miss my babies (it's very strange only having two self-sufficient children in the house):

Monday, July 28, 2008

Close friends and family will tell you there are not many candy bars I don't like. When D and I were playing our version of the newlywed game with the class of nearly newlyweds we were teaching at church, D was asked what kind of candy I like. He, of course, said any candy and got it right.

The exceptions are Three Musketeers, Mars Bar and Milky Way. I've got to have some crunch in my candy bar -- nuts, cookie center, wafer, butterfinger, etc. Today I have found a new fave. PayDay is a good go-to bar when you want something sweet but without chocolate (which is very rare in my life). However, there is the new and improved PayDay Chocolatey Avalanche -- chocolatey covered peanut caramel bar. I haven't eaten the entire bar yet, but I can already tell I will be disappointed if the makers of PayDay take it off the market after a while.

It obviously has all the necessary ingredients for a great candy bar -- nuts, caramel and chocolate. I'm not ready to replace Kit Kat, Snickers or Twix, but I'm more than happy to add PayDay Avalanche to the rotation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I love most musical theatre. Tonight D and I went to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Honestly, I love the MGM version more, but I did enjoy the stage version. Plus, we went with another couple that have nothing to do with our kids.

At this stage in our lives, it's not often that we have the opportunity to socialize with people we did not meet through our childrens' activities or school. We visit with people in our class at church, but we're all so busy with other things that we don't get together often.

It reminds me of a Seinfeld monologue where he says as an adult you don't add any friends to your life -- you're not taking applications. This is very different from when you were a kid and anyone you find a very remote connection to can be your best friend.

The couple with had dinner with tonight shares an interest in theatre, although the woman is not a fan of musical theatre. Fortunately, she is interested in a musical show every now and then. We are already talking about hitting some of the major productions this fall, two of which run during her birthday and then during mine. Perfect timing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I am having leftovers for lunch for the third consecutive day. For those who know me, they understand how amazing this is because I do not usually eat leftovers. What is even crazier is that it is the same thing -- remains of a pasta bake dish we had earlier this week. Just to clarify -- I'm not against leftovers. I'm just particular about what the food is. I will eat leftover soup, casseroles and sometimes pizza. Other than that, forget it, especially if the food is more than a few days old. Now to enjoy my pasta for the fourth time this week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I hope to finally get that laptop I have wanted for so long. A former co-worker and her partner, who design Web sites, have asked me to do some freelance writing for a client. They have said that they expect to have more clients in need of a copywriter, so that will be some nice extra money coming in.

Now if D's work situation will get resolved so he is actually paid what he was promised, we might actually have a shot at putting a dent in our debt -- at least after we get the kids back in school. School supplies x 3, lunch money x 2, Spirit Day money x 2, one school t-shirt and one new backpack = a nice chunk of change. However, that's a small price to pay to put some structure back in the kids' lives.
As long as Anna keeps this perspective, we shouldn't have a lot of boyfriend problems. Last night at the store she and I had this little exchange:

Anna: I can see that guy's underwear! (There was no way you could miss it.)
Me: Don't look.
Anna: That is horrifying.
A week and a half since the last post? That's pretty pathetic. I don't really have any good excuses -- except I've had a few migraines lately. Actually, house hunting online and in person took up a lot of time last week. However, the most exciting news I have is that we found a house for my brother to buy, and the seller accepted our offer.

My parents and I spent Friday morning looking at several houses. One looked like a paint store exploded. I'm very surprised they have not painted at least some of the rooms since I'm pretty sure they really need to sell. But not only is the paint color an obstacle, but the price is strangely high. Yes, it's a four bedroom with good square footage, and yes, it has a huge backyard, but they are asking almost $20,000 more than comparable homes. It doesn't make sense.

Anyway, the second house we looked at was the one we made an offer on. It has four bedrooms, but all of the rooms except the master are pretty small. But the kitchen is very spacious with a nice wide bar that will be perfect for family dinners. Even better, the back patio is covered and faces the east, so the folks should be able to spend some quiet evenings enjoying the backyard.

I think the folks will use it as a part-time home for now. We'll see how well Dad can manage living even temporarily away from our hometown. Even though he retired a few years ago, he still works for the new owner. That seems to be common in that side of the family -- I've had several aunts and uncles who "retire" but still work in some capacity for their old employer. I plan to avoid that impulse.

House hunting has been very interesting. It has also given me a strong desire (even though I have no money) to update areas of the house. My plan is to make a list of things that need to be done, and try to complete one project each year as money permits.

Even though I've looked at a few homes that were very tempting to buy for my own family, at the end of the day, I still feel very confident that we are making the right decision to stay where we are. I know it will pay off in the long run.

I'm signing off for now. I should be able to post again soon since there are some other interesting developments in other areas of my life.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ever since Anna was a baby, D and I have said that kids are the best entertainment investment. I still believe that, but I do have moments like the last few days when I can't wait for school to start so I can let them entertain someone else. So to remind myself how blessed I am, I'll post a few pics.
These three chose (actually it wasn't a choice for Spencer) to observe their father launching fireworks rather than attempt to light a few themselves, unlike Jeremy who preferred to be in the middle of the pyrotechnic action. That's my boy!

We bought the sled in late winter so they haven't had a chance to use it as man intended. But they have still put it to good use.

It's chocolate and he is my son. 'Nuff said.

How could a camp be any better? Climbing a rock wall, gun range and archery.

Anna has quite a collection of trophies/medals after three years of playing soccer. We'll see how big the collection gets as the competition gets tougher. Either the level of competition will get to her or the running. She loves playing defender because she doesn't have to run as much -- very smart girl.

The day will soon come when Jack won't have to climb onto something to be taller than me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It is very difficult to be content with what you have when you are helping someone else buy a house. I've been looking at houses in my neighborhood with my parents, but it's my brother who is actually planning to purchase a house. Since he's not in the country, my mom and I get the luxury of spending his money.

When you have a family of six living in a three-bedroom house and the living area is not too big, things get a little cramped. Fortunately, the kids are still small enough that they don't take up a lot of room -- it's their toys that need all the space. However, I have looked at a couple of newer homes -- one is still being built and the other is six years old -- with four bedrooms. So let's recap: I live in a three bedroom with four kids and did I mention my house is 20 years old? These other homes I've toured are much, much newer and have four bedrooms. Contentment is hard to come by right now.

I'm trying to remind myself that my mortgage is much cheaper than it would be if we bought a bigger home, and my house will be paid off by the time Spencer graduates from high school. I can also watch my kids walk from our backdoor to the door of the elementary school. Those are some very attractive points. If we can just find a house for him to buy, then I can stop being tempted by these other houses!

Monday, July 7, 2008

And then there was one -- one child who hasn't been to the urgent care clinic. Which one made the latest trip you ask? My baby, Spencer. Poor kid tripped over a hose and hit the brick surrounding the neighbor's flower bed. When I came outside, D had his hand over Spencer's forehead and there was blood running down his face and turning his hair an interesting shade of strawberry blonde.

My boy handled it fairly well. He stopped crying on the way to the clinic, and while we waited, he even smiled and laughed a few times. He got upset for a while when I stepped out of the room, so I tried to make sure he didn't lose sight of me again. Of course, nothing was going to comfort him while the doctor put five stitches in his head. The nurse held his head, I had his blanket-wrapped upper body while D tried to keep his legs still. It was very exhausting.

He went to bed as soon as we got home and slept fine -- even though I had to wake him up every two hours to make sure he was OK. Today, he's acting like he's usual self.

What a weekend! We survived the 4th of July without any major mishaps -- other than a minor burn to Jack's foot while he was holding a sparkler and the pinata busting open before Anna had a turn. Of course, we are always wary of holidays. If a child is going to start running a fever or coming down with some other illness, it's usually during a holiday. Also, Jeremy got stitches a few days before Thanksgiving. Jack's hand incident, which required x-rays, occurred a few days before Christmas. So it's only fitting that Spencer's gash should occur during a holiday weekend.

Hopefully, Labor Day weekend will be uneventful.
Here's the before picture. It's the best I could with D's iPhone.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

OK, so the writing thing hasn't been happening. I've been reading a book, and that was far more interesting than writing something original. Also I worked from home yesterday, so that was two straight days of kids fighting, plus D was gone that last two evenings. I've also been helping the folks look for a house for my brother.
Anyway, I've been pretty tired and haven't been taking my vitamins regularly. (Don't tell Dr. C.) I think about writing, but then I look at the two story ideas I had and I don't really like them. I've got another idea in mind that I need to spend time fleshing out, but there's just been too much going on. I noticed our library has a quiet room. If I had a laptop and some time to get away, that would be a great spot to write. Excuses and distractions...I've got a million of 'em.

Speaking of distractions, aren't they cute kids? Hard to believe that they have fought so much over the past few days that I've had to order them not to speak to one another or play together, isn't it?

Friday, June 27, 2008

These Apple Dumplings are amazing!! Thank you so very much for sharing, Kristin -- and Pioneer Woman.

I had an ambitious idea this week. I've been trying to avoid any major commitments since I had such a rough first half of the year, which culminated in a near transfusion. However, I have been feeling the urge to work on a book again. A few years ago I thought about trying NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, but it's in November. Since I usually have a few major meetings, plus my birthday as well as two of my children's, it's not a good month for me to take on other projects. Anyway, I had the bright idea of declaring July my novel writing month. So starting Monday, I'm going to try to crank out a few written pages.

I may need more of those Apple Dumplings to get me through.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I had a house full this evening. My oldest brother is in town for a visit on his way back to Malaysia, so my other brother came up from Texas. And some other family came over for dinner so we could all visit.

When my kids start fighting or name calling, I try to remember my childhood. It could be pretty brutal at times with two older brothers, but as they would tell you, it made me tougher. Anna likes hearing the stories of how her uncles would pick on me, and she shows visitors in my parents' home the proof of that torment -- a broken coffee table leg. About 30 years ago, G was attacking me -- at least that's how I remember it -- and I was holding onto the leg of the table so he couldn't drag me off somewhere and continue torturing me. Of course, he was strong but I wasn't too weak and pulled the leg off the table. Back then they made furniture quite sturdy, so even though I was able to dismember it, the table is still perfectly usable today.

Today we can laugh about it and enjoy one another's company. However, 25-30 years ago, it was another story. So I can only hope that as my kids argue like siblings tend to do, they will remain close as adults. Because while I may not speak to my brothers regularly, we are still relatively close, and I know I can count on them whenever I need anything -- especially advice they so willingly give.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I must take a moment to brag on my two oldest children. First, Jeremy finished up Boy Scout camp by receiving an award for best behaved boy at camp. He received a string of beads with a *alligator* hide (it's actually cow hide) tied to it that indicates why he received the beads. The string is now tied to his walking stick, which I guess is what these boy scouts do with the beads they receive for different accomplishments. This recognition means so much to me because, as I explained to Jeremy, it means I can trust him to behave and make good choices when his parents are not present and when he is surrounded by boys who do not always make the best decisions.

As for Anna...she auditioned for our church's childrens musical, which required reading lines and singing alone. I asked her a few weeks ago if she'd like to try out since she enjoys the theatre and has a nice voice for someone her age, but at that time she wasn't interested. However, Sunday morning she told me she wanted to audition. The challenge was that auditions were being held that afternoon. So with only about an hour to prepare, she tried out for one of the main girl parts, reading the lines perfectly. The panel was very impressed with her and surprised that she wasn't performing at school or elsewhere. When it came time to sing, the children sang as a group. When they finished, the director asked the panelists if there were any children they would like to hear alone, and they wanted to listen to Anna. I'm not sure she will get a part since many children auditioned, but it was very encouraging for her. Maybe this is the start of something...even though I don't have much time for another activity.

The other exciting aspect of this production is that it is a never-before-seen musical. They will video our kids performing and use it for marketing purposes. We should know this week if we will be spending a lot of time at the church over the next couple of months.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What a week! We started off Saturday with a 3 v. 3 soccer tournament. Yes, I have officially become a soccer mom. I've got the minivan and a decal on the back window proclaiming proudly that my daughter plays soccer. The day started at 8 a.m., and we finished at 6 a.m. in sixth place. Pretty good for their first time playing that style of soccer. I'm just glad we (parents) were not as obnoxious as the parents of the last team we played. They were very rude. It was kind of ridiculous since they were playing for fifth place -- not one of the top spots.

Then on Sunday, Father's Day, we bid Anna farewell as she left for church camp. Even though I've known for months she would be going for five days, I never really thought about the actual location of the camp. Last week I finally took time to find the town on the map -- it was 3 1/2 hours away! My baby, my first born, my growing-up-too-fast nine-year-old daughter was going away to a camp that was nearly in the next state. However, she returned today safe and sound. She told me this evening that she wouldn't mind still being at camp. Glad she missed us...

I was concerned about how she would socialize with the other kids since she doesn't usually talk about too many friends at church. But the lack of good friends in any group, fortunately doesn't deter Anna from participating in an activity, which is very strange considering she is usually a very quiet girl. Actually, the children's minister said Anna was the most self-sufficient third grader she had ever met. I hope she maintains many of these qualities as she grows older.

Another *highlight* of the week was Boy Scout camp. Yippee! I had the fortune of spending a WHOLE day with six seven-year-old boys, trailing them from archery to nature to lunch to crafts to rock climbing to music. It was an interesting experience. There are some very different personalities in the troop. Jeremy seemed to be very glad I was along, so I guess I should enjoy that while it lasts. I'm just glad I was only there for one day and that the weather was actually somewhat comfortable despite a light shower earlier that morning.
I haven't had any migraines for the past few weeks, but the excitement (sarcasm) of this week brought on two headaches. I don't really belong in the great outdoors, so that probably triggered one of them. And the other one developed after I spent an evening cleaning out Anna's closet. Thank goodness the weekend is almost here because I need some rest.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wii fitness age: 21

I think my health has rebounded. I finally have more energy, and even better, I haven't had a migraine sinced I stopped taking the topomax. I hope I didn't jinx myself. Of course, it's after midnight right now, and I have to get up early (for me) to drop off Spencer before I go to work. Those two things can usually add up to a migraine, so we'll see how it goes. Guess I'd better get some sleep now or my witness fitness age might drop to 62.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's a little hard to slow down and rest when you have four kids. Fortunately, I'm putting those kids to work this summer since they are of an age where they can handle some bigger chores. Since we had VBS last week, yesterday was the first day of the chore chart and it went pretty well. Jeremy did an excellent job with the bathroom. Jack cleaned the dining room table. And Anna said she picked up the living room -- must've been before I got up because it didn't look like it had been cleaned. However, she did volunteer to organize the pantry, and it looks very nice. All three of the kids also straightened the garage.

Hopefully, this will make it easier for me to keep up with housecleaning and encourage them to be more aware of the things they leave around the house. They aren't getting paid extra for it, but I might give them bonuses now and then based on their attitudes and extent of cleaning. Anna asked if they would be getting paid, but I explained that they are part of the family so they are also responsible for the house. To make it even clearer, I told them that no one paid me extra to pick up after them. They were OK with no extra money.

In other news, D and I went to dinner and then to see Spamalot Saturday evening with a former co-worker and her husband. Loved the show! D's co-worker and college-age daughter met us there. I'm not sure the daughter enjoyed it -- mainly because she probably doesn't get Monty Python.

We also had a great time at dinner. It's always fun and helpful when your husbands get along. The two guys carried on their own conversation while my friend and I had a chance to catch up. We're going to try it again later this summer when Seven Brides for Seven Brothers comes to town.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My brush with fame

After hearing her speak, I've got to read Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on Abraham Lincoln. Spielberg is adapting it into a movie with Liam Neeson and Sally Field. For those who may not know, Goodwin is a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and presidential historian. Since I have wanted to write most of my life, meeting a Puliter-Prize winner was very special. Unfortunately, I was working so I just got to take pictures of her talking to other people rather than talking to her myself. From my observation, she is a very kind and gracious person.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I think the topomax has pretty much run its course through my body. Do you know what that means? Coke doesn't taste gross anymore! I actually shared a coke with Jeremy at the movie the other night, and for lunch today, I drank half a can. I'm going to work really hard to continue drinking other non-carbonated beverages, but I'm so glad that I now have more options when we go out to eat.

Now I must be more self-disciplined and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Last night it was 1 a.m., but it took me awhile to balance the checkbook and fold some laundry. So after I post this, I'm shutting down and getting ready for bed. And it's only 8:55 p.m.!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I've been on vacation for the last week -- not that it was really much of a vacation. I didn't leave town, D was still working, and I spent a couple of the days at medical and eye appointments. The medical appointment knocked me out, and the reason for the medical appointment has had me exhausted for the last few weeks and has caused migraines. So I spent every afternoon resting -- which isn't easy with four kids. And I got very little done around the house.

However, I ended the week on a high note. I took Jeremy to see the Indiana Jones movie. I did see it on opening day with D, but I had a major migraine and was not able to enjoy it. The music did filter through my pain-filled head, and I couldn't help but smile. It is probably my favorite theme music of all time. Anyway, Jeremy and I both had a great time. I was able to actually follow more of the story and watch all of the chase scenes without feeling sick.

While it's hard watching my kids grow up so fast, I do enjoy it when they are of an age where we can experience certain activities together. And sharing my love of Indiana Jones' adventures with my oldest son is a great feeling. However, we do differ on our favorite Indy movie. Mine would be the Last Crusade, while he liked the Crystal Skull. He hasn't watched the Temple of Doom, but I think he may need to wait awhile to see that one. I don't think he's ready to see someone's heart ripped out yet.

The Crystal Skull fits into the Jones family of films, and if you grew up with Indiana, I see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy this one as well. It's not like any of the previous movies were plausible, so why should we expect this one to be? It has Harrison Ford, the hat, the whip and the theme music. What more do you need?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Very sad news...From The Tennessean

Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter killed by car in driveway

Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest child died Wednesday afternoon after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family’s Williamson County home.

Maria, one of the Christian singer’s six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said.

When my niece passed away, I shared with my brother a Steven Curtis Chapman song, With Hope. Sadly, it once again seems appropriate in this case.

1 Thess. 4:13-14 / Heb. 6:9, 10:23

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Monday, May 19, 2008

Let the countdown to summer begin! I have survived the last major professional test. The only major snafu was a power outage -- not something you really want to happen when you are beginning the broadcast portion of the program. But we worked through it and the rest of the program went well.

The keynote speaker was very interesting, and now I'm planning to buy her book so I can get it read before the movie comes out. I also managed to get a picture with her despite the number of people who were also getting pictures and autographs. She was very kind and gracious. I finally was able to crash at 1 a.m. but woke up the next morning with a migraine. So much for the topomax. I guess it at least held off the headache for the day of the event...

Anyway, this week we have all of the end of school events. So I'm volunteering at the reading carnival today. However, on Thursday, I'm taking that day for myself and going to see the Indiana Jones movie in the afternoon. I can't even begin to tell you what a sense of relief I felt Saturday once the event was over. The pressure I have been under for the past several months has been ridiculous -- and I only work part time! It is a very good thing that I truly enjoy my job or I would probably be ready to quit. Now I can enjoy my kids' activities for the next few days and not worry about work.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I am one of these strange people who really doesn't mind going to my OB/GYN. I've been going to this Dr. C for 10 years. He's delivered all four kids and removed a tumor, so we've been through quite a bit.

For all those years, he's practiced in a small building with two exam rooms with the same two nurses. I'm usually pretty good about going to see him on time, especially since I've been pregnant most of that time, but I've been pretty busy lately. Today, I finally made it in to see him in his new office -- a women's health center. He now practices with multiple doctors in a well decorated office that includes a lab and is attached to a spa.

It was very overwhelming. Sadly, the two nurses whom I had known for years had both retired, but at least one that had come on board during the time I had been with Dr. C was still around so there was at least one familiar face. She seemed to like the new atmosphere. I just hope it makes everything easier on Dr. C.

I know the day will come when I will have to find a new doctor because the man is significantly older than me, so chances are I will outlive him. I'm not looking forward to that day. As I said, he and I have been through a lot. He has many quirks, but I'm used to him. When I've changed other health providers, it hasn't gone well. And this is one health provider you don't want to mess with.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

D had an interesting exchange this evening with Anna. She copped quite the attitude. When he asked her if she would use the same tone of voice with her teacher, she said no because he would send her to the principal's office. I guess we're not as menacing or as intimidating as the principal.

In other news, unless something changes, I will be visiting a new city later this year. I will have the opportunity to travel to Boston. Hopefully, I will have a chance to see a little bit of the city even though I will be there on business. Despite the stress I've endured these past few months, I manage to get a few perks now and then.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

D makes fun of me often because I can be very pessimistic, but there are days like today when people are so incredibly ungrateful and disappointing that it's very hard to be positive and optimistic. That's about all I can say about that.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I have taken a big leap. I will be weaning myself off the daily migraine medicine. This means I must become more self-disciplined when it comes to getting adequate sleep -- definitely more than six hours sleep at night. My goal is to be in bed by 11 p.m. I think the meds work to a certain degree, but there are times when it doesn't override my triggers. And really, what's the point in taking something that's not going to off-set the cause of your problem? Why must I sacrifice carbonated beverages, suffer memory loss and struggle for words (a definite problem in my line of work) for a medication that doesn't always work? Plus, it's causing an entirely different issue right now that is about to drive me insane!

I'm optimistic that the headaches will not be as bad as they were when I made the decision to go on the daily medication. At that time, I had not had a full night sleep in over a year. That alone was probably my main problem. However, at that same time, I was just coming off a stressful time of year personally and professionally and had chosen to tackle a room redesign. There probably wasn't adequate ventilation. So paint fumes, stress, sleep deprivation -- I think that should add up to a rash of headaches for a migraine sufferer.

Coca-cola here I come!

As for Mother's Day, it was very nice. D let me celebrate the entire weekend. The kids picked out very nice presents, and Jackson even chose another blender for me since the one he got me for my birthday kept getting broken. As he pointed out, this one has a lot of buttons. The boys all wore ties to church -- it was their idea. Actually, Spencer didn't have much of a choice, but he didn't seem to mind. And I took a nap. It was wonderful.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I don't really have much to write about. I'm just trying to make it through the week. I wasn't even able to get excited about the severe weather in the metro this evening. The emergency warning started blaring over Spongebob, and after the second interruption I decided to send Jack to the other room to watch so I could see what was going on. By then, the storm was already east of us.

Mother's Day is this weekend. D asked what I wanted to do, and I don't even care. My first thought was to take a nap. I'll probably still do that. I'll probably ask for a gift card to buy paint, request homemade pizza (even though I'll make the dough - D can handle the rest) and then take a nap.

But seriously, I'm just trying to make it through this week -- actually tomorrow. After that, I've just got some projects to wrap up at work before our major event next weekend which will end with me getting to stay in a hotel room ALL BY MYSELF. What could be better than that? Except having my husband join me. Unfortunately, he has a prior commitment.

For now, I'm going to try to shut my brain down.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I look back on my younger years, and it amazes me that the kind of guys I thought were perfect for me were so not. I don't think they could have handled my mood swings or logic, and I don't think I could have handled their confidence or lack there of.

God had a perfect plan, and 13 years ago He put that plan into action when D and I met. Thirteen months later, we married. Today we celebrated our twelfth anniversary.

For the first ten years, we made a dedicated effort to set aside a weekend to focus on each other and our marriage. However, for the past couple of years, we unfortunately have not had the time because of the demands of children's activities and work. But as a friend reminded me not too long ago, this is just a season, and I know that we will be able to find a way to have those weekends again.

For now, I will continue to try to let D know how much I love him and value him -- even when we are too busy to exchange more than a few words. He is my best friend, and I can't imagine being married to anyone else.

Happy Anniversary.

Friday, May 2, 2008

This week has sucked the life right out of me. I'm sitting here trying to get up enough energy to make a dessert, go grocery shopping, figure out when I'm going to do some of the work I was suppose to do yesterday but couldn't because I was putting out another fire, and spend time with my children since I've been gone most of the week.

On the other hand, I'm also trying to manage my time so I'm still able to celebrate my anniversary with my husband this weekend. That means I will most likely be working after the kids go to bed tonight. Fortunately, I crashed at 10:30 last night which is very early for me. So I should be able to get in a few good hours tonight, and be able to focus on D tomorrow -- after Anna's soccer game.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sunday morning I stayed home with a sick baby while the rest of the family went to church. Before I started doing some work on the computer, I thought I'd check out some of the Sunday morning news shows. I happened to catch Howard Dean on Meet the Press. It was very scary, and it made me very angry. He actually said democrats should vote for the person who could beat McCain. What kind of sense does that make? Shouldn't a person vote for the individual they believe is best suited for the job? Am I too much of an idealist?

I vote the issues not a straight party ticket. I hope there are others out there who are more concerned with where a person stands are the different issues than what party they are affiliated with. Unfortunately, Dean's belief is not unique to democrats because I know there are republicans who feel the same way. I just haven't personally heard it voiced on such a national platform.

Last night I finally had time to share Dean's comments with D, and it still made me frustrated. However, later he was channel surfing and stopped on the Colbert Report. Now I'm able to laugh about it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I started out this morning needing a hot chocolate and a heavy coat. By late this afternoon, I was in desperate need of sunscreen and a nice shade tree. Rumor had it that the madness that is pre-k enrollment began last night with some parent actually camping out overnight. By late in the day, I believe the real story was that they arrived at 4 a.m. -- still ridiculous.

I was informed at 7:30 a.m. that there was a VERY long line, so I sent D over since he was ready to walk out the door to work. I made Jack's sandwich for school, opted not to finish drying my hair or curl it and then headed out the door, leaving the kids with my mother-in-law.

We were number 34 out of 40, so it was a close call. I may not get my preference of the morning class, but at least he's in. If I didn't already have two kids in the school, and it wasn't right out my back door, I'd say forget it, and either enroll Jack in one of the other elementary schools and even go with a private program.

They have three years to find a solution to this madness before it will be time to enroll Spencer in pre-k. Between now and then, our district's new high school will hopefully be completed and more space will be made available at the elementary schools. I really don't want to spend the night in front of a school just to get my child in pre-k. I may go for private school then.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I love Spencer, but this fourth child is going to wear me out! Not only did he not start sleeping through the night until he was FIFTEEN MONTHS OLD, but he has this incredibly strong urge to climb into bath tubs fully clothed. Normally this would not be a problem, except he does this immediately after I have finished getting him dressed in his pajamas after he has already had a bath and someone else is still in the bathtub.

Tonight I finished dressing him and put him on the floor. He took off running, and I stayed behind to put away the basket of folded clothes in his room. Soon I heard Jack yelling from the bathroom, and I knew immediately what had happened. I ran into the room, and there sat Spencer in the bath like there was nothing wrong with taking a bath in your PJs.

This is at least the third, maybe fourth, time he has done this. The first time it was funny. The second time it was mildly cute. Now it is downright irritating, and it doesn't help when D starts laughing. Fortunately, for him, he took it upon himself to get dry clothes and change Spencer so I didn't have to do it again.

I know I will look back on this and laugh -- maybe even tomorrow -- but for now I just keep thinking I have got to remember to close all the bathroom doors when anyone is taking a bath because that kid is FAST!

Monday, April 21, 2008

We survived. This was one of the more hectic weekends we've had. I made it through Friday night at the Omniplex with I don't know how many hyper elementary-age girls and very little sleep. Whoever arranged the schedule and thought it was a good idea to put younger girls in the planetarium at midnight wasn't very smart. That only gave them an opportunity to rest/nap, so they got their second wind about the time lights were supposed to go out. Regardless, Anna had a great time, and I'm glad I went with her.

She and I were the only ones in her troop who skipped the human body exhibit, and I'm OK with that. I'm sure it's a very educational experience, but there were plenty of other things to see and do. While the other girls were looking at the bodies, Anna was flying in a flight simulator. None of the others got to do that. So she wasn't upset about missing the bodies.

After only three hours of sleep (even though I'm not sure I really went to sleep - I think the clock just skipped those hours), we loaded up and headed home. D was already packing up the other van with camping gear. So I helped him get everything ready, and sent him and the three oldest kids off to a Boy Scout campout.

Then Spencer took long naps all day, so I was able to sleep all day. Oh, yeah. He's 17 months old. He doesn't do that anymore. So we played for awhile, and then I put him down for a brief nap. I tried not to fall asleep because I had to go to my aunt and uncle's for lunch with the rest of the family. Then I had to go buy a birthday present for a friend of Anna's. Then I headed out to the camp site, which was just a little south of the metro. Yeah, they were really roughing it in the wildernes. Actually, they didn't have any nice amenities, so it was pretty primitive. But it was also very conveniently located.

I helped Jeremy earn an elective by roasting a hot dog, cooked Spencer and Jack hotdogs, and visited with the other parents. Then I loaded Spencer up and headed back to town where I picked up a pizza for myself. After I gave Spencer a bath and put him to bed, I spent the evening watching Into the Wild, which I may blog about later, and folding the huge pile of laundry on my couch.

Sunday morning, D got the kids home in time to bathe them and get them to church, where we volunteered in Spencer's nursery class. Then Anna had a birthday party to attend. It wore me out just recapping it. Now I have to get ready for this week because I have plenty of work to do at the office and to prepare to enroll Jack in pre-K which will involve standing in a ridiculously long line at a ridiculously early hour. I wouldn't do it if convenience or money weren't an issue. So I better stop writing and start moving.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Brownie is about to become a Junior Girl Scout. Next month she will participate in a bridging ceremony, which will be the next step in making the transition. With that event, she will have gone farther in the organization than I ever did. Actually, staying in it longer than a year was probably more than I ever did.

Anyway, on the drive home tonight from her badge ceremony which doubled as a potluck dinner, she was asking me how many activities she could participate in. With four kids, we have to limit the number of activities because it's already crazy around our house, and we only have two kids who are old enough for most sports or service groups. And it's only going to get worse.

Although she would love to take ballet or tap and she wants to learn how to speak Spanish, she is smart enough to realize, that those are activities that can be enjoyed in summer programs. By the time we got home, she informed me that she plans to stay in Girl Scouts and soccer throughout school. That's good to hear because those both mean scholarship potential -- it will be even better if she can keep her grades up.

Now, if I survive Jeremy's academic least he really enjoys Boy Scouts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Yesterday was Jack's fourth birthday. I can't believe he's already four, but then again, I can't believe he's only four. Even though he's only been communicating for a couple of years, he can carry on a pretty good conversation. I enjoy hanging out with him.
The older two kids were already in school when I started working part time, and Jack was only a year and a half. So I have spent the most time with him. My relationship with him is different than with the Anna and Jeremy. He's my little buddy.

He had a great birthday weekend. We had a bowling party with friends on Saturday and family came over on Sunday. D took the kids fishing so Jack could try out his new Spider-Man fishing pole. Evidently, he was very upset when he did not catch anything. But he has decided that he needs to go out on a boat to be able to catch fish.

He was thrilled with all of his gifts, including the cards. He would open each envelope and patiently wait for me to read the card. However, I had to remind him to open the gift that went with the card because he would try to move on to another gift. But he was always very polite and thanked everyone.

For several months, Jack has been talking about being four. And now that he is officially four, he tried to tell me he was three. He was doing a certain task, that I will not mention, and he wanted me to do it for him. I told him he was a big boy he needed to do it himself. At this point, he told me he was only three years old. I'm not that sentimental about my little boy growing up. I was not going to give in.

Anyway, another birthday has come and gone, and we are in the birthday-free zone until November!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spencer is the fourth child, so every time I notice that his speaking skills are not quite up to the level of a child of similar age but one who is a first or even second child, I'm not too concerned. Jack hardly spoke a word until he was almost two -- maybe even two and a half.

This morning, Spencer went beyond the basic "uh, oh." As he watched Veggie Tales, he removed his pacifier and repeated after Larry the Cucumber, saying, "Bob." It was a very exciting moment. I've tried to get him to say Anna or Daddy. He kind of says Momma, but it's hard to know if he actually means me. So I'm ready to declare "Bob" to be his first official word. Thank you, Veggie Tales.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Way to go, Kansas! I am genuinely happy for Bill Self and the Jayhawks. It was a wild game. Fortunately, I was able to watch the end of regulation since Medium was over by then. What an incredible three-point shot to tie the game. That was an amazing game! And I'm proud to say I picked Kansas to win it all!

Now you OSU fans can speculate all you want about whether Self will leave Kansas for his alma mater, but I would be shocked if he did. OSU has a great basketball tradition, but Kansas is consistently one of the top programs in the country. I just can't see him leaving that anytime soon. D said maybe, now that he has his national championship, Self would want to go back home to help rebuild OSU. I said that it's kind of selfish to get your national championship and take off. I hope OSU gets a great coach that can get them back to the Big Dance -- I just hope it's not Bill Self. I just don't think it's the right time. Think of Roy Williams. It took many years before he left Kansas to go back to North Carolina. Give Self some time and he'll come back home.

But for now, let him enjoy the moment.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Since I'm supposed to be doing real work, I'm blogging instead. I went back and filled in the movies that went with quotes. So if it's just been driving you crazy, scroll down to see which ones you missed. Thanks for playing.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Life was so much easier when the writers were on strike. Now I have new episodes of shows to watch, but the kids still have homework and they need baths and they need to get to bed at a decent hour. How can I fit it all in? I must find a way to fit a DVR into our budget. Oh, yeah, that's right. We've never really created a budget that we could stick to.

Anna brought home her practice test for the math and reading tests all 3rd, 4th and 5th graders will be taking next week. I'm not sure how she does it, but out of 30 questions, she only missed three. For the past couple of years, when she would take unit tests, she would only miss one or two questions. And as far as I know, she wouldn't really study.

We can only hope that when it comes time to take the ACT, she will still possess this gift because it would really help when it comes time to apply for scholarships. However, I plan to make sure that when she is in high school she develops good study habits because that is what knocked me for a loop when I entered college. I rarely studied for anything in high school and did pretty well. I wasn't valedictorian, but that was OK. My brothers had already gone that route, so I played the role of the athlete. However, I was in the top 10 percent of my class, so I wasn't a slouch academically. Anyway, when I went to college, I had horrible study habits, and I wasn't very disciplined about going to class.

So hopefully, Anna will do a little better than I. Jeremy on the other hand told me today that he plans to go straight from high school to work as a video game tester. According to him, you don't need to go to college for that. Thank goodness he has a few years to think about it.
I was near breakdown yesterday and am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I won't see the other side until next Tuesday. The worst is over, though, and it's all downhill from here or you could say it's all old hat. I wonder how many phrases I can use? I'll stop now.

In other news, I finally broke down and allowed the two oldest kids to purchase Heelys. It actually worked fairly well because I only spent $20 on each pair with Anna and Jeremy paying the balance on the rest. We finally found some reasonably priced Heelys and they were willing to spend their own money, so that is why I finally relented. Of course, Jeremy didn't have as much as he thought, so he is learning a lesson about debt. But he's working very hard to pay it off quickly.

I'm very proud of Anna because she's always been a spender. As soon as I would give her any money, she was ready to buy something. But for the past few months, she has done a great job of saving money. D and I've talked about buying the kids these banks that are divided into spending, saving and charity -- or something like that. But I don't know that we necessarily need to spend our own money like that. I think they kids are getting the idea so far. They even seem to listen when we talk about tithing. So hopefully they'll do a lot better with their finances than we have. We're not broke, but we could've made better choices over the years. And that's what you always want for your kids -- better than what you had and to make better choices than what you did.

One last note about the Heelys, poor Jack wanted a pair so bad, but his foot is too small. Plus, I don't think he's quite ready for them. I was trying to comfort him with thoughts of the birthday presents he'll receive soon when Jeremy tried to cheer him up by saying that maybe he'd get Heelys for his birthday. Yeah, that really helped.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This has been a nice break from the regular grind and a good reminder of the movies I love. Thanks, Melessa. It's a movie meme. Here are the general rules:

  • Pick 10 (or so) quotes from your favorite movies.
  • Post them here for everyone to guess.
  • Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
  • NO googling or cheating by doing an online search. We use the honor system.
Since I have very few readers, have fun guessing the ones you know!

1. You can bend the rules plenty once you get to the top, but not while you're trying to get there. And if you're someone like me, you can't get there without bending the rules. Working Girl -- It's a classic. Probably the only movie of Melanie Griffith's that I like - especially since I can't really remember any others.

2. If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'. Singin' in the Rain. I saw this for the first time when I had the flu my junior year of high school, and I was hooked. I've loved Gene Kelly ever since. I mourned the day he died.

3. Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Princess Bride. Way to go, A!

4. I didn't know you could fly a plane.
Fly, yes. Land, no.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I'm gonna give that one to you, A.

5. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. To Kill A Mockingbird. No one else but Gregory Peck could've played Atticus Finch.

6. Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn't make me Madonna. Never will. Another Working Girl quote by Joan Cusack. Loved that 80s hair.

7. The King's stinking son fired me, and thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? Couldn't resist another Princess Bride quote, Melessa. Too many to choose from really.

8. We run stupid headlines because we think they're funny. We run maimings on the front page because we got good art. And I spend three weeks bitching about my car because it sells papers. But at least it's the truth. As far as I can remember we never ever, ever knowingly got a story wrong, until tonight. The Paper. I was in journalism school at the time, so I could really relate to alot of the movie especially the caffeine intake and swearing (not by me but by those around me).

9. Yeah, well if life were to suddenly get fair, I doubt it would happen in high school. Such an accurate statement from Sky High. Got that one, Melessa.

10. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. When Harry Met Sally. Too easy, A.

11. And if things had gone differently for me tonight then I probably wouldn't be saying any of this. I grant you everything. But give me this: he personifies everything that you've been fighting against. And I'm in love with you. How do you like that? I buried the lead. Broadcast News. Such a great flick! Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks and William Hurt. I had to put this in my Blockbuster queue since I haven't seen it in such a long time. I can't wait for it to get here.

12. I want my two dollars! Better Off Dead. One of the classics from my teen years, Melessa.