Thursday, October 29, 2009


Isn't it interesting how God can knock you back sometimes? He is the ultimate Father, and I'm so thankful! Today I was getting my little pity party on, and by the end of the day God had had enough I'm sure (can't all of us that are parents relate to this feeling??). It's that moment when you're looking at your child who is complaining and whining, non-stop, and you finally have to get a little mean, but in a loving way. God showed me, very clearly, that He wanted me to knock it off. He gave me perspective.

And that, my friends, is my blessing for today. What is yours?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Blondest Moment of my Life

I am a natural blonde--the highlights came later-- but I try not to always act like it. Sometimes I just can't escape the sterotype, however, and today's mishap that I am going to share with you proves it. This morning marked the 6th Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, which is a local 5K to support breast cancer awareness. I've enjoyed participating in the last 3 or so, and this year I signed up once again. I thought that Melody might like to walk with me, so several months ago she agreed to participate as well. There we are up there, all cute with our pink on...BEFORE the race.

The forecast called for sunny and a high in the 50's. In years past, this has been the typical forecast for this race and it's generally quite tolerable. Unfortunately, today it was cloudy, rainy and around 45 degrees. The wind chill was about 39 degrees, I believe. It was COLD! Also as is typical, I tied my car key into my shoelace so I don't have to carry a set of keys while I'm racing. I take extra precautions to secure it, and have never had a problem. Yeah, you know what's coming now, don't you??

Melody and I raced  trudged our way through the wet and slippery streets of downtown Huntsville. She is cold and miserable, and I'm trying to keep her interested and moving in a forward motion by pointing out some of the neat historic houses, Halloween decorations, people on their porches cheering us on....basically anything to keep her moving toward the finish line. My favorite quote from her today was after I had pointed out yet another cool looking church. She said, in a most forlorn and bored tone of voice, "yes Mommy, big, white and old." By mile 2 or so, the rain started coming down pretty hard and steady, so we even stopped doing short jogs. At long last, the finish line appeared and we made it across. I thought Melody did a superb job, because she never stopped the whole way, but the fact of the matter is that it's just not ideal conditions for your first 5K when it's cold and wet outside. Regardless, we proceeded to the parking garage nearby where I had parked my husband's car. Once there, I bent over to retrieve the key from my shoe, and it was gone. Just gone. One of my worst fears had come true. My mind immediately went through my options: 1). go back onto the racecourse and find it. NOT; 2). break down and cry. Maybe; 3). ask the person entering the vehicle next to us if I can borrow her cell phone, since mine is in my purse inside my husband's car. Winner! I think I did let out an involuntary *gasp* of astonishment and panic upon the discovery of the empty shoelace, and so the very kind lady handed me her cell phone. I called my sweet hubby and briefly explained the situation to him, asking him to please come and let us in the car, and oh by the way make it snappy 'cause we are freezing our buns off!! I think he was still at my son's final soccer game, and for all I know they were in the middle of handing my little boy his soccer trophy, but I knew that no matter what, I was going to ruin whatever it was they were doing. Melody then informs me (of course...these things always pop up when it's inconvenient) that she has to go to the bathroom, and she gives me the look that all mothers recognize to mean that you had better find a bathroom PRONTO. Then she starts to cry, bless her heart, because she thinks that my husband is going to come for us while we're wandering around trying to locate a bathroom. In her sweet 7-year-old brain, we are literally going to be stuck out in the wet and cold all day because we'll never make it back in time. Off we go, down the 5 levels of the parking garage, and by now I'm getting my prayer on that a nearby office building has their doors unlocked so we can get into someplace warm that has a potty. Luckily, we did eventually find one and got that business taken care of, then back out into the cold and rain we went, back up the 5 levels to our locked car. I figured it would take my husband about 20 minutes or so to reach us, and so we had about 10 minutes left to wait. So we stand there, trying to stay warm, and wait. We chat and commiserate about how cold we are, etc. Nearly 10 minutes pass by, when for some unknown and Heaven-sent reason, I glance down at my shoes.
And There It Is!!
The key!!!! It was tied onto my OTHER shoe. Yes, people, my other shoe. I had only checked the one shoe onto which I thought I had tied the stupid key. I have never felt so dumb, yet so relieved, in my entire life! Melody and I start jumping up and down rejoicing, but by then our car was the only one in sight, so we got to act like fools and nobody saw us. We immediately jumped into the car and I handed her my cell phone to call off the troops. I'm laughing and almost crying and cranking up the heater all at the same time. I start wheeling down and around the ramps of the parking deck, and then suddenly I pass my husband, who is going up the decks. Oops. We didn't call him in time. Then I feel a little bit ashamed... and happy and warm all at the same time. On the way home, Melody and I can't stop laughing about it. So there it is....I'm truly living up to my blonde potential!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Glasses and bulldozers..Oh My!

It's fall break around here, which means that the kids are out of school for the week and we get to take advantage of the beautiful Fall weather!! Well, it hasn't started out so beautiful, but here's hoping for sunshine and low temps for the remainder of the week. We also get a week off of soccer, which I think I need more than the kids. :)

Melody has now entered the fashion world of eyeglasses. Yes, indeed. She is super-pumped to have new spectacles. I think if the eye doctor had told her she didn't need glasses, a crying fit would have ensued. Here is my sophisticated youngster with her new accessory:

I guess you can't really tell from the picture, but the frames are dark purple! I love them and so does my sweet girl. I had also forgotten how putting on a pair of glasses can age a child by a couple of years...

That wonderful photo you see of a bulldozer is what I saw out my front window this morning. In my front yard. We had a water leak from the city pipes, and so we called them over a week ago to report it. They showed up at 8:00 a.m. on the first day of Fall Break to repair it. Uhhh..hello? I, naturally, was still in my pajamas and most certainly did not answer the door in my pj's, instead making a mad dash upstairs to take a shower before they cut the water off. I think I made it just in the nick of time, because there was no water to be had once I had gotten dressed. Gannon and Melody were entertained by the large bulldozer in our front lawn, however. I still think bulldozers are pretty cool. I decided that rather than sit around the house with no water, we'd go to KidVenture and play. Once we returned, the bulldozer was gone and our water was back. I'm hoping that if the weather cooperates, we can squeeze in a hike, flower planting, and a trip to the Botanical Garden this week. Along with work, being lazy, chores and errands, that is...

Happy Fall!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A stitch in time..

saves nine? Is that how the saying goes? I don't even know what that means, but for now we'll just go with it. I have been absent from the blogging world for quite a while now. My schedule has caught up with me, I'm afraid. However, just because my blog has sat idle for over a month, our family has been exactly the opposite. We've been busy with acting class, soccer games, work, football and an assortment of other wonderful (yet time consuming) activities!

One night last week and I was drifting into the peaceful depths of sleep, I came up with the idea to teach myself how to knit. I don't know why I thought of it...perhaps it was the knowledge of my sister recently learning how to knit, combined with a conversation with my husband about needing a new hobby. Strangely enough, I must have been semi-conscious enough to have the wherewith all to remember this sleepy cognition the next day. I decided to pursue it. So, yesterday I took my willing helper (see below) to the fabulous land of Hobby Lobby to purchase some items with which to begin my knitting adventure. I ended up getting a lace-up sewing kit for my youngest, Gannon, and a kid's cross stitch kit for Melody. For myself, I purchased a DIY book on knitting which came with needles and random other things that I assume I will need later if I don't throw all the stuff straight into the garbage in frustration when I improve my knitting skills.

Gannon wanted to dive into his project right away. He caught on quickly, and I must say the child is a handsome seamster (what's the masculine version of seamstress, anyway??).

Once Melody returned home from school, she also dove right into her cross stitch kit. I showed her how to make the stitch, and she took off with it! I'm very proud of her as well.

While the little-sewing-man was taking a break from all the stitching (a.k.a. taking a nap), I got down to business with learning how to knit. I really, really tried to follow the Oh So Uncomplicated (NOT!)instructions and diagrams in the book. However, I guess being a visual learner does not apply to deciphering a diagram showing a gazillion million loops and the tiny needle going through that one particular loop in the middle somewhere. I finally got one lonely loop onto the needle, then couldn't figure out how to begin a new loop. By then I had been "practicing" for an hour, I had given myself a headache, and I was ready to jab said needles through my head. I think they made those silly diagrams for men. You know, men are used to those kinds of things because they are always putting things together. Take my husband's grill for example. My husband had to assemble most of his grill, and it came with a 50 (or so) page instruction manual, complete with hundreds of those silly diagrams to show you exactly where to put that screw. I have never been able to figure those things out, so it's no wonder that the knitting diagrams have me at a loss. I will be hunting/stalking an accomplished knitter in the very near future.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My day of days

Today is one of those days that, by 8:00 a.m., you know it's going to be "one of thooooose" kinds of days. It all started for me around 2 a.m. this morning. When my husband is on a business trip, as he is now, I generally don't sleep very well. Let's just say that my imagination tends to get the best of me, and I begin imagining that the tiny noise I just heard is actually someone breaking into my house, wanting to carve up me and my family. You wouldn't be able to sleep either, would you?? I know I lean toward the morbid side, but that's just an idea of how a long, lonely night can affect my reasoning skills.

This morning at 2 a.m. I was blissfully asleep when I was startled awake by one of those noises. I became very still and silent as I listened, and I indeed thought I heard a REAL sound. I had the great debate of staying as still as possible in my cocoon of a bed, or getting up to explore. (Usually this is when I wake up my husband, if he is near, and tell HIM to get up and explore..) I chose the explore option, and found nothing amiss, but I was unable to go back to sleep very well for the rest of the night. Come to find out from Melody later on...she had gotten up during the night and had even seen me wandering around, but she decided to pretend like she was asleep! She so innocently asked, "Mommy, did you think I was a robber??" Uh, YES HONEY!! I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO BE KILLED!!! DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!!! yes, sweetie, and that scared me very much, so please if you get up during the night and you are awake when I come check on you, go ahead and just tell me that you're awake, OKAY????

As I make my way groggily around town dropping off various children at various schools, I eventually end up at work, where I sat in on a Spanish-speaking domestic violence group. My boss would like for all of the group leaders to be able to understand some conversational Spanish, due to the rising numbers of Spanish-speaking clients at our agency. I have to say that even though I had THREE long years of Spanish, it in no way helped me in that class today. I caught maybe 1% of what was said. *sigh* I guess there's work to do. When group was over, I walked up front to the receptionist to say goodbye, and she informed me that my client was there. MY CLIENT??? What client?? Ohhhhhh....the one you forgot to tell me about! Good thing I was already there.

Once I groggily finished up at the office, I went about my business of errand-running. I went to Costco because I had some coupons to use, and because I really prefer to go alone. Somewhere between the lack of sleep and garbled Spanish in my head, I forgot to use my coupons. Go freakin' figure. Luckily, I realized this as I was chowing down on some budget-friendly-but-not-very-good-for-you pizza at Costco. I checked with someone and they actually gave me a refund for my coupons! Costco rocks! Meanwhile, work calls me to say that I have a client to see tonight before my group, I call my dad to arrange babysitting for the kids, the bank calls me to finalize our closing for a refinance loan tomorrow (AND they need a ton of paperwork scanned and e-mailed to them before tomorrow morning!!), and then my husband texts me to say his flight is delayed and he won't be home before bedtime to see the kids. Ugh...back to groggy.

So that is why, at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, I now sit with a gallon of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream before me, spoon in hand, and I'm suffocating my grogginess with sugary goodness.

It's just one of those days.

Friday, August 14, 2009

How to be a good Daddy

According to an almost 4-year-old:

Me: Gannon, when you grow up and get married, do you want to be a Daddy?
G: Yes!!
Me: What kinds of things do you need to do to be a good Daddy?
G:, sing, ummm......, get married, and kiss my wife.

He's got this one figured out already! lesson learned! Haha!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sometimes I just don't get it

Tonight before bed Gannon said, "the walls make me nervous because they creep me out."

Umm...what is the appropriate response to this?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sweden Part 2

Life was simple in Sweden. No bills to pay, no phones call to return, no schedules to keep. That's what vacations (without kids) are like. It was the perfect getaway, and I ate up the freedom while it lasted. Generally, I'm a planner. I like to scope out our vacation spot before we arrive to see what activites are in the area, etc. For some reason I didn't do any of that before this trip. I just knew that once we got there, we'd figure out something to do. I was right. There was plenty to do:
enjoy a rainbow
go on a hike without bothering to pack a ton of water beforehand--yep, that's Jamie drinking fresh mountain water--no filters needed!appreciate a view, virtually untouched by man

A couple of things stood out for me during this trip. First of all, we had the chance to sit in airports a lot, primarily in the United States. At least every other person we encountered was preoccupied by a technological gadget in one form or another (cell phone, texting, iPod, laptop--you name it). Jamie and I were definitely in the minority as we sat without our gadgets handy or in use. I eavesdropped on lots of conversations. Once we got to Sweden, a country that is far ahead of ours, technologically speaking, I was able to count on one hand the number of people I saw on their cell phone or laptop. Even in the bustling city of Stockholm, people actually were talking to each other, face-to-face!! I noticed it right away, because it was such a drastic difference from our preoccupied society over here.
Another thing I noticed as we drove up to Are is that Sweden is very natural. There are no billboards along the sides of the road. They don't have interstates at all. Most of what you see are trees, mountains, and rivers/lakes. Between Stockholm and where we drove (8 hours away), there were many communities, but really only one other large-ish town or city. Swedes don't appear to "over build" like we do here in the USA. As we passed lake after lake, I thought to myself that if this were America, there would be huge mansions and condos built around the entire lake, most likely obscuring the view of the lake itself. This is not the case at all in Sweden. It was absolutely refreshing, and if I'm honest, it made me long to live there just a bit in an effort to avoid all of the commercialism here in the States.
This is a view back towards our resort town, Are. Although quite small compared to resort towns in America, this seemed to be the largest tourist spot anywhere close to where we were. This is a big ski community. I noticed the lack of houses built on the mountain (sure, it's a ski mountain, but NONE of the mountains nearby had houses on them).

Okay, the only negative part about Sweden was the cost of things. For example, I saw a pair of Crocs ($30 in the U.S.), and they were $70! I bought a paperback book before the trip home ($7 at the most in U.S.) and it was $15! Gas was over $5/gallon. So, it doesn't look as though I'll be moving to Sweden any time soon, unless I win the lottery (that I don't play), of course.

One last thing that I loved about Sweden (and Europe, in general) were the public bathrooms. I know, I'm weird. As soon as we got off the plane in Stockholm, I went to the bathroom and it looked similar to this:
I just loved that each "stall" was its own, private bathroom. I couldn't see anyone else's feet or hear their business *ahem* and I got to wash my hands in my own, private wash basin. I found it delightful just to go to the restroom in most places.

Then back to reality we came, in the Atlanta airport waiting for our flight home for 5 long hours. Ugh. Back to people rushing about, not paying attention because they're chatting on their phone. Loud bathrooms. We saw lots and lots of soldiers in the airport, and at one gate where there were about 20 soldiers waiting to board, one older gentleman was approaching each soldier, giving him or her a hug, and saying that he was keeping them in his prayers. Airline attendants allowed soldiers to move into first class if there were empty seats. My kids came and jumped on us in the bed the next morning after we got home, chatting excitedly about everything that they had done while we were away. Sweden was great, but home is great, too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweden Part 1

I have been a blog slacker lately. I guess I can attribute it to having too much fun this summer and not enough time to blog. Yep. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

One thing I've done this summer is take a trip to Europe with my dear husband. We decided to go to Sweden. Okay, so Italy was my first choice, but that wasn't going to happen so we settled on Sweden. I'm perfectly happy and very thankful that we got to go anywhere at all, so I certainly was not going to turn down the opportunity to go to Sweden. We were able to arrange to have my in-laws drive down and stay with the kids so that we could go for our 10-day trip. It actually came together quite easily, and the kids really enjoyed having all of that time with their g'parents. It was like a special treat for them.

So we left on a Thursday afternoon to begin our long jaunt across the big water. I haven't travelled to Europe since high school, and I seem to remember that I was able to sleep on the long flight, but that didn't happen this time around. Try as I might, I could NOT go to sleep! By the time we landed in Stockholm around 11 a.m. (Sweden time) the next day, I was exhausted. We groggily retrieved our luggage, got our rental car, then set off to find our hotel in Stockholm, which was about an hour's drive away. Luckily, we had also gotten a GPS with the rental car, or else we would have never found our hotel. Driving in Stockholm is like having a tooth extracted an adventure, to say the least. Not only could we not pronounce the names of any of the streets, because they all have names like Bergsjogrottorna, but the streets are not well-marked. Anyhow, we got to our hotel room, showered, and crashed for the next 3 hours or so. Once I had a bit of sleep, I was ready to hit the town. We wandered around looking for food, then just walked around sight-seeing. Jamie's been to Sweden probably a dozen times, but this was my first time so I was like a kid in a candy store. Here's an example of what most of the streets look like in Old Town (Gamla Stan), Stockholm.

Being a big city, most people either ride bicycles, walk, or use a form of public transportation. Since it's summertime and the temps are more favorable to being outdoors, all of the pubs were filled with outdoor diners. There were people everywhere!! We ended up on a street which was very popular, judging by the number of people there with us, and found some souvenir shops and such. There seemed to be ice cream shops on every corner, so we finally stopped into one place where they were making the waffle cones in the dining area. It smelled so good, and the ice cream was awesome! They also had a Ben & Jerry's down the street, which had a waiting line out the building and around the corner, but we can get that, we were very impressed with the ice cream and waffle cones that we chose. We walked over and saw the outside of the Royal Palace, then headed back to our hotel to call it a night.

The next morning we got up and prepared to make the 8-hour drive to the resort town in which we were staying, Are. (There's supposed to be a small circle above the 'A' in Are, but I don't have a Swedish keyboard, folks). It's pronounced almost like the word "oar-ay", but you have to rolllllll your rrrrrrrrr. Try it. They have funny, cool vowels in Sweden. I never did say anything properly. Luckily for us, English is the 2nd language for nearly everyone in Sweden, so once we said Hello to most folks, they spoke English to us. The Swedish word for "hello" is "hej", pronounced "hey", so we were always greeted with "hej hej!", which was very confusing because I usually said "Hey!" back and they started speaking Swedish. My dazed, glossed-over eyes probably gave them the hint that I am American, however.

I digress. Our trusty GPS got us out of Stockholm and took us on the scenic route through the countryside of Sweden. Here's what some of that looked like as we were driving.

The red house with white trim is pretty standard there. As are the barns and farms. Sometimes we'd see a green with white trim house, or a yellow with white trim house, but they are ALL the same style and size, generally. More to come on that later.. There are moose crossing signs all along the roadways, but the moose (meese?) aren't around in summer...I don't know where they go, but there was even a moose farm near the resort and it was closed for summer. I was disappointed about that. I really wanted to kiss a moose.

We finally arrived at the resort and were impressed by all of the views. Mountains right outside our front door. A huge, beautiful lake right off our patio. It was simply breathtaking.

We took some time acquainting ourselves with the resort and such, then enjoyed a buffet dinner (it wasn't called a smorgasboard, but it was similar to one, I think) at the resort. Herring is a very popular dish in Sweden, so there were about 3-4 varieties of herring on the buffet, along with some other seafood. I don't eat seafood, so I didn't partake in any of that, but I did have some AUTHENTIC Swedish meatballs and man were they gooo-oood. Haha!

The next day we decided to go in search of a couple of waterfalls that were just a few miles (or km) away. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs and hike a little, after being stuffed in an airplane and/or a car continuously the past couple of days. The first waterfall is called Ristafallen and is 14 m high. Here's a nice shot of it and also of the view leading to the waterfall. There are rivers and lakes practically everywhere in Sweden. It's a lovely country.

Then we progressed down the road to the Tannforsen waterfalls, which is 37 m high. This had to be one of the most impressive waterfalls I've ever seen. I really love waterfalls, so it's not unusual for us to scout them out whenever we're on a trip somewhere. But WOW. The pictures cannot do this waterfall justice at all, unfortunately. You'll just have to go to Sweden and be amazed by it yourself!

I'll probably leave off here with Sweden Part 1, since it's gotten lengthy already. Do you want to go to Sweden, yet?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The things one learns when the power goes out

Last night we were travelling home from a nice belated birthday dinner, and when we came to the light at the top of the mountain, it was out. We subsequently discovered that all of the traffic lights were out on the south end of town, going towards our home. Here are some things I learned about power outages:

1. The majority of people do not know how to handle a stop light that is not functioning, especially when there is not a policeman directing traffic. It becomes a 4-way-stop, people!!!!! I'm impressed we made it through 5 intersections without dying--both from not getting hit by another car, and not having a heart attack watching other cars get through the intersection safely.

2. When it's been 95+ degrees all week long, it makes for a warm house when the power is out. It was after 7:00 p.m. when we got home, but the upstairs of our home was already like an oven. Naturally, all of the bedrooms are upstairs.

3. My children do not like changes in their routine, even if it is as simple as brushing their teeth by candlelight.

4. Said children depend on both a nightlight AND a sound machine (aka an air purifier in our house) in order to go to sleep. Oh yeah, and they also like to not be sweating to death while trying to go to sleep. 8:00 bedtime became 11:00 because they could not sleep.

5. Apparently I sleep better before the power comes back on than after it is restored. As I was finally cooling off at midnight, I continued to stay awake for half the morning.

6. When the kids are awake until 11:00 p.m. they sleep in until 8:00 a.m.! This is a good thing.

7. There are so fewer distractions when the power is out. I didn't have to think about whether or not to prime the walls, get on Facebook, play the Wii, talk to my husband, do the dishes, etc. The choice was simple: hang out with husband, pray the children go to sleep, and go to bed early!

God Bless when the power is restored!!! My exact words when it came on: HALLELUJAH!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What to say?

It's been so long since I posted, but summer has completely taken over our lives lately! Thankfully, it's taken over in a good way.

So, I'll just do a quick update of my recent blessings.

1. My children are a daily blessing, but when they do something that is extraordinarily sweet, it takes my breath away and makes me love them even more. Today is my birthday, and now that I'm well into my 30's, birthdays have lost the shine and glimmer that they once had. My kids have been doing and saying very sweet and special things all day, unprovoked, and it really makes my birthday shine.

2. When I see someone triumph through adversity, it reminds me of how blessed I am. I have some friends who are currently struggling in their marriage and a divorce is imminent, but I truly foresee them coming out as stronger individuals in the end. I'm very sad about their marriage, but I also know that God will work in them to accomplish His purpose, whatever that may be.

3. I'm very blessed to live in a place where I feel completely at home. I love Huntsville, and over the past 10-15 years it has really become home for me. It's perfect for us right now.

4. I had a visit with Dr. Gannon (my son) earlier, and he gave me a clean bill of health! I did require a few pretend Band-aids for some minor boo boo's, but overall I'm still hangin' in for being an old lady! Whew.

5. I'm so thankful that my sister will be moving closer to us soon! Our family is so excited about it and we can't wait to see what the future holds.

I hope everyone is having a blessed week and summer! Stay cool.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's tough being a woman!

Tonight I finish up an awesome Bible study with an equally awesome group of women. It's the Esther study by Beth Moore and if you've never done a Bible study with her before, you are missing out! I was a Beth Moore virgin (so to speak!), and I'm so glad that I jumped right in and got my feet wet with this study.

So, here are a few things I learned from studying the book of Esther with Beth Moore:

1. Esther was the bomb diggity. She was the complete package of a woman. I have to think that if I had lived in the time of Esther, I probably would have either, A.) wanted to be just like her--after all, she was a queen, or B.) despised her and talked about her behind her back. Hopefully I would have gone with choice A. In my current life and place given me, I am choosing A. I really look up to everything that Esther portrayed and what she was to her people. She was humble, polite, beautiful, caring, and God-centered, among many other things. She wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed in, and she didn't back down from a challenge.

2. It's okay if I don't always know what I'm doing. I remember when I turned 30 a couple of...okay, several years ago. As the big 3-0 loomed ever closer, I remember feeling a bit panicked. I almost felt the beginnings of a mid-life crisis coming on, but in my head I knew that wasn't supposed to happen until I hit 40! I recall verbalizing some of my fears to my husband, and he blandly pointed out that I was likely experiencing those emotions because I was leaving a decade full of transitions, changes, and monumental events. After all, in my 20's, I had gotten 2 college degrees, gotten married, began my career, bought my first home, and had 2 children! How much more could I have squeezed into that decade??? Approaching my 30's seemed like a big let-down. How could the coming decade hold any more hope and promise than that of my 20's?? My helpful husband allowed me to have an A-Ha moment (yes, and I'm supposed to be the therapist full of insight and wisdom--ha!). I simply dreaded my 30's because I felt no more purpose. However, in studying Esther, it is clear to see that God has called me to His purpose, and although I may not know what it is, God knows it and He will most definitely fulfill it in me. He has a plan and He will get it accomplished whether I'm following along or not. What a great comfort to me as I stumble my way through life, most of the time wondering where I'm going and what I'm supposed to be doing!

3. All of my fears, guilt and other stuff/garbage/nonsense that I feed myself is already taken care of. I got my degree in social work, but I really could have majored in Guilt and done just fine, thankyouverymuch. I'm really good at guilt. But, God has a greater plan for me and everyone else, so why waste my time feeling guilty? If I majored in Guilt, my minor could have been Irrational Fear and Worry. If I plant those seeds in my heart every day, what do I expect to grow there? If I toss them up into the wind to God, however, they'll go find a home elsewhere. That is what God wants me to do and calls me to do. But, like other subjects in school, this takes an abundance of effort and practice (study) to get it right.

I think my new favorite book of the Bible is Esther! I have to admit that although I had read this book before, I mostly had the Veggie Tales version in my head. I'm so thankful that my eyes have been opened up to the wonders and insights to this fabulous book. I can't wait to see what I can dive into next!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My week of thanksgivings!

Our family has the months of May and June booked. Within those two months, we celebrate 3 out of 4 birthdays, and our wedding anniversary. My sister also has her anniversary, as well as my parents, during those months! Needless to say, we are quite busy during May and June, not to mention trying to keep up with end-of-school activites. Anyway, this past week kicked off our celebrations with Melody's birthday and mine and Jamie's 10th wedding anniversary! Jamie and I happened to be at the hospital for our 3rd anniversary, since Melody had been born the previous night. I'm secretly relieved she wasn't born ON our anniversary. I like keeping those days to themselves. However, here we are at 10 years and it's been a ton of fun along the way.

To move along, here are my thanksgivings for the week (in no particular order):
1. Being married to my goofy, yet sweet, husband for 10 wonderful years---we hired our free babysitters for the afternoon/evening and went to hit the town at Bridge Street. We watched "Angels and Demons", and then went to dinner at PF Changs. Yum-O! Afterward, we went to the shoe store to look for shoes and to hide from the very gloomy-looking weather.

2. Finding another great deal at Goodwill, this time for Gannon's room. I bought this for $3, cleaned it up and VOILA!! I think it looks great and Gannon was beside himself with glee. (His fave color is green.)

3. Watching my "baby", Melody, who is no longer a baby, enjoying her birthday to the fullest. We kept it very simple on her birthday with dinner and presents at home. She just wanted chocolate chip cookies for dessert, and it was great to have such a relaxing time with family on her special day. I particularly loved hearing Gannon sing "Happy Birthday" to her at random moments throughout the day, and the smile that would come upon her face as he would begin to sing. Pure sweetness. :)

4. Spending time with good friends is always fun. Mix in nice weather, a great atmosphere and lots of entertaining conversation, and you've got a winner every time! I'm very thankful for the time I get to spend chatting it up with the girls.

5. "God talks" with my kids. Melody in particular has been asking some really deep questions lately, and although I don't always have the answers, I love watching her mind work it out and her reasoning kick in.

Here's hoping to many more weeks of blessing for all of you as well.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

To my favorite daughter

Today is my sweet girl's 7th birthday. This morning at the breakfast table the two of us reminisced about the day she was born. She loves hearing stories about her Birth Day and when she was a baby. It was the perfect start to her 7th birthday!

Here is a story that we found in the newspaper a couple of years after our Melody was born. I feel as though it conveys our thoughts about our own precious girl. It is from a story, "Thanking Is Just One Letter Away from Thinking" by Larry Gelbart.

"Her parents had named her Melody because, from the moment she was born, they knew that she would be the music of their lives. Like all music, Melody could sometimes be too noisy, too loud. Sometimes she could go on and on and on, long after she should have stopped. None of that ever mattered, though. To her mom and dad, Melody would always be their very favorite song."

Happy Birthday, my sunshine girl!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Technology of the future

My daughter, who is exactly one week shy of her 7th birthday, has found a new hobby. Somehow she discovered this at school, for when I picked her up from school two days ago, she had one of these pressed up to her little ear and she was gabbing away into it. It's the cell phone of the future! The ones on the left are her prototypes, and as we look to the right, she has thoughtfully added an antennae in order to receive better reception. Yesterday when I picked her up from school, they had to call her name three times before she responded and came to the car! Hmm...does this sound familiar to anyone? I just know that nobody I know has ever missed out on something because of talking on a cell phone, pretend or otherwise! I know I've never missed a thing! Ha!

In actuality, I don't talk on the phone much at all. I'm one of those weird breeds of human that can let the phone ring and not answer it! This likely drives my family, in particular my mother, CRAZY, but that's just how I roll, baby. So when I observed my little one, my little baby girl, yapping on a pretend phone, I had a quick reality check. Ouch, it hurt. Pretty soon the fanciful play of talking on a pretend phone will wear away and she'll be asking for a real phone. We don't have a land line at our home (when we moved 2 years ago we ditched the phone service and have been operating with only cell phones since..), so she's unfamiliar with anything except a cell phone. Based on her artistic renditions of phones, she prefers a flip phone.

However, my darling girl didn't stop with just a cell phone. She also had to make iPod's and CD's for everyone as well. We even got to choose our color. And she put a special song on our iPod for us. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but from left to right the songs are: I love you; I love me (for herself); and Scooby Doo.

Apparently the cell phone and iPod phenomenon caught on at school yesterday. Melody said that she made a cell phone, then a friend saw it and asked her to make one for him. She did just that, and then everyone started asking the two of them to make more. So, rather than reading, writing, or arithmetic, the entire class got a cell phone for the day! I'm sure their parents are so proud. I know I am. I actually am pretty impressed that she got almost all of the numbers in the correct place on the phones, and she got most of the buttons right on the iPod...all without looking at a cell phone or iPod, since she was at school. I guess she pays attention. *Ahem*

So, I'm taking orders for cell phones, iPods, or CD's. You can customize your color, and song choice for the iPod. Just let me know. :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Planet Earth from space

First of all, let me say happy belated earth day!! I have to tell a story and brag on my almost 7-year-old daughter, because she's just so sweet and thoughtful. Yesterday when I picked her up from school, she overheard me on the telephone calling our local Green Team because I saw someone littering in the car rider line at school. I was so mad that someone actually threw a cigarette butt onto SCHOOL GROUNDS of an elementary school, and being that it was EARTH DAY, I went ahead and called to make a report. Anyway, the kids at Mel's school were encouraged to wear green shirts yesterday, and so when she got in the car, she began talking about Earth Day and such. She suggested that for our afternoon activity, we should walk around our neighborhood picking up litter, then we should play outside so we could enjoy nature and the birds, and THEN we should keep all the lights off in our house so, as she put it, "the Earth can rest". I agreed to all of the above, which thrilled her to no end, and so once the kids finished snack and homework, off we went to enjoy our Earth! I've never been one that plants a tree or anything to commemorate Earth Day, but I am someone who finds enjoyment from keeping litter off the roads, recycling, etc. It aggravates me when people go out of their way to NOT do those things in order to make a political point. Frankly, I don't care if someone believes in global warming or not, but my opinion is that God gave us humans this Earth as a gift and thereby we should respect and honor this beautiful gift. God could have placed us anywhere, even Mars where all the men are supposedly from, but instead he chose the planet that would sustain our lives. Earth. So let's help sustain the gift given to us and keep it clean for crying out loud! *deep breath* Okay, so I was very proud of my little girl who really isn't so little anymore. I love her conscientious heart.
Gannon just completed spring soccer and boy did he love it. He neither scored a goal nor did he know what was going on the majority of the time, but I don't really care because he was so happy to be out there. It was a joy to watch, so I asked him if he'd like to play again in the fall. His answer? "No, Mommy, because I already got a trophy for soccer." Seriously??? I wasn't aware that a 3 1/2-year-old could have a bucket list, but apparently my son does. Go figure!
Today I went to my parent's house and laid in the sun for a while next to their very green swimming pool. Luckily, it won't be green in about a month, but it didn't bother me since I just wanted to soak up some sun anyway. For those of you that know me, you are aware that I belong in the top 5% of the whitest people in the world. Every summer I have to get a good burn out of the way so that I can then get more freckles. Unfortunately, I'm typically either red or white. Very sad. I am an Alabama fan, though, so I guess I can just claim team spirit or something. Well, today I put on some SPF 30 spray-on sunscreen. The bottle claims that it is "no-rub, clear mist" that you obviously don't want to inhale. What it didn't say is that it is virtually impossible to clean the stuff off afterwards. It's similar to getting the wax rinse put on your car at the car wash, and all of the water forms into small droplets. Really cool looking, except when it's on my skin!!! I did a 3-step scrub in the shower, and I can still feel residue on my skin. I guess I'll just think of it as extra moisturizer.
In other news, Gannon is hanging out with his Daddy this afternoon since it is bring your kid to work day. Jamie picked him up after preschool and Gannon gets to hang out with him all afternoon! Jamie starts his new job on Monday, so it's good that he has finished all of his work at his current job, so he can just play with Gannon. Fun stuff.

Jamie and I watched "Fireproof" last week. It has the crush from my childhood, Kirk Cameron in it. Get this: he's still cute!!! I thought the movie was pretty good, once you can get past the fact that the only person who can actually act in the whole thing is Kirk Cameron. I was told that the rest of the cast were volunteers, so kudos to them! I feel like the movie is very trendy right now, and many people claim that it has saved their marriage, which is all well and good. However, I don't see how the movie, standing alone, could save a marriage, but rather a good vehicle to begin communicating more about one's marriage. Jamie's parents gave all of their children a copy of the book "The Love Dare", which is featured in the film. Jamie has begun the love dare with me, and I have to say I like it! I'll likely do the dare for him at a later, undisclosed date, because I do think that it has a lot of good concepts in it to improve one's marriage. Marriage takes work, and it is very difficult some days, and very easy other days. I think the book does a good job of bringing back some of the habits that married people incorporate more at the beginning of their courtship and marriage. Eventually (especially as children come around, as we've found in our case), it's easy to become lazy with paying special attention to one another, and doing the thoughtful things one did early on in the relationship. So, I think it's been a refreshing change for us.

I guess that about wraps it up for what's new in my life lately! Happy Spring!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Can I nominate this woman for Doctor of the Year?

I just want to say that I must have the best OB/GYN there is....ever. I really like her that much. I might even go so far to say that I.Heart.Her. She is awesome.

Today I had to go for that lovely annual visit...the one that is Most Dreaded. You know the one. Anyway, while I don't like the basics of the visit, like wearing the atrocious pink paper thing that does not stay together no matter how you fold it, pull it, or crinkle it, I can really get over all of that just to hang out with my doctor for a few minutes! I've been with the same doctor since I found out I was pregnant with Melody (over 7 years ago----wow!!), and my doctor was new on the scene in Huntsville. *side note--after I delivered Melody and my doc went out to speak to my parents and in-laws, my FIL commented that she's like Doogie Howser* I was one of her first patients, and maybe that's why she somehow remembers me every year. Her practice that she has with 3 other OB/GYN's has grown exponetially over the past few years, and I don't know how she remembers me, especially since I only see her once a year now. She has the same nurse, too. I like this about a place...if there's a different nurse every time I go, it gives me pause to wonder if something is wrong.

I digress. I would like to nominate my doctor for doctor of the year because she has the best bedside manner I've ever seen. First of all, her nurse always remembers me. Today I arrived 2 hours early because I'm a goober and wrote down the wrong appt time, and they worked me in somehow. The nurse said when she saw it was me, she made sure they went ahead and bumped me up. Now, I'm not all that great and special of a patient, but this just speaks to the kind of folks they are...wonderful! So after waiting for a while in my cute pink garb, my doctor comes in and gives me a big hug. Okay, I had to get past the fact that she hugged me while I'm wearing the cute pink garb thing, but she sat down, looked me in the eye and began asking me about how things are going, etc. We chatted for about 5 minutes before she even got down to business, so to speak. This is just how she is and I love it! I remember when I had my first appt with her as a freshly pregnant and very sick young mommy-to-be. She came in, grabbed my hands in hers and began empathizing with me about how sick I was, while at the same time reassuring me that she would do XYZ to make it better (music to my ears at the time!!).

So, I think she'd make a great candidate for doc of the year. Are there nominations for this type of thing?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day!

I think the most creative I ever got with an April Fool's joke was switching out the salt and pepper in the shakers as a kid...does anybody have anything more exciting than that for April Fool's???

Regardless, have a Happy April Fool's Day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Musings and more about my grandpa

For the past 32 years, I've had the honor of knowing a great, great man, known to me as Grandpa. Grandpa lived to a wonderful age of 90, and he filled his life with a wide diversity of activities. He was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Army, where he fought in WWII and the Korean War. He was part of the Tank Corps and the intelligence division, leading him to not discuss his military work very often. He did begin to tell us some of his secrets within the past 10 years or so. For most of my life, my Grandpa was deaf. At first, he wore a hearing aid and could get some of what we said. This progressed to us talking to him via a telephone that would print out what we said. We also wrote in notebooks, which he always kept nearby. After my grandmother died in 1995, my grandpa ended up moving from Sparta, TN to Albertville, AL in order to be closer to family. It never failed to bring a smile to my face when we would come around the corner into his assisted living room and he would grin and shout, "Well hello there!" He was always happy to see us. I always wondered what his thoughts were as he watched his great-grandchildren play and chatter around him. He always had a slight grin on his face as he watched them, and I couldn't help but wonder if he was wishing he could hear their small, eager voices. Grandpa was just happy to have us there. Grandpa never failed to remind us as we were leaving to stay out of trouble, and I always knew that what he really meant was, "go have as much fun as you can!"

I know Grandpa is causing trouble up in Heaven now with our Father, because he's back home with his precious Daisy Lee, my grandma. I can't help but smile when I think about how happy he must have been to see his Father's face, and then his Daisy's face.

Yesterday I had the honor of attending grandpa's funeral up on a beautiful hillside amidst the rolling hills of central Tennessee. Grandpa was a military man to the Nth degree, and he would have been proud. I do have to say that the rifle salute scared the beejeebers out of me--I really wasn't expecting it--that, and everything else were perfectly fitting to the man that I'm happy to call Grandpa.

Until we meet again, I love you Grandpa!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First Grade Romance

My almost 7-year-old daughter has been sporting an on-again, off-again romance with a little boy from her school since the first week of Kindergarten. Last year, they were in the same classroom, and as luck would have it, they are in the same classroom for first grade as well. After giving her the lecture about how it's not appropriate for a 5-year-old (or a 6-year-old) girl to blow kisses or proclaim undying love to someone at school, Melody cooled her heels for a while. She's even seemed more anti-boy lately, but today she got a phone call from HIM.

After I answered the phone and discovered who it was, I really had a monumental debate over whether or not I should even hand her the phone to talk to HIM. However, curiosity got the best of me so I let her talk to him. Melody later filled in the blanks of what was said on HIS side, so I'm filling in the blanks for the following conversation (just so you get the idea):

Her: Hi, why are you calling me?

Him: I really like you and want to see if you like me too {much laughter}

Her: WHAT?? I can't understand you! Stop laughing!

Him: {laughter}

Her: How did you get my phone number? {big sigh and roll of eyes} Would you stop laughing, I can't understand you! {Gannon approaches and wants to talk on the phone} Do you want to talk to a little brother?

Him: {hands phone to his big brother}

Big Bro: Hey, do you like HIM?

Her: I don't know. I'll think about it.

BB: He wants you to be his girlfriend.

Her: Well, maybe if he starts helping me more and is nice to me, then I'll think about it.

BB: He really likes you.

Her: Well, I broke up with him, but then yesterday he helped me with my Band-Aid, so if he keeps being nice then I might think about it. Can you give the phone back to HIM and tell him to stop laughing so much? I can't understand him when he's laughing.

BB: {hands phone back to HIM}

Him: So do you like me? Will you call me sometime? My number is ____.

Her: I'm not going to write down your number. Okay, I want to get back to drawing my picture some more. Good-bye! {hangs up}

This was the topic of our discussion for nearly the rest of the afternoon. She told me she was "impressed" that he found her phone number. She even drew HIM a picture after that! I can just imagine the conversation that will occur at school tomorrow. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that one!

I'm SO not ready for this!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break!

The tulips are in bloom at the Botanical Gardens this week! They are gorgeous. I'm loving all of the sun this week, and we really have tried to take full advantage of it. We spent most of the day Wednesday outdoors, and Friday we spent about 3 hours hanging out at the gardens, watching the Raptor Show and checking out the flowers.

The gardens have giant bugs on display right now, which is cool, but I enjoyed the scarecrows and dinosaur exhibits from previous times better, I believe.

We had a really fun time on Wildflower Trail. Many of the wildflowers were indeed blooming, and the creek was flowing freely. Gannon loves to throw rocks in the water, whereas Melody loves to get IN the water!

Spring is springing around here, and for that I am very thankful. I'm not a winter girl.

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The FREE Spring Break week!

This week is Spring Break in the great city of Huntsville, AL. Although we generally don't travel for Spring Break, I always have that grade school anticipation of something fun and carefree. The kids are home with me all week and we don't have any of our usual activities like dance or gymnastics. We do have soccer practice tonight if the rain subsides..we'll see! Anyway, this year for Spring Break I have decided that the kids and I are going to participate in as many FREE activities as possible (with the exception of going to shop at Old Time Pottery today). My in-laws are arriving in town tonight some time, and they will be with us tomorrow. I always enjoy going up to Green Mountain, so tomorrow I'm going to suggest we pack a picnic lunch and go up there for a relaxing afternoon treat. Hopefully we can feed some ducks while we're there. Last year during Fall Break I took the kids on a hike with the Land Trust on Wildflower Trail and they loved it. It's quite short, follows a small creek, and has a bench for eating or resting. During that hike, the guide told us that we should come back in the Spring because all of the wildflowers are in bloom. It just so happens that they are hosting a hike on Wednesday for Wildflower Trail again, so we will be there. I hope to get some pretty pictures.
Rain is predicted for Thursday, so since that is our usual library day anyway, we'll likely end up there.
On Friday, the Botanical Gardens are having the Raptors show again (we attended last year---very cool!), and I will try to forgive them for being from Auburn. Seriously, it's a GREAT show and we have an annual membership, so we can get in for free. The kids LOVE the children's play area of the garden, and although the butterflies aren't back yet, the Butterfly House is still fun with turtles and such.

While I always like to try new things, I don't have a problem filling our week with the tried-and-true activities I've got planned. I think we'll have a great week and I hope you do, too!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My embarrassing moment of the day--hopefully it will just be ONE moment today!

Whenever I pick up my son from preschool, I generally take him directly to the bathroom. He has developed an aversion to going to the potty by himself at school..don't ask me why, it's a long and complicated story. After multiple instances of having an accident before we get home, OR waiting until I'm strapping him into his car seat and telling me he has to go potty, I've solved this by just going directly into the bathroom with him. It's completely enabling, I know. He has me trained instead of the other way around...anyway, let's not go there so I can avoid some Mom-guilt.

Earlier in the year, after Gannon continually became very upset when I would attempt to take him into the girls bathroom (where he's NOT allowed to go at school as a rule!), I asked his teachers if I could just accompany him into the boy's bathroom. They agreed, knowing that I would check for occupants before entering. For several months, we have had very few visitors, and always of the pint-sized variety. Today during our bathroom time, Gannon had a minor accident, but enough of one that it involved having to change clothes. I had neglected to grab his backpack containing his change of clothes from the preschool hallway, so while Gannon stood in the middle of the bathroom with his drawers around his ankles and the clear instructions NOT TO MOVE, I ran out to collect his things so that I could change his clothes. Well I was gone for probably a max of 30 seconds since I was hurrying, but apparently a man had made his way into the bathroom during that time. Since I was rushing, I didn't take the time to check before entering. So I went bee-bopping right in, and stopped dead short when I spot the guy standing at the urinal. Luckily, his BACK was to me and he was in a much more modest state than my dear son, so I quickly apologized and took Gannon out into the hallway to change. I know I changed every color of red imaginable, the whole time trying to get Gannon changed so the entire school wouldn't have to see HIM with his drawers down! Meanwhile, I hear a flush from within the boys bathroom and the gentleman emerges. I completely avoided eye contact (didn't even raise my head, in fact!) and apologized again. He was very polite and said it was okay, but I just thought about how I would feel if a man walked in on ME in the girls bathroom to collect his half-dressed little girl! Hopefully, since I didn't look at his face and I don't think he looked at mine, we will never know the difference if we ever cross paths again. I'm really crossing my fingers.

The whole incident served as good incentive to start taking Gannon into the girls bathroom from now on, though! I am so looking forward to the day when I no longer have to accompany him into the bathroom at all. How embarrasing!!!!!

Welcome to our ocean home..

Complete with a hammerhead shark!

Monday, February 16, 2009

One of those Mondays that feels like a Saturday

Happy President's Day!

Here is my list of thankfuls for the week:

1. flying kites and playing outdoors on the warm days
2. my children's laughter
3. an interesting, but nonetheless GOOD report from the doctor!
4. more clothes than we need so that I can consign some of them (I don't know HOW in the world I still have clothes from when the kids were babies...didn't I give all of those away??)
5. coupons
6. friendships within our neighborhood (I love being able to walk around the corner to hang out with friends)
7. the anticipation of a tax return (yahhoo!)
8. the "bug man" as we call him..aka the pest control guy who came and eradicated a big nest of nasty bugs alongside our house
9. going on walks
10. getting a whole week's worth of a good night's sleep

There you have it. Here's hoping you have a fun-filled, blessed week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No-no words

When I was growing up, our family had certain words or phrases that we, as children, were not allowed to say. Curse words, naturally, were out of the question. However, other words also banned in our home were 'stupid' and 'shut up' (my parents took this very seriously!). For some reason, my mother also used the lovely term, "stinky" for all yucky smells. If she smelled something suspicious, she would look at one of us and ask, "did you let out a stinky?" to which we would innocently reply that it must have been the dog or the other person in the room.

Jamie and I have instituted the no-no words thing in our house, too. I do this mainly because you know if we allow the kids to say bad words at home, they inevitably will say them to perfect strangers when we're at Target. And that's just not kosher.

Alright, that's really only part of the reason. I take offense to certain words and want my children to develop a healthy vocabulary devoid of offensive language. Jamie questions sometimes if I take it a bit too far, but I have a valid reason behind every word that I ban from our home. One example is the word Butt. We've always called it a bottom with our kids, and I just personally don't like the sound of the word Butt coming out of a 3-year-olds mouth. It sounds terribly offensive to me. Jamie wondered about that one, but I told him that one day when I was lunchroom helper at Mel's school, one child from her 1st grade class raised his hand to beckon me. When I asked him what he needed, he pointed at a classmate and stated, "he said the word b-u-t-t." He actually spelled the word but would not repeat it! Thereby, it confirmed my hypothesis that little children do take offense to the word Butt. Or at least we're not alone in the whole Butt debate.

I remember early on in my dating relationship with Jamie, we had gone to visit my parents and I had forgotten to warn Jamie of the whole No-No word thing in my house (granted, I was 20ish and as an adult, it's probably okay to be your own language monitor). We were having a casual conversation with my parents, and Jamie said the word stupid. I am sure I looked quite as horror-struck as I felt, because the room got quite silent. I glanced nervously at my parents, waiting for them to correct him, as they had done to me so many times as a child. However, Jamie (oblivious) kept right on talking until I couldn't take it any more and I blurted out, "you can't say that word in our house!" My parents laughed and it was no big deal, but to this day, I still do not say the words stupid or shut up in front of my parents.

So this has turned into one of those things you tell yourself you'll never do, because your parents did it, but I've carried on this tradition in my family. As a result, we do a some "cleaning up" after we hang out with other people every now and then, because maybe a word slips out that we don't like. Then I have to explain to the kids that while WE don't say those words, other families have different rules, etc.

Melody is entering the age where she is getting exposed to more and more bad language, and so we deal with it much more than we used to. She seems fairly accepting of the fact that she can't say certain words. We monitor our own language quite a bit around the house, so we know that if she does pick up a word, that it didn't come from us! However, Gannon isn't always on board with the concept of not saying bad words. He has issues with using what we call "potty words" in daily language. So, if he walks up to you and calls you a "poopy head", please know that we are still working on it! Jamie has tried explaining to me that boys just think that is funny.
Ok, so I'm laughing on the inside. :-)


Friday, February 6, 2009

Highlights from the week

I've decided to start posting my highlights from the week, in an attempt to blog more often and also in an attempt to remind myself weekly of my many blessings.

1. attending a beautiful and FUN wedding. It's so refreshing to see a couple in the "new love" stage, if you know what I mean. I'd SOOO get married Jamie, of course, but I'd love to re-do my wedding. I think my vows would be taken on a much deeper level now that I've been married for nearly 10 years. If you're married, would you change anything about your wedding day?

2. attending a FUN Super Bowl party with our Sunday School Home Group (I'll have to give more details later about what a Home Group is..).

3. a warm afternoon spent playing outdoors and getting spring fever

4. intelligent children who continually amaze me with the things they bring home from school

5. good health (the kids have somehow escaped strep, a stomach virus, and a variety of other nasties which are floating around Hsv right now).

6. reconnecting with old friends...I had lunch this week with a guy I knew when I was in college, and I also lunched with a friend from high school. It was so wonderful just to catch up and realize that, despite not seeing each other for 5-10 years, it was so easy to pick right back up and be buddies again

7. fellowship with girl seems like every time I've spent some girl time with friends, I come away with a better understanding and appreciation of myself. Strange, but true.

8. playing games (specifically one of our new fave games, MarioKart on the Wii) with the kids and watching them laugh (our other recent favorite is Pass the Pigs...not a Wii game)

9. the willingness of my husband to sit and listen to me talk (sometimes) aimlessly every night after the kids are in bed

10. the prospect of warm weather this weekend, and the anticipation of going for a hike and picnic on the mountain

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Recipe Yumminess--Oreo Truffles

After I took the picture of these, I realized how un-appetizing they look, but trust me, they are GOOD!!! I can't resist most things chocolate, and these are right up my alley. Oreos, cream cheese and chocolate sauce....YUM-O!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Billy Mays -- Big City Slider

When I was a kid, I loved to sing commercial jingles. While Gannon hasn't picked up that habit yet, this has become his favorite commercial. Not about dinosaurs, or cars, or trains.....Nope, not my Gannon! Give him a commercial with Billy Mays about a Big City Slider. They air this commercial every day on Nickelodeon before The Backyardigans come on, so he gets to see it almost every day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My latest read..

I haven't posted in a while, but life just hasn't been very different lately, so there hasn't been much to report! I did recently finish reading a new book, The Shack. I think it's kind of a recent trendy type of book, and I hadn't really been dying to read it or anything, but I found myself at the bookstore with a gift card, so I went for it. I also bought Tales of the Beetle Bard by J.K. Rowling, which was good.

My first misgiving about reading The Shack was that it confronts my very worst fear--losing a child. Usually when I think about the possibility of losing one of my children in any way, I wind up in the fetal position sucking my thumb for a week. Okay, not quite, but close! I know I'm not the only mother out there who has this as one of the top fears around. I'm pretty comfortable with my own mortality, but I am NOT okay with the thought of losing one of my children. Sooo--this book happens to have a 6 1/2-year-old girl as the victim of a kidnapping and murder...HELLOO?????? My own sweet Melody is 6 1/2. Not a good start to the book. However, I decided to keep going and see if it had anything to offer beyond this tragedy. I'm glad I kept reading, because the book actually opened up my mind to some different ways to view God as the Trinity. I don't know if what the book proposes is even close to true (how are we to know for sure?), but it is quite intriguing to ponder the possibilities. Since reading it, I have been able to tackle certain situations with a lot more calmness and serenity than I would have previously. It's good stuff. The information in The Shack took some of my perceptions of God and the Holy Spirit and trampled them into the ground. I recommend that if you do choose to read it, that you do so with an open mind.

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Striving for Stewardship

In an attempt to become better stewards this year, Jamie and I have decided to make some changes in how we approach certain events. Since it is only January 9th, and the kids have already been invited to several birthday parties, we have decided to tackle this head-on. I'm not going to get on my full birthday party soap box, because I do have one. However, I will say that as the kids get invited to more and more birthday parties as they get older (it's inevitable, right?), I have gradually become more mindful of how our money is being spent.

On to our plan for the year: we've decided that in lieu of giving birthday gifts, we are going to donate the money we would have spent on the gift to a charity. This isn't an entirely new concept for us..we asked people for Gannon's first birthday to donate to charity instead of giving gifts..after all, what does a 1-year-old really need besides clean diapers?? Right now there are many organizations that are struggling due to the nation's economic crisis, and there are lots of families suffering as well. I know of a few, but for the most part, most of the families whose birthdays we're invited to are holding steady so far. I feel that a better use of our money could go to those who really need it. Is buying another toy helping anyone? It makes the child temporarily happy, but other than that it more than likely ends up in the pile of toys they already have at home (I'm speaking from personal experience with this one..). I've even found myself lately standing in the toy aisles of Target just trying to find something that the birthday child might not have already! We are surrounded by very blessed people! Jamie and I want to be better stewards of our money (and our time..time spent searching for that perfect gift!), and one way that we think we can do that is by increasing our charitable giving. We also want to be good role models for our children in the area of giving, and we think this might be another step in the never ending process of teaching them how to give. We've been teaching them about tithing at church, but we've never really sat them down and talked about giving to charity. I'm expecting some resistance from Melody, simply due to the fact that she loves to give gifts. I'm not sure she'll see giving to charity in quite the same light as handing over a wrapped toy that she got to pick out for her friend. She is a kid, after all, and she enjoys getting and giving wrapped gifts just like the next kid. I'll let ya know how it goes...

Okay, so our college group of friends has 12 children. That is a minimum of 10 parties, adding other parties from kids at school or church for both kids. Let's say we get 20 party invites this year. If I budget $10-20 per gift that I would usually spend, then that will be around $100-200 each year that will be going to charity instead. Nothing to make a dent in any organizations budget, for sure, but I am trying to stay focused on the aspect of giving rather than the actual dollar amount being sent. I'm probably going to do this for our relatives, too, so add those as well. Not bad!

All in all, I feel very good about our decision, and I hope that our kids can somehow grasp the concept in their concrete thinking brains. I'm sure there will be LOTS of handmade, colored notes from Melody going to the birthday parties this year. We're looking forward to it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Where have all the home improvement projects gone?

Okay, so it's the new year, and I'm already bored with it. Isn't that just plain sad? Today I realized that some of my blase attitude is stemming from a lack of a project! I get very bored with the same old, same old routine of just cleaning the house. I need something new and fun! I need a home improvement project. Jamie will be oh so thrilled.

My last couple of projects included de-wallpapering the office, then painting the office. Then I painted Melody's room. That leaves only 2 rooms left to paint: the kitchen and the dining room. Now, the dining room walls have wallpaper, and after tackling the wallpaper in the small office, I declared that I was hiring someone to take down the gross stuff in the dining room. That room is probably twice as big as the office. We don't have a formal dining set, so I'd like to get it done before we purchase anything. You know, less furniture to move.

But I think I need a big project. We need all new interior doors, and our middle floor (we live in a split-level, so the middle floor encompasses the foyer, kitchen, dining room, and office) needs new flooring. It has vinyl flooring that looks like faux hardwoods. Yuck. Although it is fairly new (installed prior to us purchasing the house 2 years ago), it's already starting to peel up and frankly I just don't love it. So, those are the 2 big projects I'd like to tackle, but unfortunately those also require a good bit of money! Ah well, guess we'll start saving..

Okay, so since I'm being so utterly discontent for the moment, I'd also like to say that I've already been thinking about Christmas 2009. You got it. Here it is, January 7th, 2009, and I'm already planning 12 months from now. Jamie and I, for the past several years, have gotten each other one big gift for Christmas. It's usually something big ticket that we both want/need, and that we usually wouldn't just run out and buy. Two years ago it was a will. Yes, you read that right....a Living Will and Testament. Those things aren't cheap, and frankly, it just needed to be done. This past Christmas it was more of a family gift, but we broke down and got a Wii. A little more exciting than a Will, perhaps, if you're looking at it from an entertainment perspective. Anyway, I think for Christmas '09 I want to get a home security system. One that works! Those people that know my deepest, darkest secrets know that I have some residual PTSD as a result of my home intruder encounter from a couple of years ago, so you know where I'm coming from with the home security idea. The good news is that we actually have some sort of system already installed in our home, but it's not activated and I don't even know how long it's been here. Hopefully, it's not as old as our mammoth furnace that took it's first shaky breath when the house was erected 20+ years ago. Then my frugal self would have to break down and buy a whole new system, and I just don't know if I could handle that. But, I have 12 months to figure it out!

Okay, so instead of wondering what everyone's resolutions are: what are some PROJECTS--home or otherwise--that you are undertaking this year?

Monday, January 5, 2009

And lately...

I just finished reading the book by Kate Gosselin about her life and the life of her family. She's the one with the show on TLC called "Jon and Kate Plus 8". I haven't followed the show very closely until recently, and was interested enough to request the book for Christmas. It was quite short, and therefore a quick read. If you don't know anything about this family, basically the husband/wife, mom/dad are Jon and Kate. They had a set of twins, then became pregnant with sextuplets, bringing their grand total of kids to 8! Pretty amazing. Anyway, they have their own TV reality series detailing their lives and how they handle being the parents of two sets of multiples. Their website is here. I really liked the book, albeit short, because it allowed Kate the opportunity to expand upon how her faith in God helped get her through her difficult pregnancy and then her daily struggles with sextuplets. If you watch the show, she'll mention her faith from time to time, but the TV series doesn't really provide her the chance to really get across the depth of her faith. So, I give it a thumbs up (You know, because I'm suddenly a book critic!).

In other news, school started back today!!! My children were happy to go back, and they seemed to adjust to getting up early again with not very much difficulty. We'll see how wiped they are when they get home this afternoon! I would like to say that I have sat around enjoying the peace and aloneness with bon-bons or something, but instead, I took the opportunity to go get the van washed and vacuumed, ran a few errands, and now I'm home doing dishes and laundry. Fun stuff, huh?? But, I'm doing it all without 1,000 interruptions so I can't complain! We had a GREAT break and I am so thankful we had such a wonderful time together as a family. I love making memories.

Speaking of memories, I took a trip down memory lane this past week when our family went on a hike with my parents up on Monte Sano. We've done this before, and we generally try to limit the hike to no more than 1/2 mile or so, due to Gannon's short legs. However, as we set off on our 1/2 mile hike, my Dad mentioned that if we followed the trail, it would lead us back to the parking lot in a little over a mile. Melody began jumping and begging to go the whole way, and since she was well-outfitted with her new trekking poles, I said sure. So, Jamie, Gannon and my Mom turned around and headed back to the car while my Dad, Melody and I continued on the trail. I have to say, Melody did awesome! She really looked like a natural hiker out there and kept pace almost the entire way. As I was bringing up the rear, as I like to do most often, I was reminded of all the hikes I took with my Dad and Grandpa when I was a kid, probably close to Mel's age and older. It is so easy to connect with nature and family when you're out on a trail with nothing in sight but tall trees and a leaf-strewn trail. I always, always feel God's presence when I'm hiking. I truly desire to be able to pass that on to my kids. I was reminded of this poem by Robert Frost (I had to memorize this when I was a Sunday School, of all places!).

Here's Melody taking a little break
Once we got back home and we were telling Jamie and Mom about how well Mel had done, Mom said that Gannon hikes just like her: he looks at his feet the whole time, and therefore has a tendency to just wander right off the trail! He apparently ran into several bushes and had a near miss with a tree! Gannon has always loved finding a hiking stick on every hike we go on, so Papa's Christmas gift for the kids this year was perfect--trekking poles! Now we'll just have to work on keeping Gannon on the path, or maybe he will be the traveller in Robert Frost's great poem and always take the road less travelled!

I've always been hit or miss with New Year's Resolutions. The only resolution I made that I actually had success with was my final year of college..I made the resolution to clean up my nasty language. I had a foul mouth (can you believe that???), and so I made a very conscious effort to eliminate some of the horrible things that came from my mouth. This year will bring about many new changes for our country, and so my only resolution is to remain positive. I plan on doing this by remembering the verse from Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Have a blessed New Year!