Friday, December 16, 2011

To Give Or Not To Give

Can I get an, "Amen!" for two weeks off for Christmas break?  I am so excited to have my kids home and Hubby on vacation for two whole weeks! I don't even have my Christmas shopping done, but I"m not even bothered by that.

I'll be the first to admit the last couple of weeks haven't gone so well at the girls school and we all need a break. Between a teacher saying that email communication was going into her junk folder and then saying we didn't let her know about orthodontist appointments*.   And another teacher still spelling my other kids name wrong**.  

This has been sort of a roller coaster school year. But when it came to giving Christmas gifts to the teachers I didn't hesitate. It's something we enjoy giving as a family.  The (homemade peppermint sugar scrub) gifts were something the girls and I could make together instead of just throwing another candle at them or something they didn't need***. 

Then my older daughter mentioned that the teacher wrote thank you notes to some of the kids and not all of them. Guess which column she fell under? First, I'm a little surprised that she noticed. Second, I had to explain that we don't do those things for the thank you notes.  Although it would have been nice to receive an acknowledgement.

God, it took all I had not to call the teacher a few names to my daughter and to mention how rude it was for the teacher to write thank you notes to the chosen.

I did think to say that maybe the teacher had a lot of gifts and didn't have enough thank you notes. If that were the case would it take anything to just write a thank you on a piece of notebook/construction paper?

The feeling was all too familiar. Recently we dropped a nice chunk of change on a birthday lunch and the gift was a super duper cute mini photo album with updated pictures of my kids. My girls gave the recipient two things they found around the house. My kids were the ones that got thank you notes. Not Hubby and I. I had to swallow the fact that I didn't do it for the thank you note. Will we be doing it again?

Sometimes it seems so stupid to get wrapped around the axle over a note. God knows I'm no Emily Post or Miss Manners.  I can't control how others behave. I can only control my own behavior.

May I remember to rejoice in the giving and not the gift. May I do it because I want to and not what I get in return.

*and taking it out on my kid by getting mad and not speaking to her and saying that we didn't let her know.
**it's just another "e" at the end. That's it. The kicker is that the teacher has the same first name.
***not that they NEED peppermint sugar scrub, but it was something we enjoyed making and wanted to share.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Odd Angel

Recently when perusing through craft web sites looking for crafts and activities to do with my kids I came across something I'm not quite sure about. I had quickly glanced over the name when looking to flip over to another web page. A few seconds later I thought, "Surely that didn't say what I thought it said". I had to go back and check. It did say what I thought it said.

It was an innocent enough looking angel ornament hanging on a tree limb. Adorned with wings and a wooden bead for its head.
 Looks innocent enough, right?

It's a tampon angel. I'm just a little creeped out by it. Obviously, it's not a used one. But still.

I think if I wanted to make something similar I would just go to the fabric store and buy a few yards of some sort of cotton fluff material or something. 

It was one of the crafts that didn't make the list of things to do this year. I'm pretty sure it never will.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendar

Just as soon as we are coming down from our Thanksgiving high it's time to get your shoes on and start running toward Christmas. It's crazy.

On one hand I'm a planner. On the other I procrastinate with the best of them! It seems that every year I'm trying to make a mad dash looking for cute little gifts to put in the advent calendar. And trying to find gifts for two kids to fit inside each door is a little bit of a headache.

I came across a blogger on Pinterest that had the neatest of ideas. She started doing activities instead of gifts each day in December. Some are the simplest of activities that we were already doing. Things like making gingerbread houses and reading the story of the first Christmas. I made sure to include a trip to our favorite mall to see the wonderful Christmas decorations. On another day we're going to enjoy a candlelit dinner by the Christmas tree. I'm also getting them involved with helping me make their teacher's Christmas gifts. I'm also looking forward to making peppermint candy wreaths!
I did simple activities that my kids like to do. Instead of wasting our money on little trinket things that either get broken or eaten by the dog,

I hope this new tradition will be something that the girls will carry with them in their heart.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving High

Hubby and I are finally coming down from a wonderful Thanksgiving high. It was a great week all around. Hubby took off the entire week from work. Which means that when we spend too much time together around the house it could spell trouble. In my mind he's invading my domestic space and I'm not sure sometimes how to deal with it. We survived grocery shopping together and preparing the house for guests. I was on guarded behavior that week because I didn't want to send him running out of the house to work. I finally realized that after 13 1/2 years of married life he can't read my mind and know what I expect him to do*. I let him know how I do things so an argument wouldn't ensue.

The girls only had to go to school two days of the week, which allowed me to do grocery shopping kid free**. Then they headed to Granny's house for a couple of days leading up to Thanksgiving. I had the kitchen to myself to prepare everything.

When I started thinking of what we needed to do to prepare we started going over the house with a fine tooth comb. One of the things that has been bothering us since we moved in are the toilet seats. I kid you not. They should have been replaced eight years ago when we first moved in. The toilet seat in the master bath was one of those plastic cushioned ones. Just odd. The others had just seen better days. They were actually not as expensive to replace so we did it. It's truly the little things that get us all excited, and we were actually able to do it ourselves. That's impressive, because we can't do anything around the house.

Now on to the good stuff. Preparing the food. I put the turkey breasts in the crock pot. I also made green bean bundles that were to die for! I couldn't forget the macaroni and cheese fans, so we had plenty of that. Mind you there was no powdered cheese involved***! Honey roasted sweet potatoes were also being marinated****. Don't forget the gluttony of desserts. I made my first pecan pie. I also made a chocolate chip pound cake and cherry cream cheese tarts.

Thanksgiving was filled with food, family and a little bit of fun mixed in. My cousin said it best when she said that she enjoyed Thanksgiving better than Christmas. With Thanksgiving there's no pressure on giving the perfect gift. You're spending time with family and it's just that.

Isn't the greatest gift we can give time?

Sum up Thanksgiving like this: Full tummy. Full heart. Full house. Full fridge. Does it get any better than that?

*Seriously? What's taking that man so long?
**Kid free, but Hubby was with me so it could be a tie. I kid. I kid.
***It's just as easy as the box kind, so I think that's what I'll be making from now on. 
****I'm not a sweet potato fan but I thought everybody else was. Thank God my cousin brought regular mashed potatoes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Tree

I've mentioned that my cousin is responsible for my new addiction. That new addiction being Pinterest. It is a great community of creative people that post their ideas to this web site and you can post your own, or re-pin their ideas.*
The above definition nails it. Even #3. But, I consider it more productive than facebook and I've actually made use of some of the ideas. It's where I got the ideas and knowledge to refinish my kitchen table. I made my NOEL piece. There are other ideas I can't wait to get started on. I could even get my kids involved with some of them.

There was one idea that I thought would be neat to try for the month of November. With Thanksgiving coming round the bend I thought my family could put what we are thankful for each day of the month of November. I saw where someone had posted a picture of some tree limbs in a vase and had some different colored circles tied with string hanging from it. They called it a Thankful Tree.
Who couldn't do this, right? I thought it would be a great way to remind myself and the kids that we have A LOT to be thankful for. Even in times when we don't appreciate it. I went out to my monster of a crepe myrtle in the backyard and clipped a few limbs. I printed up a template that had different leaf shapes. I grabbed a bunch of my scrapbook paper that hasn't and probably wouldn't be used anytime soon and started cutting leaf shapes.

I started it the first of November and we write on a different leaf each day.**

I even started one in our 5th grade Sunday school class. ***For the Sunday school kids we give them a leaf each Sunday and they are to write down something they're thankful for. This picture is from before I hung up the leaves. Another teacher took pictures of the kids and she wants to hang those from the tree as well.
When I was working on building the tree at church someone showed me all of the diecuts they have. They have a great leaf shape that was perfect.  I had to go back a second day to work on the tree at church and I took more of my scrapbook paper and made more leaves for my home tree. That was so much easier than using scissors!

I'm going to hate to have to take that tree down!

This is how the Thankful Tree is going at my home:
The leaves just cover the little excuse of a limb. Maybe next year I will just make circles for us to write our notes on.

This is definitely something I would like to make a family tradition!

*I've noticed that the most creative people I'm following are LDS. Is creativity a requirement of their faith? It must be a spiritual gift for them.
**The kids have been much more faithful in this than I have because some days I have been in an emotional pit. We took our house off of the market and it just sort of feels like a dream is dying. 
***Yep. Hubby and I are teaching in a 5th grade class. Pray for those children!! =)


I have Pottery Barn taste without the PB budget! Pottery Barn rocks the cozy, classy, comfortable style that I love. From furniture to chandeliers and wall art to the needless knick knacks.* The holiday season is definitely no different. There's been one item that they've featured in holiday catalogs the past couple of years. 

NOEL. Something fun for the fireplace mantle for the Christmas season. Made of iron with a hand pounded bronze finish. With a PB price tag to boot!**

I'm all for a hand pounded bronze finished piece of metal like the next lady, but seriously? Let me have a hammer, soda cans and some paint and I got this one.

When it comes to some things decor around our house, if I want it bad enough I have to use my play money. It usually has to be something totally wonderful for me to spend it on stuff other than what it's really meant for.***

I started googling images of the wall art. I came across some crafting blogs that have their own versions of the NOEL piece. One was so close to the PB version that I had to read up on it.

I went to my favorite craft store and found wooden letters. The size of the letters isn't quite as big as the PB version, but it's close enough.

So. Let me think about this for just a moment. The PB version is $149. I went to my favorite craft store and spent about $8. Then I went to the local hardware store to get paint. That was around $10 because I couldn't choose between two different colors, so of course I bought both!

Once I chose the color I wanted to go with I spray painted both sides.**** Then I used craft sticks (popsicle sticks) to hold the entire piece together on the back side.
 I let the glue set overnight. And voila!
 I used a metallic spray paint for a look similar to the PB version. It's sort of hard to tell in this picture.

Now I can chalk up under my DIY belt:
-2011 girls Halloween costumes. They wanted to be the Statue of Liberty. I  made the torches out of yellow, orange and red tissue paper and craft foam. I also made their crowns.
-refinished our kitchen table
-NOEL wall art

There's a certain amount of pride that goes along with completing projects. And for just about the same results as spending too much money at the store of my inspirations. I won't hold it against the store! How could I?

*makes you think of the song that includes knick knack paddywhack doesn't it?
***haircuts, pedicures, clothes etc can add up
****Yes. Both sides. Because I know people who would turn it over and look. Then they would say, "You didn't paint the back side?" Isn't a properly finished piece of art better, anyway?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Day In The Life

Has there ever been someone you wish you could walk in their shoes for one day? Just pop in and experience what it would be like for a few hours and then go right back to the one you have. I have to admit there is someone I wish I could trade places with*.

Maybe it would be better asked if you would like to be a fly on the wall.

One of my new favorite shows on television is Selling New York. It features real estate agents from Core, Warburg and Gumley Haft Kleier. It details the riggers of the wheeling and dealing of New York real estate. These are people I would love to have on my side anytime when dealing with real estate.

One of my favorite properties that they've featured on the show this season is the Clock Tower in Dumbo. It's an area of Brooklyn that used to be a cardboard factory. The penthouse.
Gumley Haft Kleier got the listing and offered it at  a cool $23 million**. Wowza! It's definitely been one of the more expensive properties featured on the show.

The apartment was gorgeous. A little (or a lot) on the contemporary side, but still beautiful. It had a very lofty, open feel to the space. Limitless views of New York City.
The agents held a party in the evening to show off the views from this apartment. It was fantastic! It was as if you were above the clouds looking at a sky full of millions of stars. 

There's just never a dull moment on this show. It's a different world in New York real estate, that's for sure!

Yes. I wouldn't mind just one day in Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern's gorgeous Louboutins***.  Until then, I'll keep watching the show. There will come a time when I'll make it to New York. But, I'll be wearing my sensible athletic shoes and most likely looking like the most giddy tourist there ever was!

*Only for a few hours to see the things that they get to see on a daily basis. I wouldn't trade (on a permanent basis) my life with anyone.
**It ended up selling several months later for just over $7 million. 
***With a lengthy foot massage afterward.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Finally Did It!

When Hubby and I put the house up for sale we had to do a lot of staging. We had to pack stuff up and re-arrange everything else. It was fun but at the same time exhausting. One table ended up being taken apart and stored in the garage. And another table was put in its place because it went better with the color scheme of the room. Well. This table did go better with the color scheme, dark brown with black legs. But it was a table with deep crevices. Several rectangles as part of the design.

After a long time it just got gunked up with food and arts and crafts. There was no amount of scrubbing that could get all the gross junk out. You can almost see some of the gunk in the picture above.

 Here's the  table before:

It's the basic butcher block wood color with painted white legs with chairs to match. It had to go! But not to the curb.

So. I let my new obsession go to my head. Pinterest has a LOT of neat ideas and creative tutorials. So off I go to my local home improvement store to make the second table look a lot more pleasing to the eye and go with the color scheme.

I bought some liquid sander, stain and spray paint. Off to work I go. I started with the table first. Wiping on the liquid sander and shortly after, wiping off. At first I got the plain liquid stain. It doesn't give you much time to work with. I had some gel stain leftover from when we had our kitchen cabinets stained and that's a lot better to work with.
It was actually a little bit fun! I sanded with a fine grit sand paper between two layers of stain. I used a flat enamel spray paint for the bottom part of the table and legs. I did put a thin coat of polyurethane on the top of the table just to keep it as nice as I can for a kitchen table.

I was a little bit nervous about doing the chairs. The best thing I could think to do was to spray paint the legs first. I just propped them on top of my garbage can and sprayed away. I worked my way up from there. Next I stained the seat.

I took Hubby's bike down from the ceiling and hung the chairs upside down to avoid getting too much paint on the seat part. Thank God it was a very windy day when I did this!

This project maybe cost around $100. That's a lot better on the checkbook than a whole new furniture set. It's not perfect, but I'm very happy with it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lesson Learned

Is there something you've thought you would never do, but faced with possibly having to do it? I had one of those moments recently. I was mortified! 

I had taken off my wedding rings to put lotion on my hands. I carefully put them on the arm of the sofa*.  Well, time got away from me and I just forgot they were there. Bedtime rolled around and I walked away to run through the bedtime routine. After brushing my teeth I remembered that my rings were on the arm of the sofa. 

Or so I thought. They weren't there. I didn't think too much of it at first. I just thought I knocked them off onto the floor. They weren't anywhere around. I panicked! My mind automatically thinks that the Goober dog that resides in this house has found them and eaten them**. Oh Crap***!  I walked away to tell Hubby I might have to be sorting through some steaming piles of dog poo soon. With a puzzled look on his face he asks, "Why?" 

I told him what happened and he said, we're not going to be digging through poop to look for your rings.  Here I am faced with my wedding rings possibly in Goober's system and I am contemplating mashing up dog poop in the next few days to get my rings. I never thought I would have to do that. But, I was at that crossroads. Thinking that I will. 

I like my wedding rings. The new mounting that I got for my thirteenth wedding anniversary sure doesn't hurt either! In my head I could justify sorting through poop and disinfecting it many times over before going out and finding another. It wouldn't be the same and it's not in the budget at the moment. 

I went back to the living room and gave it another try. I stuck my hand through every nook and cranny of the couch and dug up all sorts of stuff. Including my wedding rings****. Relief quickly set in! 

I faced a decision that I wouldn't wish on anybody. And thank God I didn't have to go through with it*****!

Is there anything you would sort through dog poop for? 

*Yeah, right
**He's eaten and passed socks and underwear before, so why not?
****Not to self: never put rings on arm of couch. EVER. AGAIN. 
*****Yes, it's a material object. I'm not placing the value of it over anything, but poop can be washed away. I've seen some of the rings out there. I bet others might be doing the same thing! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What is My Life?

For the past several weeks I've been doing  a bible study with one old* friend and a couple of new friends. We've been going through Kelly Minter's No Other Gods. It's been more than fascinating! Then recently Hubby and I have been reading through Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life**. Technically it's not really A LOT of reading. Each book takes maybe 30 minutes each out of my day.

After reading chapter five of Purpose Driven Life I was curious.  The title is "Seeing Life from God's View". As Rick puts it we can see our lives as a circus, a minefield, a roller coaster, a puzzle, etc. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down and sometimes you go round and round. What's my life metaphor?

Am I the rabbit racing through life just to get to the finish line? Or to rush through motherhood? Am I the tortoise taking my time while life speeds past? Warren says that we need to challenge conventional wisdom and replace it with the biblical metaphors of life.

Romans 12:2 says "Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will". Warren mentions two biblical metaphors that teaches God's view of life.

Life on earth is a Test. He tests our character, faith, obedience, love, integrity and loyalty.  Adam and Eve failed their test, as well as David on several occasions. But there have been many who have faced and passed their challenges such as Joseph, Ruth, Esther and Daniel.

God is constantly watching my response to people, problems, success, and conflict. I have to admit that I've felt like God has drawn back and let me have control. I don't like it. I joke with Hubby that God isn't speaking to me right now. I'm not even sure if He ever has.

When life is a test nothing is insignificant for character development.  And I'm feeling like I'm failing that test miserably.

The second biblical metaphor that Warren mentions is Life is a Trust.  God has entrusted to our care opportunities, relationships and resources. We are stewards of what God gives us. Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him." Warren says that it was God's property before I arrived and God will loan it to someone else after I die. I only get to enjoy it for a little while.

At the end of my life I will be evaluated and rewarded according to how well I handled what God entrusted to me. Uh oh! Some days I feel like I am failing that test miserably, as we have struggled with debt, giving God our first fruits, spending on what the needs of the day are as opposed to the wants. I hear over and again that I should not lust after the things of this world, even when I just want to have fun talking about nice things with friends or family. But then I look at all that we have been able to do on one salary that most friends do on two: we are raising two beautiful girls who have everything they need and a mother who has been at home raising them for the past ten years;  we have a decent-sized house that is not too big for a family of four; we take nice vacations every 3-4 years; we have been through a round of house remodeling. It's not as much as many of our friends have done, those who go on vacations every year AND have twice the amount of house with a pool. But we are happy and healthy, and we are all friends. Drama is kept to a minimum, and we live in the shadow of God's loving, divine will.

God moments don't feel as dramatic in our household as they might in the lives of others, but our moments with the Devil are few and far between. Tests have been present, and I think we need to do better with what God has entrusted us with (still working on that 10% tithe). But God has been quietly faithful to us all through our lives, giving us what we need and enabling us to follow Him. He has just been there, and in the end that's what friendship and relationship are really about. *Being* there.

 And isn't that something?

*I mean we've been friends for a long time, not that she's ancient!
**Very rarely will you ever find me reading through more than one book at a time. One usually ends up being put aside til later or I have no interest in it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Fun

My cousin recently introduced me to the world of Pinterest. It's basically a web site that acts like an electronic type of bulletin board. At first I couldn't figure it out. But the hardest part was getting the "Pin It" button to attach to my Google task bar. It has replaced my file folders full of magazine clippings, recipes, types of hairstyles I might want to try one day and decor for any season.

Recently a friend posted on facebook a picture of a pumpkin topiary that she had made for fall. It was simply fantastic! She has great taste. She's very much a Do-It-Yourself type of person. Here's a picture of her topiary:
I was in awe! It was fun and creative. It drove me to go to one of my favorite garden centers and pick up a few small pumpkins and get to painting! We're saving the carving for Hubby for next weekend. He wants to do it anyway.

Clearly I wasn't going for the topiary look because this was my first time at the pumpkin painting rodeo. I wanted to ease into it.  I got a pumpkin for me and one for each of my kids. I just wanted to see how mine would turn out with just painting first.

Well, it's not THAT bad. I just stuck with an all over metallic color and a black fleur-de-lis and some other embellishments. Hold your laughter:
The metallic color doesn't show up that well in this picture, but it's the best I've got. Yes, I know I could have done the fleur-de-lis straighter. Some people could probably nit-pick this to death. But, it doesn't matter, because I kind of like it!

  You'll notice the other two pumpkins are blank. Well. The girls decided that they didn't like how theirs turned out so they washed the paint off and they said they wanted to try again next weekend. I'm thinking glitter may be in their future! We had fun in the process:

I'm enjoying Pinterest a lot these days! It's taking over my time that I used to spend on facebook.  It's some of the good parts of facebook, but better. With none of the crappy stuff of facebook. Pinterest is just a place full of inspirational ideas, projects and style. Here's to more projects!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Have to Get This Off My Chest

There are just some things that have been eating at me for a long time. I need to get them off my chest or I might just have to start slapping people. Or saying some things that I might later regret. Here goes.

*I'm really tired of people being a$$holes.  Why can't people just be nice? I understand that people have an occasional bad day, but some have had a lifetime of bad days and it's exhausting.

*I have learned that it's not my job to be the chain of communication. I am no longer going to assume that you want so-and-so at your get together. If you want someone there, ask them yourself please. I have had times when I was selective about who I wanted at my gathering and therefore didn't ask them. I let each person know individually.  Plus, if I was the chain of communication the other person gets all huffy and  says, "Why didn't they ask me themselves?"You know how those people can be.

*Please don't call me in for a 15 minute meeting and then 45 minutes later we still haven't covered what we really need to talk about. At dinnertime.

*Please don't come in to my home and complain about the dust or the smell in the backyard when you don't even clean up your own home/work place without the help of your mother. When you have outside help to clean, your opinion is just about null and void.

*Snobby people are driving me nuts at the moment. Seriously, you have nothing to be snobby about. You are no better than the rest of us.

*Why are college educated people still misspelling the simplest of words?

*Hubby left you TWO voicemails. You can't say he didn't try to find out what was wrong. I think he at least deserved an email back if you were too chicken to call him. So just be wrong. Sit there in your wrongness and be wrong.

*Stop coming up with excuses. Just admit you can't do it anymore. You can't do everything on your own. You need help. AND IT'S OKAY!

I'm not whining. I'm just tired of certain behaviors. I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means. But couldn't we all try a little harder to be aware of the ripple effect we have on others?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Buy My House. Please!

After the long, hot summer we just endured Hubby and I decided we'd really like to have a pool in our backyard. The problem is we cringe at the $45k price tag installing a pool comes with. So the subject of selling our house came up. After sitting around wondering whether or not to sell, we finally put our house on the market. What do we have to lose?

Let the good times begin*! I've gone through closets and packed up boxes. I've spit and polished just about all I can. We hired a handyman to fix odds and ends. It is show ready just about twenty four hours a day. 

It's been a couple of weeks now and it's been a roller coaster. Our realtor gave me access to the comments that the realtors who come through have. It comes to my email after each visit. 

This is the time I'm going to take out my frustration on all of you ignorant realtors out there. 
1.  Comment: beautiful drive-up, but the den is too small and the bedrooms are all on the same side of the   house. 
     Well, I can't do anything about that one. You and your kids are too old for this neighborhood. It needs  
      young blood. I can't change the floorplan. It is what it is. For this area you either need small children or  
      be empty nesters. 
2. Comment: beautiful drive-up, clients favorite of the day. Will discuss an offer. 
     Please. Don't insult us with ridiculous offers. We want to move. We don't have to move. We're not          desperate. 
3. Comment: Clients are looking for more contemporary. They would need to decide if they would want to  remodel. 
     Contemporary? Had the client or the realtor looked at any of the pictures online they would have known  that there is nothing contemporary about this house. There's plenty of contemporary crap out there. We've seen it. 
4. Comment: Client thought the house was beautiful. They are moving here from Brazil and this would be their first time to buy a house. The only thing they didn't like was that the fireplace was too big. 
     Seriously, if that's the only flaw you can come up with you don't need to be buying a house in this area. We don't use it either, but it's just there. I didn't know that fireplaces came in different sizes. 
5. Comment: Beautiful drive-up and fabulous colors on the inside. They liked the updates then saw some of the paneling and wondered why we stopped updating. 
     Look here beyotch, had we not stopped updating we either wouldn't be selling or it would be priced much higher. We've put in granite in the kitchen and painted over a TON of pathetic wallpaper. We've put in a fence, new a/c, new hot water heaters. We've stained the cabinets to rid this house of the deplorable golden honey cabinet color that was popular in the 80's. All of our light fixtures and ceiling fans have been updated and there's no sign of the gold fixtures that again, the 80's dumped on us. Did I mention the buttload of energy efficient windows we put in a few years ago. Cha-ching!! We've seen houses priced much higher than what ours is and we've done much more than they have. We've made the necessary changes. The rest isn't broken. It still works just fine. It may not be the latest and greatest, but that's for someone else to change if they see fit.

Yes, people are entitled to their opinions. But so am I. This has been a short road that in some ways seems like it's already lasted forever. There are some moments when I think, "What are we doing?". The market is saturated with houses for sell. There's always the springtime. Hopefully someone will come along and think this is the perfect house for them. At one point, we thought it was perfect for us. Who knows? 

God knows.  It's in His hands. I have to be okay with that.

One realtor we met at an open house said not to get discouraged. "People are moving all of the time" is what she said. Here's to people to moving all of the time! Here's to hoping what she said rings true. 

*sarcastic tone intended here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mother Tucker II

Our rescue dog, Tucker, is definitely part of the family now. He came home with us on December 4, 2010. He was an underweight Golden Retriever found wandering the streets. When we first brought him home we studied up on all things that could make a dog sick. We still make sure that the kids never give him chocolate, raisins, and grapes. We've gotten him play toys and he even adopted one of the girls blankets. He drags that blanket all around the house when he wants to show off. 

Along with making sure he doesn't get fed all of the wrong things, this house is on high alert to keep socks away from this dog. We used to blame the dryer for missing socks. But no more. Tucker will find a sock*, eat it then he disposes of it in the backyard. He disposes of it through his rear end. 

Let me get this straight, chocolate causes dogs to have high heart rates and vomiting. And grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. But, socks passing through a dog's digestive system isn't fatal? We're at a loss as to why he hasn't learned not to eat socks. 

I could almost understand if he wants to chew on it. But then leave it on the floor and move on. What about a sock even tastes remotely good enough to swallow??? He must have a stomach made of steel to be able to pass these things through! I wish this dog could talk to me and explain his silly infatuation with socks. Then I could knock some sense into him to where he wouldn't eat socks any more. 

This dog is a part of the family. He's a goob. I guess I need to get used to buying lots of socks. And hopefully finding less and less of them in the backyard as time goes by. 

*obviously I can't be vigilant enough to make sure every stinkin sock finds its way to the laundry bin

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hand In Hand

It only took about three weeks before we had our first early release day at school this year. No biggie. My oldest was off at fifth grade camp and it was just me and my baby*. She was bored silly without big sister around. She soon noticed my bookshelf with my scrapbooks and wedding photo album in it. One by one she gets them down from the shelf. Asking questions and making funny comments about some of the pictures. 

Then lastly, she got my wedding album down and started thumbing through the pages. Then I hear, "Mommy! You cheated on Daddy?!" I emphatically said, "NO" and went over to see what picture she could have been talking about.

 My father died when I was eighteen, so I knew early on that I would always ask my oldest cousin to walk me down the aisle. My baby was looking at the picture of me and my cousin about to walk down the aisle and I burst out laughing. I explained that my cousin had represented my family in giving my hand in marriage to Daddy. 

It was all better after she saw that yes, Daddy was there and he and I walked out of that sanctuary hand in hand. 

She cracks me up with most of the things she says. She has such a personality that it's hard to keep a straight face. I love her for it!

*1st grader, but she's still my baby

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Asking and Giving Forgiveness

 "Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive."
  Luke 17:4

Can we all admit that asking for someone's forgiveness is one of the hardest things in the world to do? It takes humility, and it takes courage. It takes the power of God.  It especially doesn't help when the person you're asking foregiveness from reminds you of your crime and won't let it go.

Someone I was talking to mentioned that she had asked forgiveness from someone. The person basically threw it back in her face and reminded her of her abomination. If you knew my friend, it would break your heart. She is the kindest person on the face of the earth.

I admit, that part of our conversation stuck with me for the rest of the day. It bothered me. It bothered me as much as if I was the one asking for forgiveness. It made me think that it's no wonder why people don't ask more often for forgiveness. When someone asks for forgiveness they are laying their heart out. Making themselves vulnerable. It is our choice to forgive as we have been forgiven by God. Each and every day.

Is it maturity? Could be. Whether it's mental or spiritual maturity, some prefer to dig their heels in and be right. They will stand their ground and when it's all said and done who wins? No one.

After I had just graduated high school I had my first love, of course I was head over heels. He was the be all and end all. Shocker. It didn't work out after a couple of years*. But when it didn't work out and he was dating a "friend" I'll admit that my behavior was atrocious. It was shameful. It was definitely something I wish I could take back. I didn't have the mental maturity or the spiritual maturity to handle the situation.

After several years had passed I put a note in the mail to them both. I wanted to apologize for my actions. I wanted to clear my conscience and fir them to know that I was truly sorry. I wanted to let go of the guilt once and for all.  When I received a note back from the girl, she asked what my intentions were. What was my motive? Then she reminded me of what I had done and how I hurt them both**. I was well aware of what I had done. But I was not alone in this stupid little triangle. But I asked for what God gives me everyday. Forgiveness. 

The weight of sin is so heavy only the shedding of Jesus' blood can atone for it.

When we sin against someone who has no relationship with Christ, it's as if Satan himself is steering the other person in not letting go. It's a self-focused, resentful way of living. I'm not sure it's really living at all. Jesus is the best friend we could ask for. If you don't have a relationship with Him, seek Him out and there will lie your hope and salvation.

Ephesians 4:31

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

In the world of raising kids, there is a lot of saying, "I'm sorry". Whether it's between the siblings or from parent to child and vice versa. I'm not a fan of saying, "That's okay" after someone says, "I'm sorry". I know we should forgive seventy times seven, but I also want to promote a sense of appreciation for the act of asking forgiveness.  I encourage my kids to say, "Thank you" to one another after they have had to apologize to each other. 

 Some people are ready and willing to forgive. I said some. When some people accuse you of doing something, then they do the same thing shouldn't both parties be asking forgiveness? Not just one? That's when I have to call to mind, Matthew 6:14. "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you". 

Forgiveness is the greatest gift.  Whether we feel forgiveness in our hearts or not, we are under obligation to obey God. As we obey God, He will supply the feelings.

Asking and giving forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do in this world. Thank you, God, that this world is not eternal.

God, I pray for the vulnerability to always ask for forgiveness when I need it. I pray that it is received with an open and pure heart as it is intended. And when someone asks for my forgiveness that You will supply the feeling of acceptance and that I will not let anger stand in the way.

*No harm no foul. We kiss a lot of frogs before the prince comes along, don't we? My prayers were answered when Hubby and I finally crossed paths. 
**Oh please, it was nothing physical. They got married, then she cheated on him and divorced him.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Not Even a Week In

The first week of school isn't even over yet and I'm already struggling. Don't get me wrong, we were all ready to go back to school. My kids were ready, and anybody who knows me well knows that I was ready for them to go back to school. It was time to get back into a steady routine. I'm not saying the summer was bad. It was truly grand! But, freshly sparpened pencils, clean chalkboards and homework were knocking down the door.

I said to myself that this school year would be great! My oldest is in fifth grade and my youngest in first. Great attitude = great year. I was even excited the day we went to find out who my kid's would have as their teachers. We didn't play in any games or school politics. We didn't write any letters asking for a specific teacher. It just worked itself out. God worked it out. 

But I'm already on shaky ground.

My oldest had new teachers last year. Every one of them. They didn't have kids either*. I was scratching my head about some of the projects and their bad timing on more than one occasion. With my youngest we started out Kindergarten with one teacher and finished with another. The first one had family issues and felt it was better to stay at home. I don't begrudge her that. We were lucky to have had her the length of time we did. We had known her since my oldest had started school there. The second teacher was great.Then the last day of school came and we were given Kindergarten graduation certificates.** My daughter's name was spelled wrong. Ugh. Really?  After two attempts at getting one with her name spelled right over the summer, nothing. On the third day of school this year I was told that I would have to wait until the end of this year to get one with her name spelled right because supposedly they didn't have any more of the cardstock. I went to a big box office supply and got my own.

I was able to leave my cares behind after asking several teachers, including the gifted and talented teacher about a math tutor for my oldest. I asked over email and in person. They said they would get back to me. I was ready and willing to pay to keep my daughter on her toes with her math skills. We've tried the math tutoring places before, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I was looking for true one on one time.  I dreaded the thought of her getting behind. I heard back from none of them. Either way. I ended up finding an honors math student who's a junior in high school. Both of my daughters just adore her!

For this school year I was sort of resigned to the old saying, "If you can't beat 'em join 'em" when it comes to PTA. You know. That group that people pay to join and volunteer for stuff. You're on a committee, but you have no say really. It just comes from the top down and the top barks orders. I don't like barking.***

The first assignment was to provide lunch for the teachers the Friday before school started. Easy cheesy! Of course I signed up to bring dessert. A chocolate chip pound cake was in the works. It was so much in the works I made TWO. One to keep and one for the staff. Heaven! It was cooled off and delivered in time. Complete in one nice Rubbermaid carry all.

When I went to the school the next day to pick up my cake carrier it was right at the front desk where the Hospitality chair said it would be. With a broken locking mechanism. Ugh. Really? Do you think anybody even said "Thank You"? Not even accolades in the first school newsletter of the year.

No, I didn't do it for the thank-you's. I did it because I wanted to share in something I enjoy doing. I realize accidents happen. From spelling my kid's name wrong to breaking my cake carrier. But, come on.

I need Grace. Mercy. Compassion. Thankfulness. Kindness.  To get me through the rest of the school year. A couple of days ago I was saying, "No more" this soon into the school year. I want to have a change of heart, but at this rate it will be trampled all over by Thanksgiving.

God, please change my heart for the better.

*Future 4th grade teachers here's one idea: when you plan for the project of keeping up with the moon pattern, would you please plan it in the winter when we have short days? Not during the spring after the sun was out past 9? We solely relied on Hubby's iPhone app. Yep, they have an app for that.

**No. We don't have Kindergarten graduation ceremonies. That's just stupid and a waste of money.

***Barking orders and little girls yelling and screaming. Grates.On.My.Nerves.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Me Neither

Have you ever been around someone who never lets you get a word in edgewise? The conversation was dominated by one particular party. Imagine if there were more than one of those types at a get together! They have to be the life of the party or they're afraid they won't feel important. 

Have you ever met someone new and in talking with them you've gotten to know a whole lot about them, but they've learned nothing about you?

Have you gotten together with someone you haven't seen in years and when you leave, you remember why you haven't seen them in a long time? 

No? Me neither. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Perfect Ten

I first met her with ten fingers and ten toes. When I first saw her she had blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes. She was and is a blessing to me. She is a lively and creative spirit. She has a tender side and she's very sensitive. She is smart and energetic. She is the apple of her daddy's eye. And mine as well.

My oldest is ten today. I'm a little freaked out. Time has flown and I don't know where it has gone. I want to grab on to some moments and just live them forever. I want to never forget. I want to never forget the time when she was a baby and I would move my hand in front of her mouth and she would make funny noises.

When she was a toddler we would ask her what Daddy says. Her response would be, "I love you". When we asked her what Mommy says, her response was, "Sh*t". Yep. That's when I knew she was watching me and I had change my ways.

Then came time for her to go to pre-school. No biggie. She was cooler than a cucumber and ready to make new friends. We had a few years of "Muffins with Mom" and "Donuts with Dad". There were Christmas programs where they actually sang Christmas Carols.

Sending her off to elementary was a breeze. There hasn't been a teacher she hasn't liked. There may have been one or two I haven't liked, but she knows none the wiser.

My heart leaped for joy when she was ready to be baptized. She had followed God's command and made a public profession of faith. A tender heart learning to live in God's love and light. I get none of that glory. I don't deserve it. God gets all of the glory!

Ten years have gone by. Ten years of growing in God's Word. Ten years of growing up girl.

Ten years have gone by.

Thank you, God for allowing me the privilege of being this young girl's mother. Thank you, God for blessing me with her smile, sense of humor, her silliness. It just doesn't get any better than this! I lift her up in prayer to grow more independent in her faith. I pray for her to have a strong mind and body. I pray that she hears and feels a strong sense of destiny and purpose. Whisper in her ear, God, what You would have her do. May she have a desire for integrity and strive for excellence. May she always glorify Your name in everything she does, Lord.

Ten years have gone by. It's unreal. Happy birthday to my ten year old daughter!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dear God,

I truly hate facebook. I despise that it has let people show their snarky sides more freely. It's impossible to let more than a week go by without some sort of drama rearing its ugly head! As fast as it is to be excited about something I see, something else is waiting to tear me down just as fast. It exposes the ugliness of peoples' souls for all of the world to see. 

Or is that Your master plan?

I long for our culture to go back to a God-fearing world. A world where we care for one another. We don't let ourselves forget that each and every one of us matters. 

I hate that it has replaced the sound of a voice over a telephone line. I hate that people post everything from what they ate to how many  bowel movements they had. 

If it's Your will to change my heart toward social media then please do, God. Otherwise, I'm cutting it off once again. My life is more productive. What I don't know or see won't hurt me. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Hall Pass Has Departed

During the week of the 4th of July, Hubby was on vacation*. After we got our oldest off to her first church camp we were free to stay up late and sleep in just as late. Movies were on the schedule as well. On the menu was what we like to call a "stupid funny"** movie and an alleged crime "thriller". 

The first movie that we scratched off of our list was Hall Pass. We knew going in that it was about two married couples and that the men get a week off of marriage. We hardly found any humor in this one. One couple ended up crossing the line physically and the other crossed the line emotionally. There was also a seen where Owen Wilson is at a fitness club and he falls asleep in the whirlpool. His character starts slipping into the whirlpool, and two men come to his rescue to pull him out of the whirlpool. NAKED. Full frontal. One of the two men was black. The other white. The movie puts in your face*** the stereotype of the black man's member and then the stereotype of the white man's member. It also didn't help that the hair and makeup people did their best to make Owen Wilson look so unbelievably unattractive. He was H.O.T. in Behind Enemy Lines! What more should we expect from the same people who directed There's Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber

The next movie that we knocked off the list was The Departed. It was directed by Martin Scorsese and nominated for several Academy Awards.  Most outlets describe it as a crime thriller. I describe it as very stressful and just plain awful. The movie was apparently inspired**** by the time that James "Whitey" Bulger served as leader of the Winter Hill gang in Boston, Massachusetts. It was a tale of a crooked cop whose paycheck was being supplemented by the crime boss, and another cop trying to infiltrate the crime organization to bring it down. Of course with mob mentality there was more than enough bloodshed. The kind brought about by shooting people in the head. There was more fake brain matter than I care to think of and see. 

I want my time back from both of those movies*****.  I sometimes wish that I could open the top of my head and pour bleach in to erase any memory of those movies. Where are the good movies? I want good, silly humor without nudity. I would love to see a true "thriller" movie without all of the gore. Did I say already that I want my time back???

**Mindless humor 
***and Owen Wilson's face
****There's nothing inspiring about this film
*****I'm pretty sure Hubby feels the same

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Miss My Kids. Really!

I'm approaching my fourth night of the kids being at the grandparents house. The house has been clean for three days straight! It's quite nice that I haven't had to do as many dishes without them here. Hubby and I have watched movies and eaten dinner out without having to worry about who's gonna watch the kids. 

But, I miss my kids. Really! I miss their laugh, and their smiles. I miss their unending requests for something to eat and even their silly little sisterly spats. I miss their adorable faces. Other times if Hubby were to ask me if I missed the kids, I would quickly say, "No. Not yet". This time is different. 

The trip over to the grandparents was a little last minute plan. Usually, I'm at my wits end and that's when Hubby calls his parents to see if they want to spend a little quality time with the little cherubs.We haven't gotten the chance to get that much summer under our belts so far.  It really hasn't been all that stressful. Yet. 

I know I should be grateful for the free time. Trust me I am. 

Today was the first day I actually got out of the house to do something "fun". I'm not sure it gets any better than a chocolate mint pedicure! I had had enough of being cooped up in the house, not being able to think of something to do. Normally, I would have no problem thinking of something to do. It would be party central around my house. Ideas run rampant in my head, while the kids are running around the house. 

So, I'll savor my last night until the kids come home. I look forward to them returning. They have been missed. They are loved! I can't wait to kiss those cute little faces. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bridesmaids and Boxes

Recently I went to go see the totally hysterical movie Bridesmaids. Once I got past the raunchiness of the first two minutes I laughed until I cried*. I had great company for the movie, we were both in stitches! It's main plot is about two women who are friends since childhood, one is getting married and the other is the maid of honor who gets to know the other women in the bridal party. The matron of honor is in every- way-shape-and-form the opposite of the childhood friend. Let the competition begin for who gets to wear the title of "Best Friend".

It made me sort of wonder how the childhood friend had no idea of the "newer" best friend. They had never met until the time to start planning the wedding. The bride had a separate "box" she kept her groups of friends in. It made me think that I, along with most of us, do the same thing. 

Some of us have a family box, that we open when we need to. Then we put it back up on a shelf when we don't need them. Family occasions are just that. Family occasions. They very rarely combine with other groups of people in our lives. That doesn't mean we love them any less. Or does it? 

For those of us that have found a church home or, "box" it can be our refuge. It's our safe place to celebrate the joyful times in our life and express our faith. It can also be that place that we reveal our weaknesses and need for accountability. But for a few, once we leave our church box where does our faith take us? Our accountability is out the window. We dip our toes in and out of the church box on Sundays and Wednesdays and that's it. How do we make it more than what it is? 

In the neighbor box, there's a wide variety of difference. In faith, color, age and political opinions. Some prefer the warm confines of their own four walls. Never to venture out and meet new people. There are those that can make friends with a rock and bring others out of their shell. When Hubby and I first moved into our second house the neighbor across the street suggested a daddy/daughter bike ride**. But when the day and time arrived, Hubby knocked on their door but neighbor was nowhere to be found. I guess he had forgotten? When Hubby went over, the wife wasn't sure when he would return and she didn't know anything about it. They never mentioned it again. How do we draw people out of their homes and into more interaction with the very people in our closest proximity? 

The work box can be a tragic comedy all by itself! We're all looking out for number One! Covering our backside, to climb the corporate ladder and making sure that no one else gets credit for something that we have done. All while trying to maintain a spirit of camaraderie and making it a place where people want to come to work. There have been a few instances where I have seen co-workers actually get along fantastically outside of work despite plenty of differences. How do you foster an environment inside the workplace that encourages teamwork? 

Needless to say, the women in the movie competing for the attention of the bride came together. They put their competition aside for the benefit of the bride. 

No matter how many boxes we have do we mean to keep people in them? Is it to maintain some sort of sanity or steer clear of conflict? In Bridesmaids, yes it is! Is this a case of art imitating life? Do we only expose certain parts of ourselves to the different groups of people?

Of course those of us who have found a church box know the reason for the boxes - we live in a broken creation and each of us through our pride have set ourselves up as God. We have built up walls around us, constructed boxes around ourselves to ensure that we remain in control of each aspect of our lives. But Jesus came into this world to dare us to let down our walls, tear down our boxes, and open ourselves up to others in love, because He first loved us. "His Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven." May I have the strength to live into this prayer!

*which is much better than laughing until I pee in my pants!
**they also have two daughters, a tad bit older

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Value Your Time

What is it about family? Maybe people in general? Some people's love comes with conditions and demands. We do our best to try and jump through those hoops for a small chunk of what attention we might get back in return, only to be discarded. It never seems to be good enough. 

If we drive four hundred miles to attend a high school graduation, it's not good enough because we don't have a gift in hand. When we send a gift but don't attend, it doesn't warrant even two sentences on a Thank You note. There have been plenty of times when others have driven four hundred miles into our town, but there was something else on their calendar*. We were an afterthought**. 

We recently got an announcement from somebody we haven't seen in ten years. I just didn't get it. I couldn't pick out the person in a lineup. Was it their attempt at trying to get a gift? When they moved into a new home, they invited all the rest of the family, but not Hubby and I. The last time they came over, I was explicitly told that they were in my house to be served. By me. I don't serve people my own age or younger if they are physically capable. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having people over. I want to serve people because I've invited them into my home and enjoy their company, not because I've been told to. There are some people that have been invited over and over, but I never get a response back. If it's me, then I wish they would just say so. I guess that's okay. After hearing "No" or nothing at all, the invites will just stop. No pressure. 

Some people hold it against us if we seem to be doing better financially. Others hold it against us if we aren't doing as well. We're looked down upon, or we've somehow insulted someone if we offer to help. Is there a happy medium? To quote Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?". 

The hardest part about family drama is what kind of affect it will have on my kids. Our family is pretty darn small already. Who will they turn to for special holidays and get-togethers? 

It's no wonder we choose to replace family with friends. They include us in the good times and the bad. Sometimes even in the sad. They include us. Period. We all have a few good friends that put their hearts on their sleeve. They would drop everything to help us out in a pinch. It's almost as if they could be the brothers/sisters we weren't blessed with, until later in life. 

If there's anything I value over material things, it's your time. I wish more people did as well.

God, grant me the patience and the grace to take things in stride. Life is short. I pray for loving relationships. Meaningful moments. I need special understanding for what seems the impossible. I pray for time not to slip away. 

*This happens on my side of the family AND Hubby's. I'm not pointing at anybody specific. Hhhmm.... maybe it's me. 
**Who am I kidding? We weren't thought of at all. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Come On Summer!

It's been a long school year. I can almost taste the last day of school. It won't get here soon enough. It's been an interesting year as far as being a crossing guard goes as well. There have been some good things about this year, as well as bad. I have to remind myself of the good when something bad happens.

I had to make a list to help get me through the last few weeks of school. Here goes. 

The people and things I will miss:
-The moms who allowed me to get to know them by name. They've made the mornings and afternoons a pleasure. Here's to new acquaintances and friends. 
-The kids who were ready to get to school each and every day. Some of those kids had the sweetest disposition.
-The school bus driver who actually tried to keep the Christmas spirit alive by leaving his interior Christmas lights up well after the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour was over.
-The extra money was nice. I could earn a little play money and it didn't take me away from my kids.
-The people who drive by and just wave to say hello. They're not dropping off kids, they're just on their way to work. Or wherever.

There will also be some things that I won't miss:
-the alarm clock. Need I say more?
-Seeing kids that are way too small to be sitting in the front seat of cars.
-People who don't understand what my "Stop" sign really means.
-The woman in the minivan with a permanent scowl on her face. Everyday.
-The extreme cold/heat. The weather has not been my friend much this year.

It's been an interesting year. Goodbye homework. Goodbye to being a crossing guard at the corner.  Hopefully, summer will wipe away the headaches of the past school year. It will give us time to nurture new friendships and maintain the existing ones. Plenty of opportunity for fun, relaxation and FREE TIME.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The World Is Your Oyster

It's that time of year again. The one where your mailbox is filled with wonderful announcements. Announcements of dreams fulfilled. Twelve years of hard work, studying, football games, exams, parties. High school graduation is a wonderful mark in most everybody's life. It's closing the door on our adolescence and opening another to our future adulthood. Whether that includes going into the military, making the journey to college or joining the workforce. It's their choice. The world is their oyster.

It's worth celebrating. Shout it out to the mountaintops! To those that we see on a most regular basis to those we haven't seen in a number of years. When do we know what is appropriate to send as a gift?When is a card enough? Just because you get an announcement does Miss Manners say that we are obligated to send a gift? Are we supposed to consider how much the travel expenses would be? 

Obviously, each person's financial situation is different. Not everyone at every time can  give a gift of monetary value. Nor, may they want to. There are many different types of gifts.  

If  most expect some sort of monetary gift, is it too much to expect a thank you note that consists of more than ONE sentence?  I guess that one sentence thank you note is better than no thank you note at all. Instead of presents, when is presence enough? 

Whether a gift is received and a thank you note written, congratulations graduates! You have the world ahead of you. Every possibility awaits. Your childhood behind you, the world ahead. Take advantage of every great opportunity. Seek counsel from others when there seems to be too many choices, or not enough. Most of all, enjoy every moment!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Caviar and Donuts

Let me tell you, an anniversary is worth celebrating! It's worth acknowledging all that you have gone through in the last year, and all that you look forward to in the future. It's a wonderful time away from the kids, to remind ourselves that we are husband and wife before we are mom and dad. Last but not least, it was a great excuse to bring out the gorgeous Ralph Lauren one shoulder navy dress* out of the closet!

We started out going to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. It's probably overpriced to many, but for one special night out of the year it's worth it. Hubby had called ahead and made our reservation and mentioned that it was our anniversary. As we were seated, our hostess scattered rose petals across the table.

After we had ordered our meal, the waiter had brought out a small plate of caviar with embellishments. Compliments of the staff. Hubby and I were in awe. We had never tried caviar before, so we had no idea what we were in for. We took one for the team and tried it. It was the closest to a fishy taste without the texture. I like fish, but I want the texture when I eat something fishy. 

When we got our main coarse, it was one of the most perfect steaks I've ever had. Who do I have to pay to teach me how to make a steak this good? I want to know the secrets!! I savored every wonderful bite. 

At the end we knew that we shouldn't, but how could we pass up dessert on our one night at one of the best restaurants in town? But we didn't pick one of the traditional desserts on the menu. We actually picked cinnamon sugar donuts with warm chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I've never had a donut like this. 

In our Saturday night finest we've started the meal with caviar and ended it with donuts. How romantic! It was  a wonderful atmosphere, great food and terrific company!

When we were done with dinner the subject of what to do next popped up. We thought about going to the movie or going to hang out at the bookstore. Hhmm....then Reunion Tower popped into my brain. I thought it would be fun to go to the top of the tower and see the wonderful city and watch the sun go down. Wolfgang Puck has a restaurant at the top of the tower called Wolfgang Puck's 560. It's named 560 because it's 560 feet up in the air. We had no room left for any more food, so we hung out in the bar and watched the city go from early dusk to night time. It's really unique at 560 because the floor rotates, very gently and slowly. It takes about an hour to turn completely around and see the wonderful city. 

Our next night out, it's a shoe in that we'll make reservations for 560. Hubby and I look forward to spending a nice dinner time out with this gorgeous view. 

*awesome purchase for $45 from, brand new with the tags still on it. 

Monday, May 16, 2011


It is considered to be bad luck by many in the Western culture to dine with 13 people at the table.

This may be because of the Last Supper - Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples betrayed Jesus.

The card deck includes 13 hearts, 13 spades, 13 squares, 13 clubs

Benjamin Franklin

1. TEMPERANCE.Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. SILENCE.Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. ORDER.Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. RESOLUTION.Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. FRUGALITY.Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. INDUSTRY.Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. SINCERITY.Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. JUSTICE.Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. MODERATION.Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10.CLEANLINESS.Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11.TRANQUILLITY.Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. CHASTITY.Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
13. HUMILITY.Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

The fashionable Savoy Hotel in London, England does not take any chances. If you book a table for a party of thirteen, you will find that the table has been set for fourteen guests. Kasper, the black cat will be joining you for dinner. Kasper is the three foot sculpture cat that resides at the Savoy Hotel.

The business woman, Mary Kay Ash believed thirteen was a very lucky number. The company was founded Friday, September 13, 1963. The Mary Kay headquarters has thirteen floors and thirteen passenger elevators

Sometimes the number 13 is a bad thing. Sometimes a good thing. Chalk this one up under the good thirteen file. On May 16, I get to celebrate my thirteenth wedding anniversary. 

Thirteen years of growing. Growing together into a family. Growing in love. Growing older. 

Thirteen years of laughter. Silly, and sometimes stupid, jokes. 

Thirteen years of loving my best friend. Loving through all of the good, bad and the ugly. 

Thirteen years of not wanting to be apart if I don't have to be. 

Thirteen years of not being able to stay mad very long at the man I love. We've worked through lots of things and I look forward to working through what we haven't yet. 

Thirteen years of everyday life. More ups than downs. Together. I wouldn't trade it for anything or anyone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yep! You're Right. I'm Not Your Mother

There's a lesson that I think every married man with children should consider about Mother's Day. It's not about extravagant gifts or going to fancy places. It's about a sweet acknowledgement of what we have together. The best of both of us wrapped up in sweet kids that I wouldn't trade for anything in this world.

I'm not your mother, but I am your wife. I carried those two kids and loved them from the moment we found out we were pregnant. I will love them beyond what they can ever imagine.

I'm not your mother, but I am your wife who you chose to go on this parenting journey with. With every up and down that we experience, we experience it together.

I'm not your mother, but I am your wife and best friend. Long after the kids are grown and out of the house, it will be just you and me. I will still need a, "Happy Mothers Day" from you to let me know that you care and to know that you think I did a good job.

I'm not your mother, I am the girl that thinks she won the husband lottery. I couldn't have picked a better man to have a family with. Our kids know how a man should treat a woman. They look up to you. Every Father's Day I think how lucky, not only our kids are but how lucky I am as well.

If I hear one more man, even in a joking manner say that his wife is not his mother, I might have to pinch his head off. You* know that there have been plenty of times where the wives have had to be your mother at some point in time.

*the metaphorical you of course.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My View

Hubby and I live in an older neighborhood. By older I mean the houses run about 25 years on average. Give or take a few. Recently a neighbor got me into walking in our little neighborhood. The weather has been perfect for it lately.  Why not? Isn't it always better with some good conversation and a lot of humor.

The neighbor works so we've been walking in the evening. But this morning I took the opportunity to get out there and enjoy the fresh morning air. After taking an allergy pill mind you. When I took a look at my hood with fresh morning eyes it was a new perspective. There were things that I enjoyed. 
Who can't pass up a family of ducks? They're everywhere along the trail. They even come up into our yards. 

 There are tons of trees along the trail. Granted they may be trash trees, but they're trees. And they provide lots of shade. I am grateful for them.
The trail also has lots of pedestrian bridges. The trail runs along a creek that's right along my hood at the end of my street. Wanna switch sides or turn around? No problem! Just cross one of the many bridges. 
I can go as far as I want on this trail without having to cross any major roads. There are underpasses for the walker/jogger/biker all along the trail. 
Well, I thought this picture would turn out better, but it didn't. There's women playing tennis in cute little skirts. No one had just t-shirts and shorts on. They were all wearing cute little outfits. Oh my! My first reaction was, "Really?" We're not living in the west part of the city. This is the "normal" part. Granted we're a little closer to the Upper Class than the Lower class, but skirts?!?!?!? 
And the best for last. There's a weirdo fishing! Seriously? I'm not sure why anyone would fish in that water. The ducks,rabbits,turtles and whatever fish there could be are to be fed and looked at. Fed and looked at only. 

By no means is this a walk along a gorgeous coastline. But, it's what I've got and it's pretty good. There's always something better, but there's always something worse. Like no view at all! I have a great view on my walk. Thank you God for all that I am able to take in during my walk! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lent, Second Edition

During Lent, 2011, Hubby and I gave up facebook. It wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. We didn't even cheat on Sundays. At least he didn't. I did on the third Sunday. We had time on our hands. We had to communicate the old fashioned way!

Then Easter Sunday came and went. I was perusing facebook that night and I was enjoying some pictures that "friends" had posted. I noticed one particular picture that someone had posted of the inside of their church from that morning. It was exquisite. It had beautiful woodwork and it was traditional to the bones. So, I "liked" the picture and asked if it was in the same city in which he lived. This guys response was, "Try xxxxx". Really? How in the world am I supposed to know? I'm glad I'm happy at the church we attend. That would have been a great opportunity to share his church home with others. I "unliked" the photo and deleted my comment. Whatever.

Maybe my response was extreme. But, I'm not sure that his response could have been taken in any other way. If so, oh well.

While we were abstaining from facebook during Lent, Hubby and I had discussed continuing not to participate. Either we would only look on Sundays or just delete our accounts altogether. Of course deleting our accounts altogether would be easy since we hadn't been that much into it during the Lenten season. But, I felt a tug. Delete my account? Take a breath, it will be okay.

Then we watched a show on one of the cable news networks called, "The Facebook Obsession". It highlighted the start of facebook and some of the ups and downs along the way. It all started in a dorm room at Harvard by Mark Zuckerberg. His original concept was called "facemash", where he had input Harvard students pictures on the web site and he asked for people to vote on the prettiest/ugliest students. Sounds lovely, huh? It was quickly taken down.

The Facebook Obsession highlighted a reunion story of an adult woman looking for her birth mother. I guess that's okay when both want to be found. They also brought attention to police departments who had captured criminals through the web site. Yeah for criminals being captured! One woman that the show featured was employed as a school principal. She was fired after her "private" rants about the students were seen as inappropriate. The principal had blamed facebook for her firing. I don't blame facebook, facebook didn't make her put those things on her wall. She did.

Our privacy on the site is constantly being sacrificed. The site is constantly making changes, but those changes aren't made very well known unless someone gets a hold of it and spreads the word. Even though I think my wall is private, it's not. As the show continued, I think it made it a little easier for us to stomach deleting our accounts. First we have to go in and delete our photos one by one. Joy.

The producers of the show requested an interview with Zuckerberg, but their request was denied. They were referred to the facebook's privacy page on the site.

The show also aired a partial interview by Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal. She sat down with Zuckerberg for an interview and some of the questions weren't even that hard hitting, but he was sweating profusely. Some have called it, his "Nixon moment". This socially awkward young adult who started the biggest social network there is to date.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't an attack on anyone who chooses to participate on facebook. It's just that we are finding it easier not to. Come Friday, we will start to delete the pictures one by one on our pages and say good-bye.

The Facebook Obsession