Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Important Announcement

I'd like to state for the record that baking without using eggs totally and completely SUCKS, thankyouverymuch.

Piper is getting to the age where she gets upset when she can't have what everyone else is having, yet she's still too young to reason with.  So when the boys get something she can't eat due to her allergy, she usually ends up in a screaming crying fit.  And I contemplate joining in.

Since pretty much every food associated with parties contains egg, I have started contributing egg-free "goodies" (and I use the term VEEERRRYY loosely) at her school parties.  I also baked an egg-free cake for her birthday.

And I don't care what people say or how many rave reviews a cook book gets, I have not baked a sweet without eggs that's nearly as good as the original.  Not even close.  Maybe that's why they call it the "incredible edible egg."  Because people who can't have them get to eat baked goods that are very much NOT incredible.

The chocolate cake I baked for her birthday was just weird.  Even a very sweet friend of mine finally  admitted the other night that it wasn't good.  At all.  

Tonight I made "Luscious Yellow Cake" but used a cupcake pan instead.  Let's just say that the "Luscious Yellow Cake" is more like "Yellow Brick Road Cake."  The things are so hard you could use them to pave the road to Oz.  I'm taking them to her party anyway because it's late now and I don't have time to attempt another failing recipe.  I'm honestly not sure if 2 yr. old's have strong enough teeth for these "desserts."  I think I need to make a sign for my cake plate that says "I will not be held responsible for any dental injuries that should occur from eating the Yellow Brick Road pavement.  Eat at your own risk, for sure."  

And I'm only half-way joking.   

I'm Busy! Busy! Dreadfully Busy!

Much much too busy for yooooouuu!

Sing with me. It's Veggie Tales. Their rip-off of the good samaritan.

But seriously, I did almost all of my Christmas shopping on Black Friday. Our Christmas tree was bought and decorated the Sunday eve immediately following BF. I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Or maybe that was the effects of the eggnog.

Whatever it was, I truly envisioned my little family snuggling in the big chair or on the couch each evening of this ADVENT season watching Christmas classics (like the Miser Brothers? Wait just a cotton-pickin' minute. Who the heck are the Miser Brothers and what do they have to do with Christmas? And what is UP with that jacked up Rudolph story with the hippo queen with the bad accent and the dentist elf? Somebody was on some serious crack when they animated that story. Anyway...) on TV and drinking hot cocoa. Maybe with a little adult flavoring added to mine.

I seriously thought I had everything under control and the season was going to be a slow-paced relaxing one where we drank up every blessed minute spent together in peace and harmony.

Yeah right. Moments later my dreams were smashed with the same reality that Simon crushes people's dreams on American Idol. Let's face it- some of those people are delusional. Apparently I was too.

I feel like we have been going non-stop the last 11 days. We had friends in from out of town unexpectedly (although it was delightful!), we went to Piper's and Cade's school program, we went to Jason's brother's graduation, we went to Micah's school program, we had some friends over for dinner 2 separate evenings. PLUS, I voluntarily, um, volunteered (allow myself to introduce...myself) to bake brownies for Micah's program, cookies for Cade's party, cupcakes for Piper's, and fruit and cheese for Micah's (the last thing I almost forgot until JUST NOW. And it's for tomorrow). P.L.U.S. I still have gifts to wrap for this weekend when we have Christmas at my mother-in-law's house AND pack. I'm freakin' going insane!!

My mantra is that, technically, the hustle and bustle will be over with by Sunday. Which leaves me with 3 glorious days to enjoy Advent/Christmas. Basically, 3 1/2 weeks of Christmas bliss have been whittled down to 3 days. But, hey, at this point, I suppose I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bah Humbug!

Our little family traveled today to see my brother-in-law graduate from a small university in west Texas. When we returned home, I asked Cade to turn on the tree lights, which is the most coveted job of the season. He flipped the switch and- JOY TO THE WORLD- half the lights on the tree are out.

I checked to make sure all the strands were still connected. They are. I thought about using the excuse that it's too close to Christmas to fix it, but since Christmas is still over a week away, I don't think that lameness is going to fly.

Therefore, it appears that I will have the distinct pleasure of taking every decoration off the tree, de-lighting it, connecting some lights that actually shine and then completely redecorating the tree. The thought of this somehow does not make my heart flutter as it did the initial time we decorated the tree.

Why is it that decorating the tree one time is a wonderfully anticipated occasion, but doing it twice in the same season is considerably less appealing? Now it's more like a nagging chore, just one more thing I have to do this season. It's sort of like the thought of wrapping, unwrapping and rewrapping the gifts under the tree, just for giggles. It's kind of cool the first time you wrap them, considering the excitement and surprise the recipient will feel on Christmas morning (or whenever you exchange gifts), but it's not so fun that we want to do it over and over again. The first time is enough.

Oh what a heavy burden I bear. ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is time REALLY on my side?

Just a warning that this post is a MAJOR whine, so go ahead and call the WAAAAmbulance. And cue the violins.

I totally heart Google reader b/c it keeps me organized and current with all the blogs I follow, including a little bragging blog from my college alma mater keeping me abreast of how wonderful they are and all the amazing things other alumni that aren't me are doing. And reminding me that I should send them money. Seriously- the most recent email I got from them said to "Click here for a holiday surprise." So I did, thinking that maybe they were going to mail me a check for like 10% of my 4 years of tuition which might, like, pay off our mortgage or something. But no, the "treat" was that I could pay THEM. How does that work exactly? In this case, while I love my alma mater, the gift is not in the giving. The giving is OVER. Because even though I obtained a very expensive degree, I'm not really seeing the pay off in my current career. But I digress.

So yesterday I go to check the university's blog and what to my wondering eyes should appear? A friend of mine from COLLEGE is now a 2-day winner on Jeopardy! And it's not University Week. He's a real adult. And I'm a real adult. And I realized it's been OVER 10 YEARS since I last saw him.

When I was a sophomore in college, my 3 roommates and I lived in an apartment next door to 3 guys who were seniors. We all got to be pretty good friends, as 1 of my roomies and I were in an organization with 2 of the neighbors. We spent alot of time watching The Simpsons and King of the Hill together, spelling threatening messages with candy corns on on one another's front porches, and eating burritos at a hole-in-the-wall that had previously been closed for "remodeling" (but suspisciously didn't look any different when they reopened).

Mr. Jeopardy Winner was a buddy of the neighbors. Although he didn't live there, he spent a lot of time hanging out. He and I sang in a small choir together and had some other mutual friends. That year was a blast for many reasons, but partly because of our neighbors and their buddies.

Since that year, all the neighbors, plus Mr. Jeopardy Winner have gotten married. My roommates and I are all married. I have 3 children, including one who is too quickly encroaching upon 7. 7!!! As in YEARS OF AGE! Several of us have lost touch, but a few have reconnected through the miracle of technology that is Facebook.

It was really cool to see this guy winning on Jeopardy yesterday. Until I actually calculated the math and realized how long it's really been since I saw him last. Which took me a minute because I'm terrible at math. Then I got online to price Polident and Preparation H. And I'll throw in Centrum Silver for good measure.

When did this happen?!?! How did an entire DECADE go by and how can it possibly still feel like it was YESTERDAY? YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!


Since the 2nd anniversary of my 28th birthday 14 months ago, I've had a hard time with "growing up." I don't "feel" like a middle-aged mom of 3 kids. Does that ever happen? When is life going to slow down and let me catch up?

10 years.

That's a long time. And in many ways, not that long at all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Favorite Things- Day 3

To further incriminate myself and further prove that I'm a geriatric trapped in a "young" body, I could hardly wait to share one of my newest favorite things.

My parents, who now qualify for the "senior" discount in eating establishments, were in town visiting over the weekend.  While my mom and I might not see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues, we share a love of all things outlet, indeed.  I think my mom has been to an outlet mall in each of the 50 US states.  Make that 49 b/c I don't think they had access to an outlet mall on their Alaskan cruise a few years ago, but if there HAD been an outlet, you can dang sure bet she would have been there.

Imagine my delight when she got online and found a NEW outlet gem about an hour from my house.  Bless you, o internet, for you are a fount of information regarding good deals on inferior garments.  The plus side for her was that this particular mall was the closest location for her favorite outlet store, Crabtree and Evelyn.  Where my mom buys lotion by the gallon.  I kid you not.  A GALLON.  Only at an outlet...

C&E was the first store we went into and since we got there about 2 seconds after the doors were unlocked, we were the only customers, which meant my mom, to her great pleasure, got the full and undivided attention of the sales associate, Jane.   What else could an SA at C&E be named?? 

At some point in our conversations with the sweet lady Jane, I must have hinted at the dryness that plagues my hands during the winter months.  Because I work with kids and I have kids,  I wash my hands a thousand times per day with water that's about 1 degree warmer that ice.  They tend to get a little dry.  And they crack.  Which hurts.  I don't like pain.

Being the excellent saleslady she was, Jane introduced me to this amazing new product:

It's a pleasantly-scented hand scrub, called Hand Recovery, and a lovely lotion, aptly named Hand Therapy.  With all the recovery and therapy my hands have been a part of the last few days, thanks to these products, I now have the hands of...someone more youthful.  

I feel compelled to add that I'm not receiving any sort of incentive for promoting this.  As IF.  I could only wish that enough people read this blog to warrant free stuff!  But I do love it, and if you're a geriatric at heart and love products marketed for the senior set, and I don't mean high school, this is the BEST stuff I have ever put on my appendages.  And I love that word... appendages.  

National Bankruptcy Day

I'm....ummmm...."interrupting" my favorite things posts (to which I've been so dedicated and committed) for a very important public service announcement. I have like TEENS of readers, so I'm catching a big audience here.

I wanted to share something very concerning to me as a consumer and occasional "maker of children's articles." On February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is passing a Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in order to cut the use of lead and phthalates and children's products. While I'm TOTALLY FOR stricter standards to decrease or even eliminate lead and phthlates in children's products, the new ban will have a devestating effect on our economy. In a nutshell, any producer of items intended for use by a child 12 or under, including CLOTHING manufacturers, will have put each component of each item through stringent and EXPENSIVE testing. Basically, home-based businesses will go under. Any mom (or dad) who makes children's items will not be able to afford the amount of testing that will be required and they will have to shut their doors. Besides putting millions out of business, the new regulations for testing will drive up the cost of these goods TREMENDOUSLY! Consignment shops, thrift shops, ebay and Craigslist, yard/garage sales will be but a distant memory, as items without a certificate of testing can no longer be sold.

Here are a few links to other blogs discussing this same issue and it's serious effects:

Greco Woodcrafting
Little Ellie
MollyO Designs

Please consider taking action and writing or calling your representative regarding this action.

And now back to my regularly scheduled slacking...

UPDATE:  I wanted to add this link to make it SUPER easy to email your senators and representatives.  

And NOW back to my slacking.  For real this time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Favorite Things- Day 2

Clearly "follow-through" is not a strong point of mine.  That was part of the reason that I hesitated to start a "blog series" that would require me to actually blog about something everyday.  Were I to attempt to list all the things in my life that I need to do on a daily basis but don't, now THAT would be enough blog fodder for 10 years.  I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me?  

So here I am, 4 days into my commitment to My Favorite Things, and I'm only on Day 2.  Ah well, let's just all remember that saying about the road to hell and then we can move on, shall we?

As a child, I remember my mom making coffee for herself every morning.  She would usually down 2-3 cups of the bitter black liquid before we left the house in the morning and she rarely got in the car each morning without a fresh cup.  My dad is a coffee drinker, too.  I come from a long line of coffee drinkers and, while I like the idea of coffee, I still can't stand the strong flavor of plain black coffee.  Until the day I was introduced to the delicious creaminess that is coffee creamer...
That's why my 2nd favorite thing is International Delights Hazelnut Creamer.  Now I LOVE coffee!  Actually, I prefer to add a little coffee to my cream, but that's beside the point.  I will tolerate coffee with plain non-flavored cream and lots of sweetener if I'm really desperate for caffeine or to be polite at a friend's house during the after-dinner conversation, but the hazelnut really floats my boat.  

Jason isn't as big a fan of the creamer as I am, but when he adds it to his drink, he prefers the International Delights Southern Butter Pecan.  That flavor is tasty, but nothing can quite beat out hazelnut in my #1 spot.  When we are really feeling crazy, we'll try one of the "holiday" flavors like Pumpkin Spice of Gingerbread, but I always come home to me creamy dreamy hazelnut.  YUM!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Favorite Things- Day 1

I just love this time of year!! Although classic calendars tell us that the time from December 1-December 24 is technically Advent and the Christmas season is from December 25-January 6, popular culture deems all of December as the "Christmas season." So we celebrate this time of year as the Christmas season, anticipating the incarnation of Jesus and celebrating his birth at the same time. The theological correctness of which is more the speed of my husband's blog. Or mine on a day when I'm feeling more philosophical.

In celebration of Christmas, I decided that I want to post my very own favorite things list. I do not believe Oprah corners the market on favorite things, especially considering that the song "My Favorite Things" was written when she was approximately 5 yrs. old. If anyone corners the market, it's probably Rogers and Hammerstein. However, she does put my own Christmas budget to shame. So, no, I won't be purchasing all of my favorite things for all my bloggy visitors. So sorry.

To admit a touch of hypocrisy on my part, it really grates on my nerves that the song "My Favorite Things" is heard only at Christmas time, because I don't consider it to be a Christmas song at all. Sure there are some references in the lyrics to gifts and snow, but it's no more a Chrismas song than that Nelly/Tim McGraw duet should be considered country.

Be that as it may, I'm looking forward to sharing some of my favorite things this season!

To start with, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Christmas CDs! While I'm totally in LOVE with and the Christmas music station on our digital cable, it's nice to retain some control over my holiday playlist when I'm in a specific mood. SO in no particular order:

I'm ASSuming this album is new because I've not seen it any other year at Christmastime. I'm sure a cursory Google search could settle this, but alas, I'm too lazy. Anyway Shane and Shane bring the perfect amount of acoustic style to some traditional Christmas carols. Nothing is too dressed up or rearranged to the point of anoyance where the original tune is detroyed (example: Point of Grace's rendition of O Holy Night. Ugh! (Did I just reference Point of Grace?? Yes. Yes, I did. That was hip music. Last century. )). I recently downloaded it on iTunes. It's a keeper!

Next is Amy Grant's Home for Christmas. This little goodie has been out about 15 years give or take. Man, I am getting OLD. I actually owned this once upon a time. On cassette. Remember the little plastic contraptions with the 2 holes and the thin thread of film running through them? You put it in a player and when you pushed play, the spokes on the player turned moved the film through and music came out? Remember? And it took 15 years to rewind it when you wanted to hear your favorite song again? Good times. Anyway, I love this album! It's become a classic of mine!

I've never owned any Carpenter's album in any form, if that redeems me from the old-before-my-time category, but I have heard all the songs on this album and I don't know why I haven't downloaded it on iTunes yet. Maybe because the focus of our holiday budget revolves around our 3 little angels. So now we're broke. But Karen Carpenter's voice is like buttah! No one can sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" like her. And even though Jason hates it, I kind of have a soft spot for "Merry Christmas, Darling."

Finally, I've included Michael Buble on my favorite things list. I'm normally not a huge fan of the jazzed-up jazzy song from the jazz genre, but something about Michael Buble's arrangements just does it for me. They're jazzy, but not unrecognizeable. And I can still sing along. Which is good because I'm a fan of singing along. Unless there are actual other people around with ears. Although, I've been plugged into my ear buds at work with Christmas music being piped straight to my brain all week and it's requiring a TREMENDOUS amount of self control to refrain from bursting out with "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland" or something similar.

I'm sure I've forgotten some. These are just the ones that came into immediate recall. Feel free to post your own favorites in my comments section! I'm always looking for quality holiday tunes!!

And as a bonus (and a nod to Oprah, in case someone were to think I were blatantly ripping off her idea, which as I've mentioned was not hers to begin with) Oprah is giving away a free holiday CD! It's available for download here. Thanks to Couponing101 for posting this to your site! Enjoy, everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Merry SITS-mas!

I am frequently in awe and amazement over how many blogs actually exist out on the world wide web right now. There is a plethora of awesomeness one can find, and many times I stumble over the awesomeness accidentally. There are things that I didn't even know existed until I followed a series of clicks and one thing just leads to another, y'know?

Like SITS- my friend Denyse came out of blogging anonymity a few months ago when she found SITS and posted about it on her own blog. In real life, I've never been very good about just crashing myself into those seemingly preformed groups of friendships, but I do love reading others blogs. And more than that, I love it when people read and comment on mine! So I've added my SITS button on my sidebar and I'm ready to start commenting!

To join in the SITS holiday fun, I wanted to share this very merry Christmas video (one of my favorite things...more to come on that later!). Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I should be banned from the kitchen until the end of time

I've never made any bones about the fact that Jason is the main provider of delectable meals around here.  I do well to just keep from burning toast.  Considering this fact, you may be surprised to know that, for the portion of Thanksgiving dinner that was our responsibility to provide, the chef de cuisine was li'l ole me.  

And I managed only to sustain 2 injuries to my hands- one rather disturbing gash on my left palm (from cutting bread) and another cut on my right thumb from running it across the potato peeler. To see if it was clean.  It wasn't after that.  

I should no longer be allowed to wield sharp objects in the kitchen.  Or anywhere for that matter.

So Jason is our resident chef and he also is a collector of kitchen products.  He owns a very nice set of cast iron pots and pans that have a ceramic coating on the outside.  Similar to the Le Creuset variety, if you're kitchen-product savvy.  Only more affordable.  From Ikea, of all places.  I heart Ikea.

Anyway, we frequently use the cast iron skillet, which requires a very specific cleaning method.  Apparently, you are never supposed to use soap on cast iron, a fact which "someone" has pointedly reminded me of two or one hundred times.  So "one" has to scrub and scrape the food off with plain water.  Then, to dry the darn thing, you place it back on the burner and heat it until it's thoroughly dry.  Something about rust or some such nonsense...

I do love the skillet even though it becomes the bane of my existence when anyone (usually me) scrambles eggs in it.  Something about the reaction between the egg protein and the iron causes the cooked egg to adhere to the pan like cement that can't even be chiseled off.  You may want to let us know if you're allergic to eggs if you are ever to visit us and enjoy a mean prepared from this very pan.  Just sayin'.

In the past, Jason has kindly reminded me that one of the best ways to get the "baked on" food off the pan is to fill the pan with water and heat it until the water boils, thus rehydrating (I'm assuming) the food scum and decreasing the need for a chisel.  

As I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, just like I do once a week or so (Oh, I'm kidding.  Sort of.) I noticed this particular skillet still needed to be cleaned from lunch on Saturday.  I'm truly a domestic goddess.  So I went to work filling the pan with water and setting it back on the gas stove with the burner on high.  I turned back to the business of rinsing the rest of the dishes from tonight's meal and loading them in our ancient dishwasher.  It might as well be a Flintstone's wooly mammoth.

As I turned toward the dishwasher, I noticed a lovely smell for a night with such crisp weather... see, we don't have a working fireplace, but our neighbors do.  I thought to myself that they must have had a lovely fire roaring and the smell was delightful.  Then the mystery of the situation hit me.  When I turned toward the dishwasher, I smelled what I thought was the fire from the fireplace.  When I turned back to the sink, I no longer smelled it.  I played this little game with myself several times, turning away and smelling it, turning back and no smell to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me.  I must have looked nuts.  Or like I was doing some sort of Bill Cosby dancing impersonation.  

Then it dawned on me.  The handle of our iron skillet is encased in wood, presumably so that one can actually life and move the pan while cooking without scorching one's hand.  Which made sense to me until I realized the WOODEN HANDLE WAS ON FIRE!

I quickly turned off the burner and turned on the vent fan.  And apparently our rent house either 1) doesn't have smoke detectors or 2) they aren't working because there was no obnoxious beeping.  Even after the burner was turned off, the handle kept emitting a considerable amount of smoke.  It took me a second to realize that it was probably still on fire on the inside somehow, because I'm quick like that.  I dumped a small glass of water on it and it sizzled and puffed and finally disaster was averted.  

Now I may seem like the idiot in this situation, but let's look past face value for a minute to determine who is really at fault.  How about the GENIUS that thought it was a good idea to put a WOODEN HANDLE on an appliance to be used near, nay, DIRECTLY OVER an open flame?  GAH!

The good news is, the pan is fine, albeit a bit blackened around the handle.  And our house didn't burn down, although the kitchen in our rent house is begging to be remodeled so maybe an accidental fire wouldn't have been such a bad thing after all.  Now, who would like a piece of toast?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Crisis of Faith (in Santa)

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that Micah, my oldest, is a thinker.  Nothing gets past his steel-trap mind.  This is the child who, at 4 years of age, asked Jason, "If God is so mighty, why did Jesus have to die?"  Wow.  Let's all ponder that a minute, shall we?  But don't hurt yourself.

As we were eating dinner tonight, Micah asks, "Mommy does Santa travel all over the world or just in America?"  Before I could answer, he continued, "Because people in other parts of the world believe in people other than Santa.  So are they RIGHT?"  

Honestly, when people tell me they don't "do" Santa, I totally respect that.  Not necessarily because of the "it's wrong to lie to your kids" argument, but more because it's really hard to KEEP lying to your kids, especially when your 6 yr. old is waiting to poke all kinds of holes in your story.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave... right?

On one hand, I feel like I'm leading him to a double-standard: I want him to understand that it's OK for others to create their own tales of Santa, but when it comes to Jesus, we believe in one true God.  But on the other hand, at 28 years old (and holding), I can totally "get" that and I'm not any worse for the wear.  And, the most obvious point is that Santa is fictional, which he'll understand one day, most likely sooner rather than later.  Once he figures it out, his siblings don't even have a chance. 

I decided to simply to ask him what he thought.  He gave me some convoluted example of some other Santa-figure with wings that I have totally never heard of before, and he concluded that people on earth don't have wings, so the other people who believe in characters other than the "true" Santa must be wrong.  That's a boy with conviction!  Or dogma.  :)  

There will be enough time another day to clear up this confusion.  I just hope I'm doing the right thing between now and then.  


Friday, November 28, 2008

I Braved Black Friday Crowds and Lived to Tell the Tale

As everyone knows, today is THE biggest shopping day of the year. And could I even pretend to claim shopping as my spiritual gift if I were unwilling to venture out pre-sunrise on Black Friday? That would be a negative, Ghostrider. So after 3 stops last night to locate a newspaper for the ads, I finally got my hands on the ads and planned my shopping strategy, which began with getting to JC Penney at 4:00 AM. I cannot tell you the last time I saw 4:00 AM willingly. Or if I've EVER seen 4 AM willingly.

The line at JCP was pretty short when I parked at 3:40 AM (WHAT?!?!). So I waited in my locked van (Have I mentioned that, due to my stranger phobia, I rarely, if ever, venture out in the dark alone? Let's just say I've seen 1 too many TV shows where fake crimes have been committed against fictional characters. I'ma little jumpy in the dark. Today was a real breakthrough for me.) until 3:50 and then got in line to wait. To my supreme luck, it began sprinkling. But seriously, due to my bad habit of neglecting to clean out my van of all the extra crap that accumulates, I was prepared with a waterproof pull-over.

I got into JCP at 4, and went straight to the toys where I was hoping to score a Batmobile for Cade for the low low price of $15. Too bad it was a remote-controlled vehicle, which was not what I was wanting at all. I browsed the jewelry section briefly, until I noticed a Chester Molester looking fella who seemed to be following me around (paranoid, much? I told you- it's a real problem). So I hightailed it out of JCP and drove to the-store-who-must-not-be-named, where all the great deals started at 5:00.

Apparently, our store-who-must-not-be-named is open 24 hrs. Which means that, rather than everyone waiting in line outside, these same crazies were INSIDE WITH THEIR CARTS clogging up the aisles. It was ridiculous. I could barely get down any of the aisles to figure out where the cheap crap I wanted was located. I was on a mission for the $29 bike and parked my own cart right next to them. I befriended 2 ladies who were shopping together and they shared some Black Friday secrets with me and 1 of them even kept an eye on my cart whilst I mapped out the remainder of my plan of attack. As I was standing in the Crayola aisle examining an art set, a kind lady politely informed me that I had put my top on inside out. Nice. It was one of those longer tops (a friend of mine calls them "shresses"- is it a shirt? a dress? It's a shress!) and I did have a sweater over it, so I don't think it was too obvious. In my defense, I got dressed quickly AND in the dark, so it was an honest mistake, to be sure. I made a mental note to turn it the right way once I was safely back in my locked van.

At 5:00 store-who-must-not-be-named time, someone must have blown a whistle or threw down a flag or something, b/c all of the crazies simultaneously began lunging toward the pallets loaded with merchandise. I quickly got my bike and even scored the Batmobile. I was checked out and loaded back in my van headed to Toys R Us by 5:10. Not too shabby.

By the time I got to TRU, there was no waiting in line. The crazies were inside the store already. Thankfully, my children are not of the age that electronics are the order of the day, so I was able to steer around those crowds and head straight to the Iron Man dress up costume that I think Micah giggle with delight over on Christmas morning. Actually, I had one helpful associate help me locate my item and the poor guy got accosted 4 different times with various questions while trying to point me in the right direction. I hope those employees got holiday pay or a back massage or something extra for helping all the crazies today.

I was out the door of TRU by 5:30, so I scooted on over to Target for the $15 Air Hog helicopter, which is the ONLY thing Micah has asked for this year. Cade, on the other hand, wants one of everything. When I took him to TRU a few weeks ago, his pure unadulterated joy at every item on the shelves (Wrapping paper! Awesome! Transformers! Awesome! That dino thing! Awesome! That unidentifiable toy! Awesome! Literally this is how it went until I threatened to take him home if he didn't stop making me look like the mom who keeps her kid locked in a closet with little to no contact to the outside world.) was endearing and yet disturbing at the same time. Either we need to teach him more about thankfulness and appreciating what you have or this kid needs to get out more.

ANYWAY, when I got to Target, the line was wrapped around the building. Obviously, I missed the memo that Target had some not-to-be-missed deals, b/c I was just there for a plastic helicopter. I conducted an informal poll of people standing in line near me and the general consensus was that no one was there for any one thing in particular. Except me. By the time I located the Air Hogs, there were only 3 left. I picked up one to look at it and while I was examining it for suitability, the other 2 got snatched up. So I decided to purchase the one I was holding by default.

The checkout lines at Target weren't too intimidating either and I was back in my warm (locked) van by 6:20. My next stop was Kohl's, but I knew I needed some edible reinforcements before I braved the looooong lines that Kohl's is notorious for every day of the week, not to mention Black Friday. To my credit, I went to Kohl's on Wednesday and put the toys I was purchasing on hold. Now, my friends, aren't you glad you've read this diatribe thus far for that little tidbit of info? Yes, it's true. If you do holds on Wednesday, they will still be waiting for you at the customer service counter on Friday. It took no time to get the goods, but it took forever to check out. 20 minutes. By far the longest wait to checkout, hands down. It was 7:30 when I drove away from Kohl's.

I made a couple of other superflous stops on the way home, including a stop in the McD's drive-thru for breakfast for the children. I was home by 8:00 AM on a major shopping high, just 4 short hours after beginning my excursion. Once the kiddos were seated around the table chowing down on their eggs and sausage, I went back to bed.

For the most part, my Christmas shopping is complete!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Miracle

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving and all, I felt it only appropriate to share with the blogosphere my TG miracle: Almost all the laundry in my house has been washed and put away. Almost.


Since I had the day off, I seized the opportunity to do 10 or 1,000 loads of laundry.  But when your household population equals 5 and middle of those 5 likes to change clothes each day more than a teenage girl, one day's worth of clothes is like 2 weeks worth of laundry.  And by '2 week's worth' I mean because I won't be getting around to washing anything else for 2 weeks or so.  

By that time, the boys will be begging me to teach them how to do their own laundry.  It's all part of my master plan.   

I'm kidding.  But you've heard the saying "There's truth in every joke," right?

Anyway, since not everything can be clean at once, unless we become nudists (I'll let that visual sink in for a minute...) I just have to accept that 'almost' is just going to have to be good enough. AND MOST OF IT IS PUT AWAY.  

We're looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and 2 nieces where we'll consume enough calories to help us survive through our winter hibernation.  

Oh, how I wish we could hibernate.  Several months of uninterrupted sleep sounds like a dream come true (no pun intended).  Who am I kidding... I'd take one night.  Or even a morning where the boys sleep past 6:30 when I don't have to be at work.

But I digress.  I truly hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family, friends, and  great food!  We do have so much to be thankful for!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Micah Quips

Micah, my oldest son who is 6-going-on-60, has had his moments recently. He's been on quite a roll, actually, so I thought I would share a couple of things he has said to me lately.

I admittedly have a bad habit of putting on my make-up in the car. And by "bad habit" I mean that between getting myself and 3 children dressed, brushed (hair AND teeth) and out the door on time, I never have the few extra seconds it takes to slap on the necessary spackle. And by "in the car" I mean that yes, I am one of those people who applies make-up while driving. Thankfully (for all involved), I wasn't driving yesterday. You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. *Sigh*

While I was fixing my face, Micah asked me, "Mommy, why do girls wear make-up?" I informed him that it makes my face look better and that's just one of those funny differences between girls and boys. He thought about this for a second and replied, "You know, clowns wear make-up too!" Well, thankyouverymuch, son, for making such an astute connection.

This morning, he got mad at me for forcing him to try and find his belt (Gasp! Teaching responsibility to children? Well, I never...!). Anyway, he has to wear it as part of his uniform everyday, so I don't think it's too much to ask of him to put it away everyday in a place where he'll be able to find it the next day. Only he didn't and he couldn't. And he was angry. At me. Because that makes so much sense when you're 6.

I caught him in the middle of his fit-throwing just as he threw in a threatening, "You'll pay for this, Woman!" I managed to give him a spanking before I about died laughing. In private of course.

Oh, he does keep us hopping. And laughing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I've avoided posting about politics on my blog, although I was avidly following the presidential campaigns. So much that I'm addicted to talk radio, further proving that I'm a 60 year old trapped in a 28 yr. old body. And I'm also currently experiencing the first stage of grief. To save you from wasting time googling it, it's denial.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Anyway, I came across this article today and really appreciated it. While I may not have agreed with every decision made by the current administration, I do feel that President Bush deserves more respect than he has received.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that, too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Would this be the definition of irony?

Jason has had a man-craving for some Chinese buffet for the last few days, since we passed a local restaurant that also advertised sushi and mongolian grill. It's like the trifecta of cheap ethnic food.

We decided to swing by there and try it out this evening so Jason would, you know, LET IT GO. And in an effort to save a dollar or twenty, we decided to take PB&J sandwiches, chips, and fruit for the boys. While they do love all the authentic Chinese delicacies one typically finds at a Chinese buffet like mozzarella sticks, fried catfish, and french fries, they usually don't eat enough to make it worth the price we have to pay. Not only monetarily, but also emotionally when they whine and complain non-stop that they can't eat the fries until they have something "healthy" like chicken nuggets. Hey, it's white meat, right?

I was a little afraid the management might throw us out for bringing outside food in, but no one seemed to care. And since I'm such an upstanding citizen, I only snuck Cade a few bites of honey chicken. I was even careful to make sure no restaurant employees were near when I was doing the sneaking.

On the way out to the van after paying the check, I noticed a handwritten poster in the restaurant window for the "Weekend Special": Fri., Sat., Sun.- Kids under 8 eat free.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I love October!

October is a big month for our family- Jason, Piper, and I all celebrate the glorious days of our respective births. As part of the celebrations, Jason and I (along with our little darlings) spent some time with my wonderful mother-in-law a couple of weeks ago. She thoughtfully gave Jason and I both $50 gift cards. She always knows exactly what we want.

If you know me, you know I can't go very long with cash burning a hole in my pocket, so after the little darlings were in bed last night, I decided to spend my hard-earned money (hey, living is hard) at the fancy french store Tar-zhay. Or Target, as normal people refer to it. You can get a pretty good bang for you buck in their clothing department. And let's face it... I'm not an Ann Taylor kind of fashionista. Target is about my speed. And, more importantly, my budget's speed.

I'm pleased to say that this shopping experience was significantly better than the one where the clothes tried to kill me. Although the dressing room still smelled suspicious. And I haven't dropped the pounds like I would have liked, but I did end up choosing 3 tops and 2 pairs of earrings and only went $9.47 over budget (of my $50 GC). It was the earrings that put me over the edge, but they were so funky I just couldn't stand to pass them by.

And it was especially fun to get dressed this morning in one of my new tops and some new earrings. Always makes my day a bit better. It's the small cheap things in life, y'know?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Does my blog look screwy to you?

I gave myself a bloggy makeover last week, and while I'm digging the red and aqua background (although I would have preferred something more girly with a little purple), my blog never does right when I look at it on my work computer. Not that I would ever do anything like steal company time for personal use or anything. So it's not like I'm constantly checking my blog when I should be using those minutes for to increase my productivity during the work week.

As a matter of fact, this blog in particular is only taking me milliseconds to write b/c I'm such a proficient writer AND typist (disregard this post) so it's like no time at all. It's less time than I would take to walk across the hall to file a paper because I'm lightning quick. Promise.

Anyway, I'm thinking it's b/c all images are blocked on my work computer. So the juvenile delinquents at my place of work aren't looking at naughy pictures when they're supposed to be researching or learning to type. But I really am curious if anyone else is having trouble viewing it. Please let me know if you can't see it. Because there's nothing more irritating than going to a blog and finding it difficult to read. And mine looks darn near impossible to read due to the red text against a solid red background (which is what I see on my screen).

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Sad State of Affairs

I've never recieved any formal typing instruction- ever. Keyboarding was offered as an elective when I was in high school so many moons ago, but I was way too busy with more important life-altering activities like dance and choir (I had 3 elective periods my senior year out of 6 total classes) to take a class that might actually make me life a bit easier.

Now my job actually requires a significant amount of typing for report-writing, but since I'm a self-taught typist, I have a weird habit of neglecting to use the pinkie of my left hand to type any letters which then makes my wrist turn out at a strange angle when I'm typing and causes a bit of discomfort in my wrist occasionally. And in conjunction with being right-handed, I lack a significant amount of dexterity on my left-side.

I really do have a point. I'm getting to it. Slowly. It's called build-up, right? So you, the reader can be sorely disappointed in the end.

Even worse than typing on a keyboard for me is trying to TEXT using the touch-screen on my iPhone. Texting should totally be an Olympic sport. I definitely know some teenagers who can have a lengthy exchange by text faster than Micheal Phelps can swim the 100M whatever-style.

And on an iPhone, you can do so many more things besides calling and texting. I can send emails, update my Facebook status, write a grocery list, and even play the most awesome game ever invented, Tetris.

The problem is that I can only do all of the aforementioned activities with my right thumb. I spent about 6 hours using my iPhone yesterday on our drive out of town to my parents' house for the weekend. I mean, listening to the children whine and cry about the lengthy car ride was like music to my ears and all, but after an hour or so of that I could hardly stand the enjoyment for a moment longer without feeling the desperate desire to shove hot pokers in my ears. My iPhone became a close friend.

Which brings me to a most embarassing admission: I have Texter's Thumb. It's similar to Tennis Elbow, only you develop Texter's Thumb by engaging in significantly less aerobic activity and you end up considerably less fit.

Today my right thumb is protesting all the levels of Tetris I forced it to play and all the texts I forced it to send out yesterday. I have tried to spread the wealth a bit and start using my left thumb to type, but I end up with unrecognizeable words like "vhsngr" rather than "change" or "drr you doob" instead of "see you soon." I just can't quite manage to master the texting technique on a touch screen with my left side.

But, like Michael Phelps' persevered with his swim training, maybe if I continue to practice for several hours a day, eventually I'll be as good of a texter/iPhone game player as the average teenager using BOTH thumbs. What else have I got to do besides raise children, invest in my marriage, and go to work 5 days a week? My only question is will it also be OK to consume massive amounts of calories during my training? Only time will tell.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Weekend Wedding

My sister is getting married this weekend and she has been planning this wedding since sometime last spring, I believe. Since she and I are the only 2 siblings on my side and since my children are her only nephews and niece, she asked if the children would be ring bearers and the flower girl (respectively). Of course, I'm more than happy to dress my adorable children up in formal clothing if for no other reason than to snap some of the cutest photos ever.

But it's not about me, right?

Anyway, a couple of months ago, we spent some time getting the boys fitted for tuxedoes for their, I mean MY SISTER'S, big day. We've talked to them about their responsibility as ring bearers and done our best to prepare them to do the job.

So imagine my surprise when, a few weeks ago, Micah informs me that he's a little nervous about the whole wedding thing. And I quote, "whole wedding thing." Of course, I asked him why he was nervous, and he replied, "Well, I just wasn't planning on going. I mean, I didn't really know about it ahead of time." Um, last spring wasn't "ahead of time?"

Obviously not.

Because, you know, his 6 year old self's social calendar is packed pret-ty far in advance. I mean, he has all the "pretending to be super heroes with his brother" and all the "trying to pick-up his sister" (literally, trying to pick her up off the ground every chance he gets) and all the "drawing apes and other jungle animals with crayons" and all the "home-based fitness training" (he's a little bit into developing a 6-pack. I regret ever teaching him that phrase...). Clearly there's no room to pencil in an event like his aunt's wedding.

It took a bit of persuasion and a gentle reminder that the whole reason for trying on tuxedoes MONTHS ago was in preparation for this weekend. So, despite his best arguments to the contrary, he had more than enough "notice." He also seems to have forgotten about whatever he had planned (in his mind) for the weekend and will be traveling happily with us this weekend. It should be a joy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I LOVE to read other people's blogs. There's an entire universe of perspective that I can only access through the internet. I even have google acount dedicated to keeping me up-to-date on a bunch of people's lives, opinions, and ideas, some of whom I know personally and some of whom I will probably never meet in this lifetime. They make me laugh and cry and think.

Since I've started blogging, I've noticed that several of the blogs I read are becoming much more "blogosphere savvy." I didn't even know there was a "right" way to blog, but apparently there are CONFERENCES you can go to for this sort of thing, y'all!

And a lot of the advice out there is all about giving one's blog an "identity." As if I don't have enough problems with my own identity, now I've created this techno-being blog that takes on a life of its own and it has to be identifiable, too? Whew. That's too much pressure. And if there's one area of my life where I don't want any extra stress, it's blogging for sure.

There are lots of mommybloggers and photobloggers and foodbloggers and scrappingbloggers and politicalbloggers and inspirationalbloggers on and on and on. And I have come to terms with the fact that I am not, and never will be, one of those. Come to terms with me people. Acceptance is like the 4th stage of grieving, right? I'm just a "me"blogger. "Hey, you know what? It is what it is." (Thanks, Paula Abdul, for such inspirational words of wisdom).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Makeover

I wish my blog title was simply referring to my blog, but alas, many areas of my life are in need of a serious makeover. However, since I'm obviously sitting on my (rather large) rump typing and surfing on the internets, I figured I'd start with my blog.

You know, I'm ambitious like that.

I try not to start things I can't finish and since I can't clean the entire house in one short evening AND lose 15 lbs., I figured, why start tonight?

But I can update my blog and make look all spiffy and cute! Yes, I said spiffy. I think the last time I used that word was in junior high. I suppose I'm clinging to my youth in the last few days before the 3rd anniversary of my 28th birthday.

And I'm still contemplating a name change (on my blog, that is- I'm not really a progressive woman). Maybe I'd feel like posting more often if my blog looked and sounded just so. Because I haven't had much to say lately. I've been the Thief of Joy (honk if you love The Office!). Just keepin' it real here, people. But I think this too shall pass.

If anyone else out there is feeling "funky" lately (and I don't mean Funky New York Funky Style (you'll be my BFF if you can name that show) or haven't-taken-a shower-in-one-or-four-weeks-funky) check this out:

I have no idea how to actually put the clip in my blog, so if anyone wants to help a sister out, leave me a comment with directions.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jason!

Today is my dear love Jason's birthday. To him, I say, you have finally made it to be a year older than Jesus! So, to honor you on this day that makes you 4 numbers older than me for a couple more weeks, here are 34 things I love about you (in NO particular order).

1. The way you cook for the family. My waistline is hating you, but my heart loves it. I feel a little bad that I'm putting this #1 b/c it seems like it's the first thing I thought of. But it was. But not b/c it's most important. Just b/c I love food so much, which says way more about my issues. Anyway, this is about you, not me, so let's get back on topic, shall we?

2. That you love your extended family, especially your nieces. I knew you would be a great dad before we ever had kids

3. That you proved me right once we had kids.

4. That you enjoy your friends and mine.

5. That you make me laugh, even when I'm in a bad mood.

6. That you laugh when I say something funny. And I KNOW it's funny if it makes you laugh!

7. That you "never" take naps, even though you snore when you watch Sunday afternoon football.

8. That you help others without conditions.

9. That you make coffee for me even when you don't want any.

10. That you love The Office and SNL.

11. That you love my "Neil Diamond sings Christmas" impression.

12. That you keep the internets and other technology up and running in the house so that I can surf the world wibe web AND simultaneously watch movies way louder than I'd ever actually want to.

13. That you love Harry Potter as much as I do.

14. That you are a fabulous cake decorator.

15. That you take my crazy ideas and make them come to fruition (see #14 for an example).

16. That you have the ability to choose good movies to see or rent (much unlike me. The Pledge. 'Nuff said).

17. That you make up songs to sing to the kids.

18. That you try not to get too upset when I lose the keys or can't find my (insert clothing/accessory item here).

19. That you don't get too upset about running late, even when I do.

20. That you do extra things around the house when you know I'm getting overwhelmed and stressed out.

21. That you shepherd the children way better than I ever could.

22. That you try to surprise me with birthday or Christmas gifts, but always end up either telling me beforehand or just giving me the present early.

23. That you care deeply about the spiritual growth of the entire family.

24. That you don't sweat the small stuff.

25. That you try to be handy aroud the house, even though it's not really your passion.

26. That you decided to go to grad school so that we can achieve our ministry goals together.

27. That you are a loyal friend.

28. That you introduced me to Facebook and insisted I start my own page.

29. That you always have a logical argument, even when I don't want to listen.

30. That you give thoughtful advice.

31. That you love musicals and will always go see them with me.

32. That you love to go shopping, even if it's just to browse.

33. That you pursue the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

34. That you love me.

Happy birthday, sweetie!! I hope the joy from all the special treats today help you forget that your getting older by the minute! And you'll always be older than me. Love you!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Couple of Cade Funnies

I'm really really bad about keeping track of all the funny stuff my children say or do, but now that I have a blog, I think I'll make a few notes here and there about things they do that Jason and I find particularly hilarious.  Cade probably makes us laugh the most, so to honor him, here are a couple of recent stories.

*Friday night is our established movie night for the boys.  We don't let them watch much TV during the week, mainly b/c we're just too darn busy.  So they look forward to Movie Night like Pavlov's dogs waiting for the bell.  Complete with growling and slobbering over choosing a movie. Last Friday, Jason wanted to let them see the 1st Harry Potter movie.  We're total HP geeks, and the 1st movie seems to be the tamest.  Towards the end of the show, we were trying to explain to Micah that his school, which subscribes to the British style of schooling that divides the students into "houses", was like Hogwart's in that way.  However, we obviously should have been more explicit in our explanation b/c as we were trying to explain that the schools are alike, Cade lifted up his head and said, "Micah's school has flying brooms?!?!"  Unfortunately, Cade, no.  

*Tonight at dinner, I was asking the boys about their respective days at school.  I like to ask them what they learned and Cade informed us that he learned about the letters "F and G."  Then he told us, "And I said the most F words!"  He must have gotten that from his father.  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Owner of a Lonely Heart

On Friday night, Micah's school hosted a school-wide picnic and bake sale at a local park. It was one of those awkward times where we (and by "we" I mean "I") felt like we should go to show support for the school and because the kids would have a great time, but we don't really know any of the other parents at all. If there was a level system for how well parents of children who go to the same school know one another, I think Level 1 would be "Identify the Parent as "Child's Name + Familial Gender" such as "Suzy's Dad" or "Joe's Mom." We're at Level 1 with approximately 3 parents. Out of many. We were entering an atmosphere of awkward. But we sucked it up for the sake of the kids.

While there, we met the parents of Micah's friend K. K is a little girl in the neighboring kindergarten class. And Micah has a way with the ladies, let me tell you. Apparently, K goes home most days with tales of her favorite playmate, Micah. We've heard a little about K, but K's parents have heard a TON about Micah. When we told them our child was Micah, K's mom squealed with delight "Oh, you're Micah's parents!" That pretty much sums it up. It seems as though Micah and K have already had coversations about marriage. K, being the progressive lady she is, asked Micah to marry her. Micah, however, is a bit more old-fashioned and informed K that the boy is supposed to ask the girl. When pressed with the question from K "Are you going to ask me?" Micah decided to play hard-to-get with the (typical male) response, "I might." Ahhh, kindergarten relationships can be soooo complicated.

Jason and I asked Micah about K. Being the pillars of parenting we are, we asked him if he thought he would want to marry K. You know, because it's so healthy to push your 6 yr. old child into marriage. Unfortunately, Micah has some hang-ups about marrying K. And by hang-ups, I mean his little "friend who is a girl" E. from our old town. Micah and E. have been friends since they were just over a year old. They were betrothed to one another, once upon a time, until a series of bad choices tore her family apart and in turn forced distance into all of our friendships. I couldn't say the last time we saw E. nor do I have any clue if we will ever see her again since she spends the majority of time with her mom with whom we no longer associate.

So Jason and I felt it our parently duty to help Micah move on. When he told us his future plans included a marriage to E., I panicked a bit inside. Because 6 yr. olds never change their minds, right? I mean, when I was 6, I wanted to be a lifeguard. I was nothing if not ambitious. But as a mother who wants to not only protect her son but also help him lay the foundation for healthy relationships in the future, I blurted out, "E. found someone else." And let me say I have never felt lower in my life than in that instant. Micah's adorable face crumpled like a wadded up piece of newspaper. With tears in his eyes, the only intelligible words he could muster were, "Who is it?" Since I had just made "him" up on the spot, I answered as truthfully as I could. "I don't know." I am nothing if not creative in my own tangled web of lies.

Oh, was he upset! He simply couldn't comprehend the betrayal. Much to learn about women the young jedi has. To help his heart heal, Jason and I reminded him about sweet K. How wonderful and funny and smart she is. And she comes from a great family. When we finished our picnic dinner, Micah ran off to play, presumably with K. Back to business as usual. But I know these things take time. And when the topic of E. comes up again, you can bet I'll be prepared to remind him of all the lovely ladies in his life who aren't her. Seriously, though, it's terribly sad that his 1st and closest childhood friend is gone from his life. But I also hope to remind him he has lots more life to live before he has to make any adult decisions. In the meantime, K's mom and I will be secretly working on engraving some invitations.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In the words of Jesse Spano...

"I'm so excited... I'm so excited.... I'm so....scared." OK, I'm not scared, but I can barely say "I'm so excited" without channeling the characters of Saved by the Bell.

I AM excited!! The Office starts in less than 24 hours!! I still don't have my Angela outfit, unfortunately. A minor thing like "finding shoes for my sister's wedding which is less than 4 weeks away and I still have to have my dress altered, so it was find shoes today or else" took precedence in the errand-running for this evening. I have a good idea about the type of clothing I'll be looking for to transform myself into Angela, and I know it certainly won't be green b/c Angela thinks green is "whore-ish." And I'll need to locate a stuffed cat...

I'm actually thinking of taking off work early so I can get to Goodwill (the foster home for good costume pieces waiting to be readopted) and go grocery shopping for some party food items before the rest of The Office staff arrive. I think that makes me all shades of crazy. Can't WAIT!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

4 little words that will make my week!

The coming week holds something very special in its grip. Something so profound that 60 fleeting minutes will make my entire week. Something that will bring a 60 minute glimmer of light to the daily grind.

4 words: THE OFFICE SEASON PREMIERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the absolute BEST part? We're having a watch party and our guests are coming as their favorite character from The Office. I have no words to describe my pure unadulterated excitement! We're bringing Dunder Mifflin to Waco, TX!

So if you're reading this AND you know us personally, consider yourself invited. In the words of Michael Scott... "You said you didn't have plans...."

I'll leave you with this:

When you have done something good, you will receive one Schrute Buck. One thousand Schrute Bucks... equals an extra five minutes for lunch.

See you Thursday!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A 6 yr. old's view on politics

Micah and I had our first political conversation the other day. We don't really discuss politics in our house. Probably b/c Jason is studying theology and that doesn't leave much time for conversations about much else. And we haven't discussed our political views with Micah. At all.

The conversation was initiated by him and was based solely on his observations. I think his observations are quite revealing.


M: Who's Barack Obama

Me: He's one of the men who's running for president of the United States.

M: Who else is running?

Me: A man named John McCain. Where did you here about Barack Obama?

M: On TV. They keep saying the name Barack Obama. Who's the other guy again?

Me: John McCain.

M: I think Barack Obama is going to win the election.

Me: Why do you think that?

M: Because he's always on TV, like on the news, and everyone is cheering for him. And they keep saying the name Barack Obama.


Regardless of my political persuasion, I think he's quite astute in his observation of the media.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Damages and Loss

I tried using a layout from, but the busy-ness of the designs on the sides of the layout made it difficult to read the words. And I hate it when it's difficult to read the words. I'm lazy and my eyes are bad. But I will admit, those layouts are the cutest on the block.

In the trial switchover, I lost the img that was my blog title. On the bright side, the damages could have been worse. Much worse. Which seems to be the theme here today, what with hurricanes blowing through central TX and all.

For the time being, I'll keep looking for a new layout. However, I'm about to be glued to the TV for a most awaited season premiere: SNL!!!! I still have my priorities.

Underwhelmed (thankfully) by Hurricane Ike

Living near the Metroplex area for several years has not diminished my memories of growing up in Houston and living through several hurricanes. So it's been lovely today to be completely underwhelmed by the forces of Ike. Apparently, the west side of a hurricane is the "clean" side, so we only got a bit of rain- I doubt it was even an inch of water- and a bit of wind, but nothing to get too uptight over.

My parents, however, are retired and living in another state altogether now. They are not sad that they don't have to spend another moment tracking storms and boarding up windows to prepare for the gale force winds and the occasional flying yard ornament or wayward limb. Unfortunately, they happen to be on the "dirty" side of the storm and are still expecting wind, rain and tornados until sometime tomorrow. Ike was a huge storm.

I probably lived through more hurricanes and tropical storms than I actually recall, but I do have vivid memories of a few.

Hurricane Alicia hit days before I started kindergarten. I remember falling asleep in my own bed and waking up in a sleeping bag in the hallway. During a hurricane, the hallway is supposedly the safest place, seeing as how basements don't really work in land areas at sea level. Because of the flooding and all. A basement might become more like an indoor pool if someone so much as spits in the street.

During Alicia, I remember watching the storm out of the back sliding glass door. And witnessing a large tree in our yard fall towards the house, narrowly missing my house. And me.

I also remember my first day of kindergarten (I was an afternoon attender back when kinder was 1/2 day) when my dad and his buddy were working to cut some limbs off part of the fallen tree. Somehow, in all their tree limb cutting expertise, they managed to land a limb on a power line that supplied electricity to our house. They needed some rope to pull the limb off, so they decided it would be safe to leave the limb on the power line while they ran to the store for more supplies. While they were gone, the limb caught on fire and my mom and I had to run down to the neighbors house to call the fire department. And the first day of my school career was immortalized in my mind. Thanks to Hurricane Alicia.

Fast forward a few years and another hurricane that started with a C blew through. If my memory serves me correctly (and chances are it doesn't) the hurricane's name was Clarissa. But on a google search for Hurricane Clarissa, all I could come up with were some vague yet nerdy references to Jurassic Park. Since I'm not current on JP trivia, I'm pretty sure this isn't where I came up with the name, but I could still be wrong on what the storm was actually called.

Actually many of the details of this storm are fuzzy. I just remember "hunkering down" at my childhood friend Olivia's house. Her mom, who was an artist, showed us how to make salt-dough ornaments and we spent the day baking and painting. But where were my own parents? My mom worked at a hospital and probably had to go in, as was usually the case in inferior storms. But my dad? I don't remember if he was working nights at the time.... If so, my parents probably felt I was safer being in a home where the adult was actually going to be conscious during the day. If he worked days, did he have to go in? To the railroad? In a hurricane? Doubtful, but stranger things have happened.

Most recently, in 2001, Tropical Storm Allison dumped buckets on Houston, moved out and then got ticked off about the Houston humidity or traffic or mosquitoes the size of small birds and turned back around and dumped more rain on the area. Because my mom assured me that nary a drop of rain had fallen all day, I packed my bags one Friday and made the 4 hour drive to H-town for the weekend. When I arrived just north of Houston, the rains had begun (for the 2nd time around) and I-45 was shut down. I was terrified that I was going to be whisked away in my car by rising flood waters. Fortunately, I was able to make it to an exit where I turned around and headed back to Dallas. 9 hours after starting my journey I was home. With little recollection of the actual drive back north.

I do know that my memories of hurricanes do not even compare to the devastation that many have experienced firsthand from Katrina, Rita, Ike, and others. Our prayers are with all those who have been affected by the storm this weekend! Stay safe and dry everyone!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Because I'm pumped full of caffeine

It's after 2AM on Saturday morning. I had a terribly long and terrible week with too much work and a spiteful cold. Despite my busyness and sickness, my house managed to cling to its filthiness until I could tackle some chores this evening. How patient and thoughtful my home is. And how quickly my mother-in-law will be arriving tomorrow. Now my mother-in-law is a delightful person and has never ever once criticized my lack of housekeeping prowess. However, she herself is the goddess of good organization and housekeeping skills. She inspires me. To get my house straight before she gets here. So that I'm not too embarrassed. Knowing that I needed to get alot of chores done tonight, I dosed myself up on caffeine. 2 cups of coffee. At 10PM.

So now it's nigh the break of dawn. OK, the break of dawn is still several hours away. Whatever.
The point is, it's waaaay too late for me to be awake when my kids are going to be the ones to pay for it when they hop out of bed at around sunrise. Fighting and yelling, to be sure. And I'm oh-so-pleasant on mere minutes of sleep.

But I'm still surfing the 'net, following the impending approach of Hurricane Ike, and browsing blogs. And I just discovered that my friend Denyse added the Cutest Layout Ever to her blog! And since I rarely have an original thought, I figured I'd just locate her source and get my own adorable layout. But since my computer is running on reserve battery power, and because I should totally be sleeping right now, a new blog layout will have to wait. I'm just hoping my blog posts don't disintegrate, explode or spontaneously combust in the change-over. I just wanted to give everyone fair warning. I hope I don't destroy the whole realm of blogging when I add a layout. Wish me luck! And sleep. Wish me sleep more than luck. Thanks.

Oh, and also thanks to Denyse, I'm considering adding one of those cutesy blog things where you do a regular "theme" post once a week. Like "Wisdom Wednesday" or "Thrifty Thursday." Any brilliant suggestions? I told you I'm not original...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Stitch in What Saves What??

So I've been woefully neglectful of my blog as of late. Honestly, with the move, transitioning into a new job, new schools for the entire family, and an entirely new routine which requires me to actually arrive at my place of work 5 FULL DAYS A WEEK and DO WORK, I haven't been able to muster the energy to put any type of words together to form sentences to form paragraphs to document the anecdotes that make up my life.

In other words, I've been too stinkin' tired to blog and I haven't been able to think of a single minutely interesting thing to say.

Until tonight. I had an epiphany. Or rather, a hypothetically humiliating experience and some cry for attention within me feels that I needed to lay my embarrassment out there for all the free world. It's cathartic, what can I say?

Tonight I had to go to Target for just one item, but found myself perusing the women's clothing section. Heck, I was away from the house childless and with my husband's blessing (for I was to return home with Baskin Robbins!). I took full advantage. I spied a cute dress on a hanger and picked it out in a size that my idealistic side was wishing would be too large for me, but my practical side knew better. I carried it into the fitting room, and chose a room with a suspicious odor. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the odor until it was too late, if you know what I mean. Too late, like I was wishing I hadn't even taken my shoes off.

I tried to ignore the odor (or at least pretend like it wasn't what it smelled like) and I tried on the dress. Now- what comes over women (by women, I mean "me" but I just pray I'm not the only one who does this) when they try on clothes that, once they get started with the "trying on" process, they become acutely aware that the garment in question is obviously too small, yet they insist on attempting to get said garment on completely- is this to further torture oneself and one's self-image by seeing how utterly terrible one looks in ill-fitting clothing? I don't know why, when we see the objective going south, we don't just abort the mission and later claim we never had any knowledge of said clothes. But, hypothetically speaking, I was determined to get that dang dress on, come hell or high water.  And it didn't fit.  Clearly.

However, the worst is yet to come.  Removing a dress that's too small is a feat to be feared.  If anyone has ever experienced that moment of panic when you realize the clothing (that doesn't even belong to you) isn't coming off without a fight, let me get an "Amen."  Amen.  

Now it was woman against inanimate object.  So I'm in a foul-smelling dressing room wrestling with a dress with my arms flailing in the air and the skirt of the dress covering my face in an attempt to suffocate me and thus declare itself the winner of the UFC match this evening. Drastic times called for drastic measures.  I yanked and pulled and finally cleared my airways of nylon.  Once my brain and muscles responded to the fresh air, I was back in the game.  Stitches may or may not have popped in my attempt to free myself and save my life.  Seams may or may not have torn apart.  Once I was dressed in my own clothes, I may or may not have hung the dress back on the hanger and returned it silently to the friendly lady handing out numbers for the fitting room.    

To soothe my wounded emotions from the painful Project Dress Removal, I continued on to Baskin-Robbins for the aforementioned ice cream.  But I think I'll be starting Weight Watchers tomorrow.         

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today I feel I can really appreciate that credit card commercial (American Express?) where Ellen DeGeneres wants to go to Beyonce's (do I need 2 apostrophes there to emphasize the 'e' in Beyonce' AND demonstrate possession? No clue. Anyway...) concert but can't find her "people" to talk to Beyonce's "people" to get the tickets or something.

We've been in Waco for one full whirlwind of a week. I haven't had much time to really put on the brakes. I've been working all week. Micah got into a private school which started Tuesday and we were not prepared at all for such a quick transition (surprise!). We've still had a ton of unpacking to do and errands to run. Thankfully, my wonderful mom stayed with us to help around the house and help take care of the little ones on Thursday and Friday b/c Jason has been gone.

But today my mom left, Jason is still gone (but he'll be home soon!), the kids are napping and the house is silent (which is NOT very golden right now). I'm left with an unexpected feeling of sadness mixed with a touch of panic. The only feeling I can compare it to is the feeling that you get when you take your newborn baby home from the hospital and no one else is around to help you take care of it. I can remember being a new mom and wrestling with a weird feeling commonly known as "baby blues" when your hormones are still adjusting and you cry over mundane things like sitting down for dinner or changing the TV channel. To compound the sad feeling, there's the panicky feeling that you're all alone with a tiny creature that you have no experience dealing with. And there's no longer anyone else around to help you deal with it. It's lonely and unsettling when you don't have "people."

And today, with this being the 1st time I've had to be completely alone, I'm missing my "people." As much as we were dissatisfied with our old town, we still had "people." Friends, family, friends who were like family... "people." Community. It was comfortable. Here, we have no people. And it's quiet and lonely.

I think we'll find some "people" here eventually. I know it's only been 1 week, as opposed to 5 (LONG) years. But for today I long for my "people."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tag Team, Back Again!

After about a week of old-fashioned living (read: no TV and no internet), I've finally rejoined the 21st century! We haven't had much access to the outside world o' info since we moved on Saturday. I almost felt the inclination to start churning my own butter and weaving textiles on a loom. Not that I actually own a loom or butter churn (thank goodness- that would have just been 2 more items to haul 200 miles!) but it's quite unappealing to be without modern technological conveniences. But once again we're hooked up to the World Wide Web! I'll hopefully be posting more regularly. There's so much to tell!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Cade has some moderate hearing loss due to chronic fluid build up in his ears. We used to think it was selective hearing until we actually had his hearing tested and then felt guilty for all the times we got on to him when he said he didn't hear us tell him to do something. So he had tubes put in his ears last Tuesday. The audiologist who originally tested his hearing said that "we don't suspect it's a progressive hearing loss" which was actually not something I had considered until she actually suggested it. Hopefully he will regain his hearing once his some of the fluid is allowed to drain. That's why what I overheard the other day is so funny...

On Sunday morning, 5 days post-surgery, Jason was bathing Cade and I heard this conversation:

Jason: "Cade, can you hear better now that you have your tubes in?"

Cade: "What?"

Jason (considerably louder): "Can you hear better now that you have your tubes in?"

Cade: "Oh! Yeah."

Uhhh, sure. Let's hope for the best!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Unrelated Thoughts

Just some stuff we've got going on:

*Our house was visited by The Plague this week. Not the actual Black Plague of course. Otherwise you might have seen us on the news or something. Or attended our funerals. No, just a pesky keeps-the-kids-feeling-crummy Plague. Now that I think about it, it's been quite pleasant (except for the 7:00 AM wake-up call I got yesterday when Micah threw up in his bed. There's nothing quite like being jolted out of a dead sleep to clean up vomit. Nothing like it at all.)

Micah had it the worst- mostly he just ran fever. Cade has been under the weather, but it's hard to tell if it's because 1) he had The Plague, 2) he was feeling bad due to the adenoidectomy he had on Tuesday or 3) he's really a couch potato at heart and was taking advantage of me so that I'd let him lay around on the couch and watch endless hours of Noggin, PBSKids, and Toon Disney. This is maybe the most probable possibility. Piper has been healthy and hasn't even considered ceasing her favorite activities of Putting Small Toys in Her Mouth and Getting into Everything She isn't Supposed To. Oh, and Pulling Things Out of the Trashcan. If these were competitions, she'd be a gold medalist!

*Tonight we enjoyed watching the Opening Ceremonies while inhaling some Chinese food take-out. Or, as the Chinese call it, just food. I thought it was quite an impressive show, albeit rather long. It will be interesting to see how all the competitions and politics play out over the next few weeks. My children had better brace themselves- there will be no cartoon reruns the next couple of weeks. Just the Olympics.

*We made pretty great progress packing the house today! It only took us about 2 1/2 hours to clean off our computer desk- no lie! The amount of papers we have amassed and ignored over the last few years was... well, let's just say we haven't saved any trees. Then we boxed up all the random stuff shoved in our closets from the last 5 years and I pulled the stuff off the walls in Piper's room. Except for a shelf that I couldn't figure out how to take down. Because it's SCREWED INTO THE WALL. Thanks for that bit o' info, Jase.

It just really irritates me how the house can look so much messier as we go through and box stuff up. We end up with so much random crap laying around. Then, I end up spending time trying to organize the mess. Who says I can't prioritize?

*I'm up way too late writing this. My final words: USA, USA, USA!!!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Too Much TV

I suspect that my 2 oldest angels have been watching a bit too much TV this summer. Really, though, the heat this summer, particularly in July (and now in AUGUST, if you can believe it's already AUGUST, people!) has been so oppressive that if you aren't fully submerged in water, it's not worth it to go outside between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM. I try to limit their TV time, truly I do, but sometimes allowing a bit more TV gives me time to piece together an actual coherent thought without being interrupted by an argument over who is going to be Batman or Superman or any number of made up superheroes (like Wolfman, Raccoonman, Waterman, etc. Their imaginations clearly have no limits).

My wonderful, darling, precious mother-in-law came over on Saturday evening and helped us pack our entire dining room and half the kitchen. So now our dining room is stacked with boxes and little room is left to actually, oh I don't know... DINE in there. I'm not complaining, just saying. So this morning at breakfast, Micah tells me (and I'm QUOTING here!) "Mommy, if we put daddy's books in spacebags, we could put them in the closet... under the bed... or even in a box! Spacebags would save us alot of room for other stuff."

If you haven't seen the infomercial for the miracle that is a spacebag, it's basically a vacuum sealed bag for your clothes. And the commercial comes on at about every commercial break on Toon Disney, which has superhero cartoons on in the evenings, which my boys are addicted to like crack. It's sad, really.

A few nights ago we were eating at a home-cooking restaurant and Micah, referring to a plant on a ledge over our booth, said, "That plant has an aquaglobe. That one does too. Aquaglobes measure out just the right amount of water a plant needs and they're only $14.99." He's turned into a series of walking infomercials.

Better parents than me would be using this incredible brain memory space for scripture verses or ancient hymns. Oh, I'm kidding. We work on memory verses, but listening to Micah's informercials is slightly more entertaining. But I'll admit, it's also become a wake-up call to be more intentional about working harder helping them commit to memory words of life rather than words of consumerism.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Tearful Day

We got home last night after a very productive day in Waco. And a tearful one. Seriously. I broke down a few times, not because I'm sad about moving but because I'm amazed at how things are working out so easily. It's almost like the Lord is in control or something. Jason and I certainly can't deny that this is the perfect timing for making this move.

In a nutshell, we found a house to rent, secured excellent child care for Missy and Cade (that's when I cried. But that's another story), and put an application in to send Micah to a very high-achieving charter school. Whew!

Things are still moving fast, but going smoothly. The best part will be packing our house and loading the truck with 3 "helpers" 6 and under. If we make it to Waco with all 3 children alive and whole, it will truly be a miracle from the Lord.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Jason and I went down to Waco yesterday to pay his deposit for seminary (just a tiny drop in the bucket of what we will soon owe to further his education), go to job interviews, and look at houses.

And we took all three children with us. You can imagine how that turned out.

Honestly, I can only imagine how I might have acted at 4 or 6 years of age if my day went something like this:
* ride in the car for 2 1/2 hours
*go into a building and have to be very quiet and SIT STILL for about 15 minutes
*get back into car
*go into another place, be very quiet and SIT STILL for about 20 minutes
*get back into car
*get out to look at a house. Be quiet and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING
*another 20 minute car ride
*look at another house. Be quiet and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING
*lunch where we had to wait in line for a table for about 15 minutes
*back in the car to drive around while mom has an interview- takes about 45 minutes
*go into a bookstore while daddy has an interview- have to sit still and BE QUIET reading books
*go look at another house. Be quiet and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING
*look at the last house. Be quiet and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING
*eat dinner
*drive 2 1/2 hours home

So to my mom, if you're reading this, please accept my apologies for any day that you tried to get stuff done while dragging me along and I made your life miserable with my gripey, whiny attitude. Believe me when I say I was paid back tenfold yesterday. Your mother's curse worked. You know, the one where your mom says, "I hope your kids act just like you one day." And they mean it not b/c you were acting like an angel, but more like a spawn of satan.

There were a few times yesterday when I threw all parenting principles out the window for the sake of peace and sanity. Like the time I gave my not-quite-2-year-old several sips of my java chip frappucino. She may have had about 1/3 of it. Don't judge me.

Or the time I let her and my 4 yr. old pull all of the stuffed animals off of the toy rack at Popular Chain Bookstore. Yes, I was "that parent." But we picked them all up and put them back before we left. Just be aware that if you plan to buy a stuffed animal at the said Waco store, all of them have been manhandled by my kids.

Or the hours upon hours the kids spent watching videos and cartoons on the DVD player in our minivan. I'm sure the AAP would throw us in parents jail for causing the children's developing brains to atrophy from too much TV. But after the day I had yesterday, as long as I get 3 squares a day and a padded cell, parents jail doesn't sound too bad...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Moving Right Along

I have now applied for no less than 3 jobs at my alma mater, Thee University, of which I have heard back on 0 of them.  I have gotten responses on 2 school district positions out of the 3 I applied for, so that's definitely progress!  One interview is on Thursday and the other on Monday.  When the lady called about the one on Monday she seemed less-than-interested when I explained that I would actually be coming through town this Thursday and would have to make the entire trip BACK to town on Monday, not to mention (which I DID mention) child care arrangements for that day.  So here's to hoping School District #1 is the one for me.  At least for a year.  But here's to REALLY hoping that I get a job at the university.  That would mean waaaaay less money going out on Jason's tuition.  And if I get a residence hall job, that would also mean no house payment and maybe even some kind of campus meal plan.  Because who doesn't love eating in a cafeteria day in and day out??  Personally, I know my kids and I would be in heaven.  Jason the Gourmet, not so much.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


For some unknown reason, Jason and I can never manage to make major life changes in what any normal person might consider a reasonable amount of time.  It's like everything we do ends up being this huge in-a-hurry deal.  Let's just say God doesn't give us much advance notice when He calls us to do something.

It all started when we met.  2 weeks after our first date, we began planning a wedding.  Since there's clearly no need for a long engagement, we were married 6 months after we got engaged.  6 months later, we found out I was pregnant.  Towards the end of my pregnancy, we decided Jason should go back to school (immediately, of course),  which meant moving when Micah was only 5 weeks old.  When we moved to our current house in 2003, it was b/c Jason was called to a church in July of that year and we had to move fairly quickly.  Jason actually signed a contract on our home before I ever had a chance to see it.  

Fast forward 5 years and here we are on the brink of another move, Jason going back to school (for his Masters this time), finding new jobs, selling a house, finding a house, and all the other stuff that happens when you relocate.  But the kicker is that this is not something we've been planning for the last 6 months or so.  That is SO not how we roll.  Oh no- this brilliant idea started all of 3 weeks ago.  That's right, my friends.  3 weeks ago, Jason had a conversation with a friend that set this whole plan in motion.  In 3 weeks' time (one of which we were out of town)  Jason applied to seminary, I applied for jobs in the area, Jason got accepted to seminary, I set up an interview for a job, and Jason has some job leads of his own.  All of this so we can bust-a-move in time for school to start in the fall.  Not fall 2009, which would be what a normal person might be considering.  Fall 2008.  As in, a few short weeks from now.  WEEKS!!!!  And with 3 children.  We must be out of our ever-lovin' minds.  

Monday, July 7, 2008

All That Remains

Can I just say that we had a fabulous Fourth of July? Yes, I know- FoJ is SO last week in the blog world, but behind Christmas, FoJ has become my favorite holiday. And ours was such a fun day that I wanted to share, but I haven't been able to grab enough minutes all at one time to actually sit down and blog about it all. You know, because I've been busy with keeping our house show-worthy at all times which means I'm constantly in clean-mode which is so against my nature that I think my body might blow up at any moment. But that would be too huge of a mess and what if strangers show up just seconds after the explosion and want to see the house?? We'd never get this thing sold. Have I mentioned our house is on the market? It's killing me, people. And it's a slow painful death. Blowing up would be better. But I digress...

Our FoJ day started out with us watching a neighborhood parade from the comfort of Greg and Tracey's front yard. With the temperature just a few degrees below the heat of hell and the humidity at 98%, it was perfect parade watching weather. If you like to experience the feeling of melting while listening to marching bands and ambulance sirens (if you're in our part of Texas, you have to pronounce it sy-reens with equal emphasis on both syllables).

Here's Micah. I happened to be fortunate enough to catch his only happy moment of the morning on film. In 10 years when we look back on these pictures, we'll only remember a happy little boy excited about the day's festivities. For now, I remember the truth- he spent the remainder of the morning whining about one thing or another until he ended up in the house watching PBS Kids. Because nothing is more American than letting the TV babysit your children.

Too bad there wasn't a Little Miss Firecracker contest because Piper totally would have won, if I do say so myself. And since I learned how to make my own tutus, you can bet she'll have one for every holiday! I can't wait to debut her green and gold one for Baylor homecoming!

It really was a fun morning. Tons of people from our church community were there and we also had the opportunity to make connections with people we had never met. Plus, the people who own the local Chick-Fil-A came out and set up CFA sweet tea and lemonadeon Greg and Tracey's front porch. They're awesome people! And CFA sweet tea can almost make you forget about the heat and the potential that one of your children came thisclose to death at the hand of his mother who was fed up with the whining and griping. Almost.

After the parade and lunch at Greg and Tracey's, we all came home for a much-needed nap. After the nap, we headed out to our friends Nathan and Amanda's house for FoJ Part II. It was awesome. Again, many of our "family" from our church community came out. This is the 2nd year we've hung out at Nathan and Amanda's for FoJ and I think it's becoming tradition. At least, I hope it is.

This year, our friends Mike and Abby, who live across ths street from Nathan and Amanda (may I abbreviate? Henceforth, Nathan and Amanda will be N&A. Carry on.) loaned them their huge inflatable waterslide for the kids to play on during the par-tay. And make no mistake, there were a TON of kids. I stopped counting when I got to 17. Because 3 is the new 2 and 4 is quickly becoming the new 3, let's just say that our little church community is doing it's part to be fruitful and multiply. So N&A had the inflatable slide and a small pool and the children thought they had died and gone to heaven. My boys, in particular, couldn't get enough of the slide. In fact, they enjoyed it so much (read: wore themselves out) that they slept until 9:00 the following morning! Thank you, Lord, for the blessed 5th of July miracle!! I think I'm going to let Abby know I'll be bringing the boys over everyday to wear themselves out.

Here's Cade making the hardest decision of his day: to stay in the pool or go to the waterslide.

Here's Piper. Her eyes are begging to go to the slide, but it was for big kids. No way was I going to chance her getting up there and then freaking out, meaning that I would have to heave my oversized body to the top of the waterslide and fetch her down. Uh-uh.

Once the sun started to go down, the pyromaniacs, I mean husbands, had a fine time setting things on fire. We actually had about 20 times as many sparklers as children which meant that every kid who wanted one or ten definitely got his/her fair share. Did I mention that a great majority of the kids were 6 and under? If you've never been a part of the mass chaos of 50 kids under 6 holding sticks shooting fire, then you have not lived, my friend. Mike, of the aformentioned Mike and Abby, had this flame-blowing canister thing he was using to quickly light the sparklers- if he ever decides to become a super hero and super villain, that flame-blowing canister thing can definitely be his weapon of choice. During the Sparkler Extravaganza, the boys tried really hard to "accidentally" set the grass on fire. And succeeded more times than I'd like to recall.

Captain America made a cameo appearance, presumably to save us mere mortals from the "accidental" grass fires.

Micah was a bit unsure of his sparklers at first (note how he's holding it about 10 feet away from his body), but soon began waving them around like a Harry Potter wand. My arm became a victim of his wand at some point.

When it got really dark, the pyros put on a fabulous fireworks display.
Micah saved the best seat in the house for his friend, Katie Jayne.

Apparently, Micah and Katie Jayne were creating some sparks of their own that evening.
After the fireworks display and when the kids were tired beyond belief, we took them back to Grag and Tracey's where they fell asleep and we had some refreshing beverages and great conversation.
Overall, the day was a blast! God bless America!