Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Rebirth

I said before that I'm jumping in, after checking the water first, with guest posts.  I ambushed someone in the comments section of my post talking about wanting to ask people but wasn't sure if I could.  This particular blogger I found through comments on WriterDad's blog.  Come to think of it, I've found lots of great blogs through comments there.
His name is Scott Carver and he's a recovering alcoholic and speaks very openly about his life on his blog, The Ever-Changing Thought.  I'm thankful that he accepted my challenge of putting together a guest post.
I hope you enjoy and please leave your thoughts with us.
* * * * * * * * * *  
photo by foxypar4

When I turned the steering wheel to the right and saw the the campus, the arch over the driveway, a lump of nerves jumped into my throat.  They didn't really just go away either.  It's as if they sat there spinning around and around.  Yet, I knew, this was my second chance, my final chance, and I tried to swallow them away, squeezing my throat muscles hoping to choke them off.  Didn't work out so well. It was a tough knot.  They were persistent.  I just had to learn quickly how to live with them.  

I had many chances to turn around.  Drive away.  Go back.  But what was back?  Looking through the rear-view mirror of my life, back was a train wreck, the scene of a horrible accident, death and destruction, a hellish scene with pain and moaning and torture. A spot in the road where there seemed to be no God.  No one there to help me in my struggles.  Yeah, I immediately looked to the present and forced myself into a parking spot. 

 I had a few minutes to spare.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I sat in my vehicle, luggage in the back.  Going through every failure, every triumph, every miserable moment of my life.  Now, though, it was the last chance I would get to use my cell for a couple of weeks, so, I called my dad. 

Told him I had made it.  Immediately cried to him how scared I was.  How sorry I was.  How I wish someone would have came with me.  All while failing miserably to choke back the tears, fend off the crying.  I was a mess.  But I could go back.  

It was time.  The next step.  The beginning of the birthing pains.  The beginning of 2 of the most wonderful, spirit filled, annoying, painful, upsetting, happy 2 weeks of my life.  Over those 2 weeks, I experienced every emotion times 10.  But I could go back.

 March 10th.  I was at the end of my re-birth.  The final day.  I could see the light.  It was time.  Time to leave the safety of the scariest place I had ever seen.  Leave the darkness behind.  Leave my new friends behind.  Left to wonder if they could make it, who would be back, would I be back, was I ready? 

“Scott, it's time.”, there as someone with me now.  A voice of someone inside.  Not someone.  Something.  Something strong, without fear.  I was letting him go with me. He was on my shoulder as I gathered my things.  All the while letting me know that he was going to be here, and I would never be alone.  

I made my way from my room with my things, to check myself out.  Scared stiff. I'm not going to lie.  I had to go back into the world.  But he was going with me.I said my goodbyes to my new friends.  We cried, wished each other luck. I said my goodbyes to the school pastor, who helped my find my new friend.  I said goodbye to my old self as I had left a part of me there.  

The final stage of birth now.  The head is visible.  The light is ever more clear.  With both hands on the wheel, shaking, that bundle of nerves has made it's way back.  I took a deep breathe, turned the key, and said “Let's do this.” 

Leaving the campus, on the side of the arch facing the campus was the words, ever so elegantly written.  So powerful, so fulfilling.  The words were.  


I drove under and heard the voice say,“Yes, that's right.  Let Go, and Let Me.” I was reborn into this world that day.  I made it home, passing bars and convenience stores.  I could hear the devil in those places, begging me to come in. “Come on Scott, just one won't hurt.”  Then my God said “Move On.” 

And I did.  I'm so glad I didn't go back.  

here I go again...

photo by Renee Oakenfull, also viewable at
Yes, I'm bragging again.  If I can't brag on my children, why have them, right?  Monkey's teacher, MrsM and I had our conference Tuesday, as you no doubt saw in my absolutely hectic schedule for that day.
Actually, let me go back in history a bit.  In kindergarten, Monkey tracked right along with the majority of her class.  She had a wonderful teacher and was learning at a pace that I was very comfortable with.  By the end of the year she started reading on her own and was finishing chapter books (Magic Tree House, to be specific) before school was over.  I love that she loves reading.  Fast forward through the summer to first grade.
She's doing very well.  MrsM sends home daily reports in Monkey's folder and everything is good.  Only once in a while is there a note on behavior, usually relating to talking.  Monkey's nothing if not social.  Gee, I wonder where she gets that from?  The work she brings home has very few, if any, mistakes.  I'm starting to wonder is she really that bright or is the work really that easy?  Then comes home a particular handwriting/grammer/spelling test.  Under "comments," which is reserved for the teacher, Monkey had written "this is boring."  God love the honesty of a child.
So, I start to wonder where exactly is she in the class?  Is she being challenged?  Is she too bored?  What can we do?  Trey is a big supporter of homeschooling for lots of reasons which I won't get into here.  I haven't been.  Not because I don't believe in it, but because I still have faith in public schools, I'm not organized enough and the fact that I'm not a teacher.  I don't have that gift.  I have friends who homeschool and it works for them.  But I don't think it's for me.
Well, that's what I thought before.  Then I started thinking that if Monkey isn't being challenged, then maybe I should consider homeschooling.  So the idea starts stirring around for a week before I even mention it to Trey.  Why wait?  Because I didn't want the big, fat "I was right!" from him (before you get all upset and think he's "that guy," understand that we have a running joke between us about who's right and wrong, and, well, we all know I'm always right).  So we converse about it.  We talk about things like enrichment programs, co-ops, umbrella schools and whatever else.  Then he added that if we do this, to help relieve my household burdens, we could have someone come clean the house.  Woo-hoo!  Sign me up!  Have I mentioned that I loathe cleaning?
But I digress.
All of that had been discussed pre-conference as a "what if?"  So conference time comes and MrsM goes over Monkey's reports.  She's above average in several areas.  She's one of the strongest readers in the class.  Then she asks me if I think Monkey could handle being challenged more?  YES!   MrsM has a plan for challenging the students in her class that are needing it.  Thank you!  The last thing I want is for Monkey to be bored at school.  Sure, she has fun with her friends and doing all the "specials" like music, art and PE, but I want her learning, too, not floating.  I don't want her to get lost in the shuffle of all the other students.  
I'm not ditching the homeschooling idea just yet.  I'll hang on to it and wait and see how her years at school progress.  I hope we continue to have teachers like MrsM who are willing to think outside the box to challenge our little Monkey.  Teaching is a gift and I admire those who do it.  There's just something special about a good teacher and I'm thankful that Monkey has had such good teachers in her short career as a student. 
PS:  Yay!  My 100th post!  Who-da thunk it?  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Question of the day

Why, oh why, isn't there a DO NOT CALL list for politicians??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

just another day...

Another busy day is on tap.  Little Man has preschool from 9-2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so these are the days I try and schedule my volunteering at Monkey's school, go to the grocery store, breathe.  Well, naturally, being the overachiever that I am, I overbooked myself for today.
Let's see...  Here's a snapshot of my day:
8:45 leave house
8:46 return to house because I forgot something (I ALWAYS forget something)
8:55-9:00 drop off Little Man
9:05 head to Monkey's school to set up the Fall Festival signs out by the street and decorate them.  I'm hoping that those who offered to help will be there.  With help it should take maybe an hour
9:30-11:30 volunteer in Monkey's library (see the problem?  How am I supposed to be decorating and shelving books at the same time?)
11:45-1:45 eat lunch, run to the grocery store, take groceries home, finish decorating signs if no one shows up at 9 to help
1:55 pick up Little Man
2:05 go sit in the car line for Monkey and wait for school dismissal at 2:35.  I like this because it gives me a chance to catch up on reading.  I'm re-reading The Shack right now.  Phenomenal book. 
2:35 the children dismiss and the line starts to crawl forward.
2:45 head home
3:00 rush Monkey to do her chores, check my emails and Google reader
3:19 leave the house for Girl Scouts
3:20 return to house for whatever I forgot
3:30 drop Monkey off at Girl Scouts
3:40 Parent/Teacher conference with Monkey's teacher
4:00 go to chiropractor
4:10 - 5:00 go home to do my chores - dishes, laundry, pick up the house - that's such an odd phrase, isn't it?  I mean we don't actually pick up the house, do we?  We pick up things lying around the house, so why say...  oh - sorry, where was I? Oh crap!  I'm late!
5:10 pick up Monkey from Girl Scouts
5:30 dinner, probably meet my cousins at Chick-fil-A for Family Night since I didn't have time to cook anything at home. 
6:45 or so, leave to go home
7:00 start baths
7:30 bed time
7:45 crash out on the couch and watch mindless TV since I'm too frazzled to even think about my Disciple homework.
I have to remind myself sometimes that I volunteered for this gig.  I'm a stay-at-home-mom, remember?  Although there really isn't much staying at home...

Monday, October 27, 2008

wheee.... this is fun!

I'm so excited!  I got brave and emailed a few of the people on my list for guest blogging.  Well, actually, one I ambushed in the comments section, but he's kind enough to still do one.  I heard back from another that he would do it, too, but I haven't yet heard from the other two women I emailed.
The fear of rejection is hard to suppress, so having two out of four say yes feels pretty good.
Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

the wheels are turning

I have a thought.  It's been bouncing around in the empty space between my ears for a while.  It has to do with this blog.  I know I don't have a lot of regular readers outside immediate family and some friends, but I do know there are a few out there that come by once in a while to read.
I think that's really cool.  I love looking at my statcounter and seeing the different places people come in from.  I like to try and guess who they are, too.  Now, I know that there's no way to know who is visiting me from where, but I still like to play that game.  Did the blog writer from blog A visit me today?  Are they from Florida?  I can't remember...  That kind of thing.  Several have left comments, which I love because then I know who is reading and what they think.  Sure, there are a lot that just hit on my blog with a search and bounce away again, never to return, but that's ok.  It's still one more spot on my map.
I never made any pretense that this blog would turn into one of those that had huge readerships.  I'm not doing this for money, my main focus is still for the family and friends that want to know what's going on with us.  However, the more I read blogs, the more interesting people I "meet" and I want to invite them over to my little space in the blogosphere.
It's like when you meet people at a social gathering or event.  There are those you meet that are nice and you shake hands and say "nice to meet you" but then you move on.  And then there are those that you meet that for whatever reason, you just keep talking to them.  They have that ... something ... that you want to be a part of and you want to introduce them to your friends.  I've seen a lot of blogs like this.  I read them regularly and I want others to read them too.
So, back to my thought.  I want to have "guest posts".  But it's really weird to ask someone you don't "know" to come write something for your own blog.  At least it is for me.  I've already asked one and she said she would, but she's busy (I know how THAT is!) and it hasn't worked out just yet.  I'm still excited about it and look forward to making it work.
I have a list in my head of who I want to ask.  Some have done guest posts before and others I don't think have, but I hope to ask them.  I want to ask them.  One of these days I'll step out of my comfort zone and ask but until then... 
...any volunteers?

A neat idea...

I was twittering around and got wind of this idea to give under-appreciated blogs more readers.  I think it's a great idea so I'm linking Chuck Westbrook's blog to mine.  You can read his idea for yourself here.  I don't really know that a bunch of readers will be interested in my everyday life - I'm no Dooce or Pioneer Woman - but I like the idea of finding other blogs to read.
Spread the love, baby....

Quote of the day

patience to deal with my blessings.

Friday, October 24, 2008

parental bribery

photo by jerine
Today I took the kids to get their flu shots.  Actually, Monkey was a few months overdue for her 6-year well child checkup so we needed to get that done, too.  What??  We've been busy!
First, let me tell you that last year, when Monkey had to have her shot, I had to hold her down kicking and screaming.  Little Man was with me and a nurse had to carry him out of the room because Monkey was making such a fuss.
I was not a happy camper.
This year, I talked to Monkey and talked and talked about it.  About how she needed to be a big girl and set an example for Little Man.  She needed to put her on big girl panties and suck it up.
Ok, I didn't say it quite like that, but she knew my meaning.
Have you ever taken a puppy to the vet to get shots?  They crumble up a bunch of treats for the pup to eat and while it's eating, the vet gives it the shots.  The puppy has no idea what happened.  Monkey went with me when our puppy had to have shots and I explained what they were doing with the treats.  He didn't even flinch.  This was back in July or so. 
Apparently, this stuck with her.  Just as we were getting ready to leave the house, she asked if we could take some of our chocolate covered pretzels for her to eat to distract her from getting the shot.
Uh... sure!  
Let me tell you, it worked.  I didn't think it would because Monkey didn't want to pull her arm out of the sleeve and started pushing the nurse away and getting upset.  The nurse reminded her of her pretzels and as soon as Monkey took a bite, the nurse popped the syringe.  I swear to you, Monkey actually giggled!  Giggled that a trick that works on a puppy actually worked on her.
Hey, whatever gets it done, right, people?
On the way home, she tells me it didn't even hurt.  After explaining (again) why she needed one in the first place, she tells me she's glad she got her flu shot.  Amazing!
Oh, for those of you who wondered, "What about Little Man?", he got his shot first, in the leg, and he didn't like it.  He cried until he got a pretzel of his own.  Then he simmered down a bit.  
Just another banner parenting day - full of threats and bribery.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

cats, love 'em or hate 'em

Don't we have cute cats?  They're brother and sister and have an interesting life story.  I used to work at an animal hospital and these two were left at our door one morning, in a box.  Later that day, the boys that found them called to make sure they were ok.  Apparently there were originally three kittens found by three boys in a park.  They each took one home, but only one was allowed to keep his.  The other two boys weren't able to.   I don't know if the story is true, but I liked it just the same.  They stayed with us (at the clinic) for several months, in a large cage in our waiting room, hoping for an adopting family.  
I felt really bad for these cute bundles of energy that couldn't really run around and play.  During closing hours, whoever was working at the desk would sometimes let them out to run around, but it just wasn't enough.  Trey got tired of hearing me talk about them and said something along the lines of "Fine, if it will shut you up, bring them home for the weekend."
They never left.
Sneaky, aren't I?
This one is the brother.  He's fat.  And innocent looking.
Don't let that fool you, though...
See those glowing eyes?  He has an evil streak for sure (and no, it's not just the reflection from my flash).
"what, who me?  Not me."  He decided to use Little Man's bed as a litter box today.
I know it was him because he's the only one who has litter box issues.
So, at 6:30pm, an hour before bed time, I'm having to wash sheets and blankets so Little Man won't have to sleep on Disney Princess sheets.  Good thing the mattress liner is plastic.  
Just look at that nonchalance.  How dare he have the audacity to clean himself.

I'm a twit

yeah, I did it.  I joined twitter.  As if I don't have enough to distract myself with.  I'm not entirely sure how long this will last since I won't be using my cell phone for updates, but I wanted to see what it was all about.
So, if you're interested, or just bored and looking for something to do, my twitter link is on the sidebar.
I'm updating this to say that I'm not so sure I'm going to keep up with the twitter.  Yeah, I know, how flaky am I to give it about an hour or so to try it out, but I just don't see that my life is interesting enough to warrant a twitter account.  After an hour, I couldn't really come up with anything more than I'm worthlessly spending the entire day at home, on the computer.  I still have the account, but I'm not leaving the badge on my blog.  And since I don't have a cool new iPhone to keep it up while I'm out and about, I just don't see the point for me.
If you decide you must go looking for me over there, try Kool_Aid16.

gourmet apples and a shout out

I did something fun with the kids last night.  Monkey and I had been talking about this for a while and finally I got a round tuit.  Ok, I didn't really get a "round tuit" but you know what I'm talking about.
As some of you may know/remember, I used to sell Pampered Chef.  One of the theme shows we had a couple of years ago was making gourmet apples.  I have to say this was the most fun and most messy show I had ever done.   
So, last night we made gourmet candy apples.  This is more than just dipping an apple in melted caramel.  This is a production.  Oh sure, we did start with dipping an apple in caramel, but there were two kinds of cookies to crumble and two kinds of chocolate to melt.  This was no "simple" thing.
First things first.  We coated the apples in caramel and put them in the refrigerator for about an hour or so.  Wait, I missed something.  Monkey helped melt the caramel.  She had a very important job: stirring the caramel constantly.  But I couldn't leave Little Man out!  I put peanut butter fudge crackers in one ziplock bag and oreo cookies in another bag.  Little Man's job was to crush the cookies inside the bag with his fist.  He beat those cookies into submission, I tell you!  Actually, I had to help him a little.  His small fist could only do so much damage.  We set the bags aside for later.
Fast forward to after the apples sit for a while.  I melted two different kinds of chocolate - light and dark.  I had intended to use white chocolate, but the bag I bought I had used to make chocolate covered pretzels and when I tried to buy more, Wally World was out.
We coated the apples, first one half, then the other, with the different kinds of chocolate.  Monkey then took her apple and sprinkled cookie crumbs all around.  I did the apples for Little Man, Trey and me.  We let them sit for a while so the chocolate could harden, then cut them up for dessert.
Just so you know, if you try this yourself, use a tart apple like Granny Smith.  We used Red Delicious which made it too sweet.  Even Monkey said it was too sweet for her.  You read me right.  My daughter, who has a bigger sweet tooth than I (as if that was even possible) said her apple was too sweet and that she wanted to save the rest for another day.
Did you know that people will pay upwards of $20 for a gourmet apple like we made?  Crazy, isn't it?  Well, ours aren't pretty, but with a little time and effort, these could make great gifts and you can make several for less than $20 total.  
If you're interested in more detailed instruction, just leave a comment.  If you're like me and just want to wing it - go for it!  
On a different note, I want to give a shout out to my dear friends, Runner Girl and Mom of 4.  They are running in their first marathon this weekend:  The Marine marathon in DC.  They've been diligently training and supporting each other all summer long and I am so proud of them!  I've done a marathon - the first Rock N Roll marathon in San Diego, 1998 - and if I can do it, I know they can!  Prayers for them for safe travels to DC and a good run on Sunday.  I'll be with you in spirit, friends!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

photos are back!

 I finally had some time today to play around with Photoshop and get watermarks on some of the pictures I took yesterday in the mountains.
I really like Photoshop, although I'm still learning how to use it.  I think I need to pick up a Photoshop for Mac for Dummies book.  While I'm at it, I should get a Using the Pentax k100D for Dummies.  It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday, but not too sunny because of a few clouds, and I still over-exposed I don't know how many shots.
Well, here are a few of the decent ones. 
This was the cabin we "hiked" to.  It was only about o.5 miles from where we parked the car and it took about an hour and a half to do the round trip.  Good thing we didn't go to the waterfalls that were 2.5 miles.   
Just a tree in a field...
The only reason this shot isn't more overexposed than it is is because of the overhanging branches.  The other shots I took the mountains are barely visible.
And a river runs through it....
Really tall, over exposed trees....  I like the angle of this one, though.  It's a neat perspective.
The same river runs through it....
I took a whole series of this little spot in the river.  I was playing with the shutter speed, trying to get that soft look of the water flowing.  This one was the best of the bunch.  I imagine it would work better if I took pictures of an actual waterfall and not a tiny rapid.
There are old churches where we went yesterday; 200+ years old.  I like playing with the light coming in windows and took several shots of this, too.  I couldn't quite capture the image the way I wanted to, though.  I have another series of shots I tried taking in a different church yesterday, but those were just worthless...  Good thing the camera is digital.  
I really like the peek of fall color through this window.  
More fall color...
One of the few decent landscape shots from yesterday...
I just liked this one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a new series

photo by mK B.
  I'm starting a new series with my blog.  It won't be on a particular day, since I'm too disorganized to even maintain something like Wednesday in Review or Frugal Friday, they'll just pop up every now and then, sneaking up on you when you least expect it.  Kinda like when you're reaching for your drink, expecting sweet tea (yes, we pre-sweeten our tea down here, y'all) and drinking Dr. Pepper instead.  It makes your mind and your mouth come to a screeching halt and wonder - what the hell?
So, back to my series...  I'm calling it Random Rants and it'll coincide with Random Musings, which I've sorta started, I just haven't gone back and edited some labels for those yet.
Yesterday, I took the kids out to a local park.  I love where we live, we have a great park system in place and on any given day, I have about 4 parks within about an 8 mile radius that I can take the kids to.  Love that.  Apparently, so do a lot of other people because it was really crowded.  I'm guessing that since it's fall and days are getting colder, on the days that it is nice, crowded parks are a given.  That's fine by me because it gives the kids a lot of other kids to play with and I always end up running into someone I know.
The thing that gets me, though, is the apathy of some moms.  I'm not quite sure why, but they just seem to have lost that caring feeling when it comes to what their children are doing.  I saw a group of young boys, all about 4-6 years old, playing with Star Wars light sabers.  Sure, that's not so bad.  Kinda funny actually.  But then they started beating on a small tree.  Now, I know that I get teased for being a tree-hugger sometimes, but what was bothering me more about this is that there were younger children, about 2 years old and including Little Man, that were playing not far away and the older boys were trying to knock down branches.  One little boy kept walking under the same tree and even though his mom kept telling him not to, that he might get hit, the moms of the other boys never told them to stop or move elsewhere.
Then one boy climbed the tree and started breaking limbs off for the boys to use for fighting.
I wanted so bad to say something, but I didn't.  I'm not sure why I didn't.  I mean, I know boys will be boys, but sometimes, that's just an excuse for bad behavior.  There's a difference between playing rough and being disrespectful.  What I saw was the boys being disrespectful to another's property and risking injury to another child.  The tree wasn't theirs, the park wasn't their yard, yet they saw fit to tear up a tree for their own five minutes of fun and they didn't seem to notice or care that there were younger children around that could get hurt.  The mom of the boy climbing the tree told him, passively, I might add, to stop and get down, but he didn't really listen.  Oh, he did eventually come down, but it was after the one branch he was trying to tear off was too big for him to do so.
Now seriously, Kool Aid, ranting over a tree?  Yes.  I believe it's setting a pattern with children.  If you allow random destruction of property, be it a tree, a yard, a rock, where is the line drawn?  At what point do you teach your child that respect for a building or even a person is different than respecting something in nature?  Respect is respect, right?  Are we not called to be stewards of the earth?  I'm sure this rant could very easily go into a political/environmental debate about all things outdoors, but to me, the bottom line is teaching respect and responsibility.  
They were just having fun, Kool Aid.  Sure they were, they were having great fun.  But they were also risking hurting a smaller child that was walking underneath the tree.  
I love climbing trees.  I did it a lot as a young child, climbing an old oak tree in my yard several stories high (and scaring my poor mom all the time).  I did it in college.  There was a great magnolia on the lawn of the art school at my university that I climbed.  Luckily, I never got hurt, nor did anyone get hurt around me.  Monkey loves to climb trees, too, and while it worries me sometimes, I still let her do it if it's a good tree to climb.  I saw another child in a different, bigger tree, but he was just hanging out and part of me envied that.  
My point is this.  I try and teach Monkey to be respectful.  Not having respect for all things, in my mind, leads to things like vandalism, inconsiderate behavior, thinking only of oneself, hate, intolerance, destruction.  Yeah, it's a little thing, tearing branches off a tree, but if every day a child tore branches off that tree, soon there would be no branches on that tree.  No shade to offer parents or children to have a picnic under.  No place for a bird to build a nest.  And to get scientific for a brief second, one less tree to take in carbon dioxide and let off oxygen.
Call me a tree-hugger, that's fine.  I'm not going to go sit in a forest and cry out to dead trees, (and just on a side note, that video makes me almost ashamed to be from NC - almost) but I am going to teach my children that we are stewards of the earth, and while we do need to harvest trees, we also need to plant trees and protect national and state parks.  
I'm also going to teach them responsibility.  If they're rough-housing around other children, they need to be aware and responsible enough that another child won't get hurt.  
Now I'm off to take the kids to the mountains to "respect" the fall foliage.
Respect and responsibility.  What are you teaching your children?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

date night

Wow, it's been a busy few days, hasn't it?  First off, I don't have any neat anecdotal stories about the children.  They've been pretty typical kids this week, so nothing funny to blog about there.
Trey and I celebrated 9 years of marriage this week, though, and that's pretty big!  We had tickets to see Ray LaMontagne on Friday night, downtown.  Trey had the wonderful idea, at about noon on Friday, to get a hotel room and have a mini-vacation before he heads out of town.
Have you ever tried to be spontaneous with a 6 and almost-3 year old?   
We had a babysitter lined up already, which almost never happens for me.  Usually something comes up and the babysitter falls through.  Just my luck, right?  However, the idea of getting away with my husband, even for a night, is appealing enough to call my cousin to see if they could keep the kids overnight. 
Unfortunately, my cousin was gone fishing and his wife was alone with their two kids.  I'm certainly not going to ask her to take care of our two also.  I don't know how moms of four can do it.
So, I called two other friends to see if one could take Little Man and the other could take Monkey.  Let me just say, I have wonderful friends.  Our sudden imposition on their weekend plans allowed for us to have a night with just the two of us, for the first time since Little Man was born.  Sounds pretty selfish, now that I type it.  Needless to say, we are in debt to them.  I'm sure I'll have their children over for a sleepover sometime in the near future - although probably not at the same time.
I absolutely hated calling the babysitter and canceling on such short notice, but when I explained what we were trying to do and why, she was totally understanding.  I'll be calling her again soon to help out while Trey is gone.
I won't bore you with the details of our evening.  We went to dinner, relaxed and people watched.  The place where we ate had patio seating and it was just cool enough to enjoy it.  There are some interesting people that come to downtown on a Friday night.  The concert was great, although between every song - and I mean EVERY song - people were yelling and whistling and yelling out songs.  You know, that's fine sometimes - I've done it, too, if it's a particularly rocking song, but EVERY time?  That starts to cut in on others' enjoyment.  
All in all, it was a great evening out.  Something that we hope to do again before another three years is up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Conversations with a two year old

"I'm stinky"
"Do you have a stinky diaper?"
"Let's go change"
"Ewww, you're stinky!"
"I got BIG poop!"
"Yeah, you do"
Points to the dirty diaper  "Look, a mountain!"   
Yeah, this is my life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Losing my chi to Barbie

 photo by luisvilla 
  Yesterday, Monkey and I started a project.  Actually, I started the project in my head some time ago and began working on it last week.  We're moving our full sized guest bed into her room and her twin bed into Little Man's room.  However, she has a LOT of junk toys in her room so first we must clean her room.
Have I mentioned before that I hate cleaning?
The first thing we tackled was her book shelf.  I wish we had done this before the consignment sale because she cleared off easily half her books.  Naturally, I'll be saving some of them for Little Man because he loves books, too, but there were several that we'll be putting in the next sale, which is unfortunately not until the spring.
Then we moved on to discuss her Polly Pockets, My Little Ponies and Little Pet Shop toys.  She still plays with some, but agreed to let a few others go.  Next came the Barbies.
I had no idea just how many Barbies and accessories we had.
Something to remember, people, is that I saved many of my Barbie toys and clothes from my own childhood, Monkey has had generous grandparents, gifts from Mommy and Daddy and a really cool yardsale score from a couple of years ago.  We have lots of dolls and clothes.   
So we started sorting them.
And sorting them.
And sorting them.
She's keeping all the Disney Princess ones and the fairy ones and her Hannah Montana ones.  But the furniture, most of the clothes and just about all of the accessories are going.  Oh, didn't I mention the furniture?  That was the yard sale score from a couple of years ago.  I found a box of what I thought was Barbie furniture, but turned out to be Sandi furniture from the late 70's early 80's I'm guessing.  Complete with the necessary accessories, like dishes, pots, pans, even the bathroom sink and tub.  I was so excited, brought them home to Monkey and set them up.  She played, I swear to you, alone in her room quietly for the entire day, breaking only for lunch.  Just that one day alone made the purchase worth it.
I'm having a twinge of heartburn getting rid of these things, but we just don't have the room around here to store enough Barbie furniture to furnish a 5 room house.  They've been crammed in a box in her closet for a year and a half and I need that space.
So because her room is full of junk toys, we moved to the living room to stage our sorting.  My chi is all out of whack because there's stuff EVERYWHERE.  I dream of having a Jeannie to wrinkle her nose and make it all go bye-bye.  
And the sad thing is that since I haven't finished the project, I can't even finish the post because there's nothing more to report.
Tune in tomorrow to see if my chi survives... 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Keeping up with the little men

Where have I been, you're probably asking yourself right now.  I've been busy.  I've taking on an additional two year old, who just so happens to have the same name as Little Man, so it's been a little busy around here.
LM and LM2 are quite cute together.  They're cousins, actually.  His daddy and I are cousins, so that makes LM and LM2 1st cousins, once removed.  Or is it 2nd cousins?  Actually, they're not even blood related because my cousin's daddy and my daddy are step brothers from my granddaddy's second marriage.
Confused yet?
Other than having to use full names around the house when trying to get one or the other's attention, it hasn't been all that bad.  They get along pretty well together.  Unlike LM and his other friend WB - remember him?  They share a birthday?  When they get together, they behave like siblings, poking and teasing, taking toys from each other just for fun and putting them where the other can't get it.  There's a lot of screaming and yelling going on.  You know, sibling stuff.  Stuff I wouldn't know about because I'm an only child.   We call LM and WB Forrest and Bubba.  One of the nursery workers at our church call them "two wild and crazy guys!"  They're just that kind of pair.
(If you ever really want to laugh, check out some of the old SNL skits - they rock!)
So anyway, I've been taking care of LM2 during the day since Wednesday.  His mom runs a daycare and they've been closed for staff training so she asked me to help out.  We trade babysitting often, so it was a no-brainer.  Plus, it gives LM someone to play with!
Speaking of, they're both upstairs unsupervised while I type this.  Hmmm.... maybe I should go check on them.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


"I'm probably not going today, since my throat is sore and I feel like I might be getting sick."
"Good, Little Man can stay with you since he's sneezy and snotty and I don't want dirty looks for bringing a sneezy, snotty kid to the nursery."
"But then I won't be able to exercise my dominion over the house, play loud music while I catch up on some things."
Laughs, "you mean you don't have dominion over a two year old?"
Snorts, "I absolutely do not have dominion over a two year old.  He is the boss of me."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Super Savings, pt 3

As I mentioned before, on my last trip to Kroger they said that the meat and produce would be marked down today, starting at 6am.  So I drag my tired self out of bed at 5:30 - on a SATURDAY - to go to the store.  I get there at 6 and the parking lot is much more full than I would have expected that early in the morning.
Apparently I wasn't the only one they told. 
So I grab a cart and head inside to the meat dept.  There was nothing left.  Well, almost nothing.  There was some organic chicken, some of Laura's Lean strip steaks, and the store's all Natural brand strips and ribeyes, you know, the expensive stuff.  Which was fine by me because we like the healthier stuff anyway.  There were three packages of flank steak left and a big brisket.  The brisket alone was about $17.
Then I headed over to the produce.  Looking back, I wish I had gotten more fresh zucchini and squash, but I didn't.  I got some of the basics like red peppers, potatoes, onions, carrots, a ton of apples and celery.  I figured I'd go ahead and chop some, vacuum seal them and toss them in the freezer.  By the time I was done shopping, it had been just about 30-40 minutes.  Then I had to wait in line.  The computers weren't ringing up the meat on sale yet, so we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Apparently, they had to wait for the sale prices to be downloaded from the main office.  After waiting almost an hour people started getting a little testy.  They were grabbing bags of ice to keep their meat cold.  Finally, someone made the brilliant decision to let the cashiers take the discount manually.  My guy was great (I usually go through his line when I'm doing coupons) and he actually rounded down (if it was an $11 steak, he typed in $5) to make his life easier.  My wallet liked that.
Anyway, I paid $96 for about $225 worth of food.  You gotta love a store that's moving locations.

Friday, October 3, 2008

catching up

I realized that lately I have not updated stories on the kids.  Their grandparents, I'm sure, are not pleased.  
Monkey:  Last week I got a call from the school nurse.  When you have caller ID and you see the school name on the list, your heart stops just a little bit.  Just so you know.  So, mine did.  I answer and Nurse Judy (no, that's not her real name) said that she just wanted to call and let me know that Monkey got stung by a bee.  Yes, again.  I could hear Monkey in the background.  She's a very fragile and dramatic little girl.  I think she'll be an actress when she grows up.  One of those melodramatic, over-the-top actresses.  Think Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween.  Don't get me wrong, I love Jamie Lee Curtis,  I think she's fantastic, but you can tell she's grown as an actress since Halloween.  
But I digress.
The bee sting.  I think what freaked her out the most is that the bee was still stuck to her when she was taken to the nurse.  That would freak me out, too.  Anyway, I got her on the phone (and only a mother could understand what she was saying between her sobs) but she didn't want to come home.  She just wanted me to come look at her.  So I did.  I asked the nurse if she could put baking soda on it, since it worked so well last time.  Then she sent Monkey to the clinic (the nurse's office and the clinic are two different places at our school) until I got there.  Luckily I needed to go to her school for something else anyway so it wasn't a big deal.  Monkey didn't want to miss out on the Library or Art, so I'm guessing the sting wasn't all that bad.
Little Man:  This week, I got the first "he's a handful" type of comment from his preschool teachers.  He has a friend and they play and fight and pick at each other like they were brothers.  And they're in the same class.  I tried warning the teachers the first day I met them, but I don't think they quite understood what I meant until this week.  Oh, and Little Man got in trouble for pushing down another, younger child.  Just because he was standing, I guess.  There were no toys involved or anything.  Little Man just pushed him down.  Great.  Bully in training.  They also commented on his temper.  He gets really frustrated sometimes and doesn't quite know how to express himself, so he screams and gets mad and throws things.  Well, he is two.
None of this is new to me.  I do work with him on sharing and being nice and not pushing or taking toys or throwing things or using his words to express himself.  I remember this to an extent with Monkey, but Little Man just seems a little more stubborn about it.  He goes in time out, the toys are put away, he's asked to give back the toy he takes, sometimes even gets his bottom popped, whatever.  And he's like, whatever mom.   I know it'll all pass, and he's a sweet, smart little guy, but it's hard being the mom of "that kid," you know?  
Maybe I need to re-read Parenting with Love and Logic; I think I need a refresher course.  Or better yet, I should read The Strong Willed Child, or Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.  
I think a trip to the library is in order.  I need some new ideas...  Dear readers, do you have any?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Super Savings, pt 2

I'm updating because yes, I did go back and get more food.  We now can not in any way stuff more food into our freezers, which is a good thing!  I also had some time on my hands while I was waiting to pick up Monkey and I think I figured out what I saved with the 1/2 price sale going on.  If I did my math right, on the first trip I spent $117 and saved $135.  Not too shabby, wouldn't you say?  And for my second trip, I spent $18 and saved about $40. 
This is the first trip.  I wasn't the only one loaded down - there were others just as full as mine and some even had two carts! 
This was the second trip.  Yes, you do see six tubes of chocolate chip cookie dough - what of it?! 

Super savings

Jumping off of my random musings train for a little while to post about what I've been doing this morning.  Shopping!  Something I love to do.
Our local Kroger is moving to a new location just across the parking lot on Saturday.  Today they had all, and I do mean ALL, their frozen food at 50% off.  I have lots of coupons for lots of frozen food.  They also have all dairy and sandwich meats, with the exclusion of milk and eggs (can't get crazy now, can we?) at 50 % off.  That's cheese, pillsbury dough, bacon, sausage, you name it!
I had a cart FULL of name brand frozen food like eggos, Green Giant, Healthy Choice, name brand and store brand meats and cheese, yogurt, OJ and had matching coupons to go with most of them.  We'll be getting a chest freezer in the next day or two because all their meats and produce will be marked off starting Saturday. 
I did manage to get all that food in our two side-by-side freezers, but only by taking out all the shelves.  I took a picture of my cart with the cell phone, but I have no idea how to move it to the computer.  When I do, I'll post it later.
My original total was $177.  The frozen food rang up at an automatic discount, so the percentage of savings on my receipt was only 36%.  I spent $117.  I'm not good at math but probably 75-80% of that total was at 50% off regular price.  That's way too many % signs for me to get it right but I know someone who teaches math, and I bet he can solve it for me :).  Point being, I have no idea how much I actually saved when taking that 1/2 price sale into account, but I think I did pretty good.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The ripple effect

photo by Snap®
There's an interesting discussion that has been brewing at another blog that I regularly read.  Writer Dad first spoke of an incident he was involved in here, naturally lots of comments followed, then he continued with this post and even more comments followed.
It lead me to question something that was embedded in a comment, although I can't find the exact one, now.  That one person cannot bring about change, so why bother?
Seriously?  There are plenty of examples in history where one person started something that caught on and brought about change.  Jesus, Muhammad, Ghandi, MLK Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Jim Jones and Mother Theresa are all examples that just popped into my head.  I'm sure if I were to dig deep in the annals of the internet, I would find dozens upon dozens of names of people who have changed something around them because of their actions or their words - both positive and negative.
What about on the small scale?  Have you ever read something or heard something that someone said that caused you to stop and think for a moment?  Have you ever had a conversation with someone that caused you to change your views - or at least reconsider them - about something?  Maybe you saw a pastor speak at a service and whatever they had to say resonated with you so much that you had to go and do something about it.  Suppose you saw someone on the side of the road with a flat and because you helped them change a tire, they were able to get to the hospital to visit a dying friend.  You know that homeless person standing there holding a sign on the corner of the intersection?  Suppose you gave him/her a bottle of water on a hot day.  I have a friend that keeps a case of water bottles in her car for such instances.  And parents have unbelievable ripple effects on their children, so many they can't possibly know them all.
The point of all this is that it is absolutely impossible for one person to NOT cause changes in their environment.  It's a ripple effect.  What I do today will cause changes around me.  Maybe it's a small change.  Maybe it's a big change.  Maybe I'll never know, but when I toss that pebble out there, there will be ripples and they will spread.  
Can you honestly say that one person can't bring about changes?  In Writer Dad's case, that has yet to be seen.  But even if the vandal chooses to just go to a different stop sign instead of quitting altogether, change still occurred and one person caused it.  Or maybe someone who witnessed the incident decides that he/she will stand up the next time.  Maybe it's just as simple as someone who saw it told it to someone else and that started a chain reaction.
Remember that what you do today can and will cause a ripple effect.  Are you tossing a good pebble or a bad pebble and just how big will those ripples be?