Thursday, July 31, 2008

How is it even possible???

I wanted to do a thankful Thursday. Really I did. But instead I am sitting here with the budget. It doesn't look good, people! When did living become so difficult? And my kids are growing. It's only going to get harder!
Okay, I am not a detailed oriented person, so sticking to a budget has always been difficult for me. I have created some really big messes in the past. Sometimes my husband is a little more gracious about it, and sometimes notsomuch. I have tried to hand over the checkbook and the stack of bills. No dice. I have tried to sit down with Hubby and do it together. Still, no dice. He doesn't want to be burdened with the details. He wants to go to work, earn a paycheck, and come home to a house whose electricity is running, and the cars are not being hidden from yon repo man. It shouldn't be too much to ask, should it? Should it????
So how is it that the savings account is rather quickly dwindling a bit at a time while we are trying to cover our hinies and all the money we are spending?
So I sat down with the checking account statement and the budget today. Now I know why we went over the budget this payday. And I called him and told him that we need to close up shop, so to speak. Fortunately, all the bills are paid, and current, so we are no longer trying to play catch up. And we have no credit card, so we have only a little debt. (two car notes and a camper note) What is eating us alive is the gas budget and the grocery budget. I was standing in the grocery store the other day looking at canned peas, and wondering when they started costing a freaking $1.25 a can?! And milk is near $4 a gallon.
So I went around turning off lights and adjusting the temperature on the window air conditioners. There has to be a way to conserve around here.
I guess I should be thankful that all the bills are getting paid, and we are all healthy.
And Shawn hopes to see a cost of living increase in the near future. 'Bout time, if you ask me. He hasn't had one in three years.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

That's Showbiz

Chris and I went to see Mamma Mia this weekend, and since I have seen a movie or two million, I decided to write a review.
Before I went to see a movie made of Abba songs, I decided to download a few favorites so I would be familiar with some of them. Yes, I am the one singing along and grinning like an idiot. I'm glad I went to the trouble, because I could tell I enjoyed them more than my sister. I read some reviews that said how badly Meryl Streep sang, and how Pierce Brosnan butchered his vocals. I have to say I agree on one count. It was really hard to wrap my brain around 007 crooning about missing his one true love. I think he looks better squinting at people and shooting them. I couldn't stop looking at his mouth. It looked like his tongue was in the way. So now when you go see it, you will be distracted. You're welcome.
But I thought Meryl Streep did a fine job. She's no Julie Andrews, but she holds her own. I have to say though, if I look as hot as she does when I'm her age, my husband will be one lucky man. Shoot, I'd like to look as hot as her right now, thankyouverymuch. In fact, she and Christine Baranski steamed up the screen, they were so smoking hot. I was glad they put a regular woman (Julie Walters) in the trio to balance it out and make it more realistic. I mean there must be a regular, not-so-hot woman in there somewhere. And she was very, very funny.
And Dude, Colin Firth? I have no words.
Okay, I'll try. Yummy. There.
And he sings very nicely, too. He even plays the guitar. Or he looks like he does. It looks real, but he's an actor. He could have been acting like he could really play, and I wouldn't know if he was good at acting. That's why they pay him the big bucks.
But the ending, I only have one word about Colin's character, cuz I don't want to spoil it for you.
I spent the whole movie mesmerized by Amanda Seyfried's mouth and eyes. She has a sweet voice. I kept trying to figure out where I've seen her. I actually had to look up her bio to realize she was in Mean Girls, among other things.
So if you ask my opinion of the movie, I'd have to say I really enjoyed it. I'm glad I went with just my best friend/sister, because it was wildly inappropriate for mixed company. It was pretty raunchy in a few places. The older women were a bit, shall we say, direct about sex and men. But I like musicals, and this one was a lot of fun.
Oh, and we both cried during this song.


Friday, July 25, 2008

He's gonna live

The good news is he is fine. The swelling is way down, the skin almost feels like skin, instead of leather, and it's only a little red and blotchy. The bad news is he doesn't get a bionic arm.Oh well, you can't have everything.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

What would YOU do, if your mother asked you?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't generally panic in a crisis. I have held together the edges of my nephew's scalp while waiting on hold with the pediatrician's office as my sister ran to throw on some clothes and rush him in for stitches. I have leaned over my two year old son who was strapped to a papoose board and draped with only one eye showing, calming his screams with soothing words of comfort and love as the doctor stitched his eyebrow shut.

But what do you do when your child has been bitten by a horsefly and 24 hours later he comes to you with his whole shoulder swollen, inflamed and feverish? I hate not knowing what to do when my kids are sick. I have searched online and come up with

not much.

His reaction is not what you would call severe, but it looks bad to me. I spoke with a nurse friend this morning who said that the chlorine in the pool he's spending the day at will actually help disinfect it. But just in case, I have my cell phone on me, and if I have to, I'll pick him up from his day of fun and run him in for an arm transplant.


Monday, July 21, 2008

THOSE parents

I'm having a grumpy day. I don't know why my day is grumpy. I suspect it has something to do with the tough night I had. I didn't sleep well, but when I did, my dreams were riddled with horror. I had nightmares that wouldn't stop. It all started on a dark and stormy night... Not really, it was almost cloudless, but it was dark.

I am one of THOSE parents. You know the kind. The ones who won't let their kids do anything fun, like watch scary movies. But with a child who wouldn't watch anything with bad guys in it until she was ten, it has been hard to find suitable viewing for them. So they have been pretty sheltered. I don't mean the bad kind of sheltering where they don't have a clue about reality, either. I mean the kind of sheltered where they are not exposed to witchcraft and folklore. They never read Harry Potter or saw the movies. I think that sensationalism of the occult is dangerous, and Satan would love for us to teach our children that it is fun and exciting. But I also know that there is a wealth of wonderful literature out there that teaches them about the struggle between good and evil, so when the first Narnia movie came out, I introduced them to the Chronicles. We read them first. Actually, we listened to the first book on audio book, then we saw the movie. After that, I read them the whole series, which they loved.

Fast forward to the Spiderwick Chronicles. Having never read the books, I wasn't sure the kids should see the movie. I read the review put out by Focus on the Family, but it didn't give me much to help with the decision, so I still wasn't sure. At any rate, I figured that Hailey should read the books first, so that was the plan. She couldn't see the movie until she read the series. Hailey is a great reader, so she was down with it. She has read the first three.

But this week, one of the children's ministry assistants decided to have movie night on Wednesday. The movie of choice? The Spiderwick Chronicles. Shawn spoke to the man, stating his reluctance to have the kids watch something we haven't previewed, (oh, yes, we are THOSE parents, too) and he agreed to let us borrow it.

So after the kids went to bed last night, Shawn and I settled in with the DVD. It didn't take long to know that it wasn't going to happen. It was too intense, and I found it to be quite scary. We watched it in it's entirety, but completely agreed that it was inappropriate for our kids, and certainly not a movie night at church selection. It even gave me nightmares.

When I told the kids this morning, they were NOT happy. I have been called on going back on my promise. After all, I did say she could watch it if she read the books. They also voiced their dismay of being the ones whose parents said "No." They don't want to be "those" kids. But I figure that there will be many opportunities for us to be THOSE parents in the future, so they might as well get used to it.

Where do we draw the line? In a world where morality is going in the toilet, it would be nice to pack up our things, ditch the TV, and raise a herd of llamas in the mountains where our kids would be safe from the propaganda of global warming and having sexuality thrust in their faces every time we turn on the television, but that's not really practical. I want to preserve their innocence while not sheltering them to the point that they are weird. But, honestly, I think being weird in today's society would be better than being normal. Where do we decide that while we are called to be salt and light, and while we are called to be in the world and not of it, we need to be different, sanctified, set apart to the glory of God?


Friday, July 18, 2008

'Cause I'm a dirty girl

Not that kind of dirty! Yesterday I rode my motorcycle down to the other side of the city to see where Shawn works. Then we went back to Bartlett so he could run an errand and we could eat lunch. On the way to lunch we took the interstate, which I don't like to do on my bike, but when we got on, I was hit by tiny pinpricks of pain. Usually there is a certain amont of road trash picked up by tires in front of me and flung in the air for me to drive through, but this was more intense. It felt like I was riding in a sand-storm. Turns out I really was. Up ahead was a dump truck with a full load of sand. It left a cloud in the air. So I was sandblasted at 70mph.
When I came home, I showered it off.
But then Shawn and I started a new project. I'll let you know what it is in a few days, but it involves power tools like saws and sanders. I got covered in saw dust. Itchy, sawdust that sticks to sweaty skin. And when I tried to brush some off my arm, I got a surprise. It hurt! Apparently I was a stupid head and forgot to wear sunscreen on my lunch excursion, and got fried like a lobster. So I ended up taking another shower after we called it a night.
I'm not a dirty girl now!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Living in the land of make-believe

Things are not always what they seem. We have all heard the saying, but what does it really mean?
As I was cleaning my room and doing a bit of laundry this morning, I found this on the floor.

It looks very much like the dogs have been in my room, which they have, but not like you think. You see, what you are looking at is not a pile of well placed poo, but a hair scrunchie, which for some reason, my dogs love to play with.

And as I thought about how funny a scrunchie looks lying on the floor like that, I was reminded of something my friend LaDonia said to me the other night in choir. She was telling her son that we should not do stuff at home that we wouldn't do in church.


We all have things in our lives, the not so pretty things, that the people around us don't see. I had a life size example of it over last weekend. My cousin came into town, and stayed at my house. I had the house pretty well picked up. The kids were little angels. They were respectful and kind. Considerate, even. They remembered their manners and their ma'ams and sirs. I was so proud.

But lurking behind my closed bedroom door was the truth. All of the laundry that was piled up, all of the things that needed put away, were in there. I wouldn't let my cousin in there, because my lack showed the moment you opened the door. (actually, you had to push on the door pretty hard to get past the stuff piled behind it.)
And the moment company was gone, and my children had been rewarded appropriately for their good behavior, the attitudes and disobedience returned.

I grew up in the land of make believe, so it comes naturally for me. Whenever someone from church came over, we had to scurry around and stash the ashtrays. (not that anyone could miss the smell ;-) And my best friend's daddy, who was a deacon, and at whose house I spent many a night, had a problem with pornography and ended up molesting his own daughter.

*Side note* This is the reason I do not let my kids "do" sleepovers. You think you know people, but do you really? I would rather have my kids miss out on a childhood pasttime, than risk having their innocence stolen.

But what came to me in the midst of the swirling thoughts was that I am not what I seem, either. I have said it before. I am a yeller. I have a temper, and when it flares, watch out. I don't think before I speak. Tact has never been a strong suit of mine.

Why is it, that when my kids do something thoughtless, that I fly off the handle, except when I'm in public. I have no problem stifling my reaction then. So I know I can do it. And, truth be told, after I give myself time to absorb the situation, I do deal with it more calmly. So I know in my head that if I would just stifle the reaction every time, process the facts, then deal with it, I would do less harm to my kids, who are so precious to me.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Fresh Peaches, PG-13 version

I heard that our local orchard, where you can get a plethora of yummy fresh fruit, had the best peaches in town. So, in the mood for a peach, I trotted my buns on over. Technically, I drove them there, but it sounds cuter this way. Go with it.
They smelled heavenly, so I purchased a few.
Hailey ate one right after we got home, and hugged me because it was so yummy. I got around to having one a bit later.
Lets just say that it made me think of that scene in When Harry Met Sally. You know, the one in the delicatessen where she makes a point by faking an orgasm right there at the table. It was really that good!
"I'll have what she's having."


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (not!)

I was going to do a wordless Wednesday, but who are we kidding? I don't know how to be wordless. I have to share the story behind the pictures.

Hailey is on a baking kick. We had family in for the weekend, as you know, and she was the little hostess. (not the Twinkie kind) She did bake muffins each morning. They were the pre-packaged deal-y things that you just add milk to and bake. Well, Mom stopped by and realized what Hailey was up to, and decided to bring by some fresh blueberries from her own back yard and a recipe for made-from-scratch muffins. Oh, yay!
So she made muffins the next morning. But instead of baking powder, she used baking soda.
Scratch batch number one.
Now the blueberries are gone, so she gets the idea to make some with chocolate chips.
But Mom's handwriting is a bit difficult to read, and she mis-interprets the 2's for 3's. So the 1/2 cup of sugar was only 1/3, and the 1 and 1/2 cup milk was only 1 and 1/3.
Scratch batch number two.
So today, after I bought more blueberries, and she decided to try some with strawberries, as well, she is working on batches three and four.
My kitchen will never be the same.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What's an Rthling?

You know when you are a grown-up, but deep down inside you are still a kid? You want to do all the fun stuff grown-ups get to do, but you want to play and be goofy like you did as a teenager. Well, this name is a product of my time as a full grown adolescent.
I've always had a fascination of personalized licence plates. And Marvin the Martian has always been my favorite cartoon character. So when I had a green Dodge Neon, Shawn had a graphic of him in my back window. I went through a ton of clever letter combinations trying to think of a cute licence plate. I finally settled on RTHLING. It sounds like "earthling," but only has seven letters. Although I never got around to having the plates made, I got some rockin' mud flaps one year from my sister with Marvin saying "BACK OFF!" and my father-in-law bought me a beautiful key chain that ended up getting swallowed by my mom's house. Eventually I had one I used for a long time that said "keys to the mother ship."
So now you know. I'm just a big kid.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thomas and Son

**updated 7/7**
My husband is the fixer of many things. He can't go camping without looking for something to fix. If something has broken around the house, I know that I only need wait for him to come home, and it will be repaired post-haste, whatever that means.
So it should be no surprise that he always has an ongoing project or two lying about the house, or cluttering up the yard. This past weekend it was two projects. He was working on a boat for someone he used to work with, and a wrecked truck which my mother recently acquired.
Now, on top of all this, I had my cousin staying with us for the weekend, and we pulled the camper around front for the kids to "camp" in while they used the kids' bedrooms. So on this half acre lot there was the following:
one boat
one camper
two trailers
two mini-vans
one compact car
**update** two mid-size cars
one pick-up truck
two motorcycles
and a partridge in a pear tree

Needless to say, this theme song kept running through my head every time I looked outside.
But, the boat is now fixed, and is waiting to be retrieved, the truck is repaired and gone, the cousin's mini-van is back at her home, and the camper is still sitting right outside my front door. Sounds like a project for tomorrow.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Don't you just love the smell of...

A newborn baby, just after her first bath?

Coffee, first thing in the morning?

Puppy breath?

Freshly washed sheets, after hanging dry in the sunny breeze?

Bacon frying when you're camping?

A campfire?

Roasted marshmallows? Are you sensing a theme here?

A bouquet of wildflowers, picked by your son?

The salty air, that tells you the beach is very close?

The box of recipes from your grandmother's house, that smells just like her?

A pot roast you remembered to put in before you left for church?

Chocolate chip cookies or brownies your ten year old daughter is baking?

An apple pie you have just taught your ten year old daughter to bake?

A properly ripe fresh pineapple?

What smells make you smile? Do share.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Now I know!

Someone at church last night said there was a mouse on the church bus.

It never really so much as crossed my mind.

I have never put much thought into it.

But now I know how he gets around.

That legendary church mouse.

All I want to know is...

Was he quiet?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What did you DO?

So the other day, Shawn comes home and tells me he's done something he regrets. "Ummm, okay. What did you do?"
Seems he spent his birthday money on a new exhaust system for his Aveo. It's supposed to help with gas mileage. (Not sure why this is necessary, since it gets, like, 179 miles per gallon. OK, exaggeration.) It's a performance thing, he says.

"What are you, seventeen?" I'm thinking. But I keep my mouth shut. (for the moment)

I can't help but wonder if he's expressing regret because he knows I'll hate it, but he insists it's too loud, even for him. Well, to his credit, he does wear hearing protection when he mows the lawn.
"Crank it up," say I.
So he cranks it, and I'm blown into T county. Okay, more exaggeration, but I can't hear him talk. He tells me he's taking it back to have it toned down.

*Turns it off*

He says it makes his head pound, so he takes it back to have the guy do a little magic on it which makes it run a little quieter.

*emphasis on "little"*

Now I move in for the "What are you, seventeen?" quip.

What is it about men, that what they have is never cool enough? They have to "do" something to it, and give it "More Power!" a la Tim Taylor.

I shouldn't complain, though. He doesn't watch sports, or go fishing or hunting. He doesn't have much that takes his attention away from me and the kids. He works hard, and takes very good care of us. He loves me more that I probably deserve. But still I am annoyed that he can't just have the newest vehicle he's ever owned, and leave it be.

But I was thankful for this car on Thursday when I had to drive back to camp. There was no way I was straddling that motorcycle again for that distance. Shawn told me how to stuff steel wool into one of the pipes to muffle the sound, so I would not be deaf in an hour. So stuff, I did. But my ear drums were bruised by the time I arrived. My head was pounding, and I refused to get back in the car on the way home. I would rather tow a camper all the way, than suffer through that sound for one more mile.
And before it goes to New York in November, he has to put back on the factory exhaust.