~my thoughts about life~

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time for a Change

Before we go on vacation, we always like to empty out the change jar.  We make a family activity out of sorting, counting, and rolling the change.  Typically, we look at the full jar and try to guess how much change we think we'll end up with.  It's a great learning activity for the whole family.

Baby Girl learned the names of the different coins and helped sort them.  She made a few mistakes but they were easily fixed.  Toward the end, she was much more entertained by dumping out the jar, filling it back up, and dumping it again.

Big Sis picked up some math skills.  "If a penny wrapper holds fifty cents, how many pennies will we put in?"  And "We have 12 rolls of pennies.  How much money is that?"  She learned to count by fifty.

Son #2 learned about finances and saving.  Even though a penny is only worth one cent, saving them up for a while adds up quickly.  It's amazing to see a jarful of change quickly turn into a hundred dollars.  Saving your pennies really does amount to something.

Son #1 learned that a little extra hard work is worth it in the end.  It would have been much easier to take the jar of change to the grocery store, dump it in the machine, and redeem it for cash.  (Where's the fun in that?)  While that might be quicker, the cost of using the machine would take away from our spending money.

We like to pick one thing to spend our change on during the vacation.  It might be a theme park with rides or just souvenirs to take home.  The boys and I definitely agreed that part of the money would be used for a deep dish pizza in Chicago and maybe some snacks on the train.

I love teachable family moments!

(The verdict- we rolled $117 in change today!  )

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I have this crystal angel plaque that my mother-in-law bought me.  It says "Happy Birthday" with some little saying about an angel.  I really dislike it and it doesn't match my taste at all.  I have high hopes that one of the kids will knock it down and break it while she's here one day.  Is that horrible of me?  Hey, at least I have it displayed in my home!  And I haven't actually put any of the kids up to this task.  (Yet.)


Confession:  I wrote the first part of this post about a week ago.  I could only think of one confession at the time.  I figured that if I saved a draft, I would quickly come up with several more confessions to add.  Just a couple days after writing it, Son #2 and Big Sis were playing in the room where the angel plaque was displayed.  According to Her Story, he was jumping on the couch.  When he jumped off and landed on the floor, the shelf shook and a picture frame fell.  There was broken glass everywhere.  The craziest part of the story is that the picture frame that broke sits just a couple inches from the angel plaque!  On the very same shelf!  (You can see the edge of it in the photo.)    I guess that's what I get for hoping the angel would fall.  A picture fell instead.

Another Confession:  I moved the angel to the very place the picture frame was sitting.  In case it might be an unlucky spot, I'm taking my chances.  Alright, go ahead and let me have it!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Slave Child

I found this old pic of him
sweeping from 2005.  Classic!
Don't let the title of this post turn you off...it's meant to be funny.  (Sometimes I think I am the only one who laughs at my jokes.)

Son #2 is saving up to buy an iPod Touch.  His brother inherited Hubby's old one when he got an iPhone.  I don't like it when my kids put that much importance on electronic devices.  But if they've saved up their money, I will allow them to spend it however they want (within reason).  That's how they learn the lesson of economics.

We are leaving for our train trip very soon and he really wanted the iPod before then.  I really wanted him to have it before then too because it will keep him occupied for the long journey.  However, he is a bit short on cash.  He asked me if there was a way he could earn the money.  I am all about kids earning their keep.  If he wants to work hard, by George I'm going to let him!

I compiled a list of different chores he could do around the house and how much each chore would earn him.  (I was quite generous on the amounts so I could help him out as much as possible.)  I didn't know if he would do all or any of the chores on the list but he could at least pick.

The first thing he chose was matching socks.  Ugh- everyone in our family hates matching socks.  I think they multiply down there.  Well, first they kill of one of every pair, then they multiply.  So #2 sat in front of the TV with a big basket of socks.  He came up with 32 pair.  Wowzers!  We needed that!

Then he moved on to cleaning out the garage.  While he was in there sweeping and moving, Big Sis commented that he looked like Cinderella, working so hard like he was.  That made me sad but also made me laugh at the same time.  He wasn't complaining though and seemed happy to have a way of earning cash.  Let me just say, my sweet husband of fifteen years has never done as good of a job in the garage as that 10-year old boy did!  It's fabulous!  Someone could almost move into the garage and make it their room....that's how clean it is!

The next day, he moved on to the basement.  Again, he did a stellar job.  He did neglect one area at the back of the basement.  When I questioned him about it, he said his brother promised to clean that part because most of the stuff was his anyway.  So that explains it.  I have one kid who is pretty deficient when it comes to cleaning. 

Those were all the chores I had on the list and he still came up a bit short.  He asked what else he could do.  I let him sweep the dining room.  "Done!" he said.  "What's next?"  My house is getting pretty clean here and I'm not too sure what chore to give him next!  I was a tad behind on laundry so I told him he could fold an extra load if he wanted.  He jumped at the chance.

Who has done this to my child?  Who has taken him and changed him into a working machine?  I feel bad in a way but oh-so-proud that he has proven to be a diligent worker!  It's all the motivation of money. 

So now I worry a little less about who is going to take care of me in my old age.  Little Man is going to be a hard-working multi-millionaire some day!   You go, boy!  Take care of your old, decrepit Mama!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I should have saved my Vent post for today!  Wow, did I have A Day yesterday.  Was it a full moon or something?  My kids fought with each other, they talked back, they cried, they pouted.  I walked into Son #1's room to return some laundry.  He was hiding in the closet watching a movie on my laptop.  His room was a mess and he hadn't done his chore yet.  He lied about having my laptop, which I had been looking for all morning.  I was so irritated.  Then we had a meltdown at dinner because Son #2 wouldn't even taste what I had made.  Everyone else tore it up.  I gave him a choice between soup or salad- he had to taste one.  I'll spare you the details and I won't post the pictures I took of him throwing a fit.  But let's just say it was not fun.  There's more to my day but I don't want to talk about it any more.


I had to leave last night before Hubby got home from work.  So we ate dinner separately.  When I got home, he had loaded all the dinner dishes into the dishwasher!  He knew I had a bad day and did his best to make it better.  Small gestures like that really make my day!


Baby Girl woke up this morning at 7:15 (too early for her), crying.  When I entered her room, she told me she was wet.  Her bed and clothes were soaked.  I became mad at myself for forgetting to put a diaper on her last night.  Was I too stressed from the rest of my day that I just shoved her into bed?  But there on the floor was a dry diaper.  At some point during the night, she had taken it off and put panties on instead.  I just don't get it.  Now she's going to be grouchy all day from waking up too early.  I hope it's not a repeat of yesterday!


Other Bloggers- do you check your stats often?  I enjoy seeing which posts get the most hits and which days bring in the most traffic.  I checked this morning and I had received 90 hits in the past day from Italy!  I thought that was really cool as I don't usually have traffic from Italila.  So buon giorno to my new friend(s)!


Have I told you lately how excited I am for our upcoming vacation? We scheduled it as late as possible this year, hoping to avoid some of the traffic from school kids off for the summer. Our district is building a new middle school so the start date was pushed back a couple weeks. I still don't think the school is going to be done by the first day but it's beautiful! It's enormous and I can't imagine that both of my sons will be attending there. Big Sis gets a new school next year.


The kids found this little guy outside.  While I was a bit freaked out by him, they really enjoyed studying him.  Of course I got asked what in the world it was.  I never got around to Googling it but I think it's a locust?  They put him in the empty swimming pool for a while because they thought he was dead.  But when they came back, he was gone.  I'm sure his family was worried about him.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soup Season

Soup season is almost here!  It's something I've really missed this summer!  I think I've decided that August is my favorite month now.  It's cool in the mornings, hot during the day, and chilly at night.  That's a perfect combination in my book!  I don't remember August being so lovely before.

We're kicking off soup season tonight with French Onion Soup.  My 12-year old kid who eats practically nothing actually loves this soup!  He's been begging for it since early July.  I'm not quite sure what the other kids will eat tonight...

Other soups I've been missing are Chicken Paprikash, Chicken Tortilla, Broccoli Cheese, Beef Stew, and Chili.  (Is Chili a soup?  It is in my book because it's served in a bowl.)  Chili is the only soup recipe I don't have here on my blog.  There's really not much to it but I will add it the next time I make it.

So, have I gotten you in the mood for a good soup for dinner?  We will serve ours with a nice salad using lettuce from the garden and big, red tomatoes.  Mmm.....now I'm craving soup for breakfast!  I have a problem.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vent Again

I felt it was time again for another Vent post.  How this works- let out all your frustrations right here on She Says!  The good news is that you can do it anonymously.  Even I don't know who says what.  Before you submit your Vent, click down on the comment menu and select Anonymous.  Hopefully you'll feel better afterward!  The only rule is to keep your language clean.  Thanks!

I'll start-
Sometimes I get so irritated saying the same things over and over to my kids.  I promise, I have asked them to put their dishes in the dishwasher no less than 65 times.  In the past month, they are averaging 1% (if I'm being generous) of successfully putting their dishes into the dishwasher when they're finished eating.  It's not hard.  They are 12, 10, and 7.  They can definitely handle it.  Actually, the 2-year old puts her dirty dishes in the dishwasher more often than her older siblings do!  It's plain ridiculous!

Also, I have discovered their lack of teeth brushing this summer.  During the school year, they are on a schedule where teeth brushing is part of the routine.  Since school let out, I think I've had to tell them almost every time to brush their teeth.  They will not do it without being told.  Imagine, middle schoolers not brushing their teeth?  Again, plain ridiculous!  I wonder how long they would actually go if I didn't say anything?  I make the boys get up out of bed all the time to brush their teeth.  You think they'd eventually catch on.  Hubby made Son #2 get out of the car Sunday morning because he didn't brush his teeth before church.  Everyone had to wait while he went back in to finish the chore.  And it's so obvious when they don't.  #2 especially has a serious halitosis problem.  When he doesn't brush, everyone on the block knows.  How long is a mother expected to tell her tweens to brush their teeth!  Again, their baby sister does it all the time without being told!  I'm sick of it!

Ahhh, thanks!  No, my problem isn't solved but I feel better getting to pawn some of it off on you!  Now it's your turn.  Let me have it!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Got Nike

Thank you to all my loyal supporters out there!  I got the Nike + for my iPod over the weekend!  I didn't even have to do much begging and whining!  :)  The family was shopping at Target for a birthday gift and a few other school supplies when we passed the electronics department.  My husband and sons are always drawn in to that area at any store.  I think the computers and video equipment send out magnetic rays that pull in all men. 

The little orange Nike box was hanging from the shelf right by where the boys were standing, looking at iPods.  "I want that," I simply said to Hubby.  "What is it?" he asked.  I gave him a brief description of what it would do for my running program.  I hadn't even whipped out my petition yet when he picked it up and tossed it into the cart.  Guilt was beginning to creep up because of The Plan I had so secretly hashed.  So I said that he didn't need to buy it for me...I still had birthday money left.  He insisted.

Back at the car, I tossed him a twenty, which covered roughly two-thirds of the cost.  He said he'd take the money but would add it to my new camera fund.  So it was definitely a win/win weekend for me!

I was able to get out once so far with my new gadget.  It worked perfectly, even though I still have a few things to adjust.  I only got in two miles before the feeling of dying set in.  My running buddy is out of town and I really need her to come back.  I need her odd way of encouraging me....she calls me things like Fatty McButter Pants.  I'm getting sentimental just thinking about the degrading slander that motivates me so. 

So, thanks again for your support.  Hopefully I'll be running miles and miles soon.  If not, I have nothing else to blame it on. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Need Nike

I want this.  It's a dandy little chip that attaches to your shoe.  Somehow, it links to the iPod Nano I already have and calculates the distance I run.  No, I don't want this.  I need this. 

It seems like I spend all my running time trying to figure out how far I've run.  One of the trails I frequent has markers every quarter mile.  That's fabulous.  But I've outgrown that trail.  My running buddy suggested a new trail that's perfect for the distance we're running right now.  She already has Nike Plus for her iPhone PLUS the special shoes that hold the dandy little chip.  When we run together, she shouts out the distances.  At the end, she says how far we ran, how long it took, how many minutes per mile we ran, and how many calories we burned.  But when we're not together, I fret.  I wonder how much farther I have to go to meet my goal.

Last night, I convinced Hubby to come out running with me for the first time since the last marathon.  He is so much faster than me but I should have way more endurance built up.  The first mile or so down the trail (I can't be sure, I don't have Nike+ yet), I kept up with the 6'2" sprinter.  That wore me out so quickly!  About the last quarter mile, I gave up and slowed down to a more comfortable pace.  I was so thrilled that he made it two miles for his first run!  (I tracked it on mapquest when we got home.)  So that makes about 8 1/2 miles for me in a week.  Not bad, eh?

Would you like to sign the petition that says I need Nike Plus for my running needs?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tough Parenting Decisions

I apologize for being so ranty today, but I am bothered by parents who are not capable of making tough parenting decisions.  We all have to do it.  Every day.  That's why we're parents.

There are the kind of parents who allow their children to scream, run, throw tantrums, and go crazy in public because they don't want to stifle their creativity.  What they're doing is creating a brat.

Other parents allow their children to overeat regularly because they must be hungry if they're still reaching for food.  What they're really doing is adding more fat people to this already obese country.

Some parents allow their children to stay up until 3:00 in the morning because they want to be a fun parent, not a mean one who harps on rules. They say that their child doesn't require as much sleep as other kids or is always fine the next day. But their sleep deprived kid has difficulties focusing in school and will be more likely to get sick from lack of rest.

There are parents who buy their kid the newest and best of everything...from clothes to shoes to electronics.  It may be way beyond their means and they may be thousands of dollars in debt.  They want their child to be popular, in style, and fulfilled.  Instead, they are creating a person who is never satisfied and always looks to things as a way to buy happiness.

Allowing children to make their own decisions in life is bad parenting.  If kids were capable of raising themselves, why would there be parents at all?  It's our JOB!  It's why some people (like me) stay at home all day with their kids in lieu of having an actual paying job.

We've had to make some tough parenting decisions lately and they were hard!  But we still had to talk through them and decide what was the best thing to do.  Hubby and I have agreed that if we get stuck on a parenting decision, that we should just choose the more strict route.  It's always better to be safe than sorry.

For example, I'm almost paranoid when it comes to allowing my children to be alone with adults who aren't family.  That paranoia was earned rightly.  There are more than a couple people in my life who have been guilty of sexually abusing young children.  People you would never suspect.  I can almost guarantee that you personally know someone who has committed sexual abuse against a child.  It's everywhere.  It's someone at your school, it's someone at your church, it's someone you might even be friends with.  But instead of walking around in life suspecting everyone of being a child molester, you can take appropriate actions to ensure your children are safe.  I don't allow my children to spend the night with anyone who isn't immediate family.  There's no reason for it.  Nighttime is made for sleeping anyway, so what are the kids going to do at night that they can't do during the day?  I have picked my kids up at 10:00 at night from sleepovers.  I explain to the parents that my kid can come to the party for a bit but just can't spend the night.  So far, I haven't had anyone end their friendship with me over it.

I also do not allow my children to be alone with an adult, even if it is a distant family member.  A very close family friend offered to teach my son how to swim.  As much as I was anxious for this to happen, I had to decline.  It was a tough parenting decision.  But in the end, my child was not harmed.  I'm not saying he would have been harmed if I would have allowed it, but now there's no question.

Will my kids always love me for making these tough decisions in order to protect them?  No.  In fact, they might even despise me for it at some point (thankfully that hasn't happened yet).  But someday, they will appreciate it.  Call me overprotective if you want.  I have to make the decisions that I think are best for the safety of my kids.  When it's all said and done, I highly doubt that I'll regret being too careful.

What do you think about this rant?  What tough parenting decisions have you had to make lately?  How did your child handle the decision?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!

Yesterday, we boarded a scenic railroad for a beautiful train trip.  I guess we were gearing up for our big train trip here in a couple weeks!  My aunt organized the trip for all her "grandkids."  We had nine kids in all, three moms, one grandma, and one great-grandma.  We took along my 81-year old grandmother so my grandpa could enjoy part of the day off.

We had a beautiful ride but experienced our share of problems.  Isn't it always something?  First of all, there weren't enough seats in the regular passenger cars.  So we got stuck with a summer camp program.   We didn't mind the other children.  About five minutes into the ride, an overly flamboyant man began singing very loudly in a microphone.  He sang almost the entire ride up the tracks.  My grandma suffers from dementia and wasn't able to handle the chaos.  My aunt packed her up and moved to the next car.  She was quickly reprimanded that the car she had chosen was only for bicyclers.  She refused to move the elderly woman.  Finally, the kids disembarked so my aunt and grandma returned.

We got off the train to enjoy a beautiful picnic lunch at a park.  Of course, another summer camp group joined us.  We didn't mind too much.  After a quick break, it was time to head back to the train.  Grandma almost didn't make the quarter-mile walk back to the train.  I arrived first and asked where we should sit.  "Anywhere you want," was the reply.  So we chose seats in a car with plenty of room and no singing.  After we got situated, we were once again told we would have to move out of the biker car.  "What's so important about the bikers?" you may ask.  That's what we would like to know too.  People who bike along the trail are permitted to board the train at any stop for $2.00.  Our tickets were $17.00.  We still haven't figured out why they cater to the sweaty men with helmets and bikes.  We explained that moving grandma would prove too difficult and we planned to stay put.

Three employees and one stop later, they practically forced us to move.  We loaded up all our stuff and began walking through the train, which was moving.  I walked behind grandma who was likely to break a hip at any moment.  I practically bear-hugged her to help keep her steady through the rocking train.  Have you ever walked between moving train cars?  It's not easy, even when you have no problems walking.  We passed through the summer camp car, passed through a completely full passenger car, and entered a third car.  It had plenty of room but no air conditioning.  Glorious.  We finally settled down and, I must say, I was close to tears at this point.  My grandma is not an easy woman to handle, which is totally not her fault.

Lo and behold, a minute after we were settled, the man with the microphone returned!  He sang the same songs at the top of his lungs but he was now accompanied by a strong-winded female friend!  The look on my aunt's face was priceless.  The air conditioning was never fixed but the singing kids only rode a couple stops with us.

I am anxious to read the strongly-worded letter my cousin the counsellor with a Master's in Social Work will write.  If we don't get a free train trip to Alaska out of this, I will be slightly disappointed.

Really enjoying that scenery!

Happily posing for the camera

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All I Have to do is Dream

I love studying about the differences between men and women.  They were created distinctly and have so many differences between them.  Yesterday at our dual chiropractor appointments, I tilted my head to the side to hear thirty thousand cracks in my neck.  Hubby mentioned to the doctor that he's jealous I can do that to myself with minimal effort.  The doctor explained that women can crack their necks easier because they have smaller ligaments. 

Men and women have so many other differences - physiological differences, psychological differences, and typically differences in their interests.  I know there are tom boys who like hunting, fishing, car racing, football, and every other thing generally geared toward men.  Although I do enjoy sports, I am not one of those women.

If the phrase Opposites Attract is in fact true, that must be why I ended up with my spouse.  We compliment each other in so many ways.  He's tall, I'm, well, average.  I'm more book smart and he's more street smart.  I get lost going to the west side of the town I was born in; he can find any location on earth with the built-in GPS in his brain.  It works.

One way that we show such extreme differences is in the way we dream.  Hubby is all about action.  My dreams tend to be much less exciting.  When we woke up Saturday,  he said, "Boy, was I having some weird dreams last night!"  I answered, "So did I!"  He began telling me about his dream, which are all basically the same.  There are either police chases involved or severe weather.  If he's not running from (or with) the cops, he's being chased by a tornado.  It's funny...every time.  This last dream involved police sirens (as always) that grew louder and louder.  He thought they were after him so he started running.  At one point, he realized they were for someone else (that he knew) so he flip-flopped sides.  He talked the guy into surrendering and even convinced him to put his hands behind his back.  The police arrested him and my husband was given credit for the arrest.  Crazy.

My dream (the same night) was about tomatoes in my garden.  How dull is that?  I dreamed that I discovered small, red tomatoes deep in the middle of the plants.  No sirens, no tornadoes, no wild animals.  Just tomatoes.  Last night, I dreamed I was ordering breakfast in a restaurant.  Big Sis wanted hot tea and I, for some reason, was eating baked chicken someone gave me.  I know, could I be any more boring?

I guess that only proves the point about the differences in our personalities.  While I'm normally pretty creative and can come up with interesting stories, when I'm unconscious I become as mundane as cold oatmeal.  I guess I use up all my action time in real life and use my sleep time for actual rest and relaxation.  Super Mom by day, tomato grower by night!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's For Dinner?

These all-too-awesome grilled chicken sandwiches are what's for dinner tonight!  They're so easy to make and are perfect for summer suppers.  They don't really have a name so I guess we'll call them

Fancy Chicken Sandwiches
  • Marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in Italian dressing for as long as time allows.
  • Grill each chicken breast until no longer pink in the middle.  Enjoy the marvelous smell from the grill that makes your tummy rumble.
  • Top each piece of chicken with 1-2 slices of crispy bacon.  Cover with a piece of Colby or CoJack cheese.  Allow to melt.
  • Serve on a Kaiser roll. 
  • Dress it with mayo, honey mustard, lettuce and tomato, or whatever else you like.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Run, Forrest, Run!

These shoes have traveled many miles!

Just a quick update to let all my running buddies know that the training is going well!  Race day is only 40 days off so I've got my work cut out for me.  Thursday, I hit 3 miles for the first time ever!  I couldn't have been more proud of myself!  I remembered back to a little over a year ago when I got totally winded at less than a quarter mile.  I wondered what I had gotten myself into and didn't think I'd ever even run a mile.  I walked several times throughout my 3.5 mile marathon leg but completed it in about 40 minutes. 

This year, my leg is almost double so I have a lot more work to do.  Tonight, I ran 3.25 miles in 30 minutes!  If I can increase my run by a quarter mile twice a week, I'll be golden!  That's a hefty goal though.

So, toot toot!  That was my horn and I'm tooting it!

Rain, Rain Go Away

I'm very thankful for all the rain we had over the weekend.  The grass needed it; the garden needed it.  But now I'm ready for the sun to come out and dry everything off!  Our warm summer days are numbered.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


A phone conversation between Hubby and me yesterday morning:

Boy, it's awfully quiet there, where are the kids?
I'm in the bathroom.  No one is here with me.
Oh, that's why it's quiet.
I'm hiding from them.  It's nice to actually be in the bathroom without anyone else being in there.  That's why I'm not leaving.
When I build a house, I'm putting in a secret bathroom that no one else knows about so I can sneak in there and be by myself.  It will be inside the walls so no one knows where it is.
So if I don't know where it is, are you going to be the one to clean it?
Naw, I won't clean it!
Oh, that's nice.  Can you imagine how that will smell after a couple weeks?
That's why I'm going to call it The Dungeon!
Our home will smell like a medieval castle!
Then maybe I'll call it The Privy!
Oh, that's just lovely.

This is what life is like around here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Silly Baby

Baby Girl has been on a roll lately with humorous phrases and sayings.  She has been calling everyone Mr. Potter, which is the name of the old man across the street.  When she wakes up in the morning, she looks at me and says, "Hello, Mr. Potter!"  If someone is standing up at a restaurant, she says, "Sit down, Mr. Potter!"  It comes across really funny.

In the car this past Saturday, Son #2 had one of Baby Girl's toys.  She can't just calmly ask for anything.  Instead, she said, "Give it to me right now!  1, 2, 3...that's it!  You're getting a pankin, bad girl!"  We laughed and laughed so hard that Hubby had a hard time keeping the car on the road!

Everything right now is "poo-poo" with Baby Girl.  She finds that word extremely hilarious.  She calls people poo-poo, she talks about poo-poo and she sings about poo-poo.  For example:  Row, row, row your boat, gently down the poo-poo!

While chatting with her dad on the phone, I heard him ask, "Where's your mom?"  Her reply was "At the hopspital."  Quite an imagination...

She is also into hiding from Monters right now.  I think her brothers started her on that one.  They learned that she'll snuggle up next to them under a blanket if they make a game out of it.  Cheap trick to try to get a hug, if you ask me.  (Yes, I've done it too.)

She is also really into Cheese Touch right now.  If you have any children who have read the Wimpy Kid books, you'll know what I'm talking about.  If she's not giving you the Cheese Touch, she's karate chopping you with the sound effect "ka KA!"  (Also thanks to The Brothers.)

I just adore her personality and the fact that she makes me laugh every day.  All my kids have different strengths...she's tied for first with Son #1 for sense of humor.  He kept us rolling on the floor as a toddler too.  I love a home full of laughter!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cell Phone Pics

I keep getting error messages that all the space on my cell phone is filled.  So I began the process of deleting old text messages and photos.  It pains me because I like to save everything.  For example, I have one text message from my son that actually uses the word "love."  I will not be deleting that.  He isn't very affectionate so I treasure the few moments that he is.

Some of the pictures on my phone were quite interesting.  About halfway through the big delete, I thought Man, I should have posted some of these on my blog!  So even though several are already trashed, I decided to go ahead with the project.  Here are the kind of pictures I save:

Baby Girl's first Carousel ride at the Fair

Baby Girl's first "roller coaster" ride.  She was so excited to
ride the dragon.  Poor thing screamed her head off!

While walking past the bathroom one day, this is what I saw.

While cleaning out the basement, we discovered
this old police scanner radio.  I sent this pic to
Hubby telling him I found his very first cell phone.

Also while cleaning out the basement, I found these sweat
pants that I hid from Hubby years ago.  Yes, he wore these
on one of our first dates in 1992.  I couldn't bear to actually
throw them away but I don't want to take a chance that he
might wear them again.

Son #1 bragging that he knew his piano lesson so well, he
could do it blindfolded.  (That is a throw blanket on his head.)
Another discovery of the crazy things Baby
Girl does in her spare time.

Potty training at its best.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

+ & -

+  I spent last evening at the first birthday party of a little girl who calls me "Mama She."  When she was just a few months old, her mother required a hospital stay for several days.  With all their family in another country, I offered to take care of the baby until mom came home.  Ever since, they have adopted me as part of their family and say that I'm the baby's second mom.  There's nothing quite like being accepted into someone else's family.

-  On the way there, I rear-ended another vehicle.  I don't really know how it happened.  I was stopped at a red light, glancing at an ice cream parlor we used to love as kids.  The light turned green and the car in front of me started moving.  I started moving too, even though I was still looking at the ice cream parlor.  When I looked back, the car in front of me was at a complete stop.  It was just a little bump but enough to knock my gift and purse on the floor.

+  The woman in the other car could not have been nicer.  There was absolutely no damage to her car, not even a speck of dirt.  So she kindly let me go.  She even asked if I was OK first.  Thank God for nice people.  She could have been a real witch.

-  My car, however, did not fare as well.  The woman had a hitch on the back of her car which is probably why she had no damage.  I now have a deep, square indentation on my shiny, black bumper that perfectly matches the shape of her hitch.  My licence plate is pretty torn up too.

+  No one was hurt, my kids are safe, and Hubby wasn't all that mean about it.  He was disgusted but it could have been a lot worse.

-  I have had a headache for about the last 24 hours.  I have been getting them almost daily and am tired of taking pain medication.  I tried to let this one go away on its own but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

+  Partly due to the headache, I took today as kind of a lazy day off.  I spent a lot of time on the patio playing Kindle Scrabble.  I watched Baby Girl run around the yard for hours.  She adores moving golf balls from one location to another.  She recently learned how to carry them in her shirt, which I think is adorable.

-  I didn't eat dinner last night because I was upset about the fender bender.  So I ended up binging on a large sandwich right before bed.  If I don't change my eating habits soon, I'm going to weigh as much as a cow!

+  The thing I love most about August is the cool nights and cool mornings when you can leave your windows open.  I enjoyed some more Kindle time on the patio this morning with a cup of hot tea.

-  The middle of August means that summer is almost over.  I'd like to have another go at summer this year.  It just did not last long enough.

Share with me your biggest + or - about today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Potato Stories

What's the deal with couples fighting and potatoes?  I read this blog post by Hillary last night before going to bed.  It made me smile, even though I understood her immense frustration.  She hoped to arrive home from work in time to mash the potatoes that her husband started for dinner.  Relieved that they were still boiling, she looked inside the pot to find whole, unpeeled potatoes.  Of course, they weren't cooked because they were whole.  This sparked a great fight between husband and wife.  It immediately reminded me of a story my mother has told hundreds of times throughout the years.

My parents had only been married a few months when she decided to make a nice roast for dinner.  She put the meat on to cook earlier in the day and asked my father to add the potatoes at a certain time.  When she arrived home, the wonderful aroma of perfectly cooked roast beef filled the house.  She peeked at the cooking dinner but was shocked by what she saw.  Around the roast were several whole potatoes.  Floating around in the rich broth were little brown specks.  Dirt.  Not only did my father not peel and cut up the potatoes, he didn't even wash them!  My mother remembers crying as she threw the entire dinner in the trash.  Confused, my father didn't understand why she was so angry.  (He probably would have eaten the dirty food.)  "You said to put potatoes in with the roast.  You didn't say to wash or peel them."  Today, she is able to laugh at this story, as Hillary will too (some day).  But back then, it surely wasn't funny.  So for years and years to come, she wrote notes in great detail.
1.  Wash potatoes.
2.  Wrap them in aluminum foil.
3.  Put them in the oven.
4.  Turn on the oven to 350.
5.  Close the oven door.

As I thought of these two stories, it brought back a potato memory of my own.  When Hubby and I were first married, we were in the middle of a huge, horrible fight.  Right now, I can't remember what it was about.  I just remember that it was big.  It seems like I even refused to make dinner because of how angry I was.  So Hubby took it upon himself to fix something to eat.  He put a whole potato on a plate, put it in the microwave, pushed 10:00, and went upstairs.  (I had never microwaved a potato at any point of our marriage so I have no clue where he got this idea.)  About seven minutes into this process, I entered the kitchen to discover a horrible smell.  There was smoke billowing from the microwave.  I quickly opened the door to find a potato immersed in flames.  Hubby was nowhere around.  I started yelling about the same time the smoke detector started beeping.  He ran down, completely shocked that ten minutes in the microwave was too long for a potato.  The smoke left black soot all over my white wallpaper with green ivy on it.  The white and green plate was burnt black.  The potato ended up as ashes.  I had to call off work the next day to scrub down my entire first floor.  The microwave was ruined, the plate was ruined, and the smell lasted for several days.  But after this event, neither of us could remember why we were fighting in the first place.  But I must say, a new fight resulted.

So I don't know what's the deal with potatoes.  But I will warn you, if a potato discussion arises between you and your spouse, LOOK OUT!  Trouble may lie ahead!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Over the Weekend

I had such a fabulous weekend, although most if it is stuff that you probably wouldn't care about.

On Friday, I had the opportunity to hear my cousin speak to a crowd of about 10,000 people.  It was such a neat experience!  I drove my Grandpa to the event and enjoyed getting to listen to him talk for hours on end.  I learned a lot about my family heritage.  My great-great uncle immigrated to this country because he was hiding from the German army.  Soldiers came on the boat looking for him.  But he was hiding behind the large hoop skirts of two women.  How interesting is that?

I saw so many friends on Friday and got to have lunch with a cousin from another state.  We ate here, a place I had never heard of.  They send you home with a free muffin!  How awesome is that?

On Saturday, I went shopping for $10.00 jeans.  How cheap is that?  We ate at our favorite pizza place and acted goofy with the kids.  The kids and I waited outside the restaurant with a piece of paper and Sharpie in hand.  When Hubby exited with aviators and an iPhone, the boys swarmed him, asking for his autograph.  He obliged and patted them on the heads, never putting down his phone.  Then I snapped a picture of them together and Hubby walked away.  A woman dining on the patio yelled for my attention, "Ma'am, ma'am!  Who was that?"  I answered honestly and gave her Hubby's real name.  "Wow, how awesome!  Congratulations, little man!"  Still laughing, I rounded up the kids and hurried to the car.  Just then, I realized that Hubby was the one with the keys!  Son #1 ran around to the side of the restaurant to get the keys.  The kids and I drove around the building and quickly picked him up.  He hid on the floor of the van until we cleared the restaurant.  It was one of the funniest things I've done in a long time!  How goofy is that?

On Sunday, I met my little cousin's new boyfriend.  He was adorable and full of personality.  I am so happy for her and hope he is The One.  I got to eat at Chipotle for lunch and you all know how awesome that is for me!  Also on Sunday, Son #1 officially joined the youth group at church.  He now sits with the other kids instead of with me.  On Friday, he will attend his first youth service.  The youth staff will load the kids up on vans after service and take them out to eat.  It seems like I was just in the youth group a couple years ago.  Now my kid is so grown up!  How crazy is that?

Today, I got to have lunch with a new friend.  You guessed it, Chipotle again.  I know, I have a serious problem.  It was really nice getting to know one another.

So, that's what I've been up to.  It may not have been interesting enough to blog about but it was perfect for me.  What's the best thing from your weekend?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Old Navy Jeans

Every year before school starts, I visit the Old Navy jean sale and stock up!  You can't beat $10 jeans!  Just this morning, I bought 8 pairs to last my boys the entire school years (hopefully)!  I also bought them athletic pants for $7.50 and dress shirts for $8.00.  I didn't find the girls sales to be quite as good so Big Sis only got one t-shirt dress.  She contemplated a backpack ($7) and lunch box ($4) but wanted to shop around a bit first. 

So if you can make it out to Old Navy today, you won't be sorry.  If you can't make it out, you can find the same deals online!  Happy shopping!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What Frustrates Me

This.  I can't stand it when my family members pile up dirty dishes in the sink when there's a perfectly good, empty dishwasher two feet away.  And guess where the dish brush is that I need to use to scrape off these dishes?  Underneath the pile!  So I must unload everything, retrieve the brush, and load everyone's dishes in the dishwasher.  I've tried explaining how much extra work this causes me but they just don't seem to get it.

Spam emails-  I am so sick of spam I can barely stand it!  I receive one spam email every few minutes.  When you're working on the computer all day, it's not so bad.  Every little while, you click over and delete them.  But when you haven't been on for a couple days, it takes a ridiculous amount of time to delete them all.  The sad thing is, a couple family members and I believe we were all sabotaged by a former friend and that's why all this spam exists.  But is it really worth changing your email and trying to let every contact (except the former friend) know your new address?  Deleting the spam is probably easier.


Name Droppers- I know two people who I consider to be name droppers.  You know how there are certain people that you would never call by their first name.  Well, these people do.  "Oh, well I was talking to Luke and he said..." or "Yes, I've known Travis for years."  I would never call either of these men Luke or Travis.  It's too disrespectful considering their positions.  One of the name droppers mentioned something about visiting El Salvador.  I mentioned the name of someone I know from El Salvador.  Of course, she knew her.  But the funny thing was she said, "...and she never married."  With a sly smile, I replied,"Oh yes, she's been married for years!  They have three children together!"  It was quite enjoyable to see her look uncomfortable while uttering an "Oh."


"What's for dinner?"  I know that might not sound like something that would frustrate you.  But when I hear that question nearly a dozen times a day, it starts to wear on me.  My three oldest children tend to ask that question several times a day.  My husband always calls from work to ask.  Lately, even my Baby Girl has started asking, "What for supper?"  I feel like answering, "Something you won't like anyway.  Just eat whatever I make."


As I was wiping down the bathroom countertop today, Son #1 asked, "Why are you cleaning the bathroom?"  With a puzzled look, I said, "Why?  Because it's dirty."  He replied, "But you usually only do that for special occasions."  "Special occasions?!?  Uh, no!  I clean it all the time!" I exclaimed.  "You do?" he asked doubtfully.  That conversation really irritated me.  OK, I confess- I do have different levels of bathroom cleaning depending on the situation.  A regular Tuesday warrants a wipe down of the counter.  Before the weekend, I will clean the sink and toilet and maybe wipe down the floor.  The bathtub doesn't get done as often as it should.  When company is expected, I wipe everything from the ceiling to the floor.  But I definitely do it more often than On Special Occasions.


What frustrates you today???

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Hero

Throughout life, if I was ever asked who my hero was, my response would have been my father.  And he is.  But lately, I have really begun to admire and appreciate my grandfather.  I have always thought he was one of the most awesome men to ever walk this earth but I realize it more and more each day.

In his younger days, he worked a full-time night job at a tire factory.  He came home early in the morning to his wife and three kids.  He always made sure to spend time with them, never missing a school event, birthday, or holiday.  Two nights a week and twice on Sunday, he delivered a sermon to the congregation he pastored.  He was also the choir director, janitor, and handyman for the church.  After services, he went home to change and pack his lunch.  Then he headed back out the door for another night's work.  The man rarely slept.  He never complained.  He didn't cheat on or leave his wife.  He didn't abandon his children.  He worked hard to provide as best as he could for those he loved. 

This honorable man has been let down by some of the closest people to him.  Two different men that he practically raised as his own sons have betrayed him in the most painful ways.  I don't know how he survived these events or how he found the strength to face the next day.

Presently, he spends every waking moment taking care of an ailing wife who only recognizes him half of the time.   He monitors her like a child to make sure she doesn't wander away.  He patiently attempts to explain to her that he is her husband of 61 years and he looks different because he's getting old.  He cooks and cleans for her.  He takes her to a salon to have her hair washed. 

And yet, he goes on.  He complains very little; he just vents his frustrations occasionally about how difficult caring for my grandmother is.  I look at all the people around me who complain about the smallest of things.  Some people complain about every little thing in their lives.  "How bad is it really?" I want to ask them.  Maybe they should walk a mile in someone else's shoes today.

Today, I have the honor of cooking a meal for my hero.  How many people can say that?  I will take chicken, potatoes, salad, bread, and sweet tea up to his house where my parents will join us for dinner.  I truly consider it an honor and wish I had the ability to do it every day.  More than the food, he will appreciate the company and the conversation.  My kids will get to spend another evening with their great grandparents.  Maybe some day they will write a story like this about how their grandfather was one of the greatest men they ever knew.