Friday, January 26, 2007

90 percent or more for less

I've been falling into some amazing deals lately. I don't say this to pat myself on the back for finding them because I don't go searching them out. Well...I guess I do search pretty hard to find 'em so that we can stretch our dollars. I see all of these as huge thank you Lord finds-- especially as we just redid our budget and were amazed at how little is "left over" after our regular expenses each month.

Target--purses for $3 to tuck away for Christmas presents next year. Stretchy gloves 18 cents.

Meijer--Hair accessories marked 90% off plus an additional 50% off clearance prices, so I was getting $4 items for 20 cents or less. Again--Christmas presents for next year.

Macy's-- over $1,000 worth of Calphalon pots and pans for $118. I'm so high on pot(s) right now it isn't even funny.

D&W--Chocolate Mint Truffle creamer 55 cents, whole roasting chickens $1.94.

Library videos, DVD's & music are now free--that'll save us a lot of money in the "entertainment" category of our budget. Now if we can just win one of the Winter Reading Contest drawings for a gift certificate to a restaurant, I'd be thrilled, but that bargain is out of my hands.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My friend Josh

I went to elementary school with a boy named Josh. He was a white-haired Egon. I think he was in love with me, but in my memory I think every boy was in love with me.

Josh liked to write songs. His most important belonging was his keyboard, and close behind were his Michael W. Smith cassettes.

At Josh's birthday party, he played one of his songs for us. It was OK. Nothing great. Not that I'm musical or anything, but it seemed like just a lot of chords, no real melody or depth or seeming storyline to it. But I will never forget the way he described how he wrote this song.

Josh claims that he heard this song while he was dreaming one night. (Probably dreaming about Amy, the REAL love of his life, but he could never get her, so I'm positive that's why he chose me as his second muse). What is important about this verdant storytelling was that he was so animated because both Amy and I were in his listening audience. I vividly remember him saying he heard this song in a dream and whilst still in slumber he knew he needed to get to his keyboard and record the tune before he woke up and forgot it. He says he got out of his bed with his eyes still shut in sleep and rushed to his keyboard and recorded the song. He also claims that as he played the last note, he woke up. He reached out a hopefully shaky finger and pressed "play" to see if he had succeeded, and found that he had indeed recorded his dreamy tune.

I remember this story with a smile often, and it's usually while I'm in the shower. You see, I have written poetry, books, essays, novels, blog posts, e-mails, compelling letters, and many other works of art while in the shower or lying in bed or driving my car, but my memory erases them before I'm able to get them down on paper or in the memory of a computer or anywhere that they can be kept and crafted.

So I laugh at Josh's story of the recorded song, but I'm a bit jealous that he managed to capture a rhapsody he heard deep within his soul when I have not yet been agile enough in my waking sleep to sculpt my own sonnets.


I thought I'd be really smart the other day by popping a Cheerio in my mouth and maneuvering it with my tongue all the way to the back of my jaw. I wanted to know what it felt like to "gum" a Cheerio--you know, the way Addi does every time I plunk a handful of the cereal on her high chair tray.

After positioning it just right behind my molars and between the upper and lower gums, I closed my jaw. And was in for a surprise. It was quite crunchy and didn't feel so good. I had to let my saliva soak it through a little bit before my next "bite". Still not squishy and easily gummed. A little sucking to get out the extra air and a little more saliva helped my third attempt disintegrate the pesky little bugger, but here I am a week later and my back gums are still irritated and sore.

My little experiment has served its purpose. I now understand--firsthand, or should I say firstmouth?--why teething children are cranky.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Doggie style (tee-hee-hee)

Sunday afternoon our family went to visit some special guests at the Cascade library. I dragged everyone over there so we could sit in a hot room for nearly 55 minutes listening and learning all about the Iditarod, sled dog racing, sleds, Alaska, and all kinds of great pioneer stuff. I took Liam and Elli up to the front of the room to sit on the floor in front, and after about 20 min they were done and had wandered to the back of the room with Dan, but I was still sitting there open-mouthed and just loving it all. I need to learn not to use my kids as the foil for my own interests no matter how childish. So the best part was petting the dogs. I love dogs. I could have taken them all home with me. I used to have a Siberian Husky when we lived in the snowy mounts of Colorado. Just a really fun family least for me! Woof.

I'm a Cowboy, Baby

This box is indestructible!
It is amazing how much care the Okies take of their hats.
When I get brave enough, I might just wear it...

Jet set

So this is Dan voguing for the camera inside my dad's jet. The "old" one. The "crummy" one. The one they're replacing with the custom one that had to be ordered 2 years ago because there's such a waiting list. Yeah. And they're selling this one and buying a third one. Anyone wanna buy a used jet for 5.3 mil? On this jet are a finer set of China, silver, and crystal than I own or probably ever will, bottles of liquor and wine worth more than my wedding bands and leather seats more plush and comfortable than our La-z-boy recliners.

Today I wish for my dad. For his jet and his ability to fly one anywhere in the world they would like to go. I'd go somewhere warm and sunny. Not hot, just warm. I don't like to get sunburned, sand and grit, being wet or sweaty. I'd go all by myself with a bag of books and a buch of money. I can get the books from the library but I'd have to steal the bunch of money. I don't know what I'd do but I just know It'd make me happier and less bored than I find myself day in and day out.

On a happier note--Dan looks awful handsome and totally rockstarish in this photo.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Two pancakey things happened to me today--weird. We had blueberry pancakes for dinner tonight after church. For some reason, they just tasted really good.

Then, as I checked my e-mail tonight, I had an alert from my Michigan tightwads group that
"IHOP will have it's Free Pancake Day on February 20. Here is a link w/info; it's from 7am-10pm and they give away a short stack to every customer."

We never go to Ihop (ewww--sticky tables), but for free pancakes, we'll be there. Be sure to put it on your calendar, and maybe we'll organize a time and place to meet y'all there for dinner on us...well, we'll pick up the short stack (any maybe smuggle in some Starbucks?), but you've gotta pay for your own sausage or bacon.

Oooh--curiosity poll! Sausage patties, links, bacon, or canadian bacon/breakfast ham?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dan is 30!

Happy 30th Dan!New decade = New "Do" (I think he is looking very "McSteamy")

Liam and Elli dressed in their finest for the big occasion
Liam helped me bake the cake for Dan's ice cream b-day cakeGood thing I had help!
The finished product--(layers bottom to top: choc cake, peanut butter, Moose Tracks ice cream, peanut butter, choc cake, frosted with a mix of French vanilla ice cream and Cool Whip--topped with crushed Oreos and peanut butter crunchies) Yeah--it was GREAT!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Betty Crocker

Q: Why was Betty Crocker in the hospital?

A: Because somebody burned her buns.

I always crack up and giggle at that one. Kinda like the "say 'hi' to your knees" or "say 'boo' to a bee" jokes. But, back to the issue at hand.

I was IMing with Jean today about making my own refried beans from scratch asking her why I would even think of attempting this while trying to entertain three kids at the same time. Her answer was simple, "because you love to cook". And she's right.

The beans are about halfway done the process. And Liam and I just whipped up a chocolate cake. Not a "add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, and 1 1/3 cups water to mix" kinda cake, I mean a hardcore from scratch good ol' fashioned kinda cake.

And I do love to cook. I've always wanted to go to culinary school, and I don't know what is keeping me from living my dream--this is the twenty-something-est century, durr! I do, however, have to finish my master's in management so that when I graduate from culinary school I can immediately own and open my own restaurant--it's a simple plan.

Back to my love of food prep, presentation, and the fellowship aspects of food. Fears: no one trusts a skinny cook (I'm not really in the category of "svelt" these days, but I'm not pleasantly plump either), it takes a lot of money and time, neither of which I have any of, neglecting my family for my own selfishness, how does this further the kingdom, training--would I go to school to learn to cook and be a collossal flop? Terrible at chopping? Have no palate? No creativity? Bad sense of timing? No artistic presentation skills? Not swear well enough to command respect in a kitchen? Owning, running, and cooking in a restaurant whenever I want to isn't really a family-friendly profession, or is it? Where does all the capital for all of this to happen come in? Is this really where I'm gifted, or just my most enjoyable hobby? What about all the other things I'm good at? Writing? People skillz? Business stuff? Teaching? Just looking dang good in a suit? Organization? Bossing people around*ahem* I mean delegation?

Well, the cake smells amazing. Hooray for a brother and sister-in-law who are missionaries to the Dominican Republic and import to us vanilla negra--it ROCKS!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

whipping boy

You know those news casts where there is violent or sensitive material? This might be one of those posts. Get me into trouble or make you feel a little sick in your gut, you can stop now, you're warned.

After we got home from school today, Liam and Elli were eating some snacks and Addison was on her hands and knees in the middle of the floor just smiling and bouncing. Liam, with bowl in hand, sauntered over to Addison and kicked her in the gut. Not a little love tap, but a totally pre-meditated hearty kick to her midsection.

We have instituted using a paddle my mother gave me in my Christmas stocking (as I've been asking her a lot about discipline) as a safe means of punishment. Safe in that I don't spank in anger and heat of the moment--it takes a minute to get the paddle off the hook in the pantry and the recipient gets a few minutes of sitting in their room shaking in terror awaiting the punishment to come and hopefully learning a lesson?

This time, though, I could see the smoke coming out of my own nostrils as I got that paddle off the hook and flew to Liam's room almost arriving the same time he did. Something inside me flipped. I was no longer his mother, but a bystander who had witnessed an act of cruelty, and wanted to make sure that act did not go unpunished and send the statement that cruel and violent behavior (hah, like me and my paddle) will not be tolerated. After telling him that behavior is unacceptable and never to be seen again, he assumed the pose (pants at the ankles, bend forward and hands on knees) and proceeded to give him a whap. It was such a mighty stroke that I broke the handle on the paddle.

Flashback to my junior year of college. I am student teaching for 6th grade in a public school in Ohio. I watch out my classroom window as some younger students are at recess. I see a large boy corner a tiny little boy, pin him against the chain link fence and start beating him in the face with his meaty fist. The little boy is covering his head, crying, stuck and getting his nose mashed into his face. Other kids are standing around watching, and there's not an adult or teacher paying any kind of attention. If I just opened my window, I'd be able to yell. I grab my senior teacher's attention and explain the situation asking to break up the fight, but she tells me it's not my problem, there are adults on the playground, and to just keep teaching.

I obeyed. But I disagreed with her. I don't give a rip whose "job" it was, I witnessed injustice and wanted nothing more than to step in and break it up. I still feel sick remembering this incident. It is one of my greatest fears for my own children, that something like this would ever happen to them one day and no one would step in for them and they'd get beat to a pulp for no reason at all.

This summer Liam was in our driveway playing with an older, bigger friend and that friend pinned him on the concrete and was pretending to punch him in the face and whispering "I'm gonna kill you" with each punching gesture. I flipped out. Pulled the friend off Liam, yelled a lot too loudly that you NEVER pretend you are hurting or punching someone, especially in the face, and you don't EVER tell people you are going to kill them. I was shaking. I was scared. I felt like one of my worst fears was taking place right in front of my own eyes...or like a sick preview of what lies in Liam's future. Oh dear God, may this never be.

Today, I witnessed injustice in my own home by my own flesh and blood. And it still made my blood boil, and I did something about it.

Now, the rub lies in that as I type this I wonder should I have stepped outside my body and watched myself punish Liam the way I just did, would I have allowed it or gotten upset at myself-as-punisher and charge myself with violence, anger, cruelty? I don't think so. There is no call for outright cruelty the way he kicked a small, innocent baby who did not incite or deserve a mean kick to the belly. Although in the moment I didn't feel very loving towards Liam, I know I am punishing him because I love him enough not to allow him to make bad choices, turn my head, and let them get to the point that he starts antagonizing or even abusing property, animals, other people, or himself.

I feel bad that Liam's buns probably burned and smarted for a few minutes, but I hope that pain serves to teach him that meanness and cruelty will not be tolerated in my household or on my watch.

I know if I am in error on this one, my punishment will be worse than a sore behind, but I embrace and welcome correction if I am in the wrong and appreciate a Father who cares enough not to let me get out of hand and be less that He created me to be. One of those ways might be through friends with an objective viewpoint giving me feedback. So, gulp, what have you to say?

Friday, January 05, 2007

9 minutes of fast typing

So our internet has been out. Taking 3 kids to the library and even imagining trying to get on the computer is a joke--those kids would have all the books off the shelves, the water fountain stuck on and overflowing onto the carpet, all the CD's out of the cases and scratched before I could even type in my library card number to log on!

I tried to go to D&W, and their network was down. What the heck? I did enjoy listening to country on Dan's itunes while watching the "renewing ip or no connectivity" about 40 times before I realized--"hey, idiot--it's never gunna connect"!

So, I'm at Beaner's on a Friday night. I guzzled down a short, decaf, Mocha Mocha with coconut bought on Dan's gift card (thanks so much sweetie). It was mediocre at best compared to S'bux, but I enjoyed it because I was all by myself. Dan's probably at home gritting his teeth with the kids or else he's got 'em all in bed and is reading on the couch.

I just miss being a grown up. I feel like I was created for more than just momming, and guilty for having that feeling as it's such a privilege to be home with our kids--except that it frustrates me horrendously.

I'm searching for my meaning. My chapter. My place. My verb. Trying to get my bearings. Some days I have so much vim and vigor to tackle the task, and other days I just wanna melt into the (dirty, needs-to-be-vacuumed probably need a new one but can't afford it) carpet and evaporate.

It's these few moments spent by myself doing something I enjoy, something I'm good at, something grown up, something from start to finish that give me a little more gas in my tank (that and rice and beans for dinner...whew!) to hang in there. Man, being a mom is the hardest job EVER--I should be incredibly hire able after this experience, right?

I just teared up last night as Dan asked whether I had thought about going back to school or what I'd like to do...I just feel pretty empty, and like my only job in life for now (and probably for a looooong time) is to be the best dang mom to these kids and an incredibly strong support for Dan in his life and ministry. I'm not too comfortable in the duds yet, but I think I can find some sort of contentment here without completely losing my creativity and letting my ministry muscles atrophy too much.

Time's up....Beaners is closing.........

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ima Hippo Cr8

Well. Don't read the post directly below this one. It's totally been nullified and voidicated. I got TONS of GREAT stuff for Christmas and am SOOOO happy!

Let's just say we took 3 anemically packed pieces of luggage (one being a backpack) to Oklahoma and returned with 5 packed-to-bursting bags and duffels and a hat box. I had a BALL shopping with our Macy's gift cards--both on line and in person--sans kids mind you! Yee-haw!

Anne posted a "what did you get" and I loved reading through everyone's here's mine in a nutshell.

socks, mortar and pestle, cowgirl hat, Privo shoes, 5 pairs of pants, 1 sweater, 2 blazers, 6 blouses, 4 t-shirts, 2 tank tops, 1 skirt, a purse and a clutch, Calpholon 12" pan, 4 new white towels, Swatch watch, slippers, 3 serving trays, pearl necklace, Pottery Barn shelves, pineapple corer/peeler, books, lotions, bubble bath, throw blanket, chip clips, chap sticks, paper and sticky notes, Dominican vanilla, 2 lbs Bayard's chocolates, money, Macy's gift cards

I'm sure there's more I've forgotten, but that's the bulk of it...there's so much behind each of these that makes them more than just "things" to me, but it'd take forever for me to write and you'd lose interest in reading all the vignettes and poignant episodes and my flowery descriptions of the verbal interchanges and non-verbals that made each of these items so special to me this year, so I'll just leave your mouth gaping open at my burgeoning list (oh yeah, there is still Macy's gift card money to spend!)