Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Resolution...In One Word

We've all done it. Made lists of our New Year's resolutions. And year after year, we not only fail to achieve those goals, we forget what they were in the first place. Two years ago, my sister introduced me to a life changing concept. Her pastor, Mike Ashcraft of Port City Community Church, did a series called One Word. Because a long list of resolutions is so daunting and we don't really believe that we're going to be successful...it's pointless. So maybe we don't even try any more. But what if we took a different approach? We can't do everything...but maybe we can do one thing. One word.

Mike challenged the congregation to choose one word to focus on for the coming year. Just one word. Surely we can remember one word. And focus on making that word a part of you. Build on it all year so that by year's end it is ingrained in your character. That first year, Mike's word was finish. He had lots of half-read books on his desk, lots of unfinished projects at home...lots of beginnings with no ends, so he wanted to focus on finishing. He even suggested creating opportunities to practice your word. For example, if your word is patience, then purposely get in the longest line at the store. Focus on your word.

After a couple of weeks that first year, Mike told a story of a woman who came to him and said that her husband wouldn't reveal his word. "Pastor," she said, "tell him he should tell me his word." Mike wisely replied, "Let me think about that." His conclusion was this...wouldn't it be incredible if by the end of the year, your word became such a part of you that your spouse knew what it was without you having to say it?

So this is my challenge to you. Choose one word to focus on for the year. Be creative. Pray over it. Ask God to reveal that thing he especially wants to develop in you this year. And then look for opportunities. Be mindful. I've done this for two years now and it's really been incredible. If you did this last year, reflect on how you've done. Has the Lord done a work in you? Have you been changed?

In my next post, I'm going to share my word for 2009. If you decide to join the challenge, please share your word in the comments. Maybe it will help spur some ideas in others. And get ready for an incredible year of change. Remember, you can't do it all...but you can do one thing.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Top 10 Christmas List

Top ten things heard at the Brothers' house on Christmas day.
(Mostly while playing Wii with Jody and Dina until 1am)

#10 You're up first next.

#9 No, Fats Domino.
Did you just call me fat?

#8 Did you say underpants?

#7 Speaking of handsome, we put in our wedding video today.

#6 You're full of Shatner.

#5 Can I just recommend that you not sing?

#4 Okay Cosell, I don't need your comments.

#3 She went ass end over tea kettle and meatballs went flying everywhere.

#2 He beat me at bowling right handed and left handed.
Well, you know...he is amphibious.

#1 That's what I like about the holidays at the Brothers'....no blah, blah, blah.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Potty Time!

We have a little test in our family that we give anyone new who comes in. We always like to ask, very early in the relationship, if the person is a folder or a wadder. If you're not sure what I'm talking about...I'm referring to your toilet paper. Do you fold neatly? Or do you wad it all up? We have very strong opinions about which is best and what it says about you. The more anal (no pun intended) people in our family tend to be folders. On the other hand, the...shall we say... freer spirits...tend to be wadders. Everyone has their opinions about which is best. There are issues of padding, maximum coverage, comfort, cleanliness...you name it, we've discussed it.

Now when I first started dating my husband, I learned something very intriguing about him.. He might be the only guy on the planet who doesn't think poop jokes, farts, or other related potty talk is funny. I mean, I know lots of women grossed out by the topic (they have all probably quit reading this post by now) but most men I know don't fall into that category. For years, YEARS, he refused to tell whether he was a folder or a wadder. We often speculated about which he was much to his dismay and our lively analysis would always send him running to another room. He HATES talking about anything related to the bathroom.

Now, obviously he's had to adjust his tolerance levels a little since we've had children. (Although, he still claims he may vomit whenever changing a dirty diaper.) He's had to learn to tolerate the randomly emitted gas at any and all locations, mostly in public, and smile along with the fits of giggles that follow. It hasn't been easy my friends. That is why I had to smile tonight when I heard his voice yell with great enthusiasm from the upstairs bathroom, "Mama! Little Sister just went poo poo on the potty!"

Yes, dear friends. Little Sister has reached that all critical milestone in life...learning to tee tee and poo poo on the potty. We have been telling her for two months that once she had her birthday, that she had to go tee tee and poo poo on the potty like a big girl. We haven't even attempted sitting on the potty this entire time, just prepping her for what was to come. Well, I'm happy to say that yesterday, our first day of trying, after wetting her pants all day long, she finally did it right before bed. We had quite the party and had to put off brushing teeth until after marshmallows. Today has been great as well. She's only had two accidents. The rest of the time she's gone on the potty including POO POO! She got marshmallows and M&M's for that.

And...of course...we're working on wadding. Considering she wads her paper into the smallest possible ball she can form, I'm thinking of teaching her folding. But I don't want her to need therapy later. What do you think? Defend yourselves folders and wadders of the world!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jingle Bells

If you don't look at anything else in this post, please go to the end and see the video of the girls.

A few nights ago we decorated for Christmas. I LOVE Christmas decorations. I don't like putting up all the stuff but I love when it's finally up. Here are some pictures of what I did this year. This is our card tree. It sits in our kitchen. The branches are nice and stiff and by the end of the season it is full of Christmas cards. I'd like to find another one like it.

This is my bedroom. I love reading at night by the twinkle lights. I found this ribbon and these ornaments this year so these are new.

I also changed my arrangements on the mantle to look more wintry.

And I even decorate the guest room.

Here is the girls' room. They get their own little tree to decorate. If I could have a tree in every room, I would.

This is my favorite. The dining room. I got these ornaments for 50% off at Lowe's and I stole the idea of hanging them like this from another house I saw. I also love having all my fine china out. We rarely use it so it's nice to look at it for a while and it always looks like I'm about to have a dinner party.

This is my village which has been discontinued. It's mine, but I beg my husband to set it up every year.
Finally, this is our real tree. I love the smell of a real tree at Christmas. This is where we hang all the special ornaments. I even have some on there I made when I was Little Sister's age. (see videos below). This is where Santa leaves three gifts for each girl symbolizing the three gifts given to the Christ child and helping us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Decorating this tree together was especially fun this year. The girls are at that age where it is all so exciting to them. We got some great video that I hope you'll take the time to watch. Each one is just about 30 seconds long and I think they're hilarious. Especially funny is the last one of Little Sister singing "Jingle Bells". Hope this brings joy to your day and inspires you to get into the spirit!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Class of 88 is Great!

And do I mean great! Everybody looked wonderful. I might have been the only one who added a pound for every year we've been out of school. We had a blast! Well...let me start at the beginning. After finally making it out of Nashville with only a couple of bumps in the road (see here), we landed in Philadelphia. We rented our car and drove straight to Millville, NJ. We got off at the old exit next to the mall so we could drive by my old house and BOY HAS IT CHANGED. There used to be a bunch of nothing there but now there are huge strip malls and shopping areas and loads of restaurants that weren't there before. I still managed to find the way to our old house. Not much had changed in the neighborhood but the tree to the left of the house was one my parents planted. It was tiny back then so that was weird. We were starving so I headed to Jim's Lunch. Jim's is famous for their burgers which you must order with "everything". Oddly, "everything" just means cheese, onions, and secret sauce. They're also only open from sometime in November until the end of May. The last time I was in Millville, it happened to be August so I missed out but I was ecstatic to find it open this time. We sat at the counter and my husband ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and mayo and then I proceeded to tease him, much to our waitress' delight, that at Jim's you order a cheeseburger with "everything". I savored every bite, it was soooo delicious. I think the waitress was confused by this clearly southern sounding girl who was so knowledgeable about a Jim's burger. I have been gone for 20 years and I definitely sound like it.

We then headed a little further down the road and stopped at the Harley Davidson dealership to see my old friend Sam. His family has owned the shop forever and it was BUSY. Guess the Harley crowd isn't suffering from the economy too much. My husband enjoyed finally meeting my old friend, Sam. He's the epitome of a 100% Italian guy from Jersey. So sweet and funny, he was a good friend. He's married with four kids now, bald, and still looks like he lifts weights daily and is really enjoying life. We laughed about the old times.

Next we went to Amy's house. We were staying with her overnight. She ran through the list of everyone who was coming and gave me the latest scoop on everyone. I was happy to have the last minute cramming session on who's who. We got dressed and headed to my friend Mary's. This was in large part the group I hung out with in school and in the neighborhood. I moved to Millville in the middle of my junior year so these were some of my first and closest friends.On the far left is Mary who often drove me to school and was a regular at the Jones/Carter house. The two in the middle are Amy (who we stayed the night with) and Susan. They both cheered with me in high school. Amy taught me to do a back handspring and Susan was our captain. She's the one who convinced me to try out. Gretchen is next. She is loads of fun and we often looked for trouble together. Robbie is on the right and he lived in our neighborhood too. Robbie rode the bus with me on my first day. I guess you could say he was the first person I met when I moved to Millville. We also got to see my friend Kenny who graduated a year earlier. I met Kenny at church camp before I moved to Millville.My husband and I ran into Kenny in New York City around New Year's Eve in 1995 when we were first dating and I brought him home with me to New Jersey for the first time. I hadn't seen Kenny since then and I was happy to tell him about all that had happened.

We finally headed to the Elk's Lodge and met up with the rest of my classmates. The time FLEW by. I didn't have any of those uncomfortable moments where I didn't remember someone. In fact, I didn't have time to talk with everyone I wanted to see. Some people didn't recognize me because I didn't have such HUGE hair. My husband was great. He didn't need to be babysat at all. He even made a few friends of his own.

Here he is with the husband of my crazy friend, Rhonda. I had such a blast catching up with her. She's a flight attendant with Jet Blue and he's a pilot. They just got married recently and were such a hoot. I bugged them to death about coming to visit us. You can see our husbands had fun acting goofy and trying to embarrass us and each other.
It all went by way too fast. We got up the next morning and had to head back to the airport. There are talks of a 25th reunion. They're thinking of having it in the summer. I'm all for that as it will be easier to get there and stay a couple of days and at least I might have a tan. Either way I look forward to seeing them all again. Thanks for the memories!

Monday, December 1, 2008

So Much To Blog About, So Little Time

Okay, so I've been pathetic with my blog lately. It's not that there's been nothing blog worthy, it's just that there's been no time to do it all justice. I've got three must tell stories in the works. Today you will get Thanksgiving, next it will be my 20th high school reunion (yes, I'm that old), and finally, decorating for Christmas.

So...Thanksgiving. I've turned making Thanksgiving relaxed and low key into an art form. It is my goal in life that holidays be as stress free and Norman Rockwell as possible. We're staying home and whoever wants may come and join in. We eat what we want and don't feel the need to eat "thanksgivingy" things we don't like. And we don't have a formal time of stating what we're thankful for, but it does come up in regular conversation. No pressure. Just, you know, conversations like this:

The Coach: I'm so glad we don't have to go anywhere today.
Mother-In-Law: Yeah, me too, and thank the Lord for Honey Baked Ham.
Grandmama: And I just LOOOOVE those sweet potatoes.
Me: Well thank you grandmama.
Little Sister: I'm sleepy.
The Coach: I'm so glad we don't have to go anywhere today.

So, you see, there are general expressions of thankfulness all the way around.

But after stuffing myself (pun totally intended), I was thinking of my 20th high school reunion. The Coach and I would be leaving Friday morning and my mom, my sister, and her husband would be staying with the girls overnight. I wasn't concerned about the girls, I admit, I was concerned as to whether or not I could still fit into my pants. But chubby or not, I knew I would be one of the happiest girls there. How could I not be? More about the reunion later.

Friday morning, we left for the airport at 7:30am. We had plenty of time and were sipping coffee in the terminal when the phone rang. It was my mother. Already. Here's how the conversation went (basically):

Me: (laughing) Having a problem already?
Mom: (not laughing) Everything is fine. The girls are fine. Everything is fine.
Me: (not laughing anymore) Ooookay.
Mom: I just wanted to call in case one of your neighbors called you to see what was wrong.
Me: (dead silence, heart pounding)
Mom: The fire department is here.
Me: What?
Mom: I was trying to clean your oven.
Me: What?
Mom: I set your self-cleaning oven...and...well...something caught on fire.
Me: What?
Mom: (in a rush) Erin called 911 and then it went out and then we hung up but then they called back and we said everything was fine and then they said they wanted to come check it out anyway so they're here now and they're checking it and the girls are fine and everything's fine.
Me: So did the smoke alarm go off?
Mom: No.
Me: Is the oven broken?
Mom: No.
Me: Why are you trying to clean my oven? I've only been gone an hour and you've almost burnt the house down?
Mom: I don't know. You know, the firemen said those self cleaning ovens are so dangerous. They said it was a good thing I didn't open the door or the house would be full of smoke. But they're down there now with some big fans and they're checking it out and everything's fine. I don't think the girls even know anything happened. I was just afraid your neighbors would call you and tell you something was going on at your house and I didn't want you to worry.
Me: You didn't want me to worry? Huh. Well, that's what you get for cleaning.

Well, turns out everything was fine. I did get one more call from my sister about 15 minutes later because the TV wouldn't work. Turns out the HD cord unplugged when she was vacuuming. So I gave her the speech about how they were supposed to be watching the kids, not cleaning. I swear, my house is pretty decent. It's not like I live in filth. I don't know what they were thinking but I did come home to all the laundry, dishes, and floors clean. I can't speak for the oven. I guess they reminded me how thankful I am to have a home. And I'm definitely thankful to have family who loves me and doesn't mind too much being the object of my blogging sarcasm. Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gold Rush!

Okay, it's been a while since I last posted but for some of you, this post will have been worth waiting for.

Do you need some extra Christmas money? Are you glad gas prices are going down but still you seem to be in a budget crunch? Did you grow up in the 80's? Then, like me, you probably have lots of old gold jewelry that you never wear. I dug around in my jewelry box a while back and put all the gold jewelry together in one little bag. Broken rope chains, a kinked herringbone chain, several cheesy gold charms and a few little rings were just gathering dust and taking up space. They weren't anything that had true sentimental value. Most of them were broken, had one earring missing, or were something an old boyfriend gave me.

Well, I've been hearing that people are paying the best price for gold in years so I decided to find out. I grabbed my little bag of trinkets and went to Berry's Pawn in Madison. Berry's is a very reputable pawn shop owned by Herb Berry. Herb went to our church for a long time and is a friend of my dad's. Jeff bought my engagement ring from him. You might be familiar with the shop as Dave Ramsay often mentions it on his show. So anyway, Herb wasn't in but I was helped by a friendly young man. He examined and weighed each piece and made notes on a piece of paper. In about 15 minutes he made his offer. Now, their motto is, "Give the customer more than they expect." But are you ready for this?

$415.00!!!That's right! Four hundred and fifteen dollars! He counted out the cash and the security guard walked me to my car. I thought that was kinda funny but there are some characters in that area and everyone in the store did just see him count out a load of cash. No worries though, the shop is very nice and I had Little Sister with me. It's not really scary and dark like you might imagine a pawn shop would be.

So look out Black Friday and thank you Lord for providing some Christmas shopping money to buy gifts for those we love. If you decide to go down there, please comment and let me know how you do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jesus on Politics

I was listening to a Bible study my dad taught last week to a group of men at his church. He taught on Matthew 25:15-22

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them,"Whose portrait is this?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them,"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

The Pharisees opposed the Roman government while the Herodians were Jews who supported it. The only reason these two groups would come together to question Jesus was to set a trap. Both sides, much like we see today, believed that God was on their side. Basically what they wanted to know was, whose side are you on Jesus? Jesus gives a lot of "yes" and "no" answers in the Bible, but not here. It's not really a "yes" or "no" question. But His answer amazes them. He looks at the denarius, a coin representing a day's wages, and says, "Whose portrait is this?" Caesar's image was on the coin. When he says, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's," He's essentially saying, "Give Caesar that which bears his image and give to God that which bears His image." The coin bore Caesar's image...what is that which bears God's image?...you and me...that's what we are to give him...ourselves.

We may not agree with our leaders, but our hope is not in our government. We need not despair if our candidate loses, nor become too proud if he wins. "...for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1. His will, whatever it is, will be accomplished. And we should pay close attention. Exercise your right and privilege to participate in government, but understand that our God is sovereign. We are made in His image. We belong to Him. The ultimate authority. The King of Kings. And we already know that in the end...He wins.

Friday, October 31, 2008

All Things Sacred

I recently read a great post by my friend Ashley called Sacred or Secular. It reminded me of a book I read right after college, the practice of the presence OF GOD by brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in the 1600's. He spent most of his life in the monastery working in the kitchen (sound familiar?) and in his later years he repaired sandals. Exciting huh? He had a lowly position yet because of his peace and character, others were drawn to him and often sought his wisdom on spiritual matters. His secret was continually practicing God's presence. In every moment he constantly practiced turning his thoughts, his heart, his worship towards God. He was in such constant fellowship with the Father, he said, "I have given up all but my intercessory prayers to focus my attention on remaining in His holy presence." Can you imagine walking so closely with God that you no longer had to stop and pray? What if it just flowed naturally out of every little thing you do?

Now don't misunderstand. His message is not about doing things for God. It's about loving God. Loving God without restrictions on when and where and how. This small book is a collection of letters and conversations and I highly recommend it. I don't have much analysis, I just wanted to share some of my favorite quotes and be reminded that all things can be done to the glory of God.

Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?

Never tire of doing even the smallest things for Him, because He isn't impressed so much with the dimensions of our work as with the love in which it is done.

If we only knew how much we need God's grace, we would never lose touch with Him.

It isn't necessary to be too verbose in prayer, because lengthy prayers encourage wandering thoughts...If your mind wanders at times, don't be upset, because being upset will only distract you more.

We must try to converse with God in little ways while we do our work; not in memorized prayer, not trying to recite previously formed thoughts. Rather, we should purely and simply reveal our hearts as the words come to us.

The most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of God. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly and lovingly with Him in all seasons, at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way.

I could go on and on but the book is so little, I wanted to save plenty for you to discover on your own. Meanwhile, as you change diapers, return phone calls, fold clothes, attend meetings... whatever you do, remember that He is with you. Practice His presence.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tricky Treats

Okay, for those of you at MOPS yesterday who wanted to know how to make the cute little pumpkin cakepops, here you go.

First, no I'm not that creative. I didn't make these up, I'm just good at copying. As you can see, the originals look much cleaner than mine. I'm not sure how she gets the candymelts that smooth. If anyone has any tips, please share. I wish I had a picture of mine but, thankfully, you ate them all up! My cakepops were a combination of these amazing treats invented by the ever so talented and widely famous Bakerella...

And these sweet treats inspired the insides of my pumpkin pops...

Thanks and full credit for the pumpkin spice cake idea go to Bridget at bakeat350.blogspot.com. LOVE her site. She is so talented and I found her blog courtesy of my sister-in-law Montee. Okay, so here's what I did.

1. I bought and baked a pumpkin bread from a mix right out of a box (no cans of pumpkin or anything hard like that). I let it cool completely and then crumbled it all up with my hands in a large bowl.
2. I used about 3/4 of a can of ready made cream cheese icing and mixed it completely with the caked. It ended up looking like a bunch of mush. Add the icing a little at a time so you don't get too much. You want it to be sturdy enough to shape it.
3. Shape the mixture into truffle size balls and put on wax paper on a cookie sheet.
4. If you're going to do pops, dip the tip of stick in a little bit of melted orange Wilton candymelts and then still into the cake ball.
5. Put the whole thing in the fridge to let them get a little more solid and sturdy.
6. Dip the balls in melted orange Wilton candymelts and then stick pops in styrofoam to dry. If you're not making pops, just put them on more wax paper. Bakerella used tic tacs for the stems, I used green cereal pieces from a sugared kids cereal. You could also probably use pretzels for stems. Stick on the stems before the candy can harden.
7. When everything is completely dry, use an edible pen from Betty Crocker to draw on faces. Done.

I got the lollipop sticks and orange Wilton candymelts in the craft section of Walmart. I got the pumpkin bread mix, icing, and edible ink pens in the baking section of Walmart. It was really super easy and fun and here are some examples of some of the other spooky treats Bakerella made.

You can use any cake mix and icing so I am going to try some different combos. Red velvet cake with cream cheese icing dipped in white or dark chocolate, chocolate cake with chocolate icing dipped in a minty dark chocolate coating...the possibilities are endless. Let me know if you try these and how it works out. If you want more detailed instructions, check here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Teaching Children Spiritual Truths

Last night while we were on our way home from dinner, Big Sister and I had an important conversation about deep spiritual truths...sort of.

Big Sister: Mama...what is faith?

Me: Well...faith is when you believe something even though you can't see it. Like, we believe in God even though we can't see Him.

Big Sister: (Very joyfully) And I believe in God so I have faith!

Me: Right! (Whew) Why did you ask me that?

Big Sister: Wait mama, first I need to ask you about two more things.

Me: Okay.

Big Sister: Okay mama, so...what is trust?

Me: Ummm...it's kind of like faith. It's when you can believe that something someone tells you is true...or when you can tell someone a secret and you know they won't tell? (Okay so I kinda struggled with this one)

Big Sister: Hmmm.

Me: It's like when I tell you I'm going to take care of you, you can trust me because you know I'm telling you the truth.

Big Sister: (Smiling again) Okay so I trust you so I have trust!

Me: Right! (Thinking we're on a roll now and ready for number three) So what's the last one?

Big Sister: What was it again? (thinking very seriously) Oh yeah, so I believe in God so I have faith...

Me: Yeah.

Big Sister: And I can trust you so I have trust...

Me: Yeah.

Big Sister: Faith...trust...and...oh yeah...pixie dust. I don't have pixie dust.

Me: What?

Big Sister: Tinker Bell says if you have faith, trust, and pixie dust, you can fly.

Turns out, what I thought was a spiritual conversation was actually a Peter Pan conversation.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

If One is Good, Two is Better!

This is what happened when Little Sister found her other passie tonight.

Mmmm, mmmmm, good. What do you think my chances are of ridding her of this vice by the end of the year? I'm thinking it could be a little...challenging.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Little Sister baffles me sometimes. She's so cuddly and sweet and full of smiles but...she's about to turn three. Everyone talks about the terrible twos and no one tells you about the torturous tantrum throwing threes. She'll be three soon and she's already showing the signs. By three they can speak well enough to really bless you out and embarrass you in public. I've mentioned before that we walk to school (when it's not raining of course). Big Sister is in kindergarten and I had all these Norman Rockwell visions of what that would be like. We'd wake up with birds singing, eat pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse, put on our cute new school clothes, grab the tote bag and lunchbox and walk to school, all the while singing songs, picking flowers, and waving to friends.Well...

Honestly it's not that far off. Really. With one exception. I wasn't factoring Little Sister into the equation. This child wants to sit on my lap, climb on me, and sleep in my bed. Basically, she gropes me all day long. Whenever we go up or down the stairs she insists on holding my hand. Now here's the part that baffles me. For some reason, when we're walking Big Sister to school and we get ready to cross the street, she WILL NOT hold my hand. She throws a huge fit and spends the entire time screaming, "LET GO ME!" (yes, that's "let go me" and not "let me go") and trying to wrench her hand free from my death grip. We go through this routine every day. I've even started leaving a little bit early just to deal with it. It now includes every parking lot. The church, the store, the park...whenever there are cars around, she refuses to hold my hand. Finally, one day I got down on her level and said calmly, "Do you see all these cars? They're very dangerous. You have to hold my hand. I'm going to keep you safe even if it makes you mad." I grabbed hold of her hand, squeezed tight, and dragged her across the street. We have to have this little talk now several times a day. I've shortened the speech to simply, "I'm going to keep you safe even if it makes you mad." Over and over. Sometimes, she will reluctantly and loosely take my hand and pout.

Last week, my Bible study was called "The Hedge that Protects". We studied verses that all had to do with how God protects us. When we were watching the video of Priscilla Shirer talking about this "hedge that protects" it made me think about Little Sister and me. When I'm wanting to do things my way, when I'm trusting in myself and not God, am I any different? How many times have I misread his protection for punishment? His rescue for restriction? How many times were there dangers lurking out there and when God stuck out his hand to me I threw a big ole tantrum and screamed, "LET GO ME! I DO IT MYSELF!" Or maybe sometimes I reluctantly gave Him my limp hand and loose grip and pouted the whole way?

I can already imagine how He might really bring this lesson home to me. I'm stuck in traffic and fuming over the hold up and then he condescends to me and calmly speaks to my heart, "I'm going to keep you safe, even if it makes you mad." I've once again gotten in the slowest line at the grocery store and while I tap my foot impatiently he whispers, "I'm going to keep you safe, even if it makes you mad." The refrigerator breaks down again taking all of our "fun money" and while I'm pouting over the missed restaurants and movies I hear, "I'm going to keep you safe, even if it makes you mad."

I don't know how it all works. I'm not even as perceptive as an almost three-year-old compared to God. I'm infinitely more clueless. Those speeding cars look like lots of fun to me. But I hope that more often I will trust Him. That I will grab hold of His hand, hold on tight, find security in his grip and say, "Okay, LET'S GO!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This week I was able to really put into practice a lesson I learned early in our marriage. I learned to make my home a sanctuary.

Early in our marriage I had lots of ideas and expectations. Unfortunately, my husband is not a mind reader so any time he fell short of those expectations I made him miserable. When he had a stressful day at work and the boss kept him late was often the same night I prepared an elaborate meal and made plans for us to go out and do something fun. (That was when we had no kids, two jobs, time, and money) Anyway, the dinner would go cold, we'd have missed the movie, and the more minutes that ticked by, the worse it would get. Concern would turn to irritation, irritation to frustration, frustration to anger, and anger to bitterness. By the time he walked in the door, he didn't stand a chance. As you can imagine, after a couple of years, home wasn't a place he looked forward to at the end of the day. If his day at work was difficult, he knew that often his home would be worse. He would often stay later to avoid it which made me madder. When given the silent treatment, he often gave the silent treatment...probably just grateful that he wasn't being nagged to death. Irritation turned to frustration, frustration to anger, and...you get the picture.

Thankfully, through a series of events, and often painful pruning, the Lord spoke to my heart. I learned that if I wanted things to change, I had to change. If I wanted my husband to look forward to coming home then home needed to offer something to look forward to. Our home needed to become a sanctuary. Look at the definition of sanctuary.

sanc·tu·ar·y [sangk-choo-er-ee] –noun, plural -ar·ies.
1.a sacred or holy place.
a.the Biblical tabernacle or the Temple in Jerusalem.
b.the holy of holies of these places of worship.
3.an especially holy place in a temple or church.
4.the part of a church around the altar; the chancel.
5.a church or other sacred place where fugitives were formerly entitled to immunity from arrest.
6.immunity afforded by refuge in such a place.
7.any place of refuge; asylum.

He needed a place of refuge, he needed immunity, he needed a place where he felt safe and loved and accepted. Those words did not describe our home back then. Now I'll just tell you, it didn't change overnight. After a week of holding my tongue, putting him first, letting the little stuff go...I wanted to give up. It didn't seem to be working. He was still coming home late. He was still withdrawn. Basically, he wasn't buying it. But the Lord reminded me I didn't need to change what I was doing in order to get my husband to change. I had to be who God called me to be as a wife regardless of how my husband responded. Besides, it had taken almost two years for me to teach him that home was not a refuge. It was not a place where he could feel safe and loved and accepted. He was definitely not getting immunity. It probably took another year for me to prove to him that things were going to be different. I would fail miserably some days...I still do. But as I take refuge in the Lord, our home is becoming a place of refuge for my husband.

These past couple of weeks have been rough. Work has been especially draining and challenging for him. But in those difficult moments in his day he called us for comfort. He looked to me for encouraging words and a listening ear. He couldn't wait to get home at night. Because this week when his nights were especially long, when his job was particularly frustrating, when it seemed he was being attacked on every front, he had a sanctuary.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Random Thoughts

I think it's called being an emotional eater and it's supposedly bad for you, but sometimes when your down and feeling low, you just want to eat something good. Mexican food and chocolate chip cookie dough is good for the soul in my opinion.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a backhanded compliment when a girl you graduated from high school with leaves you a note at classmates.com that says, "Wow Tracy you've changed and look fantastic! I had to click your THEN pic to make sure it was you."

For the first time in my adult life I am actually feeling the effects of a "bad economy". Teacher/coach salaries didn't increase at the same rate as gas prices. I can actually imagine a little bit what it was like to wait in bread lines. We're not going to starve by any means but why does our area have NO gas?

I volunteered at the First United Methodist consignment sale today. I don't usually do consignment sales because it's not worth the work but I made myself do it for Christmas shopping money (see above random thought). I was helping sort things when it was over. There's actually something therapeutic about putting the clothes in number order and then stacking them neatly underneath the consignor's numbers around the room. Bringing order to so much chaos was surprisingly satisfying. In one small corner of the world, everything is as it should be...and I made it that way.

I always read magazines from back to front. Why save the best for last? You might not get there. Look at any magazine table of contents and you'll find the article you're looking for is probably somewhere in the last third of the magazine.

It seems to make no difference what time I put the girls to bed. Whether it's 8:00p.m. or 10:00p.m. they will wake up on the dot at 6:00a.m. However, the bedtimes seem to have a profound effect on me.

I'm thankful that pasta is so cheap. It's one of my favorites. Everyone in my family loves it. It cooks up quick. You can add almost anything to it. Variety baby. And it's soooo cheap!

Imagine your husband does his job while thousands of people watch and judge. Imagine they feel free to comment on everything he says and does even though they don't know anything about the intricacies of a job he is highly qualified to do and at which they would fail miserably. Imagine they even yell out rude comments in front of you and your children. Imagine he has a bad month and they print his sales stats in the paper. Now imagine his total job success rides on 14-17 year old boys doing exactly what they're supposed to do. This is my life.

Pink used to be one of my least favorite colors but now that I have two little girls, I love it. I also used to hate blue cheese dressing, green olives, and cottage cheese but now I like them all. A lot. Wonder why?

Why is it that no matter how tightly or how loosely I wrap the cord around the vacuum cleaner hooks, it always turns out that the plug ends on a curve so I can't secure it?

L.A. Confidential is a great movie. Even at 7:30 in the morning.

You know how sometimes you drive all the way from the grocery store to home and you can't remember one thing about the drive? Like you don't even know how you got there because you were on "automatic"? I have entire days like that.

If "all the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players", in my scene, I'm surrounded by the most talented, beautiful, amazing cast. I wouldn't trade a single one of you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lost and Found

A couple of months ago I lost my car keys. I have a little hook that I'm supposed to hang them on whenever I walk in the door but with two little girls, I often end up carrying someone to bed, rushing someone to the potty, or any number of things and my keys end up lying around somewhere. So a couple of months ago, on a Monday morning, I couldn't locate my keys. I knew I had them on Sunday when I drove home from church and I hadn't seen them since. The only things I took to church were a small diaper bag and my Bible. So of course, the first places I looked were in the diaper bag and my Bible (I have one of those little zip up Bible covers). No keys.

Over the next several days I would search whenever I could. I checked every pair of pants and every coat even though I hadn't worn a coat or pants. I checked every junk drawer, junk box, junk basket and found nothing but...junk. Then I would check the diaper bag and my Bible again. I tore the van apart thinking I must have laid them down while taking the kids out in the garage. I took out the car seats, I emptied the storage compartments underneath, and I got a flashlight to look in all the dark crevasses. I found a few old french fries and a couple of ponytail holders but no keys. I checked the garage thinking maybe they fell somewhere. I pulled out shelves in the laundry room to look behind them. I even got my flashlight and checked behind the washer and dryer. Then I would check the diaper bag again. I even asked friends to pray. I figure finding keys is nothing for God and I waited expectantly for them to show up. Weeks went by with no keys. I couldn't understand why he was holding out on me. Occasionally I would get an idea...

Several months before that we lost one of our remotes for the TV. (I know, heaven forbid we actually had to get up to change a channel.) We looked everywhere knowing it had to be in the house only to find it months later INSIDE the little tikes basketball goal. Yep, Daddy noticed it was standing a little taller than usual and in fact it appeared to be about the length of the remote control. He pulled out the top and WALLAH! there it was. Can you say Little Sister? This got me thinking she must have been playing with them. This meant they could be anywhere. I emptied every toy bin, looked in every drawer in the girl's room and unfolded the fold-out couch. No keys. Then I checked the diaper bag...again.

This went on for about two months. Now and then, I would get an idea and resume the search. Just to show you how extensive the search was, I flipped our living room couch on it's back and cut the lining on the bottom so I could stick my hand in there to see if they had fallen between couch cushions and then through a rip in the lining. I found some leggos, more ponytail holders, and a few raisins. I was starting to give up. I figured Little Sister must have put them in the trash can and they were in a landfill somewhere.

Now this will seem kind of random but there was something else going on in my head and heart during this time. I was having one of those seasons where the more I learned about God, the less I knew. I was studying the Word and digging deep and the more I dug, the more mystery I found. My dad told me once that there's not all that much in the Bible, it's all about Jesus. As I have read through the chronological Bible (makes a lot more sense chronologically by the way) I've seen this to be true. It's not a bunch of stories about people, it's one story about God. Sounds simple but suddenly I began to see the big picture. This brought some big questions. Unanswered questions it turns out. Questions that if answered, I probably wouldn't be able to fathom anyway. I began to feel small. Very small. I suddenly couldn't imagine how such a HUGE, GREAT, HOLY GOD could use me. I started to wonder if much in my life really mattered. I'm just one person who stays at home with two little girls and doesn't seem to have much impact on the world much less on the universe and all of eternity. I began to struggle as I often do with feeling I had a God who loved me...but from a distance.

I was lying in bed on a Tuesday night reading my chronological Bible and was in 2 Kings with some Isaiah and Amos scattered in. I didn't get anything earth shattering from it. It was mostly, so-and-so was king, and he was a bad king, and when he died, his son became king and he was bad too. I did read one thing that was interesting in Isaiah 7:10-11.
Not long after this, the LORD sent this message to King Ahaz: "Ask me for a sign, Ahaz, to prove that I will crush your enemies as I have promised. Ask for anything you like, and make it as difficult as you want."

I went to sleep feeling nothing but more distance and little purpose.

I woke up at about 3:00am, wide awake. I decided to do what I usually do when that happens and thought I would pray. Oddly, I was speechless. I didn't even feel like I could talk to God. I had nothing to say. I just lay there thinking how anything I said right then would just be words. So I just told God I had nothing to say. Thankfully, He did have something to say. He brought to mind what I had read that night. It was as if He said, "Ask me for a sign. Ask for anything you like, and make it as difficult as you want." "I can't do that God," I thought. But then he reminded me that King Ahaz had that same response and it didn't go well. So I just prayed, "Lord, I need a sign. I need to know I matter to you. I need to know I serve a purpose in your plan. I need to know you hear me. I need a sign and I need it to be clear and specific. It's got to be obvious Lord or I'm afraid I'll miss it."

The next day I went about my business and never thought about my request for a sign. I wasn't looking for it. I had a busy day and the last thing on my agenda was taking a meal to a couple in White House. I was driving a car that we borrowed from the dealership while waiting for our brakes to be fixed. After dropping off the meal, I was driving down the long driveway and reached for my cell phone. I'd left it in the cup holder and suddenly couldn't find it. I stopped the car, put it in park, and got out. I looked under the seat and in the center console. I checked my pockets. I went around to the passenger side of the car and looked under that seat. I figured I must have tossed it in the diaper bag so I reached inside...and immediately felt something in the side zipper pocket. It felt HUGE. "Did I actually go to the trouble to zip it up in the side pocket?" I thought. Wait...I started to sweat and get cold chills all at the same time. I felt around the edges of the item in the pocket and thought, "It can't be." I opened the zipper and lying there neatly, all alone, were my lost keys.

I heard the still small voice of God saying, "Is that specific enough? It's a small thing but it matters to me. It all matters. You matter." I was blown away. Did I mention I had checked this diaper bag no less that 20 times? Not only that but I took the diaper bag with me nearly every day. I unloaded and repacked it several times a week. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time but mostly I was just in awe. I walked around to the other side of the car, sat down, and shook my head. I thanked God all the way home and all night long. I still thank Him now when I think of it. And mostly, I think of it when I am feeling small, or pointless, or lonely, or confused. I don't know the mind of God. I don't know all the answers. In fact I don't know most of the answers. I don't know His plans. But I do know one thing...it all matters...I matter...you matter. And if you are lost, he can find you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Scary Mary

Since we are fully immersed in all things political, let me just say...I hate politics. I don't like all the fluff...I don't like the mudslinging...I don't like the worthless promises...I don't like the fake smiles...I just don't like it. I don't EVER like to talk about it because it just seems so pointless sometimes. It's so frustrating to have to sift through all the baloney to figure out who would be the least horrible...though sift you must. But please, I beg you, don't let it come down to the advertising and emails you've been exposed to.

You also need to know that if you send me emails with political ads, statistics, little bits and pieces of info, and especially quotes taken out of context...I delete them. I don't read them. So often when I have wasted precious time reading them and thought, "Did they really say that? I don't remember it that way?" I research only to find something taken grossly out of context. So think for yourselves, people. Do the research for yourselves. Even though it often seems futile, look at the whole picture...and then try not to lose all hope. And above all, be wary of anything that may be taken out of context. Because they may just be using crafty editing and slick words to turn Mary Poppins into...SCARY MARY.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The First Day of School, Again...Only Worse

So today was the actual first day of kindergarten. Brace yourself, it was a doozy. This is a long post but I think it will be worth it. Once again, my children went against the norm and instead of waking up between 6:00 and 6:30, they slept until 7:15. Big Sister needs to arrive at school between 8:15 and 8:30. Any earlier than 8:15 and we have to wait in the cafeteria with a bazillion kids for dismissal. We prefer to aim for 8:20 so we can walk directly to the classroom. It's okay with the teachers if we walk them to their rooms until around October. After that, we have to cut the apron strings and let them go...oh boy. So anyway, we have exactly fifty-five minutes to feed and dress everyone before leaving the house. Sounds doable...if you have a family that operates at normal speed. However, apparently I am receiving payback for all those times in my childhood when my mother was waiting in the car with the motor running while I continued to look for my other shoe. Big Sister takes her time. Little Sister moves at a little faster pace, hence the problem. You have to catch her before you can dress her. And then there's me, the mama. I can't walk into that school (and I am walking into that school until October) looking like I normally do. These people don't know me. I am putting my firstborn's life in their hands until 2:15 p.m. I must make a good impression!

So anyway, we're well on our way to making good time and then Daddy hollers as he walks out the door, "It's raining." WHAT!?!?! Rain!? I wasn't prepared to deal with RAIN! We walk to school for crying out loud. I haven't practiced driving to school yet. How long will it take? Can I park somewhere when I get there so I can still walk her in? Where? Front of the school or back? Now, in my defense, it hasn't rained in like...forever. I haven't watched the news in like...forever. How was I supposed to know I must prepare the "rain plan" on the first day!? Let the madness begin.

After running up and down the stairs about 10 times, not drinking any of the coffee I made, and holding Little Sister down to yank her hair into a beautifully coiffed "do"...we headed out the door at 8:14. Perfect if you're walking...but if it's raining....and you're driving....and you've never done this before? Well, I was able to snap a couple of pictures before we left.
On a side note, the heinous "tote bag" is a requirement at our school for all kindergartners. It is so they can easily be identified as a kindergartner (seriously, how could you miss these things?) and so that papers don't get lost in lots of zippers and pouches. Okay, like, could you have let us know that in a letter over the summer before money was invested in a perfectly pink zippered and pouch covered princess backpack that Big Sister picked out herself and now I have to explain why she can't take it to school even though I built it up earlier like it was so perfect for kindergarten and made her look like such a big girl and now I have to make it seem like that heinous "tote bag" is awesome!?! Aaarrrghhhh! We were permitted to decorate the heinous "tote bag". Notice the ribbon around the edging and the bow. Aren't I crafty? Big Sister drew on the bag while I restrained myself from adding multiple sequined iron on transfers. Here is a closeup.

In case you couldn't tell, that thing to the right is a fish standing on top of it's fish tank. (Isn't she creative?) and the word CIDRGORDIN is the word KINDERGARTEN using ebonics...I mean phonics. I'm not sure what the squiggly yellow things are. Anyway, I praised her artistry to the high heavens and somehow managed to convince her that the "tote bag" is the way to go because it's what all the hip kindergartners are wearing this year.

So we walked out to the garage at 8:14 a.m. and I immediately realized I was in trouble. I laid my eyes on the car we've borrowed from the dealership while our minivan is being fixed and remembered that I have NO umbrellas. All three umbrellas that we own are in the minivan. Because Daddy doesn't use an umbrella (he's so manly he'd rather be wet than carry some girly umbrella I guess) and because who needs an umbrella at home? All our umbrellas ride around with us... only today, the first official day of kindergarten, we didn't have our ride.

On another side note, I dropped off the minivan LAST Monday because the ABS light was on. ABS=Anti-lock brake system. I asked them to call us before doing any work and let us know what work needed to be done and what it would cost. That was a week ago and we haven't heard a thing or had any of our calls returned. While I was happy to drive around using their gas for a few days, I've now had to put more gas in their car ($10 at a time because heaven forbid I buy gas I don't get to use for a borrowed car) and I DON'T HAVE UMBRELLAS FOR THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN AND IT'S RAINING! I mean, do they still not know what's wrong? Do I need to call them and go, "Hey guys, let me help you out...it's the BRAKES."

So as we buckled in I began to formulate a plan for getting in the building. First, I found out that it takes waaaay longer to drive to school than it does to walk. I managed to figure out where to park and I got everyone unbuckled and ready to bolt for the door. I got soaked, which is fine, and I ripped the girls out of the car at the same time, placing one on either side, slammed the door, and yelled, "Run!"

Now imagine the Chariots of Fire music and us running for the door in slow motion. Me in the middle, Little Sister on one side trying to break free from me and go her own way, Big Sister on the other side carrying her cool "tote bag". As we reach the median and are almost home free, Little Sister hits it first (because she's trying to get away from me), I cross the median next, and as I easily jump and clear the small river forming against the median...Big Sister trips (or I pulled her down but...whatever) and she sprawls out half on the median and half on the road directly into the mud. I yank her arm up in the air in an attempt to keep her from hitting the ground and all I manage to do is save the "tote bag". Her left hand firmly plants in the mud and her left leg goes all the way down from hip to toe into the muddy river. Yep. I dragged my child through the mud on her first day of kindergarten. We're all so shocked that she doesn't even cry at first and I don't even wonder if she's hurt herself. I look at her wide eyes and say, "Let's just get inside the building and then we'll figure out what to do."

When we got inside I checked her for injuries. Physically she was fine but here's the worst part. She looked at me with a giant tear rolling down her cheek and said, "I just wanted to look nice for my first day of kindergarten." Okay, I'm not the emotional type. I've been cool with this whole new chapter of life for the most part but I almost lost it. It was all I could do to keep from bawling hysterically. Then we heard the announcement that all children need to get to their classrooms so they won't be counted tardy. Tardy! We can't be tardy on the first day! So I took her to her class, washed off her hands, wiped off her leg with paper towels as best I could, and sent her in the door. Her teacher was somewhat sympathetic, somewhat annoyed, and suggested I leave her there and go home to get another pair of pants and bring them back to the office. She missed the pledge of allegiance and everyone was staring at her, the girl with the muddy pants on the first day of school. Without thinking, I dragged Little Sister back out to the car, rushed home, got another pair of pants, shoes and socks, and rushed back. And of course, it was no longer raining while I was doing any of this. The ladies in the office were somewhat sympathetic, somewhat annoyed, and were at least gracious enough to let me take the clothes to her room. I quickly changed her and snapped her picture again.

She seemed fine and I think she was starting to think the whole thing was kind of funny. I still wanted to cry. But I didn't. I'm just not that emotional I guess. Besides, I was beginning to think about how I couldn't wait to blog about this first day fiasco.

When I picked her up she went on and on about the strawberry milk, eating in the cafeteria and learning about how to "live above the line". She also went to music today so that was big. Nothing about "the incident". It was like it didn't even happen. When I asked her on video what happened that morning and why she had on different pants she kind of looked at me like she didn't know what I was talking about. THANK GOD! I guess in the end it was a raging success. She loved her first day.

I guess tonight I'll watch the weather forecast...right after I head to Walmart to buy three umbrellas...just in case.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Good Ole Days

Okay, I have been staying up waaaaaay too late watching the Olympics. So in my effort to drink coffee in peace this weekend before dealing with perky little princesses, I turned on the TV in search of some entertaining Saturday morning fun only to find...there's nothing on.

What happened to those good ole days of waking up EARLY, letting your parents sleep, and perching in front of the TV for the long awaited Saturday morning lineup? Now, some of you may not be old enough to remember the same shows I used to watch but these were some of my favorites.

The Smurfs

I'm guessing that even if you aren't old enough to have seen them on Saturday mornings, you know the smurfs. That jolly band of mythical blue creatures that live in the forest? There was only one girl smurf that I know of and since she was the only one, she was simply referred to as Smurfette. Makes me wonder if a woman created this world. Maybe there were more and I just don't remember. Anyway, who didn't love to hate Gargamel and his cat Azrael? We had some smurf Christmas ornaments (I think we still do actually) and my sister and I bought my dad a smurf keychain that he carried until all that was left was a head.

The Harlem Globetrotters

Somehow the creators turned this basketball team into crime solving villains with a few super powers thrown in and we bought it. But doggone it, who doesn't love crazy basketball stunts from cartoon heroes with huge afros?

Scooby Doo

Now, I'm talking about the old Scooby Doo. Remeber the ones where the ghosts were really just people dressed up. Nowadays, the sleuthing team is dealing with the "real" thing. I liked it much better when it ended with them ripping off the mask and the nasty crook saying, "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

The Jetsons

Now, I don't know anyone who didn't love the Jetsons. I still have moments to this day where I wish I could stand on a little conveyor belt and ride along while being showered, styled, dressed and made up...all in less than 30 seconds. Who wouldn't want to be able to push a button and have a 5 course meal pop out of a slot? Not to mention, trips to Mars and flying cars. Luckily, I can occasionally catch this one with On Demand in the Kids section under Boomerang. I've gotten my kids hooked on this one too.

The Flintstones

Basically, the Jetsons, only in the Stone Age. ("Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones. They're the modern stone age family") Again, you can sometimes see it on Boomerang. Yabba Dabba Do!

Captain Caveman

Does anyone remember this one? He was a goofball "superhero" who would flip out, turn his club into any number of things and pull whatever else was needed out of his fur. Who comes up with this stuff? I don't care, I loved it.

Bugs Bunny

Okay, now how could I leave out such a classic? And it's not just Bugs, but Daffy, Roadrunner, Sylvester and Tweety, and all the other lovable Looney Toons. Whenever we can catch it on TV (never on Saturday morning mind you) the girls love it as much as we did.

Land of the Lost

I'm really going to show my age here. Is anyone out there old enough to remember this one? It was LOST for kiddos. I'm telling you, I've been saying that the current primetime hit, LOST, was about people lost in time for the last couple of years. I got this idea from my childhood memories of Land of the Lost. It was a show about two kids and their dad (I think) who go on a camping trip and while canoing, end up going over a waterfall only to find themselves in Land of the Lost. There are dinosaurs, apemen, and the scary sleestacks.

So, there you have it. I really could go on and on but this is way too much energy already devoted to something so random. But please, share your favorite cartoons from your Saturday mornings as a kid. Which ones do you miss?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wanna See Something Scary?

Me and Big Sister - Both at the age of 4

Daddy and Little Sister - Both at the age of 2

Scary, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The First Day

Sort of. Monday was Big Sister's first day of kindergarten...sort of. She only went for a couple of hours. She basically was just given some testing and more orientation with the building. And she doesn't get to go back until next Monday. Then another week of waiting. We're just telling ourselves that the 25th is really the first day. So that's when we'll take pictures and all. But here's how it went.

We walked to school (how awesome is that?) and waited in the cafeteria for the bell. She showed no hesitation whatsoever but I have to admit, I was a little nervous seeing her in the mix with all those "big kids". Finally, 8:15 came and one of the teachers did a little clapping thing to get everyone quiet. She asked the kindergartners to line up by the front windows. Big Sister was oblivious. "Great," I thought, "if I wasn't here would she just sit here all day?" I explained what she was supposed to do and she promptly and confidently walked over and lined up...with the 5th graders. I seriously think she could have wandered all day and not known the difference. I finally got her to her classroom and she walked right in and said, "Bye mom!"

I didn't get teary. It was too chaotic. It all happened so fast. Both girls slept in for the first time in months leaving very little time to get breakfast and get dressed. At the last minute I decided Little Sister was dressed too warmly and changed her clothes. Five minutes before we walked out the door, Big Sister started whining that her shirt was "itching" her. I calmly explained that she was in kindergarten now so she had to act like a big girl and kindergartners don't whine. (How many times will I use that one this year?) But as I walked home with Little Sister in tow I have to admit I had that feeling that this was a big moment...and then...I got over it.

I really did have a great time with Little Sister. It's so rare that it's just the two of us. She was really confused and kept asking where Big Sister was but for the most part I think she didn't mind being on her own with Mama.

When we went to pick Big Sister up, she didn't see me at first so I just watched her for a minute. She looked pretty much the same. (Whew) I'm happy to report that when she finally saw me she yelled out, "Mommy!" with a big grin on her face. When I asked her about her day, the first thing she told me about was the lunch. (She is her mama's girl after all) "Guess what I had for lunch Mama?...Pizza and baked beans and a special surprise!" "Oh yeah, what's that?" I asked on cue. "Strawberry milk!" "Oh wow," I exclaimed. "Oh gross," I thought.

But I did have another moment as we walked home. I asked her what her favorite thing about the day was. Her reply? "Well, I had lots of favorite things. My first favorite thing was strawberry milk...aaaand my next favorite thing was seeing the gym (I guess she's her daddy's girl too)...aaaaaand my other favorite thing was...when I saw you walking towards me just now to come pick me up." Does it get any better than that? Now that's a moment I'll probably never get over.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Great Deal!

Check out these cute outfits I got at Target. If you have girls sizes 5T or smaller, Target had these for $4.00 per piece. $8.00 for an entire outfit and it's cute. Notice the detailed applique. I don't think I could do that well at the consignment sales. (Sorry about the sideways pics)