Thursday, December 18, 2008

Counting my blessings............

Did you ever have that thought when you were in college (maybe high school) and you had so many really amazing friends that you couldn't imagine not always living near them and getting to hang out? And then of course life moves on and people go off to master's programs and people get married and start having kids and people get jobs and get transferred clear across the country. Now at least we have email/webcams/facebook/etc. so we can keep in better touch but sometimes when I read the things my friends are up to or on the rare occasion I get to speak to them on the phone I really wish I could live out my childhood fantasy that one day when I became a grown-up, I would live on a street where all my favorite people lived and our kids would grow up together and we'd have barbecues together in the summer and all of such fun things. But alas, such is not life so we go where we are called and we make friends along the way as best we can.

And then we get a phone call.

And find out that.............................................

One of our most FAVORITE friends in the entire world is moving. Where you ask is she moving? To a nice little town that is 15 minutes from where I live! Which is a big improvement seeing as now she lives in D.C. while I live in Dallas. I can hardly contain my excitment. Especially since she will be here so soon (February) along with her brand spankin new baby girl (4 weeks old when she gets here) for me to snuggle and snuggle. I can just see the play dates now! (My daughter is 18 months....think that will be a problem? *S*) Ah but this is an old friend, we'll never be as formal as calling them "playdates." This is a cried on my shoulder, offered her shoulder kinda friend. We used to have a secret word we could say that meant "It doesn't matter what you are doing right now or how cute that boy is that you are studying with or how early your test is in the morning, something serious is going on with me and I need you now!" She's one of those rare people you come across in your life that really "gets" you. Plus she's got a heart of gold.

Counting down the days til February...................

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ouch! There goes Christmas.

I love the library. Ever since I was a kid I've always felt a little sneaky walking out of there with 4 or 5 books in tow (that I didn't pay for). I can never believe I actually get to take home as many books as I want (I suppose they might draw the line somewhere though I've yet to see it) and it doesn't cost me a penny. It is FREE. I'm really a geeky bookworm at heart and the fact that someone has put all these adventures, mysteries, tragedies, celebrations, etc right at my fingertips with no money out of my pocket sometimes just makes me absolutely giddy. For a book lover like me, its like hitting the jackpot everytime I walk through those doors. It sometimes seems too good to be true. And I've marveled and thought surely there are strings attached.

There are.

I've recently discovered a few strings, a few very long, very expensive strings.

Let me introduce you to the world of chewed slightly manhandled torn to smithereens damaged books.

A few weeks ago Pumpkin and I went to the library and I picked out some books for her. I purposely picked out the board books so that none of her excited turning of the pages would bend or dishevel them in anyway. She was even so thrilled about one of them that I let her look at it on the drive home and she was very very quiet which is a treat. But then again it's hard to make a lot of noise when your mouth is full of cardboard.

When it was time to return the books I walked sheepishly to the counter and told them I assumed there was a fee associated with chewed up books unless of course they saw the charm associated with sweet little baby teeth marks in a book about babies (hey I tried). They didn't see the charm. They charged me $12.41 for a book I can buy in "very good" condition on Amazon for a penny (plus S&H.) Ouch! There goes Christmas.

But we got through it and I promised myself to never leave Pumpkin unsupervised again w/ library books. And I mostly kept the promise. Mostly. Pumpkin takes her daily bath in my bathtub because its just easier that way for me. I also take my nightly bath in that bathtub and typically leave my books in a pile on the side of the bathtub which has never been a problem................until now.

Tonight after the water and bubbles had drained from Pumpkins bath, I went in to clean out the toys so I could relax in my own bath and curl up and read. Here are the toys I found that needed cleaning up:
The big book you see, the hardcover (cha-ching) just happens to belong to a little place we like to call the library. Me: "But don't you see the charm in this? Now the book is wet and turned to mush and barely recognizable and the book is about viruses that make human bodies turn to mush and barely recognizable. Librarian: That will be 85 dollars and 13 cents please.

Ouch! There goes Christmas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Love Christmas Spirit!

Sometimes I'm lacking in Christmas spirit, in fact at times I can be a downright Scrooge. I mean, I put up my tree already but wasn't really feeling the holiday buzz yet. So I love it when others around me have so much Christmas spirit that I can't help but have it rub off on me. There is a couple here in the town I live in that puts up some pretty spectacular Christmas lights. They even have an FM transmitter in their attic so you can tune your radio to a specific station and the lights are choreographed to the music. We took Pumpkin last night to see them and I think I was more excited/impressed than she was though she thought it was pretty cool. Everytime we'd drive past a house w/ lights, she'd say "ights, ights, more more" because she just couldn't get enough. When I saw this house though, I felt my Christmas Spirit bubbling up. There was an article published in our community magazine about them that said it takes the man 100 hours to put up all the lights and some insane amount of time to sync them with the music. What a lot of work, but I'm sure glad he did it because we enjoyed it immensely and felt our Christmas spirit soar! Check it out below: (this is their display last year, this years is much the same)

And as if doing this fantastic display isn't enough, they are also official drop locations for the local food bank and Toys for Tots and even have their own Santa on the weekends. Don't you love people like this?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Takin a break

I know I just got back but I'm feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do this week to get ready for the big Turkey day. So I'll be back in a week or so. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving all and count your blessings!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fooled Ya!

So remember that post a couple weeks ago that said I was back? Hmmmm, apparently not so much. Last week my mom was in town and so I didn't take any time to blog because it would have been precious time away from hanging out with her. We had lots of fun despite not doing much. And this week I've had to begin dealing with the terrible twos. And you know what? All those mom's were right, it's not exclusive to two-year olds. Because my lil pumpkin is only 17 months and it was literally like someone flipped a switch last week and she has become a whole new, toy throwin, tantrum-havin, ball of shrieks and tears. I mean really. Last week I said "Sorry, that is mommy's sewing ruler, you can't play with it okay?" to which she responded "O-kay." This week the same uttering from me was met with a glass-shattering scream followed by moans of despair as she collapsed onto the floor. She put everything she had into that collapse and as a result bonked her head on the tile which set off a whole new series of the shrieks. And did I mention she wants to be held 24 hours a day, by me and only me? Yep. And don't get me wrong, I love to hold and snuggle my little one but I also love to have clean laundry, clean dishes and a balanced checkbook and so I occasionally must decline the request to "hold you" and face the consequences. Trust me, they are severe.

So all of that and the fact that I spent a large chunk of time on this little project

(got the pattern here) ate up my week and here we are Thursday posting for the first time. Feel free to show your empathy for my tantrum blues in the comments. And also feel free to tell me how the rest of y'all are able to get your text to wrap around your picture. I'm clueless!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Voodoo, A Yummy Apology, and Zitcream

So I'm working on this little gift I'm giving out to neighbors and church friends for the holidays (picture to come) and I needed some cool-looking fonts, which as you know do not exist in Word. So I searched the internet (as I always do when I have a dilemna) and lo and behold you can download all kinds of fun and crazy fonts for FREE and use them in your already existing programs like Word! I know, there are some of you reading this (okay, let's be honest, only about one person ever reads this) thinking "hello! welcome to the 21st century!" who have probably been using these fonts since before man stood upright (I swear it feels like I'm that far behind in the technology department sometimes...anyone ever heard of a wheel?) but for me this is a new thing and I'm giddy with excitement about it. Just think of all the things I can create now that I am not stifled in the font department: signs, t-shirts, little sayings to put on boards to put in my house (okay, to be real I currently have no boards hanging in my house but who knows what kind of inspiration this new discovery will bring), labels for.....stuff, I mean the possibilities are endless. Granted I could have technically created all of these things before but they would not have been nearly as COOL! I feel like a whole new world has opened to me. (Just in case your still wondering what the crap that title is, google them with the word font behind it.....you're in for a treat.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Laundry Chronicles - weekly edition

I was off to such a good start. And by that I mean that I actually put the laundry away for a whole week. But the baskets are back, at the foot of my bed, full of laundry that is waiting to go home to the drawers and hangers where it belongs. And even though I'm constantly telling hubs to back off about my lack of laundry savvy, even I have to admit that it gets old having to dig through mismatched socks and stacks of towels for that one thing you know is there somewhere. Its frustrating to the point of wanting to pour the whole dang basket out onto the floor; that would sure make the search easier, but then you're back to square one as far as the whole "getting the laundry put away" thing goes. It's a vicious cycle I tell you.

But enough of the negative nancy, wanna hear about one of my laundry room successes? Yes I do occasionally have them.....very, very occasionally! It's that age old "the dryer ate my other sock" problem. So, I got a little basket and put it on the shelf in my laundry room and everytime I fold clothes (folding is my forte), and end up with odd socks I toss them in that basket. And twice, that's right--count 'em one, two--twice this week I have gone to the basket and created a perfect pair. I feel like the old matchmaker herself. Now before you start sending me your bachelor sons to find wives for, let me get a few more weeks under my belt with the socks. But I'm pretty excited about this if I do say so myself, and I do.

Until next time, happy folding.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Take Time to Read

Something that has always been important to me and that my mom did a very good job of showing me the importance of is reading. I am obsessed with reading. I love a good book, I love that I'm able to increase my knowledge and understanding of things just by using my library card, I love being able to spend a few minutes each day away from all the stresses of my life and focused on the lives of the characters in whatever I happen to be reading at the time. When I was little I remember my mom having to limit the amount of time I was allowed to read each night before bed of I would have stayed up until midnight at the age of six. I was never one of those kids who struggled to complete those daily 20 minutes of reading assignments. When I was in middle school, I would read whatever my mom was reading which at that time was a lot of mysteries. She also had a subscription to the Reader's Digest and I remember having battles with her over it. Whichever of us got the mail that day would sneak it into our room trying not to be discovered. If I realized that it was past the time it should have been delivered, I would sometimes go into my mom's room and look under her pillow and slip it away into my own bed. It was a fun game that we played because we were always looking for some new written word to be devoured.

This passion for reading and learning is something that I want to pass on to my own daughter. Something that I do to accomplish this is make sure to read to her everyday. Right now it's a part of our bedtime routine and I always read her a book or two before bed. Sometimes I have to remind myself to do it. Other times it turns into neat family time as my husband and I sit down with her and a pile of books to go through together. We let her turn the pages and point out the pictures that she knows the words for. We use silly voices and rhythms and try to get her involved as much as possible. And it appears to be working. She would rather play with books than with almost any other toy. And in fact, the other day I brought home a child-sized recliner/rocker which is to be her Christmas gift. I set it down to go look for a place to put it until December and came out to find her sitting in it with her blanket on her lap and a book in her hands, babbling away as she turned the pages.

So the next time you have a few minutes with your kids without anything to do, pick up a book, a magazine, and advertisement and take time to read with them! For more ideas of ways to spend quality time with your family, visit Family Moment Monday at Motherhood for Dummies.

Friday, November 7, 2008

You know you're a mom when........

you have nothing to feed your daughter (okay, granted the fact that you have a daughter is the first clue that you're a mom but bear with me here) for lunch and then you find a hot dog and some tortillas and the brilliant idea comes into your head to make a hot dog and cheese quesadilla. And then before you know it, that hd&c quesadilla starts to look pretty good so you have one yourself. You actually sit down (okay, you just lean against the counter, who has time for sitting down?) and eat a hot dog and cheese lightly grilled inside a tortilla. And you know what? It's not bad. Well it's either not bad or you've been running around the whole day like a crazy man and haven't eaten anything so at this point cinnamon flavored dirt would taste like a 5 star meal. Yep, that's how you know. You're a mom. Isn't it great?! :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Susie Seamstress

So I got a sewing machine for Christmas a couple years ago from my mother-in-law at my request and then it sat in a closet, in a box for over a year. Then my friend had a baby and I decided it was time to bust it out and I completed my first baby quilt unassisted (well my mom did provide some technical assistance via the phone) which basically means I tied it and bound it. In the past I would pick out the material, put it on frames and tie it and then hand it to my mom the next time I saw her and offer to trade a bathroom cleaning for an hour of her sitting at the the sewing machine to "finish it" for me. But this one I did on my own, there are many boo-boos throughout the quilt to prove it.

And since then, I've been bit by the sewing bug and I keep getting these urges to be all domestic and stuff and well, sew things. I am by no means a pro; in fact I'm barely to the point of allowing my completed projects to be viewed with the light on. But because I love ya so much I've decided to show you some of the things I've completed recently. You don't even have to turn off the light!


Front and back of a baby quilt for my new niece Lucy.


My first attempt at baby burp rags with towel fabric on the back. Yes I am aware that they are not even rectangles. Thanks for pointing that out.


A queen size quilt I made as a going away present for my friend Monica. Grams helped me tie it and Gramps helped tack it to the frames so I made them be in the picture. Aren't they cute?


A very tired Pumpkin modeling my most recent project: a kids size apron. That right there is the first ruffle I've ever done. Don't look too closely.

So that is some of the stuff I've been up to lately. Now I'm planning out all my homemade Christmas gifts. We'll see what unfolds. (Note: I am fully aware that I stink at putting up photos on here and making them look all nice and cool with the text that goes around them and such. It's on my to-do list to improve in this area. At this point I'm lucky that there are pictures on the blog. So bear with me!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All the blogs abuzz

All the blogs are abuzz today with reminders to get out there and vote. I scheduled today's post on Sunday and seeing as I had already taken part in early voting, the idea to put an election-related post on today totally slipped my mind. But after reading through several very thoughtful and appropriate posts like this one, I've decided to bump down the laundry chronicles and add my two cents and that is this: no matter where you stand on the issues, no matter who you like the best, no matter if you think none of the candidates are your very favorite, get yourself to the polls and vote. Because I have to agree with Scheiss Weekly on this one; if you don't vote, you forfeit all whining rights. And you also show a great deal of disrespect to all those people who came before us and fought so dang hard for the right!

The Laundry Chronicles - Weekly Edition

So any of you that read my blog on a regular basis (so basically, my sister) know that laundry is not my forte, passion, friend or anything that implies a positive attachment to it. In fact, I'll tell you what would have made getting my vote for President a whole lot easier: someone who was going to find some good "save the environment reason" for me to buy disposable clothes. Although I suppose that still wouldn't eliminate my least favorite part about the laundry process: putting it away. Bleck! Just thinking about it makes the anxiety start to bubble up in my stomach.

I've turned over a new leaf recently and have lists and lists and spreadsheets and spreadsheets of my daily/weekly/monthly/hourly tasks and what time I should carve out to complete them blah blah blah! And I have to admit that having a schedule put up on the wall looking all nice and neat and OCD-like has really lit a fire under me to accomplish accomplish accomplish those tasks so I can check them off. So the past two times that the laundry has gone through the washer and dryer, it has also gone through the folding process, back into the basket, and..........................wait for it.................INTO THE DRAWERS! That's right folks, it's been put away all nice and neat like I had hired a real professional or something. But here's the problem (and you knew there had to be one or there could be no more Laundry Chronicles). I have this overwhelming pile of laundry next to my bed that was thrown there and added to again and again before I completed this recent transformation and I'm having a hard time finding the time energy desire to do anything about it. It's like I don't want to go near it, like it's a part of my old life, the bad life, the one where I couldn't manage to put away the laundry and if I approach it and try to do something about it, surely all those feelings of guilt and failure (yes I AM being melodramatic) will just come flooding back. And we can't have that. Because that just might be enough to extinguish this tiny little flame that has been lit under me. So for now I guess I'll continue to close my eyes or turn my head when I walk past and pretend that it's not there. Is there such a thing as a laundry therapist? I have issues!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Family Moment Monday

The other day I was thinking about how rare it is that hubs and I together actually sit down and play with Pumpkin together. Usually it is him or I because one of us is entertaining her while the other one showers/gets ready/completes some task/gets food ready etc. But we always try to carve out some time every Monday night after hubs gets home from work that we designate specifically to spending time just the three of us. Usually it's about an hour and consists of singing a few songs and a few rounds of Ring Around the Rosies or Patty Cake. It's cute to see how excited Pumpkin gets when she realizes that we are both participating and one of us isn't running off to get something done. As she gets older we will be able to teach her things, play other games and even use it as time to discuss family activities/issues. I think the most important part now is to get ourselves into the habit of making time that is real, solid, "put everything else on the back burner for a minute", family together time!

For other ideas to use for family time, go to Motherhood for Dummies and check out Family Moment Monday.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

SHE'S BAAAAAAAAACK!

So I am very aware that I have been somewhat absent as of late on here. However, I think I have figured out a way to keep up with posting and in the process rid myself of all those guilty feelings that come from not keeping up with posting. Ready for it??? Yeah it's nothing big and I'm not even gonna tell ya because it will reveal how technologically backwards I am sometimes. So stay tuned this week and see if I'm really as smart as I think I am. Now I think I'll go eat some leftover Halloween candy.........give myself something new to feel guilty about. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Writers Blogger's Block

Need I say more? Well yes actually, I do need to say more but I can't. That's the problem. I just don't know what to say despite all blog-worthy events that have taken place in the last few days. Maybe that's the problem; there's so much going on that my brain doesn't have time to stop thinking/feeling/wishing/praying long enough to compose a decent post about the above-mentioned scenarios. Either way, I'm stuck. Maybe a little cookies-n-cream dairy dessert will get the old wheels turnin again. I'll keep you posted. (maybe) (okay, that was a very horrible pun. see what I'm dealing with here!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's Autumn Time

I have had a candle burning in my dining room all morning. It is pumpkin spice. Every year as the summer churns to an end, the days get shorter and the bright yellow school buses begin to appear, I pull out this candle. It excites me for fall, my favorite time of the year ever since I was a little girl growing up in Idaho. I can sit on my couch, close my eyes, take in a deep breath and suddenly I am outside at a football game, snuggled up in a blanket or surrounded by trees full of reds, oranges and yellows. I watch the leaves flutter as a crisp breeze gently floats through, reminding me that winter is right around the corner. And then I open my eyes, and I remember that I live in Texas now and we don't get fall until the end of November and the leaves never really change much here, they just fall off. So I get off the couch, go throw on some shorts and a T-shirt and take my daughter outside to play until the next time I am yearning for the autumn time of my youth!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

More to Learn

The other night I went to bed early, around 9:30 pm. However a mere two hours later I awoke for apparently no reason. I rolled over, pulled the blanket up snug around my chin and closed my eyes expecting to doze off immediately. But sleep did not come. I tried reading, surfing the internet but it seemed nothing was willing to assist me on my journey to dreamland. And then thoughts began to fill my mind. I was unable to figure out why those particular thoughts visited me that night. They all had to do with past heartaches, sorrows, and trials I have experienced. And I was surprised to find that, despite several years having passed, the wounds were still raw and a bit tender. As I lay there that night, surrounded by stillness and darkness, I couldn't help wonder why. Why after all these years did the memories still wet my cheeks and cause my heart to ache? And then I heard it, the small, quiet whisper in my head that said "There is still more to learn." I almost laughed out loud in contempt. What if I don't want to learn anymore? What if I just want to forget? I could write volumes on the things I have learned from some of those experiences. Isn't that enough? I've learned patience. I've learned forgiveness. I've learned that I don't always know what's best for me but the Lord does. I've learned to enjoy today instead of waiting for tomorrow to be better. I've learned that just because something makes you feel important, doesn't mean it's right. I've learned to swallow my pride and admit when I am wrong (okay this one I'm still learning.) I've learned that counting my blessings on a daily basis makes the hard times not quite so hard. And that doing good for others can drag me out of any rut of self-pity, no matter how deep or muddy.

And then I stopped. The list wasn't finished; there was more that could be added. But I reviewed it in my head shocked to find that despite the real pain I felt over some of these struggles initially and the dull ache that still remained, the growth that had come from experiencing them has far outweighed any hurt they have brought. I mean, look at my list! And it's not even finished. I quickly continued the list in my head and then in a somewhat pleading manner, instead of wishing for the complete elimination of the discomfort associated with these memories, I began to hope that what I have yet to learn will be at least close in value to what I have already learned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Breast is Best?

So did you hear the one about PETA writing a letter to Ben & Jerry's Ice cream encouraging them to use human breast milk for their ice cream instead of cow's milk? You can check out the story here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Daddy's Hands

A few months ago we were at the park and Pumpkin was doing her best to pick up as many pebbles as she could. She wasn't able to get very many in her hands before they began to spill out. But she soon discovered that her dad's hands were much bigger and could hold a lot more and so the scooping and dumping process began.

Looking at this picture made me think about times in my life when I perhaps try my best to load up all my burdens and try to fit them in my hands. It's impossible to do without them slipping or spilling or overwhelming me and weighing me down. It's usually not until then that I remember that there is someone who is much more capable, who is willing to let us scoop and dump our fears, worries, concerns and burdens into His hands, hands that are outstretched and willing to carry them for us, without dropping or spilling a single one.

Babysitting and Football

One of these days the case my hubs is working on will actually go to trial and be over and then we can go on with our lives. In the meantime, we are living in a hotel for another 3 weeks (for the second time this summer). Yesterday I asked hubs if he could keep an eye on Pumpkin while I blow-dried my hair. I had the bathroom door closed and over the sound of the dryer I hear a very faint knocking. So I slide the door open and this is what I find:I guess I should have known better than to ask him to babysit while he was watching football.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Out of it

For some reason I have been feeling very "out of it" this week. I haven't had as much energy as I usually do and have just felt very "not myself." That's my excuse for having a grand total of one post so far this week. I've tried several times to write more but haven't been able to churn out anything that 1. made sense, 2. was interesting/entertaining to read or 3. was finished!

Here's what I've been up to this week. I folded about 10 loads of laundry (no it is still not put away, thanks for asking), I created a beautiful rainbow on my kitchen wall (trying to choose a paint color, maybe I'll just leave the rainbow instead), made a baby quilt for one of my favorite people (well her baby actually, she's a little too tall to make good use of a baby quilt), ate an entire box of doughnut holes myself (no comment), bought some quite unique (except for the fact that they are sold in mass at Garden Ridge) art pieces for my house (yet to be hung up), and drank about 15 diet cokes.

So all in all a pretty good week despite the fact that it felt like part of me was on vacation. Hopefully it was a good vacation and it'll be back next week, well-rested and roarin to go!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Family Moment Monday - September 1

The other day I had a friends child over while she ran some errands. He saw me working on my projects and kept telling me he needed to do a project. So I got out some crayons and paper for him. In an attempt to keep his paper from moving and keep him from coloring on my table, I ended up taping several sheets of paper to the table surface. This made me think of a fun activity you could do to make dinner time a little more fun one day this week. If you've ever eaten at Macaroni Grill you may have an idea of where I'm going with this. I think it might be very fun one night before setting your table to cover your table with paper and tape it down. Then along w/ the casserole and salad that you dish out on everyone's plate, add a couple crayons to it. Then as you talk over the meal, you can encourage everyone to draw some things that happened to them that day and you could give each person a turn to tell you about their picture, and thus about their day. It may be worthwhile to remind the children that we only draw our day on the table when it's covered in paper!

For more things to do to spend quality time with your family, go check out Family Moment Monday at Motherhood for Dummies.

Baby's back!

Hooray! Pumpkin and hubs both came back on the same day. Couldn't be a better start to the week for me. Off to spend time with them, I'll write more tomorrow.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I miss my baby!

Pumpkin is having her first sleep over. I'm taking it better worse differently than I expected. Her Mi-Ma hasn't seen her for awhile so I decided to let her take her for two days while I got some much needed stuff done at home. (Dear hubs is out of town on business yet again) I met my mother-in-law halfway, transferred Pumpkin and all of her stuff and then cried half the way home. It's the first time I"ve been away from her overnight, ever. And while it was fun to go to a movie with a friend last night and I"m almost giddy at all the projects I'll be able to get done around my house today, I'll be overjoyed to go pick her up.

But I'm happy about the perspective it's giving me. With dear hubs being gone so much, I get a little overwhelmed by her sometimes and yet he is on the other end of that and gets very sad b/c he misses out on so much with Pumpkin. I try to let him talk to her on the phone (a little difficult since most the talking she does these days is still sign language) everyday and keep him posted with what she's doing. But last night when I called my mother-in-law and asked if I could talk to Pumpkin and she just sat on the other end of the phone and made occasional squeaks while she played, I realized how insufficient that is. It did absolutely nothing to make me miss her any less. So already this experience it turning out to make me ever more appreciative of the sacrifices dear hubs makes to provide for our family. Oh how blessed I am!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lucky me!

I have great friends, I really do. Sometimes I get to be reminded how great they are, like today. My friend Tracey called this morning and I was talking about how I didn't have time to finish a project that I needed to have done by Friday. So she says "Why don't I come over and watch Pumpkin for awhile while you get it done." So she did. And I ended up feeling like the Wicked Stepmother because she also swept and mopped my kitchen, entry, dining room, and bathroom floors while I worked on my project. I told her several times that watching Ava was plenty of help but she kept telling me how it was no big deal. I beg to differ. To me, it was a VERY BIG DEAL! They look great and have given me a huge jump start on my day. So thank you thank you Tracey. Now I'm off to clean toilets....so fun!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hmmmm.....

While I was visiting my parents, I had my grandmother help me make a quilt. This is her pin cushion. Having grown up during the great depression she is a big follower of the saying "waste not, want not" and when she pulled out this, it made me smile. I'm not sure you can tell by the picture, but all of the pins in there came to her with another purpose. She didn't buy any of them. The small silver ones are all the kind that come on new men's button-up shirts. The ones with the big tops all came off of corsages she wore for a wedding/mother's day/etc. Having just purchased several new work shirts for hubs' recent world travel, I realized the thought never even ocurred to me to save those pins for another purpose. I tossed them in the garbage. Seems everytime I'm with her, I'm reminded how much I can learn from her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Me Feel Special

Today is my anniversary. Dear sweet hubs and I have been married 3 years today. As previously mentioned hubs is in California for work and I just arrived last night. He picked me up from the airport. We got to the hotel. He took Pumpkin from me and told me he would take care of the bedtime routine. I set down the diaper bag and walked into this:


This was from the hotel. They knew it was our anniversary. The didn't know that we don't drink. But the truffles were yummy!
He told me that he knew I was probably exhausted from taking care of Pumpkin alone for the last few weeks so he wanted to put her to bed so I could relax and go to sleep.
Follow the yellow brick road rose petal trail
Ahhhhhhh he had them draw me a bath. Did I mention I love baths? And the bubble bath smelled soooooooooooo yummy. Did I mention I love baths?

Happy Anniversary to me! I love my husband!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Laundry Chronicles - Edition 2

So I am back from what turned out to be a fabulous time with my family at the lake (pictures and details to come). Now I am sitting here looking at this very large bag of dirty clothes in front of me that is asking to be washed. (If laundry is talking to me does that mean I need a nap? I think so.) As many of you know, while vacations are nice and fun they are often exhausting at the same time so the task that lays before me (the 5 loads of laundry) is feeling a bit daunting and overwhelming. And then I think to myself "Hmmmm, I don't really NEED any of those clothes (yes I do) and they are ALREADY stuffed nicely put into a garbage bag. Maybe I should set them out by the back door (where we put our trash) and just make sure see they get thrown away what happens." Did I mention they are already in a garbage bag? Lol.

Maybe I'm not overwhelmed after all.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Hiatus

So I have been at my sisters house for a day and a half now. The travel with Pumpkin wasn't nearly as bad as i thought it was. I was nervous about having a layover but it ended up being fairly uneventful. And since she didn't go to bed until 11 the night before and had to get up at 4:30 am for the flight, she slept the whole second leg. Hurrah! Hurrah! We are off today to go to Bear Lake, UT to stay at a cabin there with my parents, most of my siblings and their children. Should be lots of fun as there will be an abundance of water sporting, board game playing, sun-basking and junk food eating. Not sure there's a better combination than that! I'll let you know in a week when I'm back. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I wonder if I'll have groupies............

So I'm sure if you go digging through your dresser drawers, some of you may come up with one of those t-shirts from your favorite singer/band. You know the ones. They usually say something like "U.S. Tour 2005" on them. I'm wondering if I should get t-shirts made b/c with all the traveling I"m doing this summer, it feels like the Abby U.S. Tour 2008. Maybe I'm coming to a city near you.

My husband is an attorney as I've previously mentioned and is working on and International Trade Comission case that is being tried in D.C. in September so he has been out of town a lot lately. He spent a couple weeks out of the country, has been home a total of 9 days in July and in fact just got back tonight from a week-long trip to CA. Unfortunately Pumpkin and I leave at 6 a.m. to go out west for my family's yearly vacation. Hubs was planning on coming but alas the trial prep work roared its ugly head and demanded all of his time and attention. And I found out yesterday that hubs has to leave to go back to CA 5 days before I am supposed to return. So in the interest in salvaging our marriage from becoming a "long-distance relationship", Pumpkin and I will be heading out there too, after which we will return to Idaho for another family event I've committed to attend. So off we are this morning to Salt Lake City, then to Idaho, then to Salt Lake City (is it normal to stop in the same city twice on one tour? Salt Lake must have great fans), then to San Francisco, then to Boise, then finally back to my humble abode here in Texas for a couple weeks before we head out to D.C. for the month of September. (that trial again) Feels a little crazy to me, especially since I don't even have a bus with my face on the side of it. But I'm definitely gonna mull over that t-shirt idea. So maybe you could pick one up when we stop at a city near you!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The boogeyman likes to crouch

So hubs has been out of town since last Wednesday and anyone who knows me knows that I have quite the imagination when it comes to people breaking in/boobytrapping/robbing my home. This time I've done pretty well though I must say. The first night, my dear friend Tracey had me sleep over at her house just to avoid any possible 2 a.m. phone calls to have her husband come check my yard for the boogeyman. The next 3 nights I was fine. Last night I was on the phone with my sister when I heard a funny noise upstairs. I'm sure it was nothing but I couldn't help think about something a friend of mine said the last time we were discussing being home alone. She said something like this "The thing I'd be afraid of in your house is that someone would sneak in through the garage into the attic and then hide in the closet of that room that goes to the attic and just crouch down there until you go to bed." Yeah she said that to her "pee my pants over horror movie previews" friend. Now granted, she wasn't trying to scare me, she actually told me so that I could put a chair in front of that door or something to feel safer but I, being the scaredy-cat I am, take anything remotely scary and run with it. So last night, I was sure that the noise I heard must have been the crouching boogeyman switching positions (I don't know about you but my legs start to fall asleep when I crouch). So my dear old Tracey came to the rescue once again and knocked on my door at midnight (after a paranoid call from me) to sleep in one of my extra bedrooms (not the one w/ the closet made for crouching). I'm not sure why having her here makes me feel safer. I guess I figure that one of us could disctract Senor Boogeyman while the other one hit him over the head with a saucepan. Although maybe we should go for the knees seeing as they would be weak from all that crouching!

Friday, July 25, 2008

What is wrong with this picture?

Yes that is Coke Zero; no that ice cream is not low-fat; yes that was my breakfast.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Laundry Chronicles - Edition 1

This morning hubs came out and said “now is hemming pants one you do?” I am not the accomplished seamstress that some of you may imagine, despite the kick-butt headbands I churn out for the hairless Pumpkin. Due to this fact, I have let my husband know what things I DO sew (or attempt at least) and the things I DON’T sew (button holes for example). Remarkably for him (considering the don’t list is about 4x as long as the do) I will attempt a hem here and there but I couldn’t help but think, “why in the world do you need pants hemmed this morning?” and I said as much, to which he responded “because I don’t have any clean pants to wear to work and I can’t wear these unless they’re hemmed.” Hmmmmmm…….I knew there was a reason I was going to put that load of laundry in yesterday instead of sitting down at my computer to……….blog! (I wonder what task I’m not getting done at this very moment due to writing this post; it’s probably not that important!) Did I mention I really hate laundry? Luckily there was a pair of his work pants sitting atop the laundry basket completely slightly hardly mixed with the REALLY dirty stuff at all) and they were mostly just wadded up in a ball wrinkled. So into the dryer they went after having been spritzed with the slightest amount (the whole bottle) of water. Needless to say, I think hubs left the house a little perturbed but I thought he looked ravishing! (I have a thing for men in soiled duds). Well gotta run, it’s time to switch the laundry!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Rough Stuff

I just found out that a very good family friend of ours lost his job today. The family is feeling very overwhelmed and uncertain at this point. I just got off the phone with my sister after discussing the situation. Unfortunately, they have no back-up plan. Our friend never went to college, despite at one point having a full-ride scholarship, and neither did his wife. He has been working at the same job as a foreman for the last 20 years and was fired for lack of computer skills. He has nothing to fall back on and is, understandably, concerned about what lies ahead. His wife has been a stay-at-home mom their whole marriage but now plans to go try to find some work. But here's the problem: she has no education and no marketable skills. She doesn't even type or know how to open a document on a computer. These are both extremely giving, wonderful people and my heart aches for them right now and I wish there was something I could do but I'm not sure what. Any ideas?

This makes me suddenly extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to get a good education and that I've been taught to never stop learning. I'm grateful that my husband has a very stable job right now and even if he were to lose it, he has several things to fall back on. The feeling of security I get from this gives me great comfort. And I am grateful that I, as well as my friend, have the love and support of a Heavenly Father who does a very good job of getting us through the rough stuff.

Please include this family in your prayers as they absolutely could use the comfort and support of that right now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's fun for a girl or a boy........

Today my sweet friend Tracey invited Pumpkin and I to come spend the day at the pool at her country club. Pumpkin is only 1 remember so I packed along some small toys to keep her occupied after the novelty of the water and Tracey's kids wore off. At one point she was getting restless so I pulled out a toy. Suddenly kids swarmed around me clamoring for it. By the looks on their faces, you would have thought I was holding a 6-scoop giant ice cream cone. I told them that when Pumpkin got bored with it I was more than happy to share; and the crowd slowly dispersed with moans of disappointment. Despite the hoards of other kids to play with, the diving rings, kickboards and several other toys, a few boys and one girl stayed within earshot and never took their eyes off of Pumkin, just waiting for her to divert her attention to something else so they could pounce.


Finally one little girl could stand it no longer and slowly glided towards us, her brow furrowed as she thought of something to say. "Um, excuse me. I need to play with that," she mumbled with hesitation. As I had predicted, within a few minutes Pumpkin was no longer interested and I handed the toy off to the closest child. I then turned to talk to my friend and was interrupted by the sound of arguing as a much older girl (I'm talking like 12) tried to convince my friends' 4-year old to hand it over all the while trying to keep back the other two boys attempting to stake their claim.

What was the toy? Here's a hint. That's right, it was a slinky! I was amused and excited that even today with all of the flashing, singing, computing & motorized toys, these kids were seriously fighting over their turn to play with a slinky. The world is still a good place!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

As promised.......

(At a park in DUMBO sportin some borrowed digs)


As promised I am finally reporting on my NYC trip. We had an absolutely fabulous time. I was a little concerned about taking Pumpkin with us as I've never been there w/ a child and knew it was going to make things very different and well, it did. I'm sure some of you (as if to imply that more than 3 people read my blog...lol) will be surprised to hear that I did not visit many, if any of the usual tourist attractions. We went to no shows, we did not frequent Times Square nor did I spend any time at the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, the New York Stock Exchange (lol), or Central Park (gasp!). This is what I meant by the trip being different. We gotta make time for some naps or we have one cranky kid on our hands! Lucky for me I have lived there so it wasn't a big deal that I didn't get to see any of the above. Instead I spent most of my time hanging out with old college friends. We visited a few darling baby shops, went to an apparent Soho hot spot called Pinkberry (yum) and a cute little cookie shop in Brooklyn called One Girl Cookies. I got in plenty of clothes shopping at all my favorite places and of course made the trip to Chinatown where I am sad to admit did not find a new handbag as I had hoped. (sad face) As you can see, Chinatown was a bit too much to handle for the munchkin!

The first night we did actually drop by Times Square so that Pumpkin could ride the ferris wheel in Toys R Us (like she cares) and we could get some cute pictures (ah, the real motive). (See how much she cares) The second night I was there I had dinner with some good friends, all fellow social workers and one my old roommate. As always, it was so good to catch up and had the BEST Thai food that I have had in several years.After dinner we took a walk to the above-mentioned cookie shop. I, being the kind friend I am let my newly married friends Cait and Jeff practice some parenting skills (for future use) by pushing my stroller and carrying my diaper bag (which Jeff subsequently left sitting on the counter at the cookie shop in clear view of anyone with evil intentions. Should we really give this guy a kid afterall?) See what a good job they did.
All in all it was a good trip and reminded me of some of the things I really miss about the city and some things I can definitely continue to do without. The list:


Things I miss:

  • walking and riding the subway everywhere. It makes it very easy to pop in to a store when you realize you are out of milk and there's no unbuckling of car seats and lugging of children into the cart. You just blip the stroller in, grab the milk and pay and blip the stroller out. There is so much to look at and so many neat places to go that it really gives you a chance to spend A LOT of time outside w/o too much hassle except....(see number 1 on Things I can live without)
  • the un-Walmartization (so not in the dictionary) which means there are blocks upon blocks of cute little mom ~n~ pop stores and funky one-of-a-kind boutiques that you don't get anywhere else
  • being around people all of the time. I didn't realize how rarely Pumpkin sees people outside of church and family until we went on this trip and I saw how utterly intrigued she was.
  • street vendors. I know you get these in other cities but it's nothing like in New York, at least in my experience. And while I did not buy any grafiti ball caps, $5 purses, or used books, I did pick up some out of this world finger puppets for cheap!
Things I can do without:
  • lugging a stroller up and down all the stairs to/from the subway and to/from the street.

  • piles of garbage on the side of the road that collect rats

  • not being able to drive a car even when I want to

  • everything costing a fortune
At one point these lists were both much longer but because I'm a few days past when I wanted this posted, this is the best I can do. Bottom line: I love New York and miss living there but I can also appreciate the benefits of living elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm a big kid now!

I have been in Manhattan since Monday on a visit since hubs had to be here for business. I've had a fabulous time seeing some friends again and going to my favorite New York places and I will blog all about that, with pictures, when I return to Texas. However, I had a very "big girl" moment tonight that I wanted to mention very quickly.

We are staying at a fairly nice hotel thanks to hubs' work picking up the tab. But last night at about 1 a.m., some of our young, unruly hotel neighbors went running up and down the hall laughing and screaming like they were on fire or something. (Okay I've never ACTUALLY heard of anyone laughing when they were on fire. But screaming, yeah.) And from the closet, Pumpkin begins screaming (like she's on fire?) (yes we have her porta-crib in the closet; it sounds harsh but its actually quite spacious, for a closet). So hubs brings her into bed with us for awhile but after enduring a few hours of periodic kicks to the kidneys, it was back to the closet crib for her.

Anyway, well tonight after I put her down for bed, these same neighbors are walking through the hall laughing and talking very LOUDLY. So I opened my door and told them my daughter was sleeping and could they please be quieter. It was, afterall, almost 11 p.m. And not 15 minutes later, I hear what sounds like a herd of elephants in the hall carrying a herd (?) of laughing hyenas. (Interesting image)

(And here comes the big girl part) So, I did what as a teenager I swore I would never do: the lame grown-up thing. I called the front-desk and they sent up security. Afterwards, I sat on the bed quietly as my 15-year old self scolded me in my head for being "no fun." But a few minutes after I heard the crackling of the security guards' walkie-talkies, I also heard my young hotel neighbors WALKING down the hallway WHISPERING to each other and a satisfied smile slowly spread across my face. And my 15-year old self demanded "Admit it, you've turned into a no fun, lame adult!"

So here I go: I've turned into a no fun, lame adult and I'm enjoying it, especially if it means my daughter has a restful, uninterrupted nights sleep.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Remembering

So since August of 2004 I have been keeping my journal on my laptop. It all started when I moved to NYC for graduate school. So now 4 years later I finally decided it might be a good idea to print it in case my computer ever crashes. Then at least I've salvaged something right? I printed it out and have been putting it in plastic sheet protectors and having been enjoying the memories that have come flooding back. I found a couple entries that I wanted to share:

5/5/05
There was construction where I normally walk so I crossed the street. I approached the house from the other side. It was remarkable how different the scene was from just the other side of the street. I arrived at work just the same, walked up the same gray steps to go into my same office but the journey had been very different. There was a small tree just beginning to bloom with white blossoms. It was situated near a delicate wooden fence that had been scraped free of it’s once pale blue paint. It felt like a foreign neighborhood and I mused over the simplicity of ‘just the other side of the street.’ I, of course, immediately had to draw the obvious parallels of this experience to that of real life. When a problem is looming, when it seems that it is immense with no sign of dissipating, how different might it look if we just cross the street, if it is simply looked at from a new angle, a new perspective?

6/7/05
Have you ever had one of those experiences where, for a brief second, it seems as if the stars align and everything connects and you realize you’re standing in a moment of perfection? I had one of those tonight. I had just come off the subway, experiencing a mini-high after being able to give up my seat to an elderly woman. I was walking down the street and looked up and it suddenly hit me. The block was lined with trees. The streetlamps were glowing dimly, creating a hazy fog of light. The temperature outside was at that level that makes you feel like Baby Bear’s porridge…not too hot, not too cold but just right with a breeze blowing ever so slightly to rustle the leaves. And the moment I took two more steps, it was gone. But while it was there, and I was standing in it, it was magnificent.

When I read these again tonight they just made me ponder and think a little so I thought I'd share.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

All about friends lately



And no, I'm not talking about the weight-loss competition (though since I mentioned it, can I just say that I absolutely love it? Best reality show ever because.....EVERYONE wins!) I am officially the biggest loser friend. I have this fantastic friend named Monica. We've been friends since I've been in Texas and she is one of those friends that will do anything and everything for you. She will hear me say that I need something, like a toybox for Pumpkin's room, and before I know it I'll be getting links from her to great toyboxes for sale on Craigslist. When my mom came out for Pumpkin's birth, Monica was her own personal GPS (yeah my mom, not such a great sense of direction....runs in the family). She finds hook-ups for things like sweet mattresses at amazing prices and shares them with me. She watches my daughter whenever I need her to. She is just an all around great friend (who is moving in August; I'm currently having a very large tantrum about it) to and let me tell you what I have done to show my appreciation. I FORGOT HER BIRTHDAY!

It gets better (or worse depending on how you look at it). So husband went out of town again on Sunday night. Last night I was watching T.V. and heard a weird tapping/scratching noise on my windows. There aren't any trees out by those windows so it wasn't trees. At the same time, I got a call on my cell phone that said Private Caller and when I answered it they hung up. Anyway, I got myself a little freaked out so I called Monica to see if I could bring Pumpkin and sleep over. Of course she said of course (I told you she was a good friend). So I get there and we (her, her hubs, and me) are sitting around talking for a good hour when all of the sudden her husband asks her if she had a good birthday and that was the point that I clued in. Yes folks, after my dear friend took me in to protect me from the boogie man, it took me an entire hour before realizing that it was her birthday. So then of course I felt like the biggest moron on the planet and on my knees (literally cuz I was on the floor playing with Pumpkin) I begged her forgiveness. She pretended it was no big deal but I know better.

So, Monica if you read this please know that I'm a loser and will spend several months making this up to you. I am yours anytime you need a babysitter or anything else for that matter. I couldn't ask for a better friend to chat and gossip with, (I know gossip is bad but if I"m gonna do it anyway I'm glad I have someone to do it with) to hang out with, to share parenting advice with, to get a pedicure with......well you get the idea. So HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Next year it won't be late. I'm on my way to buy you a big fat yummy birthday treat!

Friday, June 20, 2008

All those hotties

So, I have a fairly technology-literate grandmother who has been emailing me back and forth for the past eight years or so. I recently decided it would be cool to print out all the emails back and forth between her and I and get them made into a book here or at another one of these type of sites. I thought it would be a cool thing to have when she's not around anymore for my kids to be able to read and feel like they knew her a little bit since she is pretty amazing as I've previously pointed out.

Well when I was checking very very old email accounts to try to find all the emails, I came across one that had emails between my high school best friend and I from..........................1998! Isn't that crazy? I read one to my husband where she said something like "So that awards thing I had to go to tonight was fine I guess. There were a LOT of hotties there!" His response was "Nobody talks like that." Well, 18 year old high school girls do, I promise. I was laughing so hard reading through them that I had to call her. I don't talk to her as often as I should, probably only 4 times a year but I called her last night, even though it was 10 pm at her house and we giggled for over an hour at the silly things we had written and the memories they brought flooding back. It was one of the most fun hours I've had in awhile. And afterward I was thinking, it has probably been 4 months at least since the last time I talked to her on the phone and yet it was so easy when she picked up the phone for me to say "Hey, what are you doing? I'm about to pee my pants over some emails we wrote" without any how are you doing, what have you been up to, etc. (For the record, she couldn't believe that we even had email back in 1998!) That's the beauty of "old friends" as one of my favorite bloggers mentioned in a post a few days ago. (Go ahead and go read it, you'll agree)

I've long noticed that the good friends I've had in high school have something different than any other friends I've met along the way. Somehow time never seems to pass with these friends. Even if it was two years ago that you last talked to them, you can call them up and it feels like it was yesterday. And I swear they love you more, because they thought you were cool even back when you were the typical overly self-conscious high school girl, who wore a bit too much makeup to cover those acne breakouts, and said and did much sillier crazier stupider (is that even a word) things than you do now. So even though I don't keep in touch as well as she deserves (see above), it's sure nice to know that when I do, things haven't really changed that much. I mean sure, we both have husbands now, different jobs, a few kids under our belt (okay her two, me one) but at the end of the day, we still laugh at the same stuff. You know, like all the hotties that were there!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Join the Club

So last night I hosted my book club at my house. We start at 7:30 and we are almost always out the door by 8:45. Last night however, when my husband returned with Pumpkin at 9:30, we were still sitting around in a circle chatting it up. What can keep a group of women away from their kids longer, their husbands, their homes and their beds? (For a good night's sleep) Childbirth. Well not the actual act of childbirth but the reenactment of it through some pretty good stories.

At the end of our discussion about the book, one of the girls mentioned that her sister-in-law had given birth earlier that day. And little did she know, she'd opened the flood gates. For 45 minutes, with little awareness or concern for the time, we sat around and swapped "when my water broke" and "I didn't think I wanted an epidural" and "when the doctor said she weighed 9 lbs." and "32, 36, 39 hours of labor" stories. And even though we've all told the stories probably a thousand times, we still thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I remember telling my husband after I had my daughter "Now that I have Pumpkin, I've automatically been inducted into a club I never even knew existed." "What club is that?" he asked. So I told him. The I'VE BIRTHED A CHILD club.

It's an amazing phenomenon isn't it? And a wonderful one too. After being through something so emotional, hard, incredible and excruciating it's nearly impossible not to share and to be intrigued, awed and thrilled when others share.

We discussed the epidural vs. natural debate. For the record, my husband is flabbergasted that there even is a debate. He says its like going to the dentist for a root canal and saying "Oh I know I can have anesthesia but no thanks, I think I'll go without it." I tried to explain to him the way some women feel, wanting to be connected to the women of history who did it w/o the pain killers, those who don't want to take the risk it may have for them/the baby, the women who wanted to know they are tough enough to get through it without help. I thought I was one of those, I was going to go "as long as possible without an epidural." After I labored for an hour at home and my water broke on the way to the hospital, that was "as long as possible" and by the time we pulled into the hospital I was screaming for two things: 1) a wheelchair and 2) an epidural. I even begged my husband at one point to go pay the anesthesiologist whatever it took to get him to hurry up. (There I go, telling my story again.)

Anyway, just wanted to say what a proud member I am of this club. I was even prouder when my husband walked in with my daughter and she gave me her cheesiest grin. I realized that my participation in the club was well worth the painful membership fee! So to those of you who, like me, were unaware of even the existence of this sisterhood, we look forward to you joining us! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You look familiar........

Hooray! My dear husband is finally home from a 10 day trip to Taiwan. It's the longest he's been away and I barely remember him! J/K But I am always a lot more grateful for him after he's been away awhile and I thank the Lord that he made it back to me safe. I don't know what I'd do without him!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

V is for Volcanoes

I have a 4 year old nephew who is one of THE funniest children on the planet. I've been lucky enough to be able to visit him a couple times in the last month even though he lives far away in Utah. Right now it's tornado season here in Texas and there has been much talk on the news lately about tornado activity. Here is a recent coversation I had with my nephew:

Nephew: You live in Texas
Me: Yep I do
Nephew: But I don't live in Texas
Me: Nope but you should come visit me some time.
Nephew: Texas has lots of volcanoes.
Me: It does?
Nephew: Yeah and they are dangerous.
Me: Uh-oh, I better be careful then huh?
Nephew: Yeah cuz of all the volcanoes. They explode.

So I have now taken to being much more cautious when I leave my house just in case I should happen to fall in the path of one of those nasty Texas volcanoes. For the record, I'd also prefer to avoid the path of any tornadoes.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

WOW!

Check check check it out! Wow Hits 1 And it gets better, there's a sweet giveaway of this CD and more over at Rocks In My Dryer. I never win anything but I love surprises so I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dresses, pantaloons and headbands.....oh my!

As I mentioned before, I am spending a week visiting my family while husband is gone on a business trip. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy being around them. My mom and I spent part of the day yesterday at the fabric store buying all kinds of fun ribbon and material to make Pumpkin some headbands. Headbands: the perfect accessory for that no hair baby in your life. After the checker at Walmart asked if Pumpkin was a girl or a boy (mind you my child was dressed in a pink and peach striped shirt, bright pink capris, bright pink crocs and sitting in a bright pink shopping cart cover with yellow and pink flowers on it) I decided it was time to get serious about some headbands. Lucky for me my mother is a Jack Jill of all trades and can do a little bit of pretty much everthing. They are gonna be soooo cute. Now for a way to keep the kid from pulling them off.

My mom also spent the end of last week making 2 DARLING dresses with matching pantaloons for Pumpkin to wear to church. I can hardly wait to put her in them and now that we've finished up those two projects I'm racking my brain trying to think what else I can use my mom's talents for before I leave. Too bad I didn't bring any pictures with me; she does a mean scrapbook page!

Monday, June 2, 2008

We call them Gram & Gramps

Tonight I took Pumpkin over to see my grandparents who I call Gram and Gramps and she will call G.G. (Great Grandma) & Grandpa. I should mention that I have the best grandparents in the world but I won't because I don't want to make anyone feel bad.

I've always had a very close relationship with this set of grandparents. Their house has always been down the street or around the corner and my second home. My mother's parents both died when I was very young and I barely knew them but my father's parents, these grandparents have been my heroes, my friends, my confidants, my playmates, my biggest fans, and so much more. They have worked very hard to keep our family close, every year hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the best easter egg hunt this side of the Mississippi. In the summertimes, many lazy days were spent on the lake with Gramps trying to catch the biggest fish and despite many claims of "yuck" and "gross" accompanied by looks of terror and disgust, every one of his granddaughters learned how to put a worm on a hook.

In the fall, you could find my cousins and I jumping in the monstrous piles of leaves my grams would rake up in her front yard. Despite the fact that this meant much more work for her, she never complained and always seemed to time her leaf gathering to coincide with grandkids running about on her front lawn. It was almost as if she raked them just for us! ;)

Winter came early in Idaho and the anticipation for the first "real" snow almost killed us. We knew that on that day or soon after we would go hookey-bobbin! Gramps would hook up the snow saucers to the back of his pick-up truck and pull us up and down Dog Alley (I come from a very small town) until it was dark or we were exhausted. Each time he'd tell us that it was time to go in, he was met with cries of "One more time gramps, one more time!" We even had a little trick to keep him out longer. On what was supposed to be the last run, one of us would purposely accidentally throw toss drop a glove or mitten on the side of the road. Once we returned to the house we would inform gramps of our loss, and another run to retrieve the glove would be necessary.

Gram & Gramps rarely missed any of our ball games, theater productions, music concerts, or other important activities and in the event they did, there was always a very good reason. It was very evident how proud they were and how much they loved us. I can remember many late Saturday nights I spent at my Gram & Gramps in high school staying up to watch Hello Dolly or another volume in their movie collection. They always seemed different than my friends grandparents; they never felt old to me because they were always willing to participate in the fun that we had whether it was staying up late to play board games or patiently showing us over and over how to make a doll out of a hollyhock flower.

I cannot even begin to number the neat memories I have of them. As they progress in age, though they are both in decent health, I wonder more and more how I will manage without them. Something that has always brought overwelming sadness to me was the fear that they would not be around long enough to give my children the opportunity to know them or learn from their incredible examples. And that is what has inspired me to write this post. Because tonight that fear lessened a bit as I watched Gramps play with Pumpkin, tickle her belly to make her laugh and hang her upside down from her feet. I saw Grams, in the way she always takes care of others, make sure there were toys ready in the living room for Pumpkin to play with when we arrived. As I watched my daughter interact with the two of them, I was suddenly flooded with memories from my childhood with them when they did similar things with/for me. Depending on how long they are with us, Pumpkin may never have any recollection of these tender moments but I will never forget them.

I'm not sure they know it, because among many other things they are amazingly humble, but they have passed on quite the legacy. It is a legacy of kindess, of hard work and service, of gratitude and forgiveness and above all, unconditional love. What an example to follow!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Un-American Airlines (LONG POST)

Well Pumpkin and I made it to my parents house for our visit although not without a very long day and an unexpected sleepover at my sisters. The day started when my friend showed up at 9:20 am to take us to the airport. After a well-fought battle with the carseat in 70% humidity, we were off. Halfway to the airport I realized that I had forgotten to bring the food I had for Pumpkin. It was still at home in my fridge. Luckily I had some snacks but nothing of real substance.

We got to the airport about 45 minutes before the flight was supposed to leave and when I checked in on the computers, I was told that I was too late to check in and would have to pick one of the later flights. I chose one that left at 2:00 pm and had to pay $35 to reserve a seat and not have to stand-by w/ my highly impatient 11-month old. Then of course, because I was flying American the computer informed me there was a $25 fee for my second bag. However, when I was finished with the whole process, the computer screen said "The second checked bag fee of $25 has been waived for this flight. Your credit card will not be charged." So I was grateful that it was going to only cost me $35 instead of $60.

My friend took me to her mom's house to wait until it was time for our flight. When I returned to the airport and went to the counter to check my bags, the attendant told me I had to pay $25. I told her what the computer had said and she acted surprised and told me her computer said I had to pay. I told her again what the computer said and then she kept saying things like "I've NEVER heard of the computer doing that" as if she thought I was lying. Then she called a supervisor over who proceeded to do the same. Finally I just paid the fee and walked away.

Next, onto the security process with the lovely, well-behaved TSA agents. One of them must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed b/c she yelled (I'm not exaggerating) at my friend and I for my friend helping me (though the other agent said she could) and for not taking Pumpkins shoes off (though they've never asked me to do that before). She had me literally fuming at her rudeness but yeah for me I held my tongue!

Okay, this is getting really long so I'll try to "Reader's Digest" the rest of the story (Paul Harvey anyone?). Our flight ended up being delayed 1 1/2 hours for "maintenance" problem. After we took off finally we found out the maintenance issue was something to do with the upper baggage compartment and resulted in them having to leave 30 bags in our departure city. Ugh! And of course, when we get there, my bag came through but Pumpkins didn't which meant I had no diapers, clothes, formula etc. (A little ironic that the bag I paid $25 to check is the one I didn't get..) And the American Airlines lost baggage woman was SO rude. There was one couple whose plans were to drive somewhere so they were going to drive until they got tired and then get a hotel so they didn't have an address to give the baggage lady. So the lady goes "well what stuff do you have with you now?" and they said "Nothing." Her response? "Well you're gonna have nothing a lot longer if you don't give me an address." WOW!

When I called to check on the status of my bag, I told the woman that the bag was Pumpkin's so I was without diapers, clothes, etc. and she goes "Yeah, hmmm thats really unfortunate that you didn't think to put any of that stuff in your carry-on." WHAT? I did put that stuff in my carry on but you guys delayed us and wasted so much time that all that stuff is gone. You can only fit so many diapers and so much formula in a diaper bag! But once again, (hold the applause) I held my tongue. So Pumpkin and I stayed w/ my sister who lives near the airport instead of driving right to my parents house. Luckily they delivered my luggage in the middle of the night. There was no knocking, no doorbell. They just left it sitting outside in the front of the house where it remained until this morning when I noticed it. Grrr! And once again (are we seeing a pattern here?) I held my tongue. For those of you who know me, you know that this is a big deal as I haven't always been blessed with the ability to control my temper at will, especially with boorish strangers. (Is it good that I held my tongue even though I'm now posting for the world to see all the complaints that I would have voiced had my tongue not been held? Hmmmm....)

This morning we left my sisters house and made the 3 1/2 hour trip to my parents and arrived in safety. I was so grateful to get the bag we'd lost that it wasn't until much later that I realized I'd also left my book in the seat pocket of the plane........my library book!

Yes, it was quite the day. Hopefully it isn't any indication of how this week will go. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, Pumpkin cannot get enough of her grandma and poppy so I guess it was worth the trouble!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Don't Bow Down Yet......

Just wanted to clarify that I am not the queen of posting even though it appears that I put up 6 (7 counting this one) posts in one day. I brought over some posts from my other blog when I closed it down.

Shout Out to the Singles

My husband just left for a week-long business trip today and I'm leaving with Pumpkin for a week tomorrow. Anytime previously that I've gone anywhere, I've had him here to help me get ready by taking the baby and helping me at the airport with the baby etc. This time I'll be all on my own and I'm actually very nervous. Because of that I started thinking about single parenting.

I feel like I've always had some idea of how hard single parenting is because I know several single parents and I've worked with lots of single parents in my profession (social work). However, I don't think I really understood how hard it could be until I had a child of my own. I'm a stay-at-home mom and though I absolutely adore my Pumpkin with all my heart, sometimes when her daddy gets home I am oh so relieved to pass her off and have just a little break. I can't imagine being the only one caring for her. So I just wanted to give a thumbs up, kudos, and a pat on the back to all you single parents out there who do a great job everyday being the everything for your kids.

Cords, Keys, and Computer Keyboards (and paper but that ruins my aliteration)

My eleven month old daughter is quite the curious little thing and perfect for her generation as she loves all things “techy”: cordless telephones, cellular phones, her daddy’s blackberry, CD’s (okay, so that’s not her generation, more like MP3’s but she loves them anyway), the digital screen on my refridgerator and microwave and the “spaceship-esqe” control panel on my washer and dryer. But her favorite things are Cords, Keys, Computer Keyboards and paper (so not her generation….she must be an old soul ...lol).

The problem with this is that all her favorite things (..raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens….) are all either potentially harmful for her or potentially stressful for me. Let’s discuss.

1. Electrical cords: electrical, need I say more? I mean I guess I could let her play with a cord that’s not plugged in but is that really a good idea. She’s eleven months old for heavens sake, how is she supposed to distinguish between a cord that’s in the toybox and one with electrical currents flowing through it. So yeah, electrical. Enough said. (It doesn’t help that she likes to bite chew gnaw on them. That can’t be good for her teeth)

2. Keys: No I’m not talking about the little plastic, multi-colored keys that are actually made for babies. I’m talking about the metal, starts my car, has a keyless entry including a PANIC button (learned that the hard way) keys. I tried removing the keyless entry part but she still is so excited to be playing with a “no-no” object that she shakes them like crazy and ends up smacking herself in the head. Metal and babies, not the best combination.

3. Computer keyboards: bang bang bang. She helps out with lots of my emails. The problem is that the excitement gets a little out of control and I have to stop her before I lose my “CAPS LOCK” button. I love my CAPS LOCK button. I tried letting her use a keyboard NOT connected to a monitor but that was a no go. Apparently its not quite as fascinating when you don’t actually see what you are typing appear on the screen. Go Figure!

4. Paper: Oh my sweet little goat! Yeah I know this is not new and every child loves paper but I still don’t like it. First of all because I don’t see 3 servings of magazine pages anywhere in the food pyramid and second because she always manages to give herself a paper cut. And imagine if I didn’t see the paper cut and I fed her lemons for lunch (what mom feeds their baby lemons…..entertaining but just plain mean) what a disaster that would be? So you see, paper is no good either.

Is it too much to wish (I know, it is) that she was as interested in all the real toys that we paid real money for littering our living room floor? (Hold on, she’s trying to take a bite out of dear husband’s Ipod) So I guess what I’m saying is, anybody know a toy store that sells electrical cords that don’t electrocute, metal keys that don’t hurt when contact is made with the forehead indestructible computer keyboards and paper that doesn’t cut and cannot be swallowed? Anyone? Yeah I didn’t think so. Darn!

No crying in softbal......

Every morning my dear husband wakes up, gets his breakfast, and sits down with a couple buddies while he eats. The buddies are Mike & Mike of Mike & Mike In the Morning on ESPN Radio. Today was no different. As you might guess after viewing the photo on their homepage (one of the Mike's stuffing a mutilated hot dog into his trapper), I usually have little interest in what they have to say. However, today after dear husband finished his cereal, he related a story he had heard from the Mikes and, turns out, I was interested (very interested since I'm sharing it with you so I guess I'll excuse the poor table manners).

Apparently the NCAA Softball Tournament is currently in progress (as you can tell I don't follow softball) and when Central Washington played Western Oregon, a really cool thing happened. One of the seniors on Western Oregon's team, Sara Tucholsky, hit the first homerun of her career in this game. As she was running the bases, she ran past first base and missed touching it with her foot. When she turned around to go back, her knee gave out and she fell to the ground, unable to get up.

"Umpires confirmed that the only option available under the rules was to replace Tucholsky at first base with a pinch runner and have the hit recorded as a two-run single instead of a three-run home run. Any assistance from coaches or trainers while she was an active runner would result in an out. So without any choice, Knox prepared to make the substitution, taking both the run and the memory from Tucholsky."

Then, (here comes the good part), someone asked "Can we carry her around the bases?" The someone (someones actually) was a player from the OPPOSING team. One of them knew that according to the rules they could touch her w/o negating the homerun. So what did her and a teammate do? They each grabbed an arm, lifted her up and took her to home plate, touching her foot (on the uninjured leg) to each of the bases on the way.

In today's world of sports where we have parents beating up little league coaches when their kids don't get enough playing time and professional sports "heroes" who throw temper tantrums to the referees when things don't go their way, it was nice to see that good sportsmanship does still exist. These girls of Central Washington essentially helped the other team score, during a playoff game. And as the story points out, there wasn't even a Hollywood ending, Central Washington lost the game. But, the player who suggested carrying the girl had this to say:

"Honestly, it's one of those things that I hope anyone would do it for me," Holtman said. "She hit the ball over her fence. She's a senior; it's her last year. … I don't know, it's just one of those things I guess that maybe because compared to everyone on the field at the time, I had been playing longer and knew we could touch her, it was my idea first. But I think anyone who knew that we could touch her would have offered to do it, just because it's the right thing to do. She was obviously in agony."

They later found out that the rule had been misinterpreted and I'm glad that it was. Turns out one of her teammates could have substituted for her and taken the homerun lap for her. But isn't the way it happened so much better? I think so. In a couple years, nobody will remember the score of this game but I bet Sara remembers her homerun and the two girls who helped her keep it.

When I told my brother-in-law the story his response was "That's the difference between mens sports and womens sports. Men would never do that." If that's really the case, I'm sure proud to be a woman!

THE IRS REFOUND MY MONEY!

Okay, I just have to share an email I received today. It made me laugh out loud. And as I read it I thought to myself "Nobody can seriously fall for this can they?" And I sure hope not. But we can all get a good chuckle out of it which is why I'm posting it here. Enjoy!


Subject: Tax refound (28371231) $620.50
Internal Revenue Service 4:29 PM (1 hour ago) Reply


You Have Get a Tax Refund on your VISA or MasterCard

Complect The FormularAnd get your tax Refund(Your Refund Amount Is $112.30)
Complect Formular (This was a link to a pretend IRS site)


Okay, now for some comments: 1. Yes it actually says 'have get' 2. If the refund is already on my credit card, why do I need to do anything? 3. I never learned how to 'complect' anything (I missed that day in math class apparently), let alone a formular (whatever that is) 4. Apparently refund is a proper noun...I mean Refound (even with all the money I give them, apparently the IRS can't afford spellcheck)? 5. Somehow between the subject line and the body of the email I lost $508.20 - wow thats quite the service charge.


Have a good day and a heads up to beware if the IRS refound your money too!

Kindess of Strangers

I recently went on a trip with Pumpkin to visit some of my family, just me and her. I walked through the airport with a baby strapped to the front of me (a very heavy baby I might add), overflowing diaper bag draped across me, purse balancing on my shoulder, pushing a stoller that had a car seat set on top of it. The car seat was dangerously close to ending up on the floor several times. I am sure I was quite the site for my fellow airport-goers!
After checking my stroller planeside, I (with great difficulty) attempted to drag my car seat behind me onto the plane. Then I heard a sweet voice say "Can I carry that for you?" I turned to this stranger as a wave of gratitude swept through my body and said "Oh thankyou!" She then carried it all the way to my seat and since it is a very large carseat (remember that heavy baby), she also endured the annoyed stares from passengers who got slightly bumped as she made her way down the aisle. When the plane landed, I hurriedly gathered up pacifiers from under the seat, toys out of the seat pockets and wiped the smooshed graham crackers off the seat belt. Then I heard that Heavenly voice again. Not only did she help me off the plane with my loads of stuff but she also got my luggage off the turnstile, wheeled it out to the curb and stayed and chatted with me until my sister arrived to pick me up. She had to be at the airport another hour to wait for her husband who was arriving on a later flight so she wasn't in any huge hurry but she still went way beyond the call of duty and I am truly grateful. Hooray for the kindness of strangers. Help someone you don't know today. :)

Here's the deal.....

This is the third blog I have started. I started my first blog back in 2004 when I was still in college. Back then blogging wasn't quite the community/phenomenon/addiction that it has become today. I posted every few days months for about a year and then sort of forgot about it as my life got busy. I came back to it when my daughter was born and started using it as a way to let family keep in touch and see pictures. I still maintain that blog. But I decided that I wanted my own personal blog that was more like an online journal for me. So, I scooted myself over to wordpress.com (because I wanted to try out another hosting site) and started a blog. I have been posting on that one for about a month now however, yesterday I was made aware of some blog ettiquette, some unwritten bloggin rules, one of which was that bloggers get annoyed when someone uses a blog name thats the same or similar to theirs. Totally understandable. I had googled my blog name and nothing came up. But after reading the ettiquette, I googled a couple different versions of the name and lo and behold there were at least three blogs that had been started before mine. So, being the somewhat obsessive-compulsive follower of rules that I am, I decided to just scrap that blog and start anew. And Folded But Not Put Away was born...literally like this morning!

The title of my blog was the title of my About page on my wordpress blog. Here's some background on it. Last June I had my first child and my husband and I decided that I would stay at home to care for her. I was excited about this and hand delusions of grandeur about the mother I would be and the spic-n-span house I would keep. (A little June Cleaver I know) Reality set in by the time my daughter was about 6 months old, and after several mornings of conversations like the following:

Dear husband: Honey are my brown socks clean?
Me: Yes. They are in the laundry basked. I folded them but haven't put them away yet.

You can pretty much put substitute any article of clothing where it says brown socks: my shirt, my black pants, my running shorts, you get the idea. I was very good at keeping the clothes clean but somehow they never seemed to make it back into the drawers. So its become a joke between my husband and I. I think I'm getting better though (she says while sitting on the couch blogging with a basket full of laundry at her feet). I think you can make some good analogies to life with this as well because the clothes still serve their purpose (able to be worn), they just aren't exactly where they belong. I think sometimes we are the same. I can think of many periods in my life where I have been willing to do what's required of me as a mom, wife, sister, daughter, etc. but have not quite been in the right place emotionally, spiritually, or in my relationships with those around me. Maybe I'm taking this way to far but I really believe that lessons can be learned from almost any situation in life. But there you have it, the history behind my blog. Now let's get started shall we?