Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Houston...we have snow!!!!!

At 9PM tonight, while watching The Santa Clause 3, we took a break to play in the snow! We had about 3 inches on the trampoline (before it all was scraped off for snowballs), and managed to build a miniature snow man :) Talk about a wonderful treat for the kiddos... Its gonna be a great Christmas!!





Monday, December 08, 2008

Smelling the Holly

Ok, I absolutely love this time of year! It's finally not hot (even though I think it hit 70 today - not HOT!), we get to decorate our homes, the kids get giddy with excitement, we can dangle "Santa won't bring you a present if you tell your mommy no!" in front of our kids, we have to get creative with gift giving when the checking account runs low, and...we get to remember...and yes, be thankful for those we love.

For my dad, who loves unconditionally, supports unequivocally, reminds me gently, and remembers my birthday :)

For my sister - the middle one - who gives of herself to just about everyone (almost to a fault), is faithful in everything she endeavors to do, who is a trusted friend and support to me, and also remembered my birthday (this year!).

For my other sister - the baby - who makes me laugh (not always at you!), works hard to keep up with her frenetic schedule, who has gone through so much and yet blossomed into a beautiful woman in spite of everything...and who remembered my birthday too!!!

For Betty, who cares for my dad and takes great care of him, who treats us with the utmost respect, but still like one of her own, who is quick to listen and offer advice when asked, and who helps my dad to remember my birthday :)

For my mother-in-law, who is always there when I get stuck and need help, who prays for my family unceasingly, who loves me as a mother loves her own daughter, and who understands (like no other) the man I live with :)

For my father-in-law, who is a Godly man and advisor, watching over his family with the sincere love of a father & grandfather, praying for his family and offering support.

For my sister-in-law, who is busily planning her wedding, but still taking the time to call her nephew to wish him a happy birthday (from afar) - and yes, me too!!! - who is great friend and confidant, and makes me giggle with her goofy stories :)

For my children, whose "I Love You's" and giant, squeezy hugs abound, even when I'm not the mommy I should be, who keep me on my toes with the daily inquisitive questions that flow from their little minds, who remind me that I am not just here for them, but that they are here for me too - to remind me what the word "unconditional" truly means.

For my husband, whose steadfast support, love & encouragement, gets me through the toughest of times, whose quick wit reminds me that I am not the "end-all" when it comes to being "Wife of the Year", and who occasionally gives in and takes us out to eat so that I don't have to cook dinner (which I hate to do, by the way). And oh yes, who is the man of my dreams, even when he forgets things :) I couldn't do any of this without you, honey!!!!

And finally, for my mother, the woman who taught me how to perservere in the face of adversity, to hold on tightly to our Heavenly Father's hand when things get really tough, and to ultimately trust in the One who loves us more that we could ever imagine.

For my family, I am truly grateful and appreciative. I love each you dearly and uniquely. You each have a special place in my heart, and even when I don't verbally say it, I love you all!!!

And to my friends, you are my support system, the ones I call on when I am in need of prayer, the women (and men) that I confide in when I need advice, and my strength when the weight of being mommy, wife, sister, daughter, and friend gets to be a heavy burden. I thank God for each of you - those that I know personally, and those that I know only through our blogs! I truly believe that God has placed each of you in my path, and I count myself as truly blessed.

I hope that at this time of year, you find the time to focus on what is most important in your life. Whether you have already finished your Christmas shopping, have just started, or are waiting on payday, take the time to stop and smell the holly. It only comes around once a year, and the time seems to slip by more quickly each year! Hold on to your memories, enjoy making new memories, and, by golly, tell those around you that you love them and appreciate them!!!

Christmas blessings to each of you, and may you have a wonderfully, blessed New Year!!!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Breaking the Rules

That's what we've been doing lately. And tonight, we broke TWO rules: ice cream for dinner (and, OK apple slices too), and a 9PM bedtime :) Life doesn't get much better when you have a super-tired mommy with a sugar craving, huh?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Sunday, October 26, 2008

MIA since IKE

Since the visit from Ike a few weeks ago, I have been out of whack. My schedule was thrown off, and pretty much tossed out the window, and I have frantically been trying to keep my house of cards from crumbling all around me. So, I've taken some time off from my blog. Ok, a long time, but I will eventually return to report anything worth reporting. I am not gone, just taking some time off. I will continue to read and comment when I can, but even that is at least a week behind (sorry Judy!). So, when I can, I will comment; when I have something to say, I will. But until then, just check in periodically and know that I am still here - just a little busier than I would like to be!

Tomorrow is another day...and gosh, darn it, I will get back on schedule!!! Hey dad, this too shall pass, right?!?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ian's Birthday Pictures









Just too cute not to share :)

How to Ruin a Small Sauce Pan

1) Place 4 eggs into the pan and cover with water.
2) Place onto stove, turn to high and set timer for 15 minutes.
3) Walk away, head upstairs to your computer and take a business call.
4) Complete call, hang up, surf the web, check email, and visit with the kids.
5) Notice a funny smell, but don't think much else about it.
6) Wait for another 20 minutes before finally going to investigate aforementioned smell.
7) Head downstairs and hear the faint beeping of the timer you set 45 minutes ago.
8) Run like the wind to the kitchen and find small sauce pan completely dry with 3 burning eggs inside. The 4th couldn't take the heat and exploded all over the kitchen counter & floor.
9) Throw burning sauce pan into the sink and fill with cold water.
10) Finish coughing fit, turn on fans, open windows and throw away burned eggs.

1 hour later: cough a little more since the smell of burned sauce pan still permeates every inch of your house - even with the windows opened!!!

*3 hours later: the house still wreaks of stink! I've lit candles and opened windows, but letting the A/C out and the hot air in isn't working very well, so had to close them again. But still, can't figure out how to get rid of the smell!!! Blech....

Is it Friday yet???

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Prayers for You!

When I think back to 4 years ago, I remember laying in a hospital bed, holding you in my arms. You were my sweet little boy, brought into the world with love (and pitocin and an epidural)...and my last! As you slept that first night, I couldn't help but cry, just a little, thinking about how special you were. You were a surprise, to say the least, but no-less loved or wanted.

Your will is strong, and while I grapple with ways to make you obey, I also wrestle with teaching you what obedience truly is, while doing my best to not break your spirit. For it is this sweet spirit and strong will that will make you into the man that God wants you to be. It is my job to mold and shape these character traits, to train you to use your will for Godly reasons, not selfish. And while I am not always the best example for you to follow, I pray every night that you only see the good, and not the flaws that I so often show.

You are amazingly creative! You can play for hours with a stick or a single car, making up games that involve your ever-faithful dinosaur growl and 4-legged run from room to room. Whether alone or with your brother & sister, you play like there is no tomorrow; you hang in with the big boys when they get rough, and sometimes take them down. Other times you aren't so lucky, but you are quick to shake off the misplaced punch and to jump back in with both feet. You like to win and are relentless when it comes to never giving up!

Your eyes always express your joy, sorrow, and yes, even your mischievous streak. Regardless of my question and the subsequent answer, I can always tell whether your are being playfully vague or honestly bad. When you are angry or upset, it is your eyes that give me a glimpse into your soul, showing me what I need to know about what has caused your sudden change of attitude. It is those eyes that watch me so intently when I have a bad day; it is those same eyes that I hope also see me repent. Your eyes are ever watchful of those around you, deciding when you will befriend someone new, or to hide your face from a complete stranger.

So, my little man, it is with both a happy and sad heart that I tell you Happy 4th Birthday! For you are finally 4 years old and leaving your baby-hood behind, but it also means that you are growing up and will no longer be my baby! My prayer for you this year is this: As you grow and learn more about the world around you, as you investigate and watch and observe those you come into contact with, may God protect your little eyes from seeing what you should not see, and may He show you His love through your family & friends. May your will be molded by His hands, and may your spirit be taught by His spirit. May you grow to know that you are loved and treasured! You are a precious gem, and we love you!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Before & After-Math

Really, I don't think words will be necessary, but I wanted to let you all know that we are fine! Its been a rough ride, but I cannot complain. Our house came out unscathed by Ike - a sheer miracle considering the large tree in our backyard has been up-rooted and is leaning!!! I live in an older subdivision with huge, old trees, so many people did not come out of this as well as we did. Estimates have Ike's winds blowing at a steady 90-95 mph, with gusts well over 100 mph for hours & hours. We didn't lose power until 3:40AM on Saturday, during the storm, and didn't get our power back until Tuesday evening sometime. I know the exact time the power went out because there were 2 huge explosions that woke Michael & I (and Alex) up. We later found out those were the 2 transformers behind our house! Anyway, we left on Saturday evening (after the storm had come & gone) to stay with our friends in College Station for a few nights, then came back home on Monday afternoon, only to leave and stay with a local family who had power (and hot showers!!!) for another night. We made a stop in College Station for gas & groceries, since both of those items are almost non-existent in the area. Thousands & thousands of homes IN OUR AREA (and 1/2 of our subdivision) are still without power, so please keep these families in your prayers! Its been a very long week, and looks to be even tougher as estimates have power restoration for this part of Houston at Tuesday of NEXT WEEK.

All Glory goes to God for sending His angels and provision for my family!!!

The kiddos went "camping" in our formal living room.
Having them downstairs was important to them (and to me!!!).

These blurry images were taken around 8AM on Saturday morning, while Ike still rained his wrath on Houston! The branch that went through the fence came off our OUR tree located right next to Ian's room, but fell straight down across the neighbor's driveway and onto his roof. Thankfully there was no damage, other than to his gutters!

This would be one of the few "pros" of being without power for days & days - a cleaned out fridge & freezer! Notice the Chick-Fil-A bag and the stiro foam container on the shelf? That would be yesterday's lunch & dinner! Another positive of having no food is that you HAVE to go eat :)

And, by no food in the house to eat, I simply mean that there really isn't anything we would want to eat for dinner! But, should another hurricane care to grace us with his or her presence, we will probably still be prepared as I think we have more than our fair share of canned goods and bread products!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Will Never Forget!


May God Bless America!
May America Bless God!

Run From the Water, Hide From the Wind

This seems to be the mantra around these parts today - I've seen this everywhere, and heard this several times from various sources. So, as we brace ourselves for this storm, let me let you read what one of our news establishments has to say about Hurrican Ike:

The National Hurricane Center foresees a 20-foot surge for a large swath of Texas. Hurricane center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen says Ike’s waves could be 50 feet tall, and some computer models have waves topping out at 70 feet.

So first, rest assured that we are far away from the coast - 80 miles or so. So even though this particular statement won't really affect us, you should still keep those that haven't evacuated in your prayers over the next few days!

Second, we are far outside of the evacuation zones, so we are staying put. Many gas stations are already out of gas (which is why I filled up 2 days ago and my tank still sits on full) and the grocery shelves are now emptying out (at 9AM, things were still good, except for the lanes that took more than 30 minutes to get through at check-out!). But we have lots of water, lots of food (including some chicken, steaks and sausage in the freezer should the need arise to "grill" - you know if we end up without power for a bit), lots of ice and a few coolers to use for keeping perishables cold/cool until the power returns, flashlights and candles, a radio, and lots & lots of batteries (which surprisingly I found today at Target!). I will be shutting my laptop off at some point tomorrow in an effort to conserve the battery, and will also be turning my mobile phone off for the same reason. We spent the evening clearing the backyard of bikes, toys, tables & chairs, and pretty much anything that could blow around/away with the 100mph gusts they have mentioned. And finally, we have renters insurance that would include flood damage, if things get that bad - which I am certainly not anticipating.

We are set, prepared and ready for Ike and all his glory!

But, we would still appreciate your prayers. Stay tuned for a recap of the events - both good & bad - that may transpire over the weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Observations

This morning, while eating breakfast with Ian, we were snuggled up watching an old I Love Lucy episode - all of my kids think that Lucy is hilarious :) So anyway, there we are sitting and eating together when Ricky walks out on stage in a matador's costume. Ian starts laughing hysterically and says, "Hey mom, he looks like Mickey Mouse!". And he was right! The matador's cap/hat he was wearing had 2 black bulges on either side of his head, and when he tilted his head back slightly, they looked like ears!

I started laughing and commended him on his observation skills. I would never have thought that on my own, but leave it to a preschooler to compare a real-life person, in costume, to a cartoon character!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Day in Our Lives

I don't exactly know what I can say about homeschooling, other than it is like having school, at home! :) I know, its such an epiphany isn't it?? Alex & I are in the beginning stages of figuring this whole thing out - we're doing the trial-and-error method at the moment - but it seems to be working so far!

Our first week went fairly smoothly. I was determined to stay with my lesson plans so as not to throw a kink into our days, but was worried that I may have over-planned to some degree. But, I'm happy to say that I didn't, and things went rather swimmingly. Its taking us longer to get through the lessons then I had hoped, but I figure it will only be a matter of time until we fall into a routine - if there is such a thing with homeschooling?

After getting "little toot" out the door in the morning for her 8:20 bus, Alex & I either run a few errands (with Ian in-tow since his preschool has not yet begun) or get down to business. Either way, we usually have our noses in the books no later than 10AM, which is great. I have been allowing him to pick which subjects he wants to tackle first, and have quickly discovered that he doesn't like math. This particular thorn-in-his-side takes us all of an hour or so to complete, which is painstakingly too slow for me! I always loved math and am doing what I can to help him through each lesson, without doing them for him. I have discovered that if I sit there with him and talk him through each problem (start with the ones column, 4 plus 2 is?, 6 plus 5 is, carry, now add the hundreds - good job!) then he can get through them very quickly. BUT, if I leave him to work a few problems for 10 minutes while I attend to something else, I find he is still staring at the first or 2nd problem when I return - which drives me crazy! So we are alternately getting along very well and working through things, or I'm getting ready to pull his head off of his body because he won't focus or is procrastinating.

I did discover, quite by accident, that he loves to race the clock! I decided to put some of his math work on the grease board I hung on the wall, then instructed him to go to the other side of the room and wait. When I say "go", he runs across the room, answers the problems on the board, then races back to the desk. His best time is less than 1 minute (57 seconds) for 5 2-digit problems, which is great for my little day dreamer. He now asks every day if he can do some board work, and I am happy to oblige, as long as we don't get too hung up on math facts, ignoring some of the other new things he's learning.

But, thankfully these have been the only obstacles we have hit so far, but I feel certain that as we 'get through' each day, we'll figure out ways to conquer the beasts that lay in our path. Its just a matter of time until he figures out that homeschool isn't going to be all fun & games - but for now, I'm happy to let him think that it is :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Her First Day...a week later!

Ok, so I've been way too busy for my own good...after much nagging by my friends, here are a few pictures of Morgann's first day of school - from last week!!! Ian won't begin school until this coming Thursday, so I promise to be a better blogger and will do my best to post pictures sooner than 9 days after they are taken, ok?!?! Enjoy :)

This would be the girl of the hour...my sweet little baby and her Kindergarten backpack. She had to wear red on Monday to be "in theme" with Ready, Set, Go! Monday was "ready", and boy was she...

This would be a picture of Morgann & her 2 best friends Emma (on the left) and Kate (on the right). While Kate & Emma are old hats at this riding the school bus thing, since they are older by a few months and were starting the 1st grade this year, Morgann enlisted their help & advice in all things school bus.

This would be my baby, boarding the bus while I chased her down to get a hug - which I did not get, by the way! She barely turned her head to acknowledge me calling her name - I think she actually caught her dad's eye at this particular moment.

And this would be my baby, no worse for the wear, at the end of her first day of Kindergarten. A little whilty perhaps after riding a non-air conditioned school bus for about 30 minutes, but just as happy as when she left!

The End!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oops!

I'm an idiot, apparently! I have no idea how I did it, but I've managed to lose my cute blogger template, inadvertently reverting back to the old theme, which I hate! I also managed to change to the old-style Blogger dashboard, and cannot figure out how to save my blog before trying to change it back - I'm scared to death that I will lose my blog all together if I keep messing with it! So, until I get this stupid thing figured out, you're going to have to bear with me...and maybe offer up some advice while you're at it :)

*So, I managed to get it back to the cute template, but I am frustrated because I found a cuter one that I want to use - only when I try to install it, it deletes my blog leaving me with a cute background and no content! That certainly doesn't work... Thanks to my honey for helping me to get back to what I had :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yeah, I know...

...I owe you guys pictures and fun information about Morgann's first day of Kindergarten and our first day of home schooling...but life is crazy and I haven't had the time to upload the pictures yet :) So, you'll just have to keep waiting...sorry!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Holy Cow!

In no less than 10 hours, my baby girl will be boarding the school bus for her very first time, heading off to her very first day of Kindergarten! Oh.My.Gosh!!!! My baby girl is starting school....*sniff*...and OH.MY.GOSH!!! I will be starting home school with Alex tomorrow as soon as Morgann heads off on the school bus.

I think I need a drink!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

P.S.

I couldn't let Michael be the only one to get a new toy...so I got myself one last night! Was up until after 2AM playing with it - so fun :) I've been browsing iTunes and setting up ring tones for 2 days now - not buying them off of iTunes, but using my own music library and creating them using this software that cost me $7.50!

Just way too fun!!!

New Developments

Regarding this post, there are some (new developments, I mean) and they are exciting. Now I'm not just excited, I'm nervous & excited. Stay tuned - I may have some news soon - BIG, BIG news :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Toys

Hubby gets new toys, I get the old, hand-me-down toys he no longer wants. Works for me :)

He got this:


I got this:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Waiting & Wondering

Do you ever get the feeling that God has something up his sleeve for you? Something that you haven't really thought much about, or even considered until the very idea of it plagues your mind and dreams? Have you ever known that a change of some-sort was around the corner, but not had a clue what it might be? Then you think you figure it out and begin to make plans, only to find out that maybe you haven't quite figured it out like you thought you had?

Yeah, that's me, right now. Michael & I have been talking about something and it seems like a very real possibility. But, we are having to wait around to see what happens; we are waiting on other people and situations, so we'll see. But, its the waiting that is going to drive me crazy!

But, we wait & pray, and then wait some more. It's in God's hands right now, since there is absolutely nothing we can do!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

His Inner Man

Last night, Michael took a little something to help him to sleep better. Since he's spent the better part of the past week restless and progressively getting more tired, we figured that a good nights sleep was in order. Well, at least for 1 of us!

Anytime he takes these little blue pills (which is about as often as a solar eclipse!) he sleeps very deeply, while I stay awake dealing with the effects of his deep sleep. I knew it was going to be a bad night when his snoring began less than an hour after going to bed! For whatever reason the man passes out, on his back, and once this occurs, there is no turning him over! But, never-the-less, I always try. Apparently my super-mommy powers don't work after 1AM, unless there is a vomiting child nearby!

Like I said, the (very loud) snoring began around 12:30 and continued throughout the night, intermingled by my feeble attempts to stir him into turning over to his stomach. It wasn't going to happen! Then there was the belching - yes, I said belching. Continuous and un-relenting, with absolutely no regard for anyone in the room - which would be me, in case you were wondering. Anyone that knows Michael knows that he does not belch - EVER! He finds it disgusting and just won't do it. So, the fact that he was letting them rip over & over (& over) again last night was funny - well it would have been had the first few not scared me to death and stirred me from my sleep at 2:30AM! Then there were hiccups - yep, right again! I only thought I was scared out of my slumber with the belches! The hiccups were loud and constant for about 20 minutes. But, no matter how hard I tried to wake the boy, he wasn't going to rouse from the deep sleep he found!

Thank you, little blue pill! You helped my honey to sleep soundly (hahahaha!!!!) through the night, making all sorts of sounds that he normally wouldn't make! I guess his inner man (or maybe bachelor boy) came out in all of his radiant glory. I don't like that inner man...especially when he keeps me awake making crude sounds all night.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Recipe Exchange

Ok, so if you are anything like me, you want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen cooking dinner. Personally, I hate to cook, but eating out on a regular basis at $50 per meal isn't working very well with our budget. So, this would be why I thought I would see if I could get my friends in blog-land to participate in a recipe exchange with me. Consider yourself tagged if you are reading this....and please comment if you choose to participate.

The Rules are simple: Simply post 1 or 2 favorite, family-friendly recipe on your blog, then comment on this one so that I know you particpated. Easy-Breezy! I figured if you all participated, then your readers participated, we'd get enough new dinner ideas to last for a while! And on a side-note, should you participate, you will be my hero - I hate to cook (oh, did I already mention that?) and need some new ideas!!!!

So here is a recent new recipe I tried - the kids were split on whether they liked it or not, but Michael & I enjoyed it:

Chicken & Sour Cream Enchiladas with Green Sauce
Ingredients:
2 Lg. chicken breasts, browned and shredded
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1/4 C water
1 Sm. carton of heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp sour cream
1-2 C Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 jar Green Tomatillo Sauce*
*purchased at HEB grocery store, but you can find it anywhere
Tortillas

Heat oven to 350^. Brown chicken breasts, then shred. Return shredded chicken to skillet, add 1/2 pack of taco seasoning and water; mix well. In a small bowl, mix sour cream and heavy whipping cream, until blended. Shred cheese into a different small bowl and set aside. Warm tortillas in the microwave to soften (we used flour, but you can use corn if you prefer).

Take 1 tortilla, add small portion of shredded chicken, sprinkle of shredded cheese, roll and place into baking dish (might spray with cooking spray first!). Continue until the dish is full. Pour sour cream/cream mixture over the top, add more shredded cheese, then top with desired amount of green tomatillo sauce.

Cover & bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until sauce is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken just slightly. Enjoy!!!!

Thanks for humoring me! Hope to see your comments & recipes soon!!!!

*If this works like I hope it will, then I'll add more favorite recipes every so often :)

A Change in Scenery

Well, it appears that Eduard didn't want to visit Galveston, and made a last-minute turn for the North. So, we aren't going to get the winds & rain they had forecast for us today. But, it's still raining and, I expect, we'll still end up flooded into our subdivision before the day is over. All of the entrances are low, so anytime we get constant rain for long periods of time, we end up with lots & lots of water all around - never any danger to us or our house - well, unless you are Michael and decide to drive your Nissan Altima into water above tires!!! But, that's a story for another time :)

Suffice it to say that I will decline any offers for the life boat I had inquired about last night. I think we can ride this one out!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Batten Down the Hatches!!!

So this would be where we live...right smack dab in the middle of the white, highlighted area on the map! And, yes we are as prepared as we can be for 40-60 mph winds and rain fall set to pour for the next 24 hours! I've purchased a few extra candles and a couple of new flashlights. Anyone have a life boat we can borrow???

***Due to technical difficulties, I'll be uploading the radar picture as soon as Blogger gets its act together!!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

You'll Never Escape the Dark Side!!!

This has been the mantra at my house this weekend. And, unfortunately for Michael, the thorn in his side.

THE OLD JOB - THE ONE HE HATED AND LEFT 33 DAYS AGO - THE ONE THAT WE PRAYED HIM OUT OF - THE ONE WE PLEADED WITH GOD OVER...THAT ONE! THEY CALLED ON FRIDAY AND HAVE CONTINUED TO CALL (CONSTANTLY) ALL WEEKEND!!!!

The calls started Friday morning, when "Old Boss" called to thank Michael for some work he'd done on Thursday evening for them, then stated he'd like to "catch up". That was code for, "really, I'm lying to you and just want you to call me so that I can ask - no, scratch that - tell you to fix our network because it's broken and we are completely clueless on how to fix it and make it work!" And, the calls didn't stop. They called at least a dozen times yesterday, stopping around 9PM, then picked up again around 9AM this morning!

Can I tell you how badly I just wanted Michael to give me phone?!?! All I wanted to do was to give "Old Boss" a piece of my mind; to tell him where he could go; to tell him what he could with his network that is no longer Michael's responsibility; to tell him to get his new employee to fix it and to leave my husband alone! To freaking take his his network and to stick it where....well, you get the point! And, do you know that at 9PM last night, I finally permission to do it? Yes, Michael finally agreed, at his witt's end, to let me answer the phone if it dared to ring again.

IT DIDN'T!!! I was so totally ready to finally say what I've been wanting to say to "Old Boss" for 2 1/2 years. And he didn't call back!!! Talk about frustrating - the phone had been ringing all day, and the one time I wanted it to ring, it didn't! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

So, after a full day of company yesterday, then family over today after church, an appointment for a potential new client (or side-job) that lasted a few hours, and ruined plans for family time this weekend, Michael finally spent about 4 hours looking at the network and fixed the problem(s). But, not before having to tell the bozos at the old job to "stop messing with things, stop changing settings, stop touching anything, and for heaven's sake STOP CALLING!!!" Granted, they didn't stop touching things and he had tell them again (and again) to leave it all alone - and to stop calling him - but, can I just announce to the world that my husband is "The Man"!!!

I will shout it from the roof-tops and announce it for all of blogdom...my hubby is "The Man". He not only fixed the original problem they were having on Friday, but also fixed all of the other errors that too many hands in the pot can cause (changed settings, errors all over the place, etc.). Yes, my dear, sweet, stressed-out and exhausted hubby was able to correct the problems and to get the network running as it should.

And yes, he will be compensated monetarily for all of the time he spent (we're talking a total of about 12+ hours), but the point was that he shouldn't have been hounded & bothered in the first place! And no amount of money can bring back the missed opportunity to spend time with the kiddos in the pool, and to kick back with a friend that will be moving across the country in a short amount of time. And, although one of the guys he used to work with has apologized all over himself for not being able to fix the problem himself, "Old Boss" has never once apologized for bothering us; never once said "if it's not too much trouble, would you mind?". Nada! Its just been expected that Michael would do this because its somehow his responsibility. Yeah right! I told Michael that should "Old Boss" dare to call again, he'd better hold onto his hat because I'm so done letting him ruin & run our lives... This is why Michael doesn't work for this man any longer - Praise the Lord!!!!

And just think, it only took 31 days for them to take Michael & I back to square one of non-relaxing, stressed-out, stupid company bothering us and ruining our weekend stress!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer, Summer - Go Away!

Can someone tell me when the summer is going to end? I cannot see the forest through the trees right now. I'm way too busy for my own good, and my poor kiddos are starting to get the "I'm bored" syndrome. School needs to start soon because I am running way behind on EVERYTHING and have no idea where to start to catch-up! I do know that its not going to happen until I am child-free - well, almost child-free since Alex will be homeschooling. But at least he can work solo off & on throughout the day. Morgann & Ian are just bored and are constantly looking for me to entertain them - and I don't have time to do that right now! I've done really well, up to this point, but now I'm starting to fall behind - waaay behind - and need a reprieve.

Anyone else feel that way?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A New Chapter

I am a mommy to 3 wonderful kiddos. I wouldn't trade my job for anything in the world...at least most of the time. But, if I were to be completely honest, I think that there are times that, if given the chance, I'd go back & re-think the motherhood option. And, don't get me wrong, it's not because I don't like my kids. Its just that there have been occasions when something has happened that I haven't been completely prepared for. And really, no matter how many parenting books you might read, nothing can prepare you for the day when your youngest son sets fire to the living room coffee table. I mean, come on, did I miss a chapter somewhere?

A few weeks ago (and yes, I'm WAY late in blogging about this little event, but its been a busy few weeks around here!) I had decided to dedicate my entire day to working - not working at my mommy job, but working at my other job, the one I am paid to do. Anyway, I was intently doing something at my desk in the downstairs study/office and, quite honestly, not paying a whole lot of attention to Morgann & Ian who were home. They had been playing 'normally' together (playing, then fighting a little, then playing, then fighting some more) and were, for at least a few moments, downstairs in the adjacent family room. Ian had been running back & forth from room to room, making the obligatory dinosaur/dragon noises he's so famously known for, while Morgann was watching a princess movie on the couch. Both had been playing alone for a bit and not fighting, so I sort of became engrossed in my work, meaning I had also become oblivious to what my son was playing with - mistake #1. It wasn't until I heard a loud scream from Morgann that I snapped back to my REAL reality.

And really, screams in the house don't usually trigger much of a reaction out of me since all 3 kids have this high-pitched scream that emits from their inner-most beings at all hours of the day, but this particular scream was different. It was the type of scream that didn't say "that hurts" or "that makes me mad" or even "touch me again and I'll hurt you". It was the type of scream that caused me to jump out of my seat and dash for the next room.

As I ran toward the family room, I made a quick note that my carpet runner was rolled into a nice ball and laying in the corner of my entry way. Very unusual, but I didn't take much stock of it until I realized what else was missing. It was when I entered the family room and noted the large ball of flame billowing from the center of my coffee table that I realized that my candle had been covered by a rubber no-slip mat, usually found underneath my carpet runner in the entry way!

AAAAHHHH!!!!

Ok, first thing that came to mind was to scream....so I did that! The next thing was to smother the ever-growing flame with a blanket, towel, small child - no scratch that - anything I could get my hands on to snuff it out. Um, yeah, nothing around to throw over it. Dang it! Ok, dance around and panic. Now, um, maybe I should just blow it out....yeah, you read that right! With absolutely nothing to throw over the flame except my son or daughter, I had to think fast. So, the first thing my pee-brain thought of was to blow, really hard. So I did!

Do you know that the flame actually went out?!? My blowing on the rubber mat engulfed in flames didn't fan the fire at all - it actually extinguished it! I couldn't believe it either!!!

So, in case you happen to have a small child with tendencies toward mischevious and unexpected conduct, let me suggest that you (1) print this blog and add it as an additional chapter to your favorite "How To Parent" book, (2) always be sure to have a towel or small blanket laying around in any room where you might decide to light a candle, and (3) keep a small fire extinguisher handy in case you feel the need to simply blow on an open flame - I'm betting that lightning (or blind luck) like this wouldn't strike twice. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When God Makes Us Wait

Our timing is not the same as Gods...this is something that we, as Christians, know. Sometimes we just know from watching others, and sometimes we know because we have been the ones to sit & wait, sometimes waiting & waiting & waiting, with no end in sight. This latter option has been us...Michael & I.

In June of 2005, back when we ran our own company, we were forced to trust God for every little dime, nickle & penny, due to the fact that our primary customer cut Michael back to 1 day a week (from 3), thereby reducing our income from $5000+ to only $1200 - per month!!! This period was very dark and hard for the both us - hard emotionally, obviously financially, but most of all spiritually. We began to doubt our faith, to doubt whether we were fools for believing that God truly would provide for us in our times of need, and even wondering whether Christianity was a farse all-together. It was a tough road, but, in the end, God did show up in an unexpected way, shedding light on our foolish doubt and unbelief, then taking us in His arms and giving us a hug, like any parent does to their wayward child.

In October of that same year, Michael took a full-time position with another company. We closed our business and walked away from the world of self-employment. We were excited to see where God would lead, but quickly had our hopes dashed. It didn't take long to figure out that the man Michael was now working for was not only dishonest and an all-out liar, but that he had no clue how to run a company, had absolutely no respect for his employees, and would more than likely not be fulfilling all of his promises of grandeur to Michael when he was hired. He would knowingly put the employees of his company into positions that would either force them to lie to protect the company, or to speak the truth and risk being fired. Regularly, they were ridiculed, belittled, and told they were useless by this man, but still expected to perform above & beyond - like answering the phone at all hours of the day (and night - like 1AM), checking email and working while on vacation, etc. The working conditions have been horrible, and have taken their toll on Michael. But yet, here he has been - working like a dog and being treated like one - daily! And it hasn't been that Michael was content to stay in this environment! On the contrary, he has been looking, sending out his resume, and interviewing - for more than 2 years! But, nothing ever went past an interview. No offers were ever made, no doors ever opened.

It has been not only disheartening for him, but very tough on the family. Seeing Michael come home day after day from a job that he hates, working for a man that deserves no respect, yet trying to trust in God, depending on Him daily to give Michael the strength to persevere - another true test of our faith. We have been praying for years for God to open a door, any door, that would allow Michael to leave the company. There have been several instances when things have been so bad, I've half-way expected Michael to announce that he had quit! It has been a constant battle, but we've really tried to "stay the course", trusting in God that He knows best. It has been our hearts cry to know the "why" - why is he still there? Why hasn't he found another job? Why do we keep hitting dead-ends? Why???

Last Tuesday, Michael received a phone call regarding a position at a large, International firm with offices here in the Houston area. The head-hunter wanted to set-up an interview for him, so they scheduled something for Friday morning. Michael went to the 2 hour interview, met with 3 gentlemen, then came home feeling like things went well, but not overly-hopeful like he had been with other positions. Not wanting to get our hopes up again, we've prayed, and have continued to pray throughout the weekend and yesterday, but not holding our breath that we'd hear anything soon, since that has been the norm.

This afternoon, Michael received a phone call from the head-hunter...they were offering him a position as an Oracle DBA, beginning as soon as he could! Hallelujah!!!! An answered prayer, at last!!!! Michael has, of course, accepted the position, but we are waiting for a few details to be ironed out, but assuming it all goes as we expect it should, he plans to give notice at his current job on Friday.

So, after 2 long years of praying & waiting, then praying & waiting some more, God has finally answered our prayers with a spectacular job, in the exact area of the IT industry Michael wanted! My mantra for the last 2 years has been "We only want what God wants, and He only wants the best for us!" I have firmly believed this from the beginning, but the waiting has been sheer torture. Watching my husband go to a job that he sincerely hated, where he was under appreciated and under valued, and where he was berated and belittled on a daily basis has been a horrendous experience. I have spent allot of time questioning God, and then reminding Him that He really needed to step-up on Michael's behalf. I've begged Him to please open a door or a window, to just give Michael anything that might get him out of this horrible working environment, but God didn't respond. He didn't respond in my timing, with the desired responses that I thought He should. So, I've been frustrated, sad, and yes, angry that Michael has been stuck.

Tonight while working on dinner and chatting about his new job, a light bulb suddenly clicked on in my mind. Something that Michael had said several times since Friday didn't really register until that moment. It was the timing aspect that I've been questioning God about. You see, within this company (the new one), they've recently gone through some reorganizing. A new CIO was hired; he didn't fire anyone, but created some new positions, specifically the position that Michael will be filling. So, before this job could be offered to Michael, this company had to go through their reorganization, hiring a new CIO who would, eventually, create the position that Michael would eventually interview for.

It truly was a timing issue...the cart couldn't get before the horse! Maybe God was paying attention and knew what He was doing after all. Maybe I will eventually learn to trust & rest in The One that cares for us and knows what is best for us. Maybe...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Change in Profession, Perhaps???

I like to keep my options open. And really, I don't think there are many of us that would argue that point too much, right? But this particular profession didn't even land at the bottom of my list! I mean, really...me...a mechanic? A mechanic's daughter yes, but an actual, bona fide mechanic? I think not. But, that's exactly what hat I ended up wearing today.

My van has been broken, very broken, for the last 2 weeks. Michael & I figured it was the battery, since we could jump-start it and drive around...for a few minutes anyway. After about 10 or so minutes, the engine would start skipping, the dash lights would go haywire, and the gauges on the dash would all drop to nothing, like the car had been turned off. And, every now & then, it would just die. But still, we figured it was just a bad battery. Never-the-less, I wasn't willing to risk getting stuck out on the road with 3 kiddos, so we've been home-bound for 2 full weeks - fun stuff!

Anyway, we still figured it was the battery, until last Tuesday when we were told differently. We managed to gimp the car to the auto parts shop where they ran a quick test...it was the alternator, not the battery. Ok, fine, so we'll buy an alternator. But, do you think an alternator is the same price as a battery? Heck no!!! An alternator is about double the cost of a battery!! But, we were assured by the auto parts guy, our mechanic, and my father (the mechanic) that it would be easy to replace, and much cheaper than the $300+ quote we received from our regular mechanic. So we figured we'd give it a shot.

Cheaper, sort of. Easier? Um, yeah, not so much!!!!

Ok, keep in mind that my hubby is tech-savvy, not car engine-savvy! And, I'm a girly girl that can change a tire, check my oil and put gas into my car...that's it! Replacing the alternator turned out to be a total pain the rear, very difficult to get to then to get out of the engine (took more than 2 hours!), and even harder to install!!! Not only did Michael get totally frustrated to the point of throwing in the towel (and maybe a few other things while he was at it!) then figure out he was turning the screw in the wrong direction (thus figuring out the problem), but he later ended up drafting me to crawl inside of the engine to help get the belt put back in the right place...well, almost crawl into the engine, but if it counts for anything, I had grease all the way up to my elbows...and was all sweaty! EWWWWW!!!!

Anyway, we have both decided that from now on, we will pay to have any & all car repairs done on our vehicles, no matter how much money we could save by doing it ourselves...we are not do-it-yourselfers!!! And I will definitely not be crawling into anymore engines in this lifetime :)

Somehow we managed to get the car put back together, having to ALSO replace the battery that turned out to be bad too, and to stay married. It was a true test of "for better or for worse". If you can repair a car with your significant other, you can do almost anything, I'm completely convinced of it after today!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just for fun




You Are a Cappuccino



You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.

However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.

You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.

You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tales from the Potty

Ok, first let me explain exactly why things happened the way they did.

Because we live in a 2 story house, I figured that bringing Ian's potty downstairs would be much easier than our racing upstairs each & every time he had to use it. But, I also wanted to not have said potty sitting on the carpet, so I put it in the most reasonable, tiled area in the house - the kitchen. In both cases, it was a smart decision on my part.

Now, the tale...

Ian was 4 for 8 today - not too bad for a first-timer. I have to admit that after the 3rd accident on the carpet, I was beginning to wonder if I'd made a mistake and was pushing too hard. But, when he finally (and I do mean finally) used the potty (and by used, I mean dripped accidentally into it), and the potty yelled "Hooray, you went potty!", I was beginning to feel like maybe he would eventually get the hang of this going potty thing if I could just stick it out for the day. And, I was right! The 2nd time the potty yelled "Hooray!", he looked up, smiled his little mischievous grin and let it rip - the boy almost filled up the bowl! At that moment, he & I started laughing in unison, and then began dancing around and high-fiving each other. We were a sight, I'm sure - him with absolutely no clothing on, and me spinning around with his naked self in my arms, smiling broadly.

The sticker chart worked like a charm - he loved picking out 1 smaller one for pee and 1 large one for the poop...oh yes, the poop. Hold onto your hats because that's the tale I wanted to share.

While eating dinner, Ian was the first to be 'finished', so we allowed him to dismiss himself from the table before the rest of us. But, I reminded him that he needed to sit down on his potty since he'd just eaten to see if he needed to go pee pee or poop. He immediately informed me that he needed to do both, and promptly dropped his drawers right there in the middle of the breakfast room - which is where his potty was so it made sense. So, while he sat making funny noises and laughing at himself, Michael proceeded with the conversation he had started earlier. Then the potty yelled, and Michael got a puzzled look on his face - he didn't know the potty spoke and could sense being filled. So, we all made a big deal about Ian again using the potty and keeping Thomas clean & dry, he picked out his sticker and put it on his chart, then we all went back about our business. But Ian then informed us that we were celebrating prematurely - he still needed to poop. So, I told him to just sit there to see if it would 'come out' - and you have to excuse the graphic details here, but they are important. Anyway, Michael started his story again, then abruptly stopped when Ian grunted loudly (and I do mean loudly) and said "Its stuck!". I giggled and told him to keep sitting and it would eventually come out, then turned my attention back to Michael who just sat there smirking about the whole situation. After another minute or so, Ian told me that he couldn't go and was done, so I told him to pull up his underwear and we would try again in a bit. When he stood up, I could tell that he had pooped and told him to quickly sit back down while I went to get the wipes. He was shocked and immediately turned around and checked his potty. While I was gone fetching the wipes, it was then that he yelled, "Look daddy! I pooped a bone!!!" When I returned with the wipe box, Michael simply looked at me and said "I think I'm gonna be sick", followed by "does it have to be here next to the table?"

And there you have it - tales from the potty, located in our breakfast room, right next to the kitchen table. Some things are just necessary, right?

Aren't you glad you kept reading :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Becoming a Big Boy

Since today was the official last day of school for Alex, I am officially on-the-clock as a stay at home mommy - no more galavanting for me! I tend to try to stick closer to home when all 3 kiddos are in my care, so I figured this would be the perfect time to begin potty training!
This evening I took Ian to buy himself a new potty, which he promises to use beginning tomorrow. He picked it out himself and insisted on carrying it to the register (while sitting in the cart holding it in his lap since the box was almost as big as he is!)
We also purchase some new big boy underwear - Thomas the Tank Engine, of course!

And we purchased stickers to use on one of many FREE potty training charts I discovered online this evening.

And, when all else fails, I'm armed with lots of bleach and laundry detergent :)

And so begins my official summer vacation!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

13 & Counting

Today, I celebrate 13 years of marriage to a wonderful man. I truly believe that God brought us together, then saw fit to bless us with 3 beautiful, healthy kiddos! And I know that God has a huge sense of humor when it comes to putting 2 different personalities together and expecting them to live in love & harmony.

Do you know why I would think this?

Because only Michael & I could find the humor in celebrating our 13th anniversary by eating, with our children, under the Golden Arches :) Me, the person that absolutely hated McD's and grimaced every time he took me there during our dating years - the things we do for love, right? Him, the man that always threatened to take me there for a special occasion, adding a table cloth & candles to make the venue a bit more romantic, but not breaking the bank or budget.

Well honey, you forgot the table cloth & candles, but I always knew you were a man of your word...I couldn't have asked for a better anniversary meal with the one man I love, and 3 children that steal my heart each & every day. OK, well maybe I could have, but it was special and fun, and oh so us!

I love you!! Happy 13th Anniversary to the love of my life!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just Hangin' Around

Ok, so Tuesday is my day to be gone - I work away from the house on Tuesdays while Michael stays home and plays Mr. Mom to Ian when Grandma doesn't take him for the afternoon. It really is too bad that Grandma didn't take him today. The poor boy almost lost his head! But, let me explain the events that led to this almost-decapitation:

Today was a slower day for me, only working for a whole 1 1/2 hours this morning. So, because I left 'the office' a little earlier than planned, Michael & I decided to go have lunch, with Ian in tow. We made a visit to one of our favorite burger joints, had a pleasant lunch, then picked up Morgann from her 2nd-to-last-day of preschool and headed home. The plan was that I would drop my little three-some off, then head out to spend a few hours browsing a little homeschool store I discovered last weekend. At the suggestion of my friend Cori, I had decided to take Alex with me to browse around too, so I hurried out the door and grabbed him from school right before boarding the bus. So while Alex & I shopped unworried about the rest of the crew, Michael stayed home with Ian & Morgann - and the neighbors 4 kiddos who decided to come over to play for a while.

Now I've only heard this 2nd & 3rd hand, but this is how it was presented to me...

As soon as Alex & I returned home from our fun afternoon together, I was greeted by one "Hi Mommy!" and one very loud, wailing, "Mommy, my head got stuuuuuuck!" - sniff, sniff, sniff. You can imagine my (1) concern and (2) curiosity as to how such a thing might have occurred, so I pressed for details - from my crying 3 year old. The best I could understand...his head got stuck in his brother's bunk bed. So I pressed further..."Sweetie, how did you get your head stuck?" His response was garbled, but the gist was "It got stuck like this, and it huut wiwwy baaaaaad!" (it was at this juncture that he made a gesture that led me to believe that he had hung himself - sideways).

Ok, so now I'm really puzzled! "Honey, why don't you show mommy where your head got stuck". The response was classic, "Wite heuh mommy" (pointing directly at his neck). Well duh!

Ok, let me try again! "No, show me where on Alex's bed your head got stuck". At this, Ian jumped up from the couch, grabbed my hand and dragged me up the stairs as quickly as his little legs would take him. When we entered Alex's room, Ian ran to the side and pointed - directly to the space between the top bunk - and the wall! About a 6 inch opening, by the way.

It was later when I pointed out the huge scratches and bruise on the side of Ian's head to Michael that he says, matter of factly, "Oh yeah! Ian got himself stuck between the wall and the top bunk. His head was turned sideways and he was just dangling there. I had a hard time figuring out how he managed to get there, either by climbing up or falling down, so I just got underneath him and shoved him back up. He was really freaking out!"

Um, ya think????

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rest?!?!

Hope your Sunday was a good one! Us? We moved our office (2 desks plus the paraphanalia that goes with them, 4 drawer filing cabinet, 2 chairs, 2 printers, cables, 4 computers, etc.) upstairs into the old playroom, then moved the sectional sofa/hide-a-bed combo downstairs - ok, so Michael's dad came over last night and help Michael get the sofa downstairs, but I had to help move it around the room while we finished moving the office up! Then we arranged it all to look presentable :) We are what you might call "POOPED"!!!

So much for "on the 7th day they rested"!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Prove It!

Any parent knows that if a child says that he/she wants a piece of candy, you will be hard-pressed to get them to admit that they didn't really want candy, but instead wanted a juicy piece of grapefruit. But, that's exactly what I tried to do to Alex just a week ago (ok 9 days, but whatever!).

When Alex asked me to consider homeschooling him next year, he literally pulled the rug out from underneath me. You see, I had plans for next year; both Morgann & Alex would be at school Monday through Friday, from 8:15AM to 4PM (which includes a bus ride), and Ian would begin preschool on Tuesday & Thursday. This would leave me 2 glorious days all to myself, and I was going to relish each and every second. Me, all by myself, with no diapers to change, lunches to fix, or fights to stop. These were my plans and I was determined that I would have my ME time, at all costs!

But, the more I tried to walk away from his request, the more I have found myself buried in homeschooling websites, curriculums and, yes, school supplies! I have been focused on just one thing...helping my son to finish his 2nd grade year with the best scores he can possibly get, just so that we can get to the summer and begin preparing to...wait for it....homeschool for 3rd grade!

What a difference a week can make!

Just 10 days ago, I was relishing the thought of having 2 glorious days, all to myself, with no children to deal with. And now I cannot wait to begin studying the 3rd grade - again! I have become a mommy possessed - and we all know what a danger she can be! Everything I do leads me to wonder if this or that might be a good way to teach Alex this lesson or that lesson. I have spent 4 sleepless nights, tossing & turning while visions of textbooks, world maps, and planning charts dance through my head. I have found myself at ever turn talking about the newest homeschool website I found, or the coolest chore chart site ever! I think Michael might be ready to wring my neck. Even now, while sitting in bed with my laptop on my lap (imagine that, ha!), this is the only thing I can blog about. It has literally consumed me to the point of making me crazy - and very, very tired!

Is this what happens when God finally gets through to you???

Nope, this is.

During my initial "Is this the right move?" period, I had sent an email to my MOPS group inquiring as to whether there might be any MOPS moms that had any experience with homeschooling - either currently or in the past. I was floored by all of the response - mostly from moms that had only considered it and were passing along their research and websites to me, but I did get a few mommies that had actually shouldered the responsibility of teaching their own children at one time or another. But it was one email in particular that really grabbed my attention. It was from a former member of our group that I have never met. It just so happens that she is a teacher for a local, nearby school district. Of course, she had many concerns about homeschooling children, primarily because all of her experience dealt with kiddos that had been homeschooled, but then returned to public school, only to be lagging behind in almost every area of their education. Yes, it was her email that caught my attention. This is my biggest fear...that I not teach my son well enough to return to school in a year or 2 on-level or even ahead of his peers. So, why did this one email catch my attention?

It was because over the course of emailing back & forth regarding the "Why am I thinking about homeschooling?" issue that she offered me some logical and useful suggestions. If Alex is asking to be homeschooled because "being by himself allows him to work undistracted", then why not just ask his teacher to remove the distractions? Why not ask her to give him some private space of his own? Why not? Well, because it hadn't crossed my mind, that's why not!

And you know what? That's exactly what I did yesterday morning. Alex had spent the better part of his weekend and Monday night studying for a math test. We were both worried because he's really struggled through this last 6 weeks, and this test would determine whether he passed or failed his final 6 weeks in this subject. It was crucial that he do well. So, knowing the distraction issues he has dealt with throughout the past year, I decided to simply ask his teacher to help him succeed. "What a novel concept", I thought! And, so I asked. I asked her to move him to a quieter area where he could focus on nothing else but his test. And, she did!

When he came home with a huge smile on his face, I knew good news was coming. Not only did my child, the one that struggles to complete 3 math problems in 25 minutes, finish his test. He finished FIRST. And he passed with an 85!!! This was huge news and we could do nothing else but hug, smile and high-five each other. So, guess what I did. I asked her to do the same thing for his Social Studies test today. He passed with a 100, and was again the first to complete his work.

You know what this proves? My child needs a little piece of quiet where he can focus and study and do well. And, yes, this proves that the school can accommodate this special request without much fanfare. But, you know what else this proves? It proves that my child knew exactly what he needed to succeed. And no matter how much talking I did to the contrary, he was right!

So, you ask, "Why not send him to school with the understanding that his teacher send him off to a quieter area during tests?"

My answer is simple. I don't want Alex to feel singled out every time there is a test. And, for that matter, the problem doesn't lie in the fact that the concentration issues only exist during tests. It's a daily struggle for him. I don't want him to be sent away to a solitary place so that he can succeed. I want to encourage him to focus & learn because HE CAN. Because he is smarter than a whip and can do anything he puts his mind to. And, I want to be there, by his side for at least a year, to teach him what it means to study and focus. I want to hold his hand as he learns new studying techniques. I want him to gain critical skills that he isn't getting from the school, but that I know God will equip me to teach.

I want to prove to him that he can do all things, through Christ, who strengthens him! (Phil. 4:13) - thanks mom :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

An Unexpected Journey

Ok, so have you heard the one about a kid that asks - or actually begs - his mother to home school him next year? Yeah, that's what happened in our house last Tuesday night. So, like any good mother would do, I squelched that little request without batting an eye. But, then it came at me again! So, I made home schooling sound worse than going to jail - staying home with me, all day, every day, while his friends go to school and play at recess without him; staying home with me all day with no friends to play with; staying home with me all day and not getting to play video games at every corner because he is bored; staying home with me every day...well, you get the point. It sounded awful to me, but the response I got was so totally unexpected that I was left speechless:

"But mom, if you were to home school me, I would be able to do my work without getting into trouble. If I was home working, it would be quiet and I wouldn't get distracted as easily. If you were to home school me, I would really love school again!"

And, so my search for knowledge and wisdom has begun.

Whether we decide to traverse down the unfamiliar road called Home Schooling, or we stick to our original plan of sending our kiddos to the local, very well recognized public school, or maybe even suck it up and find the funds to finance private education for a year, I am traversing a road that I had never expected to visit. All of my plans for the coming year - 2 days a week with absolutely no kiddos to worry with - 2 glorious days every single week! - have been tossed to the wind, and I am diving into unknown waters. I'm worried, and scared, and excited all at the same time.

I cannot wait to see where it is that God will lead us! All of us...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

6 Months Older than Me!

Today marks the point at which I can officially say that my sweet hubby is 6 months older than me!

May 1, 1972 - the date that my wonderful man was born.

Happy 36th Birthday My Love!!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Heavenly Thoughts

This is a piece of a conversation that Morgann & I had while driving the other day:

Morgann: Mom, is Jesus real?

Me: Yes sweetie. Jesus is very real. He was born, grew up, died on a cross for our sins, then rose from the dead and went to heaven to wait for us.

Morgann: Oh. He's in heaven with grammy?

Me: Yep, with grammy :)

Morgann: So, is there a bedtime in heaven?

Me: Nope. I don't think you have a bedtime there.

Morgann: So I can stay up as long as I want? I don't have to go to bed?

Me: Yes, you can stay up as long as you want.

Morgann: Cool, I want to go to heaven!

Me: Well you will if you have Jesus in your heart.

Morgann: Wait, are there in toys in heaven too? Because if there aren't any toys in heaven, then it will be super-boring and I don't want to go there.

Me: Yes sweetie. I'm sure there are toys in heaven.

Morgann: Cool! Then I'm definitely going to go there :)

I'm so thankful that she has her priorities in order!!! But, I guess in 5 year old, toys are a priority, huh?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Something New, Take 2

We are a family of squash dislikers! Michael can't choke it down to save his life and I simply don't like it - steamed, raw, mashed, or otherwise! This, of course, means that our children don't like it either. Not so much because they've actually ever tasted it (and maybe they have), but they just assume they don't like it because we don't. So, there you have it, the ground-work for another Try Something New Night!

Tonight was spaghetti night, but in an effort to improve our eating habits and diet in general, I decided to bake a spaghetti squash rather than our typical whole wheat pasta. When I was a child, I remember my mother doing this to us, then informing us only after we had completed our dinner that we had eaten squash, rather than pasta. And, since we all ate it without complaint, assuming that we were eating mushy pasta, mom was rather pleased with her sneaky self.

Well, it seems that I learned a thing or two about being sneaky from my mom. I did the exact same thing to my children this evening - only Michael knew what we were eating.


Ian was the first to finish his salad, so he was the first to inhale his main course. As you can see, he had no problems finishing every last bite.

Morgann followed suit, as did Alex. They all ate, without complaint or question! And, when we informed them that they had just eaten a spaghetti squash, they seemed less than phased by the fact. Alex said that he knew it wasn't 'normal spaghetti' but he liked whatever it was.

Granted, the squash was covered in sauce and cheese, but at least we avoided the carbs!

Two TSNN's for mommy :) I'm on a roll!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Seeing with New Perspective

So, this is Alex's new look - I think he looks great! I am amazed at how grown up he looks with his new glasses! He's been asking me for a week if the vision store had called to say they were in, and they finally did last night. He has been super-excited about getting glasses, so we'll see how long this new-found enthusiasm lasts - I give it a week or less!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Details

So, how did we end up with this little girl? Well, let me start by saying that it wasn't intentional or planned. It just sort of happened.

In a nutshell, she is a stray that a friend found. The friend brought her into the office where I was working yesterday and asked if we'd take her. I immediately said NO, but as you can see, that apparently meant nothing to him. After a day of discussions with him, then with Michael, the friend offered me $50 take her, which I could use for supplies or a vet bill. So, I called the vet who scheduled a 4PM appointment for us, and the rest is history.

She is a very healthy 2 pound kitten, we're guessing around 6-7 weeks old. Her only health issue was ear mites, easily treated by an irrigation by the vet, and 2 topical applications of a parasite preventative. Hopefully that will be her cure, and the mites won't suddenly spread to our other 2 animals.

But, she still has no name! Alex has suggested Lily, Morgann has offered Princess, and Ian is stuck on Coco. I've been pressing to find another home for her so that they can name her, but I'm outnumbered by everyone! So, I'm taking Katrina up on her suggestion!

I'm going to see if someone can make a name suggestion that my family will all agree on. There will be no prizes awarded, but you will have the satisfaction of naming a sweet little kitty, and, in turn, becoming an owner-by-proxy :)

Let the game begin!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yeah! We have a problem...

...and she weighs 2 pounds and has no name!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Something New

Human nature is an amazing thing. Our instincts tell us to be cautious when something dangerous is about to occur. When something fun & exciting happens, we have an adrenaline rush. We tend to dig our heels in when we are being forced to make an unexpected change. And, when it comes to trying new things, well, you can probably guess where this post is headed!

Wednesday night is our newly appointed "Try Something New Night" at the dinner table. I have become very bored & tired of the same old thing, week after week, and have decided that it is now time to force the family to break out of our safe but hum-drum menu choices. My oldest, Alex, is the absolute worst when it comes to trying new foods - he's my super-picky child and if something even looks a little different (even if its the same old spaghetti or Gold Fish Cracker Chicken), he will inevitably turn his nose up and begin with the "What is this?" and "What is that?" rigamarole. So, "Try Something New Night" was created specifically with him in mind.

Tonight's dinner? Fish, sushi, shrimp cocktails and fruit (grapes, apples, strawberries, and kiwi). A really easy, but really healthy and light meal. And just as I expected, as soon as we sat down to dinner, the nose turned up and his mouth began to form the words that I have become so accustomed to. But, before he could utter a single sylable, I stopped him dead in his tracks and explained the rules of our new tradition.

1. You may not say that you don't like something! If you haven't ever tasted it, then you don't know if you do or don't like it, do you?
2. You must try at least one new thing. If you've never tasted it, then that qualifies as your new thing.
3. If, after tasting it, you truly do not like it, you are finished with it and do not have to consume the entire thing. But, if you do like it, then I would recommend eating it and smiling your approval to me :)
4. But, when all else fails, DO NOT say that you don't like something until it has been tasted.

I felt these rules were pretty straight forward and easy to understand and follow! But, with his nose still turned up, he began asking what various items were. I explained what was in the sushi rolls (crab, rice and "other stuff"), told him that the kiwi was a small fruit from New Zealand and is super-delicious, and then explained how to eat a shrimp with the tail still on it. I then served up our fish and allowed everyone to peruse the other items on the table, allowing them to choose their 1 new item to taste.

Morgann went straight to the kiwi and scarfed it down - she is my fruit girl, so this didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was that she so quickly grabbed her piece and ate it without uttering a single word. This, the child that threw a hissy fit in the middle of the produce department this morning because I was buying "that icky stuff that is nasty and gross". Surprise! She loved it and proceeded to eat 3 more pieces before I stopped her and reminded her that she still had fish on her plate to consume, and that there were other people sitting at the table that might want a piece too. So, she took a quick bite of her fish, then proceeded to try a sushi roll, then a shrimp! She was obviously in a daring mood this evening.

Another surprise was that Michael said that he didn't think he had ever tried fresh kiwi before, so he was the next to eat and smile.

Two for 5!

At this point, I looked at Alex who was still sitting there with a turned-up nose, not saying anything, but looking at me with pleading eyes, as if to say "Mom, why are you torturing me? What did I do to deserve this?" But already knowing the answer he would give, I asked, "So, what is your choice?", to which he responded with a sigh, "I'm still thinking".

So, rather than to continue to press the issue, I decided to sit & enjoy my plate-full of yummy food (since I chose & cooked it, there was nothing new on the table that I had to try - I liked it all!). Michael, who was inhaling his dinner (not eating lunch will do that to a person), decided to work on Alex by making some suggestions. He began with cutting a very small piece of shrimp and handing it to Alex. He told him that he would probably like it if he would just get passed himself and taste it. Not surprisingly though, his nose remained in the turned-up position and his pleading eyes and whiny voice told Michael that the piece was indeed too big, asking him to cut it a bit smaller. So, he did, then handed it back to Alex.

With much fear and trembling (literally), he took the piece, slowly placed it into his mouth, and chewed. The result? A smile!

My child, the one that never tries anything, cries when you even suggest that he try something, and insisted with every fiber of his being that he wouldn't like the shrimp, liked the shrimp! He ate several more pieces in between eating his fish, and even went so far as to try to coax his sister into eating another piece (she had tried one earlier, right after taking a bite of the sushi roll, but decided that she wasn't a shrimp fan).

So, my oldest son tried something new, liked it, and didn't die!

It was a truly satisfying night. I am praying that this tradition will force him to broaden his horizons and will teach him to be a bit more daring, rather than always so safe & cautious. Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind, you know?