Saturday, December 17, 2011

Select-a-Frustration

I'm doing some holiday baking today which means my kitchen is a mess and also that I don't care because the whole house smells like pie. While I was doing this baking burned through the paper towel roll in the kitchen. I replaced it, went to grab one, and pulled off only half a sheet. This means that I have once again accidentally bought the select-a-size paper towels. I hate these. Who needs half a paper towel? (that's rhetorical because at this moment, I really don't care)
This situation calls for a carefully worded complaint letter!
Here is the exact wording of the email from me that someone at P&G is going to read:

I'd like to suggest that you make your select-a-size labels a little more obvious. I know there are probably houses in America that only make half a mess at a time, but mine is just not one of those houses. Sadly, having this type of house tends to make one distracted a lot, especially when shopping. I can not count the number of times I have gone to grab one of your wonderfully absorbent paper towels only to pull off half a sheet and get that feeling of dread knowing that for the next month (I buy in bulk) I will be groaning in frustration every time I reach for a paper towel. The little blue strip and circle are just not cutting it for me. I need a big red bold print warning label. Flashing lights or a special code so that the clerk asks if I’m sure I want select-a-size would be great, but that might be asking too much. For now, I'll settle for a larger logo.

Thanks!
It has been my experience that P&G is very open to costumer ideas. With any luck we will all be seeing Bounty labels with neon colors and flashing lights in the stores before next year's Christmas baking season.
By the way, if any of my friends out there are only half messy, I'd be willing to work out a trade. I have 15 rolls of aggravation left.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In the Short Run

On the way to church this week, Rocky started commenting on a sticker on the car in front of us. It was one of the 13.1 stickers you get if you run a half marathon. Items with that logo have been popping up everywhere lately. Rocky felt that they were kind of obnoxious, to which I, being a loving wife said, "That is only because neither of us can run even half that." This is the moment the light bulb went off  and lead to me making my own Zazzle store called Rixie Designs.
You know how these days everyone gets a trophy? (I'll skip over how that practice has lead to the "occupy" movement) Well, shouldn't we all get a sticker? After my recent failed attempt to take up running, I found myself envying those who could run through a whole 5k as well as people who earn the 13.1 stickers. Then I got to thinking that I am probably not alone in this. In fact, I bet that close to 99% of people (outside of Kenya) will never run a marathon. Why should the 1% get all the cool stickers?

Before you take me too seriously or think I'm knocking runners, I want to assure you that I am mostly poking fun at myself and my inability to jog.
I only make 10% on sales here, so it's not exactly a money maker idea, but it made me laugh and it was something that I thought should be out there.
I added text to the coffee mug that says, "I only run for coffee" (I may change it to say "I only go on coffee runs") and the back of the shirt design says, "If I'm running then something is chasing me and you should probably try to keep up".
I have a new line that will be posting soon for those of you who want one of those cool initial destination sticker, but are slightly agoraphobic.
"Home Sweet Home"

Normally I don't post anything worth saying this on, but since I'm putting this in a real shop this time, I'm asking everyone to please not take my idea. Email me if you want to use the design. There is a good chance I'll say yes and even help you out. Just ask first.  

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Distraction Crafting

I have too much to do so, naturally, I fix this by adding random, pointless craft projects to the list. It is actually not as crazy as it sounds. Quick and easy projects are a big stress reliever for me. Like many, many others, I have gotten sucked into Pinterest (shoot me a message if you want an invite). There are tons of great ideas on that site. These are a couple I've tried out.
This is my first fabric flower. I made it with scraps I had around. I had a little too much fun burning the fabric. Here is a link to the how-to. I can't wait to make one out of something other than what is rolling around the bottom of my craft drawer.

This is my second flower. I'm really excited about it because it turned out perfect on the first try. I did buy some jersey fabric to try this out, but only 1/4 of a yard, and that will make several more. Here is the link to this how-to. It is from the same site as the other flower. She has several easy and cute craft projects on her site.
I've started a board on my pinterest account just for things I've made (a couple of things from my dad). If you want to follow me there, I go by Rixie Dotson there.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Little Too Clean

Several months ago, we had a bee in the house. I keep hearing stories begging people not to kill bees if at all possible. This bee was making it very hard. We used the vacuum to suck him up. There is an old joke about nothing being able to live in a vacuum (an old nerdy joke), but bees haven't heard that before and so the little guy was buzzing around inside. We were afraid he might be mad, so we took the whole thing outside, opened it up, and ran. Ten minutes later. There was a crack of thunder and a sudden downpour with the vacuum still on the patio. We got it in the garage, took apart the pieces that could be taken apart, and let it dry. I was shocked to see it still worked, but the smell coming out of it was awful. I set about disinfecting and replacing filters. Unfortunately, the only replacement filter we could find was a Febreeze filter. If you have ever been to my home then you know I aim for a smell free house. Scents bother all of us. I get a headache, Rocky starts to wheeze, and the kids just complain a lot. The only thing you will regularly smell in my house is food cooking.
I bring this story up because I had to vacuum today and now my head is killing me. I know to a normal person would love to deodorize a room while they vacuumed, but not me.
Just further proof that house work can in fact kill you.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Just Enough Rope

If you are a Facebook friend, then you probably already know what kind of week we've had. For others, I'll catch you up quickly. This week my daughter got tangled up in a jump rope in PE and then this happened
It is a severe sprain in her ligament which caused two chips in her bone. She can no longer dance in The Nutcracker this year, which has been a source of more pain than the break itself. She is handling the disappointment fairly well and has agreed to be a stagehand. Meanwhile, the rest of us are still in the cast. Now JD will be the family star as he plays Fritz.
Speaking of JD, last week he left two of his favorite stuffed puppies at my parent's house. Brownie and SeƱior Bunny Ears, are having a great time without him according to this picture that my dad made.
They had a little snow, so my mother made the puppies matching plaid blanket coats and my dad helped them build a snowman. I think I'm going to have to frame this for JD's room.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The 840 Adventure

First of all, let me start by saying that driving from West Tennessee to North Georgia on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is a giant pain, especially when it rains the entire trip. It took 9 hours instead of 6. Someone asked me what time we got home and I replied, "I don't know, I just know it was really late." Then Rocky pointed out that we were home by 7, it only felt like 2 in the morning.
The one high point of the trip was that we decided to take the unfinished I-840 loop instead of driving through Nashville (smartest thing we did all day). They have only been building this road since we moved to GA 10 years ago, and it still isn't done, but I digress. The day before, my aunt and uncle had done a test run for us and sent back direction. This was extremely helpful because after 840 stops there are absolutely no directions pointing you to how to get back on. There aren't even hints of where to go. State highways are not marked, and good luck getting a data signal strong enough to get gps. This is probably why there wasn't another car in sight for miles.
When we first started thinking of taking this path I looked it up on Google maps. It looked like a large stretch of the road was newly completed, which would make the drive a piece of cake. It was going to be 2 or 3 turns on major roads. What Google doesn't tell you is that although the road is complete, the exits are not, and they will dump you in the middle of nowhere with no warning.
It took use exactly 1 hour to go from one side to the other. This means we loss no time and didn't have to drive through Nashville in the rain (win!). We also got to drive through the extremely cute town of Leiper's Fork where a bunch of the country music folks live (and live very well, I might add).
The drive was pretty, it was different scenery, and we got to see the castle, which always makes me smile. Who builds a castle in the middle of Tennessee? You may recognize it from the Taylor Swift video "Love Story" (they still make music videos? huh).

Anyway, to sum up, interstate traffic, bad; bypass, need directions but good; music videos, still made

*additional info
here is the video, and the castle is in there a good bit. It's a cute song, but I can't help but wonder if she has ever read Romeo and Juliet or The Scarlet Letter (I do not think it means what she thinks it means).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Harsh Words For Black Friday

Fair warning, I'm not a fan of what Black Friday has become. If you are of the opinion that it is good fun and great deals then you may want to stop reading now.
I've worked retail during Thanksgiving and actually enjoyed the crazy pace of the day after, but that was before the early openings and lines around the building. I understand the history of the day. It is, or was, the kick off to the Christmas shopping season. It marked the day that retailers started turning a profit for the year (hence the "black"), but you probably already knew this.
I feel like they are sucking all of the fun out of Thanksgiving, and even stealing joy from Christmas. When you go into the stores right now you will not see Thanksgiving decoration unless they are in the clearance section. I really think that if our country wasn't so attached to the food we eat on Thursday then there would be a bigger push to start sales then. After all, it isn't very politically correct to stop in the middle of the week and be thankful to God for the blessings of the year, but frying a turkey and opening a can of gelled cranberries is sacred in the U.S.
A few years ago I did wake up early to see what I was missing. We drove past Best Buy and saw people in a line wrapped around the building. There were hundreds of people waiting for something the store had maybe 6 of. We went into Walmart where there were even more people waiting with police guards standing buy. The clerks had a palette with the cheap giant t.v.s stacked up waiting to be grabbed. They were standing on the counters so that they wouldn't get run down when the sale started. The frenzy and mood of the crowd was frightening. I was glad I was standing back and not there for any of the special items.
There is no Christmas cheer in this bunch. It brings out the worst in people and greed rules the day instead of grace. The stories of theft, violence, and just plain meanness makes me sad. I miss it being a fun day where part of the family watched football and the others went out on a nice shopping trip. I may go out on Black Friday, but it won't be before lunch. I will not be playing the game no matter what unbelievable deal is in the paper Thursday. No amount of discount is worth that scene to me.
I tend to get a little irritated thinking about the number of people standing in line for hours in the cold on a holiday, knowing that most of these people won't stand in line for ten minutes, inside, in order to vote. I suppose we could offer people a chance to buy a computer or television for $100 at the polls, but then again maybe it's best that not everyone votes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not My Family

It has been a while since I have fired off a good complaint letter. I hardly ever get a reply that isn't a form letter, but it makes me feel better to say my peace.
Today's "hate" mail is due to the advertising shown during ABC Family's Harry Potter Weekend. In all fairness, some commercials come from your cable or sat. provider and my not be their fault, but given their track record, I thought a reminder of the "family"part of their channel was overdue regardless.
Here is what I sent:

"I'm not entirely sure you are to blame for this issue, but I want to cover my bases. It is in regards to advertising aired.
My family and I were enjoying your Harry Potter weekend right up until a semi pornographic commercial aired for Lifetime Movie Network. It turned our nice Sunday afternoon into a sex-ed class for our 7 year old. I know that my definition of "family" often varies from yours, but it never occurred to me that I'd have to worry about that during Harry Potter.
I own the Harry Potter movies and can easily watch them in my DVD player instead of on your channel. If the advertising continues to be R rated I will be forced to block you just like I block LMN.
In short, I'm recommending more Crayola and less under garments, more Nintendo and less casual sex, more family and less making babies."
I'm actually looking forward to the day when televisions customize your advertising like Facebook does. I know a lot of people see it as an invasion of privacy to have your trends tracked, but I rather enjoy seeing less ads for things I don't need. I also like to mess with it by occasionally posting things like "monkey herding" just to see what the computers come up with for me.
Wouldn't it be great if ABC Family had to change their name due to truth in advertising? But then what would they be? "ABC marketed to teenagers but horribly inappropriate and actually watched by middle aged housewives" is just too long.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LL Cool JD

Did you know that LL Cool J actually stands for "Ladies Love Cool James"? I bring this up because of my title. My 7 year old son has more game than most guys who are 27, and I'm not exactly sure how it happened. Girls get all giggly around him. I'm not just talking about little girls his age either. Young, old, and in between, he has them all enchanted. My mom suggested I could write a book entitled "Raising Prince Charming". She might be on to something.
This week he has a 7 year old stalker of sorts. She realized where we live while trick or treating Halloween. Then we ran into her at a restaurant. This week she gave JD her number and told him to call to arrange a play date. (not on my watch!) What tickled me most was that JD doesn't have a clue that this little girl is after him. Her giggling, blushing, and batting eyelashes say otherwise.
I've been trying to figure out what he has that is so different, and a few things have popped out at me.
1. He has an older sister which means he isn't afraid to talk to girls, knows what girls are interested in, and has an insight some men never get
2. Rocky is complimentary of me, and JD has picked this up. He knows when a woman is dressed up, and says so. He is quick to say, "You look nice today" or that he likes your new hairstyle. As he gets older, he is also good about not saying what he doesn't like.
3. He has a great sense of humor. I know people don't usually mean it when they say they look for a sense of humor first, but even if it isn't first on the list, it is still on the list. He isn't a class clown type, or a joke a minute guy, he is just witty and quick and off the cuff funny.
4. He is adorable. Those big eyes and extra long dark eyelashes just melt your heart. I've had strangers stop me to comment on his eyelashes since he was born. I think they may have some sort of magical properties. I know I can't look him in the eye when he is in trouble. If I did, he'd never get punished.

We are going to have to work hard to teach him respect for women and restraint, or 10 years from now we are going to be in serious trouble. Let me just go ahead and apologize in advance to all of you out there with daughters who will one day be charmed by my prince. We are doing our best, but I can't help but think that hearts will be broken over those magic eyes of his.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Thankful in ALL things

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I Thessalonians 5:18

Last year I challenged my friends to be creative when listing the things they are thankful for in November. Here is the original post Randomly Thankful. It was a huge success from where I sat. Not only did it challenge me to find the smaller joys in life, it also helped me know my friends better, and find common links we didn't know we had.
Make no mistake, I am extremely thankful for the big things. My salvation through Christ, my husband and children, household employment is a big one this year, and the family and friends I have are an enormous blessing. I can not possibly be thankful enough for these things, but they are also the things I remember to be thankful for year round.
I wanted to explain this because from the surface, my Facebook status posts might seem trivial or mocking, but I am honestly searching my life for little things that come my way that I should be thankful for. When you see my posts you can be sure that no matter how silly it might seem, it is something that I have actually stopped my day to thank God for putting in my path.
When I read over the Bible verse at the top, something struck me. God never promises us that we will have a happy life, but He does wish for us to be happy with our life even when others can't see reason for it. It is the will of God that we find something to be thankful for no matter what is going on. Some days it is easy to find things, and others it might come down to being thankful that the day is over.
Once again, I am challenging myself (and you, if you'd like) to be thankful for something different. Something you don't usually take the time to realize as a blessing. If you are on Facebook, then use your status and spread the fun.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lesson From Running

As you may know, I have been trying the Couch to 5K running program. I have learned a lot about myself during this experience, and I thought I'd share.
1. I am very much out of shape and in bad need of some sort of exercise.
2. I know how to walk, I know how to run, I do not know how to jog. It is a weird gate at a weird pace for me.
3. I freckle quickly when I spend 30 minutes outside 3 times a week.
4. Everything in my town is up hill both going and coming. I don't know how it is possible, but it is true.
5. I'm a wimp when it comes to foot pain. My tendons flare, my summer foot injury throbs, and I had no idea the muscles in your foot could hurt.
6. 5k to Couch is a lot easier and takes days instead of weeks.
I stuck it out longer than I thought I would and although my group is still going, I think I am bowing out. I've had nasty sickness, house guests, work projects, travel plans, and a general case of "please don't make me". I really never found that spot where I didn't hate it and it didn't wipe me out. I just don't think it is my thing, but I am going to start looking for what my thing might be.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another year, another badge

Nix's middle school is doing a costume fundraiser again this year. This is always a problem. She can't wear her real Halloween costume to school, mainly because she uses a ballet recital dress and I don't want it ruined, but also because it wouldn't be very comfortable all day. I'm not buying a costume. Those things are expensive! So, we put on our thinking caps and come up with something creative that will work from what she already has.
Last year she was Lois Lane, and none of the kids knew who that was (I weep for the next generation). The good news is, all of the teachers knew and thought it was clever.
This year, we are going with a similar theme. She is going as Pepper Potts from Ironman (the movie, not the comic because Pepper was a little messed up in the comics). Since Nix is Still under 13, she hasn't seen Ironman yet, but she liked the idea.
Just like last year, I pieced together a graphic to make an ID badge. This time it is a Stark Industry employee badge. I found a couple of references online and then put my own little spin on it.

She'll be wearing a very professional looking dress and her hair pulled back into a bun to complete the look. I probably wouldn't send her door to door in it, but for a costume that didn't cost a dime, still meets dress code, and has a cool theme, I'm pleased.
On a side note, her real costume is Rapunzel from Tangled post haircut. She'll be handing out candy at the house using her frying pan as the candy bowl. JD is going out as a realistic Mario. He has overalls, a red shirt, white gloves, a mustache, and a great Mario hat. I'll post pictures up either here or Facebook after Halloween.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Late Night Laughs

This weekend we spent about 20 hours in the car. That is a lot of family togetherness, but the kids handled it surprisingly well. I think the excitement of getting to hold the newest member of the family (my new nephew) put us all in a haze of happiness. When we got home last night the haze started wearing off and the exhaustion set in. We put the kids to bed and had the most ridiculous conversation. I thought I'd let you in on a bit of it.

Me (speaking silly of someone from my childhood): She thought she was all that and a bag of chips, but I thought she was a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Remember when it was "a bag of cookies short of a Happy Meal"?
Rocky: Those were good cookies. Like animal cookies, but sweeter and shaped like Ronald McDonald's head
Me: What do we say now? "A few apple slices short" doesn't have the same ring.
Rocky: I miss those cookies
Somehow from there we digressed into talking about people who get tattoos in Hebrew or of a Chinese character, and how they'd likely never know if it was wrong. Then came the list of things it would be funny to substitute and how the people who originally spoke Hebrew believed a tattoo would send you to Hell. It is in Leviticus 19:28, which also topped our list of funny things to substitute. We tend to get just a wee bit twisted when we are exhausted.
Every minute we spent in the car was worth it, if for no other reason then to get this picture.

How adorable it this?! This is our next generation.
During the visit, we stayed at my parent's house. We were really only there long enough to sleep and eat breakfast each day. Before we left JD told my mom, "Thanks for letting us eat, sleep, and poop at your house." I couldn't have said it better myself. Well, I could have, but I was too busy shaking my head and trying not to laugh.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?

I had the great joy of renewing my driver's license today. As with most simple tasks I have, it turned into an experience. Somehow I managed to miss the memo that the local DMV had moved. There was a lovely sign on the door of the old place telling me that had move and even what street they were off of, but no address. I guess it is a good thing I have a phone. After a couple of calls with Rocky, we figured out that it is back behind the new city aquatic center, because nothing goes together like giant swimming pools and driver safety (?). This new building is shiny and huge (serious tax dollars sunk into this one). When you walk in, there are people sitting waiting with clipboards and numbers, but nothing to tell you how to get a clipboard or a number. After walking around for a minute like an idiot, I gave up and asked someone how they managed to get a number. My favorite answer to the many, many people I saw asking this question was, "You stand there in the front until someone gets good and ready to talk to you and they will give you a number."
After I got my golden ticket, I filled out my paperwork and watched as other confused people came in. There got to be a pretty long line of people waiting to wait. A smoker sat down near me followed by a man who was wearing a LOT of cologne (insert standard rant about perfume). Just as my eyes started to water, my number got called. While the nice lady typed up my information, I causally mentioned that they might  consider some sort of sign to let people know how the waiting for a number thing works. She said, "We aren't allowed to have a sign." This was not exactly the answer I was expecting. I had to enquire further. They had a sign, but it wasn't "department regulation" so they had to take it down. I love a good mystery. This one took me all of about 2 minutes to figure out.
Not long ago, there was a big promotion about shorter wait times at the DMV. They made a pretty big deal out of how quickly they moved people through there. When I got my number there was a time code on it so that there was a computer record of my wait time. Do you get it yet? The wait time clock doesn't start until you get a number. If they put a "Wait here" sign up, then they have to count that in their average wait time numbers. They have cut your wait time in half not by being more efficient, but by making you spend half your time there waiting to wait!
Anyone else looking forward to the brilliant minds behind this taking over our health care?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Getting Uncomfortable

If there is one thing I have learned about what being a Christian involves it is that God has no intention of letting us stay in our comfort zones. On the one hand, I feel myself wanting to cry out, "Why?", but then again, what fun would life be if we were never pushed out of our box from time to time?
I like hanging out in the back of the room, observing all that is going on, working where needed, and in general, being behind the scene. From time to time, God seems to delight in shoving me up front. I find myself with the thought,  "Someone should really do something about that.", and before I know it, I am the someone trying to do the doing that needs done.
I've spent most of this week out of my box. I may have accidentally offered to help start a special needs program at our church, I'm in a running group, and then today called for a trip to the dentist with the kids. When I walked into the dentist office (my least favorite place to be) I saw this sign:

What are the odds? This point has been following me around for days. I feel like I have the God equivalent of the grim on me. It is starting to make me a little paranoid. On the upside, it has done wonders for my prayer life.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Feeling Poetic

It doesn't happen often, but from time to time I feel the urge to write somewhat cheesy poetry. Nothing calls for a poem that painfully rhymes like the birth of a baby, and I have just been gifted with my very first nephew. The poem may be silly, but it is also kind of sweet. I really wish I could draw so I could turn it into a board book. You can write just about anything in board book form and as long as it rhymes and the drawings are cute, it is brilliant. Any way, here is my poem written in honor of the birth of my nephew born 9-10-11 in Beijing, China.

When you were born it was both day and night,
With us in the darkness and you in the light.
We waited for days, expecting you here,
But you could not be rushed, you just wouldn’t appear.
So, we paced and we prayed, and even lost sleep,
Waiting and watching for you to make that first little peep.
Into this world you came with a scream.
It was far better than any of us would dare dream.
Though miles of ocean and even more land
Kept us apart, my love was instantly grand.
I could not wait until my arms would hold,
This tiny person, who was more precious than gold.
That day was, without question, certainly faithful.
You made me an aunt, and I am eternally grateful.  

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Joy of Car Line

I've been going through old computer files and found something I wrote after a particularly bad day in the school car line. I started understanding how even the most even tempered person could get road rage. I thought I would post a couple of bits from it for fun.

At the beginning of the year the school gives you a magic claim check with a random number on it. It hangs on your rear view mirror and announces to the staff which child you are allowed to put in your car. Guard this with your life. Make sure there is one in every car you could possibly use to pick your child up. Laminate it, baby it, and treat it as gold. If you lose it you may never see your child again. Even if you child looks exactly like you and runs to your side saying,” Mommy! Mommy!” this is not enough. For safety purposes the school must assume that you and your husband entered into a nasty divorce that morning with him being awarded sole custody and you are now trying to kidnap your own children. It could happen. The only way to fix this problem is to bring with you 3 forms of ID, a DNA sample, and a notarized statement signed by your husband and a federal judge swearing that you do in fact have the legal right to claim your own child. If the colossal tragedy of losing the number card happens please do everyone in line behind you a favor and park your car and walk into the school to collect your child. It makes the line move so much faster and the strip search less embarrassing.

Later, I'll post tips on how to know when you should park your car and walk your child in.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Cancer Stinks!

Thanks to a sea of pink, you probably all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but cancer awareness season actually starts today with recognizing the worst of all cancers, that being the ones that attack children. It is also the month for ovarian and prostate cancer, just for the record, which is an interesting combination that I will not be addressing.
I'm sure there are cancers with lower survival rates and maybe even a few are more painful, but I still think cancers that attack our children are worse. Children are suppose to be innocent and not worry about anything more serious than when the next Phineas and Ferb will air. They should not have to worry about radiation, chemo, picc lines, death. As parents we are suppose to be able to protect our children from the things of the world that can hurt them. We shouldn't have to worry about more than them falling off the monkey bars and breaking an arm. We shouldn't have to worry about blood counts, transfusions, medical bills, tombstones. It is the ultimate in life not being fair.
The fact that cancer exsists in children should remind us all that we are never too young to have cancer. I am as bad as anyone. I have annual check ups once every 3 or 4 years. I think I have always had in the back of my mind that I'm too young to worry about it, but that is just a nice little comfortable lie I tell myself. I've got friends fighting a battle with cancer right now. If they aren't too young, then neither am I and neither is any adult reading this.
Know yourself, know your kids, and if that little voice in the back of your mind tells you something is off, get it checked out.
If you find yourself with a little extra money to donate this month, please consider The Aflac Children's Cancer Center in Atlanta or Saint Jude in Memphis. Just in our lifetime, these two places have made unbelievable strides in curing childhood cancers and blood disorders. I have more than one friend that owes their life to these hospitals.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Logically Faithful

Because there are some people who profess to be Christians running for President, it has thrown creationism into the spotlight again. I understand that there is a whole segment of the population who thinks that no intelligent person could believe the Earth is less than a few billion years old, but I think they are missing the bigger point. Trust and faith are two very important characteristics in politicians. Not just if they can be trusted, but do they themselves trust in the ideals of our country. Do they have faith in the system? If a man professes to be a Christian and then turns to say that he does not have faith in the basics of that, then why should we trust that man to uphold the Constitution? Maybe he will decide parts of it were only metaphors, too. Aside from that, there are a lot of very smart people who are perfectly willing to accept the Bible as written.
Let me take you on my thought train of creationism
1. I'm a Christians and as such believe in God as described in the Christian Bible
2. Based on that, I believe that God is limitless
3. Who am I to tell God what he did or didn't do?
4. God decided to make a man. One day- no man, the next day- full grown dude. He is God, He can do stuff like that
5. If God can poof a man into being, then why would we ever expect the Earth to measure 1 day old the day after He made it? Doesn't it make more sense that God would make the Earth fully grown, too?
6. From the Bible I know that God wants people to believe in Him of their own free will
7. You have to have a minimum of 2 options for something to be classified a choice
8. Would you like a cookie or to be slapped is not a choice
9. Would you like a white chocolate chip cookie or a milk chocolate chip cookie is a real choice
10. Would you like to trust God at his word or find a man made explanation so that you don't need God?
I have heard every explanation under the sun as to why the Earth is old, and honestly I don't care. It isn't important. You will not reason away God for me. You will also not find me standing up to say the Earth doesn't measure 4.5 billion years old, in fact, I am impressed by the science that got us there, but it also makes me more impressed by God's creation. The thought and detail that went into every rock and tree is amazing. I can not help but conclude that God must really enjoy the science of creation. All He needs to do is speak things into being, and yet when He does, He gives us so much to discover and wonder over.
Since I have broken the rules about not talking religion or politics I have to expect a few people to disagree, which is fine. I would ask that you be polite in your argument and realize that if you don't agree with the first statement in my thought train then we aren't even on the same tracks and so any argument you toss my way will serve only to make yourself feel better.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Positive Deviant

Last year Nix was blessed with a very unusual science teacher. Mr. Piper was a college professor doing a study on how children transition between grades. In essence, teaching middle school is field work for him. He is a fantastic teacher. He lets the kids do cool science experiments, encourages independent studies on the topics they enjoy, and has an obvious love of the subject, which is infectious. This week, as we are getting ready to start 7th grade, I got an unexpected email from him. He has spent the summer studying the standardized test results of his classes and comparing them to their 5th grade scores. Generally, student's scores decline between 5th and 6th, however my daughter, as well as several others, saw an increase. He could find no obvious pattern to the students who did well, so he emailed the parents and asked for our insight. In the email he referred to this group as "positive deviants". I adore that phrasing!
Never have I heard such a great term to describe my parenting style. Last year, before school started, I broke the news to my daughter that I was raising her to be different in good ways. I told her that because of our lifestyle she would probably never be one of the popular girls in school. Then I proceeded to tell her why this was good news. It isn't that don't want her to be popular, it is that I don't want her to do the things that make most kids her age popular.
I'm never going to buy her jeans at the cool stores because they cost too much for what they are, some of the companies send out very bad messages for teens, and I honestly can not walk into some of those places because of the smell (I'm talking to you, Abercrombie). I asked her, which would you rather have, cool jeans or a college fund? If she makes it all the way through to high school without begging for status symbol clothing, I'm giving serious thought to buying her stock in a company like Gap as a reward. Then when anyone asks her why she doesn't buy from them she can smile and say, "I don't have to. I owe part of the company instead. Thanks for making me money!"
This might seem like an extreme thing to do, but I told her she couldn't wear a peace symbol until she could tell me where it originated and that she agreed with the philosophy behind it. I want her to understand that we don't blindly follow the crowd. "Everybody is doing it" will not be an excuse in my house. If you present a well reasoned argument, then we will talk about it.
Safety is a big concern for me. I am that overprotective paranoid mom and I'm unapologetic for it. You will not see my kids hanging out unsupervised at the mall. Some of that has to do with the number of kids I see there smoking, cussing, and dressing like...well, you know, but part of it is that we have had 3 serial killers roll through our town in the 10 years we have been here. Not to mention the number of people who are registered sex offenders. Our 12 and 13 year old girls are walking around in the shortest possible shorts and low cut shirts because it is cool and they "look cute". They look real cute to the creepy guy sitting in the bookstore pretending to read. In my book it isn't any better than the mothers who doll up their babies and stick them in beauty pagents. It is harsh, but you have got to consider it.
I remember 7th grade as being when we all expanded our vocabularies to include swearing and being vulgar. I like to think I skipped most of that phase. Not that I didn't ever cuss, it was just rare and not without meaning. Most of the time the level of swearing you hear from young teenagers is an indication of a limited vocabulary and a desire to prove one's maturity, though I think it has the opposite effect. I don't want my children ever using words without a true knowledge of the sentiment they are expressing.
I think a lot of this boils down to raising a Christian family in a secular world. Our faith makes us, not so much stand out, as stand apart.  What makes "mean girls" so popular? They gossip, lie, cheat, back stab, etc. to get where they are and to stay on top of the game. All of these are frowned upon in the Bible. Trying to live a godly life most often prevents popularity in the rest of the world. (I say trying, because, let's face it, we all fail daily, and it is important to remember that).
I'm not trying to say I know best, or that my way is the only way. I'm just happy to have a new term for my parenting style. I am endeavoring to raise positive deviants.

*There is an actual group called the Positive Deviance Initiative, which is some what different from what I am talking about here, but a very interesting study, with some interesting results. If you are wanting to know more about the academic aspects of the concept, you might want to google them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Facebook Confessions

A comedian that I enjoy, Kerri Pomarolli, likes to point out that the real reason people our age go on facebook is to see if the girls we didn't like in high school have gotten fat, if old boyfriends have gone bald, and to post perfect pictures of our own lives to make them all sorry they were ever mean to us. I'd like to deny all of this. Those are the reasons I joined MySpace, not Faccebook. I like to think I've grown (I haven't, but I do like to think it).
After sitting and considering what my current status updated would be today I realized that I have a few confessions of my own to make about Facebook. Hopefully some of you can relate, otherwise I look forward to the intervention you will all throw for me later.
1. I snoop. My own security settings are just one step from being a full out FB ninja, but I get a little disappointed with other do the same. I like to look at the page of the person you are dating or have married without actually friending them. Just because I'm not friends with someone doesn't mean I haven't been all over their public profile and albums.
2. Even though I like reminders of when people have birthdays, I feel peer pressure to wish them a happy birthday even if we haven't spoken in years. Then I feel bad if I do snub someone because all my other friends said something, and I was obviously online that day but didn't say anything. Also, I don't like repeating what the last person said on your wall, or repeating what I just wrote another friend. I have 4 friends with the same birthday, I about drove myself crazy that day.
3. It surprises me when I find out people have read what I wrote. I recently was telling someone a piece of news and it totally caught me off guard that they already knew all about it because I had written about it on FB. This is especially true for those who rarely post, but apparently read everything.
4. This one was my status this morning; When I friend someone new I feel pressure to make my next status update witty. I don't want the first thing they see from me to be, "washing clothes, then going to Walmart" I want it to be something that sets the tone for what they can expect from me like, "how do people who smoke and drink not light themselves on fire more often?"
5. It bothers me when a bunch of my friends are suddenly friends with the same person and I don't know them. I often assume that it is someone I either should know or someone I did know and have forgotten.
6. I share too much.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The New Church

Our year long church search is finally over. This morning all four of us joined Cumming Baptist Church. Actually, the kids had jokingly told us that if Rocky and I didn't join this week then they would walk down without us. We have been attending for awhile now not so regularly, but enough to know that this was to be our new church home.
I haven't always been sure. The first week we went I came home and googled the sermon outline. The sermon seemed almost too well laid out to me. I was sure that the preacher had to have been using a box sermon. (I'm not the most trusting of people) After searching I gave up and conceded that maybe Pastor Crocker was just a good preacher. The church had past the first test.
My parents came to visit, which I was sure would be the end of this church for us. There were some weird things that went on that first week. The strangest of which was a clip from Flip Wilson being played during the sermon illustrating the point of view that "the devil made me do it". The funny thing was, it worked. The sermon was excellent, the people were very friendly and welcoming, and although it certainly was a goofy week, we all still had a good feeling about the place. And so, the second test was passed. In case you are wondering, this is the preacher that referenced The Princess Bride one week.
 The third step for us was in seeing if all 4 of us could find Sunday School classes. The kids were a piece of cake. As it turned out, it was pretty easy for us as well. We found a group that has children the same age as ours, they've all been married about as long as we have, and they are just nice people to spend a hour with. Now we are 3 for 3.
As I'm sure you understand, there was a lot more that went into this decision, not the least of which was prayer. We've been there on down weeks where the crowd was small and the preacher took the opportunity to step on toes and make us all think about the direction we were heading in. We've been there when the place was packed, and even on a week with a guest speaker. We have witnessed the church working together, and we are excited to be able to be a part of that now.
It has been a long year, and it hasn't been an easy one. I'm glad the search is over. It has been a year of wandering, and it is a relief to finally be settled once again.
When we went done front and the pastor was introducing us JD stood next to him and boldly said, "I'm JD" just to make sure he had it right. The pastor got so tickled that he gave JD his on special introduction and now everyone at the church remembers JD. We are members 5 minutes and I'm already "JD's mom".

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let the Sunshine In

With our annual trek to Jackson comes our annual summer hair cuts. I had 5 inches cut off mine, which is exactly half as much as Nix. For the second time, she decided to donate her hair to Lock of Love.
Before: so serious

After: about 3 pounds lighter

It is amazing how a hair cut can completely change the way someone looks. She now looks like she is about to be a teenager. Her neck looks longer, and her eyes bigger. I'm pretty proud of her for growing it out for charity. It is the type of thing that people talk about doing, but never actually do. Now that I have a head start on her, maybe I'll grow mine out with her again for next time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My New Embarrassment

I jokingly said about a month ago that I might have a new most embarrassing story depending on how bad I was hurt. Today I had to recount this story to a medical professional, so I might as well fess up to all of you.
Our town has a new park. Just walking around this massive place I started questioning our tax rates, meaning it had to have set the county back a good bit. The kids wanted to try out the fantastic playground equipment, and never being one to let the kids have all the fun, I joined in. Everything was going great. I went down a slide, I climbed the rock wall, and then I decided not to push my luck and spent the rest of the time in the swings. I love to swing. I always have. One of my favorite things is to get as high as possible and them jump out, soaring gracefully across the playground to stick a 10.0 landing. That is not what happened. This time, as I flew through the air I remembered three things. 1. I am now well into my 30's 2. I have on flip flops 3. wood chips are a lot more slippery than dirt. There was a little scrape on one knee, bruised hands, but no tears. My foot didn't even really hurt much until 2 days later. By that time I was packing up for the New York trip and nothing was stopping that. I walked around New York for four days. By the end of each day my foot felt like someone was using a nail gun to shoot nails into my foot with every step. This was probably not the smartest thing to do. I was certainly abusing my foot, but I told myself that I'd rest it when I got home.
When I did get home I had a post trip cold which gave me no choice but to rest. Combine that with JD's random case of scarlet fever, and I had two weeks of hardly setting foot out of the house. Unfortunately, when I did get up to speed and started walking, the pain came back. I broke down today and saw the doctor.
When the doctor entered the room he asked, "What did you do?" I replied, "Something stupid." Apparently it was a running theme with women today because he had already treated 2 sprained ankles and a broken tail bone. This made me feel a little better. My x-ray didn't show any major breaks, but because of the time and other symptoms, he thinks I have a stress fracture. He has given me 10 days to try anti-inflammatory drugs, but after that, if I still hurt, I get a bone scan with a boot, or a trip to a foot doctor depending on the results.
If I get a boot, this will officially beat the time I accidentally tried to carjack a stranger at Walmart. Also, I need to ready a story for the people who will ask me what I did to my foot. I'm leaning towards "ninja training camp" or maybe something circus related.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I *heart* New York

As you probably already know, Rocky and I just spent 4 fun filled days in New York. Several friends have asked me to remember tips as they are hoping to take trips of their own in the next year. Since time tends to erode memory and a bummer of a summer cold has me at half speed, I thought I'd write it all out now.

Tip 1: If at all possible, aim to spend a couple of weekdays there. It is a lot less crowded, you waste less time in lines, and some things will cost less.

Tip 2: Be ready walk a lot, especially if it is your first time in the city. The buildings are so beautiful and iconic that you end up walking around trying to see everything. Good walking (or running) shoes are a must. The second pair of shoes I brought were good flip flops. These turned out to be smart because after two days of walking, my toes needed to breath.

Tip 3: If you will be there more than a couple of days, plan on buying a 7 day subway pass. You get unlimited rides, and will save you money even if you are only there 3 or 4 days. At the end of your trip you can pass it off to other tourists who will be grateful for the days remaining on the card.

Tip 4: There are a couple of apps that will really help you out. First, the subway map. It will help you spot the nearest stop when you need a break from walking. Second, Central Park has a map app. It is $2, but it goes to the park's fund to keep it looking pretty. We spent the better part of one day in the park. It may have been our favorite part of the trip

Tip 5: I highly recommend going to the Top of the Rock during the day (Rockefeller Center tower). The view is amazing and the line isn't nearly as bad as The Empire State Building. I recommend doing Empire at night. Again, the lines are shorter then, and it is breathtaking to see the city at night. They do have a sunrise/sunset discount package, which could be really cool.

Tip 6: If you have your heart set on going inside the Statue of Liberty then you need to get your tickets way ahead of time. However, for a mere $13 a head, the boat will take you to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The only thing it doesn't do is get you time inside the statue. We were satisfied with just walking around the island.

Tip 7: Never take a street vendors first price, or the second. The third price is usually as far as they will go. Be ready to walk away, and remember there is another guy with the exact same product two blocks over who is willing to deal if the guy you are talking to isn't. That is how I got my lovely new orange bag. If you want the good knock offs with labels then you have to go to Chinatown and enter a back room with someone who gives you "the nod" on the street. I'm not that adventurous.


Tip 8: The weather the first week of June was perfect. It stayed between 65 and 75 each day. I started out wearing jeans, but after walking in them for two days they started to rub a spot on my leg. I had brought a jersey cotton dress and it turned out to be the best thing I wore the whole trip. Make sure the skirt is long though because the wind does kick up a good bit and you don't want to spend all day trying to keep your skirt down.

Tip 9: We enjoyed these 3 restaurants. 1.Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway. It is exactly what you think of when you say, "New York diner". It is crowded and loud, but the perk is that all of the wait staff are aspiring Broadway performers who sing while they serve and are really, REALLY good. 2. Frankie & Johnnie's on 45th. One of the best steaks I've ever had. Easily in the top 5. It is in an old speakeasy. make reservations. 3. If you are there Sunday morning, try Resto on east 29th for brunch. It is extremely rich and would do Paula Dean proud when it comes to fat and butter content.  Also, always take restaurant recommendations from Ryan and Molly Roy. They know what they are talking about. (Thanks again guys!)


Tip 10: We used Priceline for the hotel and ended up at Park South, which is a small boutique hotel instead of a big, heart of the city, hotel. We loved it. It wasn't crowded, the desk staff had time for us, and were very helpful. The place had a lot of character. The rooms were very up to date and very small, but small is something you should expect no matter where you stay. The hotels will check your bags if you you get into town before check in time, and on the day you leave. On the day we left, we officially checked out at 11. The doorman checked our bags for us and arranged a car to pick us up for the airport at 5.

Tip 11: The big cathedral like Catholic churches are open for you to walk around. They'll have a mass schedule out front to keep you from walking into something you didn't intend to, so check it before walking on it.  Make sure and stand where you can take in a full 360 view. it will make your jaw drop.

You may notice the one hole in my advise. We did not go see a show. Considering my love of musicals, this might seem weird. We talked it out before we went and decided against it on our first real trip to New York. First of all, they are not cheap. Then, there is the issue of packing. Going to a Broadway show raises my packing to a whole new level. Last, was the time involved. A show is going to take 3 hours plus the time it takes to get ready and make it to the theater. When all is said and done, you've shot 5 hours of your trip to see one thing. It is something we will defiantly do if we go back, but I don't feel cheated by skipping it the first time around.
I hope you've enjoyed my tour of New York and that some of the tips are helpful to you on your trip.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

School Gifts

It is finally the last day of school here. I think I'm every bit as excited as the kids are. I love having them home and having a more relaxed schedule. On the last day I like to do a little something special for the teachers and for some of the people around the school that don't always get the love. Now that the kids are at two different schools, that is a lot of people. Thankfully, I stumbled into a fantastically cheap and easy gift that has always been met with excitement. Chocolate covered strawberries!

This year I had 13 bags with one milk chocolate and one white chocolate strawberry in each bag. I found these super cute bags in a pack of 13 at Micheal's for $5.99. The muffin cups were also there for $1.99. Publix had the berries on sale 2 for $5. I already had the white curling ribbon and I made the tags using Photoshop. All total that works out to about $1 per gift.

The tags I made were 3 1/4 inches squared and had room for the kids to sign their names. Nix had 6 teachers this year, so I knew where her's were going, but JD only had 2, so we got to have a little more fun with who got berries. We went to his grade counsellor, the art teacher, the librarian, and one teacher that none of my children have ever had. She has a very unusual personalized license plate. For the past two years, while we wait in car line in the morning, we look for this car. It is a race, and a lot of fun. It starts our day off right. We tracked down the owner of the car this morning, and "Bug Bump" got strawberries for brightening our mornings.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Moral of the Story

I just got back from JD's awards day. It was very entertaining. JD won an award for being the most honest student and for telling the truth even when it will get him in trouble. Then there were awards named after candy and he received the "Payday" award, which is the candy way of saying, "most likely to succeed", and a kid choice award for sportsmanship, which the children were told, means the kid you most want on your team and is an all around nice kid. I don't always put much stock in end of the year, everyone gets something awards. In fact, I believe I may have called it a celebration of mediocrity at some point. I'm finding myself a little teary eyed over this one though. All 3 of these speak to my son's character. I once read that we formed the bulk of our character traits by a very young age. I think it was age 8, but don't quote me. Aside from a few people who have serious life altering events in their life, people are primarily the same kind of person they were in the 2nd or 3rd grade. I am now praying to God that this line of thought holds true for my son. At age 7 his teachers and peers have already declared him to be a good man and that thrills me beyond words.
Along with the awards the children put on 3 mini plays with each having a moral. I was pleased that the moral of the first story, "The Little Red Hen" was if you don't put in the work you can't reap the rewards. This is an idea that we need to teach a little more faithfully. JD's play of "The Turnip" taught that you can do more with teamwork than you can alone. JD thought it should have been that you can accomplish more with teamwork than you can alone. I adore his vocabulary.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day of Nothing

If you are a mom then you know there is no such thing as a day that you have nothing to do. There is always something in need of cleaning and the laundry, oh the never ending laundry. Then there are the things out of the house, dance classes, ball games, school events, and on and on. Every so often I like to look for a day when I can have a planned day of nothing...or a least, almost nothing.
Lately, I've been working, doing a lot of end of the school year events, and had a revolving door on the guest room. I've chosen all of it. I've enjoyed all of it. I've got a busy day tomorrow, but today is a different story. Today is the one day that I don't have any demands on my time. I'm sure most women would use this time to catch up on laundry or whatever else has been neglected around the house, but I'm saving that for Saturday. Today I am writing a little, reading a book, and wearing pants with elastic in the waist. It is delightful and refreshing. I'm sure some work will sneak its way into the day, after all my kids do like to be fed, but for the most part, nothing.
Try it, you'll like it.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Color Me Not

With the start of warm weather I have also seen the start of the sunless tanning commercials. I often joke about how pale I am. My skin does not tan. It will freckle, which is a huge warning sign that I need to avoid sun. It isn't just about keeping the premature aging away. For me, it is about keeping the cancer away. When I was a young teenager and got a sunburn, my father pointed out that I had just overcooked my skin. He said it as if I was treating my body like a Thanksgiving turkey. The image stuck with me. One teacher at my high school referred to tanning beds as the human microwave and wondered what it did to our insides while it was baking the outside. I've never been in a tanning bed (thank you, Mr.Scott).
I was secretly hoping, once the word at large started taking the issue of skin damage seriously, pale would become the trend. Instead, companies started coming up with new ways to make your skin appear darker. If anything, it has gotten worse. Now that a sun tan is something that can be sold in a spray can, every advertiser in America would have you believe that only poor, sick people refrain from covering up their natural skin pigment during warm weather. 
Over the years I have gone back and forth in the ways I have handled the pressure to be tan. In the past couple of years though, I have become more and more firm on the subject of remaining my natural color. The difference is my children. Nix is really fair, and JD is as ghostly white as I am, if not more so. I cover them up with SPF 5,000 to protect them, then I put it on me to show solidarity. If I truly believe that my children should be proud of who they are and the hand genetics dealt them, then I have to lead by example. We tell our daughters that they are beautiful just the way they are and to stay out of the sun and then we don't show our legs unless they are bronzed. Talk about your mixed messages.
This is basically my long winded way of warning you all that I will be sporting white legs and arms this year (again). I will not be getting any intentional sun, spraying a tan, or getting tinted lotion. I am a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant and that is not changing. I am accepting my color, or lack thereof, and choosing to be satisfied with what I have, or don't have, as the case may be. I'm writing it out here so that I can't chicken out and cave.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Six Degrees From Tiffany

After the game "Six Degrees From Kevin Bacon" came out, I remember learning that everyone in the United States was, on average, only 3 degrees of separation from anyone else within the country. This has always fascinated me, and I like to test it out from time to time. It wasn't as fun in Jackson because I was related to, went to school with, or had a work connection with the majority of the town. It has been a little more fun here and has helped us get to know a few people we might not have otherwise.
The invention of Facebook has made it easier to find out how you are connected to people who might have been total strangers yesterday. Today I noticed a certain cleaver quote popping up in status of seemingly unrelated people and I got curious. After tracing it back to the start I found Tiffany Underwood. Although she didn't post it, it was posted within the comments of her status, which lead to the spreading to various circles of my life. I realized that all 5 of my major circles of friends, at some point, overlap with hers. I'm pretty sure that she is my only non-relative that has accomplished this. She is now my personal Kevin Bacon. I'm going to start introducing myself to people as, "Hi. I'm Lynn. How do you know Tiffany?"
One benefit I have found of this is that it eases my social awkwardness to know that there will be at least one person I can have a conversation with in a large gathering. It is like when you go to a pot luck dinner and you recognize the casserole dish of someone who knows how to cook so you feel safe eating from that dish and know you won't starve that night. You are no longer playing Russian Roulette with your digestive system. You are setting down to dinner with friends, which is much less stressful. That's not just me, right?
Do you have a Kevin Bacon? A friend that overlaps into multiple circles of friends?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

JD I Am

If you don't have children in the public school system then you may not know that this week is the annual celebration of that trippy writer, Dr. Suess. Children all across American gather together to read Dr. Suess books. In addition to a pajama day and a bring your favorite Suess book day, JD's class is having a dress like a Suess character day. I'm not sure if you are familiar with the fine illustrations of the Suess, but they aren't exactly what you would call normal. I can't get away with digging something out of the closet at the last minute like I did for Nix last year when she was Ann Frank, Nancy Drew, and Amelia Earhart. When Nix did the Suess thing I painted a red shirt to say "Thing 1" , but JD is never as easy. He has his own thoughts about what his costume should be and exactly what it should look like. I tried the Thing 2 idea out on him, but he was having none of it. The instructions said his favorite character, and by golly he was going to be his favorite.
He presented me with this
Then a couple of days and a trip to the fabric store later and I presented him with this.

One yellow t-shirt, some funky yellow fleece, and a little red flannel. The upside is that if he ever wants to be Fred Flintstone I have a head start! While I was buying the fabric I was chatting with the lady cutting for me. I mentioned what I was making and joked about how many costumes I have had to throw together for school. She replied that it was all worth it if the kids learned something. I thought for a moment and realized that what my children have learned is that their mom will drop everything to whip up a new outfit with only a couple of days warning.
Oh, and because I can't quit while I'm ahead, since Sam had 2 different signs with his name, our sign has 2 different sides. Here is the alternate view.

I will not be winning any seamstress awards with this one. In fact, I'm sure if someone who really sews looked at how I did this, they would cry. It only has to last through one day, so it should be okay. I was feeling pretty smug about my mom skills right up until I realized that I had not gotten anything ready for dinner tonight. Oops, looks like a good night for brinner.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crafty Time!

Many months ago one of my favorite bloggers was redoing her office and posted about her wall art on EPBOT. One of the things she had done was frame some really cute note cards, but with a twist. I stuck the idea somewhere in the back of my brain and left it there until a friend of Nix's sent her this thank you card.

It is from the Bella Pilar line that Papyrus carries. I knew right away this would be the perfect test case for framing.
I found an inexpensive, shallow shadow box with a plain black frame. After the sale, a coupon, and a small gift card I had, it costs me a total of 99 cents for a 3 pack. (Score!) I went through my stash of card stock, and found a lovely peacock blue to use as the backdrop. I cut it down to 8 x 10 so it would fit the frame exactly. I also had to cut the card down the fold so that it would lay right.


Next came mounting the card. After I lined up the centers of the background and the card, I used adhesive mounting squares that can be found with scrapbook supplies or with craft tape. I wanted the card to "float" a little higher, so I doubled up on the squares to give it a good depth.


The whole project took me about 10 minutes and cost me $0.33.
I really wish you could see the dimension on this. It looks awesome! I may have to see if I can find the companion card that is in yellow and orange.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Everything is okay, but...

Any time something has gone wrong in our family, but no one is mortally wounded we get a phone call that starts, "Everything is okay, but..." followed by the story of what happened. The idea is that if you let people know out of the gate that everything is now shiny the bad story that follows will not be so bad.
Everything is okay, but as you know, this is the week of Valentine's so something unforeseen and stressful had to have happened to us. I've been keeping a lid on this year's excitement until I knew the outcome.
This morning I went for my first mammogram followed by an ultrasound. Remember, everything is fine. It seems that my body likes to form lots of harmless, yet very scary, cysts all over that area of my body. I found one and then noticed another, and another, and so last Friday I went to the doctor. She felt what I felt and set up the tests. She was a little more freaked out about them than I would have liked, and was certain at least one biopsy was called for. I have never been so happy to have a doctor be wrong in all my life. The test showed several points of concern, but all of them showed up as obvious cysts on the ultrasound. Those are annoying, but cause no real problems.
Please forgive me if I was a tad preoccupied, gruff, or just plain not around since the 11th. I had a few things on my mind and wasn't sleeping very well. Now I have 364 days to enjoy before Feb. 14th comes around again. Next year is going to have to work hard to top this one, but then again that is what I said last year after Rocky's wreck. Maybe I should start praying now.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes

JD has been on a roll lately. I wanted to type out a list of a few of his more recent gems so that I would have a record of them.
*JD wants a hermit crab for his birthday. "They will teach me a little responsibility, and since they don't have fur, Dad won't be allergic." We couldn't argue with that, so next month we will be adding a crab to the family.
*He came home from school last week all smiles. He told me that he got to see the girl he has had a crush on since kindergarten. "That is why I have invisible hearts over my head."
*At bed time he waved his hand in front of me and said in a calm even tone, "You don't need to put me to bed until 9 o'clock." I replied, "Your Jedi mind tricks have no power over me."
*After he pulled his first tooth I asked if he wanted to put it under his pillow. "We both know there is no such thing as fairies so just give me the money now." This one threw me a little.
*JD went through a phase of asking who he was and wasn't allowed to marry. After being told his Aunt Becca was already married he asked, "If Uncle Bo dies then can I marry Aunt Becca?" Technically the answer to that is yes, but...
*We sent him to get his pajamas on, which is usually a quick task for him. After some groaning he came down with just the bottoms on and the top in hand saying, "This shirt is mocking me!" One of the sleeves was turned in on itself. While I was fixing it, Nix came down and pointed out that JD was shirtless. He replied, "It's okay. It is manly! I have a handsome tummy."

He makes life fun!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Holy Socks and Pretty Pajamas

Over Christmas I started to notice that my socks were starting to wear out and even found one with a hole in it. It has been awhile since I last bought myself socks. Since I mostly wear tennis shoes I tend towards the white cotton socks that come 12 to a bag at Walmart. I've been to Walmart a lot since I first noticed I needed new socks, I even went today, but did I buy socks? No, of course not. And, why? Because I'm the mom and whites are the thing I neglect.
I have noticed that most moms have one thing they neglect and one thing that is important to them to kind of splurge on. The thing you neglect is going to be the one thing in the house that you would never dream of letting your spouse or children go without, but for some unknown reason you forget to provide for yourself. For me it is socks and underwear, for others it might be good shoes, or a mom favorite, pajamas. I have only recently realized that you can in fact buy socks and underwear by the pair instead of by the dozen. It rocked my world.
This brings us to the splurge. Mine is pajamas. I use to be an old t-shirt and boxers kind of girl until I had my daughter. It struck me how much time I was spending dressed like a hag looking ratty and it depressed me. I didn't want to walk around the house caring for my child looking like I had been at a frat party the night before. So, I got a set of pajamas. It wasn't expense, but it was matching and did qualify as sleepwear. Now it is a standing request on my gift list. Each Christmas I love getting a new set of flannel pajamas. The kids have a lot of fun picking them out. My all time favorites are pink with penguins wearing purple party hats, or maybe the ones with the lawn gnomes. They are fun and they brighten things up, especially when I'm sick and don't feel like putting on real clothes. I think at most they run about $20, but to a mom like me, it is a luxury.
Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go put socks on my grocery list.
I am very curious to know what everyone else's items of neglect and splurge are. Please share!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Office

I'm so excited to have a new before and after to share! The office was a huge challenge for me in more ways than one. There were so many piles and so many drawers. I had gotten into a bad cycle of using what storage there was to just stuff and pile with no real system. There was a closet that you couldn't really get into because of all the stuff. Because I put a little of everything in there, nothing could be found.
Here are those horribly embrassing before pictures. I'm sorry if they are a little fuzzy. I was trying out the camera on my iPod with mixed results.

The first thing I did was empty the storage drawers I have and label each drawer.


After 8 trash bags, and two very large boxes to donate we now have

It isn't perfect, and I'd love to take a trip to Ikea to do it up right, but it is SO much better that I am content to just let the diaper box of gift bags be for now. Not only can I open the closet, but low and behold, it is the walk-in it was always meant to be. When we don't have extra guests I can roll up the air mattress and set up a fold away craft table that I've never had room for in this house before. This is going to make Rocky working from home a lot easier.

Monday, January 24, 2011

From Out of Nowhere

Editor's note: I wrote this for myself as a release. Now that I've had a few days and all is back to normal, I thought I'd post it. I know I'm not alone in these moments and I want to make sure others know they are not alone either.
I'm in the middle of cleaning out and redoing a room in the house that has gathered a lot of memories over the years. I really thought it would be a simple matter of throwing stuff away and organizing other things, but I hit a girly snag today. I found a stack of pictures. You can't exactly pick up a stack of photographs and not look through them. I've got a nice storage box set aside for them to go in now, but I still can't stop myself from looking at each and everyone of them before they go in that box. Up until today, all the pictures have brought back smiles and warm fuzzy feelings. After all, what idiot would take pictures of unpleasant memories? The trouble comes with hind sight.
I was making great progress this afternoon. I'm up to filling trash bag number 6 and the donation pile has really grown. Then I pick up a picture of the house we built 7 years ago and out of nowhere came a flood of emotions I usually keep boxed up and filed away in the very back of my brain. You see, that house is a standing monument to every stupid and short sighted decision we made for 3 years, and I find myself holding not 1, but an entire stack of pictures chronically the process of building it. I really wish that when something was going to hit you like a metaphorical ton of bricks that there was some sort of warning sound that went off first like it does in cartoons. That would at least give me time to get to a tissue box, find some chocolate, or maybe remove myself from whatever is bringing on the bricks. Instead I end up sitting the middle of the room, bursting into tears because of something that was over and done with 5 years ago. It is like an emotional grenade was hiding in my basket of stuff just waiting for the day when I would try to clean. Is it any wonder I put these things off?
I always hope for a time when those memories will have no power over me, but I don't know that that will ever come. Moving from that house was like a death in many ways. I knew it was time to go, we are in a better place now, but still the feeling of loss dwells somewhere deep inside me waiting for days when life has me venerable. I guess today was one of those days. On the upside, they are getting fewer and farther between, and knowing that makes it much easier.