3.24.2011

Schtuff

1.  It's Spring Break for most of the world this week, except for us.  Well, kinda.  My fancy planning calendar that I spent way too much time making out at the beginning of the year says that we are working through this week, because our Spring Break will come 'round Easter.  The fact that we've only had a full school day once this week seems to be speaking to the fact that it is, in fact, Spring Break for us, too.  For the record, though, it is super hard to keep myself the kids motivated when everyone and their 2nd cousin asks how our Spring Break is going and the response that I have to continually hear is, "We don't have Spring Break.  Our mom makes us work."  Nice.

2.  My red-headed pool of sunshine turned NINE this week.  Crazily impossible.  I have found myself saying those way overused words, "It happens so fast," way too often this week.  Really?  Nine?  Say it ain't so, Joe.

3.  While still under total delusion of only have one baby, I made a decision and a pact that I would ALWAYS make my kids' birthday cakes.  No expectations.  Totally kicking myself for my attitude of resolve on the matter now.  For his big 9th birthday, Sawyer requested an interesting creation.  His criteria: (a) had to be orange  (b) had to be baseball   (c) had to have the pirate skull & crossbones  (d)  Had to be chocolate.   Mmmkay... 


This is what I came up with.
Notice that nowhere on his list is Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Hmmm....Oh well.
Somehow I managed to convince him that pirates think dinosaurs are way cool......

4.  We are up to our ears in baseball.  I'm not going to complain, because this is definitely my favorite time of year, but I will say that we are just plain B.U.S.Y.  Between all 3 boys, we have 4 different baseball teams.  Two regular league teams, and two traveling tournament teams.  Needless to say, we are at a ballfield 7 days a week.  And if we just so happen to squeeze in a day without a practice or a game, that day is spent hashing over plays at the dinner table, hitting in the batting cage, or washing a uniform of somekind.  Definitely tiring, but good times.

5.  I declared today a NO ELECTRONICS day, and, can I just tell you, that I am loving it.  Instead of fighting over whose turn it is for this DS game or for that iPod charger, the boys have dragged out every lego and action figure that we own.  They've constructed a huge city in the living room and are playing some intense game of super heroes meets combat war zone meets Star Wars.  I LOVE IT.  Maybe their DSs and iPods should mysteriously disappear for awhile.....

6.  I made a uber-long list of projects that really need to be completed around the house.  Closets that need to be cleaned out, moldings that need to be painted, drawers and cabinets that need to be purged and organized.  I probably should tackle that list on my now impromptu Spring Break, but I really just don't want to.  Instead I think I'll just go read a book in the sun.  Sounds equally urgent.

7.  I went to the dentist yesterday.  'Nuff said.

8.  My Lenten fast is going really really well.  I've made it 16 days now and feel better than I have in ages.  I even resisted a piece of the orange chocolate T-Rex pirate baseball cake this weekend.  Although I will tell you that right now there is a jar of ranch dip and a package of open taterchips sitting next to me on my bar, and I'm about to lose my religion over it.  The children love to play this little torture game with me....

9.  I still haven't done our taxes.  I probably should get on that, huh?

10.  American Idol is making me swoon.  So much good talent in one tiny space.  My favorites are cutie-pie screecher James, quirky white-teeth Paul, Southern Belle sweetie Lauren, and ornery-as-all-get-out Casey.  Actually at this point, I'm just rootin' for the ones that I want to get kicked off, because after they're gone, it'll all be cake for me.  Love this season...

Alrighty.....time to do laundry cozy up with my book in the sunshine....

If you need me, I'm the one with the stupid sun-drunk grin on my face.

3.18.2011

Lent -- Not Just For BellyButtons Anymore

I've been asked about my choosing to fast certain things for Lent, and though I do maintain that it is something that is fairly private between me and the Lord, I decided to go ahead and share, because I do think this season will prove to be a very drastic turning point for my relationship with the Father.

I've never observed Lent before.  Ever.

I actually never really knew what it was until just a few years ago when some of my nontraditional Baptist friends began discussing giving up strongholds for Lent, for up until that time "lint" was the stuff that stuck in my bellybutton and the stuff that I had to clean out of my dryer trap.  You see, growing up in a strict conservative Southern Baptist home, we didn't observe Lent or other so-called "legalistic" Christian holidays.  I don't think my parents necessarily frowned upon them, we just weren't taught about them, and they weren't observed.

Last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, I was reading through some Twitter and Facebook statuses and kept seeing people refer to Lent.  And so I was intrigued.  I hopped online and began researching, trying to figure out if this was just a fad or if it was, in fact, something that could be proved to be legit.  I certainly did not want to play into the game of Everyone Else Is Doing It, but wanted to discern whether observing Lent was something that could bring me into a higher dependence upon the Lord.

After reading several good (and several bad) articles and commentaries on Lent, I decided to just fore-go all the theological mumbo-jumbo and go with my gut.  I have no idea if I'm observing Lent in all the "right" ways or not, but I decided to put my very simple mind's view on the matter and just go with it.

From what I have read, Lent is a period in which a person is called to give-up an item or more that has proved to be a stronghold for them. The idea being that if it is given up for the period of Lent, then a higher devotion to the Lord to fill the void will take place.  Thus leading, hopefully, to pattern changes and our dependency on the Lord increases.  (DISCLAIMER:  Again I will say...I'm no theologian and don't want to be.  I'll leave that to the folks that like that kind of thing.  I may have it all wrong, but I'm pretty confident that Christ will be happy with my effort even if I'm calling it "Lent" even if it's really not.  Basically, I don't really know what I'm talking about...but this is working for me and Jesus right now...so I'm going with it.)

A lot of my friends who observe Lent have given up Facebook, Twitter, and/or other types of social media.  Some have given up television, or at least certain television shows that they are locked into religiously.  Some have disconnected their internet for the 40 day period, and others have given up blogging.  I wasn't really feeling led down those certain ways, because although they would definitely have been my stronghold last year at this time, I've kind of grown past that a bit.  Don't get me wrong...I still LOVE the computer and all of its connectedness, but I can go for days without it and feel just fine.  So that didn't seem like the route to go.  I also recently gave up some "bad" television shows (ahem...Jersey Shore) that had me entirely way too hooked into their ridiculousness, but wasn't really feeling like giving tv up was the right path for me either.  Because at this point, I could take it or leave it.

So I examined.

And what I discovered is that I spend entirely way too much time thinking about how hungry I am.  I'm a nervous eater.  I'm an emotional eater.  I'm a restless eater.  I'm a bored eater.  And I'm a social eater.  I.Love.Food.  It can be a bowl of cereal before bed or a full-on gluttonous display of pasta devouring.  Doesn't matter.  I love to eat. 

So I decided that FOOD was an obvious stronghold for me.  I knew that if I channeled as much energy into my relationship with Christ as I did my refrigerator, then big things could change within me.

So, just like that, with no real pondering, I gave up food.  On Ash Wednesday.  In a matter of 10 minutes.  No planning.  No weaning myself off of food the week prior.  Just a cold turkey fast.  (Because I tend to be a little quick on the trigger!)

Then I remembered that Lent was for 40 days.  And I realized that although this was going to be a momentous occasion for my spiritual life, I was also still a human... And I didn't really want to die of starvation.

So I tweaked my fasting plan.

To fruits and vegetables only.  No sugar.  No coffee.  No pasta.  No bread.  No meat. 

For two reasons:  1...I had to eat something in 40 days.  And 2...I despise fruits and vegetables, so it seemed a perfect fit for my dependency issues.  Because the only way I was actually going to make it on a diet of broccoli and green apples was by the Grace of God.

(Please don't lecture me on the neccessity of certain nutrients, etc.  I've studied up on that, too, and have just decided that with my heart and mind in the right place, that God will see my very human body through the period.)

And so, here I am, 10 days in, and nothing has passed my lips that isn't a veggie or a fruit.  I'm eating my baked potatoes without butter, cheese, and sour cream, and I'm foregoing dumping cream cheese and cool-whip on my grapes. 

And it's hard.

But it is easier than I ever thought it would be.  Because I'm learning that I have the diligence to stick to something that seems totally far-fetched and crazy for me to manage, and because I have a whole lot of extra time on my hands to focus on the things that really matter. 

Another disclaimer...
This is totally just my deal.  I don't think anyone should do it, unless they feel called to do so.  It's not a diet plan or a time-management strategy.  It's hard and it makes you cranky and it makes people think that you have lost your ever-loving mind.  So please don't turn all vegan or disconnect your television because you read this post.  It really needs to be something between you and the Lord.  This isn't a self-help commercial by any means.  Because if I was trying to help MYSELF then I'd be in my car and at the nearest Olive Garden in the next 20 minutes. 

I have no doubt that after Easter, I will return to eating meat and pasta and cupcakes and bread and all my other favorite foods.  But I hope and desire that I will do so without the attachment and dependence on the food that I used to have.  Hopefully, food will just be food, and not my crutch. 

So...that's my Lent story. 

Do you have one?  I'd love to hear it!

Raw

I'm raw.

My emotions have been scraped so far down to the bone that one word mistakenly said or a slight unfortunate tone in a voice is like hot bleach searing through my flesh.

My status on facebook yesterday was that I felt like I was doing all that I could do to just dig my nails in and claw my way through the day.  I think some people thought I just needed a cup of coffee or that my fast that I've taken on for Lent has finally made me walk on the wrong side of the crazy track.  But, really, I have just reached a plateau of really really hard days.

I'm trying to reexamine myself and really dig deep to discover who it is that I'm called to be. 

I've always been a lively personality, but it wasn't until very recently that I've become confident and secure enough in myself that I have been able to throw off the worrying-what-everyone-thinks jacket and really step into the this-is-me-take-it-or-leave-it arena.  It was a hard, scary transition, but a very liberating one.  I felt free to be my inner sarcastic, fun-loving, live-on-the-edge self. 

But I'm struggling with whether that is who I'm called to be.

Am I called to put aside that inner drive to be blatantly honest about myself and who I am, choosing to not hide behind any curtains, and just let-it-all-hang-out (so to speak) in the name of authenticity and transparency?  Or is that actually, in fact, the woman God wants me to be, so that I might be an encourager to others?  Or am I really just a stumbling block?  Am I being a true friend, or a hindrance?

It's been a hard pill to swallow realizing that I perhaps have been driving wedges in God's will and plan.  But, I'm also so unconfident in my discernment that I can't tell if I'm just being deceived by raw emotions and feelings that are so hard to categorize and verbalize.

And so I have reached this plateau of not knowing which way to go.

And so I pray.  And I wait.  And I approach the Throne of Grace with pleading....

And until discerment comes, I will do so quietly.....

3.15.2011

Who Knew??

It was 60% / 40%.

Or maybe 70% / 30%.

Okay...fine.  It was totally 95% / 5%.  I was only going to go for the fun girls that were going with me.  And because it was a fantastic excuse to ditch the testosterone and surround myself with estrogen for three whole days. 

I mean, really, how much fun could a place harboring under the name Great Homeschool Conventions be?  I was imagining a dresscode that required apple appliques and an addition problem sewn somewhere onto one or more pieces of clothing.  And the speakers?  Seriously?  They were, no doubt, going to be have-it-all-together-apple-applique moms. 

Yep...definitely going just to get out of the house and hang with super fun girls.

Lemmetellya...I'm still munching on my words, and they taste like crow.

I learned a ridiculous amount from ridiculously normal people and came away feeling ridiculously bonded to a ridiculously amazing community.  Sound hokey?  Nada....

Here's a snippet of what I learned:

  • All homeschooling moms want to pull their hair out.  And if they say that they don't...they're lying.
  • All homeschooling moms want to strangle their children at some point.  And if they say that they don't...they're lying.
  • Most homeschooling moms are disorganized and can't seem to stay on top of maid/teacher/wife/mother/chauffeur/short-order-cook duties.  And if they say that they can...they're lying.
  • If a homeschooling mom actually manages to be somewhat of an organized personality, something in her home/life/school is a complete and utter disaster.  And if she says that everything is perfect...she's a liar.
  • Homeschooling moms also have the joy of dealing with ADD and ADHD kids.  We just can't send them home at 3:30 everyday.  We get the pleasure of hanging with these precious pups 24/7.  Lucky us.
  • Most homeschooling moms feel totally overwhelmed and completely inadequate at the idea of holding their children's entire educational future in their hands.  But most of us are actually doing a darn good job. 
  • Really.really.really.normal people homeschool.  People who use the tv as a babysitter just so that they can breathe for 5 minutes, and people who think sports are important, and people who let their kids play way too many hours of video games on school nights.  Really normal people. 
  • And.
  • And.
  • And.
My list could go on and on. 

I did learn some very specific tips and ideas, and I made some very serious curriculum decisions while there.  But, mostly what I took away from the convention was that homeschooling isn't weird anymore.  It's becoming very much of a social norm.  I felt very comfortable in this skin that I'm wearing, and I came away with a new outlook on this very.very important role I'm playing in my boys' futures.

I've also realized that I am in a position of great privilege.  I know that I am, along with my fellow homeschoolers, the envy of many folks.  Folks that, for whatever reason, wish that they could do what I get to do, but can't or don't or won't.  I get the joy of not only being in control of what my kids learn and when and how they learn it, but getting to witness every second of their little lives. 

Sure, there are days that I am looking for the first big yellow bus that will drive by the house, so that I can flag down the driver and shove the offspring onboard.  But, far many more are the days that I just lavish the time.

I started homeschooling because the other options just weren't working.
Now I realize that I'm homeschooling because I just love being with my kids.

Remind me that I said that the next time you see me waving down that school bus.......


(To Brandi, Jennifer, Sadie, and Amy....thanks for the great company, the great talks, and the great encouragement.  xoxoxoxo)

2.26.2011

Ketchup

I'm not really a ketchup lover.  I'm more of a mustard gal.  In fact, the only thing I will eat ketchup on are McDonald's french fries.  And maybe an occasional chicken nugget if I'm feeling sassy that day.

Nope, ketchup's not really my thing. 

But today, it's necessary.  Because when you haven't blogged for precisely 17 days (the math is courtesy of Jim-Dad), KETCHUP is warranted....or CATSUP....or CATCH-UP.  You know...toe-may-toe, toe-maw-toe.  

KETCHUP Numero Uno:  I have been doing a whole lot of nothing.  I feel like I've been very busy and just wave at myself as I come and go, but now that I think of it, I haven't really done much of anything productive.  We've managed quite a few full school days which is a miracle in itself, and I did spend several days laid up in bed with the Mystery Virus of TwentyEleven, but other than that...um...can't really think of anything.

Two Bottles of KETCHUP on the Wall:   I had convinced myself that my house is a breeding ground for all kinds of nasty because I've been so extremely and remarkably busy.  But, thanks to the realization of Numero Uno up there, I now need to double up on my Prozac seeing as my depression level just hit an all time high.  My house is gross because I don't like to clean.  And because I do stuff like spend 3 hours searching the web for a new blingy iPhone case.  Hmmmm.....admission is the first step to recovery, right?

KETCHUP III:  Back to the Mystery Virus of TwentyEleven....  All I wanted to do was sleep.  And then when I would get up, I'd get overwhelmingly nauseous and go back to sleep.  And then I'd wake up with a headache from the underside of Hades.  It was like I was waking up from having had one too many margaritas every 5 minutes.  But I hadn't.  Honest.  But now that I think of it, I will now refer to it as the MMV.  The Mystery Margarita Virus.  Catchy.

Doing It FOUR the KETCHUP:  While I was down and out with the MMV, I discovered a ridiculous time-waster.  If you're an iPhone/iTouch/iPad user, run away.  Do not read any further, lest you be lured in by the siren song of the POCKETFROG.  Lord.Love.A.Frog.  I'll just leave it at that.....  And don't say that I didn't warn you.

KETCHUP #5:  The husband is doing mucho muchly better.  He's off his crutches and is back at work and all of that other good stuff.  He did tell me the other day that he can now feel the weather changing in his knee.  So now he is one of THOSE people.  Awesome.  Next I'll be lulled to sleep with stories of his yesteryears when he walked to school barefoot....

KETCHUP x6:   The gym that I pay money to attend ran a special for the year of 2011.  They offered this ridiculous membership deal that gave you the whole year for the cost of 3 months.  Pretty sweet deal.  Too good to pass up.  It was pure motivation back in January when I re-upped the membership under the new sweet deal to finally whittle away the years of cupcakes and Diet Dr. Peppers that have so kindly attached themselves to my hips.  It is now the last of February, and I can count on two hands the times I've darkened the doors of the gym this year.  But I would need a whole room full of hands to add up the amount of cupcakes I've inhaled.  Sigh.... 

Seven Swans a'KETCHUPing:  I'm going to try to finish up the curtains for my living room today.  It has been exactly a year since the Great Living Room Remodel was completed, and I'm just.now getting to the curtains.  Procrastinate, much?

KETCHUP Eighthly:  A super sweet friend took all three boys out for pizza and roller skating last night.  So, I, in turn, devoured a huge plate of spinach ravioli at my favorite hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant and then caught up on a bunch of shows that have been tucked away in my DVR.  What a blessing.  Thanks, Melissa!!  (Oh..and the boys had a great time, too.)

Nine KETCHUPS:   I have a standing coffee/dessert date with my besties every Wednesday while the boys are at an after-school program at one of the local churches.  Thanks to the Snowpocalypse AND the husband's whacked out knee AND the Mystery Margarita Virus, I've had to miss every date since the beginning of the year.  Not cool, y'all.  So not cool.  Praise to all things good and made of coffee, though, we were able to meet up this past Wednesday, and it was so therapeutic.  There is nothing quite like solving the world's problems over way too many cups of coffee and a bowl of blackberry cobbler. 

10 Little KETCHUP Packets Jumping On the Bar:   I read a tremendous book the other day.  It's called Lies I Told My Children, and, y'all, I could've written this book.  The author, Karen McQuestion, is my new kindred spirit, and I'm so tempted to track her down just to hug her neck.  And to see if she is my long lost twin.  Because she talks like me, writes like me, and parents like me.  And in my head she looks just like me.  She also makes me feel insanely normal.  And, in fact, the only thing that makes me sad is that she totally ripped off my book idea that I've had stirring around in my head.  Darn her for writing it first. 

I could keep the Ketchups going....

I could tell you about my housefly infestation and that I am now rewarding the children in quarters for the number of dead flies they bring to me. 

I could also tell you about how I suited up in HazMat gear to clean out the big trash bin by the road that we put our bags of garbage in.  It had been ravished by a team of menacing buzzards and crows, and they made one stink of a mess.  Dumb birds. 

And I could tell you about how I found a ticket stub for a movie that was watched in DECEMBER in the pocket of a pair of jeans in my laundry room.  That would be how far behind I am on my laundry....

BUT...I'll save all that for another day of KETCHUP.

Wouldn't want to waste it all in one place....

2.09.2011

It's Snow, Yo!

Ah...  Snowmageddon.  The Snowpocalypse.  A dastardly Snowtastrophe. 

Again.

'Tis the third big snow we've had this winter'go'round, and I'm so over it.   Like I've said before, we Arkansans don't handle this weather well.  The prospect of a few good inches, and it sends us all up in a tizzy.  Schools cancel hours before the first snowflake hits, and folks get all kinds of ghetto on eachother in the bread aisle at WalMart.  It's hardcore, y'all.

And once again, I'm forced to strap on plastic bags to the feet of the offspring, because while we are most certainly outfitted in all manner of make and model of flip-flop, we ain't got no snow boots up in this hood.


Oh...you thought I was kidding?  Oh, no, friend.  And we're even classy enough to support all major discount chains.  Dollar Tree and Walmart are both proudly repruhzentin'. 

Here are some other obligatory snow shots.  They pretty much look like the ones from last time, but I never really get tired of staring at rosy snowflaked cheeks wearing Walmart sacks for footwear.....  



And then I had to go and open my big mouth....

In an attempt to poke fun of the husband who is still rendered pretty much helpless, I made a snide comment about how if he were a "good dad," then he'd rig up something-or-other to pull the darling angel babies around in the snow...you know, redneck sled style.  Because we don't own sleds in the South either....

My sarcasm was beat down like a whipped horse.

Because before you can say, "Don't eat the yellow snow!" -- the husband was crutching his way to the garage to rig up a sled contraption to the Razor.  Seriously, Dude?  Point taken.  I will never question your ability to redneck rig something ever again...bum leg or not.

And then I found out who had to drive the dern thing.  In the cold.  I don't like to be cold.  Or wet.  Or cold and wet.

So I took it upon myself to come up with the sexiest get-up I could find.....



Hawt, huh? 

And here I am behind the wheel of power....


And here are my victims...uh, I mean...passengers.....

Oh...you only see two?  The other one is there....see his legs hanging off of the back?  That seemed to be the choice spot.  Although I don't know why, what with all the snow ending up in your draw's' and all.  Brrr...

Did I mention it was cold?  Even with that facemask thing on, I was about to lose my upper lip to frost bite.  Plus the face mask belongs to the husband's hunting season, and it smells like feet.  Not that the husband smells like feet...I'm just sayin'....

I tooled around our yard and hayfield for a good little bit, pulling boys, making sharp turns so that boys went flying, and driving slow watching boys running their Walmart sacked feet through the snow drifts trying to catch back up to the sled.  And then I parked and went inside.  Because fun is only fun until Mama gets cold.

The husband crutched out and took some video and picts of the fun, and this is my favorite one:

Because I had just left two kids faceplanted on the driveway....  Snort.Giggle.

And then here is a little video.  If you choose to watch it, you'll see the good clean fun of me leaving the Tater Tot in the dust.  Again, Snort.Giggle.

video

So, was the snow horrid?  No.
Was it fun?  Uh...sure.
Am I ready for Spring?  Ab.so.lute.ly.

Have I loved hanging with my men?  Snow-Doubt.

2.07.2011

Random Highlights and Lowlights of the Past Lots of Hours

1.   I've been sleeping on the couch for 8 nights now.  The only place that the husband can sleep comfortably is in the recliner, and I don't like sleeping away from him, so the couch it is.  Before you go thinking I'm really syrupy sweet, I have made a habit of reminding him of my martyrdom daily.

2.   Due to a small, slight, minute, and rather minuscule miscalculation of the DVR, the husband missed the last 2 minutes of the Super Bowl last night.  It was totally my fault, and I spent an hour apologizing via text message from the bedroom that I had confined myself in after the unfortunate incidence totally an accident. 

3.  The husband went back to work today, and it was so very strange without him here at the house.  It's bizarre how quickly our normal and routine can change.  I spent a better part of last week trying to use my voodoo mind powers to shoo him on back to work early.  And I spent all of today wishing him home.  Weird.

4.  This weekend, two of the rascals came down with the mystery fever/sore throat/cough virus that seems to be floating around.  I have treated everyone like they had the plague and have prayed that I don't come down with it.  I'm the captain of this boat right now, and if I were to go down, we'd be sunk for sure.

5.  What about Christina Aguilera totally botching our Nation's sacred song during the Super Bowl?  Yikes.

6.  OH..and the Black Eyed Peas and their light show?  I needs me one of those light up suits.  That was some serious Boom Boom Pow.

7.  Speaking of singing or NOT singing, have you been watching American Idol?  What about those new judges?  I have had to eat some major crow, because I was one that talked so ugly about the passing of the torch from Simon to Stephen Tyler; Paula to JLo.  BUT.I'M.HOOKED.  They intrigue me to no end, and I have found myself not.even.missing.Simon.at.all.  Didn't think I would ever utter those words.

8.  It's supposed to snow.  Again.  In South Arkansas.  Go ahead, Northerners, scoff.  But we Southern Belles don't understand all of this frigidity.  It's ridiculously cold, and none of us own like-for-real winter garb.  The closest I have to a winter coat is a cutie army jacket from Old Navy that most people who live in snow infested places would wear as part of an outfit.  And I sent my boys out in the snow last Friday with WalMart sacks tied around their shoes..... Yep.  We be ghetto.

9.  I almost got blessed with a Skunk Spa package last night.  Since the husband is all crutched up, I've been promoted to Chief FireMaker.  Our wood pile by the fireplace was running low, so as I walked outside to gather a couple of more logs, I came face to tail with a little stinker.  I had already walked fully out of the door and shut the door behind me, so that made it all the more difficult to claw myself back into the house once I realized what I was staring down into.  The odor gods must have been smiling on me, because somehow I escaped unsprayed.  Although I have no idea how what with my heinous carrying on and screaming like a girl. 

I'm sure I could go on with this hot mess....but my brain is fried.  I'm in much need of interaction with other estrogen bearers, and since I can't seem to find any within any reasonable distance, I'm going to settle with a gLee marathon and a bowl of icecream.  One must improvise in a pinch.

Happy Monday, y'all...
And blessings on your head.

2.05.2011

Betcha Didn't Know: The 'Lord Have Mercy' Edition



Lord Have Mercy.  Lord Love a Duck.  And Shut the Window and Call Me Edgar. 

Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That the husband has been home for approximately 288 hours. Give or take a trip to the hospital or two.  But I was still husband-sitting, so it totally counts.  288 hours.  That's a whole lot of man-tv watching and iced tea fetching. 
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That though I'm madly in love with the husband, the old adage "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" makes perfect and complete sense to me now.  I've decided that his going to work is good for our marriage. Space and time is good for all of us. The only thing that is saving my sanity now is that he spent the last part of 2010 and the first part of 2011 traveling like a madman, so we're still finding stuff to talk about.  For right now....
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That now people are going to be all worried about us and our marriage.  Relax.  We're good.  I've been totally slapped in the face with how much I've taken for granted about the little things that he does around the house to help me, and I'm so saddened for him that his outdoorsy personality has been stuck inside.  I also have no doubt that when the time comes for us to spend copious amounts of time together such as our future empty nest and retirement that we are going to be just.fine.  As long as no one has knee surgery.... *smirky wink* 
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That I'm actually feeling very, very blessed by the timing of all of this surgery/recovery mess.  The husband's ACL surgery was actually scheduled for March.  Baseball season.  And his plans included coaching baseball from the seated comfort of a 5 gallon bucket.  Um.Okay.  But, this way, he should be good as new come season's starting, so he shouldn't be leaving crutch marks in the baseline.  ALSO...the husband is getting ready to take on a huge project that is going to take him away from home most evenings and nights.  I had been so dreading this project, because he was supposed to walk straight into the project from all the traveling he had been doing.  But now, he's been forced to stay at home and spend a.lot. of quality time with me and the kids.  Although it will still be very sour to hardly ever see him once he's recuperated and ready to start on the project, at least we know that we spent lots and lots of hours with him beforehand.
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That the husband now has a whole new respect for the art of homeschooling.  I deemed him worthy of the honor of teaching beginning algebra to the 5th grader yesterday, and he quickly awarded me with all kinds of hefty accolades.  I'll take "Thank you very much" and "I told you so" for $400, Alex.
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That the husband has decided that being an invalid might just be worth it for his stomach's sake.  We've been poured on with heavy food blessings by our precious church family, and, needless to say, we've eaten very.very.very.ridiculously.well this week. 
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That I have cabin fever something fierce.  I've started hallucinating about my laundry coming to life and eating me.  And I haven't even been sneaking the husband's pain killers.
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That the husband is going to attempt to go back to work for a few hours on Monday, and I'm not sure who is more ready..... 
Betcha Didn't Know.....
  • That the husband and I are meeting our besties for lunch later today sans kids, and you would have thought that we won the lottery.  This is huge, y'all.  We're going to get dressed in real clothes and everything.
Betcha Didn't Know....
  • ...well, I betcha did know...that my resolution of a picture a day/blog everyday has traveled to The Island of Unresoluized Resolutions.  I've heard it has made itself quite comfortable there; saddling up right away to my other resolution of gym frequenting and healthy eating.  I'm sure they'll live happily ever after.
That's all.
Later, friends.

1.28.2011

That Whole 'Sickness & Health" Thing

After my parents forked over the price of a sleek foreign-made sports car for my college education, I decided that I should have studied something else.  I spent 4 years in the education department:  cutting, gluing, coloring, reading, and making file folder games.  But, it wasn't long after graduation that I wished I had done something else.

Nursing school.

I should have gone to nursing school.

I have thought a couple of times through the years about dropping everything and joining up in the program.  Don my scrubs and get to work saving the world...or at least a person or two. But then I had babies.  And decided to homeschool.  And I live at the baseball field 9 months out of the year.  And.And.And.  And none of those things are conducive to nursing programs.

But this week I was granted the opportunity to stretch my nursing legs.  To see if I had the right stuff.

I don't.

Clearly.

I don't.

This week I have played nurse to the husband.  And I discovered very quickly that the scrub-life ain't for me.  A very very quick discovery, I might add.

It all started Tuesday morning.

Kirk went to the gym.  Like normal.  He worked out.  Like normal.  He was walking.  Like normal.  And he fell.  Like NOT normal.

Turns out Kirk's busted ACL (which he's known about for a year now, and had a surgery to take care of it on the books for March) decided to go ape-wild, and when Kirk hit the floor at the gym, his cartilage went ape-wild with it.  After trying to get it "popped" back into place and failing miserably, he called me and said, "Get me to my doctor.  Stat."

So off we went.  The ortho doc is about a 30 minute drive from us, so we loaded up the entire crew and headed that way, fully expecting the doctor to pop the knee back in place and send him home with a handful of pain pills and a pat on the back.

Ixnay on the going omehay.

Turns out the doctor couldn't get it popped back in either, and he scheduled Kirk for urgent surgery THAT DAY.  Whahuh?  That was not what I had planned for my day when I woke up that morning.

Long story short...we got the kids squared away, we had A VERY ROUTINE surgery done, and we went home.  With a fistful of pain pills and a pat on the back.

And so began my nursing career.

Just so happens that my first AND LAST patient can't just do things normally.

We spent Tuesday night and Wednesday day and night at home on the most powerful pain meds that a person can take by mouth. And it was the most excruciating day and nights that I have ever spent.  And I birthed 3 babies...without pain meds. 

Yes.  It was that bad.

After waking up Thursday morning and being in even more pain, we headed to the Physical Therapy center per dr's orders...because MOST ACL patients start therapy 2 days out.

The husband isn't normal.  Remember?

The therapists took about 3 looks at him and said, "This ain't right, Mister.  Get thyself to thy doctor."  (Although I think I'm just making up the redneck/King James voice in my head...but that's how I remember it.)

So after talking to the doctor's office, we very gingerly made our way back the 30 minute drive to his ortho.  Every move and bump and brake of the car caused him to grimace and use his not-pretty words.  I seriously had never seen anything like it....

Until...

He got in the doctor's office.  When the doc started tinkering around with the husband's knee, I thought all hell was going to break loose.  The doctor's face turned a strange shade of green and sheer panic stretched across his face.  And (in my memory) in his very best redneck/King James, he said, "This ain't right, Mister.  Get thyself to the hospital." 

So here we sit.  We're going on 24 hours in the hospital on some pretty hardcore pain meds. 

And here's what we know:  NOTHING.

Seriously.  Nothing.  The doctor just came in to see him, and, basically, they have no idea what caused Kirk to not respond to the pain medication.  They've run tests and done x rays, and everything about this very routine surgery checks out as very very normal. 

They just don't know.

And right now, we are just having to be okay with the not knowing part.

We do have a plan though.  Kirk is right now being taken off of his drip drugs with the magic button that he gets to push every 6 minutes, and they are moving him over to pain meds by mouth.  And then we wait.  If he can tolerate it through the night, then we go home.  If it goes crazy again, then we stay and rehook to the drip. 

It's hard to not know.
To watch this big ole' burly man cry real salty tears because the pain is so ridiculous.
To see him hurt.
It's hard to wait.
And watch.
And sleep on these horribly awful foldout pieces of plywood that they call "Family Beds." 

One thing I do know though....

No nursing school for me.  I've had enough.

Nope. 

I'm sticking with the flight attendant dream.

Peanuts, anyone?

1.25.2011

Are you there? It's me, Horton.

I spent precisely 64 minutes today on the phone with a very nice man named Raj. Raj is from New Delhi but he pretended he was from Milwaukee. I was on to his little game, but I played along because Raj is the grand puppeteer determining whether I get Internet access back in working order at my house or not. So while I wait on Raj to do his thing, I'm stuck banking, blogging, and surfing from my phone. Which is a pain in the tail. So I sucked it up and tried to butter Raj up....

My Internet has been all kinds of wonky for the past several weeks. So I'm unashamedly blaming my blogging nonexistence on that. But...just to keep it real, there have been lots of other things occupying a lot of my minutes....

Like:

1) I've returned to the pit of hell..er...the gym. My jeans that were very loose-ish around Thanksgiving have started to groan when I try to pour myself in them, so I decided it was a sign. But I have definitely decided getting fat is WAY more fun than getting skinny. Yah, carbohydrates. Boo, chicken and brown rice.

2) I went to our homeschool group's Moms' Nite Out tonight. We all just sat at dinner in awe of the different faces. I don't think non-homeschoolers realize how taxing homeschooling can be. It's one thing to be a stay-at-home mom to babies and toddlers (NOT an easy job), but it's a whole other ballgame to have a houseful of prepubescents and adolescents day in and day out. This would be why I'm a proud partaker of Prozac.

3) Baseball has started up for our family. Which means I'm back to driving the taxi service. Tonight the boys went to a pitching clinic that lasted 3.5 hours. Three.and.a.half.hours. On a school night. That's nothing but crazy. But, of course, we'll go back for the next 7 weeks. Because we appreciate torture. (and by the way...yet another reason I'm so thankful we homeschool.)

4) I'm wasting monumental amounts of time planting and harvesting crops on Smurfville. Yes. Smurfs. If you are thinking Farmville, it's not. It's way cooler. Because it's Smurfs. And Smurfs make me happy.

5) I'm watching American Idol even though I said I wouldn't. I didn't think I could handle Steven Tyler and JLo. But I'm thoroughly and utterly smitten. I don't even miss Simon. Gasp.

6) I can finally tell you that the husband has been gone for the past 3 weeks, because I don't like to advertise when I'm bachlorette-ing it. But I can tell you that these 3 weeks have been uber-long. With the snow and the temperatures being so so cold, we've been stuck in the house way too much. Cabin fever is the understatement of the century. Let's just say, it was a good thing that the husband came home, because the boys and I were coming close to losing our religion.

7) I took my Christmas tree down. 25 days AFTER Christmas. Yes, I'm that person.

I could keep the list going, but, frankly, I'm getting carpal tunnel in my thumbs from phone-blogging.

Oh. And it's time to harvest my carrots. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

1.17.2011

Empty

Y'all, I'm spent.

I'm running on fumes now, and I'm having a hard time finding the time and energy and even the want-to to refill the tank.  When it gets like this, it is easier to just retreat and hide.  In my bed.  On the couch.  Anywhere it is dark and quiet.  Away from phones ringing.  And children talking. 

Today I've hid.

And I'm fighting the urge to not hide tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the day after that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm so glad that even in the rough days of weepiness and exhaustion, there are some giggle-worthy moments.  Like this pajama clad Super Spy who has taken over my home....

Definitely graduation slide show worthy.....

1.16.2011

Swirly

I'm airing a smidge on the swirly side tonight.

I was slapped in the face tonight with the fact that I'm very very blessed.  Yet at the same time punched in the gut with the knowledge that I've been failing. 

I have a gorgeous family that other people brag on.  I'm still stumped at times when people brag on the behavior of my hellions or compliment their manners, but I'm so incredibly humbled.  Yet so extremely proud.  All in the same exhale.

I have beautiful friends that love me in spite of myself.  My besties have chosen to look past the garbage that floods these flesh and bones and have decided that, for whatever reason, I'm worth their time and energy.  And I'm mortified that I've been taking them for granted.  Not anymore.  I'm resolving to make sure that they know that they are loved and appreciated and needed.  Love you, friendies.

I have a church family that is like none I've ever experienced before in my life.  I just came tonight from a gathering of believers that was honest and humble and authentic.  People laughed and cried and were mellow.  And then we loved on eachother.  It was the church of Acts.  In 2011.  And I'm in awe that the Lord saw fit to allow me to be a part of such wholeness. 

I attended a meeting today that kicked off a very very busy upcoming season of tournament baseball for Sawyer.  To people outside of the baseball world, tournament ball and Little League is like Neptune.  A world that is so far from anything understandable in the normal realm, that it is hard to even associate with.  I know because I used to be that person.  But tournament baseball can easily consume a family.  It can consume every inch of time, money, energy, and effort that you allow it to, and it can very easily become an idol.  My prayer for this season is that we can maintain healthy balance.  It is very tempting for Kirk and me (I'm equally at fault here...) to allow baseball to control and dictate our lives.  Balance.  Healthy balance.  It's a necessity.

I'm still reeling with the fight that our dear sister, Joanne Heim, is punching her way through.  Right now things are not looking good.  She's taken a turn for the worse, and a miracle is her only hope.  (Her husband Toben's updates on her blog are the most accurate information on her status...)  It is impossible not to reflect on life as I know it right now and go through "what ifs" and "what would happens."  PERSPECTIVE has become the mantra for this week, but I'm also struggling with how to pray.  I know all the churchy Sunday School answers about how God's will is perfect, but right now I really just want Him to heal Joanne.  It would be so much easier if we could just boss God around....




I was made painfully aware tonight that I haven't been doing enough to further God's Kingdom.  I've been pretty complacent about my position in Kingdom work, because it is easy to claim that raising up my boys as Godly men is enough right now.  Not that raising my boys to be Godly men isn't important...it is MORE than important.  It is my main and primary goal and focus.  But, I haven't been making myself available to the unchurched.  To the hurting.  To the broken.  I haven't been being who we were called to be.  I've stayed comfortable in my South Arkansas Bible Belt bubble.  But it's time to venture out.  And bring my boys with me.  It's definitely time....

And in other ridiculous swirly news, I'm way behind on my DVR, but I have read 3 books in the past 2 days. 

I've also learned to make a fire in my fireplace.

Swirly, indeed. 

There's a lot that's been whirling around the ole' gray matter, and though I'm still trying to make sense of it all, I think I've come to a conclusion...

Do less.
Be more.
Focus on Him.

And the rest all falls into place....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1.15.2011

Hoarder Schmoarder PEZuhroarder

My dad is a hoarder collector.  A self-proclaimed one, I might add. 
Kirk's parents are hoarders collectors.  Self-proclaimed, as well.

So it's really no wonder that we all come by it honestly. 

My sister is a hoarder collector, though she argues it's "not the same" as Jim-Dad's.  I'm a hoarder collector.  I don't really mind getting rid of stuff, but I despise the process it requires.  Organizing closets and going through this and that equals Texas-size headache to me, so I'd just rather not do it...thus hoards of stuff collections occur.  Kirk's a hoarder collector.  His reasoning is that you never know when you might need something or other.  And then there are the children.  All hoarders collectors.

But, perhaps the biggest hoarder collector we have in the family is Keaton.  The kid has a collection of collections.  He keeps papers and paperclips and bottle caps and the teensy syrup bottles from Cracker Barrel that come with his pancakes.  He has shells and rocks and leaves and pen caps and spiral notebooks and empty bullet casings and parts and pieces of anything and everything that he deems interesting enough to keep. 

As a result, when Keaton decides he's going to start a new collection, my reaction is usually, "Uh-huh, that's cool..." because the kid usually doesn't stick with something long before he's off to the next most interesting thing in the world. 

So it was when he decided he was going to start a Pez Dispenser collection. 

I smiled and nodded and said, "Uh-huh, that's cool..." and went on about my business.  I had no idea what would transpire over the next year.

It all started last February-ish.  The Pez Dispenser collection.  It started with a couple of Pez Dispensers he picked up at WalMart just because he thought they looked cool, and he had a couple of dollars burning a hole in his pocket.

Then he decided to gOOgle Pez Dispensers.

Which led to his eBay addiction discovery.

Long story short, since last February, Keaton's collection has grown to 195 dispensers (I know, because we count them often *wink*).  Some have been bought with piggy bank quarters, some have been worked for, some have been eBay finds, and a lot of them have been gifts. 

And so far, he's still loving the collection.  And as far as his dad and I are concerned, he's going to KEEP ON loving that collection.  Because we know how much has been invested in those crazy plastic candy machines.

Today, Keaton decided to get out his big bin of dispensers and ORGANIZE them, one of his most favorite activities.  And since I didn't have anything going, I decided to spend the day with him.  I let him tell me all about his favorite ones.  About the worth of this one and that one.  I watched him dust all of them and carefully place them away in their special boxes and bins with an organizational strategy that only a ten year old could come up with.  I even helped him make a spreadsheet that wasn't written in Childese, so that we could start keeping track of what he has and what he doesn't. 

It was fun.
But my favorite part was seeing him so excited about these things that he cherishes so dearly.




See the box of candy?  Yep..he doesn't eat it.  He hoards collects it, too....

Oh, how that boy makes me smile....

All for the love of Pez.... 

1.13.2011

Watermelons

I heard on the news that 49 of 50 states have snow.  Florida is the only one wallflowering at our little white coat party.  Even Hawaii is shaking her snow thang. 

Poor Florida.

Or not.

Because, frankly, I'd be just fine if Arkansas would rest her legs and sidle up alongside Florida for a year or three. 

I consider it no small answer to prayer that the offspring have chosen to neglect the snow for the past two days, because I have had just about had enough of the slush and slop all up in my house.  And because of their hiatus, I've taken on a much better attitude regarding Old Jack Frost, mainly because I'm enjoying him from inside my warm house.  And because my floor isn't a constant mass of swirling snow puddle juice.

Considering that 49 out of 50 of you have also been slushing through the snow as of late, I'm almost positive that you have almost had your fill of the endless pictures of snowmen, snow forts, and snowball fights taking over everyone's neighborhoods.  But, too bad....you clicked over here, therefore, you must endure my barrage of family photos in the snow.  That is, unless you just X out of here, of course, which is always a possibility.  (Which is why I stealthily named this post "Watermelons" so that you wouldn't just assume right away that I was going to show snow pictures like everyone else in the Lower 48 Minus Florida Plus Hawaii Plus Alaska....Divided By Mongolia and Multiplied by Norway just for kicks.)

Getting on with it.....

SNOWMESOTIREDOFYOUMEGEDDON 2011

Holy Holding Marshmallow, Batman, that snowball is as big as his head!  (As was the cry fest that ensued after he chunked it at his BIG brother's head.)
This was taken just before he unleashed that huge snowball that he's holding in hand...while I'm saying, "No! I have my camera!" And then he did it anyway.  Hence the smirky grin.
Back Deck Snow Angels! 
(This is just as the snow was starting...we had no idea that fifty-eleven more inches would fall after that...)
I'll take Bundled Up Deliciousness for $1000, Alex.

Couldn't you just eat those freckles with a spoon?  Get in line.  I'm first.


The husband and the oldest rascal right before they tore up my yard during a mad fit of donut doin's.


Um...yes.  That would be them.  And this is the only picture I have of it, because I had to excuse myself into the house because I was going to have a panic attack about how fast he was driving that thing with my baby inside.
Look close...you can see the mismatched socks on the hands!  I have FINALLY discovered what all the lone socks are for that just live on top of my dryer. 


Alright, alright.  I'll stop. 

I guess all in all the snow wasn't that bad.  It was definitely gorgeous and gave us a great excuse to hunker down for a few days and do a whole lot of nothing.  But I will tell you that my perspective on snow has totally changed since I'm not teaching outside the home anymore.  I use to live for the morning news crawl that would announce a snow day for our school.  I would beg the weatherman to tell me that the temperature wasn't going to get high enough to melt the snow and ice off anytime soon. 

Not so much anymore.

Because homeschoolers don't get snow days.

Sheesh.  Poor kids.  Wonder who their teacher is?  Someone should have a talk with her.


 


1.12.2011

If You're Going to Skim...Go Straight to My Fourth Point

I was gracefully reminded by my father today that I had not only fallen off the blog wagon, but was the bearer of wheel tracks right 'cross the face.  Hmmm....'tis true. 

But, as always, good excuses abound. 

Firstly, I've been stuck in a house with 3 people whose ages don't even come close to my own age if added up together.  Therefore, the last thing on my mind has been blogging, because I've just been trying to refrain from curling up in the corner and poking hot needles in my eyes.  Keep in full mind, that I love the children dearly and profusely, but only being exposed to those 3 same faces for days on end is enough to make anyone start sucking their thumb and calling for their mama. 

Snowmeggedon struck SouthWest Arkansas this past weekend, and though some of you Northerners would scoff at our few and mighty inches, it was enough to send us Suthenuhs raiding the bread aisle at Walmart and confining ourselves to our homesteads.  We know sweat.  We don't know about this snow stuff.  (Case in point:  After thoroughly soaking through our first pairs of measly thin knit mittens and gloves while playing in the snow, I resorted to coating the boys' hands in socks.  Yes, socks.  Because we usually don't have a need for those thick thinsulate gloves whilst we're swatting mosquitoes.)   

On to my second excuse.  We lost our power during Snowmeggedon.  Now, granted, it was only out for 8 hours, but, I'm still recovering from the frozeness that overtook my toes during that time.  Plus, I had to trek to my van in the snow uphill both ways and barefoot to charge my phone, and that just made me grumpy.  And my grumpiness about the whole ordeal has unfortunately persisted....

Thirdly, I don't appreciate the constant bundling/unbundling of snow clothes.  Oh, to just have snow suits and snow boots...easy on, easy off.  (Listen to me assuming those are easy on/easy off...those ski getups could be like Fort Knox to get in and out of, but for my rambling purposes, I'm going to pretend they go on smooth as butter.)  But, since our warmest clothes consist of fleecey pajama bottoms and an assortment of camouflage parts and pieces, it was a little ridiculous all the layering and tucking that had to be done just to send the boys out for a romp in the snow.  And then they'd want to come in because the socks on their hands were sopping wet, and they needed a new pair.  I was popping Tylenol by the handful after all of that....

Fourth, and most importantly of all, I have been totally and thoroughly sobered by the news of a dear fellow blogger that has suffered majorly at the hands of an imperfect human body this week.  Joanne Heim, some know her better as The Simple Wife, had a stroke yesterday.  And now she is lying in a hospital bed in very critical condition.  Her 9 year old daughter found her at home, and in the blink of an eye, the lives of that entire family have been turned drastically upside down.  Everything that they knew was changed in an instant.

Joanne is only 38.  Thirty-eight.  And everything about the happenings have left me in a strange swirl of emotions.  I don't know Joanne personally, but I know people who do.  Their pain must be so much more deep than mine, yet I find myself grieving for her and her family.  Joanne is a blog friend of mine, and one that always had such uplifting and encouraging words for me the times I exchanged words with her.  She loves Jesus with every fiber of her being, and she is such an amazing advocate for marriage, family, and spreading the Word.  Joanne's husband, Toben, has been updating her blog here, and you can also follow @tobenheim on Twitter for updates on her progress.

Please pray for Joanne.  Please pray for her daughters, Audrey and Emma.  Please pray for Toben.  And the host of family and friends that are aching for her.  I know with all of my heart that Joanne would want this situation to glorify Jesus, and she would plead with the Father for whatever outcome gained that result.  I am praying for healing, but I also find myself beseeching the Lord for His good and perfect will to be done. 


(I'm not posting pictures today for my Photo Project.  Frankly, I don't have the energy to fight my internet service and Blogger to wait on the upload.  Perhaps tomorrow......)

1.08.2011

'Tis Truly a Puzzle....


Don't let the eldest offspring's face fool you.  He actually was having a fantastic time.

The husband left us for a business trip, and in a momentary lapse in sanity, I grabbed a big ole jigsaw puzzle at the store and decided that it would give the boys and me a fun break from the mind numbing loop of Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows that I have been being forced to watch time of togetherness. 

I was right.

It was a lot of fun.

And there were no tears.  Until today, when the boys decided that they were going to break the puzzle that we slaved over worked so harmoniously on last night and build it again today.  Since I have the attention span of a barn swallow, I was out of the rebuild, and therefore provided an entrance for World war III to ensue, because apparently I'm the only one in the family that doesn't lose their shorts over turning the pieces over and sorting out the sides and corners. 

I actually haven't worked a puzzle in years.  Probably the last jigsaw puzzles I worked were during the holidays at my parents' old house in Kentucky when Jim-Dad resorted to puzzling at the kitchen bar to escape the madness of the entire family in their very small living room.  My sister, Mich, and I would join him for the very same reasons.

My favorite memories of jigsaw puzzles, however, dive way back deep into the memory bank. 

Our family was living in Bangladesh, serving as missionaries, and I couldn't have been older than 6 or 7 years years old.  Even though most of the missionaries were stationed throughout the country in towns and villages, our mission had a central location in Dhaka (the capital city).  It was a large, several story brick building, that we called "The Guest House."  The Guest House was where all the missionaries stayed when they came into Dhaka, and was also a place where friends of the mission or other traveling missionaries from other countries could stay.  As I said, most missionaries, like my own family, were stationed out in the country, but there was one missionary family who lived in an apartment at The Guest House who oversaw its running and also handled the business of the mission. 

At the time that we were there, Uncle Jim and Aunt Bettye lived in The Guest House.  And I loved them so very much.  They were quite a bit older than my parents and filled somewhat of a grandparent role for me overseas, even though they did have a daughter that was just a few years older than me.  Aunt Bettye was always fun to hang around, but the one I always loved to see was Uncle Jim.

Nine times out of ten that we would show up at The Guest House, Uncle Jim would have a card table set up in their living room with a big huge jigsaw puzzle spread out on it.  There was a floor lamp that he'd drag over to the table to give more light, and the cardboard puzzle box would always be perched on the side of the table.

Uncle Jim would be sitting in a chair at the table working away, and there was always an empty chair, too.  I never ever saw anyone else sitting in that chair, and I like to think he was saving it for me.  Because when I'd bounce my pig-tailed tow-headed self in their front door, Uncle Jim would wave me over with one hand and say, "Sit yourself down here and help me.  I can't find this piece..."  and he'd point to an empty spot, and so it would go.  Every single time.  Exact same words.  "Sit yourself down here..."

I'd stay down there for what seemed like hours working on those puzzles with Uncle Jim, until Aunt Bettye would shoo me back upstairs to The Guest House for dinner or bedtime. 

To this day, I can't work a jigsaw puzzle without thinking of Uncle Jim and his card table. 

Such sweet memories.

This is Uncle Jim and I a couple of years ago at our Bangladesh Missionary Reunion.  He still looks exactly the same as I remember him back in the day.
This is Aunt Bettye and my sister, Mich, at the same reunion.


It's a PUZZLE the memories that stick out most in our child minds.  Pun totally intended. *wink&smile*

1.06.2011

Kindle Me Sweetly...

I don't know whom at Blogger is conspiring against me, but their cute is wearing off. This is the 2nd day that they are pulling the rug out from under my cleverly composed posts, and I'm beginning to not use my pretty words when referencing it. So I've resorted to posting from my phone. Take that, Blogger. You can't stop this girl.

Aside from attempting to work out a compromise with my blog host, I've done hardly anything today. I did get lesson plans accomplished for the next two weeks, which feels really good, but, other than that, I've done this:


Project Photo #6

Yep.

I've been perched in my big ole' chair with my snuggly new Razorback Snuggie (no diamonds for me...the husband knew the way to my heart this Christmas was through a good deal of Hog-emblazoned fleeced yardage!) and have had my nose stuck in OUR new Kindle. (I say "our" because, technically, I bought it for the husband for Christmas. But who are we kidding here? I had definite ulterior motives in play...).

What? You noticed that the page showing says "Prologue"?

Yah, that's because I've already read one book today and that picture was taken when I was just starting another.

I'm telling you....it's been a good day. 

- Posted using BlogPress from, Gertrude, my iPhone

1.05.2011

How UnSweet It Was...

Sigh.

If you were habitating under a rock last night, or just could care less about the amazingness of the SEC, then you might not have heard about the tragedy that manifested itself in the form of a teency little thing that we Arkansans were just a smidge worked up about.

Here's the Cliff's Notes:  Arkansas totally dropped the ball. 

Literally.

And though no one can accuse of us of not bringing an interesting game to the table (and some mighty interesting costuming on the part of our fans...), we gave the game away to Ohio.

We would have given them the ball, too, had we been able to hold onto it.

But enough about football.

Because it is only taking me to my ugly place today.

Sigh. 

What's not ugly is all the glorious earth-toned food I consumed last night at our little Sugar Bowl soiree. 

I love me some earth-tones.

Cheese.  Chips.  Potatoes.  Fried poultry.  Chocolate. 

Not a green thing in sight except for the spinach dip that was heavily infused with calories, so it wasn't shunned from the spread.

I might have filled my plate once or four times, but who's counting.

In other, yet somewhat related news, the husband renewed my gym membership yesterday.

And just like that...I'm back to the ugly place.

Sigh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PROJECT PHOTO #5...

.....is malfunctioning today.  Blogger won't let me upload my picture, but I pinky promise that I took it!

1.04.2011

Hey, Amber.... How 'Bout Some Sugar?

Hey, Amber, what have you done today?

  • Well, for starters, I swept my floor.  But you can't tell, so don't come over until I sweep again.  Then I tried to start a fire in my fireplace, but failed miserably at that.  I have taken comfort in the fact, though, that the husband, too, has had trouble getting the fires to start lately, as evidenced by the BLOWTORCH sitting comfortably next to the fireplace.  We know how to get things done around here.
So that's it, Amber?  Sweeping and fire-making failure?
  • Actually, no.  I worked profoundly hard at cleaning up the Christmas combustion that has taken over my house, but it doesn't look like I've done anything at all.  I'm wondering if maybe I should have just taken the morning off and done absolutely nothing anyway, since that is what it looks like.
  • This afternoon, the boys and I met a couple of besties at the park for a Bike and Scooter Fest.  One of the problems with living in the country is an abundance of gravel and an inadequacy of concrete.  And our one attempt at the scooter/gravel combo ended in depletion of my band-aide supply.  While the boys sweat and pedaled away, Jen and I devoured a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and gossipped....our own favored version of exercise.
Hey, Amber, did you take a picture?
  • Why, yes, I did.  Because I'm still hanging in there with my New Year's goal.
Project Photo #4

Aw, that's cute. And, look! All the boys are wearing Razorback shirts?  Fun coincidence, huh?
  • Oh, no, no coincidence at all, Dear Reader.  Our blood runs swine red around these parts, and we have been paying homage to our Almighty Razorbacks all.day.long. 
Hey, Amber, what makes today special for the Razorbacks?
  • Gasp.  I'm going to try not and get all kinds of offended up in here, and try to remember that some of y'all aren't from these parts.  Pull up a chair, honey, and let me enlighten you.....   TODAY IS SUGAR BOWL DAY!!! 
Sounds exciting.  I guess you're excited, huh?
  • We're VERY excited.  Like VERY excited.  Because the Sugar Bowl means good times with football, food, and friends!  Three of my favorite things!  In fact, we're leaving in a bit for a Woo Pig Sooie good time!  The only thing better would be sitting my happy in New Orleans front and center, but since that ain't happening, I'm going to gorge myself on all things dippy and cheesy and melty and sugary. 
  • I also have found my brain is running through an endless loop of Def Leppard"s "Pour Some Sugar On Me" for the past two days, which you are now thanking me for because you know that you are singing it right now....  You're welcome. 
Well, have a great time at the party, Amber, and I guess I should say, "Go Hogs!"
  • Aw.  You're sweet.  Thanks!  And I'm so proud of you for stepping out with the Piggy Love.
WOO PIG SOOIE!
BEAT OHIO!