Friday, December 19, 2008

40!!!!!

Today is Lance's 40th Birthday! Yippee!

We have some big fun planned for him!

This morning starts with a treat of donuts for breakfast. Tonight will be Texas Roadhouse (his favorite!).

The big surprise which he has just learned about is that he and I will be going to the Cowboys game Saturday night in Dallas. This is the last regular season game to ever be held in Texas Stadium. Should be an exciting night! We are also staying overnight at the Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas Saturday night while his parents keep the kiddos! I've had a hard time keeping this a secret from him until this morning!! This surprise involves us heading to Dallas 2 days earlier than we had planned. He will be busy packing today!

Happy Birthday babe! Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More pics

I know most of you who are regular readers are in shock. Yes, my friends, I have had pictures in my last 3 posts. This is a new record for me, but don't worry, I'm sure I'll go back to my old ways soon. Just think of this as a Christmas gift from me to you!

In the meantime, enjoy some more pics from our trip to Santa's Wonderland last week:

Me and my boy:




My gal:




My kiddos "in the band":

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two loves

Sunday evening we had a Christmas musical at our church. I was a wee bit concerned about making it thru the 90 minute performance because our kiddos had been up to 10pm the night before, up at 7am and no nap. This is generally a recipe for disaster! So, smart momma that I am, I packed up the crayons and paper.

For L, no worries, the girl was so sleepy, she curled up on the pew and slept thru almost the entire thing! For N, the boy got to work. He had several great creations, but this was my favorite:




He combined his two loves together in one picture: Trains and Jesus!

I love how the train is headed straight to the manger!

N is very open in discussing how God and Jesus are his best friends! This makes me happy. Somehow, his friends at school get to talking about God. He shares things they talk about sometimes and it's quite humorous to hear perspective about God from 1st graders. But, last night we had to have a little discussion about appropriate things to say to others!! He mentioned his friend E doesn't love God. He said, "I told E if you don't love God, you will go to h*ll." Not sure where he heard that, as Lance and I don't talk like that. But, he probably heard it from someone else at school. I told N that he needs to be sensitive to others at school who may not get to go to church or have parents who tell them about Jesus.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A sled?

So, we had snow here last week. Like real, honest to goodness snow. Snowball fighting, snowman building snow. No ice. It was awesome and beautiful. And it may, just may have set the bar a little high for the weather this Christmas. 'Cause you see to my kiddos, snow on December 9 and 10 means there is a guarantee for snow on Christmas. It just don't snow much here in South Central Texas.

So, when we made our annual trip to Santa's Wonderland for our hayride thru the gazillion lights and our trip to see Santa, my kids both asked Santa for....you guessed it, a sled. 'Cause nothing says Christmas like a sled that they might get to use again when they are 17 and 13!





When I saw how this photo turned out, I was very proud because L doesn't always (never) like having her photo made. But, I also realized how BIG my kids are getting. I live with them everyday and know they are growing (which is healthy) but when you see the photos, oh, it takes my breath away. I've got to enjoy every moment with them. Before I know it, they won't want to see Santa anymore.


So, Santa did ask them to give a "back-up" gift idea in case the sleds don't work out...and what did they ask for? A computer!!! Hello, I think the children will be disappointed this year. But hopefully, once they see what he does bring, the 'puter and sled will be a distant memory.

Head over to BooMama's blog today if you want to see her Tour of Homes - there are some really pretty ones over there!

Let it Snow!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recipes and Great Ideas!

For those of you who've never lived with a 7 y.o. boy (or a boy of any age for that matter) you are missing out on a unique experience. This is my second time to live with a 7 y.o. boy (the first was my brother). Here are some recent events from our house:

1) "Momma, I have a great new recipe: You just need green and red jello; chocolate and vanilla ice cream; red and green M&Ms; and a cherry.

After the jello is done, you just mix it all up in a bowl, some people may not like it, but it will look beautiful" See picture below that he drew:






And the grocery list for the items we didn't have:





2) After explaining to N why we don't want to leave standing water (mosquitos) N said, "I have a PERFECT idea....let's get a bat" After I stopped laughing and saying, 'no way', N says with a straight face..."they don't bite. Well, only 3 of the 1600 kinds bite and we wouldn't get one of those"
Oh well, in that case, bring it on! (or not.)

3) After school the other day N made the sweetest card for his friend A next door. He took scraps of my papers and designed a beautiful card complete with 7 hearts. The message inside?

Dear A,

I'm so glad you live next door to me or else I wouldn't have anyone to play with.

Love, Mr. N


It was soooo sweet although not quite factual -- there are about 10 other kids on our street he plays with regularly

4) N's art teacher told him that he was the best behaved student in class the other day. I asked him how he responded and he said, "I didn't, I just blushed." AWWWW!


And finally, a self-portrait by the 7 y.o. himself:




Can you tell I'm one proud momma?!? I love this boy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My mono is smokin'

So, for my stampin' pals, you will be shocked to hear what I did Friday night!?!

I made 42 cards at one sitting. Oh yes, yes I did. And I'm a humble gal too. That makes my total for the week at 77 which is about 6 times what I've done in the rest of the year combined.

Nothing like the pressure of Christmas to get me motivated. I'm a self-starter like that.

Now, I know what your next question is. And I think you know what the answer is, so that's it, you'll have to take my word for it. If you want to see any proof of what I've done you'll have to come by the house or hope you might be the recipient of one of "said" cards!!

And now back to our regularly scheduled slacker schedule of one card a month. I wouldn't want to have to give up my "slacker" position, now would I?

Friday, December 5, 2008

The funny ---it is back!

Lance and I watched The Office last night and thankfully, the writers are back to the funny!

They've struggled this season what with Pam being gone and the new HR lady---thank goodness that is over.

Some of my favorites from last night's episode:

Michael asking Oscar to explain the budget surplus to him like he was an 8 year old and then when he clearly still didn't understand, asking Oscar to explain it as if he were a 5 y.o.

Pam and Jim's battle over the new copier vs. the chair. When Pam dumped the tiramasu in the trash, that was great.

Dwight and Angela getting married by the German-speaking Mennonite Minister and then her coming into the office and making out with Andy, then saying "I need to tend to a small legal affair"

Having the security guard decide where to spend the surplus

When Jim asked Pam at the end to make 3 copies, stapled, and collated. He said, "I wouldn't ask you to do that (as he leans in for a kiss); I need 4 copies.

Thank you The Office for coming back to us. Please stay in The Office and don't go chasing any other tangents!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My head is spinning!

I've been absent from the blog world lately. Nothing is wrong, just busy! Like all of you, I'm busy with shopping, crafting, decorating, and planning the social calendar for our fam!

Since Thanksgiving, some updates:

1) I managed to wrench my knee last week and ended up on the couch all day Saturday. Thankfully, it's feeling better now.

2) I've been a card-making fool...I've made 30 cards the last two days! I'm giving personalized card sets to my kiddos' teachers at school and church. I've still got more to go, but I feel accomplished with the dent I've made. I think I'll also make some sets for family members for stocking stuffers!

3) The 2 trees are now decorated; the only other thing left to do is set up all the nativities and finish the garland on the staircase --hopefully, that will be completed today

4) Only 2 actual gifts have been purchased--I've got some work to do in this area. We are travelling to Dallas this year for Christmas, so we've got to somehow sneak the "Santa" gifts in the car as well. We think this will probably be the last Christmas that N will believe...this 7 y.o. has become oh so savvy and is asking lots of questions about the logistics involved in Santa. I want to enjoy this sweet innocence as long as possible and hopefully convince him to keep it sweet for L a few more years.

5) 3 year olds are about the perfect age for the magic of Christmas!!! L was shrieking with delight at all the Christmas ornaments and lights. She is over the top excited --love it!!

6) We have someone in our family who is turning 40 this month! Lance will celebrate the BIG 4-0 on December 19th. Plans are being made. Stay tuned for more details on this big event!

7) My sweet daughter has now begun using God as a reason for doing things. Example: "L, it's time to go to bed." Her response, "No, God told me I don't have to"...How do you reason with that? God is speaking directly to my gal...wow! Do Mommas trump God in matters of household rules?!?

8) N has stayed on "green" two days in a row at school...this is good news indeed.

9) It only takes 20 minutes for kids to take an entire unopened package of construction paper and make paper airplanes out of the whole thing. These airplanes then fill almost every clean space on the floor. It's amazing. Really.

Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful time of year and don't forget the reason we celebrate - the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Full House and A Full Heart

Today has been a wonderful day of family and food. We've had 12 people in the house and 6 of those are 7 and under. It's been a day of excitement, squealing, and running! It's been a day of cousins loving on each other and grownups laughing along! It's been a great day that makes me thankful for my family.

I hope that you and yours have had a fantabulous day and one in which you were able to count each blessing!

We also had one special visitor...the tooth fairy came again last night after N lost his 2nd tooth while eating dinner - that's definitely something to be thankful for!

Tomorrow, we'll enjoy more time together and find more adventures to enjoy together (and we won't be joining the shopping madness!!) - Saturday, we hope to get our Christmas tree up and decorated!

This time of year is wonderful and so full of great traditions!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm one of millions

So, it happened this weekend. I did something current, hip, and with the masses.

I went to see Twilight. Somehow, I had never even heard of Twilight until last week and then I got sucked in.

After our church's Thanksgiving dinner last night, I was invited to go to see the late show with some other gals. A couple of them had already seen it earlier that day and were already seeing it for the second time!

The movie? It was good. Great story, some of the parts are a bit disturbing, but hey! it is about vampires, so what can you expect?

I do want to read the books now...there are 4 and of course the movie ended with hints of the next movie to come...

My rating: thumbs up!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crafting

Tuesday night was Card Club night at Jennifer's - it was super fun! She had good food and great Christmas Card projects. And of course the best part was the company of friends!

Emily was so sweet and brought me one of her awesome CD covers complete with the Michael W. Smith CD that was recorded during our trip to Houston last summer. Thanks Emily!!

I've found a site that has super cute letters and such --some things they make and some you can do-it-yourself! It's called Say It with Letters - it's an Etsy shop and I have my eye on something for my master bedroom. It's a Fancy Schmancy Letter (no really, that's what it's called!) and they can make it in custom sizes.

I have this vision for what our bedroom will look like someday and it includes the letter M in a custom size - in silver! We'll see if I can make it happen. I'm thinking a bedroom redo would be an awesome thing as Lance and I get closer to our 15th anniversary next August. I have visions of changing the pulls on our furniture to silver and painting the room a beautiful lavender/grey - I love the feel of those colors with the mahogany furniture we have. I would also LOVE to have mirrored chests as our nightstands. Do you think that is too over the top?!? We have a 4 poster rice bed so our furniture is already big and traditional. I will definitely have to find these chests for less money, but I love the look!

Ah, dreams, plans, and ideas....now if I can just implement them!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HB Gpa!

Today is my Dad's birthday! He is known as Glen to some, Dad to 2, and Grandpa to 6. My Dad is one of the 3 wisest people I know. Now, I don't know if he was always this wise or not. I think some of it may have come thru age :) All I know is that I hope when I'm his age, I will be wise and that my kids will come to me for advice like I go to Dad.

Those of you who've read my blog for awhile have seen comments from my dad and while he doesn't comment on every post, he does comment on those where he has a helpful viewpoint - whether humorous or serious.

Sadly, these were the most recent pics I could find of my dad and they are from the spring of 2007. I think most of the time we're together we're too busy enjoying one another to stop and take pics. We'll have to do better with that.










Happy Birthday Dad and Grandpa - hope you have a great day!

I love you,
Jen

Monday, November 17, 2008

a different perspective

The weekend....well, it didn't go exactly as planned.

Some things just didn't work out and one person was in a bad mood. So....things weren't as fun as they could have been, but one thing was still fun! The Peter and the Wolf Children's Symphony in San Antonio was really neat! It was an interactive time geared towards children. They had Q&A time as well as having activities prior to the symphony for the kids to do. Mine loved it! I would definitely do this again!

Another first this weekend? We went on the boat tour thru the riverwalk. Lance and I had never done that before but we choose to do it this weekend with the kiddos and they loved it! The Riverwalk was not crowded at all - probably due to the extremely cold wind. It was nice to get in and out of places easily! We forgot our camera, so no pics, but good memories!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A different week

This week was unusual for us. Lance took the entire week off. It was great! He was home every evening and we got LOTS of family time. It's made a big difference for the kiddos - especially L. She has had lots of Daddy time and I think it's done her a world of good. She is usually glued to me, but this week, she got to:

have Daddy take her to dance class - which he LOVED! This is a highlight of our week!
wrestle with Daddy and Bubba!
Have Daddy change her sheets in the middle of the night when she had an "accident"
Play "Trouble" and "Clue Jr"

Bubba too has benefitted from Daddy's vacay - except for Monday, Lance has picked him up from school each afternoon
They've worked on homework, painted N's room and rearranged the furniture - hoping to have pics up next week - but ya know, it could be 2 weeks or 25.

Lance is also planting some new crepe myrtles in our yard ---love these weeks of accomplishment!

And me, yes, having a husband around has been nice - tonight we even get to have date night!!! It's been months since our last one, so excitement abounds. Although I have to say, there are really no movies I want to see right now. Why does that always happen? When we can't go out, there are tons of movies? But tonight, not so much, so I think we'll probably see the new James Bond. Not even sure of the name, but Lance will enjoy it, so there ya go!

And to top it all off, he also has Sunday off!!! So, we are headed to San Antonio after the soccer game on Saturday. I'll write more next week about our adventures in SA - we have something special planned for Sunday afternoon!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

N's Success!

In case you haven't heard it before, my N, he is an active one. Always has been, probably always will be. Think Ty Pennington or Richard Simmons as a 7 y.o. As I've mentioned before, N struggles with sitting still and keeping his hands to himself.

1st grade has been a struggle in this area for him.

Well, yesterday, there was a great thing in his Monday Folder. It was a happy stamp and his best conduct grade of the year!!!! Yippee! This is a major accomplishment for my boy. I'm very proud of him. I know how hard this is for him!

We discussed some of these issues with N's pediatrician last week and I love how she put it, "When we're born, we don't all get to line up in heaven and decide what our "problem" will be. We don't get to choose cancer, heart disease, or dyslexia. We're all given something. Some are discovered at a young age and some show up later in life, but we all have something we have to deal with."

And not only did he have success in his conduct, he was moved up a level in his "take home" reader. And this new level, it has a table of contents and a GLOSSARY. Harvard, here we come!!!

Or not. Because what really matters the most to Lance and I is that our children are happy, good citizens, and loving God. Everything else is just gravy.

One of the things I read on an adoption blog yesterday spoke about how the children you've adopted may not be interested in the same things you are. They come to the family with different biology and different interests and talents. And it's up to the adoptive parents to either embrace those differences and broaden their own horizons OR try to manipulate their child into their own image. I hope Lance and I always remember to embrace the differences. We've already learned more about trains,origami, volcanoes, and earthquakes than I ever thought possible.

And interestingly enough, N does have my great love for architecture and design. He loves going to tour model homes and his latest book from the library? How to build a house. It has step by step instructions for everything from the foundation to electricity, cabinets, etc. Quite a selection for a 1st grader, huh?

N, I'm proud of you and I can't wait to see how God will form and shape your life. And for now, I'm just having fun watching you take it all in!

Love,
Momma

Sunday, November 9, 2008

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month - a time to focus on the importance of adoption and the celebration of families created thru adoption.

This year the focus is on finding families for the thousands of children in foster care. This is a crisis and one that breaks my heart. I feel a burden for these children without parents. Many of these will be in the "system" until they turn 18 and will remain "orphans" all the days of their lives. Do we not need parents any longer once we are 18? Think about all the times you've called your parents for money, advice, a shoulder to cry on, or to celebrate a big accomplishment---if you are like me, there have been many of these phone calls since you turned 18.

I have a burden and have been praying for many months about what God would have me do for these children. Is my role simply to pray? Are Lance and I called to adopt one of these into our family? Is there something else altogether we are to do? The answer right now is "I don't know", but I will keep searching.

If you have a burden for these children, I encourage you to pray as well.

N and L were great additions to our family and they happened to come thru adoption. It's a miraculous journey and at times, a difficult one, but one that we have never regretted.

Celebrate adoption this month!

Friday, November 7, 2008

One more thought on the election....

Okay, I've changed my mind. I will tell you who I voted for in the election. Not because I want you to be like me. If I wanted that, I'd have been posting about it for months. No, I decided to reveal my choice, because I shouldn't have to hide in "shame". The post at www.christinemoers.blogspot.com is beautifully written and it echoes so many of my thoughts, though not all. I'm sorry I couldn't get the link up, but her blog is also listed in my sidebar to the right. It's called Welcome To My Brain.

I'm tired of living in a society that believes that all good Christians must vote Republican. I'm an imperfect Christian, but I do feel that I'm striving to be more like Christ and that I truly want to be more like him. I want to love on those who are "the least of these". I want to serve others. I do believe there are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all out there who are Christ-followers. And, I also believe this nation was built on freedom of religion. We cannot expect our leaders to always believe what we believe. This is not our church, people. This is a nation. The Israelites were not always under godly leadership. The New Testament was not always under godly leadership and yet, God still provided. God will provide no matter who our president is. Whether it's Billy Graham or Marilyn Manson.

I've never voted a straight ticket in my life. I vote for the candidate and the issues and I also know that even if a candidate campaigns for one issue doesn't mean that they won't change sides once they are elected. We must not put our faith in our politicians. We must honor and pray for them.

'Nough said. Subject closed. Please stay tuned for more family-related topics in the future!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm 51 weeks early

if you count that I wasn't going to have Halloween pics up until Hallo '09. So, ya see, I'm an overachiever after all!!!

Enjoy!!!

So, this is what I looked like after L got ahold of the face paints. Only on Halloween my friends...





And here's my kitty cat...we used only items that we already had - it was great! Black leotard and leggings, headband with black pipe cleaners to make the ears. Once of Lance's socks pinned to rear for the tail, and face painted whiskers!






My robot....he even spoke "robot" and he was the hit of the evening...everyone commented on his costume! The only thing we bought for his was a dryer vent and silver spray paint. The rest is boxes and aluminum foil. Lance and N did a great job putting this together!





And here's Lance...a black eyed "P"...ha, ha, I know...



This was their first stop...one of our neighbors answered the door dressed like Audrey Hepburn. It was great!



Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A fresh start!

Some thoughts on this election:

This has been the most fascinating one of my life. Now, I'm not sure if it really is or if I'm just getting OLD, but I think truly it was. To have a minority and a woman both on the ticket was awesome. I really believe it was a win-win situation for our country that we have come this far.

I know some of you out there are depressed today, but don't be. God is still in control. Our duty now is to support our new president and pray for him and all the other leaders. It doesn't matter if we agree with them or not. God says we are to honor and respect those in authority over us, whether it's teachers, bosses, police, politicians, pastors etc. This doesn't mean we have to agree with everything they do. I mean, honestly, is there anyone in your life that you agree with 100%?

And if you were fortunate to have your candidate win, then be gracious with those around you. Don't rub it in. Just embrace the days ahead.

I won't tell you who I voted for, but I can honestly say, I was going to be happy no matter who won - although I did have a favorite! I think both candidates were far superior to the Bush/Gore election of a few years ago. All four of the people on the ticket have incredibly fascinating life stories. None of them probably could have ever dreamed where their lives would take them. We can be proud that they all worked hard and achieved the American Dream in their own way. They weren't from political dynasty families like the Bushes, Kennedys, or even Clintons. That makes me proud to be an American.

Life will go on and God is sovereign. Change is hard sometimes, but some of the best things in life came about thru change. Look how far we've come in 100 years. I wouldn't have been able to vote 100 years ago, neither would Barack Obama. The church stood in the way of these rights in the past and we still stand in the way of some rights today. Let's embrace change. Let's all work together to make our country and our communities better. It's what Jesus would do.

Tomorrow, back to something more lighthearted!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why?

Why does God make itches?

Why does God make scratches?

Why did God make music?


What is the real question behind the 3 above? Really, it's a 3 y.o. trying to ask why there are scratches on her C.D....it's cute how she processes it all together.


Other questions from L in the last few days....

Why did God make milk white?

Why did God make butter yellow?

Who is Jesus' baby?

All very good questions and interesting.

N brought home his Monday folder yesterday with work from last week....one of the questions on his math worksheet asked how he knew something...it was basically to see if he knew the process and just didn't get lucky with the answer. His answer...."because I'm smart". Wow - wonder what Mrs. Schmitt thought when she read that! He let me know yesterday that he is the smartest person in the whole world except God and Jesus. And evidently humble too.

N's school had a mock election at school yesterday. He voted for Obama. When we asked him why, he said, "Obama's name sounds more presidential and McCain's name is kind of boring." So, there you have it peeps, the way to make a good voting decision compliments of a 1st grader.

And to all who were waiting by their computers for the halloween costumes, well, I'm sorry....I've failed technologically again. Perhaps I'll get them posted by the end of the week, or before Halloween next year...I don't want to get over ambitious or anything!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo to you!

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has plans for some fun this weekend!

For the first time ever with our kids, we will not be at our church's Fall Festival----we aren't having one this year since Halloween is on Friday night and most of our helpers will be involved in the high school football game in one way or another.

So, we will be trick-or-treating in our neighborhood and then we plan to hang out in our driveway. We will pass out candy (of course!) but we will also be doing temporary tattoos! Any B/CS people are invited to come by and get a tat!

I will (hopefully!) post pics on Monday of the kids in their costumes. N's robot turned out really well...he and Lance had fun putting that together. L had a last minute change of heart on her costume and since I hadn't yet put together the very difficult ghost costume yet, I let her change! She is now going as a kitty cat and I must say, I'm much happier with this selection!

Happy treating everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ode to Bubba







Happy Birthday N!

Today is your 7th birthday and your daddy and I are so proud of you.

You are a smart boy with a wonderful imagination. God created you with such a great desire to know more about the world. You have made our lives so much better by being a part of our family.

7 years ago, you fulfilled our dream to be parents. I'll never forget meeting you for the first time and being so grateful for you. Your birthparents were so loving and unselfish to allow daddy and I to raise you. You have a rich heritage of birth family and adoptive family who love you soooo much!

You have learned so many things since you turned 6 last year:

How to swim underwater!
How to read everything in sight!
How to write very well!
How to create the best lego/lincoln log houses ever!

And so much more!

And even though you weigh 50 pounds now and are so tall, I still love that you like to cuddle with me.

You are a great big brother and are very patient with your sister....this makes me so proud and I'm so glad you have each other. I love watching the two of you play and be silly together.

I love you bubba! Happy 7th Birthday

Love,
Momma

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When the music stops....

So, last night, we played a little game at our house!

It's a game I don't like to play, and thankfully, don't have to play often. It's called musical beds. You know like the game musical chairs only with beds and IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Somehow, we believed once our kids were no longer newborns, we would have our 8 hours of sleep every night. This is a myth, people!!

So, it all started when sweet N tapped me and said, "I can't sleep Momma." So, he climbed in our bed and I went upstairs and got in his. Then I hear screaming from little L. She had wet her bed, so I put her in N's bed and changed her sheets and got in her bed. Then, she starts crying again, so I go get in N's bed with her. Then she starts talking about what she wants to be for Halloween and it's clearly obvious she is not going back to sleep!!!! So, I then alternate between her bed and N's and the couch for the next 2 hours until I realize, THERE WILL BE NO MORE SLEEP HAPPENING and so I got up.

L is a bit of a bear today and truthfully, I might be too.

Earlier in the week, our family slept at the church while we hosted 3 families who are homeless. This is an organization called Family Promise and is designed to help families who are struggling. Amongst the group we hosted, there were 3 parents and 10 children. They were a delight and energetic. They have faced some hard times, but are committed to turning things around. We were glad to have a small part in this. Things really are put into perspective when you realize our family of 4 brought more things to the church to spend one night than their families have at all. Makes my stupid whining just that---stupid.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Changing Times

So, in the midst of all this talk about the economy and how much it stinks, what have you done in your family to save money?

If you watch Oprah, then you know that it really should be called The Oprah and Suze Orman show this season because Suze has been on about every.other.day.

The thing is we've all had it so good for so long, we've forgotten how things used to be. Oh, I sound old now, don't I?

My kids have waaaay more than I had as a child. Part of this is because my mom was a stay at home mom and I work, but part is because society is so different now than it used to be. People were more content, I think.

Lance and I found ourselves on the cutting-edge on the economic downturn earlier this year as my employer stopped paying for my health-care coverage and Lance took a pay cut. Between these two things, our monthly income was cut by about $500. For us, we're still able to afford the things our family needs and many of our wants, but still $500 is alot especially when you then add in the cost increases in gas, food, and everything else. I honestly don't know how those who are paid minimum wage make it.

So, all that to say, Lance and I have never been crazy spenders on anything, but...we are cutting back where we can.

Some things we've given up or changed:

1)No more solar nails (this actually went away when we adopted L)
2)Different hairstylist - about 1/3 less
3) Store brands. I used to be a name brand snob at the grocery store, but really, truly, on most things you can't tell the difference. On the few things that do make a difference, I will buy name brand, but only when it's on sale.
4) Clearance and sale shopping only. I've always been a bargain hunter, but now I absolutely refuse to pay full price for anything!
5) Eat out much less
6) Try to buy only necessities
7) Use coupons

We have scaled back our Christmas the last few years and we will cut back a little more this year along with birthdays.

Suze Orman actually had a great thought on her show the other day...Money is not what really matters, people are and instead of telling your kids they can't have things they used to, why not introduce them to the great things your family can do together and start new traditions? Camp in the backyard, go to the thrift store together, play games as a family. Some of the best memories are of the simple things and they are the least stressful as well.

Have you made changes in your home this year? If so, what have you done to cut back?

Any great ideas for easy ways to save money?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Costumes

Have you got your Halloween Costume picked out yet? Costumes for your hubby and/or kiddos?

We are in a bit of a pickle with costumes this year.

You see....we've had the year of the train/train engineer every year for N except the one renegade year that he was Handy Manny. So, it was always a no-brainer with him. And easy, and simply boy cute. But this year, the boy, he has different ideas. His first was to be a motorized car. You know, so he could actually drive L around with him. (Cool idea, but I had visions of him running over trick or treaters plus with the price of gas, could we really afford for him to drive while trick or treating) So...we asked him to think of another idea. And what does he come up with? Vampire. So, no that is not happening. Perhaps I'm overprotective, but I'm just not really into my 1st grader as a vampire. Then genius strikes in the form of a library book. The book has several children dressed in cute costumes and one of these is a...robot. A few boxes spray painted silver, a couple of dryer vents spray painted silver, and a cute blondie who loves to speak "robot" and we've got our costume.

L, on the other hand, has only had 3 previous Halloweens and I've been in complete control of her costume. This year, however, my gal has an opinion of her own. And let's just say it's not a costume that I would have selected. However, my gal did choose something that even this momma can pull off. She wants to be a ghost. Oh, we do set our sights high, don't we? So, a ghost it is...although I do keep telling her that I'd like her to be like Casper, the friendly ghost. Not a mean one. She wants to be a scary ghost.

So, now on to Lance and I...any suggestions for cute, cheap, and easy costumes for grown-ups? 'Cause if not, we'll be forced to be soccer coach and soccer mom. Not a big stretch.

So, how about you guys... what are you dressing as?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pajama day

Today is Pajama Day at N's school This is an eagerly anticipated day all year-long. He loves Pajama Day! And really, so do I. I think Pajama Day should be a National Day and we could do it on a day when we all really need comfort. Like, the first day back after New Years. You know, you've been eating all the delicious holiday foods, you've been relaxed and lazy at home. What better day to ease back into school and work than to wear your pajamas and fuzzy slippers? I think job efficiency would increase and we'd all be happier.

I think if one of our Presidential Candidates would have it on his platform it might just increase his chances of being elected. I mean, really, what are the important issues? Economy, health care, education? Or Pajamas?

Can you tell I'm short on writing material today?

I'm a bit lacking, although I must share L's experience with a cow yesterday. She had a boy cow come to her preschool yesterday and the farmer milked him. And out shot tee-tee. So, I'm thinkin' there is a weebit o'information that didn't make it into her sweet little 3 y.o. head.

The End.

Friday, October 17, 2008

This just in....

Evidently, we, in our house, are trying to set a world record for continous # of weekends in a row with illness or injury. I'm so grateful that these are not serious illnesses or injuries - nothing life threatening - just annoying!

Today, I got a call from the nurse at 1pm letting me know N had a fever of almost 102 - it has since spiked to over 102. The boy: he is still.and.quiet. Yes, he is a sick one alright, no doubt about it.

So, for weekend #5 out of the last 6, you will find me at the casa. Watching cartoons. Foldin' laundry. Bloggin'.

Lance's parents are scheduled to arrive tonight. Don't know if that will happen now or not. They (and everyone else) may want to stay away from the germ infestation that must be camped out here!

A few minutes ago, N said, "Do you know what I will wish for when I see my first shooting star?" "That germie germs would go away."

I would have to agree.

Here's hoping we don't make it into the world record books or at least not for this. We should get in for something cool, like the world's biggest lint ball or the world's biggest sidewalk chalk drawing. Ya' know something really important.

The end.

You know you're old when...

and no I'm actually not talking about me. After the week o'scatter I've had, you may be wondering, but actually, this involves Lance.

He received in the mail this very week....

An invitation to prepurchase cemetary plots and headstones....okay, not too unusual maybe, I'm sure we could get a better deal on them now than many years in the future. But, the funny thing about the invitation was that it said it was open to all senior citizens. Oh, I kid you not. This made me chuckle. Lance said, "It's a scam." Which it probably is, but why did he get an invite? He's 39 and won't be 40 until December. Is 40 now the qualifying age for Senior Citizen? If so, we're in big trouble!

Now, I was planning to take a picture of this invitation and post it here so you could see this was real, but the hubby....he had other plans, he tore it right up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Red Light, Green Light

Did you ever play this game as a child? I did and I used to babysit kids who played this game and now I'm raising kids who play this game.

Tonight, in the car, L and I had our own version of this game. She's three and usually has fun telling me "Momma, it's green, go" But last night she decided to tell me what all the colors of the traffic light meant.

Red means stop
yellow means slow down
green means go

And....blue means go swimming!



If you're wondering why blue? Well, I think our city may get a discount on bulbs that aren't exactly "green". Like maybe these are the "seconds" bulbs. Almost green, more blue. Our "yellow" ones are sometimes more orange than yellow - you may have some of these in your town too. Do you think Big Lots sells these?

And in 3 year old logic, blue for swimming makes perfect sense.

Now when this happened last night, I laughed out loud at L's sweet statement, but as I sit here and type this, I feel like this has happened before. And to go along with my scattered week I mentioned yesterday, I'm not sure if this happened before like weeks or months before. Or if it happened before like last night! Scary!! So, if I've posted this before, I'm sorry. I sure hope I'm not turning into one of those people who tell the same stories/jokes over and over. Please tell me if I do. Please.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scattered!

I'm scattered this week. Not totally sure why, but I don't seem to have things together. 'Cause ya know usually, I'm just one complete bundle of organization. :) Well, not really, but this week, for some reason, it's worse.

I have a couple of projects at work that aren't working out very well right now and that has me frazzled.

And then, yesterday afternoon, as I was talking to Jennifer on the phone, I told her I'd see her for Bunco. She was like, "Bunco's not tonight". Oh man...I had even hired a babysitter because Lance is out of town and I didn't want to miss. So glad, I didn't just show up at 7pm! And, I had to go thru major hoops to find a babysitter because the two main places I look for babysitters (church and school) were both having major events last night as well. The church event is one that Lance and I both missed, but we are making it up next Saturday. It is our mandatory training for Family Promise.

You can learn more about it here. As a youth ministry, we are providing the meal and fellowship time on Sunday night. As a family, we are going to spend one night at the church with our guests. We really want our kids to see how much they have and know that not everyone has what we do and that we are called to share our blessings with others. Should be a very interesting experience!

Early this morning when the rain started, I found myself with both kiddos in my bed. This doesn't happen very often and when it does, I always find myself a bit out of sorts the rest of the day!

See, even this post is scattered. I think I should call it a day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Parent/Teacher Conference

There's really nothing to make you feel like a "real" grown-up than going to your child's parent teacher conference. You sit in the little first grade chairs and look at the work your child has done so far along with their behavior and know that you are the one responsible in a large part for their successes and failures. Wow, that's alot of pressure and somedays you do a better job than others.

N's conference was yesterday and it contained a wealth of information. For instance, their first spelling test last week? The teacher didn't actually expect them to spell all the words right. Didn't know this. We played games, used words in sentences, did word scrambles, etc so that N would spell his words correctly. Turns out, she really wanted them to get the first letter right. Wow! That really takes the pressure off, although, I'm proud to say that N did in fact spell all the words correctly. The ways they teach now are soo different from the way I learned, so I'm learning all over again! And in a new way!

N's best subject at school? Math....no surprise to those of us who watch his "engineering" prowess at work each day. His teacher mentioned that he always finishes his math early and rarely makes a mistake. Unfortunately, this "boredom" is part of what gets him into trouble. N is high energy. Sitting around, not so good for him. So, her solution? If he finishes his work early, she lets him draw pictures on his paper rather than "entertain" his class. Now, I'm not sure this will still be acceptable when he's in 8th grade, but for now, it helps this little boy stay out of trouble.

Another great area for N is writing...he loves to write and his forte is creative writing----code for STORIES THAT AREN'T ACTUALLY TRUE. This would be great if that is what the teacher asked for. What she actually wants them to write is about a real event in their life. Something simple, like what they ate for breakfast or what their favorite book is. N's stories are way beyond that, so we are to work on "scaling" them back a bit at school. At home, we will still encourage him to write about his 78 story house that he is building.

So, if you haven't guessed it yet? N has great academics, he is above average in everything. I'm so proud of him. And those social skills? Well, we are working on those. Things like sitting still and keeping your hands to yourself. That's our main goal for the year---to channel his great positive energy into getting along well with others.

Parenting is all about encouraging your child in their strengths and helping them to develop those strengths even further. And.... it's about, recognizing their weaknesses and doing the best job you can to help them turn the negatives into positives. Sometimes, it's hard as a parent to admit the weaknesses, but it's part of the job. A hard part, a part you don't really look forward to. I'd rather focus on the good and ignore the hard, but that would be wrong and would hurt N in the long run.

And as an added bonus a couple more pics of the boy from the fall festival:




Monday, October 13, 2008

Pics up ahead!

We had a fun weekend. My parents were here for a visit and it was a great, relaxing time.

We played sidewalk chalk, paint, etc. We read books, went to a soccer game, and just enjoyed sometime of grandparent spoiling. Nana brought her famous pumpkin bread which has been almost completely eaten!

One of the highlights of the weekend was watching L loving on her grandpa. She is a grandpa's girl thru and thru---in the bath last night, she even said, "Grandpa is silly and Nana is nice." This was a good statement to hear since she yelled and screamed at Nana quite a bit over the weekend. Nana does still reign supreme with the boy though - N has been her boy since birth!

Now, for some pics from a couple of weekends ago at our community fall festival:

This one is one of my favorites. N LOVES to pull friends in our wagon and here he is pulling his sister. I love his willingness to help and love on his sister (at least every once in a while!) Also, take note of the lovely mum I won. This is the second plant I've won at our community parties (and only the 2nd one we've attended!)



In case you thought N had outgrown his train obsession:






And my gal, this is what she loved: Pure adventure!





We are so thankful to live in a community that does these fun events. We enjoy seeing our kids enjoy riding a pony and doing the petting zoo. But, the most fun part is seeing our friends and neighbors and having the opportunity to visit and have community with them.

Hope you and yours had a great weekend as well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The timing was off, but it was fun nonetheless!

Wednesday afternoon after school, N and I were working on homework and he asked for a snack. He picked Jello - soft and yummy! While he got started on his snack, I went into my room. I hear a little voice, screaming, "Mommy, Mommy" I go running and this is what I see:














We knew it wasn't going to wait until his birthday, but never did I think it would happen while eating Jello!





N wrote a letter to the tooth fairy. Inside, it said, "Dear tooth fairy, Please bring me 2 toys. Love, N*******!!! (Exclamation points are his) I'm not sure where he got the idea that you can request things from the tooth fairy!




This is what was waiting for him Thursday morning: a gold dollar coin and a letter back from the Tooth Fairy reminding him to brush, floss, and rinse his teeth everyday and letting him know that his baby tooth would be well taken care of.




This was a VERY exciting moment in this house. Those of you who've already been thru this stage probably experienced something similiar. Those of you who still have this in your future, look forward to it! fun, fun, fun! It was like Christmas morning!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Exciting post up ahead!

Not today, but tomorrow, my friends, please come back!

I will have some exciting news and yes, (gasp!) pictures!

See ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Have your people call my people

October. It's a glorious month in our family! October was the month in which Lance and I first became parents almost 7 years ago.

N loves October because it's his birthday month and he gets to celebrate all month because his birthday is not until the 30th. This is awesome. The poor people who have their b-day on the 1st of the month are missing out. They have their birthday and then the rest of the month, it's just a big let-down. But, not N. Everytime he writes the date or says the date he gets to remind us that it is his.birthday.month.

Well, not only that, but this year, we have learned he will be the SuperStar student of the week during his birthday week. In his first grade class, each student is assigned a week to be the super star. We will make a poster of all things N loves and he will share it with his classmates that week. Combine that with Halloween and well, there is sure to be some partying going on at our house that week!!! If that isn't enough, N is now convinced that he will lose his tooth on his birthday. How does he know? He is praying to God that he will lose his first tooth on his birthday. It's sooooo sweet. He whispers his sweet little prayer to God asking to please let him lose his tooth that day. I have to admit, it would be pretty cool and I think the tooth fairy would probably even throw in a little bonus for a birthday tooth. Of course, N thinks the tooth fairy would give him $1,000 for a birthday tooth. I'm thinking, move the decimal point over 3 spaces to the left.

But....I really don't think he's going to make it that long. Of course, it's already been loose about 2 months, but now, it's literally hanging by one little string. And the grown-up tooth has now pushed up behind it and is visible. So, the days of tooth #1 are numbered and there is a #2 that is close behind. I wonder if two missing teeth will hamper any of that candy eating on Halloween? Nah.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Love is in the air

Do you watch The Office? If you do, This is funny. I'm not sure who did this, but it's crazy.

Have you ever found yourself so caught up in a TV show or movie that you think the people are REAL. That you find yourself giving advice to them or yelling at them thru the screen. This is weird, but yet, I've found myself doing it. The two shows I really do this on are The Office and Desperate Housewives. Probably because they are the two of the silliest shows on TV.

So, what's next, a Bridal Registry at Target or Macy's? Purchase a gift for the "fake" TV couple!?!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It was a mighty big finger

I don't know if any of you were out last night and saw the moon, but if you were and if you did, you may have noticed what my kids did. The moon, it was in the shape of a fingernail trimming. On the way home from church last night, L looks up in the sky and says,"Look momma,it's a fingernail and a star in the sky." And sure enough, it did look just like that. I'm sure there is a technical term for the moon last night, maybe waxing or waning, or something very astronomy-related, but from now on in our house, it's a fingernail moon. Feel free to take our technical term and use it as your own. 'Cause I know you want to.

Also on the way home last night, N was practicing his books of the Bible. He can say all the way thru Song of Solomon already --I'm very impressed. So then L had to start saying them as well. She did really well, but then got a little confused. I think she may have invented several new books---like 1st and 2nd Jacob and 1st and
2nd God. But you know, at least she got names that were from the Bible and all. She didn't mention 1st and 2nd Madison or 1st and 2nd Barbie or anything crazy like that.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

He knows her name!

My boy, he is in love again. He was in love this summer, but he couldn't remember her name or what color she had. (Details, details) You know he's got that boy DNA running thru him!!

So, this time he knows the name of his love interest. It's Alex. She's cute, blonde, and 5 years old. He's in love with a younger woman, him being 6 and all. After school yesterday, they were playing outside and got hot so they came in for a drink of water. They got their drink and as they left the kitchen, they were holding hands. Oh me, oh my...too much for this momma! It was sweeeet.

Oh, I know it's not serious...this is the 3rd girl he has told us he would marry. Well, actually, 5th if you include his sister and me. 'Cause nothing says southern like planning to marry your sister. :)

My boy and his friends. He loves them, and they love him. The doorbell rings alot at our house, it does. And somehow it's almost never for Lance or I. Next thing you know, it will be the phone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blah,Blah, Blah

Today is blah. Yesterday was more blah. Sunday was the blahest. So, things they are a lookin' up.

I got strep throat. No fun, no fun at all. I usually get it every other year. The last time I got it was the week before we moved into our new house. I don't like getting it, but the good thing is I can usually diagnose myself. The strep test is a mere formality my friends.

In my quest to have a weekend out of the house, I was able to at least get Saturday out of the house and it was fun! I went to Stamp Camp and made lots of cute cards and got inspired to come up with some creations of my own. I made 6 cards at camp and 6 more later that day. Oh yes, I was a busy bee, I was. And no, no pics, but I will work on that, I truly will.

We also went to a benefit for a church member going thru cancer treatments. They had a great turnout and had lots of auction items--we are hopeful they were able to raise the money they need for the treatments. My kids favorite part of the evening was the playground at the Wellborn Community Center. It's retro. Like really retro, they have toys there that were probably old when I was a kid. Things like seesaws and these awesome horse swings that even the littlest tikes can do themselves. Really cute.

The soccer game for the boy...yeah, we won. 9 to 4. The score doesn't matter, but the game sure is more fun when goals are being made.

So, then Sunday, I was back to my casa for a time of rest and hacking and chills and fever....yuckers.

Today, I'm feeling better but taking it slow, 'cause you know if I have to be locked in my house again this weekend, I will be screaming! And you might be too, just from the shear boredom of my posts. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

weekend o'fun

Things have been "different" at the MommaJen casa since school started. The weekdays have been jam-packed with activities, school, homework, friends, etc. But the weekends, they have been completely turned upside down due to illness, Ike, etc...but it looks like we may be back "on track" for a more regular weekend.

So, tonight Lance will be having a tailgate party before the game and a 5th quarter drive-in movie after the game. The kids and I will be having Friday night movie night at home and hoping for no "popcorn" burps. Popcorn will not be on the menu.

Tomorrow, we have an early soccer game followed by Stamp Camp for me. This will be my first "camp" but according to my Bunco/Blogger/Stampin' friends, I will love it! And I'm sure I will since I get to craft and visit with friends without having to do another thing for 4 entire hours in.a.row. Fabulous!

Then tomorrow afternoon, it's off to a farewell party and lastly a benefit tomorrow night for a church member who is undergoing cancer treatments.

So, Saturday will be a whirlwind indeed, but should be fun. Sunday will be our normal church day and rest (I hope!)

And two last items to share, 'cause it's my blog and I can if I want to:

My new favorite word of L's: cop-er-ate. You might know it as cooperate. She was speaking to her toy and asking it to please cop-er-ate. Yes, she may have heard this word from me a time (or possibly two)

Lance and I were quietly visiting in the living room last night after dinner. The kiddos were upstairs playing and getting along...there was much infectious laughter and we were loving it. All of a sudden, we hear L crying. And immediately, N says, "I had to teach you a lesson, L" "Maybe you'll listen to your bubba now." Hmmmm...noticing a pattern here...these are also words I say from time to time--not the bubba part, though, 'cause I'm not a bubba.

The plight of the older child. Poor N--he's so old and wise at 6 and has so much wisdom to teach his 3 y.o. sister. Of course, we had to remind N that it's not his job to teach her a lesson. That would be our job.

Hope you and yours have a great weekend as well!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Freshman 15?

Nope, I'm not dealing with the freshman 15. I'm dealing with the "Ike and illness 10". What is this you ask?

Well... the last two weekends I've been homebound due to Ike and sick kiddos. What is it about being stuck at home that brings out the munchies? I don't know, but I can tell you that I have to get out of the house next weekend. Or perhaps, I shouldn't buy any munchies.

I've been the same weight for a year now which is good for maintaining but is terrible since I need to lose alot more. I need something to jump-start me again to get me motivated and I haven't been able to find that "thing". But now, since my smaller clothes are getting tight, well, I'm forced to face that I've got to get back on track.

So, I'm outting myself. If you know me in real-life, please help hold me accountable. This is my biggest struggle in life and one I will probably have forever. I'm getting back on track starting today!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

He.Did.Not.Make.It.

In the midst of the weekend o'illness at our house, I forgot to mention the other family member who fell victim.

Remember this post last week? Well, much as Lance predicted, the fish was not able to recover from the severity of his wounds in Earthquake '08.

Early Saturday morning, L came to tell me that Fountain was not swimming. "He's just still, momma. He's not swimming anywhere. He's not saying "glub, glub.""

Oh boy, I knew as I went upstairs what I was going to find and yep indeedy, Fountain was upside down, dead, in the tank. L wanted to immediately return to the pet store and get another blue fish. Lance and I decided that getting a new fish right away was probably not in the best interest of the fish. We'll work some more on pet care and perhaps try again in a few months.

So, we're back to a family of 4 again. And frankly, at the moment, that's about all I can handle, so it's all good, peeps. All good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The sickies are back!

The sickies have arrived back at our house in full force. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

When I picked up sweet N after school on Friday, he told me he was having popcorn burps. Hmmm...'k...but, he didn't have popcorn anytime in the last week. In fact, it was almost a month since he last ate his popcorn and that night, well it ended up in the bathroom. So, not a good sign at all for how Friday is going to end up for us. And wouldn't you know it? Yep, he was back there.

Saturday, he was feeling better and we got out of the house and got some things done, but sister was a grouch the entire day. Couldn't figure it out!

Well, the reason why made itself apparent that night at 3AM....the barking seal was in our house with over 102 temp. She was miserable. So, us girls slept in Sunday morning while the boys headed to church. N was to have his special 1st grade Bible presentation luncheon after church, but alas....the popcorn burps they returned during Sunday School and N's teachers had to find Lance.

So, yesterday at my house...not so much fun. I finally decided to take a shower about 3:45 and yep, you mommas are right, I wasn't in there 2 minutes when I had an audience who couldn't bare Momma being apart from them. I love being wanted by my kiddos when they are sick, I love the cuddling that comes, but oh man, when they are both sick and from two completely different bugs, wow! that's crazy! I'm truly not sure how you moms of more than 2 do it when they're all sick.

So, today Lance is home with L--a visit to the dr. is in order and hopefully some nighttime relief for her and us both...there's not much sleeping going on at our house.

While Lance is with L, I'll be mourning with my dear friend Susan who's dad lost his fight with pancreatic cancer just 2 1/2 months since diagnosis. My heart is aching for her.

And what am I praying for the most at my house right now? That my kiddos don't give each other what they just had!!! No, please, no!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And the beat goes on!

L is LOVING her dance class---it is a highlight of her week. She loves the clothes, the shoes, the whole experience. I've had so much fun watching her thru the two-way mirror, thing-a-ma-bob. She, one of only two, who is not wearing pink from head-to-toe. My girl, she's an independent thinker like her momma!

This week, they did a whole bunch of dance moves that I can't spell, but that my friend Tracy was good enough to explain to me. Ya see Tracy actually took dance as a child, while I did not. She knows what she is doing--but Tracy has a problem. Her little gal, Emma, doesn't want to participate. Emma is more the observer and last night watched from the hall with the parents, where she showed us her moves. Tracy has been paying tuition for dance classes so that Emma can dance in the hallway, 'cause we all know that's what it's all about. Next week is the last week for her unless she decides to make her dancing debut.

Meanwhile, my gal L who has serious attitude 99.9% of the time, thrives in her dance class. She is sweet, she listens, and she does quite well with the moves. Maybe we've found her thing...Nutcracker here we come! Or not...

And because I love her so and she's so stinkin' funny, check out Big Mama's blog today about dance with her gal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

8.8 on the Richter scale

I had a really nice evening last night. It was my Bunco night. A chance to spend time with friends catching up on what's happening in their lives, a chance to vent about things that only women can truly understand.

Then I got home....

The house was quiet, the kiddos were in bed, all was well. Or so I thought....

In the kitchen was some evidence that something had gone wrong...

So, Lance proceeds to tell me about the loud crash he heard upstairs while he was in the bathroom. He hears the crash and then L yelling, "Momma". When he finally makes it upstairs, he sees the remnants of the earthquake in L's room. Seems, big brother and her were having fun, running, and getting a wee bit crazy. And the victim of all this craziness?!?

You guessed it! Our new family member, Fountain, was expelled from his home and was lying on the carpet. Lance asked the kiddos if he was still alive and so N poked him and determined he was still living. Lance was very honest with them and mentioned that Fountain may not survive the natural disaster. That's when sweet L asks the all important question, "Can we take Fountain back to the store and get another fish?" Can we say NOT emotionally attached to this fish at all?!? She's a smart gal and realizes he may be "damaged" goods---she wants something that is whole. Wow, I hope I never get hurt...she may try to trade me in too!

As of this morning, Fountain is still alive, although the drama of being displaced may take days off his life. We're still trying to determine if a 3 y.o.'s room is really the best place for a fish to live anyway. Perhaps our room or the top of the kitchen cabinets would be safer.

Lance said it took most of the evening to clean up all the rocks, etc from the fish tank. Oh, and the water? Yeah, L was being a "kitty cat" and licking it off the carpet. Gag, oh gag. Fish poop and stinky water---yum, yum.

Good times, indeed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Bri. I met Bri thru blogging and she is an adoptive mom-to-be. It's been fun reading her journey thru the adoption process. I've completed two journeys thru adoption and it's both an exhilarating time and a very emotional process.

So, the rules are:

1) Link back to the person who tagged you

2) List 5 ways blogging has affected you

3) Tag 5 others

So...

5 ways blogging has affected me:

1) I've reconnected with some old friends who live far away--I've enjoyed peeking into their lives and seeing they are still the great gals that they were "back in the day"

2) I'm documenting my life and the life of my family. The main reason for this is to leave behind something for my children and someday hopefully grandchildren. I want them to have a peek into what life was like for us during this period of time. I want them to laugh at the crazy stuff and remember the wonderful things.

3) I've learned sooo much from other bloggers---particularly those going thru crisis in their life and how they are allowing God to use them. Some of the blogs I read include mothers who've lost children, those suffering from cancer, or even just raising quadruplets. They inspire and teach me to appreciate every good thing in my life.

4) I've enjoyed laughing out loud at some of my funny blog friends...there are several sites I know I can always go to for a good laugh.

5) Blogging has kept me from housework and other things I needed to get done, but wanted to put off--not exactly wise use of time, but I enjoy it still!

I tag:


Emily

Jennifer

Kathryn

Lacey

Mary

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Exhausted, grateful, and exhausted again

My emotions and thoughts are scattered. The last 72 hours have been both a whirlwind of activity and a whirlwind of nothingness. Thanks to the latest in technology, we have known for days about Ike. We've had plenty of time to prepare (which is wonderful!) but also lots of time to think and wait, wait, wait...

Over the last 3 days, we've played alot, watched too many cartoons, and eaten too much junk food. There is something about "hunkerin' down" that just makes you crave Oreos and chips and salsa. I'm still waiting for the brocolli/carrot craving to arrive at our house.

I'm so grateful that our community was spared the wrath of Ike. We had some downed trees, limbs, and fences, but other than that...not much. Our community is full of people who don't know when they'll be able to go home. It may be weeks. Our church shelter is full for the foreseeable future. Hubby and others who've been volunteering around the clock are tired. Mommas at home with their kiddos (who can't go outside and run!!!) are exhausted. (Truly, I'm speaking about me here, but I'm sure there are others like me?!?)

The headquarters of my company is in Huntsville --I think they were hit hard, but don't really know for sure--I do know a lady was killed who lives in the same neighborhood as my boss.

Today, the kiddos and I headed back to the grocery store and boy, that was an experience...no bottled water or bread on the shelves. Very little cereal. And a guy from Freebirds was there buying every package of tortilla chips---I'm guessing their chip shipment didn't make it into town. The grocery store was pure chaos, but chaos beats devastation every day of the week.

Pray for the people along the coast of Texas and those in Houston as well. The days ahead will be tough ones for them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Welcome Ike!

I'm blogging in a hurricane --o, my dedication is high!

No, really this is the first hurricane I've been in where we actually got some rain. Right now, the wind has been blowing pretty hard since about midnight...I know this because a certain 3 y.o. came and got in our bed about that time last night. Of course, she did go to bed at 6pm last night. You know it is extremely exhausting staying home all day yesterday and playing. And watching cartoons. That will wear a girl out. We were up again at 4 this morning--it's like having a newborn again.

It's also raining a bit---I think today will be pj day at our house--this is an executive decision by momma as daddy is at church serving the guests at our shelter. We have a crockpot full of cowboy stew and nothing else on our schedule--this will be good and perhaps L will stay up until 6;15 tonight!

We do live an exciting life!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The big tease

Ike, are you like your friend Gustav? Are you going to merely tease with your bad behavior? I know Gustav was bad and it was good to evacuate, but....in our town 200 miles from the coast, we are constantly being teased with these storms.

For instance, during Rita everything here shut down including the mall. The mall which only closes for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. And the result of the closings...a little bit of wind and I think 5 drops o' rain.

Now, Ike, I do believe you will give us some rain, but I'm not sure about anything else....

Big Mama has a funny post today on her blog about this very subject. She lives in San Antonio. Please read to the end of her post and you will be glad you did. Chuckle, I did...oh yes.

So, tomorrow, while it rains, our community will be loving on those from affected areas and enjoying quality indoor activities with our children. Sounds good to me!

HB PAF!

Happy Birthday Paul!

Today is my younger brother's birthday!! Nothing like feeling old when your YOUNGER brother turns 34! How did this happen? I remember playing "DJ" with him in the living room when Mac Davis and the Gaithers were our songs of choice on the 33 albums. I remember playing Fisher Price little people, riding bikes, playing outside with friends till it turned dark. I remember horrible fights and him bugging me to no end! I remember all the things I thought weren't fair that I had to do and he didn't, because he was younger.

But, I also remember him comforting me when I was down, I remember him being a good sport about having our picture made together in college and the photographer thinking we were dating! (complete with daydream bubble...this was the early 90's folks ---stuff was weird.)

Paul....the only person I knew at the beginning of life that hopefully, I will still know at the end of life. The gift of siblings is so great. I'm thankful to have a brother and I'm thankful that as adults we are friends. Things are crazy busy for both of us right now in the prime of raising our own families, but I know if I ever picked up the phone and told him I needed him, he'd come running! And, I'd do the same for him!

Paul, I hope you have a great day. I love you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's different

I wasn't prepared for the difference this year. I wasn't prepared for the drastic change between kindergarten and 1st grade. My boy, he is a different child this year. One who no longer tells me every.single. thing he has done that day. He now has secrets from me and his teacher doesn't send home daily behavior reports. I only get one report a week. This is scary my friends...

It's no different at church. The first week in his new Sunday School class, he was mortified to learn that they no longer had "centers" such as home-living. Now, it's full-on Bible activities and such.

On Wednesday night, he is going to Bible-Buddies where he learned the books of poetry last week and he can say Deuteronomy and find it in the Bible. My heart is bursting with pride, but also feeling a bit left behind. Not only are his activities changing, but the teachers are willing to let them go without parents picking them up. Nope, that's where I draw the line! I still want to pick my baby (I mean 6 y.o.) up from his class.

I know parenting is just this...letting go, little by little. These changes I'm noticing this year are nothing compared to the thought of him driving or going off to college. And yet, if I'm doing my job well, I will eventually be out of a job. I'll then someday get promoted to friend. For now, I'll just love the fact that out of all the people in the world, he still wants me the most....even if he doesn't tell me everything anymore!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

and then there were 5!

We have a new family member in our house as of 7pm last night. He slept in L's room last night and helped her have a more productive night's sleep.

We've been struggling with her getting out of bed at night ever since she gave up her Cassie. Momma and Daddy were feeling a bit cranky and sleep-deprived and that's never a good thing!

Daddy learned a new sleep technique (or should I say method of bribery) from someone over the weekend and we thought we'd give it a try. We couldn't possibly lose any more sleep than we already were! So, our new family member.....his name is Fountain. He's blue and he swims...he's a little fishie and L is so proud of him. His little bowl is on her nightstand and she can watch him swim around and know that she is not alone.

A fish is not very cuddly, but L is not a cuddly-type gal like her big brother. N still sleeps with his Lovey every night. When he was L's age, he had to have Lovey to sleep - it was his comfort. Now, he doesn't have to have Lovey, but he still likes sleeping with him.

So, night one? Success! L only got out of her bed once and when Lance took her back upstairs...she stayed!!! Yippee! This hasn't happened since before our vacation so we were thankful indeed.

And this morning? Oh that girl was proud! She had me come upstairs and talk to Fountain and listen to him "glub, glub". I'm proud of my gal and I'm thankful for a full-night's sleep.

Tonight, we'll try for two in a row!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The big FIVE!

Today is a big day for my niece, Amelia. She turns 5 today.

Amelia is a spunky gal and has brightened our family! She arrived at a beautiful time in our family, just when we needed something wonderful to celebrate. Dad had just had his triple-bypass and was still home recovering. My sister-in-law's mom had just gone thru cancer treatments. It was a tough year in many ways for Paul and Mindy and then, September 8th arrived....Amelia! Lance, N, and I were fortunate enough to be in town the day she was born and were able to be at the hospital to meet her. This is the only time we've had that priviledge with any of our 4 nieces or 2 nephews!

Amelia started preschool last week and is very excited to be going to school just like her big sister, Elizabeth.

Amelia is also a big sister to Ollie and Hope. She gets the best of both worlds!

Amelia, we don't see you near as often as we would like. I hope you have a great day today on your #5! Your present is in the mail, I'm sorry I'm late this year!!

Love,
Aunt Jen

Friday, September 5, 2008

Are we ready?

Either way you look at, we will have a historic Pres/Vice Pres after this year's election.

In case you've been living under a rock....

On the Democratic side, O is dynamic, but less experienced. B is experienced, but not as dynamic. O would be the first African-American president. This is a good thing. It's amazing that it has taken this long for our country to be ready for a minority president.

On the Republican side, Mc is older, more experienced, but kind of grouchy (IMO). P is an unknown but is very intriguing. She has captured some of the "wow" factor that Mc desperately needed. There was no way he could compete with O's charisma.

I'm not going to tell you who I'm going to vote for, because that's my personal business and it may be different than who you are voting for. I don't like to argue politics with friends :) Some of you know where I stand and some of you might be surprised where I stand!

All this being said, Sarah Paulin is the most intriguing candidate I can ever remember. Or maybe she's intriguing because I can relate the most with her. A woman, a working mom. I'm impressed by her fast rise. I'm impressed with her seemingly no-nonsense take on wasteful spending, etc.

My only issue with her is really one that is none of my business. She is a mom of 5. FIVE! With one being an infant and one being a pregnant teenager. What I most struggle with is how will she be everything to her children and everything to our country. As I was discussing this with a friend the other way, she reminded me that not everyone is like me. Some people thrive on busyness and doing things; they can't stand down-time. They don't have hobbies or projects. They probably don't watch TV or BLOG! They have maids and cooks and other conveniences that allow them to use all of their free time on their family. Who am I to judge what is right for her and her family? That is between her, her family, and God. Perhaps God has called her to this very job. Her husband is Mr. Mom, so someone is home with the children. I don't want others to judge me for working, so I have to be careful not to judge others for their choices either. And even if she and McC aren't elected, this dialogue is a good one for our country. Are we ready to see a mom with young children in the White House? Do we really see men and women equally? Or do we just give lip service?

No matter who wins this election, I believe it will be an improvement over what we have now. Are we ready for change? I hope so and I hope the country will unite together no matter who wins!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It's a grind

My name is MommaJen and I'm a grinder. I grind my teeth. There, I've said it. I've been doing this for years. Some people get tension headaches. Nope, not me! I get jaw tension when I'm stressed. At times,it's completely unnerving - I have to do jaw exercises and massage my jaw to get it to relax.

A couple of months ago, I woke up to find one of my front teeth with a small chip in it. Very small, most people wouldn't even notice it, but my tongue keeps finding it...you know what I mean?

So, a few weeks ago when I went to the dentist, I asked him about it. The cause? Yep, the grinding...seems I have TMJ which I've suspected for years,so... yesterday afternoon I found myself back in the dentist chair being fitted for a TMJ device. Not covered by insurance and not cheap, but hopefully will provide me with some much needed relief plus save my teeth from further chipping!

Oh the joys of getting older!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dancing,dancing, and more dancing!

I love to dance! Lance and I danced several times a week when we were first dating - we loved it! At that time, Baylor still didn't allow dancing on campus, and so we had to go to bars to dance. They have since wised up and now allow dancing on campus.We didn't get to have dancing at our wedding reception, we married about 2-3 years early for this to be in vogue or acceptable for a young Baptist couple. No, instead, we had the traditional 2pm wedding with punch and cake - short and sweet!

My brother, Paul, and his bride, Mindy had dancing at their wedding and it was fun! Someday, Lance and I will have to renew our vows and have DANCING!

We've had an annual Christmas Ball the last 5 years for our youth at church and it's been fun - the kids come with or without dates and we rotate partners all evening - it's great and no one is self conscious.

Well, Sunday night at church, we had a square dance for everybody - it was multi-generational. The 3 y.o.'s were really the youngest that were participating (sort of) but it went up to those in their 70's. It was so much fun! I loved watching all skill levels, all generations enjoying the fun of dancing. It's unbelievable that for years, Baptist were against dancing ---boy, they were really missing out! We had some professional callers and they had us trying all different kinds of things and they even had a few dances just for kiddos. So fun, so sweet!

Today, little L starts her dance class and she is so excited - she has been dancing everywhere lately....in her chair at the dinner table, in the bathtub...oh the joy of dance!

Monday, September 1, 2008

You came early this year

Stomach flu, you're early this year.

We don't like you early, we don't like you late,we don't like you entering our front gate.

N gets sick once a year. Seriously, once a year, you can almost plan it on the calendar...it's every October - usually mid-month, sometimes late in the month. But, not this year....

We've already welcomed the bug...N wasn't eating much last week. I attributed it to first week of school nerves...you know the stress involved in 1st grade!

But, oh no, nerves it was not...vomiting, diarhea, no fun, no fun at all. My poor baby suffered from them both this weekend.

Let's hope this is it - let's hope there will be no October illness this year. Let's also hope none of the rest of us get this bug.

Needless to say, my house got a major clean-up, wipe-down today.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A fun game!

Try this and let me know what your # is. I'm curious. Some of you (my family in particular) probably have lower #s than me although I find mine very low. I'm sure it has to do with the unusual spelling of my first name. Some of you may have thousands!



HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
12
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm more important than you....

A couple of mornings ago, I had an interesting experience. I was driving to drop off L at school and go to work. In our area of town, one road gets very crowded in the mornings. It's just beyond the elementary school and is the access to the highway. Most mornings during the school year, the wait is a good 10 minutes, which for us small town folks is just excruciating! But, like all good citizens, you just get in line and wait your turn...isn't this what we learned in kindergarten, people?!?

Well most of us did, but there is about 10% of the population who must have been absent that day. These Jerks (as I affectionaly call them) get in the other lane and then cut you off at the last minute. I've seen this happen the last 18 months and have been annoyed, but not much has happened.

Well, that all changed the other morning, when one of these "jerks" did this and rear ended me. I was furious! I had L in the car (driving Lance's smaller car) and the guy was driving a Yukon. Fortunately L and I were fine and so was the car, but...when I got out to investigate, I told the guy that he was very fortunate nothing had happened because what he did was very rude. I told him that he must be more important than the rest of us since he couldn't wait in line. He responded with..."yes, I am". Not, "I'm sorry ma'am", not "is your child okay, are you okay?" not, "I was a jerk", but... "yes, I'm more important than you".

Wow...what's sad is that he wasn't a kid, he looked to be about my age and with a wedding ring on and I would bet money he had just dropped his kid(s) at the elementary school.

Dude, I'm sorry you were running late, but you'd be a lot later if you had hurt someone or damaged their property! I was floored by his behavior. I called the police mostly to report that they really need to monitor this area more heavily. Hopefully, this guy will think about this from now on and not cut people off, but more than likely since he's more important than the rest of us he won't.

Once I got back in the car and calmed down a bit, I heard the little voice in the backseat say, "I'm going to tell my friends that I crashed into a jerk." I couldn't help but laugh, but oops! Momma forgot who was listening to her. I probably should have/could have handled the situation better. The cutting off thing is just one of my pet peeves! UGH!

What would you have done? I'm sure some of you would have handled it alot better than me!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Did I really do it?

Yes, I did! I FINALLY have our vacation pictures! yippee!! I've gone and gotten all technological on you. Next thing you know I'll be writing code...

As you will see below, we had all manner of fun. Just a small sampling of what we did...went to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi - top picks there? N - stingrays; L-dolphins

We went go carting - super fun! We played miniature golf and little L - she has a shot on the LPGA - she's good!
We spent one day at the Schlitterbahn, one day at the beach, went on the pier and watched people catch fish.


N driving fast like Momma:





N with the 'rays:






Pirate N:




The view out our door:




N checking the Corpus Christi harbor:




Hazy day at the beach:





L, acting silly in the car:





L, loving trains like her bubba:





We're racing!:





Our friend, the pirate: