Monday, April 30, 2007
We had 4 kids in 4 years. It would have been understandable if we just stopped going out, if all we did was stay home and take care of our kids all the time. Some people choose to do this. I'm not advocating neglecting your kids or anything, but your marriage should come first. The first and best gift you can give your child, after faith, is a healthy, stable marriage. A marriage that will endure at all costs. A child that knows his/her parents love each other and cherish each other knows that he/she in turn is loved. So, get a babysitter and go out once in a while. I'm sure there are those that think O.H. and I spend a little too much time without the kids, and we do go through periods where we realize we are running around too much and not getting enough family time. But, I know that taking the time out of our busy lives to do something sans kids is what has sustained us through this time. I will keep on tailgating with O.H. and no kids, even though it means 6 Saturdays in the fall with babysitters for six hours. That is expensive and time-consuming, but I regard it as an investment in my marriage and therefore an investment in my children. Don't let your children become the reason you and your spouse no longer know each other. You and your spouse and your kids deserve a relationship that is nourished.
Sorry to ramble and somewhat rant, but I fear that too many of us lose sight of that first relationship that led to the amazing children and the whole family hurts for it. So, those of you thinking of starting a family, here is my advice to you: Remember you were married before you were parents and that your marriage is just as important as your relationship with your child.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Jewel by Bret Lott
I saw this book in my local bookstore many times, but never felt drawn to it. But, I kept seeing comparisons to the Memory-Keeper's Daughter, which I had read, and so I decided to read it. People said Jewel was like the other book, but better, and I wanted to see for myself. So, this book starts with a woman telling her husband they will be blessed with their 6th child. It starts in 1943. A woman that works for the family tells Jewel (the main character) that this child will be God's way of smiling on her, but not without challenges. When the baby is born Jewel makes a choice that will affect her and her family for the rest of their lives. I don't want to tell anymore than that regarding the baby and the choice. The story is really of how this woman risks the health and happniess of her entire family to minister to one child--very challenging material. The book is slow to start, but then gets moving and keeps you interested. There are some instances where Jewel is remembering her childhood and for me, that slowed down the story, although it was part of the story too. I didn't always like Jewel and the choices she made, but also saw that she felt she had no choice. It is definitely worth reading. I wouldn't say it was better than the other book, just different, while dealing with a similar storyline.
Second Draft of My Life by Sara Lewis
This is a much lighter read than Jewel. Charlotte Dearborn is a frustrated writer who decides to quit writing and start teaching first-grade (she has a teaching certificate as a backup to writing). The novel chronicles her challenges in teaching with no experience and twenty years time between earning her certificate and actually using it. Charlotte is a sympathetic character at times, but at other times, I found her completely annoying. Maybe that is my practical side coming out. The story's resolution a little too neat and simple for my taste. I enjoyed reading it, but I am glad I didn't buy it--I got it through Paperbackswap.com (see my sidebar). A light, sometimes entertaining read, perfect for a flight or beach trip or something like that.
There you go, my sad attempt at writing a book review. I have lots more to read, so look for more inadequate reviews.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
1. I chill my Snickers bars before I eat them. When I bring home a Snickers, I immediately put in the fridge. When I get around to eating it later, I let it sit for about five minutes so it is not too hard to eat. This gives it just the right texture and taste. I think I started doing this after working the concession stand for Little League Baseball. We kept most of the chocolate in the fridge and I just got used to eating it that way.
2. I make coffee for myself about once a week, and even though I know I won't drink it all, I always make enough for 2 big cups (4 cups according to the machine, but really 2 in our mugs). It just seems silly to grind beans and make a pot of one cup of coffee. Sometimes I do go back and pour a little more into my cup, but not very often. There is always coffee left.
3. I only eat pizza fresh from the pizza place. I won't eat it two hours later at room temperature, I won't eat it warmed up, and I certainly won't eat it cold. Gross!
4. I think canned Dr. Pepper tastes different than DP from a bottle or a fountain. Ice-cold canned DP is the best way to drink it.
5. When I was pregnant, I would buy caffeine free Coke, chill it, and then only drink it over ice. It had to be cold first, and I didn't like it straight from the can. That is definitely weird, right?
6. This is one of O.H.'s favorite stories to share about me: He was in a rock band for a time while we were dating. I often went to his gigs and then joined the band at whatever eating establishment they visited post-show. We went to IHOP one late night and here is what I ordered: coffee, bagel, fries, coke, water. You see--I wanted a bagel and you just don't eat that with coke; I wanted fries and you just don't eat that with coffee; and, since both drinks do nothing to quench actual thirst, I needed water too. I promise I am usually not that high maintenance.
7. Since every other item has been about food or beverage I might as well keep that going. I like Ranch dressing as a dip for carrots, cucumbers, celery, etc. But, I hate it on a salad! I think it makes the salad taste bitter or something. Except the bacon ranch dressing at Jack-in-the-Box, that was okay.
Okay, so now I am supposed to tag 7 people. I don't know if I have 7 regular readers who have not done this, so if you want to play along, go ahead.
Commence making fun of my food and drink issues.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
So, the bow and trim were supposed to be a matte silver, but that's okay. All black is a little more subdued, which is more me anyway. And, the right one is a little loose in the heel, but I wanted my left one to fit, not be too small. My left foot is bigger than my right, enough of a difference to wear a bigger size shoe to compensate, so all of my right shoes feel a little loose. So excited to wear them!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Here is how I cope with storms: I find a book, sit on a couch, cast worried glances to the window several times a minute, and try to distract myself with the book. It is what I have done since I was but a wee lass (sorry for that, it just came out, I'm not Scottish or anything).
Here is how my Nutball (4 years old) copes with the storm: She blows it away! That's right, all it takes is making some kind of haunting whistle sound to blow away the storm. She is so much braver than I am.
Monster doesn't notice the storm except for the loud thunder, which he remarks on by saying "uh-ho" in the cutest voice possible.
The other two kidlets show some amount of fear, but it comes in waves, so that at times they are perfectly calm. I guess I am rubbing off on them.
Did anyone read Night of the Twisters as a kid? I happened to be reading it in 4th grade when we had a real, live tornado emergency at school. The sirens were blaring and we had to crouch down in the hall and everything. The tornado ended up not being too close to the school, but it has stayed with me nonetheless (such a nerd for using that word!). The book did nothing to assuage my fears, as it was all about tornadoes (hence the title). Very scary for a 4th grader with an already developed fear of inclement weather.
To those entrusted with the care of a child: How do you handle your fear (if it exists) with your kids? I have told mine I am scared too, although I am obviously not screaming at every thunderclap. We said a prayer together earlier. And I'm trying my hardest to put on a brave face. And blogging about it--because being online is clearly the way to handle all major life issues, isn't it?
Monday, April 23, 2007
O.H. and I have noticed that we have gone way off track lately with our eating and spending habits again. The amount of meals we ate out last week alone is embarassing, without considering the last several weeks. We have just lost focus of what is important and what our goals are. So, I have a new project to work on. I'm going to try to put together a goal book of sorts. There are several major improvements to our house we want to make. We want our kids to be able to attend Catholic school. We want to look and feel better, especially O.H. And, on a way less important note, we want to be able to attend something like the auction for the Catholic school and bid on things we really want, instead of being spectators. But that is not a major goal. I'm going to try to find pictures of the things we want and pictures of us when we were in better shape and put them in a notebook. When we are tempted to eat out or spend money frivolously, we are going to look at the book and talk about how great it will be to reach our goals. I am hopeful that it will help us be more focused and find better ways to spend time and money. I might post a picture of the finished product when I get around to it. Oh yeah, I also hope to get back on track with meal planning and grocery shopping.
Part of what spurred my thoughts was watching three shows in a row last night about super-obese people (500-700 pounds at least). We are nowhere near that overweight, but those people did not imagine themselves ever getting that big I'm sure. So, it did give us a nice little jolt and got my lazy behind on the treadmill this morning for 2.5 miles of running. Yea!
Overall, it was a weekend of shifting priorities again and renewing our commitment to living our lives the way God wants us to, not the way the world tells us to live.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
That will just be capping off a great weekend, or so I hope. I have managed to reclaim the kid rooms from the tornado of stuff. And, tonight, a date! Our local Catholic School is having a fundraising auction and we are going. We don't send our kids to that school (yet) but want to support it anyway. Plus, free babysitting! Yea for family.
I hope y'all are having a fun weekend.
Friday, April 20, 2007
By the way, still cringing in embarassment that one of my students saw me make such a stupid mistake while driving yesterday. At least I don't have to see him for a week and then it will be my last time. Thank goodness for small favors!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Here we are in your peaceful presence, Lord. We could be so many places, but we are here, and when I am quiet and I let you dwell in me, I realize--where else would I be? You have given me this gift of quiet and peace. Help me to hold onto this peace when life gets loud.
God has blessed me beyond measure.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
On a completely random note, I really want to own a bookstore. I'm watching You've Got Mail on the free HBO preview channel and of course it makes me want to have my own cute little shop full of fabulous books. I do realize that the ideal in my head would never be the reality. Still, I can dream.
Thoughts have been banging into each other in my head for days and I can't seem to pin any of them down. So, again, the retreat should be a calming experience. And as I just walked into my kitchen and discovered the trail of soggy cheerios Nutball was making, I am filled with gratitude for the next three days.
Hopefully when I come back I will be capable or more coherent thought. No promises though.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
My little princesses Easter morning. We had to go with the ultra-trendy tights and sandals look due to absurdly cold weather. I love their dresses--yea Target! We decided they are old enough to join us for weddings this year, so we will get lots of use out of them.
Here is Buddy at his first baseball game. We watched the Rangers lose to the Red Sox. Bummer. We had a lot of fun though. It was obviously cold, and we had lots of blankets to keep us warm. Buddy fell asleep for some of the game, but he still had fun and wants to go to another game.
Easter basket bounty. We had an egg hunt at great-grandma's. Monster covers his ears and says cheese whenever he says a camera. Clearly on the path to being a genius. :)
Three Things That Scare Me:
2. my children growing up with addictions or eating disorders
3. failing at my vocation
Three People Who Make Me Laugh:
3. My old friend from HS, David
Three Things I Love:
3. my new Ipod
Three Things I Hate:
2. people who drive and don't use turn signals
3. being late
Three Things I Don’t Understand:
1. most technology, especially fax machines
2. why a particular person cannot see God right there in front of them
3. why God gave me kids who love diapers and hate the potty
Three Things On My Desk:
3. Nail polish (I'm sure O.H. loves that)
Three Things I’m Doing Right Now:
1. wearing my workout out gear but not working out
2. blowing my nose (gross!)
3. thinking about the errands I need to run today while kids are playing with friends (yea for mommy time)
Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
1. go to Italy
2. run a marathon (I think, maybe, possibly)
3. go to Confession
Three Things I Can Do:
1. Run 3 miles without stopping (or I did it once anyway)
2. follow a recipe and make a dee-licious chocolate-chocolate chip-kahlua cake
3. crossword puzzles
Three Things I Can’t Do:
1. play any musical instrument
2. drive a stick shift
3. resist chocolate
Three Things I Think You Should Listen To:
3. Compliments (listen to it, say thank you, and be happy--we women have a bad habit of discounting or disagreeing when someone gives us a compliment)
Three Things You Should Never Listen To:
1. selfish people
2. your doubts
3. your fears
Three Things I’d Like To Learn:
1. quiliting (not until I'm old though)
2. how to be a better cook
3. how to fully trust in God
Three Favorite Foods:
1. pizza every day of the week--I agree
3. strawberries with sugar
Three Shows I Watched As A Kid:
1. Sesame Street
3. The Smurfs
Three Things I Regret:
1. letting a friendship fade
2. not being a more attentive RCIA sponsor
3. buying clothes w/o trying them on--what a hassle to return them!
Three People I'm Tagging (no pressure, just if it seems like fun to do):
2. No Longer at the Kids Table
3. Queen of My Domain
Monday, April 09, 2007
Shalee sent me these five questions to answer on my blog. It is a pseudo-meme going around the block I guess.
What restaurant holds the greatest romantic memory for you?
I'm not a very romantic person, so this one is hard. I guess the Reata in Fort Worth. After O.H. proposed to me he took me there, and surprised me by having several other couples waiting for us, all who knew he had just proposed. This was the night before my 21st birthday too. We have never been back though.
Hmmm. . . I'm tempted to put Eliza Bennett just because Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book, but I don't know if that is true or not. I'd like to think I'm not as judgmental as she was at first, but that is probably not the case. Who is sarcastic, cheerful, optimistic, tomboy-ish, and still all girly at the same time? I'm taking suggestions, here.
What family traits do you see the most in your kids?
My kids all love music and make up their own songs, which definitely comes from their dad. They love books, which comes from their mom and Granna. They are just quirky, doing funny little things, and O.H. and I agree that they get that from him.
If you could have a talent given to you, which one would you choose?
I have always wanted to be able to sing well and play an instrument.
Describe your favorite teacher.
This is so hard. I'm such a nerd and loved school so much that choosing just one is challenging. I'm going to go with my debate coach, Ms. Tice, because she was different. Being a debate coach was not like being a regular teacher and she gave us room to think for ourselves (so did other teachers, but she was just different) and exposed us to lots of things we may not have otherwise known about. She was also just a lot of fun. After my class graduated she decided to go to Alaska and teach there for a few years. Then she went to South America. She was adventurous and encouraged us to be the same, even if it was on a smaller scale.
That's it. If anyone wants to play along, comment and send me an email (on my profile) and I will think of questions for you to answer. Thanks Shalee!
Friday, April 06, 2007
I was part of a small prayer service last weekend. We were told by our leaders to spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God for whatever we needed. Well, I didn't know. So that is what I said to our Lord. "God, I don't know what I need. I don't know what I want. I feel lost and empty in some ways. I just don't know God."
After those few minutes in prayer we were asked to choose a keychain. On the other side was a Scripture that had been chosen. We didn't know what we were getting; they all looked the same on the back. Well, our God doesn't disappoint. Here is the Scripture I chose (or was chosen for me by the Holy Spirit, if you care to believe that).
"Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard . . . what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Cor. 2:9
God looked at me and said, "You're right, you don't know. And you don't have to know. I've got it all under control."
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Little Monster is exploring new heights these days. He can now climb up on the kitchen chairs and all of the living room furniture, which means disaster awaits at every turn. My vigilance has been lax and that has to change or we'll have a trip to the emergency room in the future. Pray for us all!
I'm going to try to stay off the computer the next 3 days and get some reflection time in. We'll see how that goes. Happy Easter!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
By the way, thanks for the encouragement. It helps to know others feel it too at times.
Oh, and the living room situation in the post below has only marginally improved. But I don't care right now!
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
In other news, baseball is finally here! The Rangers opened the season last night. Unfortunately, it was on the West Coast so it was a late start, and a poor finish. We lost. To a division rival. Already our hopes are dimmed. Oh well, 1/2 the teams in the league lose on opening day, right? Can't wait to see more tonight. We're taking the kids to their first big league game on Sunday night. My parents and my brother and a friend will be with us, and we're leaving Monster with a sitter, so it should be lots of fun and plenty of people to keep the kids entertained. We're very excited to see how Buddy likes the game--he loves to "play baseball" in the backyard.
How was that for a meandering, boring post? My apologies. It is Lent, we all need to suffer, even when reading blogs. Ha.