Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Girl Time

Yesterday, my daughter and I had the best time. We did girl stuff, which is not always common at our place. She is at the stage where she wants her mom, but she wants to be her own person. The two don’t always coincide in her mind.

The day started by her letting me do her hair. It’s not often that she lets me brush, curl or basically play with her hair. But yesterday, she walked into my bathroom and asked for some small braids that used just the top part of her hair and started at the sides of her head and eventually joined into a ponytail in the back of her head. Easy to do, and she looked like a cute little Irish lass by the time I was done.

The smile was worth getting out the door later than planned.

That night after dinner, Mr. Right was scouring Monster.com, CareerBuilders.com, etc., for a job. The boy was trying to figure out how to make Mario do something really cool in Mario World.

That left me and my daughter to find something to do. She asked for a bath, a really hot one like I like to take. I filled it and added some of the rose petal soap that I got for Christmas. She was in heaven.

“Oh Mom… This smells so divine,” she sighed.

Divine? Where was my little girl? That was such an adult word.

After slowly lowering herself into the steaming water, she proceeded to tell me all about her day, her thoughts and whatever happened to be running through her mind. Who knew that hot water would loosen more than muscles? She was talking about anything and everything.

After she was out of the soak, she asked if we could give each other a massage. Well, you don’t have to ask me twice.

That girl has good hands! I’m thinking of sending her to a massage therapy school already. And she really liked the one on one, personal time that I was able to give her. Plus, she was really relaxed after her backrub.

We have a rule that she can read for a half hour before lights out. She has been reading a book that I recommended,
Ida B : . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan . (I read it first and after discovering how delightful it was, I laid it on her shelf, hoping she would be interested in reading it.) She finally finished it. She ran into my room to tell me how much she really liked it. It was amazing discussing the book with her, extracting her views, opinions and favorite parts. She proved herself a proficient reader and a clever discerner of literary thoughts.

For a moment, I realized (again) how fleeting this time is with her. She is growing up so quickly… I am so incredibly blessed to have this special girl in my life. Not only can she make me laugh, she makes me think. She makes me remember that there are things in life more precious than gold… like the smile of child.

Now I bet she is only wishing I would remember that the next time she is in trouble…


Monday, January 30, 2006

Unseen Blessings

Blessings to Mr. Right losing his job (one that worked him too long for my comfort):

  • He was able to spend time with his parents when they came for a visit on Friday.
  • He got up and helped to make biscuits and gravy Saturday – he’s the biscuit man; I’m the gravy lady.
  • He got to go to the both of the kids’ basketball game on Saturday. They needed a person to run the game clock. He was able to volunteer for that, too.
  • He was there to fix the toilet when it overflowed.

Photo: I need a Treo. The pictures from them come out looking great. Mr. Right and the kids keeping score.

The kids love having him around to coach them in basketball, having him tuck them into bed, letting him read to them, just having him around to talk and to play.

I like having someone else to help with the parenting. I love having a hand to hold when reading. We feel more like a family than we have in a long time.

We still need a job for him and we are praying without ceasing about it, but at least we get to enjoy that fact that his is there. God is taking care of us in more ways than we can imagine.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Praying 101

So here’s the deal with our family…

Mr. Right called me yesterday morning to tell me that he has just been let go from his job.

Bummer. In a very big way.

Didn’t we just go through this a couple of months ago? One day walk into work - the next thing you know, goodbye.

In the words of my friend Karen: That sucks.

Mr. Right said, “I am sure that God is trying to teach me something. I just wish I didn’t have to learn it the hard way.”

  • What is the lesson here?
  • Complete and absolute dependence on God?
  • Testing our faith?
  • Are we the test subjects for others?
  • All of the above?
  • None of the above, but some other lesson all together.

It’s so hard to comprehend why we are going through this – again.

My boss was very kind and let me go home – even if it was so that I would cry there rather than at work. Which I did. A lot. When I saw Mr. Right, he held me and said, “I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next.”

Absolute optimist to the nth degree… What kind of person looks at a “challenge” in such a way? Freak.

My daughter is such an inspiration to me, too. When we picked her up from school, she knew that something was up because 1) we were both there, 2) her dad wasn’t at work and 3) I looked like a blow fish because my face was all swollen from crying. After we told her the news, the first thing she said to me was “If I don’t get to buy my lunch, that’s okay, Mom.” (That is usually one of the treats they get each week: pick their favorite meal on the menu for that week and get that. All other days they bag it.)

Bless her little heart. She immediately grasped the situation and put a positive spin on it. At dinner, I commented that she was a glass-half-full person. I asked her if she knew what that meant. She looked at my half a glass of water and said, “It’s when you look at all the water you do have and are thankful for it rather than looking at all the water that isn’t there and wish you had more.” I’ve got a lot to learn from her.

My boy had a different response. When we picked him up and talked about the lack of a job for dad, he asked if we could go out to eat for dinner. Maybe it has something to do with being six…

He did grasp “extras” concept though. When we explained again why we are going to tighten down the hatches, I asked him to define extra spending. At least he recognized the Little Debby cakes aren’t necessary to living, but we need milk and bread. So some of it seeped into his head after all.

God has surrounded us with wonderful people. My work buddies, family, friends – all these people have been so supportive. I cannot believe the number of positive people there are in this world, here in the same town and on each coast and every where in between . And we have the honor of calling them our friends.

Maybe that is why God is taking us on this rollercoaster ride again. To remind us that He is here on earth and He wears skin.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cooking 101

“Mom, do we have any ground cinnamon?”

These were the words I heard over the phone, 4:24 PM. Yes, I was still at work and my daughter was on the other end of the line.

“Up in the cabinet by the oven. Why do you need that, honey?” I replied, although a slight uneasiness was beginning to form in my stomach.

“Oh, it’s a surprise for you. Gotta go.” Click.

Hmmm… Should I worry or let her go with her mystery? She has shown a vast interest in cooking over the past couple of years, but usually I was home to help with the finer points, like making sure the ingredients actually made it into the bowl or sweeping up the items that missed the bowl and the table entirely and landed on the floor.

I thought she should have this latitude, unencumbered by me. (Clap for me here because I showed immense restraint. See I am learning!)

Ten minutes, she called to ask, “If I wanted to turn the oven on to 357º, what do I press?”

Confusion set in. “357º? Are you sure it doesn't say 350º or 375º?”

“Oh yeah, I meant 375º. What do I press to turn it on?” she asked so sweetly.

Wait a minute. What am I thinking? She can mix, blend and pour all she wants. I’m not ready for her to run the oven by herself.

“Honey, I don’t want you using the oven when I’m not there,” I cautioned.

“I know. I am not going to do anything with the oven. I just want it ready for when you get home. Then you can cook the surprise.” She sounded so pleased with herself, for making something all on her own and for the cooking adventure in which she was now involved. I could hear her jumping up and down with excitement.

Two minutes later, I get another call from her. “I can’t wait to tell you what it is. I made homemade granola. All. By. Myself. I am so excited. It’s the first thing I made all by myself!! No one was here to help me!” Glee gushed from every syllable she uttered. I could hear the smile and pride over the phone. All that happiness boiled down to one thing in her mind: She knew that she was big stuff, capable of handling situations and ideas on her own.

She is growing up so quickly. Cooking on her own, picking out music that she wants to jams to after school, actually matching her socks to her outfit… these are all things that remind me that she is not a little girl anymore. I had better get geared up for these changes because they are coming whether or not I am ready.

By the way, I cooked her concoction when I got home. It was delicious! And the mess I thought might be awaiting my return was nonexistent. She had put every dish into the sink and put every used ingredient away.

There might be more to this cooking thing than I thought. If she can do this, just think of what she could do with chicken…


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Best Christmas Story Ever (in my opinion)

Okay, now that it is past Christmas, I can share one of my favorite true stories. Names are omitted because, well, I can’t remember all of them. But the story is still good without them!

There was a certain elderly lady who loved Christmas. She always put good thought and energy into each and every present. She knew that each child and grandchild loved her gift because it was always selected with love and kindness, no matter the cost.

One Christmas season, this sweet lady found herself feeling under the weather quite a bit. She was unable to seek out all the gifts that she wanted to give to each family member. She decided that as a 74-year-old grandma, she had earned the right to give money, if only for one year. She wrote a check to every member of the family and signed each Christmas card with “Buy your own gift this year! Much love, Grandma.”

When Christmas came around, the family gathered for their traditional holiday feast at the woman’s house. All came with cheer and love. Everyone had a special smile for matriarch of the family, the woman who drew them all together. She was given the place of honor and everyone strove to make her happy, content and comfortable. Hugs and gifts were given freely and with much love, especially to the woman. Acceptance of each item from each family member was received with honest gratitude. At the end of the day, they offered thanks to God for the joy of the season, for the family commitment and for each other’s generosity.

The day was a marvel, but the lady was slightly disappointed that no one thanked her for her gifts. She thought that because she had sent out the Christmas cards early and there were so many gifts given, too much time had passed and they had been distracted by the celebration of the day. She decided that it didn’t matter because she was shown such love, respect and honor, it would be a waste to let one small grievance ruin the memory.

About three weeks after Christmas, the woman was feeling much better and she decided to set in on cleaning her office, for with her illness and the passing of the holidays, she hadn’t kept up with her place as she normally would have done. She opted to start on her office since she had many thank you note and letters to write to her friends who had sent holiday greetings.

As she cleaned off her desk, under a box of cards, she found every check that she had written to her family members, unsent because she forgot to put them in the Christmas cards.

Okay... Think about it. Let it seep in. Go back and read it if you need to do so because this one is a goodie! Don’t miss the humor subtly, laying there waiting to bite you.

Now laugh because it is really funny!

I love that story, mostly because I can see doing it regardless of the age. It makes me chuckle every time I think of it. Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the humanity of us all...


Monday, January 23, 2006

See Sha Run

I think I have died. At least, I wish I had because I got the insane idea to start running again.


My body is hurting everywhere. I hurt in places that I didn’t even know that I could hurt.

Now mind you I used to run an eight-minute mile. Now I am lucky to finish an eighth of a mile before next Tuesday. I am so out of shape it is pathetic.


Here’s what started all this mess: Peer pressure, pure and simple.

The only problem with it is that I have never met the person who laid in on me about needing to get active.

For a while now, I have been picturing myself running. But the task of taking from my mind and putting it into a live situation has been hard to manage. My boss started working out. He is looking really good. His best friend who lives way far away started training for a triathlon. Yeah, he woke up one day and said to himself, “I want to do the Ironman competition.” And then he set to it.

Can you imagine having that kind of will power? I am lucky if I can make myself wait until 9 AM before eating a chocolate cookie for a mid morning snack!

Anyway, one day Anthony called to talk to my boss, and I commended him on his determination to do a triathlon. I stupidly commented that I used to run, but now the only exercise I get is running around in circles or pushing my luck.

Boy, was that a mistake. Unbeknownst to me, he used to be a body builder. He stressed the importance of taking care of my body, of participating in a regular routine to keep yourself healthy physically and mentally, and (the clincher) if I wanted to lose the tummy I’ve been complaining about, I have to so some sort of cardiovascular activity to make it disappear.

Okay, he got me on that one. So I started running.

I’ve only started this past week, and if you were to watch I am sure there were many old ladies with walkers who would pass me up, but the point is that I’ve started.

Maybe I’ll eventually make the eight minute mile mark again. Until then, hand me those headphones. I’ve got a sidewalk calling me.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become tired of doing good.”

Last night after BB practice, the coach gathered all the kids together for a devo. They happened to sit next to where I was sitting, reading a book, sort of listening to the conversation. (This is how I heard the kid’s comments.)

Each week the children are given the opportunity to say the memory verse for the week, each verse supporting the main verse for this BB season which is II Peter 1:5-7 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”

All the girls said the scripture for this week (Gal 6:9) and then the coach asked them what they thought the verse meant.

One girl replied, “It’s like when I have to go to tennis practice and then basketball practice, and I don’t want to, but I go because I have to go.”

Another girl said, “I hate doing homework. But I gotta do it.”

Another one mentioned, “Like when my little brother really, really annoys me, I need to remember to not be mean to him.”

One girl’s answer I didn’t catch right away. It was still registering in my head, when I thought, “Who said that?”

The coach was on the same wavelength because he sat up straighter; he hushed everyone and said, “Did you hear what she just said? Would you please repeat that so that everyone can hear it?”

Then my timid little girl said again, “It’s like when you give money to God, but you don’t want to do it because you want it, but you do because you know it is the right thing to do to help others. It doesn't always feel good when you give it, but it does feel good knowing that you are doing what God wants you to do and taking care of others.”

The coach turned to me with a look of amazement and then he smiled at me. “That’s right. That is exactly what the verse means.”

After the girls dispersed, he pulled me aside and said that he was surprised at such depth, especially in a 9 year old. He told me that I was doing a good job raising her. I told him that it’s all God.

I am constantly amazed at the way God is still teaching me basic, fundamental thoughts, especially when the teaching comes through my children. These are the times when I realize that Mr. Right and I are not the only teachers in the family, and we still have a lot to learn.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Let the Games Begin (Part Two)

First of all, let me state that I obviously don’t love this child as much because when I was running out the door at 7:30 AM for my son’s game (yes you read that correctly – we had to be at the gym at 7:45 AM for an 8 AM game), I left the good camera on the table. I blame it on not enough caffeine and having to up and out the door at an unreasonable time for a SATURDAY, but others may see it as not being a good enough parent. C’est la vie… It was too late to go back for it by the time I realized that it was sitting at home. But fortunately, I did have enough where-with-all or divine inspiration to pull out my handy-dandy cell phone with camera. So I guess I do love him enough after all, but the pictures aren’t as good as the ones on yesterday’s blog.

My son, like myself, has not figured out the point of playing basketball, but unlike his sister, he is not a super-quick study. It takes much in the way of repetition to get him to understand directions. This is not an uncommon situation for him. Almost the entire time he was out on the court (18 minutes out of 36), he was standing around just watching things happen. His concept of basketball, when his team had the ball, was to run to “their” basket, lean against the pole, and just stand there talking with the other players who had the same idea.

Now since Mr. Right had to work Saturday morning, no one was there telling me to shut up. Free reign, baby! So I shouted lots of reminders to the boy.

“Don’t lean against the post.”
“Where’s the ball? Pay attention to the player with the ball.”
“Get your hands out of your shorts!” (What’s with the hands in the pants thing?! Sheesh!)
“Where’s the ball? Pay attention to the player with the ball.”
“Put your hands up! Be ready for the ball!”
“Where’s the ball? Pay attention to the player with the ball.”
“Run to the other end. The other team has the ball.”
“Where’s the ball? Pay attention to the player with the ball.”
(Do you see the theme here?)

Eventually, I just sat down and cheered everyone on, leaving the boy alone. I was wearing myself out and I wasn't even on the court.

He definitely got a workout, even if he didn’t get to touch the ball. And he looked like he was having fun, which was one of the reasons that he was in the program in the first place.

By the end of the game, he had a small idea of what he was suppose to do. At least he was attempting to look like he wanted the ball.

When it was all over and we were heading home for the big breakfast, I asked him what he thought.

He said, “I liked it, but you yelled at me.”


Hmmm, maybe I should go work on Saturdays and Mr. Right should come to the games.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Let the Games Begin (Part One)

Photo: Future WNBA contenda

Last Friday we began our time as “Court Side Seat Holders” for our daughter’s introduction to the world of basketball games. These seats were no biggie because, really, all the folding chairs were beside the court. But we held ours will great enthusiasm and cheer, which you know from previous ranting, is a stretch for me when it comes to basketball. I'd rather stay home and wash the neighbor's cat than watch basketball. It would probably be less painful...

What we do for our children...

To start the night off in spectacular fun and fame, the church-led sports program announced each of the players and had them run through a tunnel to join the refs in the middle of a darkened court amid the roving spotlights . The girls felt like NBA stars already. Then they had each team go to their half court, had them kneel for a pep talk by the ref, and then they said a prayer to start the game off right.

The program was set up rather uniquely. Each player was allowed the same amount of playing time, six minutes at a time with two 18 minute halves. No scores were kept since the idea of the night was to get them use to playing as teams. When a player did make a basket, all parents/observers were encouraged to cheer, no matter which team made the score. And when a foul was made, the refs stopped the game, gathered everyone together and explained what went wrong. Then they gave the ball back to the player who last had the ball and let them try the play again. It was quite the learning experience for all the players.

My daughter played her first basketball game ever. She had such a fun time! She was pumped about cheering on her teammates, and when her time came to take the court, she was excited (and nervous) about being out where everyone could see her. She’s such a passive person, that it was hard for her to grasp that it was okay to try to steal the ball. Also she has such a giving heart that she just politely let the others go before her in everything.

To the girl guarding her: “Oh am I in your way? Sorry. After you.”

To the opponent with the ball: “Here, you dropped this.” (Hands ball back to her.)

To her teammates: “No. No. You can have the ball this time. I’ll just wait for you over here.”

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But she later got a review of the object of playing the game from her dad. (After all, he actually has played the game, so any advice should come from him.)

Not that I kept quiet during the game. Oh, no. I am quite the sideline coach.

“Guard your person!”
“Get the ball!”
“Put your hands up!”
“Break free so that you can get the ball.”

Mr. Right looked directly at me and advised that I shut up and let her enjoy the game.

Photo: Look at that smile... Okay, maybe I can handle this BB thing after all.

So, being that he was the advice-giver this time, I took it. And she did enjoy the game. So did I, even if I left with teeth marks on my tongue.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mental Health Day

Last Friday I did something I rarely do:

I took half a day off from work and spent time on myself. It felt weird at first, but I realized that this time was actually a very good thing – not just for me, but for the entire family. Because really, there are times I just want either to run away or to get out a wet noodle and start beating everyone with it – or eat it, which is probably what would most likely happen, especially if there was spaghetti sauce nearby.

It’s hard to not think of time off like that as lazy time because I really had so much to do. Guilt usually sets in somewhere about how I could better use the day, tackling long overdue tasks like ironing or cleaning out the fridge. (Ugh to both!) But I think I really needed a Mental Health Day (MHD) – meaning that if I didn’t spend some time on myself, I would go mental on everyone really soon! (See above paragraph.)

I decided to use a spa gift certificate that Santa gave me for Christmas. (No really, it did come from Santa. I got a FedEx on day at work and it said, “To Shalee, From Santa.” How much more proof do you need than that?)

I used it to get an hour massage. What a glorious hour that was! Soft relaxing music, dimmed lights and a warmed soft table was the setting for this hour of forgetting everything. The therapist must have the strongest, softest hands on earth because she was working wonders on me. Knots in my shoulders disappeared, my legs barely were able to get me to the car when I was done, and I yawned continually for the rest of the day. Ahhh, bliss.

But the self-indulgence did not stop there. I wasn’t done by a long shot.

Chinese was calling my name on the way home, so of course I gave into it, especially since I had to drive by the best Chinese restaurant ever - Fortune Wok. I had to eat, right? There was something extremely satisfying about getting to eat a meal all by myself (read: no kids asking for anything that I have). I ordered it to go and went home to eat in front of the TV, something that I do only once in a blue moon. I watched a foreign film- Happenstance- that was humorous, quirky and entertaining. (It had Audrey Tautou, an actress that I have liked since Amélie.) I found that I was actually enjoying doing nothing and not thinking about the things that still needed to be done.

As my relaxing time was drawing to a close because school was letting out shortly, I realized that I was all set for the rest of the day. I was ready for the kids to come home; I actually was looking forward to making dinner and to doing some of the things that I had to do. In short, I was looking forward to being Mom again.

I felt more like myself than I had in a long time. And I really liked it. And so did the family. (Hear their sigh of collective relief.)

I still have enough of the gift certificate left for another two massages. That’s two more MHD in my future. I sure am going to look forward to doing it again – completely guilt-free. But I am going to wait to take those MHD until I lose track of myself again so that the adventure of finding myself is just as pleasurable and refreshing.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Santa. I really needed that.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Boy Trouble

Will someone please tell me what to do or else I shall kill my boy! Okay, I won't really kill him, but I'd sure love to wring his little neck!

Why is it that boys have such a problem with such a thing called aim? I don't get it.

My son must think that I love cleaning the bathroom because he is doing everything to turn it into a daily task.

See, here's the sitch: Son goes to bed, son wakes up in the middle of the night running to the bathroom, son turn on lights, lifts lid, pees and flushes, son goes back to bed. Mom wakes in morning to find bathroom that she cleaned yesterday due to son's previous missing the toilet is now dirty again due to son's nocturnally enduced lack of aim. Mom has not-so-private conniption about cleaning the bathroom AGAIN. Son apologizes, says he try to do better and goes on his merry little way. Mom grumbles and cleans bathroom again, knowing full well that I, I mean she, will have to do it again tomorrow.

I should buy stock in those bathroom cleaner wipes. I could make myself rich over time.

We have made it so that he doesn't drink after a certain time (but really a kid does get thirsty after lunch) and we have him use the restroom before going to bed. Don't know what else I could do except give him decongestants every night to dry him out!

Maybe I should install one of those bathrooms with tile everywhere and a hose. Then I could just hose it down like a stall. It would be a whole lot easier on me...

I guess I should be grateful. At least he's not wetting the bed. Now that would be a chore everyday.

I've got a bucket and wipes and a bathroom to clean. Lysol, anyone?

Photo: I look at it to remind myself that he really is cute when he isn't driving me crazy!


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Where's Waldo?

I took this picture of a tree right outside our house this November. I loved the colors of the leaves.

I was looking for my daughter when I noticed how beautiful the tree was turning. It looked like tree blazed with bright fire.

I turned to go find my daughter elsewhere when I heard a snicker in tree. (Yeah, look closely; you'll see her.)

Low and behold, there she was up on a limb, grin in full force. She totally fooled me, that little stinker! But it's a pretty cool picture, I think.

She’s turning into such a tomboy.

Like mother, like daughter again…


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mom's Revenge (All Legal and Above Board)

We had a surprise snow yesterday. Here I am expecting a high of 50º, and what I begin my early day with is black ice and sleeting rain.

It’s just wrong to do that to somebody.

Anyway, it started to snow about noon and when I got home from work, all I felt like doing was curling up in front of the gas fireplace and read a book. But the kids had a different idea.

My son’s first request was to play outside. So I bundle him up, spend about 15 minutes trying to get his gloves on his hands, button him up and send him out the door. Two minutes later, his sister wanted to do the same thing. Fortunately for me, she can get her gloves, hat and coat on in seconds because I did not want to go through that again.

The kids looked like they were having fun, so I sneaked outside to get some pictures of them.

It was the perfect snow that would stick together easily. Moist, but not too heavy. Ideal for a playing and making things with the snow.

I thought my daughter was making a snowman, but she said no; she had the idea to make a massive snowball to throw at her brother. I thought she was creating a means to flatten him myself, which is always acceptable in a surprise snowfall.

She rolled and rolled and rolled a snowball. See, now, they haven’t studied physics or mass in fourth grade yet. But I was thinking that she would soon learn something when she attempted to pick the gigantic “snowball.”

She could barely lift the thing off the ground! And when she did, she dropped it and it fell into three big pieces. Not a worry for her. She just started all over again.

But her brother got her while she wasn’t looking. Ah, yes, sometimes it pays to just go for it and to not plan too far in advance.

Of course, when I got into the action, it was all said and done for them. Let me just say that I have discovered late in life that I should have played softball in my younger years.

They were running for cover by the time I was done.

Ahhh, the joys of being a kid. Ahhh, the joys of being the mom.

It is a high in the 50’s today and snow has already melted. I’m glad I seized the moment and nailed them while I had the chance! (Muhahahaaaaaaaaaaaa)


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wedding Dreams

About two years ago, my daughter has discovered “The Wedding Album.”

I loved looking through it with her and talking about what she was seeing for the first time. She had all sorts of comments and questions when we were going through it.

Oh Mom, I love your dress. It’s soooo long and pretty and you look so beautiful!” (Love that one!)

Oh, there’s Aunt Gina and Uncle Ron. Where are my cousins?” (They were still twinkles in their parents’ eyes.)

“Grandma and Grandpa are so dressed up.” (This saying went for both sets of grandparents.)

“Aunt Lynnette had long hair!”

“Uncle Alan had hair?”

“Where are the pictures of Zachary and Ethan?” (They weren’t born yet either.)

“Who are all these people?”

“You had chocolate cake?! I want to have that at my wedding too!” (Chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting, thank you very much! Simply devine...)

"You had Grandpa's cheesecake at your wedding? You are so lucky!"

“Oh yuck. You’re kissing again.”

And my favorite:

“When I get married, I want to wear your dress!”

We still pull the album out every so often. I reminisce to her and talk about details long forgotten, like how our baker pulled out three weeks before our wedding and our flower shop told us two weeks before the event that they were going on vacation. (Yeah, we scrambled to find both, but it all worked to our advantage. We got better deals than we had before with the other vendors!) Or about how it rained on the wedding day, but by night, it turned into a beautiful summer evening. Or about how I was great during the ceremony, but how I cried during the vows and everyone else told me that they were doing great until they heard me and then they cried and the whole thing probably looked more like a funeral rather than a wedding to an outsider, except for the dresses and candles.

Or when they asked me how I felt immediately after the ceremony, they caught me on tape saying, “I can’t believe he married me!”

You know stuff like that.

We’ve pulled out the dress to get a look at the “real thing.” (Somewhere in the background Pachelbel’s Cannon in D Major begins to play and the dress radiates a soft glow and my heart is filled with abundant joy…) My daughter looks at it with reverence, as a sacred item to be cherished and eventually worn on her special day.

That is the dream that I really want to have happen, except the way she is growing, it may only be a dream in my head. (Music comes to a screeching halt)

Maybe she can find a use for it so that it is still in the picture on her wedding day...Maybe as a handkerchief or a pretty table cloth instead…

She'll get to decide and do with it what she wants for her special day, if she so desires. All that I care about for now is that she still wants to be like her Mom on her special day.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Candid Camera

I love getting photos from friends. It takes me back to a time when I was having fun, to a time when someone else was taking pictures, or to a time when I didn’t concern myself with how I looked.

Such as with this picture…
This pic by Liz was taken at the Young Family Christmas party; she got her Christmas present early and was trying it out for the first time. Big two thumbs up to Liz!

See now, if I had known pictures were going to be taken, I might have done something with the hair.

I might have sat in a “less butt” position.

Make-up would have been nice…

I wouldn’t have changed my picture partner, though. (Isn’t he a handsome man? Sigh… heart flutters… He always enhances any picture I am in!)

Another great thing about this photo is that the smile is real. We were having a great time at the party and by the end of it, at the “White Elephant” exchange, we were blessed to come out with two nice gifts. Dinner at Carrabbas and $10 to Target… Date time and money for toilet paper! What could possibly be better? (Yeah they’re both spent already. I can’t hang on to gift cards long.)

Most of my pictures are “what you see is what you get.” If you want better pictures, go buy a Vogue or Elle. They have good fake pictures for the picking.
You usually will only get “Down Home” girl with me, which is the way I like it. Besides it is a whole lot easier to keep up that facade.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Basketball Stars in the making

Okay, although I don’t care for basketball, it doesn't mean that my kids have to suffer from their mom’s opinion. Besides, both of them are probably going to be really tall, so I should see if this activity will lead to NBA stardom. Then they can take care of me in my old age.

So I signed them up for basketball at a church near our house.

I liked the idea of their first sports team being led by Christians who focus a lot on becoming a champion for Christ as well as learning to play the sport. They get to memorize scriptures, they start and end with a prayer and they are teaching them the joy of playing rather than the joy of winning. Fabulous goals in my opinion!

I wish I had a video camera. Imagine 100 five to seven year olds running around, attempting to shoot baskets and practicing the “basketball stance”. They looked like a bunch of bears getting ready to attack some unsuspecting hiker. I bet I could have made money off that America’s Funniest Home Video show.

My daughter had a blast. She was smiling and laughing during most of it. She was so pumped about practicing and getting better. Her entire plan for today is to come home from school and hit the driveway. 100 dribbles for each hand and to work on "the stance" because she says "Ow!" when she does it.

The practice for the boy went well, but I have to admit right now that I had a hard time not getting on the court to discuss proper behavior on the court with my son. I would make a horrible team mom. I just want to fix things as they happen rather than wait until a later time.

My son is six years old, and this is his first time participating on a team. That boy’s attention was everywhere. Did he listen when the coach was talking? No, he was spinning circles. Did he stand still when they were in line? No, he had to keep moving something. And what is the deal with kids putting their hands in their pants? Sheesh…

He did have a fun time with all the other boys on the team, though. And that was my whole desire in getting him on a team, besides the making money in the future thing. So I should be happy with that achievement. I hope it carries on throughout the season.

We did talk about court behavior at home. We’ll keep discussing it throughout the week, so that some of it may stick with him to next week’s practice. I know it will work out over time. I’m just going to have a hard time watching and biting my tongue. Oh Lord, give me self-control!


Thursday, January 05, 2006

I'm A Football Fan

Yes, I am one of those women. I love football, both college and pro, although I prefer pro. I love most everything about the games. (But not the cheerleading. To me, it’s just a stupid annoyance that has nothing to do with the game. No, I’m not jealous. I just don’t see their purpose at the game other than to shake and to make men drool. No one can really hear them cheer at a game unless you are sitting on the first four rows. They are a completely unnecessary distraction that, if banned, would not interrupt the flow of the game)

So sorry… I digress. (I’m off the soapbox now.)
  • I like watching the plays.
  • I like making calls.
  • I love knowing (most of the time) what the flag infractions are for before the ref calls it.
  • I love calling the infraction before the flag is thrown. (I can usually impress Mr. Right with that one!)
  • I like knowing players’ names and knowing on what teams they play. I have my favorites for different reasons. (Peyton Manning has been my favorite since he played for the Vols. If I ever have a make a wish moment, it would be to meet with him to talk football and other issues. He just seems like such a down to earth guy with a generous heart and a great attitude.)
  • I like going to games, tailgating, eating hotdogs, standing and cheering most of the game, and leaving with the feeling that I was involved.
  • I like watching games at home, yelling encouragements to the players. My daughter has already reminded me countless times that they can’t hear me. I yell loud enough that I think they can.
  • I love being surprised with a new play thrown in when least expected. (Fake punts and someone else quarterbacking with the quarterback on the field as a receiver to name two. That’s just cool!)
  • I like rooting for the underdogs (most days). Next season is the Browns time!!!
  • I like that you have a number of people on the field where everything has to go just right in order to make a play.
  • I like that things rarely go just right because there are a number of different people on the field.

However there are a few things I don’t like about it (besides the cheerleaders – put some clothes on for goodness sake!)

Sorry, I did it again. (Soapbox back in hiding place now.)

  • I don’t care for beer.
  • I don’t like buffalo wings.
  • People who have too much beer and wings and proceed to sprout their ignorance or profanities at the games. They should be banned from breathing.
  • I don’t care to know statistics off the top of my head.
  • I don’t understand fantasy football. I don’t understand why people put so much time and effort into a game that will never exist except in people’s heads or on computer screens.
  • I hate seeing the team that is being beaten badly look so dejected. (Breaks my heart!)
  • I don’t like the Raiders. Don’t know why. I’ve always felt that way. May have something to do with the skull and crossbones.
  • I hate that the season ends on February 5, 2006. Then it’s all basketball and golf. Ugh!

And that, my friends, is when I start blogging about books or movies or belly button lint.

Got any suggestions? I’ll have lots of time on my hands very soon…

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Here’s to a great mom and grandma, the lady who makes a mean lasagna and the best scalloped potatoes and ham, who can make fantastic homemade noodles, but refused to roll out dough for cookies.

Here’s to a woman who wakes entirely too early, but is still coherent enough to hold a conversation as long as there is lots and lots of coffee.

Here’s to the lady who has been a great support to me and my family from the beginning, who taught me to not give up when things fall apart around you, who taught me to laugh when all you want to do is cry, who taught me to look to God in all things.

Here’s to the woman who has been selfless in many things, especially when we were growing up, who went without so that we could have, who taught hospitality and generosity despite meager means. (I still don’t see how you could make a pot of spaghetti feed 20! It was like Jesus feeding the 5,000…)

Thank you for standing by, with and behind me in my choices, activities and learning moments. There was no one else I would have rather fed me food when getting ready for a play, no other parent I would want to have cut a rug at the school dance, who would drop everything and come running when we announced the birth of our first child. (I am still surprised that you didn’t break the sound barrier!)

Thank you for being patient (most of the time) with me and having a forgiving spirit for all my screw-ups… which were (and still are) many.

Thanks for partnering with me and beating the pants off Dad and Mr. Right in euchre. I still can’t believe we skunked them 3 times in a row. Who cares if it was 10 years ago? There’s no time limit on basking in the glow of victory!

I hope that my children get the chance to learn from you the way I have. I hope they inherit many of your qualities. May we have many more Grandma Cora times for the grandkids and for us. May you have more blessings than you can count, many more days on the beach and many more sundaes than you can eat!

Lots of love to you,



Monday, January 02, 2006

January Already?

I can't believe it is 2006! What happened to 2005? Time is going by entirely too quickly now that I am getting older. But I am not too forgetful to remember some of the many blessings that God has given to us!

Let me go through a quick review... in pictures.

I started working for a great guy in February. I have to say that he is the best boss I have ever had. (Don't tell him or else it might go to his head...) I really like being an assistant. I get to participate in so many things, but not have all the pressures that the big boss has. Whew! I've enough of them on my own.

We went to Florida to see my folks. We arrived right after a tropical storm, which made the beach incredibly clean and beautiful. God blessed us to have a perfect week in the state, not too hot and not rainy. My parents rented a boat and we were given the opportunity to swim out in the water and to see dolphins. They were incredible.

Photo: A moment of peace

We also visited family, Ron and Gina and all the cousins. My two kids were in hog heaven! From sun up to sun down, they played, played played. Those are the memories that they still talk about. They love seeing them!

Photos: Good times at the magic show!

We bought a house. We love it! It is so nice to have to yell to get someone to hear you. Before all you had to do was whisper. But I yelled anyway to keep my voice in training.

Photo: Our little patch of paradise while on earth.

Mr. Right lost his job, yeah right after moving into the house. But God was very good to us! We never went hungry and He sent angels to cover the mortgage. Mr. Right now has a new job, and he loves it. It is nice to see him doing something he enjoys and having a nice boss!

Photo (l): Me and Mr. Right at Silver Dollar City

My son started school. Yep the baby is in school. I didn't cry over it, mainly because I had to go to work afterwards. Who wants to go to work looking like a racoon?

Photo (r): My little Indian (the one with the big mouth)

We had the whole family at our place for Christmas. Well almost everyone. It was a full house and I loved every moment of it! The weather has been great - just enough snow to play and to make a snowman. And the hot chocolate afterwards are a sure pleaser.

Photo: There's no fun like snow fun

And this account doesn't even mention all our wonderful friends. There's not enough time or room to praise them! Just know that you are very valued and loved.

2005 was a great year. I have many wonderful memories of the past year to review.

2006, however, needs a little help already. I think my wallet was stolen. But, on the bright side of life, I won the first round of Phase 10 in 2006. So it can't be all bad.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for us yet! (But I hope it involves finding my wallet...)