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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good Stuff... God Stuff.

Oh I've had a heck of a day so far, friends. A heck of a day.

But it couldn't have been for a better reason.

BSF is on Wednesdays of course. And this morning I was in the children's program. I got to hang out with the kindergartners in my friend Nicolle's class.

Super fun and a super cute group of kids, might I add.

So, the plan was to take N up to our friend Debbie's house right after BSF to let him eat lunch and take a nap while I went back and listened to the end of the lecture with the rest of the children's leaders and attended a Personal Quiet Time seminar.

STOP... slight change of plan. Thank you Lord.

The children's leader Mary Ann kind of "convinced" me to go ahead and stay to listen to lecture and then take N to Debbie's house and come back for the seminar. I should have enough time, she said.

Well, not enough time to use the bathroom, I found out.

Sometimes I'm just convinced that I need a catheter and a bag to carry around. I don't have time for this silly stuff like going to the bathroom. *huff*

Thankfully, Tonya (teaching the seminar), I'm sure after seeing me turning yellow and squirming in my seat uncontrollably, had us take a break to stretch & go to the bathroom. THANK YOU LORD!

So, it really was a good busy. There were things that I heard at the beginning of the lecture that I really needed to hear. Thank you for intersecting my life, there, Lord. It's all still banging around in my head right now, so I can't coherently post about it except to say this... it was God ordained that I not only hear the beginning of that lecture but also to attend the quiet time seminar.

Good stuff, friends.

God stuff.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Potty Training Chronicles (Part 8) - Prizes

I am shocked. . . AMAZED, even.

The boy may just have gotten the hang of the whole thing.

I mentioned recently that we had been using some negative concequences. We tried several things, but what finally worked has been taking toys away for accidents; specifically #2 (which in our opinion haven't been accidents as much as a sheer act of him exerting his will). Especially prized toys like Max & Monty, race cars, trucks, tractors, really anything with wheels. Then, he could earn them back by going in the potty.

We recently added a chart to give some more tangible positive rewards. He gets a sticker for each day he was clean and dry. He also has the option of earning another sticker each day if he poops in the potty. Filling up a row (10 very hand-drawn "squares") earns a prize.

The first prize was a Lightning McQueen & Mater Puzzle. It took probably 15 to 20 days to earn it. But he did it and he was excited.






The second prize was a car wash hot wheels toy which he earned this evening. As you can tell from the dates of the above pictures, this only took 11 days. And he has already earned 1 sticker towards his 3rd (and hopefully final) prize... a bulldozer train (as he calls it).

I guess I'd better go ahead an order it, huh?

Funny, though. It's all about the prizes isn't it?

And using prizes is not a new thing in parenting.

My parents like to put up a big front and say that, "You did it beacuse you were told to and because we expected you to obey." Well, yeah, but I know there were some prizes involved for me as a kid.

Hello, my name is Donna and I was a thumb sucker.

Apparently nothing worked to get me to stop until my daddy took me to the store and showed me a new tricycle that he would buy me if I quit the thumb. And apparently, I did just that.

Cold Turkey.

And I got me a tricycle.

So, prizes aside, here's the great and really encouraging part. Saturday at the family reunion all day, he did so great. He told us every time he had to tee-tee. He told us at the DQ (oh there's a separate post) that he needed to go potty and he went in there and pooped. The last couple of nights he has come and told us he needed to poop and has gone in the potty.

It's been 4 months today since my first Potty Training Chronicles post.

4 LONG MONTHS!

Could it be?

Is it possible that the boy finally has the hang of it?

Could this be one of my last Potty Training Chronicles posts?

I'm not sure, but I'm ordering a few prizes online right now...

Is it your day?

With Nathan you just never know.

My friend Val knows that.

Some days he just can't get enough of her and it's all about "Mrs. Valerie!" Other days he doesn't want anything to do with her.

Whenever we go to lunch after church on Sundays she always asks for a kiss from him. Sometimes it's her day, sometimes it's not.

There's really no rhyme or reason to it either... as if there is with anything a 2 year old does.

And he's caught on to this expression that we use. This past Sunday he told her, "It's not your day."

What's so precious is that she doesn't get her feelings hurt.

'Cuz she knows that it's not just her.

I emailed her recently with something that happened just to reinforce this fact.

I went in one morning to get him up and going for the day. He was lying there so still that I couldn't tell through the darkness of the room if he was still asleep or lying there awake. So I took a step further in his room.

Wrong choice.

All I heard then was, "NO! Get out of my room, mommy!"

It wasn't my day.

But I tell you what; Saturday was my Aunt Lucy's day.

This dear woman who he would never have remembered meeting before got the privilege of a sweet good-bye kiss from my Nathan.

And it couldn't have been a better day for it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Families... you gotta love 'em

We went to the annual family reunion today for my mom's side of the family. I guess to be more accurate, it's my mom's mom's family.

The Kellers. They're an interesting bunch.

Much like any family, though, I suppose.

My Nana King was the oldest of 12 children. I suppose you'd call Pa-Paw and Ma-maw Keller very, um, passionate protestants.

My mom actually has aunts and uncles close to her age and an aunt that is younger than her. So they were all having kids when she was. Many of her cousins are our age.

I gew up hanging out at the reunions iwth my mom's cousins. Their grandparents were my great-grandparents. Weird, huh?

So, here we are, my sisters and I, taking our kids to the reunion at our great (or fabulous as I like to call them) aunt and uncle's place. Part of the 131 strong Keller Clan.


And really, not much has changed since we were kids. All the kids love being out on the farm. For my son, that means tractors.


And there is usually some kind of activity that get's most everyone involved. When we were kids and teenagers, we would many times have a pick-up game of softball. This year, there was a home made slip 'n' slide which consisted of a black plastic tarp, a water hose and a bunch of soap and baby oil. Kids of all ages got in on the action...


video

Yes, that's my Aunt Nell. 78 years young!

Families are interesting things aren't they? Especially extended family. We get together, sometimes only once a year, talk about not a whole lot that's terribly deep... but we have a connection.

Because we're family.

And that's just the way family is.

And you gotta love 'em.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lessons learned from an evening at the Ballpark


1. Those free tickets aren't so free after $12 to park, $27.50 on the first round of food, $4 for cotton candy and $4.50 for a 2nd round for Nathan.

2. Ballpark hotdogs are much better eaten seperate from the bun.


3. Supernachos and jalapenos with a Zantac chaser... mmm.


4. A family of four that inlcudes a potty training 2 year old can take a total of 6 trips to the bathroom between them in 2 hours at the Ballpark.


5. Urinals are fun, mom!


6. Public restrooms are not conducive to going poo-poo, mom.


7. Nathan likes cotton candy!


8. It's fun to share a Ranger's moment with Mimi the "super fan" in South Asia over the phone.


9. Baseball has a lot of rules that are difficult to explain to a 7 year old.


10. A 2 year old can eat 2 jumbo hot dogs... that's $9 worth of hot dogs, folks.


11. The free t-shirts only come in adult large and x-large and make for a cute dress on a 7 year old.


12. When a 2 year old tries to reach down to get his bottle of water out of the cup-holder that is located at foot-level on the seat in front of him, he tends to pitch forward into the back of the gentleman sitting in front of him.


13. A game between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers is not conducive to using our new favorite baseball heckle we learned from Big Mama and her friend Gulley. I was disappointed that I didn't get to yell, "Take it to Starbucks, ladies! We're here to play some baseball."




Hats off to you, my friends!

No wonder it takes a special kind of person to know how to take me....





Your Personality is Very Rare (ESTP)



Your personality type is dominant, driven, poised, and self-aware.



Only about 5% of all people have your personality, including 3% of all women and 6% of all men

You are Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grandparents Day

Today was grandparents’ day at Sarah’s school. Nanny, Grumps and my Aunt Susan were there for her. She also got a letter from Mimi and Papa to which she reacted with an, “AWESOME!”






Sarah’s class sang “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” for the program and recited a poem for their grandparents. Nanny took some video of these, but I don't have them yet to post.

So naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about my own grandparents and the legacy that they left in me.

My mom’s parents taught us all about family and fishing. We used to go down to their place on the lake and spend weeks in the summer and grew up very close to my Nana’s side of the family.

My PawPaw K was a quiet man, but incredibly sweet. He had a quiet strength about him.

My Nana K is definitely where I get my way with words. Only, I tend to think I’ve tamed my tongue a little more than she ever did (imagine that for a moment). But, oh, she passed on the musical genes. Sarah has them. It’s funny to think back now on the bond that Sarah had with her. Even when she was not very responsive and confined to a wheel chair, Sarah was never freaked out by it. Did you know she passed away on Sarah’s 5th birthday?

My dad’s parents definitely left a spiritual legacy in our lives. We would spend weeks with them in the summers as well and got to know their church as well as our own.

My PawPaw P was so sweet and such a leader in their church. I didn’t like it at the time, but I miss they way he prayed with all the “King James” lingo… “Thee,” “Thou,” “Thy,” “Thine.” How rich.

My Nana P left a mark of all things artistic and beautiful in my life. I view anything visually artistic that I do as a tribute to her. I also definitely get my love of cooking from Nana P. Oh, the pies. The PIES! Her award winning coconut pie was to die for (so I hear… I don’t eat coconut). And my sister has gotten very good at the chocolate pie with the “mile high” meringue… it’s real close to Nana’s.

Did you know that I can’t wait to be a grandma? (No pressure, Sarah and Nathan. Really, no pressure.) Oh to be past the child rearing stage and to be able to just have some fun with them.

But it’s more than just fun. I can only pray that I leave such an indelible mark, a legacy for my grandchildren. A legacy of loving Jesus more every day. A legacy of leadership and strong personal character. A legacy of things beautiful and tasty.

I really want to be a Nana just like mine were. What do you think? Does it suit me?

And the winner is...

I wonder if anyone holds the record for leaving a doctor's office with the most prescriptions... if not, we may now hold that title.

I took N to the doctor yesterday because his cough has just persisted, his nose has been snotty and we've been giving him everything we had on hand to make it better. And it just wasn't getting any better.

The nurse practitioner and I spent some time talking through everything and we came away with 4 new prescriptions for him. So, daily right now, he's taking:

  1. Mucinex (we seem to live on this)
  2. Bactrim (antibiotic for possible sinus infx)
  3. Xopenex (breathing/nebulizer treatment)
  4. Zyrtek
  5. Singulair
  6. Pulmicort (breathing/nebulizer treatment)
  7. Veramyst (nasal spray)
  8. Benadryl

I'm sorry... is he 2 or 82???

I tell ya though, the allergies right now are just terrible. It's the trees. Those gosh-darn trees.

I think we need to move to Arizona.

I told M that God told me we needed to move to Arizona.

He isn't convinced.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Way back when...

Our fabulous new children's minister at church stopped me in the hallway on Sunday as we were leaving. She told me that during the children's opening session (called JAM) they had been talking about going to the baseball game to see the Rangers play.

You see, there was a give-away of tickets a couple of months ago and the game that those of us who won tickets to is this Friday evening.

So, for some reason, Sarah shoots her hand up in the air. Kristine calls on her to say whatever it is she wanted to say... which with Sarah, you just never know. She said something to this affect...

"Well, when I was a little girl, we used to go to the baseball games and see the fireworks."

When she was a little girl the oh so big 7 year old says.... yeah.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Softly call the Muster...

Today is April 21st and that is significant to any Texas Aggie out there. Today is Muster. Basically it is a time that began in 1883 when Aggies gather to honor those who have passed over the last year, since the last Muster. It is also a time when we reaffirm our ties to Texas A&M and to our Aggie family. As I would not come anywhere near doing an explanation justice, if you are interested, please read this.

Some may boast of prowess bold,
Of the school they think so grand,
But there's a spirit can ne'er be told,
Its the Spirit of Aggieland.
We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we.
True to each other, as Aggies can be.
We've got to fight boys, we've got to fight.
We've got to fight for maroon and white.
After they've boosted all the rest,
They will come and join the best,
For we are the Aggies, the Aggies are we,
We're from TEXAS AMC.

(I like the old lyrics best. Call me a purist.)
Gig'em!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Soapbox Saturday

Yes, I’m pulling it out. It’s a little dusty, and I need to repair a few loose screws (or is that me?) but it’ll do for now.

I read an article this week in a magazine that was sitting on the table in our kitchen at work. As I was making copies of it, I found myself flooded with memories of being in the stacks at Sterling Library on the A&M campus doing research for projects and papers. In fact, this may have been a topic I would have done a project about. But I think my views would have been a little different back then… or as we Aggies say, “Back in ol’ army days.”

The article was entitled “Sexism” in the April 2008 issue of Conde Nast Portfolio and obviously was about sexism in the workplace. The main point seemed to be that while women in the workplace made great strides through the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, there has been a stagnation or even regression in the most recent years thus proving that sexism and sexist behaviors and hiring practices are still alive and well. Here’s a link I just found to the article…
http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2008/03/17/Sexism-in-the-Workplace

I’m not here to say that there may not be some truth to what the author of the article says. There very well may still be some sexist behaviors in hiring. In fact, I pretty well know there are as I’ve encountered them; since I am, in fact, a woman (shocking, I know).

In my latest round of interviewing before I got my current position, I encountered a lot of questions based purely on the fact that I am a woman, and more specifically a mother of two young children. Questions like, “What do you do with your kids while you’re working,” and, “What do you do if your kids are sick?” At first, I was bothered by these questions and wondered if I should respond in a polite way that they can’t ask me that. But then after discussing it with M, we decided that it was better for us if they knew up front how we worked and that way there were no incorrect expectations. I remember we also said that we didn't want me working for someone who would have had a problem with me needing to be at home with sick kids, so if my answer kept me from getting the job, we were okay with that.

But back to the article…

My main problem with the author’s whole premise is that there is no mention on the availability rates of women for the jobs she is speaking of being so deficient of female representation - high level corporate officer type positions.

For instance, the writer comments that, “… at this rate, it will take 73 years for women to achieve parity with men at the board level.”

Parity. Meaning, what? 50/50? Well, what if there are not enough women seeking those positions to make it 50/50?

My thought is this: Is it possible that in the last 5-10 years, women have finally begun to see that there is more to life than chasing a career? Is it possible that some biological clocks started ticking and once children were in the picture, some of these women decided that they would not pursue the big positions in order to raise their families?

She also mentions the decline of pay rates of women versus men. The figures she quotes seem to be sweeping, across the board general type numbers and not taking a man and a woman doing the exact same job.

Is it possible that women may purposefully take less stressful, and thus lower paying jobs in order to remain more available for their families?

I ask these questions I guess because they are true of me. Not that I would have ever necessarily achieved the status of a corporate officer. But, in my former Corporate America life, I had been on a bit of a management fast track and tended on the work-a-holic side until I became pregnant with our first child and asked for a demotion. We made the choice that if I was going to work while we had young children, that it would be only on a part time basis to keep the stress level down and keep my focus more on the family.

And, may I add, that the Lord has blessed that decision and kept us to it.

So, why the soapbox, you ask?


Because I am sick and tired of the lack of acknowledgement that women may be choosing things other than their careers. I hate that blame is being pinned on corporations when there may be not as much blame to assign. I can’t stand the feeling that if I don’t make the choice to work full time in a life consuming career, then I’m making the wrong choice. It infuriates me that the feminists would have us believe that the only “choice” is their choice.


Is it possible that the choices that I and the majority of my closest friends have made with regard to our careers are indicative of what is going on among women our age across the nation and that there will never be as many women as men seeking high level corporate officer positions?

And, while I could go on and on and pick this entire article apart (which I have already done mentally), I’ll spare you the brain damage of it all and just close with this…

I love the fact that I have the choice to work outside of my home. But it is just that… a choice. And for a movement that is so big on choice in other matters, it just kills me that they don’t seem to acknowledge it here.


Stepping down, now.

Would anyone else like to share their soapbox?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mission Accomplished

I came.


I saw.

I kicked it's .... um, butt. (yeah, that's it... butt. What's the movie reference?)


I only gagged a few times and only once did I think for a short time that it was going beyond the point of no return. However, I did survive without a visit to the porcelain god.



Among the things discarded:

  • some red shriveled things that used to be raspberries... from Valentine's day I'm pretty sure,

  • some very nasty moldy cheese filled tortellini,

  • a bowl containing King Ranch Chicken... I'm pretty sure this may have been from January when I had my scrapbook weekend.

  • a container of chocolate milk (from a fast food place) dated from sometime in February,

  • some very liquified apple slices from the bottom of my produce drawer (I wouldn't have known for sure what they were except for the package they were in).

So there it is. My cleaned out fridge.


Mission Accomplished!

Seeing Clearly

Today was the big day. Sarah's glasses were ready and we went to pick them up after school.

I had her put them on for the drive home so that we could see if she was seeing better. She commented the whole way home about how much clearer everything was. She would pull the glasses down and compare without them and with them. It was pretty cute the first time she compared and how her face lit up when she realized she could see some words that she could not see well before.

I have to admit that I had been fairly skeptical about her need for glasses. So much of the exam is subjective and depends on her telling the doctor what she is seeing. I don't know if I just didn't trust her judgement of what she could see or what. But it did me some good to see the expression on her face when she saw the difference by wearing the glasses.



Sitting Duck?

Oh my soul I just saw the cutest thing just outside my back yard. The dogs were going wild and I went to investigate. I found this mama duck taking her little peeps out for a walk. I haven't seen them around before, so I wonder if this may have been their first big excursion.




Isn't that just the sweetest thing?!?!
.
As I observed what was happening, I noticed that she appeared as calm as could be even in the face of a couple of large golden retrievers accross the way (Bubba & Jake) barking like crazy at them. I thought it was so interesting that it seemed that she knew they were not in immediate danger. Maybe I just don't give a lot of animals a whole lot of credit for deductive reasoning, but it amazed me that she could tell that they were held back by that fence and were not able to get to her babies.
.
Another thing I noticed is that she has at least six babies following her. And again... she appeared calm. Only a single "quack" was uttered from her bill every once in a while. Just a single sound to reassure her peeps and help direct their steps.
.
Wow... if only I could mother like that.
.
First, I get so uptight and concerned about my childrens' safety. I really need to take the fence example to heart. God is the fence. He's in control of the evil (dogs). I really need to trust Him with that.
.
I also tend to say a lot more than I probably need to.
.
And with six, I would sound like, "QUACK, quack, quack quack quack quack quack quackquack quack quack quack quack.... deep breath... quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack, QUACK!" And then I'd do it again.
.
I also noticed that I didn't see a wing constantly reaching behind her and feathers constantly flying as they were on this excursion. Do you think she ever had to say, "Don't make me pull this parade over, ducklings. Just wait till we get home and I tell your father what you did."?
.
So, lessons leared from a mama duck and her peeps. As I evaluate myself, I'd like to be sitting here a little more like that duck.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

I love to cook. I love good food. And I love to cook good food made from scratch. Fresh herbs, vegetables, very few if any canned ingredients. You know, like my blog address. "Way more home made."

So I take this magazine called Cook's Illustrated. It's wonderful. They do not accept advertising so that they can give honest opinions about foods and products... which brands to buy and where to buy them. And some our family's most dearly loved recipes have come from Cook's.

I decided tonight to make one of my favorite main course meals from Cook's Jan/Feb 2005 issue. Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli. It is such a pleasing dish both to the palette and the eye with the red sun-dried tomatoes and green broccoli.

Yes, I said broccoli.

So, as we sat at the dinner table tonight, M and I looked at our children and said, "Who are you and what have you done with our children?"

The first thing that Nathan & Sarah dug into was... you guessed it... the broccoli. Sarah kept giggling and saying, "Ooh, broccoli is my favorite!" And Nathan kept asking for more. He reluctantly ate a piece or two of chicken and did take a piece of bread that M offered him, but continued to ask for more broccoli.

How many kids on the face of the earth do you have to say, "Yes, I'll give you some more broccoli after you eat a piece of pasta."

Broccoli as a bribe. Who wouldda thought?

In a related matter, it's time to clean out the refrigerator. I opened it today and I'm pretty sure something growled at me. And it wasn't my stomach.

I think the rest of the aliens that have taken over our childrens' bodies are living in there. I can't quite be sure.

I'm going in. And you can't stop me.

I'll be armed and wearing a HAZMAT suit.

I'll have to take some pictures.

We've had this refrigerator since about August and I'm pretty sure there is some stuff in there that is original.

(oh, and just to be absolutely clear... I never clean out the fridge. That's M's job!!)

***********************

Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli
(Cook's Illustrated Jan/Feb 2005)

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed of fat and cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine (2/3 cup)
  • Salt
  • 6 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed (2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour (I tend to use a little more - like 2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch broccoli (1 1/2 lbs), florets trimmed into 1" pieces (6 cups)
  • 1/2 lb penne, ziti, cavatappi, or campanelle (I used bow-tie tonight)
  • 2 oz finely grated Asiago cheese (1 cup), plus extra for serving (you can substitute Parmesan)
  • 1 jar (7 - 8 1/2 oz) oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/4" strips (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Bring 4 qts water to rolling boil, covered, in stockpot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp butter in 12" skillet over high heat until just beginning to brown (about 1 min). Add chicken in single layer; cook for 1 minute w/o stirring, then stir chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, pink color has diappeared and chicken is lightly browned around the edges (about 2 min longer). Transfer chicken to clean bowl; set aside.
  3. Return skillet to high heat and add 1 tbsp butter; add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally until browned around edges (2-3 min). Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and flour; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant (30 sec). Add wine and chicken broth; bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened slightly and reduced to 1 1/4 cups (15 min).
  4. While sauce simmers, add 1 tbsp salt and broccoli to boiling water; cook until broccoli is tender but still crisp at center (2 min or less). Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to large paper towel-lined plate. Return water to boil; stir in pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water; return pasta to pot.
  5. Once sauce is thickened, stir remaining 2 tbsp butter, Asiago, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and chicken into sauce in skillet; cook until chicken is hot and cooked through (1-2 minutes). Off heat, season to taste with pepper. Pour chicken/sauce mixture over pasta and add broccoli; toss gently to combine, adding pasta cooking water as needed to adjust sauce consistency. Serve immediately, passing additional Asiago seperately.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Potty Training Chronicles (Part 7) - It's Good to be a Guy

We have come across yet another milestone in the potty training process. Well, here, I'll let him tell you about it himself.

video

We were down at the playground in our neighborhood on Friday afternoon and he needed to go. So... I took him beside the tennis courts and he went. Then, obviously he proceeded to announce it to the entire neighborhood from the top of the playset.

This is another one of those joys that you moms of only girls will never truly encounter to it's fullest. It's good to be a guy... sometimes.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fashion Fiesta!


small button


It's time, friends. It's Fashion Fiesta Day! I can't wait to see what some of us have in our closets.

After spending years disliking my own wardrobe, I asked for and received several gift cards to my favorite stores for Christmas (Stein Mart and Khol's if you didn't know.) My friend Cristel was good enough to go with me and help me spend my money. These are some of the things I bought that day...

This is what a typical work day would look like for me. Pants and a top. That's my uniform. For some reason I'm not much into dresses or skirts for work. I'm not sure why. May be a hold over from riding the train to downtown in my former life of corporate banking.




Below, I really love the geometrical designs and the pretty shiny fabric in these blouses. I am also loving tops with belts right now. They bring in the waitline a little and help define it. If you can't tell, I also love me a cute pair of heels... or two... or three. But who's counting? Right, girls?

And how could I make it through the cold months without my favorite 6 year old yoga pants and about 9 year old sweatshirt. Complete with holes and all. I even slipped them on Wednesday after BSF because it was just a tad chilly. One last wear before bidding them "Adieu" until the fall.







And remember the great deal I spoke of last week? The dress? This is it! Not bad, huh? Funny to think I spent more on the necklace.


It's hard to see the shape, so I'll describe a bit. It has a nice v-neck that doesn't plunge too far so that "the girls" (thanks Stacy and Clinton) stay nicely and modestly concealed. The round thing brings together a gathered area just under the bustline that helps define a waistline... something that many dresses right now are lacking as you've heard me rant about before. The skirt is a nice A-line that shows a shape, but isn't too tight. All-in-all, the perfect dress for me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Weathering the Storms

Oh how I cannot stand Texas weather, especially in the spring. Virginia was so much nicer. It seemed to be more even keel, kind of laid back, like my husband. Texas weather is so explosive and unpredictable. A little like me I suppose. You never know what the weather in Texas is going to say.

It's spring time in Texas and the storms are here. I feel like I have to constantly keep one eye on the Weather Channel, weather.com, or my trusty radar channel. I love channel 96. All radar, all the time!

Last night was a doosey.

It was really loud very suddenly at about 3:15 am and it woke both of us up. Bright lightning that must have been very close by because the thunder was so incredibly loud and quick. We could hear the wind and it sounded very violent.

We turned on the radar for a little while (did I mention how much I love channel 96?), then it went to static so we turned it off as I was feeling okay that it wasn't going to be any more than just that... loud and windy.

Then I heard something.

I asked Mike and he heard it, too.

I went to the back door, and sure enough, it was the sirens. Mike went to put in his contacts and we stood outside the kids rooms for a while (with me in a panic) and watched out the front windows. Thankfully, and praise be to God that the sirens went off fairly quickly.

I turned back on the radar to see if it was on again and it was. Apparently something had developed just east of us that caused the sirens.

Anyways, the kids miraculously slept through it, until N had to go to the bathroom at 5-something. I was a little worked up and took a while to wind back down to go back to sleep, but I think I did get back to sleep.

A local school district is closed today because of power being out at several schools and the administration building. I saw lots of downed tree branches (big ones) and at least one large tree split between our house and the day-care.

I have such a fear of these storms. I don't know if it just comes from a lifetime of living with it and seeing the effects of them, or if it's something deeper. My heart is racing right now just thinking and typing about it.

And my biggest fear is just what happened last night. But that the sirens would be going before any thunder woke us up and I wouldn't be able to get to S & N in time. I just really get freaked out at the thought of a night-time tornado. I guess it's time to pull out that weather radio I got for Mother's Day last year (yes, I got a weather radio for Mother's Day... let's not dwell on it) and set it up beside my bed every night.

Any house we have lived in, I have immediately located our safe room. In this house, it is the bathroom between the kids' rooms. The tub/toilet are a separate interior room with no glass. I have it stocked with my weather radio, flashlights, snacks, and water in the cabinets. I have a plan (surprising? no? I didn't think so.) where we get them in the tub along with me and some blankets. Mike won't fit in it with us, so he is to lay down flat right beside it if it's serious. Ideally, the dogs will be in there with us and I know for sure Gus will be hiding behind the toilet - that's where he always is during thunderstorms. But as I think through my plan, I need to make provisions to have shoes close by. But I digress.

I've thought an awful lot about this, can you tell? It borders on being an obsession.

I even made a point to ask one of our office manager type people where our safe place was in our office last week when we were under a t-watch all day. She looked at me like I had 3 heads. My dear friend Cristel took care of me that day and was on-call to let me know if she heard any sirens.

I try to make fun of my neurosis about this. Because it really is a little comical.

But it really does scare the living day-lights out of me.

BTW - where does the phrase "scare the living day-lights out of (someone)" come from? That really makes no sense whatsoever if you think about it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Potty Training Chronicles (Part 6)

It's been a long time since our last installment of The Potty Training Chronicles. And today seemed like the perfect day to document our progress.


Most of it is going well. We think we've even made a little head-way in the #2 arena. We began recently having some negative consequences as well as positive rewards where this is concerned. We had several days in a row recently that he kept his underpants clean and went in the potty. He even prompted it himself at least once. And then you have days like today.



It is currently 2:40 pm and he has been asleep for I don't have any idea how long, standing up, with poop in his under pants.

Much to my surprise, we decided to leave him and let him sleep. Any thing we would try to do at this point would wake him up and we've got the law of gravity working for us in reference to his skin and the poop.


So now it just remains to be seen if he will wake up because he falls down, or if he will fall down because he wakes up.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

But I Don't Speak Spanish....

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I have several blogs that I read periodically and one of them is Big Mama. She does a thing called Fashion Fridays and her edition this week is going to be a special one. Join the Fiesta, girls. Click on the logo above to read about it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mullings

We are continuing our study of Matthew in BSF and last week we looked at chapters 22 – 23. Jesus is in Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion and the priests are asking some interesting questions. Leading questions that they were hoping would trap Him into saying something that would make enough people mad that they could get rid of him.

In lecture our teaching leader brought up something very interesting concerning this questioning by the priests that I never would have thought of. She even said that it was a new thought to her.

In the Old Testament (I don’t have a reference yet), when a lamb was brought as an offering, a sacrifice, the priest would inspect it to be sure that it was without blemish. Her suggestion was that possibly, this questioning by the priests in Matthew, was the same thing. Without them realizing it, they were showing The Lamb to be without fault; without blemish; the perfect sacrifice.

As I considered this, I thought about acceptable offerings and that took me back to Cain and Able. One brought his best, an acceptable offering that was pleasing to God. The other brought only some of the fruits, but not necessarily the best or first.

I, then began to relate all this to myself. My regular morning routine goes that I get up, put on some clothes, go into our kitchen table and read a chapter from the Bible, try to pray a little, then go exercise, shower and get ready for work.

For quite a while now, I have considered my getting up and reading a chapter from the Bible and praying an acceptable offering. But is it? Is God really pleased with my fuzzy head and highly distracted by yawning prayers? Yes I’m there and that’s important, but is that really all that matters? Would I have gotten to know my husband so well if all our conversations were like that? Am I bringing God my best - my first? Or is this just some of what I have? Is this really the best I can do?

So, internet, how can I wake myself up a little more in the mornings (without changing the order of my routine) to be more alert for my quiet time?

A Great Weekend

Well we had quite a weekend.

Friday night was the school auction and that was an experience. I had my eye on some tickets to a Beth Moore taping for the Life Today "Wednesdays with Beth" show. I scraped together money from a few friends and thought that I had a decent amount together. Boy was I wrong. I had to leave to get the kids home before the bidding started on my item, but Mike said he never had a chance. One of the celebrity types that was there was a former Texas Rangers pitcher and his wife had pretty much told him not to come home without the tickets. So, with his pockets being much deeper than ours, we did not get the tickets.

Sarah had a soccer game and a piano recital on Saturday in which she played the theme from Star Wars.

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On Sunday, Mike took Nathan to the "Day Out with Thomas" event that was nearby. Mike had just told him he was going to see some trains. He was so excited when he realized that Thomas was there. He really enjoyed watching the model train set that was going and let you know when the Thomas was coming.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I LOVE me a good deal!

This morning I was contemplating what to wear to the school's auction tomorrow evening. It's going to be a little more formal this year than in the past since it is in it's 20th year and all. Big gala type celebration at a really nice hotel nearby.

So, I was thinking about what I might wear. I had 2 options in my closet... a short black dress, or a long one. I've worn the short one several times recently and the long one just seemed like it would be too formal with Mike not wearing a tux. So, I looked at Mike and said, "I need something new."

He got a very concerned, worried look on his face. And then he lit up. An "ah, hah" moment. "But when in the world will you have time to shop?" he asked.

Oh that poor, poor, misinformed man. There is ALWAYS time to shop. Right girls?

"I've got all my lunch hour today. And plenty of time after work," I responded quickly. He looked worried again.

So, I head out at lunch time over to Macy's at the mall nearby. I was on the phone with this poor man as I drove up and found a parking spot right in front of the door. "It was meant to be," I said, matter of factly.

"Sure," he responded, a little unsure.

I'll spare you the details of the shopping experience because, quite frankly, it wasn't all that exciting. However, the outcome is the exciting part.

I got me a dress for tomorrow night for $12.74. Yes, that's right. $12.74. Regular price: $94. So, I got me a necklace and another dress as well. All for less than $85. WOOHOO!

"You see," I emailed him when I got back to my office, "it was meant to be!"

I LOVE A GREAT DEAL!