Thursday, April 30, 2009

More on how to be a good mommy

I've been thinking about Popcorn's examples of how she will be a good mommy. It reminded me of other instances where she shared what she would do as a mommy. You know I just had to share!

When we lived in La Vernia, TX Popcorn had to go to daycare 2 days a week while I worked. She would get mad at me because I would not allow her to wear flip flops to "school." She would stomp off to her room to get her shoes, yelling over her shoulder, "When I'm a mommy I will never let my children wear flip flops! I will throw their flip flops away!"

I would make her stand in the corner for her time out. She would always say, "When I'm a mommy, I will make my kids go to time out every day!" I think she felt that she had no power as the youngest in the family, and the only people she could perceive control over were her future kids. I think. Heck, who knows how this kid's brain works?

Now, she is telling me how she will do things differently than me. Times are a-changin'. I'm sure I'm really in for it with this one...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm sure it's important!

Yesterday morning I overslept. As a result I was scrambling to get things done before I had to leave for work. The girls have to get up at 6:15 on the days I work to catch the bus. Tuesdays are hectic from sunup to sundown, but you've heard me whine about that enough.

Today I'm whining about something completely different! Isn't that refreshing?

So, I was eating breakfast, loading the dishwasher with someone's (who is also an adult, but shall remain nameless,) snack dishes from the night before, moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer and starting another load.....I had already fixed Popcorn a bowl of hot Grapenuts, and Bookworm her standard: toast with pb and honey. As you saw a few days ago, I had harvested a huge mess of mesclun, and I had started to put it into individual bags to share with my coworkers.

Studmuffin strolled in, made himself a bowl of oatmeal, and sat down at the table to eat. The girls were sitting at the bar.

Popcorn, always the one to confront the elephant in the room said, "Why don't we sit together at breakfast? We always eat at the bar, and Daddy sits at the table alone, and Mommy is always walking around."

Okay, a little buzz of self-satisfaction shot through me. My endless hours of labor are noted!!!!! Mental jig of happiness commences. "Well, you see, I have too much to get done in the morning before I leave to sit down and eat, but you girls can certainly move over next to Daddy." Dear Reader, I was conveniently ignoring the fact that I'd overslept, so I did not get my stuff done before I was waking up the girls...

Bookworm added her own insight. "Yep. Mommy has lots of important stuff to do." (at this point I'm just about to bust with pride) "Right now, she's sorting salad. I have no idea why, but if she's doing it, it must be reeeeeally important." And then she burst out laughing, and practically fell off of her stool she was so pleased with her little self.

Pop! Balloon of pride deflated. Thank you, children for keeping my pride in check.

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to be a good Mommy

Popcorn and I were in the car by ourselves this evening. We drove by this beautiful house that makes me covet, covet, covet every time I drive by it. It's a 2 story white house with black shutters and a wrap around porch. It's beautiful. Popcorn agrees. She always says she wishes we could live there.

"Maybe you could live in a house like that when you grow up," I said.

"Yep. I'm going to live in a big house like that and I'm going to home school my kids" she announced.

"That's great!" Aarf. I thought we were through with this topic....

"I will be a wonderful mommy. Whatever my kids like the most, I will buy them for their birthday. And at Christmas I will get them more than 2 toys. I will buy them toys all of the time."

Okay. That felt a little personal. I always buy them what they want for birthdays. But, I will admit they only get 1 toy from us and one from Santa. Of course, they get each other toys, and toys from everyone else, so they are by no means neglected. Still, my feelings were pricked. My honor as a mommy was on the line, people, and I was not about to let these little digs go unanswered! I fired right back at the little toot:

"You know, the most important thing you can do as a mommy is raise your children to love God." THERE! I told her! More toys. Homeschooling. Who does she think she is? 7 year old little punk...

"I'm going to read scripture to them in the morning, and in the afternoon, and at night. My kids will hear lots of Bible stories and know lots of scripture!"

Okay. I conceded defeat. If she accomplishes all of this she will be a better mommy than me. But I still think she has too many toys. So there.

Popcorn's reasons for homeschooling
1. You are not allowed to whistle in class. In fact, the only place you are allowed to whistle at school is on the playground, and there you can talk and yell with your friends, so why whistle?
2. You are not allowed to run in the hall. She is just too hyper to walk around all of the time. Seriously. She told me that very excuse.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Business in the front, party in the back

I was on my way to get the girls at school today, when I saw a sight to see. I was behind a pickup with an extended cab. I saw a baby seat in the back, and I could see the arm from the passenger seat stretched behind, probably holding a paci in place. It gave me a sweet time of reminiscing. And a moment of gratitude that I wasn't the one contorting to keep that plug in.



At first, I thought it was a woman with frizzy permed blond hair that had, unfortunately, decidedly to pick out her curls. Then, I realized this was a man. A man with a mullet. Nothing quite says "redneck" like a mullet. Remember Billy Ray Cyrus' mullet? He clung to it until his daughter hit the big time with a show on Disney. His hair is only slightly less ridiculous now. Just my opinion, but of course this is my blog, so I get to spew my opinions all over the place. I love spewing opinions...




You've gotta love the mullet. I think the mullet possibly stamps your personality almost as much as a mohawk. Neither style could ever be considered "stylish" at this point. But neither hairstyle seems to die. They just keep showing up. I've been surprised by the number of rednecks sporting mohawks in my little town. Yes, rednecks. They have placed their own stamp on the mohawk, with the sides slightly longer, and the top not sticking completely straight up. But it's still undeniably a mohawk.



Now, the versatility of the mullet has more appeal for me. Business in the front, party in the back. It shows both your business and rebel side with one simple cut. What's not to love about that? Of course, the only way to improve your mullet is to make sure you have a nice perm in the back. I guess the perm allows you to show your softer side. So maybe it's business in the front, party loving poet in the back.

Ummm, no, the post had nothing to do with the photos. But, I harvested some mesclun today, and it was so pretty, I wanted to share it with you. It's hard to believe the lettuce you buy in the store is ever as truly dirty as mine starts out...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wind Advisory

I'm sure everyone knows about wind advisories. Lesser known advisories are the smart to be heeded skirt advisory and shirt advisory. Both of these advisories are closely linked to the better known wind advisories. For example, if you are in Oklahoma, and the wind is at a steady 20mph with gusts up to 35 mph, it may not be wise to wear a dress to church.

I stepped out of Studmuffin's truck at Mazzio's today and my sandal fell off. It began to blow across the parking lot. Bookworm made a quick grab for it and held it up for me triumphantly. Her dress blew up above her head simultaneously. We both laughed so hard, we could hardly maintain the appropriate lean to reach the safety of indoors and an all you can eat lunch buffet.

This afternoon we decided it was a great day to get yard work done. Okay, so it wasn't a "great" day. But I've given up on waiting for the wind to die down. Studmuffin was tearing out more of the massive amounts of electric wire the previous owners had placed to keep their dogs in. I was pulling weeds in the front flower bed. I was bent over, thinking "man, that wind is getting cold." No sooner had I completed that thought than I realized that the wind wasn't colder, my skin was more exposed. I was weeding in a t-shirt. The wind had caught my shirt and it was all blown up under my armpits, but it was so windy I didn't immediately notice. There I was, weeding my flower beds with my stupid shirt wadded up under my armpits. Did I mention my neighbor was mowing his lawn? I'm sorry Guy. I know that nobody wants to see that quantity of albino white flesh. Try to clear your memory of the visual. Okay? Thank you.

So again, two warnings that should be carefully considered in the advent of a wind advisory. Be prepared for skirt advisories and t-shirt advisories also. I recommend pants and shirts tucked in to prevent unexpected exposure. For any of you Okies reading this, I recommend you heed both warnings the next 14 days. We're supposed to have the perfect conditions for severe storms and tornadoes. Lovely. Keep your eye on the skies and your hands on your skirts and have a great day!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Little known uses for your Brittany

Remember Studmuffin's puppy, Holly? Well, having a Brittany has definitely been an eye-opener for me. She is such a useful little thing.

For example, did you know that you can really develop your shoulder and upper back muscles walking your husband's Brittany? I eagerly put her choke collar on her, grabbed Kelsey's leash, and headed out to meet a friend for a walk. Fortunately my friend offered to walk Kelsey, so I was able to devote 2 hands to holding on for dear life to Holly. We walked for 2 hours, and she never stopped pulling at me and gasping for air. I had walked her about 4 times before I finally realized why my neck and shoulders have been hurting. Duh...

But, developing your upper back muscles aren't the only little known uses. They're really great at moving mulch. Say, you for some unknown reason you decide you no longer want mulch in your flower beds.....

Your Brittany puppy will prove to be quite effective at carrying it all over the yard. But, hey, it makes my zinnias coming up from last year's seed easier to spot!

Yes. This is the yard. Not next to the flower bed. The middle of the yard. The place that Holly obviously feels all mulch should be placed. Again. No mulch in the flower beds. Mulch in the yard.....

Moving on.

Let's say that your town had a town wide garage sale where you found a yard swing for $5. The only thing wrong with the swing is it needs to have the cushions replaced. Perhaps you are a person who is in the middle of multiple home improvement projects...You may decide to wait a month or two to replace your cushions. Maybe you plan to cover it with an old blanket in the meantime....

Never fear! Simply leave your newly purchased used yard swing in the yard with your Brittany puppy and she will quickly make the decision for you....


Don't let her calm demeanor here fool you. She was responsible for shredding the cushions and spreading the stuffing all over the yard. How sweet. Well, now I definitely have to do something. I'm thinking no cushions. Maybe just some wooden slats screwed on to eliminate the need for cushions (The metal frame isn't too comfy to sit on alone.)

So, there you have it 4 little known uses for a Brittany puppy

1. Double your workout by working your legs and upper body on walks!
2. Moving mulch. Hey, maybe your grass needs to be more insulated so it consumes less water!
3. Decision making with your exterior decor: Is it puppy proof? No? Don't even think about using it...
4. Demolition. Enough said.

Now, for a little known use for your friendly American Dingo.

Yes.

That's what I said.

American.

Dingo.

I heard your gasps of shock. Just click here to learn more, and you'll understand why I love my Carolina dog, AKA American dingo. I got Kelsey from a shelter in San Antonio. They referred to her as a Carolina dog, which I'd never heard of. They were very vague with details, but we spent about an hour with her and decided to take her home. When I went home and googled her and learned she was also known as a dingo I was disturbed. I wanted to return her, but I'm so glad I didn't.

Quick side note: I'm not sure Kelsey is an American Dingo. She could very well be a Mexican Dingo that swam the river. We went to Chichen Itza, and there were wild dogs that looked exactly like her running all over the place. Studmuffin teased me relentlessly about my "illegal alien" dog.

Kelsey is the most patient dog I've ever known. She will let our kids do anything to her. She will let toddlers climb all over her. Once I convince her that kittens are not for eating, she adopts them as her own and will smother them with love. If they attempt to leave the porch, she grabs them by the scruff of the neck and throws them back on. Until they are old enough to get sneaky and wait until she's not paying attention. We actually had a cat that used to "nurse" the fold where her neck met her collar. She never stopped it. And Kelsey never made her.

Now her patience is being displayed with Holly. I'm actually thinking Holly may end up being dominant even though she will be a smaller dog. I don't know if she is just showing tolerance for a puppy, or if she is just really that laid back. She lets Holly do anything to her. She even lets her eat out of her bowl. The only thing she will not share is a rawhide.

Kelsey is also an amazing hunter. She can catch any bird that she sets her mind to. She used to catch mocking birds almost daily in Texas. She would sit under a tree where they had a nest, wait for a bird to dive bomb her and she would leap up and catch it. She loved mocking birds. She also kept all of the cliff swallows off of our porch. However, she did not love the taste of these birds, so I was constantly hauling off decomposing swallows. Yuck. I cringe when I remember the giant craters she dug in our yard in Texas in her quest for gofers. She got rid of all our gofers, but I'm not sure 3 foot long holes that were 2 feet deep were preferable to gofer mounds... Last summer the farmer behind us plowed up his pasture and planted wheat. The result was that many of the field mice that lived in the grass tried to relocate to our house. Thankfully Kelsey kept their numbers down.

Speaking of rodents.....

Something is living under the dog house that's built under the deck. I don't know what it is. I've never seen it. I've only seen Kelsey laying in waiting for about 3 days now. I've also seen where she's considered tunneling under to get it. Today when Holly was being rambunctious, Kelsey sat patiently waiting.


And waiting. She would move from outside to underneath the deck. Where she would wait some more. I'm not sure what's under there. I would like to pretend it's a burrowing owl. I doubt I'm so lucky. I'm trying not to remember the rats that lived under our deck after the creek flooded behind our house in Arlington. I'd rather not go there...

One thing I do know: Whatever it is, Kelsey's determined it has to come out sometime. And when it does, she'll get it.

And it will be dead.

And I will be glad.

Although I will be glad even if she doesn't leave it at the back door. *sigh* But, then, I guess I can't have it all!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The fruit of the Spirit is love...

My girls really impressed me this weekend. Woops, maybe I better start with a warning: Major bragging about to commence.

I mentioned that the girls' school celebrated the Land Run this week. It was a great day of fun, although it was pretty darn hot. There were candy stands and snow cones and soft drinks for the kids to purchase. There were covered wagons and settlers, and of course wild Indians running all over the place. Did I mention it was 98 degrees outside? Can I tell you it felt WONDERFUL?! Yes, I was sticky and sweaty and I smelled like sunscreen, but I gotta tell you the heat felt great. But all of this fun was not the best part of the day. I learned something about my kids. Something so great, it makes me tear up to think about it.

I sat with Bookworm and her friends first. There were 4 other girls besides Bookworm and myself. I was really impressed by how polite they all were, and how they were all being very kind to each other. Then, I went over and sat with Popcorn and her friends. I was equally impressed with her friends.

Popcorn has a little friend who is Mexican (Popcorn's word for her, and also her little friends word for herself. No, it's not politically correct, but they don't care about that) Her parents do not speak English. Actually, Popcorn isn't sure her friend, B, actually has a daddy. As soon as they were through eating, Popcorn's other friend, J, offered to take B with her to buy a snow cone. She had $2, and so she was wanting to buy B a snow cone. B seemed embarrassed that she was offering to buy one for her in front of me, and tried to ignore her. J was persistent, and finally B just took one of the dollars, and stashed it under her leg so maybe I wouldn't notice.

I was really touched by this display. Popcorn has shared her money with B many times. You have to understand that anytime there is a chance to spend money at school, Popcorn raids her piggy bank and takes cash to school. She sometimes tells me, and sometimes she just goes and buys stuff. I usually find out when she comes home with books, candy, toys, whatever they had to sell. She shared money with B for the Santa shop, the book fair and for basically everything they have.

Okay, I'm ashamed to say this now, but I have been slightly annoyed by this practice. I haven't' said anything to her, but I have to admit that I feel like she's blowing all of her money on her friends. However, after seeing Popcorn and her friend, J, in action, I was so touched. Here are two little girls willing to help a friend. They never wait for her to ask, they just jump in, willing to give what they have to her. I praised Popcorn for her and J's giving spirit today. I told her that she is showing Jesus to other people when she shares so eagerly. She seemed surprised by this. It never occurred to her to not share what she had with her friend. She said sometimes J doesn't' have money, so she shares with her, or if Popcorn forgets to bring money, J shares with her too. Isn't that beautiful? Here are 3 little girls, in first grade, who love their friends.

When Popcorn and her friends headed to the snow cone line, I headed back over to Bookworm's group. The line for the snow cones was crazy long, and there was no way I wanted to stand for that long. Actually, Popcorn and her buddies ditched the snow cone idea and went to the candy stand that only had a fraction of the kids in it.

So, I went back to Bookworm's group. There were only 3 girls left on her blanket, counting Bookworm. They sat and chatted, and one of her friends told me about coming to the states from Mexico. Her dad got his papers first, and he came without them for awhile. Then her mom, her brother, and her papers came through, but her sister, who was in pre-k, didn't have her papers yet, so they had to come over without her. Her mom was able after a few months to go back for her sister, and then they were all together again. Can you imagine? According to Grace's friend, when your papers are ready, you have to go. You can't wait until every one's papers are ready, or you may not get to come at all. Can you imagine deciding to leave one child because you were afraid your other 2 would miss their chance?

Pretty soon, one of Bookworm's friends returned, and she had another little girl following her that I'd never seen before. She never really made eye contact with any of the girls, but the girl from Mexico offered her a piece of candy, and the new girl split the piece of candy in half and handed it to the friend who brought her over. Each of the girls was very friendly towards her, but I noticed she never responded verbally to her. Eventually, one little girl asked her to go play, and she got up and left. After they left, the girls told me she doesn't speak English. She's brand new, does not speak English, is not in their class, and these 5 little girls made an effort to make her feel welcome, and one actually sought her out and brought her over to their group.

I praised Bookworm today also. I told her I was so proud of the decisions she made when she was choosing friends. She chose a group of girls that are willing to be silly, laugh together, build each other up, and show responsibility. They have a club called "Kids Who Care." They pick up litter on the playground and basically look around for anyone who needs help, whether it's a kid, teacher or whatever. They made posters and everything. It's pretty amazing.

I guess one of the reasons I was so struck by their generosity is that I sometimes fret over all of the things they have. I worry that they will take it for granted and not really appreciate that there are so many kids who don't have all of the great things they have. I frequently silently lecture myself that I don't take them to soup kitchens, or something so they can put a face to the stories I tell them about kids who have less than them. We adopt families at Christmas, but that is always anonymous, so they never really see them. Then, in an environment where I least expected it, they showed God's love to others. They didn't need me to tell them to show kindness to others. They didn't need to be told to share with their friends. They just saw a need in others, and they tried to help. They allowed God's Spirit to work through them. Wow.

It really made me think of the love that God has for us. It made me happy that they were allowing themselves to be God's hands and feet. I pray they will always be tender to the needs of others and eagerly serve those needs.

John 13:34-35
A new command I give you: Love on another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Land Run Day


Today was Land Run Day at the girls school. Prizes were awarded for best covered wagon and best costume. They had a land run to their picnic spots. Neither one of my girls wound up in the shade. Don't they understand that in a prairie state like Oklahoma trees are desirable?

The girls were hit with a hard truth as they were getting ready today. We didn't have the right shoes for a prairie woman. I encouraged them to wear moccasins. Do you know what my Bookworm said to me?

"Mom. This is the LAND RUN! Indians weren't in Oklahoma yet!" The only thing missing was a "DUH" tacked on the end.

I said, "Actually, Oklahoma is where the government forced all Indians to go with the promise they could keep the land forever. Which really only meant until some white people wanted to settle it. Then they stole it back, divvied it up into sections, and had the Land Run."

Popcorn: Mom... is that true?
Me: Yep. (why would my children doubt me? It's not I've ever told them ginormous LIES)
Popcorn: Are you sure we're not Indians?

Sometimes it's tough to face the truths of a heritage.....

I thought they could dress up like Indians and attack the white man coming to steal their lands. They looked at my like I was completely loony and dismissed that idea. Party poopers.

Topic change:

Studmuffin decided to definitely not accept the job in San Antonio. He still has 18 months left in his current contract or he has to pay back some of the moving expenses paid to us. He seems good with the decision. I gotta tell you, I'm relieved.

Well, that's all the rambles I have for you today! Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Excuse me? I don't think I heard you correctly...

Okay, so there is nothing like a threat of change to make you truly appreciate what you have. I hate change. The only thing I like to change is my hair. And my underwear, of course. I can hear multiple sighs of relief to know that tidbit of info! But...back to the beginning...I hate change.

Studmuffin came to me with a proposition Friday...He has a new job offer. In Texas. North of San Antonio. Not south of SA, where we moved away from a mere 9 months ago, and I could sort of pick up where I left off...NORTH of SA. Gak. That's all I could think of to say to that.

I said I'd pray.


And I will.




Someday.

But not last week.




And not today.

Suddenly I am so in love with this house of sticks I can't imagine moving. I mean I have a beautiful wheat crop out my back yard! And beautiful cattle with precious calves! My kitchen is nearly finished, and it is beeyooteefull!!! I finally bonded with my neighbors. The elderly couple up the street offered to give me a butterfly bush and some lilies. Mr. Emmett offered to give me some cantaloupes since I'm not planting any. He told me where I could get all of the free compost I need, I just have to load and haul it myself. I bullied my next door neighbor into taking walks with me. Hellooo! People who want to give me free stuff, and someone to boss around! What more could a girl want? Plus, I have big plans for flowers here. I'm putting this work in that will not be able to be fully appreciated until next summer! I've planted every blasted surface except the hallway and the laundry room! I'm finally making friends....True friends that you know will be good friends........The kind I'm sure God will give me again if He makes me move again, because He has every other time, but dang-it-I-don't-wanna make new friends again! I like the ones I have! I don't need anymore long distance friends!

*sigh*

Of course, I really am praying. But I'm praying with the hopes that the answer is "Stay where I've planted you my child." Insert deep benevolent voice here. I'm thinking very Morgan Freeman. I'm happy to be within 200 miles of basically all of my family. I'm happy to see my grandmas on a regular basis. But, I'm not sure how biblical my idea of staying near the family is....Abram had to pack up and move where he knew no one. And he wasn't getting the promise of help with moving expenses. Jesus wandered all over preaching and teaching...I don't think He was considering whether He was close to his earthly family. He was seeking to fulfill His purpose. That's what I'm supposed to be doing. Seeking to fulfill His purpose through me. Ultimately, if that requires me moving.... AGAIN, I want to do that. Better to be in God's will than be close to home and be far out of His will.

So Studmuffin sent me a text of frustration today. I asked him if he wanted to move to SA. His response was we'll talk later. I responded with "I'll support you whatever you decide.... But I'll be sad." There. That was fair, right? Let's ignore the teeny tiny little guilt thrown in at the end. If you ignore that I'm very submissive and sweet. The end statement is, regrettably, a tad manipulative. So, I went from being Ruth with my whither thou goest, to being Rebekah, knowing exactly how Isaac thought and playing her cards accordingly.

Anyway, Studmuffin told me this evening that he turned the job down this morning. And now I feel guilty.

2 Truths: a) I know he really wants the job, and b) he's only saying no because he wants me to be happy......

I don't want him to make a decision he'll regret because he is afraid the girls and I will be disappointed at being uprooted again. I've always said he's a much nicer person than me.....

So....all of that to say "Pray for me." Pray for us and this decision, because I'm sure the offer is still open if he wants it. This company has been talking to him since he moved here last summer. So I'm pretty sure they'll still be interested. Dang it. But, seriously, pray that we will make a decision that is based on what God wants for us...

Thank you.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Star is Born

video

Seriously, I didn't even have to tell her how to act this out. I just said that the teacher was awarding points on costume, emotion, and memorization....Who knows if she'll be this dramatic at the actual reading. Oh, and please excuse the tag on the umbrella. I had just bought it for her because all of ours are damaged. You understand, I'm sure.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chocolate Malts

The cure-all from my grandma was a chocolate malt. I was reminded of this last Friday. I was leaving work, and a man had Braum's in the break room. He was eating a cheeseburger, crinkle cut fries and had a chocolate malt with strawberries and bananas in it. I started obsessing about a chocolate malt on the spot. So, after I got the girlie-ohs from school we went to Braum's where I indulged my fantasy. It was divine.

My mom worked at the school when I was growing up. She drove the bus and worked as a teacher's aide during the school day. The principal she worked for would not let her have sick days. I remember one time I threw up in the hall, and Mr. Mills, the assistant principal took me home because my grandma was unable to come get me. The principal himself took me home one time because there was no way to get me home. That was a trip I shudder to remember! I can assure you, I was really sick if I had to ride home with them. I think I would have suffered through if it was at all possible.

However, the best times were when I was sick, and maybe not as sick as I could have been....My grandma would drive the 26 miles to town and get me. She usually had to make a stop before we could go home....at the drug store. The drug store complete with a soda shop. It was just like the ones you picture in old movies..they had all sorts of wonderful things you never knew you needed. They had toys, makeup, jewelry, cards, home decorations, medication (of course), and best of all A SODA FOUNTAIN! Grandma always got us each a chocolate malt. Yum...I thought I satisfied the craving, but thinking about those chocolate malts shared with my grandma make me crave one all over again....

Of course thinking of my grandma also makes me crave canned tomato soup, Totino's frozen pizzas, and chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes were actually from scratch, and she was known to make these for supper. She also makes egg noodles that are to die for. And broccoli cheese and rice casserole. And deviled eggs. Pea salad (okay this may not sound good, but if you saw the quantity of cheese in it you'd understand). Oatmeal cookies. A never ending supply of snack size Snickers. Werthers. Brach's butterscotch candies...Oh, I could go on and on...But I think I just gained 5 pounds thinking about it! Sadly, not one healthy food reminds me of my grandma.

Go to your local Braum's and get a chocolate malt today! You'll thank me for it. I PROMISE!!

Post Note: I'm sorry for any of you who do not have a Braum's where you can partake of their fabulous ice cream and dairy story. I feel your pain. I lived apart from Braum's for nearly 4 years. It was a sad, dark period...but we are now happily reunited. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Skivvies: A Universal Question

Skivvies.

Underwear.

Unmentionables.

Tighty Whities.

Drawers.

Underpants.

Briefs.

I'm sure I missed a few names for them, but they all refer to one thing. That's what we're going to be covering today. Those of you with more tender sensibilities may want to move on. Remember, I'm a nurse. Very little surprises or offends me. You can't say I didn't warn you.

Here we go.

Last night Studmuffin and I were curled up on the couch watching "Rules of Engagement." I love that show. It has one of my favorite actors, David Warburton, in it. I love when he played David Putty on "Seinfeld." I loved him as the voice of Kronk in "The Emperor's New Groove." I love his voice, his facial expressions, and his sense of timing with his lines. He is just hilarious. If you've missed this sitcom, I recommend you try and catch it next week.

Last night the newly married couple on the show (sorry, can't remember their names and I'm too darn lazy to look it up right now) went camping on the rooftop of their building in New York. The wife hated the thought of camping and the husband was trying to convince her of the romance of it. Anyway, the main thing you need to know is this:

At the end of the show the hubby ends up getting freaked out and runs screaming into the building in his underwear and wife beater shirt. Studmuffin said "Why is she fully dressed, and he's in his underwear?"


HELLOOOO! Of course the woman is dressed nice and warm, and the man is clothed in as little as possible!!!


"Because men refuse to wear anything but underwear to bed. They claim it is too constricting, and uncomfortable. For example: Camping in October when it's in the 30s every night. What did you wear? Your underwear. What did you do? Cram up against me the entire night and complained of being cold. What do you do every night? Complain of being cold and pile on a million covers. What do I do? Wear flannel pajamas....."

And on and on and on I went. Verbosity lends for wonderful nagging abilities, I'm tellin' ya! So, here's the deal, my cosmic question that I may never have answered, because I am a female. I will never fully understand the strange tendencies of men. But I must ask the question anyway........................................



At what point does the transition occur? I know all parents put their babies in nice warm jammies. I know that little boys get pjs for Christmas. But, not being a mother of boys, I'm confused. At what point, exactly, do they decide that pajamas are too confining for their testosterone levels? When do they decide that pajamas are not only uncomfortable, but somehow are a threat to their manhood? Do they have to reach a certain age where a special skivvy hormone is released that bars them from ever being able to sleep in pajamas again?

Studmuffin said it happens after marriage. At least it did for him. He always wore gym shorts to bed until then. Now, no matter how cold he is, he WILL NOT wear pajamas to bed. I told him that he refuses to wear them because he's always gambling that it will be "the night." You know what I mean, Gentle Reader. I'm sorry if I offend your tender sensibilities here, but that has to be the sole reason that men abandon pajamas at marriage. They are hoping that at any moment they will get to, err, express their love in a, ummmm, physical sense. So, they do not dare wear pajamas because this may somehow reduce their chances of getting lucky that night.

Anyway, that's my theory....

But again, what do I know? I'm just a female and will never be capable of fully understanding the male brain.....But I'm pretty sure I'm right!

Monday, April 13, 2009

How Clean is Your House?

Today I was home with Bookworm. I had vowed to be nothing but be lazy and nonproductive while I nursed my invalid back to health. We decided to watch that show "How Clean is Your House" on BBCA while we ate lunch. Not a very good idea. This man had not cleaned his house AT ALL in 4 years. He had 3 large dogs in his house. Can you imagine the filth? Not conducive towards digestion, I assure you!

When it cut to commercial they have this little cartoon hand that writes on the dirty window, "How clean is your house?" Bookworm replied with, "Not very."

"I beg your pardon?" Okay, I will not win any awards for the cleanest house. Our house is very "lived in," but I assure you, it is not filthy!

"Mom, our house is not like his, but he hadn't cleaned house in FOUR YEARS! You have to keep the house clean. That man is disgusting." She would gasp and clutch her chest when they would show particularly nasty things (mouse droppings in the toaster, roaches running rampant, fleas everywhere...) I replied with "Helloooo...Why do you think I had kids?"

Well, after she finished lunch, she disappeared to her room. I started decluttering the house in preparation for running the vacuum. I went to her room to put some things up, and guess what? She was cleaning her room! I started laughing. You just can't watch that show and not feel the need to disinfect something after!

Hey! I did learn something really interesting. If you have pets that come in and out of the house, they can track in fleas even with flea treatments. Also, children can track fleas in. They recommended keeping a flea collar in your vacuum bag, then changing it every month. Any fleas you vacuum up will be killed by the collar. Interesting.

The invalid in my house of sticks...

Bookworm woke me up at 5am this morning, complaining of being hot. I tried to turn on the fan, and climb back in bed (aka, blow her off) but then she got up and went to the bathroom where I heard her crying, very pitifully. I found her lying on the cold tile floor. She had a fever. I gave her some ibuprofen and tucked her onto the couch to watch tv. Then, I attempted to return to bed. (Aren't you glad you don't have a mommy that's a nurse? Sympathy is limited around this place.)

I started to hear a knocking sound. I tried to ignore it. I decided it was probably the wind. After all, we've been having so much wind, it's become my bedtime lullaby to hear it howling outside. The knocking continued. What the heck? I was afraid an animal was in the wall or our attic. I couldn't hear it in any other room of the house. I finally narrowed it down to our exterior wall. When it was light enough to finally go outside and look around, I found the culprit.

On the gable of the house, a piece of wood is coming down. It is the piece that's underneath the eave. I'm pretty sure it leaves an open space for birds to get in the attic. This is the same wall that has developed a crack in the corner where the exterior wall meets the wall between our room and the guest room. There is no crack on the other side. We had 70 mph winds in October and when the roofers came through our neighborhood to drum up business I asked them about it. They said it's possible that the wind blew hard enough to make that wall flex in and out during the storm and create the crack.

When my children slam the door going into the garage, the wall facing it shakes. Our house is on a slab. This seems impossible on a concrete foundation. I'm starting to think I live in a house of sticks....

Did you know we've had 3 gas leaks repaired? And we've only lived here 9 months. How do I know I don't have leaks in my wall? It's seriously making me doubt the joys of natural gas...Even though I love cooking on a gas stove. I have a carbon monoxide detector, but it didn't register any of the other leaks. They were all in the garage at our heater and hot water tank.

Yuck...Enough heavy stuff. I'm done complaining. I'm blessed today. I get to stay home with a sick kid. This means I'm unable to go to the grocery store. I can't do any work, because I must be readily available to tend to the invalid. She is suffering a headache, so out of pure compassion for my wee one I will refrain from running the vacuum. I think I can pretend the globs of grass and mud that has been tracked in on shoes is not there. I'm not even sure I should risk running the washing machine with her delicate constitution. And any other form of cleaning? Well, I just don't know if I can risk leaving her to her own devices for such an extended period of time. I must keep a vigilant eye on that fever. I think we will just rest and watch Disney. I will provide her with plenty of liquids and myself with plenty of coffee, and she will be on the mend in no time.

Dang it.

I do think Popcorn is due for a mental health day....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

EASTER HIJINKS


Don't you love when you have "Good Mommy" days? We spent today doing fun, messy activities. You know the ones. You spend 30 minutes preparing for fun. The kids plow through the activity, and flit away...leaving you with the clean up. Can anyone relate?


Confession: I LOVE to color Easter eggs. Studmuffin and I used to do it before we even had children.


Since we've had children, I've loved having an excuse to color eggs. My friend Jenny had never colored eggs, or allowed her children to until she met me, and I nagged her into participating. She called me this week, and said she plans on doing it with her 4 girls this week! You see, now that her kids know about the joy of egg coloring, she will be guilted into doing it until the end of time. Unfortunately for her, 450 miles is a bit too much of a commute for me to continue to keep the mess at my house. You're welcome, Jenny!

Warning: Drastic topic change.
Jenny had also never popped fire crackers, nor allowed her children to. One July 4th they were moving into a new house. I was watching her 2 oldest girls for her. We went to buy fireworks. Her oldest said "My mom would be totally freaking if she knew we were doing this." Uh-oh. I called Jenny. Jenny said, "That's okay. I know you won't let them do anything that blows up." I refrained from pointing out that the very essence of fireworks is, well, explosions..... A mere 12 months later and she had come over to the dark side...Her 2 oldest were popping like crazy while her hubby and mine were setting off the bigger fireworks. She once told her mom that any time she was too afraid to let her kids try anything, all she had to do was send them over to me and eventually they'd get to do it. Using sharp knives (we made salsa), fireworks, bullying them into swimming....you get the idea.

Return to subject matter:

This year I bought some glitter glaze paints and the girls painted their eggs with the glaze after coloring them. Let's be honest, here...I painted my eggs too. I was totally bummed that I only bought 2 dozen eggs. Considering 3 cracked while boiling, that only left a mere 21 for me to divvy up with the girls. I sacrificed and let them each have 8, and I only did 5. Yeah, I know....My generosity is overwhelming!

Studmuffin deferred from participating this year. He was busy working on the infamous backsplash and building a fence around the pool filter. Somebody's puppy chewed up all of the electrical cords to the filter. So, obviously he was occupied repairing the cords too. I always knew the knowledge he gained from repairing those extension cords he tended to cut in half with the hedge trimmer would come in handy.


Bookworm and Studmuffin went out to practice hitting balls, and Popcorn and I made some Easter treats. The other day I saw some Easter eggs made out of Rice Krispie treats. They had dipped them in colored almond bark. We opted to go with the classic recipe. We divided up the melted marshmallows into 3 bowls and colored them orange, green, and blue. At least it was blue until Popcorn added a ton of green food coloring to the mix to see what it made. Surprise! It made a sort of teal color that almost exactly matched our green. Oh well, remember, it was "Good Mommy" day. I restrained myself from complaining. I know...Amazing.

One more thing, and I will let you go to prepare your own delicious Easter treats....In the middle of coloring eggs Bookworm looked at me and said, "So, are you Santa too?" My heart skipped a beat. I widened my eyes, did a tiny shake "no" then looked at her sister. She dropped it immediately. I guess I was right...now that the Easter Bunny has been debunked, Santa is next!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Conversations with Kids: The Easter Bunny

WARNING: Mythical creatures are unmasked in this post. Please proceed with caution if you are young and impressionable. Or old and delusional. Either way, please be advised that this post may be shocking and disillusional for you. Is disillusional a word? I think it should be, if it's not!




We were driving to school this morning and Popcorn asked "Mommy, is the Easter Bunny real?"

"What do you think," I asked.

"Well, I think he's real....But it doesn't make sense. I mean how does a rabbit get in my house? And how does it put stuff in our baskets? It doesn't make sense."

Bookworm piped up, "It's not a rabbit, it's a person in a rabbit costume."

Popcorn replied, "That doesn't make sense, Bookworm. Why would a person put on a bunny outfit, and come in our house?"

I decided to join back in this fascinating conversation. "Well, what do you think happens Popcorn?"

"I think you go to the store and buy the stuff, then put it in our basket!"

Okay. I can't argue with that assessment of the situation. "Well, that's the truth."

Bookworm started laughing. "I feel silly! I thought it, like, hopped through the window or something....Or maybe had a spare key." She said she wasn't at all disappointed to learn he wasn't real. Whew.

I instructed them to not go telling all of their friends the truth about the Easter Bunny. Popcorn replied, "Well, okay. I pinky promise, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to tell someone."

What? What in the heck is the point of a pinky promise if you know you can't keep it? Apparently this info is too good to keep to herself. I can relate to that. I spew everything I know onto the world wide web, so really I didn't have a leg to stand on. I did tell her to pretend it was like a present, and you didn't want to tell anyone and ruin the surprise. She didn't have much to say to that.

Isn't it funny how kids brains work? Who knew they were putting all of this thought into the Easter Bunny, a mythical creature I've never even acknowledged to them. I've always just handed them a basket on Easter morning, and that was that. Their only real idea of him came from him coming to see them at school or seeing him at malls.

I think Popcorn, the more discerning of the two, noticed all of the "Easter Basket Filler" signs at the store, and noticed all of the commercials telling parents what they should put in their children's basket, and put two and two together.

Bookworm tends to take everything at face value. She's probably going to be like me...I was in 4th grade, and I asked my mom who the Easter Bunny was. She said "The same person Santa is." I was horrified to realize Santa wasn't real. She thought surely I knew he wasn't real, but just played along for fear he'd quit coming. Nope. I believed in him. Turns out, my darling brother never spilled the beans because he was afraid that Santa wouldn't come anymore either. Anyway, I can see Bookworm believing in Santa until I point blank tell her he's not real. In all honesty, I practically have. Every time she says someone she knows said Santa isn't real, I say, "Oh well. It's no big deal not to believe in Santa." She is very adamant that she believes in him.

Well, that's all of the bubbles I plan to pop for today. Hope everyone has a very Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A G20 summit meeting with the ants



Ummm...Excuse me! Excuse me? Mr. Big Red Ant? I need to speak with you......




Oh! There you are. I was wondering if we could speak. Actually, I would like to speak with the queen, but I understand she's too busy to bother with me right now. Could you spare a minute of your time? Don't worry, I'll wait while you round up your advisers and press secretaries.



Yes...Yes, I understand you're very busy. It's just you seem to have forgotten a few terms of our agreement.

Terms? Oh, now Mr. Big Red Ant, don't play ignorant with me. You know the agreement. The one where I agreed to let you stay in your 2 dens at the back of our property if you promised not to venture closer to the house?

Still don't remember? Let me refresh your memory. You stay in your 2 original dens, and I don't unleash a big nuclear pesticide bomb all over your den.

Yes. That agreement.

I understand how important you are Mr. Big Red Ant. I like you. I truly do. I used to love to watch you at my Great Grandma Jones' house. She had a giant den. I loved to single out one ant and just follow him around. I was always fascinated by your work ethic. I also happen to love horny toads, and one thing I learned in Texas is that killing all of you seems to greatly effect the horny toad population. Since I love all things toad and froggish, I'm sure you understand.

What's that you say? You don't particularly care for horny toads? Well, under the circumstances, I can understand that.



How about bed bugs? I know that if I ever have an infestation of bed bugs I can put my Original Prairie Woman hat and throw all of my bedding and mattresses out for you, and you will gladly eat the bugs, eggs and all.

You like that example better? Okey dokey. But I gotta tell you, I prefer to think about horny toads.....

So, Mr. Big Red Ant, here's the problem. You have started a 3rd den. Closer to the house. This is in clear violation of the original agreement. Please understand that if you act quickly to abandon this 3rd den, I will gladly defer any further actions at this time.

However, if you fail to meet our terms, I'm afraid I will have to take drastic action....

And nobody wants to see that.

Thank you for your time Mr. Big Red Ant. Please convey my greetings to the queen and have a good day.

Random thoughts

Between my sister and the Country Doctor's Wife, my spring fever is reaching epic proportions. The wind is supposed to reach only "breezy" today, versus the hurricane force we've been contending for the past month or two (slight exaggeration...very slight). So, I plan to mow today. I put on a tank top with my favorite pair of holey jeans circa 1999. I have to wear a jacket over the tank top, because I'm cold...but again, I'm suffering from spring fever here. I need to comfort myself in small ways.

Studmuffin still won't let me get chickens. I hate when he insists on being the voice of reason....

I'm washing bedding today. I noticed my mattress has a big dip in the middle. Does that have any correlation to my back pain? A mattress is nowhere in my budget. I have plans. Big plans. New flooring. New fence. A vacation to South Dakota. No plans for a mattress in sight...

Popcorn is begging me to homeschool her. I told her God still isn't speaking to me about that, and she might want to pray about it some more. Bookworm was horrified to hear her sister say "school stinks." At least I don't have to drag two kids to school. BTW, anyone who doesn't know Popcorn may not realize it, but she is a very social person. She loves to play, and she could make friends with a fence post. I don't know how she thinks she'd survive homeschooling.

Ironically, Popcorn plans to work every single day as an adult, and her kids will have to ride the bus every day. She is going to do work like her daddy, making sure things get built right, and in the right order. She actually went to work with him one day this year...He had her color on some old plans, so I'm not sure she has a true grasp of his job. Popcorn frequently has plans of what she will make her children do. They usually echo something I make her do that she despises. Example: Her children will always wear tennis shoes. They will practice piano 2 hours every day. They will stand in the corner every day. They will clean their toys up every day. You get the idea...

Bookworm wants to be a veterinarian...but only work a few days a week. That's my girl. Work as little as possible. I can teach her to be cheap, so she only has to work a few days a week...

I miss Texas.

There. I said it. I miss my friends. I miss the heat. I miss good Mexican food. I miss Dairy Queen. I miss mocking birds dive bombing the cat on a daily basis...just because they can. I miss blue bonnets and Indian paint brushes, and esperanza, and lantana growing wild....I am ready for warm weather.

*sigh* Moving on....

Easter is this Sunday. I don't know what to wear. I hate buying church clothes...And it's supposed to be cold. Do you think I can wear the same outfit I wore for our Christmas program? Will anyone notice? I think an eggplant sweater, charcoal pants and black boots should be fine for Easter Sunday.

Well, I don't really have anything else to say...There's very little drama in our house right now. How strange. Well, have a great Wednesday morning! I'm off to mow my dandelions!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today Studmuffin and I had our annual physicals...Yuck is all I have to say about that. To treat ourselves after the violations that we shall not speak of in bloggerland we went to eat. Fatty, salty, triple decker BLT for the stud with high blood pressure and suggested lifestyle changes. A Taos turkey sandwich for me.

What is a Taos turkey sandwich you ask? Well, I'm gonna tell you...And you will want to go make you one right away!

Fresh homemade bread
Turkey breast
Red onions
Lettuce
Tomato
Bacon
Cranberries
Cream cheese

Oh dear. It is so good, your taste buds will be shouting hallelujah choruses. I'm tellin' ya, next time you've been sorely abused by your primary care provider I can highly recommend this sandwich to cure what ails you.

Did I mention that I could have had fresh homemade sweet potato fries? I was strong. I resisted. Barely. Then when we were paying the display of desserts (all made fresh in the diner) was to die for. Studmuffin refused to share a hello dolly with me, or a giant cinnamon roll. So, again I resisted. But only because Studmuffin was being a party pooper.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I was working in this bridal shop....

Can you believe someone hired me to work in a bridal shop? Not as a cleaner, or any form of manual labor, which I would have excelled at, I assure you, but as an actual sales associate! No joke!

I was 20 years old, very newly married (a whole week) and I was job hunting. I saw an ad for a bridal shop and thought "Hey! I just got married! I know all about that! I'll go apply." And I got the job. Okay, I feel the need to give you more info...Yes, I had just gotten married. But, I had made very few decisions. My family did all of the planning. I borrowed my sister's dress. I just showed up, said a few lines, and moved on. Why on earth I thought I knew anything about planning a wedding is beyond me...

But, now I was working in a bridal shop. Advising blushing brides on their dresses, veils, invitations, tuxes...basically everything.

Ummm, one small problem here....Remember me, the Queen of Cheap? Can you imagine me encouraging a woman to spend thousands of dollars on her dress when there were perfectly fine ones for a fraction of that? And quinceanera dresses (fifteenth birthday debutante dresses)? Forget about it! Those families would come in with like 12 kids in tow, and there was no way I was going to show them a dress over $200. It took me awhile to figure out that none of the other associates ever showed their customers the clearance room.

Duh.

My favorite part of my job was vacuuming and steaming the dresses. Did that statement make sense? I vacuumed floors and steamed the dress...Okay, so I wasn't hired to clean toilets, but I would have preferred doing that to trying to get someone to spend money. I think the windows in the displays were cleaner than they'd ever been when I was there.

Well, as you can imagine, I did not excel in salesmanship at this lovely little shop. I lasted maybe 2 months, and that was only because it took me that long to find another job with fairly comparable pay...I went to work at Old Navy...Where shopping is fun again!

Now that was right up my ally. The clothes were cute, affordable, and I didn't feel like I was leading anyone into bankruptcy.

Yep...I worked in a bridal shop...But I wasn't any good at it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Even the small things matter to Him

God cares. Isn't that nice to hear? As Christians we hear "God cares for you" all of the time. But do we believe it? If you're like me your answer will be a resounding "YES!" However, if I stop and really listen, and think, what will the answer be?

I love when God smacks me in the face with a truth I needed to hear and I'm not even looking for it. I'm studying the prophets right now. I'm currently reading in 2 Kings about Elisha's ministry. Today I was reading about the miracles God performed through Elisha. The great thing about Elisha's ministry is how he touched people. Ordinary people. Like me. I urge you to read 2 Kings 4-8. It is full of God's goodness and Elisha's willingness to meet people's needs.

Today God spoke to me. He spoke to me about trusting Him. "Of course I trust You!" Then, I read 2 Kings 6:1-6. Here is this little miracle in the middle of a bunch of big miracles. An axhead floats. Did this miracle save a life? Did it feed hundreds? Did it alter the coarse of history? No. But it made a difference to one of God's servants. The servant lost his iron axhead in the Jordan River. And it was borrowed. Isn't that typical? The man was very upset. Elisha touched the place where it landed with a stick and the iron floated to the top. I'm sure most of you have heard this story, but it really struck me today.

Nothing is too small for God. Nothing is too big for God, so how can any of my problems be too small for Him?

2 Chronicles 32:7 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him for there is a greater power with us than with him.

Psalm 55:18 He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.

Romans 8:31 What then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

1 John 4:4b The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world

2 Kings 6:16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

All of these verses are responses to great opposition to the believer. There was nowhere to turn but God. So, obviously, God can handle my big problems. Easily. I trust God to deal with the big stuff. I struggle with giving him my little stuff. I tend to try and fix all of those issues on my own. But I see here, in 2 Kings 6:5, that this man did not dive into the Jordan and try to find his axhead himself (the Jordan was a dirty, murky river). He did not go to all of his coworkers to get their advice on how to find the axhead, or how to tell the person he borrowed it from how he lost it. Instead he immediately brought the problem to the prophet, and the prophet used God's power to find what was lost. The man trusted God to solve his problem. And he did.

So, how about you? Are you trusting God with all of your problems? Do you go to Him immediately when life's little trials come up? Trust God. He cares for you. None of your problems are too big for Him, and certainly none of them are too small for Him.

Oh, and if this post seems to have a familiar ring to it, you're right...I had a very similar discussion with God about this very issue in December. You can read about that here.
Yep, sometimes I'm slow on the uptake, and God has to smack some sense into me again.