Monday, August 31, 2009

Clarification for Yesterday's Post

Okay, reading some of your comments, I decided I may not have been as clear as I could have been. I do not and never will think that coffee or caffeine is a sin. The idea I was trying to convey was that it's pretty sad that I have unwavering dedication to coffee. It visibly transforms me. Isn't it sad that I don't allow God to do the same for me every single day? I only mentioned giving up coffee in reference to Sandy's idea to fast from certain items to bring her closer to God. Well, every time fasting pops into my head, coffee immediately comes to mind...So, I obviously don't fast!

I had Bookworm take a pic of me with my coffee for this evening before she headed out to play. It is absolutely gorgeous out, and I could barely get her to stop long enough to snap a photo. I want to go play too, but alas, I am exhausted. I picked up an extra shift today, and didn't sit down except the one time I peed, and I didn't even get a chance to eat anything! I punched out as "no lunch." I never do that, even when I don't get a true lunch, because I usually at least get to stop and eat a few bites of lunch every once in a while, so that while I may not have had a true 30 minute break, I at least got to eat! That was not the case today, and since I had picked up a shift to help out, and I didn't get to eat, and I barely got to leave in time to get my kids from school, I was not feeling generous. The hospital can pay me for that 30 minute lunch that I didn't get today, thank you very much!

So, I'm through rambling now. I'm off to sit on the porch and watch the kids play, then I'm making chili for supper tonight. These beautiful days have made me hungry for fall food. I'll be sitting, sipping my java, and refusing to get up and play jump rope with them today. I'm whipped. Ramble at ya later!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Post on Coffee

I love coffee.

I love the way it tastes.

I love the way it smells.

The warm mug in my hands....

Wait a sec. I already covered this didn't I? Yep! I sure did. You can check that out here.

What prompted me to post this was a comment a friend made at work the other day. She said, "When Andi drinks coffee, it looks like she's having a religious experience." We all laughed at the time, because I'm sure it's kind of true. I start my day off with a cup of coffee. I often go to work and check to make sure the coffee is started before I even go to my locker or clock in. Since I love every single aspect of drinking coffee, I tend to hold the cup close to my face and inhale the aroma as I sip slowly. My eyes are often closed, and I tune every thing around me out as I savor those first few sips of rich dark wonderfulness. No additives necessary.

So, as I said, I'm sure her impression of my relationship with coffee could be true.

But it got me to thinking...

What about my time with God in the morning? Sure, I get up most mornings and do a devotion. But am I so committed to that devotion that it must be in place before any other aspect of my day can proceed, like that first cup of coffee? Am I so enchanted with the Word that I know God will give me, that I am able to tune all of my surroundings out and focus only on Him? Is my outlook visibly transformed by the Words I've eagerly drank in?


I think I know the answer to that.

Sandy, over at God Speaks Today, is doing a fast so that she may hear God speak to her more clearly. A 40 day fast to be exact. Good for Sandy! When I read her post tonight, I was reminded of my love for coffee (still haven't conceded that God may have been telling me to fast from my java), and how I would just hate to give up my self proclaimed psychotropic drug.

It's not like I use tons of caffeine. One mug in the morning, and another around 3:30 with my kids while they enjoy an after school snack. I don't usually partake of any other caffeine during the day, but still...

I have this dedication to daily cups of joe at certain times of the day. Very little gets in the way of the ritual. How sad that I don't have that dedication for the God of the universe, my personal Savior!

In Proverbs 8:17 God promises that He loves those who love Him, and those who seek Him find Him.

Matthew 6:33 tells me to seek His kingdom first and His righteousness, and all of my needs will be taken care of.

So I have to ask myself: What the heck is the deal here? Why am I so easily distracted from my time with God? Why do I place so many things before my time with Him? God is very clear that if I earnestly seek Him He will cover all of my needs (Matthew 7:7).

Well, I'm definitely going to be having some talks with God about this one. I know He will have many things to say to me.

So. How about you? What is God nudging you about today?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Salsa Dusting

I hate cleaning. I especially hate dusting. The best part of having children is I can go months and never pick up a dust rag. Of course, I could do that before kids too. I consider dusting completely optional. It is to be done after every other part of cleaning is done, and then only if you have time!

Alas, today I needed to dust. I had done my workout, but felt that it wasn't as intense as I needed. I had a flashback to a conversation I had with my Grandmama Dolly a while back. She loves to dance. She and my Grandad Pat used to go dancing every chance they got. Which wasn't very often with 5 kids at home, I'm sure. Anyway, she also loves music. She watches country music videos a good majority of her day, and she reads Country Music Weekly. If there is something you need to know about the country music world, my Grandmama Dolly is the lady to ask!

But, back to dusting. She told me she used to crank the radio up and dance while she cleaned. Grandad would come home for lunch and he would say, "It sounds like a dance hall in here!" She always tells me that with a laugh. I decided to take a page from her book today. I turned the TV to an all music station. I didn't choose country, I chose.....


Salsa is great exercise/cleaning music. I have no idea how to salsa for real. Only what I learned off of Dancing With the Stars. That makes me darn near an expert, right? Salsa music gives me many images. First, sky high heels. I simply must dance around on my very tip toes when salsa is playing. And hip action! Lots of hip action people! Suck in those abs and wiggle those hips! It's fun. Come on, you know you want to join me! Next, you will need to float your arms a lot. And fingers...Your fingers should be spread with your middle fingers slightly lower, in a very autentico' salsa stance...See? I'm even starting to use my Latin language!

What about dusting down low? Well, when I dust down the sides of book cases, dressers, etc, I like to balance up on one leg and extend the other behind and up as far as I can. In a very sensual, salsa-ey, way mind you. Because, again, I'm pretty sure I'm an expert at salsa...Or perhaps you can squeeze your thighs together and slowly shimmy down into a crouch, then shimmy back up. Wait. Is that salsa or something entirely different? I'm not sure...

What about working your shoulders? I'm pretty sure you're going to want to shimmy that chest and hip thrust from the piano to the coffee table...Then down the hall to your bedroom (to dust you silly goose!)....

Shimmy, shimmy, thrust, thrust thrust....

Wiggle, wiggle...Stay on your toes, now!

Are those abs in tight?

Now you're getting it! Have fun! ARRIBA!!!!

Ummm, sorry, but no video for you...I may have very little shame, but I do have a little! I think it's in my little finger, but I'm not sure. I just know it's there.

So, come on! Bailar!! Bailar!! Vive la vida loca!!!

*that's dance, dance, live the crazy life for all of you gente que no hablan espanol out there*

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Budget Shenanigans

Well, here it is August 26th, the 26th day of our cash system. It has been a big learning experience. We used our debit card for all purchases before. Wow! What an impact it has to count that grocery money over the counter to the checker!

The first thing we learned was that we didn't budget enough money!!! I forgot completely about back to school supplies. I used our grocery money instead. Initially I was determined to make it work with the original amount and use up all of the extras in our cabinets. One problem: We are big milk drinkers. We go through 3-4 gallons a week. Also, I always keep fresh produce on hand for snacking. Apples, bananas and grapes are staples, with other fruits varying according to season and price. Well, it is very hard to not go to the store to replenish these things when you are used to fresh fruit for snacking! I crumbled and replenished our grocery money with the equal amount I used on back to school. I thought that would be fine.


I still didn't have enough money. I learned yesterday that you are actually supposed to keep track of every single expense for a month THEN you go to the cash system based on what you learned from your examination of your expenses! Woops! We totally skipped that step! Plus, like I said, I had forgotten to plan for back to school. The first several days of school are a never ending list of $5-$10 expenses that have to be paid. To top all of that off, I forgot about lunch money. Shoot and double shoot.

Another thing: We used our "fun money" for Schlitterbahn. Our admission was paid, but we opted to not pack lunches, so that meant we had to buy our food. Don't forget souvenirs for the girls! That meant we had no fun money left after the first week of the month! I sure do miss Sonic Happy Hour.

Consequently, we have exactly $12 to get us through the last of the month. I still have piano and babysitting money, but that is obviously earmarked for something else, and that expense is not going away. I think we can get through the month on $12.

Confession: That $12 is stolen from our dining fund. It seems I way underestimated our grocery bill. We only used half of our dining money, and the rest went to groceries. I figured if I had to steal from an envelope, it was better to steal from a non-necessity!

For September I made categories for all of the things I forgot, and I budgeted money for "kids" to meet all of those unexpected expenses that will always be there. I hope to actually have money left over from this fund, because we agreed that any money we didn't use would go into a Christmas envelope. I know you're only supposed to budget what you need, but again, I'm still new at this, and I figure any money we stash for Christmas is a good thing!

There you have it. I'm sure you were dying of curiosity about how our cash system was working. Now you can sleep easier after this update!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I've got your.....BACK?

Studmuffin was...ahem.... helping me clean up the kitchen tonight. I know he got the table washed. I'm pretty sure he put at least 2 plates in the dishwasher....

Me: Did you know that when you "help" me clean the kitchen, you just follow me around?

Studmuffin: Yep. But I make sure I can look at your butt the whole time! I have to make sure nothing happens to it.

Me: So, basically, you've got my....butt?

Studmuffin: Yep. If you ever suddenly start to trip and fall, I'm there, ready to grab your butt....

Dear Reader, I feel so much safer in my kitchen now!

Mowing the Lawn

I love to mow. We have a riding lawnmower, and when I drive it, I feel like I'm a teenager again, driving the tractor. The other reason I love to mow, is that nobody comes along and messes it up. When you clean your floor, the first kid that runs through the house tracks it up. When you do laundry, there is more to do the second everyone bathes. Clean the kitchen, and the very next meal it's messed up again. But, when you mow the lawn, it stays nice and short for at least a week! I love that!

Bookworm has been asking me to mow. Well, I am very reluctant to give up my therapy. As a matter of fact, when Studmuffin mows to help me get things done, I'm secretly disappointed that he is taking away my fun. I would rather him clean house while I mowed....But since that falls into the realm of not going to happen without lots of coaxing, I let him mow. I'm just a giver, let me tell you!

Well, Sunday, I relented and decided to teach her to mow. I wasn't sure she was heavy enough. It turns out that if she leans as far back in the seat as she can, stretches her leg as far as it will go, and stretches her arms out to their maximum capacity when she turns, the lawnmower won't die! Plus, her lack of height prohibits her from driving the mower too fast. I learned really quickly that she likes to drive it as fast as possible. She especially likes to go fast and turn really sharp corners. She feels very empowered by speed and quick turns. As a matter of fact, she would laugh maniacally every time she did.

I rode with her around our front yard where all of the obstacles are, and she still ran into the lily pond (it is raised with pave stones around it) and she hit a small tree with the deck. Both times I was looking at Studmuffin weed eating. (I don't know why, but I love watching him weed eat with old jeans on, a t-shirt and safety glasses.) The first time I drove my parents brand new lawn mower, I ran it into an enormous elm tree. And I had been driving the feed wagon for years by that point while my dad scattered cake or bales off the back. So, I thought those few run ins were pretty good for a 9 year old!

So, with practice I know she'll be mowing the whole yard by herself. I have a little while though, because we only mowed half of the yard together, and her arms and legs were exhausted after. But, with time she will build up her arm strength, and her legs will certainly grow, so before long she will certainly be on her own. And maybe I will not feel compelled to stand guard the entire time she is mowing because I have visions of her falling off, getting her limbs chopped to pieces....Okay, let's not go there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Here's that Poppy Seed Chicken recipe I promised.

Warning: This recipe is NOT low fat or low cholesterol. That's probably why it's so good! I first ate this after Bookworm was born. We lived in Arlington at the time. God blessed us with the most amazing group of friends. Most of them were from out of state, just like we were, and we were all having babies at the same time. Whenever one of us "dropped a kid," (in the eloquent words of Studmuffin) we would all sign up to provide meals. I had 2 solid weeks of meals delivered after each child. It was wonderful. What I wouldn't give to have someone decide to just bless me with a ready made meal now! Anyway, my friend Lisa prepared this for me, and it is a staple recipe when I'm not in a period of trying to lose weight or lower Studmuffin's cholesterol. Okay, so maybe it's not a staple recipe in our house, but every time I rediscover it, I'm in heaven!

Poppy Seed Chicken

3 cut up cooked chicken breasts
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 T poppy seeds
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1/2 stick butter, melted

Place chicken in 9x9 pan. Combine sour cream, soup, and poppy seeds, then pour mixture over chicken. Crumble Ritz over the top and drizzle the butter over that. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

During the summer I've cooked this in the microwave and it was good that way too. Also, a great add in idea to stretch it a little farther is to place cooked rice in the bottom of the pan. Or some frozen vegetables, and then it's a little like chicken pot pie... As you can see, I've tried this many different ways, and it's always good.

Talk about easy! And delicious! The only problem is, there's never enough leftovers! Trust me! You're gonna love it! And apparently I feel that this recipe calls for lots of exclamation points!!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Women, Know Your Limits!

My mom had a post that talked about what women can do. Well, I have an answer to that. I think there's severe danger in women learning to do everything on the planet. It turns out I was right!

So, there you have it, Gentle Reader. Women should know their limits!

And if you need a good laugh, I totally recommend you checking out the various videos from Mr. Chomondley-Warner. He is a hoot!

Cook this Chicken

The girls had some friends over to play last night. I wasn't sure what to feed them. I know they like pizza, but they get that every Sunday after church. I know their mom is a vegetarian, so I wasn't sure if they ate hamburger. I decided to cook what I had originally planned, partly because we are getting towards the end of the month, and I'm running out of money. I didn't plan well for my first month on the cash system. But we'll talk about that later.

Right now I'm going to tell you about a fabulous chicken recipe. The kids all ate seconds. It is so gratifying to fix something that kids love. Of course they love the typical junk food, but it's not so often that I cook a new recipe that they fall all over themselves eating it. So, it is with great pleasure that I share this recipe with you. Of course I didn't take pictures. If I'd been thinking I could have taken a picture of the empty plates for you!

Grilled Sesame Chicken

1 c olive or vegetable oil
1 c white grape juice
1 c soy sauce
1 c chopped green onions
1/3 c sesame seeds, toasted
2 T ground mustard
1.5 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
12 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Combine first 9 ingredients in large ziplock bag. Remove 1/2 c of mix and set aside for basting. Refrigerate. Add chicken to bag; seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate 6-8 hours.

Drain and discard marinade. Grill chicken over medium heat. Cook until meat juices run clear, basting occasionally with reserved marinade as needed.

I realize this makes a lot of chicken. That's what makes this recipe so great. We are going to the lake today. We will be too tired to cook supper when we get home tonight, so I will use the leftovers for chicken quesadillas. Then, later this week I will use the last few breasts to make some poppy seed chicken. I'll have to share that recipe with you another time.

I've gotta keep you coming back for more, right?

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Yesterday I was short on my servings of fruit. I had a patient come in for a fine needle aspiration of her thyroid. She was very nervous. She had 2 young people with her (I'm guessing the boy was around 17 and the girl maybe 20 or 22.) A lot of people are nervous when they come in. I'm used to dealing with that, and praying with them, and joking them through their anxiety. Guess what? I failed miserably with this lady.

Right off the bat I think I upset her when I stated, "You have high blood pressure. Did you take your meds this morning?" She denied ever having high blood pressure, and said it was only up because she was anxious. Okay. BP does rise with anxiety, but usually 10-20 points. Maybe 30 if you add severe pain. Her BP was 216/112. Crazy high. Too high for anxiety induced hypertension. I told her so in a very matter of fact way. I took her BP on the other arm, because she said it would be lower there. It was higher.

Now, here's my first big screw up. I try to be very faithful in praying with my patients. I even had a thought, "maybe I should pray with her, and help her relax." But I blew this thought off as I busily scrambled through her admission paper work and justified it with anxiety doesn't raise BP that high.

The doctor came in, and we had to cancel the procedure, because the risk of bleeding is too high with out of control high blood pressure. We initially gave her 30 minutes to try and settle down. Now, during this 30 minutes, I continued about my day, with the occasional drop in to check her pressure again, which never came down.

She became upset when we cancelled the procedure, and said she would never return to this hospital, and it was because of me. She didn't like me, and she felt that I didn't care about her high blood pressure. The tech working with me had another nurse come and visit with her, and had the doctor come speak with the patient personally. I agreed completely that she should do that. I never want patients to leave dissatisfied or angry....The young girl then magically became a medical student who wanted to see the doctor's credentials, how much experience did she have, where did she go to school, do her residency, etc. Now, I can give you many opinions of this entire situation and additional facts about my observation of this group that would sway you to my side.

But I'm not going to.

The reality is, I screwed up. I failed to show this woman the love, patience, kindness, and gentleness she needed yesterday. I failed to pray with her. I don't take her to being the praying type, but I have yet to have a patient refuse a prayer on their behalf. That simple act alone would have shown her love. It would have shown her that I did care about her anxiety. My joking with her didn't seem to touch her at all, and I sensed that, so I had stopped that right away. I've been around long enough that I can usually read people pretty well, and I know how they are feeling based on body language and facial expressions. I had realized she was upset, but never dreamed it was with me. However, if I had taken a moment to give her words of comfort and encouragement instead of my usual bossy self saying, "You need to follow up with your primary care doctor and get this blood pressure taken care of," she may not have been upset with me. She did not respond well to that. In fact she said she didn't believe her blood pressure was truly high because she didn't have a head ache. Instead of being sympathetic I replied, "Well, you can't go with how you feel. High blood pressure is a silent disease, and it has to be treated."

All of my responses to her were okay. They may have been fine for 90 percent of the people I deal with. But they weren't what this woman needed. She needed a tender touch. A word of prayer. I think she needed me to call the doctor for her, make the appointment, and send her straight there. Those actions would have shown her that I did indeed care about her situation.

But, I didn't do that. I merely stated facts, and treated her as a generic patient. I failed to remember that I am to serve each patient as I'm serving Jesus Christ. That is my call as a Christian. Yes, her BP was high. No, it wasn't emergent, but she did need to follow up. I could have easily made that call, gotten her an appointment, and her feelings about her treatment would have been exponentially different.

I thought about her all day. Everyone I worked with was on my side, and blew them off as the people who can't be pleased. They also judged them based on the other details, that again, I'm not going to address. Because reality is, I'm not to treat them based on how they act, or what my thoughts are about their values compared to mine. I usually have no problem with this. I truly love my job, and I'm pretty good at remembering that people are often at their worst in hospitals. I failed this woman. The Holy Spirit pricked me as soon as she voiced her opinion to me. I confessed to my coworkers that if I had been more loving towards her, she would not have been upset. But I failed to seek her out and apologize. My pride prevented me. I was afraid of making her angrier, or her thinking that I was only apologizing because I was afraid I was going to get reprimanded, or all sorts of lame reasons. Bottom line: I should have listened to the Spirit and gone to her and apologized.

It's funny that it happened yesterday. Wednesday our preacher had discussed giving ourselves a "fruit check" every day. I found myself severely lacking yesterday. I asked forgiveness, and of course it was instantly granted, because God is good that way. Then today, I read something that really brought it home again. Click here to read about that. What struck me is that even if I had been outwardly kinder to this woman, it would just have been a shell. I failed to use Christ as my foundation of love for her. If I had remembered to view her as Christ does, a woman who needs love and compassion, then my reaction to her and her reaction to me may have been completely different.

Ephesians 6:7
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.

Who will I serve today? I pray that I'm more loving toward them. I pray that I will remember Who I serve. Whether it's my family, my friends kids, the checker at Walmart, or the person next to me in traffic. I pray that I will remember that by serving them , I am serving the Lord.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Glimpses of Terror and I hate my hair...

I got my hair done the day we left for New Braunfels. I didn't have her take hardly any length off because my hair had been laying really well. Remember, I like to put no effort into my hair. The problem is, ever since she touched up my color, my hair won't do anything I want. Saturday I threw a fit and blew it dry and straightened it, then I used a curling iron to attempt a Farrah Fawcett feathered look. I liked it okay, but it was a bit too much work.

So, this morning I took my shower, did my morning routine, and then blew it dry. It was, of course, frizzy. Think Gilda Radner. Yikes. So, since the curling iron took so much time, I decided to try hot rollers. Yes. I still own hot rollers....

Oops. Okay, and when the heck did I develop those wrinkles on my neck when I turn my head?

I think I achieved the beauty pageant look instead of the loose curls I was going for. And I have to ask myself: Why the heck does a curly haired girl blow her curls out, just to curl them again. Crud. However, I had to leave to take the girls to school, then head to the church. No time to undo the damage. The scary thing is, not one person commented on the big hair and curls. Does that mean it's so scary, they don't dare mention it, aka "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all?" Oh well, I'm getting ready to do a sweaty workout, so hopefully that will deflate some body...

After I finished at the church I went to get my oil changed. I go to one of those places where they direct you into place, and one guy is underneath while another is at your hood and they call out info to each other like healthcare people do in surgery or codes. Instead of "Hemostat! Scalpel! Epinephrine! Clear!" they are yelling out car stuff. It seriously cracks me up. Today I got a bigger laugh than usual there. The guys are always moving very quickly, and they are always super friendly and laugh and joke together. One guy was running into the office to run the lady next to me's card. His shirt got caught on the doorknob and he was hurrying so fast he didn't notice. That is, he didn't notice until he had ripped every single button off of his shirt. Everyone started laughing, and things slowed down for quite a few minutes because the guys would start working, then one would begin chuckling and it would have a trickle down effect of general hilarity, tears running down faces and stomach clutching. It was priceless.

I came home from getting my oil changed determined to get busy with my housework and finish up the scrapbooking that I started Saturday. I was over a year behind. I got 11 pages done, and have since stuttered to a stop. We've been eating in the living room because I'm determined to get caught up before I pack it all up. My goal is Friday.

Anyway, I returned home, turned on FIT TV to see what workout was coming up, walked back into the dining room and saw this:

After I jumped up and down, made my little shrieking noises and flapped my hands like a birdie, I calmed down and realized that it was not a tarantula, but a giant wolf spider. Thank goodness it wasn't covered in babies, or I don't know if I could have recovered as well as I did. I took a picture of it to share with you.

However, after taking it, I wasn't sure you could appreciate the size. I place my size 11 flip flop next to it so you could truly appreciate the size. Studmuffin said I should have placed a dollar bill by it. Dang it. He always has better ideas.

But, by the time I talked to him, I had scooped it into a shoe box and carried it out to the front yard. See? I've made some serious progress since the spiders of my youth and the bird eating spider we found in our living room!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There's a Lazy Girl Living Inside of Me, but I Can Usually Overcome Her with Guilt Tactics

So. Here's the deal. I am lazy. In fact, I am the only one in my house who is allowed to be lazy. If I notice any one else being lazy, I'm instantly annoyed, and feel that I work twice as hard as they do. Even if I don't. There. That's the truth. I said it, and there ain't no goin' back now.

I prefer to procrastinate and plan all of the wonderful things I need to do. Instead, I end up on the computer (surprise, surprise,) reading a book, or taking naps. I love naps. I try to take a nap every Wednesday and Sunday. Plus, I am totally worthless after 7pm. By that time, I've usually finished cleaning up dinner, but if I'm not, then it will probably sit there until the next morning when I will be annoyed with myself when I walk in and find the dirty skillet in the sink. After 7 I don't like to fold, wash or put away. I like to walk with my neighbor or just lay on the couch and stare at the television.

I know you're wondering what the hey diddle is the point of this post.

I don't really know.

I think it's to remind myself how lazy I like to be, and how I like to be at my home every moment possible. However, now school is starting, so that means my free time is rapidly going to dwindle. I hope to start leading a ladies Bible study on Monday mornings. Our church wasn't offering one during the week, and I'm unable to attend the one on Sunday evenings because I help with youth choir at that time. So, I volunteered to lead a study if there is enough interest generated. I work Tuesday all day. Wednesday mornings a friend and I help our music pastor get ready for Wednesday night rehearsal. Of course we have to have lunch together after. Thursday I work all day. Last year I worked Fridays too. Fridays weren't part of my original contract, but my unit is down one nurse every Friday, so I was helping out while the kids were in school. I haven't volunteered to resume that shift. I'm not sure if I'm going to, either.

So as I said, I'm lazy. I realize that if I really sat down and thought about it, I will have tons more free time than all of those mothers who have to work full time. Or want to work full time. I personally don't understand anyone wanting to work full time, but that's just me. Plus, I just don't get those super moms who volunteer at the school. Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate it. Somebody's gotta do it, and it apparently won't be me. I just don't want to give up my free afternoon to go help at the school. Again, I'm just being real with you here.

I know that if I'm organized, get up early so I can get my Bible study done before the fam starts waking up, I will have plenty of time to get the rest of my "mommy duties" done and still have time for my naps on Wednesdays and Sundays. But I'm weak. I'm given to hitting the snooze button. I'm given to starting books at bedtime and staying awake until 3am to finish it, because I just can't put it down, and I want to know what happens next.

Of course, if I hit the snooze button, I have to go through my usual wake up time with my family. I hate that. Does that sound mean? Well, it's not. I'm cranky when I wake up. I don't like to talk to people. I don't like to be friendly or cuddly or whatever. I just want to get out of bed, pee, wash my face with hot water, put on my moisturizer and head to the coffee pot. Then, I want to fix my breakfast and eat it while I read a devotional. With any luck, translation: I got out of bed when I should, I will still have a few moments to go pet the dogs and maybe start a load of laundry before the fam joins me. And by then, I'm ready to be chipper, chatty and gracious.

So. This post was totally lame. I'm sorry. But I've got nothin'. Nothin' but lameness, and I feel compelled to share something, so since I got nothin' but lameness, lameness is what you got. And I'm totally okay with that.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Temper, Temper, Temper

I know this will be a total shock to you...But one time Studmuffin & I had a fight. I have no clue what it was about, I only remember what I was doing and what he was doing....

I was griping up a storm at him. (Aunt Flo was probably on her way again. I blame most irrational behavior on the old bag.) At the same time, I was cleaning the kitchen. He was sitting at the bar, fighting back with me. I had a giant bowl of spaghetti. I started putting it down the disposal. Without the disposal running. I was using my hand to shove it in.



Cram it in.



Cram it in.

When I finally forced the ginormous pot of spaghetti completely into the disposal where it was to the point of overflowing, AFTER I had crammed as much as I could in, I turned on the water, and hit the switch......

Spaghetti flew out the opposite drain and a horrible exploding sound came from under the sink.

All verbal communication ceased.

I opened the cabinet to see spaghetti all over everything. Studmuffin came over, and started griping under his breath, but not so under his breath that I couldn't understand every word he was saying. I went to the bathroom to get some towels for clean up.

When I walked out of the kitchen Studmuffin thought I was abandoning the job to him. When I returned to the kitchen I found him throwing everything from under the sink over his shoulder where it was landing hither, there and yon all over the kitchen. With icky sticky spaghetti all over it.

I figured he was pretty ticked, so I actually kept my mouth shut, and just started wiping everything off, and sweeping and mopping, and wiping spaghetti off of the refrigerator, the cabinet fronts, everywhere. When Studmuffin stuck his head out from the sink, and saw what he was doing, he felt a little bad.

But not bad enough to not lecture me for the entire time it took him to repair the disposal. I had clogged up the opposite sink. I had blown some sort of valve or seal off of the disposal, and even managed to blow off the trap, so spaghetti was way down in the pipes. It was not a good situation.

And it was not a good night in our household. In fact I was forbidden to ever put spaghetti down the disposal again. Ever. Never again. If he told me once, he told me 20 times. Don't ever put spaghetti down the disposal again. Got it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to School

We had a successful first day of school. Bookworm found all 6 of her classes and didn't forget where her locker was. She loves school and is super glad it's back in session. We ran into some friends at drop off, so we did a group first day of school picture. My girls took it with fairly good grace, but the little one between my girls was mortified that her parents were shooting pictures and video. I got a huge kick out of it. For once it wasn't me embarrassing my girls...

Popcorn's teacher is all of 18... No I'm sure she's at least 22. But either I'm getting old, or she is really young. It's her first year teaching, and she didn't get her classroom until Monday. She was still putting up decorations during drop off. She seems really sweet and very eager. Popcorn loves her teacher and her friends, but last night she asked if I would home school her. Again. School just isn't that fun, and you have to go. Every. Single. Day. My heart bleeds kid, I'm tellin' ya...

I was going to walk Bookworm to her building after dropping off Popcorn at her room. When I came out in the hall she was standing talking to her friend from church camp who had walked her 2 younger sisters to their classes. I started walking with them, and they kept shuffling their feet, and looking at me out of the corner of their eyes as they talked, and I finally relented.

"Do you want me to leave you here, and you 2 walk to the 4th and 5th grade building by yourselves?"

"Yes!" they both replied with way too much enthusiasm for my tender sensibilities. Revenge was imminent...

"Well, remember, don't talk to strangers. Go directly to your building. Do not stop if someone pulls up next to you. Remember the code word. And remember I will never have someone pick you up that you don't know... And say please and thank you and yes ma'am and no ma'am. And wash your hands. And be kind to others...."

Bookworm was not pleased. "Moooooommmm. We are going to school. Not leaving. We're not leaving with anyone but Mrs. Teresa after school. You are so embarrassing."

Mission accomplished.

Oh. And I'm sure you noticed from the picture that I remembered to bake the annual back to school cake (I'm the only one who wants nuts.) But it wasn't decorated. Popcorn feels very cheated because no matter what grade she gets in, Bookworm will always have more candles to blow out. Them's the breaks, kid.

Oh! One more quick (or not) tale for your edification....Popcorn told Bookworm that she saw some fourth graders in the cafeteria as she was coming in. Bookworm replied, "Yeah. I saw you."

"But you didn't say hi to me!"

"I couldn't! You're not allowed to yell across the cafeteria. But I saw you GET OUT OF LINE, run to your friend Betsy, hug her, then stand and chat. Then you RAN BACK IN LINE and chatted with some other people. You are not supposed to do that either."

"Yeah, but I didn't get in trouble, so I still say you could have at least said hi to me!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Lies We Tell Our Children

As many of you know, we have a problem. Studmuffin & I get a huge kick out of lying to our children. Tonight we had Meet the Teacher night at school. We were leaving and we kept thinking we were hearing someone yell our youngest daughter's name. She has a name that not many have for a real name. Most people consider it a nickname, but it is her name. And it suits her.

Anyway, when we realized the person was yelling someone else's name, we continued on our way to the car after a grueling evening of fighting the crowds. Studmuffin told our oldest, "You know, we didn't know anyone with your name when we chose it. We originally planned on a completely different name for you. Your mom wanted to name you Shaneequa, but I wanted to name you Eunice. We had finally agreed on Shaneequa Eunice, but then we got into an argument about how to spell it...Shaneequa? Shaneekwa? Shawneekwa? Seaneequa? The possibilities seemed endless, and no matter how we debated, and how many polls we took at the hospital, we could not agree on a spelling. Then we thought of naming you Shaneequa Irene C., but we decided that we didn't want a child's who's initial spelled sick, so we ditched that idea too. So, after you were born, we came up with the name you have now. But we will totally change it to Eunice if that's what you want."

She looked at him as if he was slightly loony, and said she liked her name just the way it was, thank you very much.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Texas Proud

There are certain things that are just special to Texas. Barns painted with the Texas flag. Breakfast tacos. The statement, "Oh, honey, we don't blame you for not being born in Texas. You got here just as quick as you could." And that statement is made with heartfelt sincerity. The belief that anyone north of the Red River is a Yankee, and definitely worthy of suspicion of treason to the great country/nation/state of Texas. Depending on your view point. Texas is the only state allowed to fly it's flag level with the American flag, because it was once an independent nation, and apparently deserves notice for that. Of course, there are many Texans that believe they can once again secede and become an independent nation any time the majority of Texans agree. Apparently it was a part of their agreement for annexation when they joined the good ole US of A. Umm, and no, I'm not at all sure if I used all of those government terms correctly. Government never was my strong suit. I wrote letters to Studmuffin every day during our government class in college....

Then there's the window decals. Only in Texas will you find "In loving memory of Jeremy" complete with date of birth and death, all surrounding a silhouette of a deer head.

I'm tellin' ya Texans are just special .....

Take this fella right here...

He's obviously a very proud....

CALIFORNIAN?!! Get a rope.

Oh, and Gentle Reader, please take time to read his window decals. He's obviously a closet Republican.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do you mean to tell me....

That my child is seriously going to use 72 yellow #2 pencils this year? Or 4 bottles of glue? What about four 24 count boxes of crayons? Umm, and NOooo, the 96 count box will not be acceptable. And what's the deal with buying a package of medium tip RED pens? My 4th grader is not even allowed to use mechanical pencils, so I have a hunch they're not for her! Oh! And let's not forget 3 boxes of 12 count map pencils and 2 boxes of 24 count map pencils...ALL FOR THE SAME CHILD!

Okay, I'm not dense. I understand what's going on here. I know some parents will buy no supplies for their children, and if parents don't bring surplus, then the teachers have to buy more supplies then they probably already will. I get it. But, seriously, why can't I buy my kid the mongo box of crayons if I want? And why does the 2 inch 3 ring binder have to be white only?

Of course, there is an up side here. In Texas, no school supplies were allowed to be labeled. All supplies went into a giant vat and was equally distributed among every student. Is that communism or socialism or what? No individuality, you must match everyone else, because we don't want those less fortunate to feel badly that they don't have the cool folder with a kitty cat on it. (Notice I totally let my girls pick out their notebooks and folders. And the dent in my pocket book is there to prove it.)

Did I just say pocket book? How Grandma Irene is that? She always carries a pocket book, and makes frequent references to her pocket book and absences of money therein.

Now, here's another rant for you. Why do I buy paper towels, kleenexes and ziplock bags for the school? Remember when you blew your nose on the roll of toilet paper sitting on top of the big round trash can, and you were glad something was there to wipe your schnoz on? And what about the paper towel dispenser in the classroom? Where did it go? Of course, when my kids have a cold, I send them with kleenexes of their own to use complete with lotion in them, but that's just because I'm a good mom. I hate a sore nose.

So. There you have it. I feel better now that I have that off my chest. Let's just hope I can keep Studmuffin from spotting the principle at school. He's determined to have a talk with her about better allocation of funds if we have to buy the basics for our kids, and why do we have to be told exactly what supply to bring. "If my girls come home and say, 'I need new crayons, mine are all broken,' then I'll buy them what I want to buy, not what the school says I have to buy." Oh, Gentle Reader, he's been rehearsing variations of his speech all night. Another variation includes references to the Obama 8 count standard pack of crayons, and it only includes shades of gray with no white and black, and too bad for the less fortunate that our kids can have the big box...You are stuck with the government stimulus crayon. One can only hope that I can keep him from embarrassing the girls and me by avoiding the principle all together tomorrow at meet the teacher. Wish me luck!

Good to be home

The last night we were in San Antonio, we went to Gruene (pronounced green...It's how Texans tell the locals from the tourists). We visited the world famous Gruene Hall. It's a really cool building with an old fashioned bar, wooden bench tables and pool tables. Out back there are basketball goals with dirt courts. And on weekends, they offer free outdoor concerts. Many of you have actually seen Gruene Hall and may not remember it. Remember the Travolta movie "Michael?" Well, the scene where he walks by and a woman comments on his smell and Andie MacDowell replies, "It's sugar cookies. He smells like sugar cookies." Or something like that, then he goes out on the dance floor and does his Travolta dancing thing that is sure to make millions of women swoon was shot in Gruene Hall.

But, returning to my original subject, we had dinner at the "Gruene River Grill." It's a great, atmospheric restaurant that looks like it was an old stable, or mill or something. The ceiling seems entirely too high for a stable, unless it had a loft...Bookworm was exhausted and totally burnt out on eating out. Of course the kids menu was your standard corn dog, chicken strips, mac & cheese thing. She decided to order from the adult menu, but decided everything was equally unappealing. She wanted chips and queso. I let her order it for her dinner, and then made her eat some of my grilled chicken and garlic mashed potatoes.

I was pretty sick of eating out myself by the time we got home. Who knew microwave popcorn on a Sunday night in your own house could taste so good? Or what about frozen waffles with Skippy Natural Super Chunk peanut butter and syrup is so satisfying? Then, even though we went to the store this morning the girls and I had simple grilled cheese sandwiches with grapes and Nacho Cheese Doritos for lunch. It was like food from heaven. Isn't it great when you return from a trip and you are so appreciative of your own food and kitchen, that even if it's nothing special, it's totally wonderful?

I was so glad to be back home with my own groceries, I spent extra long planning the next 2 weeks menu because it was nice just sitting and thinking about what I wanted to cook. I looked through cook books and my own stash of recipes and tried to be somewhat creative with our meals. Of course, the girls will probably not be nearly as appreciative of the extra love and care that I put into their little bellies. But I'm okay with that, because at least it won't be corn dogs, chicken strips or mac & cheese.

So, long story short, it's good to be home.....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Still here

We're still in good ole San Anton'. We'll head back tomorrow and stop in Arlington to visit some friends from when we lived there. One advantage of all this traveling between SA and Oklahoma, I've had several opportunities to stop and catch up with them!

We did Schlitterbahn yesterday and had a great time. We only waited to ride one slide. We had decided to avoid lines since there was so much to do that was line free. However, one slide was calling our family's name. It's called the Master Blaster. We waited 65 minutes to get on it and Bookworm clutched her stomach and tried to cry sick the entire wait. Five minutes before boarding she tried to play the "gotta pee" card. I said, "Too bad, we have waited an hour to get on this bloody slide, and you're gonna ride it and you're gonna love it." Tears were streaming down her face as we climbed in. The lifeguards looked at me and pointed out she was scared. I replied, "Am I the meanest mom in the world, or what?"

"No. She'll love it after the first drop."

And they were right. Oh, she tried to play the fake crying card for a few seconds, but I said, "Stop crying. This is not nearly as fast as those body slides you've been doing all day. Relax and enjoy it." And she did.

But she didn't admit it until we were actually hitting the potty (okay, we both had to go after standing in line that long). She said, "Okay Mom, I'm going to admit it. I loved that entire ride, but my favorite part was the tunnels."


Now, we are off to dinner with the prospective new boss and his family. Do you think Studmuffin will let me get off with crying sick? Or can I convince one of the girls to spike a sudden fever? I'm a wee tad nervous.

Just a wee tad....

Now excuse me while I go to the facilities...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Did I mention it's hot?

We're in San Antonio.

It's hot.

And dry.

The only thing green is the mesquite and cactus.

It's 106.

Did I mention it's hot?

I can hardly wait to stand in line at Shlitterbahn tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


It always amazes me how kids show personalities in ways you never expect. The girls went and stayed a few days with my parents last week. They had a great time visiting all of my old haunts. They worked on the fort down at the trees. They hiked around the cliffs and carved their names in the side. And they found the owls nest. Apparently the owl builds her nest in a tree now and not under a ledge on the cliff wall anymore. They called home and told us all about the wonderful souvenirs they found. Of course, they brought their new treasures home.

Bookworm gave her treasure careful consideration and she brought home...

Some lovely rocks to enjoy and use for decoration in her room! Aren't they lovely?

Popcorn gave her treasure equally earnest consideration.....

Yep. You guessed it. She brought home mouse bones and bird feathers. How exciting. How precious., it's typical Popcorn.

Popcorn may go a million miles an hour, but she sleeps hard. When she was a baby she slept 18 hours a day. I took her to the doctor because she slept so much. She was running around on her little chubby baby legs, laughing, and talking gibberish. He looked at me with exasperation and said, "Your baby is fine. Just be glad that she sleeps and doesn't go like this more hours in the day."

She still sleeps hard and needs more sleep than her sister. One time when she was 4 I found her asleep in a doll crib. It was maybe the size of a baby bassinet, and she was hanging out on all 4 sides, but she had crammed herself in there and was fast asleep.

Bookworm on the other hand hasn't taken a nap since she was probably 3. I always made her lay down for quiet time until she started school, but she would just lay in her bed and read. I made her lay down to rest before her slumber party, and that is what she did that day. Until she heard me coming, then she crammed her book under her pillow and tried to fake a deep sleep. When she heard the camera, she immediately sat up and asked me what I was doing....


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Conversations with Kids

Heard while driving down the road with my girls in the backseat.....

Bookworm was singing "How high can you go? How high can you go?"

Popcorn cut in, "It's how low can you go, not how high can you go."

Bookworm answered, "Well, how low can you go is the limbo, but I'm singing the HIMBO and it goes: How high can you go? How high can you go?"

Conversations with Bookworm

The other day I was listening to Bookworm reading to her sister....

"Oh look! How cute is that miniature pen snitcher?" Bookworm chirped.

"Oh, I love it! I wish we could get one."

"Mom, can we get a miniature pen snitcher?" Bookworm asked.

"Well, I'm not sure, let me see what it is..."

It was a Miniature Pinscher!

I had a good laugh about that one....And the answer was no.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I may need to rethink this...

So, many of you know, because my sister is a big fat bloghead, and she spilled the beans, that we are going to go the cash system for a few months. Of course, she wasn't excited about that, she was excited about the possibility of a trip to Europe. She is also 45 years old today, and I would like to tell her happy birthday. So, there you go. Happy birthday Dawn!

Anyhoo, we're going with the cash system in a Dave Ramsey-ish style without ever actually cracking a single Dave Ramsey book or taking a single Dave Ramsey class. I have read a few Dave Ramsey columns, so I'm pretty sure I'm an expert now. Here's the deal...Any time change comes my way, or change is a brewin', I start feeling out of control. I start feeling the need to get a grasp on something I can control absolutely. And that usually turns out to be our finances. Now, I think we do a pretty good job financially, we have only a car debt and a house payment. However, I know that there are areas where we are wasteful (Dave Ramsey would have told us to pay cash for the car... Told you I'm an expert!)

When we moved to Oklahoma I made a giant spreadsheet budget with Studmuffin's help. I'm not one to generate a spreadsheet. I tend to write endless figures on scratch papers and never get any of them to match up, and then freak out because no matter what I do, it doesn't add up. So, he will swoop in, create a spread sheet, then walk away. Then I will spend the next week agonizing over it, and trying to get as exact a number as possible in every category of expense, then drag him back over to look at it, where he will agree that it looks about right. Of course, he doesn't pay the bills. And he doesn't look at our budget on Quicken Online, or even our bank statement. He doesn't even know how to do any of that. But, he can create a mean spreadsheet people! So, we created a spreadsheet, developed a budget, and no matter how I scrimped, saved and scavenged spare change off of the sidewalk, we could not stay out of the red. Of course, at that time, we were supporting 2 households, one in Texas and one in Oklahoma, and I wasn't working, so really balancing the budget was nigh impossible. Don't you love the word nigh? Try it in your everyday conversation. People will look at you funny, but I'm sure it is with a sense of awe at your vocabulary!

Well, now that I'm being faced with the possibility of another move, I'm getting stressed, so of course I'm freaking out about money. So, we mutually decided to go to the cash system. Here's how it works: We sat down and generated a sum that we felt we spend each month in certain areas like groceries, clothing, dining, home maintenance etc. Then, we discussed how much we should actually spend. Remember, I already do tracking of our finances, but I think that seeing the green pass through my hands will have an impact on what I spend where. Then, last week I went and got the cash, bought a coupon organizer and labeled the various areas, then divided up the money. We decided to do our spending on a monthly basis. For example, we won't need as much money later on for clothes as we do for back to school. Plus, once school starts babysitting expenses will change. Of course, we will be endlessly sending money to school for field trips, lunches, fundraisers, etc. So, I'm keeping a list for each month of how much we spend in each area. Oh! And here's a big rule! No robbing from one envelope to cover overspending in another. You will never get it all balanced out that way! Another great thing about this, is it will curb impulse buying. Obviously we won't carry all of that money around. I only have with me what I plan to spend. Of course, I still have a debit card, so if an emergency arises I can use it. However, if it's not an emergency, and I don't have the cash on hand, and it's not in the budget, I can't buy it. Can't you see the beauty of this system already? I know I'm weird, but for some reason knowing where every nickel and dime went gets my giddy....

Today was the first test. I had to go with Studmuffin to the orthopedist about his shoulder. There is a grocery store, Target, and Rack Room Shoes nearby. I had seen where shoes were buy one get one half off. The girls both need shoes for school. Also, I needed groceries. Of course, the dad gum shoe store wasn't open until 10, and we got out of the doctor's at 9:15. I made the terrible, terrible decision to go into Target to kill some time. $85 later I walked out of Target with one swimsuit, 2 scooters (the skirts, not the toys) and 7 shirts. Now, we had budgeted money for back to school clothes. However, I had originally planned on getting them at the outlet mall in Hillsboro on our way to New Braunfels. Woops.

Okay. The shoe store was finally open. Well, we had already told the girls they could pick out 2 pairs of shoes each. One pair of athletic shoes and one pair of fun shoes. They each left with one pair of Nikes and one pair of Converse. Now, many of you may think I could just get them shoes at Walmart, Target, Payless, whatever. Well, my kids both have really skinny feet. I have a hard time finding shoes narrow enough for them, and cheap shoes are for some reason much wider than name brand, and they fall apart twice as fast. Popcorn got a pair of shoes at Payless last spring because she outgrew her old Nikes. They are already falling apart, and she wore them for the end of school and then only maybe five times this summer. Plus, they were only $10 cheaper than Nikes. That equals a big fat waste of money in my mind! So, $104 later we have shoes for school.

And now I only have $10 left in their clothing budget for the rest of the month.


Well, so much for buying clothes on our way to New Braunfels.

Plus, since I'm creating my own system here, I'm not sure how vacation works. Obviously we will spend more than the normal monthly budget on dining because we won't be home. I think we will just use our debit card like we would have in the past, and not stress about that part.

Well, if that isn't enough info to make your brain tired, I don't know what is!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I worked at Old Navy after I decided that the bridal shop was not the place for me. I started there right after it opened in Arlington, Texas. It was a great place to work. They played great 70s disco music, and we were encouraged to help people find good deals. Plus, we got to wear these cool ear pieces with a mike so we could radio back and forth to each other, "Could someone in boys bring me a size 8 slim in the classic stone wash jean?" Then, I could respond, "I got it!" and bring the desired item to the fitting rooms. It was a great system. I, of course, also felt the need to use my radio as a microphone. The manager just did not appreciate me singing the lyrics to "The Car Wash" in her ear while she was working the service desk. Some people are so narrow minded. I notice they don't use those cool radios any more. Bummer. That was the best part of working there.

One time I was straightening the stock in the men's wear department. A gentleman was looking around. "Can I help you?" I asked. "No thank you. Unless you can help me get rid of these stupid hiccups. I've had them all day, and they won't go away," he responded with a smile and a *hic!*

Well, Gentle Reader, I am nothing if not a helper and fixer of all the world's problems. That is why I'm a nurse. I love to help people, and fix what's ailing them. I saw this man's problem as a very fixable problem. I waited until he was good and immersed in his perusal of the graphic tees... Then, I sneaked...snuck?...snook?.....Let's change words, how about, I crept up behind the poor unsuspecting gentleman and yelled at him.


At the top of my lungs. He jumped about 12 feet in the air, throwing the t-shirt he was holding in his hands, and clutched his chest. He turned and looked at me in total, absolute disbelief..."I canNOT believe you just did that!" He was in total disbelief.

Looking back, so am I. Now, THAT was customer service! I'll help you coordinate your shirt with your socks, and cure what ails you...

Seriously, can you believe that I went up to a total stranger and screamed in his ear in a store?

Okay. You probably can. What I can't believe is I didn't get reprimanded for it. Nobody said one word about it. Apparently, he was so relieved to be rid of his hiccups....and me... that he just got the heck out of Old Navy. I'm not sure if he ever did come back. Oops!