Thursday, July 31, 2008

Army Andy - Strong and Courageous

Andy is making progress since his surgery. In true Andy style, he is determined to do more than is expected of him. When physical therapy arrived, they wanted him to set up on the edge of edge of his bed for just a moment. On his first try he sat up for 5 minutes... they say it usually takes about a week to work up to this amount of time.

Movement in both of his arms is definitely improving. His team of doctors are planning a move to a normal room as soon as his pancreas inflammation is under control. Right now he is still fighting the fever. The feeding tube also complicates this matter.

Pretty soon there will be decision to be made about a rehabilitation center. Daniel and Andy are considering all the options and they will be making a section. The options are San Diego, Tampa and Maryland. They are going to need prayers for wisdom.

The reality of the situation is starting to hit Andy as the medication is clearing from his system.
Pray for Andy as he processes this and remembers that God is with him.

August Wallpaper

You are saying it. I am saying it. I can't believe tomorrow is the first day of August. I just got finished up with my August desktop wallpaper. As always, I went to The Shabby Princess to pick up her wallpaper and just customized it for my own. I am committing to pray for my twin nieces every day this month so I put pics of my beautiful pregnant sister and ultrasound pics of the girls. I listed out the character traits that I will be praying during the month to serve as daily reminders. I love my sister, but does she have to be so gorgeous all the time? It just isn't fair!!

P.S. Come back Sunday for a full listing of the daily traits I will be praying.


Red Lights Not Included

In just a few weeks, Mattel will be releasing their latest Barbie doll. Hooker Barbie (my name for it -- I have no idea what they are calling it) comes complete with leather jacket and fishnets. You know what is sad? Some moms will actually go out and buy their daughters this Barbie. It will be all I can do not to throw up when I see that.

If your daughter is too old for Barbie, then I am sure she has seen the ads and commercials for the new series of Gossip Girl. I have never seen the television show so I am not sure what all the hype is about, but based on the ads I won't know again this season. Have you seen the new ad series? Looks like they hired the same people who designed Hooker Barbie! Considering this show is marketed for girls 12 and up... "Nasty" indeed.
Of course, I am just holding my breath and waiting because I hear that Miley Cyrus has hopes of developing a younger version of "Sex and the City". A younger "Sex and the City".... that is just what we need is a teenage version. As if Juno, The Life of an American Teenager and the other shows glamorizing teenage pregnancy isn't enough!
It is really tough being a Mom. I am doing everything I can to teach my boys to be gentlemen, act like gentlemen and treat girls like ladies.
With each and every little "reveal" like these... I just want to lock them in their rooms.

Lifeguard

(I took this photo of my "lifeguard" last night while at the pool.)


Last night was "one on one" time. Hubs and Little Guy. Big Guy and me. We all enjoy these times. Just getting to spend time together one on one doing whatever we decide on that day. Sometimes it involves spending money and sometimes it is just riding bikes.

Big Guy and I decided we wanted to go to the pool. When we arrived, the pool was empty with the exception of two other regulars -- a father and daughter. We greeted them and jumped into the cool water.

It was typical swim time. Swimming laps. Diving. Chasing. Dunking each other under water. Laughing and talking.

At one point, Big Guy got out to run to the restroom. I decided to use that time to just float. The father and daughter had left so I was the only one in the pool. I love to float. It is so relaxing to me. So relaxing that I can literally fall asleep floating in the pool. I was laying there floating when I realized that Big Guy was sitting up on the lifeguard stand.

I gave him a grin and said, "Hey, cutie! Are you my lifeguard?"

His face got all serious and he said, "I'll always be your lifeguard."

It is a good thing that I was in the pool. It is so not cool for your middle schooler to see tears running down your face.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feeling the LUV



Thanks, Lizzy, for my latest blog award! It is nice knowing someone enjoys reading all my bloggy craziness!! If you haven't ever visited The Journey to the Hot Tub... go now. She is our kind of friend. FUNNY!
And here are the rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.
I love finding and reading new blogs so I am giving these awards to some new blogs which I have started reading. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have.

Crystal - This is a Mississippi girl. Funny, witty, writing about everyday life.

Conservative Belle - Every time I read her blog I love it more. She is honest and she is conservative. (Would have loved to have her in our big Obama discussion not too long ago!) Love her quote under her pic: "Ooh, if I just wasn't a lady, WHAT wouldn't I tell that varmint!" - Scarlett O'Hara

The Deloach Family - I found her blog through K. She loves to scrapbook and she is one the lottery to go alligator hunting! I can't wait to read those posts!

Equilibrium - This blog is so adorable, but not as adorable as her two girls.

My Space - Big Guy has a blog and he is always complaining that no one visits and leaves comments. So.... leave the guy some luv!

Tanner's Ramp - I would be in trouble if I left out Little Guy! (Smile!)

Willow - I am really glad that distance doesn't determine friendship. Willow and I have become fast friends sharing all the things that a friendship shares: laughter, tears and prayer.

Some of you may have already gotten this award, some of you may not like awards, but I hope you know that I LOVE your blog!!

Word Filled Wednesday - Don't Panic, We're In His Grip!


Had A Little Change In My Pocket

It has taken every bit of will power I could muster, but I have refused to shop or drive any place that wasn't necessary this summer. I have done really well. We have condensed every possible trip that we could and we have only driven the car when it was absolutely necessary.

However, with school just around the corner I realized that shopping was a must. The boys are desperately needing new shoes and Big Guy had to have some new shorts. Yesterday morning when I woke up I informed the boys that we would be going out.

Now some women get manicures. Some women go to tanning beds. Some women get massages. Some women go to therapy. Me.... I prefer retail therapy. So when I realized that I needed to go shopping, my adrenaline started pumping.

Oh, you should have seen the look on my guys faces when I first informed them. I saw the words on their lips, "Do we have to?", but I set them straight fast with a calm little speech:

"Look here, guys. We have swam. We have baked. We have played games. We have ridden bikes. You haven't seen the inside of a grocery store or a Walmart all summer. You have even been to the beach. These next couple of hours you are going to go with me to do the things that I need to do. You are going to be polite, pleasant, support and happy. Any unkind word or whine will be added to my list and for every one I hear, you will trade it in for a chore when we get home. Are we all on the same page?"
They nodded. Accepted their fate and we piled into the car.

I was so giddy with the thought of being able to shop I didn't know where to start. First to Old Navy to find Big Guy some shorts. Score.... 4 pair of $39 shorts on sale for $9.99.


When we walked out, the Kirkland's sale signs were screaming my name so we walked in there. I love home stuff. I love decorating for each season, but seriously, everywhere we went was decorated for Halloween. Halloween? Oh, well, since they started so early with Fall and Halloween merchandise they were having great summer clearance. I spotted this frame. I just loved it. Big Guy walked to see how much it cost but he said it was $80. He said, "It doesn't have a sale price on it." I told him I was going to check any way. Took it to the register and she scanned it. It rang up $18.00!!! Mine. All mine!! Isn't it pretty? I sat it next to my piano so you can see how tall it is. It holds 35 4x6 photos. I plan on putting all my photos I have taken of my three guys in it.
At this point, the boys are doing so great that I decide that a trip in Michaels will do their spirits good.     They love Michaels as much as I do.     While they are looking at model cars I do some browsing.    I found these great marker sets with art pads in zippered cases to add to our car bags.     They will be great for the boys to use when we are driving or when we go in restaurants.      They were a STEAL at $2.00 a piece.   
The boys did their own bargain hunting while we were there and found some great model car sets in the super clearance section.    They are both building "Fast and Furious" cars.     I'm sure I will be taking pictures when they finish those. 
Ran into Marshalls (wow they have revamped that store) and found Little Guy some really nice Tevas for school at a sweet $15.00.      Shoes are something that we are picky about.    We want good shoes.    Hubs has problems with his feet because he had to cram his feet into shoes that weren't the right size and not a good fit.      Still looking for Big Guy.    I can't believe he is measuring a men's 9 1/2 shoe.     
There were a few things we needed at Kroger so we ran through there VERY QUICK because I don't consider groceries retail therapy.      BUT while I was in there I found hubs a paperback copy of the Grisham book he hasn't read.     It was on sale for 40% off.    Since it was only $5.99 to begin with.... not a bad deal!
On the way home we grabbed some Happy Hour drinks from Sonic.    You have just got to love a cherry limeade to finish off a day of retail therapy!
Oh, therapy (whatever your method)...  I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Surgery is Over... Doing A Dance

Sarah just reported that Andy came through the surgery with flying colors. The doctors say that he should have full use of his neck. Won't he be excited to wake up and find that awful neck brace gone???

What a mighty God we serve! What a mighty God we serve!
Angels bow before Him! Heaven and earth adore Him!
What a mighty God we serve!

Now comes what Andy has been waiting for... rehab.

Andy Is In Surgery


Andy is in surgery right now. PRAISE!! The main issue is of course to fuse the damaged vertebrae, but they will also do some other less serious things to basically tie up "loose surgical ends."

No Watermelon Needed

Little Guy missed his big brother so much last week while he was at Mission NOW. He wanted to make him something special to say "Welcome Home". We decided to make him watermelon cookies. Watermelon cookies are actually sugar cookies that look like watermelons when they are baked and cooked.

First, you make a batch of sugar cookie dough. Then you color it with red food dye.



Roll the cookie dough out. Cut the cookies out into circles. Cut the circles into halves (like watermelon halves).

Press mini chocolate chips into the cookies and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned around the edges. While cookies are baking, tint some white icing with green food dye. After the cookies are removed from the oven and have cooled. Drag the "rind" part of the cookie through the green icing.

These are Little Guy's watermelon cookies that he made all by himself...



Big Guy was thrilled and the entire plate was gone before bedtime!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Andy Update - Disappointing Setback

They were rescheduling Andy's surgery due to an infection in his pancreas.       This infection has caused record level fever.    This is a major disappointment to Andy because he knows that as soon as he has the surgery he can begin the rehab process.      He wants the restrictive neck brace to be removed and the real work of getting better to begin.

Sleep has been a major issue for him.    He has been having lots of dream and only fitful sleep.     Sleep is very important to the healing process.

Another part of the healing process is being able to eat.    They have ordered him to eat a 2,000 calorie diet.     This is his greatest workout and extremely exhausting.


Keep praying.    God is in control.

T-Shirts I Want To Buy

For Little Guy... because this is as close as he is going to get to The Batman movie.









For Big Guy.... giving him a whole new look on "heavy metal".

For me... no explanation needed.






For my nephew... he knows why!
For my niece because this is one of her sayings.






For my Dad and my sister...

Daddy is going to retire (again) in November and after the twins arrive my sister -- well you know what that means!







For my new nieces that are going to arrive at Christmas...





Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Want My iPod! (Doesn't have the same ring as MTV.)

Still... I seriously want to win this iPod that SITS is giving away this week.     The Target card, the camera, all the other gifts... who cares.     I want, I need, I crave, I desire this iPod.   

 All 4G of silvery Nano goodness!     I have already started selecting my 1,000 songs, 4 hours of video and 3,500 pictures!

Oh, yea, by the way, you can enter too, but don't you dare.  I'm kidding... sort of. 

I Choose...

The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the days demands so it is now that I must make a choice.

So I choose...


I choose love
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy
Today I will invite God to be the God of my circumstances. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of a lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less as a opportunity to see God.

I choose peace
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience...
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I will invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for the moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fists at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. I will be kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness
I will go without a dollar before I accept a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I boast. I will confess before I accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My husband will not question my love. And my children will never fear that I will not come home.

I choose gentleness
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.

I choose self control
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rules the eternal. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my God. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control…
I commit my day to these things.
If I succeed, I will give thanks.
If I fail, I will seek grace.

You Gotta Laugh: Anita Renfroe

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Update on Andy

Andy is progressing. He is eating solid foods and sat for a short time in a large chair yesterday. The chair was quite uncomfortable and completely exhausting...but he did what was asked of him. The MRI is done and the second surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. The goal of the surgery will be to fuse the two shattered vertebrae to the nearest good ones, above and below, to secure and stabilize his spinal cord. Once that is done and healing, Andy will be allowed to start the real intense physical rehab practices. He's very anxious to get to that point.Andy’s parents arrived yesterday safe and sound and Andy was very glad to see them. He reached out to hug Mom with both arms--that's no small feat for him. He's already been introducing his Dad to everyone and telling the staff how much having his father around has helped him and is going to help him.Yesterday the doctor told Andy that they had to get his caloric intake up to promote the healing of his injuries and get his body fully functioning before the surgery on Tuesday. The doctor told him if he didn't want to eat, the feeding tube could be reinserted. At that point Andy informed him that he would eat anything and everything they put in front of him all day and all night...he'd eat dirt to avoid that tube going back down his nose. I'm sworn to secrecy on whether or not Andy actually swished his Jell-o... :)Andy’s morale got a major boost when one of his buddies came by for a visit. He brought news that the rest of his unit is now safely in Italy. This is a great relief to Andy. His concern for "his men" (the group of men for whom he was "Doc", the medic) was quite obviously laced in Andy's brain these past few days. He has welcomed each new wave of visitors with gladness and some trepidation, because of course he knows that if one of his men is standing in his door, that man must also have been wounded in the fight. While Andy's glad to see them present and accounted for in the here-and-now, it's a club of sorts that he doesn't want to see any of his guys be members of.One of the best stories that Sarah had to share was about “the box”. One of the first things she had to do when she arrived at Walter Reed was to assess Andy’s belongs and go through the backpack that arrived with him. The backpack came with him from Germany and it contained some paperwork, a notepad and pen, several t-shirts, a pair of pajama pants, a small uniform-clad teddy bear with a gift card for any incidentals he needed, and a small box that looked like a necklace box. A necklace box? When she opened it she realized it was her brother’s purple heart. She said when she showed Andy he closed his eyes because he was afraid he was going to have a “random misfire” (his term for tears).

John 15:13--Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

There was no ceremonious presentation, there was no saluting--no brass band, no pomp and circumstance. Just a box.

Sarah said that years ago when the movie, Saving Private Ryan came out, she couldn't watch it because it was too much for her. However, I did catch the first and last few minutes of it and Joal filled me in on the rest of the story. She said now… she feels like she understands more of it all.

Going On A Bear Hunt

Hee! Hee! Little Guy's imagination is overdrive this morning. He has created a campsite underneath our dining room table. What he doesn't know is that every time he leaves to go "hiking", hubs and I are adding our own little "touches".

So far we have added a thermos of kool-aid, plastic snakes, bear tracks (cut out of paper), and my personal favorite - fake poo (compliments of hubs). When he comes back I can't wait to see his reaction!

Saturday Savings: Put Change In Your Pocket

We are trying to be more aware of the little ways that we waste or misspend money. Last week, The Today show profiled a family and asked them to cut down on their spending to save money. I was laughing at this couple who seemed so shocked at how much money they could save by cutting their own grass and washing their own car. Then I started wondering, am I living in an alternate universe?

These are easy ways to put change in your pocket...

1. Wash your own car. ($5.00) Washing your own car not only puts change in your pocket, but can be a family activity too. Our boys love putting on their swimming trunk, blasting the music in the car and getting wet.

2. Cut your own grass ($40.00) Cutting grass is great exercise and if you have kids who are old enough they can share in the responsibility.

3. Make coffee at home instead of driving through the local shop. ($4.50) This has always seemed like a no brainer to me, but I am still amazed at the people who get coffee every morning on their way to work. With the money you are saving you can try out a flavored coffee or flavored syrup and still never come close to the money you were spending.

4. Pocket Change = Christmas fund. ($182.50) Did your Dad have a jar where he put all his pocket change at the end of the day? It is still a great idea. Typically, hubs will have about .50 at the end of a day. With both of us contributing, that is a helpful Christmas fund at the end of the year!

5. Eat at home! ($20.00) Is it quick to run through Subway or Wendy's on the way home? Yes. But is it easy on the pocketbook? No. The average person spends $2,276 dollars on eating out in a year's time.

6. Pay cash as often as possible. Dependency on the credit card is a really bad thing and paying interest on the credit card is even worse. You might as well go outside and grill your money for supper!

7. Use coupons, but only use them for items that you would typically buy.

8. Have a garage sale. If you haven't used it in six months, chances are you can do without. Same goes for all that junk in storage.

9. Become a patron of the library again. Why buy books when you can read them for free? Our library system even has downloadable audiobooks and an entire section of FREE movies for checkout.

10. $1.00 movies! Our Kroger has a movie kiosk where you can rent movies for a $1.00. These aren't old movies, but the latest releases.

Add it up... That is a lot of pocket change!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Baby Ritual Remembered

My poor sweet guy. Lip quivering. Heart just broken. He wanted to stay the night with his cousin like his brother. Feeling left out but trying to act big and brave.

I crawled into bed with him and he curled into my body. A few minutes pass and I feel a sweet little hand sneak up my face and find my hair. He starts twirling my curls around his fingers. How many years has it been since he last did this little "comfort ritual"? Three? Four? It used to be an every day thing, but now it has literally been years.

I sit perfectly still knowing he doesn't remember why he is doing what he is doing and relishing this tiny moment of remembering a simple ritual of my "baby" boy.

Surprise Picnic

After dropping Big Guy off for his last day of Mission NOW, Little Guy and I had some errands to run.    We were discussing what we could do as a "mission" project today.    We thought it would be fun to do something for hubs.      We decided it would be fun to surprise him at his office with a picnic.     After talking we also decided that we would challenge ourselves a little further by only using the things we had at home.    We wouldn't buy anything from the grocery store.

We went home and started looking through the cabinets.     So like me, Little Guy picked dessert first!    We stirred up and placed brownies in the oven to start baking.     We had grapes in the refrigerator so we washed and put those in a ziploc.    I found some shrimp in the freezer and Little Guy found some whole wheat rigatoni in the pantry.     Ta Da!   We decided to create a lemon pepper pasta.     

After everything was finished we kept debating on what to take to drink.     Water just sounded so boring.      So we pulled out the blender and decided to make fruit smoothies.  We threw in strawberries, mangos, pineapples, peaches, a little yogurt, some ice....  we kept sipping and sipping.   

Now everything is ready and we have a few minutes until we have to leave.    We are both so hungry and can't wait to surprise hubs!     My pic isn't great, but Little Guy was just so proud.      He has already started thinking about what we can do for Big Guy to welcome him home tonight after a long week of volunteering at Mission NOW.

One Word

When I was at Co-Lin, I had to take a English Lit class. Mrs. Crews my lit teacher made us keep a journal and at the beginning of every class she would make us open our journals and then she would just say "Go". We were just supposed to write. Our pencils weren't supposed to stop. If we couldn't think of anything to write then we were supposed to write exactly that. At the end of the time she would say "Stop", we could close our journals and she would start class. Oh this was a infuriating exercise for me. I would just get my brain awake and my creative juices flowing and then she would yell "STOP!" and start lecturing in her low, droning monotone voice. It was like letting me smell my morning coffee, but not letting me actually drink it!

However, I always did enjoy that little "brain exercise". Recently I have discovered a website that kind of lets me do the same thing. It is called One Word. Every day you go to the website and when you click go it gives you one word at the top of the page. It also gives you 60 seconds to type whatever pops into your mind about that one word.

Give it a try. It is almost as good as your morning cup of coffee!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Andy Update - Thursday Night

The day has been pretty intense. The doctors put in a cath with a filter to take care of any other blood clots. Andy can't cough so they are using a suctioning maching. This is NO fun.

He is wanting to exercise his hands and arms more. Daniel, his brother, noticed and "Whooped" at an improvement. The family has been so complimentary of the many helpful people at Walter Reed. They will listen, answer questions and listen more. Some even pray with Daniel.

The military is flying Andy's parents into Walter Reed tonight. Pray for them as Sarah said that seeing Andy for the first time is quite a shock.

I am happy to report that Andy consumed great quantities of ice cream and Jell-O today. Andy LOVES, LOVES ice cream so it was a wonderful treat.

I Have NO Doubt

"Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth"
- John Wesley

I love this quote. There are lots of people who question the integrity of the Bible. Not me. The Bible is true -- from the first word to the last.

For me it is as basic as the song I learned as a small child in Sunday School:

"The B-I-B-L-E.
Yes, that's the Book for me.
I stand alone on the Word of God.
The B-I-B-L-E."

While Waiting For Your Coffee To Brew....


I'm going to be honest. Even though most nights I get my coffee pot ready so that all I have to do is hit the "ON" button when I wake up in the morning, there are just some mornings when it just seems when that first cup doesn't pour out fast enough.

I am seriously considering giving myself a shower shock. A safe shower shock. With this bar of soap I found. It is called just that -- Shower Shock. It is a caffeinated soap and it was featured on Good Morning America. Each bar of soap contains 12 servings/showers and has 200 milligrams of caffeine per shower. I had no idea that caffeine could be absorbed through the skin, but it can!

From now on when I say that I am thinking about pouring my coffee over my head to wake myself up, I might not be kidding!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things That Make You Say "OOOOOO!"

* When hubs walked through the door he grabbed me up and gave me an "I'm glad to be home kiss!". Not one of those perfunctory kisses that often become routine when your husband comes home. This was a curl your toes, make you want to send your kids to bed early kind of kiss. In the middle of enjoying Hubs attention, Little Guy comes walking down the hallway just chatting away in his own world. He stops short when he spots us and says, "OOOOO! I didn't just see that! Why do you guys have to do that? (Covering his eyes...) Tell me when it is over. Please just stop. Soooo gross!"

* File this under WOOOOO HOOOOO! I challenged hubs to a race at the pool tonight. Hubs is 6 foot 5 inches and athletic from head to toe. Me... not so much. But, I do like to swim so I decided that it would be fun. Little Guy gave us our starting splash and we were off. I swam with every muscle I had and I won.

* While still at the pool I was swimming around and playing with Little Guy. Hubs was off swimming laps. At one point while chasing Little Guy under water I spotted hubs off in the distance. I decided I would swim up under him and give him a little "flash". Just as I got up to him I realized it wasn't him. OOOOOPS! So glad I realized that BEFORE I flashed him.

Have I ever mentioned that there is never a dull moment around here?

WFMF - Ten Minute Tuck



"The beginning and the end of the performance is what your audience is going to remember the most." is what my performing arts teacher used to tell us day after day when I was in a performance group in high school. She stressed that we try our bests at ALL times, but specifically that we make a good first and last impression in all areas of our lives.


When I had children, I quickly realized that I couldn't be "on" as a Mom 24 hours a day. Who am I kidding? That reality hit before I left the hospital. Ha! However, like all moms, it is my job to be a mom 24 hours, 7 days a week, but it is impossible to be 100% all the time.


I decided that I wanted the last thing my boys to feel before they went to sleep was loved and secure. So we started the "Ten Minute Tuck". After the boys have had their baths, brushed their teeth, and we have said prayers the boys head to their rooms. Hubs and I take turns spending ten minutes with each of our sons and then we switch. Our sons set the agenda for the time we spend with them.


What goes on during the "Ten Minute Tuck"?


1. Music - Right now Little Guy is really into listening to our radio station's Hot List so he loves to lay in bed and chat and talk about what music is being featured and trying decide what music would be on his Hot List.


2. Stories - The boys love to hear stories about when we were growing up or even when they were younger.


3. Tapes/CD's - We just finished a phase of listening to various books on CD and the "Adventures in Odyssey" series.


4. Lots of laughing - The boys love to entertain us with jokes and stories of what has gone on during the day.


5. Hugs and cuddles - My boys are getting older... I'll use any excuse I can get to get my hugs!


6. LISTENING - We try to not talk as much as possible. We try to let the boys set the tone for the ten minutes. It is their time.


7. No lectures - This time is not for discipline or correction. It is an absolutely safe time where the boys can express themselves, be themselves and have our undivided attention.


There are definitely nights when I am exhausted from a full day and I am so ready to just get the boys to bed so I can go get my shower and hit the bed myself. However, no matter how our days are - busy and crazy, fun and full --I feel like I have accomplished something as their Mom if I have been able to tuck them safely into bed and spent that time really listening.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Eyes! My Eyes!


I had just stepped out of the shower when Little Guy broke one of the rules of our house. "Do not open the door without knocking." He seems to break this rule when he is really excited about something and thinks he just can't wait to tell me something; however, something tells me that after today he might do a better job at remembering.
As soon as he opened the door, he froze in place, turned around and I heard him yelling as he ran, "I didn't see that! I didn't see that! My eyes! My eyes! Delete! Delete!"
See, Dr. Wifey? I told you I need to join you in training?
Speaking of traumatizing sights... tonight when we got home from the movie and supper we were standing outside talking to our neighbor who was covering up his boat before the rain started. His driveway is elevated higher than ours. When he stepped out of his boat, I got to see a little bit more of my neighbor than I wanted to. Let's just say that he goes commando and it was ALL hanging out. Exit... stage right!
Oh, man, what a day of adventure this has been!

Tuesday Update on Andy

Andy arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical in Washington DC on Sunday afternoon around 4:30 and Sarah was holding his hand by 5:30 pm. He is receiving round-the-clock care in the surgical ICU. He has quite a few problems which are going to have to be addressed, but Sarah said the main problems which they are focusing on right now are:

fever - His fever has been on an up and down path since he has arrived. Where there is fever there is infection and Andy doesn't need that.

bullet fragment - There is still a fragment in Andy's spinal column. They are trying to determine a course of action but it is unlikely that they will try to remove it. More likely is another surgery to try to stabilize the spine.

cough - Because Andy doesn't have muscle control below his armpits, Andy is really having a hard time coughing which means that anything that is in his lungs wants to stay there.

emotions - Even while Andy is dealing with his own physical problems, he is constantly seeing his friends being brought in. They are a great source of strength for each other, but he also gets very emotional when they show up.

Andy has kept Sarah very busy asking her take photos of everyone who comes to visit. He has also asked her to help work his arms to keep his muscles working and the blood flowing. Sarah says they have already seen significant improvement in his upper body even since yesterday. They are praising God for every step that they see... big or small!

Let The Buying Begin!

My sister is having twin GIRLS!!!! Let the buying begin!! Woot Woot! You can see precious photos at my sister's brand new blog.

Frankly, Scarlett, I Need A/C!

Poor Big Guy! He spent his day volunteering at Good Samaritan yesterday with absolutely no air conditioning and when he got home at 7:00 last night it was really warm in our house. I told him, "Go take a shower and I'll turn down the air conditioner and pull a fan out to cool you off." I turned down the air conditioner but it never turned on. I went to check on it, reset it and checked on it again. Oh, man, surely not? This unit is only a year old! Just a baby! It can't be having colic. After getting Big Guy settled with a nice cold drink in front of the fan I went to find hubs who unfortunately was outside mowing the grass. Bless his heart.

He checked everything and then in true sweet hubs style, he went to Wal-Mart to purchase a few more fans to try to make everyone as comfortable as possible to sleep.

It kind of makes you rethink all those romantic Southern novels we grew up reading doesn't it? I grew up in Vicksburg where there are tons of antebellum homes. I worked as a tour guide at one of those homes. During the antebellum wonderment, there was no air conditioning. Women wore huge dresses and there was a lot of swooning for a reason and not just to get men's attention. There was a common belief that fresh air brought in illnesses so windows were kept tightly closed. People slept sitting up to avoid consumption and they didn't bathe too much because they didn't want to wash the natural oils from their skin because they felt that protected them from disease as well. Women used bear grease to slick their hair in place (keep in mind the no baths). All that fabric, no baths, bear grease, heat, and sweat.... still thinking it sounds romantic?

I have only gone one night without air conditioning and I can't stand myself. Fortunately, we have a great AC service and it will be repaired shortly. Frankly, Scarlett, I need A/C!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Big Guy has caught a bug... I hope Little Guy gets it too!

Big Guy just returned from his first full day of Mission NOW. He is attending with my nephew and his church's youth group. It is a full week of mission projects at the Good Samaritan. When I say it is a full week, I mean a full week. From 8:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon.

Last night he was a little anxious about the unknown of the week, but I told him that I thought this week was going to be awesome. Volunteering is like nothing else. There is no other feeling like doing for someone else. I have been volunteering since junior high: candy striper at the hospital, mission trips with church, PTO at the boy's school, church projects, etc... I am addicted to volunteering. I could tell he really wasn't quite convinced.

I wish you could have seen his face when he came home tonight. He just GLOWED! He told every detail of the work he had done. His morning was spent sorting clothes and hanging them up. He said the director was really strict and if you didn't do it right she made you do it all over again. After lunch the lady presented them with bushels and bushels of peas which had to be shelled -- by hand. Big Guy said that was his favorite! That cracked me up. Who knew my Guy was a country boy at heart?

He is already excited about going back tomorrow. They are packing Senior Boxes and delivering them to the homes of seniors who need them.

So excited seeing my Big Guy catch the volunteering bug! I hope Little Guys catches it too.

I hate my feet but....


do I hate them this much? Seriously, I think I have the ugliest feet around. If I weren't so serious, I could probably enter them in an "Ugliest Feet Contest" and win hands, uh, feet down. I have never had a pedicure because of my thoughts about my feet. I read today about a place that has a new pedicure that is supposed to be pretty effective. It is a FISH PEDICURE. See the pic? Those women actually have their feet in vats of warm water and they are letting 1,000 of doctor fish nibble the dead skin from their feet. Sounds delightful doesn't it? Who thinks this crazy stuff up?

What Condiment Are You?

Everybody is lighting up the grill these days so when I saw this quiz I couldn't resist.





You Are Barbeque Sauce



You are a social person. You enjoy cooking for other people.

You are both skillful and competitive. You enjoy mastering hard tasks.

You appreciate complexity more than simplicity.



Your taste in food tends to lean toward interesting flavors.

You appreciate exotic spice combinations. You tend to like cutting edge, fusion cuisine.

You get along with all personalities from a distance. Except salsa personalities, who always seem to annoy you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Corinthians 13 for Moms

I can read bedtime stories till the cow jumps over the moon and sing "Ten Little Monkeys" until I want to call the doctor, but if I don't have love, I'm as annoying as a ringing phone.

I can chase a naked toddler through the house while cooking dinner and listening to voice mail, I can fix the best cookies and Kool-Aid in the neighborhood, and I can tell a sick child's temperature with one touch of my finger, but if I don't have love, I am nothing.

Love is patient while watching and praying by the front window when it's 30 minutes past curfew.

Love is kind when my teen says, "I hate you!"

It does not envy the neighbors' swimming pool or their brand-new mini van,but trusts the Lord to provide every need.

Love does not brag when other parents share their disappointments and insecurities,and love rejoices when other families succeed.

It doesn't boast, even when I've multi-tasked all day long and my husband can't do more than one thing at a time.

Love is not rude when my spouse innocently asks, "What have you done today?"

It does not immediately seek after glory when we see talent in our children, but encourages them to get training and make wise choices.

It is not easily angered, even when my 15-year-old acts like the world revolves around her.

It does not delight in evil (is not self-righteous) when I remind my 17-year-old that he's going 83 in a 55-mph zone, but rejoices in the truth.

Love does not give up hope.

It always protects our children's self-esteem and spirit, even while doling out discipline.

It always trusts God to protect our children when we cannot.

It always perseveres, through blue nail polish, burps and other bodily functions, rolled eyes and crossed arms, messy rooms and sleep overs.

Love never fails. But where there are memories of thousands of diaper changes and painful labor(s), they will fade away. Where there is talking back, it will (eventually) cease. (Please, Lord?) Where there is a teenager who thinks she knows everything, there will one day be an adult who knows you did your best.

For we know we fail our children, and we pray they don't end up in therapy, but when we get to heaven, our imperfect parenting will disappear. (Thank you, God!) When we were children, we needed a parent to love and protect us. Now that we're parents ourselves, we have a heavenly Father who adores, shelters us and holds us when we need to cry.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

You Gotta Laugh: (More) Tim Hawkins

Love Tim's tech support solutions!! (This one's for you, Krisa and Dad!)


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Morning Update on Andy


Andy's sister, Sarah, has this update for us. Some of the initial details yesterday were a little off:


The doctors said they pulled a 3" long Russian-made sniper round out of his neck. The doctor said that this is the kind of round that pierces brick buildings...so it's no small miracle that Andy's still here. There's extensive damage to several vertebrae and while they are not for certain yet what the outcome will be, it's likely he will have limited use of his legs. Swelling, infection and other factors will determine the extent of the damage over the next few days. I guess you could say that we are trying to prepare ourselves to deal with the worst--seeing him permanently injured--while still expecting healing and complete recovery as a gift straight from the hand of God.Whatever the case, God is God and Andy is Andy and when the two get together...mountains move.


Here is the link to the article on the attack on Chosen Company: Article It is so tough to see the faces of Andy's friends who died.


Apparently on Andy's last leave he ordered a custom motorcycle helmet. It arrived last week. Daniel is taking it with him this weekend to Walter Reed and Sarah is taking motorcycle gloves. They both say they are taking them as symbols of Andy's life long determination and habit of being strong-willed, stubborness and doing whatever he wanted no matter who told him no.


Keep praying!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”- Isaiah 41:10

Saturday Savings: Electric Bill

1. Ceiling Fans - I live in Mississippi so ceiling fans are a must. Ceiling fans are a great help in circulating the cool air that your AC produces. However, the fans aren't much help if they are not running teh right way. You want the air blowing down, not up. If the air is blowing up, reverse the direction of the fan blades and make sure the air blows down. If the air is blowing up, you are just recirculating hot air through your room making it warmer instead of cooler.

2. Filters - Change your air conditioner filter every month. If it is dirty your AC has to work harder which in turn uses more electricity.

3. Don't use lights you don't need. For the most part, we don't turn lights on in the house during the day at all. During the evenings, we try to create a "mood" with lamps and candles.

4. Make your kids "energy police". Kids are very conscience about things when you make them responsible. Give them the job of turning out lights when they find them on, closing doors when they find them open, turning off faucets if they are left dripping, etc... Keep a jar and every time they correct a problem let them put a marble in the jar. When the jar is full, reward them by taking them for ice cream.

5. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). When compared to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, over its lifetime a CFL will last ten times longer and up to $30 on electric bills.

6. When buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star mark. These meet the strict standards of the EPA and US Department of Energy.

7. Use more cold water. Use it to wash your clothes. Use slightly cooler water to bathe and shower in. Wash your hands and brush your teeth with cold water. Turn the "heated dry" cycle off on your dishwasher.

8. Bump up your air conditioner temp. If you normally set your air conditioner on 72, try bumping it up to 74 and run your fans more. Even that small difference will impact your bill.

9. Make sure your attic is well insulated.

10. Have the electric company come out and perform maintenance and an evaluation on your meter. If it is not reading correctly you could be overpaying... YIKES!

11. Unplug appliances when not in use. If it is plugged in it is sucking electricity. Unplug the coffee pot, blender, elliptical trainer (I wasn't using that anyway!), Playstation, etc... except when using them.

12. Try planning out your menu and cooking once or twice a week instead of every day. (This is my favorite way to cook.) This means you are only heating up your kitchen once a week and don't have to ask yourself "What's for dinner?" every single day!

Friday, July 18, 2008

After Surgery Update on Andy

The surgeons removed a 2-inch Russian made bullet from Andy's neck. It shattered at least one vertebrae in his neck. He has some feeling and movement in his hands and arms, but at this moment he does not feel his legs.

They will be moving him to Walter Reed Medical Center as early as Sunday and as late as Tuesday.

Our latest update also told us that there were twelve other guys in the same attack as Andy who died. We are crushed at this news.

Please be praying for Andy, his family and all of his military family.

Friday Update on Andy

As of 9ish Central Standard Time on Friday, Andy's in surgery. Ramstein/Landstuhl is staffed by the military's finest and he's in the best place for care.

His sister Sarah says it appears to have been a sniper's bullet--small calibur and from a long distance off. Hopefully these two factors will work in Andy's favor.

Thanks to so many of you who are praying!

Sharing the Love

Two awards in one week? Wow, I don't know what to say! Really, I don't know what to say and that is not a common occurrence. Ha! This award is from my blogging friend, Tonya.


I am passing this award on to a group of women I never would have met without blogging. They are real, honest and REAL HONEST!

Dr. Wifey - One of the best parts of blogging is meeting people. Wifey is such a sweetheart. She is real, loves her husband, family and life in general. So far her major fault is her Guitar Hero addiction. Ha!

Black Betty - This girl loves her bizkits! I knew I was going to love her blog the minute I read her info box and it said, "you can't fix stupid".

Willow - Life is as real as it gets at Apron Strings. Willow has a heart of gold and a faith of steel. I admire Willow. She is a "making lemonade out of lemons" kind of girl.

MS Mom - Before I click MM's blog I make sure that I am not eating or drinking anything... it is a serious health hazard. She cracks me up and she isn't even trying. She is just sharing her life. Right now her husband and co-workers provide most of her blog material. I can't wait for her kids to get a little older.... Hee! Hee!

and last but definitely NOT least...

Miss Mud - Mud and I have been blogging friends for a while, but we finally met a few weeks ago. We can cause serious havoc on a wedding and I seriously think the pastor gave us an ugly look when we giggled over a microphone incident. I love this chick... we share a serious appreciation for cake and pinwheels!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pray

I just received word that a friend of ours, Andy Burnett, who has been fighting in Iraq was shot in the neck. Details at this point are very sketchy, but he is being airlifted to where he can be treated.

All I can say is... pray.

Pet Peeves

Everybody has pet peeves. I have always thought I am a particularly quirky person with a lot of pet peeves until I typed in pet peeves under Google and realized that people can really vent when it comes to this subject. Everything from cell phones to dirty children in Wal-Mart. At least my peeves feel a little more normal after reading some of those lists. Here goes:

People who don't buckle up their children. This has caused my family more than one embarassing moment because not only does it bug me, but I have no problem telling someone that they should buckle up their child. I also have no problem taking down your tag number and reporting you to the police if you don't have your child buckled. Why? I have been in an emergency room when a Dad came in who thought it would be fun to ride around the neighborhood with his daughter riding on his lap. Do you know what a five year old looks like after she has been used as an air bag for her Dad? She is not pretty with a steering wheel implanted in her abdomen.

People who can't park. How hard it is to park between those two little white lines? The worst offenders... at the DMV getting their license renewed. Seriously!! (Speaking of parking: If you can't find a parking space a few years ago my MIL reported that she found a delightful safe covered parking spot at her local Wal-Mart. She said it was a somewhat tight squeeze, but was so excited about it since it had side rails and she knew how upset FIL would be if anyone scratched the paint on the car. Most people know it as the buggy collection station, but apparently if you are in a pinch....)

Smoking people driving around with their children in the car with the windows rolled up! GRRRRRRR!! Yes, you can smoke... all you want. Please don't slowly kill your children while you are doing it... anymore than you already are.

Men who don't cut their fingernails. Just a hygiene thing for me, but I think it is totally gross for a man to have fingernails longer than me. A friend of mine had really long nails and he said it was so he could play guitar better. Buy a guitar pick!

The fact that I can't belly laugh or sneeze since having two children without possibly wetting my pants. I can't figure out if this is a pet peeve or a huge annoyance. Either way it is really embarassing since my boys crack me up! (Sorry... that was TMI wasn't it?!)

After reading this I realize a lot of my pet peeves involve the car. Do you think I have pent up road rage?

What are your pet peeves?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: 12 Minutes of After Dinner Fun

I am the only girl in a house full of boys. I realized early that I was going to have to be creative if I wanted to have meaningful dinner conversation beyond "pass the potatoes, please!". Of course, insisting that everyone stay at the table after supper to discuss their day kind of went over like a lead balloon too.


One day while doing some shopping I came up with an idea because of course all brilliant ideas are born while shopping, aren't they? I found a section of games that were on sale. I bought two card games that said they could be played in 12 minutes. I also bought a basket. I went home and collected other games that we already had and put those in the basket as well.


That night after supper I asked who might want to play a quick game. It worked! While laughing and playing games, they unwittingly shared about their day, what they did, who they talked to and even other stuff they probably didn't mean to say.


We now have a full basket of games that sits beside our table ready for meals or just a quick game at any time. Here are just a few:














This basket is also great to grab when we are going on trips or to pick up if we are headed out to a restaurant. Since most of the games are 12 minute games, they are great to play while waiting for our food orders to arrive.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Smile Award



Oh! I'm just grinning ear to ear because Hot Tub Lizzy sent me an award today. It is the one you see above -- A Smile Award! What a great way to end a Terrific Tuesday. One of the fun parts about this award is now I get to share it with five blog friends too!

These are the rules:
1. The recipient must link back t0 the award's creator (http://www.thebabblingsofmere.blogspot.com/)
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.
Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times--we are all human)
2. Must love one another
3. Must make mistakes
4. Must learn from others
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world
6. Must love life
7. Must love kids
Do you know how hard it is to choose only five blogs???
1. Tonya - This is one amazing chic. She is an army wife and she is on the go with twins in tow! She also has a teenage son thrown in the mix which makes for days of adventure and nights of exhaustion! Just reading her 100 things to do list makes me feel like a slacker!
2. K Storm - K is more than a blogger, she is a friend. We share a lot of the same heart desires like the pursuit of the happiness of our husband, kids and God.
3. Sandi - I am really looking forward to having lunch with Sandi in a few weeks to sit and chat. Sandi just epitomizes the Smile Award.... Have you ever heard her say anything less than optimistic??
4. Doghouse - Who is doghouse? I don't know his "real" name, but I will tell you that there is nothing more appealing than a guy who adores his kids (and I say that respectfully since I am very happily married)! I love how Doghouse smiles all over his blog when he talks about his kids and wife!
5. Sara - Want to meet the Southern Martha Stewart? Meet Sara! Cute as a button and so are her kids! She can cook, craft, decorate, help her parents build a home, keep two blogs and be a Mom, all with a smile on her face.... hear her roar!
(I am with you Lizzy... I may have to create my own award! This was too fun!!)

A Little Paint and An Afternoon of Fun

Baby, it's hot outside! The boys go outside to ride their bikes or skateboards and when they come back in they look like they just jumped into the deep end of the pool. Big Guy said he thought he could get dehydrated just thinking about going outside. That is why I have been kicking the boys out the door early in the morning and late in the afternoons to make optimum use of the time that they have to play when the sun isn't trying to fry them. Swimming has become a necessity for staying cool as well. Although I was teased at first, I have become quite the fashion statement for figuring out how to swim with a straw hat on my head.

Even still, in the heat of the afternoon we are trying to find creative ways to stay busy instead of just plopping in front of the television. Painting is one of the boy's favorite things to do.

Recently my friend's little girl came home with us and on the drive home I heard the boy's asking, "Do you like to paint?" She squealed, "Yes! Let's do that." So that is what they did.

They headed straight to our hobby room and picked out items to paint and the paint colors they wanted to use. Little Guy decided on a wooden tray. (Big Guy decided that he was glad Little Guy had someone to play with and ducked into his room for some uninterrupted Playstation time -- he's no dummy!)


MC picked out a birdhouse. Both were projects that we had put together at Home Depot workshops and had never gotten the chance to paint. We have plenty of these projects because the people there always give us a few extra to take home.



Look at the concentration on that face. He went and dug through our hobby room to find the smallest brush he could to get into that corner. I think he was getting a little annoyed at me for ruining his concentration with the pics.


MC said she was going to paint her birdhouse, put it in her room and then let the birds come inside so they could eat. See, SM? I am providing lots of entertainment for your summer!


And when you run out of things to paint? What are you talking about? You can never run out of things to paint. Cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, poster board or you can do with the boys did and just walk outside and pick up a rock! And to think I would have just painted a smiley face.


A little paint, a little time and some random stuff and you have an afternoon of fun.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Late Father's Day Pic Post

I should really upload the photos off my camera more often because I just discovered these photos from Father's Day. (You may ask why Big Guy isn't in these photos, but he had a really bad headache that morning.) Nevertheless, Chef Little Guy was determined to make Dad a special breakfast including an omelette which he had seen on the Food Network. He made it very clear from the very beginning that he didn't want any interference/assistance from me. He wanted this to be his own creation for Daddy.

Step One: Prepare the eggs for the omelette. Yes, there are eight eggs in that bowl because that is what the lady on the Food Network said to do! I was praying that Daddy woke up with a BIG Father's Day appetite. There are no pics of the actual cooking of this omelette as I held my breathe too long watching him cook and passed out. Who knew my Little Guy was such a chef?


Step Two: Make some cinnamon toast. Piece of cake, uh, toast!


Step Three: The finished meal. With that sweet smile Daddy will never notice the slight overcooked outside of the omelette.


Step Four: After full tummies, Little Guy shows Daddy how to use his new iPod Touch. Notice they both have the earpods in their ears so they can both rock out to Pillar. Both guys are also wearing swimming trunks so that we can head to the pool as soon as Big Guy felt better. There were no pics of our swimming trip because Mom forbids any cameras to be around when she is wearing a swim suit!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

You Gotta Laugh: Tim Hawkins

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. - Job 8:21


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Savings: Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning, the goal is CLEAN. When I am walking through the aisle with all those products I am often enticed thinking that I need all of those products, but when it comes down to it is it really going to make me clean faster, deeper, or more efficiently? I want clean and I want it now!

Today's Saturday Savings Focus Is: Cleaning

1. Don't throw out those ragged towels, socks or t-shirts! Cut them up and use them for your cleaning. Those make great dusting, windexing or car washing rags.
2. Opening your windows every once in a while to get some fresh air in your house is a good first step towards a fresh smell instead of spraying chemicals. Putting a put on to boil with some vanilla or orange peels or cinnamon sticks will make things be even better.
3. Make it a habit for everyone in the family to deposit your shoes at the back door when you arrive home. Wear slippers, socks or go barefoot to cut down on the amount of dirt that is tracked through your house.
4. When shopping for your cleaning supplies, forget the grocery store or BIG stores... head straight for the dollar store.
5. Clean up messes as they are made so stains won't set in.
6. Don't run the dishwasher unless it is absolutely full.
7. Wash the bigger pots and pan by hand to avoid "wasted space" and therefore washted water in your dishwasher.
8. Cleaning Products:
a. Alcohol - Cleans candles and the telephone
b. Carpet freshener - Combine 3/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbsp corn starch, and 1/4 cup perfumed talcum powder. Sprinkle on dry carpet, let stand 5 to 15 minutes, then vacuum.
c. Erasers will remove black heel marks on floors.
d. Furniture polish - Mix in a sprayer bottle: 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice
Shake well and apply a small amount to a flannel cleaning rag or cleaning cloth. Spread evenly over furniture surface. Turn cloth to a dry side and polish dry.
e. Glass Cleaner - Mix in a sprayer bottle: 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar
f. For floors, add 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon hot water and mop away!
9. To keep the corners of your windowsills free of dust and moisture, rub a white candle into each corner of the sill.
10. If you keep your silver jewelry in a zip lock or air tight container, it will keep it from oxidizing.
11. Switch to store brands instead of expensive name brands.
12. Buy a few lightbulbs at a time until you have switch them out to fluorescent. Fluorescents run 10 times longer and use 2/3 less energy.
13. Invest in entrance mats to cut down on dirt that is tracked into your house.
14. Putting orange or lemon peels along with a little baking soda down the garbage disposal leaves a fresh scent in your drain.
15. Set your dishwasher to run at night while you are sleeping when the electricity rates are lower.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Being Loved By My Guys Is

Feeling missed...
After being gone for about four hours to a wedding, I walked through the back door tired, hot and with achy feet. As soon as I rounded the kitchen corner I heard the screams of my two boys saying, "Mom!" as they ran to give me hugs and kisses! It is so nice to be missed.

Being protected...
We were coming to an intense scene in our Alex Rider movie (a teen version of James Bond). Right when Alex shot the pilot with a dart, my guy reached over and rubbed my hand saying, "Don't be scared, Mom. He didn't kill him. He just made him go to sleep for a little while."

Being treated like a lady...
At the grocery store, the gentlemen asks if he can take out our groceries and Big Guy says, "No, thank you, I will take them out for my Mom."

Big Guy always opens my car door for me and waits for me to get in completely before he shuts it.

Having your honor defended...
While vacationing at the beach, my Daddy was talking with the boys. "You know," Daddy said, "your mom was single before she married your Daddy." "Don't you dare say something like that about my Mom!" said Little Guy.

Having your heart melt...
When you see your son take off his cap and place it over his heart at a memorial garden honoring the fallen firefighters from 2001.

like no other feeling in the world!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What Men Do?

We are packing Hubby and Little Guy to leave to go to Lad/Dad camp with our church tomorrow afternoon.

"Little guy, go get four pairs of matching shorts and shirts."

"Mom, this is a father's and son's weekend. We don't have to match! Matching is not manly. When girls go away for the weekend they like to match. But when guys go away if they want to wear swim trunks with underwear on their head they can and nobody says anything.... that is what men do!"

(This is his first camp.... where does he come up with this stuff?)

"Now The World Don't Move To the Beat Of Just One Drum"

The other night we were flipping through the channels and saw the Jon & Kate Plus 8 television show. We stopped for a few minutes because they decided to go to a local pottery shop. I thought, "This should be interesting --- that lady is going to freak out." If you watch you know she is a little OCD about messes.

After a few minutes we switched the stations, but not before the boys said, "Hey! We haven't been to the pottery store in a while. Can we go tomorrow?"

Sounded way better than laundry or chores so off we went. Our favorite pottery shop is Different Strokes. The first thirty minutes we are there was spent trying to decide what to paint. (It is kind of like me and shoe shopping... so many choices!)

Little Guy spotted a shelf full of crosses and said, "Mom, I could paint a cross to put on your new wall of crosses." I tried to direct him to a small cross, but his eyes were glazed over (yes, I know that is a pottery pun). He was gazing at a huge ornamental cross at the back of the shelf. A very, very, very detailed cross that would take a professional hours to paint. (Hence the photo because I knew you wouldn't believe me.)



Let me explain... most kids would slap paint on their pottery and be ready for the next piece. Not my boys. They make the most of their painting experience. Painstakingly picking out their pieces, paint colors and using just the right brushes. This is not just painting. It is art.

Meanwhile Big Guy struggled for a while with his choice, but finally picked out a plate with a beautiful cross detail in the center. I was so excited because I really loved that plate and in Big Guy's hands it would turn out amazing.



For the next two hours the boys were in painting heaven. The only time I heard them talk was when Big Guy said he wished he had brought his iPod because he thought it would help him concentrate better.

Me? Don't ask me why I didn't think to bring a book!

They were so beautiful when they were finished that I just can't wait to see them when they come out of the kiln and are ready to be picked up. I'm already eyeing a spot to put them on my wall.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Having A Fire Drill!

Little Guy is in Fire Academy this week. A lot of his friends from school are there and they are all having a blast. Apparently if you are a "junior firefighter" in training there is homework at night. You would have to know our Little Guy to know how seriously he takes this homework. He obeys Chief Hill to the letter of the law. If Chief Hill told him to burn down our house as part of training exercise, he would do it. Sooooo, last night his homework was to put our family through a full blown fire drill.

I know what you are thinking. Just push the button on the smoke alarm and everybody get out. NOOOO! First, Little Guy insists that Chief Hill said we were supposed to alert the fire department that we were going to have a drill. It took 15 minutes to explain to him that we were not going to set off our house alarm system and we didn't need to call the fire department. This really frustrated him. You should have seen his aggravation level rise when he told us that we EACH needed a lanyard with a flashlight, whistle and a house key. Somehow I didn't have that for each of us at bedtime, but I did have enough for Little Guy to have it for the drill and I DID promise to get it for all of us. He was sure I was ruining the entire drill at this point.

We gather everyone, including my nephew, to tell them that we are about to have a fire drill. Everyone goes to their places in the house. *BEEP!* *BEEP!* I jump up and head for the front door. As soon as I hit my bedroom door I see Little Guy crawling toward me with his flashlight pointing at me, screeching his whistle saying, "Get down! You're in the black smoke!" Apparently I don't get down fast enough because he starts screaming, "You're dying! You're dying!" I get down as I open the front door, but Little Guy is still screaming, "Get down! You are in the smoke! You are dying! You are dying!" because Big Guy and Nephew have just walked up behind us.

I crawl out the front door just in time to see my husband strolling down the driveway with his flashlight and one of our neighbors walking her dog. She must have thought we were insane. I so wanted to say, "We're not crazy! We're having a fire drill!!"