Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Nice Mom

Ya'll, I'm just not a big fan of playdates. One of my daughters has a friend that calls her every. single. day. asking to play. My girls get home from school SO late in the day that it's just not possible to schedule a playdate on school days and still survive homework/dinner/showers. That leaves weekends, and I've told you before that we are STINGY with our weekends. We made the decision years ago that Sunday is Family Day and it's family only, so that really only leaves Saturdays to play.

Today, I gave in to the endless whining and begging said yes to a playdate for Abbey. 

I might as well have given her a hundred dollar bill and turned her loose in the toy store. She was thrilled. 

The girls are having a blast. They've been playing in the basement, in the girls' room, they've had a tea party and now they're outside in our teepee-tent (the snow we got yesterday melted and it's chilly, but gorgeous outside!)

John got some work done while they were playing and I took a nap and finished my library book! AMAZING. 

I only said no to making mud pies and the EZ-Bake oven. (Does anyone else cringe when their kids want to pull out the EZ-Bake???)

I'm pretty sure I'm going to get the Nicest Mom Ever award today. And I'm quite sure that my daughter will be wondering where her "really nice mom" went when she asks me for a playdate next weekend. 

How do you guys handle playdates? Are you a fan?

Friday, February 27, 2009

I don't know why...

...I feel compelled to tell you that I'm unplugging today.

I think Friday is going to be my day to do this for awhile. Why Fridays? Because Kellie is unplugging on Fridays during Lent and asked if anyone wanted to join her. 

So...I guess I'll see ya tomorrow. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Status Update

I saw this idea on Elizabeth's blog the other day and decided to be a copy-cat!

at my kitchen table finishing up some lunch and reading a few blogs.

Drinking... sweet tea with lemon. 

Listening... to nothing. I like silence.

Drawing a blank... about what to do for the next 1.5 hours until the afternoon madness begins. Clean? Rest? Read? Blog? (Clearly blogging won!)

Hoping... to feel better soon. I seem to have caught Abbey's cold from last week.

Refusing... to take medicine. I have a weird hang-up about putting meds in my body. 

Amazed... at the unseasonably warm temps we're having this week. SO ready for spring.

Eager... for the weekend.

Trying to decide... between chicken noodle soup and enchiladas for dinner. Hmmmmm... (either way the chicken is prepped and ready!)

Currently reading... NOTHING. I'm very open to suggestions though! FYI, I decided not to finish Breaking Dawn. My Bunco friend told me how it ended and I realized I'm not going to miss anything by not finishing it. 

Loving... the sunshine! the Vera Bradley bag that John's mom gave me for Christmas! the white chocolate coconut creamer I bought for my coffee! and my church! (we had an amazing Ash Wednesday service last night.

Not loving... my dog who can't decide if he wants to stay IN or OUT. 

Spending... the next forty days without Starbucks. 

Wondering... how Will did in his spelling bee today. I didn't get to go!!!

More than you probably want to know about ME...

I found this little treasure last weekend. It's My Book About Me, which was a gift I received from my cousin, Phillip, on my 4th birthday.How do I remember all of that? Because my mom wrote the date and occasion inside the cover. Have I ever told you that I'm a HUGE believer in writing names/dates on the inside cover of books given and received as gifts? Well, I am. Because I have concrete proof that my memory will not last forever.

Anyway, this is how I wrote my name when I was four. Abbey felt the need to tell me that my handwriting was rather sloppy.
And evidently at age four I was 70 feet tall. I've shrunk.
Check out my fabulous hair! My mom noted that it was auburn. Man, I wish I still had more of that natural color.
Ummm....can you say Pinocchio? Looks like someone's nose was growing.
Here's a little shout out to Jonesboro, AR--a terrific place to grow up.
My kids think it's funny that I loved okra--they're not big fans. And I LOVE squash now, but apparently I didn't love it so much when I was four.
Can you remember your first phone number? I don't know if I'll ever forget 935-1524!
And The Sunshine Family? Do you guys remember them? A huge blast from my past.
Our mail man lived a few houses down from us, so of course I had to get his autograph. I also had an autograph book and a huge stuffed fabric autograph shoe at one time. Wonder if my mom still has those somewhere...that would be a really fun find!
Yeah, I wasn't much of an athlete. Jacks? Really? And seems my indecisiveness was firmly rooted way back when.
I do remember my best friend Leeann. In fact, I ran into her one year at Race for the Cure in Little Rock, AR...while we were running. We had an interesting, and somewhat breathless conversation before she left me in her dust! I think I must have been older than four when I wrote her name because I specifically remember Sister Florentine teaching me to write in cursive in second grade (I had lots of nuns as teachers in Catholic school).
There's much more in this book, but I don't have time to upload all the pics! Several of you told me you also had a Razorback cheerleader doll. I won't be one bit surprised if a bunch of you have a book this as well!

*Guess what? You can still buy this book on Amazon! I had no idea.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I've put this post off because there is so much I want to say and I start feeling overwhelmed when I think about trying to say it all and I'm not even sure where I want to begin.

Our family observes the season of Lent. People have asked me if we're Catholic. No, we're not (though I was growing up). Denominationally speaking, we've been all over the place. Several years ago, we became a part of an Anglican church and fell in love with liturgy. Basically, liturgy is a pattern for worship that follows the Christian calendar year.

Do you know that (very old) country song--I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool? Well, John was liturgical even back in his Southern Baptist pastor days. He'd break out the Advent wreath and preach thru the lectionary readings and even incorporate some Lenten stuff into worship. These days, we're at home in a Lutheran church (which we LOVE) and I'm telling you all of this so you'll know that Catholics aren't the only ones who observe Lent.

Lent begins today (Ash Wednesday) and continues for forty days (weekdays, not Sundays) until Easter. I thought this site did a pretty good job explaining the facts about Lent.

I sat down a week or so ago and made a list of things I want our family to do during Lent. I've always found it easy to focus on Holy Week (the week preceding Easter) but I feel like this season deserves more than just a week. Traditionally, Lent focuses on three areas: prayer/penitence, fasting, and alms (giving). With those themes in mind, I decided on some activities for us to do together.

I hope that we can have some focused scripture reading as a family after our evening meal. Maybe not every night, but a few times each week. I talked over this plan with John and he offered to come up with all the scripture readings and to handle this part of things. I readily agreed. I have no idea what stories/verses he is planning to use, but we both feel that it's important for our children to really know the gospel events leading up to Christ's death...and resurrection.

Prayer/Penitence: The Sin Box. I have an empty box (cereal box--reduce, re-use, recycle!) that I want the kids to help me cover with some sort of red scrapbook paper. I plan to keep it on the kitchen table/kitchen cabinet and if the kids have something they want to confess, they write it on a slip of paper and put it in the sin box while explaining that Jesus' death on the cross bought forgiveness for our sin. It's private stuff...between them and God, and I will NOT force them to write something/anything down on the paper. It's completely voluntary

Fasting: Giving something up. Isn't that what most people think of when they hear the word Lent? Maybe it's just me but giving something up for 40 days seems a bit extreme for kids. I don't doubt my kids can do it, I just don't want them to see themselves as failures if they don't (and a couple of my kids have a tendency to be really hard on themselves). 

So, we're asking them to give up something for a week at a time. This week it might be dessert, next week it might be television. John explained to them that sacrifice is involved and that when we're reminded of what we're giving up, it's an invitation to spend time thinking about the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

My son told me today he was giving up his time on the Wii. The girls have chosen to forego listening to their ipods for a week. (They all suggested at dinner the other night that I give up the computer which I thought was hysterical...and highly unlikely). As a family, we're going to give up eating out. John shared this article with me this morning and I thought it had some great ideas for me. I'm still undecided as to what my "thing" will be.

SO, at the end of each week I want to reward the kids for their sacrifice. I look at it as positive reinforcement. If Will didn't play Wii all week, then he'll get a yet-to-be-decided, small monetary reward. Same with the girls. BUT...the money isn't for them to keep. It will go into our Blessing Bank.

Alms (Giving): I have a can that we're going to decorate as a Blessing Bank. I think we've decided to give whatever money we collect to a missions group through our church. 

Any money we would spend on a family meal out will go into the Blessing Bank also. Should I decided to give up Starbucks, I'll chunk that change into the bank as well.

Our church is having some Lenten services on Wednesday nights which we'll be going to as a family. Our theme for Lent is The Road First Traveled and all of that kicks off tonight with the Ash Wednesday service. Our church also has an Easter drama production during Holy Week and rumor has it that my long-haired husband might be playing Jesus. *wink*

Oh...a couple more things before I forget. I read this article about pretzels, and how they have been traditional Lenten fare. I think one night we're going to try our hand at making some...just need to find a recipe. Or even easier, I could just open the box of frozen, soft pretzels in the freezer!

I thought this site had some very simple and easy devotional thoughts to use with kids.

And my friend, Wendy, is posting her Lenten devotions on her blog each week! She's also good at coming up with crafty ideas for kids.

I feel like I'm leaving tons of stuff out, but I really want to get this posted before my crazy afternoon/evening begin! If I think of something earth-shattering, I'll add it later.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'll Take It!!!

The temperature here today is 64 degrees. SIXTY FOUR DEGREES. In February. In Colorado.

Just last week I had snow in my backyard, and the weatherman was reminding us that March and April are our snowiest months.

Not today though.

When I was picking kids up from school this afternoon I passed walkers and runners everywhere wearing tank tops and shorts! So many people (and pets) were out enjoying the Colorado sunshine!!!

I don't know how long these temps will last, but I'm not complaining.

It feels like spring and I LOVE it!

Maybe that groundhog/shadow thing really is a hoax. I would NOT be disappointed one bit.

Monday, February 23, 2009

For your reading pleasure...

I can't seem to put a coherent post together lately which is why I'm sharing some links with you today.

I had the most amazing salsa at Bunco last week. It was unbelievably delicious and I'm definitely going to have to make a batch very soon.

Also, I'm planning to try this recipe for baked oatmeal this week. I got this link from Leah, and Stephanie sent me the same recipe. For those of you who asked, baked oatmeal is not the same thing as oatmeal cooked in a crockpot. This recipe calls for baking it in muffin tins. Others I've seen use a 9x13 dish.

I loved this post that John wrote. I happen to think he's the most brilliant writer.

I sometimes think it would be cool to live in California. Beaches, mountains, warm temps, green grass in January, and this make it all very tempting.

Have any of you seen this movie? I went to see it yesterday afternoon (all by myself!) and thought it was really, really cute!

Got girls? Then you need to check out this great tutorial for hair clips.

I found this blog a couple of weeks ago, and I love it! She has some great ideas.

I'm trying to get my Lenten ideas into a post. I adapted some of them from a devotion book that Wendy wrote. She'll be sharing devotions each week during lent on her blog, and yesterday she posted some fun craft ideas for kids.

Hope you have a happy Monday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ready for the Weekend

I'm very thankful it is Friday, aren't you?

I've been at home every day this week which rarely happens. I generally plan to be home all day on Mondays, Fridays, and one day in between but since Abbey has been sick my schedule was (wonderfully) clear! I'm happy to report that she's feeling much better today and she's returning to school. 

Which is great because I need to get out of the house for a little while!

I'm heading out soon to buy all the stuff for this. And deliver the final few boxes of Abbey's Girl Scout cookie order. And hopefully by the time I'm home, John will be too! (He had a short business trip to the Windy City and I'm thankful he also had a chance to connect with one of his best friends--who I've heard reads my blog religiously--while there!)

I'm really looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight because I sleep SO badly when he's away.

I'm also looking forward to the weekend because this is the first time in about three weeks that we have NOTHING going on. We are so stingy with our Saturdays and Sundays, and this one is entirely ours! Woohoo!

I have a question for you guys. Do any of you have a recipe for baked oatmeal? I really want to try this, but I'm trying to find a recipe that doesn't call for one cup of oil. My friend, Kellie, has issues with mayonnaise, but I have (serious) issues with oil. Yes, I realize I could always substitute applesauce, which I often do, but I'd like to try a recipe that doesn't require substituting and one that is tried and true. Anyone?

And one more guys really need to go over and meet my friend, Susan. She's only been blogging for a few months, but her blog is one of my absolute favorites! She'll have you laughing in no time, I promise.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unedited Thoughts on Nothing (and I really mean NOTHING!)

I have a huge, and I really mean HUGE pimple on my chin. And it hurts even when I'm not touching it. Lovely.

I haven't had a drink from Starbucks in two weeks. TWO WEEKS, people! That is huge for me. I was tempted to stop on the way home from church last night because it was SO cold, but I kept on driving. Now, I'm doubly glad because I slept horribly and I'm sure the caffeine wouldn't have helped at all. 

I'm beginning to think Facebook is ridiculous. The status updates? Who really cares what I'm doing? Or what you're doing for that matter. Interestingly, I don't feel the same about Twitter. I have some theories about why that is...

I painted a ceramic Blessing Bowl and eight stones to go with it last night at church. I can't wait to see it after it's fired and tell you more about it. (It's very cool!)

Highs are in the 30s this week. I'm tired of being cold, but realize that spring is still far off for us. *sigh*

Abbey is home sick again today. My kids never get perfect attendance awards. If they're getting sick, actually ARE sick, or are getting over being sick, I'm quick to keep them at home. Today, I'm banning HSM3. Abbey watched it way too many times yesterday and I'm ready to move on to some Anne Shirley--our classic sick-day dvd.

I drank the last of my gingerbread coffee from TJ's this morning. I'm a little sad about it too. It has only lasted this long because I didn't willingly share. (John didn't love it though so that's okay!)

I never buy books. I'm a library girl. However, I did buy the first three books in the Twilight series (why?) and was so happy that I was able to borrow the fourth one. Well, now it looks like I'll be buying that one too because my dog gnawed the corners of Molly's book. (Sorry, Molly! I'm replacing it for you). Argghh. I have a love-hate relationship with our dog. 

Speaking of that book...WEIRD...and I'm still not finished with it because it is so absurd. I'm trying to read a little every day but I'm not trying very hard. 

I don't live in a place that sees rain very often. Our precipitation is usually of the frozen variety. But I'm really, really wishing for a rainy day. 

I thought this was funny: I grabbed Abbeys' ipod yesterday before hitting the treadmill. I shuffled through Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift and the Mamma Mia & HSM soundtracks while doing my run/walk workout (I'm trying to keep our lonely treadmill company these days). 

Anyway, I'm shuffling through and get to some hard rock song. Evidently she convinced someone in our family to load Rock You Like A Hurricane by the Scorpions onto her cute little pink shuffle. Which now explains why she was grinning from ear to ear last week (with the earbuds stuck in her ears and the shuffle clipped onto her belt) when she told me that she had some sweet new tunes on her ipod. (I'm pretty sure my mother is cringing right about now).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I needed to laugh...

I'm home today with Abbey. She has a yucky cold and feels pretty miserable unless she's bossing me around or sipping juice with a straw while watching HSM3 or playing Webkinz. She's wearing me out.

I just read through all the comments on Fran's post today.  They are hysterical and I SO needed to laugh out loud. I think you should all get your creative hats on and go over there and play along--there's even a $25 Starbucks card up for grabs. 

Authenticity: Part I

Well, based on the number of comments and personal email responses I've gotten about this post, I think it's safe to assume that I'm not alone in my struggle with authenticity/transparency/honesty in regard to blogging.

I've read and re-read every comment and email and have been trying to sort out some of my feelings on the matter. There is still much that I'm wrestling with, and I don't pretend to have answers, but I do have some thoughts to share. It could get rather lengthy so I've decided to break this into two (maybe three) posts.

None of this is profound, or even original, but here goes...

I'm a transparent person by nature. I've never been shy and I'm not very private. If I'm happy or sad or worried or mad or grieved or struggling with something, you usually know it. I'm not ashamed of my tears, and I cannot count the number of times I've totally lost it when a friend (or stranger) has innocently asked me how I'm doing. I'm just not very good at keeping that stuff in. 

I've realized that I expect that same level of honesty from others. 

I've also realized that is not at all realistic. We're all different. What may come easily for me may be excrutiating for you. I'm usually willing to bare my soul and share my heart...but it comes with risk, and maybe not everyone is willing to be so risky. Maybe they don't know how or aren't practiced enough. I can live with that. Basically, I'm saying that this is my issue. If you hear nothing else, please hear this: It's my issue.

I also realize that the blog (mine or yours) may not necessarily be the best place to bare and share.

I agree wholeheartedly with all of you who commented that your blog is not a place to air your dirty laundry. Some of the stuff we struggle with involves other people, and talking about it on the blog could end up hurting or diminishing people we care about. I get that. Good grief, I've even done that.

I also believe that some things are better left discussed with real life friends. Sometimes it feels like the blog community can be a substitute for real life friendship and community. Personally, I have a lot of friends AND I have a lot of blog friends. But when it comes right down to it, there are only a handful of women who really know me. And that handful is who I will share the deepest, darkest, and messiest details of my life with. Yet I still want the "bloggy me" to be more substantive than just the happy life stuff. Does that make sense? I've yet to figure out a balance in all of this.

I loved what Moriah said in her comment about the depth of honesty depending on the purpose of the blog. I definitely agree. I also love that Mrs. Naz had a mission carnival last summer in which participants shared their blog's mission/purpose. I've yet to go back and read all of the posts. I'm actually trying to come up with something along those lines for LifeAt7000Feet. Right now, it's just a place I write about things I love...but I think maybe I want to clarify that a little more.

My friend, Teri, asked in her comment why I even care when someone isn't authentic. It's their blog, they can write about what they want to write about and if they're not honest, so what? Isn't that their "stuff". I'm always free not to read it, right?

I agree with her, and I drastically pruned my google reader last week, BUT I still feel irritation at the cycle that gets perpetuated by the "plastic" persona and how it affects other women. It's sorta like the story I shared about my friend who claimed to love everything about being a mom. I was left scratching my head and wondering what in the world was wrong with me for not loving everything. Wondering why motherhood seemed so hard for me when she was breezing through it with a cheerfulness that put Pollyanna to shame. 

I don't believe she was breezing through it though, and I don't believe she was always cheerful, but for some reason she didn't feel like she could admit that to anyone. And that just makes me sad...and mad because again, I expect honesty from people and there was something going on within her that prevented honesty.

See? It's MY issue.

I know that I can't change people. That is NOT my job. I can live MY life authentically though, and I desire that very much.

I'm afraid this is starting to sound whiney. That is not my intent, so maybe this is a good stopping point...for today.

I have lots of thoughts still stirring in regard to what authenticity looks like for me, especially in regard to my faith. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Rash Decision...

I decided just a minute ago that I need to unplug today.

Most of you know that I've been doing this one day a week since the first of the year. I want to make a bold claim and tell you that it's changed my life but that might be exaggerating a bit. It has made a big difference in my level of productivity around the house though. 

Today marks the end of a four-day weekend for us. It's been wonderful but all that sleeping in and napping and lazing around in my pjs has done nothing for my house--it definitely needs some attention today. I also need to do this. And do some planning for Brownies. And I have a date with my treadmill later too. My to-do list is getting longer by the minute.

Before I unplug though, here are a few things that aren't quite worthy of an entire post but that I want to mention.

My cousin had a baby! I'm so happy for them. She's not my first cousin to have a baby, so I don't know why I'm making such a big deal out of it. Maybe it's because I got to see her pregnant when we were at the Razorback game in Arkansas last fall. Maybe it's because she's a special cousin (one of the few girl cousins I have), or maybe it's because she had a baby boy very close to the time of year that I had a boy. Anyway, I'm just thrilled for them!

John and I watched Nights in Rodanthe last night. I've decided I hate Nicholas Sparks because his books and movies make me cry the ugly cry. Man, I didn't see that ending coming. If you watch it...have some tissues handy.

I spent some time this weekend planning some family activities for Lent. It begins next week on Ash Wednesday! It's easy to focus on Holy Week, but this year I want our family to stay focused during the entire season. I'll share some of what I've got planned in the days ahead.

And I'm STILL working on that follow-up post to authenticity. I worked on it Sunday and Monday, but my thoughts are still so jumbled. Maybe today as I'm cleaning I can get it all sorted out!

Hope you have a great Tuesday. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

You're Welcome...

Alright, so maybe it was wrong of me to show you a picture of my cute ribbon plate when they're discontinued. Sorry about that...I wasn't thinking.

However, Deidre, who also has the same (discontinued) SL@H plate, left this info in her comment:

Recently I found an entire ribbon plate collection at Michaels in the 'ceramics to paint' section. They have all sizes from large to even coaster sizes and usually come 2 to a box. The larger ones are $12.99 for 2, but with a coupon even cheaper, of course. Do you have a Michael's near you? I bought the coaster size and added ribbon to match each of my girls rooms, then make a hanger out of ribbon. Both are hanging in their rooms and I write a new scripture on them each week. My 7 year old LOVES this (O is a little too young to appreciate it), but E looks for the scripture every Monday morning. Sometimes, she'll request which ones she wants on there.

Michael's usually has a 40% off coupon in the flyer in the Sunday paper. I haven't been on the lookout for them in awhile, but I might be now! 

Thanks, Deidre.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Schtuff...

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Don't you love that cute plate I wrote my message on? It's a Dress-Me-Up plate from Southern Living at Home. I bought a few of these plates several years ago to give as gifts. Sometime last year I saw one on HisGirl's blog and set out on a quest to find one for myself. That proved to be a challenge since the plates had been discontinued--argh! 

Not long ago I discovered that Melissa was a SLAH consultant and we had a conversation on Facebook about Dress-Me-Up plates. She didn't have one, but her friend, Jill, saw our conversation and offered to send me an extra one she had. How sweet was that?

I got it last week while I was on my blog break and started playing with it right away. I mainly want to keep it in my kitchen and write scripture on it for my family to memorize, but really, there are so many fun things you can do with it. Thank you, Jill, I absolutely LOVE it!!!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love red and white gingham? It's just SO cheery. On the same day I got the plate in the mail from Jill, I also got this cute pendant from my friend, Stephanie? Her friend Vanessa makes (and sells) them. A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E. I've gotten so many compliments from my southern friends here! Alright, so a couple of quick things...

Abbey and I bundled up and braved the extreme cold (temps in the teens) and snow to work at our Girl Scout booth in front of Walmart this morning. Initially, I was griping about it, but then I realized that you know, we live in COLORADO for crying out loud. We spend hours outside sledding and skiing, and we have plenty of cold weather gear. Really, working for one hour wouldn't be too bad. It wasn't...and we sold tons of cookies.
I am very thankful to be back home thawing out by the fireplace though. :)

On the way home, we stopped and picked up a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's for the kids tonight. John and I have a Valentine date and I am counting down the hours! So excited to get to go out with my husband...and two other couples that we love!

I appreciate all the comments and emails about authenticity and blogging. many great things I hadn't considered before. I'm still sorting out my thoughts, and am hoping sometime in the next few days to sit down and put my thoughts into a stay tuned.

Hope you have a GREAT weekend and a Happy Valentine's Day!

*What's fun about that plate is that you can weave any type of ribbon through the outer holes. I believe I've mentioned a time or two that I have a fondness for my collection of ribbon! I used a sharpie to write on it, but a dry erase marker works as well. The sharpie comes off with a little extra scrubbing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

No-Spend Challenge: Week Four/Final Thoughts

I intended to post this WAY before now, but I suppose it is better late than never. Here's my spending break down for the final week of my January No-Spend Challenge.

Saturday (Jan 24):

Sunday (Jan 25):
-0- Well, I spent $0, but John spent $6 seeing a movie with friends. Some of you keep trying to persuade me that what he spends doesn't count, but I think it is important to mention this because I tried every single day of this week to go see a movie myself and couldn't find a showing that got me home before school let out. (I really want to see Revolutionary Road and Slumdog Millionaire.)

Monday (January 26):
$44 for my hair cut ($36 + 20%ish tip). That may seem extravagant to some, but I gladly pay it because Rachel is amazing. My experience has been that you get what you pay for.
$45 for dry cleaning. John has an awesome suede shirt that he bought at a second-hand store. It was the first time he had it cleaned, and I just about choked when the lady told me that my bill was $45. That's about 15 times MORE than he paid for the shirt in the first place. OH my gosh. I so didn't see that one coming.

Tuesday (January 27):
-0- I stayed home all day, and had a friend over for coffee. I was so thankful that John was able to fix our garage door without having to pay the repairman! 

Wednesday (January 28):
$6 ish to mail a book to Lisa. This is an instance where time was money. I ran into the post office and the line was twelve people deep. I didn't have time to wait in line to send the book by MediaMail. (Y'all DO know about MediaMail, right? Books/cds only can be mailed at a deeply discounted rate.) I was in a hurry to pick the kids up, so I used the self-service kiosk and mailed it from there. MediaMail isn't an option at the kiosk, I think because there is no way they can keep tabs on honesty.

Thursday (January 29):
$16 on birthday gift for one of Abbey's best friends. Yeah, I totally intended to make that tooth-fairy pillow, but time got away from me and I caved. Have you guys heard of PixOs? Super fun! 

Friday (January 30):
-0- Stayed home and unplugged all day. Our heater started acting in we couldn't get it to turn ON...but John finagled something and it got it working again.

Saturday (January 31):
$90 for DATE NIGHT!!! ($90 between PF Changs, babysitter, and a pizza for the kids).
By now, you know that I can justify just about anything, right? John and I were invited to a birthday party for one of our good friends and he suggested we get a sitter and go have dinner first. (Okay, twist my arm). With the exception of one evening meal out at Chick-Fil-A, we had eaten dinner at home the entire month of January, so yeah, I think dinner out was totally justified! are some of my observations:

1. I am addicted to hot, caffeinated beverages from a certain (sometimes obnoxious) chain. I had gift cards to get me through the month, but I was VERY glad when February 1 rolled around and I was able to splurge again. That money can add up quickly though...I've tried limiting myself to one a week. 

2. I say all the time that we don't eat fast food very often. With the exception of PF Changs, every meal we ate out in January was FAST FOOD. Gross. And, for what we spent at Chick-Fil-A, McDonald's, and Carl's Jr, we could have had a very nice family meal at a restaurant we all enjoy much more.

3. Eating fast food was the result of not thinking/planning ahead. We grabbed McDonald's for the kids when we were out running errands over the noon hour. We ate at Chick-Fil-A for dinner on the snowy night that we were in Co Springs over the dinner hour. John got the kids a hamburger the night I hosted Bunco because I shooed them out of the house and didn't want to mess up the kitchen making dinner. Normally, I'm a plan ahead kind of girl...but a couple of those instances could have better anticipated. I'm not super hard on myself about this stuff...but in light of #2, it makes the fast food purchases seem like such a waste.

4. I cook at home...a LOT. And that saves us mucho money.

5. I struggle with impulse buying. Remember the shoes and the bird and the candle I bought while I was on a quest for a lamp? Uh-huh. Still no lamp but I have lots of other bargains to show for my money.

6. I spend -0- money when I stay at home. Good thing I love to stay home. Another thing that helps me not spend money is to avoid looking at the sale ads. For awhile now, I've been tossing the ones in the Sunday paper before I read them because they tempt me with their oh-so-fab bargains? Remember the $4 scrapbook frame from Michaels? Clearly I didn't toss 'em that week. 

7. My blog friends can help me justify anything. Don't believe me? Go back and read the comments on Week One, Week Two, and Week Three in this series.

8. My heart wasn't really in this challenge. I've said over and over that I'm not a legalist, but when I did cave and spend money, I didn't feel too much remorse. I think the situation would have looked a lot different if we were in dire straits and I really couldn't spend.

9. I definitely spent lots LESS money than in December! 

10. I wanted to be aware of thoughtless purchases, and I think I was. Though sometimes my thought process before buying involved lots of justifying. ;)


I have to tell you that on the second day of February, we woke up to a FREEZING house. John's quick-fix from the previous week didn't last and we ended up spending a pretty penny getting our furnace repaired. That same morning, my van wouldn't start. I wanted to cry (and curse) because February arrived with a hefty price tag. Just made me thankful that we saved some money during the previous month. *smile*

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not so light and happy...

Once upon a time, I had a friend.

I respected and admired this friend. Very much. She was a few years older than me and always seemed so together and so very wise. I truly aspired to be like her.

One memory in particular stands out to me when I remember this friend. We were both new moms and were learning to navigate our way through motherhood. John and I spent an evening in their home and I coudn't help but notice that she seemed so much more adept at mothering than I was. At one point in the evening, she looked over at me and said in her dripping-with-honey-Southern voice: "I just love everything about being a mom".

I tend to lean to the cynical side. Not too heavily, but I definitely lean.

Amazed at her statement, I asked, "Really? I mean you really love everything? You love the sleepless nights and the spit up and the crying and the colic and loading the stroller in the back of your hatchback and changing dirty diapers and diaper rash and the sheer exhaustion of it all? Really?"

And she looked at me, still smiling and nodding enthusiastically and said, "Yes, I love everything."


I felt about as big as my baby's toenail in that moment.

Something shifted in me that evening and I realized that this friend and I were on two very different planets. I needed friends in my life who could be a little more REAL than that.

I needed friends who struggled with motherhood, friends who struggled in their marriages, friends who had a hard time navigating family relationships, friends who didn't have all the answers, friends who had doubts about their faith, friends who didn't have picture perfect lives and were honest enough to admit it.

I continued on in this particular relationship for way too long. The paths of our lives kept us in close proximity, but our hearts were miles and miles away from one another. Eventually I walked away from the friendship because I never seemed to be able to get past the hurdle of authenticity with this friend. I wish I could tell you that we wrapped things up nice and neat, but we didn't. It was very MESSY. Ugh.

So...why am I telling you this story?

Because I'm finding myself frustrated with the whole blogging thing lately. It just seems like a place that invites us to put our best face forward and mask the real stuff that's going on in our lives.

It feels like it creates an environment of artificiality.

Sure, there are bloggers out there who do an excellent job of keeping it real (and my list is highly subjective), but for every one of those there are a dozen out there that keep it happy and surface and create the appearance of an oh-so perfect life. Let me be the first to say I'm guilty.

I've talked to many women lately who tell me they read this stuff and then feel like failures because the lives they read about on other's blogs aren't anything like their own.

I've been wrestling with this lately. 

I think it's one thing to say you're real, but another thing entirely to actually BE real. 

For me, part of authenticity means that my personal life isn't always neat and tidy, and things don't always have a happy, joyful ending. (I strongly dislike the movie Facing The Giants for that reason--the Christian life is NOT a formula). Sometimes the stuff in my life gets me down. I absolutely believe that Jesus is the Lifter of my head, but sometimes that particular ending to my story takes days/weeks to write, and I desire to live honestly in the meantime.

If any of you have thoughts on blogging and authenticity, I want to hear them. Maybe you have some thoughts on what it means to be REAL. I want to hear that too. You can tell me if you think I'm off the mark on all this too. I'm turning this stuff over and over in my mind these days...and still trying to sort out what I think about it all. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big Day!

Will is TWELVE years old today!

And yes, that would be a cell phone he's holding. That was his big gift from us. He was thrilled. We let him open his gifts last night. Poor thing leaves for school at 7am and the girls are usually still in bed. I decided it would be torture to make him wait until this evening when John got home from work. 

The celebrating actually began last weekend with a guys getaway

He has requested roast beef and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight with four-layer delight for dessert. 

This weekend, he'll get together with his best little buds for some "guy" stuff and by then I think we will have successfully celebrated Will.

One gift that John hasn't given him yet (after dinner tonight) is a collection of letters from many of men in Will's life--family, friends of ours, our pastor, ministry leaders, etc. They each wrote some thoughts for Will on entering manhood--what that means to them and what that might hold for him. I read them last night and cried. 

I'm so thankful today for my son and for his life. I love him more than words can express, and I'm also thankful for the presence of strong men in his life that will accompany him on his journey into manhood. I'm especially thankful for John. Watching those two interact together is one of the greatest joys in my life. 

Happy Birthday, Will! 

Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm SO OVER the slanket...

Now I really, really want one of these so I can start doing this.

I know ya'll thought I was crazy for obsessing over the slanket. I had six people email me today with a link to Beth Moore's blog. Seems she was quite taken with The Slanket too. I feel strangely justified. 

I hope to be back soon!

(I'm closing comments again because I'm (technically) still on break. I know you desperately want to comment on the Slanket stuff. I'm sorry ya'll, but my inbox has been wonderfully empty this week and I need a few more days of that!)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I'm not blogging...

I'm not blogging this week...
but my friends are, and these are some posts I've enjoyed.

Yes, I know this is technically a blog post and that I'm on a blog break. Good thing I'm not a legalist.