Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Giveaway! (updated)

*UPDATE: It's 8:50pm on Sunday night (May 31) and contrary to what I said about closing comments tonight, I'm not going to because I'm exhausted and cannot stay awake until 10pm. I've decided to leave the giveaway open until sometime Monday afternoon. Let's say 2pm MST Monday, June 1. So, if you're just now reading this, then you're not too late to enter the giveaway.*

A few days ago, I was going through all the "treasures" that my kids brought home on the last day of school and I stumbled across Abbey's writing journal. I sat in the floor and read every single entry. Some made me laugh out loud but all of them made me smile.

Thought I'd share this one with you since today is MY BIRTHDAY!!! (Sorry, my photography skills are lacking. Click on the picture to enlarge it if you want to read what she wrote).

(She guessed correctly...I'm 39 today!)

Because no party is complete without presents, I'm offering you a chance to win something today! My college friend, Renae, makes adorable customized buckets. Click here to visit her Etsy shop. If you see something you like, or if you have an idea of something you'd like her to make, come back and leave me a comment and I'll enter you in the drawing! If you win, you'll get to customize the item of your choice!

I'll leave comments open until 10pm MST Sunday night (May 31) and I'll use a random method to draw a winner on Monday morning. One comment per person, please. You don't have to have a blog to enter, but you MUST leave me some way to contact you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

38 Things...

I saw this on my friend, Christen's blog, and thought it would be appropriate for today. Anyone wanna guess why?

1. What color is your toothbrush?..... pink, which is weird because I don't really like pink.

2. Name one person who made you smile today .... My kids. When I walked past the girls' room this morning, they were all cozied up in the floor in sleeping bags. It's sweet that they love "camping" out together (have done this for almost a week) but I think it's really so they don't mess up their beds and can wake up and check "Make Bed" off their chore chart right away.

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? .... Drinking coffee & checking email. And sneezing. And blowing endless snot out of my nose. (I have a yucky cold).

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?... Sleeping.

5. What is your favorite candy bar? ... white chocolate Reese's.

6. Have you ever met a famous person? ... yes

7. What is the last thing you said aloud? ... I love you. Call me later. (To John as he was leaving for work).

8. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? ... strawberry (with extra strawberries mixed in)

9. What was the last thing you had to drink? ... coffee

10. What was the last thing you ate?..... Strawberries and Ezekiel bread, toasted. With butter. 

11. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?... no

12. The last sporting event you watched? ... Highlights of the Lakers/Nuggets (GO Nuggets) NBA game.

13. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? ... Whimzie's crack

14. Who is the last person you sent a text message too?... My friend, Leslie.

15. Ever go camping?.... Yes, and I absolutely LOVE it. The more primitive the better!

16. Do you go to church every Sunday?... Pretty much

17. Do you have a tan?... No, and I'm disappointed b/c I usually do by this time of year. Most of May has been cold and rainy so Neutrogena is helping me out a bit.

18. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? ... Sometimes. Especially if it's PF Changs or Pei Wei.

19. Do you drink your soda with a straw? ... I rarely buy soda, but will order one if I'm eating out and then it usually comes with a straw. I drank that pineapple Dr. Pepper with a straw yesterday. And the verdict? Pretty good. I'll order it again.

20. What are you doing tomorrow? ... Have a VBS meeting in the morning and after that I'm not sure. Something with my family! 

21. What color is your watch?.... Navy blue. (It's an Ironman, but I rarely wear it).

22. What do you think of when you hear Australia? ... Hugh Jackman

23. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?.... Drive thru usually.

24. What is your favorite number? ... Why, 38 of course.

25. Who's the last person you talked to on the phone? ... my friend, Leslie. I felt terrible too. Because I called her while she was in a church service. About a recipe. (I still feel bad, Leslie!)

26. Biggest annoyance right now? ... I keep realizing things that were in my purse that was stolen. Latest casualties: $25 gift certificate to local bookstore and 2 memory cards for my camera--with PICTURES I hadn't downloaded on them. Arghhhhhh.....

27. Last song listened to?.... Poker Face by Lady GaGa.

28. Do you have a maid service clean your house?... Yeah, Mer's Maid service.

29. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? .... In the summer, my Reef flip-flops, though I'm contemplating a pair of Keen's because I hear they're amazing.

30. Are you jealous of anyone? ... Nope. Unless you count all the people who own property in Estes Park.

31. Is anyone jealous of you? ... Hope not

32. Do you love anyone?..... Too many to count!

33. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? ... No.

34. Do you use the word 'hello' daily? ... only if i answer the phone

35. What color is your car? ... Guess?!?

36. Do you like cats? ... Not at all. Because I'm highly allergic.

37. Have you ever been to Six Flags? ... yes, lots of times.

38. How did you get your worst scar(s)? ... Ran into a chair when I was five and busted my forehead open. I also have a nice arc-shaped scar on my knee from making a bed that had a spring-wire sticking out of the mattress. And of course the stretch marks on my abdomen are lovely reminders of carrying my three kiddos!

*Ya'll are on the right track with your guesses. BUT, the truth is that today is my last day to be 38, hence the appropriateness of 38 things.*

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I decided a few minutes ago to unplug today (but not until after I post this)(which might sorta defeat the idea of unplugging a little)(which is one reason I choose not to be a "rules" girl).

I usually prefer to unplug on days that I get to spend at home so I can get caught up on stuff around here, but since it has been rainy and cold for the last several days, I've gotten LOTS done around here.

Today, we're going to find a great spot to watch the Air Force Thunderbirds. The USAFA graduation is today (I think Joe Biden is the speaker) and the Thunderbirds always do a cool air show at the end of commencement. They've been out practicing the last couple of days and their maneuvers are impressive. I have a spot in mind to camp out and watch them perform. Should be GREAT.

Also today, a new natural foods market is opening in the Springs. I've been waiting for Sunflower Market to arrive in Co Springs ever since my friends Teri and Kimberly shared it's wonderfulness with me. That day is finally here, so the kids and I are going to check it out and stock up on organic strawberries for $1.50/lb!

No trip to Co Springs would be complete without a happy hour run to Sonic. After reading this post, I know exactly what I'm going to order. But I'll probably do what Carpoolqueen did and order my old stand-by (just in case). Be very proud, Amber. I'll let ya know my verdict tomorrow when I plug back in.

If you still feel like clicking on links, then read this post that my husband wrote last night about our children. It's beautiful.

Happy Wednesday!

*I love comments, but I'm disabling them for today in my spirit of unpluggedness!*

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Wouldn't Be Summer without...

...Chore Charts!

Odd as it may be, my kids actually look forward to their summer chore charts. 

I ease up on them during the school year, but in the summer when they're home all day, their charts give them structure and responsibility. 

Last year, I let them each make their own charts each week, but this morning I decided I was going to make a master chart and later on they can make their own if they choose.

However, I didn't have any index cards, copy paper, or posterboard. Hmmmmm....what to do?

I was sitting at the kitchen table and had an idea.

Using a dry erase marker and ruler, I wrote the chart directly on the fridge--one of the perks of NOT having stainless steel appliances! (Here is a link to an older post I wrote about Refrigerator Art. It's a great idea for younger kids, but make sure to test a small area first, and make doubly sure that you give them a dry-erase marker instead of a permanent one!)

I love how it turned out and I love that it's highly visible!

Each of my three have 4 things they must do each and every day, including weekends.
1. Get dressed (clothes, brush hair, brush teeth)
2. Make their bed
3. Straighten their room
4. Read for one hour--which may seem like a lot, but my kids love to read!
After they complete these tasks, they'll put their initial in the box.

They also have different daily things they're responsible for (and I usually let them have the weekends off):
Feed/water the dog
Help with laundry (take basket downstairs daily and sort)
Empty bathroom/bedroom trash cans
Wipe down bathroom counters/sink
Windex (except we use vinegar. and it stinks! and they tell me that all. the. time.)
Lunch duty (make lunch for siblings! b/c I hate making lunch)
Dinner duty (helping me set table, cook, clean up)
Sort recycling
Mom's choice! (These aren't written down, but are chores I assign as needed or if they're whining that they're bored. Really? You're bored? Well, I certainly have a thing or two you can do.)

Most of the chores above are rotated from week to week. If Sarah has lunch duty this week, then Will gets it next week. Abbey is still learning how to do some of these things, but she learns fast from watching her siblings.

I've never paid my kids for doing chores. I've always explained to them that we're a family and each person in the family is expected to help out with things around the house.  

But this year, John and I decided to pay them. They're excited about earning money for the first time and I'm hoping this keeps them motivated all summer. They usually make it through June with gusto and start steadily slacking off through July!

The perk is that if they consistently complete their chores each week, they'll get a $20 bonus right before we leave for Durango. Money is a powerful motivator for at least one of my kiddos.

So...we'll see.

I have some questions for you guys.
1. Do your children do chores? Anything not on my list that I might possibly add to their workload, er, I mean chore chart? 
2. Do you pay your children to complete their chores?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lovin' this long weekend!

This weekend has been extra long and lazy for us since John was off Friday and today. I am LOVING it. It's been the perfect start to summer.

I want to remember a few things about this weekend so I decided to do an alphabet recap.

A - Air Force Thunderbirds! They're out practicing for the USAFA graduation on Wednesday and they've been flying over our house off and on today. The sight and sound of them is one of my favorite things about where we live. Here's a link to some pics I took last year at this time. Absolutely awesome!

B - Brother-sister campouts. The kids have been "camping" out in each other's rooms every night since school got out. I LOVE it! Hearing them laughing and talking (and burping) and laughing some more before finally falling asleep makes my heart so happy! Today, Sarah and Abbey did a Bunk Bed switch. Now Sarah is on bottom and Abbey gets the top bunk. 

C - Coffee. I swear it tastes better on weekends. Summer Chore Charts. (I'm going to post a pic of our chart tomorrow!) Chinese checkers. 

D - Dance party. The girls had one this morning in the den. Love watching them double-dish. 

E - The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. That is the name of the book I'm reading (and loving). Anyone read it???

F - Five Guys Burgers and Fries. We ate there on Friday night. It's my favorite. 

G - Grilling. We grilled brats for dinner Saturday night. Too bad it was 50 something degrees and didn't feel at ALL like summer.

H - HOME! My favorite place to be. Love it even more when all my peeps are here with me! And we're going to watch the next Harry Potter movie tonight. We're working through them in anticipation of the one coming out in July.

I - We followed up our dinner at Five Guys with a trip to Coldstone for ICE cream! (Thanks for the gift cards, Kylie!) John and the kids had some ice cream a little while ago for a snack. We go through it fast around here.

J - Jack-the-beagle is certainly enjoying having all his peeps at home too. He loves the attention. I don't love how much he's shedding these days though. 

K - Kid stuff is taking over our house! They brought so much home from school and I'm slowly sorting/purging/filing it all. 

L - Lots of laughter and laziness this weekend. And Legos. Will is in his room right now creating something amazing.

M - Memorial Day. So thankful for those who've given their lives for our country and our freedom.

N - We took the kids to see Night at the Museum yesterday. It was SO GOOD! They loved it and so did John and I. On Friday, we watched Nacho Libre. Oh my was hilarious. I must have been really tired because every scene was cracking me up and I don't usually love stupid movies. It was great though.

O - Organizing. Aka: The Great Closet Cleanout. I'm taking a break to post this, then back to work! 

P - movie popcorn with extra butter. Pancakes for breakfast (J is chief pancake flipper around here). I've also been pricing plane tickets. I think I need to go to AR soon to check on my dad. 

Q - quiet mornings for John to write (because the rest of us have been sleeping quite late).

R - Rain and fog and cold. The weather has been yucky all weekend but it's perfect for READING!

S - Sleeping in three days in a row! So great! Afternoon smoothies. And a snack supper tonight!

T - Traffic. You know it's officially summer when interstate traffic starts getting worse. We went to Colorado Springs on Friday night and the interstate was like a parking lot. Has been every day since. Good thing we know the back way! Thunderstorms. Thunderbirds!

U - Just the five of US this weekend. We are each other's favorite people, and that makes me crazy-happy.

V - Vacation planning. John was online last night trying to find a cabin for us in Estes Park over the 4th of July. 

W - Wet weekend weather--yuck! Work. John was "off" but still had some freelance stuff to work on.

X - eXtra long weekends are THE best.

Y - Yardwork. Not our favorite chore by any means, but we managed to get a few things done in between rain showers.

Z - We started the weekend off completely zonked, but now we're rested and ready for the rest of summer!

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's Finally Here!


Will finished sixth grade.

Sarah finished fifth grade.

Abbey finished first grade.

And I shed a few (hundred) tears. Tears of sadness, gladness, and tears of pride and joy in the amazing kiddos God has blessed us with. My heart is very, very full.

And now that school is behind us, we can welcome summer!

(See how versatile this plate is? I love it, Jillian!)

To celebrate the end of the school year, we took the kids to Five Guys for dinner. Seriously, that is my most favorite place to eat these days. Probably because no one complains about the menu. (*wink wink*).

Know what's on the agenda for the weekend?

N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Well, maybe a matinee with the kids. They're dying to see the new Night At The Museum movie. But other than that...nothing! Which is just the way I like it! Happy Long Weekend to you all!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


After dinner tonight, we sat around the table sharing things we hoped to do this summer. I grabbed a Sharpie and (surprise!) made a list. Thought I'd share some of the things we're dreamin' about.

  • Six Flags 
  • Playdates 
  • The new Harry Potter movie 
  • Ice cream at The Rock House
  • Having a lemonade stand
  • Sleepovers
  • Seeing a moose (doubtful, but cool!)
  • Summer reading program at the library
  • Going to a Rockies game 
  • Having time to scrapbook
  • Going to the North Pole and NOT having to wear a winter coat! (It's our tradition to go in December but evidently that's not working for one of my kids, huh?)
  • Going to Durango with John's parents and his brother's family!!! (With side trips to Silverton, Mesa Verde National Park, and possibly Ouray, CO).
  • Vacation Bible School at our church
  • Getting a trampoline (yep, I think they've worn us down)
  • Afternoon happy hour trips to Sonic
  • 4th of July
  • Estes Park!
  • Getting a new lamp for my room (Sarah)
  • Camping! Even if it's just in the backyard! (We do this a lot actually)
  • Reading!
  • Family hikes and picnics
  • Landscaping our backyard! (Personally, I'm super happy about this one).

Whew! I think it's a great list...and I'm THRILLED that our summer vacation officially begins tomorrow afternoon.

Happy summer, friends! Anything fun on your dreamin' list?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Too Tired To Title This

(Lots of alliteration in that title, so maybe I'm not as tired as I think I am.)

This week is almost over and I am so glad because I am completely zonked.

Today was Field Day at the girls' school which is my MOST favorite day of the school year. I love it! I had a low-key job this year which was very nice. I took lots of pics, but I don't feel like editing all the other kids out of them so you'll have to trust me that it was a beautiful day and my kids had a blast.

I did take this picture of my VISITOR tag. 

Why did I take a picture of that tag, you ask? Because I wore a tag like this last week when I went on Abbey's field trip to the zoo, and another mom came up to me at the monkey exhibit and asked me where I bought my VISITOR t-shirt? She was totally serious (and totally blonde), and really thought the tag was part of my shirt. Not sure why she'd want a visitor t-shirt, and after I laughed at her question I decided I didn't want to stick around to ask, so I made a beeline for the hippos.

Before I left this morning, I put all the stuff for these fajitas in the crockpot. My house smelled amazing when I got home this afternoon, and the fajitas were absolutely delicious. (Thank you, Deena! That recipe is a keeper for sure!)

I've been kinda blah this week. My dad hasn't been doing so great. He's actually feeling some better today, but he's had a rough time lately. I hate being so far away. It really wears on me. On top of that, some friends are moving away, some other friends are dealing with heavy stuff, and as ready as I am for school to be out, I always feel a little sad that the year is coming to a close. I usually cry on the last day of school as much as on the first day. It just means that my kids are one year older, more mature, and more independent...and it makes this mama's heart sad.

But............ KRIS ALLEN--THE ARKANSAS BOY--WINNING AMERICAN IDOL makes me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My kids were begging me to get on Twitter and Facebook and ask all my central time zone friends who won. So I did. Because we can't stand suspense. We watched til the end of the show, but we certainly watched it with a lot less anxiety! Seriously, I am thrilled for Kris Allen. I have it on good authority from friends who belong to the church where Kris is a worship pastor that he is a great guy. He's definitely made all of Arkansas very proud!

I must sign off now. I've got to get in bed at a decent hour tonight. Tomorrow is another full day, but we only have two more days of school! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Monday, May 18, 2009


1. Glad for a terrific weekend! We were all so tired (kids slept til after 9am on Saturday!) and had a chance to rest and just enjoy being together. Yesterday was a perfect day.

2. Glad-as-glad-can-be that this is the last week of school. I am so hoping that their teachers are merciful and ease up on the homework.

3. Glad that two friends had healthy baby boys last week. Abbey is still a bit disappointed though that our friend, Mrs. Brown, didn't go with her suggestion to name her son Charlie. ;)

4. Glad that John has a short week. He's off on Friday (the last day of school) and I think we're going to do something fun with the kids to celebrate the end of the school year.

5. Glad that Abbey's teacher is moving up to second grade next year. It always seems like I'm just getting to know my kids' teachers really well by April/May, and then it's time to say good-bye. I got a note from our principal a couple of weeks ago informing us that Mrs. S was moving to second grade and she'd like for her class to move up with her. The entire class said "yes" and I'm thrilled about this. Her teacher is awesome, the kids in that class are great, and I love all the moms in our room! It's a win-win for everyone.

6. Very glad that Sarah is excited about middle school. And glad Will will also be there next year to "show her the ropes". He's a very good big brother, and I'm thankful for the care he shows to his sisters. I also kinda think he's excited to be the one in our family to pave the way for them.

7. Glad for the commercials during Saturday morning cartoons that convince my 7-year-old that she has to have these "super cool" shoes. Glad that I could shell out $26.99 for her to have a pair that she wore once before deciding she didn't love them after all. Arggggghhh.

(Oops. Did you detect that snarkiness in the midst of my gladitude? So sorry.) 

8. Glad for the season finale of AI this week and super-duper-glad that Kris Allen made it to the final two. My kids are convinced it's because I voted about "12" times, though their numbers are slightly off. Who are ya'll pulling for? 

9. Glad to be a part of a church that we love. Yesterday was Confirmation Sunday for 18 young people. One of the things they had to do as part of their confirmation class was write a statement of faith. Our pastors read parts from each of their statements yesterday and I was in tears at the beauty of their words. Simple. Childlike. Real. 

10. Glad the weather is finally warm enough to sit outside and soak up some sunshine work on my tan. We haven't hit 80 degrees yet this spring, but I think that will change this week!!! 

As always, many thanks to Gretchen for hosting Glatitude Monday!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I don't know about you guys, but the last few weeks of the school year are absolutely crazy-busy.

I don't enjoy being busy. In fact, most of the time I keep my calendar pretty clear and purposefully schedule free time for myself because I just really function best when I have lots of space in my days. 

I do not believe in doing everything (I say no quite often actually) but I do believe that my husband works hard so that I can stay at home and be available to do things with and for our kids. SO, when there's a field trip or something going on that I can help with I like to say YES!

Such was the case this week.

I was able to go on Sarah's last big 5th grade hurrah...a field trip to Castlewood Canyon State Park. Got to lead a hiking group (which just so happens to be one of my most favorite things to do!)

We had a beautiful day to enjoy the great outdoors. Next week those 5th graders will bid farewell to the elementary school that has been their home for many years. I've grown to love so many of these kids (and their moms!), and watching them grow and mature has been so fun! Spending time with them this week was a gift to my heart! 

I also volunteered to go with Abbey's first grade class to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo today. I haven't been to this zoo in awhile and I must say that it has improved since my last visit!

This zoo has a GREAT giraffe exhibit (I counted 15 today!) and the highlight for the kids was feeding them. Their tongues are black. Ewwwww. Believe me I was freely dispensing the hand sanitizer. 

If you're wondering why I posted a pic of a giraffe's tongue it's because I don't have any other pictures that don't have other kids in them and you know how I feel about posting pics of other people and/or their kids without permission. (That was one long sentence!)

I clearly wasn't thinking when I told Abbey she could have a friend sleep over tonight (her first...ever!) after all day at the zoo. Every day this week has been jam-packed and the exhaustion has definitely set in. I couldn't stand to disappoint her though. 

I just popped the girls some popcorn and they picked all the M&Ms out of the trail mix. They're watching Parent Trap 2 (one of my faves!) and I'm hoping they're equally exhausted and will crash pretty soon.

John graciously offered to take Sarah to the Family Beach Dance at school tonight because she was dying to go. I was so thankful! I took this cute pic of them before they left. I was proud of John for digging out his Hawaiian shirt in an attempt to be a little more festive. He texted me and said that "Who Let The Dogs Out?" was playing and the kids were going wild. His follow-up text said, "Limbo". He's a great sport, huh?

You wouldn't know it from the pictures in this post, but I have a 12-year-old son who's also had an eventful week. He's at a youth group function tonight and I think I'm going to do Paper, Rock, Scissors with John to see who gets to go and retrieve him. I have a secret strategy for winning at Paper, Rock, Scissors. I'm hoping it doesn't fail me tonight since I really want to stay on the couch in my pjs for the rest of the night!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I have another question.

Bloggers, do your real life friends read your blog? I'm not talking about your college roommates or your family or your friends scattered across the world. I'm talking about the people in your social circles. The people you sit in PTO meetings with, the people you worship with on Sundays, the people you scrapbook with, play Bunco with, work out with, and run into at the grocery store.

Lately more and more of the people in my social circles ARE reading my blog.

More and more of my conversations start with some variation of this: "Hey Meredith, I was reading your blog today and..."

It's definitely an interesting phenomenon. Friends who read what I write here know a LOT about me. I even heard one friend quote something I wrote back to me. It feels kinda WEIRD.

So tell me. Are you an anonymous blogger, or do you give your blog address to everyone you know? I'm super curious to hear your answers.

(I'm unplugged today---love the Blogger auto-post feature---but will check back in later this evening when my to-do list is complete!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


(This post is dedicated to Debbie and Lisa, two friends that delight in calling me names such as TreeHugger).

You Know You're a TreeHugger If...

  • You become giddy with joy when you realize that a recycling center has opened 2 miles down the road and they take ALL the recyclables which you've previously been hauling to the recycling center 20 miles away. (For those of you who've asked: we do have curbside recycling but I personally think it's ridiculous to have to pay for it.)
  • You get a big grin on your face when you walk into your local natural grocer and see the "We Are A Bagless Store" sign on the door. (They really won't give you a bag, but they will encourage you to buy one of theirs or they'll offer you a box).
  • You cringe when you buy pre-packaged snacks and juice for your Brownie troop after you've worked so hard to teach them to reduce, reuse, recycle. (We mix our own juice for them and we pour their snack into containers/cups that we reuse/wash every week but we bought "portable" snacks for our end of the year party/field trip yesterday).
  • You pull recyclables out of other people's trash or bring stuff home from church, school, and Brownies to put in your own recycling bin. (I know ya'll think I'm crazy, but I can't stand to see it get thrown away.)(I'm going on a field trip with Sarah's class today and threw an extra plastic bag in my backpack for recyclables).
  • You tell your husband that you want a composting system (this one) for your birthday. And you look away when you see him start to roll his eyes.

Yeah, I'm an eco-friendly girl. Have been for awhile now. And I'm proud of it. C'mon people, I live in Colorado--who wouldn't want to protect all this natural beauty?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When was the last time... typed on a typewriter?



At the library at the girls' school.

One of my volunteer jobs is helping their librarian each week. Most of the time she has me shelving books, which I don't mind at all (kinda relaxing to me) but it can become monotonous after awhile. I must say though that after 4 years of working weekly in the library, I have become a whiz at the Dewey decimal system. Need to find a book? Ask ME!

Instead of shelving today we were processing new books.  And I got to type the spine labels for all of them on the gigantic electric typewriter. 

That was a blast from my past.

My kids don't know how easy they have it.

When I was in high school (Class of '88, thankyouverymuch) I typed ALL of my papers on a typewriter, using lots and lots of white out and correction tape. My parents gave me a word processor when I graduated from high school and that's what I typed most of my college papers on. By my last year of college (let's just say it took me a few more years than four) John and I had purchased a second-hand computer from our friends. It was a smallish machine and the (even smaller) monitor was black and amber. We absolutely didn't have 20-inch full color monitors back then. I remember saving my papers in WordPerfect on a floppy disk (the kind that you had to format before you could use them, and the kind that actually flopped) and printing them on the dot matrix printer that had that weird perforated paper. CRAZY.

Sarah was finishing up a research project last weekend for her tech class. She brought her paper home on her fancy flash drive (we probably have as many of those in our junk drawer as we do pencils) and she was able to add pics from the internet and configure her footnotes in Word with just a few keystrokes. You guys remember typing footnotes on a typewriter? I remember being so exasperated trying to finish up a page and not saving enough room for those stupid footnotes at the bottom and having to re-type the page completely over. (Even thinking about that is just painful!)

Oh, and anyone else remember when the card catalog was a collection of paper cards in a box? Uh-huh. We're dating ourselves, I'm quite sure.


So thankful for technology. We've sure come a long way.

Know what else I think is funny to think back on?
Flash bulbs 
My cool car phone (early 90s) that was in a bag!!!
Betamax tapes
Rotary phones

What makes you laugh when you think about how un-advanced we were back in the day?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bagwoman and Robin

I mentioned last week that John's parents sent me a new Vera Bradley bag to replace the one that was stolen a few weeks ago.

Told you it was cute! It's so summery and I love it!

I can't really explain my fascination with Vera Bradley bags. I think I just like how fresh and feminine they feel.

I have a great story to share so let me back up to last week...

My kids had the day off from school last Friday. We enjoyed a leisurely morning followed by a hair appointment for me (yay!) and a happy hour trip to Sonic. Ask my kids, Sonic makes me giddy. We were singing and being all crazy in the van and having a really, really great afternoon.

As we pulled into our neighborhood, I stopped to check the mail. I was delighted to find a package from my sweet friend, Robin. Robin and I met my freshman year at Ouachita. She lived across the hall from me and we had loads of fun together making signs for the guys who would serenade our dorm, "studying" (ahem), making Walmart and Sonic runs, and trips to Hot Springs. Robin even came home with me one holiday weekend. We've reconnected this year through Facebook (seriously, people--Facebook is amazing). She has the sweetest spirit, and I think she is an amazing pastor's wife and mother to four boys!

She emailed me not long ago and asked for my address. Said she wanted to send me a little something. I had no idea what she wanted to send me, but I never dreamed I'd find this inside:

Couldn't even keep the tears from spilling out of my eyes. This is the pattern of my purse that was taken. The style is adorable, and I was seriously overwhelmed. She said it had been in her closet for "awhile" and she hoped I could enjoy it. 

Overwhelmed. Seriously overwhelmed.

While opening Robin's package, I asked one of the kids to go retrieve the note that I noticed had been taped to the door while we were gone.

Will brought it to me, along with a huge box.

The box had this inside of it...

And inside that box was this...

Verklempt. Could not even see through my tears.

I was a bit puzzled by seeing the note signed by Robin because the return address was the Vera Bradley store. I have a couple of friends that share that name, but wondered who knew my birthday was coming and who had my address. My powers of deduction were a bit hindered by the all the emotion and the tears spilling out of my eyes, but I decided it had to be my childhood friend, Robin. Robin and I met when my family moved onto Stroud Street right before my sixth grade year. We hit it off immediately and spent lots of time together...laying out on her trampoline coated in baby oil, perusing the mall and Seventeen magazine, walking to the Jr. Food store for slush puppies and PacMan, and whizzing through the neighborhood on my moped. By the way, mopeds and ice are a bad, bad combination. 

Robin and I had lots of fun together (and got in lots of trouble together) but the one thing that stands out in my mind is going to church with her. She got me involved in her church's youth group and it was during a Centrifuge camp she invited me to that I first gave my heart to the Lord.

And here she was blessing me (again) with a purse!

Two bags from two Robins in one day. (Hopefully the title of this post is clear now).

I feel very unworthy of these gifts, and I lamented that for the rest of Friday afternoon and evening.

John told me to just accept them with grace and thanks and be happy.

And I'm trying.

So, thank you, Robin and Robin for your gift of steadfast friendship (and fun, girly bags!) I love you both, and you guys blessed my socks off last week. 

And by the way, they're ALL my favorites!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

10 on the 10th!

This has been so much fun to do every month! I love how many of you have wanted to link up with your own 10 on the 10th posts. They're so much fun to read and I'm amazed at how creative some of you are with your lists!

I actually had a hard time coming up with ten things this month. In the end I went with an easy one--My 10 Favorite Family Games.

We love playing games together as a family, though it does seem like we do more of that in the winter months than in the summer. Here is my list of faves:

1. Apples to Apples. We don't have the kids' version, but my kids have been able to play this version successfully. We usually end up with some really odd answers!

2. Cadoo. We've had this for a few years and Abbey was even able to play it (with some help) when she was 3. The only downside to this game is that it's for four players. And we're a family of five.

3. Connect Four. A classic favorite. Will & Sarah finally figured out my strategy so I don't win nearly as much anymore.

4. iMAgiNiff. Very fun (and funny) but best played with lots of people!

5. Blokus. This is my most favorite game EVER. Seriously. I'm the reigning champ at my house and sometimes I even play online. 

6. The Game of Life: Twists and Turns Edition. Some friends gave us this game last year and it's AWESOME. There's no money to keep up with, everything is electronic. It's great for teaching kids about saving, planning, rewards and consequences. It's another four person game, so we usually play as teams.

7. A - Z, Jr. by Discovery Toys. Another great learning game. Abbey was playing this game with us in preschool and I am convinced it helped her master some early reading skills. (By the way, I'm a huge fan of Discovery Toys).

8. Set. We got this card game for Christmas. It's different, but fun and very challenging. I also play this game online too! 

9. Scattergories. We also have the kid version of this, but my kids prefer the adult game. The kid version is too easy for Will and Sarah, but even Abbey can play this game with us.

10. Yahtzee! Who doesn't love Yahtzee???

If you want to join the fun, post a link to 10 on the 10th POST (not your blog) below. If you have questions or need help, email me. Also, feel free to copy and paste the graphic above into your post. Have fun! I can't wait to see what your 10 on the 10th post holds.

*Don't worry if you don't actually post on the 10th. I'll leave Mister Linky open for a day or so longer since the 10th falls on Mother's Day this month.

Friday, May 08, 2009

chasing stray thoughts

...also known as thinking out loud... with lots of ellipses...because i like 'em...i like 'em a LOT...

...i keep finding stray grays...but i'm just going to get my hair cut color this time...because i'm not willing to spend the money...

...john sent me an email this morning signed 

J of the thousand grey/grays

...sweet, huh?...i love him so much...

...yesterday he sent me the acknowledgements page he wrote for his book (coming out in september) and it made me a baby...i'm so proud of him...and so happy for him too...

...chris tomlin is quite possibly THE most gifted worship leader on the guy has got it going on...downloaded some of his songs yesterday that we sing in church...and all i can say is wow...and wow you have a favorite chris tomlin song?

...the kids and i are loving our slow morning at home today...heading to the library later and a trip to Sonic has been requested...and then everyone is going to clean their rooms...i refuse to do it for them this time... know what makes me c-r-a-z-y? the parking lot of the middle school where i must venture daily to retrieve my son. i can feel my blood pressure rise as i navigate my way through the sea of SUVs and minivans. it's not pretty...

...hotel for dogs was not nearly as cute as i hoped it would be. didn't like the story line one kids loved it though...

...have ya'll read harry potter? my sweet girl checked it out of her school library for me...been wanting to read it since we started watching the movies on tv a few weeks ago...we can't find our copy...hopefully i can start it later this afternoon...

...10 on the 10th is coming up...if you want to join the fun, i'd love to have you...i'll put my post with mr. linky up sometime tomorrow evening...first, i've gotta come up with 10 things to post about...i have some ideas!

...think i've lost my love of the ellipses...even i am annoyed with my over-use of them in this post.  <--------------- see that? It's a PERIOD.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Spring Cleaning and Stuff

It was gorgeous here yesterday!

I unplugged from the computer and spent my day doing some spring cleaning. 

I've had the itch to really clean for awhile now, but have been so busy with other things that I haven't been able to jump in and tackle it. Yesterday I had the entire day at home (one of my favorite things) so I got up and got busy. I opened all the windows and let some fresh air inside and at the end of the day I felt like I'd accomplished a TON!

I don't know if you guys have ever intentionally unplugged for a day, but I am amazed at how focused I am when I'm not distracted by the computer. My goal since the first of the year has been to unplug one day a week. 

In other news...
I really think it's safe to say it's spring. We're supposed to see 76 today! My iris are coming up and I also saw buds on my lilac bushes. YAY! I'm not going to pack away all my fleece just yet though (more cold temps this weekend) but it looks like I can switch out the majority of our winter clothes for spring/summer ones. 

I've gotten totally sucked into American Idol this season all because of that Arkansas boy, Kris Allen. Until a month ago, I had never watched AI, but since I'm loyal to my home state and all the homies there, I decided to tune in and help Kris by voting for him. He's in the final three now AND going home to Conway for a parade this weekend. Any of you Arkansas peeps going??? (I totally would if I could).

I had a cup of yogurt yesterday that was out-of-this-world-delicious. It was this brand/flavor. I'm not a big yogurt girl, but I might be now. I just about died though when I read it had 14g of fat. Next time I'll buy the fat-free kind. 

About that grey/gray question? I googled it. Seems everyone in the world spells it grey except Americans. We use gray. I like grey better. And now I wish my previous post had been titled "Old Grey Mer". Anybody else read that and think of Meredith Grey?

Have I mentioned we have a four-day week? Today is my Friday. I am so happy about that!

Some of you have emailed me to ask about my dad. Thank you! He's doing okay. Not bad, but not great either. He had some complications last infection from his port and a kidney stone. Coupled with chemo, that's made for some unpleasant days. If you want to pray for him, I know he'd be grateful. I would too.

One of the things on my to-do list yesterday was clip coupons. When my purse was stolen so were all my coupons, including the file that I've had for 15+ years. I felt so lost at the store last week without it. It seems silly to say that I miss my coupons, but I do. Starting over from scratch is a pain.

Sarah has a big project next week for which costumes are necessary. I know from experience (Will did this project last year) that the contents of the school costume box are extremely limited, so I've been gearing my costume-challenged self up for figuring something out for her to wear. Imagine my surprise and giddiness when she told me she'd chosen to be a guide and she gets to wear regular clothes!!! I love her even more for that decision.

I had a great mail day on Monday! My sweet friend, Joan, sent me a Starbucks gift card to replace the one that was in my stolen purse. Joan was my next door neighbor in Arkadelphia. She is one of the kindest, most giving people I've ever met. When I was pregnant with Abbey and so, so, so, SO sick, she made me mashed potatoes. (Joan, I'll never forget that!) She called me every day to check on me and one day she asked if anything sounded good to eat. I said, "yeah, mashed potatoes" and that sweet friend made me some and brought them over. She'd also do nice things like make John banana pudding (his fave!) and leave us meals in our fridge when we returned from trips. I miss her, and when I opened her note with the Sbux card, I just started crying.

I cried even harder when I opened the package from John's parents right after that. Inside was a new Vera Bradley bag. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for all that John's parents do for us...and for ME. I have lots of friends that struggle in relationship with their in-laws, but I love mine dearly. They love me and have gone above and beyond to make me a part of their family. It was a special gift and I am so thankful. (I just tried to find a picture of my bag online and I can't...I'll show it to you another time, but trust me, it's CUTE!)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Old Gray Mer

My husband is actually the only person who can get away with calling me the "old gray Mer".

The truth is I'm not old. I'll be thirty-nine soon, but that's NOT old.

The truth is I'm not really gray either.

You know what I found one day last week though?  Three gray hairs

And then on Sunday, I discovered three more.

I have no doubt that the stress of last month put every single one of them there, but the sad reality is that I'm likely going to start seeing more. I like the stress excuse rather than the age one, don't you?

John took no pity on me. Why would he? He's got 1,000 gray strands for each of my SIX. And they make him look extra handsome and distinguished. 

Anyway, the point of this post is to ask you a question. 

Do you color your hair? For fun or to cover up gray "blemishes"?

I've done highlights before and I love them, but I don't love paying for them. My haircut is already a splurge without adding $60+ to the price tag. Seeing those stray grays though has me re-thinking the whole color scenario.

*One more question: Is it gray or grey?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Gladitude Monday

A few things that are adding some glad to my 'tude today.

1. The sun is shining. I repeat, the SUN is SHINING. Man, we've had some cold and dreary days lately, but I woke up to sunny blue skies this morning. Makes a huge difference in my mood!

2. My week is NOT busy. Makes me so happy.

3. This is a four-day school week! The kids are off on Friday and Monday, so that means that next week is a four day week too!

4. And not only that, but we only have 13 more school days and they're full of fun concerts, field trips, celebrations, and my personal favorite--field day!!!

5. Glad that I'm getting my hair cut on Friday. It's been 14 weeks (way too long) and needs some serious attention. 

6. Glad that my kids all love to read. I was sighing really loudly while picking books up (off the table, off the couch, off the floor, off the bed, etc.) last night and it dawned on me that I might choose instead to be thankful that they are enamored with books. And I am.

7. Glad that John is not traveling this week. He was gone for part of last week and my anxiety was greater than normal since his trip followed so closely on the heels of my purse incident. Thanks to those of you who prayed for me/us. It made a huge difference!

8. Glad that it's May! Lots of good things happen in May! Abbey has chosen "Tulip" as her name of the month. That kid is so stinkin' sweet. She's funny too. She walked in the den last week, fresh from the tub and all wrapped up in her bathrobe, and said "Hey Peeps! What's up?" It was adorable. Equally adorable was the morning she told me she was going to "fiddle-faddle with Maggie (her Webkinz) for awhile" since she was ready for school before the rest of us.

I'm ending with eight things...just to shake my left-brained-OCD-list-making self up a little. Happy Monday. Hope you also have some glad in your 'tude. (Who else thinks Gretchen needs to do a Mr. Linky???)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Staggering Stats

Alternate Title: Evidently this is a weather blog

Alternate Title: I Kid You Not

Alternate Title: Spring? Yeah right.

Alternate Title: Thinking of moving to_______, CO? I might know of a house for sale.

If you've read my blog anytime during the month of April, you know that it was a snowy month. It's weird, but it's normal. 

I just came in from checking the mail. Given my OCD tendencies, it's surprising that I'm not a check-the-mail-every-day kind of girl, but I'm not. Anyway, I spotted the May edition of our local community newspaper in the stack of mail and I anxiously flipped through it until I found my favorite part--the monthly weather wrap feature. A local meteorologist writes an article listing all the weather statistics from the previous month, and I find it highly interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I thought I'd share it here.

Ready for these April stats?

High temp (April 23): 73 degrees 
Low temp (April 6): 2 degrees (that's quite a span, huh?)

Monthly snowfall: 54.9 inches

Let me say that again. 54.9 inches. In April.

Our snow is measured from July 1-June 30. Our season to date snowfall is 131.9 inches which means that more than thirty percent of that snow fell in APRIL. 

Isn't that crazy??????????

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus...

...because I'm finished with my project!!! Well, technically, I'm 95% finished. I just need to do one final proof and get it to the printer on Monday. It turned out fabulous! If you're wondering, my project has been the yearbook at the girls' school. I'm the coordinator. It's a big project that rises to nightmarish levels when you BEGIN in April. 

...I'm not in charge of that project next year. Three years was long enough. I am determined to finish well, but I'm gladly passing the baton to two friends next year. fridge and pantry are full after a busy day of grocery shopping!

...Joanne brought me two new zippys today to replace the ones that were in my purse when it was stolen. I got the two on the left. They're super cute! Was bummed that she delivered them to my door and I wasn't even home to see her. 
...I got my replacement debit card in the mail! Of course it was after I wrote 4 checks at 4 different grocery stores today. Does anyone write checks anymore???

And, I have nothing on the agenda for the weekend. It's going to be another dreary and cold one, so my plan is to stay in my pjs tomorrow and READ!!!