Friday, January 29, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood

Today is Fairy Tale Day for my second-grader. They're concluding a unit on Fairy Tales and they get to dress up and have a Fairy Tale ball at the end of the day.


I've said it many times before but I'm challenged when it comes to costumes. Bottom line is that I just don't like figuring it all out. I did better with Halloween this year and honestly put some thought and planning into it. When Abbey mentioned that she wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood I decided to give it a go.

This post on Janna's blog was good inspiration. By the way, Janna's blog is amazing. She is one talented girl!

I bought a pattern (.99 at Joann's. Score!!!) and some red felt and spent last Saturday making this cape for Abbey.

I'm not a perfectionist (hallelujah) but it turned out better than I expected and wasn't too hard. I really only got confused on the hood part of it.

Abbey loves it. Isn't she the cutest Little Red Riding Hood you've ever seen?

Y'all have a great Friday! I'm off to book club, errands, and a Fairy Tale Ball!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: Disagreements

Whimzie (a friend who knew us both in college) asked:

What's the most frequent cause of arguments between you? Do you have different conflict resolution styles, and if so, how have you agreed to disagree?

(This is Mer, the wife)
I can honestly tell you that we argue over some of the most petty stuff. It's ridiculous how easily we can blow something out of proportion, and we have had some humdingers over n-o-t-h-i-n-g. We also argue over serious stuff--finances, issues of respect/disrespect, decisions to be made, etc, but without a doubt the thing we argue about most frequently is our differing approaches to parenting.

I tend to be strict and John tends to be lenient. I tend to be heavy on the consequences and he tends to be heavy on grace. I say no way more often, and because of that our kids ask their dad for things they really, really want. I think he lets them get away with way too much. Sometimes I feel like he's undermining me and I'm sure he feels the same way about some of my decisions.

But you know what? I believe our kids need the balance that we each bring. Suppose one of our kids got into trouble for lying. My immediate reaction would be to punish the child for that behavior. John would likely agree to some sort of consequence, but if I said, "Will, you're grounded for a week", John (aka Mr. Merciful) would likely wince and say, "How about a day?" As frustrating as that is for me, I believe our kids need the lessons of consequence AND of grace. Here's why: God gives us rules to protect us, and when we break the rules, there are consequences, BUT He also offers mercy, grace, and forgiveness whether we deserve it or not.

How have we agreed to disagree? I don't know if there's an easy answer for that, but I think we try to respect each other and our differences because we know that our kids need the balance of us. Sometimes I STRONGLY disagree with John and he knows it; the flip of that is true as well. Sometimes I stand my ground and sometimes he stands his. I don't think that we look at our marriage as a competition where one side "wins" and the other "loses" though. Sometimes it just calls for creative compromise.

As for our conflict resolution styles, um, YEAH, they differ! I usually spew my frustrations quickly (and loudly)(and often regretfully) and John usually turns his inward. I dump all my stuff on him and then I'm over it, while he takes all of his stuff (heaped with everything I've just spewed), gets really quiet, shuts down and shuts me out. Neither style is very healthy and both leave us feeling miserable.

Thankfully neither of us enjoys being mad or feeling out of sync for very long, so one of us will usually break the ice and invite the other into conversation. Usually, it goes something like this: Hey honey, I know we really got off track this morning but do you think we can talk through this and redeem the rest of the day?

Have we gone to bed mad at each other? Yep, many times. Have we said and done things we regret? Yep, many times. Will we hurt each other again? Yep. We will. And we'll keep coming back and extending forgiveness when that happens. I believe it's the only way this marriage thing can work.

And by the way, I don't recommend throwing things or storming out of the house and peeling out of the driveway in the minivan when you're really angry.


(this is John, the husband)
The question here deals with disagreements; that’s what we’re talking about. But we know there are some households filled with darkness, deep darkness. We in no way want to diminish or be flippant about that. If that’s your house, please ask for help.

Most of our disagreements these days revolve around our three kids, or as the experts would say our parenting styles. We are just now inching our way into the teen years; in other words, we’ve got miles to go. But we’ve already had more than a few moments where Cain has been raised between us. So what’s a couple to do?

Much of the parenting advice I hear and have been given is this: just make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. Mer runs a respectable blog here, so I’ll keep a rein on my language. I think that advice is horse feathers. I love Meredith and she loves me and we love our kids – you can write that on a 3x5 index card, but beyond that things get interesting…as, I believe, they should. If you and your husband are always on the same page, then, well, I think your pants are on fire.

I want our kids to look back on their childhoods and say things like whew! mom and dad were quite a pair, huh? They went round and round on some things, but they always came back to each other’s arms. And if I’m still around then, I’ll adjust my hearing aid, look over at Meredith and yell hear that? quite a pair, we were… No, not some same page, but a pair, as in “two” - a man and woman, as different as garlic and M&Ms, who kept it together by nothing but grace.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. (Gibran, “On Marriage”)

Raising kids is difficult and exasperating; people shed tears and say things they don’t mean, doors get slammed, and the Beagle hides behind the couch. All that gives you the opportunity to utter two phrases that make this life worth living: once upon a time (stories) and I’m sorry (forgiveness).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back Talk

Did you know that "back talk" is a synonym for answer? I didn't either until I just googled it.

Our internet connection has been erratic for the last couple of days, and it keeps booting me offline. That is most inconvenient when you're googling things like "valentines day crafts" or trying to check your email or working on a blog post. Arghh.

It seems to be working right now though so I'm going to quickly answer a few more questions from this post.

AverageMoreorLess asked me four questions:

If you could change your name, what would you change it to and why?
Well, I actually really like my name, but if had to change it, I'd go for Callie. Or Lyndy. Or Christin because I think they're beautiful names. I love Christin is spelled this way because it breaks down to "Christ in".

What is the best Christmas/birthday present you've ever received and why?
Hmmmmm, that's hard! One year John gave me a ticket to a Captivating retreat (way back before the book was out and before it was even called Captivating). I had little kids at the time so the time away was a gift, but the spiritual message of that retreat was the biggest gift of all. It was life-changing!

What is your dream job?
Park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park.

What is your favorite Disney movie?

Teresa, my real life friend, asked:
When are you going to write a book?
You know, that just really isn't my dream. Some people love to write and have that desire in them, but I'm not one of them. I'm content to have only one author in our family.

Katrina asked: What kind of crafts do you like to dabble in?
I enjoy scrapbooking, but it's hard to get motivated to pull out all my stuff and get in a groove. I recently bought Photoshop Elements with the intent of going digital with my scrapbooking, but wow, the learning curve is steep. I think I might like sewing. I've made a few things recently that turned out surprisingly well. I'm hoping to post about my latest sewing project later this week.

(And by the way, Katrina-who-asked-this-question and her husband have a craft blog together. They need 50 followers to do a giveway, so go check out their blog!)

Alright. Just finished my lunch so it's time to get back to work! John and I are working on another Wedded Wednesday post for tomorrow. See you then!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Did you know?

Did you know that today is...

I didn't know until I saw my friend, Stephanie, mention it on Facebook.

So, in honor of the day, I'm sharing my handwritten to-do list with y'all. I make a list similar to this one almost every single day.

I also love Sharpies. And these Bic markers. (I use the Bic ones to write on this plate!)

PS: I finally posted a new menu plan on my recipe blog. I'm trying to get back into the swing of that.

PPS: John just told me that today is also National Pie Day. I think I might send him by the VI for P later. I'm allowing myself a little sugar these days. :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shallow? Who Me?

Time to answer another question, this one from Gretchen, who asks:

What is your make up regimen/product line? Because honestly, your face looked so flawless and beautiful when I saw you. And because I'm shallow, I want me summathat. Please don't tell me it's your natural genes. Because I'm shallow, and I want me summathat.

I got to see Gretchen when she was in Colorado visiting family for Christmas. I honestly don't know whether to laugh at her comment about my flawless face, or be thankful that Chili's was dimly lit and/or she forgot to put her contacts in that morning. It's hard for me to take a compliment, but thank you, Gretchen.

So...she wants to know my makeup regimen/product line.

Prepare to be amazed.

Here is my make-up in my fancy-schmancy box.

I went a little over a year without buying any make-up and trying to use up the surplus I had. I'd heard good things about Bare Minerals and when my very last drop of foundation was gone, I splurged and bought this starter kit. I decided to go for the kit because it came with all the brushes, and was cheaper than buying it all individually.

I really like it. I wasn't convinced at first, but I finally figured out that the Skin Rev-ver Upper that came in my kit was causing my break outs so I quit using that and have only had the occasional, predictable outbreaks.

Here's a peek at the inside of my box and the rest of the stuff I use. If you're really curious, you should be able to click and zoom in on it.

I like BeautiControl blush and concealer. My lipliner, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipsticks are from Ulta. I like this mascara. I don't wear a ton of makeup, and I don't even wear it every day but I definitely look and feel better when I do.

As far as taking care of my skin--honestly, I'm pretty lax. I love Neutrogena facewash and moisturizer. I use the Estee Lauder one my wrinkly under eye area (I have one more sample jar before I have to break down and buy some). I really should be more diligent about taking care of my skin. I'm starting to notice a lot more wrinkles.


Okay, one more question.

Carlee, my real life friend that I used to pound the pavement with, who started a blog and didn't even tell me!!! read somewhere on my blog that I loved SmartWool socks (I do! I do!) and now she loves them too. She asks: What else do you love?

Well, my list is subject to change on a daily basis, but here are some things off the top of my head:

Larabars Key lime pie and Coconut cream pie are my faves! They're fruit and nut bars and are naturally sweetened so I ate one the other day when I was craving sugar.

James Avery Jewelry. My friend gave me the idea of starting a "faith bracelet" for my girls and giving them a charm for each of their spiritual milestones--baptism, first communion, confirmation, etc. I wish I had thought to do that for them at Christmas. I love James Avery because he uses lots of spiritual symbols.

Caribou Coffee. I drink lots of different brands of coffee, but this one is my favorite as of late. I like it even better when a bag is on sale for $5 and I have a coupon for $2 off!!!

Eddie Bauer curvy fit jeans. These jeans fit me perfectly, probably because I'm curvy. They retail for $60 (I would never pay that much for a pair of jeans!) but we have an EB outlet close by and I got mine for $30. I popped in there after Christmas and they were on sale for $19.99

Glee! And the Glee soundtracks! (Thank you, Heather!!!) John and I are halfway through Season I on dvd and we're hooked. I may or may not have a ginormous crush on Will Schuester.

I also love...
my crock pot (and the pork and black bean chili that it is cooking for me!)
my church and especially my mom's group there
my ratty Arkansas sweatshirt
Aleve for ridding my neck of it's painful crick this morning
and little girls who crawl up in your lap to snuggle and giggle while showing you their "art".

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: Whoopee!

John and I are answering marriage questions on Wednesdays. Amber started things off with a bang by asking: How do you keep it fresh and fun in the bedroom? Alrighty then, Amber. You do realize our parents read this blog, don't you?

(this is John, the husband)
We’re going to avoid tips and techniques, alright? If you want those, go buy a book.
After almost twenty years, we’ve found a lot of grace for the bedroom, a.k.a. sex, contained in the traditional marriage vows. Here’s what we mean. Sometimes the lovin’ is better, sometimes its worse; there are nights when the zippity is doo-dah (richer) and sometimes when its poorer; sometimes makin’ whoopee is healthy and sometimes, well, not-so-much. Expectations of the bedroom always being fresh and fun reveal you’re still in your first year of marriage or you’ve bumped your head one too many times on the threshold. Seriously, sex is an amazing God-gift, but it doesn’t fall out of the sky like manna; it comes via your husband (or in my case, my wife), always offered by flesh and blood and as such, always in need of grace. Always.

Having said that, sex can fall prey to a rhythm of poorer and worse and sick. One way we’ve found to break that spell deals with time. Unfortunately, sex is sometimes assumed to happen after you’ve worked all day, tried to spend quality time with your kids, walked the Beagle, caught the weather forecast at 10pm and fallen into bed around 10:30pm. Now some nights it will. But stay in that groove long and you’ll find you have nothing to offer your first love; you’re just too tired.
Hint – take advantage of weekend mornings and afternoons and that little thing on your bedroom doorknob called a lock. And if you got a dependable sitter or grandparents nearby, overnight getaways, even if just for one night, are always worth the money and effort. Just don’t forget to pack the grace. And the fog machine and the Annie Lennox cd.

Sweet dreams are made of this...

(This is Meredith, the wife)

To be frank, I've been pretty tentative about this post because I don't want to say anything that would dishonor my husband and/or the relationship we share. I believe that what goes on behind the bedroom door should stay there. But we agreed to be honest so I'm going to try to do that without disclosing private stuff.

I echo what John said about there being rhythms in marriage and times when sex isn't always fresh and fun. Sometimes it's just perfunctory. And that's okay too.

John dropped a few hints about getting creative about when sex happens, but how about giving some thought to where? Is your bedroom appealing? Is it neat and tidy or do you usually have three baskets of unfolded laundry on the bed? Is your bedding frilly and feminine? What about choosing something that you both like, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and making your bedroom a place you want to spend time? Together.

Other ideas:
Take a shower. When I'm tired, a shower helps me wake up a little and it lets my husband know that sex matters to me too and I'm willing to do my part to make it happen. And if taking a shower isn't keeping things fresh, then I don't know what is.

Buy something new every once in awhile. I'm not talking about a sweater or a pair of shoes either. Just something that only your husband will see.

You don't even have to buy anything. Put some thought into something special you can do that you know your spouse would enjoy.

I think that a lot of women believe they could go for a really long time without needing sex. It's true that we're not wired to think about it constantly or need it the same way that men do, but I believe that women do need sex to stay physically and emotionally connected to their spouse. The longer I'm sexually disconnected from my husband, the more out of sync we become and the harder it is to find our rhythm again. So yeah, it may not always be fresh and fun but it's such an amazing gift that God has given us, and He's given it to us to ENJOY.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Random Dozen

I saw this Random Dozen on Christen's blog, and she got it from here. I'm sorta feeling blahgy again today but this looked fun and quick! And it was.

1. When was the last time you craved a food--what was it, and did you crave?
Last week. I was craving cucumber sandwiches like my friend Molly makes. I bought some cucumbers when I was picking up some stuff I needed for Bunco and I bought a loaf of white bread (horror!) and made myself one. It hit the spot.

2. M & M's or Skittles?
Neither. I hate chocolate so I don't eat M&Ms, and I don't like Skittles either. By the way, I have FOURTEEN sugar-free days under my belt (though I did have some ketchup with my fries at FiveGuys yesterday) but that's pretty much the only sugar I've had in two weeks.

3. Have you ever read the Bible completely through?
Nope. Working on it (again) this year.

4. How long does it take you to really wake up in the morning?
Not long--just a couple of minutes. Especially since John always has the coffee ready for me.

5. Have you ever been on a cruise? If not, would you like to?
Never been on one. I think I might like it, especially if it was an Alaskan cruise. I have a few doubts though because I went on a whale watching tour a few years ago in San Diego and I felt like I was "bobbing" for about two weeks after I got home. I had something strange going on with my inner ears and it was the weirdest sensation.

6. Who is your favorite actress?
Oh wow, I don't know. I love Reese Witherspoon and Amy Adams. I also like Keri Russell and Natalie Portman. And Emma Thompson. And Maggie Gyllenhaal.

7. ______ is something that I will just never understand.
Uh, math. Or maybe physics. But seriously, I don't understand how people can not forgive.

8. How much of a technology junkie are you?
On a scale of 1-10, I'm probably a 5. I think it's all VERY cool but I don't have a lot of cool gadgets and devices. I don't mind admitting that I'm coveting the Apple tablet that has the technological world buzzing and is rumored to debut as early as next week. I covet a lot of techy stuff. I just don't have the cash to buy it all.

9. Do you enjoy selecting greeting cards for people, or is it more of a cultural "have to" for you?
I don't enjoy it at all.

10. When was the last time you got a new style/haircut?
I got my hair cut and colored (highlights) two months ago. I told John on the way to church yesterday that I need another cut, but I'm going to wait a little longer. I like to get the most bang I can for my buck so I will probably stretch my highlights a little further too. It's mainly because I'm cheap and I hate spending the money.

11. What do you enjoy shopping for most?
I just really don't like to shop. I don't mind wandering around the Apple store or Anthropologie from time to time but I rarely buy anything when I'm there.
Actually, you know what? I was in Denver yesterday and went in Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts (the one right by your old house, Joanne!) because I needed to get some fabric to make a costume for Abbey. I think I actually like shopping for crafty stuff. I'm not a great crafter, but the craft store is a happy place for me!

12. What's the last thing you think of before you leave the house?
I have a mental checklist:
Is my CHI turned off? Do I have my purse? Do I have my list? Do I have my phone? Do I have my gloves? Is Jack in the house? Does Jack have plenty of water? Is there anything out that Jack might get into while I'm gone? Is the sliding door locked? Is the stick in the door track? Are the windows closed/locked? After my purse was stolen out of my van last year I'm super paranoid about break-ins.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Love

Today has been wonderful.

Here are some of the things I've loved...

I hosted Bunco last night so I woke up to a very clean house. Love that!

I love this plate and all the fun things I get to use it for. Thank you again, Jill!

I love sleeping in.

I love that John had coffee ready when I woke up. And I love that he made me breakfast--fried eggs and toast--my Saturday favorite.

I love that my girls played dolls in their room almost all day. They were chummy from the moment they awoke until the time they went to bed. It's not rare, but it definitely makes my heart smile. I also love that Sarah is 11.5 and still enjoys playing with dolls. And her little sister.

I love football on Saturday afternoons. Not many more days of football left this year so I'm making the most of it.

I love naps on the couch.

I love popcorn. That I don't have to share.

I loved John being home with me/us all day. Loved joking around with him and sharing smiles over inside jokes. Also love that he's sitting on the couch with me right now.

I love this girl and the fact that she wanted to wear this jersey today to make my best friend smile. (She did!)

I loved that the Colts won too! Woohoo!

Loved the weather that was sunny and warm (for January!)

I could go on and on but I'm tired from all the NOTHING that I loved doing today.

John and I are unplugging again tomorrow (Sunday) and I'm also heading to Denver to spend time with one of my dearest friends who's in town visiting some family. See y'all on Monday. Or Tuesday. Or whenever the urge to blog strikes again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good Golly, Green Girl

Since I'm sitting here eating a bowl of (green) guacamole, I decided it was the perfect time to answer Amber's question from this post last week about me being green.

Amber wrote:

I knew you when you were an Arkansan. But I don't remember you being super into recycling and eating organic when you lived here. Has that been a change for your family since you moved? Or were you into that here and I just didn't know?

Okay, first a little background. Some of you might know Amber from her blog, Raising Rascals, but we're actually real life friends and went to church together when we lived in Arkansas.

When I was pregnant with Abbey, Amber was pregnant with her second son. She was due a week or two after me and had the nerve to have that baby BEFORE me. I haven't seen Amber since she was in Denver a couple of summers ago, but she returned to Arkansas after that trip and started a blog so now I feel like I get to keep up with her all the time. She's a great blogger and makes me laugh out loud quite often!

The reason she doesn't remember me being green when I lived there is because I wasn't. It's really only been in the last three or four years that I've moved from awareness to action.

[And can I just interrupt myself here and tell you that I believe there is a big difference between awareness and action. That whole Facebook/bra color "game" last week created awareness (more of breasts than breast cancer in my opinion) but I'd have loved to have seen it generate some action. If everyone who posted their bra color had donated $5 to breast cancer research THEN the game might have served a purpose. Same with the devastation in Haiti. We're all aware of the need, but why not let that awareness move us to action to do something about it. There is a HELP HAITI button over on my sidebar ----------------------------------> or you can click here.]
Okay, sorry, moving on.

I feel pretty strongly about being a good steward of our planet's resources. Being green for me means that we recycle everything we possibly can and I look for ways to reduce waste and re-use things before they get tossed in the trash or we buy something we don't necessarily need. I carry my own reusable grocery bags when I shop (keep them in your car so you always have them with you and write "Get Bags Out of Trunk" on your shopping list so you don't forget!) Before you toss the used spaghetti sauce jar, ask yourself if there is something you could store in it (I use lots those for craft supplies--beads, popsicle sticks, etc).

Recycling doesn't have to be hard. I have two or three cardboard boxes in my garage that I toss my recyclables in. I go out and sort everything once every couple of weeks (plastic, glass, aluminum, paper/cardboard/magazines) and load it up to drop at the recycling drop-off. I choose not to pay for curbside recycling but some companies that offer that service will give you the bins to sort it and others require no sorting at all which is super nice. You can check your yellow pages for a recycling center close to you.

Another part of being green involves using natural substances instead of harsh chemicals to clean things. This is an area I'm really trying to improve. I came across a blog several months ago that had some great green cleaning recipes. I tried the laundry detergent and didn't love it, but I absolutely LOVE the basic soft scrubber and the general all-purpose cleaner. You'll have to check out that recipe link, but if you use this almond flavored soap to make these cleaners then it will smell like you're baking cookies when you're really cleaning the bathroom.

As for eating healthy and organic. No, I haven't always been this way either.

About 25 minutes into our moving day trek from Arkansas to Colorado, our youngest child started throwing up. She continued for the two days it took us to drive here and she continued for half of the next day. It was awful.

She continued to have episodes like that when she'd get some sort of stomach virus which she seemed more prone to than my other two kiddos. After numerous trips to the ER and being hospitalized twice for dehydration when she was three and four years old, no doctor could tell me why she was getting so sick (vomiting every 15 minutes for 48 hours straight) and was unable to stop without the help of IV fluids. I took matters into my own hands and began to take a hard look at what she was eating. I couldn't figure out why it was happening, but I decided that nutrition was going to be my first line of defense.

Abbey had tubes put in her ears when she was 14 months old and until that point had numerous ear infections (like one every month) which our pediatrician treated with antibiotics. I speculated that her gut had been depleted of every ounce of healthy bacteria from antibiotic overload. I changed doctors at one point because I disagreed with the constant antibiotic treatment but I think the damage had already been done.

I got her on a good probiotic, a good multivitamin and supplements, and cut out all high fructose corn syrup and lots of other junk from her diet. That's probably when we started eating more and more organic foods because those seemed to be the ones that don't add the junk and fillers.

And you know what? It worked!!! She hasn't been super sick like that since we started all this. Hallelujah!

I started a new way of eating/living for Abbey but it spilled over into what the rest of us ate too. I really believe that nutrition and illness are related. I've told you before that sugar greatly compromises your immune system. Next time you get a cold or virus, think back over your diet the past few weeks and see if you can find a connection. With my own family, it's usually very evident.

But please don't think we're totally healthy all the time. We're not. I try very hard, but I get lazy sometimes and other times I just don't care. I know the right way to eat, but it's not always easy to get your kids to cooperate. I'm having a terrible time right now getting Abbey to eat good things. She loves junk. Craves junk. Wants junk. And throws a holy fit when I tell her no. It's been very hard getting back on track since Christmas with that kid. She's tough, but I can be tougher and she's finding that out the hard way these days.

So the very long answer to Amber's question is no, I haven't always been this way. And I've never been one for brevity either.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

(We Couldn't Agree on a Title)

(This is John, the husband)
Meredith and I were throwing around blog ideas the other day while we were getting pedicures and sipping Perrier. One of us, it's hard to remember who, said how about we tell our followers (snort-laugh) they can ask us any question about marriage and we'll do our best to answer it or at least make something up? The other, probably Meredith, said why in the world would anyone listen to what we had to say about marriage? I sat my Perrier down and said but what if we told the truth? (Pause for dramatic effect)

So why don't you ask your question, any question within reason, about marriage? We'll gather them up and post a Q&A on Wednesdays. Game?

Here's our disclaimer: If you need churchy answers or bible verses, you'll probably be disappointed. We don't have many answers anyway, but maybe, just maybe, we're learning what the questions are and we'd be willing to share them or at least point you in the right direction. And (pause for dramatic effect) we promise to tell the truth...and have fun. We'll have been married twenty years this summer and we've read at least the cliff notes to Love & Respect and listened to the podcast of Love & War and have seen Sleepless in Seattle and Lonesome Dove numerous times, together I might add.

(This is Meredith, the wife)
We were eating breakfast together last Saturday (the man makes me fried eggs every single Saturday--how great is that?) and I was telling him about my "ask me a question, any question" post and then read him some of your comments. I'm pretty sure the marriage question thing was his idea but I think it could be fun. John is the fun(ny) one and I promise he'll have you in stiches along the way.

So shoot us a question and we'll try to get 'em answered on Wednesdays--starting next week.

Please keep two things in mind: We are not counselors. We cannot solve problems or fix marriages. We rarely take ourselves too seriously, so this probably isn't the best place to direct questions of a serious nature.

And like John said, we're not experts on marriage either. Oh my gosh. Not even close. But we've weathered nineteen.five years together and have learned a lot along the way.

I promise I won't close comments early this time. Smile.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

10 on the 10th!

It's once again time for 10 on the 10th. I tried this afternoon to come up with a list of ten things I learned in 2009, or ten goals I have for 2010, but honestly it was much easier to come up with ten random things about myself. So that's what I'm rolling with.

10 Random Things About Me

1. John and I are going to start unplugging on Sundays. He did that for a long time but I was always too chicken to join him. He's gotten out of the habit over the last several months and he mentioned over breakfast today that he was ready to start back up. I'm joining him and we start tomorrow. I'll be honest; I'm scared.

We try pretty hard to make Sundays look different than the other six days of our week. We limit the time our kids spend on "screens"--video games, computer, television--and we want to be a better example to them. Much easier said than done.

2. I'm addicted to The Bachelor. Every season I tell myself that I'm not going to watch. And every season I get sucked in. I watched the premiere last week and don't know if I can avoid tuning in this week. I don't watch a ton of television (besides football!) so that's how I justify it.

3. I'm also addicted to Twitter. I waste way too much time there every day. Because it's just fun. Fun, but addictive.

4. I seem to be on an addiction confession kick so I'll go ahead and let you know that I'm also addicted to my tweenagers music. Miley Cyrus? Selena Gomez? Yep. I like 'em. The kids all got iTunes cards for Christmas and I helped them download a bunch of songs last weekend. I put all their songs on my iPod too.

5. Back before Christmas, Kelly posted a link to this hair-poofing video on her blog. I desperately want to tell you that it has transformed my daily hair routine but I don't want you to think I'm superficial. I have lots of thick hair (a blessing, I know) but the weight of it pulls it down and my style doesn't hold it's shape very long or very well. I'm not about to buy a BumpIt (hello, Elvira) so this video was just what I needed. Go watch it. It's kinda long and the girls are from Arkansas so they have a twangy accent (which I love because I'm an Arkansas girl) but maybe it will revolutionize your hair too!

6. I loved all your questions from my last post. Some of you were disappointed and some of you were curious about why I closed the comments. I did it because I was getting overwhelmed with the questions. I want to be able to answer them all but if I let you keep asking I would be answering questions into 2011. Definitely have some great blog fodder though! Thank you!

7. After FOUR years of not using any artificial sweetener (aspartame, saccharine, Splenda, etc) I caved and started drinking diet soda again. I'm a big fan of Diet Dr. Pepper these days. It satisfies my sweet tooth without sugar. I usually drink one every couple of days.

I gave up on artificial sweeteners because they're really, really bad for you. Sugar isn't great for you either but it is more natural. It sorta feels like I'm just trading one bad thing for another, but as long as my scale keeps following a downward trend, I'm okay with it. By the way, I do not like Stevia. At all.

8. I got a new coat for Christmas. I can't remember if I blogged about it or not, but my husband did and his post made me cry. Wanna see a picture?

(Hey look, proof that I really do wear make-up. And notice the poofed hair?)

9. I get really sad sometimes that my kids are getting so big. Next month my son will be a teenager. Oh my gosh. Sarah is so close on his heels (they're only 17 months apart) and my baby is no longer a baby. These days are golden. And I'm very aware of it. If anyone figures out a way to make time stand still or for me to have a baby without ever being pregnant again, please let me know.

10. I have Season I of Glee on dvd and I'm dying to start it because I've heard so many great things. I cannot wait. If I can get this post finished in time we might even start tonight!!! And maybe it will be so wonderful that I can resist the lure of The Bachelor on Monday. Ha. Doubt it.


Okay. If you want to play along, just post a list of ten things (ANYTHING you want) on your blog and link up below. I'll be offline on the 10th but I'll be anxious to read your posts on the 11th!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Just Remember: Curiosity Killed the Cat (Comments Now Closed)

I told you earlier this week that I'm feeling blah about the "blahg". Really, really blah.

I decided to ask you all for some blog fodder.

Here's your chance to ask me a question. Anything you're dying to know?

I've done this before (January 2008) and I received a lot of questions. It took me awhile to work through them, but it definitely helped me get my blogging brain back on track.

So....ask away.

I do reserve the right to censor the questions. Or not answer them at all. Keep 'em nice, y'all.

Happy Friday. Hope you're weekend is shaping up to be a good one. I'll be back on Sunday with 10 on the 10th!

***LOVIN' the questions you've come up with so far! I'll take a few more and then close comments to ensure they all get answered!***

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Blahg Post

Do ya'll ever just feel blah about blogging?

Yeah, me too.

I'm just a little blah today in general, I guess.

The kids went back to school today after their EIGHTEEN DAY break. That's a lot of days.

I loved it, and until yesterday I wasn't ready for it to end. I was a tiny bit sad when I dropped Abbey off at school this morning, but I forgot about being sad as I made my way to meet a friend at the tea house.

It hit me when I came back home though. I like quiet, but it's just a little too quiet around here right now.

So yeah...blah...blah...blah.

Let me just quickly catch ya up on a few things going on around here.

1. I'm fasting from sugar again. I did this for about three weeks in November and felt great. I also lost 6.5lbs. I tried to do it again in December, but the lure of sugar was too much. I failed miserably. I'm tired of feeling the miserable side effects of sugar consumption--bloating, no energy, poor sleeping, skin breakouts--so I'm attempting to detox yet again. I have one day and one killer headache under my belt but I'm on my way! Wanna join me?

I'm not eating any refined sugar for two weeks. No honey or agave either. I will add those two things back in gradually after my initial two weeks.

I DO allow myself to have fruit--usually an orange or apple once a day.

I'm trying to eliminate white flour as well.


2. I'm attempting for the 8th time to read the Bible in a year. I need to apologize to Betsy because I told her I'd done it twice. I thought I had but I haven't. I've gotten VERY close to finishing it twice but never have I actually read from cover to cover.

I'm using this reading plan and I plan to use the New Living Translation for most of my reading. I always get bogged down in the Old Testament though so I think I'll probably use the Message to make that a little easier. I like the way the Message translates the Psalms though so I've been using that this week.

Here's the wonderful thing about the Discipleship Journal plan. You only have 25 readings per month so if you get behind you have a grace period to catch up. I've used this plan several times, in fact, I found my old reading plans last weekend (while searching high and low for my Message Remix Bible) that I've saved from my prior attempts. One year I made it to the end of November--so close--and for the life of me I can't figure out why I didn't finish that last month? [Note to all of you who save stuff: Write the date on things you save. It makes looking back way more fun. I wish I had dated my reading plans!]

Some wonderful advice that has stuck with me over the years is this: if you start this plan/any plan and only make it three months, don't look at it as failure, look at it as having read 1/4 of the Bible.

There's still time to catch up if you want to join in. There are actually lots of us doing it which helps with accountability!

Alright, it's time for lunch, and I have some reading to do. See ya!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A Few Days in the Mountains...

We've just returned from a few days up in Winter Park, CO with John's family. It was snowy, cold, beautiful, and so much fun!

We rented an amazing condo (thank you, Papa and Mimi!) that had a terrific view of the ski slopes. We originally thought some of us would ski, but we decided we'd rather spend our time doing something we could all do together.


We went tubing!

Oh my is so much fun. We loved it so much that we went back again the next day! My favorite part was riding with Abbey. She would giggle the entire time she was flying down the hill. It was so cute. We also loved hooking all of our tubes together and making one big amoeba or one long chain. The more people you have, the faster you go! The best part though is that you don't have to walk back up the hill...they have a "magic stairway" (conveyor belt thingy) that carries you back to the top.

(We went a few years ago to a different tubing hill. I thought it was wise that this one required a helmet for all tubers.)

Will was overjoyed about me taking his picture.

We also let the kids ride snowmobiles! They didn't go fast enough for the older kids though...

Abbey didn't want to ride, so she patiently watched everyone else ride played in the snow while we watched her brother and sister and two cousins.

I think it snowed every day we were there! I was thankful for that since not all of our family lives in a place that sees snow very often. And isn't that what you hope for when you visit Colorado anyway?

Another fun thing we did was take a sleigh ride.

It was snowing and so cold. Very picturesque indeed. Midway through the ride, we stopped and warmed up around a campfire and had hot cocoa.

We had a wonderful time. As we were driving back I was thinking about how blessed we are to live in a place of such great beauty and to be able to enjoy it with those we love is just icing on the cake. I have lots more pictures but want to ask permission before I share them here. So stay tuned...