Thursday, April 29, 2010

Meat is done. You are finished.

Remember when I shared my list of things that bug me? Well, I forgot to mention a BIG one: bad grammar.

I followed an intriguing link from one blog to another this week, and was pleasantly surprised to  discover that the link I followed was to the blog of an author that I like and respect. However, he lost me when I noticed two HUGE grammatical errors in the second sentence of the first paragraph. I'm certain the author had a valid point he wanted to communicate, but I was too busy trying to fix his errors in my head that I couldn't even finish his post.

I also take a little too much snarky pleasure in reading the flyers/info letters that come home in my kids' backpacks each week. I secretly want to circle every typo and grammatical faux pas with a fat, red pen and send it back to the school office. Anonymously, of course. Last week, I read a couple of things out loud to John (Mr. Editor) and we were both dumbfounded at the misuse. It scares me a little (frankly, a lot) because some of the people who write those letters are the ones teaching my children!!! I'm sure if I offered to write all the correspondence that goes home from school, someone would take me up on it, but then what would we do for evening entertainment? Arrogant, much?

I think some of my grammar geekiness came from my mother. Here are some things that were drilled into my head growing up. 

Me: Can I walk down to Robin's house?
Mom: I don't know. Can you?
Me: (rolling eyes) May I walk down to Robin's house?
Mom: Yes, you may walk down to Robin's house. 

Me: Me and Robin want to make some cookies.
Mom: Who?
Me: Me and Robin.
Mom: Who?
Me: ME AND ROBIN!!!!!!!
Mom: Who?
Me: (rolling my eyes) Robin and I.
Mom: Robin and I what?
Me: Robin and I would like to make some cookies.
Mom: Sure, just make enough to share. 

Me: I'm done with my homework.
Mom: No, you're not done. Meat is "done". You are finished.

Mom, you'll be happy to know that Sarah has two teachers who are sticklers about not being "done" but "finished", and about "may" instead of "can", and that I also correct my children when they say these things. 

Don't even get me started on typos! Check out the typo I found on the Pei Wei take-out menu. Seriously, Pei Wei??? Don't you think spell check would have caught that???

Disclaimer: I use incorrect grammar sometimes and I rarely use spell check before publishing posts on my blog. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bad, Glad, Mad, Rad, and Sad

Alternate title: Rhyming Catch Up

The Bad:
I pulled a muscle in my leg and it hurts! I've been hobbling around since last week. Probably shouldn't have hit the trail on Sunday because I was already hurting, but I was desperate to get outside after two snowy days.

I am BUSY. I finished four big projects last weekend that were hanging over my head, but I have that many more that I'm juggling now. I've deliberately been non-busy this entire year, but the end of the school year is just NUTS!

I heard the "s" word is in the forecast for the end of the week. Snow is a very, very bad word at the end of April.

The Glad:
My husband is home this week! He's had to travel a lot lately, but it looks like we're back to normal schedules again. I am so happy.

Dinner is in the crockpot! If you like Chipotle, you really should try this recipe. SOOOO good, and SOOOO easy.

We have 18 more days of school!!!

My grass is green! The snow is good moisture.

Glee is on tonight!

The Mad:
Rude children (especially those that don't belong to me) make me mad. Had an encounter with an unbelievably rude child this week.

I get a little mad when my kids ask me a question that puts me on the spot. That also happened this week. I may or may not have thrown a little fit and lectured all of my children about the future consequences of that.

The Rad:
This simple strawberry dessert is AMAZING! (I found this blog a couple of weeks ago via a link on another blog and she has some fabulous recipes!)

Went to Bingo for Books at Abbey's school last night and had SO much fun! Abbey even won a very fun prize.

My sister is pregnant and she finds out tomorrow if she's having a boy or girl. (Mom, she said she'd text Sarah to let her know!)

Have you heard the song "Crushed and Created" by Caitlyn Smith? I discovered it last weekend and it is amazing! Go listen on iTunes.

This is cool: Last week John was in Orlando. The only person I know who lives in Orlando is my cousin, Dave. John was meeting an author for dinner and as he was walking in the restaurant he heard someone calling his name. It was my cousin. (Hey Dave!) I think they were both shocked to run into each other. UNBELIEVABLE!!! What are the odds? He also ran into a college friend, and he texted me when he boarded his flight home that the pilot of his plane was a friend of ours who lives down the road. Who has those kind of coincidences???

The Sad:
I broke my favorite sunglasses. My sister gave them to me last summer (she found them on the beach) and they were just perfect for me. I tried fixing them with nail polish out of desperation and a lack of super glue, and my quick fix lasted all of 20 minutes. BOO HOO!

Our beloved elementary school is closing. The students/teachers are being relocated to another school building in our district but as the end of the year draws near, I'm getting sad. I'm on one of our school's transition committees and I got a little teary at our meeting yesterday just thinking about all the changes. I'm sure going to miss that place, but at least I get to see some familiar faces next fall.

Alright. My computer time is up! Peace out, peeps.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Will had a track meet yesterday afternoon. I wore my down parka and still froze. Felt so sorry for the runners in shorts and tank tops.

My friend's husband met up with us at the meet and said nonchalantly, "So did you hear we could get 4-12 inches of snow?"

I laughed. I hadn't heard that and frankly, I didn't buy it. It's been warm and sunny lately. (I told you yesterday that I have a farmers tan from wearing short sleeves.) 

Evidently, the joke is on me because when I woke up we had about 5 inches of snow on the ground.

And our make-up snow day ended up being cancelled because of SNOW. Irony.

It's still coming down hard, and my meteorologist-neighbor said we could get 6 more inches tonight. 

I'll take an unexpected day at home with my peeps. On the agenda: Movies. Hot cocoa/coffee. Reading. Baking cookies. Pajamas. Laziness.

The gift of a lazy family day in late April is priceless.  Peace out, peeps.

(If we get out later, I'll take/post some pics.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Other Things

My time has been consumed by other things lately...

Things like being sick. I did in fact succumb to a nasty cold last week and it sidelined me for most of the week/weekend. I woke up Monday extraordinarily grateful for the ability to breathe through my nose and taste coffee again! I'm still not 100% but I'm feeling better every day!

Things like solo parenting. John was out of town part of last week, and has been gone most of this week as well. Thankfully, he'll be arriving home from the airport later this morning and I am very, VERY glad. The kids and I just feel "off" when he's not here. We've survived, but not without a lot of whining. For the record, it was me doing the whining; my kids are champs. If you are a solo-parent, then you have my utmost respect.

Things like watching movies. After surviving the crazy busy-ness of last week (and I'm deliberately choosing NOT to whine here on the blog about the insanity of it all), I declared Saturday a stay-at-home-in-pajamas-and-watch-movies-all-day-long day. Of course it helped that it was about 40 degrees and foggy outside, and that my head felt like it was the size of a basketball and might explode at any moment.  Anyway, have you seen the previews for the remake of The Karate Kid? I rented the original version and our kids loved it. I'd forgotten how good it was! We also watched Jurassic Park. They loved that one too, but I was scared all over again. I've watched several other movies that I've enjoyed (I like to watch chick flicks when John is traveling!), but for some reason I cannot call a single one of them to mind. I'm almost forty. My memory isn't what it used to be!

Things like being outside in the sunshine! I've been getting a lot of outdoor exercise lately, thanks to a broken treadmill and some beautiful spring weather. I have a lovely farmer's tan on my arms and neck and some serious mileage in my log to prove that we've had an abundance of sunny days!

Things like laundry. It just never ends, does it?

You guys are sweet to miss me when I don't blog for a week. Thanks for your messages and thanks for making a girl feel loved!

What have y'all been up to lately?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: Gifts

My sweet friend, HisGirlAmber, asked: What is the best gift you have ever received from each other?

This is John:
You may think this is sappy, but I don't care.

Three different times in the course of our almost twenty years together, I have watched her carry within her own body the weight of life, from conception to delivery.  Our three children are the greatest gifts she's given me. Sure, I know God gives those gifts and in some sense they do not come from us but through us, but when you're standing in the delivery room, as I was on all three occasions, it sure as shooting looks like she's the one they came from.  I watched her run the gauntlet of the marriage vows during those nine-months-times-three: better, worse, rich, poor, sick, healthy...and she carried a little boy and two little girls safely here and then I cut them loose, all three times, into this dangerous world.  I look at them, these three precious children that I would die for, and I think "they would not have life had it not been for her."

I do not hold to the "the woman does all the work and the man gets off easy" stance; that is an insult to both woman and man.  But I do believe she did, and does, that which I cannot do...she is a carrier of that which truly matters, a life bearer, a gift bearer.  I so love the handmade coffee mugs she gave me several years ago, but compared to Will, Sarah, and Abbey...well, they do not compare.

This is Meredith.
Well, wow. Pass the tissues, please.
I don't really consider myself a "stuff" person, so I'm going to go with gifts that aren't necessarily tangible. I'm sure you're not surprised that I can't limit myself to one thing either. Bear with me!

The gift of laughter. John makes me laugh every single day. He's helped me learn not to take myself too seriously and to find the humor in almost any situation. I love that about him. Some of my favorite moments are when we are laughing together...even if what we are laughing about is incredibly stupid. I hope that our children will remember growing up in a house with laughter.

The gift of time. John has always been very generous in gifting me with time, whether it be time alone or time with him. Sometimes I have to voice my request for it, but other times he will recognize my need and offer me a break. He has never ever denied my request for time away, and he has never complained about watching our children or about having to sacrifice his needs for mine. 

Attentiveness. Generosity. Calmness. Gentleness. Encouragement. Strength. Hard Work.

I believe that each of John's character traits is a gift, not only to me and our children, but to others as well. 

I am blessed indeed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'll just hit the highlights...

Wow. Wednesday already, huh?

It's been a busy week. And it's not over yet. Thankfully, next week I get to revert back to my usual non-busy pace. Or at least it will be less busy. I just think that April and May are busy times of the year.

Anyway, enough about my schedule.

Here's some of what we've been up to...

Spring track season started for Will. He's working hard and enjoying himself, and he's been sleeping really well at night. He's pretty tired (and hungry!!!) when he gets home each afternoon!

Sarah tried out today for her school's version of American Idol. She and two friends sang "Fireflies" by Owl City, and they did GREAT! The judges voted to send them on to the next round, and their performance was videotaped for the whole school to see. The students get to see all the performances and vote for their faves. Even if she doesn't win, I'm super duper proud of her. I think it takes a lot of guts (and confidence) to sing in front of people!

Glee!!! It's back!!! There are nine remaining episodes left in the season and the first of those nine premiered last night. My neighbor invited a bunch of us over for a Glee premiere party. We went after we all got our kiddos tucked in, so we wore our pajamas. That's my favorite kind of party! It was SO GOOD and it was very fun to watch it with friends! (Thank you, Heather!!!) (Gosh, this paragraph has lots of exclamation points!)

John's workload has him swamped right now so I let him off the hook for Wedded Wednesday. For those of you that care, we'll be back next week.

I'm trying to stay well. I woke up with a super sore throat and I think my allergies are starting to flare up. Before we moved to Colorado I used to declare that I was allergic to spring because my allergies were SO bad. They're not nearly as bad here, but the wind has been hideous lately, and I think it just blows pollen and other allergens straight into my sinuses. Ugh. I don't have time to be sick this week.

Okay, I've rambled long enough. I got My Big Fat Greek Wedding from today and I want to watch a little bit of it before bed. It's one of my favorite movies ever!

Peace out, peeps.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Favorite Color is Green

When asked what my favorite color is, my response is always green. Red runs a close second, but green always wins.

This post isn't really about hue though. It's more about action.

Do you know that next Thursday (April 22) is Earth Day?

Well, it is.

I know some of you don't care. Some of you think Earth Day is a new age-y kind of thing. Some of you don't give a flip about being green or recycling or reducing your carbon footprint. And some of you think global warming is a bunch of hooey.

That's okay. We can agree to disagree.

Personally, it's all an issue of stewardship in my mind.

I want to take care of what I've been entrusted with whether it's my family, my income, or my planet.

So yeah, I'm green. And proud of it.

Here are a couple of cool things I've come across lately that I want to share along those lines.

I got new trail shoes last week. I used our REI dividend + 20% member's coupon to score a pair for a super sweet price. My new pair has biodegradable midsoles (awesome!) which made me wonder what happens to old athletic shoes when they end up in landfills. That question caused me to google all sorts of things, which led me to the Nike ReUSE A SHOE program. Nike takes almost all athletic shoes, breaks them down, and recycles them into surfaces for tracks and tennis courts and more!  Isn't that COOL? I'm taking my old shoes to the drop-off next time I head that direction, and I'm thinking of doing a shoe drive among friends! I'm so jazzed about this! (The Nike link above has all the info about what, where, and how.)

My local (free) recycling drop off center really let me down a few months ago when they stopped taking recyclables without warning! We've resorted to hauling our recycling down to the place we used to take it, but it's a 25 minute drive (one way) and we don't always have a reason to trek down that way. I've decided that I'm going to bite the bullet and actually PAY for curbside recycling. The monthly cost is not too much more than what I'm already paying, and the extra is probably the same difference as the gas it takes me to drive to the recycling center. My friend, Lisa, clinched the deal for me when she told me about a local company that is part of this national program that gives kickbacks for recycling. You get vouchers you can spend at different retailers based on the amount of recycling they collect from you. You can click the link and see if there is a partner in your area. If you're in Co Springs, the local company is WasteConnections. I haven't signed up yet, but it's on my list to do this month!

Lastly, have you seen the new SunChips bags? They're 100% biodegradable. Click this link and watch the short video under the compostable packaging tab. It is uber cool!!! (Thanks, Dana, for telling me about this!)

This stuff excites me. Peace out, peeps.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

10 on the 10th!

With the exception of our SNOW day on Wednesday, it was nice enough for me to hit the trail for some outdoor exercise every day this week. I prefer to exercise with friends but that doesn't always work out so on the days I'm alone my iPod keeps me company.

I have very eclectic taste in music. This week I was all about the 80s. While putting together an 80s playlist, I decided that my 10 on the 10th post would be ten of my favorite 80s songs. These are in no particular order, and just so you know, this isn't an all time favorite list. I have dozens if not hundreds of favorite 80s songs!

Ten of My Favorite 80s Songs

1. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
I love this song, but I love this explanatory flow chart more. Click the graphic to enlarge it.

2. Hard Habit to Break by Chicago
I actually wore my Chicago 17 cassette tape out and had to buy a new one in college. It's long gone now though so I bought it on iTunes last fall. It still gets lots of play when I'm feeling nostalgic.

3. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
The only MJ album I have is the one that has this song on it.

4. Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer
How many of you see the music video in your head when you hear this song? Racy.

5. Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel
I've been told this is not a nice song, but that doesn't make me love it any less.

6. Livin' On a Prayer by Bon Jovi
Remember back in November when Sarah bought a Bon Jovi t-shirt at the St. Louis Hard Rock Cafe?  Well, a few weeks ago in church I looked over and noticed that Sarah had taken off her hoodie and was sporting the Bon Jovi t-shirt. I was horrified. Our church is very casual, but Bon Jovi? In church? Really? What kind of mother lets her daughter wear a Bon Jovi shirt to church? One that is obviously livin' on a prayer. 

7. Footloose (from the movie soundtrack)
This is another song/cassette that I completely wore out. I don't have the album any longer, but I get really excited when I hear one of the songs come on the radio and I turn it up (loud) and sing (louder). My kids are horrified when I do this. They've perfected the rolling of the eyes.

8. Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics
Who are *you* to dis-a-gree?

9. Manic Monday by The Bangles
I find myself singing this on a lot of Monday mornings. Old habits die hard.

10. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham!
It's a totally stupid song, but nothing brings back my memories of MacArthur Jr High school faster than this song.
Seriously, I could keep listing 80s song after 80s song. I heard When Doves Cry by Prince the other day and found myself singing every word, while thinking it would be much more appropriate to be singing it while wearing a raspberry beret and driving a little red corvette in the purple rain. (Thanks for indulging me with that).

Ironically, while typing this post my husband has his 70s music cranked up. (Le Freak by Chic is playing right now!)  But he's cleaning up the breakfast dishes so I'll let the 70s stuff fly. (I MUCH prefer the tunes of the 80s to the 70s).

One more thing: My parents were super strict about the music I listened to growing up. I had to sneak my non-Christian music into the house/car. Madonna tapes were usually labeled "Russ Taff" or "DeGarmo and Key". But they sometimes disappeared so I think my mom might have been on to me. [Sorry, mom. Love you!]

Link up if you'd like! Peace out, peeps!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: The Birds and the Bees

Tiffani wants to know: At what age do you discuss sex with your kids? I think our oldest (he'll be 10) knows there's more to this Mommy and Daddy thing, and as he's growing other things crop up. What about the girls? We're not prudes by any means and I know there is an appropriate amount of information, etc. Just curious how y'all handled it.

(This is John, the husband)
This is a great question, Tiffani.  I really believe that when it comes to this topic you have to pay close attention to your child, how they're growing/maturing, who their friends are, questions they're asking, etc. It's a tenuous thing because you want them to be prepared but at the same time you don't want to give them more than they can handle.  What you're doing is essentially teaching your children how to handle dynamite.  There is no such thing as "safe sex" - our sexuality is a powerful, dangerously beautiful, intensely human facet of who we are, so talking about it with your kids is much more than just "this is what happens" and "this is the equipment."  As Eugene Peterson said so truthfully in The Message - "there's more to sex than mere skin on skin."

I first talked seriously with Will when he was nine.  Something had happened at school which precipitated our talk.  I wrote about it here.  That was four years ago and I stand by what I wrote, especially the "talking about it while doing something else" part.  Please hear me on this - I do not believe we as parents can get this right.  We do what we feel is best at the time/in the moment and we see what a sense, rolling the dice.  It's learning when to hold 'em and knowing when to fold, walk away, run, all that gambler stuff.  You may not like that imagery as it hints at chance or luck, but I believe that's the way it is with a living, breathing creation; our children are not robots.  You put batteries in a flashlight and, all things considered, it should turn on and illuminate the darkness.  You talk to your son about sex and he may start crying, laughing, tell you he already knows all that stuff, he might fall asleep, or he might even teach you a thing or two.  You just never can you do your best and constantly whisper those two important words - have mercy.

This is Meredith (the wife)
By the way, it cracks me up every time I type "the wife")

I've had "the talk" with Sarah, but not with Abbey. Sarah had just finished third grade and was almost nine years old when the subject came up. I really felt that she was too young to handle the information, but she was getting all sorts of faulty information from some friends. I'm thankful she came to me with her questions, but honestly, I put her off a little (I'll tell you more when you're older, I'll tell you more when I think you're ready, etc.) probably because I wasn't ready. But, like I said, she was hearing things that weren't accurate, and I wanted to have control over the information she was given.

I remember that we were outside pulling weeds one summer afternoon and she kept persisting. I attempted to put her off (again) and she sighed and said, "Mom, it's just the two of us right now, and I'm old enough to know." So I took a deep breath, whispered a prayer for wisdom, and just started talking. It was all very factual and matter of fact. She asked lots of questions, and I answered all of them.

Since then, she has continued to come to me with questions, and  I love that. Sometimes I have to put her off (like in the car with younger ears listening, or things that aren't appropriate for mixed company) but I always come back and answer her.

More than anything, I desire this to be an ongoing conversation with our kids. My huge hope is that our kids will ALWAYS feel comfortable talking to us about sex/sexuality...without shame. As I've talked with my peers about delving into this with our kids, the biggest takeaway from our collective childhood is the shame associated with talking about "the birds and the bees" with our parents, and that shame caused huge communication breakdowns. My guess is that most of you can relate to that.

A couple of things:
One older, wiser friend shared this tidbit of parenting wisdom with us over dinner one evening. I loved it so much I wrote it down, and I think it fits well with this topic of conversation: "In all things spiritual, be as natural as possible. In all things natural, be as spiritual as possible."

One great resource for girls is  The Care and Keeping of You by American Girl. We gave Sarah this book for her 9th birthday. I've read through it with her, and have told her it's not to be shared with her little sister (for the time being); right now, it's "just for us". It talks about body changes, body image, hygeine, and many other puberty-related things in a wholesome way. It has prompted more good questions and discussion for us. I highly recommend it!

Last thing: if you didn't click on that link in John's section (when he and Will had "the talk") go read it now. It's full of wisdom AND characteristic JohnB humor. It's really good stuff, I promise!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sawdust & Planks

In the last several weeks, I've desperately wanted to "help" some of my friends.

I've wanted to pull them out of the obvious denial they're living in. I've wanted to give them every example of why they indeed are ___________ when they work so hard to convince themselves and everyone else that they're not.

I've wanted to show a couple of them what control freaks lovers they are, and how enslaving that life can be.

I've wanted to point out how much they're striving when Jesus has asked us to lay that down.

I've wanted to call them out on their need for validation.

In short, I've wanted to point a finger at them. 

But I can't. 

Because I realize that the saying is true: When you point a finger there are three more pointing back at you.

And those three fingers point to a striving control freak who craves validation and is in some pretty deep denial. 

[Sawdust and planks.] 

I'm in need of grace and forgiveness. 

In order for me to offer that to others, I have to recognize my own need for it and receive it for myself first. You can't give something you don't have.

And so I find myself thankful (again) this morning for Easter. For what Jesus did for you and me. For what He offers us.

I'll take a double serving, please. [smile]

Monday, April 05, 2010


Sarah is our bookworm. All of our kids love to read, but she's our kid who reads non-stop.

Sarah is the one who will check out 10-12 books and then remind us that it's time to go to the library because she's read every single one of them (in a matter of days). She's our kid we have to ask to put her book down at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table. She's our kid who will disappear into her room for hours and emerge beaming because she's finished (yet) another book. She has insatiable thirst for books. She makes her parents proud!

Last night after we got back from the movie, I glanced out my bedroom window and saw this:

Multi-tasking at it's best blurriest. Smile.

There is NO SNOW in these pictures!

Good Monday morning, friends. Like I said last week, I really don't mind Mondays. I sorta like them in fact. My heart is full this morning from a wonderful Easter weekend.

Our Easter felt a little different this year. 

For one, we didn't see one single snowflake--in the air or on the ground. I think that might be a first in the seven Easters we have celebrated here. I was NOT complaining! In fact, I was rejoicing!

This was also the first year that we didn't dye eggs. I had intended to try making these speckled ones, but we just didn't get around to it, and honestly the kids didn't seem too disappointed.

We didn't go to the Good Friday service at church either. John had been in New Jersey all week and was wiped out. Truthfully, we all had a busy week and were exhausted. We felt like staying home, so we did.

The Easter bunny has visited our house on Good Friday for about 10-12 years now. It works well for us so that Sunday can remain focused on Jesus. BUT, our Easter Bunny didn't have his act together on Friday, so he visited on Saturday night instead. (Note to self: the world didn't end, Meredith.)

Oh, and I didn't transform our crown of thorns to the crown of a victorious King either. My intentions were good, but I just didn't make the time to do it. (I threw it in the trash last night). 

So yeah, this year felt different, but it was still very good.

After church (which was very good!) we came home and had Easter lunch--ham, potato casserole, asparagus, and of course, Sister Schubert's rolls. John and I took a nap and then we all went to see How To Train Your Dragon. Our Easter Bunny left matinee tickets in the kids' baskets. The movie was really good! We all loved it.

Before we left, John asked if anyone minded if he wore his slippers to the show. Would YOU mind if your husband went out in public like this?
You probably know by now that he marches to the beat of a different drummer. A different drummer, indeed. But I love him. A lot.

Our day wasn't without a little drama. The kids were playing downstairs and they called John and I to come see something (they were really excited about this too). It was a mouse trapped in our basement window well. GROSS. GROSS. GROSS. They even shot some video (which I'll spare you from seeing). It was crawling up the screen in this pic. GAG.
I need to move on to a much more pleasant subject. 

TODAY! Today is good. The kids have school, but John has the day off from work. Know what that means? It's DATE DAY!!! 

We're planning to do some stuff around the house, work out, go to lunch, and then perhaps make a trip to REI to spend our dividend money. Rumor has it I might get some new shoes for the trail! I am so excited to have an entire day with John. Especially since he was traveling last week.

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter. Peace out, peeps.