Tuesday, September 30, 2008

going hykerspeed

"Mom, are you going hykerspeed or regular speed?" my 4-year-old daughter calls out from her car seat.

"I'm going regular speed, honey."

"Well, go faster! That silver car is passing us!" she cries. "You need to go hykerspeed!"

"Faster, Mom, faster. Push the red triangle button," she says, referring to the button that will turn on the hazard lights.

She is convinced that one push of that button will send us flying through an asteroid field and back home in a millisecond.

I'm just not sure how she possibly could have gotten so bossy?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

getting face-to-face

Last week, I got to do what every good suburban, almost 40, mother of three should do on a Wednesday night. Meet up with friends, strap on my assault weapon and play some laser tag.

This was my first experience playing, and I have to say it was a rush to sneak around the dark room, hide behind walls and windows and blast someone with a laser the minute I could see her white teeth glowing in the black lights.

Despite my cat-like reflexes, incredible speed and killer instincts, I managed to come in 15th out of 18, both rounds. I'm pretty sure my gun wasn't working properly or perhaps it was my attitude. "OH... I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to kill you AGAIN!" I once heard myself utter.

But the best part about the evening was just getting face-to-face with some girlfriends. You know the kind. The ones with skin. They kind of flinch if you bump into them and even have a scent if you get close enough.

On that particular day, I was feeling kind of like the characters in the movie, "Wall-E" after they were all thrust out of their transport chairs and their video screens were broken.

"We have a pool on board the ship?!" one guy exclaimed in the movie, as his eyes readjusted to looking at real life, not his video terminal. "I didn't know we had a pool!"

You see, last week was also when I joined Facebook.

I now realize I must be one of the last 15 people in Western Civilization to join this interesting society. Several people had tried to encourage me to join by telling me how great it was that I would be able to connect with "people I haven't talked to in 20 years."

Being the skeptic that I am, I kept thinking, "If I haven't communicated with someone in 20 years, maybe there's a reason."

Oh... but that hasn't been the case at all. It really is fun to connect with old friends.

In case you are one of the 14 people remaining on the outer sphere of Facebook, here's how it works. The search engine takes your information and searches for other people you might know. You then are able to connect, with say, someone you haven't talked to since high school, and they provide little news feeds about their daily life.

"Jennifer is feeling really giddy this morning because she just ate a chocolate-frosted donut."
"Cathy is happy this afternoon because she downed a cafe mocha."

Adding to the fun (and making it feel even a bit more like high school to me, anyway), Facebook lists how many "friends" everyone has. You can search around and invite people to become your friend, or they can invite you. So far, I have five friends.

But I find myself becoming impressed with others who have, for example 288. Yup. Hundreds of friends giving updates everyday.

At first, I wasn't sure whether to love it or hate it. But I figure that now that I'm in, there's no turning back. I might as well enjoy it!

"Emily is scrambling three eggs this morning and pouring a big glass of orange juice."

But here's the point of this rambling blogthing:

As we become more and more connected to people via the Internet, are we starting to lose some of our real-life connections? Why pick up the phone and call a friend when you can just check Facebook, or read her blog? How much time do we spend sitting in front of our computers when we could be outside enjoying life or playing a game with our kids?

At the same time, there are some great benefits to the networking capability of the Internet. I started becoming a regular blog reader when a friend found out she had cancer and began giving us updates via her blog. It was so cool to see that she and her husband literally reached thousands of people around the world with their story of faith before she died in July. And I loved being able to "hear her voice" even at times when she was too week to speak.

So, I guess as with anything, I will have to keep my Facebooking in moderation. It's fun to peek into someone else's life and hear what they're up to. And I truly enjoy reading some of the thought-provoking, funny or sad entries of my blogging friends.

Still, it does feel good when it's time to SHUT DOWN.

"Laser tag, anyone?"

kids' cookbook

Birth order expert Kevin Lehman says that the middle child will be the one that will keep your family cracking up throughout life. Is this true in every family or just ours?

In honor of the 6th birthday of our middle child, I thought I would pass along some of his wonderfully unique recipes, which keep me smilin' on a regular basis.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich, no ham, no cheese: Take two slices of bread, spread mayo on one slice of bread. Add ham and cheese. Remove ham and cheese, leaving only the bread and mayo. Mmmmm.

Sour cream on a bun: Boil hot dogs for six minutes until hot. Put bun on plate. Forget about hot dogs. Spread sour cream on bun. Delicious!

Taco, no meat: Brown one pound of ground beef. Add taco seasoning and water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Fill taco shell with sour cream and cheese. Leave taco meat in pan. Enjoy!

Cream without strawberries: Wash strawberries. Slice. Fill bowl with cool whip. Put strawberries back in refrigerator.

Honey sandwich: Take two slices of bread and spread with honey. Yum. Yum.

Ranch dressing pizza: Bake frozen pizza for 15 minutes. Pour Ranch dressing on plate. Dip pizza in the dressing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

almost camelot

Start with eight boys dressed as knights. Add in eight princess girls. One birthday boy and one birthday girl. Add eight homemade swords and eight princess wands. One dragon. Twenty balloons hanging from the ceiling with dragon faces. One obstacle course. A treasure chest. Stir in 10 inches of rain in one day. And you have a royal good time!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I've been learning about obstacles the last few years. Not the kind that you have to avoid when driving or the ones you jump over in a track meet.

These obstacles have just as much power to slow us down. But they are the obstacles we create for ourselves. They are the obstacles in our minds.

The first time I noticed these obstacles was when I began working with other women to start their own businesses. I realized how much the fear of failure would stop women from even trying to pursue their dreams. They were literally frozen from taking any action at all because of the obstacles they were creating in their own minds over why and how they might not be successful.

Many of us have people in our lives who help put those obstacles there. You know... the people who tell you you aren't smart enough. You aren't good enough. Too unorganized.

Now, I'm not saying that you can think something into becoming reality.

I've also worked with lots of people who were great at believing in themselves, but not as strong in creating a plan and taking action. Belief without action won't get one very far either. But a person's negative thoughts can certainly keep her from pursuing a dream or idea.

Even the Bible instructs us to point our thoughts in a positive direction.

"... whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things."

I realized over the last few months that I have become pretty good at believing in myself when it comes to my home business. I really do expect things to go well, and I don't let negative thoughts stop me from trying something new.

I have worked on my brain to stop myself when an "I can't" thought pops up. I think of something "I can" do instead. I've been working on this with my kids, as well. How many times a day do they cry in frustration, "I can't"... and it's often true because they haven't yet learned how. "I can't spell that word." "I can't tie my shoes." Instead, I ask them to say, "I need help."

If the "I can't" is a bit larger, like "I can't memorize my math facts," then we ask God for help.

In my personal life, I'm definitely a work in progress when it comes to the obstacles in my mind. Take for example how I started this blog nearly two years ago, but waited until now to tell anyone about it! "People will think I'm silly." "That's a dumb idea."

Well, about a month ago, I realized I was doing the exact thing I tell others NOT to do! I was creating all kinds of obstacles. So, I went out for a walk and thought about this for a while. Then I came home and announced to my biggest cheerleader, my husband: "Guess what?! I've decided to take myself seriously!"

"Great!" he said. "It's about time!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

pounds hollow

We recently went to Paducah, KY, for a family funeral. The kids and I were able to take a few hours and visit one of my favorite childhood destinations, Pounds Hollow and Garden of the Gods, in the Shawnee National Forest.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

doctor's orders

"Mom, does that mean 8 in the morning or 8 at night?" asked my middle son, staring at the digital clock on the oven.

"It's still morning, sweetie. Remember? You have only been up a little while."

He nodded his head, looking relieved.

My 5-year-old has been obsessed with going to bed at 8 p.m.

With all of the activity of summer, he often found himself feeling tired and lacking energy. When it came time for his kindergarten physical in late August, he begged me to ask the doctor why he is so tired all the time.

"I think you need to get more sleep," I advised. "You either need to go to bed earlier or take a nap." Despite our attempts at an 8 p.m. bedtime, he and his brother couldn't imagine going to bed before the sky was dark, so they would often spend another hour goofing off in their room.

"Plllleeeeaaaase ask the doctor?" he said.

So, we explained the symptoms to the pediatrician. He listened carefully and then gave the diagnosis.

"You need to get more sleep, buddy." The doctor looked my son right in the eye and said, "I want you to go to bed at 8 O'Clock and don't get up until 7. Understand?"

Now, without fail, he watches the clock to make sure he does JUST as the doctor prescribed. If the clock says 8, he rushes off to bed without any complaint.

Doc, could you have mentioned something about cleaning his room, too?

Excited about politics?

A few years ago, my life almost revolved around politics. As a state government reporter, I spent most of my time around politicians. I knew the issues. I understood the process. And I knew many government officials personally.

Maybe I understood politics a little too well. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have pretty much tuned out politics. I have become so disinterested in that world that it's hard to believe it was ever such a big part of my life.

But suddenly, I'm interested in politics again.

Did you watch Sarah Palin give her speech at the Republican National Convention? I can't remember the last time I listened to a female speaker who inspired me. I wasn't embarrassed for her. I wasn't wondering how she would handle her critics. She drew me in, and I didn't want to just turn her off and tune her out.

I'm not saying that I agree with everything about her.

But I do like her style. She took on Obama without seeming whiny. She's strong, gutsy, dynamic and, yes, ... inspiring. I have never wanted a woman in an elected position because of her gender. But I am intrigued by watching such a strong political force who is a woman.

I spent some time this morning reading the reviews of her speech... trying to catch up on her stand on the issues. That's something I haven't done in a long time.

This stay-at-home, minivan-driving mom is actually excited about politics again.

Monday, September 1, 2008

First day of school

Starting second grade and kindergarten...
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