Saturday, January 31, 2009

how is your lego looking?

I love learning about what makes people tick.

To kick off a women's Bible study that I'm in, I asked the women to tell the group their love language, temperament and birth order. If you haven't ever studied these different elements that can affect how people relate to each other, it's fascinating.

I think the ladies thought I was a little crazy at first, but it turned out to be really fun to find out who was the oldest of five or the only child until her mom had another when she was 7. It was cool to learn who loves words of affirmation, versus quality time; who was a laid-back creative type, versus an out-going leader.

But the next day, I learned about another defining quality that I had not previously thought about. How big is your LEGO?

It was actually my pastor who gave me the LEGO theory.

You see, we are all like a piece of LEGO. Think about all of the little nubs, or bumps or whatever you call the part of the LEGO that sticks up on the top.

Those are how the LEGO pieces connect to other pieces of LEGO. And that's kind of how people are. Some people have a big LEGO. Others have a small piece.

I think my LEGO is one of the big long pieces that you would use to build the base of a building or the roof. I have tons of those little nubs, because I want to connect with tons of people. The more the better. Bring 'em on.

If I meet someone new, I want to get to know her. If I'm in a group, I ask people obnoxious questions like, "So, what's your love language? Are you a first born? What's your hobby?" I just want to learn more about them and make connections. This can be a little much for some people, so I do my best to make my interrogations non-threatening.

And, oh, my... If someone goes out of her way to connect with me, I am the happiest girl in the world. Ask me a question. Invite me to coffee. I just want to connect!

But my pastor filled me in on the truth of the matter. A lot of people have a small piece of LEGO. Or (gasp!, sigh!) their LEGO is already full!

I've been feeling like a big LEGO in a world of full LEGOs lately and it was kind of bumming me out. But his explanation helped me understand.

If only people would post a little sign on their shirts. "Sorry, my LEGO is full." Or, "Three connections available."

Of course, the big LEGO people like me would be jumping all over the poor people advertising an open spot on their LEGO.

I've also noticed though, that what I love most is to have a couple of people in my life who just plant themselves over about 10 of the connectors on my LEGO. I love it when I just naturally connect with someone. You can give her a call to laugh, cry or just talk about the most mundane events of the day. One great girlfriend is better than 10 casual acquaintances, in my book.

Well, I'm learning to control my urge to try to plant my big honkin' piece of LEGO right on top of every other LEGO that comes my way. But if I'm blessed enough to make a new connection, that's a happy day for me.

And if this idea is too much for you, then maybe your Play-Doh is dried out. Or perhaps one of the rings on your Spirograph is broken. We'll have more on that next week. =]

Thursday, January 29, 2009

historic day

My children and I sat by the radio listening intently as each name was called.

"Shh... Now listen. This is a huge day in the history of our state," I said. "I want you to remember this."

When the vote was tallied, 59-0, a huge lump formed in my throat. It wasn't that I felt sorry for our governor who had lost his job. Or that I didn't agree with each lawmaker who voted yes. It was just a sad and monumental day that the affairs of our state had come to this.

I think about the men who actually drafted the articles of impeachment. I'm sure they wrote them with great care -- and also a hope they would never be used.

Back in my reporter days, when I had the job of covering the Illinois Legislature, I always loved the process, the procedure and the chance to witness history unfold. Sitting in the press box, the reporters tried to hide any outward signs of anything but objectivity.

A young reporter would get an evil glare if he or she accidentally clapped in a moment of celebration, like a big announcement during the State of the State address. But I often fought those lumps in my throat as I realized the importance of what was happening in front of me: the swearing-in of a new governor, a close vote on a bill, or the black drape on the chair of a member who had passed away.

When you are up close and personal, you realize that these are real people, with real families and real hopes and dreams. Politics often seems like a game surrounded by so much cynicsm. But, at times, these elected officials are confronted with a task that is so monumental it will change the course of lives.

The temptation must be so great. To take the task lightly. To think of personal gain. To get caught up in the power of it all. Those are temptations all of us face. But the effects of a bad choice aren't nearly so public, or so far reaching.

It was a sad day. Not just for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. I don't feel sorry for him because he was removed from office. But I do feel bad that he just doesn't get it. He was so eloquent in his words and yet he gave hints at what lies deeper in his heart: This is just how things work in politics.

It was a sad day because the culture of corruption in our state brought our governor to this place. Elected officials are afraid to change campaign finance laws that would make it easier for an incumbent to take over their job. It's a culture where once in office, many accept that money and politics will always be linked.

It was a sad day in the history of our state that lawmakers had to brush the dust off the constitution and read the articles of impeachment. They had to make sure they were following those rules to the letter of the law and then cast their votes.

"What's happening, Mom," the kids kept asking.

"Well... the governor broke the rules. He did something he shouldn't do. And now he has to be removed from office."

We weren't celebrating his downfall. It was a day to stop. Listen. And learn from history.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LOST: Jughead

I've got chills
They're multiplying

If the season premiere of LOST had us asking questions about every character left in the cast, then tonight's episode, Jughead, at least helped us start to make key connections.

And I have to admit that there were more than a few scenes when the hairs on my arms were standing straight up and chills were running down my spine.

Remember back in the old days when LOST would focus on one character with flashbacks in time of that person's life? Well, we didn't get flashbacks in this episode, but we learned a whole lot about Daniel Faraday, who went from nonexistent in the first three seasons, to our central character in Season 5.

In fact, we find out that he could be part of the cause of all that has happened on the island. He might have discovered time travel and then journeyed to the island where he used the power of an abandoned hydrogen bomb to give the island its unique power.

We learn that he is connected to Charles Widmore who he meets as a young man in the 1950s as one of the Others, and then Widmore later goes on to finance Faraday's time travel research.

We find out that Faraday has not only sent the minds of rats back and forth through time, but he also sent his own girlfriend through time, only to suffer the devastating consequences. Her body is now nothing but a shell while her mind is racing around and around on a neverending time loop.

I was majorly creeped out when Desmond pulled the blanket off Faraday's infamous chalkboard and then stepped on an old photo of him with his former girlfriend.

Finally, we get proof that Ms. Hawking just might be Faraday's mother when Widmore reveals that she has moved to Los Angeles and warns Desmond to get the heck away from her.

Might I point out that Daniel Faraday's lab rat was named Eloise, which is the same first name as Ms. Hawking?!?

I'm also thinking that the young blonde who holds Faraday at gunpoint in the 1950s is actually Daniel's mother because of the way he says she looks so familiar. This theory makes sense to me because she is in the same group as the young Charles Widmore when the two learn about the real possibility of time travel. (I also just found out that the young woman with the gun is named Ellie, so there you go.)

Richard reveals more of the island's history by telling us that 18 members of an army battalion showed up on the island along with their damaged H-bomb, named Jughead.

Richard said he had to kill the army guys because they refused to leave. He says he was just taking orders by orchestrating their deaths and we get a hint that his boss is, in fact Jacob, when Locke appears in a later scene.

When Faraday examines the bomb, he tells the chick with the gun that they are going to have to enclose it in concrete and bury it. Am I wrong or does this suggest that this thing will later become the infamous underground power source?

This brings us to Locke who has some of the creepiest lines of this episode. When one of the guards starts to give Juliet directions to Richard Alpert's camp, the other guy kills him. Locke says he doesn't shoot the guy because he says, "he's one of my people." What the heck did that mean?

When in time did Locke "get" people? And how does he know that he even has people?!?

That same guy turns out to be the one who reveals his name is Charles Widmore? If Widmore was one of Locke's "people" then why didn't Locke know his name? And what, if any, is the significance of the name JONES on his shirt?

Finally, in his final act of spine-tingling creepiness, Locke tells Richard that he is, in fact, his leader, who hasn't been born yet. He instructs Richard on how to find him in two years when he is born in the year 1956. And, we all remember when Richard did in fact find Locke when he was born. Yikes.

In other news, we learn that Faraday really does love Charlotte. (Duh.) And that despite his skinny tie and complete geekiness, she might have some affection for him. (Weird.) We also learn that her brain is probably exploding from the time travel. (Again, duh.) Like we didn't see that one coming.

And we find out that Desmond and Penny have a little boy named after Charlie. And since Penny made Desmond promise to never, ever return to the island, it seems pretty likely that he will.

Finally, more and more, Charles Widmore is looking like he could be the good guy in all of this. It seems he grew up on the island, learned about time travel, knows about the power source and then was there when something went wrong and he split with the powers that be. Now, he seems to be desperate to save Penny from any negative ramifications, even if it means he won't see her again.

I can't wait to find out how Widmore was seemingly able to set Desmond out in that boat on a course to find the island.

And of course, the huge questions:
Why is Richard always the exact same age?
Did he age up until the 1950s or has he always been that age?
Who is Jacob?
When did Ben Linus become the leader?
Is Ms. Hawking the young woman on the island? Is she, in fact, Faraday's mom, or is that just a big red herring.
And finally, WILL Daniel Faraday ever take off that horrible tie?

It was kind of sad to go through a whole episode without Hurley, but we did get this great line from Sawyer as pretty much our sole source of humor: "You want to stay here in crazy town or help me rescue the geek."

And on a personal note, I was glad to see Latin coming in so handy, since my kids will be learning the not-so-dead-if-you-happen-to-be-an-Other language, which is taught in their Classical Christian school. Good to know.

BloggyLand fun

You all made me feel so much better about my little brush with Mr. Mean. So, to lighten things up, I wanted to post a link to this hilarious resume for moms. This is so perfect.

And hold onto your seats... LOST is on tonight! Look for an update, or two, or three later this evening.

Despite my recommendations previously, please DO NOT spit on anyone today. Snowballs should remain on the ground. No snarling at funny outfits.

Smile and make it a GREAT day! =]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

join the cause, add an insult

Over the weekend, I was confronted by someone who was really annoyed with me because of my attitude... my positive attitude.

"What is wrong with me?!"

"How can I be so accepting of other people... their views... their appearance?!?"

I have to admit that I was pretty bugged by this at first. I don't mind if someone wants to debate me on my beliefs. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. But I don't take personal attacks quite so easily.

But then I started to think about what this guy had to say and I realized he is right.

What the world needs is more nastiness. People are really way too kind to each other. Let's hurl some insults! We need more sarcasm!

If you see someone out on the street and she looks funny, let her know! Don't just walk on by! Maybe you notice a baby who isn't the cutest on the block, tell the mom!

I really don't know what I was thinking all of this time. I actually was born into the world as a glass-half-empty kind of girl. But I have done what I can to change my attitude. Now I realize I am moving in the wrong direction. Negativity, people! That's what we need!

So, take it from my new friend. Spread the nastiness. Honk at a driver. Heck, throw a snowball. Will you join me? Let's get out there and see how many people we can insult today!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

celebrating 100

Wow! That was fast!

Can you believe this is already my 100th post since I truly started my everydayMOM blog a few months ago? I am so thankful for those of you who have stuck around and read my thoughts, rants, ideas and general craziness over the last few months.

To celebrate the fact that I did not quit this endeavor, I wanted to write about a few things I have learned from the last 99 posts.

1. This is fun! I'm going to blame my need to blog on the fact that I am the youngest of four children in my family and always had a very quiet voice when I was growing up. (I probably still do have a quiet voice, although I've learned to project when necessary.) I remember at family gatherings I had so many things on my mind that I wanted to say. But with all of the loud talkers in my clan with their hilarious story-telling abilities, I often felt like I was in that dream where you are trying to shout but no one can hear you. Out here in BloggyLand, I can say it all -- write it all down -- and I don't have to yell. =]

This also has become a hobby for me. I have a hard time relaxing... just doing something I enjoy rather than looking after all the other needs around me. So, this has been a good excuse to unwind.

2. This is harder than it looks. Just because you start a blog and give it a spot on the World Wide Web, doesn't mean that anyone will actually read it! "Welcome, from the other 5 million blogs out here in BloggyLand!" I am so thankful for the handful of people who have read me consistently and offered me so much encouragement. I would have never continued without you!!

3. Speaking of readers... I'm so amazed that some people who don't know me personally take the time to read me on a regular basis. And that's a huge compliment. I've also realized that a lot of people prefer to just read and not be known. These people intrigue me the most. WHO ARE YOU?!?! (I see you on my stats, so I know you are there!) Actually, I understand that feeling. And if you want to lurk, that's great! If you ever want to join in and post a comment, I would love to hear from you. That's half the fun!

4. Which brings me to point No. 4. Blogging is a two-way relationship! If someone takes the time to respond to something I've written, I've learned to pay a visit to their blog or comment back. This makes it a lot more fun! I've "met" some really cool people with some great thoughts through other blogs.

5. My blog is a lot like me... it's kind of moody. Some days it's funny. Sometimes it's serious. Sometimes it's down right crazy. I've tried to develop more of a consistent voice, but since it's MY voice, I think it's impossible. Thanks for sticking around for all the mood swings.

I was trying to keep this to five points, but I can't skip No. 6:

6. You can dramatically increase your visitors if you include certain key words in your posts. Most popular: LOST, paraffin wax, Benjamin Button and high-heeled boots. Why do SO MANY people search the web for info on paraffin wax?!?!

So, what do you think? What have you learned from blogging? Feel free to write about it and then include a link to your post in the comment section. I would love to read what you have to say.

I hope you have enjoyed the first 100! I would love it if you decide to stick around for the next 100, too!

Friday, January 23, 2009

conspiracy theories

My oldest son often comes home with elaborate tales about Life on the Playground in second grade.

“Billy joined the bad team,” he will say. “They tried to capture me and put me in prison, but I used the force and was able to escape.”

I’ve finally started to realize that he doesn’t believe these stories are completely true. I think he just finds it more interesting to take the events of the day and create an elaborate story full of drama and intrigue.

I can often see his mind working as he runs around the yard. The other kids think he’s simply playing tag, but in his mind, he’s trying to escape a battle droid and make it safely to his underground cave.

I don’t know where he gets this trait.

I’m pretty sure, though, that it’s from my husband, CapableDad. He acts very normal, mild-mannered and calm, but there’s a lot more to him than meets the eye.

For example, earlier this week at about 4 a.m., I heard CapableDad sneak out of bed. He didn’t know that I was awake when he tip-toed to the closet and started gathering his belongings.

A few minutes later, I heard him walking quietly down the stairs and then... the sound of the garage door opening.

At this point, I jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs.

“A-HA!” I exclaimed! “I caught you!”

“I was trying not to wake you up,” he said softly. “I couldn’t sleep so I decided to go ahead and go to work.”

Right. I’ve heard that before. Like I don’t know that he’s a top-secret government agent working on an undercover operation.

Like I don’t know that he had to change his identity years ago before we even started dating to avoid putting me at risk. Like I believe that all of those international trips are really to visit factories in China. P-L-L-E-A-S-E!

“I caught you trying to escape!” I told him. “I know you were trying to make a get-away.”

“Honey. I’m going to work. I left you a note.”

I looked at the note sitting on the counter.

He’s a smart one. Covering his tracks with that hand-written note so the government informants wouldn’t get suspicious.

“I’ll see you tonight,” he said and kissed me good-bye.

Yep. It’s all his fault.

With the secret life he lives, he has to be responsible for our son’s creative mind, conspiracy theories and dramatic explanations.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

LOST: what if?

OK... I realize that if I post one more word about LOST that I will risk being diagnosed with OCD. However, I have to get this in print in case of the miniscule chance that I am correct so that I can go on record as the stay-at-home mom who solved the LOST mystery.

What if... all of the people on the Oceanic flight were actually born on the island?

What if... after the incident in which Dharma workers drilled holes into the huge time warping power source, all of the babies were removed from the island and left at various locations around the world?

What if... Sun is actually the child of Dr. Pierre Chang and she is the baby that he feeds in the opening segment?

What if... Charlotte is the mother of Daniel Faraday but because of his ability to travel through time, they end up the same age?

What if... in a Luke/Anakin Skywalker twist, Benjamin Linus is the father of John Locke but because Ben doesn't age (like Richard) he seems younger?

What if... Charles Widmore and/or Ms. Hawkins used their manipulation to get all of these babies, who are now grown, onto the Oceanic flight at the same time? (Remember "the list" at the beginning and how they had to find the ones who were on the list?? These were the original babies.)

What if... they needed them all in one place to serve as "constants" for each other in the event the power source was released and they started traveling back and forward through time?

What if... the plan was successful, except for the fact that the Oceanic Six escaped the island?

What if... now that time and space have been altered, the only hope is to bring the remaining six back to the island?

What if? Why not?

I also wanted to go back to the opening segment of the show:

This is where Dr. Pierre Chang is waking up. I wanted to point out a few very interesting details. Did you notice that the numbers on his digital clock looked like the numbers in the Dharma station where Desmond had to push the button? It seems to be the same record player as the one Desmond used, too. (Not that any of this matters, but it seemed like they wanted us to notice those things.)

And excuse me, but what parent of a newborn has ever slept until 8:14 a.m.?

Dr. Chang identifies himself as Dr. Candle, Wickmund and Halliwax in previous videos. What's with his obsession with candles and wax?

I had forgotten that Ms. Hawking was the woman who refused to sell Desmond the engagement ring. The link gives some great background.

And here is the identity of Neil, aka Frogurt.

I'm done now... I promise. New topic.

LOST Season Premiere, part 2

Now that I've recovered a bit from the whirlwind of information known as the LOST Season 5 Premiere, I wanted to expand upon my thoughts on the show.

It seems that the woman at the end of the show has been working on a scientific formula with her chalkboard and swinging pendulum to determine the exact moment in time and space when the Oceanic 6 can return to the island.

The "Event Window" has been determined to occur in 70 hours.

I would say it's going to take, oh, about 70 hours in TV land time to make it through this season, so that works out perfectly. Their time is slightly different from real time, of course, because half of the cast is constantly moving back and forth through time.

Jack now has to gather up the Oceanic 6 and convince all of them to return to the Island. This is going to be tricky since Hurley is on his way to jail and Kate doesn't want to go. Sayid and Sun seem to be a little easier to convince.

Kate will probably be swayed by her desire to reunite with Sawyer, although she will be haunted by the memory of Claire warning her to "NEVER" take Aaron back to the island.

My theory is that all of the survivors must all be in place on the island, just as they were in the past, to somehow stop the island from jumping through time. If one person is missing, or if an extra person is there -- Penny, for example -- it won't work. This must be one of the "exceptions" to the rules of time travel that Daniel Faraday talked about.

Meanwhile, some of the people left on the island are suffering the harsh physical effects of jumping back and forth through time. We all know that the nose bleeds are just the first sign the person will go crazy and then spontaneously combust... or something like that.

So, is Locke really dead? I think he is. However, I think that when the survivors go back to the island and they are all in the exact spots where they were at a precise moment -- the Event Window -- that everything will return to the way it was at that moment. Even though Faraday said you can't change the past, I believe the Event Window will allow them to bring Locke back to life.

The best line from the night came from Hurley:

"I'm a murderer. I killed four people. Three people... however many are dead, I killed them all."

Biggest question:

Who was Neil again? I completely forgot about him. And who were those guys throwing the fire darts at him? Were they the Dharma people? Or the Others? Or someone else?

And was that Sun in the beginning of the show? And who was she with? Was that the Dharma guy who makes the videos? I need to go back and review that part. I was so full of anticipation that I couldn't focus correctly.

And can Benjamin really return to the island? In Season Four, he said that once he turned the big wheel, he would never be able to return. Can he only return if he goes through the Event Window?

Oh... and how will Locke orchestrate his own death?

If you have any theories, please let me know. If you don't even watch the show, but you were so kind to read this whole thing, then thank you! You are a true friend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

LOST season premiere

The LOST two-hour season premiere just ended. I have only a few things to say:

Was that Sun with the doctor who makes the videos?

Who wants Kate's blood?

Who puts knives in the dishwasher that way?

Why doesn't Richard move through time?

Why does Locke have to die?

What is Daniel Faraday's mother's name?

Hurley promised to never help Sayid in the future, but then he did.

Anna Lucia comes back.

Libby says, "hi".

Who is Jill?

"Keep him safe because if you don't... everything we do won't matter at all."

Was that the pig that Locke killed in the past?

Who threw a fire dart at Neil?

Who are those guys?

"I'm a murderer. I killed four people. Three people... however many are dead, I killed them all."

Freaky chalkboard lady. Swinging pendulum. Event window determined.

"70 hours."

wishes, dreams and goals

I was reading this blog today where the writer is encouraging other bloggers to write an entry on the topic of "Wishes".

I don't know if I will submit my entry on this topic, because my views aren't exactly the beautiful prose that one might expect. I love to dream of the future and think about what I would like to achieve. But I don't like the word "wish".

To me, it carries the image of something I would like to happen, but I don't truly believe it could ever become reality. I'm not actually taking any action to make it more than a dream. "I wish" I would lose weight. "I wish" I would make a new friend. "I wish" my business was going better. Instead of using that word, I encourage people to say, "I will".

"I will" take an action step today toward meeting my goal.

Doesn't that sound so much better? They say that convincing your brain that you are going to do something is the first step toward achieving your goal. I don't think you can think something into existence, but I do agree that believing you can achieve something is the first step toward making it happen.

I've been carrying around a little book I've been reading when I have a few minutes throughout my day. It's called, "The Greatest Salesman on Earth" by Og Mandino. I carried it somewhere last night and might have lost it since I can't find it anywhere this morning! (I wish I could find my book!)

I wanted to quote directly from the book, but I will summarize.

The book is written as a fictional account of a young man who is learning to be a great salesman. He is given a chest containing the secrets of "the greatest salesman on Earth". The first scroll asks him to read each piece of advice every day for 30 days before he opens the next scroll.

He is creating a new habit by reading the words over and over again, everyday. He is convincing his brain that these words are true. He is taking a small step every day toward what he wants to achieve.

The biggest thing that stands in the way of achieving a goal isn't one's intelligence, or ability or wealth or place in life, the book says. It is the habits that we have created that tempt us into wasting our time, eating bad foods, avoiding exercise, giving up on our dreams. It's these little bad decisions that we make everyday.

I've been thinking about these words since I read them last night.

Achieving our dreams takes more than wishing. We have to create a plan and then create habits that we follow each day toward making it reality.

What do you think? Do you wish? Dream? Or set goals? And what about habits? Are you creating any good ones this year?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

life in high-def

In honor of my husband's 40th birthday, I wanted to get him the ultimate You're The Best Husband Ever and I'm Sorry For All The Sweaters I've Given You For Your Previous Birthdays kind of gift. So, I got him a high-definition television.

I actually was planning to simply replace the 27-inch TV I brought into our marriage 11 years ago with a flat screen that would fit right in the same spot in the entertainment center.

But, thankfully, I realized that it might be better just to wrap up a picture of a TV to hand him on his birthday and let him choose this sports-watching machine. He might have some criteria other than, "black box with a picture." It's a good thing, because this was one issue where he had some opinions stronger than those of his *slightly* bossy wife.

It seems we needed one inch of HDTV for every year of his life.

So, now we see things with clarity.

At first, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. It's so bright. Just as they advertise, you can see the blades of grass. The grains of sand. The pebbles in the water.

It was all there before, but we couldn't see it.

It's so clear now. So sharply focused.

Wouldn't it be great if we could buy an HD lense for life? If the questions that seem so muddled and confusing were clear and focused? If we could see all the details? Understand all the reasons why?


"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." I Cor. 13:12

Monday, January 19, 2009

wild and crazy new me!

I get bored easily.

I like to rearrange the furniture. I love to paint the walls. I love to transform my wardrobe.

So, I was getting bored with the old everydayMOM. I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out how techie things work, but I didn't really have confidence that I could transform my blog into something quite as wild and crazy as what you see today. And if I'm going to redecorate, I like to make a statement!

Then, yesterday, I stumbled upon a blog that had the cutest backgrounds for free! Then, I bumped into this woman who gives the nicest little tutorials on how to redesign your blog. She gave a link to this guy, who gives every tip and trick you can think of to format your blog.

I started messing around. Then, I started having fun. Then, I got obsessed.

And here it is. (If you aren't seeing my flowery, green background, by the way, then let me know! I know it doesn't show up on the iTouch or Blackberry.)

I still have a lot of little tweaks and additions that will be coming soon. But, I seriously need to give my kids breakfast, so this will have to work for now!

If you hate it, don't worry. This will most definitely be only one in a series of redesign efforts here at my blog. Because changing it up is half the fun.

And I'm sure I'll be getting bored soon!

Well... I got bored sooner than I thought! The redesign only lasted one week and then I did another redesign, which is what you see now!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

wet, sloshy photos

Imagine right now some photos of three really cute kids standing in front of a huge play structure in a waterpark. Think of them sitting in a hot tub filled with steam. Don’t they look cute and happy and warm?

See my daughter squealing with delight as she races down the waterslide? How about that huge climate-controlled waterdome with the tidal wave pool?

That’s what I would be posting right now if I hadn’t lost my camera during the last 30 minutes of our get-away to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday. I think I might have thrown the camera in the big bin full of damp used towels.

So, instead of sitting here with me getting ready to download all of our photos from the weekend, my pour Cannon is probably sloshing around in an industrial-sized washing machine with a bunch of white towels with a navy blue stripe.

“You dumb towels aren’t even photoworthy,” my sleek little pocket-sized camera is saying right now.

I did search through the bin, as well as three other bins of damp towels, but alas.

Perhaps one of the other five million people at the waterpark spotted it after I dropped it. Maybe someone rescued it. And really, that would make me feel better. I would rather believe it is safe in a loving home than drowning a cruel death in a washing machine.

That camera was cute and small and easy to use.

But honestly, I know we can replace it.

It’s the 400 photos on the memory card that really bug me. Most of them have been downloaded to my computer. All of those except the ones from the weekend.

See us smiling?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

top-secret pie recipe

When my husband and I were first married, I often tried to impress him with my baking ability. I would whip up some of my perfect chocolate chip cookies or double chocolate brownies.

When I really wanted to prove how much I loved him, I would show him with a cheesecake, a Tiramisu or maybe a decadent trifle.

At first, he would humor me by sampling half a slice. As the years went on, it shrank to a taste, and then came the claims that he wasn't hungry. Hmph! How could he hate my cooking?!?

But after a few years, I slowly started to catch on that his love was pie. Yep. Pie. Tangy, tart, fruity pie. Cherry pie. Apple pie.

Pie? Really?

If I were to eat a slice of cherry pie, I would give myself a point for adding to my daily dose of fruits and veggies. That doesn't even count as a dessert in my book.

But then I realized that I had been depriving him of his most loved dessert. All the birthday cakes, trifles and cookies didn't mean a lick to him. I better learn how to bake a pie!

This task seemed overwhelming at first. Roll the dough. Make the filling. Keep it from burning.

That is, until I came up with my top-secret, highly-confidential cherry pie recipe.

It was my husband's 40th birthday yesterday. He is OLD! Way old! Over the hill! Let's-have-a-mid-life-crisis-and-get-some-bifocals-to-celebrate kind of old!! Fortunately, he is way, way, WAY older than I am and has crossed this milestone a good four months before I will.

So, we celebrated with PIE! Here's the recipe:

1 package of pre-made pie crust (it is sold with two rolled up crusts in one box)
2 cans of cherry pie filling
1 tablespoon of sugar (I don't think he really likes the sugar, but I selfishly throw it on the top to try to make it less tart. Seriously, I can only go so far with this pie thing.)

Put one pie crust in the bottom of the pan. Dump in two cans of filling. Cut cute little heart shapes in the other crust. Put it on top. Sprinkle the sugar on the top crust. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.

There you go. Pie.

I love you, birthday boy!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

get the kleenex box

This is my second born. We like to call him Love Bug Snuggle Hug. His love language is hugs. And kisses. And more hugs. Oh, and snuggles.

Today was the worst day of his life.

He's a shy one. It takes him a while to warm up to people. But once he does, he loves them with his whole heart. His is a powerful love that melts me on a daily basis.

He was nervous going to kindergarten this year. Really nervous. But he warmed up quickly to the second most wonderful woman in his life -- his teacher.

The young, beautiful, sweet teacher, with her southern accent and bonus prize box and big heart.

The same teacher who resigned today.

LBSH cried. And he cried. And then he started wailing. Then he moaned and cried. Then he just sobbed.

"I want my normal teacher," he cried, rejecting any talk of a substitute or a replacement who might just be the very best teacher on the entire planet.

I drew upon all of my mothering skills and realized immediately that it would have to be LBSH Day. You know, the day when he gets to decide everything and he can basically have whatever he wants.

Spiderman Mac and Cheese for lunch. Along with corndogs.

Hours glued in front of the computer playing games on the LEGO web site.

Mugs of hot chocolate.

Mickey Mouse pancakes for dinner. With lots of whipping cream and chocolate chips on the top.

Hershey bars for dessert. That finally made him smile.

Hugs. Hugs. And more hugs.

Oh, I know kids this age are resilient.

But this kid is what one might call attached. He still carries his baby blankie around the house and sets it on the front bench so I will bring it along when I pick him up from kindergarten.

His 4-year-old preschool photo is bent and smudged from all the time he has spent staring at it. He names off all of the children who are his "best friends", even though we haven't seen them for over a year. He begs and pleads with me to call the mothers of these children who have skipped off to kindergarten in other areas and most likely would not have a clue who I am.

He loves people with all his might. And she was top of his list.

We could be eating a lot of chocolate this week.

And giving lots of hugs.

I don't expect him to forget her anytime soon. And I have a feeling this won't be the last time I'll be nursing this one's broken heart.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

sage advice from a young mind

"Mom, I think you should get the president to read your blog," my 8-year-old said.

Excellent idea! How do you think I should do that?

"Just fly to his house. Go up to him and show it to him."

That sounds good. What do you think he would do?

"He would comment."

"He would let you know if he likes it."


(I just wanted to let you all know I'll be in D.C. for a few days. I'll let you know how it goes.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

plant these words

The day before Christmas break, my son's second grade teacher gave him a small gift with a hand-written note.

She told him what a "joy" he is and how she loves his "heart of gold".

"Don't ever give up," she wrote in her green felt-tip marker.

Four simple words that might not mean much to another 8-year-old. But my son's teacher recognizes that he has to put forth a lot more effort everyday than most of the kids in his class to accomplish the same task. The answers don't always come easily. His hand-writing takes extra concentration. Reading is a little slower.

He read the note several times and then hid it in his room.

This young teacher is wise beyond her years. She understands the power of words.

How words can penetrate deep into a child's mind. How encouragement can grow there and convince a young heart he can do things he never dreamed possible. How those words are like seeds thrown into one's brain where they will take root and grow.

I've been needing some seeds like that a bit lately, I'll admit.

My brain and heart seem to need constant gardening to keep things growing in a positive direction. When I get distracted or forget to focus on what is good and positive and true, the weeds start creeping up. They have deep roots that wrap their tentacles around my heart. And then they start to squeeze.

I can hear their lies:

Not good enough.

I've actually worked really hard the past few years to pull and tug. To chop and burn. To eliminate those weeds from my life. But they remind me of the Lamb's Ear in our backyard.

We have pulled it up several times. But if we leave some roots below the surface, it keeps coming back. It sends out its shoots under the ground and unexpectedly, it sprouts in a new location.

It's kind of pretty. It feels nice and soft to the touch. And it even grows a pretty purple flower in the summer. It covers up the bare spots in the landscape. It makes a great groundcover.

But truly. It's a weed. Without attention, it will take over the whole yard. It will overgrow every other plant. It will strangle the lawn. Shadow the flowers and even cover the bushes.

Kind of like those words in my heart. In a way, it's comfortable to keep them there. As an excuse for why I haven't changed. As a reason I can't do better. I can choose to let my mind focus on them and believe that they are true. I can stop trying. Believe their lies. Give up.

I've been working on my New Year's resolutions and this one will be my priority: With God's help, I'm going to do some gardening this year. And I know it could hurt pulling out those roots.

But I'll be looking for opportunities to sprinkle out the seeds of some beautiful flowers along the way.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It sounded so simple at first.

The two younger kids and I were starving on our drive home from kindergarten pick-up.

"What should we have for lunch?" I asked. Then I thought of an idea.

"I'm not sure, Mom," the 6-year-old said cautiously. "Besides, where would we even find any?"

"I have a secret stash," I confessed. "It's on the top shelf of the really high cabinet above the sink."

So, we all agreed, and I smiled with delight as I set out the six slices of bread. I dug deep into the top cabinet and found my secret supply. There it was.


It expired a year ago. Oh well. Can it really be that bad?

I spread a thick coating on three of the bread slices. Then I plopped on big spoonfuls of strawberry preserves.

"So, THIS is what other moms do?" I thought. "THIS is what happens when you can't think of what to make for lunch! THIS is what you do when you need something quick and don't want to cook! THIS IS SO EASY!!!"

It was the first time in nearly five years that I had made a PB&J. In fact, it was the first time in either one of the younger kids' lives.

When our oldest son was diganosed at the age of 3 with a severe peanut allergy, I didn't take it that seriously at first. Sure, I didn't give any to him. But I continued to slather peanut butter on toast, pancakes or just eat it by the spoonful. I put it in cookies and pies and sprinkled handfuls of peanuts on salads.

Then I gave my now 8-year-old a plain M&M.

He coughed and sneezed. His face turned blotchy and red. He couldn't stop rubbing his watery eyes. His stomach was bloated, and he became ill.

That was a wake-up call. And then the allergist informed me that I should have administered the epi-pen that day. It could have been worse. A lot worse.

And she strongly suggested that we remove anything that had even come in contact with a peanut from our house. We couldn't even take the risk that the residue might come in contact with something he would eat. No granola bars. Nothing made in a plant with peanuts. Not even a plain M&M.

Since our purging years ago, we haven't eaten peanut butter in our home. Oh, I used to sneak a spoonful when no one was home. But even that lost its appeal sometime before March 2008, according to the peanut butter jar's expiration date.

But with him gone all day at school, couldn't we try it? Just this once?

My middle son, who loves his brother almost more than himself, could barely bring himself to take the first bite.

"I can't say the word," he said.

What word?

"You know... peanut butter," he said, shaking his head as he looked down at his plate.

My daughter gobbled up her sandwich with a little more gusto.

"Wipe your hands on a napkin!" I started to say with an increasingly louder tone each time they touched their sandwiches.

And when it came time for the Fritos... "DON'T PUT YOUR HAND IN THE BAG!"

"OK... OK... Just go wash your hands," I finally said, growing more and more nervous with each bite. The 4 year-old rubbed her hands all the way down the stair railing and touched the wall a few times on her way to the bathroom.

"I'll have to wash that," I thought, making a mental note.

I soaked the knives in hot water and washed the plates. Then I wiped down the table.

"I'll have to wash that washcloth right away, too." My list was growing.

"Go brush your teeth!" I yelled, now getting anxious. "And don't TOUCH your brother's toothbrush."

Living without a PB&J has become a way of life at our house. But this?

This wasn't so simple after all.

Monday, January 5, 2009

your questions... answered

When I started this blog more than a year ago, I didn't even want my closest friends and family members to find it, not to mention, complete strangers. Then, I started posting like a mad woman and wanted someone -- ANYONE -- to read. And now, I even changed a setting that will allow random people to find my blog through a search engine.

I have been amused, and sometimes a little horrified, at the search phrases people use to find your sweet everydayMOM.

So, I decided to just post the answers to these queries and hope maybe that will make these people go away. (More likely, it will just bring more, but being the helpful sort of person that I am, I at least want to ANSWER their questions while they are here!)

I have been popping up quite a bit in search engines over my award-winning, highly-acclaimed post, Perils of Paraffin Wax. Many people just seem to be looking for a place to purchase a paraffin wax bath, but one person stood out with her search request:

Can I put paraffin wax on my face?

Answer: NO!

A lot of people have been finding my blog after the reference to the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Search query: How old was Benjamin Button when he died?

Answer: Go see the movie.

If you are going to see the movie, you need to cover your eyes right now:

The movie is about a man who is born old and then becomes younger throughout his life. So, how old do you think he was when he died? You guessed correctly.

Search query (I've had several of these): Can I take my children to see Benjamin Button?

Answer: Are your children 18?

If not, then NO!

I realize the movie is rated PG-13 and that every family has different standards.

But since my children are young, I can't imagine them seeing this movie until they are 18. And I still say:
And, actually, NO!

There you go... Well, I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, just let me know.

I'm here for ya.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

the perils of a pedicure, the sequel

In today's edition of Fashion Friday, I will be featuring these adorable animal print flip flops. And as an extra special bonus, I am writing The Sequel to the Perils of Paraffin Wax.

This story actually began a few months ago when my friend, A Musing Mom, was celebrating her milestone-reaching, I-am-not-middle-age, and I-don't need-bifocals birthday. Just to make the point, she took us to play laser tag.

I gave A Musing a gift certificate to my favorite day spa, Simply Beautiful. I just casually mentioned that if she would rather not go by herself, I would be willing to make the sacrifice and tag along just to give her a little company. It's not like going to Simply Beautiful is No. 1 on my list of life's most relaxing moments or anything.

This was A Musing's second pedicure in her life, and I typically get about one a year, always as an excuse to get together with friends. So, being the spa experts that we are, we were completely prepared. Not long after we sat down, our nail specialists (is that what you call them?) said, "Were you planning to get your nails painted today."

We're both thinking, "Isn't that what a pedicure IS?!?!"

Then she mentions, "Did you bring any sandals?" Sandals? Well, it is January and the thick socks and boots might just smudge our newly painted nails.



So here's what we learned last night about The Perils of a Pedicure.

1. If you plan to get a pedicure, you might have to sit for an hour or more in a massage chair with a hot wrap around your neck while soaking your feet in hot water. At times, someone will massage and scrub your feet leaving them feeling amazing. During this time, you will not be able to walk, so you will have to rely on the the Nail Specialist to bring you hot cups of tea to drink. You don't want to get too dehydrated.

2. You will have to choose from what seems like a hundred slight variations of colors ranging from black to hot pink to put on your toes. I have decided to go with the suggestion of Carrie, the wonderful Nail Specialist. Last time, she chose for me "My Private Jet", and you will just have to click here to find out where that got me. This time, the color she chose was called, "You Don't Know Jacques". I'm really not thinking that is sending quite the same motivational message for the year.

3. If you don't bring along any sandals, you will have to scoot through the parking lot in these paper-thin free flip flops they give you at the spa. Your little toe-sies will be freezing, so just to warm up, you will need to go to a restaurant that serves hot food.

4. When you hobble into the restaurant on your paper flip flops, you will try to act casual, hoping no one will notice. But they will. The very first person you encounter as you walk in the door will glare at your shoes, or lack thereof.

5. But never fear. The wait just might be an hour and a half and since the toes only need an hour to dry, you can put on your boots before being seated.

6. Once your feet are safe inside their nice warm shoes, they will start feeling so pampered, oiled, buffed and happy, that they won't want to walk. Your best bet is to put up your feet and order dessert.

Be careful out there. These spa treatments can be rough and come with many unadvertised hazards. Take your sandals. Pick your color wisely. Go in peace.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

a resolution... to make one...

True confession.

I'm waking up this morning on Jan. 1 with no New Year's Resolution. This is actually often the case with me.

Usually, around this time of year, I inform my husband that I will be quitting everything, and I am going to do absolutely nothing for the next year outside of my mommy duties. He smiles. He says OK. He knows.

Now, please don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with focusing on one's mommy duties. But everyone in this family knows that I am happiest when I have a personal goal for myself. An action plan. A strategy. A coloring chart. And a theme song.

And, quite frankly, those thing usually don't come to me after the frenzy of Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, traveling around the midwest to visit family, unpacking the bags, doing a ton of laundry, playing games with my kids, trying to enjoy the time my husband is off from work, and finally hanging out on New Year's Eve.

There must be a reason that government leaders wait until mid-January to give their State of the Union or State of the State or State of the Village addresses. It takes some time to think.

It really takes me some time to sit down, ponder what I want to do with myself for the next year, decide what is realistic, figure out what it would require and make a plan. I will do that during the next few weeks. And then, I will feel much better about the new year.

One thing that I know for sure is that I have to set goals for myself that are fun in the process. It might be painful at times to do what is required. But something about the challenge has to be so rewarding, so interesting, so enjoyable, that it motivates me to continue.

And I find that music helps. It lifts my spirits. It motivates me. It makes me smile. I wish I could have been a rock star, but that wasn't God's plan for me. But I often have a theme song.

I'm feeling a bit melancholy this morning remembering my theme song from the past two years.

People always think I'm kidding about my theme song. But let me tell you, everytime I listen to it, I start to dance, I get out a spoon or a hairbrush for my mic, my kids join in, we all dance, and I just want to go out and do something.

Warning. This song is not meant to be deep, spiritual or meaningful. It's superficial. But it's fun.

I've been known to lip sync it in public a few times. This is me a year ago with the Discovery Toys girls on my team singing it, complete with Hannah Montana wigs, at a retreat for upper managers. We looked like idiots.

We made these shirts that said, "Rock Star" on them. Did I mention we looked like idiots? I'll never forget that day. Out performance wasn't that great. But our practice sessions and planning were hilarious.

This was our lip syncing debut in someone's hotel room where we were supposed to be giving a motivational talk at national convention. It was motivational, all right.

These pictures make me laugh. I'm hoping to have that kind of fun this year.

I hope you do, too. Oh... and if you need a little help, crank up some Mariah Carey. "Make it Happen". Let me know if it works for you.

What about you? Any goals for 2009? Do you make goals? Resolutions? Any goal-setting secrets you would like to share?
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