2.26.2010

Five for Friday {The Yee-Haw Edition}

But not the Hee Haw edition. Although I liked Hee Haw (and how badly do I date myself by admitting I watched that show, and not on re-runs either?)

1. Today is Go Texan Day. Did you know that? Do you even care? Yeah, I feel the same way. I mean, I big, puffy heart L-O-V-E all things Texas, I'm just not wild about cowboy clothes, unless they belong to, you know, real cowboys. Otherwise they're just posers. I do make an exception to my rule for children dressed in western wear because, well, they're just adorable.
2. Is there anything cuter than red cowboy boots? With gen-U-iiine silver tips? I don't think so. Even if the genuine silver part is a stretch. Last night (because, really, why plan ahead?) Scott and Annelise went to Academy, Target, Walmart and Payless in a desperate search for boots before finding these at the western wear store three minutes from our house. Don't you like these better than what they came home with last year?

3. However, the western look stopped at the boots. Today they were given a choice of wearing full western wear or Texas sports' team shirts for Go Texan Day, so Annelise decided to wear her favorite player's shirt. It was a fairly easy decision since she doesn't have any western wear or any other sports' team shirts. She added the pink belt for extra flair, since pink goes with everything.
So, here she is pondering the universe in her ensemble 1.5 minutes before we boot-scooted out the door this morning. Well, I flip-flopped. Go Texas! Yee-Haw!, etc.

4. In other news, I have been half-heartedly working on my next two blog books. I can't believe it's been two years since I first published my blog into a book, but am thrilled to have it merrily sitting on our bookshelf. This time, instead of doing one gigantic volume, I plan to make one for 2008 and another for 2009. There may be other programs or methods available for publishing your blog, but I'm using Blurb again.
5. We had our last car payment in January. Cue happy dance. Yesterday, as I was on my way to pick up Annelise from school, three, count them three, dashboard warning lights came on. Happy dance came to a screeching halt. Frantic user guide perusal informed me to take vehicle to dealer ASAP. Dealer is booked up until Tuesday, but assured Scott that everything should be hunky dory until then, we can still drive it. Yeah, right. Two guesses (and the first one doesn't count) as to who traded cars this morning with Scott.
Oh...and by the way, it's a Toyota.
Happy, happy weekend y'all!!

2.24.2010

Be Cool Man, Act Natural {My LOST Thoughts}

Well, my fellow LOSTies, it's time for another edition of my LOST thoughts. ***And like always, this post contains spoilers, so avert your eyes and click away to clean out your email inbox if you haven't watched last night's episode, Lighthouse yet.****

Okay ABC, please stop with all the promos declaring that the time for questions is over. Stop toying with me, I'm done buying that. Questions? I've still got 'em. Plenty.

For instance, who is coming to the Island that Jacob told Hurley to help him/her/it find it? (Or was that only a pretext to get Hurley and Jack to the Lighthouse?) Who is Jack's son David's mom? (hated that she was "out of town", so wanted to see if it was Julie Bowen) Why did the actress playing Jack's mom go in for just a little more plastic surgery? Why didn't someone stop her?(She scared me.) and, most importantly...

Is it just me, or did Island Claire remind you of a dirty, bedraggled Ellie Mae Clampett off her meds too?

I kept waiting to see Jethro or Granny walk into her explosive strewn hut to help babysit her boar baby in the crib and later rustle up some vittles.

While I was anxious to finally see Island Claire again, I must confess, I miss sweet, easy going, pretty Claire. Island Claire has obviously lost a few crayons in her color box and has gone stark raving mad.

Ax-wielding Crazy Claire would never fall for imaginary peanut butter.

I just knew she was in cahoots with FLocke/MIB/Smokey. Friend schriend.

Jin better watch his back. Kate should too.

Last night was such a treat to see the sideways story of Daddy Jack (who apparently had his appendix out anyway) along with Take Charge Jack back on the Island. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing more of Jack, enough so that I tried my best not to let his excessive blinking for dramatic emphasis bother me. Too much.

Loved that Jack's son David kept the photo booth pics on his mirror, loved Jack's reaction. Loved their talk after David's audition. Sideways Jack made an effort to connect with his son, which was touching to witness. It's also good to know that Sideways Jack is working through some of his daddy issues (at least trying to stop the cycle).

Wasn't it cool when Hurley speculated about the possible identity of Adam and Eve back at the cave? Yes. But, hello? The writers just teased us and we'll still have to wait for answers, but I like how they acknowledged that theory anyway.

And, (high pitched squeal) there were oodles of Hurleyisms sprinkled throughout the episode!

Loved seeing Miles and Hurley playing Tic-Tac-Toe with Island foliage.

"I could eat." (Hurley to Miles)

"Okay, it's bad enough you already made me write down way to much stuff (on his arm!), and I just lied to a Samurai..." (Hurley to Jacob. Don't you love how patient Jacob is with Hurley?)

"Be cool man, act natural...wait ten seconds and then follow me." (Hurley, the Spy to Jack)

Only Hurley would compare Jacob to Obi-Wan Kanobi. How much do I love the Star Wars references? Um, a LOT.

"This is cool dude, very old school. You know, you and me, trekking through the jungle on our way to do something we don't quite understand. Good times." (Hurley to Jack)

"I came back here because I was broken and I was stupid enough to think this place could fix me." (Jack to Hurley, totally trumping his cab meeting with Jacob)

So apparently Jacob (or MIB? Who's scamming who here?) has kept his own list of candidates on the dial of the lighthouse thingy. Interesting.

Who was at 108 degrees? Or was that just part of Jacob's ploy? (manipulation?)

Jack really needs some different anger management tools other than smashing centuries old mirror thingies.

"I have ink on my forehead? THAT's all you have to say?" (Hurley to Jacob)

I really love how laid back Jacob is, even when Hurley told him Jack broke his mirror thingy, he stayed calm. I guess being hundreds of years old and some sort of spirit will do that to you.

"Sometimes you can just hop in the back of someone's cab and tell 'em what they're supposed to do. Other times, you have to let him look out at the ocean for a while." (Jacob to Hurley, about Jack)

So it looks like Crazy Claire, FLocke/MIB/Smokey, Sawyer (though I don't believe he's completely on FLocke's side) and Jin (by default) will be making their way to the temple soon?

Uh-oh.

What did you think of last night's episode? Any new theories to share? Do you love the LOST Untangled clips as much as I do? (Who doesn't love a Muppet?) Did you want to hand Crazy Claire a hairbrush and some soap as badly as I did?

2.23.2010

Kindergarten Peer Pressure

It's already started, this thing called social influence. Or peer pressure.

From the five and six year old, hip-high crowd.

Sometimes it's over toys or treats. It's never really over clothes or shoes (thankfully, they all wear standardized dress/uniforms).

Lately, it's been about something else. Something worse.

There's been desperate begging in the grocery aisles, which I have blatantly ignored.

There have been emphatic declarations of, "But, Petunia, Zinnia, Clover, Violet and Milkweed* eat them all the time, Mom!!!!"

Which fell on deaf ears.

Until Annelise had a sleepover at Pappo and Grandmas this weekend and came home with these:
They were the very first things she showed to me when she came home. She also opens the refrigerator at regular intervals to check on them.

Could they BE more disgusting? Are they even real food?

The pizza box not only contains a round cardboard-like base, cheese, pepperoni and tomato sauce in a pouch (that's only asking for a messy disaster to strike), but also cookies, Cheese Nips, a bottle of water and a Kool-Aid mix pouch. Can you say carb? Can you say sugar? Can you say unbalanced?

The nuggets, or dunks as they call them, are equally revolting.

I have explained to her that both of these would have to be eaten either cold or room temperature, the very thought of which summons my gag reflex,----and she STILL wants to take them for lunch. All because her friends eat them.

Now I feel cornered, since her grandparents bought them, they are sitting in our fridge and she visits them on the hour (the Lunchables, not the g-parents). I thought about telling her they expired (even though they could possibly outlive me), but that would be a lie. If I throw them away, I'll be Major Mean Mom 2010, I'm sure. Decisions, decisions...

What would you do with them?

***All names, except for Annelise, have been changed to protect those Kindergartners guilty of eating vile Lunchables.

2.22.2010

Angles. And Such.

I've been thinking a lot about angles lately. And lenses and light and mirrors. And wondering if they reflect the truth.

What do I see?

What do others see?

As I have mentioned before, Scott and I started a little revolution almost two months ago. Are there visible results yet?

Maybe.

It may not be enough for others to notice yet.

It might be a trick of light or of angles, but certain areas of me are smaller.

My clothes say so.

The scale says so.I'm wearing a few things I haven't been able to in a while.

I might even need a belt.

Is it all a trick of angles? Of light? Of the lens? Is it true only in the good mirror?

I don't know.

But I think The Revolution is working.

And so it shall continue.

2.19.2010

Five for Friday {the Not-Goth, Miracle Bread Edition}

1. Black is my new favorite color. And I promise I am not goth or depressed, it's just easy to throw on, classic, basic, and seems to go with everything. Black is the new black. Wearing black allows me to wear my big, funky flower. I've been saying (for like, ever, or at least since November) I am going to make more. Well, the time has come, I'm really going to make more this weekend. Stay tuned for the results.
2. I've been wearing my glasses more in a last ditch effort to stretch out my last pair of contacts until my eye doctor appointment in early March. It's rather annoying that she (the Dr.) would not give me a trial pair since I had not gotten my contacts from her in, well, several years. I can sort of understand, but I also know exactly what I have been wearing, without any complications, so why can't they help a girl out?
3. This sight makes me sad. Is there anything more pitiful than droopy tulips?4. However, this sight makes me very happy.
{before baking}
After my last bread making failure I am thrilled to report that Michelle's Miracle Bread is truly just that. I made the whole wheat version last Friday (after finally finding instant yeast at HEB) with my fingers crossed that the dough would rise, and praise and glory, it did! I gave one loaf to Annelise's sweet teacher and kept another for Annelise's PB&Js. I plan to make some more today, except I think I am going out on a limb and freezing one loaf before it rises in the pan (I've heard this is possible, has anyone had success?), then thawing it, letting it rise and baking it when we need it. Wish me luck.
5. Remember when I mentioned earlier this week how I was down with the whole running thing again? Well, don't worry, it's three days later and I'm still down with it. So down in fact, I registered for my first half marathon in over a year. Yes, you read that right, I did. The race is in April and I am see-sawing somewhere between extreme fear and extreme excitement.
Hmm...that was a whole lot of random wasn't it? My brain truly scares me sometimes.
Do you agree that black is the new black? Have you ever made fabric flowers? Do potential liability issues give you the Grrrs too?
Have a fabulous Friday and weekend my friends!

2.18.2010

Two Weeks In

After being convicted at our recent Ladies' Day of the importance of daily Bible reading, I am pleased to share that for almost two weeks now we have been reading the Bible together as a family. We are following a plan for 2010 where you read a couple of chapters in the Old Testament and a portion of a chapter in the New Testament each day, the goal being to read the entire Bible by the end of the year. Gulp.

Except we are trying to read a bit more each day as we play catch up for the January/early February readings since we didn't start when the rooster crowed to announce January 1, 1010. So we've been reading in Genesis, the end of Exodus and now Leviticus. Seriously, could we have picked a harder book of the Bible to start with?
Annelise has been listening and trying to follow along. We do exercise parental, I don't know what to call it, maybe editing, when we read a story that is too, ahem, mature for a six-year old. You know, like the goings on at Sodom and Gomorroh and the incident with Lot's daughters. But otherwise, we read it exactly.

Here's a PJ clad peek at her during tonight's reading.Approximately 2.5 seconds later she put the Bible down and wiggled her tooth for a good long while, but she is listening and occasionally asking questions, so that's fine with us.

I hope that reading the current day's chapters and playing catch-up is not confusing to her (or to us), but we feel like we need to do the reading we missed. It is odd though to be reading a section of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and then a few minutes later, his betrayal and arrest.
In a perfect world we would read in the morning, but it's been working out to be more of an evening thing before Annelise goes to bed. Some days Scott and I have found ourselves feeling like it takes too much time to read (hello?..Satan calling) but we know it really does not. We keep reminding ourselves that the blessings we receive from faithfully and regularly reading God's word will be plentiful. I sincerely hope we stick with this and I can post about our progress in a few months and then eventually post about our finishing.
****Edited to add: We have read selections from the Bible together as a family before, but it was only during the summer. This project seems more daunting, yet still something we want to try our best to do.
Have you followed a daily Bible reading plan before? Have you read the entire Bible in a year? (I've heard about a 90 day reading plan too. Wowzers!)

2.17.2010

Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do! {LOST Thoughts}

As I began to type this installment of my LOST thoughts, it dawned on me that I have become one of them. One of those people that obsesses about a show and then blogs about it. Oh well. I promise I'm normal and hope we can all still be friends. ***Remember that this post contains SPOILERS, if you have not watched yet, then you better stop reading this and go organize your junk drawer.****

This week we were treated to a peek of what life for John Locke would have been like without the plane crash and, of course, we found out more about Fake John Locke/Smokey back on the island.

Let me first say how impressed I am with Terry O'Quinn (even though he scared me to pieces years ago in The Stepfather). His ability to convey so much emotion in a simple expression or convey threatening evil with only the glint of his eye takes over every scene that he's in, and I find myself wanting to see more. Even when he scares me.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and random LOST thoughts from Episode 4, The Substitute:

*Sooooo pleased to see John and Helen (Katie Segal) together and planning their wedding!

*Were we seeing Smokey's perspective as he/it travels near Sawyer's house and through the jungle to talk with Richard? Creepy.

*I hate Randy (Locke's mean, condescending boss). That is all.

*Seeing Locke's perspective of navigating through life in a wheelchair. Powerful, yet understated.

*Who's the young boy that looks like a cross between Huck Finn and Jacob? Is it a young Jacob? FLocke seemed scared of him. Why can Sawyer see him too? This certainly surprised FLocke.

*FLocke never drank Sawyer's whiskey. I guess spirits don't drink spirits.

*Sawyer sees right through Fake Locke. Sawyer might give FLocke a run for his money!

*"Well, I guess I better put some pants on." Sawyer, agreeing to go with FLocke to get answers. (Yeah, I love scruffy Sawyer, but the stained undershirt and boxers were just too grimy for me tonight.)

*Love how Hurley met John and helped him find a new job after blocking him in the parking lot.

*Whether as John in LA or as FLocke, nobody better tell him what he can't do.

*Glad to see Rose counsel John at Hugo's temp agency.

*Sawyer asking FLocke if he reads and FLocke says Steinbeck was after his time. Interesting. It warms my heart that the writers created a con man that's also a bookworm.

* "John Locke was a believer, a man of faith, a much better man than I will ever be and I'm very sorry I murdered him." (Ben)

*LOVED John talking to Helen about their future after he confessed to her about his walkabout. So sweet!

* "No offense, but you already died, so this is not a big deal for you..." (Sawyer to FLocke at the cliff.) I would never go down those ladders. Oh the suspense!

*I had a feeling FLocke would throw the white rock, demonstrating how good and evil is now out of balance. Inside joke, yeah, right.

*Interesting how the survivors' names are written on the cave walls, some are crossed out and some are not. WHAT does that mean? Besides the fact they are all people Jacob met before the plane crash. Jacob manipulated them all? To get them to come be a protector of the island?

*Vest-wearing-European-History-teacher Ben Linus meeting John Locke, after scolding the lounge for not making a fresh pot of coffee, was priceless. And creepy at the same time.

*I don't trust any of FLocke's three choices. Don't listen to him Sawyer, don't agree with him...WAIT...he's just using you James!!

And so, of course, we have to wait and see how FLocke and Sawyer try to leave the island. They make quite a team, don't they?

What did you think of last night's episode? Did you find it a little slow, a little like a time-killer? There weren't tons of secrets revealed, but I still enjoyed both sides of John Locke.

2.16.2010

Kickin' It {Skirt Style}

Remember when this blog, that is called Marathon Bird after all, used to include posts about, well...running? Finding your mojo, finding the right running gear, why I run, how I became a runner, and the benefits of running like a girl.

Remember when I ran here, here and even here?

Remember when I started 2009 on the right foot, er...running feet with this and this?

And then began a massive struggle with my running commitment for, oh say...the rest of 2009.

Well, the running hiatus is finally over my friends. Notice my kicky new running capris, perfectly suited for colder weather runs while still providing modest bootay coverage? Loving them. They have accompanied me on four, count them, four recent runs. Short, slow runs, granted, but still...

Like Kramer said, "I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it!" Except, of course, with undies and running capris, thankyouverymuch.

So, um...yeah, I'm down with the running thing again.

But, wait a minute there Marathon Bird, haven't you said that before?

Shut up.

2.15.2010

The Obligatory Valentine Recap

I know Valentine's Day is so yesterday (hardee-HAR-har, get it?) and all, but I felt like I should post about it anyway. You know, for posterity.

I certainly don't want to forget Annelise's class party Friday afternoon where they played two rounds of half -hearted bingo. I say half-hearted because some of the littles had already played it during the half day Kindergarten class party (in a nutshell, four students spend the morning with half day K because at the beginning of the year there were more kids in all day than half day. Does that make sense? I feel like I just ordered a Starbucks or something.) Not that I am a control freak or anything (cough), but I had originally planned on using bingo cards with valentine type pictures to match but the other room mom printed out regular numbered cards. They did okay recognizing most of the numbers, but they missed a bunch too.
After bingo, they got to make their own ice cream sundaes. And when I say make their own, I mean the other moms made them for them. I don't know, but in my mind, part of the fun is putting your own toppings on, and I totally thought they were capable of doing that themselves. Am I naive?
Obscure side note: At a classmate's birthday party earlier this year, one of the moms asked me if Annelise put on her own shoes. I really don't know what my face looked like as I tried to come up with an answer other than, "Are you insane? I know that allowing our children's independence can be bittersweet, and take more time (and mess) as they do things for themselves, but seriously, mom, your son is almost six!" But I didn't say that.
Anyway, back to the Valentine party...
Oh well, I guess it was marginally less messy and the littles didn't seem to care whether they decorated their own sundaes or not. See?
Then things got interesting. Again, in my mind, I thought the straw and marshmallow game (where they suck up a marshmallow from the pile and drop it on their plate) would be a hit. And for some littles, those that could do it, it was. They thought it was the bomb. The others, those that could not do it very well, well...they cried. One of whom was Annelise. Sigh.
Don't you love it when things in your mind don't always turn out the way you imagined? Um, yeah. Oh well, most of the kids liked it and the others forgot their woes once I passed out the pencil prizes to everyone. Maybe I should have used the mini-marshmallows? But those pink and white ones spoke Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day, to me so the littles just had to suck it up.
Literally.
In other Valentine news, Scott surprised me (really) with a Pajama Gram!! It's a cutesie comfy nightshirt that is really soft and snuggly. Isn't that the sweetest?
Then, he went above and beyond the Valentine call of duty with this sweet tulip arrangement. They really brighten up the dreary winter weather we've been having. Thanks, babe!
After witnessing two doorbell ringing deliveries Annelise was becoming a tad disgruntled since she had not gotten anything from Cupid yet (how fast can you say only child?).
A few weeks ago, when Scott and I were at Target without Annelise, we did a quick cart drive-by in the toy section to see if those crazy Zhu Zhu accessories were finally in stock after the holiday frenzy. To our surprise, they were (!!!), so we snatched them up to save for Valentine's Day. It took about 2.5 seconds on Saturday for her to swoosh the tissue paper away and see her surprise.She was thrilled! See?
Sunday morning Annelise gave us her sweet valentines. Scott's had a chocolate heart taped to it, but mine didn't. Hmm, wonder who's her favorite? Since it was one of the hearts she got from one of her classmates, she probably only wanted to give up one of her treats (at least that's what I'm telling myself).
Later we made sure to document Valentine's Day with a smushed self-portrait in the car between church and lunch.
Then, after an emergency stop by Barnes & Noble to get Catching Fire (which is the sequel to The Hunger Games that I can.not.put.down and am dangerously close to finishing. How am I supposed to wait until August for the final book, Mockingjay?), we went rollerskating. Maybe we're starting a new Valentine tradition?Annelise had a much more pleasant skating experience than the last time we went, which shall be forever remembered as the meltdown on wheels. Whew! I was worried we'd have a repeat of the drama and frustration, but she did GREAT this time. Not only did she declare it the BEST afternoon ever, showed no fear as she skated in an almost roller derby pose for two hours, get right back up with a smile when she wiped out (mostly), she also declared she would be in the Olympics someday. Yes, Apollo Ohno has made quite the impression.
Valentine's Day drew to a close with a yummy trip to Marble Slab (we put The Revolution on hold for the day) which was enjoyed all the more because we hadn't been there in months, evening church, a little laundry and the riveting premiere of The Amazing Race. Okay, it wasn't riveting at all, but Scott really likes that show so I sat and *watched* with him while typing this.

How was your Valentine's Day? Do like to rollerskate? What do you get at Marble Slab? (I'm a coffee ice cream with Heath bar bits mixed in AND a Heath dipped cone kind of girl.)

2.12.2010

How to Make the Easiest, Coolest Valentines Ever {Seriously, No Lie}

Step One:

Blatantly steal er, copy Stie's awesome idea that she stole borrowed from Alissa and posted about last year (but I was too lazy to make them). Thankfully, Stie posted a tutorial this year in plenty of time for me to get them ready for Cupid's delivery. Of course, I didn't ask Annelise what she would like to make for her, you know, own valentines to pass out to, you know, her friends. Control freak much?

Step Two:

Hustle Annelise outside to snap photos before the rain hits. Decide to draw hearts (she helped with this part) with sidewalk chalk to make a slightly more festive background on the concrete. Ignore her confusion about why you are making her stand with her arm raised and hand clenched in a fist and take at least 30-40 snaps in the hopes of getting a keeper or two.

Step Three:

Add valentine greetings with your favorite photo editing program. I used Picasa since I was planning on ordering prints through Walgreens to pick up in the store and Photoshop Elements still makes me cry. Tip: more organized people might want to take their photo more than four days before the holiday in order to take advantage of mail order benefits (you can get heavier paper that way). However, I did get to take advantage of a Walgreens promo code and got 50 prints for $4.75, so YAY! for that.

Step Three Point Five (if you are a freak like me):

After picking up the photos from Walgreens, obsess for several minutes over the fact that the last letter of your sweet daughter's extremely long name has been almost cut off. Consider adjusting photo and re-ordering for a few more minutes. Eventually come to your senses and realize these will be given to children, who know her name anyway, and won't (fingers crossed) notice or care. Pat yourself on the back for talking said self off the irrational ledge once again.

Step Four:

Use an Exact-O knife (be careful, my friends) and a cutting mat to cut a small half circle above and below your subject's clenched fist. I realize now I should have had Annelise hold her fist up a bit higher, but this still worked.

Step Five:

Insert favorite lollypop into the opening and voila, you have now successfully created copied the easiest, coolest valentines evAH.

You can put a piece of tape across the opening in the back if you'd like to secure the lolly, but it's fine either way.

While I worked on the dangerous cutting part, Annelise participated in the making of, you know, her valentines, by writing names and stamping the envelopes (we used greeting card size).


So, in a way, all in all, it was a team effort, right? Right??

****I know my partial tutorial might be late for this year's valentines, but file it away in your brain for next year, m'kay?

2.11.2010

Ladies' Inspiration Day 2010

For the past several weeks there has been a little something in the works that culminated with an uplifting Ladies' Day at our church last Saturday. Isn't it incredible when things build upon each other and people come together for a common purpose? It's as if you can feel God's hand in all of it, which is the ultimate encouragement.

In January, our congregation started a memory work program to help us hide God's word in our hearts. It's for all ages, from the two year old class through teens and adults, with each grade learning a new verse each month. There are games, activities and even songs to help learn each verse. I know I might be slightly biased, but isn't that cool?

In conjunction with that, we planned a Ladies' Inspiration Day with a goal to not only complement/build upon the new memory work program, but impress the importance of words in our daily Christian walk. We were honored to have a wise woman present three outstanding lessons on the effects of negative talk, the power of positive words (and how to keep our focus on them), and how to help our brains remember more of God's word. More on all this good stuff in just a bit.

We decided to keep things simple with the decorations. Using plastic tablecloths is a big, fat decorating don't, I know, but washing, starching and ironing 13 fabric tablecloths afterwards is another decorating don't (at least for me).

The favors were embellished big magnet clips that can be used to hold a memory verse or favorite scripture. Proverbs 25:11 was the overall theme for the day, so each clip held a card with that verse printed on it. Aren't they cute?This was our fabulous speaker, Debbie B., who was not only an adorable spitfire, but she spoke with passion, conviction, honesty and humor and kept us completely engaged.
So much of her lessons were seasoned with scripture that she quoted effortlessly (and no, she was not reading from her notes) I was flabbergasted by her memory! Oh how I wish I could quote scripture like that! Oh how I need to study more!
But then, after a yummy lunch of delectable salads and desserts, Debbie revealed some more of her secrets to getting God's word to stick in our brains. She shared gobs of ideas from putting scripture to song, using memory short cuts to locate/recall important passages and stressed the importance of visuals (even for grown-ups!), especially the need for a visual bible timeline (for all ages!) to help make connections of how events tie together/build upon each other.
For instance, without looking, can you tell me where the story of the Good Samaritan is found? Well, If you were hurt and left on the side of the road, what would you do first? You would want to see a doctor, right? Which of the Gospel authors was a doctor? Luke. Then the chapter clue can be heard in the word Samaritan, sounds like 10, right. So, Luke 10. Neat, huh? Imagine her sharing a gazillion others too (squeal!!), it was very cool.
Here is one of her darling daughters (they were, seriously, so cute and accessorized to the hilt with adorableness) holding a poster of a song to help teach the Beatitudes.
There was so much goodness packed into 5 hours, I can't even begin to tell you all of it. I know I am inspired to work harder on memorizing scripture, work harder on controlling my tongue (James 3) (not from cursing as much as negative, destructive talk), put a stop to slang words or *replacement* words (they are not gracious or pure, even though they are not technically curse words) and be more aware of what I am feeding my heart (is it Philippians 4:8 worthy?).
She keeps this quote in a frame near her TV: "How dare we be entertained by the things that sent Jesus to the cross!" Ouch! Definitely something to work on there.
Our words are so powerful and can also exert so much influence. They shouldn't be taken lightly, what we say (or don't say) definitely matters.
"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But, I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:34-35
She also stressed the importance of reading the Bible in chronological order to truly see the progression of events, so I hope to start that soon (I bought a chronological version of The Daily Bible). I also came home all kinds of fired up (again) to read the bible together (all of it, not just piecemeal). Scott and I have to play catch up a bit, since we didn't start in January (hello!), but once we get caught up, the reading plan is totally doable. We've started reading together before Annelise goes to bed, so she can participate too (or at least listen).
All in all, it was a FABULOUS day. Sadly, I have no pictures of how cute my friends and I were (we were, promise), but I do have another of Debbie and her entourage (two daughters, one daughter-in-law, one mother and mother's BFF). Aren't they precious?

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

And on a grammatical nerd side note: Am I wrong in using an apostrophe for Ladies' Inspiration Day? It's the day for the ladies, so shouldn't it need one? I hate to make errors, so if I am in the wrong, please tell me. I also hate to see the poor apostrophe misused, maligned or cast to the side and forgotten. Grammar is a slippery slope.

2.10.2010

Dude, You're Not a Zombie, Right? {LOST Thoughts}

Once again, I can't stop myself from posting about LOST. I don't know if this will be a set in stone weekly thing (y'all know how I am with commitments), but for now I think another list on LOST is in order. ***Beware of potential SPOILERS if you have not watched last night's episode yet (what in the world prevented you?!?!?)***

*As you can see, Hugo here has assumed the leadership position, so that's pretty great. (Miles to resurrected Sayid)

*Sawyer, the ultimate lone wolf, busting out of the temple. Scary Sawyer is still worrying me.

*Sayid, the torturer, being tortured. Ay, Yi, Yi!

*Kate going back to pick up Claire at the bus stop and then going with her to the adoptive mom that changed her mind. Poor Claire!

*Jack feeling responsible for everything and still trying to fix everything. Can you say control issues? But it was rather stand-up when he swallowed to pill to test the Japanese Other Other leader.

*You're not a zombie, right? (Hurley to Sayid)

*No, I am not a zombie. (Sayid to Hurley)

*Your private talks kinda freak me out 'cuz they usually leave me having to do something I don't quite understand. (Hurley)

*We'll be in the food court if you need us. (Miles)

*Kate watching Sawyer in his old Dharma house.

*Kate and Sawyer talking on the pier. How sweet was that? Sniff, Sniff.

*Um, hello...Ethan (!!!!)

*Things don't look so good for Sayid's future, since he has been claimed by The Darkness.

*Um, hello...The Darkness happened to Jack's sister too (?!?!?!?!) Did we know Jack had a sister?

*Gun wielding, mangy hair wearing, Island Claire. (Squeal!!)

After last week's two hour LOST extravaganza, plus the recap, I felt a bit robbed with only one hour last night. I know, I'm greedy. It's just too good though and one hour at a time with a week in between is hard to reconcile myself to.

I've made peace with the two realities/timelines and now think it's really cool to be able to see what's happening real-time on the island and how their destinies are playing out back in LA. What a treat!

Remember last week's premiere post when I mentioned Matthew Fox's ( AKA Blinky McBlinkerson) heavy reliance on blinking to convey extra emotion? And how that bugs me? Well, Scott totally noticed it last night, I've converted him. HA! To prove my point, in the scene where Jack drinks tea with the Japanese Other Other Leader, I counted like 11-15 blinks before he even took a sip, like, in less than 5 seconds. That, my friends, is too much. Yes, apparently I am a Blink Nazi.

Now, I'm curious, what were some of your favorite scenes or quotes from last night? Do you read recaps or visit LOST websites to untangle your brain after watching? Which ones are your favorites (from one LOST junkie to another)?

2.09.2010

Little Lying Lucy Has Been Visiting

And she has overstayed her welcome.

Exhibit A: Morning conversation after breakfast last Thursday

Me: "Annelise, did you make your bed and put your pjs away?"

Her: "Yes."

A few minutes later, I started walking up the stairs to put her hairbrush and detangler away. She ran to stop me.

Her: "WEeellll, actually...I forgot to make my bed and put my pjs away (sheepish giggle).

Me: (not swayed at all by cute sheepish giggle) "I don't think you forgot, I think you just did not do it and thought I wouldn't check. Is that right?"

Her: (deer in headlights look, small head nod)

Me: "Do you realize that is lying? You lied to me when you said you did do what I asked...(and so forth and so on about trust, lying, God knowing, tears (hers), forgiveness, and hugs right there on the second to the top stair).

Exhibit B: This morning as I was making her lunch

Me: "If you didn't eat your apples for snack yesterday (she brought the baggie home, still full), weren't you hungry?"

Her: "Mrs. S gave me two crackers."

Me: "Annelise, why? You had a snack, why did she give you crackers?"

Her: (deer in headlights look) (crickets chirping)

Me: "Did you tell her you didn't have a snack so that you could eat crackers instead of apples?"

Her: (small head nod)

Me: "Annelise, that was a lie. You lied to Mrs. S. (and so forth and so on about, lying, dishonesty, trust and forgiveness. Again.)

Then I told her she would have to apologize to Mrs. S. and tell her the truth.

Her: (deer in headlights look, again)

The drive to school was unusually quiet as she pondered her task. I went in with her, not only to hold her to her word, but to put up the sign-up sheet for the class valentine party (yeah, kind of late there, I know).

She told Mrs. S what she had done, shed a few tears and received a big hug and forgiveness from Mrs. S (and me). All before she put her backpack away.

These are only two recent examples, I know there have been plenty of others and there will probably be more, though I hope not. I want her to understand how important it is that we know we can trust her and that telling the truth is always better than telling a lie. I know she knows that, but then again, she's six and can easily get distracted.

How do you handle it when you've caught your child in a lie? Please tell me I'm not the only one that has had Lying Lucy (or Larry) over for a visit.

2.05.2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?


a.) two freshly made (still warm!) homemade wheat bread loaves are in the trash
b.) these same loaves could be used as bricks or as dangerous weapons
c.) approximately three hours were spent creating this disaster
d.) someone (not naming any names, but she could be typing this) is not very happy
e.) all of the above

Here is what they looked like before they hit the trash:

Could they BE any flatter (said in my best Chandler Bing voice)? Or harder?

Did I kill my yeast? Did I not activate my yeast enough? Maybe I should buy a thermometer? Maybe I got off track when I was dumping in the flour 1/2 cup at a time? Maybe I let Helga/Brigitte mix too long?

I don't know.

Once I get over the frustration and humiliation of this kitchen fail, I will try again.

Any good whole wheat bread recipes to share? Any tips? Can you hold me while I cry?

2.04.2010

A Few LOST Thoughts {Because I Can't Help Myself}

If you haven't watched the season premiere of LOST yet (and if so, may I ask, why not?!?), then you should be warned there will be a few spoilers in this post. If you don't watch LOST at all (again, I must ask, why not?!?!) then you should go and do something productive like clip your toenails because this post will make no sense.

We stepped up our bath and bed time routine Tuesday night in order to get Annelise into bed a whole whopping thirty minutes early (she didn't catch on to that though) so we could settle in and watch (real-time, not DVR time) the season premiere of the very last, cry me a river, can it really be true? what will I do without Sawyer wisecracks? season of LOST. It hurts to type that. I know that all things must end and I am curious to see how the writers tie up loose ends and answer questions, without of course creating 50,000 new ones like they have been prone to do over the past five seasons. I also agree (even though this pains me to admit), that the shows creators are rather stand-up guys since they decided to end the show while it was still a hot commodity and not die a slow, painful, ratings dropping death.

When LOST first aired in 2004, we were preparing to fly to Russia (a couple of times) for Annelise's adoption, you know for hours across an ocean and Nervous Nellie that I was, there was no way I could watch a show about a plane crash and survivors living on a mysterious island at that time. Thanks to the joy that is watching entire seasons of TV on DVDs, I caught up and joined in the fun somewhere in the middle of season 2.

Without further rambling here are a few of my LOST thoughts in my favorite list format:

*What's the deal-io with the two timelines? WHAT does that mean? Although it seems in the plane timeline when they only deja vu know each other, their lives are going to be full of complications. Like the island all over again. Except maybe for Hurley who thinks he is the luckiest guy ever.

*I was happy to see Charlie, but I miss nice Charlie. Snarly Charlie is kind of a surly downer. With a death wish.

*Two words: Rose and Bernard.

*Hey there Boone, nice to see you again.

*Why didn't we see Claire on the plane? I was getting all antsy. At least we saw her in the taxi with gun-toting Kate. Some things never change.

*Do you think John Locke really went on a walkabout? Or is he telling fibs again?

*What happened to Christian's body/casket? Ultimate baggage loss there.

*Is the island really under water now? I CAN'T WAIT to find out what happened!

Over on the island...in 2004 (but sort of the present) (is that right?)

*So John Locke is dead? Fake John Locke is really black shirt guy AND the Smoke Monster?This is too much.

*I'm sorry you had to see me like that. (John Locke/Smokey)

*Juliet. Sob.

*What worked? The bomb--but, like, later????

*I don't like mean Sawyer as much, he scares me.

*Richard, word to the wise, do not go in there with fake John.

*Glad to still see Jacob recruit Hurley, even though he was killed an hour before.

*Sorry dude, that sucks. (Hurley to Jacob)

* Who are these people and why are they speaking Japanese? I think I shall call them the other others until we know more.

*Will Sayid be changed now? Please don't be evil, Sayid, I'm begging. Or is he now Jacob?

*Nothing's irreversible. (Jack to John, back in LAX) Good to know.

And on another note:

Were you as annoyed as I over ABC shamelessly plugging their weak comedies and new drama line-up 8,000 times? Totally taking advantage of the ginormous LOST fan base. Made me wish we watched it on the DVR.

And one more thing:

Please don't hate me, I promise I love the character of Jack, BUT, Matthew Fox, otherwise known as Blinky McBlinkerson, uses his eyelids for assumed effect too much. Simmer those reflexes right on down, please. And thank you.

I'm sure there's plenty more I am forgetting since they packed soooo much head spinning goodness in two hours. This season is going to be GOOD! How many hours until the next episode?

What did you think of the premiere? Any favorite lines or moments? What do you think of the split timelines? If you wrote your own recap or LOST thought type post, please let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out. LOSTies unite!

2.03.2010

A Little Sweat Producing Gratitude

One afternoon recently I finally got myself together to help Annelise write her thank-you notes. I am embarrassed that these notes were for Christmas presents and therefore quite tardy, but sucked up my guilt and told myself that a tardy note is much better than no note at all. While she worked, I also wrote a few tardy notes of my own (I do wish I was more timely in this area, must really work on that).

First, I wrote out a few sentences for each note so that Annelise could copy them. This was the first year I attempted to have her write the whole note herself and I was obviously naive. When she saw the short paragraph she was expected to copy, she looked at me in fear and almost bolted. Uh-oh. Maybe in a another year or two she can write three sentences without me wanting to pull my hair out.

We compromised by her writing one sentence and drawing a picture of the gift.

And we also took a snack break and a play break. To write six thank-you notes. Thankfully no one screamed or broke anything, so it's all good.

Maybe I should look into those fill-in the blank notes for children for the future.

Do you struggle to have your children write thank-you notes? Are you prompt? Do you believe a tardy note is better than no note? Any tips?

2.02.2010

Organizing Frenzy: Pantry

Fresh on the heels of my kitchen overhaul the other day, before the adrenaline wore off completely, I jumped in to re-organizing our pantry.

I don't really know how to explain what has come over me. Could it be the power of my little word? Maybe.

This is the second time in two years or so I have tackled our pantry, I guess the first time didn't take. My fingers are crossed that this one will.

This time I took most everything off the shelves, threw away things that had expired (gasp!), arranged similar items on shelves (cereal together, canned goods together, etc.) and also grouped things together using baskets.

Here is a view of the finished left side of our pantry:

And the finished right side:

Can you believe I tried to cram all of my baking supplies on one shelf? Every time I needed something, I had to dig, shove and hope nothing fell on my foot. Now I have two shelves for baking supplies. One shelf has baking staples like flour, sugar, etc. in Snap Lock containers. Oh, look, I even labeled them (which was highly satisfying).

I used Dollar Tree baskets to group other baking supplies like, extracts, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and small staples like cocoa and yeast.

I kept the spices I use most frequently in the door shelf and placed others not used very often in another small basket.

This wicker basket is for easily accessible snacks for Annelise. The filled jar makes me ridiculously happy.

I also bought another stair-step organizer (I have two others for canned goods) to help organize our rice, pastas and miscellany. Yes, that's one more dollar store basket, this one for seasoning packets/soup mixes. I couldn't resist filling another jar with dry beans!

How much did this re-organization cost me? Well, I'm so glad you asked. I bought four new Snap Lock containers for around $20ish, a stair-step shelf for $7ish, and $6ish for plastic baskets. Everything else we already had. Not too shabby, eh?
Once I got going, it only took a few hours. What had I been waiting for anyway? It was not as overwhelming as I had feared and I feel such peace now that it's finished. Just like when I finished the kitchen project, I find myself opening up the pantry doors and admiring my efforts at odd moments throughout the day. I know, I need to get a life.
I better keep this organizing frenzy going while I still have the mojo. Where will I strike next? Closets? Utility Room? Annelise's Room? Craft Room? Sadly, the possibilities are endless.

2.01.2010

The Cows Came Home*: My One Little Word 2010

And pink pigs must be flying too because I have finally chosen my word for the year (cue marching band).

I suppose you could say I have had a few words swimming around in my head lately in an effort to select my one little word for 2010. I pondered and stewed, hemmed and hawed like I am prone to do. I even played with Wordle to help me see all my beautiful word possibilities.
I like words. It's a joy to use them, think about them, learn new ones, and discover forgotten ones from times past. Words are full of such power and potential, they can build up or tear down. When I first heard about choosing one word as a harbinger of change for each year, I thought it was brilliant.

Even though I never followed through and chose one. Until this year.
I eventually managed to whittle my choice down to two and then proceeded to let them duke it out in my brain over these last few weeks. In one corner was the word COMPLETE and in the other corner was the word DO.
They both represent my desire (and dire need) to follow through with my intentions and ideas, to start them and finish them. I'm embarrassed to admit how many projects or simple actions I leave undone because either I never begin or I fizzle out half-way through.
COMPLETE won the first few rounds because it was bold and strong (and truth be told, a tad intimidating), but in the end the itty-bitty word DO proved to be the winner in my brain battle of words twenty-ten.
DO is a teensie-tiny verb, yet perfect in it's simplicity. It's definitions seem perfectly suited to my goals this year:
*to perform (an act, duty, role, etc.)
*to execute (a piece or amount of work)
*to accomplish; finish; complete
*to put forth; exert
*to deal with, fix, clean, arrange, move, etc., (anything) as the case may require
I will put forth effort; I will deal with things; I will take action; I will finish tasks (both ordinary household ones and creative ones).
I will do my best.
Can you believe one little word can do all of that?
I do.
*Silly side note: Does anyone remember a funny commercial for butter (I think) from years ago that said something along the lines of "...the flavor lasts until the cows come home!" and then two Holstein cows drove up in a car and honked the horn? I loved that. I know, something's wrong with me.
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