Saturday, January 30, 2010

Celebrity Look-alikes

There is a little thingamajigger going on this week on Facebook where you post a picture of the celebrity people have told you that you look like. M.A. did this on her blog, so I'm following suit and posting some pics for your amusement.

These are the two actresses I've been told I look like. They do not look alike (I don't think) so I guess it depends on which angle you see me that determines which one I look like? :o)

Sandra Bullock (I've been told more than once by different people that I look like her...ever since high school. And even recently...even though I'm not as thin as I was back when I used to think I actually did look like her!)

Tori Spelling (More so when she has brunette hair, but man, finding a non-trashy-looking picture of her via Google search was difficult!)

So there you go! I'm linking up with M.A. on this one, so if you've been told you look like a celebrity, you should, too!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Being a Coach's Wife

Sometimes being a coach's wife is...




There are probably other words to describe it, but those are the top three. He devotes much of his time to the team and players, and rightly so. That's his passion, and those kids deserve to have someone who gives it their all.

Even if that means our family misses him. Lots.

Time away from home used to really bother me. My first year as a stay-at-home mom was dreadful during basketball season. Those long days, especially game days, were almost enough to send me into some sort of emotional/psychological dark place. That was the year that he traveled even more than he does now, not only going to all of his practices and games but going to JV/Varsity practices and games (he coaches 9th grade).

I asked that he find some sort of balance. And he did.

Now that I seem to have a better routine in my day, and now that he has found the right balance of giving his all to his own team and supporting the older boys when they have "home" games, the strain on our family has lessened.

But I still miss him from October through February.

Every now and then, however, I get to see a glimpse into what makes all of this important to him. When I see the shining faces of a group of young men who just won 1st place in a tournament. When I see the high fives and the hard work. When I see the parents beaming with pride in their sons. It's in those moments when I know what my husband's influence and dedication means to others.

And I am proud, too.

I am also glad that our kids can see what their daddy does.

They are proud of him as well.

She really was mom's camera has a double flash so it didn't capture the first expression! :o) And what does it mean when my heart smiles at the sight of orange and black around my daughter's neck?? (Yes, I realize only those of you who know me personally will understand that one! Ha!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Live in the Moment

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.” -Anna Quindlen (Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11)

The above quote, along with this post from another blog I read, has sent me into a strange, emotional state-of-mind.

Lord, please give me mindfulness of each moment. These days are fleeting, I am fully awa

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Family Look-alikes

Our children can never say they were switched at birth. They will always have to claim us. There's just no way around it.

I think Caleb...

...looks like me...

...and Sarah...

...looks like Josh...

...and Gabriel...

...well, actually, he looks like my dad! ;o)

Everyone who knows my dad...relatives, friends, and old classmates think it's uncanny. Perhaps you'd have to see them both in person, but it's pretty cute. And hearing my grandma talk about how Gabriel looks like her "little Billy"...yeah, I love it.

On Josh's side of the family, there are many who think that Gabriel looks like Josh's brother, Steve, because of his dark hair and dark features.

I can see this, too! But when I put him in a dress-shirt and sweater vest, it's my dad who wins the most votes.

So...what do you think, dear readers?

WFMW - Workouts

I've been trying to decide if I should include my weight loss journey this time on my blog. Last time I did, I was not successful, so I thought I didn't want to "fail" again in a public way.

But, for whatever reason, I feel compelled to share it with you AGAIN! You just have that sort of pull on me! :o) So I'm going to link up with Kristen over at We Are THAT Family and share with you each week during her "Works For Me Wednesdays" the things that are working for me.

Thank you, Tina, for introducing me to her blog.

As you may recall, I joined a "team" in the Owensville area, and we call ourselves the Motivated Mamas! We signed up with a bank who is doing a local Biggest Loser contest, and I'm really excited to be a part of it. My first weigh-in proved to be very inspiring to me...I lost six pounds!

This week I wanted to share my workout routine. Yes, for the first time since college I actually have a daily, committed, workout routine! I absolutely COULD NOT be successful without my sweet friend and neighbor, Kim, who is getting up with me EVERY MORNING at 6:00 am to walk/jog/run with me. We are using her hubby's iPod, and he has an 8-week program on it designed to help us train for a 5K. Each morning I get up and meet her outside my door, and we just start walking until the little voice in her ear tells us to start running! Even when it's 20 degrees outside, even on Saturdays, WE DO THIS! And can I just say, I love you, Kim! :o)

In the evenings I also workout with a Biggest Loser DVD. My BFF and team member, Kassie, suggested the Boot Camp one, and I'm really enjoying it. I just really like Bob, I prefer him if I had to pick (instead of Jillian). But I think I might switch it up and try the 30 Day Shred after my weeks are technically done with Bob. I just hope she doesn't yell the F word at me!

I plan to do WFMW for 10 more weeks and share with you what's working and how I'm doing!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Title I Don't Like

Over the last couple months, Josh and I have been receiving post cards in the mail from a company who is taking care of an alumni book for Southwest Baptist University. The card asked us to please "call this number" and update our information so that our fellow classmates can keep in touch.

Finally on Saturday afternoon I made the call.

The lady on the other end of the phone was so very nice. She asked my name and then referenced to my maiden name. She confirmed the year of my graduation, my degree, and then asked some follow up questions like if I had completed my masters degree. We made sure my phone number and address were correct, and she also asked if I wanted to list my children's names. I could even email a picture to the company if I wanted. I might just do that.

Then came the question that I somehow overlooked...I should have known she would ask. I should have better prepared myself for it.

"And what is your current occupation?"

I paused. I took a deep breath. And I responded, "Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom," I said with a cheerful tone.

"Oh, that's a difficult job! So I'll list that as homemaker..." she continued.

I cringed.

"Could we just leave it as stay-at-home mom? I just like the ring of it better," I tried to joke, yet remain serious at the same time.

She said, "Well, I'll certainly try. One lady asked me to list her as a domestic engineer and the line when to homemaker by default!"


But as she typed what I asked her to type, it stayed as the title I asked for. I was glad.

I'm just not sure why that word bothers me. Really. Why? Especially considering I know that as women God has called us to be homemakers, whether we work outside of the home or not (as I referenced in My 10:10 Challenge back at the beginning of the year). I know that Proverbs 31:27 says "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

Have I been brainwashed by our current society? Even though I am a stay-at-home mom (and, ultimately, a homemaker) do I somehow put less of a value on myself? Why do I think that way? Especially considering this is exactly what I wanted to do. I prayed for two years after I had Caleb because I didn't want to work...I wanted to stay home! After Sarah was born, Josh agreed that we could make it happen. And now, 3.5 years later and another child added to the mix (my Gabriel), I am doing exactly what I feel I should be doing.

Why am I not a happy homemaker?

Well, it's not that I'm not happy. The title just still makes me cringe.

So I'll have to sort through these feelings and somehow figure it out. I want to be able to see the word homemaker and not think anything but happy thoughts when I see it.




Well...not yet. I'm still working on it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blogiversary Winner!

Thank you so much to those of you who commented on my blogiversary post! I am excited to announce that the winner is...

...and that number just happens to belong to...

So just email me, Nel, with your mailing address and you'll be an avid Redbook reader before you know it! My email address: chrissyrenee79 at yahoo dot com

Congrats to you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Sunday Morning Miscommunication

It is a team effort in our house to get the kids ready for church each Sunday morning. Josh usually does the baths for all three, and then as they are done, he sends them out to me and I have their clothes ready and help them put them on if necessary.

Caleb generally does everything on his own as far as dressing himself. Sometimes he needs help with a button, but that's about it. Sarah needs help with tights and sometimes her dress, and obviously Gabriel is helpless when it comes to getting dressed! So after the clothing process is complete, Josh then will help with breakfast (usually a quick one of dry cereal or Ego's) and gets sippy cups of milk ready for each of them (yes, even Caleb because we let them take the cups in the van if they don't finish).

I sat out a pair of black shoes for Sarah next to the couch. I said, "Here are Sarah's shoes. If you get a second could you help her put them on?"

After everyone was put together and ready to head to church, we all walked out to the van, Gabriel in Josh's arms, and we were off to worship the Lord!

But when we arrived, and as we began to unload the kids, Josh said, "Where are Sarah's shoes?"

"I thought I asked you to put them on her?" I responded.

"Well, I didn't. I thought you put them on her before she walked out to the van," he continued.

So there we were. At church and no shoes for Sarah. "Just carry her to her classroom. It will be fine," I said as I tried not to be upset.

And it was fine. Not a big deal at all. The girls at church who teach her class thought it was funny. One of them even said the same had happened to her once.

But I'm pretty sure I'll be checking everyone's feet next time we are leaving for church!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Good Sleeper

When Gabriel is tired, he finds a place to sleep. There are times when I have walked out of the living room to make my bed, start the laundry, check email, whatever it may be, and I come back to see a little boy fast asleep in the location of his choice.

In such places as...the couch...

...or the floor...

...or the recliner...

...or my personal favorite, the corner where we have our folded blankets and couch pillows...

This trait will serve him well as an adult I think. He can sleep just about anywhere.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy 1st Blogiversary, Traveling Light! {Giveaway}

*Comments closed. Stay tuned for the winner!*

One year ago today, I embarked upon this adventure called blogging.

I have enjoyed it so much. I have made new friends and found this page to be an outlet at times. You have encouraged me at just the right moments. Occasionally you disagree with me, and secretly I love that, too.

In honor of my first blogiversary, I'm having a giveaway!

In the mail yesterday I received a letter from Redbook* saying they missed me (of course they do). It said I could sign up for a year subscription and that included a year subscription for a friend as well! How exciting is that? Yeah, ok, maybe not THAT exciting, but I thought to myself, "Who should I give this subscription to?" And then it dawned on should be one of you.

Please leave a comment - just any ol' comment - and I will select the winner using a random number generator from RANDOM.ORG

Thank you for a happy year of blogging!

P.S. If you are here from facebook, please use the Name/URL option. Type your first name and then copy and paste the url from your facebook page. Like this:

Name: Chrissy

If you don't have a blog or facebook, just leave your first name and last initial, and if your number is the winner, you can email me!

*I have purchased this item/giveaway myself and am not being paid to endorse it. Giveaway ends 1/25/09 at 3pm CST.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I am a Compulsive Opinion Giver

Josh was telling me of a young woman who he was sitting with one day at lunch. She said she just couldn't find any wiggle room in her budget, no extra money at all. She then went on to say that her miscellaneous category had $200, entertainment was $400, Dish was over $100 (you get the idea). I asked him if he took her by the shoulders and shook her, and he said he just didn't say anything. He told me that if she asked his opinion (because she knows he teaches FPU), that he would give it to her.

So I need to do people like him exercise such restraint?

I have realized over the years that I am nearly incapable of keeping my mouth shut in such circumstances. It's not just finances. It could be parenting issues. It could be marriage issues. Politics are a fun one. I might even be up for a debate on Pepsi vs Coke! There are very few things that come up that I don't feel strongly about, and it's almost impossible for me to not just jump in full force when someone says or does something that I don't agree with.

This is a difficult personality to have. I think it could be defined as a personality disorder! But I'd like to think I'm normal for the most part, so let's not label me just yet.

If someone I care about is doing something that I find to be detrimental to their well-being, I kick into overdrive. We're not talking about something small like "should I spend $100 on a professional carpet cleaner?" I mean things like relationship issues. Huge financial decisions. I just can't keep my mouth shut.

Why is that?

And in all honesty, I usually only do this with the people I'm closest with. Sure I give a few ideas to those I know through church, through the community, facebook, blog, etc. I mentioned a few potty training ideas to Jessica while she's going through that process. But if she was my sister, I probably would have been EVEN MORE bold about how I think it should be done. Aren't you glad you're not related to me, Jessica?

The closer you are to me, the more likely I am to tell you like it is...Chrissy style. Perhaps I've watch too many episodes of Dr. Phil. I don't know. But no one is really safe. It's possible that I could start giving you my views if I've only known you for a week.

So bare with me as I consider myself a recovering compulsive opinion giver. It's a hard trait to change.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No Longer Cool

I wrote this sometime last spring, when I was still nursing Gabriel and had not turned 30 yet...but I never published it.

It became quite evident to me yesterday that I am no longer cool. It was a realization that wasn't really all that hard to take, though. I've been bracing myself for it. I'm approaching the age of 30 after all, and being cool in the eyes of teenage girls who don't even know me has been on it's way out the door for a few years now I'm guessing.

Yesterday, in the check-out line at Wal-Mart, I just picked the shortest line...I didn't even notice who was working this particular line, and if I would have been thinking, I may have chosen a different one. I must first tell you that I was wearing my usual grocery shopping attire: a t-shirt, adidas pants, flip-flops, no make-up, hair not really fixed all that cute. I began to quickly put all my items on the conveyor belt (I had LOTS of stuff) since Josh had just sent me a text saying Gabriel was being fussy, and I knew it was time for me to get home and feed him. I tried to do my usual organization of my items: cold stuff, boxed stuff, non-food items, etc. I always try to be friendly to the cashier, but I quickly noticed that this girl didn't even say hi to me. I tend to make small talk, and I said something like, "Saturdays are pretty crazy in here, huh?" She just kept swiping my items and muttered, "Yeah," with no eye contact.

Then, another young girl came over to help bag my items. These two girls starting talking up a storm, among the vitally important information they were discussing was how Saturdays suck and that they were so glad they didn't have to work next Saturday because they don't like being there.

These two need customer service lessons.

But, perhaps if I was still cool, they would have been nice to me. These two young girls, with their perfect make-up, cute hair, and labeled clothing would have surely talked to me if I looked the same, right?

Maybe not.

I do know, however, that I am pretty cool to three small children. It doesn't matter what I look like, or if I've even showered! They give me lots of hugs and kisses. They tell me I'm the best mommy (well, Gabriel just grins, that's how I know) and it's the best feeling in the world.

So here's to being cool to my own children. May it fill the need I have to be cool.

**For the parenting experts out there, please don't think that I would trade discipline, guiding and training up my child for the sake of feeling cool. I let them think I'm cool, but I'm more than willing to be uncool if the circumstances call for it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Cardinals Caravan

The Cardinals Caravan rolled into our area on Saturday night, so being the huge Cardinals fans that we are, Josh just had to go! So he took Caleb with him, and they enjoyed seeing some past and present players up close and personal.

Here is a shot of Kyle McClellan, David Freese, and Al Hrabosky:

And my favorite picture (I'm SO GLAD Josh was able to get this one):

It amazed me that they came to such a small town, but Matt's Steakhouse is a really large restaurant, and it definitely held a lot of people! Josh said the place was packed.

They had a great time, and I'm glad Caleb got to see Fred Bird!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Want a Purse

My sister and friend Sarah H. will fall out of their chair when they read this title.

I have not carried a purse since I don't know when (it was actually even before I started having kids over five years ago, not just because I have the diaper bag syndrome).

Let me clarify. I am not (currently) a very girly girl.

I do not enjoy shopping at the mall for hours on end. I only have 3 pairs of shoes that I consistently wear - my Reeboks, a pair of black dress shoes and a pair of brown dress shoes (oh, and flip flops in the summer...let's not forget those). I hardly ever wear jewelry, and recently I haven't even been putting in my earrings. I can't bring myself to shop at Victoria Secret because it seems so pricey for bras and undies, even though I have many friends who say it's worth it.

You get the picture.

But as I've been working to lose weight this month, I have felt my girliness (did I just make up that word?) begin to emerge. I can picture myself as the girl I used to be, and I think I miss her. It's not that I've ever truly enjoyed shopping, but there was a time in my life when I would go to a store or two and pick out a cute top and a stylish pair of jeans.

And for some was flipping through an Avon catalog, and I saw a cute "tote" that I thought would be a nice alternative to carrying that diaper bag I always have. I realize that Avon is not known for purses or anything (for those of you who are purse-loving-fanatics) but just the fact that I was actually interested in one was quite something.

This just might be a step in the right direction. I think I might treat myself to a new purse when I get "under a certain number" in my weight loss journey.

I might find my girliness after all.

But I will never spend hundreds of dollars on one. Sorry Sonja and Sarah...I'm not that girly yet!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Luckiest

I realize that for anyone to say that anything is the "best" is always arguable. If I said the best baseball player of all time is Albert Pujols, someone could give me stats to argue otherwise. If I said the best restaurant in the mid-west is Olive Garden, others with different tastes would say that it's actually Red Lobster or [insert your favorite restaurant here].

You see my point.

And I realize I've only been on this planet for 30 years, and I've not heard every love song that was ever written. I do love the classics like Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers or a more modern classic like Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion (man, I loved that CD).

But a few years ago my sister introduced me to a song by Ben Folds. I can't remember why, maybe there was a winter guard who did a show to this song or maybe it was on her playlist for future show ideas. When I heard it, I fell in love with it. I couldn't stop listening to it. In just the right circumstances, it makes me cry.

I'm not sure if it's the melody, the beautiful piano, the arrangement, or just the lyrics (pretty sure the lyrics are what get me...especially the end) but it's brilliant. I have never heard a song with words that give me the sort of imagery that this song does. Not the usual words used for a love song I suppose, but it just gets to me.

So while your favorite love song might be [insert favorite love song here] I'd like to share with you my favorite and tell you that I think it is the best. Ever.

The Luckiest by Ben Folds

I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

What if I'd been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Will I Ever Learn?

I wonder if I will ever learn...

 put away the Nesquick...

 that it's out of reach of little hands?

Notice his accomplice in these pictures?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Long Van Rides

Excerpt from my private blog:

More often than not, if you see me driving in my van during the day, it's because I wanted to escape from my house. Yes, my kids are with me, but there's just something about having them strapped in their car seats - where they can't run around or can't take each others toys and can't jump on the beds - that make a van ride an easy out.

We bought our van only weeks after we had Sarah. And since I began my life as a stay-at-home mom with her (after working for two years after I had Caleb) I quickly found out how using my van as a way to lower my blood pressure worked for me. If I couldn't get Sarah to sleep or if Caleb was being more rambunctious than normal, I would just quickly load up the kids in the van and drive around town. I often found myself driving through the cemetery - just a pretty, peaceful place. I would drive around neighborhoods even if I didn't really know anyone who lived in those neighborhoods. Drive and hopes that the kids would fall asleep or settle down.

Even if they didn't fall least I was out of the house...and they couldn't bother me or each other.

Now it's three years later, you'd think I'd be a pro at this stay-at-home mom thing. And yet, I still find myself loading the kids in the van and driving through St. James quite often. Caleb and Sarah won't fall asleep, but sometimes Gabriel does. And it's quiet once again.

The worst part about this is my habit of going to a drive through if I'm in my van. So the more stressful my day, and the more I want to take a drive, the more I'm prone to eat. And if you've read my blog for very long, you know I'm an emotional eater anyway.

This is a bad combination.

My van is my friend. It's almost like I have an emotional attachment to it. It keeps me sane. I'm not sure what I'd do without it.

Wordless Wednesday

Caleb with former St. Louis Cardinal John Mabry, August 5, 2005.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mother/Daughter Bonding Time

I write this at my own expense in hopes that it makes you smile.

My trips to the store are often with my three small children. Unless it's my bi-monthly, big grocery trip, then I just go on my own. But occasionally, I take just one of my kiddos, usually Caleb or Sarah because they are good listeners at this point and don't fuss like Gabriel does in the cart.

One afternoon, right after Josh got home from work, I said I needed to make a run to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. I said I would gladly take Sarah because I really felt like some mommy/daughter bonding time! So we put on our coats, walked out to the garage, and climbed into our van for our trip to Rolla.

When we arrived, I needed to make a quick stop to the restroom, so we went there first. I didn't notice if any of the "normal" stalls were taken, but I went to the handicapped one because it's bigger and easier to have a little 3-year-old girl in it with me.

"Sarah, just stay here with mommy and I'll be done in a second," I explained to her.

"MOMMY! DO YOU HAVE TO GO POOPY OR POTTY?" she said in her bold, little girl voice.

I thought to myself what answer will keep her from elaborating about my current trip to the restroom? I softly whispered, "Just potty, Sarah."

"OH, MOMMY...NO...YOU'RE GOING POOPY!" she exclaimed once again in her bold, little girl voice. "GOOD JOB, MOMMY! GOOD JOB!"

Dear Lord, please do not let anyone else be in here right now I quickly prayed.

But I could hear someone, and they were holding back laughter. Perhaps if I waited long enough they would exit the facilities and I would not have to look them in the eye?

Before I could get myself together, Sarah decided that she wanted to open the door to the stall. "Mommy isn't done, Sarah! Please, just wait for mommy!" But her eagerness prevailed, so as quickly as I could I composed myself, chased my daughter, and kept her from opening the restroom door. I needed to wash my hands before we went on to do our shopping, and of course, there was the lady who was in the stall next to me. She just gave me a smile, and I wondered if this was her comic relief for the day.

I do enjoy the time I spend with Sarah when it's just the two of us. I will not, however, use the restroom with her ever again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not Me! Monday

Seriously, what kind of McMama fan never writes a Not Me! Monday? Well, certainly not me! So to prove that I am, in fact, a loyal and die hard fan, I am writing one today!

After all, what kind of mom loses track of time when her daughter is in the bathroom and doesn't realize that she must be in to something? Definitely not me!

And when my children were playing out in the snow when it was only 7 degrees outside, it really was not me who said it would be a fun idea for them!

And who waits until they are married for 8.5 years to finally buy a filing cabinet to put away all important paperwork like pay stubs, insurance updates, mortgage information, etc? There is no way that it was me who went through piles and piles of this sort of thing and organized it perfectly for the FIRST TIME since I've been a grown up. Nope, not me!

And finally, it was positively not me who was on the computer for HOURS last night as my new blog makeover was put into place by a sweet, wonderful blog designer!

So I wonder...what did you not do this week?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tidbits from the Land of Facebook

My status yesterday: When it's cold, I long for the spring. When it's springtime, I get antsy for summer. When it's a hot, summer day I want to feel the coolness of fall. When it's fall, I start getting excited for snow. So here I am, looking out my window at the pretty, bright snow. And I am going to be thankful for the season I'm in rather than wishing for the next one.

A status from a friend:
Dear Pastors...please give your people more than 1 scripture in your sermon... Its the word that changes hearts not your thoughts. I dont want a concert... i dont care if you have a cool website ... If u dont deliver The Word Of God All of it not just the parts your denomination allows...You're wasting our time...God watches over the word to perform it ... Stop being seeker friendly and scratching ears...Give the word 1st place because the bible isnt about somebody it is somebody... now preach preacha or sit down ....

Something funny that I stole and put as my status: Where does the Weather Channel get the "feels like" stat? I imagine a guy named Frank outside yelling, "Feels like 12!"

Status that made me feel bad:
day one with p90x: not so bad, a little sore, but its going to be worth it! (I felt bad because I have done the P90X and it's HARD...but evidently this person didn't think so!)

Josh's status that made me giggle:
got Chrissy Adams a file cabinet and she is hard at work cleaning off the counter! go honey go! (This was when I sent you that text, Tina, about the utility stubs!)

That's all for now. Hope you all had a great weekend!

May I suggest...

Everyone who has a blog or who reads a blog really needs to create an account with Blog Frog! It's simple, really. And then we can all link to each others blogs. Who knows...someone who visits my blog might see your blog on my list and mosey on over and find out what a GREAT blog you have, too!

I think it's a great way to connect. So give it a try!

Pretty please.

And don't forget to add the widget to your page.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Before the snow melts, you have to try this!

I was skeptical, but this is so good! The kids loved it, and so did I. Thanks, Josh, for going ahead and making this even when I said it seemed silly! :o)

Snow Ice Cream

1 gallon snow
1 cup white sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 cups milk

I've heard that when it starts to snow, we should place a large bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Then serve at once.

Josh used more milk (he said about 4 cups), and we didn't "collect" snow flakes. He just went outside and filled up a gallon sized bowl.

It's really good! And here's a picture of my bowl before I ate it all!

Let me know if you try it! You really should!

Yes, I Watch Ellen.

A while back, a friend of mine came over to visit in the afternoon. This must have been one of those days when Josh's dad had Caleb and Sarah, because I remember only having Gabriel in the house, and he was napping.

As 1:00 pm rolled around, I turned the TV to channel 5 so I could watch The Ellen Degeneres Show. I thought it would be something fun to watch with my friend since I always had a good laugh while watching.

Instantly she said, "Why are you watching HER? I'm surprised that you would considering..." and she sort of left off the end of the sentence.

"Have you ever watched her show? She's pretty funny, and I think it's clean humor, lighthearted topics, and she has fun guests," I responded.

"Well, no. I just don't watch her. I don't want to support her lifestyle."

I changed the channel. I left it at that. I didn't want to have a debate about it because I just wasn't in the mood for it. If she would have caught me on a different day, I might have duked it out! ;o)

What I find interesting is that she is not the only friend who has given me flack about watching this show. What is most intriguing to me about this is that the same friends who don't understand why I watch this show are moms or grandmas who let their kids and grandkids watch Finding Nemo - where Ellen is the voice of Dori.

They don't seem to question any other shows I watch. Not that I'm really an avid TV watcher with a lineup of shows, but I do enjoy Wheel of Fortune in the evenings, and when The Biggest Loser starts a new season, I'm always watching it! Oh, and I also enjoy some professional sports like baseball and sometimes football.

Do they question the lifestyles of all these people that I watch? Do I know what Bob and Jillian do off the air? What about all the athletes that have taken steroids unlawfully? How do I know that Pat Sajak isn't a horrible person with awful morals?

But because Ellen is a homosexual, I shouldn't watch her. But I can let my kids watch Finding Nemo!

I'm sorry, but honestly, this irritates me. You couldn't tell, could you? It amazes me that Christians have always put this as the all-time biggest taboo. Tiger Woods had multiple affairs? We should forgive him and we pray that he finds the Lord. Ellen is gay. We definitely shouldn't watch her show.

The same thing happened when I liked Adam Lambert on American Idol. All the speculation about his sexual orientation led most Christians to say, "Well, I'd better find another contestant to vote for." I just really liked his voice! Isn't that what the contest was about? I didn't know I was supposed to research everyone's lifestyle and pick the contestant that best fit some sort of criteria OTHER THAN THEIR SINGING ABILITY.

Don't get me wrong. I believe we should have standards when it comes to television shows and movies. For me, it's the CONTENT of the show/movie rather than than the specific actors and actresses who play the roles in the story. I rarely if ever watch a movie that is rated R, sometimes even PG-13 movies are horrible. Many of the evening dramas on TV I find to be inappropriate and give a horribly skewed image of what life "should" be like. I think we should be careful of what we fill our minds with.

If these people who question my watching Ellen would have said, "I don't think you should watch any secular television or movies," or if they told me not to watch anything at all, that would be different. There are those who feel no entertainment is appropriate, and I respect them and that view.

But to single out one actress this just gets me going.

Tell me how you REALLY feel, Chrissy...

Yeah, I just did.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Packing Up Toys

About once a month (give or take) Josh's parents take Caleb and Sarah for a night. They enjoy their sleepover and enjoy playing with Papa so very much.

Last night was one of those times. So while the "older" kids were out of the house, Josh and I got ourselves in gear and began taking out all of the toys that the kids no longer play with. My dining room table was so full of stuff, and this has freed up more room for the new toys that they received for Christmas. Josh took out the back seat of the van, and our van is now packed and ready to take the toys to Goodwill (we were going to take them to the Caring Center, but they are closed today).

But...for a brief moment...I thought of the scene in Toy Story 2 when the mom was gathering toys for a yard sale and how upset it made the toys. It sort of made me sad, especially as I packed up two cute baby dolls that Sarah barely played with at all. I even thought one of them was pouting at me.

I sure hope those toys handle it ok. I hope they are happy in their new home. And if I find one of them back at my house someday, I'll know what hard work it was to get here. I've seen both Toy Story movies you know.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ode to a recliner

It might seem a bit odd, but when my parents asked me if there was something I wanted specifically as a graduation present when I completed my degree at SBU, I told them I wanted a recliner.

Josh and I were still newly weds, and we really didn't have much furniture in our tiny apartment. We had a small love seat and one of those rocker-glider chairs, both given to us by family. For some reason, I just really wanted a piece of furniture to call our own, and I wanted something nice and comfy for our living room.

And strangely enough, I have developed many sweet memories of that chair.

Like when we still lived in Bolivar and Josh would be gone to an "away" basketball game (he was an assistant coach with the Bolivar JV/Varsity Girls team since he student taught there), I would cuddle up with our new puppy in that chair and sometimes fall asleep before Josh would get home.

I sat in that chair and timed my contractions with Caleb for exactly an hour. I remember my stop watch sitting on the arm, and I remember grasping the sides when the pain got to be more than I anticipated.

We have pictures of each of our children as newborns being held by Josh in that chair. They always fell asleep on his chest as he rocked them or reclined with them. I also used that chair to comfort my babies at night time.

Or sometimes they just came up on my lap before bedtime and fell asleep.

Sarah and Gabriel were always nursed in the recliner. The arms were at just the right place where I could lay their little heads and then pull them up close to me. In fact, this is why I was bad at cradling them and nursing them, because at home I was so used to laying their heads on the arm of the chair, I didn't have to use my arms to hold them. The chair held them.

Quite a sappy post about just a chair!

But as the years have gone by, and as my children have grown, they have found many ways to use our recliner. And even though I am constantly telling them to stop, they are always managing to make the chair into a diving board, a playground slide, or a pirate ship (to walk the plank)! Ahh...the chair has seen better days.

And because of all the roughhousing, our sweet chair has now become broken beyond repair. The underneath has split, and part of the wooden frame actually fell off!

Previously I have written that I am not generally a sentimental person about lots of material things, but now I'm starting to wonder. Because even though I've been dying to get new furniture, and even though Josh said if the recliner broke we could get an entire new set (because that obviously is a sign that we should!) I just don't know if I can bring myself to get rid of this chair. It really feels like a part of the family.

I don't know what the future holds for my sweet chair. It's still sitting in our living room, unable to rock like it's supposed to. I just don't want to see it sitting out by our curb, waiting for the garbage man. I think I'd rather take it out to my parents' land and bury it.

Do they make head stones for that sort of thing?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Me and my mom, January 1981.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Bad Mom?

Several of you have used the phrase I'm about to discuss at one time or another, so no one can say I'm pointing out someone specifically! :o)

When Caleb was just three months old, Josh and I traveled for a Thanksgiving family gathering that was 2.5 hours away from our home. It would be an overnight trip (I think we left the evening before Thanksgiving) so I made sure to have enough diapers, wipes, clothes, toys, bouncy seat, and a pack-n-play. I was not nursing, so I made sure to have his bottles packed and his powdered formula ready.

When we arrived to our destination, we suddenly realized that we forgot something...the diaper bag! How could parents forget the diaper bag? What a horrible moment for me as a "new" mom. I felt so dumb. I felt like I let my baby down. The worst part was that he also had medicine packed in that diaper bag for an ear infection that I was supposed to give him every so many hours.

Diapers and formula could be bought at the store down the road. I think someone even bought me an extra outfit for him. He seemed to do ok without the medicine during the time we were there. The family gathering came and went. Now the entire thing is just a silly memory for me.

But during that time, I never said, "Oh, I'm such a bad mom." No one thought poorly of me, they probably just felt sorry for me! I do remember having tears about it, but that's because I felt stupid for leaving the one thing you're supposed to bring with a baby! :o)

Sarah was climbing into the van one day and I let her do it on her own as I walked around to get Gabriel into his seat. She must have lost her footing and fell and hit her head on the concrete floor of the garage. She cried hard and fell asleep within moments. I frantically called Peggy (who is an RN) and asked what I should do because it wasn't a time for her to nap or anything. She gave me instruction, and I knew what to look for. But at no time did I feel like I was a bad mom because my child fell.

I have not been right on track with check-ups for the kids sometimes. Caleb was late for his preschool promotion. Sometimes we have a late breakfast and I forget to make lunch. Sometimes I forget to do laundry in time for the kids to have the clothes I'd like for them to wear, so I have to dig and find something less desirable for them to wear.

And I've seen moms flippantly say they are bad moms for such things. I wish they wouldn't. You know you're not truly a bad mom if you forgot to bring your child's backpack to school or you let them have cookies for breakfast.

There are plenty of things that come to mind that might label someone as a bad mom. Abandonment perhaps? Not feeding your children because you need the money for a drug addiction? But I can't presume to know the heart or mental capacity of these women either, so who knows.

Might I suggest that we become more mindful of the phrase bad mom. Because really...there isn't any mom I know personally that is a bad one.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Quiet Little Girl

When your daughter says she has to go potty and decides to use your bathroom.

And then you realize she has been in there for a while after you heard the flush.

A long while. Quietly.

You then realize that she must be up to something.

And evidently, mommy's make-up is just too tempting.

She must have missed the Mary Kay tutorial on how to apply lipstick on your lips rather than around your entire mouth.

The next phase...

As a mom, I have had to clean up potty and poopy more times than I can count. Since I'm a boy mom, that means sometimes I wasn't quick enough with the diaper change. Since I've toilet trained two kids so far, I've had to clean up poopy during the training phase. Potty and poopy do not bother me.

I've had the experience of being puked on by a child. I've had to hold them while I also hold a large bowl in front of them so they don't get it all over the floor. Yet, there are times when it HAS gotten on the floor, and I've cleaned it up. Puke does not bother me.

For some reason, my children are prone to nose bleeds. Caleb can take care of this on his own now, he can tell when it's coming. It has only happened once or twice for Sarah, and Gabriel has actually had one already, too. But blood doesn't bother me, even though it's been really bad at times.

All the hurts and owies. Scraped knees. None of that stuff bothers me.

However, there is something coming up...a milestone if you will...for Caleb, perhaps in the next couple months, that I just don't know how I'm going to handle.

The losing teeth phase.

I can't stand it. I really can't. I've had my friends' children come up to me with excitement and say, "Miss Chrissy! Look! I have a loose tooth!" and I just have to turn my head and tell them how wonderful it is. But I don't mean it.

I'm really not sure why it bothers me so much. I know it's a natural thing, but I really just cringe when I think about it. And my friends probably think it's comical when they see me react to their children.

Last night I read on facebook that Caleb's friend, Alli, had her first loose tooth! I told her mommy she shouldn't have said anything (she knows how I am)! ;o) But I realized what that meant...the time for Caleb will be coming soon.

So I'd better mentally prepare...

Friday, January 1, 2010

My 10:10 Challenge

John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly."

So for the year 2010, I am going to memorize this verse and it's reference because I'm going to discuss 10 goals for the year 2010 with the frame of mind that Jesus came for me to have life...and have it abundantly. I will call this my 10:10 challenge.

1. You've already read several blogs last year about my efforts to lose weight. I know that I must pray for the fruit of the spirit of self-control. I will have to pray for this daily (umm...probably more like hourly). But I know He does not like how I'm indulging in unhealthy habits (poor food choices, lack of physical activity) so my goal this year is to lose 40 pounds AND run the 5K Susan G Komen Race for the Cure this year...hopefully with a certain friend who said she would train with me!

2. To be a genuine follower of Christ, I must spend more time in His word. I fall short with this so badly. And even if I read a passage that I have studied in the past, it's always amazing to me when He reveals something completely different the second, third, etc time that I've read it. To live abundantly, according to His word, means I have to be IN the word. My goal is to read the bible daily, more than likely in the morning before everyone is up - unless I'm training for the 5K at that time, then I'll need to read at night when everyone is in bed! :o) I would like one of those Joy FM "Read the bible in a year" cards...

3. While Josh and I really love the principals that Dave Ramsey teaches, and while it has really changed how we go about doing things, I am still not a perfect FPU student! My goal is to be debt free (with the exception of our mortgage) by August. This means that every "big" check that we receive from now until then MUST be put towards our AES payment (student loans). So when I see that big deposit in my account from our tax return (there is one financial plus to having many small children...ha!) or when Josh is paid in March for coaching basketball, or when he makes extra money this summer (either teaching summer school or working at UPS) I cannot let myself get off track. I also must stick with our debt snowball and continue making extra payments towards AES, even though we owe far less each month. Living abundantly means being free from the bondage of debt. What a freeing feeling this will be.

4. One of the topics I did not mention was "off limits" back in my why I blog entry has to do with me and Josh. I will not discuss our specific struggles, even though I've read "famous" bloggers and their confessions of trying times. Like when MckMama shared that she and her husband had a fight so bad that the cops had to be called. No, that has not happened to us! As if that would be kept secret anyway in a small town! ;o) But I just can't see myself telling my readers that type of thing. Mostly because - for me - it's a respect issue. But I will share that this past year has been very difficult for us, and in 2010 my goal is to make Josh - our marriage - a top priority. I feel as though I have let "us" fall by the wayside. I want to speak kindly in all circumstances. I want to encourage him daily. And I want to commit to being more consistent with physical intimacy...yeah, that's sort of blunt, and perhaps TMI, but I realize that a marriage needs intimacy in that way.

5. Proverbs 31:28 says "Her children arise and call her blessed." I keep thinking...when my children are old enough to understand, would they arise and call me blessed? If they are asked, "Who influenced you the most in your spiritual walk?" would they say me? I want to be a better mother, really. I want to keep my cool when they disobey, and I want to pray for my children and with my children every day. My goal is to become a more Godly mother, and while I realize this is a hard one to quantify, I know that the Lord will bless me in my efforts and show me in the days to come how I can be more like Him to my children. I know that living abundantly means raising my children in the way God has asked me.

6. While we're speaking of Proverbs 31, in verse 27 it says, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." My goal is to be a better homemaker, and while that title usually doesn't set well with me, right here in this verse it clearly says that I am to be a homemaker! Even working moms are homemakers. We are to watch over the affairs of our household. And I know that this means being on top of the house work - laundry, dishes, bedrooms, etc - and it also means not to be idle. Sometimes it's easy to just sit and watch a show with the kids, and I'm not saying that I won't ever do that. But I needed to realize that playing is a part of my day just as much as keeping up with the house.

7. Another goal is to seek ways to further His kingdom with the gifts He's given me. I know that He has equipped each of us with specific talents and abilities, and this year I've been really having a hard time knowing what I'm supposed to be doing with those abilities. I like to write. Should I be using it in some way other than my blog? I like to sing. What do I do with that? So this one will be a daily journey for me, I'm still trying to figure it out. But I want to be more consistent with seeking His direction for me.

8. Over the course of the last eight months or so, I must confess that prayer has been difficult for me. goal is to have consistent communication with God. To pray...even if I don't understand.

9. This next one isn't really all that spiritual in some ways, yet I suppose some would argue that it is. I want to encourage far less TV time within my family. I'm not sure what the balance should be, but I'm thinking two shows in the mornings (for the kids) and then perhaps two shows in the evenings for all of us - like Wheel of Fortune! It just seems like we're spending too much time watching TV. And while we're on the subject of wasting time, I need to limit myself on the computer...drastically. If I'm spending the mornings and evenings reading God's word or training for a 5K and the rest of the time I spend with my kids, that means facebook and blogging would be put on the back burner. But I really love to write, so I'd like to fit it in somewhere! Any suggestions?

10. Ah, the final goal. I want so badly to have a more compassionate spirit towards others. I want to be less critical when someone does something that seems so wrong in my mind. Sometimes we can use scripture to discern when something is right or wrong, but sometimes we just need to show compassion even if someone isn't living according to His word. This is hard for me, and I don't want it to be. I will be praying that God will give me the compassion that I long for.

What are your goals for 2010? What can you change to live your life more abundantly?

I was really sick while writing most of these, so please excuse any typos.