Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

Can lead to the most monumental failures! It's a simple Saturday here in the House of Lizdom. The only thing that was firmly on the agenda was Teagan's dance class. Jeff and I and the kids all slept through the night, to my recollection. And it was a good sleep, the kind you don't want to wake up from. Unless you are Teagan and the sleep just totally jazzes you up for the day ahead. She's up and ready to roll at 5:30 a.m. We convince her to play in her room and such for a while but we are eventually dragged out of bed around 6ish. We watch a little TV while feeding random bits of breakfast type foods to the kids. I get a shower. Let me take a moment on the subject of my shower. Because today, I had an awesome shower. Throughout the week, showers are a fast way of getting clean. At least 3 times each week, my shower happens at the gym after my lunch time workout so it is a super fast wash down. I rarely get a shower where I can pay attention to detail and complete all of the more minor tasks of self grooming. My quick showers are generally wash hair, wash armpits and sweaty spots and feet, shave pits, wash face. Today, I took that looooong shower. I washed my hair- twice. I conditioned it. I washed every inch of my body with a delightfully girly scented body gel of some sort. I shaved my legs and armpits and even my toes (yes, I have hairy toes. Not freakishly or anything. Just enough to be annoying.) I washed my face. I did a microderm thingee. I just took the time to give myself a good once over. To pay attention to myself. Continued the trend by putting the thick heel balm stuff on my poor winter-broken heels, lotioned up my legs and arms and shoulders, finished the microderm steps, and moisturized and deodorized. I was rarin' to go. I scrubbed out the freezer and fridge. There has been a mystery odor for a couple of weeks now and the levels of intervention keep growing. Throw away old food from fridge- check. A few days later... throw away freezer burned or unidentifiable items from freezer- check. You know the drill. Even tossed out an entire bucket of ice from the ice maker and scrubbed it all out and the smell still stuck around. So today, I took out everything, scrubbed everything, even got into all the nooks and crannies and did some vacuuming under the beast (that was a real adventure). Then it was time for dance class. I'll skip over the parts where Teagan had a few meltdowns because she didn't immediately get her way. She did awesomely fantastic in dance class, as usual. It was the monthly "invite in your parents to watch" day. She was ON. It was a hoot! Come home to pick up Daddy and Zach. Daddy got his shower (it wasn't nearly as awesome as mine). Then it was a trip to the bank, out for lunch, and then we head to the grocery store. I'd been planning this trip since I got our grocery ads mid-week. Both of the 2 main grocery stores near our house seemed to be having some awesome sales. So I made a side by side list to determine who would be a better fit for our buying this week. We bought a HUGE amount of food (including some items for the food pantry). Saved $85, according to the receipt. But the adventure came when we tried to do the shopping together. It was a disaster. It started out ok- the kids wanted the goofy car in the front, cart in the back thing. Fine. We found a couple of samples. Fine. By about the second aisle, Zach had hit the limit. He was done. He wanted out of the car, he wanted out of the cart, he wanted to be held, he wanted to walk. Eventually, he just cried. And while he's falling apart, Teagan was a perfect angel. Yeah, right. She wasn't listening, was dancing around the aisles and singing little ditties. Which is fine on most any day- just not midday Saturday at the grocery store. It was packed. And she needed to be in uber-listening mode. Jeff ended up taking Zach out to the car. Apparently, the boy crashed as soon as he hit the car seat. Jeff didn't even have to drive him around. He just zonked out. Poor guy. What is it about a simple errand that can just drain every ounce of energy from your soul? So now we are home. Zach is asleep. Jeff is asleep. Teagan is playing quietly in her room. And I am here, blogging away, feet up, slumped on the couch. So... just a simple Saturday in the House of Lizdom. We'll just wait and see what the rest of the day holds!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Quality Survey

I just don't know what to say in my profile. I haven't had time to do my "How am I feeling today?" thing. So help me out... many of you have been reading my blog for a while and know me and my blog pretty well. What should my profile say about me? Should I get back to my daily "feeling today" picture change? *** I hear loads of folks are having major issues with the whole "followers" changes that Blogger has made. I haven't had any issues that I know of. I think all my followers are still there (I take the number way too seriously... just like I get all of my emotional satisfaction from comments). So if you are a regular reader and haven't become a "follower" yet, feel free to join in! *** And I'm also interested to know what you want to see more of and less of. I know it is my blog and I can say whatever I want... and I will continue to do so. But if you really love good news stories, I'll try to find more. If you really like pics and stories of my kids, I'll try to do more. If you like it when I just spout off about some random subject, I can totally do that more. Or if there is something you want to know or see that you haven't yet, share that, too! Thanks!!

Innocence Lost

My eyes have been opened. And I'm tightly squeezing them shut! It started innocently enough. I'm not going to name names. But another blog that I visit has multiple authors. And one of the bloggers likes to share... Erotica. Now, I will admit to enjoying reading some erotica now and then. It's kind of exciting to visit someone else's fantasties. It's kind of titillating to delve into situations you'd never be in or had never thought of. I admit to being new to blogging. I'm also not some innocent flower. I just never thought about the adult side of blogging. I've been happily traipsing along, reading parenting blogs, everyday people blogs, cooking blogs, funny blogs, heart touching blogs. Last night, I dared to click into new and unfamiliar territory. While a part of me admires those who are brave enough to put their private lives out there like that... Nope. It just felt WRONG. I happened upon one of, apparently, many blogs of a swinging couple. They are married. They needed spice. So they start attending swingers' parties, meeting other swinging couples on Craigslist, meeting up with people for long weekends of all kinds of sexual play. How do these people find time and energy for all of these sexual trysts when they also claim to have kids and be typical PTA parents?? How do these people rationalize being in a committed relationship but then taking on a third person who is cheating on their own spouse? I'm really not a prude and am really more aware of many things sexual than most would imagine. It just kinda blew my mind. And it really has me wondering... people I work with... people driving the same route to work each day... the lady in the grocery store line ahead of me... people at church... What deep, dark secrets are they keeping? What hidden lives do they have? What do they really do or say behind closed doors? And it got me to thinking about my own blog and my own life. And for those who really know me well in every day life, I'd love for you to chime in. People who know me from other websites and online communities... share your thoughts. I really believe that I am very genuine with my blog. I keep certain things private. And I make a lot of things public. I share myself as openly and honestly and genuinely as I can. No deep, dark secrets. No alternate identity. No hidden agenda. Just me. Nothing more, nothing less. Just... Liz.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When You're The Best of Friends...

While my son adores his big sister and loves his mommy and daddy... he has a special relationship with someone else in our family. Sassy. Teagan has grown up with Sassy but hasn't connected with her until recently. She always saw her as an uninteresting toy or something. Teagan loves to take care of Sassy now (feeding her, filling her water bowl) and gives her pets and hugs from time to time. But not much interest in playing with her. Zach, on the other hand, loves to throw Sassy's "egg" or play tug of war with her. The tugging started recently and Zach thinks it is a hoot! Sassy totally gets it, too. She completely prefers to play with Zach and her tug toy than anyone else. If I pick it up or Teagan picks it up, she pulled once or twice and then lets go. But if Zach picks it up, she will really get into it!
Their relationship started early on, too. As an infant, she would want to sleep close by where he was napping or be cuddled up when we nursed. They've always had a special connection, a different connection.
I think part of it is because Sassy lost her sister, Ginger, when Zach was just a little over a month old. And since he was still little and cuddly and not threatening, he became a source of comfort for her.
And for as rough as Zach likes to be, he is always gentle with Sassy. He loves to play with her but also takes great joy in petting her or rubbing her belly or just laughing at her antics! Sassy will be 11 years old this fall. I hope she has several more good, young years left in her so that my her boy can have a good, strong set of memories of his first dog.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Newlywed Game

Alix over at CASA HICE shared this fun little Newlywed Game. I'm hoping it will inspire my darling husband ot maybe post something on his blog? Jeff- you can share with the world if I'm right or wrong... or you can play the game, too! (Most likely he'll, at most, comment on how well I did with my answers.) 1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? Sci-fi Channel 2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Ranch 3. What's one food he doesn't like? Artichokes 4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What does he order? Sprite 5. Where did he go to high school? Hamilton Heights 6. What size shoe does he wear? 11 7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? Comics 8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? peanut butter and bologna 9. What would he eat every day if he could? chips and french onion dip 10. What is his favorite cereal? Life 11. What would he never wear? A thong 12. What is his favorite sports team? Colts 13. Who did he vote for? He won't say. 14. Who is his best friend? Me. 15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? Put the kids first all the time. 16. What is his heritage? Indiana-ian. With a sprinkling of Tennessee. 17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake? Angel food cake 18. Did he play sports in high school? Yes! (Basketball) 19. What could he spend hours doing? Sitting on the computer doing... computer stuff. 20. What is one unique talent he has? Just one? He juggles!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dishonorably Discharged

It's Girl Scout cookie time.
I grew up knowing hunger. Mom and I struggled and often food was scarce. Through the generosity of folks at church, I was far more blessed than others.
But you take a kid who doesn't get to go to birthday parties or have birthday parties... you take a kid who doesn't really do any extra activities... you take a kid who dreamt of having the few spare dollars to go to the school skate party...
You take that kid and you take a generous and thoughtful caretaker... Said caretaker signed me up for Brownies with her daughter.
I didn't last a year before being... dishonorably discharged.
Here's the deal. You take a hungry kid and give her boxes and boxes and boxes of cookies to sell and you send her home with them. What do you think is going to happen??
This was back in the day, before order forms and such. Heck, maybe I'm the reason they went to order forms!
We show up at our Brownie meeting and we've been so pumped for the arrival of THE COOKIES. Selling THE COOKIES is a BIG DEAL and we've been preparing for it forever. The day arrives and we are all giddy with excitement but really not having a clue what it all means.
I came home with a few cases of THE COOKIES.
I dutifully began casing the apartment complex. Door to door, lugging the cookies everywhere I went. And I started hearing about these things called "Thin Mints." I didn't know a thing about them. We certainly didn't but any of these things. If we had a few spare bucks, it went towards shampoo or cheese or bread. Maybe a brownie mix if we were really splurging. But certainly not THE COOKIES.
I sold and sold and sold. And it hit me. I was selling food. Edible and, from what I was hearing, tasty treats.
I grabbed that green box that supposedly contained chocolate and mint in some perfect combination.
I hid in my closet.
I carefully tore open the box and inner packaging. The smell of mint and chocolate smacked my nose and my mouth began to water.
I took a little nibble and suddenly I heard angels singing! I had found heaven! And I had boxes and boxes and boxes of heaven in my living room!
I shoved an entire sleeve of cookies in my mouth. And was full.
I hid the other sleeve and the carton in the closet and went about my day.
A week passed and I had been spending most of my selling time in my closet, finding God. I no longer cared about being a top seller or winning a sales prize. I had found a source of food and it was the most amazing flavor sensation- added bonus.
At our next Brownie meeting, our leader announced that our money was due the next week. All of those boxes of cookies suddenly formed a solid mass in my stomach as I realized that I was in deep shit. I had a collection of empty Thin Mint boxes in my closet and no money to show for it.
The next week is fuzzy- I must have blocked it out. But it was soon realized that my money didn't match with my taken cases of cookies. Busted.
My mom gets called in. She's dumbfounded, has no clue what I've been up to. And I'm mortified, embarrassed. I don't want to tell these people that I ate the cookies because I was hungry. And not in the "nothing is interesting in the fridge" kind of hungry. Hunger and there is nothing there to fill my stomach hungry. I stayed silent until we got home.
I showed my mom the closet.
I don't remember her reaction. I do remember how embarrassed she was to have to go back to the Brownie troop leader and quietly explain that I'd eaten the cookies and that we couldn't afford to pay for them.
The troop leader decided it would be best if I turned in my sash and stepped down from my place in the troop.
Dishonorably discharged for thievery of Thin Mints.
I've relayed this story to moms I know now... moms who are Girl Scout and Brownie leaders and they are always appalled at the choice made by this other leader.
I'm not. Because how could she have known what was going on in my home? The signs were there. But we only see what we choose to see. And she chose to ignore that she rarely saw my mom. She chose to ignore that I never wore new shoes or clothes and that what I did wear was always either too big or too small. She chose to ignore a lot of signs that things were wrong. And I did a damn good job hiding a lot more than just hunger.
So the next time you are walking into the grocery store and see a table of Girl Scouts selling cookies, stop and buy a box and think of me. Then go into the store and buy food to feed your family. And buy some extra cans of veggies, jars of pasta sauce, boxes of spaghetti and donate them to a food pantry.
Because you just might prevent some one's dishonorable discharge from the Brownies.

I'm a Commie, Homo-Loving Son of a Gun

In case you missed last night's Oscars...

I noticed stars wearing White Knots. Did you? Granted, most were associated with "Milk." But still!

The speech given by "Milk's" screenplay writer- Dustin Lance Black.

When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. (He chokes up, audience begins to applaud.)

I want to thank my mom who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. (Wild applause from the audience.) Thank you, thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk.

And from Sean Penn...

You Commie homo-loving sons of guns! I did not expect this, but I — and I want to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me. Often. But I — I am touched by the appreciation and I hoped for it enough that I scribbled down — so I have the names in case you were Commie homo-loving sons of guns.
For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, and, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.

The Morning After

For the first time in years, I was hooked on the Oscars. The glamour, the lights, the set, the movies, the stars, the stories... I liked the changes to the ceremony. I liked the messages given in the speeches. There's stuff to talk about this morning instead of just having an awards night pass by! I actually stayed awake until midnight- made it all the way through the entire show. And what an ending!! To see the cast of Slumdog Millionaire, standing in their seats, unsure of what to do or where to go. The emotion of that cast with each award won last- you could feel how connected they are, how much they worked together. That's the part of theatre I miss. Working together on a project, putting your heart and soul into a piece of art, into a group of people, exposing yourself and being vulnerable in a plethora of ways... to create art. The universal language. While none of those Hollywood types read my blog... I still offer my congratulations!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blogging the Oscars

One thing to say... MUSICALS ARE BACK!! YEAH!!

Blogging the Oscars- the thoughts I can form as long a I stay awake

Tina Fey and Steve Martin- what a combo! And Tina Fey looks beautiful! I like how they are doing the introductions of the nominees for Best Original Screenplay. They show the clip and Tina or Steve read the descriptions as we see the film clip. Then a couple of lines of spoken line. But the focus is on the importance of the non-spoken parts of the screenplay. Cool impact. "Milk" won!!! Am loving the writer's speech. And his White Knot. And loving his story. Dustin Lance Black. Best Adapted Screenplay... "Slumdog Millionaire"!!! Simon Beaufoy. And he thanked his parents. :) Jennifer Aniston (her dress looks great but her hair- meh) and Jack Black presenting... Best Animated Feature... winner is... "WALL-E" I haven't seen this one but Jeff and I both want to!! Hilarious side moment... Meryl Streep and her daughter are directly in front of the stage and, therefore, get a LOT of camera time. They just did this exact duplicate mannerism, head tilt thing. Very cute! Animated Short Film... "La Maison en Petits Cubes" I always think the animated shorts look like something I'd like to see... but I never do!! Hard to track them down. Alright. Hate to admit it. But I'm bored with blogging the Oscars. Time for the Oscars to become background noise to my laundry folding! I'll pop back if anything big happens... but I won't even be up much longer to see the entire show... such is the life of a mom!

Blogging the Oscars! The Opening!

The set looks fantastic!! Love the crystal curtain effect! Hugh Jackman, host. He's cute. Love the grin, love the accent. Oh I am LOVING the opening number!!! Love his audience interaction... loved the dance number... Benjamin Button- HILARIOUS! Seriously. Now I love Anne Hathaway EVEN MORE. And his bit on The Reader... HAHAHAHAHA! Classic! He was even cracking up at himself!! HE IS WOLVERINE! I like the new staging, having all the nominees right around the front of the stage. Love live TV. "Steve, open it!" At least it wasn't Christian Bale getting mad about the curtain! Interesting- 5 previous winners doing the award for Best Supporting. Will this be a theme for the night? It's very personal. Whoopi's dress- eesh. Love ya Whoopi but that wasn't a good choice! So they are doing this personal, descriptive, complimentary thing instead of showing movie clips? Actress in a Supporting role- Penelope Cruz! I always like when the speech starts with emotion. And I like recognition of parents and close friends, too. And I'm loving hearing her personal story... "art in any form is our universal language." I agree!!

Blogging the Oscars- My last red carpet post

Robert Downey Jr. Love that he's gotten himself together. And now we are on ABC. 30 minutes of red carpet coverage and then we get to the real deal! Robin Roberts and Tim Gunn are hosting. Good choices. Starting with Kate Winslet. I just love her. Her hair, her earrings, her gown. She really looks stunning. Josh Brolin and Diane Lane. He's wearing a WHITE KNOT!!! Go Josh Brolin! She looks fantastic. Classy. Wearing black, strapless, fitted and then it fans out. Sarah Jessica Parker. What a gown! It's huge! Boobs still squishy. Don't like the belt. And she didn't get the jewelry memo... Taraji Henson... gorgeous. Cute. Love her hair. Don't get the little red clutch, though. Love her energy! Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)... looks great. His daughter is with him... if someone was taking me to the Oscars, I'd make sure I didn't look dumpy. What is Miley Cyrus wearing?? Holy cow! It looks heavy and uncomfortable! And old. Tim Gunn is talking about Valentino. And here's the man himself! He really does do some amazing designs. The Slumdog cast... they are having SO MUCH fun!! Mickey Rourke is wearing a necklace with a charm of his pooch (loki- she's passed away last week). I'm not sure how I feel about everyone taking him so seriously with the dog thing. Zac Efron- bad hair. But Zac and Vanessa- nice couple, nice Disney kids. Interviewing Miley. That dress just isn't right for her. She forgets that she's YOUNG. Anne Hathaway! Being interviewed by Tim Gunn. I'd really love to meet her. I'm a fan. Ha! The Waterhouse accountants with the winning envelopes. Cracks me up that they are making a big deal out of it! Meryl Streep. Looking better than she did in Mamma Mia! Her daughter is very pretty. And I like the coordination of their gowns. Penelope Cruz. Now I can really see the details of the dress. It's 60 years old. Gorgeous. Vintage. Cool. Jack Black. He's a weirdo. But often funny so it is ok. I like his suit. Blue shirt, tie, tux style jacket. I like that it is something different. Marisa Tomei. Wearing Versace. It's an impressive gown. Memorable. I wouldn't wear it but there aren't any red carpets in my future... She looks great in it! Talking about some of the behind the scenes work. Time for the big show!!

Blogging the Oscars - E's Red Carpet

They just highlighted Anne Hathaway's gown. Amazing. "Jewel encrusted." Aaaaahhhhh! Ron Howard. Brilliant. I admire that he's stayed bald and hasn't tried to be younger than he is. And he's obviously passionate about what he does. Evan Rachel Wood. Must be drowning in perfume for Ryan to immediately comment on it. Her dress is the same color as her very pale skin. Don't like it. And she has really dark nail polish. Eh. Showing Jessica Biel now. I think it's a miss. Messy hair, bad lip color. Unattractive dress with this weird bow thing over one boob that looks heavy. Wow. Red carpet is CRAMMED. Brad and Angelina just showed up. She's in black. Green earrings. They both look fantastic. She looks so stylish and classy. (Commercial break, I've flipped over to Barbara.) Yup. He's still a weirdo. Back to E! Penelope Cruz is with Ryan. Pretty lady. I can't see the entire gown but I don't love the color from close up. Philip Seymour Hoffman is wearing a black knit ski cap. Ugh. Daniel Craig. Now that's how you are supposed to look! Dapper, classy, stylish, clean cut. Now I can see Penelope's dress. It's intricate and full, almost ballgown style. Very gorgeous. Very classic. I do wish that Angelina would SMILE from time to time! Beyonce. OH NO. Don't like this AT ALL. Black and gold and mermaidy... Hair in a ponytail. Hm. Kate Winslet. Holy crap. She looks AMAZING. Really love her hair.

Blogging the Oscars - Back to Barbara

She's covering Mickey Rourke's career. He used to be so cute. And you see him now... he looks old. He looks... rode hard and put to bed wet. In his fifties and looking really much older than that. And dresses so weird now, too. What is that?? And I get the importance of pets. My dogs were by my side for my miscarriage and provided much comfort. What a crazy jump from the connection with his dogs, how they were with him as his career ended, his marriage ended, his money ran out... focusing on the dogs... and he now admits he was suicidal. Now telling a story about sleeping in a closet... and his dog made a noise... and he knew his dog was going to take care of him. ooooo.... k.... I think I need a break from this one.

Blogging the Oscars - Red Carpet

Back to Ryan and E! Talking to Amy Adams. Gorgeous dress and jewelry. Really love all this jewelry!! She's got this great deep scarlet gown. Beautiful. I get annoyed with the "not quite shaven" look. It's the freakin' Oscars. Clean yourself up. Make an effort. Boring tux mixed with messy hair and unshaven-on-purpose face. Not my favorite look. (Robert Pattinson) Sarah Jessica Parker- boobs are squishing out the top of the dress. Not my fave look but it isn't horrible. Not as tacky as I've seen on others. Can't see the whole gown, though. Seth Rogan has slimmed down- he says for a role. I bet he'd be fun to hang out with for a night. Anne Hathaway is such a classic beauty. And generally has amazing taste and style.

Blogging the Oscars - Jump to Barbara Walters

Flipped to ABC during the commercial break on E! Barbara Walters is interviewing the Jonas Brothers. I don't know which is which but the one that one of the other brothers described as the "enthusiastic one" has yet to crack even a grin. Not very enthusiastic! And now talking to the one with diabetes. This is one reason why I think the JB are ok. Because he's real. (Nick) Now they are talking about their purity rings. Not a word said about virginity. Just about making mom proud and treating "ladies" with respect. Nick and Miley dated at 14. I didn't know that. Huh. Nick answered the Miley questions well. Very maturely, really. Joe. Taylor Swift. The big debacle. Joe claims they are friends. Best interview line... Barbara asking if she's going to find anything out and Joe saying "Probably not but this is fun!" Ha! Interesting. They think their fans are different and will grow with them... Few musicians accomplish that.

Blogging the Oscars

So I've turned on E! and am going to watch the stars arrive... and totally dish on their outfits!! Ryan Seacrest is, of course, hosting. The Slumdog Millionaire kids are adorable. And it is hilarious that Seacrest is trying to interview them and most don't speak English!! Ha!! I love the classic gowns. I love the edgy gowns. I don't like skanky though. All the blah blah blah about people texting predictions and such... boring. Not enough STARS! Melissa Leo- love the style, not the color. Looks like poop. But gorgeous design. Taraji Henson... they just spotlighted this gorgeous ivory gown and an amazing antique looking necklace. She's a way cute lady. Seacrest is spending a lot of time with the Slumdog folks. John Legend... snazzy, classy guy. And he and his date are totally excited to meet the stars of Slumdog. Cool. And the female star of Slumdog just totally hit on Seacrest. Ha! There's Robert Pattinson from Twilight. Haven't seen the movie yet but read the book. He is definitely a cute fella! Wearing the typical tux. Heidi Klum- almost always gorgeous. No exception this evening! Gorgeous earrings, amazing cut gown. Gown shows off her legs. Can't fathom how she balances in those heels! Love that jewelry is making a comeback this year. Michael Shannon from Revolutionary Road... odd looking guy. Looks like he needs a long night's sleep. One thing I'll say for all the excitement over Slumdog Millionaire is that it has certainly added some diversity to the red carpet! Viola Davis- gorgeous gold gown. Few could carry it off. She looks amazing. And she has awesome tone in her arms. Her skin color and tone are really perfect for the gown she's wearing. Seacrest... don't ask a co-star to dish on the other stars. Just asked Michael Shannon if Winslet and DiCaprio talked a lot about Titanic. And he made a dumb joke about it. Ugh. Taking a break. Will be back. And hope to eventually add photos so this all makes sense!

Are You Type O? Got A Spare Kidney?

Go check out my friend Amy's blog today, please. Thank you!

Day 24: Love vs. Lust

Daily Reading

Lust opposes love because you lust after something forbidden. Lust "breeds more lust." The authors define lust as "a misguided thirst for satisfaction that only God can fulfill."

It goes on to say that lust "alerts you to the fact that you are not allowing God's love to fill you."

"Focus on being grateful for everything God has already given you rather than choosing discontentment."



1. intense sexual desire or appetite.
2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually fol. by for): a lust for power.
4. ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish: an enviable lust for life.
5. Obsolete. a. pleasure or delight. b. desire; inclination; wish.

–verb (used without object)
6. to have intense sexual desire.
7. to have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving (often fol. by for or after).


I get the point the authors are making but I disagree, again. Because I think they are taking a very narrow view of the word "lust." Personally, I like a little lust in my marriage. Knowing that my husband has a strong sexual desire for me is a pretty amazing part of our marriage, our intimacy.

I understand their point. I do. That if you aren't satisfied with the blessings you have, if you don't recognize how good your life already is, you will constantly be looking for more and that will get in the way of what you already have.

But that, to me, isn't lust. This goes back to "Love is satisfied."

Today's Dare

"End it now. Identify every object of lust in your life and remove it. Single out every lie you've swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it. Lust cannot be allowed to live in a back bedroom. It must be killed and destroyed- today- and replaced with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with His perfect love."


"What did you identify as an are of lust? What has this pursuit cost you over time? How has it led you away from the person you want to be? Write about your commitment to Him- and to seek your spouse- rather than seeking after foolish desires."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Husband Says I'm a Lush

Jeff doesn't drink. At all. No interest.
I used to drink heavily. Back in college. Oh the stories I could tell...
In fact, I got so heavy into drinking that the amount of alcohol it took to enjoy any impact started to scare me. So I stopped drinking. Completely.For several years, I just didn't drink.
Then I'd drink from time to time. Like, a drink or two at a party every few months or so. Totally responsible.
Then I got pregnant. Had a miscarriage. Got pregnant. And followed every rule. And then breastfed. And got pregnant again. And kept following every rule.
Once Zach had cut way back on nursing, I started to have a glass of wine from time to time. Out with Christy and other friends.
And now Zach has weaned.
OK, not really. But I am back to enjoying a glass of wine- even at home- from time to time. Get the kids to bed, watch some TV, get online, and maybe have a glass of wine.
So I wanted to share some of my more recent favorites!
Tonight's selection is a Target wine cube. I know, I know. Box wine?? But this stuff is good. And it comes in this cute little cube. I'm a little sad because my previous selection of this wine was a Sangria and it was awesome. But Target stopped selling it. Boo.
This is a "White Table Wine." And it's nice. My glass is about half gone and it's pretty smooth, a little fruity, a little sweet but still dry enough that it isn't a dessert wine.
Generally I'm a red gal. Several months ago, I tried a Malbec for the first time. It was richer and deeper than any red I'd had before. Kind of... spicier.
For Christmas, Christy got me a bottle of Malbec from Trader Joe's. Layer Cake.
There is also a very good Malbec that can be purchased at Sam's Club for $5.99 a bottle- very reasonable for a relatively complex wine.
And twice in the last 6 months, I've had the pleasure of enjoying my first martinis. One other time I prefer not to include because the drink wasn't good.
Lemon Drop Martini
'Nuff said.
And now my white table wine from the cute little cube in my fridge is about gone. So I'm going to enjoy the release of the tension from my shoulders, laugh at the dumb movie we're watching, and go to bed. This is living!

Day 23: Love always protects

Daily Reading

You must fight to defend and protect your spouse and your marriage. There are outside forces that will come along that will try to weaken you, your spouse, your commitment to each other.

You have to be mindful and aware of harmful influences, unhealthy relationships, shame, parasites (usually in the form of addictions like gambling, drugs, pornography).

And again I'm going to take issue with the text.

Wives- you have a role as protector in your marriage. You must guard your heart from being led away through novels, magazines and other forms of entertainment that blur your perception of reality and put unfair expectations on your husband. Instead you must do your part in helping him feel strong, while also avoiding talk-show thinking that can lure your attention away from your family.

WOW. As a woman, as a wife... I am hugely insulted by this paragraph. Are these authors serious? First of all, they just made it VERY clear that the book was written by 2 men. Second of all, how demeaning is this?? How dare they presume that women are sitting around reading fluff novels or watching chick flicks all the day long instead of "doing their wifely duties."

Highly annoyed. Highly. So annoyed that I can barely tolerate eating any more of these bon bons and peeled grapes.

And the part directed towards the men (and it doesn't say husbands, it says men) just talks about protecting the wife and marriage at all times. That's it.

I'm so annoyed that I don't even want to continue on to the dare part. Thankfully, it's one that really doesn't pertain to our marriage. So I'll share it.

But after the talk that sounds like an excuse for abuse and the heavy handed ramming of God down the throat and now this idiotic and very insulting "instruction" for women... I don't have much interest in continuing.

Today's Dare

"Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that is stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse."


"What did you throw out first? Are there others that need to go as well? What do you hope the removal of these things will do for you, your marriage, and your relationship with God?"

Crisis of Credit

Saw this over at Today on the Interwebs and it is definitely worth watching. You can check out Jonathan Jarvis's website and his Crisis of Credit website, too. He has other interesting projects he's done at his personal website. Very interesting stuff!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'd Vote for This Homecoming Queen!

We didn't have Homecoming at my high school. No football team, either.

Had Homecoming in college in the fall. No football team so it wasn't a sports related event from what I remember. Probably somehow hooked in with basketball, I suppose. I don't recall any sort of court or king or queen. Just a semi-formal dance with a lot of drinking.

But if I'd had an opportunity to vote for a Homecoming Queen somewhere in my past... I would have wanted to vote for Reann Ballslee.

I know what you're thinking. Ballslee? Seriously? Sounds like a drag queen!


Yahoo is quickly becoming a favorite news source for me.

And if I could go back to that time in my life that I was selecting a college... I would so want to look at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

Ryan Allen is a senior at George Mason. And he's a drag queen. And he won the title of Homecoming Queen.

Allen, who is gay and performs in drag at nightclubs in the region, said he entered the homecoming contest as a joke, competing as Reann Ballslee, his drag queen persona.

But he considers the victory one of his happiest moments and proof that the suburban Washington, D.C., school famous for its run to the Final Four a few years back celebrates its diverse student body.

"I was very touched by how Mason was so supportive through the whole process of allowing a boy in a dress to run for homecoming queen," Allen said in a phone interview. "It says a lot about the campus that not only do we have diversity but we celebrate it."


Day 22: Love is faithful

Daily Reading & Reflections

Again, this is a reading that I am taking with a grain of salt. Or a lick of salt. Or more.

It's not all about God this time.

This time, I am back to thinking about the woman who has bought this book because she is desperate to save her marriage. Her husband is emotionally cruel towards her, maybe even abusive. She blames herself and looks for ways to change and improve herself so that she can be good enough, be better, be what he wants her to be... thinking it will make him change.

Or the woman who picked up the book thinking it would help her heal and help her strengthen her marriage, even as her husband repeats infidelity after infidelity.

The book is for those who wish to strengthen what is good. The book is there for those who want to rekindle what has faded.

The book is NOT going to fix any major problems in a marriage. And the message to anyone in a true marriage crisis needs to be that this book is NOT the answer.


I took today's reading to mean that when, for example, Jeff is cranky and he isn't being loving towards me, it is my calling through God to continue to show love to him. In essence, it goes back to the early lessons of choosing love even when it's a hard choice. But it takes it a step further. If Jeff were to do something that really hurt me, would I choose to continue to show him love, choose to continue to love him?

We don't fight often. I do recall one big fight early in our marriage, prior to having children. And we argued and we came to a realization and we communicated and it hasn't ever been an issue since. We chose to love. It wasn't some big huge thing that was going to risk our marriage- unless it went unattended to (that goes back to one of those earlier dares, too). But we handled it right away.

We argue and get mad at each other. We get cranky and snippy. But we don't have big fights. We don't have big issues. I feel very blessed so far!

The time will come that we hurt each other. The time will come that we face something really difficult. And when love is faithful, we choose to love each other through those difficult times.

I think of this more in terms of my kids, I think. I often tell Teagan, after she's been rotten or gotten in trouble or I've yelled at her, that "I still love" her. And I make sure to often tell her that no matter what she says or what she does, I will still love her.

Today's Dare
"Love is a choice, not a feeling. It is an initiated action, not a knee-jerk reaction. Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it. Say to them today, "I love you. Period. I choose to love you even if you don't love me in return."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another example of Good Sportsmanship

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the story of Shawn Crawford and his gold medal giveaway. Another story of good sportsmanship... of young athletes making good choices, right choices... This comes from Yahoo and Rivals High High school basketball. 2 teams playing. A Dekalb, IL team traveled to Milwaukee, WI. This was the third time the teams had played each other. Fun, rivalry, familiarity. Coach Rohlman from IL. IL player Darius McNeal. WI player Johntel Franklin. Franklin's mother, age 39, died hours before the game started. She'd been battling cervical cancer for 5 years. She started hemorrhaging that Saturday morning. Late in the afternoon, the decision was made to turn off her life support. The WI coach was going to cancel the game. But Johntel Franklin wanted the teams to play. Early in the second quarter, Womack saw someone out of the corner of his eye. It was Franklin, who came there directly from the hospital to root his teammates on. The Knights had possession, so Womack called a time out. His players went over and hugged their grieving teammate. Fans came out of the stands to do the same. "We got back to playing the game and I asked if he wanted to come and sit on the bench," Womack said during a telephone interview. "No," Franklin replied. "I want to play." There was just one problem. Since Franklin wasn't on the pre-game roster, putting him in meant drawing a technical foul that would give DeKalb two free throws. Though it was a tight game, Womack was willing to give up the two points. It was more important to help his senior guard and co-captain deal with his grief by playing. Over on the other bench, though, Rohlman wasn't so willing to take them. He told the referees to forget the technical and just let Franklin play. "I could hear them arguing for five to seven minutes, saying, `We're not taking it, we're not taking it," Womack said. "The refs told them, no, that's the rule. You have to take them." That's when Rohlman asked for volunteers, and McNeal's hand went up. He went alone to the free throw line, dribbled the ball a couple of times, and looked at the rim. His first attempt went about two feet, bouncing a couple of times as it rolled toward the end line. The second barely left his hand. It didn't take long for the Milwaukee players to figure out what was going on. They stood and turned toward the DeKalb bench and started applauding the gesture of sportsmanship. Soon, so did everybody in the stands. Rohlman asked his team for a volunteer to go to the line and miss those shots. They didn't throw the game. But they didn't agree with the rule about the foul. And chose to not take the points in the only way they could. So the young man got to play without his team being hurt for it. He got to be surrounded by his friends and his coach... maybe be distracted for a couple of hours by this game... and with the full support of everyone in the gym. I think that's pretty special.

Day 21: Love is satisfied in God

Daily Read

The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire. Isaiah 58:11

Before I get into the reading, I feel like I need to say a few things.

My relationship with God is strong. He is very much a part of my daily life. I know my purpose for Him.

My husband doesn't know God the way I do. I pray about that a lot. But I know that it has to happen in its own time.

That's part of why I don't love these last few days. I don't like a book that tells my husband that he can't fully love me because he doesn't hold God in his heart.

He finds that pretty insulting, too. And it turns him off from the Dare and it turns him off from a relationship with God.

I think that anytime you tell someone something that sounds like an ultimatum... it's a turn off.

So while I understand that love deepens with God, that God's greatest gift is love, that I need Him as a very important part of my life... my husband isn't there yet and I don't see the value in cheapening the love he feels for me by telling him it isn't real enough because his faith isn't there yet.

So for these days that focus on spirituality, I will focus only on myself.


Bottom line for today's read is that God can supply you with everything you need to be your whole self.

Today's Dare

Pray, read your Bible. Read a chapter in Proverbs or one of the Gospels.


"How do you think spending time daily with God will change your situation and perspective? How can you make Him a bigger part of your day?"

I talk to God throughout the day. I pray many times a day. My relationship with Him is important and is strong and is full of love and wonder. I don't read my Bible enough and would like to get into the habit of doing so more often.

Therapy Thursday

Here's today's Therapy Thursday!


The Power of a Word What one word is most powerful in your life? Why? If it is a positive word, explain what it means to you and where in your life it applies. If it is a negative word, explain what you feel comfortable sharing. Then think of a word that could replace the negative word. Work on repeating the positive each time the negative comes to you... *** For me, the word is CHOICE. As long as I focus on CHOICE, life is manageable. It takes manufactured chaos out of the equation. I know that things happen that I'm not anticipating. Life means loss and tragedy and stress and trauma. But I can choose what I do with it. The emotions might rock my world. But I will find the place where I can choose to come out of it, to be stronger, to keep my family together. I've had horrible things happen in my life. I can choose to live as a victim, using my past as an excuse for everything that happens now. Never letting go, letting it control all that I am, all that I do, allowing it to poison my now. But I make a different choice. I choose to accept what was done to me. And I choose to take responsibility for the decisions I've made, for my own attention seeking behaviors. And I chose a long time ago to release it. Release what was done to me. Release the anger and rage and shame and hurt. Release. I chose to release. As I go through the Love Dare (blog link over there in the right column), I'm learning that love isn't a feeling that just happens. It's an action that you choose. Choice. Every day, every moment. When I feel like life is out of control, I can find choice. I can choose to react to the stress. I can choose to make a list and then choose what is priority. I can choose to take action. I can choose to observe. I choose. Choice and choose and pick and decide are important words in my parenting style. I want my kids to grow up understanding that they choose how they act, they choose their actions, they choose their outcomes. They can't control everything. When it is bedtime, it's bedtime. You choose to cooperate and have a nice, loving bedtime. Or you have a meltdown and cry and scream and are choosing to have a not nice bedtime. And all these choices link together. It's bedtime. Teagan can choose a nice bedtime- she chooses by her behavior. And then we can read books, sing to each other, snuggle and hug and kiss. Or she can choose to have that screaming, crying meltdown. Which means I choose not to read to her. I also have to choose how I will respond to her in those meltdowns. Do I choose to be gentle and calm? Do I choose to yell? Do I choose to threaten? Do I choose to ignore? Choice is back to her. Does she choose to respond to my gentle approach? Or does she choose to continue screaming? It's like watching tennis. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I can choose to be open and accepting. I can choose to be judgemental. I can choose coffee or tea. I can choose happy music or angry music. I can choose. Choice. I find it to be inspiring. Powerful. Hopeful.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Steve Harvey's "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man"

The title is off-putting. But his interview on the Today Show has me intrigued. I didn't catch all of it but there was a bit of advice given that I really liked. The 90 day policy. The comparison is that when you take a new job, you have a 90 day probationary period with your employer before the benefits kick in. So before they invest in you with paid time off, health insurance, 401K... the employer wants to know that you are dependable, reliable, steady, loyal, on time, dedicated. And once you've proven it, you get the benefits. So why shouldn't women (and men) do the same? Wait until he's proven his value before you offer up the benefits. Looking at my own life... I've applied this without realizing it. Most of the time. But I like this idea when it comes to my kids. When it comes to teaching them about intimacy. And while Steve Harvey was specific to women using that "rule," I think it should be general relationship advice. I'm not planning on reading the book, honestly. I'm not usually a big fan of books that explain women as one way and men as another way. But I did like some of what he had to say. So I might thumb through it in a bookstore. You can read the opening pages on (link above). It's really not my style... but the interview was good.

Day 20: Love is Jesus Christ

Daily Reading

"He was willing to love you even though you didn't deserve it, even when you didn't love back. He was able to see all your flaws and imperfections and still choose to love you. His love made the greatest sacrifice to meet your greatest need. As a result, you are able (by His grace) to walk in the fullness and blessing of His love. Now and forever.

This means that you now share this same love with your spouse. You can love even when you're not loved in return. You can see all their flaws and imperfections and still choose love. And though you can't meet their needs the way God can, you can become His instrument to meet the needs of your spouse. As a result, he or she can walk in the fullness and blessing of your love. Now and till death.

True love is found in Christ alone. And after you have received His gift of new life by accepting His death in your place and His forgiveness for your sins, you are finally ready to live the dare."

OK. I'm a Christian. And I'm strong in my faith and secure in my relationship with God. All of this makes sense for me in that light.

But I think from the perspective of someone who isn't there and this would so turn me off. It's too heavy handed. It's the exact kind of thing that would make Jeff toss the book out.

But I guess that's why it's a Dare and not just a self-help book.

Today's Dare

"Dare to take God at His word. Dare to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Dare to pray, "Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. But you have shown your love for me by dying to forgive my sins, and you have proven your power to save me from death by your resurrection. Lord, change my heart and save me by your grace."


"Write about what this experience has been like for you. Even if you are only renewing your commitment to receive and express His love, what has He shown you today?"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Premios Dardo Award

Joanie @ Joanie's Random Ramblings has honored me with an other blog award! Lova ya, Joanie!!
First, I went and did some research because I don't know what a Premios or a Dardos is.
After reading that, I feel pressure to be better... "This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day."
This is how it goes...
Step 1: respond and rework -- answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.
Step 2: tag - eight other bloggers
1) What are you wearing right now?
Wouldn't you like to know! hee hee... alright. White cami. Pink and white pj pants.
2) What is your biggest fear? Being a parent means knowing depths and levels of fears that I hadn't ever comprehended before. So this one is really too scary for me to answer in full honesty. So I'll stick with spiders.
3) Do you nap a lot?
Yeah right!!
4) Who is the last person you hugged?
Teagan. And before that, Zach. And before that, Jeff.
5) What websites to you visit when you go online?
Many blogs. A variety of message boards (mostly related to parenting, one for local theatre). Facebook. Yahoo game. E-mail. I'm pretty much all about using the internet to stay connected.
6) What was the last item you bought?
Neosporin for Zach's bacterial diaper rash. Exciting, I know. You wish you were as glamorous as me.
7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Langhorne, PA. To Sesame Place. Jeff- are you listening??
8) If you woke up tomorrow and were a the opposite sex, what is the first thing you would do?
It's all about honesty, right? I would so masturbate.
9) Has a celebrity's hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle?
Nope. Well... I was tempted by Demi Moore in GI Jane.
10) What is your most embarrassing moment?
It wasn't a moment... it's a story... but I got kicked out of Brownies. And I blame Thin Mints.
11) What was the last movie you watched? The Bucket List
12) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments, or interruptions what would you do?
Sleep. Clean house. Gotta explain that one... see, I don't put a lot of effort into house cleaning on a regular basis. Because I work full time and I put my husband and kids first. Between them, work, cooking, and that stuff... housekeeping just slips down the list. Not a priority compared to everything else. My house is disorganized and cluttered but not filthy or dirty or anything. Except for my kitchen floor. I really need to mop it.
13) If you were to win the Powerball, what would you do with the money (besides invest it)?
Quit my job, pay off our mortgage, add on to our house, pay off all debts, take an AWESOME and LONG family vacation, take a vacation with just my husband, donate money to children's organizations and the community theatre where Jeff and I met, give money to my church. Buy a new wardrobe and donate all my current clothing- I'd love to have clothes that really fit well and look right on me.
14) Drinks are on the house!! What do you order?
These days... either a Malbec (red wine) or some sort of fruity, non-rum martini (Lemon Drop or Apple).
And now... on to sharing this award with my fellow bloggers...
Ca-Joh I've recently discovered him and I think he's delightful.
Half Past Kissin' Time She's a teacher. She's a wise parent. And I won the most adorable yodeling goat puppet from her that my kids love... what more can I say?
Adventures in Motherhood This woman's strength is amazing. She's got so much on her plate but manages to keep her chin up and even find humor and blessings in the bad stuff.
Foodie at Fifteen I've mentioned him before. This kid is one to watch in culinary circles. I hope he holds into his passion and that we can all say we "knew him when he blogged!"
Singing with My Heart Heather's an open, honest, compassionate young woman with a heavy past behind her and an amazing future ahead of her.
Dwell & Cultivate I start each day reading Sam's entry and find myself with a smile, a thought, a chuckle, an insight... I just feel better.
I feel like there are so many others I want to give this award to!! So many that I look forward to reading each day... but I will limit myself.

Day 19: Love is impossible

Daily Reading

We are getting to the part where this book would be difficult for someone who is lacking faith or who doesn't believe in God... the part that would be hard for someone who is struggling in that area. Or who isn't struggling but just doesn't follow a Christian set of beliefs.

Let us love one another, for love is from God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who doesn't love, doesn't know God for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

"You cannot manufacture unconditional love (or agape love) out of your own heart."

You can demonstrate kindness, you can choose to be more thoughtful. "But sincerely loving someone unselfishly and unconditionally is another matter altogether."

"Like it or not, agape love isn't something you can do. It's something only God can do. But because of his great love for you- and His love for your spouse- He chooses to express his love through you."

The text goes on to give examples of the way that human attempts, even the most serious, at agape love, at unconditional love, fail. But that God's love for us never fails.

And if you don't have that love as a resource, if you refuse it or don't have faith in it, you don't have it to give.

Bottom line is that if your marriage is lacking, your relationship with God may be lacking as well. And that by turning to God and by opening your heart to His love, you are opening yourself to being able to love and be loved in your marriage.

Today's Dare

"Look back over the Dares from the previous days. Were there some that seemed impossible for you? Have you realized your need for God to change your heart and to give you the ability to love? Ask Him to show you where you stand with Him, and ask for the strength and grace to settle your eternal destination."


"What do you believe God is saying to you? Is there a stirring in your heart? What decision have you made in response to this?"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nothing Like a Day at Home to Make Me Love My Job

It looks like it was a great day, based on the pics.
We even got to play outside!
We enjoyed snacks and brother and sister played so well together.
And those kisses!
And those super cute baby feet and smooshy baby toes...
But there were also moments of this...
And this (I see a glimpse of Teagan the Teenager in this one) And Zach's moments were such that I couldn't even capture them with the camera. But the highlight was when he went from happy and dancing and bopping to music on my cell phone to blasting it at my head at close point range and almost taking out my eye.
And the best of the Teagan moments were when the camera was out of arm's reach.
I prefer to preserve the memories as happy moments, anyway.
Sometimes... being a mom who is away from her children can be a good thing.
Sometimes... finding the corkscrew so you can open the bottle of Charles Shaw Chardonnay is a good thing. And I'm proud to say that I successfully made myself wait to open it until after bedtime.

Day 18: Love seeks to understand

Daily Reading

Bottom line is that you have to keep your interest in your spouse alive. You have to seek to continue to learn about them every day. Just like you would about a hobby or passion.

Ask questions, listen, pray.

Choose to study your spouse. Choose to know them better. Choose to seek understanding. Choose to deepen.

Today's Dare

"Prepare a special dinner at home, just for the 2 of you. Focus this time on getting to know your spouse better, perhaps in areas you've rarely talked about. Determine to make it enjoyable for you and your mate."


"What did you learn about your spouse that you didn't know before? How could you continue this process of discovery in other ways, at other times? What were some of the moments that made this evening memorable?"

Before I even get started, I've got a reflection. This book couldn't have been written by parents of young children. Or by families with 2 working parents. I'm amending this dare. I'll make dinner because I am home today, by chance. But dinner will include our kids. We know each other really well. I know there is more to learn- but it can't be forced, it has to happen on its own time. So I'll make a dinner I don't often get to make due to time (pot roast). It's my compromise.

It was a stressful day in regards to kids and behavior. But we got through it. And I made our family dinner- pot roast and veggies and au gratin potatoes. Which was mostly enjoyed by all. And once the kids went to bed, Jeff and I enjoyed a cheesy teen movie on Nick (Spectacular!). And we sat together and held hands and made a lot of jokes and laughed, genuinely, a lot. Some might say that doing this Dare in front of the TV isn't right. But it's something we enjoy together. And we dedicated that time to each other and our chosen activity.

I can't say there are areas we "rarely" talk about, either...

So our evening wasn't about completing a Dare, doing an assigned task. We just enjoyed each other!

The Girls Are Gone. For Good.

My boobs have died. Since getting pregnant in 2004, I was able to enjoy, for the first time in my life, great breasts. I filled out my bra and even had to go up a cup size. Jeff was thrilled, of course. And I have to admit that I got used to seeing larger, fuller breasts in the mirror. I was fascinated with how they could change. Some days, the right side would be hugely full of milk, definitely outsizing and outweighing the left. Some days, they would start out the same and one would grow larger than the other by the end of the day. Engorgement, while painful, makes boobs look like they have implants. I'm approaching the 2 week mark since Zach last nursed. He has weaned. Completely. Over the past 2 weeks, I've had some fullness and a few plugged ducts. Thankfully, Jeff is rather gifted in this area and was able to help release the ducts and ease the pain. And now it is finished. The fullness is gone. The plugged ducts are gone. The girls are gone. I'm back to little tiny, not much there. And now they are... deflated. Empty. Saggy. I don't mean to sound sad about it. I'm not. Just observational. And trying to imagine how I will manage the new morning routine of squishing and smooshing the flabby bits of flesh into my bra so I can at least fake like I still have some cleavage.

Question for Neti Pot Users

I pulled out my Neti Pot this morning and got NO FLOW in either nostril. Stuck it in one nostril, tilted. Nothing. Other nostril, tilted. Nothing.
Tried this for 15 minutes. Alternating back and forth, back and forth.
Never got anything to flow out of either side. I can get air moving through on the left side, not on the right.
Any advice? I plan to try again when Zach goes down for his morning nap (I'm home from work today, spending the day with my kids, and woke up all congested- nice).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Appreciating My Right to Free Speech

I caught this news story on today... about Huang Qi. He's a human rights activist and blogger in China. He's been arrested because he shared, on his blog, the accounts and complaints of families who lost their children in the Sichuan earthquakes. Children who died in schools that crumbled because of shoddy construction and lack of upkeep. You can read his human rights history on Wikipedia. The website that has caused his life to be at risk and changed so dramatically is It's in Chinese. Just so you know. Edited to add: I found this open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Huang Qi's website. Reading this little blurb today on CNN and then reading more about Huang Qi and his story and what he has dedicated his life to accomplishing- getting out the stories of everyday people in China who have had their lives destroyed because of the government- has made me appreciate my ability to have my blog and say whatever I want. Don't I? For the most part, yes. I could, say, interview gay people across the country and around the world about gay marriage and legality and so on. And that wouldn't be an issue. I suppose if I were to start writing posts about terrorists all the time... about atrocities being committed in Iraq... or that sort of thing... I'd probably attract attention from unwanted sources. But if I did what this man did... let's say I went to New Orleans a couple of years back and interviewed people who were devastated by Katrina, stranded on bridges, in the Dome, dying on rooftops. I could have taken those interviews and printed them on my blog, in a newspaper, written a screenplay... without fear of being jailed for, potentially, a lifetime. Or fear of death or torture. That's pretty damn amazing.

Day 17: Love promotes intimacy

Daily Reading

"Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships."

"Someone who knows us this intimately can either love us at great depths we never imagined, or can wound us in ways we may never fully recover from."

"Are the secrets your spouse knows about you reasons for shame, or reasons for drawing you closer?"

The text goes on to compare marriage to our relationship with God. He created us and knows our thoughts, fears, dreams. Inside and out. And with all of our faults, all of our sins, all of our shame, He loves us.

Today's Dare

"Determine to guard your mate's secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe."


"How much of an effort is it for you to hold back from saying something, critical or otherwise? What have you learned about your spouse today, simply from listening?"

Here's Jeff's big secret.... ha! Not going to tell you!

Early in our relationship, Jeff and I shared some very personal things with each other. Not really "secrets," per se, but definitely sensitive information about ourselves. Information that someone untrustworthy would use against you. He knows the mistakes I've made, the regrets I have, the "shame" of things in my past. And ditto me for him. These are things that we never throw in each other's faces. These are things that don't come up when we have disagreements. There are some areas where it would be easy to bring up these things and really hurt each other. But we respect each other too much for that. We love each other too much for that.

So no new struggles to talk about. Jeff and I already talk and talk about just about everything. Lots of info about our days, our friends, our daily experiences. He knows things about my thoughts and I know things about his thoughts.

Intimacy, trust, respect, love... it all goes together.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!


Day 16: Love intercedes

Daily Reading

Intercede- to attempt to reconcile differences between two people or groups; mediate.

Summary of this reading... You can't change your spouse but you can pray to God for your spouse to change.

I completely disagree.

I agree that you can pray this way. I agree that you can't change your partner.

But I'm not one who prays for results. Rarely.

I don't think that praying to God about Jeff's clutter will net any results. But praying for God to guide me as I try to encourage Jeff to clean out the basement... that I can do.

Jeff and I are in different places in regards to faith and religion and such.

I pray about that every day.

Today's Dare

"Begin praying today for your spouse's heart. Pray for 3 specific areas where you desire for God to work in your spouse's life and in your marriage."


"Have you experienced the power of prayer in the past? What did you choose to pray about? Was it easy for you, or did it feel foreign to you?"

I pray daily, many times a day. I'm not one for very formal, down on my knees prayer. But I converse often with God in any given day.

I've been praying for my husband for a long time. I don't have a list of things I'm praying for. Really just one. That he opens his heart to God.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth

I'm getting the itch, the call, the drive.

I want a family vacation.

We schedule our time off around Lisa's days off. She plans her off time each December for the coming year so that her parents can plan accordingly with their jobs. It's very helpful.

Last summer, we took her week off in July and planned our first official Family Vacation.

We spent 2 days at Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA (near Philly) and then the rest of the week was spent in Dushore, PA (NE part of the state, up in the mountains) with my family (my parents and brothers).

It was the best family vacation I've ever been on. We had such a good time.

Check out our pics from last summer. And my review of our days there. Learn more about Sesame Place.

Here's the deal.

I wanna go back.

We had planned on waiting until the summer of 2010 because then Zach would be old enough to enjoy it more and remember the trip. But... I know he'll have a BLAST this summer, even if it doesn't stick in his long term memory. Heck, he had a great time when he was a baby there!! Doesn't he look way too cute in those pics?? It's where he fell in LOVE with Ernie and Big Bird! And he'd still have the pics to look back on. And Teagan still talks about our trip and things she remembers from it. And loves looking at the pictures.

And it is SERIOUSLY fun for any adult who grew up watching Sesame Street. I got all happy and warm and fuzzy meeting the giant sized versions of my favorite city-dwelling Muppets. Even Jeff enjoyed the trip and was happy and riding rides.

We need to go back. And I can't wait well over another year before we go. I want to go again this summer. Check out the website. Look at the attractions. Check out the new water area opening this year- Count's Castle. It looks AMAZING.

Did I mention that I want to go? Now?
And if I really get into a dedicated workout groove, I'd have to buy a new bathing suit. Or I could at least look way better in that same one... Nah. Let's get a new one.

So everyone please leave a comment about the importance of family vacations, your memories of your own childhood family vacations, your memories of Sesame Street, regrets about not taking fun family vacations... whatever angle you can think of. We have to convince the Mister that this summer's vacation HAS to happen!!!

Day 15: Love is honorable

Daily Reading

Honor can be defined as "holding in high respect."

According to the text, honor also means speaking politely, paying full attention, doing what is asked of you.

But love being honorable has a deeper meaning.

Love should be holy. If your partner is holy to you, they are sacred, honored, praised, defended.

And even when our partner doesn't treat us with honor, Love still honors.

"Love treats its beloved as special and sacred even when an ungrateful attitude is all you get in return."

"...when your attempts at honor go unreciprocated, you are to give honor just the same."

I get what the book is saying. And in a normal, healthy relationship, this applies nicely. But I keep thinking of some poor abused spouse using this bit of text as a reason to remain with their abusive partner.

I'll keep it in my scope, in the scope of my own marriage, though.

Today's Dare

"Choose a way to show honor and respect to your spouse that is above your normal routine. It may be holding the door for her. It might be putting his clothes away for him. It may be the way you listen and speak in your communication. Show your mate that he or she is highly esteemed in your eyes."


"How did you choose to show honor? What was the result? What are some ways you could demonstrate honor in the coming days?"

I have to admit to being behind on updating. I do not remember specifically what I did to show my husband that I honor him.

In response to the comment Momza left, I would just add that a central theme in this book, as well as a theme I frequently hear from my preacher's pulpit, is that LOVE is also an action and a choice. Today in church, my pastor spoke about forgiveness being a decision, too. Powerful stuff.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day. He Wins!

We don't do Valentine's Day. I went way overboard on our first Valentine's Day... and then we talked about it and neither one of us is really all that into the whole holiday.
Teagan has been getting excited about it, though. She wakes up every day, asking if today is Valentine's Day.
Our plan for the holiday is to spend time together as a family- maybe a trip to the Children's Museum and then dinner at Texas Roadhouse.
But that's it. Maybe a card, maybe balloons for the kids. But that's it.
But today, Mr. Jeff broke all of his own Valentine's rules.
You know I'm doing that Love Dare. One of the important lessons is that love isn't about you. It's about what you demonstrate to the person you love.
Jeff has long sworn that he doesn't give flowers. He doesn't want to spend the money on something that will just die and go in the trash. I understand that. But I also love to get flowers. Especially at work. I get kinda jealous when someone gets flowers and the excitement over it... the public display, the public pronouncement that I am loved.
But the point is, when you love someone and want to show them a gesture that shows that you love them, that you cherish them, that you honor them... you do something that is meaningful to them.
And he did.

Therapy Thursday

Therapy Thursday's Topic: Doing It Better Maya Angelou said "You did the best you could and when you knew better, you did better." What is something in your life that this statement applies to? Do you strive to know better and do better? I am not perfect. I have lots of room for improvement. (Jeff- stop nodding your head!) I am a constantly evolving work in progress. I feel like I can always be learning. I believe it is my choice and in my power to improve or remain stagnant. While this quote applies to many, many areas of my life, I've found it most applicable to parenting. I believe that parenting is the one job in my life that will be the absolute most important thing I ever do. And it is the one job that you go into completely unprepared. There isn't enough training in the world. And there isn't a program you can go through, a degree you can work towards, or a license you can obtain. If I didn't want to do better, I could just feel my way through and hope for the best. But it means too much to do that. So I read. And explore. And learn. I read things I don't agree with. I read things that I do agree with. And I seek out opinions and experiences from as many sources as possible. With my pregnancies, I read everything I could get my hands on so that I would understand as much as I could about pregnancy and development and so on. Teagan was born and the books piled up. Some were serious, tried and true reference points that got me through some serious hard times. Some I read and maybe tucked away ideas to fall back on when my "meets with my instinct" books didn't work. Some I read and my gut told me that what was written was flat out wrong- especially for my baby. I went back to my "good" books once Zach came along. And I continue to read and expand my mind and gain ideas and options as my kids get older and go through new phases. I don't parent by any book. But I make damn sure I am as self-educated as possible so that I have a full reference library to turn to when needed. Because I want to know better. Because I want to do better. Because I want to be better. Because my kids are worth it. *** My marriage is good. Heck, my marriage is great. Again- not perfect. Nothing is and I don't strive for or expect perfection from anyone or anything. I do the best I can with what I know about being married, with what I know about Jeff. But I want to be better. Because he deserves the best. So I work to strengthen things. I work to stay focused on his needs and wants. I work to do my part to keep us... us. I'm not constantly "talking about our relationship." I'm not running around reading self help books and trying to fix problems that don't exist. But I do have that drive to read, to learn, to absorb, and apply as necessary. Hence the reason why I decided to try The Love Dare. Not because my marriage is in trouble. But because marriage always takes work and can always be strengthened and improved. Because I know better and want to do better. Because my husband is worth it. *** I'd like to start feeling this way about my job and career again. I think. Gonna save that topic for another day, though. *** I think this way of thinking is also what helped me gain strength and confidence when I went through all of the hard work it took to heal from the sexual abuse I survived. I've had people ask me how I lived through it, how I'm so strong. I usually don't know the answer. I know my relationship with God has a lot to do with it. But I know a lot of what God did was to help me find what I needed within myself. Prior to getting help, prior to my secrets coming out, I was displaying a lot of "cry for help" behavior. Things that could have been really dangerous. I was in a place that I didn't know better. I was functioning in survival mode because my insides were crumbling, broken, deteriorating. I was doing the best I could- basically to stay alive. And in therapy, and in prayer... I found out how to do better. How to make better choices. How to recognize my own control, manage my own responsibility. I did the best I could while my body was in survival mode. While I learned how to live once I was away from the crisis and chaos of abuse. And when I knew better, when I was taught better, when I learned better... I did better. So, for me, I don't see it as being about strength. I see it being about knowledge and power and choice. Or maybe it's that strength is like love- a choice. I chose to be strong and face it head on and not let what happened to me force me into victimhood. *** That went deeper than I had anticipated! So share your own thoughts! Click the link at the top of the page and share your story. Or link back to the Therapy Thursday blog with an entry on your blog. And feel free to leave comments here with any thoughts you have about what I've shared.