Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Devil Made Me Do It

It's a serious post so buckle up.

I attend a weekly "Face Out Group" at church (while Teagan is at Promiseland / Children's Choir). The group I choose to attend is a small group made up of parents. The current topic is a multi-week focus on suffering and evil in the world. Basically a "why does God let bad things happen to good people" kind of focus.

I've been with the group for several weeks and been very vocal in the discussions.

Last night, the subject focused specifically on the devil.

Does the devil exist?

From Wikipedia:

Modern Christians consider the Devil to be an angel who, along with one-third of the angelic host (the demons) rebelled against God and has consequently been condemned to the Lake of Fire. He is described as hating all humanity, or more accurately creation, opposing God, spreading lies and wreaking havoc on the souls of mankind. Other Christians consider the devil in the Bible to refer figuratively to human sin and temptation and to any human system in opposition to God. In the Bible, the devil is identified with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the dragon in the Book of Revelation (e.g. Rev. 12:9), and the tempter of the Gospels (e.g. Mat. 4:1).

So is the devil a literal figure? A symbolic figure?

I started out not sure of my beliefs when the questions were being asked. Do I believe in the devil? Do I believe that the devil is responsible for evil? I was raised to believe in a very literal devil, a very literal hell. All mistakes, sins, wrong choices, bad things, evil... all was on the shoulders of the devil and his doing and the weakness of humans in their choosing between the devil and God.

I was unusually quiet for much of the conversation. I was listening, observing, absorbing.

Towards the end, I finally got to a point that I needed to put my thoughts into words. I wish I could have had the subject ahead of time because I do better writing and preparing than flying off the cuff in certain discussions. It took some digging to get my point made clearly. But here's what it boiled down to for me.

I know one Absolute Truth. God's love. His love is never ending, all encompassing, complete, and perfect. It is the greatest gift He has given me. He has given me love so that I can show others love. I strongly believe that my purpose is to share that love. With everyone. Period. Loving all people. That the ultimate goal is to love others the way God has shown me love. Which means without judgement, without fail, with sacrifice, with giving. This, of course, is impossible by human standards. But it is what I carry in my heart and what I feel I am working towards.

Does this mean I never get angry? Nope. Never gossip? Nope. Never feel jealousy? Nope. Never make bad choices? Nope. Never judge? Nope.

I am human. I am not perfect. I make mistakes, I sin, I choose poorly, I don't stay connected. But I pray and meditate and stay focused on doing my best. Some days I do better at that goal than others.

But my temptations, my mistakes... that's between me and God. It isn't for anyone else to judge or decide. It isn't for anyone else to determine if I am choosing the devil vs God.

And most importantly... it isn't my place to determine where someone else's bad choice is coming from. That's between them and God.

So does the devil exist? Maybe. But I don't need an answer to that.

Also brought up was the "Oh! So you mean like a love the sinner, hate the sin thing?"


Love the sinner. Stop.

That's what I mean.

It doesn't matter if you are black, white, gay, straight, married, single, childless, Jon & Kate + 8, or whatever. God is love- for you and everyone. And we are all sinners. We all mess up. Love the sinner.

Is my thinking flawed? Absolutely. So is anyone else's who tries to answer this topic. I don't have all the answers. I only have one.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Favor

My cousins created and operate a real estate website based out of Washington, DC. It's a nationwide search tool that helps renters locate rental property and buyers locate property for sale and so on. The rental portion is the unique part. It's called HotPads. They are up for a webby award and would really like to win. So could you please vote for them? Please? You do have to register... but so many bloggers are already out there voting for fellow bloggers for Webby Awards... You can go here to register to vote for the Webby Awards. They will send you an activation e-mail. Then you go here and vote for HotPads! And if you wanna be my bestest friends... encourage your friends to vote for HotPads, too!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Coming Soon...

There's gonna be a giveaway! It won't be terribly exciting for some people. But other might get eager! I have no clue what kind of "contest" I will run... if any... maybe just a "write an essay" sort of thing. Who knows. But watch for it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

House of Cards

I'm not a jealous person. But I observe jealousy. I see and hear people comparing their lives to others, complaining about what they lack and others have. Wishing and hoping for "more" and "better." I'm reminded of something my mom used to say when I was growing up... we had made that big move to Cincinnati and I remember driving through some old, upscale neighborhood and expressing my own dreams of living in these big, beautiful, manicured, perfect homes. I had these visions in my head of the happy, secure families who lived in these houses... mothers who kept the house clean and tidy and pretty and who were funny and sweet. Fathers who worked hard but came home to play and chase and cuddle and such. Kids who had everything their hearts desired and who had wide open futures ahead of them. So much was wrapped up in my vision of what life inside these perfect beautiful houses had to mean. In my 12 year old head, these people must have made all the right choices to get to this perfectly right place. Right? So I would admire one of the big, beautiful homes... and my mother would always say "I wouldn't want to clean it!" 12 year old me would guffaw and figure that if you could afford the house, you could afford someone to clean it and care for it. And that would be the end of the conversation... it lasted only as long as the house was in view and then it was done and we continued in making our own choices, cleaning our own home. 34 year old me... looks back on that statement and thinks it had a lot more meaning than I ever realized. My mother was making a joke and being literal about the physical nature of cleaning a large home. But I see this play out in life around me all the time now. Let's imagine a family. John and Jane Doe. 2 adorable children at their feet- Suzie and Bobby. They live in a beautiful home with manicured lawns, shiny cars, big comfy couches, full scale technology, bright and shiny chandoliers, a roomy and exactly functional kitchen. He is wildly successful in his career. She stays home with the children, attending to the needs of the home and family. The children are given every want and raised with love and structure and joy, right? I went through a cynical period in my life where I really started to believe that anyone who appeared to have a perfect life really had a lot of deep, dark secrets. That when the doors were closed and the shades were drawn, horrible things were going on. Abusive mothers, alcoholic husbands, depressed and suicidal children... The Doe Family. They have it all. The American Dream. Or is it all a facade and the secrets of abuse and drugs and horrible things is the real story? Or is it somewhere in the middle? Good intentions, poor execution. Living a life that can't be afforded or maintained. Suffering in silence, hurting the ones they claim to love the most. Fears about money and appearances and successes. And truly struggling to manage it all. Unable to clean that big, old, beautiful house. And then I look at my own life and how we are choosing to live it. I take into consideration the huge messes of my childhood... abuse and financial struggles. I am blessed to have ended up in a situation where I could get the cleaning help I needed. And I've had God carrying me through so that I could finally walk on truly solid, level ground when the time came. I no longer wish for a bigger, better, more beautiful home. I no longer fantasize or demonize the families who live there. Instead, I just live my life as "real" as I can. We live in a home that suits our needs. We live in a neighborhood that suits our personalities. We have friends who are genuine. We have a church family. I have a job. My husband has a job. We have 2 fantastic, normal kids. We have a spoiled little dog. We drive regular cars. I like life being simple. I like not having a big, old, beautiful house to clean.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A New Blog (Again)

I seem to like creating and then dumping blogs. *sigh* But they serve their purpose for the time I need them! And I'm starting another... God's Written Word. I am challenging myself to read from my Bible daily. No skips. No excuses. And I'll be blogging about it as I go! Feel free to join me or ignore me or whatever you choose.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Fun Video You Simply Must See!!

Especially those who love theatre... And those who love warm fuzzies... And those who love to smile... And those who love to dance... I so wish this sort of thing would happen in my life. *sigh*

I Hardly Know What To Do With Myself!

We got up, hung out, went to dance class, had lunch, ran to Costco... And something strange has happened. My house is quiet. My time is unaccounted for. My agenda is empty. Jeff's dad has an appointment to get his car worked on. Jeff took the kids and went to pick up his dad and go over to his dad's house for the afternoon. I'll meet up with them later for dinner. This means I have at least 3 hours in my house- ALONE. I am so far behind on housework... that I relish this time to put away laundry, clean up toys, get rid of trash, put away groceries, and so on. So I'm signing off... so I can fully enjoy the state of my house... so I can improve the condition of my house... so I can be ALONE.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Right Brain vs Left Brain

I was checking out some of my blogs that I follow this morning and happened upon a fun little bit on The Raisin Chronicles.
Go take these little tests and report back with your results.
Left v Right- quick test
Right v Left- slightly longer test
Here's how I came out... and I suppose it isn't much of a surprise.
I'm pretty strongly right brained in both tests.
This means that I:
uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking
What I find really interesting in the little lists from that first test are that right brained people get words like "believe" and "appreciate" and left brained people get "knowing" and "acknowledge."
I'm betting Jeff will come back left brain.
For the second test...
Holistic (left brain would be linear) Processing information from whole to part; sees the big picture first, not the details.
Random (LB would be sequential) Processing information with out priority, jumps form one task to another.
Concrete (LB- Symbolic) Processes things that can be seen , or touched - real objects.
Intuitive (LB- logical) Processes information based on whether or not it feels right know answer but not sure how it was derived.
Nonverbal (LB- verbal) Processes thought as illustrations.
Fantasy-Oriented Processes information with creativity; less focus on rules and regulations
Of course, everyone is a mixture of left vs right. Some more strongly planted on one side than the other. I'm pretty strongly right brained.
This also intrigues me as I look at my children. How does my right brainedness impact my parenting? How does a RB person parent a LB child? How does a RB child respond to a LB parent?
If Jeff does prove out to be left brained... or somewhere in the middle... how does that impact how we relate to one another?
Share your results! And get people close to you to do the tests, too, and see how you can then look at your relationship with them and see how your left and right brained differences apply!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Looking for Someone to Love and Help?

tangobaby: Kelaya's Story and YOU CAN HELP!#links If you are feeling generous or called upon... go read tangobaby's blog. She has this ongoing "i live here" project that I also love and in the course of her fascinating San Fran life and this project... she met someone who needs help. I trust Julie and her judgement of character. I'll be donating some money since I can't very well do much in San Fran from Indy. It's worth a read. There are links in the post that give the back story. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding Me

Last night, I was playing around on Facebook and decided to check in on one of the groups I'd joined several months back- for Tates Creek High School alum. Now, I didn't graduate from there or even attend there. But if I'd gone to high school in Lexington, that is where I would have gone.

The reason I joined the group was in the hopes of maybe finding some people that I knew in elementary school.

Why does that matter?

My childhood is full of holes. It is unendingly frustrating to me that I cannot have a full set of memories of my childhood. I know why my mind is swiss cheese but the recovery part has never happened.

Warning- this is a really serious post. Just a heads up...

I am a survivor of sexual abuse. It started when I was 4 or 5 and went on until I was 10. I often don't trust my memories of all of it. In the course of a lot of hard therapy- including inpatient and outpatient hospital treatment- I underwent hypnosis to try and unblock what my brain was protecting me from. We got a lot of information from the hypnosis. Unfortunately, a well intentioned but adle brained nurse thought she was protecting me by taking the tape home and recording over it. That's a whole different story.

Anyway. I had this handful of memories that gave us enough information to know how bad it was, enough details to know what to work on, enough to heal from.

My hope has always been that the ongoing and constant process of healing would eventually include a flood, or even a trickle, of my regular everyday memories of my childhood.

It's all very sketchy. I don't remember Kindergarten. I don't remember my teachers, my friends. We lived with my grandparents and I vaguely remember my mom walking me to school one morning and I wanted to walk by myself and made her walk a distance behind me. But I don't remember school or family events or any details. I don't remember 1st grade. At all. I don't remember being 6 years old. I remember my 2nd grade teacher's name- Mrs. Kanatzer. But I don't know if that is a "real" memory because I think I still have that class picture somewhere and could have stored that as my memory file.

3rd grade... a blur. 4th grade... a blur.

5th grade gets better. My mom married my dad. He adopted me. I started the school year with Mr. Reid as my teacher. However, he left after a couple of weeks. Our new teacher... don't remember her name and feel it is a real disservice to her (Mrs. Kessler, maybe)... was a bright spot in my life. I remember her giving me a gift on the day my dad adopted me. It was a special and private and loving moment between us. I remember our 5th grade year being different because the school was undergoing renovations and the entire 5th grade (all 3 classes) was situated in the gymnasium.

And I remember moving away from Lexington, KY to Cincinnati, OH.

My mom was finishing dental school that year. My dad was already living in our condo in Cincinnati- doing his residency, I think. Our routine was that my mom would pick me up from school on Friday and we would drive the 90 minutes to Cincinnati and drive back Sunday evening. We were going to move to Cincy that summer.

On a Friday just a few weeks before school was done for the year, my mom picked me up as usual. It had been a hard week because she had injured her back while lifting dental equipment.

The back injury was worse than my 10 year old brain could realize. As we made the drive to Cincinnati, I learned that we wouldn't be going back.

There were no goodbyes with my teacher, my school principal, my friends. No collecting of addresses, pictures, phone numbers. No goodbye parties. No farewells with our neighbors. No last stop at our apartment. Gone. In fact, my parents arranged to have friends go in and pack up our apartment for us. We never went back.

In my mom's mind, it was necessity. She did the best she could at the time, even if it really was not a good choice. Even though it was not a decision that put me first.

Starting around high school, I started to really regret that I had no contact with kids who had known me in my childhood.

As an adult, I long to have connections with people who might be able to fill in some of the gaps in my brain, provide me with some memories, trigger something.

At the time, I don't recall the announcement of our new life being hard to take. It had a lot of positive meaning for me. I was going to finally have a "normal" family. We would live with my dad. There were a lot of growing pains still to come with that situation- but 10 year old me was so desperate for a daddy that I couldn't possibly anticipate the issues that would come.

Biggest of all... the absolute and complete stop to my abuse. I would never again be in a place associated with the things that had been done to me. I would never again be in a position where I could be abused by this person. It was over.

The relief and anticipation of those 2 major life changing events was huge for me. I knew that I was getting a rare chance to really start over. To find people who didn't know me... didn't know about the poor kid... from whom I wouldn't have this associated shame of the things happening to me on the weekends. It was a fresh start with this "ideal family" that I'd dreamed of.

At the time, I felt like I was being saved.

Last night, I did a search on Facebook and found a group for my old elementary school. Glendover. And I read through the list of names of the people who are members of this group. And remembered a few. Heath Hershey. Amy Cooper. George Latham. Vickie Herkamp. I've sent out a few messages and hope to hear back. Actually had a quick message back from George this morning- he lived next door to the family we knew from church that took care of me before and after school. The daughter's name was Libby. She had a younger sister, maybe? The mom was Joan. They had a wire haired terrier of some sort named Heidi. That family was so very important to me and I'm really hoping that George- who says his parents and Libby's parents still live in those homes- can get me in touch with them.

I am feeling contemplative, a little sad, maybe excited today. Nostalgia usually leads to frustration for me due to that swiss cheese brain of mine.

Meri Embry... Meri Mueller. I've had so many names. That's who I used to be. Meri. My first name. Elizabeth is the middle name I chose to take when my dad adopted me. 5th grade was a year of important reinvention for me. But now I want... need... to get in touch with the Meri part of my life... with the positive things that went on. I know my life isn't built only on sadness and hardship. And maybe finding some of these kids will help me connect to my old self, help me find those happy and normal childhood memories that have to be in there... somewhere.

4/21 Workout

Here's what I remember... 3 min warm up on any cardio equipment (I treadmilled) 30 sec right leg donkey kick from weight bench 30 sec left leg donkey kick from weight bench 30 sec squat hops 30 sec (1 lap) dumbell march Do cycle 3x 30 sec lunges (right foot forward, step back. left foot forward, step back.) 30 sec push ups 30 sec dips Do cycle 3x 3 mins on treadmill at 7% incline as fast as you can

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Am Your Child

I have a wonderful friend who I have much love, respect, and admiration for. She lives far away (CT) and our daughters were born days apart. She changed her entire life in order to choose motherhood and she is an incredible friend, mother, person. She's my parenting soul mate. She read my post earlier about Being the Grown Up and sent me a lovely e-mail sharing the lyrics to this song. It's so perfect for what I'd shared earlier. I had to break down and add a music player. Please listen. Read the lyrics. It really sums up a lot of what I was feeling and want to keep feeling and keep staying in touch with. Thank you Linds. Love you.
I am your child
Wherever you go,
you take me, too
Whatever I know,
I learn from you
Whatever I do,
you taught me to do
I am your child
And I am your chance
Whatever will come,
will come from me
Tomorrow is won,
by winning me
Whatever I am,
you taught me to be
I am your hope,
I am your chance,
I am your child
Whatever I am,
you taught me to be
I am your hope,
I am your chance,
I am your child

Being the Grown Up

I happened upon a blog through a string of seemingly random events yesterday. I think I was meant to find it because the message in the second post on the page really spoke to me. Being Michael's Daddy is the blog. Morning Madness is the post. I don't know anything about this guy and have honestly only read a couple of things on the page. But Morning Madness grabbed me and kind of shook me around a bit. Go read it- I'll wait here until you are done. Wait, wait... while you are there, check out this post, too. *** OK. Done? This dad has captured my life. He has articulated my struggle. And I'm pretty sure it's Jeff's struggle, too. It's the battle I feel I am constantly fighting in myself. Doing what is best for my kids vs what is easiest for me. Why is it so hard to remember and put into action that responding to my kids in the way they need me to will lead to an easier evening or morning or routine? Just like in his Morning Madness example... that truly could have happened in my house, with my child. So often, Teagan is there, refusing to talk, pointing, whimpering, whining, pouting. When I have my "good parent" hat on and am in the right mindframe, it is easy to deal with. I call back to my little script that I learned from this book. When I use it correctly and consistently and calmly... it works. Really well. But I often get bogged down with my own stress, my own whininess, my own adult version of pointing and demanding... and forget to stay focused on the parenting task at hand. My computer game can wait. Checking my e-mail can wait. Sitting down and putting up my feet can wait. Heck, sometimes going to the bathroom has to wait. Getting my good Mommy hat on, getting into that strong Mommy mode... that is where I need to be. I've been really struggling with this for the past few weeks. I find myself battling with my daughter over nothing. I forget to choose my battles and tend to react based on my own selfish desire to win or be powerful. I bully her because I can, because I want her to do things "my way." I want her to fit into my mold. But my goals in parenting don't fit those choices. I want to nurture my children. I want to help them find themselves, discover their passions and joys. How they squirt toothpaste really has no bearing on that. Reading an extra bedtime story really won't have any negative impact- in fact, it will only bear positive outcomes (I firmly believe that it is impossible to read to a child too much). Some battles have to be fought. I can't take her to Miss Lisa's in her pajamas. So she has to get dressed. But I don't have to set up a fight for it to happen. If I stick to my "guns," the TV won't come on until she's dressed. Period. Simple choosing, control, consequences. "You have the opportunity to watch TV. It's your responsibility to get dressed first." The sticker chart still works with her- I just need to be consistent with it. It's hard, too, because I hear Jeff handling things in the stressed out, fighting way and want to stop it. But that is so hypocritical of me because I do my fair share of fighting with her for no reason. I've been praying about it a lot at church and during the week, actually. I feel like I need to find that peaceful, focused place. I know it when I'm there. But pushing aside all the daily bullshit and finding it... has been really hard lately. And that's all on me. I'm the grown up. I'm the one who chooses how I act. I'm constantly giving Teagan messages about choosing, deciding, picking... and then she witnesses my choices where I get bossy, demanding, and yell more than I should. My hope is that by putting this out there, I'll be more mindful of it. I'll be more in touch, again, with the parent I want to be... with the parent my kids need me to be.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meme Meme x 4

Joanie tagged me...

8 Things I’m Looking Forward To

1. Lunch (McAlister's with my mom, husband, friend)

2. Going home/being with my family

3. The weekend

4. Teagan starting pre-K at Little Explorers

5. Watching my children grow up

6. Our next theatre experience

7. Getting back to theatre myself someday

8. Vacation!!

8 Things I Did Yesterday

1. Woke up

2. Made breakfast (scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage)

3. Went to church

4. Picked up KFC for lunch

5. Had a tickle fight/wrestling match with Teagan, Zach, Tigger, and Pooh on the living room floor

6. Went to the library (to get Frog and Toad books, of course)

7. Made chicken quesadillas for dinner

8. Went to bed

8 Things I Wish I Could Do

1. Fly

2. Pee standing up (without making a mess of myself)

3. Wear high heels without pain

4. Blog for a living

5. Cook more often

6. Be invisible

7. Make fudge

8. Vacation!!

8 Shows I Watch

1. Amazing Race

2. Big Bang Theory

3. How I Met Your Mother

4. Heroes

5. Lost

6. Survivor

7. The Office

8. 30 Rock

8 People I Tag (Going off of the most recently posted list over on the right there)

1. Isabella @ A Look On The Random Side

2. Jackie @ 5th Time's the Charm

3. Heather @ Strangers in a Normal Land

4. Grace @ Living Life with Grace

5. Andrew @ A Long Patience

And some love for my non-blogging commenters- leave some answers in the comments- don't feel like you have to do them all...

6. Non-blogger Lynn

7. Non-blogger C3

8. Non-blogger Nancy

That was only 5. Doesn't it seem like a meme about 8 should have 8 things?

8 Songs on My Music Player (I put mine on shuffle and am just going to share the first 8 that cycle through)

1. Almost Like Being in Love (Brigadoon)

2. Sunset (Bird of Prey) - Fatboy Slim

3. Better Is One Day- Matt Redman on the Veggie Tales Worship Songs CD

4. Groove Is In The Heart- Deee-Lite

5. Hella Good- No Doubt

6. Single Ladies- Beyonce

7. Pocketful of Sunshine- Natasha Bedingfield

8. I Got My baby- Faith Hill

8 Favorite Warm Weather Activities

1. Visiting local splash parks

2. Going to the Zoo

3. Going to Connor Prairie (ok- it is going to be a fave activity this summer, I'm hopeful that way)

4. Playing on the deck my husband built for our family

5. Driving with my sunroof open

6. Riding bikes

7. Taking evening walks

8. Vacation!!

8 Favorite Happy Things

1. Jeff

2. Teagan

3. Zach

4. Sassy

5. Friends

6. Sunshine

7. Sweet Tea

8. Vacation!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Year With Frog and Toad

It was her first time. It's always easy to say it is. But this will be the first "big show" in her memory. I previously took her, when she was not yet or maybe just 3, to see a children's presentation of Winnie the Pooh at a local dinner theatre. She's seen 2 shows at The Children's Museum- Sleeping Beauty, most recently.
Last night, we went to see a local high school presentation of "A Year with Frog and Toad."
It's odd to sit in an auditorium filled with people who are there primarily because they know someone in the show or are otherwise affiliated with the school and not be part of that circle. But it was also nice to not be distracted with having to be friendly or outgoing amongst a group of peers. I could completely focus on Teagan and the show.
Nice sized auditorium, nice sized stage. Not huge, not tiny. I'm used to tiny in community theatre. It's easy to forget that high schools usually have budgets and technology that the rest of us don't have. So consider this my endorsement for supporting your local high school's performing arts. While it may be a disaster... if there is a good program, there is almost always great talent and passion. So it's an economical way to see a show. And appreciate your tax dollars at work!
We had one person sitting in front of us, no one next to us, and were seated on an aisle. We did have 3 teen girls sit behind us who were mildly annoying with their ongoing commentary about the kids on stage and how great they are, how nice they are, how sweet they are. Better than if they'd been snickering and being cruel, though!
The show opens and she's hooked from the moment the lights come up. There are birds on stage. The girls are in color coded outfits- boas and tights and fluttery things. The boys are "Thunderbirds" (like from Grease). They sing about it being the end of winter and about Frog and Toad being friends and neighbors and about to wake up for spring. Frog sings about his dreams, Toad about his. And then we start into various scenes that are very familiar to anyone who has read the books.
Fantastic casting. Frog had mannerisms indicating his gangly limbs and no-nonsense ways. Toad was more laid back and quick to act on impulse. Both young men had fantastic voices that really lent to the characters. The show, like the books, is sweet and simple and very real to the ways of young children. This production held on to that innocence and to the focus on friendship nicely.
One of our favorite characters was Snail. Frog is very sad that Toad is sad because he never gets any mail. So Frog write Toad a letter and asks Snail to deliver it. We then have brief visits from Snail throughout the show as she works, at her speedy snail pace, to deliver the letter. This young woman had this character down pat and really brought her to life with a lot of humor. Plus her voice was spectacular!!
We enjoyed every aspect of the show- it was a very large cast and everyone seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. From the buzzing bees in their black and gold flapper dresses to the elegant flowers in the green evening gowns and flower brimmed hats to the red clad piles of leaves that dances about to the really cool underwater ballet done with neon fish and jellyfish and octopus in black light... it was all fun and colorful and truly magical.
And that's what matters. The magic. I wished I could have gone backstage before the show to speak to the cast. To tell them that my baby girl is out there watching and that this is the show that may well stick in her memory as The One that got her started in theatre. That they will be creating this fantastical imagined place that will be very real to her.
But I didn't need to say any of that. Because it happened. These kids are dedicated to this craft and their passion came through in shining colors and costumes and dancing and songs. As an actor, a director, an audience member... I couldn't have crafted a better show to really introduce my daughter to all that theatre can be. As Teagan put it...
Me: "What was your favorite part?"
"Who was your favorite character?"
"All of them!!"
"What was your favorite song?"
"All of them, too!"
Many thanks to the students of Cathedral High School. While this may have just been a spring production for you... it was the start of something big for a little blond girl in row P, seat 10.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Indy Zoo by Camera Phone

I opted to make certain to fully enjoy my day off on this GORGEOUS spring day. The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue, the temp is in the upper 60's, low 70's. The kids and I ventured to the Indy Zoo for the day. Couldn't handle 2 kids, the stroller, and the camera so you'll have to just suffer with my camera phone pics!! Here, Teagan's on the floor watching the penguins swim from one side to the other.
Polar bear was really active in the first part of the morning... sorry it is blurry!
Zach at lunch- chowing down!
This giraffe was stretching over the fence to swipe some of the "good" greens on the "outside."
Teagan hits the 38" mark! They have rides at our Zoo... total rip off but she had fun on the carousel and on the train (so did Zach).
Next to the Zoo is the White River Gardens. We didn't actually get out into the Gardens but did enjoy the butterflies in the greenhouse. Here, Teagan is trying to hold very still in the hopes that a butterfly would land on her. One came close... and she got over excited and it flew away!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another Workout Post

Might as well get used to it. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll be posting our workout info from that lunch hour's boot camp routine. It's the best way to remember it! We did this routine 3 times. Click on the exercise to go to a site that describes it well and gives other ideas. Burpees - 30 sec. Mountain Climbers - 30 sec. Air Squats - 30 sec. Run in Place - 1 min. Wood Chops - 30 sec. (We did ours with a medicine ball- the link has some other great exercises, too) Med. Ball Tricep Press - 30 sec. (This website calls it the "Overhead Tricep Extension" and does it seated. We did it standing. Cuz we're all tough and stuff.) Run in Place - 1 min.
After 3 rounds... The Grand Finale...
2 minutes- Air Angels. I'm not finding anything online so they must have a different name. But you stand in place and take your arms over head, touch fingers, pull arms back down... oh forget it... here's pics of me "demonstrating." (sorry they are blurry- camera phone, I didn't take them, etc)
Arms up, touch fingertips:
Pull arms down so elbows are perpendicular to ground. Repeat. Many times, as fast as you can. I dare you.
And this is how I felt after the workout, after the shower...

Have You Got The Cajones?

A fun little challenge... that may be hard for some, easy for others. From Lisa @ Adventures in Motherhood Post a picture of yourself right now. As you are right now. As you read this. No running to get dressed or put on make up or fix your hair or whatever. Just YOU. I'm generally not afraid to share what I look like at any given time. I like to change my profile picture to match my mood, for example. Or spontaneously decide to post about eating Peeps or record my own rap video.

So- here's me at work. No makeup, hair in a ponytail. Yep- I'm high fashion. See my lovely phone and files and my iced tea cup? Big excitement! Ah- the head phones. I listen to music on my phone a lot. But right now, I'm listening to a sermon from Pastor Sam of Dwell & Cultivate. He's C. Beth's dad, in case you didn't know.

So there you have it. Me. As I am. As everyone sees me. And as you guys have seen me oodles of times.

Anyone brave enough to play along? Ready... Set... CLICK!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just a little FYI...

Isabella and ShankRabbit totally rock and I am glad to have met them out here in the blogosphere. I hope no one took all my belly aching seriously- I've just been having oodles of fun with the whole thing!! And Mr Code Shank Rabbit Daddy has a little sumpin sumpin planned for lil old "fascinating" me! Yahoo!

Harumph. Bah Humbug. Blah.

Perhaps it's harder because I started my friggin' period this morning. I'm not feeling particularly moody- got that out of my system this weekend (Jeff can confirm). I lost that friggin' contest. After my wonderful friends came forward and voted for me... I ended up with 27 entries. Code Daddy then randomized the numbers, assigning everyone a series as broad as their number of entries. And a dude with 2 entries won it. Seriously. And can I tell you that I'm actually seriously bummed? You guys know how annoying I was about this! What a cool freakin' contest! What a cool prize! This guy PROPOSED to his wife by singing to her after hiking up a mountain or something. So now I'll just hide in my little corner of the blog-o-sphere and cry into my keyboard. The upside... and, yes, there is always an upside... my friend Nancy is now commenting! And my friend M.E. and Joanie and Garret and Alix and Amy and Lynn (who tried) and my husband Jeff and my friend Christy and... all showed their loyalty and love for me. And that's one hell of a silver lining.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Need Some Workout Ideas?

Here's today's "boot camp" workout...
Lunge Circuit - 1 min. (lunge forward twice, turn around and lunge back to start- we didn't do it with weights this time)
Push Ups - 30. sec. Yes, I did "girl" push ups.
Squat Jumps - 30 sec. No, I didn't go topless.
Dumb Bell Lawn Mowers - 30 sec. (Both Arms)
Resistance Curls - 30 sec. The pic is really a squat thing. But you get the idea- stand on the band, keep elbows pinned to sides, curl up your arms.
Lateral Bounds - 30 sec.
Abs on Mat (Toe Ups) - 30 sec. Stay flat on back and keep legs up and lift toward ceiling, crunch, crunch. crunch.

And then repeat it all 2 more times. Whew!

An Important Message

Please go to my friend Heather's blog- Singing With My Heart. April has an important message now and she has compiled an excellent post about the subject. She's a strong and courageous young woman who is openly sharing her story as she works through it, heals from it. As a survivor of childhood sexual rape and abuse; as a survivor of sexual assault in my teenage years... I encourage you to go to Heather's blog and read her very well put together post.

Update: Trader Joe's Review

The Cloudy Chocolate Cake- meh. It was fluffy. It was not chocolatey. The cake part was dry and tasteless. Very disappointing, won't buy it again. I only ate about half of my piece. Pretzel bread and jalapeno pub cheese- awesome, as usual. For breakfast this morning, I enjoyed a Bacon and Feta Crustless Quiche. Microwavable and very tasty! Will definitely buy it again!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trader Joe's- My Shopping Mecca

I don't know why there was a hiatus from our regular shopping trips to Trader Joe's. It used to be that Christy and I would make a lunch time trek to our favorite unique grocery store at least once a week. A favorite lunch from last year was a bag full of various and random goodies procured at Trader Joe's and consumed by a creek in a park on a sunny day. Last week, we decided it was beyond time to go back. Pub cheese spread and pretzel bread was calling my name. If you listen closely, you might hear it... Liz... Liiiiiz! Eat me!!! I returned to the office today with 2 paper sacks crammed full of food. Mostly items intended for breakfast and lunch at work; a few items intended for home consumption. From the mundane.. microwave popcorn... to the intriguing... palak dal shorba (spinach, lentil and garlic soup in a microwavable pouch)... I found all I had come for and more. For breakfast, we will be enjoying our choice of: -Crustless quiche- in either bacon and feta or chorizo, egg & cheese -Full fat yogurt- blueberry and cream or vanilla and cream For lunch... -Another lunch tomorrow of pretzel bread and pub cheese. Maybe some identity crisis tortilla chips (made from corn, potato, and brown rice- slightly sweet, slightly salty) with pineapple salsa. - noodle bowl (mushroom or garlic) Or, our new discovery, for those who love Indian food... "Trader Joe's Indian Fare Take-out Thali" Aloo Matar (peas and potatoes) Yellow Dal (lentils and spcies) Basmati Rice They had samples out of this... it's all in pouches, you just microwave and serve. And it was really, really good. Surprisingly good, really! Also picked up a variety of frozen veggies, chicken fried rice, a chicken stir fry kit, and other frozen goodies. Like, for example, our planned afternoon snack. Light as a Chocolate Cloud Cake From the box: "If there were, in fact, a cloud made of chocolate, it might taste just like this cake. Plenty of chocolate flavor comes from the cake and the embedded bands of dark chocolate ganache, with layers of fluffy (as a cumulus cloud), lightly sweetened whipped cream to keep each serving from being too heavy." It was too tempting. I think it might have literally jumped up and shackled itself to our cart. There was no possible way to say no... afterall, there are those "embedded bands of dark chocolate ganache" in there. How can you fight off Dark Chocolate Ganache??? So sorry you can't be here at 3:00 when we get to enjoy this tasty treat! And for my dieting or otherwise food limited friends... I'll sacrifice for you. I will take on the burden of these calories. See what a great friend I am?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

For my friend, Flartus

I've shared before that I have a "black" thumb. Aside from having minimal gardening skill, I also have minimal time to do actual gardening. But my mom has gorgeous flowers in her yard and the sunlight this afternoon was ideal. So I snapped these pictures for my friend, Flartus. And I know many others of you will enjoy them, too! I wish I could tell you what these flowers are. But beyond saying... this was on a bush or up in a tree or this is a daffodil... I'm clueless! Enjoy! It's SPRINGTIME!

An Important Message on This Easter Sunday

The title probably scared off any readers who are fearful of overwhelming Christian messages. Or those who are tired of the sappy, happy greetings. I wanted to do something a little different. I want to share something personal and important with you. Something that could change your life. Or at least improve your enjoyment of this sugary holiday. How to eat a Peep Doesn't matter if you like Peeps or not. How to eat them is an important life skill. There is the nibble the side method... Bite off the head and then work your way down the body... Or stuff it all in your mouth at once!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Easter Bunny is God

So we didn't plan to "do" the whole Easter Bunny thing this year. Teagan never asked about the Bunny, we don't go to malls so she hasn't seen the giant Bunny, and no one has really brought it up.
We decided we would just have Easter baskets be a gift from Mom and Dad.
This morning, she asked. "Is the Easter Bunny coming to our house?"
"No, honey. Mommy and Daddy will have baskets for you and Zach. The Easter Bunny will take care of the kids who have parents who can't afford to fill their baskets for them."
Sounded good to me!
"Oh! The Easter Bunny helps people?!"
"Yes, honey."
"Oh! Just like God! God helps people!"
"Yes, honey!"
"The Easter Bunny is GOD!!"
Hadn't planned to take it there. But I understood her logic. And we were trying to get out the door to head to church for the big Easter Egg hung and Christian Carnival (all the preschool/Sunday School rooms have different crafts and games). So I let it go.
I'm not sure how many people at church learned from Teagan about the Easter Bunny's secret identity... hopefully he doesn't stop by our house and leave a paper bag of bunny turds on the front porch as retribution for blowing his cover.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Garret, you are excused from reading this post. No point preaching to the choir! Hello? Ya'll have been pretty great on voting for me so far. I had 18 "points" as of this morning. But I NEED MORE. You do know I'm going to SHARE my song with you, right? Heck, I could even play my regular voters up and bribe ole Code Daddy to put you guys in my song, too. Garret voted for me today. Where's the love of my other adoring fans? Hello? We've only got until Monday, people! And this is a HOLIDAY weekend so I know it will be DIFFICULT to jump online and go comment on his post of the day and drop my name... but you can do it! I have faith! So please don't bail on me now! Hop over and comment! If you are confused about where to go... I've provided oodles of link opportunities in this post. Thank you for your time, consideration, and COMMENTS.

If You Didn't Want Thai, You Could Have Just Said So!

Christy has been hugely busy and stressed with her production of "The Mousetrap" and we haven't seen her as often as my kids have gotten used to. Last night, she didn't have rehearsal so asked if we could all have dinner.
We decided to try out this little Thai place near my house that we had heard good things about. Jeff's never done Thai but it's close enough to Chinese that he should enjoy it. Teagan was very excited- to have "red chicken" (sweet and sour) and to use chopsticks (she's getting good with those things).
Zach. was. a. nightmare.
From the moment we went into the restaurant... We put him in his high chair, he wanted out. Take him out and hold him, he wants down. Put him down, he wants up.
We order an appetizer because we figure he's just really hungry. He eats an entire skewer of satay chicken. Wolfs it down like he's not been fed for days.
And then continues with the cries and screeches and demands. Nothing satisfies him, nothing calms him, nothing distracts him.
Food comes. Surely now he will sit and eat. No way. No interest in food. He had a skewer of chicken, afterall. So I wolf down a few bites and pick him up and take him outside.
This is a very small restaurant. I think there were a dozen tables. A group of 4 adults was to one side of us and a young couple sat in a booth across the small room. So he couldn't just get down and run around in our corner or anything.
So we go outside. And he's fine. Looking around. Smiling. Laughing at me. Soon he leans toward the restaurant. I ask if he wants to go back in and he says "yesssssh" in his adorable Zappy way.
We go in. And he turns into Demon-Zach again. So Jeff wolfs down a few bites and takes him outside. Walks him up and down the little strip mall. They come back in and Zach is proudly carrying a take out menu from the pizza place down the way.
And Demon-Zach is back. Crying, squealing. I'm feeling pity for the people around us. I'm too busy trying to enjoy (and not just inhale) some of my food, keep Zach calm and in control, letting Jeff get some food... I have no clue if anyone is giving us dirty looks or not. Doesn't matter, really.
I end up taking Zach out, once again, strapping him into the carseat, and going back inside to enjoy my dinner.
What? I could see the car through the window.
OK, fine. I'm kidding. I did strap him into his carseat. But he and I sat together in the car and listened to Raffi and chatted and such. He was much happier then.
Jeff and I, however, ended up BEYOND cranky. We were snipping at each other, confronting each other. It was bad. I had to run an errand after the kids went to bed and it was good for both of us to have that separation. We were much better when I got home (and we both apologized by phone right after I left).
Zach's just a boy who needs to be at home. We need to save the eating out for weekends. After being at Lisa's all day, he wants to be in his space at the end of the day. Teagan was always content to just be with us. We could take her anywhere and do anything. As long as she was with Mommy and Daddy, all was good. We rarely had issues taking her to restaurants. But Zach has different needs and deserves to be heard, too.
I guess next time we'll do take out.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today's Workout is Brought to You By...

The letter OUCH!
Today's workout was T O U G H. But really good. And the cool thing? This can totally be done at home. No weights, no equipment. Just a lot of self motivation. We did this in 30 minutes so you could easily do this while watching your favorite sitcom. And if you prefer hour long shows or are just way healthier than me... double everything and make it last an hour!
And for any Indy readers, our Boot Camp is a special class designed by the personal trainer who owns the gym we belong to. You can check out their website.
Here's a list of the torture. When our trainer, Brad, sent the e-mail listing everything we had done, I was pretty floored! I can't believe I did ALL of this!!! Yay for me and Christy!!
Run in Place 200 (steps) Jumping Jacks 40 Run in Place 200 Windmill 40 (legs spread, reach up high and then cross and down towards your foot, back reaching up high and cross down to the other foot) Run in Place 200 25 Y Squats (legs spread, arms straight up) Run in Place 100 10 Push Ups Run in Place 100 10 Push Ups Run in Place 100 10 Push Ups Run in Place 200 15 Crunches
Run in Place 200 15 Crunches
Run in Place 200 15 Crunches
Run in Place 100 30 Toe Raises (stand up on tiptoe, back to flat foot, repeat) Run in Place 100 30 Toe Raises Run in Place 200 20 Scissors (lie on back, lift legs slightly off ground, criss cross legs, first right goes up, then bring right down as left goes up. Legs stay off the ground.) Run in Place 200 20 Scissors

To Be or Not To Be?

First, let's get the business of the day out of the way. Please head over to Code Daddy's blog, name drop for me in the comments, and enjoy some pics of his seriously adorable daughter! You can only comment on today's post today... and I don't know if non-bloggers can comment? *** Last night, Teagan and I had the privilege of working together as greeters of the audience for a preview audience (final dress rehearsal) of my old stomping ground's newest production: The Belfry present Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap." I was there Tues evening and actually got to stay and enjoy the show as well. It's really great. Any Indy readers of my blog should make a serious effort to check it out. It will have you on the edge of your seat. The final scene alone is worth the price of admission! It's not a play for little kids- the whole murder mystery thing, you know- so I hadn't intended for Teagan to see it. Especially after seeing it myself Tuesday evening and seeing adults smoking cigarettes (fake), pipes (unlit), cigars (unlit), a character refers to another as a bitch, a woman gets murdered (in the dark but there are choking noises and then she falls down), someone has a gun they wave around, someone gets attacked (hands on the person's face and throat in full stage light). Nothing terribly difficult for an adult to watch but very hard to explain to a 4 year old, you know? So my intention was for Teagan to get a tour of the backstage area, meet some actors, see the stage and set. And then we'd hang out in the lobby, greet the preview audience, and head home when the show started. Aunt Christy is directing the show so we had someone on the inside who could show her the ropes. She loved it. And wanted to watch the play. I knew that the first scene was safe. At most, it would prove to be boring to her. Grown ups talking and walking around. So we stayed. First scene is 30 minutes long. And she did awesome. We sat in the third row, right up at the stage. She whispered a few questions to me during the show but stayed in her seat, made sure to whisper quietly when she did have questions, and she actually paid attention to what was going on. She asked me what a sign said. Legit question. She asked where the onstage doors went. Legit question- she had seen the backstage area, walked through the doors, walked on the set but then the play starts and the actors are walking through these doors to "the kitchen" or "the drawing room" so I get her confusion and curiosity. She asked if we would get to see the bedrooms. Legit question and a sign she was paying attention. The show is about guests arriving at a guest house and there are a couple of conversations about bedrooms- The Rose Room, The Blue Room, The Oak Room, etc. She asked if I wanted to share her gum. Not a legit question. But kind of her to think of me. At the end of the scene, the lights go out and the curtain closes briefly. We used that as our opportunity to duck out and head home. She had oodles of questions in the car. And we sang along with a Veggie Tales CD. About halfway home, I look in the rear view mirror and her sweet little face is all crumpled up, trying not to cry. "T? What's wrong baby?" That simple questions opened the floodgates. She begins to sob. Tears are pouring down her cheeks and she is genuinely sad and seemingly heartbroken as she says: "I think I'm big enough now that I like scary stuff! I want to go back and see the play! I want to go back to the theatre! I want to see the scary stuff! Why does Aunt Christy like scary stuff? I want to see it!" After some research, I think I have a nice little community theatre schedule planned out. We will go see "Beauty and the Beast" in May, "Hello, Dolly!" in June, and "Seussical!" in July. And I am kicking myself for not taking her to see a local dinner theatre's production of "Cats" over the past few months (the cats get very intimate with the audience, I've heard it's a really cool experience). Promises of taking her to see these shows has calmed the tears, sobs, sadness. For now. Do you see what happened? That, my friends, was the theatre bug biting once again. I believe we have a future thespian in our midst.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Check out this link to a way cool hut made out of newspaper! I challenge Jeff to do this with Teagan sometime... and would love to hear of any other crafty types in the blogosphere to do the same! Heck, I could maybe even do this one myself. Maybe. At least the rolling part. And did you know there are oodles of other cool things you can do with newspaper? At the very least, I hope you recycle it. But check this out: I found this list on Real 1. Deodorize food containers. Stuff a balled-up piece of newspaper into a lunch box or thermos, seal it, and let sit overnight. 2. Ripen tomatoes. Wrap them individually and leave them out at room temperature. 3. Pack delicate items. Wrap frames and figurines with several pieces of newspaper, then crumple the remaining sections to fill extra space in the box. 4. Wipe away tough streaks on glass. Use newspaper with cleaning fluid to clean mirrors and windows. 5. Preserve antique glass. Some older frames have finishes on the glass that can be damaged by cleaning solutions. Remove smudges by rubbing with newspaper dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and one part warm water. Let air-dry. 6. Dry shoes. Place crumpled paper in them overnight. 7. Wrap gifts. Use the comics to wrap a child’s birthday gift, or try the wedding announcements for an engagement gift. 8. Create a home for slushy snow boots. During the winter, keep a pile of newspaper near the entryway. When your little snowmen and -women come home, they can toss their winter wear onto the newspaper instead of creating puddles on the floor. 9. Prepare a garden. In the fall, mow a patch of lawn to make room for a dedicated bed. Cover it with four layers of newspaper, then a four-inch layer of shredded leaves or bark mulch. Hose it down. Come spring, the compost blanket will have smothered the grass roots, and the bed will be primed for planting. 10. Keep the refrigerator vegetable drawer dry and free of smells. Line the bottom with newspaper. Do you still get a newspaper? What do you do with it at the end of the day? And go share your thoughts on inappropriate giggles over at CodeDaddy's place today... and totally drop my name. Please. Purty please. Together, we can DOMINATE. I mean... uh... please?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm Here to Pump *Clap* You Up!

Today was a new beginning. I went to the gym and paid someone to kick my flabby ass. We did a very nice warm up- lap the gym on tip toes, then on heels, then with a high kick, then bending to touch toes each step. Then a mini-circuit of dumbbell punches and high step ups with weights. 30 seconds each time and 3 rotations. Then a cardio circuit- 3 mins on the treadmill (I actually ran for 2 mins, 20 seconds), 3 mins on the bike (supposed to go on level 7 but I went most of it on level 12 and about 20 second on level 9), and 3 minutes on the rowing machine (no brags here- it sucked but I kept at it). Then another floor circuit. 45 seconds of air squats, 45 seconds on push up to side plank, 45 seconds of bike crunches. Then repeat those 3 steps but at 30 second intervals. One last time at 15(ish) intervals. Then crawl to the locker room and huddle in the shower while your body hates on you and screams at you. What a way to spend my lunch "break." You know what would really make me feel better? If someone wrote, sang, and recorded a song about me...

Did You Not Get the Memo?

Seriously. I want a song about me. I want to be interrogated about details of my life. I want to win this contest. So I am fully relying on you, gentle readers, to pop over to Code Daddy's site and leave a comment and name drop for me. Cuz if you go over and drop my name as being your reason for visiting, I get an extra entry. Did I mention I want this? Cuz I do. I want this. Bad. Might get extreme... Help me. Please. Pretty please. Don't make me use my puppy eyes...

Monday, April 6, 2009

You Want Him To Write a Song About Me!

Go to CodeDaddy's blog. Comment and totally name drop for me. Because no one has EVER written a song about me and I think it would be HILARIOUS!

Blah, Blahditty, Blah

I have nothing to say today. I want to freeze this moment in time. because it is truly rare that I find myself at a loss for words. So let's just do the random thing and see where my thoughts take us, shall we?
- I can actually find myself crying for someone else's baby when I hear about moms who practice "crying it out" in the extreme sense. On particular days, I almost shake and weep. Seriously. And if it's an online sharing of this sort of thing and I choose to respond, it takes all I have to withhold my anger. Because I see it from the baby's perspective. I lived it from the mom's. I know how demanding these little people are. But I have this innate sense of what life looks like from the baby's point of view... and it can be terrifying and heartbreaking.
- Given how emotional I can get over people doing versions of "cry it out," you can imagine that I do NOT follow news stories about missing, kidnapped, abused, killed... children, babies. I can't. If the news comes on and there is anything about a baby found on the highway, falling out of a window, shaken, burned, or any other "newsworthy" atrocity, the news source gets turned off. I can't bear it. The sharing of personal experience, personal stories- that I can deal with because I fell like there is growth and healing in sharing. But the "news" aspect of those stories... the vultures all over the "Tot Mom" case... heck, even the crap with the "Octomom..." And again, my reaction is because I see things from the perspective of the child, not because I have sympathy for the mom.
- If I made the news in a story related to parenting, I wonder what nickname the media would give me?
- I spent all of last week busting my ass at work and now I have no motivation to get anything done. And I have at least 2 things I should really get done today. Have to get done today. And have no interest in focusing on those tasks. at. all.
- Carrie Underwood must be hugely thankful for American Idol. Folks can knock that show all they want. But AI has turned out some serious talent! Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken... and this season has a handful of seriously talented young people that I think will go far (especially if they don't win the show).
- I feel really old when I say that the people competing on AI are "young people." I remember turning 24 and being upset because I'd aged out of applying to be The Real World...
- I'm hooked on a soap opera again. It started... in high school or college. Got strong in college. Fell back a little and then got back into it. I don't go so far as recording it... but if I miss a big day, I will look for it on SOAP that night. One Life to Live. I've been an All My Children fan before but OLTL has me hooked right now.
- And while I've never ever been a Guiding Light fan, I am sad to see it go away. That's an amazing history. 72 years. Started as a radio show before TV even existed!
- I can't say this in other places but this is my blog and I can say whatever I want. In certain circles, I have to maintain a certain decorum. But my blog... I guess I'm inspired by Alix of CASA HICE. My blog, my business, I can say what I want. Right? So let me vent a moment. And I'm not going to say this in the context of community theatre and how making a commitment and sticking to it is of the utmost importance and I'm not going to talk about the weight of a person's reputation and the disappointment when a person fails miserably in living up to even an iota of that reputation and I'm not going to give a lot of details about the miserable and pathetic failings on what should have been a moderately simple project for someone who is supposed to be vastly talented and experienced in this area. Not gonna. Instead, I'm gonna say... DON'T PISS OFF OR HURT MY FRIENDS. My friend has been uber-stressed and it all relates to ONE person not doing their job, not fulfilling their promises, not even making up for it when they swear they are going to "prove themselves." And when my friend is stressed, I have a lot less fun with said friend. So see- it's really all about ME.
You know... I sure end up with a lot to say when I think I have nothing to say.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Teagan doesn't like chocolate. She wants to. But it just isn't her thing. It's one of the few foods that she will actually spit out. Today, they had jelly beans and chocolate chips in Sunday School. This afternoon, she saw me eating brownies. As she started to leave the room, heading back to her room for quiet time, she turns to me and says "Mommy, when I'm bigger... bigger like you... how many are you?" "Maybe, when I'm 34, maybe I'll like chocolate then, too."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Date With Myself

Jeff is out of town until tomorrow night. It's remarkable how difficult it is doing things on my own- realizing where he fits in regularly. I miss him. Teagan misses him. Zach... doesn't notice. Teagan has been calmed by doing activities or eating meals we wouldn't do with Daddy home. Or things we haven't done in a long time. Tonight, once we get Zach to bed, Teagan and I are going to make cookies. We had dinner out with Aunt Christy Thursday. My friend Latifa spent the morning with us today. And tonight... I am taking myself on a date. An at home date, of course. But I'm feeling the need to indulge a bit. Work had me pretty darn stressed this week. Zach is cutting a molar so he's cranky. And Teagan is 4. Enough said, right? So I bought some brownie mix. And some mini bottles of wine. And I might even order an on demand movie- if anything strikes my fancy. I will put in laundry (that's hot, I know). And I might do dishes. And then I will put my feet up, enjoy some much needed chocolate, and imbibe. I might even put out!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Post for Garret and Jim

So I get the kids to bed and start flipping channels. And happen upon a show about RVing. Immediately, I think of my blog friends- Jim and Garret. The show starts with a $360K class A RV. Leather seating, lots of room, outdoor media center for entertaining. The Avanti... 70% better fuel economy. Slimmer, lower chassis. 14.7 miles per gallon. Flip down bed in teh front, queen size bed in the front. LED lights that don't heat and are more energy efficient. Front windshield is one piece, not 2. The Monaco Dynasty ($500K)... Lots of interior woodwork. Cherry cabinets, leather seats, ceramic tile floor with radiant heat. Stainless convection oven, appliance, hideaway pantry. King size sleep number bed, security monitor, access to both bathrooms- very spacious master bath (sink, counter, shower, washer and dryer, and floor space). So this show is going to have me thinking that J&G are out there, eating at Spago, visiting castles, and riding around in total luxury! That's exactly how it is, right? The show is "RV 2009." Now we are looking at Class C RVs. They drive like a car. Right. Price range is $50K and up. Four Winds Chateau is a 28' RV and costs $80K. Lots of counter space and nooks and crannies. Over the drive sleep area. The bathroom has a mini tub and they are going nutso over it. Dinette folds out to a full size bed, too. The Class C's are perfect for families because of all the sleeping compartments. I'd imagine the price range is better, too. The Super Max. 22' and $150K. Great overhead sleeping area, fold out couch, and dinette changes to a bed, too. Plus the bedroom in the back0 queen size bed and 2 closets. And bunk beds with individual DVD players! The Jayco Embark. 39' and $215K. Lots of space, slide out living area. Nice counter space. Walk space on both sides of bed. Sleeps 6. Jackknife couch, sleeper sofa. Fleetwood Icon. 23' $93K. 5x5 kitchen, 3 beds. No master bedroom. Large bathroom. Full tub. RV Gear. Top 9 in '09. Must haves. 9. The e-pad. Keeps your laptop steady while traveling and keeps your lap cool. 8. Car charging valet. Holds your electric gadgets in one place while you charge them up. Also stores chargers. Huh. 20 minutes in and... I'm done. I need a snack. So check out the HGTV website link up there and dream of the fantabulous lifestyle that Garret and Jim must be living!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Systems of Reward

I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan of reward systems- like sticker charts- as a parenting device. I understand the appeal in a school setting because the teacher is dealing with a group of students instead of a one on one, parent and child relationship.
However, I have a child who reacts very favorably to a tangible reward, to physical evidence of positive reinforcement.
I work hard to follow her lead, to meet her where she is.
We are doing the sticker chart.
It kind of started with the school visit this week. The class has a "Wow Card" reward system set up. There is a thing on the wall and each child has a pocket. There are laminated green cards that say "WOW!!" When the teacher "catches" you making a good choice, she may instruct you to get a Wow Card and put it in your envelope. After so many Wow Cards, you get to put a sticker on this chart that also hangs on the wall. Once the chart is full, you get to pick a reward from the Treasure Chest.
This is a BIG DEAL.
Teagan watched very intently the 2 times I saw a child get a Wow Card. She turned and studied that whole set up a few times on her own.
She's got this thing about charts anyway. PBS' "Sid the Science Kid" did a thing about charts once and she likes to make charts from time to time now because of it.
As an answer to the ongoing saga of the bedtime stress, we now have a sticker chart.
Teagan can earn a sticker at our potentially difficult transition points- bedtime, getting dressed, getting out the door, dinnertime. And we also added having a good day full of good choices at Lisa's house. 5 sticker earning opportunities. And when she earns 5 stickers in a day, she gets to play the Wii for about 15 minutes after Zach goes to bed.
Day 1... she only got 4 stickers. Really bad day at Lisa's (which is rare). So what do I do with 4 stickers?? She ends up giving me the suggestion... she handled the knowledge that she wasn't going to achieve her 5 stickers really well. I reminded her that she could still earn her dinnertime sticker- and she asked about dessert. We aren't a dessert family so it's a "big deal" to have dessert.
So we have a reward system based on the number of stickers earned. 5 stickers, play the Wii. 4 stickers, small dessert (sherbet or jello). 3 stickers, quiet play time in your room before bed. Any less... no reward. Heck, even the 3 sticker thing might not get a reward some days... we'll see.
I'm playing this by ear and we will fix it when we find it to be broken.
I have to run. I need to seriously stock up on stickers.