We are getting a new church directory. A young woman in our congregation has started a photography business (JMS Photography). We hadn't had pictures done in a long, long, long time. I like our silly pictures the best. Family photos- especially silly ones- are definitely something that leave me feeling good!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I don't know all the details of our finances- I was raised that money is the concern of adults and kids shouldn't have to be concerned with or shouldn't be privvy to the financial situation of the adults. Of course, kids easily pick up on the financial situation.
My friends wore new clothes. I wore homemade clothes or hand me downs. My friends had pantries and cabinets and fridges filled with food- our food supply didn't compare. My friends lived in houses with backyards and fences and dogs. I lived in an apartment- just me and my mom. We struggled and we had a church family that helped us out from time to time.
As an adult, I am sometimes amazed at how much my life has been blessed. I am in a place where I have security for my family and can help others. I can pay forward what was given to us.
Last week, I learned that the food pantry that I donate to was struggling. In the past 3 weeks, they had served over 100 families each week. This pantry, The Come to Me Food Pantry of Fishers United Methodist Church, is open once a week (Wednesdays from 1:00 - 7:00) to serve families. On an initial visit, there is some paperwork to fill out and the family meets with an advocate volunteer who talks to them about their situation, their food needs, their food likes and dislikes, and offers to pray with them. The pantry's goal is to supply 3 meals, snacks, and personal items to last for the week ahead. They give both dry goods and also meat, bread, and other perishables.
I put out a call to my friends on Facebook. 3 women came up right away as wanting to donate food. I met up with one of the 3 yesterday afternoon. We had lunch and then loaded up my car with the donations she had collected. I was amazed at the amount of food they were donating! Cases of vegetables, bags and bags of food. The back end of my van was stacked and loaded- and weighted down. And that was the donations of only 3 women (I added my own 4 bags of food as well so it was from 4 women). I took the donation to the pantry this morning. After unloading everything into the dumbwaiter (which we filled), got a tour of the pantry and how it works.
And I was moved to tears.
There are wooden shelves built to hold the cans of food. There are 4 chest freezers and 3 or 4 fridges. The pantry gets donations from Frito Lay, Marsh (grocery store), and Panera Bread (and other companies, I'm sure). There is a freezer for hot dogs and buns, a freezer for hamburger. There is a special shelf set aside with food items for families with special dietary needs- I saw the labels "Gluten Free" and "Muslim" and "Organic." They've served Jewish families, single parent families, Muslim families, and more. Here's what I loved best of all: planned meals. Instead of just giving cans and boxes of food, the volunteers take donations and put together little meals with instructions on how to make it. 2 boxes of mac n cheese with cans of tuna. Chicken flavored rice with cans of chicken. A box of mashed potatoes, a can of peas, a can of corn, hamburger from the freezer, and instructions on making shepherd's pie.
This inspired me. I want to specifically collect donations and make these meal kits. For my local peeps, I'd love to work on collecting up donations from you for this effort. For far away peeps, if you feel so moved (and trust me enough) to participate, e-mail me (see tab above) and we can make arrangements. I'm going to be getting a list of the meal kits they make and what's needed for each one. One of the other kits they make that I just love are the birthday bags- a gift bag with a small wrapped gift inside, decorations, cake mix, icing, and so on. Something I'm going to do with my kids this Halloween is to ask each home we visit to donate a canned or boxed item for the food pantry. My friends and I did this in college and we collected a lot of food. I'm going to borrow a wagon to collect the food in and am eager to see how we do. Maybe you can do the same in your neighborhood and donate to your local pantry?
I think the thing I like about this small pantry in my neighborhood is that it is a pantry that is helping the families that are struggling to make ends meet. This isn't one of the big pantries that have lots of corporate sponsorships and are helping families in more dire straits in the inner city. The bigger pantries tend to get more attention, I think. This is a small pantry and is run only by volunteers from this church. The gentleman that helped me unload my van and who gave me the tour shared a story with me. One Wednesday night, a woman sat in her car outside the food pantry. A few times, she got out of the car and walked towards the doors but would then turn around and get back in the car. She finally found the courage to go inside and she met with a wonderful advocate. She had lost her job a month ago and was starting to really struggle and couldn't feed her family. She prayed with the advocate and took her food and personal items and left. She didn't come back the next week or the week after. About 3 months later, she walked back in the doors. The same advocate happened to be working that evening again and rushed up to her, hugged her, and started talking about getting her food. The woman stopped her. She wasn't there to get food. She was there because she had found a job soon after taking food from the pantry those months ago. Her life had changed because of the help she received. She was there because she had bags of groceries in her car that she wanted to donate. She paid it back and, in so doing, paid it forward at the same time.
I'm going to keep paying it forward, too.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
(If the video doesn't work, here is the link to YouTube)
Friday, October 22, 2010
Busy weekend- and an important weekend!! On Saturday, my baby boy turns 3!! To celebrate, I am taking the kids to Cincinnati to spend the day (and night) with Grandma (and Grandpa and Uncle Daniel). I will drive back Saturday morning. While we are gone, there is a chance that Daddy is going to do all the furniture moving so we have a bedroom and a playroom as our big gift for Zach's birthday. Saturday afternoon is our previous daycare provider's annual picnic for past and present families in her care. Sasturday evening we are having dinner with friends and family in celebration of Zach's birthday at one of our family fave restaurants- Scotty's Lakehouse.
I posted this week about The Magic Jeans. Demands were made that pictures be shared. If you're a Facebook fan, you were treated to these fun pics yesterday. I've got a post brewing in my head about this journey I'm on to be healthy. About goals and buddies and gauges of success. I'm struggling a bit right now but still seeing what should be considered success. The mental game of going from unhealthy to healthy is frustrating at times. I wrote about my best friend, Jim, earlier this week. Part of why I love him so much? Because after he read it, he called me. And he said, "You were at that party with me because I carried you there in my heart. Not just in my back pocket. I love you!" *sniff, sniff* I love you, too! The training I was in last week was intense. One of the tools used to implement the learning was The Boat Game. Some of you might have heard of this before- but each person on the team has a different job and you have to make the process of taking orders, building boats, and delivering to the customer work most efficiently. The training was a type of problem solving process. The game goes for 8 rounds and is played over the course of the 5 days- as you learn a new step or tool, you apply it to a round of the game. After the first round, the leader of the other team pipes up with "Let's make it a competition!" Several of us on my team... didn't want that. At all. For several reasons. It makes it a game and not a learning process. It makes us competitive types have that competitive side come out and that can make things get ugly. For others, competition is a reason to withdraw from the process. Long story short... the team that didn't want it to be a competition.. won! That's all for now- things that I'm feeling good about, things that are little fragments... all out in the blogosphere now!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
From time to time, I like to share thoughts on discipline and parenting.
Recently, my kids have discovered the, uh, joy of bathroom humor. It is beyond hilarious to say things like fart or poop or pee or underwear. One word and they both fall apart in giggle fits.
I hesitated on how to handle the potty talk. And what we've decided on is that we won't ban the words from the family lingo. Instead, we set limits on where we can use those words.
See, I never want my kids to think there is a topic that is off limits to talk about in our family.
So we can have potty talk when it is just us at home or when it is just us in the car. Never at dinner- at least not so others can hear you. We're feeling this all out as we go but it is working fairly well so far.
Sunday evening, Christy and I were heading to Target with my kids. We were potty talking away in an effort to get all the poops and farts and pee giggles over and done with. Earlier in the day, we'd enjoyed making up our own lyrics to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle" or the WonderPets theme song... anything to do with underwear was a favorite theme. (Underwear is under there, Underwear is what we wear, Underwear oh underwear, I love you, my underwear, etc)
While at Target, the time quickly approached bedtime and Zach was getting close to being very done with the day. He and Teagan were having a great time in the purse section with Christy- until he discovered the umbrellas and was trying to manage 2 large umbrellas at once and refused to put them down and was actually endangering those around him. As I forced him to put the umbrellas back, he threw himself into the rack, folded his arms across his chest, looked down with a furrowed brow and harumphed himself into a little pout.
Normally, I ignore him. Or I get down on his level and talk about choices and opportunities and responsibilities and all that. But I was tired, too. I just didn't want to go all Mommy on him.
So I bent down to his ear, put up one single nagging finger, and whispered in my best Mom voice so only he could hear me...
"Poopity, poop, poopity, poop poop. Poopity! Poopity!"
His posture changed immediately. His face changed immediately. It wasn't an instant fix but it got him back on a happy track and got us out of the store without a major incident.
I used it on Teagan at dinner the next night. She was whining and complaining and tossing out some major attitude. I started to go into my typical Mom Mode of choices and opportunities and stern voice and "don't make me, young lady!"
Instead, I leaned over and whispered in her ear, "poop and pee and farts and underwear!"
Suddenly, she shifted from her complaints to showing us how hard she was working on NOT laughing.
So what do you think? Can I write a book on Potty Mouth Discipline and sell millions??
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Back in May, I wrote about the magic jeans given to me as hand me downs from Ashli. The jeans are about done. The fabric is actually starting to wear through. I know I need to replace them. I have a pair of black jeans and a pair of dark denim that Ashli gave me. They are heavier denim so I don't feel like they go with every look. With the magic jeans starting to show signs of wear and thining in the inner thigh area, I knew I was going to have to start the search.
I was scared.
Last time I went shopping for jeans, I literally tried on a dozen or more pairs and hated every time I stepped into that leg of pants in the dressing room. No style, no size, no design was right. Size 16 was too tight. Size 18 was too big. Some had stretchy material that made me look like a sausage. Some were hard denim that stood on its own around my flesh. I reached a point of such desperation that I even tried on men's jeans. It was depressing and frustrating. I knew this would be another venture into territory that would take time and patience. I also knew I needed jeans.
Friday evening, we went to Target. It wasn't were I intended to start my project. I was trying to find a day to go to a shopping center or mall and visit a variety of stores and department stores. I knew that my body had changed enough that it should be a more normal experience- less frustrating and depressing but still a hard task.
I was wrong.
I picked out 3 pairs of jeans in 3 different styles, all size 14. I stepped into the dressing room, took a deep breath, and took off my magic jeans. I stepped into the first pair. It was a standard pair of boot cut jeans. They were too big. Specifically too big in the waist. When I sat down, they would gap out in the back. The other pairs had wide elastic sewn into the waist to prevent that from happening. I'd found a similar waistband in pairs of capris this summer so I knew I liked that fit. I pulled on the 2nd pair of jeans. I'd found them. They fit exactly right. They fit in the legs, the waist, and the butt. My body was a size 14 normal body. There was no weird gaping or rolls of sausage. I didn't even try on the 3rd pair because I loved the 2nd pair so much.
I wore them Friday evening. I wore them Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Turns out, those size 14 jeans in a trouser, boot cut style with the elastic sewn into the waist band... are too big.
I went back to Target Sunday evening after dinner. I grabbed a size 12 from the rack and headed for the dressing room. They fit. Like magic. I have new magic jeans.
And now I have a pair of size 14 jeans that I can't return and can't wear. They cost $25. Anyone want to buy them? On sale for $20!
Monday, October 18, 2010
The Drive Down- Adventures in Marriage Licensure
It's funny to go back and read this post and remember the people who came down to TN to be with us when we got married. Some are people we rarely see anymore (due to taking time off from our theatre involvement) like the Murello-Todd Family. Some are people we have cut out of our lives since having children like Jeff's mother. Some are people no longer attached to us (and we continue to be very thankful for that) like the person who is now Jim's ex-boyfriend.
Our Wedding Day
The preparations, the pictures, the adorable little chapel...
The Reception and Our Night Out
The reception at our cabin and an evening out with friends and family at Sweet Fanny Adams.
The Day After and The Long Hike
Sunday was a day in Gatlinburg spent with friends. And Monday was a day that will be forever known as "The Day Liz and Christy Decided to Torture Themselves."
As of Sunday evening, we haven't done anything to celebrate. We aren't big celebrators, I suppose. We would have made plans to go out Saturday night. We had a sitter (Christy, of course). But it was Jeff's 25th high school reunion and there were weird things going on and he ended up being a major part of the whole thing running smoothly- he provided equipment, music, took on a photo project at the last minute. So I basically didn't see him from Friday evening until Saturday evening. I did go to the reunion- I drove separately and only stayed 2 hours. Jeff's focus was on his responsibilities at the reunion and not on keeping his wife entertained or introduced. Which is fine- neither of us were thrilled about the reunion in the first place. I do think he had a great time- I just think I didn't need to be there. Which is kind of sad, I guess. I kind of thought my "appearance" was so that he could introduce me to people. But that didn't seem to be on the list of priorities. The only compliments I got on how I looked were from a photographer, Christy, and my kids. I wore make up, did my hair, wore a dress, heels, earrings, pantyhose- I never, ever do that. I wanted to look nice for my husband. I wanted him to be proud to have me by his side. I didn't feel any of that when I decided to leave.
Wow, I'm getting whiney. This isn't something I'm upset about, really. This is just not how I'd wanted the "date night" for our anniversary to go. Hard to reschedule it- next weekend is Zach's birthday and the weekend after is Halloween. So this will be a more "down home" kind of celebration and recognition of the day. And I'm fine with that because that is who we are and how we are. The best part of this anniversary is that I like where we are. Sure, we disagree and sometimes we even fight. But most of the time, we are a team, we are on the same page.
Bottom line is- we love each other, we trust each other, and we laugh together. What more could I ask for?