Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm there, baby!

July 26, 2007

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa County Library


This might be embarassing to say, but every week I download and listen to Mugglecast. It's a podcast done by some guys (ok, boys & 1 girl) from Mugglenet.com. Yes, it's about Harry Potter. But these guys rock! They have cool ideas and are very entertaining. They are also very smart. Sometimes they sound nerdy, but that means I can relate to them. :)

Jim just scrunched up his nose when I showed him the gig. I've now got to find a Harry Potter friend to go with me. Jim would go if I made him, but I think I'll look for someone else first. Besides, if he went we'd have to find childcare. Or take the girls with us. I'm not sure how that would go. We'd have to bribe them with something.

Oh, well. I've got a month. Either way, I'm there baby!

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'll be a woman on a mission!

Hi! Jim and I watched TV tonight. Yes. Real TV. Just vegged out and sat there on our patooties. I had to make him turn off the xbox first, but he did it.

One of the shows we watched was Food Network's "Unwrapped". I love that show! This show was about "bargain" foods and shopping. They showed Ramen noodles, mac & cheese, and then a cool story about a website called The Grocery Game. It's a website that somehow has created a database of when stores haave their sales. It keeps track of the coupons in the Sunday paper. Each week, you can print off a list of which items in your local store are on sale, which have coupons, and which are both on sale and have coupons. The list is color-coded to help you "stock up" and also buy "necessities". The basic idea is that you stock up when things are really cheap, and then you only buy what you need each week.

UNFORTUNATELY, the only store that has a list in Arkansas is Dillon's. Have you ever heard of Dillon's? Me neither. No wal-mart or kroger or harps. Bummer.

So, I have decided to become a woman on a mission to pay less for groceries! Ever since we moved here, it has been costing us more to eat. I have several theories why. However, I'm going to take a week and compare prices and see if I can't find ways to save money. I'll report back with what I find.

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dancing in Kohl's

Ok. So we're at Kohl's tonight buying Jim a new swimsuit for vacation. The men's section is right next to the luggage. As we're standing there, both girls hop up on a luggage display rack and start doing "the booty bop" -- the same dance they were doing on the swingset the other night.

Jim and I sternly tell them to quit and then melt into the floor. Thank goodness Kohl's was not very busy.

You know, they don't prepare you for this kind of thing in school......

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pictures my girls will hate me for

So, Aunt Robin. You miss your precious little pretty nieces? Maybe you'd like to know what they do when they think no one is looking.

These pics were taken last night while I was at church. The same night Beta cut her hair. (But before she did that.)

This one is going in Beta's senior year book. Or at least on a slide show.

These next two are of a "dance' the girls were doing. That's all the comment I'm going to give them.

Heaven help us.

A Tale of Two Haircuts

The FIRST Haircut

In my 6 years of parenting, I have yet to have anybody give themselves a haircut. Until now. It seems that while I was at church, Beta got some scissors and decided to test them out on her hair. We're not sure if big sister had a hand in this or not. They both say no, but I'm not sure she didn't watch and egg her on.

Here is a picture of the hair that got cut:

Beta put it in the trash can "so you would be happy, mommy"! Jim says he told her that when I got home, I would be upset. He says maybe he'll word things differently from now on.

The SECOND Haircut

A few months ago, we got a gift bag from the Welcome Wagon. It contained a letter for a complimentary haircut at a salon in town. So Tuesday afternoon, I head over to this place to get my free haircut. It's a salon and spa, and it's definitely keepin' Fayetteville funky! (That's the chamber of commerce's business slogan.) I get sent back with this lady who was polite but not overly friendly. I hand her the letter. She scrunches her face up in disgust at it, tries to mumble "so you just moved here?" and then goes up to the front while leaving me standing there confused. I overhear her at the front saying, "I had a gift certificate earlier today, too."

Okay. So I take it she's not entirely happy about working free of charge. I can understand that. I also start to worry about my hair. One person you don't want angry with you is your hairstylist!

To make a long story short, she cuts my hair very well and gives me a good cut after the horrible one I had a few months ago. I try to tip her with a check but she says she doesn't take checks. I guess I should have tried the debit card, but I felt awkward. So I ended up not tipping her.

So what should I do? Do I go back and give her some cash? Do I even go there again? The payment issue is really between her and her manager/owner. She cut my hair ok, but she wasn't very talkative or friendly. (I SO miss Heather in Little Rock!)

What do you all think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Feminine Mistake

One day while reading my Manic Mommies blog, I came across a post about a new book called The Feminine Mistake. I read that post and also read another post by the actual author, Leslie Bennetts. Immediately, the book's title offended me. The post by the author was also quite heated. She was indignant about not caring for stay-at-home moms. Hmmmm, I think. Should I read this book? I honestly didn't want to, but since it addressed my former situation so much, I felt like I should read it through entirely before I critiqued it. So, I did just that.

Here is my review of the book:

Beginning with the prologue, Leslie Bennetts is adamant that not working outside the home is the absolute worst decision any woman could ever possibly make for herself. She terms the stay-at-home status as "economic dependency", liberally utilizing this phrase throughout the book's 14 chapters. I guess she has a point. In opting out of work, you ARE agreeing to be dependent on your husband's income even if nobody looks at it that way nowadays. She is the eternal pessimist: the glass IS half-empty and will be totally empty very soon. Her questions concern your husband's well-being. What if he dies? What if he has a major illness? What if he divorces you? (Her most-cited reason.)

To provide statistics and anecdotes for her book, she has interviewed several stay-at-home moms. She claims they are from all parts of the United States and all income levels, but she seems to reference very wealthy New-England wives the most often. (Ms. Bennetts lives in New York City with her husband and two children, says the book jacket.) Most of these women say they are staying home for their children, but then admit that they have nannies and cooks and housekeepers. As other reviewers have pointed out, they also seem to have never heard of life insurance, savings accounts, or prenuptial agreements. Ms. Bennetts bashes these women over and over for being idiots when they gave up their high-powered careers, some even before they had children.

Divorce is Ms. Bennetts's biggest concern for "economically dependent" moms. Her own grandfather left her grandmother to live in poverty and at the mercy of her greedy brothers when the author's mother was 9 years old. She recounts story after story of husbands who failed to stay faithful to their stay-at-home wives. The problem with this, in my opinion, is that the marriages she describes are inherently BAD. More than a few are arrangements where the man handles the money and doesn't tell his wife how much they have, where it is, or how to get to it. One husband even woke his wife up in the middle of the night to have her sign tax returns so she wouldn't know how much money he made! Several marriages have the man controlling the entire checking account and making his wife "ask" for money to go buy groceries. How insulting! However, these should not be held up as good and NORMAL marriages! Any pastor or marriage counselor would tell you that these marriages are doomed whether the wife works or not. If a husband and wife don't have equal control and equal say in the money, no matter who earns it, toes will be stepped on and fights will ensue.

Now that I have mentioned my problems with this book, let me list a few things I did learn from it.

1. Leslie Bennetts does have a point.
Men die, have catastrophic illnesses, and divorce their wives. It happens all the time. It's unpleasant to think about, but you do need to be prepared. You need to have an emergency fund and life insurance. As for the possibility of divorce, I have never liked prenuptial agreements. I think a better plan is to have a Christ-centered marriage and attend church together regularly. Once you have kids, remember that you were spouses first. Work at keeping your marriage fun and interesting. Also, it wouldn't hurt to keep up your job skills just in case you do need to go back to work.

2. Working just to pay childcare might be OK.
Bennetts take on making just enough money to pay childcare is this: The day care situation is temporary. Even if you aren't making much "profit" from your work now, if you stay in the workforce, your salary will be higher after those 5 years of day care than if you had quit the workforce and stayed home. I admit I never thought of that.

3. Working is good for you.
Women who work are overall happier than women who don't work. I have experienced this myself. I was fully at home for 5 1/2 years. During that time I was gloriously happy! However, I did have a sense that I had lost a part of myself. That part that was "smart" and got good grades. Was I wasting my education and my brain? Since going back to work (for good!) in January, I have realized how much I LOVE accounting! After these nearly 6 months at work, I can't see myself completely staying home ever again. I still like part-time work, but to be unemployed would be so boring!

So there you have it. My review of a very controversial book. I could write a book myself, about this book, but this post is long enough. I thank any of you who have read all the way to here. I just felt like I should read this book since it addressed my previous status as well as my current status. The work vs. stay-home conundrum has been at the forefront of my life for the past 6 years. At home, you wonder if you should be working. At work, you wonder if you should be at home. And so it goes.

To all you women out there, do what you feel is right. For yourself and your family.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Where, oh where has my little mind gone?

I am losing my mind.

I'm glad we're going on vacation soon because I've been told I need one.

Time: Saturday, day before Father's Day.
Setting: My kitchen
What: Baking a cake

So, I decided I would bake Jim a german chocolate cake for Father's day. German chocolate and pineapple upside down cake are his two favorites. I pull out the cake mixes. Yes, that's right, plural, "mixes". I dump both of them in my bowl. I think to myself, "my, that's a lot more mix than usual". About this time, it hits me.

I am so stupid.

I was going to make a double-layer german chocolate cake. So I freakin' went and used TWO mixes! For those of you who don't bake, that translates to 4 layers! Not 2! Each mix makes a 2-layer cake.

What to do now? One was older than the other, but I had just dumped them both in the bowl and mixed them up. So, I do the only logical thing. I bake. And bake. And bake some more.

We are now proudly wolfing down infinite amounts of chocolate cake. We have a double-layer german chocolate cake with the traditional coconut-pecan frosting. We also have a german chocolate pound cake with a rich chocolate glaze topped with chocolate chips. And the girls have a small cake each that they got to decorate and then declare that they can't eat it because they don't like sprinkles. (They did eventually manage to get a few bites down...)

If any of you lived closer, I'd invite you over for a snack. As it stands now, Jim has taken some to work and the rest just seems to be mysteriously disappearing.

I repeat: I need a vacation.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, HAAAAAAAAAAAAPPYAnniversary!

Yesterday, June 14, was mine and Jim's 10th (10!) Wedding Anniversary. We celebrated by going out for lunch at Boi de Ouro (The Golden Bull), a churrascaria place here in town. (Like Goucho's in LR) It was delicious! And not that expensive for lunch, either. We had a lunch date because we could not find a babysitter for last night, or tonight, or even Saturday night. And I called 3 people. I guess I need to find more babysitters. (Manic Mommies say, "you can never have too many shoes or too many babysitters!")

We didn't do gifts because in July we are headed to Jamaica! It's like a second honeymoon. I love pictures of the Caribbean so we decided to vacation there. Also, it's generally a destination sans children. We'd also like to go to Europe, but we figured we could take the kids to Europe when they get older (if we have to). :)

I'd just like to say that I can NOT believe it's been 10 years! That's an entire decade. That's a lot of waking up next to someone you love. I'll never forget waking up one morning after we'd been married about 2 weeks and thinking, "Boy, I'm glad I really like him because if I had to wake up with someone I didn't like every day, that would suck!" Yes, I really thought that.

So, here's to Jim! The one man who wants to put up with me everyday. The one man who loves me unconditionally, who is a terrific husband and absolutely WONDERFUL father. The one man I can't imagine living my life without. I love you, Jim, and I want the whole world to know!

Love, your forever wife,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Late-breaking humor!

This just in! 3 year old spills beans....
(Jim just told me this.)

Yesterday, my day off, the girls and I might have allegedly done some shopping for a certain "day" coming up this Sunday. On our alleged way home from the alleged store, we had a lecture. "Don't tell Daddy. If he asks you anything, say "We got you nothing!"

Fastforward to supper time. Daddy walks in. "Daddy! Daddy! We got you nothing at Lowe's!" ARGH!

Fastforward to after supper. Beta goes up to her daddy and says, "Daddy, we got you nothing. We left it in the trunk."

You know, if they weren't so darn cute, I don't know what we'd do with them!

How much is that birdy in the window?

IT HAPPENED! The last two birds left the nest! They flew the coop! However, they didn't leave us totally. I'll get to that in a minute.

Here is a picture of the last two still hanging onto the comfort and security of the nest:

Then, last Saturday morning, we were lying in bed a bit later than usual. I heard a fluttering sound. I thought it was Beta, but then I heard her in the other room. When we investigated, we found one of the baby birds hopped up on our window sill!

Isn't that neat? He stayed there for several minutes. Enough for me to get 3 or 4 pictures and for the girls to see him as well. He was probably just scared to death of us and flying to move.

He did move, though, and here is him and his brother (or she and her sister, how would I know?) on the roof of our neighbor's house. His brother had been on the ground underneath our window the entire time this little bird was ON our window.

And now the nest lies empty. I guess we should take it down. I'd like to send it to a show-and-tell somewhere, but I'm not sure if it has germs on it or not. I'm not even sure how to get it down. Those things are stuck! I guess we're no longer bird-sitters. I can't believe how fast they grew! It only took about a week from hatching to leaving the nest. I know they grow up fast, but come on.

I supposed when our nest is empty, it will feel like it's only been a week as well.

A few pics of the girls!

Ok, Aunt Robin. Here is a "girly" post! I'll just browse through my iPhoto library and see what cute pics I've taken of the girls lately. Hope your dial-up connection can handle it! haha!

This is Alpha on her kindergarten awards day. She received the "Politeness" award for always saying "please" and "thank you". (I should have blogged about it.) The boy on her left is one she said was her boyfriend once upon a time.

This picture is both girls getting ready to take their babies out for a stroll. Before that, however, they both must pirouette. I love this one!

This one is a daddy picture. He caught the two of them on the swingset just talking. You might wonder what girly things they're talking about. However, in the next picture he took (which I didn't post), Alpha is making elephant noises and moving her arm like a trunk!

So there you have it. Maybe I'll have a chance later this week to upload some to my photo sharing site and show you more.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Thank you, Uncle Matt & Aunt Robin!

Well, school ended Friday for Alpha. She has now finished kindergarten and is a BIG FIRST GRADER!

On her birthday, Uncle Matt and Aunt Robin got her a "Big First Grade" workbook.

She LOVES this thing! She has worked on it nearly every day since May 12, her birthday. She was trying to hurry and finish it before school let out because she thought she had to have it done BEFORE she went to first grade! She takes it in the car and to various other places that we'll let her. She cries if she can't take it. I'm surprised she doesn't sleep with it. In short, this is her absolute favorite birthday present!

This afternoon, she has been working on it since about 1:30. It is now 3:50 and she's still at it. She is using her crayons to help her learn addition and subtraction. She had been using her fingers but after she hit some numbers like 11, 12, and 15, she ran into problems. The crayons were her own idea. At school they use BINGO markers. She will painstakingly count out the total number she's supposed to have, then take away however many, then painstakingly count the entire thing again. With her asking me if the results are correct, I have to say she's running about 98% correct on her own the first time.

Here is a picture of her with the crayons.

Jim and I are SO excited that she does this ALL ON HER OWN! If we had had problems with her homework, there's NO WAY she would be doing this. But, she thinks it's great fun and doesn't want to put it down! I can't believe we've got a kid like this, but I'm sure glad we do!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Empty-nest syndrome. WAAAHHH!

Where have all our babies gone?? Two of our little birdies have decided that they are big enough, smart enough, and know much more than any of us (thank you very much) and are ready for the wide, wide world.

Yep. Two of the four baby birds have left the nest and (supposedly) learned how to fly. The first one left yesterday. We looked outside after supper and only saw 3 beaks. A quick look on the ground showed us this:

He stayed there for quite some time. Momma bird would fly in occasionally and hop on the ground chirping at him. Before we went to bed, he was nowhere to be found.

The second one left today. We never saw him on the ground, but he's also nowhere to be found either. That leaves two in the nest.

But momma bird will push them out soon. Jim said he saw the momma bird in the yard chirping at the two remaining in the nest. I guess one needs to get a job and the other needs to go back to college. She must be tired of picking up after them and finding worms for them.

I'm still so amazed that we got to witness these events take place right outside our front window! I was watering the tomato plants last night in the backyard and noticed that the gutters on the back of the house have the same bend as the ones in the front. (well, duh...) So why didn't the bird make a nest in the backyard away from the main road? Where it was more secluded. Or in our lovely sugar maple tree. I still think God put those birds out front for us and the girls. The girls have gotten a wonderful nature lesson and have loved seeing the birds every day. It'll be sad to have them gone. But it feels good knowing that by having our house here (in a lot that was my 4th choice), we've managed to help out some of God's creatures.

Monday, June 4, 2007

My peeps!

Have I posted about the birds we have at our house? I'm not sure I have.

We have a bird, a robin, who made a nest in the crook of our gutter. It might not be a tree, but it's a very well-protected space. It stayed put through a storm and there are no natural enemies lurking on shingled roofs waiting to attack.

So.......one day I climbed up a ladder and looked into the nest. Here is what I saw:

Yep! Four pretty blue eggs!

Well, on Thursday, they hatched! We've got babies! All 4 of them made it. The momma bird is very protective. She will fly away when we go out the front door, but she only flies to the next yard. One time she waited on the roof. The girls have been able to watch her bring worms to each of her baby birds. I have no idea where she finds these worms, but she always seems to bring back one for each baby.

Here is a picture of her feeding her babies:

Here are the babies sleeping:

These birds have been very educational for the girls. I haven't put them on the ladder to look, but I would take a picture and then show them the picture. They were so excited when the eggs hatched! Beta knew just how it happened. She said the momma bird just started jumping up and down on those eggs so much that they cracked! That's how the baby birds got out! Alpha, who is about to finish kindergarten this week, has learned in school that the birds have an "egg tooth" or something like that, to peck their way out.

What's interesting is that I think God sent those birds there. See, in our previous house, we had a park-like backyard. There were tons of birds, squirrels, a chipmunk, and even the occasional rabbit. I loved it! Now we live in a new subdivision where everything is flat and treeless. Barren. It's the middle of a field. I hate it. I had some real issues when we moved here about moving into a place so boring. (and about moving in general, but that's a long story.) So, by having a bird build a nest on our house, right outside our front window no less, I think that's God's way of saying "it's ok. I'm here for you."

Isn't that neat? God does work in mysterious ways.

Shouldn't this guy know better?

I couldn't believe it when I read it! I was reading my Manic Mommies blog this morning when I ran across one of their posts about the pediatrician they have on sometimes. Apparently, "Dr. Rob", the pediatrician who comes on occasionally to answer listener questions, was outed as "Flea" - a blogger who wrote about his upcoming malpractice suit. You can read the outing article if you want to.

(Update: Well, apparently after reading this more than once, The Boston Globe wants you to register and login. I guess I don't blame them. I don't know if the link will work or not.)

How can this guy be so dumb? Did he not think someone would catch on to him? He wrote about the plaintiffs, the jury, the legal system, etc. And apparently it wasn't very flattering. The plaintiff's attorney outed him in court. Everyone then decided to settle the case for a huge sum of money.

What gives? Why do people think email and blogs are so private? Heck, by their very nature, blogs are NOT AT ALL private! The whole point is to get people everywhere to read them! Just because you use a pseudonym doesn't mean you're protected. Especially when the facts of the case you're writing about eerily mirror the facts of the case you are charged with.

That's why, dear friends, I write about "The Little Things". No major revelations here. Prospective employers will sometimes google you to see what's out there. I don't need them finding my blog and a long list of "red flags" and reasons not to hire me. Not that there are any.....I'm just sayin'........ Haha!

In the meantime, don't be like this guy!